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Why the Central Stupidity Agency Is So Stupid (Gulp!)

Why the Central Stupidity Agency Is So Stupid (Gulp!)

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Published by Anthony St. John

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Published by: Anthony St. John on Sep 01, 2009
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08/20/2013

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Why the Central Stupidity  Agency Refuses to Reimburse Me150,000,000 Renminbifor My Highly-sophisticatedForeign Affairs' Consultations
 If any one of you reading this letter-essay have ever been tempted to think that theCentral Stupidity Agency (CSA) and its Agents of Stupidity (ASs) were indeed intelligent,you will never be enticed to do so once more provided you follow this article to itssatisfying finale. You are about to enjoy with me a reassessment of many of myinternational experiences and the hindsights we may draw from them now and,regrettably, did not do so in the Past. This is not a “I told you so!” lament. It is my way of celebrating my own intelligence. I do not claim to be a genius on the subject of foreignaffairs, nor do I affirm, boasting, that I possess an
éclaircissement 
to all thedisorderlinesses caused by the misplays and wrongdoings which I have witnessedperpetrated by the CSA and its ASs. In fact, I believe my abilities are directlyproportionate to the inabilities of the CSA, and many other normally nimble characterswould have reached the same assumptions I have had they only had had theopportunities to have had shared my observations. The beat goes on.It all began in the autumn of 1975—at a public phone in the lobby of the Gainesville(Florida) Hilton hotel where I called the FBI office in Jacksonville to ask for advice. Luciaand I had decided to leave for Caracas near the end of the year. I knew almost nothingabout Venezuela—its language, religion, customs and practices, history, collectivememory, the value ascribed to its heritage, public spaces, and specific landscapes. I didknow that the Venezuelans had spit upon Richard Nixon long before the Northamericansdid and, of course, it was an oil-producing nation—just doomed to be so.Planning shortly to live happily ever after in the arms of Lucia in The City of EternalSpring, I asked for some guidance about Venezuela wanting to know if there was anythingI should be wise to before heading out. Vaccinations? Visa? Passport? The agent withwhom I spoke told me to call the Central Intelligence Agency (
sic!
) because that “outfit”was updated better on foreign affairs. He gave me a telephone number to call.A man answered but never identified himself. Nor where he was nor what office he wasin. When I enquired who he was he abruptly interrupted and asked
me
why I was calling.I told him. Then he queried me as to why I was seeking employment. I wasn't. I wantedto know about Venezuela. I related to him that my girlfriend had invited her friend, Pablo,
 
from Caracas to meet me in Gainesville. Pablo was the right-hand man of the minister of the
Ministerio del Ambiente y de los Recursos Naturales Renovables,
the highest-budgeted ministry in the Venezuelan government at that time. The guy at the other endof the phone then was curious to know if I wished to be “contacted” when I arrived inCaracas. “Who knows...I just might need some help there alone and distant from theUnited States.” An “insurance agent” would visit with me when I was in Caracas. He didnot say when or where.Being lovestruck, it didn't dawn on me at the time that I was a perfect catch for a CIArecruiting officer fishing for apprentices. I had a university degree in Philosophy. I was anex-Army officer (on the captain's promotion list) already with a SECRET security clearance.I had served as the S-2 (Intelligence Officer) for the corps of ROTC cadets at my university.I had reported for three newspapers. And I might add, I am a lateral thinker! I wasrecipient of the “The Wayward Missile Award” and had been called “Loose Cannon” while Iserved with the field artillery! Most of all, I am an “outside the box” theorist. (“A standardrecommendation for reform—one made regularly by people discovering these problemsfor the first time—is to encourage “outside the box” analyses that challenge conventionalwisdom and consider scenarios that appear low in probability but high in consequence. Tosome, this sort of intellectual shake-up might well have led the intelligence system, ratherthan Tom Clancy, to anticipate the kamikaze hijacking tactic of September 11.”Reference:
Foreign Affairs,
 January-February 2002, page 49.) But there was a littleproblem: I'm not a joiner; and it was Vladimir Nabakov who had reminded me that spiesget shot.Even though the Central Stupidity Agency would have been ludicrous not to have desiredto have one such as me on their roster, they were not going to ask me to work for them!(Thank goodness!) It was for me to go crawling to them. The CSA hunts for supporters.Believers. Sycophants. It covets minions. Individuals who are predetermined andapprehensive. You must be of an unenthusiastic nature but raring to go to authenticateyourself, to give yourself some legitimacy by devoting your being to a strident cause. This amalgamation requires that a candidate be a conforming non-conformist. Acontradiction in terms. A double-bind situation. An aspirant must exhibit exceptionalabilities to think tangentially yet be disposed to submit to a last word. Any contestantwho reaches beyond the control sphere might be stomached for his or her incomparableflair—if he or she is beyond doubt an important element—but this temperament cannot beremunerated in the context of such a person's career profile. If you want to feel free youshould not join the Central Stupidity Agency! You must think pessimistically abouteverything. You must have an enduring faith in “The Company.” They are Jesuit-like. They know something about everything but nothing about what is obvious. And youbetter not be an atheist!No “insurance agent” ever met up with me in Caracas. But that was not necessarilysimply because I was surrounded by CSA goofballs where I worked: first, at
The Daily  Journal
newspaper, a bulletin board for government undercovers traipsing throughSouthamerica; then at the
Ministerio de Infomación y Turismo.
I must append here a veryfreaky story I had read in the
DJ
and which hinted to me that even if an “insurance agent”was to accost me, I could not communicate with him or her about my “dealings” with theCSA. The article stated that the CSA had been infiltrated by “moles”--it was not said whoor where they were—and that the CSA was taking precautions to remedy the state of affairs! How could I be sure that an “insurance agent” was a “mole”--or not. I was on myown. I could not believe anyone. It was one of the most liberating, joyous days of my life!When George Tenet announced his resignation from the Central Stupidity Agency in June2004, effective 11 July 2004, he made the following statement: “We are not perfect...butwe are very, very, very good....” Don't believe him! Look, rather, at the history of theworld for the past sixty years and decide for yourself whether or not this planet is abetter, safer, calmer place to live on. And please do not offer excuses for thecatastrophes that these swivel chair warriors have concocted for millions of innocentpeople who have had to put up with their often megalomaniac shenanigans. I am goingto prove to you how and why the CSA is chock full of dimwitted personages who are doingthe DisUnited States of Northamerica more harm than benefit, and I will draw upon my
 
experiences with them in New York, Vietnam, Venezuela and Italy to do so. The CSA ASs I knew were tense, grim and lived their lives strenuously: playing hard ballat work, but “soft” hard ball when they lightened up. Always the confrontation, thecompetition, the obsession to control. With the perks they possessed, the ASs had alsobeen given extravagant opportunities to take the Rests & Recuperations that allowedthem to regain their composure and verve. But once these breaks were interrupted, theywere back again stressing themselves at their sinews convinced they were not onlyperforming a patriotic service, but were also persuaded that they were executing somemetaphysical, religious good turn that would reap them rewards not only in this world, butin what they believed to be an afterlife. Dog is their copilot. These Simple Simons do notsustain that the separation of Church and State should be sanctioned.In this reading, my dear reader, I want to put the spotlight on only three CSA ASs withwhom I broke bread: William F Buckley, Jr, editor of 
National Review,
Clem Cohen and John Sullivan. Three pals. Three enormous egos. Three marionettes. Three footboys. Three extremists.I will speak the least about WFB, Jr because his life is best illustrated by me in anotherarticle of mine,
William F Buckley, Jr: Profile of a Right-wing Fanatic
posted onwww.scribd.com/thewordwarrior. Enjoy reading it, and tell me what you think.Clem Cohen was the most affable of the ASs that I was to meet—and the most pathetic,unfortunately. I would have liked very much to have been his friend, but CC had no timefor friends, for life. He was a CSA workaholic and obsessed with the cold-blooded missionset out for him by his Langley superiors.Clem Cohen was on the masthead of 
The Daily Journal
listed as a “director,” but he wasmy boss at the
Ministerio de Información y Turismo (MIT)
to which I had been transferredby the “directors” of the
DJ.
I had never seen him even once during my six-month stint atthe
DJ.
Clem was from Brooklyn, New York as I was. This did not endear him to mebecause I had not been to New York since 1968 and Florida had sort of undone some of my New Yorkishness.CC was very much unsettled with himself. As other ASs were, he, too, was extremelyintelligent and fluent in at least four languages and had a knowledge of two others. Hewas pressured but quick—so nippy as to be on the verge of ill health. One day when I wascalled to his office to discuss the rewrite of a speech I was editing, he jumped up on hisswivel chair, mimicked a monkey, and kidded with me that he was going “bananas.” Ondifferent occasions, I tried to help him as best I could to calm him down, although I had nosuccess. People in the office told me he was diabetic, but I possessed no verification of this information concerning his health. It would not have surprised me that he was. CCwas always in a hurry. He downed his lunches dashing to return to our offices. He hadthree or four phones on his desk, and I frequently saw him holding a receiver in each handwhile he spoke to two people at the same time. He was a compulsively hard worker to theexclusion of other interests and gave me the impression that his job had control of himrather than he having control of it. He was driven to accomplish yet I never saw theharvest of what he had planted.CC was Venezuela's “media czar.” Each and every word written about the government of Venezuela passed his scrutiny before being sent out to the world. At
MIT,
he was alwaysin contact with the
DJ. MIT 
utilized ten telex machines that hummed twenty-four hours aday. Our newsrooms were the most forward-looking I had ever seen with the exception of those at
The Miami Herald
from
 
where I once reported. All of the people I worked withspoke two or three languages with varying degrees of proficiency. CC had to read all theirwork before it was transmitted. Articles. Speeches. Press releases. Anything andeverything originating from the Venezuelan government were checked and double-checked by the overworked Clem. It was handy for CC to have me in his service because Icould spruce up the repeatedly dreadful English copy that he had to deal with. I had nomuscle to change any of the contents of that which I edited. CC was paranoid about hismastery over media material. Often, I saw French, Italian, English, Spanish, German orArabic texts spread across his desk which was constantly in a state of confusion and

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