Irony is today’s word.
Just as ‘The Artist,’ an ode to silence, won Best Picture at last night’s Oscars, the organization known for anti-silence, WikiLeaks, dumped another load of classified files onto the public — this batch emails from US-based intelligence firm Stratfor, supposedly depicting the company’s “web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods.”
Thus to become more than a quiet riot.
(Illustration found here).
The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff.
It is preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and it trains US marines and “other government intelligence agencies” in “becoming government Stratfors”.
Stratfor’s Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division.
Despite the governmental ties, Stratfor and similar companies operate in complete secrecy with no political oversight or accountability.
Stratfor claims that it operates “without ideology, agenda or national bias,” yet the emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US government policies and channel tips to the Mossad — including through an information mule in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yossi Melman, who conspired with Guardian journalist David Leigh to secretly, and in violation of WikiLeaks’ contract with the Guardian, move WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables to Israel.
An example of Stratfor’s use of so-called ‘methods:’
“[Y]ou have to take control of him.
Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase”
– CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.
What a noisy mess.
Even worse, contrary to public disclosures, maybe bordering on near-sarcasm:
Ironically, considering the present circumstances, Stratfor was trying to get into what it called the leak-focused “gravy train” that sprung up after WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan disclosures :
“[Is it] possible for us to get some of that ’leak-focused’ gravy train ?
This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing.
And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don’t, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better than anyone on the planet… Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of ´leak-focused’ network security that focuses on preventing one’s own employees from leaking sensitive information…
In fact, I’m not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution.”
These files will be pored over in the coming days and a lot of disturbing, and most-likely illegal stuff will surface, and will once again display how ugly Americans can be when they think their shit doesn’t stink, or worse, they have no shit.
And it’s this American attitude that’s fueling the chaos in Afghanistan right now — seven US servicemen were injured this weekend in not-quiet-at-all riots over the supposed burning by American personnel of the Islam holy book, the Qur’an.
Although President Obama has publicly apologized for the Qur’an burnings, the GOP presidential nit-twits jumped Obama hard on it — Rick Santorum slobbering the move “shows weakness;” Newt Gingrich proclaiming the apology is akin to “surrender;” and Mitt Romney called it an “enormous error.”
Between them there’s not even a bird-sized shit for brains.
And there’s always more to a story that smacks the ears.
From the New York Times, though buried way down in the story:
Protesters in Kabul interviewed on the road and in front of Parliament said that this was not the first time that Americans had violated Afghan cultural and religious traditions and that an apology was not enough.
“This is not just about dishonoring the Koran, it is about disrespecting our dead and killing our children,” said Maruf Hotak, 60, a man who joined the crowd on the outskirts of Kabul, referring to an episode in Helmand Province when American Marines urinated on the dead bodies of men they described as insurgents and to a recent erroneous airstrike on civilians in Kapisa Province that killed eight young Afghans.
“They always admit their mistakes,” he said.
“They burn our Koran and then they apologize.
You can’t just disrespect our holy book and kill our innocent children and make a small apology.”
Glenn Greenwald adds this kicker-thought on the subject:
Along those lines, just imagine what would happen if a Muslim army invaded the U.S., violently occupied the country for more than a decade, in the process continuously killing American children and innocent adults, and then, outside of a prison camp it maintained where thousands of Americans were detained for years without charges and tortured, that Muslim army burned American flags — or a stack of bibles — in a garbage dump.
Might we see some extremely angry protests breaking out from Americans against them?
Would American pundits be denouncing those protesters as blinkered, primitive fanatics?
And the shooting on Saturday of two US military officers in a supposedly secure Afghan government ministry has also displayed US compassion — NOT!
Juan Cole this morning enlightens a bit:
Two US military advisers to the Ministry of the Interior were shot dead on Saturday by an Afghan security man.
It turns out, according to recovered security tapes, that they were watching footage of the protests and cursing out the protesters, then speaking badly of the Qur’an.
The Afghan argued with them that they should be more respectful, and when the argument escalated, he drew on them and shot them both dead.
If this story is true, it distills the arrogance and bigotry of some US personnel in Afghanistan (they are in someone else’s country).
They didn’t deserve to meet that end, but cursing the Qur’an in a Muslim country in front of a local Muslim is about the most foolhardy act I can imagine.
The strong evangelical element in some parts of the US military makes it particularly unsuited to more or less running a largely illiterate Muslim nation that is deeply religious.
Evangelicals are the American group that has the highest disapproval of Islam.
Is the GOP listening, or in a cone of don’t-give-shit silence.
And what makes the whole Afghan situation even worse is the horrible horse shit heaved up by hard-case military assholes.
In this instance, Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who called the shooting of the two officers as “outrageous,” without any background on it.
And claimed in his air of authority, the incident reveals the “shallow impact [the United States] has on this primitive society.”
A total jerk — one must remember McCaffrey was among those so-called ‘military analysts‘ that bullied the fog-brained US public into supporting the Iraq invasion — the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for exposing the Pentagon Message Machine, on which Barry was a major player.
From the NYT story on the good general: Two of NBC’s most prominent analysts, Barry R. McCaffrey and the late Wayne A. Downing, were on the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an advocacy group created with White House encouragement in 2002 to help make the case for ousting Saddam Hussein. Both men also had their own consulting firms and sat on the boards of major military contractors.
Silence as we can see is not golden, though, one has to be an artist of some type in order to keep a lid on, or maintain the DL, of any news that might filter down to the US’ unwashed, near-ignorant masses.
Do we live in a vacuum, and if so, can anyone hear us screaming?