The Black Knight Always Triumphs

One of the people who did 9/11 once yelled at me, quite angrily. I wish I could remember why. I can’t. Nothing remains of his chastisement but Trombone Shorty’s plunger mute, waa wwa, mwaa waa mwa.

The occasion was some briefing or other. Searching my soul with Augustinian scrupulosity, I cannot rule out that something in my bearing or demeanor might have inadvertently signaled that I didn’t take him seriously. I didn’t have to take him seriously, in the scheme of things, he had the military cookie-cutter stamp, OCD and not too bright, all at sea when hierarchy fails him. He wasn’t my client so I didn’t need to kiss his butt. Perhaps some inappropriate joke failed to go over his head.

Somehow, at any rate, I annoyed one of the most infamous criminals in history, and lived! That’s like short-sheeting Hitler, or giving Pinochet an impish purple nurple. Because in retrospect, he took thousands of American lives as a pretext for wars of aggression that killed a million more.

Myers knew about the white jet, the one they saw in Shanksville, the jet CIA sent to do his job for him, the job he trained his whole career to do but fucked up in the most important hour of his life. He didn’t call the other one off, Cheney did, but Myers didn’t seem to mind some doughy draft dodger taking over his job and doing it wrong.

Myers took all that failure and disgrace in stride. No seppuku for him, he’s a warrior – he sees to things in his department. It’s too much to expect that he might look into why he bobbled the hijack alerts from FAA, nose around and ask Mitre what they were doing squiring dastardly Saudi terrorists around critical government agencies, showing them how to blind the Air Force while CIA watched their every move.

But then, failing to mind my own business is my besetting sin. I made a Mitre functionary quite irate with a different impertinent question. They had installed her on the 9/11 Commission, to give us closure. And I was only asking about those ludicrous dogfights with big fat civilian planes. Imagine if I’d ribbed her about Ptech!

Now in his dotage General Myers sits slack-lipped on corporate boards, and at some school, Faber College, I think, maundering at other people and they don’t take him seriously either. They give him cookies, cookies with, one imagines, jelly centers, like in other old soldiers’ homes. He’s harmless again.

General Myers, a synecdoche of the USA: an infamous criminal lightly disguised as a bumbling idiot acclaimed as a hero. He failed his way to success. Now he’s a spent force.

Just because they exterminated millions, that’s no reason to take them seriously. They’re clowns. We simply don’t see it, downtrodden and brainwashed as we are, not until they come up against someone minimally competent. The СБРФ, Russia’s Security Council, is cheerfully grinding CIA to powder in Syria. They interdict and expose US sneak attacks in strict accord with law, enforcing long-neglected UN Charter Article 47(3) at gunpoint. They leapfrogged the Pentagon with stand-off weapons to continuously counter escalation. They’re now the world’s most influential advocate for rule of law. Russia complies with the Paris Principles, the world standard for institutionalized human rights under expert international oversight; the USA does not.

China’s Politburo Standing Committee outwits CIA at every turn, effortlessly appropriating US state secrets and winning over US allies with better deals. Just look at their essential principles of unrestricted warfare – necessary, minimal, restricted, limited, particularly non-military – it looks suspiciously like peace. Imagine poor Myers trying to cope with that. In its peculiarly non-military fashion, in treaty bodies and charter bodies China fights to get you the economic and social rights your government says you can’t have. China’s Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are a straightforward précis of the UN Charter. Just one of the five principles mentions China’s national interest. It’s downright alien to those of us accustomed to the USA’s neurotic fixation on vague threats from every nook and cranny of the earth. What does China want? China wants equality and mutual benefit.

Iran’s Sepāh, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, won the war in Iraq by watching us lose. While mediating for regional states and popular mobilization forces, Sepāh has held the US to feckless bluster with a canny grappling strategy, sprawling and grapevining to impede US moves until lawfare can be brought to bear. Iran’s world-class jurists compile a lengthening catalog of grave US crimes and wrongs for the World Court to judge. Iran, founding member of the G-77 comprising 80 per cent of the world, past president in the crisis years of unchecked US aggression, diplomats primus inter pares who shepherded the Tehran Consensus into being; Iran, nuclear/chemical disarmament envoy of the Non-Aligned Movement for peaceful coexistence, half the world’s people and two-thirds of its countries. Step into court and full-spectrum-dominate that.

Worse yet, long-time US puppets now say no. Germany and Austria joined the free world in repudiating US economic coercion that breaches UN Charter Articles 41 and 421. The European Union and the IMF refuse to join the US in reneging on its nonproliferation agreement with Iran. Iraq ejected its US occupiers by the simple expedient of denying them impunity. The head of state of the Philippines burnishes his overwhelming popularity and public trust by mocking US officials’ sanity, paternity, character, and sexual practices. That shocks the US government, which has been warring on or waterboarding its Malay colony into submission for more than a century.

That’s your USA: Monty Python’s Black Knight, dismembered but undaunted. By some masterstroke of KUBARK mind-control, Americans don’t get the joke. Everyone is laughing at their laughingstock regime but them. We Americans are indoctrinated with pompous monkey see, monkey do. The state puts models before us: tweedy Ivy-League mediocrities solemnly blithering about The Presidential Character or the stultifying ceremony of installing public figureheads. We retain a few of their slogans, but more importantly, we learn to make the faces. The judicious face. The face of regret. The grave resolute face you make when they tell you it’s time to blow up more wogs.

Want to be a leftist? Then you make the lugubrious hangdog face Chris Hedges taught you. Back when he worked for the New York Times, Hedges taught us the pop-eyed “Oh no, Saddam’s sending terrorists to get us!”2 face.

But what about the face for Russia ripping Turkey out of NATO? That’s the 4chan Lenny smirk face. Where’s the face for Russia lawfully snatching away the best parts of Ukraine, leaving scheming NATO stooges with the Chernobyl exclusion zone and a mob of flat-broke Nazis? (You know, this one, :-D)

And what about the face for Iran hijacking the US RQ-170 stealth drone, reverse-engineering and improving it? Or for catching CIA at illegal warfare, deftly taking all their cyber-weapons and giving free samples and countermeasures to the world in paralyzing water-torture dribs and drabs, spouting obscene broken-English gibes and insults all the while? Surely you must recognize that one. Go ahead, think about it, you’ll make the face. They call it lol.

It’s not as though you’re being disrespectful. Your ruling junta had a good run. Now it’s over. America’s indifferent ‘rivals’ casually make fools of CIA. If you didn’t notice, that’s because you read the news, or did your high school homework too intently. Here is what actually happened.

The Dulles administration extended from 1949 to roughly 1966 (like popes, CIA potentates subside gradually into incontinent senility.) Dulles established clandestine crime as US policy. He took control of government with secret moles and gave CIA impunity with sub rosa legal pretexts. He purged elements supporting rights or rule of law, and recruited vanquished Nazis to set up a US Gestapo. He consolidated the wartime press into state-controlled organs of public information termed “the mighty wurlitzer.” He crippled and corrupted the UN Secretariat and killed the one stray Secretary-General who wasn’t a tool. After he got deposed, Dulles’ CIA killed an insubordinate head of state, JFK, and put FBI to work covering up CIA crime, the prime directive it retains today.

The next administration was the Safari Club. The CIA regime diffused its leadership to the point that some acting directors were foreign nationals. The Safari Club was not an interregnum but an organizational expedient dictated by international resistance to crimes of the CIA regime. The UN member nations denounced US torture and aggression under explicit warning of general nuclear war.

This emboldened the old constitutional institutions to mount challenges of their own. The Senate and the House probed CIA. In five months at CIA James Schlesinger extracted the family jewels, a bill of indictment of ultra vires crimes, and purged a thousand agents, dwarfing the subsequent Friday Night Massacres of Stansfield Turner and R. James Woolsey.

Jim Schlesinger. Now there was a man to take seriously. He got the point of a briefing, a point I was prevented from making out loud, by reading the mathematical entrails of a massive Soviet-style central planning simulation at a glance. Schlesinger got himself fired in 1975 for declining to wage war on Cambodia.

Under siege by the world’s best and brightest, CIA retreated and regrouped. Adnan Kashoggi and his CIA factotums3 ran a hunting lodge and tasteful whorehouse in Nanyuki Town in Kenya. There CIA plotted with spooks from its satellite states and handed off the worst of their clandestine crime. CIA also colluded with foreign counterparts in other clubby venues like the Pinay Circle. This enabled a ruse: we’re not concealing crimes, we’re keeping the confidences of our allies. The blatant porky worked, when everybody went along, and gave CIA room for maneuver.

CIA sacrificed Nixon as a scapegoat and wrote the Pentagon Papers to frame the Pentagon for CIA’s Vietnam War. They led the Church Committee in harmless circles. CIA defanged the more threatening Pike Committee: they inserted a ritual incantation (CIA works for the president!) and stuffed everything else down the memory hole. Then CIA put Congress in its place with the melodramatic bribery-cum-treason snares of the ABSCAM investigation. They deployed the mighty wurlitzer to neutralize avowed human-rights president Jimmy Carter and his straight-arrow DCI Turner. CIA directed their secret agents in Congress, State, and Justice to vitiate binding US commitments to demobilize, disarm, and stop its torture, murder, armed attack, racial discrimination, weapons proliferation, and coercive foreign interference.

The Bush administration took power in 19804 and continued until circa 2001. Bush shifted the focus of foreign interference from Latin America to the Middle East. He fought the world consensus on economic and social rights, wrecking countries that governed in accordance with those rights. Bush squelched a feeble Congressional investigation with multiple preemptive pardons. To dispel “the Vietnam syndrome,” Americans’ revulsion against war, Bush entrapped his Iraqi client state with petty resource disputes as a pretext for US invasion. Capitalizing on the unforeseen collapse of the USSR, Bush militarized the UN Security Council, dispatching armed peacekeepers everywhere on any excuse. He manipulated regional rivalries and the UN Secretariat to thwart reform of the P-5 nations’ veto impunity.

Bush père skydives to prove his mettle, plummeting to earth in the arms of a SEAL much as Mao would drift inertly down the Yangtze River in his dotage. But the Gates administration is in power.

Bush protégé Gates rose to power in a process recalling late-Roman dynastic succession of adoptive sons, with Bush’s bloodline heir as presidential figurehead. While maintaining his predecessors’ rackets, Gates used 9/11 as a pretext to implement longstanding plans for counterinsurgency warfare at home and aggression abroad. He boosted Afghan opium production by a factor of 40, culling Americans by shortening their lifespan, and made the subject population pay for the greatest financial crime in history. Gates obstructed international efforts to end impunity and regulate the arms trade. He adapted to the debility and corruption of the commercial arms industry by relying on foreign armed irregulars for covert aggression. Gates’ critical test lies before him: after a quarter century of CIA cadres installed to front for the regime (Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama) a president under insecure control has taken office at a juncture when CIA again faces multiple threats to its impunity:

– Legally mandated release of all unshredded NARA records bearing on CIA’s 1963 coup d’état;

– International legal pursuit (in inter alia Italy, Spain, Poland, and Canada, with international civil society including CCR and CJR) of systematic and widespread CIA torture and disappearance amounting to crimes against humanity;

– Concerted civil-society legal challenges to CIA’s gravest crimes including Saleh v. Bush, Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat v. Blair, and prospective JASTA suits. When quashed in CIA-controlled national courts, these cases support ICC admissibility of crimes the state is unwilling or unable to prosecute;

– Nonproliferation treaty bodies openly denouncing US proliferation effected by CIA assets such as Marc Grossman, Will Cathcart, and Robert Garry, in the 2015 NWC Review Conference and in ministerial-level Russian statements exposing US efforts to thwart the object and purpose of the BWC.5

– Dawning public awareness of CIA attacks on the domestic civilian population as pretexts for intensified repression.

That’s what all this “fake news” censorship is for: CIA wants its exposure and denunciation to go unnoticed here at home. The related saber-rattling and war hysteria also takes people’s minds off CIA crime. The synthetic desperation of it promotes the CIA line that rule of law is fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

See? Postwar US history is simple. Just keep your eye on CIA. Though the government fixes your attention on the danger of the suicidal nuke war it continually threatens, the real threat to the regime has always been international consensus. Throughout each new CIA junta the international community methodically constructs a binding legal regime. You can read a hundred US histories and never see a word about it.

The world codified America’s Nuremberg Principles to curb criminal commanders and, with the Rome Statute, set up a court free from national interests to try them. The world codified the UN Charter’s mandate of pacific dispute resolution with state responsibility principles. The world set out your rights in law, consolidating them under the two overarching aims of the UN member nations: your right to peace and your right to development. The old second world, renewed and esteemed, enforces law that issued largely from the Non-Aligned Movement and the G-77.6

Contemporary history is largely the story of CIA’s pitched, doomed struggle against rights and rule of law. Held to these standards, the US government is exposed as a shabby throwback. Uncle Sam is dead – in the likes of Gates and Myers we’ve reverted to an old familiar mascot of another washed-up empire, Don Quixote, scrawny, skint, and delusional. Let Thomas Harrington describe the poor thing’s dream world:

The cheesiest and most hackneyed evocations of national grandeur. Page 1: a quote from the Star-Spangled Banner in a lithograph-like image of The War of 1812. Page 2: Lincoln’s famous quote about ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people.’ Pages 3-4: a multicolor image of an eagle and a flag… And on and on for 24 more pages with graphic backdrops such as Mt. Rushmore, the Liberty Bell, and yes, buffaloes roaming across the open plains.

That’s the passport they make you carry. The kindly border guards of the outside world try hard not to roll their eyes at it.

Remember, Don Quixote has a happy ending: in innumerable slapstick melees strapping peasants beat some sense into the old scarecrow before he dies. That’s what’s happening to CIA right now. Join the fun, world, get your licks in while you can. He’s on his last legs.

  1. As articulated for the world by the Special Rapporteur on Coercive Measures. []
  2. “Defectors Cite Iraqi Training for Terrorism,” The New York Times, November 8, 2001. []
  3. Miles Copeland and Ed Moss of Booz, Allen and the mob, respectively. []
  4. CIA’s formal instauration was scheduled for March 31, 1981, in OPERATION NINE LIVES, but it was bungled and had to be deferred. []
  5. Illegal US biowarfare is under investigation by civil society and by treaty parties. []
  6. Russian FM Lavrov is speaking to a global audience. []

Brian Littlefair is the author of Desert Burial. As a consultant specializing in foreign direct investment he worked with foreign joint ventures, international financial institutions and bilateral aid agencies, with volunteer work in food security, transparency, and human rights in the global south.

Read other articles by Brian.