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13 December 2009

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JohnH

Twisted Genius raises an important point. The Occupier places its hopes and dreams in Pacification, COIN, or the latest new buzz word. They believe that a time will come when all will be settled, the terrorists finally rooted out. But the Lithuanian example shows that that time is NEVER. Resistance waxes and wanes, but never disappears.

Meanwhile, the Occupier gets preoccupied by other things--other Occupations, economic problems, rivalries with other nations, political "softness," etc. The more peoples it occupies, the more likely two or more are going to rise up at the same time, perhaps coincident with other problems the Occupier must deal with.

The Occupied have a single preeminent problem to focus on. The Occupier has a multitude. The ultimate advantage eventually goes to the Occupied.

In the case of Iraq, the Occupier hopes that it won't happen while there is still abundant oil to be exploited there.

Charles I

Further to my drug war focus, here's the

"Trail of Afghanistan's drug money exposed'

from Asia Times today.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KL16Df01.html


It reports that:

"The total revenue generated by opiates within Afghanistan is about $3.4 billion per year. Of this figure, according to UNODC, the Taliban get only 4% of the sum. Farmers, meanwhile, get 21%.

And the remaining 75%? Al-Qaeda? No: The report specifies that it "does not appear to have a direct role in the Afghan opiates trade," although it may participate in "low-level drugs and/or arms smuggling" along the Pakistani border.

Instead, the remaining 75% is captured by government officials, the police, local and regional power brokers and traffickers - in short, many of the groups now supported (or tolerated) by the United States and NATO are important actors in the drug trade."

Like I wrote before, there's a lot of baksheesh? is it? to go around - 75% of $3.4bn it says, to the locals. Good luck dislodging them and their aspiring successors, no matter who "wins", who "rules".

WP

Supplementing Clifford Kiracofe's post, there is an eye-openong book on the subject by Alan Friedman, The Spider's Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq. If the link works, a review can be found at http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/49560/stephen-e-ambrose/the-spiders-web-the-secret-history-of-how-the-white-house-illega#

If the link does not work, then just Google to find the book. Copies are scarce and hard to get. Some powerful people did not like the book.

The book is a worthy read if you can find a copy.

The Twisted Genius

DE Teodoru

You may diseminate my post as far as you want. Just remember that the long quote came from the "Heavy Metal in Lithuania" website.

There was an interesting report on RT (Russia Today) this evening about the former President Rolandas Paksas of Lithuania accusing the CIA of orchestrating his 2004 impeachment because he refused to host a secret prison when first asked to do so in 2003. He was replaced by former U.S. Army Colonel Adamkus and the CIA was then allowed in. The RT report also mentioned a CIA money transfer through Lithuania to support a regime change attempt in Belarus. I want to here more than this one RT report before I accept this as absolute truth, but my first thought was just an exasperated, "son of a bitch!"

TTG

Clifford Kiracofe

Charles I,

Indeed.

Another question for careful analysis is just where does the money go? That is, where do these billions of dollars (or whatever currency) go?

More precisely, into which banks and bank accounts? And then how do they move around the world?

My colleague and friend, Jack Blum the lead investigator for the Democrat side, and I for the Republican side, had to deal with this issue some years ago when we were working in the Senate of the United States/Committee on Foreign Relations. We had several related investigations which dealt with illicit funds including: aspects of the Iran-Contra case plus the huge BCCI case. The multi-volume public committee reports on BCCI are quite revealing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Bank_of_Credit_and_Commerce_International

In our wide-ranging investigations we found that vast amounts of drug related funds easily moved through the international banking system. Only a relatively small part of our findings were made public. About all I can say in public, even today, is that there were very well known big name "money center" banks in New York who were implicated (in closed door session testimony) in knowingly laundering vast amounts of narcotics related (cocaine etc.) funds from South America. Many hundreds of millions of dollars...

I well recall the day Jack walked across the hall in the Dirksen Senate Office Building to tell me how Washington "super-lawyer" Clark Clifford finally had weighed in personally to shut down and suppress parts of our investigation (BCCI related). The late Clark Clifford was covering for his banking budies and certain of his own arrangements.

Among many fascinating aspects was the case of Panama and its dictator Manuel Noriega. The cocaine mafias derived hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars IN CASH in the US from drug sales. Drug sales are cash and carry. This generated physically tons of US currency stateside. What to do? How to launder all this physical currency?

You have to take all the cash, sort it, count it, and bundle it. Then, according to testimony we recieved, the narcomafia folks would load the bundled physical cash onto pallets, seal these, and then place the sealed pallets of cash into air freight containers. Thus packed, cargo planes flew to Panama where the local currency is (conveniently for many purposes) US dollars. From the airport, the air freight containers had escort to the central bank where the narco money was specially processed and the various narcomafias' international accounts were appropriately credited.

And how about those narcoterrorist organizations in, say, Colombia? Where does their cash go? How are their funds managed...billions of dollars, that is? Maybe by certain European banks? Continental European banks...

So today, why do the UN narcotics folks refuse to reveal the names of international banks who presently are managing the Taliban and Al Qaeda narcomoney accounts????

I will say that the US has a very excellent and professional organization called FINCEN which, as part of our Treasury Department, is involved in financial intelligence and law enforcement.
http://www.fincen.gov/

Duncan Kinder

Perhaps our objective should not be to counter insurgency but rather to tame it - to encourage it along paths that we would find to be constructive/agreeable rather than destructive/disagreeable.

As food for thought along these lines, consider the following, which discusses the civil rights movement as an insurgency.:

Perspectives: March 18, 2009 "Why the Civil Rights Movement was an Insurgency, and Why it Matters" Mark S. Grimsley, Ph.D.Harold K. Johnson Visiting Professor of Military History, U.S. Army War College


Most Americans fail to appreciate that the Civil Rights movement was about the overthrow of an entrenched political order in each of the Southern states, that the segregationists who controlled this order did not hesitate to employ violence (law enforcement, paramilitary, mob) to preserve it, and that for nearly a century the federal government tacitly or overtly supported the segregationist state governments. That the Civil Rights movement employed nonviolent tactics should fool us no more than it did the segregationists, who correctly saw themselves as being at war. Significant change was never going to occur within the political system: it had to be forced. The aim of the segregationists was to keep the federal government on the sidelines. The aim of the Civil Rights movement was to "capture" the federal government — to get it to apply its weight against the Southern states. As to why it matters: a major reason we were slow to grasp the emergence and extent of the insurgency in Iraq is that it didn't –and doesn't — look like a classic insurgency. In fact, the official Department of Defense definition of insurgency still reflects a Vietnam era understanding of the term. Looking at the Civil Rights movement as an insurgency is useful because it assists in thinking more comprehensively about the phenomenon of insurgency and assists in a more complete –and therefore more useful — definition of the term.


Of course conditions in the early 20th Century American South differ from today's Afghanistan, but the point rather is that - rather than attempt to convert Muslims to our way of being - we should instead try to figure out how Muslims can do their Muslim thing in a manner that we can live with.

The Twisted Genius

Dr. Kiracofe,

Your points about narco-money, how it moves and what it does are spot on. Whether it's a major threat to our way of life or a major enabler of our way of life is open to debate. Several blogs have mentioned a recent article from the Observer concerning narco financing. "Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations' drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer."

I'd like to know who really benefits from the drug industry in Afghanistan. Whoever does certainly would not want to see the Taliban return to power and squash poppy production as they did the last time they were in Kabul. Would FINCEN have any insights into this?

JohnH

Per Kiracofe. Andres Oppenheimer, an editor at the Miami Herald, has written about corruption in Latin America: “Ojos Vendados: Estados Unidos y el negocio de la corrupcion en America Latina” (curiously appears not to be available in English, though it was a best seller throughout Latin America).

His investigations often reach a dead end at the doors of international banks' tiny offices in the Caribbean.

American banks argue that they need secrecy to remain "competitive."

American politicians are willing to sacrifice the drug war to the wishes of their underwriters in the financial sector. Sound familiar?

Why should Afghanistan be any different?

Charles I

Clifford, I found the most fascinating thing about the whole BCCI imbroglio to be the seldom mentioned role of the Australian Bank of Nugan Hand, and its direct connections to the CIA, its role as the intelligence/criminal interface. I have a book specifically on Nugan Hand, but just can't locate it at the moment to cite. One has to imagine that the US/UK/Aus intel alliance still needs to operate in the shadows, and that Iran-Contra merely demonstrated the need for better insulation and deniability. Independant income from illicit activities is perfect for this purpose. I sure would like to have been a fly on the Wall as the KGB and the CPSU arranged the disposition of their booty during the collapse of the USSR, they muswt have billions out there.

I'd also like to be able to read French so I could read tour GPU history as well.

As to why the UN narcotics folks refuse name banks who managethe Taliban and Al Qaeda narcomoney accounts?, my belief is that narcotics and national security trumps counter-narcotics and crime every time, and that these decisons are made at the Cabinet level. That is, your Executive branch, or some element that can manipulate it, just doesn't like its, or many others, laundry aired.


Clifford Kiracofe

Twisted Genius,

1. There are many interesting things about the various Baltic resistance movements. An acquaintance of mine's father was a "Forest Brother." Some years ago, I made it a point to visit Karelia in Finland in dead winter to move through the countryside and snowdrifts in that border region. Ulmanis went to the University of Nebraska... our old observation post for Soviet Russia was Riga. [Within this old history, are you familiar with "Prometheus"?]

2. Actually much of the of the Afghan narcotics trade profits Pakistan elites, military and civilian. etc. Regional observers, such as the Indians, are not unfamiliar with all of this. I will say that a certain official from France had the bright idea to foment the heroin trade in Afghanistan so as to cause internal problems for the Soviets...and we can see the blowback from that and other stupid Cold War schemes masquerading as policy out that way like the jihadi "international brigades." No doubt some tyro got that idea reading about the Spanish Civil War...???

Charles I,

Several billion of rubles ran through Cyprus and etc. it was said. I presume large portions are still parked outside Russia somewhere for operational purposes.

A very significant heroin route from Afghanistan was/is through Chechnya, thence out to Europe via Turkey/Cyprus and all that.

I have not yet read through all the UN reports and there may well be some quite relevant data in them. But the guilty banks should, of course, be named in public.

JohnH,

Haven't read Oppenheimer's book but, in the investigations I worked on, we worked very hard to provide Senators with signficant and actionable data and analysis on such matters.

The American public should be confident that it is within the power of the USG to obtain a vast amount of relevant information. We have highly professional, dedicated, and patriotic men and woman working on these matters. Stuart Levey, Treasury Under-Secretary for Enforcement, for example, has been courageous and outspoken concerning various threats to the US and the folks at FINCEN provide an invaluable support to our national security activity.

What the politicians on Capitol Hill and in the White House choose to do is another question, however. I did not include the story about Clark Clifford for nothing...

Charles I

Clifford, Re:
Where do the present Afghan (and Pak) elites offshore their ill gotten gains (from drugs, stolen US funds etc.) these days? Asia? Europe?
Is drug money, for example, providing liquidity in the international banking system these days? How much?"

I have found some older material about PROMIS, a magical software that could read any data, in any form in any language, transmit and combine it with other data across many platforms - a universal oracle later further developed with artificial intelligence. It has been widely disseminated in many forms with a unique ability to penetrate whole banking systems via legitimate applications, but surely with sub rosa capabilities and a backdoor to call home.
See
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/pandora/052401_promis.html
"Promis by Michael C. Ruppert", an extract below.

I urge you to read the whole detailed story bearing mind the following. Ruppert appears to be an expose-illegal-government-renegade-tilter-at-windmills with some tangential personal involvement and consequence, he runs the expose-CIA-misdeeds website From The Wilderness.

I can't vouch for his very detailed story, but I do have tangential knowledge of at least the existence of the PROMIS affair and the hint of esoteric sub rosa banking and intelligence implications. I am cognizant of decades old Canadian litigation indirectly touching on PROMIS and the alleged creator Bill Hamilton, now President of Washington, D.C.'s Inslaw Corporation, contesting some arcane technical matter of critical importance that was mysteriously derailed resulting in an apparent legal injustice without civil remedy.

Anyway this excerpt offers a glimpse into a perhaps very compromised banking system. You cannot hide $600bn in dope money.

"Bill McCoy, had his investigative fingers in almost everything but he was most involved with Promis. McCoy was a retired Chief Warrant Officer from the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division. He had broken some of the biggest cases in Army history. . .

[I]n the same winter of 94-95, McCoy revealed to me that he was using former Green Berets to conduct physical surveillance of the Washington, D.C. offices of Microsoft in connection with the Promis case. FTW has, within the last month, received information indicating that piracy of Microsoft products at the GE Aerospace Herndon facility were likely tied to larger objectives, possibly the total compromise of any Windows based product. It is not by chance that most of the military and all of the intelligence agencies in the U.S. now operate on Macintosh systems.

In late 1996 Tyree mailed me a detailed set of diagrams and a lengthy narrative explaining the exact hows and whys of the murder of Danny Casolaro and an overall view of the Promis saga that is not only consistent with what is described by Seymour in The Last Circle but also provides many new details. Asked about Mike Riconosciuto for this story Tyree would say only that, "He's very good at what he does. There are very, very few who can touch him, maybe 200 in the whole world. Riconosciuto's in a class all by himself." Those documents, as later described to me by RCMP Investigator Sean McDade, proved to be "Awesome and right on the money."

The essence of those documents was that, not only had the Republicans under Meese exploited the software, but that the Democrats had also seen its potential and moved years earlier. Nowhere was this connection more clearly exposed than in understanding the relationship between three classmates from the U.S. Naval Academy: Jimmy Carter, Stansfield Turner (Carter's CIA director), and billionaire banker and Presidential kingmaker (Carter's Annapolis roommate), Arkansas' Jackson Stephens. The Tyree diagrams laid out in detail how Promis, after improvement with AI, had allegedly been mated with the software of Jackson Stephens' firm Systematics. In the late seventies and early eighties, Systematics handled some 60-70% of all electronic banking transactions in the U.S.

The goal, according to the diagrams which laid out (subsequently verified) relationships between Stephens, Worthen Bank, the Lippo Group and the drug/intelligence bank BCCI was to penetrate every banking system in the world. This "cabal" could then use Promis both to predict and to influence the movement of financial markets worldwide. Stephens, truly bipartisan in his approach to profits, has been a lifelong supporter of George Bush and he was, at the same time, the source of the $3 million loan that rescued a faltering Clinton Campaign in early 1992. There is a great photograph of Stephens with a younger George "W" Bush in the excellent BCCI history, False Profits."

Further, there was some kind of vector between Inslaw/PROMIS and the Bank of Nugan Hand if I recall correctly, this is an old and long running affair.

So Clifford, if you don't know anything about this stuff, but are interested in BCCI and matters banking I am certain that the whole Inslaw/CIA/PROMIS mystery(s) are worth further investigation.

Its my paranoid understanding that Verint now handles like 96% of global interbank clearance transactions through servers located in Israel, although I could be wrong. I have other material about Israeli compromise of secure electronic commerce and governance that might see them as the ultimate software insider, the back-door, false-flag waving brains behind a lot of black financial and intelligence prestidigitation. Israel maybe like the littlest electronic espionage Matroska doll inside the whole web, but I don't have time now to even google it, let alone find my stuff, perhaps later. . . Apparently they hacked all your IEF? - you know the Friend or Foe software codes - tapped into Lawrence Livermore, might as well be naked.

curious, help me out here. This is a decades long story, highly technical, highly compartmentalized, but somebody writes the ultimate code, and somehow I don't think its the brainiacs with the unencrypted drone feeds . . .Money, gadgets, espionage, dope, crime, GWOT, Israel, , got it all.

Also, the huge wads of now accumulated idle capital will soon be turned loose on a scavenger hunt of high tech M&A's in some very specialized fields, I'm not talking about the huge Time/Warner type things, or the content guys trying to control the pipe, but rather some very esoteric cutting edge internet communications intellectual property and the like. . . some such critical technology was recently bought by a Swiss firm from the rubble of former Canadian tech giant Nortel over nationalistic howls from the Canadian proprietor of RIM, maker of the Crackberry, freshly shut out of the NHL, but I really must go.

PS

And now we have the mother of all Powerpoint slides here: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/Afghanistan_Dynamic_Planning.pdf.

This set of slides recognizes that a society is made up of a complex web of social relationships, but can you imagine anyone seeing this as a useful tool for actions in-country?

jesuscat

Col,

To what extent do environmental factors and demographics play a role in the success or lack thereof in COIN campaigns? Did those other campaigns have to deal with decaying environment or population pressures?

I imagine many folks are already aware of what I will write here, but for reasons of clarity I'll go ahead.
No matter how one feels about global warming and other environmental issues, it is hard to deny the degree of environmental degredation experienced by Afghanistan. Thousands of acres of arable farmland are gone, eroded due to poor management. Afghanistan's forests are a fraction of what they were in 30 years ago, and the glaciers, essential water sources for Afghanistan are shrinking.

Add to this the demographic explosion Afghanistan, like much of the developing world, experienced in the last 40 years. In centuries past the South Asian lowlands served as an escape valve for population pressures as young men went to what's now India and Pakistan. While Afghans are still emigrating in large numbers, the free flow of population is curtailed. And there simply are more Afghans than previously.

So as I see it, you have a growing population living on fewer resources. This in itself is dangerous. The amount of development and aid needed to counter act this demographic and environmental catastrophe would be a major undertaking in the best of times.


Oh well, just my two cents, it seems a lot of newspeople talk about radical Islam, but nobody talks much about water wars.

Longtime reader, firsttime commentor. Col., I might not agree with you all the time, but I always appreciate your postings.

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