Anyone who paid attention to Russiagate knows that the CIA and the NSA were involved in domestic politics, in flat-out contravention of US law. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:
A letter from House Intelligence Committee members demands answers from the DNI about illegal breaches of the wall guarding against CIA and NSA domestic activity.
A report declassified last Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security is raising serious concerns about the possibly illegal involvement by the intelligence community in U.S. domestic political affairs.
Entitled “Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021,” the March 1 Report from the Director of National Intelligence states that it was prepared “in consultation with the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security—and was drafted by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”
Its primary point is this: “The IC [intelligence community] assesses that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021.” While asserting that “the most lethal” of these threats is posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and militia violent extremists (MVEs),” it makes clear that its target encompasses a wide range of groups from the left (Antifa, animal rights and environmental activists, pro-choice extremists and anarchists: “those who oppose capitalism and all forms of globalization”) to the right (sovereign citizen movements, anti-abortion activists and those deemed motivated by racial or ethnic hatreds).
Can good things be in store for a government that claims the power to assassinate anyone it chooses? From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
It goes without saying that the Constitution called into existence a government with few, limited powers. That was the purpose of enumerating the powers of the federal government. If the Constitution was bringing into existence a government of unlimited or omnipotent powers, then there would have been no point in enumerating a few limited powers. In that event, the Constitution would have called into existence a government with general, unlimited powers to do whatever was in the interests of the nation.
If the Constitution had proposed a government of omnipotent powers, there is no way the American people would have accepted it, in which case America would have continued operating under the Articles of Confederation. Our American ancestors didn’t want a government of omnipotent powers. They wanted a government of few, limited, enumerated powers.
Among the most omnipotent powers a government can wield is the power of government officials to assassinate people. Our American ancestors definitely did not want that type of government. That is why the power to assassinate is not among the enumerated powers of government in the Constitution.
The DC Circuit has ruled that the CIA is under no obligation to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to its involvement with insurgent militias in Syria, overturning a lower court’s previous ruling in favor of a Buzzfeed News reporter seeking such documents.
As Sputnik‘s Morgan Artyukhina clearly outlines, this ruling comes despite the fact that mainstream news outlets have been reporting on the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities in Syria for years, and despite a US president having openly tweeted about those activities.
“In other words, the CIA will not be required to admit to actions it is widely reported as having done, much less divulge documents about them to the press for even greater scrutiny,” Artyukhina writes, calling to mind the Julian Assange quote “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.”
My latest: Despite extensive reporting by the @WSJ & CIA-vetted @nytimes confirming it happened, a DC court has sided with the @CIA, finding that a Trump tweet doesn't constitute proof that it funded al-Qaeda in #Syria. https://t.co/NFaQBrggV5
The CIA’s brazen collaboration with dangerous extremist factions seeking to topple Damascus, and its equally brazen refusal to provide the public with any information about the extent of its involvement in Syria from the earliest stages of the violence in that nation onwards, will necessarily provide fodder for conspiracy theories.
You can’t understand the history of the US since 1947 without understanding the CIA…and you may not want to. From Edward Curtin at off-guardian.org:
The CIA and the media are part of the same criminal conspiracy,” wrote Douglas Valentine in his important book, The CIA As Organized Crime.
This is true. The corporate mainstream media are stenographers for the national security state’s ongoing psychological operations aimed at the American people, just as they have done the same for an international audience.
We have long been subjected to this “information warfare,” whose purpose is to win the hearts and minds of the American people and pacify them into victims of their own complicity, just as it was practiced long ago by the CIA in Vietnam and by The New York Times, CBS, etc. on the American people then and over the years as the American warfare state waged endless wars, coups, false flag operations, and assassinations at home and abroad.
Another way of putting this is to say for all practical purposes when it comes to matters that bear on important foreign and domestic matters, the CIA and the corporate mainstream media cannot be distinguished.
For those who read and study history, it has long been known that the CIA has placed their operatives throughout every agency of the U.S. government, as explained by Fletcher Prouty in The Secret Team; that CIA officers Cord Myer and Frank Wisner operated secret programs to get some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom among intellectuals, journalists, and writers to be their voices for unfreedom and censorship, as explained by Frances Stonor Saunders in The Cultural Cold War and Joel Whitney in Finks, among others; that Cord Myer was especially focused on and successful in “courting the Compatible Left” since right wingers were already in the Agency’s pocket.
The CIA reinstated the heroin ratline it established in Vietnam in Afghanistan. From Pepe Escobar at lewrockwell.com:
The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.
In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan.
Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions — never asked by Atlanticist circles — are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.
The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistan in 2001 in “self-defense” after 9/11; installed a “democratic” government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.
Just like previous administrations, a Biden administration will have a lot of well-bred, well-dressed, well-spoken torturers, goons, and killers. From Ramona Wadi at strategic-culture.org:
Two former U.S. intelligence officials serving under the Obama administration are set to return to important roles under President-Elect Joe Biden. Mike Morell and Avril Haines, the former Acting CIA director and Deputy CIA director respectively, have been nominated by Biden to serve as CIA Director and National Intelligence Director. The nominations have already elicited criticism of an extended narrative of the “War on Terror”, as opposed to Biden’s electoral rhetoric on ending wars.
In 2014, a report published by the U.S. Senate Democrats revealed the extent of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation tactics” – a polite euphemism for the torture of detainees, which also included waterboarding. Morell objected to the torture label. “When people call it torture, I react strongly because it says my officers tortured people – they did not torture anybody.” Waterboarding, a torture tactic that simulates drowning, was considered by Morell as “one of the two most effective of all the harsh techniques” employed by the CIA against detainees suspected of affiliation with Al-Qaeda and terror plots.
Morell’s contention with waterboarding and torture is contradictory, to say the least, as expressed in a 2016 documentary. “Should a country, the United States of America, which stands for human rights in the world, which stands for human dignity, probably more than any country – do these techniques to another human being? That’s a really reasonable question.” A reasonable question with a flawed premise – the U.S. is hardly an example of human rights advocacy. Its manipulation of democracy to justify foreign intervention and endless wars does not constitute adherence to human rights and the promotion of human dignity. In using waterboarding as part of its torture techniques, U.S. politics exposed its justification of human rights violations by distinguishing between state-sanctioned violence, and terror.
John Stossel was able to interview Edward Snowden recently via a Zoom call. As always, Snowden had things to say to which attention should be paid. From Stossel at theburningplatform.com:
President Donald Trump should pardon Edward Snowden.
I know, it’s embarrassing — Assange, Manning, Snowden… Who did what?
I got them confused before I researched this topic. National security isn’t my beat. I finally educated myself this month because I got a chance to interview Snowden, the CIA/NSA employee who told the world that our government spied on us but lied to Congress about it.
Presidents come and go and America’s imperial foreign policy never changes. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
President Trump has announced that he is ordering a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq during the waning days of his administration.
Why only partial? And why now in the waning days of his presidency? After all, when Trump campaigned in 2016, his expressed aim was to bring all the troops home from those two countries. He repeatedly vowed to bring an end to America’s “forever wars.”
There is a simple explanation for Trump’s failure, one that unfortunately so many Americans are loathe to consider: It’s not the president who is in charge of foreign policy. Instead it is the Pentagon and the CIA that are in charge.
Trump had four years to bring home those troops. Clearly he wanted to. The reason he didn’t — the reason he still can’t — is because the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA won’t let him.
Longtime readers of my blog know that I have periodically referenced a book titled National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, who is a professor of law at Tufts University and served as counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He knows what he is talking about. I highly recommend his book.
Someday a brave soul or souls is going to write a comprehensive history of the CIA and the drug trade. It won’t be pretty. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
In what can only be called a federal judicial miracle, retired Mexican General Salvador Cienfuegoes is being set free in the United States and permitted to return to Mexico. Just last month, Cienfuegos was taken into custody at Los Angeles International Airport when he was visiting LA on vacation. The charges? That when he was serving as Mexican Defense Minister, which is the second highest position within the Mexican government, Cienfuegos was conspiring with Mexican drug lords in return for bribes.
Cienfuego’s arrest generated the standard drug war hoopla in the mainstream press to which we have all become accustomed during the last several decades. The Washington Post called it a “turning point” in the war on drugs (one of many “turning points” in the drug war over the years). The New York Times stated, “The news not only casts a pall over Mexico’s fight against organized crime, but also underscores the forces of corruption that touch the highest levels of the government.”
But then yesterday, U.S. officials suddenly announced that they had decided to drop the charges and permit Cienfuegos to return to Mexico.
What gives with that? Don’t these guys want to “win” the war on drugs? How do they expect to do that if they are dropping drug war charges against people at the top who they say are involved in the drug trade?
The speculation is that the Mexican government put so much pressure on U.S. officials to drop the charges that the U.S. finally had to relent. People are saying that Mexico was threatening to ban the DEA from operating in Mexico.
But there is another possible explanation for the sudden dismissal of charges: The CIA. It’s entirely possible that Cienfuegos played hardball by promising to reveal CIA complicity in the drug trade if he were ever bought to trial. Given the overwhelming power of the CIA within the federal governmental structure, it would not have been difficult for the CIA to bring the necessary pressure to bear to have the charges against Cienfuegos dismissed.
Firing Wray and Haspel would be a good start to Trump’s second term. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
President Trump will ‘immediately’ move to fire FBI Director Christopher Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, along with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, according to Axios – which spoke to “people who’ve discussed these officials’ fates with the president.”
And while the list of pink slips is allegedly much longer, Trump’s top priority is getting rid of Wray – whose FBI sat on alleged evidence of Biden corruption in Ukraine contained on Hunter Biden’s laptop (along with alleged child porn), while Trump was impeached for asking the Ukrainians to investigate exactly that.
Wray and Haspel are despised and distrusted almost universally in Trump’s inner circle. He would have fired both already, one official said, if not for the political headaches of acting before Nov. 3.
Recall that Haspel served as station chief for the CIA’s London branch, and was – in Senator Rand Paul’s words, “a close acolyte of John Brennan” (who, as CIA chief, couldn’t legally spy on Americans on domestic soil). And what took place in London? For starters, the FBI’s spy operation spy operation on Trump campaign aides conducted by US intelligence operative Stephan Halper. Most notably, the UK-based Cambridge professor (and longtime US intelligence asset whose father-in-law was former director of the CIA, and who allegedly spied on the Carter administration), lured Trump aide George Papadopoulos into an espionage operation aimed at the Trump campaign – predicated on ‘Russian dirt’ rumors allegedly fed to him by a Clinton ally, Joseph Mifsud.
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