ce399 | research archive: (anti)fascism

The Opiate of Exceptionalism: Candidates and the Truth about America (NYT 19/10/12)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 06/12/2012


IMAGINE a presidential candidate who spoke with blunt honesty about American problems, dwelling on measures by which the United States lags its economic peers.

What might this mythical candidate talk about on the stump? He might vow to turn around the dismal statistics on child poverty, declaring it an outrage that of the 35 most economically advanced countries, the United States ranks 34th, edging out only Romania. He might take on educational achievement, noting that this country comes in only 28th in the percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool, and at the other end of the scale, 14th in the percentage of 25-to-34-year-olds with a higher education. He might hammer on infant mortality, where the United States ranks worse than 48 other countries and territories, or point out that, contrary to fervent popular belief, the United States trails most of Europe, Australia and Canada in social mobility.

The candidate might try to stir up his audience by flipping a familiar campaign trope: America is indeed No. 1, he might declare — in locking its citizens up, with an incarceration rate far higher than that of the likes of Russia, Cuba, Iran or China; in obesity, easily outweighing second-place Mexico and with nearly 10 times the rate of Japan; in energy use per person, with double the consumption of prosperous Germany.

How far would this truth-telling candidate get? Nowhere fast. Such a candidate is, in fact, all but unimaginable in our political culture. Of their serious presidential candidates, and even of their presidents, Americans demand constant reassurance that their country, their achievements and their values are extraordinary.

Candidates and presidents generally oblige them, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney included. It is permissible, in the political major leagues, for candidates to talk about big national problems — but only if they promise solutions in the next sentence: Unemployment is too high, so I will create millions of jobs. It is impermissible to dwell on chronic, painful problems, or on statistics that challenge the notion that the United States leads the world — a point made memorably in a tirade by the dyspeptic anchorman played by Jeff Daniels in the HBO drama “The Newsroom.”

“People in this country want the president to be a cheerleader, an optimist, the herald of better times ahead,” says Robert Dallek, the presidential historian. “It’s almost built into our DNA.”

This national characteristic, often labeled American exceptionalism, may inspire some people and politicians to perform heroically, rising to the level of our self-image. But during a presidential campaign, it can be deeply dysfunctional, ensuring that many major issues are barely discussed. Problems that cannot be candidly described and vigorously debated are unlikely to be addressed seriously. In a country where citizens think of themselves as practical problem-solvers and realists, this aversion to bad news is a surprising feature of the democratic process.

“I think there’s more of a tendency now than in the past to avoid discussion of serious problems,” says Allan J. Lichtman, a political historian at American University. “It has a pernicious effect on our politics and on governing, because to govern, you need a mandate. And you don’t get a mandate if you don’t say what you’re going to do.”

American exceptionalism has recently been championed by conservatives, who accuse President Obama of paying the notion insufficient respect. But the self-censorship it produces in politicians is bipartisan, even if it is more pronounced on the left for some issues and the right for others.

FOR instance, Democrats are more loath than Republicans to look squarely at the government debt crisis indisputably looming with the aging of baby boomers and the ballooning cost of Medicare. Republicans are more reluctant than Democrats to acknowledge the rise of global temperatures and its causes and consequences. But both parties, it is fair to say, prefer not to consider either trend too deeply.

Both parties would rather avert their eyes from such difficult challenges — because we, the people, would rather avert our eyes. Talk to any political pro about this phenomenon and one name inevitably comes up: Jimmy Carter, who has become a sort of memento mori for American politicians, like the skulls in Renaissance paintings that reminded viewers of their mortality.

Mr. Carter, they will say, disastrously spoke of a national “crisis of confidence” and failed to project the optimism that Americans demand of their presidents. He lost his re-election bid to sunny Ronald Reagan, who promised “morning in America” and left an indelible lesson for candidates of both parties: that voters can be vindictive toward anyone who dares criticize the country and, implicitly, the people.

This is a peculiarly American brand of nationalism. “European politicians exercise much greater freedom to address bluntly the uglier social problems,” says Deborah Lea Madsen, professor of American studies at the University of Geneva. An American politician who speaks too candidly about the country’s faults, she went on to say, risks being labeled with that most devastating of epithets: un-American.

The roots of this American trait are often traced to the famous shipboard sermon the Puritan lawyer John Winthrop preached on his way to help found the Massachusetts Bay Colony nearly five centuries ago.

“We must consider,” he said, “that we shall be as a city upon a hill — the eyes of all people are upon us.” Winthrop’s metaphor has had a long life in American speechifying, prominently quoted by both President John F. Kennedy and Reagan. But if, for Winthrop, the image was something the colony should aspire to, for modern politicians it is often a boast of supposed accomplishment, a way of combating pessimists and asserting American greatness, whatever the facts.

Could a presidential candidate today survive if he promised to wage a war on poverty, as President Lyndon B. Johnson did in 1964? It seems unlikely, and one reason may be that Johnson’s effort fell short, revealing the agonizing difficulty and huge cost of trying to change the lives of the poor.

Indeed, in the current fiscal environment, promising an ambitious effort to reduce poverty or counter global warming might imply big new spending, which is practically and politically anathema. And given the increasing professionalization of politics, any candidate troubled by how the United States lags its peers in health or education has plenty of advisers and consultants to warn him never to mention it on the stump.

“Nobody wants to be the one who proposed taking the position that got the candidate in trouble,” says Martha Joynt Kumar, a political scientist at Towson University who studies presidential communications.

Of course, the reason talking directly about serious American problems is risky is that most voters don’t like it. Mark Rice, who teaches American studies at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y., said students often arrived at his classes steeped in the notion that the United States excelled at everything. He started a blog, Ranking America, to challenge their assumptions with a wild assortment of country comparisons, some sober (the United States is No. 1 in small arms ownership) and others less so (the United States is tied for 24th with Nigeria in frequency of sex).

“Sure, we’re No. 1 in gross domestic product and military expenditures,” Mr. Rice says. “But on a lot of measures of quality of life, the U.S. ranking is far lower. I try to be as accurate as I can and I avoid editorializing. I try to complicate their thinking.”

A reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times.


Edwin Wilson as Template for US and Western Covert Operations: Hitler, Noreiga, Hussein, Qaddafi, etc

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 08/10/2012

Part spy, part tycoon, Edwin P. Wilson lived large.

He claimed to own 100 corporations in the United States and Europe, many of them real and many of them shells. He had an apartment in Geneva; a hunting lodge in England; a seaside villa in Tripoli, Libya; a town house in Washington; and real estate in North Carolina, Lebanon and Mexico. He entertained congressmen, generals and Central Intelligence Agency bigwigs at his 2,338-acre estate in Northern Virginia.

He showered minks on his mistress, whom he called “Wonder Woman.” He owned three private planes and bragged that he knew flight attendants on the Concorde by name.

His preferred habitat was a hall of mirrors. His business empire existed as a cover for espionage, but it also made him a lot of money. He had the advantage of being able to call the Internal Revenue Service and use national security jargon to get the details on a potential customer. And if the I.R.S. questioned his own tax filings, he terminated the discussion by saying he was a C.I.A. operative on a covert mission.“Being in the C.I.A. was like putting on a magic coat that forever made him invisible and invincible,” Peter Maas wrote in “Manhunt,” his 1986 book about Mr. Wilson.

For Mr. Wilson, who died on Sept. 10 in Seattle at 84, the adventure collapsed with his arrest in 1982 on charges of selling Libya 20 tons of powerful explosives.

Over the next two years, he was tried in four federal cases in four different courts, accused of, among other things, smuggling arms and plotting to murder his wife. He was sentenced to a total of 52 years in prison. He served 22 of them, mostly in solitary confinement. Then the dagger of fate took a strange twist.

After studying thousands of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr. Wilson and his lawyer went back to court and demolished the government’s case.

Mr. Wilson’s sole defense was that he had been working for the C.I.A., serving his country, when he sold the explosives to Libya. The prosecution’s case had rested on an affidavit by the C.I.A.’s third-ranking official denying that Mr. Wilson had been working for the agency at the time. An hour after being read the affidavit, a jury found Mr. Wilson guilty.

Two decades later, the evidence Mr. Wilson had collected convinced a federal judge in Houston, Lynn H. Hughes, that he had in fact been working for the agency and that the C.I.A. had lied.

“Because the government knowingly used false evidence against him and suppressed favorable evidence, his conviction will be vacated,” Judge Hughes wrote. He added, “America will not defeat Libyan terrorism by double-crossing a part-time informal government agent.”

In 2004, a year after the judge’s ruling, Mr. Wilson was released from Allenwood federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania. Since then he had lived in Seattle on a monthly Social Security check of $1,080. He died of complications from heart-valve replacement surgery, his nephew Scott Wilson said.

Up until his death, Mr. Wilson was still hoping to persuade two other federal courts to void his convictions on the other charges.

Edwin Paul Wilson was born into a poor farm family in Nampa, Idaho, on May 3, 1928. A member of Future Farmers of America, he had a newspaper route and sometimes supplemented his income by rolling a drunk, Mr. Maas wrote in “Manhunt.” He shipped out as a seaman before returning to earn a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from the University of Portland. He joined the Marines and served in Korea after the conflict there ended.

Flying home, he fell into a conversation with a passenger, who told him that he might like working for the C.I.A. The passenger did not identify himself, but Mr. Wilson wrote down a name and a phone number to call. The agency hired him in 1955. His first job was guarding U-2 spy planes.

In 1960, the C.I.A. sent him to Cornell for graduate studies in labor relations, which he put to use against Communism in unions around the world. In one assignment he paid Corsican mobsters to keep leftist dockworkers in line; in another, he released cockroaches in the hotel rooms of Soviet labor delegations.

In 1964, on behalf of the agency, Mr. Wilson started a maritime consulting firm so that the C.I.A. could better monitor international shipping. By nudging up costs and skimping on taxes, he multiplied his own income.

Mr. Wilson left the C.I.A. in 1971, at least publicly, to join the Office of Naval Intelligence. Again he formed companies in service of the government and took them with him when he left the government in 1976. He grew rich and lived lavishly.

Several years later, a top C.I.A. official asked Mr. Wilson to go to Libya to keep an eye on Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, better known as the Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal, who was living there. That led to several weapons deals. In one, a Libyan asked him to throw in a few pistols to send to Libyan embassies. One was used to kill a Libyan dissident in Bonn. “That I feel bad about,” Mr. Wilson told The Washington Post in a 2004 interview.

He also arranged for former Green Berets to train Libyan troops, and for airplane and helicopter pilots to work for Libya. There was speculation in news publications that he had contributed to the deaths of a dozen Libyan dissidents around the world. He later maintained that all of his activities had been done to gather information for the C.I.A.

Unknown to Mr. Wilson, investigators had been building a case against him since 1976, when Kevin Mulcahy, one of his partners, approached the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. with grave doubts about the legality and ethics of Mr. Wilson’s business dealings.

Lured by investigators to the Dominican Republic in 1982, Mr. Wilson was flown to New York and eventually indicted on various charges in federal courts in Washington, Virginia, New York and Houston. He was tried four times over the next two years.

In Washington, he was acquitted of charges that he had solicited assassins to kill a Libyan dissident. In Virginia, he was convicted of exporting weapons, including the one used in the Bonn killing, and sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $200,000.

The New York case concerned a deal Mr. Wilson had tried to make with a fellow inmate, who was actually a federal informer, to murder two prosecutors, six witnesses and his own wife, the former Barbara Hagen, at $50,000 a head. Prosecutors said he had wanted to avoid paying a settlement in a divorce suit. They also said he had requested that the killer return her wedding ring to him, preferably attached to her finger.

Convicted in the murder plot, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and fined $75,000.

In Houston, Judge Hughes appointed David Adler to handle Mr. Wilson’s petition. Mr. Adler had worked for the C.I.A. He said in an interview on Friday that the most convincing documents supporting Mr. Wilson’s contentions were records of communications among government lawyers clearly deciding to withhold evidence.

Asked why he thought they did it, Mr. Adler said, “There was such tremendous pressure to get a conviction.”

Mr. Wilson is survived by two sons, Erik and Karl, and a sister, Leora Pinkston. One of his last attempts at retribution was a civil suit he filed against seven federal prosecutors and a former C.I.A. official. In 2007, a federal judge dismissed the case on the ground that all eight had immunity covering their actions.

David Corn, the author of “Blond Ghost,” a biography of Theodore Shackley, the C.I.A. boss who had first sent Mr. Wilson to Libya, spoke of the essential paradox in Mr. Wilson’s story.

“They framed a guilty man,” he told The Washington Post. “I think he’s a terrible fellow who got what he deserved, but they did frame him.”


Related Archive:

Exposing the Libyan Link by Seymour M. Hersh (NY Times – June 21, 1981)




The Psychological Structure of Fascism by #GeorgesBataille (pdf file)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 19/06/2012

“We Have a New Kind of Occupation in Europe by the Germans” Zoe Georganta (Reuters 16/9/2011)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 16/06/2012

Greece said on Friday it would replace the board of its independent statistics service (ELSTAT) after two members resigned and another was quoted as alleging that 2009 deficit data had been artificially inflated.

It said ELSTAT chief Andreas Georgiou would keep his post.

The upward revision of Greece’s budget deficit in 2009 to 15.4 percent of gross domestic product exposed the scale of the country’s fiscal derailment and sped up the debt crisis which is still rocking the euro zone.

“The 2009 deficit was artificially inflated to show that the country had the biggest fiscal shortfall in all of Europe, even higher than Ireland’s which was 14 percent,” ELSTAT board member Zoe Georganta was quoted as saying by the Eleftherotypia newspaper.

Georganta said the inclusion of a number of utilities under the general government inflated the deficit. She said this had not been handled according to Eurostat guidelines and that the chairman rejected the board’s objections.

“We have a new kind of occupation in Europe by the Germans,” Georganta told Real FM radio, adding that German officials at Eurostat put pressure on the government to inflate the 2009 deficit to justify harsh austerity measures.

Greece in 2010 unveiled legislation to make its discredited statistics service fully independent after the European Union demanded that it puts an end to the release of flawed economic data.

Frequent revisions of national account data since the country joined the euro zone in 2001 had infuriated its partners in the bloc who demanded an overhaul of the service.

The overhaul took place under former finance minister George Papaconstantinou. It included regulations to stop political meddling by giving parliament, rather than the government, the task of appointing its chief.

Papaconstantinou was quick to dismiss the allegations on Friday, saying the deficit revision was fully in line with Eurostat’s methodological guidelines.

He said the revision of Greek fiscal data in 2010 was the result of close cooperation with Eurostat and the same methodology as the rest of Europe was applied.

“Unfortunately for all of us, Greece’s deficit in 2009 was 15.4 percent of GDP as was officially announced by Eurostat and ELSTAT,” Papaconstantinou said in a statement.

“Let’s understand the dire situation the country faced instead of fabricating cheap and easy conspiracy-type excuses for the absolute fiscal derailment we experienced,” Papaconstantinou added.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Friday introduced an amendment to a draft bill on bank supervision which stipulates that ELSTAT’s current board will be replaced, with the exception of its chief.

Parliament has to approve the new board at ELSTAT.

Venizelos told lawmakers on Thursday that the resignations did not affect data collection and processing and put his support behind ELSTAT chief Andrea Georgiou.

“Unfortunately, at a level of interpersonal relations and functions, a problem has emerged,” Venizelos said without elaborating.

“The president of ELSTAT is considered by all our institutional partners, and mainly by Eurostat, a person of experience and someone who can guarantee that the sad chapter of ‘Greek statistics’ is closed,” Venizelos said.

ELSTAT President Andreas Georgiou said in a statement: “The compilation of these statistics was done in full compliance with the rules and standards of the European System of Accounts and European Union Regulations.” (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Karolina Tagaris/Ruth Pitchford)


#CIA Secret Shaper of Public Opinion #CIA Established Links to Many Journalists in US and Abroad (NYT 27/12/1977) (pdf file)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 12/06/2012

Parapolitics USA 15/8/1991 #Reagan #CIA #Casey #Sindona #P2 #Terpil #Wilson #NuganHand #Terrorism #NarcoTraffic

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 12/06/2012

CIA Link to Cuban Pig Virus Reported (SF Chronicle 10/1/1977) via #MaeBrussell

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 04/06/2012

With at least the tacit backing of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officials, operatives linked to anti-Castro terrorists introduced African swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971.

Six weeks later an outbreak of the disease forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic.

A U.S. intelligence source told Newsday last week he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked container at a U.S. Army base and CIA training ground in the Panama Canal Zone, with instructions to turn it over to the anti-Castro group.

The 1971 outbreak, the first and only time the disease has hit the Western Hemisphere, was labeled the “most alarming event” of 1971 by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. African swine fever is a highly contagious and usually lethal viral disease that infects only pigs and, unlike swine flu, cannot be transmitted to humans. All production of pork, a Cuban staple, halted, apparently for several months.

A CIA spokesman, Dennis Berend, in response to a Newsday request for comment, said, “We don’t comment on information from unnamed and, at best, obscure sources.”

Why the virus turned up in Cuba has been a mystery to animal investigators ever since the outbreak. Informed speculation assumed that the virus entered Cuba either in garbage from a commercial airliner or in sausages brought in by merchant seamen.

However, on the basis of numerous interviews over four months with U.S. intelligence sources, Cuban exiles and scientists concerning the outbreak — which occurred two years after then-President Nixon had banned the use of offensive chemical and biological warfare — Newsday was able to piece together this account of events leading up to the outbreak.

The U.S. intelligence source said that early in 1971 he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked container at Ft. Gulick, an Army base in the Panama Canal Zone. The CIA also operates a paramilitary training center for career personnel and mercenaries at Ft. Gulick.

The source said he was given instructions to turn the container with the virus over to members of an anti-Castro group.

The container then was given to a person in the Canal Zone, who took it by boat and turned it over to persons aboard a fishing trawler off the Panamanian coast. The source said the substance was not identified to him until months after the outbreak in Cuba. He would not elaborate further.

Another man involved in the operation, a Cuban exile who asked not to be identified, said he was on the trawler when the virus was put aboard at a rendezvous point off Bocas del Toro, Panama. He said the trawler carried the virus to Navassa Island, a tiny, deserted, U.S.-owned island between Jamaica and Haiti. From there, after the trawler made a brief stopover, the container was taken to Cuba and given to other operatives on the southern coast near the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in late March, according to the source on the trawler. The base is 100 miles due north of

The source on the trawler, who had been trained by the CIA and had carried out previous missions for the agency, said he saw no CIA officials aboard the boat that delivered the virus to the trawler off Panama, but added: “We were well paid for this and Cuban exile groups don’t have that kind of money . . .”

He said he was revealing the information because he is a member of an exile group being investigated by the United States in connection with terrorist activity in Florida. His account was confirmed by another intelligence source in Miami. The source said he had no proof that the operation was approved by CIA officials in Washington, but added: “In a case like this, though, they would always give them (CIA officials in Washington) plausible deniability.”

The investigation referred to by the operative on the trawler involves a federal inquiry into terrorist acts allegedly carried out by Cuban exiles. Those include bombings and assassination attempts in the United States and Venezuela. Trained originally by the CIA for operations against Cuba, the exiles have become more restive as they view what they believe to be an increasing move toward rapprochement between Fidel Castro and the United States.



CIA Knew Where Eichmann Was Hiding, Documents Show (NYT 6/7/2006)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 25/05/2012

The Central Intelligence Agency took no action after learning the pseudonym and whereabouts of the fugitive Holocaust administrator Adolf Eichmann in 1958, according to C.I.A. documents released Tuesday that shed new light on the spy agency’s use of former Nazis as informants after World War II.

The C.I.A. was told by West German intelligence that Eichmann was living in Argentina under the name Clemens — a slight variation on his actual alias, Ricardo Klement — but did not share the information with Israel, which had been hunting for him for years, according to Timothy Naftali, a historian who examined the documents.

Two years later, Israeli agents abducted Eichmann in Argentina and flew him to Israel, where he was tried and executed in 1962. The Eichmann papers are among 27,000 newly declassified pages released by the C.I.A. to the National Archives under Congressional pressure to make public files about former officials of Hitler’s regime later used as American agents.

The material reinforces the view that most former Nazis gave American intelligence little of value and in some cases proved to be damaging double agents for the Soviet K.G.B., according to historians and members of the government panel that has worked to open the long-secret files.

Elizabeth Holtzman, a former congresswoman from New York and member of the panel, the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, said the documents showed that the C.I.A “failed to lift a finger” to hunt Eichmann and “force us to confront not only the moral harm but the practical harm” of relying on intelligence from ex-Nazis.

The United States government, preoccupied with the cold war, had no policy at the time of pursuing Nazi war criminals. The records also show that American intelligence officials protected many former Nazis for their perceived value in combating the Soviet threat.

But Ms. Holtzman, speaking at a news briefing at the National Archives on Tuesday, said information from the former Nazis was often tainted both by their “personal agendas” and their vulnerability to blackmail. “Using bad people can have very bad consequences,” Ms. Holtzman said.

She and other group members suggested that the findings should be a cautionary tale for intelligence agencies today. As head of the Gestapo’s Jewish affairs office during the war, Eichmann put into effect the policy of extermination of European Jewry, promoting the use of gas chambers and having a hand in the murder of millions of Jews.

Captured by the United States Army at the end of the war, he gave a false name and went unrecognized, hiding in Germany and Italy before fleeing to Argentina in 1950. Israeli agents hunting for Eichmann came to suspect that he was in Argentina but did not know his alias. They temporarily abandoned their search around the time, in March 1958, that West German intelligence told the C.I.A. that Eichmann had been living in Argentina as Clemens, said Mr. Naftali, of the University of Virginia.

The West German government was wary of exposing Eichmann because officials feared what he might reveal about such figures as Hans Globke, a former Nazi government official then serving as a top national security adviser to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Mr. Naftali said.

In 1960, also at the request of West Germany, the C.I.A. persuaded Life magazine, which had purchased Eichmann’s memoir from his family, to delete a reference to Mr. Globke before publication, the documents show.

Ironically, in view of the information the C.I.A. received in 1958, documents previously released by the C.I.A. showed that it was surprised in May 1960 when the Israelis captured Eichmann. Cables from the time show that Allen Dulles, the C.I.A. director, demanded that officers find out more about the capture.

Since Congress passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in 1998, the Interagency Working Group has worked to declassify more than eight million pages of documents. Norman J. W. Goda, an Ohio University historian who reviewed the C.I.A. material, said it showed in greater detail than previously known how the K.G.B. aggressively recruited former Nazi intelligence officers after the war.

In particular, he said, the documents fill in the story of the “catastrophic” Soviet penetration of the Gehlen Organization, the postwar West German intelligence service sponsored by the United States Army and then the C.I.A. Mr. Goda described the case of Heinz Felfe, a former SS officer who was bitter over the Allied firebombing of his native city, Dresden, and secretly worked for the K.G.B.

Mr. Felfe rose in the Gehlen Organization to oversee counterintelligence, a Soviet agent placed in charge of combating Soviet espionage. The C.I.A. shared much sensitive information with Mr. Felfe, Mr. Goda found. A newly released 1963 C.I.A. damage assessment, written after Mr. Felfe was arrested as a Soviet agent in 1961, found that he had exposed “over 100 C.I.A. staffers” and caused many eavesdropping operations to end with “complete failure or a worthless product.”

The documents also provide new information about the case of Tscherim Soobzokov, a former SS officer who was the subject of a much-publicized deportation case in 1979 when he was living as an American citizen in Paterson, N.J. He was charged with having falsified his immigration application to conceal his SS service, which ordinarily would have barred his entry.

But the charge was dropped when a C.I.A. document turned up showing that he had disclosed his SS membership. The newly declassified records show that he was employed by the C.I.A. from 1952 to 1959 despite “clear evidence of a war crimes record,” said another historian at the briefing, Richard Breitman of American University.

Because it valued Mr. Soobzokov for his language skills and ties to fellow ethnic Circassians living in the Soviet Union, the C.I.A. deliberately hid details of his Nazi record from the Immigration and Naturalization Service after he moved to the United States in 1955, Mr. Breitman said. But Mr. Soobzokov ultimately did not escape his past. He died in 1985 after a pipe bomb exploded outside his house. The case has never been solved.


House Panel Told of Four Shots at #Kennedy (NYT 22/12/1978 Pg A16) pdf file

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 23/05/2012


According to Mae Brussell, the LA Times and SF Chronicle made this a front page story, but the NYT, in typical fashion, buried it on A16.

NYT’s Editorial Page Admits Many US #Police are Poorly Trained and Supervised

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 11/05/2012

Mere Tinkering With a Bad Program

The Obama administration announced last month plans to repair Secure Communities, the program that compels state and local police to join its wide and expanding hunt for illegal immigrants. From now on, when illegal immigrants are stopped for traffic violations by local police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will consider detaining and deporting them only after they have been convicted, not before.

In theory, this minor policy shift could reduce the number of people arrested on a pretext and held for deportation. But that’s unlikely. And it doesn’t fix the fundamental flaws in a discredited program.

The administration has faced fierce criticism from law-enforcement officials and immigrant advocates for ensnaring far too many minor offenders and noncriminals as it has rapidly expanded Secure Communities and ramped up deportations to a record pace of 400,000 a year. It contends that most are criminals, though that still includes many minor offenders.

Last June, the leader of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, issued memos directing officials to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” — to refrain from pursuing people who pose no threat to public safety or national security. To clear up clogged immigration courts, the administration announced in November that it would review the backlog of about 300,000 pending deportation cases to see if discretion could apply to low-priority cases there as well. But its promises have not led to any significant change. As of last month, ICE had reviewed nearly 228,000 cases and closed only about 3,000 of them.

That’s the problem with “discretion” and Secure Communities — as long as the government outsources the initial decision on whom to stop and pull over to local police officers, many of them poorly trained and supervised, the danger of harassment continues. Trust is eroded in immigrant communities when people are too fearful to report crimes and cooperate with the police. That flaw is not going to be fixed by tweaking the detention policy.

It’s telling that the policy change on traffic offenses came just two days after the oral argument in the Supreme Court on Arizona’s abusive immigration law. Paul Clement, the attorney arguing for Arizona, aptly pointed out a contradiction in the Obama administration’s challenge to the law: “The federal government doesn’t like this statute, but they are very proud of their Secure Communities program.” The administration is trying to have it both ways, attacking local crackdowns on defenseless immigrants while entangling state and local police in the same cruel mission.