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04 March 2014

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The Twisted Genius

seydlitz89,

Concerning your reporting about Serbian atrocities/war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, were your sources all Bosnian and Croatian refugees? On the clan side, they all were. We were directed to make a concerted effort to gather intel. Unfortunately our leads and sources were all taken from refugees... low hanging fruit. Our most prolific source proved to be a paper mill. The handling C/O discovered this himself with some persistent detective work. We only talked to one side and we got one sided reports. Vladko and his henchmen were bastards, but we never got a clear picture of the entire situation. We missed half the bastards.

Here's another sad story. We had several Yugoslavian sources prior to the troubles in the Balkans, but were directed to drop them not long after the WTO collapsed. "We'll never be interested in that region again," we were told. Turned out to be pretty damned shortsighted.

turcopolier

TTG and Sedlitz89

"Our most prolific source proved to be a paper mill." well, that's the problem is it not? If you interview refugees about the persecutors lot of them are going to lie to you. pl

kao_hsien_chih

In some sense, that is the direction politics has been moving in United States, too, although, as far as I can tell, without direct linkage to NED--but then, these are basically same people who are operating on both domestic electoral front and the int'l "democratization" front.

Within both parties, political activists have identified the loci of power within the parties and are using various peculiar features of American elections (e.g. primaries) to exercise undue influence within both parties. Tea Partiers, liberal activists, R2P types, neocons, neoliberals, etc.: all these people are relatively small (and often very small) minorities among the American public, even if they were all put together, but they have been successful in mobilizing key demographics of the public at the crucial points along the political process and have been able to exercise undue amount of influence. In other words, they have been able to threaten many elected politicians (even those who are not their fellow travelers) by threatening to "withdraw important subsets of the citizenry and the key institutions of society." It is basically the same cynical game they play, both at home and abroad.

William R. Cumming

Within the Washington Beltway really only one party!

The one party is the incumbents.

See William Greider's 1994 book "Who Will Tell the People?"!

confusedponderer

Then it all comes down to properly assessing the reliability of a source, that analysts are given the time necessary for that and that reality is being taken into account.

I think the inherent problem of such situations as we saw in Jugoslavia, Iraq, with Syria policy and now in Ukraine, is that there is a strong political impetus that wants a particular policy that heavily favours friendly news.

We have a 24h news cycle now, and that means that the political side tries to put out stories in support of political objectives as soon as they bcome available and still have news value to shape the narrative. This is propaganda pure and simple. It has nothing to do with reality.

The idea may be summed up as move fast, pick the stories you want, be first, and no more questions please.

In essence, policy moves faster than the understanding of the situation, and the decision makers are so cocksure of themselves that they don't bother operating in the fog.

Brandon O'Neill has called these people ahistorical and I concur. They don't know history, and they don't care.

What I marvel at is the degree of decentralised harmonisation that one can see at play in western and in partuicular in US media in such circumstances. Either they play along willingly and tacitly, or they are out of their depth and simply overwhelmed with events they have no time (or inclination or knowledge) to think through. Or is it just an elite consensus of an old boys and gals crowd, some sort of DC insisder intellectual incest?

I can't otherwise explain the piss poor performance we see with the hair-dos on tv and in the severely skewed reporting one can read in the newspapers.

The problem inherent in that is that not just the public but in particular the political sides is never fully or orperly informed, and thus prone fall prey to believing their own propaganda.

And these people are necessarily mislading their publics as much as their enemies. Regime change ops like this require secrecy and, more importantly, it inevitably requires domestic propaganda (something putatively prohibited in the US).

It's a small step from staying on message to believe all that crap yourself. It probably is one way to calm the inevitable dissonance arising from knowing better and selling something else in full knowledge it is wrong. Believing that wrong is right must be tempting then, even kore so among true believers who want to be good, want to do good.

It is small comfort that, of all things, they would find their redemtrion in self delusion.

And of course, all of it flies on the face of parliementary oversight (and in the US, the odds are the overseers are fully on board wih any of this) and government transparency.

The intel people then must be the perpetual skunks at the picknick, whose views endanger the policy - dangerous people who must be reigned in and watched with suspicion. It is worse, however, when the Intel people want to be team players and drink the proverbial kool aid. A thankless job.

Afterthought:
In a sense, the intelligence apparatus was rid of a conflict of interest when it was to drop the subversive mission and when Reagan outsourced it to bodies like NED. The underlying propblem however wasn't not one of the intelligence services but one of the US government wanting policies regardles of facts on the ground. That problem persists regardles of reorganisation. It is as curent now as it was in 2003 or during Iran-Contra.

William R. Cumming

See my comment on the POST reflecting this comment. Totally agree!

kao_hsien_chih

One would wish that were still the case.

Historically, incumbents were successful electorally because they were able to spend time building rapport with their constituencies and because their parties and other Washington insiders stayed out of their districts.

Now, the story is opposite. Nobody has had personal contacts with their congressperson any more. The biggest asset that incumbents have is their partisanship, followed by talking points on various "major" issues. In compensation, parties have helped create heavily partisan districts where a yellow dog or a pink cat can be elected as long as they belong to the right party and say the right things. People talk about campaign spending going up, but in fact, large sums of money are being spent ONLY in the areas where partisan balance is still competitive: since politicians have no "personal" character to bring to the table, they make it up for it by spending money. No politician is being elected because of who and what they are as individual any more. Every politician has only to toe the party line (defined in different senses) and that will be good enough.

If anything, we need incumbency to matter more, not less, to fight this madness.

D

The National Democratic Institute is the Democratic Party homologue of the Republican-affiliated International Republican Institute, both of which are under the umbrella of the National Endowment for Democracy.

seydlitz89

TTG-

Sources were all Bosnian and victims of the Bosnian Serbs. We reported based on the sources we had access to. What really stood out was the reaction. After months of hardly any notice, all the sudden our reporting, particularly regarding a specific camp, was of high value and interest. If I remember correctly this was around the time that a couple of high level State Department officials resigned. Members of our unit received Exceptional Human Intelligence Collector awards signed by James W. himself . . . There's a bit more I could add, but you'll have to buy the beer . . .

seydlitz89

Sir, regarding Putin, I have the greatest respect for him as a strategist, from a Clausewitzian perspective. I think he is very much the part and for that reason somewhat predictable in that he shares a certain outlook which I am sure you see as well. I've posted on this subject and have used Clausewitz and Svechin to describe in some limited way what is going one, provide a conceptual yardstick . . .

At the same time, I don't see the US reacting in any way effectively to this, divided as we are due to base interest. I fear we as a country have little concept of what strategy actually is, this attempt to use various sources of power as means . . . at the level of grand strategy, of where we as a people will our political community to develop in interaction with other political communities . . . a difficult task indeed!

Was it all simply a mad Enlightenment dream?

The Twisted Genius

All,

Here's a pretty good report on the Maidan protests done by RT and published on 19 February. Sure RT has a point of view, but just look at the video images. Can you imagine what we would do if the Occupy Wallstreet crowd looked and acted like the Maidan protesters?

http://rt.com/shows/documentary/kiev-masks-of-revolution-388/

Someone commenting on the Vineyard Saker found these YouTube videos supporting the claim that the protesters were the ones doing the sniping.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5qXS8Xc274
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl6RUgAMaiA

Fred

TTG,
that is a very interesting documentary from RT. I guess Ms. Wahl definitely had to quit her job at RT before this came out.

I was struck by the father (Orthodox?) being interviewed saying Berkut units were using rubber bullets. (I believe the Berkut is a special police unit?) A few minutes later the interchange where this line was said: “Did you ever see a Russian diplomat handing out cookies to Berkut units” Got to admit it was funny. One of the Berkut members said the hard core (violent) protesters were present every day and that if they were given the order they could have pushed them out (his words) easily as there were only 2-300 of them? That seems like a pretty small group to force such a change, but of course the real power struggle wasn't in plain sight, was it?

Yes, I can imagine what would have been done to the “occupy WallStreet” movement had they dressed like any of the Ukrainian protesters. As is they were effectively crushed by court order and/or police action in every city but Detroit. There the city not only didn’t have the money but everyone with power knew they would be completely ineffective, including both the Democratic members of Congress from the area and all the Republicans in the state.

Meanwhile, South of the Border, the US is apparently choosing sides in the Mexican political process:

US Embassy and Godaddy conspire to censor dissenting Mexican political site
http://boingboing.net/2014/03/05/us-embassy-and-godaddy-conspir.html

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