Tag Archives | CIA

Podcast. Gun-walking, CIA rendition, Obama speech

Last night’s podcast started with the growing Gun-walking scandal, where the US Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix allowed at least 1400 weapons and parts for hundreds of grenades to pass from the US to Mexico. Multiple federal agencies may have been involved. The story still isn’t getting the attention that it should. After all, a Border Patrol agent was murdered on US land and a weapon found nearby was one of the guns they allowed to be smuggled to the cartels.

The interests of CIA and JSOC seem to be merging. CIA now spends considerable time running military operations. So, just who is in charge. And why does the US consistently support such thuggish operations?

Obama’s job speech. Steve summed it up well, “soaring rhetoric and wishful thinking.” 56% of it is tax cuts, with comparatively minor sums for rebuilding our infrastructure. Plus, it all must be offset by cuts elsewhere. This will do little if anything to create new jobs. Plus, there was no mention of mortgage relief, or of the enormous amounts of toxic slop that the TBTF banks have been allowed to carry on their books. The root causes of our financial collapse were not even mentioned nor were the trillions Obama has sent to the banksters.

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio or on iTunes.

With Steve Hynd , Keith Boyea, and myself.

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Preparing the American Invasion of Pakistan

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Gareth Porter has an interesting article detailing the CIA’s own misgivings about the drone program in Pakistan. He reports [emphasis mine]:

“Some of the CIA operators are concerned that, because of its blowback effect, it is doing more harm than good,” said Jeffrey Addicott, former legal adviser to U.S. Special Forces and director of the Centre for Terrorism Law at St Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, in an interview with IPS. […]

Because the drone strikes kill innocent civilians and bystanders along with leaders from far away, they “infuriate the Muslim male”, said Addicott, thus making them more willing to join the movement. The men in Pakistan’s tribal region “view Americans as cowards and weasels”, he added. […]

The complaints by CIA operatives about the drone strikes’ blowback effect reported by Addicott are identical to warnings by military and intelligence officials reported in April 2009 by Jonathan Landay of McClatchy newspapers. Landay quoted an intelligence official with deep involvement in both Afghanistan and Pakistan as saying al Qaeda and the Taliban had used the strikes in propaganda to “portray Americans as cowards who are afraid to face their enemies and risk death“.

It’s easy to see this as only the ten thousandth reason why the drone strikes are a terrible idea, but the CIA’s complaints here could actually hint at something even more dangerous. The Taliban and Al-Qa’eda recruit heavily from propaganda about American cowardice, that’s the blowback. The CIA is not questioning fundamental assumptions about the War on Terror, like whether or not extra-judicial executions of suspected criminals is actually a real solution, rather than an escalation of senseless political violence. No, let’s be very clear about what the CIA complaint is: we’re far away, and that’s bad. There’s more: Continue Reading →

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Rethinking Afghanistan’s Sticky Icky Quagmire

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

It’s April 20th, the unofficial holiday of 420. It’s that special day of the year when stoners around the world decide that discretion is not the better part of valor and liberally advertise their use of marijuana. Accordingly, we’ll try to rethink Afghanistan from that angle, and be completely honest about its marijuana use. Today is the perfect day after all, when you have reports like this in the Asia Times:

In addition to being the world’s leading producer of opium, Afghanistan has now become the largest producer of hashish, according to the first-ever cannabis survey released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) this month. Again, the US invasion is behind the new record.

The 2009 Afghanistan Cannabis Survey revealed that there is large-scale cannabis cultivation in half (17 out of 34) of Afghanistan’s provinces, covering a total area of 10,000 to 24,000 hectares every year (lower than opium cultivation, which covers 125,000 hectares). Afghanistan’s crop yield is so high at 145 kilograms of resin per hectare that it overtakes other leading producers like Morocco, where cannabis covers a larger land area but whose yield is lower, at 40 kg/ha.

It is estimated that Afghanistan produces 1,500-3,500 tons of hashish annually, an industry involving 40,000 households. The total export value of Afghan hashish is still unknown, but its farm-gate value – the income paid to farmers – is estimated at about US$40-$95 million, roughly 15% that of opium ($438 million in 2009).

Now because of all the COINdinista mythology that’s been beaten into your head, you probably think I’m going to rant about the drug trade supporting the insurgency and the international criminal-terrorism nexus and all that scary sounding stuff. Not true. The Taliban get their funding from a myriad of sources; Ransoms, charities, and even a formalized taxation system on the local economies. That is, if they’re not running the local businesses themselves. We could incinerate every last iota of opium and cannabis in the entire country and all we’d do is bankrupt and starve the farmers. The insurgency wouldn’t even blink, they’d be too busy recruiting those farmers. No, if we want to talk about drugs and Afghanistan, we’ve got to look at our allies in the war. Continue Reading →

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Michael Jackson, Madoff, the CIA

Michael Jackson’s death ruled homicide by LA coroner

And not manslaughter? Yikes.

Prison denies Madoff dying of cancer.

I mean, Lordy folks, The NY Post quoted unnamed sources quoting inmates who say Madoff told them he has cancer, and they didn’t even ask the prison for confirmation. This is just garbage journalism. Let me spell it out. Bernie Madoff lied to everyone for decades. Inmates in prisons have been known to fib a time or two themselves. Yet the original bogus story went everywhere with no one apparently thinking they might have been gamed.

And finally, some hard news!

US prosecutor named to probe CIA prisoner abuses

Too much of the mainstream media is spinning this as problematic for Obama, but really, it’s more problematic for me that we’ve had psychos torturing people in the name of our freedom.

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