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.”