Recursing Reviews

The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community.

–Carl Jung

CIA Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf

As with any large organization, one expects a little or a lot of indoctrination, of demonizing perceived opponents. I note, however, the danger in doing so: it is often the gung ho who are the first to turn on an authority when another one comes along or to find disappointment a life-changing event, as discovering Ronald Reagan did indeed “deal with terrorists” did to me in the 80s.

I am a little surprised, I suppose, at the openness of CIA’s criticism of, for example, the Washington Post’s expose on Top Secret America. First, they imply that it is only in a “free country” in which such a story could be compiled and printed, and that is not entirely wrong…not yet. However, with a looming CISPA vote in the Senate, it appears that the same kinds of people who wrote the defensive review of Priest and Arkin’s book will “repair” that little oversight.

Speaking of oversight, I think the point (which CIA does not seem to grasp) is that something this large doesn’t have much to speak of. Sure, you have Congress schilling for you (and I can’t wait to know exactly what it is they get in return for doing so), but there is the wink-wink-nudge-nudge going on—it cannot be otherwise—where Congress doesn’t ask the hard questions because they don’t want to know. (And yet it is impossible he cannot know just by picking up a paper or reading the letters of consituents). The abuse coming out of the intelligence community today and in recent years dwarfs that which lead to the Church/Tower hearings, the MK/ULTRA hearings in the Senate, and the disclosure of assassination programs. (Speaking of the latter, here is the story of Rajiv Dixit – asserted that 9-11 was a false-flag attack and died unexpectedly of a heart attack just before a speech he was to give at the age of 43 on November 30, 2010).

Further, there is evidence that CIA’s contractor, Blackwater, not only had some involvement with the death of Bhutto (it cannot be disputed that this made for less peace in the region) but also attempted to false-flag that assassination by laying it on one of their “Al Qaeda affiliates.”

Therefore it is also not surprising that the CIA sees no need for a “paradigm shift” in intelligence work in their criticism of Lahneman’s book calling for an intelligence revolution. CIA claims the case for one remains unproven. This is deceitful or wholly self-deluding.

There is also Glenn Carle’s book, The Interrogator, where they do a drive-by ridiculing the notion that CIA engages in excessive redaction, despite this complaint coming from various people including Valerie-Plame Wilson (whose exposure did do damage, did expose several other agents, despite neocon statements to the contrary in down-playing her and her group’s role in containing Iranian WMDs and CIA being tight-lipped about that one way or the other) and twenty-year CIA veteran Robert Baer, attributed with being the first Westerner to get a source inside Hezbollah. They also criticize the media for making hay out of redactions.

But the main point Carle made: innocence of people locked up by CIA and DoD for alleged terror connections was not something CIA HQ wanted to hear. They wanted tortured confessions. Can there be any other motive for that but profit and attempting to keep the cash cow protected? That CIA, who essentially wrote the book on how to do intelligence right would be wholly determined to only hear what it wants to hear, forget the truth, is a clear message that there is something horribly, horribly wrong.

Further and back to Top Secret America as topic, Mr. Baer wrote an article in TIME stating that the intelligence community was too large, unwieldy, and falling all over each other in the course of doing their jobs. (That describes fairly accurately, by the way, my experience in Brooklyn from December 2009 to March 2010. There was so much activity that I cannot believe it was only one agency, only one or two contractors running around doing the harassment).

“…tax dollars blowing around Washington like confetti…” Why doesn’t that resound with self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives? I guess the wind is blowing in the “right” direction.

I’m not quite sure what to make of the two-pronged attack on the book about the FBI. They attack the author while simultaneously agreeing with her. There has long been rivalry, cooperation, and non-cooperation between the Agency and the Bureau. Some of the criticism of the latter is of course correct. (Mine would be that if they spent one-half the effort fighting corporate crime that they did targeting labor-related organized crime, we might be in better economic shape today). In any case, I still laud their resistance to being involved with Abu Ghraib torture. (I know they aren’t perfect and preventing crime is a Criminal Justice 101 call for breaking the intent if not the letter of the law once it goes beyond deterrents, mere presence. It probably needs to be examined as does the Congress-rejected-practice of entrapment when it was aimed at them in the 70s, but they seem to have no problem when it’s aimed at physically or mentally challenged or ill Muslims because it makes headlines).

But of course the elephant in the room is CIA pretending it had a much smaller role in 9-11. Regardless how you slice it, there is a preponderance of evidence that CIA at a minimum knew the date, the intentions, and that the hijackers were in the US. Knowing that much, I am not willing to give the benefit of the doubt on why there was such a lack of cooperation with FBI when they started piecing it together based on the simplest of things: a report by a concerned citizen that people were learning to fly but had little interest in learning to land.

Then you have intense interest and presence in the 1980s and 1990s in Afghanistan. This is all, if not smoking gun, at least the smell of gunpowder.

From there you can see the recent things I linked to at History Commons, who pulls it’s information from news sources and books. Trained terrorists. Presence of university professors and experts for energy exploration and feasibility purposes in the 90s. Increase in heroin production right now. Increase in violence and extremism since CIA showed up.

I think it’s clear that there is a need for a new paradigm and CIA proved it.

As for what that might be, the inducement of hostility is not the only use for brainhacking. Peace, calm, serenity, euphoria, can also clearly be induced.

Funny that Pete King recently said that he wished we could live in a happy, handholding world. We actually could if somehow it were half as profitable for CIA and NSA officers seeking to become millionaires by exploiting violence and fear that they cause. It seems that love of democracy, freedom, and one’s fellow humans is no match for love of money.

(Note: I still find something troubling about turning hostile people into friendlies using drugs and electronics in terms of a violation of personhood, but it’s clearly morally and ethically superior to turning normal people into hostiles because it doesn’t force us to then turn around and kill them. It would also be a whole lot less expensive—but that also means less profitable for a few).

Looking back over a lifetime, you see love was the answer to everything.

–Ray Bradbury

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