Category Archives: CIA

More chickens coming home to roost…

Truth Dig’s Barry Lando about the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and what I might call the next round of chickens coming home to roost.

With Friends like these, who needs Democracy?

The US are in a bit of a jam with facing the radical consequences of some of their best allies’ oppressive domestic policies. On the one hand the US relies on dodgy partners to keep a foot in the various strategically interesting regions of the world, not only to fight islamist terrorism and maintain a network of military bases around the world, but also to keep the doors open for US multinationals to earn themselves silly.

On the other hand, those same partners could hardly have more disregard for democratic principles, thus fostering local radical groups who–you guessed it–for lack of political alternatives, may end up joining religious fanatics as the only remaining opposition force in those countries.

Why does the current Tunisian people’s uprising against its dictator remind me of Algeria in the early 90s? Or the first free democratic elections in Gaza in 2006? I guess we’ll have to see if there will be new elections and if so, who gets all the votes and who of the international powers-that-be decide to accept the result of the elections, as they like to pretend they do. It is democracy at work, right?…

Granted, not all elections end up bringing peace-loving, harmony-seeking factions to power, but that is precisely the conondrum the western powers face: they’ve been scratching the backs and rocking the balls of dictators for too long to not be an accessory to creating the very radical atmosphere where such extreme groups evolve from. In short, they’ve been keeping the lids on those pots sealed a bit too tightly. And now that the chef’s gone and the lids on those pressure cookers are gradually popping off themselves,  they’re bound to end up making a mess in the kitchen… But even while the crap hits the ceiling, the US foreign and domestic policy is far from learning from its mistakes and from addressing lopsided power balances in the Middle East, for instance, or at home, to prevent the next outbreak of violence.

Assuming the Tunisian military actually agrees to hold free elections (not at all a sure thing), will the generals really throw open the doors to all political groups? Nationalists? Islamists? Marxists? Anti-militarists? What forces will roil to the surface after decades of political repression? Will they throw in their lot with America’s war against terror, or join the ranks of those in the Middle East who increasingly see what’s going on as America’s war against Islam? […]

There is no way, for instance, that Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for 30 years, will permit a democratic opening. Thanks to his ironclad dictatorship, only one group has been able to organize politically, the Islamic radicals. More secular-minded opponents have been co-opted, imprisoned or cowed. The influence of the religious extremists has grown throughout the country. It’s only the military that stands between Mubarak and chaos.

Like a deer frozen in oncoming headlights, Washington seems immobilized. On the one hand, there’s the corrupt, despotic and failing Mubarak. But he’s a friend. On the other hand, free and fair elections would almost certainly bring leaders to power much more virulently anti-Israel and opposed to U.S. policies. Perhaps Washington is hoping for the Egyptian military to step in again to save itself and its privileges—and the U.S.

Elsewhere throughout the region, from Saudi Arabia to Jordan to Yemen to Ethiopia to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the picture seems markedly similar: U.S. allies are invariably corrupt dictators, maintained in power by lavish patronage and the military.

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Filed under CIA, Demokratie, ignance in power, Law and Ordure, [andbehold]


Diese Story ist wirklich der Hammer: Die Slowaken hielten es offenbar für eine gute Idee, die Sicherheit ihrer Flughäfen zu testen, indem sie unwissenden Touristen Bomben ins Gepäck steckten und dann warteten, ob diese gefunden würden. Offenbar klappte das nur bei sieben der acht Versuchskaninchen. Nummer acht schaffte es nach Hause und wurde dort prompt ins Gefängnis geworfen. Nach drei Tagen bequemten sich die Slowaken dann, ihren ausländischen Kollegen von ihrem drolligen Experiment zu erzählen (Sie behaupten, das schon vorher getan zu haben. Momentan schiebt man halt den Schwarzen Peter herum). Der Tourist wurde dann wieder frei gelassen…

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Torture in America, as upheld by Obama

Yesterday saw the release of the 2004 CIA’s Inspector General Report on the use of torture by the US.  Salon’s Glenn Greenwald highlights the important points. In spite of everything that has come to light over the last years this should be read far and wide.

The IG Report also documents numerous other abuses that have been documented by prior OLC memos, including having waterboarded detainees 82 and 183 times; hanging them by their arms until interrogators thought their shoulders might be dislocated; stepping on their ankle shackles to cause severe bruising and pain; putting them in a diapers and leaving them doused with water on cold concrete floors in cold temperatures to induce hypothermia, etc.  Some of the numerous deaths of detainees during interrogations were also discussed.

The article

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The end of hope, Obama disappoints

Here’s a good piece of how Obama manages to fuck up royalle on civil liberties. The title just about sums it up: “Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability — resoundingly and disgracefully”. The truly sad thing about this is that Obama probably is at one of those rare moments in history where he could effect some real change. Failing to do so, in spite of all his campaign promises, just makes him more condemnable. From Salon:

The Obama administration will continue the cover-up of the alleged torture of the British resident. The argument is that revealing the extent of the man’s torture and abuse would reveal state secrets. No shit. This is a depressing sign that the Obama administration will protect the Bush-Cheney torture regime from the light of day.  And with each decision to cover for their predecessors, the Obamaites become retroactively complicit in them.

So what are they hiding from us? Wouldn’t you like to know?

I guess the old truism holds: “The only way to look upon a politician is down!”

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UBS ist Schuld an Terror im Nahen Osten…

… behauptet eine Sammelklage, die kürzlich in den USA eingereicht worden ist.

Die Logik ist genauso faszinierend wie an den Haaren herbei gezogen.

Es ist ja eigentlich interessant zu sehen, dass die Finanzströme im Hintergrund, die nicht ganz koscher sind (doofes Wortspiel, ich weiss) zum Thema gemacht werden. Etwas mehr Transparenz wäre da bestimmt zu wünschen.

Doch ich wage zu behaupten, dass die Klage abgeschmettert wird. Schon allein um niemanden auf die Idee zu bringen, die US Regierung selber zu verklagen. Diese hat schliesslich die Angewohnheit, immer wieder mal hier und dort Kriegsparteien und Aufständische mit Waffen zu beliefern (Iran-Contra, Sandinisten, Guatemala, u.v.m.) Und à propos Naher Osten: hier haben die USA auch die Fatah ausgerüstet, wohl in der Hoffnung, sie könnte sich gegen die Hamas behaupten. Die Hamas wurde übrigens 2006 demokratisch gewählt, doch von den meisten sogenannt westlichen Mächten schlichtweg geschnitten und finanziell sabotiert… Na das nenn ich mal eine konsequent durchgezogene Roadmap im Sinne der Demokratie.

13. Mai 2008, 8:38

UBS soll Terror-Opfer in Israel entschädigen

Sammelklage in den USA eingereicht

Die Schweizer Grossbank UBS soll eine halbe Milliarde Dollar an US-Opfer von Anschlägen in Israel zahlen. Dies fordern über 50 US-Bürger in einer Klage. Sie beschuldigen die UBS, mit Geschäften im Iran die Urheber der Attentate finanziell unterstützt zu haben.

Unter den Klägern sind US-Bürger, die bei Anschlägen in Israel verletzt wurden sowie Angehörige von bei Attentaten getöteten US-Amerikanern. Ihre Klage wurde vor einem Bundesgericht in New York eingereicht.

Die Attentate ereigneten sich zwischen 1997 und 2006. Sie werden den radikalen Gruppierungen Hisbollah, Hamas und Islamischer Dschihad zugeschrieben.

Iran sei wichtiger Geldgeber des Terror

Nach Ansicht der Kläger verletzte die UBS US-Gesetze aus dem Jahr 1996. Diese verbieten es Einzelpersonen und Unternehmen, Geschäfte mit Staaten zu machen, die den Terrorismus unterstützen.

Nach Angaben der US-Regierung ist der Iran seit 1996 der wichtigste Geldgeber der Hisbollah und der Hamas. Beiden Organisationen soll Iran jedes Jahr Dutzende Millionen Dollar in bar überwiesen haben.

UBS 2004 gebüsst

«Die UBS wusste, dass dieses Geld benutzt wurde, um terroristische Anschläge zu verüben oder zu ermöglichen», halten die Kläger fest. Eine Sprecherin der UBS, Rohini Pragasam, wollte die Klage nicht kommentieren.

Anfang 2006 hatte die Grossbank mitgeteilt, ihre Aktivitäten im Iran gestoppt zu haben. 2004 musste die UBS der US-Notenbank Fed eine Busse von 100 Millionen Dollar bezahlen, weil sie mit unerlaubten Handel von Dollar-Noten mit Iran, Kuba und Libyen ein Embargo gebrochen hatte.


aus: SF Tagesschau

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Filed under but seriously..., CIA, Demokratie, Law and Ordure, [andbehold]

A Short History of Psychological Terror

A short lecture on the history of psychological terror by Alfred McCoy, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, as developed by the US. Short meaning in this case about an hour, but you get a pretty good overview on the evolution of torture.

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Litmus test: Is Guatemala ready NOW?

I recently stumbled over the news of Álvaro Colom taking office as the sixth civilian president of Guatemala since 1986, which marked the end of 30 years of military rule. After winning the November elections with 52% of the votes, he has been branded by some of the media as Guatemala’s first left-wing or center-leftist president in the last decades, which is as vague as it may be overly enthusiastic, as we have yet to see how the president arranges himself with the right-leaning latifundist upperclass. But the reference to Jacobo Arbenz’s election in 1951 does bring back memories of events past (see further down). So far, we only have words to judge President Colom by:

He said he felt on his shoulders the 50 years of aiming for a change, including leaving behind a perverted war whose wounds are still bleeding. Intolerance, inequality, discrimination and the absence of solidarity is what we set out to correct, he affirmed.

God knows the country could need someone who gets shit done for the wretched of this piece of earth. But in a country where both the guerrilla factions and the army (mostly the latter) have committed some of the most atrocious crimes one could (not) imagine and where even today, it’s nearly impossible to bring the truth to light and justice to the victims, it takes more than a few speeches and budget allocations to drain this puddle of nepotism, violence and poverty. To give you an idea, between 2000 and 2005, more than 23,000 people were killed. To think that the guerrilla movement laid down its arms in 1996, the progress expected from the “peace” era is somewhat disappointing. Aside from the usual poverty and lack of future prospects for the majority of the population, it’s the impunity that is silently granted to members of the army and the police that encourages these organisations to use gratuitous violence to maintain “order”.

Same shit different logo...

The last time Guatemala had a president who actually was inspired by socialist ideology was in the 1950s. Jacobo Arbenz was democratically elected in 1951 and got to work on giving the poor peasant population land to grow food on. He made the mistake of laying hands on property that belonged to the United Fruit Company (UFCO, now Chiquita), among others. Being Guatemala’s largest land owner with 85% of its property uncultivated, it was only natural they would be subject to Arbenz’s land reform. But even though only uncultivated plots of land were seized, and despite the fact that the owners were indemnified for the land, United Fruit, which practically owned and ran Guatemala, cried help by hiring a PR agency to manipulate the American media against Arbenz, and the US government smelled communism in their backyard. On top of that, the fact that the CIA had strong ties to UFCO probably helped, too (CIA director had been president of UFCO!). What followed was a series of operations aimed ultimately to destabilize and overthrow Arbenz as well as to portray him as an ally of Sovjet communists. The operations were orchestrated by the CIA as well as by local CIA-trained and financed paramilitary groups. When Arbenz and his family did eventually flee the destabilized country, his successor was quick to undo all the legislation in the latifundists’ interests.

Now, what’s rather interesting is the new internet platform where the CIA, under the Freedom of Information Act, publishes those previously secret documents that haven’t mysteriously been dumped into a concrete foundation or got recycled into toilet paper… And to read how meticulously and cold-heartedly the Central Intelligence Agency planned the ousting of the Arbenz government to regain control of the country, it just makes you wonder what other kind of stuff they’ve come up with in the meantime…

Since I can’t link to the docs directly, I put them right here, but you can look them up at CIA FOIA by searching for…

CIA’s role in the overthrow of Arbenz:






Also very insightful is this long article about the US intervention in Guatemala on

Then, there’s a history of US Interventions (incomplete, naturally).

And another timeline of the history of the CIA from its foundation till the early 1990s.

So, to come back to Álvaro Colom, we have yet to see how he manages to democratize the country without stepping on the puppeteers’ toes, both of those within and north of the country. My personal prediction is either he won’t get much more done than apply some cosmetics on the festering face of poor people’s daily lives, or he attempts to make some real reforms, such as drag army officials and police to court, to start with, which will most likely make him the victim of an unforeseeable traffic accident…

So let’s not hold our breaths.

But should this blog survive the four years of Colom’s term, we’ll talk again.


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