A CIA Contractor’s Christmas

Day One. Partridge in a pear tree:

During the night-shift at the NSA, Booz Allen contractors suddenly have their online Christmas shopping interrupted when Booz Allen proprietary counterterrorist data-mining algorithms note an unusual spike in internet chatter of “persons of interest” using the term “partridge in a pear tree.”  Their NSA Contracting Officer’s Technical Rep is alerted.

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Journo Deemed A U.S Terror Threat

Apparently, the pen is so mighty, that we can’t even risk certain foreign journalists flying in our airspace.

According to reports over the weekend, an Air France flight to Mexico was diverted because of one passenger, Franco-Colombian writer Hernando Calvo Ospina, who works for the Le Monde Diplomatique, a left-wing French-based newspaper. Apparently, Ospina has written extensive critiques of the current Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and the U.S-fed drug war in Latin America. According to his publisher, he was on his way to Nicaragua, to research his current project, a book about the Central Intelligence Agency.

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DOJ Prosecuted Texas Sheriff in 1983 For Waterboarding Prisoners

In 1983, the Department of Justice prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies for waterboarding prisoners to get them to confess to crimes.

The deputies were sentenced to four years in prison and Parker pleaded guilty to extortion and federal civil rights violations and received a 10-year sentence. Parker admitted that he had operated a “marijuana trap” on U.S. Highway 59, arrested suspects, and, according to court documents, subjected “prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions.

“This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning,” the complaint said, which referred to the technique as “water torture.”

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Government Document Archives Online

Over at Sources and Methods, Kristan Wheaton has published a list of online archives of declassified or otherwise released government documents. Some of the sites linked to – like the National Security Archive and the CIA’s FOIA Reading Room – are like old and dear friends. Others, like the EFF’s user-unfriendly document archive, were new to me.

There are a couple of valuable sites he missed, though…
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Legal U.S. Arms Exports May Be Source of Narco Syndicates Rising Firepower

More Than $1 billion In Private-Sector Weapons Exports Approved For Mexico Since 2004

Mainstream media and Beltway pundits and politicians in recent months have unleashed a wave of panic in the nation linking the escalading violence in Mexico, and its projected spread into the U.S., to illegal weapons smuggling.

The smokescreen being spread by these official mouthpieces of manufactured consensus is that a host of criminal operators are engaging in straw (or fraudulent) gun purchases, making clandestine purchases at U.S. gun shows or otherwise assembling small caches of weapons here in the states in order to smuggle them south of the border to the “drug cartels.”

The Obama administration is now sending hundreds of additional federal agents to the border in an effort to interdict this illegal arms smuggling to reassure an agitated middle-America that Uncle Sam will get these bad guys. The cascade of headlines from mainstream media outlets printing drug-war pornography assures us in paragraphs inserted between the titillation that the ATF’s Operation Gunrunner and other similar get-tough on gun-seller programs will save America from the banditos of Mexico.

To be sure, some criminal actors in the U.S. are smuggling small arms across the border. But the drug war in Mexico is not being fought with Saturday night specials, hobby rifles and hunting shotguns. The drug trafficking organizations are now in possession of high-powered munitions in vast quantities that can’t be explained by the gun-show loophole.

At least one report in a mainstream media outlet deserves credit for recognizing that trend.

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Glenn Beck and Penn Jillette on MIAC report

See also: The Radical Polarization of Law Enforcement

Meet the CIA’s Shrink

Meet Dr. David Charney, the Brooklyn-born, Virginia-based psychiatrist who’s been treating the CIA’s cloak-and-dagger set for nearly 20 years.

SpyTalk shares a fascinating St. Patrick’s Day lunch with Charney, who breaks down the issues that various spooks face. For analysts in the Directorate of Intelligence, the problem is  “obsessional,” like fretting endlessly over whether a safe has been locked.

“They start leaving and they think, ‘Did I actually close all the safes?’ Then they go back and check the safes and spin the dials and leave. And then they say, ‘Well, wait a minute — the safe was closed in the first place, so maybe when I spun the dials I actually opened it.’

“In other words, they have obsessional worries. They might think, ‘I have static electricity on my dress, and maybe a classified paper clung to my dress and I wasn’t aware of it when I walked out, and it dropped off.’ And then they’ll go back and check their pathway.”

Charney has interviewed the spies who’ve penetrated the American intelligence services, too — guys like Robert Hansen and Earl Pitts, the FBI-turned-KGB agents. “A spy is one of the loneliest people in the world,” Charney told Newsweek. “He is completely dependent on his handler.”

Suffice it to say, my wife’s practice in the Bronx is a wee bit different.

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