NYT Neglects to Mention Foggo and the Torture Tapes

There’s a keystone to understanding the story from David Johnston (who frequently regurgitates highly motivated leaks) and Mark Mazzetti (CIA’s guy at NYT) on Dusty Foggo’s role in setting up the black sites run by the CIA: Foggo’s testimony in the torture tape investigation. Early this year, remember, DOJ and CIA told the ACLU that they couldn’t FOIA information pertaining to the disappearing torture tapes because John Durham’s investigation of their destruction was ongoing and would be for perhaps two more months.

And then, just as Dusty Foggo was about to go to jail, John Durham said he needed to interview Foggo. And since then, as far as we know, Durham’s investigation continues, now four months beyond when he thought he’d finish up. As recently as a month or so ago, Durham was flying people back from remote locations to appear before the grand jury. While we can’t be sure, it does seem likely that Foggo’s testimony provided new information that has sustained it.

And, thanks to Johnston and Mazzetti, we now know why Foggo would have something pertinent to say about the torture tapes–because he was the guy who set up the black sites. 

In March 2003, two C.I.A. officials surprised Kyle D. Foggo, then the chief of the agency’s main European supply base, with an unusual request. They wanted his help building secret prisons to hold some of the world’s most threatening terrorists.


“It was too sensitive to be handled by headquarters,” he said in an interview. “I was proud to help my nation.”

With that, Mr. Foggo went on to oversee construction of three detention centers, each built to house about a half-dozen detainees, according to former intelligence officials and others briefed on the matter.


Early in the fight against Al Qaeda, agency officials relied heavily on American allies to help detain people suspected of terrorism in makeshift facilities in countries like Thailand. But by the time two C.I.A. officials met with Mr. Foggo in 2003, that arrangement was under threat, according to people briefed on the situation. In Thailand, for example, local officials were said to be growing uneasy about a black site outside Bangkok code-named Cat’s Eye. (The agency would eventually change the code name for the Thai prison, fearing it would appear racially insensitive.) The C.I.A. wanted its own, more permanent detention centers.

So sometime after Abu Zubaydah and Rahim al-Nashiri were taped being tortured, after the taping was stopped, and almost precisely when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, "two CIA officials" (the detail is repeated twice in the story) came to Foggo and asked him to set up black sites around the world.

And, Foggo’s helpfulness on this task appears to be one of the reasons why Foggo was promoted.

Mr. Foggo’s success in Frankfurt, including his work on the prisons, won him a promotion back in Washington. In November 2004, he was named the C.I.A.’s executive director, in effect its day-to-day administrative chief.

Of note, Foggo was promoted at a time when Porter Goss was DCI and Jose Rodriguez (who was head of counter-terrorism when Foggo took on the task of setting up the black sites and therefore a superb candidate to be one of the two people who asked him to do so) was Deputy Director of Operations.

And then, in 2005–the same year that Jose Rodriguez would have the torture tapes destroyed and Porter Goss would unexplicably fail to stop him from doing so–Foggo went to the black sites with John Rizzo and others.

In 2005, before he came under investigation, Mr. Foggo and other officials, including John Rizzo, the agency’s top lawyer, paid a rare visit to some of the prison sites, assuring C.I.A. employees that their activities were legal, according to former intelligence officials.

John Rizzo, btw, was pressuring others at CIA to make sure that Foggo’s mistress kept a job as a CIA lawyer she was not doing competently.

So let’s see:

2002: Torture tapes made

2003: Foggo recruited to set up black sites

2004: Foggo promoted unexplicably after some politicized firings

2005: Foggo and Rizzo and others visit the black sites to calm the host countries

2005: Dana Priest does a story exposing the black sites and, within days, the torture tapes are destroyed

It’s all beginning to make some sense now.

Oh, and one more thing. In an affidavit submitted in support of Foggo’s sentencing that would otherwise serve no purpose in the severity of Foggo’s sentencing, Porter Goss claimed he didn’t know that Foggo was an ethical and counterintelligence nightmare when he promoted him in 2004. But, Laura Rozen reported, that claim was an out and out lie. 

A former US intelligence source thought that Brent "nine fingers" Bassett was the Goss staffer who recommended the hire of Foggo as ExDir.

He said that Goss lied in his testimony, that he was not aware about the problems with Foggo when he hired him for executive director. He said that a major fight had broken out between Goss staffer Patrick Murray and then associate deputy director of operations Michael Sulick about the Foggo hiring. "Murray told ADDO/Counterintelligence Mary Margaret that if Dusty’s background got out to the press, they would know who to come looking for. Mary Margaret tried to warn them that Dusty Foggo had a problematic counterintelligence file. Sulick defended Mary Margaret. Goss told [deputy director of operations Steve] Kappes he had to fire Sulick." After that, Kappes and Sulick quit. "Goss bears major responsibility here," the former intelligence official says. It was finally the "White House that demanded that Goss fire Dusty and he refused." So they both got fired. [my emphasis]

Oh boy. Things are getting clearer and clearer.

So Goss–installed at CIA to be Cheney’s mole–fired the people who were trying to prevent him from promoting Foggo. The next year, Foggo was traveling with other high level CIA people to calm the torture site hosts. That same year, the torture tapes were destroyed. Then the following year, Foggo became a problem in the Cunningham aftermath. And Foggo and Goss got fired as a result. And, at the one time Goss had an opportunity to make a statement about his role in all this, he allegedly lied about knowing Foggo and all his problems (and, of course, all the skills that led people to ask him to set up the black sites in the first place). 

Interesting. Very very interesting.

32 replies
  1. JimWhite says:

    “It was too sensitive to be handled by headquarters,” he said in an interview. “I was proud to help my nation.”

    WTF? Too sensitive for HQ, but fine for an interview with the Times? I realize the sites are known now and shut down, but this stinks of standard misdirection. I read it as “Cheney wanted this done and HQ wouldn’t do it, so I had to.”

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, I should have been more specific about Johnston: he has been known to regurgitate highly motivated lies from people in Cheney’s vicinity.

      But it’s also pretty remarkable they got a quote from Foggo from prison!!

      Scott Horton noted in his post on this that NYT’s source–one of whom is Foggo–didn’t want to talk about Eastern European prisons that are currently being investigated.

      It boils down to this: The Times’s sources either wanted to avoid mentioning the Polish operations, because of the ongoing investigation there, or wanted to avoid revealing the other nearby operation, which remains secret.” Records of aircraft involved in special renditions operations show a number of landings at airports in Vilnius and Palanga in Lithuania, each less than an hour’s flying time from Szymany.

      Though I’m also curious about the way that Foggo is described as setting three of these up, but there being eventually 8 sites total (which I think is low, but anyway). In other words, they want this story to be the three sites Dusty built, and not the eight sites total. And that may be because of the Polish investigation (which might net Foggo). Could be an attempt to shut him up, could be an attempt to discredit his testimony.

    • klynn says:

      One more note. It’s possible that this article invokes both Rizzo and Foggo as a way to push back against htem serving as witnesses.

      I think that is the whole issue.

      Thanks for the post.

  2. Jkat says:

    i don’t get the “cat’s eye” thing IRT “racial insensitivity” … what’s the hook there ?? can anyone help a guy out??

    edit: oh .. “cat’s eye” .. and “asians” .. now i get it .. but imo .. it’s a leap ..

  3. Mary says:

    One of the *sensitivities* Re: mentioning the Polish site might also be the truth in rumors that Cheney visited the Polish torture prison.fwiw

    I think the timing of getting Foggo involved in the black sites and his promotion is pretty interesting. Obviously, we already had some kind of black sites for our torture operations in 2002 and in 2003 before his involvement. The Yoo green light in the August 2002 memo on the torture sessions to be carried out at those torture sites, however, had these artificial 30 day authorization periods and nothing really about the “what next” with the tortured.

    In 2003, too, there had been a challenge (Rasul) to the GITMO construct wiht a lack of habeas, but at that time gov was winning – both the Dist Ct and later the DC Ct App in Rasul were good to go with the torture detentions without habeas. It wasn’t until June 2004 with the Sup Ct holding in Rasul that GITMO detainees were entitled to habeas that anyone would have necessarily been thinking that they needed someplace other than GITMO for their post-30 day torture sessions, long term detentions.

    So why, in 2003, were they adding more sites overseas (instead of GITMO or Bagram etc.) and adding them in a long term detention facility format instead of as the torture chambers for the 30 day authorized torture periods? Just kinda interesting.

    I mean, understand they wanted “their own” but how is a Polish torture site more “theirs” than a Thailand torture site?

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, I wonder when Thailand kicked CIA out?

      And where was KSM’s first torture location? BC it couldn’t be one of Foggo’s sites, not with the timing.

      I know I have all this or it’s in the ghost planes book. But it is pretty remarkable timing.

      • cinnamonape says:

        I’m not sure Thailand did kick them out. Clearly there were two Thai sites…perhaps the first, in or near Pattaya, was the one called “Cat’s Eye”. The Pentagon had flown a CIA polygraph expert there to question al-Haideri. I suspect that when Foggo came into the picture the CIA took on a more direct role. The numbers of detainees, the time of interrogation, and the facilities needed increased. So perhaps they changed the name and location in Thailand at that time.

        I don’t get the “Cat’s Eye” = “racial insensitivity” thing. The “Cat’s Eye” isn’t a particularly sensitive term in Thailand and refers to a lot of things (gemstones, a fruit, a symbol of truth), but not to people, For another – this was a code name so who outside a small group in the agency would even know of it. Perhaps others were briefed? Maybe Korean-American Torture LAwyer John Yoo had a hissy-fit about it. Which would be the ultimate irony, methinks.

    • Sara says:

      “I think the timing of getting Foggo involved in the black sites and his promotion is pretty interesting. Obviously, we already had some kind of black sites for our torture operations in 2002 and in 2003 before his involvement. The Yoo green light in the August 2002 memo on the torture sessions to be carried out at those torture sites, however, had these artificial 30 day authorization periods and nothing really about the “what next” with the tortured.”

      Mary, if Thomas’s date for an April meeting in London in 2002 is correct, followed by approval by Blair and Bush of the overall plan — then you’ll note there are five months between that meeting and the Yoo August memo, and the Blair/Bush approval predates that August memo date with all its legal justifications. Thomas dates the first flights to distribute the prisoners to May 2002.

      As I said — I don’t know how accurate Thomas is as an author/researcher. For the Gideon’s Spies book, he interviewed every living former Mossad Chief — so looks like he has mucho access.

      • emptywheel says:

        Btw, I read a much earlier version of the book. I had about the same sense as you, though I don’t remember if I was picking up on questionable dates. You’re much better at that history than me.

      • Mary says:

        Since some of the torture decisions seem to date as early as Jan 2002 with the shipment of al-libi, first to the floating prison on the Bataan and then the handoff to Eyptian interrogators, I would both think there is something to that meeting and yet also think that things were in the works even before that meeting. It sounds like he is not necessarily making a big distinction between sites the US was running in foreign countries and sites were we handed off people for torture.

        Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, raised as much hell as he could from quite a long time back about the handoffs to Uzbekistan- an area that has not received very much attention.


        “People come to me very often after being tortured. Normally this includes homosexual and heterosexual rape of close relatives in front of the victim; rape with objects such as broken bottles; asphyxiation; pulling out of fingernails; smashing of limbs with blunt objects; and use of boiling liquids including complete immersion of the body. This is not uncommon. Thousands of people a year suffer from this torture at the hands of the authorities.”

        In October 2002, Murray made a speech to his fellow diplomats and Uzbekistani officials at a human rights conference in Tashkent in which he became the first western official for four years to state publicly that “Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy”, and to highlight the “prevalence of torture in Uzbekistani prisons” in a system where “brutality is inherent”. Highlighting a case in which two men were boiled to death, he added: “All of us know that this is not an isolated incident.”

        He wrote to his superiors in London on the day in which he watched Bush talk of “dismantling the apparatus of terror” and “removing the torture and rape rooms” in Iraq, pointing out that “when it comes to the Karimov regime, systematic torture and rape appear to be treated as peccadilloes, not to effect the relationship and to be downplayed in the international fora … I hope that once the present crisis is over we will make plain to the US, at senior level, our serious concern over their policy in Uzbekistan.”

        Still, I find it odd that after already having a black sites program run by the US in place, and already having and extratorturary rendition program to any number of other countries (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, etc.) they act as if Foggo was approached in 2003 to create something new. That makes me wonder if perhaps at some point around about then, there had been a determination to permanently disappear the torture victims, perhaps due to a bit of waffling on the issue of how much coverage the 2002 memo really gave them, perhaps to continue the human expermientation on the learned helplessness front, or if it is all just oddly worded.

        Obviously we had “blacksites” where the prior to Yoo and post Yoo torture was going on, as well as proxy sites, all before Foggo would have been approached. So why do two guys show up on his doorstep in 2003 asking him to set up blacksites – why Foggo, why new/different sites etc.

        Just makes me wonder.

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        Gordon Thomas is a very interesting researcher. I’ve tried to ask around other writers on the subject what they think of him. They were reticent to give an opinion, even if they used his material.

        I’ve read his book Journey into Madness, which documents the Ewen Cameron “psychic driving” story in some detail. Having talked with individuals intimately involved with the Cameron case, I can say that Thomas was mostly correct in that book.

        In a later, recent book, Secrets and Lies, Thomas revisited the Cameron story and rewove it with the Frank Olson story. He claims William Buckley, the CIA station chief that was kidnapped and murdered in Lebanon, as a source. The book is fascinating, but I’m not sure how much to believe everything Thomas says, even as he takes up the issue of the Korean POW “confessions” in a way that gibes with my own research on the subject.

        I haven’t read his Mossad book, but with this new edition out, and the material you mention on the CIA prisons, I’ll have to get it.

        As for Goss, one can’t believe anything he says. In fact, that goes for much of the CIA, not least because misinformation and misdirection is their business. But also because it’s clear they are riven with cliques, each trying to spin their own story. The latter is made more intense because of the (unfortunately distant) possibility of further torture investigations and prosecutions.

        Great catch, Marcy. I think you’re onto something here. Hopefully things will be clearer if the Durham investigation ever comes public with indictments, or at least a report.

    • fatster says:

      Dunno, but this might provide a clue or two.

      KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) –” Presidents Bush and Obama asked, so he stayed on a little longer than he expected.

      “But former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe is planning to come home to Tennessee after resigning as Ambassador to Poland.

      “Via e-mail, he told the Associated Press that his resignation is effective September 26th, the same day the Vols play Ohio at Neyland.”


      And there’s more here

  4. Mary says:

    OT – EW, so you were on a torture panel at NN, but weren’t you also on another panel too recently with Jane Mayer? Am I confusified ?

    Listening to your clip from the NN panel – very nice job.

      • Mary says:

        Ah – thanks, I was confused. I saw a piece by Rather not long ago on Afghanistan and it was a very good piece. Enjoy the panel.

  5. greenharper says:

    Anybody else think that building separate prisons for approximately 6 captives each is oddly extravagant? Extravagantly odd?

    “… Mr. Foggo went on to oversee construction of three detention centers, each built to house about a half-dozen detainees….”

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, yeah, now that you mention it…
      And presumably it arises out of Mitchell and Jessen’s (and others’) stupid theories about learned helplessness.

      • robspierre says:

        Maybe. But it might also be no more than convenience and deniability. Foggo might have been setting up something closer to a safe house or houses.

        A prison/torture chamber for six can probably be set up in the basement of a modest-sized private house. A somewhat isolated location–a farm, for instance–and some sound insulation and you are in business. Remember that weird business early on in Afghanistan with the supposed private bounty hunter and his private dungeon in Kabul? The Afghans arrested the guy?

        If you have more inmates than six, you probably have to have more sanitation, more guards, more construction–towers, razor wire and the rest. The neighbors notice. The local police have to discourage curious outsiders. Everything gets very visible and very embarassing for the host country.

        A real prison, secret or not, would make the inmates much more traceable. Remember that the black rendition flights were spotted and tracked almost immediately by plane spotters. We knew where they landed, as you note in the Lithuania case. For the black sites to work, the trail had to stop at the airport. A private house in the vicinity would serve the purpose. An actual camp would not.

  6. Sara says:

    Just reading an old book that I skipped in the past, but has recently come out in a new edition, that covers much of this — Gordon Thomas’s Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad” Thomas has written multiple books on spying and all that — British, but lives in N. Ireland. I have no idea if he is correct or not, I have found a number of small errors, such as use of wrong names at times, and a few dates I question, but for what it is worth, this is what he says about the establishment of the secret prison sites.

    He dates the decision to establish them to April, 2002, at a meeting held in London, chaired by John Scarlett of MI6. Scarlett has previous connections with Polish Officers who had worked with the KGB when they ran the site in Poland — and once the decision was made to approach the Poles, Scarlett and several other MI6 officers made the pitch — but not until both Tony Blair and Bush had signed off on the overall plan. It was George Tenant who briefed Bush on the plan, and got his approval. Polish Military Intelligence then approached three other former Soviet states, Uzbekistan, Moldova and later, Romania to determine if the former KGB sites were still in tact. They Were. The link was an old Soviet unit called GROM — died with the Warsaw Pact, but MI6 and the Poles reactivated it for this purpose.

    Thomas tells us that the Mossad was present at these meetings, and was part of approaching these former East Bloc states, and not only participated in the torture and interrogation processes at the sites, but also got full copies of everything gleaned from the process. (So too did MI6, and one would expect all the countries that supplied resources.)

    Thomas says that both MI6 and CIA had a role in persuading the Arab Countries that also provided facilities to participate. Jordan, Egypt, and at a later date, Tunisia. The US also provided a site in Kosovo for a time. Thomas also mentions Macedonia and Bulgaria, though I am unclear as to whether they were a secret prisons, or just landing strips for the CIA special charter flights. Thomas also says that each of these sites had various specialities, very rough torture (killed most prisoners) in Uzbekistan, light torture but very sophisticated interrogation in Jordan, etc., There were 22 countries around the world where co-operating intelligence teams were rendering persons into this system — it was the CIA that ran the flights, and delivered prisoners to this or that site, but the decision as to what “program” to develop for each prisoner was apparently very much a collective effort. Israel’s Mossad played a key role in all this. However in late 2005, Israel lost interest in that Mossad’s analyists became convinced that too much bad, non-credible intelligence was being collected, and thus wasn’t worth the risk. Thomas doen’t mention Dana Priest’s articles, but the date when Mossad dropped out corresponds with her publication dates. I would also note that not with regard to this dismal saga — but on other instances of CIA/Mossad colloboration, when Mossad wanted out of an arrangement, it sometimes used the tactic of blowing the story in the US Press as an exit tool.

    Anyhow, if Thomas’s dates are correct, that the torture program dates from a London meeting in April 2002, when Tenent was still DCIA, Porter Goss was in Congress, and Foggo was still absorbed with shipping water to our troops in Iraq, something doesn’t really add up. Remember Tenet remained DCIA till July, 2004 and he gave 2 weeks notice. If Foggo did have involvement in all this, it was in the last year of the program, as he only returned to CIA headquarters after Goss was confirmed by the Senate in the fall of 2004.

    There is more “stuff” in Thomas’s book, but nuf for now.

      • MartyDidier says:

        “multiple, parallel networks”

        There are many almost too many to count however there is an overall agenda which is guiding the networks. What has yet to surface is a focus on the higher-up network(s) and whom are at the top.

        However Jim, for your information some of this already resides on the Internet but you have to have an open mind and know what to look for. It helps if you know about an ultimate agenda and who may be pulling the strings along with money. As it is, money is the fuel to allow these networks to operate and that money which isn’t reported to Congress is where the action is.

        How I know is because I was in a family for more than 26 years who are directly involved in those who I’m talking about. It’s starting to come to light and will shock the hell out of many, plus many of those old wornout “Offical Stories” will add to the stack of lies that mislead us all.

        Meet the family:
        Mexico drug plane used for US ‘rendition’ flights: report — Sep 4, 2008


        Note the CIA link as the family often bragged about being CIA Assets because they would never be prosecuted for anything even if it involved murder. Also don’t miss all the bags filled with Cocaine! Realize that the CIA’s connection in Wide World Distribution of Drugs doesn’t have to be reported to Congress PLUS it helps oil everyone’s pockets so the machinery runs really smooth. You guessed it, who is selling us Cocaine and Heroin is our Political system. Chicago alone gets a weekly $100 million dollar shipment of cocaine and guess who is involved? Also, guess who assisted my ex-wife’s family with setting up their new distribution business in Florida? A well known Consitutional taught attorney who worked at a law firm in Chicago and knew Rezko really well, fankly Reszko is thought to get him his job after graduating from Law School in the early 90’s. This is enormously huge and it’s been a long journey for many to start to put the pieces together. If you have questions, please ask.

        There is almost too much to talk about regarding this, but maybe for another time….

        Marty Didier
        Northbrook, IL

    • MaryCh says:

      Polish Military Intelligence then approached three other former Soviet states, Uzbekistan, Moldova and later, Romania to determine if the former KGB sites were still in tact. They Were. The link was an old Soviet unit called GROM — died with the Warsaw Pact, but MI6 and the Poles reactivated it for this purpose.

      So the US and Brits were within spitting distance or closer to ‘leasing’ a few islands in the archipelago? I guess that in the context of using Abu Graib etc. this is unexceptional, but it still makes me shake my head.

      BTW, great thread — Marcy & friends have gathered so many that each additional seems to jostle a new spider or two.

    • robspierre says:

      Googling suggests that the GROM is the Polish antiterrorist special forces: Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno Mobilnego (GROM)–”Operational Mobil Reaction Group”–or “Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego”–”Operational Maneuver Reacton Group”. They were set up in the 1990s with US and UK help and have been operating in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. So no surprise that they have CIA connections. But no obvious connection to old Soviet gulag networks.

  7. fatster says:

    O/T. Or back to Yesteryear, spooks, assassinations and Henry the K.

    Brazil Conspired with U.S. to Overthrow Allende
    Declassified U.S. Documents Show Richard Nixon and Brazilian President Emilio Médici Discussed Coordinated Intervention in Chile, Cuba, and other Latin American nations “to prevent new Allendes and Castros”


    One of the last photos of Allende.

  8. PJBurke says:

    Relevant, or just coincident (?):

    From the Wall Street Journal (preview… full article is subscriber content):


    WASHINGTON — Rep. Jerry Lewis and seven fellow members of Congress jetted to Europe in July 2003 on official government business and dined in restaurants from Warsaw to Lisbon. (emphasis added)

    Instead of paying for the meals out of their government allowances, they were treated by a parade of defense contractors and lobbyists, most of which sent personnel to Europe to host the meals, according to foreign-service officials and the companies. The meals gave Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and others private access to legislators who control billions of dollars in government contracts.

    – and –

    from the website of (the odious) Rep. Adam Putnam (FL-12):

    Congressman To Continue Dialogue with Members of the “Coalition of the Willing”

    July 24, 2003

    WASHINGTON – Congressman Adam H. Putnam (FL-12) announced that he will take part in an eight-member Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trip to Europe, which will take the Congressman to Warsaw, Poland, Lisbon, Portugal and London, England.

    The trip, led by Congressman Jerry Lewis, Chairman of the Defense Subcommittee for the House Appropriations Committee, is designed to express our gratitude and strengthen ties with some of the members of the “Coalition of the Willing.”


    House lawmakers joining Congressman Putnam include:

    Congressman Jerry Lewis (CA-41), Chairman, House Appropriations Committee, Defense Subcommittee (emphasis added)

    Congressman Joe Barton (TX-6), House Energy & Commerce and Science Committees
    Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-44), House Armed Services, Resources and Science Committees
    Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), House Appropriations Committee, Defense Subcommittee
    Congressman John McHugh (NY-23), House Armed Services, Government Reform and International Relations Committees
    Congressman Alan Mollohan (WV-1), House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member on Standards of Government Reform Committee
    Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34), House Appropriations and Standards of Official Conduct Committees

    How tangled up in the Black Site shenanigans was Jerry Lewis? The timing of this trip — given your analysis, EW — is a tad curious.

    • Sara says:

      “How tangled up in the Black Site shenanigans was Jerry Lewis? The timing of this trip — given your analysis, EW — is a tad curious.”

      The information on the CODEL is a great find, instructive if you ponder the meaning behind “Coalition of the Willing.” What may be evident here is the covert and overt sides of that meaning. When a fairly high powered CODEL arrives in a country that doesn’t get all that many official visitors — after all, the places they went were not lush with golf courses, and they were not Paris — and everyone eats very well, drinks the best of spirits, and smokes the forbidden on US Soil, Cubans, and friendly bits of information or disinformation get dropped, some folk get a little more willing.

      It may be this operated on two critical levels — the volunteer willingness to send some kids to form a unit and march into Iraq, and fly their national flag at the HQ of Willing — there were lots of Americans who bought the yarn that Figi military contribution meant something. But the other side of it — the covert side, is that the “Willing” were told enough about rough interrogation and secret black sites, some of which they provided, so as to share around a little of the weight of international treaty and law breaking. Some of these “willing” probably had their chests poked out for months, given that they had been included in some of the margins of a great secret.

      I think this has been particularly true of some of the E. European Nations that switched sides and joined NATO in the years after 1989. It isn’t all that much about form of government or ideology — it is about the need to be included in, identify with, something powerful. World over, it is one of the common conditions of many a politician. It is also a major factor in why alienated young men join up with an al-Qaeda or a Taliban outfit. One aspect of Thomas’s history of Mossad I found interesting was his treatment of motivation for joining up with Israeli Intelligence Operations. He has fairly detailed discussions of what is called “the pitch” (Recruitment Tale) in these circles used to recruit teen aged Palestian kids, but also international Billionaire Figures such as Robert Maxwell into their web. In form, not all that different from how you gain the trust and love of “the willing” pol’s from places such as Poland or Macedonia, and get them to risk life and limb to service your interests.

      MaryCH says…

      “So the US and Brits were within spitting distance or closer to ‘leasing’ a few islands in the archipelago? I guess that in the context of using Abu Graib etc. this is unexceptional, but it still makes me shake my head.”

      Yea — and I think you are onto something very important in dealing with this “high secret” stuff. I think it is why we hear so many comparisons to Stalin or Hitler, or Nazi stuff and all. There is a certain degree of secret admiration in power circles for these examples of brutal power as it was acquiared and exercised. You can just imagine Cheney happily rubbing his hands at the thought of being able to create and manage a nice Stalinist style Gulag for disagreeable congresscritters. Whoever it was in the Bush orbit who told Ron Suskind, that as an Empire we “make our own reality” had the theory of propaganda from Joseph Goebbels down pretty well. Secretly they want to replay that theatrical snd take starring or leading roles.

      Mary Says….

      “Obviously we had “blacksites” where the prior to Yoo and post Yoo torture was going on, as well as proxy sites, all before Foggo would have been approached. So why do two guys show up on his doorstep in 2003 asking him to set up blacksites – why Foggo, why new/different sites etc.”

      I rather think the key to when the “blacksites” notion began to evolve — and I think all these ideas evolved, rather than sprang all created in detail, was in the first day or so after 9/11 as described by Richard Clarke in the instance of giving Ashcroft directions for rounding up Arabs and sticking them, without charges or lawyers, in various jails under his auspices through Immigration and Naturalization. It was at that point that Clarke determined that Ashcroft was just plain dumb, because he didn’t catch on to the guidence he was being given all that fast. But I think once this act was committed, with several thousand rounded up and put in cells with no means for communicating with family or friends, the basic form was on the table — and the rest of the story is just different details. Getting the US Attorney General to use his authorities to commit these acts gives them considerable legitimacy. It took the courts a couple of years to unwind a little. And in form, not all that different from the manner a recruit to service with a clandestine agency is dealt with in a classical “pitch.”

      As to how many black sites, and why so many were needed — Well, if Thomas is correct, and a number of security and intelligence services were in on this thing, they probably wanted to compartmentalize many parts of it. This would be standard practice. CIA might not have wanted to work on the same turf as Mossad, or MI6 might have wanted to avoid teams from French Intelligence, or Turkish Intelligence. Operating in small compartments is standard practice for any intelligence outfit. Serves the theory of “Need to Know” very well.

      Thomas says that Pakistani and CIA found KSM’s Karachi safe house before they arrested KSM by some months. Now that doesn’t comporte with the narrative we’ve been given, but I assume that narrative is pretty ragged. None the less, Thomas says that in the Safe House they found over a hundred Hard Drives (no details on size), but at some point prior to KSM’s arrest someone in DC would have been looking at the content of 100 plus hard drives — and following up on that data.

      Within the KSM data library, they found a plan to set off Hirshoima sized Nuclear bombs in seven or eight US cities at the same time, and this included a plan for breaking down the weapons so they could be shipped to the US in containers, and re-assembled. Apparently most of the material was from the former Soviet Union stockpiles. The Hard Drives held considerable information about the personnel involved in this plan, and as suggested by Thomas, Mossad used their teams of assassins (called Kidon) to liquidate all they could identify. Far-fetched? Yep, but then so was knocking down the WTC.

      Thomas also says OBL is not in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but since late 2004 or early 05, he has been in Western China. It strikes me that the current great effort to take out the Taliban in Western Pakistan — the FATA — may have much to do with finding and safeing the Nuclear Material as opposed to finding and killing OBL. Thomas doesn’t say this — it is just a surmise on my part. He does suggest some sort of deal whereby China keeps him more or less under house arrest and without communications in exchange for efforts on his part to tone down the Chinese Muslims influenced by al-Qaeda. I wonder if the recent Uighur revolt and violent put-down by the Chinese Army changes that deal?

      Anyhow, I have no idea whether Thomas’s stories are true. I suspect he has excellent access, and connections not only with MI6 and Mossad, but with a few other services, particularly the French. He is fairly critical of Mossad — but also of CIA. He admires the Chinese services. Most dirty of all, BOSS — the Apartheid era South African service, (many of whom, now pensioned off, got hired by the British and Americans for Iraq. I seem to remember that Blackwater hired a good number of them. Pakistan apparently got many South African Nuclear Scientists and Missile techs.

      Need a mite of humor — Obama got me laughing today during his VFW speech, given that I was in the midst of Thomas’s dense stories, looking at his footnotes, and cross checking other books all in a heap on the living room floor. BO told the vets that among the irrelevant military contracts he had canceled was the new Presidential Helicopter, which among other things had a full service kitchen on board. He actually got a laugh from the VFW for the line — “if there is a Nuclear Attack, I can assure you that I’ll have other things to do besides whip up some snacks.” Maybe the best thing to do — if any of this is true, is find a mite of humor.

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        Re Poland. Perhaps the U.S. was calling in its chips, as the CIA was, per Robert Gates in his 1996 book From the Shadows, “most active in Poland” in the 1980s, during the Solidarity years. Did they really need to activate an old KGB unit? A lot of risk there, I’d think. I’d suppose they had developed networks of their own.

        The discussion here prompts a lot of thought, a lot of information to digest.

  9. lysias says:

    Remember, Wayne Madsen reported back in 2005 or 2006 that, when Cheney visited Poland for a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Jan. 2005, he paid a side visit to the secret CIA prison in the country.

Comments are closed.