Alamut


How the CIA influences public opinion
March 29, 2010, 7:19 pm
Filed under: CIA, Obama, Propaganda, War

A very interesting insight into how the CIA works has been provided via Wikileaks, for public consumption.  It also gives a good look into the general mindset that is prevalent at the Central Intelligence Agency.

For example, one of the main headers for this memo is entitled “Public Apathy Allows Leaders To Ignore Voters…”  Now, this isn’t exactly mindblowing, that leaders prefer an apathetic population, which allows them to act as they please, but confirmation that this is exploited by them is nice.

Another item of note is the scare quotes around “listening to the voters“.  Intelligence agencies, by their very nature, tend to have a degree of contempt for the democratic process, especially when this is exercised in areas of national security and foreign policy.  Something which this clearly demonstrates.

Other recommendations include how to specifically tailor the message to appeal to French and German audiences, as well as use Obama’s global popularity to help sell the mission more effectively.  It’s only a short memo, 4 pages long, but as a brief insight into the way intelligence agencies go about subverting democratic processes in our current situation, I recommend it.



The case against Obama
January 19, 2010, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Economic Crisis, Factsheet, Mercenaries, Obama, Surveillance, War

A short list

  • The bailout and (lack of) reform (link)
  • Refusing to investigate any of the Bush era crimes, including the Iraq War falsification of intelligence, torture or the surveillance state (link, link, link)
  • Backing the renewal of PATRIOT Act provisions (link)
  • Asserting the power to order extraordinary rendition, ie; kidnapping (link)
  • Asserting the power to hold detainees indefinitely, without charge, as well as seeking to hold people indefinitely on the basis they may commit acts of terrorism in the future (link)
  • Military show trials will continue in cases where civilian trials would lose (due to the lower threshold for proof) (link)
  • Detainees at Bagram Air Base and Balad Air Base are still being denied any and all basic rights (link)
  • Failure to close Guantamo (though, given the above abuses, it would make little difference) and worsening of abuse there (link)
  • Private mercenaries have been deployed to Somalia, and US Special Forces to Yemen, meaning the USA is now seen by many Muslims as waging war in five Islamic countries (link, link, link)
  • Failure to withdraw in any meaningful sense from Iraq (50-60,000 troops are intended to continue serving in the country until 2011, when they are legally required to withdraw) (link)
  • Pointless surge in Afghanistan (link, link)
  • Increased use of Predator airstrikes in Pakistan, weapons with a 95% chance of killing a civilian instead of a terrorist (link)
  • Blackwater are now an integral part of “special operations” taking place in Pakistan (link)
  • Complete inability to put real pressure on Israel to stop building in the occupied territories (link)
  • Massively expanding the drug war in Colombia, much to the excitement of President Uribe (link)
  • Obama has cosied up with Islam Karimov’s regime in Uzbekistan, the one that drops dissidents into vats of boiling water and uses child slave labour (link)
  • Private contractors in Afghanistan have increased 40% under Obama, despite the obviousness of their flaws being exposed in Iraq (link)
  • The hideous agreement pushed by Obama at Copehagen (link)


I’m in ur drones, watching ur live feedz
December 20, 2009, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Efficiency, War

Cost of a Predator Drone: $4,500,000 million

Cost of “Skygrabber” program, which could up until earlier this year, hack into the Predator drone live feed: $25.95

Seeing the US military’s killer robots rendered useless by Islamist script-kiddies:  Priceless

There is actually a serious point here, all snark aside.  The cost of offensive warfare is sky-rocketing, while at the same time, the cost of defensive warfare is dropping.  For example, the drones mentioned are actually considered a cheap option by the United States, and this is certainly the case when compared to, say, an F-15 (especially if you include the cost of training and looking after the pilot).  Meanwhile, insurgencies that are keeping the USA bogged down in two countries are being fought with Kalashnikovs, RPGs, car-bombs, cell phones and off-the-shelf software and computers.

And what do all these things have in common?  As Nolan’s Joker would say, they’re cheap.  Furthermore, because they are cheap, such groups can raise the money through methods like drug trafficking, instead of relying on vastly more expensive methods to gain the sums needed to support larger armed forces.

At what point does the cost of warfare become more than can possibly be gained from it?  The suggestion is that the United States has already begun to reach this point.  And when a broken, inefficient system goes up against more efficient, faster acting systems…well, it doesn’t really need to be elaborated on, does it?