TBR News August 10, 2017

Aug 10 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., August 10, 2017:”It is long known in American, and foreign, intelligence circles, that the sole reason the United States maintains a military presence in Afghanistan is because of the huge and very profitable opium fields located there.

American interests, mostly CIA, have been involved in the drug business for decades and the financial rewards from the raw opium are far too much to abandon.

So what if many soldiers are killed or maimed?

So what if civilians are slaughtered in droves?

What matters is that the raw opium share the American secret police gets is not in any way interdicted.

There is no other logical reason for the American military to be in that remote and primitive country.

They have no oil but they do have opium.

Opium, refined, (in Columbia) makes heroin and heroin makes money.

And in our sanctified government, money calls for deep pockets.

It was said, in jest, that last winter it was so cold in Washington that a Senator was seen with his hands in his own pockets.

Always look for the truth in the jest.”


Table of Contents

  • The Madman With Nuclear Weapons is Donald Trump, Not Kim Jong-un
  • China seethes on sidelines amid latest North Korea crisis
  • Privatize the Afghan War?
  • North Korea: Donald Trump’s threats ‘load of nonsense’
  • CIA CouchPotato tool ‘captures video stream images remotely’ – WikiLeaks
  • The Sea Level Did, in Fact, Rise Faster in the Southeast U.S.
  • Hillary’s Plea Bargain
  • Is the Queer Brigade Fighting ISIS in Syria a Force for Liberation or Alienation?
  • Can the Pentagon Win When Putsch Comes to Shove?
  • The Great Con Job: General Gehlen, The U.S. Army, the CIA and the BND

 The Madman With Nuclear Weapons is Donald Trump, Not Kim Jong-un

August 9 2017

by Mehdi Hasan

The Intercept

For once, Donald Trump has a point. “We can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that,” he told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, according to the transcript from their bizarre phone conversation that was leaked to The Intercept in May.

The madman the U.S president was referring to, of course, was North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The madman the rest of us should be worried about, however, is Trump himself, who — lest we forget — has the sole, exclusive and unrestricted power to launch almost 1,000 nuclear warheads in a matter of minutes, should he so wish.

Most nonproliferation experts — as well as former President Jimmy Carter and a number of former Pentagon and State Department officials, both Republican and Democrat — agree that the brutal and murderous Kim, for all his bluster, is not irrational or suicidal, but bent on preserving his regime and preventing a U.S. attack. Nuclear weapons are a defensive, not an offensive, tool for the North Korean leadership — which, as Bill Clinton’s defense secretary William Perry observed on Fox News in April, may be “ruthless and … reckless” but “they are not crazy.”

Got that? Kim is bad, not mad.

The same cannot be said of The Donald. Think I’m being unfair? In February, a group of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers wrote to the New York Times “that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.” In April, another group of mental health experts told a conference at Yale University’s School of Medicine that Trump was “paranoid” and “delusional” and referred to the president’s “dangerous mental illness.”

Is it any wonder then that so many recent reports suggest that South Koreans are more worried about Trump than they are about the threat posed by their hostile and paranoid neighbor?

Consider Trump’s reaction this week to a confidential U.S. intelligence assessment — leaked to the Washington Post — that the DPRK is now able to construct a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” the president declaimed, in response to a reporter’s question at his Bedminster Golf Club on Tuesday. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

How is this not an unhinged response from the so-called Leader of the Free World? In May, he said he would be “honored” to meet with Kim and praised him as a “pretty smart cookie.” In August, he took a break from his golfing vacation to casually threaten nuclear annihilation of Kim’s country (not even on the basis of any aggression by the DPRK, incidentally, but only their “threats”).

Does Trump understand the difference between escalating and de-escalating a nuclear crisis? Listen to Republican Senator John McCain, who has never met a “rogue nation” he did not want to bomb, invade or occupy. “I take exception to the president’s words,” McCain said on Tuesday, adding: “That kind of rhetoric, I’m not sure how it helps.”

I mean, just how crazy do you have to be to advocate a preemptive nuclear strike that even McCain cannot get behind?

Trump has form, though, when it comes to loose talk about nukes. During the presidential campaign, in August 2016, MSNBC host and ex-Republican congressman Joe Scarborough revealed that Trump, over the course of an hour-long briefing with a senior foreign policy adviser, had asked three times about the use of nuclear weapons. At one point during the meeting, according to Scarborough, the then-GOP presidential candidate asked his adviser, “If we had them, why can’t we use them?”

To be so blasé, enthusiastic even, about the deployment of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is a stark indicator of Trump’s childishness, ignorance, belligerence, and, yes, derangement. Here is a president who is impulsive, erratic, unstable; whose entire life and career have been defined by a complete lack of empathy. Remember his strategy for defeating ISIS? “Bomb the shit out of ’em” and “take out their families.”

So do you think civilian casualties were on his mind when he issued his “fire and fury” warning? Come. Off. It.

Listen to McCain’s fellow Republican super-hawk Senator Lindsay Graham. “If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim], it will be over there,” Graham told NBC’s Matt Lauer last week, recounting a recent conversation he had with the president. “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die over here — and he’s told me that to my face.”

“This is madness,” Kingston Reif, a nuclear disarmament specialist the Arms Control Association, tweeted in response to Graham’s re-telling of Trump’s remarks. “Unhinged madness.”

Remember that 72 years ago today, the United States dropped the second atomic bomb on Japan, killing around 39,000 people in Nagasaki. Three days earlier, the first A-bomb killed around 66,000 people in Hiroshima. But a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula would make those strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like pinpricks. Experts say even a conventional war between the U.S. and the DPRK could kill more than 1 million people; a nuclear exchange, therefore, might result in tens of millions of casualties. Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, has admitted that such a preemptive strike by the U.S. would be a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Does the president care? Graham doesn’t seem to think so. Trump’s former ghostwriter Tony Schwartz, who spent 18 months in his company while working on The Art of the Deal, has called the president a “sociopath.” In fact, one quote more than any other stood out from Schwartz’s much-discussed interview with the New Yorker in July 2016 and, perhaps, should keep us all awake at night. “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes,” said Schwartz, “there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

We can’t say we weren’t warned.


China seethes on sidelines amid latest North Korea crisis

August 10, 2017

by Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina


BEIJING (Reuters) – Angered as the United States and its allies ignore Chinese calls to calm tensions over North Korea, and distracted by domestic concerns, China is largely sitting out the latest crisis with nuclear-armed Pyongyang.

While a conflict on the Korean peninsula would affect China, and in worst-case scenarios unleash a radioactive cloud or waves of refugees into its northeast, Beijing has kept a low profile as tension has escalated in recent days.

North Korea dismissed on Thursday warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States as a “load of nonsense”, and outlined plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

China, whose regular daily foreign ministry press briefings are suspended for a two week summer holiday, has said little in public about the situation this week, reiterating its usual calls for calm and restraint.

President Xi Jinping has been out of the public eye for more than a week, likely because he is at a secretive Communist Party conclave in the seaside resort of Beidaihe preparing for a key party congress in the autumn, diplomats say.

One Beijing-based Asian diplomat said China was also distracted by a protracted border dispute with India.

“China has different priorities and it’s clear what they are,” said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

State media has as usual called for dialogue to end the crisis, but has also lambasted the United States and its allies for doing little to damp down the flames.

The official Xinhua news agency on Thursday accused Japan of “fishing in troubled waters”, using North Korea as an excuse for its own remilitarization. Japan issued a defense white paper this week that warned it was possible that North Korea had already developed nuclear warheads.

Also Thursday, the influential Chinese tabloid Global Times said Washington “only wants to heighten the sanctions and military threats against Pyongyang”.


Seoul has fared little better, with China directing anger its way over South Korea’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. Beijing says THAAD threatens its own security, fearing that its powerful radar will see far into China, and will do nothing to bring North Korea back to talks.

“China is not too worried that the United States might suddenly attack North Korea. It is worried about THAAD,” said Sun Zhe, co-director of the China Initiative of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

China remains North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, despite Beijing’s anger at Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs.

China has signed up for tough United Nations sanctions that were agreed on Saturday and says it is committed to enforcing them.

Yet Beijing has been upset by complaints from Washington and Tokyo it is not doing enough to rein in North Korea. The foreign ministry last month called for an end to what it termed the “China responsibility theory”.

China also believes its influence over North Korea, whose relationship China used to describe as “close as lips and teeth,” is limited.

“China has never ‘owned’ North Korea, and North Korea has never listened to China’s suggestions,” said Zhang Liangui, a North Korea expert at China’s Central Party School, which trains rising officials.

“Neither North Korea nor the United States listens to China. They’re too busy heading down the path to a military clash. There’s not much China can do. China can’t stop North Korea and it can’t stop the United States.”

China’s recent relationship with North Korea soured around 2013 as Pyongyang stepped up its missile and nuclear programs, rejecting Chinese efforts to engage the country economically and encourage it to open up.

Chinese officials have for years doubted the efficacy of sanctions, although Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this week that they were needed. However, he said the final aim should be to resolve the issue via talks as only that would ensure lasting peace and stability.

Wang Dong, associate professor of international studies at the elite Peking University, said China had tried hard to prevent the situation from getting out of control. He also said Trump’s domestic problems could play into the current crisis, referring to the U.S. investigation into possible Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.

“When facing increasingly difficult domestic problems, Trump might have an increasing incentive to do something. Maybe he initially would want a limited military conflict,” Wang said. “So people are certainly worried about that.”

Editing by Philip McClellan


Privatize the Afghan War?

An incredibly stupid idea

August 8, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


After sixteen years of fighting what is by now the longest war in our history, American policymakers are out of ideas when it comes to Afghanistan. The Bush administration was all about nation-building: if only we built schools so that Afghan women could be educated and “liberated,” a grateful people would abandon terrorism and the war would be won. The Obama administration – which came to power on the strength of candidate Obama’s contention that the Iraq war was “the wrong war,” and that we had neglected the Afghan front – instituted a “surge” of some 40,000 more US troops, and then declared victory in 2014. Now the Trump administration is confronted with the reality of the Taliban in charge of nearly half the country, and the dysfunctional Afghan government barely able to hold Kabul, the capital.

What to do?

Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s top political advisor and the architect of his 2016 election victory, has been pushing for the “zero option” – the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Bannon and his fellow nationalists want out for political and ideological reasons: they want to concentrate on the President’s domestic agenda, and oppose on principle the whole nation-building scheme that has been in place since the Obama years. This is what the Trump base wants, as well, but it looks like the nationalists have lost that debate, with the President taking the “zero option” off the table.

The generals, led by National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, want to launch yet another “surge,” with at least 3,000 more US troops to be sent into the Afghan quagmire, and more taxpayer dollars pumped into the corrupt and incompetent Afghan governmental apparatus. Trump has reportedly rejected this option as well, and ordered his advisors to come up with a new plan. Meanwhile the Taliban continues to make gains on the battlefield, we continue to suffer casualties, and there is no new policy in place.

Into this policy vacuum comes Erik Prince, notorious founder of Blackwater, the world’s leading mercenary outfit: a company with a dubious history, and a CEO with a reputation to match. Reportedly the Bannon group, frustrated in their desire to get Trump to withdraw, is pushing a plan to “privatize” the Afghan war, and Prince is out there trying to drum up support for the idea. Here is Prince in an interview with Breitbart outlining his proposal.

Listening to Prince make his pitch, it becomes immediately clear that his scheme is not an alternative to a “surge” but rather an adjunct to it: he wants to let the generals have their way for six months or so, and then his company would be brought it to consolidate and maintain the gains made.

At that point, a “Viceroy” would be brought in who would have complete control of US policy in Afghanistan, presumably one of Prince’s employees if not Prince himself. The rules of engagement would be dispensed with, and any level of brutality would be allowed. Since the Afghan government is broke, and is entirely dependent on US aid, one has to assume that the American taxpayers would be paying for Prince’s “services” – oh, but Prince has a handy-dandy solution for this problem, which is to allow him to exploit Afghanistan’s supposedly fabulous mineral resources. Having pocketed this loot, Prince & Co. would be properly compensated for subjugating the Afghan people

Prince explicitly raises the example of the British East India Company, a mercantilist construct that deployed private armies in order to conquer the Indian subcontinent, as an example of a success story. Yet the East India Company was not a success: established in 1600 with a grant of monopoly on all trade with Asia, by 1772 it was begging the British government for a bailout.

Asked what “victory” in Afghanistan would look like, Prince is vague: the Afghan government would be relatively “stable,” and the “export of terrorism” from Afghan territory would cease. How and why Prince’s privateers would be any more successful in bringing this about than the US military has been over the course of the last sixteen years is not clear. What is clear, however, is that a mercenary army would have little incentive to declare – or actually achieve – victory, since that would mean its services were no longer required. Indeed, it would have a strong financial incentive to prolong the conflict – and gin up new ones. This is what happened with the British East India Company, which had a powerful lobby in the Parliament. While the East India lobby was focused on maintaining its monopoly privileges, and lobbying for “free trade,” Prince’s Mercenary Lobby would be pushing for more wars – and for subsidies from the taxpayers.

This kind of “privatization” means private profits for the politically connected and socialized costs imposed on the rest of us. The Prince scheme is crony capitalism at its very worst, imported into the foreign policy realm. It is, in short, a rip-off, just the sort of Washington insider deal that Trump vowed to rid us of when he declared war on what he calls “the swamp.” It doesn’t get much swampier than Erik Prince.

There is no alternative to withdrawing from Afghanistan other than doing what we’ve been doing for the past decade and a half. The Trump team criticizes the Obama administration for announcing our withdrawal date in advance, but was such an announcement really necessary? Short of annexing the country and making Afghanistan a US possession, like Puerto Rico or some Pacific atoll, the Taliban didn’t need to be told that the Americans would eventually be leaving.

It’s only a matter of time. Better now than later: better we don’t lose a single additional soldier in that godforsaken wasteland. It’s long past time to withdraw.


North Korea: Donald Trump’s threats ‘load of nonsense’

In another escalation of strong rhetoric, Pyongyang has accused US President Donald Trump of being “bereft of reason.” Both Japan and South Korea have warned the North over its latest threats to the US territory of Guam.

August 10, 2017


North Korea’s military on Thursday described overt threats from US President Donald Trump as a “load of nonsense,” marking another uptick in strong rhetoric increasing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” the military said in comments carried by state-run news agency KCNA.

The report added that actions the North Korean military “is about to take” will be effective in restraining Washington’s “frantic moves.” North Korean military officials said plans for an attack on the US territory of Guam will be ready by mid-August, after which they will be presented to the country’s leader Kim Jong Un. Tensions have soared in the past week with Trump striking a combative tone, saying Tuesday that North Korea “best not make any more threats” against the US. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he added.

On Thursday, a deputy assistant to Trump, Sebastian Gorka told BBC radio: “Donald Trump has been unequivocal: he will use any appropriate measures to protect the United States and her citizens.”

“We do not telegraph our future scenarios and how we are going to react,” Gorka said. “If you show players around a table your poker hand, you will lose that game. It is not a good idea in cards, it is a very bad idea in geopolitics

EU adds to sanctions list

Amidst the fiery back-and-forth between Washington and Pyongyang, the European Union said on Thursday that it had expanded its North Korean sanctions list.

The additions to the blacklist are part of a new United Nations resolution following North Korea’s latest Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) tests.

“This resolution was adopted on 5 August, 2017 in response to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) ongoing nuclear-weapon and ballistic missile-development activities, in violation and flagrant disregard of previous UN Security Council resolutions,” a statement released by the 28-nation bloc noted.

Nine individuals and four entities, including the state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), were added to the North Korea list. The EU sanctions list now includes 103 individuals and 57 entities.

‘Never tolerate’ provocations

Early Thursday, both Japan and South Korea warned Pyongyang over its latest threats.

Trump returns rattling saber to North Korea

South Korea’s military said Pyongyang would face a “stern and strong” response from Washington and Seoul if it goes ahead with plans to fire rockets near Guam.

The US and South Korea are prepared to “immediately and sternly punish” provocations from North Korea, said Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Tokyo added that Japan “can never tolerate” such provocations from North Korea. Japan’s Defense Ministry noted that technically the country could intercept a Guam-bound missile if it appeared to be an existential threat.

US State Secretary Rex Tillerson on Wednesday tried to defuse the situation, telling reporters aboard his plane that there wasn’t “any immediate threat” to the island of Guam after Pyongyang said it was considering plans to target areas surrounding the US territory.

“Americans should sleep well at night,” he said in an attempt to calm fears of a possible military conflict between the US and North Korea. “Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours.”

War of words

However, soon after Tillerson’s remarks, Trump appeared to up the stakes again by praising US nuclear armaments, saying they had become “stronger and more powerful than ever before” since the start of his presidency.

The escalation in rhetoric follows the release of a Japanese defense paper and reports by multiple US media outlets that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged North Korea to stop considering any actions that would “lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

Pyongyang “would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates,” he said in a statement.

Beijing: Situation ‘sensitive’

Several world powers, including Germany, have urged both sides to show restraint. China has described the situation as “highly complicated and sensitive.”

“We hope all relevant parties speak cautiously and move prudently, stop provoking each other, avoid further escalating the situation and strive to return to the correct track of dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, North Korea on Wednesday said it had released Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian citizen, on humanitarian grounds.

The 61-year-old Lim, who had worked as a Presbyterian pastor in Canada, was arrested in North Korea in early 2015 and handed a life sentence of hard labor. Pyongyang claims the pastor was attempting to overthrow the regime, which Canadian authorities vehemently deny.

Meanwhile, North Korea on Wednesday said it had released Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian citizen, on humanitarian grounds.

The 61-year-old Lim, who had worked as a Presbyterian pastor in Canada, was arrested in North Korea in early 2015 and handed a life sentence of hard labor. Pyongyang claims the pastor was attempting to overthrow the regime, which Canadian authorities vehemently deny.

CIA CouchPotato tool ‘captures video stream images remotely’ – WikiLeaks

August 10, 2017


The CIA has developed a top-secret program allowing users to remotely hack and capture still images of video streams, according to the latest release from WikiLeaks.

Dubbed ‘CouchPotato,’ a user guide to the tool uploaded by WikiLeaks says that it utilizes ffmpeg software, which produces libraries and programs for handling multimedia data to decode streaming connections.

The user guide is dated February 2014 and the document front page is marked: “Classified By: 2273504” and “Declassify On: 25X1, 20620712.”

“Today, August 10th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes the the User Guide for the CoachPotato project of the CIA. CouchPotato is a remote tool for collection against RTSP/H.264 video streams,” a statement on the WikiLeaks site reads.

Just one part of the document appears to have been redacted, an index page at the beginning under a heading marked “Authority.”

Some of the advice laid out in the guide warns that, in certain circumstances, the tool “can leak memory and also leave file handles open.” It also recommends setting an expiration period for the tool so that, when this period has elapsed, “CouchPotato will exit.”

“This is a highly recommended option when collecting video,” the document adds.

Thursday’s release is the latest in the whistleblowing organization’s ongoing ‘Vault 7’ series of leaks purportedly from inside the CIA.

 The Sea Level Did, in Fact, Rise Faster in the Southeast U.S.

August 9, 2017

by Justin Gillis

New York Times

For people in the southeastern United States, and especially in Florida, who feel that annoying tidal flooding has sneaked up on them in recent years, it turns out to be true. And scientists have a new explanation.

In a paper published online Wednesday, University of Florida researchers calculated that from 2011 to 2015, the sea level along the American coastline south of Cape Hatteras rose six times faster than the long-term rate of global increase.

“I said, ‘That’s crazy!’” Andrea Dutton, one of the researchers, recalled saying when a colleague first showed her the figures. “ ‘You must have done something wrong!’

But it was correct. During that period of rapid increase, many people in Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and other coastal communities started to notice unusual “sunny-day flooding,” a foot or two of salt water inundating their streets at high tide for no apparent reason.”

In the paper, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists proposed a mechanism to explain the rapid increase: Two large-scale atmospheric patterns had intersected to push up the water off the Southeast coast, causing a “hot spot” of sea-level rise.

This new mechanism, if it holds up to scientific scrutiny, might ultimately give researchers the ability to predict tidal flooding more accurately and warn communities what to expect months in advance.

William V. Sweet, a sea-level researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who was not involved in the new work, pointed out that the long-term trend in sea level was a relentless increase, but that much is unknown about the variations that can occur over short periods. “The more we can understand what’s causing those, the more we can be prepared for the next influx of tidal flooding events,” Dr. Sweet said.

Many people think the ocean works something like a bathtub, with sea level being the same all the way around. In reality, the ocean is lumpy, with winds, currents and other factors pushing water around to produce substantial variations in sea level from place to place.

Worldwide, the average level of the ocean is rising at a rate of about a foot per century, a consequence of the warming of the planet caused by the human release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

The excess heat trapped by those gases accumulates primarily in the ocean, and the seawater expands as it warms. Land ice is also melting into the sea because of the planetary warming, contributing to the rise, which appears to be accelerating over time.

But within that long-term trend, sea level in particular regions can sometimes rise more rapidly or more slowly than the global average. It can even fall for a few months or years.

In previous research, scientists had noticed big jumps that tended to occur either north or south of Cape Hatteras, on the North Carolina coast. For instance, a notable jump occurred along hundreds of miles of shoreline north of Cape Hatteras in 2009 and 2010, followed by a sharp increase south of the cape from 2011 to 2015.

The increase in the Southeast was the largest sudden jump there since the late 1940s, the scientists found. It amounted to about three-quarters of an inch of sea-level rise per year from 2011 to 2015, which may not sound like much but equates to billions of extra gallons of water just off the coast. That water inundates streets and lawns when the tides and winds conspire to push it inland.

Cape Hatteras is geographically significant. The Gulf Stream, a swift current carrying especially warm water from the Gulf of Mexico toward the North Atlantic, runs close to the coast for hundreds of miles. But when it passes Cape Hatteras, it veers off into the deeper ocean. That had led scientists to suggest that changes in the Gulf Stream might account for some of the rapid variations in sea level.

But now, three University of Florida scientists — Dr. Dutton, Arnoldo Valle-Levinson, and Jonathan B. Martin — suggest that the Gulf Stream was not the primary culprit in the 2011 to 2015 rise.

Instead, they found that two large atmospheric patterns most likely accounted for the hot spot off the Southeast coast: the El Niño cycle and the North Atlantic Oscillation, which is a shift in atmospheric pressure over the ocean that can have large effects on the winds blowing toward the American coast.

The paper suggests that the two sometimes interact in a way that causes water to pile up. The work confirms and extends two earlier papers, including one published in 2015 by a group led by Gerard D. McCarthy of Britain’s National Oceanography Center in Liverpool.

The new work is based on strong correlations, going back decades, between particular atmospheric patterns and the high sea levels.

Dr. Sweet, critiquing the paper, said he felt that the correlations were indeed suggestive, but he found the paper somewhat weak in explaining the exact mechanisms by which the atmospheric shifts may be causing water to bunch up. “It’s a little bit short, I think, in terms of physical understanding,” he said.

Dr. Valle-Levinson, one of the authors, acknowledged this point. “How the system is working is not crystal clear to us yet,” he said.

Still, the paper is likely to open up new research about why sea-level hot spots seem to wander up and down the American coastline. The paper indicates the Southeast may now see some relief — even if sea level does not fall, which several of the scientists described as unlikely, the pace of the increase may slow for a while.

But communities that have already started to experience severe tidal flooding, like Miami Beach, should not relax their guard, the scientists warned. These towns can expect continued rising seas over the long term, even if the rise occurs in a stepwise fashion.

“Even if it does get a little better for a while,” Dr. Dutton said, “that should be a period that people use to their advantage, to prepare for the next hot spot.”

Correction: August 9, 2017 

An earlier version of this article described incorrectly the recent jump in sea level found by scientists in the Southeast. It amounted to about three-quarters of an inch of sea-level rise per year from 2011 to 2015, not three-quarters of an inch total.

 Hillary’s Plea Bargain

by Ed Klein:

August 10, 2017


The Justice Department has reopened the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified material on her private email system while she was secretary of state, and is considering offering her a plea bargain if she will agree to plead guilty to charges of breaking the law, according to a Clinton attorney.

The discussion of a plea bargain took place late last month and was offered by a high-ranking Justice Department official to the Clinton lawyer.

During the exploratory talks with the prosecutor, the Clinton attorney was told that despite former FBI Director James Comey’s decision last July not to prosecute Hillary, the Justice Department has reexamined the email case and believes there are ample grounds for prosecuting Hillary on a number of counts.

Under the Justice Department’s plea offer, Hillary would be required to sign a document admitting that she committed a prosecutable crime. In return, the DOJ would agree not to bring charges against Hillary in connection with the email probe.

Also as part of the agreement, the Justice Department would not proceed with an investigation of Hillary’s pay to play deals with foreign governments and businessmen who contributed to the Clinton Foundation or who paid Bill Clinton exorbitant speaking fees.

The Clinton attorney cautioned that normally a plea is offered by a prosecutor only upon arraignment, and Hillary has not yet been charged with any crime.

 Is the Queer Brigade Fighting ISIS in Syria a Force for Liberation or Alienation?

August 10 2017

by Anna Lekas Miller

The Intercept

Last month, a rag-tag group of foreign fighters announced the creation of the first LGBTQ brigade fighting against the Islamic State in Syria. Their name? The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, or TQILA (yes, pronounced “tequila”).

“TQILA’s members have watched in horror as fascist and extremist forces around the world attacked the Queer community and murdered countless of our community members,” their statement reads, going on to say that they could not “idly watch” as ISIS threw gay men off buildings in the Middle East, or influenced the LGBTQ nightclub shooting in Florida.

“It is this necessity and desire to strengthen the gains of the women’s revolution, while advancing the queer struggle, that has motivated the Queer comrades of the IRPGF to form TQILA.”

TQILA is a small unit within the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces — a battalion of self-identified anarchist foreign fighters who traveled to support the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in their fight against ISIS. While some have questioned whether TQILA actually exists, the group has released several photos ostensibly from Raqqa, including one sending a message in solidarity with the Stockholm Pride Parade in Sweden. (A spokesperson for the brigade did not respond to questions from The Intercept.)

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denied their affiliation with the foreign brigade, but TQILA quickly became an internet sensation. Newsweek and the Independent praised the LGBTQ battalion for their courage and the YPG for their inclusive politics. Twitter ran with it, using the news of the LGBTQ battalion to condemn ISIS and slam Donald Trump’s recent ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military.

But while TQILA’s rainbow flags and catchy banners may have been clickbait for certain parts of left Twitter, other activists and people with experience on the ground argue that masked foreign fighters are not the way to advance the rights of LGBTQ people in the war-torn region. Rojava, a politically autonomous region in the Kurdish region of northern Syria, has attracted leftists from around the world thanks to its radical experiments in participatory democracy and commitment to women’s equality. But LGBTQ activists say there is a long way to go.

“I was pissed off when I saw these images,” said Zoza, a 28-year-old Syrian-Kurdish transgender woman who grew up in Rojava. She was resettled as a refugee in Toronto last year.

“Rojava never was, and never will be, a welcoming place for queer people,” said Zoza, who goes by one name. Technically being LGBT isn’t criminalized in Rojava, giving it a reputation as one of the most tolerant regions of the Middle East. But, as Zoza put it, “there’s no law against harassing LGBT people either.” During her time in Syria, she said she was harassed and threatened by both ISIS and Kurdish fighters alike.

“I wasn’t able to freely live as myself without facing enormous danger,” she said. Many of Zoza’s queer acquaintances in Rojava were able to move freely — so long as they remained closeted. But in her case, living at the time as an effeminate boy, keeping her identity hidden was never an option.

Many foreign fighters travel to Syria to join the so-called Rojava Revolution, a movement that began when the Syrian regime withdrew from Rojava in 2011, leaving it to the control of the Kurdish political party, PYD. The PYD went on to set up a radical system of participatory democracy and, in addition to advancing the cause for Kurdish liberation, Rojava has become known for promoting women’s rights through women-led political councils and leading conversations on minority rights.

In addition to being a part of this experiment, the military arms of the PYD — the YPG and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) — have been on the front lines of the war against ISIS. While many of their foreign fighters in the past were ex-military types focused on “finishing the job,” the YPG has now shifted to recruiting leftist-anarchist types — like the TQILA fighters — who more closely align with their political ideals.

While many in the Western left idealize Rojava as an anti-patriarchy, anti-capitalist socialist utopia, some visitors find themselves questioning how deep this liberation goes. As author and activist Rahila Gupta observed, while there is extensive female participation in the government and military, the majority of housework is also left to women. Gupta also noted that LGBTQ and minority rights are often lumped in with women’s rights and Kurdish liberation as Rojava’s alleged priorities, but sexual relations of any kind are frowned upon as distractions from the revolution, and often met with shaming and harassment.

Zoza argues that the new arrivals are being taken in. “None of these foreign fighters understand that Rojava and the YPG are not who they claim to be,” she said. “As a Syrian-Kurdish trans woman, why should I be fed this propaganda that it is this place that it is not?”

One of those fighters, an American who goes by the Kurdish nom du guerre, Jêhat Birûsk, acknowledged in an interview conducted via Twitter that the situation is complicated.

A self-identified queer anarchist, Birûsk, like many of his fellow leftist recruits, participated in movements, such as Occupy Wall Street, while living in the U.S. However, after being surrounded by what he describes as “postmodern critical theory” in his daily political life, he was intrigued by the YPG’s militancy in fighting for the ideals of the Rojava Revolution. So he packed his bags to travel to Iraq and then Syria to study Kurdish, participate in a month of basic training and then support the YPG offensive against ISIS in Raqqa – all in hopes of later participating in the democratic experiment.

“How could I not join?” Birûsk said. “I knew that if I really believed the things that I thought I believed, I didn’t have much of a choice.”

Still, Birûsk admitted “there is a lot of queer invisibility here.” He isn’t openly gay within his unit — YPG fighters are required to take a vow of celibacy, which makes being out a “non-starter,” in his words — but he is fairly certain that his sexuality would be more easily accepted because he is a foreigner. A local LGBTQ-identified fighter might have a different experience, he said. So while he agreed with the radical “bash-back” language of the TQILA brigade on a personal level, he said he doesn’t feel that it is the right approach for LGBTQ inclusion in Rojava, or the Middle East at this time.

“It isn’t to say that everyone in Syria or the Middle East or Rojava are homophobes,” he explained. But in addition to facing violence from ISIS, queer people in Syria and throughout the Middle East are routinely detained or harassed by security forces, and are often shunned by their own families. If they can, many remain closeted or lead double lives in order to survive.

In that context, he said, TQILA’s brash style could make the brigade more a force of alienation than liberation.

Birûsk still believes that LGBTQ foreign fighters could have a positive impact by showing solidarity with local LGBTQ individuals and challenging homophobia with more cultural awareness.

“So maybe we could approach these sensitivities differently,” he said. “But without having to ask for permission to exist, either.”

 Can the Pentagon Win When Putsch Comes to Shove?

A Rare Pentagon “Success” Story

August 10, 2017

by Nick Turse


Winning! It’s the White House watchword when it comes to the U.S. armed forces. “We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and, if required, to fight war and only do one thing — you know what that is? Win! Win!” President Donald Trump exclaimed earlier this year while standing aboard the new aircraft carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford.

Since World War II, however, neither preventing nor winning wars have been among America’s strong suits.  The nation has instead been embroiled in serial conflicts and interventions in which victories have been remarkably scarce, a trend that has only accelerated in the post-9/11 era. From Afghanistan to Iraq, Somalia to the Philippines, Libya to Yemen, military investments — in lives and tax dollars — have been costly and enduring victories essentially nonexistent.

But Amadou Sanogo is something of a rare all-American military success story, even if he isn’t American and his success was fleeting.  Sanogo learned English in Texas, received instruction from U.S. Marines in Virginia, took his intelligence training in Arizona, and underwent Army infantry officer basic training in Georgia.  Back home in his native Mali, the young army officer was reportedly much admired for his sojourn, studies, and training in the United States.

In March 2012, Sanogo put his popularity and skills to use when he led a coup that overthrew Mali’s elected government. “America is [a] great country with a fantastic army. I tried to put all the things I learned there into practice here,” he told Der Spiegel during his tenure as Mali’s military strongman. (He eventually lost his grip on power, was arrested, and in 2016 went on trial for “complicity in kidnapping and assassination.”)

Since 9/11, the United States has spent more than $250 billion training foreign military and police personnel like Sanogo.  Year after year, a sprawling network of U.S. programs provides 200,000 of these soldiers and security officers with assistance and support.  In 2015, almost 80,000 of them, hailing from 154 countries, received what’s formally known as Foreign Military Training (FMT).

The stated goals of two key FMT programs — International Military Education and Training (IMET) and the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) — include promoting “international peace and security” and increasing the awareness among foreign military personnel of “internationally recognized human rights.”  In reality, these programs focus on strengthening U.S. partner and proxy forces globally, though there’s scant evidence that they actually succeed in that goal. A study published in July, analyzing data from 1970 to 2009, finds that FMT programs are, however, effective at imparting skills integral to at least one specific type of armed undertaking. “We find a robust relationship between U.S. training of foreign militaries and military-backed coup attempts,” wrote Jonathan Caverley of the U.S. Naval War College and Jesse Savage of Trinity College Dublin in the Journal of Peace Research.

Bad Actors

Through nearly 200 separate programs, the State Department and the Department of Defense (DoD) engage in what’s called “security cooperation,” “building partner capacity,” and other assistance to foreign forces.  In 2001, the DoD administered about 17% of security assistance funding. By 2015, that figure had jumped to approximately 60%. The Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program, a post-9/11 creation indicative of this growth, is mostly run through the DoD and focuses on training mid- and senior-level defense officials from allied militaries in the tenets of counterterrorism. The State Department, by contrast, is the driving force behind the older and larger IMET program, though the Defense Department implements the training.

Under IMET, foreign personnel — like Sanogo — travel to the U.S. to take classes and undergo instruction at military schools and bases. “IMET is designed to help foreign militaries bolster their relationships with the United States, learn about U.S. military equipment, improve military professionalism, and instill democratic values in their members,” wrote Joshua Kurlantzick in a 2016 Council on Foreign Relations memorandum aimed at reforming the program.

However, in an investigation published earlier this year, Lauren Chadwick of the Center for Public Integrity found that, according to official U.S. government documents, at least 17 high-ranking foreigners — including five generals — trained through IMET between 1985 and 2010 were later accused and in some cases convicted of criminal and human rights abuses. An open-source study by the non-profit Center for International Policy found another 33 U.S.-trained foreign military officers who later committed human rights abuses. And experts suggest that the total number of criminal U.S. trainees is likely to be far higher, since IMET is the only one of a sprawling collection of security assistance programs that requires official reports on human rights abusers.

In their Journal of Peace Research study, Caverley and Savage kept the spotlight on IMET because the program “explicitly focuses on promoting norms of civilian control” of the military.  Indeed, it’s a truism of U.S. military assistance programs that they instill democratic values and respect for international norms. Yet the list of U.S.-trained coup-makers — from Isaac Zida of Burkina Faso, Haiti’s Philippe Biamby, and Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia to Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan, and the IMET-educated leaders of the 2009 coup in Honduras, not to mention Mali’s Amadou Sanogo — suggests an embrace of something other than democratic values and good governance. “We didn’t spend, probably, the requisite time focusing on values, ethics, and military ethos,” then chief of U.S. Africa Command, Carter Ham, said of Sanogo following his coup. “I believe that we focused exclusively on tactical and technical [training].”

In 2014, two generations of U.S.-educated officers faced off in The Gambia as a group of American-trained would-be coup-makers attempted (but failed) to overthrow the U.S.-trained coup-maker Yahya Jammeh who had seized power back in 1994. The unsuccessful rebellion claimed the life of Lamin Sanneh, the purported ringleader, who had earned a master’s degree at National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, D.C. (Two other coup plotters had apparently even served in the U.S. military.) “I can’t shake the feeling that his education in the United States somehow influenced his actions,” wrote Sanneh’s former NDU mentor Jeffrey Meiser. “I can’t help but wonder if simply imprinting our foreign students with the ‘American program’ is counterproductive and unethical.”

Caverly warns that Washington should also be cautious about exporting its own foreign and domestic policy imperatives, given that recent administrations have left the Defense Department flush with funding and the State Department’s coffers so bare that generals are forced to beg on its behalf.   “Put more succinctly,” he explained, “you need to build up multiple groups within civil society to complement and sometimes counterbalance an empowered military.”

Caverley and Savage identified 275 military-backed coups that occurred worldwide between 1970 and 2009.  In 165 of them, members of that country’s armed forces had received some IMET or CTFP training the year before the coup. If you add up all the years of such instruction for all those countries, it tops out at 3,274 “country years.”  In 165 instances, a takeover attempt was carried out the next year. “That’s 5%, which is very high, since coups happen rarely,” Caverley told TomDispatch. “The ratio for country-years with no U.S. training is 110 out of 4101, or 2.7%.”

While U.S. training didn’t carry the day in The Gambia in 2014 (as it had in 1994 when U.S. military-police-training alumnus Yahya Jammeh seized power), it is nonetheless linked with victorious juntas. “Successful coups are strongly associated with IMET training and spending,” Caverley and Savage noted.  According to their findings, American trainees succeeded in overthrowing their governments in 72 of the 165 coup attempts.

Train Wreck

There is significant evidence that the sprawling patchwork of America’s military training programs for foreign forces is hopelessly broken.  In 2013, a State Department advisory board found that American security aid had no coherent means of evaluation and no cohesive strategy. It compared the “baffling” array of programs to “a philanthropic grant-making process by an assemblage of different foundations with different agendas.”

A 2014 RAND analysis of U.S. security cooperation (SC) found “no statistically significant correlation between SC and change in countries’ fragility in Africa or the Middle East.” A 2015 report from U.S. Special Operations Command’s Joint Special Operations University noted that efforts at building partner capacity have “in the past consumed vast resources for little return.” That same year, an analysis by the Congressional Research Service concluded that “despite the increasing emphasis on, and centrality of, [building partner capacity] in national security strategy and military operations, the assumption that building foreign security forces will have tangible U.S. national security benefits remains a relatively untested proposition.”

“There are no standard guidelines for determining the goals of [counter-terrorism] security assistance programs, particularly partner capacity-building training programs, or for assessing how these programs fit into broader U.S. foreign policy objectives,” reads a 2016 Center for a New American Security report. “And there are few metrics for measuring the effectiveness of these programs once they are being implemented.” And in his 2016 report on IMET for the Council on Foreign Relations, Kurlantzick noted that the effort is deeply in need of reform. “The program,” he wrote, “contains no system for tracking which foreign military officers attended IMET… [a]dditionally, the program is not effectively promoting democracy and respect for civilian command of armed forces.”

Studies aside, the failures of U.S. training efforts across the Greater Middle East have been obvious for years. From the collapse of the U.S.-built Iraqi army in the face of small numbers of Islamic State militants to a stillborn effort to create a new armed force for Libya, a $500 million failed effort to train and equip Syrian rebels, and an often incompetent, ghost-soldier-filled, desertion-prone army in Afghanistan, large-scale American initiatives to build and bolster foreign forces have crashed and burned repeatedly.

One thing stateside U.S. training does seem to do, according to Caverley and Savage, is increase “human capital” — that is, foreign trainees’ professional skills like small unit tactics and strategic planning as well as intangibles like increased prestige in their home countries. And unlike other forms of American aid that allow regimes to shuttle state resources toward insulating the government from coups by doing anything from bribing potential rivals to fostering parallel security forces (like presidential guards), FMT affords no such outlet. “If you give assets to a group with guns and a strong corporate identity within a country lacking well-developed institutions and norms, you create the potential for political imbalance,” Caverley told TomDispatch. “An extreme example of that imbalance is an attempt to take over the entire government.”

Strength and Numbers

The United States has a troubled past when it comes to working with foreign militaries. From Latin America to Southeast Asia, Washington has a long history of protecting, backing, and fostering forces implicated in atrocities. Within the last several months alone, reports have surfaced about U.S.-trained or -aided forces from the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Cameroon, and Iraq torturing or executing prisoners.

Some U.S.-trained figures like Isaac Zida in Burkina Faso and Amadou Sanogo in Mali have experienced only short-term successes in overthrowing their country’s governments.  Others like The Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh (who went into exile in January after 22 years in power) and Egypt’s president — and former U.S. Army War College student — Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have had far more lasting tenures as strongmen in their homelands.

Any foreign military training provided by the U.S., write Caverley and Savage, “corresponds to a doubling of the probability of a military-backed coup attempt in the recipient country.” And the more money the U.S. spends or the more soldiers it trains via IMET, the higher the risk of a coup d’état.

In 2014, the U.S. resumed IMET support for Mali — it had been suspended for a year following the insurrection — and even increased that funding by a modest $30,000.  That West African nation has, however, never recovered from the coup crisis of 2012 and, half a decade later, remains wracked by an insurgency that Sanogo, his successors, and a French- and U.S.-backed military campaign have been unable to defeat. As the militant groups in Mali have grown and metastasized, the U.S. has continued to pour money into training local military personnel. In 2012, the year Amadou Sanogo seized power, the U.S. spent $69,000 in IMET funds on training Malian officers in the United States.  Last year, the figure reached $738,000.

For the better part of two decades from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen to Pakistan, Somalia to Syria, U.S. drone strikes, commando raids, large-scale occupations and other military interventions have led to small-scale tactical triumphs and long-term stalemates (not to mention death and destruction). Training efforts in and military aid to those and other nations — from Mali to South Sudan, Libya to the Philippines — have been plagued by setbacks, fiascos, and failures.

President Trump has promised the military “tools” necessary to “prevent” and “win” wars.  By that he means “resources, personnel training and equipment… the finest equipment in the world.”  Caverley and Savage’s research suggests that the Pentagon could benefit far more from analytical tools to shed light on programs that cost hundreds of billions of dollars and deliver counterproductive results — programs, that is, where the only “wins” are achieved by the likes of Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

“Warfighters focus on training other warfighters. Full stop. Any second order effects, like coups, are not the primary consideration for the training,” Caverley explains. “That’s why security cooperation work by the U.S. military, like its more violent operations, needs to be put in a strategic context that is largely lacking in this current administration, but was not much in evidence in other administrations either.”

The Great Con Job: General Gehlen, The U.S. Army, the CIA and the BND

August 10, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

In 1996, the San Jose, California, Mercury-News published material alleging that elements of the CIA knowingly permitted and encouraged the sale of narcotics by Latino drug dealers to essentially black, inner city residents. The strong implication contained in this report is that the wave of dangerous, disruptive and fatal drug sales and use in the black communities stemmed, in large part, from CIA instigation, and an attempt on their part to finance the Contras of Nicaragua who were then engaged in guerrilla warfare with the Marxist Sandinistas. The CIA has long and often been accused of utilizing monies from the transportation and sale of illegal drugs, in the main heroin and cocaine, to fund many of its operations for which they were unable to obtain official Congressional monetary support.

In the case of the Mercury-News coverage, the resultant uproar from the outraged black communities brought responses from the CIA that were both predictable and instructional.

The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, once known as friendly resources for official Washington, rushed into print with rebukes of both the San Jose newspaper’s stories, editors and its reporter—a theme eagerly seized upon by other such media outlets. There is an old adage that “Once a newspaperman, always a whore.” This is an erroneous and insulting statement. Whores perform their acts solely for money and nothing else. A slut, on the other hand, conducts her sexual rampages merely because it feels good. In the interest of accuracy and in defense of the character of whores, it might be better said that with few exceptions, the media are sluts ready to work for free for the US intelligence community.

John Deutsch, embattled Director of the CIA, made a public relations trip to Los Angeles where he spoke at an open meeting of the black community. He was booed and insulted by them, disbelieving his pious denials and promises of a “thorough investigation” into the allegations.

A predictable Congressional hearing into the issue was regaled by testimony from former Contra leaders who denied any of the published allegations. Again, their testimony was greeted with vocal outbursts from the audience who claimed that the business was being officially covered up, not unlike the previous hearings on the massacre at Waco, which were full of official sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The statements contained in this chapter concerning the known use by the US intelligence community of identified war criminals are based solidly on fact and record. This will certainly not prevent those in government service, both official and unofficial, from following a parallel course to the countering of the Mercury-News coverage.

For some years it has been said that a controversial issue does not gain credibility in the eyes of the public until it has been officially denied in Washington. To this official denial must be added confirming attacks by the media, the official public relations outlet for the government. No one believes them either.

A very significant number of the German nationals belonging to the CIA-controlled Gehlen Organization have been discovered to have belonged to either the Gestapo or the RSHA, the Reichssicheitshauptamt. This was the blanket organization for all German State and Party intelligence and counterintelligence agencies.

The fact that an indivual was assigned to the RSHA does not mean that they were involved in anything more sinister than clerical work in an office. But included in this list are a number of individuals whose wartime record indicates their activities were of a criminal nature and their inclusion in any U.S. sponsored and controlled agency has no justification whatsoever.

The Gehlen Organization was entirely controlled by the U.S. CIA from 1948 through 1956.

The Gehlen group was controlled completely by the U.S. Army from 1945 until 1948. It was then taken over and controlled directly by the Central Intelligence Agency under the command of Colonel James Critchfield until 1955-56, when the group was taken over by the Federal Government of Germany and renamed the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) or State Intelligence Service.

The excuse will doubtless be offered by all controlling parties that they had no way of knowing that their ranks contained such a significant number of Gestapo and SD officials, and many who were on the wanted lists called CROWCASS. This acronym stands for Central Registry of War Crimes and Security Suspects instituted by U.S. Intelligence in May of 1945, and eventually discontinued in 1948. These lists were contained in a total of forty books and were responsible for the apprehension of many wanted war criminals. It should be pointed out, that from 1945 until 1948 when the control of the Gehlen Organization passed to the CIA, it was mandatory that all German nationals who were employed by U.S. authorities in occupied Germany had to be checked both through CIC Central Registry as well as the CROWCASS lists!

There is absolutely no possibility that a valid claim of ignorance of the makeup of the Gehlen group can be made at this point in time. In fact, in 1948, all of the CROWCASS files were turned over to Gehlen and the CIA, very effectively blocking any possible inquiry into the makeup of the German-American spy network.

Because Gehlen had no knowledge of the inner workings of the Soviet Union, and being limited in his wartime duties of establishing Soviet order of battle, it was necessary for him to seek the services of German, Croatian, Baltic and Russian individuals who had a much broader background in non-military intelligence.

During the Second World War, Reinhard Gehlen was in charge of the German Army’s Foreign Armies East (Fremde Heer Ost) branch of the High Command. In retrospect, his projected views of Soviet military moves were more often wrong than right, but Gehlen was both ambitious and egocentric, a combination which effectively precluded him from considering any views other than his own. Hitler eventually fired him for incompetence.

The American military had very little knowledge of the inner workings of the Soviet state because during Roosevelt’s reign they had been strictly forbidden by the President to conduct any intelligence activity against his friend and ally, Josef Stalin. Soviet agents, on the other hand, ran rampant in the United States, spying on every important part of the U.S. government and military establishment. In this, the Soviets were eagerly assisted by a host of American communists who did not view their treachery as such, but rather as their sacred duty to the Soviet Union to whom they owed their entire allegiance.

The defense made, after the fact, by American intelligence agencies to charges of the unrestrained use of foreigners whose activities during the war were brutal in the extreme, was that the U.S. needed as much information on their new enemy as they could develop. Also, the backgrounds of many of their intelligence resources were secondary to their task of developing this intelligence.

Many of the individuals hired by Gehlen had very little experience in the intelligence field, but much in the area of partisan warfare. This combat experience consisted of engaging Soviet partisan and irregular units in warfare with the intention of liquidating them, the same goals, it ought to be pointed out, that the partisans themselves adhered to.

There is also the concept that Gehlen was used by elements in the United States government and military as a foil to convince a reluctant President Truman and the American Congress that Stalin was planning to launch an attack on western Europe. To forestall this attack, these elements urged, it was vital that the United States halt the demobilization of their military and the downsizing of American industry, and reverse the process.

Gehlen’s reports prepared at the behest of his American controllers have proven to be as inaccurate as the ones he prepared for Hitler’s High Command. But in the former case, Gehlen did what he was told to do while the latter case was more an example of ego than mendacity.

Most professional intelligence practitioners would agree, many with reluctance, that the use by either the United States or Great Britain of a superb counterintelligence personality such as Heinrich Müller would be fully justified considering Müller’s expertise in the machinations of the Kremlin and its leaders.

Almost no one, except for bureaucratic types, could justify the use by Gehlen and his controllers, the U.S. Army and later the CIA, of such men whose names are now identified with membership in his organization.













2 responses so far

  1. An interesting posting about Gehlen and the CIA. They like to keep things like that quiet. A.Royster

  2. The top intelligence agencies in this country have more leaks than a rotten garden hose. The Russians do not have to look for informants because they look for the Russians…and,, of course WikiLeaks and other sources. There are no secrets anymore. WS

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