Monday, August 19, 2013

CIA Giving up the Mosaddeq Ghost

Long gone, it seems, are those heady days of yore when CIA would never admit anything about anyone, anywhere. Forever. Iran? Where? Mosaddeq? What's a Mosaddeq? Kermit Roosevelt? Kermit? That's a person? But forever turns out to have a shelf life. Sixty years. Now, CIA is coughing up the goods on the 1953 coup in Iran, much to the chagrin of the stiff upper lips at MI6. Blabbering about widely known yet "secret" daring-do. Is nothing sacred? Despite the publication of CIA documents at the US national security archive, the Brits are maintaining the proud tradition of neither confirming nor denying "Britain's involvement in the coup."

As can usually be found is such contemporaneous documents, hilarity lurks with the written observations of the spy masters wherein we learn that Mossadeq "and millions of Iranians believed that for centuries Britain had manipulated their country for British ends." Certainly, there can be no better way to dispel this misbegotten belief than to stage an overthrow of the Iranian government to restore an "equitable oil settlement," and naturally for the time, "vigorously prosecute the dangerously strong Communist party." That's what's known as a two-fer in the realm of right-wing military dictatorships.

Read on for the nutritious and delicious treats. Be careful not to consume too much at once, as it may induce in the reader a tightness in the throat, and or a unpleasant chalky taste in the mouth.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Protocols of the Files of Chomsky

If you were an agitator, CIA had a file on you. And FBI. A few others, too. This was nominal back in the day, when protest was rife, and anti-war demonstrations were all the rage, and civil rights demanding crowds defied the status quo. This is still true. Defying status quo is a definite no-no, a "red flag" for status quo guardians.

Noam Chomsky was certainly one such "agitator," despite never looking terribly agitated about anything. So, no surprise that there was a Chomsky file. The surprise was just how adamant CIA was about not having a file on a chap who so clearly deserved one. Well, now they say, yeah, we had a file. But it's gone. Don't know what happened. Because we never seem know what happens to these things. Sure we may be an "intelligence" agency, but we loose things.  All the time.
For years, the Central Intelligence Agency denied it had a secret file on MIT professor and famed dissident Noam Chomsky. But a new government disclosure obtained by The Cable reveals for the first time that the agency did in fact gather records on the anti-war iconoclast during his heyday in the 1970s. 
The disclosure also reveals that Chomsky's entire CIA file was scrubbed from Langley's archives, raising questions as to when the file was destroyed and under what authority. 
The breakthrough in the search for Chomsky's CIA file comes in the form of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For years, FOIA requests to the CIA garnered the same denial: "We did not locate any records responsive to your request." The denials were never entirely credible, given Chomsky's brazen anti-war activism in the 60s and 70s -- and the CIA's well-documented track record of domestic espionage in the Vietnam era. But the CIA kept denying, and many took the agency at its word. 
Now, a public records request by Chomsky biographer Fredric Maxwell reveals a memo between the CIA and the FBI that confirms the existence of a CIA file on Chomsky. 
Dated June 8, 1970, the memo discusses Chomsky's anti-war activities and asks the FBI for more information about an upcoming trip by anti-war activists to North Vietnam. The memo's author, a CIA official, says the trip has the "ENDORSEMENT OF NOAM CHOMSKY" and requests "ANY INFORMATION" about the people associated with the trip. 
After receiving the document, The Cable sent it to Athan Theoharis, a professor emeritus at Marquette University and an expert on FBI-CIA cooperation and information-gathering. 
"The June 1970 CIA communication confirms that the CIA created a file on Chomsky," said Theoharis. "That file, at a minimum, contained a copy of their communication to the FBI and the report on Chomsky that the FBI prepared in response to this request." 
The evidence also substantiates the fact that Chomsky's file was tampered with, says Theoharis. "The CIA's response to the FOIA requests that it has no file on Chomsky confirms that its Chomsky file was destroyed at an unknown time," he said. 
It's worth noting that the destruction of records is a legally treacherous activity. Under the Federal Records Act of 1950, all federal agencies are required to obtain advance approval from the national Archives for any proposed record disposition plans. The Archives is tasked with preserving records with "historical value." 
"Clearly, the CIA's file, or files, on Chomsky fall within these provisions," said Theoharis.
It's unclear if the agency complied with protocols in the deletion of Chomsky's file. The CIA declined to comment for this story. 
What does Chomsky think? When The Cable presented him with evidence of his CIA file, the famous linguist responded with his trademark cynicism. 
"Some day it will be realized that systems of power typically try to extend their power in any way they can think of," he said. When asked if he was more disturbed by intelligence overreach today (given the latest NSA leaks) or intelligence overreach in the 70s, he dismissed the question as an apples-to-oranges comparison. 
"What was frightening in the ‘60s into early ‘70s was not so much spying as the domestic terror operations, COINTELPRO," he said, referring to the FBI's program to discredit and infiltrate domestic political organizations. "And also the lack of interest when they were exposed." 
Regardless,, the destruction of Chomsky's CIA file raises an even more disturbing question: Who else's file has evaporated from Langley's archives? What other chapters of CIA history will go untold? 
"It is important to learn when the CIA decided to destroy the Chomsky file and why they decided that it should be destroyed,'" said Theoharis. "Undeniably, Chomsky's was not the sole CIA file destroyed. How many other files were destroyed?"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Perfect Example

Noon prayers were about to begin and Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was on his way to his mosque in Milan, doubtless looking forward to another round of convivial, if obsequious, intercourse with Allah.  Others suspected more nefarious doings. But the bright day would soon go dark, and Nasr would never make the next in a series of godly ministrations. He was grabbed off the street, hooded and bound, swept off to places then unknown.

It would not be long before he was deposited in Egypt, dispatched to the attentions of the Mubarak regime and Egypt's SSI. By the hoary beard of Allah, surely this was the work of infidels. Questions must have rattled Nasr's hooded head. What on Allah's earth was the point? To what end? Who had grabbed him? And why? Was it a criminal gang? Kidnappers? The Red Brigades or some facsimile thereof? The Egyptians? If them, why? If not them, who?

Actually, it was the CIA.

CIA and SISMI (Italian Military Intelligence and Security Service), infidels to be sure, conspired to abduct Nasr, aka Abu Omar, ship him off for questioning to a cooperating regime that would have little reticence employing "enhanced interrogation" techniques. It was the GWOT, after all. Any and all measures were "on the table" now that the "gloves were off." It would not be long before the Italians, whose own surveillance operation of Nasr had been "interrupted" by CIA's extraordinary rendition of the Imam, would discover just what had happened and launch a criminal case against the perps, eventually indicting and convicting, in absentia, twenty six CIA agents, and five SISMI co-conspirators. The operation was one that Swiss senator Dick Marty would call, "a perfect example of extraordinary rendition." The convicted CIA agents still roam free, though former Milan station chief Robert Lady recently enjoyed a brief encounter with international warrants when he was detained by authorities in Panama, Central America being a locale traditionally entertained by CIA.

Well, it seems one of those convicted has come forward to explain that the Italian prosecution and convictions were undertaken and authorized to "shield higher-ups" in the Bush administration who approved the operation. CIA being thrown under the bus. Underlings, of course. That's the thing about signing up to be a disposable asset. One day, you may actually be disposed of. Spy bidness can be one ungrateful bitch.
U.S. allowed Italian kidnap prosecution to shield higher-up, ex-CIA officer says 
A former CIA officer has broken the U.S. silence around the 2003 abduction of a radical Islamist cleric in Italy, charging that the agency inflated the threat the preacher posed and that the United States then allowed Italy to prosecute her and other Americans to shield President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials from responsibility for approving the operation. 
Confirming for the first time that she worked undercover for the CIA in Milan when the operation took place, Sabrina De Sousa provided new details about the “extraordinary rendition” that led to the only criminal prosecution stemming from the secret Bush administration rendition and detention program launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. 
The cleric, Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr, was snatched from a Milan street by a team of CIA operatives and flown to Egypt, where he was held for the better part of four years without charges and allegedly tortured. An Egyptian court in 2007 ruled that his imprisonment was “unfounded” and ordered him released. 
Among the allegations made by De Sousa in a series of interviews with McClatchy:
– The former CIA station chief in Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, whom she called the mastermind of the operation, exaggerated Nasr’s terrorist threat to win approval for the rendition and misled his superiors that Italian military intelligence had agreed to the operation. 
– Senior CIA officials, including then-CIA Director George Tenet, approved the operation even though there were doubts about Castelli’s case – Nasr wasn’t wanted in Egypt and wasn’t on the U.S. list of top al Qaida terrorists. 
– Condoleezza Rice, then the White House national security adviser, also had concerns about the case, especially what Italy would do if the CIA were caught, but she eventually agreed to it and recommended that Bush approve the abduction. 
De Sousa said her assertions are based on classified CIA cables that she read before resigning from the agency in February 2009, as well as on Italian legal documents and Italian news reports. She denies that she was involved in the operation, though she acknowledges that she served as the interpreter for a CIA “snatch” team that visited Milan in 2002 to plan the abduction. 
“I was being held accountable for decisions that someone else took and I wanted to see on what basis the decisions were made,” she said, explaining why she had delved into the CIA archives. “And especially because I was willing to talk to the Hill (Congress) about this because I knew that the CIA would not be upfront with them.” 
“I don’t have any of the cables with me. Please put that down,” De Sousa added with a nervous laugh, her unease reflecting the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks of classified information to journalists. 
De Sousa is one of only a handful of former CIA officers who’ve spoken openly about the secret renditions in which suspected terrorists overseas were abducted without legal proceedings and then interrogated by other nations’ security services. 
More than 130 people were “rendered” in this way, according to a February 2013 study by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a U.S.-based group that promotes the rule of law. Many were tortured and abused, and many, including Nasr, were freed for lack of proof that they were hatching terrorist plots, said Amrit Singh, the study’s author. 
Human rights groups and many legal experts denounce rendition as violating not only U.S. and international law, but also the laws of the nations where abductions occurred and of the countries to which suspected terrorists were sent. In December 2005, Rice defended renditions as legal, however, calling them a “vital tool” that predated the 9/11 attacks. She denied that the United State “transported anyone . . . to a country where we believe he or she will be tortured.” 

[more ...]

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CIA Rendition Map: "thousands of rendition flights"

Buggery, buggery, balls! There is a map. A map of known or suspected CIA rendition flights ex post facto 9/11. Lots and lots of them. We've known about a lot of this, of course. But now they have been tabulated and mapped, "thousands" of them, by The Rendition Project. A diligent and no doubt secret cabal of flight reconnaissance dweebs. Can you believe these people?

Now what are we to make of this claimed map? Is this "Rendition Project" a sincere effort or a limited hangout? Knowing what we know about OGA, an organ suffering deep paranoia, unaccountable tax dollars, a strong sense of self-aggrandizement, clever theatrics, and boundless incompetence, it's fairly hard to know. But that might be just part of the ploy.  Keeps ya guessing. Just like them.

This latest pointer is pointed at the pointy Brits; the UK/Blair support for CIA rendition flights turns out to have been "far more substantial than has previously been recognised." For anyone acquainted with the doings of CIA, that phrase must resound, a phrase that could be attached to almost everything CIA has ever done, or undone.  Indeed, it appears that some "1622 flights" went in and out of the UK. And that's just the UK.

But that is not the fun part. With this substantial record of Blair government complicity in the CIA rendition network, we are reminded of a time, not so long ago, when politicians believed that the public might believe that the government would not -- could not -- lie to them:
The CIA's use of UK airports was first reported by the Guardian in September 2005. Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, dismissed the evidence, telling MPs in December that year that "unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States … there simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition."
Tell us, Jack fucking Straw, may we all start believing that "officials are lying" now? And if they are lying "now," when did it start? Perhaps they lie all the time? Shudder the thought, people. Go back to believing.

Friday, May 17, 2013

CIA Outed in Moscow

Yes, yes, yes, they can be "crude and clumsy," as Putin's political advisor Uri Ushakov called CIA after the apparently botched attempt by now outed former "third secretary" Ryan Fogle to "recruit" spies. We have to say "apparently," because as we know, nothing is as it seems. But we also know that CIA still like to get their Smiley on, pretend that that good ol' Cold War is still hotting up. It was the best of times for the game, running around spying on their spies, who were spying on them. An endless carousel of tax payer funded subterfuge and paranoia and, most importantly, exotic locales.

But the crude and clumsy was too much to ignore this time, all wigs and dark glasses, and now it seems the Kremlin has named names, outed CIA station chief in Moscow. The ever respectful press won't print the name, no doubt fearing reprisals from an increasingly punitive and pugnacious Obama zone, but those damnable Ruskies did. In a report! Shameful, really, such a breach of protocol. Breaching protocol! The horror. Not respecting the fact that they know who the Yankee spies are, and the Yanks know who the Russian spies are, but shhhh, it's still all secret don't cha know.
Russia’s security services openly named the US intelligence agency’s Moscow station chief on Friday in a rare breach of protocol after arresting an alleged CIA agent working undercover at the US embassy.
Russia announced this week that it had caught alleged agent Ryan Fogle as he prepared to recruit a member of the Russian security forces. Footage was aired showing him wearing a blond wig and his array of spying equipment, including a compass and an old-fashioned mobile phone. 
An unnamed representative of the FSB security services told the Interfax news agency that back in 2011, the agency had “officially warned” the CIA station chief in Moscow over what it called “provocative recruiting moves towards Russian security services officers,” and threatened “reciprocal measures towards CIA officers. 
The report gave the full name of the alleged CIA chief of station in Moscow.
It also named another alleged CIA agent who had worked at the US embassy in Moscow, saying that he had also been declared persona non grata, like Fogle, and left in January after he carried out a “similar action.” 
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she had not seen the reports on the outing of the CIA Moscow chief, and also refused to say whether Fogle had now left Russia.
But she insisted that Washington and Moscow had worked “closely together” on various issues over the years. 
“We still feel that we have a very positive relationship, and one that we can continue to work together on areas where we agree,” Psaki told reporters. 
“There are still areas, of course, where we disagree. But I’m not going to weigh in further on the impact here.” 
Kremlin-funded television channel RT cited on its website an FSB operative as saying that “in the case with Fogle, the CIA crossed a red line and we had no choice but to react observing official procedures.” 
The FSB agent told RT that the Russian security agency held a 2011 meeting with the CIA chief of station in Moscow. 
RT also named the station chief, although it gave a slightly different surname than Interfax.
“We decided to warn our American colleagues and ask them to stop these activities,” the FSB agent told RT. 
“We hoped our American colleagues would hear us, given that we also presented to them precise information about CIA officers making recruitment attempts in Moscow and who exactly was doing that.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

Midnight in "the pad" of Good and Evil

At the US Post Office in San Francisco, Wayne Ritchie was hoisting a few drinks with other federal officers at a Christmas party, December 20, 1957. Then things went weird.  The room began to spin and he turned an awesome shade of paranoid. Everyone hated him and were clearly out to get him.  Or perhaps not so clearly, but by god they were after him. Went to his office that night, got himself two guns.  Two. Very paranoid. He went to a bar and staged a hold up in order to get enough cash to get a plane ticket.  Had to bug out, get away from them.

The plan did not pan out. A customer at the bar clocked him over the head, put him down flat. Soon, he was arrested for attempted armed robbery, pleaded guilty; five years probation.  So much for gettin' outta Dodge. He never knew what had happened to him, how he went off crazed and half cocked with two guns. Maybe that's two cocked. A puzzling and unexplained neurological episode.

Ah, but it was explainable.

Actually, it was the CIA.
Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA Dosed S.F. Citizens with LSD
There were at least three CIA safe houses in the Bay Area where experiments went on. Chief among them was 225 Chestnut on Telegraph Hill, which operated from 1955 to 1965. The L-shaped apartment boasted sweeping waterfront views, and was just a short trip up the hill from North Beach's rowdy saloons. Inside, prostitutes paid by the government to lure clients to the apartment served up acid-laced cocktails to unsuspecting johns, while martini-swilling secret agents observed their every move from behind a two-way mirror. Recording devices were installed, some disguised as electrical outlets. 
To get the guys in the mood, the walls were adorned with photographs of tortured women in bondage and provocative posters from French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The agents grew fascinated with the kinky sex games that played out between the johns and the hookers. The two-way mirror in the bedroom gave the agents a close-up view of all the action.
The man behind that mirror was George White, a "maverick" narc famous for busting drug rings in Europe, and who thence liberally doled out LSD as part of the CIA MK ULTRA nonsense. Dosed all kinds of folks, not just the "johns" lured to "the pad."
How test subjects were chosen by the agents varied. In the case of the Telegraph Hill safe house, working girls would pick up johns in North Beach bars and restaurants, then bring them back for experimentation and observation. Other times, White and his wife would host dinner parties where guests might get dosed with a hallucinogenic cocktail without their knowledge. And seemingly random San Franciscans like Kelley were victimized for no other reason than their paths crossed with White and his men at the wrong time. White wrote in his diary how he slipped acid to unsuspecting civilians at local beaches, and in city bars and restaurants.

There were two other Bay Area safe houses where the CIA researched LSD and other chemicals: Room 49 of the Plantation Inn at Lombard and Webster streets, and 261 Green St. in Mill Valley.

People from all walks of life were potential targets. From an internal CIA memo: "The effectiveness of the substances on individuals at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign is of great significance, and testing has been performed on a variety of individuals within these categories," wrote CIA Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick in 1963.
But damn it was fun!
White enjoyed the undercover work he was doing. Perhaps a little too much. He would write in a 1971 letter to Gottlieb, "Of course I was a very minor missionary, actually a heretic, but I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill and cheat, steal, deceive, rape and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest? Pretty Good Stuff, Brudder!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


CIA is sniffin' twitter and getting high. Oh what a high. Of course, they only do this in "other countries," we are told, confining their slavish and devoted selves to Facebook farts and twitter fits.

Not exactly news, of course, but apparently it is time for a limited hang out with some Facebook friends. Who knows why and now. Maybe it will glean them some new SIGINT vectors. Yes, I'm sure that's it.

 In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day. 
At the agency's Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the "vengeful librarians" also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.
From Arabic to Mandarin Chinese, from an angry tweet to a thoughtful blog, the analysts gather the information, often in native tongue. They cross-reference it with the local newspaper or a clandestinely intercepted phone conversation. From there, they build a picture sought by the highest levels at the White House, giving a real-time peek, for example, at the mood of a region after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden or perhaps a prediction of which Mideast nation seems ripe for revolt.  
Yes, they saw the uprising in Egypt coming; they just didn't know exactly when revolution might hit, said the center's director, Doug Naquin. 
The center already had "predicted that social media in places like Egypt could be a game-changer and a threat to the regime," he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press at the center. CIA officials said it was the first such visit by a reporter the agency has ever granted.
The CIA facility was set up in response to a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission, with its first priority to focus on counterterrorism and counterproliferation. But its several hundred analysts — the actual number is classified — track a broad range, from Chinese Internet access to the mood on the street in Pakistan.
While most are based in Virginia, the analysts also are scattered throughout U.S. embassies worldwide to get a step closer to the pulse of their subjects.
The most successful analysts, Naquin said, are something like the heroine of the crime novel "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," a quirky, irreverent computer hacker who "knows how to find stuff other people don't know exists."
Those with a masters' degree in library science and multiple languages, especially those who grew up speaking another language, "make a powerful open source officer," Naquin said.
The center had started focusing on social media after watching the Twitter-sphere rock the Iranian regime during the Green Revolution of 2009, when thousands protested the results of the elections that put Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back in power. "Farsi was the third largest presence in social media blogs at the time on the Web," Naquin said.
The center's analysis ends up in President Barack Obama's daily intelligence briefing in one form or another, almost every day.
After bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May, the CIA followed Twitter to give the White House a snapshot of world public opinion.
Since tweets can't necessarily be pegged to a geographic location, the analysts broke down reaction by languages. The result: The majority of Urdu tweets, the language of Pakistan, and Chinese tweets, were negative. China is a close ally of Pakistan's. Pakistani officials protested the raid as an affront to their nation's sovereignty, a sore point that continues to complicate U.S.-Pakistani relations. ...

Isn't it amazing that the White House has to use the CIA to figure out "world public opinion"? Really. Here's a hint that would save plowing through "5 million tweets": hey dipshits. world opinion? about you? not good.

That ought to save 'em some time.