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:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail