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*edit, December 7, 2017 – I revisited the article that my attached comment, below, was detached from, on Disqus. That allowed me to note all of the comments I had made and it looks like WSWS went bananas on me. (They won’t be getting any donations, or moral support, from me going forward. The world that is coming doesn’t need WSWS either, whether they care or not.) I’ll append, to the bottom of this post, a screen shot of that finding.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article (by?) follows:
Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, confirmed this weekend that the world’s largest Internet company is, in close coordination with the state, manipulating search results to censor sites critical of the US government…
Schmidt’s remarks at the gathering of military and national security officials confirm the World Socialist Web Site’s charges that Google has been deliberately altering its search algorithms and taking other steps to prevent people from accessing certain information and specific websites through its search engines. The WSWS has itself been a principal target of these efforts.
My disappeared online response to the above linked-to article follows:
*The first time I posted this, it disappeared. I might be rushing it. I usually wait a few days before declaring my disappeared comments ‘officially’ disappeared. I’m posting this version, however, because it’s tidied up. I noticed that I accidentally linked to something on my blog. I meant to link to a Newsbud video about Antiwar.com instead.) I’d prefer this comment to be seen.
“Help take the fight against Internet censorship to all sections of workers and youth, in the United States and internationally…” For sure. But, you know, it would help if all who were part of the alternative media were as democratic as they could be, allowing visitors to their sites to discuss their articles on their websites without political censorship. That’s because, with the advent of algorithms by Google et al in their bid to politically censor, Those who care, who do active, as opposed to passive (tv watching for example) learning, are going to be much more rooted in alternative media that they are much more welcomed into and where they will have certainly bookmarked sites that they were having discussions on. And it’s not just those who are coming to alternative media for the first time.
The alternative media world is not small. Much of that world will fade from view to regular consumers of alternative news once the algorithms do their evil magic. Those who haven’t bookmarked alt sites that they visit ‘will’ forget many of them. I know, in my case, I might not bookmark an alt site until I have visited it a number of times. That’s precisely because if I bookmarked every alt site I landed on for the first time, I’d be overloaded, and many alt news sites (such as Antiwar.com – https://youtu.be/ez6nzkDmG98) are in fact not alternative. (And it doesn’t help when genuine alternative media in turn link to fake progressive sites. ‘Most’ genuinely progressive sites commit the sin of carrying a link(s) or articles by fake progressives, some whom, like Graham Fuller, are CIA assets!) I’d be like the NSA with everyone’s private information, creating a super mountain of a haystack that would make finding an informational needle not so easy. (I am like that a bit with my habit of bookmarking articles and carefully adding in key names, as tags, to the bookmark. I’ll bet that the establishment just loves all these minimally useful browsers flying around. I ditched Mozilla when it jumped on the fake news bandwagon and was lucky to find Pale Moon, which is based on Firefox, looks familiar, and is user-friendly and useful therefore.)
As someone who follows politics, who hasn’t self-modified into being a believer in inequality, deceit, violence and people and orgs made up of (self-professed and non self-professed) neoconservatives, I prefer alternative media that comes from sources who genuinely champion human rights, equality and fairness, who are therefore opposed to imperialism, which leads to lawless war, not in self-defense but for the gain of a minority who themselves believe in inequality and are happy to give their citizens neoliberal capitalism, which imposes the punishment of austerity on those who follow the rules, who don’t tax evade just because they can, who vote for political representation and end up with leaders who attack them, who employ police state tactics to silence them when they complain about being left out in the economy, not to mention just mentioning it (aka fake news, according to the Corporatocracy state). If it’s harder for someone like myself, who cares and has been paying attention, to stay rooted in alternative media due to alternative media’s failure to better do democracy, How hard will it be for those who are new to alt media and haven’t even fully processed the idea?
Google’s algorithms need to be met with our personal guides (or filters keeping out genuinely fake news, which isn’t to say censoring it). But what if alt media’s failure to welcome new and old consumers into that world prevents us from forming those personal algorithms? It’s the Corporatocracy’s (and Gog’s) algorithms versus the algorithms of those who haven’t self-modified into being supporters of this dark world’s paradigm of ‘riches for the strongest’. For a fact, The forces of darkness are powerful, precisely because they have weapons – and weapons of mass deception, as the late Danny Schechter documented [https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/weapons-of-mass-deception/] – that normal people and orgs don’t possess. They can employ deceit, and, as police state legislation and history (Operation Condor, The Phoenix Program) has shown, they don’t leave terrorism out of the picture either. I’m reading Edward Herman’s “The Real Terror Network” just now. Here’s what he says in it about what he calls the “joint venture” of the state and intelligence agencies, working on behalf of corporate power, to pacify the abused people everywhere:
“The really massive and significant growth of terrorism since World War II has been that carried out by states. And among states, the emergence and spread of the National Security State (NSS) has been the most important development contributing to state terrorism and thus to the growth of overall world terrorism, using the word in its basic sense – intimidation by violence or the threat of violence. Contrary to [Claire] Sterling’s foolish remark about the “colossal” armaments of retail terrorists, state military resources are vastly larger, and the power of even small states to intimidate in much greater than that of non-state terrorists. Only states use torture extensively as a means of intimidation, and if we use as our measure of the scale of terrorist violence either political murders or incarceration accompanied by torture, retail terrorism pales into relative insignificance. State terrorism is also much more important than non-state violence because it is rooted in relatively permanent structures that allow terror to be institutionalized, as in the case of Argentina’s numerous and well-equipped detention and torture centers.” -page 83
“The Real Terror Network” was written in 1982. South America, as Noam Chomsky points out (but needs to update) to a great extent broke away from the Washington Consensus (neoliberalism, which, in South American was always accompanied by state terrorism). But now, it’s returning, making Edward’s book all the more timely and making it strange that progressives and progressive sites aren’t reminding people of it.
Why would we expect that “joint venture” crowd to tell us the truth about what is true and false?
What is it? Is it a gatekeeper in the WSWS organization? Is it something I said? Was it my mention of “Gog,” whose name means ‘darkness’ according to Jehovah’s Witnesses? Did my comment deserve to be disappeared? And is this not very hypocritical of WSWS?
RIP Edward Herman (1025 – 2017)
*edit, November 23, 2017 – I could have easily made this post two or three times longer. It’s one of those posts that write themselves. The main point is obvious – if you’ve bothered to inform yourself. It’s hard to do these longer posts, however, when you work full time and have other challenges. I live alone and have no vehicle. No one shops, cleans or cooks for me and I have to do all my shopping using public transit. I’m not complaining. I am truly having a good time. And compared to millions, perhaps billions, of others, I’m in paradise. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that I can’t focus on blogging the way I’d like to. I will add something in here dealing with Dinges’s lie about how the U.S. dealt with the repercussions of the Orlando Letelier assassination in Washington. Going forward, I will not bother to alert readers to edits like this, which I expected to make. Only if I change my story – namely, John Dinges does damage control for the U.S. government – will I alert readers in the customary way. Apologies to those who may link to the post, expecting it to remain as they found it.
*edit, November 23, 2017 – Reading around I came across a link to a Wikipedia entry for Phoenix Program. I note, below, that there isn’t one. When I searched for an entry when building this post, I came up empty. Now I see an entry. What the hell?!
John Dinges wrote “The Condor Years,” which was published in 2004 & 2005 (and is partly funded by the Ford Foundation). I had the book on my list of books to buy ever since I saw John Dinges on Democracy Now, which I no longer watch since DN went over to the dark side with its White Helmets propaganda. I read “The Condor Years” after reading a number of books dealing with the subject of fascism, torture and the U.S.’s role in doing and funding terrorism and doing and teaching torture techniques to others around the world, which it regards as its property. Long before I read Dinges’s book, I had attempted to read Alfred W. McCoy’s “Torture And Impunity – The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation” (published in 2012), which I bought new from a book store going out of business. (Endorsements by Amy Goodman and Alex Gibney do not impress me at all.) But every page of that book was falling out. I tried keeping up, taping them in, but it was hopeless. I emailed the publisher about it but got no reply.
Anyway, Some time later I saw another book by Alfred W. McCoy, whom Noam Chomsky often mentions (in a favorable way), titled “A Question Of Torture – CIA Interrogation, From The Cold War To The War On Terror” (published in 2006), in a secondhand bookshop and so I picked it up. It was very detailed and useful. I find myself struggling with some of what Alfred lays out (really, only the idea that hands off torture involves no force), but it’s not struggling of the sort that I’m experiencing with John Dinges’s book. I also read Douglas Valentine’s “The Phoenix Program” (published in 1990 and 2000) which was very detailed and informative and which Alfred W. McCoy (and many others) had some small role in fashioning. I also recently read Eric Lichtblau’s astonishing and timely “The Nazis Next Door – How America Became A Safe Haven For Hitler’s Men” (published in 2014). I’m reading Edward S. Herman’s book, “The Real Terror Network” (published in 1982) right now and I’m finding it to be a perfect response to the damage control (in the interests of imperial America) sort of treatment John Dinges gives to his subject material (despite the poorly done index, which I assume wasn’t put together by Edward). I’ll be following that up with Noam Chomsky and Edward Hermans’ “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism – The Political Economy Of Human Rights, Vol 1.” (John is mentioned in Herman’s book “The Real Terror Network”, but Edward Herman, and much else, isn’t mentioned in John’s book, which figures. John’s book is, in my opinion, very much a damage control treatment of the influence of the United States on South American ‘development’. The last thing Dinges would want to do is draw attention to sources that don’t pussy-foot around the U.S.’s role in the creation of National Security States [Herman] and the CIA’s zeal for torture and terrorism.)
“I have tried in this book to state my views straightforwardly and without the usual gentility of language. This is because the issues are urgent, the cruelty and hypocrisy discussed here are mind-boggling, and I want these views to be heard.” – Edward S. Herman
Even the title of Dinges’s book, now that I have the measure of the man – who claims that the U.S.’s 9/11 attackers were enemies of the U.S. – comes across as a frame, meant to make this dark world, led by a nation that Dinges seems to worship, seem less dark and his own country’s role in the world’s (mental and spiritual) ruination unnoticed. The world wasn’t dark between the years 1973 and 1980 only. The U.S. wasn’t utterly lawless and hyper violent between the years 1973 and 1980 only. This touches on the subject of context, which is important, as Edward Herman makes clear: “The documentation on the extensiveness and innovative cruelty of torture in these client states is immense, although as I shall discuss later the U.S. public is largely spared the pain of having to confront this horror either in its gruesome details or in meaningful context. Meaningful context would, of course, involve disclosure of the enormous degree of of U.S. complicity in the origination and servicing of this form of Third World fascism…” (page 6 of “The Real Terror Network”) My point in mentioning the other books is that they gave me a frame of reference and insights on the subjects of U.S. aggression, imperialism, torture and terrorism, without which I would not, I believe, have been able to penetrate Dinges’s apologetics.
“U.S. policy dictated support for dictatorships whose methods were profoundly at odds with American democracy and moral values…” – John Dinges, pg 168 of “The Condor Years”
“Because the media do disclose something of an unpleasant reality that some leaders of the state would suppress altogether, their massive subservience to larger state and corporate interests is frequently denied, obscured or greatly under-rated.” -page 15 of “The Real Terror Network” by Edward S. Herman
But to make that argument, that there ‘is’ democracy in America and its moral values are moral, you have to alter reality, which isn’t to say that there aren’t decent Americans. Edward Herman is one such decent American. But Dinges is not trying to convince us that some American citizens are decent. He’s trying to cover for the fascists who own and rule the U.S.. One thing you need to do, for example, if you want to bamboozle people the way I say Dinges is trying to bamboozle people, is ‘not’ bring up Henry Kissinger’s atrocities, before and during ‘the Condor years’, which is what Dinges does. This is part of Dinges’s efforts to de-contextualize the awful, U.S.-inspired and -supported deeds of the National Security States (which I usually call police states). Edward Herman doesn’t talk about Henry Kissinger, but just in mentioning him he is able to point readers to some relevant facts. “Devotion to the victims [of Communists] knows no bounds, although during the period 1969-1972 when the Kissinger-Nixon team was killing Cambodians on a large scale, and helping to set the stage for the Pol Pot era, the mass media showed not the slightest interest… In contrast, the reign of terror in Latin America is being treated only occasionally, with antiseptic brevity, without context, and devoid of human detail and touches that might be conducive to human feeling.” -page 16 of “The Real Terror Network” by Edward Herman
Here’s Noam Chomsky on Kissinger, (“Noam Chomsky maintains the rage” by Stuart Alan Becker, from Phnom Penh Post):
In our 1988 book, Herman and I reviewed the way the horrors in Cambodia had been treated through three distinct phases: the US war before the Khmer Rouge takeover in April 1975; the Khmer Rouge period; the period after Vietnam invaded and drove out the Khmer Rouge and the US and Britain turned at once to direct military and diplomatic support for the Khmer Rouge (“Democratic Kampuchea”). By the time we wrote, it was known that the pre-1975 US war was horrendous, but it is only in the past few years that more extensive documents have been released.
We now know that the most brutal phase began in 1970, when Henry Kissinger transmitted President Nixon’s orders for “massive bombing of Cambodia, anything that flies on anything that moves” (Kissinger’s words, to General Haig). It is hard to find a declaration with such clear genocidal intent in the archival record of any state. And the orders were carried out. Bombing of rural Cambodia was at the level of total Allied bombing in the Pacific theatre during World War II.
“It would be a mistake to assume there was a nefarious plot in the State Department to encourage the dictatorships to violate human rights, and that the plethora of cables to the contrary was some sort of elaborate fabrication.” – John Dinges, page 199 of “The Condor Years”
“The U.S. attitude changed from support to opposition, however, when our agents learned in June 1976 that Phase Three operations were being planned outside Latin America. Adding to the U.S.’s second thoughts were the assassinations in Argentina around the same time of prominent Bolivian and Uruguayan exiles, Juan José Torres, Zelmar Michelini, and Héctor Gutiérrez. The United States was not willing to support, even by acquiescence, the assassination of democratic, nonviolent leaders or to tolerate the launching of terrorist killings in Europe.” – John Dinges, pg 250 of “The Condor Years”
“In sharp contrast with [Fidel] Castro, our own progeny and assorted other friendly state terrorists are allowed to get away with direct, cross-border murder and numerous other interventions, stretching even to the United States, most of which fail to generate serious publicity or indignation. General Park’s South Korea was able to engage in extensive bribery of U.S. politicians without causing significant damage to itself – certainly nothing was done so severe as closing its U.S. Embassy, let alone any major act of hostility. South Africa, also, has been able to expend large sums buying and bribing U.S. newspapers and funding U.S. politicians without significant adverse repercussians. Currently, South Africa is openly propagandizing in the United States on Namibia and campaigning against hostile U.S. politicians through hired law and PR firms and alleged “trade councils,” again without real exposure or apparent impediment. We have seen that South Africa can invade its neighbors and murder their civilians at will without arousing Free Press attention or indignation. Sudanese president Jafar el Numeiry can arrest 12,000 at a crack or announce that he is training several hundred men to infiltrate into Libya on suicide missions aimed at removing key figures in Col. Kaddafi’s government, against without notice or comment in the west. The principle of “whose ox is being gored” controls news and indignation both.
“The rise of the NSS [national security state] was a product of U.S. planning and strategy… Operation Condor was a logical outcome of those efforts. As we have seen, Argentina’s security services participated in the overthrow of a democratic government in Bolivia in 1980, and they were actively engaged in aiding the murderous repression in Guatemala during 1981. These interventions have not been seriously objectionable to the United States, so that, in contrast with relatively trivial moves by Castro, these have not been placed in the category of “aiding terrorism.” The Reagan administration has gone further, openly soliciting Argentina to extend its valuable services to Nicaragua – in the form of “infiltrating combat forces” – and to El Salvador, by means of direct participation alongside the local death squads. [Don] Oberdorfer and [Patrick E.] Tyler reported in February 1982 that U.S.-backed subversion by force against Nicragua had already begun “along the Honduran-Nicaraguan border within the last three months.” Argentina was reportedly training 1,000 men as part of an action program organized and financed by the CIA, “but the possibility of using American personnel to undertake unilateral action against some unspecified ‘special Cuban targets’ also was envisaged.” This mobilization of members of a sponsored fascist network to do our regional killing and subverting by proxy – an application of the “Nixon Doctrine” – is, like Operation Condor, quite consistent with U.S. ends and notions of acceptable means. With Reagan it appears that the fascist network will be mobilized more extensively and openly along Operation Condor lines, and the United States will be an integral part of the “team.” The only step as yet unfulfilled in our cultivation of state terrorism is “bringing the NSS home,” but we move steadily closer.” – pages 81 & 82 of “The Real Terror Network”
Matt Taibbi says this is Edward’s last article: “Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies The New York Times, 1917–2017.” I wouldn’t say, with that, that Edward Herman has changed his mind about his country.
“They were running a terrorist organization, but they considered that Washington shared their strategic goals, to defeat world Communism. They were grossly mistaken to believe the United States government would tolerate the killing of a leftist exile leader in Washington, as shown by persistent U.S. prosecution of those responsible.” – John Dinges, pg 251 of “The Condor Years”
Edward Herman (pages 72 & 73 of “The Real Terror Network”):
=== == =
The CIA was well aware of the internal (member country) use and global extension of Operation Condor and headed off its activities in several allied countries like France and Portugal by informing the authorities. The CIA did not head off the Moffit-Letelier murders, although it knew that DINA trigger-men had entered the United States. Why? It is possible that the CIA knew of the prospective murders, and let them happen because it was murder of the right people – people such as Operation Condor and the Free World’s secret police kill daily. It is also conceivable that the CIA suspected something fishy about to happen, but chose not to inquire, because of their “faith” in the choice of their fascist counterpart. It is also possible that the CIA bungled and made no inquiry, and that Pinochet and DINA murdered on the streets of Washington, D.C. assuming that Washington would not mind; after all, both DINA and Operation Condor are U.S. offspring. How was Pinochet to know that bringing his death squads right into the heart of the Free World was unseemly?
With its hand forced, and obligated to proceed in the case of a well-publicized murder in Washington, the U.S. government did a great deal to subvert the case. Documents were leaked to the press which linked Letelier to Cuba, effectively smearing him and creating a false red herring that was used to both justify murder and to divert inquiry away from our warm friends in Chile. Although the CIA knew from the day of the murder that DINA agents had come in to do a job, this was hidden from the press and from other parts of the government as long as possible, and the false trail of suggestions of a left-terrorist murder was pushed by people who knew this was a lie. Thus the prosecution of the murderers was carried out by a government that was so compromised by its own lies and suppressions and hamstrung by its own involvement and collaboration with the Cuban and Chilean assassins, that it was inevitable that the case would be conveniently “lost.” The United States government chose not to interfere with the death squad at work on U.S. soil before the fact – and it was therefore not going to be able to prosecute successfully after the fact. The United States was one of the sponsors of Operation Condor, had trained the Cuban terrorist triggerman, and had been instrumental in bringing into existence the Pinochet regime. This set of relationships, with its potential for “greymail,” and its connection with our “security interests,” means that the terrorists of Operation Condor, like the Cuban refugee terror network are our progeny. We are not likely to hurt our own.”
= == ===
Michael and Ronnie Moffit had been passengers in the vehicle with Orlando Letelier when the bomb was activated. A piece of shrapnel has sliced her carotid artery and she died, while her husband Michael was shouting that DINA was responsible.
“I do not believe the United States set out to encourage the mass killings or the international terrorist missions carried out by our military allies in South America in the Condor Years.” – John Dinges, pg 252 of “The Condor Years”
“The cautionary lesson of Operation Condor and the massive military repression against their countries’ own citizens is to be found in the way the United States exercises its leadership of the countries it gathers into its coalition against terrorism.” – John Dinges, pg 253 of “The Condor Years”
I guess that if ‘socialist’ Bernie Sanders can urge head-chopping, staunch U.S. ally Saudi Arabia to get busy and bomb ‘terrorists’, then the incautious John Dinges can give a ringing endorsement to the U.S.’s terrorism-fighting allies, while not mentioning the fact that staunch ally, Saudi Arabia, had a lot to do with the U.S.’s 9/11.
“…The documents and interviews also show that officials put out erroneous information minimizing their foreknowledge about Condor’s assassination plans. The evidence suggests they did so in order to direct attention away from the possibility that they could have prevented the most notorious act of Condor terrorism, the Letelier assassination in Washington, D.C….
“I write this as the nation continues to debate FBI and CIA advance intelligence about the Al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center…
“…There was one other enormous difference: in the case of Condor’s terrorism, the perpetrator was a close U.S. ally, not an enemy…” – John Dinges, page 5 of “The Condor Years”
Dinges goes on to say “Evidence now available shows that the CIA knew of Condor’s existence within a month or two of its creation. The CIA had long promoted the idea of greater coordination among the region’s military, especially with Intelligence and communications,” saying nothing, of course, about teaching torture techniques, which is why he talks about Dan Mitrione the way he does, which we’ll get to. To continue with Dinges’s thoughts on who are the U.S.’s enemies and what the CIA knew about Condor and when, “…Condor was seen as an understandable, even laudable, upgrade in the countries’ intelligence capabilities. Did this approval extend to all of Condor’s methods, including disappearances, cross-border kidnappings, and assassinations? To be sure, knowledge of those methods is not the same as approval.” – John Dinges, pages 5 & 6 of “The Condor Years”
All that we know about how uncle Sam calls for something stronger than that statement by John Dinges. Dinges isn’t getting it wrong, from one standpoint. He’s getting it right, from the standpoint of what damage control requires him to write.
About Dan Mitrione, Dinges (who appears eager to disparage Che Guevara’s followers, and by extension Che, by calling Che Christ-like in appearance, suggesting that his followers are irrational and don’t believe that Che can make mistakes) is very judicious in what he says about that monster. “Tens of thousands of young people in South America became the militants in this armed struggle. They adopted the lofty title of “revolutionaries,” and strove to live up to the challenge of Che – their dead, Christ look-alike hero, who told them, “The first duty of a revolutionary is to make the revolution.” Uruguay’s Tupamaros were the most successful. They brought clandestine warfare to the cities, carrying out bold strikes that included arms raids and the kidnap-killing of a U.S. security adviser, Dan Mitrione, who had been accused of teaching torture techniques.” (pg 42) That’s all Dinges says about Dan Mitrione. He was a security adviser, something noble, like all those allies of the U.S. in its (terrifying) war on terror. He wishes us to imagine that there’s no evidence, hard or circumstantial, that Dan was a teacher of torture. And he knows that any of those reading his book who don’t read much or don’t read history or follow politics will have no reason to not give Dan the benefit of the doubt. I will try to help with that problem.
“In retrospect, Phoenix proved a seminal experience for the U.S. intelligence community, combining both physical and psychological techniques in an extreme method that would serve as a model for later counterinsurgency [terrorist] training in South and Central America…
“Although the Phoenix program was the largest and bloodiest CIA interrogation effort, it was the OPS [Office of Public Safety] police training in Latin America that prompted a Senate attempt to end torture training altogether. Ironically, it was the murder of an American police adviser in Uruguay that exposed Public Safety’s involvement in torture and precipitated the program’s abolition…
“…Only days after the funeral, the truth of Mitrione’s role began to emerge. A senior Uruguayan police official, Alejandro Otero, told the Jornal do Brasil that Mitrione had used “violent techniques of torture and repression.” On August 15, a U.S. embassy spokesman in Montevideo called the charge “absolutely false.”
“Eight years later, however, a Cuban double agent, Manuel Hevia Cosculluela, who had joined the CIA and worked with Mitrione in Montevideo, published a book with a very different picture of this American hero. In the Cuban’s account, Mitrione had tortured four beggars to death with electric shocks at a 1970 seminar to demonstrate his techniques for Uruguayan police trainees. “The special horror of the course,” Hevia added, “was its academic, almost clinical atmosphere. Mitrione’s motto was: ‘The right pain in the right place at the right time.’ A premature death, he would say, meant that the technique had failed.” Over drinks at his home, Mitrione had given Hevia a summary of this methods that showed the influence of the CIA’s psyhological paradigm: “He said he considered interrogation to be a complex art… The objective was to humiliate the victim, separating him from reality, making him feel defenseless. No questions, just blows and insults. The silent blows.” Significantly, the Cuban charged that Mitrione’s deputy in the Public Safety office was William Cantrell, a CIA agent.
“Only three months before Mitrione’s death in Uruguay, the unsettling coincidence of U.S. police training in Brazil and evidence of torture finally raised questions in the U.S. Congress…” -pages 71-73 of “A Question Of Torture – CIA Interrogation, From The Cold War To The War On Terror” by Alfred W. McCoy
Then there’s Edward Herman’s discussion of Claire Sterling’s book “The Terror Network,” in which he reports:
“…She argues, for example, that in Uruguay and Brazil, the military were “called in” or were provoked; they never took any initiatives, never had interests of their own that they were pursuing; and they themselves never provoked anybody. She mentions the murder of Dan Mitrione in Uruguay, failing to point out that he was an instructor in torture and a torturer, that death squads were already in existence killing dissidents regularly, and that the Tupamaros, who she says, “murdered with increasing clarity of intent,” were being tortured and killed with increasing clarity of intent. [A.J.] Langguth points out, moreover, that in their early years the Tupamaros “did not try to maim or kill. Their bombs were only noisy public-relations devices to introduce themselves… When the Tuparmaros did appear in public, they took the guise of public benefactors.” An excellent case can be made that Tupamaros killings followed and were provoked by U.S.-sponsored torture and counterinsurgency operations.” -pages 51 & 52 of “The Real Terror Network” by Edward Herman
Augusto Pinochet to Henry Kissinger: “We are behind you. You are the leader.”
Dinges’s narrative very much depends on the supposed visceral fear that the South American NSS leaders felt of leftwing revolutionary forces. The fear wasn’t visceral. Yes, There was an organized, international leftwing opposition to the NSSs. (And how is it possible that the “leader,” uncle Sam, and his intelligence, did not pass on to the Condor members the true state of the organized leftwing opposition? Even Dinges refers to that ongoing intelligence capacity and sharing.)
Dinges, in fact, contradicts himself. On page 54, he quotes another (René Valenzuela) who says that the threat was always exaggerated. But Dinges says “Those dismal reflections are hindsight. From the point of view of late 1973, the JCR [in English: Revolutionary Coordinating Junta] was a burst of energy and revolutionary optimism.” Dinges provides information showing that the leftwing opposition had been thoroughly crushed by DINA and other NSS leaders in Chile and the southern cone countries. He shows us CIA documentation showing that the CIA is well informed about Condor and the NSS leaders’ goals. Valenzuela’s assessment wasn’t hindsight. The turn to the international threat, in my mind, was something not unbelievable, if still shocking. This world is Augusto Pinochet’s world. If he wants to play hero and traipse around the planet hunting commies, and get awards and recognition for it, Why not? This was ‘make work’ for monsters busy in their Devil’s workshops.
“Pinochet’s success was making him a hero of the world anti-Communists, earning him the gratitude, access, and even friendship, of leaders like Francisco Franco, Henry Kissinger, and Margaret Thatcher.” – John Dinges, page 12 of “The Condor Years”
But Dinges, who has nothing bad to say about Bill Clinton (a murderer [Sudanese pharmaceuticals factory and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia] and one of Haiti’s biggest enemies) or Jimmy Carter (who ruled out any official U.S. apology to Vietnam on the basis that the destruction was mutual; See the link in my blog’s sticky) or Madelaine Albright (deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children via sanctions were “worth it”), all whom he mentions, takes the position, evidently, that there is the “reality and perceived threat of Communist revolution.” (pg 40) Can there be Communism? Can people choose something other than what Henry Kissinger, et al, wants them to choose? Is democracy about freedom and choice? This was also a revealing statement by Dinges: “Peru’s military government also defied stereotypes by proclaiming progressive income distribution and land redistribution policies, then turning to the Soviet Union for military aid and equipment.” (pg 42) So, The Soviet Union’s leaders weren’t allowed to help people? Yes, Stalin was a monster. But, as Noam Chomsky points out, internal U.S. planning documents showed it was the idea of Communism that the American ruling class and its international associates feared, not its military or (non existent) aggression. Give people the simple choice between a system that is dog eat dog versus one in which people care for each other and you can be sure that people will choose the latter every time. In other words, It’s not Communism, exactly, that monsters like George W., Obama and Trump want to protect us from. Rather, Its the status quo – namely neoliberalism (with inequality at its core) – that leaders like those want to protect. It’s exploitative, oppressive capitalism that leaders like those want to protect.
“…Part of the Soviet moral resources in the world arises from its claim, as the leading socialist state, to leadership and support of the oppressed…
“Of course, the bias of the western media is so huge that Soviet and Cuban aid to an indigenous movement against an ancient colonialism in Angola, or against South African efforts to destabilize the successor regime, is a priori aggressive and evidence of Soviet expansionism.” U.S. journalists like Hugh Sidey can blandly infer Soviet aggressive intent by merely noting its audacious provision of aid to Vietnam in the face of our decision to smash that distant country into submission.” -page 61 of “The Real Terror Network” by Edward Herman
That opposition, whose evil and power would always be exaggerated by Cold War warriors in the NSS states and in the U.S., could never ‘not’ exist. The NSSs simply represented the extreme form of people pacification taken by the lawless, violent capitalists who ‘take’ power everywhere and who want to ensure that the people who they abuse will be too terrified to ever think of rising up. People will always oppose, passively or actively, being exploited and oppressed. John Dinges fails to make the logical observation that those NSS and U.S. leaders never needed Condor (or Phoenix). They only needed to treat the people with decency. There didn’t need to be the extreme solution because there didn’t need to be the problem. For example, Douglas Valentine writes about the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, pointing out that “Responding to the grievances of the rural population and taking steps to correct social injustices might have enabled the GVN to collect intelligence and contest the VCI in the villages. But acknowledging the nature of the conflict would have undermined the reason for fighting the war in the first place.” (pg 258) It’s noteworthy that in order for the U.S. to achieve its sick goals in Vietnam (which were exactly those of the NSS leaders in South America) it had to pervert all the Vietnamese who they made an alliance with. Even the Vietnamese who would have been happy to have western style democracy, rather than Communism, weren’t the animals that John Dinges’s wonderful Americans were, initially.
For purposes of plausible denial as well as simply enabling the Vietnamese to carry on with their pacification program once the Americans left, the Americans encouraged the Vietnamese to set up a parallel Phoenix Program, which they did, calling their’s “Phung Hoang.” Here’s what Valentine says about it:
“The man who conceived Phung Hoang… was the Special Branch deputy director, Colonel Dang Van Minh, a Claude Rains type of character who, according to [Tully] Acampora, was a “stoic who took the path of least resistance.”…
“Insulated behind his desk at Special Branch headquarters on Vo Thanh Street, Minh weathered each successive regime by serving his bosses as “a professional intelligence officer.”…
“Minh’s attack against the VCI was measured, sophisticated and diametrically opposed to American policy. In contrast with [Nelson] Brickham, Minh viewed the VCI as village-level cadres “to be monitored, not killed.” As Minh conceived the attack on the VCI, all Vietnamese agencies receiving information on the VCI would forward their reports to the Special Branch for inclusion in its political order of battle file. The goal was the “combination of intelligence,” as Minh termed it, phoi hop in Vietnamese. Seeking an appropriate acronym, Minh borrowed the Ph from phoi and the Ho from hop and christened the program Phung Hoang, after the mythological Vietnamese bird of conjugal love that appears only in times of peace. In Vietnamese myth, the Phung Hoang bird holds a flute and represents virtue, grace, peace, and concord. Its song includes the five notes of the Vietnamese musical scale, and its feathers include the five basic colors.
“Before long, however, Phung Hoang was transformed into Phoenix, the mythological bird that perpetually rises from its own ashes. As the Americans drew it, the bird held a blacklist in its claw. In this manifestation, Phoenix is an omnipotent, predatory bird that selectively snatches its prey – a symbol of discord rather than harmony.
“Nowhere is the gap between American and Vietnamese sensibilities more apparent than in their interpretations of Phoenix and Phung Hoang, which also represent the struggle between General Loan and John Hart for control over the attack on the VCI.” -page 122 of “The Phoenix Program” by Douglas Valentine (Note that Douglas isn’t saying here that Phung Hoang became Phoenix. He is saying that it became a clone of Phoenix. Then again, Phoenix is conceptual. Therefore a clone of Phoenix is also Phoenix or what Phoenix is.)
As I said in an earlier blog post, Those Who Rule Cause Ruin.
In not mentioning the Phoenix Program, might John Dinges’s reasons be the same as whoever – I wonder who? – is preventing a Phoenix Program entry from appearing in Wikipedia? The Phoenix Program (conceptual; essentially the coordination of all of the counterinsurgency techniques employed by the U.S. in Vietnam, with efforts to decentralize operations), like Condor operations, didn’t start up, full blown, in one day, even though one can note a specific day or event that becomes the cited start for the program. Operation Condor was formalized on November 26, 1975. Phoenix was formalized, I believe, with the publication of “Action Program for the Attack on VC Infrastructure 1967-1968,” which seems to be most identified with contributor Nelson Brickham. That document, along with an earlier (1967) ICEX paper titled “A Proposal for the Coordination and Management of Intelligence Programs and Attack on VC Infrastructure and Local Irregular Forces,” embodied the concept of Phoenix, a name possibly given to the concept by Bob Wall when in Da Nang. ICEX stands for Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation. ICEX evolved into Phoenix.
“Explained Brickham: “The key to ICEX was decentralization” – in other words forcing field officers to do their jobs by putting responsibility on the scene, while at the same time trying to deliver to these officers the kinds and amounts of information they needed, fast…
“In response to [Robert] Komer’s demands, Brickham and Hansen incorporated the major themes of the concept paper into a detailed missions and functions paper titled “A Proposal for the Coordination and Management of Intelligence Programs and Attack on the VC Infrastructure and Local Irregular Forces.” What resulted, according to Brickham, “was not a general staff planning body, but an executive action organization that was focused on getting the job done, not thinking about it, by taking advantage of Komer’s dynamic personality.”
“Eleven pages long (plus annexes on interrogation, data processing, and screening and detention of VCI), “A Proposal” was accepted by Komer in early June 1967. Its stated purpose was: “to undertake the integration of efforts of all US and GVN organizations, both in intelligence collection and processing and in operations directed against the elimination of the VCI Infrastructure and irregular forces” and “to insure that basic programs conducted by different organizations and components, as they relate to the elimination of the VCI, are made mutually compatible, continuous, and fully effective.” -pages 130 & 131 of “The Phoenix Program” by Douglas Valentine
Dinges makes an effort to disassociate the United States from Operation Condor, going so far as to bring up some memo that Kissinger wrote for ambassadors in Condor countries to pass on asking the Condor members to back off on their assassinations outside of South America.
From the memo: “FOR BUENOS ARIES, MONTEVIDEO AND SANTIAGO: YOU SHOULD SEEK APPOINTMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE WITH HIGHEST APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL – PREFERABLE THE CHIEF OF STATE – TO MAKE REPRESENTATIONS DRAWING ON THE FOLLOWING POINTS: A. THE USG [U.S. GOVERNMENT] IS AWARE FROM VARIOUS SOURCES, INCLUDING HIGH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, THAT THERE IS A DEGREE OF INFORMATION, EXCHANGE AND COORDINATION AMONG VARIOUS COUNTRIES OF THE SOUTHERN CONE WITH REGARD TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE AREA. THIS WE CONSIDER USEFUL. B. THERE ARE IN ADDITION, HOWEVER, RUMORS THAT THIS COOPERATION MAY EXTEND BEYOND INFORMATION EXCHANGE TO INCLUDE PLANS FOR THE ASSASSINATION OF SUBVERSIVES, POLITICIANS AND PROMINENT FIGURES BOTH WITHIN THE NATIONAL BORDERS OF CERTAIN SOUTHERN CONE COUNTRIES AND ABROAD. C. WHILE WE CANNOT SUBSTANTIATE THE ASSASSINATION RUMORS, WE FEEL IMPELLED TO BRING TO YOUR ATTENTION OUR DEEP CONCERN. IF THESE RUMORS WERE TO HAVE ANY SHRED OF TRUTH, THEY WOULD CREATE A MOST SERIOUS MORAL AND POLITICAL PROBLEM. D. COUNTER-TERRORIST ACTIVITY OF THIS TYPE WOULD FURTHER EXACERBATE PUBLIC WORLD CRITICISM OF GOVERNMENTS INVOLVED. [EMPHASIS ADDED.]” -page 182 of “The Phoenix Program” by Douglas Valentine
The context for that memo, which, unsurprisingly, never got acted on (ambassadors never passed it on), was the need for the U.S. to look good to a public that was increasingly seeing and not liking what was going on in South America. There’s also this little thing called ‘plausible denial’. That wouldn’t do mass murderer Kissinger any good, but plausible denial’s main target is the President. Dinges, incredibly, doesn’t mention Operation Phoenix, which Valentine notes wasn’t confined to Vietnam. Why would it be? It’s an ‘approach’ to pacification and that approach is going to be seen wherever the U.S., and allies and clients, is busy pacifying the people, which includes pacifying politicians and governments and others who might show solidarity with the people. (counterintelligence = pacification = Critical Infrastructure Protection)
“And where might Phoenix be found today? Wherever governments of the left or right use military and security forces to enforce their ideologies under the aegis of antiterrorism. Look for Phoenix where police checkpoints ring major cities, where paramilitary police unites patrol in armored cars, and wherever military forces are conducting counterinsurgency operations. Look for Phoenix wherever emergency decrees are used to suspend due process, wherever dissidents are rounded up and deported. Look for Phoenix wherever security forces use informants to identify dissidents, wherever security forces keep files and computerized blacklists on dissidents, wherever security forces conduct secret investigations and surveillance on dissidents, wherever security forces, or thugs in their hire, harass and murder dissidents, and wherever such activities go unreported by the press.
“But most of all, look for Phoenix in the imagination of ideologues obsessed with security, who seek to impose their way of thinking on everyone else.” -pages 428 & 429 of “The Phoenix Program” by Douglas Valentine
If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. If you’re part of the solution, then expect to meet the lawless problem.
“5 of the Most Important JFK Files the CIA Is Still Hiding” by Jefferson Morely
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
The government’s release of long-secret JFK assassination records is generating headlines and hype worldwide. But the truth is the majority of the JFK files that were supposed to be released last month remain secret—and may forever if the CIA has its way.
On October 24, President Trump tweeted that “JFK files are released long ahead of schedule,” which was not true…
Judge John Tunheim, who oversaw the declassification of 4 million pages of JFK files in the 1990s, called the CIA withholding “disappointing.”
“They knew this deadline long ago,” Tunheim told Politico’s Bryan Bender. “It should have been done by Oct. 26, 2017.”
Dan Hardway, a West Virginia attorney and former investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, notes that the CIA is not in compliance with the JFK Records Act, which requires federal agencies to provide a written explanation for withholding any files past October 26.
My disappeared (by ‘fake Left entity’ Alternet or Disqus or both of those orgs) online response to commenter, Boris Badenov, follows. I believe that the comment Boris made that I responded to was “It’s all about fighting them evil Communists.”:
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A lot of what this author relates I just don’t have any knowledge of. And as I said in another comment attached (if it doesn’t get disappeared) to this article, Jefferson Morely merely refers to JFK as a “liberal president.” I think he wants people to understand “liberal” here as meaning ‘good’, which doesn’t work for me. Nor does it draw me to Morely’s research. But I am interested in the subject of JFK’s assassination. It would be easier if most of those looking into it weren’t witting and unwitting tools of the deep state. I was disappointed when reading the comments. People are clueless. I offered some links to books on JFK by Noam Chomsky and Seymour Hersh to one commenter, alan johnstone, who, for a change, didn’t respond to my observations on JFK with the usual automatic defense of a man who was actually a terrorist.
There was a button beside my disappeared comment in my Disqus account, which said that ‘If this is a mistake, let us know’ or something like that. Obviously, From my standpoint it’s a big mistake that those who have chosen darkness then act as agents of darkness, disappearing comments that aren’t supportive of the status quo or aren’t supportive of fake lefties like Alternet. So I clicked on the button. They can do whatever the hell they want… for now.
Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article is titled “RIP Edward Herman, Who Co-Wrote a Book That’s Now More Important Than Ever.” I thought that that – the title of the article – was about the most important thought in Matt’s article. I’m mystified by his willing ignorance of Cold War II. I also note that while it’s certainly the case that “Manufacturing Consent” is more timely than ever, I would have used my platform as a popular journo to direct people to an even better, and less academic, book by Edward Herman at this time, namely “The Real Terror Network.” But whatever.
I attached a comment to the above linked-to article by Matt Taibbi. Let’s see whether Disqus or someone flags this as spam. This is it:
Well, It’s ironic that a comment that I posted to (fake lefties) Alternet, quoting Edward Herman, a few days ago, was disappeared. It was flagged as spam. I don’t know whether that was data miner, and beloved of progressives everywhere, Disqus or Alternet or both. Doing a search online for entries about Herman’s death on the day of, after being alerted by TRNN about it, returned nothing. Now, There’s plenty. So I guess I was too quick in checking. But now you can read any number of articles from any number of sources, Right or less Right and truly alternative. That’s no problem. But a comment I make about Herman, quoting him, gets disappeared. The war on light continues.
“Myanmar defies the “International Community”” by Gearóid Ó Colmáin
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, has rejected UN calls for an investigation into the plight of the so-called Rohingya ethnic minority in the country. Violence irrupted in the Arakan province in October 2016 when Jihadi terrorists attacked a police checkpoint along the Bangladeshi border, killing nine policemen.
The attacks were blamed on the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO), a Jihadi terrorist organisation with links to Saudi Arabia. Human rights groups linked to the US State Department and British intelligence such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International launched a concerted appeal to the “international community” to do something to prevent “genocide” against the Rohingya minority after Burmese troops launched a military operation to quell the Islamist insurgency. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has accused the Myanmar government of genocide based on the reports of the aforementioned dubious organisations, who have a track record of spreading lies and disinformation in order to justify wars of aggression disguised as “humanitarian interventions.”…
Thousands of Buddhist women have been raped and murdered by Bengali Muslims; yet the Western media has shown little or no interest. Instead, the focus has been on demonising the nationalist monks who are encouraging a boycott of what they see as an attempt by the Bengali Muslims to ethnically cleanse the province. No objective investigation into the ethnic violence in the province has been carried out by the Western press…
My online disappeared comments (attached to the above linked-to article) follows:
1st November 2017 at 4:15 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
I appreciate Gearóid’s knowledge of this complex situation. But the ‘China is good and the United States is bad’ narrative is not helpful. A lot of people like the idea of highlighting the decline of the American Empire (perhaps feeling that the words can wound that false prophet who has wounded the world), pointing to others that are rising. They are all godless empires, or would-be empires, my friend. (If the United States ceased to exist tomorrow, and China was left to rule the world, Do you imagine that the cancerous money system would disappear and the inequality and exploitation that a money system enables would disappear?) And, yes, There is a God. And he is not humankind.
4th November 2017 at 6:45 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
There is nothing in this article I would argue with. Why would I? I know nothing. I’m trying to learn and I’ve heard Gearóid talk about this before, probably via 21st Century. 21st Century is the sort of source I get my information from. Filters are more needed now than ever. It’s filters vs Google’s police state algorithms. As real news gets buried by fascists entities like Google, those without some idea already who to turn to for information will be screwed. And so I am alarmed that my comment here was disappeared. This happens when I am in fact directing traffic to sites like Gearóid’s, so I am hurt.
What was the problem? I often don’t start keeping track of censorious behavior until I’ve seen it happen for the first time (and I can’t remember exactly what I said that deserved to get disappeared). Then, unless it’s a site that I have absolutely no use for anyway, I start keeping track. I could be spending more time just learning, but alas, It’s a free universe and I am not impervious to what others do to me.