Posted by: quiscus | April 13, 2012

March 13, 2012

1. Good:

“CIA’s Secret Fear: High-Tech Border Checks Will Blow Spies’ Cover

In “the old days,” as one put it — that would be before 9/11 — deep-cover CIA operatives could use and discard false passports like hand wipes. “The only way immigration could tell if the passports were fake was to look at the stamps, paper, photo, and so on,” said another recently retired CIA operative, whose worked on sensitive projects under non-official cover. Operatives could land at, say, Dubai, with a passport with one false name, then pick up another from the local CIA station to register at the hotel and conduct a mission. Then the same operative could return the country several times under different names, repeating the process.

Biometrics are making that impossible. Even crossing the border with a real identity, then donning a fake one in-country, presents its own risks. “When you go to check into a hotel room for a meeting with an asset, or even rent a car to drive to the meeting — or hold the meeting in the car — many hotels and car rental agencies upload their customer data, including passport number, to immigration every day,” the former spook notes. “Most countries are looking for visa overstays. But when you show up on the list as never having entered the country … it brings the police around to ask questions.”

If the CIA is working in concert with a local intelligence agency, as it commonly does in E.U. countries, Jordan, Thailand and other spots, undercover entries and exits can be smoothed over.

But “unilateral ops” — where the agency is trying to conceal its activities from the host country — “have deteriorated significantly” because of the new technologies, the career spook said.”

2. “Other Peoples’ Blood

And don’t get me started on “the brutal use of power” against one’s own people. The United States imprisons a higher percentage of its populace than any country on earth. Its cities are occupied by sizable, growing and increasingly militarized police forces. Its airports are living caricatures of the old Soviet bloc’s security bureaucracy as portrayed in Cold War era American cinema.

McCain and Lieberman have been both prominent architects of the existing US police state and staunch advocates of its endless extension. Who the hell are they to criticize Assad’s Syria?

But this, of course, is what governments and politicians do. Their primary function is to loot the productive for the benefit of their own class — the political class — and the creation of, and escalation to conflict with, external enemies is indispensable to that project.

This week it’s Syria and Iran. Next week? Uganda or Cuba or the Korean Peninsula or Djibouti. Don’t worry, they’ll find someone, somewhere for you to fight. They always do. Of course, they’d rather not talk about how last week went in Somalia and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq (quite well for them, not so well for you), thank you very much.”


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