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National Security State as Racket on the Danger of Terrorism
Review of Literature

“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

Tacitus, Agricola
 

News Corporatism Recommended Links Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Neofascism Nation under attack meme
Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative  Inverted Totalitarism The Deep State Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance Operation Gladio - Wikipedia
The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies History of American False Flag Operations False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo
Total Surveillance Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Grand Chessboard Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Two Party System as Polyarchy Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few
Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Facebook as Giant Database about Users Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Iron Law of Oligarchy
American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Machiavellism   Humor Etc

"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"

the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”


Ronal Reagan about a different crisis

Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”

Michael Hirsh in

How America's Top Tech Companies
Created the Surveillance State )

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

- James Madison


Introduction

The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-letter agencies ("Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency).  It is somewhat different from national socialist idea as it is married to neoliberalism and does not included the decisive influence of the state in economic sphere.

Under neoliberalism society has become increasingly militarized, meaning that as most aspects of the social-democratic state (New Deal state) are eliminated, a police state is rising in its place. All problems that in the past were seen as social problems, and hence required social solutions, now acquire police solutions. Heavily militarized police became praetorian guard of 0.1% that is in power.

In economic sphere deregulation (economic liberalism or neoliberalism) produce social conflict, which at some point can not be masked by neoliberal demagogy ("shareholder value", "stakeholder participation" and other neoliberal crap).  As the state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under bolshevism with the only difference that "nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy,  Tax laws, inheritance rules, status to trade unions, "revolving door" regulations (which highly correlates with the degree of corruption of the society) became political decisions and  require constant brainwashing of the population and instilling fear using external threat. Terrorism is used for this purpose not unlike permanent war between Oceania and Eurasia in the Orwell's famous  novel 1984,  It is clear that the war with terrorism is quintessential for waging "permanent war for permanent peace".  This link to rampant militarism is close to what we observe in typical neo-fascist movements (Fascism - Wikipedia ):

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[5][6] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[5][6]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[7] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[7] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[8][9][10][11] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.[13]

In this social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become a somewhat autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. Deep state as it is now called. Which, as a minimum, assume the role of king maker for the most top positions in the USA government. And, if necessary, can act as a king remover (JFK assassination is a nice example here; CIA fingerprints are all over the place, but nobody from CIA went to jail for this "accomplishment": mission accomplished).

The colossal budget with  juicy cost-plus contracts of affiliated private companies gives those agencies not only tremendous power, but also vested ideological and financial interests. For example, for the moment of its creation, due to Allen Dulles background CIA was aligned with the interests of Wall Street. There no real overseeing of three letter agencies from neither executive branch, not from the Congress, nor from the Supreme Court.

But the reverse is not true. In a way they can serve as a surrogate king.   In other words, instead of the servant of the state intelligence agencies became the master. This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happened in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass, who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that among other things doomed the USSR.

The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security State was born and probably should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day.  Very little was preserved from the "old republic" after this transformation of the USA. 

It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):

The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.

The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.

Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but there are important difference. Instead of organized violence against opponents it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, discreditation and blackmailing of opponents (like in German Democratic Republic there are dossier for every member of society and skeletons from the closet can be revealed for any politician or activist)  as well as control and manipulation of media, not mass repression of opponents. Like neofascist regimes of the past (such as Pinochet regime in Chile) and authoritarian "communist" regimes of the past and present, it make organized opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably around the half are applicable to the national security state.

After 9/11, Bush government's behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. As an amazing example of doublespeak  Bushists managed to integrate American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less). Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Costs were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure of combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality in many times more then that). The total is probably over a trillion.

Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the  "deep state" is actually in charge. In most area Obama administration was more like Bush II administration , then "change we can believe in".  In this sense this was the most blatant "bait and switch" in the recent  political history of the USA. This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated the view that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies. Here is a brief overview taken from review published by Reason (National Security State - Reason.com):

Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.

The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.

This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."

On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.

The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."

When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.

In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.

The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.

Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.

Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.

Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."

The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.

But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."

The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.

All this helps shed light on Obama's strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.

In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikes can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?

National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.

It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.

While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of that amount over one trillion went to three-letter agencies and DOD. Now you understand to whom real power belongs.  Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people in the USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to push the act through the Congress.

But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different, because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance as well as passivity of most electorate. 

As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism as just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, a specific flavor of far right nationalism. The central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization always lies far right nationalism and that is important distinction with national security state and neoliberalism which are globalist and  "imperial" and does not stress particular nationality as long of the person/group serves empire interests:

...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Post 9/11  "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies"). 

But public was not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst,  Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war.  Here it was bust a bunch of highly placed bureaucrats in Bush II administration (so called neocons, which is an ideological group allied with the military industrial complex, but not an organized party as such).

Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):

1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.

I would like to stress that similar processes occurred in different states after WWII as well (Latin America military dictatorships are one example). And with new force and on the new level after the dissolution of the USSR in Russia.  Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was a rather "primitive" form of national security state  in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, emails headers and other "meta-data" as well as systematic interception of SMS-based communications as well interception of wireless communication and financial operations via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions)  for surveillance.

Rule of Trumanites as the essence of the US National security state -- Boston Globe review of Michael Glennon book

Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in  The Boston Globe. In which he stated:

It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.

Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”

The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.

By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.

Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”

This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.

Why National Security State needs provocations -- pseudo terrorist attacks (false flag attacks)

There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)

Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pm
An excellent analysis and summation.

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.

Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.

Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more...

Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logical end: national surveillance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:

A Customer

passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999

I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.

I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).

After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.

See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State." From Amazon review:

Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY

Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:

"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.

As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."

Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to by fruitless.  Church Committee was probably the most important "after JFK assassination" attempt to somewhat tame three latter agencies and especially CIA, but it ended in nothing.

Later NSA overtook CIA in many areas of intelligence gathering activities. Which create internal frictions between two agencies. State Department also "infringed" in CIA role in foreign countries and, for example, in organization of neoliberal color revolutions in oil rich or strategically important countries it is difficult to tell when clandestine actions of State Department ends and clandestine actions of CIA stars and vice versa. 

In is interesting to note that even Senators feel threatened by this total surveillance system. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would

protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.

In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.

In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:

The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?

Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.

The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.

We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.

Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.

The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.

Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.

How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.

In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:

After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.

That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."

Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.

The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.

Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.

The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.

If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.

The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer list of features of National security state

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic, as well as military affairs.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.
Now we can add one additional feature
  1. Total surveillance

Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.

The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

Whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it ?

The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.

Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine

To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
  1. Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).

  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.

  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

  5. Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.

  6. A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.

  7. Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

  8. Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

  10. Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.

  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.

  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

  14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Edward Snowden quotes about National Security State

The most recent debate about the legitimacy of national security state as exists in the USA was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi  might send a chill up your spine...


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[Sep 19, 2017] Senate Backs Bill to Pump $700 Billion into Military by Jason Ditz

Sep 18, 2017 | news.antiwar.com
89-8 vote , the Senate today overwhelmingly passed their version of the National Defense Authorization Act, a $700 billion military spending bill for the year. The bill still needs to be reconciled with the House version before it goes to the White House for signature.

The bill is more than the Pentagon requested, and more than the large spending increase the White House requested. At present both the House and Senate seem to be competing to see who can outspend the other with their version of the bill, while rejecting all cuts proposed by the Pentagon to keep the budget in line.

It was this massive increase that had the normally hawkish Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) as a surprise no vote on the bill. Corker said the bill blows through budget caps, and he also objected continuing to put money into "Overseas Contingency Operations" budget, where it can be shifted around at will, saying that fund has been repeatedly abused.

Though President Trump has publicly objected to several aspects of the NDAA, including the "premature" increase in spending on missile defense, there are no signs a veto is being considered, and he is expected to sign whatever Congress ultimately puts in front of him.

[Sep 19, 2017] Time for a Conservative Anti-Monopoly Movement by Daniel Kishi

Sep 19, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Amazon, Facebook and Google: The new robber barons?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2010. Credit: /CreativeCommons/SteveJurvetson Earlier this month Amazon, announced its plans to establish a second headquarters in North America. Rather than simply reveal which city would become its second home, the Seattle-based tech company opted instead to open a bidding war. In an eight page document published on its website, Amazon outlined the criteria for prospective suitors, and invited economic developers to submit proposals advocating for why their city or region should be the host of the new location.

Its potential arrival comes with the claim that the company will invest more than $5 billion in construction and generate up to 50,000 "high paying jobs." Mayors and governors, hard at work crafting their bids, are no doubt salivating at the mere thought of such economic activity. Journalists and editorial teams in eligible metropolises are also playing their parts, as newspapers have published a series of articles and editorials making the case for why their city should be declared the winner.

Last Tuesday Bloomberg reported that Boston was the early frontrunner, sending a wave of panic across the continent. Much to the relief of the other contenders, Amazon quickly discredited the report as misinformation, announcing in a series of tweets on Wednesday that it is "energized by the response from cities across [North America]" and that, contrary to the rumors, there are currently no front-runners on their "equal playing field."

That Amazon is "energized" should come as no surprise. Most companies would also be energized by the taxpayer-funded windfall that is likely coming its way. Reporters speculate that the winner of the sweepstakes!in no small part to the bidding war format!could be forced to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local subsidies for the privilege of hosting Amazon's expansion.

Amazon has long been the beneficiary of such subsidies, emerging in recent years as a formidable opponent to Walmart as the top recipient of corporate welfare. According to Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C. organization dedicated to corporate and government accountability, Amazon has received more than $1 billion in local and state subsidies since 2000. With a business plan dedicated to amassing long-term market share in lieu of short-term profits, Amazon, under the leadership of its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, operates on razor-thin profit margins in most industries, while actually operating at a loss in others. As such, these state and local subsidies have played an instrumental role in Amazon's growth

Advocates of free market enterprise should be irate over the company's crony capitalist practices and the cities and states that enable it. But more so than simply ruffling the feathers of the libertarian-minded, Amazon's shameless solicitation for subsidies capped off a series of summer skirmishes in the Democratic left's emerging war against monopolies.

Earlier this summer when Amazon announced its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, antitrust advocates called upon the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission's Antitrust Division to block the sale and update the United States government's legal definition of monopoly. Although the acquisition!which was approved in August!only gives Amazon a 1.5 percent market share in the grocery industry, it more importantly provides the tech giant with access to more than 450 brick-and-mortar Whole Foods locations. Critics say that these physical locations will prove invaluable to its long term plan of economic dominance, and that it is but the latest advance in the company's unprecedented control of the economy's underlying infrastructure.

Google also found itself in the crosshairs of the left's anti-monopoly faction when, in late June, the European Union imposed a $2.7 billion fine against the tech company for anti-competitive search engine manipulation in violation of its antitrust laws. The Open Markets Program of the New America Foundation subsequently published a press release applauding the EU's decision. Two months later, the Open Markets Program was axed . The former program director Barry Lynn claims that his employers caved to pressure from a corporation that has donated more than $21 million to the New America Foundation. The fallout emboldened journalists to share their experiences of being silenced by the tech giant, and underscores the influence Google exerts over think tanks and academics

Most recently, Facebook faced criticism after it was discovered that a Russian company with ties to the Kremlin purchased $100,000 in ads from the social media company in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. Facebook, as a result, has become the latest subject of interest in Robert Mueller's special investigation into Russian interference in last fall's election. But regardless of whether the ads influenced the outcome, the report elicited demands for transparency and oversight in a digital ad marketplace that Facebook, along with Google, dominates . By using highly sophisticated algorithms, Facebook and Google receive more than 60 percent of all digital ad revenue, threatening the financial solvency of publishers and creating a host of economic incentives that pollute editorial autonomy.

While the Democratic left!in an effort to rejuvenate its populist soul !has been at the front lines in the war against these modern-day robber barons, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, suggests that opposition to corporate consolidation need not be a partisan issue. In a piece published in The Atlantic , Mitchell traces the bipartisan history of anti-monopoly sentiment in American politics. She writes :

If "monopoly" sounds like a word from another era, that's because, until recently, it was. Throughout the middle of the 20th century, the term was frequently used in newspaper headlines, campaign speeches, and State of the Union addresses delivered by Republican and Democratic presidents alike. Breaking up too-powerful companies was a bipartisan goal and on the minds of many voters. But, starting in the 1970s, the word retreated from the public consciousness. Not coincidentally, at the same time, the enforcement of anti-monopoly policy grew increasingly toothless.

Although the modern Republican Party stands accused of cozying up with corporate interests, the history of conservative thought has a rich intellectual tradition of being skeptical!if not hostile!towards economic consolidation. For conservatives and libertarians wedded to the tenets of free market orthodoxy!or for Democrats dependent on campaign contributions from a donor class of Silicon Valley tycoons!redefining the legal definition of monopoly and rekindling a bipartisan interest in antitrust enforcement are likely non-starters.

But for conservatives willing to break from the principles of free market fundamentalism, the papal encyclicals of the Roman Catholic Church, the distributist thought of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, the social criticism of Christopher Lasch, and the observations of agrarian essayist Wendell Berry provide an intellectual framework from which conservatives can critique and combat concentrated economic power. With a respect for robust and resilient localities and a keen understanding of the moral dangers posed by an economy perpetuated by consumerism and convenience, these writers appeal to the moral imaginations of the reader, issuing warnings about the detrimental effects that economic consolidation has on the person, the family, the community, and society at large.

The events of this summer underscore the immense political power wielded by our economy's corporate giants. To those who recognize the dangers posed by our age of consolidation, the skirmishes from this summer could serve as a rallying cry in a bipartisan war for independence from our corporate crown.

Daniel Kishi is an editorial assistant at The American Conservative . Follow him on Twitter at @DanielMKishi

[Sep 18, 2017] Google was seed funded by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The company now enjoys lavish partnerships with military contractors like SAIC, Northrop Grumman and Blackbird.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In addition to funding Bellingcat and joint ventures with the CIA, Brin's Google is heavily invested in Crowdstrike, an American cybersecurity technology firm based in Irvine, California. ..."
"... Crowdstrike is the main "source" of the "Russians hacked the DNC" story. ..."
"... Allegations of Russian perfidy are routinely issued by private companies with lucrative US Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. The companies claiming to protect the nation against "threats" have the ability to manufacture "threats". ..."
"... US offensive cyber operations have emphasized political coercion and opinion shaping, shifting public perception in NATO countries as well as globally in ways favorable to the US, and to create a sense of unease and distrust among perceived adversaries such as Russia and China. ..."
"... The Snowden revelations made it clear that US offensive cyber capabilities can and have been directed both domestically and internationally. The notion that US and NATO cyber operations are purely defensive is a myth. ..."
"... The perception that a foreign attacker may have infiltrated US networks, is monitoring communications, and perhaps considering even more damaging actions, can have a disorienting effect. ..."
"... In the world of US "hybrid warfare" against Russia, offensive cyber operations work in tandem with NATO propaganda efforts, perhaps best exemplified by the "online investigation" antics of the Atlantic Council's Eliot Higgins and his Bellingcat disinformation site. ..."
consortiumnews.com

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm

There is no reason to assume that the trollish rants of "Voytenko" are from some outraged flag-waving "patriot" in Kiev. There are plenty of other "useful idiots" ready, willing and able to make mischief.

For example, about a million Jews emigrated to Israel ("made Aliyah") from the post-Soviet states during the 1990s. Some 266,300 were Ukrainian Jews. A large number of Ukrainian Jews also emigrated to the United States during this period. For example, out of an estimated 400 thousand Russian-speaking Jews in Metro New York, the largest number (thirty-six percent) hail from Ukraine. Needless to say, many among them are not so well disposed toward the nations of Russia or Ukraine, and quite capable of all manner of mischief.

A particularly "useful idiot" making mischief the days is Sergey Brin of Google. Brin's parents were graduates of Moscow State University who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1979 when their son was five years old.

Google, the company that runs the most visited website in the world, the company that owns YouTube, is very snugly in bed with the US military-industrial-surveillance complex.

In fact, Google was seed funded by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The company now enjoys lavish "partnerships" with military contractors like SAIC, Northrop Grumman and Blackbird.

Google's mission statement from the outset was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful".

In a 2004 letter prior to their initial public offering, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin explained their "Don't be evil" culture required objectivity and an absence of bias: "We believe it is important for everyone to have access to the best information and research, not only to the information people pay for you to see."

The corporate giant appears to have replaced the original motto altogether. A carefully reworded version appears in the Google Code of Conduct: "You can make money without doing evil".

This new gospel allows Google and its "partners" to make money promoting propaganda and engaging in surveillance, and somehow manage to not "be evil". That's "post-truth" logic for you.

Google has been enthusiastically promoting Eliot Higgins "arm chair analytics" since 2013
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbWhcWizSFY

Indeed, a very cozy cross-promotion is happening between Google and Bellingcat.

In November 2014, Google Ideas and Google For Media, partnered the George Soros-funded Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to host an "Investigathon" in New York City. Google Ideas promoted Higgins' "War and Pieces: Social Media Investigations" song and dance via their YouTube page.

Higgins constantly insists that Bellingcat "findings" are "reaffirmed" by accessing imagery in Google Earth.

Google Earth, originally called EarthViewer 3D, was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004. Google Earth uses satellite images provided by the company Digital Globe, a supplier of the US Department of Defense (DoD) with deep connections to both the military and intelligence communities.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is both a combat support agency under the United States Department of Defense, and an intelligence agency of the United States Intelligence Community. Robert T. Cardillo, director of the NGA, lavishly praised Digital Globe as "a true mission partner in every sense of the word". Examination of the Board of Directors of Digital Globe reveals intimate connections to DoD and CIA.

Google has quite the history of malicious behavior. In what became known as the "Wi-Spy" scandal, it was revealed that Google had been collecting hundreds of gigabytes of payload data, including personal and sensitive information. First names, email addresses, physical addresses, and a conversation between two married individuals planning an extra-marital affair were all cited by the FCC. In a 2012 settlement, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Google will pay $22.5 million for overriding privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser. Though it was the largest civil penalty the Federal Trade Commission had ever imposed for violating one of its orders, the penalty as little more than symbolic for a company that had $2.8 billion in earnings the previous quarter.

Google is a joint venture partner with the CIA. In 2009, Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel invested "under $10 million each" into Recorded Future shortly after the company was founded. The company developed technology that strips information from web pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts.

In addition to funding Bellingcat and joint ventures with the CIA, Brin's Google is heavily invested in Crowdstrike, an American cybersecurity technology firm based in Irvine, California.

Crowdstrike is the main "source" of the "Russians hacked the DNC" story.

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council "regime change" think tank. Alperovitz said that Crowdstrike has "high confidence" it was "Russian hackers". "But we don't have hard evidence," Alperovitch admitted in a June 16, 2016 Washington Post interview.

Allegations of Russian perfidy are routinely issued by private companies with lucrative US Department of Defense (DoD) contracts. The companies claiming to protect the nation against "threats" have the ability to manufacture "threats".

The US and UK possess elite cyber capabilities for both cyberspace espionage and offensive operations.

Both the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) are intelligence agencies with a long history of supporting military operations. US military cyber operations are the responsibility of US Cyber Command, whose commander is also the head of the NSA.

US offensive cyber operations have emphasized political coercion and opinion shaping, shifting public perception in NATO countries as well as globally in ways favorable to the US, and to create a sense of unease and distrust among perceived adversaries such as Russia and China.

The Snowden revelations made it clear that US offensive cyber capabilities can and have been directed both domestically and internationally. The notion that US and NATO cyber operations are purely defensive is a myth.

Recent US domestic cyber operations have been used for coercive effect, creating uncertainty and concern within the American government and population.

The perception that a foreign attacker may have infiltrated US networks, is monitoring communications, and perhaps considering even more damaging actions, can have a disorienting effect.

In the world of US "hybrid warfare" against Russia, offensive cyber operations work in tandem with NATO propaganda efforts, perhaps best exemplified by the "online investigation" antics of the Atlantic Council's Eliot Higgins and his Bellingcat disinformation site.

Abe , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Higgins and Bellingcat receives direct funding from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) founded by business magnate George Soros, and from Google's Digital News Initiatives (DNI).

Google's 2017 DNI Fund Annual Report describes Higgins as "a world–leading expert in news verification".

Higgins claims the DNI funding "allowed us to push this to the next level".
https://digitalnewsinitiative.com/news/case-study-codifying-social-conflict-data/

In their zeal to propagate the story of Higgins as a courageous former "unemployed man" now busy independently "Codifying social conflict data", Google neglects to mention Higgins' role as a "research fellow" for the NATO-funded Atlantic Council "regime change" think tank.

Despite their claims of "independent journalism", Eliot Higgins and the team of disinformation operatives at Bellingcat depend on the Atlantic Council to promote their "online investigations".

The Atlantic Council donors list includes:

– US government and military entities: US State Department, US Air Force, US Army, US Marines.

– The NATO military alliance

– Large corporations and major military contractors: Chevron, Google, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BP, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, SAIC, ConocoPhillips, and Dow Chemical

– Foreign governments: United Arab Emirates (UAE; which gives the think tank at least $1 million), Kingdom of Bahrain, City of London, Ministry of Defense of Finland, Embassy of Latvia, Estonian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Defense of Georgia

– Other think tanks and think tankers: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Nicolas Veron of Bruegel (formerly at PIIE), Anne-Marie Slaughter (head of New America Foundation), Michele Flournoy (head of Center for a New American Security), Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution.

Higgins is a Research Associate of the Department of War Studies at King's College, and was principal co-author of the Atlantic Council "reports" on Ukraine and Syria.

Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, a co-author with Higgins of the report, effusively praised Higgins' effort to bolster anti-Russian propaganda:

Wilson stated, "We make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources. And it's thanks to works, the work that's been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we've been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up." (see Atlantic Council video presentation minutes 35:10-36:30)

However, the Atlantic Council claim that "none" of Higgins' material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.

Higgins' primary "pieces of evidence" are a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates that were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Higgins and the Atlantic Council are working in support of the Pentagon and Western intelligence's "hybrid war" against Russia.

The laudatory bio of Higgins on the Kings College website specifically acknowledges his service to the Atlantic Council:

"an award winning investigative journalist and publishes the work of an international alliance of fellow investigators using freely available online information. He has helped inaugurate open-source and social media investigations by trawling through vast amounts of data uploaded constantly on to the web and social media sites. His inquiries have revealed extraordinary findings, including linking the Buk used to down flight MH17 to Russia, uncovering details about the August 21st 2013 Sarin attacks in Damascus, and evidencing the involvement of the Russian military in the Ukrainian conflict. Recently he has worked with the Atlantic Council on the report "Hiding in Plain Sight", which used open source information to detail Russia's military involvement in the crisis in Ukraine."

While it honors Higgins' enthusiastic "trawling", King's College curiously neglects to mention that Higgins' "findings" on the Syian sarin attacks were thoroughly debunked.

King's College also curiously neglects to mention the fact that Higgins, now listed as a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's "Future Europe Initiative", was principal co-author of the April 2016 Atlantic Council "report" on Syria.

The report's other key author was John E. Herbst, United States Ambassador to Ukraine from September 2003 to May 2006 (the period that became known as the Orange Revolution) and Director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center.

Other report authors include Frederic C. Hof, who served as Special Adviser on Syrian political transition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012. Hof was previously the Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs in the US Department of State's Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, where he advised Special Envoy George Mitchel. Hof had been a Resident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East since November 2012, and assumed the position as Director in May 2016.

There is no daylight between the "online investigations" of Higgins and Bellingcat and the "regime change" efforts of the NATO-backed Atlantic Council.

Thanks to the Atlantic Council, Soros, and Google, it's a pretty well-funded gig for fake "citizen investigative journalist" Higgins.

[Sep 18, 2017] Why Petraeus, Obama And Brennan Should Face 5,000 Years In Prison

Notable quotes:
"... add Bush. Glenn Greenwald on John Brennan . It is interesting that the empire sues the little people. ..."
"... "It is a perfect illustration of the Obama legacy that a person who was untouchable as CIA chief in 2008 because of his support for Bush's most radical policies is not only Obama's choice for the same position now, but will encounter very little resistance. Within this change one finds one of the most significant aspects of the Obama presidency: his conversion of what were once highly contentious right-wing policies into harmonious dogma of the DC bipartisan consensus. Then again, given how the CIA operates, one could fairly argue that Brennan's eagerness to deceive and his long record of supporting radical and unaccountable powers make him the perfect person to run that agency. It seems clear that this is Obama's calculus." ..."
"... one more quote from your newest link to the NYT: "The job Mr. Brennan once held in Riyadh is, more than the ambassador's, the true locus of American power in the kingdom. Former diplomats recall that the most important discussions always flowed through the C.I.A. station chief." The Saudis bought the CIA. From station chief in Riyadh to Director Tenet's chief of staff to Deputy Executive Director of the CIA and finally, under Obama, to Director of the CIA. ..."
"... Best background article I've come across on how the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings were either suppressed (in the U.S. client oil monarchies like Bahrain) or hijacked for regime change purposes (as in Libya and Syria): http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion... how-the-arab-spring-was-hijacked/ (Feb 2012) ..."
"... The best explanation is that despite the effort to "woo" Assad into the Saudi-Israeli axis (c.2008-2010), Assad refused to cut economic ties with Iran, which was setting up rail lines, air traffic and oil pipeline deals with Assad on very good terms. This led Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, etc. to lobby Obama to support a regime change program: ..."
"... Replace "plan" with "ongoing project". The main point would be that Panetta and Clinton also belong on that "illegal arms transfer" charge sheet. Civil damages for the costs Europe, Turkey, Lebanon etc. bore due to millions of fleeing refugees should also be assessed (let alone damage in Syria, often to priceless historical treasures destroyed by ISIS). ..."
"... Then there's the previous regime and its deliberate lies about non-existent WMDs in Iraq, claims used to start a war of aggression that killed thousand of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Woolsey, Tenet, Powell - they should have their own separate charge sheet. ..."
"... But it wasn't just anti-arms trafficking laws that were broken, was it? Wouldn't a conspiracy to use extremists as a weapon of state amount to a crime against humanity? David Stockman thinks so, but he pins the 'crime' on old, sick McCain. (see: 'Moderate Rebels' Cheerleader McCain is Fall Guy But Neocon Cancer Lives ..."
"... I classify attempts at regime change as terrorism, too, since it's essentially the waging of aggressive war via different means, which is the #1 War Crime also violating domestic law as well ..."
"... What of the US bases being established in N. Syria that were helpfully marked by the Turks? Within the context that the SF force multiplier model has varied success but hasn't worked AFAIK since the Resistance in WW2. What, short of an explicit invasion, is an option for the US+? US-hired mercenaries failed to do the job, and the US as mercenaries for the Arabs are not willing to commit. Maybe if the USIC offered up more "wives" they'd acquire more psychopathic murderers to spread the joy. ..."
"... Trump may have put Pompeo in to present the facade of housecleaning, but who here believes that there is any serious move to curtail the Syrian misadventure? Just a change in the marketing plan. ..."
"... As the Brits came out with blocking the release of 30-yr-old official records on the basis that "personal information" and "national security" would be compromised? More like the criminal activity at 10 Downing St. and the misappropriation of public money for international crime would be brought to light. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4159032/whitehall-refuses-documents-release/ ..."
"... While I do agree with some of the things Trump has done so far, I cannot agree that he makes for a good "leader" of our rapidly devolving nation. As much "good" that Trump has done, he's probably done much worse on other issues and levels. It's really pretty awful all around. ..."
"... That said, when some people say how much they "miss Obama," I want to either pound my head into a brick wall and/or throw up. The damage that Obama and his hench men/women did is incalculable. ..."
"... Not so much with "No drama Obama" the smooth talking viper that we - either unwittingly or wittingly - clutche to our collective bosom. Obama's many many many lies - all told with smooth suave assurance - along with his many sins of omission served as cover for what he was doing. Trump's buffoonery and incessant Twitting at least put his idiocies out on the stage for all to see (of course, the Republicans do use that as cover for their nefarious deeds behind Trump's doofus back). ..."
"... I likened a Trump presidency to sticking the landing of a crashing US empire. ..."
"... Remember this, The prosecution of a Swedish national accused of terrorist activities in Syria has collapsed at the Old Bailey after it became clear Britain's security and intelligence agencies would have been deeply embarrassed had a trial gone ahead, the Guardian can reveal. ..."
"... His lawyers argued that British intelligence agencies were supporting the same Syrian opposition groups as he was, and were party to a secret operation providing weapons and non-lethal help to the groups, including the Free Syrian Army. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/01/trial-swedish-man-accused-terrorism-offences-collapse-bherlin-gildo ..."
"... John McCain was neck deep in supporting Terrorists in Syria he wanted to give them manpads. ..."
"... WASHINGTON (Sputnik) ! Media reported earlier in October that Syrian rebels asked Washington for Stinger missiles to use them against Russia's military jets. "Absolutely Absolutely I would," McCain said when asked whether he would support the delivery of Stinger missiles to the opposition in Syria. ..."
"... The US were into regime change in Syria a long time ago..... Robert Ford was US Ambassador to Syria when the revolt against Syrian president Assad was launched. He not only was a chief architect of regime change in Syria, but actively worked with rebels to aid their overthrow of the Syrian government. ..."
"... Ambassador Ford talked himself blue in the face reassuring us that he was only supporting moderates in Syria. As evidence mounted that the recipients of the largesse doled out by Washington was going to jihadist groups, Ford finally admitted early last year that most of the moderates he backed were fighting alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda. ..."
"... b asked : "When will the FBI investigate Messrs Petraeus, Obama and Brennan? Duh, like never... Most here understand this, I'm sure. The wealthy and the connected puppets never face justice, for their crimes, committed in the service of their owners. ..."
"... NYT never saw a war (rather an attack by the US, NATO, Israel, UK, on any defenseless nation) that it did not support. Wiki uses the word "allegedly" in explaining the CIA and Operation Mockingbird. It just isn't feasible that a secret government agency - gone rogue - with unlimited funding and manpower could write/edit the news for six media owners with similar war-profiteering motives. ..."
"... Brennan : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBG81dXgM0Q ..."
"... Seymour Hersh, in his 'Victoria NULAND moment' audio, states categorically BRENNAN conceived and ran the 'Russian Hack' psyop after Seth RICH DNC leaks. ..."
Aug 04, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

California CEO Allegedly Smuggled Rifle Scopes to Syria - Daily Beast, August 1 2017

Rasheed Al Jijakli,[the CEO of a check-cashing business who lives in Walnut,] along with three co-conspirators, allegedly transported day and night vision rifle scopes, laser boresighters used to adjust sights on firearms for accuracy when firing, flashlights, radios, a bulletproof vest, and other tactical equipment to Syrian fighters.
...
If Jijakli is found guilty, he could face 50 years in prison . Jijakli's case is being prosecuted by counterintelligence and Terrorism and Export Crimes Section attorneys. An FBI investigation, in coordination with other agencies, is ongoing.
---

Under Trump, a Hollowed-Out Force in Syria Quickly Lost C.I.A. Backing - NY Times * , August 2, 2017

C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, recommended to President Trump that he shut down a four-year-old effort to arm and train Syrian rebels
...
Critics in Congress had complained for years about the costs [...] and reports that some of the C.I.A.-supplied weapons had ended up in the hands of a rebel group tied to Al Qaeda
...
In the summer of 2012, David H. Petraeus , who was then C.I.A. director, first proposed a covert program of arming and training rebels
...
[ Mr. Obama signed] a presidential finding authorizing the C.I.A. to covertly arm and train small groups of rebels
-...
John O. Brennan , Mr. Obama's last C.I.A. director, remained a vigorous defender of the program ...

When will the FBI investigate Messrs Petraeus, Obama and Brennan? Where are the counterintelligence and Terrorism and Export Crimes Section attorneys prosecuting them? Those three men engaged in the exactly same trade as Mr. Jijakil did, but on a much larger scale. They should be punished on an equally larger scale.

* Note:

The NYT story is largely a whitewash. It claims that the CIA paid "moderate" FSA rebels stormed Idleb governate in 2015. In fact al-Qaeda and Ahrar al Sham were leading the assault. It says that costs of the CIA program was "more than $1 billion over the life of the program" when CIA documents show that it was over $1 billion per year and likely much more than $5 billion in total. The story says that the program started in 2013 while the CIA has been providing arms to the Wahhabi rebels since at least fall 2011.

Posted by b on August 3, 2017 at 05:15 AM | Permalink

nmb | Aug 3, 2017 5:31:09 AM | 1

Easy: because they are war criminals.
V. Arnold | Aug 3, 2017 5:47:16 AM | 4
But, but, b; you're dealing with a rogue government of men; not laws. Should have been obvious in 2003, March 19th...
Igor Bundy | Aug 3, 2017 5:47:28 AM | 5
In case there is any doubt, North Korea has already said arming "rebels" to over throw the government would face nuclear retaliation.
Igor Bundy | Aug 3, 2017 5:52:50 AM | 6
India and Pakistan spends insane amounts of money because Pakistan arms "rebels" both countries could use that money for many other things. Especially Pakistan which has a tenth the economy of India. BUT Pakistan is controlled by the military or MIC so arming terrorists is more important than such things as schools and power supplies etc. Their excuse is India is spending so much on arms. Which India says is because in large part due to Pakistan. US says well move those 2 million troops to attack China instead. Everyone is happy except the population in those 3 countries which lack most things except iphones. Which makes US extremely happy.
Emily | Aug 3, 2017 5:54:48 AM | 7
It would interesting to get to the truth about Brennan. Is he an islamist himself? Did he actually convert to islam in Saudi Arabia? Lots of stories out there.
Has he been acting as a covert agent against his own country for years?Selling out the entire west and every christian on the planet. Time to find this out, methinks.

Is treason in the USA a death penalty issue?. Its certainly what he deserves.

Mina | Aug 3, 2017 5:55:21 AM | 8
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/274688/World/Region/,-Syrian-refugees-and-fighters-return-home-from-Le.aspx
V. Arnold | Aug 3, 2017 6:25:03 AM | 9
Mina | Aug 3, 2017 5:55:21 AM | 8

Informative link; thanks.

Peter AU 1 | Aug 3, 2017 6:30:12 AM | 10
"a four-year-old effort to arm and train Syrian rebels."

A four year effort to arm the f**kers? Doubtful it was an effort to arm them, but training them to act in the hegemon's interests... like upholders of democracy and humanitarian... headchopping is just too much of an attraction

somebody | Aug 3, 2017 6:52:48 AM | 12
add Bush. Glenn Greenwald on John Brennan . It is interesting that the empire sues the little people.
Anonymous | Aug 3, 2017 6:54:31 AM | 13
Mina @3. The title of the article is deceptive.

"7,000 Syrian refugees and fighters return home from Lebanon"

The 'al-Qaeda linked' fighters are mostly foreigners, paid mercenaries. They have been dumped in Idlib along with the other terrorists. In the standard reconciliation process, real Syrians are given the option of returning home if they renounce violence and agree to a political solution. Fake Syrians are dumped in with the foreigners. The real Syrian fighters who reconcile have to join the SAA units to fight against ISIS etc.

ISIS fighters were encouraged to bring their families with them (for use as human shields and to provide settlers for the captured territory). ISIS documents recovered from Mosul indicate that unmarried foreign mercenaries fighting with them were provided with a wife (how does that work? do the women volunteer or are they 'volunteered'?), a car and other benefits. These families and hangers-on would probably be the 'Syrian refugees'.

On a side note, the Kurds have released a video showing the training of special forces belonging to their allies, the 'Syrian Defense Force' (composed largely of foreigners again). The SDF fighters fly the FSA flag, ie they are the carefully vetted moderate head chopping rebels beloved of the likes of McCain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHBFkZZ1y40

librul | Aug 3, 2017 8:20:55 AM | 14
somebody @12,

Thanks for the link, it is a keeper.

"It is a perfect illustration of the Obama legacy that a person who was untouchable as CIA chief in 2008 because of his support for Bush's most radical policies is not only Obama's choice for the same position now, but will encounter very little resistance. Within this change one finds one of the most significant aspects of the Obama presidency: his conversion of what were once highly contentious right-wing policies into harmonious dogma of the DC bipartisan consensus. Then again, given how the CIA operates, one could fairly argue that Brennan's eagerness to deceive and his long record of supporting radical and unaccountable powers make him the perfect person to run that agency. It seems clear that this is Obama's calculus."

My own addition to the Brennan record:

Brennan was station chief for the CIA in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the planning period for 9/11. The Saudi rulers do not use the US embassy as their first point of contact with Washington, they use the CIA. Brennan moved back to the US some time in (late?) 1999. The first 9/11 Saudi hijackers arrived on US shores in January 2000. Brennan was made CIA chief of staff to Director Tenet in 1999 and Deputy Executive Director of the CIA in March 2001.

somebody | Aug 3, 2017 8:36:06 AM | 15
14 add this New York Times link: U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels
The support for the Syrian rebels is only the latest chapter in the decades long relationship between the spy services of Saudi Arabia and the United States, an alliance that has endured through the Iran-contra scandal, support for the mujahedeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan and proxy fights in Africa. Sometimes, as in Syria, the two countries have worked in concert. In others, Saudi Arabia has simply written checks underwriting American covert activities. ... Although the Saudis have been public about their help arming rebel groups in Syria, the extent of their partnership with the C.I.A.'s covert action campaign and their direct financial support had not been disclosed. Details were pieced together in interviews with a half-dozen current and former American officials and sources from several Persian Gulf countries. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program.

From the moment the C.I.A. operation was started, Saudi money supported it.

...

The roots of the relationship run deep. In the late 1970s, the Saudis organized what was known as the "Safari Club" ! a coalition of nations including Morocco, Egypt and France ! that ran covert operations around Africa at a time when Congress had clipped the C.I.A.'s wings over years of abuses.

...

Prince Bandar pledged $1 million per month to help fund the contras, in recognition of the administration's past support to the Saudis. The contributions continued after Congress cut off funding to the contras. By the end, the Saudis had contributed $32 million, paid through a Cayman Islands bank account.

When the Iran-contra scandal broke, and questions arose about the Saudi role, the kingdom kept its secrets. Prince Bandar refused to cooperate with the investigation led by Lawrence E. Walsh, the independent counsel.

In a letter, the prince declined to testify, explaining that his country's "confidences and commitments, like our friendship, are given not just for the moment but the long run."

michaelj72 | Aug 3, 2017 8:43:35 AM | 16

"Many commit the same crime with a very different result. One bears a cross for his crime; another a crown." ― Juvenal, The Satires

librul | Aug 3, 2017 9:09:59 AM | 17
somebody @15

one more quote from your newest link to the NYT: "The job Mr. Brennan once held in Riyadh is, more than the ambassador's, the true locus of American power in the kingdom. Former diplomats recall that the most important discussions always flowed through the C.I.A. station chief." The Saudis bought the CIA. From station chief in Riyadh to Director Tenet's chief of staff to Deputy Executive Director of the CIA and finally, under Obama, to Director of the CIA.

Greenbean950 | Aug 3, 2017 9:47:03 AM | 18
NYT's article was a white wash. It was cover. NYT = CIA
paul | Aug 3, 2017 9:47:16 AM | 19
The art of limited hangout as practiced by the NYT
nonsense factory | Aug 3, 2017 10:15:14 AM | 20
Best background article I've come across on how the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings were either suppressed (in the U.S. client oil monarchies like Bahrain) or hijacked for regime change purposes (as in Libya and Syria): http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion... how-the-arab-spring-was-hijacked/ (Feb 2012)
In particular:
A fourth trend is that the Arab Spring has become a springboard for playing great-power geopolitics.

Syria, at the center of the region's sectarian fault lines, has emerged as the principal battleground for such Cold War-style geopolitics. Whereas Russia is intent on keeping its only military base outside the old Soviet Union in Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus, the U.S. seems equally determined to install a pro-Western regime in Damascus.

This goal prompted Washington to set up a London-based television station that began broadcasting to Syria a year before major protests began there. The U.S. campaign, which includes assembling a coalition of the willing, has been boosted by major Turkish, Saudi, Qatari and UAE help, including cross-border flow of arms into Syria and the establishment of two new petrodollar-financed, jihad-extolling television channels directed at Syria's majority Sunni Arabs.

The best explanation is that despite the effort to "woo" Assad into the Saudi-Israeli axis (c.2008-2010), Assad refused to cut economic ties with Iran, which was setting up rail lines, air traffic and oil pipeline deals with Assad on very good terms. This led Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, etc. to lobby Obama to support a regime change program:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk...Leon-Panetta-supports-Hillary-Clinton-plan-to-arm-Syrian-rebels.html (Feb 2013)

Replace "plan" with "ongoing project". The main point would be that Panetta and Clinton also belong on that "illegal arms transfer" charge sheet. Civil damages for the costs Europe, Turkey, Lebanon etc. bore due to millions of fleeing refugees should also be assessed (let alone damage in Syria, often to priceless historical treasures destroyed by ISIS).

Then there's the previous regime and its deliberate lies about non-existent WMDs in Iraq, claims used to start a war of aggression that killed thousand of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Woolsey, Tenet, Powell - they should have their own separate charge sheet.

Send the lot to Scheveningen Prison - for the most notorious war criminals. Pretty luxurious as prisons go, by all accounts.

Jackrabbit | Aug 3, 2017 10:36:48 AM | 21
But it wasn't just anti-arms trafficking laws that were broken, was it? Wouldn't a conspiracy to use extremists as a weapon of state amount to a crime against humanity? David Stockman thinks so, but he pins the 'crime' on old, sick McCain. (see: 'Moderate Rebels' Cheerleader McCain is Fall Guy But Neocon Cancer Lives
karlof1 | Aug 3, 2017 10:45:27 AM | 22
Within the Outlaw US Empire alone, there're several thousand people deserving of those 5,000 year sentences, not just the three b singled out. But b does provide a great service for those of us who refuse to support terrorists and terrorism by not paying federal taxes by providing proof of that occurring. I classify attempts at regime change as terrorism, too, since it's essentially the waging of aggressive war via different means, which is the #1 War Crime also violating domestic law as well. Thanks b!
james | Aug 3, 2017 12:07:05 PM | 23
it's the usa!!!! no one in gov't is held accountable.. obama wants to move on, lol... look forward, not backward... creating a heaping pile of murder, mayhem and more in other parts of the world, but never examine any of it, or hold anyone accountable.. it is the amerikkkan way...
stumpy | Aug 3, 2017 12:46:57 PM | 26
What of the US bases being established in N. Syria that were helpfully marked by the Turks? Within the context that the SF force multiplier model has varied success but hasn't worked AFAIK since the Resistance in WW2. What, short of an explicit invasion, is an option for the US+? US-hired mercenaries failed to do the job, and the US as mercenaries for the Arabs are not willing to commit. Maybe if the USIC offered up more "wives" they'd acquire more psychopathic murderers to spread the joy.

Trump may have put Pompeo in to present the facade of housecleaning, but who here believes that there is any serious move to curtail the Syrian misadventure? Just a change in the marketing plan.

As the Brits came out with blocking the release of 30-yr-old official records on the basis that "personal information" and "national security" would be compromised? More like the criminal activity at 10 Downing St. and the misappropriation of public money for international crime would be brought to light. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4159032/whitehall-refuses-documents-release/

RUKidding | Aug 3, 2017 12:56:29 PM | 27
While I do agree with some of the things Trump has done so far, I cannot agree that he makes for a good "leader" of our rapidly devolving nation. As much "good" that Trump has done, he's probably done much worse on other issues and levels. It's really pretty awful all around.

That said, when some people say how much they "miss Obama," I want to either pound my head into a brick wall and/or throw up. The damage that Obama and his hench men/women did is incalculable.

At least with Trump, we can clearly witness his idiocy and grasp the level of at least some of his damage.

Not so much with "No drama Obama" the smooth talking viper that we - either unwittingly or wittingly - clutche to our collective bosom. Obama's many many many lies - all told with smooth suave assurance - along with his many sins of omission served as cover for what he was doing. Trump's buffoonery and incessant Twitting at least put his idiocies out on the stage for all to see (of course, the Republicans do use that as cover for their nefarious deeds behind Trump's doofus back).

Agree with b. NYT is worthless. Limited hangout for sure.

stumpy | Aug 3, 2017 1:15:55 PM | 28
Speaking of who DID get arrested, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/08/03/fbi-arrests-wannacry-hero-marcus-hutchins-las-vegas-reports/

Gee, wouldn't we like to see the arrest warrant?

NemesisCalling | Aug 3, 2017 1:16:29 PM | 29
@27 beating a dead horse, but I agree.

I likened a Trump presidency to sticking the landing of a crashing US empire. He'll bring it down without going true believer on us, a la Clinton and ilk who were busy scheduling the apocalypse.

Trump has not been tested yet with a rapidly deteriorating economy which as we all know is coming. Something is in the air and Trump will have to face it sooner or later. The weight of the anger of millions will be behind it...will it be too late? Will Trump finally go MAGA in what he promised: Glas-Steagall, making trade fair for US interests, dialing back NATO...etc. etc. I fear he can not articulate the issues at hand, like Roosevelt or Hitler. He is too bumbling. I guess really we can only hope for an avoidance of WW. Will the world even weep for a third world USA?

Mina | Aug 3, 2017 1:23:53 PM | 30
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/274706/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt-and-Russia-broker-truce-between-Syrian-regim.aspx
harrylaw | Aug 3, 2017 2:14:24 PM | 31
Remember this, The prosecution of a Swedish national accused of terrorist activities in Syria has collapsed at the Old Bailey after it became clear Britain's security and intelligence agencies would have been deeply embarrassed had a trial gone ahead, the Guardian can reveal.

His lawyers argued that British intelligence agencies were supporting the same Syrian opposition groups as he was, and were party to a secret operation providing weapons and non-lethal help to the groups, including the Free Syrian Army. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/01/trial-swedish-man-accused-terrorism-offences-collapse-bherlin-gildo

John McCain was neck deep in supporting Terrorists in Syria he wanted to give them manpads.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) ! Media reported earlier in October that Syrian rebels asked Washington for Stinger missiles to use them against Russia's military jets. "Absolutely Absolutely I would," McCain said when asked whether he would support the delivery of Stinger missiles to the opposition in Syria.

"We certainly did that in Afghanistan. After the Russians invaded Afghanistan, we provided them with surface-to-air capability. It'd be nice to give people that we train and equip and send them to fight the ability to defend themselves. That's one of the fundamental principles of warfare as I understand it," McCain said. https://sputniknews.com/us/201510201028835944-us-stingers-missiles-syrian-rebels-mccain/

virgile | Aug 3, 2017 2:23:20 PM | 32
They will pay sooner or later for their crimes against the Syrians. Add Sarkozy, Cameron and Holland to the list of criminals hiding under their position.
harrylaw | Aug 3, 2017 2:44:11 PM | 33
The US were into regime change in Syria a long time ago..... Robert Ford was US Ambassador to Syria when the revolt against Syrian president Assad was launched. He not only was a chief architect of regime change in Syria, but actively worked with rebels to aid their overthrow of the Syrian government.

Ford assured us that those taking up arms to overthrow the Syrian government were simply moderates and democrats seeking to change Syria's autocratic system. Anyone pointing out the obviously Islamist extremist nature of the rebellion and the foreign funding and backing for the jihadists was written off as an Assad apologist or worse.

Ambassador Ford talked himself blue in the face reassuring us that he was only supporting moderates in Syria. As evidence mounted that the recipients of the largesse doled out by Washington was going to jihadist groups, Ford finally admitted early last year that most of the moderates he backed were fighting alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda. Witness this incredible Twitter exchange with then-ex Ambassador Ford: http://www.globalresearch.ca/you-wont-believe-what-former-us-ambassador-robert-s-ford-said-about-al-qaedas-syrian-allies/5504906

Noirette | Aug 3, 2017 2:48:20 PM | 34
Specially Petraeus. A US Army General, and director of the CIA You don't get more 'pillar' of the State than that! And off he goes doing illegal arms trades, in the billions, see for ex. Meyssan, as an ex.:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article197144.html

In other countries / times, he'd be shot at dawn as a traitor. But all it shows really is that the USA does not really have a Gvmt. in the sense of a 'political structure of strong regulatory importance with 'democratic' participation..' to keep it vague.. It has an elaborate public charade, a kind of clumsy theatre play, that relies very heavily on the scripted MSM, on ritual, and various distractions. Plus natch' very vicious control mechanisms at home.. another story.

Meanwhile, off stage, the actors participate and fight and ally in a whole other scene where 'disaster capitalism', 'rapine', 'mafia moves' and the worst impulses in human nature not only bloom but are institutionalised and deployed world-wide! Covering all this up is getting increasingly difficult -Trump presidency - one would hope US citizens no not for now.

The other two of course as well, I just find Petraeus emblematic, probably because of all the BS about his mistress + he once mis-treated classified info or something like that, total irrelevance spun by the media, which works.

OJS | Aug 3, 2017 2:49:46 PM | 35
@virgile, 32

"They will pay sooner or later for their crimes against the Syrians. Add Sarkozy, Cameron and Holland to the list of criminals hiding under their position."

I humbly disagree, and they sincerely believe they are helping the Syrians (plus other states) - freedom and democracy against the brutality of Dr. Assad. I believe all these murderers are sincere doing god works and will all go to heaven. That is one of the reasons why I refuse to go to heaven even if gods beg me. Fuck it!

My apologies if I offend you or anyone. It's about time we look carefully beside politic and wealth, what religion does to a human?

karlof1 | Aug 3, 2017 3:26:11 PM | 36
OJS @35--

Have you read Reg Morrison's Spirit in the Gene ? Here's a link to one of his related essays with many more of relevance on his website, https://regmorrison.edublogs.org/1999/07/20/plague-species-the-spirit-in-the-gene/

ben | Aug 3, 2017 3:35:09 PM | 37
b asked : "When will the FBI investigate Messrs Petraeus, Obama and Brennan? Duh, like never... Most here understand this, I'm sure. The wealthy and the connected puppets never face justice, for their crimes, committed in the service of their owners.

You can include ALL the POTUS's and their minions, since the turn of the century. " It's just business, get over it."

john | Aug 3, 2017 4:16:52 PM | 38
ben says:

Duh, like never..Most here understand this, I'm sure right. like voyeurs, we like to watch , and watch , and watch .

somebody | Aug 3, 2017 4:23:25 PM | 39
35 Religion has nothing to do with it.

How to spot a Sociopath

6 Look for signs of instigating violent behavior. As children some sociopaths torture defenseless people and animals. This violence is always instigating, and not defensive violence. They will create drama out of thin air, or twist what others say. They will often overreact strongly to minor offenses. If they are challenged or confronted about it, they will point the finger the other way, counting on the empathic person's empathy and consideration of people to protect them, as long as they can remain undetected. Their attempt to point the finger the other way, is both a smokescreen to being detected, and an attempt to confuse the situation.

The link is a pretty good summary. It is easy to find more respectable psychological sources for the disorder on the internet.

fast freddy | Aug 3, 2017 5:45:24 PM | 40
NYT never saw a war (rather an attack by the US, NATO, Israel, UK, on any defenseless nation) that it did not support. Wiki uses the word "allegedly" in explaining the CIA and Operation Mockingbird. It just isn't feasible that a secret government agency - gone rogue - with unlimited funding and manpower could write/edit the news for six media owners with similar war-profiteering motives. /s
OJS | Aug 3, 2017 8:12:07 PM | 42
@karlof1, 36

" Here, evolution had hit on the sweetest of solutions. Such perceptions were guaranteed to produce a faith-dependent species that believed itself to be thoroughly separate from the rest of the animal kingdom, ...."

Interesting article, but stop reading years ago when struggled to raise a family, make a living to survive. Debatable Is "sociopath" (Antisocial Personality Disorder) or the genes make humanly so brutally? Very often hard to fathom the depth of human suffering be it USA, Syria or elsewhere. Thanks sharing you thought.

falcemartello | Aug 3, 2017 9:03:06 PM | 43
What most of the msm and the echo chamber seem to be deliberately missing is all intentional. The whole Assad must go meme is dead and buried. The western cabal has not acheived their regime change in Syria. The Russian economy has not sunk to the bottom of the Black sea, the Russians hacked into my fridge meme has all been debunked and is falling apart. The collusion of all anglo antlantacist secret agency and governments to destabalize the ME has all come out with an ever turbulant flow. Iran being the threat of the world ,debunked. Russia invading and hacking the free world ,debunked.

Hence I expect that the western oligarchs along with their pressitute and compromised politicians will be bying up alot of bleach. They will be whitewashing for the next three months all semblance of anything related to their fraudulent existence.

Nurenberg 2, the Hague would be to soft for these vile criminals of humanity. Look how they had to back track on the Milosevic conviction mind u post death.
Just another day in the office for these criminals of humanity. Gee can't wait until this petro-dollar ponzi scheme crashes hopefully we can get back o being human again. The emperor has no clothes.

runaway robot | Aug 3, 2017 9:07:30 PM | 44
karlof1@36:
Thanks for reminding me about Reg Morrison! I need to re-read that book, slowly.
fast freddy | Aug 3, 2017 9:20:33 PM | 45
43 The whole Assad must go meme is dead and buried. The western cabal has not acheived their regime change in Syria. The Russian economy has not sunk to the bottom of the Black sea, the Russians hacked into my fridge meme has all been debunked and is falling apart. The collusion of all anglo antlantacist secret agency and governments to destabalize the ME has all come out with an ever turbulant flow. Iran being the threat of the world ,debunked. Russia invading and hacking the free world,debunked.

Optimistic. Has Trump been instrumental in these? Perhaps. This would be a good reason for Zionists to hate him. But how is it that Trump is such a bumbling idiot? Now the Senate has ratfcked him with recess appointments. And he signed that stupid Russia Sanctions bill.

Temporarily Sane | Aug 4, 2017 12:06:50 AM | 46
@45 fast freddy
This would be a good reason for Zionists to hate him.

Except they don't hate him. Quite the opposite in fact. Looking to Trump as some sort of savior figure is absolutely ridiculous.

rm | Aug 4, 2017 12:17:56 AM | 47
Brennan : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBG81dXgM0Q

Seymour Hersh, in his 'Victoria NULAND moment' audio, states categorically BRENNAN conceived and ran the 'Russian Hack' psyop after Seth RICH DNC leaks.

[Sep 17, 2017] Empire Idiots by Linh Dinh

Highly recommended!
There are probably two factors here: The first is the real anger of Arab population against aggression by the USA and European states (mainly GB and Frnace). That what produces radicalized Muslims who can commit terrorist attacks.
The second factor is the desire of intelligence agencies to exploit those attacks for thier own purposes. For example, it is quite possible, that they are standing idle to the most stupid of them and disrupt others, more dangerous.
Notable quotes:
"... How many Muslims are needed to drive one suicide car? Five, of course. What's the best, most lethal vehicle for the purpose? The compact Audi A3, naturally. ..."
"... From 9/11, Charlie Hebdo, Paris' Bataclan Concert Hall, Berlin's Christmas Market to Barcelona, etc., Muslim mass murderers seem expert at leaving behind their identity papers. ..."
"... Classic examples of this type of "lost and found id" were Oswald's lost wallet and James Earl Ray's dropped bundle of documents (ML King) ..."
"... Arab folks are brimming with anger that is now being met by the anger of the natives. ..."
"... I think the author misses the role of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, who appear to be the main financiers of the work performed by the above American Israel Empire. ..."
"... Perhaps the term Petrodollar Empire would be more accurate? As a bonus, it also complies better to the rules of political correctness. ..."
"... I am always deeply skeptical of these false flag claims. We bomb and kill arabs daily, yet create magnificent conspiracy theories to explain how it is someone else blowing crap up in vengeance. ..."
"... Why would Israel need to frame Muslim bombers when so many are so willing to do the job themselves and avenge their dead? Israel certainly pulls our strings to conduct the bombardment and they control American politics – why would they need to fabricate murders of random faceless Spaniards? How does that keep American taxpayers footing the bill for Zionism? ..."
"... It's really pretty simple isn't it? Before we decided to throw in with England and help genocide the Palestinians we had few problems with arabs. Now we've expanded our mission to include Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, etc and our blowback is serious. The arabs are doing what I'd do if a foreign power bombed my family. I could not care less what happens to Israelis or arabs. We need to either nuke the entire Arab world or leave it the hell alone – none of them are worth a single American life. ..."
Sep 09, 2017 | www.unz.com

How many Muslims are needed to drive one suicide car? Five, of course. What's the best, most lethal vehicle for the purpose? The compact Audi A3, naturally. What's the best time to stage such an attack? 1:15AM, grasshopper, when there are almost nobody on the Paseo Maritimo. Finally, what should you wear for such a momentous and self-defining occasion? Fake suicide vests, stupid, because they serve no purpose besides giving cops an excuse to perforate you immediately.

... .. ...

Astonishingly moronic, the five Muslims in Cambrils made all the worst choices possible, but the rest of their "terrorist cell" weren't any smarter, it is said.

Eight hours earlier, a van had killed 14 people and injured 130+ more in Barcelona, and the purported driver of that van, 22-year-old Younes Aboyaaqoub, had rented the vehicle with his own credit card. Very stupid. He also left his IDs in a second van, meant as a get-away car.

From 9/11, Charlie Hebdo, Paris' Bataclan Concert Hall, Berlin's Christmas Market to Barcelona, etc., Muslim mass murderers seem expert at leaving behind their identity papers. Otherwise, the official narrative can't be broadcast immediately. Wait a week or a month for a proper investigation, and the public won't have any idea what you're talking about, fixated as they are on a Kardashian pumped up buttocks or Messi goal.

Brabantian, Website September 9, 2017 at 9:03 am GMT

List of Passport / ID documents found at terrorism attack scenes – at least 8, including those Linh Dinh mentions above

(1) – 11 Sep 2001 passport found in NYC towers rubble tho aeroplane had 'turned to vapour'
(2) – 7 Jul 2005 London bomboings – ID of '4th bomber' allegedly 'found by UK police'
(3) – 7 Jan 2015 Charlie Hebdo, passport in car in front of Paris Jewish deli where Mossad meets
(4) – 13 Nov 2015 Bataclan Paris passport flew from body 'after killer exploded his suicide vest'
(5) – 14 Jul 2016 Nice France lorry attack 'passport found'
(6) – 19 Dec 2016 Berlin Christmas market lorry attack 'ID found', after 24 hours of searching lorry cab
(7) – 22 May 2017 Manchester UK 'suicide bomber leaves ID' at scene amidst another 'terror on 22nd'
(8) – 17 Aug 2017 Barcelona deadly terror attack by white van, 'Spanish passport found in van'

Also related & of interest
'Mossad did the Barcelona attack' – Israel heavily involved with Barcelona police – from Aangirfan on her site

republic, September 9, 2017 at 11:43 am GMT

@Brabantian List of Passport / ID documents found at terrorism attack scenes - at least 8, including those Linh Dinh mentions above

(1) - 11 Sep 2001 passport found in NYC towers rubble tho aeroplane had 'turned to vapour'
(2) - 7 Jul 2005 London bomboings - ID of '4th bomber' allegedly 'found by UK police'
(3) - 7 Jan 2015 Charlie Hebdo, passport in car in front of Paris Jewish deli where Mossad meets
(4) - 13 Nov 2015 Bataclan Paris passport flew from body 'after killer exploded his suicide vest'
(5) - 14 Jul 2016 Nice France lorry attack 'passport found'
(6) - 19 Dec 2016 Berlin Christmas market lorry attack 'ID found', after 24 hours of searching lorry cab
(7) - 22 May 2017 Manchester UK 'suicide bomber leaves ID' at scene amidst another 'terror on 22nd'
(8) - 17 Aug 2017 Barcelona deadly terror attack by white van, 'Spanish passport found in van'

Also related & of interest
'Mossad did the Barcelona attack' - Israel heavily involved with Barcelona police - from Aangirfan on her site
http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/mossad-did-barcelona-attack.html
http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barcelona-false-flag-part-3.html https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Lost_and_Found_ID

Classic examples of this type of "lost and found id" were Oswald's lost wallet and James Earl Ray's dropped bundle of documents (ML King)

Cranky, September 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm GMT

Dinh, you are a fool. The Spanish police until the last two decades were always a bit trigger happy. And then you forget the Guardia Civil. They were the people in charge of keeping Franco's Spain quiet, and it was quiet like the grave. The really funny part is the Arab folks are brimming with anger that is now being met by the anger of the natives. Read the Blood of Spain, and see the complicated relationship between Franco's Moros and how they ravaged parts of Spain during the Civil War. The really ironic part is these "radicalized" kids are simply fodder for the papers back home, and an excuse to begin the round ups and mass deportations.

Fascism is now returning to Europe because of the liberal insanity of open borders and mass immigration.

Go see this in Spain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valle_de_los_Ca%C3%ADdos

Built by the prisoners of France, and then ponder what it means when a people get tired of too much change.

Simpleguest, September 9, 2017 at 4:34 pm GMT

Nice read, indeed. Regarding the main idea of the article, that the:

" .. American Israel Empire is working nonstop to deform the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and, frankly, the rest of the world."

I think the author misses the role of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, who appear to be the main financiers of the work performed by the above American Israel Empire.

Perhaps the term Petrodollar Empire would be more accurate? As a bonus, it also complies better to the rules of political correctness.

DFH, September 9, 2017 at 8:34 pm GMT

Which seems more likely prima facie , Muslim terrorism or that the whole thing was faked? The whole premise of this article seems to be that it's simply ludicrous that a Muslim would ever do something like ram a car into a crowd of people.

jacques sheete, September 9, 2017 at 11:36 pm GMT

You're being played, in short.

For sure. Deja vu all over again and again. Another fine one, LD!

Dumbo, September 10, 2017 at 3:47 am GMT

It's like in the great movie by Kurosawa, Yojimbo, one guy playing both sides one against the other. Except Sanjuro was a good guy trying to kill a bunch of thugs and bring peace to the town, while our globo-masters prefer to see innocent people being murdered and the world in chaos.

Anon, Disclaimer September 10, 2017 at 6:11 pm GMT

@Linh Dinh "Barcelona Massacre, the testimony of Bruno Gulotta's father," delivered a day after his son's death:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbvhAwlYgfA

Linh, the Orlando video seems obviously fake. For those who look for those things, there are plenty of give-aways. But what's your point with the Barcelona video? I don't speak Spanish or Catalan, as the case may be, but he seems to be fairly dispassionate and therefore not bullshitting. I do hope there was a point you were making. There is enough in what you say, so that your linguistic showing off is a pointless irritation. I would like to make my point with a pointless Hindi quip, but my phone doesn't support the script.

Dumbo, September 10, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT

@fish

What Merkel has done in Germany is incredible. She took in a million, a million and a half refugees, and there has been no major problem. It has been a great success, a miracle."
Yeah....good luck with that! By the time this all sorts out historically Merkel will rate lower than ol Schickelgruber.

Mutti.....Europes greatest "Crazy Cat Lady"!

"and there has been no major problem"

Except for a few stabbings, shootings and bombings as well as general malaise and waste of taxpayer's money, but what is that compared to the glory of diversity?
Well, I guess Germany had too few kebab shops

"By the time this all sorts out historically Merkel will rate lower than ol Schickelgruber."

The problem of politics and especially democracy is that politicians act for short term gains, but their decisions affect everybody else in the long term. By the time the Scheiße hits the fan Merkel and her friends will be happily retired in Switzerland or Monaco.

Andrew Nichos, September 11, 2017 at 3:30 am GMT

You'd have to be blind and stupid not have noticed this convenient habit of Muslim terrorists. I wonder why the IRA/ Baader Meinhof/Brigata Rossi or the westher,men didn't have the same habit?

NoseytheDuke, September 11, 2017 at 4:26 am GMT

You'd have to be blind and stupid not have noticed this convenient habit of pseudo moslem terrorists. I wonder why the IRA/ Baader Meinhof/Brigata Rossi or the Weathermen didn't have the same habit?

I fixed that for you, mate. The frequency of this seemingly ritual habit is amazing I agree. It is certainly one for the Coincidence Theorists out there.

Erebus, September 11, 2017 at 5:39 am GMT

@Intelligent Dasein From the banner of this website:

A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
I am here reminded of Jerry Seinfeld's wise observation that "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."

I would advise Ron Unz to take this saying to heart and to spike the execrable Linh Dinh from these pages, and his butt-buddy Revusky, too.

I am here reminded of Jerry Seinfeld's wise observation that "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."

Seinfeld would have been wiser if he had said that it's always less travelled for a reason. That reason is invariably along the lines of it being less convenient, more arduous, and more challenging. It often takes you to uncomfortable places, and you have to leave your beloved baggage behind.
Most people naturally choose to walk the broad level path that's been thoughtfully laid out for them. It doesn't go anywhere at all, except maybe in a giant circle, so that it doesn't matter where they start or where they stop, but they get to keep and even accumulate baggage along the way and that's what travelling is all about, isn't it?

NoseytheDuke, September 11, 2017 at 11:42 am GMT

@utu Looks like Linh Dinh was turned by Revusky. Everything must be a hoax. This is their starting position: It is a hoax until proven otherwise.

And Revusky comes up with his cheap schtick about the "emotional register." As if he ever seen true reactions of real people who lost relatives? All his life like all the hoax mongering youtube yahoos he was exposed to movies with the overacted emotional displays by actors and this formed the baseline for the youtube yahoos and Revusky. So when he sees more measure reactions of real people he thinks it must be bad acting. Yes, if you haven't noticed, the real life is full of bad acting, you fool.

More interesting would be to read about how is the bromance evolving? Actually real life is usually quite authentic which is the 'real' part and since several big "terror"events have had some inexplicable aspects to them suggesting the involvement of trickery it would be wise to suspect that of other events too. If you've been mugged while walking in the street a couple of times it would be completely rational and indeed prudent if you crossed the street to avoid a stranger, or clutched a hidden weapon as a stranger approached. This is natural and the survival instinct at work.

As to the emotional register, most people have not studied acting yet they can spot poor acting on TV or in a movie very quickly because they have experienced human behaviour their entire lives. When the behaviour or physical action doesn't match the dialogue or situation it appears very odd to us. Some people are more observant than others, this is why professional actors like to study the traits and quirks of people.

Linh Dinh has written some really excellent articles as many commenters have approved and stated as much but if you don't like them why bother reading or commenting? Jonathan Revusky too has written some very worthwhile articles in my opinion but he doesn't seem to take criticism well and has made a few enemies here but again, if you don't like them why not spend your time reading the work of other people?

bb., September 11, 2017 at 12:36 pm GMT

i agree that the passports left behind all the time are a little bit weird. when some shit goes down, among friends, we jokingly ask if they found the passports yet? but it could also be that they want to leave them behind, as a martyr signature or something maybe. like now they recruited irma for their cause..saying god is on their side.
but then again..i am susceptible to consider weird shit. like the boston bombings for example. I saw a very strange video of a simulation of a bombing attack which looked very real, like tv footage, but maybe that's the point of a good simulation.
we live in weird times. information flow is corrupted and not to be trusted. stanislaw lem wrote about it 40years ago and I always think about it reading news.

escobar, September 11, 2017 at 1:05 pm GMT

Linh Dinh's and others' dark dreams:

The American Israel Empire, the Anglo Zionist Conspiracy, the Jew Bolshevik plot

How do the Jews have time for all that and make so much money, run their dentistry, legal, media, entertainment empires and lust after blond shiksa cheerleaders as well?
Maybe it's from those gefilte fish they eat, or from the chopped liver they do even better than this sample produced by Linh Dinh.

Joe Hide, September 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm GMT

Millions of us have been aware of the "Empire" for years now Linh. We just don't have access to the media expression as you do. We tend to be quiet about it until we sense a person or group is open to this Truth. Most people think inside the box because it's safe, comforting, and lacks unpleasant reactions. We who want the Truth value your articles, because we really do believe that "The Truth will set you free."

Santoculto, September 11, 2017 at 1:50 pm GMT

Francisco, a typical teacher of philosophy and never a real philosopher. Most of this "refugees" are permanent immigrants, that's why this "refugee crisis" is just a way to accelerate the capitulation of Europe. Real refugees came back to their countries when they have opportunity. In the end the most effective way to stop middle east conflicts must be done via exposition of real (((criminals))), the direct responsible for all this shit. Only the truth can solve any problem and (((problem))).

Teacher of history's philosophy, what most of this "philosophers" are. Real philosophers learn/or invent and teach real or valid philosophical methods of thinking/analytical-critical thinking and of course subsequent action/application.

anonymous, Disclaimer September 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm GMT

The author is claiming it's all fake because the participants were inept and stupid. They possibly were being monitored and followed all along. That doesn't make it a staged fake event. "Kosher Nostra"? What's that supposed to mean? Jews are scapegoated for what Muslims do and have been doing for close to fourteen hundred years? It took the Spanish hundreds of years of struggle to free themselves from Muslim overlordship and now they're just supposed to wash their brains of any historical memory? Those third worlders written about so lovingly add nothing to Spain besides just some food joints. The author doesn't live there anyway so why is he telling them how to live?"Drugged and inflamed" is not necessarily true of all of America. The author is probably an alcoholic and needs to stop hanging around craphole taverns with all those dysfunctional boozers.

Hairway To Steven, September 11, 2017 at 8:30 pm GMT

Conspiracy theories like those expressed in this article and in many of the comments are for those either lacking the good sense to appreciate that the world is complex or the intellectual patience to sort through that complexity.

In the absence of these qualities, conspiracy nuts come up with unified theories that "explain everything" (e.g., the Jews control the world).

Actually moving out of the basement of their mom's house, or even losing their virginity, might help, but most of these sweaty little pamphleteers are lost causes whose lives rarely extend beyond a circle of like-minded friends and the insular concerns expressed in their over-heated and under-read blogs.

Stan d Mute, September 11, 2017 at 10:34 pm GMT

@DFH Which seems more likely prima facie , Muslim terrorism or that the whole thing was faked?
The whole premise of this article seems to be that it's simply ludicrous that a Muslim would ever do something like ram a car into a crowd of people.

Which seems more likely prima facie, Muslim terrorism or that the whole thing was faked?
The whole premise of this article seems to be that it's simply ludicrous that a Muslim would ever do something like ram a car into a crowd of people.

I am always deeply skeptical of these false flag claims. We bomb and kill arabs daily, yet create magnificent conspiracy theories to explain how it is someone else blowing crap up in vengeance.

Why would Israel need to frame Muslim bombers when so many are so willing to do the job themselves and avenge their dead? Israel certainly pulls our strings to conduct the bombardment and they control American politics – why would they need to fabricate murders of random faceless Spaniards? How does that keep American taxpayers footing the bill for Zionism?

It's really pretty simple isn't it? Before we decided to throw in with England and help genocide the Palestinians we had few problems with arabs. Now we've expanded our mission to include Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, etc and our blowback is serious. The arabs are doing what I'd do if a foreign power bombed my family. I could not care less what happens to Israelis or arabs. We need to either nuke the entire Arab world or leave it the hell alone – none of them are worth a single American life.

Art, September 12, 2017 at 2:30 am GMT

How stupid must you be to not see that the American Israel Empire has rigged every aspect of your reality?

...The pattern of human nature that they use is called the Stockholm syndrome.

It has been documented that a group of people can be turned against themselves when they are captured and terrorized, and in the process, they are propagandized to believe that the terrorizers themselves are the true victims. The terrorists tell the those they captured, that they are doing this because they themselves are the real victims.

The syndrome is that the captured group begin to sympathize with their terrorists. They take to heart that the terrorists are indeed victims, and that they should be supported. .

... ... ...

Think Peace ! Art

Stan d Mute, September 12, 2017 at 2:50 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski "... none of them are worth an American life."

Stan d Mute,

The dangerous thing about your rather common conclusion (above) is the stinky fact that, for the sake of creating Greater Israel, Neoconservatives are in your "Amen Corner" and also would green light the "nuking" of Iran.

Thank you.

Neoconservatives are in your "Amen Corner" and also would green light the "nuking" of Iran.

Don't paint me with your misrepresentation. I wrote " nuke the entire Arab world " Your Iran reply is a strawman.

Few neocons would endorse my suggestion to either obliterate the Middle East (drill for oil through the glass) or abandon their first loyalty of Zionism and all resulting meddling and murdering in the region.

Tell it like it is, September 12, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT

Cry me a river. No sympathy from me. This article is completely one sided. What kind of investigative reporting is this when the author didn't even interview the police and review the evidence, but simply hurl out accusations through hearsay from the average guys on the street.

... ... ...

denk, September 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

The terror factory

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34322.htm

It has already been exposed that 95% of domestic 'terror attacks' were FBI/CIA
false flags.

[Sep 17, 2017] Fear of deviation from political correctness is a powerful thing and such zeitgeist pervades America to an extent that people fear independent thought for concern that they will be deterred from upward employment mobility

Highly recommended!
This is the essence of self-censorship effect...
Sep 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

Art says: September 15, 2017 at 11:24 pm GMT

Fear is "a powerful thing" and such zeitgeist pervades America to an extent that people fear independent thought for concern that they will be deterred from upward employment mobility. In short, we suffer the enforcement of an institutional hindance to Free Speech.

Call it what it is – TERRORISM.

"Terror"
1. Intense, overpowering fear.
2. One that instills intense fear.
3. The ability to instill intense fear.
4. Violence committed or threatened by a group, especially against civilians , in the pursuit of political goals.

... ... ...

[Sep 17, 2017] The So-called Russian Hack of the DNC Does Not Make Sense by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 6 May 2016 when CrowdStrike first detected what it assessed to be a Russian presence inside the DNC server. Follow me here. One week after realizing there had been a penetration, the DNC learns, courtesy of the computer security firm it hired, that the Russians are doing it. Okay. Does CrowdStrike shut down the penetration. Nope. The hacking apparently continues unabated. ..."
"... I introduce Seth Rich at this point because he represents an alternative hypothesis. Rich, who reportedly was a Bernie Sanders supporter, was in a position at the DNC that gave him access to the emails in question and the opportunity to download the emails and take them from the DNC headquarters. Worth noting that Julian Assange offered $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Rich's killer or killers. 8. 22 July 2016. Wikileaks published the DNC emails starting on 22 July 2016. Bill Binney, a former senior official at NSA, insists that if such a hack and electronic transfer over the internet had occurred then the NSA has in it possession the intelligence data to prove that such activity had occurred. ..."
"... Notwithstanding the claim by CrowdStrike not a single piece of evidence has been provided to the public to support the conclusion that the emails were hacked and physically transferred to a server under the control of a Russian intelligence operative. ..."
"... Please do not try to post a comment stating that the "Intelligence Community" concluded as well that Russia was responsible. That claim is totally without one shred of actual forensic evidence. Also, Julian Assange insists that the emails did not come from a Russian source. ..."
"... Wikileaks, the protector of the accountability of the top, has announced a reward for finding the murderers of Seth Rich. In comparison, the DNC has not offered any reward to help the investigation of the murder of the DNC staffer, but the DNC found a well-connected lawyer to protect Imran Awan who is guilty (along with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz) in the greatest breach of national cybersecurity: http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/29/wasserman-schultz-seemingly-planned-to-pay-suspect-even-while-he-lived-in-pakistan/ ..."
"... I'm afraid you're behind the times. Wheeler is no longer relevant now that Sy Hersh has revealed an FBI report that explicitly says Rich was in contact with Wikileaks offering to sell them DNC documents. ..."
"... Alperovitch is not just an incompetent "expert" in cybersecurity - he is a willing liar and war-mongering, for money. ..."
"... The DNC hacking story has never been about national security; Alperovitch (and his handlers) have no loyalty to the US. ..."
"... LeaNder , 05 September 2017 at 09:59 AM ..."
"... PT, I make a short exception. Actually decided to stop babbling for a while. But: Just finished something successfully. ..."
"... And since I usually need distraction by something far more interesting then matters at hand. I was close to your line of thought yesters. ..."
"... But really: Shouldn't the timeline start in 2015, since that's supposedly the time someone got into the DNC's system? ..."
"... One could of course start earlier. What is the exact timeline of the larger cyberwar post 9/11, or at least the bits and pieces that surfaced for the nitwits among us, like: Stuxnet? ..."
"... But nevermind. Don't forget developments and recent events around Eugene or Jewgeni Walentinowitsch Kasperski? ..."
"... LondonBob , 05 September 2017 at 03:27 PM ..."
"... The Russia thing certainly seems to have gone quiet. ..."
"... Bannon's chum says the issue with pursuing the Clinton email thing is that you would end up having to indict almost all of the last administration, including Obama, unseemly certainly. Still there might be a fall guy, maybe Comey, and obviously it serves Trump's purposes to keep this a live issue through the good work of Grassley and the occasional tweet. ..."
"... Would be amusing if Trump pardoned Obama. Still think Brennan should pay a price though, can't really be allowed to get away with it ..."
"... Scott Ritter's article referenced in PT's post is terrific, covering a ton of issues related to CrowdStrike and the DNC hack. You need to read it, not just PT's timeline. In case you missed the link in PT's post: ..."
"... Dumbstruck: How CrowdStrike Conned America on the Hack of the DNC https://medium.com/homefront-rising/dumbstruck-how-crowdstrike-conned-america-on-the-hack-of-the-dnc-ecfa522ff44f ..."
"... The article by Jeffrey Carr on CrowdStrike referenced from back in 2012 is also worth reading: Where's the "Strike" in CrowdStrike? https://jeffreycarr.blogspot.com/2012/09/wheres-strike-in-crowdstrike.html ..."
"... Also, the article Carr references is very important for understanding the limits of malware analysis and "attribution". Written by Michael Tanji, whose credentials appear impressive: "spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East." ..."
"... Malware Analysis: The Danger of Connecting the Dots: https://www.oodaloop.com/technology/2012/09/11/malware-analysis-the-danger-of-connecting-the-dots/ ..."
"... His article echoes and reinforces what Carr and others have said about the difficulty of attribution of infosec breaches. Namely that the basic problem of both intelligence and infosec operations is that there is too much obfuscation, manipulation, and misdirection involved to be sure of who or what is going on. ..."
"... None of this proves that Russian intelligence - or Russians of some stripe - or for that matter hackers from literally anywhere - couldn't or didn't ALSO do a hack of the DNC. But it does prove that the iron-clad attribution of the source of Wikileaks email release to Russia is at best flawed, and at worst a deliberate cover up of a leak. ..."
"... And Russiagate depends prima rily on BOTH alleged "facts" being true: 1) that Russia hacked the DNC, and 2) that Russia was the source of Wikileaks release. And if the latter is not true, then one has to question why Russia hacked the DNC in the first place, other than for "normal" espionage operations. "Influencing the election" then becomes a far less plausible theory. ..."
"... The general takeaway from an infosec point of view is that attribution by means of target identification, tools used, and "indicators of compromise" is a fatally flawed means of identifying, and thus being able to counter, the adversaries encountered in today's Internet world, as Tanji proves. Only HUMINT offers a way around this, just as it is really the only valid option in countering terrorism. ..."
Sep 05, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Notwithstanding the conventional wisdom that Russia hacked into the DNC computers, downloaded emails and a passed the stolen missives to Julian Assange's crew at Wikileaks, a careful examination of the timeline of events from 2016 shows that this story is simply not plausible.

Let me take you through the known facts:

1. 29 April 2016 , when the DNC became aware its servers had been penetrated (https://medium.com/homefront-rising/dumbstruck-how-crowdstrike-conned-america-on-the-hack-of-the-dnc-ecfa522ff44f). Note. They apparently did not know who was doing it. 2, 6 May 2016 when CrowdStrike first detected what it assessed to be a Russian presence inside the DNC server. Follow me here. One week after realizing there had been a penetration, the DNC learns, courtesy of the computer security firm it hired, that the Russians are doing it. Okay. Does CrowdStrike shut down the penetration. Nope. The hacking apparently continues unabated. 3. 25 May 2016. The messages published on Wikileaks from the DNC show that 26 May 2016 was the last date that emails were sent and received at the DNC. There are no emails in the public domain after that date. In other words, if the DNC emails were taken via a hacking operation, we can conclude from the fact that the last messages posted to Wikileaks show a date time group of 25 May 2016. Wikileaks has not reported nor posted any emails from the DNC after the 25th of May. I think it is reasonable to assume that was the day the dirty deed was done. 4. 12 June 2016, CrowdStrike purged the DNC server of all malware. Are you kidding me? 45 days after the DNC discovers that its serve has been penetrated the decision to purge the DNC server is finally made. What in the hell were they waiting for? But this also tells us that 18 days after the last email "taken" from the DNC, no additional emails were taken by this nasty malware. Here is what does not make sense to me. If the DNC emails were truly hacked and the malware was still in place on 11 June 2016 (it was not purged until the 12th) then why are there no emails from the DNC after 26 May 2016? an excellent analysis of Guccifer's role : Almost immediately after the one-two punch of the Washington Post article/CrowdStrike technical report went public, however, something totally unexpected happened ! someone came forward and took full responsibility for the DNC cyber attack. Moreover, this entity ! operating under the persona Guccifer 2.0 (ostensibly named after the original Guccifer , a Romanian hacker who stole the emails of a number of high-profile celebrities and who was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to 4 ˝ years of prison in May 2016) ! did something no state actor has ever done before, publishing documents stolen from the DNC server as proof of his claims.
Hi. This is Guccifer 2.0 and this is me who hacked Democratic National Committee.

With that simple email, sent to the on-line news magazine, The Smoking Gun , Guccifer 2.0 stole the limelight away from Alperovitch. Over the course of the next few days, through a series of emails, online posts and interviews , Guccifer 2.0 openly mocked CrowdStrike and its Russian attribution. Guccifer 2.0 released a number of documents, including a massive 200-plus-missive containing opposition research on Donald Trump.

Guccifer 2.0 also directly contradicted the efforts on the part of the DNC to minimize the extent of the hacking, releasing the very donor lists the DNC specifically stated had not been stolen. More chilling, Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be in possession of "about 100 Gb of data" which had been passed on to the online publisher, Wikileaks, who "will publish them soon." 7. Seth Rich died on 10 July 2016. I introduce Seth Rich at this point because he represents an alternative hypothesis. Rich, who reportedly was a Bernie Sanders supporter, was in a position at the DNC that gave him access to the emails in question and the opportunity to download the emails and take them from the DNC headquarters. Worth noting that Julian Assange offered $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Rich's killer or killers. 8. 22 July 2016. Wikileaks published the DNC emails starting on 22 July 2016. Bill Binney, a former senior official at NSA, insists that if such a hack and electronic transfer over the internet had occurred then the NSA has in it possession the intelligence data to prove that such activity had occurred. Notwithstanding the claim by CrowdStrike not a single piece of evidence has been provided to the public to support the conclusion that the emails were hacked and physically transferred to a server under the control of a Russian intelligence operative. Please do not try to post a comment stating that the "Intelligence Community" concluded as well that Russia was responsible. That claim is totally without one shred of actual forensic evidence. Also, Julian Assange insists that the emails did not come from a Russian source.

Fool , 05 September 2017 at 09:01 AM

Where was it reported that Rich was a Sanders supporter?
Publius Tacitus -> Fool... , 05 September 2017 at 09:15 AM
This is one of the reports, http://heavy.com/news/2016/08/seth-rich-julian-assange-source-wikileaks-wiki-dnc-emails-death-murder-reward-video-interview-hillary-clinton-shawn-lucas/.
Anna -> Publius Tacitus ... , 05 September 2017 at 10:56 AM
Wikileaks, the protector of the accountability of the top, has announced a reward for finding the murderers of Seth Rich. In comparison, the DNC has not offered any reward to help the investigation of the murder of the DNC staffer, but the DNC found a well-connected lawyer to protect Imran Awan who is guilty (along with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz) in the greatest breach of national cybersecurity: http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/29/wasserman-schultz-seemingly-planned-to-pay-suspect-even-while-he-lived-in-pakistan/
Stephanie -> Publius Tacitus ... , 06 September 2017 at 12:12 PM
Seth Rich's family have pleaded, and continue to plead, that the conspiracy theorists leave the death of their son alone and have said that those who continue to flog this nonsense around the internet are only serving to increase their pain. I suggest respectfully that some here may wish to consider their feelings. (Also, this stuff is nuts, you know.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/were-seth-richs-parents-stop-politicizing-our-sons-murder/2017/05/23/164cf4dc-3fee-11e7-9869-bac8b446820a_story.html?utm_term=.b20208de48d3

"We also know that many people are angry at our government and want to see justice done in some way, somehow. We are asking you to please consider our feelings and words. There are people who are using our beloved Seth's memory and legacy for their own political goals, and they are using your outrage to perpetuate our nightmare."

http://www.businessinsider.com/seth-rich-family-response-lawsuit-rod-wheeler-2017-8

"Wheeler, a former Metropolitan Police Department officer, was a key figure in a series of debunked stories claiming that Rich had been in contact with Wikileaks before his death. Fox News, which reported the story online and on television, retracted it in June."

Richardstevenhack -> Stephanie... , 07 September 2017 at 07:43 PM
I'm afraid you're behind the times. Wheeler is no longer relevant now that Sy Hersh has revealed an FBI report that explicitly says Rich was in contact with Wikileaks offering to sell them DNC documents.

It's unfortunate for the Rich family, but now that the connection is pretty much confirmed, they're going to have to allow the truth to come out.

Anna , 05 September 2017 at 09:20 AM
Mr. Dmitri Alperovitch, of Jewish descent (and an emigre from Russia), has been an "expert" at the Atlantic Council, the same organization that cherishes and provides for Mr. Eliot Higgins. These two gentlemen - and the directorate of Atlantic Council - are exhibit one of opportunism and intellectual dishonesty (though it is hard to think about Mr. Higgins in terms of "intellect").

Here is an article by Alperovitch: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/russian-cyber-attacks-in-the-united-states-will-intensify

Take note how Alperovitch coded the names of the supposed hackers: "Russian intelligence services hacked the Democratic National Committee's computer network and accessed opposition research on Donald Trump, according to the Atlantic Council's Dmitri Alperovitch.

Two Russian groups!codenamed FancyBear and CozyBear!have been identified as spearheading the DNC breach." Alperovitch is not just an incompetent "expert" in cybersecurity - he is a willing liar and war-mongering, for money.

The DNC hacking story has never been about national security; Alperovitch (and his handlers) have no loyalty to the US.

LeaNder , 05 September 2017 at 09:59 AM
PT, I make a short exception. Actually decided to stop babbling for a while. But: Just finished something successfully.

And since I usually need distraction by something far more interesting then matters at hand. I was close to your line of thought yesters.

But really: Shouldn't the timeline start in 2015, since that's supposedly the time someone got into the DNC's system?

One could of course start earlier. What is the exact timeline of the larger cyberwar post 9/11, or at least the bits and pieces that surfaced for the nitwits among us, like: Stuxnet?

But nevermind. Don't forget developments and recent events around Eugene or Jewgeni Walentinowitsch Kasperski?

LondonBob , 05 September 2017 at 03:27 PM
The Russia thing certainly seems to have gone quiet.

Bannon's chum says the issue with pursuing the Clinton email thing is that you would end up having to indict almost all of the last administration, including Obama, unseemly certainly. Still there might be a fall guy, maybe Comey, and obviously it serves Trump's purposes to keep this a live issue through the good work of Grassley and the occasional tweet.

Would be amusing if Trump pardoned Obama. Still think Brennan should pay a price though, can't really be allowed to get away with it

Richardstevenhack , 05 September 2017 at 06:23 PM
Scott Ritter's article referenced in PT's post is terrific, covering a ton of issues related to CrowdStrike and the DNC hack. You need to read it, not just PT's timeline. In case you missed the link in PT's post:

Dumbstruck: How CrowdStrike Conned America on the Hack of the DNC https://medium.com/homefront-rising/dumbstruck-how-crowdstrike-conned-america-on-the-hack-of-the-dnc-ecfa522ff44f

The article by Jeffrey Carr on CrowdStrike referenced from back in 2012 is also worth reading: Where's the "Strike" in CrowdStrike? https://jeffreycarr.blogspot.com/2012/09/wheres-strike-in-crowdstrike.html

Also, the article Carr references is very important for understanding the limits of malware analysis and "attribution". Written by Michael Tanji, whose credentials appear impressive: "spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East."

Malware Analysis: The Danger of Connecting the Dots: https://www.oodaloop.com/technology/2012/09/11/malware-analysis-the-danger-of-connecting-the-dots/

His article echoes and reinforces what Carr and others have said about the difficulty of attribution of infosec breaches. Namely that the basic problem of both intelligence and infosec operations is that there is too much obfuscation, manipulation, and misdirection involved to be sure of who or what is going on.

The Seth Rich connection is pretty much a done deal, now that Sy Hersh has been caught on tape stating that he knows of an FBI report based on a forensic analysis of Rich's laptop that shows Rich was in direct contact with Wikileaks with an attempt to sell them DNC documents and that Wikileaks had access to Rich's DropBox account. Despite Hersh's subsequent denials - which everyone knows are his usual impatient deflections prior to putting out a sourced and organized article - it's pretty clear that Rich was at least one of the sources of the Wikileaks email dump and that there is zero connection to Russia.

None of this proves that Russian intelligence - or Russians of some stripe - or for that matter hackers from literally anywhere - couldn't or didn't ALSO do a hack of the DNC. But it does prove that the iron-clad attribution of the source of Wikileaks email release to Russia is at best flawed, and at worst a deliberate cover up of a leak.

And Russiagate depends prima

rily on BOTH alleged "facts" being true: 1) that Russia hacked the DNC, and 2) that Russia was the source of Wikileaks release. And if the latter is not true, then one has to question why Russia hacked the DNC in the first place, other than for "normal" espionage operations. "Influencing the election" then becomes a far less plausible theory.

The general takeaway from an infosec point of view is that attribution by means of target identification, tools used, and "indicators of compromise" is a fatally flawed means of identifying, and thus being able to counter, the adversaries encountered in today's Internet world, as Tanji proves. Only HUMINT offers a way around this, just as it is really the only valid option in countering terrorism.

[Sep 17, 2017] Mohamed Atta was allegedly training at the airport in the same town where National Enquirer had its headquarter so it would be easy to write juicy pieces about his life there

Which suggests that anthrax attack was a part of 9/11 cover-up...
Notable quotes:
"... Mohamed Atta was allegedly training at the airport in the same town where National Enquirer had its headquarter so it would be easy to write juicy pieces about his life there. ..."
Sep 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

September 15, 2017

utu > , September 15, 2017 at 4:12 pm GMT

@Anonymous

I always wondered about the anthrax and the DC sniper since neither seemed to fit into any prevailing narrative. If the goal was to threaten noncompliant politicians then only a loose fit to the prevailing narrative would be needed to give cover.

Makes sense!

Anthrax was pretty obvious, I think. The message was sent to politicians and media. Including the taboid National Enquirer. Tabloids must be policed because unlike NYT or WaPo they may not know what is the narrative to stick to. Mohamed Atta was allegedly training at the airport in the same town where National Enquirer had its headquarter so it would be easy to write juicy pieces about his life there.

DC sniper occurred during the session of Congress about to give green light for war in Iraq. There was some opposition. DC sniper was a psyop to create fear and pressure.

[Sep 17, 2017] Empire Idiots

There are probably two factors here. The first is the real anger of Arab population against agresssion by the USA ans Euripeian states (mainly GB and Frnace). Tht was produces terrosist attacks.
The second factor is the desire of intelligence agencies to exploit those attcks for thise own puperses. for example selective stanting idle to the most stupid of them and disrupting others.
Notable quotes:
"... How many Muslims are needed to drive one suicide car? Five, of course. What's the best, most lethal vehicle for the purpose? The compact Audi A3, naturally. ..."
"... I am always deeply skeptical of these false flag claims. We bomb and kill arabs daily, yet create magnificent conspiracy theories to explain how it is someone else blowing crap up in vengeance. ..."
"... Why would Israel need to frame Muslim bombers when so many are so willing to do the job themselves and avenge their dead? Israel certainly pulls our strings to conduct the bombardment and they control American politics – why would they need to fabricate murders of random faceless Spaniards? How does that keep American taxpayers footing the bill for Zionism? ..."
"... It's really pretty simple isn't it? Before we decided to throw in with England and help genocide the Palestinians we had few problems with arabs. Now we've expanded our mission to include Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, etc and our blowback is serious. The arabs are doing what I'd do if a foreign power bombed my family. I could not care less what happens to Israelis or arabs. We need to either nuke the entire Arab world or leave it the hell alone – none of them are worth a single American life. ..."
Sep 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

How many Muslims are needed to drive one suicide car? Five, of course. What's the best, most lethal vehicle for the purpose? The compact Audi A3, naturally. What's the best time to stage such an attack? 1:15AM, grasshopper, when there are almost nobody on the Paseo Maritimo. Finally, what should you wear for such a momentous and self-defining occasion? Fake suicide vests, stupid, because they serve no purpose besides giving cops an excuse to perforate you immediately.

... .. ...

Astonishingly moronic, the five Muslims in Cambrils made all the worst choices possible, but the rest of their "terrorist cell" weren't any smarter, it is said.

Eight hours earlier, a van had killed 14 people and injured 130+ more in Barcelona, and the purported driver of that van, 22-year-old Younes Aboyaaqoub, had rented the vehicle with his own credit card. Very stupid. He also left his IDs in a second van, meant as a get-away car.

From 9/11, Charlie Hebdo, Paris' Bataclan Concert Hall, Berlin's Christmas Market to Barcelona, etc., Muslim mass murderers seem expert at leaving behind their identity papers. Otherwise, the official narrative can't be broadcast immediately. Wait a week or a month for a proper investigation, and the public won't have any idea what you're talking about, fixated as they are on a Kardashian pumped up buttocks or Messi goal.

Brabantian > , Website September 9, 2017 at 9:03 am GMT

List of Passport / ID documents found at terrorism attack scenes – at least 8, including those Linh Dinh mentions above

(1) – 11 Sep 2001 passport found in NYC towers rubble tho aeroplane had 'turned to vapour'
(2) – 7 Jul 2005 London bomboings – ID of '4th bomber' allegedly 'found by UK police'
(3) – 7 Jan 2015 Charlie Hebdo, passport in car in front of Paris Jewish deli where Mossad meets
(4) – 13 Nov 2015 Bataclan Paris passport flew from body 'after killer exploded his suicide vest'
(5) – 14 Jul 2016 Nice France lorry attack 'passport found'
(6) – 19 Dec 2016 Berlin Christmas market lorry attack 'ID found', after 24 hours of searching lorry cab
(7) – 22 May 2017 Manchester UK 'suicide bomber leaves ID' at scene amidst another 'terror on 22nd'
(8) – 17 Aug 2017 Barcelona deadly terror attack by white van, 'Spanish passport found in van'

Also related & of interest
'Mossad did the Barcelona attack' – Israel heavily involved with Barcelona police – from Aangirfan on her site

http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/mossad-did-barcelona-attack.html

http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barcelona-false-flag-part-3.html

republic > , September 9, 2017 at 11:43 am GMT

@Brabantian List of Passport / ID documents found at terrorism attack scenes - at least 8, including those Linh Dinh mentions above

(1) - 11 Sep 2001 passport found in NYC towers rubble tho aeroplane had 'turned to vapour'
(2) - 7 Jul 2005 London bomboings - ID of '4th bomber' allegedly 'found by UK police'
(3) - 7 Jan 2015 Charlie Hebdo, passport in car in front of Paris Jewish deli where Mossad meets
(4) - 13 Nov 2015 Bataclan Paris passport flew from body 'after killer exploded his suicide vest'
(5) - 14 Jul 2016 Nice France lorry attack 'passport found'
(6) - 19 Dec 2016 Berlin Christmas market lorry attack 'ID found', after 24 hours of searching lorry cab
(7) - 22 May 2017 Manchester UK 'suicide bomber leaves ID' at scene amidst another 'terror on 22nd'
(8) - 17 Aug 2017 Barcelona deadly terror attack by white van, 'Spanish passport found in van'

Also related & of interest
'Mossad did the Barcelona attack' - Israel heavily involved with Barcelona police - from Aangirfan on her site
http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/mossad-did-barcelona-attack.html
http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/barcelona-false-flag-part-3.html https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Lost_and_Found_ID

classic examples of this type of lost and found id were Oswald's lost wallet and
James Earl Ray's dropped bundle of documents (ML King)

Cranky > , September 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm GMT

Dinh, you are a fool. The Spanish police until the last two decades were always a bit trigger happy. And then you forget the Guardia Civil. They were the people in charge of keeping Franco's Spain quiet, and it was quiet like the grave.

The really funny part is the Arab folks are brimming with anger that is now being met by the anger of the natives.

Read the Blood of Spain, and see the complicated relationship between Franco's Moros and how they ravaged parts of Spain during the Civil War.

The really ironic part is these "radicalized" kids are simply fodder for the papers back home, and an excuse to begin the round ups and mass deportations.

Fascism is now returning to Europe because of the liberal insanity of open borders and mass immigration.

Go see this in Spain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valle_de_los_Ca%C3%ADdos

Built by the prisoners of France, and then ponder what it means when a people get tired of too much change.

Simpleguest > , September 9, 2017 at 4:34 pm GMT

Nice read, indeed.

Regarding the main idea of the article, that the:

" .. American Israel Empire is working nonstop to deform the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and, frankly, the rest of the world."

I think the author misses the role of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, who appear to be the main financiers of the work performed by the above American Israel Empire.

Perhaps the term Petrodollar Empire would be more accurate?
As a bonus, it also complies better to the rules of political correctness.

DFH > , September 9, 2017 at 8:34 pm GMT

Which seems more likely prima facie , Muslim terrorism or that the whole thing was faked?
The whole premise of this article seems to be that it's simply ludicrous that a Muslim would ever do something like ram a car into a crowd of people.

jacques sheete > , September 9, 2017 at 11:36 pm GMT

You're being played, in short.

For sure. Deja vu all over again and again

Another fine one, LD!

Dumbo > , September 10, 2017 at 3:47 am GMT

It's like in the great movie by Kurosawa, Yojimbo, one guy playing both sides one against the other.

Except Sanjuro was a good guy trying to kill a bunch of thugs and bring peace to the town, while our globo-masters prefer to see innocent people being murdered and the world in chaos.

Anon > , Disclaimer September 10, 2017 at 6:11 pm GMT

@Linh Dinh "Barcelona Massacre, the testimony of Bruno Gulotta's father," delivered a day after his son's death:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbvhAwlYgfA&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop Linh, the Orlando video seems obviously fake. For those who look for those things, there are plenty of give-aways. But what's your point with the Barcelona video? I don't speak Spanish or Catalan, as the case may be, but he seems to be fairly dispassionate and therefore not bullshitting. I do hope there was a point you were making. There is enough in what you say, so that your linguistic showing off is a pointless irritation. I would like to make my point with a pointless Hindi quip, but my phone doesn't support the script.

Dumbo > , September 10, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT

@fish


What Merkel has done in Germany is incredible. She took in a million, a million and a half refugees, and there has been no major problem. It has been a great success, a miracle."
Yeah....good luck with that! By the time this all sorts out historically Merkel will rate lower than ol Schickelgruber.

Mutti.....Europes greatest "Crazy Cat Lady"!

"and there has been no major problem"

Except for a few stabbings, shootings and bombings as well as general malaise and waste of taxpayer's money, but what is that compared to the glory of diversity?
Well, I guess Germany had too few kebab shops

"By the time this all sorts out historically Merkel will rate lower than ol Schickelgruber."

The problem of politics and especially democracy is that politicians act for short term gains, but their decisions affect everybody else in the long term. By the time the Scheiße hits the fan Merkel and her friends will be happily retired in Switzerland or Monaco.

Andrew Nichos > , September 11, 2017 at 3:30 am GMT

You'd have to be blind and stupid not have noticed this convenient habit of moslem terrorists. I wonder why the IRA/ Baader Meinhof/Brigata Rossi or the westher,men didn't have the same habit?

NoseytheDuke > , September 11, 2017 at 4:26 am GMT

You'd have to be blind and stupid not have noticed this convenient habit of pseudo moslem terrorists. I wonder why the IRA/ Baader Meinhof/Brigata Rossi or the Weathermen didn't have the same habit?

I fixed that for you, mate. The frequency of this seemingly ritual habit is amazing I agree. It is certainly one for the Coincidence Theorists out there.

Erebus > , September 11, 2017 at 5:39 am GMT

@Intelligent Dasein From the banner of this website:


A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
I am here reminded of Jerry Seinfeld's wise observation that "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."

I would advise Ron Unz to take this saying to heart and to spike the execrable Linh Dinh from these pages, and his butt-buddy Revusky, too.

I am here reminded of Jerry Seinfeld's wise observation that "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."

Seinfeld would have been wiser if he had said that it's always less travelled for a reason. That reason is invariably along the lines of it being less convenient, more arduous, and more challenging. It often takes you to uncomfortable places, and you have to leave your beloved baggage behind.
Most people naturally choose to walk the broad level path that's been thoughtfully laid out for them. It doesn't go anywhere at all, except maybe in a giant circle, so that it doesn't matter where they start or where they stop, but they get to keep and even accumulate baggage along the way and that's what travelling is all about, isn't it?

NoseytheDuke > , September 11, 2017 at 11:42 am GMT

@utu Looks like Linh Dinh was turned by Revusky. Everything must be a hoax. This is their starting position: It is a hoax until proven otherwise.

And Revusky comes up with his cheap schtick about the "emotional register." As if he ever seen true reactions of real people who lost relatives? All his life like all the hoax mongering youtube yahoos he was exposed to movies with the overacted emotional displays by actors and this formed the baseline for the youtube yahoos and Revusky. So when he sees more measure reactions of real people he thinks it must be bad acting. Yes, if you haven't noticed, the real life is full of bad acting, you fool.

More interesting would be to read about how is the bromance evolving? Actually real life is usually quite authentic which is the 'real' part and since several big "terror"events have had some inexplicable aspects to them suggesting the involvement of trickery it would be wise to suspect that of other events too. If you've been mugged while walking in the street a couple of times it would be completely rational and indeed prudent if you crossed the street to avoid a stranger, or clutched a hidden weapon as a stranger approached. This is natural and the survival instinct at work.

As to the emotional register, most people have not studied acting yet they can spot poor acting on TV or in a movie very quickly because they have experienced human behaviour their entire lives. When the behaviour or physical action doesn't match the dialogue or situation it appears very odd to us. Some people are more observant than others, this is why professional actors like to study the traits and quirks of people.

Linh Dinh has written some really excellent articles as many commenters have approved and stated as much but if you don't like them why bother reading or commenting? Jonathan Revusky too has written some very worthwhile articles in my opinion but he doesn't seem to take criticism well and has made a few enemies here but again, if you don't like them why not spend your time reading the work of other people?

bb. > , September 11, 2017 at 12:36 pm GMT

i agree that the passports left behind all the time are a little bit weird. when some shit goes down, among friends, we jokingly ask if they found the passports yet? but it could also be that they want to leave them behind, as a martyr signature or something maybe. like now they recruited irma for their cause..saying god is on their side.
but then again..i am susceptible to consider weird shit. like the boston bombings for example. I saw a very strange video of a simulation of a bombing attack which looked very real, like tv footage, but maybe that's the point of a good simulation.
we live in weird times. information flow is corrupted and not to be trusted. stanislaw lem wrote about it 40years ago and I always think about it reading news.

escobar > , September 11, 2017 at 1:05 pm GMT

Linh Dinh's and others' dark dreams:

The American Israel Empire, the Anglo Zionist Conspiracy, the Jew Bolshevik plot

How do the Jews have time for all that and make so much money, run their dentistry, legal, media, entertainment empires and lust after blond shiksa cheerleaders as well?
Maybe it's from those gefilte fish they eat, or from the chopped liver they do even better than this sample produced by Linh Dinh.

Joe Hide > , September 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm GMT

Millions of us have been aware of the "Empire" for years now Linh. We just don't have access to the media expression as you do. We tend to be quiet about it until we sense a person or group is open to this Truth. Most people think inside the box because it's safe, comforting, and lacks unpleasant reactions. We who want the Truth value your articles, because we really do believe that "The Truth will set you free."

Santoculto > , September 11, 2017 at 1:50 pm GMT

Francisco, a typical teacher of philosophy and never a real philosopher. Most of this "refugees" are permanent immigrants, that's why this "refugee crisis" is just a way to accelerate the capitulation of Europe. Real refugees came back to their countries when they have opportunity. In the end the most effective way to stop middle east conflicts must be done via exposition of real (((criminals))), the direct responsible for all this shit. Only the truth can solve any problem and (((problem))).

Teacher of history's philosophy, what most of this "philosophers" are. Real philosophers learn/or invent and teach real or valid philosophical methods of thinking/analytical-critical thinking and of course subsequent action/application.

anonymous > , Disclaimer September 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm GMT

The author is claiming it's all fake because the participants were inept and stupid. They possibly were being monitored and followed all along. That doesn't make it a staged fake event. "Kosher Nostra"? What's that supposed to mean? Jews are scapegoated for what Muslims do and have been doing for close to fourteen hundred years? It took the Spanish hundreds of years of struggle to free themselves from Muslim overlordship and now they're just supposed to wash their brains of any historical memory? Those third worlders written about so lovingly add nothing to Spain besides just some food joints. The author doesn't live there anyway so why is he telling them how to live?"Drugged and inflamed" is not necessarily true of all of America. The author is probably an alcoholic and needs to stop hanging around craphole taverns with all those dysfunctional boozers.

Hairway To Steven > , September 11, 2017 at 8:30 pm GMT

Conspiracy theories like those expressed in this article and in many of the comments are for those either lacking the good sense to appreciate that the world is complex or the intellectual patience to sort through that complexity.

In the absence of these qualities, conspiracy nuts come up with unified theories that "explain everything" (e.g., the Jews control the world).

Actually moving out of the basement of their mom's house, or even losing their virginity, might help, but most of these sweaty little pamphleteers are lost causes whose lives rarely extend beyond a circle of like-minded friends and the insular concerns expressed in their over-heated and under-read blogs.

Stan d Mute > , September 11, 2017 at 10:34 pm GMT

@DFH Which seems more likely prima facie , Muslim terrorism or that the whole thing was faked?
The whole premise of this article seems to be that it's simply ludicrous that a Muslim would ever do something like ram a car into a crowd of people.

Which seems more likely prima facie, Muslim terrorism or that the whole thing was faked?
The whole premise of this article seems to be that it's simply ludicrous that a Muslim would ever do something like ram a car into a crowd of people.

I am always deeply skeptical of these false flag claims. We bomb and kill arabs daily, yet create magnificent conspiracy theories to explain how it is someone else blowing crap up in vengeance.

Why would Israel need to frame Muslim bombers when so many are so willing to do the job themselves and avenge their dead? Israel certainly pulls our strings to conduct the bombardment and they control American politics – why would they need to fabricate murders of random faceless Spaniards? How does that keep American taxpayers footing the bill for Zionism?

It's really pretty simple isn't it? Before we decided to throw in with England and help genocide the Palestinians we had few problems with arabs. Now we've expanded our mission to include Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, etc and our blowback is serious. The arabs are doing what I'd do if a foreign power bombed my family. I could not care less what happens to Israelis or arabs. We need to either nuke the entire Arab world or leave it the hell alone – none of them are worth a single American life.

Art > , September 12, 2017 at 2:30 am GMT

How stupid must you be to not see that the American Israel Empire has rigged every aspect of your reality?

...The pattern of human nature that they use is called the Stockholm syndrome.

It has been documented that a group of people can be turned against themselves when they are captured and terrorized, and in the process, they are propagandized to believe that the terrorizers themselves are the true victims. The terrorists tell the those they captured, that they are doing this because they themselves are the real victims.

The syndrome is that the captured group begin to sympathize with their terrorists. They take to heart that the terrorists are indeed victims, and that they should be supported. .

... ... ...

Think Peace ! Art

Stan d Mute > , September 12, 2017 at 2:50 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski "... none of them are worth an American life."

Stan d Mute,

The dangerous thing about your rather common conclusion (above) is the stinky fact that, for the sake of creating Greater Israel, Neoconservatives are in your "Amen Corner" and also would green light the "nuking" of Iran.

Thank you.

Neoconservatives are in your "Amen Corner" and also would green light the "nuking" of Iran.

Don't paint me with your misrepresentation. I wrote " nuke the entire Arab world " Your Iran reply is a strawman.

Few neocons would endorse my suggestion to either obliterate the Middle East (drill for oil through the glass) or abandon their first loyalty of Zionism and all resulting meddling and murdering in the region.

Tell it like it is > , September 12, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT

Cry me a river. No sympathy from me. This article is completely one sided. What kind of investigative reporting is this when the author didn't even interview the police and review the evidence, but simply hurl out accusations through hearsay from the average guys on the street.

... ... ...

denk > , September 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

The terror factory

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34322.htm

It has already been exposed that 95% of domestic 'terror attacks' were FBI/CIA
false flags.

[Sep 13, 2017] Chelsea Manning: The Dystopia We Signed Up for

Notable quotes:
"... The real power of mass data collection lies in the hand-tailored algorithms capable of sifting, sorting and identifying patterns within the data itself. When enough information is collected over time, governments and corporations can use or abuse those patterns to predict future human behavior. ..."
Sep 13, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

...We file our taxes. We make phone calls. We send emails. Tax records are used to keep us honest. We agree to broadcast our location so we can check the weather on our smartphones. Records of our calls, texts and physical movements are filed away alongside our billing information. Perhaps that data is analyzed more covertly to make sure that we're not terrorists "" but only in the interest of national security, we're assured.

Our faces and voices are recorded by surveillance cameras and other internet-connected sensors, some of which we now willingly put inside our homes. Every time we load a news article or page on a social media site, we expose ourselves to tracking code, allowing hundreds of unknown entities to monitor our shopping and online browsing habits. We agree to cryptic terms-of-service agreements that obscure the true nature and scope of these transactions.

Biometric information such as fingerprints, retinal scans and DNA helps governments and corporations track people around the world. In Iraq, United States Army soldiers scan a man's eye to see whether he is a known insurgent. Credit Michael Kamber for The New York Times

According to a 2015 study from the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of American adults believe they've lost control over how their personal information is collected and used. Just how much they've lost, however, is more than they likely suspect.

The real power of mass data collection lies in the hand-tailored algorithms capable of sifting, sorting and identifying patterns within the data itself. When enough information is collected over time, governments and corporations can use or abuse those patterns to predict future human behavior. Our data establishes a "pattern of life "ť from seemingly harmless digital residue like cellphone tower pings, credit card transactions and web browsing histories.

The consequences of our being subjected to constant algorithmic scrutiny are often unclear. For instance, artificial intelligence Silicon Valley's catchall term for deepthinking and deep-learning algorithms is touted by tech companies as a path to the high-tech conveniences of the so-called internet of things. This includes digital home assistants, connected appliances and self-driving cars.

Simultaneously, algorithms are already analyzing social media habits, determining creditworthiness, deciding which job candidates get called in for an interview and judging whether criminal defendants should be released on bail . Other machine-learning systems use automated facial analysis to detect and track emotions, or claim the ability to predict whether someone will become a criminal based only on their facial features .

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

... ... ...

Such programmatic, machine-driven thinking has become especially dangerous in the hands of governments and the police.

In recent years our military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have merged in unexpected ways. They harvest more data than they can possibly manage, and wade through the quantifiable world side by side in vast, usually windowless buildings called fusion centers .

Such powerful new relationships have created a foundation for, and have breathed life into, a vast police and surveillance state. Advanced algorithms have made this possible on an unprecedented level. Relatively minor infractions, or "microcrimes,"ť can now be policed aggressively. And with national databases shared among governments and corporations, these minor incidents can follow you forever, even if the information is incorrect or lacking context.

At the same time, the United States military uses the metadata of countless communications for drone attacks , using pings emitted from cellphones to track and eliminate targets.

In literature and pop culture, concepts such as "thoughtcrime"ť and "precrime"ť have emerged out of dystopian fiction. They are used to restrict and punish anyone who is flagged by automated systems as a potential criminal or threat, even if a crime has yet to be committed. But this science fiction trope is quickly becoming reality. Predictive policing algorithms are already being used to create automated heat maps of future crimes, and like the "manual"ť policing that came before them, they overwhelmingly target poor and minority neighborhoods .

The world has become like an eerily banal dystopian novel. Things look the same on the surface, but they are not. With no apparent boundaries on how algorithms can use and abuse the data that's being collected about us, the potential for it to control our lives is ever-growing.

Our drivers' licenses, our keys, our debit and credit cards are all important parts of our lives. Even our social media accounts could soon become crucial components of being fully functional members of society. Now that we live in this world, we must figure out how to maintain our connection with society without surrendering to automated processes that we can neither see nor control.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter , and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter .

This is an article from World Review: The State of Democracy , a special section that examines global policy and affairs through the perspectives of thought leaders and commentators. A version of this op-ed appears in print on September 14, 2017, on Page S3, in The International New York Times.

[Sep 02, 2017] Social Media is A Tool of the CIA: "Facebook, Google and Other Social Media Used to Spy on People"

Notable quotes:
"... A CBS news article published in 2011 entitled " Social Media Is a Tool of the CIA. Seriously" reveals the "unspoken truth" which the mainstream media including CBS have failed to address. ..."
"... The CIA is " using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people." ..."
"... This article published by CBS refutes the lies of the MSM (and CBS). It confirms the insidious relationship between the CIA, the Search Engines, Social Media and major advertising conglomerates: "You don't need to wear a tinfoil hat to believe that the CIA is using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people. That's because the CIA publishes a helpful list of press releases [link inactive] on all the social media ventures it sponsors, via its technology investment arm In-Q-Tel . " ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... Minority Report ..."
Sep 02, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca

Social Media

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, August 28, 2017 Region: USA Theme: Intelligence , Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

A CBS news article published in 2011 entitled " Social Media Is a Tool of the CIA. Seriously" reveals the "unspoken truth" which the mainstream media including CBS have failed to address.

The CIA is " using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people."

This article published by CBS refutes the lies of the MSM (and CBS). It confirms the insidious relationship between the CIA, the Search Engines, Social Media and major advertising conglomerates: "You don't need to wear a tinfoil hat to believe that the CIA is using Facebook, Twitter, Google (GOOG) and other social media to spy on people. That's because the CIA publishes a helpful list of press releases [link inactive] on all the social media ventures it sponsors, via its technology investment arm In-Q-Tel . "

The report acknowledges that "privacy" is threatened by the advertisers, yet at the same time these advertisers are "in bed with the CIA" , acting on behalf and in liaison with US intelligence.

Screenshot of CBS article

The Privatization of Spying

Spying on individuals is a highly profitable undertaking for private companies on contract to the CIA, NSA, Homeland Security. The CBS report suggests in no uncertain terms that the personal information pertaining to millions of Americans collected by one of the World's largest ad agencies is sold to the CIA.

According to an earlier Wired News July 2010 report by Noam Schachtman:

THE INVESTMENT ARMS of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time ! and says it uses that information to predict the future.

The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents ! both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine " goes beyond search " by "looking at the 'invisible links' between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events."

Screenshots of Wired News report

Freedom of Expression

Social Media and Search engines are being used to Spy on Americans! But not only on Americans. The process of personal data collection is worldwide.

What is at stake, however, is not only the issue of "Privacy". The online search engines also constitute an instrument of online media censorship.

Google has introduced algorithms intended to downgrade independent and alternative media. In this regard, the Guardian reported (December 2016) on " How Google's search algorithm spreads false information with a rightwing bias. "

Screenshot of Guardian article

Independent online media is targeted. Freedom of Expression on internet based news outlets is being routinely shunted by Google:

"New data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site , with the assistance of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology experts, proves that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45 percent decrease in traffic from Google

Below are excerpts of the CBS News 2011 article, to read the entire article click here :

The world's largest database on individuals

One of the main threats to privacy comes from advertisers , who want to track everything consumers do on the web and scrape their online accounts for personal information. It shouldn't be surprising, therefore, to learn that the CIA and the worlds largest ad agency network, WPP (WPPGY), have been in bed together on a social media data-mining venture since at least January 2009. WPP currently claims to own the world's largest database of unique individual profiles ! including demographic, financial, purchase and geographic histories. WPP's Visible Technologies unit took an investment from In-Q-Tel in fall of 2009. Visible Technologies develops tools that can scan social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Google and CIA: old friends

Are you seeing a trend yet? Google (GOOG) has been a partner with the CIA since 2004 when the company bought Keyhole, a mapping technology business that eventually became Google Earth. In 2010, Google and In-Q-Tel made a joint investment on a company called Recorded Future , which has the Minority Report -style goal of creating a "temporal analytics engine" that scours the web and creates curves that predict where events may head.

Google is already helping the government write, and rewrite, history. Here, from its transparency report , are some stats on the amount of information it has either given to the government or wiped from the web based on requests by U.S. agencies:

emphasis added. To Read the complete CBS News article by Jim Edwards click here

[Sep 02, 2017] A Politically Incorrect Question About Our Fender-Bender Navy

Sep 02, 2017 | www.unz.com

Diversity Heretic > , August 28, 2017 at 7:37 am GMT

I'll ask an even more politically-incorrect question: To what extent is the United States Navy still our navy? What does the U.S. Navy's presence in the South China Sea, or near Singapore, or anywhere west of Hawaii, have to do with the security of the people of the United States? If the combined naval forces of China and Japan and the other nations of the region can't protect merchantmen from pirates, well, re-route ships away and out of range.

Almost nothing the United States military does today provides any meaningful defense for the American nation. The fact that we have a Department of "Defense" and a separate Department of Homeland Security really ought to be a clue to the genuine mission of the U.S. military: maintenance of the AngloZionist Empire.

I know that John has a son in the U.S. Army. I hope that he leaves when his enlistment is up. If he still aspires to a military career I suggest the French Foreign Legion or some country that accepts foreign volunteers. The Army training he got will improve his situation and he might be working for an organization that actually defends its own people, or at least its own organization (in the case of the Legion). I applied to West Point years ago–today I would counsel a son to take all steps necessary to avoid conscription. It's no longer our military.

Jim Christian sometimes coments on Navy issues here at Unz. I wonder what his take on the situation is?

Anonymous > , Disclaimer August 28, 2017 at 12:19 pm GMT

I have a job connected with military recruiting. Most Americans wouldn't believe who's joining the U.S. military these days. It's largely a jobs program for third-world immigrants or the white underclass. It's common to see 18/19-year old recent immigrants from Africa who were living in villages without street names just 3 years prior. Or young Latinas with a child (who's being taken care of by her parents) who are working security or MP with goal of becoming a civilian cop.

But hey, the young people who join will be fairly well-compensated (compared to the private-employer world) and will receive life-long benefits, including preference in all government employment hiring.

The Anti-Gnostic > , Website August 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm GMT

@Diversity Heretic I'll ask an even more politically-incorrect question: To what extent is the United States Navy still our navy? What does the U.S. Navy's presence in the South China Sea, or near Singapore, or anywhere west of Hawaii, have to do with the security of the people of the United States? If the combined naval forces of China and Japan and the other nations of the region can't protect merchantmen from pirates, well, re-route ships away and out of range.

Almost nothing the United States military does today provides any meaningful defense for the American nation. The fact that we have a Department of "Defense" and a separate Department of Homeland Security really ought to be a clue to the genuine mission of the U.S. military: maintenance of the AngloZionist Empire.

I know that John has a son in the U.S. Army. I hope that he leaves when his enlistment is up. If he still aspires to a military career I suggest the French Foreign Legion or some country that accepts foreign volunteers. The Army training he got will improve his situation and he might be working for an organization that actually defends its own people, or at least its own organization (in the case of the Legion). I applied to West Point years ago--today I would counsel a son to take all steps necessary to avoid conscription. It's no longer our military.

Jim Christian sometimes coments on Navy issues here at Unz. I wonder what his take on the situation is?

To what extent is the United States Navy still our navy?

That's a good question, and it could be asked of the whole military. Historically, the military defends the nation in its geographic redoubt. Our military's mission, much less Europe's, seems to be the defense of a global ideological order. Hence, I wonder if the partial intent is to keep the nation's elite fighters tied up overseas rather than garrisoned on home soil lest they get any ideas about defense of the Nation as opposed to the NWO. Apparently there was serious talk within the British military when the Labour government decided to experiment with nationalization after World War II.

On the other hand, I think pensions, medical care and housing are keeping the US military quiescent, and this gets back to Derb's point. A lot of people join the military out of economic necessity; they are there for the paycheck, and when the mission becomes Diversity they are happy to follow orders. Soldiers with poor prospects in the private sector will do awful things to their own countrymen to keep the benefits flowing. Venezuela frankly needs a military coup, but they're apparently well-fed and their generals don't know economics.

Nick Granite > , August 29, 2017 at 12:04 pm GMT

John,

Lived it, have the T-shirt. Retired from the Navy 11 years ago. You put young men and women of breeding age on a vessel and you have fraternization and pregnancies. Duh. Walking by the mess (dining) decks on an aircraft carrier was sometimes like walking by a high school cafeteria with the guys checking out the chicks and vice versa. Pregnancies of course rose mysteriously just before deployment. I lost the same female twice to pregnancy, both times before a six month deployment and finally, remember you have the same male/female dynamic at watch stations in the middle of the night

I guess you can an add a much larger homosexual element to the issue since I retired as well. Who knows what's going on in the fan rooms of some of those ships these days.

TheJester > , August 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT

@El Dato In truth, engagements are supposed to be over fast.

If you have a few missiles coming at you from the horizon and you miss less than 100% of them with your Phalanx or whatever else you have (a functional Aster system? An non-experimental Laser gun?), it's Game Over Man, whether you are in a thin-shelled floating server room or a thick-shelled floating server room.

Shell, bomb, and kamikaze damage just ain't gonna happen anymore.

OUCH TIME Missiles are just another way of delivering warheads that used to be called "shells". Navy ships used to be armored to take shell fire and survive. Today, they are thin-skinned electronic "gaming" machines that cannot survive a "pin prick".

The Navy was shocked in the first Gulf War when an Iraqi Exocet missile (one hit) totally disabled the missile frigate, USS Stark. However, nothing changed with respect to thin-skinned naval ship design.

What this means is that swarming Iranian speed boats probably do have the capability of disabling and/or destroying US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf in time of war. Missiles are cheap. Thin-skinned $1.5 billion electronic missile frigates are not.

The Russians and Chinese are also following this strategy cheap missiles to disable and/or destroy US Navy capital (including aircraft carriers) and support ships with hypersonic missiles that cannot be defended against.

Physical damage aside, there is also a growing capability on the part of the Russians and Chinese to turn off a ship's electronics via electronic warfare. In 2014, a Sukhoi Su-24 overflying the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea was able to electronically disable the ship using the "Khibiny" electronic warfare suite.

The point is that thin-skinned navy ships packed with electronics are no match for today's offensive missiles or electronic warfare suites. As a cost comparison, it is ridiculous to procure fleets of billion dollar ships that can be disabled or destroyed by relatively low-cost missiles and electronic warfare suites.

El Dato > , August 29, 2017 at 8:35 pm GMT

@TheJester Missiles are just another way of delivering warheads that used to be called "shells". Navy ships used to be armored to take shell fire and survive. Today, they are thin-skinned electronic "gaming" machines that cannot survive a "pin prick".

The Navy was shocked in the first Gulf War when an Iraqi Exocet missile (one hit) totally disabled the missile frigate, USS Stark. However, nothing changed with respect to thin-skinned naval ship design.

What this means is that swarming Iranian speed boats probably do have the capability of disabling and/or destroying US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf in time of war. Missiles are cheap. Thin-skinned $1.5 billion electronic missile frigates are not.

The Russians and Chinese are also following this strategy ... cheap missiles to disable and/or destroy US Navy capital (including aircraft carriers) and support ships with hypersonic missiles that cannot be defended against.

Physical damage aside, there is also a growing capability on the part of the Russians and Chinese to turn off a ship's electronics via electronic warfare. In 2014, a Sukhoi Su-24 overflying the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea was able to electronically disable the ship using the "Khibiny" electronic warfare suite.

The point is that thin-skinned navy ships packed with electronics are no match for today's offensive missiles or electronic warfare suites. As a cost comparison, it is ridiculous to procure fleets of billion dollar ships that can be disabled or destroyed by relatively low-cost missiles and electronic warfare suites.

it is ridiculous to procure fleets of billion dollar ships that can be disabled or destroyed by relatively low-cost missiles and electronic warfare suites.

"Only two kinds of ships in the Navy: submarines and targets"

KenH > , August 29, 2017 at 9:03 pm GMT

@Chris Mallory What fever dreams do you have that entail American troops fighting Hezbollah? Keep our troops out of Lebanon and Hezbollah is not an issue.

Only an idiot would invade North Korea. Sign your kids up for that, leave mine out of it. I didn't say I wanted war and don't see how you could conclude that I did. But Trump is daring N. Korea to knock the chip off his shoulder and looking for reasons to marginalize Iran further, so I'd be surprised if we don't find ourselves in a shooting war with one of them, most likely Iran since they're atop Israel's shit list.

Bill Jones > , August 29, 2017 at 9:22 pm GMT

What a dyed in the wool piece of statist filth.

What is "our military"
I don't have one the DC filth does.

What is "serving"?
the parasities will to murder when ordered.

Rich > , September 1, 2017 at 1:25 am GMT

@QuestionMan What does affirmative action have to do with the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer and Command Master Chief of the USS Fitzgerald? I'll take a stab at explaining it to you. Because of affirmative action, competent folks are passed over in favor of less competent, or incompetent folks, because some of the incompetent folks ancestors may, or may not have, suffered under a various set of circumstances in the past. Believe it or not, there may even be incompetent White folks, but in a more merit based time, these incompetent Whites were kept to a minimum. Having promoted every minority above his skill level, you still have a certain percentage of incompetent Whites in the field, and because there are a limited number of positions, you now have more incompetents in charge. Picture a pool of 100 commander positions, you have a 10% to 20% incompetency level of Whites, in a merit based organization, they would take up 10% to 20% of command positions. Now we know that in all probability, every minority commander was promoted based not on his skill, bit his minority status, you add all those incompetents to the command structure, increasing it from 10%, to up to 50% of incompetent commanders depending on how many minorities were promoted unjustly.

wayfarer > , September 2, 2017 at 5:16 am GMT

As a USCG seaman who once experienced the brutal 18-hour work days underway on 30-day patrols conducting search-and-rescue or law enforcement operations, it's almost impossible to articulate the intellectual stamina required of the officer-class as-well-as the physical/psychological stamina required of the enlisted-class.

wayfarer > , September 2, 2017 at 6:42 am GMT

@SteveRogers42 Lighter side: Most minorities eschew the combat arms MOS's. The closer you get to the tip of the spear in the U.S. military, the paler and maler the picture becomes. Special operations units and the pilot/aviator jobs are overwhelmingly white.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/05/diversity-seals-green-berets/31122851/ "White Privilege," Was a Non-Existent Fact During the Vietnam War.

Of the 58,220 Americans Killed, 49,830 (86%) Were White.

"Statistical Information About Casualties of the Vietnam War"

https://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics.html

[Sep 01, 2017] New Think Tank Emails Show How Google Wields its Power in Washington

Notable quotes:
"... Seems that Eric Schmidt is as thin-skinned as Lloyd Blankfein, unless these CEOs think that the interested people, especially their consumers, have no clue that they are a monopoly and there's no way to find out about them OR the EU fine. ..."
Sep 01, 2017 | theintercept.com
Best September 1 2017, 8:15 p.m.

Try the word this way: Go-Ogle

Joshua88 September 1 2017, 3:11 p.m.

Google – but specifically not Alphabet – signed on to the tech letter to the UN about the dangers of autonomous – people-less – killing machines. For years, I thought that Google was designing their army of robots for warfare or some other dastardly enterprise. Am I wrong?

Almost the entire pile of people working in DC are disgusting whores.

At least Elizabeth Warren is consistent

Seems that Eric Schmidt is as thin-skinned as Lloyd Blankfein, unless these CEOs think that the interested people, especially their consumers, have no clue that they are a monopoly and there's no way to find out about them OR the EU fine.

These stories are so delicious.

Thank you for the treat, David Dayen.

GhostofTeddyRoosevelt September 1 2017, 11:59 a.m.

As a libertarian, i am pretty much hands off the market. However, many tech firms have gotten to a point of no return. At some point the Sherman Act needs to be enlisted.
In the 70s Standard Oil was busted for a lot less. Google, Amazon, Fakebook, Apple, need strutiny and likely busted as well.
I also would put a few large ag & chemical interests into this mix.
The control they wield is no longer acceptable.

Joe September 1 2017, 11:10 a.m.

This goes to show you how Google is using its monopoly power to crush dissent and destroy its rivals. If there was ever a textbook case of monopolistic abuse that calls out for antitrust action, this is it.

Darren Douglas September 1 2017, 10:04 a.m.

Time to split up Google (search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.) and maybe Amazon (Washington Post, Whole Foods, etc.). Google in particular is a potentially harmful monopoly for freedom of speech.

Benito Mussolini September 1 2017, 9:45 a.m.

Washington is a marketplace for buying and selling influence. If you drain the swamp, it doesn't make the marketplace disappear, just renders it transparent. Google's behavior does not seem exceptional, at least when compared with the machinations of Big Oil and the Military-Industrial complex. As far as I know, Google isn't agitating for the invasion of any foreign countries.

[Sep 01, 2017] McCain's Transmutation from Cautious Realist to Super-Hawk - The Unz Review

Sep 01, 2017 | www.unz.com

For many years, John McCain has been one of the major war hawks in the Senate, but he was not that way for more than a decade after he was first elected to Congress. When he entered the House of Representatives in 1983, he was a cautious realist, holding the position that U.S. military power should only be used to protect vital national interests. He developed this view as a result of his experience in the Vietnam War and his post-Vietnam studying of the origins of that war at the National War College. [1] John B. Judis, "Neo-McCain," New Republic, October 16, 2006, https://newrepublic.com/article/60839/neo-mccain That view loomed large among military leaders at this time and was exemplified by General Colin Powell.

In his first year in Congress, McCain, although a strong supporter of then President Reagan, voted against the latter's decision to continue the deployment of troops in Lebanon during that country's civil war. The measure would pass in both Houses of Congress, with substantial support from Democrats, and with only a small minority of Republicans daring to oppose Reagan. In his floor speech on this issue, McCain stated:

"The fundamental question is: What is the United States' interest in Lebanon? It is said we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said we are there to stabilize the region. I ask, how can the U.S. presence stabilize the region? . . . . The longer we stay in Lebanon, the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place.

"What can we expect if we withdraw from Lebanon? The same as will happen if we stay. I acknowledge that the level of fighting will increase if we leave. I regretfully acknowledge that many innocent civilians will be hurt. But I firmly believe this will happen in any event." [2] Quoted in Justin Raimondo, "The Madness of John McCain," February 11, 2008, The American Conservative, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the...ccain/

[3} Quoted in Norman Kempster, "Vietnam War Leaves Legacy of Anguish," Los Angeles Times, April 28, 1985, http://articles.latimes.com/1985-04-28/news/mn-2129...-war/2

After a truck filled with explosives rammed into the Marine compound in Beirut, killing 241 service members, Reagan opted to remove the remaining troops a few months later. McCain was vindicated and he gained considerable attention from the mainstream media for his prescience and courage to take such a stand against a popular President from his party. This helped to develop his reputation as a "maverick."

"The American people and Congress now appreciate that we are neither omniscient nor omnipotent," McCain would later tell the Los Angeles Times , "and they are not prepared to commit U.S. troops to combat unless there is a clear U.S. national security interest involved. If we do become involved in combat, that involvement must be of relatively short duration and must be readily explained to the man in the street in one or two sentences."[3]

In 1987, during the Iran-Iraq War, in which the United States was supporting Iraq, McCain, now a Senator, opposed President Reagan's move to put American flags on Kuwaiti oil tankers and have the U.S. Navy protect them against possible Iranian attacks. In the Arizona Republican , he described Reagan's action as a "dangerous overreaction in perhaps the most violent and unpredictable region in the world." He continued: "American citizens are again being asked to place themselves between warring Middle East factions, with no tangible allied support and no real plan on how to respond if the situation escalates." [4] Quoted in Matt Welch, McCain, The Myth of a Maverick (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), p. 157.

McCain did support the Gulf War in 1991, but even here he was something of a moderate. McCain biographer Matt Welch writes: "When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990, McCain oscillated between hawkishness and reluctance, denouncing the Iraqi dictator and then the U.S. government for having cozied up too closely to Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, but at the same time warning against a protracted land battle." [5] Welch, p. 158. McCain stated: "If you get involved in a major ground war in the Saudi desert, I think support will erode significantly. Nor should it be supported. We cannot even contemplate, in my view, trading American blood for Iraqi blood." [6] Quoted in Michael Wines, "Confrontation in the Gulf," New York Times, August 19, 1990, http://www.nytimes.com/1990/08/19/world/confrontati...cubz=0

Under Republican Presidents Reagan and the elder Bush, it must be acknowledged that McCain was not an actual non-interventionist since he supported the American opposition to the Soviet Union, and what he considered to be pro-Soviet forces in Central America. Moreover, he supported the removal of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega by the U.S. military in 1989. But this was still a far cry from the global interventionist that McCain would become.

Moreover, during Bill Clinton's presidency, McCain would be even more non-interventionist until his radical change during the last years of Clinton's term. In a commencement address he made to the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia in June 1994, McCain emphasized that his cautious approach to war resulted from his Vietnam experience. He solemnly orated that he had not forgotten "the friends who did not return with me to the country we loved so dearly. The memory of them, of what they bore for honor and country, causes me to look in every prospective conflict for the shadow of Vietnam." [7] Address by Senator John McCain National Defense University Graduation, June 16, 1999, https://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/1999/...ea4e56

In December 1992, after losing the November election to Bill Clinton, the elder George Bush dispatched American troops to Somalia, then embroiled in a many-sided civil war, to facilitate the provision of food to the starving civilian population. This was part of a United Nations effort. By the fall of 1993, this military mission morphed into one of arresting war lords and nation-building. In October 1993, a 15-hour battle took place in Mogadishu that left 18 Americans dead and 73 injured, with many of these casualties the result of two Black Hawk helicopters being shot down. [8] NPR Staff, "What A Downed Black Hawk In Somalia Taught America," NPR, October 5, 2013, http://www.npr.org/2013/10/05/229561805/what-a-down...merica

Because of this loss of American lives, there was a Senate bill supported by President Clinton which planned to remove American troops from Somalia. Demanding a quicker troop exit, McCain stated: "Mr. President, can anyone seriously argue that another six months of United States forces in harm's way means the difference between peace and prosperity in Somalia and war and starvation there? Is that very dim prospect worth one more American life? No, it is not."

Drawing an analogy to what happened in Lebanon in 1983, McCain contended: "240 young Marines lost their lives, but we got out. Now is the time for us to get out of Somalia, as rapidly, and as promptly, and as safely as possible."

"The longer we stay the more difficult it will be to leave," McCain asserted. "The loss of American lives is not only tragic, it is needless." [9] Quoted in "Backing Clinton, Senate Rejects Bid to Speed Somalia Pullout," Clifford Krauss, October 15, 1993, http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/15/world/backing-cli...t.html His proposed amendment for a quicker departure, however, was voted down.

McCain also opposed Clinton's intervention in Haiti to bring back President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been elected in 1990 and then overthrown in a coup in 1991. After a UN resolution authorized the use of military force to return Aristide to power, the United States would ultimately do so on October 15, 1994. In late August 1994, McCain declared: "It is the post-invasion circumstances that I fear will bog down U.S. forces in a low-level, open-ended, ill-defined conflict which will require U.S. servicemen and women to serve as a virtual palace guard for President Aristide once he is returned to power." [10] "McCain Firm in Opposition to Invasion of Haiti," August 31, 1994, https://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press...c9b56d

The major international concern in the 1990s was the conflict in Yugoslavia!with the focus first on Bosnia and then Kosovo. After the downfall of Communism, Yugoslavia dissolved, with the secession, in 1992, of Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia. Bosnia also declared its independence despite the staunch opposition of Bosnian Serbs, who wanted to remain united with Serbia. Civil war broke out between the Bosnian Serbs, supported by Serbia, and the Muslim-dominated Bosnian government. Thousands of people were killed, raped, and expelled from their homes. The West generally looked upon the atrocities, real and imagined, as being primarily perpetrated by the Serbs. In the United States, this was especially the case among American liberals who would advocate "humanitarian" military intervention to protect the Muslims.

In 1992, the UN peacekeeping forces intervened for humanitarian reasons and set up several so-called safe areas for refugees, which often turned out to be not very safe. The UN forces were composed of non-American troops, while American ships and airplanes enforced an arms embargo.

The wars in Yugoslavia would ultimately lead to a sea change in McCain's position on American military intervention, but this did not occur all at once. Initially, McCain was, like many Republicans, opposed to American involvement in the conflict. In fact, biographer Matt Welch describes McCain as having been "one of the Senate's most stubborn opponents to US military intervention against Serbs." [11] Welch, p. 162. McCain contended that any American military "peace-keeping" effort in Bosnia would likely lead to a quagmire. "I think you can draw a parallel to the military challenge in Bosnia with what the Russians faced in Afghanistan," McCain opined in May 1993. "Even with ground forces and with overwhelming air superiority, they were unable to defeat a motivated, very capable enemy." [12] Quoted in Michael Wines, "Conflict in the Balkans; Senator Who Saw War Up Close Doesn't Want to See Another," New York Times, May 5, 1993, http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/05/world/conflict-in...r.html

In December 1994, McCain, whom the Los Angeles Times described as a "a leading opponent of greater American military involvement in the war," stated: "I think we have a very full plate of a legislative agenda, which are the commitments we made to the American people–and Bosnia wasn't one of those." [13] Quoted in Ronald Brownstein, "Leaders Clash on U.S. Role in Bosnia," Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1994, http://articles.latimes.com/1994-12-09/news/mn-7054...h-push In May 1995, McCain held that U.S. efforts in the Balkans were "doomed to failure from the beginning, when we believed that we could keep peace in a place where there was no peace." [14] Quoted in Franklin Foer, Election 2008: A Voter's Guide, p. 105. Neocon Robert Kagan bemoaned the fact that on Bosnia, Senator McCain led the Republican attack, warning that any use of military power there would result in "another failure like Vietnam or Lebanon." [15] Robert Kagan, "A Retreat from Power?," Commentary, July 1, 1995, https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/a-retrea...power/

Prospects for peace, however, improved in the summer of 1995 when NATO, led by the United States, launched airstrikes against Bosnian Serb targets, which combined with better-equipped Muslim and Croatian forces pressured the Bosnian Serbs into participating in peace negotiations. This led to the Dayton Accords in November 1995, which ended the war in Bosnia. NATO would provide peace-keeping troops, including 20,000 from the U.S.

After NATO's success, McCain quickly dropped his staunch anti-interventionist position. McCain later claimed that his position had begun to change as a moral reaction to the Serbs' massacre of thousands of unarmed Bosnian Muslims in July 1995. [16] David D. Kirkpatrick, "Response to 9/11 Offers Outline of McCain Doctrine," New York Times, August 16, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/us/politics/17mcc...n.html While most Republican members of Congress were opposed to sending American troops to Bosnia, McCain joined Senator Robert Dole (Republican!Kansas) in putting forth the nonbinding Dole-McCain resolution which permitted Clinton to send troops, though limiting the deployment to one year–which was Clinton's stated time period!and requiring the United States to lead an effort to arm and train Bosnian troops. The resolution passed in the Senate but was not taken up in the House. [17] Jonathan S. Landay, "Congress Tiptoes Into Delicate Issue Of Dispatching GIs," Christian Science Monitor, December 13,1995, https://www.csmonitor.com/1995/1213/13013.html; Helen Dewa and Guy Gugliotta, "Senate Backs Troops to Bosnia," Washington Post, December 14, 1995, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1995...d75dac

Showing that he had not completely dropped his previous cautious approach to intervention, McCain emphasized that the Dole-McCain resolution was not seeking support for President Clinton's decision to deploy the troops. "It asks that you support the deployment after the decision has been made," he said. "The decision has been made by the only American elected to make such decisions [i.e., the President]." However, McCain also expressed a firm interventionist conviction: "When we arrive at the moment when less is expected from our leadership by the rest of the world, then we will have arrived at the moment of our decline." And he said, "We cannot withdraw from the world into our prosperity and comfort and hope to keep those blessings." [18] Quoted in Katherine Q. Seeleye, "Anguished, Senators Vote to Support Bosnia Mission," New York Times, December 14, 1995, http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/14/world/balkan-acco...ed=all

While a change from his previous strong opposition to American intervention abroad, supporting this peace effort in Bosnia did not portend McCain's radical transmutation to the global super-hawk that he would become. That final step would require the involvement of the neoconservatives. This connection began when, in 1997, McCain and his advisers read an article in the Wall Street Journal editorial page by neoconservatives Bill Kristol and David Brooks who were promoting the idea of "national greatness" conservatism, which consisted of a more activist domestic agenda and a more interventionist global role. [19] Kirkpatrick.

While this article may have fit in with the direction that McCain's thinking was moving, it had political implications as well: McCain had been eyeing the presidency for a number of years. According to John Weaver, a major political adviser to McCain at this time: "I wouldn't call it a 'eureka' moment, but there was a sense that this is where we are headed and this is what we are trying to articulate and they [Kristol and Brooks] have already done a lot of the work. . . . And, quite frankly, from a crass political point of view, we were in the making-friends business. The Weekly Standard represented a part of the primary electorate that we could get." [20] Quoted in Kirkpatrick. And it should be emphasized that McCain's change was not a gradual one but rather one that was quite radical and took place in a very short period of time.

After reading this article, McCain and staff were consulting regularly with leading neocons, including Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Randy Scheunemann [21] Scheunemann was a member of the Board of Directors of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and would later be Director of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and McCain's foreign policy adviser in his 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns. , to, in the words of journalist David Kirkpatrick, "develop the senator's foreign policy ideas and instincts into the broad themes of a presidential campaign." [22] Kirkpatrick. In short, McCain realized that he needed the neocons' intellectual and political support if he were to achieve higher office. The neocons were already well-known and had played a significant role in the Reagan administration. And during the Clinton years, neocons promoted their views from a strong interlocking network of think tanks which have had a significant influence in shaping American foreign policy.

McCain would begin to support neocon positions. On January 26, 1998, the neocon-dominated Project for a New American Century (PNAC), created in 1997 and headed by Bill Kristol, sent a letter to President Clinton urging him to take unilateral military action against Iraq to overthrow Saddam and offered a plan to achieve that objective. After the Clinton administration failed to take action, another neocon-front group, the resurrected Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, which had promoted the 1991 Gulf War, sent another letter urging war. And, because of Clinton's continued inaction, PNAC would send another such letter in May.

While President Clinton failed to take action, McCain pushed for military action against Saddam in 1998. McCain co-sponsored the Iraq Liberation Act, committing the United States to support the overthrow of Saddam and funding opposition groups, most importantly the Iraqi National Congress. Headed by the notorious neocon-favorite Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi National Congress would provide much of the spurious information that generated support for the war on Iraq in 2003. The bill passed in both houses of Congress and on October 31, 1998, President Clinton signed it into law. Clinton, however, did not intend to implement this measure and George Bush made no mention of it during the 2000 campaign. [23] Justin Vaisse, Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010), p. 248. McCain, however, remained in lock-step with the neocons on Iraq and would be made Honorary Co-chair of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq when it was created in 2002.

McCain had been in line with the neocons as a strong supporter of Israel even during the time he adhered to a cautious realist position regarding U.S. military interventionism. He was the 1999 recipient of the Defender of Jerusalem award, given by the National Council of Young Israel. In his acceptance speech, McCain in effect told his pro-Zionist audience that the United States should be prepared to make war for Israel's sake. "Certainly, no one would argue with the proposition that our armed forces exist first and foremost for the defense of the United States and its vital interests abroad," McCain intoned. "We choose, as a nation, however, to intervene militarily abroad in defense of the moral values that are at the center of our national conscientiousness even when vital national interests are not necessarily at stake. I raise this point because it lies at the heart of this nation's approach to Israel. The survival of Israel is one of this country's most important moral commitments. . . . Like the United States, Israel is more than a nation; it is an ideal." [24] "Remarks of Senator John McCain to the National Council of Young Israel in New York City," John McCain Press Release, March 14, 1999, quoted in Joseph Sobran, "The Patriot Game," Wanderer, February 24, 2000, p. 6. Note that this was diametrically opposed to his former view that American intervention abroad should only take place to protect vital American interests.

However, it was not Iraq or any of Israel's enemies that put McCain in the national limelight but rather the U.S.-led NATO war on Serbia over Kosovo in 1999. As Washington Post staff writer Dan Balz wrote in early April 1999, "no politician has been more visible on the issue of Kosovo the past two weeks than the former Vietnam prisoner of war, and a number of political analysts say his performance has given a boost to his presidential aspirations." [25] Dan Balz, "Kosovo Conflict Gives McCain Prominence," Washington Post, April 7, 1999, A4, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campa...99.htm

President Clinton orchestrated the NATO war on Serbia, because of the Serbs "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims in their territory of Kosovo. Since Serbia could not possibly threaten the United States, the war was presented as being largely for humanitarian reasons. At this time, there were all types of stories of Serb mass killings of Kosovars, with figures up to 100,000 Kosovar civilians being missing and conceivably murdered. [26] Tom Doggett, "Cohen Fears 100,000 Kosovo Men Killed by Serbs," Washington Post, May 16, 1999, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm...99.htm Physical evidence for these extreme claims was not found and former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was not even charged with crimes of such great magnitude at his trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). And according to German government documents no "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovar Albanians took place until after the NATO bombing. [27] Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, "Internal Documents from Germany's Foreign Office Regarding Pre-Bombardment Genocide in Kosovo," CounterPunch, April 24, 1999, https://www.counterpunch.org/1999/04/24/internal-doc...osovo/

Unlike many Republicans, McCain supported Clinton's decision for war. But while Clinton limited American actions to air strikes, McCain maintained that it was essential to win this military confrontation at all costs and called on the Clinton Administration to deploy ground troops if the reliance on air strikes alone appeared to be insufficient to achieve victory. [28] CNN, "McCain resolution urges use of 'all necessary force' in Yugoslavia," April 20, 1999, http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/04/20/k...gress/]

McCain thus sponsored a resolution that would have given President Clinton congressional authorization to use all means necessary to win the military campaign in Kosovo. The leaders of both parties opposed this resolution and it was tabled. McCain complained: "The president doesn't want the power he possesses by law because the risks inherent in its exercise have paralyzed him." [29] McCain quoted in CNN, "Senate tables Kosovo resolution authorizing 'all necessary force,'' May 4, 1999, http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/05/04/k...gress/

McCain's hawkish position reflected the views of the neoconservatives. And obviously, his pro-intervention stance represented a sea change from his previous emphasis on caution and support of war only if it involved a vital American interest.
. Members of the interventionist Balkan Action Committee, which advocated NATO ground troops for Kosovo, included such prominent neoconservative mainstays as Richard Perle, Max M. Kampelman, Morton Abramowitz, and Paul Wolfowitz. Other neoconservative proponents of a tougher war included Eliot Cohen, Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Norman Podhoretz. [30] Balkan Action Council, Press Release, "Balkan Action Council Urges NATO Intervention, Ground Forces in Kosovo," January 25, 1999, Bosnian Institute, http://www.bosnia.org.uk/news/news/260199_6.cfm

Largely because of his bellicose position on Kosovo, McCain was the favorite presidential candidate for many leading neoconservatives in 2000. As Franklin Foer, editor of the liberal New Republic, put it: "Jewish neoconservatives have fallen hard for John McCain. It's not just unabashed swooner William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard . McCain has also won over such leading neocon lights as David Brooks, the entire Podhoretz family, The Wall Street Journal 's Dorothy Rabinowitz, and columnist Charles Krauthammer, who declared, in a most un-Semitic flourish, 'He suffered for our sins.'" [31] Francis Foer, "The neocons wake up: Arguing the GOP," New Republic, March 20, 2000, p. 13.

McCain was especially championed by Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard , and his associate David Brooks. They held that McCain would promote their idea of "national greatness," as opposed to what they regarded as the standpatness of the conservative Republicans. The "national greatness" program would entail a greater role for the federal government and more extensive intervention throughout the world to promote American values.

Neoconservatives admired McCain for his support of the American war on Serbia, toward which many mainstream conservatives were decidedly cool. The attack on Serbia, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons, provided the intellectual groundwork for the attack on Iraq, the neocons' fundamental target, since it set the precedent of violating international law's prohibition against initiating offensive wars. No longer would the United States have to be attacked, or even threatened, to engage in war. As Kristol and Brooks put it: "For all his conventional political views, McCain embodies a set of virtues that today are unconventional. The issue that gave the McCain campaign its initial boost was Kosovo. He argued that America as a great champion of democracy and decency could not fail to act. And he supported his commander in chief despite grave doubts about the conduct of the war–while George W. Bush sat out the debate and Republicans on the Hill flailed at Clinton." [32] William Kristol and David Brooks, "The McCain Insurrection," Weekly Standard, February 14, 2000, http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-mccain-insurrecti.../11707

But the neocons did not support McCain simply because of his defense of the Kosovars, but rather because of his broader interventionist position of "rogue state rollback," which pointed directly at the enemies of Israel. While participating in a Republican debate moderated by CNN's Larry King on February. 15, 2000, the candidates were asked: "What area of American international policy would you change immediately as president?" McCain replied: "I'd institute a policy that I call 'rogue state rollback.' I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically-elected governments." And he added: "As long as Saddam Hussein is in power, I am convinced that he will pose a threat to our security." [33] Talal Al-Khatib, "McCain Rewrites History on 'Rogue-State Rollback'," ABC News, April 17, 2008, http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/04/mcc...s.html

What caused McCain's radical shift from cautious realist to super hawk? Biographer Matt Welch sees it as essentially a return to his basic world view, largely derived from the family's military background, after the non-interventionist effect of the Vietnam Syndrome. Welch writes: "But much less understood is the extent to which interventionist hegemony has been literally seared into McCain's skull and then reignited late in life after the long intellectual detour of Vietnam." [34] Welch, p. xxv.

Justin Raimondo sees it otherwise: "It is impossible to know what is in McCain's heart. There may be a purely ideological explanation for his changing viewpoint. But what seems to account for his evolution from realism to hopped-up interventionism is nothing more than sheer ambition." He goes on: "He was positioning himself against his own party, while staking out a distinctive stance independent of the Democrats. It was, in short, an instance of a presidential candidate maneuvering himself to increase his appeal to the electorate!and, most importantly, the media." [35] Raimondo, "Madness of John McCain."

In an article in Rolling Stone , Tim Dickerson expresses a view similar to that of Raimondo, describing McCain as "a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather." Dickerson continues: "Few politicians have so actively, or successfully, crafted their own myth of greatness." [36] Tim Dickerson, "John McCain: Make-Believe Maverick," Rolling Stone, October 16, 2008, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/make-beli...081016

McCain has flip-flopped on domestic issues, sometimes supporting a conservative position and at other times a more liberal one which wins him the plaudits of the mainstream media!but once he moved into the neocon orbit regarding U.S. foreign policy, he has stayed there. It is obviously beneficial for a politician to have the broad neocon network of organizations on one's side. And more than a few of these neocons!such as Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan, David Brooks, are featured regularly in the mainstream media. Moreover, the mainstream liberal media itself has adopted many neocon interventionist positions in foreign policy in regard to Russia and the Middle East, so McCain's positions are held in esteem there, too.

So while McCain portrays himself as a "maverick" and "straight-talker" who is above politics– and this image is largely accepted by the mainstream media!it would seem most likely that his political positions have been adopted to advance his own political interests. [37] McCain's marriage in 1980 to his second wife appears to have been done, at least in part, for political reasons. McCain left his first wife that same year to marry Cindy Hensley, a young Phoenix, Arizona, heiress whose worth has been estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. Cindy's father, Jim, was the owner of the area's Anheuser-Busch distributorship, one of the largest beer distributors in the U.S. Without the Hensley connections and, especially, great wealth, it seems highly doubtful that McCain would have been able to win a Congressional seat, which he did in 1982. While this approach did not enable him to become President, it did serve to make him something of a public icon, which is a position few politicians attain. However, the war-oriented policies he has advocated have been disastrous for the United States. It is only fortunate that John McCain has not attained the power to have his positions adopted in their entirety.

Antiwar7 > , September 1, 2017 at 5:41 am GMT

Yes, I remember when McCain was more anti-interventionist than average. Eerie, the striking change.

I also seem to remember Cheney being more anti-intervention, or so it seemed. That was a few administrations before W.

Priss Factor > , Website September 1, 2017 at 5:44 am GMT

Justin Raimondo sees it otherwise: "It is impossible to know what is in McCain's heart. There may be a purely ideological explanation for his changing viewpoint. But what seems to account for his evolution from realism to hopped-up interventionism is nothing more than sheer ambition."

It's more Hambition than ambition.

If McCain were really about ambition, he would have been more flexible and savvy like Clinton the chameleon. Or Trump who took up different positions to play to populist passions.
But in his foreign policy, McCain went from cautious and moderate to hardline, even to his political detriment. If he was really a political animal driven by ambition, he would have moderated his position on the Iraq War once things went badly. By 2008, even majority of conservatives had turned against the war that became associated with Bush II, a truly reviled and despised political figure(and rightly so).

So, why did McCain stick to his guns on foreign policy?

McCain is a mental midget. He wasn't much of a student. He wasn't much of a soldier. So, he was always hungry for recognition from the Power. This is why he was so partial to sucking up to the NYT crowd. The idea that intelligent and educated Liberal establishment praised him as a 'moderate and sane' Republican was very flattering to him. But because he was a Gopper, he couldn't lean too much to the Libby side.

Now, what became the intellectual and moral cornerstone of the GOP? Neocons. Why? Neocons gained control of the thinktanks and Big Ideas. They were supposed to be the Mind of the GOP in contrast to Evanjelly dummies, staid Paleocons, soulless libertarians, and beer-guzzling NASCAR types. Also, Neocons are Jews, and Holocaust became the neo-religion of America. So, the idea that Jewish Neocons, the mind and soul of the GOP, warmed up to him made him wet his pants with joy. Oh gosh, these Jews, yes, these intelligent and soulful Jews(the Holocaust folks) were praising him as a man of integrity, vision, ethics, and courage.
So, it wasn't just political ambition. It was psychological and emotional, especially as Wasps and White Conservatives had lost so much intellectual and moral capital since the 60s. Wasp mind culture came to be associated with Dan Quayle, and Bush II presidency nailed the final coffins in Wasp intellectualism. Now, surely there are many very smart Wasps, but they were no longer joining the ranks of GOP elites. Most smart Wasps elites either became apolitical or libby-dib and into 'white guilt' crap. Also, among the boomers, most brainy and talented Wasps became more like Clintons than the Bushes. Democrats. So, to be a conservative Wasp in the 90s and 2000s was to be an intellectual zero. Also, with Holocaust and MLK cult as new religions of America, soon to be followed by worship of rainbow-colored homo anus, Wasp conservatives had no moral capital either.
So, just think how McCain felt when the brainy & soulful Holocaust people put their arms around him. He wet his pants. It's like in THE GODFATHER the novel. Luca Brasi thinks himself irredeemable and cursed. But Vito Corleone, an intelligent and wise man, reached out to him. Brasi was so stunned that the great Vito would befriend someone so gross and vile that he became the most loyal henchman of Vito.

[MORE]

McCain felt saved! He'd been confused and messed up all his life. He was shot down in Vietnam. He became crippled for life. He'd collaborated with the enemy but a myth was created around him that was mostly phony. The war was lost. He tried to make peace and seek reconciliation with Vietnam. But he was never sure of anything. He was a broken man whose politics was about compromise and moderation. No passion. But when he joined in backing the Serbian War, the praise from Neocons made him finally feel saved and armed with purpose in life. He finally had the intellectual and moral blessing he'd craved all his life. He was befriended also by Joe Lieberman, a wise-sounding Jew. Of course, these neocons and Zionists were cunning and shrewd and hardly wise, but Jews gained this aura of sanctimony as the holy Holocaust people with lots of money and brains.

Another reason why McCain became increasingly vocal and aggressive in foreign policy was because it's the only arena in which a white gentile leader can be manly and tough, at least against enemies chosen by Jews. It's like a dog better listen to the master in the house, but it can bark loudly at other dogs and creatures outside. Because of the cult of 'white guilt' and Moral Hegemony of Jews(Holocaust), Blacks(Selma), homos(whoopity poo), and even illegals(as 'undocumented immigrants' in a 'nation of immigrants'), the white gentile man has NO moral authority in the US. So, he can only act tough in foreign policy. And by denouncing other nations without 'human rights', even a white male as a proud American can act morally holier-than-thou.
Of course, white males can't choose whom to hate, berate, and bark at. Jews get to choose. And Jews chose Russia, Syria, and Iran. And North Korea to a lesser extent. And McCain barks at them. But his toughness is bogus since he has no autonomy in choosing the enemy. If neocons were to decide that Putin is alright, McCain would stop barking at Russia. If Neocons said Saudis must be taken down, McCain would bark in that direction.

Also, foreign policy is the ONLY card McCain has left. He lost EVERYTHING. He lost to Bush in 2000. He supported the Iraq War and got burned as a result. He got burned in 2008 to Obama. His amnesty was angrily opposed by GOP voters. The financial and housing policies that he endorsed went to hell. And Trump insulted him and did everything opposite what McCain did and won. And Putin is a respected leader around the world. McCain is a nothing. Maybe a secret part of him resents the bargain he made with Neocons in 2000. But that is the only card he has left: the impression of him as a tough warrior standing up for American values and denouncing tyrants like Putin and etc. Of course, many people see how bogus this is. McCain met with Alqaeda scum in Syria and with Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. No one respects him. Conservative voters hate him. He won over and over in Arizona only because Democrats are allowed to vote in GOP primaries. Liberals had pretended to respect him but burned his ass so bad in 2008 in their support of Obama that the charade of non-partisan amicability is over. McCain is totally irrelevant. So, the only card he has left is accusing Trump of being a Russian agent and subverting his presidency out of sheer resentment and envy.

jilles dykstra > , September 1, 2017 at 7:07 am GMT

I saw how McCain reacted in the Senate when his effort to smuggle Montenegro into NATO failed, a child not getting his icecream.
Tiny Montenegro of course is just a pain in the ass for peace.
Who in his right mind wants the government of this tiny state to be able to provoke the last world war ?
People who have seen Russia as the USA arch enemy in fact are religious, religion defined as 'deep seated irrational conviction'.
That Russia just wants to sell oil and gas, and wants to remain independent, impossible.
So McCains invented Russian militarism, as bible belters invented creationism.

ChrisD > , September 1, 2017 at 7:27 am GMT

McCain was braindead during Comey's testimony in the Senate, even Comey had to screw up his face in painful confusion as McCain rambled. McCain is no longer fit to water the garden lawn let alone vote on key bills in congress. He needs to be forcefully removed from the Senate and replaced by a pro-Trump candidate from Arizona. I like my war heroes uncaptured by the way.

Realist > , September 1, 2017 at 9:07 am GMT

McCain has always been an asshole. The worst defeat suffered by the US at the hands of the North Vietnamese was the return of McCain alive.

ThereisaGod > , September 1, 2017 at 9:14 am GMT

He's a traitor like his father, the captain of the USS Liberty attacked by Israel in 1967 with the loss of 34 American lives the man who betrayed his men by falling in line with the cover-up to keep the truth of this war crime from the American people. One degenerate shitbag begot another. Maybe Junior just can't help it.

jacques sheete > , September 1, 2017 at 10:52 am GMT

Another excellent piece of work on a very putrid subject.

McCain intoned. "We choose, as a nation, however, to intervene militarily abroad in defense of the moral values

Whenever anyone, especially a politician, starts yapping about defending or promoting moral values, it's time to grab both your wallet and to head to the toilet.

lucidian > , September 1, 2017 at 10:52 am GMT

Alas, I miss Realism. I hoped Trump was a Realist. I despise Idealists. Neocons are Idealists. Communists are Idealists. They are all monsters. So much blood has been shed in the name of Idealism. Idealists don't care about inconvenient things like body counts, so long as their Ideals are being pursued.

I want America to be friends with Russia, and fight radical Islam. This is the only course that makes sense, but the Idealists aren't having any. It appears that the Neocons still have their claws around our country's throat. I had hoped Trump could resist this, but apparently he cannot.

jacques sheete > , September 1, 2017 at 11:40 am GMT

@Priss Factor Justin Raimondo sees it otherwise: "It is impossible to know what is in McCain's heart. There may be a purely ideological explanation for his changing viewpoint. But what seems to account for his evolution from realism to hopped-up interventionism is nothing more than sheer ambition."

It's more Hambition than ambition.

If McCain were really about ambition, he would have been more flexible and savvy like Clinton the chameleon. Or Trump who took up different positions to play to populist passions.
But in his foreign policy, McCain went from cautious and moderate to hardline, even to his political detriment. If he was really a political animal driven by ambition, he would have moderated his position on the Iraq War once things went badly. By 2008, even majority of conservatives had turned against the war that became associated with Bush II, a truly reviled and despised political figure(and rightly so).

So, why did McCain stick to his guns on foreign policy?

McCain is a mental midget. He wasn't much of a student. He wasn't much of a soldier. So, he was always hungry for recognition from the Power. This is why he was so partial to sucking up to the NYT crowd. The idea that intelligent and educated Liberal establishment praised him as a 'moderate and sane' Republican was very flattering to him. But because he was a Gopper, he couldn't lean too much to the Libby side.

Now, what became the intellectual and moral cornerstone of the GOP? Neocons. Why? Neocons gained control of the thinktanks and Big Ideas. They were supposed to be the Mind of the GOP in contrast to Evanjelly dummies, staid Paleocons, soulless libertarians, and beer-guzzling NASCAR types. Also, Neocons are Jews, and Holocaust became the neo-religion of America. So, the idea that Jewish Neocons, the mind and soul of the GOP, warmed up to him made him wet his pants with joy. Oh gosh, these Jews, yes, these intelligent and soulful Jews(the Holocaust folks) were praising him as a man of integrity, vision, ethics, and courage.
So, it wasn't just political ambition. It was psychological and emotional, especially as Wasps and White Conservatives had lost so much intellectual and moral capital since the 60s. Wasp mind culture came to be associated with Dan Quayle, and Bush II presidency nailed the final coffins in Wasp intellectualism. Now, surely there are many very smart Wasps, but they were no longer joining the ranks of GOP elites. Most smart Wasps elites either became apolitical or libby-dib and into 'white guilt' crap. Also, among the boomers, most brainy and talented Wasps became more like Clintons than the Bushes. Democrats. So, to be a conservative Wasp in the 90s and 2000s was to be an intellectual zero. Also, with Holocaust and MLK cult as new religions of America, soon to be followed by worship of rainbow-colored homo anus, Wasp conservatives had no moral capital either.
So, just think how McCain felt when the brainy & soulful Holocaust people put their arms around him. He wet his pants. It's like in THE GODFATHER the novel. Luca Brasi thinks himself irredeemable and cursed. But Vito Corleone, an intelligent and wise man, reached out to him. Brasi was so stunned that the great Vito would befriend someone so gross and vile that he became the most loyal henchman of Vito.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3vgqxQDHE

McCain felt saved! He'd been confused and messed up all his life. He was shot down in Vietnam. He became crippled for life. He'd collaborated with the enemy but a myth was created around him that was mostly phony. The war was lost. He tried to make peace and seek reconciliation with Vietnam. But he was never sure of anything. He was a broken man whose politics was about compromise and moderation. No passion. But when he joined in backing the Serbian War, the praise from Neocons made him finally feel saved and armed with purpose in life. He finally had the intellectual and moral blessing he'd craved all his life. He was befriended also by Joe Lieberman, a wise-sounding Jew. Of course, these neocons and Zionists were cunning and shrewd and hardly wise, but Jews gained this aura of sanctimony as the holy Holocaust people... with lots of money and brains.

Another reason why McCain became increasingly vocal and aggressive in foreign policy was because it's the only arena in which a white gentile leader can be manly and tough, at least against enemies chosen by Jews. It's like a dog better listen to the master in the house, but it can bark loudly at other dogs and creatures outside. Because of the cult of 'white guilt' and Moral Hegemony of Jews(Holocaust), Blacks(Selma), homos(whoopity poo), and even illegals(as 'undocumented immigrants' in a 'nation of immigrants'), the white gentile man has NO moral authority in the US. So, he can only act tough in foreign policy. And by denouncing other nations without 'human rights', even a white male as a proud American can act morally holier-than-thou.
Of course, white males can't choose whom to hate, berate, and bark at. Jews get to choose. And Jews chose Russia, Syria, and Iran. And North Korea to a lesser extent. And McCain barks at them. But his toughness is bogus since he has no autonomy in choosing the enemy. If neocons were to decide that Putin is alright, McCain would stop barking at Russia. If Neocons said Saudis must be taken down, McCain would bark in that direction.

Also, foreign policy is the ONLY card McCain has left. He lost EVERYTHING. He lost to Bush in 2000. He supported the Iraq War and got burned as a result. He got burned in 2008 to Obama. His amnesty was angrily opposed by GOP voters. The financial and housing policies that he endorsed went to hell. And Trump insulted him and did everything opposite what McCain did and won. And Putin is a respected leader around the world. McCain is a nothing. Maybe a secret part of him resents the bargain he made with Neocons in 2000. But that is the only card he has left: the impression of him as a tough warrior standing up for American values and denouncing tyrants like Putin and etc. Of course, many people see how bogus this is. McCain met with Alqaeda scum in Syria and with Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. No one respects him. Conservative voters hate him. He won over and over in Arizona only because Democrats are allowed to vote in GOP primaries. Liberals had pretended to respect him but burned his ass so bad in 2008 in their support of Obama that the charade of non-partisan amicability is over. McCain is totally irrelevant. So, the only card he has left is accusing Trump of being a Russian agent and subverting his presidency out of sheer resentment and envy.

So, he was always hungry for recognition from the Power.

I've noticed that in a lot of the sappy, worthless goons in positions of power, even minor positions.

BTW, your comment is far beyond even some of the best columnists here. Bravo!

jacques sheete > , September 1, 2017 at 11:48 am GMT

@lucidian Alas, I miss Realism. I hoped Trump was a Realist. I despise Idealists. Neocons are Idealists. Communists are Idealists. They are all monsters. So much blood has been shed in the name of Idealism. Idealists don't care about inconvenient things like body counts, so long as their Ideals are being pursued.

I want America to be friends with Russia, and fight radical Islam. This is the only course that makes sense, but the Idealists aren't having any. It appears that the Neocons still have their claws around our country's throat. I had hoped Trump could resist this, but apparently he cannot.

I want America to be friends with Russia, and fight radical Islam. This is the only course that makes sense, but the Idealists aren't having any. It appears that the Neocons still have their claws around our country's throat.

Neocons are the ones promoting and braying about radical Islam as a threat.

The biggest threat we face is the moneyed neocon crowd, and their water carriers and boot lickers like Little Johnny Boy. Forget Islam as an enemy, radical or otherwise. It's obviously nothing more than a threat hatched by the usual reptiles to distract our attention from themselves.

If we can manage to get rid of neocon influence, we'll see radical Islam and many other "threats" disappear like magic. Unfortunately that's not likely to happen any time soon.

n230099 > , September 1, 2017 at 12:03 pm GMT

"If they've nothing to contribute to today, they drown their sorrows in what they perceive as the heroism of yesterday. "

This dude's time is short and he wants one with his name on it we are all in grave danger.

DESERT FOX > , September 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm GMT

McCain wet started his plane on the deck of the USS FORRESTAL which caused a rocket to cook off and fire causing a chain reaction which caused and explosion and fire that killed 134 men and wounded 161 McCain was the only one removed from the ship to keep him away from the crew of the Forrestal. This happened on July 29, 1967.

When McCain was in prison in North Vietnam he was given the name SONG BIRD by the North Vietnese because he made some 40 tapes condeming the U.S. and this was not because of torture as he was not tortured and the injuries he sustained were from ejecting from the plane.

McCain has done every thing in his power to cover up the fact that America POWS were left behind in North Vietnam and there is a youtube video showing McCain at a Senate hearing cursing a woman who was investigating the issue of POWS left behind in Vietnam and that is not the only video of McCain cursing out people who asked him questions on this issue.

McCain is one of the supporters of ISIS and he is pictured with members of ISIS numerous times and as such is of course a TRAITOR just as he was in prison in North Vietnam.

McCain is a TRAITOR and a disgrace to the United States.

Pandos > , September 1, 2017 at 2:06 pm GMT

@ThereisaGod The Captain was not McCain. The Captain was awarded the Medal of Honor. Admiral McCain did the coverup though.

Beckow > , September 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm GMT

@Priss Factor

"McCain is a mental midget. He wasn't much of a student. He wasn't much of a soldier. So, he was always hungry for recognition from the Power."

Great summary. There is a yearning for acceptance and 'being something more' among the semi-retarded an completely uneducated in US. They know very little and have minimal experience. They are completely lost in culture, history, geography, languages, economics, etc But they are living in a wealthy, resources-rich environment. That leads to a disconnect from the real world, they mix up myths and reality, there is chaos reigning in their minds. They suffer from a sense of inferiority, so they overcompensate and latch on a few ideas. It is a result of lack of selectivity and diligence in US education. That permissiveness allows for creativity and openness, but it also allows total simpletons to rise up because of connections (McCain) or industriousness. Lately this model has been spreading around the world. McCain is simply too stupid to be where he is.

A lot of today's problems can be traced to the NATO bombing of Serbia. That's when all rules, common sense and minimal fairness were tossed out. That's when the western media lost any sense of standards or basic decency. That's when 'international' law and agreed on rules was abandoned. Kosovo established a precedence – from changing existing borders by force and 'we bomb because nobody can really stop us', from media reporting what governments tell them and unhinged 'journalists with a cause' – it all started with bombing Serbia to force Kosovo separation. It has been downhill since then with ever-escalating use of force and lying by the media. McCain was prominent in that fiasco, but so were Blair and Clintons, European 'leftists' and Islamic expansionists. Kosovo created a template: it combined Neo-cons with unhinged liberal bombers, and added Islamic fanatics dreaming about taking over Europe. We are simply living with the consequences. McCain was there from the beginning.

anonymous > , Disclaimer September 1, 2017 at 2:50 pm GMT

So what happened? Has there been a gradual onset of dementia that's gone undiagnosed? Or was he "eying the presidency" and needed the sponsors that would carry him there? Either way the man has been mentally and morally unfit all along for his entire life. He's a spoiled brat who graduated at the bottom of his class yet was allowed to hold positions he should never have had due to family clout. He has an irrational animus towards the Russians which has led him to try to drag the US into unnecessary confrontations with them and which has had the effect of spurring them into building up their military even quicker as they realize that it may not be possible to make any worthwhile peace agreements from a position of weakness. Of course we haven't gone into his immigration stance which has harmed this country immeasurably. He's been bad, always, from childhood on. It's strange to see that the voters of Arizona kept returning this cretin to the Senate over and over. He's been there far too long for anything worthwhile he may have done. Go away, just go.

Anonymous > , Disclaimer September 1, 2017 at 2:53 pm GMT

McCain is owned by the MIC. He came home drunk with a job in politics waiting for him. McCain's role is to collude with his defense contractors for costly welfare that undermines US security. He's just like any other scumbag Senator, a puppet for the mafia.

Haven't we learned that what a politician says is at any given time to be typically worth less than worn out tires? Not the twiddling author of this drawn out character assessment. Conservatives are hopelessly delusional.

There's no better example of standard issue duplicitu than the Orange Realtor who claimed he was going to cut defense spending, the F-35 and John McCain's legacy all at once. All horseshit – all of it.

Incompetent officers running the obsolete USS John McCain into a cargo ship. That about sums it up.

geokat62 > , September 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT

Members of the interventionist Balkan Action Committee , which advocated NATO ground troops for Kosovo, included such prominent neoconservative mainstays as Richard Perle, Max M. Kampelman, Morton Abramowitz, and Paul Wolfowitz. Other neoconservative proponents of a tougher war included Eliot Cohen, Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Norman Podhoretz.

Well, what do ya know? Look who was behind the push for war against Serbia. And the author of this fine article clearly articulates the motivation for this supposed R2P intervention against Serbia:

The attack on Serbia, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons, provided the intellectual groundwork for the attack on Iraq, the neocons' fundamental target, since it set the precedent of violating international law's prohibition against initiating offensive wars .

And we have these hasbarists (both xian and Jewish) trying to convince us that all these wars are truly for humanitarian reasons. What chutzpah!

Rurik > , Website September 1, 2017 at 3:07 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

So, he was always hungry for recognition from the Power.

another word for 'the Power', is The Fiend

which I consider somewhat more accurate in its description

in a word, McCain is a traitor

a man willing to betray his office, his constituents, the men and women in uniform, his sacred vows, and all notions of honor or decency in service to our nations most determined enemies. If he thinks doing so will advance his personal ambitions.

a crack whore has a thousand times more integrity

dog vomit in the grass is heroic by comparison

I'm reminded of that Detroit physician who diagnosed healthy patients as having cancer and requiring expensive chemo treatments, so that the physician could get richer and also bask in the grandeur of being a 'great healer', once his patients were declared 'healed'. At least the ones who didn't die from the chemo (many). A man who is trusted with the health and welfare of others, and then betrays that trust and sees those people die for his personal gain.

and then any article on John McBloodstain that leaves out his wanton corruption vis-a-vis the Savings and Loan mass looting, the 2008 mass looting, his treason in Vietnam, his treason vis-a-vis the USS Liberty and all the other remarkable acts of betrayal and craven venality that this singularly loathsome man has wrought upon the people of this planet is wholly inadequate for a person to get a grasp on just what a spectacularly vile little man the Bloodstain really is.

It says something about the Jews that own and control our fecal government and media when their favorites to play POTUS are the very worst human beings in the nation. Hillary Clinton and John McBloodstain are arguably the most repulsive people in human memory.

the lying, vicious cackling gorgon and that murderous little Igor to the Fiend

two peas in a pod

Linda Green > , September 1, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Justin Raimondo sees it otherwise: "It is impossible to know what is in McCain's heart. There may be a purely ideological explanation for his changing viewpoint. But what seems to account for his evolution from realism to hopped-up interventionism is nothing more than sheer ambition."

It's more Hambition than ambition.

If McCain were really about ambition, he would have been more flexible and savvy like Clinton the chameleon. Or Trump who took up different positions to play to populist passions.
But in his foreign policy, McCain went from cautious and moderate to hardline, even to his political detriment. If he was really a political animal driven by ambition, he would have moderated his position on the Iraq War once things went badly. By 2008, even majority of conservatives had turned against the war that became associated with Bush II, a truly reviled and despised political figure(and rightly so).

So, why did McCain stick to his guns on foreign policy?

McCain is a mental midget. He wasn't much of a student. He wasn't much of a soldier. So, he was always hungry for recognition from the Power. This is why he was so partial to sucking up to the NYT crowd. The idea that intelligent and educated Liberal establishment praised him as a 'moderate and sane' Republican was very flattering to him. But because he was a Gopper, he couldn't lean too much to the Libby side.

Now, what became the intellectual and moral cornerstone of the GOP? Neocons. Why? Neocons gained control of the thinktanks and Big Ideas. They were supposed to be the Mind of the GOP in contrast to Evanjelly dummies, staid Paleocons, soulless libertarians, and beer-guzzling NASCAR types. Also, Neocons are Jews, and Holocaust became the neo-religion of America. So, the idea that Jewish Neocons, the mind and soul of the GOP, warmed up to him made him wet his pants with joy. Oh gosh, these Jews, yes, these intelligent and soulful Jews(the Holocaust folks) were praising him as a man of integrity, vision, ethics, and courage.
So, it wasn't just political ambition. It was psychological and emotional, especially as Wasps and White Conservatives had lost so much intellectual and moral capital since the 60s. Wasp mind culture came to be associated with Dan Quayle, and Bush II presidency nailed the final coffins in Wasp intellectualism. Now, surely there are many very smart Wasps, but they were no longer joining the ranks of GOP elites. Most smart Wasps elites either became apolitical or libby-dib and into 'white guilt' crap. Also, among the boomers, most brainy and talented Wasps became more like Clintons than the Bushes. Democrats. So, to be a conservative Wasp in the 90s and 2000s was to be an intellectual zero. Also, with Holocaust and MLK cult as new religions of America, soon to be followed by worship of rainbow-colored homo anus, Wasp conservatives had no moral capital either.
So, just think how McCain felt when the brainy & soulful Holocaust people put their arms around him. He wet his pants. It's like in THE GODFATHER the novel. Luca Brasi thinks himself irredeemable and cursed. But Vito Corleone, an intelligent and wise man, reached out to him. Brasi was so stunned that the great Vito would befriend someone so gross and vile that he became the most loyal henchman of Vito.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3vgqxQDHE

McCain felt saved! He'd been confused and messed up all his life. He was shot down in Vietnam. He became crippled for life. He'd collaborated with the enemy but a myth was created around him that was mostly phony. The war was lost. He tried to make peace and seek reconciliation with Vietnam. But he was never sure of anything. He was a broken man whose politics was about compromise and moderation. No passion. But when he joined in backing the Serbian War, the praise from Neocons made him finally feel saved and armed with purpose in life. He finally had the intellectual and moral blessing he'd craved all his life. He was befriended also by Joe Lieberman, a wise-sounding Jew. Of course, these neocons and Zionists were cunning and shrewd and hardly wise, but Jews gained this aura of sanctimony as the holy Holocaust people... with lots of money and brains.

Another reason why McCain became increasingly vocal and aggressive in foreign policy was because it's the only arena in which a white gentile leader can be manly and tough, at least against enemies chosen by Jews. It's like a dog better listen to the master in the house, but it can bark loudly at other dogs and creatures outside. Because of the cult of 'white guilt' and Moral Hegemony of Jews(Holocaust), Blacks(Selma), homos(whoopity poo), and even illegals(as 'undocumented immigrants' in a 'nation of immigrants'), the white gentile man has NO moral authority in the US. So, he can only act tough in foreign policy. And by denouncing other nations without 'human rights', even a white male as a proud American can act morally holier-than-thou.
Of course, white males can't choose whom to hate, berate, and bark at. Jews get to choose. And Jews chose Russia, Syria, and Iran. And North Korea to a lesser extent. And McCain barks at them. But his toughness is bogus since he has no autonomy in choosing the enemy. If neocons were to decide that Putin is alright, McCain would stop barking at Russia. If Neocons said Saudis must be taken down, McCain would bark in that direction.

Also, foreign policy is the ONLY card McCain has left. He lost EVERYTHING. He lost to Bush in 2000. He supported the Iraq War and got burned as a result. He got burned in 2008 to Obama. His amnesty was angrily opposed by GOP voters. The financial and housing policies that he endorsed went to hell. And Trump insulted him and did everything opposite what McCain did and won. And Putin is a respected leader around the world. McCain is a nothing. Maybe a secret part of him resents the bargain he made with Neocons in 2000. But that is the only card he has left: the impression of him as a tough warrior standing up for American values and denouncing tyrants like Putin and etc. Of course, many people see how bogus this is. McCain met with Alqaeda scum in Syria and with Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. No one respects him. Conservative voters hate him. He won over and over in Arizona only because Democrats are allowed to vote in GOP primaries. Liberals had pretended to respect him but burned his ass so bad in 2008 in their support of Obama that the charade of non-partisan amicability is over. McCain is totally irrelevant. So, the only card he has left is accusing Trump of being a Russian agent and subverting his presidency out of sheer resentment and envy. Excellent synopsis. Sounds about right.

Keeping Obamacare was McCain's final act to really stick it to the people who doubted he has the power. See! Look what I can do! The liberals swooned. John received congratulatory calls and emails from Dems all week, in the end they reiterated how they always know they can depend on John. Pitiful.

geokat62 > , September 1, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT

the planet will be a noticeably better place. The air will taste less of sulfur and children and dogs will smile more. There'll be a frolic in the mood of people everywhere, and a new light of hope and beauty will dance in people's eyes.

Unfortunately, Rurik, for every Killary and McBloodstain that pass away, there are dozens more to take their place. I need not run down the list of the candidates from both major parties that ran in the presidential primaries.

Beefcake the Mighty > , September 1, 2017 at 3:37 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Justin Raimondo sees it otherwise: "It is impossible to know what is in McCain's heart. There may be a purely ideological explanation for his changing viewpoint. But what seems to account for his evolution from realism to hopped-up interventionism is nothing more than sheer ambition."

It's more Hambition than ambition.

If McCain were really about ambition, he would have been more flexible and savvy like Clinton the chameleon. Or Trump who took up different positions to play to populist passions.
But in his foreign policy, McCain went from cautious and moderate to hardline, even to his political detriment. If he was really a political animal driven by ambition, he would have moderated his position on the Iraq War once things went badly. By 2008, even majority of conservatives had turned against the war that became associated with Bush II, a truly reviled and despised political figure(and rightly so).

So, why did McCain stick to his guns on foreign policy?

McCain is a mental midget. He wasn't much of a student. He wasn't much of a soldier. So, he was always hungry for recognition from the Power. This is why he was so partial to sucking up to the NYT crowd. The idea that intelligent and educated Liberal establishment praised him as a 'moderate and sane' Republican was very flattering to him. But because he was a Gopper, he couldn't lean too much to the Libby side.

Now, what became the intellectual and moral cornerstone of the GOP? Neocons. Why? Neocons gained control of the thinktanks and Big Ideas. They were supposed to be the Mind of the GOP in contrast to Evanjelly dummies, staid Paleocons, soulless libertarians, and beer-guzzling NASCAR types. Also, Neocons are Jews, and Holocaust became the neo-religion of America. So, the idea that Jewish Neocons, the mind and soul of the GOP, warmed up to him made him wet his pants with joy. Oh gosh, these Jews, yes, these intelligent and soulful Jews(the Holocaust folks) were praising him as a man of integrity, vision, ethics, and courage.
So, it wasn't just political ambition. It was psychological and emotional, especially as Wasps and White Conservatives had lost so much intellectual and moral capital since the 60s. Wasp mind culture came to be associated with Dan Quayle, and Bush II presidency nailed the final coffins in Wasp intellectualism. Now, surely there are many very smart Wasps, but they were no longer joining the ranks of GOP elites. Most smart Wasps elites either became apolitical or libby-dib and into 'white guilt' crap. Also, among the boomers, most brainy and talented Wasps became more like Clintons than the Bushes. Democrats. So, to be a conservative Wasp in the 90s and 2000s was to be an intellectual zero. Also, with Holocaust and MLK cult as new religions of America, soon to be followed by worship of rainbow-colored homo anus, Wasp conservatives had no moral capital either.
So, just think how McCain felt when the brainy & soulful Holocaust people put their arms around him. He wet his pants. It's like in THE GODFATHER the novel. Luca Brasi thinks himself irredeemable and cursed. But Vito Corleone, an intelligent and wise man, reached out to him. Brasi was so stunned that the great Vito would befriend someone so gross and vile that he became the most loyal henchman of Vito.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3vgqxQDHE

McCain felt saved! He'd been confused and messed up all his life. He was shot down in Vietnam. He became crippled for life. He'd collaborated with the enemy but a myth was created around him that was mostly phony. The war was lost. He tried to make peace and seek reconciliation with Vietnam. But he was never sure of anything. He was a broken man whose politics was about compromise and moderation. No passion. But when he joined in backing the Serbian War, the praise from Neocons made him finally feel saved and armed with purpose in life. He finally had the intellectual and moral blessing he'd craved all his life. He was befriended also by Joe Lieberman, a wise-sounding Jew. Of course, these neocons and Zionists were cunning and shrewd and hardly wise, but Jews gained this aura of sanctimony as the holy Holocaust people... with lots of money and brains.

Another reason why McCain became increasingly vocal and aggressive in foreign policy was because it's the only arena in which a white gentile leader can be manly and tough, at least against enemies chosen by Jews. It's like a dog better listen to the master in the house, but it can bark loudly at other dogs and creatures outside. Because of the cult of 'white guilt' and Moral Hegemony of Jews(Holocaust), Blacks(Selma), homos(whoopity poo), and even illegals(as 'undocumented immigrants' in a 'nation of immigrants'), the white gentile man has NO moral authority in the US. So, he can only act tough in foreign policy. And by denouncing other nations without 'human rights', even a white male as a proud American can act morally holier-than-thou.
Of course, white males can't choose whom to hate, berate, and bark at. Jews get to choose. And Jews chose Russia, Syria, and Iran. And North Korea to a lesser extent. And McCain barks at them. But his toughness is bogus since he has no autonomy in choosing the enemy. If neocons were to decide that Putin is alright, McCain would stop barking at Russia. If Neocons said Saudis must be taken down, McCain would bark in that direction.

Also, foreign policy is the ONLY card McCain has left. He lost EVERYTHING. He lost to Bush in 2000. He supported the Iraq War and got burned as a result. He got burned in 2008 to Obama. His amnesty was angrily opposed by GOP voters. The financial and housing policies that he endorsed went to hell. And Trump insulted him and did everything opposite what McCain did and won. And Putin is a respected leader around the world. McCain is a nothing. Maybe a secret part of him resents the bargain he made with Neocons in 2000. But that is the only card he has left: the impression of him as a tough warrior standing up for American values and denouncing tyrants like Putin and etc. Of course, many people see how bogus this is. McCain met with Alqaeda scum in Syria and with Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. No one respects him. Conservative voters hate him. He won over and over in Arizona only because Democrats are allowed to vote in GOP primaries. Liberals had pretended to respect him but burned his ass so bad in 2008 in their support of Obama that the charade of non-partisan amicability is over. McCain is totally irrelevant. So, the only card he has left is accusing Trump of being a Russian agent and subverting his presidency out of sheer resentment and envy. Yes. Basically, McCain is mentally unstable. He may have been able to keep it under control for a while, but whatever caused him to snap in the late 90′s (and doubtless raw ambition played a role), he has long passed the point of no return (as has America, sadly).

Antiwar7 > , September 1, 2017 at 3:41 pm GMT

@geokat62 It was also a war to justify Nato's existence, just in time for its 50th anniversary, when everyone was asking why it was still around.

Also, the neocons have always been strongly anti-Russian, and Serbia was viewed as a natural Russian ally, due to history and religion.

Rurik > , Website September 1, 2017 at 3:54 pm GMT

@geokat62


the planet will be a noticeably better place. The air will taste less of sulfur and children and dogs will smile more. There'll be a frolic in the mood of people everywhere, and a new light of hope and beauty will dance in people's eyes.
Unfortunately, Rurik, for every Killary and McBloodstain that pass away, there are dozens more to take their place. I need not run down the list of the candidates from both major parties that ran in the presidential primaries.

there are dozens more to take their place.

true Geo, but at least the world can be rid of a spectacularly execrable pestilence that has plagued it for so terribly long. Even if Tom Cotton is waiting in the wings to take its place.

just think of all the millions of people who suffer the Bloodstain's every feculent breath.

the POWs in Vietnam and their families

the survivors of the Liberty and their families

the murdered souls throughout the world, from Ukraine to Syria whose unimaginable suffering can be laid directly at the feet of the Stain

all the people who have been tortured or crucified by ISIS

those people in Odessa, Ukraine who were burned alive, or the villagers in Donbas, and so many other places who have lost loved ones or been maimed by the Bloodstain's relentless, relentless, relentless war mongering.

all these people will be able to wake to a new day knowing that John McCain is no longer befouling the air we all breath with his rotten lungs.

sure, Tom Cotton is being groomed, and there's no doubt a bevy of would-be traitors and assholes waiting to take McCain's place, but at least he will be dead and burning in hell.

Dutch Boy > , September 1, 2017 at 5:07 pm GMT

Simple explanation: becoming an agent of influence for Israel is the sure route to the sort of $$ you need to run a presidential campaign (unless you are already loaded like DT).

WorkingClass > , September 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm GMT

McStain is what he is. The real problem is the people who vote for him.

DB Cooper > , September 1, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT

@Priss Factor I agree with Justin Raimondo that McCain's evolution from realism to hopped-up interventionism is nothing more than sheer ambition. People may argue that many of his policies are not populist, but that is precisely the point. His strategy is to strike out a different stance in order to differentiate himself from the many other politicians who have the same ambitions. Hillary Clinton's strategy is to be a populist, McCain's strategy is to be an anti-populist.

Priss Factor > , Website September 1, 2017 at 6:37 pm GMT

Antifa, McCain's latest basket case of 'freedom fighters'.

geokat62 > , September 1, 2017 at 7:57 pm GMT

@WorkingClass McStain is what he is. The real problem is the people who vote for him.

The real problem is the people who vote for him.

What are the people to do when the senate passes 98-2 a resolution to impose sanctions on Iran, Russia, NK?

The real problem is the swamp and how to drain it.

It was encouraging to see that the most popular candidates from the two major parties during the previous presidential primaries were both putting forward policies that were against the status quo. And more and more people are beginning to realize the Luggenpresse of Weimerica is pumping out fake news. My prediction is the establishment will manage to remove trump either by impeachment or at the ballot box in 2020 and install one of their puppets who will resume their program of globalism (mass immigration, international trade agreements, and more regime change wars) to the point where things will become intolerably unbearable for the average American. Once that happens, the conditions will have been satisfied for the swamp draining to begin in earnest.

Bottom line: things are going to have to get a lot worse before they get any better.

[Aug 30, 2017] Why Google Made The NSA by Nafeez Ahmed

Aug 39, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored via Medium.com,

Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet...

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE , a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain 'information superiority.'

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world.

The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I'd like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons .

* * *

Read Part 1 here...

* * *

Mass surveillance is about control. It's promulgators may well claim, and even believe, that it is about control for the greater good, a control that is needed to keep a cap on disorder, to be fully vigilant to the next threat. But in a context of rampant political corruption, widening economic inequalities, and escalating resource stress due to climate change and energy volatility, mass surveillance can become a tool of power to merely perpetuate itself, at the public's expense.

A major function of mass surveillance that is often overlooked is that of knowing the adversary to such an extent that they can be manipulated into defeat. The problem is that the adversary is not just terrorists. It's you and me. To this day, the role of information warfare as propaganda has been in full swing, though systematically ignored by much of the media.

Here, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE exposes how the Pentagon Highlands Forum's co-optation of tech giants like Google to pursue mass surveillance, has played a key role in secret efforts to manipulate the media as part of an information war against the American government, the American people, and the rest of the world: to justify endless war, and ceaseless military expansionism.

The war machine

In September 2013, the website of the Montery Institute for International Studies' Cyber Security Initiative (MIIS CySec ) posted a final version of a paper on 'cyber-deterrence' by CIA consultant Jeffrey Cooper, vice president of the US defense contractor SAIC and a founding member of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum. The paper was presented to then NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander at a Highlands Forum session titled 'Cyber Commons, Engagement and Deterrence' in 2010.

Gen. Keith Alexander (middle), who served as director of the NSA and chief of the Central Security Service from 2005 to 2014, as well as commander of the US Cyber Command from 2010 to 2014, at the 2010 Highlands Forum session on cyber-deterrence

MIIS CySec is formally partnered with the Pentagon's Highlands Forum through an MoU signed between the provost and Forum president Richard O'Neill, while the initiative itself is funded by George C. Lee: the Goldman Sachs executive who led the billion dollar valuations of Facebook, Google, eBay, and other tech companies.

Cooper's eye-opening paper is no longer available at the MIIS site, but a final version of it is available via the logs of a public national security conference hosted by the American Bar Association. Currently, Cooper is chief innovation officer at SAIC/Leidos, which is among a consortium of defense technology firms including Booz Allen Hamilton and others contracted to develop NSA surveillance capabilities.

The Highlands Forum briefing for the NSA chief was commissioned under contract by the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and based on concepts developed at previous Forum meetings. It was presented to Gen. Alexander at a "closed session" of the Highlands Forum moderated by MIIS Cysec director, Dr. Itamara Lochard, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC.

SAIC/Leidos' Jeffrey Cooper (middle), a founding member of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum, listening to Phil Venables (right), senior partner at Goldman Sachs, at the 2010 Forum session on cyber-deterrence at the CSIS

Like Rumsfeld's IO roadmap, Cooper's NSA briefing described "digital information systems" as both a "great source of vulnerability" and "powerful tools and weapons" for "national security." He advocated the need for US cyber intelligence to maximize "in-depth knowledge" of potential and actual adversaries, so they can identify "every potential leverage point" that can be exploited for deterrence or retaliation. "Networked deterrence" requires the US intelligence community to develop "deep understanding and specific knowledge about the particular networks involved and their patterns of linkages, including types and strengths of bonds," as well as using cognitive and behavioural science to help predict patterns. His paper went on to essentially set out a theoretical architecture for modelling data obtained from surveillance and social media mining on potential "adversaries" and "counterparties."

A year after this briefing with the NSA chief, Michele Weslander Quaid?!?another Highlands Forum delegate?!?joined Google to become chief technology officer, leaving her senior role in the Pentagon advising the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Two months earlier, the Defense Science Board (DSB) Task Force on Defense Intelligence published its report on Counterinsurgency (COIN), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (IRS) Operations. Quaid was among the government intelligence experts who advised and briefed the Defense Science Board Task Force in preparing the report. Another expert who briefed the Task Force was Highlands Forum veteran Linton Wells. The DSB report itself had been commissioned by Bush appointee James Clapper, then undersecretary of defense for intelligence?!?who had also commissioned Cooper's Highlands Forum briefing to Gen. Alexander. Clapper is now Obama's Director of National Intelligence, in which capacity he lied under oath to Congress by claiming in March 2013 that the NSA does not collect any data at all on American citizens.

Michele Quaid's track record across the US military intelligence community was to transition agencies into using web tools and cloud technology. The imprint of her ideas are evident in key parts of the DSB Task Force report, which described its purpose as being to "influence investment decisions" at the Pentagon "by recommending appropriate intelligence capabilities to assess insurgencies, understand a population in their environment, and support COIN operations."

The report named 24 countries in South and Southeast Asia, North and West Africa, the Middle East and South America, which would pose "possible COIN challenges" for the US military in coming years. These included Pakistan, Mexico, Yemen, Nigeria, Guatemala, Gaza/West Bank, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, among other "autocratic regimes." The report argued that "economic crises, climate change, demographic pressures, resource scarcity, or poor governance could cause these states (or others) to fail or become so weak that they become targets for aggressors/insurgents." From there, the "global information infrastructure" and "social media" can rapidly "amplify the speed, intensity, and momentum of events" with regional implications. "Such areas could become sanctuaries from which to launch attacks on the US homeland, recruit personnel, and finance, train, and supply operations."

The imperative in this context is to increase the military's capacity for "left of bang" operations?!?before the need for a major armed forces commitment?!?to avoid insurgencies, or pre-empt them while still in incipient phase. The report goes on to conclude that "the Internet and social media are critical sources of social network analysis data in societies that are not only literate, but also connected to the Internet." This requires "monitoring the blogosphere and other social media across many different cultures and languages" to prepare for "population-centric operations."

The Pentagon must also increase its capacity for "behavioral modeling and simulation" to "better understand and anticipate the actions of a population" based on "foundation data on populations, human networks, geography, and other economic and social characteristics." Such "population-centric operations" will also "increasingly" be needed in "nascent resource conflicts, whether based on water-crises, agricultural stress, environmental stress, or rents" from mineral resources. This must include monitoring "population demographics as an organic part of the natural resource framework."

Other areas for augmentation are "overhead video surveillance," "high resolution terrain data," "cloud computing capability," "data fusion" for all forms of intelligence in a "consistent spatio-temporal framework for organizing and indexing the data," developing "social science frameworks" that can "support spatio-temporal encoding and analysis," "distributing multi-form biometric authentication technologies ["such as fingerprints, retina scans and DNA samples"] to the point of service of the most basic administrative processes" in order to "tie identity to all an individual's transactions." In addition, the academy must be brought in to help the Pentagon develop "anthropological, socio-cultural, historical, human geographical, educational, public health, and many other types of social and behavioral science data and information" to develop "a deep understanding of populations."

A few months after joining Google, Quaid represented the company in August 2011 at the Pentagon's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Customer and Industry Forum . The forum would provide "the Services, Combatant Commands, Agencies, coalition forces" the "opportunity to directly engage with industry on innovative technologies to enable and ensure capabilities in support of our Warfighters." Participants in the event have been integral to efforts to create a "defense enterprise information environment," defined as "an integrated platform which includes the network, computing, environment, services, information assurance, and NetOps capabilities," enabling warfighters to "connect, identify themselves, discover and share information, and collaborate across the full spectrum of military operations." Most of the forum panelists were DoD officials, except for just four industry panelists including Google's Quaid.

DISA officials have attended the Highlands Forum, too?!?such as Paul Friedrichs , a technical director and chief engineer of DISA's Office of the Chief Information Assurance Executive.

Knowledge is Power

Given all this it is hardly surprising that in 2012, a few months after Highlands Forum co-chair Regina Dugan left DARPA to join Google as a senior executive, then NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander was emailing Google's founding executive Sergey Brin to discuss information sharing for national security. In those emails, obtained under Freedom of Information by investigative journalist Jason Leopold, Gen. Alexander described Google as a "key member of [the US military's] Defense Industrial Base," a position Michele Quaid was apparently consolidating. Brin's jovial relationship with the former NSA chief now makes perfect sense given that Brin had been in contact with representatives of the CIA and NSA, who partly funded and oversaw his creation of the Google search engine, since the mid-1990s.

In July 2014, Quaid spoke at a US Army panel on the creation of a "rapid acquisition cell" to advance the US Army's "cyber capabilities" as part of the Force 202 5 transformation initiative. She told Pentagon officials that "many of the Army's 2025 technology goals can be realized with commercial technology available or in development today," re-affirming that "industry is ready to partner with the Army in supporting the new paradigm." Around the same time, most of the media was trumpeting the idea that Google was trying to distance itself from Pentagon funding, but in reality, Google has switched tactics to independently develop commercial technologies which would have military applications the Pentagon's transformation goals.

Yet Quaid is hardly the only point-person in Google's relationship with the US military intelligence community.

One year after Google bought the satellite mapping software Keyhole from CIA venture capital firm In-Q-Tel in 2004, In-Q-Tel's director of technical assessment Rob Painter?!?who played a key role in In-Q-Tel's Keyhole investment in the first place?!?moved to Google. At In-Q-Tel, Painter's work focused on identifying, researching and evaluating "new start-up technology firms that were believed to offer tremendous value to the CIA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency." Indeed, the NGA had confirmed that its intelligence obtained via Keyhole was used by the NSA to support US operations in Iraq from 2003 onwards .

A former US Army special operations intelligence officer, Painter's new job at Google as of July 2005 was federal manager of what Keyhole was to become: Google Earth Enterprise. By 2007, Painter had become Google's federal chief technologist.

That year, Painter told the Washington Post that Google was "in the beginning stages" of selling advanced secret versions of its products to the US government. "Google has ramped up its sales force in the Washington area in the past year to adapt its technology products to the needs of the military, civilian agencies and the intelligence community," the Post reported. The Pentagon was already using a version of Google Earth developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin to "display information for the military on the ground in Iraq," including "mapping out displays of key regions of the country" and outlining "Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, as well as US and Iraqi military bases in the city. Neither Lockheed nor Google would say how the geospatial agency uses the data." Google aimed to sell the government new "enhanced versions of Google Earth" and "search engines that can be used internally by agencies."

White House records leaked in 2010 showed that Google executives had held several meetings with senior US National Security Council officials. Alan Davidson, Google's government affairs director, had at least three meetings with officials of the National Security Council in 2009, including White House senior director for Russian affairs Mike McFaul and Middle East advisor Daniel Shapiro. It also emerged from a Google patent application that the company had deliberately been collecting 'payload' data from private wifi networks that would enable the identification of "geolocations." In the same year, we now know, Google had signed an agreement with the NSA giving the agency open-ended access to the personal information of its users, and its hardware and software, in the name of cyber security?!?agreements that Gen. Alexander was busy replicating with hundreds of telecoms CEOs around the country.

Thus, it is not just Google that is a key contributor and foundation of the US military-industrial complex: it is the entire Internet, and the wide range of private sector companies?!?many nurtured and funded under the mantle of the US intelligence community (or powerful financiers embedded in that community)?!?which sustain the Internet and the telecoms infrastructure; it is also the myriad of start-ups selling cutting edge technologies to the CIA's venture firm In-Q-Tel, where they can then be adapted and advanced for applications across the military intelligence community. Ultimately, the global surveillance apparatus and the classified tools used by agencies like the NSA to administer it, have been almost entirely made by external researchers and private contractors like Google, which operate outside the Pentagon.

This structure, mirrored in the workings of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum, allows the Pentagon to rapidly capitalize on technological innovations it would otherwise miss, while also keeping the private sector at arms length, at least ostensibly, to avoid uncomfortable questions about what such technology is actually being used for.

But isn't it obvious, really? The Pentagon is about war, whether overt or covert. By helping build the technological surveillance infrastructure of the NSA, firms like Google are complicit in what the military-industrial complex does best: kill for cash.

As the nature of mass surveillance suggests, its target is not merely terrorists, but by extension, 'terrorism suspects' and 'potential terrorists,' the upshot being that entire populations?!?especially political activists?!?must be targeted by US intelligence surveillance to identify active and future threats, and to be vigilant against hypothetical populist insurgencies both at home and abroad. Predictive analytics and behavioural profiles play a pivotal role here.

Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.

The push for indiscriminate, comprehensive mass surveillance by the military-industrial complex?!?encompassing the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, defense contractors, and supposedly friendly tech giants like Google and Facebook?!?is therefore not an end in itself, but an instrument of power, whose goal is self-perpetuation. But there is also a self-rationalizing justification for this goal: while being great for the military-industrial complex, it is also, supposedly, great for everyone else.

The 'long war'

No better illustration of the truly chauvinistic, narcissistic, and self-congratulatory ideology of power at the heart of the military-industrial complex is a book by long-time Highlands Forum delegate, Dr. Thomas Barnett, The Pentagon's New Map. Barnett was assistant for strategic futures in the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation from 2001 to 2003, and had been recommended to Richard O'Neill by his boss Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski. Apart from becoming a New York Times bestseller, Barnett's book had been read far and wide in the US military, by senior defense officials in Washington and combatant commanders operating on the ground in the Middle East.

Barnett first attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum in 1998, then was invited to deliver a briefing about his work at the Forum on December 7th 2004, which was attended by senior Pentagon officials, energy experts, internet entrepreneurs, and journalists. Barnett received a glowing review in the Washington Post from his Highlands Forum buddy David Ignatius a week later, and an endorsement from another Forum friend, Thomas Friedman, both of which helped massively boost his credibility and readership.

Barnett's vision is neoconservative to the root. He sees the world as divided into essentially two realms : The Core, which consists of advanced countries playing by the rules of economic globalization (the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan) along with developing countries committed to getting there (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some others); and the rest of the world, which is The Gap, a disparate wilderness of dangerous and lawless countries defined fundamentally by being "disconnected" from the wonders of globalization. This includes most of the Middle East and Africa, large swathes of South America, as well as much of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is the task of the United States to "shrink The Gap," by spreading the cultural and economic "rule-set" of globalization that characterizes The Core, and by enforcing security worldwide to enable that "rule-set" to spread.

These two functions of US power are captured by Barnett's concepts of "Leviathan" and "System Administrator." The former is about rule-setting to facilitate the spread of capitalist markets, regulated via military and civilian law. The latter is about projecting military force into The Gap in an open-ended global mission to enforce security and engage in nation-building. Not "rebuilding," he is keen to emphasize, but building "new nations."

For Barnett, the Bush administration's 2002 introduction of the Patriot Act at home, with its crushing of habeas corpus, and the National Security Strategy abroad, with its opening up of unilateral, pre-emptive war, represented the beginning of the necessary re-writing of rule-sets in The Core to embark on this noble mission. This is the only way for the US to achieve security, writes Barnett, because as long as The Gap exists, it will always be a source of lawless violence and disorder. One paragraph in particular sums up his vision:

"America as global cop creates security. Security creates common rules. Rules attract foreign investment. Investment creates infrastructure. Infrastructure creates access to natural resources. Resources create economic growth. Growth creates stability. Stability creates markets. And once you're a growing, stable part of the global market, you're part of the Core. Mission accomplished."

Much of what Barnett predicted would need to happen to fulfill this vision, despite its neoconservative bent, is still being pursued under Obama. In the near future, Barnett had predicted, US military forces will be dispatched beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to places like Uzbekistan, Djibouti, Azerbaijan, Northwest Africa, Southern Africa and South America.

Barnett's Pentagon briefing was greeted with near universal enthusiasm. The Forum had even purchased copies of his book and had them distributed to all Forum delegates, and in May 2005, Barnett was invited back to participate in an entire Forum themed around his "SysAdmin" concept.

The Highlands Forum has thus played a leading role in defining the Pentagon's entire conceptualization of the 'war on terror.' Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a retired IMB vice president who co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001, described his experience of one 2007 Forum meeting in telling terms:

"Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own."

The problem is that outside this powerful Pentagon-hosted clique, not everyone else agrees. "I'm not convinced that Barnett's cure would be any better than the disease," wrote Dr. Karen Kwiatowski, a former senior Pentagon analyst in the Near East and South Asia section, who blew the whistle on how her department deliberately manufactured false information in the run-up to the Iraq War. "It would surely cost far more in American liberty, constitutional democracy and blood than it would be worth."

Yet the equation of "shrinking The Gap" with sustaining the national security of The Core leads to a slippery slope. It means that if the US is prevented from playing this leadership role as "global cop," The Gap will widen, The Core will shrink, and the entire global order could unravel. By this logic, the US simply cannot afford government or public opinion to reject the legitimacy of its mission. If it did so, it would allow The Gap to grow out of control, undermining The Core, and potentially destroying it, along with The Core's protector, America. Therefore, "shrinking The Gap" is not just a security imperative: it is such an existential priority, that it must be backed up with information war to demonstrate to the world the legitimacy of the entire project.

Based on O'Neill's principles of information warfare as articulated in his 1989 US Navy brief, the targets of information war are not just populations in The Gap, but domestic populations in The Core, and their governments: including the US government. That secret brief, which according to former senior US intelligence official John Alexander was read by the Pentagon's top leadership, argued that information war must be targeted at: adversaries to convince them of their vulnerability; potential partners around the world so they accept "the cause as just"; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they believe that "the cost" in blood and treasure is worth it.

Barnett's work was plugged by the Pentagon's Highlands Forum because it fit the bill, in providing a compelling 'feel good' ideology for the US military-industrial complex.

But neoconservative ideology, of course, hardly originated with Barnett, himself a relatively small player, even though his work was extremely influential throughout the Pentagon. The regressive thinking of senior officials involved in the Highlands Forum is visible from long before 9/11, which was ceased upon by actors linked to the Forum as a powerful enabling force that legitimized the increasingly aggressive direction of US foreign and intelligence policies.

Yoda and the Soviets

The ideology represented by the Highlands Forum can be gleaned from long before its establishment in 1994, at a time when Andrew 'Yoda' Marshall's ONA was the primary locus of Pentagon activity on future planning.

A widely-held myth promulgated by national security journalists over the years is that the ONA's reputation as the Pentagon's resident oracle machine was down to the uncanny analytical foresight of its director Marshall. Supposedly, he was among the few who made the prescient recognition that the Soviet threat had been overblown by the US intelligence community. He had, the story goes, been a lone, but relentless voice inside the Pentagon, calling on policymakers to re-evaluate their projections of the USSR's military might.

Except the story is not true. The ONA was not about sober threat analysis, but about paranoid threat projection justifying military expansionism. Foreign Policy's Jeffrey Lewis points out that far from offering a voice of reason calling for a more balanced assessment of Soviet military capabilities, Marshall tried to downplay ONA findings that rejected the hype around an imminent Soviet threat. Having commissioned a study concluding that the US had overestimated Soviet aggressiveness, Marshall circulated it with a cover note declaring himself "unpersuaded" by its findings. Lewis charts how Marshall's threat projection mind-set extended to commissioning absurd research supporting staple neocon narratives about the (non-existent) Saddam-al-Qaeda link, and even the notorious report by a RAND consultant calling for re-drawing the map of the Middle East, presented to the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board on the invitation of Richard Perle in 2002.

Investigative journalist Jason Vest similarly found from Pentagon sources that during the Cold War, Marshall had long hyped the Soviet threat, and played a key role in giving the neoconservative pressure group, the Committee on the Present Danger, access to classified CIA intelligence data to re-write the National Intelligence Estimate on Soviet Military Intentions. This was a precursor to the manipulation of intelligence after 9/11 to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Former ONA staffers confirmed that Marshall had been belligerent about an imminent Soviet threat "until the very end." Ex-CIA sovietologist Melvin Goodman, for instance, recalled that Marshall was also instrumental in pushing for the Afghan mujahideen to be provided with Stinger missiles?!?a move which made the war even more brutal, encouraging the Russians to use scorched earth tactics.

Enron, the Taliban and Iraq

The post-Cold War period saw the Pentagon's creation of the Highlands Forum in 1994 under the wing of former defense secretary William Perry?!?a former CIA director and early advocate of neocon ideas like preventive war. Surprisingly, the Forum's dubious role as a government-industry bridge can be clearly discerned in relation to Enron's flirtations with the US government. Just as the Forum had crafted the Pentagon's intensifying policies on mass surveillance, it simultaneously fed directly into the strategic thinking that culminating in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On November 7th 2000, George W. Bush ' won ' the US presidential elections. Enron and its employees had given over $1 million to the Bush campaign in total. That included contributing $10,500 to Bush's Florida recount committee, and a further $300,000 for the inaugural celebrations afterwards. Enron also provided corporate jets to shuttle Republican lawyers around Florida and Washington lobbying on behalf of Bush for the December recount. Federal election documents later showed that since 1989, Enron had made a total of $5.8 million in campaign donations, 73 percent to Republicans and 27 percent to Democrats?!?with as many as 15 senior Bush administration officials owning stock in Enron, including defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, senior advisor Karl Rove, and army secretary Thomas White.

Yet just one day before that controversial election, Pentagon Highlands Forum founding president Richard O'Neill wrote to Enron CEO, Kenneth Lay, inviting him to give a presentation at the Forum on modernizing the Pentagon and the Army. The email from O'Neill to Lay was released as part of the Enron Corpus, the emails obtained by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but has remained unknown until now.

The email began "On behalf of Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I) and DoD CIO Arthur Money," and invited Lay "to participate in the Secretary of Defense's Highlands Forum," which O'Neill described as "a cross-disciplinary group of eminent scholars, researchers, CEO's/CIO's/CTO's from industry, and leaders from the media, the arts and the professions, who have met over the past six years to examine areas of emerging interest to all of us." He added that Forum sessions include "seniors from the White House, Defense, and other agencies of government (we limit government participation to about 25%)."

Here, O'Neill reveals that the Pentagon Highlands Forum was, fundamentally, about exploring not just the goals of government, but the interests of participating industry leaders like Enron. The Pentagon, O'Neill went on, wanted Lay to feed into "the search for information/ transformation strategies for the Department of Defense (and government in general)," particularly "from a business perspective (transformation, productivity, competitive advantage)." He offered high praise of Enron as "a remarkable example of transformation in a highly rigid, regulated industry, that has created a new model and new markets."

O'Neill made clear that the Pentagon wanted Enron to play a pivotal role in the DoD's future, not just in the creation of "an operational strategy which has information superiority," but also in relation to the DoD's "enormous global business enterprise which can benefit from many of the best practices and ideas from industry."

"ENRON is of great interest to us," he reaffirmed. "What we learn from you may help the Department of Defense a great deal as it works to build a new strategy. I hope that you have time on your busy schedule to join us for as much of the Highlands Forum as you can attend and speak with the group."

That Highlands Forum meeting was attended by senior White House and US intelligence officials, including CIA deputy director Joan A. Dempsey, who had previously served as assistant defense secretary for intelligence, and in 2003 was appointed by Bush as executive director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, in which capacity she praised extensive information sharing by the NSA and NGA after 9/11. She went on to become executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton , a major Pentagon contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan that, among other things, created the Coalition Provisional Authority's database to track what we now know were highly corrupt reconstruction projects in Iraq.

Enron's relationship with the Pentagon had already been in full swing the previous year. Thomas White, then vice chair of Enron energy services, had used his extensive US military connections to secure a prototype deal at Fort Hamilton to privatize the power supply of army bases. Enron was the only bidder for the deal. The following year, after Enron's CEO was invited to the Highlands Forum, White gave his first speech in June just "two weeks after he became secretary of the Army," where he "vowed to speed up the awarding of such contracts," along with further "rapid privatization" of the Army's energy services. "Potentially, Enron could benefit from the speedup in awarding contracts, as could others seeking the business," observed USA Today.

That month, on the authority of defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld?!?who himself held significant shares in Enron?!?Bush's Pentagon invited another Enron executive and one of Enron's senior external financial advisors to attend a further secret Highlands Forum session.

An email from Richard O'Neill dated June 22nd, obtained via the Enron Corpus, showed that Steven Kean, then executive vice president and chief of staff of Enron, was due to give another Highlands presentation on Monday 25th. "We are approaching the Secretary of Defense-sponsored Highlands Forum and very much looking forward to your participation," wrote O'Neill, promising Kean that he would be "the centerpiece of discussion. Enron's experience is quite important to us as we seriously consider transformative change in the Department of Defense."

Steven Kean is now president and COO (and incoming CEO) of Kinder Morgan, one of the largest energy companies in North America, and a major supporter of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.

Due to attend the same Highlands Forum session with Kean was Richard Foster, then a senior partner at the financial consultancy McKinsey. "I have given copies of Dick Foster's new book, Creative Destruction , to the Deputy Secretary of Defense as well as the Assistant Secretary," said O'Neill in his email, "and the Enron case that he outlines makes for important discussion. We intend to hand out copies to the participants at the Forum."

Foster's firm, McKinsey, had provided strategic financial advice to Enron since the mid-1980s. Joe Skilling, who in February 2001 became Enron CEO while Kenneth Lay moved to chair, had been head of McKinsey's energy consulting business before joining Enron in 1990.

McKinsey and then partner Richard Foster were intimately involved in crafting the core Enron financial management strategies responsible for the company's rapid, but fraudulent, growth. While McKinsey has always denied being aware of the dodgy accounting that led to Enron's demise, internal company documents showed that Foster had attended an Enron finance committee meeting a month before the Highlands Forum session to discuss the "need for outside private partnerships to help drive the company's explosive growth"?!?the very investment partnerships responsible for the collapse of Enron.

McKinsey documents showed that the firm was "fully aware of Enron's extensive use of off-balance-sheet funds." As The Independent 's economics editor Ben Chu remarks, "McKinsey fully endorsed the dubious accounting methods," which led to the inflation of Enron's market valuation and "that caused the company to implode in 2001."

Indeed, Foster himself had personally attended six Enron board meetings from October 2000 to October 2001. That period roughly coincided with Enron's growing influence on the Bush administration's energy policies, and the Pentagon's planning for Afghanistan and Iraq.

But Foster was also a regular attendee at the Pentagon Highlands Forum?!?his LinkedIn profile describes him as member of the Forum since 2000, the year he ramped up engagement with Enron. He also delivered a presentation at the inaugural Island Forum in Singapore in 2002.

Enron's involvement in the Cheney Energy Task Force appears to have been linked to the Bush administration's 2001 planning for both the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, motivated by control of oil. As noted by Prof. Richard Falk, a former board member of Human Rights Watch and ex-UN investigator, Enron's Kenneth Lay "was the main confidential consultant relied upon by Vice President Dick Cheney during the highly secretive process of drafting a report outlining a national energy policy, widely regarded as a key element in the US approach to foreign policy generally and the Arab world in particular."

The intimate secret meetings between senior Enron executives and high-level US government officials via the Pentagon Highlands Forum, from November 2000 to June 2001, played a central role in establishing and cementing the increasingly symbiotic link between Enron and Pentagon planning. The Forum's role was, as O'Neill has always said, to function as an ideas lab to explore the mutual interests of industry and government.

Enron and Pentagon war planning

In February 2001, when Enron executives including Kenneth Lay began participating concertedly in the Cheney Energy Task Force , a classified National Security Council document instructed NSC staffers to work with the task force in "melding" previously separate issues: "operational policies towards rogue states" and "actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields."

According to Bush's treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, as quoted by Ron Suskind in The Price of Loyalty (2004) , cabinet officials discussed an invasion of Iraq in their first NSC meeting, and had even prepared a map for a post-war occupation marking the carve-up of Iraq's oil fields. The message at that time from President Bush was that officials must "find a way to do this."

Cheney Energy Task Force documents obtained by Judicial Watch under Freedom of Information revealed that by March, with extensive industry input, the task force had prepared maps of Gulf state and especially Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, and refineries, along with a list titled 'Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.' By April, a think-tank report commissioned by Cheney, overseen by former secretary of state James Baker, and put together by a committee of energy industry and national security experts, urged the US government "to conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments," to deal with Iraq's "destabilizing influence" on oil flows to global markets. The report included recommendations from Highlands Forum delegate and Enron chair, Kenneth Lay .

But Cheney's Energy Task Force was also busily pushing forward plans for Afghanistan involving Enron, that had been in motion under Clinton. Through the late 1990s, Enron was working with California-based US energy company Unocal to develop an oil and gas pipeline that would tap Caspian basin reserves, and carry oil and gas across Afghanistan, supplying Pakistan, India and potentially other markets. The endeavor had the official blessing of the Clinton administration, and later the Bush administration, which held several meetings with Taliban representatives to negotiate terms for the pipeline deal throughout 2001. The Taliban, whose conquest of Afghanistan had received covert assistance under Clinton, was to receive formal recognition as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in return for permitting the installation of the pipeline. Enron paid $400 million for a feasibility study for the pipeline, a large portion of which was siphoned off as bribes to Taliban leaders, and even hired CIA agents to help facilitate.

Then in summer 2001, while Enron officials were liaising with senior Pentagon officials at the Highlands Forum, the White House's National Security Council was running a cross-departmental 'working group' led by Rumsfeld and Cheney to help complete an ongoing Enron project in India, a $3 billion power plant in Dabhol. The plant was slated to receive its energy from the Trans-Afghan pipeline . The NSC's 'Dabhol Working Group,' chaired by Bush's national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, generated a range of tactics to enhance US government pressure on India to complete the Dabhol plant?!?pressure that continued all the way to early November. The Dabhol project, and the Trans-Afghan pipeline, was by far Enron's most lucrative overseas deal.

Throughout 2001, Enron officials, including Ken Lay, participated in Cheney's Energy Task Force, along with representatives across the US energy industry. Starting from February, shortly after the Bush administration took office, Enron was involved in about half a dozen of these Energy Task Force meetings . After one of these secret meetings, a draft energy proposal was amended to include a new provision proposing to dramatically boost oil and natural gas production in India in a way that would apply only to Enron's Dabhol power plant. In other words, ensuring the flow of cheap gas to India via the Trans-Afghan pipeline was now a matter of US 'national security.'

A month or two after this, the Bush administration gave the Taliban $43 million, justified by its crackdown on opium production, despite US-imposed UN sanctions preventing aid to the group for not handing over Osama bin Laden.

Then in June 2001, the same month that Enron's executive vice president Steve Kean attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum, the company's hopes for the Dabhol project were dashed when the Trans-Afghan pipeline failed to materialize, and as a consequence, construction on the Dabhol power plant was shut down. The failure of the $3 billion project contributed to Enron's bankruptcy in December. That month, Enron officials met with Bush's commerce secretary, Donald Evans, about the plant, and Cheney lobbied India's main opposition party about the Dhabol project. Ken Lay had also reportedly contacted the Bush administration around this time to inform officials about the firm's financial troubles.

By August, desperate to pull off the deal, US officials threatened Taliban representatives with war if they refused to accept American terms: namely, to cease fighting and join in a federal alliance with the opposition Northern Alliance; and to give up demands for local consumption of the gas. On the 15th of that month, Enron lobbyist Pat Shortridge told then White House economic advisor Robert McNally that Enron was heading for a financial meltdown that could cripple the country's energy markets.

The Bush administration must have anticipated the Taliban's rejection of the deal, because they had planned a war on Afghanistan from as early as July. According to then Pakistani foreign minister Niaz Naik, who had participated in the US-Taliban negotiations, US officials told him they planned to invade Afghanistan in mid-October 2001. No sooner had the war commenced, Bush's ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, called Pakistani's oil minister Usman Aminuddin to discuss "the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline project," according to the Frontier Post , a Pakistani English-language broadsheet. They reportedly agreed that the "project opens up new avenues of multi-dimensional regional cooperation particularly in view of the recent geo-political developments in the region."

Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda , including an "imminent" invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron's Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.

The Pentagon Highlands Forum's background link with the interests involved in all this, show they were not unique to the Bush administration?!?which is why, as Obama was preparing to pull troops out of Afghanistan, he re-affirmed his government's support for the Trans-Afghan pipeline project, and his desire for a US firm to construct it.

The Pentagon's propaganda fixer

Throughout this period, information war played a central role in drumming up public support for war?!?and the Highlands Forum led the way.

In December 2000, just under a year before 9/11 and shortly after George W. Bush's election victory, key Forum members participated in an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to explore "the impact of the information revolution, globalization, and the end of the Cold War on the US foreign policy making process." Rather than proposing "incremental reforms," the meeting was for participants to "build from scratch a new model that is optimized to the specific properties of the new global environment."

Among the issues flagged up in the meeting was the 'Global Control Revolution': the "distributed" nature of the information revolution was altering "key dynamics of world politics by challenging the primacy of states and inter-state relations." This was "creating new challenges to national security, reducing the ability of leading states to control global policy debates, challenging the efficacy of national economic policies, etc."

In other words, how can the Pentagon find a way to exploit the information revolution to "control global policy debates," particularly on "national economic policies"?

The meeting was co-hosted by Jamie Metzl, who at the time served on Bill Clinton's National Security Council, where he had just led the drafting of Clinton's Presidential Decision Directive 68 on International Public Information (IPI), a new multiagency plan to coordinate US public information dissemination abroad. Metzl went on to coordinate IPI at the State Department.

The preceding year, a senior Clinton official revealed to the Washington Times that Metz's IPI was really aimed at "spinning the American public," and had "emerged out of concern that the US public has refused to back President Clinton's foreign policy." The IPI would plant news stories favorable to US interests via TV, press, radio and other media based abroad, in hopes it would get picked up in American media. The pretext was that "news coverage is distorted at home and they need to fight it at all costs by using resources that are aimed at spinning the news." Metzl ran the IPI's overseas propaganda operations for Iraq and Kosovo.

Other participants of the Carnegie meeting in December 2000, included two founding members of the Highlands Forum, Richard O'Neill and SAIC's Jeff Cooper?!?along with Paul Wolfowitz, another Andrew Marshall acolyte who was about to join the incoming Bush administration as Rumsfelds' deputy defense secretary. Also present was a figure who soon became particularly notorious in the propaganda around Afghanistan and Iraq War 2003: John W. Rendon, Jr., founding president of The Rendon Group (TRG) and another longtime Pentagon Highlands Forum member.

John Rendon (right) at the Highlands Forum, accompanied by BBC anchor Nik Gowing (left) and Jeff Jonas, IBM Entity Analytics chief engineer (middle)

TRG is a notorious communications firm that has been a US government contractor for decades. Rendon played a pivotal role in running the State Department's propaganda campaigns in Iraq and Kosovo under Clinton and Metzl. That included receiving a Pentagon grant to run a news website, the Balkans Information Exchange, and a US Agency for International Development (USAID) contract to promote "privatization."

Rendon's central role in helping the Bush administration hype up the non-existent threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to justify a US military invasion is now well-known. As James Bamford famously exposed in his seminal Rolling Stone investigation, Rendon played an instrumental role on behalf of the Bush administration in deploying "perception management" to "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power" under multi-million dollar CIA and Pentagon contracts.

Among Rendon's activities was the creation of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) on behalf of the CIA, a group of Iraqi exiles tasked with disseminating propaganda, including much of the false intelligence about WMD . That process had begun concertedly under the administration of George H W. Bush, then rumbled along under Clinton with little fanfare, before escalating after 9/11 under George W. Bush. Rendon thus played a large role in the manufacture of inaccurate and false news stories relating to Iraq under lucrative CIA and Pentagon contracts?!?and he did so in the period running up to the 2003 invasion as an advisor to Bush's National Security Council: the same NSC, of course, that planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved with input from Enron executives who were simultaneously engaging the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

But that is the tip of iceberg. Declassified documents show that the Highlands Forum was intimately involved in the covert processes by which key officials engineered the road to war on Iraq, based on information warfare.

A redacted 2007 report by the DoD's Inspector General reveals that one of the contractors used extensively by the Pentagon Highlands Forum during and after the Iraq War was none other than The Rendon Group. TRG was contracted by the Pentagon to organize Forum sessions, determine subjects for discussion, as well as to convene and coordinate Forum meetings. The Inspector General investigation had been prompted by accusations raised in Congress about Rendon's role in manipulating information to justify the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. According to the Inspector General report:

" the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/Chief Information Officer employed TRG to conduct forums that would appeal to a cross-disciplinary group of nationally regarded leaders. The forums were in small groups discussing information and technologies and their effects on science, organizational and business processes, international relations, economics, and national security. TRG also conducted a research program and interviews to formulate and develop topics for the Highlands Forum focus group. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration would approve the subjects, and TRG would facilitate the meetings."

TRG, the Pentagon's private propaganda arm, thus played a central role in literally running the Pentagon Highlands Forum process that brought together senior government officials with industry executives to generate DoD information warfare strategy.

The Pentagon's internal investigation absolved Rendon of any wrongdoing. But this is not surprising, given the conflict of interest at stake: the Inspector General at the time was Claude M. Kicklighter, a Bush nominee who had directly overseen the administration's key military operations. In 2003, he was director of the Pentagon's Iraq Transition Team, and the following year he was appointed to the State Department as special advisor on stabilization and security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The surveillance-propaganda nexus

Even more telling, Pentagon documents obtained by Bamford for his Rolling Stone story revealed that Rendon had been given access to the NSA's top-secret surveillance data to carry out its work on behalf of the Pentagon. TRG, the DoD documents said, is authorized "to research and analyze information classified up to Top Secret/SCI/SI/TK/G/HCS."

'SCI' means Sensitive Compartmented Information, data classified higher than Top Secret, while 'SI' designates Special Intelligence, that is, highly secret communications intercepted by the NSA. 'TK' refers to Talent/Keyhole, code names for imagery from reconnaissance aircraft and spy satellites, while 'G' stands for Gamma, encompassing communications intercepts from extremely sensitive sources, and 'HCS' means Humint Control System?!?information from a very sensitive human source. In Bamford's words:

"Taken together, the acronyms indicate that Rendon enjoys access to the most secret information from all three forms of intelligence collection: eavesdropping, imaging satellites and human spies."

So the Pentagon had:

1. contracted Rendon, a propaganda firm;

2. given Rendon access to the intelligence community's most classified information including data from NSA surveillance;

3. tasked Rendon to facilitating the DoD's development of information operations strategy by running the Highlands Forum process;

4. and further, tasked Rendon with overseeing the concrete execution of this strategy developed through the Highlands Forum process, in actual information operations around the world in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

TRG chief executive John Rendon remains closely involved in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, and ongoing DoD information operations in the Muslim world. His November 2014 biography for the Harvard Kennedy School 'Emerging Leaders' course describes him as "a participant in forward-thinking organizations such as the Highlands Forum," "one of the first thought-leaders to harness the power of emerging technologies in support of real time information management," and an expert on "the impact of emerging information technologies on the way populations think and behave." Rendon's Harvard bio also credits him with designing and executing "strategic communications initiatives and information programs related to operations, Odyssey Dawn (Libya), Unified Protector (Libya), Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Allied Force and Joint Guardian (Kosovo), Desert Shield, Desert Storm (Kuwait), Desert Fox (Iraq) and Just Cause (Panama), among others."

Rendon's work on perception management and information operations has also "assisted a number of US military interventions" elsewhere, as well as running US information operations in Argentina, Colombia, Haiti, and Zimbabwe?!?in fact, a total of 99 countries. As a former executive director and national political director of the Democratic Party, John Rendon remains a powerful figure in Washington under the Obama administration.

Pentagon records show that TRG has received over $100 million from the DoD since 2000. In 2009, the US government cancelled a 'strategic communications' contract with TRG after revelations it was being used to weed out reporters who might write negative stories about the US military in Afghanistan, and to solely promote journalists supportive of US policy. Yet in 2010, the Obama administration re-contracted Rendon to supply services for "military deception" in Iraq.

Since then, TRG has provided advice to the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command, the Special Operations Command, and is still contracted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the US Army's Communications Electronic Command, as well as providing "communications support" to the Pentagon and US embassies on counter-narcotics operations.

TRG also boasts on its website that it provides "Irregular Warfare Support," including "operational and planning support" that "assists our government and military clients in developing new approaches to countering and eroding an adversary's power, influence and will." Much of this support has itself been fine-tuned over the last decade or more inside the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

Irregular war and pseudo-terrorism

The Pentagon Highlands Forum's intimate link, via Rendon, to the propaganda operations pursued under Bush and Obama in support of the 'Long War,' demonstrate the integral role of mass surveillance in both irregular warfare and 'strategic communications.'

One of the major proponents of both is Prof John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School, the renowned US defense analyst credited with developing the concept of 'netwar,' who today openly advocates the need for mass surveillance and big data mining to support pre-emptive operations to thwart terrorist plots. It so happens that Arquilla is another "founding member" of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum.

Much of his work on the idea of 'networked warfare,' 'networked deterrence,' 'information warfare,' and 'swarming,' largely produced for RAND under Pentagon contract, was incubated by the Forum during its early years and thus became integral to Pentagon strategy. For instance, in Arquilla's 1999 RAND study, The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward an American Information Strategy , he and his co-author David Ronfeldt express their gratitude to Richard O'Neill "for his interest, support and guidance," and to "members of the Highlands Forum" for their advance comments on the study. Most of his RAND work credits the Highlands Forum and O'Neill for their support.

Prof. John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School, and a founding member of the Pentagon Highlands Forum

Arquilla's work was cited in a 2006 National Academy of Sciences study on the future of network science commissioned by the US Army, which found based on his research that: "Advances in computer-based technologies and telecommunications are enabling social networks that facilitate group affiliations, including terrorist networks." The study conflated risks from terror and activist groups: "The implications of this fact for criminal, terror, protest and insurgency networks has been explored by Arquilla and Ronfeldt (2001) and are a common topic of discussion by groups like the Highlands Forum, which perceive that the United States is highly vulnerable to the interruption of critical networks." Arquilla went on to help develop information warfare strategies "for the military campaigns in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq," according to military historian Benjamin Shearer in his biographical dictionary, Home Front Heroes (2007)? !?once again illustrating the direct role played by certain key Forum members in executing Pentagon information operations in war theatres.

In his 2005 New Yorker investigation, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Seymour Hersh referred to a series of articles by Arquilla elaborating on a new strategy of "countering terror" with pseudo-terror. "It takes a network to fight a network," said Arquilla, drawing on the thesis he had been promoting in the Pentagon through the Highlands Forum since its founding:

"When conventional military operations and bombing failed to defeat the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya in the 1950s, the British formed teams of friendly Kikuyu tribesmen who went about pretending to be terrorists. These 'pseudo gangs', as they were called, swiftly threw the Mau Mau on the defensive, either by befriending and then ambushing bands of fighters or by guiding bombers to the terrorists' camps."

Arquilla went on to advocate that western intelligence services should use the British case as a model for creating new "pseudo gang" terrorist groups, as a way of undermining "real" terror networks:

"What worked in Kenya a half-century ago has a wonderful chance of undermining trust and recruitment among today's terror networks. Forming new pseudo gangs should not be difficult."

Essentially, Arquilla's argument was that as only networks can fight networks, the only way to defeat enemies conducting irregular warfare is to use techniques of irregular warfare against them. Ultimately, the determining factor in victory is not conventional military defeat per se , but the extent to which the direction of the conflict can be calibrated to influence the population and rally their opposition to the adversary. Arquilla's 'pseudo-gang' strategy was, Hersh reported, already being implemented by the Pentagon:

"Under Rumsfeld's new approach, I was told, US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems. In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists

The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls 'action teams' in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. 'Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?' the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. 'We founded them and we financed them,' he said. 'The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren't going to tell Congress about it.' A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon's commando capabilities, said, 'We're going to be riding with the bad boys.'"

Official corroboration that this strategy is now operational came with the leak of a 2008 US Army special operations field manual. The US military, the manual said, can conduct irregular and unconventional warfare by using surrogate non-state groups such as "paramilitary forces, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistant or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political 'undesirables.'" Shockingly, the manual specifically acknowledged that US special operations can involve both counterterrorism and "Terrorism," as well as: "Transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms-dealing, and illegal financial transactions." The purpose of such covert operations is, essentially, population control?!?they are "specifically focused on leveraging some portion of the indigenous population to accept the status quo," or to accept "whatever political outcome" is being imposed or negotiated.

By this twisted logic, terrorism can in some cases be defined as a legitimate tool of US statecraft by which to influence populations into accepting a particular "political outcome"?!?all in the name fighting terrorism.

Is this what the Pentagon was doing by coordinating the nearly $1 billion of funding from Gulf regimes to anti-Assad rebels, most of which according to the CIA's own classified assessments ended up in the coffers of violent Islamist extremists linked to al-Qaeda, who went on to spawn the 'Islamic State'?

The rationale for the new strategy was first officially set out in an August 2002 briefing for the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, which advocated the creation of a ' Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group ' (P2OG) within the National Security Council. P2OG, the Board proposed, must conduct clandestine operations to infiltrate and "stimulate reactions" among terrorist networks to provoke them into action, and thus facilitate targeting them.

The Defense Science Board is, like other Pentagon agencies, intimately related with the Highlands Forum, whose work feeds into the Board's research, which in turn is regularly presented at the Forum.

According to the US intelligence sources who spoke to Hersh, Rumsfeld had ensured that the new brand of black operations would be conducted entirely under Pentagon jurisdiction, firewalled off from the CIA and regional US military commanders, and executed by its own secret special operations command. That chain of command would include, apart from the defense secretary himself, two of his deputies including the undersecretary of defense for intelligence: the position overseeing the Highlands Forum.

Strategic communications: war propaganda at home and abroad

Within the Highlands Forum, the special operations techniques explored by Arquilla have been taken up by several others in directions focused increasingly on propaganda?!?among them, Dr. Lochard, as seen previously, and also Dr. Amy Zalman, who focuses particularly on the idea of the US military using 'strategic narratives' to influence public opinion and win wars.

Like her colleague, Highlands Forum founding member Jeff Cooper, Zalman was schooled in the bowels of SAIC/Leidos. From 2007 to 2012, she was a senior SAIC strategist, before becoming Department of Defense Information Integration Chair at the US Army's National War College, where she focused on how to fine-tune propaganda to elicit the precise responses desired from target groups, based on complete understanding of those groups. As of summer last year, she became CEO of the World Futures Society.

Dr. Amy Zalman, an ex-SAIC strategist, is CEO of the World Futures Society, and a long-time Pentagon Highlands Forum delegate consulting for the US government on strategic communications in irregular warfare

In 2005, the same year Hersh reported that the Pentagon strategy of "stimulating reactions" among terrorists by provoking them was underway, Zalman delivered a briefing to the Pentagon Highlands Forum titled, 'In Support of a Narrative Theory Approach to US Strategic Communication.' Since then, Zalman has been a long-time Highlands Forum delegate , and has presented her work on strategic communications to a range of US government agencies, NATO forums, as well as teaching courses in irregular warfare to soldiers at the US Joint Special Operations University.

Her 2005 Highlands Forum briefing is not publicly available, but the thrust of Zalman's input into the information component of Pentagon special operations strategies can be gleaned from some of her published work. In 2010, when she was still attached to SAIC, her NATO paper noted that a key component of irregular war is "winning some degree of emotional support from the population by influencing their subjective perceptions." She advocated that the best way of achieving such influence goes far further than traditional propaganda and messaging techniques. Rather, analysts must "place themselves in the skins of the people under observation."

Zalman released another paper the same year via the IO Journal, published by the Information Operations Institute, which describes itself as a "special interest group" of the Associaton of Old Crows. The latter is a professional association for theorists and practitioners of electronic warfare and information operations, chaired by Kenneth Israel, vice president of Lockheed Martin, and vice chaired by David Himes, who retired last year from his position as senior advisor in electronic warfare at the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

In this paper, titled 'Narrative as an Influence Factor in Information Operations,' Zalman laments that the US military has "found it difficult to create compelling narratives?!?or stories?!?either to express its strategic aims, or to communicate in discrete situations, such as civilian deaths." By the end, she concludes that "the complex issue of civilian deaths" should be approached not just by "apologies and compensation"?!?which barely occurs anyway?!?but by propagating narratives that portray characters with whom the audience connects (in this case, 'the audience' being 'populations in war zones'). This is to facilitate the audience resolving struggles in a "positive way," defined, of course, by US military interests. Engaging emotionally in this way with "survivors of those dead" from US military action might "prove to be an empathetic form of influence." Throughout, Zalman is incapable of questioning the legitimacy of US strategic aims, or acknowledging that the impact of those aims in the accumulation of civilian deaths, is precisely the problem that needs to change?!?as opposed to the way they are ideologically framed for populations subjected to military action.

'Empathy,' here, is merely an instrument by which to manipulate.

In 2012, Zalman wrote an article for The Globalist seeking to demonstrate how the rigid delineation of 'hard power' and 'soft power' needed to be overcome, to recognize that the use of force requires the right symbolic and cultural effect to guarantee success:

"As long as defense and economic diplomacy remain in a box labeled 'hard power,' we fail to see how much their success relies on their symbolic effects as well as their material ones. As long as diplomatic and cultural efforts are stored in a box marked 'soft power,' we fail to see the ways in which they can be used coercively or produce effects that are like those produced by violence."

Given SAIC's deep involvement in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, and through it the development of information strategies on surveillance, irregular warfare, and propaganda, it is hardly surprising that SAIC was the other key private defense firm contracted to generate propaganda in the run up to Iraq War 2003, alongside TRG.

"SAIC executives have been involved at every stage of the war in Iraq," reported Vanity Fair , ironically, in terms of deliberately disseminating false claims about WMD, and then investigating the 'intelligence failure' around false WMD claims. David Kay, for instance, who had been hired by the CIA in 2003 to hunt for Saddam's WMD as head of the Iraq Survey Group, was until October 2002 a senior SAIC vice president hammering away "at the threat posed by Iraq" under Pentagon contract. When WMD failed to emerge, President Bush's commission to investigate this US 'intelligence failure' included three SAIC executives, among them Highlands Forum founding member Jeffrey Cooper. The very year of Kay's appointment to the Iraq Survey Group, Clinton's defense secretary William Perry?!?the man under whose orders the Highlands Forum was set-up?!?joined the board of SAIC. The investigation by Cooper and all let the Bush administration off the hook for manufacturing propaganda to legitimize war?!?unsurprisingly, given Cooper's integral role in the very Pentagon network that manufactured that propaganda.

SAIC was also among the many contractors that profited handsomely from Iraqi reconstruction deals, and was re-contracted after the war to promote pro-US narratives abroad. In the same vein as Rendon's work, the idea was that stories planted abroad would be picked up by US media for domestic consumption.

Delegates at the Pentagon's 46th Highlands Forum in December 2011, from right to left: John Seely Brown, chief scientist/director at Xerox PARC from 1990–2002 and an early board member of In-Q-Tel; Ann Pendleton-Jullian, co-author with Brown of a manuscript, Design Unbound; Antonio and Hanna Damasio, a neurologist and neurobiologist respectively who are part of a DARPA-funded project on propaganda

But the Pentagon Highlands Forum's promotion of advanced propaganda techniques is not exclusive to core, longstanding delegates like Rendon and Zalman. In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the 'Neurobiology of Narrative Framing' project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman's emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy "empathetic influence," the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal "to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response," but in different ways across different cultures. The most disturbing element of the research is its focus on trying to understand how to increase the Pentagon's capacity to deploy narratives that influence listeners in a way that overrides conventional reasoning in the context of morally-questionable actions.

The project description explains that the psychological reaction to narrated events is "influenced by how the narrator frames the events, appealing to different values, knowledge, and experiences of the listener." Narrative framing that "targets the sacred values of the listener, including core personal, nationalistic, and/or religious values, is particularly effective at influencing the listener's interpretation of narrated events," because such "sacred values" are closely tied with "the psychology of identity, emotion, moral decision making, and social cognition." By applying sacred framing to even mundane issues, such issues "can gain properties of sacred values and result in a strong aversion to using conventional reasoning to interpret them." The two Damasios and their team are exploring what role "linguistic and neuropsychological mechanisms" play in determining "the effectiveness of narrative framing using sacred values in influencing a listener's interpretation of events."

The research is based on extracting narratives from millions of American, Iranian and Chinese weblogs, and subjecting them to automated discourse analysis to compare them quantitatively across the three languages. The investigators then follow up using behavioral experiments with readers/listeners from different cultures to gauge their reaction different narratives "where each story makes an appeal to a sacred value to explain or justify a morally-questionable behavior of the author." Finally, the scientists apply neurobiological fMRI scanning to correlate the reactions and personal characteristics of subjects with their brain responses.

Why is the Pentagon funding research investigating how to exploit people's "sacred values" to extinguish their capacity for logical reasoning, and enhance their emotional openness to "morally-questionable behavior"?

The focus on English, Farsi and Chinese may also reveal that the Pentagon's current concerns are overwhelmingly about developing information operations against two key adversaries, Iran and China, which fits into longstanding ambitions to project strategic influence in the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Equally, the emphasis on English language, specifically from American weblogs, further suggests the Pentagon is concerned about projecting propaganda to influence public opinion at home.

Rosemary Wenchel (left) of the US Department of Homeland Security with Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter, a former musician and now US defense consultant who has worked for contractors like SAIC and Northrup Grumman. SAIC/Leidos executive Jeff Cooper is behind them

Lest one presume that DARPA's desire to mine millions of American weblogs as part of its 'neurobiology of narrative framing' research is a mere case of random selection, an additional co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum in recent years is Rosemary Wenchel, former director of cyber capabilities and operations support at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Since 2012, Wenchel has been deputy assistant secretary for strategy and policy in the Department of Homeland Security.

As the Pentagon's extensive funding of propaganda on Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrates, population influence and propaganda is critical not just in far-flung theatres abroad in strategic regions, but also at home, to quell the risk of domestic public opinion undermining the legitimacy of Pentagon policy. In the photo above, Wenchel is talking to Jeff Baxter, a long-time US defense and intelligence consultant. In September 2005, Baxter was part of a supposedly "independent" study group (chaired by NSA-contractor Booz Allen Hamilton) commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, which recommended a greater role for US spy satellites in monitoring the domestic population .

Meanwhile, Zalman and Rendon, while both remaining closely involved in the Pentagon Highlands Forum, continue to be courted by the US military for their expertise on information operations. In October 2014, both participated in a major Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment conference sponsored by the US Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, titled 'A New Information Paradigm? From Genes to "Big Data" and Instagram to Persistent Surveillance Implications for National Security.' Other delegates represented senior US military officials, defense industry executives, intelligence community officials, Washington think-tanks, and academics.

John Rendon, CEO of The Rendon Group, at a Highlands Forum session in 2010

Rendon and SAIC/Leidos, two firms that have been central to the very evolution of Pentagon information operations strategy through their pivotal involvement in the Highlands Forum, continue to be contracted for key operations under the Obama administration. A US General Services Administration document , for instance, shows that Rendon was granted a major 2010–2015 contract providing general media and communications support services across federal agencies. Similarly, SAIC/Leidos has a $400 million 2010–2015 contract with the US Army Research Laboratory for "Expeditionary Warfare; Irregular Warfare; Special Operations; Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations"?!?a contract which is "being prepared now for recomplete."

The empire strikes back

Under Obama, the nexus of corporate, industry, and financial power represented by the interests that participate in the Pentagon Highlands Forum has consolidated itself to an unprecedented degree.

Coincidentally, the very day Obama announced Hagel's resignation, the DoD issued a media release highlighting how Robert O. Work, Hagel's deputy defense secretary appointed by Obama in 2013, planned to take forward the Defense Innovation Initiative that Hagel had just announced a week earlier. The new initiative was focused on ensuring that the Pentagon would undergo a long-term transformation to keep up with leading edge disruptive technologies across information operations.

Whatever the real reasons for Hagel's ejection, this was a symbolic and tangible victory for Marshall and the Highlands Forum vision. Highlands Forum co-chair Andrew Marshall, head of the ONA, may indeed be retiring. But the post-Hagel Pentagon is now staffed with his followers.

Robert Work, who now presides over the new DoD transformation scheme, is a loyal Marshall acolyte who had previously directed and analyzed war games for the Office of Net Assessment. Like Marshall, Wells, O'Neill and other Highlands Forum members, Work is also a robot fantasist who lead authored the study, Preparing for War in the Robotic Age , published early last year by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Work is also pitched to determine the future of the ONA , assisted by his strategist Tom Ehrhard and DoD undersecretary for intelligence Michael G. Vickers, under whose authority the Highlands Forum currently runs. Ehrard, an advocate of " integrating disruptive technologies in DoD," previously served as Marshall's military assistant in the ONA, while Mike Vickers?!?who oversees surveillance agencies like the NSA?!?was also previously hired by Marshall to consult for the Pentagon.

Vickers is also a leading proponent of irregular warfare . As assistant defense secretary for special operations and low intensity conflict under former defense secretary Robert Gates in both the Bush and Obama administrations, Vickers's irregular warfare vision pushed for "distributed operations across the world," including "in scores of countries with which the US is not at war," as part of a program of "counter network warfare" using a "network to fight a network"?!?a strategy which of course has the Highlands Forum all over it. In his previous role under Gates, Vickers increased the budget for special operations including psychological operations, stealth transport, Predator drone deployment and "using high-tech surveillance and reconnaissance to track and target terrorists and insurgents."

To replace Hagel, Obama nominated Ashton Carter, former deputy defense secretary from 2009 to 2013, whose expertise in budgets and procurement according to the Wall Street Journal is "expected to boost some of the initiatives championed by the current Pentagon deputy, Robert Work, including an effort to develop new strategies and technologies to preserve the US advantage on the battlefield."

Back in 1999, after three years as Clinton's assistant defense secretary, Carter co-authored a study with former defense secretary William J. Perry advocating a new form of 'war by remote control' facilitated by "digital technology and the constant flow of information." One of Carter's colleagues in the Pentagon during his tenure at that time was Highlands Forum co-chair Linton Wells; and it was Perry of course that as then-defense secretary appointed Richard O'Neill to set-up the Highlands Forum as the Pentagon's IO think-tank back in 1994.

Highlands Forum overlord Perry went on to join the board of SAIC, before eventually becoming chairman of another giant defense contractor, Global Technology Partners (GTP). And Ashton Carter was on GTP's board under Perry, before being nominated to defense secretary by Obama. During Carter's previous Pentagon stint under Obama, he worked closely with Work and current undersecretary of defense Frank Kendall. Defense industry sources rejoice that the new Pentagon team will "dramatically improve" chances to "push major reform projects" at the Pentagon "across the finish line."

Indeed, Carter's priority as defense chief nominee is identifying and acquiring new commercial "disruptive technology" to enhance US military strategy?!?in other words, executing the DoD Skynet plan .

The origins of the Pentagon's new innovation initiative can thus be traced back to ideas that were widely circulated inside the Pentagon decades ago, but which failed to take root fully until now. Between 2006 and 2010, the same period in which such ideas were being developed by Highlands Forum experts like Lochard, Zalman and Rendon, among many others, the Office of Net Assessment provided a direct mechanism to channel these ideas into concrete strategy and policy development through the Quadrennial Defense Reviews, where Marshall's input was primarily responsible for the expansion of the "black" world: "special operations," "electronic warfare" and "information operations."

Andrew Marshall, now retired head of the DoD's Office of Net Assessment and Highlands Forum co-chair, at a Forum session in 2008

Marshall's pre-9/11 vision of a fully networked and automated military system found its fruition in the Pentagon's Skynet study released by the National Defense University in September 2014, which was co-authored by Marshall's colleague at the Highlands Forum, Linton Wells. Many of Wells' recommendations are now to be executed via the new Defense Innovation Initiative by veterans and affiliates of the ONA and Highlands Forum.

Given that Wells' white paper highlighted the Pentagon's keen interest in monopolizing AI research to monopolize autonomous networked robot warfare, it is not entirely surprising that the Forum's sponsoring partners at SAIC/Leidos display a bizarre sensitivity about public use of the word 'Skynet.'

On a Wikipedia entry titled 'Skynet (fictional)', people using SAIC computers deleted several paragraphs under the 'Trivia' section pointing out real-world 'Skynets', such as the British military satellite system, and various information technology projects.

Hagel's departure paved the way for Pentagon officials linked to the Highlands Forum to consolidate government influence. These officials are embedded in a longstanding shadow network of political, industry, media and corporate officials that sit invisibly behind the seat of government, yet literally write its foreign and domestic national security policies whether the administration is Democrat of Republican, by contributing 'ideas' and forging government-industry relationships.

It is this sort of closed-door networking that has rendered the American vote pointless. Far from protecting the public interest or helping to combat terrorism, the comprehensive monitoring of electronic communications has been systematically abused to empower vested interests in the energy, defense, and IT industries.

The state of permanent global warfare that has resulted from the Pentagon's alliances with private contractors and unaccountable harnessing of information expertise, is not making anyone safer, but has spawned a new generation of terrorists in the form of the so-called 'Islamic State'?!?itself a Frankenstein by-product of the putrid combination of Assad's brutality and longstanding US covert operations in the region. This Frankenstein's existence is now being cynically exploited by private contractors seeking to profit exponentially from expanding the national security apparatus, at a time when economic volatility has pressured governments to slash defense spending.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, from 2008 to 2013, the five largest US defense contractors lost 14 percent of their employees, as the winding down of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to lack of business and squeezed revenues. The continuation of the 'Long War' triggered by ISIS has, for now, reversed their fortunes. Companies profiting from the new war include many connected to the Highlands Forum, such as Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Boeing. War is, indeed, a racket.

No more shadows

Yet in the long-run, the information imperialists have already failed . This investigation is based entirely on open source techniques, made viable largely in the context of the same information revolution that enabled Google. The investigation has been funded entirely by members of the public, through crowd-funding. And the investigation has been published and distributed outside the circuits of traditional media, precisely to make the point that in this new digital age, centralized top-down concentrations of power cannot overcome the power of people, their love of truth and justice, and their desire to share.

What are the lessons of this irony? Simple, really: The information revolution is inherently decentralized, and decentralizing. It cannot be controlled and co-opted by Big Brother. Efforts to do so will in the end invariably fail, in a way that is ultimately self-defeating.

The latest mad-cap Pentagon initiative to dominate the world through control of information and information technologies, is not a sign of the all-powerful nature of the shadow network, but rather a symptom of its deluded desperation as it attempts to ward off the acceleration of its hegemonic decline.

But the decline is well on its way. And this story, like so many before it, is one small sign that the opportunities to mobilize the information revolution for the benefit of all, despite the efforts of power to hide in the shadows, are stronger than ever.

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[Aug 30, 2017] The President of Belgian Magistrates - Neoliberalism is a form of Fascism by Manuela Cadelli

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates' Union of Belgium ..."
"... Every totalitarianism starts as distortion of language, as in the novel by George Orwell. Neoliberalism has its Newspeak and strategies of communication that enable it to deform reality. In this spirit, every budgetary cut is represented as an instance of modernization of the sectors concerned. If some of the most deprived are no longer reimbursed for medical expenses and so stop visiting the dentist, this is modernization of social security in action! ..."
"... translated from French by Wayne Hall ..."
Aug 30, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

By Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates' Union of Belgium

The time for rhetorical reservations is over. Things have to be called by their name to make it possible for a co-ordinated democratic reaction to be initiated, above all in the public services.

Liberalism was a doctrine derived from the philosophy of Enlightenment, at once political and economic, which aimed at imposing on the state the necessary distance for ensuring respect for liberties and the coming of democratic emancipation. It was the motor for the arrival, and the continuing progress, of Western democracies.

Neoliberalism is a form of economism in our day that strikes at every moment at every sector of our community. It is a form of extremism.

Fascism may be defined as the subordination of every part of the State to a totalitarian and nihilistic ideology.

I argue that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also every aspect of our thought.

The state is now at the disposal of the economy and of finance, which treat it as a subordinate and lord over it to an extent that puts the common good in jeopardy.

The austerity that is demanded by the financial milieu has become a supreme value, replacing politics. Saving money precludes pursuing any other public objective. It is reaching the point where claims are being made that the principle of budgetary orthodoxy should be included in state constitutions. A mockery is being made of the notion of public service.

The nihilism that results from this makes possible the dismissal of universalism and the most evident humanistic values: solidarity, fraternity, integration and respect for all and for differences.

There is no place any more even for classical economic theory: work was formerly an element in demand, and to that extent there was respect for workers; international finance has made of it a mere adjustment variable.

Every totalitarianism starts as distortion of language, as in the novel by George Orwell. Neoliberalism has its Newspeak and strategies of communication that enable it to deform reality. In this spirit, every budgetary cut is represented as an instance of modernization of the sectors concerned. If some of the most deprived are no longer reimbursed for medical expenses and so stop visiting the dentist, this is modernization of social security in action!

Read also: The only real way to stop atrocities like the Manchester attack is to end the wars which allow extremism to grow

Abstraction predominates in public discussion so as to occlude the implications for human beings.

Thus, in relation to migrants, it is imperative that the need for hosting them does not lead to public appeals that our finances could not accommodate. Is it In the same way that other individuals qualify for assistance out of considerations of national solidarity?

The cult of evaluation

Social Darwinism predominates, assigning the most stringent performance requirements to everyone and everything: to be weak is to fail. The foundations of our culture are overturned: every humanist premise is disqualified or demonetized because neoliberalism has the monopoly of rationality and realism. Margaret Thatcher said it in 1985: "There is no alternative." Everything else is utopianism, unreason and regression. The virtue of debate and conflicting perspectives are discredited because history is ruled by necessity.

This subculture harbours an existential threat of its own: shortcomings of performance condemn one to disappearance while at the same time everyone is charged with inefficiency and obliged to justify everything. Trust is broken. Evaluation reigns, and with it the bureaucracy which imposes definition and research of a plethora of targets, and indicators with which one must comply. Creativity and the critical spirit are stifled by management. And everyone is beating his breast about the wastage and inertia of which he is guilty.

The neglect of justice

The neoliberal ideology generates a normativity that competes with the laws of parliament. The democratic power of law is compromised. Given that they represent a concrete embodiment of liberty and emancipation, and given the potential to prevent abuse that they impose, laws and procedures have begun to look like obstacles.

Read also: EU lies on Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal and Greece

The power of the judiciary, which has the ability to oppose the will of the ruling circles, must also be checkmated. The Belgian judicial system is in any case underfunded. In 2015 it came last in a European ranking that included all states located between the Atlantic and the Urals. In two years the government has managed to take away the independence given to it under the Constitution so that it can play the counterbalancing role citizens expect of it. The aim of this undertaking is clearly that there should no longer be justice in Belgium.

A caste above the Many

But the dominant class doesn't prescribe for itself the same medicine it wants to see ordinary citizens taking: well-ordered austerity begins with others. The economist Thomas Piketty has perfectly described this in his study of inequality and capitalism in the twenty-first century (French edition, Seuil, 2013).

In spite of the crisis of 2008 and the hand-wringing that followed, nothing was done to police the financial community and submit them to the requirements of the common good. Who paid? Ordinary people, you and me.

And while the Belgian State consented to 7 billion-euro ten-year tax breaks for multinationals, ordinary litigants have seen surcharges imposed on access to justice (increased court fees, 21% taxation on legal fees). From now on, to obtain redress the victims of injustice are going to have to be rich.

All this in a state where the number of public representatives breaks all international records. In this particular area, no evaluation and no costs studies are reporting profit. One example: thirty years after the introduction of the federal system, the provincial institutions survive. Nobody can say what purpose they serve. Streamlining and the managerial ideology have conveniently stopped at the gates of the political world.

The security ideal

Read also: DEMOCRATIC MENTAL HEALTH SOLIDARITY NETWORK

Terrorism, this other nihilism that exposes our weakness in affirming our values, is likely to aggravate the process by soon making it possible for all violations of our liberties, all violations of our rights, to circumvent the powerless qualified judges, further reducing social protection for the poor, who will be sacrificed to "the security ideal".

Salvation in commitment

These developments certainly threaten the foundations of our democracy, but do they condemn us to discouragement and despair?

Certainly not. 500 years ago, at the height of the defeats that brought down most Italian states with the imposition of foreign occupation for more than three centuries, Niccolo Machiavelli urged virtuous men to defy fate and stand up against the adversity of the times, to prefer action and daring to caution. The more tragic the situation, the more it necessitates action and the refusal to "give up" (The Prince, Chapters XXV and XXVI).

This is a teaching that is clearly required today. The determination of citizens attached to the radical of democratic values is an invaluable resource which has not yet revealed, at least in Belgium, its driving potential and power to change what is presented as inevitable. Through social networking and the power of the written word, everyone can now become involved, particularly when it comes to public services, universities, the student world, the judiciary and the Bar, in bringing the common good and social justice into the heart of public debate and the administration of the state and the community.

Neoliberalism is a species of fascism. It must be fought and humanism fully restored.

Published in the Belgian daily Le Soir, 3.3.2016

translated from French by Wayne Hall
Le néolibéralisme est un fascisme, par Manuela Cadelli

[Aug 28, 2017] As Prosecutors Submit Evidence, WannaCry Hero's Legal Fund Returns All Donations

Aug 28, 2017 | yro.slashdot.org

(buzzfeed.com) 128 Posted by EditorDavid on Monday August 28, 2017 @06:30AM from the fraudulent-funding dept. An anonymous reader quote BuzzFeed: The vast majority of money raised to pay for the legal defense of beloved British cybersecurity researcher Marcus Hutchins was donated with stolen or fake credit card numbers , and all donations, including legitimate ones, will be returned, the manager of the defense fund says. Lawyer Tor Ekeland, who managed the fund, said at least $150,000 of the money collected came from fraudulent sources, and that the prevalence of fraudulent donations effectively voided the entire fundraiser. He said he'd been able to identify only about $4,900 in legitimate donations, but that he couldn't be certain even of those. "I don't want to take the risk, so I just refunded everything," he said. Two days later, Hutchins posted the following on Twitter . "When sellouts are talking shit about the 'infosec community' remember that someone I'd never met flew to Vegas to pay $30K cash for my bail." Hutchins is facing up to 40 years in prison, and at first was only allowed to leave his residence for four hours each week. Thursday a judge lifted some restrictions so that Hutchins is now allowed to travel to Milwaukee, where his employer is located. According to Bloomberg, government prosecutors complain Hutchins now " has too much freedom while awaiting trial and may skip the country." Clickthrough for a list of the evidence government prosecutors submitted to the court this week.

[Aug 26, 2017] Why Google made the NSA Part 2

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | medium.com
Knowledge is Power

Given all this it is hardly surprising that in 2012, a few months after Highlands Forum co-chair Regina Dugan left DARPA to join Google as a senior executive, then NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander was emailing Google's founding executive Sergey Brin to discuss information sharing for national security. In those emails, obtained under Freedom of Information by investigative journalist Jason Leopold, Gen. Alexander described Google as a "key member of [the US military's] Defense Industrial Base," a position Michele Quaid was apparently consolidating. Brin's jovial relationship with the former NSA chief now makes perfect sense given that Brin had been in contact with representatives of the CIA and NSA, who partly funded and oversaw his creation of the Google search engine, since the mid-1990s.

In July 2014, Quaid spoke at a US Army panel on the creation of a "rapid acquisition cell" to advance the US Army's "cyber capabilities" as part of the Force 202 5 transformation initiative. She told Pentagon officials that "many of the Army's 2025 technology goals can be realized with commercial technology available or in development today," re-affirming that "industry is ready to partner with the Army in supporting the new paradigm." Around the same time, most of the media was trumpeting the idea that Google was trying to distance itself from Pentagon funding, but in reality, Google has switched tactics to independently develop commercial technologies which would have military applications the Pentagon's transformation goals.

Yet Quaid is hardly the only point-person in Google's relationship with the US military intelligence community.

One year after Google bought the satellite mapping software Keyhole from CIA venture capital firm In-Q-Tel in 2004, In-Q-Tel's director of technical assessment Rob Painter ! who played a key role in In-Q-Tel's Keyhole investment in the first place ! moved to Google. At In-Q-Tel, Painter's work focused on identifying, researching and evaluating "new start-up technology firms that were believed to offer tremendous value to the CIA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency." Indeed, the NGA had confirmed that its intelligence obtained via Keyhole was used by the NSA to support US operations in Iraq from 2003 onwards .

A former US Army special operations intelligence officer, Painter's new job at Google as of July 2005 was federal manager of what Keyhole was to become: Google Earth Enterprise. By 2007, Painter had become Google's federal chief technologist.

That year, Painter told the Washington Post that Google was "in the beginning stages" of selling advanced secret versions of its products to the US government. "Google has ramped up its sales force in the Washington area in the past year to adapt its technology products to the needs of the military, civilian agencies and the intelligence community," the Post reported. The Pentagon was already using a version of Google Earth developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin to "display information for the military on the ground in Iraq," including "mapping out displays of key regions of the country" and outlining "Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, as well as US and Iraqi military bases in the city. Neither Lockheed nor Google would say how the geospatial agency uses the data." Google aimed to sell the government new "enhanced versions of Google Earth" and "search engines that can be used internally by agencies."

White House records leaked in 2010 showed that Google executives had held several meetings with senior US National Security Council officials. Alan Davidson, Google's government affairs director, had at least three meetings with officials of the National Security Council in 2009, including White House senior director for Russian affairs Mike McFaul and Middle East advisor Daniel Shapiro. It also emerged from a Google patent application that the company had deliberately been collecting 'payload' data from private wifi networks that would enable the identification of "geolocations." In the same year, we now know, Google had signed an agreement with the NSA giving the agency open-ended access to the personal information of its users, and its hardware and software, in the name of cyber security ! agreements that Gen. Alexander was busy replicating with hundreds of telecoms CEOs around the country.

Thus, it is not just Google that is a key contributor and foundation of the US military-industrial complex: it is the entire Internet, and the wide range of private sector companies ! many nurtured and funded under the mantle of the US intelligence community (or powerful financiers embedded in that community) ! which sustain the Internet and the telecoms infrastructure; it is also the myriad of start-ups selling cutting edge technologies to the CIA's venture firm In-Q-Tel, where they can then be adapted and advanced for applications across the military intelligence community. Ultimately, the global surveillance apparatus and the classified tools used by agencies like the NSA to administer it, have been almost entirely made by external researchers and private contractors like Google, which operate outside the Pentagon.

This structure, mirrored in the workings of the Pentagon's Highlands Forum, allows the Pentagon to rapidly capitalize on technological innovations it would otherwise miss, while also keeping the private sector at arms length, at least ostensibly, to avoid uncomfortable questions about what such technology is actually being used for.

But isn't it obvious, really? The Pentagon is about war, whether overt or covert. By helping build the technological surveillance infrastructure of the NSA, firms like Google are complicit in what the military-industrial complex does best: kill for cash.

As the nature of mass surveillance suggests, its target is not merely terrorists, but by extension, 'terrorism suspects' and 'potential terrorists,' the upshot being that entire populations ! especially political activists ! must be targeted by US intelligence surveillance to identify active and future threats, and to be vigilant against hypothetical populist insurgencies both at home and abroad. Predictive analytics and behavioural profiles play a pivotal role here.

Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.

The push for indiscriminate, comprehensive mass surveillance by the military-industrial complex ! encompassing the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, defense contractors, and supposedly friendly tech giants like Google and Facebook ! is therefore not an end in itself, but an instrument of power, whose goal is self-perpetuation. But there is also a self-rationalizing justification for this goal: while being great for the military-industrial complex, it is also, supposedly, great for everyone else.

[Aug 26, 2017] Exploring the Shadows of America's Security State Or How I Learned Not to Love Big Brother

Notable quotes:
"... This piece has been adapted and expanded from the introduction to Alfred W. McCoy's new book, ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia ..."
"... Atlantic Monthly ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Social Register ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... New York Times Book Review ..."
"... In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power ..."
"... Scientific American ..."
"... Alfred W. McCoy, a ..."
"... , is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the now-classic book ..."
"... , which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and the forthcoming ..."
"... (Dispatch Books, September) from which this piece is adapted. ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

Alfred McCoy August 24, 2017

[ This piece has been adapted and expanded from the introduction to Alfred W. McCoy's new book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power .]

In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the landscapes of Asia and Africa, thanks in part to a massive expansion of its intelligence infrastructure, particularly of the emerging technologies for digital surveillance, agile drones, and biometric identification. In 2010, almost a decade into this secret war with its voracious appetite for information, the Washington Post reported that the national security state had swelled into a "fourth branch" of the federal government ! with 854,000 vetted officials, 263 security organizations, and over 3,000 intelligence units, issuing 50,000 special reports every year.

Though stunning, these statistics only skimmed the visible surface of what had become history's largest and most lethal clandestine apparatus. According to classified documents that Edward Snowden leaked in 2013, the nation's 16 intelligence agencies alone had 107,035 employees and a combined "black budget" of $52.6 billion, the equivalent of 10% percent of the vast defense budget.

By sweeping the skies and probing the worldwide web's undersea cables, the National Security Agency (NSA) could surgically penetrate the confidential communications of just about any leader on the planet, while simultaneously sweeping up billions of ordinary messages. For its classified missions, the CIA had access to the Pentagon's Special Operations Command, with 69,000 elite troops (Rangers, SEALs, Air Commandos) and their agile arsenal. In addition to this formidable paramilitary capacity, the CIA operated 30 Predator and Reaper drones responsible for more than 3,000 deaths in Pakistan and Yemen.

While Americans practiced a collective form of duck and cover as the Department of Homeland Security's colored alerts pulsed nervously from yellow to red, few paused to ask the hard question: Was all this security really directed solely at enemies beyond our borders? After half a century of domestic security abuses ! from the "red scare" of the 1920s through the FBI's illegal harassment of antiwar protesters in the 1960s and 1970s ! could we really be confident that there wasn't a hidden cost to all these secret measures right here at home? Maybe, just maybe, all this security wasn't really so benign when it came to us.

From my own personal experience over the past half-century, and my family's history over three generations, I've found out in the most personal way possible that there's a real cost to entrusting our civil liberties to the discretion of secret agencies. Let me share just a few of my own "war" stories to explain how I've been forced to keep learning and relearning this uncomfortable lesson the hard way.

On the Heroin Trail

After finishing college in the late 1960s, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Japanese history and was pleasantly surprised when Yale Graduate School admitted me with a full fellowship. But the Ivy League in those days was no ivory tower. During my first year at Yale, the Justice Department indicted Black Panther leader Bobby Seale for a local murder and the May Day protests that filled the New Haven green also shut the campus for a week. Almost simultaneously, President Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia and student protests closed hundreds of campuses across America for the rest of the semester.

In the midst of all this tumult, the focus of my studies shifted from Japan to Southeast Asia, and from the past to the war in Vietnam. Yes, that war. So what did I do about the draft? During my first semester at Yale, on December 1, 1969, to be precise, the Selective Service cut up the calendar for a lottery. The first 100 birthdays picked were certain to be drafted, but any dates above 200 were likely exempt. My birthday, June 8th, was the very last date drawn, not number 365 but 366 (don't forget leap year) ! the only lottery I have ever won, except for a Sunbeam electric frying pan in a high school raffle. Through a convoluted moral calculus typical of the 1960s, I decided that my draft exemption, although acquired by sheer luck, demanded that I devote myself, above all else, to thinking about, writing about, and working to end the Vietnam War.

During those campus protests over Cambodia in the spring of 1970, our small group of graduate students in Southeast Asian history at Yale realized that the U.S. strategic predicament in Indochina would soon require an invasion of Laos to cut the flow of enemy supplies into South Vietnam. So, while protests over Cambodia swept campuses nationwide, we were huddled inside the library, preparing for the next invasion by editing a book of essays on Laos for the publisher Harper & Row. A few months after that book appeared, one of the company's junior editors, Elizabeth Jakab, intrigued by an account we had included about that country's opium crop, telephoned from New York to ask if I could research and write a "quickie" paperback about the history behind the heroin epidemic then infecting the U.S. Army in Vietnam.

I promptly started the research at my student carrel in the Gothic tower that is Yale's Sterling Library, tracking old colonial reports about the Southeast Asian opium trade that ended suddenly in the 1950s, just as the story got interesting. So, quite tentatively at first, I stepped outside the library to do a few interviews and soon found myself following an investigative trail that circled the globe. First, I traveled across America for meetings with retired CIA operatives. Then I crossed the Pacific to Hong Kong to study drug syndicates, courtesy of that colony's police drug squad. Next, I went south to Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam, to investigate the heroin traffic that was targeting the GIs, and on into the mountains of Laos to observe CIA alliances with opium warlords and the hill-tribe militias that grew the opium poppy. Finally, I flew from Singapore to Paris for interviews with retired French intelligence officers about their opium trafficking during the first Indochina War of the 1950s.

The drug traffic that supplied heroin for the U.S. troops fighting in South Vietnam was not, I discovered, exclusively the work of criminals. Once the opium left tribal poppy fields in Laos, the traffic required official complicity at every level. The helicopters of Air America, the airline the CIA then ran, carried raw opium out of the villages of its hill-tribe allies. The commander of the Royal Lao Army, a close American collaborator, operated the world's largest heroin lab and was so oblivious to the implications of the traffic that he opened his opium ledgers for my inspection. Several of Saigon's top generals were complicit in the drug's distribution to U.S. soldiers. By 1971, this web of collusion ensured that heroin, according to a later White House survey of a thousand veterans, would be "commonly used" by 34% of American troops in South Vietnam.

None of this had been covered in my college history seminars. I had no models for researching an uncharted netherworld of crime and covert operations. After stepping off the plane in Saigon, body slammed by the tropical heat, I found myself in a sprawling foreign city of four million, lost in a swarm of snarling motorcycles and a maze of nameless streets, without contacts or a clue about how to probe these secrets. Every day on the heroin trail confronted me with new challenges ! where to look, what to look for, and, above all, how to ask hard questions.

Reading all that history had, however, taught me something I didn't know I knew. Instead of confronting my sources with questions about sensitive current events, I started with the French colonial past when the opium trade was still legal, gradually uncovering the underlying, unchanging logistics of drug production. As I followed this historical trail into the present, when the traffic became illegal and dangerously controversial, I began to use pieces from this past to assemble the present puzzle, until the names of contemporary dealers fell into place. In short, I had crafted a historical method that would prove, over the next 40 years of my career, surprisingly useful in analyzing a diverse array of foreign policy controversies ! CIA alliances with drug lords, the agency's propagation of psychological torture, and our spreading state surveillance.

The CIA Makes Its Entrance in My Life

Those months on the road, meeting gangsters and warlords in isolated places, offered only one bit of real danger. While hiking in the mountains of Laos, interviewing Hmong farmers about their opium shipments on CIA helicopters, I was descending a steep slope when a burst of bullets ripped the ground at my feet. I had walked into an ambush by agency mercenaries.

While the five Hmong militia escorts whom the local village headman had prudently provided laid down a covering fire, my Australian photographer John Everingham and I flattened ourselves in the elephant grass and crawled through the mud to safety. Without those armed escorts, my research would have been at an end and so would I. After that ambush failed, a CIA paramilitary officer summoned me to a mountaintop meeting where he threatened to murder my Lao interpreter unless I ended my research. After winning assurances from the U.S. embassy that my interpreter would not be harmed, I decided to ignore that warning and keep going.

Six months and 30,000 miles later, I returned to New Haven. My investigation of CIA alliances with drug lords had taught me more than I could have imagined about the covert aspects of U.S. global power. Settling into my attic apartment for an academic year of writing, I was confident that I knew more than enough for a book on this unconventional topic. But my education, it turned out, was just beginning.

Within weeks, a massive, middle-aged guy in a suit interrupted my scholarly isolation. He appeared at my front door and identified himself as Tom Tripodi , senior agent for the Bureau of Narcotics, which later became the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). His agency, he confessed during a second visit, was worried about my writing and he had been sent to investigate. He needed something to tell his superiors. Tom was a guy you could trust. So I showed him a few draft pages of my book. He disappeared into the living room for a while and came back saying, "Pretty good stuff. You got your ducks in a row." But there were some things, he added, that weren't quite right, some things he could help me fix.

Best of all, there was the one about how the Bureau of Narcotics caught French intelligence protecting the Corsican syndicates smuggling heroin into New York City. Some of his stories, usually unacknowledged, would appear in my book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia . These conversations with an undercover operative, who had trained Cuban exiles for the CIA in Florida and later investigated Mafia heroin syndicates for the DEA in Sicily, were akin to an advanced seminar, a master class in covert operations.

In the summer of 1972, with the book at press, I went to Washington to testify before Congress. As I was making the rounds of congressional offices on Capitol Hill, my editor rang unexpectedly and summoned me to New York for a meeting with the president and vice president of Harper & Row, my book's publisher. Ushered into a plush suite of offices overlooking the spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral, I listened to those executives tell me that Cord Meyer, Jr., the CIA's deputy director for covert operations, had called on their company's president emeritus, Cass Canfield, Sr. The visit was no accident, for Canfield, according to an authoritative history , "enjoyed prolific links to the world of intelligence, both as a former psychological warfare officer and as a close personal friend of Allen Dulles," the ex-head of the CIA. Meyer denounced my book as a threat to national security. He asked Canfield, also an old friend, to quietly suppress it.

I was in serious trouble. Not only was Meyer a senior CIA official but he also had impeccable social connections and covert assets in every corner of American intellectual life. After graduating from Yale in 1942, he served with the marines in the Pacific, writing eloquent war dispatches published in the Atlantic Monthly . He later worked with the U.S. delegation drafting the U.N. charter. Personally recruited by spymaster Allen Dulles, Meyer joined the CIA in 1951 and was soon running its International Organizations Division, which, in the words of that same history , "constituted the greatest single concentration of covert political and propaganda activities of the by now octopus-like CIA," including " Operation Mockingbird " that planted disinformation in major U.S. newspapers meant to aid agency operations. Informed sources told me that the CIA still had assets inside every major New York publisher and it already had every page of my manuscript.

As the child of a wealthy New York family, Cord Meyer moved in elite social circles, meeting and marrying Mary Pinchot, the niece of Gifford Pinchot, founder of the U.S. Forestry Service and a former governor of Pennsylvania. Pinchot was a breathtaking beauty who later became President Kennedy's mistress, making dozens of secret visits to the White House. When she was found shot dead along the banks of a canal in Washington in 1964, the head of CIA counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton, another Yale alumnus, broke into her home in an unsuccessful attempt to secure her diary. Mary's sister Toni and her husband, Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, later found the diary and gave it to Angleton for destruction by the agency. To this day, her unsolved murder remains a subject of mystery and controversy.

Cord Meyer was also in the Social Register of New York's fine families along with my publisher, Cass Canfield, which added a dash of social cachet to the pressure to suppress my book. By the time he walked into Harper & Row's office in that summer of 1972, two decades of CIA service had changed Meyer (according to that same authoritative history) from a liberal idealist into "a relentless, implacable advocate for his own ideas," driven by "a paranoiac distrust of everyone who didn't agree with him" and a manner that was "histrionic and even bellicose." An unpublished 26-year-old graduate student versus the master of CIA media manipulation. It was hardly a fair fight. I began to fear my book would never appear.

To his credit, Canfield refused Meyer's request to suppress the book. But he did allow the agency a chance to review the manuscript prior to publication. Instead of waiting quietly for the CIA's critique, I contacted Seymour Hersh, then an investigative reporter for the New York Times . The same day the CIA courier arrived from Langley to collect my manuscript, Hersh swept through Harper & Row's offices like a tropical storm, pelting hapless executives with incessant, unsettling questions. The next day, his exposé of the CIA's attempt at censorship appeared on the paper's front page . Other national media organizations followed his lead. Faced with a barrage of negative coverage, the CIA gave Harper & Row a critique full of unconvincing denials . The book was published unaltered.

My Life as an Open Book for the Agency

I had learned another important lesson: the Constitution's protection of press freedom could check even the world's most powerful espionage agency. Cord Meyer reportedly learned the same lesson. According to his obituary in the Washington Post , "It was assumed that Mr. Meyer would eventually advance" to head CIA covert operations, "but the public disclosure about the book deal apparently dampened his prospects." He was instead exiled to London and eased into early retirement.

Meyer and his colleagues were not, however, used to losing. Defeated in the public arena, the CIA retreated to the shadows and retaliated by tugging at every thread in the threadbare life of a graduate student. Over the next few months, federal officials from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare turned up at Yale to investigate my graduate fellowship. The Internal Revenue Service audited my poverty-level income. The FBI tapped my New Haven telephone (something I learned years later from a class-action lawsuit).

In August 1972, at the height of the controversy over the book, FBI agents told the bureau's director that they had "conducted [an] investigation concerning McCoy," searching the files they had compiled on me for the past two years and interviewing numerous "sources whose identities are concealed [who] have furnished reliable information in the past" ! thereby producing an 11-page report detailing my birth, education, and campus antiwar activities.

A college classmate I hadn't seen in four years, who served in military intelligence, magically appeared at my side in the book section of the Yale Co-op, seemingly eager to resume our relationship. The same week that a laudatory review of my book appeared on the front page of the New York Times Book Review , an extraordinary achievement for any historian, Yale's History Department placed me on academic probation. Unless I could somehow do a year's worth of overdue work in a single semester, I faced dismissal.

In those days, the ties between the CIA and Yale were wide and deep. The campus residential colleges screened students, including future CIA Director Porter Goss, for possible careers in espionage. Alumni like Cord Meyer and James Angleton held senior slots at the agency. Had I not had a faculty adviser visiting from Germany, the distinguished scholar Bernhard Dahm who was a stranger to this covert nexus, that probation would likely have become expulsion, ending my academic career and destroying my credibility.

During those difficult days, New York Congressman Ogden Reid, a ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, telephoned to say that he was sending staff investigators to Laos to look into the opium situation. Amid this controversy, a CIA helicopter landed near the village where I had escaped that ambush and flew the Hmong headman who had helped my research to an agency airstrip. There, a CIA interrogator made it clear that he had better deny what he had said to me about the opium. Fearing, as he later told my photographer, that "they will send a helicopter to arrest me, or soldiers to shoot me," the Hmong headman did just that.

At a personal level, I was discovering just how deep the country's intelligence agencies could reach, even in a democracy, leaving no part of my life untouched: my publisher, my university, my sources, my taxes, my phone, and even my friends.

Although I had won the first battle of this war with a media blitz, the CIA was winning the longer bureaucratic struggle. By silencing my sources and denying any culpability, its officials convinced Congress that it was innocent of any direct complicity in the Indochina drug trade. During Senate hearings into CIA assassinations by the famed Church Committee three years later, Congress accepted the agency's assurance that none of its operatives had been directly involved in heroin trafficking (an allegation I had never actually made). The committee's report did confirm the core of my critique, however, finding that "the CIA is particularly vulnerable to criticism" over indigenous assets in Laos "of considerable importance to the Agency," including "people who either were known to be, or were suspected of being, involved in narcotics trafficking." But the senators did not press the CIA for any resolution or reform of what its own inspector general had called the "particular dilemma" posed by those alliances with drug lords ! the key aspect, in my view, of its complicity in the traffic.

During the mid-1970s, as the flow of drugs into the United States slowed and the number of addicts declined, the heroin problem receded into the inner cities and the media moved on to new sensations. Unfortunately, Congress had forfeited an opportunity to check the CIA and correct its way of waging covert wars. In less than 10 years, the problem of the CIA's tactical alliances with drug traffickers to support its far-flung covert wars was back with a vengeance.

During the 1980s, as the crack-cocaine epidemic swept America's cities, the agency, as its own Inspector General later reported , allied itself with the largest drug smuggler in the Caribbean, using his port facilities to ship arms to the Contra guerrillas fighting in Nicaragua and protecting him from any prosecution for five years. Simultaneously on the other side of the planet in Afghanistan, mujahedeen guerrillas imposed an opium tax on farmers to fund their fight against the Soviet occupation and, with the CIA's tacit consent , operated heroin labs along the Pakistani border to supply international markets. By the mid-1980s, Afghanistan's opium harvest had grown 10-fold and was providing 60% of the heroin for America's addicts and as much as 90% in New York City.

Almost by accident, I had launched my academic career by doing something a bit different. Embedded within that study of drug trafficking was an analytical approach that would take me, almost unwittingly, on a lifelong exploration of U.S. global hegemony in its many manifestations, including diplomatic alliances, CIA interventions, developing military technology, recourse to torture, and global surveillance. Step by step, topic by topic, decade after decade, I would slowly accumulate sufficient understanding of the parts to try to assemble the whole. In writing my new book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power , I drew on this research to assess the overall character of U.S. global power and the forces that might contribute to its perpetuation or decline.

In the process, I slowly came to see a striking continuity and coherence in Washington's century-long rise to global dominion. CIA torture techniques emerged at the start of the Cold War in the 1950s; much of its futuristic robotic aerospace technology had its first trial in the Vietnam War of the 1960s; and, above all, Washington's reliance on surveillance first appeared in the colonial Philippines around 1900 and soon became an essential though essentially illegal tool for the FBI's repression of domestic dissent that continued through the 1970s.

Surveillance Today

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, I dusted off that historical method, and used it to explore the origins and character of domestic surveillance inside the United States.

After occupying the Philippines in 1898, the U.S. Army, facing a difficult pacification campaign in a restive land, discovered the power of systematic surveillance to crush the resistance of the country's political elite. Then, during World War I, the Army's "father of military intelligence," the dour General Ralph Van Deman, who had learned his trade in the Philippines, drew upon his years pacifying those islands to mobilize a legion of 1,700 soldiers and 350,000 citizen-vigilantes for an intense surveillance program against suspected enemy spies among German-Americans, including my own grandfather. In studying Military Intelligence files at the National Archives, I found "suspicious" letters purloined from my grandfather's army locker. In fact, his mother had been writing him in her native German about such subversive subjects as knitting him socks for guard duty.

In the 1950s, Hoover's FBI agents tapped thousands of phones without warrants and kept suspected subversives under close surveillance, including my mother's cousin Gerard Piel, an anti-nuclear activist and the publisher of Scientific American magazine. During the Vietnam War, the bureau expanded its activities with an amazing array of spiteful, often illegal, intrigues in a bid to cripple the antiwar movement with pervasive surveillance of the sort seen in my own FBI file.

Memory of the FBI's illegal surveillance programs was largely washed away after the Vietnam War thanks to Congressional reforms that required judicial warrants for all government wiretaps. The terror attacks of September 2001, however, gave the National Security Agency the leeway to launch renewed surveillance on a previously unimaginable scale. Writing for TomDispatch in 2009, I observed that coercive methods first tested in the Middle East were being repatriated and might lay the groundwork for "a domestic surveillance state." Sophisticated biometric and cyber techniques forged in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq had made a "digital surveillance state a reality" and so were fundamentally changing the character of American democracy.

Four years later, Edward Snowden's leak of secret NSA documents revealed that, after a century-long gestation period, a U.S. digital surveillance state had finally arrived. In the age of the Internet, the NSA could monitor tens of millions of private lives worldwide, including American ones, via a few hundred computerized probes into the global grid of fiber-optic cables.

And then, as if to remind me in the most personal way possible of our new reality, four years ago, I found myself the target yet again of an IRS audit, of TSA body searches at national airports, and ! as I discovered when the line went dead ! a tap on my office telephone at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Why? Maybe it was my current writing on sensitive topics like CIA torture and NSA surveillance, or maybe my name popped up from some old database of suspected subversives left over from the 1970s. Whatever the explanation, it was a reasonable reminder that, if my own family's experience across three generations is in any way representative, state surveillance has been an integral part of American political life far longer than we might imagine.

At the cost of personal privacy, Washington's worldwide web of surveillance has now become a weapon of exceptional power in a bid to extend U.S. global hegemony deeper into the twenty-first century. Yet it's worth remembering that sooner or later what we do overseas always seems to come home to haunt us, just as the CIA and crew have haunted me this last half-century. When we learn to love Big Brother, the world becomes a more, not less, dangerous place.

Alfred W. McCoy, a TomDispatch regular , is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the now-classic book The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade , which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and the forthcoming In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power (Dispatch Books, September) from which this piece is adapted. (Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)

Grandpa Charlie > , August 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm GMT

"In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, I dusted off that historical method, and used it to explore the origins and character of domestic surveillance inside the United States." ! Alfred McCoy

What about using the historical method to explore the nature of USA's reducing EU nations to "vassals" – and keeping them in the status of vassals, such that they can be depended on to undermine their own economies and sovereignty for the sake of USA's global initiatives?

An interesting question might be whether the NATO-to-Afghanistan highway (truck route for munitions, etc.), c. 2010, was also, on the back-haul – Afghanistan to EU – the major supply route for heroin throughout the EU and thus the key to corruption of EU governments (and of Russia) and domination of those governments by USA's neocon operatives? (E.g., was/is the distribution system of the "Chocolate King" Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, delivering something besides just chocolate?)

"Just over one third of all cargo goes on routes dubbed the "northern distribution network" through Central Asia, and the Caucasus or Russia. " ! Reuters, 2011

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-pakistan-isaf-idUSTRE7AR0XK20111128

Just a thought, speculative, based in part on the assumption that such trucks would not be subject to narcotics search-and-seizure going across borders.

Anon > , Disclaimer August 25, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT

Thanks for this serious, high-quality content, Mr. Unz.

hyperbola > , August 25, 2017 at 4:12 pm GMT

@Grandpa Charlie

The Puppet Masters Behind Georgia President Saakashvili http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20569.htm

WikiLeaks exposes US cover-up of Georgian attack on South Ossetia

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2010/12/geor-d06.html one of the suggestions was that drugs were involved.

Myth, Meth and the Georgian Invasion https://www.thenation.com/article/myth-meth-and-georgian-invasion/

Soros, drugs, British Empire and Saakashvili http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=64

[Aug 26, 2017] How the CIA made Google by Nafeez Ahmed

Aug 26, 2017 | medium.com
Nafeez Ahmed Investigative journalist, recovering academic, tracking the Crisis of Civilization patreon.com/nafeez Jan 22, 2015
Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet -- part 1


.... ... ...

Google: seeded by the Pentagon

In 1994  --  the same year the Highlands Forum was founded under the stewardship of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the ONA, and DARPA  --  two young PhD students at Stanford University, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, made their breakthrough on the first automated web crawling and page ranking application. That application remains the core component of what eventually became Google's search service. Brin and Page had performed their work with funding from the Digital Library Initiative (DLI), a multi-agency programme of the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and DARPA.

But that's just one side of the story.

Throughout the development of the search engine, Sergey Brin reported regularly and directly to two people who were not Stanford faculty at all: Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham and Dr. Rick Steinheiser. Both were representatives of a sensitive US intelligence community research programme on information security and data-mining.

Thuraisingham is currently the Louis A. Beecherl distinguished professor and executive director of the Cyber Security Research Institute at the University of Texas, Dallas, and a sought-after expert on data-mining, data management and information security issues. But in the 1990s, she worked for the MITRE Corp., a leading US defense contractor, where she managed the Massive Digital Data Systems initiative, a project sponsored by the NSA, CIA, and the Director of Central Intelligence, to foster innovative research in information technology.

"We funded Stanford University through the computer scientist Jeffrey Ullman, who had several promising graduate students working on many exciting areas," Prof. Thuraisingham told me. "One of them was Sergey Brin, the founder of Google. The intelligence community's MDDS program essentially provided Brin seed-funding, which was supplemented by many other sources, including the private sector."

This sort of funding is certainly not unusual, and Sergey Brin's being able to receive it by being a graduate student at Stanford appears to have been incidental. The Pentagon was all over computer science research at this time. But it illustrates how deeply entrenched the culture of Silicon Valley is in the values of the US intelligence community.

In an extraordinary document hosted by the website of the University of Texas, Thuraisingham recounts that from 1993 to 1999, "the Intelligence Community [IC] started a program called Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) that I was managing for the Intelligence Community when I was at the MITRE Corporation." The program funded 15 research efforts at various universities, including Stanford. Its goal was developing "data management technologies to manage several terabytes to petabytes of data," including for "query processing, transaction management, metadata management, storage management, and data integration."

At the time, Thuraisingham was chief scientist for data and information management at MITRE, where she led team research and development efforts for the NSA, CIA, US Air Force Research Laboratory, as well as the US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and Communications and Electronic Command (CECOM). She went on to teach courses for US government officials and defense contractors on data-mining in counter-terrorism.

In her University of Texas article, she attaches the copy of an abstract of the US intelligence community's MDDS program that had been presented to the "Annual Intelligence Community Symposium" in 1995. The abstract reveals that the primary sponsors of the MDDS programme were three agencies: the NSA, the CIA's Office of Research & Development, and the intelligence community's Community Management Staff (CMS) which operates under the Director of Central Intelligence. Administrators of the program, which provided funding of around 3–4 million dollars per year for 3–4 years, were identified as Hal Curran (NSA), Robert Kluttz (CMS), Dr. Claudia Pierce (NSA), Dr. Rick Steinheiser (ORD  --  standing for the CIA's Office of Research and Devepment), and Dr. Thuraisingham herself.

Thuraisingham goes on in her article to reiterate that this joint CIA-NSA program partly funded Sergey Brin to develop the core of Google, through a grant to Stanford managed by Brin's supervisor Prof. Jeffrey D. Ullman:

"In fact, the Google founder Mr. Sergey Brin was partly funded by this program while he was a PhD student at Stanford. He together with his advisor Prof. Jeffrey Ullman and my colleague at MITRE, Dr. Chris Clifton [Mitre's chief scientist in IT], developed the Query Flocks System which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. In fact the last time we met in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which became Google soon after."

Brin and Page officially incorporated Google as a company in September 1998, the very month they last reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser. 'Query Flocks' was also part of Google's patented ' PageRank ' search system, which Brin developed at Stanford under the CIA-NSA-MDDS programme, as well as with funding from the NSF, IBM and Hitachi. That year, MITRE's Dr. Chris Clifton, who worked under Thuraisingham to develop the 'Query Flocks' system, co-authored a paper with Brin's superviser, Prof. Ullman, and the CIA's Rick Steinheiser. Titled 'Knowledge Discovery in Text,' the paper was presented at an academic conference.

"The MDDS funding that supported Brin was significant as far as seed-funding goes, but it was probably outweighed by the other funding streams," said Thuraisingham. "The duration of Brin's funding was around two years or so. In that period, I and my colleagues from the MDDS would visit Stanford to see Brin and monitor his progress every three months or so. We didn't supervise exactly, but we did want to check progress, point out potential problems and suggest ideas. In those briefings, Brin did present to us on the query flocks research, and also demonstrated to us versions of the Google search engine."

Brin thus reported to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser regularly about his work developing Google.

==

UPDATE 2.05PM GMT [2nd Feb 2015]:

Since publication of this article, Prof. Thuraisingham has amended her article referenced above. The amended version includes a new modified statement, followed by a copy of the original version of her account of the MDDS. In this amended version, Thuraisingham rejects the idea that CIA funded Google, and says instead:

"In fact Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (at Stanford) and my colleague at MITRE Dr. Chris Clifton together with some others developed the Query Flocks System, as part of MDDS, which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. Also, Mr. Sergey Brin, the cofounder of Google, was part of Prof. Ullman's research group at that time. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community periodically and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. During our last visit to Stanford in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which I believe became Google soon after
There are also several inaccuracies in Dr. Ahmed's article (dated January 22, 2015). For example, the MDDS program was not a 'sensitive' program as stated by Dr. Ahmed; it was an Unclassified program that funded universities in the US. Furthermore, Sergey Brin never reported to me or to Dr. Rick Steinheiser; he only gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s. Also, MDDS never funded Google; it funded Stanford University."

Here, there is no substantive factual difference in Thuraisingham's accounts, other than to assert that her statement associating Sergey Brin with the development of 'query flocks' is mistaken. Notably, this acknowledgement is derived not from her own knowledge, but from this very article quoting a comment from a Google spokesperson.

However, the bizarre attempt to disassociate Google from the MDDS program misses the mark. Firstly, the MDDS never funded Google, because during the development of the core components of the Google search engine, there was no company incorporated with that name. The grant was instead provided to Stanford University through Prof. Ullman, through whom some MDDS funding was used to support Brin who was co-developing Google at the time. Secondly, Thuraisingham then adds that Brin never "reported" to her or the CIA's Steinheiser, but admits he "gave presentations to us during our visits to the Department of Computer Science at Stanford during the 1990s." It is unclear, though, what the distinction is here between reporting, and delivering a detailed presentation  --  either way, Thuraisingham confirms that she and the CIA had taken a keen interest in Brin's development of Google. Thirdly, Thuraisingham describes the MDDS program as "unclassified," but this does not contradict its "sensitive" nature. As someone who has worked for decades as an intelligence contractor and advisor, Thuraisingham is surely aware that there are many ways of categorizing intelligence, including 'sensitive but unclassified.' A number of former US intelligence officials I spoke to said that the almost total lack of public information on the CIA and NSA's MDDS initiative suggests that although the progam was not classified, it is likely instead that its contents was considered sensitive, which would explain efforts to minimise transparency about the program and the way it fed back into developing tools for the US intelligence community. Fourthly, and finally, it is important to point out that the MDDS abstract which Thuraisingham includes in her University of Texas document states clearly not only that the Director of Central Intelligence's CMS, CIA and NSA were the overseers of the MDDS initiative, but that the intended customers of the project were "DoD, IC, and other government organizations": the Pentagon, the US intelligence community, and other relevant US government agencies.

In other words, the provision of MDDS funding to Brin through Ullman, under the oversight of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser, was fundamentally because they recognized the potential utility of Brin's work developing Google to the Pentagon, intelligence community, and the federal government at large.

==

The MDDS programme is actually referenced in several papers co-authored by Brin and Page while at Stanford, specifically highlighting its role in financially sponsoring Brin in the development of Google. In their 1998 paper published in the Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committeee on Data Engineering , they describe the automation of methods to extract information from the web via "Dual Iterative Pattern Relation Extraction," the development of "a global ranking of Web pages called PageRank," and the use of PageRank "to develop a novel search engine called Google." Through an opening footnote, Sergey Brin confirms he was "Partially supported by the Community Management Staff's Massive Digital Data Systems Program, NSF grant IRI-96–31952"  --  confirming that Brin's work developing Google was indeed partly-funded by the CIA-NSA-MDDS program.

This NSF grant identified alongside the MDDS, whose project report lists Brin among the students supported (without mentioning the MDDS), was different to the NSF grant to Larry Page that included funding from DARPA and NASA. The project report, authored by Brin's supervisor Prof. Ullman, goes on to say under the section 'Indications of Success' that "there are some new stories of startups based on NSF-supported research." Under 'Project Impact,' the report remarks: "Finally, the google project has also gone commercial as Google.com."

Thuraisingham's account, including her new amended version, therefore demonstrates that the CIA-NSA-MDDS program was not only partly funding Brin throughout his work with Larry Page developing Google, but that senior US intelligence representatives including a CIA official oversaw the evolution of Google in this pre-launch phase, all the way until the company was ready to be officially founded. Google, then, had been enabled with a "significant" amount of seed-funding and oversight from the Pentagon: namely, the CIA, NSA, and DARPA.

The DoD could not be reached for comment.

When I asked Prof. Ullman to confirm whether or not Brin was partly funded under the intelligence community's MDDS program, and whether Ullman was aware that Brin was regularly briefing the CIA's Rick Steinheiser on his progress in developing the Google search engine, Ullman's responses were evasive: "May I know whom you represent and why you are interested in these issues? Who are your 'sources'?" He also denied that Brin played a significant role in developing the 'query flocks' system, although it is clear from Brin's papers that he did draw on that work in co-developing the PageRank system with Page.

When I asked Ullman whether he was denying the US intelligence community's role in supporting Brin during the development of Google, he said: "I am not going to dignify this nonsense with a denial. If you won't explain what your theory is, and what point you are trying to make, I am not going to help you in the slightest."

The MDDS abstract published online at the University of Texas confirms that the rationale for the CIA-NSA project was to "provide seed money to develop data management technologies which are of high-risk and high-pay-off," including techniques for "querying, browsing, and filtering; transaction processing; accesses methods and indexing; metadata management and data modelling; and integrating heterogeneous databases; as well as developing appropriate architectures." The ultimate vision of the program was to "provide for the seamless access and fusion of massive amounts of data, information and knowledge in a heterogeneous, real-time environment" for use by the Pentagon, intelligence community and potentially across government.

These revelations corroborate the claims of Robert Steele, former senior CIA officer and a founding civilian deputy director of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, whom I interviewed for The Guardian last year on open source intelligence. Citing sources at the CIA, Steele had said in 2006 that Steinheiser, an old colleague of his, was the CIA's main liaison at Google and had arranged early funding for the pioneering IT firm. At the time, Wired founder John Batelle managed to get this official denial from a Google spokesperson in response to Steele's assertions:

"The statements related to Google are completely untrue."

This time round, despite multiple requests and conversations, a Google spokesperson declined to comment.

UPDATE: As of 5.41PM GMT [22nd Jan 2015], Google's director of corporate communication got in touch and asked me to include the following statement:

"Sergey Brin was not part of the Query Flocks Program at Stanford, nor were any of his projects funded by US Intelligence bodies."

This is what I wrote back:

My response to that statement would be as follows: Brin himself in his own paper acknowledges funding from the Community Management Staff of the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) initiative, which was supplied through the NSF. The MDDS was an intelligence community program set up by the CIA and NSA. I also have it on record, as noted in the piece, from Prof. Thuraisingham of University of Texas that she managed the MDDS program on behalf of the US intelligence community, and that her and the CIA's Rick Steinheiser met Brin every three months or so for two years to be briefed on his progress developing Google and PageRank. Whether Brin worked on query flocks or not is neither here nor there.
In that context, you might want to consider the following questions:
1) Does Google deny that Brin's work was part-funded by the MDDS via an NSF grant?
2) Does Google deny that Brin reported regularly to Thuraisingham and Steinheiser from around 1996 to 1998 until September that year when he presented the Google search engine to them?
Total Information Awareness

A call for papers for the MDDS was sent out via email list on November 3rd 1993 from senior US intelligence official David Charvonia, director of the research and development coordination office of the intelligence community's CMS. The reaction from Tatu Ylonen (celebrated inventor of the widely used secure shell [SSH] data protection protocol) to his colleagues on the email list is telling: "Crypto relevance? Makes you think whether you should protect your data." The email also confirms that defense contractor and Highlands Forum partner, SAIC, was managing the MDDS submission process, with abstracts to be sent to Jackie Booth of the CIA's Office of Research and Development via a SAIC email address.

By 1997, Thuraisingham reveals, shortly before Google became incorporated and while she was still overseeing the development of its search engine software at Stanford, her thoughts turned to the national security applications of the MDDS program. In the acknowledgements to her book, Web Data Mining and Applications in Business Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (2003) , Thuraisingham writes that she and "Dr. Rick Steinheiser of the CIA, began discussions with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on applying data-mining for counter-terrorism," an idea that resulted directly from the MDDS program which partly funded Google. "These discussions eventually developed into the current EELD (Evidence Extraction and Link Detection) program at DARPA."

So the very same senior CIA official and CIA-NSA contractor involved in providing the seed-funding for Google were simultaneously contemplating the role of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, and were developing ideas for tools actually advanced by DARPA.

Today, as illustrated by her recent oped in the New York Times , Thuraisingham remains a staunch advocate of data-mining for counter-terrorism purposes, but also insists that these methods must be developed by government in cooperation with civil liberties lawyers and privacy advocates to ensure that robust procedures are in place to prevent potential abuse. She points out, damningly, that with the quantity of information being collected, there is a high risk of false positives.

In 1993, when the MDDS program was launched and managed by MITRE Corp. on behalf of the US intelligence community, University of Virginia computer scientist Dr. Anita K. Jones  --  a MITRE trustee  --  landed the job of DARPA director and head of research and engineering across the Pentagon. She had been on the board of MITRE since 1988. From 1987 to 1993, Jones simultaneously served on SAIC's board of directors. As the new head of DARPA from 1993 to 1997, she also co-chaired the Pentagon's Highlands Forum during the period of Google's pre-launch development at Stanford under the MDSS.

Thus, when Thuraisingham and Steinheiser were talking to DARPA about the counter-terrorism applications of MDDS research, Jones was DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair. That year, Jones left DARPA to return to her post at the University of Virgina. The following year, she joined the board of the National Science Foundation, which of course had also just funded Brin and Page, and also returned to the board of SAIC. When she left DoD, Senator Chuck Robb paid Jones the following tribute : "She brought the technology and operational military communities together to design detailed plans to sustain US dominance on the battlefield into the next century."

Dr. Anita Jones, head of DARPA from 1993–1997, and co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum from 1995–1997, during which officials in charge of the CIA-NSA-MDSS program were funding Google, and in communication with DARPA about data-mining for counterterrorism

On the board of the National Science Foundation from 1992 to 1998 (including a stint as chairman from 1996) was Richard N. Zare. This was the period in which the NSF sponsored Sergey Brin and Larry Page in association with DARPA. In June 1994, Prof. Zare, a chemist at Stanford, participated with Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (who supervised Sergey Brin's research), on a panel sponsored by Stanford and the National Research Council discussing the need for scientists to show how their work "ties to national needs." The panel brought together scientists and policymakers, including "Washington insiders."

DARPA's EELD program, inspired by the work of Thuraisingham and Steinheiser under Jones' watch, was rapidly adapted and integrated with a suite of tools to conduct comprehensive surveillance under the Bush administration.

According to DARPA official Ted Senator , who led the EELD program for the agency's short-lived Information Awareness Office, EELD was among a range of "promising techniques" being prepared for integration "into the prototype TIA system." TIA stood for Total Information Awareness, and was the main global electronic eavesdropping and data-mining program deployed by the Bush administration after 9/11. TIA had been set up by Iran-Contra conspirator Admiral John Poindexter, who was appointed in 2002 by Bush to lead DARPA's new Information Awareness Office.

The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) was another contractor among 26 companies (also including SAIC) that received million dollar contracts from DARPA (the specific quantities remained classified) under Poindexter, to push forward the TIA surveillance program in 2002 onwards. The research included "behaviour-based profiling," "automated detection, identification and tracking" of terrorist activity, among other data-analyzing projects. At this time, PARC's director and chief scientist was John Seely Brown. Both Brown and Poindexter were Pentagon Highlands Forum participants  --  Brown on a regular basis until recently.

TIA was purportedly shut down in 2003 due to public opposition after the program was exposed in the media, but the following year Poindexter participated in a Pentagon Highlands Group session in Singapore, alongside defense and security officials from around the world. Meanwhile, Ted Senator continued to manage the EELD program among other data-mining and analysis projects at DARPA until 2006, when he left to become a vice president at SAIC. He is now a SAIC/Leidos technical fellow.

Google, DARPA and the money trail

Long before the appearance of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Stanford University's computer science department had a close working relationship with US military intelligence. A letter dated November 5th 1984 from the office of renowned artificial intelligence (AI) expert, Prof Edward Feigenbaum, addressed to Rick Steinheiser, gives the latter directions to Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project, addressing Steinheiser as a member of the "AI Steering Committee." A list of attendees at a contractor conference around that time, sponsored by the Pentagon's Office of Naval Research (ONR), includes Steinheiser as a delegate under the designation "OPNAV Op-115"  --  which refers to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations' program on operational readiness, which played a major role in advancing digital systems for the military.

From the 1970s, Prof. Feigenbaum and his colleagues had been running Stanford's Heuristic Programming Project under contract with DARPA, continuing through to the 1990s. Feigenbaum alone had received around over $7 million in this period for his work from DARPA, along with other funding from the NSF, NASA, and ONR.

Brin's supervisor at Stanford, Prof. Jeffrey Ullman, was in 1996 part of a joint funding project of DARPA's Intelligent Integration of Information program . That year, Ullman co-chaired DARPA-sponsored meetings on data exchange between multiple systems.

In September 1998, the same month that Sergey Brin briefed US intelligence representatives Steinheiser and Thuraisingham, tech entrepreneurs Andreas Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton invested $100,000 each in Google. Both investors were connected to DARPA.

As a Stanford PhD student in electrical engineering in the 1980s, Bechtolsheim's pioneering SUN workstation project had been funded by DARPA and the Stanford computer science department  --  this research was the foundation of Bechtolsheim's establishment of Sun Microsystems, which he co-founded with William Joy.

As for Bechtolsheim's co-investor in Google, David Cheriton, the latter is a long-time Stanford computer science professor who has an even more entrenched relationship with DARPA. His bio at the University of Alberta, which in November 2014 awarded him an honorary science doctorate, says that Cheriton's "research has received the support of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for over 20 years."

In the meantime, Bechtolsheim left Sun Microsystems in 1995, co-founding Granite Systems with his fellow Google investor Cheriton as a partner. They sold Granite to Cisco Systems in 1996, retaining significant ownership of Granite, and becoming senior Cisco executives.

An email obtained from the Enron Corpus (a database of 600,000 emails acquired by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and later released to the public) from Richard O'Neill, inviting Enron executives to participate in the Highlands Forum, shows that Cisco and Granite executives are intimately connected to the Pentagon. The email reveals that in May 2000, Bechtolsheim's partner and Sun Microsystems co-founder, William Joy  --  who was then chief scientist and corporate executive officer there  --  had attended the Forum to discuss nanotechnology and molecular computing.

In 1999, Joy had also co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, overseeing a report acknowledging that DARPA had:

" revised its priorities in the 90's so that all information technology funding was judged in terms of its benefit to the warfighter."

Throughout the 1990s, then, DARPA's funding to Stanford, including Google, was explicitly about developing technologies that could augment the Pentagon's military intelligence operations in war theatres.

The Joy report recommended more federal government funding from the Pentagon, NASA, and other agencies to the IT sector. Greg Papadopoulos, another of Bechtolsheim's colleagues as then Sun Microsystems chief technology officer, also attended a Pentagon Highlands' Forum meeting in September 2000.

In November, the Pentagon Highlands Forum hosted Sue Bostrom, who was vice president for the internet at Cisco, sitting on the company's board alongside Google co-investors Bechtolsheim and Cheriton. The Forum also hosted Lawrence Zuriff, then a managing partner of Granite, which Bechtolsheim and Cheriton had sold to Cisco. Zuriff had previously been an SAIC contractor from 1993 to 1994, working with the Pentagon on national security issues, specifically for Marshall's Office of Net Assessment. In 1994, both the SAIC and the ONA were, of course, involved in co-establishing the Pentagon Highlands Forum. Among Zuriff's output during his SAIC tenure was a paper titled 'Understanding Information War' , delivered at a SAIC-sponsored US Army Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs.

After Google's incorporation, the company received $25 million in equity funding in 1999 led by Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. According to Homeland Security Today , "A number of Sequoia-bankrolled start-ups have contracted with the Department of Defense, especially after 9/11 when Sequoia's Mark Kvamme met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the application of emerging technologies to warfighting and intelligence collection." Similarly, Kleiner Perkins had developed "a close relationship" with In-Q-Tel, the CIA venture capitalist firm that funds start-ups "to advance 'priority' technologies of value" to the intelligence community.

John Doerr, who led the Kleiner Perkins investment in Google obtaining a board position, was a major early investor in Becholshtein's Sun Microsystems at its launch. He and his wife Anne are the main funders behind Rice University's Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL), which in 2009 received $16 million from DARPA for its platform-aware-compilation-environment (PACE) ubiquitous computing R&D program. Doerr also has a close relationship with the Obama administration, which he advised shortly after it took power to ramp up Pentagon funding to the tech industry. In 2013, at the Fortune Brainstorm TECH conference , Doerr applauded "how the DoD's DARPA funded GPS, CAD, most of the major computer science departments, and of course, the Internet."

From inception, in other words, Google was incubated, nurtured and financed by interests that were directly affiliated or closely aligned with the US military intelligence community: many of whom were embedded in the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

Google captures the Pentagon

In 2003, Google began customizing its search engine under special contract with the CIA for its Intelink Management Office, "overseeing top-secret, secret and sensitive but unclassified intranets for CIA and other IC agencies," according to Homeland Security Today. That year, CIA funding was also being "quietly" funneled through the National Science Foundation to projects that might help create "new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology."

The following year, Google bought the firm Keyhole , which had originally been funded by In-Q-Tel. Using Keyhole, Google began developing the advanced satellite mapping software behind Google Earth. Former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones had been on the board of In-Q-Tel at this time, and remains so today.

Then in November 2005, In-Q-Tel issued notices to sell $2.2 million of Google stocks. Google's relationship with US intelligence was further brought to light when an IT contractor told a closed Washington DC conference of intelligence professionals on a not-for-attribution basis that at least one US intelligence agency was working to "leverage Google's [user] data monitoring" capability as part of an effort to acquire data of "national security intelligence interest."

A photo on Flickr dated March 2007 reveals that Google research director and AI expert Peter Norvig attended a Pentagon Highlands Forum meeting that year in Carmel, California. Norvig's intimate connection to the Forum as of that year is also corroborated by his role in guest editing the 2007 Forum reading list.

The photo below shows Norvig in conversation with Lewis Shepherd, who at that time was senior technology officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, responsible for investigating, approving, and architecting "all new hardware/software systems and acquisitions for the Global Defense Intelligence IT Enterprise," including "big data technologies." Shepherd now works at Microsoft. Norvig was a computer research scientist at Stanford University in 1991 before joining Bechtolsheim's Sun Microsystems as senior scientist until 1994, and going on to head up NASA's computer science division.

Lewis Shepherd (left), then a senior technology officer at the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, talking to Peter Norvig (right), renowned expert in artificial intelligence expert and director of research at Google. This photo is from a Highlands Forum meeting in 2007.

Norvig shows up on O'Neill's Google Plus profile as one of his close connections. Scoping the rest of O'Neill's Google Plus connections illustrates that he is directly connected not just to a wide range of Google executives, but also to some of the biggest names in the US tech community.

Those connections include Michele Weslander Quaid, an ex-CIA contractor and former senior Pentagon intelligence official who is now Google's chief technology officer where she is developing programs to "best fit government agencies' needs"; Elizabeth Churchill, Google director of user experience; James Kuffner, a humanoid robotics expert who now heads up Google's robotics division and who introduced the term 'cloud robotics'; Mark Drapeau, director of innovation engagement for Microsoft's public sector business; Lili Cheng, general manager of Microsoft's Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs; Jon Udell, Microsoft 'evangelist'; Cory Ondrejka, vice president of engineering at Facebook; to name just a few.

In 2010, Google signed a multi-billion dollar no-bid contract with the NSA's sister agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The contract was to use Google Earth for visualization services for the NGA. Google had developed the software behind Google Earth by purchasing Keyhole from the CIA venture firm In-Q-Tel.

Then a year after, in 2011, another of O'Neill's Google Plus connections, Michele Quaid  --  who had served in executive positions at the NGA, National Reconnaissance Office and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence  --  left her government role to become Google 'innovation evangelist' and the point-person for seeking government contracts. Quaid's last role before her move to Google was as a senior representative of the Director of National Intelligence to the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force, and a senior advisor to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence's director of Joint and Coalition Warfighter Support (J&CWS). Both roles involved information operations at their core. Before her Google move, in other words, Quaid worked closely with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, to which the Pentagon's Highlands Forum is subordinate. Quaid has herself attended the Forum, though precisely when and how often I could not confirm.

In March 2012, then DARPA director Regina Dugan   --  who in that capacity was also co-chair of the Pentagon Highlands Forum  --  followed her colleague Quaid into Google to lead the company's new Advanced Technology and Projects Group. During her Pentagon tenure, Dugan led on strategic cyber security and social media, among other initiatives. She was responsible for focusing "an increasing portion" of DARPA's work "on the investigation of offensive capabilities to address military-specific needs," securing $500 million of government funding for DARPA cyber research from 2012 to 2017.

Regina Dugan, former head of DARPA and Highlands Forum co-chair, now a senior Google executive  --  trying her best to look the part

By November 2014, Google's chief AI and robotics expert James Kuffner was a delegate alongside O'Neill at the Highlands Island Forum 201 4 in Singapore, to explore 'Advancement in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Society, Security and Conflict.' The event included 26 delegates from Austria, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Britain and the US, from both industry and government. Kuffner's association with the Pentagon, however, began much earlier. In 1997, Kuffner was a researcher during his Stanford PhD for a Pentagon-funded project on networked autonomous mobile robots, sponsored by DARPA and the US Navy.

Rumsfeld and persistent surveillance

In sum, many of Google's most senior executives are affiliated with the Pentagon Highlands Forum, which throughout the period of Google's growth over the last decade, has surfaced repeatedly as a connecting and convening force. The US intelligence community's incubation of Google from inception occurred through a combination of direct sponsorship and informal networks of financial influence, themselves closely aligned with Pentagon interests.

The Highlands Forum itself has used the informal relationship building of such private networks to bring together defense and industry sectors, enabling the fusion of corporate and military interests in expanding the covert surveillance apparatus in the name of national security. The power wielded by the shadow network represented in the Forum can, however, be gauged most clearly from its impact during the Bush administration, when it played a direct role in literally writing the strategies and doctrines behind US efforts to achieve 'information superiority.'

In December 2001, O'Neill confirmed that strategic discussions at the Highlands Forum were feeding directly into Andrew Marshall's DoD-wide strategic review ordered by President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to upgrade the military, including the Quadrennial Defense Review  --  and that some of the earliest Forum meetings "resulted in the writing of a group of DoD policies, strategies, and doctrine for the services on information warfare." That process of "writing" the Pentagon's information warfare policies "was done in conjunction with people who understood the environment differently  --  not only US citizens, but also foreign citizens, and people who were developing corporate IT."

The Pentagon's post-9/11 information warfare doctrines were, then, written not just by national security officials from the US and abroad: but also by powerful corporate entities in the defense and technology sectors.

In April that year, Gen. James McCarthy had completed his defense transformation review ordered by Rumsfeld. His report repeatedly highlighted mass surveillance as integral to DoD transformation. As for Marshall, his follow-up report for Rumsfeld was going to develop a blueprint determining the Pentagon's future in the 'information age.'

O'Neill also affirmed that to develop information warfare doctrine, the Forum had held extensive discussions on electronic surveillance and "what constitutes an act of war in an information environment." Papers feeding into US defense policy written through the late 1990s by RAND consultants John Arquilla and David Rondfeldt, both longstanding Highlands Forum members, were produced "as a result of those meetings," exploring policy dilemmas on how far to take the goal of 'Information Superiority.' "One of the things that was shocking to the American public was that we weren't pilfering Milosevic's accounts electronically when we in fact could," commented O'Neill.

Although the R&D process around the Pentagon transformation strategy remains classified, a hint at the DoD discussions going on in this period can be gleaned from a 2005 US Army School of Advanced Military Studies research monograph in the DoD journal, Military Review , authored by an active Army intelligence officer.

"The idea of Persistent Surveillance as a transformational capability has circulated within the national Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DoD) for at least three years," the paper said, referencing the Rumsfeld-commissioned transformation study.

The Army paper went on to review a range of high-level official military documents, including one from the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, showing that "Persistent Surveillance" was a fundamental theme of the information-centric vision for defense policy across the Pentagon.

We now know that just two months before O'Neill's address at Harvard in 2001, under the TIA program, President Bush had secretly authorized the NSA's domestic surveillance of Americans without court-approved warrants, in what appears to have been an illegal modification of the ThinThread data-mining project  --  as later exposed by NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake.

The surveillance-startup nexus

From here on, Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role in the NSA roll out from inception. Shortly after 9/11, Brian Sharkey, chief technology officer of SAIC's ELS3 Sector (focusing on IT systems for emergency responders), teamed up with John Poindexter to propose the TIA surveillance program. SAIC's Sharkey had previously been deputy director of the Information Systems Office at DARPA through the 1990s.

Meanwhile, around the same time, SAIC vice president for corporate development, Samuel Visner , became head of the NSA's signals-intelligence programs. SAIC was then among a consortium receiving a $280 million contract to develop one of the NSA's secret eavesdropping systems. By 2003, Visner returned to SAIC to become director of strategic planning and business development of the firm's intelligence group.

That year, the NSA consolidated its TIA programme of warrantless electronic surveillance, to keep "track of individuals" and understand "how they fit into models" through risk profiles of American citizens and foreigners. TIA was doing this by integrating databases on finance, travel, medical, educational and other records into a "virtual, centralized grand database."

This was also the year that the Bush administration drew up its notorious Information Operations Roadmap . Describing the internet as a "vulnerable weapons system," Rumsfeld's IO roadmap had advocated that Pentagon strategy "should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system." The US should seek "maximum control" of the "full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems," advocated the document.

The following year, John Poindexter, who had proposed and run the TIA surveillance program via his post at DARPA, was in Singapore participating in the Highlands 2004 Island Forum . Other delegates included then Highlands Forum co-chair and Pentagon CIO Linton Wells; president of notorious Pentagon information warfare contractor, John Rendon; Karl Lowe, director of the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Advanced Warfighting Division; Air Vice Marshall Stephen Dalton, capability manager for information superiority at the UK Ministry of Defense; Lt. Gen. Johan Kihl, Swedish army Supreme Commander HQ's chief of staff; among others.

As of 2006, SAIC had been awarded a multi-million dollar NSA contract to develop a big data-mining project called ExecuteLocus , despite the colossal $1 billion failure of its preceding contract, known as 'Trailblazer.' Core components of TIA were being "quietly continued" under "new code names," according to Foreign Policy's Shane Harris , but had been concealed "behind the veil of the classified intelligence budget." The new surveillance program had by then been fully transitioned from DARPA's jurisdiction to the NSA.

This was also the year of yet another Singapore Island Forum led by Richard O'Neill on behalf of the Pentagon, which included senior defense and industry officials from the US, UK, Australia, France, India and Israel. Participants also included senior technologists from Microsoft, IBM, as well as Gilman Louie , partner at technology investment firm Alsop Louie Partners.

Gilman Louie is a former CEO of In-Q-Tel  --  the CIA firm investing especially in start-ups developing data mining technology. In-Q-Tel was founded in 1999 by the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology, under which the Office of Research and Development (ORD)  --  which was part of the Google-funding MDSS program  --  had operated. The idea was to essentially replace the functions once performed by the ORD, by mobilizing the private sector to develop information technology solutions for the entire intelligence community.

Louie had led In-Q-Tel from 1999 until January 2006  --  including when Google bought Keyhole, the In-Q-Tel-funded satellite mapping software. Among his colleagues on In-Q-Tel's board in this period were former DARPA director and Highlands Forum co-chair Anita Jones (who is still there), as well as founding board member William Perry : the man who had appointed O'Neill to set-up the Highlands Forum in the first place. Joining Perry as a founding In-Q-Tel board member was John Seely Brown, then chief scientist at Xerox Corp and director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) from 1990 to 2002, who is also a long-time senior Highlands Forum member since inception.

In addition to the CIA, In-Q-Tel has also been backed by the FBI, NGA, and Defense Intelligence Agency, among other agencies. More than 60 percent of In-Q-Tel's investments under Louie's watch were "in companies that specialize in automatically collecting, sifting through and understanding oceans of information," according to Medill School of Journalism's News2 1, which also noted that Louie himself had acknowledged it was not clear "whether privacy and civil liberties will be protected" by government's use of these technologies "for national security."

The transcript of Richard O'Neill's late 2001 seminar at Harvard shows that the Pentagon Highlands Forum had first engaged Gilman Louie long before the Island Forum, in fact, shortly after 9/11 to explore "what's going on with In-Q-Tel." That Forum session focused on how to "take advantage of the speed of the commercial market that wasn't present inside the science and technology community of Washington" and to understand "the implications for the DoD in terms of the strategic review, the QDR, Hill action, and the stakeholders." Participants of the meeting included "senior military people," combatant commanders, "several of the senior flag officers," some "defense industry people" and various US representatives including Republican Congressman William Mac Thornberry and Democrat Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Both Thornberry and Lieberman are staunch supporters of NSA surveillance, and have consistently acted to rally support for pro-war, pro-surveillance legislation. O'Neill's comments indicate that the Forum's role is not just to enable corporate contractors to write Pentagon policy, but to rally political support for government policies adopted through the Forum's informal brand of shadow networking.

Repeatedly, O'Neill told his Harvard audience that his job as Forum president was to scope case studies from real companies across the private sector, like eBay and Human Genome Sciences, to figure out the basis of US 'Information Superiority'  --  "how to dominate" the information market  --  and leverage this for "what the president and the secretary of defense wanted to do with regard to transformation of the DoD and the strategic review."

By 2007, a year after the Island Forum meeting that included Gilman Louie, Facebook received its second round of $12.7 million worth of funding from Accel Partners. Accel was headed up by James Breyer, former chair of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) where Louie also served on the board while still CEO of In-Q-Tel. Both Louie and Breyer had previously served together on the board of BBN Technologies   --  which had recruited ex-DARPA chief and In-Q-Tel trustee Anita Jones.

Facebook's 2008 round of funding was led by Greylock Venture Capital, which invested $27.5 million. The firm's senior partners include Howard Cox, another former NVCA chair who also sits on the board of In-Q-Tel. Apart from Breyer and Zuckerberg, Facebook's only other board member is Peter Thiel, co-founder of defense contractor Palantir which provides all sorts of data-mining and visualization technologies to US government, military and intelligence agencies, including the NSA and FBI , and which itself was nurtured to financial viability by Highlands Forum members.

Palantir co-founders Thiel and Alex Karp met with John Poindexter in 2004, according to Wired , the same year Poindexter had attended the Highlands Island Forum in Singapore. They met at the home of Richard Perle, another Andrew Marshall acolyte. Poindexter helped Palantir open doors, and to assemble "a legion of advocates from the most influential strata of government." Thiel had also met with Gilman Louie of In-Q-Tel, securing the backing of the CIA in this early phase.

And so we come full circle. Data-mining programs like ExecuteLocus and projects linked to it, which were developed throughout this period, apparently laid the groundwork for the new NSA programmes eventually disclosed by Edward Snowden. By 2008, as Facebook received its next funding round from Greylock Venture Capital, documents and whistleblower testimony confirmed that the NSA was effectively resurrecting the TIA project with a focus on Internet data-mining via comprehensive monitoring of e-mail, text messages, and Web browsing.

We also now know thanks to Snowden that the NSA's XKeyscore 'Digital Network Intelligence' exploitation system was designed to allow analysts to search not just Internet databases like emails, online chats and browsing history, but also telephone services, mobile phone audio, financial transactions and global air transport communications  --  essentially the entire global telecommunications grid. Highlands Forum partner SAIC played a key role, among other contractors, in producing and administering the NSA's XKeyscore, and was recently implicated in NSA hacking of the privacy network Tor.

The Pentagon Highlands Forum was therefore intimately involved in all this as a convening network -- but also quite directly. Confirming his pivotal role in the expansion of the US-led global surveillance apparatus, then Forum co-chair, Pentagon CIO Linton Wells, told FedTech magazine in 2009 that he had overseen the NSA's roll out of "an impressive long-term architecture last summer that will provide increasingly sophisticated security until 2015 or so."

The Goldman Sachs connection

When I asked Wells about the Forum's role in influencing US mass surveillance, he responded only to say he would prefer not to comment and that he no longer leads the group.

As Wells is no longer in government, this is to be expected  --  but he is still connected to Highlands. As of September 2014, after delivering his influential white paper on Pentagon transformation, he joined the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS) Cyber Security Initiative (CySec) as a distinguished senior fellow.

Sadly, this was not a form of trying to keep busy in retirement. Wells' move underscored that the Pentagon's conception of information warfare is not just about surveillance, but about the exploitation of surveillance to influence both government and public opinion.

The MIIS CySec initiative is now formally partnered with the Pentagon Highlands Forum through a Memorandum of Understanding signed with MIIS provost Dr Amy Sands , who sits on the Secretary of State's International Security Advisory Board. The MIIS CySec website states that the MoU signed with Richard O'Neill:

" paves the way for future joint MIIS CySec-Highlands Group sessions that will explore the impact of technology on security, peace and information engagement. For nearly 20 years the Highlands Group has engaged private sector and government leaders, including the Director of National Intelligence, DARPA, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Singaporean Minister of Defence, in creative conversations to frame policy and technology research areas."

Who is the financial benefactor of the new Pentagon Highlands-partnered MIIS CySec initiative? According to the MIIS CySec site , the initiative was launched "through a generous donation of seed funding from George Lee." George C. Lee is a senior partner at Goldman Sachs, where he is chief information officer of the investment banking division, and chairman of the Global Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) Group.

But here's the kicker. In 2011, it was Lee who engineered Facebook's $50 billion valuation , and previously handled deals for other Highlands-connected tech giants like Google, Microsoft and eBay. Lee's then boss, Stephen Friedman, a former CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs, and later senior partner on the firm's executive board, was a also founding board member of In-Q-Tel alongside Highlands Forum overlord William Perry and Forum member John Seely Brown.

In 2001, Bush appointed Stephen Friedman to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, and then to chair that board from 2005 to 2009. Friedman previously served alongside Paul Wolfowitz and others on the 1995–6 presidential commission of inquiry into US intelligence capabilities, and in 1996 on the Jeremiah Panel that produced a report to the Director of the National Reconnaisance Office (NRO)  --  one of the surveillance agencies plugged into the Highlands Forum. Friedman was on the Jeremiah Panel with Martin Faga, then senior vice president and general manager of MITRE Corp's Center for Integrated Intelligence Systems  --  where Thuraisingham, who managed the CIA-NSA-MDDS program that inspired DARPA counter-terrorist data-mining, was also a lead engineer.

In the footnotes to a chapter for the book, Cyberspace and National Security ( Georgetown University Press), SAIC/Leidos executive Jeff Cooper reveals that another Goldman Sachs senior partner Philip J. Venables  --  who as chief information risk officer leads the firm's programs on information security  --  delivered a Highlands Forum presentation in 2008 at what was called an 'Enrichment Session on Deterrence.' Cooper's chapter draws on Venables' presentation at Highlands "with permission." In 2010, Venables participated with his then boss Friedman at an Aspen Institute meeting on the world economy. For the last few years, Venables has also sat on various NSA cybersecurity award review boards.

In sum, the investment firm responsible for creating the billion dollar fortunes of the tech sensations of the 21st century, from Google to Facebook, is intimately linked to the US military intelligence community; with Venables, Lee and Friedman either directly connected to the Pentagon Highlands Forum, or to senior members of the Forum.

Fighting terror with terror

The convergence of these powerful financial and military interests around the Highlands Forum, through George Lee's sponsorship of the Forum's new partner, the MIIS Cysec initiative, is revealing in itself.

MIIS Cysec's director, Dr, Itamara Lochard, has long been embedded in Highlands. She regularly "presents current research on non-state groups, governance, technology and conflict to the US Office of the Secretary of Defense Highlands Forum," according to her Tufts University bio. She also , "regularly advises US combatant commanders" and specializes in studying the use of information technology by "violent and non-violent sub-state groups."

Dr Itamara Lochard is a senior Highlands Forum member and Pentagon information operations expert. She directs the MIIS CyberSec initiative that now supports the Pentagon Highlands Forum with funding from Goldman Sachs partner George Lee, who led the valuations of Facebook and Google.

Dr Lochard maintains a comprehensive database of 1,700 non-state groups including "insurgents, militias, terrorists, complex criminal organizations, organized gangs, malicious cyber actors and strategic non-violent actors," to analyze their "organizational patterns, areas of cooperation, strategies and tactics." Notice, here, the mention of "strategic non-violent actors"  --  which perhaps covers NGOs and other groups or organizations engaged in social political activity or campaigning, judging by the focus of other DoD research programs.

As of 2008, Lochard has been an adjunct professor at the US Joint Special Operations University where she teaches a top secret advanced course in 'Irregular Warfare' that she designed for senior US special forces officers. She has previously taught courses on 'Internal War' for senior "political-military officers" of various Gulf regimes.

Her views thus disclose much about what the Highlands Forum has been advocating all these years. In 2004, Lochard was co-author of a study for the US Air Force's Institute for National Security Studies on US strategy toward 'non-state armed groups.' The study on the one hand argued that non-state armed groups should be urgently recognized as a 'tier one security priority,' and on the other that the proliferation of armed groups "provide strategic opportunities that can be exploited to help achieve policy goals. There have and will be instances where the United States may find collaborating with armed group is in its strategic interests." But "sophisticated tools" must be developed to differentiate between different groups and understand their dynamics, to determine which groups should be countered, and which could be exploited for US interests. "Armed group profiles can likewise be employed to identify ways in which the United States may assist certain armed groups whose success will be advantageous to US foreign policy objectives."

In 2008, Wikileaks published a leaked restricted US Army Special Operations field manual, which demonstrated that the sort of thinking advocated by the likes of Highlands expert Lochard had been explicitly adopted by US special forces.

Lochard's work thus demonstrates that the Highlands Forum sat at the intersection of advanced Pentagon strategy on surveillance, covert operations and irregular warfare: mobilizing mass surveillance to develop detailed information on violent and non-violent groups perceived as potentially threatening to US interests, or offering opportunities for exploitation, thus feeding directly into US covert operations.

That, ultimately, is why the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, spawned Google. So they could run their secret dirty wars with even greater efficiency than ever before.

READ PART TWO


Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the 'System Shift' column for VICE's Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work.

Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others. He is the author of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010), and the scifi thriller novel ZERO POINT , among other books. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner's Inquest.

This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I'd like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons

[Aug 26, 2017] Even dating apps like Tinder used in industrial espionage like a honey trap to match an operative with a target.

Aug 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

Delinquent Snail > , August 25, 2017 at 9:40 pm GMT

@Erebus Thierry Meyssan thinks the world doesn't yet understand the US' Imperial Strategy following 9/11. It is jauntily summarized by Pepe as "Empire of Chaos", as if it was trying to be an Empire, but somehow prevented from properly becoming one because of the bumbling fools that are running it. Much more sinister than that, American Imperial Strategy has chaos at its core, and it's deadly serious about it.


This strategy, radically new, was taught by Thomas P. M. Barnett following 11-September 2001. It was publicly revealed and exposed in March 2003 – that is, just before the war against Iraq! in an article in Esquire, then in the eponym book, The Pentagon's New Map. However, such a strategy appears so cruel in design, that no one imagined it could be implemented.
Imperialism seeks to divide the world in two. One part will be a stable area which profits from the system while in the other part a terrifying chaos will reign. This other will be a zone, where all thought of resisting has been wiped it; where every thought is fixated on surviving; an area where the multinationals can extract raw materials which they need without any duty to account to anyone.
Translated from the French, Parts 1 & 2 are here:

He goes on to maintain that Assad was the first leader to understand this strategy, and his development of a counter strategy is the principle reason for his continued, indeed enhanced reign. If they didn't then, I have a feeling that Putin & Xi now also understand, and that some of their counter-strategies are becoming visible.

I linked an article that talks about barnett's role in our current predicament. Its a rather large article and covers a lot, but its a MUST READ to understand whats going on in the world.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

Delinquent Snail > , August 25, 2017 at 9:34 pm GMT

@DESERT FOX ... ... ... https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

You would find this article worthy of your time.

suspicious > , August 25, 2017 at 10:10 pm GMT

I'm more concerned about the invisible war being waged by tech giants run by a certain tribe. Have you noticed how they force you to login with a Google or Facebook account. Even dating apps are skewed to match left leaning people with conservatives or like Tinder used in industrial espionage like a honey trap to match an operative with a target. There is invisible social engineering going on by the globalists to ID everyone and target them through subtle means.

Erebus > , August 26, 2017 at 12:18 am GMT

@Delinquent Snail I linked an article that talks about barnett's role in our current predicament. Its a rather large article and covers a lot, but its a MUST READ to understand whats going on in the world.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e
Understanding the world through the prism of this new strategy is to realize how little currently stands between them and success. Orwell's hour has come round at last, it seems.
Of course, should they fail, a world of hurt will come to America's homeland and any allies that stick with them. Madness. They can't imagine a world not ruled by them.

[Aug 26, 2017] American military operations are clearly increasing the risk to merchant traffic in the vicinity

Aug 26, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

August 21, 2017

Warren , August 21, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Published on 21 Aug 2017
A Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, collided with a commercial vessel east of Singapore early Monday, 10 sailors are missing and five were injured, the Navy said.

This is the second incident in which a USS Arleigh Burke destroyer collides with a tanker or container. In June the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine flagged container ship off the coast of Japan near Tokyo. How can such a sophisticated and state of the art vessel (Arleigh Burke class destroyer) collide with tankers and container ships? One is small and fast, the other is big and slow. Standards in the US navy have fallen it would seem. Perhaps the US navy is a giant with feet of clay?

Cortes , August 22, 2017 at 1:27 pm
When it's not your day

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201708221056698897-chinese-media-us-navy-obstacle/

marknesop , August 23, 2017 at 10:48 am
And there's that navy-wide review I mentioned a day or two ago. Although it was an easy guess, as it is common American military practice.

Once again I am surprised, because I made the error of not considering the area where these crashes took place. This was an easy public-relations victory for the Chinese, because American military operations are clearly increasing the risk to merchant traffic in the vicinity. And once again, as was the case in Syria, you have to ask yourself, what business is it of Uncle Sam? Does he have to intervene for a compelling reason – can anyone show that Chinese claims in the South China Sea are oppressing someone or taking away their rights? Or is it just that nothing can be done around the world without first clearing it with Washington, to see if there might be American objections from half a world away to whatever one might be doing in one's own region?

America likes to say that it conducts these operations to reassure its allies in the region that it will not abandon them, and will stand up for their rights. But who is that, in this instance? The Philippines? I would have to say the national tone there from the democratically-elected leadership was decidedly negative toward the United States and decidedly positive toward China and reaching a mutually-beneficial agreement with the latter; so much so that the USA must stir up a rebellion there, invoke the ever-lurking spectre of ISIS as it now routinely does to justify its military presence.

It seems more the case that America sees its regional influence diminishing to a pinpoint, just before the screen goes black, and is – dare I say it? desperately – trying to reassert it while everyone still fears Uncle Sam's big stick.

marknesop , August 23, 2017 at 12:38 pm
When I made that suggestion I was half-joking; it would indeed be a clever false-flag, but on reflection it would only work if the merchant ship rolled the destroyer under her bow and there were no survivors. Somebody would inevitably survive who was on the bridge or in the operations room (except the Americans call it by a different name, 'CIC', if I recall correctly, for 'Combat Information Center') who would say "He said on the common channel that he would do a straight green-to-green (his starboard side to your starboard side) passage, and at the last second he turned right into us!!" Both captains survived, and were – or will be – relieved of their commands, and they would never humbly accept that in the case of a deliberate act of aggression for which they were unprepared. The damage is also too slight (although it was fatal for some in both cases) to have been a deliberate attempt to sink the other ship, although it demonstrably is more than enough for a major incident.

At its narrowest point – Phillips Channel, south of Singapore – the Strait of Malacca is only 1.5 nautical miles from one side to the other. 2,500 yards, for two ships to pass, one of which is 100 feet wide and the other 60 feet wide. Most of it is not that narrow, but it must be hair-raising given the amount of traffic that passes through it all day and all night long. Those who run it regularly and know it, even in the dark, like the back of their own hand are sometimes a little casual about navigation lights. Radars perform poorly in areas where the land is close on both sides because of bounce and echo, and even those designed for anti-collision are susceptible to land shadow and clutter. It's likely just too many ships in too little water.

Something that has always seemed to me like a tremendous vulnerability for terrorism, though, is US airports that were either built right in the middle of a city, or the city grew up around them so that you have a parade of airliners passing all day long right over the rooftops of residential buildings. San Diego International is a classic example, only 3 miles from downtown San Diego.

In a landing pattern an airliner cannot easily maneuver, and its glide path to the runway is as predictable as sunset.

And it's flying right over your head, as you are crouched on the rooftop with your shoulder-launched Stinger or whatever. You could almost throw a potato and hit it. If I were in charge of airport security, that'd make me nervous.

Patient Observer , August 23, 2017 at 4:17 am
https://www.rt.com/usa/400593-navy-remove-aucoin-mccain/

The US Navy has relieved the commander of US 7th fleet after a destroyer collided with a merchant vessel east of the Malacca Strait. It was the fourth time a US warship has been involved in a collision in the Pacific theater this year.

Seems to be more of a PR move to me as there appears to be a huge bureaucratic distance from those more directly responsible for inadequate training, improper staff assignments, etc. that may have led to the accidents.

Moscow Exile , August 23, 2017 at 5:02 am
I am pretty sure that the USN dismisses from command officers whose vessels are damaged through negligence.
Patient Observer , August 23, 2017 at 8:28 am
Very true and the command crew has been relieved of duties but this guy is the admiral of the 7th fleet. I understand that it is a 2-year "billet" so he could have hardly been on the job long enough to have a positive or negative impact on the skill level and readiness of the crew in question.

One possible explanation is that his earlier assignments were in the areas that appear to be deficient. Or, they just needed to make a high level example to satisfy the public that something is being done. Not an expert here at all, just trying to understand the motivations of the action.

Cortes , August 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm
From my reading of the article linked, he was due to retire in three weeks so maybe he was seen as demob happy and he was shown the door.
Jen , August 24, 2017 at 5:19 am
There are also ten families who lost loved ones in the collision with the oil tanker Alnic plus another five sailors who will probably sue for compensation for injuries they suffered during the crash. Ten deaths are likely to concentrate the mind on finding ways to head off possible criminal or civil lawsuits brought by the families.
marknesop , August 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm
Well, it's hard to see what CO 7th Fleet could have done differently – sail with every ship and stand the bridge watch for the whole trip? Nobody knows yet what caused these crashes, and it has much of the smell of action taken to reassure the public that something is being done, although that something might be neither useful or productive.

I suppose he might have simply imposed a unilateral moratorium on US naval operations in the Pacific. Nobody would have gotten hurt or killed, and those ships would be undamaged. But I suspect he might have incurred the wrath of the upper echelon in that case, too.

et Al , August 24, 2017 at 6:04 am
Nobody knows yet what caused these crashes,..

Neither do I, but may I posit a theory? In short, the USN is not up to the task. In long, the Pivot to China aka the Containment of China and protecting the USA's global hegemony requires extensive logistical, human etc.changes that the USN is struggling to manage, and that is even before you take note of the geography and risks associated with gigantic choke points such as the Malacca Straits through which a huge number of ships pass, depth of water etc.

It's one thing to say your are going to do something, it is an entirely different thing to actually do it. Not to mention that China has been pushing back (EP-3 Ares II shoot down for starters).

It also seems to me rather a sign of arrogance and hubris. After all, when you are the world's greatest power it clearly shouldn't be difficult to move your military around easily.

No one is fooled by cheap words and open chest beating.

marknesop , August 24, 2017 at 10:06 am
I hope it does not occur to them that what they need, at least according to the visionary Mahan, is local bases to support their logistics and operations. Because that is going to be a non-starter from the Chinese point of view. A sign that this weakness is understood would be a significant buildup of naval forces at Yokosuka, Sasebo and Okinawa.

[Aug 25, 2017] A large more universally imprisoning threat looms that far surpasses war with bombs. Is it the use of technology and media ownership to reverse 1st amendment infringement against target people, to remove their writings and sayings and to deny others not only to access the expressions and documentations of the target person, but also to deny all others from even knowing such information and such person is even available?

Aug 25, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: fudmier | Aug 24, 2017 4:15:00 PM | 42

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-21/one-statistics-professor-was-just-banned-google-here-his-story

A large more universally imprisoning threat looms that far surpasses war with bombs. Is it the use of technology and media ownership to reverse 1st amendment infringement against target people, to remove their writings and sayings and to deny others not only to access the expressions and documentations of the target person, but also to deny all others from even knowing such information and such person is even available? The first amendment guaranteed freedom to speech, but may have failed to guarantee that audiences seeking to hear that speech be guaranteed access to hear the expressions and speech of target persons. This is happening in scientific articles and journals,as well..

The world is moving to a fully controlled Information society where the lower classes will be treated like rats in a psychiatrist controlled cage. karlof1 says it well. the empire took democracy from the people of America in 1788..

Posted by: fudmier |

[Aug 25, 2017] In the case of Information monopolies, removing available information and omitting it from search engine searches and public indexes, often start as a means to offer access in exchange for money, but soon evolves into using technology to control the entire information environment.

Notable quotes:
"... the biggest danger to democracy I see is not trade corruption between leaders of nation states, but on-going removal of available information from view of the common ordinary people (denial of access is one thing, but denial of awareness that certain information might exist is quite another ). ..."
"... Gating access to information and controlling one's information environment allows to engineer a persons culture, sense of self, and level of satisfaction (as in pacification) this is done much the same way a psychiatrist might do to a rat caged in a research lab. . ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

re: 37 .. get Tor Browswer use Duckduckgo.com which I believe is free from tracking .

Google Facebook MSN, and Twitter are all highly suspect.. as is email that is secretly maintained by our largest communications giant. IMHO.

the biggest danger to democracy I see is not trade corruption between leaders of nation states, but on-going removal of available information from view of the common ordinary people (denial of access is one thing, but denial of awareness that certain information might exist is quite another ).

At the moment the American Disabilities act is forcing colleges and educational institutions to remove educational materials from public access and denying the public the use of such educational materials.

When monopolies are allowed flourish, giants develops. Giants tend to covet the source of their monopolies. In the case of Information monopolies, removing available information and omitting it from search engine searches and public indexes, often start as a means to offer access in exchange for money , but soon evolves into using technology to control the entire information environment .

Gating access to information and controlling one's information environment allows to engineer a persons culture, sense of self, and level of satisfaction (as in pacification) this is done much the same way a psychiatrist might do to a rat caged in a research lab. .

Posted by: fudmier | Aug 24, 2017 5:27:02 AM | 65

[Aug 24, 2017] The biggest danger to democracy I see is not trade corruption between leaders of nation states, but on-going removal of available information from view of the common ordinary people (denial of access is one thing, but denial of awareness that certain information might exist is quite another ).

Aug 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

fudmier | Aug 24, 2017 5:27:02 AM | 65

re: 37 .. get Tor Browswer use Duckduckgo.com which I believe is free from tracking .

Google Facebook MSN, and Twitter are all highly suspect.. as is email that is secretly maintained by our largest communications giant. IMHO.

the biggest danger to democracy I see is not trade corruption between leaders of nation states, but on-going removal of available information from view of the common ordinary people (denial of access is one thing, but denial of awareness that certain information might exist is quite another ).

At the moment the American Disabilities act is forcing colleges and educational institutions to remove educational materials from public access and denying the public the use of such educational materials.

When monopolies are allowed flourish, giants develops. Giants tend to covet the source of their monopolies. In the case of Information monopolies, removing available information and omitting it from search engine searches and public indexes, often start as a means to offer access in exchange for money , but soon evolves into using technology to control the entire information environment .

Gating access to information and controlling one's information environment allows to engineer a persons culture, sense of self, and level of satisfaction (as in pacification) this is done much the same way a psychiatrist might do to a rat caged in a research lab. .

[Aug 24, 2017] The US army is the military branch of the US corporate neocolonialism

Notable quotes:
"... Now, there is no doubt that the US army is the military branch of the US corporate neocolonialism. ..."
Aug 24, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr
Now, there is no doubt that the US army is the military branch of the US corporate neocolonialism.

globinfo freexchange

While in some cases, like Colombia, the US imperialists still search vainly for something to justify endless intervention through paramilitaries, civil wars, orchestrated coups, etc., they have completely retired from this business concerning, for example, Afghanistan.
The following cynical, warmongering hawk, completely demolished every pretext and ethics, concerning Afghanistan, through mainstream media. Speaking on MSNBC and Rachel Maddow, retired Colonel Jack Jacobs said:
I'm gonna be facetious(!), but the first conclusion that came to my mind, is that we're going now harvest poppies and we're going to sell them(!), and that's how we're going to fund it(!), which is exactly what the Taliban is doing.
But no, it sounds like we are going to be involved in extricating, releasing(!!!) mineral wealth, and there is substantial mineral wealth, and we are going to take that out of Afghanistan .
And the routine (lately) cheap justification follows:
The Chinese are already there, doing that, and I think the United States is concerned that we are not getting our share(!!!)
Then Maddow asks:
Under US military ethics(!?), can the US government go in with the protection of US soldiers and extract the wealth of another country?
The response:
Well, we can, we've done it before, there is no reason why we can't do it again (!!!!!!)
Watch the video and very spot-on commending by the hosts of the Jimmy Dore show:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/aCi-P2j0G5E


And, of course, the warmongering corporate media can't wait, as described by Jimmy Dore:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/to8YBEFp7NE


Earlier , Donald Trump not only admitted cynically the real reason behind the US invasion in Afghanistan, but proved that he is willing to expand the establishment agenda, through the mainstream media.
Now, there is no doubt that the US army is the military branch of the US corporate neocolonialism. By the way, China didn't invade or bombed any country ... dear bloody US hawks

[Aug 24, 2017] The use of intrusive technical collection and surveillance on diplomats, which sometimes causes harm in its own right

Aug 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yul | Aug 24, 2017 1:36:51 PM | 23

No one is talking much about this except to point the finger at Cuba:

https://www.justsecurity.org/44289/sonic-attacks-diplomats-cuba-dont-rush-conclusions/

While I have not served in Cuba, my experience in a number of similar hostile, high counterintelligence threat countries suggests that this is more likely a surveillance effort gone wrong, than the use of an offensive sonic weapon.

We have very little experience anywhere in the world with directed attacks designed to physically harm to our diplomats. However, the use of intrusive technical collection and surveillance which sometimes causes harm in its own right, is consistent with past practice in Cuba and elsewhere.

Why don't I believe this was an attack intended to harm diplomats?

[Aug 24, 2017] The Military and the Monetary, use the media as intermediaries, they are determined to keep the citizens secondary, they make so many decisions that are arbitrary

Aug 24, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

johnrf, 8/22/2017 11:41 AM EDT

Americans no longer fight to keep their shores safe,
Just to keep the jobs going in the arms making workplace.

Then they pretend to be gripped by some sort of political reflex,
But all they're doing is paying dues to the Military Industrial Complex.

The Military and the Monetary, The Military and the Monetary, The Military and the Monetary. The Military and the Monetary,

get together whenever they think its necessary,

They turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet into a cemetery.

The Military and the Monetary, use the media as intermediaries,
they are determined to keep the citizens secondary, they make so many decisions that are arbitrary.

We're marching behind a commander in chief,
who is standing under a spotlight shaking like a leaf.

Gil Scott Heron

[Aug 23, 2017] How the Brass Talked Another President Into a Losing Strategy The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... The Military Times ..."
"... Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan ..."
"... The American Conservative ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
Aug 23, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
How the Brass Talked Another President Into a Losing Strategy Despite tough talk, Trump approach on Afghanistan is no different than 2009. By Mark Perry August 22, 2017

President Donald Trump walks with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael Howard, commander of Joint Force Headquarters, at Arlington National Cemetery, May 29, 2017. Behind them are Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Flickr/CreativeCommons/DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

The American people don't like long wars with uncertain outcomes!and never have. That was true in 1953, when the U.S. accepted a stalemate and armistice with the Chinese-backed North Koreans, and it was true again in 1975, when the U.S. suffered an ignominious defeat and 58,000 dead at the hands of pajama-clad guerrillas and the North Vietnamese army. "Never fight a land war in Asia," General Douglas MacArthur famously said, and for good reason: in both Korea and Vietnam, the enemy could be endlessly supplied and reinforced.

The solution, in both cases, was to either widen the war or leave. In Korea, MacArthur proposed expanding the war by taking on Chinese military sanctuaries in China (which got him fired), while in Vietnam, Richard Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia and mined North Vietnam's harbors, an expansion of the war that sparked a genocide and merely postponed the inevitable. America's adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have been as unsatisfying. A troop surge retrieved America's position in Iraq, though most military officers now view Baghdad as "a suburb of Tehran" (as a currently serving Army officer phrased it), while the U.S. has spent over $800 billion on a Kabul government whose writ extends to sixty percent of the country!or less.

Given this, it's not surprising that opinion surveys showed that the majority of the U.S. military supported Donald Trump in the last election; Trump promised a rethink of America's Iraq and Afghanistan's adventures, while Clinton was derided as an interventionist, or in Pentagon parlance, "cruise missile liberal." Trump had the edge over his opponent among both military voters and veterans, especially when it came to ISIS: "I would bomb the shit out of them" he said, a statement translated in the military community as "I would bomb the shit out of them!and get out." A headline in The Military Times two months before the election said it all: "After 15 years of war, America's military has about had it with 'nation building.'"

As it turned out, the military weren't the only ones who'd "had it with nation building"!so too did Donald Trump. Back in January 2013, two years before he was a candidate for president, Trump made it clear what he would do if he ever occupied the White House. "Let's get out of Afghanistan," he tweeted. "Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA." Three days later, Trump was even more outspoken, explicitly endorsing Barack Obama's Afghanistan strategy!which amounted to a troops surge, followed by a troop drawdown. "I agree with Pres. Obama on Afghanistan," he wrote. "We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money – rebuild the U.S.!"

Now, after addressing the American people Monday on his "new strategy in South Asia" (a purposeful trope used to signal his intention to shape a broader, regional policy), Trump appears to have embraced the military's anti-nation building sentiments, while adopting a policy of "winning," though without saying exactly how that would happen. The policy! which also includes not saying how many troops "winning" will take, or setting a timetable for victory!includes a pledge of help from America's allies, and a new focus on Pakistan. Trump was also intent to signal that his new strategy (the war will be left in the hands of warfighters, he announced, and not "micro-managed from Washington") is much different than the one adopted by his predecessors who, as he all but said, got it wrong.

In fact, though he would almost certainly deny it, what Trump has proposed is a reprise of what Barack Obama did in January of 2009.

Back then, one of Obama's first decisions on Afghanistan was to assign Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran and South Asia expert, to study the conflict and come up with ways to fight it. The following March, on Air Force One, Riedel briefed Obama on his conclusions. Afghanistan would be a big problem for a long time, he said, but the situation in the country was getting worse. The Kabul government was corrupt, its leaders were out-of-touch with the Afghan people and the Taliban and al-Qaeda were gaining strength. But even with that, Riedel added, the real problem wasn't really Afghanistan, it was Pakistan. "That's the real challenge," Riedel said.

Obama agreed with Riedel's sobering assessment and, on March 27, 2009, he announced his decision to the American people. "The future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbor Pakistan," Obama said in a nationally televised address. "In the nearly eight years since 9/11, al-Qaeda and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier." Put more simply (though Obama did not mention it), the same problem that the U.S. had faced in Korea, and again in Vietnam and Iraq!its failure to destroy the sanctuaries where its enemies could be reinforced and resupplied!it was now facing in Afghanistan. To deal with that problem, Obama appointed super-diplomat Richard Holbrooke to serve as a special envoy to the region (and to work with Centcom commander David Petraeus "to integrate our civilian and military efforts"), launched a drone war against Taliban and al-Qaeda bases in Pakistan, urged Congress to pass a $1.5 billion aid package to Pakistan that would make American strikes more palatable and then, the following May, replaced General David McKiernan, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, with Stanley McChrystal.

It didn't work.

In 2012, reporter and author Rajiv Chandrasekaran (whose book Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan remains the authoritative source on the Obama plan) concluded that while the Taliban was "pushed out of large stretches of southern Afghanistan," and the "influx of U.S. resources accelerated the development of the Afghan security forces" the surge did not achieve its objectives . In effect, the Obama administration threw good money after bad: Afghan president Hamid Karzai never bought into the strategy, the Pakistanis failed to "meaningfully pursue" the Taliban and the Afghan army hung back!allowing the U.S. to do the fighting. What the U.S. should have done, Chandrasekaran wrote, was "go long." Afghanistan is not a sprint, he concluded, but a marathon!and America "got winded too quickly."

James Mattis and H.R. McMaster have digested these lessons, a senior Pentagon official told me just hours before Trump's national address, and "have spent the last weeks trying to convince the president that the 'three yards and a cloud of dust' approach," as he termed it, will work. Roughly translated, what that means is that in adopting a more modest increase in American troops, as McMaster and Mattis told Trump, the president would be signaling that while the U.S. was willing to help the Afghan government fight the Taliban, the numbers would not be significant enough to defeat them!that would have to be done by the Afghan Army. In truth, the McMaster-Mattis approach (what one senior Pentagon officer described as "doubling down on a war that is going nowhere") has some support in the U.S. diplomatic community, and particularly among those civilians who have spent years working in the country.

Among these is David Sedney, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who is the former acting president of the American University of Afghanistan and served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. For Sedney, it's the uncertainty of the American commitment that has been the problem. "We've been ambivalent about Afghanistan for the last fifteen years," he told The American Conservative , "and this has given hope to the Taliban and Pakistan. The message that they've taken is that all they need do is wait the U.S. out. Bush focused on Iraq and Obama put in troops caps." One of the keys, Sedney goes on to say, is that the U.S. "has failed to strengthen the Afghan state in fundamental ways, but the most important is to make a commitment and keep it. That's the key."

Sedney also has little use for the views retailed inside the White House by outside experts, like Frontier Services Group president Eric Prince, who advised the administration (in a Wall Street Journal op-ed back in May, and then in a personal meeting with McMaster) to increase the number of contractors in the country, thereby allowing for a drawdown in U.S. troops while also, as Prince argued, saving the U.S. money. While some Pentagon officials speculated as late as last week that secretary Mattis "was not as opposed to the Prince's ideas as was originally thought," more recent reports say that the idea "was dead on arrival in the Pentagon, almost from the minute it was mentioned." Sedney dismisses the idea out of hand, citing his experience with his students in Kabul. "My students don't want an American proconsul," he says, "they want an Afghan government that knows how to do the job, and that should be our focus."

But while Trump has apparently nixed Prince's contractor idea (and it went unmentioned in his speech), Pentagon officials tell The American Conservative that he has quietly bought into claims that the U.S. can help revive the Afghan economy by exploiting the nation's mineral resources. While Trump did not mention the program in his speech, and the claim remains debated in the White House, the president (a senior Pentagon civilian told TAC) "is intent to explore ways for this war to pay for itself"!which apparently includes a review of whether Afghanistan's resources can be exploited sufficiently to put the Afghan government on a sound footing. Will it work?

"This was a good idea back in 2009," one former Pentagon official says, "but it's not going to work now." A geologic survey conducted a decade ago shows that Afghanistan is rich in deposits of gold, silver, and platinum, as well as large quantities of uranium, zinc, bauxite, coal, natural gas and copper! a mother lode of natural resources that could proved Kabul with a badly needed budgetary windfall .

"It's a pig in a poke," a former Pentagon official who worked in Afghanistan on identifying the deposits told The American Conservative , "don't believe a word of it." The archaic "pig in a poke" phrase, which denotes that a buyer should beware of buying a pig that couldn't be seen (because it was in a "poke," or bag), denotes the common belief that while Afghanistan may contain the mineral deposits numerous mining surveys have identified, they remain elusive. Then too, as the former Pentagon official with whom we spoke says, the idea that American companies will realize a windfall on the mineral scheme (to which, as a businessman, Trump is particularly attracted), is simply not in reach.

"American companies no longer do the kind of mining that it would take," this former Pentagon official says, "security is bad, and commodity prices have collapsed. Why would companies invest in mineral deposits in Afghanistan when they won't make the same investments in Australia." Which is to simply say that the Afghanistan problem is now, under Trump, what it was under George W. Bush and Barack Obama!an intransigent challenge whose resolution is dependent on fighting and winning a war against an enemy who can fight, retreat, resupply and reinforce and fight again. The key to that victory is now what it has always been: Pakistan. Trump, and McMaster and Mattis, realize this of course, which is why tonight the president focused on providing a strategy for "South Asia"!a phrase the defense secretary, in particular, has used over the last weeks.

"I have hope for Afghanistan," CSIS's Sedney says. "The Afghan military is fighting better than ever before. When I went to Kabul in 2002, Kabul looked like Dresden, but now it's a vibrant city. Yes, the Taliban can kill people, but most Afghanis are moving ahead with their lives in spite of this. The problem is that, as we've seen over the last decade, a small minority can keep the country destabilized. That's what we have to stop. We have to come up with a way of stopping that."

In the wake of Trump's address, credit for its opening paean was given to new White House chief of staff John Kelly, the retired Marine Corps general who, TAC was told, insisted that Trump use the speech to walk back the controversy of his remarks on Charlottesville!a suggestion that both McMaster and Mattis readily agreed to when Trump's national security team met on Friday at Camp David. In the end, however, it was McMaster and Mattis who had the greatest influence on Trump's thinking. "There was all this speculation that maybe, just maybe, the president would somehow come around to getting out," the senior Pentagon civilian with whom we spoke said, "but that was never going to happen. Jim Mattis wouldn't let it happen. You can see his fingerprints all over this."

Another Pentagon observer had a much different take. "This is Joe Biden's plan, all the way," he said, referring to the then-Vice President's recommendation to Obama back in 2009. "Biden said that we should increase counterterrorism operations, draw down U.S. forces in the provinces, increase pressure on Pakistan and make a deal with India. Obama said 'no' to the idea, but you can bet Mattis was listening. This is his plan all the way."

Almost everyone at the Pentagon agrees, though key senior military officers who have been privy to James Mattis's thinking over the last weeks (but who remain unconvinced by it) provide a cautionary, and nearly fatalistic, note. "This Trump plan, at least so far as I understand it, sounds a lot like the kind of plan we've come up with again and again since the end of World War Two," a senior Pentagon officer says. "We're going to surge troops, reform the government we support and put pressure on our allies. In this building [the Pentagon] there's a hell of a lot of skepticism. And that's because we all know what this new strategy really means – and what it means that the only way we can get out of Afghanistan is to get further in. You know, it seems to me that if there's one thing we've learned, it's that that doesn't work."

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst and the author of The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur . His next book, The Pentagon's Wars , will be released in October. He tweets @markperrydc

[Aug 21, 2017] Debt based consum ption and speculation led to the roaring 20s and the debt deflation of the Great Depression. That created preconditions to fascism

Aug 21, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

ConBrio , 17 Aug 2017 07:45

The obligatory sanctimony about America's Nazi past might have included these for context.

Duke of Windsor's chatting up Hitler
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3464198/Photographs-Duke-Windsor-s-trip-Nazi-Germany-1937-met-Adolf-Hitler-sold-auction-1-000.html

The "SALUTE."
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/02/25/16/318E186100000578-0-It_was_on_this_trip_that_he_made_a_Nazi_salute_surrounded_by_uni-a-49_1456419156158.jpg

HARRY at a costume party a few years ago.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rzkTyRo_8Fg/TUnolacSCeI/AAAAAAAAAPw/WXkU-jqCZsc/s1600/Nazi+Prince+Harry.jpg

THE the FUTURE QUEEN practicing the Nazi Salute:
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/21/world/europe/royal-familys-nazi-salute-in-1930s-stirs-debate-in-britain.html

http://gnosticwarrior.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/queen-elizabeth-nazi-salute.jpg

davidc929 -> NotIdefix , 17 Aug 2017 07:45
Race based supremacy was an element of German fascism. Italian fascism was based more on national supremacy. If fascism were to arise in America it would most likely have a strong religious element.
soundofthesuburbs -> GruntyMalunty , 17 Aug 2017 07:43
A lot more effort has probably gone into the cunning and manipulative parts than the system itself. They picked a pretty dire 1920s economics, neoclassical economics, that still has all its old problems.

1) The effect of debt on the economy. Leading to Japan 1989, US 2008, Irish and Spanish real estate collapses, Greece's collapse with austerity and the new normal of secular stagnation.

Today's neo-classical economics was around in the 1920s and it had exactly the same problem. Debt based consumption and speculation led to the roaring 20s and the debt deflation of the Great Depression.

The build up to 1929 and 2008.

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png

2) The difference between "earned" and "unearned" income. Leading to parasitical rentier economies, now spotted by one of today's Nobel Prize winning economists "Income inequality is not killing capitalism in the United States, but rent-seekers like the banking and the health-care sectors just might" Angus Deaton.

A flawed model of global, free trade that doesn't consider the minimum wage is set by the cost of living. Western labour is priced out of global labour markets by the high cost of living in the West exacerbated by rentier activity.

3) Bank credit should be directed into productive investment in business and industry, not blowing asset bubbles (e.g. real estate) and other financial speculation.

Klytie -> RedSperanza , 17 Aug 2017 07:42
In Fascism the party is the state. It is collectivist hence the socialist in the title with added national exceptionalism. While racism was always there Nazism was more focused on race than most. I'm not sure that I could identify anything like a Fascist party in the UK or US outside a very few, small fringe groups.
MikeInfinitum -> jochebed1 , 17 Aug 2017 07:40
Totalitarianism is a method of government that controls (or tries to) every aspect of its citizens lives. Fascism is an ultra-nationalist ideology that uses totalitarianism to achieve its aims.

The Soviet Union (under Stalin at least) was also totalitarian but obviously was communist rather than fascist.

Urlicht -> MikeInfinitum , 17 Aug 2017 07:38
"Fascism is a fundamentally patriarchal ideology. It envisions the creation of a new man conquering all before him, whilst the women stay home producing good fascist babies."

And yet, if the same ideology drapes itself in cloth and dogma, the left celebrate it.

NotIdefix -> marv , 17 Aug 2017 07:37
the religious right in the US are not fascists or inclined in that direction

anti-abortion, certainly
anti-same-sex-marriage, mostly,
anti-science, somewhat..

but they are certainly not united behind an ideology of race-based supremacy

snapster -> careenage , 17 Aug 2017 07:36
Not really. He adapted the constitution and manipulated the "Reichstag" from 1933. Not to mention the physical (and murder) of opponents and one time allies.
The Constitution was blatantly ignored and set aside by the NSDAP and the conservative politicians. The Social Democrats and Communists were "done away with.
PotholeKid -> Pete green , 17 Aug 2017 07:36
Meanwhile Henry Ford built vehicles in Germany for the German Army the Duponts supplied chemicals, the bankers funded the Nazi enterprise and IBM supplied the devices to track Hitlers deplorables so they could be rounded up for the work and death camps. These same captains of industry were quite happy to see American boys die for their self serving interests.
Chucky Cheese -> Ubermensch1 , 17 Aug 2017 07:35
The march went ahead though, didn't it? No one was prevented from saying anything. We heard it loud and clear. That Pie quote comes from Feb and relates to Berkeley cancelling Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking, which is a different situation.

He has a pop at Antifa violence handing Trump etc the moral high ground, which I get. The problem is that by equating Antifa with fascists, you are undermining the argument against actual fascists. The internet is awash with "Antifa just as bad" - which pulls the right wing into the centre ground and makes the Alt-right seem more reasonable. I know where he's coming from, but the emphasis is off. It's a nice soundbite - but I don't know how helpful it is.

Djek Durgen Deign , 17 Aug 2017 07:35
Now I in no way condone violence and least of all from people who are into any kind of racial supremacy, however, I cannot help feeling that the MSM are making a mountain out of a mole hill here. The Charlottesville "unite the right" rally was only attended by some 500 participants, I am not aware of the figures for the counter protest but they were probably more numerous. The violence was shocking but probably could have been avoided had the police not disbanded the "unite the right" rally and then stood down leaving both groups to duke it out in the streets of Charlottesville.

The point I'm making is that 500 far right nutters don't mark a new rise of Nazism, but the current climate of calling anybody with slightly right leanings Nazis could push things that way.

Urlicht -> Iansguardian007 , 17 Aug 2017 07:34
Was it thousands who drove the car into that lady too? No. It was one.

Sod the far right - they'd see me strung up for my skin colour.

But equally sod the left - they are the ones who would encourage and 'empathise' with my differences - thus driving me into the clubs and bats of the far right. EG at the last election, I only received racist literature from one party - Labour - celebrating the issues that my race celebrates - because to my local Labour MP, I am a group identity, not an individual.

Travis -> jdanforth , 17 Aug 2017 07:33
The Republican Party embraced racism via Nixon's Southern Strategy in 1968, getting their inspiration from George Wallace's independent run for President. This brought great benefit to the GOP, allowing them to take over the South from 1968 through 1980. They doubled down on this strategy during the Obama presidency, with dog-whistle racist politics that brought them back to power after being decimated in the 2008 elections.

Citing racist Democrats of the past is about as meaningful as saying that Lincoln was a Republican and emancipated the slaves, so the Republican Party isn't racist. It doesn't pass the laugh test.

Treflesg , 17 Aug 2017 07:33
America is similar to the UK in many ways when I visit but there are also big differences.
The class system is less subtle, people are literally divided by walls, and even transport e.g. all the middle classes drive in big cars, whereas the bus is full of working class people. And people openly exclude lower classes in their language (rednecks, white trash and so on).
And in addition to the palpable class difference, they then have a whole race based division as well, the bus is almost all not white, the maids are almost all not white, the posh establishments are white majority etc. And people of all races talk about it all the time. You meet them and in the first few sentences they inform you of their ethnic or cultural background and ask yours. This is something in the UK that I am not used to.
My point is that it is all very well blaming a minority of nutters, or extremists, but actually, the whole of society in the USA is race and class obsessed and it will take all of you to sort this out.
MusicalCheeseBurger -> ID4368353 , 17 Aug 2017 07:30
This is the most idiotic comment I've ever read. There have been a range of white supremacist states in the 20th century that absolutely demonstrate that is it perfectly possible for this ideology to control a country. South Africa was a white supremacist state for over 40 years until 1991 - were they all sad sacks? What about the Germans and Italians in the early 20th century? Whole countries of sad sack losers?

It is amazing to see history repeating itself, including the anti-communist rhetoric of the right. The Nazis effectively created a strawman out of the communist party in Berlin through effective use of propaganda and targeted violence erroneously blamed on the communists (such as the Reichstag Fire). Communists don't make people hate others because of their race.

The fact that you assume that anyone who disagrees with fascism and is concerned about the parallels with the current resurgence in nationalist rhetoric now and in the interwar period is a on the 'far left' says a lot more about your politics than mine.

vonZeppelin , 17 Aug 2017 07:29
Fascism happened in Italy in the 20s. Nazism occurred in German in the 30s. Modern groups may imitate those movements but they should be labelled as far-right extremist and racists .
Urlicht -> ID4368353 , 17 Aug 2017 07:29
"It's like the left want there to be powerful and dangerous fascists. Why?"

This is true in the UK too. The left would rather paint people as racists and fascists, because then they feel that they can attack them.

The problem is, that often the left work towards the goals of the fascists. Take identity politics for example - great for those that want to be defined by their 'identity grouping', foul racism for the rest of us who want to be judged by the same standards as everyone else - for our choices as adults, not our genes at birth.

DeltaFoxWhiskyMike -> MusicalCheeseBurger , 17 Aug 2017 07:28
Out of 325 million people they managed to scare up 250 oddballs to a heavily publicized event in Virginia? Check the coverage, and they are outnumbered by the reporters and camera crews, which greatly magnified the impact of the rally. They are not the face or forefront of any mass movement, though they are being portrayed as such by opponents desperate for the support (and donations) that political conflicts bring.
People are not dismissing the possibility of extremists finding success in American politics. They are, however, dismissing efforts to dismiss any and all political opposition to people like you as extremists, and the efforts to tie every lunatic fringe anywhere to our elected government that you oppose.
This is a really big country. Your textbook has damned few students. Have you noticed?
SteveRP -> haribol , 17 Aug 2017 07:27
There seems to be quite a lot of evidence that many Americans do subscribe to contempt for "the Other". "God Bless America" at the end of every political speech gives a clear indication they consider themselves special under God. The obsession with their flag, treating it with almost religious reverence, is odd.
wardadkiwi -> PJKatz , 17 Aug 2017 07:26
In nazi Germany it grew from the ground up and their certainly wasnt a coherent plan from the ruling Junkers class to introduce fascism .Like with Drumpf the racist dregs were the core around which the nazis built and the wealthy backed them once they were in power.
PotholeKid , 17 Aug 2017 07:26
Missing from this is the fact that the most powerful elites like Henry Ford, J.P Morgan the Dupont Family and many other bankers and industrialists openly supported fascism. No question these folks were behind the plot to overthrow the Roosevelt government.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RD-ISImWgw

Urlicht , 17 Aug 2017 07:26
Are politicians to be judged by the worst that support them as the least worst option?

Trump has the support of some nasty individuals. Likewise here in the UK, Labour seems to have the support of some extremely socially regressive groups. Do we judge Labour by the worst of their voters then?

Daniel Kells -> DrChed4r , 17 Aug 2017 07:26

But none of them enjoy any popular support, and they never will


I suppose this is one of the few good things about Republican/Democrat dominance in the US, either fall flat on your face by striking out on your own or be forced to comprimise by signing up with one of the big 2
SavannahLaMar , 17 Aug 2017 07:25
I can't help thinking all this talk of fascism is disingenuous, because America has always been an apartheid state, and up until quite recently there were even tensions and prejudices between different white groups. Nevertheless the idea that America is fundamentally a white supremacist nation is generally unspoken until it is challenged. It was last challenged in the sixties by the civil rights movement, and the response was violent. Most recently it was challenged by the election of Barack Obama, and predictably the reaction was violent. That isn't to say that there aren't millions of decent Americans who are not racist, or that people of colour cannot overcome these barriers, or that the nation doesn't have a fine tradition of social justice movements, or that racism is the only injustice a human beng can suffer. But, for all the mythmaking about liberty and justice for all, there is no getting away from the fact that the nation's origins lie in genocide, people trafficking, forced labour, caste-based inequality, environmental despoliation and exclusivist religious cultism. These demons have never gone away.
ParcelOfRogue , 17 Aug 2017 07:25
The best counter to Fascism is PR voting.

Hitler was not let in by PR as is sometimes claimed, but after getting 30 odd percent repeatedly, he used political maneuvering and street intimidation to force his opponents out of the way and sieze power, immediately ending democracy. Instead, if Germany had elections under First Past the Post at the time, Hitler's 30 odd percent might have produced a Parliamentary majority.

CharlesBradlaugh -> Charmant_mais_fou , 17 Aug 2017 07:23
Keep saying it, you may believe it yourself. Fascism is a far boraoder movement than you claim. As the businessmen who supported Hitler knew.
wardadkiwi , 17 Aug 2017 07:23
Post WW2 one of the first if not the first show to confront American fascism was "The Twilight Zone ".Great man that he was Rod Serling confrontrd racism and fascism head on having an abiding hatred of both ,he was a WW2 veteran so he knew what nazis looked like in the flesh.
CharlesBradlaugh -> Midlyinterested1 , 17 Aug 2017 07:22
Violence is a reasonable, in fact the only answer to fascism, what do you want people to do, wait placidly for death camps?
palindrome , 17 Aug 2017 07:21

Observers have routinely considered fascism an ideology alien to American society

Why? A population armed to the teeth, a massive military ready to attack defenceless countries and a belief in "exceptionalism" scream fascist to me.

Summersalmostgone , 17 Aug 2017 07:20
Extremism is growing in every little ugly dark corner of our world. It's the real enemy. Left, right, religious or agnostic, even sports fans. We must be ever vigilant and not mistake extremist anger for passion. We must shine a light on those within us who are losing control and we must not excuse those who are lost just because they are on the same side.

Someone agreeing with you is great, but if the manner on which they agree is distasteful or vile, they aren't with you at all if you are a decent person, because the real fight is between the good moderates and the vile extremists. And this notion that there are no bad tactics only bad targets? Bull. Let's make the twenties the decade we get back on track.

antistink -> TimMiddleton , 17 Aug 2017 07:19
UKIP 'openly fascist ideology'? Dearie me.
Fascism: 'Totalitarian ideology associated with Benito Mussolini that elevates the nation over all other loyalties. It calls for the creation of a 'new man' purged of individualism and materialism. It celebrates masculinity, youth and the regenerative power of violence. It seeks to unify the nation under the leadership of a supreme leader in struggle against internal and external enemies.'
PJKatz , 17 Aug 2017 07:18
This column is perfect for The Graun: making a careful list of gaudy outbreaks of fascism while shorting the scaffolding on which it hangs. Instead of exposition on the heavy-handed corporate takeovers that lead to fascism there's a one-liner, "the crisis years of the 1920's and 1930's."

Fascism is not the outgrowth of some nebulous 'crisis' but a coherent economic and political program that must begin at the highest levels of society. So it is in the US today, a result of decades of growing inequality and resulting desperation. Chris Hedges' comment on sick societies: "And if we do not overthrow the neoliberal, corporate forces that have destroyed our democracy we will continue to vomit up more monstrosities as dangerous as Donald Trump." Ladies and gents, I give you Charlottesville.

Ernst Shackleton , 17 Aug 2017 07:16
Alot of people become more radicalized through youtube. If you watch a few 'alt-right' videos on you tube soon your feed will become full of them. People then get drawn in by the unbalanced media and a hate filled echo chamber. Videos heavily edited and narrated to suite a certain agenda.

The hate in some of the comments is atrocious.

I took a look at a video on youtube which suggested that someone should run over fractions of the left wing protestors with a tank. 100 likes. So soon after the terror attack. Youtube needs to do more to censor threats of violence.

Lastly I am sure infowars never used to be so 'far / alt-right... it seems like it has become far more extreme in the last few years.

ID6030211 , 17 Aug 2017 07:15
"Today, neo-fascism has many faces, with movements ranging from neo-Nazis to neo-Confederates to segments of the alt-right."

This is the point at which an interesting piece about the history of fascism in the United States seemed to let itself down.

Neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates tend to self-identify. They're the idiots with the dumb costumes and badges who can't seem to tell whether they're playing at being boy scouts or wizards. But where the piece lost an opportunity to provide additional insight was in the matter of the alt-right. 'Alt-right' has become something of a catch-all term that all kinds of people use for all kinds of reasons.

"[S]egments of the alt-right" is overly vague, and may seem to be something of an evasion. If there are segments of the alt-right that are fascists without falling into the two categories already mentioned (neo-nazis and neo-Confederates) then identify them - just as you identified the individuals and groups earlier in the piece.

Scholarship is great when it is specific and detailed. The alt-right part of the piece was too vague and therefore missed an opportunity to provide much-needed insight about a label that is in danger of becoming overused to the point of meaninglessness

[Aug 20, 2017] The United States was never immune to fascism. Not then, not now by David Motadel

Pretty much sterilized article that avoid really important issues.
The period of McCarthyism probably can be viewed as the the most close to openly neo-fascism regime in the USA... You was prosecuted for your political views, not actions. It is not mentioned in this article at all.
another important omission is that neo-fascism always rely on support of iether part of high command of the army, or state or both. Recent Ukrainian events when Yanukovich essentially promoted the the force (and the party) that deposed him is a nice illustration here.
Also omitted is connection of neoliberalism and the rise of far right movements. Neoliberalism is a breading ground for far right movement as globalization really destroys communities (and jobs) and people try to organize for a fight against this new menace.
Notable quotes:
"... The McCarthy era proved to everyone that things got a lot easier if communists (or believed communists or people where the dude down in Giuliani's bar said he might be a communist) were accused. ..."
"... The USA are a particularly violent society that has also always exported its violence and killed scores of people around the world, mainly under the labels freedom and democracy. ..."
"... The federal government also used bombers against the miners defending their families against the mine owners henchmen. Local sheriff's trying to uphold the law were murdered by the mine owners. Have a look at the "coal wars" ..."
"... The muddle - for all sensible people - does not arise because of a confusion about whether it is good to be against or for Nazis. The issue in Charlottesville was that morally right was actually legally wrong. Making Nazi salutes is vile; it is not, however, illegal (in the United States). Right up until threats were made and punches were thrown, the law was on the side of the demonstrators. The presence of Antifa (which has a history of committing acts of violence), therefore, presented a legal problem regardless of ANTIFA's standing as 'moral agents': if the police had been ordered to move in earlier in the day, which direction did the law require them to move? ..."
"... Financial liberalisation without the knowledge of productive and unproductive lending. Productive lending goes into business and industry; it generates the money to make the repayments and gives a good return in GDP. Unproductive lending goes into real estate and financial speculation; it doesn't generate the money to make the repayments and gives a poor return in GDP. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Consider the interwar period. The crisis years of the 1920s and 1930s not only gave rise to fascist movements across Europe – a moment captured in Ernst Nolte's classic The Three Faces of Fascism – but around the globe. The United States was no exception.

Charlottesville reveals an emboldened far right that can no longer be ignored Read more

Across the country, fascist and proto-fascist groups sprang up. The most prominent among them was the paramilitary Silver Shirts movement, founded by William Dudley Pelley, a radical journalist from Massachusetts, in 1933.

Obsessed with fantasies about a Jewish-Communist world conspiracy and fears about an African American corruption of American culture, its followers promoted racism, extreme nationalism, violence and the ideal of an aggressive masculinity. They competed against various other militant fringe groups, from the Khaki Shirt movement, which aimed to build a paramilitary force of army veterans to stage a coup, to the paramilitary Black Legion, feared for its assassinations, bombings and acts of arson.

An important role in this history was played by radicalized parts of the Italian and German American community. Inspired by the ascent of Mussolini, some Italian Americans founded numerous fascist groups, which were eventually united under the Fascist League of North America.

Many commentators still feel uneasy speaking about fascism in America. They consider fascism to be foreign to US society

Even bigger was Fritz Julius Kuhn's German-American Bund, founded in 1936. Its members considered themselves patriotic Americans. At their meetings the American flag stood beside the Swastika banner. At a rally at Madison Square Garden in New York on 20 February 1939, a crowd of 20,000 listened to Kuhn attacking President Franklin D Roosevelt, referring to him as "Frank D Rosenfeld" and calling his New Deal a "Jew Deal".

The gathering ended in violent clashes between protesters and participants. Similar riots took place on the west coast. The New York Times reported: "Disorders attendant upon Nazi rallies in New York and Los Angeles this week again focused attention upon the Nazi movement in the United States and inspired conjectures as to its strength and influence."

To be sure, most of these groups were peripheral. And yet historians have shown that the appeal of fascism among many Americans in the interwar years should not be underestimated. The ideology found prominent supporters, from the writer Ezra Pound, who from Italy called Americans for an alliance with Mussolini, to the aviator Charles Lindbergh, who in the 1940s campaigned against Washington's entry into the war.

When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labelled 'made in Germany'

Fascist agitators published widely circulated newspapers and aired radio shows, which reached millions, preaching virulent antisemitism, nativism and anti-Communism. Many of them had no obvious links to their fascist counterparts in Europe and cushioned their message with American nativism and Christian piety.

"When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labelled 'made in Germany'; it will not be marked with a swastika," a US reporter warned urgently in 1938. "It will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, 'Americanism'." Sinclair Lewis's novel It Can't Happen Here, published a few years earlier, had made a similar point.

During the second world war, American fascists suffered a serious blow. At the great sedition trial of 1944, some of the movement's key proponents were charged with treason. In the postwar years, however, scores of new groups emerged. Some saw themselves in the tradition of the interwar period, such as the American Nazi party, founded in 1959 by the flamboyant war veteran George Lincoln Rockwell, which copied its ideology and iconography from Germany's Nazi party.

White nationalist and neo-fascist movements in the US have grown by 600% on social media, outperforming Isis

Yet many of these groups transformed and began to look very different from their predecessors of the 1930s. Not all wore jackboots, armbands and uniforms any more. Not all assembled at torch rallies. They embraced new discourses of globalization, migration and multiculturalism. Today, neo-fascism has many faces, with movements ranging from neo-Nazis to neo-Confederates to segments of the alt-right.

The United States has never been immune to fascism. But many commentators still feel uneasy speaking about fascism in America. They still consider fascism to be foreign to American society. They often assume that American exceptionalism makes the country immune to any fascist threat. Fascism has no place in our master narrative of American history. Conversely, in most global histories of fascism, America is no more than a footnote.

And yet it has never been more important to acknowledge the history of fascism and neo-fascism in America than it is today. Over the last five years, according to a recent study by George Washington University, white nationalist and neo-fascist movements in the US have grown by 600% on Twitter , outperforming Isis in nearly every category, from follower numbers to numbers of tweets.

Although they remain fringe groups, Trump's victory has given them new confidence. Never in history have they felt more empowered. Many of them saw his election as their victory. The chorus of support ranges from the American Nazi party supremo, Rocky Suhayda, who sees Trump as a "real opportunity", to the white supremacist leader David Duke, who said he was "100% behind" Trump.

How a 1947 US government anti-Nazi film went viral after Charlottesville Read more

... ... ...

David Motadel is an assistant professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science

3melvinudall , 17 Aug 2017 08:06

This movement of fascism and nationalism has been in the works for 40 years. We have a radical insurgency party that wanted absolute control to carry out the policies of the old John Birch Society: end graduated income tax, repeal Social Security, repeal Medicare and Medicaid, discredit opposing political party, end school integration and busing and eliminate healthcare. These are the goals of the radical insurgency called for by the Republican Party.

This agenda has been pushed by big money. The Koch Brothers and the Mercer family, big money. Now it is with us and they have their "horse": a man called Trump. It is shameful to watch. The racism and the bigotry has been seething in the ranks of this radical insurgency for 8 yrs under Obama (the very ides of electing a black man as POTUS!). Then the possibility of a woman as POTUS was more than the radical insurgency could stand...they needed a white man for president.

The crazier the better. It is in the open now....no hiding anymore.

SdKfz171 -> juster , 17 Aug 2017 08:05
Funny, Most other states who modeled their iconography after ancient Rome where openly fascist right from the start. Mussolini's Italy, the Third Reich.
LearningFan -> Topher , 17 Aug 2017 08:03
The world is facing extreme challenges - a faltering economic system; climate change and ecological collapse; rogue states with nuclear weapons

In fairness, the world has been that way for as long as I remember. You get immune to it after a while. Probably since biblical times, if not before then, people have been telling us we are on the brink of apocalypse.

fatdaddyyork -> PJKatz , 17 Aug 2017 08:02
Exactly. Macron defeating le Pen only makes Fascism more likely in the future, because he'll be a bloody disaster. Thankfully the FN seems to be pulling itself apart, which is a bullet dodged by our beret wearing chums.
SdKfz171 -> SpenderCGB , 17 Aug 2017 08:02

he proceedings had merely served to demonstrate that a Soviet political trial could not be brought to a successful conclusion if conducted in accordance with existing American law as long as it was agianst rightwing nutters

The McCarthy era proved to everyone that things got a lot easier if communists (or believed communists or people where the dude down in Giuliani's bar said he might be a communist) were accused.
gruenebaum , 17 Aug 2017 07:58
A good analysis but largely well known facts.

The USA are a particularly violent society that has also always exported its violence and killed scores of people around the world, mainly under the labels freedom and democracy.

We should not forget the bigger picture here.

getoutofmydreams -> UnclePhaester , 17 Aug 2017 07:58

An article which fails to provide any evidence that fascism was ever widespread in the United States.

Maybe you misread the headline: it said that "the US was never immune to fascism", not that fascism was widespread. So you're complaining that it didn't prove a point that it never sought to make.

pinkeywafu -> Tintenfische , 17 Aug 2017 07:58
The federal government also used bombers against the miners defending their families against the mine owners henchmen. Local sheriff's trying to uphold the law were murdered by the mine owners. Have a look at the "coal wars"
UnclePhaester , 17 Aug 2017 07:56
An article which fails to provide any evidence that fascism was ever widespread in the United States. Even where it's forced to admit that it was mostly peripheral, it tries to gloss over that with the somewhat flaccid assertion that historians say that the appeal of fascism shouldn't be underestimated and by pointing out that people as prominent as Ezra Pound and Charles Lindbergh were involved.

A far more interesting article might have been an examination as to why homegrown fascism never took off in the UK or the USA as opposed to elsewhere in Europe.

ID6030211 -> MusicalCheeseBurger , 17 Aug 2017 07:54
Yes it was violent. But violence is not allowed in the ordinary course of life in a democratic society. There are even laws against it (the fact that the laws are not always fairly enforced is another matter, but one no less worthy of discussion). The point here is that a person is not entitled to hit his neighbor on the head and destroy his possessions. In war, that kind of behavior is not only allowed, it is generally encouraged.

The muddle - for all sensible people - does not arise because of a confusion about whether it is good to be against or for Nazis. The issue in Charlottesville was that morally right was actually legally wrong. Making Nazi salutes is vile; it is not, however, illegal (in the United States). Right up until threats were made and punches were thrown, the law was on the side of the demonstrators. The presence of Antifa (which has a history of committing acts of violence), therefore, presented a legal problem regardless of ANTIFA's standing as 'moral agents': if the police had been ordered to move in earlier in the day, which direction did the law require them to move?

Once we can get that clear, we can begin to understand the problem. And when we understand it, we can do our best to see to it that it never happens again. So let's not make this just about Trump. Serious questions should also be asked about the actions and inaction of local officials on the day. But 'We fought a war to defeat fascism' really doesn't get us very far toward achieving our goals

soundofthesuburbs -> soundofthesuburbs 17 Aug 2017 07:46

Financial liberalisation without the knowledge of productive and unproductive lending. Productive lending goes into business and industry; it generates the money to make the repayments and gives a good return in GDP. Unproductive lending goes into real estate and financial speculation; it doesn't generate the money to make the repayments and gives a poor return in GDP.

They didn't know:

The UK used to know in the past:

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.53.09.png

The Asian Tigers knew and used "window guidance" to ensure bank credit went into productive lending, they were very successful.

[Aug 20, 2017] Trump Loses Anti-War Aide In Bannon The Daily Caller

Aug 20, 2017 | dailycaller.com

Bannon supported Blackwater founder Erik Prince's plan to use military contractors in the war in Afghanistan and was against National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster's plan to deploy tens of thousands of more troops to the Afghan conflict, according to a source with knowledge of the deliberations.

While saying he would "bomb the s**t" out of ISIS, Trump ran on a largely non-interventionist campaign. He attacked President Bush for invading Iraq and cautioned against toppling the Assad regime in Syria.

His White House, however, is not populated with like-minded thinkers. Even the most Trump-like senior adviser left, Stephen Miller, was a strong supporter of the Iraq War and primarily focuses on domestic policy issues.

Trump does have the habit of speaking to outside advisers on the phone and calls with Bannon and Roger Stone might be the only times Trump hears war-weary voices.

John C Durham 2 days ago
Trump's power grows. And, his people don't speak first. (Trump speaks what The People are thinking. Offend Trump and you have offended almost everybody.)

Bye, by)e Democrats. You can't win WITHOUT a Revolution...and not very many of the real People are really interested in efforts to get one going.

Remember the CENTER of it all (ISIS, RIOTS) is London/Wall Street.
Everything since last Summer, has been coming out of MI5/6 to our FBI, CIA, NSA Business Intelligence Empire.

The People are not going to go against Lincoln and they aren't
going to stand for anyone to take down the "States Rights" statues.

People are for a Strong Central Government and for a Strong State Government. It isn't "either/or". It's BOTH. For Mob Rule...uh, not so much... Trump's power is growing steadily.

The People are sometimes for Left, sometimes for Right. It isn't "either/or". It's BOTH.

If you don't know this, you don't know anything about Americans.
These killings and riots are highly organized by both assets and AGENTS of the Anti forces of Deep State, Deep Business. None of this is "from" WE, The People.

Guy Smith1 a day ago
"Bannon is back at Breitbart--awesome!," Lee Stranahan, 8/18/17
https://www.periscope.tv/w/...

Hillary Clintub • 2 days ago

Bannon is now in a better position to expose the deep state. McMaster is probably soiling his diapers.

Jesse4 > Hillary Clintub • 2 days ago

The deep state just kicked Bannon's incredibly huge butt.

lorsarah > Jesse4 • 2 days ago

The Deep State oligarchs and hacks may have won a small battle but their days are numbered. The movement that Bannon is part of is growing.

oknow • 2 days ago

This whole intervention crap is for the birds and a waste of money as the years have shown.

If the Germans and Japanese were Islamic or international religious armies it would have never ended. Maybe it is time that the great oil powers man up and fight.

Trump not backing down from the NK is what strength is. Not this crap of 15 years in foreign nations.

T100C1970 > oknow • 2 days ago

This bravo sierra warfare did not start with Muzzies. It started with Commies. The Korean war was the first war the US did not win. We got a tie with the pathetic Norks. Then in the era in which I served as an Army Officer we managed to LOSE to the Cong + NVA.. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are so far more like "ties" ... assuming you can call it a tie to spend billions and lose thousands of troops to preserve a sort of status quo.

lorsarah > oknow • 2 days ago

"Not backing down from North Korea" IS foreign intervention, as everyone with a brain knows that NK, which can't even keep its lights on, is not a threat.

11B30L • 2 days ago

President Trump is allowing his "little tiny ego" to get in the way of White House staffing decisions, according to conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

Burrito Jackson • 2 days ago

Trump just sent his generals proposal back to the drawing board to keep us in Afghanistan. Trump hasn't changed. Tired of hearing everyone controls Trump like he is a puppet.

lorsarah > Burrito Jackson • 2 days ago

Why are we there AT ALL? To protect our freedom? Of course not. Self-defense? Of course not. It's lunacy, just as Vietnam was. But the military-industrial complex makes big money on lunacy such as Afghanistan.

wars r u.s. • a day ago

Trump is a dove? He bombed Syria with no evidence that Assad did the chemical attack. He dropped the MOAB on Afghanistan and his only real problem with that war is that we're not winning. We continue to back the Saudi's in their onslaught of Yemen. Trump wants to decertify Iran's compliance to the nuke deal even though Iran is in compliance which could lead to the war the neocons and liberal hawks(Israeli firsters) have been salivating over for decades. He threatens NK with "fire ad fury" and even recently threatened Ve