Iran Busts CIA Spy Network of 17 Members – Intelligence Ministry

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced identifying and destroying an integrated network of operatives serving the US Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] inside the country.

The Ministry’s director-general for counterintelligence said Monday that Iran captured 17 professional spies working on behalf of CIA throughout last year and some of those arrested had been handed death sentences, according to the Fars news agency.

“The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centers in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas… where they collected classified information,” the unnamed official said in a statement.

The official said that the suspects were operating in key organizations and institutions mainly in the private sector.

He noted that the CIA had recruited the individuals by mainly contacting them over the internet. Other tactics included issuing or renewing US visas, hiring Iranian specialists, providing necessary equipment and access to certain participants in scientific events abroad, sending emails and messaging through social.

Last month, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said it had “penetrated the US safe system in cyberspace.” which the CIA has used for maintaining communication with the spies.

The discovery of the network was first announced by the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, who said then that the “cyber-espionage” network had been operating in countries other than Iran that it had been discovered “a while ago.”

“We provided the information on the exposed network to some other allied countries in which it had been operating, which resulted in the exposing and dismantling of the US intelligence officers network and arrest and conviction of some CIA agents in different countries,” Shamkhani said in June.

 

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Epstein: Protected Because He Is a Spy? — A Backgrounder

Source

By IPA

July 14, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –   Vicky Ward, who tried to report on Jeffrey Epstein’s criminality as early as 2003, recently wrote that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta “cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had ‘been told’ to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. ‘I was told Epstein “belonged to intelligence” and to leave it alone,’ he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)” See Ward’s recent pieces for The Daily Beast: “Jeffrey Epstein’s Sick Story Played Out for Years in Plain Sight” and “I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003.”

The Observer notes that Acosta was asked if Epstein had ties to intelligence agencies at his news conference Wednesday and gave a “a non-denial denial of an epic kind”: “I would [be] hesitant to take this reporting as fact” said Acosta. See “It Sure Looks Like Jeffrey Epstein Was a Spy — But Whose?

Ward charged on “Democracy Now” on Monday: “This is a man who definitely trades in the knowledge he has over the rich and famous, and uses it for leverage. He also introduces rich and famous people, like Bill Clinton, like Donald Trump, to girls.”

Epstein’s associate who allegedly helped connect him with his girl victims is Ghislaine Maxwell. She is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, the media mogul who died under mysterious circumstances in 1991. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh alleged in his book The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy that Maxwell was tied to the Israeli Mossad. Hersh was sued for the allegation, but then received an apology.

Attorney General William Barr, who spent years at the CIA, stated he would recuse himself on the Epstein matter on Monday and then reversed himself on Tuesday. Barr helped cover up the Iran-Contra scandal by approving the pardons of Elliott Abrams and other officials who were caught in illegal activity. In 1973, Epstein got his start as a math teacher thanks to Barr’s father, Donald Barr, who was headmaster of the elite Dalton School despite Epstein not having a college degree. His New York Times obituary notes that Donald Barr belonged to the Office of Strategic Services (better known as the OSS, the precursor to the CIA).

Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald has named two women — Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Sarah Ransome — who say that Epstein, when they were very young, directed them to have sex with Alan Dershowitz. Yet, the New York Times and other media continue to reference and even quote Dershowitz about the case without noting that he has been thus accused. Dershowitz was also one of Esptein’s lawyers when Acosta agreed to the non-prosecution agreement. The Times has recently noted that Dershowitz attacked the Herald‘s reporting in an attempt to deprive them of a Pulitzer. A piece by Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman quoted him saying that if you didn’t know Epstein and Trump in the 80s, “you were a nobody” — again, without noting that Dershowitz has so far been accused by two of Epstein’s victims.

Liaquat Ali Khan, the founder of Legal Scholar Academy, and a professor emeritus at the Washburn Law School interviewed Alan Dershowitz in 2004 and wrote that Dershowitz participated in the “Israeli assassination committee that reviews evidence before terrorists are targeted and killed.” Said Dershowitz: “I actually sat in on one of the committee meetings.”

This article was originally published by “IPA” –

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Netanyahu Trades Barbs With Barak Over Epstein Sex Trafficking Scandal

It Sure Looks Like Jeffrey Epstein Was a Spy—But Whose? Epstein was involved in intelligence work, of some kind, for someone—and it probably wasn’t American intelligence

Jeffrey Epstein built fortune by ‘blackmailing investors over sex parties,

Epstein 007

epstein007.jpg

by Gilad Atzmon

It is possible that Epstein is just an ordinary paedophile, a slave to his own sick depravity. But this now seems unlikely, it leaves too many questions unresolved: why did Epstein build a sex trafficking network? Why did he seek the company of the world’s most influential characters? Why did he schlep all those royals, once and future presidents, Harvard professors and movie stars around the world in his ‘Lolita Express’? And then we get to the big question: how did he get away with it all?  Back in 2007, registered sex offender Epstein was supposed to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Instead he spent a mere thirteen months in a VIP prison.

The Daily Beast reported yesterday that when Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. attorney in Miami who infamously cut Epstein a non-prosecution plea deal back in 2007, was being interviewed for the job of US labor secretary by the Trump administration’s transition team, Acosta’s conduct in the Epstein affair came under scrutiny. In that interview Acosta allegedly said,  “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone.”

The more we look into this registered sex offender’s saga, the more it appears to have the characteristics of a gargantuan espionage operation. If so, then Epstein was running a multi-million intelligence apparatus set to accumulate dirt on some of the world’s most influential people. The walls of his Caribbean island palace were rigged with cameras, and likely for reasons other than his personal libidinal gratification. Epstein didn’t work alone. Press reports allege that Ghislaine Maxwell functioned as Epstein’s ‘madam.’

Multiple court filings reviewed and reported on by the Miami Herald reveal that lawyers for one of Epstein’s alleged victims claim that Maxwell helped traffic girls and women to powerful figures. The same documents report  that the alleged victims were lured into the sex ring by offers of modelling, fashion, and educational opportunities.

Ghislaine is the youngest child of the flamboyant Jewish media tycoon Robert Maxwell, who died under mysterious circumstances in November 1991.  Shortly before he died, a self-proclaimed former Mossad officer named Ari Ben-Menashe had approached a number of news organisations in Britain and the United States with the allegation that Maxwell was a long-time agent for the Israeli intelligence service.

 I cannot verify whether Robert Maxwell was a Mossad agent or if association with the Mossad is an hereditary trait, but the possible conjecture that Epstein and Maxwell were running an intelligence operation makes sense of the questions surrounding this gruesome spectacle.

This intelligence postulate raises a crucial question. If Epstein was a spy, who did he work for? Was it the Russians? I only ask because every time Tel Aviv comes up as a likely suspect American media tends to blame the Russians. Maybe Epstein was working for the Iranians, all indications are that the Trump’s administration is desperate for a pretext for a war with Iran. Another possibly is that this affair is a classic MI6 operation and Epstein is actually the paedophile model of 007. If the espionage conspiracy theory is correct, then the Mossad and the CIA would be the natural suspects. Yet it is difficult to believe that the Mossad acting by itself was powerful enough to procure for Epstein his remarkably lenient plea deal. It is almost impossible to imagine that Acosta, acting as the federal prosecutor, would take instructions from Israel. If it was the Mossad, they likely enjoyed significant support from within the American intelligence community. I assume that Alan Dershowitz, Epstein’s former attorney, may be able to answer some of these questions. He seems to know the details:


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The Plot to Keep Jeremy Corbyn Out of Power

 

 • JULY 4, 2019

 

In the latest of the interminable media “furores” about Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed unfitness to lead Britain’s Labour party – let alone become prime minister – it is easy to forget where we were shortly before he won the support of an overwhelming majority of Labour members to head the party.

In the preceding two years, it was hard to avoid on TV the figure of Russell Brand, a comedian and minor film star who had reinvented himself, after years of battling addiction, as a spiritual guru-cum-political revolutionary.

Brand’s fast-talking, plain-speaking criticism of the existing political order, calling it discredited, unaccountable and unrepresentative, was greeted with smirking condescension by the political and media establishment. Nonetheless, in an era before Donald Trump had become president of the United States, the British media were happy to indulge Brand for a while, seemingly believing he or his ideas might prove a ratings winner with younger audiences.

But Brand started to look rather more impressive than anyone could have imagined. He took on supposed media heavyweights like the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman and Channel 4’s Jon Snow and charmed and shamed them into submission – both with his compassion and his thoughtful radicalism. Even in the gladiatorial-style battle of wits so beloved of modern TV, he made these titans of the political interview look mediocre, shallow and out of touch. Videos of these head-to-heads went viral, and Brand won hundreds of thousands of new followers.

Then he overstepped the mark.

Democracy as charade

Instead of simply criticising the political system, Brand argued that it was in fact so rigged by the powerful, by corporate interests, that western democracy had become a charade. Elections were pointless. Our votes were simply a fig-leaf, concealing the fact that our political leaders were there to represent not us but the interests of globe-spanning corporations. Political and media elites had been captured by unshored corporate money. Our voices had become irrelevant.

Brand didn’t just talk the talk. He started committing to direct action. He shamed our do-nothing politicians and corporate media – the devastating Grenfell Tower fire had yet to happen – by helping to gain attention for a group of poor tenants in London who were taking on the might of a corporation that had become their landlord and wanted to evict them to develop their homes for a much richer clientele. Brand’s revolutionary words had turned into revolutionary action.

But just as Brand’s rejection of the old politics began to articulate a wider mood, it was stopped in its tracks. After Corbyn was unexpectedly elected Labour leader, offering for the first time in living memory a politics that listened to people before money, Brand’s style of rejectionism looked a little too cynical, or at least premature.

While Corbyn’s victory marked a sea-change, it is worth recalling, however, that it occurred only because of a mistake. Or perhaps two.

The Corbyn accident

First, a handful of Labour MPs agreed to nominate Corbyn for the leadership contest, scraping him past the threshold needed to get on the ballot paper. Most backed him only because they wanted to give the impression of an election that was fair and open. After his victory, some loudly regretted having assisted him. None had thought a representative of the tiny and besieged left wing of the parliamentary party stood a chance of winning – not after Tony Blair and his acolytes had spent more than two decades remaking Labour, using their own version of entryism to eradicate any vestiges of socialism in the party. These “New Labour” MPs were there, just as Brand had noted, to represent the interests of a corporate class, not ordinary people.

Corbyn had very different ideas from most of his colleagues. Over the years he had broken with the consensus of the dominant Blairite faction time and again in parliamentary votes, consistently taking a minority view that later proved to be on the right side of history. He alone among the leadership contenders spoke unequivocally against austerity, regarding it as a way to leech away more public money to enrich the corporations and banks that had already pocketed vast sums from the public coffers – so much so that by 2008 they had nearly bankrupted the entire western economic system.

And second, Corbyn won because of a recent change in the party’s rulebook – one now much regretted by party managers. A new internal balloting system gave more weight to the votes of ordinary members than the parliamentary party. The members, unlike the party machine, wanted Corbyn.

Corbyn’s success didn’t really prove Brand wrong. Even the best designed systems have flaws, especially when the maintenance of the system’s image as benevolent is considered vitally important. It wasn’t that Corbyn’s election had shown Britain’s political system was representative and accountable. It was simply evidence that corporate power had made itself vulnerable to a potential accident by preferring to work out of sight, in the shadows, to maintain the illusion of democracy. Corbyn was that accident.

‘Brainwashing under freedom’

Corbyn’s success also wasn’t evidence that the power structure he challenged had weakened. The system was still in place and it still had a chokehold on the political and media establishments that exist to uphold its interests. Which is why it has been mobilising these forces endlessly to damage Corbyn and avert the risk of a further, even more disastrous “accident”, such as his becoming prime minister.

Listing the ways the state-corporate media have sought to undermine Corbyn would sound preposterous to anyone not deeply immersed in these media-constructed narratives. But almost all of us have been exposed to this kind of “brainwashing under freedom” since birth.

The initial attacks on Corbyn were for being poorly dressed, sexist, unstatesmanlike, a national security threat, a Communist spy – relentless, unsubstantiated smears the like of which no other party leader had ever faced. But over time the allegations became even more outrageously propagandistic as the campaign to undermine him not only failed but backfired – not least, because Labour membership rocketed under Corbyn to make the party the largest in Europe.

As the establishment’s need to keep him away from power has grown more urgent and desperate so has the nature of the attacks.

Redefining anti-semitism

Corbyn was extremely unusual in many ways as the leader of a western party within sight of power. Personally he was self-effacing and lived modestly. Ideologically he was resolutely against the thrust of four decades of a turbo-charged neoliberal capitalism unleashed by Thatcher and Reagan in the early 1980s; and he opposed foreign wars for empire, fashionable “humanitarian interventions” whose real goal was to attack other sovereign states either to control their resources, usually oil, or line the pockets of the military-industrial complex.

It was difficult to attack Corbyn directly for these positions. There was the danger that they might prove popular with voters. But Corbyn was seen to have an Achilles’ heel. He was a life-long anti-racism activist and well known for his support for the rights of the long-suffering Palestinians. The political and media establishments quickly learnt that they could recharacterise his support for the Palestinians and criticism of Israel as anti-semitism. He was soon being presented as a leader happy to preside over an “institutionally” anti-semitic party.

Under pressure of these attacks, Labour was forced to adopt a new and highly controversial definition of anti-semitism – one rejected by leading jurists and later repudiated by the lawyer who devised it – that expressly conflates criticism of Israel, and anti-Zionism, with Jew hatred. One by one Corbyn’s few ideological allies in the party – those outside the Blairite consensus – have been picked off as anti-semites. They have either fallen foul of this conflation or, as with Labour MP Chris Williamson, they have been tarred and feathered for trying to defend Labour’s record against the accusations of a supposed endemic anti-semitism in its ranks.

The bad faith of the anti-semitism smears were particularly clear in relation to Williamson. The comment that plunged him into so much trouble – now leading twice to his suspension – was videoed. In it he can be heard calling anti-semitism a “scourge” that must be confronted. But also, in line with all evidence, Williamson denied that Labour had any particular anti-semitism problem. In part he blamed the party for being too ready to concede unwarranted ground to critics, further stoking the attacks and smears. He noted that Labour had been “demonised as a racist, bigoted party”, adding: “Our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion … we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic.”

The Guardian has been typical in mischaracterising Williamson’s remarks not once but each time it has covered developments in his case. Every Guardian report has stated, against the audible evidence, that Williamson said Labour was “too apologetic about anti-semitism”. In short, the Guardian and the rest of the media have insinuated that Williamson approves of anti-semitism. But what he actually said was that Labour was “too apologetic” when dealing with unfair or unreasonable allegations of anti-semitism, that it had too willingly accepted the unfounded premise of its critics that the party condoned racism.

Like the Salem witch-hunts

The McCarthyite nature of this process of misrepresentation and guilt by association was underscored when Jewish Voice for Labour, a group of Jewish party members who have defended Corbyn against the anti-semitism smears, voiced their support for Williamson. Jon Lansman, a founder of the Momentum group originally close to Corbyn, turned on the JVL calling them “part of the problem and not part of the solution to antisemitism in the Labour Party”. In an additional, ugly but increasingly normalised remark, he added: “Neither the vast majority of individual members of JVL nor the organisation itself can really be said to be part of the Jewish community.”

In this febrile atmosphere, Corbyn’s allies have been required to confess that the party is institutionally anti-semitic, to distance themselves from Corbyn and often to submit to anti-semitism training. To do otherwise, to deny the accusation is, as in the Salem witch-hunts, treated as proof of guilt.

The anti-semitism claims have been regurgitated almost daily across the narrow corporate media “spectrum”, even though they are unsupported by any actual evidence of an anti-semitism problem in Labour beyond a marginal one representative of wider British society. The allegations have reached such fever-pitch, stoked into a hysteria by the media, that the party is now under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – the only party apart from the neo-Nazi British National Party ever to face such an investigation.

These attacks have transformed the whole discursive landscape on Israel, the Palestinians, Zionism and anti-semitism in ways unimaginable 20 years ago, when I first started reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Then the claim that anti-Zionism – opposition to Israel as a state privileging Jews over non-Jews – was the same as anti-semitism sounded patently ridiculous. It was an idea promoted only by the most unhinged apologists for Israel.

Now, however, we have leading liberal commentators such as the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland claiming not only that Israel is integral to their Jewish identity but that they speak for all other Jews in making such an identification. To criticise Israel is to attack them as Jews, and by implication to attack all Jews. And therefore any Jew dissenting from this consensus, any Jew identifying as anti-Zionist, any Jew in Labour who supports Corbyn – and there are many, even if they are largely ignored – are denounced, in line with Lansman, as the “wrong kind of Jews”. It may be absurd logic, but such ideas are now so commonplace as to be unremarkable.

In fact, the weaponisation of anti-semitism against Corbyn has become so normal that, even while I was writing this post, a new nadir was reached. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary who hopes to defeat Boris Johnson in the upcoming Tory leadership race, as good as accused Corbyn of being a new Hitler, a man who as prime minister might allow Jews to be exterminated, just as occurred in the Nazi death camps.

Too ‘frail’ to be PM

Although anti-semitism has become the favoured stick with which to beat Corbyn, other forms of attack regularly surface. The latest are comments by unnamed “senior civil servants” reported in the Times alleging that Corbyn is too physically frail and mentally ill-equipped to grasp the details necessary to serve as prime minister. It barely matters whether the comment was actually made by a senior official or simply concocted by the Times. It is yet further evidence of the political and media establishments’ anti-democratic efforts to discredit Corbyn as a general election looms.

One of the ironies is that media critics of Corbyn regularly accuse him of failing to make any political capital from the shambolic disarray of the ruling Conservative party, which is eating itself alive over the terms of Brexit, Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union. But it is the corporate media – which serves both as society’s main forum of debate and as a supposed watchdog on power – that is starkly failing to hold the Tories to account. While the media obsess about Corbyn’s supposed mental deficiencies, they have smoothed the path of Boris Johnson, a man who personifies the word “buffoon” like no one else in political life, to become the new leader of the Conservative party and therefore by default – and without an election – the next prime minister.

An indication of how the relentless character assassination of Corbyn is being coordinated was hinted at early on, months after his election as Labour leader in 2015. A British military general told the Times, again anonymously, that there would be “direct action” – what he also termed a “mutiny” – by the armed forces should Corbyn ever get in sight of power. The generals, he said, regarded Corbyn as a national security threat and would use any means, “fair or foul”, to prevent him implementing his political programme.

Running the gauntlet

But this campaign of domestic attacks on Corbyn needs to be understood in a still wider framework, which relates to Britain’s abiding Transatlantic “special relationship”, one that in reality means that the UK serves as Robin to the United States’ Batman, or as a very junior partner to the global hegemon.

Last month a private conversation concerning Corbyn between the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the heads of a handful of rightwing American Jewish organisations was leaked. Contrary to the refrain of the UK corporate media that Corbyn is so absurd a figure that he could never win an election, the fear expressed on both sides of that Washington conversation was that the Labour leader might soon become Britain’s prime minister.

Framing Corbyn yet again as an anti-semite, a US Jewish leader could be heard asking Pompeo if he would be “willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK”. Pompeo responded that it was possible “Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected” – a telling phrase that attracted remarkably little attention, as did the story itself, given that it revealed one of the most senior Trump administration officials explicitly talking about meddling directly in the outcome of a UK election.

Here is the dictionary definition of “run the gauntlet”: to take part in a form of corporal punishment in which the party judged guilty is forced to run between two rows of soldiers, who strike out and attack him.

So Pompeo was suggesting that there already is a gauntlet – systematic and organised blows and strikes against Corbyn – that he is being made to run through. In fact, “running the gauntlet” precisely describes the experience Corbyn has faced since he was elected Labour leader – from the corporate media, from the dominant Blairite faction of his own party, from rightwing, pro-Israel Jewish organisations like the Board of Deputies, and from anonymous generals and senior civil servants.

‘We cheated, we stole’

Pompeo continued: “You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

So, Washington’s view is that action must be taken before Corbyn reaches a position of power. To avoid any danger he might become the UK’s next prime minister, the US will do its “level best” to “push back”. Assuming that this hasn’t suddenly become the US administration’s priority, how much time does the US think it has before Corbyn might win power? How close is a UK election?

As everyone in Washington is only too keenly aware, a UK election has been a distinct possiblity since the Conservatives set up a minority goverment two years ago with the help of fickle, hardline Ulster loyalists. Elections have been looming ever since, as the UK ruling party has torn itself apart over Brexit, its MPs regularly defeating their own leader, prime minister Theresa May, in parliamentary votes.

So if Pompeo is saying, as he appears to be, that the US will do whatever it can to make sure Corbyn doesn’t win an election well before that election takes place, it means the US is already deeply mired in anti-Corbyn activity. Pompeo is not only saying that the US is ready to meddle in the UK’s election, which is bad enough; he is hinting that it is already meddling in UK politics to make sure the will of the British people does not bring to power the wrong leader.

Remember that Pompeo, a former CIA director, once effectively America’s spy chief, was unusually frank about what his agency got up to when he was in charge. He observed: “I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses.”

One would have to be remarkably naive to think that Pompeo changed the CIA’s culture during his short tenure. He simply became the figurehead of the world’s most powerful spying outfit, one that had spent decades developing the principles of US exceptionalism, that had lied its way to recent wars in Iraq and Libya, as it had done earlier in Vietnam and in justifying the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, and much more. Black ops and psyops were not invented by Pompeo. They have long been a mainstay of US foreign policy.

An eroding consensus

It takes a determined refusal to join the dots not to see a clear pattern here.

Brand was right that the system is rigged, that our political and media elites are captured, and that the power structure of our societies will defend itself by all means possible, “fair or foul”. Corbyn is far from alone in this treatment. The system is similarly rigged to stop a democratic socialist like Bernie Sanders – though not a rich businessman like Donald Trump – winning the nomination for the US presidential race. It is also rigged to silence real journalists like Julian Assange who are trying to overturn the access journalism prized by the corporate media – with its reliance on official sources and insiders for stories – to divulge the secrets of the national security states we live in.

There is a conspiracy at work here, though it is not of the kind lampooned by critics: a small cabal of the rich secretly pullng the strings of our societies. The conspiracy operates at an institutional level, one that has evolved over time to create structures and refine and entrench values that keep power and wealth in the hands of the few. In that sense we are all part of the conspiracy. It is a conspiracy that embraces us every time we unquestioningly accept the “consensual” narratives laid out for us by our education systems, politicians and media. Our minds have been occupied with myths, fears and narratives that turned us into the turkeys that keep voting for Christmas.

That system is not impregnable, however. The consensus so carefully constructed over many decades is rapidly breaking down as the power structure that underpins it is forced to grapple with real-world problems it is entirely unsuited to resolve, such as the gradual collapse of western economies premised on infinite growth and a climate that is fighting back against our insatiable appetite for the planet’s resources.

As long as we colluded in the manufactured consensus of western societies, the system operated without challenge or meaningful dissent. A deeply ideological system destroying the planet was treated as if it was natural, immutable, the summit of human progress, the end of history. Those times are over. Accidents like Corbyn will happen more frequently, as will extreme climate events and economic crises. The power structures in place to prevent such accidents will by necessity grow more ham-fisted, more belligerent, less concealed to get their way. And we might finally understand that a system designed to pacify us while a few grow rich at the expense of our children’s future and our own does not have to continue. That we can raise our voices and loudly say: “No!”

What’s Happening in the “Land of the Free” and the “Home of the Brave”?

Global Research, June 29, 2019

There’s something happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear.” – Buffalo Springfield

The Sunday newspaper had been left on the park bench.  Its book page had lists of best-sellers, as if numbers two through ten could be the “best” along with number one.  Absurdities were everywhere for the taking.  On the Non-Fiction Hardcover list, numbers 3, 5, and 10 each had the word fuck in the title.  The books were published by two old and respected publishing houses: Harper and Little Brown.  However, something was odd, for the word fuck was spelled f*ck.  These books were about hope, acceptance, and living the good life, cliché topics in a feel-good culture: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Everything is F*cked, and Calm the F*ck Down.  It seemed you had to be f*cked first before you could accept the hope that the good life was coming your way. He wondered if these publishing houses thought that by eliminating the “u” they kept their hands clean and were not descending into the gutter with hoi polloi, while simultaneously titillating potential readers.  Did they think readers would be offended by the word fuck, but would not be by f*ck?  Then it occurred to him that he didn’t know what the fuck non-fiction books were anyway.  Maybe he had been wrong all his life and the opposite of up was non-up, not down.

*

On every table in the seaside resort’s breakfast room there was a brightly colored flower in a clear watered vase.  When he picked it up to smell the orange blossom, there was no smell and the water didn’t move.  He imagined an ersatz form of plastic happiness, a conjurer’s delight, where everything was a trick, nothing moved, not even water.

*

Leaving the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in southern California where white and black Marines were regularly fighting and there were even some killings never reported by the press, the two young Marines escaped the tense and claustrophobic atmosphere on a weekend pass.  It was early February 1967, and they took an overnight bus up the coast to San Francisco where they wandered around and found a breakfast restaurant near Union Square. There they read in the newspaper that for the week of January 12-19 the U.S. military had suffered its highest casualty count so far in Vietnam: 144 killed, 1, 044 wounded, and 6 missing-in-action.  It jolted them awake more than the coffee.  Later that afternoon, the two naifs wandered into the Haight-Ashbury district were they were startled by the first waves of acid-dazed hippies, who would soon arrive in hoards for the “summer of love.”  In the evening when they visited a bar for some beers, the waitress who delivered their drinks was topless.  While they regarded this slight anomaly with manly indifference, she must have noticed their military haircuts that stood out among the longhairs, and so she served them buttons with their beers.  The buttons read: Vietnam Love It Or Leave It. Heading back to the base, they knew where they didn’t want to go.

*

The young man was studying for a PhD.  He was intent on learning what made the world and people tick.  He was attending a small seminar at the home of his professor, a famous German emigre who had worked for the Rand Corporation and U.S.  Intelligence. Each of the five students was to give a short presentation on the subject of fake news and the issue of knowledge, since the course concerned the sociology of knowledge.  The student began his presentation by quoting a famous philosopher’s words: “In formulating any philosophy, the first consideration must always be: What can we know?  That is, what can we be sure we know, or sure that we know we knew it, if indeed it is all knowable.

Or have we simply forgotten it and are too embarrassed to say anything?  Descartes hinted at the problem when he wrote, ‘My mind can never know my body, although it has become quite friendly with my legs.’ By “knowable,” incidentally, I do not mean that which can be known by perception of the senses, or that which can be grasped by the mind, but more that which can be said to be Known or to possess a Knownness or Knowability, or at least something you can mention to a friend.”  The student paused and the eminent professor said, “So very interesting.  Who is that philosopher?”  The student replied, “Woody Allen.”  “He is very perceptive,” said the professor, “and yet I have never heard of him.  I will have to read his work.”  The student realized he was in good hands with such U.S. intelligence and Rand Corporation experts, so he asked the professor’s wife for another glass of the German wine she was serving and toasted his good fortune with a wry grin. None of the other students got the joke.

*

A young man was reading a book that he highly recommended to his uncle.  Leafing through it, the older man came upon this passage: “the free individual is just a fictional tale concocted by an assembly of biochemical algorithms.”  So what was the point of reading such a book, he wondered, since doing so was an exercise in pre-programmed absurdity since there was no freedom.

*

You have probably seen the bumper sticker that says: “Shit Happens.”  Some people are just lucky, I suppose, and odd coincidences mark their lives. When he was just out of Columbia College and working for Business International Corporation, a known CIA front company, Barack Obama had a chance encounter with a young woman, Genevieve Cook, with whom he had a 1-2 year relationship.

Like Obama and at about the same time, Cook just happened to have lived in Indonesia with her father, Michael Cook, who just happened to become Australia’s top spook, the director-general of the Office of National Assessments, and also the Ambassador to Washington.

Of course, Obama’s mother, as is well-known, just happened to be living in Indonesia with Barack and Obama’s step-father, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian military officer under the command of General Suharto.

The CIA supported General Suharto’s coup against President Sukarno and the slaughter of over a million Indonesian Communists and Indonesian-Chinese.

Image: Indonesia massacre 1965

As is also well-known, it just so happened that Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, trained in the Russian language, after teaching English in the US Embassy in Jakarta that housed one of the largest CIA stations in Asia, did her “anthropological” work in Indonesia and Southeast Asia financed by the well-known CIA conduits, USAID and the Ford Foundation. Then there is Cook’s stepfather, Philip C. Jessup, who just happened to be in Indonesia at the same time, doing nickel-mining deals with the genocidal Suharto government.  Anyway, “shit happens.”  You never know whom you might meet along the way of life.

*

The hostess at the seaside restaurant had an eastern European accent, so he asked her where she was from.  She said, “Belgrade, Serbia.”  He told her he was sorry for what the U.S. government led by Bill Clinton had done to her country and that he considered Clinton a war criminal. She said the bombing in 1999 was terrifying, and even though she was young at the time, she vividly remembered it. It traumatized her, her parents, and her family.  Then she smiled and said that in the month she had been in the U.S. for her summer job, all the Americans she had met had been so friendly.  He welcomed her to the U.S., and as he was walking away, he remembered that Clinton’s savage bombing of Serbia that had killed so many Serbian children and other innocents had been code-named “Operation Noble Anvil.”  He wondered what kind of “noble” people would think of innocent children as anvils: “heavy usually steel-faced iron blocks on which metal is shaped,” and did the friendly Americans accept Clinton’s sick lies when he ended his March 24, 1999 war address to the American people with these words: “Our thoughts and prayers tonight must be with the men and women of our armed forces, who are undertaking this mission for the sake of our values and our children’s future. May God bless them, and may God bless America.”

*

The banal, 1967 hit song, “San Francisco” (Be sure to wear flowers in your hair), which was influential in enticing young people to come to San Francisco for the Summer of Love, was written by “Papa” John Philips, who attended the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and whose father was a Marine Corps Captain.  “Papa” John’s wife had worked at the Pentagon and her father was involved in covert intelligence work in Vietnam.  His neighbor and Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles) buddy was Jim Morrison of Doors fame, whose father US Navy Admiral George Morrison commanded U.S. warships in Vietnam’s Tonkin Gulf during the “Tonkin Gulf Incident.” Frank Zappa, the father figure of Laurel Canyon’s many musicians who just happened to converge in one place at the same time where a covert military film studio operated, had a father who was a chemical warfare specialist at Edgewood Arsenal.  Stephen Stills, David Crosby and many other soon to be famous musicians all came from military and intelligence backgrounds and frolicked in Laurel Canyon.  Although they were draft age, none of them was drafted as they played music, dropped acid, and created the folk-rock movement whose music was catchy but innocuous and posed no threat to the establishment. But “shit happens.”  In his disturbing book, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon, David McGowan raises the question: “what if the musicians themselves (and various other leaders and founders of the ‘movement’) were every bit as much a part of the intelligence community as the people who were supposedly harassing them?  What if, in other words, the entire youth culture of the 1960s was created not as a grass-roots challenge to the status quo, but as a cynical exercise in discrediting and marginalizing the budding anti-war movement and creating a fake opposition that could be easily controlled and led astray….What if, in reality, they were pretty much all playing on the same team?”

*

The reporter was interviewing four of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s (image left) young “executive governors,” who were all dressed in three-piece business suits.  They were in the process of conducting Transcendental Meditation’s weeklong course leading to supernormal abilities, including, flying, levitating, disappearing, x-ray vision, and other siddhis, or supernormal powers.  Their recent press release had advertised the course as “a new breakthrough for human life on earth” for any person.  The reporter was a bit skeptical that people could be taught – for a large fee – to fly or disappear.

He asked one of the executive governors, “Can you literally rise into the air and move horizontally; can you see yourself and can others see you actually fly?” “Absolutely,” Larry Johnson replied without hesitation, “absolutely.  Once you eliminate all stress from your nervous system, you have unbounded, unlimited potential.  A human can achieve any desire he wants, flying is only one of them.”  “People will be skeptical,” the reporter continued, “How about a demonstration?”  “A public demonstration would cause too much of a ruckus,” said Johnson.  “And we couldn’t show you because we only do it for each other.  Actually, we do our techniques with our eyes closed, but we do peek out once in a while and see each other flying around the room.

You know, one of the siddhis is a technique for making yourself invisible, and the Mararishi has said, ‘Don’t peek out to see if you’ve disappeared.’” Johnson giggled and added, “We can also teach people to x-ray their own bodies and see through walls. Absolutely, absolutely.  It’s all about infinite correlation.  Absolutely.” As the battered reporter left the interview, he wondered if the Maharishi was a creation of the CIA.  He remembered John Lennon’s song lines about the Maharishi’s assistant:  “But he often spread rumors through his right hand man/Who used to be with the CIA”

*

What is “exactly clear” is that Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills, Neil Young et al.) toured with their Laurel Canyon buddies, the Beach Boys, in late 1967 (their other mutual bud, Charlie Manson, stayed out west presumably to work on his craft) and performed at a very odd venue for a “dissident” rock group, The U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  At that time nearly 500,000 American troops were waging war on the Vietnamese.  That concert was an odd happening, wouldn’t you say?

*

If  everyone actually looked, they’d see precisely what went down, “what’s going down,” and why we are going down.  If you think many of these things “just happen” for no reason, then I guess you are just “f*cked.”  Excuse me, but it’s true.  Does the asterisk help?

*

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Distinguished author and sociologist Edward Curtin is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/.

The Terrorists Among US- Traitors and Terror 3

June 21, 2019

by George Eliason for The Saker Blog

The Terrorists Among US- Traitors and Terror 3

The second part in this series showed clearly that the US Intel community has been overrun by untrainable and undependable people.

The more facts that come out, the worse the situation looks. We trust these people to dissect and analyze critical pieces of information and based on their experience advise the President of the United States whether or not diplomacy, spying, and covert action, sanctions, or even military engagement is warranted.

So, the big question in part 2 became, how do you induct over 3 million new employees with no previous experience into what is supposed to be one of the most complicated professions on the planet? Can this be done in less than 5 years? The answer is you can’t.

Most of the Intel the US is using right now comes from private sector sources. Over 80% of the current NSA budget goes to subcontractors that can hire and layoff on a per-project basis. There is no loyalty to employees or government service. Loyalties are bought and sold by the highest bidders as part of the daily grind to just make a living.

One day Jimmy the 1st year apprentice Intel guy might work for the US government. Two weeks later he might work for the Ukrainian lobby doing Oppo-research. Three weeks later he might work for a company that has both for clients. He takes all the software packages with him as well as insight into the data he’s gained or if it’s OSINT, the data itself can change hands if it does so before being labeled “secret.”- The Unthinkable Consequences of Outsourcing US Intel

Since 2015, I’ve watched the Intel industry go through radical changes in a very short time. This started long before I interviewed Michael Jasinski (MJ), the Assistant Professor Department of Political Science University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh about this.

The following is professor Jasinski’s remarks from the 2017 article and following that the interview we did the other day. In literally 2 years the Intel community hiring standards have gone from university researchers with at least some experience and education in the field down to Jimmy who used to work at Walmart and is now an intern at the CIA, FBI, DIA, DOD or fill in another agency of your choice.

Professor Jasinski had oversight over researchers that were later hired by US Intel agencies following 9/11 and provided evaluations of them prior to their employment.

MJ- “Considering how the intelligence community is depicted in the media or in the movies (and clearly CIA “outreach” plays a role here), you’d think Jedi Knights. The Justice League. Gandalf. But if you ever had personal contact with the “three-letter agencies” for any period of time, you’d think different. My most recent experience with the “intelligence” community was at MIIS, post-9/11 when the agencies were coming there to hire, and they were hiring big. They hired many of my research assistants–I was doing what might be termed “open-source intelligence” on WMD proliferation–and in the process, they’d ask me, their immediate supervisor, for my opinion. So I’d tell them point-blank: can’t read, can’t write, can’t analyze. I don’t care what their CV says, the only language they can function in at any level in English. No matter, they’d get hired anyway. Drug convictions? No matter, they’d get hired anyway (at least at the time, the CIA would hire you if you didn’t have any drug convictions within the last 3 years). Scary political views they wore on their sleeve? No matter, they’d get hired anyway. All of my good assistants went to work for the UN, IAEA, major NGOs. The dregs went to “intelligence.” So now when I see a) the “Russian interference” stories and b) the inability to safeguard, and presumably use responsibly, your own cyber-warfare arsenal, I can’t say I’m exactly surprised. But there are no shortcuts in this kind of work. If you rapidly expand at the cost of dramatically lowering standards, you (and the country) are going to pay a price. We’re paying it right now.”- The Private Contractors Using Vault 7 Tools for US Gov: US Intel Needs a Ground-Up Rebuild Part 1

GE– Professor Jasinski, how do you feel about the idea of can’t read, can’t write the language analyst types gaining NSA size tools and being sent to spy into Russian infrastructure as bounty hunters looking for threats?

MJ-It’s not unlike giving a monkey a live hand grenade, except that the monkey in question would not run the risk of causing major power war. I hope these reports are, essentially, disinformation, because NYT would never publish anything the intel community doesn’t want to see published. At the same time, it may well be Venezuela was thusly targeted, and the recent Latin American power outages could be the collateral damage. If that’s the case, one can imagine the potential scope for trouble. And wouldn’t it be something if a cyber-attack on Russia turned resulted in a major EU or Chinese power outage?

GE-How would you feel about these same analysts gaining manager positions in the agencies and as the private contractor counterparts?

MJ– If in supervisory positions, they will succumb to the First Law of Bureaucracy which is to protect and expand turf, which in practical terms means more and more cyber-ops which are probably already being touted as the new “smart bombs”– a perfect solution to every national security problem, real or imagined. There will be lobbying, policy papers, entire think tanks funded by agencies led by people interested in not only expanding cyber ops but specifically expanding their own agency’s responsibility for cyber ops and in order to do that, you have to have some “track record” of running cyber ops. So you can imagine the potential for rapid escalation.

GE-If this type of activity occurred in say Russia’s nuclear sector where bounty hunter hackers with rancid political views gained access, how bad could this be?

MJ-If you are paranoia-minded (and since I’m from Eastern Europe, I am), the Chernobyl HBO series may serve as an “informational preparation of the battlefield.” If a Russian nuclear power plant is hacked and results in an incident, any incident (it doesn’t need to be as extreme as the what happened at Chernobyl), it damages Russia’s power grid, the credibility of the Russian government and the Russian state (all kinds of “collapse of USSR” parallels would be drawn), and also the attractiveness of Russian nuclear power exports to third countries. Three major US foreign policy aims for the price of one! And all of it can be plausibly blamed on Russian nuclear butterfingers.

GE-Is there any governmental or industrial sector that is hiring private hackers, IO pros, and private spies which could prove beneficial and not cost the US its status in the world or have international repercussions?

MJ- I think this is relatively straightforward. Pretty much everyone will acquire a defensive cyberwar capability, but the problem is that it may be extremely difficult to prevent an offensive arms race from being initiated. What makes this worse than conventional or even nuclear arms races is that you never really know what others have and it’s extremely difficult to verify the elimination of a capability, since we are essentially talking about software tools in a world where everyone and their brother is writing code. And if there is an underlying mistrust among major powers, it will naturally promote the development of offensive capabilities (which will be described as retaliatory, of course), which then will have to be tested in some way.

GE-What is the potential of bounty hunter hackers, IO pros, and private spies fomenting war outside of all government policy or oversight?

MJ– This is a bit more complicated. If the tools really proliferate among non-state actors, it’s the equivalent of selling biowarfare kits in pharmacies all over the world. Anyone can get them, then launch anthrax/black plague/whatever attacks on whatever individual, organization, city, or country they don’t like at the moment. So that probably will not be allowed to happen, and we’ll see something like the de-facto ban on shoulder-launched SAMs from being sold or given to non-state actors. Even the war in Syria did not seem to break that taboo. The bigger problem is governments outsourcing cyberwar to quasi-private actors, in the same way, propaganda has been outsourced to the likes of Bellingcat, censorship to Google and Facebook, killing people to Eric Prince. So, for reasons of plausible deniability, you could set up a Dirty Dozen-style outfit of cybercriminals given suspended sentences in return for cooperating with the gov’t, then use them to stage cyber ops to benefit the US gov’t, or at least the intel community, and do it with considerable plausible deniability and moreover hide it in some “black” budget program. I do wonder who all these Cozy Bears and Fancy Bears really are.

Professor Jasinski’s point is well taken. What would the world be like if anyone could get their hands on aggressive NSA state-level tools and point them at their neighbor?

When he taught the people that would eventually become CIA and FBI OSINT agents and managers, the transition from State to privatized Intel was in its infancy. Part 2 of the series showed Richard Clarke made the US Agency transitions to the privatization of Intel. UK PM David Cameron labeled the man that got the job transitioning US agencies to privatized Intel an idiot. That was Steve Emerson and his sidekick and former gift shop cashier, the lovely Rita Katz.

From the 1990s into the 2000s and 2010s, all of the elite hack, defense, and attack tools were purposely labeled freeware for anyone that decided to pick them up. This means the scenario professor Jasinski labeled as a nightmare is already coming true.

A researcher made an elite hacking tool out of the info in the Vault 7 leak. And most of the tools in their primary form are available online free of charge.

Why did this happen?

The Guardian made the point in November 2014 with “Our choice isn’t between a world where either the good guy’s spy or the bad guy’s spy. It’s a choice of everybody gets to spy or nobody gets to spy.”

So said the security luminary Bruce Schneier at BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit in October…With so many cheap or free tools out there, it is easy for anyone to set up their own NSA-esque operations and collect all this data. – American Jihadi Starts Private NSA And Attacks America

This has been gradually developing into the norm in America. Your safety and the safety of your loved ones, not to mention the rest of the world is in the hands of otherwise unhireable people that are learning as they go to hack and attack foreign countries and domestic civilians.

“In a Sept. 2013 Reuters article, Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the reported incidents of NSA employees’ violations of the law are likely “the tip of the iceberg” of lax data safeguards. The laws guiding the NSA’s spying authority in the first place are a bigger issue, he said. “If you only focus on instances in which the NSA violated those laws, you’re missing the forest for the trees,” Jaffer said. “The bigger concern is not with willful violations of the law but rather with what the law itself allows.” –NSA staff used spy tools on spouses, ex-lovers: watchdog

The companies and individual actors sell information. For some, this is the basis of how they market their services. They spy on other companies – on regular people – commit espionage and run legally dubious information operations against civilians.

But because of the work they do for both the U.S. government and private corporations, few restrictions are placed on them. Where they are supposed to be supervised by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), in some cases they are supervising themselves and other companies and training DNI agencies to act like them. –Intel-for-Hire Undermines U.S. Intelligence (Part 2)

It is only along this line, the NYT article U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid can be comprehended. Why is the military leaving the nation’s Commander in Chief blinded from what has the potential to spark a hot war? How?

While Jimmy works at the ODNI this week, the DOD uses 1st year Intel intern Jimmy’s brother Gary. Gary has a solid 6 months behind him as a privatized operator to carry out OSINT against Russian assets.

Do you think I’m exaggerating? My first thought is ole’ Gary made a mess the US government was going to get taken behind the shed for. But, why would the DOD get behind this hacking operation and alienate their Commander in Chief? Why not invoke plausible deniability? Do they think Trump will take the ODNI use of private sector apprentices to heart and fire them?

This is part of an ODNI and DOD Intel policy change. The DOD has been using private citizens like ole’ Gary for a while. Now, it almost seems like they bring these guys into a room and really chat them up before letting them loose to wreak havoc on society.

Ole’ Gary, you are a supa’ spy! Yes, you are. Yes, you are! Now go get me sum red Ruskies!

The US Needs Bounty Hunters For Cyber: Ex-DoD Officials Say

To defend 21st-century networks, should the US use the model of 18th-century privateers?

It seems Ole’ Gary and the Podunk crew received new and improved titles. They are bounty hunters and privateers. This is immensely important and will be the subject of the next article in the series.

All they need to do is go back to the room and get chatted up again and they can start their new careers. I’ve been researching this cottage industry and watching it develop since 2015. The Privatized NSA Army is Attacking YOU!

According to the DOD, this function is supposed to do exactly what the DOD just did. The problem is it is more of an embarrassment to let ole’ Gary and Jimmy loose in the press than it is to embarrass their direct commander and the highest executive according to the Constitution.

CIA morale plummets as Trump becomes president and CIA veterans say spat with Trump could have real-world consequences.

The problem is most of the morale slump is coming from private contractors that are doing the actual work. Contrary to popular belief, the CIA would be relegated to the level of Keystone Cops if they had real agents face forward online every day. So, what does this mean?

Ole Jimmy and Gary want to feel the part. They want to dress the part. They want to live the part. Their lack of GEDs just won’t allow it to happen. Sorry, Jimmy. Sorry, Gary. The CIA doesn’t offer apprenticeships. But, because they do work indirectly for the CIA, they pretend they are CIA and use their real CIA tools on their neighbors. We’ll get into that in the next article.

If U.S. intelligence is questionable and untrustworthy, there is no single greater threat to the planet today. Members of an intelligence community who try to circumvent the democratic process should be prosecuted no matter who they are or who they are trying to undermine.- U.S. Intelligence Crisis Poses a Threat to the World (Part 1)

It’s time for a quiz and let’s see who’s paying attention

Were Hackers Targeting Nuclear Facilities like Homeland Security Dept. and F.B.I. Say?

Or was it Jimmy and Gary again?

If you said yes, you may just win and the US goes back to the things we were all taught to value.

Agents like Jimmy and Gary provide most of the OSINT and Intel for the FBI and Homeland Security.

The next article in the series is mind-boggling because it opens up the reality of cyber privateering and bounty hunting. The reality of the situation and the deviant turns it’s taken make the dire predictions professor Jasinksi made look very tame and optimistic.

US-Backed Terrorists “Struggle” After Returning from Syria

May 25, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson – NEO) – Upon reading the Financial Times article, “Isis fighters struggle on return to Balkan states,” you might almost forget the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was and still is a hardcore terrorist organization guilty of some of the most heinous terrorism carried out in the 21st century.

The article begins, claiming:

In a village in the Kosovar countryside, Edona Berisha Demolli’s family have gathered to celebrate her return from Syria where she and her husband fled to six years ago to fight for Islamic militants Isis. 

 “I am exhausted,” said Ms Demolli, as her relatives served guests slices of celebratory chocolate and vanilla cake and children played in the yard. “I thank God, the Kosovo state, and the US for bringing me home,” she said, referring to the pressure Washington put on countries to take their fighters back from camps across the Middle East and the logistical assistance they provided to that end.

The Financial Times would note that some 300 Bosnians joined ISIS and that Kosovo has set up barracks to accommodate returning fighters.

The article would end by quoting Besa Ismaili, a lecturer at Kosovo’s Faculty of Islamic Studies:

“You don’t have to approve of what they did, but you have to reach out to them to prevent further radicalisation, and their children need to develop a bond to the country.”

It is difficult to imagine how extremists who left their home country to fight alongside ISIS could be yet “further radicalized.”

We can suppose “further radicalization” might mean a second deployment in yet another of Washington’s proxy wars around the globe. It could be argued that returning fighters who receive assistance in reintegrating into society and escaping any real consequences for their actions will do very little to dissuade them or others in their community from doing it again.

Escaping Justice 

The Financial Times in its sympathetic narrative begets questions surrounding an inescapable truth regarding the central role the United States and its allies played in facilitating the transfer of foreign extremists to and from the battlefield in war-torn Syria.

The article specifically mentions (and through the words of a former extremist, thanks) the US for its logistical assistance in returning ISIS militants to their respective countries.

We can only imagine if terrorists invaded the United States, killed Americans, destroyed American infrastructure and fought against US troops, just how slighted Washington would feel if a foreign nation intervened and spirited these terrorists away, especially back to their countries of origin and beyond Washington’s ability to exact justice.

But that is precisely what the US has denied Damascus.

America’s Terrorist Foreign Legions 

The US aiding terrorists in their return to the Balkans will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the real rather than feigned relationship between Washington and Al Qaeda whom ISIS is merely a rebranded offshoot of.

In the 1990s as the US meddled in the Balkans, it provided weapons and aid to the so-called “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA), an analogue to the so-called “Free Syrian Army” in Syria today. Both were nothing more than public relations fronts. Behind it were regional Al Qaeda affiliates.

The Wall Street Journal in a forgotten 2001 article titled, “Al Qaeda’s Balkan Links,” would lay out the truth behind KLA:

By early 1998 the U.S. had already entered into its controversial relationship with the KLA to help fight off Serbian oppression of that province.

While in February the U.S. gave into KLA demands to remove it from the State Department’s terrorism list, the gesture amounted to little. That summer the CIA and CIA-modernized Albanian intelligence (SHIK) were engaged in one of the largest seizures of Islamic Jihad cells operating in Kosovo. 

Fearing terrorist reprisal from al Qaeda, the U.S. temporarily closed its embassy in Tirana and a trip to Albania by then Defense Secretary William Cohen was canceled out of fear of an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Albanian separatism in Kosovo and Metohija was formally characterized as a “jihad” in October 1998 at an annual international Islamic conference in Pakistan. 

Nonetheless, the 25,000 strong KLA continued to receive official NATO/U.S. arms and training support and, at the talks in Rambouillet, France, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright shook hands with “freedom fighter” Hashim Thaci, a KLA leader. As this was taking place, Europol (the European Police Organization based in The Hague) was preparing a scathing report on the connection between the KLA and international drug gangs. Even Robert Gelbard, America’s special envoy to Bosnia, officially described the KLA as Islamic terrorists.

The US arming extremists through dubious “liberation fronts?” US diplomats’ lives being in danger from the very extremists their government is sponsoring? America’s own envoys describing the very people Washington is backing as “terrorists?” These are all now well-established, familiar themes seen repeating themselves again and again from Libya where a US consulate was in fact attacked and a US ambassador killed, to Syria where the “Free Syrian Army” turned out to be little more than window dressing for Al Qaeda and ISIS and now back to the Balkans where the US is already seeding the ground for future proxy wars.

Articles like those appearing in the Financial Times today or the Wall Street Journal years ago all but lay out the truth before the American public, but apparently more compelling is contemporary political rhetoric of “fighting terrorism” or backing “liberation fronts” on humanitarian grounds.

Behind the rhetoric, the US has recruited and armed terrorists to fight its wars everywhere from Afghanistan in the 1980s, to the Balkans in the 1990s, to southern Russia in the early 2000s, to Libya and Syria from 2011 onward. Even as the US poses as “victor” over ISIS in Iraq and Syria, it has spent its time ferrying fighters back to Europe where they can escape Iraqi and Syrian justice, recuperate, radicalize others in their community and be fully prepared for the next time Washington’s needs call upon them.

Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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