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A Tragicomedy

A Chronology of the Sony Hacking Incident

by Gary Leupp

CounterPunch (December 29 2014)

In January 2013 Google CEO Eric Schmidt visited North Korea with an aide and his daughter, as well as frequent DPRK visitor, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. He was of course given VIP treatment by his hosts in Pyongyang, and taken to Kim Il-song University to view students studying on the Internet. It was a private visit and the US State Department did not endorse it any more than it endorsed Dennis Rodman’s trip the following month

In April in a Wall Street Journal interview Schmidt questioned whether those he had viewed at the university were really students (as opposed to actors whose presence was staged to impress outsiders) and generally pooh-poohed the DPRK’s cyber competence. And after all, while the US has 150,000 Border Gateway Protocol (“BGP”) routes, and South Korea has 17,000 BGP routes, North Korea has only four. While about two million North Koreans now have cell phones (imported from China), most have never had access to the Internet.

The average North Korean consumes 738 kilowatt hours of electric power per year, as opposed to the average South Korean who consumes 10,162 or the US resident who consumes around 11,000. While the DPRK’s education system implants strong math skills, it does not emphasize computer science. The Pyongyang University for Science and Technology provides all of thirty computers for graduate students’ Internet use.

Nevertheless, US planners and “security experts” have warned for years of the formidable capabilities of the DPRK army’s Unit 121, formed in 1998 and comprising at that time a force of 17,000 hackers. (This at least according to a report by defensetech.org on Military.com posted in 2007.) North Korea was supposedly the eighth ranked cyber–spying-capable country on earth.

Now the FBI confidently attributes what has been described as the most sophisticated cyber-attack in history, on the Japanese-owned Sony Pictures Entertainment Corporation, to this high-tech backwater. And President Obama has proclaimed that he knows who’s responsible.

But some considerations about the Sony hacking affair.

1. The US government, including the security apparatus and the State Department, have a long history of bald-faced lies, and the corporate media has a long history of taking its talking points from the State Department. I don’t even want to waste time reprising the litany of lies that accompanied the preparations for the criminal assault on Iraq. Anyone paying attention knows what happened

2. US policy has long been to produce “regime change” in North Korea. Dick Cheney famously said in regards to North Korea “we don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it”. (Recall how Dubya lumped Iraq, Iran, and North Korea together in his 2002 State of the Union speech as members of an Axis of Evil?) John Bolton so enraged the North Koreans, as a participant in talks over its nuclear program, that it labeled him “human scum”. (This could be dismissed as typical DPRK vituperativeness were it not for the fact that the British felt the same thing when he was involved with them in talks in Libya and it was felt by the UN in general when Bolton served as UN ambassador.)

George W Bush dismayed then-South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung in 2001 when he refused to endorse Kim’s “sunshine policy” vis-a-vis his northern neighbor. As in most things, the Obama policy has been a continuation of the Bush policy.

Put these two together and what do you have, but the real possibility of a calculated effort to use the Sony hacking incident to advance the cause of regime change, regardless of what is actually true?

Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief-of-staff, actually implied to an interviewer December 23 that he saw parallels between the campaign to charge the North Korea with the Sony hacking and the Bush-era neocon-led effort to smear Saddam Hussein with the false charges raised against him. That – from such an establishment figure – should make everybody think.

I don’t know much about hacking, data detection malware, hard coding of paths and passwords, time-stamped data, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, et cetera. These are just terms to me. I find some of the claims and critiques of the claims difficult to follow. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, and the tendency of many will be to simply rely on the “experts” (like those in the FBI, who are supposed to know this stuff) to assign blame

But whenever there’s a contemporary controversy that puzzles me, my impulse is to create a timeline, a simple, straightforward chronology. Sometimes that alone helps to clarify the issue. So here’s my timeline on the Sony hacking incident, offered as a study aid, with minimal commentary.

_____

June 11 2014: In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the North Korean government denounces the Hollywood film The Interview as “undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war”. Pyongyang, well known for its bluster, promises “decisive and merciless countermeasure [if] the US administration tacitly approves or supports” the movie.

Late June: Sony CEO Michael Lynton consults with Bruce Bennett, a “senior defense analyst” at the RAND Corporation, author of Preparing for the Possibility  of a North Korean Collapse (2013), about the  film. He particularly asks his opinion about the final scene in the “comedy”, in which Kim Jung-un’s head is blown off by US journalists working with the CIA. (He perhaps asks whether or not this might threaten US national security).

(The RAND Corporation is a government-linked think tank whose trustees have included Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice, and whose researchers have included Francis Fukuyama and Zalmay Khalilzad. During the 1980s RAND researchers were deeply involved in the effort to vastly exaggerate Soviet military strength to undo detente and justify Reagan’s massive military buildup. )

June 25: Bennett emails Lynton: “I … thought a bunch more about the ending [of the film]. I have to admit that the only resolution I can see to the North Korean nuclear and other threats is for the North Korean regime to eventually go away … I have been clear that the assassination of Kim Jong-Un is the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government. Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will). So from a personal perspective, I would personally prefer to leave the ending alone”.

June 25: Lynton emails Bennett: “[I] [s]poke to someone very senior in [the] State [Department] (confidentially). He agreed with everything you have been saying. Everything. I will fill you in when we speak.”  (This may have been Daniel R Russell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs.)

Comment: In other words, the State Department agreed that it would be good to have the comedy conclude with Kim Jong-un getting his head blown off by US agents. It would set of “some real thinking” among North Koreans viewing DVDs of the film smuggled into the DPRK

Late June: Lynton arranges a screening of a rough cut of The Interview to at least two US government officials who approve the film, including the ending.

Around this time:  US special envoy for North Korean human rights issues (Robert  King) is also consulted by Sony on the film.

June 27: North Korean ambassador to the UN Ja Song-nam requests that the Security Council adopt the DPRK’s statement against the film.

Five Months Pass By …

November 21: A person or group of persons identifying as “God’s  Apostles” (“God’s Apstls”) sends an email to Lynton and Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, threatening to hack Sony Pictures Entertainment and demanding money. “We’ve got great damage by Sony Pictures. The compensation for it, monetary compensation we want. Pay the damage, or Sony Pictures will be bombarded as a whole. You know us very well. We never wait long. You’d better behave wisely.”

November 24: All employees at Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, California see the image of a skull and long skeletal fingers on their computer screens and the message: “This is just the beginning … [W]e’ve obtained all your internal data” and warn that they will release Sony’ “top secrets” unless the company agrees to “obey” their demands. The hackers identify themselves as “Guardians of Peace”. But since they also say, “We’ve already warned you, and this is just the beginning” we can probably surmise that they are the same as “God’s Apstls”.

November 25: Cyber-security experts Jacob Kastrenakes and Russell Brandom see the hacking as an inside job, and post the article “Sony Pictures hackers say they want ‘equality’, worked with staff to break in”, on The Verge website.

November 28: Appearance of the first news reports that North Korea may have been responsible. Technology news site Re/code report is picked up by Reuters and other news agencies.

December 3: Skeptics emerge. “Sony Hack: Studio Security Points to Inside Job”, in The Hollywood Reporter, questions North Korean responsibility.

December 3: In an interview with Voice of America an unidentified North Korean diplomat denies any involvement in the hacking.

December 4: Associated Press reports some cyber-security experts say they’ve found “striking similarities between the code used in the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and attacks blamed on North Korea which targeted South Korean companies and government agencies last year”. Experienced hackers say this proves absolutely nothing since such codes are easily stolen, sold, or shared.

December 5: A message from hackers claiming to be Guardians of Peace is emailed to Sony Pictures Entertainment employees: “Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world. Our agents find themselves act in necessary places. Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the e-mail address below if you don’t want to suffer damage. If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger.”

December 7: North Korea denies involvement calling the charge “a wild rumor”. But it calls the hacking a “righteous deed”.

December 8: On a file-sharing site Guardians of Peace warns Sony to “Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break regional peace and cause the War!” This is the hackers’ first apparent implicit reference to The Interview.

December 15: Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton tells employees that the ongoing investigation is being handled at the “highest level” of the FBI.

December 16: Guardians of Peace makes their first direct reference to The Interview, 25 days after the first threat sent to Lynton and Pascal. Reporters receive an email declaring: “We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.”

December 16: The FBI states, “We are aware of the threat”.

December 17: Sony Pictures scraps the planned Christmas Day release of the film.

December 17: Professional computer security experts begin to weigh in on the Sony hacking story. Kim Zetter, senior staff writer at Wired (a well respected news site and magazine covering technology), writes the article,  “North Korea Almost Certainly Did Not Hack Sony”.

December 17: Jason Koebler, Motherboard, posts article, “Reaction to the Sony Hack Is ‘Beyond the Realm of Stupid’ “.

December 17: Jeffrey Carr (cybersecurity expert, CEO of Taia Global),  posts “Why You Should Demand Proof Before Believing The US Government On North Korea and Sony”, on Digital Dao.

December 18: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest tells reporters: “I can tell you that, consistent with the president’s previous statements about how we will protect against, monitor and respond to cyber incidents, this is something that’s being treated as a serious national security issue.

December 18: More computer security specialists question allegations of North Korean responsibility. British security blogger Graham Cluley writes, “US reportedly blaming North Korea for Sony Pictures hack. But why?”

December 18: Marc Rogers – director of security operations for DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference, and the principal security researcher for the world’s leading mobile security company, Cloudflare – writes: “Why the Sony hack is unlikely to be the work of North Korea”.

December 19: Sony announces it will completely cancel the film’s release. Hackers contact Sony, praising the pulling of the film as a “wise decision”.

December 19: FBI publicly fingers the government of North Korea as the instigators of the hack and threats towards moviegoers.  “As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions … North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a US business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves.”

(It has been suggested that the “other US Government departments and agencies” include most significantly the National Security Agency or NSA.)

December 19: At his year-end press conference President Obama repeats the FBI’s allegation and decries Sony’s decision to pull the film. US media universally accepts without question the US charge that North Korea hacked Sony.

December 19: More critical analyses appear. These include Jeffrey Carr, “Sony, the DPRK, and the Thailand-Pyongyang Connection”, on Digital Dao and Paul Wagenseil, “North Korea Hacked Sony? Don’t Believe It, Experts Say”, on Tom’s Guide.

December 19: Reuters reporter Julie Noce briefly interviews convicted hacker and security expert Kevin Medwick who questions North Korea link and suggests Sony was hacked by insiders.

December 20: North Korea again denies responsibility, demands the US agree to a joint investigation.

December 20: Further critiques of the FBI story. Robert Graham (CEO, Errata Security), “Sony hack was the work of SPECTRE”, Errata Security; Christina Warren, “How the FBI says it connected North Korea to the Sony hack – and why some experts are still skeptical”, Mashable; “Lets blame our perennial adversary!”, the grugq; “Fauxtribution?” at Krypt3ia (pseudonymous hacker).

December 20:  First piece of mass media journalism to question North Korean responsibility: Michael Hiltzik’s piece “These experts still don’t buy the FBI claim that North Korea hacked Sony” in the Los Angeles Times.

December 20: CCTV (Chinese government-sponsored English-language cable TV) report from Los Angeles notes that many cyber experts doubt the North Korea link.

December 21: More questioning: a Comment by Marcus Ranum, e-security expert, posted at Free Thought Blogs; Marc Rogers, “Why I Still Don’t Think Its Likely that North Korea Hacked Sony”, on Marc’s Security Ramblings.

December 22:  The US rejects the joint investigation proposed by Pyongyang. State Department spokeswoman tells reporters: “The government of North Korea has a long history of denying responsibility for its destructive and provocative actions, and if they want to help here, they can admit their culpability and compensate Sony for the damage they caused”.

December 22: North Korean internet is shut down for nine hours. US does not comment. US mass media states that the problem is mysterious and avoids blaming US government.

December 22: Expert criticism continues, although largely ignored by the mass media. Bill Blunden, “The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On: Sony Propaganda”, on CounterPunch; Jason Ditz, “Lacking Evidence, Obama Mulls Action Against North Korea”, on antiwar.com. Also Charles C Johnson, “BREAKING: We Can Conclusively Confirm North Korea Was Not Behind #Sony Hack” on gotnews.com.

December 22: Small media breakthrough when news anchor Chris Hayes interviews Marc Rogers briefly on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. Hayes begins: “But here’s the thing. There are some very smart people out there including computer security experts and hackers with no allegiance to North Korea and no dog in this fight who say they just aren’t necessarily buying that North Korea did this either”. The interview is short and cut off, but at least begins with this noteworthy admission by Hayes.

December 23: Sony announces it will release the film after all and Obama praises the decision. The entire corporate mass media rejoices in the triumph of free expression versus North Korea’s attempt to suppress our free speech.

December 23: Colonel Larry Wilkerson is interviewed by Paul Jay on Real News. Jay asks him “Why do you think President Obama is so out front on this when the evidence seems so flimsy?” Wilkerson replies, “I’m confused about it myself. I think the media have made a mountain out of a mole hill”.

Asked: “And is there another agenda with North Korea here? Or is this mostly a PR exercise by the president?” Wilkerson replies: “I certainly hope there’s not another agenda, but I smell one, because in the summer of 2001, as the Bush administration was laboring over who in the axis of evil it was going to take on, Korea was first and foremost in many people’s eyes. Once they were sobered up by the military and others, including yours truly, about what it would mean to have a war on the peninsula … they sobered up quickly. They didn’t want anything to do with that. And, of course, we know where they turned. They turned to the low-hanging fruit of Iraq.”

(In the interview Wilkerson says he has no trust in the national security circle around Obama.)

December 24: Marc Rogers again lays out the case against North Korean involvement in the hacking, in the eminently respectable mainstream website The Daily Beast, in a piece entitled “No, North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony”.

Again: Rogers is director of security operations for the world’s largest hacker conference, and the principal security researcher for the world’s leading mobile security company. This appears to be the most definitive, authoritative debunking of the NSA/FBI/State Department/Barack Obama claim.

(You would hope that this sharp critique would incline the official press to back off from its knee-jerk acceptance of the Obama version of reality, and to abandon its weasel words like “It is thought that …” You’d hope that the talking heads would shift towards a more nuanced approach, such as, “While security analysts widely dispute the charge, the Obama administration claims that …” But no, this is not happening.)

December 24: New York Times‘ Nicole Perlroth, “New Study May Add to Skepticism Among Security Experts that North Korea Was behind Sony Attack” reports that computational linguists at Taia Global, a cybersecurity agency, have concluded the hackers are more likely to be Russian speakers than Korean.

December 25: Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich states in a press briefing that the US has failed to offer any proof of North Korean involvement in the Sony hacking.

December 25: Film critic David Edmund Moody, on Huff Post Entertainment, writes “The Interview – Painfully Bad”. Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, calls it “an intensely sophomoric and rampantly uneven comic takedown … doesn’t rate anywhere near Borat or Team America: World Police“.

December 26: CNN suddenly reports that the North Korea hacking story appears to be very questionable. This should be the end of the story. But neither the FBI nor Sony when asked for comment has answered calls.

_____

It’s as though the managing editors of the entire corporate press, deferring by habit or inclination to the pronouncements of the FBI, had for weeks instructed their talking heads and print journalists to spin the story as they did – as a clear-cut case of North Korean “cyber-vandalism” if not “cyber-terrorism”.

It’s been oh, so typical! After the sarin gas attack in Syria on August 21 2013, the Obama administration declared that the government of Bashar al-Assad was responsible, although that allegation was questioned then and now, by the Russian Foreign Ministry and investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, among others.

After the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine on July 17 2014, the US State Department immediately blamed pro-Russian separatists and by association Moscow for the tragedy. But Robert Parry, another award-winning investigative reporter, has questioned this and suggested that the Pentagon actually suspects that Ukrainian government forces are responsible, as intimated by the Russians. The latter have provided some of their surveillance data while the US has provided none.

It’s still not really clear who’s to blame in either episode. What is clear to thinking people (a category excluding most bought and paid for cable news anchors) is the US proclivity to fix intelligence around policy – to lie to the people to justify aggressive moves, whether against Serbia or Iraq or Syria or Libya or Iran or Russia or North Korea.

Sooner or later the truth will out, as it did in the case of the SS Maine, the Tonkin Gulf attacks, or Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Those who’ve studied the episodes realize that “genocide” charges against Serbian forces in Bosnia (1995) and Kosovo (1999) were hyped in order to establish NATO hegemony over what was once the proud neutral country of Yugoslavia, and that allegations that Muammar Gaddafi was about to annihilate civilians in Benghazi (2011) were pulled out of thin air.

But the truth usually comes out after it’s too late to make a difference, and the liars responsible for high crimes against peace sleep peacefully in their beds. Milosevic died in prison while fighting charges of war crimes. Saddam Hussein was hanged. Gaddafi was murdered, sodomized with a knife. But Bill Clinton is lionized by the Democratic Party establishment and his bloodthirsty wife will likely become the next president. Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz live in comfort and are treated as elder statesmen by much of the media.

Those perusing an agenda for North Korean regime change (as “smelled” by Colonel Wilkerson) could feel free to cherry-pick intelligence just as the neocons did so systematically before the invasion of Iraq. That’s the system under which we live, especially post-9/11, and it will not die easily. But fortunately in this instance a Big Lie is dissolving as we speak, thanks to the honest geeks in the cyber security industry. It may be harder to justify further measures against Pyongyang after this.

To paraphrase RAND’s Bennett quoted above: The only resolution I can see (for the regime of lies under which we suffer) is for the regime to eventually go away. I believe that talk about its removal, and the creation of a new government by the people of this country, might start some real thinking.

I myself will not propose any particular dramatic “ending” to the tragicomic drama in which we live. And I wouldn’t endorse a light-hearted sophomoric farce about an Obama assassination (although I see absolutely no legal nor moral difference between such and the State Department-endorsed Sony film). But I’d hope that at minimum the farce of the North Korean “cyber-terrorism” accusations further undermines – in the minds of many of its own subjects – the credibility of the world’s most consistently violent, destructive regime.

_____

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan (1994); Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan (1997); and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900 (2003). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (2012). He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/29/a-chronology-of-the-sony-hacking-incident/

Categories: Uncategorized

The CIA’s Links to Wall Street

Rise of the National Security State

by Mark Gaffney

Information Clearing House (February 21 2012)

One of the most successful frauds ever perpetrated upon the American people is the notion that the CIA exists to provide intelligence to the president. In fact, the CIA’s intimate links to Wall Street strongly suggest that the CIA was created to serve the perceived interests of investment bankers. The well documented links to Wall Street can be traced to the founding of the agency.

According to former CIA director Richard Helms, when Allen Dulles was tasked in 1946 to “draft proposals for the shape and organization of what was to become the Central Intelligence Agency”, he recruited an advisory group of six men made up almost exclusively of Wall Street investment bankers and lawyers. Dulles himself was an attorney at the prominent Wall Street law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell. Two years later, Dulles became the chairman of a three-man committee which reviewed the young agency’s performance. The other two members of the committee were also New York lawyers {1}. For nearly a year, the committee met in the offices of J H Whitney, a Wall Street investment firm {2}.

According to Peter Dale Scott, over the next twenty years, all seven deputy directors of the agency were drawn from the Wall Street financial aristocracy; and six were listed in the New York social register {3}. So we see that from the beginning the CIA was an exclusive Wall Street club. Allen Dulles himself became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence in early 1953.

The prevalent myth that the CIA exists to provide intelligence information to the president was the promotional vehicle used to persuade President Harry Truman to sign the 1947 National Security Act, the legislation which created the CIA {4}. But the rationale about serving the president was never more than a partial and very imperfect truth {5}.

Colonel L Fletcher Prouty, an early critic of the agency, has referred to this oft-repeated notion as “the CIA’s most important cover story” {6}. In his important book The Secret Team, Prouty argues that the cover story was actually a front for the CIA’s main interest, what he calls “fun and games”, in other words, clandestine operations {7}.

Prouty was in a position to know the facts. For nine years, from 1955 to 1964, he served as the focal point for contacts between the CIA and the Pentagon on matters pertaining to “special operations”, officialese for covert activities. In this capacity Prouty worked directly with CIA Director Dulles and his brother John Foster, who was then Secretary of State, and also with several different Secretaries of Defense and chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, and many other government officials. Colonel Prouty’s work with the CIA took him to more than sixty countries and to CIA offices, hot spots, and covert activities all around the world.

For some reason, perhaps through an oversight, Prouty was never required to sign a security oath, and so, was unencumbered, completely free to write the first detailed expose of the agency, released in 1972. In his book Prouty does not mince words. He describes Allen Dulles’ concept of intelligence as only ten percent intelligence, and ninety percent clandestine operations. {8} In another passage, he fleshes out his meaning:

the CIA is at the center of a vast mechanism that specializes in covert operations … or as Allen Dulles used to call it, ‘peacetime operations’. In this sense, the CIA is the willing tool of a higher level Secret Team, or High Cabal, that usually includes representatives of the CIA and other instrumentalities of the government, certain cells of the business and professional world, and, almost always, foreign participation. {9}

If this sounds conspiratorial it is because Allen Dulles and his allies on Wall Street managed to get around the law and thwart the will of Congress. The National Security Act, which created the CIA, included no provision for intelligence gathering or covert operations because, as Prouty points out, the intent of Congress was for the CIA to function as a central clearinghouse for intelligence collected by other government departments and pre-existing intelligence agencies. This is why Congress placed the CIA under the direct authority of the newly created National Security Council.

But Allen Dulles and those around him wanted to take the new agency into the shady world of clandestine operations to serve the interests of the US financial and corporate elite, interests that in their distorted world view were synonymous with the interests of the United States of America. Dulles and his allies achieved their goal by exploiting a loophole in the legislation, a catch-all provision stating that the CIA would “perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council (NSC) may from time to time direct”.

As worded, the passage grants the CIA no authority on its own to stage operational activities, but only as instructed by the National Security Council. Moreover, the passage “from time to time” indicates that Congress never intended that such operations would become a full time program. Prouty argues that the CIA and the Secret Team immediately “tested this clause in the act and began to practice their own interpretation of its meaning” {10}. Unfortunately, the National Security Council failed to live up to the role intended by Congress, that is, to provide leadership and direction.

In part, this happened because NSC members had other full-time duties and were not able to allocate sufficient time and energy to direct the CIA and keep it honest. Before long, the NSC had delegated its primary responsibilities to subcommittees, which the CIA easily captured by packing them with its supporters through patient maneuvering and unrelenting pressure. Soon, the NSC became a rubber stamp for a full-time program of endless black operations.

The CIA also insinuated its supporters and agents throughout the other branches of government: into the FAA, the Departments of State and Defense, even within the White House. From that point on, in the words of Prouty, the agency created “its own inertial drift … without the knowledge of most higher level authorities”. Through the use of organizational strategies like compartmentalization and plausible deniability, and by limiting the flow of information to “a need to know basis”, the CIA succeeded in keeping its covert operations, even large ones, secret from the very government officials charged with their oversight.

Prouty relates one instance where he briefed General Lyman L Lemnitzer, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the subject of the largest covert operation that the CIA had ever mounted, up to that point. Whereupon, Lemnitzer, in shock, said to the other Chiefs, “I just can’t believe it. I never knew that.” {11}

Allen Dulles was up to such tricks even before becoming director. In his voluminous history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, journalist Tim Weiner describes how in 1951, while serving as deputy director of plans (that is, covert operations) under then CIA Director Bedell Smith, Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner routinely stonewalled their boss about ongoing covert projects. At the time, Wisner headed up the bland-sounding Office of Policy Coordination, newly instituted to counter the USSR threat in Europe. {12} That meant staging covert operations throughout western Europe (that is, Operation Gladio).

Smith fumed at being kept in the dark, and was also aghast that the CIA budget being proposed by Dulles had mushroomed eleven-fold since 1948, with most of the increase allocated for covert operations – three times the budget for espionage and analysis. Smith correctly worried that “this posed a distinct danger to CIA as an intelligence agency”, because “the operational tail will wag the intelligence dog”. {13}

Smith was an Army General, and clashed sharply with the lawyer Dulles, who made a habit of evading direct orders. Weiner cites the CIA’s Tom Polger, who observed the two men trying to work together. Said Polger: “Bedell clearly doesn’t like Dulles, and it’s easy to see why. An Army officer gets an order and carries it out. A lawyer finds a way to weasel …” {14} Weiner also recounts how Dulles lied to Congress to conceal an unbroken string of failed covert operations during the Korean war {15}.

General Bedell Smith never succeeded in bending Dulles and Wisner to his authority. As we know, Dwight D Eisenhower won the 1952 election on a platform of confronting Communism and rolling back the iron curtain. Ike’s closest foreign policy advisor was none other than John Foster Dulles, Allen’s brother. So, when the time came for Ike to pick his new CIA chief, it was no surprise that he tapped Allen Dulles for the job, over Bedell Smith’s strong objections.

With the appointment of Dulles as CIA Director, the US financial elite finally achieved through peaceful means the perversion of democracy it had sought to achieve through a violent coup in 1934, when a cabal of Wall Street bankers and industrialists attempted to overthrow the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. During the 1930s, a number of prominent individuals on Wall Street, including Prescott Bush, father of George H W Bush, viewed FDR as a traitor to his class and wanted to replace him with a fascist puppet government.

In 1934, the plotters enlisted a genuine war hero to their cause: two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winner General Smedley Butler. Although Butler initially appeared to go along with the conspiracy, much to his credit, the general remained loyal to the Constitution and ultimately alerted Congress to the plot. {16}

The attempted coup against FDR failed, but the bankers’ moment finally arrived after World War Two with the onset of the Cold War. The Red Menace was made-to-order for Wall Street. The international threat of communism, real or imagined, was the perfect rationale for a national security apparatus with the power to undermine and trump our democracy. Along with this went the systematic manipulation of public opinion through mass propaganda and spin.

In 1947, the “War Department” was re-christened the “Defense Department”. That same year, the English writer George Orwell sat down to finish his dystopian masterpiece 1984. In it Orwell prophetically describes a fictional world-turned-upside-down that has since become all too real. Words and expressions coined by Orwell, like “Big Brother”, “Newspeak”, “Ignorance is Strength”, “Freedom is Slavery”, “War is Peace”, even the term “Orwellian”, have since become integral to our language.

Truman lived to regret his role in creating a monster. One month to the day after the murder of JFK in Dallas, the elder statesman posted a letter in the Washington Post, in which he addressed the nation. In the letter Truman explained that he had set up the CIA to provide raw intelligence to the office of the president, but that in practice things had turned out very differently. Truman wrote that

I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency … For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue … there are now some searching questions that need to be answered.

I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President … and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere. We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it. {17} [my emphasis]

Truman’s line about the CIA “casting a shadow over our historic position” may have been a thinly-veiled reference to the assassination of President John F Kennedy in Dallas, exactly one month before, an assassination which new research suggests was a CIA operation conducted with the cooperation of Chicago mobsters {18}. It is quite possible that by December 1963 Truman had privately reached the same conclusion.

But he may also have been referring to the CIA’s many inglorious foreign policy disasters in the Mideast, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, about which the aging Truman surely must have been painfully aware. The most obvious example, of course, was the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961 that led to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis which brought the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon. Another was the CIA’s 1953 plot to overthrow the popular and democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, and replace him with the dictatorial Shah, the fallout from which continues to bedevil geopolitics, many years later.

No example of US treachery has ever done more harm to American prestige, world wide, than the CIA’s destruction of the fledgling Iranian democracy. At the time, Iran was friendly to the West and a US ally. During World War Two, Iran had played a key role in US efforts to resupply the Soviet Union and prevent a Nazi victory on the eastern front. Yet, the US repaid Tehran with betrayal. And there are many other examples. {19}

It appears that Truman’s successor, Dwight D Eisenhower, despite his eminent role as Cold Warrior, may also have learned to distrust the CIA over the course of his two terms, during which the CIA often kept him in the dark, when they were not actively manipulating him. There is some evidence that the CIA even went so far as to wreck Eisenhower’s scheduled 1960 peace summit with Nikita Khrushchev by secretly arranging for the Soviets to shoot down an American U-2 surveillance plane piloted by Gary Powers. {20}

The incident not only embarrassed Eisenhower, it also caused renewed hostility between Washington and Moscow at the very moment when a thaw in the Cold War seemed within reach. Like the murder of JFK, three years later, the U-2 incident is suspicious and may have been a calculated move by CIA hardliners. Such a dark possibility may even have motivated Eisenhower to warn the American people in 1961 about the growing threat to democratic institutions posed by “the military-industrial complex”. {21}

But while most Americans have at least heard of Ike’s famous warning, delivered in his final address to the nation, by contrast, Truman’s remarkable letter has been forgotten. No doubt, the letter ruffled some powerful feathers, because, later that day, it was mysteriously yanked from subsequent editions of the Post.

As we now know, by the early 1960s, the CIA had enlisted many frontline journalists for undercover work. Estimates of how many range from fifty to 400, or more. {22} But the exact number is less important than the confirmed fact that selected journalists at every major US magazine and newspaper, including the Post, were on the CIA payroll, in sufficient numbers to leak disinformation into the media and deceive the American people on a range of issues. The willing CIA operatives were only too happy to plant phony “news” or, as in the case of Truman’s letter, to make troublesome stories disappear. One or two phone calls from Langley probably did the trick.

There was no follow up in the press regarding the Truman letter, not in subsequent weeks, months, or years. None of Truman’s biographers mention it, probably because they did not even know about it. {23} This includes David McCullough, author of the 1992 bestseller, Truman, which won the Pulitzer Prize and has been called “the most thorough account of Truman’s life yet to appear” {24} Thorough, perhaps, but not thorough enough. I searched McCullough’s account in vain for any mention of the 1963 letter. Soon after it appeared in print, Truman’s letter vanished down an Orwellian memory hole and nearly disappeared from human consciousness.

It is noteworthy that the original edition of Prouty’s pathbreaking CIA expose, The Secret Team, suffered a similar fate. In 1975, on hearing from a professor acquaintance that forty copies of his book had inexplicably vanished from the shelves of a university library, Prouty visited the Library of Congress in Washington to see if the book was still in the stacks where he had seen it on a previous visit. Not only was it missing, the book was no longer even listed in the library card catalogue. Someone had expunged every trace of its existence. Until the occasion of its re-publication in 2011, The Secret Team remained, in Prouty’s words, “an official non-book”.

Shades of Orwell.

Notes

{1} Richard Helms with William Hood, A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency (2003), pages 82-83; 99.

The two other members of the committee were William H Jackson and Mathias F Correa. The committee had been authorized by Secretary of Defense James V Forrestal, an old colleague of Allen Dulles. Burton Hersh, The Old Boys (1992), page 233.

The Dulles-led committee produced a report dated January 1 1949, that was submitted to President Truman upon his re-election. According to Fletcher Prouty “No report on the broad subject of intelligence has ever been more important than this one was”. Prouty continues: “The report … clearly and precisely outlined what Allen Dulles was going to do; and to his credit, he did just that, and more. During that busy summer of election year, 1948, Allen Dulles was officially the speech-writer for the Republican candidate, Governor Thomas E Dewey of New York. All through the campaign it had been generally accepted that Dewey would defeat President Truman. Allen Dulles, his brother, John Foster Dulles, and the others of that Dewey team fully expected to move into Washington on the crest of a wave with the inauguration of their candidate. In this context the Dulles-Jackson-Correa report takes on a special meaning. Although this select committee had been established by President Truman, they had timed their work for delivery to the President during his – they expected – “Lame Duck” period. Then they planned to use it as their own plan of action in the new Dewey administration. In one of the greatest political upsets of all time, Truman beat Dewey, and the Republicans were forced to wait another four years. Thus it happened that this crucial report was reluctantly delivered into Truman’s more than hostile hands on January 1 1949″. According to Prouty, only ten to twelve copies of the 193-page report were published, and later, efforts were made to collect and destroy the copies not under CIA control. L Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team (2011), pages 174 and 213.

{2} Burton Hersh, The Old Boys (1992), pages 185; 233.

{3} Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil and War (2003), pages 187; 200-201.

{4} Other provisions of the same act created the National Security Council and reorganized the US military force structure.

{5} The notion is also refuted by the facts surrounding the Gulf of Tonkin incident. See Ray McGovern’s excellent analysis, in which he shows that the CIA deceived then President Johnson. Assuming the CIA’s mission was to provide intel to the chief, why did they lie to LBJ? The only reasonable explanation is that the CIA was serving the perceived interests of Wall Street. At the time, Wall Street wanted LBJ to expand the Viet Nam war. Why? Simple. Because warfare is vastly more profitable than peace. Wall Street achieved the desired objective by means of CIA manipulation. The rest is history. http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/011108a.html

{6} The Secret Team, page xxx.

{7} Ibid.

{8} Ibid, page 79.

{9} Ibid.

{10} Ibid, page 116.

{11} Ibid, page xx.

{12} The Old Boys, page 226.

{13} Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes (2008), page 60.

{14} Ibid, page 59.

{15} Ibid, page 65.

{16} Smedley D Butler, War is a Racket (1935).

{17} Washington Post, December 22 1963. The complete text of the letter may be viewed at http://www.maebrussell.com/Prouty/Harry%20Truman’s%20CIA%20article.html

It is notable that Clark Clifford, one of the bankers involved in the drafting of the 1947 National Security Act, echoed the same concerns as Truman when he testified in 1975 before the Senate Select Committee investigating CIA abuses. The committee was chaired by Senator Frank Church (Democrat, Idaho). Clifford’s testimony is important because Clifford had been one of Truman’s most trusted aide’s and, no doubt, was instrumental in persuading Truman to sign the bill, in the first place. The full text of Clifford’s statement is posted at http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/church/reports/vol7/pdf/ChurchV7_8_Clifford.pdf

{18} James W Douglas, JFK and the Unspeakable (2008).

{19}The CIA-assisted murder of Congo’s Prime Minister Patrice Lamumba in 1960 produced a long reign of terror under the US-backed butcher Mobutu, and fueled decades of bloody cvil war in the mineral-rich heart of Africa. Stephen R Weissman, “Congo-Kinshasa: New Evidence Shows US Role in Congo’s Decision to Send Patrice Lamumba to His Death” (August 01 2010) http://allafrica.com/stories/201008010004.html

Another “success” was the CIA plan to overthrow the legitimate ruler of Cambodia, Prince Sihanouk, a non-communist whose only crime was that he tried to remain neutral in a US war zone. Sihanouk’s ouster and the decision by Nixon and Kissinger to carpet bomb Cambodia helped bring Pol Pot to power and led to the subsequent mayhem of the killing fields. There is also the case of Indonesia, where the US-assisted slaughter of a half-million communists in 1965 led to many years of crony-capitalism under the US-backed Suharto, during which time the forests of Indonesia were devastated and the people impoverished. For dozens of similar examples see William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (1995).

{20} The Secret Team, pages 445-456; also see Travis Kelly, “Mayday, 1960”, Counterpunch (November 27 2009) http://www.counterpunch.org/kelly11272009.html

{21} The key part of Ike’s speech may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eorangemane%2Ecom%2FBB%2Fshowthread%2Ephp%3Ft%3D81836&feature=player_embedded

{22} Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer (2008), page 227; also see Carl Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media”, Rolling Stone (October 20 1977) at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28610.htm

{23} This is according to scholar Martin Schotz, who has been researching Truman’s letter since 1966. W Martin Schotz, History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial, and the Murder of John F Kennedy (1996), appendix VIII, page 237.

{24} The quote is by Alan Brinkley, whose review appeared in the New York Times Book Review.

_____

Mark Gaffney is a researcher, writer, poet, environmentalist, anti-nuclear activist, and organic gardener. Mark was the principal organizer of the first Earth Day in April 1970 at Colorado State University. Mark’s first book was a pioneering 1989 study of the Israeli nuke program, Dimona: The Third Temple?: The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation (1989).

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30605.htm

Categories: Uncategorized

False Flagging the World Towards War

The CIA Weaponizes Hollywood

by Larry Chin

Global Research (December 27 2014)

Almost all wars begin with false flag operations.

The coming conflicts in North Korea and Russia are no exception.

Mass public hysteria is being manufactured to justify aggression against Moscow and Pyongyang, in retaliation for acts attributed to the North Korean and Russian governments, but orchestrated and carried out by the CIA and the Pentagon.

The False Flagging of North Korea: CIA Weaponizes Hollywood

The campaign of aggression against North Korea, from the hacking of Sony and the crescendo of noise over the film, The Interview, bears all the markings of a CIA false flag operation.

The hacking and alleged threats to moviegoers has been blamed entirely on North Korea, without a shred of credible evidence beyond unsubstantiated accusations by the FBI. Pyongyang’s responsibility has not been proven. But it has already been officially endorsed, and publicly embraced as fact.

The idea of “America under attack by North Korea” is a lie.

The actual individuals of the mysterious group responsible for the hacking remain conveniently unidentified. A multitude of possibilities – Sony insiders, hackers-for-hire, generic Internet vandalism – have not been explored in earnest. The more plausible involvement of US spying agencies – the CIA, the NSA, et al , their overwhelming technological capability and their peerless hacking and surveillance powers – remains studiously ignored.

Who benefits? It is illogical for Pyongyang to have done it. Isolated, impoverished North Korea, which has wanted improved relations with the United States for years (to no avail), gains nothing by cyberattacking the United States with its relatively weak capabilities, and face the certainty of overwhelming cyber and military response. On the other hand, Washington benefits greatly from any action that leads to regime change in North Korea.

But discussion about Pyongyang’s involvement – or lack of – risks missing the larger point.

This project, from the creation of The Interview to the well-orchestrated international incident, has been guided by the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department from the start. It is propaganda. It is a weapon of psychological warfare. It is an especially perverted example of military-intelligence manipulation of popular culture for the purpose of war.

There is nothing funny about any of it.

The Interview was made with the direct and open involvement of CIA and Rand Corporation operatives for the express purpose of destabilizing North Korea. Star and co-director Seth Rogen has admitted that he worked “directly with people who work in the government as consultants, who I’m convinced are in the CIA”. Originally conceived to be a plot taking place in an “unnamed country”, Sony Pictures co-chairman Michael Lynton, who also sits on the board of the Rand Corporation, encouraged the film makers to make the movie overtly about murdering Kim Jong-Un. Bruce Bennett, the Rand Corporation’s North Korean specialist, also had an active role, expressing enthusiasm that the film would assist regime change and spark South Korean action against Pyongyang. Other government figures from the State Department, even operatives connected to Hillary Clinton, read the script.

The infantile, imbecilic, tasteless, reckless idiots involved with The Interview, including the tasteless Rogen and co-director Evan Goldberg, worked with these military-intelligence thugs for months. “Hung out” with them. They do not seem to have had any problem being the political whores for these Langley death merchants. In fact, they had fun doing it. They seem not to give a damn, or even half a damn, that the CIA and the Pentagon have used them, and co-opted the film for an agenda far bigger than the stupid movie itself. All they seem to care about was that they are getting publicity, and more publicity, and got to make a stupid movie. Idiots.

The CIA has now succeeded in setting off a wave of anti-North Korea war hysteria across America. Witness the ignorant squeals and cries from ignorant Americans about how “we can’t let North Korea blackmail us”, “we can’t let Kim take away our free speech”. Listen to the ridiculous debate over whether Sony has the “courage” to release the film to “stand up to the evil North Koreans” who would “blackmail America” and “violate the rights” of idiot filmgoers, who now see it as a “patriotic duty” to see the film.

These mental midgets – their worldviews shaped by the CIA culture ministry with its endorsed pro-war entertainment, violent video games, and gung-ho shoot ’em ups – are hopelessly brain-curdled, irretrievably lost. Nihilistic and soulless, as well as stupid, most Americans have no problem seeing Kim Jong-Un killed, on screen or in reality. This slice of ugly America is the CIA’s finest post-9/11 army: violent, hate-filled, easily manipulated, eager to obey sheeple who march to whatever drumbeat they set.

And then there are the truly dumb, fools who are oblivious to most of reality, who would say “hey lighten up, it’s only a comedy” and “it’s only a movie”. Naive, entitled, exceptionalist Americans think the business of the war – the murderous agenda they and their movie are helping the CIA carry out  – is all just a game.

The CIA’s business is death, and there are actual assassination plans in the files of the CIA, targeting heads of state. Kim Jong-Un is undoubtedly on a real assassination list. This is no funny, either.

The Real Act of War

The provocative, hostile diplomatic stance of the Obama administration speaks for itself. Washington wanted to spark an international incident. It wants regime change in Pyongyang, does not care what North Korea or China think, and does not fear anything North Korea will do about it.

On the other hand, imagine if a film were about the assassination of Benjamin Netanyahu and the toppling of the government in Tel Aviv. Such a film, if it would ever be permitted even in script form, would be stopped cold. If it made it through censors that “magically” never slowed down The Interview (and yes, there is censorship in America, a lot of it) Obama would personally fly to Tel Aviv to apologize. At the very least, Washington would issue statements distancing themselves from the film and its content.

Not so in the case of The Interview. Because American elites actually want the Kim family murdered.

Despite providing no proof of North Korean involvement, President Barack Obama promised a “proportional response”. Promptly, North Korea’s Internet was mysteriously shut down for a day.

Unless one is naive to believe in this coincidence, all signs point to US spy agencies (CIA, NSA, et al) or hackers working on behalf of Washington and Langley.

Given the likelihood that North Korea had nothing to do with either the hacking of Sony, the initial pulling of the movie (a big part of the publicity stunt, that was not surprisingly reversed) or the “blackmailing” of moviegoers, the shutting down of North Korea’s Internet was therefore a unilateral, unprovoked act of war. Washington has not officially taken responsibility. For reasons of plausible denial, it never will.

Perhaps it was a dry run. A message. The US got to test how easily it can take down North Korea’s grid. As we witnessed, given overwhelming technological advantage, it was very easy. And when a war against Pyongyang begins in earnest, American forces will know exactly what they will do.

The US is flexing its Asia-Pacific muscles, sending a message not only to Pyongyang, but to China, a big future target. Some of the other muscle-flexing in recent months included the anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong (assisted by the CIA and the US State Department), ongoing provocations in the South China Sea over disputed oil, and new defense agreements that place new anti-missile systems and missile-guided naval vessels to the region.

The bottom line is that America has once again been mobilized into supporting a new war that could take place soon. The CIA and Sony have successfully weaponized a stupid movie, making it into a cause and a battle cry.

If and when bombs fall on North Korea, blood will be on the hands of the makers of The Interview, every single executive who allowed it to be made, and the hordes who paid to see it.

If America were a decent, sane society, The Interview would be exposed, roundly denounced, boycotted and shunned. Instead it is celebrated.

The CIA should be condemned. Instead, Seth Rogen hangs out with them. America, increasingly dysfunctional, loves them. Obeys them.

The False Flagging of Russia

Regarding The Interview, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich issued a statement in sympathy with North Korea, correctly calling the film’s concept aggressive and scandalous, and decried the US retaliatory response as counterproductive and dangerous to international relations.

Of course. Washington has no interest in improved international relations.

The Russians should know.

Like Kim Jong-Un, Vladimir Putin has been vilified, demonized and false-flagged, incessantly. If Kim is today’s object of ridicule, Putin is Evil Incarnate.

Consider the hysterical, desperate provocations by Washington in recent months.

A US-NATO coup, engineered by the CIA, toppled the government of Ukraine, planting a pro-US neo-Nazi criminal apparatus on Russia’s doorstep. The CIA and its worldwide network of propagandists pinned the blame on Putin and Russia for aggression, and for obstructing “democracy”.

The MH-17 jetliner is downed by Ukrainian operatives, with the support of the CIA, Mi-6, et al, et al. This false flag operation was blamed on Russia –  “Putin’s Missile”. The US and NATO are still trying to pin these murders on Putin.

The war against the Islamic State – a massive CIA false flag operation – seeks to topple the Assad government as well as to militarily counter Russia. The ongoing Anglo-American conquest of regional oil and gas supplies, and energy transport routes is also aimed at checkmating Russia and China across the region.

The US and NATO have attacked the Russian federation with sanctions. The US and Saudi Arabia have collapsed oil prices, to further destroy the Russian economy. Full-scale military escalations are being planned. The US Congress is pushing new legislation tantamount to an open declaration of war against Russia.

What next? Perhaps it is time for the CIA to produce a Seth Rogen-James Franco movie about assassinating Putin. Another “parody”. Or how about a movie about killing Assad, or anyone else the United States wants to make into a Public Enemy? Don’t think Langley isn’t working on it.

The Return of the Bushes (who were never gone)

In the midst of all escalating war hysteria comes news that Jeb Bush is “actively exploring” running for president in 2016. The long predicted return of the Bush family, the kings of terrorism, the emperors of the false flag operation, back to the White House appears imminent.

The CIA will have its favorite family back in the Oval Office, with true CIA scion to manage the apocalyptic wars are likely to be launched in earnest in the next two years: Russia/Ukraine, North Korea, the Middle East.

Jeb Bush will “finish the job”.

The 2016 presidential “contest” will be a charade. It is likely to put forth two corrupt establishment political “friends” posing as adversaries, when in fact, they are longtime comrades and conspirators. On one side, Hillary (and Bill) Clinton. On the other side, Jeb Bush, with George H W, George W and all of the Bush cronies crawling back out of the rotten woodwork. The fact is that the Clintons and Bushes, and their intertwined networks, have run the country since the 1980s, their respective camps taking turns in power, with Obama as transitional figurehead (his administration has always been run by neoliberal elites connected to the Clintonistas, including Hillary Clinton herself).

The collective history of the Bushes stretches back to the very founding of the American intelligence state. It is the very history of modern war criminality. The resume of George H W Bush – the CIA operative and CIA Director – is long and bloody, and littered with cocaine dust. The entire Bush family ran the Iran-Contra/CIA drug apparatus, with the Clintons among the Bush network’s full partners in the massive drug/weapons/banking frauds of that era, the effects of which still resonate today. And we need not remind that the Bush clan and 9/11 are responsible for the world of terror and false flag foreign policy and deception that we suffer today.

While it remains too early to know which way the Establishment will go with their selection (and it depends on how world war shakes out between now and 2016), it is highly likely that Jeb Bush would be the pick.

Hillary Clinton has already been scandalized – “Benghazi-ed”. Jeb Bush, on the other hand, has ideal Establishment/CIA pedigree. He has waited years for the stupid American public to forget the horrors that his family – Georges H W and W –  brought humanity. And now Americans, with their ultra-short memories, have indeed forgotten, if they had ever understood it in the first place.

And the American public does not know who Jeb Bush is, beyond the last name. Jeb Bush, whom Barbara Bush always said was the “smart one”, has been involved in Bush narco-criminal business since Iran-Contra. His criminal activities in Florida, his connection with anti-Castro Cuban terrorists and other connections are there, for those who bother to investigate them. His Latin American connections – including his ability to speak fluent Spanish, a Latin wife and a half-Latin son (George P Bush, the next up and coming political Bush) – conveniently appeals to the fastest-growing demographic, as well as those in the southern hemisphere drug trade. Recent Obama overtures towards the Latino demographic – immigration, Cuba – appear to be a Democratic Party move to counter Jeb Bush’s known strengths in the same demographic.

Today, in the collective American mind, Kim Jong-Un and Vladimir Putin are “the bad guys”. But the mass murdering war criminal Bushes are saints. “Nice guys”.

A Jeb Bush presidency will be a pure war presidency, one that promises terror, more unspeakable than we are experiencing now, lording it over a world engulfed in holocaust.

This is not a movie.

_____

More by Larry Chin at http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/larry-chin.

Copyright (c) 2014 Global Research

http://www.globalresearch.ca/false-flagging-the-world-towards-war/5421649

Categories: Uncategorized

The Ultimate Goal of the NSA …

… is Total Population Control

At least eighty percent of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney –  that’s a ‘totalitarian mentality’

by Antony Loewenstein
        
theguardian.com (Friday July 11 2014)

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

“At least eighty percent of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least eighty percent of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

Binney, who featured in a 2012 short film by Oscar-nominated US film-maker Laura Poitras, described a future where surveillance is ubiquitous and government intrusion unlimited.

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone”.

He praised the revelations and bravery of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and told me that he had indirect contact with a number of other NSA employees who felt disgusted with the agency’s work. They’re keen to speak out but fear retribution and exile, not unlike Snowden himself, who is likely to remain there for some time.

Unlike Snowden, Binney didn’t take any documents with him when he left the NSA. He now says that hard evidence of illegal spying would have been invaluable. The latest Snowden leaks, featured in the Washington Post, detail private conversations of average Americans with no connection to extremism.

It shows that the NSA is not just pursuing terrorism, as it claims, but ordinary citizens going about their daily communications. “The NSA is mass-collecting on everyone”, Binney said, “and it’s said to be about terrorism but inside the US it has stopped zero attacks”.

The lack of official oversight is one of Binney’s key concerns, particularly of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa), which is held out by NSA defenders as a sign of the surveillance scheme’s constitutionality.

“The Fisa court has only the government’s point of view”, he argued. “There are no other views for the judges to consider. There have been at least fifteen to twenty trillion constitutional violations for US domestic audiences and you can double that globally.”

A Fisa court in 2010 allowed the NSA to spy on 193 countries around the world, plus the World Bank, though there’s evidence that even the nations the US isn’t supposed to monitor –  Five Eyes allies Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand –  aren’t immune from being spied on. It’s why encryption is today so essential to transmit information safely.

Binney recently told the German NSA inquiry committee that his former employer had a “totalitarian mentality” that was the “greatest threat” to US society since that country’s US Civil War in the 19th century. Despite this remarkable power, Binney still mocked the NSA’s failures, including missing this year’s Russian intervention in Ukraine and the Islamic State’s take-over of Iraq.

The era of mass surveillance has gone from the fringes of public debate to the mainstream, where it belongs. The Pew Research Centre released a report this month, Digital Life in 2025, that predicted worsening state control and censorship, reduced public trust, and increased commercialisation of every aspect of web culture.

It’s not just internet experts warning about the internet’s colonisation by state and corporate power. One of Europe’s leading web creators, Lena Thiele, presented her stunning series Netwars in London on the threat of cyber warfare. She showed how easy it is for governments and corporations to capture our personal information without us even realising.

Thiele said that the US budget for cyber security was US$67 billion in 2013 and will double by 2016. Much of this money is wasted and doesn’t protect online infrastructure. This fact doesn’t worry the multinationals making a killing from the gross exaggeration of fear that permeates the public domain.

Wikileaks understands this reality better than most. Founder Julian Assange and investigative editor Sarah Harrison both remain in legal limbo. I spent time with Assange in his current home at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last week, where he continues to work, release leaks, and fight various legal battles. He hopes to resolve his predicament soon.

At the Centre for Investigative Journalism conference, Harrison stressed the importance of journalists who work with technologists to best report the NSA stories. “It’s no accident”, she said, “that some of the best stories on the NSA are in Germany, where there’s technical assistance from people like Jacob Appelbaum”.

A core Wikileaks belief, she stressed, is releasing all documents in their entirety, something the group criticised the news site The Intercept for not doing on a recent story. “The full archive should always be published”, Harrison said.

With eight million documents on its website after years of leaking, the importance of publishing and maintaining source documents for the media, general public and court cases can’t be under-estimated. “I see Wikileaks as a library”, Assange said. “We’re the librarians who can’t say no”.

With evidence that there could be a second NSA leaker, the time for more aggressive reporting is now. As Binney said: “I call people who are covering up NSA crimes traitors”.

Links: The original version of this article, at the URL below, contains links to further information not included here.

(c) 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/11/the-ultimate-goal-of-the-nsa-is-total-population-control

Categories: Uncategorized

Leaked

Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global

The ugly ramifications of the Trade in Services Act (TiSA)

by Don Quijones

Wolf Street (December 25 2014)

Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments and armies of corporate lawyers and lobbyists {1}, {2}, {3}. However, much less is known about the decidedly more secretive Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which involves more countries than either of the other two.

At least until now, that is. Thanks to a leaked document {4} jointly published by the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, the potential ramifications of the treaty being hashed out behind hermetically sealed doors in Geneva are finally seeping out into the public arena.

If signed, the treaty would affect all services ranging from electronic transactions and data flow, to veterinary and architecture services. It would almost certainly open the floodgates to the final wave of privatization of public services, including the provision of healthcare, education and water. Meanwhile, already privatized companies would be prevented from a re-transfer to the public sector by a so-called barring “ratchet clause” –  even if the privatization failed.

More worrisome still, the proposal stipulates that no participating state can stop the use, storage and exchange of personal data relating to their territorial base. Here’s more from Rosa Pavanelli, general secretary of Public Services International (PSI):

The leaked documents confirm our worst fears that TiSA is being used to further the interests of some of the largest corporations on earth (…) Negotiation of unrestricted data movement, internet neutrality and how electronic signatures can be used strike at the heart of individuals’ rights. Governments must come clean about what they are negotiating in these secret trade deals.

Fat chance of that, especially in light of the fact that the text is designed to be almost impossible to repeal, and is to be “considered confidential” for five years after being signed. What that effectively means is that the US approach to data protection (read: virtually non-existent) could very soon become the norm across fifty countries spanning the breadth and depth of the industrial world.

Big Brother Goes Global

The main players in the top-secret negotiations are the United States and all 28 members of the European Union. However, the broad scope of the treaty also includes Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey. Combined they represent almost seventy percent of all trade in services worldwide.

An explicit goal of the TiSA negotiations is to overcome the exceptions in GATS that protect certain non-tariff trade barriers, such as data protection. For example, the draft Financial Services Annex of TiSA, published by Wikileaks in June 2014, would allow financial institutions, such as banks, the free transfer of data, including personal data, from one country to another. As Ralf Bendrath, a senior policy advisor to the MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, writes in State Watch {5}, this would constitute a radical carve-out from current European data protection rules:

The transfer and analysis of financial data from EU to US authorities for the US “Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme” (TFTP) has already shaken EU-US relations in the past and led the European Parliament to veto a first TFTP agreement in 2010. With the draft text of the TiSA leak, all floodgates would be opened.

The weakening of EU data protection rules through TiSA goes further than “only” the financial sector. According to sources close to the negotiations, a draft of the TiSA “Electronic Commerce and Telecommunications Services Annex” contains provisions that would ban any restrictions on cross-border information flows and localization requirements for ICT service providers. A provision proposed by US negotiators would rule out any conditions for the transfer of personal data to third countries that are currently in place in EU data protection law.

Given Edward Snowden’s startling revelations of the scale and scope of NSA snooping on European citizens, companies and political leaders –  much of it facilitated by its junior surveillance partner, the UK’s General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) –  the prospect of completely unhindered cross-border information and data flows should set off alarm bells across the old continent. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, for the simple reason that most people are blissfully unaware of it, thanks in large part to the near-complete absence of mainstream coverage and public debate on the issue.

The End of Privacy as We Know It?

As for the EU, divining its real intentions concerning data protection is an almost impossible task. Publicly it is in favor of strengthening data protections. There have even been proposals to introduce changes to the routing of internet data packets, so that they take a certain path and remain within the EU. In the European Parliament an amendment was tabled by the Green Party to encrypt all Internet traffic from end to end and was adopted as part of a compromise on the committee vote in February.

As regards national security, the Council of Europe ministers responsible for media and information society stated in November 2013 that:

Any data collection or surveillance for the purpose of protection of national security must be done in compliance with existing human rights and rule of law requirements, including Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Given the growing technological capabilities for electronic mass surveillance and the resulting concerns, we emphasise that there must be adequate and effective guarantees against abuse which may undermine or even destroy democracy.

In private, however, EU trade negotiators –  that is, the people with real power –  are coming under intense US pressure to sign away virtually all European data protection rights. As Bendrath notes, US lobbying efforts, through groups such as the Orwellian-named “Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade”, have been pushing for “interoperability” between European and American rules on both sides of the Atlantic. That basically means a mutual recognition on the respective rules on both sides of the Atlantic. The only catch: in the United States there are currently no comprehensive data protection laws in place.

If the US negotiators get their way –  and let’s face it, when it comes to its dealings with its so-called “allies”, Washington invariably does –  multinational corporations will have carte blanche to pry into just about every facet of the working and personal lives of the inhabitants of roughly a quarter of the world’s 200-or-so nations. Such a prospect should worry us all: exploitation of big data serves today to shape our consumption; it can reveal our whereabouts at all times, our conduct, preferences, feelings or even our most intimate thoughts. If TiSA is signed in its current form –  and we will not know what that form is until at least five years down the line –  that data will be freely bought and sold on the open market place without our knowledge; companies and governments will be able to store it for as long as they desire and use it for just about any purpose.

Perhaps the most perverse irony is that while the corporations and their servants in our elected (or in the case of the EU, unelected) governments seek to turn our lives into a vast open book of actionable or monetizable data, their own actions are increasingly being conducted behind an impenetrable blanket of darkness and secrecy. And as John F Kennedy once said during a little known speech on the grave threat posed by the Soviet Union, “the very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society” {6}.

In Spain, the Orwellian-titled “Law for Citizen Security”, or more aptly “Gag Law”, is opposed by eighty percent of the people, but no problem. Read http://wolfstreet.com/2014/12/20/spain-takes-a-giant-step-backward-towards-its-dark-past/.

Links:

{1} http://ragingbullshit.com/2013/11/02/warning-the-global-corporatocracy-is-almost-fully-operational/

{2} http://ragingbullshit.com/2014/06/21/the-global-corporatocracy-is-just-a-few-strokes-of-a-pen-from-completion/

{3} http://wolfstreet.com/2014/11/02/whos-tripping-up-the-designs-of-the-global-corporatocracy/

{4} https://data.awp.is/filtrala/2014/12/17/19.html

{5} http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-257-ttip-ralf-bendrath.pdf

{6} http://ragingbullshit.com/2014/12/18/a-word-of-warning-from-a-dead-president/

_____

Don Quijones is a freelance writer, translator in Barcelona, Spain, and editor at Wolf Street. Mexico is his country-in-law.  http://ragingbullshit.com/ is his modest attempt to scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media.

Copyright (c) 2011 – 2014 Wolf Street Corp. All Rights Reserved. See our Privacy Policy

http://wolfstreet.com/2014/12/25/leaked-secret-negotiations-to-let-big-brother-go-global/

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Russia, China Mock Divide and Rule

by Pepe Escobar

The Roving Eye

Asia Times (December 23 2014)

ROME and BEIJING – The Roman Empire did it. The British Empire copied it in style. The Empire of Chaos has always done it. They all do it. Divide et impera. Divide and rule – or divide and conquer. It’s nasty, brutish and effective. Not forever though, like diamonds, because empires do crumble.

A room with a view to the Pantheon may be a celebration of Venus – but also a glimpse on the works of Mars. I had been in Rome essentially for a symposium – Global WARning – organized by a very committed, talented group led by a former member of European Parliament, Giulietto Chiesa. Three days later, as the run on the rouble was unleashed, Chiesa was arrested and expelled from Estonia as persona non grata, yet another graphic illustration of the anti-Russia hysteria gripping the Baltic nations and the Orwellian grip NATO has on Europe’s weak links. {2} Dissent is simply not allowed.

At the symposium, held in a divinely frescoed former fifteenth century Dominican refectory now part of the Italian parliament’s library, Sergey Glazyev, on the phone from Moscow, gave a stark reading of Cold War 2.0. There’s no real “government” in Kiev; the US ambassador is in charge. An anti-Russia doctrine has been hatched in Washington to foment war in Europe – and European politicians are its collaborators. Washington wants a war in Europe because it is losing the competition with China.

Glazyev addressed the sanctions dementia: Russia is trying simultaneously to reorganize the politics of the International Monetary Fund, fight capital flight and minimize the effect of banks closing credit lines for many businessmen. Yet the end result of sanctions, he says, is that Europe will be the ultimate losers economically; bureaucracy in Europe has lost economic focus as American geopoliticians have taken over.

Only three days before the run on the rouble, I asked Rosneft’s Mikhail Leontyev (Press-Secretary – Director of the Information and Advertisement Department) about the growing rumors of the Russian government getting ready to apply currency controls. At the time, no one knew an attack on rouble would be so swift, and conceived as a checkmate to destroy the Russian economy. After sublime espressos at the Tazza d’Oro, right by the Pantheon, Leontyev told me that currency controls were indeed a possibility. But not yet.

What he did emphasize was this was outright financial war, helped by a fifth column in the Russian establishment. The only equal component in this asymmetrical war was nuclear forces. And yet Russia would not surrender. Leontyev characterized Europe not as a historical subject but as an object: “The European project is an American project”. And “democracy” had become fiction.

The run on the rouble came and went like a devastating economic hurricane. Yet you don’t threat a checkmate against a skilled chess player unless your firepower is stronger than Jupiter’s lightning bolt. Moscow survived. Gazprom heeded the request of President Vladimir Putin and will sell its US dollar reserves on the domestic market. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier went on the record against the EU further “turning the screw” as in more counterproductive sanctions against Moscow. And at his annual press conference, Putin emphasized how Russia would weather the storm. Yet I was especially intrigued by what he did not say. {3}

As Mars took over, in a frenetic acceleration of history, I retreated to my Pantheon room trying to channel Seneca; from euthymia – interior serenity – to that state of imperturbability the Stoics defined as aponia. Still, it’s hard to cultivate euthymia when Cold War 2.0 rages.

Show Me Your Imperturbable Missile

Russia could always deploy an economic “nuclear” option, declaring a moratorium on its foreign debt. Then, if Western banks seized Russian assets, Moscow could seize every Western investment in Russia. In any event, the Pentagon and NATO’s aim of a shooting war in the European theater would not happen; unless Washington was foolish enough to start it.

Still, that remains a serious possibility, with the Empire of Chaos accusing Russia of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) even as it prepares to force Europe in 2015 to accept the deployment of US nuclear cruise missiles.

Russia could outmaneuver Western financial markets by cutting them off from its wealth of oil and natural gas. The markets would inevitably collapse – uncontrolled chaos for the Empire of Chaos (or “controlled chaos”, in Putin’s own words). Imagine the crumbling of the quadrillion-plus of derivatives. It would take years for the “West” to replace Russian oil and natural gas, but the EU’s economy would be instantly devastated.

Just this lightning-bolt Western attack on the rouble – and oil prices – using the crushing power of Wall Street firms had already shaken European banks exposed to Russia to the core; their credit default swaps soared. Imagine those banks collapsing in a Lehman Brothers-style house of cards if Russia decided to default – thus unleashing a chain reaction. Think about a non-nuclear MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) – in fact warless. Still, Russia is self-sufficient in all kinds of energy, mineral wealth and agriculture. Europe isn’t. This could become the lethal result of war by sanctions.

Essentially, the Empire of Chaos is bluffing, using Europe as pawns. The Empire of Chaos is as lousy at chess as it is at history. What it excels in is in upping the ante to force Russia to back down. Russia won’t back down.

Darkness Dawns at the Break of Chaos

Paraphrasing Bob Dylan in When I Paint My Masterpiece, I left Rome and landed in Beijing. Today’s Marco Polos travel Air China; in ten years, they will be zooming up in reverse, taking high-speed rail from Shanghai to Berlin. {4}

From a room in imperial Rome to a room in a peaceful hutong – a lateral reminiscence of imperial China. In Rome, the barbarians swarm inside the gates, softly pillaging the crumbs of such a rich heritage, and that includes the local Mafia. In Beijing, the barbarians are kept under strict surveillance; of course there’s a Panopticon element to it, essential to assure internal social peace. The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – ever since the earth-shattering reforms by the Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping – is perfectly conscious that its Mandate of Heaven is directly conditioned by the perfect fine-tuning of nationalism and what we could term “neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics”.

In a different vein of the “soft beds of the East” seducing Marcus Aurelius, the silky splendors of chic Beijing offer a glimpse of an extremely self-assured emerging power. After all, Europe is nothing but a catalogue of multiple sclerosis and Japan is under its sixth recession in twenty years.

To top it off, in 2014 President Xi Jinping has deployed unprecedented diplomatic/geostrategic frenzy – ultimately tied to the long-term project of slowly but surely keeping on erasing US supremacy in Asia and rearranging the global chessboard. What Xi said in Shanghai in May encapsulates the project; “It’s time for Asians to manage the affairs of Asia”. At the APEC meeting in November, he doubled down, promoting an “Asia-Pacific dream”.

Meanwhile, frenzy is the norm. Apart from the two monster, US$725 billion gas deals – Power of Siberia and Altai pipeline – and a recent New Silk Road-related offensive in Eastern Europe {5}, virtually no one in the West remembers that in September Chinese Prime Minister Li Keiqiang signed no fewer than 38 trade deals with the Russians, including a swap deal and a fiscal deal, which imply total economic interplay.

A case can be made that the geopolitical shift towards Russia-China integration is arguably the greatest strategic maneuver of the last 100 years. Xi’s ultimate master plan is unambiguous: a Russia-China-Germany trade/commerce alliance. German business/industry wants it badly, although German politicians still haven’t got the message. Xi – and Putin – are building a new economic reality on the Eurasian ground, crammed with crucial political, economic and strategic ramifications.

Of course, this will be an extremely rocky road. It has not leaked to Western corporate media yet, but independent-minded academics in Europe (yes, they do exist, almost like a secret society) are increasingly alarmed there is no alternative model to the chaotic, entropic hardcore neoliberalism/casino capitalism racket promoted by the Masters of the Universe.

Even if Eurasian integration prevails in the long run, and Wall Street becomes a sort of local stock exchange, the Chinese and the emerging multipolar world still seem to be locked into the existing neoliberal model.

And yet, as much as Lao Tzu, already an octogenarian, gave the young Confucius an intellectual slap on the face, the “West” could do with a wake-up call. Divide et impera? It’s not working. And it’s bound to fail miserably.

As it stands, what we do know is that 2015 will be a hair-raising year in myriad aspects. Because from Europe to Asia, from the ruins of the Roman empire to the re-emerging Middle Kingdom, we all still remain under the sign of a fearful, dangerous, rampantly irrational Empire of Chaos.

Notes:

{1} http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Chaos-Roving-Eye-Collection-ebook/dp/B00OYVYD3G/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415721538&sr=1-1&keywords=Empire+of+Chaos

{2} http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2014/12/15/news/tallin_arrestato_giulietto_chiesa-102962283/?ref=HREC1-7

{3} http://rt.com/op-edge/215675-putin-economic-sanctions-us-oil/

{4} http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2014livisitkst/2014-12/18/content_19111345.htm

{5} http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/china-s-li-cements-new/1532960.html

Pepe Escobar’s latest book, just out, is Empire of Chaos {1}. Follow him on Facebook.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-02-231214.html

Categories: Uncategorized

On Blowback after Blowback …

… for the “Empire of Chaos”

by Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge (December 23 2014)

At present, the choice between the two available models on the planet seems stark indeed: Eurasian integration or a spreading empire of chaos. China and Russia know what they want, and so, it seems, does Washington.  The question is: What will the other moving parts of Eurasia choose to do? All these interlocked developments suggest a geopolitical tectonic shift in Eurasia that the American media simply hasn’t begun to grasp. Which doesn’t mean that no one notices anything.  You can smell the incipient panic in the air in the Washington establishment. So long to the unipolar moment … 2015 is “going to be a real hardcore year”.

This month, Lars Schall talks with Pepe Escobar, foreign correspondent at Hong-Kong-based Asia Times Online {1}.

Escobar discusses:

* His new book, Empire of Chaos {2}

* The geopolitical worries of the Washington-New York axis

* Russia’s countermoves in the Ukraine crisis

* The Sino-Russian strategic energy relation

* And last but not least his expectations for 2015. “It’s going to be a real hardcore year”

Here are two articles, that Pepe Escobar mentions during the interview:

“China Pivot Fuels Eurasian Century” {3}

“Can China and Russia Squeeze Washington Out of Eurasia? –  The Future of a Beijing-Moscow-Berlin Alliance”  {4}

Furthermore, here is Pepe Escobar’s latest take on the issue: “Empire of Chaos vs. Eurasian integration {5}.

And finally some concluding excerpts from Escobar …

At the same moment that China is proposing a new Eurasian integration, Washington has opted for an “empire of chaos”, a dysfunctional global system now breeding mayhem and blowback across the Greater Middle East into Africa and even to the peripheries of Europe.

In this context, a “new Cold War” paranoia is on the rise in the US, Europe, and Russia.  Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who knows a thing or two about Cold Wars (having ended one), couldn’t be more alarmed. Washington’s agenda of “isolating” and arguably crippling Russia is ultimately dangerous, even if in the long run it may also be doomed to failure.

At the moment, whatever its weaknesses, Moscow remains the only power capable of negotiating a global strategic balance with Washington and putting some limits on its empire of chaos.  NATO nations still follow meekly in Washington’s wake and China as yet lacks the strategic clout.

Russia, like China, is betting on Eurasian integration.  No one, of course, knows how all this will end.  Only four years ago, Vladimir Putin was proposing “a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok”, involving a trans-Eurasian free trade agreement. Yet today, with the US, NATO, and Russia locked in a Cold War-like battle in the shadows over Ukraine, and with the European Union incapable of disentangling itself from NATO, the most immediate new paradigm seems to be less total integration than war hysteria and fear of future chaos spreading to other parts of Eurasia.

Don’t rule out a change in the dynamics of the situation, however.  In the long run, it seems to be in the cards.  One day, Germany may lead parts of Europe away from NATO’s “logic”, since German business leaders and industrialists have an eye on their potentially lucrative commercial future in a new Eurasia. Strange as it might seem amid today’s war of words over Ukraine, the endgame could still prove to involve a Berlin-Moscow-Beijing alliance.

At present, the choice between the two available models on the planet seems stark indeed: Eurasian integration or a spreading empire of chaos. China and Russia know what they want, and so, it seems, does Washington.  The question is: What will the other moving parts of Eurasia choose to do?

But Russian stocks are down and US stocks are up … so America must be winning?

Links:

{1} http://goldswitzerland.com/pepe-escobar-blowback-after-blowback-for-the-empire-of-chaos/

{2} http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Chaos-Pepe-Escobar/dp/1608881644

{3} http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/CHIN-01-190514.html

{4} http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175903/tomgram%3A_pepe_escobar,_new_silk_roads_and_an_alternate_eurasian_century/

{5} http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175935/tomgram%3A_pepe_escobar%2C_eurasian_integration_vs._the_empire_of_chaos/#more

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-23/pepe-escobar-blowback-after-blowback-empire-chaos

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