TBR News October 26, 2013

Oct 26 2013


The Voice of the White House



             Washington, D.C. October 25, 2013: “One of the funniest scenes now inside the Beltway is the frenzy on the part of the White House, its eccentric staff and the despicable higher leadership of the nation’s intelligence community. They know that Snowden extracted tens of thousands of the most sensitive political and intelligence documents we have. What they do not know, and never will until it is too late, is just what he uncovered. Every week or so, new revelations burst forth, causing severe diplomatic repercussions and there is even more that will certainly enrage the average American citizen whose lives are being poked into, copied into reports and stored by as ripe a bunch of fascists to come along in years. I think one can see why the CIA is screaming for permission to assassinate Snowden in Russia, no matter what the diplomatic or public relations effect. Edward ought to be very careful about popping up at a Russian chess tournament or shopping center. Domestic assassins are a dime a dozen in Moscow. And what about that CIA operation in Saudi Arabia? The one that no one wants to talk about? Funding the anti-Saud family to change regeimes to our benefit. Or the business in Washington where the Army is spying on the Israeli Embassy? Will all of these things emerge soon? Wait ans see, children.”


NSA Head Slams Media for ‘Convoluting,’ ‘Selling’ Snowden Leaks

October 25, 2013

The Guardian


WASHINGTON, October 25 (RIA Novosti) – The head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) has slammed media outlets for publishing classified documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, accusing them of “selling” the documents and “convoluting” the data they contain.


“The papers convolute these stories. … We got one today about 70 million phone calls that were intercepted in (France) over a one-month time period,” NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander said in an interview published on a US Department of Defense blog Thursday.


“The reporters see this data and quickly run to the wrong conclusion, and that’s wrong. I’m concerned that what they’re doing will do grave harm to our country and our allies,” he said as documents smuggled out of the United States by Snowden and leaked to the media ratcheted up diplomatic tensions between the United States and its allies.


France and Germany this week asked Washington for an explanation after separate media reports said the NSA had a system in place that allowed it to scoop up 70.3 million French phone records in a 30-day period, and that the agency may have monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.


Another document among the thousands thought to have been smuggled out of the United States by Snowden shows that the NSA monitored the phone calls of 35 world leaders, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported this week.


Alexander said “it’s wrong that newspaper reporters have all these documents – 50,000 or whatever they have – and are selling them and giving them out as if these, you know – it just doesn’t make sense.”


“We ought to come up with a way of stopping it,” he added.


Snowden is currently living at an undisclosed location in Russia after being granted temporary asylum in the country in July despite repeated requests from Washington that he be expelled and returned to the United States to face charges of espionage.



Why Washington Just Cant Stop Making War


The US ‘Blowback Machine’ and the coming era of tiny wars and micro-conflicts


October 22, 2013

by Tom Engelhardt



In terms of pure projectable power, there’s never been anything like it.  Its military has divided the world — the whole planet — into six “commands.”  Its fleet, with 11 aircraft carrier battle groups, rules the seas and has done so largely unchallenged for almost seven decades.  Its Air Force has ruled the global skies, and despite being almost continuously in action for years, hasn’t faced an enemy plane since 1991 or been seriously challenged anywhere since the early 1970s.  Its fleet of drone aircraft has proven itself capable of targeting and killing suspected enemies in the backlands of the planet from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and Somalia with little regard for national boundaries, and none at all for the possibility of being shot down.  It funds and trains proxy armies on several continents and has complex aid and training relationships with militaries across the planet.  On hundreds of bases, some tiny and others the size of American towns, its soldiers garrison the globe from Italy to Australia, Honduras to Afghanistan, and on islands from Okinawa in the Pacific Ocean to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.  Its weapons makers are the most advanced on Earth and dominate the global arms market.  Its nuclear weaponry in silos, on bombers, and on its fleet of submarines would be capable of destroying several planets the size of Earth.  Its system of spy satellites is unsurpassed and unchallenged.  Its intelligence services can listen in on the phone calls or read the emails of almost anyone in the world from top foreign leaders to obscure insurgents.  The CIA and its expanding paramilitary forces are capable of kidnapping people of interest just about anywhere from rural Macedonia to the streets of Rome and Tripoli.  For its many prisoners, it has set up (and dismantled) secret jails across the planet and on its naval vessels.  It spends more on its military than the next most powerful 13 states combined.  Add in the spending for its full national security state and it towers over any conceivable group of other nations.


In terms of advanced and unchallenged military power, there has been nothing like the U.S. armed forces since the Mongols swept across Eurasia.  No wonder American presidents now regularly use phrases like “the finest fighting force the world has ever known” to describe it.  By the logic of the situation, the planet should be a pushover for it.  Lesser nations with far lesser forces have, in the past, controlled vast territories.  And despite much discussion of American decline and the waning of its power in a “multi-polar” world, its ability to pulverize and destroy, kill and maim, blow up and kick down has only grown in this new century.


No other nation’s military comes within a country mile of it.  None has more than a handful of foreign bases.  None has more than two aircraft carrier battle groups.  No potential enemy has such a fleet of robotic planes.  None has more than 60,000 special operations forces.  Country by country, it’s a hands-down no-contest. The Russian (once “Red”) army is a shadow of its former self.  The Europeans have not rearmed significantly.  Japan’s “self-defense” forces are powerful and slowly growing, but under the U.S. nuclear “umbrella.”  Although China, regularly identified as the next rising imperial state, is involved in a much-ballyhooed military build-up, with its one aircraft carrier (a retread from the days of the Soviet Union), it still remains only a regional power.


Despite this stunning global power equation, for more than a decade we have been given a lesson in what a military, no matter how overwhelming, can and (mostly) can’t do in the twenty-first century, in what a military, no matter how staggeringly advanced, does and (mostly) does not translate into on the current version of planet Earth.


A Destabilization Machine


Let’s start with what the U.S. can do.  On this, the recent record is clear: it can destroy and destabilize.  In fact, wherever U.S. military power has been applied in recent years, if there has been any lasting effect at all, it has been to destabilize whole regions.


Back in 2004, almost a year and a half after American troops had rolled into a Baghdad looted and in flames, Amr Mussa, the head of the Arab League, commented ominously, “The gates of hell are open in Iraq.”  Although for the Bush administration, the situation in that country was already devolving, to the extent that anyone paid attention to Mussa’s description, it seemed over the top, even outrageous, as applied to American-occupied Iraq.  Today, with the latest scientific estimate of invasion- and war-caused Iraqi deaths at a staggering 461,000, thousands more a year still dying there, and with Syria in flames, it seems something of an understatement.


It’s now clear that George W. Bush and his top officials, fervent fundamentalists when it came to the power of U.S. military to alter, control, and dominate the Greater Middle East (and possibly the planet), did launch the radical transformation of the region.  Their invasion of Iraq punched a hole through the heart of the Middle East, sparking a Sunni-Shiite civil war that has now spread catastrophically to Syria, taking more than 100,000 lives there.  They helped turn the region into a churning sea of refugees, gave life and meaning to a previously nonexistent al-Qaeda in Iraq (and now a Syrian version of the same), and left the country drifting in a sea of roadside bombs and suicide bombers, and threatened, like other countries in the region, with the possibility of splitting apart.


And that’s just a thumbnail sketch.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about destabilization in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been on the ground for almost 12 years and counting; Pakistan, where a CIA-run drone air campaign in its tribal borderlands has gone on for years as the country grew ever shakier and more violent; Yemen (ditto), as an outfit called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula grew ever stronger; or Somalia, where Washington repeatedly backed proxy armies it had trained and financed, and supported outside incursions as an already destabilized country came apart at the seams and the influence of al-Shabab, an increasingly radical and violent insurgent Islamic group, began to seep across regional borders.  The results have always been the same: destabilization.


Consider Libya where, no longer enamored with boots-on-the-ground interventions, President Obama sent in the Air Force and the drones in 2011 in a bloodless intervention (unless, of course, you were on the ground) that helped topple Muammar Qaddafi, the local autocrat and his secret-police-and-prisons regime, and launched a vigorous young democracy… oh, wait a moment, not quite.  In fact, the result, which, unbelievably enough, came as a surprise to Washington, was an increasingly damaged country with a desperately weak central government, a territory controlled by a range of militias — some Islamic extremist in nature — an insurgency and war across the border in neighboring Mali (thanks to an influx of weaponry looted from Qaddafi’s vast arsenals), a dead American ambassador, a country almost incapable of exporting its oil, and so on.


Libya was, in fact, so thoroughly destabilized, so lacking in central authority that Washington recently felt free to dispatch U.S. Special Operations forces onto the streets of its capital in broad daylight in an operation to snatch up a long-sought terrorist suspect, an act which was as “successful” as the toppling of the Qaddafi regime and, in a similar manner, further destabilized a government that Washington still theoretically backed. (Almost immediately afterward, the prime minister found himself briefly kidnapped by a militia unit as part of what might have been a coup attempt.)


Wonders of the Modern World 


If the overwhelming military power at the command of Washington can destabilize whole regions of the planet, what, then, can’t such military power do?  On this, the record is no less clear and just as decisive.  As every significant U.S. military action of this new century has indicated, the application of military force, no matter in what form, has proven incapable of achieving even Washington’s most minimal goals of the moment.


Consider this one of the wonders of the modern world: pile up the military technology, pour money into your armed forces, outpace the rest of the world, and none of it adds up to a pile of beans when it comes to making that world act as you wish.  Yes, in Iraq, to take an example, Saddam Hussein’s regime was quickly “decapitated,” thanks to an overwhelming display of power and muscle by the invading Americans.  His state bureaucracy was dismantled, his army dismissed, an occupying authority established backed by foreign troops, soon ensconced on huge multibillion-dollar military bases meant to be garrisoned for generations, and a suitably “friendly” local government installed.


And that’s where the Bush administration’s dreams ended in the rubble created by a set of poorly armed minority insurgencies, terrorism, and a brutal ethnic/religious civil war.  In the end, almost nine years after the invasion and despite the fact that the Obama administration and the Pentagon were eager to keep U.S. troops stationed there in some capacity, a relatively weak central government refused, and they departed, the last representatives of the greatest power on the planet slipping away in the dead of night.  Left behind among the ruins of historic ziggurats were the “ghost towns” and stripped or looted U.S. bases that were to be our monuments in Iraq.


Today, under even more extraordinary circumstances, a similar process seems to be playing itself out in Afghanistan — another spectacle of our moment that should amaze us.  After almost 12 years there, finding itself incapable of suppressing a minority insurgency, Washington is slowly withdrawing its combat troops, but wants to leave behind on the giant bases we’ve built perhaps 10,000 “trainers” for the Afghan military and some Special Operations forces to continue the hunt for al-Qaeda and other terror types.


For the planet’s sole superpower, this, of all things, should be a slam dunk.  At least the Iraqi government had a certain strength of its own (and the country’s oil wealth to back it up).  If there is a government on Earth that qualifies for the term “puppet,” it should be the Afghan one of President Hamid Karzai.  After all, at least 80% (and possibly 90%) of that government’s expenses are covered by the U.S. and its allies, and its security forces are considered incapable of carrying on the fight against the Taliban and other insurgent outfits without U.S. support and aid.  If Washington were to withdraw totally (including its financial support), it’s hard to imagine that any successor to the Karzai government would last long.


How, then, to explain the fact that Karzai has refused to sign a future bilateral security pact long in the process of being hammered out?  Instead, he recently denounced U.S. actions in Afghanistan, as he had repeatedly done in the past, claimed that he simply would not ink the agreement, and began bargaining with U.S. officials as if he were the leader of the planet’s other superpower.


A frustrated Washington had to dispatch Secretary of State John Kerry on a sudden mission to Kabul for some top-level face-to-face negotiations.  The result, a reported 24-hour marathon of talks and meetings, was hailed as a success: problem(s) solved.  Oops, all but one.  As it turned out, it was the very same one on which the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq stumbled — Washington’s demand for legal immunity from local law for its troops.  In the end, Kerry flew out without an assured agreement.


Making Sense of War in the Twenty-First Century


Whether the U.S. military does or doesn’t last a few more years in Afghanistan, the blunt fact is this: the president of one of the poorest and weakest countries on the planet, himself relatively powerless, is essentially dictating terms to Washington — and who’s to say that, in the end, as in Iraq, U.S. troops won’t be forced to leave there as well?


Once again, military strength has not carried the day.  Yet military power, advanced weaponry, force, and destruction as tools of policy, as ways to create a world in your own image or to your own taste, have worked plenty well in the past.  Ask those Mongols, or the European imperial powers from Spain in the sixteenth century to Britain in the nineteenth century, which took their empires by force and successfully maintained them over long periods.


What planet are we now on?  Why is it that military power, the mightiest imaginable, can’t overcome, pacify, or simply destroy weak powers, less than impressive insurgency movements, or the ragged groups of (often tribal) peoples we label as “terrorists”? Why is such military power no longer transformative or even reasonably effective?  Is it, to reach for an analogy, like antibiotics? If used for too long in too many situations, does a kind of immunity build up against it?


Let’s be clear here: such a military remains a powerful potential instrument of destruction, death, and destabilization.  For all we know — it’s not something we’ve seen anything of in these years — it might also be a powerful instrument for genuine defense.  But if recent history is any guide, what it clearly cannot be in the twenty-first century is a policymaking instrument, a means of altering the world to fit a scheme developed in Washington.  The planet itself and people just about anywhere on it seem increasingly resistant in ways that take the military off the table as an effective superpower instrument of state.


Washington’s military plans and tactics since 9/11 have been a spectacular train wreck.  When you look back, counterinsurgency doctrine, resuscitated from the ashes of America’s defeat in Vietnam, is once again on the scrap heap of history.  (Who today even remembers its key organizing phrase — “clear, hold, and build” — which now looks like the punch line for some malign joke?)  “Surges,” once hailed as brilliant military strategy, have already disappeared into the mists.  “Nation-building,” once a term of tradecraft in Washington, is in the doghouse.  “Boots on the ground,” of which the U.S. had enormous numbers and still has 51,000 in Afghanistan, are now a no-no.  The American public is, everyone universally agrees, “exhausted” with war.  Major American armies arriving to fight anywhere on the Eurasian continent in the foreseeable future?  Don’t count on it.


But lessons learned from the collapse of war policy?  Don’t count on that, either.  It’s clear enough that Washington still can’t fully absorb what’s happened.  Its faith in war remains remarkably unbroken in a century in which military power has become the American political equivalent of a state religion.  Our leaders are still high on the counterterrorism wars of the future, even as they drown in their military efforts of the present.  Their urge is still to rejigger and reimagine what a deliverable military solution would be.


Now the message is: skip those boots en masse — in fact, cut down on their numbers in the age of the sequester — and go for the counterterrorism package.  No more spilling of (American) blood.  Get the “bad guys,” one or a few at a time, using the president’s private army, the Special Operations forces, or his private air force, the CIA’s drones. Build new barebones micro-bases globally.  Move those aircraft carrier battle groups off the coast of whatever country you want to intimidate.


It’s clear we’re entering a new period in terms of American war making.  Call it the era of tiny wars, or micro-conflicts, especially in the tribal backlands of the planet.


So something is indeed changing in response to military failure, but what’s not changing is Washington’s preference for war as the option of choice, often of first resort.  What’s not changing is the thought that, if you can just get your strategy and tactics readjusted correctly, force will work.  (Recently, Washington was only saved from plunging into another predictable military disaster in Syria by an offhand comment of Secretary of State John Kerry and the timely intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin.)


What our leaders don’t get is the most basic, practical fact of our moment: war simply doesn’t work, not big, not micro — not for Washington.  A superpower at war in the distant reaches of this planet is no longer a superpower ascendant but one with problems.


The U.S. military may be a destabilization machine.  It may be a blowback machine.  What it’s not is a policymaking or enforcement machine.


The End of Hypocrisy: American Foreign Policy in the Age of Leaks

by Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore

Foreign Affairs, November-December 2013

From our November/December 2013 Issue


The U.S. government seems outraged that people are leaking classified materials about its less attractive behavior. It certainly acts that way: three years ago, after Chelsea Manning, an army private then known as Bradley Manning, turned over hundreds of thousands of classified cables to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, U.S. authorities imprisoned the soldier under conditions that the UN special rapporteur on torture deemed cruel and inhumane. The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, appearing on Meet the Press shortly thereafter, called WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, “a high-tech terrorist.”


More recently, following the disclosures about U.S. spying programs by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency analyst, U.S. officials spent a great deal of diplomatic capital trying to convince other countries to deny Snowden refuge. And U.S. President Barack Obama canceled a long-anticipated summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he refused to comply.



Despite such efforts, however, the U.S. establishment has often struggled to explain exactly why these leakers pose such an enormous threat. Indeed, nothing in the Manning and Snowden leaks should have shocked those who were paying attention. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who dissented from the WikiLeaks panic, suggested as much when he told reporters in 2010 that the leaked information had had only a “fairly modest” impact and had not compromised intelligence sources or methods. Snowden has most certainly compromised sources and methods, but he has revealed nothing that was really unexpected. Before his disclosures, most experts already assumed that the United States conducted cyberattacks against China, bugged European institutions, and monitored global Internet communications. Even his most explosive revelation — that the United States and the United Kingdom have compromised key communications software and encryption systems designed to protect online privacy and security — merely confirmed what knowledgeable observers have long suspected.


The deeper threat that leakers such as Manning and Snowden pose is more subtle than a direct assault on U.S. national security: they undermine Washington’s ability to act hypocritically and get away with it. Their danger lies not in the new information that they reveal but in the documented confirmation they provide of what the United States is actually doing and why. When these deeds turn out to clash with the government’s public rhetoric, as they so often do, it becomes harder for U.S. allies to overlook Washington’s covert behavior and easier for U.S. adversaries to justify their own.


Few U.S. officials think of their ability to act hypocritically as a key strategic resource. Indeed, one of the reasons American hypocrisy is so effective is that it stems from sincerity: most U.S. politicians do not recognize just how two-faced their country is. Yet as the United States finds itself less able to deny the gaps between its actions and its words, it will face increasingly difficult choices — and may ultimately be compelled to start practicing what it preaches.




Hypocrisy is central to Washington’s soft power — its ability to get other countries to accept the legitimacy of its actions — yet few Americans appreciate its role. Liberals tend to believe that other countries cooperate with the United States because American ideals are attractive and the U.S.-led international system is fair. Realists may be more cynical, yet if they think about Washington’s hypocrisy at all, they consider it irrelevant. For them, it is Washington’s cold, hard power, not its ideals, that encourages other countries to partner with the United States.


Of course, the United States is far from the only hypocrite in international politics. But the United States’ hypocrisy matters more than that of other countries. That’s because most of the world today lives within an order that the United States built, one that is both underwritten by U.S. power and legitimated by liberal ideas. American commitments to the rule of law, democracy, and free trade are embedded in the multilateral institutions that the country helped establish after World War II, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and later the World Trade Organization. Despite recent challenges to U.S. preeminence, from the Iraq war to the financial crisis, the international order remains an American one.


This system needs the lubricating oil of hypocrisy to keep its gears turning. To ensure that the world order continues to be seen as legitimate, U.S. officials must regularly promote and claim fealty to its core liberal principles; the United States cannot impose its hegemony through force alone. But as the recent leaks have shown, Washington is also unable to consistently abide by the values that it trumpets. This disconnect creates the risk that other states might decide that the U.S.-led order is fundamentally illegitimate.



Of course, the United States has gotten away with hypocrisy for some time now. It has long preached the virtues of nuclear nonproliferation, for example, and has coerced some states into abandoning their atomic ambitions. At the same time, it tacitly accepted Israel’s nuclearization and, in 2004, signed a formal deal affirming India’s right to civilian nuclear energy despite its having flouted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by acquiring nuclear weapons. In a similar vein, Washington talks a good game on democracy, yet it stood by as the Egyptian military overthrew an elected government in July, refusing to call a coup a coup. Then there’s the “war on terror”: Washington pushes foreign governments hard on human rights but claims sweeping exceptions for its own behavior when it feels its safety is threatened.


The reason the United States has until now suffered few consequences for such hypocrisy is that other states have a strong interest in turning a blind eye. Given how much they benefit from the global public goods Washington provides, they have little interest in calling the hegemon on its bad behavior. Public criticism risks pushing the U.S. government toward self-interested positions that would undermine the larger world order. Moreover, the United States can punish those who point out the inconsistency in its actions by downgrading trade relations or through other forms of direct retaliation. Allies thus usually air their concerns in private. Adversaries may point fingers, but few can convincingly occupy the moral high ground. Complaints by China and Russia hardly inspire admiration for their purer policies.


The ease with which the United States has been able to act inconsistently has bred complacency among its leaders. Since few countries ever point out the nakedness of U.S. hypocrisy, and since those that do can usually be ignored, American politicians have become desensitized to their country’s double standards. But thanks to Manning and Snowden, such double standards are getting harder and harder to ignore.




To see how this dynamic will play out, consider the implications of Snowden’s revelations for U.S. cybersecurity policy. Until very recently, U.S. officials did not talk about their country’s offensive capabilities in cyberspace, instead emphasizing their strategies to defend against foreign attacks. At the same time, they have made increasingly direct warnings about Chinese hacking, detailing the threat to U.S. computer networks and the potential damage to U.S.-Chinese relations.


But the United States has been surreptitiously waging its own major offensive against China’s computers — and those of other adversaries — for some time now. The U.S. government has quietly poured billions of dollars into developing offensive, as well as defensive, capacities in cyberspace. (Indeed, the two are often interchangeable — programmers who are good at crafting defenses for their own systems know how to penetrate other people’s computers, too.) And Snowden confirmed that the U.S. military has hacked not only the Chinese military’s computers but also those belonging to Chinese cell-phone companies and the country’s most prestigious university.


Although prior to Snowden’s disclosures, many experts were aware — or at least reasonably certain — that the U.S. government was involved in hacking against China, Washington was able to maintain official deniability. Protected from major criticism, U.S. officials were planning a major public relations campaign to pressure China into tamping down its illicit activities in cyberspace, starting with threats and perhaps culminating in legal indictments of Chinese hackers. Chinese officials, although well aware that the Americans were acting hypocritically, avoided calling them out directly in order to prevent further damage to the relationship.


But Beijing’s logic changed after Snowden’s leaks. China suddenly had every reason to push back publicly against U.S. hypocrisy. After all, Washington could hardly take umbrage with Beijing for calling out U.S. behavior confirmed by official U.S. documents. Indeed, the disclosures left China with little choice but to respond publicly. If it did not point out U.S. hypocrisy, its reticence would be interpreted as weakness. At a news conference after the revelations, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense insisted that the scandal “reveal[ed] the true face and hypocritical conduct regarding Internet security” of the United States.


The United States has found itself flatfooted. It may attempt, as the former head of U.S. counterintelligence Joel Brenner has urged, to draw distinctions between China’s allegedly unacceptable hacking, aimed at stealing commercial secrets, and its own perfectly legitimate hacking of military or other security-related targets. But those distinctions will likely fall on deaf ears. Washington has been forced to abandon its naming-and-shaming campaign against Chinese hacking.


Manning’s and Snowden’s leaks mark the beginning of a new era in which the U.S. government can no longer count on keeping its secret behavior secret. Hundreds of thousands of Americans today have access to classified documents that would embarrass the country if they were publicly circulated. As the recent revelations show, in the age of the cell-phone camera and the flash drive, even the most draconian laws and reprisals will not prevent this information from leaking out. As a result, Washington faces what can be described as an accelerating hypocrisy collapse — a dramatic narrowing of the country’s room to maneuver between its stated aspirations and its sometimes sordid pursuit of self-interest. The U.S. government, its friends, and its foes can no longer plausibly deny the dark side of U.S. foreign policy and will have to address it head-on.




The collapse of hypocrisy presents the United States with uncomfortable choices. One way or another, its policy and its rhetoric will have to move closer to each other.


The easiest course for the U.S. government to take would be to forgo hypocritical rhetoric altogether and acknowledge the narrowly self-interested goals of many of its actions. Leaks would be much less embarrassing — and less damaging — if they only confirmed what Washington had already stated its policies to be. Indeed, the United States could take a page out of China’s and Russia’s playbooks: instead of framing their behavior in terms of the common good, those countries decry anything that they see as infringing on their national sovereignty and assert their prerogative to pursue their interests at will. Washington could do the same, while continuing to punish leakers with harsh prison sentences and threatening countries that might give them refuge.


The problem with this course, however, is that U.S. national interests are inextricably bound up with a global system of multilateral ties and relative openness. Washington has already undermined its commitment to liberalism by suggesting that it will retaliate economically against countries that offer safe haven to leakers. If the United States abandoned the rhetoric of mutual good, it would signal to the world that it was no longer committed to the order it leads. As other countries followed its example and retreated to the defense of naked self-interest, the bonds of trade and cooperation that Washington has spent decades building could unravel. The United States would not prosper in a world where everyone thought about international cooperation in the way that Putin does.


A better alternative would be for Washington to pivot in the opposite direction, acting in ways more compatible with its rhetoric. This approach would also be costly and imperfect, for in international politics, ideals and interests will often clash. But the U.S. government can certainly afford to roll back some of its hypocritical behavior without compromising national security. A double standard on torture, a near indifference to casualties among non-American civilians, the gross expansion of the surveillance state — none of these is crucial to the country’s well-being, and in some cases, they undermine it. Although the current administration has curtailed some of the abuses of its predecessors, it still has a long way to go.


Secrecy can be defended as a policy in a democracy. Blatant hypocrisy is a tougher sell. Voters accept that they cannot know everything that their government does, but they do not like being lied to. If the United States is to reduce its dangerous dependence on doublespeak, it will have to submit to real oversight and an open democratic debate about its policies. The era of easy hypocrisy is over.

Officials alert foreign services that Snowden has documents on their cooperation with U.S.


October 24,2013

by Ellen Nakashima 

Washington Post


U.S. officials are alerting some foreign intelligence services that documents detailing their secret cooperation with the United States have been obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to government officials.


Snowden, U.S. officials said, took tens of thousands of military intelligence documents, some of which contain sensitive material about collection programs against adversaries such as Iran, Russia and China. Some refer to operations that in some cases involve countries not publicly allied with the United States.


The process of informing officials in capital after capital about the risk of disclosure is delicate. In some cases, one part of the cooperating government may know about the collaboration while others — such as the foreign ministry — may not, the officials said. The documents, if disclosed, could compromise operations, officials said.


The notifications come as the Obama administration is scrambling to placate allies after allegations that the NSA has spied on foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The reports have forced the administration to play down operations targeting friends while also attempting to preserve other programs that depend on provisional partners. In either case, trust in the United States may be compromised.


“It is certainly a concern, just as much as the U.S. collection [of information on European allies] being put in the news, if not more, because not only does it mean we have the potential of losing collection, but also of harming relationships,” a congressional aide said.


The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is handling the job of informing the other intelligence services, the officials said. ODNI declined to comment.


In one case, for instance, the files contain information about a program run from a NATO country against Russia that provides valuable intelligence for the U.S. Air Force and Navy, said one U.S. official, who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation. Snowden faces theft and espionage charges.


“If the Russians knew about it, it wouldn’t be hard for them to take appropriate measures to put a stop to it,” the official said.


Snowden lifted the documents from a top-secret network run by the Defense Intelligence Agency and used by intelligence arms of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, according to sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.


Snowden took 30,000 documents that involve the intelligence work of one of the services, the official said. He gained access to the documents through the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, or JWICS, for top-secret/sensitive compartmented information, the sources said.


The material in question does not deal with NSA surveillance but primarily with standard intelligence about other countries’ military capabilities, including weapons systems — missiles, ships and jets, the officials say.


Although Snowden obtained a large volume of documents, he is not believed to have shared all of them with journalists, sources say. Moreover, he has stressed to those he has given documents that he does not want harm to result


“He’s made it quite clear that he was not going to compromise legitimate national intelligence and national security operations,” said Thomas Drake, a former NSA executive who visited Snowden in Moscow this month. Snowden separately told Drake and a New York Times reporter that he did not take any documents with him to Russia. “There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents,” Snowden told the Times in an online interview last week.


Indeed, Drake said, Snowden made clear in their conversation that he had learned the lessons of prior disclosures, including those by an Army private who passed hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, which posted them in bulk online. “It’s telling,” Drake said, “that he did not give anything to WikiLeaks.”


Nonetheless, the military intelligence agencies remain fearful, officials said. The NSA in recent months has provided them with an accounting of the documents it believes Snowden obtained.


Intelligence officials said that they could discern no pattern to the military intelligence documents taken and that Snowden appeared to have harvested them at random. “It didn’t seem like he was targeting something specific,” the U.S. official said.


The notifications are reminiscent of what the State Department had to do in late 2010 in anticipation of the release of hundreds of thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks. The department feared that embarrassing details in some of the cables would lead to tension in relations between the United States and other countries.


In the case of WikiLeaks, the State Department had a number of months to assess the potential impact of the cables’ release and devise a strategy, former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.


“I’m not sure there were that many startling surprises in the cables,” he said. But there was damage on a country-by-country basis, he said.


For instance, some of the cables reflected unfavorably on ­then-Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, alleging that he feared flying over water and almost never traveled without his “voluptuous blonde” Ukrainian nurse. “All of a sudden we found there were some unsavory guys following” then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, Crowley said. “We brought him home for consultations and did not send him back.”


“But broadly speaking,” Crowley said, “relationships are guided by interests, rather than personalities, and, over time, interests carry the day.”


The fundamental issue is one of trust, officials said. “We depend to a very great extent on intelligence-sharing relationships with foreign partners, mostly governments — or, in some cases, organizations within governments,” a second U.S. official said. “If they tell us something, we will keep it secret. We expect the same of them. [If that trust is undermined,] these countries, at a minimum, will be thinking twice if they’re going to share something with us or not.”


Snowden has instructed the reporters with whom he has shared records to use their judgment to avoid publishing anything that would cause harm. “I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he told the Guardian newspaper. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”


It is those documents that may not be subject to journalistic vetting or may be breached by hackers that worry some intelligence officials. Snowden is known to have given documents in any quantity to only three journalists: The Post’s Barton Gellman, independent filmmaker Laura Poitras and former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald.


So far, Drake said, no such documents have been released. Snowden’s disclosures about the NSA have prompted a global debate about the proper scope and purpose of U.S. espionage — against its own and other countries’ citizens.


“I consider that a good thing,” Drake said.


NSA Revelations Monkeywrench Police Surveillance State Schemes


October. 21, 2013

by J.D. Tuccille



As it turns out, Edward Snowden’s revelations to the world about NSA surveillance of phone calls, email, text messages and any other kind of electronic communications have given more than the agency’s own employees a sad. Awww. Police departments are upset, too, that  the cat is out of the bag about the growing surveillance state and that people are pushing back against government scrutiny well beyond the specifics contained in the whistleblower’s leaked documents.


From Reuters:


Public disclosures about U.S. government surveillance threaten the ability of police to use powerful new technologies such as drones and mobile license plate readers, a top law enforcement official said on Sunday.


The leak of highly classified documents by National Security Agency Edward Snowden prompted tighter restrictions on key technology advances, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan, speaking at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference.


The disclosures, including about monitoring of U.S. phone records, threaten to erode existing authority to use high-tech equipment, he said.


Keenan is obviously upset that public awareness of the surveillance state threatens to hamper its advance, but other participants at the conference aren’t so certain that a bad thing. Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey pointed to license plate scanning and facial recognition technology, saying “Imagine instead of driving down the street scanning license tags, driving down the street checking the faces of individuals walking down the street.” He added, “We have to remind ourselves – just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do it.”


While Keenan’s concerns are probably more representative than Ramsey’s of law enforcement reaction to public scrutiny of their scrutiny, the head Philly cop has good reason for his warning.


When it comes to facial recognition technology, the FBI’s own standards for the software that has been applied to drivers license databases in more than half the states allows for “an incorrect candidate a maximum of 20% of the time.” That’s a bad match one in five times, with at least 120 million of us already conscripted into the lineup, under minimal safeguards. The databases are already routinely abused.


License plate scanners are subject to similarly weak and variable safeguards, potentially allowing authorities to track our movements and map our associations. With almost three-quarters of police agencies reporting using license plate readers as of 2011, that’s a growing problem.


Cellphone tracking—treating your handy mobile device as a location beacon—is also subject to weak controls, with federal and local authorities battling to keep it that way.


But all of these technologies now receive more challenges and raise more concerns precisely because Edward Snowden made the surveillance state a headline issue.


Once again, thank you, Edward Snowden.



U.S. monitored the phone calls of 35 world leaders: report

LONDON | Thu Oct 24, 2013


(Reuters) – The United States monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders according to classified documents leaked by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, Britain’s Guardian newspaper said on Thursday.


Phone numbers were passed on to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) by an official in another government department, according to the documents, the Guardian said on its website.


It added that staff in the White House, State Department and the Pentagon were urged to share the contact details of foreign politicians.


“We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, and as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” a White House spokeswoman said, reacting to the report.


The revelations come after Germany demanded answers from Washington over allegations Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone was bugged, the worst spat between the two countries in a decade.


The White House did not deny the bugging, saying only it would not happen in future.


“In one recent case, a U.S. official provided NSA with 200 phone numbers to 35 world leaders,” reads an excerpt from a confidential memo dated October 2006 which was quoted by the Guardian.


The identities of the politicians in question were not revealed.


The revelations in the center-left Guardian suggested that the bugging of world leaders could be more widespread than originally thought, with the issue set to overshadow an EU summit in Brussels.


(Reporting By Costas Pitas; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Barry Moody and Eric Walsh)


Leaked memos reveal GCHQ efforts to keep mass surveillance secret

Exclusive: Edward Snowden papers show UK spy agency fears legal challenge if scale of surveillance is made public


October 25, 2013

by James Ball

The Guardian  


          The UK intelligence agency GCHQ has repeatedly warned it fears a “damaging public debate” on the scale of its activities because it could lead to legal challenges against its mass-surveillance programmes, classified internal documents reveal.


Memos contained in the cache disclosed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden detail the agency’s long fight against making intercept evidence admissible as evidence in criminal trials – a policy supported by all three major political parties, but ultimately defeated by the UK’s intelligence community.


Foremost among the reasons was a desire to minimise the potential for challenges against the agency’s large-scale interception programmes, rather than any intrinsic threat to security, the documents show.


The papers also reveal that:


• GCHQ lobbied furiously to keep secret the fact that telecoms firms had gone “well beyond” what they were legally required to do to help intelligence agencies’ mass interception of communications, both in the UK and overseas.


• GCHQ feared a legal challenge under the right to privacy in the Human Rights Act if evidence of its surveillance methods became admissible in court.


• GCHQ assisted the Home Office in lining up sympathetic people to help with “press handling”, including the Liberal Democrat peer and former intelligence services commissioner Lord Carlile, who this week criticised the Guardian for its coverage of mass surveillance by GCHQ and America’s National Security Agency.


The most recent attempt to make intelligence gathered from intercepts admissible in court, proposed by the last Labour government, was finally stymied by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 in 2009.


A briefing memo prepared for the board of GCHQ shortly before the decision was made public revealed that one reason the agency was keen to quash the proposals was the fear that even passing references to its wide-reaching surveillance powers could start a “damaging” public debate.


Referring to the decision to publish the report on intercept as evidence without classification, it noted: “Our main concern is that references to agency practices (ie the scale of interception and deletion) could lead to damaging public debate which might lead to legal challenges against the current regime.” A later update, from May 2012, set out further perceived “risks” of making intercepts admissible, including “the damage to partner relationships if sensitive information were accidentally released in open court”. It also noted that the “scale of interception and retention required would be fairly likely to be challenged on Article 8 (Right to Privacy) grounds”.


The GCHQ briefings showed the agency provided the Home Office with support in winning the PR battle on the proposed reforms by lining up people to talk to the media – including Lord Carlile, who on Wednesday gave a public lecture condemning the Guardian’s decision to publish stories based on the leaked material from Snowden.


Referring to the public debate on intercept evidence, the document notes: “Sir Ken McDonald [sic] (former DPP [director of public prosecutions]), Lord Goldsmith (former AG [attorney general]) and David Davis (former Shadow HSec [home secretary) [have been] reiterating their previous calls for IaE [intercept as evidence].


“We are working closely with HO [Home Office] on their plans for press handling when the final report is published, e.g. lining up talking heads (such as Lord Carlisle [sic], Lord Stevens, Sir Stephen Lander, Sir Swinton Thomas).”


Carlile was the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in 2001-11, and was awarded a CBE in 2012 for his services to national security.


Another top GCHQ priority in resisting the admission of intercepts as evidence was keeping secret the extent of the agency’s co-operative relationships with telephone companies – including being granted access to communications networks overseas.


In June, the Guardian disclosed the existence of GCHQ’s Tempora internet surveillance programme. It uses intercepts on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet to gain access to vast swaths of internet users’ personal data. The intercepts are placed in the UK and overseas, with the knowledge of companies owning either the cables or landing stations.


The revelations of voluntary co-operation with some telecoms companies appear to contrast markedly with statements made by large telecoms firms in the wake of the first Tempora stories. They stressed that they were simply complying with the law of the countries in which they operated.


In reality, numerous telecoms companies were doing much more than that, as disclosed in a secret document prepared in 2009 by a joint working group of GCHQ, MI5 and MI6.


Their report contended that allowing intercepts as evidence could damage relationships with “Communications Service Providers” (CSPs).


In an extended excerpt of “the classified version” of a review prepared for the Privy Council, a formal body of advisers made up of current and former cabinet ministers, the document sets out the real nature of the relationship between telecoms firms and the UK government.


“Under RIPA [the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000], CSPs in the UK may be required to provide, at public expense, an adequate interception capability on their networks,” it states. “In practice all significant providers do provide such a capability. But in many cases their assistance – while in conformity with the law – goes well beyond what it requires.”


GCHQ’s internet surveillance programme is the subject of a challenge in the European court of human rights, mounted by three privacy advocacy groups. The Open Rights Group, English PEN and Big Brother Watch argue the “unchecked surveillance” of Tempora is a challenge to the right to privacy, as set out in the European convention on human rights.


That the Tempora programme appears to rely at least in part on voluntary co-operation of telecoms firms could become a major factor in that ongoing case. The revelation could also reignite the long-running debate over allowing intercept evidence in court.



GCHQ’s submission goes on to set out why its relationships with telecoms companies go further than what can be legally compelled under current law. It says that in the internet era, companies wishing to avoid being legally mandated to assist UK intelligence agencies would often be able to do so “at little cost or risk to their operations” by moving “some or all” of their communications services overseas.


As a result, “it has been necessary to enter into agreements with both UK-based and offshore providers for them to afford the UK agencies access, with appropriate legal authorisation, to the communications they carry outside the UK”.


The submission to ministers does not set out which overseas firms have entered into voluntary relationships with the UK, or even in which countries they operate, though documents detailing the Tempora programme made it clear the UK’s interception capabilities relied on taps located both on UK soil and overseas.


There is no indication as to whether the governments of the countries in which deals with companies have been struck would be aware of the GCHQ cable taps.


Evidence that telecoms firms and GCHQ are engaging in mass interception overseas could stoke an ongoing diplomatic row over surveillance ignited this week after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, accused the NSA of monitoring her phone calls, and the subsequent revelation that the agency monitored communications of at least 35 other world leaders.


On Friday, Merkel and the French president, François Hollande, agreed to spearhead efforts to make the NSA sign a new code of conduct on how it carried out intelligence operations within the European Union, after EU leaders warned that the international fight against terrorism was being jeopardised by the perception that mass US surveillance was out of control.


Fear of diplomatic repercussions were one of the prime reasons given for GCHQ’s insistence that its relationships with telecoms firms must be kept private .


Telecoms companies “feared damage to their brands internationally, if the extent of their co-operation with HMG [Her Majesty’s government] became apparent”, the GCHQ document warned. It added that if intercepts became admissible as evidence in UK courts “many CSPs asserted that they would withdraw their voluntary support”.


The report stressed that while companies are going beyond what they are required to do under UK law, they are not being asked to violate it.


Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty and Anthony Romero Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union issued a joint statement stating:


“The Guardian’s publication of information from Edward Snowden has uncovered a breach of trust by the US and UK Governments on the grandest scale. The newspaper’s principled and selective revelations demonstrate our rulers’ contempt for personal rights, freedoms and the rule of law.


“Across the globe, these disclosures continue to raise fundamental questions about the lack of effective legal protection against the interception of all our communications.


“Yet in Britain, that conversation is in danger of being lost beneath self-serving spin and scaremongering, with journalists who dare to question the secret state accused of aiding the enemy.


“A balance must of course be struck between security and transparency, but that cannot be achieved whilst the intelligence services and their political masters seek to avoid any scrutiny of, or debate about, their actions.


“The Guardian’s decision to expose the extent to which our privacy is being violated should be applauded and not condemned.”




Exclusive: White House Official Fired for Tweeting Under Fake Name


October 22, 2013

by Josh Rogin

The Daily Beast


A White House national security official was fired last week after being caught as the mystery Tweeter who has been tormenting the foreign policy community with insulting comments and revealing internal Obama administration information for over two years.


Joseph’s snark was not confined to his Obama administration colleagues. He also took aim at senior Republican figures and lowly GOP Hill staffers.


“So when will someone do us the favor of getting rid of Sarah Palin and the rest of her white trash family? What utter useless garbage …. ,” he tweeted last October.


During the 2012 Presidential campaign, he lashed out at conservative journalists and members of the presidential campaign staff of Mitt Romney


“@MiekeEoyang Come on, I expected better of you. @jrubinblogger is CRAZY unhinged while @noonanjo is an overweight paid Romney shill,” he tweeted, referring to the Washington Post’s conservative blogger Jen Rubin and Romney campaign national security staffer John Noonan.


For many in the foreign policy community reacting Tuesday night, the revelation that Joseph was the mystery tweeter @natsecwonk was a shock because Joseph was well known among policy wonks and his wife, Carolyn Leddy, is a well-respected professional staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


But inside the administration, there was little sympathy for the man who they feel had betrayed their confidence while taunting them all the while.


“My friends call me Batman,” he once tweeted.


A White House spokesman confirmed that Joseph no longer works there but declined further comment.


Brothers grim left legacy of mischief


October 20, 2013

by Paul McGeough

Chief foreign correspondent

WA Today


How instructive at a time when Washington has not been working, for Stephen Kinzer to pop out another book to give us a stunning window into a period when DC thought it was working very well.


It was the 1950s and the world was at peace, or so we thought. But not John Foster and Allen, the Dulles brothers who are the only sibling team to have ever jointly managed America’s overt and covert foreign policy agenda.


Kinzer’s tome is called The Brothers – but there must have been an urge to go for The Brothers Grim.


After weeks exploring the parallel universe occupied by the Tea Party and its loony-tune followers, we find the same closed-mind continuous loop in the plotting by these two to make the world as they figured it ought to be.


Advertisement They talked several times a day – John Foster as secretary of state and Allen as head of the CIA. But they didn’t have to because they had a seamless understanding of each other’s every thought – ”They knew, or believed they knew, the same deep truths about the world. Their intimacy rendered discussion and debate unnecessary.”


In the name of American exceptionalism, they opened secret jails (as the CIA did after 9/11), they recruited underground armies (now we call them contractors), and carried out or sponsored killings and bombings around the world (did someone say ‘drone?’).


 Intriguingly, they came to their roles with a ready-made list of enemies. As former attorneys in the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, they first set about settling grudges with governments that had dissed their powerful corporate friends.


In Guatemala, their client United Fruit Company was affected by land reform; and in Iran, a bank they represented was affected by the decision to nationalise the oil industry and within the first 18 months of their terms in office, they had disposed of President Arbenz of Guatemala and Prime Minister Mosaddegh of Iran, Kinzer said on NPR radio last week.


But that was just a start. They fomented civil war in Indonesia; they bungled their way into the Vietnam War; went after Patrice Lumumbain The Congo and Fidel Castro in Cuba. During the Cold War they were affronted by nations being non-aligned, so they also wanted to go after Nasser in Egypt and Nehru in India.


”Neutralism was immoral,” says Kinzer. ”It wasn’t conceivable to [John Foster] that land reform in Guatemala could be a project that Guatemalans had designed to deal with a Guatemalan situation – he just assumed it had been ordered by the Kremlin.”


Presbyterian Calvinists, they saw the world in stark terms – there was only good and evil; those who were not Christian were heathens and savages. These two were duty-bound to go into the world to make sure their ”good” triumphed, over communism and the rudeness of small governments that dared to stand in the way of US corporations.


Kinzer cites three historic miscalculations, among many, by the brothers – a failure to understand the nature of Third World nationalism; their refusal to engage the Moscow leadership on the death of Stalin because to do so ”would help destroy the entire paradigm of the Cold War”; and they had no sense or worry about what today is called ”blowback”.


Kinzer explains the Dulles modus operandi: ”John Foster Dulles would make speeches to the American people explaining that dangerous forces were at work in Country X … and while he was creating the public climate in which Americans would come to sense that Country X was an enemy, his brother would be actively working to bring down that government.


”Foster Dulles was then able to complete the circle by going on television and saying that the people of Country X have done just what we thought they might do – they’ve risen up and overthrown their tyrant.”


A powerful lobby served as protectors of the Dulles legacy, but these days not too many travelling Americans are aware of just who is being honoured at Washington’s Dulles International Airport.


The tribute was Eisenhower’s. However, by the time the airport was to open JFK was in office and he wanted a name more suited to the 1960s – the lobby came alive and convinced the president of the error of his way.


Kinzer’s book will kickstart a new debate on the brothers’ legacy. Historian Andrew Bacevich, a critic of the past decade of US foreign policy, has waded in: ”The Dulles brothers, one a self-righteous prude, the other a charming libertine, shared a common vision: A world ruled from Washington by people like themselves.


”They left behind a legacy of mischief.”





Bloody Sunday British soldiers may face murder charges and criminal prosecution

Sunday Times says police action and questioning is already underway


October 20, 2013

by Patrick Counihan

IrishCentral Staff Writer


 The Saville inquiry found that 26 soldiers, including privates, corporals, lance corporals and sergeants had opened fire on Bloody Sunday, although not all of them hit marchers.


It said two soldiers, identified only as Lance-Corporal F and Soldier G, probably shot ‘eight or 10 people’.


The paper says most are still alive but their names have never been made public to protect them from reprisals.


 The British soldiers who killed 14 people on Bloody Sunday in Derry may be arrested and charged with murder or attempted murder.


The Sunday Times of London report says that up to 20 retired soldiers are likely to be arrested and questioned by police for murder, attempted murder or criminal injury over the shootings more than 40 years ago.


Britain’s Ministry of Defence has already started to hire lawyers to represent the soldiers, most of whom are now in their 60s and 70s.


They will be questioned under criminal caution about their roles in the shootings when soldiers who opened fire on participants in a Civil Rights march.


The British Army troops who killed the 14 Bloody Sunday victims may face prosecution in a trial which the paper says will reopen wounds from one of the most notorious incidents in the history of the Troubles.


The move comes three years after the 12-year inquiry by Lord Saville into the shootings produced its report.


The Saville Report concluded that all those shot by paratroopers during a Catholic civil rights march in the nationalist Bogside area of Derry in January 1972 were unarmed. It said the killings were both ‘unjustified and unjustifiable’.


The enquiry said the army had lost control of the situation, that the soldiers had fired first and some of them had then lied to cover up their culpability.


After the report was published, British Prime Minister David Cameron issued a formal apology to the families on behalf of the nation.


The Sunday Times reports that a source close to the police who has seen government files has confirmed the possibility of court action against the soldiers.


The source said: “This is the beginning. It is the first time the soldiers will have been interviewed formally by police as part of a murder investigation. It is possible that some of the soldiers will be prosecuted.


“Interviews under police caution are expected imminently.”


A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) told the paper that the time scale might be longer.


The spokesman said: “Preliminary work has begun into what will be a lengthy and complex investigation into the events of January 30, 1972.


“For the investigation to be as comprehensive and effective as possible, police will be asking for public support in the form of witnesses who gave evidence to the Saville inquiry now making statements to detectives.


“This is because police are precluded from using Saville testimony in a criminal investigation.”

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