A History of America’s National Reconnaissance Office – part 1

26 11 2011

by Trowbridge H. Ford

 

One of the least known agencies in the Cold War against the Soviet Union – and what little is known is often wrong – is the National Reconnaissane Office (NRO). Conceived to learn more about the internal workings of the USSR after the simplistic assumptions about ending the confrontation proved hopelessly wrong – e. g., the Soviets could easily be rolled back, spies could readíly unlock what real secrets it possessed or defectors could supply what the West really needed to know about it – the NRO showed that Moscow was much weaker than human intelligence (HUMINT) claimed.

In achieving this result, though, it became so powerful that it functioned almost without any public supervision – almost a state within a state. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the NRO became the instrument of Republican and Democratic Presidents alike to win the war on Washington’s next opponents, whoever they might be, without almost any congressional or democratic control. The NRO became Washington’s preferred secret weapon in the “war on terrorism” because its capabilities were hardly known, hard to stop the continual development of, and much less capable of being defended against.

In WWII’s aftermath, the reorganization and expansion of America’s intelligence agencies was a most confusing process because of uncertainty about its future, how to proceed under the circumstances, and bureaucratic opposition, especially by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, to any significant changes. Given the desire by the weakened Republican opposition for a return to America’s splendid isolation, the Democratic followers of FDR had a difficult time in gaining support for a continuing international role, particularly when many of them were increasingly suspected of being communist tools.

The root of the problem rested with Earl Browder, leader of America’s communists who believed he had influence with the President, allying them with the Democratic Party, arousing beliefs among liberals that he had the support of the fallen President, and suspicions of betrayal among anti-communists – what was only compounded by Stalin seeing to Browder’s ouster from the leadership in 1945, and later expelled. Louis Budenz, a former leader of the Communist Party of the USA turned FBI mole, soured the situation even further by claiming that Browder’s successor, Eugene Dennis, “…had directed a ring of Communist agents in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) that included Carl Marzani.” (John Earl Haynes & Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, p. 218)

The leader of the OSS had been Colonel ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, and he was involved in trying to revive the spy agency after its post-war shutdown was being reconsidered, as the amalgamation of the code-breaking services of the Army, Navy and the new Air Force took center stage. Thanks to Hoover’s continuing opposition to any encroachments on his turf, especially because of his intense dislike of Harry Truman and his entourage, though, only the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA), and a weak Central Intelligence Group( CIG) – headed by a Director, and assisting a National Intelligence Authority – were allowed to be created. The beginning of the Cold War in earnest led to the expansion of the CIG into the Central Intelligence Agency, and the signal intelligence (SIGINT) problems surrounding the Korean War resulted in the creation of the National Security Agency (NSA) out of the AFSA.

The NSA’s creation caused the greatest intelligence turmoil with the CIA, the fleeing of Soviet spies Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess to the Soviet Union providing the catalyst. Their flight proved that American intelligence had been riddled with leaks, and NSA’s decoding capacity provided a sure way of proving so at the expense of other intelligence agencies, especially the CIA and its forebearers. NSA’s challenge to the CIA was also most threatening since almost no one knew of NSA, aka ‘No Such Agency’, since it was established by secret presidential order rather than an act of Congress, like the CIA. (For more on this, see Christopher Andrew, For the President’s Eyes Only, p. 168ff.)

While NSA was busy at Arlington Hall and later at Fort Meade working on Moscow’s coded messages during part of WWII with those people who had had contact with Soviet intelligence (Venona Project) – what threw far more panic throughout American society than the claims of Senator Joseph McCarthy about communist conspiracies – the CIA really got involved in overthrowing governments Washington did not like, and assassinating troublesome foreign leaders. While most people are aware of the successful coups that the Agency engineered against Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh, and Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz, few are acquainted with its elimination of Korean opposition leader Kim Koo, North Korea’s Premier Kim II Sung, Mossadegh himself, Philippino opposition leader Claro Recto, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Egypt’s President Gamul Abdul Nasser, plus unsuccessful attempts on several other world leaders. (For more on this, see William Blum, Rogue State, p. 38ff.)

CIA also prevented NSA’s SIGINT capability from making inroads into its intelligence operations by persuading its leading codebreaker, Frank B. Rowlett – when the new agency wanted to make him head of its code-making business, COMSEC – to come over, and run its operations,”… stealing foreign cipher materials and recruiting foreign crypto clerks and communications employees.” (James Bamford, Body of Secrets, p. 447) DCI Allen Dulles hoped that Rowett aka The Magician could do some more magic on the Soviet codes.

Rowlett had been the leading genius of the William F. Friedman’s Black Chamber which the Army had reconstituted from WWI back in June 1930, and Friedman was now running the CIA’s Division D and wanted Rowlett to rejoin him. Rowlett had been particularly responsible for breaking the Japanese diplomatic code Purple aka Magic on September 20, 1940, resulting in decrypts which increasingly showed that Japan was preparing to attack French Indochina – what meant war with Washington but failed to foresee that it would be triggered by the attacks on Hawaii. (For more, see Andrew, p. 105ff.)

The only trouble with CIA’s ‘little NSA’, to use Bamford’s term, was that it had little to work with. Prohibited from operating within the United States, and having a most chilly relation with the FBI, it was unable to do what MI5′s Peter Wright in its D Branch had accomplished in Britain regarding stealing codes and breaking encryption machines at the expense of its SIGINT agency, GCHQ.(Spycatcher, p. 80ff.) While Britain was finding out what Egypt was up to during the Suez crisis, NSA did not have a clue about Israel’s ambitions because that was co-conspirator Britain’s responsibility during the preemptive action, and the Eden government didn’t tell Eisenhower’s anything about what was planned.

Up until that time, NSA had been going great guns with its RB-47 reconnaissance flights over the USSR, their Air Force Ravens operating electronic cameras to photograph Soviet installations of interest while other equipment monitored Soviet responses to the intrusions – what established that the USSR was unaware that it could be attacked with devastating results by bombers flown over the North Pole from Greenland (Project Homerun). Once Moscow learned of these numerous intrusions – what Eisenhower approved despite the fact that they could trigger WWIII – and protested to Washington behind the scenes about them, NSA’s capability in this regard became greatly reduced, as the planes could be shot down, and the Soviets rapidly improved their radar all over the vast country to achieve it.

NSA’s embarrassment over these difficulties – what caused the retirement of its first director, Ralph Canine – provided the CIA with an opportunity to recoup, and Richard Bissell, the new Deputy Director for Planning, was quick to take advantage of it. Bissell had been given the post after its warring factions in carrying the war to the Soviets had been humiliated by the Hungarian uprising – what they helped foment – and Eisenhower was looking for a more reliable instrument for containing the struggle. Bissell’s claim to fame was the designing and construction of the U-2 reconnaissance plane which flew above the range of Soviet defenses. “The plane could in one flight,” Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones wrote in The CIA & American Democracy, “take up to 4,000 high-definition photographs of an area 2,174 miles long and 30 miles side.” (pp. 107-8)

To put the U-2′s capability on an analytical intelligence basis, Bissell was given the assignment. It was, of course, because of the U-2′s ability to systematically monitor a given piece of territory that Soviet IRBMs were discovered in Cuba in September 1962 – what resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis. As R. Jack Smith, a senior Agency analyst who helped brief the President about the crisis, claimed in a somewhat biased way: “American intelligence, and especially the CIA, experienced one of its finest hours…we sifted and sorted until we finally got the evidence that enabled us to target the U-2 correctly.” (Quoted from Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Cloak and Dollar, A History of American Secret Intelligence, p. 191.)

Unfortunately, the Agency’s HUMINT, its dominant side, did not see matters that way at all. The settlement of the Cuban Missile Crisis was its final humiliation – going all the way back to the alleged “missile gap”. Back then, William King Harvey, who had taken over Division D after Rowlett had gone back to the NSA in 1957, had arranged an engine ‘flame out’, it seems, which brought down Gary Powers’ unauthorized U-2 flight – making it look like the Soviets had brought it down for the May Day 1960 celebration – but not only Powers but also his aircraft essentially survived to Eisenhower’s great embarrassment, making the claim about the intrusion a matter of international record. Given the fuss that Khrushchev made over the flights, the Paris Summit was canceled, and Ike was forced to show what they could potentially disclose, somewhat minimizing the assertions by the “missile gap” scaremongers.

Still, the downing of Powers’ U-2 ruined the summit – what the President had put such great hopes in, and seriously considered resigning over – once the lying by the White House was exposed. No sooner had it denied any such overflight than the Soviet leader produced the pilot and part of the U-2 wreckage on television. Of course, the Soviet explanation of the crash – a missile did enough damage of bring it down while destroying a Soviet fighter which was closing in for the kill of the U-2 – made no sense, and the Agency did not help matters by failing to explain how Powers still survived the doomed flight, as did the plane itself. Damaged U-2s were programmed to self-destruct.

Moscow had been tipped off about the U-2 overflights by two NSA analysts, mathematicians Bernon F. Mitchell and William H. Martin. The increasingly dangerous antics by its Deputy Director Louis Tordella – who ran the agency for a generation – finally persuaded Mitchell to fly to Mexico City in December 1959 where he asked for political asylum, but the KGB persuaded him to stay in place, so that it could learn more about NSA operations. Tordella was Wright’s leading ally in Washington, prepared to do any operation which stirred up anti-communist paranoia. (See Spycatcher, p.145ff.) While Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin tried feebly to make out in The Sword and the Shield that Mitchell and Martin had somehow defected then (pp. 178-9), they were in Washington on May Day when Powers went down.

They told Moscow of the planned ‘flame out’, and the Soviets made sure that it was shot down. And after the crisis had passed without any claims of American spying having contributed to the crisis, Mitchell and Martin made their escape to the USSR, via Mexico City and Havana. On September 6th, they gave a press conference in Moscow’s House of Journalists, explaining that they had defected because Washington had been spying on the secret messages of its allies, like France, Britain and Israel, which had recently caused the Suez Crisis!

Of course, it would have been a far different matter if Mitchell and Martin had explained that they had helped shoot down Gary Powers’ U-2 – something that neither Krushchev nor Ike wanted known. While the defectors ultimately settled down grudgingly in the USSR, ultimately marrying Russian women, they contributed little more to Soviet covert government. They even contemplated returning to the West, but they never made it, as Andrew and Mitrokhin have explained: “As chairman of the KGB, Yuri Andropov gave personal instructions that under no circumstances was either Mitchell or Martin to be allowed to go, for fear of deterring other potential defectors from the West.” (p. 179) Moscow, actually, could not afford them saying that they had made such sacrifices for nothing.

To prevent a recurrence by the Agency, Eisenhower took its photo-reconnaissance capability away from it, creating the National Reconnaissance Office right after the embarrassing show trial of Powers in Moscow had ended and right before the embarrassing press conference by Mitchell and Martin. “For the next generation,” Andrew has written, “NRO was to be the most secret of all U.S. intelligence agencies. Its existence was not discovered by the media until 1973, and not officially acknowledged until September 1992.” (For …, p. 250) It was a high price for CIA to pay for just keeping the “missile gap” myth alive. To limit further damaging fallout, the CIA exchanged the most successful Soviet spy, Colonel ‘Rudolf Abel’, for Powers when it got the chance.

Then, thanks to the prodding by Wright (see Spycatcher, p.145ff., esp. p. 154.) Harvey got Division D deeply involved in trying to assassinate Castro, using the cover story that it was trying to steal codes and recruiting Cuban cryptographers. Thanks to poison pills provided by the Agency’s Technical Services Division, and contacts supplied by the Mafia, two unsuccessful attempts were made to kill the Cuban leader while power was being transferred from Ike to JFK. After the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, Harvey was again at it – thanks to more prodding by Wright – as head of the Agency’s Task Force W in Miami, providing agents with a wider variety of weapons to kill Castro but still no success.

To get a handle on increasingly runaway covert government, Kennedy had rightly raised the alleged “missile gap” claim and the plans to overthrow Castro’s regime during the 1960 presidential campaign in the hope that the electorate could make a reasonable choice about the risks America faced but Nixon wrongly declined to debate the issues on the grounds of national security. It was only after Jack’s election that Eisenhower – along with Bissell and Art Lundahl, the head of the Agency’s National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) – set the record straight by briefing him about the intelligence capability America had in terms of technology and allies, concluding spiritedly: “The enemy has no aerial photographic systems like ours!” (Quoted from Andrew, p. 258.)

Still, soon after JFK was inaugurated, he suffered the black eye of the Bay of Pigs fiasco (Operation Zapata) by Bissell’s people, and the President reacted by forcing the retirement of DCI Dulles and DDP Bissell because of the fallout from the fiasco. While the President had assured the public at a press conference on April 12th that American armed forces would not take any part in an armed intervention in Cuba, the facts turned out to be far different, as Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali have reported in The Secret History of the Cuban Missile Crisis: “One Hell of a Gamble”: “Reconnaissance missions flown by U-2s on April 8, 11, and 13 picked up that Cubans had thirty-six combat aircraft, some of which were T-33 jets.” (p. 92)

The NRO had helped the anti-Castro Cubans before JFK spoke, and continued to do so right up until the invasion. Thanks to information supplied by the NRO, as Andrew has indicated, “Zapata began at dawn on Saturday, April 15, with an air strike against Cuban airfields by eight B-26s flown by Cuban exiles.” (p. 263) When the White House learned of the NRO’s support for the bombers – what happened the next day at 10 a.m. during a meeting at CIA headquarters (see National Security File, Maxwell Taylor Papers, Box 12, Memoranda of Meetings, JFK Library, Boston.), Secretary of State Dean Rusk and American Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson insisted that there be no more aerial attacks, dooming the mission.

To make sure that Bissell did not maintain some informal influence in the NRO, Kennedy appointed Dr. Joseph V. Charyk, an Air Force undersecretary, as its director in Setepmber 1961. Charyk, though, was an areonautical engineer, only interested in developing replacements of the U-2s and new satellites. Ultimately, Charyk, and his replacement Dr. Brockway McMillan, relied upon gung-ho Air Force Brigadier General Jack C. Ledford to carry out NRO operations, and he was ready to follow up any discovery of Soviet IRBMs in Cuba with attacks by the 1040th Field Activity Squadron, stationed at Washington’s Bolling AFB. When JFK was assassinated, Ledford was director of the US Air Force’s special operations projects.

To receive more reliable intelligence and fewer surprises from the CIA, Kennedy approved the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and transferred the CIA’s paramilitary operations to the DOD. To head the new coordinating agency, SOD McNamara picked one-time FBI agent, and Air Force Inspector General Joseph Carroll because he was not just another Pentagon bureaucrat. Carroll had not only arrested Public Enemy No. I Roger “Tough” Touhy during WWII, but also helped explain away the defections by Mitchell and Martin – making out that there were more homosexuals in government because of abnormal sexual activity while they were adolescents. While the agency was being revamped from top to bottom because of their leaks – what had been attributed to more communist disaffection – Carroll determined that they were homosexuals who feared being caught!

And the showdown with Cuba and the USSR over the IRBMs – what hardliners in government planned to result in the end of the Castro regime – did nothing to redeem them despite all the evidence that Oleg Penkovsky supplied about Moscow’s strategic weakness. As an unidentified source, most likely NSA Diretor General Gordon Blake, in the Cabinet Room on October 19, 1962 explained during the height of the crisis about General Joe Carroll’s capability: “The National Reconnaissance Office is involved in this. They’re, in a sense, a third agency, responsible for the U-2s, responsible for the drones, anything relating to special reconnaissance for CIA, DIA. Carroll knows how to do this.” (Quoted from Ernest R. May & Philip D. Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 188.)

To rub in Carroll’s triumph, papers like Washington’s The Evening Star ran stories about how his analysis of photographs taken by an NRO U-2 – what CIA analysts had not found convincing – had changed “the days that shook the world”. On October 15th, Carroll had noticed signs of construction being carried out in a remote area of western Cuba, near San Cristóbal, and alerted the Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric about it, starting a process which would only end when Khrushchev started removing the IRBMs from the island. (Kelman Morin, “Gen.Carroll Saw Something,” November 1, 1963, p. 1.)

Carroll’s son James put it this way in his biography of his father, An American Requiem: “His rivals within the military intelligence establishment had been defanged, and his turf-protecting counterparts at CIA, NSA, and the State Department had learned to work with him – a tribute to my father’s skills as a bureaucratic infighter, and also a signal of the strong support he had from McNamara.” (p. 140) As evidence of this, Carroll was appointed to the U. S. Intelligence Board two months before the Dallas assassination in the hope that he could continue to keep the renegades at bay.

The fallout from the settlement, however, drove Harvey, with Helms’s tacit approval, to increasingly desperate measures against the Kennedys. (For more on Harvey and Helms, see my articles on Veterans Today, and in the Trowbridge Archive at codshit.com about them.) Harvey – as head of the ZR/RIFLE project in the Agency’s new center of operations in Miami, code named JM/WAVE and run by a leading operator Ted Shackley -crucially misused NRO’s capabilities to conclude his own war against Castro and the White House. Claiming that he was still trying to achieve Rowlett’s objectives (see Bamford, pp. 478-9 for details.), he actually arranged to make it look as if Castro had shot down another U-2 reconnaissance flight – what constituted an act of war, if true – once his efforts to recruit two Red Army colonels from the island as spies, and to claim that Castro had not removed all the IRBMs had failed. (For more on the Bayo-Martino-Pawley mission, see Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, p. 113ff.)

While most people thought that Cold War relations were improving with the Soviet withdrawal of its IRBMs from Cuba – with JFK and Mrs. Kennedy trying to make amends with the disgruntled Cuban-American community, Department of the Army adviser Major Al Haig trying to find livelihoods for veterans of the Bay of Pigs operation, Attorney General Robert Kennedy beginning to enforce the Neutrality Act against those who still wanted to overthrow the Castro regime, Harvey finally being told to cut his ties with Sam Giancana’s contact Johnny Rosselli and forced to take off for Rome, the President signing a Limited Test Ban Treaty with the Soviets, etc. – the changing mood just drove the hardliners to more reckless measures.

The first alarming sign was when DCI John McCone reorganized all the Agency’s science and technical capability under one roof, ignoring the concerns of its predecessor, Deputy Director of Research Herbert Scoville, Jr. As Scoville, a dove, wrote to McCone on April 25, 1963 – after he had resigned and refused to return when asked because of his continuing disputes with the other directorates about the planned reorganization – “he also expressed his frustration with regard to a joint CIA-DOD program – a reference to the CIA’s participation in the National Reconnaissance Program and the National Reconnaissance Office.” (See synopsis of ltr., Document 20, in The National Security Archive of SIGINT material, obtained by FOIA applications of its managers.) Scoville had been at odds too with NRO directors about its authority, their authority, and their relation with the DDR.

“McCone,” John Marks wrote in The Search For The “Manchurian Candidate”, “apparently believed that science should be in the hands of the scientists, not clandestine operators, and brought in fellow Californian, an aerospace ‘Whiz Kid’ named Albert ‘Bud’ Wheelon to head a new Agency Directorate of Science and Technology.” (p. 209) The DCI, though, in letting the scientists who had tried to create intelligence zombies – former Technical Services Staff head Sidney Gottlieb, his new chief Seymour Russell, hypnotist Dr. George White and others – know what he thought of them, he just angered them, and induced them to more reckless operations, as one ex-CIA recalled upon learning of wild cowboy Seymour’s appointment: “The idea was to get a close interface with operations.” (Quoted from Marks, p. 210.) And this is what Wheelon wanted too.

While this close interface was demonstrated when White tried to quickly hypnotize Lee Harvey Oswald, it seems, in Mexico City in July 1963 to kill JFK (pp. 202-3, and n., bottom p. 244) – which failed, and led to Miami Agent George Joannides helping set him up as the fall guy for the JFK assassination, the more relevant experience for this article was the apparent downing by the Cubans of NRO Captain Glenn Hyde, Jr.’s flight while over Cuba on November 20, 1963, on the eve of JFK’s fatal trip to Texas – what crashed into the Florida Straits, activating new agent Porter Goss to retrieve the plane and its photographic material in the hope that it would show that the Soviets still had IRBMs on the island, and were willing to use force to hide their existence.

The LaGrange (Ga,) Daily News (LDN), the paper of Hyde’s home town, headlined its issue the next day thus: “LaGrange Pilot Missing In U-2 Crash Near Cuba” and printed under it a large photograph of the smiling pilot. There were three stories under the headline: one about the man behind another downed U-2, another about Hyde’s last moments Stateside before his sudden disappearance, and a nationally syndicated story about the apparent shoot-down. A United Press Bulletin reported that Navy divers, operating from a PT boat in the Florida Straits, had found the wreckage of the plane, and had started salvage operations to raise the plane. Then there was a story about his wife, entitled “I Believe My Husband Is All Right”, from Leland, Mississippi where the flight had originated from, and where she was residing while he was performing this crucial duty.

The crux of the stories was what while the Strategic Air Command (SAC) theorized that the plane had experienced mechanical difficulties, military sources in Washington “…did not discount entirely the possibility of a Cuban attack on the U2, the intelligence craft that discovered the Soviet missile buildup in Cuba last year and has kept the island under surveillance since.”

On the day JFK was assassinated, the whereabouts of the missing pilot was the headline on the front page, and the story added that an all-out search was underway to find Hyde, and that “divers, during a preliminary investigation at a 100-foot depth, said there was no signs of Hyde inside the fuselage of the plane.” Its implication was that evidence on the craft would determine what it had encountered, and what was the cause of the crash.

The day after the fouled-up conspiracy assassination – what had accidentally or deliberately included Texas Governor John B. Connally, and he had survived, threatening to prosecute those who had apparently double crossed him – the interest in connecting it to Cuba simply died, and with it the fate of Captain Hyde and the evidence within the downed U-2. In the LDN, these concerns were reduced to a three paragraph story on the bottom of a inside page, the fuselage on the bottom of the Florida straits reduced to merely “minor debris”. Much of the hoax was in evidence when the alleged deceased’s survivors were awarded at the Greenfield AFB in May 1964 his Distinguished Flying Cross and the Fifth Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal for flights which did not include the one which, it seems, killed him.

The crude cover up of this NRO hoax might have been exposed if several other more immediate cover-ups of the killing were not already underway, and the agency was not the vital instrument of JFK’s lasting legacy – landing an American on the moon by the end of the decade. The Apollo program was the NRO’s baby, and it played it for all it was worth. While the NSA was getting embroiled in the Vietnam War because of its fabrications regarding the Tonkin Gulf incidents, the CIA because of its illegal MH-CHAOS operation against its opponents, and the Bureau because of its similar COINTELPRO program, the NRO, with its satellites, spacecrafts, and new aircraft, was pushing everyone’s vision towards the stars.

Still, in its most secret enclave, it would get into much more dangerous projects and results, as we shall see.

See Also - A History of America’s National Reconnaissance Office – part 2






2005-6 Pakistan and Iran Earthquakes: National Reconnaissance Office Struggled To Keep Up

23 10 2011

by Trowbridge H. Ford

The increasingly restricted view that Naomi Klein provided about the role of man in the making of disasters – whether they be natural or deliberate of some sort or another – had already experienced unprecedented feedback by Senator Jay Rockefeller and a few other Democratic colleagues on its super secret Intelligence Committee.The previous December they had objected to yet another National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Misty satellite being in the works, action which he had twice tried to stop, and called “totally unjustified and very, very wasteful and dangerous to the national security.” What he was referring to – though no one had yet claimed SIGINT satellites “very, very… dangerous” – was so sensitive that the NRO had called upon the Justice Department to look into the prosecution of any alleged leaker.
Klein’s failure to investigate the ramifications of this development, much less write about it – given what happened during the 2005 hurricane season – is simply mystifying.

For more, see this link:

http://www.democracynow.org/2004/12/16/senate_democrats_protest_top_secret_spy

Of course, given this essential news blackout about covert possibilities, the NRO had been able to move against the growing problems in Pakistan whose Balochistan, Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), North-West Frontier Province, Swat Valley and Pakistan-administered Kashmir were becoming increasingly Taliban and Al-Qaeda dominated despite what Washington had dictated to strong-man President Pervez Musharraf. He had staged a coup in 1999 against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the conduct of the war with India over Kashmir, and received $10.5 billion in aid from the West, once he had capitulated to threats of being attacked unless he didn’t join the so-called war on terror. While he supplied three airbases for the conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom, he never really went after the Taliban because of his own strategic interests and needs, causing so much consternation in Washington that it finally decided to fix the problem as best it could.

About the situation around 2005, Ahmed Rashid has written in a 2009 issue of The New York Review of Books, “Pakistan on the Brink,” the target area had become an absolute powder keg, thanks to the inaction of the Musharraf regime though somehow making no mention of the earthquake then. Maulana Muhamed had so used his FM radio station with inflammatory messages in the Swat valley that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban built up several more stations and an army for him. In FATA, the Pashtun tribal leaders had organized their own militias, and plans for the liberation of Pakistan, slitting the throats of some 300 pro-government ones in the process. In the meantime, the Afghan Taliban, thanks to the inaction of the relevant Pakistani authorities and the assistance from FATA and Balochistan, revived their insurgency in Afghanistan. And extremist Punjabi groups joined the mix after Pakistan’s relations with India over Kashmir cooled down.

Pakistan, like most of the countries between China and Morocco, has its own system of qanats, called karezes. These are the underground systems of water collection which rely upon a central well under the surface to supply entrance to a collecting chamber at the lowest ground level, so that fields can be irrigated, and populations supplied with the basic essentials. They can be vast distances in length with tunnels along the way for more collections, and proper ventilation, While Iran was thought to be the source of Pakistan’s systems – what the NRO had taken advantage of in making its 1990 and 2003 earthquakes – actually the design of its karezes are thought to have come from Afghanistan. While pipes have replaced tunnels in many Pakistani kerezes, making them less manipulable from outside forces, delay-action dams to collect more water have made them more unstable if so attacked.

For more, see this link:
http://pakistaniat.com/2006/09/20/karez-balochistan-pakistan-irrigation/

Again, Professor Zhoughao Shou predicted the Paskistani earthquake, as he had those off the coast of Aceh in November-December 2004, but no one in a position of authority took them seriously. In the December 2006 issue of the “New Concepts in Global Tectonics” Newsletter, he laid out his findings about recent serious earthquakes in “Precursor of the Largest Earthquake of the Last Forty Years,” pp. 3-12. His critics believed that earthquakes always started deep underground, thanks to tectonic plates crashing together, and that there were never visible precursors of them. Shou continued to say that his vapor theory about cloud formation over earthquake epicenters, and their unexpected movement – contrary to usual weather patterns – demonstrated otherwise.

After a discussion of Shou’s claims, the newsletter concluded: “This work demonstrates that the vapor theory does not give false warnings. Shou’s recent investigation shows that all earthquakes of magnitude 7 or above in the world from June 1993 to October 2005 have a vapor precursor. In contrast, government seismologists worldwide have not yet made a precise and reliable prediction.” This seems to say more about their character than that of various earthquakes.

Still, Shou made no attempt to explain the cause of the cloud formations, and many of them could well be from plates rubbing together, volcanic action, etc. The Pakistani one appeared just too convenient politically, and suspiciously connected to the Misty satellite passing overhead every 90 minutes to be of natural origin. The next to last passage overhead caused a minor earthquake, and after all the inhabitants around Muzaffarabad had gone back to bed after their morning tea, as it was Ramadam, the devastating one occurred 90 minutes later, killing 86,000 people, and rendering another 500,000 homeless.

When the Musharraf government acted most positively to offers of assistance, Washington was uncharacteristically most supportive of disaster relief occurring anywhere along the “axis of evil”. It airlifted 1,200 military personnel, 162 cargo lifts of equipment, and 1,900 tons of supplies. With the opening up of the Taliban-dominated area to American forces, the Agency for International Development Administrator Andrew Natsios announced to a November Reconstruction Conference that it was providing the Paskistanis with $300 million in aid, the Pentagon was throwing in another $110 million, and private charities would be adding another $100 million.

Despite all the hoopla about this assistance of save the living, and subsequent aid to help them progress, Pakistan was in even worse shape than Afghanistan afterwards, thanks in part to the continuing silence by those in the media and in politics who knew about its real causes but have failed to speak out, as Rashid has concluded:

“In Pakistan there is no such broad national identity or unity. Many young Balochs today are fiercely determined to create an independent Balochistan. The ethnic identities of the people in the other provinces have become a driving force for disunity. The gap between the rich and poor has never been greater….There is confusion about what actually constitutes a threat to the state and what is needed for nation-building.” (p. 16)

While the NRO had pulled off the man-made earthquake around Muzaffarabad, Pakistan on October 8, 2005 without a hitch, the Bush administration still had to be worried about unexpected, damaging blowback, how to exploit the new openings, how to provide a few fall guys for what the real covert culprits had done, how to get rid of them in an orderly, unthreatening fashion, find suitable, accommodating replacements for them, and provide new cover for the most powerful space weapons, so that more mayhem could be conducted with the least suspicions by the media and the public about what was really going on. In sum, it was time to make for a clean slate on the covert front so that more beneficial disaster capitalism could occur.

As soon as the Reconstruction Conference on Pakistan in November 2005 showed that the United States was most pleased with Mushrarraf’s settlement of its laser-caused earthquake – opening up its territories bordering on Afghanistan to American covert operations – the Bush administration replaced acting Air Force Secretary Peter Geren, the Pentagon’s all-purpose fixer, by Michael Wynne. He was another Pentagon insider – former acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics – who was responsible for the development, testing and purchase of all new weapons systems, especially high-powered laser devices which the Air Force was taking the running of from Dr. Donald Kerr’s NRO. This was just part of the Pentagon’s game of musical chairs to keep the media and the public in the dark as Geren immediately became the Army’s Undersecretary, and then its Secretary when the current one was made a fall guy for the failures of veterans at Walter Reed Hospital.

With Geren conveniently out of the way, whistle-blower Russell Tice then claimed that the National Security Agency (NSA) – the NRO’s official superior – was mining the private actions of millions of Americans, what President Bush had claimed only concerned a small number of Americans in a focused way. The same day that The New York Times published Tice’s anonymous contentions, he told ABC he was the source, as this link explains:

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1491889

Of course, this touched off a running firestorm about what NSA was doing, one which is still continuing, leaving the NRO securely high-and-dry about what it had been engaged in. One could hardly have had much doubt about what NSA was doing under Director Michael Hayden despite the surprises expressed by NYT reporter James Risen, and author James Bamford in Body of Secrets: How America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ Eavesdrop on the World, given Bush’s views of the President’s war powers. While Risen had been Tice’s messenger, Bamford had been given a complete snowjob about what NSA had been experiencing, and doing when it came to its eavesdropping, especially when it came to signal intelligence (SIGINT), when he visited the Director. (See p.451ff.)

Hayden – with the help of former House Intelligence Committee chairman and now DCI Porter Goss, the Committee’s former staff director John Millis, former NSA Director and now Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and others – had given a most pessimistic appraisal of its SIGINT capability aka Echelon while dragging the USS Jimmy Carter needlessly into the process, acting as if it was essentially to be involved in tapping fiber-optic cables, and as if the USS Parche, the Navy’s most decorated sub in this regard, was no longer in commission to do it. Bamford’s sources gave the totally false impression that NSA was in no position to keep up with threats being facilitated by the use of personal computers, cell phones, the Internet, e-mails and fiber optics – a process further complicated by the delayed commissioning of the Carter. (p. 465)

In giving this most restricted account of NSA’s muscle, Bamford restricted the sub’s SIGINT capability beyond recognition, acting as if it were only an underwater messenger of what others were saying rather than a platform for striking back in all kinds of ways from its Multi-Mission Platform. There was no mention of its being a sub with a completely different mission, one where it could leave behind munitions, not just mines, to explode when it was convenient and safe, and SIGINT capability to convert messages – apparently from air guns and laser acoustic weapons though they were not mentioned – which would give the recipient more than he or it expected. In doing so, Bamford used an unnamed Los Angeles Times source rather than what Rear Admiral J. P. Davis had written in “USS Jimmy Carter (SSN23): Expanding Future SSN Missions” in the fall 1999 issue of Undersea Warfare:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1999/ussjimmycarter.htm [Link revised.]

With Pakistan completely split open because of the earthquake, the Pentagon’s ‘Special Operations’ teams (SOTs) took full advantage of the new opportunities – what they had previously been mainly doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and around Saudi Arabia where Major General Stanley McChrystal, who had become Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in September 2003, saw fit. McChrystal was a former ‘notorious psychopath’ Ranger who was working the ‘dark side’ missions that Vice President Dick Cheney had said were required after the 9/11 attacks. McChrystal embodied the tactics which characterized the covert growth of America’s hidden empire – organizing teams to carry out extra-judicial killings, systematic torture of prisoners, bombing of communities to make them more cooperative, and search and destroy missions.

“The SOT’s,” Professor James Petras recently wrote about Washington’s continuing covert wars, “specialize in establishing death squads and recruiting and training paramilitary forces to terrorize communities, neighborhoods and social movements opposing US clients regimes. The SOT’s ‘counter-terrorism’ is terrorism in reverse, focusing on socio-economic groups between US proxies and the armed resistance. McChrystal’s SOT’s targeted local and national insurgent leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through commando raids and air strikes.”

These operations in Pakistan were well underway when General McChrystal in February 2006 became Commander, JSOC. It had already attempted to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri by an air-strike in Damadola, eliminating senior commanders Abu Khabab al-Masri and Iman Asad allegedly in the process, and attacking the Danda Saidgai training camp in Northwest Waziristan. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban responded by assassinating the US consul in Karachi, and by the end of the year, given the escalating ‘dirty war’, controlled not only the province but also South Waziristan. It’s much easier to expand wars rather than end them.

Encouraged by early results in Pakistan, Michael Wynne’s Air Force – now the operator of the NRO’s heavy, laser satellites – was authorized to give Iran, it seems, another dose, targeting the strategic area equidistant between Baghdad and Tehran in the Shia heartland on March 31, 2006. Encouraged by the agreement the Security Council had just reached that Iran should never obtain nuclear weapons, Washington hit the only area in Iran not known for having earthquakes, and did so during another nighttime operation which would have killed thousands of people, like earlier at Bam, instead of only 70 if it had not been for the action by its Unexpected Disaster Committee – as if normally disasters are expected! Once the first earthquake occurred early during the night of the 30th, it roused the population from its beds, assuming that more would occur, and two more did just after midnight local time.

Of course, by this time relations between Washington and Tehran had so soured that it did not even ask for help, as it had after the Bam earthquake. And President Bush had geopolitical matters so much on his mind that he said this twice about the earthquakes: “We obviously have our differences with the Iranian government but we do care about the suffering of the Iranian people. Secretary of State Condi Rice uttered similar “deep sympathy” for the suffering of the Iranian people, offering to supply aid, but none was forthcoming according to Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman. Iranian-American relations had descended to such a low point that hardly any niceties were in order.

The reason for the icy relations is not hard to determine if one reads the details about the earthquakes, and the damage they wrought. They occurred in two separate places – in the mountainous area noted for its agricultural operations, the epicenter well removed from the alleged fault line which official seismologists say caused it, and in the area around the cities of Boroujerd and Doroud. The agricultural area relies heavily upon its qanat (kanat in arabic) systems for providing the necessary water for its fields of grain and fruit orchards The earthquakes were surprisingly close to the surface, only going down about seven kilometers.

Then almost all the killing and damage occurred in the mountains where the first 4.7 earthquake hit, resulting the the vast majority of the 70 human deaths, and 1,000 large livestock and 6,000 small livestock ones – killed when their barns and sheds collapsed. Most noticeable was the dozens of dead sheep and goats found in the fields, apparently killed by the lasers beams when they heated up the kilometers of kanats in the process. This is why they have always been used in the night – what the NRO shoulder patches were bragging about it owning – so as not to commit most suspicious human deaths rather than simply ones in their beds. Great destruction and damage was also done to deep wells, water storage areas, and 4,500 meters of kanats.

With the Bush administration now hopeful that it had finally turned the corner on Iraqi violence after the ouster of Saddam Hussein – what SOD Rumsfeld may have planned from the beginning with his ‘shock and awe’ campaign in the hope that its post-liberation mayhem would kill off the necessary Sunni and Shia troublemakers – he now prepared his departure from the Pentagon. While a few generals and admirals were finally expressing their displeasure about what had happened during his preventive wars – what Rumsfeld even acknowledged – he wrote a secret memo on April 6th, calling upon his minions to “keep elevating the threat…”.

While the ignorant might think that he was referring to more 9/11 style attacks, he added this to make sure that there was no confusion about what he meant, but not in the places threatened: “Talk about Somalia, the Philippines, etc. Make the American people realize that they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists.” (“Rumsfeld ‘kept up fear of terror attacks’,” The Daily Telegraph, March 11, 2007) In doing so, he deliberately ignored what Iran, Pakistan and North Korea were apparently aiming for with their nuclear programs, and what the Pentagon was doing its utmost to prevent. It all sounded like his swan song from the Pentagon, reminiscent of his Anchor Memo when he took office with the intention of fixing it despite all the governmental obstacles.

While Rumsfeld withheld announcing his resignation until the day of the 2006 Congressional elections, though it so leaked to the press so that the voters would know he was leaving – hoping that the long-awaited act would bolster Republican chances at the polls but it didn’t, causing the Bush administration to lose control of Congress – it immediately nominated everyone’s choice, former DCI Robert Gates, to be his successor, and he was confirmed in record time. Gates had been former President Bush’s replacement of DCI William Webster, and achieved the kind of coordination between the Agency and the Bureau – especially in handling the Iran-Contra cover-up which cost him the job the first time after Reagan had nominated him to replace William Casey – which the gigantic Pentagon so sorely needed now. (For more on this, see Mark Riebling, Wedge: The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA, p. 381ff.)

Gates’ first victim, after a prudent pause, was DCI Porter Goss in May 2006 who he knew all too well after his long career in the Agency. Goss avoided analyzing intelligence too much, as his dismissing the leading analysts in the Agency showed when he took over, and was too careless in his private life – what had led to his forced retirement when he came down with venereal disease after visiting, as many high-flying bachelors in Washington did, the prostitution ring aka “Capitol Couples” that Hana and Karl Koecher were running for the Czechoslovak security and intelligence service. “Hana, blonde, attractive and ten years younger than her husband,” Christopher Andrew wrote in The Sword and the Shield, “later boasted that she had had sex with numerous CIA personnel, Pentagon officials, reporters from major newspapers and a US Senator.” (p. 200)

Three days later, after it was learned that Goss’ Executive Director, Kyle ‘Dusty’ Foggo, had been having sex parties with Hana, he too was gone, though the Agency denied that there was any connection between the resignations. Foggo had been instrumental in arranging the heating up of Hurricane Katrina, and slowing the response to it, and had had a corrupt relationship, involving former acting Air Force Secretary Geren, in kickbacks Boeing was giving out. Of course, the cause of his resignation was just the cover story as this had been known for at least a quarter century, and it claimed that Foggo had had to go because he was sharing her with Soviet spy, Felix Bloch, rather than with Goss too.

Little wonder that NSA director Major General Michael Hayden then followed Goss as DCI. Hayden knew where most eavesdropping secrets were buried, and how best to keep them covered up. John Negroponte, the new Director of National Intelligence and former US Ambassador to Iraq, knew most about the personnel problems at CIA, and arranged the necessary changes.

Steven Kappes, the former DDO who had resigned because of Goss’ Chief of Staff Pat Murray so politicizing the Agency, was brought back as the new Deputy Director – Negroponte having been informed by Mary Margaret Graham, an Assistant Deputy Director of Counterintelligence, of all the womanizing and politicizing there. This had been particularly difficult for Negroponte, the former American Ambassador to Honduras, because Foggo had been a close associate involved in its search and destroy missions, organized from the embassy. Most important, Robert Richer, the number 2 man in the DO who resigned suddenly during Hurricane Katrina because of the DCI’s isolated decision-making, had to find a new place, becoming CEO of Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions in 2007.

The most important decisions then were made by Negroponte, and his replacement at National Intelligence, Mike McConnell. The plan was to make sure that everyone believed that the Pentagon was apparently not planning a new generation of space-based surveillance satellites, and the ones it already had were being destroyed. At the same time, NRO Director Donald Kerr left, having transferred the last vestiges of its heavy satellite, SIGINT operations to the Air Force, and by replacing the aggressive shoulder patch – showing one of its four orbiting satellites hitting back at unsuspecting targets, and bragging about its owning the night – with a most innocent one, showing just two orbits of satellites, circling the globe. Kerr was replaced by Scott Large.

Negroponte was most eager to tell the press, especially U. S. News and World Report, about the “managerial nightmare” he had in getting rid of the $25 billion, over-budget, and five-year behind Future Imagery Architecture System – what planned to establish in space dual purpose imagery and SIGINT satellites to do whatever was required. Poor quality control in the satellites, and technical problems with their operations raised questions about their ever being completed. Negroponte moved decisively to end the program, getting rid of half of the classified project – apparently the SIGINT half as the Air Force still had the Misty satellites which could perform the necessary send-back messages if necessary.

No sooner had McConnell been installed as Negroponte’s replacement as National Intelligence Director than he announced that he had closed down the production of the satellite spy program, and was in the process of finding out who was responsible for the hopeless boondoggle, seeing to his dismissal. McConnell, in stopping the production of more Misty satellites, said nothing about stopping the use of ones still in service. And he was apparently looking for Air Force Secretary MIchael Wynne who had been pushing their production, though McConnell conveniently postponed his search and Wynn’s firing until he was no longer needed. For more on this, see this link:

http://www.infowars.com/articles/bb/satellite_spy_chief_scraps_satellite_program.htm

In this context, Naomi Klein’s latest, comprehensive survey of disaster capitalism, The Shock Doctrine, appeared, and covert planners were most relieved to see that it had grown very little in its basic character, and in its coverage. The role of satellites, especially laser-equipped ones and submarines in their making, and their possible use on countries like Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and those around the Indian Ocean were never even alluded to. In fact, they, outside of Sri Lanka, were never even seriously mentioned in the whole process. Actually, she hardly said anything new about the subject since her damage-limitation story on the Katrina disaster.

If anything, according to her, shock doctrine was wearing off rather than increasing.