"The Global Intelligence Files"

Wikileaks is releasing releasing emails and other internal communications leaked from the intelligence contracting company Stratfor.  The material is still being processed by Wikileaks and various media agencies.  There is a ton of material, but one particular document appears to be an internal glossary of intelligence terms.  Some of it is rather blunt and paints various agencies and perhaps the entire intelligence community in a rather damaging light.  These are just a few terms that jumped out at me.

  • CIA:Central Intelligence Agency. Also called “Langley” or “up river.” Owns human intelligence (directorate of operations) and analysis (directorate of intelligence).  Director, CIA is supposed to oversee all of the intelligence community.  Isn’t that a joke? Imagine the Post Office with a foreign policy.
  • Duplicitous little bastards: Israeli intelligence
  • JTTF: Joint Terrorism Task Force, an inter-agency group created to completely confuse all conceivable issues related to terrorism in a variety of metropolitan areas.
  • Leasing a source: Going to another organization to borrow a source. Payment is in cash or swapping spit.
  • NSA: National Security Agency.  Also called The Fort.  Owns Sigint and Elint.  Completely out of control.  It is so compartmentalized they refer to other offices as B1 or D8 and genuinely don’t know what anyone else does.
  • Passive Intelligence: Intelligence that flows into you on its own.  It’s usually cheap and it is highly secure, in the sense that no one knows that you are looking at them.  In recent years, the internet has vastly increased the ability to do passive intelligence.  The flow of passive material decreases the cost of intelligence and increases the time for analysis. Problem-the same intelligence is available to everyone. Stratfor’s strength is efficient gathering of passive intelligence, rapid patterning, superb analysis. Or so we tell our customers. Better to have a few sources in your pocket as well.
  • Swapping Spit: Making a deal for information.  I’ll give you intel in Venezuela if you lend me your sources in Nigeria.  Let’s swap spit.

Quite eye-opening if it is authentic.  I will be interested to see the analysis in the coming weeks.

EDIT:  Apparently some of the documents indicate that Osama bin Laden was in routine contact with Pakistan’s spy agency. Link.

Understanding Republican fiscal policy

For a while I have been really confused.

Speaker Boehner says that the budget legislation being discussed during dept ceiling talks will help create jobs by cutting spending and decreasing taxes.  Now all the data I have seen has shown that unemployment is negatively correlated with state spending.  Also most of the tax cuts will affect the top tax bracket and the corporate income tax.  I am assuming that the Speaker and his friends are not blind or idiots, so how can he have reasonably come to this conclusion?

Then it hit me.

When a Republican (or most Democrats) says “jobs” he or she is really using the word as a rhetorical device for the more maligned word “profits.”

Now it all makes sense.



Therein lies one of the most enduring attributes of Obama’s legacy: in many crucial areas, he has done more to subvert and weaken the left’s political agenda than a GOP president could have dreamed of achieving. So potent, so overarching, are tribal loyalties in American politics that partisans will support, or at least tolerate, any and all policies their party’s leader endorses – even if those policies are ones they long claimed to loathe.

This dynamic has repeatedly emerged in numerous contexts. Obama has continued Bush/Cheney terrorism policies – once viciously denounced byDemocrats – of indefinite detentionrenditionssecret prisons by proxy, and sweeping secrecy doctrines.

He has gone further than his predecessor by waging an unprecedented war on whistleblowers, seizing the power to assassinate U.S. citizens without due process far from any battlefield, massively escalating drone attacks in multiple nations, and asserting the authority to unilaterally prosecute a war (in Libya) even in defiance of a Congressional vote against authorising the war.

And now he is devoting all of his presidential power to cutting the entitlement programmes that have been the defining hallmark of the Democratic party since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The silence from progressive partisans is defeaning – and depressing, though sadly predictable.

Greenwald has a new editorial in the Guardian, and it’s pretty fantastic. The partisan hypocrisy of allowing a president to pursue bad policy because of the (D) by his name should be shamed out of existence. 


Matt Bors

I don’t think it would matter enough to actually draw a distinction.  If a group makes it politically impossible to do or not do something, politicians won’t do it.  We have seen it with gay rights (though progress has been slow) and we saw it with the Tea Party and the healthcare debacle.
I think people need to decide when enough is enough. 


Matt Bors

I don’t think it would matter enough to actually draw a distinction.  If a group makes it politically impossible to do or not do something, politicians won’t do it.  We have seen it with gay rights (though progress has been slow) and we saw it with the Tea Party and the healthcare debacle.

I think people need to decide when enough is enough. 

Could you imagine what the Tea Party would be saying right now if there was a law on the books that allowed immigrants to indefinitely avoid taxes on income sent back to family members in the old country, in Mexico and Venezuela and India? Imagine the uproar if Barack Obama, in the middle of this historic revenue crunch and “We’re so broke the world is going to end tomorrow!” debt-ceiling hystgeria, decided to declare a second “one-time tax holiday” for, say, unwed single mothers, or recipients of public assistance? Middle America would be running through the streets, firing shotguns out its truck window, waving chainsaws in mall lobbies, etc.

As it is, leading members of the Senate are seriously considering giving the most profitable companies in the world a total tax holiday as a reward for their last seven years of systematic tax avoidance. Hundreds of billions of potential tax dollars would disappear from the Treasury. And there isn’t a peep from anyone, anywhere, on this issue.

We’re seriously talking about defaulting on our debt, and cutting Medicare and Social Security, so that Google can keep paying its current 2.4 percent effective tax rate and GE, a company that received a $140 billion bailout en route to worldwide 2010 profits of $14 billion, can not only keep paying no taxes at all, but receive a $3.2 billion tax credit from the federal government. And nobody appears to give a shit. What the hell is wrong with people? Have we all lost our minds?

In Tahrir, protesters have dug in for the long haul. The middle of the square has been converted into a tent city, complete with winding pathways, food stocking centers, and a hairdresser. Electricity has been routed from street lamps to power fans and recharge cell phones. Wi-Fi Internet connections and satellite TV have been set up. Protesters have organized popular committees to protect the entrances, sweep the streets, and make collective decisions about living in the square. To counter the oppressive summer heat, a massive white canopy has been stitched together and strung across the middle garden using scaffolding and rope to provide much-needed shade. Numerous stages have been constructed where speakers lead protest chants and musicians perform. A nightly “Tahrir Cinema” has been organized to screen raw footage, experimental documentaries, and finished films about the revolution. In the evenings, when the weather cools, the crowds swell dramatically, and thousands more gather to join those camping in the square, hold political discussions, and demonstrate.

Amidst a horrific drought, and what has been called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster today, Jeremy Scahill of The Nation uncovers a hidden CIA prison in Somalia.  Scahill also reports that the CIA trains Somali strike teams to attack suspected terrorist targets and that CIA contacts in Kenya will apprehend US targets in Kenya and then render them to CIA-backed groups in Somalia.  

From The Nation:

Nestled in a back corner of Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport is a sprawling walled compound run by the Central Intelligence Agency. Set on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the facility looks like a small gated community, with more than a dozen buildings behind large protective walls and secured by guard towers at each of its four corners. Adjacent to the compound are eight large metal hangars, and the CIA has its own aircraft at the airport. The site, which airport officials and Somali intelligence sources say was completed four months ago, is guarded by Somali soldiers, but the Americans control access. At the facility, the CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted “combat” operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.

Watch Scahill’s interview on DemocracyNow, here.

One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public. And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public—and they’re very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US—roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control. And by now these are huge industries. They not only dominate marketing of commodities, but they also control the political system. As anyone who watches a US election knows, it’s marketing. It’s the same techniques that are used to market toothpaste. Robert Trivers Credit: Julian Dufort
And, of course, there are power systems in place to facilitate this. Throughout history it’s been mostly the property holders or the educated classes who’ve tended to support power systems. And that’s a large part of what I think education is—it’s a form of indoctrination. You have to reconstruct a picture of the world in order to be conducive to the interests and concerns of the educated classes, and this involves a lot of self-deceit.