Posts Tagged ‘CIA’

In case it goes down the memory hole in the midst of all the tributes

Part 2

There are 57 candidates for the Democratic nomination in 44 congressional districts who boast as their major credential their years of service in intelligence, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, at the State Department, or some combination of all three. They make up the largest single occupational group running in the Democratic primaries that began March 6 in Texas and extend through mid-September, selecting the candidates who will appear on the general election ballot on November 6.

Aside from their sheer number, and the fact that more than 40 percent, 24 of the 57, are women, there are other aspects worth considering.

Agents, but no longer secret

First: The number of candidates who openly proclaim their role in the CIA or military intelligence. In years past, such activities would be considered confidential, if not scandalous for a figure seeking public office. Not only would the candidates want to disguise their connections to the spy apparatus, the CIA itself would insist on it, particularly for those who worked in operations rather than analysis, since exposure, even long after leaving the agency, could be portrayed as compromising “sources and methods.”

This is no longer the case. The 2018 candidates drawn from this shadow world of espionage, drone murders and other forms of assassination positively glory in their records. And the CIA and Pentagon have clearly placed no obstacles in the way.

We’ve already reviewed the cases of Elissa Slotkin, running in Michigan’s 8th District, who served three tours with the CIA in Baghdad, and Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, running for the Democratic nomination in the 23rd District of Texas. There are many others.

Abigail Spanberger, seeking the Democratic nomination in a district in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, has the following declaration at the top of her campaign website: “After nearly a decade serving in the CIA, I’m running for Congress in Virginia’s 7th District to fight for opportunity, equality and security for all Americans. My previous service as a law enforcement officer, a CIA officer, and a community volunteer has taught me the value of listening.” Indeed!

Spanberger worked for the CIA as an operations officer, in which capacity, “She traveled and lived abroad collecting intelligence, managing assets, and overseeing high-profile programs in service to the United States.” Her opponent for the Democratic nomination is a career Marine Corps pilot, Dan Ward, in one of nearly a dozen contests involving multiple military-intelligence candidates.

Jesse Colvin, running in the 1st District of Maryland, spent six years in Army intelligence, including four combat deployments to Afghanistan and a year near the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea. According to his campaign biography, “I am a proud graduate of the US Army’s Ranger Course, the premier leadership school in the military. I am even more honored to have served in the 75th Ranger Regiment—the Army Rangers. Rangers lead in many key roles throughout the Special Operations Forces’ (SOF) community, and I am lucky to have served and led with men and women of this caliber.”

His biography continues: “As a Ranger, my four combat deployments in Afghanistan took place within a Joint Special Operations Task Force. I led intelligence teams whose work facilitated capture/kill missions of Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorist leaders. I managed a lethal drone program. I ran human intelligence sources. Every day, my team and I made dozens of decisions whose outcomes carried life and death consequences for my fellow Rangers, our Afghan partners, and Afghan civilians.”

Jeffrey Beals, seeking the Democratic nomination in the 19th District of New York, is now a school teacher, but writes on his website, “After beginning my career as a CIA intelligence officer, I joined the State Department … I answered the call to help our country in Iraq in 2004 and became one of the longest serving US diplomats of the Iraq War. Fluent in Arabic, I faced down insurgents to set up the first diplomatic talks between our ambassador, our generals and the insurgency. I helped bring warring factions together to create a constitution for Iraq and was decorated by both the US Army and the State Department.”

Unfortunately for Beals, his fundraising, $174,000 by December 31, 2017, is dwarfed by that of another military-intelligence rival for the nomination, Patrick Ryan, a West Point graduate with two tours of duty in Iraq, “including a tour as the lead intelligence officer for an infantry battalion of 1,000 soldiers and officers responsible for ground operations in Mosul,” according to his campaign website. Ryan had raised $906,000 by December 31, and two other candidates in that district, a politically connected lawyer and a medical device manufacturer, had raised more than one million dollars each, all seeking to challenge two-term Republican incumbent John Faso in the Hudson Valley district.

Jonathan Ebel, running in the 13th District of Illinois, served four years as a naval intelligence officer, including on the staff of the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He now teaches religion at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Then there is Shelly Chauncey, seeking the Democratic nomination in the 5th District of Pennsylvania, in the Philadelphia suburbs. Her website strikes a feminist note:

“Shelly served her nation for more than a decade with the Central Intelligence Agency. She began her career as a secretary and worked her way up to become a counter-intelligence officer. Shelly served as an undercover officer with the CIA in Latin America, East Asia and throughout the United States, providing logistical and counter-intelligence support to operatives abroad.”

The reference to undercover operations “throughout the United States” underscores the role of the intelligence apparatus in spying on the American people, although the CIA is, by law, prohibited from such activity.

Another campaign website touches on the domestic operations of the US spy machine. Omar Siddiqui, running in California’s 48th District, describes his background as follows: “On the front lines of national defense, Mr. Siddiqui serves as a private advisor and consultant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on issues of national security and counter-terrorism and was formerly an advisor and community partner with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Mr. Siddiqui is presently director of special projects of the FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association…”

Commanders and planners of the Iraq War

Barack Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination and the 2008 election in large measure by presenting himself as an opponent of the war in Iraq launched under George W. Bush. Once in office, however, he retained Bush’s defense secretary, former CIA Director Robert Gates, and continued the war for another three years, as well as escalating the long-running US war in Afghanistan.

It is noteworthy in this context that so many of the military-intelligence candidates for Democratic congressional nominations boast of their roles in the war in Iraq and even, in some cases, present it as the high point of their professional and even personal lives.

Thus Elissa Slotkin, already referred to above, met her future husband, the pilot of an Apache helicopter gunship, while working as a CIA agent in Baghdad. Dan McCready, a Marine Corps veteran turned “clean energy” multi-millionaire, backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the Democratic nomination in the 9th District of North Carolina, even claims to have found Jesus in Iraq, where he was baptized in water from the Euphrates River.

The Iraq War veterans are either officers, giving them command responsibility in one of the great crimes of the 21st century, or served in special forces units like the Army Rangers and the Navy SEALs, engaging in covert operations that were among the bloodiest and most brutal of the war, or had high-level responsibility at the Pentagon or the National Security Council.

Daniel Helmer, running in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District against five other well-financed candidates—including former State Department official Alison Friedman, who has already topped the $1 million mark—says remarkably little about what he did in Afghanistan and Iraq, although his photograph in military fatigues is on the front page of his website. But Helmer boasts perhaps the most extensive list of endorsements by retired national security officials of any candidate in the country, including eight generals and admirals, two former deputy directors of the CIA, Avril Haines and David Cohen, and Michele Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy. What he did to earn their support is left to the imagination.

Richard Ojeda, elected as a West Virginia state senator in 2016, is now seeking the Democratic nomination in the 3rd Congressional District, covering the southern third of the state. As the WSWS has reported, Ojeda has based his political career on more than two decades in the US Army Airborne, including repeated tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he reached the rank of major. His last post was as executive director of Army recruiting in Beckley, seeking to convince youth in West Virginia and Virginia to become cannon fodder for the Pentagon.

Josh Butner, running in the 50th District of California against Republican Duncan Hunter, Jr., “served for 23 years in the United States Navy where he saw multiple combat deployments, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The career Navy SEAL says almost nothing about what he actually did in the top military assassination unit, but that is to be expected. His campaign website features the slogan “Service, Country, Leadership,” alongside a photograph of Butner in desert fatigues.

Dan Feehan is running to succeed incumbent Democrat Tim Walz in the 1st Congressional District of Minnesota, after Walz announced his candidacy for governor of that state. From 2005 to 2009, according to his campaign biography, Feehan “served as an active duty soldier and completed two combat tours of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.” He then joined the Obama administration, first as a White House aide, then as an acting assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon.

Andy Kim, running in the 3rd District of New Jersey, has actually raised more money than the incumbent Republican, Tom MacArthur. Kim worked at the Pentagon and as a strategic adviser to generals David Petraeus and John Allen while they were in command of US forces in Afghanistan. He then moved to the National Security Council, where he was Obama’s director for Iraq for two years.

Maura Sullivan, seeking the Democratic nomination in New Hampshire’s 2nd District, where incumbent Democrat Carol Shea-Porter is retiring, was a Marine Corps officer, rising to the rank of captain and deploying to Fallujah, Iraq, scene of some of the bloodiest battles and most horrific US war crimes of that war. She too joined the Obama administration as a civilian administrator at both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon.

Jason Crow is running in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District against incumbent Republican Mike Coffman, where he was selected by the DCCC as one of its top candidates in the “Red-to-Blue” program. He is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division, leading a paratrooper platoon during the invasion of Iraq. He then joined the Army Rangers and served two tours in Afghanistan “as part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force,” where he rose to the rank of captain.

Matthew Morgan had a 20-year career in the Marine Corps “where I would deploy routinely overseas, culminating in several senior staff roles where I’d provide counsel to numerous military leaders, including the secretary of defense.” He did two tours in Iraq and also worked in counterterrorism on the Horn of Africa. Now he is the unopposed candidate for the Democratic nomination in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, which has switched back and forth between the two big business parties and is currently held by first-term Republican Jack Bergman.

VIA

Frightening attacks on U.S. personnel in Havana struck the heart of America’s spy network in Cuba, with intelligence operatives among the first and most severely affected victims, The Associated Press has learned.

It wasn’t until U.S. spies, posted to the embassy under diplomatic cover, reported hearing bizarre sounds and experiencing even stranger physical effects that the United States realized something was wrong, individuals familiar with the situation said.

While the attacks started within days of President Donald Trump’s surprise election in November, the precise timeline remains unclear, including whether intelligence officers were the first victims hit or merely the first victims to report it. The U.S. has called the situation “ongoing.”

To date, the Trump administration largely has described the 21 victims as U.S. embassy personnel or “members of the diplomatic community.” That description suggested only bona fide diplomats and their family members were struck, with no logical motivation beyond disrupting U.S.-Cuban relations.

Behind the scenes, though, investigators immediately started searching for explanations in the darker, rougher world of spycraft and counterespionage, given that so many of the first reported cases involved intelligence workers posted to the U.S. embassy. That revelation, confirmed to the AP by a half-dozen officials, adds yet another element of mystery to a year-long saga that the Trump administration says may not be over.

The State Department and the CIA declined to comment for this story.

The first disturbing reports of piercing, high-pitched noises and inexplicable ailments pointed to someone deliberately targeting the U.S. government’s intelligence network on the communist-run island, in what seemed like a bone-chilling escalation of the tit-for-tat spy games that Washington and Havana have waged over the last half century.

But the U.S. soon discovered that actual diplomats at the embassy had also been hit by similar attacks, officials said, further confounding the search for a culprit and a motive.

Of the 21 confirmed cases, American spies suffered some of the most acute damage, including brain injury and hearing loss that has not healed, said several U.S. officials who weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the investigation and demanded anonymity. They heard an unsettling sound inside and in some cases outside their Havana homes, described as similar to loud crickets. Then they fell ill.

Over time, the attacks seemed to evolve.

In many of the more recent cases, victims didn’t hear noises and weren’t aware an attack was occurring, identifying the symptoms only later. That has raised concerns among investigators that the attacks may be getting more sophisticated and harder to detect, individuals briefed on the investigation said.

Though the State Department has called all the cases “medically confirmed,” several U.S. officials said it’s unclear whether all of the victims’ symptoms can be conclusively tied to attacks. Considering the deep sense of alarm among Americans working in the embassy, it’s possible some workers attributed unrelated illnesses to attacks.

Almost nothing about what has transpired in Havana is perfectly clear. But this is Cuba.

For decades, Washington and Havana pushed their rivalry to unprecedented levels of covert action. The former enemies tracked each other’s personnel, turned each other’s agents and, in the case of the CIA, even mounted a failed attempt to overthrow the Cuban government in the 1961 “Bay of Pigs” invasion.

There were hopes, though, that the two nations were starting to put that bitter history behind them after renewing diplomatic relations in 2015. When the attacks first occurred, the U.S. and Cuban governments were hard at work on clinching new commercial and immigration agreements. No new spat among intelligence services was publicly known.

Eleven months on, the U.S. cannot guarantee the threat is over. Last week, the State Department warned Americans to stay away from Cuba and ordered more than half the embassy staff to leave indefinitely. The U.S. had previously given all embassy staff the option to come home, but even most of those struck by the mysterious attacks had opted to stay, individuals familiar with the situation said.

For those staying and new arrivals, the U.S. has been giving instructions about what to watch and listen for to identify an attack in progress. They’re also learning steps to take if an attack occurs that could mitigate the risk, officials said.

But the U.S. has not identified whatever device is responsible for the harm. FBI sweeps have turned up nothing.

So to better identify patterns, investigators have created a map detailing specific areas of Cuba’s capital where attacks have occurred, several individuals familiar with the matter said. Three “zones,” or geographic clusters of attacks, cover the homes where U.S. diplomats live and several hotels where attacks occurred, including the historic Hotel Capri.

Since first disclosing the situation in August, the United States had generally avoided the word “attacks.” It called them “incidents” instead until last Friday. Now, the State Department deems them “specific attacks” targeting Americans posted in Havana, without saying what new information, if any, prompted the newfound confidence they were indeed deliberate.

The most obvious motive for attacking Americans in Havana would be to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Cuba. If that’s the case, the strategy appears to be succeeding.

Last week’s embassy drawdown added to the growing friction between the nations. And an accompanying new travel warning deemed Havana’s hotels unsafe for visitors, threatening to drive down tourism, a backbone of Cuba’s economy.

In Havana, American diplomats are frantically selling off possessions — from mattresses to canned goods to children’s toys — and hunting for jobs and places to live in the United States. Many have spent years overseas and don’t have homes waiting for them in the United States.

“Heartbroken? Me too, but this will make you feel better,” one seller posted in a chatroom for foreigners in Cuba, under a picture of a Costco artichoke hearts jar selling for $6.

For Cubans, it may be no better. The U.S. has been providing 20,000 visas a year to Cubans moving to the United States. It has issued thousands more to Cubans wishing to visit family in America. The reduction in U.S. staff in Havana means visa processing there has been suspended indefinitely.

Cuba has vehemently denied involvement or knowledge of the attacks. Some in the U.S. government believe the Cubans may be telling the truth, officials said.

When President Raul Castro denied any culpability in February, he did so on the sidelines a meeting in Havana with five visiting U.S. members of Congress, the AP found. The U.S. had raised complaints about the attacks to Cuba just days earlier through diplomatic channels.

But the visiting lawmakers knew nothing of the attacks taking place in the country they were visiting.

Nor did they know that Castro had used the occasion of their meeting to pull aside Jeff DeLaurentis, then the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, to say privately that his government was equally alarmed and willing to help.

The lawmakers all declined to comment. Cuban officials say they’re disappointed in the U.S. retaliatory measures but will continue cooperating with the investigation.

Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by author and Professor of Media Studies at New York University Mark Crispin Miller

Just as the British Empire was in part financed by their control of the opium trade through the British East India Company, so too has the CIA been found time after time to be at the heart of the modern international drug trade. From its very inception, the CIA has been embroiled in the murky underworld of drug trafficking.

There are billions of dollars per year to be made in keeping the drug trade going, and it has long been established that Wall Street and the major American banks rely on drug money as a ready source of liquid capital. With those kinds of funds at stake, it is unsurprising to see a media-government-banking nexus develop around the status quo of a never-ending war on drugs – aided, abetted and facilitated by the modern-day British East India Company, the CIA.

This is our EyeOpener Report by James Corbett presenting the history, documented facts, and cases on the CIA’s involvement and operations in the underworld of drug trafficking, from the Corsican Mafia in the 1940s through the 1980s Contras to the recent Zambada Niebla Case today…

Via CRE

Operation Mockingbird lives

A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.

“I’m working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys,” Dilanian wrote in one email to a CIA press officer, explaining that what he intended to report would be “reassuring to the public” about CIA drone strikes. In another, after a series of back-and-forth emails about a pending story on CIA operations in Yemen, he sent a full draft of an unpublished report along with the subject line, “does this look better?” In another, he directly asks the flack: “You wouldn’t put out disinformation on this, would you?”

Dilanian’s emails were included in hundreds of pages of documents that the CIA turned over in response to two FOIA requests seeking records on the agency’s interactions with reporters. They include email exchanges with reporters for the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. In addition to Dilanian’s deferential relationship with the CIA’s press handlers, the documents show that the agency regularly invites journalists to its McLean, Va., headquarters for briefings and other events. Reporters who have addressed the CIA include the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius, the former ombudsmen for the New York Times, NPR, and Washington Post, and Fox News’ Brett Baier, Juan Williams, and Catherine Herridge.

Dilanian left the Times to join the AP last May, and the emails released by the CIA only cover a few months of his tenure at the Times. They show that in June 2012, shortly after 26 members of congress wrote a letter to President Obama saying they were “deeply concerned” about the drone program, Dilanian approached the agency about story that he pitched as “a good opportunity” for the government.

The letter from lawmakers, which was sent in the wake of a flurry of drone strikes that had reportedly killed dozens of civilians, suggested there was no meaningful congressional oversight of the program. But Dilanian wrote that he had been “told differently by people I trust.” He added:

Not only would such a story be reassuring to the public, I would think, but it would also be an opportunity to explore the misinformation about strikes that sometimes comes out of local media reports. It’s one thing for you to say three killed instead of 15, and it’s another for congressional aides from both parties to back you up. Part of what the story will do, if you could help me bring it to fruition, is to quote congressional officials saying that great care is taken to avoid collateral damage and that the reports of widespread civilian casualties are simply wrong.

Of course, journalists routinely curry favor with government sources (and others) by falsely suggesting that they intend to amplify the official point of view. But the emails show that Dilanian really meant it.

Over the next two weeks, he sent additional emails requesting assistance and information from the agency. In one, he suggested that a New America Foundation report alleging that drone attacks had killed many civilians was exaggerated, writing that the report was “all wrong, correct?”

A number of early news accounts reported that more than a dozen people died in the June 4, 2012, drone strike that killed Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi in Pakistan. But in a June 20 email to the CIA, Dilanian shared a sentence from his story draft asserting that al-Libi had died alone. “Would you quibble with this?” he asked the CIA press officer.

On June 25, the Times published Dilanian’s story, which described thorough congressional review of the drone program and said legislative aides were allowed to watch high-quality video of attacks and review intelligence used to justify each strike. Needless to say, the agency hadn’t quibbled with Dilanian’s description of al-Libi’s solitary death. Video provided by the CIA to congressional overseers, Dilanian reported, “shows that he alone was killed.”

That claim was subsequently debunked. In October of 2013, Amnesty International issued a report, based on statements from eyewitnesses and survivors, that the first missile strike targeting al-Libi killed five men and wounded four others. Al-Libi was not even among those victims; he and up to fifteen other people died in a follow up attack when they arrived at the scene to assist victims. Some of those killed were very likely members of al Qaeda, but six were local tribesmen who Amnesty believed were there only as rescuers. Another field report published around the same time, this one by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, also reported follow-up drone strikes on civilians and rescue workers — attacks that constitute war crimes.

Dilanian has done some strong work and has at times been highly critical of the CIA. For example, in July 2012 he wrote a piece about sexual harassment at the agency that angered the press office. In reply to an email from a spokesperson, Dilanian said that complaints about his story were “especially astonishing given that CIA hides the details of these complaints behind a wall of secrecy.”

But the emails reveal a remarkably collegial relationship with the agency. “I am looking forward to working with you, Ken,” a newly hired agency flack wrote him in a March 1, 2012, email.

“Hooray!” Dilanian replied. “Glad to have you guys.”

On March 14, 2012, Dilanian sent an email to the press office with a link to a Guardian story that said Bashar Al-Assad’s wife had been buying a fondue set on Amazon while Syrian protesters were gunned down. “If this is you guys, nice work,” he wrote. “If it’s real, even better.”

The emails also show that Dilanian shared his work with the CIA before it was published, and invited the agency to request changes. On Friday April 27, 2012, he emailed the press office a draft story that he and a colleague, David Cloud, were preparing. The subject line was “this is where we are headed,” and he asked if “you guys want to push back on any of this.”

It appears the agency did push back. On May 2, 2012, he emailed the CIA a new opening to the story with a subject line that asked, “does this look better?”

The piece ran on May 16, and while it bore similarities to the earlier versions, it had been significantly softened.

Here’s the original opening, from Dilanian’s email:

Teams of CIA officers, private contractor and special operations troops have been inserted in southern Yemen to work with local tribes on gathering intelligence for U.S. drone strikes against militants, U.S. officials and others familiar with the secret operation said.

Here’s the version that was published:

In an escalation of America’s clandestine war in Yemen, a small contingent of U.S. troops is providing targeting data for Yemeni airstrikes as government forces battle to dislodge Al Qaeda militants and other insurgents in the country’s restive south, U.S. and Yemeni officials said.

In another case, Dilanian sent the press office a draft story on May 4, 2012, reporting that U.S. intelligence believed the Taliban was growing stronger in Afghanistan. “Guys, I’m about to file this if anyone wants to weigh in,” he wrote.

On May 7, 2012, the AP, Dilanian’s current employer, broke a story about a secret CIA operation that “thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner.” The next day, Dilanian sent the CIA a detailed summary of a planned piece that followed up on (and took issue with) the AP story. “This is what we are planning to report, and I want to make sure you wouldn’t push back against any of it,” he wrote.

Dilanian also closely collaborated with the CIA in a May 2012 story that minimized the agency’s cooperation with director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal on their film about the assassination of Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty. Republicans had been criticizing the Obama Administration for revealing classified details about the operation to Boal and Bigelow while withholding them from the public.

“My angle on this is that…this is a pretty routine effort to cooperate with filmmakers and the sort of thing the CIA has been doing for 15 years,” Dilanian wrote in an email to Cynthia Rapp, the head of the agency’s press office. “This is a storyline that is in your interest, I would think, to the extent you could provide information about how routine it is to offer guidance to entertainment people who seek it out—including ones who are Democrats!—it would show that this latest episode is hardly a scandal.”

Dilanian’s pitch appears to have worked. His subsequent story included an on the record comment from CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz. One year later, internal CIA documents released under the FOIA showed that the agency’s office of public affairs—the same people Dilanian had been working with–had asked for and received changes to the Zero Dark Thirty script that portrayed the agency in a more favorable light.

Reached by The Intercept for comment, Dilanian said that the AP does not permit him to send stories to the CIA prior to publication, and he acknowledged that it was a bad idea. “I shouldn’t have done it, and I wouldn’t do it now,” he said. “[But] it had no meaningful impact on the outcome of the stories. I probably should’ve been reading them the stuff instead of giving it to them.”

Dilanian said he was not sure if Los Angeles Times rules allow reporters to send stories to sources prior to publication. The Time’s ethics guidelines, however, clearly forbid the practice: “We do not circulate printed or electronic copies of stories outside the newsroom before publication. In the event you would like to read back quotations or selected passages to a source to ensure accuracy, consult an editor before doing so….”

Bob Drogin, the Times’ deputy bureau chief and national security editor, said he had been unaware that Dilanian had sent story drafts to the CIA and would have not allowed him to do it. “Ken is a diligent reporter and it’s responsible to seek comment and response to your reporting,” he told me. “But sharing story drafts is not appropriate.”

AP spokesman Paul Colford told The Intercept that the news organization is “satisfied that any pre-publication exchanges that Ken had with the CIA before joining AP were in pursuit of accuracy in his reporting on intelligence matters,” adding that “we do not coordinate with government agencies on the phrasing of material.”

Dilanian’s emails were included in a FOIA request that sought communications between the CIA and ten national security reporters sent from March to July 2012. That request turned up correspondence between the press office and Dilanian, Adam Goldman, then at the AP and now at The Washington Post, Matt Apuzzo, then at AP and now at The New York Times, Brian Bennett of The Los Angeles Times, Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal, Scott Shane of the New York Times, and David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist.

It’s impossible to know precisely how the CIA flacks responded to reporters’ queries, because the emails show only one side of the conversations. The CIA redacted virtually all of the press handlers’ replies other than meager comments that were made explicitly on the record, citing the CIA Act of 1949, which exempts the agency from having to disclose “intelligence sources and methods” or “the organization, functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency.” The contents of off-the-record or background emails from CIA press handlers clearly don’t disclose names, titles, or salaries (which can easily be redacted anyway); they may disclose sources and methods, depending on whether you view manipulation of American reporters as an intelligence method. (The Intercept is appealing the redactions.)

The emails also show that the CIA asked the Post‘s Ignatius to speak at a May 2012 off-the-record conference, “Political Islam’s Future: Challenges, Choices, and Uncertainties,” for U.S. government intelligence analysts and policymakers. The invitation was extended in an email from the press office, which said that the conference organizers “would like you to draw upon the insight from your field experience, reporting, and broad network of contacts during the lead up to the Arab Spring to share how journalists sense that major political, social, or religious changes are in the making.”

Ignatius replied that he would be “pleased and honored to do this,” but unfortunately he would be traveling in Europe on the day of the conference. The CIA then proposed “a smaller round table with our…folks sometime in the future.”

“Smaller round table would be great,” Ignatius replied.

Ignatius told The Intercept that the round table never took place. But he confirmed that he had previously spoken to the CIA twice since 2005. “I talked to them about how journalists collect information,” he said. “It was meant as an admonition and a caution about the need to get things right and not to bend to political pressure and to have systems in place to catch errors.”

Ignatius said he had gotten approval of his editors before he spoke to the CIA, and didn’t see any conflict or problem with addressing the agency. “There’s a very sharp line between our profession and the intelligence business and it shouldn’t be crossed,” he said. “I talked to them about what I’d learned as an editor and the importance of getting it right. I wasn’t sharing any [sensitive] information with them.

Records released in response to another FOIA request, seeking information about journalists who had been invited to address or debrief CIA employees, show that several Fox News reporters have visited the agency.

Fox News’ Bret Baier gave an address about the importance of charity in 2008 (which was reported at the time), and the then-ombudsmen for NPR, The Washington Post, and The New York Times (Jeffrey Dvorkin, Michael Getler and Daniel Okrent, respectively), appeared together on a CIA panel. The event description said that journalism “shares some of the same missions that intelligence analysts have—presenting information in an unbiased fashion and challenging prevailing opinions.” The ombudsmen, the invitation said, could help the CIA “see how journalists deal with some of our common professional and ethical difficulties.” (It’s not clear from the documents when the ombudsmen event was held, but it would have been in 2009 or before.)

In 2007, Juan Williams, then at NPR in addition to his role at Fox News, gave a “standing-room-only” speech sponsored by the agency’s Office of Diversity Plans and Programs. During his speech Williams praised CIA personnel as “the best and brightest,” and said Americans admired the agency and trusted it “to guide the nation and the nation’s future.”

Williams also spoke about Nelson Mandela, saying he was an example of a leader who “came from outside the system.” There was a certain irony here—the CIA played a key role in Mandela’s 1962 arrest by the South African apartheid regime, which resulted in him spending 28 years in prison—which Williams was either unaware of or politely chose not to note.

A brief history of the times the US meddled in others’ elections

US lawmakers and officials continue to respond to CIA reports that Russia deliberately interfered with the November election in order to get Donald Trump elected. Yet, intervening in foreign election is nothing new, particularly for the US.

For decades, American intelligence agencies have used clandestine tactics to put leaders into office who are favorable to US national interests. This practice of meddling dates back to the early days of the CIA and was seen as a necessary strategy to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

It’s something Tim Weiner has explored in great detail. He’s won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on clandestine national security programs, and his books include “Enemies: A History of the FBI” and “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.” He says election meddling is not a gray area for the CIA.

“Several months after the CIA was created in 1947, it set out to steal the Italian election in 1948 to support the Christian Democrats who were pro-American, against the socialist Democrats, who were pro-Moscow, and they won,” says Weiner. “It’s just the beginning of a long, long story.”

After seeing success in Italy, the CIA took this formula — which involved using millions of dollars to run influence campaigns — and brought it to places like Guatemala, Indonesia, South Vietnam, Afghanistan and beyond.

“The president [of Afghanistan] after the American invasion post-9/11 was a paid CIA agent, Hamid Karzai,” Weiner says. “The list is very long, and it’s part of what the CIA does in political warfare.”

According to Weiner, the CIA doesn’t act independently to influence governments and electoral outcomes around the world, but it operates under the direction of US presidents.

“We set up the shah of Iran, who was our best friend for 25 years until he fell, and that created the Iranian Revolution, which we’re still living with today,” he says. “If you want to swing an election in a foreign country and you’ve got a Halliburton suitcase with a million dollars in it, it works.”

Though money has the power to influence an election, information — or misinformation — can have a huge impact as well. A number of independent researchers have connected the proliferation of fake news reports seen during the election to Russia and other Eastern European states, something that the Trump team has dismissed.

“In denying that Russia ran a successful information war campaign during our presidential election, [President-elect Trump] is alone in denying that this happened,” Weiner says. “We are in uncharted waters. We have just seen the Russian intelligence services, led by an ex-KGB colonel, Vladimir Putin, run a number on the United States using information warfare to get inside our heads and, in the opinion of the CIA, not simply disrupt American democracy, but to elect Donald J. Trump.”

According to Weiner, it’s not just the CIA that believes that Russia worked to influence the US election to help Trump.

“The entire U.S. intelligence community, the British intelligence services, and the German intelligence services all are in concurrence — it’s a rare harmony in convergence — that Moscow is trying to destabilize Western democracies, Cold War 2.0,” he says. “What could be more destabilizing to American democracy than electing the great disruptor, Donald J. Trump? These two goals are one in the same, and it’s the CIA’s judgement, its analysis that electing Trump was part of a larger plan to destabilize American democracy.”

On Tuesday, Trump officially announced that he has chosen Rex Tillerson, the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, as secretary of state. Tillerson has deep ties to Putin, and has made multibillion dollar deals with Russian oil companies in the Arctic.

“[Tillerson’s appointment] alone would be enough to mark Trump as the Siberian candidate,” says Weiner.

“Among the options.. are a closer alliance with better-armed al-Qaeda and other extremist groups”

Three years after the CIA began secretly shipping lethal aid to rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, battlefield losses and fears that a Donald Trump administration will abandon them have left tens of thousands of opposition fighters weighing their alternatives.

Among the options, say U.S. officials, regional experts and the rebels themselves, are a closer alliance with better-armed al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, receipt of more sophisticated weaponry from Sunni states in the Persian Gulf region opposed to a U.S. pullback, and adoption of more traditional guerrilla tactics, including sniper and other small-scale attacks on both Syrian and Russian targets.

Just over a year ago, the opposition held significant territory inside Syria. Since then, in the absence of effective international pushback, Russian and Syrian airstrikes have relentlessly bombarded their positions and the civilians alongside them. On the ground, Syrian government troops — bolstered by Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Shiite militia forces from Iraq — have retaken much of that ground.

In brutal attacks over the past three weeks, they have been driven out of much of the eastern Aleppo stronghold that they have occupied since 2012.

Trump has made clear that his priority in Syria is the separate fight against the Islamic State, ideally in cooperation with Russia and the Syrian government, as well as other allies. While still vague about his plans, the president-elect has rejected the Obama administration’s view that ending the civil war and bringing Assad to the negotiating table are ultimately key to victory over the Islamic militants, and indicated he will curtail support for the opposition.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the rebels, saying, “We have no idea who these people are.”

“My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS,” he told the Wall Street Journal last month, using another name for the Islamic State.

Assad, in an interview the week after Trump’s election, called the United States a “natural” counterterrorism ally. He has long labeled the opposition as terrorists equal to the Islamic State.

The possibility of cutting loose opposition groups it has vetted, trained and armed would be a jolt to a CIA already unsettled by the low opinion of U.S. intelligence capabilities that Trump had expressed during his presidential campaign.

From a slow and disorganized start, the opposition “accomplished many of the goals the U.S. hoped for,” including their development into a credible fighting force that showed signs of pressuring Assad into negotiations, had Russia not begun bombing and Iran stepped up its presence on the ground, said one of several U.S. officials who discussed the situation on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The United States estimates that there are 50,000 or more fighters it calls “moderate opposition,” concentrated in the northwest province of Idlib, in Aleppo and in smaller pockets throughout western and southern Syria, and that they are not likely to give up.

“They’ve been fighting for years, and they’ve managed to survive,” the U.S. official said. “Their opposition to Assad is not going to fade away.”

Although their fortunes were boosted last year by U.S. and Saudi Arabia-provided TOW antitank missiles, the rebels have long complained that American assistance has been stingy and has come with too many strings attached. Concerned that more sophisticated weapons, including portable antiaircraft missiles, would end up in the hands of extremists, President Obama refused to send them and prevailed upon regional allies to impose similar restrictions on their own arms shipments.

Now, said one U.S.-vetted rebel commander, “we are very frustrated. The United States refuses to provide weapons we need, and yet it still thinks it can tell us what to do. They promise support and then watch us drown.”

“America will have no influence if our comrades are forced [to retreat to] Idlib” from Aleppo, said the commander, who asked not to be identified to speak about sensitive rebel relations with the United States.

Most rebels already forced to relinquish territory have gone to Idlib, which is fast becoming a holding pen for what is left of the rebellion. The area is dominated by as many as 10,000 fighters for Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda-linked group now known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, and an equal number of Ahrar al-Sham, an Islamist group tied to the wider rebel movement that the United States does not consider terrorist.

Some experts, including Trump’s designated White House national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, think that the growing operational alliance between the rebels and extremist groups began long ago.

Flynn argued last year that Obama’s Syria strategy of first withholding, then offering only measured support for the opposition through a covert CIA program, effectively allowed extremist organizations to grow at rebel expense. Asked in a July 2015 al Jazeera interview whether there should have been stronger early support for the opposition, Flynn said: “When you don’t get in and help somebody, they’re going to find other means to achieve their goals. . . . We should have done more earlier on in this effort.”

At the same time, Flynn has said, the administration downplayed early intelligence indicating that al-Nusra and eventually the Islamic State organization, which combined Islamist extremists and former Iraqi army officers left adrift by the 2003 U.S. invasion, were growing rapidly.

In a book published last summer, Flynn wrote that they are allied with those who “share their hatred of the West,” including “North Korea, Russia, China, Cuba and Venezuela.”

But in an analysis looking forward, echoed by Trump and certain to be influential in the incoming White House, Flynn has also outlined a World War II -type global alliance, including both the United States and Russia, under a single leadership, to combat what he has called “Islam’s . . . political ideology.”

Others have noted that cutting off the opposition would not only support Russian and Syrian aims but also would benefit Iran at the perceived expense of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other regional U.S. allies who view that country as an existential threat.

“There will be significant reputational costs with our allies in the region if we abandon support of the moderate opposition,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

He said the question is “whether our Gulf allies can count on us or they can’t, whether the Iranians are going to be given free rein or they won’t.”

“A lot obviously will depend on what the president-elect does, what his advisers urge him to do,” Schiff said. Referring to retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s choice for defense secretary, Schiff added, “I think Gen. Mattis will have different views . . . [that] recognize the implications in terms of Iranian influence in the region.”

Disagreement over whether to take a tougher line against Russia in Syria — including direct military intervention on behalf of civilians and, indirectly, the rebels — in Aleppo and beyond has already caused deep divisions between Obama’s State Department and the reluctant Defense Department and the White House.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry has continued negotiations over a cease-fire, meeting again with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Rome on Friday. Talks have focused on an agreement to safely deliver humanitarian aid and to evacuate both civilians, who want to leave, and the al-Nusra forces that Russia says are the majority of some several thousand anti-Assad fighters in the eastern part of the city. U.S. officials think the militants there number in the hundreds.

But Kerry has had little leverage to persuade Moscow to change its strategy, designed to ensure a military victory for Assad.

As the incoming Trump administration considers withdrawing from involvement in either assisting or resolving the civil war, others have indicated they will move into the anticipated vacuum.

Qatar has said it will continue supporting and supplying the rebels, regardless of what the United States decides.

“We want to have the U.S. with us, for sure. They have been our historic ally,” Qatar Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Jassim al-Thani said last week in an interview with Reuters in Doha. “But if they want to change their minds . . . we are not going to change our position.”

A 1979 ABC documentary on the CIA’s Project MKULTRA…

Interesting Corbett Report from December 2015 in light of what just transpired a few days ago

The CIA and geoengineering

The CIA and Hollywood..

Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, included an amendment in the annual intelligence-spending bill passed late last month that calls for the Director of National Intelligence to submit an annual report to congressional oversight committees detailing how the CIA and 15 other intelligence agencies interact with the entertainment industry.

The measure, which defines the entertainment industry broadly, follows a series of reports published by VICE News over the past year detailing the agency’s role in the production of 22 entertainment-related projects between 2006 and 2011. They included major motion pictures like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo; reality television series such as Top Chef; the cable drama series, Covert Affairs; and books including The Devil’s Light by Richard North Patterson. In the case of Zero Dark Thirty, writer and producer Mark Boal and Katherine Bigelow gave CIA officers involved in the operation that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden gifts including dinners, fake pearl earrings, a bottle of tequila, and tickets to a Prada fashion show. The filmmakers, in turn, got access.

In some instances CIA officials disclosed classified information to producers and writers. An investigation by the CIA’s inspector general (IG) into the agency’s dealings with Bigelow and Boal identified several potential criminal violations of federal law, such as the bribery of public officials and witnesses, by the filmmakers. (The Senate Intelligence Committee receives classified versions of the CIA’s IG reports at the time they are finalized. It appears that the catalyst behind the amendment is news stories detailing the CIA’s relationship with Hollywood.)

Section 306 of the committee report on the bill published last week relating to the amendment would rein in the intelligence agencies, including the CIA, that provide “support” to entertainment projects. The Burr-Feinstein amendment mandates that the Director of National Intelligence, who oversees the 16 agencies that make up the Intelligence Community, issue an annual report that includes “a description of the nature, duration, costs, and results of each engagement, as well as a certification that each engagement did not result in a disclosure of classified information and whether any information was declassified for the disclosure.”

The amendment “further requires that before an Intelligence Community element may engage with the entertainment industry, the head of that element must approve the proposed engagement and notify the congressional intelligence committees at least thirty days in advance of why the engagement would further the Intelligence Community element’s interests.”

Earlier this year, the CIA’s director of public affairs, Dean Boyd, told VICE News that when the CIA engages with the entertainment industry, “CIA’s priority is the protection of classified material and national security equities, while ensuring an informed, balanced portrayal of the women and men of CIA.”

But the Burr-Feinstein amendment states that the relationship has no upside. The amendment notes the “engagements, described in partially declassified inspector general reports,” such as those obtained by VICE News, “cost taxpayer dollars, raise potential ethics concerns, increase the risk of disclosure of classified information, and consume the time and attention of Intelligence Community personnel responsible for United States national security.”

“Neither the production of entertainment nor the self-promotion of Intelligence Community entities are legitimate purposes for these engagements,” the amendment further states.

Other intelligence agencies have also provided support to the entertainment industry, but not to the extent that the CIA has.

It’s unclear whether the amendment would effectively put an end to the CIA’s relationship with Hollywood, although that seems unlikely. A spokesperson for the CIA was not immediately available to comment about the amendment. Burr’s office also did not respond to specific questions about the measure.

Since the release of Zero Dark Thirty and the disclosure that the CIA assisted on the production of the movie, the agency’s Office of Public Affairs, the division that liaises with the entertainment industry, completely overhauled its procedures for interacting with the entertainment industry.

The Intelligence Authorization bill still needs to be voted on by the full Senate. A date has not yet been scheduled.

Via GR

Washington (AFP) – reported on April 1, 2016 that a Virginia school bus transporting students to and from classes this week had explosives under the hood after the CIA accidentally left them following a training exercise, the intelligence agency said.1

Furthermore, the intelligence agency declared in a statement on Thursday 03/31/16 that

“last week, a CIA K-9 unit conducted a routine training exercise with law enforcement officials in Loudoun County, VA.”

Apparently, “during the exercise, explosive training material was inadvertently left by the CIA K-9 unit in one of the buses used in the exercise.” Moreover, “the Loudoun County sheriff’s office said in a statement that the bus was used Monday and Tuesday to transport high school and elementary students, who were in no danger because the explosive materials were “incredibly stable.”1

In addition, The CIA announced that it had taken “immediate steps to strengthen inventory and control procedures” in the training program and would conduct a “thorough and independent” review of the incident.

Seemingly, the agency placed the explosive materials inside the engine compartment while training explosives-detecting dogs during spring break, the CIA said. However, the sheriff’s office said that some of the material “appears to have been dislodged… and fell into the engine compartment.”

According to AFP, a technician conducting routine maintenance on the bus found the explosives on Wednesday 03/30/16. As a result, the sheriff’s office proclaimed that the CIA has suspended its program until it completes its review.1

Analysis

The astute observer of this incident can’t help but worry that bombs were left in school buses as children were transported to and from school. This story should also make the concerned citizen wonder how can the most sophisticated, best financed, and supremely trained agency in the world commit such an enormous error that could’ve killed tens of children and adults.

How can an agency that specializes in covert ops, destabilizing of states, as well as detecting and preventing alleged terror plots, be so careless and negligent?

What would’ve happened if these explosives detonated and caused massive destruction and death?

Would the intelligence agency and the sheriff’s department have taken the blame, or the government would have declared a state of emergency in Virginia claiming a terrorist attack by ISIS militants and its supporters?

We should all ask ourselves these critical questions.

dada

If you’re not familiar with the NED and what it’s true mission is, this is a great place to start. Seen @

How many Americans could identify the National Endowment for Democracy? An organization which often does exactly the opposite of what its name implies. The NED was set up in the early 1980s under President Reagan in the wake of all the negative revelations about the CIA in the second half of the 1970s. The latter was a remarkable period. Spurred by Watergate – the Church committee of the Senate, the Pike committee of the House, and the Rockefeller Commission, created by the president, were all busy investigating the CIA. Seemingly every other day there was a new headline about the discovery of some awful thing, even criminal conduct, the CIA had been mixed up in for years. The Agency was getting an exceedingly bad name, and it was causing the powers-that-be much embarrassment.

Something had to be done. What was done was not to stop doing these awful things. Of course not. What was done was to shift many of these awful things to a new organization, with a nice sounding name – The National Endowment for Democracy. The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities.

It was a masterpiece. Of politics, of public relations, and of cynicism.

Thus it was that in 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy was set up to “support democratic institutions throughout the world through private, nongovernmental efforts”. Notice the “nongovernmental” – part of the image, part of the myth. In actuality, virtually every penny of its funding comes from the federal government, as is clearly indicated in the financial statement in each issue of its annual report. NED likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO.

“We should not have to do this kind of work covertly,” said Carl Gershman in 1986, while he was president of the Endowment. “It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the C.I.A. We saw that in the 60’s, and that’s why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that’s why the endowment was created.”

And Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

In effect, the CIA has been laundering money through NED.

The Endowment has four principal initial recipients of funds: the International Republican Institute; the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; an affiliate of the AFL-CIO (such as the American Center for International Labor Solidarity); and an affiliate of the Chamber of Commerce (such as the Center for International Private Enterprise). These institutions then disburse funds to other institutions in the US and all over the world, which then often disburse funds to yet other organizations.

In a multitude of ways, NED meddles in the internal affairs of numerous foreign countries by supplying funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, computers, faxes, copiers, automobiles, and so on, to selected political groups, civic organizations, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, etc. NED typically refers to the media it supports as “independent” despite the fact that these media are on the US payroll.

NED programs generally impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized.

From 1994 to 1996, NED awarded 15 grants, totaling more than $2,500,000, to the American Institute for Free Labor Development, an organization used by the CIA for decades to subvert progressive labor unions. AIFLD’s work within Third World unions typically involved a considerable educational effort very similar to the basic NED philosophy described above. The description of one of the 1996 NED grants to AIFLD includes as one its objectives: “build union-management cooperation”. Like many things that NED says, this sounds innocuous, if not positive, but these in fact are ideological code words meaning “keep the labor agitation down … don’t rock the status-quo boat”. The relationship between NED and AIFLD very well captures the CIA origins of the Endowment.

NED has funded centrist and rightist labor organizations to help them oppose those unions which were too militantly pro-worker. This has taken place in France, Portugal and Spain amongst many other places. In France, during the 1983-4 period, NED supported a “trade union-like organization for professors and students” to counter “left-wing organizations of professors”. To this end it funded a series of seminars and the publication of posters, books and pamphlets such as “Subversion and the Theology of Revolution” and “Neutralism or Liberty”. (“Neutralism” here refers to being unaligned in the cold war.)

NED describes one of its 1997-98 programs thusly: “To identify barriers to private sector development at the local and federal levels in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and to push for legislative change … [and] to develop strategies for private sector growth.” Critics of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, a socialist, were supported by NED grants for years.

In short, NED’s programs are in sync with the basic needs and objectives of the New World Order’s economic globalization, just as the programs have for years been on the same wavelength as US foreign policy.

Interference in elections

NED’s Statement of Principles and Objectives, adopted in 1984, asserts that “No Endowment funds may be used to finance the campaigns of candidates for public office.” But the ways to circumvent the spirit of such a prohibition are not difficult to come up with; as with American elections, there’s “hard money” and there’s “soft money”.

As described in the “Elections” and “Interventions” chapters, NED successfully manipulated elections in Nicaragua in 1990 and Mongolia in 1996; helped to overthrow democratically elected governments in Bulgaria in 1990 and Albania in 1991 and 1992; and worked to defeat the candidate for prime minister of Slovakia in 2002 who was out of favor in Washington. And from 1999 to 2004, NED heavily funded members of the opposition to President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to subvert his rule and to support a referendum to unseat him.

Additionally, in the 1990s and afterward, NED supported a coalition of groups in Haiti known as the Democratic Convergence, who were united in their opposition to Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his progressive ideology, while he was in and out of the office of the president.

The Endowment has made its weight felt in the electoral-political process in numerous other countries.

NED would have the world believe that it’s only teaching the ABCs of democracy and elections to people who don’t know them, but in virtually all the countries named above, in whose electoral process NED intervened, there had already been free and fair elections held. The problem, from NED’s point of view, is that the elections had been won by political parties not on NED’s favorites list.

The Endowment maintains that it’s engaged in “opposition building” and “encouraging pluralism”. “We support people who otherwise do not have a voice in their political system,” said Louisa Coan, a NED program officer. But NED hasn’t provided aid to foster progressive or leftist opposition in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Eastern Europe – or, for that matter, in the United States – even though these groups are hard pressed for funds and to make themselves heard. Cuban dissident groups and media are heavily supported however.

NED’s reports carry on endlessly about “democracy”, but at best it’s a modest measure of mechanical political democracy they have in mind, not economic democracy; nothing that aims to threaten the powers-that-be or the way-things-are, unless of course it’s in a place like Cuba.

The Endowment played an important role in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, funding key components of Oliver North’s shadowy “Project Democracy” network, which privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drugs, and engaged in other equally charming activities. At one point in 1987, a White House spokesman stated that those at NED “run Project Democracy”. This was an exaggeration; it would have been more correct to say that NED was the public arm of Project Democracy, while North ran the covert end of things. In any event, the statement caused much less of a stir than if – as in an earlier period – it had been revealed that it was the CIA which was behind such an unscrupulous operation.

NED also mounted a multi-level campaign to fight the leftist insurgency in the Philippines in the mid-1980s, funding a host of private organizations, including unions and the media. This was a replica of a typical CIA operation of pre-NED days.

And between 1990 and 1992, the Endowment donated a quarter-million dollars of taxpayers’ money to the Cuban-American National Foundation, the ultra-fanatic anti-Castro Miami group. The CANF, in turn, financed Luis Posada Carriles, one of the most prolific and pitiless terrorists of modern times, who had been involved in the blowing up of a Cuban airplane in 1976, which killed 73 people. In 1997, he was involved in a series of bomb explosions in Havana hotels, and in 2000 imprisoned in Panama when he was part of a group planning to assassinate Fidel Castro with explosives while the Cuban leader was speaking before a large crowd, although eventually, the group was tried on lesser charges.

The NED, like the CIA before it, calls what it does supporting democracy. The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it destabilization.

Surprise, surprise. A heroin epidemic in the US, as the cultivation of Afghanistan’s opium is at an all-time high. Maybe the CIA has some answers

Via DN

Via CR

The techniques used by XcodeGhost, the infected version of Apple’s Xcode compiler that has caused an eruption of malware on the Apple China app store, are similar to those developed annd demonstrated by America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

A report in The Intercept, a website run by Glenn Greenwald who is well-known for having been the first to report on the NSA spying disclosures made by the former US defence contractor Edward Snowden, claims the CIA detailed the techniques at its annual top-secret Jamboree conference in 2012.

Two Intercept reporters, Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begeley, described the CIA’s project to corrupt Xcode in a story published back in March this year.

The CIA’s development of their corrupted version of Xcode was part of a multi-year plan to break the security of Apple’s iPhone and iPads, according to this report.

It said the Jamboreee conference was an annual affair and had been held for more than a decade, beginning a year before the first iPhone came on the market.

The CIA targeted security keys used on the devices and investigated how to decrypt and break Apple’s encryption in its firmware, the report claimed.

At the 2012 conference, CIA researchers also said they had created a modified version of Xcode that could plant surveillance backdoors into any software that was created with its use.

According to the report, the researchers claimed that the modified version of Xcode would allow spies to steal passwords and intercept messages on devices that were infected. It could also send all data to a central listening post.

After the Snowden revelations of blanket NSA surveillance, there has been marked growth in the use of encryption technologies. US tech companies, that have been outed as colluding with the NSA, have been under pressure to provide encryption for their users.

This, in turn, has led to the authorities putting pressure on companies to permit government access to encrypted devices through backdoors. The CIA’s efforts to break Apple’s security should be seen in this light, as Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has taken a strong stand on privacy as a core value, the report said.

Via WMR

During the recent Republican presidential candidates’ “debate” in Cleveland, former Florida Governor John Ellis Bush (JEB) wanted to recount his eight years as governor of the Sunshine State. However, it is not Bush the politician who should be of interest to voters but Bush the Central Intelligence Agency “non-official cover” banker in Venezuela and Miami-based real estate businessman/money launderer who should alarm the American electorate. While Jeb’s brother, George W. Bush, glossed over his AWOL status with the Texas Air National Guard, Jeb does not have a military record to defend but he does have a CIA employment record to fess up to.

Jeb’s early work in Venezuela and south Florida is much more troubling than Dubya pretending to be on active duty in Texas while he was actually off in Alabama helping a GOP U.S. Senate campaign and getting sloppy drunk in redneck bars. Jeb should fully explain his relationship with Alberto Duque, a Colombian national who laundered drug money for the Medellin and Cali narco-cartels and Nicaraguan contras while serving as owner of City National Bank of Miami and president of the General Coffee Company of Colombia. Apparently, there was more than coffee arriving in sacks of coffee coming into Miami from Colombia. Duque financed a $30 million real estate development project run by Jeb Bush. In 1983, Duque was convicted for fraud and sent to federal prison. Duque hired a Bush family CIA crony to serve as City National Bank’s president. He was Don Beazley, who previously worked for the CIA’s Nugan Hand Bank in Australia. Before it collapsed, Nugan Hand was responsible for laundering money from the CIA’s Golden Triangle opium and heroin smuggling operations from Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle and paying off U.S. surrogates in Asia, including Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Suharto in Indonesia, Park Chung Hee in South Korea, and various Thai generals.

In return for CIA money gifts, Marcos ordered his Energy Minister, Geronimo Velasco, to have the Philippines National Oil Corporation enter into business relationships with three Bush family-owned businesses: Zapata Petroleum Corporation, Zapata Offshore Company, and Overbey Oil Development Corporation. The three Bush firms were also linked to various CIA activities, including the abortive 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Jeb Bush’s Texas Commerce Bank was also the bank used by the Zapata companies. Velasco died of a sudden heart attack in San Francisco in 2007. Velasco’s Republic Glass Corporation became a holding company that owned a number of British Virgin Islands-based subsidiaries.

Beazley had also been president of Great American Bank of Miami. The bank was indicted for drug money laundering in 1982. Beazley also negotiated the sale of Second National Bank of Homestead, a subsidiary of Great American, to Nugan Hand. It was in this environment of interconnected CIA money laundering banks that Jeb Bush found himself and his real estate business immersed in the 1980s.

On January 25, 1980, Frank Nugan, the Australian co-founder of Nugan Hand Bank, was found dead in his car near Bowenfels, New South Wales from a “self-inflicted” rifle shot wound to his head. The card of ex-CIA director William Colby, who, himself was found floating in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland in 1996, was found in Nugan’s pocket. Colby was Nugan Hand’s legal counsel. Hand had planned to move with his wife and three young children to Florida but someone apparently did not like the idea of Nugan showing up in Florida during the year George H W Bush was trying to become the president of the United States.

After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was the CIA official who gave him his in-brief at Langley in 1977, Robert Gambino, the deputy director of security at the agency. In the 1980s, Jeb Bush provided liaison between his father’s national security adviser, Donald Gregg, and various Florida-based right-wing Nicaraguan and Cuban exile organizations helping to fight the clandestine war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. Jeb was appointed by his father to the board of the National Republican Institute, the GOP branch of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the CIA-financed money laundering operation that saw millions pour into the coffers of the Nicaraguan contras, Cuban exile groups, and Salvadorean, Guatemalan, and Honduran death squads. Jeb acted as a liaison between Dr. Mario Castejon, a right-wing candidate for president of Guatemala, and Vice President Bush. Castejon sought funding for a secret shipment of arms to the contras and other right-wing rebel groups in Central America that would be masked as “medical supplies.”

Jeb Bush’s relationship with City National Bank, whose other senior director was Leonard Abess, a director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Foundation, ensured that a large share of NED money flowed to Israeli security firms like Tadiran, which helped Guatemala and Honduras track down leftist guerrillas and exterminate them. Jeb Bush’s current support for Israel stems from his early business relationships with Zionists like Abess and other offshoots of the Meyer Lansky “Kosher Nostra” crime family in south Florida. Abess is currently a member of the Federal Reserve Bank branch of Miami.

It could be argued that Jeb Bush, from his in-brief by Gambino at the CIA in 1977, to his unsuccessful run for governor of Florida in 1994 was a reliable CIA and Israeli asset. In 1990, Jeb urged his father to pardon Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch, a man wanted for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian passenger plane that had taken off from Bridgetown, Barbados. Jeb Bush was also a supporter of the U.S. House of Representatives candidacy of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, one of the most rabid anti-Castro and pro-Israeli members of Congress. Jeb also succeeded in having his father name Dexter Lehtinen, Ileana’s husband, to be U.S. Attorney for Southern Florida. Lehtinen permitted a number of Jeb’s friends in the Cuban and Jewish communities in southern Florida to escape prosecution for crimes ranging from drug money laundering to narcotics smuggling and contract assassinations to banking fraud.

Most of Jeb’s business friends were CIA-linked bankers. In addition to Beazley, Duque, and Abess, these included Paul Helliwell, a Miami-based lawyer and the owner of two CIA money laundering banks, Great American Bank of Miami, later bought by Nugan Hand and indicted in 1982 for drug money laundering, and Castle Bank & Trust Ltd. of Nassau in the Bahamas. Helliwell, a veteran of the Office of Strategic Security (OSS) during World War II, died at the age of 62 on Christmas Eve of 1976, just a few weeks before George H W Bush departed as CIA director. The autopsy said Helliwell died from “complications of emphysema.” Castle Bank shut down in 1977, the same year that Jeb moved to Caracas to work for Texas Commerce Bank. An affiliated bank that shared directors with Castle Bank, Mercantile Bank & Trust of Freeport, Bahamas, also suspended operations in 1977. Castle Bank, which had laundered CIA money to pay off such dictators as Marcos in the Philippines, Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, and Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, saw much of its revenue initially come from Nationalist Chinese drug smugglers operating out of the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia.

In addition to Nassau, Helliwell’s Castle Bank operated out of the Cayman Islands and Panama. Among the bank’s account holders were the Pritzker family of Chicago, which owns the Hyatt Hotel chain, and the daughter of President Chiang Kai-shek of Taiwan. Between 1964 and 1975, Helliwell’s major CIA front company, Sea Supply Corporation, ran covert military operations against Cuba from Andros Island, the largest island in the Bahamas.

Jeb’s business deals also put him in close contact with two other Florida banks, Northside Bank of Miami, owned by the Cali cartel, and the Popular Bank and Trust Company, once owned by Nicaragua’s Somoza but transferred to CIA control after his assassination by Sandinista commandos in Paraguay in 1980.

After his return from Caracas to Florida in 1979, Jeb befriended the right-wing Nicaraguan community as much as he did the right-wing exiled Cubans. Much of the billions of dollars that the Somoza family stole from Nicaragua ended up in CIA-connected banks that helped finance Jeb’s many real estate and other ventures.

One of Gambino’s last acts as the CIA’s director of security was to preserve the myriad of CIA special clearance categories, including those that permitted NOCs like Jeb Bush and drug- and arms-smuggling proprietary companies and money laundering banks to flourish. The Carter administration had ordered the intelligence community to reduce its compartmented access system with over 50 code words to just five special code word compartments by July 1980. The National Security Agency and Gambino balked and the new system, code named APEX, never materialized. When Jeb’s father became vice president in 1981, APEX was scrapped for the original system, which saw the number of special compartments grow in number in order to accommodate operations that included trading weapons for hostages with Iran and covertly funding the Nicaraguan contras.

One CIA official who was alarmed over APEX was the man who CIA director George H W Bush named as deputy director for covert operations in 1976, Ted Shackley, aka the “Blond Ghost.” Shackley was an old colleague of George H W Bush stemming from his days as the station chief of JMWAVE, the Miami CIA office dedicated to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba. It was there that Shackley and Bush became involved with Cuban exile and mafia parties that were later tied to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. The “Cuba thing” was mentioned by President Richard Nixon on Oval Office tapes subpoenaed in the Watergate scandal. It is now known that the “Cuba thing” was code for the assassination of Kennedy and the CIA’s involvement in the operation. Shackley was also involved with Donald Gregg in the Phoenix assassination program in South Vietnam and Project FUBELT, the CIA operation to overthrow President Salvador Allende of Chile on September 11, 1973.

An undated TOP SECRET memo to Shackley from a CIA official whose name is redacted but believed to be Gambino provides details of Shackley and the CIA’s security division opposition to APEX. The memo states: “there is no intention of establishing under the Community Security Group responsibility for a centralized computerized data base of all SCI [Sensitive Compartmented Information] approvals. The CSG has no functional role in this area at this time, and one is planned for the future. The CIA Special Security Center’s Compartmented Information Branch is the home of the community service on special access certifications and records. They handle SPECLE . . . Any effort to upgrade the SPECLE system is years away. Further, NSA has taken no steps toward inputting their COMINT clearances.” In other words, the policy of President Jimmy Carter and his CIA director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, to limit CIA special compartments and display more accountability was being undermined by two Bush embeds in Langley, Gambino and Shackley. Shackley and Gambino were eventually forced by Turner to retire. The almost limitless penchant of the CIA to create special compartments permitted assets like Jeb Bush at the Texas Commerce Bank and Barack Obama, Jr. at Business International Corporation to evade public scrutiny as CIA employees. In a January 24, 1980 memo, to Gambino from the CIA member of the APEX Steering Group, special compartments are described as as protecting “industrial” personnel working for the CIA, NSA, and Defense Intelligence Agency.

Shackley became involved in the “October Surprise” plot by Bush and William Casey against Carter, also known as the “arms-for-no-hostages” conspiracy. Gambino joined the 1980 Bush for President and, later, the Reagan-Bush campaign. According to Jeff Stein, writing for Newsday’s July 25, 1980 issue, joining Gambino on the campaign were at least 40 other ex-CIA officers hired by Bush and Casey.

Jeb Bush’s rise to financial and political power in Florida is coupled with a trail of dead bodies, failed banks and savings and loan institutions accused of laundering money for the CIA, and dubious characters who served as CIA assets. Until Jeb Bush fully accounts for his business activities in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, he is actually more unfit for the presidency than his draft-dodging and AWOL status brother, George W. Bush.

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Missed this particular issue, as at the time I was up on ‘the mountains’ getting SHOCK’d out…


Seen @<

Via

Here is a bit of US history that shows the reach of the CIA’s infamous mind-control program, MKULTRA.

During the 1940s and 50s, it was common knowledge that musicians who were busted for drug use were shipped, or volunteered to go, to Lexington, Kentucky. Lex was the first Narcotics Farm and US Health Dept. drug treatment hospital in the US.

It’s also reported that Ray Charles was there, and William Burroughs, Peter Lorre, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

It was supposed to be a rehab center. A place for drying out.

But it was something else too. Lex was used by the CIA as one of its MKULTRA centers for experimentation on inmates.

The doctor in charge of this mind control program was Harris Isbell. Ironically, Isbell was, at the same time, a member of the FDA’s Advisory Committee on the Abuse of Depressant and Stimulant Drugs.

Isbell gave LSD and other psychedelics to inmates at Lex.

At Sandoz labs in Switzerland, Dr. Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD, also synthesized psilocybin from magic mushrooms. The CIA got some of this new synthetic from Hofmann and gave it to Isbell so he could try it out on inmates at Lex.

MKULTRA was a CIA program whose goal was to control minds…in part through the use of drugs.

Isbell worked at Lex from the 1940s through 1963. It is reported that in one experiment, Isbell gave LSD to 7 inmates for 77 consecutive days. At 4 times the normal dosage. That is a chemical hammer of incredible proportions.

To induce inmates to join this drug experiment, they were offered the drug of their choice, which in many cases was heroin. So at a facility dedicated to drying out and rehabbing addicts, addicts were subjected to MKULTRA experiments and THEN a re-establishment of their former habit.

Apparently as many as 800 different drugs were sent to Isbell by the CIA or CIA fronts to use on patients at Lex. Two of the fronts? The US Navy and the US National Institute of Mental Health.

In another MKULTRA experiment at Lex, nine men were strapped down on tables. They were injected with psilocybin. Lights were beamed at their eyes–a typical mind control component.

During Isbell’s tenure, no one knows how many separate experiments he ran on the inmates. No one knows what other mind-control programming he attempted to insert along with the drugs.

As I say, Lex was the main stop for drying out for NY jazz musicians. How many of them were taken into these MKULTRA programs?

As Martin Lee explains in his book, Acid Dreams, “It became an open secret…that if the [heroin] supply got tight [on the street], you could always commit yourself to Lexington, where heroin and morphine were doled out as payment if you volunteered for Isbell’s whacky drug experiments. (Small wonder Lexington had a return rate of 90%.)”

A June 15, 1999, Counterpunch article by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, “CIA’s Sidney Gottlieb: Pusher, Assassin & Pimp— US Official Poisoner Dies,” contains these quotes on Dr. Isbell:

“Gottlieb also funded the experiments of Dr. Harris Isbell. Isbell ran the Center for Addiction Research in Lexington, Kentucky. Passing through Isbell’s center was a captive group of human guinea pigs in the form of a steady stream of black heroin addicts. More than 800 different chemical compounds were shipped from Gottlieb to Lexington for testing on Isbell’s patients.
“Perhaps the most infamous experiment came when Isbell gave LSD to seven black men for seventy-seven straight days. Isbell’s research notes indicates that he gave the men ‘quadruple’ the ‘normal’ dosages. The doctor marveled at the men’s apparent tolerance to these remarkable amounts of LSD. Isbell wrote in his notes that ‘this type of behavior is to be expected in patients of this type.’
“In other Gottlieb-funded experiment at the Center, Isbell had nine black males strapped to tables, injected them with psylocybin, inserted rectal thermometers, had lights shown in their eyes to measure pupil dilation and had their joints whacked to test neural reactions.”