By Michael Collins
Wikileaks offered its first release since the controversial distribution of documents related to the United States effort in Afghanistan.
The current leak was posted to their web site on August 25. It is titled CIA Red Cell Memorandum on United States “exporting terrorism”, 2 Feb 2010.
The leak describes Red Cell as a CIA unit created by the Director to develop “out-of-the-box” analysis offering “alternative viewpoints” on key intelligence issues.
This document doesn’t disappoint in being out-of-the-box.
CIA Perception Management – How the World Sees the United States
CIA Red Cell starts out by stating, “This report examines the implications of what it would mean for the US to be seen increasingly as an incubator and exporter of terrorism.” Don’t hold your breath. There’s nothing there about the School of the Americas, the shock and awe invasion of Iraq and the carnage that entailed, or 300 dead Panamanians and United States soldiers as a result of the 1981 manhunt for General Manuel Noriega, a former US asset.
This document lists four examples of terrorism exported by citizens of the United States. Five Muslim Americans traveled to Pakistan, tried to join the Taliban, and were arrested. Red Cell notes that, “In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an American Jewish doctor from New York, emigrated to Israel, joined the extremist group Kach, and killed 29 Palestinians during their prayers.” Also singled out are those Irish Americans who provided cash to the Irish Republican Army used to fund terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom.
Of most interest, convicted terrorist David Headley is cited as an example. A Pakistani American from Chicago, Headley recently pled guilty to providing “advanced surveillance” for the 2008 mega-terror attack on the Indian financial capitol, Mumbai.
The London Sunday Times pointed out that Headley had been “working for” the US Drug Enforcement Administration as part of a plea deal in 1997. The Times of India quoted unnamed Indian officials investigating the attacks as speculating that Headley “could have been a double agent for American agencies and Pakistan-based outfits.” US government officials deny any connection with Headley after a brief association with DEA.
The analysis concludes “that Americans can be great assets in terrorist operations overseas.”
The perception that the US is an “incubator and exporter of terrorism” may create push back by other governments in the War on Terror. The report cautions that this may lead to formal inquiries concerning US citizens by foreign intelligence agencies who may “even request the rendition of US citizens.” Renditions involve the transfer of suspected terrorists from one state to another where torture is used to extract information.
The report warns that US failure to cooperate with these requests, “might lead some governments to consider secretly extracting US citizens suspected of foreign terrorism from US soil.”
All this might limit cooperation by US allies in anti-terror efforts.
The Red Cell Memorandum Makes No Sense
We are told that the perception of the US exporting terror would limit the cooperation of other nations in anti terror efforts. If that’s true, then we would expect that the US would be less than cooperative with other nations that export terrorism, defined as citizens leaving their country and committing terrorist acts elsewhere.
Didn’t President George W. Bush kiss the Saudi King and hold his hand in a garden walk in 2005? Was that indiscreetly affectionate behavior deterred by the perception that the Saudis are an “exporter of terrorism” in the form of bin Laden and the Saudi citizens named as pulling off 9/11? Didn’t the current Justice Department support Saudi Arabia’s attempt to block a suit by 9/11 victims? Didn’t the US have up to 10,000 troops in Saudi Arabia from 1991 through 2003 at the very time that Saudi nationals were sponsoring schools throughout the Middle East that taught hatred of what is now called the homeland?
Other nations allow the US to violate their sovereignty to kidnap and torture their citizens as a result of asymmetrical power. The US can crush these nations militarily and financially. The US also offers financial inducements to the leaders of some nations involved. Therefore, they cooperate.
The report assumes that there’s some sort of rule book that allows other nations to behave toward the US as the US does toward them, if somehow US citizens leave the country and commit terrorist acts. In reality, there’s no referee or rule book, just a one-sided power equation in favor of US action. It’s all about power and dominance.
This leak doesn’t amount to much more than a peek at what is viewed as a “thought provoking alternative” view within the CIA. It misses the main point regarding the perception of the US throughout the world.
The Real Export of Terror – Reality Trumps Perception
The United States operates what is commonly known as the School of Americas in Georgia. The school offers training in counterinsurgency, interrogation, and anti terror tactics and strategies. Thousands of Latin American military personnel have trained there over the years. Graduates include some of the worst dictators in that region including those behind the deadly Operation Condor in the 1980s. Some of the worst atrocities in the region were committed by school graduates. The school’s level of responsibility for the behavior of its graduates can’t be quantified in precise terms. However, for some graduates, the training failed to instill a respect for humanity and taught tactics that were employed against the citizens that the military leaders were to protect.
The US has held the leadership position in NATO since its inception in 1949. In 1990, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Operation Gladio and US involvement (European Parliament resolution on Gladio, Nov. 22, 1990, Clause G. 2). This involved paramilitary groups in NATO member nations and France. The groups were created by US and British intelligence after World War II. The original goal was to provide resistance in case of a takeover by the Soviet Union. Long after that was a viable concern, the groups continued by staging false-flag terror attacks against their own citizens. The incidents, which killed thousands, were committed by the Gladio groups and falsely attributed to Communists and Soviet sympathizers.
These are just two examples of the unrestrained and counter productive use of power exported by successive US administrations. It’s no accident that this information is kept from US citizens. Sufficiently informed, the vast majority would find these programs offensive and counterproductive. But it’s no secret to the rest of the world. The concerns expressed in the Red Cell Memorandum are moot. It’s too late. The word is out.
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