What did Pakistan Know about Bin Laden and when.

I have wondered this exact question since the alleged killing of Bin Laden. I say alleged because as a lay citizen there has not exactly been what you would call proof ever presented. They have made the photos off limits… They have never released the DNA for independent testing. They buried him at sea seeming the day after he was apparently or allegedly shot.

Pakistan had to know that Bin Laden was there. It is a uncomfortable truth since it raises many troubling questions about our Money flowing there and they are playing both sides almost without question. How do you live very close to the Capital of Pakistan and a town that houses the largest military academy in the Country and not know he lives miles if not yards away.

From the New York Times article this weekend.

What Pakistan knew about Bin Laden

After our first day of reporting in Quetta, we noticed that an intelligence agent on a motorbike was following us, and everyone we interviewed was visited afterward by ISI agents. We visited a neighborhood called Pashtunabad, “town of the Pashtuns,” a close-knit community of narrow alleys inhabited largely by Afghan refugees who over the years spread up the hillside, building one-story houses from mud and straw. The people are working class: laborers, bus drivers and shopkeepers. The neighborhood is also home to several members of the Taliban, who live in larger houses behind high walls, often next to the mosques and madrasas they run.

The small, untidy entrance on the street to one of those madrasas, the Jamiya Islamiya, conceals the size of the establishment. Inside, a brick-and-concrete building three stories high surrounds a courtyard, and classrooms can accommodate 280 students. At least three of the suicide bombers we were tracing had been students here, and there were reports of more. Senior figures from Pakistani religious parties and provincial-government officials were frequent visitors, and Taliban members would often visit under the cover of darkness in fleets of S.U.V.s.

One of many madrasas in Quetta in 2008.
ALEX MAJOLI / MAGNUM
We requested an interview and were told that a female journalist would not be permitted inside, so I passed some questions to the Pakistani reporter with me, and he and the photographer went in. The deputy head of the madrasa denied that there was any militant training there or any forced recruitment for jihad. “We are educating the students in the Quran, and in the Quran it is written that it is every Muslim’s obligation to wage jihad,” he said. “All we are telling them is what is in the Quran. Then it is up to them to go to jihad.” He ended the conversation. Classes were breaking up, and I could hear a clamor rising as students burst out of their classrooms. Boys poured out of the gates onto the street. They looked spindly, in flapping clothes and prayer caps, as they darted off on their bikes and on foot, chasing one another down the street.

The reporter and the photographer joined me outside. They told me that words of praise were painted across the wall of the inner courtyard for the madrasa’s political patron, a Pakistani religious-party leader, and the Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. This madrasa, like so many in Pakistan, was a source of the Taliban resurgence that President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan leaders had long been warning about. In this nondescript madrasa in a poor neighborhood of Quetta, one of hundreds throughout the border region, the Taliban and Pakistan’s religious parties were working together to raise an army of militants.

“The madrasas are a cover, a camouflage,” a Pashtun legislator from the area told me. Behind the curtain, hidden in the shadows, lurked the ISI.

The Pakistani government, under President Pervez Musharraf and his intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was maintaining and protecting the Taliban, both to control the many groups of militants now lodged in the country and to use them as a proxy force to gain leverage over and eventually dominate Afghanistan. The dynamic has played out in ways that can be hard to grasp from the outside, but the strategy that has evolved in Pakistan has been to make a show of cooperation with the American fight against terrorism while covertly abetting and even coordinating Taliban, Kashmiri and foreign Qaeda-linked militants. The linchpin in this two-pronged and at times apparently oppositional strategy is the ISI. It’s through that agency that Pakistan’s true relationship to militant extremism can be discerned — a fact that the United States was slow to appreciate, and later refused to face directly, for fear of setting off a greater confrontation with a powerful Muslim nation.

Clearly Pakistan was endorsing and encouraging the Taliban in an attempt apparently to control Afghanistan.

Islamabad is a green, tranquil home for civil servants and diplomats, but for several days it resounded with gunfire and explosions. Crowds of worried parents arrived from all over the country to try to retrieve their children. The Red Mosque leaders tried to make the students stay. “They said if the women and others die, the people will take their side,” one father told me, and I realized then how premeditated this all was, how the girls were pawns in their plan to spark a revolution.

A week after the siege began, there was a ferocious battle. Elite Pakistani commandos rappelled from helicopters into the mosque and were raked with machine-gun fire. Perched in the mosque’s minarets and throughout its 75 rooms, the militants fought for 10 hours. They hurled grenades from bunkers and basements, and suicide bombers threw themselves at their attackers. The commandos found female students hiding in a bricked-up space beneath the stairs and led 50 women and girls to safety. Ghazi retreated to a basement in the compound. He died there as the last surviving fighters battled around him.

More than 100 people were killed in the siege, including 10 commandos. The ISI — despite having a long relationship with the mosque and its leaders, as well as two informers inside providing intelligence — played a strangely ineffective role. In a cabinet meeting after the siege, ministers questioned a senior ISI official about the intelligence service’s failure to prevent the militant action. “Who I meet in the evening and what I discuss is on your desk the next morning,” one minister told the official. “How come you did not know what was happening a hundred meters from the ISI headquarters?” The official sat in silence as ministers thumped their desks in a gesture of agreement.

“One hundred percent they knew what was happening,” a former cabinet minister who attended the meeting told me. The ISI allowed the militants to do what they wanted out of sympathy, he said. “The state is not as incompetent as people believe.”

Finally Bin Laden

It took more than three years before the depth of Pakistan’s relationship with Al Qaeda was thrust into the open and the world learned where Bin Laden had been hiding, just a few hundred yards from Pakistan’s top military academy. In May 2011, I drove with a Pakistani colleague down a road in Abbottabad until we were stopped by the Pakistani military. We left our car and walked down a side street, past several walled houses and then along a dirt path until there it was: Osama bin Laden’s house, a three-story concrete building, mostly concealed behind concrete walls as high as 18 feet, topped with rusting strands of barbed wire. This was where Bin Laden hid for nearly six years, and where, 30 hours earlier, Navy SEAL commandos shot him dead in a top-floor bedroom.

After a decade of reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan and tracking Bin Laden, I was fascinated to see where and how he hid. He had dispensed with the large entourage that surrounded him in Afghanistan. For nearly eight years, he relied on just two trusted Pakistanis, whom American investigators described as a courier and his brother.

People knew that the house was strange, and one local rumor had it that it was a place where wounded Taliban from Waziristan recuperated. I was told this by Musharraf’s former civilian intelligence chief, who had himself been accused of having a hand in hiding Bin Laden in Abbottabad. He denied any involvement, but he did not absolve local intelligence agents, who would have checked the house. All over the country, Pakistan’s various intelligence agencies — the ISI, the Intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence — keep safe houses for undercover operations. They use residential houses, often in quiet, secure neighborhoods, where they lodge people for interrogation or simply enforced seclusion. Detainees have been questioned by American interrogators in such places and sometimes held for months. Leaders of banned militant groups are often placed in protective custody in this way. Others, including Taliban leaders who took refuge in Pakistan after their fall in Afghanistan in 2001, lived under a looser arrangement, with their own guards but also known to their Pakistani handlers, former Pakistani officials told me. Because of Pakistan’s long practice of covertly supporting militant groups, police officers — who have been warned off or even demoted for getting in the way of ISI operations — have learned to leave such safe houses alone.

The split over how to handle militants is not just between the ISI and the local police; the intelligence service itself is compartmentalized. In 2007, a former senior intelligence official who worked on tracking members of Al Qaeda after Sept. 11 told me that while one part of the ISI was engaged in hunting down militants, another part continued to work with them.

Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. “He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,” the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so. Pasha had been an energetic opponent of the Taliban and an open and cooperative counterpart for the Americans at the ISI. “Pasha was always their blue-eyed boy,” the official said. But in the weeks and months after the raid, Pasha and the ISI press office strenuously denied that they had any knowledge of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad.

Fantastic article… If you want to understand the dynamics in place and how things went down you have to read this.

New York Times. What Pakistan knew about Bin Laden

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Map shows what losing Crimea means to Ukraine

This map from the Washington Post does a good job in general in showing what Ukraine is losing in respect to Crimea.

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Ukraine signs EU trade Pact

The whole fiasco started in the Ukraine because a vast majority of Ukrainians wanted tighter relationship and trade with the EU. Yanukovych ignored what the people wanted and signed a deal with Moscow for trade. The protests started almost immediately after.

updated 2:52 PM EDT 03.21.14
Ukraine signs EU trade pact amid crisis
By Laura Smith-Spark. Nina Dos Santos and Frederik Pleitgen, CNN
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Brussels (CNN) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed the political elements of a trade pact with the European Union on Friday, even as Russian lawmakers finalized annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

The signing in Brussels signals Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine — and carries additional symbolic force because it was the decision by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in November to ditch the trade pact in favor of closer ties with Russia that triggered the protests that led to his ouster in February and spiraled into the current crisis.

It also comes a day after the European Union and the United States slapped sanctions on Russian lawmakers and businessmen; Russia responded with its own list of sanctions against a number of U.S. lawmakers and officials.

In another sign of defiance, Russian President Vladimir Putin, flanked by the speakers of both houses of Parliament, signed a treaty Friday finalizing the accession to Russia of the Crimea region and its port city of Sevastopol.

The upper house unanimously approved ratification of the treaty a day after Russia’s lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, passed it by an overwhelming margin.

Russia’s moves to annex Crimea, following a contested referendum last weekend in the Black Sea peninsula, have turned a confrontation with Europe and the United States into the biggest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War.

In a sign that Western sanctions are already weighing on Russian authorities, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Friday in Moscow that the government will have to pay more to borrow money, state news agency ITAR-Tass said.

Russia “will look at our oil and gas revenues. If the situation is like it is now, we will probably have to give up external borrowings and cut domestic ones,” Siluanov said.

Yatsenyuk: EU speaking in one voice

Moscow has doggedly pursued its own course even as Western leaders have denounced its actions as violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and a breach of international law.

CNN article discussing EU deal

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CIA torture program. A long lasting black eye for the US.

The Torture program authorized by Pres. Bush and Dick Cheney in my estimation undermined world opinion about the US and frankly made the world a more dangerous place to live. I would argue this is one of the worst things the US was ever involved in. Some of the details are stomach turning.

How anyone with half a brain thought was a good idea is mystifying to me. Did they not think the torture program would eventually become public knowledge? Did they not think this had the potential to blow up in their faces? Frankly I am ashamed my Country was a part of this.

The old Washington adage that the cover-up is worse than the crime may not apply when it comes to the revelations this week that the Central Intelligence Agency interfered with a Senate torture investigation. It’s not that the cover-up isn’t serious. It is extremely serious—as Senator Dianne Feinstein said, the CIA may have violated the separation of powers, the Fourth Amendment, and a prohibition on spying inside the United States. It’s just that in this case, the underlying crimes are still worse: the dispute arises because the Senate Intelligence Committee, which Feinstein chairs, has written an as-yet-secret 6,300 page report on the CIA’s use of torture and disappearance—among the gravest crimes the world recognizes—against al-Qaeda suspects in the “war on terror.”

By Senator Feinstein’s account, the CIA has directly and repeatedly interfered with the committee’s investigation: it conducted covert unauthorized searches of the computers assigned to the Senate committee for its review of CIA files, and it secretly removed potentially incriminating documents from the computers the committee was using. That’s the stuff that often leads to resignations, independent counsels, and criminal charges; indeed, the CIA’s own Inspector General has referred the CIA’s conduct to the Justice Department for a potential criminal investigation.

But the crime that we must never lose sight of is the conduct that led to the investigation in the first place. To recall: in 2002, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration authorized the CIA to establish a series of secret prisons, or “black sites,” into which it disappeared “high-value” al-Qaeda suspects, often for years at a time, without any public acknowledgment, without charges, and cut off from any access to the outside world. The CIA was further authorized to use a range of coercive tactics—borrowed from those used by the Chinese to torture American soldiers during the Korean War—to try to break the suspects’ will. These included depriving suspects of sleep for up to ten days, slamming them against walls, forcing them into painful stress positions, and waterboarding them.

The program was approved by President Bush himself, as well as Vice-President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and CIA Director George Tenet. John Yoo and Jay Bybee, Justice Department lawyers, wrote memos to whitewash the program. These acts were war crimes under the laws of war and grave human rights abuses. Yet no one has yet been held accountable for any of them. And the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation is until now the only comprehensive effort to review the extensive classified CIA records about the program.

NYTimes article discussing

It was outrageous enough when two successive presidents papered over the Central Intelligence Agency’s history of illegal detention, rendition, torture and fruitless harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects. Now the leader of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, has provided stark and convincing evidence that the C.I.A. may have committed crimes to prevent the exposure of interrogations that she said were “far different and far more harsh” than anything the agency had described to Congress.

Ms. Feinstein delivered an extraordinary speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday in which she said the C.I.A. improperly searched the computers used by committee staff members who were investigating the interrogation program as recently as January.

Beyond the power of her office and long experience, Ms. Feinstein’s accusations carry an additional weight and credibility because she has been a reliable supporter of the intelligence agencies and their expanded powers since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 (sometimes too reliable).

On Tuesday, the C.I.A. director, John Brennan, denied hacking into the committee’s computers. But Ms. Feinstein said that in January, Mr. Brennan acknowledged that the agency had conducted a “search” of the computers. She said the C.I.A.’s inspector general had referred the matter to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution. “Besides the constitutional implications,” of separation of powers, she said, “the C.I.A.’s search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the C.I.A. from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”

Ms. Feinstein’s speech detailed the lengths to which the C.I.A. had gone to hinder the committee’s investigation, which it began in 2009 after senators learned the agency had destroyed videotapes of the interrogations under President George W. Bush. Under President Obama, prosecutors exonerated the officials who ordered those tapes destroyed.

Ms. Feinstein said that when Senate staff members reviewed thousands of documents describing those interrogations in 2009, they found that the C.I.A.’s leadership seriously misled the committee when it described the interrogations program to the panel in 2006, “only hours before President Bush disclosed the program to the public.”

N Y Times article on the coverup

In the vestibule of Room 211 of the Hart Senate Office Building, just to the north of the Capitol, a cop guards an inner door that requires a numerical code to open it. The room, where the staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence sits, is called a “skiff,” for “sensitive compartmented information facility.” Last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s chair, described secret documents that are now apparently stored in the office. She did so publicly, during a remarkable jeremiad on the Senate floor, which was part “Homeland” treatment, part grand-jury instruction. She recounted several years of maneuvering between the committee staff and the C.I.A., before announcing “grave concerns” that agency officers had broken the law and violated the Constitution during a struggle over the documents.

Feinstein called them the Panetta Review, in reference to the former C.I.A. director Leon Panetta, who left the agency in 2011. The documents were prepared by C.I.A. officers, and although their contents are secret, their subject matter is clear and vitally important: the true history of the brutal interrogation of about a hundred Al Qaeda leaders and suspects at offshore C.I.A. “black sites” between roughly 2002 and 2006, on orders of the Bush Administration. The interrogations included the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” such as waterboarding, which constituted torture in the judgment of the Red Cross and many other authorities. Feinstein suggested that the Panetta Review may illuminate still disputed issues; namely, whether the program produced significant intelligence, whether the C.I.A. lied to Congress about it, and how cruel and degrading the black sites really were.

Barack Obama ended the program on his second day in office, in 2009, denouncing it as torture. Yet he also signalled that he would not hold the C.I.A. or its career officers accountable for the past. Moreover, he decided to advance the C.I.A.’s role in counterterrorism, which complicated the options for examining the interrogation program. The C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center ran the sites. It also managed the agency’s drone program and the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Obama called its officers into action, ordering drone strikes in Pakistan and encouraging the agency to finally find bin Laden, which it did, in 2011. For the President to have investigated some of the same personnel for past complicity in torture would have been awkward.

Feinstein has endorsed Obama’s muscular counterterrorism policy, at some cost to her reputation among civil libertarians. Lately, she has also been criticized for defending the legality of the National Security Agency surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden. Her critics may detect a reputation-reviving opportunism in her recent dudgeon toward the C.I.A. But it was under Feinstein, after 2009, that the Select Committee took on an ambitious investigation into the defunct black sites. Senate investigators worked in a skiff near C.I.A. headquarters, in Virginia. Under a protocol that Feinstein described last week, the agency provided a segregated computer network and loaded in some six million pages of classified documents. Several times, by Feinstein’s account, C.I.A. officers secretly withdrew documents from the Senate staff’s collection. When they were caught, she said, they claimed, falsely, that the White House had ordered their action. The agency later apologized.

One of the questions that the committee explored was whether torture worked—that is, whether it produced exclusive intelligence that saved innocent lives. Even if it did, it would be wrong as policy, because it is immoral; but during the investigation former C.I.A. leaders said that the interrogations had proved very valuable and would withstand history’s judgment. Many Americans still think that such claims might be true, but they have no way to evaluate them, since the facts on which they are purportedly based remain highly classified.

The New Yorker article

Steve Coll is a fantastic writer about US policy mainly in the Middle East. His book Ghost Wars was fascinating.

Ruth Marcus – Watching Dinne Feinstein tear into the Central Intelligence Agency on the Senate floor the other day brought to mind a 1970s-era television commercial about a margarine supposedly indistinguishable from butter.
“Chiffon’s so delicious, it fooled even you, Mother Nature,” says the narrator.
“Oh, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature,” she replies, her voice becoming steely as she raises her arms to summon thunder and lightning.
Seriously, CIA? How many friends do you have left on Capitol Hill? It’s not nice to mess with Sen. Feinstein (who, incidentally, bears an unnerving resemblance to the ad lady). Even more important, it’s really dumb. In the hostile, post-Edward Snowden world, the California Democrat and chair of the Senate intelligence committee has been one of the staunchest defenders of US spy agencies.
But dumb seems to be the oxymoronic watchword of the intelligence community these days. Its components have been behaving like their own worst enemy. They operate under the compulsion of two understandable, ingrained instincts that combine to do the agencies — and, ultimately, the country — a disservice.
The first instinct is the drive to collect as much information as possible, by whatever means permissible. Of course. Their job is to gather intelligence, not leave it on the table. The painful lesson of 9/11 ensues from failing to know information, share it with colleagues and do something about it.
But a countervailing imperative counsels against exercising power to the maximum extent possible — or beyond. The intelligence community finds itself in such an embattled state today because of the sordid legacy of its “enhanced interrogation” program, which has provoked the CIA’s mud fight with Feinstein, and the contours of the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance activities. In both cases, the agencies stumbled in part because they overstepped.
Not just legal bounds, although, especially in the case of torture, those too. But also limits of prudence, dictated by what society will tolerate, either in terms of cruelty (waterboarding) or intrusiveness (vacuuming up metadata, eavesdropping on foreign leaders). Just because you can doesn’t mean you should — even if your political bosses are pushing you.
Layer on the other ingrained instinct: to prioritize secrecy at all costs. Here, the intelligence community purports to have learned from its mistakes: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Daily Beast that the intelligence community would have been better off disclosing the surveillance program itself.
“Had we been transparent about this from the outset [and explained] why we have to do it, and here are the safeguards .?.?. we wouldn’t have had the problem we had,” Clapper said.
Good, if hard to take from the man who chose the “least untruthful” answer about telephone metadata collection. But, again, the intelligence community has had difficulty practicing what Clapper preached.
Feinstein’s furious floor statement depicts a CIA that, from the outset of the Senate intelligence committee inquiry into interrogation practices, has treated it more like opposing counsel in a fight-to-the-death litigation battle than a co-equal branch of government with a legitimate oversight role.
The CIA dumped documents, then mysteriously made them disappear from Senate computers. Then the agency made the dunderheaded move of investigating the committee’s computer system to determine how it acquired certain documents — sensitive not because they threatened to expose sources and methods but because they belied the CIA’s public statements.
The coup de grace was sending a “crimes report” to the Justice Department about the Senate staff’s activities in obtaining classified information. On the Lawfare blog, Jack Goldsmith noted the low trigger — “possible violations” — for referral to Justice.

Is the CIA it’s own worst enemy

Battery is about to die on my cell phone. This whole torture program is just disgusting and the way the CIA has operated without impunity is very scary. They have given the middle finger to anyone or law which seeks to have them operate humanely.

How badly are we being manipulated. The 4 d ‘s Deny , Disrupt, Degrade, Deceive

First for something cool

The Brilliant Cube. Location South Korea.

Brilliant Cube on Vimeo : http://vimeo.com/m/77023605

Brilliant Cube

GCHQ and NSA with the other five eyes partners will stop at nothing to ruin your reputation

Besides from the NSA and GCHQ and five eyes other partners manipulating the cryptographic standards of the Internet so they can spy on you more readily…. This is by far the most disturbing development to date. The intelligence agencies will use as many means as they can to discredit you and ruin your reputation as they can without any finding of guilt or even being charged in any court of law.

Machines of loving grace

If you do not think the Snowden revelations impact you or you are immune from them you are vastly misguided or delusional. We are at the mercy of technology as it is right now. We live in many ways smack in the center of 1984. We live in a global police state. The ideas of freedom and democracy are illusions. In a very short period of time computers and machines will be more intelligent and more able than humanity. We are playing God in many ways…. We could be designing the very technology that ends up enslaving us. I posted two days ago on this blog about Google buying up artificial intelligence and machine learning companies left and right. It has been said Google is working on the “Manhattan project of Artificial intelligence “. The man in charge of the project thinks by 2040 we will be inferior to machines in almost every way. We live in scary times. Technology in many respects controls us and we are beholden to it now. We have a bleak outlook if the Govts are actively trying to undermine us at every turn. If Govts feel we are guilty before being charged with any crimes. If Technology will be the alter we all worship at. Where is the outrage at what Snowden has disclosed? We are more interested in Miley Cyrus twerking than the Govt spying on every detail of our lives. We care more about who gets cut off Americas Got Talent then we do about the fact out Constitution is being shredded before our very eyes. We care more about the New version of the IPhone or Samsung Galaxy 5 then we do about the very programs that are spying on you this very second. Sigh….

Wow. My mind is blown by this article. In case you were not aware Glenn Greenwald has started a new website with other like minded journalists called “The Intercept”. He has broken a few major stories in the last few weeks.

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today.

Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Intercept article detailing the program.

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Yanukovych refuses to step down. Dirty Wars documentary. True Detective literary reference.

I cannot imagine this will end well.. I cannot imagine far more blood will not be spilled. Given my knowledge of History and Foreign Policy… I cannot imagine Russia is not seriously considering its options even now.

“””””””””Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) – Embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych insisted in an interview aired on Ukrainian TV Saturday that he is not resigning and not leaving the country.

Around the same time, an opposition leader and former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, was freed from prison.

Ukraine’s Parliament voted unanimously to remove Yanukovych from office. It’s not clear if this is binding.

The Parliament also voted to hold new elections on May 25, a key opposition demand.

Yanukovych recorded his defiant statement in Kharkiv, a pro-Russian stronghold in the eastern part of Ukraine.

He said he would continue to work to stop the bloodshed and prevent further division within the country.

It came after his absence from the capital, Kiev — a day after he signed a landmark peace deal with the opposition to end days of bloody protests — fueled speculation he might heed opposition calls for him to stand down.

At the presidential residence in a Kiev suburb, groundskeepers and gate personnel kept watch over living quarters that were vacant.

Gone were the Ukrainian President’s guards. And opposition leader Vitali Klitschko said Yanukovych had left town, a day after European Union leaders helped broker the peace agreement.

“Unfortunately, President Yanukovych who did not hear the people has withdrawn from his constitutional duties himself. And today he has already left the capital. Millions of citizens see only one option in the current situation — it is calling the early presidential election,” Klitschko said Saturday.””””””””””

CNN report

How the revolt has escalated

“””””””””””When the Euromaidan protests began in Kiev in late November, few people would have predicted exactly how devastating they would become. What began as a small, peaceful protest quickly turned violent. The protests, which began after a shift away from the European Union toward Russia, slowly became a broader denunciation of President Viktor Yanukovych’s government. The events ebbed and flowed until reaching a new peak of violence this week, with the latest figures suggesting that at least 60 people have died in the past few days.

The images coming out of Ukraine have understandably been described as “apocalyptic,” almost as if they were something out of a film. But Euromaidan is a real event, taking place in a real city, where millions of people with homes and businesses are also trying to live their daily life.

One person who has been keeping track of all this is Kiev resident Dmytro Vortman. Since Dec. 9, Vortman has been using his own footwork and media report to map the progression of the protests in the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kiev’s Independence Square, and then painstakingly plotting their progress on maps using Adobe Illustrator. The maps, which were first picked up by KnowMore’s Max Ehrenfreund, have been widely shared by Euromaidan-linked social media accounts. While we can’t vouch for every detail of the maps, they provide a fascinating glimpse into how the Kiev protests developed.

This is the first map that Vortman created showing the scene on Dec. 8, the third weekend of protests in Kiev, and when the protests began to gain international attention””””””””””””

Washington Post maps of escalation of protests

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At some point you would think you would realize you are in defiance of hundreds of thousands of protestors as well as Parliament. You might realize in the best interest of your Country it is best to step down… Maybe just maybe you can spare your life as well as many other people.

Dirty Wars the documentary

So you think you understand US Foreign Policy. This movie will shake your beliefs. It was made by the journalist Jeremy Scahill and provides a truly un nerving account of the dirty wars that American Special Forces and Intelligence have been involved in during the years since 9/11 from Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia and on to present day.

True Detective Literary Reference.

If you like the show . Most of the plot ideas or basis are from a book written over a hundred years ago. The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers has influenced many many writers. HP Lovecraft being one of them. The book is actually in the public domain and can be read for free. You can read it online or you can download it to IBooks or Kindle for no cost. I will post the link in a second.

This poem to start the book reminds me of virtually all of HP Lovecrafts worlds.

“”””””””Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink beneath the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa.”””””””””””

The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers

I was able to download it via Dropbox and then open the file with IBooks and can read it just as any other book in my library.

US involvement in Chemical weapons attacks. The proof. Bonus••••US still a superpower?•••••

“Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran
The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history — and still gave him a hand.”

This topic was well known to almost anyone who bothered to care. At the time Iran was a hated enemy as the result of holding 50 Americans hostage for virtually the entire Carter presidency. I believe you could research this and find Cheney and Rumsfield had their fingerprints all over this. There is a famous picture of Cheney shaking hands with S. Hussein. It was never a question of if these documents existed just a question of when we pawns would get a chance to see them and precisely how much did the US know. Turns out to be everything. In fact we provided most of the weapons and gave a wink and nod agreement to go ahead with the attack.

From the article in Foreign Policy:

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

The intelligence included imagery and maps about Iranian troop movements, as well as the locations of Iranian logistics facilities and details about Iranian air defenses. The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq’s favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration’s long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed. But they were also the last in a series of chemical strikes stretching back several years that the Reagan administration knew about and didn’t disclose.

U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein’s government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture.

Foreign Policy article

Straight from CIA archives
Iran Iraq Situation report
http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/163045562
Iran Iraq Situation report

Irans likely response to Iraq Chemical Weapon attack

http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/163046998

Irans likely response to Iraq Chemical weapon attack

Memo predicts use of Iraqi nerve agents

http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/163047754

Memo predicts Irans likely response to Iraqi use of nerve agents

The Iraqi chemical weapons program in perspective

http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/163050054

Iraqi chemical weapons program in perspective

CIA confirms Iraqi use of Chemical Weapons

http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/163048832

CIA confirms use of Iraqi Chemical weapons

From a Washington Post article yesterday

These thoughts are speculated on endlessly in many think tanks around this Country and around the World. Much has been discussed along these lines but not much said openly in the media at least in our Country.

A Changing World Order

By most measures, reports of America’s declining power, relative to the rest of the world, have again proved premature. The U.S. economy increasingly seems to be on an upswing. The United States remains among the world’s safest and most attractive investments. The shale gas revolution is transforming America into an energy giant of the future. The dollar, once slated for oblivion, seems destined to remain the world’s reserve currency for some time to come. American military power, even amid current budget cuts, remains unmatched in quantity and quality.

Meanwhile, the “rise of the rest,” which Fareed Zakaria and other declinists touted a few years ago, has failed to materialize as expected. For all of America’s problems at home — the fiscal crisis, political gridlock, intense partisanship and weak presidential leadership — other great powers, from China to India to Russia to the European Union, have debilitating problems of their own that, in some cases, promise to grow more severe.

Overall, the much-heralded return of a multipolar world of roughly equal great powers, akin to that which existed before World War II, has been delayed for at least a few more decades. Absent some unexpected dramatic change, the international system will continue to be that of one superpower and several great powers, or as the late Samuel P. Huntington called it, “uni-multipolarity.”

If, however, by the normal measures of relative power things have not changed as much as some predicted, the international order certainly has entered a period of uncertainty and flux. In the United States in recent years, a great many Americans are questioning the nature and extent of their nation’s involvement in the world. It is not just the Great Recession or even unhappiness with the U.S. experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan that are driving disenchantment with what Americans used to like to call their global leadership. The old rationale for that deep global involvement, which took hold in the wake of World War II and persisted through the Cold War, is increasingly forgotten or actively rejected by Americans who wonder why the United States needs to play such an outsize role on the world stage.

President Obama’s foreign policies have both reflected and encouraged this desire for contraction and retrenchment. In fairness, explaining to Americans why the United States should continue to play the role of “indispensable” power is more complicated than it was during World War II, the Cold War or immediately after 9/11. With Nazis and Soviets around to keep things simple, very few American presidents ever needed, or bothered, to make the larger and more fundamental case that must be made now — that America’s task since 1945 has been to foster and defend a liberal world order and stave off international anarchy, not just to pounce on the latest threat and go home. The president himself may not understand this.

At the same time, others around the world are wrestling with their own questions. How should international affairs be governed and regulated? What should be the roles of multilateral institutions such as the United Nations? How should the great powers relate to one another, and what special role, if any, should the United States play? These questions have no easy answers. Around the world there is great ambivalence about the United States. Some wish to see its influence fade; others want to see the United States more engaged; still others seemingly express both desires simultaneously. But whatever one thinks about the world order shaped by and around the American superpower, it is arguably less clear than ever what kind of system might replace it.

And if not the United States, then who? For many, the United Nations does not hold the promise it once did. Saudi Arabia’s recent refusal to accept a seat on the U.N. Security Council is only one sign of the disappointment in that body, which many see as hopelessly gridlocked and unreflective of today’s world, at least in terms of its veto-wielding members. Institutions such as the European Union, which even a decade ago seemed to offer a path to a new and different kind of world order, are struggling to maintain themselves, while newer efforts to build similar institutions in Asia founder on great-power competitions and jealousies. Any hope of a great-power consortium, a global 21st-century version of the Concert of Europe, seems distant — even if such a thing were desirable.

Like the heralding of “American decline,” warnings about “the coming global disorder” have often proved premature. But with Americans and others rethinking the U.S. role in the world, and with no other nation, group of nations or international institutions willing or able to take its place, global disorder seems a more distinct possibility than it has since the 1930s. Perhaps the challenge is to fashion an international order that can reflect the continuing reality of “uni-multipolarity” but that somehow accommodates both global wariness of U.S. power and Americans’ wariness of their global role. History does not offer much reason for optimism. The world order rarely changes by means of smooth transitions. Usually, such change is a result of catalytic upheaval.

Article link with links at bottom to similar questions and responses

Ministry New World Order

Thank you for caring and stopping by. Feel free to message me in any number of ways. Thoughts? Criticisms? Support? Questions? Let me know please.

Take care always.