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September 19, 2014

Secret CIA Document: Americans Are “Coarse,” “Emotional” and Lack Civility

The upper class in every country always believes the commoners are appallingly crass, irrational and impolite. (For instance, here’s a column by George Will called ”Civility and Civilization.”) Meanwhile from the commoners’ perspective, it’s pretty crass, irrational and impolite of the upper class to keep shooting them in the face.

The CIA has just declassified an article from its in-house magazine "Studies in Intelligence” embodying this dynamic. The article describes the CIA’s response to Gary Webb's 1996 San Jose Mercury News series "Dark Alliance" about the CIA’s protection of Nicaraguan contras whom the CIA knew were smuggling cocaine into the U.S.

Webb’s reporting was accurate and, we now know (partly thanks to an internal CIA investigation triggered by the series) arguably conservative. But from the perspective of "Studies in Intelligence," the problem wasn’t the CIA's alliance with drug dealers; it was that stupid, crude Americans believed this scurrilously accurate nonsense:

…ultimately the CIA-drug story says a lot more about American society on the eve of the millennium than it does about either CIA or the media. We live in somewhat coarse and emotional times—when large numbers of Americans do not adhere to the same standards of logic, evidence, or even civil discourse as those practiced by members of the CIA community.

Hilariously, the sentence about “civil discourse” is footnoted, but if you look at the end of the article, the source attesting to the CIA’s standards of civil discourse is redacted.

Even funnier, this article was declassified as the result of a lawsuit against the CIA by a former employee, Jeffrey Scudder. Scudder had pointed out that the CIA was refusing to release hundreds of decades-old documents that, according to the law, could no longer be kept secret. In response, the CIA very logically and civilly destroyed his career.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at September 19, 2014 10:17 AM

Gary Webb of course was hounded from his job and blacklisted as the CIA used its mainstream media sources to punish him. His life ended with an apparent suicide. But I am sure it was done very civilly.

Posted by: Sherparick at September 19, 2014 01:05 PM

with regard to the importance of civil discourse (as promoted e.g. by the, a charitable arm of the koch brothers) i'm reminded of what marx wrote about the equality of employer and employee -

in the market place when they agree on terms of employment they shake hands as equals - but once the employee enters the workplace the true power relationship is revealed

with regard to standards of logic and evidence - to paraphrase bayes' theorem, what you're prepared to believe the evidence shows depends on what you ALREADY believed, before this particular evidence came to your attention

may the creative forces of the universe stand beside us (metaphorically speaking), and guide us, through the night with the light from above

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at September 19, 2014 01:27 PM

Truly phenomenal displays of beyond-chutzpah seem to be their specialty. As CIA director Brennan showed yesterday in a speech to a spook convention, and CIA lawyer Litt is demonstrating right this minute in a forum in DC, it's absolutely true that

:: large numbers of Americans do not adhere to the same standards of logic, evidence, or even civil discourse as those practiced by members of the CIA community. ::

Not because Americans' standards are low, but because the CIA operates with unbelievably twisted standards or logic and evidence.

Posted by: Nell at September 19, 2014 02:33 PM

An agency in "Delusional State" without limits....
May be comes from Lying ad infinitum!!

Posted by: rupa at September 19, 2014 03:48 PM

WOW! Real CLASS ACTS by CLASSY people!!
We, ordinary Americans can not match this.... and I hope, we never will!


ps "act of always lying" must be in the DNA gene code!!

Posted by: rupa at September 20, 2014 09:55 AM

Why don't we just rename the collective intelligence apparatus of the US the "Gestapo" now, since they've laid out their fascist agenda in such patently obvious fashion that one might hope even the dullards at FoxNews would notice. Of course, no one at FoxNews actually has a working understanding of what fascism is, nor the minimal intelligence required to look it up somewhere, so perhaps I'm giving them too much credit.

Seriously, the CIA and the Pentagon are basically in complete control of our government, our country and our future. Which is why none of the above remotely resemble what the citizens actually desire, and instead look exactly like what a militaristic totalitarian fascist regime bent on total domination would desire.

An actual "defense" department could line every foot of our borders/coastline, and staff all our ports, with fully-equipped armed soldiers spaced every ten feet, and we'd still pay less than half what we do now on our "defense", plus actually genuinely deter attacks, stop terrorists, and secure resources without simultaneously creating the enemies desirous of attacking and terrorizing us in the first place.

But we have opted for an "offensive" defense instead, which costs vastly more and achieves vastly less, but which is most definitely "offensive".

Posted by: JayDee at September 20, 2014 03:07 PM

Gary Webb made a fatal error. He got sidetracked into a story about how the CIA plotted and planned the crack epidemic in order to ?. Well, fill in your own story. To destroy the inner cities? Why exactly? When that story hit it drowned out the main story about Contra/cocaine. Instead a story about a nefarious conspiracy to destroy black people electrified various activists.

The first thing to know is that nobody could have plotted and planned the crack explosion. Nobody including especially the CIA. For reasons I can't fathom, the culture or zeitgeist, of the predominately black inner cities were ready willing and eager to try crack. More easy to understand is that gangs saw a tremendous money making opportunity. It is generally agreed that Detroit street gangs were the first to really organize around crack production and distribution. The CIA was not needed to launch this whole thing.

Eventually the CIA had a famous press conference in Stockton, or someplace like it, to announce their findings. They admitted they had known of 53 individuals who were drug dealers and erstwhile Contra supporters. They denied plotting to destroy lives in Americas ghettos with crack. Angry activists called them liars. They didn't give a hoot about Contra/cocaine. Nor did the mainstream press,especially the LA Times who took it upon themselves to destroy Webb.(another story you can look it up) All they cared about was the silly conspiracy theory,that Webb had introduced,which was false. Therefore in most minds all Webb's story was false. Despite the fact that the CIA very openly admitted Contra/cocaine was true.

As I said, Webb made a great mistake. Heady with stories of true conspiracy, he crossed a bridge too far. Not 50 or so drug dealers that the CIA may have shielded from US law but a vast plan to enslave and destroy black people.

(I suspect the CIA/crack story was promoted to Webb and activists by our spooks as disinformation to discredit Webb. It worked like a charm.)

Posted by: rapier at September 20, 2014 09:47 PM

"Well, fill in your own story" is right, Mr Strangely-just-shows-up (thus unaware of the multiple posting glitch). "To destroy the inner cities" was precisely the straw man the Company ran to discredit Webb, who never made any such accusation, arguing instead, and rather obviously, that the CIA's complicity in the cocaine trade materially contributed to the explosion in the availability of crack. George Tenet tried the same bullshit approach when he turned Webb's accurate allegations into "that some of [the Agency's] members had been complicit in selling crack cocaine to children in California" in his memoirs, the lying tosser.

Still waiting for the movie.

Posted by: weaver at September 21, 2014 05:43 AM

And in tandem with the CIA detroying decent journalism and also detroying decent journalists, we see that the Big Corporations have destroyed science. It is Big Corporations that fund our university laboratories. And they weed out the scientists who are honest researchers. The Big Corporations also have control over who it is that runs the science and medical journals. When the French researchers discovered organ failure in rats fed Gm foods, those scientists were able to be published in an English journal. So Big Ag saw to it that the editor at that journal was removed, and then subsituted one of their own into that head positon. Then the journal retracted the entire article - all because the truth about Gm foods would continue to affect European profits for the Gm food industry.

Posted by: Elise Mattu at September 23, 2014 03:24 PM