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Philip Giraldi

For Once, Don’t Blame the Israelis

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The recent revelation that the Israelis had obtained classified information relating to the P5+1 negotiations with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program should not really surprise anyone. Israel has invested a great deal of political capital in confronting Iran and convincing the American public that it poses a genuine threat. So, it would be a given that its intelligence service, Mossad, would be tasked with finding out what information is not being shared by the White House.


But the truly intriguing back-story to this development is, “how did the Israelis do it and with whom exactly did they share their information?” The information obtained was described by the White House as “eavesdropping,” which would suggest some sort of electronic interception. But as the meetings undoubtedly took place in a technically secured room, which means that it was electronically “swept” before, during, and after meetings, the conversations could not be picked up either from bugs planted inside -- which would be detected -- or from penetration techniques originating outside, which is possible but would require a major deployment of high-tech gear close to the target.
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Targeting Iran

Iranmossad

I am going to explain why Gareth Porter’s new book Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare is possibly the most important expose of political corruption and government malfeasance to appear in the past ten years. Investigative reporter Porter’s meticulously documented account tells the tale of how the government lied again and again to make a fabricated from full cloth case, which he describes as a "false narrative," against Iran. While the tale was being spun, the US and Israeli governments both knew that the entire process was completely bogus and that Iran had no nuclear weapons program but they continued to engage in the deception in spite of the fact that it created a crisis where none existed and generated an international confrontation that could have easily been avoided.

Shockingly, Washington participated in the fraud in spite of there being no compelling national interest to do so and in the latter stages of the grand deception it colluded with Israel to disseminate false documents and blatantly misleading assessments made by Mossad, while also feeding inaccurate information and other fabricated intelligence to both US allies and the media. It also aggressively pressured international bodies to force them to lend credibility to the lies in support of a US agenda that was both fraudulent and that made no sense then just as it makes no sense now. Along the way the United States ignored its obligations in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which it is a signatory, a clear violation of Article Six of the Constitution, and eventually brought itself perilously close to an unnecessary war, a trap engineered by Israel and its powerful friends which it is currently trying to disengage from.
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Simple Stuff About Ukraine

Nulandfeu

On March 6th President Barack Obama signed an executive order "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine" which permits Washington to seize the assets of any "United States person" who opposes current US policies vis-à-vis that country. The order claims absurdly that the status quo in Ukraine and the Crimean referendum constitute a "national emergency" for the United States. Anyone who directly or indirectly is involved in "actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine" can have his or her assets seized. That means if you think a referendum by Crimeans that might result in union with Russia is not necessarily a bad idea and you write a letter to the local paper saying so it could be good-bye bank account. There is no appeal mechanism in the executive order.

Obama’s transition to the tin hat brigade is eerily similar to an order signed by George W. Bush in 2007, the "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq." Taking both orders together, it is a clear indication of how low we have sunk so as to penalize any dissent over policies that have never been openly debated or voted on by the American public, but I suppose Bush would explain proudly that he "brought democracy" to Iraq while Obama would change the subject by noting that he killed Usama bin-Laden. Either way, the criminalizing of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights ends up making the rest of what happens relatively unimportant, nothing more than what our war masters refer to as collateral damage.
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We're The Good Guys

CIA Ad

My Christmas holiday frequently includes a series of reunions with other former CIA people, often grouped by the overseas stations that we served in. This year the Istanbul gathering preceded Spain and the Rome Station ca. 1980 soon followed. Some of the retirees are still working for the government as contractors so I try to keep a low profile at such functions, rarely asking questions about what anyone might be doing and seldom venturing into any detailed critiques of current government policy. But sometimes my wife and I find the occasional gung ho expressions of solidarity with torturers and drone operators to be just a bit too much and we are forced to react.

My former colleagues are politically a mixed bag, mostly Republicans but with a considerable number of Democrats, some of whom are fairly progressive regarding domestic politics and social programs. Working overseas for some bosses who would kill their own mothers to get promoted has made most of them quite cynical about how CIA operates and how policy is shaped, but they nevertheless regard their time in harness as a dirty job that someone had to do and they take pride in that fact. They are also fairly monolithic in their views of "traitors" like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, not because they support NSA spying (they do not) but because in their reckoning both would-be whistleblowers far exceeded any reasonable limits in their exposures of classified information.
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Congress Scares The People

FeinsteinmadTerrorism has become as all-American as apple pie. It is ingrained in our civic DNA, it fills our newspapers and is the backstory for every foreign policy discussion on talk radio and television. One might reasonably expect that American mothers might now cajole their children into turning out the light and going to sleep not because the bogeyman would otherwise be coming but rather because al-Qaeda might be lurking somewhere up the street.
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Quitting Over Syria

No War Syria

The release of the White House “Government Assessment” on August 30, providing the purported evidence to support a bombing attack on Syria, defused a conflict with the intelligence community that had threatened to become public through the mass resignation of a significant number of analysts. The intelligence community’s consensus view on the status of the Syrian chemical-weapons program was derived from a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) completed late last year and hurriedly updated this past summer to reflect the suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels and civilians.

The report maintained that there were some indications that the regime was using chemicals, while conceding that there was no conclusive proof. There was considerable dissent from even that equivocation, including by many analysts who felt that the evidence for a Syrian government role was subject to interpretation and possibly even fabricated. Some believed the complete absence of U.S. satellite intelligence on the extensive preparations that the government would have needed to make in order to mix its binary chemical system and deliver it on target was particularly disturbing. These concerns were reinforced by subsequent UN reports suggesting that the rebels might have access to their own chemical weapons. The White House, meanwhile, considered the somewhat ambiguous conclusion of the NIE to be unsatisfactory, resulting in considerable pushback against the senior analysts who had authored the report.
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Crying Wolf Over Iran

Bibi

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to convince the audience in both the United States and Europe that new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is a "wolf in sheep’s clothing" intent on beguiling the west with empty promises while proceeding full speed with a nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately for Netanyahu, few are interested in hearing an argument that has been repeated over and over again for more than twenty years in one form or another regarding the imminence of a "Mullah nuke." If there is a true predatory beast tale intrinsic to the oft repeated narrative, it perhaps should be the story of the boy who cried wolf.

All of which is not to suggest that Netanyahu’s friends in the United States have given up. Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Mark Kirk have welcomed the overture from Iran by calling for tightened sanctions to send the signal that Washington is really serious about using a stick before offering any carrots, a hardening of the same old punishment cycle that would hardly be an inducement for concessions by Tehran. They also demand that Iran give up any ability to enrich uranium, guaranteeing that negotiations will go nowhere. A number of Democratic Senators who are close to the Israel Lobby are also on board in opposing any easing of sanctions.
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Does Our Military Spending Really Make Us Better Off?

Us Vs World

The ill-advised launching of a few barrages of cruise missiles at Syria, which was the White House’s fervent desire back in August could have cost as much as five billion dollars or so by the time it was all over, an act of war carried out just to establish the "credibility" of the White House. Would it have been money well spent to kill a few hundred Syrians?

The Navy meanwhile keeps building multi-billion dollar aircraft carriers even though they are highly vulnerable to much cheaper missiles and although it already has eleven of them while the Air Force is getting the problem plagued and cost overrun prone F-35 fighter at $100 million a pop in a $857 billion program even though the aircraft is demonstrably not needed for national defense.
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What's the Evidence Behind the Case for War?

Tomahawk

If the arguments being presented by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for attacking Syria seem increasingly shrill and disjointed that might well be because a legitimate case cannot be made for going to war. The central argument—i.e., that punishing al-Assad will “change his calculus” and dissuade him from using chemical weapons against rebel forces embedded within the civilian population—relies on demonstrating that al-Assad has already done just that, a case that has not been credibly made thus far. Nor would a “shot across the bow” strike be likely to influence the thinking of a regime that theoretically might find itself with its back against the wall, willing to use all resources at hand to defeat a ruthless enemy. Still less does the argument that Washington must act lest the chemical weapons fall into the hands of terrorists and be used against American and other Western targets convince. Such a scenario is much more likely if the rebels, who undeniably include many extremists, are empowered through military action to such an extent that they might eventually triumph. If Washington wishes to prevent possible weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists, it should be doing everything it can to support the Syrian government. Any scenario that involves attacking the very soldiers who are presumably guarding the chemical weapons is a recipe for disaster.

As has often been the case in other situations over the past 12 years, Washington has maneuvered itself into a new crisis because it is failing to see the Syrian situation in all its complexity, preferring simple solutions that do not involve any commitment or long-term strategic planning. One former intelligence colleague has called it “a very poorly defined problem” that will not be solved by lobbing a few Tomahawk cruise missiles towards Damascus. That is the issue precisely—failing to understand what the problem is frustrates any attempt to devise a reasonable solution.


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Boston Becomes Toxic

A number of articles about the Boston terrorist attack that I have read recently reminded me that what is either kept out of the media or otherwise hidden is often more important than what actually appears. One was a feature article entitled “Ron Paul Slams Boston Police. Has he Gone too Far?” by Peter Grier of the normally sensible Christian Science Monitor. The remainder were also related to the Boston Marathon, a discussion in various places in the media of the possibility that the United States will take steps to make it easier for the intelligence services and law enforcement to read emails and social media entries in “real time” to be able to forestall home grown terrorists. Making such access easier means eliminating those few restrictions that currently exist to protect personal privacy and prevent unlawful searches.
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