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A former CIA spy has revealed his key role in the arrest of Nelson Mandela (thetimes.co.uk)
435 points by randomname2 on May 15, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 282 comments

The CIA is the reason for most of the unstable regions and it's hard to understand how after messing with other places and making it worse for everybody but weapons manufacturers, they're still doing the same thing over and over. Previously it was the fight against Communism, now Islam, I wonder what it will be in 2020. Middle-east, Asia, South America, all are right to be very angry with the CIA, but turn it into a "Burn America" rethoric, which doesn't help their argument. CIA's policy is probably controlled by someone else, and that's where changes need to be made because I like to think they don't come up with the stuff on their own.

> CIA's policy is probably controlled by someone else, and that's where changes need to be made because I like to think they don't come up with the stuff on their own.

Beyond you liking to think that, what evidence do you have that the CIA's policy is controlled by anyone other than the CIA's Deputy Director who commands internal operations, and its Director, who reports to the director of National Intelligence as well as having to answer to Congress and the White House?


For the most part, theories of secret groups that control things are false, not counting well-known groups like the Masons, etc. that make secrecy part of their identity. There is plenty of evidence to support that Congress and the White House are lobbied heavily by outside interest, and that's no secret. Combine that with the varied interests and agendas in the involved organizations, human error, incorrect or misinterpreted information, etc. and you have plenty enough reason for things like this to go wrong.

If you are an American citizen, and you believe the U.S. government is so wrong and misguided, nothing is typically stopping you from leaving the country or attempting to vote for others that might be able to make some changes, but the fact is that there is an extreme momentum of the country that is simultaneous chaotic and well-intentioned, so no matter who you vote for, things will typically continue on. Well- maybe not if Trump is elected, because the entire country could turn into a sideshow ;) , but this is true for the most part.

If you live in another democratic country, vote for leaders that you believe will positively influence the U.S. in one way or another, or you can speak up about it.

Belief in some shadowy group is just not helpful, and is a result of the imprint on the psyche from movies, television, and other media sources. There are real groups out there with influence, and real single players with influence, but it's really not that hidden; it's just complex.

Not secret group, I don't believe in stuff. I should have been clearer and say that part of the government likely has a body which controls and influences the policy of the CIA. Sorry for my imprecise wording.

There are congressional intelligence oversight committees, who I'd like to think are aware of these things.

More likely, there's a little golf club agreement now and then between some corporation or lobbying group and government agencies. For example, if you guys can help us with a little information and maybe a teensy overthrow, we'll give you some better terms on that spy sat you wanted.

Thing is, they're not, as we discovered when the Snowden revelations came to light. Intelligence agencies do, in fact, operate without proper oversight, and are run by means of informal channels to private interests with overseas assets to protect. That's been true since the Dulles brothers.

Is that like the congressional committee headed by and filled with people who don't believe in science?


Why would you expect any other oversight committee in any other field be competent?

Well, they were elected by a majority who doesn't believe in science. That's why it's strange that most of the people who believe in majority rule are surprised when democratic elections result in such outcomes.

Would an alternative be any better? Democracy seems the only way forward, the solution is education (difficult if not impossible).

The mob is ignorant so pick someone smart to be in charge? How do you pick? Who decides? Maybe the smartest people are the ones who take power already. Really the money is in charge.

They don't believe in scientific authorities when it contradict their religious authorities and other deeply held beliefs?

If you haven't already, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins is a very good read.

> For the most part, theories of secret groups that control things are false...

I'd like some evidence of that statement.

If you have any evidence that the US is actually a democracy, that would be nice too.

Thank you.

I think you are completely wrong about this. There is plenty of evidence to indicate that "shadow groups" of varied interests that sometimes align and sometimes dont, are often pulling the strings of "public puppets". Your view, while common, (especially in the academic world where conspiracy is avoided like the plague) doesnt seem to reflect reality.

The conspiratorial view of history is the correct one.

Would you like me to go into more detail?

This is about the NSA, not the CIA, but still a nice link.

"As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today."


The context of that quote was humor.

You might be correct, depending on your definition of "shadow groups".

For example, George W. Bush initially got elected on a platform of non-intervention. There was, however, a strong core of Neocons in his administration, like Paul Wolfowitz. After 2001 the President switched directions completely and they became considerably more powerful and their lobbying probably directly led to the Iraq war.

But none of this is really hidden secrets.

Please go into more detail. Start with the evidence.

Could we start with asking you what kind of evidence would actually satisfy you? How much effort are you prepared to expend in questioning this?

Honestly. What do you need to just to consider the small possibility that your view of things is the incorrect one?

Do you want macro/micro/historical/current evidence and do you expect such evidence to be easily disseminated here or are you just asking without any of these things in mind?

I guess we could start with the fact that it's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that very few people control the economy in modern times - https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354-500-revealed...

We could also prove that for historical times.

The evidence is there. It just takes a little work to dig through and a lot of reading. So, I suggest trying to look around on your own first. Read about the United Fruit Company. 1950's Iran. Rand Corporation. There's just so much out there already that I think anybody who hasn't read about this stuff by now must not really care.

Not the OP, but it's sunday afternoon and you've piqued my curiosity. I'm not opposed to conspiracy theories, but my view of the world is one of different groups competing for power without a guiding plan. I find it interesting reading about individual conspiracies and learning how the world really works, but in my view they eventually backfire on the people who instigate them.

Take the United Fruit Company - so they lobbied the US government to instigate a coup in Guatemala. That's devious. (I've just looked up the coup in more detail, and the consequences for Guatemala were horrendous, so I'd say the coup instigators were not merely devious, but outright evil).

Thing is, neither party benefited. The US got involved to prevent communism growing in its backyard, but ended up pissing off the entire region. The UFC wanted to protect its assets in Guatemala, but was forced by Eisenhower to divest them all 4 years later.

What's the grand pattern here? What's the motive behind all these conspiracy theories? Do they intentionally backfire, or are the people pulling the strings just short-sighted?

Thanks, great response. I guess my overall point would be that once you think you know something, you've stopped thinking about it.

I agree that it's a fact that there are different groups competing for power and that there is a constant struggle. I would quibble over the "without a guiding plan" part because I don't know what you mean by that exactly. Large and powerful groups can certainly exert leverage over numerous smaller and less powerful groups.

A guiding plan could be a general philosophy. Look at all of our political and military power systems. They are designed hierarchically, so that the nearer you get to the top, the smaller and more powerful the group is. The pyramid on the dollar bill is obviously symbolic of this. That's indicative of some sort of guiding plan. I mean, there's one group (the Masons) who can get all of their secret symbols implanted into our money forever? That's scary to me.

Regarding United Fruit - yes, the company suffered but can you say that company profit was the prime motive for messing with South America? Have you considered that all warfare starts with economic warfare? What if de-stabilizing a region makes you all sorts of profits in other ways, with other companies? What if you can get all sorts of secret money to do secret things by controlling illicit trade that now comes out of that region?

I have a LOT of questions. How could the Taliban have virtually ended poppy production in Afghanistan in 2001 and yet our own government which supposedly is at "war" with drugs like Heroin, cannot quell the supply from that area which produces 90% of the drug for the rest of the world?

In my view of the world - the puppets change all the time but somehow shit stays the same, so I just am not that sure that there isn't a guiding plan of sorts. (EDIT: Even if that plan is just "greed". Endless greed. And "do what you want" mentality, which is the philosophy of Satan/Lucifer. You might think I'm crazy just for mentioning Satanism but secret power didn't start in modern times.)

But the evidence is secret! :)

I think this statement is hilarious. You tried to make fun of conspiracy theorists, but I have never heard a conspiracy theorist say that they "have evidence, but it's secret".

The reason it's funny to me is because the only time I ever hear bout "secret evidence" is when I read about secret courts and prisons that the US government runs, such as the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. (LOL! It's so funny that people around the world can be prosecuted, killed and tortured because of secret evidence, isn't it?)

> Would you like me to go into more detail?


I think to really understand what the CIA is doing today you need to look at its history and how it came about after World War II. Created by Truman as a central office for all of the intelligence to be collected by the multitude of spy agencies the US had, started as a small office. By 1963, Truman wrote an op-ed about how it had become the foreign policy arm of the US with no oversight.

Link to op-ed: http://tinyurl.com/hstheus

Congressional oversight of the CIA didn't begin until the Hughes-Ryan act of 1974. This act slowed down the cloak and dagger activities of the organization but never eliminated them.

>The CIA is the reason for most of the unstable regions

I recently read Legacy of Ashes[0], which I thought would be a sort of thrilling history of the spy game in America, but turned out to be a chronicle of blunder after blunder by the CIA. Fascinating stuff.

Having read that, I'm not naive enough to believe the cause of "most" global instability is due to the CIA; that's giving them far too much credit.


Oh, they're not alone in it but operate globally and are a repeat offender. It seems that they took over from Britain right after those started the whole two-state/one-state debacle in the middle east. Before that, Britain was the major offender. Like Britain, other offenders like France, Belgium, Spain, and the list goes on, are not as clearly and strongly involved in meddling with other nation's fates anymore. When viewed over a longer time span, one cannot help but notice the same abstract patterns, regardless of who did it. I don't know what has to happen for humanity to evolve in this regard.

I just wait until they mess with China. This way the economy may put enough pressure to hit it so it hurts. I lost all hope for the general public since Snowden.

But just like with all the other agencies in the US, I don't believe they'll be gone fast. They know to much ;)

Thing is, even with China's accelerated military spending [0], the US spends over 4x what China spends [1].

0 - https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://upload.wikimedi...

1 - https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&e...

Osama Bin Laden told the US the reason for his fight (which is the origin of violent movements such as ISIS): American politics/interference in Muslim countries.

Do you see the pattern?

One thing I find bizarre about 9/11 is that very few people seem to openly question why the World Trade Center was amongst the top targets that day. Perhaps if people looked a little deeper into what the WTO does it might help us make better decisions going forward.

In the interest of balance, the situation on 9/11 wasn't completely the fault of the US. Saudi Arabia appears to have been the main driving force behind the attacks. There are a number of reasons the US avoided attacking Saudi Arabia and went into Afghanistan instead, including past political deals and Saudi Arabia being the home of Mecca, the holiest site for Muslims (if you're looking for the quickest way to radicalise Muslims, damaging Mecca would probably be it).

I believe the main way for resolving the mess in the Middle East is to reduce our reliance on oil and move to locally controlled sources of energy like renewables. It's the oil money that's fuelling the conflict on both sides, if we cut that out of the equation I'm confident we would find it much easier to work towards peace in the Middle East.

One thing I find bizarre about 9/11 is that very few people seem to openly question why the World Trade Center was amongst the top targets that day.

Makes a lot of sense to me. NYC is an obvious top target. WTC is a big building, so high body count. Well known around the world; will have more impact than hitting some building nobody has ever heard of. Very distinctive appearance and a lot taller than the buildings around it, so good chance of actually being able to find it. Having two tall towers next to each other increases the chance of collision. Being so tall compared to the buildings around them, good chance of a lot of people seeing it happen (and recording the second one hit, so good publicity). In terms of practicality and terrorising, it ticks all the boxes.

Sure. Turns out I was mistaken about the WTC being the headquarters of the WTO. I still stand by the second and third paragraphs of my earlier comment.

Call me cynical, but I am not convinced that Israelis and Palestinians, Sunni and Shias, Kurds and Turkey, etc will suddenly make peace and start singing and dancing together as soon as we stop using oil.

No, it won't be an overnight change, but it's an important step towards peace in that region. People are willing to put aside their personal differences if it benefits them economically, but at the moment those economic forces are tearing them further apart.

Even in Palestine and Israel where there is no oil?

Yes, even there, as the violence is being fueled by other countries in the region with large ties to oil. It is not the only thing that needs to change in that region (a proper Palestinian state that could control its own borders would also be a great step in the right direction), but it's something that the average person has some control over, so instead of sitting on our hands and watching the situation get worse we can take practical steps to help out, with the added bonus of helping ourselves in the process.

Without Israel expanding their borders all the time? That would be a nice thing for once. Second thing to do: Stop supporting Saudi Arabia and Israel, which both empowers the instability of the reason.

> Without Israel expanding their borders all the time?

This seems like a fairly biased statement. In all cases that spring to mind - Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank - Israeli seized and occupied territory during wars in which they were the defenders.

Which wars are you referring to?

Just in case that the Six Day War was one of them, it's worth pointing out that there's evidence that Isreal started this war:


> It's the oil money that's fuelling the conflict on both sides, if we cut that out of the equation I'm confident we would find it much easier to work towards peace in the Middle East.

I agree, though even if the US solved its energy problems today, we (i.e. the entire Western world) need to survive the generation or two of pretty angry Middle-Easterns seeking revenge for their destroyed homes and killed families, as well as our own politicians using that to further their agendas.

> ... even if the US solved its energy problems today ...

Observe: We kinda did, as far as geopolitics are concerned anyway (environmentalist concerns may obviously differ). US net imports of oil are approaching zero, and our neighbor Canada has plenty more.

Here the Financial Times reports on projections that the US will be a net exporter by 2028, and maybe 2019 if the price shoots up: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f6dcbd90-e2bf-11e4-aa1d-00144feab7...

I realise you were responding to a comment about US energy independence, and in that context your point is well made, but in the wider context the US is just one western country, there are plenty of other western countries that will continue to be customers of the Saudis and other countries in the Middle East without changing how they generate energy. US exports alone will not meet the worldwide demand for oil at current rates of consumption.


We'd better start being nicer to Canada then. Will we see our next President holding hands with Justin Trudeau?

>seeking revenge for their destroyed homes and killed families,

15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were saudis. The London 7/7 bombers were raised in Britain. Most of the Paris/Belgium attackers were born in Europe.

I agree with you too, we will almost certainly be dealing with the blowback from our current activities in the Middle East for many years to come, and like you say certain politicians will try to use that for their own gain (particularly if they have financial links with the military industrial complex). However, reducing our dependence on oil would help reduce the financial incentives for war, as well as taking money out of the hands of those in the region who would buy weapons to fight (assuming that there was a similar move towards decentralised energy production in the Middle East also).

I'm not sure if the wall street cronies wants to solve that, as it would basically be the execution squad for the petro-dollar.

The WTO and WTCs have similar names, but are not otherwise related to each other.

TIL. Thanks.

So if it wasn't the headquarters for the WTO, what activity was taking place at the WTC?

The WTC belonged to the Port Authority -- an organization created by a compact between New York and New Jersey ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Authority_of_New_York_and... ) that handles most of the public transportation between the two states. The Trade Center itself was just an office building complex, with the Port Authority one of the biggest tenants ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Center_%281973%E2%... ).

There are World Trade Centres in lots of cities, affiliated with the WTC association. They are named after the NYC WTC.


Trade. Wikipedia probably has the answer but I believe it was just another set of high rise offices.


That's not what they said.

Don't escalate a difficult topic of discussion into an argument unnecessarily.

What are they saying then? Because to me it really looks like he is saying that CIA did something wrong by interfering and what happened afterwards just followed necessarily from that. And that all blame lies with the CIA.

They are relaying the fact that bin Laden used US intervention as a reason for his actions. There was no implied justification in that statement, just a statement of fact.

If you cite someone without any context to indicate the contrary, it means

    * You hold the same position yourself.
    * You think we should take So-and-so's word for it.
I find your explanation of "just telling a random anecdote" unconvincing.

I think you may want to reconsider this idea. It's pretty common to quote someone in the context of discussing their actions, because it helps explain why they acted in that way.

In the context of the CIA's actions, it is completely reasonable to point out that murderous barbarians like bin Laden use those actions to justify their actions, especially since that justification has proved to be influential in motivating enemies of the US.

As a point of order, South Africa under apartheid was eminently stable. It maintained that stability with the violence that wealth affords, e.g. the aligned interests with US political policy makers that led to the sharing of intelligence. That's not to discount the concurrent alignment with racial politics in the US -- domestic intelligence concerned with Dr. King and Malcolm X and the currents that created a George Wallace presidential bid.

To add to that: Apartheid ended in large part due to economic sanctions by the US (and other governments).

Aside from being aware of the damage the CIA has done in the past, it's worth knowing what damage they're doing right now. Here are a few links about CIA/US government activities in Syria:






> The CIA is the reason for most of the unstable regions

Perhaps the CIA is thus wildly successful? That may be their primary mission.

China seems to be prepping for the eventuality that it's going to be in the CIA's cross-hairs.


China Military Spending by year https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://upload.wikimedi...

Photos reveal growth of Chinese military bases in South China Sea http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/13/politics/china-military-south-...

I would agree the CIA is a reason, but I think it's faulty to call it the reason.

There are several factors at play, including European colonialism of the early 20th century, as well as the tendency to split countries in a divided fashion (e.g. India & Pakistan) as countries divested of those interests.

Often wondered what the world would be like if there was an intelligence group that only did good.

Most of them do, according to their definition of "good."

I know, it's ironic.

It should be simpler, and easier, than having to do "good." The situation since the creation of the CIA is that it is the armed international branch of money politics. Just getting corporatism out of the CIA and getting its activities aligned with the national interest would be an enormous improvement.

"getting its activities aligned with the national interest"

And what about other nations' national interests? Doing your own interest is not renowned as a particularly ethical activity per se, you know. Before assuming that the evil done by an intelligence agency has to do with its failure to work in its nation's interest, you should ask yourself whether your own interests are legitimate and above other people's interests.

Not feasible. Until we develop an ethical calculus "good" will always be relative. The problem with this is that one cannot infer ethics from logic. Also, human basic psychology is such that more power one has the less scrupulous one becomes. Therefore, either the group would be within a range of totally good in nature and totally feeble in power, or totally corrupt in nature and totally powerfull.

I'd settle for an intelligence organisation that followed basic human rights law. Intelligence is dominated by a "the ends justify the means" attitude that permits all sorts of grave injustices.

The problem here is humans in general. Intelligence agencies are created to follow orders of politicians, who often have morally dubious agendas - but at some point those agencies can also discover they have enough power they can do whatever they want without much oversight.

I too do dream of S.H.I.E.L.D.

>"The problem with this is that one cannot infer ethics from logic."

Of course you can. The problem I assume you're encountering is that you're not starting from irreducible basic premises. Thus, you can't logically resolve the already-existing and conflicting inconsistencies.

We are bombarded from birth with very illogical and inconsistent rules about how the world works. All of those things implicitly include "ethical" value systems. They're very hard to reconcile logically after the fact, simply because they're contradictory in nature and we have at that point heavily-invested into building mental models to navigate the world.

Like a secret society? The web could create endless opportunities for shadowy groups to emerge.

What would be the purpose of that agency?

Well, they could start by actually operating on the intel they have, rather than letting people bomb buildings because they have a long-term goal they don't want to be disturbed by revealing a bomb plot.

But sometimes stopping one plot will kill an operation that can stop many others later. Somebody has to weigh that and that somebody always looks bad.

You have to account for the converse: conducting an operation can start many others.

If we extrapolate, humans will sooner or later create "true AI".

Such an AI system can break free from our control (it will end up manipulating us in the physical space), it should become wiser than humanity as a collective (because it will evolve much faster then us). And in this case, we'd end up having such "an intelligence group that only did good".

The problem lies in how we manage to bridge the period between now and "then", because it will be a highly volatile situation, with a very high probability for our extinction.

AI may very well end up being perfectly efficient and incorruptible at managing resources, but we will sill need to give it "human purpose". That's where the problem is.

You're assuming that a "true AI" if it existed would care about the continued existence of humanity? Past the point of ability to self-repair and self-fuel, what would be the reason to even care about humanity then beyond self-defence?

You're right. It wouldn't care more about humanity than the Universe does. And it seems it would even end up not caring about its own self-defence, since this is only a human/animal-based drive, not a "divine" one.

And that would lead to the conclusion that AI will only dominate us during certain periods of time, will mainly remain of commercial nature, used as a tool to create/monopolize power further.

You're assuming that if "true AI" existed, it would be in total control of all the infrastructure needed to maintain it's own existence.

Not at first. That's exactly why I wrote "Past the point of ability to self-repair and self-fuel"

Ultimately it is human that Will define what variable the ai must optimize. Though one Will have to be very wary what he wishes for.

CIA was 110% right to oppose "Communist" regimes such as the Soviet's and China's. Stalins Soviet and Mao's China were really fucked up. I don't know the full story of the Latin American ones though.

It's kind of odd that the DailyMail and RussiaToday (RT) have more "info" than the linked article that's paywalled. Not necessarily a bigger "scoop" of the story, but they provided more info about the parties, backstory, pictures included. Honestly, I tried looking for a decent article after encountering the paywall, but most were just "rehashed" quotes and links to the TheTimes article, with absolutely nothing of substance added.



Anyone have a decent article on this with more info and backstory?

Not too far off topic:the book "The Devils Chessboard", the history of Allen Dulles and the CIA is informative. The author was at Harper's Magazine for decades, and this book is full of personal accounts and information gleaned from historical records. The book is an eye opener. I was particularly shocked by how Dulles suppressed information of the holocost as it was happening, preventing obvious steps like bombing the railway lines leading to the death camps. Dulles was so fixated by the communists that any actions were to him justified.

Edit: Dulles was also fixated by protecting the interests of his law firm's Wall Street clients and he viewed the Nazi apparatus, minus Hitler, as a potential resource, something to be protected and largely left in place after the war.

You know how we're still hunting down and jailing formers nazis and concentration camp guards? Why aren't we doing the same to these CIA agents and decision makers?

Because the United States of America didn't lose any wars, and winners make policy.

That explains why the Republic of South Vietnam is doing so well these days, and why Iraq and Afghanistan are beacons of hope and democracy in the middle east.

(The USA does lose wars; it's just career suicide for a politician -- and deeply unpopular for a media channel -- to admit it. And nobody has actually threatened to invade the CONUS since 1941, so the cost of losing a war is much lower than for most other nations.)

It's pretty clear what he meant: the US never had to surrender like Germany or Japan, or even defend on their own soil, so they can shield their operatives indefinitely.

And they didn't really lost in Vietnam, what happened in the end was that they had to pick between two alternatives: carpet bomb the place to hell and "win" or go home. That "win" would have been political suicide for the administration at the time as the majority of the US wanted to go home. In the end it was a victory of the will of the people so I'm glad they went home and I'm not even American so it's not like I care if they "lost" or not.

The US carpet bombed Vietnam and Cambodia and still didn't win.

See Operation Rolling Thunder [1]

The US sought to destroy all North Vietnamese infrastructure, rail, bridges, and communications.

The North Vietnamese responded by decentralizing. They sent half the population of Hanoi to the country side. When a bridge was bombed, they rebuilt it with dirt or set up a ferry.

When rail was bombed, they split it into smaller segments and only operated at night.

They fully militarized their entire population, civilians carried messages, and relayed goods.

They dug tunnels, set up in caves and got modern anti-aircraft guns and MIGs from Russia and China. Even though their planes were not as good, they were good enough to engage in hit and runs, all the MIGs had to do was show up and the American planes had to dump their payload of bombs to be maneuverable enough to be able to defend themselves.

Cambodia was bombed even more harshly in Operation Menu and then Operation Freedom Deal, which was kept secret from the American public.

"The United States dropped upwards of 2.7 million tons of bombs on Cambodia, exceeding the amount it had dropped on Japan during WWII (including Hiroshima and Nagasaki) by almost a million tons."

It didn't work. We could not subjugate Vietnam or Cambodia. One of the things it did accomplish was creating a civil war in Cambodia and a generation of crazies led by a Western educated leader, Pol Pot, that responded to their inability to feed their population with the killing fields.

This stuff just doesn't work and we keep doing it over and over again, creating mass human misery and trauma, and destroying the economic surplus of our nation.

The US projected all the "power" it had at Vietnam and Cambodia. It carpet bombed, it defoliated the jungle with agent orange. It used ground troops. It attacked the neighboring countries to deny sanctuary to the Viet Cong across borders. It killed three million Vietnamese. It still couldn't win.

The only other weapon the US could have used was nuclear. The US could have annihilated Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with atomic weapons. Only those weapons are powerful enough to destroy as much as we think "carpet-bombing" with conventional explosives can accomplish.

The land mass is too large, the number of planes that could get past Vietnamese air defenses too small, the power of conventional weapons also too small, and the ability of the Vietnamese to adapt and repair too great to achieve the effect of total destruction.

The US tried. We really, really tried. The idea that we "kept the gloves on" is a myth. This idea of American omnipotence has to go. There are limits to air power, and limits to American power.

It is the failure to learn this lesson that has created four failed states in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.

Afghanistan is another tragic example. After 15 years of war, counter insurgency, and surge the Taliban now controls more territory than it did in 2004-5.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Rolling_Thunder [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Freedom_Deal

> The US could have annihilated Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with atomic weapons > The idea that we "kept the gloves on" is a myth

Aren't these two statements contradictory?

Anyways, I agree with your point in general. Guerrilla tactics are extremely effective against an enemy with superior funding attacking your home turf (hello American Revolutionary War).

This. If anyone thinks that the US lost Vietnam, they are kiding themselves. The US chose to go home. Was at the Vietnam Verterans' Memorial yesterday, and they list of dead is astounding. Quite sad, really. Regardless of the reason, we paid a dear price for our beliefs.

"Winners" is the wrong word here. The US has a massive amount of clout and can project power globally (unlike most countries).

How about Vietnam, Iraq, Afganistan?

How did they "lose" Iraq? They successfully invaded the country, changed the regime, changed the military, the police, the government .. everything. Then they left.

Iraq is in utter chaos, the US is doing just fine.

How exactly did the US "lose" in Iraq?

Because the stated goal of that war was for the instilled government to survive and for democracy to transform the region. Not for the country to become destabilized with former military operatives to go into Syria and form the next great political catastrophe. That definitely wasn't a "win" long term.

That's completely different from winning or losing a war.

The events you describe don't affect the US's dominance at all.

The region's current turmoil is all internal. The US can just wait it out and then when it's all over, the winner will be weak and the US can just come in again any time and reset the whole thing.

So this doesn't affect the US's ability to "write" history.

> So this doesn't affect the US's ability to "write" history.

It does, this thread (and thousands others like it) is the proof. The US are internationally much weaker than they were before the wars in the Middle East, and their international politics are now considered by growing amounts of people as illegitimate and harmful.

> their international politics are now considered by growing amounts of people as illegitimate and harmful.

That has always been the case.

It irks me whenever anyone makes a claim about the "stated goal of that war" and completely omits talk of WMD, despite their alleged presence being key to the claimed legal basis for the war, presentation to the UN, etc.


"Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."

They lost in that they didn't achieve what they set out to do, but there was no instrument of surrender signed in SF bay, Nuremberg-style kangaroo court, USA partitioned into friendly states, etc.

The US did: Vietnam. So what about Gulf of Tonkin?

John Winger (Bill Murray)in Stripes: "But we're American soldiers! We've been kicking ass for 200 years! We're 10-1 !"

There was a militant group in Greece that did that vigilante-style (since the Greek government refused / was unable to carry out any kind of prosecutions), "17 November", named after the date of an uprising [1] against the CIA-supported military government. They successfully assassinated the Athens CIA station chief (the only time a CIA station chief has been killed on duty), and promptly got labeled a terrorist organization. Arguably they did actually become one later, when they broadened their assassination campaign to a broad range of prominent Greek figures rather than the early focus on only targeting intelligence agents (both American ones and their Greek contacts). But early on they were very popular, because people like Richard Welch [2] were seen by many Greeks as legitimate military targets.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens_Polytechnic_uprising

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Welch

The US actually brought on a lot of nazis after WW2 to work with against the Soviets.

American history is fun like that.

That wasn't unique to the US though - the Soviets also took ex-Nazi scientists to work for them as did the UK.

including Werhner Von Braun, the designer of the Saturn V and the inspiration for Dr. Strangelove

Indeed, but just for the record, Dr. Strangelove among Von Braun is the amalgamation of John Von Neumann, Edward Teller and Herman Kahn too, who were far from being nazis.

What about KGB agents and "former" commies?

NYT reported this in 1990, we just didn't have confirmation and the name of the agent: http://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/10/world/cia-tie-reported-in-...

And it's still unclear whether anyone else was involved in the decision to tip off the police.

> ...the world’s most dangerous communist...

How fads change. Had it happened today, they would have called him a terrorist.

Sadly, it's not really news that the U.S. only pay lip service to Democracy. After all, the dictator of our choice can guarantee our economic and military interests much better than any democratic regime.

>they would have called him a terrorist.

Actually the ANC (or at least a splinter group) did bomb civilian locations in a terror campaign so yes it was considered a terrorist organisation. Now they're considered the liberators/bringers of democracy. Hows that for a pivot hn?

If terrorists win they are not called terrorists anymore. Compare the Boston Tea Party which started the war of independence.

The Boston Tea Party was most certainly not terrorism. No one was hurt or killed, either combatants or civilians. It cheapens the word to use it for any act of defiance against a government.

> After all, the dictator of our choice can guarantee our economic and military interests much better than any democratic regime.

Yup, as soon as oil is involved pretty much anything is considered acceptable. Gaddafi, Iran, Iraq, the whole bunch of Arabian emirates... all countries where US (and British) influence either actively promoted dictators to power or let radical powers rise to power.

Funny enough, Saudi Arabia got all its riches from Western money, and a shitload of that money ended up at ISIS, al-Quaeda, Boko Haram - Western money used to fight the Western system.

He was called a terrorist (from [1]):

'The ANC is a typical terrorist organisation ... Anyone who thinks it is going to run the government in South Africa is living in cloud-cuckoo land' - Margaret Thatcher, 1987

'How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?' - Terry Dicks MP, mid-1980s

(there's worse in the article)

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/from-terrorist-to-te...

I remember that a constant topic of debate in the 80's in my Lefty Pinko Activist groups was the refusal of Amnesty International to advocate for Mandela. It was because he advocated violence.

The CIA was also behind the assassination of Homi Bhabha (father of Indian atomic energy program) and Lala Bahadur Sastry (Prime Minister of India).

> Later, Gregory Douglas, a journalist who interviewed former CIA operative, Robert Crowley, over a period of 4 years, recorded their telephonic conversations and published its transcribe in a book titled, "Conversations with the Crow". In the book, Crowley claimed that CIA was responsible for eliminating Dr. Homi Bhabha, Indian nuclear scientist whose plane crashed into Alps, when he was going to attend a conference in Vienna and Lal Bahadur Shastri, who died at Tashkent summit in 1966. Crowley said that USA was wary of India's rigid stand on nuclear policy and then PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, who wanted to go ahead with nuclear tests. He also said that agency was more worried about collective domination of Indo-Russian over the region, for which a strong deterrent was required.

If that's true and if it was planned, there's probably a memo justifying it somewhere and we will declassify it in the future.

"Gregory Douglas" has written a number of conspiracy-theory books that encompass Holocaust revisionism and JFK assassination theories; he is widely believed to be the nom de plume of Peter Stahl, who is also believed to have forged wartime Nazi documents and disseminated them to historians. It's all a bit of a rabbit hole, but the upshot is that there's very little reason to believe anything he writes.

Given the serious effort CIA puts into destabilising regions (Lets not forget the large amounts of sources who said people were being ferried and paid to go to Kiev when the Ukrainian uprising was occuring) it would not surprise me very much if they were also behind the Britain "exit" from Europe, since that would cause an economic collapse of the EU and would remove a super-power from play.

I feel like a conspiracy theorist when saying it out loud, but given the history...

I mean it's economic suicide for britain to leave the EU, yet someone is plastering it all over the media and it's not the politicians. :\

It's the workers who have been shafted by declining standards of living, stagnant wages, rising prices, false promises about the benefits of free trade agreements, and increased immigrant labor -- coupled with an increasingly bureaucratic EU organization that pushes more political change than economic/trade change. The citizens of Britain signed up for the EU when they saw it as a trade agreement that would benefit them down the line, instead they are giving up more sovereignty to EU's bureaucracy in exchange for benefits that disproportionately flow up to the elite.

And it's not economic suicide. In the short term it will most likely hurt but in the long term, Britain will survive and the EU will need to bend to accommodate Britain's consumers, even if the UK is not a member state. It is one of, if not the, biggest importers of EU goods and it's the EU, not Britain, who cannot survive without accommodating the other.

Also I don't see why the US would benefit in any way from a collapsed EU or UK. Trade and travel becomes harder when they are not a single unit.

the EU being overly bureaucratic is due to age, the UK system has the same issues.

our sovereignty is not important as long as we have the choice to leave in future, but the benefits awarded the middle/working/lower classes is unquestionable and we may not be awarded such luxury under a malevolent or overly 'for the rich' party. Rights are only rights until they aren't.

Workers rights in the UK are the best they've ever been, and better than those in the US, which is where our model seems to steer towards without EU guidance.

Quality of living (I'm guessing housing?) is bad in spite of the EU rules, not because of it.

We are awarded many luxuries and exceptions by the EU because of our status as one of the "core" members, if we renegotiate we don't have that. In addition trade agreements are not going to be in our favour unless with have something to barter with.

most of our industries are service/management layer, we're the middle people to a lot of things and without being a pivotal hub we may lose this and the foundation of British economy will be rocked, we need to produce something that the world cannot live without before making such threats.


Without the EU being a unified block we do not have the clout to stand up to US bullying.

edited to remove condescension and provide only my points

I'm British and back staying in the EU, but I think your post is unnecessarily condescending and incorrectly portrays your opinions as facts.

The immigration argument is about EU citizens which the Danish system can do nothing to stop/slow, and stopping the 'free-flow' of EU citizens is most Brexiters biggest desire from the campaign. The economic studies are definitely in Remain's favour, but economics as a field is very 'woolly', often wrong and more importantly does not resonate with a large populace who have seen living standards broadly stagnate since the last prolonged recession.

There are arguments for and against - the Remain camp don't have a satisfactory answer to people who are genuinely concerned over immigration or (albeit discretely) do not like immigration in their surrounding, and the Leave campaign have the consensus on the economic side due to uncertainty over post-Brexit state and agreements.

Fair enough I could have worded things nicer, I've seen a lot of very bad "facts" circulating about the EU leave/remain debacle and mostly it comes down to peoples feelings about sovereignty.

However, the Danish system does indeed stop and slow EU migrants.

As a British citizen living in Sweden, I can't go live over the bridge in Copenhagen unless I have a residence permit, which requires having a job, or meeting the required points.

Without a residence permit I cannot rent property or pay bills. I had to go through all the pain with my sister-in-law who is Estonian and studies business in Copenhagen. I'm fully versed on the difficulties of getting a residency there and it's certainly not as simple as being an EU citizen.

I've edited my first post to remove the comments about brainwashing as it's not productive to conversation.

I agree with the brexit thing, also look at the eurovision result Ukraine highest number of points followed by Russia it's like rig-off by different agencies to send a message.

Strange that you believe the CIA is behind a Brexit push considering the position of the White House and the IMF.

Also leaving the EU is not going to result in 'economic collapse' - the EU doesn't want tariffs on their exports to the UK. I'd expect those trade negotiations to be pretty swift.

I'm British and pro-Brexit - an opinion I formed after reading arguments for both sides.(Essentially, I think leaving the EU will be painful, but staying in will be even more painful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_debt_crisis#Proposed_...).

Implying my opinions are manipulated by shadowy forces is a very low form of trolling.

It may be for UK main street (what little there is left of it), but it may be a benefit for the City. Especially as Brussels is mulling more stringent banking regulations.

"I mean it's economic suicide for britain to leave the EU, yet someone is plastering it all over the media and it's not the politicians. :\"

It's still their choice, to democratically decide to leave. Even though it potentially has bad/far-reaching consequences, doesn't mean we can discount the "democratic process" because of nefarious interference by clandestine agencies and media-manipulation.

I agree, but there is a very large media campaign that's pushing this, it's definitely somebodies agenda since every person with an economical mind has advised against it, even Cameron who was formerly against the EU before being in power.

In the interest of some context: Mandela was a communist and a terrorist. While a "political prisoner" he was offered freedom as soon as he would publicly renounce violent protest (i.e. terrorism) and he persistently refused to do so. His second wife, Winnie, enjoyed the necklacing opponents. So nice people all round.

Of course the government of SA didn't have to renounce violence, which is the way they dealt with any resistance. Violence, torture, intimidation. Refusal to negotiate.

Of course we don't call the Apartheid government "terrorists" for these crimes.

He was not a communist, but an African nationalist. This is something he has always maintained and was confirmed when he became president, the national economic policy was pretty much neoliberal. The reason why he remained close to the communists is because they were sympathetic to his cause and lent a lot of support.

> Of course we don't call the Apartheid government "terrorists" for these crimes.

Almost everyone agrees that the Apartheid government was horrible. Almost no one holds them up as a positive example.

Conversely, almost everyone holds Mandela and his terrorist organization up as an example and as a hero despite them intentionally setting off bombs in civilian locations like shopping malls and restaurants.

Terrorism is sometimes the only weapon of those who fight against a much more powerful enemy. This doesn't mean that all terrorism is justifiable, but arresting your thought at words such as "terrorist" or "dictatorship" or "democracy" is silly. These are just arbitrary labels.

Ruthless, arbitrary slaughter of innocent civilians en masse is never justified, even if you are being oppressed.

No? Ruthless and arbitrary slaughter of civilians is instead justified by the presence of a military objective spatially located in the vicinity? The result is always the same: in order to obtain some result, you knowingly sacrifice civilians. Be the result destroying infrastructure, forcing a reaction, or producing a deterrence. Some armies have the means to hit the best military objectives directly, others have to rely on indirect effects. Would you qualify the Dresden bombings as military acts or terrorism? Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Somebody said "a language is a dialect with an army and a navy". The relation between war and terrorism is approximately the same.

From the biographies I read, they never put bombs in public, civilian locations. Only in strategic industrial/infrastructure locations, making sure there was not a person in place.

But, of course I read that in biased biographies. Do you have source that a person was killed by these attacks?

I'm no expert. Mandela cofounded https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umkhonto_we_Sizwe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umkhonto_we_Sizwe#Bombings has a list of atrocities committed by them. During most of them Mandela was in prison I believe. I don't know about his influence over the organization during that time or if he condemned these attacks, I'd guess he didn't but am happy to be proven wrong.

"five civilians were killed and 40 were injured when MK cadre Andrew Sibusiso Zondo detonated an explosive in a rubbish bin at a shopping centre shortly before Christmas."

"a bomb was detonated in a bar, killing three civilians and injuring 69"

" terror campaign continued with attacks on a series of soft targets, including a bank in Roodepoort in 1988, in which four civilians were killed and 18 injured. Also in 1988, a bomb outside a magistrate's court killed three. At the Ellis Park rugby stadium in Johannesburg, a car bomb killed two and injured 37 civilians. A multitude[14] of bombs at restaurants and fast food outlets, including Wimpy Bars,[15] and supermarkets occurred during the late 1980s, killing and wounding many people."

Since the ANC was unbanned, murder rates in South Africa have soared. http://issafrica.org/uploads/CQ7Thomson.pdf

Maybe we should redo all the text books to accurately reflect the fact (by the definition you have given) that George Washington and the founding fathers of the US were terrorists.

Were they as nice as their colonial oppressors?

Meaningless labels of propaganda. Please tell me you don't really believe those terms at face value when they're used by anyone in a position of power or authority.

I'm presuming you're an American, seeing as you seem to equate being a Communist with being a terrorist. Communism, as a political ideal, is a perfectly acceptable proposition. The fact that many oppressive regimes have declared themselves to be Communist states should not detract from that —any more than the equally evil actions of states which claim to be Democratic, should tarnish the ideals underpinning Democracy.

> I'm presuming you're an American, seeing as you seem to equate being a Communist with being a terrorist.

He said: Mandela was a communist and a terrorist. He's not saying what you're claiming.

Mandela was a terrorist because he was part of a terrorist organization that intentionally set off bombs in shopping malls and restaurants.

In what twisted mind is communism an acceptable proposition???

There isn't anything intrinsically wrong with communism as an ideal. All of its implementations, however, have been seriously lacking, and perhaps it is unviable in practice; this does not mean the concept is unacceptable in theory.

There isn't anything intrinsically wrong with communism as an ideal.

There clearly is. Everywhere it has been tried, it led to at least poverty and usually genocide. Communism has been far, far worse than nazism or fascism and holding national socialism as some sort of valuable ideal untainted by the reality is unacceptable almost everywhere.


In practice yes, but not in theory, which is an important distinction. To use an analogy, genocide of Jews is an unacceptable ideal, you don't have to try it out to know its bad. In retrospect, no one thought the nazi's plan could have ended up working in a "good" way. Compare that to Lenin and the Bolsheviks, given communism as an ideal alone, it wasn't inherently flawed or "evil", it just turns out people are selfish enough for this not to work, leading to a lot of collateral damage in the form of bad ideals (like genocide).

Fascism is quite similar, though I'm not sure one could say communism is worse than fascism, given that the latter was only tried a couple of times and was put out relatively quickly, while the impact of the former happened over a much longer period of time and under much larger populations.

> In practice yes, but not in theory, which is an important distinction.

Communism is an economic system that falls apart in practice because of greed. An economic system that fails to account for greed is not good, even in theory.

If someone said "let's go communist", you would have to argue with them why it was a bad idea. A reasonable proposition that turns out not to be a good idea.

If someone said "let's kill the Jews", you would probably slowly and carefully walk away from that person because they were nuts. An unreasonable proposition that you probably don't want to bother arguing against (because what kind of person would even say that?).

When I hear that something "works in theory," I understand that to mean "if you oversimplify a little, this would work well." "In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is."

But it's only valid if you oversimplify a little. Starting with "first, forget everything you know about human nature" goes too far.

I don't think of "works in theory" as shorthand for "doesn't have internal contradictions" or "sounds reasonable if you forget everything you know about human nature."

I happen to have the exact same reaction to both (and it's not the kinder one).

It turns out that public ownership of the means of production actually leads to an even worse world than planned, industrial genocide. Part of the reason why is people clinging to this idea long after it has been shown not viable and leading to absolutely horrific events like Holodomor (a Holocaust level genocide before Holocaust) or The Great Leap Forward.

I can see how one might find communism interesting from the perspective of 19th century. I cannot believe anyone still does in the 21st.

I think you are really misinterpreting the meaning of "an acceptable proposition". It doesn't have to evaluate to T, only that, as an abstraction, it does not evaluate to F based on its structure alone.

No we don't want communism (at least I don't), but for someone to say it is illogical is completely incorrect.

You are clearly incompetent about the subject. The "ideal" of communism and the practice of communism are not two different things. Communism is practiced precisely the way it is theoretically intended to work.

Communism is a cleptocratic system of ruling and exploiting the manual labour and natural resources of any given territory inhabited by unambitious masses that largely lack individualism. The core of the system relies on individualism and personal achievement being punished and forcefully suppressed, while the masses are continuously promised vague ideals of equality and justice (much like with any other system of government - nothing innovative here. ) There is nothing acceptable about communism - not in theory, not in practice, not in ideals - nothig.

Are you sure that is how Marx described communism, as a cleptocratic system of ruling and exploiting... I mean, I don't remember reading that at all, just like I don't remember Ayn Rand describing libertarianism as a return feudalism where property rights rule out over the collective of the people.

Are you sure Marx wrote that, or are you letting your own bias into your definition?

For the record, I live in a communist country and don't like how that aspect turned out at all. But I don't blame it on the communism, after all, Russia still has many problems even after they threw off communism. Selfish bad leaders will beat you up with any ideology they find convenient.

Marx did not describe communism that way, obviously, but it should be equally obvious that his terrible ideas led directly to what happened. Communism isn't some great idea that flawed humans have repeatedly screwed up - it is a flawed idea whose outcome was easily predicted even by Marx's contemporaries.

Seen with the benefit of hindsight, Mikael Bakunin's criticism is most appropriate:


They [the Marxists] maintain that only a dictatorship—their dictatorship, of course—can create the will of the people, while our answer to this is: No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up.

For Bakunin, the fundamental contradiction is that for the Marxists, "anarchism or freedom is the aim, while the state and dictatorship is the means, and so, in order to free the masses, they have first to be enslaved."

Marx directly argued that communism should be implemented by violent revolution that would put in place a temporary "dictatorship of the proles", which is an absurd concept containing the seeds of its destruction.

(This is meant as a reply to sievebrain: there appears to be some sort of thread-nesting limit.)

Bakunin did on occasion describe himself as a communist; but like Kropotkin, his communism was of the libertarian rather than authoritarian variety.

You sound like an Ayn Rand soliloquy.

I've been told this a number of times. I've never read any Ayn Rand - probably should. I was, however, born and raised in communism, as were my parents, so I talk from experience.

Not sure why you're being downvoted. I grew up in socialist Syria and that was pretty much it, my wife in Peru had a similar experience and so did my Russian friends. I think most Westerners are totally clueless when it comes to what communism really means and are quick to label you an Ayn Rand fanboy. I guess they will eventually find out if they keep voting for more socialism though.

You weren't raised "in communism". You lived in a socialist country ruled by an organization which, depending on the country, might or even might have not called itself communist party. Communism might have been the proclaimed goal of that government, but in reality that was little more than an ideological slogan.

I think authoritarian left wing communist "transition states", are what most people mean by communism now. The word has evolved and changed meaning. Also, I believe that because the two are synonymous, and there never was any "true communism" implemented according to many, expressing communism as the above isn't too factually inaccurate. If someone calls their self something, and is labeled that thing, they'll eventually be that thing. In this case, "communist" governments.

And i suppose the people of "The Democratic Republic of North Korea" know a thing or two about democracy and republics.

There are plenty of communists who categorically reject state communism. They're called anarchists.

Leftist anarchists are against private property though and against turning a profit and individualism. We all know how this ends. Also, how do you enforce the no private property rule without a state and without a private security agency?

Lack of private property doesn't need enforcing, it's the existence of private property that needs enforcing

It is a natural thing to want to own the property you live on at least, even lions urinate on their turf to mark it as theirs. How would you start preventing humans from doing what every mammals has ever done ever?

They don't... private property isn't the same thing as personal property. Anarchists aren't against personal property.

As usually used, "private property" is a superset of "personal property", as all non-government-held (non-"public") property is " private property", including both real and personal property.

But I think you are probably using an unusual and ideologically-specific definition of "private property" that you should probably detail explicitly.

How about a second car? How about a second residence?

This all counts as personal property (though of course people disagree about what exactly should count as personal property). An example of private property is owning a factory that you don't personally work in, or even owning an apartment which you have never lived in and don't intend on living in. The Sauk leader Black Hawk articulated something like this idea when he said

My reason teaches me that land cannot be sold. The Great Spirit gave it to his children to live upon, and cultivate, as far as necessary for their subsistence; and so long as they occupy and cultivate it, they have the right to the soil—but if they voluntarily leave it, then any other people have a right to settle upon it. Nothing can be sold but such things as can be carried away.

Locke[1] also believed that people shouldn't be able to own things that they don't personally use or hoard resources if they are scarce.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockean_proviso

What if you're the best at managing said factory without working in it, should I own it instead because I work there even though I have terrible management skills that will lead it to bankruptcy? Seems awfully inefficient. Should the people working at Apple factory own Apple? Not making much sense. How long would it last?

I think managing a factory counts as working in it (working in the office rather than on the floor). With respect to the idea that there should be no private property, it seems to me that there's no reason that this implies that a factory should be managed by factory workers. By all means hire managers to manage the factory, it's what they're best at. But managing a factory (i.e. being the person that coordinates the business side of the company) isn't the same thing as owning it or controlling it. You can imagine, for example, a factory that is managed by a manager but ultimately owned and controlled by a worker collective (which includes the manager). The most important decisions of the factory could be made democratically (supported by data gathered by managers) whereas the day to day business decisions would be made by people who manage the factory.

That wouldn't work though. Factory workers from a competing factory would attract the best managers by offering them more money or complete control and ownership because they know the factory would have way more profit and therefor more money for the workers this way. And then you're back to private property because it turns out its the most efficient way to get things done.

Who would enforce their private control in a society where there is no legal concept of private property?

Themselves and people who voluntary agree with them because it would be in their own self-interest to be rich with a more successful factory instead of poor with a bankrupt factory?

You realize that private property is defined and enforced by a state, right? It doesn't exist until a social structure says "This is yours and we will guarantee it with force of violence if we need to".

Also i'm sure our definitions of individualism are irreconcilably different. Your individualism involves people subordinating others with violence explicit and implicit if you really think capitalism is a pro-individualism system. For me, individualism cannot be separated from collectivism.

Why would you want to build anything if anyone can come and grab it because private property is bad? My body belongs to me and so does what I build with it unless I voluntarily give it away. I don't need a state to enforce the protection of my property, I could do it myself or pay someone (a person, a private security agency or yes, a state).

> Your individualism involves people subordinating others with violence explicit and implicit if you really think capitalism is a pro-individualism system

What is capital(ism) if not the accumulation of things to build more things. In order to build anything, you need a certain capital even in a anarchy world, it could be pieces of wood, bricks, money etc. Now who is better suited to manage this capital? Everyone? Turns out, some people suck at managing capital and some people know best how to manage it because they're the ones who managed to accumulate enough in order to build this capital in the first place. Societies where capital was managed by collectives have historically not done well.

Also, I'm not for subordinating people with violence so not sure where you got this idea. I'm ok though with using force to defend your body and the property you acquired peacefully with it (because you built it or because someone agreed to give it to you).

I am not seeing how communism can become a viable idea on a large scale, but on a smaller scale it is nothing new or unusual. In a family people normally share property, food, money, and products of labor. That's communism. Israeli kibbutz is another example.

Some aspects are present in large companies too. For instance at many companies teams don't directly pay for infrastructure that they use, it's all provided by the company. Or computer equipment, air conditioning, etc. Of course this has issues of its own, like people under-appreciating the all the VMs they're provisioning, and it gets especially bad if the budget gets tight.

Agency's like the CIA are just symptoms, the obvious to late, to little effort done after problems seem unsolvable by politicians. And they often are. If you have a population that basically votes with there feet for a war every second generation. If you have a social system that depends on constant corruption, to get everyone through the day. If you have resources that allow those in power to get by without any responsibility to there country's. If you got armed groups, which provide to second sons of a second sons a future in guerilla warfare - what is a group of man in a office building to do about that? The answer is nothing. They cant turn stone to bread. They cant reason with the unreasonable. They can try to gamble who gets to sit on the iron throne. The sad fact is- the CIA- on a larger scale, has no power over the population, which going in murderous cycles, stomps there own future into the ground. They make a excellent blame-pinata though.

I think it's interesting how the CIA's goal seems to be more or less "maintaining the status quo" in the global power struggle. This is obviously a useful thing to have, but if it gets too strong, how can we ever have the positive revolutions that have given us things like democracy?

The United States economy would collapse, without a constant supply of "enemies" to keep the military industrial complex ticking over.

If anyone thinks that a defeat of "militant Islam" would bring peace to the world, they're sadly deluded. The next "enemy" will already be being funded, armed and encouraged to flex its muscles, ready to be smacked down again, in the next great crusade to bring "freedom and democracy" to some unfortunate part of the world.

We've just not been told who it is yet!

Not really. They have repeatedly sought overthrow of numerous governments in the past (including democratic, communist and dictatorial). Not really maintaining the status quo.

Mostly relative young governments though, no? Governments that were trying something too radical, or were positioned too far from the established way of doing things.

Yeah. You are right. When i think about it, Even in case of old governments, the cia was motivated by maintaining some status quo which the government was trying to change.

Oh my God! This can't be true can it? I dont want to wake up tomorrow and learn that the Iraq war adventure was not based on wrong CIA intelligence, but a manufactured one, and 100% of the US political establishment knew it (in addition to basically the rest of the world).

Not sure if trolling... ??

Just for the record: of course large parts of it were manufactured. Some of it was manufactured by a so-called "source", but that source was so in-/non-credible that you wouldn't buy a used hammer from him, never mind a used car. And it was well known that this source was completely non-credible.

In addition, various other bits were combined in ways that the appearance of a threat was manufactured out of pieces of information that both weren't threatening in themselves and also did not constitute a real threat when combined appropriately (the infamous 45 minute claim is among these). For more, see the various UK inquiries regarding "intelligence failures" leading up to the Iraq war.

The difference between that and manufacturing the whole thing from scratch is at best marginal.

> Just for the record: of course large parts of it were manufactured. Some of it was manufactured by a so-called "source", but that source was so in-/non-credible that you wouldn't buy a used hammer from him

Yet Powell built his case, before the UN with Curveball's informations. Curveball who ultimately admitted he was a taxi driver and not a scientist. Some might say "the US has been misled", I don't believe one second, the Bush government was looking for any excuse, even fake to invade Irak. I pity the families of all the soldiers who died there, they died for nothing. And the locals who were massacred,during and after the war,the US is directly responsible for their death.

AFAIK Powell himself has been sceptical and deceived. That is why he eventually resigned after he realized he had been played.

I know, I don't blame that guy, he is a soldier, not a politician, and that's why they sent him to the UN, because people trust him.

Then perhaps you could have phrased your statement a bit better.

Powell was acting on good faith. His post-festum testimonials indicate that he was suspicious of the intel and had expressed his discomfort - to which he had been repeatedly re-assured by the people in charge of intel that intel was good.

Thus your claim that "Bush government was looking for any excuse" is wrong - as Powell himself has been a major part of Bush government.

Implying that Powell has been a victim of conspiracy is quite a bit of a conspiracy theory in itself. He might have been lied to due to corruption - or "just" due to incompetence.

What I am trying to argue here is - that somebody, somewhere should start an inquiry on how it was possible that Powell has been fed bad information. If there was a conspiracy - the perpetrators should be indicted for treason. If the reason is incompetence (which is a worse option IMO) - then a major overhaul of the intelligence agencies would be in order.

I do understand that the pragmatic option for numerous reasons has been to just "forget" about it - that may not be the best long term solution.

Why do you pity the families of US soldiers who invaded Iraq but blame the US for the deaths of Iraqis? If what the US did was wrong, then the soldiers who carried out those orders were wrong too.

How do Americans maintain this doublethink that their government's military actions are bad but the people who carry them out are good? Is a US soldier somehow more righteous than an ISIS soldier? They both kill innocent people, they both do it to serve "bad" purposes. Why not treat them all as what they are - killers?

> They both kill innocent people, they both do it to serve "bad" purposes. Why not treat them all as what they are - killers?

Why not treat both of them as victims - young people sent to die by politicians furthering their agendas? Or, in some cases - victims who die defending their homes from a foreign invasion?

As a low-rank soldier, it's not exactly your choice where you get deployed or what your orders are. Let's go after those who give the orders. And those who do invasions.

The soldiers didn't know any better, and the situation wasn't clearly evil enough for there to be expectation of rebellion or refusal of orders.

The leaders, by contrast, knowingly engineered it (according to parent)

No one brought up isis soldiers.

If the soldiers didn't know any better, then that's a sign that our cultural attitudes towards war are somewhat lacking. Those people were not forced to sign up to the military, and if their moral compasses were distorted enough to believe wars not based on self defence can somehow be justified then why is that message getting across?

We shouldn't blame the soldiers for doing a difficult job, especially after the damage is done, but we can and should discourage people from signing up in the first place.

> Those people were not forced to sign up to the military

You should read up a bit on the US military. A lot of those people came from disadvantaged backgrounds where army careers are the only ticket out of poverty.

The US political and military establishment literally preys on the poor for their cannon fodder. It's the post-Vietnam equilibrium: they won't draft, so (white) sons and daughters of the middle-classes will be left alone, and in return such middle-classes don't ask too many questions about where, how and why the military is used.

To assuage collective guilt, a narrative has emerged in which grunts are not blamed, since they are effectively victims of a system nobody really wants to change.

> "A lot of those people came from disadvantaged backgrounds where army careers are the only ticket out of poverty."

They are not the only ticket out of poverty, speaking broadly these people have choices. What is happening is that the military provides, for some people, an attractive way to get out of poverty, because it comes along with a certain level of prestige. Change the level of prestige and you change the influx of new recruits.

> Change the level of prestige and you change the influx of new recruits.

Who can change the level of prestige? Upper and middle classes. Why would they do that, when the system works just fine for them? Nobody is legally coerced, and still cannon fodder is overwhelmingly provided by the "right" people.

From a certain perspective, it's a beautiful system.

> "Who can change the level of prestige?"

We all can, and we can start by resisting the narrative to refer to those involved in preemptive war as 'heroes'. There's nothing heroic about playing the role of the aggressor.

Furthermore, we need to find a way to better engage with those who have taken part in war so that we can learn from their experiences. The more we can see war for what it is, the less likely we'll be so casual about it continuing.

You also have to design and pay for alternative careers and education streams. It's not a coincidence that the countries who most value military careers are often ones where higher education is extremely expensive or restricted.

That will mean raising taxes and fighting tax evasion, which might mean less "free money" from VC gluts.

Putting aside the situation in developing countries, I'm suggesting making the changes closer to home.

In developed countries potential soldiers already have other options so it's not a question of making economic changes, it's a question of changing how we cut through the propaganda that glorifies soldiers. The only cases for soldiers as heroes are in cases of defending against an external aggressor or defending the helpless. Becoming a soldier does not automatically make you a hero, just as lawyers are not automatically heroes, it all depends on the causes they serve.

I wonder what would happen if we just told everyone at the CIA to go on a 1 year vacation. We might have world peace

Well, sending him to jail helped make him an important figure. True, there's no way of knowing how it have gone otherwise

Not to be demonized but not to be idolized as well

I'm curious, how did it help? I've always been under the impression that he succeeded despite the 27+ year prison time.

Being in prison isolated him from the less moral things the ANC did during the '70s and '80s, while still being seen as a figurehead.

There's a high chance he would have had an "accident" like Steve Biko.

""The agent firmly believed Mandela was in the pocket of Communist Russia and was planning to incite the Indian population in the Natal region, where he was based, to rise up.""

Given ubiquitous surveillance and increasing state power, how long before average citizens start getting locked up because a single cowboy at an agency "firmly believes" they are a threat?

Never mind "ubiquitous surveillance", this has always happened.

And given that Mandela was a member of a banned organization that was wanted by his own government for attempting to start armed rebellion using weapons (acquired from from sympathtic communist-aligned powers), it wasn't exactly as if the whim of a single agent was the main factor behind his detention (or the CIA's ultimately unfounded belief in what might happen if he succeeded)

The title of this link is misleading. A former CIA spy (is that even confirmed?) claimed it. That's incredibly different from the CIA actually admitting it.

Which is not to say I really doubt his claims (assuming it can be verified he was a CIA operative who was in South Africa at that time.)

Mandela & his organization were responsible for a terrorist (in the classical sense - using unfocused attacks on civilian populations as a bargaining chip and method of instilling fear) insurgency that killed thousands of people in incredibly brutal ways. The ascendancy of that government has resulted in South Africa turning from a reasonably prosperous & stable country into one of the most dangerous countries on earth, especially for the white minority, who is ~ one election away from genocide at any given moment.

Props on Mandela for being gracious in victory & not immediately going Full Zimbabwe, but it is insane to suggest that he was some sort of sainted figure that there was no reason to even fight.

Find it funny that they label Mandela a communist while the apartheid government owned all important sectors of the economy eg telkom (telecommunications), eskom (electricity), amscor n denel (weapons), sabc (radio and tv broadcasting), spoornet (rails and ports) acsa (airports) just to list a few. Apartheid was basically socialism for white people and brutal facism africans.

"If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the USA. They don't care." --Nelson Mandela http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/nelson-mandela-i...

Here's a very similar article from 1990 - http://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/10/world/cia-tie-reported-in-...

The new title "an individual admitted something not the organization" is definitely more accurate, but represents an unsettling (to me) blame shift. I suppose the original title incorrectly placed responsibility on the organization and not the individual.

Linkbait title. If the testimony is true then at best its a tip off about a then wanted man's location, nothing to do woth cia behind a conviction or anything else.

As if Mandela was going to go free by Apartheid regime.

When you know the outcome, you don't get to wash your hands of the guilt.

Of course we did. We've been behind almost every coup of any truly democratic (we Americans like to call this communism) society in the last century.

I would like to thank all the people who had a comment on this article, but did not post it. Truly, you improve the community with your silence. I'm aware of my own hypocrisy on this point, but logical consistency would prevent this sentiment from ever being expressed.

As it is, perhaps 5% of these comments know anything about what they are talking about. One of the biggest intellectual failings of the sort that frequents this place is mistaking being smart with being informed.

well cia and nsa has managed to create so many terrorists and destroy national reputation. that along with the direction fbi and local police is going now a days, i dont have much hope. i used to think USA was a good country. But the more I see how US grossly violates human rights, supports Israel destabilizing the middle east, massive surveillance even on its own citizens I wonder if its even a democracy. Everything is im secrecy now a days and wondering if US is still a democracy, as democracy is supposed to be of the people by the people for the people. sadly people are less aware of the situation they are in, like a frog in slowly boiling water. Too much power with far less accounting.

>> "I'm aware of my own hypocrisy on this point"

Given I commented, calling you out to explicitly state why you feel that my comments on this page somehow show that I don't know what I'm talking about.

I am also curious to hear why c2the3rd is so confident about the ignorance displayed here and why silence instead of noise is the solution. Hacker news seems to do a pretty good job of at least up voting the majority thoughts, and perhaps with some effort by all of us we can respond intelligently to those popular thoughts and also get up voted. Even if ignorant, isn't it worth discussing and responding to if that's what most people are thinking?

>>> Hacker news seems to do a pretty good job of at least up voting the majority thoughts...

And therein lies the problem. Echo chambers are only good at making you wish to be deaf, if even...

Only if you treat downvotes as bad. My own comments on this thread have received a fair number of both upvotes and downvotes. I consider when that happens (assuming I haven't been overly antagonistic, which I don't think I have been) that I've hit a raw nerve. I could be wrong, but alternatively I could've said something someone isn't willing to hear. That can be useful feedback in its own right (though I prefer the clarity of comments over votes).

Maybe it's me, but it's rare that my comments get more that 10 votes (up/down) - and as such, I don't make anything of votes to my comments; statistical significance, poor sample, puppet accounts, etc.

What I do make something of is meaningful responses to my comments.

Sure, such feedback is rare, it does require significant feedback in both directions, it doesn't work with single upvote/downvote swings.

It's also very obvious when you've said something that annoys one individual as you can get a string of downvotes in quick succession across multiple comments. Such feedback is easy to spot and see as childish, so I enjoy it for what it is instead.

That said, I much prefer comments, even those that disagree with me.

Yes, you described the problem very well. Nice to see you are aware of contributing to it.

I'm aware I can say things that people don't like, yes, but in some cases it's more beneficial to have a respectful debate than to stay silent. If I'm not prepared to listen to opposing opinions then I'll be robbing myself of getting a deeper understanding.

So, why comment if an downvote is enough, as you say?

A downvote is second best to a comment explaining the reason behind the disagreement. A comment is better feedback than a vote because you can get a clearer understanding from a comment.

Hm, is it an echo chamber if the dissent to the majority is also present and up voted? I feel like you didn't read the second half of my comment or I don't understand what you mean.

Perhaps the ratio of listening and researching to a priori opining that correlates to discussion quality.

Perhaps it would be more charitable to assume the comments are not in the 95%. I mean a link to a report from March could suggest being out in front on this sort of story to a degree that isn't worth picking a fight over.

I comment when knowingly being uninformed because the resulting discussion is what helps me understand the topic better. The result of this, looking back on my comment history, is that I can come across as a bit of an asshole who's often wrong. That is why anonymity is important to me online, because my posting here is not really indicative of my real world behavior. It's a safe place to challenge ideas and opinions, and I feel like I've grown and learned a lot from it.

This is my long way of saying, maybe other people have different purposes for posting than you.

Commenting to learn is orthogonal to doing so in a way that "can come across as a bit of an asshole". The first tends to make Hacker News better. The second more than negates any benefit.

Have you considered the harm you cause by posting with confidence when you are secretly aware of your own ignorance? The behavior of the average human is to take confident-sounding things as truth, even if they consciously try not to. You might be coming off as an asshole due to the harm you're causing like this, and could reframe your posts as asking for more info and not just saying random things to get a response.

Personally I'd rather not know the rest of the story than give the Daily Mail any advert impressions.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2016/05/15/Bombshell-CIA-sp... is the only other link I could find, don't know if DM has more info but given it's sourcing The Times I wouldn't be surprised if DM is too.

Why is everything behind a damn paywall these days?

Because well-written content and thorough investigation has to be paid for somehow. If it's worth reading, it's worth paying for IMHO. (I assume you do not work for free, either.)

It's newspapers and the decline in print.

Newspaper death throes.

Because of adblock

Because of malware delivered through unblocked ad networks.


Regardless of your reasons, the end result will be more paywalls or entire articles that are actually ads (this is what yahoo does now).


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