Introduction to Covert Action:
Before reprinting the article below in full, lets take sometime off to discuss what covert action means.
Covert Action is an operation conducted by a state or non-state to further it’s own preferred interests but without acknowledging it’s directorship of the operation; meaning, it seeks to distance itself from the operations and when somehow evidence are produce of any trace of links/association to such an operation, all sources involved will deny any relations to one another or to the operation itself (those on ground (that conducting actual operations) tend to accept the practice of ‘thrown to the wolves’ on their own fate; meaning when captured or linked to such operations they can never tell of the associations to the original sources, the masters behind the plans).
Covert Action is comprised of three distinct specialists areas;
- Psychological Operations: This is where the primary aim is to undermine or support the opposing side (friendly or foe) via the use of media outlets. This sees the intelligence and covert specialists spend a great deal of time, energy and money trying to buy ‘assets’ (that is key local, national or international media personnel and owners) during ‘peacetime years’ in order to be able to use these to propagate their ”versions of truth and events”; Voice of America, CNN, Washington Times/Post. New York Times, BBC, France24, Guardian, Telegraph, etc etc are some of the major ‘assets’ controlled by western intelligence (and military) establishments for the ”interests of the state”. The Article to be published below covers this aspect of covert action/operations.
- Political Warfare: This is where the aim is to manipulate foreign domestic (and international) political systems and structures to favour one’s own interests and/or ”pro-western individuals”, the best contemporary example is the recent so-called ‘coup’ in Egypt where to professionals and specialists (like ourselves) the obvious hand of western powers (UK, US and France) can be easily seen behind the shadows (like a puppet-masters shows). In other words, political warfare means the ability to use so-called ”independent think-tanks or non-governmental organizations” and other societies or front businesses (e.g. Save The Children, HSBC, British Council, Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise For Democracy etc) to incite political strife for change, from funding and directing protests, riots, to funding pro-western political parties/politicians and so forth.
- Paramilitary Activities. This is the ‘last option’ when hope for a ‘ease transition’ no longer looks viable. During this phase the specialists provide secret [para]military training, advice and support (arms, logistics etc) to local ‘pro-western’ groups or parties to seek violent overthrow of local regimes. Two excellent recent examples are Libya and Syria.
Above is the dark art of covert action or black operations.
07/15/2013 02:45 PM
US Media Get Personal
As the mainstream American press goes after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, the leakers’ revelations are becoming an afterthought.
Walter Pincus, 80, knows his way around a scandal. The columnist and former reporter at the Washington Post has written about Watergate and Iran-Contra, numerous intelligence-related affairs and has won the Pulitzer Prize. But he has been criticized, even by his colleagues, for being too close to the US government — especially the CIA, for which he spied in his younger years.
But now, Pincus has truly embarrassed himself: Last week the Washington Post had to add a three-paragraph-long correction to a two-day-old Pincus column, invalidating its core claims. This was an unprecedented measure in the 136-year history of the American capital’s most lauded newspaper.
Pincus had speculated that whistleblower Edward Snowden, as well as the two people centrally responsible for publicizing the NSA revelations, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, had a political agenda and were surreptitiously “directed” by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Pincus’ “evidence” turned out to be demonstrably false, rendering the “corrected” column — or what was left of it — little more than malicious gossip.
Greenwald, who has been caught in the US media crossfire for some time, immediately protested against the “baseless innuendo” in an open letter. The Washington Post waited over 48 hours before correcting its blunder without comment.
A Growing Anti-Snowden Chorus
In his broadside against Snowden and Snowden’s press contacts, Pincus was going along with both the government and the zeitgeist. A growing number of mainstream media outlets have been focusing their criticism on the leakers — Snowden in Moscow, Greenwald in Rio — instead of the content of their leaks. American headlines aren’t being dominated by the latest details of the seemingly endless scandal, but by the men who brought them to light.
This began at the Post when Snowden, before contacting Greenwald, offered his secrets to security reporter Barton Gellman. Gellman quickly discredited Snowden as “capable of melodrama,” partly because of his uncompromising terms. Since then Snowden hasn’t provided any more revelations to the paper.
And so it has continued. The financially struggling Post, which was responsible for exposing the Watergate scandal, derided the Guardian as “financially struggling” as well as “small and underweight even by British standards.” “Why is a London-based news organization revealing so many secrets about the American government?”, it griped, as if that were only permitted of American journalists.
A recent Post editorial, that may as well have been written by the White House, argued that Snowden’s leak harms “efforts to fight terrorism” and “legitimate intelligence operations.” The leaks must immediately end, it argued — a strange conclusion from the grandmother of leak journalism. Columnist Richard Cohen didn’t hold back either: Snowden is “narcissistic,” Greenwald is “vainglorious.”
He wasn’t alone. In the New York Times David Brooks accused Snowden of having “betrayed honesty and integrity.” Roger Simon, chief political columnist at the website Politico, referred to Snowden as “the slacker who came in from the cold.” Jeffrey Toobin, a New Yorker essayist, called him a “narcissist who deserves to be in prison.” And Melissa Harris-Perry, from the otherwise progressive cable channel MSNBC, critized Snowden’s behavior as “compromising national security.”
In the Huffington Post, media critic Jeff Cohen called MSNBC the “official network of the Obama White House” — a White House which, under president Obama, has famously declared war on whistleblowers.
Guardian’s American Triumph
There’s another reason for the united media front: The Guardian is becoming a competitive threat for American media outlets. The first Snowden video interview received almost seven million clicks on the newspaper’s US website. “They set the US news agenda today,” Associated Press star reporter Matt Apuzzo tweeted enviously.
Why? Janine Gibson, the Guardian’s American chief, told the Huffington Post that their competition has a “lack of skepticism on a whole” when it comes to national security. Critical scrutiny, she said, has been considered “unpatriotic” since 9/11.
The greatest humiliation would be if the British usurper won a Pulitzer Prize. Only American media can apply for it, but the Prize committee accepted one submission by the Guardian last year. Its reasoning? The newspaper has an “unmistakable presence” in the United States.
Related SPIEGEL ONLINE links:
- Photo Gallery Timeline of the NSA Spying Scandal
- ‘Broken Oath’ NSA Mudslinging Has Merkel on Defensive (07/15/2013)
- ‘United Stasi of America’ Light Artist Wanted by Berlin Police (07/12/2013)
- Snowden Interview NSA and the Germans ‘In Bed Together’ (07/07/2013)
- Merkel Speaks Chancellor Defends Intelligence Monitoring (07/10/2013)
- Edward Snowden Interview The NSA and Its Willing Helpers (07/08/2013)
Related internet links
- Washington Post: Questions for Snowden
- Laura Poitras’ Email to Walter Pincus
- Washington Post criticises the Guardian
- Washington Post: The NSA is Doing What Google Does
- Politico: The Slacker Who Came in from the Cold
- Jeff Cohen blog post
- Matt Apuzzo’s Twitter comment
- Washington Post: Plugging the Snowden Leaks
- New Yorker: Edward Snowden is No Hero
- MSNBC: Edward Snowden, Come on Home
- Washington Post: Snowden Knew the Risks
- Huffington Post: Guardian Editor Sees Lack of Skepticism
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Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
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