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October 30, 2005




Not that that is so horrible or anything. Just saying. (And you can bet Arabs will say it too. MIght not keep them from watching it, but most people will assume it's propaganda)


Bah, there is nothing CIA about the Layalina schmucks. They're bad businessmen, however. I say that having been involved in business with mutual parties.


Nothing CIA about our dear ex-President? OK he's a bad businessman and so is his son, but don't you remember the position he held in the '70s? I speak of Bush I, now, not Bush II.

Maybe the reality show is not CIA directly, but the Company has a very long history of funding this sort of thing, high culture and low. It's been in the press again recently - attempts to portray America in a favorable light, sometimes funded through the Ford foundation in the old days.

And speaking of dearest George HW Bush, who looks better every month that his son remains in office - the Oedipal irony of Plamegate just kills me. He's got to be in agony over the outing of the agent, since the law making it a crime was his doing. Some undercover agent was killed in Greece in the 70s because of a news report, when Bush I was in charge at the CIA. He took the loss personally, and when he became VP in '81 made it his business to enact the statute which someone seems to have violated in the Valerie Plame case.

It's beyond my powers as a novelist this year, but somebody might make a good book out of it. Steve Gilliard has done a hilarious play over at his blog this weekend, with W as a sullen, rebellious teenager in big trouble with Poppy and Barb.


I was not speaking to the Board. I was speaking to the actual people running the bloody thing. Don't think the "headline" people have anything to do with actual operations.

the aardvark

Aha! That was surreal... for some reason, Lounsbury's last comment showed up before the preceding two, and it felt like I was living in a Harold Pinter play.

Out of nowhere, he shouts "I was not speaking to the Board!" We all look around nervously... what could this outburst signify? To whose voice did he reply? Was there some ongoing conversation to which we were not privy? Was it a signal to conspirators abroad?

But it all makes sense now... although in some ways, the order in which I read the comments was more entertaining!

John Penta

OT, except in the "culture gap" sense:

In the spirit of Halloween, we recall a story of a Halloween past. On Nov. 4, 1979, just a few days after Halloween, militant Islamic students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Various parts of the embassy were still decorated with ghosts and goblins and other scary stuff.

So when the hostages were taken to a room with decorations, the Iranians asked what this was all about. One hostage explained, apparently closing the culture gap.

"You do this to your children?" a militant asked.

Karen Hughes, take note. This is what you're up against.

From "The Loop" column:


I do aim to entertain.

Although with respect to the CIA accusation, that would be inevitable regardless (I can not count the times....) - of course Abu Bush adds versimiltude.


Well, collounsbury, since you're in country, you know much more about it than I do. But saying that the "actual people running the bloody thing" aren't CIA, whilst their board (and funding?) might be - doesn't disprove the accusation, does it?

The whole point of CIA funding of various cultural matters - there's been some talk about avante garde art exhibits in the 50s, for instance, having been funded at arm's length by The Company - the whole point is that of course the CIA itself isn't producing the actual work. That's too obvious (and wouldn't be interesting either). They back things they think will cast America in a good light, and send them around.

Now if it's not CIA, but rather State Dept. - that's a useful distinction. I happen to think that whichever branch of the government is funding it, it's a decent way to spend my tax dollars. I know of two projects in Egypt that my buddies there were calling CIA nearly a quarter century ago, that have contributed greatly to Egyptian culture. OK, the project leader was supposed to be the CIA's person in country. But the projects were and are great contributions, and if they were done as part of American efforts to look good and make friends, so what?

I'd rather my government fund cultural works of merit (or of little merit, vis this reality show) than new weapons and wars.


I very much doubt you speak to actual US Agency experience. My sole comment is I know US Agency people, and this does not match my sense of them.

However, that is neither here nor there.

The company itself is a US non profit with certain reporting guidelines. While it may be possible that these are trumped, it would rather appear vis-a-vis grey or black arts that a nice corporate shell organised as a purely private entity would be far, far more useful.

Which is to say, if you as the innocent novelist and whatever bloody literary things you do can "ID" something as CIA (or other intel operation), it most certainly is likely not to be (although caveats do apply).

The obscure works far better.

Indeed in my own corporate world, setting up shells to disguise ownership is a art form. I would bloody well hope that this basic level of competence exists among the US officials with exposure to the same in the private sector.

However, the simple minded conspiracy mongers will of course bloody well pimp what they want.

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