31 July 2015

The Internal War and its Casualties


The arms dealer Soghanalian represents yet another example of the house cleaning or board clearing that took place as the Cold War ended. The US began to break off old ties and alliances and re-orient for a new historical epoch, an American Century it was hoped. There were many casualties and betrayals. The 1998 film Ronin and its allusion to the story of the 47 master-less samurai captures a little bit of this mood, especially in the circles inhabited by the likes of Soghanalian.

Sarkis Soghanalian was like one of the Ronin. He had worked extensively with the United States and done a lot of their dirty work only to be later betrayed by them and left master-less.

But there's another lesson here and one that few people understand. The broad group with connections to the CIA which functions as something like the Praetorian Guard is a government within the government. Like the Mafia they have elements of their enterprise which are above board and legitimate and yet they also engage in many pursuits which are hidden from congressional oversight, some hidden from the White House and some of which are wholly illegal by any official standard.

In the empire of secrets there are countless casualties, people used and thrown away who cannot speak. Their silence is often the only thing keeping them alive. Some are bought off and some are threatened. Some are locked away and forgotten.

Soghanalian like Victor Bout are men with secrets. If they speak out, they will die. But they are also subject to humiliating manipulations and betrayals. Elements of the US government come after them, the very government which they had been working with and supporting. How can this be?

One of the CIA's greatest foes is the FBI. The public focused on the lack of intelligence collation in the wake of 9/11 and yet it's not merely a case of bureaucracies not sharing data in order to protect their own turf.

The subsequent creation of the DNI bureaucracy has by no means eliminated this problem. Instead it has magnified and added yet another dimension to an already complex struggle.

It's much deeper than that. The CIA is quite literally trying to hide much of what it knows and does from the FBI and now aspects of the DNI as well. Sure they have to work together on many joint projects and task forces. Their fields overlap too much and it's unavoidable but at the same time they don't trust each other and have more than once worked against each other, even in the field.

The CIA views itself as the entity which has the true knowledge. The CIA is inherently anti-democratic. Democracy is a dream and illusion for the common people that doesn't work in the real world. You can have your elections and debates. You can have your media. We know what's really going on and we're going to do whatever we have to protect Project America.

The FBI wields it power through arrests, prosecutions and convictions and through garnering the power to investigate. It wants information that allows it to track and investigate, to police. Its emphasis, objectives and goals are quite different from the CIA and often clash with it. They want the law followed and its use maximized. They want domestic power and the ability to identify and target those they identify as threats. The CIA believes the law is for the other people and that they are above it.

This is not to make it sound like the FBI is somehow a more honourable or moral organization. Not for a moment. It is just as guilty of abuse of power and especially under Hoover was nothing less than a criminal organization. It is frightening to contemplate what the FBI would do if they were allowed to operate without restraint.

The CIA breaks the law on a regular basis and funds itself through a host of illegal operations which it works very diligently to keep hidden. Occasionally one of these agents is caught, exposed or sacrificed. Soghanalian was betrayed but largely delivered from severe punishment. A few secret meetings and a phone call or two took care of that. The prosecutor gets to keep the feather in his cap, but in the end the asset is assuaged so he'll keep his mouth shut.

Victor Bout wasn't so fortunate and I still expect at some point Russia will make a move to retrieve him from US custody. Originally I thought Snowden might be Putin's ticket but when I said it the magnitude of Snowden and his revelations was not yet apparent. His story was obviously of consequence but it took some time for the full import to be realized... if it has even yet.

There are many fascinating and intriguing if not evil figures floating about with stories to tell, but few seem interesting in hearing them. The implications are perhaps too disturbing. There are stories of geo-political betrayal, re-written history and of personal agents who can't really tell the full tale. It's too dangerous and there's little reward to reap because most people won't believe them anyway.

But these stories reveal very clearly just what a joke and deception the mainstream media represents. I sometimes wonder if they're insecure or complete megalomaniacs as I watch the self-congratulatory and accolading adverts on their channels.