Snowden, CIA Shill?
How to identify CIA limited hangout op?
American technical contractor and former CIA employee Edward Snowden (file photo)
By Dr. Webster G. Tarpley and Press TV
The operations of secret intelligence agencies aiming at the manipulation of public opinion generally involve a combination of cynical deception with the pathetic gullibility of the targeted populations.
There is ample reason to believe that the case of Edward Joseph Snowden fits into this pattern. We are likely dealing here with a limited hangout operation, in which carefully selected and falsified documents and other materials are deliberately revealed by an insider who pretends to be a fugitive rebelling against the excesses of some oppressive or dangerous government agency.
But the revelations turn out to have been prepared with a view to shaping the public consciousness in a way which is advantageous to the intelligence agency involved. At the same time, gullible young people can be duped into supporting a personality cult of the leaker, more commonly referred to as a “whistleblower.” A further variation on the theme can be the attempt of the sponsoring intelligence agency to introduce their chosen conduit, now posing as a defector, into the intelligence apparatus of a targeted foreign government. In this case, the leaker or whistleblower attains the status of a triple agent.
Any attempt to educate public opinion about the dynamics of limited hangout operations inevitably collides with the residue left in the minds of millions by recent successful examples of this technique. It will be hard for many to understand Snowden, precisely because they will insist on seeing him as the latest courageous example in a line of development which includes Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange, both still viewed by large swaths of naïve opinion as authentic challengers of oppressive government.
This is because the landmark limited hangout operation at the beginning of the current post-Cold War era was that of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon papers, which laid the groundwork for the CIA’s Watergate attack on the Nixon administration, and more broadly, on the office of the presidency itself. More recently, we have had the case of Assange and Wikileaks. Using these two cases primarily, we can develop a simple typology of the limited hangout operation which can be of significant value to those striving to avoid the role of useful idiots amidst the current cascade of whistleblowers and limited hangout artists.
In this analysis, we should also recall that limited hangouts have been around for a very long time. In 1620 Fra Paolo Sarpi, the dominant figure of the Venetian intelligence establishment of his time, advised the Venetian senate that the best way to defeat anti-Venetian propaganda was indirectly. He recommended the method of saying something good about a person or institution while pretending to say something bad. An example might be criticizing a bloody dictator for beating his dog – the real dimensions of his crimes are thus totally underplayed.
Limited hangout artists are instant media darlings
The most obvious characteristic of the limited hangout operative is that he or she immediately becomes the darling of the controlled corporate media. In the case of Daniel Ellsberg, his doctored set of Pentagon papers were published by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and eventually by a consortium totaling seventeen corporate newspapers. These press organs successfully argued the case for publication all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where they prevailed against the Nixon administration.
Needless to say, surviving critics of the Warren Commission, and more recent veterans of the 9/11 truth movement, and know very well that this is emphatically not the treatment reserved for messengers whose revelations are genuinely unwelcome to the Wall Street centered US ruling class. These latter are more likely to be slandered, vilified and dragged through the mud, or, even more likely, passed over in complete silence and blacked out. In extreme cases, they can be kidnapped, renditioned or liquidated.
Cass Sunstein present at the creation of Wikileaks
As for Assange and Wikileaks, the autumn 2010 document dump was farmed out in advance to five of the most prestigious press organs in the world, including the New York Times, the London Guardian, El Pais of Madrid, Der Spiegel of Hamburg, and Le Monde of Paris. This was the Assange media cartel, made up of papers previously specialized in discrediting 9/11 critics and doubters. But even before the document dumps had begun, Wikileaks had received a preemptive endorsement from none other than the notorious totalitarian Cass Sunstein, later an official of the Obama White House, and today married to Samantha Power, the author of the military coup that overthrew Mubarak and currently Obama’s pick for US ambassador to the United Nations. Sunstein is infamous for his thesis that government agencies should conduct covert operations using pseudo-independent agents of influence for the “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups” – meaning of those who reject in the establishment view of history and reality. Sunstein’s article entitled “Brave New WikiWorld” was published in the Washington Post of February 24, 2007, and touted the capabilities of Wikileaks for the destabilization of China. Perhaps the point of Ed Snowden’s presence in Hong Kong is to begin re-targeting these capabilities back towards the original anti-Chinese plan.
Snowden has already become a media celebrity of the first magnitude. His career was launched by the US left liberal Glenn Greenwald, now writing for the London Guardian, which expresses the viewpoints of the left wing of the British intelligence community. Thus, the current scandal is very much Made in England, and may benefit from inputs from the British GCHQ of Cheltenham, the Siamese twin of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. During the days of his media debut, it was not uncommon to see a controlled press organ like CNN dedicating one third of every broadcast hour of air time to the birth, life, and miracles of Ed Snowden.
Another suspicious and tell-tale endorsement for Snowden comes from the former State Department public diplomacy asset Norman Solomon. Interviewed on RT, Solomon warmly embraced the Snowden Project and assured his viewers that the NSA material dished up by the Hong Kong defector used reliable and authentic. Solomon was notorious ten years ago as a determined enemy of 9/11 truth, acting as a border guard in favor of the Bush administration/neocon theory of terrorism.
Limited hangouts contain little that is new
Another important feature of the limited hangout operation if that the revelations often contain nothing new, but rather repackage old wine in new bottles. In the case of Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, very little was revealed which was not already well known to a reader of Le Monde or the dispatches of Agence France Presse. Only those whose understanding of world affairs had been filtered through the Associated Press, CBS News, the New York Times, and the Washington Post found any of Ellsberg’s material a surprise.
Of course, there was method in Ellsberg’s madness. The Pentagon papers allegedly derived from an internal review of the decision-making processes leading to the Vietnam War, conducted after 1967-68 under the supervision of Morton Halperin and Leslie Gelb. Ellsberg, then a young RAND Corporation analyst and militant warmonger, was associated with this work. Upon examination, we find that the Pentagon papers tend to cover up such CIA crimes as the mass murder mandated under Operation Phoenix, and the massive CIA drug running associated with the proprietary airline Air America. Rather, when atrocities are in question, the US Army generally receives the blame. Politicians in general, and President John F. Kennedy in particular, are portrayed in a sinister light – one might say demonized. No insights whatever into the Kennedy assassination are offered. This was a smelly concoction, and it was not altogether excluded that the radicalized elements of the Vietnam era might have carried the day in denouncing the entire package as a rather obvious fabrication. But a clique around Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn loudly intervened to praise the quality of the exposé and to lionize Ellsberg personally as a new culture hero for the Silent Generation. From that moment on, the careers of Chomsky and Zinn soared. Pentagon papers skeptics, like the satirical comedian Mort Sahl, a supporter of the Jim Garrison investigation in New Orleans and a critic of the Warren Commission, faced the marginalization of their careers.
Notice also that the careers of Morton Halperin and Leslie Gelb positively thrived after they entrusted the Pentagon papers to Ellsberg, who revealed them. Ellsberg was put on trial in 1973, but all charges were dismissed after several months because of prosecutorial misconduct. Assange lived like a lord for many months in the palatial country house of an admirer in the East of England, and is now holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He spent about 10 days in jail in December 2010.
Assange first won credibility for Wikileaks with some chum in the form of a shocking film showing a massacre perpetrated by US forces in Iraq with the aid of drones. The massacre itself and the number of victims were already well known, so Assange was adding only the graphic emotional impact of witnessing the atrocity firsthand.
Limited hangouts reveal nothing about big issues like JFK, 9/11
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