The Criminal ‘Laws’ of Counterinsurgency

A new book traces how the CIA and U.S. counterinsurgency warfare operatives adopted lessons from the Nazis’ fight against the partisans and evolved into a dangerous law onto themselves, writes retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.

By Todd E. Pierce

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime. (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program, which should be read with the current book.)

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

The U.S. “deep state” – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state’s methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the U.S. political system in place by 2003 as “inverted totalitarianism.” He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He’s just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the “deep state” seek to remove Trump, the President now has many “deep state” instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many “never-Trumpers” of both parties see the deep state’s national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state’s bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper’s essay, if “the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support — not oppose — many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance.”

Glennon noted that the propensity of “security managers” to back policies which ratchet up levels of security “will play into Trump’s hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally.” Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of “population control” as first fully developed in the Vietnam War’s Phoenix Program.

Hating the U.S. 

There also must be the realization that our “national security” apparatchiks — principally but not solely the CIA — have served to exponentially increase the numbers of those people who hate the U.S. Some of these people turn to terrorism as an expression of that hostility. Anyone who is at all familiar with the CIA and Al Qaeda knows that the CIA has been Al Qaeda’s most important “combat multiplier” since 9/11, and the CIA can be said to have birthed ISIS as well with the mistreatment of incarcerated Iraqi men in U.S. prisons in Iraq.

A Predator drone firing a missile.

Indeed, by following the model of the Phoenix Program, the CIA must be seen in the Twenty-first Century as a combination of the ultimate “Murder, Inc.,” when judged by the CIA’s methods such as drone warfare and its victims; and the Keystone Kops, when the multiple failures of CIA policies are considered. This is not to make light of what the CIA does, but the CIA’s misguided policies and practices have served to generate wrath, hatred and violence against Americans, which we see manifested in cities such as San Bernardino, Orlando, New York and Boston.

Pointing out the harm to Americans is not to dismiss the havoc that Americans under the influence of the CIA have perpetrated on foreign populations. But “morality” seems a lost virtue today in the U.S., which is under the influence of so much militaristic war propaganda that morality no longer enters into the equation in determining foreign policy.

In addition to the harm the CIA has caused to people around the world, the CIA works tirelessly at subverting its own government at home, as was most visible in the spying on and subversion of the torture investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The subversion of democracy also includes the role the CIA plays in developing and disseminating war propaganda as “information warfare,” upon the American people. This is what the Rand Corporation under the editorship of Zalmay Khalilzad has described as “conditioning the battlefield,” which begins with the minds of the American population.

Douglas Valentine discusses and documents the role of the CIA in disseminating pro-war propaganda and disinformation as complementary to the violent tactics of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Valentine explains that “before Phoenix was adopted as the model for policing the American empire, many US military commanders in Vietnam resisted the Phoenix strategy of targeting civilians with Einsatzgruppen-style ‘special forces’ and Gestapo-style secret police.”

Military Commanders considered that type of program a flagrant violation of the Law of War. “Their main job is to zap the in-betweeners – you know, the people who aren’t all the way with the government and aren’t all the way with the Viet Cong either. They figure if you zap enough in-betweeners, people will begin to get the idea,” according to one quote from The Phoenix Program referring to the unit tasked with much of the Phoenix operations.

Nazi Influences

Comparing the Phoenix Program and its operatives to “Einsatzgruppen-style ‘special forces’ and Gestapo-style secret police” is not a distortion of the strategic understanding of each. Both programs were extreme forms of repression operating under martial law principles where the slightest form of dissent was deemed to represent the work of the “enemy.” Hitler’s Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe by Philip W. Blood describes German “Security Warfare” as practiced in World War II, which can be seen as identical in form to the Phoenix Program as to how the enemy is defined as anyone who is “potentially” a threat, deemed either “partizans” or terrorists.

High-ranking Nazis on trial at Nuremberg

That the Germans included entire racial categories in that does not change the underlying logic, which was, anyone deemed an internal enemy in a territory in which their military operated had to be “neutralized” by any means necessary. The U.S. military and the South Vietnamese military governments operated under the same principles but not based on race, rather the perception that certain areas and villages were loyal to the Viet Cong.

This repressive doctrine was also not unique to the Nazis in Europe and the U.S. military in Vietnam. Similar though less sophisticated strategies were used against the American Indians and by the imperial powers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, including by the U.S. in its newly acquired territories of the Philippines and in the Caribbean. This “imperial policing,” i.e., counter-insurgency, simply moved to more manipulative and, in ways, more violent levels.

That the U.S. drew upon German counter-insurgency doctrine, as brutal as it was, is well documented. This is shown explicitly in a 2011 article published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies entitled German Counterinsurgency Revisited by Charles D. Melson. He wrote that in 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler named a deputy for “anti-bandit warfare,” (Bevollmachtigter fur die Bandenkampfung im Osten), SS-General von dem Bach, whose responsibilities expanded in 1943 to head all SS and police anti-bandit units and operations. He was one of the architects of the Einsatzguppen “concept of anti-partisan warfare,” a German predecessor to the “Phoenix Program.”

‘Anti-Partisan’ Lessons

It wasn’t a coincidence that this “anti-partisan” warfare concept should be adopted by U.S. forces in Vietnam and retained to the present day. Melson pointed out that a “post-war German special forces officer described hunter or ranger units as ‘men who knew every possible ruse and tactic of guerrilla warfare. They had gone through the hell of combat against the crafty partisans in the endless swamps and forests of Russia.’”

In May 2016, Russian marchers honoring family members who fought in World War II. (Photo from RT)

Consequently, “The German special forces and reconnaissance school was a sought after posting for North Atlantic Treaty Organization special operations personnel,” who presumably included members of the newly created U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers, which was in part headquartered at Bad Tolz in Germany, as well as CIA paramilitary officers.

Just as with the later Phoenix Program to the present-day U.S. global counterinsurgency, Melson wrote that the “attitude of the [local] population and the amount of assistance it was willing to give guerilla units was of great concern to the Germans. Different treatment was supposed to be accorded to affected populations, bandit supporters, and bandits, while so-called population and resource control measures for each were noted (but were in practice, treated apparently one and the same). ‘Action against enemy agitation’ was the psychological or information operations of the Nazi period. The Nazis believed that, ‘Because of the close relationship of guerilla warfare and politics, actions against enemy agitation are a task that is just as important as interdiction and combat actions. All means must be used to ward off enemy influence and waken and maintain a clear political will.’”

This is typical of any totalitarian system – a movement or a government – whether the process is characterized as counterinsurgency or internal security. The idea of any civilian collaboration with the “enemy” is the basis for what the U.S. government charges as “conspiracy” in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.

Valentine explains the Phoenix program as having been developed by the CIA in 1967 to combine “existing counterinsurgency programs in a concerted effort to ‘neutralize’ the Vietcong infrastructure (VCI).” He explained further that “neutralize” meant “to kill, capture, or make to defect.” “Infrastructure” meant civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers. Central to the Phoenix program was that its targets were civilians, making the operation a violation of the Geneva Conventions which guaranteed protection to civilians in time of war.

“The Vietnam’s War’s Silver Lining: A Bureaucratic Model for Population Control Emerges” is the title of Chapter 3. Valentine writes that the “CIA’s Phoenix program changed how America fights its wars and how the public views this new type of political and psychological warfare, in which civilian casualties are an explicit objective.” The intent of the Phoenix program evolved from “neutralizing” enemy leaders into “a program of systematic repression for the political control of the South Vietnamese people. It sought to accomplish this through a highly bureaucratized system of disposing of people who could not be ideologically assimilated.” The CIA claimed a legal basis for the program in “emergency decrees” and orders for “administrative detention.”

Lauding Petraeus 

Valentine refers to a paper by David Kilcullen entitled Countering Global Insurgency. Kilcullen is one of the so-called “counter-insurgency experts” whom General David Petraeus gathered together in a cell to promote and refine “counter-insurgency,” or COIN, for the modern era. Fred Kaplan, who is considered a “liberal author and journalist” at Slate, wrote a panegyric to these cultists entitled, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. The purpose of this cell was to change the practices of the U.S. military into that of “imperial policing,” or COIN, as they preferred to call it.

Gen. David Petraeus posing before the U.S. Capitol with Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War. (Photo credit: ISW’s 2011 Annual Report)

But Kilcullen argued in his paper that “The ‘War on Terrorism” is actually a campaign to counter a global insurgency. Therefore, Kilcullen argued, “we need a new paradigm, capable of addressing globalised insurgency.” His “disaggregation strategy” called for “actions to target the insurgent infrastructure that would resemble the unfairly maligned (but highly effective) Vietnam-era Phoenix program.”

He went on, “Contrary to popular mythology, this was largely a civilian aid and development program, supported by targeted military pacification operations and intelligence activity to disrupt the Viet Cong Infrastructure. A global Phoenix program (including the other key elements that formed part of the successful Vietnam CORDS system) would provide a useful start point to consider how Disaggregation would develop in practice.”

It is readily apparent that,  in fact, a Phoenix-type program is now U.S. global policy and — just like in Vietnam — it is applying “death squad” strategies that eliminate not only active combatants but also civilians who simply find themselves in the same vicinity, thus creating antagonisms that expand the number of fighters.

Corraborative evidence of Valentine’s thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA’s own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles.

The Bloody Reality

One “sanitized” article — approved for release in 2011 — is a partially redacted New Times article of Aug. 22, 1975, by Michael Drosnin. The article recounts a story of a U.S. Army counter-intelligence officer “who directed a small part of a secret war aimed not at the enemy’s soldiers but at its civilian leaders.” He describes how a CIA-directed Phoenix operative dumped a bag of “eleven bloody ears” as proof of six people killed.

The bodies of Vietnamese men, women and children piled along a road in My Lai after a U.S. Army massacre on March 16, 1968. (Photo taken by U. S. Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle)

The officer, who recalled this incident in 1971, said, “It made me sick. … I couldn’t go on with what I was doing in Vietnam. . . . It was an assassination campaign . . . my job was to identify and eliminate VCI, the Viet Cong ‘infrastructure’ – the communist’s shadow government. I worked directly with two Vietnamese units, very tough guys who didn’t wear uniforms . . . In the beginning they brought back about 10 percent alive. By the end they had stopped taking prisoners. …

“How many VC they got I don’t know. I saw a hell of a lot of dead bodies. We’d put a tag on saying VCI, but no one really knew – it was just some native in black pajamas with 16 bullet holes.”

This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still “investigative reporters,” and not the government sycophants of today. Based on first-hand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the “only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants.” At least 40,000 were murdered, with “only” about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and “later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse.” The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, as Mr. Valentine writes.

A second article archived by the CIA was by the Christian Science Monitor, dated Jan. 5, 1971, describing how the Saigon government was “taking steps … that could help eliminate one of the most glaring abuses of its controversial Phoenix program, which is aimed against the Viet Cong political and administrative apparatus.” Note how the Monitor shifted blame away from the CIA and onto the South Vietnamese government.

But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted “in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians.” These were called “Class C Communist offenders,” some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such “belligerent acts” as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the “hard core, full-time cadre” who were deemed to make up the “shadow government” designated as Class A and B Viet Cong.

Yet “security committees” throughout South Vietnam, under the direction of the CIA, sentenced at least 10,000 “Class C civilians” to prison each year, far more than Class A and B combined. The article stated, “Thousands of these prisoners are never brought to court trial, and thousands of other have never been sentenced.” The latter statement would mean they were just held in “indefinite detention,” like the prisoners held at Guantanamo and other U.S. detention centers with high levels of CIA involvement.

Not surprisingly to someone not affiliated with the CIA, the article found as well that “Individual case histories indicate that many who have gone to prison as active supporters of neither the government nor the Viet Cong come out as active backers of the Viet Cong and with an implacable hatred of the government.” In other words, the CIA and the COIN enthusiasts are achieving the same results today with the prisons they set up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CIA Crimes

Valentine broadly covers the illegalities of the CIA over the years, including its well-documented role in facilitating the drug trade over the years. But, in this reviewer’s opinion, his most valuable contribution is his description of the CIA’s participation going back at least to the Vietnam War in the treatment of what the U.S. government today calls “unlawful combatants.”

Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush (a former CIA director) with CIA Director William Casey at the White House on Feb. 11, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Library)

“Unlawful combatants” is a descriptive term made up by the Bush administration to remove people whom U.S. officials alleged were “terrorists” from the legal protections of the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights Law and thus to justify their capture or killing in the so-called “Global War on Terror.” Since the U.S. government deems them “unlawful” – because they do not belong to an organized military structure and do not wear insignia – they are denied the “privilege” of belligerency that applies to traditional soldiers. But – unless they take a “direct part in hostilities” – they would still maintain their civilian status under the law of war and thus not lose the legal protection due to civilians even if they exhibit sympathy or support to one side in a conflict.

Ironically, by the Bush administration’s broad definition of “unlawful combatants,” CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences.

This is not to condemn all CIA officers, some of whom acted in good faith that they were actually defending the United States by acquiring information on a professed enemy in the tradition of Nathan Hale. But it is to harshly condemn those CIA officials and officers who betrayed the United States by subverting its Constitution, including waging secret wars against foreign countries without a declaration of war by Congress. And it decidedly condemns the CIA war criminals who acted as a law unto themselves in the torture and murder of foreign nationals, as Valentine’s book describes.

Talleyrand is credited with saying, “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n’est corrigé; personne n’a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: “Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything.” That sums up the CIA leadership entirely.

Douglas Valentine’s book is a thorough documentation of that fact and it is essential reading for all Americans if we are to have any hope for salvaging a remnant of representative government.

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions.

56 comments for “The Criminal ‘Laws’ of Counterinsurgency

  1. Martin - Swedish citizen
    June 23, 2017 at 17:19

    One might argue that adopting the ideology of Nazi anti insurgence amounts psychologically to being unable to let go and reject the autrocities committed by them, letting their legacy and poison continue to act. Hitler perhaps laughs where he dwells in hell?

    • June 24, 2017 at 15:05

      The problem with the idea of hell is that there’s no certainty it exists – those who believe it does, have a tendency not to act against those immoral or amoral power-hungry humans who wreak so much physical and mental suffering and death upon others – their excuse? God will mete out justice after death, i.e., send the malefactors to hell. We have to act as if hell does not exist so that we collectively act against the warmongers, the war criminals, the torturers, and the high-placed thieves and con men and mete out to them their justly deserved punishments; I must also say that a power I do not want the state to possess, namely, the power to take life, is one that I cannot conceive as being in the best interest of those seeking just retribution to the types of people I’ve enumerated.

  2. Martin - Swedish citizen
    June 23, 2017 at 15:00

    Thanks for an article that really speaks out!
    Is there a list of US and Western war criminals, as proposed, top down, starting say in 2000? The first names would clearly be George W Bush and Tony Blair. The PNAC. Each name followed by one sentence stating their concrete alleged crimes.
    Responsibility resta not only with the security services, or parts of them, but with everyone touching this , politicians, MSM, individual journalists. European governments, MSM, defences also take part and are guilty.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      June 23, 2017 at 17:11

      Oh, of course on the list of suspects are also: Colin Powell, Obama, Mrs Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Netanyahu, Swedish ministers responsible for handing over Egyptians to the CIA for subsequent torture, …

      • June 24, 2017 at 15:10

        You left out Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright, Dick Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, ‘Mad Dod’ Mattis, and other generals including Petraeus… Unfortunately, until we change the governments here and in so many other places as well as the economic system, such justice is but a dream…

  3. Stephen
    June 23, 2017 at 10:45

    Thank you for this article. I read Mr. Valentine’s recent work I have one quibble; it needed a bit more editing. Otherwise it was very solid and I highly recommend it. I agree it should be read along with his earlier work, “The Phoenix Program”. I don’t know a way out of this mess but for those of us who choose to be informed these are important histories. We should always be aware that the torturers and murderers walk among the rest of us. It seems to explain at least some of the brutality in American culture.

    • mike k
      June 24, 2017 at 07:25

      Stephen, one of the ways out of this mess is exactly what you are doing: trying to awaken people to what their country is doing in their name. If enough people would read your poetry, and your sources – we would have a different world, Now if we can just get them to do that………..

  4. June 23, 2017 at 09:51

    And thank you, Coleen Rowley, for your reference to the AP article on the UAE torture sites in Yemen aided by USA government, truly grim including turning captives on a “spit in a circle of fire”. With your insights of years in FBI, can you think of any way the rest of the world might have some effect in opposing the US? Or will it simply be a collapse of the evil empire from its excessive monetary spending to flex its delusional supremacy?

    • Coleen Rowley
      June 24, 2017 at 14:09

      Maybe we should be glad that none of us know how this will all end. Some legitimate hope lies in the not knowing, our inability to predict. Since history is marked by incidents and events, usually more than one factor occurring simultaneously, that together change the course of history and which almost no one was able to foresee. And sometimes that old cliche “that things are darkest before the dawn” is proven true. I think several, more or less natural forces (including blowback from the wars as well as the internal corruption that seems to rot empires from the inside) as well as growing opposition from foreign countries, and even bad weather events are already happening that will sooner or later curb US-NATO-Israel’s imperialistic, militaristic ambitions. The only question is how and when, will it be a hard or softer landing, and how much destruction happens before some change of course.

  5. June 23, 2017 at 08:11

    Mike, I’m probably as pessimistic as you about the human condition, which to me has gotten considerably worse in my lifetime of 74 years. I leave conversion to the evangelicals, I’m talking about taking a moral position as Dr. King did, speaking out no matter whether there is response or not. Let humans go down the tubes if they have so little courage and morality, that’s my position. I don’t believe in preaching, but I don’t want to depart this earth having done nothing about the seriousness of man’s inhumanity while I am one of them. The evils unleashed by the Bushes and their Nazi kind have reached the point of no return for humans except to a bad end, in the US especially since the PNAC, but we were also brought there by the Dulles brothers after the Nazi era. Gregory Driscoll is right that the CIA should be scrapped, but we know that’s not going to happen with the spineless jellyfish that dominate Congress. Even ancient peoples questioned the origins of evil, and technology seems to have brought about lower aspects of human nature, not higher reaches as could be possible. Our alienation from nature has severed human potential for higher development, I believe.

    • mike k
      June 23, 2017 at 09:46

      Jessica, I have been at this for a long time, decades. At one time I shared on a group email site of population professionals, and met Jack Alpert. He proposed that each of us focus on one friend or acquaintance with the goal of awakening them to the reality and seriousness of the over population issue. The problem is that over the ears of his dedicated attempts to do this, not single person was “converted.” (I used converted above to mean a deep change in a person’s views on a given area – not with any religious implication). So my question to you was asking if anyone you have approached with your outlook on the present national situation, has rethought their position to be more in line with what you see as the reality we are facing?

    • Skip Scott
      June 23, 2017 at 09:55


      I agree with your assessment that “our alienation from nature has severed human potential for higher development.” I think possibly the population density in our cities has impacted the collective psyche. I remember hearing of a study where they keep adding rats to a box and study the changes in the rats’ behavior. At a certain point the rats turn violent. Whenever I go into a city, my first thought is “there’s too many rats in this box”.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 24, 2017 at 10:16

      Jessica not for me to sound stupid, but seriously I watch the chipmunks, squirrels, raccoon, deer, and my son’s young puppy, and I find myself apologizing to these animals for what mankind has brought down upon this beautiful earth. If only busy people could stop long enough to truly see just how beautiful this earth we walk upon really is. What has war brought about that couldn’t have been talked about at the negotiating table? Nothing. If only for all the money which we have spent on killing people, were to have been spent to revitalize our ailing planet what a beautiful world this would be. Good commentary Jessica, I also must add that your aged wisdom has a youthful component to it, and with that yours words and philosophy should be passed along to others as for them to go forward with and bring your mindset to it’s rightfully deserved place in our world.


  6. john wilson
    June 23, 2017 at 04:37

    The only problem I have with this article is the notion all this horror started on 2003. Have people forgotten about J.Edgar Hoover? Further, we have only learned about this kind of stuff with the advent of the internet. Can you just imagine what went on before? Posters here are quite right to point out that their friends and colleagues just don’t accept anything that doesn’t have the stamp of main stream media approval. Apparently, many people couldn’t come to terms with the Abu Ghraib prison affair where American soldiers, (you know, our clean honest boys who are fighting to defend us all), were involved in the most unspeakable atrocities. I believe there were many more photos that were kept from the public. This is called ‘passive brain washing and is just as effective as the real thing which takes place in secret rooms God know where.

  7. June 23, 2017 at 03:42

    But didn’t we all love ‘Mission Impossible’ and ‘I Spy’ and ‘The Spy that Came in from the Cold’ and ‘James Bond’?

    You see, you gotta be careful what you wish for….you just might get it.

  8. June 23, 2017 at 03:15

    Council of International Assassinations has ambitions to be the Core of the New World Order’s Communist Government.

  9. Winston
    June 23, 2017 at 01:55

    The Jihadis are frenemies. Do check out Mark Curtis.
    Even Israel is helping the jihadis of late:

    Israel provides steady flow of cash, aid to Syrian rebels, says WSJ report
    Unique military unit oversees assistance to anti-Assad forces in ‘Good Neighborhood’ policy aimed at insuring friendly forces on Syrian side of Golan border, according to Wall Street Journal

    Report: Israel giving secret aid to Syrian rebels
    Sources tell Wall Street Journal Israel has been supplying Syrian rebels with cash, food, fuel and medical supplies.
    ISIS fighters APOLOGISED after launching an attack on Israeli soldiers, former defence minister reveals

    Former Israeli minister Moshe Ya’alon was referring to a skirmish in November
    Four Islamic State-affiliated fighters were killed by tank and plane fire
    German man who visited Islamic State said Israel is the only country they fear

    Saving their sworn enemy: Heartstopping footage shows Israeli commandos rescuing wounded men from Syrian warzone – but WHY are they risking their lives for Islamic militants?

    Elite Israeli troops rescue wounded Syrians from the world’s worst war almost every night
    They have saved more than 2,000 people since 2013, at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7million)
    Many are enemies of Israel and some may even be fighters for groups affiliated to Al Qaeda
    MailOnline embedded with Israeli commandos stationed on the border between Israel and Syria
    Dramatic video filmed by MailOnline and the Israeli army shows these operations taking place
    Israel says that the operation is purely humanitarian but analysts believe Israel also has strategic reasons
    How the US Armed-up Syrian Jihadists
    September 29, 2016

    The West blames Russia for the bloody mess in Syria, but U.S. Special Forces saw close up how the chaotic U.S. policy of aiding Syrian jihadists enabled Al Qaeda and ISIS to rip Syria apart, explains ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

    How the US ends up training al-Qaeda and ISIS collaborator

    More Damning Evidence That the U.S. Is Directly Backing Al Qaeda-Linked Groups
    Qatar’s former prime minister admits the U.S. and its Gulf allies backed Salafi jihadists in Syria.

  10. Joe Tedesky
    June 22, 2017 at 23:01

    Here is an article describing how Tulsi Gabbard and Rand Paul’s bill to quit arming the terrorist is going. Read this, because what the article goes on about, is an example of what the problem is in a nutshell.

  11. Coleen Rowley
    June 22, 2017 at 22:46

    How timely given that new allegations of torture sites with US participation, have just come out today:

    • Sam F
      June 23, 2017 at 09:31

      Thank you, Ms. Rowley. It is certainly troubling that the USG keeps these matters secret from the people, knowing that they do not approve, either of the operation methods or the goals of the wars in the Mideast.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 23, 2017 at 09:58

      Coleen thanks for this article on U.S. torture. I might add that just yesterday the subject of young 22 year old Otto Warmbier who was jailed in N Korea had died came up in conversation. While I am saddened by this young man’s early death, and I find N Korea’s actions despicable, I also wish more Americans were aware of what the U.S. does when holding detainees in custody. Two wrongs can never make it right, but we American citizens haven’t a clue about what our own government is up to.

      Ms Rowley more Americans need to hear what your linked article has to say. It goes without saying our MSM isn’t going to tell us American people about the way we treat prisoners. While young Warmbier is looked upon as a innocent victim, I must ask, what about the captured detainees our side has tortured, and who have even tortured some to death? No one is talking about this. Once again hide the news, and be advised it is perfectly fine to feel self righteous and exceptional to be an American, because we do no wrong, only others do.

      Thanks for the link. Joe

  12. June 22, 2017 at 21:47

    Having been in the military and in Viet Nam during that long war, and after studying the history there and the rest of Indochina as well as in Central America and now in the greater Middle East, I can only say that it’s really necessary to dissolve forever the operations part of the CIA; we do need intelligence analysis, however, so that part of the ‘spook’ agency should remain but under the strictest type of control and review.

    • mike k
      June 22, 2017 at 22:12

      Why the hell were they ever given permission to start and wage wars on their own?

      • June 23, 2017 at 03:18

        It was part of making the world safe for Democracy. We just couldn’t tell the world we were sending out assassins for its own good.

    • June 23, 2017 at 03:40

      Those are dangerous words. I think you just made the CIA hit list.

    • Sam F
      June 23, 2017 at 09:28

      Yes, I can think of no CIA operations that accomplished legitimate goals. The problem is not that there could never be legitimate goals, but that the secrecy allows tyrants to engage in secret wars with no public debate. Those wars are not within the federal powers. The perpetrators should be prosecuted, and the Constitution amended to prohibit secret wars, foreign wars by the executive branch, and treaties that facilitate foreign wars other than those strictly defensive and within the borders of allies..

  13. June 22, 2017 at 19:52

    Are you arguing over a legal definition of genocide? How about the 1962 murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically Prime Minister of the Congo, by Eisenhower and Dulles CIA and Mobutu’s succession, in power for 30 years, plunging Congo into the bloodbath for plunder of its wealth to the West which continues to this day? The outcome is genocide when what has followed CIA activities in countless countries is people have died by removal of elected presidents who wanted to help their people and installation of dictators and their henchmen. There’s a long list of CIA overthrows, many of which led to torture and deaths of countless human beings.

    mike, it is true what you say about not being able to get through to people, but my belief is that without trying, we’re just giving up and giving in.

    • mike k
      June 22, 2017 at 22:10

      I have not given up trying to help people break through denial for all these fifty plus years. But the work is slow, and only a relative few are helped, with great openness and commitment on their part. And a group is essential. And a higher power can be very helpful. But people have to give it a shot, and most won’t not even a little bit. What’s your experience in midwifing “conversions” Jessica? Not challenging you, just asking.

  14. Andy Jones
    June 22, 2017 at 19:35

    I read up to the point he compared the CIA to Einsatzgruppen. He clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The CIA have committed war crimes but they have never committed genocide,

    • Sam F
      June 22, 2017 at 20:03

      He does not suggest that the CIA generally operates in the genocidal mode apparently also used by the einsatzgruppen. If you read Valentine’s Phoenix Program about the undercover murder operations against civilians you will understand.

      They sneaked into village huts and cut throats of entire familes while they were sleeping, for example, rather than lining them up and shooting them. We know that sometimes as in My Lai entire villages were killed as potentially disloyal. The thinking is about the same, and the effect is the same, if not on the same scale. Neither the Nazis nor the US achieved any goals or made any friends that way, oddly enough.

      It is also very significant that secrecy allowed this extremity of moral corruption to prevail without public knowledge or debate. That is a key part of the message, as it is now true throughout government.

      • Skip Scott
        June 23, 2017 at 09:44

        It is a bit ironic to find in the comment stream below F.G.’s account of people being in denial and refusing to read uncomfortable facts to come across just such a person in Andy Jones. Unfortunately, although Andy is in the minority here at Consortium News, he is in the vast majority of the general population.

    • June 22, 2017 at 21:34

      Your idea is that the Einsatzgruppen were involved only in killing people on the basis of their ethnicity – but that is not true. Those ‘task forces’ murdered members of the intelligentsia, political parties, anti-nazi partisans, Soviet political commissars and other civilians including Catholic priests and resistant Protestant ministers. It’s apparent YOU don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • mike k
        June 22, 2017 at 22:00

        Looks like the article touched some nerves.

    • mike k
      June 22, 2017 at 21:58

      They are working on genocide; it will jut take a little longer. That’s your alibi for these ghouls??

  15. June 22, 2017 at 18:26

    Yes, thank you for this disturbing and excellent article, Todd Pierce. It may be that many Americans would not want to read this book, but it is worth printing out and copying this article for friends and family if you think they won’t pick up the book, as it is a very good critical review. The horrors have gone on too long for Americans to turn away, otherwise we are complicit.

    F. G., I just read your comments. Good for you, and if more do what you did people might open their minds.

    • mike k
      June 22, 2017 at 19:05

      With all my heart Jessica I wish you were right, and we could awaken people by sending them a book. My experience has been quite other than that. The problem of how to wake people to the truth is THE problem of our times.

      I have worked with other alcoholics and addicts in and out of prison for over fifty years now, and have gained a deep respect for Denial. This is a psychological process outside of one’s awareness that makes it impossible to see things that should be obvious. Having been in this state myself, I know from experience how difficult and how long it takes to work oneself, with help, out of this altered state.

      My pessimism about our chances is based on many things I have studied over the years, including the difficulty of experiencing deeper aspects of reality through meditation and other techniques. Also why psychotherapy usually takes years to be successful.

  16. F. G. Sanford
    June 22, 2017 at 18:22

    A great article which provides a necessary appetizer to the main course. But I suspect many will fail to have their appetites sufficiently whetted. This is the “G” rated version of the story, so I highly recommend taking the author’s advice. Be forewarned, however, that if you do choose the path toward enlightenment, the uncut story is rated “X” for gruesome violence, sadomasochism, disturbing images and human vivisection.

    I have old friends to whom I have mentioned some of these topics over the years. They are educated, reasonably well-informed and rather worldly people. They give me suspicious looks and make comments insinuating that I have gone down the “conspiracy theory” rabbit hole. When I mentioned a few years ago to one couple that the JFK assassination “conspiracy” could hardly be any longer denied, they responded with disbelief. “But who are these people, who are these people who come up with these ridiculous theories? Does a single one of them have any credibility whatsoever?” So, for Valentine’s day, I sent them each a copy of James Douglass’s book, “JFK and the Unspeakable”. Neither of them ever read it. Another similarly well-educated couple received my personal copy of Talbot’s “The Devil’s Chessboard”. I think she actually read it, but he didn’t. Her comment was, “Well, it would be shocking if any of it were true.”

    I wonder how many people will read between the lines of this article and suspect that our “Special Forces” program was, in its infancy, designed and directed by former German Einsatzkommandos. You can quit guessing. That’s exactly how it happened. They were recruited by the US military and put right to work at the end of WWII. And, don’t think for a moment that nothing “rubbed off”. Those 40,000 Vietnamese “killed” by the Phoenix Program weren’t simply executed. The vast majority were tortured to death.

    Sadly, I’m of the opinion that even if George H.W. Bush confessed to the JFK assassination or Dick Cheney confessed to his crimes, nothing would happen. Even if they heard it from Jake Tapper or Rachel Maddow, Americans just can’t grasp the horror. Neither could the Germans…until the Russians marched into Berlin.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 22, 2017 at 19:00

      I can relate to what you are explaining as to how our friends react to what we tell them about what we read. A while back, you may recall, you and I discussed this dilemma of finding people who would at least not think us crazy for what knowledge we have gained from what we read. You and I both found comfort from this site in finding others who could relate to what we know. I don’t have a suitable answer to this problem, but my guess is most people would rather not hear the ugly truth. For many the horrors as described in this article are not relatable when you are not exposed to it first hand.

      • Curious
        June 23, 2017 at 20:46

        And yet Joe, some of these same people revel in movies of terrible bloodshed, play videos games of complete carnage and dismemberment, and now even TV programs depicting grousome horrors. Their ‘bale out answer’ seems to be ” it’s only make believe and movies, what’s the problem?”

        I agree with both you and F.G. Sanford that the written word is either ignored or cast off as bizarre conspiracies. Is it a simple lack of empathy that is so pronounced, the simple suspension of belief, or a mass devaluation, intended, of human decency.

        Kierkegaard called it the “teleological suspension of the ethical” where we substitute a human, moral law for a higher law. I’ve understood his meaning when talking about theology, or lying to a German officer about hiding a Jew in the house. But today, it also means we have substituted a basic human value, one which my dad was witness to in WW2 (or lack thereof) for an image of violence that is so often on a screen somewhere but not in our neighborhood or our country. It is pretended as a higher value, like we won WW2 all by ourselves in the US. The images are imagined violence and not real to people, yet.

        I took two of my German friends to ‘Das Boot’ and they had to walk out as it was too real to their youth. The comments I heard from others were “cool” “awesome” “wish I had been there”. Such is the nature of many of the protected Americans who have no desire to feel, or empathize with the pain of others or their own bloodthirsty military.

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 24, 2017 at 10:03

          Just to be clear about what I said in my comment, I don’t say these things with any intention of discouraging others to see the truth for what it really is. No, we need more truth seekers, but a warning must be issued, that while you seek the truth you will need to wear a suit of heavy armor in order to take the heat for talking about it.

          Sorry Curious, didn’t mean to not respond to your great comment, but I just had to put out this disclaimer. What you wrote is a fine example of what we are talking about here. Joe

    • Sam F
      June 22, 2017 at 19:56

      Yes, facing the truth requires related experience, courage, moral commitment. and much time, a scarce combination. But Valentine’s Phoenix Program floats around and is read now and then by those who are ready for it. The Nazi recruiting by CIA is very plausible yet not accepted until people are wondering what is wrong with the US, a rare inquiry. They hear a little of secret wars, torture operations, and after many years wonder how much of this could really serve the public interest, a major awakening.

      Nothing will be exposed, let alone remedied, so long as oligarchy controls mass media and elections.

      The Saker for May 31 has an article linked here recently on the CIA-JFK connection, The Coup, Then and Now – The Enemies of Humanity Try to Give Trump the JFK Treatment; I’m not sure that I am convinced. The CIA involvement in secret wars, torture, and assassinations is a better lesson for beginners.

  17. Bob Van Noy
    June 22, 2017 at 17:00

    Thank you Todd E. Pierce for assembling this essential essay. I’ve read both of Douglas Valentine’s books and agree that they are demoralizing to read, but essential. So I think that now we have come full circle, Douglas Valentine has reported, retired Major Pierce has offered a detailed review, and Robert Parry has provided a forum for response.
    My hope is that Congress will immediately provide an open and public forum for a just response, but I know that will not be forthcoming.

    I’ve actually fantasized about a South African type Truth And Reconciliation Commission that is extra government, fair and yet severe to those policy makers that implemented this American Travesty. We can never hope to recover or establish a good system without an adequate process.

    Thank you Robert Parry, you’re a treasure…

    • Sam F
      June 22, 2017 at 19:40

      Congress will do nothing while oligarchy controls mass media and elections; they glory in their murders and live by bribery alone. A Reconciliation Commission is more likely after a real takeover by a badly-oppressed group. Where an oligarchy rules by providing minimal bread and circus, their mythology prevails through major depressions and defeats, to the very threshold of revolution.

      I have spoken with intelligent people about Valentine’s Phoenix Program and found them more interested in pretending to be more patriotic than those revisionists, a more profitable line. The most successful simply do not have sympathy; foreign murders don’t count, blowback never happens, truth is dangerous.

    • mike k
      June 23, 2017 at 09:16

      Thanks Bob.

      • Bob Van Noy
        June 23, 2017 at 11:28

        You’re welcome, mike k…

  18. mike k
    June 22, 2017 at 16:39

    These are human beings doing these horrible things to their fellow human beings, This is the face of EVIL.

  19. mike k
    June 22, 2017 at 16:25

    You have to wonder how many Americans will buy a book like this? This knowledge is so dark that it makes you sick to read it. How different from the glorious image our media tries to project! Can people even understand the total cognitive dissonance from what they have been taught to think? And this stuff is being done in our name?? How can any decent person deal with this incredible revelation? Those in denial will instinctively protect themselves from truths like these. Looking the other way has become a default position for them. If information does not jibe with what they have been told by the “authorities” they fail to register it. They don’t even take it in one ear, as the saying goes.

    • mike k
      June 22, 2017 at 16:30

      These revelations are so horrible that part of me just wishes I didn’t have to look at it. But another part knows that I must look at this, it is my duty to all who suffer from these crimes to look long and deeply at this foul garbage of our worst possibilities manifested. And we long for a world of love and beauty? We so deeply want that better world. But we have to somehow deal with these horribly perverted human monsters if we want such a different world…..

    • Sam F
      June 22, 2017 at 21:12

      It is certainly shocking, and the article reveals much, an introduction often needed years before people can open their minds to the point of examining detailed accounts. It is a long process, in which we accumulate awareness of windows onto another viewpoint, and when the time is right, when at last we begin to suspect the worst, we open some of the the windows.

      While I agree that the torturers and murderers are “perverted human monsters” it is surprising how short a path can lead relatively normal people to that point. The mass media pop culture barrage of superheroes, war movies, propaganda about foreign monsters, then military/CIA training and acquaintances sharing rationales and social pressure to do what is expected. Throughout, the deluded presume that someone up there knows what he is doing, and would not send them to do wrongful things. Once committed by their own misdeeds, they will fight rather than admit that they were wrong.

      • Brad Owen
        June 23, 2017 at 07:27

        For me, the awakening to “The Horror” happened in the Watergate years (begun with the JFK assassination and the race riots and anti-war riots…a ten-year period), when the realization sunk in that there is a dark evil pervading throughout the land. It shook me to my core. I turned to spirituality (NOT religion; a tool of the Evil). I read “The Glass House Tapes”. I took a sociology class (back when I dabbled with college before turning blue-collar), where I met this guy, a Vietnam War vet. He flew helicopters. He flew assassination teams into North Vietnam with a hit list. 40-some years later its only gotten worse, but quite familiar by now. I’m of a mind that we are not “Home”, but in a dark and evil land where we must find the “escape hatch” and get out of here to go “Home”. My wife calls this world one of the “minor Hell Worlds”. She’s something of a mystic, although she’d swear up & down that this is not so, but I think her “Third Eye” is indeed, open.

      • mike k
        June 23, 2017 at 09:10

        Good insights Sam.

      • mike k
        June 23, 2017 at 09:15

        Thanks Sam. Good insights.

      • mike k
        June 23, 2017 at 09:20

        Thanks Sam, Good insights.

Comments are closed.