This is the final chapter of “An Accidental Spy” and, with a touch of irony, it is the 13th installment.
Hold My Hand, We’re Crossing The Street
Americans have a tendency to scoff and snicker at other people’s customs, whether Mexican, Chinese, Saudi, Iraqi or whatever. They are also quick to assign dark ulterior motives to any non-American custom, or food, or feature. Call it chauvinist. Call it xenophobic. Call it stupidly ignorant and intolerant.
It is one of the many reasons Americans are often disliked in foreign lands. They mock everything and anything unfamiliar. (I will have to leap forward into the 21st Century to illustrate. Pardon the big blank space, but I am unable to decipher the news service’s protective coating.)
I offer this photographic example, complete with caption and authentication, of one of the honorable Middle Eastern customs that draws raised eyebrows and giggles from the ignocenti in America. Is that former President Bush walking hand-in-hand with Saudi Royalty??! By gosh, that’s what it says.
The picture shows that Prince Abdullah is telling the world that he trusts and respects Mr Bush as he does his own family!
You can’t buy that gesture—and you can’t fake it, either. If you are ever afforded that honor, don’t flinch and don’t allow your prejudices to pull your hand away—or you will never again be trusted by your former friend.
Oooooooohh? But doesn’t that give you the creeps? Two men holding hands while they walk?
Oooooooohh! I suppose so, if you are a frigging nitwit.
What if one of the men is your Father, or your Brother trying to cross the street, as they helped you when you were a kid?
Do you say “I’m an adult now, I can’t do that—it looks so sexual!?!!”
Dare you say that to your Father—or your Brother? I hope never.
Which brings me to my reason for preaching tolerance of foreign ways. It happened to me.(*)
One afternoon, after a meeting, Eyad Hussein and I exited a side door of the al-Hamra Hotel in Baghdad at the top of a series of semi-circular concrete steps. His entire Senior Staff was arranged around the last stair at the bottom of the open stairway.
Without warning, he grasped my left hand with his right, and we walked down the stairway to greet them. No need for loud speeches or flowery rhetoric. The gesture said: “This man is my Brother, one of us.”
(*) SIDEBAR: In 1990 at the beginning of the first Gulf War, I tried to recount that experience to my Master’s-Degree-educated civilian and military colleagues at the largest military installation east of theMississippi, in southeastGeorgia. All I got were sideways looks and some grins.
To make matters worse, rumors began circulating that Sheikh Robert “had come out of the closet !”
No such thing, goddammit ! ! I was stunned by their ignorance and their xenophobia—but I shouldn’t have been.
Fast forward to the second Iraq War, circa 2003. Picture that famous General so proud of the two “female” heavy machine-gunners on his command vehicle, whose street-clearing tactic was to scream “Get out of the way!!” “Get out of the way!!” in ENGLISH, while menacing everyone with their machine guns.
How can you invade Iraq (a sovereign non-belligerent country by the way), in either 1990 or 2003, while not being able to issue even the simplest commands in Arabic???
No wonder so many civilians got whacked.
The U.S. Marine’s “The Iraq Culture Smart Card”, released in 2005?, is a 16-panel folded card billed as a “Guide for Communication and Cultural Awareness”. Better 15 years late¾then never?
The U.S. Commander in Iraqestablished an Iraqi culture education program for Americans in early 2006, in TAJI, north of Baghdad. No further news whether the Big Donald has quietly suffocated it and him.
Alas, Alack, My Ass Fell In A Crack
I do not suffer fools easily. The precious politics and the you-can’t-do-this-and-you-can’t-do-that bullshit was not my style. There were enormous, impossible challenges. One was to establish a rehab program for the thousands of multiple amputees in those 13 buildings on the Tigris River island I told you about.
Here’s some bandages and a roll of tape. Get to it!——-What?!?
Baghdad had other problems as bad or worse than any comparable-size American or European city.
Housing was iffy. Garbage everywhere. Huge Norwegian rats everywhere. Sewerage services everywhere sometimes. Public water supply everywhere sometimes. Bridges everywhere crumbling. Roads everywhere crumbling. Traffic congestion everywhere.
How to maintain hundreds of Amanat al-Assima vehicles and employees for a near-bankrupt government?
Our Lebanese Local Keyhole, a sumo-wrestler-look-a-like with a pink bowtie, was no help and disgusting to boot—a self-absorbed, self-centered, self-important, treacherous martinet.
Alas, alack, my ass fell in a crack.
Mah-sa-lom-uh [goodbye]——-Whoosh. Fee-eh-mon Al-lah [go with God]—–Gone.
Enough Is Too Much At Thanksgiving
After Thanksgiving dinners, I have often heard engorged people complain, “I’ve…had …enough!!” No, you haven’t. You’ve had…too…much!
You know what? I really don’t really give a good goddam if anyone accepts this narrative or not. You asked for it; here it is. Take it, leave it, or throw it in the trash bin; I don’t care. I’m tired of writing it.
Mah salama……Fee ehmon Allah!
A Partial List of United States’ and Related Intelligencers in 2006
a/k/a “The Intelligence Community”
a/k/a “The Gang of 42/72”
ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
NSA (National Security Agency)
DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency)
NRO (National Reconnaissance Office)
NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency – formerly NIMA)
AIA (Air Intelligence Agency)
INSCOM (Army Intelligence and Security Command)
ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence)
MCI (Marine Corps Intelligence)
STATE (Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research)
ENERGY (Department of Energy)
HOMELAND (intelligence-related components of the Department of Homeland Security)
COASTGUARD (U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence)
IC Related Interest:
NIC (National Intelligence Council)
OtherUnited StatesGovernment Intelligence Related Servers
NCIX (National Counter Intelligence Executive)
NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration/Department of Energy)
DOS-CO (Counterterrorism Office, Department of State)
IEB-CWG (Interlink Engineering Board: Collaboration Working Group)
IOSS (Interagency OPSEC Support Staff)
NITFS Technical Board
GSMC/ISMC (Geospatial and Imagery Standards Management Committees)
CSI (Center for the Study of Intelligence at CIA)
NPS-CCC (Center for Contemporary Conflict at the NavalPostgraduateSchool)
ONR (Office of Naval Research)
PFIAB (President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board)
ANSIR (FBI Awareness of National Security Issues and Response Program)
HPSCI (House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)
SSCI (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence)
BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms)
DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration)
DSS (Defense Security Service)
FINCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network)
RFJ (Rewards for Justice Program)
USSS (Secret Service)
DOSFAN (Department of State Foreign Affairs Network)
NDIC (NationalDrugIntelligenceCenter at DOJ)
NTIS (National Technical Information Service)
International Links Related to Strategic Intelligence
ADIO (Australian Defence Intelligence Organisation)
ADSD (Australian Defence Signals Directorate)
IGIS (Australian Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security)
ASIS(Australian Secret Intelligence Service)
ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation)
ONA (Australian Office of National Assessments)
PJCAAD (Parliamentary Joint Committee on the ASIO, ASIS, and DSD)
BFCO (British Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
MI5 (British Security Service)
MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Service)
RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)
CFIBA (Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch Association)
Canadian Intelligence Resource Centre (unofficial)
CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service)
CSIS Public Reports (several annual reports available)
SIRC (Canadian Security Intelligence Review Committee)
AIVD (Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst, formerly BVD) Annual Reports: BVD1998 , BVD2001 (Dutch)(English), AIVD2002 (Dutch) (English) , AIVD2003 (Dutch)(English), AIVD2004 (Dutch)(English) (all local pdf format)
IS (Intelligence Stratégique – unofficial site in French)
BND (German Bundesnachrichtendienst)
MAD (German Militärischer Abschirmdienst)
NBH (Hungarian National Security Office)
SISDe (Italian Intelligence and Democratic Security Service-Intelligence magazine)
GID (Jordanian General Intelligence Department)
GCSB (New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau)
NZSIS (New Zealand Security Intelligence Service)
NZ-SONS (New Zealand: “Securing Our Nation’s Safety” 2000)
ABW (Polish Internal Security Agency)
SIED (Portuguese Strategic and Defense Intelligence Service)
SIS (Portuguese Security Intelligence Service)
FSB (Russian Intelligence)
SVR (Russian Foreign Intelligence)
ANSP (South Korean Intelligence — unofficial)
CNI (SpanishNationalIntelligenceCenter: Centro Nacional de Inteligencia)
SISD (Swedish Intelligence and Security Directorate)
MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Organization)
NIM (United Kingdom National Intelligence Machinery)
GCHQ (United Kingdom Government Communications Headquarters)
CESG (United Kingdom Communications-Electronics Security Group)
Organizational Sites Related to Strategic Intelligence
AAA (AirAmerica Association)
AFCEA (The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association)
AFIO (Association of Former Intelligence Officers)
AI (Africa Intelligence)
AIPIO (Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers)
BCISS (Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies)
CASIS (Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies)
CICENTRE (Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies)
CIP (Center for International Policy: Intelligence News and Documents)
CRYPTOME (On-line archival site, via JYA/Urban Deadline)
CSP (Center for Security Policy)
FASIRP (Federation of American Scientists Intelligence Resource Program)
ICG (International Crisis Group)
IF (Intelligence Forum: Academic Discussion Group on Intelligence)
IIHA (International Intelligence History Association)
INT-ONLINE (Intelligence Online — Newsletter Index)
IRSN (International Relations and Security Network)
ISS (Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association)
IWP (Institute ofWorld Politics,GraduateSchool of Statecraft and National Security)
Kim-Spy (Kim-Software Corporation Intelligence Page)
MASINT (MASINT (Measurement and Signals Intelligence) Association)
MCCIA (Marine Corps Counterintelligence Association)
NCMS (National Classification Management Society)
NSArchives (National Security Archives)
NCVA (U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association)
NSG (Naval Security Group Alumni)
NISA (Netherlands Intelligence Studies Association)
PDA (Project on Defense Alternatives – Intelligence Issues page)
SISG (UK Security and Intelligence Studies Group -University ofReading)
SPOOKS (The Spooks’ Newsletter – Numbers Stations around the world)
USIC Guide (DocumentServiceCenter,ColumbiaUniversity Libraries)