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That Ole Folksy Touch

By Al Schumann on Thursday March 25, 2010 06:31 AM

That ole folksy touch, it sure do impress the natives. It gives 'em a sense of being one of the boys. And it helps make up for some of the little jokes.

CIA officers in Afghanistan were so eager to meet the spy they believed would help them crack al-Qaida's leadership they planned a birthday celebration for his visit in December, current and former U.S. officials said.

A birthday cake was waiting.

But before they could even begin to question their golden source, he detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and seven CIA employees in one of the deadliest attacks in the agency's history.


A birthday cake! Awww, shucks. Was it in a special shape? Maybe a key, to symbolize the opening of hearts and minds?! That could be a mistake, even with the best intentions. I remember baking a key-shaped cake that wound up looking like a penis. From a certain angle, now that I recall, it also looked like Leon Panetta.


A couple of additional curiosities from the article.

Presenting birthday cakes to recruited agents is, according to the cited sources, part of management's human resources policy. It's supposed to add that all important personal touch. There's nothing unusual about it.

The policy makers expect to be warmly regarded, if not actually loved, by people recruited from their pool of victims. They're giving them opportunities. And cakes! Birthday cakes! To question their management of this program is to impute grievous character flaws to the people carrying it out. The policy itself, needless to say, just is. It flew in the window while no one was looking.

The drone attacks, coups, assassinations and so forth don't count as the deadliest attacks in the agency's history.

Comments (10)


gee super Al
i forgot we have a bloody bad yank empire to run...down here

seems my mind has strayed too far from the bare teeth of the well trained
global wolf pack
of corporations without borders

if not for pay back
at least to show the stinger ain't dead
maybe the outfit oughta
send hugo c
--thru local friends --
a birthday cake shaped like a penus
with a bomb in it


err in this case the full leon
not just foremost appendage leon

also looks like this fine feathered
comprador gringo compadre


The Af/Pak War By The Numbers:

Number of drone attacks the God-Emperor has ordered since taking office - 51.

Number of drone attacks by which the God-Emperor has exceeded the Chimperor's drone attacks - 13.

Number of enemy Taliban fighters the Pentagon insists is killed by each US airstrike - exactly 30.

Number of birthday cakes baked by the CIA - 1.

Al Schumann:

Owen, maybe they could dust off the exploding cigars and try to get Hugo that way. To be extra clever, Obama could send an autographed Bible (autographed by him, not God) and send a box full of Cass Sunstein's notes on cognitive infiltration. Ollie North would be the perfect messenger. Although he might eat the penis cake... But it'd be bipartisan and who would ever suspect him?

Smithee, as I understand it, the increases are forced on Obama, in much the same way the cake policy was forced on the CIA.

Hank Greenberg and Cornelius VanderStarr demand that economic opportunities be pursued in the Middle East.


I remember when Ollie North brought the Ayatollah Khomeni a birthday cake from Reagan...

Al Schumann:

Good times, eh? I was relatively bright-eyed and bushy-tailed back then. I knew better than to expect anything but self-conscious beautiful losing and feckless hand-wringing from the Democrats in the Iran-Contra investigation, but the agony and victimhood of the Republicans seemed heartfelt. I guess they were still smarting over Nixon's maudlin departure. Some of them remain traumatized into fever pitch hysteria, bless their hearts, though getting quite long in the tooth. The Democrats, needless to say, remain the lumpen corporate tar baby party. The undead don't age.

Wow. Y'know, that foto on the top looks kind of like the cover of my favorite Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass album -- but only kind of:


...and btw, @ Al Schuman re: lumpen corporate tar baby party:


Crip'ed Whine and Other Dead Lights!


Imperial Feminism (http://lists.econ.utah.edu/pipermail/margins-to-centre/2005-August/000583.html) to the rescue:


Recruit Afghan women to sell war to Europeans: CIA report
Fri Mar 26, 7:19 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A CIA expert has called for recruiting Afghan women in a public relations bid to persuade skeptical Europeans to support the NATO-led war effort, according to a document leaked Friday.

"Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing" the mission for European audiences, particularly in France, according to the CIA analysis, posted on WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website.

Afghan women's views would carry special weight as they could express "their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory," it said.

The Central Intelligence Agency declined to confirm or deny if the document was genuine. But WikiLeaks has previously posted government and corporate documents that were later verified.

The report by a CIA expert on "strategic communications" and State Department analysts of public opinion warned that popular support for the war in Europe was weak and could easily collapse, citing the recent fall of the Dutch government over the issue.

"The tone of previous debate suggests that a spike in French or German casualties or in Afghan civilian casualties could become a tipping point in converting passive opposition into active calls for immediate withdrawal," it said.

The analysis, dated March 11, suggested public relations strategies to drum up support for the war in Germany and France, which maintain the third and fourth largest troop deployments in Afghanistan.

"Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women to share their stories with French, German, and other European women could help to overcome pervasive skepticism among women in Western Europe toward the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission," it said.

Public relations efforts could "tap into acute French concern for civilians and refugees," the report said, suggesting highlighting polls that show most Afghans support the presence of coalition troops.

Such an approach could stress the potential dangers facing Afghan civilians if NATO-led troops were defeated and "leverage French (and other European) guilt for abandoning them."

"The prospect of the Taliban rolling back hard-won progress on girls? education could provoke French indignation, become a rallying point for France's largely secular public, and give voters a reason to support a good and necessary cause despite casualties."

The report also suggested taking advantage of President Barack Obama's popularity in France and Germany, arguing that appeals from the US president on the importance of the allied role in the war could have a positive effect.

The memorandum is titled: "Afghanistan: Sustaining West European Support for the NATO-led Mission -- Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough."

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