Journal: Afghanistan = Viet-Nam, National Security Council Remains “Like a Moron”

05 Civil War, 10 Security, Ethics, Government, Military, Peace Intelligence
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Saigon 2009

Afghanistan is today's Vietnam.

No question mark needed.


AUGUST 20, 2009

For those who say that comparing the current war in Afghanistan to the Vietnam War is taking things too far, here's a reality check: It's not taking things far enough. From the origins of these North-South conflicts to the role of insurgents and the pointlessness of this week's Afghan presidential elections, it's impossible to ignore the similarities between these wars. The places and faces may have changed but the enemy is old and familiar. The sooner the United States recognizes this, the sooner it can stop making the same mistakes in Afghanistan.

Continue reading “Journal: Afghanistan = Viet-Nam, National Security Council Remains “Like a Moron””

Review: The Human Factor–Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture

5 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)

Human FactorA few false notes, but on balance, final nail in CIA's coffin,  August 12, 2008

Ishmael Jones

This is a clean-sheet final review. I considered dropping it to a four because of false notes. However, after adding up all the substantial “bombs” in this book, bombs I will itemize below, I believe the book not only merits five stars, but should–if Congress were honest, which it is not–warrant a full Congressional investigation, and a wholesale purging of the light-weight risk-averse clowns now managing CIA's directorates.

The author was a Non-Official Cover (NOC) Officer, something he is not allowed to say, but he no doubt has infuriated the pretentious at CIA by making it clear that virtually all of CIA's case officers are under Department of State cover.

I will list the false notes first. While I have not been active in clandestine operations since 1988, the following troubled me:

1) Ability to work on own funds with pay and expense gaps of up to $200,000 at a time.

2) Excessive travel to HQS and entry into HQS. In my day NOCs did not come inside at all.

3) Implied knowledge of inside operations and actual sighting of final cables–in my day, NOCs were handled as prize agents, and never saw any official traffic.

4) Agents (the ones committing treason) complaining to HQS to get their NOC fired? This is way over the edge.

5) Uninformed view on JAWBREAKER and First In with respect to public story–however, it is now it is coming out that Bin Laden was believed killed by multiple air bursts over Tora Bora, and the “flight” to Jalabad might have been a CIA deception ordered by the White House, and the only good explanation for why General Franks refused to drop a Ranger battalion, knowing it was merely in support of a CIA fabrication.

6) Inconsistency between one claim that Plame had four years of training followed by a short tour followed by five more years of training, and footnote 46, which is much more credible.

I hope other case officers, and NOCs, will read and review this book and contribute reviews that extend my own notes in the public interest. The time has come to shut CIA down and start over (the same is true of the rest of the secret world, but this book focuses on CIA).

Management crimes itemized in this book:

1) Waste of billions of dollars in post 9-11 money, to include paying rent for domestic assignments and creating hundreds of new CIA offices all over the USA, while failing to create new NOC capabilities overseas. [Note: open sources tell us that rather than fielding hundreds of NOCs, CIA created extremely expensive cover companies, all but one of which has since had to shut down–just as the Joint Fusion Centers across the USA are shutting down: CIA management is disconnected from reality in a big big way).

2) Risk aversion, multiple layers of inept and egotistical management, most of whom have made a career out of being in HQS rather than serving in the field (I myself did three back to back tours overseas and quit CIA when I was told to go down the hall and lie to another case officer–which was coincident with Ted Price deciding I was unfit for duty because I consider the DO a joke).

3) US academic access agents being sent to destroy NOC access and existing cases, management seeking to triple-up coverage on cases best handled by singleton NOCs. Combined with the risk aversion, with HQS officers being clueless on how easy a commercial approach can be, anywhere including in “rogue” or “threat” states, this book for all of its flaws, is a death blow to the Potemkin village called the National Clandestine Service.

4) HQS, and Agency personnel, have blown virtually every clandestine identity in history–very very few have been brought down by hostile counterintelligence. I was one of five case officers NOT blown by Phil Agee's Cuban-sponsored list as published in Mexico, this resonates with me. CIA lives “immunity from accountability,” NOT “cover.”

5) Many credible examples of CIA waste of new money on NOC “trainees” that are stationed in USA and “counted” in testimony to Congress. Riveting story on how CIA fabricated NOC overseas presence by sending NOCs on non-operational sight-seeing tours, called “Axis of Evil Tourism” by the NOCs.

6) Lends additional support to the long-known unwillingness and inability of CIA to operate in Syria or any other Middle Eastern country, in anything other than a declared liaison capability.

7) Destroys CIA claims on Europe, pointing out that more often than not CIA is “shut down” across Europe and refuses to do operational actions not being done jointly by liaison. Points out that Europe is important as a transit point, not as a target, but this nuance is evidently lost on risk-averse “managers.”

8) Recurring theme is the micro-management, the multiple layers of approval and editing (including the morphing of Reports Officers into “Collection Management Officers” who no longer add value)

9) Exposes the ease with which an ally, perhaps Germany, has dangled double-agents and consistently embarrassed CIA case officers. This probably applies to Russia and France, and more subtly, to China and Cuba, but then CIA is not admitting any of this.

10) Page 118: in the Middle East, the author's primary area of operations, 15% of the NOCs working as they should; 70% quiet failures; 15% spectacular failures. The real question is: what number. My guess is 30, of whom only 4 are real, and half are light-weight contractors.

I am coming up on my 1000 word limit, so here are some teasers: NOC laptops used to fire one out of ten NOCs for access to pornography; polygraph given for “disgruntlement”; CIA stationary accidentally sent to all NOCs overseas; contract firms taking the money and destroying clandestine service….

The appendix, specific recommendations for reform, merits serious consideration. On balance, this book is now on my short list of essential references on the deception and death of our spy service.

See also:
On Intelligence: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
Lost Promise
None So Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam
Decent Interval: An Insider's Account of Saigon's Indecent End Told by the Cia's Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam
The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA
Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion
See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism
Still Broken: A Recruit's Inside Account of Intelligence Failures, from Baghdad to the Pentagon
Blond Ghost

Review: 9-11 Descent into Tyranny–The New World Order’s Dark Plans to Turn Earth into a Prison Planet

5 Star, 9-11 Truth Books & DVDs

9-11 DescentImportant Pieces of the Puzzle,

March 2, 2007

Alex Jones

I agree with those that suggest that the author goes over the top sometimes, but I will also be quite explicit in saying that I think Alex Jones is a very important part of the patriotic truth movement, and all that he does is in my view at least 80% vital to improving public intelligence in the public interest.

This book plays out a theme that relates the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma with 9-11, and I read through it at the same time that I was watching the DVD “Painful Questions” which actually had news clips about additional unexploded bombs being found in the Federal Building after the fact.

I am increasingly frustrated as I read so many of these books, each with vital tid-bits, many of which I can see correlating with one another, but yet no one anywhere has cut the spines off all these great books, digitized them, and created a visual diagram that makes sense of all this.

One thing I am certain of: the White House and Larry Silverstein are both hiding information from the public, and one day we will have proof of the degree to which elements of our own government allowed 9-11 to happen and went the extra step of helping to murder thousands of Americans solely and exclusively to manipulate a mandate for combining a police state at home with a unilateral ;militarism-terrorism abroad.

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Review: How The World Really Works

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Crime (Organized, Transnational), Religion & Politics of Religion

How World WorksBest Insight into Organized Crime-Vatican-Wall Street Collaboration,

January 29, 2007

Alan B. Jones

I am going to put my reputation on the line, and the 850+ non-fiction books I have read that make me the #1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction (and to my great surprise, today #49 over all fiction, movies, music, and software as well as non-fiction) for the simple reason that too many people discuss books such as this by labeling it “conspiracy theory.”

It's not a conspiracy theory if it is true. I will try to be brief as well as illuminative.

First off, the author has culled a handful of books that support his case against a global financial elite, and these tend, with the exception of the Quigley book, to be left of left of center. I am however happy to add a number of books that support his essential theses that a handful of banking families control the central banks which are NOT government banks, and through loans, control governments, impoverish the middle class, and harvest profit without conscience from the “working poor.”

Try these on for size:

1) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. 85% rock solid, 15% flakey, but in my view, a perfectly reasonable slam on the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund as instruments for impoverishing lesser developed countries, not empowering them.

2) The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time by Jeffrey Sachs, another slam on the WTO/IMF, which he relegates to third rate out-dated economist ranks, not at all focused or able to achieve what he calls “developmental economics.”

3) The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back by Jeff Faux, a fine discussion of how our elites bribe the elites in other countries, and the both screw the public by looting the commonwealths of gold, oil, etcetera, without returns to the people whose families have lived on top of these resources for centuries.

4) Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It, by Paul Peterson of the Council of Foreign Relations (which the author hates, in my view it has two types of members–one manipulative like Henry Kissinger, another honest, like Paul Peterson), in which both the Republican and the Democratic parties are lambasted for being the ignorant slaves of the ultra-rich elites, and hopeless out of touch with reality and unable to represent We the People.

5) War Is a Racket: The Anti-War Classic by America's Most Decorated General, Two Other Anti=Interventionist Tracts, and Photographs from the Horror of It by General Smedley Butler, the highest decorated Marine of his time, who complained about being an enforcer for banks and businesses that lent money to the Third World then sent the Marines to get it back for them.

There are many other books that support this author's book reviews in great detail and from many varied perspectives. I refer you to my various lists, including the list on “Screwing the 90% that do the work.”

The author has some pretensions and some slop, his arguments are not always consistent, but then neither are mine. On balance I regard this book as a first rate personal effort that should be read by every middle class person wondering, as Lou Dobbs on CNN has wondered, why we are exporting middle class jobs and importing poverty in the form of illegal aliens.

The author wraps up his varied reviews with a focus on the relationship between organized crime and the super-elite as well as their political elite (e.g. the Bush family, the best of the servant class), and on the relationship between drugs, covert operations, and Wall Street. Here again the author draws on a very tiny sub-set of books while not listing many others that support his thesis so I will mention a few here.

Having been through both Viet-Nam as a youth and the Central American Wars as an adult, I am quite certain that there are at least four different slices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where I served for ten years as a clandestine case officer:

A small slice does what the White House wants, including black bag jobs.

A small but more important slice does what Wall Street wants, and helps Wall Street with access to financially relevant information that the public which pays for the CIA does not get. Buzzy Krongard, until recently Executive Director of the CIA, comes to mind as the most recent leader of this section.

A larger slice, that does covert action off the books with funding from Saudi Arabia and others, sometimes called the Safari Club, sometimes having off-shoots like Ted Shackley's Southern Air Transport, and so on. This slice can provide the intersection between criminal activities, white collar crime profits, illegal White House activities, and plain profiteering.

Finally, 90% of the CIA, folks like me that did not realize they were simply going through the motions and giving the local counterintelligence service a full-time rabbit to follow while the commercial clandestine boys and girls looted the bank in bright daylight.

I have two intelligence lists that can be helpful here, but I have not focused on creating crime lists. I'll just say that between the books on the The Working Poor: Invisible in America and on being Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in Americaand books on immoral predatory capitalism and unilateral militarism of the Dick Cheney variety (I have compiled a list of 25 specific impeachable actions by Dick Cheney based on three books:

The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil

There is a very clear-cut and direct relationship between dictators, transnational organized crime and terrorism, and Wall Street as well as the Republican and Democratic National Committees (see Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It)

That reminds me: there is an entire literature on petroleum, peak oil, petrodollars, and so on. Americans have been betrayed by their government since at least 1975, and more likely, back to the 1950's when naiveté about international affairs was replaced by active complicity.

Good news. 1) Internet leveled playing field. 2) Not enough guns to kill us all. 3) A few of the really rich have realized they need to help us create infinite wealth for ourselves, or lose all they have to locusts. Read, be vocal, be active, we're going to get a grip on our commonwealth soon.

Tip of the Hat to Jere for the following added links:
When Corporations Rule the World
The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. a. Hayek)
Money Masters of Our Time

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Review: An End to Poverty?–A Historical Debate (Hardcover)

Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class

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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Historical Underpining to Sachs' Current Work,

April 4, 2006
Gareth Stedman Jones
It is very disappointing to see so little information provided by the publisher on this book, not even a table of contents. The time has come for Amazon to demand a higher standard of due diligence by publishers.

For those who wish to immerse themselves on the pros and cons of the debate over poverty, this is an essential intellectual foundation to the current work by Jeffrey Sachs who is both the advisor to the Secretary General of the UN on the Millennium project, and the head of the Columbia Earth Institute.

Thomas Jefferson said that “A Nation's best defense is an educated citizenry.” He probably would have agreed to amend that to say an educated, healthy citizenry able to work. A historical appreciation of the phrase “pursuit of happiness” suggests that Jefferson actually meant, in lieu of selfish pleasure, the pursuit of self- actualization.

This book completes a circle with C. K. Prahalad's The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks) which suggests that there is a four trillion a year marketplace among the five billion poorest, and that unleashing their entrepreneurial initiative could save the world, and the definitive work by Jeffrey Sachs, on how can end poverty for $70 per year per person.

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Review: Menopause for Dummies [ILLUSTRATED] (Paperback)

4 Star, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design

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4.0 out of 5 stars 1 of 3 useful books, see my two-page memorandum, guys need to know this stuff!,

August 14, 2005
Marcia Jones
No one book was able to satisfy my research needs, and I ended up writing a two page memo that combined description with prescription in drawing out the best information across all three books (copy posted to OSS.Net Library under Reference). I deeply regret that I did know look into this ten years ago–both men and women need to understand this stuff before they hit 40. A great deal of emotional misunderstanding could be avoiding if *both* men and women absorbed this knowledge early on. Of the three books, this is the middle one in terms of utility and ease of use. The other two books that I recommend are Colette Bouchez, Your Perfectly Pampered Menopause: Health, Beauty, and Lifestyle Advice for the Best Years of Your Life (2005, the most time-consuming to read, but also the most up to date with some real gems of knowledge), and The Menopause Survival Guide: Surviving the Change of Life which is the shortest and also the best starting point.
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Review: War Without Windows

4 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reference on intelligence failure in Viet-Nam,

April 8, 2000
Bruce Jones
Sam Adams may be more famous as the whistle-blower on CIA and U.S. military falsification of the numbers of Viet Cong and regular North Vietnamese army personnel confronting the U.S. in Viet-Nam, but this book is the very best account I have found of the intimate details of how politics, bureaucracy, bad judgment, and some plain downright lying falsified the military intelligence process at all levels of the U.S. military in Viet-Nam.
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