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The Night of the Long Knives

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In 1934 Adolph Hitler eliminated any possible resistance and opposition to him by arresting and executing Ernst Roehm and several hundred SA leaders. While the SA under Roehm's leadership had been core to Hitler's rise to power, many of Hitler's subordinates including the military were concerned about the amount of power that Roehm and the SA held. The solution to this paranoia, eliminate them. Hitler called it the Night of the Long Knives.

The current removal of Porter Goss and the nomination of General Hayden has been characterized by many as fight between the military and the CIA, or an attempt by Rumsfeld to control intelligence management. While this maybe true, the real tale might be much more sinister. The reality is both the NSA and military intelligence have been brought to heel by the executive branch under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), John Negroponte. The CIA may be the only agency, as strange as it may seem to some Americans, to stand between the Neo-Cons and complete and total control over America.

Hayden like Negroponte is more than willing to serve the Neo-cons by any means necessary. Don't forget Negroponte as Ambassador to Honduras, was responsible for organizing and managing the dirty wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, which included the oversight and funding of death squads and the Iran-Contra affair. Hayden who has supported and ran the NSA's questionable domestic eavesdropping program has openly decided the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution means something other than what it says in writing, obviously believes in the unitary theory (dictatorship) of the executive.

I find myself in spite of the CIA's checkered past cheering them as the good guys. While the CIA has occasionally messed up badly (the Bay of Pigs), violated human rights (foreign rendition) and acted mistakenly against long-term American interests (overturning a democracy to install the Shah of Iran), it has always been seen as acting in what it thought was America's best interest based on the intelligence available. Even when it was mistaken, it traditionally maintained an independence of political subjugation to Presidents. Unlike the military commitment to follow the "Commander in Chief" the agency has always had an air of commitment to intrigue based on intelligence regardless of the who was the President or the political appointee in charge.

The history of the CIA in the whole Iraq affair has been warped by administration spin from the beginning. Used initially as a supposed supplier of information that led to the invasion of Iraq, then as an agency who was to blame for misinformation, only to be characterized by insiders as the one who had it right all along but was subverted by the administration and is now the scapegoat for the whole thing. Its role seems to be murkier by the minute. Goss was sent in to keep the CIA from defending itself and performing one of its other roles in history, leaking information damaging to Presidents when they misbehave.

Nobody seems to know for sure where the info about Congressman Duke Cunningham, Asst. CIA Director, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, and CIA Director, Porter Goss came from, but it smells like part of an ongoing war between the agency professionals in the CIA, both current and retired, and the administration over its ability to stay free from partisan control. The unexplained firing of agent Mary McCarthy right before her retirement seems to make her just one of the casualties of war.

While Goss may have run roughshod over professionals in the agency that probably was not the reason he was dismissed. That is what the Neo Cons expected of him. What went on at the Watergate Hotel rather than anything at Langley probably made him a liability and brought his leadership to an end. Either Goss as a former agent, resisted such consolidation under Negroponte because of his loyalty to the agency or his loyalty to the administration's agenda to destroy it resulted in those under him putting out the damaging information about him, Foggo and Cunningham to the press. Notice the administration's obsession in finding leak sources in the CIA.

Hayden is being brought in not to consolidate military control over the CIA but to strip the CIA of its valuable parts, transfer them to DNI's control (which already began under Goss) and then get rid of the bare skeleton when done. Colin Powell is gone from State and the military has already shed top officers who disagreed with Neo Con plans. The administration through Negroponte and Hayden intend that the carcass of the CIA will be hung on the wall next to that of the military when the Neo Cons are done. John Bolton is working on the U.N. next.

The problem that the Bush administration is most worried about probably has nothing to do with intelligence as much as it does with the long reputation that the CIA has had of reigning in Presidents who try and gain too much power. The gutting and destruction of the CIA, often referred to as a rogue agency, would destroy the last vestige of internal government dissent by an agency that cherishes accuracy and independence above politics. It stands directly between the administration and its ability to push the country into war against Iran on trumped up charges and has the power to do it. A war Bush is determined to have.

The Project for a New American Century signed by over sixteen people in the administration's staff in 1997 outlined a plan to dominate Mid East oil and keep America the only major military power for the next one hundred years. The Neo Cons are committed to an oil based economy and keeping both China and Russia from being players by establishing permanent bases in both Iraq and Iran. The support for Iran from China and Russia against sanctions is indicative of this battle as well as Secretary of State's Rice's comments that if necessary the United States will proceed in actions against Iran with a "coalition of the willing" instead of U.N. approval.

Realize the talk of Iran as a nuclear threat by either the Iranians or Bush and Rice is a joke. Iran may have a nuclear weapon in five or ten years. Israel has somewhere around 220 and the U.S. has over 2,800, there is no question about who would get wiped off the face of the earth. Bush needs to carry out the rest of the Plan for a New American Century and shore up the base. The other reason is the same as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's, to stoke the fires of nationalism in order to overcome low poll numbers. CIA analysts are unlikely to allow themselves to be used as they were to foment the Iran war. The other winner in a war against Iran is Israel who would be free to execute its plan to confiscate large areas of the west bank, the rest of Jerusalem and finish walling off what is left.

Multinational corporations support this effort as the club to enforce neo-liberal economic policies that strip countries of their natural resources, exploit cheap labor and create a new international ruling class of ultra capitalists. As populist movements around the world (even in China there were tens of thousands of labor uprisings happen every year) fight back and more people become politically and economically disenfranchised resistance grows, the need for a seamless national and international military, police and intelligence machine grows correspondingly.

The flaunting of international law with renditions, secret prisons and military covert actions in Iran and who knows where else are indicative of their seriousness in carrying out of their plan regardless of domestic popular opinion. Rumsfeld's recent announcement that they plan on placing special ops action teams in embassy's around the world to conduct intelligence operations suppress "terrorist elements" independently of host countries shows how unconcerned about foreign sovereignty they are. Actions previously handled by the CIA.

Recent staff replacements do not represent the adjustment to compensate for low poll numbers that some think, it is a purge. Make no mistake the people being brought in are replacing people who might have some reservations about domestic theocracy and global domination. The White House has purged anyone who was more Republican than Neo-Con ideologue and shows no signs of mellowing its political and economic certainty about its goals with any of the replacements to the White House staff.

Indeed the Administration is pursuing a course that would indicate it is continuing its march. It is consolidating its support from the rich and corporate interests with the extension of the tax cuts. The pressing for war with Iran, and an attempt to promote hyper-nationalism with antagonistic words towards Russia would not only would get support from Neo Cons but also the Israel lobby. Right wing Christian Zionists would applaud the opportunity for Israel to act with impunity, turning what little that will be left of the West Bank and Gaza into a giant prison for Palestinians. At home they would also support the repression of civil rights for theocratic reasons as well as the "increased risk of terrorism".

Iran has pledged and may have the capability of exploiting "the war on Islam" to create terrorist attacks around the globe, especially given the outrage that would result from a nuclear attack on Iran. Any such attacks in America would end any semblance of civil liberties. This would also destroy anyone who might stand in the way of the full-scale gathering of intelligence by federal agencies about internal dissidents. Something the administration has continually tried to accomplish under the guise of "sharing information". The resulting public outcry by anti war, anti globalization and civil rights advocates in this country would probably be violently suppressed, with many detained as "enemy combatants" and "terrorists".

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John Kelley is the Managing Editor of a monthly progressive newsmagazine, "We the People News", in Corpus Christi, Texas
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