“In the late 1950s, US relations with Communist China were virtually nonexistent. Trade had been tightly controlled since China’s intervention in North Korea in 1950, and, to deny Beijing any advantage from commercial or financial transactions, the Secretary of the Treasury issued strict regulations prohibiting the import of goods that originated in or had passed through Communist China. There were rarely any exceptions, even for pandas. In 1958, one frustrated animal importer tried a different tactic. He took his case to the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), Allen Dulles……….”
Chi Chi was apparently a somewhat naughty Panda, just like that other Chi Chi. Yes, once there was a “Chi Chi the Go Go Dancer“, actually there were probably several of them. Including one in the wilder days of San Francisco, when Herb Caen and the Go Go people reigned.
But she/they didn’t come from China and no doubt wasn’t Allen (or John Foster) Dulles’ type. But given the alleged history of the current CinC of the country, anything is possible again, even in the era of Pompeo the Dour…..
(We can always think of something cute and warm and fuzzy that comes from North Korea or Iran. But what can that be?)
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“US intelligence officials are under pressure from the White House to produce a justification to declare Iran in violation of a 2015 nuclear agreement, in an echo of the politicisation of intelligence that led up to the Iraq invasion, according to former officials and analysts. The collapse of the 2015 deal between Tehran, the US and five other countries – by which Iran has significantly curbed its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief – would trigger a new crisis over nuclear proliferation at a time when the US is in a tense standoff with North Korea. Intelligence analysts, chastened by the experience of the 2003 Iraq war, launched by the Bush administration on the basis of phoney evidence of weapons of mass destruction, are said to be resisting the pressure to come up with evidence of Iranian violations……….”
I had thought nobody would want to be another Colin Powell, an honorable military general who was essentially tricked by the Neocons into lying to the United Nations Security Council about Iraq’s WMD before the 2003 war.
But I may have been wrong: UN Ambassador Nikki Haley seems willing to go to any length to make a phony point about Iran’s nuclear program, to satisfy the boss. But then she was a South Carolina politician until just six months ago, which means she is used to anything goes. But unfortunately for the stubborn Neocons and warmongers Haley does not have the trust and credibility of a Colin Powell, a respected general tested by the fires of war. She is becoming more and more a female Trump.
There is another missing tool for the Neocon warmongers who yearn for another military brawl in the Persian Gulf. Nobody is willing to provide the “Slam Dunk” seal of approval Donald Trump will need to create another North Korean-style problem on the Persian Gulf. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been eerily and professional correctly silent on this issue. Unlike the CIA heads of the past 25 years who eagerly sought TV cameras and microphones.
My guess is that the US Intelligence professionals are not willing to be used as unprofessional tools of the politicians anymore. Not even as tools of of a loud-mouthed leader, not even the loudest American mouth of the past hundred plus years.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
Ahmed Chalabi died this week. His death has allowed the Western media to re-iterate, and almost certainly exaggerate again, his singular role in pushing the American-British, Bush-Blair, 2003 invasion of Iraq.
We are to believe that one man, an Iraqi exile with possible unsavory connections, fooled the huge American intelligence community (remember when CIA chief George Tenet said finding WMD in Iraq was a Slam Dunk). He also supposedly fooled the less-massive British intelligence machine: MI6 and James Bond and George Smiley and the rest of the possible characters.
Gone are Donald Rumsfeld’s snarky comments about Old and New Europe. Gone are Dick Cheney’s claim of fictional meetings between Saddam Hussein agents with Al-Qaeda operatives in Czecho-Slovakia. Gone are the silly allegations of “mushroom cloud” and “smoking gun”. Gone are the allegations of Yellow Cake from Niger and the outing of uncooperative CIA agents.
Gone are the huge no-bid contracts for well-connected U.S companies and Persian Gulf contractors. Gone is any talk about millionaire American private military and building contractors who made their fortunes in the Iraq war, on the backs of dead and crippled American boys and girls and Iraqi victims. Gone is the talk about a billion-dollar Baghdad embassy that was used as a cash cow for corrupt Americans and their Gulf partners.
Chalabi was one exaggerator, perhaps one liar among many in the early years of this century. Not all of them were Arabs. Chalabi’s death seems convenient for many in the West.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks. The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said .The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others………………”
The famous tail spying on the famous dog the better to be able to wag it. So Netanyahu got some trusted Americans to spy for him. He also got some trusted ‘European officials’ (yes, there are some) to help, could be French, could be others. Interesting: a foreign leader gets American and possibly European bureaucrats and/or diplomats to spy for him on other U.S. diplomats in order to use the information with the Congress to derail American diplomatic talks. Might as well have the Mossad or that Las Vegas gambling tycoon as part of the US delegation. Or, maybe worse, have a former Republican congressional aide as part of the delegation. They used to shoot these people, didn’t they? Interesting to see how members of the Senate and Congress react (probably McCain advising Obama to get over his tantrum, please)
It is almost like being in a more peaceful version of a milder Yemen (or Lebanon): different political fighting factions, some of them allied with foreign powers. Except here is no real fighting. Just a push for war.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday
“The CIA paid torture teachers James Mitchell and Bruce Jesser more than $80 million. As they now live out their wildest dreams, their barbarity has cost the U.S. far more. Call them the houses that torture built: Two sprawling luxury homes purchased by the CIA-contracted psychologists at the center of the scathing Senate report. James Elmer Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen are not the first Americans to employ waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” against our enemies. But they are almost certainly the only ones to get rich doing it. They did so by employing what is widely dismissed as “voodoo science”…………..”
And I had almost come to think that we are among the last barbarians left. Some of us, a few actually, behead others, a few slit throats, some blow themselves up among others (mostly the victims are of us) and kill hundreds, some sentence dissidents to public flogging. All rather primitive methods of inflicting death and/or pain by both Jihadi terrorists and repressive regimes. But these are old tried and true methods dating back deep into history, to long before Rome, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Islam. The cruel but unimaginative methods of execution and inflicting pain of the Muslim and Arab worlds.
Then we have the more imaginative, or more scientific methods of inflicting pain and causing death. That is the more civilized method. From the Nazis of Germany/Austria to the French in Algeria to Abu Ghraib and to the alleged CIA and the private contractor Gulag that spreads across the globe. From rectal (or anal) feeding to waterboarding to lengthy sleep deprivation to psychological torture to gas chambers to forced starvation, all the way back to the burning of people alive and to the fires and knives of the Inquisition. The more civilized methods of the non-Muslim West. I should not mention the odd questionable prison injections that cause convicts to die slowly and unusually painfully in some God-fearing states. But I just did.
Houses of glass are everywhere………..
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
Have Yourself a Merry Little——-> Kenny G. Holiday ………..
“The CIA torture report lists ‘rectal feeding’ as a legitimate means of nourishing detainees. But the practice has no scientific backing, and is nothing but a torture method. There is enough contained in the newly-released Senate report on CIA torture practices to shock anyone’s conscience. News that CIA interrogators threatened violence against the children or parents of detainees, made them stand in stress positions on broken feet, and deprived them of sleep for up to a week at a time is appalling on its face. One needs no medical expertise to parse the horrors described. But what of “rectal feeding”? At first blush, this practice may have the appearance of legitimacy in cases where detainees refused to eat or drink. One man was put in a head-down position and Ensure was instilled into his rectum……………”
Does one hijacking deserves another? They say in the West that the Wahabbi Jihadis have hijacked Islam. So the solution is to have the torturers and their enablers hijack America and her traditions and values. To move her closer (and lower) to the level of the terrorists……….
How did it come down to this?
From the bright America of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and John Kennedy to this? To the recent American regimes of prevalent KGB-style domestic espionage and imaginative external torture? To the sorry lot of the past fourteen years of Bush, Cheney, and whoever calls the shots for Obama?
During the cold war, a favorite criticism of the Soviet Union was its all-powerful untouchable apparatus of internal espionage. The West allegedly won the Cold War, or did it? Can we say that after the disclosures of widespread spying on American citizens and their private correspondence and communications? The Allies won the war against the Nazis, but Western regimes are now using methods of torture for which they tried Nazis and others after the war. There is a difference in the extent of the torture. So it is a difference between “widespread torture” and “mass torture” as done by totalitarian regimes.
Could it be this new for-profit approach to national security of these past few years? The system that hires unaccountable “private contractors” and torturers and creates a chance of deniability? A deliberate alibi for officials at a cost of millions to the treasury paid to these private contractors? The modern legal equivalent of Mafia “hit men” pretending to be patriotic while inflicting unusual pain for a lot of money?
Would Messrs Bush, Cheney, their accommodating Counselors, and those in the Obama White House who condoned the practice accept to be “rectally fed”?
Can anyone imagine “rectal feeding” condoned under any American president that preceded Bush, Obama, and possibly one of the Clintons? Not even Reagan and Nixon, who were perceived as tough but had some honorable limits.
Normally you would consider the U.S. Senate as a sane place where grown-ups would impose some limits on such un-American behavior. But even that window will not be there anymore. It will be closed come January. The crazies look ready to control the asylum.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
Interesting the reactions of the political elites, classes, and opinion-ators in the United States to two different famous whistleblowers:
- Edward Snowden was a young techie contracted by the NSA to handle secret data and information.
- Leon Panetta is a former Democrat Congressman, former White House Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton, former head of the CIA, and former Secretary of Defense. Former jack of all trades in the Democratic Party.
- Both men had access to top secret information. Panetta also had access to detailed ‘elite’ information and insight about the inner workings of the intelligence and national security apparatus.
- Edward Snowden was a mere grunt. He swore an oath to keep the information he handled secret. Being young and not glib with no access to high-powered legal counsel, he leaked the shocking information he had access to. Technically he broke the law, no doubt. Morally, many people believe he did his countrymen a great service and opened millions of eyes (he did open millions of eyes for sure). Either way, he did a version of “kiss and tell”, although unlike Panetta he did not do the kissing. So far all Snowden has gotten from his disclosure and flight is grief and exile.
- Leon Panetta, the more mature more glib man, waited until he left office, then he struck: he published a book and hit the TV trail. No doubt some of his accommodating former colleagues have approved his book. He is pushing his book all over the media, hoping to make a small fortune from it. I have not read the book, but reportedly he talks critically of American policy in Iraq and Syria. He is divulging information and insight he had heard and read during National Security sessions to make his political points. He is also doing a “kiss and tell”.
- Snowden was not involved in politics, as far as I know. Panetta is suspected by at least one person of being a Clinton partisan and of awaiting the restoration of Hillary to the White House. Someone wrote recently that he is trying to rewrite history.
- Oh, I left out that other confidante of presidents, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his “kiss and tell” book.
- So the moral is? If you want to blow the whistle on your employer, make sure you rise high enough within the hierarchy, then quit and do it.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum