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12 December 2015


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ME/SA = Middle East/Saudi Arabia??

I must be getting older....can't seem to keep this stuff straight.

Though I think that It would be hilarious to have a dedicated "nut job" section of the site so that you can post the "beyond the pale" conspiracy theories for the rest of our amusement.

Again, thank for all the hard work



South Asia. If you want a circus go start your own. pl


PL, since reality is very complex and the CIA has a long history of overthrowing regimes (or attempting to) and since the US did fund Islamists against Russia in Afghanistan I think it's logical for many well educated people who do not have experience working in government to make assumptions about the current state of play in the ME.

I would love to see someone post on what the CIA's actual current role in the ME/SA (even if only educated speculation) is and how they are fighting against, or ignoring-for-now, the jihadis. We do know the CIA has been involved since at least 2006 in destabilizing Syria.



I am growing weary of you as well. pl


OK pl, sorry for pushing the envelope on that topic. Will retreat to safer territory.



If you mean in covert action, CIA is acting as junior partner to DoD in trying to carry out Obama's stupid policy of regime change in Syria. This includes funding the non-IS opposition. Then there are the drone assassinations of jihadis. USAF actually runs that for CIA as well as its own program. CIA is incapable but their legal authorities apply in places where USAF's do not. Haven't you seen "The Bourne Legacy?" Why do you think those guys flying the drones are in uniform? Above and beyond all that, DO or whatever they call it now, is in embassies doing liaison with local intelligence services. Like most movie goers you seem to have a grossly exaggerated view of CIA effectiveness and scope of action. pl


PL, thanks for your response and especially this important tidbit...

"CIA is incapable but their legal authorities apply in places where USAF's do not."

I did not know that. And that's the kind of thing (about the CIA) I was referring to wanting to know more about in my comment. To be clear, I do not personally believe the CIA support the jihadis and I never have. I was trying to make a stupid point about how easy it is for some people to believe that. Your blog is a beacon of sanity, but not everyone see's the light yet.

btw, I haven't watched the Bourne identity movies yet and actually don't go out to movies much, and only watch the occasional movie at home. After studying power games in the real world all day on the internet and in my history books, I'm looking for escapist entertainment in movies and TV. My favorites are sci-fi, mysteries and detective shows. Spielberg's new Minority Report tv show is some of the best sci-fi I've seen on television... highly recommended!


Even if the conspiracy stories are themselves nonsense, that they seem to draw wide credibility in certain parts of the world (former Eastern Europe, especially parts formerly of Soviet Union) is not something we should downplay. I've met many otherwise intelligent and sensible people (Middle Easterners, but also some South Asians and Eastern Europeans) who subscribed to completely fantastical notions of CIA and other covert conspiracies behind troubles in their native regions, and I don't know that many Middle Easterners personally.

Why are (certain types of) conspiracy theories so widespread (and apparently shape public opinion to a large degree) in these parts is something that I'd like to know more about.


What were once described by the MSM as conspiracy theories are now, in many cases, accepted as fact: see Bologna bombings by Gladio; or Gary Webb's reporting on the CIA midwifing the crack epidemic in L.A. But bear in mind that credible evidence must be provided.


Agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment sir, the sad reality of attempts to discuss global politics and current events in public and on the net with even the learned is that the conversations invariably devolve into conspiracy talk, whether they be the traditional allegations of an omnipotent US driven by demonic economic determinism or otherwise. SST is rare in its ability to provide consistent valuable analysis grounded in reality.


"Blocking Democracy as Syria’s Solution," by Robert Parry
"The solution to the crisis in Syria could be democracy – letting the people of Syria decide who they want as their leaders – but it is the Obama administration and its regional Sunni “allies,” including U.S.-armed militants and jihadists, that don’t want to risk a democratic solution because it might not achieve the long-held goal of “regime change.”
From the bird-view perspective on the "regime change" (as was already posted by Valissa).
1. "Israel’s preferred option is that the US resumes its containment strategy against Iran, and, as part of the policy, should lead its regional allies to militarily push for regime change in Syria."
2. "The instability in Syria is useful for Israel to disrupt the supply lines for Hezbollah. But the new reality could be a strong Iranian-Hezbollah presence in southern Syria in the approaches to the Golan Heights enjoying Russian air cover. If that happens, Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights could become a theatre for the forces of the ‘resistance’."

Old Microbiologist

Not to put too fine a point but they are shifting to contractor pilots now so less uniform service members now which is another whole issue.

As far a conspiracy theories go I have no clue about the "truth" but like many am extremely cynical when it comes to US foreign policy and the degree our government is willing to go to further its idiotic goals. For example false flags seem to abound in both Ukraine and Syria. We still do not quite understand the sourcing of the barrels of sarin found in Syria marked manufactured in KSA. As a former Chem/bio detection commander I have questioned why no in situ testing using portable GC/Mass Spectrometry of the Sarin data was ever revealed. I am certain it was performed yet all the samples took weeks to run and even that data was obfuscated. There is a distinctive chemical signature yet no one has ever discussed the actual source. Because of things like that and other equally bizarre things happening so much in Syria nearly anything is believable now. I am always skeptical of everything which is perhaps a wise course these days.

Old Microbiologist

Also, my dear wife used to live next door in Clifton to 2 very senior CIA employees. They made a curious comparison between the KGB and the CIA. they said that the CIA unlike the KGB which seeks out the most intelligent people for recruitment, that the CIA refuses anyone with an IQ higher than 110. I tend to believe this having met a substantial number of CIA people so, I agree that the capabilities of the CIA are way over stated. The same thing is true of the FBI and the NSA. Smart people typically go into business not government. I can expound at length on how stupid most government agents are.


People may be naive at times over conspiracy notions, but it can be confusing to sort things out since conspiracies happen in the real world. The key difference may be that many things which look like conspiracies are actually just "group think" and confluences of interest as opposed to orchestrated actions that are vertically integrated.
Both can look pretty much alike and have the same results. Sooo I get it that when one asks the question "Cui Bono?" about a series of actions, the answer may be the same in either case so that the practical effects of group think and conspiracy can be identical.

robt willmann

In this article the British Daily Mail newspaper describes Israeli personnel treating wounded "jihadis" from the war in Syria. The Daily Mail is a notorious propaganda outlet, but has described itself as having been "embedded" with the Israeli military in this story, which means that Israel wants this story out--



Albayim, it would be an injustice to ban Valissa, in my opinion, she always has a valid, informed opinion here, however some of us may disagree. She is not a nut case conspiracy theorist. Diverse, but possibly unpopular opinions is what makes this site great. I have never thought her comments are outrageous, but if you ban her, based upon what she has written so far, ban me too, and don't forget BM, if outrageous is your criterion for banning.


"CIA is acting as junior partner to DoD in trying to carry out Obama's stupid policy of regime change in Syria."

US policy is based on what Saudi wants (SA is Saudi?). I don't see it changing in the near future.


Old Miceobiologist

Yes but they are all former USAF drone pilots. pl

Peter in Toronto

Wise decision. I've seen many of these types of bizarre theories creep into the comments as of late.

I enjoy this blog because of the deep connections the authors and contributors have in the defense and intelligence fields, and the insights of how states operate and communicate internally.



I put that up on this thread. You are not reading the material here. why should I bother with you? pl


Old Microbiologist

Yes, DO case officers never seemed very bright. the analysts were better but now CIA does not have a national analytic function. The DNI took that, so I do not know. pl

Old Microbiologist

Personally, I wish they were as good as people believe but sadly it is not the case. I don't think we are unique in this though. Our elected representatives charged with oversight clearly are beyond incompetent so it appears to be this way from top down. I think even in the military because of DOPMA that the selection process down selects leaders with intelligence and instead favors sycophants and committee players. Worse, I also see a particular breed of officers who rise up the chain by reporting actual or alleged minor misdeeds of others and use that to their advantage. These are political manipulators and it clearly works up until the Peter Principle takes effect and they flame out. I am very happy to be long gone from that arena.

I do see over time a tendency to put into operation the wildest hair-brained, poorly planned, and without any though of consequences, schemes imaginable. Then the whitewashing of Intel to please the Emperor is beyond the pale. But, this is our new normal so it us going to take an enormous house cleaning of every agency to fix years of this buildup of the crapification of nearly everything in the US government. I am not optimistic this will ever happen.

Still, we must try.


"Our elected representatives charged with oversight clearly are beyond incompetent so it appears to be this way from top down."

Not certain if this gaffe was discussed yet, but would Mr Obama's following words from August last year be one such example of blatant incompetence at the very top?


"So, I asked, explain your decision to use military force to protect the refugees from ISIL (which is also known as ISIS) and Kurdistan, which is an island of real decency in Iraq?

“When you have a unique circumstance in which genocide is threatened, and a country is willing to have us in there, you have a strong international consensus that these people need to be protected and we have a capacity to do so, then we have an obligation to do so,” said the president. But given the island of decency the Kurds have built, we also have to ask, he added, not just “how do we push back on ISIL, but also how do we preserve the space for the best impulses inside of Iraq, that very much is on my mind, that has been on my mind throughout.

“I do think the Kurds used that time that was given by our troop sacrifices in Iraq,” Obama added. “They used that time well, and the Kurdish region is functional the way we would like to see. It is tolerant of other sects and other religions in a way that we would like to see elsewhere. So we do think it’s important to make sure that that space is protected, but, more broadly, what I’ve indicated is that I don’t want to be in the business of being the Iraqi air force. I don’t want to get in the business for that matter of being the Kurdish air force, in the absence of a commitment of the people on the ground to get their act together and do what’s necessary politically to start protecting themselves and to push back against ISIL.”

The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.” That only would have encouraged, he said, Maliki and other Shiites to think: " ‘We don’t actually have to make compromises. We don’t have to make any decisions. We don’t have to go through the difficult process of figuring out what we’ve done wrong in the past. All we have to do is let the Americans bail us out again. And we can go about business as usual.’ ”

If one were in some way inclined to argue in the man's favour, this could be taken as a stab at "enemy of my enemy is my friend" and "ends justifying means": not fully supporting a formally allied government against a brutal insurgent group to black-mail it into "the best impulses".

Babak Makkinejad

I agree with you, definitely not a good move; the only female Danish Hedonist on this forum...

Babak Makkinejad


I must admit that I have come to the conclusion that there is vast conspiracy behind Kim Kardashian and her entire family enterprise.

I keep on asking myself; "Who is behind her/them?"

Unfortunately, the TV series X-Files is not longer running so I suppose we would never find out.

And perhaps that would be better for me personally, avoiding reprising the fate of "The Man Who Knew Too Much."

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