Rob Urie: The CIA and the Decline of the American Empire

Yves here. The reverberations continu from the clearly-planted New York Times article on what were likely only some of the CIA operations in Ukraine. Mind you, Russia probably knew about all of it and more. But the piece did make clear that the CIA was already well ensconced before the 2014 Maidan coup.

Rob Urie uses that story as his point of departure. Urie argues that the CIA is not merely a secret army for the President but is now in charge of US foreign policy. Urie is far from alone in that view. Scott Ritter, in his latest Judge Napolitano talk, describes how the CIA from its origins was set up to run secret foreign policy (see starting at 14:30).

 By Rob Urie, author of Zen Economics, artist, and musician who publishes The Journal of Belligerent Pontification on Substack

‘For Many Ukrainians, It’s Been a 10-Year War, Not a 2-Year One’ headline, The New York Times.

While the Washington Post has long been considered the mouthpiece of the CIA, the New York Times has been more effective at carrying water for it in recent years. The recent longish Times article entitled The Spy War: How the C.I.A. Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin contains  recitation of CIA-friendly talking points that portrays it as indispensable to ‘our’ ability to commit pointless, petty atrocities against Russia as the US  sacrifices more Ukrainians in its misguided war. Missing from the piece is any conceivable reason for the US to continue the war.

The oft ascribed motive (and here) for the CIA’s existence is to act as the US President’s secret army abroad. The wisdom of this arrangement has been debated over the years. Former US President Harry Truman, who oversaw the founding of the CIA from its predecessor, the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), later regretted the decision and argued that the CIA should be brought to heel. Later, the Cold War presented cover for the CIA to act badly under the cover of national defense.

In Stephen Kinzer’s book, All the Shah’s Men,  the CIA paid people to pretend to be communists so as to convey the fiction that the CIA’s effort was about ‘fighting communism’ rather than stealing Iran’s oil. Similarly, in the US coup that ousted Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz for daring to raise the minimum wage paid by foreign-owned industries in Guatemala, also featured fake communists intended to convince the American press that the CIA was fighting for freedom and democracy rather than to steal wages from poor people for the benefit of rich Americans.

Together, these imply that fake communists had been more effectively demonized by Federal agencies than other available out groups because of the threat they didn’t pose to American capital. Recall, in 1919 Woodrow Wilson sent the American Expeditionary Force to join the Brits, French, and Japanese in trying to reverse the Russian Revolution. Later, through the Five Eyes Alliance, ‘the West’ spent the post-War era attacking the Soviets while alleging that they were responding to political violence that they (Five Eyes) started.

Oddly, given recent history, the claim that the CIA is the President’s secret army still appears to be the received wisdom in Washington and New York. This is odd because while the CIA appears to be acting as Joe Biden’s secret army in Ukraine and Israel, it went to war with (the duly elected President of the US) Donald Trump for his entire four years in office. While Mr. Trump played the victim of the US intelligence agencies to perfection, he didn’t do what many normal humans would have done in his circumstance— clear out the top few levels of management at CIA, the FBI, and NSA and see where this leaves ‘us.’

Implied is a reversal of political causality whose proof can only be deduced. Is Biden directing the CIA, or is the CIA directing Biden? For instance, while Biden was Barack Obama’s point-man in Ukraine before, during, and after the US-led coup there in 2014, Mr. Obama was publicly arguing that Ukraine was of no strategic value to the US. With Donald Trump following Mr. Obama as President, the CIA likely saw its 2014 coup in Ukraine going to waste. This interpretation sheds a different light on the Hunter Biden laptop fraud perpetrated by 51 current and former CIA employees.

(FBI informant Alexander Smirnov has been convicted of nothing related to the new charges of ‘Russian interference.’ As was proved with Russiagate, charges are easy to make, difficult to prove. No one— not a single person, was convicted on the now antique charges of Russian collusion. Those who were convicted were convicted on process charges unrelated to the collusion charges. This use of the law as a political weapon is called lawfare).

The view in this piece is that Donald Trump was elected in 2016 because Barack Obama threw several trillion dollars at the malefactors on Wall Street who blew up the global economy while he pissed on the unemployed, the foreclosed upon, and every working person in the US. In so doing, an income and wealth chasm was rebuilt between the public welfare recipients who run Wall Street and Big Tech and the former industrial workers whose jobs were sent abroad as the final solution to the ‘problem’ of organized labor.

With the current panic in the US over the rise of the BRICS (China and Russia), the same politicians and economists who thought it wise in 1995 to gut the industrial base with NAFTA are now busy launching WWIII. These people never learn from their mistakes. For instance, it apparently never occurred to them that outsourcing military production might come back to bite when geopolitical tensions inevitably flared again. Likewise, just-in-time production and inventory management produced economic brittleness / fragility that created problems when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Biden was a known quantity when he was appointed by Barack Obama to be President in 2020. The CIA, acting in league with the FBI, had spent prior years softening up the American public with lies about US foreign policy, lies about American history, lies about Donald Trump and his supporters, lies about their own roles in rigging American elections, lies about the American-led coup in Ukraine, lies about Russian military ambitions, and lies about US plans for the destruction of Ukraine. To be clear, these American agencies weren’t lying to the Russians. They were / are lying to the only people who believe their bullshit— Americans.

So, where is this going? With the CIA’s and FBI’s undermining of the elected President’s (Trump) political agenda and its open efforts to rig the 2020 election in favor of his opponent (Biden), it certainly appears that the CIA is now running the US. Biden’s foreign policy team—Antony Blinken, Jake Sillivan, and Victoria Nuland emerged from the Clintonite death cult buried deep within the bowels of the American foreign policy establishment, That they appear to be as uninformed and arrogant as their policy outcomes to date suggest they are is only a surprise inside Washington and New York.

However, this is at best a partial explanation. What is surprising about US foreign policy is how ignorant of world history, US history, basic diplomacy, military tactics, economic relations, and basic human decency the American political leadership is. It’s almost as if the answer to every foreign policy conundrum of the last century has been to bomb civilian populations, kill a whole lot of people, and then pretend it never happened. Vietnam? Check. Nicaragua? Check. Syria? Check. Iraq? Check. Ukraine? How can the body counts be hidden from beleaguered, clueless, citizens so effectively?

Some recent history: the US launched a war against Russia when it (the US) invaded Ukraine in an unprovoked coupthere in 2014 (see here, here, here) and ousted its elected government. The Russians had taken issue with the US / NATO surrounding it with NATO-allied states (maps below). Years earlier, as Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson, Mr. Putin had approached former US President Bill Clinton about Russia joining NATO. Mr. Clinton ‘spoke with his people’ before telling Mr. Putin no to joining NATO as he reneged on George H.W. Bush’ s promise to keep NATO away from Russia’s border.

A bit of additional history is needed here. The USSR was dissolved in 1991 to be replaced by non-communist Russia surrounded by former Soviet states. Ukraine is one such state. The political – economic reference point of post-Soviet Russia was an anachronistic form of neoliberalism. Recall, Americans had been told since at least the early twentieth century that ‘communism’ was the ideological foe of Western liberalism. Current Russian President Vladimir Putin is proudly anti-communist. But the US MIC (military-industrial complex), of which the CIA is a part, needs enemies to justify its existence.

Following the dissolution of the USSR (1991), there was discussion inside the US regarding a ‘peace dividend,’ of redirecting military spending inflated by the Cold War towards domestic purposes like schools, hospitals, and civilian infrastructure. However, the CIA had been so hemmed in by Federal budget constraints that it had inserted itself into the international narcotics trade forty years prior (link above) in apparent anticipation of just such an event. With the (Geroge H.W.) Bush recession of 1991, an election year, the peace dividend was rescinded.

Maps: the phrase ‘NATO expansion’ is an abstract way of stating the US policy of surrounding Russia with hostile forces by which its people will live in perpetual fear of nuclear Armageddon being launched mere minutes from major Russian cities. The not-usefulness of threatening an opposing nuclear power with nuclear annihilation while leaving it only minutes to decide whether or not to launch a counterattack virtually guarantees an accidental launch. The American architects of this scheme would do well to study the history of prior nuclear non-proliferation pacts to understand the illogic of doing this. Source: CNBC.

While this is well-trodden territory for the few who have been paying attention to the details of the US war against Russia, it is completely unknown to American Democrats, whose party Mr. Biden nominally leads. With Biden having claimed for the two years since February 24, 2022 that the Russian move into Ukraine was ‘unprovoked,’ the Russians had made it clear over the prior thirty-one years that continuing to expand NATO to Russia’s border was a provocation. Biden apparently depended on the fact that the US ranks 125th in adult literacy to offer up  ‘unprovoked’ as the veil placed between the truth and his supporters.

In terms of his political acumen, Biden was recently let-off-the-hook on felony charges related to the classified documents that he stole when he was Vice President. Federal agents decided against charging him based on Biden’s mental incompetence. The clever Biden immediately asserted that he was plenty competent to be charged. Readers who imagine this to be evidence of cognitive decline needed to have been there when Mr. Biden was at the peak of his game. While he has long been skilled at lying to his constituents, his inability to separate truth from fiction is as old as he is.

The question of why Barack Obama and the CIA appointed Biden to be President in 2020, given his tenuous relationship with ‘our’ shared reality, his long history of not just supporting every bad idea that is run through Washington, but his proposing most of them (see here, here, here), and his apparent ignorance of world history, American history, basic diplomacy, healthcare economics (ACA), industrial policy, and basic canine etiquette, would be a mystery if it were one. Those angry about the US genocide in Gaza need to understand that his willingness to slaughter millions of innocents in US wars is why he was appointed to be President.

(The low caliber of American politicians comes through control of the ballot box exercised by the political parties. While fewer than half of Americans believed the US to be ‘a democracy’ in surveys a year or two back, in one newer survey this number is now about one-quarter. While initial blame for this was explained away by citing TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), Joe Biden has now been President for three-plus years, and it continues to drop. During this time, American liberals have asserted that the CIA and FBI are ‘saving’ democracy. Apparently, the other 75%+ of the US disagrees.

The implausibility of assertions that the US is ‘supporting’ Ukraine by provoking Russia into killing and / or dispersing its citizens and leveling its industrial infrastructure would be bizarre without the accompanying propaganda and censorship campaigns. In dozens of conversations that have taken place around the US, American liberals have stated straightforwardly to yours truly that they simply avoid facts— such as those regarding the actual history of US actions in Ukraine prior to 2022, because they don’t want to sully the purity of their ignorance. This is not a mischaracterization. Most were friendly when saying it, and some are friends.

It took the US-led genocide now underway in Gaza to shock American liberals into confronting the consequences of their politics. In the US, it was the youth vote— citizens who were born too late to have experienced the neoliberal, neoconservative, ‘revolution’ of 1973 – present through the serial forever wars that were launched. To date, Joe Biden has only slaughtered around 600,000 – 800,000 human beings in Ukraine and Gaza. But he helped George W. Bush murder another million in Iraq. While all leaders of large states engage in political violence, Mr. Biden’s wars-of-choice in Iraq, Ukraine, and Gaza exist in a category apart.

For instance, those horrified by the slaughter in Gaza may wish to look into the siege of Falluja (Iraq). Unlike the Soviet heroes of the Battles of Leningrad and Stalingrad, the American willingness to use outlawed chemical weapons(white phosphorous) against the civilian population of Falluja annihilated the entire population. This happened in real time, on cable news, with full disclosure by American reporters that the US was using illegal chemical weapons to slaughter a captive population during the American occupation of Iraq. While cover-up lies quickly followed, this was a time before total state control of the ‘free press’ had been sealed.

At any rate, Joe Biden was brought to power in 2020 to propel the CIA’s war against Russia forward. Recall, Donald Trump sent the US foreign policy establishment into conniptions when he (publicly, openly) asked the Russians to share emails that had been leaked from Hillary Clinton’s (illegal) home-based server after she was Secretary of State. The CIA ran with it, asserting from about that point forward that DNC emails had been hacked by Russian intelligence when they had been leaked.

To the point made by journalist Aaron Mate, neither Clinton’s people (CrowdStrike) nor anyone else has demonstrated that the emails were hacked. It was understood before Donald Trump won election in 2016 that the emails had been leaked by a DNC insider. The bet here is that the CIA saw an opportunity to move its war against Russia forward using Trump’s impolitic joke against him. As I heard the comment, Trump didn’t assert that the Russians obtained the emails themselves. He was asking for help obtaining them, but not really. It was a joke.

As horrific as the US / Israeli genocide in Gaza and war in Ukraine are, anyone paying attention to US foreign policy since WWII would know that this is what America does. To understand the tactic, Benjamin Netanyahu was showing maps of Israel cleared of Palestinians in the weeks before October 7th. While in office, the George W. Bush administration held international critics of Israel at bay through several iterations of Israel ‘mowing the grass,’ meaning bombing Gaza with the express purpose of murdering as many Palestinian civilians as they could.

To those who voted for Biden without knowing this history, perhaps you want to educate yourselves before voting again. Understand, horrific slaughters being carried out by the US were on American television for most of the eight years that George W. Bush was in office. The Collateral Murder video, the release of which is a major reason why Julian Assange is being persecuted by the US / Brits, offends the powers-that-be because it exposes the truth of the war against Iraq, and not because it is a lie.

A tangential question is why liberal Democrats are the target audience for state propaganda? Beginning with the (George W.) Bush / Biden / Clinton war in Iraq, the PMC saw its role as functionaries for the oligarchs develop. ‘Liberal hawks’ in New York suddenly had the power to sit in comfortable chairs while calling for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people they had never met. And they were allowed the fantasy that the Bushies cared what they thought. Selling American wars and state-sponsored lies once again became the business of the bourgeois press.

It was telling at the time that these people, bourgeois Democrats who spend their days kowtowing to power, or more specifically, laboring for it, would serve as a reactionary force for their lords and masters in the American oligarchy. With finance and technology directly and indirectly funded by the American state, the jobs that pay are in the service of the war and surveillance sectors. The negative value that they provide as advocates for mass destruction is evidence of the deeper and true nature of capitalist imperialism.

Further, with the US recently funding the salaries, pensions, and healthcare of Ukrainians and Israelis, the deeper nature of capitalist democracy begins to look quite different from its explanations. As stated above, the US ranks 125thinternationally in adult literacy. The US healthcare system is the most expensive in the rich world by a large measure, with the worst outcomes in the rich world by a large measure. Only a rapidly shrinking sliver of the US believes that the country is ‘a democracy.’  The answer from officialdom: find a bunch of CNN-looking newsreaders skilled at making declarative statements and set them to lying for officialdom on the air.

Map: statistics can be informative or misleading, sometimes both. The concentration of low life expectancy (at birth) in the ‘Black belt’ of former slave states illustrates an American conundrum. A national healthcare system such as those that exist in civilized nations could go far in bringing healthcare to all Americans. Neither capitalism nor weak efforts at reform like the ACA (Obamacare) have produced such a system. That Barack Obama didn’t understand that the residual Tory governments that rule the American South would preclude Medicaid expansion for political reasons is why he shouldn’t have left it to their discretion if he actually cared about healthcare outcomes. Source: CDC.

The youth who are in the streets protesting the US / Israeli genocide in Gaza are on the right side of history. But where have they been for the last two years with respect to the US war against Russia in Ukraine? As will be clear in retrospect, the US and Israel are clearing Gaza of Palestinians to replace them with Zionist settlers. This is called ethnic cleansing when other nations do it. American youth have correctly concluded that everything Biden says regarding Israel / Palestine is a lie. Why then are similar lies regarding the US war against Russia still being taken at face value?

For those who may have missed it, Russiagate is being revived in time for the 2024 election. Implied is that Democrats can’t win an election without help from the CIA and FBI. Understand the context: after abandoning his campaign promises to raise the minimum wage and ‘support labor,’ Joe Biden funded the salaries and pensions of Ukraine for two years while goading the Russians into killing at least half-a-million Ukrainian conscripts. The American politicians bragging that Ukrainian youth are dying for their benefit best resemble the German industrialists bragging about the benefit they received from Concentration Camp labor supplied it by the Third Reich.

The reason why Russiagate is being revived by the CIA is that it ‘worked’ in the senses of 1) producing serial accusations that halted alternate discourses until they are disproved, 2) the  jobs of the urban bourgeois are a function of their fealty to power 3) the post-9/11 surveillance state has continued to be built out with the apparent purpose of censoring politically inconvenient views, 4) the political establishment has lost its credibility, and with it, its political legitimacy, 5) there is no chance that the US will prevail in its stated military ambitions in Ukraine, and 6) the American genocide in Gaza makes the US a rogue nation by international standards.

Looking forward, Americans face a tricky proposition with any establishment politician. The questions are: who are they lying for, and who are they lying to? While Russiagate consumed a plurality, a majority even, of Trump’s political agenda and the West’s discursive space for four years, it has been systematically disproved (and here, here, here, here). However, Russiagate proponents obviously see a receptive audience for any nonsense they can fabricate. Remember when Democrats were calling for nuking Russia over $65K of internet memes that ran after the 2020 election? The word is i-n-s-a-n-e. Welcome to an empire in free-fall.

What should be clear at this point is that the CIA isn’t the ‘the President’s secret army.’ If it were, it would have been Donald Trump’s secret army in his first term. That it went to war with Trump suggests that it is a political actor that is advancing the interests of powerful insiders, not those of the President, or even those of the US. In a human sense, the CIA is a large bureaucracy that is being pulled in multiple directions at any one time. As people, I’ve liked the CIA folks I’ve met. Some— those who did field work in Reagan’s Dirty War in Central America in the 1980s, were the most broken people I’ve ever met. (I publicly opposed Reagan’s war in real time).

The apparent working hypothesis of officialdom, that domestic political repression will revive the political and economic fortunes of the US, reeks of ignorance and desperation. George W. Bush’s war against Iraq demonstrated to the world that the American ruling class was / is reckless and murderous to the point of being unhinged. The Wall Street debacle of 2007 – 2009 demonstrated that finance capitalism is a mechanism for putting all of a society’s resources into its least capable hands. The inability to rethink these, followed by the studied implausibility of Russiagate and the open insertion of the CIA into domestic politics, looks er, um, unlikely to yield constructive results.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Came across a video today that had an interesting revelation. In 2016 the Russians decided that they would prefer to deal with Hillary than Trump as President. They knew Hillary and had done deals with her *cough*One Uranium*cough* and knew her husband very well. Trump was too erratic for their liking. But the CIA under John Brennan flipped that piece of intelligence and tried to make out that Putin wanted Trump to be President as he had some sort of control over Trump. That really stoked the fires of Russiagate for years and the whole thing was a lie from the get-go.

    1. AG

      I did not follow “Russiagate”-events then (fortunately in Germany they never really were enthusiastic about “Russiagate”). But apparently as Taibbi says by 2017 newspaper articles reported that CIA had by then stated that the RUs would prefer Hillary over Donald. As you say, they totally turned it upside down.

      Substack´s highly recommended “FOIA Undead” in a new entry on this subject, reports that finally the “Committee on Weaponization” (what a name…) wrote a letter to the CIA on the 11th where they demand certain records until the 25th, among others a binder on “Russiagate” which apparently was declassified by Trump in the very last days of his term and the content of which appears to be yet unknown.

  2. Carolinian

    The CIA is the Blob (Eastern establishment, MIC etc) secret army and it always was. Truman was just the useful idiot they convinced to go along.

    The agenda always coincides with that of the wealthy who of course hate communism, like to grab foreign resources and need American international power for reasons that Michael Hudson has described. Trump may not be respectable establishment but he and his family are definitely wealthy and so he didn’t rock the boat too much and allowed Pompeo to wreck his foreign policy. Of course the NYT is a pillar of said establishment and loves the CIA in secret or, lately, more overtly. It’s a small club and we ain’t in it and trying to take it down will like trying to Occupy Wall Street with the same outcome.

    1. digi_owl

      Best i can tell, CIA, like OSS during WW2, is the play pen for the bored sons of the upper crust seeing more excitement than some ivy league fraternity.

    2. jsn

      After reading “The Devil’s Chessboard” and “Family of Secrets”, I assumed Dulles and the Bushes imagined themselves in service to an idea of capitalist aristocracy. Now, enjoying “Palo Alto”, I discover Herbert Hoover, who had a period of his formative career expropriated by the Bolsheviks, lived until 1964 in one tower of the Waldorf Astoria, waving to Douglas MacArthur across the way in the other tower.

      When Truman signed the CIA into law, at that point unelected having succeeded FDR, Vannevar Bush at MIT and Hoover’s proxies at Stanford were actively privatizing the national patrimony of war time R&D, deliberately constructing the MIC in a private capitalist effort that had been running abroad parallel to the US under FDRs New Deal and seeing the Bolsheviks as the real enemy, with Hitler an embarrassment of their shared euginicist predilections. V Bush, like the Dulles brothers and Prescott Bush saw Hoover as the only living elected President and the de facto Capitalist one, Truman having been tarred “socialist” by his service to FDR.

      By the time Ike got elected, CIA, State and the Pentagon were already pursuing the joint interests of Wall Street and military capitalism in a discretely integrated system run through private channels with Bert Hoover and David Rockefeller quietly calling the shots. By the time these “luminaries” faded, Sr Bush was as close to running the operation as anyone. He tried to fob it off on the Wizard of Kalorama, who while “a (CIA) family man” hasn’t really proven up to the task, leaving the 7 retired CIA Directors at The Atlantic Council to try to hold it all together in the accelerating agnotology of the incipient AI era.

      1. Frank Avellone

        And remember that Truman —- a singularly unimpressive intellect —- was installed to get rid of the real deal socialist, FDR’s VP Henry Wallace. Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard makes clear that the CIA has its own agenda that occasionally dovetails with that of a certain presidents. With the possible exception of a brief period in the 1970s (Church Commission), I see little evidence that the “intelligence” services/security apparatus are responsive and responsible to anyone other than global oligarchs. Americans assume, even reluctantly, that clandestine activities are a necessity. Amidst all of the failures of the security services since WWII, can you name one or two successes that might justify continued funding of these rogues? By “success,” I mean a result that enhances human well-being that could not have been accomplished through public processes of diplomacy, shaming, public exposure, etc.

      2. Kouros

        Cynthia Chung at rising tide foundation as written extensively about the Wall Street origins of CIA.

        Also, Paul Keating, the former PM of Australia, in his last two annual meetings with the press has spilled the beans out that at least in the Anglosphere, the foreign policy is run by the spooks, not by the politicians. The disdain this guy has for the secret agencies is to behold, and the mockery he throws at them is priceless:

    3. Oh

      Trump may not be respectable establishment but he and his family are definitely wealthy and so he didn’t rock the boat too much and allowed Pompeo to wreck his foreign policy.

      My theory is that after Trump had derided the CIA at Langley he realized that they were quite powerful and he tried to make amends by appointing Pompeo and others but it didn’t help him.

  3. Camelotkidd

    “However, Russiagate proponents obviously see a receptive audience for any nonsense they can fabricate. Remember when Democrats were calling for nuking Russia over $65K of internet memes that ran after the 2020 election? The word is i-n-s-a-n-e. Welcome to an empire in free-fall.”

    Thanks to TDS all of the liberals I know are insane, and some readily admit it, but here we are.
    The 2024 presidential election promises to be one for the ages.

  4. Feral Finster

    “Rob Urie uses that story as his point of departure. Urie argues that the CIA is not merely a secret army for the President but is now in charge of US foreign policy. Urie is far from alone in that view.”

    This has been obvious for a long time now. Did not Chuck Schumer crow about how the intelligence agencies have “seven ways until Sunday” to punish politicians who dare cross them?

    “For those who may have missed it, Russiagate is being revived in time for the 2024 election. Implied is that Democrats can’t win an election without help from the CIA and FBI.”

    From the point of view of the spooks, this dependency is a feature, not a bug, as long as it works and they get the desired election results.

    1. digi_owl

      One of their assets in that regard was perhaps disposed off in recent years as he was becoming too flagrant in his behavior.

      1. Feral Finster

        For that matter, see here:

        1. digi_owl

          Ah yes, Gladio. Norway had a weird incident back in 1978 that started with the police investigating a bootlegging allegation.

          but during that they found a hidden cache of weapons and radio equipment that the person claimed belonged to NATO’s Stay Behind (Gladio) network.

  5. Tom Pfotzer

    It would be so wonderful if I could refute or disagree with what Mr. Urie presents above.

    But I can’t. This is the reality that has corroded my faith and emotional support for my country – the U.S. – over the past several decades.

    The first remedy is to continue to tell ourselves the truth about ourselves, to remove the possibility of denial. Thank you Mr. Urie.

    The second remedy is engage in the slow, awkward process of moving ourselves out of engagement and participation in the stupid, and moving ourselves into the building of the new, the better, the more honorable activities that will heal us.

    Note that Mr. Urie makes the point that

    With finance and technology directly and indirectly funded by the American state, the jobs that pay are in the service of the war and surveillance sectors.

    Where I live, near the seat of the American Empire, this is decidedly the case. I could have had such an easy, comfortable, enjoyable time if I just hadn’t known “what it was all for”.

    Instead, I elected to devote myself to “building the new system”, to paraphrase Buckminster Fuller.

    For those of you who may tire of me banging on about “engendering creativity” … well, that’s the driver right there. A new system has to be created. A new culture, a new economy, a new ethos. That’s what’s missing, and therefore that’s what needs to be created.

    Sometime a few decades ago – as is often the case when societies get rich – we lost our way. We didn’t hold fast to a conception of who we wanted to be as a people, and we settled for “being comfortable”.

    Well, how “comfortable” are you feeling right now? All good?

    The way out is to acknowledge the problem, stop digging, re-set the compass heading, and then begin the long march out of the hole we’re in.

    1. MaryLand

      “The second remedy is engage in the slow, awkward process of moving ourselves out of engagement and participation in the stupid, and moving ourselves into the building of the new, the better, the more honorable activities that will heal us.”

      Strengthen local ties where possible. Try to improve your local community. I find gardening and making art are healing activities and can lead to local connections. Join local clubs or associations. Make your area a better place to live. You have to deal with personalities that might be annoying, but you can learn from the situation. Amfortas has a wealth of experience with this.

    2. juno mas

      Agreed. We do have some agency in this matter.

      Yesterday’s NC comments included a reference to David Graebers “Dawn of Everything” (published posthumously by his co-author). It’s ~500 pages. I read the last 23 pages yesterday. Societal change does occur.

      1. Vicky Cookies

        On the advice of our commentariat, I checked it out, and am devouring it. Marvelous, so far! Mentioned early on is a view of human society, and human history, as collective self-creation. That is the kind of view we need to see ourselves, together, as agents and builders of our common reality and future.

        I love how American Indian societies are described as free, associating intellectuals; totally different from the view of the free-associating ‘intellectuals’ we more often hear from. Thanks NC!

        1. Kouros

          Not all American Indian Societies. The point in the book is to reveal the diversity in the forms of political organizations, which was empowered by the ability of people to really vote with their feet.

    3. Feral Finster

      “Where I live, near the seat of the American Empire, this is decidedly the case. I could have had such an easy, comfortable, enjoyable time if I just hadn’t known “what it was all for”.

      Thank you for your service, and I say that without a hint of snark intended.

    4. Kilgore Trout

      Tom P: Just came across Kohei Saito’s book, “Slow Down, the Degrowth Manifesto”, which seems intended to offer a way to “building that new system”. Thanks due to Rob Urie for another great post, and to NC for reposting it. As ever, NC is an island of sanity in a ocean of lies and propaganda.

  6. ilsm

    The “tit” for the “tat” of “not moving NATO into Warsaw pact countries was sundering the second Yalta accord that was to ‘sunder Germany into never to be combined or industrialized (“industrialized” reneged on this very early, the reason they needed NATO at the start) occupation zones’. The 1991 deal was ended by B. Clinton and successors.

    US is doing with NATO expansion, making our selected rulers want into NATO, what US warned the people in my generation about dominoes in Southeast Asia!

    Now Putin is looking at a falling domino, felled by the subversions, within 400 miles of Moscow.

    Which agency is the pretorian guard and will the emporer please reveal xerself?

    What is “our democracy” when USA have everything going as Caligula had?

  7. zagonostra

    This article reminded me of Guido Preparata concept of “parapolitics,” a concept I’m finding more useful than “Deep State” which has seeped into popular culture including use by MSM.

    What happens on the “surface” is all part of what Preparata calls the “techno structure.” When Rob Urie says “it certainly appears that the CIA is now running the US. Biden’s foreign policy team” its because it is. The CIA is part of the techno structure and the notion that Presidents determine policy, especially foreign policy, is a fiction, a useful one, just as a “legal fiction” is useful in the court room.

    1. Michaelmas

      I dunno. Maybe I’m a tough audience. But I feel Urie’s article here starts out well and then at the point where he writes, “While this is well-trodden territory for the few who have been paying attention to the details of the US war against Russia…” it becomes boilerplate moral outrage and drops the ball.

      Because there’s significant stuff to be talked about that Urie doesn’t mention. Like —

      CIA Chief William Burns Called to Reassure Kremlin After Wagner Mutiny

      CIA Director William Burns met Chinese leaders in Beijing as Washington tries to thaw tensions

      CIA director, on secret trip to Ukraine, hears plan for war’s endgame

      C.I.A. Director Visits Israel and the Middle East Amid Israel-Hamas War

      CIA director headed abroad for Gaza hostage talks: US officials

      And so on, and on, and on. I even found an WAPO article with the hed ‘Where In the World Is CIA Chief William Burns Now?’

      So CIA boss Burns has been playing the Kissinger role in the Biden administration, absolutely openly functioning as the voice of US power and doing the major diplomacy. What does that mean? I’ve some ideas, but — beyond Burns obviously being a competent grown-up next to Blinken and Biden’s other foreign policy clowns — I don’t know.

      Maybe Urie doesn’t have insiders’ insights, just like I don’t. But, forex, in the late-stage USSR the most competent people who knew the truth about what was going on and how the USSR was trending downwards were in the KGB; so maybe in the late-stage USA, it’s the same with the people in CIA. I don’t know. But that’s something Urie might have addressed, for instance.

    1. Hickory

      Why start at the bay of pigs. American “gunboat diplomacy” in South America dates at least to the 1800s if not before.

  8. pjay

    I agree with almost all the specifics in Rob’s comprehensive discussion. But the general framing – that “the CIA” calls the shots – is misleadingly simplistic in my view. First, “the CIA” is not a monolithic entity, but a sprawling, compartmentalized bureaucracy. “The CIA” does not act as a single entity. Rather, factions and networks of individuals *within* the CIA use its reach, resources, and secrecy to carry out various agendas for various material or ideal interests. One could probably say the same for our other intelligence agencies, and to a lesser extent the Pentagon, in our massive National Security establishment. Based on what we *know* about past CIA activities and internal conflicts, including some very important ones in the 1970s, it is certainly conceivable that “the CIA” has been involved in Ukraine for decades, while also recognizing that some within that organization disagree with our dangerous policies and push back – perhaps with the occasional leak to a Seymour Hersh, for example.

    I say this because in my view, our insane foreign policy since the fall of the USSR, but especially since Bush II’s election, has been driven by a coalition of groups whose interests have converged for historical reasons and that have powerful allies in the intelligence community but are not identical with them. To further complicate things, I think that sometimes “the CIA” *is* clearly carrying out administration policy, while at other times it is acting to undermine administration plans. Coincidentally, a very useful article by Diane Johnstone at Consortium News just today discusses two of these: the material interests of massive defense contractors, and the ideological interests of the neoconservatives and their Israeli allies. As Johnstone points out, our suicidal policies cannot be explained away in simplistic Marxian terms as beneficial for “global capitalism,” because arguably they are not. Rather, they can be traced back to specific *factions* among a complex political elite that have been able to take control of our foreign policy machinery. This also suggests that cracks may appear in the Blob consensus – and perhaps institutions like the CIA in our National Security Establishment – when other factions perceive that our current direction threatens the status quo.

    Again, I agree with almost everything in Rob’s discussion. But I think it is important to try and trace the *specific* sources of these horrendous policy decisions over the decades in specific factions within “the Blob” if we are going to have any hope of understanding them.

    Here’s the Johnstone article:

    1. digi_owl

      Good point. An eternal problem with a far flung bureaucracy is that minor functionaries dream themselves kings in the absence of their superior.

    2. Tom Pfotzer


      I don’t know the factions except to know them by why they seek a place at the Deep State round-table:

      a. provide access to foreign-held resources in order to be exploited and profited-from by … someone(s). It’s those “someones” I don’t know. Clearly the oil majors are front-and-center, but there’s also other minerals extractors that are involved, and ag commodities, of course

      b. manipulate the U.S.’ foreign policy on behalf of foreign countries. Israel is the major culprit, and that manipulation has been the single most expensive, divisive, destructive “foreign entanglement” in the U.S.’ history

      c. profiteer from war. That includes the MIC and the stockholders of war-making and spy-making apparatus, and the gov’t careerists who retire into the “I” of the MIC

      d. Ideological pursuits, like the religious right. This is where a good bit of the political “cover” comes from for foreign intervention, particularly on behalf of Israel, and of course the red-bashing of the Communists, although that’s attenuated quite a bit because there so few actual communist states in existence today

      Those are the major beneficiaries of our masked, behind-the-scenes so-called “deep state”. It’s not just CIA, it’s in Ag, Defense, State, Justice, and to a lesser degree Commerce departments.

      And, of course, a good bit of the rest of our population is also in on it. Defense, intelligence, surveillance jobs … pay well. It’s currently a big part of the U.S. economy.

      ==== tangentially …

      I remember a conversation I had many years ago with a career CIA analyst. Senior guy, many decades. He retired a few years prior to our conversation. I asked him “who directs the CIA? Who’s telling them who are enemies are, and how those enemies are to be treated?”

      “Well, Congress, of course.”

      That was his answer. This was a career analyst whose policy recommendations were occasionally included in Presidential briefings. So the actual or feigned naiveté runs deep.

      Congress tells them what to do. Hmmm. I wonder what he’d say today, if I were to pose that question again. My guess is that his answer would be quite different.

      So, the truth-telling is helping, and of course the blatant, in-your-face, easily fact-checkable lying is also chipping away at the wall. Our government’s legitimacy is in shambles. That fact is clearly having an effect on the public’s willingness to play along like we used to.

    3. GramSci

      I generally agree with Diana Johnstone’s observations. In this case, however, I think she misses the narrative importance of Israel to the U.S. After WWII, the U.S. needed to be perceived as the savior of civilization. The real enemy has always been organized workers, no matter whether organized as unions, political parties, or as nation states. Unfortunately, after Hiroshima and Vietnam, the ‘savior of civilization’ fiction was hard to maintain. It has been easier to maintain the fiction that the U.S. is the New Messiah, the savior of the Jews.

      Israel is not America’s aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean; it is America’s fig leaf in the Mediterranean. It’s America’s showcase for how the US ‘stands up for the little guy’.

      1. Lefty Godot

        Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon are the ones who went all in on support for Israel, even though they seemed pained about it. I don’t think any of the previous three presidents were especially keen on it. Kennedy was not at all thrilled with the prospect of Israel getting a nuclear program started courtesy of the French. And the public may have supported “little tiny Israel” in the beginning, but from 1967 on Israel proved quite adroit at throwing its weight around and not caring whose nose got bloodied, so the fig leaf was pretty much defunct then.

        The question really does need a rational answer, what does Israel do for us? Besides infiltrate our political process, design world class spyware, and assassinate people that we don’t particularly care for, that is. The Israelis and their Christian Zionist supporters in the US keep offering up visions that don’t seem compatible with the interests of most Americans and that barely sound rational.

      2. pjay

        I don’t disagree, but I think your point is complimentary to Johnstone’s argument. The narrative serves as a significant ideological justification in the US, especially among the religious right as Tom mentions. But this source of support is congruent with, and often cynically manipulated by, both the neocon/Israel lobby and the arms merchants for their own ends. I agree though, especially in the case of Israel, that this ideological dimension is important.

    4. Skip Intro

      To me it seems that the CIA is on the more pragmatic side of the blob factions, with the real hardcore neocon policy run out of the State Dept. Traced back to the Iraq war roll out, the CIA was resistant, and had to be ‘stovepiped’ around by the Cheney’s gang. IIRC, it was under Cheney that the JSOC became the President’s real secret army. The whole Iraq war team was given a pass by Obama and adopted the Democrats finally and completely when Trump become GOP candidate. The Ukraine war has been in planning since 2012 at least, and Russiagate, and the impeachment charges against Trump all become more coherent when viewed as a response to the interruption of the rollout of the next war.

      p.s. Urie left Libya off his list.

    5. Darius

      I would add that policy and decision making are controlled by powerful but competing interests who act through the application of money, influence, and propaganda. Sometimes the CIA works for these interests. Sometimes the CIA directs these interest. But overall, a typically hyper-informative analysis from Urie.

    6. Kouros

      Considering that the CIA are the shock troops for Wall Street and that that vampire squid wants to get sucking from the whole world, the 10 years period under Yeltsin was like in the TV series, “True Blood”, when the vampires discovered the feeries location. Russian Federation was the feeries lands for the Wall Street vampires. And since Putin weened them off, forcefully, they have that sweet aftertaste in their mouths and want seconds, badly.

    7. Kilgore Trout

      I think your point builds on Michaelmas’ links about Burns’ activities as CIA head, as possibly the only relatively sane voice in the Biden WH. Is there a divergence of opinion in the CIA between at least some in the intelligence gathering part of the CIA, and the operations side that has no brake or reverse gear? In any case, we’re led by those “marching to Shibboleth”.

  9. Susan the other

    Scott Ritter yesterday and Rob Urie today. Both stating the facts bluntly and with detail. After listening to Ritter on Judge Nap, I was literally stunned as he advocated a “Night of the Long Knives” to abolish the CIA once and for all. Get them out of American politics and global political economics because all they create is harm and negative value. There’s a sense of urgency in both Ritter and Urie which is disconcerting. I’m now anticipating this is just the tip of the iceberg. And I think that the most immediate cause for this glasnost is the fact that we just lost Ukraine, are in the process of losing all our former friends in the Middle East, and we are rapidly losing our financial leverage. Not to even mention that we are desperate to secure our oil supply and this will most likely create a new war in Guyana. The harbinger of holocaust, Boris Johnson, just paid Maduro a visit.

    1. Alex Cox

      The CIA and Joint Chiefs ran their own ‘Night of the Long Knives’ back in November 1963. It’s a nice thought, but I’m not sure there’s any politician, oligarch, or group powerful enough to turn that around.

      1. Reply

        Makes you wonder if the comp package includes a blanket pardon that kicks in as people rise through the ranks. In one example, NOC, non-official cover, could have a springing mitigant or get-out-of-jail-free card. One way to borrow some complicity, and to countervail against those rogue elements. A nasty, or Real Politik, business in a world with few Scouts.

  10. CA

    April 25, 1903

    The Souls of Black Folk
    By W.E.B. Du Bois

    Of the Dawn of Freedom

    The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line,—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea. It was a phase of this problem that caused the Civil War; and however much they who marched South and North in 1861 may have fixed on the technical points, of union and local autonomy as a shibboleth, all nevertheless knew, as we know, that the question of Negro slavery was the real cause of the conflict….

    [ Simply look to the life expectancy chart and understand that the chart starkly depicts the cotton belt.  That the ravages of the cotton belt are still so evident tells us of the profound understanding of Du Bois in 1903, and tells us in this century the problem of the color line persists domestically and in our foreign relations. ]

  11. QABubba

    “That it went to war with Trump suggests that it is a political actor that is advancing the interests of powerful insiders,”
    The CIA is not the President’s private army. It is Wall Street’s private army. This is fundamental to understanding it. Therefore satchels full of cash. Back in the 50’s we overthrew Arbenz in Guatemala for United Fruit. Whenever they do something in the name of National Security, it always winds up benefiting Wall Street, not necessarily the US National Security. The MSM being owned by a small group of Wall Street billionaires gives the whole operation seamlessness.

    1. Jim Thomson

      Yes. In “The Devil’s Chessboard”, we read that Allan Dulles, who was in OSS and later ran the CIA, and his brother , John Foster Dulles, who ran the State Dept, were originally white shoe Wall Street lawyers, serving the oligarchs. And Allan hated Communists but not Nazis, from his activities in OSS during the war.

  12. David in Friday Harbor

    Urie is in fine form here, as is our Commentariat. They inspire me to break-out my roll of Reynolds Wrap (100% Made in USA from 100% foreign-sourced bauxite) and to fold myself a foil hat. The CIA isn’t run by the president, nor does it call the shots.

    The Military-Industrial Complex as morphed by the Wall Street/Private Equity monster calls the shots. It arose in its current form in the wake of the Reagan/Bush peace dividend, the Clinton dismantling of the New Deal, and the “gift” by CIA-created Al Qaeda (tr: The Database) of 9/11 and the Bush/Greenspan ZIRP-funded GWOT. Swamp-creature Jake Sullivan has given this Beast a cute re-branding as Military Keynesianism.

    The Military-Industrial Complex needs “enemies” but without “workers” and “commies” it had to create Al Qaeda and later ISIS/ISIL/Daesh out of whole cloth. When the next phase of Libyan/Syrian folly was stymied in 2013 by Putin and Lavrov’s humiliating diplomacy Euromaidan unfolded to augment the Muslims as mortal enemies against whom only no-bid unaudited blue-sky Pentagon contracts could save us.

    George Orwell wasn’t a novelist. He was an oracle.

  13. Norma J F Harrison

    Yes,Radhika Desai talked with us about that the US is no longer a hegemon, on our Sunday morning ICSS meeting about three weeks ago… and other equally useful analyses.

  14. DavidZ

    While this is well-trodden territory for the few who have been paying attention to the details of the US war against Russia, it is completely unknown to American Democrats, whose party Mr. Biden nominally leads.

    Are American Republicans suddenly the epitome of educated and well versed in American History?

    The author is quite bad and partisan to boot.

    1. Darius

      Liberals, suffering cognitive dissonance from seeing the buffoon Trump beat Hillary, the most qualified candidate in the history of the universe, fell for a CIA neocon psyop known as Russiagate. It is an article of faith among liberals that Putin is the modern day mustachioed German. Republican delusions are focused on China, instead of Russia. Democrats own the Russia delusion. Although Biden thinks he’s a tough guy on China, too.

  15. CA

    1) “While this is well-trodden territory for the few who have been paying attention to the details of the US war against Russia, it is completely unknown to American Democrats, whose party Mr. Biden nominally leads. With Biden having claimed for the two years since February 24, 2022 that the Russian move into Ukraine was ‘unprovoked,’ the Russians had made it clear over the prior thirty-one years that continuing to expand NATO to Russia’s border was a provocation…”


    A Russia Scholar’s Views

    The Ukrainian crisis, the worst and most fateful of the 21st century, is the outcome of Washington’s 20-year bipartisan policy toward post-Soviet Russia, spearheaded by NATO’s eastward expansion. I have been arguing this since the early 1990s, long before Mr. Putin appeared on the scene.

    New York, March 7, 2014

    1. CA

      Stephen Cohen was a highly prominent professor in Russian studies at Princeton and NYU for 40 years. The reason for the letter Cohen wrote to the New York Times, was that Cohen’s views on the Ukraine crisis in 2014 were ignored, though Cohen was distressingly referred to by the Times in an article on the Ukraine crisis as a “villain.”

  16. CA

    What Rob Urie is writing seems simple enough:

    The point seems to be that though there was an American-Russian agreement that NATO would not be expanded closer to Russia after 1989, in fact the agreement was broken and NATO began to be expanded closer to Russia. Also, President Bush simply cancelled a long term arms control agreement with Russia in December 2001 and began to push for missiles being moved closer to Russia.

    Georgia, under cover of the opening night of an Olympics, launched an unprovoked attack on Russian peacekeepers in Ossetia and on the Ossetians who were being protected along the Russian border in 2008. President Obama subsequently agreed to move missiles to Poland. America supported a color uprising in Ukraine, and Russians in Ukraine immediately lost rights.

    There was then every reason for a Russian government to have felt increasingly threatened.

  17. brian

    I can’t remember how long ago I saw the quote “the cia is wall street, and wall street is the cia”.
    Ask jfk about the cia being the president’s army.

  18. Gulag

    “With finance and technology directly and indirectly funded by the American state, the jobs they pay are in the service of the war and surveillance sectors…evidence of the deeper and true nature of capitalist imperialism.”

    But it might also be the case that our intelligence agencies tend to act quite often on the general principle of ideological coherence–sharing a moral framework that allows them to define social enemies and work against them both internationally and now domestically, with such an ideology managing, in some cases, to displace material interests.

    Take, for example, the idea of oppressed vs the oppressor in which all people of color tend to be viewed as inherently virtuous no matter what they do—and where proclaiming absence of agency often seems to masquerade as a strategy for gaining power as well as organizing political reality.

    In fact, I would argue that the intelligence community is in the process of becoming our chief ideological enforcer, certainly more than the military, where the Defense industry easily buys off top-ranking personnel through its revolving door.

    One has to give the intelligence agencies their due since their personnel have not been proletarianized, are largely immune from oversight, enjoy a strange type of super-legal status, and presently enjoy a unique ideological capacity to influence the political/ psychological sphere both domestically and internationally.

    1. scott

      I don’t know about the idea of the oppressed vs the oppressor. I’m more familiar with the reality, and it looks far different from what you’re describing, which seems more like a poorly conceived thought experiment. That said, I’d be curious to see examples of the inherently-virtuous gaze, ‘cuz the white gaze is out here asking people to prove they live in their own places, all kinds of nonsense—knocking on peoples’ car windows and calling the police—it’s not even pool season where we’re sure to have white people doin’ too much at the park and the swimming pool.

      This idea you speak of isn’t really something that exists. Out here in the real world, people get the opposite treatment, racist and classist from jump street, with the assumption being guilty until proven innocent, and usually not then either. If proclaiming a lack of agency (I guess whether true or not) gains some power as a result then I’d question whether it masquerades as, or actually is a strategy for doing so; and the same holds true with how effective the claim is for achieving political goals. But this all seems like a fever dream as well.

      Can’t figure if you’re making a restrained woke military comment, but that seems likely and by my count probably lands you squarely in the epistemic bubble of the more lazy and casual conspiracist.

  19. Oh

    Thank you Rob, for this excellent post. It was already clear that Obama was sent to the front of the line during the US “elections” in 2008 by the CIA. The failures of the Bush/Cheney combo such as the Iraq fiasco, the financial mess they created, etc. made the Republicans unpopular to the extent that even my dog would’ve won in 2008. A subservient dog, Obama was told to pick Biden as a VP. And in 2020, Biden once again was aided and abetted by the CIA in sidelining Sanders. Now once again the CIA is firmly in control wreaking havoc in Ukraine and Gaza soon to be followed by other wars involving China and other countries. The voters who believe the trash peddled by the two party duopoly are sinking us to a new low, not knowing that the’re bringing about their own doom.

  20. ex-PFC Chuck

    ” . . the neoliberal, neoconservative, ‘revolution’ of 1973 – . . “

    I don’t recall any specific event during that year that would pin that ‘revolution’ to it, but I was paying very little attention to politics and economics at that time. It seems to me it’s more appropriate to peg it to the beginning of Ronald Reagan’s first term of office.

  21. Iris

    It’s a food fight! Natural food vs. Frankenfood


    “Ukrainian grain should go where it belongs, to the Asian or African markets, not to Europe,” the Polish farmers’ trade union said last month.

    “On April 15th, 2023,following months of protests, the Polish government banned imports of Ukrainian agricultural goods, saying that an influx of produce from its south-eastern neighbour was pushing down local prices and threatening the livelihoods of local farmers.”

  22. stickNmud

    I would point out that OSS/CIA connections to the Ukraine go back to post-WWII network of (mostly Ukrainian) Nazi spies, led by Otto Skorzeny (SS special ops who rescued Mussolini from partisans in mountaintop fortress), and organized with help of Reinhard Gehlen, head of German Intelligence on the Eastern Front. Gehlen was rescued by the US from potentially facing a noose at Nuremberg and later went to work for the CIA. He also founded the West German intelligence service in the 1950’s.

    Btw, in the late 1940’s, it was ‘intelligence’ from this spy ring that claimed there were 175 Soviet divisions poised to invade Western Europe, but the Research and Analysis branch of the CIA, looking at air photos, concluded that 1/3 of these divisions did not exist, 1/3 lacked armor and trucks to transport them into battle– and the Soviets had removed most of the steel rails in East Germany (to prevent invasion by the West!), so there was no way to move the Soviet forces West to attack positions.

    But the Republican Congress was ‘scared’ into voting for a large defense spending program– which saved the US from falling back into a high level of unemployment and hard recession. So, the Soviet ‘threat’ and ensuing Cold War were pure invention by the US ‘blob’.

    I do agree with previous comment that CIA is not a monolith, but many of these patriotic Ivy League CIA analysts were purged during post-war Red Scare, and, IMO, so-called CIA ‘intelligence’ has been sup-par ever since. But they tend to excel at propaganda and what we now call ‘hybrid war’.

    Sorry for the late comment, but I was finishing Dawn of Everything yesterday, and did not see Urie’s post!

    1. stickNmud

      Oops! I was mistaken about a post-war Skorzeny connection to the Ukraine. Also, it was Gehlen’s Org operating in Germany and Eastern Europe– full of unabashed Nazis and supported by the CIA– which generated much of the bogus intel on the Soviets used to justify the Cold War.

      However, there is a seven decade CIA connection to Ukrainian ultra-nationalist groups, such as the OUN-B, led by Stepan Bandera and Mykola Lebed, that worked with the Germans and the SS during WWII:

      “The CIA’s plan, part of its “stay behind” operations in Central and Eastern Europe, was to airdrop Ukrainians from the ultra-nationalist groups, in particular OUN-B, that would involve the smuggling of weapons, the uses of covert communication transmissions, spies, commandos, banditry, assassins and sabotage.

      A declassified secret CIA history shows that the Agency refused to extradite the OUN war criminal Bandera to the Soviets in order to keep the underground movement and the destabilization efforts in Ukraine intact.”

      And there was a Gehlen connection to Lebed as well:

      “During the war, Lebed was said to have been a good pupil and favorite of the German Gestapo. Afterwards, relocated in Munich, Lebed enjoyed the patronage (as did Bandera) of Nazi intelligence officer Reinhard Gehlen, who himself had close operational relations with the CIA.”

  23. AG

    thx for the many links.

    Chris Hedges put it this way: The CIA after 9/11 has grown from an intelligence gathering service into a para-military unit with its own assassination program, its own surveillance pogram and its own armed forces /black ops. And most likely for a considerabe time will not be controlled by any party or POTUS.
    Sachs more dramatically calls them state in a state.

    So in comparison to the 1970s Hollywoodian more progressive pictures, where CIA embodied deep state, today their reach is not just more global but beyond and not in concordance with the WH any more necessarily.

    But the most dramatic shift since then, I assume, is the media´s attitude to secret intelligence as a trustworthy partner. This applies to the entire West and basically all print papers and public broadcasting.
    The public today considers CIA and Co as its friend. Which makes scrutiny and pressure more difficult than it already has been.

    Whatever these services provide as info is now considered as legit and the “gold standard”.

    It is odd to see how this took place. After all mass entertainment of the late 90s like “The Matrix” were thinly disguised 1970s conspiracy thrillers, depicting the CIA. The same goes for a film like “V for Vendetta” in GB. In fact the V-masks became an internet meme for dissence and disobedience. And even though more came to light since with Snowden and Assange, it did not hurt the CIA. In fact the opposite seems to be true…

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