Tag Archive | "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.

Posted in News

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

Posted in Anti-war

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

Posted in Anti-war

Panetta threatened to quit because Holder wanted to investigate CIA torture

Now that Holder has started the investigation that can only mean Obama must have ok’ed it.

Apparently there were screaming matches. Panetta is clearly toast even though everyone is doing the silly D.C. dance about how everything is fine, just fine – after it deliberately got leaked, of course.

Posted in News

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.

Posted in News

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in one month

Thus he was waterboarded an average of six times a day for a month. The frequency of the waterboarding and the methods used were in violation of the CIA’s own directives.

Sign the petition telling Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate torture.

This would seem to destroy the neocon argument that torture was only used to get information. Saw an article recently where a journalist asked a member of a drug cartel why they tortured. He said it wasn’t really to get information or for punishment, it was because the torturers enjoyed doing it. That’s probably what we’re dealing with here too.

Posted in News

Computer surveillance by CIA?

computer surveillance

We welcome Josh “UJ” Mull as a Polizeros contributor.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 3, I was doing some research for the latest episode of Alive in Baghdad, specifically looking for Iraqi reactions to President Obama’s speech announcing the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. One of the reactions I came across was from the Mujahideen Central Command of Rafidan, a Sunni Islamist, Iraqi insurgent group allegedly responsible for the brutal murder of two CIA agents in Baghdad in 2004.

Originally posted on Dandelion Salad, I followed the Rafidan communique back to its source at Al-Basrah.net, an Iraqi insurgent media organization focusing on Sunni Arab Nationalism and resistance to American and Iranian domination. Here’s where it started getting weird.

But first, some background…

I’m running Minefield, the nightly, Alpha version of the Firefox browser and, as such, a lot of my browser extensions occasionally have issues with lock-ups or freezing on certain sites. One of these extensions is KnowMore, an add-on that “alerts you when you visit the websites of unethical companies (it also let you know if you’re visiting a company with a positive rating!).“

The way KnowMore works is by sending every URL your browser accesses back to its home server, checks it against its database of corporate ethics, and then reports it back to your browser to activate the KnowMore pop-up message. Unfortunately, due to my experimental browser, faulty extension coding, or server errors at KnowMore.org, the extension often locks up the browser for a few seconds before displaying an error, usually something along the lines of “cannot reach website.com.”

Back to the weirdness…

As you do, I left all the tabs I was working with open in my browser and jumped back to OpenOffice to keep writing Alive in Baghdad. After a few minutes, I noticed my cursor was blinking wildly as if the computer was “thinking” about something. I switched over to Minefield and found it was unresponsive. After a few seconds, it popped-up its error message, saying it couldn’t reach “cia.gov.” Annoyed, I closed the error and all the tabs without really thinking about what I had just seen and instead jumped back to writing.

About a minute later, it happened again, the same error from cia.gov, this time without any tabs open at all. What this means is that somewhere, in the background and without my knowledge, my computer was attempting to open a connection to the CIA, and the KnowMore extension was having trouble with it. Basically, I was wiretapped without a warrant.

So what does this mean? Turns out, not that much.

First off, it should be pointed out that the Mujahideen Central Command of Rafidan is a US designated Terrorist Organization and, as I said, is allegedly responsible for gunning down two CIA agents, Dale Stoffel and Joseph Wemple, in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded Baghdad street. Simply put, these are not nice guys. Were I not a journalist doing legitimate research, I’d really have no business being at their website in the first place.

Americans, always the “rugged individuals,” treasure their privacy as one of the country’s fundamental freedoms. However, most of the privacy protections granted to citizens were obliterated by the Patriot Act and other subsequent counter-terrorism legislation passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. To add insult to injury, in 2008 in the middle of an election campaign predicated on accountability and transparency, then-Senator Barack Obama voted to grant immunity to the telecommunications companies responsible for illegally violating what small privacy Americans had left.

So, while I’m offended at the presumptuousness of our intelligence agencies, I don’t really have much ground to be angry with them. The CIA have an obvious reason for monitoring that website, and not only that, but I don’t really have the right to not be wiretapped anymore. I haven’t been struck with paranoia, I’ve taken zero steps to protect from it happening again, but the case is definitely worth considering.

What do you think? Should I be worried? Are you worried? Let me know in the comments.

– Josh “UJ” Mull
Small World News
http://aliveinbaghdad.org
http://aliveingaza.org

Posted in News


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