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Monday, October 28, 2013

Again: What did Obama know?

Techdirt has lots of interesting info on the latest wrinkles in the NSA scandal.
However, after trying to avoid the question, over the weekend, the NSA admitted that Keith Alexander had never briefed the President about spying on Merkel (though, it's possible he heard about it from others).

This makes it sound, again, like the NSA has gone rogue. How can President Obama seriously allow Keith Alexander and James Clapper to remain in charge when they've just made him look like a complete fool, supposedly totally unaware of what his own intelligence apparatus is up to -- especially when it concerns programs that, once revealed, can have a serious negative impact on a variety of diplomatic fronts?

And for what benefit? The Spiegel report makes it clear that the NSA saw little value in spying on Merkel. They just did it because... reasons.
Former NSA employee Thomas Drake does not see this as a contradiction. "After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Germany became intelligence target number one in Europe," he says. The US government did not trust Germany, because some of the Sept. 11 suicide pilots had lived in Hamburg. Evidence suggests that the NSA recorded Merkel once and then became intoxicated with success, says Drake. "It has always been the NSA's motto to conduct as much surveillance as possible," he adds.
The fact that President Obama hasn't yet fired Alexander in particular is fairly incredible, given this latest revelation.
A lot of my readers will presume that Obama must have been in the know. Frankly, I think otherwise. And no, this does not mean that I've suddenly become a huge Obama fan.

Given the anniversary, my mind keeps wandering back to the early 1960s. The CIA kept running covert operations against Cuba even after we had promised (as part of the missile crisis negotiations) to leave Castro alone. In fact, CIA wild man Bill Harvey was launching raids against Cuba during the crisis -- a foolhardy risk that could have resulted in nuclear war.

Today, historians argue over one key question: Did JFK and RFK know what their spooks were getting up to?

Professor Joan Mellen -- an author I recommended in a preceding post -- thinks that RFK was both cognizant and gung-ho. But I stand with those who believe that the Kennedys were chastened by the missile crisis and sought to normalize relations with Castro.

Ultimately, if you are a Kennedy-hater (or one of those Chomsky-esque lefties whose greatest fear is that people might consider a Democrat even slightly admirable), you will presume that JFK both knew and approved. To such people, history is not about facts -- it's about animus, ideology, my-team-vs-your-team. 

The parallels to our current situation should be obvious. Bottom line: Right now, I think Obama honestly didn't know about Merkel.

I also think that the "9/11" excuse for tapping into Merkel's cell phone is insanely stupid. Are we supposed to think that Angela was hanging out in a coffee haus with Mohammed Atta?
"...The US government did not trust Germany, because some of the Sept. 11 suicide pilots had lived in Hamburg...."

German spooks warned us re 911.

"...CIA wild man Bill Harvey was launching raids against Cuba during the crisis -- a foolhardy risk that could have resulted in nuclear war...."

In the study linked below, Right-Wing Authoritarians (RWAs), and their helpers, in an experiment, blew the world up - twice.
Like Scorpions, it's in their nature.

RW Authoritarians, and their helpers, are Fascists one and all.
Can we start testing kids for this affliction, a mindset that afflicts even those of us who aren't total fucking sociopaths, like yesterday?
Yep, a little Hitler like of me, but GD it, this shit has got to stop.

The nuttiest of these people (i.e., their "Leaders".), are hell bent on destroying the world, or at least seriously thinking, "Well, if that's what it takes to win,,, I'm willing."

See page 26 (32 on by the PDF page count):
"...Over the course of the simulation, the high RWA teams made ten times as much threat as the low (RWAs) teams did,
and usually brought the world to the brink of nuclear war....The setting involved a rather sophisticated simulation of the earth’s future (,) called the Global Change Game,..."

From the link above:
"My fellow Missourian, Mark Twain, called this the “corn-pone” theory,
which he got from a young slave who said, “You tell me where a man gets his corn
pone, and I’ll tell you what his ‘pinions is....”

(Threw that in there just for you Joe!)

To paraphrase my buddy Bartcop: If a man profits from making a mistake, look for him to make that mistake over and over.

Angela Merkel always looks as though she hasn't got a clue what's going on, because nobody tells her anything. She's one of the cutest politicians around, in that respect.

Interesting how British cooperation with the NSA isn't getting criticised. It's hard to believe that NSA spying on Germany, France, etc. didn't require any use of NSA facilities in Britain, such as the enormous base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire.

Which is not to mention NSA spying on Britain itself - if readers will excuse the paraleipsis.
I doubt the NSA liked what Andreas von Bülow said after 911.

A taster: "If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars."
I'm with you, Joe. The CIA was a treasonous snakepit in the Kennedys' day...and very likely still is. No elected official could/can control them. Have you read Dr. Mary's Monkey? Terrifying.
It amazes me how many times Obummer's fans rebeat that he didn't know every time some went wrong without feeling embarssed for him. What exactly is he paid for?
Ethical or not, it's clear there was plenty of reason for the spooks to have been listening to Angela. From her Wiki profile:

"Merkel advocated a strong transatlantic partnership and German-American friendship. In the spring of 2003, defying strong public opposition, Merkel came out in favour of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, describing it as "unavoidable" and accusing Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of anti-Americanism. She criticised the government's support for the accession of Turkey to the European Union and favoured a "privileged partnership" instead. In doing so, she reflected public opinion that grew more hostile toward Turkish membership of the European Union.[28]"

The Hamburg/Atta cell: what did the BND really know - and what about the short selling of airline stock that was tracked back to Buzz Krongard and Deutsche Bank...

Now here's my emerging pet theory: Obama has fired a boatload of top military brass, now it seems he may have been out of the loop on some of this NSA stuff.
Is he trying to prevent a rolling coup?

Well if the NSA didn't spy on Atta on Abramoff's casino ship a short way off the shore of Florida, I mean a Hamburg coffee haus would be way out of their reach, right? :)
Hey, is techdirt just an alias of techdude or just another incarnation? Not going to read anything of his, daily kos or whoever I catch lying through their teeth or even through their keyboard. Everybody in this nation needs to get in the habit of just dismissing everything that a proven liar says. Everything, no matter if it dovetails with our thoughts, ideas or expectations. Rush Limbaugh, Nyet. O'Reilly, no friggin' way. Anybody, and I mean anybody who lies about something cannot be trusted.
You guys do realize that in Germany it would be Kaffee haus and not coffee haus?
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