The DC Circuit has ruled that the CIA is under no obligation to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to its involvement with insurgent militias in Syria, overturning a lower court’s previous ruling in favor of a Buzzfeed News reporter seeking such documents.
As Sputnik‘s Morgan Artyukhina clearly outlines, this ruling comes despite the fact that mainstream news outlets have been reporting on the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities in Syria for years, and despite a US president having openly tweeted about those activities.
“In other words, the CIA will not be required to admit to actions it is widely reported as having done, much less divulge documents about them to the press for even greater scrutiny,” Artyukhina writes, calling to mind the Julian Assange quote, “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.”
The CIA’s brazen collaboration with dangerous extremist factions seeking to topple Damascus, and its equally brazen refusal to provide the public with any information about the extent of its involvement in Syria from the earliest stages of the violence in that nation onwards, will necessarily provide fodder for conspiracy theories.
It is public knowledge that the CIA was involved in the Syrian war to some extent, it is public knowledge that the CIA has a well-documented history of doing extremely evil things, and it is public knowledge that the US government has long sought control over Syria. Due to the agency’s refusal to be transparent about the exact nature of its involvement in that nation, people are left to fill in the knowledge gaps with their own speculation.
Of course they will do this. Why wouldn’t they? Why would anyone give the lying, torturing, propagandizing, drug trafficking, coup-staging, warmongering, psychopathic Central Intelligence Agency the benefit of the doubt and assume their actions in Syria have been benevolent just because the hard facts have been hidden behind a wall of government secrecy?
Yet they will be expected to. Anyone with a sufficient degree of influence who comes right out and says the CIA knowingly armed violent jihadists with the goal of orchestrating regime change in Syria will be attacked as a crazy conspiracy theorist by the narrative managers of the establishment media. If their words are really disruptive to establishment narratives, there will be calls to deplatform, unemploy, and ban them from social media.
And really such is the case with all the melodramatic garment-rending about the dangers of conspiracy theories today. All the fixation on the way unregulated speech on the internet has contributed to the circulation of conspiracy theories conveniently ignores the real cause of those theories: government secrecy.
If the most powerful government in the world were not hiding a massive amount of its behavior behind increasingly opaque walls of secrecy, people would not need to fill in the gaps with theories about what’s happening, because there would be no gaps; they would simply see what’s happening.
“But Caitlin!” one might object. “How could America engage in all its military operations around the world if it didn’t keep information about its behaviors a secret?”
Exactly, my smooth-brained friend. Exactly.
Government secrecy is indeed necessary for winning wars. Government secrecy is also necessary for starting those wars in the first place. US government agencies have an extensive history of using false pretenses to initiate military conflicts; if they could not hide the facts behind a veil of government opacity, the public would never engage in them. The American people would never have allowed their sons to go to Vietnam if they’d known the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a lie. They’d never have sent their sons and daughters to invade Iraq if they’d known weapons of mass destruction were a lie. They would lose the support of the public, and the international community would refuse to back them.