Join 3,415 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


November 4, 2002
1:24 PM   Subscribe

"According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization will carry out secret missions designed to 'stimulate reactions' among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to 'counterattack' by U.S. forces. In other words - and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan - the United States government is planning to use 'cover and deception' and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. "
posted by XQUZYPHYR (58 comments total)

 
Pretty scary if true, but does anyone know the BS level of the Moscow Times? Pravda is about as reliable as the Weekly World News, so one has to wonder about the source of the article!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2002


Steaming Pile o' Crap. ....IMHO
posted by Mushkelley at 1:33 PM on November 4, 2002


Of course, a lot of conspiracy theorists thing that this has already happened...

On a related note, I recall reading a declassified CIA document form the '60s (published by CNN about three years ago, in a cold war retrospective) that detailed the CIA's practice of creating small 'cults' in third-world countries, targeting weak-minded individuals, and convincing them to perform terrorist acts, usually assassinations against foreign nationals, so the CIA could eliminate those it wanted to, but without technically violating its no-assassination mandate, and supplying a plausible cover-story at the same time.

It's hard to believe that they just abandoned these kinds of practices just because they release documents from the 60s.
posted by kfury at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2002


Hard to believe they would release the documents if they were still doing this though too, wouldn't it seem?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:38 PM on November 4, 2002


In other news, CNN reports US operatives fire a missile at a car, killing six suspected Al Quaeda terrorists in Yemen, including the alleged leader of Al Quaeda forces in that country, and planner of the attacks against the USS Cole.

"US intelligence officials refused to comment on the report."

You're right, Mushkelley. We would never provoke attacks just to root people out.
posted by kfury at 1:40 PM on November 4, 2002


Smells like a wet pile of dog crap to me.
posted by Ron at 1:40 PM on November 4, 2002


The -- admittedly less emphatic, less editorializing -- LATimes story is here
posted by matteo at 1:44 PM on November 4, 2002


Smells like a wet pile of dog crap to me.
yes. a distinctly american smell these days.
posted by quonsar at 1:49 PM on November 4, 2002


Despite, or perhaps because of, my background as a once-poli-sci major and still-avid buff... This doesn't sound implausible to me in the tiniest bit.
posted by Shane at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2002


The French term for this is "agent provocateur" - not to in any way attempt to justify it, but power politics is a dirty business.
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:51 PM on November 4, 2002


Wha....? I thought a wet pile of dog crap was a French smell. Dear me!

When you read something and get the sense that the writer was hyperventilating as he was writing it, you gotta wonder how trustworthy it is.
posted by Holden at 1:52 PM on November 4, 2002


In addition to the LA Times story, you can also look at a PowerPoint of the declassified DSB recommendations here.

They do indeed call for stimulating reactions, in order to improve the intelligence gathered, but it's a bit of a leap to infer that the reactions they are wanting to stimulate are violent in nature.
posted by spacehug at 1:57 PM on November 4, 2002


"an endless night of black ops, retribution, blowback, deceit, of murder and terror -- wholesale, retail, state-sponsored, privatized; of fear and degradation, servility, chaos, and the perversion of all that's best in us, of all that we've won from the bestiality of our primal nature, all that we've raised above the mindless ravening urges and impulses still boiling in the mud of our monkey brains."

welcome to shrubville.
posted by quonsar at 1:57 PM on November 4, 2002


... population 6 billion and climbing.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 2:01 PM on November 4, 2002


Indeed, matteo's LA Times article link does have the relevant info. Though buried deep, just like the Moscow Times guy said, it is there, plain and simple. Very scary stuff...but not surprising, given these bastard dogs of war.
posted by mapalm at 2:01 PM on November 4, 2002


Hasn't it been declassified that the US Gov't did something similar in the '60s, fomenting riots and protests to smoke out radicals?
(Sorry, can't Google a link--time to commute home.)
posted by Shane at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2002


Pretty scary if true, but does anyone know the BS level of the Moscow Times? Pravda is about as reliable as the Weekly World News, so one has to wonder about the source of the article!

So, being a Russian newspaper makes this the same as Pravda? One has to wonder about the prejudices of the readers of MeFi.

Don't worry though - if you try reading the article (don't hurt yourself!), you'll see they reference about a dozen or so American papers, so it's safe to give these claims some clout.
posted by badstone at 2:13 PM on November 4, 2002


It's a shame all we have are a couple of editorials with an axe to grind. The hysterical first post aside, I wish I knew what "forementing a reaction" meant in context.

The base conclusions of the aforementioned report are hard to argue with: conventional intelligence agencies botched the early, undeclared stage of the war on terror and these aren't state actors that the conventional military is so good at defeating, so some kind new approach is definitely warranted.
posted by ednopantz at 2:13 PM on November 4, 2002


I may be a little confused here, but what the article is talking about is a secret team to "stimulate reactions" by attacking the terrorists right? Not by staging terrorist acts, blaming terrorist groups, and then wiping them out? If that's the case, I'd assume that any attack on a terrorist group is going to stimulate reactions anyway.
posted by stifford at 2:15 PM on November 4, 2002


According to the new Hart-Rudman Task Force on Homeland Security, even over a year after Sept. 11, America remains extremely unprepared to prevent another catastrophic terrorist attack. To deliberately provoke a terrorist attack while we remain this vulnerable would be insane.
posted by homunculus at 2:23 PM on November 4, 2002


How "invulnerable" is it really possible to become?
posted by stifford at 2:25 PM on November 4, 2002


Badstone, did you know that the Russian media and the government are fighting a war not only in words but often with guns? Pravda is still the largest news agency in the former USSR. Yes, I have to wonder if they are printing something just to be inflammatory or if there is a basis to the story, that's why I asked the question. One should definitely wonder about prejudice when someone is attacked for asking questions!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:28 PM on November 4, 2002


spacehug: ...it's a bit of a leap to infer that the reactions they are wanting to stimulate are violent in nature.

Forgive me for perhaps pointing out the obvious, but what other kind of reactions are we expecting? If terrorist groups responded to anything (especially violent attack) with a calm complaint to the UN, we would hardly have a problem.
posted by hippugeek at 2:33 PM on November 4, 2002


"Let's say it again: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people -- your family, your friends, your lovers, you -- in order to further their geopolitical ambitions."

And I say, "If you buy drugs, you are sponsoring terrorist."

This article still smells like wet dog crap to me.
posted by Ron at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2002


"It's not a fight for freedom; it's a retreat into darkness.
And the day will be a long time coming."


Whooo exploded that owl??? Whoo!!!! This should have been posted on Halloween!

But wait there's more:

"The reptilian-Illuminati know that the balanced fusion of male and female energy create a third and immensely powerful force and this is the real foundation of their obsession with the "trinity".
posted by hama7 at 2:53 PM on November 4, 2002


This is news? I thought everyone just assumed...
posted by zekinskia at 2:55 PM on November 4, 2002


How "invulnerable" is it really possible to become?
stifford hits the nail right on the old head. it is NOT POSSIBLE to become invulnerable. not without throwing the constitution on the smoking remains of WTC. how close to that are u.s. citizens willing to go? too damn close, in my opinion.
posted by quonsar at 2:57 PM on November 4, 2002


Just to clarify, here's a direct comparison of the Moscow Times article and the LA Times article.

Moscow Times (emphasis mine):
the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)" -- will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.
LA Times (emphasis mine):
Among other things, this body would launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to "quick-response" attacks by U.S. forces.
"Action" is not the same as "violent acts." Violent acts involve people getting hurt. Revealing actions can be as simple as moving from one training camp to another.

The Moscow Times edtorialist added that crucial word "violent" ex nihilo, as far as I can see, and attributed it by inference to the Pentagon report. This is tabloid journalism, and along with the hysterical tone makes me dismiss the MT editorial as the ravings of a crank. Interesting article in the LA Times, but if you're going to leap to the conclusion that this group is intended to provoke violent terrorist acts against innocents, at least be aware that you're jumping to that conclusion. It isn't in the documents.
posted by rusty at 3:10 PM on November 4, 2002


yeah, like any of us values your opinion.
posted by clavdivs at 3:12 PM on November 4, 2002


That's Lt. Colonel Amanda Huggenkiss Clavdivs, P2OG Spin Cycle 666, kids!
posted by y2karl at 3:26 PM on November 4, 2002


hippugeek: Forgive me for perhaps pointing out the obvious, but what other kind of reactions are we expecting?

Well, I can imagine quite a few - moving resources around, hiding targets, moving cells, closing/opening financial accounts, etc. Maybe the do intend to provoke violent action, I don't know, but neither does the author of the Moscow article that made up that part.
posted by spacehug at 3:26 PM on November 4, 2002


Please, Sir, just put your hands in the air and back away from the assumptions....

All right, so the P2OG would "stimulate reactions" among terrorists. Are we going to sit around and mull over the possibilities? See how far we can take the worst case scenarios? For what purpose? To scare ourselves?

I found this sentence much more mull-worthy:

The increasingly dominant role of the military, Pentagon officials say, reflects frustration at the highest levels of government with the performance of the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies and much of the burgeoning homeland security apparatus

Hah! Sounds like it is time to privatize the whole spy gig. It would probably save us a bundle if we could just hire a really good private Detective agency. As it is, I can just imagine the leader of the CIA's Special OPs crying in his beer over how many more toys the Army's Special Ops has. Meanwhile the Army's Special Ops members are laughing at the buffoonish antics of that new kid on the block-- Homeland Security.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:26 PM on November 4, 2002


Looking at the LA Times article, I can concede to rusty's point; I still think it's a dangerous idea. I feel like the notion that it's a bad idea to throw rocks at the beehive is being met with "oh, that's okay, we're just poking it with a stick."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:29 PM on November 4, 2002


i read "into action" as "violent attacks which would justify and prolong the endless state of war we have successfully shoved down the throats of the sheeplike american public".
but that's just me.
posted by quonsar at 3:41 PM on November 4, 2002


Incidentally, the same column is also in CounterPunch, where author Chris Floyd is bio'ed thusly: "Chris Floyd is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch." A regular contributor to your finest source of news to assist you in your "battles against the war machine, big business and the rapers of nature."

Now I'm not saying that you should discount this as politically motivated propaganda writing... Oh hell, why beat around the bush? That's exactly what I'm saying. What's sad is how transparent and dumb it is. The greedheads and criminals in the White House are winning because the other side is being represented by braying jackasses like this guy.

Could anyone on the left please shoot me an email when you get your shit together? Thanks.
posted by rusty at 3:42 PM on November 4, 2002


How "invulnerable" is it really possible to become?
stifford hits the nail right on the old head. it is NOT POSSIBLE to become invulnerable


Of course. But as long as Ted Turner has to pay to clean up enriched uranium in Eastern Europe, and ABC News is able to smuggle depleted uranium into the country in a shipping container, I don't think we should be deliberately encouraging terrorists to attack us.
posted by homunculus at 3:44 PM on November 4, 2002


Interesting. Let's read this carefully, shall we (from the Times article)?

Among other things, this body would launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to "quick-response" attacks by U.S. forces.

So there's a single paragraph in the L.A. Times, in which a writer from the PeaceNet camp adds his own, completely speculative "for instance" to the actual text of a report (a report - one of hundreds produced monthly - filled with suggestions).

So - they are "prodded into action". This speculative example is then taken as a fact by another opinion writer in the Moscow Times ... let's look carefully at what he writes:

the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)" -- will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.

Now it is "violent" action. Notice which words are quotes - from the report - and which are embellishments that exist solely in the mind of the author? But his words aren't opinions, they are truths ... he wants you to clearly understand this:

In other words -- and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan -- the United States government is planning to use "cover and deception" and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people.

So, not only are these writers' own fanciful what-if's implied to be in the report itself, the report is then treated as though it is already policy, and expanded and embellished to paint a picture of a world in which Rumsfeld, to rule the world, delibrately instigates terrorist attcks on US citizens, but then might possibly extend the tactics for use if he wanted to take over the oil of another nation.

So let's sum up here ... the actual quotes from the Report, in the L.A. Times article, are the following phrases: "stimulating reactions", "quick-response", "hold states/sub-state actors accountable", and "signal to harboring states that their sovereignty will be at risk".

After this is passed through the Mother of all Spin Cycles, it emerges as this:

"Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people -- your family, your friends, your lovers, you -- in order to further their geopolitical ambitions."

Wow. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering ... Bullshit.
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:45 PM on November 4, 2002


yeah, we learned from the masters during the presidential blowjob fiasco.
posted by quonsar at 3:48 PM on November 4, 2002


First off, I'm a huge idiot and don't know how to notate so that my links are clickable & linkable, so if you want to see this one you'll probably have to cut & paste...but now that I've taken the step out of this particular closet and admitted my ignorance, if someone could inform me I would be everlastingly grateful!
And also, check out this link: http://emperors-clothes.com/images/north-i.htm. I specifically recommend checking out pages 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10. That's where the disturbing stuff is.
posted by anyasar at 4:19 PM on November 4, 2002


That's Lt. Colonel Amanda Huggenkiss Clavdivs, P2OG Spin Cycle 666, kids!

that is MS. LT.Col. AHC karl. I'm touchy about titles.
posted by clavdivs at 4:21 PM on November 4, 2002


"stimulate reactions". From the same people who brought you "friendly fire". Let's try not to be naive.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:25 PM on November 4, 2002


As a side note to Space Coyote...I consider putting on some Marvin Gaye something that might "stimulate reaction."
posted by anyasar at 4:28 PM on November 4, 2002


Perhaps they want to stimulate reaction in the terrorists' pants :)
posted by Space Coyote at 4:30 PM on November 4, 2002


anyasar, check your email. :-)
posted by quonsar at 4:42 PM on November 4, 2002


Actually DynaCorp and MPRI have been sending retired SEALS and special ops types around the world for years. They account for most of the people fighting the drug war or revolutionaries in Columbia, and were heavily involved in Bosnian security details as well.

When they kill someone, there is no US culpability. But of course, when they get killed, there is no retaliation/outrage.

Its a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
posted by timsteil at 6:59 PM on November 4, 2002


"stimulate reactions". From the same people who brought you "friendly fire". Let's try not to be naive.

Hhhmmm ... so not immediately buying into a editorial fantasy in a Moscow newspaper, sparked by a fanciful "for instance" in a peacnik's op-ed piece in the LA Times, is being "naive"? Charming.

While a discussion started by these people's bizarre speculations (that are apparenly swallowed as accepted facts by some) means the chances of an actual reality-based discussion are rather slim ... the point itself is what the details - and difficulties - of actually trying to protect the US are composed of.

It is fairly well understood that there are "sleeper cells" in various parts of the world - including in the US. This is an extremely effective organizational model ... groups bound together that do nothing but remain in contact, and quite delibrately do not draw attention to themselves (they won't be protesting at an anti-war rally).

But they are ready, and capable, of being activiated, and ready and willing to die for the cause, the minute the time comes to plan and execute something where their involvement is triggered. Think Bali was planned overnight?

Intelligence agencies are facing something quite difficult ... these groups cannot be discovered, or arrested, until they are somehow "activated". The issue is figuring out to get them involved in something capable of exposing themselves - prior to the point of actually blowing something up. One reasonable approach to this issue was in that report - being proactive, and trying to stimulate reactions from them.

Anyone that thinks, however, that there are not viscious men - in America and elsewhere - that are part of loose organizations that intend America (and many other nations) great harm, who doesn't think these people are fully capable of that great harm, and who doesn't think that maybe new intelligence and defense tactics are necessary to deal with an entirely new sort of threat ... well ... now that's being naive.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:15 PM on November 4, 2002


I'm reminded of the FBI operative who had infiltrated terrorist group behind the first attack on the WTC (the bombing in '93): The game plan was for him to substitute fake explosives for the real ones. This never happened because the FBI pulled him off the case a week or two before the bombing. Go figure. [I believe this is all public record material]....once you start playing this sort of game (original post for this thread) you enter a wierd territory where the players are unclear and murky agendas are carried out...
posted by troutfishing at 8:08 PM on November 4, 2002


you enter a wierd territory where the players are unclear and murky agendas are carried out...

... the problem is, you just described all of covert operations. It is not, never has been, and never will be a world of nice, clean-cut certainties and easy solutions. Our intelligence agencies have to see the identification and prosecution of terrorist cells as a issue to be dealt with. If there was an easy answer ... the Wolrd Trade Center would still be standing.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:46 PM on November 4, 2002


I'm with Midas here; the Moscow Times -- as a newspaper -- is reasonably dependable, but its columnists are pretty opinionated and very much gone native. They seem to criticize the US a lot more than Putin. It's a strange mix of business-oriented reformers and expat leftists who feel right at home among the entropic Communism of today's Russia.

As for the report, it is clear that we cannot close off any and all paths for terrorists to attack us. If we harden one target, their focus will shift to one that is softer. Faced with an impossible task -- guards everywhere, technology expenses galore, inconveniences for everyday citizens -- the only alternative is a proactive approach. This means preempting and disrupting terrorist networks -- which can be as simple as trying to cut off their money, or as blunt as a targeted killing, such as the Hellfire attack in Yemen over the weekend. The advantage of a terror cell is its ability to lay quiet before undertaking operations; the importance of disruption lies in forcing them to undertake activities which will bring them to the attention of law enforcement. It's clear that the role of failed states (such as Taliban Afghanistan) in nurturing terrorists is the flip side of the clamped-down states (such as Saudi Arabia) -- they need to go there to do their stuff, because they can't survive where they're not wanted. The point of disruption is to make it difficult for them to be anywhere. If they know that the local police are working with the FBI, they have to spend more money, time, and effort to conceal their activities -- say, a steady supply of new cell phones. Eventually one of these might lead to an arrest (e.g. smuggling). The more pressure they're under just to keep from getting arrested, the less they can do to prepare for some kind of bombing or other undesirable activity. The worst we could do is sit around while they plan and prepare unmolested.

This is really classic Clausewitzean strategy applied to the amorphous world of fourth generation warfare. The key is to pressure the enemy on as many fronts as possible to make sure that your enemy does something before he's ready or where he has less advantage than he's seeking. And whether it's tanks, MREs, and barrels of oil, or just cold hard cash for operations, the place to hit them is their supply lines. They may be jihadis -- but they still need to get paid, still need to be managed by their superiors. They're still human. We have to exploit that. It worked with the Red Brigades, it worked with Baader-Meinhof, and it can work with al Qaeda. Even a secretive organization like November 17 turned out to be relatively amateurish in that once a crack was found, the entire structure (at least, we hope) was exposed and collapsed.
posted by dhartung at 11:19 PM on November 4, 2002


Regardless of whether this particular tactic is true of the DoD, there are enough declassified documents from the CIA in the 60s to make me think it is time for the people of this country to stand up and kick the government hard in the teeth. Or maybe I'm just crabby and should go buy some new shoes . . .
posted by velacroix at 1:37 AM on November 5, 2002


There is absolutely no reason to trust the government about thing one when it comes to who's fish they're frying. We may quibble and discuss, but it all remains speculation. And then when they do what they do, it will be spun and then we'll quibble and discuss about that. Never once do we in any concerted effort recognize it for what it is. Fraud, deceit and death. I am a broken record at this and all, but what business do we have reconciling the unknown, but abundantly clear aims of this administration and what we know in our hearts is deadly wrong? All of it. From top to bottom.

Fundamentally it comes down to what we know. And that is nothing. We're mere tissues in their breeze. Fuck 'em. It's not supposed to be that way.
posted by crasspastor at 1:59 AM on November 5, 2002


notwithstanding the fact that the only statistically notable terrorism is state-sponsored (ie state-sponsored terrorism kills and terrorises many times the number of people than all other terrorist activity), this 'development' is still a waste of time and money IMHO. as well as being very dangerous.
*america* - give up trying to control the world - it hasn't, doesn't and will-not work. if all the time money and effort put into conspiring to control the actions of the worlds inhabitants was put into conflict resolution then, guess what, i think there might be less conflict.
one persons terrorist is another persons global police force.
another persons terrorist is one persons freedom fighter.

putting words into the mouths of others - but american security is at stake!
well, this security depends on the security of the rest of the world not being compromised by covert aggravation on the part of un-accountable individuals and organisations. timsteil, it is indeed a dirty job.

the obvious question would be, how will 'american interests' be defined? bribing, coercion and violence are all common tools of large companies attempting to acquire un-molested natural resources or markets. grass-roots opposition to this type of behaviour could be seen as 'terrorising' the feckless multinational, or hampering 'free-trade'.
it has been plain to see where the us administrations loyalties lie.
posted by asok at 3:24 AM on November 5, 2002


You think this is bullshit?
COINTELPRO. Google it.

It may be couched in hyperbole, but the core of fact seems utterly believable given our history.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:13 AM on November 5, 2002


i read "into action" as "violent attacks which would justify and prolong the endless state of war we have successfully shoved down the throats of the sheeplike american public".
but that's just me.
posted by quonsar at 3:41 PM PST on November 4


yeah... what he said.
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:39 AM on November 5, 2002


these groups cannot be discovered, or arrested, until they are somehow "activated".

Do you suppose that "activation" could end with "acceptable losses?"
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:46 AM on November 5, 2002


Well, ya know, in a peacetime post-Cold War atmosphere, nobody wants to keep up the budgets of the CIA, FBI and the Military. This leaves defense contractors out in the cold, too--defense contractors who are supporting--Hell!--electing our representatives. Just something to think about.

You really think the people who head our gov't and organizations like the CIA got where they are with ethics and a general regard for the welfare of the population?

Rapunzel, climb down your hair from the Ivory Tower. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Etc etc. That's all I'm sayin'. Don't hate me for it.
posted by Shane at 6:35 AM on November 5, 2002


Who could hate that kind of clarity! :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:23 AM on November 5, 2002


'P2OG' allows Pentagon to fight dirty - Asia Times
posted by sheauga at 7:05 PM on November 5, 2002


« Older We don't need more voters, we need better voters...  |  Paint By Numbers... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments