Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Syria, the surveillance state, and more

September 1st marks the anniversary of the German invasion of Poland and the start of World War II.  This fact is well known, but considerably less spoken about is that the justification for the invasion was the result of a plot known as "Operation Himmler." The short version of Operation Himmler was that Nazi soldiers and agents obtained Polish army uniforms and identification papers and attacked German radio stations and outposts along the Poland-Germany border to make it appear as if the Poles were invading Germany.  It worked like a charm, as predicted by Hitler when he told his generals, "The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth."  This was not the only time World War II saw false flag actions, with Nazi uber-commando Otto Skorzeny tricking the Allies using Operation Greif, and the Soviet Union shelling their own city and blaming it on Finland.

More recently, the 49th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident just passed.  Used as an excuse to authorize military involvement Vietnam, it is now agreed that the alleged "attack" never occurred.  Sources differ on who knew what and when they knew it, but no one in the Johnson administration was going to pass up an opportunity for escalation.  Everyone, it now appears, was lying to each other about the incident, with most of the bad information coming from everyone's favorite eavesdroppers the NSA, who were doing the most egregious data manipulation to suit their own ends. The NSA "deliberately skewed," a fancy way of saying they lied, about the event and, to quote historian Robert Hanyok, "The overwhelming body of reports, if used, would have told the story that no attack had happened...so a conscious effort ensued to demonstrate that an attack occurred."

The past is relevant today because history has an uncanny ability to repeat itself.  I'm a firm believer in this fact, and truly believe the only way to understand the present is to examine the past.  Case in point: Sec. of State John Kerry says that the US has independent verification of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but won't say who performed the verification.  "First responders" is all we know, but we don't know if these first responders are adequately trained to detect the unique properties of Sarin gas, or that the samples were handled under the correct conditions to prevent a false positive reading.  This isn't the first time the US government has been "fuzzy" on the particulars of Sarin gas in Syria, though, and it is unlikely they'll clarify the position despite the impending Congressional debates on the topic.  Further muddying the waters is the fact that it was the UK that sold Syria the Sarin components, and that the rebels admitted it was they who used the gas.

It is also unlikely that Congress won't authorize a military intervention in Syria.  One side of the aisle is slavishly loyal to the President, the other, to their military-industrial backers.  They ALL want this for their own reasons, and the fact that the President has already placed ships in the region only lessens the likelihood that an individual legislator will be willing to be branded as the one that made the US look weak. 

In short, the government is saying "trust us on this one."  You don't have to be a student of history to know that when someone asks you to trust them, it's usually in your best interest not to.

In other news:

Today is also the thirtieth anniversary of the downing of Korean Air Flight 007 by the Soviet Union.  In the CNN article on the event they go out of the way to make sure that no one believes any pesky conspiracy theories about it, although the ones they highlight were news to me.  I was unaware that anyone actually thought the passengers of KAL007 survived being shot down, and knowing about these things is sort of my job.  Why CNN would single out the least plausible of the several conspiracy theories on the event is in keeping with their standard mode of operation, whereby if they can establish that one of the "wackier" theories isn't true, it paints all theories in the same light.  Here's a Wikipedia page that lists all the theories, including the one mentioned above, and BONUS it has a picture of the giant crabs that some people think ate the bodies. 

Noticeably absent from this page are the theories of Mae Brussell, who wrote "Who Killed Congressman Larry McDonald" for Hustler in 1984.  Having some knowledge about how both CNN and Wikipedia operate, my guess is that it is intentional Mae's theories aren't there, because they can't be debunked with a glib, three sentence jab at the end of an article.  Or at all. 

You can and should read the article above if you want to know anything about KAL007 and I won't attempt to recap it here.  I will, however, update some of the information contained in the article.  Congressman Larry McDonald was the head of the John Birch Society, a right-wing, anti-communist organization with intelligence ties.  More importantly, though, McDonald was the head of the Western Goals Foundation, a right-wing, anti-communist data collection agency with intelligence ties found guilty of stealing police files on suspected "radicals" for electronic dissemination to right-wing groups nationwide.  The board of Western Goals was a who's who of government officials, so no one should have any illusions that this was a private corporation acting independent of the Reagan administration.  It was merely "outsourcing" to allow the government to have a layer of denibility between itself and Western Goals should the lid blow off, which it did.  The ACLU's suit against Western Goals effectively ended them, but rather than give up on spying on the American public, the government just brought it back in house. 

REX84's continuity of government exercises reportedly established the precedent of spying on everyone all the time, but the NSA's Main Core program was started two years prior in 1982.  It isn't too much of a leap to place Western Goals' activity within the context of Main Core.  After all, Western Goals was caught entering LAPD records into a home computer and it could be hypothesized that this was simply data entry for a larger project.  Main Core was established by a National Security Decision Directive (NSDD), which was the Reagan administration's favorite way to circumvent the democratic process.  I'd let you read it, but it's still fully classified of course

I also believe that somewhere yet uncovered there's an intersection between Western Goals, Main Core, and the PROMIS scandal that the late Danny Casolaro was working on.  Get Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith's book on the latter if you're unaware of PROMIS.  I recently re-read it and it takes on a new dimension in light of recent revelations.

Speaking of mysterious journalist deaths:

I'm possibly the last person following the Michael Hastings death.  If nothing about this case has freaked you out yet, check this out:

On May 6 of this year, the CBS TV show Castle aired an episode titled "The Human Factor."  Here's a summary:

"When Homeland Security inexplicably seals the crime scene of a car bombing, Castle and Beckett find themselves with two mysteries on their hands: who murdered the victim, a government whistleblower, and why are federal agents trying to take over the case? The plot thickens when they discover that the victim wasn't killed by a car bomb but by a missile from a military drone."

Post-9/11, spotting evidence of "predictive programming" in popular media became a full time job for a segment of the conspiracy community.  Some of their findings are laughable, but the above is another example of the few that are credible.  Other examples include the well-known pilot for "the Lone Gunmen" which had rouge elements of the US military flying planes into the World Trade Center, and the lesser known short-lived series "Seven Days" which aired an episode called "Pinball Wizard" in 1999 where a missile is guided into the Pentagon. 

Misc scary links:
Fukushima radiation levels '18 times higher' than thought