July 31, 2013 - The Constantine Report    
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

Corporate America and the Fuhrer, a Love Story

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

” … From GM to Coca Cola, Corporate America built their factories adjacent to murder centers for easy access slave labor. … “

“A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy.” (William Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, in a 1936 letter to President Roosevelt)

Corporate America and its coup d’etat

Corporate America’s support for Adolph Hitler did not end with funds to train a generation of physicians to rid Germany of its “unfit” and create its Master Race. For a decade before his 1932 electoral victory Corporate America was busily funding Hitler’s rise to power. And after assuming title of Führer, they turned to funding Germany’s illegal rearmament. When the United States found itself at war with Germany Corporate America showed far less enthusiasm to produce armaments for the United States than they did for Hitler’s Wehrmacht.

Such charges (note, these are not assertions) will sound strange since the Roosevelt Administration never charged Corporate America under statutes of the  Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917. “Reluctant” or not, the administration needed Ford and GM, et al, to provide the arms necessary to America’s war effort. In more recent idiom, Corporate America were just “too big to fail,“ a term invented to justify bailing out many of those same corporations (GM and Chase, for example) during the Great Recession beginning 2007. Nor was providing arms to America’s enemy during wartime the limit of their treason: Corporate America intended a fascist-style coup d’etat against the newly-elected Franklin Roosevelt.

Who was “Corporate America”? Hardly a major American industrial giant was not on the list: Ford, GM, Standard Oil, DuPont, IBM, ITT, Chase, J.P. Morgan, and on. Most were major contributors to the eugenics movement; all were fervent supporters of Nazism’s ruthless application of eugenics as model for the National Socialist state. Before the war Ford and GM in particular were key players in arming the Wehrmacht (the massive rearmaments program being the heart of Hitler’s “economic miracle”) and enthusiastic supporters of his war aims. In particular were Corporate America on board with Hitler’s intention to destroy “Judeo-Bolshevism”:

cognoscenti of international diplomacy and business in the 1930s widely expected that Hitler would spare western countries, instead attacking and destroying the Soviet Union as promised in Mein Kampf. To encourage and assist… was the hidden objective of the infamous appeasement policy pursued by London and Paris, and tacitly approved by Washington.”

In 1918, following the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the United States and its allies went to war against the new soviet regime. By 1920 the “allies” were in retreat, the attempt at imposed regime change a failure.

The 1920’s was also a period of labor unrest in the United States which intensified with the approach of the Great Depression. Unemployment and hunger were spreading.

In spring of 1932 thousands of war veterans and their families marched to Washington to demanding payment of their promised “service certificates.” 40,000 men women and children set up camp in a DC park, refused to leave when ordered by the Attorney General. The “Bonus March” ended violently when General MacArthur, Colonel Eisenhower, and Major Patton were ordered to empty the camp. Bayonets fixed and cavalry sabers drawn the camp was attacked. General MacArthur, deciding the protest “a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government,” set the Army against American war veterans.

In an atmosphere of panic regarding Communism in Russia and labor unrest at home police and military force were used to put down strikes. In the early 1930’s “company guards” backed by the police killed five striking Ford workers, and the scene repeated at other strike sites. In the heated imagination of Corporate America Communism was everywhere threatening the status quo and their wealth. It was not surprising that they would admire Hitler’s “well-ordered” police state society: would want the same for America.

In 1936 William Dodd, Roosevelt’s Ambassador to Germany, warned the president that,

“A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime. On [the ship] a fellow passenger, who is a prominent executive of one of the largest financial corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies.” (Charles Higham, Trading with the Enemy, p.167)

The plot was apparently the inspiration of JP Morgan banking. In early 1933, just after Roosevelt entered office (by coincidence Hitler entered office about the same time) Corporate America decided they preferred Hitler:

“as the plans for a fascist plot developed, its organizers hoped to draw upon both the [American] Legion and the VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars (an organization they may have created to serve the function)] to a form of people’s militia, modeled on Mussolini’s fascisti, using the veterans’ anger over Roosevelt’s reduction and cancellation of bonus payments.”

Among the active plotters were DuPont, Goodyear, Bethlehem steel and JP Morgan, and high ranking members of the Democratic and Republican parties. Funding was through a Democratic Party organization created to oppose Roosevelt’s election, the American Liberty League, consisting of DuPont, US Steel, General Motors, Chase Manhattan Bank, Standard Oil and Goodyear.

Had the plotters chosen General MacArthur, hero of the assault on the Bonus Marchers, the coup might have succeeded. Instead they chose another popular right-wing general, Smedley Butler. The general listened the plotters out then reported it to Congress where an investigative committee confirmed it.

Possibly someone needing to cling to American Exceptionality might dismiss this narrative as just so much conspiracy theory, isolated events which, if true, are unrepresentative and not worthy of note. Yet they represent moments in a historical process and will, as this narrative unfolds, fall into a compelling pattern.

Corporate America builds Hitler’s Wehrmacht

Before Hitler declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941, Corporate America had not yet committed treason. But by 1933 IBM had already provided Hitler the data processing ability to identify and locate Germany’s 600,000 Jews. The company made it possible to track each and every Jew from arrest to murder. With punch card technology IBM was able to identify inmates according to skills, maximizing the benefit to US and other companies needing slave labor according to specific requirements. IBM introduced the infamous blue tattoo common on survivors in order to coordinate person with punch card. The notorious blue tattoo which branded camp inmates was introduced by IBM to coordinate inmate to punch card! But IBM’s contribution to the German war effort was not limited to creating an efficient extermination program:

“According to Edwin Black, IBM’s know-how enabled the Nazi war machine to ‘achieve scale, velocity, efficiency.’ IBM, he concludes, “put the ‘blitz’ in the krieg for Nazi Germany.”

Once America entered the war IBM, GM, et al, were now guilty under America’s 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act, and they could have been prosecuted had the government chosen to do so. Any private person engaged in assisting the enemy in time of war would have been charged with treason and possibly executed. But not one “American as apple pie” companies was ever even charged. After the war they were even compensated for losses suffered in U.S. bombing raids:

“General Motors… was paid $32 million by the U.S. government for damages sustained to its German plants.”

Opel, GM’s 100% owned German subsidiary, produced trucks and aircraft and even, too late to be used in combat, produced for Hitler the world’s first jet fighter.

“When American GIs invaded Europe in June 1944, they did so in jeeps, trucks and tanks manufactured by [Ford and GM]… It came as an unpleasant surprise to discover that the enemy was also driving trucks manufactured by Ford and Opel [GM]… [that they were under attack by GM’s wholly-owned German subsidiary] Opel built warplanes.”

““As for Ford, that corporation not only produced for the Nazis in Germany itself, but also exported partially assembled trucks directly from the US to Germany [italics added]… in the late 1930s, Ford shipped strategic raw materials to Germany.”

International Telephone and Telegraph owned one quarter of the shares of German airplane manufacturer Focke-Wulf, so not only provide communications technology provided the Luftwaffe fighter planes for use against U.S. servicemen.

Texaco and Standard Oil provided Germany the diesel fuel, lubricating oil, and other petroleum products without which Germany could not have fought the war. After the US entered the war they used third countries as cutouts to bypass American export restrictions.

GM partnered with Standard Oil and her sister company I.G. Farben (builder of the slave labor industrial complex Auschwitz III), to provide Hitler the fuel additive Tetra-ethyl lead which, according to Albert Speer, provided the high octane which made Germany’s blitzkrieg warfare possible.

Corporate America profits from slave labor

“The Jews shall now in the course of the Final Solution be suitably brought to their work assignments in the East… a large part will undoubtedly [die, be killed] through a process of natural reduction… final remainder will have to be handled appropriately, as it would constitute a group of naturall-selected individuals… the seed of a new Jewish resistance.” (Wansee Conference, 20 January, 1942)

“The firms, after filling the necessary prerequisites, were allowed to come in to the camps and choose the prisoners they wanted.”

When the issue of the Forced and Slave Labor Negotiations was raised by the US Treasury Department in 1999 Ford and GM and most American corporations that had supported Hitler’s war effort at first denied, then accepted the “possibility” that their German “subsidiaries” may have been guilty of working extermination camp inmates to death. Through the thinly-veiled lie of Germany having “taken control” of their subsidiaries rendering them powerless, so not responsible, Corporate America resolutely maintained innocence. But their records told a different story. Ford opened its records to the public and it was clear that the parent company maintained control over FordWerke policy. GM refused to follow Ford in self-disclosure which in their eyes provided a measure of deniability. Regardless, in the end GM and Ford, et al, were forced to pay compensation to the few remaining slave labor survivors who failed to follow the script and be worked to death. Slave laborers, “were concentration camp prisoners requisitioned by German [and American] companies from the SS. A high percentage of them died as a result of inhuman working conditions that were intended to result in death.”

From GM to Coca Cola, Corporate America built their factories adjacent to murder centers for easy access slave labor. Although their treason to the United States and public disclosure of their use of slave labor during the Holocaust was proven prior to the Forced and Slave Labor Negotiations, no governmental action beyond “compensation” for victims has ever been pursued. As regards “compensation;” as measured against the magnitude of the crime, the impact on the survivor’s lives, the amount agreed upon represents little more than a symbolic victory.

There exist today lists of some two-thousand “German” firms that engaged in slave labor. Lists of American corporations guilty of exploiting slave labor are limited to the “200 with German subsidiaries” and included in Stuart Eizenstat’s 1999 compensation list:

“Under a plan that has been floated by Stuart Eizenstat, the American deputy treasury secretary who is trying to mediate a pact, G.M. and up to 200 other American companies with German subsidiaries would create a separate fund [to compensate their victims].”

But use of slave labor was not just limited to greedy corporations. The Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Church in Germany also exploited slave labor. The Evangelical Church acknowledged guilt and agreed to pay compensation; the Catholic Church, following the GM lead, continues to stonewall claiming that, “there is no evidence that slave laborers were used in Roman Catholic institutions [but it was admitted that] forced laborers from Poland and Ukraine were sent to work at a Catholic monastery and a theological seminary, and that prisoners from a concentration camp were forced to work in a church institution.”

Some may feel it unfair to paint Corporate America today with the brush of yesterday’s criminal and treasonous activities. Some ethicists point out that today’s corporate leadership had nothing to do with the coup or the Holocaust and slave labor (although slave labor is still exploited by several major American corporations around the world: indigenous peoples in South American, for example). But if these ethicist’s arguments were extended to countries, neither should today’s governments be held responsible for the acts of their predecessors. Or today’s government’s for future atrocities. But the purpose of this discussion is not just to ascribe the criminality as such, but to place it in context, to appreciate that past behavior does provide precedent for future behavior.

In earlier chapters reference was made to the 1935 Nuremberg Laws removing German Jewry from the protection of the German state; as defining “Jew” by degree according to a convert in the family tree. 1935 represents a precedent that should another charismatic leader arise in, for example, the United States, that the Nuremberg Laws might well serve as legal precedent, serve as an established and workable definition for “Jewish identity.” Why reinvent the wheel?

Corporate America laid bare its extremist political instincts in the 1930’s and ‘40’s, and even today in its continuing exploitation of indigenous peoples for slave labor. Its fascist politics was early demonstrated in its support for Hitler long before he became Germany’s Führer. Corporate America idealized Nazism as a model for a “well-ordered society” to the point of attempting to overthrow the America Government and replace it with a fascist regime. Corporate America funded the eugenic ideology of a racially pure America, an Aryan superman, and this long before Hitler made the idea unpopular. Corporate America openly supported Hitler’s war-time goal of a crusade against “Judeo-Bolshevism.” And what did that imply for the survival of American Jewry had Hitler succeeded?

And what does this history suggest, what implications for American Jewry should social stress in this country rise to levels experienced in Germany during the Great Depression; should antisemitism in the United return to levels expressed by Americans during the Holocaust years? Will American “exceptionality” parrot German-Jewry’s insistence of their fatherland’s “exceptionality,” and will we follow them down the road already precedent in the Holocaust?


Sidney Gottlieb, 80, Dies; Took LSD to C.I.A.

By TIM WEINER, New York Times, March 10, 1999

Sidney Gottlieb, who presided over the Central Intelligence Agency’s cold-war efforts to control the human mind and provided the agency poisons to kill Fidel Castro, died on Sunday in Washington, Va. He was 80 and had spent his later years caring for dying patients, trying to run a commune, folk dancing, consciousness-raising and fighting lawsuits from survivors of his secret tests.

Friends and enemies alike say Mr. Gottlieb was a kind of genius, striving to explore the frontiers of the human mind for his country, while searching for religious and spiritual meaning in his life. But he will always be remembered as the Government chemist who dosed Americans with psychedelics in the name of national security, the man who brought LSD to the C.I.A.

In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, the agency gave mind-altering drugs to hundreds of unsuspecting Americans in an effort to explore the possibilities of controlling human consciousness. Many of the human guinea pigs were mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts and prostitutes — ”people who could not fight back,” as one agency officer put it. In one case, a mental patient in Kentucky was dosed with LSD continuously for 174 days.

Other experiments involved agency employees, military officers and college students, who had varying degrees of knowledge about the tests. In all, the agency conducted 149 separate mind-control experiments, and as many as 25 involved unwitting subjects. First-hand testimony, fragmentary Government documents and court records show that at least one participant died, others went mad, and still others suffered psychological damage after participating in the project, known as MK Ultra. The experiments were useless, Mr. Gottlieb concluded in 1972, shortly before he retired.

The C.I.A. awarded Mr. Gottlieb the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and deliberately destroyed most of the MKUltra records in 1973.

John Gittinger, a C.I.A. psychologist who vetted Mr. Gottlieb — ”one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever known” — and worked with him for 22 years, said the agency began the tests because it was gripped by ”a great fear” in the cold war. It was afraid that the Soviet Union would corner the market on LSD and use it as a chemical weapon or that China would perfect the black art of brainwashing, Mr. Gittinger said.

The agency and Mr. Gottlieb believed the United States had to fight by any means necessary.

”We were in a World War II mode,” Mr. Gittinger said. ”The war never really ended for us.”

John Marks, author of the definitive book on the experiments, ”The Search for the ‘Manchurian Candidate’ ” (Times Books, 1979) said Mr. Gottlieb was ”unquestionably a patriot, a man of great ingenuity.”

”Gottlieb never did what he did for inhumane reasons,” Mr. Marks said. ”He thought he was doing exactly what was needed. And in the context of the time, who would argue? But with his experiments on unwitting subjects, he clearly violated the Nuremburg standards — the standards under which, after World War II, we executed Nazi doctors for crimes against humanity.”

Sidney Gottlieb was born in New York City on Aug. 3, 1918, the son of immigrants from Hungary. His parents were orthodox Jews, but he did not embrace the faith. Mr. Gottlieb ”had had a real problem to find a spiritual focus, having gone away from Jewishness,” Mr. Gittinger said, and he experimented with everything from agnosticism to Zen Buddhism all his life.

He left the City College of New York, first for the Arkansas Polytechnic Institute, then for the University of Wisconsin, where he graduated, magna cum laude, with a chemistry degree in 1940. He earned a doctorate in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology, where in 1942 he married Margaret Moore, the daughter of Presbyterian missionaries who served in India, where she was born. A clubfoot kept him from military service in World War II, and he was always bitter that he missed the war, Mr. Gittinger said.

Mr. Gottlieb joined the C.I.A. in 1951, although not before telling Mr. Gittinger, his interviewer, that he had been a socialist in his youth.

Two years later, the agency established MKUltra and Mr. Gottlieb was running it. As chief of the agency’s technical services division, he served two decades as the senior scientist presiding over some of the C.I.A.’s darkest secrets.

The first of these were the LSD experiments. Mr. Gottlieb was fascinated by the drug, and, a family friend said, he took it hundreds of times.

”He was the most curious man I ever knew,” Mr. Gittinger said. ”He was willing to try anything to discover something.”

Mr. Gottlieb was also involved in the C.I.A.’s assassination plots. In the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations, Mr. Gottlieb, always under orders from the Director of Central Intelligence or his chief spymaster, developed a poison handkerchief to kill an Iraqi colonel, an array of toxic gifts to be delivered to Fidel Castro, and a poison dart to kill a leftist leader in the Congo. None of the plans succeeded.

After he left the C.I.A., Mr. Gottlieb and his wife went to India, where he ran a leper hospital for 18 months. A lifelong stutterer, he pursued a master’s degree in speech therapy. He bought land with an old log cabin outside a small Virginia town, Boston, where he practiced two of his lifelong hobbies, folk dancing and herding goats.

”He bought that old house and the land with the idea of setting up a communal home, with several families living together,” said Mr. Gittinger, a lifelong friend. At least one other couple stayed for years.

Mr. Gottlieb spent his last years in Washington, Va., a pretty village in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, working in a hospice, tending to the dying.

He is survived by his wife and four children, Penny Gottlieb Chesluk, Rachel Gottlieb Samoff, Peter Gottlieb and Steven Gottlieb. Cleaving to old habits of secrecy, his wife declined to disclose the cause of Mr. Gottlieb’s death.

New York Times national security correspondent, Mark Mazzetti, discusses the changing role of the CIA since 9/11 saying it has changed from being a spy agency into an organisation that conducts assassinations, often by using unmanned drones.


ABC TV Australia, Jul 24, 2013

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Tonight’s guest is the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti is national security correspondent for the New York Times. He’s written a new book: The Way of the Knife, examining the CIA’s transformation into a manhunting and killing machine, pursuing enemies with drones and special forces. Well he joins us now from our Washington bureau.

Mark Mazzetti, thanks for being there.


TONY JONES: Now, it was in 2001 when President George W. Bush signed a secret order giving the CIA back its licence to kill. Why did they lose it in the first place?

MARK MAZZETTI: Well, as I write about it in the book, the CIA has – it has an uneasy relationship with killing, one might say, and that in the 1970s a lot of the dirty laundry of the CIA was aired out – the early coup attempt and assassination plots that the agency had done during its first decades. And in the mid-’70s Congress sort of investigated a lot of those things and as a result they took away the agency’s official licence to kill and President Ford in 1976 signed an assassination ban. So in the ’80s and ’90s the agency was, for the most part, going back to this more traditional espionage mission, and as I write about, that changed shortly after 9/11 and in the years since it really has transformed the spy agency.

TONY JONES: Yeah, we’ll come to that in a moment, but they can’t have been very good at their intelligence mission. They were completely wrong-footed by the fall of communism, they failed to foresee Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, they missed a lot of clues over what was going on prior to September 11. Perhaps they were actually just better at killing people.

MARK MAZZETTI: Well, you know, it’s interesting, you know – they have become quite adept at the manhunting operation, and as you point out, in some ways it is easier to do. It is easier to track people and kill them if you have the technology like they do with armed predators. It’s far more difficult to do strategic analysis, to do predictions, as you said, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of communism, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. So it’s sometimes tougher to spy than it is to hunt and kill.

TONY JONES: Now you write that the CIA has always had a fragmented culture split, as you put it, between paramilitary jocks and nerdy analysts. You make it sound a little bit like a US high school movie.

MARK MAZZETTI: Yeah, well in some ways it is. It’s a closed culture, it’s a very cliquish culture and there are these different tribes within the agency. There’re the analysts, the paramilitaries and – but really, traditionally the case officers, who are the actual spies who go out into the field and recruit agents, they have ruled the roost of the CIA and still to a large extent do. The more operational the CIA gets, the more the Directorate of Operations which runs all the case officers has control. And that’s certainly something we’ve seen in the last decade plus where the CIA has become so operational that those who are in charge of doing covert action have a tremendous amount of influence.

TONY JONES: How important was it – you mentioned this earlier, the predator drones, how important was it that that technology was actually perfected around the time that George Bush gave permission to the CIA to start killing people again?

MARK MAZZETTI: Well it ultimately became quite critical, and as I write about in one of the chapters, the development of the armed predator came over a number of years and there had been spy surveillance flights in Afghanistan using predators in 2000 and early 2001, but there was no armed capability, so they could see training camps in Southern Afghanistan, but they couldn’t take any shots except from offshore submarines. So in the desert, in the Nevada Desert, a team of test pilots started developing the armed predator in the early part of 2001 and then once they had perfected that to that point, there were these fierce debates within the agency right really up to the point of 9/11 where the agency was wrestling with whether it should be getting back into the killing business, whether the CIA should be taking the shots, and again, harkening back to these earlier days of the agency when it was killing and a generation of CIA officers had come in after the ’70s very uneasy with this idea and this prospect.

TONY JONES: If I understand it correctly, the first successful drone killing of a terrorist or alleged terrorist was in November of 2002, it was an Al-Qaeda leader in Yemen who was tagged as the mastermind of the bombing of the warship USS Cole. Did that assassination, which was successful, did it prove to the White House that this could be one of the most effective weapons of statecraft?

MARK MAZZETTI: It was certainly a key moment. I just wanted to clarify that this was the first strike outside of Afghanistan using a predator. So there had been up to that point several drone shots by the CIA in Afghanistan. But the reason why the 2002 strike in Yemen was so critical: because, as you said, it sort of proved to the Bush administration that this weapon could be used extensively, but also it sort of crossed the Rubicon in terms of waging this war outside of declared war zones. You had the CIA hunting and killing someone in a country where the US was not officially at war and so that really set the standard for what we would see over a decade, especially in Pakistan.

TONY JONES: Who is it that comes up with the lists of the targeted individuals who are to be killed and who signs off on those?

MARK MAZZETTI: Well, in the Obama administration you’ve seen it very much consolidated in the Oval Office, or at least in the White House. John Brennan, who in the first term was the President’s top counterterrorism advisor, managed – actually, there’s more than one list. He managed the several lists drawn up by both the Pentagon and the CIA and decisions were made about who the CIA and the military should target. Brennan is now the CIA director and some of those lists are still maintained by the White House, but I should point out that the CIA still has a very large amount of authority to take out – to take shots on their own. So, for instance in Pakistan, if they’re going to do a drone strike, they don’t specifically have to ask the White House. The authority resides in the Director of the CIA.

TONY JONES: This is one of the – well, let’s say the more ironic aspects of this that a Democrat President, supposedly one who believes in rights around the world and legality is the one who has expanded this drone program and the killing program generally far more than any previous president. How did that happen? What’s the logic behind Obama’s decision?

MARK MAZZETTI: Well, one of the things Obama has – well, campaigned on in 2008 was to end the war in Iraq and the mentality largely in the Obama White House has been to get the US out of these big, messy, costly wars of occupation, even though Obama did approve a surge in Afghanistan in the beginning of his presidency. But this has been a way, as you said, that was developed under the Bush administration but really embraced under Obama. You’ve seen far more drone strikes under the Obama administration than you did under Bush, although Bush in the last six months of his presidency really did start the acceleration in Pakistan. But there have been hundreds of drone strikes under Obama. And it’s hard to sort of figure out the psychology of why this fits Obama’s mentality, but certainly he has said publicly, others have said publicly that they are far more willing to wage war outside of war zones in ways with predators and contractors and special operations groups if it gets the US to avoid something like another Afghanistan and another Iraq, and that really has been the Obama mentality.

TONY JONES: I’ve got to ask you this, Mark: what would be the consequences, do you believe, of expanding this killing program with robots and covert killings in other ways? Will it actually achieve what Obama wants, which is to end terrorism by killing all the terrorists, or the leaders, in any event, or will it actually just create a kind of new generation of angry young men out for revenge?

MARK MAZZETTI: You know, I think that that’s entirely possible, it is something that intelligence analysts in the US are finally really looking at: the blowback possibility of this withering campaign of drone strikes. You’ve seen anecdotal evidence of, for instance in May, 2010 when a man tried to blow up a truck bomb in Times Square in New York City he went to court after he was caught and said that the reason he had done it was because of the drone campaign in Pakistan. That’s one piece of evidence. However, it is something that bears close watching in the years ahead: is the effect creating more terrorists than are being killed? I think this is something that we’re not gonna know maybe for several years, but there’s certainly evidence of it.

TONY JONES: Now it’s not only drones in this case, you also outline the emergence of what you call fringe characters playing outsized roles, one of them a former Green Beret called Raymond A. Davis. Now we know of him because he was caught in Pakistan having in traffic killed two Pakistanis he claimed were out to get him. That became incredibly controversial. Who was he? What was he doing there? Was he a CIA agent?

MARK MAZZETTI: So, what I’ve tried to do in the book is to tell a narrative story and to focus on people who the US has relied on to wage this shadow war because it is outside of war zones and you can’t send in the Marines, so you use contractors, you use various fringe players, as you said, to wage this kind of war. So Raymond Davis was a CIA contractor, a part of this surge of CIA operatives in Pakistan around 2010 and 2011. 2011 in January, he shoots two people on the streets of Lahore, a third person is killed when a truck from the US consulate tries to rescue him and then shortly afterwards Raymond Davis is put in prison. I chose to spend a lot of time on the Raymond Davis episode because when I went to Pakistan to report for the book it’s really something that is the defining episode maybe of the last decade in Pakistan in terms of defining the US relationship with Pakistan. In the US we spend so much time thinking about the Osama bin Laden raid, which happened later that year, but in Pakistan the Raymond Davis episode is such a searing moment because it seemed to lift the veil on this shadow war that the CIA had been waging, and so to close the story, the CIA ultimately was able to get Davis out of the country after some negotiations with the Pakistani Government and Davis was spirited to Afghanistan first and ultimately back to the US.

TONY JONES: Now, an even more extraordinary fringe character, it seems to me, is a business woman called Michele Ballarin – if I have the pronunciation right. Who is she and how did she get into the business of tracking and killing Al-Qaeda operatives in North Africa?

MARK MAZZETTI: Well – so Michelle was a – is an American businesswoman and an heiress to a somewhat large amount of money. She was once a Republican candidate for Congress in West Virginia. And then in the early part of the last decade became sort of obsessed with Somalia from meeting some Somali elders and quite taken with Sufism, which is a more moderate strain of Islam. She started to travel to Somalia over the course of the last decade and developed contacts on the ground there. And then in 2008 she convinced the Pentagon to hire her and her team to gather intelligence in Somalia that would be used to track militants in the country. She had previously proposed to set up hit squads, hit teams for the CIA and the CIA turned her down, so she was hired by the Pentagon to spy. She got involved in a number of different things including hostage negotiations with Somali pirates and there’s some interesting cables that came out in the WikiLeaks data dump that sort of showed that she had become intimately involved in negotiating with Somali pirates to release some of the vessels that had been taken hostage.

TONY JONES: Mark, a final question because we all want to know how this kind of policy is going to evolve in what arguably’d be the next biggest foreign policy challenge for the Obama administration in that region: that is, the Syrian conflict. So many questions unresolved. Are they going to arm the rebels? How are they gonna do it? Are they gonna train them? Will they eventually start using predator drones in Syria? What do you think’ll happen there?

MARK MAZZETTI: Well this goes back to the Obama mindset that I spoke to earlier. As I say, the White House is really determined to avoid deep American involvement in another war in the Middle East. They even at this point are resisting more militarised options, for instance using armed drones. They are at this point relying, they say, on arming the rebels, although that hasn’t even happened yet. It is possible down the road you could see a drone campaign in Syria in lieu of American ground forces. This is the model that has been established over the last decade or so, this is a model, I think, that’ll be used quite extensively in the future, not only by the US, but by a number of other countries.

TONY JONES: And briefly, we’re nearly out of time, but do you suspect they will use those drones to try and assassinate the President of Syria, Assad?

MARK MAZZETTI: It’s certainly a possibility, although, again, you’d have to find out specific intelligence about him, where he was at any given time and have very precise intelligence in order to take a strike. It would be quite an extraordinary decision to fly armed drones over Damascus and to kill Assad, but this war is likely to last for some time, so we’ll see where it takes US policymakers.

TONY JONES: Mark Mazzetti, we’ll have to leave you there. We’re out of time. We thank you very much for taking the time to come and talk to us.

MARK MAZZETTI: Thank you very much.



” … Those now reading Nineteen Eighty-Four for the first time (or the first time since their teens) must be struck by how much Orwell got right … the bugging of everywhere, helicopters monitoring the citizens as drones will soon monitor us. He didn’t realize that an atmosphere of endless war could be better sustained by a high-consumption society, while its members could still be whipped into a frenzy against any desired enemy. But his insights into the state perversion of language, Newspeak, stand fully vindicated by events. … “

In mid-July, weeks after Edward Snowden had spilled the beans about NSA monitoring us all, I saw that Nineteen Eighty-Four was ranked #35 in books at Amazon. It was also #6 in literary fiction and #7 in science fiction and fantasy. Those are good numbers for a novel first published in 1949, before most of its current readers (and their parents) had been born.

Snowden himself at this writing is still somewhere inside Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow, doing a good imitation of Schrodinger’s cat — neither alive nor dead, free nor captive, and now asking for asylum in Russia. But Orwell’s novel is very much alive, and its revival is an encouraging sign.

The novel appeared in the early years of the Cold War, and was instantly welcomed an attack on the Soviets. I well recall the 1949 Life Magazine issue that ran a kind of graphic-novel digest of Nineteen Eighty-Four, which showed poor Winston Smith trapped in a Soviet-style future.

Orwell himself found his kind of satire widely misunderstood; he had to patiently explain that he wasn’t attacking the British Labour government, though his description of Winston’s world sounds a lot like Britain late in World War II, and like his own life as a BBC wartime journalist.

The Western media at mid-century saw Nineteen Eighty-Four as a useful stick for beating communist dogs, and the communist dogs themselves saw it the same way. Teaching in China in 1983, I found a copy of the same paperback edition I’d read 30 years earlier, in the faculty library of the school where I was teaching.

I was sorely tempted to put an excerpt on my students’ reading list, but I worried that they would get in trouble for reading it. One of them (now running an ad agency in Shanghai and looking for a good Ivy League school for his son) told me then that students were aware of the novel as anti-communist, but none of them had read it.

So I settled for a safely anti-capitalist chapter from Catch-22, where Milo Minderbinder contracts with the Luftwaffe to bomb his own base “because everyone has a share.” My students were safely baffled by this insight into American culture.

Then my Chinese colleagues came to me for advice on Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language,” a far more direct and dangerous attack on the corruption of political language, which they were teaching to the students. Clearly, China was advancing a lot faster than I was.

Winston as stooge

As a grad student in the early 1970s, I’d run across just one review of Nineteen Eighty-Four that agreed with something I’d discovered on my own. It was in some 1949 Labour newspaper, and it pointed out that Winston Smith is a stooge from page 1. He is not Julia’s noble lover and a tragic revolutionary hero, destroyed by a vicious tyranny. He was a creepy little kid who deserted his family after he stole chocolate, and he’s drifted into the Outer Party just to make a living.

What’s more, his supposed revolt against Big Brother is staged by O’Brien, who has used Winston’s telescreen to plant the seeds of dissent in Winston’s head. It is O’Brien who tells Winston, “We will meet in the place where there is no darkness,” and who plants the Pavlovian wish to go into the antique shop to buy the beautiful, dangerous diary where Winston writes the thoughts that will doom him.

This was a remarkable insight, even if Orwell had swiped bits of it from Huxley’s Brave New World, where kids sleep with a voice murmuring in their ears: “I’m glad I’m a Beta.” In effect, Orwell was saying that we are vulnerable to attack from the mass media through our subconscious — at least once we’ve been deprived of the power of rational thought, as Winston has been. Worse yet, those with power will use it only as a game they play with us, exploiting our deepest needs and goading us into destroying ourselves.

Those now reading Nineteen Eighty-Four for the first time (or the first time since their teens) must be struck by how much Orwell got right: the sudden conversion of allies into enemies and vice versa (Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden), the bugging of everywhere, helicopters monitoring the citizens as drones will soon monitor us. He didn’t realize that an atmosphere of endless war could be better sustained by a high-consumption society, while its members could still be whipped into a frenzy against any desired enemy. But his insights into the state perversion of language, Newspeak, stand fully vindicated by events.

The endless war for resources

Orwell also interrupts his narrative to let Winston read “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism,” by the arch-enemy Emmanuel Goldstein. Seen in hindsight, Goldstein’s analysis of world politics since 1945 is startlingly accurate in its vision of two or three superpowers endlessly competing for control of key resources in places like central Asia and Africa.

No sooner has he understood his society through Goldstein than Winston is arrested. Taken to the Ministry of Love, he is broken down and rebuilt as a man who loves Big Brother even though he knows as some point he will be executed. He has no chance of alerting his fellow-citizens to what he’s learned, and certainly no chance of escape.

Snowden, of course, knows the system very well and took the opportunity to  blow the whistle while maximizing his chances of being heard and of escaping punishment. But another English writer, Edward Gibbon, may have foreseen how difficult escape can be from an all-powerful state.

In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon observes that 18th-century Europe with its sovereign nations offered dissidents freedom at the price of exile.

“The sacrifice of an obnoxious fugitive”

“But the empire of the Romans filled the world,” Gibbon tells us, “and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies. The slave of Imperial despotism, whether he was condemned to drag his gilded chain in Rome and the senate, or the frozen banks of the Danube, expected his fate in silent despair. To resist was fatal, and it was impossible to fly. On every side he was encompassed with a vast extent of sea and land, which he could never hope to traverse without being discovered, seized, and restored to his irritated master.

“Beyond the frontiers, his anxious view could discover nothing except the ocean, inhospitable deserts, hostile tribes of barbarians, of fierce manners and unknown language, or dependent kings, who would gladly purchase the emperor’s protection by the sacrifice of an obnoxious fugitive.”

We’ve seen something similar even here in Canada. Forty years ago we welcomed U.S. draft dodgers and deserters; today’s American deserters, caught up in the same endless war Goldstein foretold, are promptly returned to the empire.

Snowden, today’s most obnoxious fugitive, seems to have understood his prospects when he chose to run first to Hong Kong and then to Moscow. If nothing else, he’s escaped punishment longer than a less-sophisticated whistleblower might have.

Whether he remains in exile or is eventually restored to his irritated master, Snowden’s personal fate isn’t the issue. Every citizen of a democracy could conceivably face the same predicament: If you know something is terribly wrong with your country, do you protest, or do you submit?

For Winston Smith, the question is irrelevant because he’s never questioned the status quo before. He is morally bankrupt long before he tells O’Brien he will commit any crime to overthrow Big Brother.

But how morally solvent are we? If we know something is wrong, do we blow the whistle or just go along with the rigged game? That’s the question that Edward Snowden has posed to us, and we are wise to consult with George Orwell and Edward Gibbon before we answer him.