TBR News April 25, 2014

Apr 25 2014

Fear and longing as prime human motivations have been used by techniques of influence engineering for ages. On the assumption that all targets are benefit-seekers the perception factor of “good” and “bad” as well as status (having something, or not) plays a substantial role. To provide a structure for understanding behavioral motivation hierarchies of personal needs have been proposed. Physiological needs (survival, food, drink, health) safety needs (clothing, shelter, protection) affection needs (companionship, bonding) esteem needs (self-respect, achievement, appreciation) self-fulfillment needs? utilizing one’s potential.


The thirty-six stratagems of the Chinese secret art of war is an ancient collection that describe some of the most cunning and subtle methods that are applied in psychological warfare to undermine both the opponent’s will and judgment.


Manipulative information techniques can be classified in various systems and categories but psychological influence stratagems do not replace procedures in PSYOP planning, development, or dissemination. “Self-evident” techniques appeal to authority, slogans, name calling etc. while other stratagems are based on information deficit of target or analyst. (“Lying” or selective omission, simplification and choosing from a variety of facts only those which support the purpose are examples.) While many techniques make use of dramaturgy (change of pace, stalling and deliberately withholding information, “shift of scene” to take the spotlight off an unfavorable situation by shifting it to another are examples of this category) others use chains of arguments.


Where an argument, expressed or implied, is a reason, or a series of reasons, offered as to why the target should behave, believe, or think in a certain manner resulting in the inferred intent of the originator on the target audience.






The Voice of the White House


          Washington, D.C. April 23, 2014: “While Obama is in Japan, making a fool out of himself playing games with a robot, his henchmen in Washington are putting the final touches on a plan to frighten Putin from drilling for oil on his continental shelf in the Arctic. Our American oil companies have their eyes on these rich holdings and Obama feels that if he is threatening enough, Putin will back down as so many others have before him and our Oligarchs will triumph again. Of course they didn’t have much luck with the immense untapped Iraqi fields of oil but since the Saudis are running out, we have to find other, controlled, sources before we are forced to buy from Russia. And this is a Russia whom we have been threatening since the first faked reports of Russian attacks were released in 1948. Now, the next step will be to bully Canada to let us set up military bases on their northern borders with the Arctic for the purpose of threatening Russia. The Canadian government is cowed by America but their public is not pleased with either their government or the Americans and it is doubtful if the entrenchment of our troops in nice white snow suits will bespangle the American media.”



Canada under increasing pressure to come up with co-ordinated NATO response to Russia in Arctic


April 23, 2014

by John Ivison

National Post


Canada, which has long blocked discussion of Arctic issues at NATO, is under increasing pressure from allies to drop its resistance and come up with a co-ordinated response to Russia’s aggressive militarization in the Far North.


President Vladimir Putin this week detailed Russia’s plans for a united system of naval bases, ships and next-generation submarines at a meeting of his country’s security council. The Arctic is “a sphere of special interest,” he said, and Russia’s goal is to not only to restore its influence there “but to make it even stronger.”


“We need to take additional measures so as not to fall behind our partners, to maintain Russian influence in the region and, maybe in some areas, to be ahead of our partners,” he said.


Russia is in the process of strengthening military infrastructure in the Arctic Circle, including re-opening two bases 50km from the Finnish border; creating a new Northern Fleet signals intelligence unit, staffed by 3,000 electronic warfare specialists; developing unmanned airships for surveillance; and, building a new 3,000-strong naval aviation unit.


The enhanced security is geared to protecting oil and gas production facilities from “terrorists and other potential threats,” he said.


Putin’s Dilemma : Fending Off the United State’s Imperial Hand


April 23, 2019

by Mike Whitney



Two excerpts from The Grand Chessboard : American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997:


“The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world’s paramount power.” (p. xiii)


            “Now a non-Eurasian power is preeminent in Eurasia — and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.” (p.30)


Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow press conference, April 2014


“We were promised in Munich that after the unification of Germany, no expansion of NATO would take place in the East. Then NATO expanded by adding former Warsaw Pact countries, former U.S.S.R. countries, and I asked: ‘Why are you doing that?’ And they told me, ‘It is not your business.’ ”


The United States is in the opening phase of a war on Russia. Policymakers in Washington have shifted their attention from the Middle East to Eurasia where they hope to achieve the most ambitious part of the imperial project; to establish forward-operating bases along Russia’s western flank, to stop further economic integration between Asia and Europe, and to begin the long-sought goal of dismembering the Russian Federation. These are the objectives of the current policy. The US intends to spread its military bases across Central Asia, seize vital resources and pipeline corridors, and encircle China in order to control its future growth. The dust-up in Ukraine indicates that the starting bell has already been rung and the operation is fully-underway. As we know from past experience, Washington will pursue its strategy relentlessly while shrugging off public opinion, international law or the condemnation of adversaries and allies alike. The world’s only superpower does not have to listen to anyone. It is a law unto itself.


The pattern, of course, is unmistakable. It begins with sanctimonious finger-wagging, economic sanctions and incendiary rhetoric, and quickly escalates into stealth bombings, drone attacks, massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, millions of fleeing refugees, decimated towns and cities, death squads, wholesale human carnage, vast environmental devastation, and the steady slide into failed state anarchy; all of which is accompanied by the stale repetition of state propaganda spewed from every corporate bullhorn in the western media.


Isn’t that how things played out in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria?


Indeed, it did. And now it’s on to Moscow. Putin’s survival and that of the Russian Federation depends to large extent to his ability to grasp the new reality quickly and to adapt accordingly. If he decides to ignore the warning signs hoping that Washington can be appeased or that the men who dictate US foreign policy can be persuaded to abandon the so-called “pivot to Asia”, he could face the same end as Saddam or Gadhafi. So the first priority is simply to accept the fact that the war has begun. All future policy decisions should derive from that basic understanding.


So what does Putin know already?


He knows that the CIA, the US State Department and the US-funded NGOs were directly involved in the coup in Kiev. He knows (from hacked phone messages) that Washington had a hand in picking the junta’s leaders. He knows that the White House and NATO have already undermined the spirit of Friday’s Geneva agreement by threatening to intensify economic sanctions and by planning to move more military assets to the Baltics as well as 10,000 US ground troops to Poland and additional American warships to the Black Sea.” He knows that high-ranking US policymakers have demonized him in the media as the new Hitler, a moniker that is unfailingly affixed to targets of Washington’s aggression. And he knows that the Obama team is loaded with bloodthirsty neocons and recalcitrant Cold Warriors who have never abandoned the idea of splintering Russia into smaller pieces, pilfering its resources, and installing a US puppet in Moscow.


To that end, the western media has shaped an absurd narrative that Crimea is part of “evil” Putin’s plan to reconstruct the Soviet Union and return to the glory days of the Russian Empire. While there’s no point in refuting such a laughable allegation, it is worth noting that many journalists have repudiated the media’s performance comparing the coverage to state-managed propaganda. Here’s how Robert Parry summed it up in a recent piece:


“In my four-plus decades in journalism, I have never seen a more thoroughly biased and misleading performance by the major U.S. news media. Even during the days of Ronald Reagan …there was more independence in major news outlets. There were media stampedes off the reality cliff during George H.W. Bush’s Persian Gulf War and George W. Bush’s Iraq War, both of which were marked by demonstrably false claims that were readily swallowed by the big U.S. news outlets.


But there is something utterly Orwellian in the current coverage of the Ukraine crisis, including accusing others of “propaganda” when their accounts…are much more honest and more accurate than what the U.S. press corps has been producing…. The casualness of this propaganda… is not just wretched journalism but it is reckless malfeasance jeopardizing the lives of many Ukrainians and the future of the planet.” (“Ukraine, through the US looking glass”, Robert Parry, Smirking Chimp)


Unfortunately, the fog of state-generated propaganda has kept the public largely in the dark about the real motives for the present conflict as well as the sordid history of US hostility towards Russia. Here’s a short blurb from an article in the World Socialist Web Site that helps cut through the BS and shed a bit of light on what’s really going on:


“When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, Dick (Cheney) wanted to see the dismantlement not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world,” wrote former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his recently published memoirs. Gates was referring to the then-Secretary of Defense, and later US Vice President, Dick Cheney.


The statement sheds light on the geopolitical dimensions of the recent putsch in Ukraine. What is at stake is not so much domestic issues—and not at all the fight against corruption and democracy—but rather an international struggle for power and influence that stretches back a quarter of a century.” (The geopolitical dimensions of the coup in Ukraine, Peter Schwarz, World Socialist Web Site)


President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, is the main architect of the current policy. In his classic “The Grand Chessboard…American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives”, Brzezinski makes the case that US needs to control the Eurasia landmass and fend off potential rivals in order to maintain its position as the world’s only superpower. Critics claim that the book is a blueprint for global dictatorship, a claim that’s hard to dispute given Brzezinski’s maniacal focus on what-he-calls “America’s global primacy.” Here are a few clips from the text that will illuminate the author’s thoughts on US expansion into Asia:


Three more Excerpts from The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives — Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997:


“America is now the only global superpower, and Eurasia is the globe’s central arena. Hence, what happens to the distribution of power on the Eurasian continent will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and to America’s historical legacy.” (p.194) “It follows that America’s primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it.” (p148) …


The world’s energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the U.S. Department of energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia’s economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea.” (p.125) …


“…how America `manages’ Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. …About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.” (p.31) …


Taken as a whole, Brzezinski’s “Chessboard” is a pretty straightforward strategy for ruling the world. All one needs to do is seize critical energy supplies and transit lines, crush potential rivals, and subvert regional coalitions, or as Brzezinski breezily puts it, “keep the barbarians from coming together.”


The plan does involve considerable risks, however, (Russia does have nuclear weapons, after all) but the risks are far outweighed by the prospect of unchallenged global dominance for the foreseeable future.


The trouble with Washington’s Ukraine policy, is that it leaves Putin with few options. If he deploys troops to defend ethnic Russian’s in the East, then Obama will demand additional economic sanctions, a “no fly” zone, NATO deployment, and the cutting off of natural gas and oil supplies to Europe. On the other hand, if Putin does nothing, then the attacks against Russian-speaking people in Ukraine (like Sunday’s shootout at an Eastern checkpoint that left three people dead.) will intensify and the US will provide covert military and logistical support to neo-Nazi extremists in the Interior Ministry, just as they have with jihadi terrorists in Syria and Libya. That will hurtle Ukraine into a devastating civil war that will damage Russia’s economy and undermine its national security. Anyway you look at it, Russia loses.


Journalist David Paul summed up the situation in an article titled “Forget the Spin, Putin Is Holding a Losing Hand” at Huffington Post. He said:


“Brzezinski’s strategic formulation is designed to enhance American power in the region in the long term, and whether Putin finds a way to pull back or chooses to invade is immaterial. Either choice Putin makes… will ultimately serve America’s interests, even if a Ukrainian civil war and an energy crisis in Europe have to be part of the price along the way.” (Huffington Post)


This is Putin’s dilemma, to choose the path that is least likely to exacerbate the situation and plunge Ukraine deeper into the abyss. For now, the choice seems obvious, that is, he should simply sit-tight, resist the temptation to get involved, and avoid doing anything rash. Eventually, his restraint will be seen as strength not weakness and he’ll be able to play a more constructive role in guiding Ukraine back to peace and security. But, for now, he must be patient and wait.




 Putin learning what U.S. didn’t


April 23, 2014

by Nicholas Wapshott 



             After America’s ignominious defeat and hurried departure from Vietnam in 1973 — when the world’s richest and mightiest nation was humbled by the stolid determination of ill-equipped, ideologically inspired peasants — it was generally assumed the United States would not wage war again until the lessons of the Viet Cong victory were taken to heart.


When Soviet forces hastily retreated with a bloody nose from their nine-year occupation of Afghanistan in 1989, similar lessons were suggested about the impossibility of militarily holding a country with a universally hostile population.


In his stealth occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin of Russia appears to have learned the lessons of both Vietnam and Afghanistan.


Successive U.S. presidents, however, seem to have failed to understand how military strategy was forever changed by what happened in those two chastening conflicts. Rather, they have gone on to repeat their predecessors’ mistakes.


That’s not all. The fleet of U.S. stealth bombers ($810 million each) and the fleet of nuclear submarines ($8.2 billion each) armed with Trident nuclear missiles ($31 million each) are of little use against Russian intelligence agents provocateurs disguised as Ukrainian protesters arriving by civilian airliner.


Neither the United States nor the European Union nor the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has a military solution for the creeping warfare that Putin is putting into chilling effect.


A question should be asked: Has the Pentagon’s decades-long high-tech spending spree — the delight of the domestic war-materials industries — left the West’s defense fit for a purpose? The obvious answer — no! — plays into the hands of American libertarians who are now joining with liberals to demand substantial defense cuts.


But back to Vietnam, a place that still haunts the U.S. military. Thinking they were better than the colonial French generals, who hastily evacuated the country after their humiliating defeat by the Viet Minh at Điên Biên Phu, U.S. commanders believed they could halt the communist insurgency from the north by sheer weight of force. They applied carpet bombing and an overwhelmingly better-equipped and better-trained conscript army.


Our defeat in Vietnam, after four presidents had taken turns trying to win the war by escalating the violence, shocked the nation. David had beaten Goliath, and small arms had trounced big battalions.


For 16 years, the United States took stock. If its military strength counted for so little in small-scale conflicts it was now being asked to fix, what was the way forward?


There was no obvious answer before the next time Washington felt itself obliged to intervene in a major conflict. President George H.W. Bush, with the bellicose British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher snapping at his heels, decided a Western coalition must recapture Kuwait from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War of 1991.


The United States returned to the battlefield — a barren stretch of sand highly suitable for mounting what could be the last of the old-school massed tank battles — and annihilated Hussein’s wretchedly ill-equipped forces. Bush declined to push on to Baghdad and topple Hussein,  a wise decision informed not only by the horrors of Vietnam but by the humiliation of the Soviets in Afghanistan.


The fact that some of the greatest military forces the world has ever seen — from Alexander the Great’s army to the soldiers of the mighty British Empire at its height — had failed to subdue the Afghans might have given the old men in the Kremlin pause for thought. Like the Pentagon, however, they pressed on in the belief that a few ill-armed mujahedeen would soon succumb to the overwhelming superiority of sophisticated tanks and planes.


It didn’t turn out that way. As in Vietnam, “asymmetrical warfare” — the unequal weight of forces on either side — meant the Afghan nationalists confronted the 100,000-strong invading Soviet army with guerrilla tactics. By the time the Russians made their speedy exit, in February 1989, 15,000 of the invading army had been killed.


The prospect of U.S. forces being similarly slaughtered while trying to occupy an anarchic post-Hussein Iraq gave Bush pause. Instead he opted for crippling the country with an economic sanctions regime, including an oil embargo, and pinning down Hussein’s forces with a no-fly zone — a containment policy followed by his successor, President Bill Clinton.


The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 changed everything. Not least, they encouraged an absurd sense of hubris in the White House under President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Al Qaeda had extended the guerrilla logic of the Viet Cong and the mujahedeen by using terrorism against soft U.S. targets, of which the hijacking of airliners proved the most devastatingly effective.


For the rest of the world, which since the arrival of terrorism as a means of warfare had become accustomed to searches before boarding a plane, the lack of security at U.S. airports had seemed careless if not downright neglectful.


Just as careless was the indignant response of the Bush administration to the September 11 attacks: the invasion of, of all places, Afghanistan, that had proved the graveyard of the Soviet Union, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq, under the pretext, unbacked by any convincing intelligence subsequently produced, that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction he was about to use against the West.


President Barack Obama defeated his principal Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton — and held off the Republican hawk Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the general election – in part because he had vocally opposed the war in Iraq and had expressed profound reservations about the conflict in Afghanistan.


Obama campaigned on a promise to bring both wars to an end. His approach to conflicts on his watch has been principally to dodge them. In Libya, he allowed his European allies to take the lead. When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces used chemical weapons against rebels, Obama hid behind Congress. These chemical attacks continue.


Now the United States and its wavering ally the European Union are faced with what to do about Russia’s surreptitious expansionism westward. Understanding the lessons of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, Putin has invaded Ukraine in disguise — first annexing Crimea and now, through not-so-covert forces, destabilizing largely Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine to provide himself with an open invitation to invade with tanks if and when he thinks fit.


The West’s response? Passport bans, economic sanctions against a small number of Russian friends of Putin and the suspension, not even expulsion, of Russia from the Group of 8.


There is no military option. U.S. taxpayers hand over $682 billion to the Pentagon each year, and yet there is no military option. Instead, Secretary of State John Kerry complains that Putin isn’t playing fair by adopting a 19th century approach to a 21st century problem.


It may be that Ukraine is already lost to Putin. It may be Putin will annex other former Soviet republics, including Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Belarus. (Putin is unlikely to grab the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since they are all members of NATO.)


How will the West respond if he keeps invading? That is anyone’s guess. Most likely, though, each invasion will be met with anguished  concern but no Western military response.


So it is all down to sanctions. Will they work? Ask Cuba. Or North Korea. Or Zimbabwe. Or Iran.



NYT Retracts Russian-Photo Scoop


Exclusive: After starting a propaganda stampede – with a lead story about photos of Russian troops purportedly in Ukraine – the New York Times admits the pictures really don’t prove much, and one photo was labeled as snapped in Russia when it was really taken in Ukraine, writes Robert Parry.


April 23, 2014

by Robert Parry



Two days after the New York Times led its editions with a one-sided article about photos supposedly proving that Russian special forces were behind the popular uprisings in eastern Ukraine, the Times published what you might call a modified, limited retraction.


Buried deep inside the Wednesday editions (page 9 in my paper), the article by Michael R. Gordon and Andrew E. Kramer – two of the three authors from the earlier story – has this curious beginning: “A collection of photographs that Ukraine says shows the presence of Russian forces in the eastern part of the country, and which the United States cited as evidence of Russian involvement, has come under scrutiny.”


             Photograph published by the New York Times purportedly taken in Russia of Russian soldiers who later appeared in eastern Ukraine. However, the photographer has since stated that the photo was actually taken in Ukraine, and the U.S. State Department has acknowledged the error.


In the old days of journalism, we used to apply the scrutiny before we published a story on the front page or on any other page, especially if it had implications toward war or peace, whether people would live or die. However, in this case – fitting with the anti-Russian bias that has pervaded the mainstream U.S. press corps – the scrutiny was set aside long enough for this powerful propaganda theme to be put in play and to sweep across the media landscape.


Only now do we belatedly learn what should have been obvious: the blurry photographs provided by the coup regime in Kiev and endorsed by the Obama administration don’t really prove anything. There were obvious alternative explanations to the photos that were ignored by the Times, such as the possibility that these were military veterans who are no longer associated with the Russian military. Or that some photos are not of the same person.


And, one of the photos featured by the Times in its Monday lead article, purportedly showing some of the armed men in Russia, was actually shot in the Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, according to Maxim Dondyuk, the freelance photographer who took the picture and posted it on his Instagram account.


Here is the tortured way the Times treated that embarrassing lapse in its journalistic standards: “A packet of American briefing materials that was prepared for the Geneva meeting asserts that the photograph was taken in Russia. The same men are also shown in photographs taken in Ukraine.


“Their appearance in both photographs was presented as evidence of Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine. The packet was later provided by American officials to The New York Times, which included that description of the group photograph in an article and caption that was published on Monday. … The dispute over the group photograph cast a cloud over one particularly vivid and highly publicized piece of evidence.”


Then, after noting Dondyuk’s denial that the photo was snapped in Russia, the Times quoted State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as acknowledging “that the assertion that the photograph in the American briefing materials had been taken in Russia was incorrect. But she said that the photograph was included in a ‘draft version’ of a briefing packet and that the information has since been corrected.”


But the misidentification of the photo’s location as Russia, not Ukraine, was not some minor mistake. If the photo was taken in Ukraine, then the whole premise of the claim that these same guys were operating in Russia and have since moved to Ukraine collapses.


Note how the Times framed this point in its Monday article: “Some of the men photographed in Ukraine have been identified in other photos clearly taken among Russian troops in other settings.” Then, the cutline below the photo read: “Soldiers in a group photo of a reconnaissance unit, which was taken in Russia, were later photographed operating in towns in eastern Ukraine.” There was no attribution. The location is stated as flat fact.


Still, the Obama administration is not going to let its sloppy mistake get in the way of a potent propaganda theme. According to the Times, Psaki insisted that there was plenty of other classified and unclassified evidence proving that the Russians are behind the eastern Ukrainian uprisings, but none of that supposed evidence was included in Wednesday’s story.


The problem for the Times, however, is different. Many of the flaws in the photographic evidence were there to see before Monday’s front-page article, but the newspaper was apparently blinded by its anti-Russian bias.


For instance, the article devoted much attention to the Russian skill at “masking” the presence of its troops, but that claim would seem to be contradicted by these allegedly secret warriors posing for public photos.


The Times also ignored the fact that the U.S. Special Forces – and indeed the special forces of many other nations – also seek to blend in with the populations by growing beards and wearing local clothing. This is not some unique tactic employed by the nefarious Russians.



April 24, 2014 by Consortium News

America’s Surge Toward Oligarchy

With the rapid concentration of wealth in a few well-manicured hands and the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court declaring money to be speech, the American surge toward oligarchy has gained what looks like an unstoppable momentum

by JP Sottile


Is America an oligarchy? Thanks to a new study from Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern University, social media, Op-Ed pages and the blatheri are all atwitter at the implication that American democracy is a sham.

In Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, Gilens and Page used a data-set of 1,779 policy issues from 1981 to 2002 to compare actual policy outcomes with the prevailing policy preferences of three income groups: “10Th income percentile (quite poor), the 50thpercentile (median), and the 90th percentile (fairly affluent).”

 Timothy Geithner (left), then Treasury Secretary, meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. (White House photo)

Not surprisingly, the policy desires of the 90 Percenters (earning at least $146,000 per year) are the most likely to become policy outcomes. If they support a policy, it has a 45% chance of being enacted. But if they oppose a policy, there is an 82% chance it will be defeated, derailed on the way to becoming a law, even if a majority of Americans support it.

These findings are more daunting when we consider that the study’s data-set ends before Citizens United, the sanctification of money as constitutionally-protected speech and the growing post-crash spike in inequality. But one word the authors did not use to describe the ruling class was “oligarchy.”

Although it’s being peddled in the news cycle, this somewhat imprecise term ignores the authors’ own characterization of the ruling class as “economic elites.” If editors and SEO (search engine optimization) advocates are looking for a snazzy word to spice up their traffic, they should use the more precise, but just as ominous-sounding term “plutocracy.”

Simply put, a plutocracy is defined by Merriam-Webster as “government by the richest people; a country that is ruled by the richest people; a group of very rich people who have a lot of power.”

The plutocratic power of America’s “economic elite” is strongly implied by the macro-snapshot of the Gilens-Page study. But it is wholly evident in an actual outcome of an actual policy with huge implications for actual plutocrats — the so-called Dodd-Frank financial reform.


Dodd-Frank Sausage Machine


As politicians and pundits like to say with a sly chuckle, “Laws are like sausages, and it’s best to avoid watching either of ’em being made.” It’s a dismissive, insider’s joke about the haggis-like haggling behind the raw deals churned out by the congressional sausage machine. As a practical matter, it means those with the most to gain and the most to spend are those who get the best seats at the table when the laws are being cooked up.

During the post-crash effort to rein-in the financial industry, curtail exotic financial device-makers and limit dubious debt obligation salesmen, the industry used its well-funded access to add key exceptions to Dodd-Frank before it became law. By the time the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 was finally signed, the industry and its associations spent over $1 billion on related lobbying efforts.

The Center for Responsive Politics tracked the spending of three interested lobbying sectors, noting an uptick for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, when the Dodd-Frank dust-up was finally settled. During the final frenzy of 2010, the Securities and Investment sector spent an all-time high of $105,699,730, Business Associations spent an all-time high of $199,738,789 and Commercial Banks spent $54,912,363, a number they then exceeded for the each of the following three years.

Those costly efforts “watered down” the Volcker Rule’s limits on banks taking risks in the investment business, preserved a loophole for derivatives trading and retained the “too-big-to-fail” orthodoxy that forces taxpayers to bail out gigantic financial institutions when they play fast and loose with other people’s money.

But this predictable backroom “sausage making” — the addition of perks, exemptions and tasty extras for those with enough money to afford political speech — is just one part of a recipe for disaster that all-too-often turns reform legislation like Dodd-Frank into Swiss Cheese. That’s because laws cannot be implemented until they become rules.

Golden Rulemaking

Rulemaking is the secret sauce that alters many of the bills passed by Congress and signed into law by the White House. During the “rulemaking phase,” those Executive Branch agencies tasked with implementing a newly-minted law huddle around conference tables and draw up the actual rules that will be enforced.

In the case of Dodd-Frank’s “clampdown” on financialization gone wild, the regulators charged with writing the rules did so in heavy consultation with the very corporate banking entities targeted by the law in the first place.

During the first two years of a rulemaking process that still isn’t complete, logs obtained by the Sunlight Foundation showed that Goldman Sachs pleaded its case during 181 rulemaking chinwags. Jamie Dimon’s JP Morgan Chase attended 175 meetings with regulators. Morgan Stanley sat in on 150 meetings. And Bank of America hung out with regulators 122 times.

On the other side, the Consumer Federation of America aired their concerns at 34 meetings and Americans for Financial Reform sat at the conference table with well-heeled decision-makers just 32 times. Those first two years were crucial, since that’s when many of the rules were written by the Department of the Treasury, the Fed and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

By 2013, a bevy of banks, private equity firms, law firms and trade associations were, according to another Sunlight Foundation analysis, present at 90 percent of the Fed’s meetings, at 82.7 percent of those held by the Treasury Department and at 74.8 percent of the meetings held at the CFTC. And “pro-reform” groups? They were present at 13.7 percent of Treasury’s get-togethers, at 3.3 percent of the Fed’s meetings and reform advocates sat in on just 4.4 percent of the CFTC’s meetings concerned with, among other things, the exotic financial instruments and dangerous derivatives trading that catalyzed the crash of 2008.

This is the privilege of plutocracy. Not only did America’s cozy financial cartel enjoy open door access into meetings to “help” regulators shape regulations meant to regulate their risky businesses, but they were given an intimate look at how the rules were being formulated and, therefore, privy to any gaps or loopholes that may be written into the rules.

And while they were pouring money into affecting the outcome of the rulemaking process, they also spent much of 2013 writing new laws for those lazy-sausage makers on Capitol Hill. In fact, they successfully lobbied for reforms of the financial reforms before the reforms could be fully implemented. Using their “influence” and copious campaign contributions, the financial industry shepherded the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act through to passage in the House. But it doesn’t stop there.

Joining the Plutocracy

Now that the financial industry has chimed in on the Volcker Rule and the rules governing the still-massive derivatives market are basically set, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is moving into the enforcement phase. So, America’s financial cartel is seeking out the unique insights of the regulators who worked in deep consultation with them as they hashed out all those rules.

As Megan Wilson at The Hill reported, “More than two dozen federal officials who helped enact new rules for Wall Street have decamped from government for lucrative jobs in the private sector.” Ms. Wilson indentified some of the “foot soldiers in the Dodd-Frank effort” who’ve spun their inside knowledge of the “complex rules” into advisory gold:

–Timothy Geithner, former Secretary of the Treasury, joined leverage buyout firm EM Warburg, Pincus & Co.

–Mary Schapiro, former Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), went to Promontory Financial Group

–Ronald Rubin, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enforcement attorney, became a partner at Hunton & Williams

–Raj Date, former Deputy Director of the CFPB, left and formed his own firm—Fenway Summer

–Benjamin Olson leveraged his time at the CFPB and the Federal Reserve into a gig at the financially-focused law firm BuckleySandler

However, Mr. Olson wants to disabuse Americans of the idea that there could be anything untoward in this revolving door. He told Ms. Wilson, “there is this popular notion of there being loopholes in the Dodd-Frank law that are there to be exploited. In my experience, those loopholes are a myth.”

The myth, though, may be the mantra of “public service” chanted by the merry-go-rounders who move from government to the businesses they once oversaw, or from scrutinized businesses to prime positions in “public service” that have them overseeing their previous employers. Wall Street is, in fact, a two-lane superhighway that leads directly to and from Pennsylvania Avenue. It is the fast-track lane to the plutocracy.

Public Service Plutocrats

The most notable recent commuter on this fact-track was Treasury Secretary Jack Lew who was handed a “golden parachute” from Citigroup on his way to Treasury. The Wall Street Journal reported on Lew’s guaranteed bonus if and when he walked out of Citi for a “high level position with the United States government or regulatory body.”

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones proposed an innocent explanation for Lew’s contract provision. He suggested that this type of pre-arranged “severance” for public service-minded big-wigs merely protects big-wigs from taking “a big financial hit” if and when they go to Washington. It also eliminates a sticky decision by Citi of whether or not to pay a big bonus “to someone who will exercise power over it in the future.”

But Lew, like so many others in “public service,” seems to be living a charmed life filled with severance payouts. According to the New York Times, Lew also “got a $685,000 severance payment when he left a top post at New York University in 2006 to take a job at Citigroup.” That’s five times the base yearly earnings needed to qualify as a 90 Percenter.

Citigroup has also rolled out the red carpet for financial wizards like former Obama budget director Peter Orszag (now Vice Chairman of Citigroup) and Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (co-architect of Alan Greenspan’s bubble economy during the 1990s).

Although those bubbly Clinton years continue to mesmerize nostalgic Democrats, it was his all-star economic team that wanted desperately to break the Great Depression’s last regulatory taboo — the Glass-Steagall Act. They lobbied from within the White House for the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 which allowed “investment banks, insurers and retail banks” to merge into the financialized monster that ate the middle class.

In fact, Jack Lew worked alongside Citi-banker extraordinaire Rubin in the Clinton Administration and replaced Orszag as Obama’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The Governing Plutocracy

Ultimately, it’s not just anyone who gets a pre-arranged severance package if and when they decide to quit their job. These payouts are the dues corporations pay to gain membership in an elite plutocratic club that has unique access to Washington’s sausage factory.

As Lee Fang at The Nation reported, this practice is rife in the “public service” industry. He reviewed documents showing that staffers serving the leadership of “both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have received six-figure bonuses and other incentive pay from corporate firms shortly before taking jobs in Congress.”

In March of 2013, The Project on Government Oversight detailed some of the plum “public service” bonuses offered to employees who decide to leave their jobs to serve patriotically in government and politics:

–Morgan Stanley offers a bonus you would ‘ordinarily forfeit for leaving the company prematurely’

–Goldman Sachs hands out a ‘lump sum cash payment’

–JPMorgan Chase promises possible stock awards and other rewards for a ‘bona fide full-time campaign’

–Citigroup has an ‘outstanding’ stock and pro-rated incentive and retention award

–The Blackstone Group says departing employee will “continue to vest in units as if [you] had not left our firm”

–Fannie Mae reassures servants-to-be of ‘qualification for a financial benefit’

As POGO noted, the problem is particularly stunning at the SEC where former employees “routinely help corporations try to influence SEC rulemaking, counter the agency’s investigations of suspected wrongdoing, soften the blow of SEC enforcement actions, block shareholder proposals, and win exemptions from federal law.”

Plutocracy Is Too Big To Fail

So, is it any surprise that in spite of Dodd-Frank the IMF recently issued a report detailing the persistence of “too big to fail” banks and their continued reliance on “implicit public subsidies” to counter their continued risky behavior? As the Financial Times reported, “The world’s largest banks still receive implicit public subsidies worth as much as $590bn because of their status as ‘too big to fail’ and the assumption of a government bailout if they get into trouble.”

With that security blanket in tow and the revolving door always just a short private jet flight away, Wall Street has reveled in the post-crash economy, scooping up assets, reaping big profits and paying tax-deductable fines to purchase “get out of jail” cards from the public servants currently minding the bank in America’s grand Monopoly game.

Duly emboldened by the façade of reform, by 2013 many of the “same old players” who “know how to push the boundaries” were again bundling debts into investment opportunities called “collateralized debt obligations.” According to Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times, “The revival partly reflects the same investor optimism that has lifted the stock market to new heights.” Those “heights” have persisted into the first quarter of 2014 and new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is unlikely to break that streak.

After initially signaling a possible end to the Fed stimulus party, she’s been “easing investor concern” about a possible rise in interest rates and reassuring her constituents that government support — with bond purchases so far totaling $4.23 trillion — is as reliable as ever.

Thus, the plutocracy has good reason for optimism, despite a new “leverage ratio” rule that increases the amount of capital a bank holds against its assets from 3 percent to 5 percent and new scrutiny for both high-frequency trading and dark pool markets.


Their influence over the political system is secure. This is particularly true as a growing number of Americans live on the edge of economic ruin, their voices increasingly muted by a system that translates money into speech and into policies.

While the elite of the elites get richer and richer and, therefore, can afford to exercise more and more influence over elections, another new study shows that nearly “one-third of American households — 38 million of them — are living a paycheck-to-paycheck existence.” And a new Gallup poll shows an increasing number of households teetering on the brink of “hardship” due to a lack of savings.

This rise in economic insecurity reinforces the plutocracy’s political strength by diminishing ability of non-plutocrats to exercise power or force their policy preferences through the machinery. Most Americans simply cannot afford to lobby lawmakers, attend rulemaking meetings or hire people away from agencies to guide them through the system.

With millionaires increasingly taking over Congress, the representative part of America’s “representative democracy” is, like public service in regulatory agencies, all-too-often just a way station on the way to the plutocracy. And the laws it churns out are, sadly, little more than an insult to sausages.


How the CIA Operaqtes through Non-Governmental Agencies (NGO)


Everyone knows that the CIA funds various covert operations throughout the world.  They do this through various front organizations including known CIA operations groups which funnel funds to “various non-governmental agencies” (NGOs) which then use those funds to achieve objectives both foreign and domestic.  There is a tremendous history of this funneling to quasi-private organizations … but it’s also interesting how overt some of it is.  Much of how the CIA operates has bubbled up due to failures and successes around the world in countries like Venezuela, Egypt, Pakistan and thanks to some American whistle-blowers.

The #1 thing you have to understand about this…all of this taxpayer money (your money) that is being spent to further geopolitical and corporate goals is not just money spent to overthrow foreign governments…a good amount of that money is being spent to influence the hearts and minds in America too.

America is a case study of how to successfully let the tail wag the dog; there are a LOT of journalists, editors and influential people on the take (propaganda assets).  And there is always a concerted effort to punish those of us who share any semblance of truth.

The video below is an investigative report by the great Mike Wallace in 1967 exposing how the CIA used NGO’s over the 50′s and 60′s.  The investigation took place 45 years ago but that doesn’t make it any less relevant to today. The explanation of how the CIA operates begins at 5:23…

Who can forget the news last year that various CIA linked NGO’s conducted a fake polio drive in Pakistan to gain intelligence information in the lead up to the assassination of Osama bin-Laden.  More HERE.

The CIA used to fund the NGO “National Student Association” for many years until a bombshell whistle blower account brought light to that particular organization.  More HERE.

 Here is just a small list of various NGOs that are either known or are broadly accepted as CIA front operations.  These organizations funnel money directly from their budget into various unknown and foundations, humanitarian groups, and private companies to further CIA priorities:


AALC, see Afro-American Labor Center

A.P.I. Distributors, Inc.

Actus Technology

ADEP, see Popular Democratic Action

Advertising Center, Inc.

Aero Associates

Aero Service Corp. of Philadelphia

Aero Systems, Inc

Aero Systems Pvt. Ltd

AFME, see American Friends of the Middle East)

African-American Institute

Agencia Orbe Latinoamericano

Agribusiness Development, Inc.

AID (Agency for International Development – shared facilities with NIA)

Air America

Air Asia

Air Proprietary Company

All Ceylon Youth Council Movement

Alliance for Anti-totalitarian Education

American Committee for Liberation (of Cuba)

American Committee on a United Europe

America Fore Insurance Group

American Association of the Middle East

American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, Inc.

American Committee for the Liberation of the People of Russia

American Committee for the International Commission of Jurists

American Council of Churches

American Economic Foundation

American Federation for Fundemental Research

American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL/CIO)

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

American Foundation for the Middle East

American Friends of the Middle East

American Friends of the Russian Freedom

American Friends Service Committee

American Fund for Czechoslovak Refugees

American Fund For Free Jurists

American Geographic Society

American Historical Society

American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD)

American Institute of Cairo

American Machine & Foundry

American Mutual Insurance Company

American Newspaper Guild

American Newspaper Publishers

American Political Science Association

American Research Center in Egypt, Inc.

Anderson Security Associates (Virginia)

American Society of African Culture

American University – Special Operations Research Office

Ames Research Center

M.D. Anderson Foundation

ANSA (Italian Wire Service)

Antell, Wright & Nagel

Anti-Communist Christian Front

Anti-Communist Liberation Movement

Anti-Totalitarian Board of Solidarity with the People of Vietnam

Anti-Totalitarian Youth movement

Appalachian Fund


Area Tourist Association

Arbian-American Oil Company

Arnim Proprietary, Ltd

Arrow Air

Ashland Oil and Refining Company

Asia Foundation

Association American Oriental Society

Association of Former Intelligence Officers

Association of American Geographers

Association of Computing Machinery

Association of Friends of Venezuela

Association of Preparatory Students

Atomics, Physics & Science Fund, Inc.

Atwater Research Program in North Africa

Audio Intelligence Devices, Inc.

Australian Association for Cultural Freedom

Assoziation ungarischer Studenten in Nordamerika



B.R. Fox Laboratories (B.R. Fox Company)

Bahamas Commonwealth Bank

Bank of Lisle

Ball, Janik, and Novack

Bankers Trust Company

Basic Resources

Battelle Memorial Institute

Beacon Fund (West)

Berliner Verein (West)

Berliner Verein zur Forderung der Bildungshilfe in Entwicklungslandern (West)

Berliner Verein zur Forderung der Publizistik in Entwicklungslandern

Bird Air

Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham and Wong

Blythe & Company, Inc

Boni, Watkins, Jason & Company

Brazilian Institute for Democratic Action (IBAD)

BRS Holding Company

Broad and High Foundation

J. Frederick Brown Foundation

Bruce Campbell and Company

Burndy Corporation

Burgerkomitee fur Au Benpolitik (SS)

Butte Pipe Line Company



Cahill, Gordon, Reindel & Ohl

Cahill & Wilinski

Caramar (Caribbean Marine Aero Corp)

California Shipbuilding Corporation

Caribban Marine Area Corporation

Caspian Pipeline Consortium

Castle Bank and Trust

Catherwood Foundation

(CRESS) Center for Strategic Studies

(CEAS) CEOSL, see Ecuadorean Confederation of Free Trade Union Organizations

Center for Strategic and International Studies

Center of Studies and Social Action

Central Investigative Agency

Century Special (controled by ICC)

Chalk№s International Airlines

Chesapeake Foundation

Church League of America

Civil Air Transport

Civilian Irregular Defense Group(s

Civilian Military Assistance

Clothing and Textiles Workers Union COG, see Guayana Workers Confederation

CMI Investments

Coastal Products

Coastal Trade Unions Cross, Murphy and Smith

Cocke and Phillips International

Columbian Financial Development Company

Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Company

Committee for Free Albania

Committee for the Defense of National Interests

Committee for Liberty of Peoples

Committee of One Million Against the Admission of Communist China to the United Nations

Communications Workers of America (CWA)

Community Congress for Cultural Freedom

Combat Military Ordinances Ltd.

Computerized Thermal Imaging, Inc.

Confederation for an Independent Poland

Conference of the Atlantic

Continental Press

Continental Shelf Explorations, Inc.

Cooperative League of America

Coordinating Committee of Free Trade Unionists of Ecuador

Coordinating Secretariat of National Unions of Students (cosec), see International

               Student Conference (ISC)

Corporate Air Services

Cosden Petroleum Corporation

COSECOIN (Corporate Security Consultants International

Council on Economic and Cultural Affairs, Inc

Council of Foreign Relations

Cox, Langford, Stoddard & Cutler

CRC, see Cuban Revolutionary Council

Crest Detective Agency (Santa Monica)

CROCLE, see Regional Confederation of Ecuadoreas

Crossroads of Africa

Crusade for Freedom

Cryogenics, Inc.

CSU, see Urugayan Labor Conference

CTM, see Mexican Worker Confederation

 Cuban Portland Cement Company

Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC, Cuban Exile)

Cummings and Seller

Curtis Publishing Company

CUT, see Uruguayan Confederation of Workers



Daddario & Burns

Dane Aviation Supply

Debevoise, Plimpton, Lyons & Gates (West)

Defense Services, Inc

Defense Systems, International

Dektor Counterinteligence (Virginia)

Deutscher Kunstlerbund

Dominion Rubber Company

Double-Check Corporation

DRE, see Revolutionary Student Directorate in Exile



Eagle Aviation Technology and Services

Eagleton Institute of Politics – Princeton University East Asian Institute

East-West Center

EATSCO (the Egyptian American Transport and Service Company)

EC (see also EC varients, PGES, Granville Road Company, Idaho Power Systems, Coastal Products, Fouch Electric, Linnco Electric, and law firm of Ball, Janik, and Novak)

EC Company

EC Distributing 

EC Engineering

EC Pulp and Paper

EC Technical Services

EC Voice and Data

Ecuadorean Anti-Communist Action

Ecuadorean Anti-Communist Front

Ecuadorean Confederation of Free Trade Union Organizations (CEOSL)

Ecuadorean Federation of Telecommunications Workers (FENETEL)

Editors Press Service

Edsel Fund

Electrical Construction

Electrical Contractors

Electrical Contractors of Oregon

Electric Storage Battery Company

El Gheden Mining Corporation

Encounter Magazine

End Kadhmir Dispute Committee

Energy Resources


ERC International, Inc.

ESI Electronic Specialties, Inc.

Enstnischer Nationalrat

Enstnischer Weltzentralrat

Estrella Company

Europe Assembly of Captive Nations

Evergreen International Air

Exeter Banking Company


Fairfield Aviation

Farfield Foundation, Inc.

Federal League for Ruralist Action (Ruralistas)

Federation for a Democratic Germany in Free Europe

Fed. Inte. des Journalistes de Tourisme

FENETEL, see Ecuadorean Federation of Telecommunications Workers

Fidelity Reporting Service

Fiduciary Trust

First Florida Resource Corporation

Food, Drink and Plantation Workers Union

Ford Foundation

Foreign Broadcast Information

Foreign News Service

Foreign Press Association B.C

Forest Products, Ltd.

“Forum” (Wein)

Fouch Electric

Foundation for International and Social Behavior

Foundation for Student Affairs

Franklin Broadcasting Company

Free Africa Organization of Colored People

Free Europe Committee, Inc

Free Europe Exile Relations

Free Europe Press Division

Freie Universitat (FU)

Frente Departmental de Compensinos de Puno

Fund For Peace

Fund for International, Social and Economic Development


Gambia National Youth Council

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company)

Geneva’s Exchange and Investment Bank

Geological Society of America

George L. Barnes & Associates (Los Angeles)

Georgia Council on Human Relations

Gibralter Steamship Corp

Global Financial

Global International Airways

Glore, Forgan & Company

Golden West Airlines

Goldstein, Judd & Gurfein

Gotham Foundation

Government Affairs Institute

Grace Capital

W.R. Grace and Company

Grandville Road Company

Gray and Company

Granary Fund

Great American Banks

Grey Advertising Agency

Gulf Stream, Ltd.

Gulf Oil Corporation

Guyana Workers Confederation (COG)


Andrew Hamilton Fund

Heights Fund

Joshua Hendy Iron Works

Hercules Research Corporation


Hill & Knowlton

Himalayan Convention

Histadrut – The Federation of Labor in Israel


Hoblitzelle Foundation

Hodson Corporation

Hogan & Hartson, legal firm (Edward Bennett Williams firm)

Hoover Institute on War, Revolution and Peace

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Hutchins Advertising Company of Canada

Huyck Corporation


IBAD, see Brazilian Institute for Democratic Action

IBM (International Business Machines)

ICC (International Controls Corp

Idaho Power Systems

Impossible Electronic Techniques (Russiaville, In.)

Independence Foundation

Independent Research Service

Industrial Research Service

Information Security International Inc.

Institut zur Erforschung der USSR e.V.

Institute Battelle Memorial

Institute of Historical Review

Institute of International Education

Institute of International Labor Research Education

Institute of Political Education

Institute of Public Administration                                                 

Inter-American Capital

Intermountain Aviation

Inter-Probe, Inc.

Interarmco (International Armament Corp.)

Intercontinental Industries

Intercontinental Finance Corporation

Intercontinental Research Corporation

Intermountain Aviation

International-American Center of Economic and Social Studies

International-American Federation of Journalists

International-American Federation of Working Newspapermen (IFWN)

International-American Labor College

International-American Police Academy, see International Police Academy

International-American Regional Labor Organization (ORIT)

International Armament Corporation (INTERARMCO) International Air Tours of Nigeria

International Bancorp, Ltd

International Business Communications

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (IFCTU)

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

International Cooperation Administration (ICA)

International Credit Bank of Switzerland

International Development Foundation, Inc.

International Fact Finding Institute    

International Federation of Christian Trade Unions IFCTU, see World Confederation of     Labor

International Federation of Journalists

International Federation of Petroleum and Chemical Workers (IFPCW)

International Federation of Plantation, Agriculture and Allied Workers (IFPAAW)

International Federation of Women Lawyers (IFWL)

International Geographical Union

International Investigators, Inc.

International Journalists Conference

International Labor Research Institute

International Press Institute

International Rescue Committee

International Police Services (INPOLSE)

International Secretatiate of the Pax Romana

International Student Conference (ISC)

International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT)

International Trade Services

International Trade Secretariats

International Trading and Investment Guaranty Corp., Ltd.,

International Transport Workers Federation (ITF)

International Union Officials Trade Organizations

International Union of Young Christian Democrats

International Youth Center

Internationale Federation der Mittel- und Osteuropas

Internationale Organization zur Erforschung kommunistischer Nethoden

Internationaler Bund freier Journalisten

Internationales Hilfskomitee

Intertel (International Intelligence Incorporated)

IOS (Investor№s Overseas Services)

ITT (International Telephone and Telegraph)



Japan Cultural Forum

John P. Muldoon Detective Agency

Joseph Z. Taylor & Associates Kenyon Electronics



Kaplan Fund, Inc.

Kennedy & Sinclaire, Inc.

Kentfield Fund J.M.

Kenya Federation of Labour

Khmer Airlines

Kilmory Investments, Ltd

Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Komittee fur internationale Beziehungen

Komittee fur Selbstbestimmung

Komittee fur die Unabhangigkeit des Kaukasus

Korean C.I.A.

Korean Freedom and Cultural Foundation, Inc.



Labor Committee for Democratic Action

Lake Resources

Law Enforcement Assistance Administration

Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit

Lawyer’s Constitutional Defense Committee

League for Industrial Democracy

League for International Social and Cooperative Development

Ligue de la Liberte

Linking Progressive Corp., S.A.

Linnco Electric

Litton Industrial Company

London American


Management Safeguards, Inc.

Manhattan Coffee Company

Maritime Support Unit

Marconi Telegraph-Cable Company

Marshall Foundation, Center for International Studies (MIT-CIS)

Martin Marietta Company

Mathieson Chemical Corporation

McCann-Erikson, Inc.

Megadyne Electronics

Mercantile Bank and Trust Company


Meridian Arms

Charles E. Merrill Trust

Mexican Workers Confederation (CTM)

Military Armaments Corp.

Miner & Associates

Mineral Carriers, Ltd.

MITRE Corporation

Mobil Oil Company


Monroe Fund

Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc.

Moral Majority Moral Rearmament Movement

Mount Pleasant Trust

Movement for Integrated University Action

Robert Mullen Company

Narodno Trudouoj Sojus (NTS)

National Academy of Sciences

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Board for Defense of Sovereignty and Continental Solidarity

National Catholic Action Board

National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse

National Council of Churches

National Defense Front

National Educational Films, Inc.

National Education Association

National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty

National Federation of Petroleum and Chemical Workers of Ecuador

National Feminist Movement for the Defense of Uruguay

National Intelligence Academy,

National Railways Security Bureau, Inc

National Research Council

National Student Association

National Student Press Council of India

National Union of Journalists of Ecuador


New York Times

Norman Fund

Norman Jaspan Associates

North American Rockwell Corporation

North American Uranium, Inc

Norwich Pharmaceutical Company

Nugan Fruit Group

Nugan Hand Bank



Oceanic Cargo

Oil Workers International Union

Omni Spectra, Inc. (Tempe, Az.)

Operations and Policy Research, Inc.

Orange Spot

Organix. Ukrainischer Nationalisten (OUN)

ORIT, see International-American Regional Labor Organization

Overseas New Agency

Overseas Southeast Asia Supply Company


Pacific Corporation

Pacific Life Insurance

Paderewski Foundation

PAMCO (Pacific Aircraft Maintenance Company

Pan-American Foundation

Pan Aviation

Pappss Charitable Trust


Jere Patterson & Associates

Pax Romana

Peace and Freedom

Penobscot Land & Investment Company

Phoenix Financial

Plant Protection, Inc.

Plenary of Democratic Civil Organizations of Uruguay

Pope & Ballard

Popular Democratic Action (ADEP)

Press Institute of India

Price Fund

Project Democracy

Property Resources, Ltd.

Public Service International (PSI)

Publisher’s Council


Rabb Charitable Foundation

Radio Americas

Radio Free Europe

Radio Free Asia

Radio Liberty

Radio Liberty Committee, Inc.

Radio Liberation

Radio Swan

Rand Corporation

Rapid-American Corp.

Red Pearl Bay, S.A.

Regional Confederation of Ecuadorean Coastal Trade Unions (CROCLE)

Research Foundation for Foreign Affairs

Resorts International (Parent of Intertel)

Retail Clerk’s International Association

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RFD, Cuban exile)

Reynolds Metal Company

Robert A. Maheu Associates

Robert R. Mullen Company

Rubicon Foundation

Rumanisches Nationalkomitee

Russian and East European Institute

Russian Institute

Russian Research Center





San Jacinto Foundation

San Miguel Fund


SECOIN (Security Consultants International)

Sentinels of Liberty

Sheffield Edwards & Associates (Virginia) :

Shenandoah Airleasing


Southern Air Transport Spectre Security Products (Orange, Ca)

Sith & Company

Social Christian Movement of Ecuador

Sociedade Anomima de Radio Retransmissao (RARETSA)

Society for Defense of Freedom in Asia

SODECO (Sakhalin Oil Development Cooperation Co)

SODIMAC Southern Air Transport

St. Lucia Airways

Standard Commerz Bank of Switzerland

Standard Electronics, Inc.

Standish Ayer & McKay, Inc.

Stanford Technology Trading Group International (STTGI)

Strauss Fund

Sterling Chemical Co.

Streamlight, Inc. (King of Prussia, Pa.)

Student Movement for Democratic Action

Sur International

Sullivan & Cromwell

Summit Aviation

Sylvania Electric Products, Inc.

Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Outside of Russia

Systems Development Corporation



Tarantel Press

Tetra Tech International

Thai-Pacific Services Company

The Aquatic Club

The Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant

The Broyhill Building (Arlington, VA)  

The Law Association for Asia and the Western Pacific

The Second National Bank of Homstead (Florida)

The Texas Tavern

The Washington Monthly

The World Finance Corporation

Tibet Convention

Time Magazine

Tower Fund

Tractron (Vienna, Va.) 

Trade Winds Motel


Trident Bank

Twentieth Century Fund



Udall Corp.

Unabhangiger Forschugsdienst

Ungarischer Nationalrat

United Fruit Company

United States Youth Council

United Ukrainian American Relief Committee

Universal Service Corporation

Untersuchungsausschub freiheitlicher Juristen (UfJ)

Uruguayan Committee for Free Detention of Peoples

Uruguayan Confederation of Workers (CUT)

Uruguayan Labor Confederation (CSU)

USAID (Agency for International Development – shared facilities with NIA) 

USIA (United States Information Agency

USIA Weapon Sales

U.S. News and World Report

U.S.-Russian Commercial Energy Working Group



Vanguard Service Corporation

Varicon, Inc

Vector, Ltd.

Venture Fund




Wainwright and Matthews Joseph Walter & Sons

Warden Trust

Erwim Wasey, Ruthrauff & Ryan, Inc.

Washington Post

Wexton Advertising Agency

Western International Ground Maintenance Organization (WIGMO)

Whitten Trust


Williford-Telford Corporation

World Assembly of Youth (WAY)

World Confederation of Labour

World Marine, Inc.

Wynnewood Fund



York Research Corporation


Zapato Off-Shore Oil Company

Zapato Petroleum Corp

Zenith Technical Enterprizes

Zen Nihon Gakusei Jichikai Sorengo

Zentrale for Studien und Dokumentation

Zweites deutschen fernsehen (ZDF)
The NY Times writes about the National Endowment for Democracy:


The National Endowment for Democracy is a quasi-governmental foundation created by the Reagan Administration in 1983 to channel millions of Federal dollars into anti-Communist ”private diplomacy.” Its bylaws require ”openness” and ”public accountability” in its stewardship of millions of dollars a year in taxpayer funds, which are distributed to labor, business, education and other groups and organizations overseas to promote democratic ideas. Today, however, for the second time in its brief existence, the endowment finds itself in trouble with Congress. Some of its ”private diplomacy,” it turns out, has been more than private; it has been secret.

The NED website lists their mission as:

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, with funding from the US Congress, NED supports more than 1,000 projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.


The most recent budget for the National Endowment for Democracy (page 7):


Foundations, National Endowment for Democracy, and Independent Exchange Programs

FY11 Budget Request:                                       $ 134 million

FY10 Enacted:                                                      $ 162 million

Change from FY10 to FY11:                            $ 28 million decrease (-17.3%)

§ Asia Foundation reduced from $19 million to $15.7 million

§ East-West Center reduced from $23 million to $11.4 million

§ National Endowment for Democracy reduced from $118 million to $105 million

So although the CIA still carries out most of its activities under a veil of secrecy, a lot of their former work is now carried out overtly by the National Endowment for Democracy and an assortment of other related groups. This apparent openness has in turn ensured that there has been next to no critical reporting on the democracy-manipulating activities undertaken by government agencies and private philanthropists. However, as Agee noted in 2003, the CIA still remains a key player in the democracy-manipulating field, especially given the “CIA’s long experience and huge stable of agents and contacts in the civil societies of countries around the world.” Agee adds that: “By joining with the CIA, NED and [US]AID would come on board an on-going complex of operations whose funding they could take over while leaving the secret day-to-day direction on the ground to CIA officers.” Moreover, the CIA has “ample funds of its own to pass quietly when conditions required,” while the CIA officers themselves play a critical role in monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of democracy-manipulating activities.

Millennium Challenge Corporation

The most recent budget for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (page 5):


Millennium Challenge Corporation

FY11 Budget Request:                                      $ 1.28 billion

FY10 Enacted:                                                     $ 1.11 billion

Change from FY10 to FY11:                           $ 170 million increase (+15.3%)

§ Request assumes four possible compacts for Zambia, Indonesia, Malawi, and Cape Verde


A Wikileaks cable shows the involvement of the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Uganda – a country we have been very active in as of late:

            Uganda (ACCU), Jasper Tumuhimbise, went into hiding in late December after publishing a “Fame and Shame” booklet on government corruption. Funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) anti-corruption threshold program, ACCU’s booklet is a public perception survey in which Security Minister and National Resistance Movement (NRM) Secretary General Amama Mbabazi was perceived as Uganda’s most corrupt public official. Tumuhimbise went into hiding after he and ACCU staff received threatening telephone calls and a visit from security personnel seeking information on the ACCU’s international donors. On December 24, Tumuhimbise told PolOff that security forces followed him from the eastern town of Soroti to Kampala. He blames Mbabazi for the intimidation of ACCU staff.

Steve Dobransky writes an analysis about MCC’s official reason for being – MCC does exactly the same thing as USAID and utilizes information from Freedom House (a purported CIA front group):

            The MCC was intended to make up for USAID’s apparent gap in political and economic “morality.”  The MCC was portrayed as America’s conscience and will to enact a new world order and not just talk about it.  The MCC conditioned all its aid on recipients’ nature and intentions in terms of democracy and free markets.  The MCC would use data from Freedom House, the World Bank, and other outside institutions.  Never before has a U.S. bureaucracy outsourced its primary judgment and decision-making authority to external organizations. The creation of the MCC also reflected a sizeable distaste for past U.S. policies and their apparent amorality.

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs


The Daily Beast writes about the recent crackdown of U.S. NGO’s in Egypt:


Just after noon on Dec. 29, Julie Hughes, the Egypt country director of the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), got a phone call saying police were raiding the group’s office in the south….

            That day, 10 civil-society organizations operating in Egypt were raided, including U.S. pro-democracy groups International Republican Institute (IRI) and Freedom House, which, like NDI, receive U.S. government funding. The Ministry of Justice launched an investigation into the groups and interrogated employees; Hughes’s own questioning lasted four and a half hours. At least seven Americans, including Hughes and IRI country director Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, have been banned from leaving Egypt.

            With Egypt still wracked by pro-democracy protests a year after the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, the ruling Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) has taken to blaming “foreign hands” for the continued unrest. In their search for scapegoats, they’ve launched a full-scale investigation into civil-society groups. But storming NGOs, interrogating U.S. citizens, and banning them from leaving the country has strained U.S.-Egypt relations, and threatened the sacrosanct $1.3 billion in military aid from the U.S. that SCAF thrives on.

Freedom House

            Among those facing trial in Egypt are representatives of Freedom House, a U.S. organization with a worldwide reach receiving 80 percent of its funding through the NED. Allegations have repeatedly surfaced of Freedom House ties to the CIA and involvement with clandestine anti-government activities in foreign countries. Between 1997 and 2009, Freedom House gathered in $10.6 million for democracy-promotion work in Cuba.

            With regard to Freedom House, a United States-based NGO enjoying consultative status, the Permanent Representative of Cuba went on to say that the Committee had been dealing with that “so-called NGO” for several sessions after having received complaints from many delegations.  He had submitted proof of the politically motivated, interventionist activities the NGO carried out against his Government.  The NGO’s links with terrorist groups in Cuba as well as the fact that it was an instrument of the special services of the United States were no secret.

            He said he was fully aware of the close and proven links between Freedom House and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), under which the NGO carried out destabilization missions against legitimately-established governments.  Freedom House tried to sell the image of an NGO promoting democratic values while concealing the fact that it was a tool of subversion.  While he supported the positive and constructive contributions made by NGOs, he could not allow their image to be tarnished by a tiny minority of groups such as Freedom House.

            As he had several questions to pose to the organization, he regretted that its representative was not present at the meeting, even though the NGO had been informed that its case would be discussed today.  That, he noted, represented a new lack of respect by the “so-called NGO” to the Committee.  He informed delegates that information on the links between the NGO and the CIA had been placed at the back of the conference room.

            Today, Freedom House continues to serve as both a think tank and a “civil society” funder as part of the State Department’s modern “democracy promotion” complex.  Frequently cited in the press and academic works, the reports and studies produced by Freedom House and its affiliates promote the neoconservative ideology of its trustees and government sponsors.  Although some names and affiliations have changed, the group is still dominated by neocons.  Brzezinski, Kirkpatrick, and Forbes are still on the trustees list, as well as Liasson, O’Rourke, and Noonan.

            Trustee Ken Adelman is a contributor to the Project for a New American Century, along with former CIA director R. James Woolsey, who joined Freedom House in 2000.  Adelman was an assistant to Rumsfeld from 1975-1977, U.N. ambassador and arms control director under Reagan, and is currently a member of the Defense Policy Board.  He wrote an article for The Washington Postin 2002 titled, “Cakewalk in Iraq”28 in which he said: “I believe demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.”  Another trustee, Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington, is the U.S. author of the Trilateral Commission report, The Crisis of Democracy and The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of World Order (1996).

            In 2009 sixteen young Egyptian activists completed a two-month Freedom House ‘New Generation Fellowship’ in Washington. The activists received training in advocacy and met with U.S. government officials, members of Congress, media outlets and think tanks. As far back as 2008, members of the April 6th Movement attended the inaugural summit of the Association of Youth Movements (AYM) in New York, where they networked with other movements, attended workshops on the use of new and social media and learned about technical upgrades, such as consistently alternating computer simcards, which help to evade state internet surveillance. AYM is sponsored by Pepsi, YouTube and MTV and amongst the luminaries who participated in the 2008 Summit, which focused on training activists in the use of Facebook and Twitter, were James Glassman of the State Department, Sherif Mansour of Freedom House, National Security Advisor Shaarik Zafar and Larry Diamond of the NED.


             International Center for Journalists


             From their website:

            ICFJ does more than train citizen and professional journalists. We launch news organizations, media associations, journalism schools and news products. We help journalists develop stories that lead to better public policies such as improved access to health care and cleaner environments. Our trainees expose corruption, increase transparency and hold officials accountable to their citizens.

            In Egypt, the four U.S. organizations under attack for fomenting unrest with illegal foreign funding were all connected to the endowment. Two — the GOP’s International Republican Institute and the Democratic Party’s National Democratic Institute — are among the groups that make up the endowment’s core constituents. The two other indicted groups, Freedom House and the International Center for Journalists, receive funds from the endowment.

            The history of the National Endowment for Democracy would not be unknown to Fayza Aboul Naga, the minister of planning and international cooperation who has been leading the attack against the American organizations. Aboul Naga, a career diplomat, spent five years in New York in the 1990s as an advisor to a fellow Egyptian, U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. It was not a good time and place for her to watch American democracy in action.


Center for International Private Enterprise


             The Alliance for Global Justice is not a fan:

            The boards of the NED and its core organizations are full of Spin Doctors from public relations firms, big advertisers, corporate headquarters; political analysts and advisors; and ex-CIA and military personnel. Vin Weber, NED Board Chair, works for a public relations firm that is part of the Omnicom Group, the world’s 3rd largest advertising agency. The Center for International Private Enterprise, an NED core institute, includes an executive from Google and a major contractor with Google. The International Republican Institute, another NED core institute, includes a former Senior Advisor to the CIA and various representatives from the military-industrial complex. These are just a few examples. Through well-placed contributions to political parties and other organizations, and through its web of corporate PR, military-industrial, and intelligence connections, the NED is able to coordinate campaigns of misinformation and bring together a diverse coalition in order to intervene in and control foreign elections. If that fails, the NED empowers that coalition to overthrow elected governments—like it did in Haiti and like it is trying to do in Venezuela.

            One memorandum between the State Department and the NED reveals a supplemental $1,000,000 awarded in April 2002, right after the failed coup d’etat against President Chávez, that was slighted for NED’s Venezuelan benefactors. The primary grant recipients include the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity and the Center for International Private Enterprise. Smaller grant recipients include Acción Campesina, Asociación Civil Asamblea de Educación, Fundación Momento de la Gente, Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, Asociación Civil Liderazgo y Visión and Asociación Civil Consorcio Justicia, amongst others.

            Other NED major award recipients, such as the Center for International Private Enterprise, which received over $200,000 last year for Venezuela activities and the International Republican Institute, which was awarded almost $300,000 for its work during the past two years in Venezuela, have poured their financial aid into support for Fedecámaras, the radicalized business association at the forefront of the opposition movement and into the development and strengthening of political parties to successfully oppose Chávez in future elections.

             According to the NED’s 2009 Annual Report, $1,419,426 worth of grants was doled out to civil society organisations in Egypt that year. In 2010, the year preceding the January – February 2011 revolution, this funding massively increased to $2,497,457.11 Nearly half of this sum, $1,146,903, was allocated to the Center for International Private Enterprise for activates such as conducting workshops at governate level “to promote corporate citizenship” and engaging civil society organizations “to participate in the democratic process by strengthening their capacity to advo­cate for free market legislative reform on behalf of their members”. Freedom House also received $89,000 to “strengthen cooperation among a network of local activists and bloggers”.


             Solidarity Center


 The Solidarity Center is run by the AFL-CIO which receives the majority of funding from the NED.  It could be very beneficial to America to destabilize countries with an appeal to workers for better pay, better working conditions and who better to create that internal resistance and resentment to a country’s leaders than those who run unions for a living.

            Michael Barker writes about the very current situation with the Solidarity Center’s involvement in Egypt:

            There is no question that union organizing against oppressive laws is fantastic, but one can understand the Egyptian government’s repressive response in light of foreign-run NGOs — and especially those partnering with the US government — channeling considerable monies to Egyptian organizations that might not have the Egyptian government’s best interest in mind.

            These corporate connections are intriguing, and just a little more research on Beinin’s part would have revealed that the chairman of Suez Cement Company is Omar Mohanna. This is worth acknowledging because Mohanna is the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which indicates that the US government, if it chose to, could exert significant indirect pressure on reforming the ETUF through their good friend Mohanna. One would expect, however, that such pressure is already being applied given that Mohanna is involved with numerous groups that work closely with the NED’s “democracy-promoting” apparatus.

            For example, Mohanna is the vice chairman of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (a group that has received aid from the NED in 1995 and 1997 via the Center for International Private Enterprise), and his work as a board member of the NED-connected New Civic Forum. (20)In fact, as mentioned earlier, the NED has already given the Solidarity Center grants to work with the ETUF, and Beinin himself even explains how the ETUF “received funding and technical assistance from the Solidarity Center to establish child labor programs in the rural governorates (provinces) of Sharqiyyya, Minufiyya, Buhayra, Fayyum, and Kafral-Shaykh, and in Alexandria.” Then, remaining on his theme of uncritical support for the US government, Beinin continues by adding that: “These programs were positively evaluated in reports prepared for USAID…” (21) Now there is a surprise!


Owning the Media


 Carl Bernstein writes in “the CIA and the Media“:


 “Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations…”

            The Church Committee uncovered how the CIA funded journalists abroad …where those stories were picked up in the U.S. as truthful and factual.

            The NY Times came across an old CIA cable during the time of the Warren commission.  The goal was to discredit critics of the Commission and to use “propaganda assets” i.e. journalists to do so. 

To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (II) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories. In the course of discussions of the whole phenomenon of criticism, a useful strategy may be to single out Epstein’s theory for attack, using the attached Fletcher [?] article and Spectator piece for background. (Although Mark Lane’s book is much less convincing that Epstein’s and comes off badly where confronted by knowledgeable critics, it is also much more difficult to answer as a whole, as one becomes lost in a morass of unrelated details.)


Alternet explains what you can do:


Combined with current events factoids, Wikipedia and Sourcewatch, anyone with basic internet competence [ability to follow links and do key word searches such as ‘African Wildlife Foundation, MI6, CIA’ or ‘Fossey Foundation, arms trafficking’] and is able to make and organize notes while sifting out blatantly misinformed or amateur articles, can learn to overcome disinformation, do their own analysis, map the corporate activities, identify the rip-offs and peoples exploited by these schemes, all while identifying the actual players and motives behind the New York Times propaganda.

            Apply the preceding method and the result is quite clear; the New York Times is but one arm of a mechanism to deceive on behalf of a corporate centered sociopath get-mega-rich[er]-quick scheme of the 1%, exploiting Americans belief in their institutions, any consequence to the USA and actual democracy be damned in process



They Are Watching You

The National Security State and the U.S.-Mexican Border


by Todd Miller



With the agility of a seasoned Border Patrol veteran, the woman rushed after the students. She caught up with them just before they entered the exhibition hall of the eighth annual Border Security Expo, reaching out and grabbing the nearest of them by the shoulder. Slightly out of breath, she said, “You can’t go in there, give me back your badges.”

The astonished students had barely caught a glimpse of the dazzling pavilion of science-fiction-style products in that exhibition hall at the Phoenix Convention Center. There, just beyond their view, more than 100 companies, including Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Verizon, were trying to sell the latest in futuristic border policing technology to anyone with the money to buy it.

The students from Northeastern Illinois University didn’t happen to fall into that category. An earnest manager at a nearby registration table insisted that, as they were not studying “border security,” they weren’t to be admitted.  I asked him how he knew just what they were studying.  His only answer was to assure me that next year no students would be allowed in at all.

Among the wonders those students would miss was a fake barrel cactus with a hollow interior (for the southern border) and similarly hollow tree stumps (for the northern border), all capable of being outfitted with surveillance cameras. “Anything that grows or exists in nature,” Kurt Lugwisen of TimberSpy told a local Phoenix television station, “we build it.”

Nor would those students get to see the miniature drone — “eyes in the sky” for Border Patrol agents — that fits conveniently into a backpack and can be deployed at will; nor would they be able to check out the “technology that might,” as one local Phoenix reporter warned, “freak you out.” She was talking about facial recognition systems, which in a border scenario would work this way: a person enters a border-crossing gate, where an image of his or her face is instantly checked against a massive facial image database (or the biometric data contained on a passport).”If we need to target on any specific gender or race because we’re trying to find a subject, we can set the parameters and the threshold to find that person,” Kevin Haskins of Cognitec (“the face recognition company”) proudly claimed.

Nor would they be able to observe the strange, two day-long convention hall dance between homeland security, its pockets bursting with their parents’ tax dollars, and private industry intent on creating the most massive apparatus of exclusion and surveillance that has ever existed along U.S. borders.

Border Security Expo 2014 catches in one confined space the expansiveness of a “booming” border market. If you include “cross-border terrorism, cyber crime, piracy, [the] drug trade, human trafficking, internal dissent, and separatist movements,” all “driving factor[s] for the homeland security market,” by 2018 it could reach $544 billion globally. It is here that U.S. Homeland Security officials, local law enforcement, and border forces from all over the world talk contracts with private industry representatives, exhibit their techno-optimism, and begin to hammer out a future of ever more hardened, up-armored national and international boundaries.

The global video surveillance market alone is expected to be a $40 billion industry by 2020, almost three times its $13.5 billion value in 2013. According to projections, 2020 border surveillance cameras will be capturing 3.4 trillion video hours globally. In case you were wondering, that’s more than 340 million years of video footage if you were watching 24 hours a day.

But those students, like most of the rest of us, haven’t been invited to this high energy, dystopian conversation about our future.

And the rebuff is far from a surprise. It has, after all, been less than a year since Edward Snowden emerged on the scene with a portfolio of NSA documents revealing just how vast our national security state has become and how deeply it has reached into our private lives. It has by now created what the Washington Post’s Dana Priest and William Arkin have termed “an alternative geography.” And nowhere is this truer than on our borders.

It is in the U.S. borderlands that, as anthropologist Josiah Heyman once wrote, the U.S. government’s modern expertise in creating and tracking “a marked population” was first developed and practiced. It involved, he wrote prophetically, “the birth and development of a… means of domination, born of the mating between moral panics about foreigners and drugs, and a well-funded and expert bureaucracy.”

You may not be able to watch them at the Border Security Expo, but in those borderlands — make no bones about it — the Department of Homeland Security, with its tripartite missions of drug interdiction, immigration enforcement, and the war on terror, is watching you, whoever you are. And make no bones about this either: our borders are widening and the zones in which the watchers are increasingly free to do whatever they want are growing.


Tracking a Marked Population


It was mid-day in the Arizona heat during the summer of 2012 and Border Patrol agent Benny Longoria (a pseudonym) and his partner are patrolling the reservation of the Tohono O’odham Nation. It’s the second largest Native American reservation in the country and, uniquely, shares 76 miles of border with Mexico. The boundary, in fact, slices right through O’odham aboriginal lands. For the approximately 28,000 members of the Nation, several thousand of whom live in Mexico, this international boundary has been a point of contention since 1853, when U.S. surveyors first drew the line. None of the region’s original inhabitants were, of course, consulted.

Now Tohono O’odham lands on the U.S. side of the border are one place among many in Arizona where the star performer at Border Security Expo, Elbit Systems of America — whose banner at the entrance welcomed all attendees — will build surveillance towers equipped with radar and high-powered day/night cameras able to spot a human being up to seven miles away. These towers — along with motion sensors spread over the surrounding landscape and drones overhead — will feed information into snazzy operational control rooms in Border Patrol posts throughout the Arizona borderlands.

In March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) awarded a $145 million contract to that Israeli company through its U.S. division. Elbit Systems prides itself on having spent “10+ years securing the world’s most challenging borders,” above all deploying similar “border protection systems” to the separation wall between Israel and Palestine. It is now poised to enter U.S. indigenous lands.

At the moment, however, the two forest-green-uniformed Border Patrol agents search for tracks the old-fashioned way. They are five miles west of the O’odham’s sacred Baboquivari mountain range and three miles north of the U.S.-Mexican border. It’s July and 100-plus-degrees hot.  They scour the ground for tracks and finally pick up a trail of fresh ones.

The agents get out of their vehicle and begin to follow them. Every day, many hours are spent just this way. They figure that people who have just walked across the border without papers are hot, uncomfortable, and probably moving slowly. In this heat in this desert, it’s as if you were negotiating the glass inside a light bulb. About an hour on, Longoria spots the woman.

On the gate at the entrance to her house, Tohono O’odham member Ofelia Rivas has put up a sign stating that the Border Patrol can’t enter without a warrant. It may be a fine sentiment, reflecting a right embodied in the U.S. Constitution, but in the eyes of the “law,” it’s ancient history.  Only a mile from the international boundary, her house is well within the 25-mile zone in which the Border Patrol can enter anyone’s property without a warrant. These powers make the CBP a super-force in comparison to the local law enforcement outfits it collaborates with. Although CBP can enter property warrantlessly, it still needs a warrant to enter somebody’s dwelling. In the small community where Rivas lives, known as Ali Jegk, the agents have overstepped even its extra-constitutional bounds with “home invasions” (as people call them).

Throughout the Tohono O’odham Nation, people complain about Homeland Security vehicles driving at high speeds and tailgating on the roads. They complain about blinding spotlights, vehicle pull-overs, and unexpected interrogations. The Border Patrol has pulled O’odham tribal members out of cars, pepper-sprayed them, and beaten them with batons.

As local resident Joseph Flores told a Tucson television station, “It feels like we’re being watched all the time.” Another man commented, “I feel like I have no civil rights.” On the reservation, people speak not only about this new world of intense surveillance, but also about its raw impact on the Tohono O’odham people: violence and subjugation.

Although the tribal legislative council has collaborated extensively with Border Patrol operations, Priscilla Lewis seemed to sum up the sentiments of many O’odham at an open hearing in 2011: “Too much harassment, following the wrong people, always stopping us, including and especially those who look like Mexicans when driving or walking in the desert… They have too much domination over us.”

At her house, Ofelia Rivas tells me a story. One day, she was driving with Tohono O’odham elders towards the U.S.-Mexican border when a low-flying Blackhawk helicopter seemingly picked them up and began following them. Hanging out of the open helicopter doors were CBP gunmen, she said. When they crossed the border into Mexico, the helicopter tracked them through a forest of beautiful saguaro cacti while they headed for a ceremonial site, 25 miles south of the border. They were, of course, crossing what was a non-border to the O’odham, doing something they had done for thousands of years. Hearing, even feeling the vibration of the propellers, one of the elders said, “I guess we are going to die.”

They laughed, Rivas added, as there was nothing else to do. They laughed real hard. Then, a mile or so into Mexico, the helicopter turned back.


Americans may increasingly wonder whether NSA agents are scouring their meta-data, reading their personal emails, and the like.  In the borderlands no imagination is necessary. The surveillance apparatus is in your face. The high-powered cameras are pointed at you; the drones are above you; you’re stopped regularly at checkpoints and interrogated. Too bad if you’re late for school, a meeting, or an appointment. And even worse, if your skin complexion, or the way you’re dressed, or anything about you sets off alarm bells, or there’s something that doesn’t smell quite right to the CBP’s dogs — and such dogs are a commonplace in the region — being a little late will be the least of your problems.

As Rivas told me, a typical exchange on the reservation might involve an agent at a checkpoint asking an O’odham woman whether, as she claimed, she was really going to the grocery store — and then demanding that she show him her grocery list.

People on the reservation now often refer to what is happening as an armed “occupation.” Mike Wilson, an O’odham member who has tried to put gallon jugs of water along routes Mexican migrants might take through the reservation, speaks of the Border Patrol as an “occupying army.” It’s hardly surprising.  Never before in the Nation’s history under Spain, Mexico, or the United States have so many armed agents been present on their land.


On the Borders, the Future Is Now


At the Border Security Expo, Mark Borkowski, assistant commissioner for the Border Patrol’s Office of Technology, Innovation, and Acquisition, isn’t talking about any of this. He’s certainly not talking about the deaths and abuses along the border, or the firestorm of criticism about the Border Patrol’s use of deadly force. (Agents have shot and killed at least 42 people since 2005.) He is talking, instead, about humdrum things, about procurement and efficiency, as he paces the conference hall, just as he’s done for years. He is talking about the inefficient way crews in Washington D.C. de-iced the wings of his plane before it took off for Phoenix. That is the lesson he wants to drum in about border technology: efficiency.

Borkowski has the air of a man whose agency has everything and yet who wants to appear as if he didn’t have all that much. And the big story in this hall is how little attention anyone outside of it pays to the fact that his is now the largest federal law enforcement agency in the country. Even less attention is paid to how, with its massive growth and robust financing, with its ever increasing budgets and resources, it is reshaping the country — and the world. Its focus, powerful as it is on the southern border of the U.S., is quickly moving elsewhere — to the northern border with Canada, to the Caribbean, and to borders and border forces across the globe.

So many places are slated to become the front lines for his agency’s expanding national security regime, and where it goes, technology must follow.  No wonder that the same industry people are here, year after year, devouring Borkowski’s every word in search of clues as to how they can profit from his latest border enforcement schemes. After all, some of the sophisticated technology now on the border was only a futuristic pipe dream 20 years ago.

It’s here at Border Security Expo 2014 that the future seeds get planted; here that you can dream your corporate dreams unimpeded, sure in the knowledge that yet more money will flow into borders and “protection.”

Between the unbridled enthusiasm of the vendors with their techno-optimistic “solutions” and the reality of border life in the Tohono O’odham Nation — or for that matter just about anywhere along the 2,000-mile divide — the chasm couldn’t be wider.

On the reservation back in 2012, Longoria called in the GPS coordinates of the unknown dead woman, as so many agents have done in the past and will undoubtedly do in the years to come. Headquarters in Tucson contacted the Tohono O’odham tribal police. The agents waited in the baking heat by the motionless body. When the tribal police pulled up, they took her picture, as they have done with other corpses so many times before. They rolled her over and took another picture. Her body was, by now, deep purple on one side. The tribal police explained to Longoria that it was because the blood settles there. They brought out a plastic body bag.

Pseudo-speciation,” Longoria told me. That, he said, is how they deal with it. He talked about an interview he’d heard with a Vietnam vet on National Public Radio, who said that to deal with the dead in war, “you have to take a person and change his genus. Give him a whole different category. You couldn’t stand looking at these bodies, so you detach yourself. You give them a different name that detracts from their humanness.”

The tribal police worked with stoic faces. They lifted the body of this woman, whose past life, whose story, whose loved ones were now on another planet, onto a cart attached to an all-terrain vehicle and headed off down a bumpy dirt road with the body bouncing up and down.

When you look at a map that shows where such bodies are recovered in southern Arizona — journalist Margaret Regan has termed it a “killing field” — there is a thick red cluster of dots over the Tohono O’odham reservation. This area has the highest concentration of the more than 2,300 remains recovered in Arizona alone — approximately 6,000 have been found along the whole border — since the Border Patrol began ramping up its “prevention by deterrence policy” in the 1990s. And as Kat Rodriguez of the Colibri Center for Human Rights points out, these numbers are at the low end of actual border deaths, due to the numbers of remains found that have been there for weeks, months, or even years.

When they reached a paved road, Longoria helped lift the woman’s body into the back of their police truck. From here the Tohono O’odham tribal police took over. He and his partner continued their shift in a world in which borders are everything and a human death next to nothing at all.


Todd Miller has researched and written about U.S.-Mexican border issues for more than 10 years. He has worked on both sides of the border for BorderLinks in Tucson, Arizona, and Witness for Peace in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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