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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Digging into the CIA's past: When is a mobster a good guy?

We get few opportunities to peek behind the curtain of our government and see all the cloak and dagger activity that's carried out in our name. Today, just such a rare opportunity was granted to us as almost 700 pages of documents were released by the CIA detailing activities in the 60s and 70s that its own agents deemed questionable. The report was made available through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and is creatively nicknamed "Family Jewels." It contains a littany of misconduct, even by Cold War spy standards.

The incident that will get the most coverage in the media is the 1960 attempt to arrange the assassination of Fidel Castro using a Chicago mob boss upset at the foreign leader's negative impact on the Cosa Nostra's Cuban operations. It turns out that the mafia and feds do sometimes have common interests. In case you thought the cozy relationship between anti-terror operatives and Tony Soprano in the HBO series was unrealistic, here's some validation.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, however, as the report includes incidents such as domestic surveillance of student groups, drug-testing on armed service volunteers, and wiretapping of journalists. If you've got a lot of free time on your hands, you can check out the full details, which are available online at: http://www.foia.cia.gov/

If you've got a life and just want to read a good summary of what's in it, check out the article Some examples of CIA misconduct in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

All the talk of whacking Fidel brings to mind an old punk classic from the band 999. Sometimes, when you get carried away with an ideology, no matter how well-intentioned, you can justify the most criminal of acts. Politics can be murder.

Homicide by 999

I believe its Homicide
I rest my case don't cast aside
You better believe it
That's the truth of it
Take it or leave it
Resign to it

Homicide Homicide
Homicide Homicide

You tried to tell me it's his fault because he's down
And letting loose this Homicide all over the town
I'll take your number I'll write it down
What's your address I'll write it down
I'll be in touch so don't leave town in a big black car

Homicide Homicide
Homicide Homicide

I believe its Homicide
I rest my case don't cast aside
You better believe it
That's the truth of it
Take it or leave it
Resign to it

Homicide Homicide
Homicide Homicide
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