Friday, August 28, 2009

The Megrahi Exodus

A conspiracy machine:

The release of "convicted" Lockerbie bomber, and former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Akli al-Megrahi was presaged by an "annual gathering of influential people."

Britain's Lord Mandelson met Libyan president Colonel Muamar Gaddafi's grandson at the "Rothschild villa in Corfu" prior to the release from Scottish prison of Libyan intelligence officer and convicted criminal by a Dutch court under Scottish law in the 1988 Lockerbie Scotland case, the above-mentioned al-Megrahi.

Here's mine:

More UK-Libyan trade deals are to follow. The US, too, is in on the action, as is France, Canada, and Russia. Indeed, the UK was lagging badly and needed to catch up. OIl, oil infrastructure, commercial construction, military hardware (notably unlike China, which usually agrees to build roads, railways, schools and hospitals in the countries with which they make economic agreements) ... soon, the Libyans will be receiving advice that they must "invest" rather than leave languish all that precious money they have, doing nothing.

At the official level, US protestation and "outrage" at the release is a necessary psyop -- "justice must be served" -- while the players know the score; the release is perfectly fine. Official public fracture must needs exhibit; the US must look no less than enthusiastic in condemning the commutation of an insignificant and falsified conviction -- one the US insisted upon in the name of justice. Certainly, Gaddafi is laughing, watching Clinton denounce the release, knowing full well the lucrative business to follow.

Meanwhile, "influential people" have plans for Tripoli and beyond. Indeed, with this nascent western-Libyan alliance, the circle has been closed. Either US-backed allies, UNPK forces, or US forces themselves, are effectively in place in Ethiopia, Somalia, Egypt, Darfur, Chad, CAR, DRC, Uganda, Kenya, with Libya closing the circle. Khartoum is now effectively surrounded; their only real ally, China. Fortunately for China and Khartoum, Sudanese oil has direct access to the Red Sea. One wonders how long before Somali pirates start jacking Sudanese oil tankers bound for China (China has already deployed naval forces to the region), and hostilities ramp up in Darfur, the rebels newly energized for some mysterious, unknown reason. The heat, probably. Meanwhile, the Rothschilds soak it up from every conceivable angle.

And what has Colonel Gaddafi learned? Mutiny does not necessarily bring bounty.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The CIA IGR public release: A DoJ IO

IO, IO, it's off to work we go ...

Like many, I grabbed my own copy of the CIA IG report, started plowing around and through it. I took note of the contents and went directly to the section on "DETENTION AND INTERROGATION OPERATIONS AT ________," page 33. Let's check that out. ...

Sadly, though not too surprisingly, this is what greeted me:

Given the blanket redaction that "operational" aspects within the document have received, what becomes immediately clear from an inspection of the document released by Holder's DoJ -- actually, let's call it Obama's DoJ, just like we did with Bush -- is that it has been designed to bolster AG Holder's announcement that the DoJ would conduct investigations only of CIA operatives who exceeded the guidelines drawn by the Bush OLC torture memos.

We don't need to delve into why such grunt hunt is a terrible idea -- there are plenty of sources expressing that -- but, rather, this is brief (it need not be otherwise) exploration of the publicly released document demonstrates that it has been redacted in such a way so as bolster and compliment Holder's announcement.

Apart from this first glaring example of massive redaction, note the first instance where this information operation is apparent: page ii of the table of contents. Note that two sections labeled "Specific Unauthorized or Undocumented Techniques," are clearly presented with some gory and ignominious details, while everything else in the "contents" listed is blacked out. These sections serve up exactly and only what AG Holder has stated that his DoJ would investigate.

Page ii, CIA IG report:

Not unsurprisingly at this point, we find those relevant pages heavily unredacted. The contrast is especially noticeable at the transition from page 68 to page 69, the above cited section. Page 68 is completely blacked out. Page 69, and forward, offer up the grisly details of those specific techniques listed in the contents.

It must be emphasized that this "analysis" remains solely concerned with the purpose of the release of the CIA IG report, its temporal and political context. Whatever other illegal activities were uncovered by the IG report, whatever bungling may remain covered-up, no details outside the parameters AG Holder specified have been broadcast by the release. A cursory examination of the public document reveals that the exposed content and its timing have been planned to support the Department of Justice announcement of investigations of low level CIA operatives, and only those who employed "unauthorized or undocumented techniques" described by those glaringly wordy pages so generously and selectively left legible by the Department of Justice.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

DoJ IO: "CIA Conducted Mock Executions"

From the soon-to-be released CIA IG report:
A long-suppressed report by the Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general to be released next week reveals that CIA interrogators staged mock executions as part of the agency's post-9/11 program to detain and question terror suspects, NEWSWEEK has learned.

According to two sources—one who has read a draft of the paper and one who was briefed on it—the report describes how one detainee, suspected USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was threatened with a gun and a power drill during the course of CIA interrogation. According to the sources, who like others quoted in this article asked not to be named while discussing sensitive information, Nashiri's interrogators brandished the gun in an effort to convince him that he was going to be shot. Interrogators also turned on a power drill and held it near him. "The purpose was to scare him into giving [information] up," said one of the sources. A federal law banning the use of torture expressly forbids threatening a detainee with "imminent death."

The report also says, according to the sources, that a mock execution was staged in a room next to a detainee, during which a gunshot was fired in an effort to make the suspect believe that another prisoner had been killed. The inspector general's report alludes to more than one mock execution.

The report also says, according to the sources, that a mock execution was staged in a room next to a detainee, during which a gunshot was fired in an effort to make the suspect believe that another prisoner had been killed. The inspector general's report alludes to more than one mock execution.
This is potentially important for certain contractors and/or CIA officials, since, as we've learned recently, any Obama administration probe will focus only on those who exceeded the generous provisions for torture in the Yoo/Bybee OLC memos. And "mock executions" were not explicitly authorized by any OLC memo known to date.
Mock executions were not authorized in Justice Department memoranda that outlined the legal parameters that Bush administration lawyers believed should govern the use of "enhanced" interrogations. The Justice Department memoranda, once highly classified, were released earlier this year by the Obama administration in the face of strenuous objections from the CIA and former Bush White House officials.
These initial media strikes have two related purposes: trial-ballooning sentiment on "found objects" of CIA misconduct topic, and laying out a potential canvas upon which low-level, and only low-level, CIA agents will be prosecuted, as has been (sort of) indicated by Holder's DoJ. Howling from both political sides about this has ensued, of course, but that appears not to have deterred Holder to date. Indeed, the release of the 2004 CIA IG report seems designed primarily to place into the public realm, instances of CIA wrongdoing that the DoJ could pursue within the lowest ranks of the agency.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"A rare glimpse into the CIA's efforts in Afghanistan."

Thanks to M1.


On Dec. 4, 2001, five members of a Las Vegas-based charter crew were detained by Russian authorities after they landed without visas in Petropavlovsk. The remote Russian city, located on the Kamchatka peninsula and surrounded by active volcanoes, is nine time zones east of Moscow and cannot be reached by road.

Three days earlier, the privately owned Boeing 737 had left Biggs Army Airfield in Texas, carrying the crew and 16 Americans traveling on tourist visas. The plane, a luxury aircraft outfitted with wood paneling and a three-hole putting green, had been chartered by a small company from Enterprise, Alabama, called Maverick Aviation.

What the plane and its passengers were really doing in Russia in the middle of winter is only hinted at in an appeal filed by two federal prisoners this year. But interviews with those involved in the case reveal a secretive, and sometimes comical, mission to strike back at the Taliban after 9/11 -- a rare glimpse into the CIA's efforts in Afghanistan.

According to unclassified court documents, the group was traveling to a helicopter plant in Siberia, where Maverick Aviation, which was experienced in acquiring Russian aircraft for the US military, was planning to buy two helicopters for a "customer."

Not mentioned: That "customer" was the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA needed Russian helicopters because of its clandestine operations in Afghanistan. On Sept. 24, 2001, a Russian-made helicopter loaded with $10 million in cash carried a small CIA team into Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley. Code-named "Jawbreaker," the mission was to cement support among tribal leaders and pave the way for US military operations. It was the first entry of Americans into Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The aging helicopter, an Mi-17, was the team's only way of getting in or out of the country. Though hardly state-of-the-art, the Russian helicopter had a distinct advantage for the CIA: it allowed the agency to operate relatively unnoticed in an area where Russian equipment left over from the Soviet occupation was commonplace.

There was only one problem: The CIA owned only one Russian helicopter. It needed more, but a clandestine American agency couldn't exactly pick up the phone and call a Russian factory. So it turned to Jeffrey Stayton, then the chief of the Aviation Division at the US Army Test and Evaluation Command and an expert in Russian copters.

Stayton's plan was to find a private American company to buy the helicopters, send a team of people over to pick them up from a plant in Siberia, modify them to CIA standards, and then get them to Uzbekistan, a staging ground for CIA operations into Afghanistan. And they would do it all within a matter of weeks.

Eventually, the team included William "Curt" Childree, whose company, Maverick Aviation, won the contract to buy the helicopters and organize logistics; Army personnel and contractors from El Paso with experience modifying Russian aircraft for use by the US military; and then "six guys from the customer's office," as Stayton put it (a CIA team that included special operations personnel).

That's when things started to get complicated.
Complicated, they say. With the CIA? Naw...

Read it all... Hilarious. Five CIA agents in Siberia in winter, buying Russian helicopters, and the master sergeant of the secret CIA mission complains,
"Our rooms were bugged . . . It was just unreal some of the things they were doing."
Bugged! Unreal! Oh, the things those people do.