Declassified secrets about the top-secret U.S. military base Area 51 revealed: Great food, cash-stuffed briefcases, no UFOs.
Leaked CIA Report: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters" (pdf / Scribed link here) outlines possible public relations / propaganda strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan.
That afternoon, American signals operators picked up bin Laden speaking to his followers. Fury kept a careful log of these communications in his notebook, which he would type up at the end of every day and pass up his chain of command. “The time is now,” bin Laden said. “Arm your women and children against the infidel!” Following several hours of high-intensity bombing, the Al Qaeda leader spoke again. Fury paraphrases: “Our prayers have not been answered. Times are dire. We didn’t receive support from the apostate nations who call themselves our Muslim brothers.” Bin Laden apologized to his men for having involved them in the fight and gave them permission to surrender.
John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who affirmed claims that waterboarding quickly unloosed the tongues of hard-core terrorists, says he didn't know what he was talking about.
Lobster: The Journal of Parapolitics was started in 1983 by Robin Ramsay and Stephen Dorril, two conspiracy enthusiasts who weren't actually nuts and believed in proper research. The magazine primarily covered the activities of the British security and intelligence services and what they term 'parapolitics'. They've had a brochure website for a while with some sample articles, but starting from the current issue the full journal will be free online (PDF download). The pair had a falling-out some time ago and have gone their separate ways. On his personal site Dorril, now also the author of a well-received study of Mosley and the Blackshirts, offers early back issues of the magazine for free download too.
When the CIA tried its hand at magic A top-secret 1950s training manual for CIA field agents, based on the knowledge of famous magician John Mulholland, has been made available to the public. Via
Blackwater (now known as Xe) has had a rough few years. The company, and its former CEO Erik Prince, have been the subject of allegations including murder, arms smuggling, child prostitution and wholesale massacre. Erik Prince has told Vanity Fair that he was a CIA operative and that someone has turned against him and "thrown him under a bus" by leaking his CIA associations to the public. He even compared his public outing to that of Valerie Plame. Mr. Prince has also been an outspoken and generous contributor to mostly-Republican political candidates. Previously on MeFi: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and many more.
118 Days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes — On June 21, reporter Maziar Bahari was rousted out of bed and taken to Tehran's notorious Evin prison—accused of being a spy for the CIA, MI6, Mossad…and Newsweek magazine. This is the story of his captivity. CBS 60 Minutes feature. [more inside]
Japan -- Media Environment Open; State Looms Large (August 2009, PDF) [more inside]
PHR (Physicians for Human Rights) have released a new report (pdf) that details the extent to which doctors were involved in monitoring and recording data on detainees subjected to waterboarding and other techniques [via] [more inside]
Big Newsfilter: US Attorney General Holder appoints a prosecutor to investigate abusive CIA interrogations in the War on Terror. [more inside]
The CIA in Tibet l the Cold War in ShangriLa l The CIA's Secret War In Tibet by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, the entire book online. [more inside]
CIA Director Leon Panetta has terminated a "very serious" covert program the spy agency kept secret from Congress for eight years, Rep. Jan Schakowsky says.
CIA Chief Panette ends "very serious" program hidden during Bush years from Congress CIA Director Leon Panetta has terminated a "very serious" covert program the spy agency kept secret from Congress for eight years, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a House Intelligence subcommittee chairwoman, said Friday. Schakowsky is pressing for an immediate committee investigation of the classified program, which has not been described publicly. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has said he is considering an investigation. "The program is a very, very serious program and certainly deserved a serious debate at the time and through the years," Schakowsky told The Associated Press in an interview. "But now it's over."
Operation Midnight Climax is a new web series about how the CIA used prostitutes to test LSD on unsuspecting American citizens. "Operation Midnight Climax was a CIA mind-control research program that began in the 1950's. The project consisted of CIA-run safehouses in San Francisco, Marin and New York. It was established in order to study the effects of LSD on unconsenting individuals. Prostitutes on the CIA payroll were instructed to lure clients back to the safehouses, where they were given a wide range of substances, including LSD, and monitored behind two-way mirrors." [Via]
The 2004 Intelligence Authorization Act included funding for a pilot program that provided scholarships in exchange for recipients completing at least one summer internship in the intelligence agencies. The Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP) was praised in National Review but criticized by humanities organizations as a threat to academic integrity. The 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act [400kb pdf] submitted to Congress by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair makes the program a permanent budget item. [more inside]
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that military scientists tested hundreds of chemical and biological substances on them, including VX, tabun, soman, sarin, cyanide, LSD, PCP, and World War I-era blister agents like phosgene and mustard. The full scope of the tests, however, may never be known. As a CIA official explained to the GAO, referring to the agency's infamous MKULTRA mind-control experiments, "The names of those involved in the tests are not available because names were not recorded or the records were subsequently destroyed." Besides, said the official, some of the tests involving LSD and other psychochemical drugs "were administered to an undetermined number of people without their knowledge."
Torture Memos Released
As we explained in the Section 2340A Memorandum, "pain and suffering" as used in Section 2340 is best understood as a single concept, not distinct concepts of "pain" as distinguished from "suffering"... The waterboard, which inflicts no pain or actual harm whatsoever, does not, in our view inflict "severe pain or suffering". Even if one were to parse the statute more finely to treat "suffering" as a distinct concept, the waterboard could not be said to inflict severe sufering. The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.Ambinder breaks it down, Greenwald rants.
Interrogation techniques used by the CIA on al-Qaeda suspects "constituted torture", according to a report by the International Red Cross.
In yet another case of possible criminality within The Company ranks, the CIA's station chief in Algeria is facing investigation for sexual assualt, accused of having drugged and sexually assaulted at least two Algerian women. Though recent events have raised doubts about the prosecution of other possible crimes at the CIA, this case may actually lead to an eventual conviction. After all, he made tapes.
Hacking Al-Qaeda's websites: Hacker wars are the latest front in the fight against Al Qaeda. CNN says here that AQ may be unable to post propaganda videos as a result. But who is attacking? As far back as 2002, people speculated that Western intelligence agencies had compromised them, and a pornographer claimed he did. More recently, there are Shiite vs. Sunni battles, as when Ayatollah Sistani's website was cracked. In 2004, Zarqawi's site was breached.
In a new article in the Washington Post: "The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects". These documents were requested by then CIA director George Tenet, who told 60 Minutes last year (in conjuction with the publication of his book, In the Center of the Storm), ""The image that's been portrayed is, we sat around the campfire and said, 'Oh, boy, now we go get to torture people.' Well, we don't torture people. Let me say that again to you. We don't torture people. Okay?"
Julia Child apparently liked to mix cooking and covert operations. What did the beloved chef have in common with Arthur Schlesinger and baseball's Moe Berg? A career with the OSS, that's what. The CIA precursor's papers have recently been released, revealing Child's involvement in the agency. [more inside]
In his new book, 'The Way of the World' "Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind claims that, after the Iraq war began, the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein, in an attempt to tie Hussein to the 9/11 attacks."* Suskind writes: "'It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq' and that Iraq bought yellowcake uranium from Niger with the help of al Qaeda. Suskind also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official "that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion." After the fake letter was released in late 2003, press outlets reported it as evidence of a Saddam/al Qaeda link. "Now, if this is true, that blows the lid off al Qaeda—Saddam," said Bill O’Reilly at the time. [more inside]
The world loves the banana - they are the world's most popular fruit and the fourth most consumed food on our planet. According to Johann Hari in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, it appears that the variety of bananas loved the world over - the Cavendish - is headed for extinction due to Fusarium oxysporum (Panama disease). [more inside]
Gen. Vang Pao’s Last War. "The U.S. government relied on Vang Pao and his Hmong soldiers to battle Communism in the jungles of Laos. Why is the Justice Department now calling him a terrorist?" [more inside]
The CIA's Odd Man Out: CIA station chief Bob Lady coordinated the secret kidnapping of Islamic militant Abu Omar in Milan and Omar's "extreme rendition" to Egypt where he was tortured. Italy indicted various CIA agents; Lady is on the run in Central America, abandoned by the agency. The twist: Lady opposed the mission all along. And Abu Omar will probably end up with Lady's home in the foothills of the Alps. [more inside]
American Drug War - The Last White Hope (in case you missed it on Showtime) Includes footage of and interviews with gang members, narcs, prisoners (like Tommy Chong), and other folks on the front lines of the drug war including Freeway Ricky Ross (infamous for starting the crack epidemic) and DEA Agent Celerino Castillo who both wound up working for the CIA. [more inside]
The lavishly-furnished custom Boeing 727 figures in the current tempest over his relationship with female lobbyist Vicki Iseman who provided and flew with McCain on the plane. Lots of colorful background in this investigative report by Daniel Hopsicker, the best muckraker since Gary Webb [more inside]
Super funny money turning up on the world stage
Along with pranks going on in the gulf this week, some funny stuff going on with US Currency as well - Perhaps part of the explanation of the seemingly endless run on gold?
Along with pranks going on in the gulf this week, some funny stuff going on with US Currency as well - Perhaps part of the explanation of the seemingly endless run on gold?
Operation PLIERS. An internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a plan to destabilize Venezuela during the upcoming constitutional referendum. The plan, titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. The full text of the memo will be released soon for verification purposes. Many previously.
Remember the new, inscrutable license plate put out by the state of Oklahoma commemorating 9/11? Well, apparently the CIA can design logos pretty well too. Presenting the Terrorist Buster.
Wilson et al v. McConnell et al. This site has all the legal documents surrounding Valerie Plame's legal case against the CIA over her new book. CIA censors blacked out 10 percent of the copy, as can seen in this excerpt from the book, and Plame is not allowed to speak freely in her interviews. [Via No Quarter.] [more inside]
The man who knew too much. "He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
Nanda Devi - India's second-highest peak, at 25,645 feet (7816m), sits in a "sanctuary," surrounded by 21,000-foot+ lesser mountains. This has made it even more of a challenge to climb. Among those who took up the challenge were a 1965 CIA team trying to set up a plutonium-powered device to spy on China's nuclear testing program. That expedition retreated in the face of bad weather, leaving the device on the mountain. When they returned the next spring, it was gone. The Nanda Devi Sanctuary supplies water to the Ganges River, and there were fears that the four pounds of plutonium in the device could escape into the watershed. Those fears have been confirmed.
The Black Sites. "A rare look inside the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program."
Rorschach and Awe. "America's coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by two C.I.A. psychologists who had spent their careers training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical 'black site' operation."
Bored on your summer vacation? Well, the US government has lots of fun stuff for kids to do on line. Learn fascinating facts about cows (and agricultural marketing!) from the Department of Agriculture. Take a ride to Money Central Station with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. If you live in a federally-funded housing project, HUD wants you to learn more about being a good citizen. Want something more action-packed? Help FBI Special Agent Bobby Bureau go undercover, or become one of America's Crypto-Kids at the NSA. Play thrilling puzzle games or visit the world's most secret museum at the CIA. Play more games or become a Disaster Action Kid at FEMA! And no list of government kids' pages would be complete without revisiting the children's art contest from the ATF, which I've linked to before...
Game developer/ perfume critic Theresa Duncan has died, and longtime companion Jeremy Blake is missing. The art world is buzzing about the seeming suicide-by-water of video installation artist Jeremy Blake. The perfume blogs are fizzing with sadness over the death of Theresa Duncan, whose suicide preceded Blake's. The cops are not releasing the notes left by the late, pretty people, but a clue might be found in the paranoiac screed Duncan posted on her blog in May, in which Blake's ex-girlfriend, the CIA, FBI, Church of Scientology, Jeff Gannon, bloated plutocrats and many other bugbears of the psy-ops crowd were put on Duncan's mental merry-go-round and given a real strong spin.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip ends tonight, and Aaron Sorkin will be leaving television production for a while. His current project is Charlie Wilson's War, a movie starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, based on the late George Crile's excellent, funny nonfic book of the same name. The movie will trace "party animal" Congressman Charles "Good Time Charlie" Wilson's (D, TX) rise from a scandal (he was caught in "a hot tub tryst with two cocaine-sniffing showgirls in Las Vegas",) to his role in the 1980's covertly funding Afghanistan guerrillas so they could expand their war with the Soviet Union. Wilson's actions would eventually help collapse the Afghan PDPA government, a power vacuum which would be filled by the Taliban. Who would have thought ending the Cold War would be so easy?
In 1973 CIA director James Schlesinger asked "employees to report activities they thought might be inconsistent with the Agency’s charter." You know, illegal stuff, black ops, the works. The resulting top secret documents are called the "Family Jewels." Today they were released. Press release with link to documents.
There may be some among us who can imagine 20 days in captivity; perhaps a fraction of those can imagine a full year deprived of liberty and most human contact. But 20 years? Downey and Fecteau have consistently sought to downplay their period of imprisonment; and neither has done what arguably too many former CIA officers do these days with far less justification: write a book. Downey has said that such a book would contain "500 blank pages," and Fecteau says the whole experience could be summed up by the word "boring."Extraordinary Fidelity: Two CIA Prisoners in China, 1952–73 [secure link] by Nicholas Dujmovic, a CIA historian and a veteran intelligence analyst. Time article about Downey and Fecteau from 1954.
"It's a great thing about this government... the only people that ever stand up and tell the truth are who? Intelligence officers." George Tenet told his side on 60 Minutes tonight. In case you missed it. [via]
How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran by Joshuah Bearman. As history keeps on happening, all people and events are becoming linked to each other in strange and inexplicable ways. Once in a while those links surface into view. Here, then, is the key event that connects Jack Kirby and Roger Zelazny to the CIA's handling of the Iranian hostage crisis. Via Wired Magazine and good evening.
Stacey Finley convinced 22 friends, neighbors and relatives that she could have satellites scan their bodies for disease, then have CIA agents administer secret medicines to them while they slept. [via]
Politics/PlameFilter: In opening arguments today in the Plame investigation perjury case against Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, the prosecutor portrayed Libby as an agent of a Cheney-driven media offensive. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came from Libby's attorney, who portrayed his client as a White House-chosen scapegoat for Karl Rove's misdeeds. A conservative reporter saw in Libby's emerging defense a "dramatic split inside the Bush White House." An MSNBC host asked whether this hullabaloo could lead to Cheney's resignation. Background on the case. Liveblogging of today's arguments from an anti-administration perspective.
If you work at Langley and you need a break from actual intelligence gathering, you can always try to crack the code to the sculpture right outside the cafeteria window. Kryptos is a sculpture by James Sanborn located on the CIA grounds which contains a four-part coded message: sections 1-3 have been solved (with Sanborn admitting he made a typo in section 2). Perhaps you'd like to join Elonka (and the hive mind) in having a go at section 4.
"I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard."
Film-maker Shane O'Sullivan has spent the last three years investigating the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in 1968. He has uncovered new evidence that at least three CIA agents were in the hotel the night he died. Tonight we [BBC's Newsnight programme] show the findings and ask could CIA agents have had something to do with the murder of RFK?