Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 06, 2013

Two Failed U.S. Raids

Yesterday two U.S. raids attempted to abduct a man in Libya and a man in Somalia. The raid in Libya did get the target but already has some bad impacts for the Libyan government. The raid in Somalia, by so called elite SEAL forces, failed completely.

The raid in Libya caught one Abu Anas Al-Libi, accused in connection with the bombing of a U.S. embassy in Kenia some 15 years ago. It also killed some 15 Libyan soldiers. The man, one Abu Anas Al-Libi, has lived away from Libya and came back after U.S. and NATO forces waged war against the Libyan government under Ghaddafi. He seems to have lived quite openly in the capitol Tripoli:

His brother Nabih told The Associated Press that just after dawn prayers on Saturday, three vehicles full of armed men approached Abu Anas’s home and surrounded him as he parked his car. The men smashed his window, seized his gun and sped away with him, the brother said.
The raid will surely lead to some controversies:
CNN said that the Libyan government knew the raid was being carried out. This has been denied today by the government, which has posted a statement on its Facebook page, saying it knows nothing about the reported seizure. It went to to say that it had contacted the US “for clarification”.
The various gangs that are the now the major powers in Libya will see this raid as (another) attack on Libya's sovereignty. Some major blowback against the interim government and other targets can be expected. There was already a tribal response against the government but the only mentioning of it is buried deep in the 25th paragraph of the NYT version of the story:
The capture of Abu Anas also coincided with a fierce gunfight that killed 15 Libyan soldiers at a checkpoint in a neighborhood southeast of Tripoli, near the traditional home of Abu Anas’s clan.
Some "coincidence" ...

The botched raid in Somalia was on a beach house allegedly used by the local Al Shaabab jihadists. The raid was first reported by locals and then by the Al Shaabab itself:

Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab, spokesman for Al Shabaab’s military wing, confirmed the raid and disclosed in a recorded press statement that the militants “repelled a midnight raid by white infidel soldiers”.

Abu Musab said: "We fought back against the white infidel soldiers with bombs and bullets, and they ran back to their boats. One member of Al Shabaab was killed and the white infidel soldiers failed their mission. We found blood and equipment near the coast in the morning,” he added in a recorded press statement posted on militant websites.

There was a lot of confusion about this raid and it took nearly a day until the U.S. confirmed that it forces had been beaten back. At one time the NYT and Fox News said that a senior Shabaab boss was killed while NBC said he was captured and AP said he was not found. This reminds one of all the propaganda claims made about the Bin Laden raid. This time though we will immediately know for sure as the book about this SEAL raid has already been written (/snark).

But what is obvious is that this attack by SEAL personal by boat was somehow detected and responded to with heavy fire. The SEALs were said to had to call in helicopters and they had to retreat under fire.

In Somalia, the Navy SEAL team emerged before sunrise from the Indian Ocean and exchanged gunfire with militants at the home of a senior leader of the Shabab, the Somali militant group.
The SEAL team was forced to withdraw before it could confirm that it had killed the Shabab leader, a senior American security official said. Officials declined to identify the target.
On wonders what the Obama administration wants to achieve with such raids. The case for the guy snatched in Libya is fifteen years old. To bring him to court and prove his guilt will be costly. The blowback that this raid will create in Libya will only add to the severe problems the "western" friendly interim government there already has.

Likewise the botched raid in Somalia. Not only will it create further trouble with Al Shaabab but it will also incite Somalian nationalists against such a breach of Somali sovereignty. It also shows that twenty years after the Blackhawk Down failure even the most elite U.S. forces have little luck in successfully operating there.

These raids make little sense. They are driven by some silly concept of revenge, they scare off no one from joining Al-Qaeda or its affiliates while they create more and more future enemies. In this sense both raids are massive failures.

Posted by b on October 6, 2013 at 13:58 UTC | Permalink

next page »

A drug deal gone wrong?

Posted by: Gareth | Oct 6 2013 14:44 utc | 1

magician's trick, make people look the other direction.

What's going on in Sudan, by the way, the NYT seems to be in favor of regime change?

How will that end, any bets?

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2013 14:46 utc | 2

And people talk about Bush's warcrimes..when Obama is ready he will exceed Bush' crimes.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 6 2013 14:52 utc | 3

"One wonders what the Obama administration wants to achieve with such raids..."
They are entirely fodder for PR campaigns. Their primary target is the domestic audience where there is a large, though rapidly declining, appetite for evidences that theirs is a master race and that Amerika kicks ass.
Then there is the even larger, though more amorphous "outer America" consisting of all those who admire such nonsense and wish that their own governments were as powerful.
Finally there is the world of what these infantile armchair militarists call the "bad guys" who are meant to shake in their shoes when they consider the evidence of America's ability to strike anywhere at any time.
Thus are real objectives sacrificed to the instant thrills of drone strikes, commando/death squad raids and cruise missile attacks, crack cocaine for a government which has no idea what to do next, which is intellectually exhausted (that didn't take much!) and politically powerless. It can't win a vote in Congress but it can make itself obnoxious in Tripoli which, incidentally, is where America's foreign military adventures began 200 plus years ago.
The bad news is that the former "sole superpower" in the unipolar world of neo-con theories has only one trick left to show how omnipotent it is: the nuclear strike.
The sooner America's poor march on Washington and deal with the conceited idiots who ride them like mules and treat them like dogs the better it will be for us all.
In the meantime 90% of the human race is applauding Somali military prowess this Sunday morning.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 6 2013 15:13 utc | 4

Bernhard's final statement implies that the USG considers AQ to be what it pretends to be. He says: "[The raids] are driven by some silly concept of revenge, they scare off no one from joining AQ or its affiliates while they create more and more future enemies." Therefore, naturally Bernard will have to conclude: "These raids make little sense." He implies that USG's motive is to disable AQ and deter recruits to it. But all this is radically mistaken, in terms of the hypothesis that I and many others have been consistently advancing on here for months, which is that AQ is a USG construct, as it always was. B chooses not to use the conceptual tools offered, viz the theory of the pseudo-gang and the pseudo-response to it. From this point of view, it was never the USG intention to capture Godane. There might be genuine rebels who are not part of Godane's pseudo-gang and need to be gotten rid of. But Godane himself is an asset, and a pseudo-raid ostensibly trying to capture or kill him is a way of boosting his prestige among the useful idiots and indeed of boosting recruitment, so that the pseudo-gang 'al-Shabab' can commit more useful atrocities. Similarly the assassinations of Muslim leaders in Mombasa. But perhaps I explain all this to no purpose.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 6 2013 15:46 utc | 5

add this news to 2 - magician's trick

The United States and Afghanistan have reached an impasse in their talks over the role that American forces will play here beyond next year, officials from both countries say, raising the distinct possibility of a total withdrawal — an outcome that the Pentagon’s top military commanders dismissed just months ago.

President Obama, in an interview with The Associated Press published Saturday, made what appeared to be a reference to the impasse in the talks, saying that he would consider keeping troops in Afghanistan “if in fact we can get an agreement that makes sure that U.S. troops are protected, makes sure that we can operate in a way that is good for our national security.”

“If we can’t, we will continue to make sure that all the gains we’ve made in going after Al Qaeda we accomplish, even if we don’t have any U.S. military on Afghan soil,” Mr. Obama said in the interview, which was conducted Friday.


Ultimately, though, the issue is one of sovereignty, Mr. Faizi said. American-led forces have killed civilians in dozens of attacks, he said, and Afghanistan has concluded that foreigners cannot be trusted with the lives of innocent Afghans.

“After 2014, will any foreign military be free to go where it pleases and operate the way it pleases in Afghanistan?” Mr. Faizi said. “The answer is no.”

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2013 15:59 utc | 6

the Lybian kidnapping is probably of a very different nature than the raid in Somalia

b says (but it's not in the Libyan Herald nor the NYT links) that:

The man, one Abu Anas Al-Libi, has lived away from Libya and came back after U.S. and NATO forces waged war against the Libyan government under Ghaddafi.
but according to The Guardian
"Al-Liby's family returned to Libya a year before the revolt against Gaddafi, under an initiative by Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam who sought to reconcile with militants who renounced violence, a close friend said, refusing to identify himself because of security concerns.

The friend said al-Liby's son was killed during the civil war as rebels marched on the capital, later ousting Gaddafi."

so he was far from being some local hero, even less an operative terrorist

probably some domestic group carried out the operation and delivered Al-Liby to the Us, who are now getting credit; but the Pentagon is cautious:

As the result of" a US counterterrorism operation, Abu Anas al-Liby is currently lawfully detained by the US military in a secure location outside of Libya," Pentagon spokesman George Little said, without elaborating.
" as a result of" is quite different that saying "we caught him"

besides, capturing instead of killing a wanted terrorist is not in the Us modus operandi since ... can't remember when

"he was grabbed after leaving the local mosque after dawn prayers. He was armed at the time but five masked men, dressed in black and who had arrived in a 4X4 vehicle, managed to quickly overpower him, bundled him into the vehicle and drove off"
unbelievable; Us Special Forces risk their extremely valuable lives to take alive that guy?

a paragraph later, Libya Herald says that "Other local reports, however, say that he was taken by local forces – for the reward": now, this is much more realistic: a local operation against an ex-terrorist reconciled with Gaddafi

Posted by: claudio | Oct 6 2013 16:03 utc | 7

It amazes me that we use so many words to describe the obvious. Its almost pseudo-intellectualism to analyze at length topics that only require common sense. It has been obvious since 9/11 that AQ is the basic component of a vast marketing campaign designed to sell us a false rationale for war, imperialistic pursuits, and the global aspirations of corporate entities.

Its horseshit, this whole boogie-man sales campaign. Al Qaeda this and Al Qaeda that, blah blah blah...Al Qaeda here, and Al Qaeda there....blah blah blah....

This piece of shit Obama is reading from the same script that that hapless monkey Bush read from.

Its laughable, this concept that we can bomb, starve, assasinate, invade and loot in the middle eastern countries to make ourselves safer and more secure here at home. Yeah, "winning thier hearts and minds", indeed. We are a nation of fools, that allowed a bunch of bloodsucking parasites in Washington DC to insert a boogie-man under our beds so they could terrorize and murder billions of human beings while pursuing interests fueled by greed and the lust for power.

"Security" my ass. It defies basic common sense to think these maggots in DC are making us more secure by thier policies.

These bumbling assholes on the nightly news, stuttering thier way through this latest spectacle of ineptitude known as "the shutdown" are competent to engage us in global meddling? These pieces of shit can't even mow our own lawn, much less rake the sand in the Middle East. We are witnessing the end of our "exceptional" status. These assholes are marching us right off the cliff.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Oct 6 2013 16:13 utc | 8

7) Well, the Libyan guy certainly is an embarrassement.

Five years later, on August 7, 1998, al Qaeda attacked the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, killing more than 200 people. In 2001, al Libi was indicted in U.S. federal court for his alleged role in the attacks. U.S. authorities offered $5 million for information leading to his apprehension or conviction. But by then, he was on the run.


After his surveillance trip to Nairobi, al Libi left al Qaeda because the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was pressuring the Sudanese government to expel about 20 Libyans involved with the group and based in Khartoum. But he joined the jihadist Libyan Islamic Fighters Group before moving to Qatar and then Britain.

He settled in Manchester before a police raid on his home in 2000.

That raid was in response to intelligence suggesting that al Libi might have links to international terrorism, according to sources familiar with the investigation. It uncovered a document that became known as the "Manchester Manual" - hundreds of pages of guidance on carrying out a terrorist campaign. One of the things the document advocated was "attacking, blasting, and destroying" embassies.

But by the time police launched the raid, al Libi had slipped out of the country, according to intelligence sources.

After leaving Britain, al Libi is thought to have spent some time in Afghanistan, and to have reconnected with al Qaeda, before fleeing to Iran after the fall of the Taliban. Western intelligence sources say they believed he remained in Iran for almost a decade before returning to Libya.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2013 16:37 utc | 9

Iran? That's curious. I don't understand the Iranian policy regarding giving shelter to AQ members on the run. Iranian policy on this has been through many twists and turns, and I don't understand any of them. I hope this doesn't lead to a resurrection of those extreme neocon types who pretend AQ and Iran are strategic allies against the West - something like the old Red Menace, global, amorphous, capable of astounding secret alliances ... But anyway, Libi has obviously been bought and sold by western intelligence agencies over and over, so this whole snatch job is a farce. They could just as easily have given him a new diplomatic passport and invited him to lecture at West Point, for all the difference it would have made.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 6 2013 17:07 utc | 10

@9 if I had to guess, I'd say that the Us have a habit of apprehending (instead of downright killing) individuals that after having collaborated, at some point turn against them (i.e, Noriega)

Posted by: claudio | Oct 6 2013 17:10 utc | 11

I don't think that killing US troops, if that's what he was doing in Afghanistan, proves that he has turned against his CIA handlers. I cannot repeat often enough Kissinger's famous dictum (at least, it deserves to be famous): "Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 6 2013 17:27 utc | 12

10) That is state of the art secret service practice, simple.

Of course Al Qaeda has a life and goals of its own. At the same time they need funding, they do commissioned work, and they get directed to certain places by interested parties.

It happened to left wing groups that used to be the terrorists before. If you have time to spare look into the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro. When the German wall fell, it turned out the East German Secret Service had contacts to the Baader-Meinhof Group and provided support. They had not done that because they felt ideologically close, quite the contrary. They wanted control of any movement that might threaten their own state. And Baader-Meinhof members were used for quite a few actions in the Middle East, where they really were out of context.

So of course Iran wants to keep informed what is going on in its neighborhood. Contacts to Al Qaeda are some kind of insurance.

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was clearly supported by Western intelligence services - and still is - at least via Qatar. That does not mean the British would not go to arrest their members though some branch of government might warn them before.

It also does not mean they would not illegally rendition one of its members to Gaddafi and bomb that same member to power later on.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2013 17:38 utc | 13

11) Simply for getting information I would suppose. Apprehending would always be the preferred method - they kill when they cannot do that/or the person involved would be too much of an embarrassment alive.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2013 17:45 utc | 14

Iran took Al-Qaeda personal because they were valuable. The could be exchanged with Al-Qaeda itself (as happened when some Iranian consular staff was caught in Pakistan) or with the U.S. who wanted to torture/question those folks.

@Rowan - you are drifting into Luna(tic)land. Most "conspiracies" are just the outer appearance of utter incompetence.


Good piece with lot of links on the Libya case with about the same conclusion that I made.

The capture of Abu Anas: Will a too-late victory for America hasten the early demise of Libya?

The abduction of Abu Anas coincided with another U.S. special-ops mission in Somolia targeting al-Shabbab militants. The United States may feel it can strike with impunity in countries like Somolia, Libya and Pakistan because they are largely ungoverned—however, by acting in this manner they further undermine these troubled governments, pushing the description “failed state” ever closer from projection into reality. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has been gaining in strength, moving from the peripheries of the MENA region into its heart; God knows what disastrous plans will be unleashed in order to reverse this trend.

Foreign policy fractals: one naive intervention (with its corresponding iatrogenic effects) generates the apparent need for more, of ever-increasing scale and complexity. See also, “clusterf__k.”

Posted by: b | Oct 6 2013 19:06 utc | 15

Sounds just like a PR stunt to divert attention from US government lock down.

Posted by: ThePaper | Oct 6 2013 19:33 utc | 16

It isn't lunatical to ascribe rational motives to the most highly funded and minutely planned military and paramilitary operations on the planet, namely those of the USA. It's lunatical to assume that for decades on end, while the power if not the very survival of their nation hangs by an increasingly frayed thread, Langley and the Pentagon should go on and on repeatedly making the same stupid, senseless, counter-productive moves. That's lunatical. I don't deny great powers can be stupid, and that they can miscalculate badly, but to believe that the US is making the same 'mistake', in the absolute global cockpit of publicity, over and over again, namely conducting provocative failed attacks both large and small on one and the same mystery 'enemy', is lunatical. So by all means, ban me, for systematically and volubly disagreeing with you, if you wish. You won't be the first blogger who turns out to have a vested interest in reinforcing the standard Washington view of what's going on.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 6 2013 20:11 utc | 17

President George W Bush engineered the never ending war with a volunteer army but it is President Obama who has expanded the forever war from Mali to the Philippines and beyond. There is simply no restraint unless the other State has nuclear ICBMs.

From the review of Andrew Bacevich’s “Breach of Trust”:

“the military system centered on the all-volunteer force….underwrote recklessness in the formulation of policy and thereby resulted in needless, costly, and ill-managed wars…. those wielding power in Washington subject soldiers to serial abuse, Americans acquiesce. When the state heedlessly and callously exploits those same troops, the people avert their gaze. Maintaining a pretense of caring about soldiers, state and society actually collaborate in betraying them.”

In the pursuit of profits, power and hegemony, the Western Corporate State is screwing its own citizens and soldiers; not to mention, the collateral damage and blowback suffered by all except the Elite.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Oct 6 2013 20:44 utc | 18

15) Problem with the article you quote b. is that it glosses over the fact that the overthrow of Gaddafi was done with the help of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Libyan expatriates from Ireland and Manchester.
So not arresting him when Gaddafi announced his presence in Libya to the UN presumably was not that innocently incompetent.
Also his escape from Manchester does not seem to be innocently incompetent. This is the Daily Telegraph which cannot be trusted but in this case has no reason to lie:

Ali Soufan, a former FBI counterterror official, said he was among a small group of agents who rushed across the Atlantic in 1999 or 2000 when told Al-Libi was in Manchester, and was to be arrested.

Contrary to reports he escaped capture, al-Libi was seized and his home raided, Mr Soufan claimed. Yet he was released after no "smoking gun" linking him to the attacks was found in the search.

In his memoir The Black Banners, Mr Soufan said that John O'Neill, then the head of the FBI's Bin Laden unit, warned British detectives that they were making a serious mistake by letting him go.

"You can be certain he'll skip town before we have time to sort through all the evidence and find something – which I'm sure is there," Mr O'Neill, who died in the September 11 attack, reportedly said.

It is unclear why al-Libi would not have been extradited to the US, where he had already been indicted for the attacks. He indeed fled, according to Mr Soufan, evading surveillance by a team following him.

Closer inspection of al-Libi's possessions turned up a book later dubbed the "Manchester Manual", which contained instructions to al-Qaeda operatives for carrying out attacks and enduring interrogation.

The way the US/UK/France keep leaving failed states behind in cooperation with Al Qaeda related groups does seem more a feature than a bug. Though I agree with you what they get out of it is hard to see.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2013 20:47 utc | 19

thanks for the article b.

i can see how bevin and rowan would conclude what they do too..

i just want to comment on this one line from your post "To bring him to court and prove his guilt will be costly."

since when has the usa shown the willingness to bring any of these 'suspected terrorists'? the court of mass media/public opinion is the new court of law for the bogus gov't of the usa at present..

Posted by: james | Oct 6 2013 20:47 utc | 20

@8. "These assholes are marching us right off the cliff." It's been a long march. I'm reading THE MIGHTY WURLITZER. It is amazing the breadth of CIA reach into U.S. organizations from the 50s onward. E.G., the Catholic Church had well-funded front groups in South America softening up the populace for the overthrow of even centrist govts the CIA didn't care for. Labor, education and community front groups were funded and used to push public sentiment rightward in this country too, of course.

This game can only have become routine, but even more dangerous as its funding has increased exponentially.

Posted by: Linda J | Oct 6 2013 21:17 utc | 21

Just the way I see it: I don't see any reason that AQ can't be viewed both as a creation and tool of the US and an entity well out of its control.

I see it somewhat comparable to setting a controlled burn in a forest. Relying on its distant geographic position, the US has bet that it can set and steer this fire into the homes of others without getting burnt itself.

I think viewing AQ as a tool of the US is too simple. It certainly has its own roots in its region and is guided by its own madness. What connects the US and AQ are that so many of their goals in the region overlap. They operate in the same way that two members of a business cartel may: cooperate where interests overlap, but never compromise their core interests. AQ knows that there are certain things they can do that will incur the wrath of the US, some which will go ignored, and even things that will secure them funding and American largess (such as chopping off heads in Syria). Likely the US knows the same - that AQ could cause it a great deal of trouble should the US go against its vital interests.

Both the AQ and US leadership know that, despite their fabled battle in the "War on Terror", both are far, far more worried about Russia, China, and Iran than each other.

Though these two powers aggressiveness and commitment to achieving their goals bring them in occasional conflict, the fact is that Al Qaeda and the United States Government are natural allies in the region.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 6 2013 21:47 utc | 22

bevin and rowan are on the right track.

Analogously, if one delves into the details of every single US domestic "terrorist plot" busted by the FBI et al over the last decade you'll find that every one was a clear case of entrapment with an US agents literally plotting the entire events and supplying said "terrorists" with weapons etc. The later court cases are rife with secret evidence and such and the government has the liberty to just drag them out indefinitely so the only people who are still paying attention after 10 years are the suspect's families. But it sounds like the government's doing something on the nightly news and when agency budgeting/promotion time comes around. In the end it doesn't matter that some intrepid news consumers/bloggers have figured out that the whole thing is a steaming pile, the damage has been done and it continues. Seriously, everyone here with half a brain knows this crap has been going on for more than a decade in the US but they keep doing it anyways and anyone who wants to be "successful" best keep their mouths shut - that is unless your job is to be a pre-approved spokesmodel for the "progressive" wing of neoliberal America, then you can toothlessly yap all you want as long as you don't cross certain lines. The functional policy of the US government as understood now by many intelligent Americans is "So what are you gonna do about it?" and that arrived at endpoint can hardly be described as an accident or failure. Likewise, in the foreign policy arena if these "screw-ups" mattered so much one would think that America's allies would openly start to abandon her but that is still not the case even after more than a decade of major foreign policy "debacles". Sure, there might be some disagreements but after millions needlessly murdered, displaced etc you'd think there might be a little bit MORE distance for US war criminals? Nope. Nothing major.

People have to understand that TPTB understand exactly how much truth permeates through to the masses and via what channels especially as said channels are at a minimum for most people nowadays Internet be damned. Sure, it may seem to activists and those who are "awake" that they've just lifted the veil on yet another screw-up by the US by in all likelihood it's just the ones pulling the levers testing how much they can get away with. They have been playing the "game" at bit longer than any of us and are only too happy to have intelligent citizens who otherwise might put the pieces together and make a difference ascribe their moves to stupidity and sheer incompetence. Incompetence - as evidenced during 9/11 and the financial crisis - can knowingly be explained away and TPTB certainly don't want people to try and start attributing premeditation/motive to their actions. Thus the clever label "conspiracy theorist".

Lastly, as recently evidenced in John Kerry's Syria performance, the elite know they hold the reins of power and they really don't effing care if us pissants think they're stupid, duplicitous or breaking the law. If something doesn't go their way, they have the resources and contacts to just make up some other nonsense tomorrow to cover their tracks all the while making the lives of us pissants harder and harder to live and thus definitely much harder to stop them from doing what they want. That's the facts, Jack.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 6 2013 22:00 utc | 23


Linda, I hope it doesn't ruin you night - as this knowledge sometimes does - but not only were the CIA culpable in any number of war crimes etc but the agency not only created/promoted the entire New York school of painting and with it abstract art in the later stages of the 20th century but any American/Western writer of any renown could also thank the Family for their fortunes:

The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art - including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko - as a weapon in the Cold War. In the manner of a Renaissance prince - except that it acted secretly - the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.

Here's a nice article on how the Paris Review was initially a CIA front and continued to be tied to the CIA throughout mot of its history as it introduced the world to some of its most beloved authors.

So, basically every major Western artist of the latter half of the 20th century - talent be damned - was an intelligence creation.

Gee, I wonder if they still would do stuff like that today with an even larger budget?



Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 6 2013 22:12 utc | 24

I doubt if the dumb jihadis in the lower echelons have a clue what's going on. The guys making money are the ones with connections.

Posted by: dh | Oct 6 2013 22:15 utc | 25


I mistakenly referred to the CIA as "the Family" when I meant "the Company". The Family is that other secret organization which American politicians also swear fealty to. My bad.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 6 2013 22:39 utc | 26

We got a bad guy Mr. Libi with blood on his hands. Good riddance. Well down SF!!!!

Posted by: David | Oct 6 2013 23:19 utc | 27

@21, I went out on the web to find out more about The Mighty Wurlitzer because I was pretty sure Sorrentine was merely stating what was already in that book as if to steal your thunder. And I found this fascinating bit of back handed props for Wilford, the author:

Short version: Sure, we're rats, but, hey, let's be realistic.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 6 2013 23:20 utc | 28

"So, basically every major Western artist of the latter half of the 20th century - talent be damned - was an intelligence creation."

Okay so this is a kind of statement that takes a sliver of truth and runs with it so far as to completely loses sight of the reality.

There is no doubt that the US government had a vested interest in promoting American culture in the post-war world and was heavily invested in making the United States the cultural capital of the world. But there were a great number of factors that came together to create the phenomenon. This was promoted by every sector of the US government and was the result of government investment in the arts during the New Deal, as well as the movement of artists away from the Nazis and the destruction of Europe.

But to reduce the entire artistic output of a continent to "a creation of the CIA" is ... a narrow view of the phenomenon. To say the least.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 7 2013 0:55 utc | 29

How did the Somali's find out that US special forces were coming in? It looks like they were waiting for them.

Posted by: Knut | Oct 7 2013 2:08 utc | 30

29) I agree. It is completely stupid. Any country promotes its culture as "soft power". Artists as a rule tend to be more left wing than right wing. So the communists had much more luck with these "front groups" than the CIA. That's what McCarthy was about, which did not make the US popular with artists in any way. The most effective cultural US export that subverted the Soviet empire and is still active is a German/Jewish/US conspiracy called Blue Jeans. Though it is doubtful Jeans will win in the end :-))

22) I agree with your analysis until this part

Though these two powers aggressiveness and commitment to achieving their goals bring them in occasional conflict, the fact is that Al Qaeda and the United States Government are natural allies in the region.

I am with b. there. They are not natural allies. It is complete stupidity on the US part. They cannot count to 3: 1 destroy your enemy with the help of Al Qaeda, 2 fight Al Qaeda, 3 what next?

25) yes, the funding is one clue. Another clue is the number of people involved in prominent spots who at one stage of their lives had been arrested, tortured and then released. This here is a "Taliban" leader who had been to Guantanamo.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 7 2013 4:15 utc | 31

@29, 31 "the entire artistic output of a continent" No, just the New York School.

What makes you think they were lefties? Cause they wore beards and hung out in jazz clubs? They were apolitical egoists whose fortunes rose and fell according to the write ups they received in the glossy Art magazines.

The newly formed Central Intelligence Agency evolved from the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services) which had been the US’s secret service organization during the War. A primary activity of the OSS by the War’s end was the recruitment of Nazi officials and SS officers, shipping them secretly to South America, where, with OSS protection and new identities, they set to work to suppress indigenous communist insurrections.

Simultaneously, the US did not hesitate to sink huge sums of unaccounted funds into the CIA’s campaign to "culturally" fight communism. This culminated in the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which was rooted into place by 1950. The general idea was to parade art (writing, visual arts, music) that was as antithetical as possible to Stalinist dictums about what art should be. Art was to represent "freedom," a nebulous concept without a context. The idea was that this pro-American freedom was a freedom of the individual, with the emphasis on every-man-for-himself. No political doctrine was going to tell these artists what to do. But basically, what the Congress for Cultural Freedom sponsored, was precisely that art which was banned in the Soviet Union. As an example, they put on an all-out-expense International Conference of Twentieth Century Music in 1954, which concentrated heavily on atonal music, for the express reason that atonal music was not allowed under Stalinism.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 7 2013 5:31 utc | 32

32) proves the CIA's limitations subverting the art.

Had to look up the "New York School". The writers - not really that famous. There must be a reason for this.

The musicians - well, I will always be on the side of John Cage against Stalin.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 7 2013 5:43 utc | 33

32) Thanks for the reference, it is fun to research this. It actually looks like Joseph Stalin knew more about the effect of art than the CIA

How the Avant-Garde Got Popular (or Not)

The real question isn’t why orchestras failed to embrace John Cage. That’s easy: they were already committed to the nineteenth century composers who had made them famous. John Cage was opposed to that kind of music in every possible way. It is hard to let go of a first love.

The real question is what MoMA will do when the Abstract Expressionists fall out of favor, which they inevitably will. Institutions have many virtues, but agility is not one of them, and already there are fractures in the world of contemporary art. Visual artists looking to get rich and famous don’t go to MoMA anymore; they hit the road, showing and selling at the dozens of bi-annual art festivals that have scattered themselves around the globe in the past decade. These festivals occasionally find their way into the news cycle if an artist sells for enough money, but they have not produced anything close to a household name. You need muscle to get into the history books. Stubbs thinks it’s strange that avant-garde music isn’t widely popular, but that’s not strange at all. Avant garde arts are confrontational, difficult, obscure, and deliberately opposed to the currents of mainstream taste. The real anomaly is the popularity of abstract visual art. As grand as Rothko’s luminous color fields may be, they didn’t do it alone. They had institutions to back them up.

All this whilst the committee of Unamerican Activities drove Charlie Chaplin out of the country.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 7 2013 6:14 utc | 34

libya wants an explanation from fukus on the raid.
if pakistan's experience of supping with the devil is any indication, good luck to the libyans !

in your face

+Pakistan is nervous; it cannot believe that the United States can turn on its ally so fast and so easy. President Bush has proclaimed a new war theater in Pakistan

It Mr. Gilani some courage to tell U.S. that the ‘foreign support’ to Baitullah Mehsud came from the U.S. One thought it would put the U.S. on the defensive that those being accused and targeted by America for cross-border raids have been trained and supported by the U.S. Instead, the U.S. ratcheted up its propaganda against Pakistan. Baitullah Mehsud moves freely throughout the region promoting terrorism that will justify American actions. His men possess the most-advanced communication and possibly even satellite intelligence

On Thursday, September 11, the Pakistan Army was given permission to retaliate against any action by foreign troops inside the country. The same day, the Pakistan ambassador to the U.S. also met some national security advisers of the Bush administration and got the assurance that the U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan would not operate inside Pakistan or launch any strike. As if to rub salt in the wound, the same night the coalition forces launched another missile attack on Miranshah, killing more than 12 people.

the taunt is palpable....*what r u gonna do about it * ?

Posted by: denk | Oct 7 2013 6:27 utc | 35

35) You do not have to go back to 2008

Who Is Disrupting Pakistan’s Peace Talks With Taliban This Time?

The US has presently travel warnings to 34 countries including Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt and of course Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.

More drone strikes and raids will not improve the ability of US citizens to travel the world.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 7 2013 7:28 utc | 36

Frankly, I take the fact of the Somali group repelling the zusan attack first of all to simply mean that for a change the zusans fought real enemies (rather than the usual make up).
And I find it funny (or strange?) that astonishingly many actually believe in the oh, so mighty power of the oh, so mighty zusa troups, in particular the vast assortment of "special forces".

Well zusa has a problem in betting way too much on technology. And this has other consequences, too. For example, such mil. planning is shifting largely away from the ground to chickenhawk officers in remote centers. Problem is, as every soldier with some experience can tell you, that there is way more information on the ground that simply can't be got remotely by satellite. The way that kid looks, the way the cars move, the way people behave, etc, etc. The mere fact of operating in an environment well known down to details and its natural "flow" virtually always outbalances any high-tech advantages and intruder may have.

Furthermore, the defending party (i.e. typically not the zamericans) has plenty advantages, Speaking somewhat loosely, an average (but somewhat experienced) fighter in a prepared defense position, with solid ground and good cover, easily outperforms a running and shooting seal. And, of course, numbers are almost always favouring the local defendants; no matter how well trained and equipped your seals are, they will almost always be losing unless they have the surprise moment on their side (which seems to not have been the case in Somalia).

As for Libya, some might want to sell this as a zamerican success. Well, it's not. Simple reason: It comes down to zusa being incapable of tracking down and arresting (or killing) the "terrorist" with a reasonable time-frame. Doing that after 15 years is not a victory but a shame. I think there is a very high probability that the zamericans simply "fell" over him or some good hints by mere coincidence.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 7 2013 8:39 utc | 37

I doubt if the dumb jihadis in the lower echelons have a clue what's going on. The guys making money are the ones with connections. Posted by: dh | Oct 6, 2013 6:15:07 PM | 25
Oh, absolutely. These are the "useful idiots" I keep talking about, though I admit I am not using that phrase quite in Lenin's classic sense. Lenin was referring to left-liberal politicians. But I am referring to the "dumb jihadis in the lower echelons," precisely. And do not forget that in most theatres, AQ's favourite strategy is suicide bombers. There are various reasons that a person might agree to become a suicide bomber, but knowing that the AQ leadership is in cahoots with the CIA and MI6 is not going to be one of them.

The classic book I always get referred to on the Mighty Wurlitzer and the Congress for Cultural Freedom is "Who Paid The Piper" by Frances Stonor Saunders, if I have remembered her name right. But it is true that the Abstract Expressionist superstars were in fact somewhat leftish. By the mid-sixties, post-modernism was well under way, shattering the basically rationalist vision of the world which the Left obviously depended upon into millions of tiny solipsistic fragments. And I can't help thinking that Che Guevara and the 'foco' theory of guerrilla warfare were the first signs of post-modernism in revolutionary warfare. Instead of following Mao's sensible advice to be a fish that swims in the sea of the people, they created these surrealistic focos, which were as it were tiny enclaves of alternative post-revolutionary reality deep in the wilderness, and stopped making any effort to communicate with 'the people' at all, instead staging 'exemplary' guerrilla raids which were supposed to be 'propaganda of the act', which is precisely what I complain that the pseudo-groups do. And at the same time, womens groups, gay groups, cultural nationalist black groups, etcetera, were staging their own versions of Mao's Cultural Revolution (not one of his better ideas), transforming their own consciousness into imaginary post-revolutionary forms. And this ended up in a ridiculous and nightmarish 'politics of the will', such as the Weathermen and the Symbionese Liberation Army, all playing into the hands of the authorities who want to save us from our own destructive, apocalyptic urges, until finally you arrive at Jonestown and it's over.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 7 2013 9:01 utc | 38

@RB - AFAIK, Jonestown was a hide-out, quite the opposite from all those other examples of 'propaganda of the act'

I see 'propaganda of the act' as the political translation of the sophisticated, abstract concept of "construction of situations" proposed by the Situationist International, based on a very refined critique of contemporary society

your reconstruction is interesting; but of course art must be judged by aesthetic values, political movements (however "abstract") by their capacity to ignite change, including inspiring others

the Situationist International walked a fine line between art and politics, depicted for example by two of its mottos: "make unhappiness recede everywhere", and "beauty as a promise of happiness"

maybe it attained neither, but was (and is) very inspiring

Posted by: claudio | Oct 7 2013 11:07 utc | 39

"Infidel" is a term from Latin, and the Catholic Church's Crusades. The term is not Islamic or Muslim. They have the term "Kafr" with means "rejector" or one who rejects God/Faith. Christians and Jews are not categorically Kafrs. It's just stupid/lazy journalism/translation to ascribe a Latin term/concept to Muslims

Posted by: scottindallas | Oct 7 2013 12:08 utc | 40

Unbeliever singular is "kafir", plural "kufar". Unbelief is "kufr". A common mistake is to read 'takfiri' in the passive sense of 'one who is declared to be a kafir by others,' but it should be read in the active sense, as 'one who declares others to be kufar.' Apparently the south African Boer expression 'kaffir' for black Africans came by some strange cultural osmosis from 'kafir'. Wikipedia says it occurred via the Portuguese:

Portuguese explorers adopted the term to refer to black non-Muslim peoples when they become involved in the Arab slave trade along the coast of East Africa.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 7 2013 12:56 utc | 41

No discussion of the Cold War cultural initiatives of the CIA propaganda efforts against the communists should stop with the limited hangout of the 1950's Abstract Expressionism operations.

The most ambitious effort of all ended up blowing back into the face of its architects in somewhat monumental ways.

This occurred after the Company's MKULTRA program was wedded to the international Rock 'n Roll program when asset Dr. John Riley slipped the LSD into the drinks of the unwitting John and George (and their wives) in April or May of 1965.

Things apparently got out of control for the controllers soon after...

Posted by: [Name Redacted] | Oct 7 2013 13:03 utc | 42

@38 @42

Of course, I was speaking to "high" art originally but if people would like to understand the truth of the CIA/MIC shenanigans vis a vis popular culture, they should appreciate such interesting and somehow unknown facts such as Jim Morrison of the Doors father was the commander of naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the non-incident , Frank Zappa's father was a chemical weapons engineer for the US Gov and that a inordinately high percentage of performers who made up the American counterculture/hippie movement came from distinguished - often military/intelligence - families. David Van Cortlandt Crosby, Stephen Stills, the list goes on and on but it's probably all just silliness especially in light of the revelations about MK Ultra and other clandestine government programs.

If you actually read on it, there was an antiwar movement in the US before the "flower children" arrived and it was pretty straight edge and drew from the ranks of many across American society. Then - out of nowhere - came the hippies et al and the antiwar movement turned into a drug-laden, sex-crazed thing that was easily pigeonholed and ridiculed by most.

So, let's see Abstract Expressionism and all of its derivatives: CIA product at least partially. The literary salons, its members and criticisms during post WWII society: CIA product. And the counter-culture movement: CIA/MIC product.

So the most famous American artists, writers and rock musicians were all part of something which has shown to have been setup by the US intelligence agencies. And all of these "artists" their influences very much live on today. Great.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 7 2013 13:49 utc | 43

24;And the worst representation of art in world history,by people who can't or couldn't do traditional art, actual works that are timeless from Renoir to Michaelangelo.
Comic book stuff.
A bankrupt nation,intellectually and financially.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 7 2013 13:51 utc | 44

43) I doubt the CIA knew enough about art to be able to influence anyone by that. Neither did the Nazis nor Stalin.

You really believe military people chose rock as a career for their kids? Or might there have been some generational conflict?

Posted by: somebody | Oct 7 2013 14:41 utc | 45

@45 Generational conflict + Elvis most likely.

Not much doubt about the CIA being involved with culture. New York artists were trying to outdo Picasso. Clement Greenberg was the most influential proponent of Abstract Expressionism. He was a member of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom which was partly funded by the CIA whatever that means.

Posted by: dh | Oct 7 2013 15:26 utc | 46

@34, What do you know about Stalin that hasn't been filtered through the Popular Press? You've heard John Cage, have you listened to Stalin, The Evilist Man Who Ever Lived®?

re: Chaplain and HUAC, The job of smashing Communism has always been divided between the Yosemite Sams and Limousine Liberals.

"Avant garde arts are confrontational, difficult, obscure, and deliberately opposed to the currents of mainstream taste"

So, like your posts, then.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 7 2013 15:51 utc | 47

47) :-)9 well Stalin did hate vanguard art

"Recently, a dangerous tendency seems to be seen in some of the literary works emanating under the pernicious influence of the West and brought about by the subversive activities of the foreign intelligence. Frequently in the pages of Soviet literary journals works are found where Soviet people, builders of communism are shown in pathetic and ludicrous forms. The positive Soviet hero is derided and inferior before all things foreign and cosmopolitism that we all fought against from the time of Lenin, characteristic of the political leftovers, is many times applauded. In the theater it seems that Soviet plays are pushed aside by plays from foreign bourgeois authors. The same thing is staring to happen in Soviet films.

We should ask ourselves a question as to how dangerous are the "avantgarde" tendencies in music and the abstract school of art and sculpture that is being imported from the West?

Today, under the guise of innovation, formalism, we see it being induced into Soviet music and abstraction in painting. Once in a while a question can be heard "Is it necessary for such great people as Bolsheviks and Leninists to be engaged in such petty things and spend their time criticizing abstract painting and formalism? Let the psychiatrists deal with it!"

In these types of questions you can sense the misunderstanding of the role of ideological sabotage against our country and especially against our youth, which is discernable. It is with their help that attempts are being made against socialist realism in art and literature. This is being done openly. In these so-called abstract paintings there is no real face of those people, whom people would like to imitate in the fight for their peoples’ happiness, for communism and for the path on which they want progress. This portrayal is substituted by the abstract mysticism clouding the issue of socialist struggle against capitalism. During the Great Patriotic War, how many people in Moscow came down to the monument of Minin and Pozharsky in the Red Square in order to instill in themselves the feeling of victory? To what can a bust of twisted iron sculpture, representing "innovation" as an art inspire us? To what can an abstract painting inspire?

This is the reason why modern American financial magnates are propagating modernism, paying for this type of work huge royalties, which the great masters of realism may not ever see.

There is an underlying idea of class struggle in the so-called Western popular music, in the so-called formalist tendencies. This music is created from the sect of "shakers" – dance that induces people to ecstasy, trance and makes them into like some kind of wild animal ready for any action. This type of music is created with the help of psychiatrists so as to influence the brain and psychology of the people. This is one type of musical narcotics under whose influence a person cannot think of fresh ideas and is turned into a herd. It is useless to invite such people to the revolution. As you see, music can also fight."

I still prefer John Cage. I also like Frank Zappa.

Truth is, abstract vanguard painting is a Russian invention

Posted by: somebody | Oct 7 2013 16:54 utc | 48

Elvis hated Commies. Hope that helps.

Posted by: dh | Oct 7 2013 17:11 utc | 49

49, you mean this Nixon meeting by any chance? :-))

Elvis was traveling with some guns and his collection of police badges, and he decided that what he really wanted was a badge from the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs back in Washington. "The narc badge represented some kind of ultimate power to him," Priscilla Presley would write in her memoir, Elvis and Me. "With the federal narcotics badge, he [believed he] could legally enter any country both wearing guns and carrying any drugs he wished."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 7 2013 17:28 utc | 50

Right. Elvis didn't like any of that hippy Beatle stuff. He was a patriotic American.

Posted by: dh | Oct 7 2013 17:47 utc | 51

51) Jailhouse Rock?

damn, I always thought that was subversive ...

Posted by: somebody | Oct 7 2013 18:08 utc | 52

@52 A curious anomaly. The censors didn't notice the homoerotic references.

Posted by: dh | Oct 7 2013 18:20 utc | 53

8-Truth to power amigo, ha!

Posted by: Fernando | Oct 7 2013 19:32 utc | 54

Theory: After the Somalia raid went south, they pulled the trigger on the Libya raid so that something else would be in the headlines.

Posted by: RanDomino | Oct 7 2013 23:28 utc | 55

Yeah, Rock n' Roll was invented in 1949 in a CIA laboratory by a spook in a bad suit and a crew cut.

You heard it here first.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 8 2013 3:00 utc | 56

Just a sidenote (and without implying any cia or similar involvement):

One should not underestimate or ignore the importance and the influence of music on (not only) humans. Highly reputable scientists have shown, for instance, the immense influence of music and sounds in general on water (of which humans mostly consist).

While I wouldn't want to draw quick conclusion or to even accuse anyone, it seems at least not irrational to suspect that certain (not necessarily only governmental) interest groups have been and are (ab)using music as an instrument for their goals. Of course, the fact that major parts of the music community etc. (at least those with more than insignificant success). Just think "big labels" and their influence.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 8 2013 3:11 utc | 57

A good book is
The CIA and the World of arts and letters: THE CULTURAL COLD WAR, by Frances Stonor Saunders. It was published by Granta in the UK, Rowan got this right, as Who Paid The Piper?

The story of the relationship of blues based music, from America, with political radicalism in western europe, is complex. Despite every effort to do so the USIS simply could not cash in on the tantalising paradox that the most anti-Imperialist sectors of the population worshiped american music. Communists marched to Jazz and Blues, to protest imperialism.

And the spooks knew why: european workers identified with the black victims of racism in the US. They understood that Rock and Roll was basically the music of outcasts.
The truth is that, in the sixties, the only places that great black musicians, such as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, Joe Turner, John Lee Hooker and all the Chicago based guys, could get a real gig, away from the long shadow of Brother James Crow, was in places like Britain and Germany. Hence, in a way, Jimi Hendrix.
In both countries the memory of the appalling treatment accorded Black soldiers in the war, by their white officers lingered on.

We shouldn't forget either, that the Cold War began with a long fight against the "left" in American society. Most veterans were pro-Union, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and determined not to go back to pre-war conditions. They wanted a welfare state, including Universal Healthcare, and they came very close to getting it.
It took considerable effort to reduce US society to the empty headed idiocy of the Cold War era. Part of that effort consisted of subverting the Academy and corrupting radicalism into self indulgent, auto prostituting nihilism. Farewell Woody Guthrie, Hello Jack Kerouac. And part took the form of a deal between the Business Unionists to give up politics (aka back the Democrats) in return for high wages and benefits which substituted for welfare measures- but only for the lucky minority in the northern cities.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 8 2013 4:23 utc | 58

Jim Morrison of the Doors father was the commander of naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the non-incident , Frank Zappa's father was a chemical weapons engineer for the US Gov and that a inordinately high percentage of performers who made up the American counterculture/hippie movement came from distinguished - often military/intelligence - families. David Van Cortlandt Crosby, Stephen Stills, the list goes on and on but it's probably all just silliness...
JSorrentine @ 43

Don't forget The Police's Stewart Copeland.
And don't forget Graham Nash either. It is striking how the most political, as opposed to nihilist, of these musicians tended to be from outside of the USA. There are plenty of exceptions, of course, Dylan and (the never to be forgotten) Country Joe MacDonald, are just two, but it was tough to be political in the States between the generation before McCarthyism and the Free Speech at Berkeley people.
As to the "hippies" you are talking about a generation, not a portion thereof, and, there have been a lot worse.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 8 2013 4:58 utc | 59

56) :-)) of course. "sex and drugs and rock'n roll" successfully sabotaged western armies so that spooks could take over. I still find it hard to believe Elvis was a patriot.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2013 5:33 utc | 60

The US elites were worried that the Vietnam anti-war movement would turn into an alternative political force. So they flooded the US with LSD. It was advertised on the cover of Newsweek. (the widespread use of marijuana by the activist left was handy for arresting them. (Also advertised on the cover of Newsweek.) The US was flooded with LSD. It solved the problem of an activist left becoming a viable political force. It did get out of hand though. An Empire can lose a war, no big deal, but it can't afford to lose a generation. The covert manipulators work is never done. The Symbionese Liberation Army, Jonestown (actually James Jones was a failed CIA project but he was still useful - Fielding McGehee identifies one of the reasons for the Jonestown tragedy.
“If Jonestown did one thing, it ended a lot of radical movements, especially in San Francisco," McGeehee said. "Those events really knocked the stuffing out of San Francisco. You just didn't hear the kind of revolutionary rhetoric about peace and justice and revolution after that.”
), spreading bad drugs at rock festivals, Manson, Altamont, Killing off the most effective leaders ( remember the song "Abraham, Martin, and John") was the first effort to prevent a benign turn for the American Empire. John Judge puts it this way:
“Any alternative to the current system was seen as futile, if not deadly. Protest only led to police riots and political assassination. Alternative life styles led to drugs, "creepy crawly" communes and violent murders. And religious experiments led to cults and suicide. Social utopias were dreams that turned into nightmares.”
This did not happen by accident. The swing portion of the hippie revolution somehow got turned into yuppies and by the 80s, gold plated bathtub fixtures were mandatory. The threat had been dealt with. The NWO advances.

Posted by: gepay | Oct 8 2013 6:48 utc | 61

61) Nothing to do with this largely being a movement by middle class kids with career options who protested being drafted into a senseless debilitating colonial war against their personal values?
Most of the experiments ended because people either lost interest or found out they did not work, like unlimited discussions.
Of course secret services were involved, and there was worldwide experimentation with LSD, but spooks neither have the power to start a powerful social movement nor determine its outcome, nor can they suppress it for long.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2013 7:19 utc | 62

@59 @61

Yeah, I was only skimming the surface and it's really quite amazing how deep it goes. Miles Copelands - Stewart's brother - was also huge in the creation of New Wave during the 80s. The initial response everyone has to much of the information is that they were rebelling against their "folks" but if you look at much of their music/art it's conspicuously apolitical - and - as you say - nihilistic/fantastical. Sure there were exceptions but few and far between.

I'm glad that other people now feel that they can speak/post about these topics without embarrassment/fear online. The co-opting of all of these cultural activities and utilization of them by intelligence agencies is something that citizens of the world need to understand when they look at American culture post-WWII. Again, we're talking about stuff/people that are long past and it's only supposition to think what these very same intelligence agencies - with even more money and power - are doing domestically especially when we view manifestations such as the "Color Revolutions" and the "Arab Spring". Many here believe that along with 9/1l, every major "incident" has been staged for public consumption - Waco, Boston, Sandy Hook, Aurora, on and on and on. It all sounds crazy but sincerely interested people can find more than enough to seriously think about researching these topics.


"spooks neither have the power to start a powerful social movement nor determine its outcome, nor can they suppress it for long."

Seriously, I am going to paste this quote every time I feel like responding to your ignorant nonsense. This is quite possible the most idiotic statement I've ever read on this blog. If you're American then I feel even worse about my country knowing that a fellow citizen could in 2013 actually believe what you stated.

Yeah, don't take the time to follow the any of the links posters have provided or do some of your own research, just post your opinions about what YOU think is possible as reality and stick you fingers back in your ears.

Much of conversation on this blog is about how intelligence agencies engendered/fomented violent insurrection/social movements - and continue to do so to this day - in Syria and a number of countries in recent history but you believe in your above statement? That they wouldn't have done it in the states? That these foreign manifestations of social "unrest" were just newly created and then pushed out without being tested?

Seriously, before posting again on this topic take a 6 month break, go educate yourself and then come back and we'll see if you can still post your nonsense anymore. It's depressing to read such willful blindness.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 8 2013 14:23 utc | 63

@60 If Elvis had any political inclinations I'd say he was good ol' boy redneck. Confederate flag on the lawn type. Probably would join the Tea Party. Of course there are some who see that as unpatriotic.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2013 15:23 utc | 64

63) Much of conversation on this blog is about how intelligence agencies engendered/fomented violent insurrection/social movements - and continue to do so to this day - in Syria and a number of countries in recent history but you believe in your above statement? That they wouldn't have done it in the states? That these foreign manifestations of social "unrest" were just newly created and then pushed out without being tested?

That is my point. It is very unlikely the Syrian conflict was created by outside forces. Outside parties got involved and supported different sides, for sure, the uprising itself however is Syrian.

Secret services cannot create social movements artificially and they can neither control them nor be sure of the outcome of their actions. That does not mean they do not try. Their success rate is nil ever since Germany transported Lenin to Russia in order to take the country out of the war, forgetting that German communists would be inspired to do the same.
All the US secret services tried during the cold war did not prevent US students from protesting the Vietnam war in a way that ended the draft. It did not win the Vietnam war either.
Even if you think the Arab spring was a US color creation - where is the US now in relation with Egypt?

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2013 15:45 utc | 65

64) frankly, I do not understand you - he sounds a lot like Obama

If I can dream

Change of habit

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2013 16:09 utc | 66

@66 You probably don't understand me because you think I'm trying to score some kind of point. In fact I am merely speculating on Elvis' motivations for co-opting black music which seemed to strike such a chord with middle class youth. CIA plot? I haven't a clue.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2013 16:15 utc | 67

Somebody, you must have ignored it or forgotten, but I argued in my usual noisy way on here at the time that the army coup in Egypt was a result of Israel pre-empting the regional US strategy of promoting the MBs, because Morsi had crossed Israel's 'red line' by starting to seriously beef up the Jihadi forces in the Sinai. That, I argued, was why the US was wrong-footed by the event and took a couple of weeks to come round to it.

In general, I suggest you at least consider the principle (which for me is a constant), that CIA is pursuing policies that are often quite antithetical to those of the Pentagon, and that CIA does not care if US soldiers get killed as a result of the need of its various pseudo-gangs to prove themselves in the field. That is why I keep quoting Kissinger's bon mot, "Military men are just dumb stupid aminals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." That plus the fact that I enjoy quoting it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 8 2013 16:19 utc | 68

aminals >>> animals


Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 8 2013 16:20 utc | 69


So, you think chaos/disunion/confusion aren't goals? That intelligence agencies wouldn't start social movements that are supposed to spin out of control? Do you think they're idiots? Just because in YOUR mind a social movement has to have a beginning, middle and end don't you think an intelligence agency might just find it optimal to create a social movement that CAUSED chaos? That PREVENTED the coalescing of like minded individuals into a larger entity? For example, I know you're unfailingly pro-Israel in many of your posts so it's your job to deflect attention away from any Zionist plans - such as the Yinon Plan and others - in which it is the expressed goal of said plans for chaos/balkanization to be the endpoint of such movements - need I mention who helped support Hamas originally and why? - but really please don't go about it in such an ham-handed fashion when speaking to other topics.

Contrarily, I think that the War On Terror has been a smashing success when viewed as a social movement in the states. You haven't been able to turn on the TV without someone - especially at EVERY sporting event for the last 10+ years - "honoring the troops" blah blah blah. People willingly take their shoes off at airports and subject themselves AND THEIR CHILDREN to nonsensical searches of their persons and on and on. In the time, overt opposition to all of the wars has been near zero even though they are all have been blatant war crimes. Not a success, huh?

Using your Vietnam example, how many MORE people do you think would have joined the anti-war movement if it hadn't been tainted by the CIA-backed, LSD fueled hippies? How many more millions of lives would have been saved? Do you think the war would have lasted as long as it did? If you don't know, the US was still by and large a pretty straight-laced, conservative country in the late fifties and sixties so to think that it was a tsunami of people who became flower-children is not just erroneous but laughable. Only if the hippies had elected a President I guess then you would think that the had some sort of success, huh?

So now Egypt is in chaos and will be for years - well, derp derp - I guess no one benefits from that turn of events, eh?

So, rational/intelligent people shouldn't view the West's shipping of mercenary jihadists to arenas of the "Arab Spring" - e.g., as documented from Libya to Syria - as analogous to the FBI/CIA shipping mercenary agent provocateurs/infiltrators around the US to hijack/weaken the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement and on and on and on? I should just believe that sadistic fascists with unlimited resources and budgets just sit around back in Virgina playing pinochle all day? That it was just a coincidence that the same people and tactics appear everywhere a Color Revolution or Arab Spring uprising takes place?

Seriously, the clock is ticking until I can respond to you again: 5 months, 29 days, 23 hours 14 minutes.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 8 2013 16:40 utc | 70

@60 'I still find it hard to believe Elvis was a patriot.'

Perhaps it depends on how you define patriotism. You seem to think quoting Martin Luther King in a song is anti-American. Burning draft cards was seen as a patriotic gesture by some.....and as unpatriotic by others. Elvis did not burn his draft card.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2013 17:22 utc | 71

67) No, I was genuinely puzzled what you meant.

This here is Wikipedia

Phillips, meanwhile, was always on the lookout for someone who could bring to a broader audience the sound of the black musicians on whom Sun focused. As Keisker reported, "Over and over I remember Sam saying, 'If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.'"

Elvis would have sung anything that brought success. I guess the recipe was the same that made Michael Jackson look whiter the older he got.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2013 17:34 utc | 72

@70 '....tsunami of people who became flower-children...'

Not a tsunami perhaps but it was things like Kent State and Woodstock that got the attention. Not to mention film footage and photographs showing the reality of war in Vietnam. oPeople like McCain are still blaming the media for changing public opinion in the US.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2013 17:36 utc | 73

@72 I think it was timing more than anything. Pop music was pretty bland until Elvis, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis etc came along. I think Sun was amazed by the way it took off. Kids were just ready for it.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2013 17:40 utc | 74

70) Problem is your logic is circular, everything is determined by conspiracy, therefore the outcome, any outcome must be what has been intended by the all powerful conspirators. It is like religion. Actually, religion is more rational. It is much more likely that there is an all powerful god than that there are all powerful humans.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2013 17:43 utc | 75

71) No, I am talking about "sex and drugs and rock'n roll", Elvis was all of that. Most conservatives I have known would call that "corrupting the youth" - from Russia to China to Western countries.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2013 17:48 utc | 76

@70 I'm not saying everything is determined by conspiracy. Why do you assume that? On the contrary I think some deus ex machina theory is a stretch.

I witnessed the Sixties at first hand and to the best of my knowledge it was more a generational conflict than anything. James Dean probably epitomized the feeling better than anybody. And a lot of young people were quite idealistic at the time. Of course it didn't last long. I have no idea where the initial impulse came from but the manipulation came later.

Yes Elvis was always photographed surrounded by model girls. That was all part of the marketing strategy. But I don't think he was ever sold as a druggy. That was kept quiet.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2013 18:02 utc | 77

@77 re Elvis. Yes there was backlash at first among conservatives to his music. It was seen as 'devils music' by some. Constant exposure on radio stations soon fixed that and most people didn't want to be square. They were the ones that went to see him in Vegas. You can't get more American than that. And Elvis himself had conservative views on many things.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2013 18:12 utc | 78

Elvis was a product packaged & sold by the mysterious Col Parker, intended to discredit & bring into ridicule the powerful, radical, revolutionary Black R&B sound?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 8 2013 19:31 utc | 79

That's what Chuck Berry said.

Posted by: dh | Oct 8 2013 19:51 utc | 80

I suppose the conspiracists bungled Vietnam anyway, because it ended the draft.
A draft would be necessary for the US to get its way in the Mideast. A draft would also
provoke the kind of opposition which ended Vietnam.
Hard core hyper-conspiratologists say the US wanted long term anarchy in Iraq and got it.
No, the US and Israel wanted the quick installation of a secure puppet state, pro-Israel
of course...and did NOT get it. They are still working on the project.
So there's truth in much of what you say and truth in much of what your skeptics who point out the tautology in your arguments say.

Posted by: amspirnational | Oct 8 2013 23:25 utc | 81

I should say "helped" end Vietnam, the Vietnamese socialist-nationalist forces doing their part.

Posted by: amspirnational | Oct 8 2013 23:27 utc | 82

I've always appreciated Robert Anton Wilson's use of the metaphor chapel perilous for describing a mental space that either leads to a person being a total paranoid or an agnostic (thank you Uncle $cam for turning me on to RAW). some commenters in this thread may benefit from delving into that concept a bit.

Posted by: lizard | Oct 9 2013 0:03 utc | 83

79) Do you think a black male teenage sex symbol would have been possible in the 1950's in the US?

Posted by: somebody | Oct 9 2013 5:54 utc | 84

79) Do you think a black male teenage sex symbol would have been possible in the 1950's in the US? Posted by: somebody | Oct 9, 2013 1:54:48 AM | 84
What do you mean by 'possible'? Isn't that an appeal to a totally status-quo-oriented concept of pragmatic convenience to TPTB?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 9 2013 7:06 utc | 85

85) It is analysis.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 9 2013 8:05 utc | 86

You're hopeless. I'm asking you to analyse what you mean my the word 'possible', and you don't even understand the question.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 9 2013 10:14 utc | 87

88) You overlook that your question does not make any sense.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 9 2013 12:14 utc | 88

Oh, that's your answer, is it? "A black male teenage sex symbol would have been possible in the 1950's in the US" because of the "Jim Crow Laws"? OK. Thank you for explaining what you mean by "possible".

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 9 2013 14:11 utc | 89


My response is long so I’m blockquoting it to save space:

My points on Vietnam were obviously lost on you. I was merely trying to state that to disavow that the CIA/intelligence services did indeed have great influence on post-WWII American culture is not be sincerely looking that the historical record as it has been slowly revealed over the last few decades. As to the endpoint argument that people keep harping upon, I guess using the same logic the Russian Revolution could be considered a failure b/c the Soviet Union collapses 70 years later, right? One can always find a large enough contextual frame by which something can be considered a "failure", can't they. So what if the CIA's undermining of the antiwar movement didn't completely succeed it, it did succeed in helping buy TPTB time, it provided a blueprint for further operations, it fractured the younger generations from the old and provided the basis for the "culture wars" of the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s to the present. Some failure, huh?

"Hard core hyper-conspiratologists say the US wanted long term anarchy in Iraq and got it."

Oh, really? Putting aside that the fact that the term neocon can be equated with Zionist , the planners of the Iraq war were all neocons and that a documented and repeated - but understated, naturally - aim of Zionism has been - for decades - to dismantle any neighboring regime that posed a military threat to Israel , putting aside all that you're going to tell me that Iraq was a failure?

BTW, here's Noam Chomsky recently speaking to the partitioning of Syria and here's a recent NYT op-ed piece from a think tanker also basically describing the Yinon Plan and how not only Syria but the entire Middel East should be broken up. Gee, keeping the conflict going in Syria and Iraq wouldn't lend themselves to such partition plans, huh? They probably just thought up all this on the fly. It's just a big coincidence that it follows earlier Zionist plans, right?

Hard core hyper-conspiratologists? Or people who just happen to inform themselves of events from time to time? You decide.

Again beside the facts the MIC profited handsomely from Iraq and most notably key individuals - i.e., Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc - reaped billions in Iraq reconstruction money for their former employers/themselves on top of all of the money that was simply stolen one could only think of the Iraq War as a failure is if he/she really thought that the neocons were short-sighted idiots who didn't have any long term plans such as invading 7 countries in 5 years something even the mouthpiece Chomsky admits to in the above-linked interview.

Let's see, if you were going to incite Muslim on Muslim sectarian violence in an effort to destabilize other ME regimes wouldn't you need a base to really start ginning that up especially if your long-term endpoint was - oh, I don't know - eventually destabilizing and attacking Iran? From Iraq you can ship weapons, recruit mercenaries, resupply said jihadists, protect major American interests - ie oil - , create millions of refuges - first from Iraq to Syria, then from Syria to Turkey, then from and on and on - set up permanent bases all in the midst/because of the chaos that you keep creating that coincidentally just happens - always a lucky coincidence, huh? - to jive with said Zionist plans in the first place.

Now why don't you tell us all about - I'm really curious - as to the benefits of putting into a stable pro-Israeli regime in Iraq? Tell me 1) how that could have happened as the neocons had no serious plans whatsoever to do that 2) why they would prefer a stable regime when - if too successful - it could potentially have put a slight damper on further ME designs if it proved popular - ie too stable - with the Iraqi people and 3) why they would create a pro-Israeli regime that could unite all of the remaining Iraqi Muslims against their old common foe and thus make their designs on other countries in the future more difficult?

Lastly, maybe you should consider that if your take on geopolitical events is nearly identical to the overarching narrative as offered to us by the MSM as yours appears to be, then it is you - not the conspiratologists - who might need to do a little research to hew themselves to reality.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 9 2013 16:56 utc | 90


Robert Anton Wilson, the transhumanist/discordian saint - snicker - who alongside (fellow?) CIA asset Timothy Leary helped push curious people away from reality-based investigations into how the elite strata of society control peoples’ lives and into pseudo-sciences and other such hokum ? That Robert Anton Wilson? The man who near single-handedly introduced/promoted the idea of the all-powerful Illuminati into modern society? People should listen to what he has to say about what to believe in? Thanks.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 9 2013 16:59 utc | 91

Robert Edward 'Anton' (possibly a hommage to Anton Levey, but he claimed it was his mother's father's name and he preferred it to Edward) Wilson was an associate editor of Playboy magazine from 1965 to 1971. That proves he was slime. But this is part of the po-mo evolution. For a true taste of po-mo genius, consider Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, etc. He married a nice Jewish girl in New York, but she died. The photos are of them (G P-O grew breasts, though I am not informed as to any change to his nether regions).

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 9 2013 17:20 utc | 92

@92 It's hard to see any linkage between the Orridge person and Elvis. Elvis would have shot it.

Posted by: dh | Oct 9 2013 17:38 utc | 93

"Black" R&B is powerful because of the musicianship and good taste of its practitioners, but that goes for the other complexions, eg, The Nashville Teens; otherwise, it's the usual boy-meets-girl stuff.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 9 2013 18:08 utc | 94

90) It is just not factual never mind the conspiracy theory. The document that presumably best describes neoconservative strategy for Israel and US policy in the Middle East is probably A Clean Break - A New Strategy for Securing the Realm prepared in 1996 for Benjamin Netanyahu by Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser

"Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq,including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon. .. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows — is King Hussein."

See how stupid they are? And you expect them to be able to collude in a successful conspiracy?

These people neither the power nor the intelligence you ascribe to them.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 9 2013 18:18 utc | 95

Yes, according to the logic of JSorrentine the "overarching narrative" of the "mainstream media" itself has exposed the neocons and their schemes. Well, isolated figures of the MSM have, such as Pat Buchanan, who analysed the Iraq War's goals and the neocons behind them (not to mention neolibs) pretty much the same as I did, before and during and after the war.

The neocons in predicting a cakewalk with the war paying itself off in a year or so and a stable pro-American, pro-Israel regime, were according to JS lying before the fact, not merely the inept selfish fifth column they are.

But they do have much the power, if not the acumem JS depicts.
A symptom of decline more than conspiracy.

Posted by: amspirnational | Oct 9 2013 18:55 utc | 96

96) They might have (had) the power to determine US Middle East policy, they didn't/don't have the power to achieve their stated goal. Israel's strategic position has deteriorated continuously since "A Clean Break - A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" was written in 1996 beginning with Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon to the present Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, Russian front plus Hamas in Gaza.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 9 2013 19:24 utc | 97

If Al Shabab didn't have twitter to report these attacks, would the U.S. ever have acknowledged them? I know a few old seals and they talk about doing this sort of thing all the time in the pre internet age, and the attacks were never reported upon.

Posted by: Crest | Oct 9 2013 19:42 utc | 98

@91 geez, JSorrentine, why you gotta be all like harshin' my vibe? is it possible for you to consider an idea or concept without trying to disparage everything as a CIA/Zionist created phenomena?

@92 Rowan, being an editor for Playboy is not proof of anything, but asserting so, as you have done, could be construed as evidence of assholery.

Posted by: lizard | Oct 9 2013 23:24 utc | 99


The overarching narrative that they were all just stupid bumbling fools who just oops made some mistakes is laughable for many reasons among them being collectively they are personally worth billions, they are connected to wealth/elite society equaling trillions more and many of them have been major players in US government for decades. So they just all screwed up, huh? They all just go soooo excited in response to the 9/11 “attacks” – which they predicted in PNAC, don’t forget – that they just bumbled the response, huh?

Gee, that makes sense. You're right. Instead of “lying before the fact” the neocons should have told everyone from the beginning that it would cost $3 TRILLION+ dollars, would last 12 years and that it was just the first step in plan that would take the country through 6 more countries, right? They should have also explicitly told everyone that it was really their goal to break up Iraq and all of the other ME nations and that it was originally an Israeli plan, right? Gee, I wonder why that didn't appear in the PNAC document?

In looking at the situation from the Zionist’s favorite perspective - i.e., facts on the ground – US Zionists have 1) torn up numerous major militaries power in the MENA 2) fostered sectarian violence which has spread to other targets and which promotes partitioning 3) have the largest embassy/military base to go along with the 4 major Iraqi bases that – hey just today - the US says they’re going to keep and on and on but you’d like to us all to think that even though basically all of the objectives of the Yinon Plan, a Clean Break and PNAC are coming to fruition - albeit not perfectly on time - that it’s just a big coincidence and mistakes were made?

Funny, how that inept fifth column successfully just keeps getting what they want, huh? But I’m sure you’ll tell me that things look very dire for them right now and that they are in serious trouble. Hey, I hope they’re in trouble but they were “stupid” enough to pull off the greatest, most deliberate false flag in world history and sundry of other related things – e.g., unprecedented massive security state for $100 Alex – without so much as a real peep from the sheep so I wouldn’t write them off just yet.


Well, all that would be left for me to talk about would be shape-shifting lizard people then and we can't have that, now can we? ;)

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 10 2013 2:57 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.