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Haspel is Not the Problem. The CIA is the Problem.

By Ron Paul | May 21, 2018

As a general rule, when Dick Cheney favors a foreign policy position it’s best to be on the opposite side if you value liberty over war and authoritarianism. The former vice president’s enthusiastic endorsement of not only Gina Haspel as CIA director but of the torture program she oversaw should tell us all we need to know about Haspel.

Saying that Haspel would make a great CIA director, Cheney dismissed concerns over the CIA’s torture program. Asked in a television interview last week about the program, Cheney said, “if it were my call, I’d do it again.”

Sadly, the majority of the US Senate agreed with Cheney that putting a torturer in charge of the CIA was a good idea. Only two Republicans – Senators Paul and Flake – voted against Haspel. And just to confirm that there really is only one political party in Washington, it was the “yes” vote of crossover Democrats that provided the margin of victory. Americans should really be ashamed of those sent to Washington to represent us.

Just this month, the New York Times featured an article written by a woman who was kidnapped and sent to the secret CIA facility in Thailand that Haspel was said to have overseen. The woman was pregnant at the time and she recounted in the article how her CIA torturers would repeatedly punch her in the stomach. She was not convicted or even accused of a crime. She was innocent. But she was tortured on Haspel’s watch.

Is this really what we are as a country? Do we really want to elevate such people to the highest levels of government where they can do more damage to the United States at home and overseas?

As the news comes out that Obama holdovers in the FBI and CIA infiltrated the Trump campaign to try and elect Hillary Clinton, President Trump’s seeming lack of understanding of how the deep state operates is truly bewildering. The US increasingly looks like a banana republic, where the permanent state and not the people get to decide who’s in charge.

But instead of condemning the CIA’s role in an attempted coup against his own administration, Trump condemned former CIA director John Brennan for “undermining confidence” in the CIA. Well, the CIA didn’t need John Brennan to undermine our confidence in the CIA. The Agency itself long ago undermined the confidence of any patriotic American. Not only has the CIA been involved in torture, it has manipulated at least 100 elections overseas since its founding after WWII.

As President Trump watched Gina Haspel being sworn in as CIA director, he praised her: “You live the CIA. You breathe the CIA. And now you will lead the CIA,” he said. Yes, Mr. president, we understand that. But that’s the problem!

The problem is not Haspel, it’s not John Brennan, it’s not our lack of confidence. The problem is the CIA itself. If the president really cared about our peace, prosperity, and security, he would take steps to end this national disgrace. It’s time to abolish the CIA!

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | May 20, 2018

Since the “Russiagate” probe began, US president Donald Trump and his supporters have used lots of bandwidth raging against what they refer to as the “Deep State.” Does the Deep State exist? If so, what is it, and are its forces arrayed specifically against Donald Trump and his administration?

Yes, the Deep State exists — probably more so at one end of its numerous definitions and less so at the other, but to some degree at both ends.

At the seemingly more benign end, the Deep State is simply what one might think of as the “permanent government” — the army of bureaucrats and functionaries whose careers span multiple administrations. Like all career employees of large organizations as groups, they tend to fear and resist change, and their sheer mass has an inertial effect. They energetically do things the old way and drag their feet on new things.

At the end dismissed by mainstream commentators as “conspiracy theory,” the Deep State is an invisible second government which acts in a coordinated manner to protect its prerogatives and advance its interests and favored policies versus changes supposedly demanded by “the people” via their elected representatives in Congress and the presidency. The premier example of this view is the claim that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA and the military industrial complex because (in one version) he was about to get the US out of Vietnam.

If that end of the spectrum sounds crazy to you, consider:

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page and former FBI deputy counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok, while working on a pre-election investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, exchanged text messages with incendiary content such as “there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.”

In mid-May, it emerged that an FBI informant approached two or three (reports vary) advisers to Trump’s campaign during the same period to pry into those advisers’ alleged ties to the Russian government.

Is President Trump stretching the reports we’ve seen when he tweets “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story?”

Well, maybe. But not by much. On any fair reading, those two stories combined do look a lot like the second definition of Deep State skulduggery. The FBI was meddling in — acting to influence or in extremis overturn — a US presidential election (sound familiar?). The messages between Page and Strzok color that meddling as intentional Bureau political action, not as incidental investigative fallout which just happened to touch on the election.

While I disagree with President Trump on most issues, it’s hard to disagree with him when he rails against a transparently political witch hunt that has dragged on for more than a year visibly and for months before that beneath the surface. The Deep State is real. And dangerous.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

Making Excuses for Russiagate

By Daniel Lazare | Consortium News | May 18, 2018

The best evidence that Russia-gate is sinking beneath the waves is the way those pushing the pseudo-scandal are now busily covering their tracks. The Guardian complains that “as the inquiry has expanded and dominated the news agenda over the last year, the real issues of people’s lives are in danger of being drowned out by obsessive cable television coverage of the Russia investigation” – as if the Guardian’s own coverage hasn’t been every bit as obsessive as anything CNN has come up with.

The Washington Post, second to none when it comes to painting Putin as a real-life Lord Voldemort, now says that Special counsel Robert Mueller “faces a particular challenge maintaining the confidence of the citizenry” as his investigation enters its second year – although it’s sticking to its guns that the problem is not the inquiry itself, but “the regular attacks he faces from President Trump, who has decried the probe as a ‘witch hunt.’”

And then there’s the New York Times, which this week devoted a 3,600-word front-page article to explain why the FBI had no choice but to launch an investigation into Trump’s alleged Russian links and how, if anything, the inquiry wasn’t aggressive enough. As the article puts it, “Interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show that the FBI was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known.”

It’s Nobody’s Fault

The result is a late-breaking media chorus to the effect that it’s not the fault of the FBI that the investigation has dragged on with so little to show for it; it’s not the fault of Mueller either, and, most of all, it’s not the fault of the corporate press, even though it’s done little over the last two years than scream about Russia. It’s not anyone’s fault, evidently, but simply how the system works.

This is nonsense, and the gaping holes in the Times article show why.

The piece, written by Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, and Nicholas Fandos and entitled “Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation,” is pretty much like everything else the Times has written on the subject, i.e. biased, misleading, and incomplete. Its main argument is that the FBI had no option but to step in because four Trump campaign aides had “obvious or suspected Russian ties.”

‘At Putin’s Arm’

One was Michael Flynn, who would briefly serve as Donald Trump’s national security adviser and who, according to the Times, “was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.” Another was Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign chairman and was a source of concern because he had “lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.” A third was Carter Page, a Trump foreign-policy adviser who “was well known to the FBI” because “[h]e had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.” The fourth was George Papadopoulos, a “young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton.”

Seems incriminating, eh? But in each case the connection was more tenuous than the Times lets on. Flynn, for example, didn’t dine “at the arm of the Russian president” at a now-famous December 2015 Moscow banquet honoring the Russian media outlet RT. He was merely at a table at which Putin happened to sit down for “maybe five minutes, maybe twenty, tops,” according to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein who was just a few chairs away. No words were exchanged, Stein says, and “[n]obody introduced anybody to anybody. There was no translator. The Russians spoke Russian. The four people who spoke English spoke English.”

The Manafort associate with the supposed Russian intelligence links turns out to be a Russian-Ukrainian translator named Konstantin Kilimnik who studied English at a Soviet military school and who vehemently denies any such connection. It seems that the Ukrainian authorities did investigate the allegations at one point but declined to press charges. So the connection is unproven.

Page Was No Spy

The same goes for Carter Page, who was not “recruited” by Russian intelligence, but, rather, approached by what he thought were Russian trade representatives at a January 2013 energy symposium in New York. When the FBI informed him five or six months later that it believed the men were intelligence agents, Page appears to have cooperated fully based on a federal indictment filed with the Southern District of New York. Thus, Page was not a spy but a government informant as ex-federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy has pointed out – in other words, a good guy, as the Times would undoubtedly see it, helping the catch a couple of baddies.

As for Papadopoulos, who the Times suggests somehow got advance word that WikiLeaks was about to dump a treasure trove of Hillary Clinton emails, the article fails to mention that at the time the conversation with the Australian ambassador took place, the Clinton communications in the news were the 30,000 State Department emails that she had improperly stored on her private computer. These were the emails that “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about,” as Bernie Sanders put it. Instead of spilling the beans about a data breach yet to come, it’s more likely that Papadopoulos was referring to emails that were already in the news – a possibility the Times fails to discuss.

FBI ‘Perplexed’

One could go on. But not only does the Times article get the details wrong, it paints the big picture in misleading tones as well. It says that the FBI was “perplexed” by such Trump antics as calling on Russia to release still more Clinton emails after WikiLeaks went public with its disclosure. The word suggests a disinterested observer who can’t figure out what’s going on. But it ignores how poisonous the atmosphere had become by that point and how everyone’s mind was seemingly made up.

By July 2016, Clinton was striking out at Trump at every opportunity about his Russian ties – not because they were true, but because a candidate who had struggled to come up with a winning slogan had at last come across an issue that seemed to resonate with her fan base. Consequently, an intelligence report that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee “was a godsend,” wrote Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes in Shatteredtheir best-selling account of the Clinton campaign, because it was “hard evidence upon which Hillary could start to really build the case that Trump was actually in league with Moscow.”

Not only did Clinton believe this, but her followers did as well, as did the corporate media and, evidently, the FBI. This is the takeaway from text messages that FBI counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok exchanged with FBI staff attorney Lisa Page.

Andrew McCarthy, who has done a masterful job of reconstructing the sequence, notes that in late July 2016, Page mentioned an article she had come across on a liberal web site discussing Trump’s alleged Russia ties. Strzok texted back that he’s “partial to any women sending articles about nasty the Russians are.” Page replied that the Russians “are probably the worst. Very little I finding redeeming about this. Even in history. Couple of good writers and artists I guess.” Strzok heartily agreed: “f***ing conniving cheating savages. At statecraft, athletics, you name it. I’m glad I’m on Team USA.”

The F’ing Russian ‘Savages’

This is the institutional bias that the Times doesn’t dare mention. An agency whose top officials believe that “f***ing conniving cheating savages” are breaking down the door is one that is fairly guaranteed to construe evidence in the most negative, anti-Russian way possible while ignoring anything to the contrary. So what if Carter Page had cooperated with the FBI? What’s important is that he had had contact with Russian intelligence at all, which was enough to render him suspicious in the bureau’s eyes. Ditto Konstantin Kilimnik. So what if the Ukrainian authorities had declined to press charges? The fact that they had even looked was damning enough.

The FBI thus made the classic methodological error of allowing its investigation to be contaminated by its preconceived beliefs. Objectivity fell by the wayside. The Times says that Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 agent whose infamous, DNC and Clinton camp paid-for opposition research dossier turned “golden showers” into a household term, struck the FBI as “highly credible” because he had “helped agents unravel complicated cases” in the past. Perhaps. But the real reason is that he told agents what they wanted to hear, which is that the “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years” with the “[a]im, endorsed by PUTIN, … [of] encourage[ing] splits and divisions in [the] western alliance.” (which can be construed as a shrewd defensive move against a Western alliance massing troops on Russian borders.)

What else would one expect of people as “nasty” as these? In fact, the Steele dossier should have caused alarm bells to go off. How could Putin have possibly known five years before that Trump would be a viable presidential candidate? Why would high-level Kremlin officials share inside information with an ex-intelligence official thousands of miles away? Why would the dossier declare on one page that the Kremlin has offered Trump “various lucrative real estate development business deals” but then say on another that Trump’s efforts to drum up business had gone nowhere and that he therefore “had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success”? Given that the dossier was little more than “oppo research” commissioned and funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, why was it worthy of consideration at all?

The Rush to Believe

But all such questions disappeared amid the general rush to believe. The Times is right that the FBI slow-walked the investigation until Election Day. This is because agents assumed that Trump would lose and that therefore there was no need to rush. But when he didn’t, the mood turned to one of panic and fury.

Without offering a shred of evidence, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a formal assessment on Jan. 6, 2017, that “Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election … [in order] to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

The New Yorker reports that an ex-aide to John McCain hoped to persuade the senator to use the Steele dossier to force Trump to resign even before taking office. (The ex-aide denies that this was the case.)

When FBI Director James Comey personally confronted Trump with news of the dossier two weeks prior to inauguration, the Times says he “feared making this conversation a ‘J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,’ with the FBI presenting embarrassing information “to lord over a president-elect.”

But that is precisely what happened. When someone – most likely CIA Director John Brennan, now a commentator with NBC News – leaked word of the meeting and Buzzfeed published the dossier four days later, the corporate media went wild. Trump was gravely wounded, while Adam Schiff, Democratic point man on the House Intelligence Committee, would subsequently trumpet the Steele dossier as the unvarnished truth. According to the Times account, Trump was unpersuaded by Comey’s assurances that he was there to help. “Hours earlier,” the paper says, “… he debuted what would quickly become a favorite phrase: ‘This is a political witch hunt.’”

The Times clearly regards the idea as preposterous on its face. But while Trump is wrong about many things, on this one subject he happens to be right. The press, the intelligence community, and the Democrats have all gone off the deep end in search of a Russia connection that doesn’t exist. They misled their readers, they made fools of themselves, and they committed a crime against journalism. And now they’re trying to dodge the blame.

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics.

May 18, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gina Haspel and the Normalising of Torture

This all happened by accident. This isn’t who we are. We didn’t mean it. Honest.
By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | May 9, 2018

Gina Haspel is almost certainly going to be the next director of the CIA. This shouldn’t happen, but it will.

For those unfamiliar: Haspel was deputy head of the Agency under now-secretary of state Mike Pompeo. But that wasn’t her first job. She also oversaw the CIA torture programme in a secret black-site in Thailand. In 2005 she was promoted (probably because she’s really good at torturing people), and was then in charge of the CIA’s global network of torture sites.

This makes her a terrible person, but probably quite a good CIA agent.

Just to be clear, this is not a theory a rumor or a smear. Nobody debates these facts. This was her job. She supervised torture camps.

The response in the press is pretty disheartening, to be honest. Or, at least would have been, before reading the news and being outraged became my full-time unpaid job.

NBC said it makes her a “controversial” figure.

This story, from CNBC, went with a beautifully disgusting headline:

Trump picks Gina Haspel as first female CIA director—her history with torture could hamper her confirmation

Her “history with torture” doesn’t mean she should be in prison, doesn’t mean she’s an inhuman monster, doesn’t even make her exempt from government office, no. It just might be a bit of a complication. Like a drunk-driving conviction or an affair with a porn star. Torturing people is an embarrassing faux pas.

CNN reports:

She could be the first woman ever to run the CIA

… deciding to headline her genitalia rather than her long history of breaking international law. I would suggest “She could be the first torturer to ever run the CIA” as a better headline. It is, unfortunately, not true… but that’s never stopped CNN before.

The HuffPo at least has the sense to be seemingly undecided about it, just not in the way that you’d think:

Gina Haspel’s dark past makes her a complicated figure for feminists to support.

“Complicated” to support, is an interesting phrase. Some might have gone with “impossible” or “morally repugnant”. Trying to turn this into some kind of ethical quandary for feminists is offensive. Rather like the Guardian’s pitiful attempts to show the sympathetic side of the soldiers in the Abu Ghraib torture pictures.

Speaking of The Guardian… our trusty friend has a new story on Haspel today… its headline?

Gina Haspel must atone for her past to become CIA director

They don’t exactly say how one “atones” for a past as a professional torturer, but then this is The Guardian. There’s not to reason why, there’s just to puff out comfy certitude.

It refers to the detention and torture of people who were never charged or faced trial as “one of the darker chapters in modern US history”… which feels so much like simultaneous under and over statement, it’s actually hard to correct.

It’s NOT one of the darker chapters in US history, ancient or recent. But only because of everything else The Guardian refuses to report on. Torturing a few hundred people is nothing compared to starving 500,000 Iraqi children to death, when you think about it.

The Western press tend to talk about torture as if it was a temporary blip, an accident. A speed bump on our moral high-road. It is none of those things. The West LOVES torture, we have a long tradition of it. The CIA wrote handbooks on it in the 1960s. America tortured people for decades before they got caught. They claim to have stopped now, but they would have claimed they never started… before the leaks happened. It’s almost certainly still going on. Believing otherwise is just naive.

Our side tortures people. People who probably don’t know anything and never did anything.

… not that being guilty or having information justifies torture. That’s the rhetorical trap the media sets around torture. The debate about “effectiveness”.

We don’t ban torture because it doesn’t work, just like we don’t eat babies because it’s expensive and we don’t ban slavery because it’s really hard to find good chains. Even addressing the pragmatic angle is inappropriate. Torture is wrong, and a civilised society does not question that fact.

Of course, the “moral ambiguities” around torture are only for our side. The other side have no ambiguity. If they use torture – even only allegedly – then they are evil. Assad’s (thus far theoretical) torture prisons are one of the reasons we should invade Syria. (You remember, Amnesty International recreated one using echo-location). Unfounded accusations of torture have been levelled at Cuba and Venezuela over the years too.

It’s “torture” when they do it, you understand. Not “enhanced interrogation”. It’s “not who we are”, but it IS who THEY are.

For all that, Barack Obama remains the only modern leader to publicly admit to the use of torture. Remember that when the pronouncements about “our enemies” start flying around.

We have documented, and confessed, cases of using torture. Assad and Putin, Tehran and Beijing, Venezuela and Cuba, do not.

And the people who carried out this torture? They’re getting promoted.

Imagine Putin admitted the FSB tortured Chechens who had committed no crimes, and then appointed one of the torturers as head of the FSB. Would our press demand he “atone” for his dark past? Would we call him a “controversial” figure? Or would there be long editorials about Russia “thumbing their noses at international norms”?

Gina Haspel is a war criminal. The Hague was literally made for people like her. But she will never be charged, she will never be tried, she will never be hanged. Because she’s one of OUR monsters, doing dark deeds for our side. She will face no reckoning from us, instead we ask only that she “atone”, whatever that means.

It is so easy to forgive the crimes of the monsters you create.

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

Gina Haspel and Torture: Not Just Immoral, but a Tool for More War

By Sam Husseini | May 8, 2018

With the nomination of Gina Haspel to be director of the CIA, there’s rightfully some interest in her record regarding torture.

Of course, there are questions of legality and ethics and with respect to torture and it’s possible as some have argued that the motivation of Haspel and others in overseeing torture and covering it up may be simple sadism.

But — especially given how little we know about Haspel’s record — it’s possible that there’s an even more insidious motive in the U.S. government practicing torture: To produce the rigged case for more war. Examining this possibility is made all the more urgent as Trump has put in place what clearly appears to be a war cabinet. My recent questioning at the State Department failed to produce a condemnation of waterboarding by spokesperson Heather Nauert.

Gina Haspel’s hearing on Wednesday gives increased urgency to highlighting her record on torture and how torture has been “exploited.” That is, how torture was used to create “intelligence” for select policies, including the initiation of war.

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, has stated that neither he nor Powell were aware that the claims that Powell made before the UN just before the invasion of Iraq where partly based on torture. According to Wilkerson, Dick Cheney and the CIA prevailed on Powell to make false statements about a connection between Al-Qaeda and Iraq without telling him the “evidence” they were feeding him was based on tortured evidence. See my piece and questioning of Powell: “Colin Powell Showed that Torture DOES Work.”

The 2014 Senate torture report noted (in an obscure footnote) the case Wilkerson speaks of: “Ibn Shaykh al-Libi” stated while in Egyptian custody and clearly being tortured that “Iraq was supporting al-Qa’ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons. Some of this information was cited by Secretary Powell in his speech at the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [censored], 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [censored, likely ‘Egyptians’], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear.” (Libi would in due course be turned over to Muammar Gaddafi during a brief period when he was something of a U.S. ally and be conveniently “suicided” in Libyan custody; see my piece “Torture Did Work — to Produce War (See Footnote 857)

The Senate Armed Services Committee in 2008 indicates the attempt to use torture to concoct “evidence” was even more widespread. It quoted Maj. Paul Burney, who worked as a psychiatrist at Guantanamo Bay prison: “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq and we were not successful. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.” The GTMO Interrogation Control Element Chief, David Becker told the Armed Services Committee he was urged to use more aggressive techniques, being told at one point “the office of Deputy Secretary of Defense [Paul] Wolfowitz had called to express concerns about the insufficient intelligence production at GTMO.”

McClatchy reported in 2009 that Sen. Carl Levin, the chair of the Armed Services Committee, said: “I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq) … They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Exploiting false information has been well understood within the government. Here’s a 2002 memo from the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency to the Pentagon’s top lawyer — it debunks the “ticking time bomb” scenario and acknowledged how false information derived from torture can be useful:

“The requirement to obtain information from an uncooperative source as quickly as possible — in time to prevent, for example, an impending terrorist attack that could result in loss of life — has been forwarded as a compelling argument for the use of torture … The error inherent in this line of thinking is the assumption that, through torture, the interrogator can extract reliable and accurate intelligence. History and a consideration of human behavior would appear to refute this assumption.”

The document (released by the Washington Post, which minimized its most critical revelations and was quickly forgotten in most quarters) concludes:

“The application of extreme physical and/or psychological duress (torture) has some serious operational deficits, most notably, the potential to result in unreliable information. This is not to say that the manipulation of the subject’s environment in an effort to dislocate their expectations and induce emotional responses is not effective. On the contrary, systematic manipulation of the subject’s environment is likely to result in a subject that can be exploited for intelligence information and other national strategic concerns.” [See PDF]

So torture can result in the subject being “exploited” for various propaganda and strategic concerns.

New York Times reported in Feb. 2017: “Gina Haspel, C.I.A. Deputy Director, Had Leading Role in Torture,” that “Mr. Zubaydah alone was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide. The sessions were videotaped and the recordings stored in a safe at the CIA station in Thailand until 2005, when they were ordered destroyed. By then, Ms. Haspel was serving at CIA headquarters, and it was her name that was on the cable carrying the destruction orders.”

Some have made an issue of videos of torture being destroyed —  but it’s been widely assumed that they were destroyed simply because of the potentially graphic nature of the abuse or to hide the identity of those doing the torture. But there’s another distinct possibility: They were destroyed because of the questions they document being asked. Do the torturers ask: “Is there another terrorist attack?” Or do they compel: “Tell us that Iraq and Al-Qaeda are working together.”? The video evidence to answer that question has apparently been destroyed by order of Haspel — with barely anyone raising the possibility of that being the reason.

Even beyond the legal and ethical concerns, the following questions are in order:

* Are you familiar with the case of Ibn Shaykh al-Libi? Do you acknowledge that he was tortured at the behest of the U.S. government by the Egyptian government to produce a false confession that Iraq was linked to al Qaeda and therefore a pretext for war; Colin Powell presenting that at the UN?

* Why were others similarly tortured in 2002 and 2003? Was it really to allegedly protect us, or was it to gain fabricated statements that could be used to rig the case for the Iraq invasion?

* Are you familiar with the practice of exploiting torture?

* Have you ever participated in in any way — or helped cover up — the exploitation of torture?

* Why did you order the destruction of the video tapes of the torture?

* What assurance do we have that you and others who were involved in this won’t do it all again?

* Why do you approve of and cover up for torture? Is it sadism or is it to achieve strategic purposes? What of the motives of your cohorts and superiors?

Sam Husseini is senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy. 

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

De-Briefing Academics: Unpaid Intelligence Informants

By James Petras • Unz Review • May 1, 2018

Introduction

Over the past half-century, I have been engaged in research, lectured and worked with social movements and leftist governments in Latin America. I interviewed US officials and think tanks in Washington and New York. I have written scores of books, hundreds of professional articles and presented numerous papers at professional meetings.

In the course, of my activity I have discovered that many academics frequently engage in what government officials dub ‘de-briefing’! Academics meet and discuss their field-work, data collection, research finding, observations and personal contacts over lunch at the Embassy with US government officials or in Washington with State Department officials.

US government officials look forward to these ‘debriefings’; the academic provided useful access to information which they otherwise could not obtain from paid, intelligence agents or local collaborators.

Not all academic informants are very well placed or competent investigators. However, many provide useful insights and information especially on leftist movements, parties and leaders who are real or potential anti-imperialist adversaries.

US empire builders whether engaged in political or military activities depend on information especially regarding who to back and who to subvert; who should receive diplomatic support and who to receive financial and to military resources.

De-briefed academics identify ‘moderate’ and ‘radical’ adversaries, as well as personal and political vulnerabilities. Officials frequently exploit health problems or family needs to ‘turn’ leftists into imperial stool pigeons.

US officials are especially interested in academic gate-keepers who exclude ‘anti-imperialist’ critics, activists , politicians and government officials.

At times, US State Department officials claim to be sympathetic ‘progressives’ who oppose ‘Neanderthals’ in their institution, in order to elicit inside information from leftist academic informants.

Debriefing is a widespread practice and involves numerous academics from major universities and research centers, as well as non-governmental ‘activists’ and editors of academic journals and publications.

Academic participates in debriefing frequently do not publicize their reporting to the government. Most likely they share their reports with other academic informers. All claim they are merely sharing research and diffusing information for ‘science’ and to further ‘humane values’.

Academic informers always justify their collaboration as providing a clear and more balanced picture to ‘our’ policymakers, ignoring the predictable destructive outcomes likely to ensue.

Academics in the Service of Empire

Academic informants never study, collect research and publicize reports on US covert, overt and clandestine policies in defense of multi-nationals and Latin American elite which collaborate with empire builders.

US officials have no interest in ‘debriefing’ academics conducting anti-imperialist research.

US officials are keen to know any and all reports on ‘movements from below’: who they are, how much influence they have, their susceptibility to bribes, blackmail and invitations to the State Department, Disneyland, or the Wilson Center in D.C.

US officials fund academic research on militant trade unions, agrarian social movements, feminist and ethnic minorities engaged in class struggle, and anti-imperialist activists and leaders, as they all serve as targets for imperial repression.

The officials are also keen on academic reports on so-called ‘moderate’ collaborators who can be funded, advised and recruited to defend the empire, undermine the class struggle and split movements.

Academic informants are especially useful in providing personal and political information on Latin American leftwing intellectuals, academics, journalists, writers and critics which allows US officials to isolate, slander and boycott anti-imperialists, as well as those intellectuals who can be recruited and seduced with foundation grants and invitations to the Kennedy Center at Harvard.

When US officials have a difficult time understanding the intricacies and consequences of ideological debates and factional divisions within leftist parties or regimes, ex-leftist academic informers, who collect documents and interviews, provide detailed explanations and provide officials with a political roadmap to exploit and exacerbate divisions and to guide repressive policies, which undermine adversaries engaged in anti-imperialist and class struggle.

The State Department works hand and glove with research centers and foundations in promoting journals which eschew all mention of imperialism and ruling class exploitation; they promote ‘special issues’ on ‘class-less’ identity politics, post-modern theorizing and ethnic-racial conflicts and conciliation.

In a study of the two leading political science and sociological journals over a period of fifty years they published less than .01% on class struggle and US imperialism

Academic informants have never reported on US government links to narco-political rulers.

Academic informants do not research widespread long term Israeli collaboration with death squads in Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina and El Salvador, in cases because of their loyalties to Tel Aviv and in most cases because the State Department is not interested in debriefings which expose their allies and their joint complicity.

Academic Informants: What do they want and what do they get?

Academic informers engage in debriefing for various reasons. A few do so simply because they share the politics and ideology of the empire builders and feel it is their ‘duty’ to serve.

The great majority are established academics with ties to research centers who inform because it fattens their CV– which helps secure grants, prestigious appointments and awards.

Progressive academics who collaborate have a Janus face approach; they speak at Leftist public conferences, especially to students and in private they report to the State Department.

Many academics believe they can influence and change government policy. They seek to impress self-identified ‘progressive’ officials with their inside knowledge on how to ‘turn’ Latin critics into moderate collaborators. They invent innocuous academic categories and concepts to attract graduate students to further collaboration with imperial colleagues.

The Consequence of Academic Debriefing

Former leftist academic informers are frequently cited by the mass media as reliable and knowledgeable ‘experts’ in order to slander anti-imperialist governments, academics and critics.

Ex-leftist academics pressure rising scholars with a critical perspective to adopt ‘moderate’ reasonable critiques, to denounce and avoid anti-imperialist ‘extremists’ and to disparage them as ‘polemical ideologues’!

Academic informants in Chile helped the US Embassy identify neighborhood militants who were handed over to the secret police (DINA) during the Pinochet dictatorship.

US academic informants in Peru and Brazil provided the Embassy with research projects which identified nationalist military officials and leftist students who were subsequently purged, arrested and tortured.

In Colombia, US academic informers were active in providing reports on rural insurgent movements which led to massive repression. Academic collaborators provided detailed reports to the [US] embassy in Venezuela on the grass roots movements and political divisions among Chavista government and military officials with command of troops.

The State Department financed academics working with NGOs who identified and recruited middle class youth as street fighters, drug gangsters and the destitute to engage in violent struggles to overthrow the elected government by paralyzing the economy.

Academic reports on regime ‘violence’ and ‘authoritarianism’ served as propaganda fodder for the State Department to impose economic sanctions, impoverishing people, to foment a coup. US academic collaboraters enlisted their Latin colleagues to sign petitions urging rightwing regimes in the region to boycott Venezuela.

When academic informers are confronted with the destructive consequences of imperial advances they argue that it was not their ‘intention’; that it was not their State Department contacts who carried out the regressive policies. The more cynical claim that the government was going to do their dirty work regardless of the debriefing.

Conclusion

What is clear in virtually all known experiences is that academic informers’ de-briefings strengthened the empire-builders and complemented the deadly work of the paid professional operatives of the CIA, DEA and the National Security Agency.

May 5, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

JFK and the Inconceivable Doctrine, Part 2

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | May 4, 2018

Three years ago, I wrote an article entitled “JFK and the Inconceivable Doctrine,” in which I pointed out how many lone-nut theorists in the JFK assassination have reached their conclusion based not on an examination of the circumstantial evidence in the case but instead simply on the notion that it is inconceivable that the U.S. national-security establishment would have carried out a domestic regime-change operation by assassinating an American president.

I would invite readers to read or review that article. The purpose of this article is to elaborate on this theme.

A lone-theorist might say, “Jacob, it is just inconceivable that the CIA and the Pentagon would engage in assassination.”

Yet, the evidence is overwhelming that both the Pentagon and the CIA have assassinated people and, in fact, continue to assassinate people.

The circumstantial evidence indicates that as far back as 1953 the CIA was specializing in the art of assassination. That fact is demonstrated by the discovery in the 1990s of a top-secret CIA assassination manual that was being developed as part of the U.S. national-security state’s regime-change operation against Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz. Entitled “A Study of Assassination,” the manual not only details methods to assassinate people, it also examines ways to prevent people from discovering that the CIA was behind the assassination. For example, the manual recommends tossing a person out of a high-story building and making it look like a suicide, so that people wouldn’t suspect that the CIA has assassinated the victim.

The CIA’s assassination manual was not simply an intellectual or theoretical exercise. It was an actual manual for assassinating people. In fact, the CIA actually developed a list of people to be assassinated as part of its 1954 regime-change operation against Guatemala.

A lone-nut theorist might say, “Jacob, fair enough. By the time of the Kennedy assassination, the CIA was specializing in the art of assassination. But it is simply inconceivable that the CIA would assassinate an innocent person.”

But the circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly establishes that the CIA was assassinating innocent people. For example, before Kennedy became president, the CIA targeted Congo leader Patrice Lumumba for assassination. He was innocent in the sense that he had never initiated any act of violence against the United States.

As part of the CIA’s 1954 regime-change operation against Guatemala, the CIA developed a top-secret list of Guatemalan officials who were to be assassinated as part of the operation. We are still not permitted to see the names of the people on that top-secret list but there is little doubt that Arbenz was at the top of the list. Fortunately for him, he escaped from the country before they could assassinate him. Arbenz was innocent in the sense that he and his government had never initiated any act of violence against the United States. In fact, the only reasons he was targeted for regime change were because of his socialist-communist proclivities and his desire to establish friendly and peaceful relations with the Soviet Union, including Russia.

There was also the CIA’s top-secret assassination partnership in the early 1960s with the Mafia, the world’s premier criminal and heroin-running organization at that time. The purpose of that partnership was to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro, notwithstanding the fact that neither Castro nor the Cuban government had ever initiated any act of violence against the United States. Like Arbenz, Castro was considered to be a legitimate target of assassination because of his devotion to socialism and communism and his desire to have normalized, friendly, and peaceful relations with the Soviet Union, including Russia.

In the early 1970s, there was the CIA’s plot to kidnap and assassinate Gen. Rene Schneider, the overall commanding general of Chile’s armed forces. What had Schneider done to deserve kidnapping and assassination? He opposed the U.S. national-security establishment’s desire for a military coup that would oust Chile’s president, Salvador Allende. That was it. That’s why he was murdered.

A lone-nut theorist might say, “Okay, fair enough, Jacob. They do assassinate innocent people, that is people who have never initiated any act of violence against the United States. But it is simply inconceivable that they would assassinate a democratically elected leader of a country.”

Once again, however, the circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly supports the contrary. Arbenz, after all, was the democratically elected president of Guatemala. Lumumba was the democratically elected prime minister of the Congo. Allende was the democratically elected president of Chile. (While the evidence indicates that Allende committed suicide rather than be taken prisoner by his national-security establishment during the coup, there is no doubt that the U.S.-supported Chilean military was trying to assassinate Allende during the coup by firing missiles from jet planes into his position in the national palace.)

A lone-nut theorist might say, “Okay, Jacob, I am willing to acknowledge that they do assassinate democratically elected leaders. But it is simply inconceivable that they would murder an American citizen.”

Yet, the circumstantial evidence indicates otherwise. During the Chilean coup, for example, two Americans, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, were executed by the Chilean national-security establishment. A top-secret State Department investigative report concluded that U.S. intelligence had played a role in those murders. The report didn’t detail the exact role but it had to be that U.S. intelligence simply requested their Chilean counterparts to execute Horman and Teruggi. The report recommended further investigation but, not surprisingly, that recommendation went nowhere.

Why did U.S. intelligence officials want Horman and Teruggi dead? Three reasons. One, the two men believed in socialism and were supporters of Allende, who, like Arbenz and Castro, was a socialist. Two, Horman had discovered U.S. national-security state complicity in the coup, something U.S. officials were determined to keep absolutely top secret. Three, Teruggi was considered a traitor because he opposed U.S. intervention in the Vietnam War.

There is also the case of Frank Olson, an American civilian working for the U.S. national-security establishment. He had a crisis of conscience regarding the U.S. national-security establishment’s top-secret MKULTRA program and its illegal use of germ warfare against the North Korean people during the Korean War. As detailed in the book A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Cold War and the Netflix series Wormwood (both of which I highly recommend), Olson was thrown out of high-story hotel in New York City, but it was made to look like suicide from an MKULTRA drug experiment against him that had supposedly gone awry. That, of course, was precisely one of the methods of assassination that were recommended in that top-secret 1953 CIA assassination manual.

I should also mention the U.S. national-security state assassinations of Mary Pinchot Meyer and Dorothy Kilgallen, both of whom were Americans, as detailed in the excellent books Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace by Peter Janney and The Reporter Who Knew Too Much by Mark Shaw.

And of course, there are the recent assassinations of American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, along with the entire formal assassination program that has now become an open and permanent program within the U.S. government.

A lone-nut theorist might say, “Okay, Jacob, I will acknowledge that they are willing to assassinate American citizens if they are convinced that “national security” requires it. But it is simply inconceivable that they would assassinate a democratically elected president of our country.”

But what if the president of the United States is perceived to be an even greater threat to “national security” than, say, Patrice Lumumba, Fidel Castro, Jacobo Arbenz, and Salvador Allende?

Indeed, as Douglas Horne details in FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated, there was a vicious war that was being waged below the radar screen between Kennedy and the Pentagon and the CIA over the future direction of the United States, something they kept secret from the American people for decades.

Kennedy was determined to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union, including Russia, Cuba, and the rest of the communist world, which, needless to say, would have removed the justification for converting the federal government to a national-security state in the first place.

The U.S. national-security establishment, not surprisingly, considered Kennedy’s actions to be akin to surrender or defeat at the hands of the communists. As far as they were concerned, peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union, Russia, and the rest of the communist world was impossible. For them, this was a fight to the finish, even if that meant nuclear war.

The Pentagon and the CIA considered Kennedy to be a naïve, incompetent, treasonous president who was placing America in much greater danger than foreigner leaders like Arbenz, Castro, and Lumumba were doing and like Allende would later do.

For his part, Kennedy considered people with that type of mindset to be nut-balls. That’s why after seeing an advertisement accusing him of treason in the Dallas Morning News on the morning of the assassination, he turned to his wife Jackie and remarked, “We are headed into nut country today.”

Notwithstanding the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence pointing toward a national-security domestic-regime change operation carried out on November 22, 1963, many lone-nut theorists continue to hew to the notion that it is just inconceivable that the U.S. national-security establishment would act to protect America from a president whose policies were perceived to constitute a grave threat to “national security.” To actually explore the evidence in the case is still just too frightening for them.

For more information:

The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger
JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne
Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob Hornberger
The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger
CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley
The National Security State and JFK,” a FFF conference featuring Oliver Stone and ten other speakers
Altered History: Exposing Deceit and Deception in the JFK Assassination Medical Evidence,” a five-part video by Douglas P. Horne
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass

May 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

James Comey’s Forgotten Rescue of Bush-Era Torture

By James Bovard | Mises Wire | May 1, 2018

Here I stand, I can do no other,” James Comey told President George W. Bush in 2004 when Bush pressured Comey – who was then Deputy Attorney General – to approve an unlawful antiterrorist policy. Comey, who was FBI chief from 2013 to 2017, was quoting a line reputedly uttered by Martin Luther in 1521, when he told Holy Roman Emperor Charles V that he would not recant his sweeping criticisms of the Catholic Church. Comey’s quotation of himself quoting the father of the Reformation is par for the self-reverence of his new memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.

MSNBC host Chris Matthews recently declared, “James Comey made his bones by standing up against torture. He was a made man before Trump came along.” Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria, in a column declaring that Americans should be “deeply grateful” to lawyers like Comey, declared, “The Bush administration wanted to claim that its ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were lawful. Comey believed they were not… So Comey pushed back as much as he could.”

Martin Luther risked death to fight against what he considered the heresies of his time. Comey, a top Bush administration policymaker, found a safer way to oppose the worldwide secret U.S. torture regime widely considered a heresy against American values. Comey approved brutal practices and then wrote some memos and emails fretting about the optics.

Comey became Deputy Attorney General in late 2003 and “had oversight of the legal justification used to authorize” key Bush programs in the war on terror. At that time, the Bush White House was pushing the Justice Department to again sign off on an array of extreme practices that had begun shortly after the 9/11 attacks. A 2002 Justice Department memo had leaked out that declared that the president was entitled to ignore federal law in approving extreme interrogation techniques. Photos had also leaked from Abu Ghraib prison showing the stacking of naked prisoners with bags over their heads, mock electrocution via a wire connected to a man’s penis, guard dogs on the verge of ripping into naked men, and grinning U.S. male and female soldiers celebrating the bloody degradation. A confidential CIA Inspector General report had just warned that post-9/11 CIA interrogation methods may violate the international Convention Against Torture.

Rather than ending the abuses, Comey repudiated the memo. Speaking to the media in a not-for-attribution session on June 22, 2004, Comey declared that the 2002 memo was “overbroad,” “abstract academic theory,” and “legally unnecessary.” Comey helped oversee crafting a new memo with different legal footing to justify the same interrogation methods.

Comey twice gave explicit approval for waterboarding, which sought to break detainees with near-drowning. This practice had been recognized as a war crime by the U.S. government since the Spanish American War.

Comey wrote in his memoir that he was losing sleep over concern about Bush administration torture polices. But losing sleep was not an option for detainees because Comey approved sleep deprivation as an interrogation technique. Detainees could be forcibly kept awake for up to 180 hours until they confessed their sins. How did this work? At Abu Ghraib, the notorious Iraqi prison, one FBI agent reported seeing a detainee “handcuffed to a railing with a nylon sack on his head and a shower curtain draped around him, being slapped by a soldier to keep him awake.”

Comey also approved “wall slamming” – which, as law professor David Cole wrote, meant that detainees could be thrown against a wall up to 30 times. Comey also signed off on the CIA using “interrogation” methods such as facial slaps, locking detainees in small boxes for 18 hours, and forced nudity. When the secret Comey memo approving those methods finally became public in 2009, many Americans were aghast – and relieved that the Obama administration had repudiated Bush policies.

When it came to opposing torture, Comey’s version of “Here I stand” had more loopholes than a reverse mortgage contract. Though Comey in 2005 approved each of 13 controversial extreme interrogation methods, he objected to combining multiple methods on one detainee. It was as if Martin Luther grudgingly approved of the Catholic Church selling indulgences to individually expunge sins for adultery, robbery, lying, and gluttony but vehemently objected if all the sins were expunged in one lump sum payment.

In 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee finally released a massive report, Americans learned grisly details of the CIA torture regime that Comey helped legally sanctify – including death via hypothermia, rape-like rectal feeding of detainees, compelling detainees to stand long periods on broken legs, and dozens of cases of innocent people pointlessly brutalized. Psychologists aided the torture regime, offering hints on how to destroy the will and resistance of prisoners. The only CIA official to go to prison for the torture scandal was courageous whistleblower John Kiriakou.

If Comey had resigned in 2004 or 2005 to protest the torture techniques he now claims to abhor, he would deserve some of the praise he is now receiving. Instead, he remained in the Bush administration but wrote an email summarizing his objections, declaring that “it was my job to protect the department and the A.G. [Attorney General] and that I could not agree to this because it was wrong.” A 2009 New York Times analysis noted that Comey and two colleagues “have largely escaped criticism [for approving torture] because they raised questions about interrogation and the law.” In Washington, writing emails is “close enough for government work” to convey sainthood.

When Comey finally exited the Justice Department in August 2005 to become a lavishly-paid senior vice president for Lockheed Martin, he proclaimed in a farewell speech that protecting the Justice Department’s “reservoir” of “trust and credibility” requires “vigilance” and “an unerring commitment to truth.” But Comey perpetuated policies that shattered the moral credibility of both the Justice Department and the U.S. government. Comey failed to heed another Martin Luther admonition: “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”


James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications.

May 3, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Did Trump and the CIA Strike a Deal on the JFK Records?

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | May 2, 2018

Did President Trump grant the CIA an additional 3 1/2 years of secrecy on its JFK assassination-related records because he truly believed that “national security” was at stake? Or did Trump grant the CIA’s request for continued secrecy as part of a negotiated bargain that Trump reached with the CIA?

Consider the following tweets that Trump sent out the week before October 26, 2017, when the 25-year deadline set by the JFK Records Act was set to expire:

October 21: “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”

October 25: “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!

Notice something important here: Trump makes no mention of any request by the CIA for continued secrecy. How likely is it that the CIA had not made such a request prior to that week? Not likely at all. It is inconceivable that the CIA would wait until October 26, rush into Trump’s office and declare, “Mr. President, we totally forgot about the deadline set 25 years ago and we need an additional time to review the records.” (As an interesting aside, notice that neither Trump, the CIA, nor the National Archives has disclosed to the public any written request by the CIA or any other federal agency for continued secrecy of the JFK assassination-related records.)

There is another possible explanation for what was going on during the week of October 26. As I pointed out my October 27, 2017, article “The JFK Cover-Up Continues,” the possibility exists that Trump was negotiating with the CIA and taking the matter to the brink with his two tweets — that is, that Trump knew that continued secrecy was critically important to the CIA but that he wanted something in return. You know, The Art of the Deal.

If that is what was happening, then Trump was likely communicating to the CIA with his tweets, “Give me what I want or I release the records.” That would mean that at the last minute the CIA caved and gave Trump what he wanted, which would explain why Trump suddenly changed his mind on October 26 and granted another six months of secrecy, contrary to what his two tweets indicated he would do immediately prior to that October 26 deadline.

What was something that would have been important to Trump that the CIA could have given him? As I indicated in my October 27 article, what would have been important to Trump would have been an exoneration in the Russia investigation, at the very least with respect to Congress and maybe, hopefully, even with respect to the investigation being conducted by the special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller. As part of the deal, Trump would have demanded that the CIA exercise its considerable power and influence to bring one and hopefully both investigations to a satisfactory conclusion.

Why only six months of secrecy back in October? Because as I indicated in my October 27 article, Trump would have wanted a guarantee that the CIA would live up to its end of the bargain. If the CIA didn’t deliver at its end, Trump could still order a release of the records in April. If the CIA delivered, Trump could grant its request for additional secrecy when the April deadline came.

On April 26, the day that the six-month extension expired, Trump granted the CIA another 2 1/2 years of secrecy. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but one day later, April 27, the House Intelligence Committee released its final report exonerating Trump in its investigation into the Russia brouhaha.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

US Court Finds Iran Liable for 9/11

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | May 2, 2018

A US court has just handed down the verdict that the Islamic Republic of Iran owes the families of those who died on 11th September 2001 6 billion dollars in damages.

It behooves us to point out that no one, anywhere, ever accused Iran of being behind the 9/11 attacks for over a decade afterwards. The attempt to shift the blame to Iran has been a slow developing situation. The idea was first floated by James Woolsey, former head of the CIA, in 2015.

The official position of the United States government is that 19 people (15 Saudi Arabians, 2 Egyptians, 2 Emiratis and a Lebanese man) hijacked the planes and flew them into their targets. Whether or not you subscribe to this view, the introduction of Iran as some kind accomplice is a massive contradiction. One that makes very little sense.

This isn’t the first time a civil case has attempted to attribute blame for 9/11. A similar civil case was brought against Saddam Hussein, during the build up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Hopefully this verdict doesn’t presage yet another war in the Middle East.

Perhaps the most telling part is that Saudi Arabia, the country allegedly home to 15 of the 19 people allegedly guilty of the crime, remains untouchable. No sanctions. No rebukes. They’re not on the “state sponsor of terrorism” list (Iran is). A case brought against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, filed by a different group of victims’ families and blaming them for 9/11, was thrown out of court.

Is “guilt for 9/11” simply a weapon to be deployed against anyone America deems an enemy? How much respect for the victims, or their families, does that show? How much respect for the truth?

Certainly, this verdict will get far more press coverage than the new petition, filed on behalf of a third group of victims’ families, demanding a new investigation of 9/11.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Ex-DNI Clapper leaked Steele dossier info to CNN, then tried to deny it in Congress – House report

RT | April 28, 2018

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence-turned CNN pundit, first denied and then admitted to discussing the anti-Trump ‘Steele dossier’ with a CNN journalist while in office, an intelligence report reveals.

The 253-page US House Intelligence Committee report on the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections outlines Clapper’s “inconsistent testimony to the Committee about his contacts to the media, including CNN.” Pages 107-108 feature the record of how Clapper “flatly denied” discussing the dossier compiled by Christopher Steele with the media during a congressional testimony in July, but then “subsequently acknowledged discussing the dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper.”

Tapper co-authored a breaking CNN report on a briefing that US President Donald Trump received from senior intelligence officials on a Steele Dossier.

The heavily-redacted House report notes that Clapper discussed the topic with Tapper around the same time that Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama received their respective briefings on the Steele dossier. The conversation took place in “early January,” which runs counter to Clapper’s own account of events, in which he previously insisted that he had not leaked any info to the media about the infamous dossier before he left office on January, 20.

The House report also says that the CNN article served as a trigger for all the subsequent dossier-related publications, becoming a “proximate cause of BuzzFeed News’ decision to publish the dossier for the first time just a few hours later.” The report notes that the dossier had long been circulating in the intelligence community and among the media, but only following the CNN release that cited “multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings” in its report, Pandora’s box was opened.

Ironically, a day after CNN published its report, which it now turns out could have been sourced by Clapper himself, the former DNI chief publicly denounced the leaks, voicing his “profound dismay,” and saying that he does not “believe the leaks came from within the IC [ intelligence community],” the report notes.

The Steele dossier features unverified, salacious details about Trump’s stay in Moscow, sparking speculations that Russia might be in possession of compromising material, which it could use to blackmail the US president.

Topping off the Clapper-CNN controversy is the fact that soon after leaving office, he was hired by none other than CNN as its national security analyst. The timing is mentioned specifically in the House report, which says Clapper started working for CNN “shortly after his testimony to the committee.”

This is not the first time that Clapper has been caught red-handed lying to lawmakers. Last month marked five years since he told the US Select Committee on Intelligence how the National Security Agency (NSA) was not collecting the data on millions of Americans. Three months later, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden uncovered a mass surveillance program that had been run by the agency for years.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The JFK Cover-Up Continues

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | April 27, 2018

Just as I repeatedly predicted, President Trump, the CIA, and the National Archives decided to continue keeping those 50-year-old JFK-assassination records of the CIA and other elements of the U.S. national-security establishment secret from the American people. On yesterday’s deadline, Trump dutifully issued an executive decree ordering at least three more years of official secrecy.

My new prediction: When the new deadline arrives on October 26, 2021, it will be extended again. The American people will never — repeat never — be permitted to see those records.

Last October, I also correctly predicted that Trump would accede to CIA demands to extend the time for secrecy when the original deadline that had been sent 25 years ago arrived for releasing those 50-year-old records.

Now, before you call me Nostradamus, let me point out that it doesn’t take a psychic or even a rocket scientist to predict that the CIA would do whatever is necessary to keep those records secret, even after 50 years. That’s what guilty people do — they do whatever is necessary to keep their guilt concealed.

Secrecy was always an essential aspect of the regime-change operation that took place on November 23, 1963 (just as secrecy was essential to the U.S. regime-change operations that took place in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Congo, and Chile from 1953-1973). That’s why official investigations were shut down immediately after suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was himself assassinated. It was imperative to the success of the operation that secrecy be maintained. Otherwise, it was a virtual certainty that investigations would pierce through the pat lone-nut theory and discover that the assassination was instead a highly sophisticated regime-change operation, one involving the frame-up of a U.S. intelligence agent, former U.S. Marine Oswald, who had been secretly trained to pose as a communist agent as a way to infiltrate the Soviet Union (America’s WW II partner and ally that had been converted into an official Cold War enemy) and, later, to help destroy domestic “communist” organizations like the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

Keep in mind the top-secret assassination manual that the CIA started developing in 1954, as part of its regime-change operation against the president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, who, like Kennedy, was democratically elected in a national election. That manual, which didn’t come to light until the 1990s, established that the CIA was specializing not only in the art of assassination but also in the art of covering up any CIA involvement in the assassination. Keep in mind also that they were willing to assassinate Arbenz, an innocent man, because they had concluded that he was a grave threat to “national security.”

If you haven’t already read FFF’s ebook JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, I highly recommend you do so. Horne served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board, which was the enforcement commission of the JFK Records Act, which mandated the release of all records held by the CIA and other federal agencies relating to the assassination.

JFK’s War explains motive. Kennedy’s war with the Pentagon and the CIA was much worse (from their standpoint) than anything Arbenz had done and, for that matter, what Mossadegh in Iran had done, Lumumba in Congo had done, what Castro in Cuba had done, and what Allende in Chile would do. Just as all those foreign leaders were believed to be threats to U.S. “national security” and, therefore, were made targets of U.S. regime-change operations, including assassination, why should it surprise anyone that Kennedy himself would be made a target of a domestic regime-change operation given that what he was doing, from the standpoint of the U.S. national security establishment, was much worse than anything that those other leaders had done or would do? Or to put it another way, if foreign leaders who pose a threat to U.S. “national security” are going to be removed from power, why wouldn’t a domestic leader who posed an even greater threat to U.S. “national security” be removed from power?

Kennedy’s war with the U.S. national-security establishment had to be kept secret, for obvious reasons. If Americans had discovered that that war was going on, they would have become even more suspicious over the pat facts that pointed to a lone-nut assassination. Thus, Americans were led to believe, falsely, that everything had been hunky dory with Kennedy and that Lyndon Johnson, the Pentagon, and the CIA were just continuing his foreign policies, especially by revitalizing the Cold War, which Kennedy had vowed to end, expanding troops in Vietnam, which Kennedy was withdrawing, and ending all negotiations with Soviet Premier Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, which Kennedy had secretly initiated, something the American people wouldn’t discover for decades.

Ask yourself an obvious question: If President Kennedy really was the victim of a random assassination by some lone nut who had no motive to kill him, would it really have been necessary to shroud the Warren Commission hearings in secrecy, based on the ridiculous claim of “national security”?

No matter how good the Pentagon and the CIA were at regime-change operations — and there is no doubt that they were extremely good (as reflected by their success in Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Chile, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other places), a domestic regime-change operation is extremely difficult, especially one involving a frame-up of an innocent man. There are obviously lots of pieces to that type of sophisticated operation, including the assassination, the frame-up, and the cover-up.

Lots of things can go wrong in that type of operation, and they did. I recommend FFF’s ebook The Kennedy Autopsy, which I authored. It documents many of the things that went wrong with the military autopsy of President’s Kennedy’s body. For example, there were numerous witnesses, including enlisted men, who could confirm that Kennedy’s body was secretly brought into the Bethesda morgue earlier than anyone knew, which then enabled the military pathologists to secretly work on the body before the official autopsy began.

To have those witnesses seeing the body secretly brought into the morgue early clearly could not have been part of the original plan. They could have blown the cover-up sky-high. Thus, U.S. military officials swore those witnesses to secrecy by written oath, with threats of extreme punishment if they ever revealed what they had seen. Secrecy guaranteed their silence … until the 1970s, when the House Select Committee began reinvestigating the Kennedy assassination and the witnesses were released from their vow of silence, which caused the autopsy part of the cover-up to begin unraveling.

For a much more in-depth analysis of the critical role that the Kennedy autopsy played in the JFK assassination cover-up, I recommend FFF’s 5-part video presentation by Horne entitled Altered History: Exposing Deceit and Deception in the JFK Assassination Medical Evidence.

Or consider Mexico City, where Oswald supposedly visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies shortly before the assassination. Isn’t that convenient? The accused assassin does things to confirm that he is a “communist” just before he happens to get a job at a place in Dallas where the president just happens to be passing by. Like I say, the evidence supporting the lone-nut theory has always been a bit too pat.

Except for one thing: Everything obviously went wrong with that part of the frameup, which is why they immediately shut down the official investigation into Mexico City. After all, ask yourself: Why would they shut down the part of the investigation that supposedly confirmed their version of events — that a former U.S. Marine communist had visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies just before the assassination? Don’t you think they would want to investigate all aspects of that part of the story?

Not if everything went wrong. For example, they came up with a photograph of a guy who wasn’t Oswald. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover telephoned Lyndon Johnson and said that they had telephone recordings of Oswald except that the voice wasn’t Oswald. The CIA said that its cameras monitoring the Cuban embassy were broken. Imagine that!

Not surprisingly, the Mexico City operation is still shrouded in mystery. Guess what: Some of those 50-year old records that Trump, the CIA, and the National Archives are still keeping secret pertain to Mexico City. Do you see why they might want to continue keeping them secret?

No, there is no videotaped confession in the still-secret records. No, there is no acknowledgement that the national-security establishment assassinated Kennedy in one of its much-vaunted national-security state regime-change operations. But the CIA knows that the records that are still being kept secret would fill more of the mosaic that has slowly come into view over the decades as more and more circumstantial evidence has been uncovered, a mosaic that points to a domestic regime-change operation against a president that was at war with his own national-security establishment over the future direction of America, a president who was deemed to be an even greater threat to national security than Mossadegh, Arbenz, Castro, Lumumba, and, later, Allende.

To get an excellent depiction of this overall mosaic, I recommend two books: JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglas and Regime Change: The JFK Assassination, another book that I authored.

I also recommend two other FFF books:

  1. CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley, the former Washington Post reporter who uncovered the CIA’s long-secret and still highly secret role in an organization called the DRE, which was being secretly monitored and supervised by the CIA, specifically a CIA officer named George Joannides. The DRE was the first organization after Kennedy was assassinated to publicly advertise Oswald’s communist bona fides, only no one but the CIA knew that the CIA was supervising and funding the DRE. Joannides, by the way, would later play an instrumental role in obstructing congressional investigators in the 1970s from accessing the CIA’s records on Oswald’s trip to Mexico City.
  2. The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger

In a recent editorial referring to Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and the attorney-client privilege, the New York Times wrote, “Anyway, one might ask, if … Mr. Trump has nothing illegal or untoward to hide, why does he care about the privilege in the first place?”

The obvious question arises: If the CIA and the rest of the U.S. national-security establishment have nothing to hide from the release of those 50-year-old records, then why keep them secret? The answer is that they do have something to hide, and it has nothing to do with “national security.”

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment