Secrets and Surprises

(11AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)


From the New York Times, July 14, 2010…

“If this country has been misled, if this committee, this Congress, has been misled by pretext into a war in which thousands of young men have died, and many more thousands have been crippled for life, and out of which their country has lost prestige, moral position in the world, the consequences are very great,” Senator Albert Gore Sr. of Tennessee, the father of the future vice president, said in March 1968 in a closed session of the Foreign Relations Committee.

And yes indeed, the country had been misled, but there were no consequences for any of the liars who lied us into Vietnam.

At another point, the committee’s chairman, Senator William Fulbright, Democrat of Arkansas, raised concerns that if the senators did not take a stand on the war, “We are just a useless appendix on the governmental structure.”

And thirty years later, in 2001 and 2003, that same “useless appendix,” the United States Senate, was once again stampeded into endorsing useless wars based on nothing but lies.

Even at the time, there was widespread skepticism about the Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which the North Vietnamese were said to have attacked American destroyers on Aug. 4, 1964, two days after an earlier clash.

In the end, however, the senators did not further pursue their doubts. As Mr. Church said in one session that was focused on the staff report into the episode, if the committee came up with proof that an attack never occurred, “we have a case that will discredit the military in the United States, and discredit and quite possibly destroy the president.”

“We have a case that will discredit the military of the United States,” said Frank Church, but this was a ridiculous exaggeration.

Would their case have discredited private soldiers on the field of battle, bravely advancing against the enemy?


Would their case have discredited junior officers or even brigade or division commanders?


But their case would have totally discredited the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA, and the President of the United States, and was saving those goddamned liars more important than the 58,000 American soldiers who were killed in Vietnam?

Was saving those goddamned liars more important than the 2,000,000 Vietnamese civilians who perished in that senseless war?

And the answer was yes, for the Washington elite, and even for liberal Democrats like Frank Church and William Fulbright.

But would the American public have been so eager to sacrifice so many lives for nothing, if they had known the truth?

“In a democracy you cannot expect the people, whose sons are being killed and who will be killed, to exercise their judgment if the truth is concealed from them,” said Senator Frank Church.

“You cannot expect the people to exercise their judgment if the truth is concealed from them.”

And how was the truth concealed?

When Lyndon Johnson claimed that North Vietnam had fired upon US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, why didn’t everybody get to see the “evidence?”

For the same silly “reason” that when George W. Bush claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, nobody except the Washington elite saw the “evidence.”

But what we have seen, all of us, over and over, is the catastrophic downside of so much secrecy.

And what was the “reason” for concealing a bunch of confused radio-transmissions among our ships in the Gulf Of Tonkin?

What was the “reason” for concealing “Curveball” and the Yellow Cake Forgeries?

All that raw “intelligence” was junk! Nothing would have been compromised by splashing it all over every front page on every newspaper in the world…

Nothing would have been lost or compromised except the power of the power-elite to lie us into two goddamned wars, and the next and the next and the next.

“You cannot expect the people to exercise their judgment if the truth is concealed from them.”

The doctrine of state secrecy would be dangerous enough for our democracy even if the so-called “intelligence community” wasn’t staffed with idiots from top to bottom, and since the media is always full of ludicrous propaganda about super-spies like Jason Bourne and James Bond, it’s worth paying careful attention to how the real “intelligence community” actually performs, on those rare occasions when we get a good look at it. For example…

The suicide bomber who killed seven C.I.A. officers and a Jordanian spy last week was a double agent who was taken onto the base in Afghanistan because the Americans hoped he might be able to deliver top members of Al Qaeda’s network, according to Western government officials.

The attack at the C.I.A. base dealt a devastating blow to the spy agency’s operations against militants in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, eliminating an elite team using an informant with strong jihadi credentials.

This was the “elite team” which could supposedly recognize al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in the mountains of Pakistan!

But they couldn’t even recognize an al Qaeda agent in the same room.

And that isn’t even the stupidest part of this story! The stupidest part of this story is what happened next!

Because after the “elite team” in charge of recognizing al Qaeda and Taliban agents had been wiped out, how did the CIA immediately respond?

Since the suicide bombing that took the lives of seven Americans in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, the Central Intelligence Agency has struck back against militants in Pakistan with the most intensive series of missile strikes from drone aircraft since the covert program began.

The enemy just destroyed our forward observation base, and wiped out our “elite team” of targeters, and essentially poked out both our eyes…

So let’s just bomb anything and everything, and teach those wogs a lesson!

And that’s the inside story of US “intelligence” in Afghanistan, and likewise with the rest of our contemptible apparatus of secrecy, which has destroyed so many millions of lives in the last 40 years, and provided so much cover for so many lies.


  1. “A hidden world, growing beyond control”

    This diary is intended to supplement an outstanding series of articles by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin in the Washington Post, portraying the fantastic inefficiency and self-serving opacity of our “intelligence” community, but without also recalling the historic and ongoing dishonesty and stupidity of all those spooks.


    And I do recall attending elder financial planner meetings some of which touted “emerging financial opportunities” in Vietnam.  Planned war for profit.

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