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.
If the CIA told us anything about all the nefarious plots out there against the US, they’d have to kill us. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
I’d like to tell you a folktale. It’s called “The Emperor’s New 9/11”.
Once upon a time there was an Emperor who loved war and military expansionism. He was always searching for new ways to instigate military conflicts without losing the support of the international community or waking up the populace to the fact that they’re just propagandized cogs in the machine of a globe-spanning Empire which uses endless military and economic violence to maintain its unipolar hegemony.
One day two men calling themselves Intelligence Experts came into town claiming that they had devised a wondrous new type of enemy threat that is invisible to the common folk.
“Is it as good as 9/11?” asked the Emperor excitedly. “Oh how I loved how that one allowed me to initiate a new era of military expansionism on the pretence of fighting global terrorism!”
“It’s even better!” explained the Intelligence Experts. “This magical enemy threat is comprised of Cyber Attacks which are completely invisible to public scrutiny, and you have complete control over where and when they happen. You just name a foreign government you don’t like, and we’ll say they have attacked the democracy of the Empire!”
“You mean the pretend democracy I lied to them about having?” asked the Emperor.
“Of course,” said the Intelligence Experts. “So you just name the disobedient government you want a fight with and we’ll give you your new 9/11.”
“Hmm, well I’m not very fond of the Russians,” said the Emperor. “They’ve been brazenly acting against our interests on the world stage and they keep getting friendlier with China. Let’s set to work on them first.”
So the Intelligence Experts set to work weaving their narrative about Russian Cyber Attacks. The Emperor put his mass media to work knitting together wonderful yarns of the Emperor’s wonderous new 9/11, simultaneously invisible to commoners yet outrageous and necessitating an aggressive response.
The Empire’s military budget was inflated, treaties were ended, and a new arms race was begun. Sanctions were rolled out against the Russian government, the Empire’s Nuclear Posture Review was readjusted with a much more hostile stance toward Moscow, troops were deployed and NATO was expanded. Anyone who objected to any of this was labeled Russian propaganda by the Empire.
It looks like Haspel stalling the clock isn’t going to work. From Sean Davis at thefederalist.com:
Haspel is hoping Trump loses his re-election bid so she can run out the clock on Russiagate document declassifications, multiple intelligence community officials told The Federalist.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel is personally blocking the declassification and release of key Russiagate documents in the hopes that President Donald Trump will lose his re-election bid, multiple senior U.S. officials told The Federalist. The officials said Haspel, who served under former CIA Director John Brennan as the spy agency’s station chief in London in 2016 and 2017, is concerned that the declassification and release of documents detailing what the CIA was doing during the 2016 election and the 2017 transition could embarrass the CIA and potentially even implicate Haspel herself.
“Haspel and [FBI Director Christopher] Wray both want Trump to lose, because it’s the only chance they have of keeping their jobs,” one senior intelligence official told The Federalist. “They’re banking on Biden winning and keeping them where they are.”
The Federalist first reported last week that Haspel had emerged as the primary roadblock to declassification of materials showing that the U.S. intelligence community knew prior to the 2016 election that the allegations that Trump colluded with Russia were themselves the products of Russian disinformation. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe released a declassified summary last week that disclosed that Russian intelligence officials were aware that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had planned to smear Trump as a treasonous Russian asset to distract from the Clinton’s e-mail scandal. As part of her operation, Clinton hired a foreign agent who was himself working for a sanctioned Russian oligarch to spread unverified smears against Trump. One of the key sources of collusion allegations peddled by that foreign agent via the now-infamous Steele dossier was suspected by FBI authorities of being a Russian spy.
What is most interesting is the timing of Gina Haspel’s last tour as London Station Chief — from 2014 to early 2017. That is the same timeframe (specifically, the late summer of 2016) when the FBI approached foreign policy academic and “utility government operative” Stefan Halper to begin the operation targeting Carter Page and George Papadopoulos in an FBI-designed foreign counterintelligence operation, against Team Trump, to be launched in Cambridge, England.
The CIA Station Chief is the top intelligence official in any given country. The FBI must inform the Station Chief of what they planned to do and get Station Chief approval. The FBI hates that, but those are the rules. Because the various intelligence agencies are sensitive, they do not use the word “approved.” Instead, they use the word “coordinated.” Jargon aside, nothing would have happened without Haspel’s okay.
That carried forward to a more sophisticated and aggressive plan to carry out a soft coup against President Trump. People around President Trump were prosecuted and/or had their lives destroyed based on a scheme of U.S. government lies. Who appears to have been “in on it” from Day One? Gina Haspel.
The FBI is not allowed to penetrate and subvert a presidential campaign. Executive Order 12333, Section 2.9, “Undisclosed Participation in Organizations in the United States,” prohibits it in plain language… That legal prohibition is the reason the FBI felt the need to manufacture a “foreign counterintelligence threat” in the UK and then “import” the investigation back into the United States.
Pictured: CIA Director Gina Haspel (center) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Gina Haspel is the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Haspel is the first career clandestine service officer to become director, and the first woman. She was the CIA Chief of Station in London — twice, and that repeat assignment is very unusual. What is most interesting is the timing of Haspel’s last tour as London Station Chief — from 2014 to early 2017. That is the same timeframe (specifically, the late summer of 2016) when the FBI approached foreign policy academic and “utility government operative” Stefan Halper to begin the operation targeting Carter Page and George Papadopoulos in an FBI-designed foreign counterintelligence operation, against Team Trump, to be launched in Cambridge, England.
No surprises here—there is just no low to which the US government will not stoop in its vendetta against Julian Assange, including murder. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Now in its second week, Julian Assange’s extradition hearing at the Old Baily in London just heard explosive testimony based on previously reported revelations that the CIA had actively plotted to assassinate him, by either poisoning or via a kidnapping plot.
The testimony is part of the defense team’s attempt to frame the US extradition case as entirely political in nature, and not based on breaking US law, but also toward convincing the judge that the WikiLeaks founder would certainly face extreme and excessive punishment, which would be cause for Britain to block the extradition.
Though mainstream media has by and large ignored much of the bombshell testimony from the hearing since last week, this latest cloak-and-dagger type information detailing just how far US intelligence was willing to go is impossible to ignore.
Unlike many websites, Straight Line Logic does not solicit donations. If you're going to lay out your hard-earned money, you should get something in exchange. If you like the site and want to support it, buy The Golden Pinnacle or The Gordian Knot, either as a book or download. The links are on the right-hand side of the page, in the Blogroll section. You'll be supporting the site, and getting a great book and hours of enjoyable reading.