Bloggers on the forthcoming CIA document dump.

Bloggers on the forthcoming CIA document dump.

Bloggers on the forthcoming CIA document dump.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
June 22 2007 5:58 PM

The Bad Shepherds

Bloggers speculate what'll be disclosed in the release of the CIA's "family jewels." They also debate the merits of the Muslim niqab in British society, and whether eating garbage can be counted as anti-capitalist and eco-friendly.

The bad shepherds: The CIA is declassifying tranches of documents that reveal the agency's illegal activities from the 1950s to the 1970s. From coup attempts in the Third World to surveillance of anti-war and black militant groups, the shadowy intelligence apparatus has been up to no good since its inception. And how's it doing these days?


"I have rarely been surprised or horrified by what the CIA has done down through the years 'in our name.' " Conservative Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse writes. "The world is a cold, brutal place and there are many times when the 'ends/means argument' is not relevant. Nor is the criticism that there was 'no moral difference' between what the Soviets were doing and what the CIA did valid. Of course there was a difference; they were the enemy and what the CIA did most of the time to protect the United States was its own moral justification – survival." Lefty Meteor Blades at Daily Kos doesn't expect to be surprised this time, either: "[T]he CIA's airing of its dirty laundry is what, in the Watergate days, was called a 'modified limited hang-out' of documents from a long while back, and there are unlikely to be any major new revelations. We'll never know what got shredded or disposed of in burn bags. Still, the documents should add considerable detail to what was exposed by previous investigations."

Washington gossip rag Wonkette thinks the timing of the release is a wag-the-dog scheme, even if the mutt in this case is pretty mangy: "If any of those activities sound suspiciously like things the CIA is currently in trouble for, guess what: You've figured out why they're releasing the details of 30-50-year-old crimes in 2007! Now, sadly, you must be destroyed."

North Carolina lawyer Andrew at The Green Automobile hits the same plus ca change note: "The good news is the CIA no longer kidnaps, wiretaps, breaks in or spies on people. Just ask Khalid al Masri and Senator Jay Rockefeller. Or former CIA director Porter Goss, for that matter. It makes me sick that these SOBs stash the smoking guns for 30+ years, and then, after the smoke clears, they have the nerve to say, 'That was then, this is now.' Over and over and over again, and the people of this country believe it and act like it's ancient history."

Historian/journalist Mike Brooks at historymike thinks there might be a file on him in some of those dusty documents: "I remember paticipating in one protest in the late 1980s. … Men in suits with cameras took pictures of protesters and the license plates of vehicles in which they drove to the protest, and what was most interesting (and scary) was the fact that these nameless faces actually smirked when I asked them what they were doing."


At Nunc Scio, Graeme Stewart quips, "But what I really want to know is how they turned Matt Damon into a badass assassin. Or perhaps where I can get Franka Potente's phone number."

Read more about the CIA's "family jewels."

Under cover of darkness: More Muslim women in Britain are donning face-covering veils, know as niqabs, to the chagrin of passers-by and everyone else whose face you can see. Some proponents say they're routinely harassed and aggravated by strange looks. Other Brits say the niqab is anti-social.

At The Muslim Woman, New Delhi native "Scorpio Teddy" supports those who opt for the garment: "Muslim women have been wearing burka or nikab for time immemorial. While few have been forced to wear it as a compulsion, some wear it as a ritual, while the rest for their self-pleasure. But, burqa is considered as a kind of subjugation and backwardness, but when religion permits, what can others do? And, more importantly, why?"


One woman quoted in the story says, "Every day people are giving me dirty looks for wearing it, but when you wear something for Allah you get a boost." But conservative Brit David Vance at A Tangled Web shoots back: "Quite, and if Ms Muse wants to continue to get 'her boost' for wearing the veil of Islam she should return to Somali where it may indeed be high fashion but Britain should NOT accept the mask of Islam as evidenced in the Burqa or Niqab."

At the river of bees college sophomore Alex McLeese thinks Muslim women in niqabs are no different than punks in mohawks: "Sure, it is a mark of separation in that it is Muslims who wear this kind of clothing, but people set themselves apart with their clothing choices all the time: it is mostly Goths who wear all black on a regular basis, mostly 'urban' youth who wear baggy clothes, mostly skateboarders who wear skater backpacks and skate shoes, mostly soccer fans who wear Arsenal or Liverpool jerseys, and so on. What's the difference?"

Read more about the Muslim veil in Britain.

One man's trash, another man's dinner: Freegans eat food from the garbage and collect tossed-away housewares, all out of a desire to counter our wasteful consumerist culture and the bourgeois capitalist superstructure. Or something.

Harrison Scott Key at evangelical World magazine's WorldViews finds a common bond with freegans: "For you crusty homeschool types, meet the final frontier. Weirdo hippies and weirdo homeschoolers (I'm only one interesting month away from either category) may soon find themselves in the same dumpster."

Obsessed with all things inane, Mark Percival argues that freeganism suffers from a major ideological contradiction: "But you really have to wonder about the logic in this. To be truly 'Freegan' means that your essentially living off someone else refuse, and not a complete abstaining from consumer products. If everyone adhered to this principle then even the 'Freegans' would be totally screwed. I'd be much more impressed if they could just live on less, rather than ride the trash coat tails of modern society."

Read more about freegans.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.