Posts Tagged ‘covert operations’

CIA Gives Tens of Millions in Cash to Afghan President

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Army vet who fought alongside Al-Qaeda arrested by FBI

March 29, 2013

The father of U.S. Army veteran Eric Harroun, arrested on Tuesday night by the FBI for fighting alongside an Al-Qaeda group in Syria, says his son was working for the CIA.

As we previously reported, in January Harroun slipped into Syria to link up with Jabhat al-Nusra, the Al-Qaeda group that killed U.S. troops in Iraq and is now the leading front line fighting force in Syria, commanding the other rebel groups. Despite being listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department back in December, 29 different US-backed Syrian opposition groups pledged their allegiance to the group.

Harroun was arrested by FBI agents at a hotel near Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia on charges of using a rocket propelled grenade launcher on behalf of an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria.

Harroun’s father Darryl Harroun told reporters yesterday his son was “very patriotic” and would never join up with Al-Qaeda, a somewhat deluded claim given that Harroun appears in numerous videos with al-Nusra terrorists in which he brags about helping them take down a military helicopter. Harroun also admitted to FBI agents that he had shot at least 10 people.

However, Harroun’s father let slip what probably represents the key to the entire story when he said, “I know he was doing some work for the CIA over there,” adding, “I know for a fact that he was passing information onto the CIA.”

The CIA’s involvement in aiding, training and equipping rebel insurgents in Syria is no secret. Last week, the New York Times reported how the CIA had worked with Turkey and other Arab governments in the region to oversee a, “secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.”

Harroun’s CIA connection and his role in fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra further confirms the fact that the agency is supporting and even steering the actions of radical terrorists in Syria who have carried out suicide bombings and other attacks targeting schools, universities, as well as engaging in numerous other atrocities such as chemical weapons attacks, torture and gruesome beheadings.

Rebels have also ransacked Christian churches, tortured Christians as part of sectarian reprisals, and have been caught on tape burning US flags, chanting anti-American slogans and singing the praises of Osama Bin Laden while glorifying the 9/11 attacks.

The fact that Harroun was arrested by FBI agents despite apparently working for the CIA most likely reflects on the inter-agency rivalry between the two organizations. Before 9/11, an FBI investigation into the Bin Laden family and other terrorists that if seen through may have prevented the attacks was stymied by the CIA itself.

Another American who fought alongside Al-Qaeda terrorists in both Libya and Syria, Matthew VanDyke, recently returned to the United States and gave lectures in Washington DC earlier this month. VanDyke admitted that he originally wanted to join the CIA but later became a self-described “freedom fighter”.

Harroun’s story underscores the hypocrisy of US foreign policy in Syria. While America and numerous other NATO countries are openly supporting Al-Qaeda extremists in Syria as part of an effort to impose regime change, as soon as those militants return home they are arrested as terrorists. Britain has also arrested numerous citizens on their return to the UK from Syria despite simultaneously pushing to arm some of the very same terrorists in Syria.


Published time: January 06, 2013 15:31 

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has said the CIA may try to kill him prior to upcoming elections. Citing reports of a plot to “destabilize the region,” Correa said the threats were “credible,” given the history of US involvement in Latin America.

Correa alluded to reports by Chilean journalist Patricio Mery Bell, who allegedly passed on information to the Ecuadorian government that President Correa’s life was “under threat” by a CIA plot.

“There are many cases of [the CIA] interfering” in Latin American affairs, Correa said during a campaign tour in the coastal province of Guayas. “These are credible [reports] because this has happened before in Latin America.”

The head of the US diplomatic mission in Quito, Adam Nann, responded to Bell’s claims by saying that Washington “would never get involved” in Ecuador’s electoral process.

Although Correa conceded that he believed the statements of the US ambassador, he warned that agencies such as the CIA often follow their own agenda and maintain links with organizations representing the extreme right in the countries in which they operate.

Bell first voiced his concerns for the safety of President Correa three months ago when he released a report claiming the CIA sought to “destabilize” Ecuador. He said that the threat to Correa’s life would be at its height from January 15 and onwards, as Correa applies to run for another presidential term.

“We will have to be three times more vigilant with President Correa,” Bell said in an interview with publication El Ciudadano. Bell maintained that although he was not a staunch supporter of Correa, it was his duty as a Latin American citizen to warn of the alleged $88-million CIA plot to destabilize the Ecuadorian government.

The journalist believes that this money will be divided amongst extremist anarchist, leftist and hardline conservative groups, in the hopes of discrediting Correas.

Bell claimed in his report that the main motives behind the CIA plot were the closing of the US Manta military base, hailed as a victory for Ecuadorian national sovereignty, and the granting of asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

President Correa is often described as echoing the policies of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, especially in anti-US rhetoric. The 49-year-old economist has reduced poverty and increased stability and the overall standard of living in Ecuador during his presidency, winning popularity amongst the country’s poorest as well as the educated middle class.

Correa will run for reelection against six other candidates when campaigning begins on January 15. Ecuadorians will vote for the next president and vice president on Sunday, February 17.


While much of the media focus on l’affaire Petraeus has centered on the CIA director’s sexual relationship with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, the scandal opens a window onto a different and more consequential relationship—that between the CIA and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command. In a behind-the-scenes turf war that has raged since 9/11, the two government bodies have fought for control of the expanding global wars waged by the United States—a turf war that JSOC has largely won. Petraeus, an instrumental player in this power struggle, leaves behind an agency that has strayed from intelligence to paramilitary-type activities. Though his legacy will be defined largely by the scandal that ended his career, to many within military and intelligence circles, Petraeus’s career trajectory, from commander of US military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to the helm of the CIA, is a symbol of this evolution.

“I would not say that CIA has been taken over by the military, but I would say that the CIA has become more militarized,” Philip Giraldi, a retired career CIA case officer, told The Nation. “A considerable part of the CIA budget is now no longer spying; it’s supporting paramilitaries who work closely with JSOC to kill terrorists, and to run the drone program.” The CIA, he added, “is a killing machine now.”

As head of US Central Command in 2009, Petraeus issued execute orders that significantly broadened the ability of US forces to operate in a variety of countries, including Yemen, where US forces began conducting missile strikes later that year. During Petraeus’s short tenure at the CIA, drone strikes conducted by the agency, sometimes in conjunction with JSOC, escalated dramatically in Yemen; in his first month in office, he oversaw a series of strikes that killed three US citizens, including 16-year-old Abdulrahman Awlaki. In some cases, such as the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, commandos from the elite JSOC operated under the auspices of the CIA, so that the mission could be kept secret if it went wrong.

One current State Department liaison who has also worked extensively with JSOC describes the CIA as becoming “a mini-Special Operations Command that purports to be an intelligence agency.” For all the praise Petraeus won for his counterinsurgency strategy and the “surge” in Iraq, he says, his real legacy is as a “political tool,” an enabler of those within the national security apparatus who want to see a continuation of covert global mini-wars. Pointing to the “mystique that surrounds JSOC” and Adm. William McRaven, commander of the Special Operations Command, the liaison says, “Petraeus was trying to implement that kind of command climate at the CIA.”

“Petraeus wanted to be McRaven, and now that window has closed,” he said. “We are firmly in the age of McRaven. There is no other titular figure with the confidence of the president that is able to articulate strategies and hold their own in rooms where everyone else has the same or greater amount of intellectual heft. McRaven is everything that Petraeus is not.”

Retired Army Col. W. Patrick Lang, a former senior defense intelligence official, says that Petraeus’s arrogance—“smoothly concealed beneath the appearance of the warrior scholar”—made him deeply unpopular among the military’s high-ranking officers. Dismissing the media’s portrayal of Petraeus as a “super soldier” and great military leader as “phony bullshit,” Lang describes him as the product of a military promotion system that encourages generals to think of themselves as “divinely selected.” “In fact, he didn’t write the COIN manual, the surge was not the main thing in improving the situation in Iraq…. They sent him to Afghanistan to apply the COIN doctrine in the same glorious way he did in Iraq, and it hasn’t worked. So, if you look beneath the surface from all this stuff, it’s just a lot of hot air. There are great generals, but this guy is not one of them.” Arriving at the CIA, Lang says, Petraeus “wanted to drag them in the covert action direction and to be a major player.”

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As for Petraeus’s future, the State Department liaison said, “There will be a lot of profits to be made by him and his immediate circle of advisers, as they’re given a soft landing, whether it’s in academia or within the nexus of the military-industrial complex.”

Giraldi, the former senior CIA officer, expressed concern that in these circumstances, the “CIA is going to forget how to spy.” He also noted the “long-term consequence” of the militarization of the CIA: “every bureaucracy in the world is best at protecting itself. So once the CIA becomes a paramilitary organization, there’s going to be in-built pressure to keep going in that direction. Because you’ll have people at the senior levels in the organization who have come up that way and are protective of what they see as their turf,” he told me. “That’s the big danger.”

Despite President Obama’s opposition to messy, large-scale military operations, the president is actually a “very careful hawk” when it comes to military action, Jeremy Scahill argued, in an interview early this year with Francis Reynolds.

29 November 2012

The sons of a CIA scientist who unwittingly took LSD and fell to his death in 1953 have sued the government, saying the CIA killed their father.

Eric and Nils Olson claim their father, Frank Olson, was pushed out of a 13th-floor hotel window, days after he was given LSD in a mind-control experiment.

They claim the bio-weapons expert had doubts after seeing interrogations with biological tools he had helped develop.

The intelligence agency has always maintained Olson jumped to his death.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington DC on Wednesday.

Extreme interrogation

The Olson family received a compensation package from the government during reforms of the intelligence agency in the 1970s, after the CIA acknowledged that Olson had been given LSD nine days before his death.

The agency said at the time that Olson died after leaping from a Manhattan hotel window, but his family believes he was killed by the CIA to keep secret information about disturbing operations he had uncovered.

In 1953 Olson travelled to Europe and saw biological and chemical weapons research facilities there.

The lawsuit alleges that Olson witnessed extreme interrogations there, some resulting in deaths, in which the CIA had used biological agents he helped develop.

Olson had been a bioweapons expert based at a military biological weapons research centre in Fort Detrick, Maryland.