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27.07.2015
The CIA is running and paying for a secret 3,000-strong army of Afghan paramilitaries whose main aim is assassinating Taliban and al-Qa'ida operatives not just in Afghanistan but across the border in neighbouring Pakistan's tribal areas, according to Bob Woodward's explosive book. Although the CIA has long been known to run clandestine militias in Afghanistan, including one from a base it rents from the Afghan president Hamid Karzai's half-brother in the southern province of Kandahar, the sheer number of militiamen directly under its control have never been publicly revealed. Woodward's book, Obama's Wars, describes these forces as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qa'ida and Afghan Taliban havens there. Although no comment has been forthcoming, it is understood that the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen David Petraeus, approves of the mission, which bears similarities to the covert assassination campaign against al-Qa'ida in Iraq, which was partially credited with stemming the tide of violence after the country imploded between 2004 and 2007.
The details of the clandestine army have surprised no one in Kabul, the Afghan capital, although the fact that the information is now public is unprecedented. The operation also has powerful echoes of clandestine operations of the 1990s, when the CIA recruited and ran a militia inside the Afghan border with the sole purpose of killing Osama bin Laden.
COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The acting speaker of the lower house of Brazil's Congress has annulled last month's vote on impeachment, delaying the process against embattled President Dilma Rousseff.
Journalists are set to publish the names of thousands of offshore companies based on a massive trove of data on the finances of the rich and powerful that has become known as the Panama Papers. Donald Trump has reversed his stance on two key economic principles - saying he now supports a higher national minimum wage and would raise taxes on the rich rather than lowering them. From the author of Argo comes an unforgettable behind-the-scenes story of espionage in action. Mendez, a 25-year CIA operative who rose to the position of "Chief of Disguise," works hard to demystify the workings of Cold War spy culture. On the 50th anniversary of the CIA, author Mendez was named one of the 50 all-time stars of the spy trade.
The retired, highly decorated chief of disguise for the CIA highlights his adventurous 25-year career. The first book-length expose of CIA kidnappings and prisons -- two of the greatest evils in the Bush government, and the world -- by the Italian investigative journalist Guido Olimpio is here, and it's new and as current as todays news stories about secret jails the CIA runs! There have been multiple reports of the CIA running its own militias in southern Afghanistan.
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Though he alludes romantically to the agency's work as "a domain of shadows" in his introduction, his approach to this memoir is mostly pragmatic (fans of Robert Ludlum-type spy stories should stick with fiction).


There is no place where espionage is not used.--Sun TzuThe Blue Ridge Mountains, Maryland, August 21,1997. It includes deceptions such as spiking drinks, pocketing small objects and tying shoelaces to communicate in code. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. Mendez reveals the cunning tricks and insights that helped save hundreds from deadly situations.Adept at creating new identities for anyone, anywhere, Mendez was involved in operations all over the world, from "Wild West" adventures in East Asia to Cold War intrigue in Moscow. Recruited in the 1960s for his skills as an artist, he worked first on forging documents of foreign governments.
Although he began making counterfeit identity papers, he eventually branched out, bringing techniques developed in Hollywood to espionage. It's an extremely controversial practice, a threat to America's security and character, and a sweat-provoking threat to potential victims and an insult to the sovereignty of countries like Italy and Sweden.
In 1980, he orchestrated the escape of six Americans from a hostage situation in revolutionary Tehran, Iran.
He then ventured into the field, creating disguises to help "exfiltrate" spies from enemy territory. His greatest feat may have been engineering the escape of the six Americans from Tehran who'd taken refuge in the Canadian Embassy during the 1980 crisis. I wait tensely on the concrete observation deck of the sweltering airport terminal, peering down at the tarmac through a thickening haze. Michael Ledeen, no less, one of the most radical of neoconservatives, recently refered to the author as "a very smart Italian journalist named Guido Olimpio." Neither left nor right, Olimpio is dead on target with this explosive expose. The material - now unclassified - was uncovered by espionage historian Keith Melton, and Bob Wallace, a former CIA director. Mendez claims not, defending his work as part of a very real "war." Reader Hill, a longtime Brilliance veteran, manages to translate ably the sense of awe that Mendez experienced as he learned the tools of his trade.
More important, he makes the events sound credible and real, aided by Mendez's clear-eyed descriptive writing style.
An Aeroflot IL-62 arrives from Tashkent and lumbers up to the gate directly below.My pulse suddenly surges. It also shows operatives how to conceal a doping pill in a matchbook, then covertly drop it into a person's drink while distracting them by lighting their cigarette.
While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. The operations plan called for the subject and his CIA escort to have left on the continuation of the delayed TWA flight at least an hour ago, for a very good reason.


Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. We wanted them out of here before the Aeroflot landed, with its inevitable ground retinue of KGB gumshoes.The subject is a KGB defector who simply walked into our Station ten days earlier. The guide was part of a larger CIA programme, called Project MK-Ultra, aimed at countering the Soviet mind-control techniques of the Cold War era. Now, waiting down in the steamy, crowded departure hall, will he panic and run when he hears the Soviet flight announced?I glance over the mildewed cement barrier.
It lands, taxis down the runway, and finally stops at the far end of the poorly lit parking apron.The haze thickens--"smit," the old Asian hands call it, ground-hugging "smoke from shit" from the millions of cow dung cooking fires burning in villagesacross the subcontinent.
My task is to confirm that our subject and his escort officer "Jacob," my partner in this operation, safely board the continuation of the TWA flight.
If I don't catch sight of them coming out of the terminal with the other passengers booked for the same flight, it could mean they have run into trouble at passport control. That is where the alias documents and disguise I've helped create will be tested.Passengers emerge from the terminal, headed for the TWA plane, but I still don't see the subject and his escort.
Abu Omar, an imam (cleric) at a militant mosque in Milan, was the victim of a CIA "rapito" (kidnapping) in February 2003. Is it possible that they have already bolted to the two getaway cars sitting at the dark end of the parking lot with their engines running?Whatever the outcome of the exfiltration operation, I have to pass a signal from the phone booth at the bottom of the stairway.
It was an attack on Italian sovereignty as clearly as Pearl Harbor was an attack on American sovereignty, since the Italian government, or so it claims, had nothing to do with it.
I find myself descending the stairs with their chipped paint and wedging myself into the oven of the phone booth.
I lift the receiver of the clumsy red Bakelite phone, put a brown coin in the slot, strike the cradle bar and release it. Damned colonial phone, a legacy of British rule that probably hasn't been maintained since the Raj folded the Union Jack. If like most Americans you are unilingual, or if your second language is not Italian, that leaves you out.



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