De-Manufacturing Consent- War & Empire: The Instruments of 21st-Century Tyranny

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Abigail Hall

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by Abigail Hall, a research fellow at the Independent Institute and a graduating PhD student at George Mason University. We discuss Abigail's latest paper published in the Independent Review titled "Perfecting Tyranny: Foreign Intervention as Experimentation in State Control."

Abigail explains how coercive foreign interventions can produce a "boomerang effect" that leads to a loss of liberty for the domestic population. We discuss how war and the expansion of the American empire have given rise to the police and surveillance state in the United States.

What does the US invasion and occupation of the Philippines in 1898 have to do with the NSA and the modern-day domestic surveillance apparatus? How did the Vietnam War lead to the creation of SWAT teams and the militarization of local police? How can the public cope with the "paradox of political power," and retrain the US government internationally and domestically?

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Soothing the Beast: Saturday Night BFP-Jamiol Music, Episode 94

Edwin Starr – “War”

We had a request for tonight's Soothing the Beast BFP/Jamiol Music Pick. The song is "War" and singing this revered protest classic is none other than the man that made it a such a famous hit, Edwin Starr. While he couldn't match what he did with War, he had several Top Ten hits on the R&B charts. So tonight it's truly a classic with Starr's live performance of War...Enjoy...DJPJ. [Read more...]

Soothing the Beast: Saturday Night BFP-Jamiol Music, Episode 69

Bob Marley-“War”

STB_S

This week we have Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician Bob Marley's War for the Soothing the Beast BFP/Jamiol pick. War was a song recorded and made popular by Bob Marley. The song is credited to Alan "Skill" Cole for the idea and late Wailers' drummer Carlton "Carly" Barrett for the music. The lyrics are almost literally derived from a speech made by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I before the United Nations General Assembly in 1963. So kick back and listen to a great song by a great artist...enjoy...DJPJ. [Read more...]

The Reality Principle -Episode 17

“War, Peace, and the Search for Our Humanity” with Kathy Kelly

RPLogoThis week, Eric has an in-depth conversation with peace activist and author Kathy Kelly. They discuss the human side of war: the children taken from their parents, the fathers ruthlessly assassinated, the lives permanently shattered. Kathy provides emotionally moving first-hand accounts of her experiences in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and other war zones, explaining the impact on individuals that have touched her life. Eric and Kathy examine the use of drones and the redefinition of war under the Obama administration. In addition, they critique the very notions of "humanitarian intervention" and the "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine as little more than rhetorical devices used to justify and legitimize blatant imperialist aggression. Kathy and Eric also provide insights into how to build an effective, broad-based antiwar movement in the US.

Kathy Kelly is an activist, author and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence. She has worked extensively in the US and around the world on issues as far-ranging as poverty, nuclear disarmament, and US imperialism. Visit vcnv.org for more information on how to follow her work and get involved.

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International Peace Bureau Requests Swedish Foundation Authority to Stop Paying the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize & to Investigate into the Unlawful Reinterpretation of Nobel’s Will

nobelThe International Peace Bureau has today requested the Swedish Foundation Authority to stop the payment of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, and urgently investigate the unlawful reinterpretation of Alfred Nobel's will and testament that has taken place over the last few years.

The Swedish Foundation Authority (länsstyrelsen) is the authority tasked to control if foundations are following their statutes and rules. In case of the Nobel Foundation, they control if the will of Alfred Nobel is followed by those organs entitled to select prize winners.

-          "The European Union, announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012, clearly is not one of the “champions for peace” Alfred Nobel had in mind and described in his will as “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”, IPB Co-Presidents Ingeborg Breines, Norway, and Tomas Magnusson, Sweden, state. [Read more...]

BFP Select Nightly News & Editorials

Wall Street-ers Top Obama Re-election Supporters… more than 2008, 'Israeli Style' Airports in Ex America, The Development of 'Privacy Killing Technologies', Libya Transitional Council Rebels in Total Disarray, Mongolia Military Trains with US- Buys Fighters from Russia, US Grows a Tree of Tension with Iran, Video: War by Other Means & More!

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 BFP Nightly Quote

 “The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting.”-Charles Bukowski  

International Newsworthy

Mullen Demands Pakistan Launch a Military Offensive Against North Waziristan

Egyptian Army Clears Tahrir Square with Force

Libya Transitional Council Rebels in Total Disarray

China Blames Pakistan for Harboring Uyghur Terrorists

Russia Accuses US of Fueling Georgian 'Revanchism'

Mongolia Military Trains with US, Buys Fighters from Russia

US Grows a Tree of Tension with Iran

Turkey: Military Resignation Strategy Backfires

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[Read more...]

Podcast Show #37

The Boiling Frogs Presents Corey Pein

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Corey Pein recounts the creation of the recently launched groundbreaking site warisbusiness.com, a nonpartisan site covering military contracting, the global arms trade and the lobby, and how he began the project with two assumptions: The first- a lot of people are making money from war, while enjoying the comforts of anonymity (such people were once plainly called profiteers), and the second: Privatizing war inevitably prolongs it, creating what economists call a “perverse incentive.” Mr. Pein discusses the bought out generals and the militarization of the economy, and the latest on the ‘Rent-A-Generals’ exposé. He talks about scandals such as Mina Corp and the subsequent cover up, US Embassies as marketing arms of military corporations, the win-win outcome of elections for the Pentagon contractors and arms makers, Wikileaks, and more!

CoreyPein Corey Pein is an award-winning investigative reporter and long-form narrative journalist who writes about the military industrial complex, money, politics and violence from London, UK. Previously, he has lived in New Mexico, Oregon, Georgia and in Southeast Asia. His latest project is warisbusiness.com, a startup news site covering military contracting and the global arms trade. Mr. Pein has worked on staff at Columbia Journalism Review, Willamette Week, the Santa Fe Reporter and IHT ThaiDay, and contributed to Salon, Slate, The American Prospect, and CounterPunch, among others.

Here is our guest Corey Pein unplugged!

Note- Boiling Frogs selects warisbusiness.com as the best website of 2010!

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Turning ‘Combat Casualties’ into ‘Victims’ & Vice Versa

Curious Terminology Game in the US Media

VictimLast Friday as I was searching the headlines for noteworthy and interesting news articles I came across a fairly lengthy and detailed story on Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi. Considering the saturated state of this recent CIA slaying story and the reporting source, I almost skipped the article, but then, something caught my eye; something easy to miss with the naked eye, at least those of gullible US Media readers-believers. It wasn’t the story itself, nor was it the flowery details in an attempt to make it a possible future ‘Hollywood Action Drama’ worthy of a six figure movie rights offer. It also wasn’t due to the authors, since neither one of them was familiar to me. No, it was none of that. What caught my attention and held it there for the next few hours was the very calculative and selective usage of a word in the title; Victim:

“In Afghanistan attack, CIA fell victim to series of miscalculations about informant”

With that word, victim, in mind, I quickly checked a few other media sites, and sure enough the word was there. I will give you a couple of quick examples, starting with NY Daily News:

Among the CIA victims, including several contractors, was a mother of three who directed operations and intelligence gathering at Forward Operating Base Chapman, a secretive site in Khowst province on the Pakistan border that also houses a State Department reconstruction team.

An eighth American victim was a State Department worker. An Afghan also was killed in the attack and six other Americans were wounded.

And the next excerpt from the so-called lefty PBS:

Families of some of the CIA victims have released information about their lives. Harold Brown Jr., 37, from Massachusetts, had a wife and three children; Jeremy Wise, 35, was a former Navy SEAL and worked as a security contractor; Scott Michael Roberson, 39, worked as a security officer and had a wife who was eight months pregnant; and Dane Clak Paresi, 46, was a contractor and retired soldier.

First, let’s get the very simple facts straight here: [Read more...]

Shooting Handcuffed Children

David Swanson on the Recent Massacre of 8 Children in Kunar Province

SwansonThe occupied government of Afghanistan and the United Nations have both concluded that U.S.-led troops recently dragged eight sleeping children out of their beds, handcuffed some of them, and shot them all dead. While this apparently constitutes an everyday act of kindness, far less intriguing than the vicious singeing of his pubic hairs by Captain Underpants, it is at least a variation on the ordinary American technique of murdering men, women, and children by the dozens with unmanned drones.

Also this week in Afghanistan, eight CIA assassins (see if you can find a more appropriate name for them) were murdered by a suicide bombing that one of them apparently executed against the other seven. The Taliban in Pakistan claims credit and describes the mass-murder as revenge for the CIA's drone killings. And we thought unmanned drones were War Perfected because none of the right people would have to risk their lives. Oops. Perhaps Detroit-bound passengers risked theirs unwittingly.

The CIA has declared its intention to seek revenge for the suicide strike. Who knows what the assassination of sleeping students was revenge for. Perhaps the next lunatic to try blowing up something in the United States will be seeking revenge for whatever Obama does to avenge the victims (television viewers?) of the Crotch Crusader. Certainly there will be numerous more acts of violence driven by longings for revenge against the drone pilots and the shooters of students. [Read more...]

Another Sorry Episode in American History: Agent Orange

Cycles of atrocities, Cycles of Shame & Regret, and Cycles of more atrocities…

This recent article by Time Magazine on Agent Orange in Vietnam opened up a floodgate of emotions I had thought I had gotten over with a year ago, after my own personal first-hand experiences there. The article was fairly well-written, that is, considering the publication. Here are some excerpts:

This lonely section of the abandoned Danang air base was once crawling with U.S. airmen and machines. It was here where giant orange drums were stored and the herbicides they contained were mixed and loaded onto waiting planes. Whatever sloshed out soaked into the soil and eventually seeped into the water supply. Thirty years later, the rare visitor to the former U.S. air base is provided with rubber boots and protective clothing. Residue from Agent Orange, which was sprayed to deny enemy troops jungle cover, remains so toxic that this patch of land is considered one of the most contaminated pieces of real estate in the country. A recent study indicates that even three decades after the war ended, the cancer-causing dioxins are at levels 300 to 400 times higher than what is deemed to be safe.

After years of meetings, signings and photo ops, the U.S. held another ceremony in Vietnam on Dec. 16 to sign yet another memorandum of understanding as part of the continuing effort to manage Agent Orange's dark legacy. Yet there are grumblings that little — if anything — has been done to clean up the most contaminated sites. Since 2007, Congress has allocated a total of $6 million to help address Agent Orange issues in Vietnam. Not only does the amount not begin to scratch the surface of the problem or get rid of the tons of toxic soil around the nation, but there are questions about how the money is being spent.

Groups caring for children born with horrific deformities from Agent Orange — such as malformed limbs and no eyes — are wondering why they haven't seen any of that money. Bedridden and unable to feed themselves, many patients need round-the-clock care. As they age, and parents die, who is going to look after them? asks Nguyen Thi Hien, director of the Danang Association of Victims of Agent Orange.

You can read the entire article here.

I spent the better part of the year 2008 in Vietnam. I traveled around the country, and was involved in interviewing and recording various children related charities and organizations there. While in the Da Nang area I had an opportunity to visit and interview a family who were victims of Agent Orange - bed-ridden twin men of age 28 and their parents.

The family lived in a village, in a shack, 3.5 miles from the nearest road. I had to walk the entire distance on a very hot and humid day, pass through many rice paddies, and after being chased by an angry water buffalo, I finally made it.

The following 5-minute video includes one of the interview segments I conducted with the parents, and brief footage of the twin’s horrendous condition. Before you watch the video:

 

  • The footage of the Agent Orange victims is very graphic and may be disturbing to some.

  • I apologize for the quality of the video: I had to conduct the interview through my translator and overcome my own shock and emotional response, while recording the victims.

Here is my video, recorded in March 2008, near Da Nang, Vietnam:

 

I want to emphasize these facts from the Time Magazine article:

The U.S. government still spends billions every year on disability payments to those who served in Vietnam — including their children, many of whom are suffering from dioxin-associated cancers and birth defects. Since 2007, Congress has allocated a total of $6 million to help address Agent Orange issues in Vietnam.

[Read more...]

Updates & Weekly Round Up for December 12

Ron Paul on Escalation in Afghanistan, Obama Supports & Defends Domestic Enemies & More

Not much in terms of site updates on this week’s Boiling Frogs Round Up. If you haven’t listened to our interview with Pepe Escobar, please do; click here.

Last week I failed to bring to your attention an interesting and noteworthy interview:

Peter B Collins interviewed David Krikorian, challenger to GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio, on Schmidt’s efforts to squelch Krikorian’s First Amendment rights and the infamous Turkish Lobby’s covert and overt influence of Schmidt’s campaign. Krikorian ran against Mean Jean in 2008 and got 17% of the vote as an independent. After he announced he would challenge her again in 2010 as a Democrat, Schmidt filed legal actions over Krikorian’s sharp criticism of her support from Turkish interests. Schmidt’s lawyer is Bruce Fein, an erstwhile friend of the PBC show for his support of impeachment for Bush and Cheney; Fein is counsel to the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund and an apologist for Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide.

This is a very interesting, and informative interview. You can listen to it here at Peter B Collins’ website. I’m looking forward to your feedback on this; many of you know why.

Rep. Ron Paul on the Escalation in Afghanistan

RonPaulCongressman Ron Paul has written an excellent editorial piece on our war in Afghanistan and President Obama’s escalation plans now in full action. As always he makes his points clearly and sincerely: No beating around the bush, no gobbledygook stuff, and no special interests or agenda to serve.

Dr. Paul hits some of the most important key words and phrases: Perpetual War, seeking out monsters to destroy abroad, Military Industrial Complex, the War Lobby, bypassing the Constitution, nebulous & never-ending conflicts, domestic liberties, nation-building, war-racketeers…Here are a couple of excerpts:

 

If anyone still doubted that this administration’s foreign policy would bring any kind of change, this week’s debate on Afghanistan should remove all doubt. The president’s stated justifications for sending more troops to Afghanistan and escalating the war amount to little more than recycling all the false reasons we began the conflict. It is so discouraging to see this coming from our new leadership, when the people were hoping for peace. New polls show that 49 percent of the people favor minding our own business on the world stage, up from 30 percent in 2002. Perpetual war is not solving anything. Indeed continually seeking out monsters to destroy abroad only threatens our security here at home as international resentment against us builds. The people understand this and are becoming increasingly frustrated at not being heard by the decision-makers. The leaders say some things the people want to hear, but change never comes.

We now find ourselves in another foreign policy quagmire with little hope of victory, and not even a definition of victory. Eisenhower said that only an alert and informed electorate could keep these war racketeering pressures at bay. He was right, and the key is for the people to ensure that their elected leaders follow the Constitution. The Constitution requires a declaration of war by Congress in order to legitimately go to war. Bypassing this critical step makes it far too easy to waste resources on nebulous and never-ending conflicts. Without clear goals, the conflicts last forever and drain the country of blood and treasure. The drafters of the Constitution gave Congress the power to declare war precisely because they feared allowing the executive unfettered discretion in military affairs. They understood that making it easy for leaders to wage foreign wars would threaten domestic liberties.

I don’t know about you but I for one always seem to find myself agreeing with Dr. Paul’s view on our foreign policy and the destructiveness of the long-in-power war party. You can read the brief but effective piece here. What do you think?
 

President Obama: Staunch Supporter of our Domestic Enemies?

It certainly appears that way. He’s been vehemently supporting the Patriot Act and its architects & defenders; he’s been relentlessly protecting the previous administrations’ wrongdoers and culprits involved in rendition and torture…And now this: White House wants suit against Yoo dismissed

The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

Yoo, a UC Berkeley law professor, worked for the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003. He was the author of a 2002 memo that said rough treatment of captives amounts to torture only if it causes the same level of pain as "organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death." The memo also said the president may have the power to authorize torture of enemy combatants.

 

TortureExample

 

We’ve been writing and talking about many cases, issues, and points where Obama has been supporting, defending, and continuing the Bush administration’s practices and abuses. Now can we think of any cases, examples, or issues where he, Obama, has actually been opposing or challenging the previous administration’s decisions, policies, or practices? In the Human Rights area? Our civil liberties? War(s)? I didn’t think so either… [Read more...]

Podcast Show #11

The Boiling Frogs Presents Elizabeth Gould & Paul Fitzgerald

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Elizabeth Gould & Paul Fitzgerald discuss Afghanistan and how US foreign policy and military decisions are based on miscalculated and misunderstood Afghanistan politics, history, and culture. They talk about the ‘real’ history of Afghanistan; how the media misled the public by not laying out the fundamental facts about what was really going on, and the consequences; the differences between Pakistani Taliban and Afghani Taliban, and how our policy since 2001 has been emboldening them; the role of Pashtuns; and more!

Fitzgerald & Gould Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, a husband and wife team, began their experience in Afghanistan when they were the first American journalists to acquire permission to enter behind Soviet lines in 1981 for CBS News and produced a documentary, Afghanistan Between Three Worlds, for PBS. In 1983 they returned to Kabul with Harvard Negotiation project director Roger Fisher for ABC Nightline and contributed to the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. They continued to research, write and lecture about the long-term run-up that led to the US invasion of Afghanistan. They are featured in an award winning documentary by Samira Goetschel. Titled, Our own Private Bin Laden which traces the creation of the Osama bin Laden mythology in Afghanistan and how that mythology has been used to maintain the "war on terror" approach of the Bush administration. Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story published by City Lights, January 2009 chronicles their three-decade-focus on Afghanistan and the media.

Here are our guests Elizabeth Gould & Paul Fitzgerald unplugged!

In the Name of a General, his Son, a Spook & the Godmother of Neocons

Afghan Carpetbaggers Hit Pots of Gold in Washington

Once Upon a Time a General…

GeneralWardakOnce upon a time there was an Afghani general named Abdul Rahim Wardak. He had studied in both US and Egyptian military schools before joining the army in Afghanistan. In the 1980s, a few years after he joined the army, he decided to defect and joined the Mujahideen movement. We don’t know exactly who in the United States gave him the order to defect, because no one is willing to go on record. However, we know very well that due to their fight against the Communist Soviet Union, the Mujahideen were significantly financed, armed, and trained by the CIA, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, along with several other not as significant nations. We also know that back then, when we were supporting, financing, training and cheering for the Mujahideen as ‘freedom fighters,’ those labeled today as terrorist evil-doer radicals, Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, were viewed and treated as our allies and entourage. 

Now, back to our General. He joined the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan arm of the Mujahideen and fought against the Soviets. Interestingly, during those years, the mid to late 80s,  our general Wardak was brought to the United States and coached to testify before the US Congress; not once but several times. He was even flown to the US once to receive medical treatment for a wound he received from a scud missile. I am sure you are savvy enough to know that this was considered ‘highly special’ treatment for a Mujahideen fighter in Afghanistan. Our general was truly loved when it came to our CIA and certain high-level people within the Reagan Administration.

So how good of a military officer was Mr. Wardak? Not a good one - and this assessment seems to be pretty much unanimous. In fact, this is how he’s been known in that part of the world: “… in the 1980’s, he had garnered a reputation as one of the least accomplished commanders of the American-backed Mujahideen resistance to Soviet occupation forces.” If you enter the circles within the Washington DC Afghani diaspora, and if you get close enough to hear the hushed comments, you’d be able to make out words like ‘corrupt,’ ‘ties to drug-running warlords,’ or ‘Afghan mafia.’ But for some ‘mysterious’ reasons our Central Intelligence Agency and hard-core Neocons within our foreign policy arena had deemed this general ultra special and important…

*And the story continues…

Once Upon a Time a Godmother of Neocons…

JeaneKirkpatrickOnce Upon a time there was a woman named Jeane Kirkpatrick, who didn’t really look like a woman but it never mattered, in fact it may have helped her. Jeane was a Democrat, and then, later, she became a Republican. She was on President Reagan’s National Security Council, on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and of course the Defense Policy Review Board. She became the US Ambassador to the United Nations; appointed by President Reagan. Ms. Kirkpatrick was a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). She was a hard-core anti-communist, and she was a hawk. But most importantly, she was the woman whom people considered and labeled the Godmother of Neocons.

Ms. Kirkpatrick died in 2006, and here is a widely witnessed account of those who shed the most tears:

Until the end, she was a cherished mentor to the neo-conservatives. John Bolton - Bush's outgoing ambassador to the UN and of all her successors there the one who most closely resembled her - publicly wept as he paid tribute to her last week. Perhaps the tears were at the rubble of his President's Iraq policy, but also for a remarkable woman.

Before her death, her final ‘known’ government mission was to help pave the way for our preemptive attack on Iraq in 2002:

…in a final mission, kept secret until her death, to meet Arab envoys in Geneva in 2003 to win them over to the impending invasion of Iraq. Her instructions were to argue that pre-emptive war was justified. But Kirkpatrick knew it wouldn't work. Instead she made the case that Saddam Hussein had flouted the UN too long and too often.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, true to her Grand Neocon title, was a strong believer of ‘the end justifies the means.’ She vehemently disagreed with Secretary of State George Schultz on the Iran-Contra affair, in which she supported skimming money off arms sales to fund the Contras. Everything was kosher to her, whether drugs or illegal arms sales, as long as these means served what she considered to be the goal; an imperial US.

Ms. Kirkpatrick similarly, in fact more vehemently, supported our operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 80s where we backed and trained the Mujahideen against the Soviets.  Just like what we sanctioned in Nicaragua, in Afghanistan all deals, no matter how insane or unsavory, were means’ to justify the end. This was one of her mottos most cherished by the hawks and the neocons:

Traditional authoritarian governments are less repressive than revolutionary autocracies.

What went unsaid in that quote, but meant and practiced was: Radical Islam, the Taliban, their Madrasas, their terrorizing of women, their heroin business…are perfectly all right, as long as they are on our side, in our camp, on our payroll, instead of on the other side.

Following her ‘direct’ government career, she returned to academia at Georgetown University where for some reason many well-known Neocons, such as James Woolsey and Douglas Feith, chose to flock. And very characteristically our Jeane Patrick continued her contribution to the practice of Neocon-ism…

*And the story continues…

Once Upon a Time a spook…

MiltonBeardenOnce upon a time there was man named Milton Bearden, commonly referred to as Milt. He spent his early years in the state of Washington where his father worked on the Manhattan Project. After a few years with the US Air Force he joined the CIA in 1964.

Milt was CIA’s chosen man for their operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In fact, from 1986 to 1989, when our country was supporting the Mujahideen, he was one of their main men on the ground, working with this coalition of the Taliban, the Saudis and their main man Bin Laden, and the Pakistani ISI. The Director of the CIA, William Casey, was the one who appointed Milt Bearden for this task. Here is Milt’s own words describing his importance in a not very unusual ex-CIA conceited manner:

"For Casey Afghanistan seemed to be possibly one of the keys and so he tapped me one day to go. he said 'I want you to go to Afghanistan, I want you to go next month and I will give you what ever you need to Win." To win, yeah he said: "I want you to go out there and win" As opposed to 'let's go there and bleed these guys and make it be a Vietnam', I want you to go and win and whatever you need you can have. He gave me the Stinger Missiles and a billion Dollars!"

He must have done extremely well since he was promoted to CIA Station Chief in Pakistan. In fact he must have done exceedingly well since he was later appointed the chief of the Soviet/East European Division during the collapse of the Soviet Union, and received three glowing medals from the CIA for services rendered. [Read more...]