Despite Billion-Dollar Budget, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NOVANEWS

Cancels Project Studying Cancer near Nuclear Facilities

By Ken Broder

A five-year federal pilot program to determine levels of contamination around eight nuclear facilities in the United States was cancelled this week because, apparently, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is already doing such a fine job of oversight.

“The NRC continues to find U.S. nuclear power plants comply with strict requirements that limit radiation releases from routine operations,” agency spokesman Scott Burnell wrote in defense of the decision. “The NRC and state agencies regularly analyze environmental samples from near the plants. These analyses show the releases, when they occur, are too small to cause observable increases in cancer risk near the facilities.”

There is nothing to see, so why waste the time and money. “The NRC determined that continuing the work was impractical, given the significant amount of time and resources needed and the agency’s current budget constraints.”

The cost was $8 million, $1.5 million of which has already been spent. The NRC has a budget of more than $1 billion. Results from the testing were not expected until at least the end of the decade. The study, led by National Academy of Sciences (NAS) researchers, was meant to update a 1990 National Cancer Institute (NCI) report that focused on cancer mortality, with limited occurrence of the disease in two states.

The NRC decided in 2007 to update the report and contacted the NAS to commence a two-phase study of cancer risks in populations living near NRC-licensed facilities. Phase 1 was to determine if doing the study was feasible. The conclusion reached in 2012 was “Yes.”

Phase 2 was to be broken into two parts: planning and execution. The commission killed it on Tuesday. Nuclear sites to be studied included active and decommissioned plants in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey. A nuclear fuel fabrication plant in Tennessee was also on the list.

Supporters of the program are not happy. “Study after study in Europe has shown a clear rise in childhood leukemia around operating nuclear power facilities, yet the NRC has decided to hide this vital information from the American public,” said Cindy Folkers, radiation and health specialist at Beyond Nuclear.

Folkers blamed nuclear industry manipulation. Beyond Nuclear points to the NRC staff recommendation (pdf) that the commission drop the program. The policy issue document mentions a cheaper, crummier project pitched by the president of the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), but the staff concludes that no study is worth doing.

U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), who pushed for the cancer study in 2009, also did not sound happy. He said,

“We need a thorough, accurate accounting of the health risks associated with living near nuclear facilities so residents can know if there are any adverse health impacts. But the NRC has decided to take a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ approach to this public health concern by ceasing work on what could be a lifesaving cancer risk research study.”

To Learn More:

Cancer Risk Study Canceled at San Onofre (by Morgan Lee, San Diego Union-Tribune )

Regulators Halt Study of Cancer Risks at 7 Nuclear Plants (by Stephen Singer, Associated Press )

NRC Pulls Plug on Cancer Study near Nuclear Plants (by Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times )

Posted in USAComments Off on Despite Billion-Dollar Budget, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

US War Theories Target Dissenters

NOVANEWS
By Todd E. Pierce

When the U.S. Department of Defense published a new Law of War Manual (LOW) this past summer, editorialists at the New York Times sat up and took notice. Their concern was that the manual stated that journalists could be deemed “unprivileged belligerents.” The editorial explained that as a legal term “that applies to fighters that are afforded fewer protections than the declared combatants in a war.” In fact, it is far more insidious than that innocuous description.

Here is the manual’s definition: “‘Unlawful combatants’ or ‘unprivileged belligerents’ are persons who, by engaging in hostilities, have incurred one or more of the corresponding liabilities of combatant status (e.g., being made the object of attack and subject to detention), but who are not entitled to any of the distinct privileges of combatant status (e.g., combatant immunity and POW status).”

The key phrase here is “being made the object of attack.” For slow-witted New York Times editorialists, that means journalists can be killed as can any enemy soldier in wartime. “Subject to detention” means a journalist deemed an unprivileged belligerent will be put into military detention if captured. As with any enemy belligerent, however, if “capture is not feasible,” they would be killed if possible, by drone perhaps if in a foreign country.

Currently, most U.S. captives deemed “unprivileged belligerents” are imprisoned in Guantanamo although some may be held in Afghanistan. It must be noted that the United States deems as an “unprivileged belligerent” anyone they target for capture or choose to kill.

That the New York Times’ concern only arose with publication of the new LOW manual suggests they may have been in a deep sleep since 9/11 as the Department of Defense (DOD) has openly worked to impose limitations on information sharing and news gathering since that event gave them a pretext. It is now a well-established pattern of the U.S. government to suppress rights guaranteed by the First Amendment whenever they can get by with it, as was seen with the New York Times own James Risen.

But the New York Times colluded with the CIA in censoring Risen’s reporting. Furthermore, they seemed to have ignored the U.S. government’s momentous argument of the unlimited power of the President to target journalists and activists for “expressive activities,” as the Department of Justice stated in the case of Hedges v. Obama, as described below.

It has frequently been noted there’s been an ongoing “war” against journalists since 9/11. The new DOD Law of War manual makes that official and potentially takes it to the highest level of conflict. While expressing concern, the Times’ editorialist does not seem to realize or care how ominous it is that the DOD now openly declares that journalists may be deemed “unprivileged belligerents,” unlawful combatants, as the DOD manual provides, instead of hiding the fact in coded language as done since 2001. Inherent to those classifications is that they represent the “enemy” and can be killed by U.S. officials.

That will come as no surprise to those acquainted with the foreign journalists who have been targeted and killed by drones in places such as Pakistan. Nor will it surprise Sami al-Hajj, the Al Jazeera journalist who was held in Guantanamo for years. But now it is clear that the same fate could be in store for U.S. journalists.

That coded language is embedded in the claim by Military Commissions prosecutors and the Justice Department that there is a “U.S. domestic common law of war.” What they claim is entirely based upon martial law orders of the Civil War and the military’s orders to remove Japanese-Americans from the their homes on the West Coast in World War II. All the cases they rely on for a “domestic law of war” today were judicially condemned during or almost immediately after the wars in which they were a part of.

U.S. Domestic Common Law of War

U.S. Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor Brig. General Mark Martins and his staff invented what they call the “U.S. domestic common law of war” in filings to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. That invention consists only of the martial law precedents of the U.S. Civil War and the removal of the Japanese-Americans from the West Coast at the direction of General DeWitt. Both were later seen as examples of military despotism.

The American people have been inured by a deliberate effort of the U.S. military to accept invocation of the law of war as a talisman to permit any act by officials which would have been known as illegal before 9/11. But as the manual states: “Although the law of war is generally viewed as ‘prohibitive law,’ in some respects, especially in the context of domestic law, the law of war may be viewed as permissive or even as a source of authority. For example, the principle of military necessity in the customary law of war may be viewed as justifying or permitting certain acts.” (Emphasis added.)

“Military necessity” was the law of war basis for removal of the Japanese-Americans. Military necessity though indisputably a part of the law of war is a totalitarian precept when applied to a civilian population.

The LOW manual explains the object of war by quoting George H. Aldrich, Deputy Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State during the Vietnam War. He wrote of “a general acceptance of the view that modern war is aimed not merely at the enemy’s military forces but at the enemy’s willingness and ability to pursue its war aims. . . . In Viet-Nam political, rather than military, objectives were even more dominant. Both sides had as their goal not the destruction of the other’s military forces but the destruction of the will to continue the struggle.”

The “destruction of the will” of the adversary is always the object of war, according to Clausewitz and adopted by the U.S. military. But this has a totalitarian element to it; the adversary’s reciprocal object is to destroy our will. Consequently, “our” will must be protected by suppressing any dissent which could harm morale and the population’s willingness to “continue the struggle.”

That was the foundational belief underlying martial law during the Civil War. The Constitution was an obstacle again to suppressing dissent to a degree after the Civil War, but with the invention of a U.S. domestic common law of war and legalistic word play, this obstacle has once again been removed as the Justice Department argued in Hedges v. Obama.

The claim of being at war with internal and external enemies is always made by totalitarian states to justify their suppression of speech and a free press through repression. For a brief period in U.S. history, the Civil War, the U.S. military adopted military repression through martial law to suppress any dissent to its war practices.

Martial law was declared throughout the Union States, the North, on Aug. 8, 1862, by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, at the request of President Abraham Lincoln. Orders were published to “arrest and imprison” any persons “discouraging volunteer enlistments” or “giving aid and comfort to the enemy” or for “any other disloyal practice.” A military commission would try the prisoners, and a second order “suspended” the writ of habeas corpus in their cases.

Martial law was more formally declared on Sept. 24, 1862, by President Lincoln himself in addition to suspending the writ of habeas corpus. Lieber’s Code was then prepared as the order giving effect to martial law. Contrary to how it is presented by the U.S. Army and credulous human rights commentators, Lieber’s Code was primarily a harsh martial law order with Prussian militarist law of war concepts introduced to the U.S. to criminalize any expressions of dissent as “war treason.”

Thus, Col. William Winthrop explained that among the greater number of individuals who were brought to trial before the military commissions during the Civil War, the offenses included “hostile or disloyal acts, or publications or declarations calculated to excite opposition to the federal government or sympathy with the enemy, etc.”

Whiting’s Guidance

Solicitor of the Department of War during the Civil War, William Whiting, gave legal guidance to the Union Commanders for enforcement of martial law. The “guidebook” was his own War Powers of the President. This book could have been used by any militaristic and totalitarian regime, which in fact it was as it was derived from authoritarian principles of martial law from Prussia. Those authoritarian principles remained in force under Prussia’s successor state, Germany, during two world wars, and were the legal basis of the infamous People’s Court which tried “war treason” cases; cases of “disloyal” expressive acts in most cases without more.

The guidance of Whiting was: “No person in loyal States can rightfully be captured or detained unless he has engaged, or there is reasonable cause to believe he intends to engage, in acts of hostility to the United States — that is to say, in acts which may tend to impede or embarrass the United States in such military proceedings as the commander-in-chief may see fit to institute.” This is the same argument that the U.S. government made in Hedges v. Obama.

What constituted an act of hostility? Whiting defines that to include a sentiment of hostility to the government “to undermine confidence in its capacity or its integrity, to diminish, demoralize . . . its armies, to break down confidence in those who are entrusted with its military operations in the field.”

An example of how martial law was to be carried out was in an order to a subordinate commander by the Army Department of the Pacific Commander in response to complaints from the Citizens of Solano County, California, of disloyal “utterances” they were hearing from fellow citizens.

The order read: “The department commander desires you to let the people understand generally that the order of the President suspending the writ of habeas corpus and directing the arrest of all persons guilty of disloyal practices will be rigidly enforced. . . . Practices injurious to the government or offensive to the loyal sentiment of the people will under no circumstances be permitted.”

Immediately after the Civil War, when it was freshest in their minds, the Supreme Court had this to say about martial law in Ex Parte Milligan: “What is ordinarily called martial law is no law at all. Wellington, in one of his despatches from Portugal, in 1810, in his speech on the Ceylon affair, so describes it. Let us call the thing by its right name; it is not martial law, but martial rule. And when we speak of it, let us speak of it as abolishing all law, and substituting the will of the military commander, and we shall give a true idea of the thing, and be able to reason about it with a clear sense of what we are doing.”

Martial law is a sub-part of the Law of War and since it is for application to a domestic population as with the Northern States during the Civil War by the Union Army, it is “moderated” ordinarily from the even harsher provisions of the Law of War which are now invoked in the Law of War manual. Yet precepts of both are being introduced domestically with Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and domestically and globally by the “U.S. domestic common law of war” precedents trumpeted by Chief Military Commissions Prosecutor, Brig. Gen. Mark Martins.

It must be noted that this is not to compare the Union unfavorably with the Confederacy. The Confederacy had the highest form of martial law: slavery. But the Defense Department only uses one legal precedent from the Confederacy today, which is “outlawry.”

Lieber’s Code addressed “outlawry” in Art. 148, which provided, in pertinent part: “The law of war does not allow proclaiming either an individual belonging to the hostile army, or a citizen, or a subject of the hostile government, an outlaw, who may be slain without trial by any captor, . . . on the contrary, it abhors such outrage.”

This was adopted in the Hague Regulations and as interpreted in earlier Army Law of Land Warfare manuals, prohibited assassinations as well as any declarations that an individual or group is outside the protection of the law of war, which is what designation as an unprivileged belligerent does. The prohibition of assassination has also been put aside with the routine practice of assassination with drones today by the U.S. military.

The Confederacy committed the offense of outlawry when its leaders declared all captured African-Americans fighting for the Union were outside the protection of the law of war (which did preexist Lieber’s Code) and would be placed into the indefinite detention of slavery. After 9/11, the U.S. government did the same with the invention of the unlawful combatant/unprivileged belligerent category and indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay and any other location U.S. officials chose to place “unprivileged belligerents.”

Treason of the Professors and the Media

Ironically, shortly after the New York Times expressed its concern for journalists in early August, the Guardian reported in an article written by William C. Bradford, a recently hired assistant professor in the law department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The article, entitled “Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column,” was published in the National Security Law Journal of George Mason University Law School.

Bradford argued that the U.S. should be more aggressive in attacking Muslims to include attacks which are war crimes under the law of war. But it was his advocacy that the U.S. military attack other “lawful targets” in its war on terrorism, which include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” that caught the most attention. These civilian areas were all places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist, according to Bradford.

Furthermore, Bradford wrote, “Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, [dissenting] scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism.” In other words, dissenting scholars are unprivileged belligerents and subject to attack, just as journalists are according to the Law of War manual.

Not to defend him but Bradford was articulating the underlying logic of the new Law of War manual’s position that dissenting journalists can be targeted as unprivileged belligerents. This, as stated above, is consistent with oppressive extra-constitutional martial law practices which Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins boasts of as “U.S. domestic common law of war.”

One has to ask: where are the supposed watchdogs of the press when military officers can so easily slide historical falsehoods past them in destroying freedom of the press? Further, Bradford argued that law professors who criticized the failure of the U.S. to abide by the Geneva Conventions and the Law of War represented a “treasonous” fifth column that could be attacked as enemy combatants.

If there is treason being committed in the United States, it must be seen in the acts of those reconstituting the extra-constitutional martial law cases of the Civil War period. That is, Brig. Gen. Mark Martins and associated government attorneys who, in effect, are engaged in an indirect coup d’etat of the U.S. Constitutional order. In fact, Bradford was alleged to have written in favor of a direct military coup d’etat as well.

As it turned out, Bradford had other ethical issues than just his incitement to commit war crimes and target law professors. A combination of factors led to his resigning his position at the Military Academy and this individual crisis would seem to have passed.

The home page of the National Security Law Journal in which his essay had been published carried a repudiation of it by the incoming editorial board. They summarized his article as follows: “Mr. Bradford’s contention that some scholars in legal academia could be considered as constituting a fifth column in the war against terror; his interpretation is that those scholars could be targeted as unlawful combatants.”

But substitute “journalists” for “scholars” and you have the position on journalists of the DOD’s new Law of War manual.

An insightful article in The Atlantic asks “how a scholar pushing these ideas seems not to have raised red flags any earlier.” That’s an excellent question. The article was entitled “The Unusual Opinions of William C. Bradford.” But here’s the point; these opinions are not unusual among some members of the military and right-wing law professors such as Adrian Vermeule of Harvard and Eric Posner of the University of Chicago.

Posner and Vermeule have carved out a niche in American legal discourse in advocating that the U.S. needs to turn to the legal “wisdom” of the German Nazi lawyer, Carl Schmitt. In Terror in the Balance, they suggest that the U.S. may need to adopt censorship for, among other reasons, “antigovernment speech may demoralize soldiers and civilians.” For precedent, they point out that “Martial law during the Civil War permitted the military to try and punish people who criticized the Lincoln administration’s conduct of the war.”

The Attack on ‘Lawfare’

Other prominent advocates of authoritarian legal practices present themselves as protecting against disloyal attorney who practice “lawfare,” which is defined as a form of “asymmetric warfare” that misuses domestic or international law to damage an opponent through legal actions in a courtroom. For instance, Ben Wittes of lawfareblog.com would seem to espouse this type of animosity toward public-interest lawyers who use the courts to defend First Amendment liberties.

A fallacious argument, made by Wittes in a paper which calls for “balancing” liberty and security, is his idiosyncratic belief that “in American constitutional law, for example, free speech does not exist as a general right of the public to communicate as much or as widely as it desires but as an individual right not to have government restrict one’s speech.”

This is contrary to the understanding of the Supreme Court which held in First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, that: “[T]he First Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” In other words, the First Amendment guarantees the public’s “right to know.”

Why does this matter? The Constitution’s Framers understood that an informed population was crucial for a Republic. As James Madison put it: “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

This understanding of the criticality of the free flow of information for wise democratic decision-making is particularly important for national security where ignorance comes with the highest cost. This understanding formed Clausewitz’s belief in a broad-based civilian decision-making process in matters of national security strategic policy, and not one driven by military leaders with their one-dimensional thinking process.

The Vietnam War is Exhibit A as proof of this. If it had been left to the Generals to decide, the war would have continued “perpetually” even though wiser heads realized from the beginning that it was unwinnable by U.S. terms of maintaining an unpopular government in South Vietnam. The antiwar movement, whatever the motives of some, proved to be more strategically astute than General William Westmoreland who would have continued the war until the U.S. bankrupted itself in the manner that the Soviet Union would years later in Afghanistan. It was the American antiwar movement which gave effect to Clausewitz’s strategy that when a war’s costs exceed its “benefits,” a way must be found to end it.

Curiously, Wittes accurately notes in Law and the Long War that to claim “the President has all the powers of a normal war yet few of its restraints, that the whole world is his battlefield, and that this state of affairs goes on in perpetuity is really akin to claiming a kind of worldwide martial law.” In fact, that’s exactly what the Justice Department argued in Hedges v. Obama without the admission as to martial law.

Dissent as Treason

Since the Vietnam War, the belief that the media and other critics of government policies act as fifth columnists has become commonplace in military-oriented journals and with the American authoritarian-oriented political class, expressed in articles such as William Bradford’s attack on “treasonous professors.”

To the question “how a scholar pushing these ideas” did not raise a red flag, that might best be asked of the National Security Law Journal’s previous editorial board. It is worth noting however that the editors who chose to publish Bradford’s article are not neophytes in national security issues or strangers to the military or government.

As described on the NSLJ website, the Editor-in-Chief from 2014-2015 has broad experience in homeland and national security programs from work at both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security and currently serves (at the time of publication of Bradford’s article) as the Deputy Director for the Office of Preparedness Integration and Coordination at FEMA. A U.S. government official in other words.

The “Articles Selection Editor” is described as “a family physician with thirty years of experience in the foreign affairs and intelligence communities.” Websites online suggest his experience may have been acquired as a CIA employee. The executive editor appears to be a serving Marine Corps officer who attended law school as a military-funded student.

Significantly; Bradford was articulating precepts of the “U.S. common law of war” promoted by Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins because nothing Bradford advocated was inconsistent with William Whiting’s guidance to Union Generals. Except Whiting went even further and advised that judges in the Union states who “impeded” the military in any way by challenging their detentions were even greater “public enemies” than Confederate soldiers were.

This “U.S. common law of war” is a prosecution fabrication created by legal expediency in the absence of legitimate legal precedent for what the United States was doing with prisoners captured globally after 9/11. This legal invention came about when military commission prosecutors failed to prove that the offense of Material Support for Terrorism was an international law of war crime. So prosecutors dreamed up a “domestic common law of war.” This in fact is simply following the pattern of totalitarian states of the Twentieth Century.

Government-Media-Academic-Complex

The logic of Bradford’s argument is the same as that of the Defense Department in declaring that journalists may be deemed “unprivileged belligerents.” As quoted above, George H. Aldrich had observed that in Vietnam, both sides had as their goal “the destruction of the will to continue the struggle.”

Bradford argued that Islamists must overcome Americans’ support for the current war to prevail, and “it is the ‘informational dimension’ which is their main combat effort because it is U.S. political will which must be destroyed for them to win.” But he says Islamists lack skill “to navigate the information battlespace, employ PSYOPs, and beguile Americans into hostile judgments regarding the legitimacy of their cause.”

Therefore, according to Bradford, Islamists have identified “force multipliers with cultural knowledge of, social proximity to, and institutional capacity to attrit American political will. These critical nodes form an interconnected ‘government-media-academic complex’ (‘GMAC’) of public officials, media, and academics who mould mass opinion on legal and security issues . . . .”

Consequently, Bradford argues, within this triumvirate, “it is the wielders of combat power within these nodes — journalists, officials, and law professors — who possess the ideological power to defend or destroy American political will.”

While Bradford reserves special vituperation for his one-time fellow law professors, he states the “most transparent example of this power to shape popular opinion as to the legitimacy of U.S. participation in wars is the media.”

As proof, Bradford explained how this “disloyalty” of the media worked during the Vietnam War. He wrote: “During the Vietnam War, despite an unbroken series of U.S. battlefield victories, the media first surrendered itself over to a foreign enemy for use as a psychological weapon against Americans, not only expressing criticism of U.S. purpose and conduct but adopting an ‘antagonistic attitude toward everything America was and represented’ and ‘spinning’ U.S. military success to convince Americans that they were losing, and should quit, the war. Journalistic alchemists converted victory into defeat simply by pronouncing it.”

Space does not permit showing in how many ways this “stab in the back” myth is false. But this belief in the disloyalty of the media in Bradford’s view remains today. He wrote: “Defeatism, instinctive antipathy to war, and empathy for American adversaries persist within media.”

Targeting Journalists

The right-wing militarist Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), with mostly retired U.S. military officers serving as advisers, has advocated targeting journalists with military attacks. Writing in The Journal of International Security Affairs in 2009, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters wrote:

“Today, the United States and its allies will never face a lone enemy on the battlefield. There will always be a hostile third party in the fight, but one which we not only refrain from attacking but are hesitant to annoy: the media . . . . Future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.” (Emphasis in original.)

The rationale for that deranged thinking was first propounded by Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp and other authoritarian-minded officers after the Vietnam War. Sharp explained, our “will” was eroded because “we were subjected to a skillfully waged subversive propaganda campaign, aided and abetted by the media’s bombardment of sensationalism, rumors and half-truths about the Vietnam affair — a campaign that destroyed our national unity.” William C. Bradford apparently adopted and internalized this belief, as have many other military officers.

That “stab in the back” myth was propagated by a number of U.S. military officers as well as President Richard Nixon (as explained here). It was more comfortable to believe that than that the military architects of the war did not understand what they were doing. So they shifted blame onto members of the media who were astute enough to recognize and report on the military’s failure and war crimes, such as My Lai.

But those “critical” journalists, along with critics at home, were only recognizing what smarter Generals such as General Frederick Weyand recognized from the beginning. That is, the war was unwinnable by the U.S. because it was maintaining in power its despotic corrupt ally, the South Vietnamese government, against its own people. Whether or not what came later was worse for the Vietnamese people was unforeseeable by the majority of the people. What was in front of their eyes was the military oppression of American and South Vietnamese forces and secret police.

Information Warfare Today

In 1999, the Rand Corporation published a collection of articles in Strategic Appraisal: The Changing Role of Information in Warfare. The volume was edited by Zalmay Khalilzad, the alleged author of the Defense Department’s 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, which was drafted when Dick Cheney was Defense Secretary and Paul Wolfowitz was Under Secretary of Defense – and promulgated a theory of permanent U.S. global dominance.

One chapter of Rand’s Strategic Appraisal was written by Jeremy Shapiro, now a special adviser at the U.S. State Department, according to Wikipedia. Shapiro wrote that the inability to control information flows was widely cited as playing an essential role in the downfall of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

He stated that perception management was “the vogue term for psychological operations or propaganda directed at the public.” As he expressed it, many observers worried that potential foes could use techniques of perception management with asymmetric strategies with their effect on public opinion to “destroy the will of the United States to wage war.”

Consequently, “Warfare in this new political environment consists largely of the battle to shape the political context of the war and the meaning of victory.”

Another chapter on Ethics and Information Warfare by John Arquilla makes clear that information warfare must be understood as “a true form of war.” The range of information warfare operations, according to Arquilla, extends “from the battlefield to the enemy home front.” Information warfare is designed “to strike directly at the will and logistical support of an opponent.”

This notion of information warfare, that it can be pursued without a need to defeat an adversary’s armed forces, is an area of particular interest, according to Arquilla. What he means is that it necessitates counter measures when it is seen as directed at the U.S. as now provided for in the new LOW Manual.

Important to note, according to Arquilla, is that there is an inherent blurriness with defining “combatants” and “acts of war.” Equating information warfare to guerrilla warfare in which civilians often engage in the fighting, Arquilla states “in information warfare, almost anyone can engage in the fighting.”

Consequently, the ability to engage in this form of conflict is now in the hands of small groups and individuals, offering up “the prospect of potentially quite large numbers of information warfare-capable combatants emerging, often pursuing their own, as opposed to some state’s policies,” Arquilla wrote.

Therefore, a “concern” for information warfare at the time of the Rand study in 1999 was the problem of maintaining “noncombatant immunity.” That’s because the “civilian-oriented target set is huge and likely to be more vulnerable than the related set of military infrastructures . . . . Since a significant aspect of information warfare is aimed at civilian and civilian-oriented targets, despite its negligible lethality, it nonetheless violates the principle of noncombatant immunity, given that civilian economic or other assets are deliberately targeted.”

What Arquillo is saying is that civilians who are alleged to engage in information warfare, such as professors and journalists, lose their “noncombatant immunity” and can be attacked. The “blurriness” of defining “combatants” and “acts of war” was removed after 9/11 with the invention of the “unlawful combatant” designation, later renamed “unprivileged belligerent” to mimic language in the Geneva Conventions.

Then it was just a matter of adding the similarly invented “U.S. domestic common law of war” with its martial law precedents and a framework has been built for seeing critical journalists and law professors as “unprivileged belligerents,” as Bradford indiscreetly wrote.

Arquilla claims that information warfare operations extend to the “home front” and are designed “to strike directly at the will and logistical support of an opponent.” That is to equate what is deemed information warfare to sabotage of the population’s psychological will to fight a war, and dissidents to saboteurs.

Perpetual War

But this is a perpetual war driven by U.S. operations, according to a chapter written by Stephen T. Hosmer on psychological effects of information warfare. Here, it is stated that “the expanding options for reaching audiences in countries and groups that could become future U.S. adversaries make it important that the United States begin its psychological conditioning in peacetime.” Thus, it is necessary “to begin to soften the fighting will of the potential adversary’s armed forces in the event conflict does occur.”

As information warfare is held to be “true war,” this means that the U.S. is perpetually committing acts of war against those deemed “potential” adversaries. Little wonder that Vladimir Putin sees Russia as under assault by the United States and attempts to counter U.S. information warfare.

This same logic is applied to counter-insurgency. The 2014 COIN Manual, FM 3-24, defines “Information Operations” as information-related capabilities “to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decision-making of adversaries and potential adversaries while protecting our own.”

Those we “protect ourselves from” can logically be seen as the internal enemy, as William Bradford saw it, such as critical law professors and journalists, just as Augusto Pinochet did in Chile with dissidents.

With the totalitarian logic of information-warfare theorists, internalized now throughout much of the U.S. government counter-terrorism community, it should be apparent to all but the most obtuse why the DOD deems a journalist who writes critically of U.S. government war policy an “unprivileged belligerent,” an enemy, as in the Law of War manual. William C. Bradford obviously absorbed this doctrine but was indiscreet enough to articulate it fully.

It Has Happened Here!

That’s the only conclusion one can draw from reading the transcript of the Hedges v. Obama lawsuit. In that lawsuit, plaintiffs, including journalists and political activists, challenged the authority provided under Sec. 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization for removal out from under the protection of the Constitution of those deemed unprivileged belligerents. That is, civilians suspected of lending any “support” to anyone whom the U.S. government might deem as having something to do with terrorism.

“Support” can be as William Whiting described it in 1862 and as what is seen as “information warfare” by the U.S. military today: a sentiment of hostility to the government “to undermine confidence in its capacity or its integrity, to diminish, demoralize . . . its armies, to break down confidence in those who are intrusted with its military operations in the field.”

Reminiscent of the Sinclair Lewis novel It Can’t Happen Here where those accused of crimes against the government are tried by military judges as in the U.S. Military Commissions, a Justice Department attorney arguing on behalf of the United States epitomized the legal reasoning that one would see in a totalitarian state in arguing why the draconian “Law of War” is a substitute for the Constitution.

The Court asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Torrance if he would agree, “as a principled matter, that the President can’t, in the name of the national security of the United States, just decide to detain whomever he believes it is important to detain or necessary to detain to prevent a terrorist act within the United States?”

Rather than giving a straight affirmative answer to a fundamental principle of the U.S. Constitution, Torrance dissembled, only agreeing that that description would seem “quite broad,” especially if citizens. But he added disingenuously that it was the practice of the government “not to keep people apprehended in the U.S.”

Which is true, it is known that people detained by the U.S. military and CIA have been placed everywhere but in the U.S. so that Constitutional rights could not attach. Under Section 1021, that “inconvenience” to the government would not be necessary.

When asked by the Court if he, the Justice Department attorney, would agree that a different administration could change its mind with respect to whether or not Sec. 1021 would be applied in any way to American citizens, he dissembled again, answering: “Is that possible? Yes, but it is speculative and conjecture and that cannot be the basis for an injury in fact.”

So U.S. citizens or anyone else are left to understand that they have no rights remaining under the Constitution. If a supposed “right” is contingent upon who is President, it is not a right and the U.S. is no longer under the rule of law.

In discussing whether activist and journalist Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a citizen of Iceland, could be subject to U.S. military detention or trial by military commission, Assistant U.S. Attorney Torrance would only disingenuously answer that “her activities as she alleges them, do not implicate this.” Disingenuous because he knew based upon the answer he previously gave that the law of war is arbitrary and its interpretation contingent upon a military commander, whoever that may be, at present or in the future.

What could happen to Ms. Jónsdóttir would be completely out of her control should the U.S. government decide to deem her an “unprivileged belligerent,” regardless of whether her expressive activities changed positively or negatively, or remained the same. Her risk of detention per the Justice Department is entirely at the sufferance of whatever administration may be in place at any given moment.

Any doubt that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, along with Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, is believed by the U.S. Executive Branch to give it the untrammeled power that Article 48 of the Weimar Germany constitution gave to the German President in 1933 was settled by the arguments made by the Justice Department attorney in Hedges v. Obama.

Setting First Amendment Aside

One does not need to speculate that the U.S. government no longer sees First Amendment activities as protected. Government arguments, which were made in the Hedges v. Obama lawsuit, revealed that the Justice Department, speaking for the Executive Branch, considers protection of the Bill of Rights subordinate to the claim of “war powers” by the Executive. One can only be willfully blind to fail to see this.

By the Justice Department’s court arguments and filings, the protections afforded by the U.S. Bill of Rights are no more secure today than they were to Japanese-Americans when Western District military commander General DeWitt decided to remove them from their homes on the West Coast and intern them in what were initially called, “concentration camps.”

The American Bar Association Journal reported in 2014 that Justice Antonin Scalia told students in Hawaii that “the Supreme Court’sKorematsu decision upholding the internment of Japanese Americans was wrong, but it could happen again in war time.” But contrary to Scalia stating that Korematsu had been repudiated, Korematsu has never been overruled.

The court could get a chance to do so, the ABA article stated, in the Hedges v. Obama case “involving the military detention without trial of people accused of aiding terrorism.” But that opportunity has passed.

A U.S. District Court issued a permanent injunction blocking the law’s indefinite detention powers but that ruling was overturned by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. A petition to the U.S. Supreme Court asked the justices to overturn Sec. 1021, the federal law authorizing such detentions and stated the justices should consider overruling Korematsu. But the Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2014, leaving the Appeals Court’s ruling intact.

The Supreme Court’s decision to not overturn Korematsu allows General DeWitt’s World War II decision to intern Japanese-Americans in concentration camps to stand as a shining example of what Brig. General Marks Martins proudly holds up to the world as the “U.S. domestic common law of war.”

Posted in USAComments Off on US War Theories Target Dissenters

Racist tweet threatening to kill might be legal

NOVANEWS
By Adam Herbets
Racist tweet threatening to kill might be legal»PLAY VIDEO

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A racist tweet sent out Thursday night from a kid in Bakersfield is getting major national attention.

It was so alarming that it caused people on the internet to explode.

“Gonna go kill some towel heads tomorrow in honor of 9/11, who’s with me?” the tweet reads.

Now the kid’s account is deleted, but of course stuff like this never truly goes away.

“This is very sad.  This is very sad,” said Mohamad Wehbe, a Muslim who read the message for the first time today.  “You know why?  God created us. We are all the same.  We have two eyes, two hands, two legs.”

For now, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

Sgt. Joe Grubbs, a spokesman for the Bakersfield Police Department, thinks the boy will probably be fine.

“Nothing about that is illegal,” he said.  “He’s well within his first amendment rights to say something like that.”

Even though Grubbs agreed that it was insensitive, he explained that there has to be a specific individual victim for the message to be treated as a threat or a hate crime.

“From this tweet, I don’t think there’s really anything to be scared about,” said Grubbs.

The boy behind the keyboard is a recent high-school graduate.

When we spoke to his mother on the phone, she told us that her son had no intention of apologizing for the tweet or responding in any way.

“He needs to go back to Twitter and apologize to say that he did not mean it, to say that it was a mistake,” said Wehbe.  “I will forgive him anyway… I’m a very peaceful guy.  I’ve never hurt anybody in my life.  I left my country to come over here to live the American dream.”

Religious leaders say that even if he isn’t willing to apologize, they think the way to solve the problem is to start a dialogue.

Emad Meerza, the elected community leader of Bakersfield Muslims, said he invites the boy and his family to have an open conversation with him to hopefully make things right.

He’s also curious to see how the KCSO handles the case because he wants messages like this to be taken seriously.

“I really think that it’s important that we have a better defined line,” he said, “because some of us are confused.”

The kid’s mother eventually decided to release the following statement: “I would like to state that I never said my child wouldn’t apologize. I just stated that he would not be interviewed, as he is a minor. He knows he made a huge mistake, and he is very sorry. He has been taught right from wrong and would never do something like that. My child is not racist. We are not racists. The story has been twisted. As a mother, I am protecting my child. That is my job.”

The mother also came forward and said several fake social media accounts have been impersonating her son.

The kid did release the following statement on Sunday: “I want to sincerely apologize to those that I offended with the insensitive statement I made on twitter on 9/10/15. I realize that it was wrong for me to say those things and wish I could take them back. I was thinking about the terrible attacks that took place on 9/11 against our country and wrote some things that I should not have written. I would never cause harm to anyone regardless of the situation. I love my country, community and everyone that lives here, regardless of their race or beliefs. I have many friends of different ethnicities and value them all the same. Please except (sic) my apology, as I am truly sorry to those that I offended and regret the whole thing. I am sorry for the grief it has caused to our community, friends, and family.”

This story has been updated after publication to include the statements from the mother and teenager.

Posted in USAComments Off on Racist tweet threatening to kill might be legal

Killing the Constitution

NOVANEWS
Image result for us constitution photos
By SAM HUSSEINI 

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
for trying to change the system from within
I’m coming now — I’m coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan then we take Berlin
 — Leonard Cohen

Many think they now see through the Democrats’ complicity with the Bush administration’s illegal wars and unconstitutional actions. If they think this is new, they don’t know that half of it.

Exactly twenty years ago today, on July 13, 1987, I witnessed the Democratic Party establishment covering up — and therefore helping — the subversion of the U.S. Constitution. It was actually on national TV, but few seemed to care.

The Iran-Contra hearings were going on. I watched them almost in their entirety, had just graduated from college and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I spent time with my dad, who’d just been diagnosed with a severe heart condition and we watched much of the hearings together.

For a while, I was admiring of the co-chairs of the Iran-Contra committee, the Democrats Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Lee Hamilton — who would go on to co-head the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Commission.

But, following events closely, it became clear Inouye and Hamilton were covering things up things. This became glaring on July 13, 1987 when the following exchange took place as Rep. Jack Brooks, a Democrat from Texas questioned Oliver North:

REP. BROOKS: Colonel North, in your work at the NSC, were you not assigned, at one time, to work on plans for the “<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuity_of_government&gt; continuity of government ” in the event of a major disaster?

BRENDAN SULLIVAN (North’s lawyer): Mr. Chairman?

SEN. INOUYE: I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area so may I request that you not touch on that, sir?

REP. BROOKS: I was particularly concerned, Mr. Chairman, because I read in Miami papers, and several others, that there had been a plan developed by that same agency, a contingency plan in the event of emergency, that would suspend the American constitution. And I was deeply concerned about it and wondered if that was the area in which he had worked. I believe that it was and I wanted to get his confirmation.

SEN. INOUYE; May I most respectfully request that that matter not be touched upon at this stage. If we wish to get into this, I’m certain arrangements can be made for an executive session. [Text is here and video is here].

And go into executive session they would. I expected a firestorm about this. It never happened. The media were largely silent, theChicago Tribune the next day was rare in having a page one story (which I of course didn’t see till years later) leading with:

Members of the Iran-contra congressional panels Monday questioned Lt. Col. Oliver North about his alleged involvement in a highly secret government plan that reportedly included suspension of the Constitution in times of national crisis.

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Iran, immediately cut off discussion of the plan, saying it touched on a “highly sensitive and classified area.”

The reference by Rep. Jack Brooks (D., Tex.,) to the plan followed comments Friday by chief Senate committee counsel Arthur Liman that the late CIA Director William Casey was attempting to promote “a CIA outside of the CIA” to carry out covert policy.

And the committee did go into executive session at various points. In his questioning, Brooks was referring to a few articles like theMiami Herald piece of July 5, 1987 by Alfonso Chardy, which I didn’t find until much later:

Some of President Reagan’s top advisers have operated a virtual parallel government outside the traditional Cabinet departments and agencies almost from the day Reagan took office, congressional investigators and administration officials have concluded.

Investigators believe that the advisers’ activities extended well beyond the secret arms sales to Iran and aid to the contras now under investigation.

Lt. Col. Oliver North, for example, helped draw up a controversial plan to suspend the Constitution in the event of a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad. [Text is here].

You might have watched the hearings but not remember any of this — that’s probably because most of the media wrote pieces like the liberal Mary McGrory in the Washington Post quoting Inouye shortly thereafter: “We have a job to remind people of the Constitution and what it stands for.”

In fact, just a few days after the Brooks-Inouye exchange, much of Congress went on to Philadelphia for the 200th Anniversary of the Constitution that they were in the process of undermining. ABC reported on July 16:

Two hundred years ago today in Philadelphia the Constitutional convention designed what we now call the Congress of the United States. And for the occasion a delegation from Congress rode a special train to Philadelphia for a ceremony in the same room where the Constitution was written.

The ABC piece quoted Lee Hamilton: “The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. I do not see how your attitude can be reconciled with the Constitution of the United States.”

If the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights are dead, their death did not just happen during one administration or by one political party. It was indicated on national TV by a few brave representatives like Jack Brooks and Henry Gonzalez, written about by some independently minded journalists. And the establishment of both the Democratic and Republican parties with the big media outlets covered it up — while celebrating the Constitution they were killing.

Posted in USAComments Off on Killing the Constitution

Is Vice President Garcia Cracking Down on Dissent in Bolivia?

NOVANEWS
Image result for bolivia map
By Federico Fuentes 

Recent statements by Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia regarding nongovernmental organisations in Bolivia have triggered a heated debate on the left.

At an Aug. 11 media conference, Garcia accused NGOs of acting like political parties seeking to interfere in Bolivia’s domestic affairs. While respecting their right to criticize government policies, Garcia said foreign-funded nongovernmental organisations needed to understand their place within Bolivian society.

“Does this group of comrades have the right to form an NGO and produce and publish what they want? Of course they have the right to do this, but foreign NGOs do not have the right to come to Bolivia and say I am supporting Bolivia’s development while they do politics and defend the interests of transnationals,” he said.

He highlighted the fact that foreign companies and governments were the biggest backers of nongovernmental organisations. “What do we say to them?” he asked. “Finance in your own country, there is no need for you to come and interfere in our country, our relationship with foreign governments and companies is very clear: service in function of our policy and usefulness in function of a sovereign state; but not for the purposes of covert political action…”

Garcia said foreign governments were using NGOs to push policies that sought to stunt Bolivia’s development under the guise of protecting the environment. The four nongovernmental organisations Garcia singled out in particular during the media conference have been among the loudest critics of his government’s environmental policies.

In response, a number of academics from across the world signed an open letter stating concerns for what they viewed as “threats, which if they became a reality, would imply a grave blow in terms of restricting civil rights, among them, freedom of expression and association”. They argued the real issue Garcia had with these NGOs was that they had criticized his government’s shortcomings.

Others have defended these nongovernmental organisations on the basis of their role in promoting environmental struggles.

Contributing to the debate with an article on Alainet.org, Carmelo Ruiz said Garcia’s comments come at a time when falling commodity prices are exacerbating the contradictions of his government’s “progressive extractivist model”. Furthermore, he argued the Morales government was facing the threat of a rise in social and environmental protests.

Faced with this dilemma, Ruiz said critical voices had chosen to point out that “protest and repression is inevitable in extractivism”, while government spokespeople have preferred to blame discontent on “imperialist manipulations.”

Like Ruiz, many have tried to portray Garcia’s comments as something relatively new. However, his criticisms of NGOs predate his election to office or recent conflicts with certain indigenous and environmental groups.

For example, Garcia criticized the role of NGOs in Sociology of Social Movements in Bolivia, a book many of his current critics still hold up as the most authoritative studies of its kind.

In a chapter focusing on the highlands indigenous organisation CONAMAQ, Garcia notes that nongovernmental organisation financing resulted in the organisation taking on certain “bureaucratic-administrative characteristics”. It also in part explained CONAMAQ’s propensity to act less like a social movement and more like a lobby group that sought to “negotiate and reach formal agreements with government institutions and multilateral support organisms.”

The book noted how in certain communities, NGOs had artificially propped up “ayllus” (which make up CONAMAQ’s base) to compete for local influence against more radical peasant unions.

Criticism of nongovernmental organisations’ role in co-opting and dividing social movements is also present in another book he co-authored, “We Are No Ones Toys.” Notably, they appear in a chapter dedicated to the conflict between indigenous groups and coca-growers in the Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS).

In 2011, conflict between these sectors over a proposed highway through the TIPNIS boiled over to become an issue of national, and even international significance for the Morales government.

Throughout the chapter, a number of references are made regarding the heavy influence NGOs had over indigenous communities.

Commenting in the book on the role of nongovernmental organisations in TIPNIS, local coca-grower leader Feliciano Mamani makes many of the same criticisms Garcia Linera made more than half a decade later in his book Geopolitics of the Amazon.

Mamani said: “NGOs and other interests that come for our natural resources, control indigenous people through money… where ever there are natural resources there are hundreds of NGOs confusing indigenous peoples and making false declarations….”

Since coming into office, Garcia’s criticisms of nongovernmental organisations’ relationship with social movements have not changed, however his public critique of NGOs has broadened to encompass other issues.

Garcia has argued that nongovernmental organisations had a huge influence over government ministries prior to Morales election. He recounts: “When we came into government in 2006, we found an executive carved up and handed over to embassies and [NGOs]… We could not do anything without authorization either from the embassies… or certain NGOs.”

This was in large part due to the fact that international loans and aid made up about half of the state budget for public investment.

The Morales government was able to quickly assert its control over state institutions as a result of its policy of nationalizing natural resources. Increased revenue from resource extraction put the government in the position where it could set its own policies, free of dependency or interference by foreign governments or NGOs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nongovernmental organisations’ hostility towards the Bolivian government has paralleled its loss of influence over state policies.

All this is also part of the context within which Garcia’s comments need to be placed.

Framing the debate however, as though it is simply about a government hiding behind the rhetoric of national sovereignty to crackdown on opponents – or alternatively, viewing all government critics as stooges for imperialism – will only lead to a dialogue of the deaf.

For starters, it should not be too hard to defend free speech at the same time as respecting Bolivia’s sovereignty.

The left has always opposed attempts by governments to crackdown on free speech, and should continue to do so when this occurs. But this is separate to the issue of allowing foreign governments and corporation to do as they please on Bolivian soil.

It is one thing to shut down nongovernmental organisations or jail opponents for what they say. Garcia has made it clear in his response to his critics that his government will not be closing down any NGO.

But it is quite another thing to deny the right of a sovereign government to control the flow of funds from hostile governments into its territory. Or is the left now going to argue that, in the name of “free speech”, foreign governments and corporations should be able to fund whoever they want in Bolivia?

We should use this opportunity to seriously discuss the various issues the debate has already thrown up. This includes, among others, the role of nongovernmental organisations in the Global South, how extractive industries have helped loosen foreign control over the Bolivian state, what alternative sources of funding might exist to enable this situation to remain, and what it would really take for Bolivia to overcome extractivism.

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on Is Vice President Garcia Cracking Down on Dissent in Bolivia?

Brookings: Leading the Propaganda War for an ISIS takeover of Syria

NOVANEWS

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

Not one sane word in this Brooking’s rant

PHOTO_009… by  Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

Yesterday, New Eastern Outlook published a story by Tony Cartalucci outlining a Brookings report advocating a US invasion of Syria meant to put ISIS in total control.

US Seeks Occupation as US Fighters Flood Syria

US corporate-funded policy think-tank, the Brookings Institution, published a June 2015 paper titled,Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country.” The signed and dated open-conspiracy to divide, destroy, invade, then incrementally occupy Syria using no-fly-zones and both US and British special forces is now demonstrably underway.

Today, another Brookings move against Syria was sent to me by VT Editor, Colonel James Hanke.  The article was published in “Defense News,” like “Defense One” a slick pro-Israel corporate blog run by former “entertainment industry executives” from HBO and the like.

The article today is by Michael O’Hanlon, a former low level operative at the Congressional Budget Office, now a hired gun for AIPAC.  Usually, no one ever reads this crap anyway.  This time, I have, and this is more than just stupid, so much more. Why have defense executives or military types involved in defense issues, like Veterans Today does?

Here is the offending piece:

Who Will Hold Together the Future Syria?

By Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of “The Future of Land Warfare.”
O’Hanlon worked at the Congressional Budget Office where he became an expert on Congressional Budget Office issues.  Global affairs is not a typical issue at the Congressional Budget Office as this demonstration of O’Hanlon’s limited grasp reveals:
According to recent press reports, we should all be encouraged about the prospects for peace in Syria. Major powers there that were diametrically opposed to each other’s policies are now talking about the country’s future.

Turks and Americans have agreed on a protected zone in the north, (Editor: an agreement now proven to be a press hoax) even if it is not clear who will do the protecting. Saudis and Russians are consulting, (Editor’s note:  Russians and Saudis are no longer consulting) now that each realizes its own favorite proxies in a war that has killed 250,000 and displaced 12 million have their own major vulnerabilities.

(Editor’s note:  O’Hanlon later blames all the killing on the Syrian Army.  There were no terrorists, no proxies.)

Perhaps the Geneva process that US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN envoy Staffan de Mistura have nursed along for months will finally bear fruit, and a new government of national unity will be formed, first to replace President Bashar al-Assad, then go after ISIL?

(Editor’s note:  No one speaks of Assad leaving anymore, even Brookings, the lowest rung on the ‘Think tank” ladder is aware that Assad’s fall turns the entire Middle East, including Israel, over to ISIS.)

If it all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it almost surely is. At best, the peace process remains a distant longshot. At worst, it could do more harm than good by distracting us from more promising policies to address this terrible conflict, or by producing a peace that quickly falls apart.(?)

To bring peace to Syria, we need to focus not just on who is negotiating, but on who will enforce any possible deal. That will help sober us up about one thing right away: any such deal will probably require an international peacekeeping force that includes American troops. By working backward, from the future possible deal to current policy, it could also help us deduce a more promising and realistic path.

(Editor’s note:  General Martin Dempsey is either laughing or crying at reading this.  Based on the ‘standing’ of the author, laughter is the appropriate response.)

It can also help dispel the new and incorrect conventional wisdom in Washington that argues messy ground operations are a thing of the past for the US military, and thus we can disproportionately downsize the Army in future budget cuts. (? Inane)

Here’s why an international force will someday likely be required. In conflicts like this, when hatreds have been so inflamed by brutality on all sides, when distrust is rampant, when many so-called moderates have been either killed or radicalized, and when there is likely to be no clear battlefield winner anytime soon, any deal written on paper could easily collapse. To avoid such a fate, the deal needs to be well crafted — and effectively enforced.

(Editor’s note:  Brookings is pretending to take the “high road” and now asks for an international force from nations that have long armed and supported the terrorists that Brookings is obviously tasked to protect and preserve.)

But who will do the enforcing? The Syrian Army, formerly more than 200,000 soldiers, is now a shell of itself, and al- Assad has admitted to severe manpower shortages. Most of his current recruits probably come from fellow Alawites, as well as Christians and perhaps some Kurds, which collectively make up only a third of the nation’s population.

(Editor’s note:  Here, O’Hanlon admits to being on the payroll of Israeli intelligence.  The quote “has admitted to severe manpower shortages” is a “talking point” sent out to press disinformation operatives.  It is an out of context misinterpretation from an Assad interview from early 2015, jumped on by the Israeli press.  O’Hanlon’s “probably come from fellow Alawites…” is even more amateurish and indicates he knows nothing about the Iranian organized National Guard of over 100,000 operating in Syria or the powerful YPG forces which are not part of Assad’s military. ) 

This Army cannot reunify Syria. It has an enormous amount of blood on its hands, having fired countless artillery shells and dropped hundreds of barrel bombs in areas populated by suspected insurgent sympathizers. Fighting for its life, and facing foes that include jihadist groups like the al-Nusra Front and ISIL that consider Alawites and Christians to be apostates worthy of death, it has pulled out all the stops. And moderate opposition forces are far too few in number to handle such a task.

(Editor’s note:  O’Hanlon hits himself in the foot with a howitzer here though he probably doesn’t know what a howitzer is.  He again runs to talking points with “blood on its hands” and “barrel bombs.”  He forgot to blame Assad for Turkey’s use of Sarin gas inside Syria.  Maybe I missed that somewhere.)

Much more realistic is something like a Bosnia model of federalism, along the lines of what Joe Biden proposed for Iraq in 2006. Syria would have a central government, but a weak one. Al-Assad would be gone, and ISIL as well as the al-Nusra Front defeated.

(Editor’s note:  This last paragraph clearly define O’Hanlon as “unsound” or perhaps “off his meds.”)

Most governance would occur regionally. The Kurds would have a zone in the northeast; Alawites would create an autonomous area where many live now along the Mediterranean coast. Two or three Sunni-majority regions would form in the nation’s south as well as its north/central zones.

(Editor’s note:  Now it’s out, the Brookings plan to take over the world, obviously authored using Starbucks free WiFi.)

A final region, and the most difficult to police, would include much of the intermixed population belt running from Damascus through Homs and Hama up to Aleppo. Ideally, most parts of it would remain intermixed, with Sunnis and Alawites and Christians living together, though some soft partition might become necessary.

(Editor’s note:  Oh God!  O’Hanlon’s “intermixed population,” dogs and cats living together, breeding, that and the other people O’Hanlon can’t identify because he knows nothing of the region other than a few buzz words he picked up at Starbucks.)

International peacekeeping forces could concentrate their efforts along the borders separating the autonomous zones and within that central multi-sectarian area, where they would seek to build a new Syrian security force.

(Editor’s note:  We are now back to imaginary international peacekeeping forces, usually from Ethiopia or Ghana or perhaps the Danes.  Funny.)

The Bosnia mission started with some 60,000 NATO troops in a country with one-fifth Syria’s population. But it was almost surely oversized, since NATO militaries had few competing demands at the time. So a Syria mission might require 100,000 or so foreign peacekeeping troops at first. Perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 of the troops would have to be American, in order to provide adequate military muscle and logistical capabilities.

(Editor’s note:  Brookings has obviously not been told the US lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and that the entire region, all of West and North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, all the way to India and north to the Baltic, is falling apart.)

We have been hoping for a miracle from the Syrian peace process too long. It is time to ground our thinking in basic realities about power and security on the ground. Envisioning an enforceable peace deal based on the declared goal of confederation makes more sense than throwing another Hail Mary in the peace talks in Geneva.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Brookings: Leading the Propaganda War for an ISIS takeover of Syria

Narcotics and Covert Intelligence

NOVANEWS

How the CIA Commandeered the “War on Drugs”

Global Research
CIA-logo-w-two-people-walking-away-from-it

The outlawing of narcotic drugs at the start of the Twentieth Century, the turning of the matter from public health to social control, coincided with American’s imperial Open Door policy and the belief that the government had an obligation to American industrialists to create markets in every nation in the world, whether those nations liked it or not.

Civic institutions, like public education, were required to sanctify this policy, while “security” bureaucracies were established to ensure the citizenry conformed to the state ideology. Secret services, both public and private, were likewise established to promote the expansion of private American economic interests overseas.

It takes a book to explain the economic foundations of the war on drugs, and the reasons behind the regulation of the medical, pharmaceutical and drug manufacturers industries. Suffice it to say that by 1943, the nations of the “free world” were relying on America for their opium derivatives, under the guardianship of Harry Anslinger, the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN).

Narcotic drugs are a strategic resource, and when Anslinger learned that Peru had built a cocaine factory, he and the Board of Economic Warfare confiscated its product before it could be sold to Germany or Japan. In another instance, Anslinger and his counterpart at the State Department prevented a drug manufacturer in Argentina from selling drugs to Germany.

At the same time, according to Douglas Clark Kinder and William O. Walker III in their article, “Stable Force In a Storm: Harry J. Anslinger and United States Narcotic Policy, 1930-1962,” Anslinger permitted “an American company to ship drugs to Southeast Asia despite receiving intelligence reports that French authorities were permitting opiate smuggling into China and collaborating with Japanese drug traffickers.”

Federal drug law enforcement’s relationship with the espionage establishment matured with the creation of CIA’s predecessor organization, the Office of Strategic Services. Prior to the Second World War, the FBN was the government agency most adept at conducting covert operations at home and abroad. As a result, OSS chief William Donovan asked Anslinger to provide seasoned FBN agents to help organize the OSS and train its agents to work undercover, avoid security forces in hostile nations, manage agent networks, and engage in sabotage and subversion.

The relationship expanded during the war, when FBN executives and agents worked with OSS scientists in domestic “truth drug” experiments involving marijuana. The “extra-legal” nature of the relationship continued after the war: when the CIA decided to test LSD on unsuspecting American citizens, FBN agents were chosen to operate the safehouses where the experiments were conducted.

The relationship was formalized overseas in 1951, when Agent Charlie Siragusa opened an office in Rome and began to develop the FBN’s foreign operations. In the 1950s, FBN agents posted overseas spent half their time doing “favors” for the CIA, such as investigating diversions of strategic materials behind the Iron Curtain. A handful of FBN agents were actually recruited into the CIA while maintaining their FBN credentials as cover.

Officially, FBN agents set limits. Siragusa, for example, claimed to object when the CIA asked him to mount a “controlled delivery” into the U.S. as a way of identifying the American members of a smuggling ring with Communist affiliations.

As Siragusa said,

“The FBN could never knowingly allow two pounds of heroin to be delivered into the United States and be pushed to Mafia customers in the New York City area, even if in the long run we could seize a bigger haul.” [For citations to this and other quotations/interviews, as well as documents, please refer to the author’s books, The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs (Verso 2004) and The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics, and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA (TrineDay 2009). See also www.douglasvalentine.com]

And in 1960, when the CIA asked him to recruit assassins from his stable of underworld contacts, Siragusa again claimed to have refused. But drug traffickers, including, most prominently, Santo Trafficante Jr, were soon participating in CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro.

As the dominant partner in the relationship, the CIA exploited its affinity with the FBN. “Like the CIA,” FBN Agent Robert DeFauw explained, “narcotic agents mount covert operations. We pose as members of the narcotics trade. The big difference is that we were in foreign countries legally, and through our police and intelligence sources, we could check out just about anyone or anything. Not only that, we were operational. So the CIA jumped in our stirrups.”

Jumping in the FBN’s stirrups afforded the CIA deniability, which is turn affords it impunity. To ensure that the CIA’s criminal activities are not revealed, narcotic agents are organized militarily within an inviolable chain of command. Highly indoctrinated, they blindly obey based on a “need to know.” This institutionalized ignorance sustains the illusion of righteousness, in the name of national security, upon which their motivation depends.

As FBN Agent Martin Pera explained, “Most FBN agents were corrupted by the lure of the underworld. They thought they could check their morality at the door – go out and lie, cheat, and steal – then come back and retrieve it. But you can’t. In fact, if you’re successful because you can lie, cheat, and steal, those things become tools you use in the bureaucracy.”

Institutionalized corruption began at headquarters, where FBN executives provided cover for CIA assets engaged in drug trafficking. In 1966, Agent John Evans was assigned as an assistant to enforcement chief John Enright.

“And that’s when I got to see what the CIA was doing,” Evans said. “I saw a report on the Kuomintang saying they were the biggest drug dealers in the world, and that the CIA was underwriting them. Air America was transporting tons of Kuomintang opium.” Evans bristled. “I took the report to Enright.  He said, ‘Leave it here.  Forget about it.’

“Other things came to my attention,” Evans added, “that proved that the CIA contributed to drug use in America. We were in constant conflict with the CIA because it was hiding its budget in ours, and because CIA people were smuggling drugs into the US. We weren’t allowed to tell, and that fostered corruption in the Bureau.”

Heroin smuggled by “CIA people” into the U.S. was channeled by Mafia distributors primarily to African-American communities. Local narcotic agents then targeted disenfranchised blacks as an easy way of preserving the white ruling class’s privileges.

“We didn’t need a search warrant,” explains New Orleans narcotics officer Clarence Giarusso. “It allowed us to meet our quota. And it was on-going. If I find dope on a black man, I can put him in jail for a few days. He’s got no money for a lawyer and the courts are ready to convict. There’s no expectation on the jury’s part that we have to make a case.

So rather than go cold turkey, the addict becomes an informant, which means I can make more cases in the neighborhood, which is all we’re interested in. We don’t care about Carlos Marcello or the Mafia. City cops have no interest in who brings dope in. That’s the job of the federal agents.

The Establishment’s race and class privileges have always been equated with national security, and FBN executives dutifully preserved the social order. Not until 1968, when Civil Rights reforms were imposed upon government bureaucracies, were black FBN agents allowed to become supervisors and manage white agents.

The war on drugs is largely a projection of two things: the racism that has defined America since its inception, and the government policy of allowing political allies to traffic in narcotics. These unstated but official policies reinforce the belief among CIA and drug law enforcement officials that the Bill of Rights is an obstacle to national security.

Blanket immunity from prosecution for turning these policies into practice engenders a belief among bureaucrats that they are above the law, which fosters corruption in other forms. FBN agents, for example, routinely “created a crime” by breaking and entering, planting evidence, using illegal wiretaps, and falsifying reports. They tampered with heroin, transferred it to informants for sale, and even murdered other agents who threatened to expose them.

All of this was secretly known at the highest level of government, and in 1965 the Treasury Department launched a corruption investigation of the FBN. Headed by Andrew Tartaglino, the investigation ended in 1968 with the resignation of 32 agents and the indictment of five. That same year the FBN was reconstructed in the Department of Justice as the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD).

But, as Tartaglino said dejectedly, “The job was only half done.”

First Infestation

Richard Nixon was elected president based on a vow to restore “law and order” to America. To prove that it intended to keep that promise, the White House in 1969 launched Operation Intercept along the Mexican border. This massive “stop and search” operation so badly damaged relations with Mexico, however, that National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Narcotics (the Heroin Committee), to coordinate drug policy and prevent further diplomatic disasters.

The Heroin Committee was composed of cabinet members represented by their deputies. James Ludlum represented CIA Director Richard Helms. A member of the CIA’s Counter-Intelligence staff, Ludlum had been the CIA’s liaison officer to the FBN since 1962.

“When Kissinger set up the Heroin Committee,” Ludlum recalled, “the CIA certainly didn’t take it seriously, because drug control wasn’t part of their mission.”

Indeed, as John Evans noted above, and as the government was aware, the CIA for years had sanctioned the heroin traffic from the Golden Triangle region of Burma, Thailand and Laos into South Vietnam as a way of rewarding top foreign officials for advancing U.S. policies. This reality presented the Nixon White House with a dilemma, given that addiction among U.S. troops in Vietnam was soaring, and that massive amounts of Southeast Asian heroin were being smuggled into the U.S., for use by middle-class white kids on the verge of revolution.

Nixon’s response was to make drug law enforcement part of the CIA’s mission. Although reluctant to betray the CIA’s clients in South Vietnam, Helms told Ludlum: “We’re going to break their rice bowls.”

This betrayal occurred incrementally. Fred Dick, the BNDD agent assigned to Saigon, passed the names of the complicit military officers and politicians to the White House. But, as Dick recalled, “Ambassador [Ellsworth] Bunker called a meeting in Saigon at which CIA Station Chief Ted Shackley appeared and explained that there was ‘a delicate balance.’ What he said, in effect, was that no one was willing to do anything.”

Meanwhile, to protect its global network of drug trafficking assets, the CIA began infiltrating the BNDD and commandeering its internal security, intelligence, and foreign operations branches. This massive reorganization required the placement of CIA officers in influential positions in every federal agency concerned with drug law enforcement.

CIA Officer Paul Van Marx, for example, was assigned as the U.S. Ambassador to France’s assistant on narcotics. From this vantage point, Van Marx ensured that BNDD conspiracy cases against European traffickers did not compromise CIA operations and assets. Van Marx also vetted potential BNDD assets to make sure they were not enemy spies.

The FBN never had more than 16 agents stationed overseas, but Nixon dramatically increased funding for the BNDD and hundreds of agents were posted abroad. The success of these overseas agents soon came to depend on CIA intelligence, as BNDD Director John Ingersoll understood.

BNDD agents immediately felt the impact of the CIA’s involvement in drug law enforcement operations within the United States. Operation Eagle was the flashpoint. Launched in 1970, Eagle targeted anti-Castro Cubans smuggling cocaine from Latin America to the Trafficante organization in Florida. Of the dozens of traffickers arrested in June, many were found to be members of Operation 40, a CIA terror organization active in the U.S., the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico.

The revelation that CIA drug smuggling assets were operating within the U.S. led to the assignment of CIA officers as counterparts to mid-level BNDD enforcement officials, including Latin American division chief Jerry Strickler. Like Van Marks in France, these CIA officers served to protect CIA assets from exposure, while facilitating their recruitment as informants for the BNDD.

Many Cuban exiles arrested in Operation Eagle were indeed hired by the BNDD and sent throughout Latin America. They got “fantastic intelligence,” Strickler noted. But many were secretly serving the CIA and playing a double game.

Second Infestation

By 1970, BNDD Director Ingersoll’s inspections staff had gathered enough evidence to warrant the investigation of dozens of corrupt FBN agents who had risen to management positions in the BNDD. But Ingersoll could not investigate his top managers while simultaneously investigating drug traffickers. So he asked CIA Director Helms for help building a “counter-intelligence” capacity within the BNDD.

The result was Operation Twofold, in which 19 CIA officers were infiltrated into the BNDD, ostensibly to spy on corrupt BNDD officials. According to the BNDD’s Chief Inspector Patrick Fuller, “A corporation engaged in law enforcement hired three CIA officers posing as private businessmen to do the contact and interview work.”

CIA recruiter Jerry Soul, a former Operation 40 case officer, primarily selected officers whose careers had stalled due to the gradual reduction of forces in Southeast Asia. Those hired were put through the BNDD’s training course and assigned to spy on a particular regional director. No records were kept and some participants have never been identified.

Charles Gutensohn was a typical Twofold “torpedo.” Prior to his recruitment into the BNDD, Gutensohn had spent two years at the CIA’s base in Pakse, a major heroin transit point between Laos and South Vietnam. “Fuller said that when we communicated, I was to be known as Leo Adams for Los Angeles,” Gutensohn said. “He was to be Walter DeCarlo, for Washington, DC.”

Gutensohn’s cover, however, was blown before he got to Los Angeles. “Someone at headquarters was talking and everyone knew,” he recalled. “About a month after I arrived, one of the agents said to me, ‘I hear that Pat Fuller signed your credentials’.”

Twofold, which existed at least until 1974, was deemed by the Rockefeller Commission to have “violated the 1947 Act which prohibits the CIA’s participation in law enforcement activities.” It also, as shall be discussed later, served as a cover for clandestine CIA operations.

Third Infestation

The Nixon White House blamed the BNDD’s failure to stop international drug trafficking on its underdeveloped intelligence capabilities, a situation that opened the door to further CIA infiltration. In late 1970, CIA Director Helms arranged for his recently retired chief of continuing intelligence, E. Drexel Godfrey, to review BNDD intelligence procedures. Among other things, Godfrey recommended that the BNDD create regional intelligence units (RIUs) and an office of strategic intelligence (SI0).

The RIUs were up and running by 1971 with CIA officers often assigned as analysts, prompting BNDD agents to view the RIUs with suspicion, as repositories for Twofold torpedoes.

The SIO was harder to implement, given its arcane function as a tool to help top managers formulate plans and strategies “in the political sphere.” As SIO Director John Warner explained, “We needed to understand the political climate in Thailand in order to address the problem. We needed to know what kind of protection the Thai police were affording traffickers. We were looking for an intelligence office that could deal with those sorts of issues, on the ground, overseas.”

Organizing the SIO fell to CIA officers Adrian Swain and Tom Tripodi, both of whom were recruited into the BNDD. In April 1971 they accompanied Ingersoll to Saigon, where Station Chief Shackley briefed them. Through his CIA contacts, Swain obtained maps of drug-smuggling routes in Southeast Asia.

Upon their return to the U.S., Swain and Tripodi expressed frustration that the CIA had access to people capable of providing the BNDD with intelligence, but these people “were involved in narcotics trafficking and the CIA did not want to identify them.”

Seeking a way to circumvent the CIA, they recommended the creation of a “special operations or strategic operations staff” that would function as the BNDD’s own CIA “using a backdoor approach to gather intelligence in support of operations.” Those operations would rely on “longer range, deep penetration, clandestine assets, who remain undercover, do not appear during the course of any trial and are recruited and directed by the Special Operations agents on a covert basis.”

The White House approved the plan and in May 1971, Kissinger presented a $120 million drug control proposal, of which $50 million was earmarked for special operations. Three weeks later Nixon declared “war on drugs,” at which point Congress responded with funding for the SIO and authorization for the extra-legal operations Swain and Tripodi envisioned.

SIO Director Warner was given a seat on the U.S. Intelligence Board so the SIO could obtain raw intelligence from the CIA. But, in return, the SIO was compelled to adopt CIA security procedures. A CIA officer established the SIO’s file room and computer system; safes and steel doors were installed; and witting agents had to obtain CIA clearances.

Active-duty CIA officers were assigned to the SIO as desk officers for Europe and the Middle East, the Far East, and Latin America. Tripodi was assigned as chief of operations. Tripodi had spent the previous six years in the CIA’s Security Research Services, where his duties included the penetration of peace groups, as well as setting up firms to conduct black bag jobs. Notably, White House “Plumber” E. Howard Hunt inherited Tripodi’s Special Operations unit, which included several of the Watergate burglars.

Tripodi liaised with the CIA on matters of mutual interest and the covert collection of narcotics intelligence outside of routine BNDD channels. As part of his operational plan, code-named Medusa, Tripodi proposed that SIO agents hire foreign nationals to blow up contrabandista planes while they were refueling at clandestine air strips. Another proposal called for ambushing traffickers in America, and taking their drugs and money.

Enter Lucien Conein

The creation of the SIO coincided with the assignment of CIA officer Lucien Conein to the BNDD. As a member of the OSS, Conein had parachuted into France to form resistance cells that included Corsican gangsters. As a CIA officer, Conein in 1954 was assigned to Vietnam to organize anti-communist forces, and in 1963 achieved infamy as the intermediary between the Kennedy White House and the cabal of generals that murdered President Diem.

Historian Alfred McCoy has alleged that, in 1965, Conein arranged a truce between the CIA and drug trafficking Corsicans in Saigon. The truce, according to McCoy, allowed the Corsicans to traffic, as long as they served as contact men for the CIA. The truce also endowed the Corsicans with “free passage” at a time when Marseilles’ heroin labs were turning from Turkish to Southeast Asian morphine base.

Conein denied McCoy’s allegation and insisted that his meeting with the Corsicans was solely to resolve a problem caused by Daniel Ellsberg’s “peccadilloes with the mistress of a Corsican.”

It is impossible to know who is telling the truth. What is known is that in July 1971, on Howard Hunt’s recommendation, the White House hired Conein as an expert on Corsican drug traffickers in Southeast Asia. Conein was assigned as a consultant to the SIO’s Far East Asia desk. His activities will soon be discussed in greater detail.

The Parallel Mechanism

In September 1971, the Heroin Committee was reorganized as the Cabinet Committee for International Narcotics Control (CCINC) under Secretary of State William Rogers. CCINC’s mandate was to “set policies which relate international considerations to domestic considerations.” By 1975, its budget amounted to $875 million, and the war on drugs had become a most profitable industry.

Concurrently, the CIA formed a unilateral drug unit in its operations division under Seymour Bolten. Known as the Special Assistant to the Director for the Coordination of Narcotics, Bolten directed CIA division and station chiefs in unilateral drug control operations. In doing this, Bolten worked closely with Ted Shackley, who in 1972 was appointed head of the CIA’s Western Hemisphere Division. Bolten and Shackley had worked together in post-war Germany, as well as in anti-Castro Cubans operations in the early 1960s. Their collaboration would grease federal drug law enforcement’s skid into oblivion.

“Bolten screwed us,” BNDD’s Latin American division chief Jerry Strickler said emphatically. “And so did Shackley.”

Bolten “screwed” the BNDD, and the American judicial system, by setting up a “parallel mechanism” based on a computerized register of international drug traffickers and a CIA-staffed communications crew that intercepted calls from drug traffickers inside the U.S. to their accomplices around the world. The International Narcotics Information Network (INIS) was modeled on a computerized management information system Shackley had used to terrorize the underground resistance in South Vietnam.

Bolten’s staff also “re-tooled” dozens of CIA officers and slipped them into the BNDD. Several went to Lou Conein at the SIO for clandestine, highly illegal operations.

Factions within the CIA and military were opposed to Bolten’s parallel mechanism, but CIA Executive Director William Colby supported Bolten’s plan to preempt the BNDD and use its agents and informants for unilateral CIA purposes. The White House also supported the plan for political purposes related to Watergate. Top BNDD officials who resisted were expunged; those who cooperated were rewarded.

Bureau of Narcotics Covert Intelligence Network 

In September 1972, DCI Helms (then immersed in Watergate intrigues), told BNDD Director Ingersoll that the CIA had prepared files on specific drug traffickers in Miami, the Florida Keys, and the Caribbean. Helms said the CIA would provide Ingersoll with assets to pursue the traffickers and develop information on targets of opportunity. The CIA would also provide operational, technical, and financial support.

The result was the Bureau of Narcotics Covert Intelligence Network (BUNCIN) whose methodology reflected Tripodi’s Medusa Plan and included “provocations, inducement to desertion, creating confusion and apprehension.”

Some BUNCIN intelligence activities were directed against “senior foreign government officials” and were “blamed on other government agencies or even on the intelligence services of other nations.” Other BUNCIN activities were directed against American civic and political groups.

BNDD officials managed BUNCIN’s legal activities, while Conein at the SIO managed its political and CIA aspects. According to Conein’s administrative deputy, Rich Kobakoff, “BUNCIN was an experiment in how to finesse the law. The end product was intelligence, not seizures or arrests.”

CIA officers Robert Medell and William Logay were selected to manage BUNCIN.

A Bay of Pigs veteran born in Cuba, Medell was initially assigned to the Twofold program. Medell was BUNCIN’s “covert” agent and recruited its principal agents. All of his assets had previously worked for the CIA, and all believed they were working for it again.

Medell started running agents in March 1973 with the stated goal of penetrating the Trafficante organization. To this end the BNDD’s Enforcement Chief, Andy Tartaglino, introduced Medell to Sal Caneba, a retired Mafioso who had been in business with Trafficante in the 1950s. Caneba in one day identified the head of the Cuban side of the Trafficante family, as well as its organizational structure.

But the CIA refused to allow the BNDD to pursue the investigation, because it had employed Trafficante in its assassination attempts against Fidel Castro, and because Trafficante’s Operation 40 associates were performing similar functions for the CIA around the world.

Medell’s Principal Agent was Bay of Pigs veteran Guillermo Tabraue, whom the CIA paid $1,400 a week. While receiving this princely sum, Tabraue participated in the “Alvarez-Cruz” drug smuggling ring.

Medell also recruited agents from Manuel Artime’s anti-Castro Cuban organization. Former CIA officer and White House “Plumber” Howard Hunt, notably, had been Artime’s case officer for years, and many members of Artime’s organization had worked for Ted Shackley while Shackley was the CIA’s station chief in Miami.

Bill Logay was the “overt” agent assigned to the BUNCIN office in Miami. Logay had been Shackley’s bodyguard in Saigon in 1969. From 1970-1971, Logay had served as a special police liaison and drug coordinator in Saigon’s Precinct 5. Logay was also asked to join Twofold, but claims to have refused.

Medell and Logay’s reports were hand delivered to BNDD headquarters via the Defense Department’s classified courier service. The Defense Department was in charge of emergency planning and provided BUNCIN agents with special communications equipment. The CIA supplied BUNCIN’s assets with forged IDs that enabled them to work for foreign governments, including Panama, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

Like Twofold, BUNCIN had two agendas. One, according to Chief Inspector Fuller, “was told” and had a narcotics mission. The other provided cover for the Plumbers. Orders for the domestic political facet emanated from the White House and passed through Conein to “Plumber” Gordon Liddy and his “Operation Gemstone” squad of exile Cuban terrorists from the Artime organization.

Enforcement chief Tartaglino was unhappy with the arrangement and gave Agent Ralph Frias the job of screening anti-Castro Cubans sent by the White House to the BNDD. Frias was assigned to International Affairs chief George Belk. When Nixon’s White House chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman sent over three Cubans, Frias interviewed them and realized they were “plants.” Those three were not hired, but, Frias lamented, many others were successfully infiltrated inside the BNDD and other federal agencies.

Under BUNCIN cover, CIA anti-Castro assets reportedly kidnapped and assassinated people in Colombia and Mexico. BUNCIN’s White House sponsors also sent CIA anti-Castro Cuban assets to gather dirt on Democratic politicians in Key West. With BUNCIN, federal drug law enforcement sank to new lows of political repression and corruption.

Novo Yardley

The Nixon White House introduced the “operations by committee” management method to ensure control over its illegal drug operations. But as agencies involved in drug law enforcement pooled resources, the BNDD’s mission was diluted and diminished.

And, as the preeminent agency in the federal government, the CIA not only separated itself from the BNDD as part of Bolten’s parallel mechanism, it rode off into the sunset on the BNDD’s horse. For example, at their introductory meeting in Mexico City in 1972, Ted Shackley told Latin American division chief Strickler to hand over all BNDD files, informant lists, and cable traffic.

According to Strickler, “Bad things happened.” The worst abuse was that the CIA allowed drug shipments into the U.S. without telling the BNDD.

“Individual stations allowed this,” SIO Director John Warner confirmed.

In so far as evidence acquired by CIA electronic surveillance is inadmissible in court, the CIA was able to protect its controlled deliveries into the U.S. merely by monitoring them. Numerous investigations had to be terminated as a result. Likewise, dozens of prosecutions were dismissed on national security grounds due to the participation of CIA assets operating around the world.

Strickler knew which CIA people were guilty of sabotaging cases in Latin America, and wanted to indict them. And so, at Bolten’s insistence, Strickler was reassigned. Meanwhile, CIA assets from Bolten’s unilateral drug unit were kidnapping and assassinating traffickers as part of Operation Twofold.

BNDD Director Ingersoll confirmed the existence of this covert facet of Twofold. Its purpose, he said, was to put people in deep cover in the U.S. to develop intelligence on drug trafficking, particularly from South America. The regional directors weren’t aware of it. Ingersoll said he got approval from Attorney General John Mitchell and passed the operation on to John Bartels, the first administrator of the DEA. He said the unit did not operate inside the U.S., which is why he thought it was legal.

Ingersoll added that he was surprised that no one from the Rockefeller Commission asked him about it.

Joseph DiGennaro’s entry into the covert facet of Operation Twofold began when a family friend, who knew CIA officer Jim Ludlum, suggested that he apply for a job with the BNDD. Then working as a stockbroker in New York, DiGennaro met Fuller in August 1971 in Washington. Fuller gave DiGennaro the code name Novo Yardley, based on his posting in New York, and as a play on the name of the famous codebreaker.

After DiGennaro obtained the required clearances, he was told that he and several other recruits were being “spun-off” from Twofold into the CIA’s “operational” unit. The background check took 14 months, during which time he received intensive combat and trade-craft training.

In October 1972 he was sent to New York City and assigned to an enforcement group as a cover. His paychecks came from BNDD funds, but the program was reimbursed by the CIA through the Bureau of Mines. The program was authorized by the “appropriate” Congressional committee.

DiGennaro’s unit was managed by the CIA’s Special Operations Division in conjunction with the military, which provided assets within foreign military services to keep ex-filtration routes (air corridors and roads) open. The military cleared air space when captured suspects were brought into the U.S. DiGennaro spent most of his time in South America, but the unit operated worldwide. The CIA unit numbered about 40 men, including experts in printing, forgery, maritime operations, and telecommunications.

DiGennaro would check with Fuller and take sick time or annual leave to go on missions. There were lots of missions. As his BNDD group supervisor in New York said, “Joey was never in the office.”

The job was tracking down, kidnapping, and, if they resisted, killing drug traffickers. Kidnapped targets were incapacitated by drugs and dumped in the U.S. As DEA Agent Gerry Carey recalled, “We’d get a call that there was ‘a present’ waiting for us on the corner of 116th Street and Sixth Avenue. We’d go there and find some guy, who’d been indicted in the Eastern District of New York, handcuffed to a telephone pole. We’d take him to a safe house for questioning and, if possible, turn him into an informer. Sometimes we’d have him in custody for months. But what did he know?”

If you’re a Corsican drug dealer in Argentina, and men with police credentials arrest you, how do you know it’s a CIA operation? DiGennaro’s last operation in 1977 involved the recovery of a satellite that had fallen into a drug dealer’s hands. Such was the extent of the CIA’s “parallel mechanism.”

The Dirty Dozen

With the formation of the Drug Enforcement Administration in July 1973, BUNCIN was renamed the DEA Clandestine Operations Network (DEACON 1). A number of additional DEACONs were developed through Special Field Intelligence Programs (SFIP). As an extension of BUNCIN, DEACON 1 developed intelligence on traffickers in Costa Rica, Ohio and New Jersey; politicians in Florida; terrorists and gun runners; the sale of boats and helicopters to Cuba; and the Trafficante organization.

Under DEA chief John Bartels, administrative control fell under Enforcement Chief George Belk and his Special Projects assistant Philip Smith. Through Belk and Smith, the Office of Special Projects had become a major facet of Bolten’s parallel mechanism. It housed the DEA’s air wing (staffed largely by CIA officers), conducted “research programs” with the CIA, provided technical aids and documentation to agents, and handled fugitive searches.

As part of DEACON 1, Smith sent covert agent Bob Medell “to Caracas or Bogota to develop a network of agents.” As Smith noted in a memorandum, reimbursement for Medell “is being made in backchannel fashion to CIA under payments to other agencies and is not counted as a position against us.”

Thoroughly suborned by Bolten and the CIA, DEA Administrator Bartels established a priority on foreign clandestine narcotics collection. And when Belk proposed a special operations group in intelligence, Bartels immediately approved it. In March 1974, Belk assigned the group to Lou Conein.

As chief of the Intelligence Group/Operations (IGO), Conein administered the DEA Special Operations Group (DEASOG), SFIP and National Intelligence Officers (NIO) programs. The chain of command, however, was “unclear” and while Medell reported administratively to Smith, Conein managed operations through a separate chain of command reaching to William Colby, who had risen to the rank of CIA Director concurrent with the formation of the DEA.

Conein had worked for Colby for many years in Vietnam, for through Colby he hired a “dirty dozen” CIA officers to staff DEASOG. As NIOs (not regular gun-toting DEA agents), the DEASOG officers did not buy narcotics or appear in court, but instead used standard CIA operating procedures to recruit assets and set up agent networks for the long-range collection of intelligence on trafficking groups. They had no connection to the DEA and were housed in a safe house outside headquarters in downtown Washington, DC.

The first DEASOG recruits were CIA officers Elias P. Chavez and Nicholas Zapata. Both had paramilitary and drug control experience in Laos. Colby’s personnel assistant Jack Mathews had been Chavez’s case officer at the Long Thien base, where General Vang Pao ran his secret drug-smuggling army under Ted Shackley’s auspices from 1966-1968.

A group of eight CIA officers followed: Wesley Dyckman, a Chinese linguist with service in Vietnam, was assigned to San Francisco. Louis J. Davis, a veteran of Vietnam and Laos, was assigned to the Chicago Regional Intelligence Unit. Christopher Thompson from the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam went to San Antonio. Hugh E. Murray, veteran of Pakse and Bolivia (where he participated in the capture of Che Guevara), was sent to Tucson.  Thomas D. McPhaul had worked with Conein in Vietnam, and was sent to Dallas. Thomas L. Briggs, a veteran of Laos and a friend of Shackley’s, went to Mexico. Vernon J. Goertz, a Shackley friend who had participated in the Allende coup, went to Venezuela. David A. Scherman, a Conein friend and former manager of the CIA’s interrogation center in Da Nang, was sent to sunny San Diego.

Gary Mattocks, who ran CIA counter-terror teams in Vietnam’s Delta, and interrogator Robert Simon were the eleventh and twelfth members. Terry Baldwin, Barry Carew and Joseph Lagattuta joined later.

According to Davis, Conein created DEASOG specifically to do Phoenix program-style jobs overseas: the type where a paramilitary officer breaks into a trafficker’s house, takes his drugs, and slits his throat. The NIOs were to operate overseas where they would target traffickers the police couldn’t reach, like a prime minister’s son or the police chief in Acapulco if he was the local drug boss. If they couldn’t assassinate the target, they would bomb his labs or use psychological warfare to make him look like he was a DEA informant, so his own people would kill him.

The DEASOG people “would be breaking the law,” Davis observed, “but they didn’t have arrest powers overseas anyway.”

Conein envisioned 50 NIOs operating worldwide by 1977. But a slew of Watergate-related scandals forced the DEA to curtail its NIO program and reorganize its covert operations staff and functions in ways that have corrupted federal drug law enforcement beyond repair.

Assassination Scandals

The first scandal focused on DEACON 3, which targeted the Aviles-Perez organization in Mexico. Eli Chavez, Nick Zapata and Barry Carew were the NIOs assigned.

A veteran CIA officer who spoke Spanish, Carew had served as a special police adviser in Saigon before joining the BNDD. Carew was assigned as Conein’s Latin American desk officer and managed Chavez and Zapata (aka “the Mexican Assassin”) in Mexico. According to Chavez, a White House Task Force under Howard Hunt had started the DEACON 3 case. The Task force provided photographs of the Aviles Perez compound in Mexico, from whence truckloads of marijuana were shipped to the U.S.

Funds were allotted in February 1974, at which point Chavez and Zapata traveled to Mexico City as representatives of the North American Alarm and Fire Systems Company. In Mazatlán, they met with Carew, who stayed at a fancy hotel and played tennis every day, while Chavez and Zapata, whom Conein referred to as “pepper-bellies,” fumed in a flea-bag motel.

An informant arranged for Chavez, posing as a buyer, to meet Perez. A deal was struck, but DEA chief John Bartels made the mistake of instructing Chavez to brief the DEA’s regional director in Mexico City before making “the buy.”

At this meeting, the DEACON 3 agents presented their operational plan. But when the subject of “neutralizing” Perez came up, analyst Joan Banister took this to mean assassination. Bannister reported her suspicions to DEA headquarters, where the anti-CIA faction leaked her report to Washington Post columnist Jack Anderson.

Anderson’s allegation that the DEA was providing cover for a CIA assassination unit included revelations that the Senate had investigated IGO chief Conein for shopping around for assassination devices, like exploding ashtrays and telephones. Conein managed to keep his job, but the trail led to his comrade from the OSS, Mitch Werbell.

A deniable asset Conein used for parallel operations, Werbell had tried to sell several thousand silenced machine pistols to DEACON 1 target Robert Vesco, then living in Costa Rica surrounded by drug trafficking Cuban exiles in the Trafficante organization. Trafficante was also, at the time, living in Costa Rica as a guest of President Figueres whose son had purchased weapons from Werbell and used them to arm a death squad he formed with DEACON 1 asset Carlos Rumbault, a notorious anti-Castro Cuban terrorist and fugitive drug smuggler.

Meanwhile, in February 1974, DEA Agent Anthony Triponi, a former Green Beret and member of Operation Twofold, was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital in New York “suffering from hypertension.” DEA inspectors found Triponi in the psychiatric ward, distraught because he had broken his “cover” and now his “special code” would have to be changed.

Thinking he was insane, the DEA inspectors called former chief inspector Patrick Fuller in California, just to be sure. As it turned out, everything Triponi had said about Twofold was true! The incredulous DEA inspectors called the CIA and were stunned when they were told: “If you release the story, we will destroy you.”

By 1975, Congress and the Justice Department were investigating the DEA’s relations with the CIA. In the process they stumbled on, among other things, plots to assassinate Torrijos and Noriega in Panama, as well as Tripodi’s Medusa Program.

In a draft report, one DEA inspector described Medusa as follows: “Topics considered as options included psychological terror tactics, substitution of placebos to discredit traffickers, use of incendiaries to destroy conversion laboratories, and disinformation to cause internal warfare between drug trafficking organizations; other methods under consideration involved blackmail, use of psychopharmacological techniques, bribery and even terminal sanctions.”

The Cover-Up

Despite the flurry of investigations, Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, reconfirmed the CIA’s narcotic intelligence collection arrangement with DEA, and the CIA continued to have its way. Much of its success is attributed to Seymour Bolten, whose staff handled “all requests for files from the Church Committee,” which concluded that allegations of drug smuggling by CIA assets and proprietaries “lacked substance.”

The Rockefeller Commission likewise gave the CIA a clean bill of health, falsely stating that the Twofold inspections project was terminated in 1973. The Commission completely covered-up the existence of the operation unit hidden within the inspections program.

Ford did task the Justice Department to investigate “allegations of fraud, irregularity, and misconduct” in the DEA. The so-called DeFeo investigation lasted through July 1975, and included allegations that DEA officials had discussed killing Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. In March 1976, Deputy Attorney General Richard Thornburgh announced there were no findings to warrant criminal prosecutions.

In 1976, Congresswoman Bella Abzug submitted questions to new Director of Central Intelligence George H.W. Bush, about the CIA’s central role in international drug trafficking. Bush’s response was to cite a 1954 agreement with the Justice Department gave the CIA the right to block prosecution or keep its crimes secret in the name of national security.

In its report, the Abzug Committee said: “It was ironic that the CIA should be given responsibility of narcotic intelligence, particularly since they are supporting the prime movers.”

The Mansfield Amendment of 1976 sought to curtail the DEA’s extra-legal activities abroad by prohibiting agents from kidnapping or conducting unilateral actions without the consent of the host government. The CIA, of course, was exempt and continued to sabotage DEA cases against its movers, while further tightening its stranglehold on the DEA’s enforcement and intelligence capabilities.

In 1977, the DEA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement sent a memo, co-signed by the six enforcement division chiefs, to DEA chief Peter Bensinger. As the memo stated, “All were unanimous in their belief that present CIA programs were likely to cause serious future problems for DEA, both foreign and domestic.”

They specifically cited controlled deliveries enabled by CIA electronic surveillance and the fact that the CIA “will not respond positively to any discovery motion.” They complained that “Many of the subjects who appear in these CIA- promoted or controlled surveillances regularly travel to the United States in furtherance of their trafficking activities.” The “de facto immunity” from prosecution enabled the CIA assets to “operate much more openly and effectively.”

But then DEA chief Peter Bensinger suffered the CIA at the expense of America’s citizens and the DEA’s integrity. Under Bensinger the DEA created its CENTAC program to target drug trafficking organization worldwide through the early 1980s. But the CIA subverted the CENTAC: as its director Dennis Dayle famously said, “The major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA.”

Murder and Mayhem

DEACON 1 inherited BUNCIN’s anti-Castro Cuban assets from Brigade 2506, which the CIA organized to invade Cuba in 1960. Controlled by Nixon’s secret political police, these CIA assets, operating under DEA cover, had parallel assignments involving “extremist groups and terrorism, and information of a political nature.”

Noriega and Moises Torrijos in Panama were targets, as was fugitive financier and Nixon campaign contributor Robert Vesco in Costa Rica, who was suspected of being a middle man in drug and money-laundering operations of value to the CIA.

DEACON 1’s problems began when overt agent Bill Logay charged that covert agent Bob Medell’s anti-Castro Cuban assets had penetrated the DEA on behalf of the Trafficante organization. DEACON 1 secretary Cecelia Plicet fanned the flames by claiming that Conein and Medell were using Principal Agent Tabraue to circumvent the DEA.

In what amounted to an endless succession of controlled deliveries, Tabraue was financing loads of cocaine and using DEACON 1’s Cuban assets to smuggle them into the U.S. Plicet said that Medell and Conein worked for “the other side” and wanted the DEA to fail. These accusations prompted an investigation, after which Logay was reassigned to inspections and Medell was reassigned and replaced by Gary Mattocks, an NIO member of the Dirty Dozen.

According to Mattocks, Shackley helped Colby set up DEASOG and brought in “his” people, including Tom Clines, whom Shackley placed in charge of the CIA’s Caribbean operations. Clines, like Shackley and Bolten, knew all the exile Cuban terrorists and traffickers on the DEASOG payroll. CIA officer Vernon Goertz worked for Clines in Caracas as part of the CIA’s parallel mechanism under DEASOG cover.

As cover for his DEACON 1 activities, Mattocks set up a front company designed to improve relations between Cuban and American businessmen. Meanwhile, through the CIA, he recruited members of the Artime organization including Watergate burglars Rolando Martinez and Bernard Barker, as well as Che Guevara’s murderer, Felix Rodriguez. These anti-Castro terrorists were allegedly part of an Operation 40 assassination squad that Shackley and Clines employed for private as well as professional purposes.

In late 1974, DEACON 1 crashed and burned when interrogator Robert Simon’s daughter was murdered in a drive-by shooting by crazed anti-Castro Cubans. Simon at the time was managing the CIA’s drug data base and had linked the exile Cuban drug traffickers with “a foreign terrorist organization.” As Mattocks explained, “It got bad after the Brigaders found out Simon was after them.”

None of the CIA’s terrorists, however, were ever arrested. Instead, Conein issued a directive prohibiting DEACON 1 assets from reporting on domestic political affairs or terrorist activities and the tragedy was swept under the carpet for reasons of national security.

DEACON 1 unceremoniously ended in 1975 after Agent Fred Dick was assigned to head the DEA’s Caribbean Basin Group. In that capacity Dick visited the DEACON 1 safe house and found, in his words, “a clandestine CIA unit using miscreants from Bay of Pigs, guys who were blowing up planes.” Dick hit the ceiling and in August 1975 DEACON I was terminated.

No new DEACONs were initiated and the others quietly ran their course. Undeterred, the CIA redeployed its anti-Castro Cuban miscreant assets, some of whom established the terror organization CORU in 1977. Others would go to work for Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a key National Security Council aide under President Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra drug and terror network.

Conein’s IGO was disbanded in 1976 after a grand jury sought DEACON I intelligence regarding several drug busts. But CIA acquired intelligence cannot be used in prosecutions, and the CIA refused to identify its assets in court, with the result that 27 prosecutions were dismissed on national security grounds.

Gary Mattocks was thereafter unwelcomed in the DEA. But his patron Ted Shackley had become DCI George Bush’s assistant deputy director for operations and Shackley kindly rehired Mattocks into the CIA and assigned him to the CIA’s narcotics unit in Peru.

At the time, Santiago Ocampo was purchasing cocaine in Peru and his partner Matta Ballesteros was flying it to the usual Cuban miscreants in Miami. One of the receivers, Francisco Chanes, an erstwhile DEACON asset, owned two seafood companies that would soon allegedly come to serve as fronts in Oliver North’s Contra supply network, receiving and distributing tons of Contra cocaine.

Mattocks himself soon joined the Contra support operation as Eden Pastrora’s case officer. In that capacity Mattocks was present in 1984 when CIA officers handed pilot Barry Seal a camera and told him to take photographs of Sandinista official Federico Vaughn loading bags of cocaine onto Seal’s plane. A DEA “special employee,” Seal was running drugs for Jorge Ochoa Vasquez and purportedly using Nicaragua as a transit point for his deliveries.

North asked DEA officials to instruct Seal, who was returning to Ochoa with $1.5 million, to deliver the cash to the Contras. When the DEA officials refused, North leaked a blurry photo, purportedly of Vaughn, to the right-wing Washington Times. For partisan political purposes, on behalf of the Reagan administration, Oliver North blew the DEA’s biggest case at the time, and the DEA did nothing about it, even though DEA Administrator Jack Lawn said in 1988, in testimony before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, that leaking the photo “severely jeopardized the lives” of agents.

The circle was squared in 1989 when the CIA instructed Gary Mattocks to testify as a defense witness at the trial of DEACON 1 Principal Agent Gabriel Tabraue. Although Tabraue had earned $75 million from drug trafficking, while working as a CIA and DEA asset, the judge declared a mistrial based on Mattocks’s testimony. Tabraue was released. Some people inferred that President George H.W. Bush had personally ordered Mattocks to dynamite the case.

The CIA’s use of the DEA to employ terrorists would continue apace. For example, in 1981, DEA Agent Dick Salmi recruited Roberto Cabrillo, a drug smuggling member of CORU, an organization of murderous Cuban exiles formed by drug smuggler Frank Castro and Luis Posada while George Bush was DCI.

The DEA arrested Castro in 1981, but the CIA engineered his release and hired him to establish a Contra training camp in the Florida Everglades. Posada reportedly managed resupply and drug shipments for the Contras in El Salvador, in cahoots with Felix Rodriguez. Charged in Venezuela with blowing up a Cuban airliner and killing 73 people in 1976, Posada was shielded from extradition by George W. Bush in the mid-2000s.

Having been politically castrated by the CIA, DEA officials merely warned its CORU assets to stop bombing people in the U.S. It could maim and kill people anywhere else, just not here in the sacred homeland. By then, Salmi noted, the Justice Department had a special “grey-mail section” to fix cases involving CIA terrorists and drug dealers.

The Hoax

DCI William Webster formed the CIA’s Counter-Narcotics Center in 1988. Staffed by over 100 agents, it ostensibly became the springboard for the covert penetration of, and paramilitary operations against, top traffickers protected by high-tech security firms, lawyers and well-armed private armies.

The CNC brought together, under CIA control, every federal agency involved in the drug wars. Former CIA officer and erstwhile Twofold member, Terry Burke, then serving as the DEA’s Deputy for Operations, was allowed to send one liaison officer to the CNC.

The CNC quickly showed its true colors. In the late 1990, Customs agents in Miami seized a ton of pure cocaine from Venezuela. To their surprise, a Venezuelan undercover agent said the CIA had approved the delivery. DEA Administrator Robert Bonner ordered an investigation and discovered that the CIA had, in fact, shipped the load from its warehouse in Venezuela.

The “controlled deliveries” were managed by CIA officer Mark McFarlin, a veteran of Reagan’s terror campaign in El Salvador. Bonner wanted to indict McFarlin, but was prevented from doing so because Venezuela was in the process of fighting off a rebellion led by leftist Hugo Chavez. This same scenario has been playing out in Afghanistan for the last 15 years, largely through the DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD), which provides cover for CIA operations worldwide.

The ultimate and inevitable result of American imperialism, the SOD job is not simply to “create a crime,” as freewheeling FBN agents did in the old days, but to “recreate a crime” so it is prosecutable, despite whatever extra-legal methods were employed to obtain the evidence before it is passed along to law enforcement agencies so they can make arrests without revealing what prompted their suspicions.

Reuters reported in 2013,

“The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.”

The utilization of information from the SOD, which operates out of a secret location in Virginia, “cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” according to an internal document cited by Reuters, which added that agents are specifically directed “to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony.”

Agents are told to use “parallel construction” to build their cases without reference to SOD’s tips which may come from sensitive “intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records,” Reuters reported.

Citing a former federal agent, Reuters reported that SOD operators would tell law enforcement officials in the U.S. to be at a certain place at a certain time and to look for a certain vehicle which would then be stopped and searched on some pretext. “After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said,” Reuters reported.

An anonymous senior DEA official told Reuters that this “parallel construction” approach is “decades old, a bedrock concept” for law enforcement. The SOD’s approach follows Twofold techniques and Bolten’s parallel mechanism from the early 1970s.

To put it simply, lying to frame defendants, which has always been unstated policy, is now official policy: no longer considered corruption, it is how your government manages the judicial system on behalf of the rich political elite.

As outlined in this article, the process tracks back to Nixon, the formation of the BNDD, and the creation of a secret political police force out of the White House. As Agent Bowman Taylor caustically observed, “I used to think we were fighting the drug business, but after they formed the BNDD, I realized we were feeding it.”

The corruption was first “collateral” – as a function of national security performed by the CIA in secret – but has now become “integral,’ the essence of empire run amok.

Posted in USAComments Off on Narcotics and Covert Intelligence

Silencing a Whistle-Blower, Gladio B and the Origins of ISIS. Sibel Edmonds

NOVANEWS

Global Research News Hour Episode 111: A Conversation with Sibel Edmonds

Sibel Edmonds

So that Operation Gladio turned into a different operation, the same Modus Operandi, of creating false flag events, synthetically created terror units, um as Islamic fanatic units, that would create these terror events, thus the chaos associated with it, thus the justification for NATO/CIA/US military intervention in Middle East today but with the goal of having more of these events taking us further in- into the previously Russian territories.” -Sibel Edmonds on Operation Gladio B (from this week’s interview.)

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Length (58:59)

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 On the season debut of the Global Research News Hour, we spend the bulk of the hour with former FBI language specialist turned whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds.

Ms. Edmonds went to work for the FBI in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks. While under the employ of the State Agency she uncovered ongoing criminal operations implicating foreign nationals and high level US officials. When she tried to report on these revelations, she was told to shut up and eventually dispatched from the agency.

Edmonds has reported instances of FBI foreknowledge of 9/11. For example, a disclosure by a long-term FBI informant to two FBI agents and a translator, which indicated a terrorist attack in US cities involving airplanes to take place within a few months. After the disclosure was forwarded to the Special Agent in Charge of Counter-terrorism at the Washington Field Office, no action was taken, and following 9/11, the agents and translator in question were told to keep quiet about the issue. [1]

In this week’s interview, conducted by Global Research News Hour contributor Jonathan Wilson, Edmonds discusses how she became “the most classified woman in America,” as well as how sensitive information gets contained, the rise of Islamic Terror as “Gladio B” and her assessment of the trouble-spots likely to emerge in coming months.

Sibel Edmonds is the editor of the Boiling Frogs Post and Founder-Director of the US-based National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award, and the author of two books including her memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story: A Memoir and a work of fiction: The Lone Gladio.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Length (58:59)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The  show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CFUV 101. 9 FM in Victoria. Airing Sundays from 7-8am PT.

CHLY 101.7 FM in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the  North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

Notes: 

  1. http://www.antiwar.com/edmonds/?articleid=3230

Interview Transcript

Global Research: On the Global Research News Hour, it is Sibel Edmonds who is the editor and publisher of the Boiling Frogs Post, founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, and author of the acclaimed book, Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, and The Lone Gladio: A Political Spy Thriller. Ms. Edmonds is a certified linguist fluent in four languages and has an M.A. in Public Policy from George Mason University and a B.A. In Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award. Thanks so much Sibel for coming on the program!

Sibel Edmonds: Sure! Many thanks for inviting me!

GR: Now first, uh…I wanted, there’s so much in your story to talk about, but I first wanted to hear just um, about your life and what led you to be employed as a translator in the days following the 9/11 attacks.

 SE: Sure, I’m originally from Turkey, and I moved to the United States in 1988. This is where I got my college degree, my master’s degree, and I never planned working for the government in any form. But in 1990s for my university related coursework, I wanted to have a summer internship in a division of the FBI that deals with crime against children. So at that point I had sent them a request, filled out the forms, and of course in the forms there was a section that asked information about any other talents or languages spoken etc.

Anyhow I filled out that form, I sent it to the FBI, I never heard from them. And years went by and September 11 happened and three days after September 11, I received a call from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, this is in Washington, D.C., asking me to come and help them work on some really urgent terrorism and counter-intelligence related cases. I was very surprised that at that point in my life I was not ready to go and work for the FBI, but they pressed the issue, they actually begged because they didn’t have enough language specialists with also geo-strategic information, political information which my background provided for all of that.

So they said we are even willing to have you as a contract worker and you can determine your own hours. And give us as much as you can, our country needs you Ms Edmonds, etc, etc. So how could I have said no? I saw it as an opportunity to do something for what is coined, has been coined as National Security, I’m laughing because that was a really an eye-opener experience.

I was naïve back then. I truly believed what majority of the people here in the United States believed, still believe today. And that is, you know, we don’t have a perfect system but we have this great thing called constitution and a system of checks and balances and separation of powers. That’s what I got my Master’s Degree on (laughter)! Um, but as often as it was the experience, the whistle-blowing it was an eye-opener. It was like waking up from this extreme sleep and seeing the reality of this nation unfortunately, and the illusion that is being sold to the public.

GR: It’s ironic that they begged you to work there, amd then, uh, and then you end up getting fired from your position because you’re speaking out against what you saw as a cover-up there. So, working there for six months, what led to your firing for people who don’t know the details of the story?

SE: Sure, I mean I have documented that in detail in my book Classified Woman. Which government fought and they said if I were to publish this book I would go to jail. They said every single word in this book is classified, etc. And maybe we will get into that a little bit later, and it’s really hard to give bullet points and summarize what took place during that short period.

The division I was working for – I worked for many divisions there. I worked with Counter-terrorism agents in various field offices in the country, the Chicago Field Office, FBI Chicago Field Office – Counter-terrorism, the New Jersey Field Office, etc, but my main work was with the Counter-intelligence Division, and this was the highly specialized unit in the Washington DC Field Office that dealt with Counter-intelligence-related operations, and it involved other types of criminal activities than jointly, I’m saying jointly, I’m emphasizing jointly by both US persons and also foreign individuals and because the FBI did not have any analyst with both the language capabilities of the region and this is Turkey and other Turkish speaking nations, you’re looking at countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, I ended up serving as both analyst and language specialist for this special division within the FBI’s Washington DC Office.

And that’s where most of the explosive information was resided, not within the counter-terrorism division- most people would think it would be counter-terrorism that would have all these operations and activities under, but actually it was under counter-intelligence division, and these also involved high-level US individuals, from Congress, from the State Department from the Pentagon who were engaged in operations and activities that were illegal and also terrorism related in the United States and around the world. And the agents, the FBI Agents who were in charge of this unit, they all had good intentions and they were exasperated, they were trying to get these processed as current counter-terrorism operations and be investigated and dealt with as such, however they were being blocked by the State Department and CIA because those operations were sanctioned by- by those entities, by – by those agencies, mainly I would say the CIA and the State Department.

So, they didn’t go any further than just wasting exasperation, but after getting exposed to what that information was, and these files, some of them dated back to 1997, these were ongoing operations both from the surveillance part, from the FBI’s side, and also from these networks and individuals and organizations that carried out these operations, that were targets of the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigations.

So, I – I decided to really speak up, and I didn’t jump out there and go to some reporter or to a journalist. As I said, I started that work as a very naïve person. I believed in the system, and the system dictated that you take this to your superior. If it doesn’t work you take it to this department. So, from there I ended up with the FBI’s own OPR department, that’s the Office of Professional Responsibility. From there, it went up to – my case – all the way to the Director’s office, and that’s Director Mueller himself, and this was when I was asked to basically shut up, to hush and not to pursue this, and that forced me to go outside the FBI and again within the government . So I went to the Inspector- General’s Office for the Department of Justice, and I went to the appropriate committees in the Congress, both the Senate and the House, places like the Judiciary Committee, the Intelligence Committee, and from there I ended up with the 9/11 Commission.

“…actually it was under counter-intelligence division, and these also involved high-level US individuals, from Congress, from the State Department from the Pentagon who were engaged in operations and activities that were illegal and also terrorism related in the United States and around the world.”

So to make the long story short, for about a year and a half, and this includes after the time I was fired, I was working within the system, trying to get these extremely, extremely dangerous important issues addressed , made public via so-called appropriate channels. And then from there it went to the media, which was around mid to late 2002, and yes, I was fired after six-seven months and then the case became a court case. My case went all the way to the Supreme Court and during the entire process the government stepped in, not only the FBI but also the CIA and the State Department, and requested the courts, the judges, both for the Appellate Court, the Lower Courts, and later the Supreme Court, to shut down the case, and say everything about this woman, this lady, is classified. In fact, they succeeded in having the court rule for them by saying that even the languages I speak are all classified, where I was born is classified, where I went to school in the United States is classified, that everything about me basically was classified, and- and this is the other separate branch – we are talking about the courts in the United States, the Federal Courts. And then after that it was the media so that’s basically the very shallow, I guess, summary version of this case that is now almost 13 years old.

GR: Right and uh, the detail in your book, Classified Woman, you know fills in all those details , and like you’re saying all these things about you are classified. You’re referred to as the most gagged, most classified person in the United States, then you come out with this book and it was self-published right?

SE: Yes, I was forced to self-publish it because when I took the job with the FBI I was made, it was mandatory to sign hundreds and hundreds of pages of bureaucratic documents. Well one of the document forms that I signed at the time, before I took the contract job with the FBI was if in the future whether I was retired long even after if I was gone from the FBI if I were to publish a non-fiction book, I was obligated, because I have the highest level Security Clearance with the FBI, and as a result of holding that security clearance while you’re working with these agencies whether it’s the CIA or the FBI, you’re obligated to send the manuscript, before you send it to any publishers, to any agent, to any editor, etc, you have to send it to the FBI’s Department of Justice’s Special Division, and it is called the basically the pre-publication review.

And this division they take your manuscript and they go through it… to see whether or not you have either intentionally or unintentionally have put anything that is considered sensitive or classified in your book in your non-fiction, and if they find such information whether it’s a word or a sentence or a name, what they do is they black it out. They send you the manuscript, and they give you a chance to go and take out those sensitive information those words those sentences those names, and only after that when you have this FBI’s DOJ’s approval that yes, there’s nothing sensitive or classified in your manuscript, then you can go to the publishers etc and go with the publishing process – go forward with the publishing process.

Well, I sent mine and legally, by law, the Justice Department was required in thirty days …complete this process of sending my manuscript- send it back to me. Well, they sat on it for six months. I had to go and get a law firm, I had to go and get an attorney, and my attorney was started engaging with this dialogue saying where is this manuscript, you have thirty days, that’s the legal time allowance for you. After six months of back and forth and additional six months the FBI DOJ Division , they sent a letter official letter saying they considered everything in my book, every single word including the title classified and sensitive. So they basically sent back the entire thing blacked out, that includes the author’s name and the title of the book!

 GR: Wow, that’s a lot of …

SE: Could you imagine how ludicrous that would be? (chuckle)

GR: That’s a lot of ink, yeah.

 SE: Because this book also has some background information of my father, and where I was born, and little bit of my childhood.

GR: Right!

 SE: So, my attorney sent a letter saying that’s ludicrous, they went to the appeal process. They said no. She publish a single word and she’s going to go to jail! Because everything she has in here is classified. And we have all these letters in fact, people can go and find it via google all the letters that the FBI sent and my attorneys had a press release saying look at these letters. This has never happened in the history of this country that an entire book is being considered classified and blacked out. It’s against the First Amendment and it’s very Kafkaesque really. And they couldn’t care less.

“After six months of back and forth and additional six months the FBI DOJ Division , they sent a letter official letter saying they considered everything in my book, every single word including the title classified and sensitive. So they basically sent back the entire thing blacked out, that includes the author’s name and the title of the book!”

They said it is what it is. And at that point I said no, I’m going to challenge this because it is ludicrous, and see if they’re going to – how are they going to argue for this in any court – in any court of law? You know? And this is after the experience of seeing that the court, the federal courts of law in this country, they’re truly not independent.

So, I took it to some publishers, some of the main publishers , and they said under no circumstances would they publish it, it was a great book, but they didn’t want to get into any trouble with the FBI, and unless I – I brought them something that said Department of Justice or the FBI sanctions this , they’re not going to publish.

So at that point I hired my own editors and cover designers and proof-readers, I established my own little company and we spent months preparing and then later publishing this book, independently, which we did, and nothing happened. ..I guess it was all bluff by the government knowing very well that 99.9% of people, whistle-blowers, would back off and the wouldn’t dare going ahead and publish it. And, in a way it’s a vindication that people should not, I guess, back down and give up when they face such ludicrous, really fascistic, government’s response, or government ultimatum.

 GR: Right it’s like they don’t want you to say a single word, or print a single word, but uh, if they were to take any action it would draw so much attention to what you wrote also so they’re trying to, I guess, hope that no one sees it right?

SE: Exactly! Because look, we know the intimate incestuous relationship connection between the US mainstream media and the publishers and the government agencies especially the, such as the CIA and Pentagon. So they knew that they had those fronts under control, meaning this was not going to be widely distributed in the bookstores. They knew that none of the mainstream media outlets under any circumstances were going to provide any coverage.

So with the hope that it would die down and nobody would see it, they didn’t do anything in order not to draw more public attention. And I would say for a self-published book, independently published book, they did pretty good, it maybe sold over 20,000 copies. Interestingly I would say half of it were purchased and bought by people outside the United States. I would say places like United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, uh, they, all of them together, they account for, I would say, account for 50% of the book sales…I wouldn’t say it was a great success, the feedback has been incredible. And people can see it on amazon and the rating, and even its status, even after three plus years, still be ranked fairly high up there among non-fiction books, and also the reviews from hundreds and hundreds of people.

So, again I would say that alone was encouraging vindication of not backing off and saying you know the publishers are not touching it, mainstream media is not going to cover this, so I’m going to go away, I’m discouraged, I’m not going to do this. Saying, well today with the technology, we can do certain things that we couldn’t have done 15, 20 years ago , and challenge it, challenge it with every chance you get, I guess.

GR: Yeah, I followed your story since I heard about it in the mid-2000s and so when I saw that you were publishing this book I was, you know, I was intrigued because, because all this information had been withheld, and state secrets and so forth…I’ve read it and then passed it along to other people who’ve had their minds blown. So it’s getting out there, but it’s one of those things where as soon as soon as people read it or hear about it then they want to know but it’s hard to spread that information you know when mainstream channels have decided it’s a non-story or won’t touch it, right?

 SE: Absolutely! I mean, to give you an example for this, um, so-called whistle-blower case, the Valerie Plame case, um, CIA sanctioned the book and actually the publisher, they got the written consent from the CIA that it was okay to publish the book. And also they garnered political support from the Democratic Party. And for that book not only they received three million dollars, okay? But also, around the clock for three months coverage from the CNN, and CBS, Sixty Minutes, and all these mainstream outlets both print and TV news. And so, the difference there being this book was not sanctioned by the CIA or the State Department or the FBI or the Pentagon. It was a true whistle-blower, real life whistle-blower story.

But also, another characteristic of my book was the fact that it was so non-partisan because anyone who reads it, they realize there really is no difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party whatsoever, and the fact that it’s rotten at its core and basically you’re staring at the two sides of the same coin, and so when you are in that position your angle is not considered partisan, meaning you’re banging on one administration, I don’t care whether it’s the just the Obama Administration or Bush Administration, that you have this cheering crowd, the same establishment the same rotten people who are under the brand of Democratic Party, or Republican Party. And-and – so that alone becomes a major roadblock.

But I say in the long run, it is a historical document, it is going to stay hopefully around and anybody who reads it, and this has been the reaction so far, people have good gut feelings. They can smell… when they read something that is written with an agenda, or with partisanship and it’s something that is totally coloured. And that has been the case so far. And I don’t have any regrets. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I would never do it any other way.

And I was also very cautious with not really including anything any information that was justifiably classified, because I think that would be nefarious. You know, Let’s say if there is an ongoing criminal investigation against a real target and it’s going to go to court and you end up putting that information there and thus damaging the case. I’m just giving an example. That would just be with a nefarious kind of detention. I did not give that.

And also, one of the things that I learned during the publication process, was that while I had to submit my manuscript for pre-review, publication and etc, pre-publication review, you as someone who held classified, top-secret, clarification and classification at work and experience etc, you don’t have to do such things. You are not under any obligation to do such a thing, if you’re writing a fiction. And that was when I decided as I was preparing Classified Woman for publication, to sit down and spend another two years and write a fiction book, fairly truthful fiction book, and let my readers, our readers know of a lot of things that I could not talk about in a non-fiction book. Uh, it would have given the excuse to the government to come after me and actually thrown me in jail. And they would have done so had they found anything that is in any way justifiably classified in Classified Woman.

“…another characteristic of my book was the fact that it was so non-partisan because anyone who reads it, they realize there really is no difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party whatsoever, and the fact that it’s rotten at its core and basically you’re staring at the two sides of the same coin.”

But I followed up with a book that would be a follow-up book to Classified Woman. It’s a fiction book that came out last September – it’s been exactly a year – it came out on September 11, 2014 – that is a fiction book. It’s Lone Gladio, and anybody who has read my Classified Woman book, reading the Lone Gladiothey would understand what really this fiction is all about.

GR: Right! Yeah it’s “fiction” in quotation marks, and with the title “Lone Gladio,” sounds like, you know, a reference to “Operation Gladio” or “Gladio B.” Could you talk a little bit about what that means?

 SE: Well, it’s hard to summarize this, uh, because uh, sometimes uh, I’m afraid suh- oversimplifying things can-can leave it up to so many different kinds of interpretation…

GR: Sure.

SE: …but, Operation Gladio is not some kind of a…a conspiracy term or something that people come up with saying I believe there was such an operation. Operation Gladio, people can go and do a google search and they can find it, even from the CIA’s (chuckle) own division…

GR: Right, yeah.

 SE: …four year documents that in nineteen uh, late nineteen fifties after World War 2, after CIA was established, after NATO was established, uh, NATO together with the CIA they created this paramilitary units uh, covert paramilitary units uh around the world, mainly in Europe, uh some in the Middle East, um, to basically counter the Soviet Union and the spread of communism as an ideology.

So the role of these paramilitary units, funded, directed, managed, armed by the CIA and NATO was, during these years, in Europe and elsewhere, were to create terror events. You know, blow up bombs, um, gun down people, set, let’s say a shopping centre on fire, and then blame it on the communist net-communist networks. And they did hundreds of such operations. There are several good books from historians who have documented these false flag terror events, terror events that were created, implemented, brought about by the CIA/NATO’s paramilitary units within Eastern Europe, in Italy, and in Italy they were very big, but the biggest nation that they had the biggest units, we just had its own also office inside the Pentagon was in Turkey, and that’s where I’m from! (chuckle!) – the Turkish arm of the Gladio network.

So, they did all this and you’d think that once the Soviet Union dissolved in 1990-1991, the operation would have been basically shut down, because this was against communism so-called. That’

Posted in USAComments Off on Silencing a Whistle-Blower, Gladio B and the Origins of ISIS. Sibel Edmonds

America’s Phony War on the ISIS

NOVANEWS
Global Research
obama-isis

Washington Recruits, Arms, Funds, Trains and Directs the “Islamic State” Terrorists

On September 10, 2014, Obama lied claiming his intent “to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL” – adding “these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States.”

He willfully misled the US public saying he “ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances…These strikes…helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.”

Washington recruits, arms, funds, trains, and directs them the same way it used Mujahideen fighters in the 1980s against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan, as well as Al Qaeda and other likeminded takfiri groups today.

They serve US imperial interests, used against independent governments Washington wants toppled – replaced by subservient puppet regimes. Terror bombing Iraqi and Syrian targets has nothing to do with degrading and defeating them – everything to do with destroying vital infrastructure in both countries, balkanizing them for easier control and ousting Assad.

On the first anniversary of Obama’s declared phony war on IS, RT International headlined “1yr, 6,700 airstrikes & $4bn after Obama vowed to ‘destroy’ ISIS, jihadists still on offensive” – stronger than ever, controlling more territory, aided and abetted by US support.

Obama’s real war is polar opposite his phony “campaign of airstrikes…increase(d) support (for) forces fighting these terrorists,” preventing IS attacks elsewhere, and “provid(ing) humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians” displaced by devastating war.

According to the Pentagon, so-called “Operation Inherent Resolve” conducted 53,278 sorties in Iraq and Syria, including 6,700 airstrikes through September 8.

It lied claiming 10,000 IS “targets” were destroyed, including tanks, other heavy weapons and facilities. Washington supplies IS terrorists by airdrops and other means to wage its proxy wars – spending billions of dollars to advance its imperium, letting recruited terrorists do its fighting and dying.

RT explained “impressive-sounding (Pentagon) numbers” did nothing to change “reality on the ground where IS (terrorists) have only grown stronger.”

Propaganda about “a quick and easy victory” is belied by greater than ever IS strength and territorial control.

The most visible result of Obama’s wars is the human refugee flood they caused, numbers increasing exponentially as they rage – overwhelming European countries with desperate people undertaking hazardous journeys to find safe havens out of harm’s way, met with scorn and disdain most everywhere they arrive, treated horrifically under appalling conditions, victimized twice over, by Obama’s imperial wars and Western nations (especially America) unwilling to provide humane help.

World peace and security aren’t threatened by IS or other takfiri terrorists. America’s imperial agenda with complicit rogue allies bear full responsibility – waging endless wars of aggression, threatening humanity’s survival.

Posted in Middle East, USAComments Off on America’s Phony War on the ISIS

Madness of Blockading Syria’s Regime

NOVANEWS
Global Research
ISIS

“Does the U.S. want Al Qaeda to take over Syria?”

Does the U.S. government want the Islamic State and/or its fellow-travelers in Al Qaeda to take over Syria? As far as the State Department is concerned, that seems to be a risk worth taking as it moves to cut off Russia’s supply pipeline to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad — even as Sunni terrorist groups expand their grip on Syrian territory.

It appears that hardliners within the Obama administration have placed the neocon goal of “regime change” in Syria ahead of the extraordinary dangers that could come from the black flag of Sunni terrorism raised over the capital of Damascus. That would likely be accompanied by the Islamic State chopping off the heads of Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other “heretics” and/or Al Qaeda having a major Mideast capital from which to plot more attacks on the West.

And, as destabilizing as the current flow of Middle East refugees is to Europe, a victory by the Islamic State or Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front would open the flood gates, sending millions of desperate people pouring out of Syria and creating a political as well as humanitarian crisis. At that point, there also would be enormous pressure on President Barack Obama or his successor to mount a full-scale invasion of Syria and attempt a bloody occupation.

The human and financial costs of this nightmare scenario are almost beyond comprehension. The European Union – already strained by mass unemployment in its southern tier — could crack apart, shattering one of the premier achievements of the post-World War II era. The United States also could undergo a final transformation from a Republic into a permanent-warrior state.

Yet, Official Washington can’t seem to stop itself. Instead of working with Russia and Shiite-ruled Iran to help stabilize the political/military situation in Syria, the pundit class and the “tough-guy/gal” politicians are unleashing torrents of insults toward the two countries that would be the West’s natural allies in any effort to prevent a Sunni terrorist takeover.

Beyond words, there has been action. Over the past week, the State Department has pressured Bulgaria and Greece to bar Russian transport flights headed to Syria. The U.S. plan seems to be to blockade the Syrian government and starve it of outside supplies, whether humanitarian or military, all the better to force its collapse and open the Damascus city gates to the Islamic State and/or Al Qaeda.

In explaining its nearly inexplicable behavior, the State Department even has adopted the silly neocon talking point which blames Assad and now Russia for creating the Islamic State, though the bloodthirsty group actually originated as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” in reaction to President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Then, backed by money and weapons from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other U.S. “allies,” AQI moved into Syria with the goal of ousting Assad’s relatively secular government. AQI later took the name Islamic State (also known by the acronyms ISIS, ISIL or Daesh). Yet, the State Department’s official position is that the Islamic State is Assad’s and Russia’s fault.

“What we’ve said is that their [the Russians’] continued support to the Assad regime has actually fostered the growth of ISIL inside Syria and made the situation worse,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday. “If they want to be helpful against ISIL, the way to do it is to stop arming and assisting and supporting Bashar al-Assad.”

Yet, the reality is that Assad’s military has been the principal bulwark against both the Islamic State and the other dominant Sunni rebel force, Al Qaeda’s affiliate, the Nusra Front. So, by moving to shut down Assad’s supply line, the U.S. government is, in effect, clearing the way for an Islamic State/Al Qaeda victory since the U.S.-trained “moderate” rebels are largely a fiction, numbering in double digits, while the extremists have tens of thousands of committed fighters.

In other words, if the U.S. strategy succeeds in collapsing Assad’s defenses, there is really nothing to stop the Sunni terrorists from seizing Damascus and other major cities. Then, U.S. airstrikes on those population centers would surely kill many civilians and further radicalize the Sunnis. To oust the Islamic State and/or Al Qaeda would require a full-scale U.S. invasion, which might be inevitable but would almost certainly fail, much as Bush’s Iraq occupation did.

A Scary Fantasyland

As scary as these dangers are, there remains a huge gap between the real world of the Middle East and the fantasyland that is Official Washington’s perception of the region. In that land of make-believe, what matters is tough talk from ambitious politicians and opinion leaders, what I call the “er-er-er” growling approach to geopolitics.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton joined in that growling on Wednesday at the Brookings Institution, which has become home to neocons such as Robert Kagan and a host of “liberal interventionists,” such as Michael O’Hanlon and Strobe Talbott.

Though she formally endorsed the nuclear agreement with Iran, former Secretary of State Clinton insulted both the Iranians and the Russians. Noting Russia’s support for the Syrian government, she urged increased punishment of Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin — aimed at forcing Russia to abandon the Assad regime.

“We need a concerted effort to up the costs on Russia and Putin; I am in the camp that we have not done enough,” Clinton declared. “I don’t think we can dance around it much longer,” she said, claiming that Russia is trying to “stymie and undermine American power whenever and wherever they can.”

Clinton appears to have learned nothing from her past support for “regime change” strategies in Iraq and Libya. In both countries, the U.S. military engineered the ouster and murder of the nations’ top leaders, but instead of the promised flourishing of some ideal democracies, the countries descended into anarchy with Sunni terrorists, linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, now controlling large swaths of territory and engaging in widespread atrocities.

Yet, for Clinton, the higher priority is to come across as super-tough, proving her value to Official Washington’s influential neocons and liberal hawks. Thus, a potential Clinton presidency suggests an even more warlike foreign policy than the one carried out by Obama, who recently boasted of ordering military strikes in seven different countries.

Clinton seems eager for more and more “regime changes,” targeting Syria and even Russia, despite the existential risks involved in such reckless strategies, especially the notion of destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia. The neocons and liberal hawks always assume that some malleable “moderate” will take power, but the real-life experience is that U.S. interventionism often makes matters worse, with even more extreme leaders filling the void.

Where’s Obama?

Now, with Official Washington lining up behind a blockade of Russian assistance to the Syrian government – even if that would mean an Islamic State/Al Qaeda victory – the great unknown is where President Obama stands.

A source familiar with the back channels between the White House and the Kremlin told me that Obama had encouraged Putin to step up Russian aid to the embattled Syrian government as part of the fight against the Islamic State and that the Russians are now bewildered as to why Obama’s State Department is trying to sabotage those efforts.

As odd as that might sound, it would not be the first time that Obama has favored a less confrontational approach to a foreign crisis behind the scenes only to have neocon/liberal-hawk operatives inside his own administration charge off in the opposite direction. For instance, in 2009, Obama bowed to demands for what turned out to be a useless “surge” in Afghanistan, and in 2014, he allowed neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to start a new Cold War with Russia by helping to orchestrate a “regime change” in Ukraine.

As Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Nuland would presumably be at the center of the recent arm-twisting in Bulgaria and Greece to get those countries to block Russian flights to Syria, which has been a longtime neocon target for “regime change,” a goal that the neocons now see as within their grasp.

Typically, when his underlings undercut him, Obama then falls in line behind them but often in a foot-dragging kind of way. Then, on occasion, he’ll break ranks and make a foray into genuine diplomacy, such as Syria’s 2013 agreement to surrender its chemical-weapons arsenal or Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal – both of which were achieved with significant help from Putin. But Obama has proved to be an unreliable foreign-policy partner, bending to the hawkish pressure from many of his subordinates and even joining in their rhetorical insults.

Today, Obama may feel that he has gone as far as he dares with the Iran nuclear deal and that any foreign policy cooperation with Iran or Russia before Congress decides on the agreement’s fate by Sept. 17 could cause defections among key Democrats.

Once the deadline for congressional review passes, Obama could get serious about collaborating with Iran and Russia to stabilize the situation in Syria. By strengthening the Syrian government’s military – which has protected Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other minorities – and incorporating reasonable Sunnis into a power-sharing arrangement, there would a chance to stabilize Syria and push for elections and constitutional reforms. But that would require dropping the slogan, “Assad must go!”

So, while President Obama is saying little about his Syrian plans, his State Department has moved off on its own aggressive course hoping to finally achieve the neocon/liberal-hawk dream of “regime change” in Syria – regardless of what nightmares might follow.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Madness of Blockading Syria’s Regime

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