TBR News April 14, 2017

Apr 14 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. April 14, 2017;”In 2000, one Robert T. Crowley, once Deputy Director for Clandestine Operations of the CIA, died in a Washington hospital. Crowley had been a high-level official in the CIA since its inception in 1948 and was privy to an impressive number of historically important events. He was also chief liaison to the major media and was responsible for many inaccurate and deliberately planted stories, designed to draw public attention away from embarrassing events. Crowley had just completed a manuscript covering his years of service before he went to the hospital and for some time after he died, the FBI and other agencies and their paid helpers made frantic efforts to locate the manuscript. They failed. Now, it is strongly rumored, this compendium of small, and large, murders, instigated revolts, drug involvements and more is being offered to various publishers, both in and outside of the United States. Ten years ago, the bulk of the American public would dismiss Crowley’s revelations as nonsense but at this point in time, they would not.”

Table of Contents

  • Nuclear tests and preemptive strikes: fears grow over North Korea escalation
  • China says North Korea tension has to be stopped from reaching ‘irreversible’ stage
  • Trump Walks Into Syria Trap Via Fake ‘Intelligence’
  • The True Cost of Israel
  • AIPAC Activities
  • CIA director brands WikiLeaks a ‘hostile intelligence service’
  • Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms
  • 10 Dirty Secret CIA Operations

 Nuclear tests and preemptive strikes: fears grow over North Korea escalation

As concerns mount North Korea may be about to conduct a nuclear test, a senior Pyongyang official blamed US President Donald Trump for stirring up tensions. Reports suggest the US could launch a preemptive strike.

April 14, 2017

by Samantha Early (with AP, AFP, Reuters)


North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol on Friday blamed US President Donald Trump for building up tensions on the Korean Peninsula with his “aggressive” words and tweets. In an interview with the news agency AP, he warned the US against provoking the country militarily.

“If the US comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with the DPRK’s pre-emptive strike,” Han said, calling North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “We will go to war if they choose.”

An April 11 tweet from Trump, saying North Korea was looking for trouble and if China did not help the US would “solve the problem without them,” was cited by Han who said it was the US that “makes trouble.”

Last weekend, a US aircraft carrier and its strike group were diverted to waters off the Korean Peninsula. The Trump administration has warned its policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea is over.

“North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of,” Trump told reporters. North Korea has continued to conduct missile and nuclear tests despite UN and other sanctions.

As concerns mount North Korea may be about to conduct a nuclear test, a senior Pyongyang official blamed US President Donald Trump for stirring up tensions. Reports suggest the US could launch a preemptive strike.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol on Friday blamed US President Donald Trump for building up tensions on the Korean Peninsula with his “aggressive” words and tweets. In an interview with the news agency AP, he warned the US against provoking the country militarily.

“If the US comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with the DPRK’s pre-emptive strike,” Han said, calling North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “We will go to war if they choose.”

An April 11 tweet from Trump, saying North Korea was looking for trouble and if China did not help the US would “solve the problem without them,” was cited by Han who said it was the US that “makes trouble.”

Last weekend, a US aircraft carrier and its strike group were diverted to waters off the Korean Peninsula. The Trump administration has warned its policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea is over.

“North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of,” Trump told reporters. North Korea has continued to conduct missile and nuclear tests despite UN and other sanctions.

China’s role

However, Trump said he believed tensions over the North’s nuclear program could be resolved with help from China, while Beijing itself said military force would not help the situation.

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” the president said in a “Wall Street Journal” interview after talks on the subject with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He said he hoped China’s pressure could steer North Korea away from its nuclear program.

China said it was relying on negotiations to settle tensions. “Military force cannot resolve the issue,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing, adding is was necessary to stop the situation going down an “irreversible route.”.

Past failed tests

Speculation has arisen that the North might be planning a nuclear test to coincide with a national day of celebration. In Pyongyang, celebrations are already underway ahead of North Korea’s biggest national day, the “Day of the Sun” on Saturday. It marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.

In 2012, two days ahead of the centenary of Kim Il Sung’s death, it tried but failed to launch a long-range rocket carrying a satellite. Pyongyang tested a newly developed intermediate-range missile on the anniversary last year, although the launch also failed.


China says North Korea tension has to be stopped from reaching ‘irreversible’ stage

April 14, 2017

by Dominique Patton and Sue-Lin Wong


BEIJING/PYONGYANG-China said on Friday tension over North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an “irreversible and unmanageable stage” as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed toward the region amid fears the North may conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.

Concern has grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. and unilateral sanctions.

The United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” is over. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally and neighbor which nevertheless opposes its weapons program, has called for talks leading to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

“We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing.

North Korea denounced the United States for bringing “huge nuclear strategic assets” to the region as the Carl Vinson strike group with a flag-ship nuclear-powered aircraft carrier steamed closer, and said it stood ready to strike back.

“The Trump administration, which made a surprise guided cruise-missile strike on Syria on April 6, has entered the path of open threat and blackmail,” the North’s KCNA news agency quoted the military as saying in a statement.

U.S. ally South Korea warned against any North Korean “provocation”, such as a nuclear or missile test.

“There is certain to be powerful punitive measure that will be difficult for the North Korean regime to endure,” the South’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


While Trump has put North Korea on notice that he will not tolerate any more provocation, U.S. officials have said his administration is focusing its strategy on tougher economic sanctions.

Trump said on Thursday North Korea was a problem that “will be taken care of” and he believed Chinese President Xi Jinping would “work very hard” to help resolve it.

Trump has also said the United States is prepared to tackle the crisis without China, if necessary.

He diverted the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its strike group toward the Korean peninsula last weekend in a show of force.

Trump has also been pressing China to do more to rein in North Korea.

China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26 under U.N. sanctions, cutting off the North’s most important export, and on Friday, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said national airline Air China was suspending flights to Pyongyang.

It did not say why the flights, which operate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, were being suspended and Air China could not be reached for comment.

Worry about North Korean aggression has also led to a deterioration of ties between China and South Korea because China objects to the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in the South.

“It’s not hard to see that ever since the United States and Republic of Korea decided to deploy THAAD, the situation has not become harmonious but has become more tense,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, said in response to a question about the system.

South Korea and the United States say the sole purpose of the THAAD is to guard against North Korean missiles, but China says that its powerful radar could penetrate its territory.

The dollar fell on Friday against a basket of currencies, on track for a losing week as tension over North Korea underpinned the perceived safe-haven Japanese yen.

Japan’s Nikkei business daily said the government had discussed how to rescue an estimated 57,000 Japanese citizens in South Korea as well as how to cope with a possible flood of North Korean refugees coming to Japan, among whom might be spies.

In Pyongyang, retired soldier Ho Song Chol told Reuters that North Korea would win should there be any conflict with the United States.

“We don’t think about other things, we just live in our belief that we will win as long as our Supreme Leader is with us,” Ho said, referring to Kim Jong Un.

Kang Gil-won, a 26-year-old graduate living in Seoul, said his biggest concern was not North Korea, but finding work in a tough job market.

“There’s no concern that war is going to break out tomorrow,” he told Reuters at a “study café” where many job seekers prepare for interviews.

“Getting a job is a war that I feel in my bones.”

(Additional reporting by Nick Macfie, James Pearson, Ju-min Park and Jack Kim in SEOUL, Natalie Thomas in Pyongyang, Linda Sieg in TOKYO and Michael Martina and Christian Shepherd in BEIJING; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)


Trump Walks Into Syria Trap Via Fake ‘Intelligence’

MIT expert debunks US government “evidence”

April 14, 2017

by Justin Raimondo,


In the summer of 2013, the international media was aflame with reports that Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had murdered 1,400 civilians in the town of Ghouta: using deadly sarin gas, children, women, and men had been horribly slaughtered, and Syria’s Islamist opposition, in concert with the Washington foreign policy Establishment, was agitating for US intervention. It was the culmination of a years-long propaganda campaign, which then President Barack Obama had stubbornly resisted – and now, finally, he was about to give in and give the order for US missiles to fly. Yet, at the back of his mind, he still had  unsettling doubts, and these were confirmed shortly before the day of the planned strikes when the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, interrupted his daily presidential briefing, as Jeffrey Goldberg reported in The Atlantic:

“Obama was also unsettled by a surprise visit early in the week from James Clapper, his director of national intelligence, who interrupted the President’s Daily Brief, the threat report Obama receives each morning from Clapper’s analysts, to make clear that the intelligence on Syria’s use of sarin gas, while robust, was not a ‘slam dunk.’ He chose the term carefully. Clapper, the chief of an intelligence community traumatized by its failures in the run-up to the Iraq War, was not going to overpromise, in the manner of the onetime CIA director George Tenet, who famously guaranteed George W. Bush a ‘slam dunk’ in Iraq.

“While the Pentagon and the White House’s national-security apparatuses were still moving toward war (John Kerry told me he was expecting a strike the day after his speech), the president had come to believe that he was walking into a trap – one laid both by allies and by adversaries, and by conventional expectations of what an American president is supposed to do.”

Indeed, the “intelligence” assigning to Assad the responsibility for the sarin gas attack at Ghouta was very far from a slam-dunk: it was, in fact, a lie, a hoax, a false flag operation undertaken by the Islamist rebels and their Turkish allies who were desperate to draw the US into the Syrian civil war. Yes, sarin gas had been released at Ghouta, but, contrary to the “intelligence” provided to the President, it wasn’t the Syrian government that was responsible. As Seymour Hersh showed in a piece published in the London Review of Books, this was proved by “intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack.” As one intelligence official told Hersh:

“‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and backslapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’”

While Hersh’s work was derided by the hot-for-war media, Goldberg’s later reporting confirmed it. (And, by the way, the New York Times is quietly backtracking from their earlier assertions). As Hersh told it, the generals went to Obama and told him that the intelligence justifying an attack would fall apart, and the President backed away from the trap that Trump is now walking right into.

The media narrative that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad defied logic, military necessity, and common sense, and dropped a load of sarin on civilians near the town of Khan Shaykun, in Idlib province, is already falling apart. Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has analyzed the rather thin “evidence” provided by the US government in a letter to former CIA analyst Larry C. Johnson:

“I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017.

“In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4.

“This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment, is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House.”

The essence of the US government’s “evidence” pointing to Assad’s forces as the perpetrators of the sarin gas attack is that the device – shown in photographs published in the report – was dropped by fixed wing aircraft, which only the Syrian government possesses. Yet Postol shows that “the most plausible conclusion is that the sarin was dispensed by an improvised dispersal device made from a 122 mm section of rocket tube filled with sarin and capped on both sides.” The report “contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft. In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity.”

Postol examines the alleged source of the attack: a crater on the road to the north of Khan Shaykun. He locates this crater, via Google Earth, and analyzes the photograph touted as the smoking gun.

“Assuming that there was no tampering of evidence at the crater, one can see what the White House is claiming as a dispenser of the nerve agent.

“The dispenser looks like a 122 mm pipe like that used in the manufacture of artillery rockets.

“As shown in the close-up of the pipe in the crater … the pipe looks like it was originally sealed at the front end and the back end. Also of note is that the pipe is flattened into the crater, and also has a fractured seam that was created by the brittle failure of the metal skin when the pipe was suddenly crushed inward from above.”

Instead of being dropped from a plane, the dispenser was simply placed on the ground and detonated by an explosive device, which then released the sarin gas on a day when weather conditions would ensure maximum lethality. As Postol explains:

“The explosive acted on the pipe as a blunt crushing mallet. It drove the pipe into the ground while at the same time creating the crater. Since the pipe was filled with sarin, which is an incompressible fluid, as the pipe was flattened the sarin acted on the walls and ends of the pipe causing a crack along the length of the pipe and also the failure of the cap on the back end. This mechanism of dispersal is essentially the same as hitting a toothpaste tube with a large mallet, which then results in the tube failing and the toothpaste being blown in many directions depending on the exact way the toothpaste skin ruptures.

“If this is in fact the mechanism used to disperse the sarin, this indicates that the sarin tube was placed on the ground by individuals on the ground and not dropped from an airplane.”

Postol goes on to note that the same sort of obvious errors appeared in the 2013 US government report that claimed the Syrian government had bombed Ghouta with sarin gas. The rocket canisters that supposedly delivered the sarin gas to their target in Ghouta were far out of range of any Syrian government positions. The claim that we could have detected the rockets as they were launched and landed via satellite observation was also false, since there was no explosion when the rockets reached their target. “These errors,” says Postol, “were clear indicators that the White House intelligence report had in part been fabricated and had not been vetted by competent intelligence experts.”

Obama didn’t walk into the trap: however, Trump appears to have fallen for this fake intelligence hook, line, and sinker. As Postol puts it:

“This same situation appears to be the case with the current White House intelligence report. No competent analyst would assume that the crater cited as the source of the sarin attack was unambiguously an indication that the munition came from an aircraft. No competent analyst would assume that the photograph of the carcass of the sarin canister was in fact a sarin canister. Any competent analyst would have had questions about whether the debris in the crater was staged or real. No competent analyst would miss the fact that the alleged sarin canister was forcefully crushed from above, rather than exploded by a munition within it. All of these highly amateurish mistakes indicate that this White House report, like the earlier Obama White House Report, was not properly vetted by the intelligence community as claimed.”

The same intelligence community that has been at war with Trump since before he took office, and has been trying to smear him as a tool of the Kremlin, has succeeded in pulling the wool over his eyes. And his previous extreme reluctance to involve the US in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria has been one of the chief motivating factors in their war on Trump. Having worked for years with the Syrian Islamist opposition, in close coordination with the Saudis and the Gulf emirates, the CIA was appalled when candidate Trump abjured “regime change” and declared that he would focus his efforts on eliminating ISIS in cooperation with the Russians. With the launching of those 59 missiles at Assad, however, and Trump’s radical turnabout on the Russian question, the regime-changers at Langley can chalk up a victory.

Trump has walked right into a trap – and it’s unlikely he’ll ever get out. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Russia, where he proclaimed that “Assad must go,” was a dramatic demonstration of the trap snapping shut.

The silver lining in this dark cloud is that Trump’s most vocal supporters are now thoroughly alienated from him, as he abandons his domestic agenda and is sucked into yet another useless war in the Middle East. Here’s the lovely Ann Coulter railing against the “Strangelovian generals” who surround the formerly “awesome” Trump – and it’s music to my ears. Here’s Ryan James Girdusky of Red Alert Politics, a popular pro-Trump site, denouncing the Syria strike on Fox Business News. Here’s Laura Ingraham citing Iraq war veterans’ warning against entanglement in Syria. And the verdict from Lou Dobbs and Trump’s many fans in the world of talk radio is a resounding no.

The True Cost of Israel

U.S. support goes far beyond the official numbers.

April 12, 2017

by Philip Giraldi

The Amereican Conservataive

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) concluded its annual conference late last month, triggering the usual debate in various alternative media outlets. Why does so much U.S. taxpayer money go to a small and not particularly useful client state that has a vibrant European-level economy and is already a regional military colossus?

Those who support the cash flow argue that Israel is threatened, most notably by Iran; they claim the assistance, which has been largely but not completely used to buy American-made weapons, is required to maintain a qualitative edge over the country’s potential enemies. Those who oppose the aid would counter that the Iranian threat is largely an Israeli and Saudi Arabian invention, used to justify continued American support for the national-security policies of both countries. And they would add that Tel Aviv is more than able to defend itself and pay for its own military establishment.

In truth, American aid to Israel is something like a pot of gold that keeps on giving. Both sides in the discussion would probably agree that the domestic Israel Lobby has been instrumental in sustaining the high level of aid, though they would undoubtedly disagree over whether that is a good or bad thing. The operation of “The Lobby,” generally regarded as the most powerful voice on foreign policy in Washington, led Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer to ask, “Why has the U.S. been willing to set aside its own security … in order to advance the interests of another state? [No] explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the U.S. provides.” They observed that “Other special interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. interests and those of the other country—in this case, Israel—are essentially identical.”

Since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, it has been “the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,”  according to the Congressional Research Service. The United States has provided Israel with $233.7 billion in adjusted for inflation aid between 1948 through the end of 2012, reports Haaretz. Current discussions center on the Obama administration’s memo of understanding with Israel that promised it $38 billion in military assistance over the next 10 years, a considerable sum but nevertheless a total that is far less than what is actually received annually from the United States Treasury and from other American sources.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking in the most recent legislative discussion over Israeli aid, stated that the $38 billion should be regarded as a floor, and that Congress should approve additional funds for Israeli defense as needed. It has, in fact, done so. At its most recent meeting, AIPAC announced the latest windfall from America, applauding “the U.S. House of Representatives for significantly bolstering its support of U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation in the FY 2017 defense appropriations bill. The House appropriated $600.7 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs.” And there is a long history of such special funding for Israeli-connected projects. The Iron Dome missile-defense system was largely funded by the United States, to the tune of more than $1 billion. In the 1980s, the Israeli Lavi jet-fighter development program was funded by Washington, costing $2 billion to the U.S. taxpayer before it was terminated over technical and other problems, part of $5.45 billion in Pentagon funding of various Israeli weapons projects through 2002.

The admittedly unreliable former Congressman James Traficant once claimed that “Israel gets $15 billion per year from the American taxpayers.” Indeed, how Israel gets money from the United States is actually quite complex and not very transparent to the American public, going well beyond the check for $3.8 billion handed over at the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1. Even that check, uniquely given to aid recipient Israel as one lump sum on the first day of the year, is manipulated to produce extra revenue. It is normally immediately redeposited with the U.S. Treasury, which then, because it operates on a deficit, borrows the money to pay interest on it as the Israelis draw it down. That interest payment costs the American taxpayer an estimated $100 million more per year. Israel has also been adept at using “loan guarantees,” an issue that may have contributed to the downfall of President George H.W. Bush. The reality is that the loans, totaling $42 billion, are never repaid by Israel, meaning that the United States Treasury picks up the tab on principle and interest, a form of additional assistance. The Bush-era loan amounted to $10 billion.

Department of Defense co-production projects, preferential contracting, “scrapping” or “surplusing” of usable equipment that is then turned over to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), as well as the forward deployment of military hardware to an Israeli-run base in Israel (used to support local military operations), are considerable benefits to Tel Aviv’s bottom line. Much of this assistance is hidden from view.

In 1992, AIPAC President James Steiner bragged how he “got almost a billion dollars in other goodies [in negotiations with Secretary of State Jim Baker] that people don’t even know about.” In September 2012, Israel’s former commander-in-chief, Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, admitted at a conference that between 2009 and 2012 American taxpayers had paid for more of his country’s defense budget than had Israeli taxpayers. Those numbers have been disputed, but the fact remains that a considerable portion of the Israeli military spending comes from the United States. It currently is more than 20 percent of the total $16 billion budget, not counting special appropriations.

Through tax exemptions, the U.S. government also subsidizes the coordinated effort to provide additional assistance to Israel. No other lobbying effort to promote the interests of a foreign country benefits in like fashion, and, indeed, most similar groups are required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has learned to his chagrin regarding Turkey.

Most organizations and foundations that might reasonably be considered active parts of the Israel Lobby are generally registered with the Department of the Treasury as 501(c)3 tax-exempt educational foundations. Grant Smith, speaking at a conference on the U.S. and Israel on March 24, explained how the broader Israel Lobby uses this legal framework:

Key U.S. organizations include the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Hundreds more, including a small number of evangelical Christian organizations, play a role within a vast ecosystem that demands unconditional U.S. support for Israel. In the year 2012 the nonprofit wing of the Israel lobby raised $3.7 billion in revenue. They are on track to reach $6.3 billion by 2020. Collectively they employed 14,000 and claimed 350,000 volunteers.

The $3.7 billion raised in 2012 was largely tax exempt and it does not include the billions in private donations that go directly to Israel, as well as the billions in contributions that are regarded as covered by “religious exemptions” for groups that don’t file at all. There are also contributions sent straight to various Israeli-based foundations that are themselves often registered as charities. The Forward magazine investigated 3,600 Jewish tax-exempt charitable foundations in 2014 and determined that they had net assets of $26 billion, $12–14 billion in annual revenue, and “focuse[d] the largest share of [their] donor dollars on Israel.” That share amounted to 38 percent of total income. The Forward adds that it is “an apparatus that benefits massively from the U.S. federal government and many state and local governments, in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants, billions in tax-deductible donations and billions more in program fees paid for with government funds.”

Some pro-Israel foundations are in-your-face about their goals. The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, which “Support[s] the wellbeing and education needs of Israel’s brave soldiers,” is a registered tax-exempt charity that conducts fundraisers throughout the United States. Money being fungible, some American Jews have been surprised to learn that the donations that they had presumed were going to what they regard as charitable causes in Israel have instead wound up in expanding the illegal settlements on the West Bank, an objective that they might not support. It was recently reported that Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner has a family foundation that has made donations to Israel, including funding of West Bank settlements, which is illegal under U.S. law.

Israel also benefits in other ways, frequently due to legislative action by Congress. It enjoys free and even preferential trade status with the United States and runs a $9 billion trade surplus per annum. Its companies and parastatal organizations can, without any restrictions, bid on U.S. defense and homeland-security projects—a privilege normally only granted to NATO partners—which has given it dominance in some U.S. law-enforcement, telecommunications, and travel-security sectors. Its involvement in the development and use of classified military technologies developed by U.S. arms producers has sometimes led to claims that Israel has adopted and adapted—or even stolen—proprietary information and then used it to develop its own arms industry, which is now ranked sixth in the world by volume of sales. Ironically, U.S. taxpayers have subsidized an Israeli industry that then competes directly with American companies, producing a loss of jobs in the United States.

There has also been considerable collateral damage derived from the relationship with Israel, including the Arab Oil embargo and possibly even some blame for the ruinous cost of Iraq, which many believe to have been fought in part for Israel. But even without that war, the U.S.-Israeli bilateral relationship has been an expensive proposition for Americans. Whether Israel is a strategic liability or not, or whether its complicated geostrategic situation merits virtually unquestioning support from the United States, the reality is that it has a lopsided relationship with Washington. This has long been and continues to be largely paid for by the United States taxpayer, who is not as well off as he once was.

The U.S.-Israel relationship is yet another instance where the perceived needs of an American “ally” take precedence over genuine national interests. Tens of billions of dollars need not necessarily be spent to placate a wealthy foreign country and its powerful domestic lobby. Indeed, other options to employ the money closer to home—in the form of schools, highways, and hospitals—may become increasingly attractive to American voters.

AIPAC Activities

April 14, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

AIPAC The FBI investigation into Israeli espionage agents in the Pentagon is part of a major struggle between prominent Likudists in the Pentagon and the US security apparatus. Ever since the Bush regime came to power there has been a fierce political and organizational war between the Pentagon Likudists and their militant American collaborators, on the one hand, and the professional military and intelligence apparatus, on the other. This conflict has manifested itself in a series of major issues including the war in the Middle East, the rational for war, the relationship between Israel and the US, the strategy for empire, as well as tactical issues like the size of military force needed for colonial wars and the nature of colonial occupation. From 9/11/2001 to the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon Likudists and the civilian Neocons had the upper hand: they marginalized the CIA and established their own intelligence services to “cook the data”, they pushed through the doctrine of sequential wars, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq and projecting wars with Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. The Pentagon Zionists increased Israel’s power in the Middle East and promoted its expansionist colonization of Palestine, at the expense of US soldiers, budget busting expenditures and CIA objections.

The US military and security apparatus has retaliated. First by debunking Zionist lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, then by exposing the role of Zionist client Ahmed Chalabi as a double agent for Iran, followed by a two-year investigation of Pentagon Likudists passing documents to Israeli military intelligence and the secret police, the Mossad.

Israel has for decades subverted US foreign policy to serve its interests through the organized power of major Jewish organizations in the US. What is new in the current Pentagon spy case is that rather than pressuring from the outside to secure favorable policies for Israel, the Israel loyalists are in top positions within the government making strategic decisions about US global policy and providing their Israeli handlers with secret documents pertaining to top level discussions in the White House on questions of war and peace. Today the politics of Pentagon and AIPAC espionage is especially dangerous – because what is at stake is a new US and/or Israeli war on Iran which will ignite the entire Middle East.

Given the high level of structural collaboration and integration of US Pentagon Likudist agents and US Jewish organizations with the Israeli state, the boundaries of what are United States policies and interests and what are Israeli prerogatives and interests are blurred. From the perspective of the Pentagon Zionists and their organized Jewish supporters, it is “natural” that the US spends billions to finance Israeli military power and territorial expansion. It is “natural” to transfer strategic documents from the Pentagon to the Israeli State. As Haaretz states, “Why would Israel have to steal documents when they can find out whatever they want through official meetings?” The routinization of espionage via official consultations between Israeli and US Zionist officials became public knowledge throughout the executive branch. Only it wasn’t called espionage, it was referred to as ‘exchanging intelligence’, only the Israelis sent ‘disinformation’ to the Pentagon Zionists to serve their interests while the latter passed on the real policies, positions and strategies of the US government.

The history of the key Zionists in the Pentagon reveals a pattern of disloyalty to the US and covert assistance to Israel. Harold Rhode and William Luti, both identified  Pentagon Likudists under Feith , Wolfowitz and I. Lewis Libby, have been under investigation by the FBI for passing documents to Israel. Rhode had his security clearance suspended. CIA operatives in Baghdad reported he was constantly on his cell phone to Israel reporting on US plans, military deployments, political projects, Iraqi assets and a host of other confidential information. Michael Ledeen, another influential Zionist policy maker who worked in the Pentagon lost his security clearance after he was accused of passing classified material to a ‘foreign country (Israel). In 2001 Feith hired Ledeen to work for the Office of Special Plans which handled top secret documents. Feith himself was fired in March 1983 from the National Security Council for providing Israel with classified data. The FBI investigated Wolfowitz for having provided documents to Israel on a proposed sale of US weapons to an Arab country.

It is clear that Israeli agents, not simply Zionists ideologues, infest the top echelon of the Pentagon. The question is not merely a question of taking this or that policy position in favor of Israel but of working systematically on a whole range of issues to further Israeli power over and against US imperial interests.

The Israeli officials claim that Mossad and military intelligence solemnly pledged to stop spying on the US after the Jonathan Pollard case. “We have never spied on the US since…”, they claim. In fact over 800 Israeli spies posing as ‘art’ students and tourists were expelled after 9/11 and several Mossad agents posing as movers in New Jersey and Tennessee were expelled.

CIA director brands WikiLeaks a ‘hostile intelligence service’

Mike Pompeo said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange portrays himself as a crusader but in fact helps enemies of the United States, including Russia

April 13 2017

Agence France-Presse

Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA, has branded WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service,” saying it threatens democratic nations and joins hands with dictators.

In his first public remarks since becoming chief of the US spy agency in February, Pompeo focused on the group and other leakers of classified information like Edward Snowden as one of the key threats facing the United States.

“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at CIA in order to obtain intelligence… And it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States, while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organisations,” said Pompeo.

“It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Pompeo compared WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange to leakers of the pre-internet days like former CIA official Philip Agee.

Agee’s exposing the identities of undercover CIA agents was blamed for the assassination of the agency’s Athens station chief in 1974.

On Wednesday, Assange published an opinion piece in the Washington Post in which he said his group’s mission was the same as America’s most respected newspapers: “to publish newsworthy content.”

“WikiLeaks’s sole interest is expressing constitutionally protected truths,” he said, professing “overwhelming admiration for both America and the idea of America.”

While it has released secret materials from around the world, WikiLeaks’s notoriety comes from its US-related scoops. In 2010 it published 251,000 classified cables from US embassies around the world.

Last year it published files and communications from the Democratic Party, damaging presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. US intelligence says that release was part of a Russian plot to aid the eventual election of Donald Trump.

The FBI and other US agencies are in fact investigating alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The Guardian on Thursday reported that British intelligence played a critical role in alerting the US government to contacts between members of Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives.

Last month, WikiLeaks embarrassed the CIA and damaged its operations by releasing a large number of files and computer code from the agency’s top secret hacking operations.

The data showed how the CIA exploits vulnerabilities in popular computer and networking hardware and software to gather intelligence.

Counterintelligence investigators continue to try to find out who stole the files and handed them to WikiLeaks.

Assange meanwhile criticized the US agency for not telling the tech industry and authorities about those vulnerabilities so they can be fixed.

Pompeo said Assange portrays himself as a crusader but in fact helps enemies of the United States, including aiding Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.

“Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today. Yes, they try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy; in reality, however, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is clickbait; their moral compass, nonexistent.”

However, Pompeo did not comment on how Trump has previously lavished praise on Assange for the information he has made public.

Nor did Pompeo mention that he himself had cited and linked to WikiLeaks in a tweet attacking the Democratic Party. Pompeo at the time was a Republican congressman and member of the House Intelligence Committee.

The CIA declined to comment on that.

Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms

April 14 2017

by Glenn Greenwald

The Intercept

In February, after Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. media were the “enemy of the people,” the targets of his insult exploded with indignation, devoting wall-to-wall media coverage to what they depicted as a grave assault on press freedoms more befitting of a tyranny. By stark and disturbing contrast, the media reaction yesterday was far more muted, even welcoming, when Trump’s CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, actually and explicitly vowed to target freedoms of speech and press in a blistering, threatening speech he delivered to the D.C. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

What made Pompeo’s overt threats of repression so palatable to many was that they were not directed at CNN, the New York Times or other beloved-in-D.C. outlets, but rather at WikiLeaks, more marginalized publishers of information, and various leakers and whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

Trump’s CIA Director stood up in public and explicitly threatened to target free speech rights and press freedoms, and it was almost impossible to find even a single U.S. mainstream journalist expressing objections or alarm, because the targets Pompeo chose in this instance are ones they dislike – much the way that many are willing to overlook or even sanction free speech repression if the targeted ideas or speakers are sufficiently unpopular.

Decreeing (with no evidence) that WikiLeaks is “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”  a belief that has become gospel in establishment Democratic Party circles – Pompeo proclaimed that “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” He also argued that while WikiLeaks “pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice,” but: “they may have believed that, but they are wrong.”

He then issued this remarkable threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.” At no point did Pompeo specify what steps the CIA intended to take to ensure that the “space” to publish secrets “ends now.”

Before delving into the chilling implications of the CIA Director’s threats, let’s take note of an incredibly revealing irony in what he said. This episode is worth examining because it perfectly illustrates the core fraud of U.S. propaganda.

In vilifying WikiLeaks, Pompeo pronounced himself “quite confident that had Assange been around in the 1930s and 40s and 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history.” His rationale: “Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today.”

But the Mike Pompeo who accused Assange of “making common cause with dictators” is the very same Mike Pompeo who – just eight weeks ago – placed one of the CIA’s most cherished awards in the hands of one of the world’s most savage tyrants, who also happens to be one of the U.S. Government’s closest allies. Pompeo traveled to Riyadh and literally embraced and honored the Saudi royal next-in-line to the throne.

This nauseating event – widely covered by the international press yet almost entirely ignored by the U.S. media – was celebrated by the Saudi-owned outlet Al Arabiya: “The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, received a medal on Friday from the CIA . . . . The medal, named after George Tenet, was handed to him by CIA Director Micheal Pompeo after the Crown Prince received him in Riyadh on Friday in the presence of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.”

The description of this Pompeo/Saudi award ceremony was first reported by the official Saudi Press Agency, which published the above photographs. It gushed: “In a press statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), following the reception, the Crown Prince expressed appreciation of the CIA for bestowing on him such a grace, laying assertion that this medal is a fruit of endeavors and instructions of the leaders of the kingdom, notably the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, bravery of security men and cooperation of all walks of the community to combat terrorism.”

Then there’s the venue Pompeo chose: the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). As the New York Times reported in 2014, the CSIS – like so many of D.C.’s most prestigious think tanks – is itself funded by dictators.

In particular, the United Arab Emirates has become “a major supporter” of the group, having “quietly provided a donation of more than $1 million to help build the center’s gleaming new glass and steel headquarters not far from the White House.” Other CISIS donors include the regimes of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan.In return, UAE officials are treated like great statesmen at CSIS.

This is all independent of the fact that Pompeo’s boss, President Trump, just hosted at the White House and lavished praise on one of the world’s most repressive tyrants (and closest allies of the U.S. Government), Egyptian leader Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.  And the government of which Pompeo is a part sends arms, money and all kinds of other support to dictators across the planet.

So how could Mike Pompeo – fresh off embracing and honoring Saudi tyrants, standing in a building funded by the world’s most repressive regimes, headed by an agency that for decades supported despots and death squads – possibly maintain a straight face as he accuses others of “making common cause with dictators”? How does this oozing, glaring, obvious act of projection not immediately trigger fits of scornful laughter from U.S. journalists and policy makers?

The reason is because this is a central and long-standing propaganda tactic of the U.S. Government, aided by a media that largely ignores it. They predicate their foreign policy and projection of power on hugging, supporting and propping up the world’s worst tyrants, all while heralding themselves as defenders of freedom and democracy and castigating their enemies as the real supporters of dictators.

Try to find mainstream media accounts in the U.S. of Pompeo’s trip to Riyadh and bestowing a top CIA honor on a Saudi despot. It’s easy to find accounts of this episode in international outlets, but very difficult to find ones from CNN or the Washington Post. Or try to find instances where mainstream media figures point out what should be the unbearable irony of listening to the same U.S. Government officials accuse others of supporting dictators while nobody does more to prop up tyrants than themselves.

This is the dictatorship-embracing reality of the U.S. Government that remains largely hidden from its population. That’s why Donald Trump’s CIA Director – of all people – can stand in a dictator-funded think tank in the middle of Washington, having just recovered from his jet lag in flying to pay homage to Saudi tyrants, and vilify WikiLeaks and “its ilk” of “making common cause with dictators” – all without the U.S. media taking note of the intense inanity of it.

But it is Pompeo’s threatening language about free speech and press freedoms that ought to be causing serious alarm for journalists, regardless of what one thinks of WikiLeaks. Even more extreme than the explicit attacks in his prepared remarks is what the CIA Director said in the question-and-answer session that followed. He was asked about WikiLeaks by the unidentified questioner, who queried of “the need to limit the lateral movements such as by using our First Amendment rights. How do you plan to accomplish that?” This was Pompeo’s answer:

A little less Constitutional law and a lot more of a philosophical understanding. Julian Assange has no First Amendment privileges. He is not a U.S. citizen. What I was speaking to is an understanding that these are not reporters doing good work to try to keep the American Government on us. These are actively recruiting agents to steal American secrets with the sole intent of destroying the American way of life.

That is fundamentally different than a First Amendment activity as I understand them. This is what I was getting to. We have had administrations before that have been too squeamish about going after these people, after some concept of this right to publish. Nobody has the right to actively engage in the theft of secrets from American without the intent to do harm to it.

Given how menacing and extreme this statement is, it is remarkable – and genuinely frightening – that it received so little notice, let alone condemnation, from the U.S. press corps, most of which covered Pomepo’s speech by trumpeting his claim that WikiLeaks is an agent of an enemy power, or noting the irony that Trump had praised WikiLeaks and Pompeo himself had positively tweeted about their revelations.

Pompeo’s remarks deserve far greater scrutiny than this. To begin with, the notion that WikiLeaks has no free press rights because Assange is a foreigner is both wrong and dangerous. When I worked at the Guardian, my editors were all non-Americans. Would it therefore have been constitutionally permissible for the U.S. Government to shut down that paper and imprison its editors on the ground that they enjoy no constitutional protections? Obviously not. Moreover, what rational person would possibly be comfortable with having this determination – who is and is not a “real journalist” – made by the CIA?

But the most menacing aspect is the attempt to criminalize the publication of classified information. For years, mainstream U.S. media outlets – including ones that despise WikiLeaks – nonetheless understood that prosecuting WikiLeaks for publishing secrets would pose a grave threat to press freedoms for themselves. Even the Washington Post Editorial Page – at the height of the controversy over WikiLeaks’ publishing of diplomatic cables in 2010 – published an editorial headlined “Don’t Charge WikiLeaks”:

Such prosecutions are a bad idea. The government has no business indicting someone who is not a spy and who is not legally bound to keep its secrets. Doing so would criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk responsible media organizations that vet and verify material and take seriously the protection of sources and methods when lives or national security are endangered.

The Obama administration, in 2010, explored theories for how it could prosecute WikiLeaks, and even convened a Grand Jury to investigate. But it ultimately concluded that doing so would be impossible without directly threatening First Amendment press freedoms for everyone

But back in 2010, the Obama DOJ briefly flirted with, but then abandoned, the possibility that it could get around this problem by alleging that WikiLeaks did more than merely publish secrets, that it actively collaborated with its source (Chelsea Manning) on what documents to take. As the New York Times’ Charlie Savage reported then: “a government official familiar with the investigation said that treating WikiLeaks different from newspapers might be facilitated if investigators found any evidence that Mr. Assange aided the leaker, who is believed to be a low-level Army intelligence analyst — for example, by directing him to look for certain things and providing technological assistance.”

Ultimately, though, no evidence was found that this happened. And, beyond that, many in the DOJ concluded – rightly so – that even this “collaboration” theory of criminalization would endanger press freedoms because most investigative journalists collaborate with their sources.

The problem is that there is no meaningful distinction to be made. How did the Guardian, equally, not “collude” with WikiLeaks in obtaining the cables? How did the New York Times not “collude” with the Guardian when the Guardian gave the Times a copy following Assange’s decision to cut the Times out of the latest document dump?

For that matter, I don’t see how any news organisation can be said not to have colluded with a source when it receives leaked documents. Didn’t the Times collude with Daniel Ellsberg when it received the Pentagon Papers from him? Yes, there are differences. Ellsberg had finished making copies long before he began working with the Times, whereas Assange may have goaded Manning. But does that really matter?

The dangers to all media outlets from this theory should have been crystal clear when Joe Lieberman and former Bush Attorney General Mike Mukasey argued that the New York Times itself should be prosecuted for publishing and reporting on WikiLeaks’ secret documents – on the ground that no meaningful distinction could be made between the NYT and WikiLeaks.

But criminalizing WikiLeaks’ publication of documents is clearly part of what Pompeo is now planning. That’s what he meant when he argued that “administrations before have been too squeamish about going after these people, after some concept of this right to publish”: he was criticizing the Obama DOJ for not prosecuting WikiLeaks for publishing secrets. And this is why Pompeo yesterday claimed – with no evidence – that WikiLeaks “directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information.” He clearly intends to pursue prosecution of WikiLeaks and Assange for publishing classified information.

It has long been a dream of the far right, as well as hawkish Obama followers, to prosecute journalists and outlets that publish secret information based on this theory. As Newsweek noted in 2011: “Sarah Palin urged that Assange be ‘pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders,’ and The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol wants the U.S. to ‘use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators.’”

This same “collaboration” theory that Pompeo is advocating is what various Obama loyalists, such as MSNBC’s Joy Reid, spent months hyping in order to justify the prosecution of the journalists (such as myself) who reported the Snowden materials: that we did not merely report them but “collaborated” with our source. Her theory then became the basis for her NBC colleague David Gregory asking if I should be prosecuted on the ground that I “aided and abetted” Snowden.

This – the “collaboration” theory propounded back then by Bill Kristol and Joe Lieberman and Joy Reid, and now by Mike Pompeo – is the mentality of people who do not understand, who do not practice, and who hate journalism, at least when it exposes the bad acts of the leaders they revere. Just as is true of free speech abridgments, if you cheer for it and endorse it because the people targeted in the first instance are ones you dislike, then you are institutionalizing these abridgments and will be unable to resist them when they begin to be applied to people you do like (or to yourselves).

WikiLeaks now has few friends in Washington: the right has long hated it for publishing secrets about Bush-era war crimes, while Democrats now despise them for its perceived role in helping defeat Hillary Clinton by exposing the secret corruption of the DNC. But the level of affection for WikiLeaks should have no bearing on how one responds to these press freedom threats from Donald Trump’s CIA Director. Criminalizing the publication of classified documents is wrong in itself, and has the obvious potential to spread far beyond their initial target.

People who depict themselves as part of an anti-authoritarian #Resistance – let alone those who practice journalism – should be the first one standing up to object to these creepy threats. The implications of Pompeo’s threats are far more consequential than the question of who one likes or does not like.

10 Dirty Secret CIA Operations

by Mike Floorwalker

list verse

We’ve always loved to discuss some of the shadier dealings of the government and the military—and no organization provides more fodder for these discussions than the American Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA has a way of very publicly blowing their cover—seeming to pop up wherever turmoil, strife, and political unrest materialize. Despite being almost synonymous with dirty tricks, the Agency has essentially been given free rein, permitted to use whatever tactics they see fit to deal with any (real or perceived) threat to American interests.

If there’s one thing we know about absolute power, it’s that it corrupts absolutely; and if there’s one thing we know about the CIA, it’s that the astoundingly unethical and criminal projects highlighted in this list are probably just the tip of the iceberg.


PBSUCCESS was the code name for a CIA-backed coup led against the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz, the President of Guatemala, in 1954. It’s one of the first in a long line of suspected or acknowledged CIA interventions in the governments of foreign countries, and it was indeed a tremendous success from the Agency’s point of view.—the first indication that such a feat could be accomplished relatively smoothly.

Elected in 1950, Arbenz set about instituting reforms aimed at making his country self-sufficient, by giving huge chunks of government land back to citizens. This rubbed the US Government the wrong way, as much of this land was “owned” by the United Fruit Company, a truly evil corporation with which the Eisenhower administration was snugly in bed at the time (CIA director Allen Dulles and his brother John, the Secretary of State, both had strong ties to the company).

The Agency snidely referred to Arbenz policies in internal memoranda as “an intensely nationalistic program of progress colored by the touchy, anti-foreign inferiority complex of the ‘Banana Republic.’ ” In other words, non-dependence on the US and its allies was not to be tolerated.

Four hundred and eighty CIA-trained mercenary soldiers, led by exiled Guatemalan military officer Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, forcibly wrested Guatemala from Arbenz’ control. While he and his aides were able to flee the country, CIA documents show that “the option of assassination was still being considered” right up until the day he resigned on June 27, 1954.

Operation Mongoose

After the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, the Agency’s public image was worse than ever. President Kennedy famously proclaimed that he would “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds” (shortly before getting shot, but we digress). But to deal with Cuba, he turned to the only person he knew he could trust: his brother, Robert, who organized Operation Mongoose. This operation was conducted by the Department of Defense in conjunction with the CIA, under Robert Kennedy’s supervision. He told his team at its first briefing that deposing Castro was “the top priority of the US government—all else is secondary—no time, money, effort, or manpower is to be spared.”

Among the dozens of extremely silly methods of assassination proposed: infecting Castro’s scuba gear with tuberculosis; planting exploding seashells at a favorite diving site; slipping him a poisoned fountain pen; and even even poisoning or slipping a bomb into one of his cigars. Castro’s bodyguard asserted that there were hundreds of CIA schemes on Castro’s life—and they all ended in failure, a gigantic waste of time and money. Castro was Cuba’s dictator for forty-nine years, stepping down in 2008 due to failing health, and appointing his younger brother as his replacement.

CIA-Produced Pornography

President Sukarno ruled Indonesia from 1959 until 1966, when he was deposed by Suharto, one of his generals. Sukarno had been deemed pro-Communist by the CIA, which meant there would inevitably be an attempt to oust him or at least make him look bad—but the plot they actually came up with was truly laughable.

The CIA produced a porno film starring a Sukarno look-alike, titled “Happy Days”, for distribution in Indonesia. Not that the culture generally frowns upon such things, but as the CIA understood it, “being tricked, deceived, or otherwise outsmarted by one of the creatures God has provided for man’s pleasure cannot be condoned” in Indonesian culture, and “what we were saying was that a woman had gotten the better of Sukarno.” The film went as far as production, and stills were made, but for some reason (perhaps common-sense) it was never deployed.

Bizarrely enough, this idea resurfaced shortly before the Second Gulf War, when the CIA suggested that a fake gay porno featuring Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden be produced in order to discredit these men in the eyes of their followers. This went nowhere—at least one official claiming that nobody would care. “Trying to mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target. We always mistake our own taboos as universal when, in fact, they are just our taboos.”

Pakistani Vaccine/DNA Collecting Drive

The May 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was the result of an insane amount of intelligence collecting and planning; regardless of his crimes, conducting a US military operation to kill a foreign national on Pakistani soil was bound to have myriad consequences. A courier had been tracked to an Abbottabad compound, where it was pretty damn certain Bin Laden was hiding. But before conducting the raid, they had to be absolutely sure—and one method of collecting this proof was shady in the extreme.

The CIA recruited a respected Pakistani doctor to organize a fake vaccination drive in the town, and in the process collected thousands of blood samples from children in the area children—among them, as it turned out, Bin Laden’s children. Since theirs was a fairly upscale section of town, the campaign began in a poorer area to make it look more authentic, then moved on to the neighborhood housing the Bin Laden compound a month later—without even following up with the required second or third doses in the poor area. The whole thing worked—with consequences.

For one thing, Dr. Shakil Afridi—the doctor involved—has been convicted of treason by the Pakistani government and given a thirty-three-year prison sentence (“Wouldn’t any country detain people for working for a foreign spy service?” one Iranian official helpfully pointed out). For another, the campaign has caused irreparable damage to organizations that carry out legitimate vaccinations. There are deep-seated suspicions in many Middle Eastern regions about those who provide vaccinations, and this gambit to assist in finding Bin Laden has only bolstered those suspicions—particularly in Nigeria, India and of course Pakistan, where efforts to eradicate polio are ongoing.

Muammar al-Qaddafi

February 2011 saw the beginning of the Libyan Revolution, which would culminate in the August ousting of Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi, followed by his capture and killing in October. There was little mention at the time of any potential involvement by foreign interests—but about one year later, an incident occurred which shed a curious light on the entire Revolution.

On September 11, 2012, an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi came under attack by armed militants. The response came not from within the mission itself, but from half a dozen CIA agents deployed from a hidden base within the city. More reinforcements arrived from Tripoli, and diplomatic personnel where whisked by convoy to chartered aircraft which carried them out of the country.

This betrayed a CIA presence in the city, which had hitherto been unknown. The Agency was forced to admit that it had maintained a fairly strong presence in Libya since about February 2011—right around the time the Libyan Revolution began. The annex which had housed the secret base was scrubbed clean and abandoned after the incident at the mission.

Operation Mockingbird

Operation Mockingbird was a bit of a two-pronged approach to dealing with the media: on the one hand, journalists were routinely employed by the CIA to develop intelligence and gather information, or to report on certain events in a way that portrayed the US favorably. On the other, there were actual plants within the media—paid off with bribes or even directly employed by the CIA—to feed propaganda to the American public.

Mostly, this program was meant to convince the public of how incredibly scary Communism was, and to make sure that public opinion favored taking out the Red Menace at any expense. Even scarier was the fact that having major newspaper publishers and the heads of TV stations bought and paid for meant that significant overseas events could be excluded from coverage in the media—events like the aforementioned coup in Guatemala, which didn’t see the light of the day in the American press at the time.

Congressional hearings in 1976 (the “Church Committee”) revealed that the CIA had been bribing journalists and editors for years. Following the Church hearings, newly minted CIA director and future President George H.W. Bush announced: “Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.” Yet he added that the CIA would continue to welcome unpaid, voluntary support of said journalists.

Operation CHAOS

Protests against US involvement in Vietnam were proving to be a giant pain in the backside for the government’s plans in the mid 1960s. While Mockingbird was busily using the mainstream to try to shove the necessity of the war down the throat of the public, the “counter-culture” couldn’t be controlled so easily. Ever-mindful of the KGB’s propensity for their own style of dirty tricks, the CIA attempted to weed out any foreign influence on the American anti-war movement by launching Operation CHAOS—and they didn’t even bother to come up with an innocuous-sounding code name.

Since the FBI’s COINTELPRO program of domestic surveillance wasn’t quite producing the desired results, President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized the CIA to undertake its own program of spying on US citizens. Their main task was to infiltrate student organizations—both radical and otherwise—in order to gather intelligence on potential foreign influences, and to subvert such groups from within. Famous groups such as “Students For a Democratic Society” and the Black Panthers were targeted; eventually, the program for some reason expanded to include women’s liberation and certain Jewish groups.

There is strong evidence that this type of activity has never ceased, though CHAOS itself was shuttered after the Watergate scandal. In 2011, the Agency came under fire for allegedly working with the New York Police Department to conduct surveillance of Muslim groups in the area, who had not done anything wrong and who are now suing in Federal court.

Phoenix Program

Phoenix was a program headed by the CIA, in conjunction with US Special Forces and Australian and South Vietnamese commandos, during the Vietnam War. Its purpose was simple: assassination. And although this was a military unit, their targets weren’t military, but civilian.

From 1965 to 1972, Phoenix was involved in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of thousands upon thousands of citizens. People deemed critical to the infrastructure of the Viet Cong, or thought to have knowledge of VC activities, were rounded up and taken to regional interrogation centers, were they were subjected to: “rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electric shock . . . rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; the ‘water treatment’; the ‘airplane’ in which the prisoner’s arms were tied behind the back, and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; the use of police dogs to maul prisoners…”

Phoenix was the subject of 1971 Congressional hearings on abuse. Former members described it as a “sterile depersonalized murder program”, and it was phased out after negative publicity, though the replacement program F-6 was quietly phased in to take its place.

Operation Ajax

The success of Operation Ajax paved the way for all future CIA operations of a similar nature. It resulted in the return to power of the Shah in 1953, after a military coup planned by American and British intelligence.

The first democratically-elected leader of Iran, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, was seen as a potential liability because of his plans to nationalize the oil industry. Fearful of having to compete with the Soviet Union for Iranian oil, the decision was made to install a leader who was partial to US interests. You can probably see a theme developing here.

CIA agents Donald Wilber and Kermit Roosevelt Jr. (the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt) carried out the campaign by bribing everybody who could be bribed in Iran: government officials, business leaders, and even street criminals. These recruits were asked to support the Shah, in various ways, and to oppose Mossadegh.

It worked: an uprising was instigated, Mosaddegh was jailed, and pro-Western Iranian Army General Fazlollah Zahedi was installed in his place. Zahedi had been arrested by the British during World War Two for attempting to establish a Nazi government, and he lived up to that legacy by appointing Bahram Shahrokh—a protege of Joseph Goebbels—as his director of propaganda.

The Mujahideen

In 1978, Afghanistan became mired in civil war as two Communist parties seized control of the country. When it began to look like anti-Communist rebels were gaining a foothold, the Soviet Union invaded the country to lend support. And that’s when the US, of course, decided to get involved.

The CIA set up camps to train the rebels, known as Mujahideen, in the necessary tactics for beating back the Soviets. Advanced weaponry was also part of the deal, including—importantly—Stinger surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles. Soviet airstrikes had driven hundreds of guerrillas out of the cities and into the surrounding hills, and mitigating the effectiveness of those strikes proved to be essential in prolonging the conflict, placing a great strain on Soviet resources.

The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan almost until its collapse in the early 1990s, but the legacy of the Mujahideen lives on. The CIA are finding their own tactics and training turned against them by Mujahideen veterans who have begun their own training programs, producing highly trained and skilled terrorists who now make up the backbone of Al-Qaeda and other radical groups. The US discovered these ramifications the hard way after invading Afghanistan in 2001. The invasion led to a quagmire of an occupation, which—as of this writing—has dragged on for just as long as that of the Soviets.


From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2017, Issue No. 26

April 14, 2017


There may be some US Air Force personnel who are dismayed by the rising number of civilian casualties caused by US air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Others may consider the dropping of a 22,000 pound bomb in Afghanistan yesterday — announced by press release — to be mindless or vulgar.

But of course such critical sentiments, if they exist, would not be sufficient to qualify those who hold them as conscientious objectors (COs). That requires categorical opposition to any and all military action.

“The Air Force does not consider members who believe they can choose the war in which they will participate as COs under the law. The objection must be to all wars rather than to a specific war,” according to an Air Force policy that was updated last week.

On the other hand, a sense of internal conflict is not necessarily inconsistent with conscientious objector status.

Likewise, “A belief in a theocratic or spiritual war between the powers of good and evil does not constitute a [disqualifying] willingness to participate in war within the meaning of this instruction,” the new Air Force policy said. See Procedures for Applying as a Conscientious Objector, Air Force Instruction 36-3204, April 6, 2017.

It could not immediately be learned how many, if any, members of the US Air Force currently have conscientious objector status.

In the absence of a compulsory draft, it is unclear why anyone who is opposed to all wars would enlist in the Air Force in the first place. But the new policy allows for the possibility of conscientious objector beliefs that “crystallized after receipt of an induction notice.”


The superiority of the US military in cyberspace, which once could be taken for granted, is gradually eroding, says an Army Field Manual published this week.

In the past decade, “U.S. forces dominated cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) in Afghanistan and Iraq against enemies and adversaries lacking the technical capabilities to challenge our superiority in cyberspace.”

“However, regional peers have since demonstrated impressive capabilities in a hybrid operational environment that threaten the Army’s dominance in cyberspace and the EMS,” according to the new Field Manual.

“Rapid developments in cyberspace and the EMS will challenge any assumptions of the Army’s advantage in this domain. While it cannot defend against every kind of intrusion, the Army must take steps to identify, prioritize, and defend its most important networks and data.”

The underlying principles of US Army operations in cyberspace were described in the new Field Manual 3-12, Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare Operations, 11 April 2017 (unclassified, 108 pages).















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