Category Archives: Uncle Sam Forever

The American Empire: The CIA As Agent of Clandestine Aggression

In this essay we look at the history of the CIA, not for its intelligence-gathering directive  but for its clandestine operations in subverting foreign governments. Much has been written on this topic so our intention is to provide enough background to readers to allow them to assess the likelihood of CIA involvement in current and future global insurrections.

The Legislative Basis of the CIA

The CIA was created by the National Security Act of 1947 for “the purpose of coordinating the intelligence activities of the several Government departments and agencies”, specifically, from section 102 (d), emphasis added[1]:

(1) to advise the National Security Council [NSC] in matters concerning such intelligence activities of the Government departments and agencies as relate to national security;
(2) to make recommendations … for the coordination of such intelligence activities … ;
(3) to correlate and evaluate intelligence … and provide for the appropriate dissemination of such intelligence … : PROVIDED, That the Agency shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers, or internal-security functions: PROVIDED FURTHER, That the departments and other agencies of the Government shall continue to collect, evaluate, correlate, and disseminate departmental intelligence … ;
(4) to perform, for the benefit of the existing intelligence agencies, such additional services of common concern as the National Security council determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally;
(5) to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.

In short, thew CIA was created to collect, evaluate, correlate, and disseminate departmental intelligence to the NSC. Points 4 and 5 allow for unspecified other activities as may be delegated by the NSC.

The Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 [2] details the administration of the CIA but does not discuss authorized activities.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 in section 104A (d) [3] reiterates the responsibilities of the Director of the CIA as laid out in the 1947 act as to

collect … correlate … evaluate … and provide appropriate dissemination of …
intelligence; perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the President or the Director of National Intelligence may direct.

Note that the president has now been given authority to specify the CIA operations. It further instructs the

Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, shall develop joint procedures to be used by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency to improve the coordination and deconfliction of operations that involve elements of both

improve communication and coordination in the planning, execution, and sustainment of operations …[3]

This reference to joint operations with the DOD may be significant in the field.

Overall, the agency was created as a foreign intelligence gathering agency. If there is any legislative basis for subversion of foreign governments through coups, assassinations, and the provision of intelligence and material support to organizations acting subversively in foreign countries, I haven’t found it.

Off the Reservation?

While one might think, given the above background, that the CIA is strictly an intelligence gathering and processing entity, it has a much darker side. This section lists CIA operations that have been identified that have had significant geopolitical impact. How big the skeleton closet is we may never know.

As we go through, we will try and identify at what level these ‘other functions and duties’ are sanctioned.

The Coup in Iran in 1953

In August, 1953, the CIA organized operation TPAJAX, a military coup against the government of Iran over the issue of state control of Iranian oil and the possibility of a tilt towards the USSR.

As a declassified CIA document says:

the military coup …  was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest level of government[7].

The coup was carried out by the U.S. administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower in a covert action advocated by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and implemented under the supervision of his brother Allen Dulles, the Director of Central Intelligence.[82]

It was a last resort after all normal rational methods of international communication and commerce had failed. The document states that Prime Minister Mohammad Mosadeq

had become so committed to the ideals of nationalism that he did things that could not have helped his people … [1]

The Americans believed that Mosadeq’s actions could not have conceivably helped helped his people. As well,

the professional politicians of the British government … believed, with good reason, that cheap  oil for Britain, and high profits for the [Anglo Iranian Oil] company were vital to their national interests.

When the British couldn’t get their way they were prepared to wait until the Iranians, needing money, came back to the table. The U.S., however, was afraid that the Iranians would turn to the USSR.

So the motivation behind the coup was to further American strategic interests and British economic interests with a token reference to assumed Iranian interests.

The Methodologies of Subversion

Author Nicolas J.S. Davies  gives extensive descriptions of three techniques for fomenting violence for overthrowing foreign governments. These are[11]:

  1. Creating and strengthening opposition forces;
  2. Violent street demonstrations; and
  3. The coup d’etat.



  1. National Security Act of 1947. Google. July, 1947.
  2. Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
  3. Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
  4. History of the Central Intelligence Agency. Wikipedia.
  5. Central Intelligence Agency. Wikipedia.
  6. 1953 Iranian coup d’état. Wikipedia with an extensive reference list.
  7. Declassified CIA document. Source not established.
  8. “Review of All the Shah’s Men by CIA staff historian David S. Robarge”. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  9. 35 countries where the U.S. has supported fascists, drug lords and terrorists,
  10. Mapped: The 7 Governments the U.S. Has Overthrown. J. Dana Stuster
  11. America’s Coup Machine: Destroying Democracy Since 1953. Nicolas J.S. Davies, AlterNet, April 8, 2014.
  12. Oliver Stone: CIA Fingerprints All Over Ukraine Coup. Daniel McAdams, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, Thursday January
  13. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II William Blum, July, 1995.

Firearm Deaths in the U.S.: the Data

We became aware of a new report today published by the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Davis. Titled The Epidemiology of FirearmViolence in the Twenty-First Century United States, it documents the rate of suicides and homicides in the U.S. by firearms compared to other means of killing.

Is Shale Stale?

We follow the shale revolution from a distance lacking the bandwidth to tackle it head on. This note is a place holder for a couple of references that suggest that the exuberance over the shale revolution is misplaced. The tip-off article came from Zero Hedge: Wall Street’s Shale ‘Fraud’ Exposed. The principal link is to The site is cleanly designed with this introduction that links two reports on the topic. Points to ponder:

  • Six plays account for 88% of total shale gas production with well decline rates range from 80-95% after 36 months in the top five U.S. plays.
  • More than 80 percent of tight (shale) oil production is from two unique plays: the Bakken and the Eagle Ford with well decline rates from 81-90% in the first 24 months.
  • For the oil fields, 40% of production must be replaced annually to maintain current production levels.
  • Dry shale gas plays require $42 billion/year in capital investment to offset declines. With 2012 sales of $33 billion, excluding benefits from natural gas liquids produced, the industry is uneconomic based on the prices received.

We note that the entities responsible for the website and the reports may have biases that influence their content. The factual data, if it stands up to unbiased scrutiny, suggests that the impact of shale-sourced energy is more limited than is generally recognized, particularly at current prices.

Why the Fed Is So Wound Up

There is endless talk about the Fed exiting from the QE-induced asset bubble on its balance sheet. We will show what the Fed can and cannot do to unwind its balance sheet. First some background data from its balance sheet in terms of assets and liabilities. The balance sheet is a wonderful tool for understanding what can happen, what can’t happen, and the corner the Fed has painted itself into.

The Fed’s Thinking and Policy Explained in Two Sentences

Our friend JR sent us this quote from the new Fed chairman Janet Yellen on Fed policy:

You know, a lot of people say this (asset buying) is just helping rich people. But it’s not true. Our policy is aimed at holding down long-term interest rates, which supports the recovery by encouraging spending. And part of it comes through higher house and stock prices, which causes people with homes and stocks to spend more, which causes jobs to be created throughout the economy and income to go up throughout the economy.

We are struck with admiration – and we sincerely mean this. We had 18 1/2 years of Alan Greenspan and people are still trying to figure out what he said. Eight years of Ben Bernanke gave us a lot of academic theory applied in real-time to the economy without any understanding of the outcome. Then the new Fed chairman, in two sentences, explains in plain, clear English what the Fed has been doing all along. Let’s step through it.

Immigration in Perspective

Thanks to Mike Shedlock we became of this video. It places the immigration issue in perspective.

In short, our immigration policy has no noticeable effect on world poverty while the financial burden on our economy does have an appreciable effect on our standard of living.

Of Lettuce and Lives

We have been tracking the progress of robotics in the workplace – not actively – but simply by capturing links to references as they appear in our daily reading. We took an extensive look at the outlook for jobs in July, 2012: What’s the Future for Jobs?. In that article we had a section near the end on robots in the workplace. We have continued to update the section and the latest entry comes from John Mauldin’s Forecast 2014: The Human Transformation Revolution

John has got to be one of the most widely read and highly connected individuals writing today. At one point he claimed that his Thoughts from the Frontline had a readership of over one million. It is likely more today. John is very positive about man’s future due to technological innovation. He sees us as on the edge of medical advances that will extend lives significantly and cure diseases that afflict millions today. He sees an industrial revolution through robotics and new materials with amazing properties that will revolutionize all fields of technology and industry in the years ahead.

One Bear at a Time

Fresh from finishing Summa: The Great Myth, we came across a Dec. 13 blog entry by Doug Noland, “The Prudent Bear”, titled Q3 2013 Flow of Funds. In reading his blog we came across a section that we reproduce below adding numbering in square brackets and emphasis. We then discuss the errors in his thinking.

Humour or Pathos or Both?

This item demonstrates the mainstream media’s remarkable diversity of reporting and analysis. It so reinforces our trust and respect for them. Enjoy.

And then …

We think there’s a factory in China that turns out little windup robot media announcers … somewhere.

(count = 25 if you weren’t keeping track)

Summa: The Great Myth

Listening to an interview of Richard Duncan by David McAlvany we were finally motivated to explore an issue that has nagged at us for quite a while. What disturbs us is that we find ourselves alone in disagreement with the prevalent ‘wisdom’ regarding the Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) policies and their effects on liquidity and markets. This essay will explore our position.

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