Keeping my mouth shut re Georgia

“Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve said nothing about Russia invading Georgia.  This is, in part, because the exigencies of the past week have deprived me of time to read in detail about it.  I only know headlines and, since I have absolutely no background in the geography or the conflict, this means I’m abysmally ignorant.

The silence is also because, to the extent I have managed to grasp what’s going on out there, I don’t have anything to add to the discussion, or anything that I feel I want to voice personally despite the fact that so many others are saying the same thing.  Yes, Putin is a totalitarian dictator, but we’ve known that about him for a long time, and many of us have just been sitting here waiting to see how is old KGB attitudes end up merging with his megalomaniac traits.  Yes, this is all about oil.  Yes, this represents a very dangerous trend, although it’s as unclear now as it was during the Cold War whether Russia has the ability to back up its aggressive initiatives.  It’s easy to go in with the remaining guns from your former glory and squash a teeny little Republic.  It’s harder to maintain any long campaigns.  And yes, McCain showed leadership abilities, with Obama showing, first, ignorance (which is excusable in me, but not in him) and, second, the ability to follow McCain’s lead.

And yes, I’ve run out of echoing other, wiser people on the terrible tragedy, at the hands of a gross, bullying dictatorship, that is playing out in Georgia.

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Comments

  1. Ymarsakar says

    It is great fun, however, when people uncover evidence that challenges long-standing myths.

    Like the myth that the surge was going to fail because Bush was just wasting blood and treasure to stay the course?

    No, some myths are more inconvenient than others, aren’t they, Oz.

  2. Ymarsakar says

    This is just one example, but I now expect you to look at the videos next to this and/or look for ways to discredit him. So, what’s the point?

    The point is simple, given that you have irrefutably given the ability to determine truth unto God, this excuses you when you make mistakes, as is natural. When it is hit or miss on Google and you use the sources and research and thoughts of others and repeat their claims, who is to say that you are wrong or right?

    There is no point, that is exactly it, for moral and intellectual relativism leads ultimately to nihilism and nihilism ultimately leads to nothing.

  3. Ozzie says

    It is great fun, however, when people uncover evidence that challenges long-standing myths. – Me

    Like the myth that the surge was going to fail because Bush was just wasting blood and treasure to stay the course?

    No, some myths are more inconvenient than others, aren’t they, Oz.- Ymar

    Is this a long-standing myth that has been proven to be false?

    But hey, since you brought it up: I believe that ARE wasting blood and treasure in Iraq .

    And I also believe that our rampant spending as increased our risk, as one of the “I.O.U.S.A.,” experts put it, at “of being held hostage by foreign lenders.” (Can you say China, boys and girls).

    You obviously believe otherwise, Ymar.

    I remember all the braying over G.W. Bush in his flight suit and the Mission Accomplished banner and the fall of Saddam’s statue, where peoepl were laughing at the naysayers. . . And I thought, “Not so fast. . . ”

    I’m thinking the same thing now.

  4. Ozzie says

    who is to say that you are wrong or right?- Ymar

    That’s pretty much my point, Ymar.

    I can only say what I believe to be true.

    It’s hard to decipher what is REALLY true.

  5. Ymarsakar says

    It’s hard to decipher what is REALLY true.

    I see. So Brian and others of like mind can take your claims of deaths and American actions as just that. Claims that you yourself don’t truly believe or can substantiate or defend.

    It is a definite clarification that had you lived during a time when the top intellectuals, government officials, and writers sought to uphold the status quo rather than undermine it, that you would have been a Crown Loyalist and Conservative, Oz.

    I believe that ARE wasting blood and treasure in Iraq .

    As I said, some myths are more inconvenient to dispel than others, Oz. No matter how much you might protest that you enjoy seeing the status quo line being challenged by new facts and arguments and the truth. In reality, what you really value is seeing the progress of humanity sabotaged and destroyed.

    All the traditions and beliefs that uphold civilization and progress and security, you enjoy to see challenged. All the traditions and myths, like the MSM’s communal mind decision on Iraq, are things you agree with and seek to maintain and protect.

    You’re not against the status quo, Oz. You’re just against good things happening as the human species progress from unenlightened to a state of being more enlightened.

  6. Ozzie says

    I see. So Brian and others of like mind can take your claims of deaths and American actions as just that. Claims that you yourself don’t truly believe or can substantiate or defend- Ymar

    Oy! Hopefully Brian has better critical reading skills than you do, Ymar.

    but then again,he’s the one who asked me to share what I’d read.

    In case you missed it:

    Brian: Go ahead, I’d be curious to see the source.

    I’ve suggested that he read books based on declassified information and not rely on Google or speculation.

    “But it was not your history teachers that mislead you, for they never claimed that Columbus knew where he was going or how far he was from land.” _ Ymar

    I get that you’ve become on Expert on ME, but now youre an expert on my elementary school, too? Where I come from, we celebrated Columbus Day, not “Some Selfish Schmuck Day.”

  7. Ozzie says

    About as long standing as your belief about Bush and the Carrier landing.” – -Ymar

    I didnt realize that Bush landing on that aircraft carrier was a myth, I thought that was a fact.

    But, now that you mention it a substantial amount of myth-making came from the press.

    My favorites:

    “The president has to meet a testosterone standard that appeals to women but does not offend men. George W. Bush succeeds with both and that drives Democrats crazy. They’ve made fools of themselves with their churlish criticism of his landing on the deck of the USS Lincoln, but they can’t let it go. George W. was a hottie in his flight suit. He was the victorious commander, and most of all he looked at home with himself. He glowed with the pride born of authenticity, declaring the war over and thanking all those appreciative sailors on the decks of the Lincoln.” — Susan Fields, the Washington Times

    “I turned on the news. And there was the president, landing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, stepping out of a fighter jet in that amazing uniform, looking–how to put it?–really hot. Also presidential, of course. Not to mention credible as commander in chief. But mostly “hot,” as in virile, sexy and powerful.”
    Lisa Schiffren, the Wall Street Journal
    (Schiffren also praised Bush for using “overwhelming military force to vanquish a truly evil foe,” and for “facing down balking former ‘allies,'” and implied that it was ridiculous that “he is not taken seriously as a foreign-policy president.”)

    And James Wolcott addressed the media coverage for Vanity Fair:

    “One of the more cringe-inducing TV moments in recent memory was Matthews and G. Gordon Liddy sprouting rhetorical woodies over the spectacle of Bush on the carrier deck in his flight suit, his parachute harness showcasing the presidential bulge — or, to use Liddy’s inimitable phrase, “his manly characteristic.” One guy to another, Liddy put Matthews wise. “You know, all those women who say size doesn’t count, they’re all liars. Check that out.”

    Matthews: “And I’ve got to say why do the Democrats, as you say, want to keep advertising this guy’s greatest moment?”

    Liddy: “Look, he’s coming across as a, well, as women would call in my show saying, what a stud. . .”

  8. Ymarsakar says

    I didnt realize that Bush landing on that aircraft carrier was a myth, I thought that was a fact.

    Legends are created from real events, even if they get the details wrong. Why would myths function differently?

  9. Ymarsakar says

    But, now that you mention it a substantial amount of myth-making came from the press.

    You believe in those producers of deception, such as the MSM, far more than any of us, Oz. There is no point in criticizing them, when they are not the problem.

    I get that you’ve become on Expert on ME, but now youre an expert on my elementary school, too? Where I come from, we celebrated Columbus Day, not “Some Selfish Schmuck Day.”

    If the sum total of intellectual discourse to you is about some subject you learned in elementary school, then I doubt you have much to offer on this score.

  10. BrianE says

    Ozzie,

    John Stockwell is a very passionate man. His allegations are very serious and deserve serious consideration, since unlike Weiner, he was a member of the club. Perused his speech, and noticed a small inconsistency.

    Nicaragua is not the biggest covert action, it is the most famous one. Afghanistan is, we spent several hundred million dollars in Afghanistan. We’ve spent somewhat less than that, but close, in Nicaragua….

    I had always thought Afghanistan was one of the CIA successes. I didn’t realize that Russia invaded Afghanistan as a reaction to a CIA covert action. I’ll have to check into that.
    More later.

  11. Ozzie says

    didn’t realize that Russia invaded Afghanistan as a reaction to a CIA covert action. I’ll have to check into that. More later.- Brian

    I don’t know much about that era, either.

    My original premise was that nobody really knows the truth for years and years, until records become declassified.

    In 2002, however, I read a few accounts that have come true:

    1) That Saddam Hussein did not have WMD
    2) That the U.S could expect trouble with the Soveit Union over Caspian basin pipeline politics.

    I learned early on not to discuss such things with many people, who prefer to believe what makes them feel good over what is true.

    It’s been a pleasure meeting you, though, Brian. You have an intellectual curiousity that’s refreshing!

  12. Ozzie says

    “I didn’t realize that Russia invaded Afghanistan as a reaction to a CIA covert action. I’ll have to check into that.”- Brian

    Hey, Brian, your post got me interested in where I might find more info, too. Turns out the current Secretary of Defense, former CIA honcho revealed this info in his book “From the Shadows.”

    While I was looking, I found a 1998 Zbigniew Brzezinski interview, which was translated from a French magazine. If accurate, it’s pretty explosive:

    http://www.ucc.ie/acad/appsoc/tmp_store/mia/Library/history/afghanistan/archive/brzezinski/1998/interview.htm

    The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan
    Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski,
    President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser

    Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998
    ——————————————————————————–

    Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    B: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

    B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

    B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

    Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

    B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

    “I had always thought Afghanistan was one of the CIA successes.” – Brian

    I tried to find out more about the book, “From the Shadows” and this USA Today article about “Charlie Wilson’s War” popped up, with a quote from Chalmers Johnson.

    It “certainly defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and probably defeated the Soviet Union period. But the costs were enormous,” said Johnson, author of the book “Blowback: The Cost and Consequences of American Empire.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-12-15-4096010899_x.htm

    I’ve read articles by Chalmers Johnson, and like him, but that could simply be because I agree with him re: blowback and ways the past influences the present.

    Other people might find him decidedly distasteful.

  13. suek says

    >>But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.>>

    This statement alone makes me question his bona fides. What there is in common among those islamic fundamentalists is a desire to unite the world under the Grand Caliphate. They are united by a religion that requires them to kill or suppress all other religions. Christian fundamentalists desire your conversion. Muslims demand it. Christian fundamentalists say “come and you will have eternal life”. Muslims say “come or we’ll kill you”.

  14. Ymarsakar says

    Allowing government records or pundits, after the fact, to decide what and how you think, Oz, is not exactly a recommend way for individuals to develop critical and independent thinking abilities.

    It does not make you any less prejudiced, but it does prevent you from learning virtuous habits on how to judge information as they happen.

  15. Ozzie says

    More on Brzezinski- Suek

    Zbigniew Brzezinski aklso wroye a book called, “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives,” which I forced myself to read.

    a Mini Review:

    “But the heart of the book is the ambitious strategy it prescribes for extending the Euro-Atlantic community eastward to Ukraine and lending vigorous support to the newly independent republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, part and parcel of what might be termed a strategy of “tough love” for the Russians. . . ”

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19971101fabook3692/zbigniew-brzezinski/the-grand-chessboard-american-primacy-and-its-geostrategic-imperatives.html

    Anyone who thinks that the Democrats aren’t interested in “American Primacy” haven’t read Brzezinski.

    From the book:

    “But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.” (p. xiv)

    Sounds a lot like the neoconservative outlook to me.

  16. Ozzie says

    Remember, Mr. Brzezinski is one of Mr. Obama’s top advisors. – From Suek’s link

    It seems to me that regardless who wins the election (and regardless which candidate promises what) U.S. foreign policy will revole around American hegemony.

    “What has bothered Brzezinski is that as a result of the Soviet collapse, the United States is the unquestioned world leader, unchallenged for the moment by any other power. But American democracy does not lend itself well to the running of empires. This has frustrated Brzezinski, who has now provided another scholarly blueprint for what he believes the United States should do in coming years to further America’s interests, maintain the hegemony it commands and prevent global anarchy.” – The New York Times review of The Grand Chessboard, 1997

    “In essence, (Bush’s National Security Strategy] lays out a plan for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region on the globe, unfettered by international treaty or concern. And to make that plan a reality, it envisions a stark expansion of our global military presence. . . . The report’s repeated references to terrorism are misleading, however, because the approach of the new National Security Strategy was clearly not inspired by the events of Sept. 11. They can be found in much the same language in a report issued in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, a group of conservative interventionists outraged by the thought that the United States might be forfeiting its chance at a global empire. “- ” Jay Bookman, The President’s Real Goal in Iraq, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2002

    http://www.uni-muenster.de/PeaCon/global-texte/g-w/n/ajc_com%20%20Opinion%20%20Bush's%20real%20goal%20in%20Iraq.htm

  17. BrianE says

    Those critical of CIA work from these tenets:

    The engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but rather by the necessity to serve other imperatives, which can be summarized as follows:
    * making the world safe for American corporations;
    * enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of congress;
    * preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;
    * extending political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a “great power.”
    This in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves, and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.
    The United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations in this period.

    From the website, Third World Taveler.

    If you accept these “truths”, you will be critical of American policy.

  18. BrianE says

    Ozzie, I said I’d look at the speech by John Stockwell, where he obliquely claims the CIA has been responsible for 6 million deaths.
    I can’t refute that claim which includes Vietnam, for several reasons- the chief being it is speculation that fighting wouldn’t have occurred and people died had we done nothing. What Stockwell charges is that these conflicts would have never happened had we not intervened. Which is patently false.
    Did the CIA and US policy support the wrong people? In hindsight, probably. This all falls into speculation, which is much of what Stockwell deals with.

    Here’s some quotes of this speech:

    What I really got out of these 6 years in Africa was a sense … that nothing we were doing in fact defended U.S. national security interests very much. We didn’t have many national security interests in Bujumbura, Burundi, in the heart of Africa. I concluded that I just couldn’t see the point.

    Cuba began meddling in Africa in 1963, and the Soviet Union before then.

    I testified to the Congress and then I began my education in earnest, after having been taught to fight communists all my life. I went to see what communists were all about. I went to Cuba to see if they do in fact eat babies for breakfast. And I found they don’t. I went to Budapest, a country that even national geographic admits is working nicely. I went to Jamaica to talk to Michael Manley about his theories of social democracy.

    I went to Grenada and established a dialogue with Maurice Bishop and Bernard Cord and Phyllis Cord, to see – these were all educated people, and experienced people – and they had a theory, they had something they wanted to do, they had rationales and explanations – and I went repeatedly to hear them. And then of course I saw the U.S., the CIA mounting a covert action against them, I saw us orchestrating our plan to invade the country.

    This is a man that has aligned himself with those he at one time opposed. It’s one thing to point out the failings of CIA operations. It’s another thing to throw yourself into understanding communist dogma, and allowing your judgement to become clouded. I couldn’t help but think—propaganda.

    Talking about Reagan administration:

    They’re building detention centers. There were 8 kept as mothballs under the McLaren act after World War II, to detain aliens and dissidents in the next war, as was done in the next war, as was done with the Japanese people during World War II. They’re building 10 more, and army camps, and the… executive memos about these things say it’s for aliens and dissidents in the next national emergency….

    FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, headed by Loius Guiffrida, a friend of Ed Meese’s…. He’s going about the country lobbying and demanding that he be given authority, in the times of national emergency, to declare martial law, and establish a curfew, and gun down people who violate the curfew… in the United States.

    And then there’s Ed Meese, as I said. The highest law enforcement officer in the land, President Reagan’s closest friend, going around telling us that the constitution never did guarantee freedom of speech and press, and due process of the law, and assembly.

    What they are planning for this society, and this is why they’re determined to take us into a war if we’ll permit it… is the Reagan revolution…. So he’s getting himself some laws so when he puts in the troops in Nicaragua, he can take charge of the American people, and put people in jail, and kick in their doors, and kill them if they don’t like what he’s doing….

    The man has gone over to the other side. If you believe there’s another side.

  19. Ozzie says

    Those critical of CIA work from these tenets- Brian

    I dont believe that Communism never existed, or that it wasn’t (and isnt) evil, Brian, and it looks as if you’re deliberately trying to discredit people, based on a false premise.

    Once again, a book will be far more enlighting than a trip to “Third World Traveler.”

    At times you seem genuninely interested in this history.. If you are, read a book. If not, stick with what you believe to be the truth.

  20. BrianE says

    Letter from Cuban intelligence operative Pineiro to Raul Castro in November, 1972:

    Commander—

    For some time now we have discussed the possibility of entering Angola and Mozambique with the objective of getting to know the revolutionary movements in those countries. These movements have been a mystery even for those socialist countries that give them considerable aid. This research would help us give more focused aid to those movements.

    I don’t consider it necessary to delineate the strategic importance of these countries, it takes only pointing out that a change in the course of events of the wars that are developing in both countries could signify a change in all the forces in the African continent. For the first time two independent countries in Africa from which a bigger war could be waged would have common borders with the region with the principle investment and the strongest political-military knot of Imperialism in Africa exist: South Africa, Rhodesia, Zaire, and the Portuguese colonies.

    November 14, 1965

    Letter from Che Gueverra to head of Cuban Intelligence Operations in Zaire

    Rafael,

    I attach some letters for you from Flavio. Not all is well in terms of organization. Changa insists that he has no money, and that is the reason why he doesn’t set up the camp in Kigoma. Now, Oliva has left with Kabila without leaving money. I gave him all my reserve of money, 8,150, which they should reimburse me (5,000) so we can always have money available. The 50,000 came to me like a ring to a finger, since I was out of money and now we have the politics of buying everything, even yucca.

    I am completely in agreement in preparing the clandestine base with these characteristics: If possible, buy or make a contract with a warehouse where the principal nutritional products can arrive without bringing much attention, have a… near the lake and relatively far from Kigoma with a natural loading dock…[illegible] find one or two boats that can go without being suspicious over there. The best thing would be to have two… on this side, and cross twice (back and forth) in the night. But that depends on various factors: [illegible]

    I need a few small things. Multivitamins of any kind you can find, since sicknesses related to malnutrition have begun, as much nylon as possible, and a diary for 1966, since I have hopes to keep a diary that year and this one is running out.

    I think that is it, I have attached letters for…[illegible] and Pablo.

    A hug for everyone, and a request to make the best effort possible. We are wining.

    Tatu

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB67/

    Weiner quotes the succinct definition of the agency’s main Cold War mission by Richard Helms, its head (DCI) from 1966-73: “To beat the goddam Russians!” A balanced understanding of the CIA’s record thus requires a serious examination of the KGB operations that it set out to defeat. Legacy of Ashesdoes not provide it. At times it resembles a history of Allied operations in the Second World War that pays little attention to the deployment of enemy forces.
    By the time that the CIA was founded, Soviet Intelligence had used covert action on a huge scale to rig elections and destroy opposition in the newly established Soviet Bloc. It was largely in reaction to such operations by the KGB that a secret inquiry ordered by Eisenhower reached the alarming conclusion that “long-standing American concepts of ‘fair play’ must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counter-espionage services, and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods than those used against us.”
    Legacy of Ashes fails to do justice to the CIA’s role, despite its excessive use of covert action, in preventing the Cold War turning hot.

    Review of the “Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America

    Paradoxically, the success of the Venona secret has skewed our understanding of the Cold War. Haynes and Klehr are correct to note that those histories of the Stalinist era that belittle the Soviet threat have indeed “perpetuated many myths that have given Americans a warped view of the nation’s history.” Hopefully, these invaluable Venona files will help us see more clearly just how much of a threat Soviet espionage and Communist subversion posed to American security. The much-desired opening of all Russian intelligence archives dealing with this period would go far in doing just that.

    It is clear from these documents is that Cuba was involved in countries around Africa, introducing its version of Marxism, the Soviet Union had infiltrated the US government (Venona documents), and the KGB had been at work around the world before the CIA was chartered and much of what we did was a reaction to their threats.

    We can argue the mistakes, because that’s what we get to do in an open society. I’m sure there are folks in the former Soviet Union, having similar discussions about the failings and excesses of the KGB and the communist part bosses during this same time period.

  21. Ozzie says

    Talking about Reagan administration:

    They’re building detention centers. There were 8 kept as mothballs under the McLaren act after World War II, to detain aliens and dissidents in the next war, as was done in the next war, as was done with the Japanese people during World War II. They’re building 10 more, and army camps, and the… executive memos about these things say it’s for aliens and dissidents in the next national emergency….

    he was describing Rex 84, Brian. He was telling the truth.

    On July 5, 1987, the Miami Herald gave us a glimpse of what the lead counsel for the Senate Iran-contra committee called a “secret government-within-a-government” and alerted readers to standby legislation, which, as columnist Jack Anderson had previously warned, was meant to “suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

    These provisions still stand, by the way.

    From the Sydney Morning Herald in 2002:

    “Recent pronouncements from the Bush Administration and national security initiatives put in place in the Reagan era could see internment camps and martial law in the United States.”
    — The Sydney Morning Herald, July 27, 2002

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/27/1027497418339.html

  22. BrianE says

    Ozzie,
    I’m curious about your obsession with books.
    Yes, the internet is full of kooks and propoganda, but it’s also full of good information.
    If you assume that a book will be more reliable in it’s information, that is probably true, since hopefully it has been fact checked by the editors. But it certainly doesn’t guarantee a lack of bias.
    Think of my posts more in realm of a newspaper reporter, since that’s what I used to be.
    I do follow a process before I’ll link to information.
    I’m not anti-book though.

  23. BrianE says

    It’s more the tone of his (Stockwell) comments that caught my attention.

    On July 5, 1987, the Miami Herald gave us a glimpse of what the lead counsel for the Senate Iran-contra committee called a “secret government-within-a-government” and alerted readers to standby legislation, which, as columnist Jack Anderson had previously warned, was meant to “suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

    Yeah, except congress was controlled by democrats at the time and I doubt “standby legislation” that would “suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights” would have passed.

  24. Ozzie says

    We can argue the mistakes, because that’s what we get to do in an open society- Brian

    Read Legacy of Ashes and then we can have an honest discussion.

    Until then, you are arguing from an erroneous belief based on something that you read on Third World Traveler.

    Nobody said that Communism wasn’t a legitimate threat. Especially in Cuba.

  25. Ozzie says

    Yeah, except congress was controlled by democrats at the time and I doubt “standby legislation” that would “suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights” would have passed.
    – Brian

    By George, I think he’s got it!!!

    It doesnt matter if Democrats or Reopublicans are in the White House or in Congress, and the “Left vs Right” debate blinds Americans to the fact that the Constitution and civl liberties are in jeopardy, no matter which party holds power.

    For your consideration:

    1967: Assisted by an Army task force, President Johnson establishes the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, which calls for the use of military force to squelch civil disturbances. On May 4, 1970, four students are killed at Kent State University when the Ohio National Guard fires at unarmed protesters.

    1971: Sen. Sam Ervin’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights uncovers a military intelligence surveillance system used against thousands of American citizens, and stumbles upon Operation Garden Plot (the United States Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2), which, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act, gives federal forces the authority to use “deadly force” against any “dissident.”

    1975: Journalists Ron Ridenhour and Arthur Lublow investigate Operation Cable Splicer, a subplan of Operation Garden Plot, designed to control civilian populations and take over state and local governments. Bill Moyers later lists Operation Cable Splicer and Garden Plot among examples of ways “the secret government [has] waged war on the American people.” Sen. Frank Church’s Committee to Study Government Operations sheds light on government-sanctioned civil rights abuses, most notably those conducted from 1956 to 1971, under the COINTELPRO initiative.

    1982-84: Col. Oliver North helps draft secret wartime contingency plans, which, according to a 2002 report in the Sydney Morning Herald, provide for “the imposition of martial law, internment camps, and the turning over of government to the president and FEMA.” Columnist Jack Anderson reports that FEMA’s emergency “standby legislation” is meant to “suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

    1984: The Rex-84 “readiness exercise” program is conducted by 34 federal departments and agencies under Ronald Reagan’s directive. Reportedly established to control illegal aliens crossing the Mexican/U.S. border, the exercise tests military readiness to round up and detain citizens in case of massive civil unrest.

    .May 11, 1998: World Net Daily’s Geoff Metcalf addresses Internet rumors about concentration camps for U.S. citizens. “The U.S. Army director of resource management has confirmed the validity of a memorandum relating to the establishment of a civilian inmate labor program under development by the Department of Army,” he writes, before validating Rep. Henry Gonzalez’s 1994 statement, that “The truth of the matter is that you do have those standby provisions, and the statutory emergency plans are there whereby you could, in the name of stopping terrorism, apprehend, invoke the military, and arrest Americans and hold them in detention camps.”

    Sept. 11, 2001: President Bush activates a Cold-War era shadow government, installing cabinet members in underground bunkers. When this plan is uncovered months later, members of Congress reveal that they were not consulted.

    In the days following the Sept. 11 attacks, the Office of Special Plans takes root at the Pentagon. In time, the OSP rivals the C.I.A. and the D.I.A. as the President’s main source of intelligence on Iraq’s WMD.

    Oct. 2001: Shortly after Democratic legislators are targeted in anthrax attacks, the PATRIOT Act is railroaded through Congress and the Senate, without the benefit of committee hearings or extended debate.

    Nov. 2001: The Bush administration issues executive orders allowing for the use of special military courts and empowering Atty. General John Ashcroft to detain non-citizens indefinitely. Noted conservative William Safire writes that “a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power.” The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA) is introduced to state governors, allowing for confiscation of real estate and other private property and outlining plans to herd citizens into stadiums. President Bush’s first Executive Order effectively repeals access to presidential records.

    Feb. 2002: Former FEMA deputy director, John Brinkerhoff defends the Pentagon’s desire to deploy troops on American streets, arguing that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 has been misinterpreted.

    April 2002: It’s announced that Northern Command will debut in October to assist in homeland defense. Gen. Ralph Eberhart, the NORAD commander in charge of air defense on Sept. 11, is later named by George W. Bush to serve at its head. Though NORTHCOM’s Web site assures that its “operations within the United States are governed by law, including the Posse Comitatus Act,” Eberhart admits in an interview that, “We should always be reviewing things like Posse Comitatus and other laws if we think it ties our hands in protecting the American people.”

    June 2002: Former White House counsel John Dean writes an article asking, “Could terrorism result in a constitutional dictator?” A month later, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Bush administration might employ Reagan-era security initiatives, installing “internment camps and martial law in the United States.” In Aug., the LA Times reports on Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft’s “desire for [detention] camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be enemy combatants.”

    July 2002: Peter Kirsanow, a Bush appointee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, warns that should America be attacked again, the public will clamor for Arab-Americans to be placed in internment camps. “If they [the terrorists] come from the same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center, you can forget about civil rights,” he said.

    Nov. 25, 2002: After the 32 page Homeland Security Bill ballooned to nearly 500 pages overnight, and was railroaded through the Senate and Congress, it is signed into law. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) says it represents “the most severe weakening of the Freedom of Information Act” in 36 years; and Rep Ron Paul (R-TX) worries that it “expands the federal police state.”

    Feb. 2003: Confidential draft legislation entitled “The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003,” is leaked to the Center for Public Integrity and Executive Director Chuck Lewis deems it “five to ten times” worse than the original PATRIOT Act.

    May 2003: Atlanta Police Department acknowledges that it routinely places antiwar protesters under surveillance. “This harkens back to some very dark times in our nation’s history,” state Rep. Nan Orrock tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    July 2003: In the midst of revelations regarding the hyped case for war in Iraq, documents from Dick Cheney’s Energy Task are released and the public learns that the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy recommended that Cheney’s task force consider “a ‘military’ option in dealing with Iraq,” five months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Oct. 2003: FBI Intelligence Bulletin no. 89 is sent to police departments. One month later, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero tells the New York Times: “This bulletin confirms that the federal government is targeting innocent Americans” and says, “It is troubling that the FBI is advocating spying on peaceful protesters, but even protesters who engage in civil disobedience or other disruptive acts should not be treated like potential terrorists.”

    Dec. 2003: In an interview, Gen. Tommy Franks warns that if terrorists unleash “a weapon of mass destruction. . . somewhere in the Western world” (but not necessarily in the U.S.) it may “begin to militarize our country” and “unravel the fabric of our Constitution.”

  26. Ymarsakar says

    To Oz, people wrote books and people wrote stuff on the internet. The difference is, the people who the books Oz uses to support Oz’s belief, are valid while the works of people on google is “hit and miss”.

  27. Ozzie says

    The difference is, the people who the books Oz uses to support Oz’s belief, are valid while the works of people on google is “hit and miss- Yam

    Isnt that a no-brainer?

    The difference is that well-respected authors tend to rely upon meticulous research, and back up they say with pages and pages of notes. Then, too, serious authors who write books about the CIA must have their work vetted by the CIA- else they get sued.

    People on the Internet often mistake opinion for fact, and believe and repeat things that are simply not true. And many back up their opinions, citing others’ opinions, which can be entertaining, but not neccesarily true.

  28. BrianE says

    Ozzie said:

    The difference is that well-respected authors tend to rely upon meticulous research, and back up they say with pages and pages of notes. Then, too, serious authors who write books about the CIA must have their work vetted by the CIA- else they get sued.

    People on the Internet often mistake opinion for fact, and believe and repeat things that are simply not true. And many back up their opinions, citing others’ opinions, which can be entertaining, but not neccesarily true.

    Facts are facts, whatever the source. They are either true or they are not. The benefit of the internet is you can sometimes get closer to the source than through a book, which is filtered through the author’s biases.

    More on Legacy of Ashes:

    But the thing about scholarship is that one must use sources honestly, and one doesn’t get a pass on this even if he is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the New York Times. Starting with a title that is based on a gross distortion of events, the book is a 600-page op-ed piece masquerading as serious history; it is the advocacy of a particularly dark point of view under the guise of scholarship. Weiner has allowed his agenda to drive his research and writing, which is, of course, exactly backwards.
    History, fairly done, is all about context, motivations, and realistic expectations in addition to the accurate portrayal of events. Weiner is not honest about context, he is dismissive of motivations, his expectations for intelligence are almost cartoonish, and his book too often is factually unreliable.

    The irony is that a new history of CIA is needed to fill the gap left by the now dated works of John Ranelagh (The Agency, 1986) and Christopher Andrew (For the President’s Eyes Only, 1995).
    Having read the book, I have to conclude that this is not it; anyone who wants a balanced perspective of CIA and its history should steer well clear of Legacy of Ashes.
    The Deceit in the Title
    The phrase “legacy of ashes” comes from a critical remark President Dwight D. Eisenhower uttered near the end of his career when, Weiner tells us, Ike finally blew up at Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Allen Dulles and the failings of CIA generally, and more particularly at Dulles’s resistance to recommendations for intelligence reform from the president’s board of consultants.
    Here’s how Weiner treats the episode, under the subhead “An Eight-Year Defeat” (page 166).
    “A great deal has been accomplished,” Dulles insisted to the president at the final gatherings of Eisenhower’s National Security Council. Everything is well in hand, he said. I have fixed the clandestine service. American intelligence has never been more agile and adept. Coordination and cooperation
    are better than they have ever been. The proposals of the president’s intelligence board were preposterous, he said, they were madness, they were illegal. I am responsible under the law for intelligence coordination, he reminded the president. I cannot delegate that responsibility. Without my leadership, he said, American intelligence would be a “body floating in thin air.”
    At the last, Dwight Eisenhower exploded in anger and frustration. “The structure of our intelligence organization is faulty,” he told Dulles. It makes no sense, it has to be reorganized, and we should have done it long ago. Nothing had changed since Pearl Harbor. “I have suffered an eight-year defeat on this,” said the president of the United States. He said he would “leave a legacy of ashes” to his successor.
    This incident serves as an iconic moment in the book, the cornerstone of the entire edifice, a sort of literary fractal that encapsulates in microcosm all that Weiner thinks is wrong with CIA: its unrelenting record of failures, its non-responsiveness—and even duplicity—to presidents, its cowboy-ish autonomy and resistance to accountability and oversight.
    But this central episode in Weiner’s book is an invented dialog, a created exchange that never happened. An examination of the source documents shows that:
    •Dulles made his remarks (“body floating in thin air”) at a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) on 12 January 1961, and he was speaking against a Defense Department proposal to separate the position of DCI from the management of CIA.
    • Eisenhower’s supposed retort (“eight-year defeat…legacy of ashes”) occurred a week earlier,
    at the 5 January NSC meeting, and had nothing to do with CIA. Eisenhower was expressing frustration at what he considered his major failing regarding intelligence—his inability to reform and streamline military intelligence.
    • Far from criticizing Dulles and CIA, Eisenhower at both meetings affirmed the Agency’s central having four separate military intelligence agencies.
    • The words “preposterous” and “madness” are nowhere to be found in the record of Dulles’s remarks on proposals to reform intelligence.1
    Here is the critical paragraph from the minutes of the 5 January meeting.
    The President then remarked that soon after Pearl Harbor, he was engaged in an operation which required him to have certain information which he was unable to obtain from the Navy, i.e., the strength the Navy had left in the Pacific. The President also noted that the U.S. fought the first year of the war in Europe entirely on the basis of British intelligence. Subsequently, each Military Service developed its own intelligence organization. He thought the situation made little sense in managerial terms. He had suffered an eight-year defeat on this question but would leave a legacy of ashes for his successor.
    A prize-winning journalist has distorted what was said, why it was said, when it was said, and the circumstances under which it was said—all to support his thesis that CIA has been a continuous failure from 1947 up to the present. Weiner’s use of the plural “final gatherings” in the excerpt from his account suggests he knows what he is doing.
    1 Memoranda of Discussions at the 473rd Meeting (5 January 1961) and the 474th Meeting (12 January 1961) of the National Security Council; documents 80 and 84, in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963: Volume XXV (2001).
    See also document 79, a record of the 3 January meeting of Eisenhower, National Security Advisor Gordon Gray, and General Andrew Goodpaster.

    Here is an in depth review of the book, if you are interested in balance:
    http://cicentre.com/BK/legacy_of_ashes_review.pdf

    Yes, Dumovic is a historian working for the CIA, but the events described are from meetings at which there are permanent records. Facts are facts.

    Dujmovic joined the CIA in 1990 as an analyst and previously served as a speechwriter for former CIA directors, John Deutch and George Tenet. Prior to his career with the agency, he served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and taught at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

  29. Ozzie says

    Yes, Dumovic is a historian working for the CIA, but the events described are from meetings at which there are permanent records. Facts are facts.- Brian

    Legacy of Ashes was vetted by the CIA before it went to press.

    But I’m not surpised that the author’s perceptions are being challenged. Or that a CIA historian is challenging dates and details, while not arguing over the validity of the bigger issues such as the coups in Iran, Iraq, Guatemala and Chile.

    That’s what I’m interested in. The declassifed stuff that’s proven to true.

    Hell, I was shocked that he only briefly mentioned the Dr. Frank Olson case and he made it sound as if the Kennedy administration approved of Operation Northwoods.. and yes, I am aware that his peceptions are his perceptions.

    Even so, he packs a whole slew of information within 600 or so pages.

    I’m mostly interested in covert actions that become declassifed and available to the public, compared to what Americans were being told at the time.

  30. BrianE says

    Legacy of Ashes was vetted by the CIA before it went to press.

    The CIA doesn’t make judgements on the facts of a book, merely decides what material is still relevant to remain classified.

    That’s what I’m interested in. The declassifed stuff that’s proven to true.

    Weiner was willing to combine events to create a literary “event”. This should lead to questioning other “facts”. I’m sure you haven’t drawn conclusions based only on Weiner’s account.

    Have you ever served in a capacity where you made decisions affecting others based on information that was confidential and couldn’t be revealed? Often your judgements are called into question, faulty conclusions are made about your motives, and you are unable to respond.

  31. Ozzie says

    Weiner was willing to combine events to create a literary “event”. This should lead to questioning other “facts”. I’m sure you haven’t drawn conclusions based only on Weiner’s account-
    Brian

    My interest in the Iranian coup began long ago. Ditto for the coup in Iraq, and Gultemala and Chile.

    His accounts simply reinforced other things I’ve read.

    On the other hand, Weiner is certain that the current Bush administration didnt “cherry pick” intelligence and though he included information about “Curveball,” he omitted information about the Office of Special Plans.

    This goes against things I’ve read for former CIA officers like Ray mcGovern.

    In cases such as these, it’s diffcult to know who’s telling the truth. Though, in many cases, McGovern proved correct as things happened, in real time

    When it comes to verifiable truth, however – especially where the CIA is concerned, declassified information is invaluable.

    And this book, which is a history of the CIA, gives anyone who is interested in such things a place to start.

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