FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

That Fake African Interpreter and the CIA

by DAVID MACARAY

Aside from the fact that the prank was disrespectful to Nelson Mandela’s memory, the notion that a mentally ill person with a documented history of violence (and who claimed to be hallucinating at the time) could get himself placed next to President Obama, putatively the most powerful person in the world, and then flash “gibberish” sign-language to the audience, is hilarious.

Granted, as funny as it was, the whole thing could have ended badly. This mentally ill man could have pulled a dagger from his waistband and plunged it into President Obama’s neck, turning the memorial event into a macabre horror show and creating chaos in the U.S. (and by “chaos” I mean causing the stock market to drop precipitously). Yet, because nothing bad happened, we can all laugh about it.

But consider the other scenario. Mr. Jantije (the “interpreter”) stabs Obama in the neck, fatally wounding him, and is instantly mowed down by gun fire from South African security and U.S. Secret Service agents. Jantije lies dead on the stage, his body riddled with bullets. Security men hunker down, anticipating another attack. Pandemonium ensues.

The next day the media report the facts as they know them. Jantije was a 34-year old schizophrenic, once wanted for murder, who had somehow finagled his way onto the stage, pretending to be an “interpreter.” No one can adequately explain how it happened. Obviously, egregious vetting errors had been made. Blame is assigned. Excuses are made. It becomes a jurisdictional shit-storm.

Except no one believes that story. With Jantije dead, conspiracy buffs are free to smirk at the preposterous notion that one guy, a mental patient no less, acted alone. Their version is far more sinister. Jantije was a CIA assassin, equipped with a phony medical record to deflect suspicion. Then, after the vile deed, instead of being whisked off stage as planned, Jantije is killed, Jack Ruby-style, guaranteeing he won’t talk.

As to why the CIA would want the president dead, pick your poison. Obama wanted to leave Afghanistan, which the military-industrial complex couldn’t abide. He wanted to reach out to Iran, which Israel couldn’t abide. He wanted to curtail electronic spying, which the NSA couldn’t abide. He wanted to limit the use of drones, which the military couldn’t abide. When it comes to CIA mischief, there’s never any shortage of theories.

Which is not to say the CIA hasn’t been guilty of reprehensible acts in the past. Among other things, they helped assassinate Salvador Allende and Che Guevara; they replaced Mossadegh with the Shah in 1953; they torpedoed Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954; and, by all accounts, rogue agents used Air America to fly opium out of Vietnam. A disgraceful record.

But one can argue that the CIA’s glamorous, high-octane image is largely a Hollywood creation. Hollywood movies have made American spy-craft look infinitely smarter and more efficient than it actually is. One could go so far as to say that the depiction of the CIA is no more “accurate” than the depiction of Old West cowboys, courtroom lawyers or medical doctors.

Consider: the CIA never saw the 1979 Iranian revolution coming. They failed to predict the imminent dissolution of the USSR and end of the Cold War. In 20 years following the Bay of Pigs, not only couldn’t they assassinate Castro (a top priority), they were unable to put a single spy close to him. According to Tim Weiner in “Legacy of Ashes,” every single Cuban spy they recruited became a double-agent. Every one of them! That’s more Keystone Cops than world-class intel agency.

How brilliant is the CIA? They couldn’t figure out that fellow agent Aldrich Ames was a well-paid Soviet spy, even when he showed up driving a Lamborghini. They accepted the lame story that his wife had bought it for him. CIA inefficiency goes all the way back to the 1940s, when they assured President Truman that the USSR was 3-5 years away from producing a nuclear weapon. Six months later the Russians had the atom bomb.

If the Jantije episode “proves” anything, it’s that bizarre stuff happens in this world, and that we don’t need insidious plots to explain them. Of course, not everyone will accept that. Indeed, Oliver Stone is rumored to be re-making a Western classic. It will be called, “The Men Who Killed Liberty Valance.”

David Macaray is a Los Angeles playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor”).  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

More articles by:
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
Binoy Kampmark
Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia
Arun Gupta
Trickledown Revenge: the Racial Politics of Donald Trump
Sen. Bernard Sanders
What This Election is About: Speech to DNC Convention
David Swanson
DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism
Linn Washington Jr.
‘Clintonville’ Reflects True Horror of Poverty in US
Deepak Tripathi
Britain in the Doldrums After the Brexit Vote
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Threats: Arbitrary Lines on Political Maps
Robert J. Gould
Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out!
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail