Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rape Apology, State Department Style

The Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church have been at the center of a global maelstrom of outrage as their decades old conspiracies to hide a world-wide campaign of rape and child abuse at the hands of its minions has collapsed. Faced with angry believers who are cutting back on donations and often abandoning the Church altogether, the Holy See struggles to minimize and evade what historians may one day consider Catholicism's death blow.

Throughout it all, the United States government and state and local regimes have largely remained quiet on the matter. Local and state law enforcement have conducted investigations into specific cases. Individual priests have been tried and convicted. A few states have rewritten legal statues to allow victims of predator Catholic clergy more time to bring their victimizers to justice. However, there has been no large-scale investigations or seizures of evidence one would expect in an international sex abuse scandals. One cannot image a corporation or even a nation- state receiving the kid-glove treatment the American government has extended the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church.

Recently released State Department cables provide a partial explanation into the American government attitude toward the matter. Despite being heavily redacted on national security grounds, the cables reveal that the American government has been tracking the scandals, the Vatican reaction to them, and has adopted a policy of downplaying and minimizing the native Vatican rape culture with combination of silence, evasion, and the promotion of Catholic Church good works.

Below are four cables classified “Secret” meaning their unauthorized disclosure was believed to pose the risk of “grave damage” to American national security. This is the second highest level of classification used by the American government (Top Secret is the highest). Much of them is redacted on the grounds that the information contained within is properly classified. Only a few redactions are on the grounds of personal privacy. The cables were released to me in response to a FOIA request I had submitted on my behalf relating to the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals.

The most important things revealed in these cables is the State Department's decision to downplay and minimize the scope and horror of the Catholic Church rape scandals. EMBASSY Vatican's “Suggested Press Guidance”

  1. (U) To the extent possible, it would be best for USG spokespersons to avoid commenting on the scandal or on day-to-day developments related to the crisis. However, if pressed, Embassy Vatican plans to use the following guidance in responding to questions on the crisis or on the Pope's pastoral letter:
    • Sexual abuse of anyone, anywhere, is abhorrent. It is especially troubling when allegations of abuse concern anyone who works in a position of trust with young people.
    • The highest priority when dealing with such allegations is to support the victims, including taking actions to prevent further abuses.
      Here is where the State Department descends into rape apology
    • It is important to distinguish between the atrocities committed by a few individuals and the great good being done by Catholic clergy and members of religious orders around the world.
The final bit of press guidance is statement that beyond the three listed actions the Embassy Vatican staff will only mention the Pope's call for a “process of repentance, healing and renewal” and refuse further comment on the matter except to express their “hope that all parties in this situation find healing and justice.”

Do not let the title “Suggested Press Guidance” fool you; these actions were already being implemented by Embassy Vatican. The paragraph prior to the one I just quoted states:

It's also critically important to refrain from tarring all Catholic clergy with the same brush, even in the face of lurid and graphic reporting on these cases. For every ordained person involved in such atrocities, there are hundreds or thousands of others elsewhere carrying out there duties, often in dangerous circumstances, to support their own and other faith communities. Sister Marie Claude Naddaf of Syria, a longtime campaigner against human trafficking and 2010 International Women of Courage Award Recipient, is one example. Father John Phuong Dinh Toai of Vietnam, who is doing interfaith work helping children infecting (sic) with HIV/AIDS, is another. Meanwhile, Catholic organizations – according to UN estimates-- provide the majority of health care services in sub-Saharan Africa. The list could, of course, go on.

Under the Catholic Church's auspices, a lot of good is accomplished. There is no denying it. However, this does not excuse the Catholic Church's tolerance of rape conspiracies around the globe involving thousands of direct perpetrators and thousands more, including the highest levels of the Vatican, who covered it up. Not to mention the bystanders who were aware of this and did nothing, possibly while engaging in good will acts like those discussed above.

Many rapists are nice people. Rapists have jobs. Rapists are usually good boys. They usually, if not almost always, do the right thing. Except when they rape.

Another cable, 10 VATICAN 59 shows the “ Suggested Press Guidance” was infected at least a month later when it is reported in paragraph 13 that the Ambassador and DCM were refusing interview requests form media programs such as Sixty Minutes, Good Morning America, and Larry King.

Disturbingly, the cables reveal that the Embassy Vatican was reporting on the activities of Americans, specifically SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). Much of what was reported on SNAP has been redacted on B(1) grounds specifically protection of sources and foreign government information, but is known that Embassy Vatican informed state and numerous other American consulates and embassies about a March 25, 2010 protest at St. Peter's basilica.

I have contacted SNAP for their response to this information and to gain more insight into the protest. Any response will be posted in a future post.

Given the cables are posted below, I am not going to deluge with all the fun tidbits revealed within them. Below are the three most interesting bits of information to come out of this FOIA release:

  1. Paragraph 11 of 10 VATICAN 59 reveals that one of the reasons priests are kept celebate is to save money. Priests with families cost more than those without attachments.
  2. In the first paragraph of 10 VATICAN 59, the American Embassy describes the Vatican's reaction to the sex abuse scandal as being handled “very poorly.”
  3. The second paragraph of 10 VATICAN 59 reveals that a Norweigan bishop was removed not for mismanagement as was widely believed, but because it was discovered he had abused an underage boy. 

    10 Vatican 33                                                            

    10 Vatican 44                                                            

    10 Vatican 57                                                            

    10 Vatican 59                                                            

Monday, December 27, 2010

10 Vatican 33: A Sausage Making View of State Department Censoring

Before Cablegate was a twinkle in Julian Assange’s eye, I had a FOIA request submitted on my behalf to the United States State Department regarding the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals. At the time, I was flirting with the idea of abandoning special education for a career as a freelance journalist and reporter extraordinaire. Since my learning disabilities preclude easy accuracy with grammar and syntax, I have opted to be an investigative blogger of the hobbyist-variety. However, my FOIA requests have gradually worked their way though the system and I write expose based on them.

Approximately year after the FOIA request was submitted, I received four cables from AMEMBASSY VATICAN (The American Embassy in the Vatican) from the State Department’s FOIA staff. One them was 10 VATICAN 33, a cable formerly classified “SECRET,” meaning at its creation, unauthorized access to or leaking of the cable would have caused “grave damage" to American national security. Not surprisingly, portions of it are still redacted in the released version.

10 Vatican 33                                                            

However, thanks to WikiLeaks, the redacted portions of this cable are available for public consumption, giving the average reader a direct, Vienna sausage making view of what the AMEMBASSY Vatican holds to be “Secret” and capable of endangering American lives.

Below are the excised portions of the cable I posted above with some light commentary. For the record, I have deleted the daffy ASCII characters contained within the WikiLeaks copy of the cable that I am posting here. The WikiLeaks version is available at their official site.

Section 1- Initially classified “Confidential” in its entirety; a brief portion was released in response to my FOIA request. Here are the redacted portions:

Vatican and Irish officials first concern was for the victims, but that reality was sometimes obscured in the events that followed which also cast a chill on Irish-Vatican relations. The Vatican believes the Irish government failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations. Much of the Irish public views the Vatican protests as pettily procedural and failing to confront the real issue of horrific abuse and cover-up by Church officials. The resulting profound crisis in the Irish Church, meanwhile, required intervention by Pope Benedict, who met with Irish Church leaders in December 2009 and in February 2010 to discuss next steps. Although the Pope will address a pastoral letter on the situation to Irish Catholics in the next few weeks, both the Vatican and the local Catholic Church agree that further follow-up should be handled domestically in Ireland. The Vatican’s relatively swift response to this crisis showed it learned key lessons from the U.S. sex abuse scandals in 2002 but still left some Catholics - in Ireland and beyond -- feeling disaffected. The crisis will play out for years inside Ireland, where future revelations are expected, even as new clerical sex abuse allegations are being made in Germany. End Summary

Sections 4-7 were withheld from me in their entirety. The State Department’s redactors went as far as to obscure which sections of the cable were being withheld. From the copy of the cable provided to me, it is unclear whether or not portions of section 3 are being redacted despite being the section being classified as Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) and thus not illegible for b(1) protection. 

4. (S/NF) While Vatican contacts immediately expressed deep sympathy for the victims and insisted that the first priority was preventing a recurrence, they also were angered by how the situation played out politically. The Murphy Commission’s requests offended many in the Vatican, the Holy See’s Assessor Peter Wells (protect strictly) told DCM, because they saw them as an affront to Vatican sovereignty. Vatican officials were also angered that the Government of Ireland did not step in to direct the Murphy Commission to follow standard procedures in communications with Vatican City. Adding insult to injury, Vatican officials also believed some Irish opposition politicians were making political hay with the situation by calling publicly on the government to demand that the Vatican reply. Ultimately, Vatican Secretary of State (Prime Minister equivalent) Bertone wrote to the Irish Embassy that requests related to the investigation must come through diplomatic channels via letters rogatory.
5. (S/NF) The Irish Embassy to the Holy See offered to facilitate better communications between the Irish commission and the Holy See, but neither party took any further action. Irish Ambassador Noel Fahey (formerly ambassador to Washington) told DCM this was the most difficult crisis he had ever managed. The Irish government wanted to be seen as cooperating with the investigation because its Education Department was implicated, but did not want to insist that the Vatican answer the requests because they had come outside of regular channels. In the end, the Irish government decided not to press the Vatican to reply, according to Fahey’s Deputy, Helena Keleher. Moreover, Keleher
VATICAN 00000033 002.2 OF 003
told Polchief the CDF probably did not have much to add to the inquiry. Regarding the request for the Nuncio to testify, Keleher said the GOI understood that foreign ambassadors are not required or expected to appear before national commissions. Nevertheless, Keleher thought the Nuncio in Ireland made things worse by simply ignoring the requests.
6. (C) The resentment caused by the Murphy Commission tactics - and failure of the Government of Ireland to temper them -- now has worn off a little in Rome. This is in part because the legal and diplomatic questions posed by the Commission’s demands are now moot since the Murphy Commission released its report in November 2009. It substantiated many of the claims and also concluded that some bishops tried to cover up the abuses, putting the interests of the Church ahead of those of the victims.
7. (C) The Irish people’s anger, however, has not worn off. The refusal of the Holy See to respond to the Murphy Commission questions caused a furor of public disbelief in Ireland when it became known. Foreign Minister Martin was forced to call in the Papal Nuncio to discuss the situation. The Irish public was not mollified. Resentment toward the Church in Rome remains very high, particularly because of the institutionalized cover-up of abuse by the Catholic Church hierarchy. In the wake of the scandal, four of the five bishops named in the Murphy Report have resigned; the fifth has refused to quit. Archbishop Martin’s Christmas Eve Midnight Mass announcement of the resignation of two of the five key bishops named in the Murphy report was met be thunderous applause, which he had a hard time quieting.
A few words were redacted on National Security grounds in section 8. Specifically, it was viewed as “prejudicial” to American interests and security that the Vatican know that AMEMBASSY VATICAN thought the normally cautious Vatican moved with with uncharacteristic speed to deal with the sex abuse scandal.
8.(C)Meanwhile, the normally cautious Vatican moved with uncharacteristic speed to address the internal Church crisis. The Pope convoked a meeting with senior Irish clerical leaders on December 11, 2009. Irish Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin came to Rome and met with the Pontiff, who was flanked by Cardinal Bertone (the Vatican Prime Minster equivalent), and four other Cardinals whose duties include oversight over some aspect of the Irish situation. At the end of the meeting, the Vatican issued a statement saying that the Pope shared the outrage, betrayal, and shame of Irish Catholics over the deliberations, that he was praying for the victims, and that the Church would take steps to prevent recurrences. Archbishop Martin told reporters afterwards that he expected a major shake-up of the Church in Ireland.

Sections 9-10 are provided without redaction. However, sections 11-14 are redacted with the exception of two titles. I present them below:

11. (C/NF) Judging by media commentary, many non-Irish Catholics felt the Vatican’s response to the crisis was a good start but more was needed. Irish Deputy Head of Mission Keleher told polchief on February 18 that she sympathized with victims’ groups’ criticism of the Vatican statement, because it was not more focused on the pain caused to the victims. Victims’ associations also have complained that the Pope did not issue an apology for the abuses and that he did not order the removal of the remaining bishop accused of the cover-up. (Archbishop Martin’s comments in December apparently had convinced many that the Vatican would remove the errant bishops if they did not quit.)
Comment: Some Lessons Learned, but Crisis Will Play Out for Years
--------------------------------------------- --------------------
VATICAN 00000033 003.2 OF 003
12. (C) In keeping with the Catholic practice of making local bishops ultimately responsible for the management of their dioceses, we expect that the locus of the crisis and measures to address it will remain largely with the Catholic Church in Ireland. One exception will be on decisions of whether to accept or reject resignation offers from the implicated bishops -- or the removal of the bishop who refused to offer his resignation -- which rest with the Pope. The other big exception will be the Pope’s pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, in which the Vatican may address concerns and criticisms about statements and actions undertaken to date. After this, though, the Vatican will return to the background - while keeping an eye on the Irish bishops and continuing to urge them to speak with one voice. Our contacts at the Vatican and in Ireland expect the crisis in the Irish Catholic Church to be protracted over several years, as only allegations from the Dublin Archdiocese have been investigated to date. Investigations of allegations from other Archdioceses will lead, officials in both states lament, to additional painful revelations.
13. (C) In Ireland, these abuse scandals occurred at the end of a long period of increasing secularization of society - and may further reduce the influence of the Catholic Church. Indeed, the great vehemence of the Irish reaction to this crisis reflects how far the Catholic Church in Ireland has fallen. Once ensconced in the Irish Constitution, the Irish Catholic Church reached the height of its prestige and power with the 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II but it has been falling ever since. At the same time, the Murphy Report reflects Irish shame over the collaboration of Ireland’s state bodies, including its schools, courts and police, in the appalling abuses and cover-up that occurred for decades.
14. (S) Vatican analysts, meanwhile, agree that the Holy See’s handling of the Irish scandal shows the Vatican learned some important lessons from the U.S. sex abuse scandal of 2002. By acting quickly to express horror at allegations, to label the alleged acts both crimes and sins, and to call in the local leaders to discuss how to prevent recurrences, the Vatican limited - but certainly did not eliminate - the damage caused to the Church’s standing in Ireland and worldwide. Unfortunately, given the growing abuse scandal in Germany, it may need to deploy those lessons again before long. End Comment.

Section 15 mentions that Ambassador Diaz helped to create the cable.
I cannot say that I find anything within these cables that would case “grave damage” to American national security. Public information such as the Irish cheering the demise of rape apologists and protectors hardly seems “prejudicial” to American interests. Most of this information is public domain information already and shocking to no one with a basic familiarity with the situation.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mr. C Had a FBI File

For fans of the publicly mild-mannered Tom Bosley, a gentleman best-known for playing “Mr. C.” on the hit TV show “Happy Days” and Father Frank Dowling on “Father Dowling Mysteries ” it is probably a shock to discover Mr. Bosley possessed a FBI file. The FBI confirmed this in response to a FOIA request this author had submitted to the FBI after the public announcement of Mr. Bosley's demise.

Thanks to the much criticized FBI record retention schedule, it appears that the American public will forever denied access to and knowledge of the contents of Mr. Bosley's FBI file and the events which led to its creation. Like Bobby Thomson, we are left to speculate as to whether Bosley was a suspected or actual communist or “fellow traveler,” a victim of an obsessed or crazed fan, or just a peripheral figure in an investigation of which even he might have been unaware.

FBI MR. C. Response Letter                                                            

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NSA Refuses to Confirm or Deny Having Underwear Bomber Information

Despite extensive media coverage and public comment, in response to a recent FOIA request, the National Security Agency has declared that it will “neither confirm nor deny,” possessing information or records pertaining to the “Underwear Bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

NSA Glomar Response to FOIA RE: Underwear Bomber                                                            

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One WikiLeaks Cable Has Already Been Released

Much has been made over the last week as WikiLeaks has been releasing portions of what is believed to be a cache of over 250,000 State Department cables believed to have been given to them by Pfc. Bradley Manning.

However, below is evidence that at least one of the cables was previously released by State Department itself creating the possibly other cables were also be declassified by the State Department through mechanism like FOIA and the Mandatory Declassification Review Process. 

The cable in question is 75TEHRAN2069 Click the link to access the WikiLeaks' version of it. Below is the electronic copy of it released to the National Archives by the State Department and available through the National Archives' NARA's Access to Archival Databases (AAD). Except for formating and the decision by WikiLeaks (I presume) to call the cable 75TEHRAN2069 instead of 74TEHRAN02069, the cable content is exact. (Of course the dropped "0" could mean that WikiLeaks or Manning altered the documents, but I doub this.)


As the cables are released, it would be fruitful to compare them to cables in the State Department's Electronic Reading Room and the National Archives to see how many have been previously released. Scholars should also consult their personal archives and post any relevant cables that they have had given to them by the State Department

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The 9-11 Cables: The State Department Records the World's Reaction

Below is what I believe is a small sampling of the State Department's cable traffic regarding the world's reaction to the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

These cables, largely unredacted, provide an inside look into how the world, foreign governments, and the staff at American embassy reacted to the horrors of that day.

For example, the cable traffic from the US Embassy in Austria reveals the Austrian government moved quickly to protect the US Embassy while an Austrian phone company moved to provide free calling to the United States. An Algerian Minister wept at the destruction, while the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) broke a years-long "boycott?" and ignoring of the US Embassy and sent its condolences. Embassies throughout the world, embassies reported being inundated by expressions of support from the people, governments, and organizations in the lands  in which they represented America.  This was not limited to America's allies; nations with whom the United States had been recently or relatively recent conflict- Lebanon/Hizbullah- Vietnam-Federal Republic of Yugoslavia- also expressed their regards.

Not everyone was saddened by the events of 9-11. The American Embassy in Beirut reported on  "celebratory" gun fire in the Lebanese city of Tripoli. However, it is important to know that Arabs and Muslims were not the only people lauding the destruction of the World Trade Center. The American Embassy Belgrade received taunting phone calls of supporters of the 9-11 attacks, probably right-wing or fascist Serbs disgruntled by the drubbings administered to them by the US military in Bosnia and two years before in Kosovo. US Embassy Manila informed Foggy Bottom that a group of diasporic Filipino Communists in the Netherlands engaged in victim blaming, holding American foreign policy to response for occurred on 9-11.

The highly redacted cables from the US Embassies in China and Uzbekistan tell us that plotting for the eventual American reaction was already a foot within twenty-four hours of the attacks. The relevant data is edited but given the geographic locations of both those nations, I think it is safe to assume they are talking about Afghanistan.

A final note. There is nothing contained within these cables that provides any aid or comfort to the 9-11 truth movement. Sorry.

911 Cable Traffic                                                            

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CIA Will "Neither Confirm nor Deny" Planning to Kill WikiLeaks Founder

Recently, I FOIAed the Central Intelligence Agency seeking “copies of all records [for] current or previous plans to assassinate Julian Assange, Australian national and spokesman for Again, despite my prior experience with the CIA refusing to confirm or deny a plot to kill Glenn Beck, I honestly expected the CIA to issue a firm “no records” response to my request. Again, I was shocked at the response I did receive.

The CIA invoked the “Glomar” response and has chosen to “neither confirm nor deny” any records pertaining to any CIA plot to kill Julian Assange on the grounds that such records, if they exist, “is intelligence sources and methods information that is protected from disclosure”

Honestly, I do not believe the theories going around claiming the CIA is out to get Assange or has anything to do with his residence problems in Sweden or the molestation and rape allegations he faces there. However, in light of the dubious decisions to employ Glomar in response to this request and Obama's proclamation that he has the right to assassinate Americans without judicial review makes me less sympathetic to CIA complaints of being misunderstood or portrayed in a bad light by conspiracy theories.

CIA Response to Assange Assassination FOIA                                                                                                                                   

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The FBI's Ustasha Stand Down Order

In January 1951, C.E. Hennrich, of the FBI, sent a memorandum to A.H. Belmont, of the FBI in which he argued that the FBI should “undertake no active investigation of Yugoslav immigrants and displaced persons who have been members of or associated with the Fascist Ustashi elements in World War II unless their activities after arriving in the United States appear to be inimical to the internal security.” Hennrich instead proposed that all “such allegations” be referred to INS for such action as is deemed advisable with the comment that the Bureau contemplates no investigation unless subsequent information indicates the subject's activities after arriving in the United Sates appear to be inimical to the internal security.” Hennrich stated that because of “the hatred between the Serbs and Croats,” which was “well-known,” and based on “political and religious difference which antecede World War II by many years.” and “the historical desire of the Croats for a separate state,” not all Ustashi were fascists. Hennrich also believed it was “expedient” for Croatians to support the German occupation and the Ustashi due to the former's occupation and the other's alliance with the Nazis.1 No formal response to this memorandum can be found in the FBI records at the National Archives or amongst the records I have had declassified. However, the cases of Janko Tortic and Andrija
Artukovic reveals a pattern of FBI behavior that indicates that this proposal was implemented. I will blog about this case in a forthcoming post.  
Ustasha Stand Down Order                                                            

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Lack of a Post- Milosevic NIE and What it Means

Without a doubt, once Slobodan Milosevic was overthrown, the American focus on the former Yugoslavia rapidly began to wane. This trend was furthered by the timing of Milosevic’s overthrow which occurred just a month before the 2000 American elections which eventually brought George W. Bush and a stated disdain for both the American interventions in the Balkans specifically and nation-building more generally into power. 9-11 accelerated the disengagement and made it permanent.

Confirming this is a final response letter recently sent out by the CIA in which they admit to having created no National Intelligence Estimates between 10/2000 and 10/2001 on Serbia or the rump Yugoslavia. NIEs are described by the CIA as being, “the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue prepared by the Director of Central Intelligence” and “are addressed to the highest level of policymakers-up to and including the President.” The creation of a NIE indicates significant interest from senior American leaders. While the lack of a NIE does not mean a total disengagement from an issue, it does indicate a less priority and importance has been placed upon it
CIA No Record Response

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Center for Cryptologic History Mission and Function Statements

The Center for Cryptologic History is a National Security Agency component and historical organization dedicated, as shown by their mission statement below, to the preservation and promoting of cryptologic history, particularly, but not limited to, the history of the NSA.
As for their mission and function statements, the NSA has given the CCH a concise, well-defined mission and function statements which are then broken down in further detail. However, with both a mission and function statement coming in at less than two pages, the CCH's purpose is tightly focused.

The statements also provided a list of documents that a FOIA user might be inclined to acquire such as its "partnership reports" and annual reports.CCH Mission Statement                                                                   

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More Missives From the Opaque Boss: More on NSA DIRgrams

During the summer, I posted a partial list of DIRgrams, messages produced by then National Security Agency director Michael Hayden to his NSA/CSS minions. Shortly thereafter, the NSA opted to declassified with token redactions on b(3) grounds(8), another document that, when combined with the record I first posted here, presents the some total of DIRgrams produced by Hayden and his successsor General Keith Alexander.

(*) Some redactions were made on non-responsive grounds, but this did not result in the redaction of DIRgram data.

NSA DIRgram List part Deux

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Branko Peshelj's Newly Released FBI Files

Branko Peshelj was a member of the Croatian Peasant Party and advisor to its long time leader Vladko Macek. He was also an American government employee and informant to the FBI. Combined this makes him one of the more important Croatian emigres during the post-Second World War period.

However, only a portion of his FBI files were released as part of Interagency Working Group efforts. Back when I was doing archival research, I pressed the NARA staff to release for more of his records. This summer, I achieved the success seen below. I was also informed another of Peshelj's FBI files was being dispatched to NARA. While this will force me to miss work to hop over there and acquire it, it just seems tacky, after all my bitching, not to grab it.

New Branko Peshelj Files

Milovan Djilas' State Department Obituary

Here is the United States State Department’s “obituary” for famed Yugoslav Communist Leader Milovan Djilas.

This 4/21/1995 cable from the US Embassy in Belgrade is succinct, poignant, and a complete contrast how the US Embassy in Belgrade treated Djilas while he was alive. As noted by Warren Zimmerman, the last Ambassador to Tito’s Yugoslavia, it was American policy not recognize Djilas so long as Tito was alive. This policy survived Tito. It was not until Zimmerman that Djilas actually met with the American ambassador.

Why Was the FBI Interested in Bobby Thomson?

At some point, for some reason, Bobby Thomson, author of the famed “Shot Heard 'round the World,” a home run in the third game of the 1951 pennant playoff series, which won the NL Pennant for the New York Giants, came into contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We know this because the FBI has admitted having “responsive records” when presented with a FOIA request.

Why Thomson came to the attention of the FBI is not known. Was he suspected of gambling? Was he a victim of a federal crime? Was he a suspected Communist? Was his name merely mentioned in an investigation into Major League Baseball or, perhaps, a teammate?

Why Bobby Thomson drew the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation will remain forever unknown. In the same letter in which the FBI admitted to having “responsive records” regarding Bobby Thomson, the FBI announced that it had destroyed the records in accordance with its record retention schedule.
Most striking about the FBI’s destruction of Thomson’s records was the date of their annihilation. They were destroyed on 4/1/2010, several months before Thomson’s demise and before anyone would have had a chance to submit a FOIA request for them. Without ever having given them the chance to become part of the public record, the FBI simply scooped up the records and confined them to pulping or a burn bag.

Now, baseball fans around the world will be left wondering, why was the FBI interested in Bobby Thomson?

FBI Response Letter regarding Bobby Thomson

Follow the Money. Or Not: The FBI and WikiLeaks' Funding (Updated)

For all the hubbub about WikiLeaks and alleged plots by the CIA and Department of Defense to frame or assassinate its leader Julian Assange, it seems that many federal law enforcement agencies are simply not putting in significant effort to stop WikiLeaks.

I have previously reported on the perfunctory investigation of WikiLeaks by NCIS, similarly lackluster efforts by US Army CID, and, finally, a no records response from the Defense Technical Information Center on the matter of WikiLeaks.

It can now be reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has thus far declined to investigate the Wau Holland Foundation. The Wau Holland Foundation, named after a famed member of the German computer hacking collective Chaos Computer Club, has been named as a leading source of WikiLeaks of funding (processor of donations see below) by the Wall Street Journal. Despite this and the linkage to the Chaos Computer Club, the FBI has opted not to investigate further.

Nota Bene

I was informed via Twitter that describing Wau Holland Foundation as a "funder" was incorrect. Looking at it again, I'm inclined to treat it as a funder. It is claimed that all it does is accept donations for WikiLeaks which it then (allegedly) dispenses. However, I have never dealt or seen any organization that supposedly just accepts funds on behalf of a non-profit for that non-profit's use turn around and demand receipts before issuing out grants.

Even if I am wrong on this point, my major point about American law enforcement and military agencies not caring about WikiLeaks remains unchallenged.

FBI Wau Holland Response Letter

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jack Chick Declares War on Halloween and Calls for Restoration of Reformation Day

Jack Chick, publisher of the "Chick Tracts," the delightful piece of American religious pop culture one can find scattered almost anywhere were the public congregates and his time on their hands, has issued a call for the return of Reformation Day and announced a renewed "War on Halloween."

In a 9/1/2010 letter announcing the launch of a new Halloween centered "Chick Tract" titled "Stinky," Chick bemoaned the return of Halloween and the lack of interest in Reformation Day which is a Protestant celebration. Chick decries that "no remembers that day [Reformation Day] anymore. Now it's ghosts and goblins with kids pushing up the steps for treats".

Jack Chick intends for the new "Stinky" Chick Tract to help Evangelical Christains defeat "Satan's troops by winning kids and their folks to Christ."

Chick proclaims some success in this endeavor allegeding that "sometimes angry witches will call our ladies who take orders over the phones. They begin screaming that we are ruining their highest holy day for Satan-- and we love it."

However, a Wiccan this author has texted with responded "Hell, no," when asked if Satan was involved in Wicca or other mainstream forms of witchcraft. Apparently, Wicca and other religions that produce "witches" do not believe in Satan.

More updates on this budding war against Halloween as they develop.

Jack Chick letter for War on Halloween

Saturday, September 18, 2010

NSA Technical Ship History

Below is a highly redacted, but still provides the broad outlines of policy and history of the NSA/US Navy’s Technical Research Ship Program written by Ms. Julie Alger. The history which, according to its preface, was written in early Spring 1970, is an early account of the NSA/US Navy’s Technical Research Ship Program. These ships were floating SIGINT/COMINT/ELINT(1) platforms that collected intelligence from hostile targets by trawling off-shore and scooping up whatever intelligence they could gather. The most famous of these was the USS Liberty which was attacked and nearly sunk by Israeli forces during the Six-Day-War. The USS Pueblo, seized by North Korean forces in 1968, is not mentioned in this report, but was a ship of similar function for a US Navy only program.

NSA Technical Ship Paper

(1) SIGINT= Signals Intelligence/ COMINT = Communications Intelligence/ ELINT = Electronics Intelligence

Monday, September 13, 2010

WikiLeaks: An Extremist Website

WikiLeaks is an “extremist website” according to a February 2009 Agent’s Activity Summary from [redacted], a Criminal Intelligence Specialist with US Army Criminal Investigation Division.

Other than choice tidbit and the revelation that WikiLeaks is not a member of the Better Business Bureau, there is little else of interest in [redacted] Criminal Intelligence Specialist’s Agent’s Activity Summary. This report tells that WikiLeaks was investigated again on 2/18/2009 when a captain with the Washington State Patrol called the 44th Military Police Detachment (CID), Fort Lewis, WA to warn them about a “website that may solicit soldiers to upload sensitive or classified documents to a public website.”

After the website was identified as, an investigation was launched. Rudimentary and limited in scope, the investigation into WikiLeaks revealed that “according to Google, Wikileaks publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct.” [redacted] Criminal Intelligence Specialist proceeded to check the “About” section on the WikiLeaks home page, to find out that it was started by “Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and startup company technologists, from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.” [redacted] Criminal Intelligence Specialist also noted that WikiLeaks disavowed any “formal relationship with Wikipedia” and WikiLeaks ’ proclamation that it “was not a front for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) or the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) AKA MI6.” [redacted] Criminal Intelligence Specialist detailed that WikiLeaks encourage “whistleblowers” to submit documents and details the process by which those submissions occurred.

[redacted] Criminal Intelligence Specialist then lists some of the United States military records then available on WikiLeaks before concluding with a listing of the assorted inquires conducted during [redacted] Criminal Intelligence Specialist’s investigation. [redacted] Criminal Intelligence Specialist reported that a check of shows that WikiLeaks is registered through, and the point of contact listed in the is [redacted] causing [redacted] Criminal Intelligence Specialist to mock WikiLeaks’ “army of analysts, journalists and other staff”. Finally, Lexis Nexis and the Better Business Bureau “revealed no record.”

The report is concluded with Army CID record keeping matters. The report and the information contained within were “disseminated for criminal purposes,” while no “.0015 funds were expended.” Finally, the report is noted as being “terminal.” At the very end, the standard CID boilerplate about use of their reports is included along with a distribution list for the report itself.

My other post on the NCIS' WikiLeaks investigation is available here. For my report on the Defense Technical Information Center lack of records, see here Finally, here is an earlier posting about an investigation into WikiLeaks by the Army CID.

Army CID Wikileaks Extremist

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Threat of Serbian Suicide Attacks

This August 1992 cable from the American Embassy in Belgrade reveals that the Bosnian Serbs openly threatened to conduct terrorist attacks against Western targets which included, but was not limited to nuclear power plants, using “kamikaze pilots” and “volunteers from friendly nations.” Who these volunteers were, assuming they existed is left unstated in the cable. I would presume they were, again assuming they were make-believe, members of the Serbian diaspora or Serbian underground in Europe, America, Australia, and elsewhere.

See the bottom of the second page of the PDF.

SerbianSuicide Attacks Cable

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The DTIC has No Records on WikiLeaks

The Defense Technical Information Center has emerged to join NCIS and the Army CID as agencies not paying any particular attention to WikiLeaks.

DTIC No Wikileaks Records Response Letter

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Study of Eastern-Bloc Intelligence Services

This is a copy of Practices and Methods of East- Bloc (Secret) Intelligence Services produced by the Federal Office of Criminal Investigations. Other than the redaction of some form of cover sheet and the author's name, the document is fully disclosed. It presents information on which East-Bloc intelligence services were active in Germany and the methods and techniques they used to ply their trade, making this document useful for the nascent spy or student of the Cold War.

Practices and Methods of East- Bloc (Secret) Intelligence Services

Saturday, August 28, 2010

America has a Communist -style Education Funding System & Other More Serious Things About Yugoslav Students

This is a CIA study of Yugoslav university students and youth written in the summer of 1968 according to 5/7/1973 Memorandum to the DCI regarding the broader report this paper of which this document was a portion. This document was reported to exist when the CIA released its infamous "Crown Jewels" collection I have a limited amount of time, so I am only going to hit the report’s highlights:

A)The report notes the age range of the Partisan generation which at the time of the report range from the leadership like Tito being well into their seventies and eighties while at the tail end there were individuals still in their forties. (pg.4)

B)Interestingly, Yugoslav schools and American schools are funded via the same primary means- local taxes. Just like in America, areas of Yugoslavia with high levels of wealth had high quality schools, while economically disadvantaged areas had inferior educational opportunities (pg.9)

A personal note, I intend to criticize everyone I know who mindlessly favors local control of education as being a "Commie" and by citing this report.

C)Something else I found noteworthy- Yugoslavia reduced the student loan burdens of university students who rapidly completed their studies. Given the white hot mess that Yugoslav higher education come be, it’s not easy to say if that was a good idea or would be a good idea in the United States, but I think it might be worthwhile to examine it as a student loan reform here in the United States. (pg.9)

D)Finally, the students of Sarajevo rioted along with the students of Belgrade. (pg.10)

A CIA 1968 Study of Yugoslav Youth

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The NSA and the NIEs on Yugoslavia

I have submitted FOIA requests to the NSA for their records regarding all the National Intelligence Estimates that were done on Yugoslavia after the creation of the NSA in 1952. Without fail, they fire back no records responses. Interesting.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stjepan Mesic's Hardcore

Earlier this year, Bosnian and Balkans politics heaved a bit when Stjepan Mesic publicly threatened the Republika Srpska with destruction if they took steps to destroy the current Bosnian state. Bosnian Serbs gasped in horror. The West frettered. Bosnians took heart. The best reaction of was of my Croatian friend who declared that Mesic, a civilized leftist, "simply was taking whatever measures were needed to keep Bosnia together and the unwashed, right-wing, Ustasha fucks that make up the Bosnian "Croat" (*) population out of our country." (1)

What wasn't reported was that Mesic had been making these threats privately for at least year according to the U.S. State Department. Apparently, whenever Milorad Dodik escalated his rhetoric and threats to break away from Bosnia, Mesic would reply with threats of breaking the RS. Nice.  See the State Department cable on the matter:

1/20/2010 State Department Cable on Stjepan Mesic Threat to Destroy the Republika Srpska

(1) He did air quotes. Had he been drunk, he probably would have gone off on our mutual Bosnian Croat friend about how he was Bosnian and needed to accept that fact.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Security and Exchange Commission Investigation into 9/11 Terror Trading

In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, the media was filled with a flurry of stories about the “shorting” of stocks of the airline companies involved. Then the story died out in the mainstream media and shifted into the realm of para-politics and conspiracy theory. In April 2010, the Security and Exchange Commission opted to make a discretionary disclosure of a portion of their report into the short trading. It found that the increase in “put options” was the product of industry publications and that the the sec failed to discover 'any evidence that anyone who had advance knowledge of the attack sought to profit from the information by trading securities” and the trading was consistent with a legitimate trading strategy.”

Pre-September 11, 2001 Trading Review

Commies in the US Army

Yes, there were godless Communists in the United States Army. However, they did not worm their way into our beloved armed forces using guile and deception. They were invited.

During the Cold War, the United States attempted to woo Yugoslavia into the NATO/Western powers camp through economic and even military assistance. One form of military assistance offered was the training JNA officers in US military schools such as Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Among the attendees was Veljko Kadijević who completed the school in 1963 and Lt. Col. Pasmiz Ramusovic(SP?*) who attended in 1965. Below is his Invitational Orders from the US Army detailing to Ramusovic the conditions of his involvement, what he needed, and was expected of him.

(*)As you will see, the documents were a blurry mess.

Ramusovic Orders

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

John Marks Templeton's FBI File

This is the FBI file of the recently deceased, international financier, and participant in the eternal war between science and religion. I had a FOIA submitted for his file after becoming curious about him after seeing repeated and rather harsh criticism of him and his namesake charity, the Templeton Foundation, from the bloggers and readers at Scienceblogs.

John Marks Templeton's FBI File

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Newly Declassified COINTELPRO Files Detail Anti-Serbian Campaign

In the course of my thesis research, I had a FOIA request submitted to the FBI seeking their COINTELPRO records on its program directed against Yugoslav emigres. According to their FOIA website, the COINTELPRO files pertaining to Yugoslav (Violence Prone Yugoslav Emigres in U. S. ) amounted to just 84 pages. I thought the FOIA request that I had submitted would be quick and free, given my entitlement to the first 100 pages of duplication being without charge.

Much to my surprise and delight, the response to my request was substantially more than expected. I actually received 178 pages of records in total. Plus, with the exception of agent names, informant names, and the names of their unwitting targets, there is little redaction allowing for a detailed and accurate reconstruction of the COINTELPRO operations directed at the Serbian emigre community in the United States.

Analysis below comes from a portion of my yet to be completed thesis:

Another reason for the lackluster response by the American government to Ustasha activities was that Ustasha activities in the United States were limited and eclipsed by the more active (in America ) Serbian émigré groups.
The Serbian émigrés were active in the United States before the Ustasha movement’s splinter factions began to take center stage. In February 1966, eight Yugoslav embassies and consulates throughout the United States and Canada were bombed. The FBI affixed responsibility for the bombings on Serbian émigrés, through it never arrested anyone in connection with the attacks. However, by the beginning of 1969, the FBI, having grown weary with the Serbian émigré communities actions, had position itself to strike back those “who have frequently capitalized on the bombings to build their reputations with the Serbians”.

A COINTELPRO campaign directed against VIOLENCE PRONE-Yugoslav émigrés were launched. The purpose of this COINTELPRO operation was “to create a feeling of mistrust” toward violent émigrés. From the currently declassified files, it appears that the first operation directed at violent Serb émigrés occurred in early 1968. The initial operation was to clandestinely distribute a flyer from a faux Serbian émigré group condemn violence against Yugoslav. However, it appears from the released records that the operation in question was long in development raising questions about possible earlier COINTELPRO operations despite FBI claims that all remaining files on COINTELPRO operations directed at violence prone Yugoslav émigrés have been released.

In October 1969, the FBI launched a plan to flush out Serbian terrorists by conducting faux investigations designed to capitalize on Yugoslav émigrés fears, spawned by a series of violent assassinations believed by most to have been done by the Yugoslav government, and convince them that Yugoslav intelligence services had infiltrated their ranks and were plotting similar acts here in the United States. Fears that this operation might lead to the widespread rupturing of the Serbian community led to modifications of the program. There were also concerns that Serbian émigrés might respond with violence, fearing the Yugoslav government. However, approval was given for the operation with the Chicago field office being given orders to formulate a plan to achieve their campaign’s objective.

Croatian terrorist are not mentioned until February 1970 as a possible target of COINTELPRO attention and investigation. In a memorandum to the FBI office, the Chicago field office reports that it had “recently been involved in determining the extent of” Otpor which the Chicago field office believed was “inclined toward militant direct action.” Chicago field office recommends expanding the planned operation to include Croatian émigrés and organizations. The FBI director agreed.

Ultimately, the Croatians were dismissed as a threat to the American national security. The FBI San Francisco found no evidence that they either promoted or were planning any violent actions against the Yugoslav government. The office reported that Croatians passively demonstrated in front Yugoslav consulate and that had been “incidents” where individuals had protested against the presence of Yugoslav officials at Croatian social gatherings. San Francisco Field Office also reported that the Ustasha movement was weak and resorted to tactics such as founding numerous organizations to all of its members would then join, creating the illusion of political clout. Ultimately, the operation was aborted due to “paranoiac fear” among Yugoslav émigrés of assassination by Yugoslav intelligence which was bolstered by the FBI’s early interviews.

Yugoslav COINTELPRO Files