State of the Union

And It’s Not Only Sibel Edmonds Who Says So

John M. Cole, a former FBI Counterintelligence and Counterespionage Manager, has publicly confirmed the FBI’s decade long investigation of the former State Department Official Marc Grossman. Cole worked for 18 years in the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. According to Cole, as in over one hundred cases involving Israeli espionage activities directed against the US government, the Grossman case was covered up and buried despite mountains of evidence that was collected.

Here is the public response from John Cole after the publication of The American Conservative magazine’s cover story:

    “I read the recent cover story by The American Conservative magazine. I applaud their courage in publishing this significant interview. I am fully aware of the FBI’s decade-long investigation of the High-level State Department Official named in this article, Marc Grossman, which ultimately was buried and covered up. It is long past time to investigate this case and bring about accountability…”

In November 2006, in an by Jeff Stein published by “Congressional Quarterly” on the cover-up of espionage cases involving Israel, Cole was quoted extensively:

    “John M. Cole, an FBI spy catcher who retired in 2004, says that from 1993 to 1995 alone, he had “125 open cases” of Israeli espionage, representing nearly half of all the investigations carried on in his Global Unit, part of the now-defunct National Security division.” Inside the FBI itself, Cole said, tracking suspected Israeli spies was hush-hush.In a sharp break with FBI procedures, he was prohibited from notifying field offices when an investigation crept into their jurisdictions. “No one was supposed to know we were investigating the Israelis,” Cole said.”

Stein’s article also quoted several other FBI officials confirming Cole’s disclosure:

    “The 125 figure “makes sense,” another former top FBI counterintelligence official said, speaking only on condition that he not be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity. This official called the Israeli embassy’s denials “horse [manure].” In fact, he said, U.S. officials repeatedly warned the Israelis to back off. But the finger-wagging only seemed to energize them. “We would call them in, call them on the carpet, and next week there would be 10 more cases,” he said. The Justice Department never seemed much interested in prosecuting them, he and other counterintelligence veterans said. Agents would get pissed off,” said the former top official. “We knew they were going to walk, that they were going to get a pass. . . . It was frustrating.”
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‘They’d rather make money off your dead corpse’

Patent nutter Ed Schultz reminds us that Fox News has no monopoly on crazy political TV. (Via Michael C. Moynihan at Reason.)

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To Lose a War

While America was consumed this summer with quarrels over town-hall radicals, “death panels,” the “public option” and racism’s role in the plunging polls of Barack, what happens to health care is not going to change the history of the world.

What happens in Afghanistan might.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal has done his duty. He has bluntly told his commander in chief what he must have in added combat troops and warned that if he does not get them, America faces “mission failure.”

Translation: a Taliban victory and U.S. defeat, as in Saigon 1975.

Not only does President Obama face the most critical decision of his young presidency, this country is facing a moment of truth. Obama, now the Decider, has four options. Read More…

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Lonely Russian President Seeks American Dissidents

Daniel Drezner and Andy Heil note that Dmitri Medvedev wants to court some rebellious American voices when he visits the United States this week. According to AP,

Russian news agencies quote him as telling a group of visiting foreign experts that “I believe there are dissidents in the United States.”

ITAR-Tass quotes him as saying: “Let them tell me what problems the United States has. That won’t be bad, considering the Soviet experience.”

Clearly the Russian President wants to spite Obama for meeting with opposition leaders when he visited Russia. But the GOP doesn’t exactly qualify as “dissident” — at least not as far as the Russians are concerned. Who then? Drezner and Heil have both put forward their comedy top-ten anti-establishmentarians. Let’s have your suggestions…

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Rand Paul, Peter Schiff Gaining Momentum

Rand Paul, running for the Kentucky U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim Bunning, has raised over $100,000 so far today in a money bomb to beat the $500-a-plate Washington fundraiser being held tonight by his Republican primary opponent, Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Meanwhile Peter Schiff, eying Chris Dodd’s Connecticut Senate seat, picked up an endorsement today from economic analyst Michael (Mish) Shedlock — an interesting development, since Shedlock has been critical of Schiff in the past.

See Rand Paul’s article for TAC here, and Michael Brendan Dougherty’s profile of Peter Schiff here.

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More Sibel Edmonds

For those who have not yet overdosed on the Sibel Edmonds saga, here is a link to an interview I gave yesterday on antiwar radio with Scott Horton and Joe Lauria.  Joe Lauria was co-author of the three articles on Edmonds that appeared last year in The Sunday Times of London.  Horton moderated.  I become a little emotional towards the end but rumors that I called for hanging the scoundrels from the yardarm are not correct.  Link: 



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The Perils of Gunship Diplomacy

America’s foray into Somalia last week is already all but forgotten in Washington — filed away as a successful mission in the war on terror. We went in with helicopter gunships, killed a bad guy — or three — and got out, taking some corpses with us for good measure.

What’s not to like?

For Africans, it’s not so quick and easy. Like Clinton’s black-hawk bungle in 1993, America’s latest Somalia adventure may have only further destabilized an already chaotic country. Far from “crippling al-Qaeda,” as the Pentagon press releases averred, the strike appears to have emboldened the enemy and aggravated anti-western feeling among Somalis — particularly after the sinister body-snatching details emerged. The already feeble moderate government in Mogadishu is now under greater pressure. “They will taste the bitterness,” promised the vengeful al-Shabab leadership last week. The group appears to have since kept its word.

Elsewhere, officials of our regional ally Kenya — clearly not as blinkered by Obama enthusiasm as some like to think — are furious that the U.S. carried out such a dangerous military strike in East Africa without consulting or warning their government. As Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula puts it,

“What I do not feel comfortable with is the fact that the US would want to conduct operations in our neighborhood without information or cooperation or collaboration,” he said.

“That Lone Ranger behavior has often not succeeded in many places.”

He may have a point.

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John Cole states that,  “Frank Gaffney is an insane crazy person. He has proven it on any number of occasions, but he quite clearly demonstrated that he is a lunatic in the above clip, right there on Hardball.” He then asks,  “So why, exactly, are Matthews and his producers inviting him back on the show to babble?”

I think I can handle that one. Pretty much all cable news is terrible—broadcast isn’t much better—and Chris Matthews is one of the worst. I’d love to turn on the TV and see an anchor interviewing Bill McKibben or Andrew Bacevich, or anybody with something to say; instead of tiresome hacks such as Carville, Coulter, Gingrich, Gaffney, ad nauseum. A good rule of thumb is, if the interviewer isn’t Brian Lamb then turn it off.

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Last Exit Before Quagmire

The Washington Post yesterday made available an unclassified version of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s long-awaited report on the war in Afghanistan. Politically, the report is bold, in that it acknowledges the enemy has the initiative and we have been fighting the war – for eight years – in counterproductive ways. But intellectually, both as analysis and as prescription, it is five pounds of substance in a 50 pound bag.

The report’s message can be summarized in one sentence: we need to start doing classic counterinsurgency, and to do so, we need more “resources,” i.e. troops. In a narrow, technical sense, that statement is valid. Classic counterinsurgency doctrine says we need hundreds of thousands more troops in Afghanistan.

Past that syllogism, the report’s validity becomes questionable. Defects begin with the study’s failure to address Fourth Generation war’s first and most important question: Is there a state in Afghanistan? At times, the report appears to assume a state; elsewhere, it speaks of the Afghan state’s weaknesses. It never addresses the main fact, namely that at present there is no state, and under the current Afghan government there is no prospect of creating one.

The failure to acknowledge the absence of a state leads the rest of the report through the looking glass. For example, it puts great emphasis on expanding the Afghan National Security Forces (army and police). But absent a state, there are no state armed forces. The ANSF are militiamen who take a salary paid, through intermediaries, by foreign governments. How many Pashtun do you find in the ANSF? Read More…

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Tom DeLay: Cha Cha Cha …

Health warning: bound to induce strong bouts of cringing.

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