Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 30, 2019

When 'Former' Spies Run Wild, Bad Things Happen

A number of related stories describe nefarious activities by 'former' NSA, 'former' CIA, 'former' military officers who joined private businesses which harm other people. They demonstrate that there is a structural problem when those trained to be weapons are allowed to run in the wild.

Reuters just published a two part story about 'former' NSA staff, more than twenty in total, who since 2013 built a snooping center for the United Arab Emirates.

Inside the UAE’s secret hacking team of American mercenaries
Ex-NSA operatives reveal how they helped spy on targets for the Arab monarchy — dissidents, rival leaders and journalists.

The 'former' NSA staff did not mind to spy on local dissidents or 16 year old kids on Twitter for the dictatorial Gulf State. Only some of them jumped ship when they found out that their shop was also used to spy on Americans. The 'private' company they worked for is named Dark Matter. It claims to do only cyber-security work, but is a known snooping shop directly connected to the UAE's digital intelligence service NESU. It even resides in the same building.

In October 2016 Jenna McLaughlin reported on Dark Matter for the Intercept:

How the UAE is recruiting hackers to create the perfect surveillance state.

In December 2017 she followed up with an piece in Foreign Policy:

Deep Pockets, Deep Cover
The UAE Is paying Ex-CIA officers to build a spy empire in the Gulf

McLaughlin reports that Dark Matter is under FBI investigation.

The UAE hires not only 'former' NSA and 'former' CIA spies but also 'former' U.S. special operations soldiers:

A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War.

The second Reuters story published today describes the technical side of the UAE's cyber-spy shop:

UAE used cyber super-weapon to spy on iPhones of foes

The ex-Raven operatives described Karma as a tool that could remotely grant access to iPhones simply by uploading phone numbers or email accounts into an automated targeting system.

Reuters does not say so, but from the description of the spy tools it seem clear that the Karma tool was bought from the notorious Israeli spy shop NSO Group. The tool's original marketing name is Pegasus. The quoted 'former' NSA spy in the Reuters piece makes some curious claims like 'the tool could not record phone calls'. But that claim makes no sense. Once a decent spy software is on the phone everything is accessible. The claim is obviously made to divert from NSO/Pegasus. Sales of the NSO Group tools to the UAE were confirmed in earlier reports. From August 2018:

Lawsuits claim Israeli spyware firm helped UAE regime hack opponents’ phones

The government of the United Arab Emirates used Israeli phone-hacking technology to spy on political and regional rivals as well as members of the media, with the Israeli company itself participating in the cyber attacks, The New York Times reported Friday.

The Herzliya-based NSO Group uses its controversial Pegasus spyware program to turn smartphones into listening devices.
In 2016, Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth daily first reported that the Defense Ministry had given the NSO Group permission to sell the software to an Arab company, which went on to target a prominent UAE rights activist.

The NYT original:

Hacking a Prince, an Emir and a Journalist to Impress a Client

The U.A.E.’s use of the NSO Group’s spyware was first reported in 2016. Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati human rights advocate, noticed suspicious text messages and exposed an attempt to hack his Apple iPhone. The U.A.E. arrested him on apparently unrelated charges the next year and he remains in jail.

After Mr. Mansoor’s disclosures, Apple said it had released an update that patched the vulnerabilities exploited by the NSO Group. The NSO Group pledged to investigate and said in a statement that “the company has no knowledge of and cannot confirm the specific cases.”

But other leaked documents filed with the lawsuits indicate that the U.A.E. continued to license and use the Pegasus software well after Apple announced its fix and the NSO Group pledged to investigate.

NSO Group was founded by two 'former' Israeli army spies:

Everything We Know About NSO Group: The Professional Spies Who Hacked iPhones With A Single Text

But founder Omri Lavie keeps a remarkably tight ship. ... Co-founder Shalev Hulio had not responded to messages. Both are believed to be alumni of Israel's famous Unit 8200 signals intelligence arm, as are many of the country's security entrepreneurs.

The NSO Group tools were also used by the government of Mexico under the former president Nieto to spy on journalists and its opposition.

It was the Toronto University Citizen Lab that in 2016 uncovered the UAE attacks on human rights activists and found NSO to be behind it. It has since published a number of pieces about the NSO Group. Last year Citizen Lab alleged that the NSO tools were used by Saudi Arabia to spy on Jamal Khashoggi, a 'former' Saudi intelligence asset, Muslim Brotherhood activist and Washington Post columnist, who the Saudis slaughtered inside their consulate in Istanbul.

Last month two leading members of Citizen Lab were approached by a shady figure who purported to offer investment money. The Citizen Lab folks became suspicious. They recorded their talks with the man, photographed him and invited some journalists. AP reported on January 26:

APNewsBreak: Undercover agents target cybersecurity watchdog
The researchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle before his gruesome death are being targeted in turn by international undercover operatives, The Associated Press has found.

Two days later the NYT found that the spy shop which sent the man was the Israeli company Black Cube.

The Case of the Bumbling Spy: A Watchdog Group Gets Him on Camera

Black Cube denied that it had played any role in approaching Citizen Lab employees, but the same undercover agent turned up in an earlier case in Canada with a Black Cube connection.
The New York Times, in collaboration with Uvda, an investigative television show on Israel’s Channel 12, has confirmed that the mysterious visitor was Aharon Almog-Assoulin, a retired Israeli security official who until recently served on the town council in a suburb of Tel Aviv.

Black Cube also spied on some people who supported Obama's Iran deal.

Trita Parsi: I Was Targeted by Black Cube in Dirty Ops Effort Attacking Supporters of Iran Deal

Black Cube is run by a number of 'former' military officers and 'former' Mossad agents.

Black Cube: Inside the shadowy Israeli firm accused of trying to undermine the Iran deal

Internal Black Cube documents obtained by NBC News and interviews of sources with direct knowledge of Black Cube’s operations reveal a business intelligence company with governmental contracts and a special department for politically motivated work.
The firm was founded by former Israeli military officers in 2011. It retains close ties to the Israeli intelligence community, and many of its recruits are former Mossad agents.

The UAE hires 'ex-CIA', 'former NSA' and 'ex-soldiers' to spy on dissidents, friends and enemies. It uses tools produced by the NGO Group which is run by 'alumni of Israel's famous Unit 8200 signals intelligence arm'. When Canadian researchers dig too deep into NGO Group's business they get visits by 'retired Israeli security official' from a company founded by 'former Israeli military officers' who recruit many 'former Mossad agents'.

There is also the 'former MI6 agent' Christopher Steele who created the Dirty Dossier about Donald Trump for the Clinton campaign. Parts of the dossier were likely written by the 'former MI6/GRU double agent' Sergei Skripal who the Brits novichoked and vanished in Salisbury. The international media reaction to that incident was of special interest to the secret military intelligence shop Integrity Initiative which is run by Nigel Donnelly, a 'former British military intelligence official'. The Initiative is financed by the British government.

When I read pieces like those linked above I always presume that the 'former' CIA/NSA/FBI/MI6/8200/Mossad/military folks are not 'former' at all, but active agents on a mission for their original service. Some stories only make sense when one reads them under that premise.

But many of the 'former' people above may really have quit their service. They then get hired for a lot of money by shady states or businesses. This is dangerous not only for human rights advocate in the Emirates or some Jamal Khashoggi. These people could be directed to attack anyone.

There was a time when people entered public jobs when they were young and stayed with their service until they were old and retired. For the services it made sense to keep the expensively trained people within the house and their knowledge away from potentially hostile competition. The public services offered good perks and paid sufficient pensions to make the long stay attractive. They were competitive employers.

That is no longer the case. One of the 'former' NSA spies in the Reuters story above is Lori Straud:

She spent a decade at the NSA, first as a military service member from 2003 to 2009 and later as a contractor in the agency for the giant technology consultant Booz Allen Hamilton from 2009 to 2014. ... Marc Baier, a former colleague at NSA Hawaii, offered her the chance to work for a contractor in Abu Dhabi called CyberPoint. ... Many analysts, like Stroud, were paid more than $200,000 a year, and some managers received salaries and compensation above $400,000.

It is crazy that the NSA trains people who then leave and get hired by a contractor for more money only to do the very same work at the NSA while costing the taxpayer much more than they originally received. That's a racket and not a sensible policy.

(Years ago I managed the IT division of an international company. I made it policy to never ever hire a contractor who was earlier employed in my shop. Thereafter the termination rates decreased significantly.)

'Former' NSA, CIA, military etc have special knowledge and abilities that can be very dangerous. They should be handled like controlled substances. To allow these people to get hired by foreign spy shops is ridiculous.

The above reports of 'former' agents in the wild only scratch the surface of what has become a big business, but is unhealthy for our societies. It is bad enough that state actors spy on us. It will get worse when private businesses do the same.

There will come a day when a crew of former NSA analysts will help some foreign power to defend against NSA analysts who spy on it or will even counterspy on the NSA. There will come a day when former U.S. special operation forces hired by someone will get into a fight with U.S. special operation forces. The outcry will be great. Decent public service pay and sensible regulation could probably prevent the situation.

Posted by b on January 30, 2019 at 21:33 UTC | Permalink


Then of course there is Le Mesurier of White Helmet fame, another MI 'retiree'keeping his hand in. And there is Colonel wotsisname who sells special suits in case of chemical weapons attacks, he was one of the pundits constantly on call by the MSM when the Skripal story was being put together.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 30 2019 21:50 utc | 1

thanks b.. i agree with your conclusions towards the bottom.. unfortunately there are a number of negative possibilities that can come out of all this.. contract work is now the norm.. no longer do any of these institutions consider lifelong employment until f/t retirement.. but perhaps the really disappointing conclusion is that with fiefdoms like the uae/ksa and etc having access to these tools is very discouraging from a human rights stand point.. obviously the people being hired are being paid big bucks to ignore the ethical and moral component to all this.. none of them can say they were doing something of service to protect something of value.. in fact, it is the opposite..

Posted by: james | Jan 30 2019 22:08 utc | 2

So is this the reason that DoD banned the use of iphones and social media apt's? Goodness, what has this world come to, when even the only democracy in the middle east spy's on the U.S. it's Allie? Just who is running the show in this country? Questions, but no answers.

Posted by: Eugene | Jan 30 2019 22:23 utc | 3

b. I take this moment to say thank you for your work on Venezuela. I always thought the Middle East had been your area of expertise professionally (ex German intelligence maybe), but after Venezuela I realize you just have that unique ability to dig into a situation and extract the essence of it and put that in a page or so of text. I have a considerable background on Latin America having once set up a Latin American bookshop and resource centre in London with a black Venezuelan revolutionary, and published a quarterly report for years. We even predicted the Nicaraguan revolution six months before it happened and allegedly our magazine was passed around the trenches of the Sandinistas. A group in London says we will be victorious! But still I can get nowhere near that unique ability I mentioned and that you have. We are so lucky to have you.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 30 2019 23:04 utc | 4

Former FBI agents played a role in the JFK assassination.

H.L. Hunt hired former FBI agents for his own personal police force.

Hunt's main office overlooked Dealey Plaza.

Hunt had massive land holdings in numerous states.

H.L. had his own radio shows to disseminate his conservative views.

A couple of days after JFK was assassinated Hunt took his whole family to Mexico,
"under the advice of the FBI" as he "was receiving death threats".

His hired hands FBI offered the pretext for going to Mexico.

He had a tough guy, Texas conservative, persona to protect but he fled the country.
Looks whimpy, no?
His own police force (and ex-FBI) with huge ranches he could hold up in, but
he flees to Mexico. His family was there for a month.


12-man play.

Notre Dame once won a football game by putting an extra man in the play - a 12th man.
After the touchdown succeeded Notre Dame then immediately emptied their bench onto the playing field so the refs
could not count the players (this was well before instant replay was used).

Lamar Hunt had fled to Mexico and was a sore thumb, odd man stands out, being there by himself.

Thus H.L. Hunt sent his entire family to Mexico to cover for his son Lamar. 12-man play.

The fact that Lamar had fled to Mexico by himself would stick out like a soar thumb. But
thanks to the 12-man play he was just another member of the family that had gone to Mexico.

Lamar had been escorting a mafia hitman, James Braden, plus a friend of Braden's, around Dealey Plaza.
A few minutes after the assassination the friend had packed up and left town. Lamar Hunt also
left a few minutes after the assassination - for Mexico. James Braden was arrested coming out of
an elevator in one of the buildings lining Dealey Plaza. He was fingered as a suspicious person
that had no known business on one of the upper floors. He said he was "looking for a pay phone to
call his mother".

Former FBI agents joined the Hunt family in Mexico.

Last week the New England Patriots won the Lamar Hunt Trophy and the right to be in this weekend's Super Bowl.

Posted by: librul | Jan 30 2019 23:11 utc | 5

As the saying goes, there's no such a thing as a "former CIA agent".

Jokes (?) aside, were I a betting man, I'd put good money that some cases you ponder in your last paragraph already happened - we just don't know, and possibly NSA doesn't yet know, that some former staff/contractors actually directly undermined and infiltrated them.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 30 2019 23:11 utc | 6

This was always normal in the Third World: narcotrafic always grows and there's no police/military there stop it because -- surprise -- they are the narcotrafic. Just recently a news broke out in Brazil about a scheme of traffickers in Rio paying circa US$ 1,000 for military training and weapons from members of the Brazilian Army itself. This is a feature of the Third World: distorted/incomplete capitalism (frontier, peripheral capitalism), a pseudo-State machine.

What must appear to be shocking is that it is beginning to happen in the First World. From the point of view of a First Worlder, this must indeed be very shocking -- specially a First Worlder who grew up during the golden age of capitalism (1945-1975) and the "end of history" (1991-2008) periods. What is happening now is a convergence, a convergence by a black hole like collapse of capitalism, where the difference between center and periphery is quickly disappearing. Call it the "Third Worldization of the First World" if you like.

Posted by: vk | Jan 30 2019 23:35 utc | 7

There is no reason to disbelieve that the US government (or any entity it contracts with) cannot listen to any telephone conversation on any land line or cellular network - at will.

All the pieces were in place well before first term Obama. Recall that Obama provided retroactive immunity from prosecution to all the telecom companies which were mining data for the US government. (after Obama having promised not to provide retroactive immunity, if elected.)

There was one telecom company (Quest, I think) which (in an attempt to gain favor with the public consumer) boasted that it had REFUSED to collect data from its customers for the US gov.

The monolith then - in an act of retribution - put Quest totally out of business via a manufactured corruption scandal.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jan 30 2019 23:43 utc | 8

After my many years studying Latin America I began to have doubts about Fidel Castro. I learned that he had gone absent for two years. Why was he allowed to carry on on the doorstep of America in full cold war? Something didn't add up. Then he and Che fought. And while Che died a revolutionary's death Castro died of old age. Funny that.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 30 2019 23:56 utc | 9

The majestic Cuban musician Carlos Puebla on Che

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 31 2019 0:00 utc | 10

As to the decent public service pay and regulation, that would be too little too late. That ship has sailed.

Same old question, will the great western global empire manage its decline or blow up the world.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Jan 31 2019 0:00 utc | 11

There is no such thing as a former spook.

It's like being a former murderer or former rapist. Such things cannot exist. Once you murder you are a murderer for life. The same is true for being a spy.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 31 2019 0:02 utc | 12

These mercanaries are invaluable to penetrating other countries spy agencies. Some of them have handlers in the US that instruct and debrief them. Once in an intelligency agency, at least at the higher levels you are in it for life, retirement or not. One other benefit is it gives the NSA and CIA plausible deniability. They are acting outside the agency and so can do things and provide technology that would otherwise be prohibited. Spying by another country on US citizens/politicians can be shared with US agencies and in cases an agreement does not exist with a given countries spy agency having someone on the inside can help

Posted by: Pft | Jan 31 2019 0:19 utc | 13

The great Victor Jara who had his fingernails torn out in the US coup of Chile 1973 before being executed:

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 31 2019 0:20 utc | 14


Castro was supported by the US early on during the revolution. NYT and officials insisted he was not communist. After he took over all of a sudden they found he was communist. Lol

Kind of like what we did in Iran booting out our former buddy the Shah and replacing him with the Ayatollah. He was programmed in France while the BBC got support for him by broadcasting his speeches in Iran. Iran and Cuba are still isolated today

Posted by: Pft | Jan 31 2019 0:26 utc | 15

From the great Argentinian Atahualpa Yupanqui a song about a little black boy (negrito) waiting for his Mum to get back from the fields.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 31 2019 0:33 utc | 16

@ 17 Pft

Yes, totally and really concisely written by you. But I have a suspicion about Castro which may be just that - a suspicion.

I agree about Iran, funny that one.

Can I get back to my Latin American heroes? Another, my favourite by Victor Jara:

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 31 2019 0:44 utc | 17

@10 Freddy


Would be nice if more people had been paying attention.


Posted by: b4real | Jan 31 2019 0:52 utc | 18

One night in London me and Nelson (the black revolutionary Venezuelan) met up with Philip Agee, Ex- CIA agent who had written CIA Diary, in London. After his talk Nelson invited him for coffee and he told us how he and anotherv CIA guy carried the suitcases full of dollars over the Argentina border to pay for the truck drivers strike in Chile in 1973.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 31 2019 0:55 utc | 19

@10 freddy

Also, was an Obama Senate vote that granted telecoms retroactive immunity.

It is when he confirmed my suspicions of him.


Posted by: b4real | Jan 31 2019 1:05 utc | 20

The greatest song to come out of Latin America was by Violeta Parra and called Gracias a la Vida (Thanks to Life). Mercedes Sosa did a version but still the greatest is by Violeta who committed suicide over some love affair before the Chilean coup.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 31 2019 1:49 utc | 21

Depending on standpoint, homo sapiens has either been the biggest mistake, or the worst accident by life.

Laws are only for the little suckers that can be pushed around. State sponsored murderers, war criminals, spooks and those who despise people longing for peace and justice, are roaming around freely.

Venezuela better be prepared for the lawlessness of the most decrepit empire ever. If the misanthropes spy and kill with impunity for the Fascists in the ME, what keeps them from doing the same crimes against humanity elsewhere?

There are no words for the disgust about these psychopaths everywhere.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Jan 31 2019 2:01 utc | 22

Do you really think you are safe and secure living in the first world if you have been targeted by these Death Squads lite? They can run amok with impunity under cover and protection of government and law enforcement. Fake war on terror to justify it. DNA samples being collected, even for minor infractions of the law. Finger print and facial recognition technology on all modern high end smartphones. Video surveillance everywhere. A cashless society where all transactions can be monitored.

A grand make work project for murderous patriots and their kin. No wonder they are hell bent on stopping Huawei, arresting their executive Meng Wanzhou on nebulous charges with Canada shamelessly aiding and abetting. She is in fact a political hostage under the sham of a 'rules based' international order. It is also an effective way to obliterate the competition. Socialism for corporations and their technocrats - unregulated capitalism for everyone else.

"It's not that bad" a friend recently said to me defensively. I hope he is right. But with Canada now on board planning, conspiring and instigating the coup in Venezuela I'm afraid it could be far worse.

Posted by: Mandrau | Jan 31 2019 2:01 utc | 23

here's the 10 part series by the canadian group citizen lab, the group b linked to "APNewsBreak: Undercover agents target cybersecurity watchdog"

When I read pieces like those linked above I always presume that the 'former' CIA/NSA/FBI/MI6/8200/Mossad/military folks are not 'former' at all but active agents..

according to this article
Former NSO Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing and Attempting to Sell Spyware Code

each deal is subject to approval from the Israeli ministry of defense.

so yes, i think of them as active too.

Posted by: annie | Jan 31 2019 2:27 utc | 24

remember Supreme Court turns down mysterious Mueller subpoena fight

The Supreme Court has declined to intervene in a mysterious subpoena fight that apparently involved an unidentified foreign-government-owned company and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Last month, the unknown firm asked the high court to block a federal judge’s contempt order and $50,000-a-day penalty for refusing to comply with the subpoena, arguing that the company is immune from U.S. grand jury subpoenas. The company also insisted that complying with the subpoena would violate the law in the firm’s home country.


An unusual degree of confidentiality continued to prevail when other appeals court judges held closed-door arguments in the grand jury fight last month. Reporters who gathered to try to spot lawyers entering or departing from the courtroom were banished from the floor where arguments were taking place.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals later released an order turning down the company’s appeal and revealing some more information about the legal dispute. The judges said the witness rebuffing the subpoena was actually a corporation owned by a foreign government, although they did not name the company, specify the country involved or say what information was being sought. It’s also unclear what records Mueller’s team might be seeking.

what are the chances NSO or black cube or one of the other israel spy firms are the company Mueller wants to talk to?

Posted by: annie | Jan 31 2019 2:40 utc | 25

The Cuban Revolution wasn't socialist at birth. It only became socialist ex post facto, in 1961, after Che Guevara was snubbed by Dwight Eisenhower (his famous golf game). Fidel Castro was not a socialist at the moment of the Revolution: there was a socialist party in Cuba, but he wasn't a member. The Cuban Communist Party was founded only after the Revolution. As someone has already mentioned before, the CIA initially supported the Revolution, thinking it would be better for business with the island nation than with the old corrupt plantadores (who fled en masse to Florida).

You can understand Cuba's history only through one word: independence. When the forces led by Fidel Castro achived independence from the USA in 1959, the first thing Fidel did was to send Che Guevara to Washington to negotiate with the White House. Dwight Eisenhower didn't even received him. When he discovered Eisenhower was planning a military invasion of the island, he acted fast and declared, all of a sudden, that the 1959 Revolution was actually a socialist revolution (1961), and that Cuba was now aligned with the USSR. The move was providential: he needed Soviet military equipment and trainment to block the American invasion. The invasion of the Bay of Pigs (same year) was stifled (with the help of some T-34) and cost the life of POTUS John F. Kennedy.

Posted by: vk | Jan 31 2019 2:46 utc | 26

I would imagine that much the same problem as B describes in his post - the flight of former CIA, NSA and other intel agency employees into private employment or "consultancies" - exists also in Britain and in other countries, especially if governments in these countries are cutting back on supposedly unnecessary expenses like staff pay, staff perquisites and other incentives that keep them within the public service, yet government expenses in other areas continue to climb.

It might have been due to low pay and/or job insecurity within the KGB or FSB that Sergei Skripal turned traitor in the first place and agreed to work for MI6 back in 1995.

But in this day and age when neoliberalism governs politics and government administration to the extent that government offices and agencies can abuse staff loyalties, and staff themselves adopt a mercenary attitude to their work, their jobs and ultimately their employers and work colleagues, this situation is not surprising.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 31 2019 3:01 utc | 27

@30 annie

There's only one country the Supreme Court would not side with Mueller on and that's ISRAEL. Had the company or corporation been Russian, you would see the Supreme Court take the case.

Mueller should disclose the company's name or someone should leak it.


Trump is so fixated on pleasing his Zionist masters he ridicules his hand-picked intelligence heads when they insist Iran is still in compliance of the deal he destroyed.

“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump, who criticized U.S. intelligence agencies even before he took office, said in a Twitter post.

Trump cited Iranian rocket launches and said Tehran was “coming very close to the edge.”

“Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” he said.

Trump last year pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, saying Tehran was “not living up to the spirit” of the agreement, and reimposed sanctions.

Trump intelligence chiefs

Posted by: Circe | Jan 31 2019 3:05 utc | 28

Remember when Bush didn't accept the intelligence on Iraq and had Zionists fabricate FAKE intelligence to get an excuse to invade Iraq? Trump is refusing to accept real intelligence that Iran is still in compliance. He won't accuept the truth because he wants them to give him an excuse for REGIME CHANGE in Iran!!! He is no better than Bush and maybe worse, if that's even possible!

Posted by: Circe | Jan 31 2019 3:17 utc | 29

Posted to Consortium News:

Can you imagine the US spy agencies not arresting and immediately giving the death penalty somebody decreed by Xi or Putin as president and given all the gold reserves from those countries that belongs to the US? After inciting mob violence against the government and passing out leaflets to soldiers demanding rebellion? Americans get jailed for 60+ years for donning anarchist gear and smashing a bus stop.

Posted by: Anne Jaclard | Jan 31 2019 3:27 utc | 30

Thank you for that. I had assumed that because Che was communist that the Revolution was as well. From what I know of Cuba's history, the struggle for independence was a long, hard journey and was exploited by the US going back to the Spanish-American War.

Posted by: mourning dove | Jan 31 2019 4:12 utc | 31

'Former' with the thingo's either end looks to be the operative word. CIA has plenty of workarounds so it can spy on US citizens and others it denies spying on. This looks to be one of those workarounds.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 31 2019 4:23 utc | 32

I seem to recall that when Croatia over-ran Krajina a decade or so back and expelled the 150,000 Serbs who had lived in that land for over 400 years, the military operation was led by "retired" US military officers. This was after NATO had bombed Serbia into submission.

Sort of ironic that the Austrian empire had settled Serbs there in the first place because the Serbs had shown their willingness to resist the Ottomans who were still encroaching on the Christian west.

It is not ironic but down right right tragic that the Serbs were also a major force that resisted Autrian-Germanic aggression during WWI and WWII. It is too bad that the Serbs resisted US imperialism -- there is no loyalty when it comes to capitalism.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 31 2019 5:01 utc | 33

DCI's never retire. Hague judge cites Pompeo threats as reason for resignation. IMO, Pompeo's more evil than Cheney.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 31 2019 5:47 utc | 34

OOps, wrong criminal. Bolton's the one. Still, DCI's never retire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 31 2019 5:50 utc | 35

What happens when spying is democratized? What is the result when anyone can subscribe to a service that will give them any and all information about anyone in the world both real time and historical? For example, what if you could get real time metric and video record of every employee's performance, both at work and not at work? Isn't China close to having this capability already? What is the result when this capability is extended to all government workers? That is, no one, including presidents and dictators has any privacy at all? Preposterous? Has not Angela Merkel already lost privacy years ago? What is the consequence when this information is not only available to any foreign agent/power but to all citizens? What is the result when such unlimited access is universal and unstoppable? Impossible? Money talks. If people desire such capabilities (and what member of a society does not want information on how governments are exercising vast power), the capabilities exist, and there is money to be made, what will stop the completion of this scenario? Are we not already well down the road to the complete democratization of all information? What are the ramifications for individuals, cultures, societies, and the future of civilization?

Posted by: JNDillard | Jan 31 2019 6:49 utc | 36

Hi annie!

I did see that Citizen Lab are doing good work from Montreal.

Did you see this 20 minute interview on The Real News Network out of Baltimore, with Yves Engler and another Canadian who was a senior producer at the CBC, discussing Canada's premier role in fomenting chaos in Venezuela since 2004.

It's worth the watch in my opinion.

Posted by: jonku | Jan 31 2019 7:15 utc | 37

If it were possible at all for hominids to function as such a large group as a mass society, and if this mass were sane and had any ability for Darwinian adaptation for self-preservation, this society certainly would simply abolish all of these agencies. They serve zero constructive purpose, their "intelligence", if ever accurate, would be useful only for imperialist purposes*, and we see how viciously destructive they are, around the world and most of all in the home country.

*The existence of the empire itself also is self-destructive for the American people and they'd abolish that too if they had any capacity for evolutionary adaptation. Same for the finance sector, the private health insurance racket and Big Drug, agribusiness, and many other things which portend social collapse and enslavement and probably physical extinction.

I'd say it all proves what the ancient Greeks already knew, it's not possible to have a meaningful community larger than the range of a herald's voice. Anything larger automatically has to be "administered" and therefore dominated by warlords, priests, politicians, "professionals", "experts", bureaucrats and technocrats. Every last one of them committed to the destruction of the Earth and of all human health, happiness, and freedom.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 31 2019 7:34 utc | 38

And as WordPress become ever more popular the Israelis won't have much problem controlling the flow of information on the Internet. Israeli web companies have embedded themselves very well into the platform.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 31 2019 7:45 utc | 39

b: Is it NSO Group or NGO Group, you have both in your piece?

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 31 2019 9:23 utc | 40

Posted by: Steve | Jan 31, 2019 2:45:59 AM | 39

What's this about Wordpress? I didn't find any other ref to it. I use Wordpress so could you expand please.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 31 2019 9:25 utc | 41

Okay, it's NSO Group.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 31 2019 11:25 utc | 42

Not so hairy primitive evolutionary dead end institutionalized apes play with spyware:

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 31 2019 12:47 utc | 43

makes sense when you think how the technology developed in the public sector is basically given away to private companies who then use it to make billions (and then use those billions to buy off politicians, dodge taxes and write their own laws). this is just the human extension of that practice.

funny how the US uses "intellectual property" as a constant whining point against china but seems fine with spooks working on the government's dime to build code then take that code (maybe with a few copyright-evading changes here and there) to private and/or foreign "intelligence" agencies.

Posted by: the pair | Jan 31 2019 13:22 utc | 44

@jonku, 37. thanks for posting that informative link on Canadian involvement in attacking the sovereignty of Venezuela.

I'd like to second Lochearn's comment (4). Thanks for the great investigative journalism, b

Posted by: cirsium | Jan 31 2019 14:17 utc | 45

hi jonku! thanks for the link, will check out!

Posted by: annie | Jan 31 2019 14:41 utc | 46

you guys seen this?

US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders: Donald Trump Is President Because God Wanted Him There


It's the end of days!

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 31 2019 15:18 utc | 47

the pair | Jan 31, 2019 8:22:36 AM | 44

It's socialism for the capitalists and capitalism for the rest of us!

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 31 2019 15:20 utc | 48

we get the dark satanic mills end of capitalism in his free market paradise.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 31 2019 15:25 utc | 49

Would you believe that a number of European university libraries have given all the data of their readers to an Israeli company (now recovered under a US company based in... Ann Arbor, since 2015)

Posted by: Tom | Jan 31 2019 15:32 utc | 50

from Breaking Defense..

With 43 Defense Department components running 15,000 networks and employing 250,000 cyber personnel . .here

Just imagine if these huge resources went for something useful like medical care, housing or education.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 31 2019 15:33 utc | 51

It's my understanding that Canadian tar sands woild be the substitute for Venezuelan oil. Canada has a reason for wanting chaos in Venezuela.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 31 2019 15:34 utc | 52

@ 36 spying is democratized,,

soon I believe this spying is going to remove all privacy even from governments.. no one will be able to prevent any other from spying. At that point that secret and corrupt governments might fall and the world becomes the democracy it should be.

I heard about seminar not long ago where the discussion was about how to Arm the dissenters against the government resistance. When everybody is armed equally, and no one can speak or write or think without sharing the speech with the world, the world might evolve into a democracy..

Arming citizens against government is I predict going to be a giant new industry. that will develop over the next few years. Think Yellow Jackets armed with the same or similar firepower as the corrupt nation state.. then what? Its coming.. no doubt.

Posted by: snake | Jan 31 2019 15:52 utc | 53

The world is so disgusting these days. It's been slowly shifting towards authoritarianism ever since 2001, when the results of neoliberalism were made apparent to the general public in order to get people to easily accept government fascism.

Posted by: shadilay | Jan 31 2019 16:06 utc | 54

@37 jonku... thanks also for the link..

@52 lysias... the cost for producing the tar sands oil is high, both in terms of $ per barrel and in terms of the environment... as a canuck, it is the last thing i want...

Posted by: james | Jan 31 2019 16:19 utc | 55

Posted by: lysias | Jan 31, 2019 10:34:58 AM | 52

"It's my understanding that Canadian tar sands woild be the substitute for Venezuelan oil. Canada has a reason for wanting chaos in Venezuela."

Canada will get theirs soon enough. If the obliteration machine doesn't come for the oil it'll be for the water. That border sure is enticingly non-existent in any physical sense, all those places like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas just a few years away from literally going dry, and all that water up there...

Yes, we can at least look to some poetic justice for the Canadian poodle.

Of course the likes of Trudeau would willingly sign deals to ship all of Canada's water south, and use Canadian tax dollars to fund the construction of the aqueducts. So a physical invasion might not be necessary.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 31 2019 16:40 utc | 56

@56 At which point Canadians may be glad they decided to remain a constitutional monarchy. Her Majesty's Government would find shipping all the water south totally unacceptable.

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2019 16:54 utc | 57

@ToivoS | Jan 31, 2019 12:01:35 AM

Please spear us of your constant glorification of Serbs, you are very wrong! In general Serbs do not resist anybody, but like most of other small nations they go along with their occupiers. They were loyal citizens of Ottoman Empire, and they have been settled in Krajina by Ottomans, they were loyal quislings to Germans and Italians during the WWII. Most of them find their heroic side only when they are well armed and attacking and raping helpless women, kids and elderly ... what they were doing from 1991 in ex-YU. And, I am saying most of them, unlike heroes like
Jovan Divjak during the latest ex-YU war.

This article by Aleksandar Hemon might open your eyes, and by the way he is Serb from Sarajevo, Bosnia himself!
Fascism is Not an Idea to Be Debated, It’s a Set of Actions to Fight

I apologize for of-the-topic post, but I am sick and tired of ToivoS's nonsense on this topic.

Posted by: ex-SA | Jan 31 2019 17:42 utc | 58

"There will come a day when former U.S. special operation forces hired by someone will get into a fight with U.S. special operation forces."

Hell this already happens, while still employed by the state. We have troops fighting on what, three different sides in Syria??

Posted by: Peter Hodges | Jan 31 2019 17:42 utc | 59

Well, they've already ripped open the beating heart of their land, drowned it in poison and set it on fire, all to send the oil south, as well as to Asia.

But I suppose if her majesty's government objected to doing the same for the water, and the feral Americans had to choose between respect for the queen or their Phoenix golf courses and Vegas fountains and swimming pools, not to mention the pomegranites and pistachios of California (can't let the Iranians dominate that market), I suppose the great water-grab will be on.

I'm not sure the Great Lakes states will be able to resist either, which is why I've long thought they ought to be in serious talks with their corresponding Canadian provinces about a future Great Lakes Confederation. God knows they have more in common than either does with southern California or Alberta respectively.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 31 2019 17:44 utc | 60

@60 There is something called the Great Lakes Compact.....not sure how it would stand up to pressure from dehydrated Californians. Imagine life with no swimming pools.

As for HMG we could be looking at Queen Meghan somewhere down the road.

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2019 17:56 utc | 61

"The Cuban Communist Party was founded only after the Revolution."
Actually it supported Batista, even had ministers in his governments. It was not until mid 1958 that it sent a secret emissary to meet with the revolutionaries in the Sierra.
Throughout Latin America, in this period, the Communist Parties following Moscow instructions, kept a low profile, pursued, where allowed, social reformist parliamentary policies and generally tried to re-assure the US that they were not looking to upset the apple cart that Monroe (and Canning!) built.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 31 2019 18:02 utc | 62

Russ, look up "The Narwhal" for the shocking state of the water in Alberta.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 31 2019 18:06 utc | 63

In the US there has always been a blurry line between official spying and private spying. When Carter tried to trim down the "operational" side of the CIA there came the "October Surprise". A large number of student groups, labor groups, pro-Palestinians and others were spied on for the government with the cover of the ADL in the eighties. One of the operatives, a San Francisco Police Department detective, took off and hid out in the Philippines until the heat was off. In his police locker was found photographs of people blindfolded and tied to chairs. This cop had previously been detailed to the CIA in Latin American and Algeria. Our union was one of its targets. When we sued the courts to find out who, what and why were we spied upon in the documents, the judge ruled that it all was "private property" of the ADL, and thus we were not allowed to see their files. No one went to jail and nothing was revealed other than a list of who was getting spied on.

Posted by: Bob In Portland | Jan 31 2019 18:26 utc | 64

Wow, the German MSM medium ZEIT looks for leakers.
And in this context they tolerate a comment which mentions the Integrity Iniative. Very, very unusual in Germany, the comment is not blocked or deleted after a while:

"Rage against the Washmachine #3 — vor 22 Stunden 1
Wie wärs schonmal mit der britischen "Integrity Initiative" ? Whistleblower: Anonymous Kollektiv"

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 31 2019 18:40 utc | 65

@ dh That piece is a good run-down. Here's hoping they get tougher for the coming escalation of pressure, rather than weakening like so far (like the way every other conservation policy always gets weakened, like the way every reform is inexorably worn down through attrition).

Of course for the commentators in the piece, the extreme-energy productionist economy is non-negotiable, literally a religious fundamental, so their one and only question for industrial agriculture's water maw is where the water's to come from and how far it's to be forced, not abolishing the maw itself (which is not only necessary but inevitable regardless of what these psychopaths try to do). And of course whenever corporate/government or mainstream media propaganda says the word "food" they really mean "any water-hungry luxury those with money can afford", like the TV screens produced in the factory which uses so much water. No one who cared even the slightest bit about food for human beings would still tolerate destruction of water and land for the sake of fossil fuel extraction, hi-tech TV screens, or any such worthless destructive junk.

I like the watershed map. Sane boundaries of political-economic units would be watershed boundaries. John Wesley Powell wanted the US West to be divided into watershed districts. Of course that wasn't done.

@ bevin

It's like a serialized horror story. All for nothing. Destruction for the sake of destruction.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 31 2019 18:41 utc | 66

has capitalism ever really controlled itself or been controlled without considerable public unrest driving that?

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 31 2019 18:55 utc | 67

@ 36 and 53
<<@ 36 spying is democratized,,

soon I believe this spying is going to remove all privacy even from governments.. no one will be able to prevent any other from spying. >>

Julian Assange tried that.

So far it is a one way street with very large resources to keep it a one way street.

Posted by: arby | Jan 31 2019 20:30 utc | 68

Steve | Jan 31, 2019 2:45:59 AM | 39

Again, what's the evidence for Israel's penetration of Wordpress platform, I need to know!

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 31 2019 22:08 utc | 69

Look up the rumsfeld-cebrowski doctrine. You mI got be shocked to see the neocon plan for latin America after "which path to persia" complete

Posted by: Paul Howitt | Feb 1 2019 7:02 utc | 70

If people who worked for/in "government" had moral standards, they wouldn't be working for/in government.

Posted by: Ed | Feb 1 2019 14:48 utc | 71


— I hope it’s a joke — someone said in a half-broken voice.
— You wish, guey! — was the reply of another student.
— But you see that it is not, you fool — intervened El Ciencias.
— As the pig said to the donkey: jokes are fine, guey, but not such heavy ones — the teller of the saying was El Tigrillo. Some kids began to sing accompanied by the guitar.
They sang to cheer the driver, to whom they directed the verses.

Listen to this ballad
That I will to sing you
A well-known story
I am going to tell you

His name is Lucio Cabañas
From the Sierra de Atoyac
In the whole Republic
Cabañas is chased
They say he is a guerrilla
They say he is a bandit
If all that were true
He must have his reasons

To judge Cabañas
You have to be right.
A man who is a tiger
Must have conditions
For defending his people
With all his heart

Guerrero has the fame
Of having brave men
So here is Cabañas
To defend his people
The sucessors of Genaro
are the brave warriors


Very careful Cabañas
That they not kill you
Remember about Genaro
This can happen to you
Because they kill men
Who do not leave it alone

With this I say goodbye
To the entire public
I have sung you the ballad
Of a man who is a warrior
His name is Lucio Cabañas
From the State of Guerrero.

“… market stalls … public baths … a store with tubs … spoons … vats … gas cans … everything plastic … an establishment with donkey shafts … saddles … muzzles … spurs … everything for the ranch and rodeo … now a humble fruit stand … one of those made of boxes made with sticks … a so-called huacal … vendors under tarps …. protecting themselves from the sun … humble people … with fruits for sale … these simple folks … so many hours of their lives … they see from a low seat … next to little piles of hogplums … no! … it’s too much, sitting on a sidewalk … does not make sense … that lady should be at home with her grandchildren … from up here … i can see the panorama … this window … it’s like a magnifying glass … i observe … the people up close … it’s a way of abstracting the human figure … without audio … very strange … from here … along the marketplace … sellers take refuge … whether from the sun … or from a downpour … a lady in a wheelchair … takes care of her place … next to her … a girl … arranges the fruits … her granddaughter? … or the niece of the older lady … both are sheltered … under a large red and white umbrella … now … a woman stands there … looking up the street … waiting for something interesting to entertain her … what? … another improvised stand … with piles of guayabas … carefully accommodated … in sardine cans … trees crown this place … people talk … walk … arrange the fruits … wait for some buyer to come … tired looking porters hurry past … cartons on their shoulders … a woman looks for coins … in her purse … a man on the sidewalk … gestures to a friend … lovers pass … embracing … fruit colors the scene … traffic in the street is … slow … vans waiting to enter … freight trucks … private cars … waiting … waiting their turn … to advance … but a motorcyclist … skillfully slides by … bypassing the stalled vehicles … again … the question under consideration is: … how to distance the Mexican from the physical world? … that is to say: how to bring him closer … a little, at least … to the precepts of morality … and reason? … there is always some third … there must be a third element: the synthesis … the synthesis … the synthesis … what is the bitch synthesis? …

Posted by: Guerrero | Feb 1 2019 23:20 utc | 72

UAE hired US mercenaries (former US Special Forces and Navy Seals) to murder in Yemen. as covered by b above. But of course, the NYT version from 2015 says UAE hired Colombian mercenaries.

Paul Howitt 70
Cebrowski. Thierry Meyssan wrote about this pivot from ME destabilization to the same for Latin America. These people don't quit and Americans have zero voice in their foreign policy. That's the way the elites like it.

Posted by: Curtis | Feb 2 2019 19:37 utc | 73

The comments to this entry are closed.