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Monday Morning Quarterbacking

“Two years ago the FBI focused on a suspect with a far-fetched scheme—right as it stopped tracking the Boston Marathon bomber.”

That’s the subhead of Trevor Aaronson’s latest piece at Mother Jones, entitled How the FBI in Boston May Have Pursued the Wrong “Terrorist”.

You might remember Trevor from our episode “The Terror Factory”, based on Trevor’s book of the same name.

In this episode, we cover a whole new story of informant mishandling, plus other examples of “Incompitude”, and cover a story on how Daimler A.G., the parent company of Mercedes Benz, will have to defend itself in front of the U.S. Supreme Court from allegations that its Argentina division collaborated with state security forces during the Dirty War of the 1970s.

About the guest:

Trevor_AaronsonTrevor Aaronson is author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism (Ig Publishing, January 2013). He is also co-director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Aaronson was a 2010-11 fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, where he produced an award-winning project about FBI counterterrorism operations for Mother Jones.

Previously, Aaronson was an investigative reporter and editor for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, where his stories ranged from local government investigations to reporting in Asia, Africa and South America. He was also formerly a staff writer for Miami New Times and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

A two-time finalist for the Livingston Awards for journalists under the age of 35, Aaronson has won more than two dozen national and regional awards, including the Molly Prize, the international Data Journalism Award and the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award.

Related links:

Daimler Supreme Court case

Mike on the Crier Report talking about operation Agent Scrub:

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The Terror Factory

At the end of last year, Project Censored published their yearly top 25 censored stories list.

Well, Number 4 caught our eye pretty fast:

4. FBI Agents Responsible for Majority of Terrorist Plots in the United States

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has embarked on an unusual approach to ensure that the United States is secure from future terrorist attacks. The agency has developed a network of nearly 15,000 spies to infiltrate various communities in an attempt to uncover terrorist plots. However, these moles are actually assisting and encouraging people to commit crimes. Many informants receive cash rewards of up to $100,000 per case.”

The main Mother Jones article they cited was the work of Trevor Aaronson – whose subsequent book “The Terror Factory” nails the whole story.

Longtime listeners know that this has been one of our pet peeves forever – the financial and societal cost of mishandling informants.

Back in August of 2010, our “Stage Managing the War on Terror” episode with Stephan Salisbury covered some of the same cases we talk about tonight.

So we were only too pleased when Trevor agreed to have a talk with us about the subject.

About the guest:

Trevor_AaronsonTrevor Aaronson is author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism (Ig Publishing, January 2013). He is also co-director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Aaronson was a 2010-11 fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, where he produced an award-winning project about FBI counterterrorism operations for Mother Jones.

Previously, Aaronson was an investigative reporter and editor for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, where his stories ranged from local government investigations to reporting in Asia, Africa and South America. He was also formerly a staff writer for Miami New Times and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

A two-time finalist for the Livingston Awards for journalists under the age of 35, Aaronson has won more than two dozen national and regional awards, including the Molly Prize, the international Data Journalism Award and the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award.

Closing music: “Man Walking” from Mark’s New Eye album.

Below: A superinformant at work.

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Cocaine Death Squads and the War On Terror

Regular listeners to our broadcast know – we have repeatedly made the point that the war on drugs doesn’t work – nor has it ever.  Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Dr. Oliver Villar, co-author of “Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia”, who has spent over a decade researching the subject, and has some eye-opening observations on not only why it doesn’t work, but also on why it’s supposed to work that way.

About the guest:

Dr. Oliver Villar is a lecturer in Politics at Charles Sturt University. For the past decade his research has been devoted to this book. Much of the research is based on his PhD dissertation on the political economy of contemporary Colombia in the context of the cocaine drug trade. He has published broadly on the Inter-American cocaine drug trade, the U.S. War on Drugs and Terror in Colombia, and U.S.-Colombian relations.

Oliver was born in Mendoza, Argentina and has lived in Sydney for most of his life. In 2008 he completed his PhD on the political economy of contemporary Colombia in the context of the cocaine drug trade at the then UWS Latin American Research Group (LARG). Whilst completing his PhD, Oliver’s research interests in political economy, Latin America and the global drug trade followed teaching positions in politics at UWS and Macquarie University. His academic interests have involved an engagement with the sizeable Latin American immigrant community in Sydney and Melbourne and international concerns, such as with political and policy concerns over the ‘globalisation’ of crime and terrorism and the underlying causes of the processes involved.

At CSU Oliver’s research interests continue to focus on the vast and dynamic reservoir of political economy and the study of class analysis and class relations. This abiding interest extends across economic thought, economic development and the development of social and political relationships between the First World and Third World (in particular between the United States and Latin America) and the impact of neoliberal economic globalisation.

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This Week – Support WBAI

Since 1996, we’ve been doing this for nothing.  We couldn’t have done it without WBAI.

Tonight, we feature some of our favorite guests and topics from over the past year.  While you may only listen to our show via the web – the show itself would not be possible were it not for WBAI-FM – Part of the Pacifica Radio network.

So please show your support for WBAI by sending them a donation below, or by visiting their website.  During the broadcast, you can also call 212-209-2950.

Info on the guests can be found below.

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Tonight’s guests:

Bill Conroy has worked as a reporter or editor for the past eighteen years at newspapers in Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota and Texas.

His investigative reporting over the past five years has focused on corruption and discrimination within federal law enforcement agencies.

He is also a journalist for Narco News. His investigative pieces, particularly those on the House of Death, have made him our most-favored guest.


Stephan Salisbury is the senior cultural writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has been a reporter for three decades.

He has won numerous awards for his work and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize as part of an Inquirer investigative team looking into local election fraud.

He is author of the recently published Mohamed’s Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland published by Nation Books.


Howard Bloom, a Visiting Scholar at New York University, is founder of the International Paleopsychology Project, executive editor of the New Paradigm book series, a founding board member of the Epic of Evolution Society, and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, The International Society of Human Ethology, and the Academy of Political Science. He has been featured in every edition of Who’s Who in Science and Engineering since the publication’s inception.


Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, an internationally recognized expert on intelligence, is the President and CEO of the Intelligence & Security Academy, LLC, a national security education, training and consulting company.

From 2002-2005, Dr. Lowenthal served as the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production and also as the Vice Chairman for Evaluation on the National Intelligence Council. Prior to these duties, he served as Counselor to the Director of Central Intelligence. Dr. Lowenthal was the staff director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 104th Congress (1995-97), where he directed the committee’s study on the future of the Intelligence Community, IC21: The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century. He also served in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), as both an office director and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and has been the Senior Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

Dr. Lowenthal has written extensively on intelligence and national security issues, including five books and over 90 articles or studies. His most recent book, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (Congressional Quarterly Press, 4th ed., 2009), has become the standard college and graduate school textbook on the subject. He has also written a fantasy novel, Crispan Magicker, published in 1978. Dr. Lowenthal is a frequent public commentator on intelligence issues. He has appeared on each of the major networks, the Lehrer Newshour and Charlie Rose; his op-eds have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Dr. Lowenthal received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He joined the adjunct faculty of the Johns Hopkins University in 2008, after 14 years as an adjunct at Columbia University. He is the Executive Director of the International Association for Intelligence Education and a Chairman Emeritus of the Intelligence Committee for AFCEA.

In 2005, Dr. Lowenthal was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Intelligence Community’s highest award. In 2006, he received AFCEA’s Distinguished Service Award for service to the Intelligence Community. In 1988, Dr. Lowenthal was the Grand Champion on Jeopardy!, the television quiz show.


Photo by Charles Miller

LESLIE KEAN is an independent investigative journalist with a background in freelance writing and radio broadcasting. She has contributed articles to dozens of publications here and abroad including the Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Providence Journal, International Herald Tribune, Globe and Mail, Sydney Morning Herald, Bangkok Post, The Nation, and The Journal for Scientific Exploration. Her stories have been syndicated through Knight Ridder/Tribune, Scripps-Howard, New York Times wire service, Pacific News Service, and the National Publishers Association. While spending many years reporting on Burma, she co-authored Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity (Aperture, 1994) and she has contributed essays for a number of anthologies published between 1998 and 2009. Her freelance journalism has been supported by grants from numerous foundations including the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, The Fund for Investigative Journalism, and the Nation Institute.

Kean was also a producer and on-air host for a daily investigative news program on KPFA radio, a Pacifica station in California. She began covering the UFO subject in 2000 with a feature story in the Boston Globe, and followed with additional mainstream stories. In 2002, she co-founded the Coalition for Freedom of Information (CFi), an independent alliance advocating for greater government openness on information about UFOs, and for responsible coverage by the media based on a rational and credible approach. As director of the CFi, she was the plaintiff in a successful, five-year Freedom of Information Act federal lawsuit against NASA. In 2007, she co-organized a landmark Washington DC international press conference on official UFO investigations, which received media coverage around the world.

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Crossing Zero

In light of the now decade-long war in Afghanistan, and the rapid-fire political and societal changes sweeping through the world, it helps to understand how we got here… what forces played a part in setting it up – and continue to exert their influence to this day.

Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald have been writing and researching the subject for over 30 years.  Their valuable insight – not just with regard to the situation on the ground, but the political machinations and power players behind the scenes – sheds a sorely-needed light on these subjects.

Tonight, Mike and Mark talk with them about this, propaganda, the media and more.

About the guests:

Gould & Fitzgerald have been involved in the Afghan debate for over thirty years. Their books, Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story (2009) and Crossing Zero – The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire (2011) have been praised internationally by numerous news, foreign policy and military experts.

Their involvement in Afghanistan began in 1981 when they were the first journalists to gain access through diplomatic channels at the United Nations following the expulsion of 1135 western journalists one month after the Soviet invasion. Contracted to CBS news, they found a stark contrast to the picture that was playing on the evening news. In 1983 they invited Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Project to return with them to assess the chances of getting the Soviets to leave Afghanistan. Contracted to ABC Nightline, Roger was told by the Soviets that they wanted to go home. Nightline skewed the story away from negotiation. Over the years they saw efforts to negotiate a resolution in Afghanistan consistently overruled by forces who always managed to undermine peaceful solutions. Cold War journalism still haunts the Afghan story to this day.

You can read a whole bunch of their brilliant work at their website – http://invisiblehistory.com/

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Favor and Fear

How liberal IS the media? When does the press really fight for the truth? The answers, from someone who has been deep inside mainstream media – are “not” and “rarely”. His latest article, “The NYT’s Favor and Fear” – gives just one glaring example.

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Robert Parry about this and much much more. A conversation that covers deep history right up to the present – and gives a sobering look into how politics reaches deeper than just electioneering and rhetoric – but into the intelligence community itself.

About the guest:

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com.

His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

His investigative journalism website, consortiumnews.com, is an incredibly important resource. Please visit the site, and support them any way you can.

The Consortium News stories we cover tonight:

The NYT’s Favor and Fear

From the archives: Interview with Judge Lawrence Walsh (mp3)

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Intelligence

Tonight, we have an in-depth discussion about intelligence, training and recruitment of intelligence agents – in both analysis and operations – and the crucial subject of human intelligence.

Joining Mike and Mark is Dr. Mark Lowenthal – someone who has not only worked in the intelligence community, but in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 104th Congress (1995-97).

Dr. Lowenthal is the author of Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy – which details how the intelligence community’s history, structure, procedures, and functions affect policy decisions. With his friendly prose, he demystifies a complicated and complex process. Rich with examples and anecdotes, Intelligence also includes bolded key terms, an acronym list, suggested readings and websites, and a list of major intelligence reviews or proposals.

The fourth edition highlights many crucial recent developments in reforms, ethics, and transnational issues, including:

-the actual implementation of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) reforms and their successes and strains;
-the ongoing legal, operational, and ethical issues raised by the war against terrorism;
-the growth of transnational issues, such as WMD;
-fresh coverage of analytic standards and analytic transformation;
-more in-depth explanation of geospatial, signal, and human intelligence;
-a new discussion of the lessons of 9/11;
- and, the growing politicization of intelligence in the United States, specifically through the declassified use of National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs).

It’s a fascinating conversation about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.

About the guest:

Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, an internationally recognized expert on intelligence, is the President and CEO of the Intelligence & Security Academy, LLC, a national security education, training and consulting company.

From 2002-2005, Dr. Lowenthal served as the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production and also as the Vice Chairman for Evaluation on the National Intelligence Council.  Prior to these duties, he served as Counselor to the Director of Central Intelligence.  Dr. Lowenthal was the staff director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 104th Congress (1995-97), where he directed the committee’s study on the future of the Intelligence Community, IC21: The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century.  He also served in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), as both an office director and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and has been the Senior Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

Dr. Lowenthal has written extensively on intelligence and national security issues, including five books and over 90 articles or studies.  His most recent book, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy (Congressional Quarterly Press, 4th ed., 2009), has become the standard college and graduate school textbook on the subject.  He has also written a fantasy novel, Crispan Magicker, published in 1978.  Dr. Lowenthal is a frequent public commentator on intelligence issues.  He has appeared on each of the major networks, the Lehrer Newshour and Charlie Rose; his op-eds have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Dr. Lowenthal received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University.  He joined the adjunct faculty of the Johns Hopkins University in 2008, after 14 years as an adjunct at Columbia University.  He is the Executive Director of the International Association for Intelligence Education and a Chairman Emeritus of the Intelligence Committee for AFCEA.

In 2005, Dr. Lowenthal was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Intelligence Community’s highest award.  In 2006, he received AFCEA’s Distinguished Service Award for service to the Intelligence Community.  In 1988, Dr. Lowenthal was the Grand Champion on Jeopardy!, the television quiz show.

Links:
A Secret Life” – book referred to by Dr. Lowenthal in the broadcast.

Dr. Lowenthal’s appearances on Charlie Rose

 

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Stage Managing the War on Terror – and more…

The Liberty City Seven, the Fort Dix Six, the Detroit Ummah Conspiracy, the Newburgh Four—each has had their fear-filled day in the sun. None of these plots ever came close to happening. How could they? All were bogus from the get-go: money to buy missiles or cell phones or shoes and fancy duds—provided by the authorities; plans for how to use the missiles and bombs and cell phones—provided by authorities; cars for transport and demolition—issued by the authorities; facilities for carrying out the transactions—leased by those same authorities. Played out on landscapes manufactured by federal imagineers, the climax of each drama was foreordained. The failure of the plots would then be touted as the success of the investigations and prosecutions.

The above is from Stephan Salisbury’s amazing article “Stage Managing the War on Terror“, which details just how bad the situation of informant handling has become… and how it puts us at risk.  Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Salisbury about this incredibly well-researched piece.

About the guest:

Stephan Salisbury is the senior cultural writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has been a reporter for three decades.

He has won numerous awards for his work and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize as part of an Inquirer investigative team looking into local election fraud.

He is author of the recently published Mohamed’s Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland published by Nation Books.

Links:

Stage Managing the War on Terror – Stephan Salisbury’s brilliant article.

The 100 Years Episode – 4 Federal Agents talk about the state of Security and intelligence both in the U.S. and around the world.

Then…

We talked about the story last week – but this week, we got someone who is actually involved in the case. Mark interviews David Rocah, ACLU attorney for Anthony Graber – the motorcyclist who is being prosecuted for wiretapping after he posted a video of a law enforcement officer pulling him over on a highway exit ramp.

Here’s the video in question… the action begins at about the three-minute mark:

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The Wikileaks Whistleblower & Iran-Contra Revelations

Almost four decades after Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers – another whistleblower has stepped forward and now is facing similar retaliation.

Army Intelligence Specialist Bradley Manning is alleged to have turned over a large volume of classified material about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to Wikileaks.org, including the recently posted U.S. military video showing American helicopters gunning down two Reuters journalists and about 10 other Iraqi men in 2007. Two children were also injured.

The 22-year-old Manning was turned in by a convicted computer hacker named Adrian Lamo, who befriended Manning over the Internet and then betrayed him, supposedly out of concern that disclosure of the classified material might put U.S. military personnel in danger. Manning is now in U.S. military custody in Kuwait awaiting charges.

PLUS

A congressional report on Iran/Contra was written haphazardly and deceptively, including an apparently false claim that Reagan’s innocence was approved unanimously by a House task force.

A recent reexamination of the task force’s work also reveals that evidence implicating Reagan’s campaign in a pre-election deal to delay the release of 52 Americans then held hostage in Iran was kept from the U.S. public and even from members of the task force; that senior staff investigators shelved late-arriving evidence of Republican guilt; and that dissent within the task force was suppressed.

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with Robert Parry about these two important stories.

About the guest:

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com.

His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

His investigative journalism website, consortiumnews.com, is an incredibly important resource.  Please visit the site, and support them any way you can.

The Consortium News stories we cover tonight:

Wikileak Case Echoes Pentagon Papers

The Tricky October Surprise Report

Related links:

http://collateralmurder.com/
The Wikileaks site about the leaked video

The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks
The great article by Glenn Greenwald at Salon, including an interview with Adrian Lamo

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Borders, Borders, Borders…

A targeted assassination on the Texas border… Corruption in a New Mexico drug task force… How safe IS the Canadian border… and the U.S. Military has Special Ops Boots on the Ground in Mexico…

All border stories, plus an amusing piece from Slate.

This is a jam-packed show with Bill Conroy of Narco News, covering the above and more.

About the Guest:

Bill Conroy has worked as a reporter or editor for the past eighteen years at newspapers in Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota and Texas.

His investigative reporting over the past five years has focused on corruption and discrimination within federal law enforcement agencies.

He is also a journalist for Narco News. His investigative pieces, particularly those on the House of Death, have made him our most-favored guest.

Links to tonight’s stories:

U.S. Consulate worker in Juarez was targeted for assassination

HIDTA task force on border mired in corruption charges

Real threat to U.S. national security may be along northern border

U.S. Military has Special Ops “Boots on the Ground” in Mexico

OPR Review
http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/FOIA_4.pdf

And here’s a link to the ONDCP’s review of the larger New Mexico Region HIDTA program.
http://narcosphere.narconews.com/userfiles/70/FOIA_3.pdf

Stupid Drug Story of the Week
The Associated Press on the arrival of “deadly, ultra-pure heroin.”

And lastly – Here’s a link to all 5 hours of our talk with Tosh Plumlee.

Music from the show:

Mid-break:
<a href="http://markmarshall.bandcamp.com/track/filmfunk">FilmFunk by Mark Marshall</a>

Closing:
<a href="http://markmarshall.bandcamp.com/track/glide-v1">Glide V1 by Mark Marshall</a>

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Some Prior Guests

David Moorhouse

Ray McGovern

Dr. Rick Nuccio

Renee Boje

Daniel Ellsberg

Richard Stratton

Gerard Colby

Greg Palast

Dennis Dayle

Ralph McGeehee

Stan Goff

Mark Levine

Vincent Bugliosi

J.H. Hatfield

Siobhan Reynolds

Charles Bowden

Katherine Gun

Bob Parry

Sandy Gonzalez

Sibel Edmonds

Ellen Mariani

Peter Lance

Senator Bob Graham

Cele Castillo

Tosh Plumlee

Donald Bains

Will Northrop

Aukai Collin

John Loftus

Joyce Reilly Von Kliest

Kelly O' Meara

John P. Flannery

Bill Conroy

Sander Hicks

Paul Williams