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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Countervailing power

Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame, patriots both, in the truest sense.When I was a graduate student in Economics a CIA recruiter quietly came to town. Or maybe not. My memory is a bit unclear about the particulars. One way or another though, it was suggested by a couple of trusted faculty members that being an economist for the CIA would be a pretty good gig. You would have the best resources in the world for doing research, and could use the experience as a stepping stone to a lucrative career in the economics profession. I think one student actually took the bait, and was hired. The rest of us proudly abstained. In those days the CIA was viewed as the devil incarnate, due to its sordid history of assassinations, coups d'état, and subversion of democratically elected governments.

Now the CIA’s reputation is mixed, partly due to the Valerie Plame scandal, partly due to its misuse by the Bush crime family, and partly due to the real intelligence needs of the so-called "War on terror." As an agency it still engages in nefarious activities, such as "extraordinary rendition," participation in torture in places like Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and others, and still has a "covert operations" capacity.

My own view of the CIA is also mixed. On a pure level of deconstruct, it is an illusion, a mental construct. It is an organization created through legislative action, given a budget and a mission, it has a building, or complex, in Langley, Virginia, and, voila, it exists. People have been hired for the last 59 years, they get paid, they have things to do, and they believe that because of all these factors that the organization exists. So at the most basic level the CIA exists because people have joined together in the belief that it exists.

An article came my way recently, and I was prompted to find out more about its source (You can click here and here to read my reproduction of the article, but to get it at its source, go to Google, enter the article’s title – "The importance of the Plame Affair," and the author’s name - George Friedman. One of the links will get you past the sign-in requirement.). A Google search led me to the site of an organization named Stratfor, which appears to be formed by a former CIA officer. Whatever its genesis, its purpose is to provide high quality intelligence for money to private (and probably government) clients, both domestic and foreign. It’s hard to tell if the organization carries any national loyalty, but I suspect that it is bound by parameters of multinational corporate solidarity. This would be a subject for further investigation in itself, but it doesn’t particularly interest me.

What does interest me is the content of the article, and the window it provides into the CIA and the mindset of its insiders, past and present. It is a world unto itself, and the people who live in it have a complex code of ethics and loyalty that guides their thinking and activities. For better or worse, as long as we have a mass world industrial system of human existence, we are going to have intelligence agencies, so if we are to progress toward a true civilization we will have to recognize their permanent place in society, and find ways of maximizing their positive contribution while minimizing the negative.

As the article indicates, the revelation of the name of a CIA operative, no matter how insignificant – in the case of
Valerie Plame
, a very significant operative – does great harm to both the mission and safety of the particular person, but more to the entire intelligence capacity of the country, and for many years to come. The act is much more than treasonous. It has the effect of destroying the very agency that the perpetrator depends on for defense of the country against foreign threats.

The revelation of Valerie Plame’s name as a CIA agent was meant to somehow discredit her husband, former ambassador to Iraq Joseph Wilson. Someone (or several someones) at the Bush regime’s higest levels was angry that Wilson wrote in the New York Times that the claims about Saddam Hussein trying to buy Uranium from Niger were false. If you were a criminal politician and you used a pattern of lies to convince the people of your country to go to war, and someone challenged one of your lies, the whole house of cards might come crashing down. From the standpoint of Bush and his cronies, it would be vital to stop any threat to the propaganda network.

So it is safe to say that all the intelligence agencies, not just the CIA, view the Bush regime much like I do – as a treasonous criminal operation that does not value the country’s interests or safety in any way that might interfere with their own interests or safety. This is a factor that should give us all increased optimism and comfort. When the intelligence agengies no longer trust or respect you, you are a weak and vulnerable president.

I have said many times in this blog and elsewhere that the power of the Bush crime family is greatly exaggerated. They are mere mortals, criminals, and not very smart. Their only real skill is in rigging elections and in lying, and election rigging has very limited transfer power to other competencies, as the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina have so amply demonstrated. Their criminality has blinded them to real world constraints, not the least of which is that you don’t commit blatant treason and expect to gain a lot of support in the intelligence and diplomatic spheres.

The support that the Bush crime family now clings to is among the most criminal of corporations, their client politicians and judges, and among the mentally deranged and/or deficient of the population. This is not a constituency that represents staying power.

It is both ironic for me and for humankind in general that the CIA, long reviled for its murderous actions around the world, may be the leading force in the coming downfall of the Bush criminal organization. Its agents, both past and present, are likely very unhappy about the betrayal they have experienced. I wouldn’t underestimate the power of that displeasure to undermine the BCF’s various criminal schemes. The CIA's people know that traitors are ruling the country. At the very least, I believe that any plans the Bush crime family has for another September 11, 2001-type event will likely be found out, if they haven’t been already. Renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith coined the phrase "countervailing power" in 1952. It refers to forces that arise in opposition to powerful forces that come into existence. There is much countervailing power arising in the world today, and it has only begun to countervail.

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