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November 08 2013

al-Qaeda chief orders dismantling of ISIL faction in syria

#al-Qaeda chief orders dismantling of ISIL faction in #syria

This still image from video obtained on October 26, 2012 courtesy of the Site Intelligence Group shows al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking in a video, from an undisclosed location, released by al-Qaeda’s media arm. (Photo: AFP / Site Intelligence Group)

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has ordered the disbanding of the main jihadi faction in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, in an audio message aired on al-Jazeera Friday. The tape appears to (...)


July 23 2013

The Way of the Knife : The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth. By Mark Mazzetti, The Penguin Press HC, 2013, 400 pp.

When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asked a man who would go on to become his chief of special operations whether it was legal for the Pentagon to conduct operations in countries with which the United States was not actively at war, the man replied that it was, comparing it favorably to Richard Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Indochina conflicts. Never mind that those strikes were among the most scandalous acts of Nixon’s scandal-laden tenure.

This idea that history repeats itself is a central theme of Mazzetti’s book. Back in the 1980s, before there was the infamous Blackwater organization, there was a little-known, off-the-books Pentagon spy unit known as Intelligence Support Activity. The unit’s secret budget and retired special operators became “the perfect ingredients for a toxic recipe,” Mazzetti writes. It was shut down within two years, after a blistering inspector general report complained that the government “should have learned the lesson of the 70s” about creating such units.

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