“Carter was the least violent of American presidents but he did things which I think would certainly fall under Nuremberg provisions,” said Noam Chomsky. Much like Nobel Peace-prize winner Barack Obama 30 years later, Carter was an advocate of human rights in the abstract, but of repression and imposition of power through violence in practice.

Like the current occupant of the White House, Jimmy Carter entered office with a promise to respect human rights, but failed miserably when given the opportunity to do so.

Carter just last month published a memoir about his “Full Life.” Others have begun to look back at his four years as President. David Macaray, writing in CounterPunch on 8/14/15, noted that despite his reputation as a President so hapless his fellow Democrats tried to knock him off in a primary, “a closer look shows that Carter accomplished some fairly important things during his single term in office – things that, given the near-paralytic gridlock that defines today’s politics, seem all the more impressive in hindsight.”

Macaray lists 10 accomplishments which were, indeed, impressive. Among them were supporting SALT II (Strategic Arms Limitations Talks); brokering the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty through diplomacy at the Camp David Accords; granting amnesty to Vietnam draft-dodgers, and presenting a plan for universal health care.

However, the self-professed advocate for human rights demonstrated quite the penchant for bloodshed. While he didn’t initiate any aggressive invasions of foreign nations the way his predecessors and successors did in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries, Carter proved remarkably generous at providing financial, military, diplomatic and ideological support for fascist dictatorships that tortured and killed millions of members of their domestic populations in an effort to crush popular movements for social justice. Some of the regimes he backed carried out mass slaughter that amounted to genocide.

Below are some of Carter’s most shameful and indefensible foreign policy positions that caused monumental levels of death, destruction and suffering for poor, socially disenfranchised people from Asia to Latin America to Africa.

1. Zaire, 1977

After the CIA-sponsored assassination of Patrice Lumumba in 1961, Mobutu Sese Seko ruled as dictator for 16 years – changing the name of the Congo in 1971 to Zaire. In early 1977, rebels fighting with the revolutionary MPLA popular movement in Angola re-entered Zaire to resume their civil war and oust the military strongman. Mobutu sought help from his American and European allies to crush the movement.

William Blum writes in Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II that Carter, who had been in office for only two months, was reluctant to involve his administration in a far-reaching intervention whose scope and length could not be easily anticipated.

However, Carter did provide “non-lethal” aid, while he did not protest as European countries offered military aid, and Morocco sent several thousand of its US-trained military forces to aid Mobutu.

“President Carter asserted on more than one occasion that the Zaire crisis was an African problem, best solved by Africans, yet he apparently saw no contradiction to this thesis in his own policy, nor did he offer any criticism of France or Belgium, or of China, which sent Mobutu a substantial amount of military equipment,” writes Blum. [1]

2. Guatemala, 1977

The Carter administration issued a report critical of the human rights records of the military government and officially cut off aid. However, Blum argues that this was little more than a public relations stunt while tangible support continued: “the embargoes were never meant to be more than partial, and Guatemala also received weapons and military equipment from Israel, at least part of which was covertly underwritten by Washington. As further camouflage, some of the training of Guatemala’s security forces was reportedly maintained by transferring it to clandestine sites in Chile and Argentina.” [2]

Meanwhile, the horrors of a genocidal campaign against the indigenous population continued unabated on Carter’s watch. Death squads were eliminating peasants, labor leaders, human rights activists and clergy. In the countryside, the military would torture and burn alive “subversives,” such as Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú’s own brother.

3. East Timor, 1977

After the democratically-elected President Sukarno of Indonesia was overthrown with the assistance of the CIA in 1967, mass-murderer Suharto assumed power as military dictator and a strong ally of the US government.

In late 1975, Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford gave the green light to Suharto to invade neighboring East Timor. After occupying the capital city Dili, Indonesian troops systematically rooted out resistance by the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) and the civilian population across the island. Residents of occupied areas were subjected to massive re-education brainwashing campaigns. The death toll from violence by Indonesian forces, malnutrition and disease quickly climbed into the tens of thousands.

The genocidal slaughter reached its peak in 1977, On March 1, 95 members of the Australian Parliament sent a letter to Carter claiming the Indonesian troops were carrying out “atrocities” and asking the American President “to comment publicly on the situation in East Timor.” [3]

The response was crickets. Carter ramped up aid with funding and weapons to the murderous Indonesian regime, brazenly flaunting the human rights requirements imposed on American aid.

As journalist Richard Dudman reported at the time: “amid all the talks about human rights, the country with perhaps the worst record has been getting increased amounts of economic and military aid from the Carter administration,” which is attributed to the “bonanza enjoyed by American oil companies and multi-national corporations since the present military regime came to power.” [4]

Precise statistics on the death toll of East Timorese at the hands of the Indonesian forces – who enjoyed the unconditional support of the US government – are hard to come by, but FAIR noted in a 1994 article that “by the time Carter left office, about 200,000 people had been slaughtered.”

4. Angola, 1978

In 1978, the South African Defence Forces (SADF) carried out a massacre against a refugee camp in Cassinga, Angola. SADF bombers dropped bombs over sovereign Angolan territory that killed more than 600 Namibians.

When details of the attack came to light, the U.S. made sure that the racist regime would not face sanctions in the UN Security Council.

Carter took the excuses of the apartheid government at face value: “They’ve claimed to have withdrawn and have not left any South African troops in Angola. So we hope it’s just a transient strike in retaliation, and we hope it’s all over.”

Granting the racist South Africans a blanket diplomatic shield at the UN and allowing them free reign to terrorize their neighboring Southwest African countries at will, while subjecting their own domestic population to the crime against humanity of apartheid, would prolong the suffering of millions of Africans for another 15 years.

Meanwhile, Carter and his administration would continue demanding the immediate exit of the Cuban military from Angola. As many as 30,000 Cuban troops had been stationed in Angola since 1975 to prevent South Africa from toppling the nascent revolutionary MPLA government and installing a puppet regime that, according to historian Piero Gleijeses, “would be the centerpiece of the Constellation of Southern African States that [South Africa] sought to create.” The constellation would be “anticommunist, tolerant of apartheid, and eager to persecute [Nelson Mandela's] ANC and [Namibian liberation movement] SWAPO.” [5]

5. Afghanistan, 1979

When the Communist government came to power in 1978, they brought health care and education to a wide segment of the Afghan population. In cities such as Kabul, women enjoyed significant freedom. But this state of affairs was impermissible to the U.S. government, who sought to empower a local opposition and recruit foreign fundamentalist jihadists to join the struggle to topple the Communist regime.

“US foreign service officers had been meeting with Moujahedeen leaders to determine their needs at least as early as April 1979,” writes Blum. “And in July, President Carter had signed a ‘finding’ to aid the rebels covertly, which led to the United States providing them with cash, weapons, equipment and supplies, and engaging in propaganda and other psychological operations in Afghanistan on their behalf.” [6]

Blum says that intervention by the US and other countries worried Russia about what kind of government would end up on their borders. The Russians, Blum writes, “consistently cited these ‘aggressive imperialist forces’ to rationalize their own intervention in Afghanistan, which was the first time Soviet ground troops had engaged in military action anywhere in the world outside its post-World War II Eastern European borders.” [7]

Soviet troops would enter Afghanistan on Christmas Eve, 1979. By the time they left in disgrace ten years later, the country was largely reduced to rubble. The devastation was so severe that the Taliban, who managed to displace the barbaric Moujahedeen, were seen by many as liberators.

It would be another 22 years before the U.S. experienced blowback on its home soil, when one of the “Anti-Soviet warriors” they had courted and helped train from Saudi Arabia would mastermind a plot to turn civilian airliners into missiles that were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

6. El Salvador, 1980

On February 19, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero, hugely popular among Salvadorans for his embrace of liberation theology, which sought to improve the socioeconomic conditions of oppressed people, sent a letter to Jimmy Carter that is worth quoting at length:

In the last few days news has appeared in the national press that worries me greatly: according to the reports your government is studying the possibility of economic and military support and assistance to the present junta government.

Because you are a Christian and because you have shown that you want to defend human rights I venture to set forth for you my pastoral point of view concerning this news and to make a request.

I am very worried by the news that the government of the United States is studying a form of abetting the arming of El Salvador by sending military teams and advisors to ‘train three Salvadoran batallions in logistics, communications, and intelligence.’ If this information is correct, the contribution of your government instead of promoting greater justice and peace in El Salvador will without doubt sharpen the injustice and repression against the organizations of the people which repeatedly have been struggling to gain respect for their most fundamental human rights.

Romero went on to say that the junta had “reverted to repressive violence producing a total of deaths and injuries much greater than in the recent military regimes whose systematic violation of human rights was denounced by the International Committee on Human Rights.”

“I hope that your religious sentiments and your feelings for the defense of human rights will move you to accept my petition, avoiding by this action worse bloodshed in this suffering country,” Romero pleaded.

Romero’s letter to the President went unanswered. Nine days later, the Archbishop was gunned down at the altar by a death squad assassin while holding the Eucharist above his head. At his funeral, snipers opened fire on defenseless mourners, killing at least 30 people.

Carter responded by sending $5 million in aid to the junta. They would use it to escalate their bloody counterinsurgency campaign. Fueled by American money and arms, the Civil War in El Salvador would rage on for another 12 years. It would reach its horrific culmination with massacre of six Jesuit scholars, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter in 1989.

Post-Presidency and Legacy

It should be noted that Carter’s actions after leaving the White House have been, by far, the most impressive of any ex-President. Most importantly, he was the first mainstream political figure to call Israel’s policies in the occupied territories Apartheid. This major paradigm shift has paved the way for the mainstream legitimacy of international Palestinian solidarity movements such as BDS to challenge the state of Israel’s crimes.

His Carter Center also has done extensive work studying voting systems and certifying the validity of electoral processes. In 2013, Carter debunked Secretary of State John Kerry’s description of the Venezuelan election of Nicolas Maduro as questionable by stating that that the voting was “free and fair.” This was an strong counterweight to American state propaganda, which sought to empower the losing Venezuelan opposition by refusing to grant legitimacy to the socialist, democratically-elected government.

But Carter’s post-Presidency activism cannot bring back to life the millions of people whose lives he was complicit in extinguishing. Carter leaves behind a blood-soaked legacy strongly at odds with the view he evidently held of himself as a human rights champion. The fact that he is probably the least violent of American Presidents is as much an indictment of the American public – among whom he is still perceived as a pacifist – as it is on his murderous presidential peers.

Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy and Latin America on his blog. You can follow him on twitter.

References

[1] Blum, William. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II – Updated Through 2003. Common Courage Press, 2008. Kindle edition.

[2] Ibid.

[3] as quoted in Chomsky, Noam and Edward S. Herman. The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism: The Political Economy of Human Rights: Volume 1. Boston: South End Press, 1979, pg. 171

[4] Ibid, pg. 173

[5] Gleijeses, Piero. Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991. The University of North Carolina Press, 2013. Kindle edition.

[6] Blum, op. cit.

[7] Blum, op. cit.

 

I have been contacted by attorney John Remington Graham, a member in good standing of the Minnesota bar. He informs me that acting in behalf of Maret Tsanaeva, the aunt of the accused Tsamaev brothers and a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic where she is qualified to practice law, he has assisted her in filing with the US District Court in Boston a pro se motion, including an argument of amicus curiae, and an affidavit of Maret Tsarnaeva. The presiding judge has ordered that these documents be included in the formal record of the case so they will be publicly accessible. The documents are reproduced below.

The documents argue that on the basis of the evidence provided by the FBI, there is no basis for the indictment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The FBI’s evidence clearly concludes that the bomb was in a black knapsack, but the photographs used to establish Dzhokhar’s presence at the marathon show him with a white knapsack. Moreover, the knapsack lacks the heavy bulging appearance that a knapsack containing a bomb would have.

As readers know, I have been suspicious of the Boston Marathon Bombing from the beginning. It seems obvious that both Tsamaev brothers were intended to be killed in the alleged firefight with police, like the alleged perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo affair in Paris. Convenient deaths in firefights are accepted as indications of guilt and solve the problem of trying innocent patsies.

In Dzhokhar’s case, his guilt was established not by evidence but by accusations, by the betrayal of his government-appointed public defender Judy Clarke who declared Dzhokhar’s guilt in her opening statement of her “defense,” by an alleged confession, evidence of which was never provided, written by Dzhokhar on a boat under which the badly wounded youth lay dying until discovered by the boat owner and hospitalized in critical condition. Following his conviction by his defense attorney, Dzhokhar allegedly confessed again in jihadist terms. As legal scholars have known for centuries, confessions are worthless as indicators of guilt.

Dzhokhar was not convicted on the basis of evidence.

In my questioning of John Remington Graham, I concluded that despite 48 years of active experience with criminal justice, both as a prosecuting attorney and defense attorney, he was shocked to his core by the legal malfeasance of the Tsarnaev case. As Graham is nearing the end of his career, he is willing to speak out, but he could not find a single attorney in the state of Massachusetts who would sponsor his appearance before the Federal District Court in Boston.

This tells me that fear of retribution has now extended its reach into the justice (sic) system and that the America that we knew where law was a shield of the people no longer exists.

Here is the Affidavit of Maret Tsarnaeva:

AFFIDAVIT OF MARET TSARNAEVA CONCERNING THE PROSECUTION OF DZHOKHAR TSARNAEV

Mindful that this affidavit may be filed or displayed as an offer of proof with her authorization in public proceedings contemplated by the laws of the United States of America, and in reliance upon Title 28 of the United States Code, Section 1746, Maret Tsarnaeva deposes and says:

I am the paternal aunt of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who has been prosecuted before the United States District Court for Massachusetts upon indictment of a federal grand jury returned on June 27, 2013, for causing one of two explosions on Boylston Street in Boston on April 15, 2013. In the count for conspiracy, certain other overt acts of wrongdoing are mentioned. As I understand the indictment, if Dzhokhar did not carry and detonate an improvised explosive device or pressure-cooker bomb as alleged, all thirty counts fail, although perhaps some lingering questions, about which I offer no comment here, might remain for resolution, subject to guarantees of due process of law, within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I am currently living in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya which is a republic within the Russian Federation. My academic training included full-time studies in a five-year program of the Law Faculty at the Kyrgyz State University, and I also hold the degree of master of laws (LL. M.), with focus on securities laws, granted by the University of Manitoba while I lived in Canada. I am qualified to practice law in Kyrgyzstan. I am fluent in Russian, Chechen, and English, and am familiar with other languages. I am prepared to testify under oath in public proceedings in the United States, if my expenses are paid, and if my personal safety and right of return to my home in Chechnya are adequately assured in advance.

Aside from other anomalies and other aspects of the case on which I make no comment here, I am aware of several photo exhibits, upon which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) relied, or of evidence which their crime laboratory has produced, and certain other reports or material. Together, these plainly show that Dzhokhar was not carrying a large, nylon, black backpack, including a white-rectangle marking at the top, and containing a heavy pressure- cooker bomb, shortly before explosions in Boston on April 15, 2013, as claimed by the FBI and as alleged in the indictment for both explosions. On the contrary, these photo exhibits show unmistakably that Dzhokhar was carrying over his right shoulder a primarily white backpack which was light in weight, and was not bulging or sagging as would have been evident if it contained a heavy pressure-cooker bomb. The only reasonable conclusion is that Dzhokhar was not responsible for either of the explosions in question.

On or about June 20-21, 2013, during their first trip to Russia, which lasted about ten days more or less, Judy Clarke and William Fick, lawyers from the federal public defender’s office in Boston, visited my brother Anzor Tsarnaev, and his wife Zubeidat, respectively the father and mother of Dzhokhar. The meeting was at the home of Dzhokhar’s parents in Makhachka which is in the republic of Dagestan adjacent to the republic of Chechnya, and about three hours’ drive from Grozny. My mother, my sister Malkan, and I were present at this meeting. Zubeidat speaks acceptable English. Mr. Fick is fluent in Russian.

Laying aside other details of the conversation on June 20-21, 2013, I wish to note the following:

– The lawyers from Boston strongly advised that Anzor and Zubeidat refrain from saying in public that Dzhokhar and his brother Tamerlan were not guilty. They warned that, if their advice were not followed, Dzhokhar’s life in custody near Boston would be more difficult;

– Mme Clarke and Mr. Fick also requested of Anzor and Zubeidat that they assist in influencing Dzhokhar to accept the legal representation of the federal public defender’s office in Boston. Mr. Fick revealed that Dzhokhar was refusing the services of the federal public defender’s office in Boston, and sending lawyers and staff away when they visited him in custody. In reaction to the suggestion of Mr. Fick, lively discussion followed;

– As Dzhokhar’s family, we expressed our concern that the federal public defender’s office in Boston was untrustworthy, and might not defend Dzhokhar properly, since they were paid by the government of the United States which was prosecuting him, as many believe for political reasons. Dzhokhar’s parents expressed willingness to engage independent counsel, since Dzhokhar did not trust his government-appointed lawyers. Mr. Fick reacted by saying that the government agents and lawyers would obstruct independent counsel;

– I proposed that Dzhokhar’s family hire independent counsel to work with the federal public defender’s office in order to assure proper and effective representation of Dzhokhar. Mr. Fick replied that, if independent counsel were hired by the family, the federal public defender’s office in Boston would withdraw;

– Mr. Fick then assured Anzor and Zubeidat that the United States Department of Justice had allotted $5 million to Dzhokhar’s defense, and that the federal public defender’s office in Boston intended to defend Dzhokhar properly. Zubeidat then and there said little concerning assurances of Mr. Fick. But for my part, I never believed that the federal public defender’s office in Boston ever intended to defend Dzhokhar as promised. And my impressions from what happened during the trial lead me to believe that the federal public defender’s office in Boston did not defend Dzhokhar competently and ethically.

In any event, I am aware that, following the meeting on June 20-21, 2013, Mme Clarke and Mr. Fick continued to spend time with Anzor and Zubeidat, and eventually persuaded Zubeidat to sign a typed letter in Russian to Dzhokhar, urging him to cooperate wholeheartedly with the federal public defender’s office in Boston. I am informed by my sister Malkan, that Zubeidat gave the letter to the public defenders, shortly before their departure from Russia on or about June 29, 2013, for delivery to Dzhokhar.

During subsequent trips Mme Clarke and Mr. Fick to see Dzhokhar’s parents in Makhachkala, the strategy for defending Dzhokhar was explained, as I learned from my sister Malkan. The public defender’s office in Boston intended to contend at trial, as actually has happened since, that Tamerlan, now deceased, was the mastermind of the crime, and that Dzhokhar was merely following his big brother. I was firmly opposed to this strategy as morally and legally wrong, because Dzhokhar is not guilty, as FBI-generated evidence shows. Some ill- feeling has since developed between myself and Dzhokhar’s parents over their acquiescence.

On or about June 19, 2014, during their visit to Grozny over nearly two weeks, three staff members from the public defender’s office in Boston visited my mother and sisters in Grozny. I am told that they also visited Dzhokhar’s parents in Makhachkala.

The personnel visiting my mother and sisters in Grozny on or about June 19, 2014, included one Charlene, who introduced herself as an independent investigator, working in and with the federal public defender’s office in Boston; another by the name of Jane, a social worker who claimed to have spoken with Dzhokhar; and a third, by the name of Olga, who was a Russian- English interpreter from New Jersey. They did not leave business cards, but stayed at the main hotel in Grozny, hence I presume that their surnames can be ascertained.

I was not present at the meeting in Grozny on or about June 19, 2014, but my sister Malkan, who was present, called me by telephone immediately after the meeting concluded. She revealed to me then the details of the conversation at the meeting. Malkan and I have since spoken about the visit on several occasions.

Malkan speaks Russian and Chechen and is willing to testify under oath in public proceedings in the United States through an interpreter in Russian, if her expenses are paid, and if her personal safety and right of return to her home in Chechnya are adequately assured in advance. She relates, and has authorized me to state for her that, during the conversation on June 19, 2014, in Grozny, Charlene the independent investigator stated flatly that the federal public defender’s office in Boston knew that Dzhokhar was not guilty as charged, and that their office was under enormous pressure from law enforcement agencies and high levels of the government of the United States not to resist conviction. [Remember what happened to Lynne Stewart, the federally appointed public defender who actually served her client. She was sentenced to prison.]

This affidavit is executed outside of the United States, but the foregoing account is true to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, and subject to the pains and penalties of perjury under the laws of the United States of America.
Given on this 17th day of April 2015.

/s/ Maret Tsarnaeva

Here is the Argument of Amicus Curiae:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS

ARGUMENT OF AMICUS CURIAE No. 13-CR-10200-GAO

MAY IT PLEASE THE COURT:

1. Federal jurisdiction: The constitutional authority of the United States cannot be extended to the prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in light of the opinion of the court in United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549 (1995), and views of Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist, Ns. 17, 22, and 34 [Clinton Rossiter (ed.), Mentor edition by New American Library, New York, 1961, pp. 118, 143-144, and 209]. Congress has broad power to regulate commerce, including trade and the incidents of trade, but domestic crimes and use of weapons are generally reserved to the States. If there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Dzhokhar for murder and mayhem, he should and can be prosecuted exclusively by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Accordingly, amicus urges that the indictment now pending should be dismissed, and the conviction of her nephew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of charges under several acts of Congress should be vacated.

2. The actual innocence of the accused: Laying aside misgivings of amicus and many others about of the “official” scenario concerning this case, as broadcast to the world by the government and mainstream news media of the United States, evidence generated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), confirmed on the judicial record of this cause, and clarified by the indictment, or suitable for judicial notice under Rule 201(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, conclusively proves that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cannot be guilty of the crimes charged in this prosecution.

The formal indictment against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was returned on June 27, 2013. The document is 74 pages long, and accuses Mr. Tsarnaev (hereinafter called Dzhokhar) of heinous crimes, including many counts punishable by death. The central event for which Dzhokhar is alleged to have been responsible, according to the indictment, took place, on Boylston Street, in front of the Forum Restaurant, near the finish line of the Boston marathon on April 15, 2013. The most important paragraphs of the indictment are numbered 6, 7, and 24 (including several other paragraphs repeating expressly or by implication the substance thereof). Paragraphs 6-7, read in themselves and in context, state that, acting in concert withhis (now deceased) brother, Dzhokhar set down on the sidewalk and detonated one of two “black backpacks” which contained “improvised explosive devices,” these “constructed from pressure cookers, low explosive power, shrapnel, adhesive, and other materials.” Paragraph 24 clarifies that the black backpack carried, and containing the pressure-cooker bomb allegedly detonated by Dzhokhar, was placed in front of the Forum Restaurant and was associated with the second explosion. The indictment says in paragraph 6 that both bombs exploded at about 2:49 in the afternoon (Eastern time), and that the bombs Dzhokhar and his brother placed and detonated each killed at least one person, and wounded scores of others.

On the morning after the explosions, i. e., on April 16, 2013, Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI in Boston, made a public statement at a press conference, which is published in printed form on the FBI website and in the news media concerning the facts later set forth in the indictment. Mr. DesLauriers said, as paragraphs 6-7 of the indictment substantially confirm,

. . . this morning, it was determined that both of the explosives were placed in a dark-colored nylon bag or backpack. The bag would have been heavy, because of the components believed to be in it.

. . . we are asking that the public remain alert, and to alert us to the following activity . . . someone who appeared to be carrying an unusually heavy bag yesterday around the time of the blasts and in the vicinity of the blasts.

The FBI also published on April 16, 2013, a crime lab photo of a bomb fragment found after the explosions This photo is reproduced asTsarnaeva exhibit 1 in the appendix hereof, and is believed proper for judicial notice.

From this bomb fragment, the FBI crime lab was able to reconstruct the size, shape, and type of pressure cookers, as was reported on information published by the FBI to the nation on ABC News Nightline on April 16, 2013. A still-frame, taken from (about 01:39-01:54) of this ABC television report, is reproduced as Tsarnaeva exhibit 2 in the appendix hereof, and is offered for judicial notice. A larger segment of this ABC Nightline News report (at about 01:31-02:14) elaborates facts set forth in paragraphs 6-7 of the indictment, including reference to three of the four exhibits reproduced in the appendix hereof. Each of the pressure cookers in question was a Fagor, 6-quart model, marketed in or near Boston and elsewhere in the United States by Macey’s. Its external dimensions are probably about 81⁄2 inches in height, including cover, and about 9 inches in diameter. Stripped of hard plastic handles and filled with nails, bee bees, and other such metal, then prepared as a bomb, it would cause a bag carrying it to be, as observed by the FBI chief in Boston during his press conference on April 16, 2013, “unusually heavy.”

Again on April 16, 2013, the FBI published a crime lab photo, here reproduced as Tsarnaeva exhibit 3 in the appendix hereof, and showing a blown- out backpack which is said to have contained one of the bombs, — a black nylon bag with a characteristic white rectangle marking about 3 by 11⁄2 inches more or less as it appeared following the explosions the day before. This photo pictures the “dark colored nylon bag or backpack” which Mr. DesLauriers described in his press conference on the day after the explosions when he described what was carried by the guilty parties. It was one of the “black backpacks” referenced in paragraph 7 of the indictment. It is pictured in prosecution exhibit 26 which was introduced on the second day of the trial in this cause (day 28 on the transcript, March 5, 2015), showing that the bag or backpack in question was found on the street near the post box in front of the Forum Restaurant on Boylston Street, and, as previously noted, was associated with the second explosion on April 15, 2013, which, in paragraph 24 of the indictment, Dzhokhar is alleged to have detonated. This general impression is confirmed by defense exhibit 3090, showing a backpack with black exterior or covering, and introduced on the sixteenth day of the trial (day 42 on the transcript, March 31, 2015). Tsarnaeva exhibit 3 is also suitable for judicial notice.

On April 18, 2013, the FBI published a 29-second street video claimed to have been taken from Whiskey’s Steak House on Boylston Street at about 02:37- 38 o’clock in the afternoon (Eastern time), only minutes before the explosions on April 15, 2013. It definitively settles the principal question raised by the indictment and the plea of not guilty interposed against it. Part of this video is tucked into prosecution exhibit 22 introduced on the third day of the trial in this cause (day 29 on the transcript, March 9, 2015). From this street video, three still-frame photos have been extracted. Two of these still-frame photos were published by the FBI on April 18, 2013, on posters which were used to identify suspects. All three photos were published by CNN and the Associated Press on April 19, 2013. The third still-frame photo from this video is most telling, and is reproduced as Tsarnaeva exhibit 4 in the appendix hereof. As already noted, the FBI and the indictment have together affirmed that the culprits who detonated these explosions were carrying large, unusually heavy, black backpacks concealing pressure-cooker bombs; but, the third still-frame photo from the Whiskey’s Steak House video reproduced as Tsarnaeva exhibit 4, and drawn from a street video already used by the FBI to identify the suspects and acknowledged by the government in this prosecution, shows unmistakably that, shortly before the explosions, Dzhokhar was carrying a small-size, white* backpack over his right shoulder the same light in weight, not heavy laden, and displaying no sagging or bulging as would normally be evident if the bag identified contained a pressure-cooker bomb of the size and weight which the FBI has described.

(*For all practical purposes and to the naked eye, the color is white, although technical computer analysis suggests a very whitish shade of gray.)

Dzhokhar is not guilty of carrying and detonating a pressure-cooker bomb, as charged in the indictment, as is literally as obvious as the difference between black and white. There were and remain other suspects whose identities have been credibly suggested. See, e. g., Toni Cartalucci, Land Destroyer Report, April 19, 2013 (illustrated commentary entitled “‘Contractors’ Stood Near Bomb, Left Before Detonation.”). But here it is enough to reflect on the comment of Lord Acton that “historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility.” — J. Rufus Fears, Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 1985, Vol. 2, p. 383 (Letter to Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1887). Whatever is done in judicial proceedings, history will judge this case, as surely as history has judged other significant cases.

3. The grievance of amicus: It is impossible that federal prosecutors and counsel for the accused did not know of the exculpatory evidence which has just been identified and illustrated. Yet federal prosecutors went head without probable cause, as if decisive evidence of actual innocence, impossible to ignore in a diligent study of this case, did not exist, as is wholly unacceptable in light of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U. S. 83 at 86-87 (1963).

Moreover, in her opening statement at trial on March 4, 2015, as reflected in the fourth paragraph of the transcript of her comments, court-appointed counsel for the accused forcefully insisted that Dzhokhar was guilty of capital felonies, as is positively disproved by evidence generated by the FBI, reinforced by the indictment itself. She said,

“The government and the defense will agree about many things that happened during the week of April 15th, 2013. On Marathon Monday, Tamerlan Tsarnaev walked down Boylston Street with a backpack on his back, carrying a pressure cooker bomb, and put it down in front of Marathon Sports near the finish line of the Marathon. Jahar [i. e., Dzhokhar] Tsarnaev walked down Boylston Street with a backpack on his back carrying a pressure cooker bomb and placed it next to a tree in front of the Forum Restaurant. The explosions extinguished three lives.”

And in her summation to the jury on April 6, 2015, as the transcript shows, court-appointed counsel for the accused said nothing of the exculpatory evidence in this case. She did not even ask for a verdict of not guilty. She could hardly have done more to promote a conviction and the severest sentence possible, even though the third still-frame photo from the video at Whiskey’s Steak House, reproduced as Tsarnaeva exhibit 4, showed Dzhokhar carrying a white backpack, as alone was enough to defeat the indictment insofar as paragraph 7 thereof averred that the accused and his brother committed the principal acts of wrongdoing by carrying and setting down black backpacks. Such misconduct is altogether unacceptable in light of Strickland v. Washington, 446 U. S. 668 at 687- 688 (1984).

The misconduct of which amicus complains served to conceal decisive exculpatory evidence by legerdemain. Amicus urges not only that the death penalty may not be imposed in this case, for all three opinions in Herrera v. Collins, 506 U. S. 390 (1993), allow that the death penalty may not be constitutionally imposed where the accused is demonstrably innocent, but that sua sponte this court order a new trial with directions that new counsel for the accused be appointed, motivated to provide an authentic defense for Dzhokhar.

4. The corpus delicti: Paragraph 10 of the indictment recites a statement in the nature of a confession by Dzhokhar written on the inner walls of a boat in Watertown. But with respect to any and all evidence offered or treated as suggesting an extrajudicial admission of guilt in this case, amicus cites the penetrating observation by Sir William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, Edward Christian, London, 1765, Book IV, p. 357: “[E]ven in cases of felony at common law, [confessions] are the weakest and most suspicious of all testimony, ever liable to be obtained by artifice, false hopes, promises of favour, or menaces, seldom remembered accurately, or reported with due precision, and incapable in their nature of being disproved by other negative evidence.” Amicus and countless others suspect that the alleged confession in the boat was staged as artifice to suit the government’s case, and not authentic. But she stands on ancient wisdom which casts doubt on all extrajudicial confessions without adequate safeguards, including the rule that an extrajudicial confession is insufficient to convict, unless the corpus delicti be sufficiently proved up. The rule is defined with various degrees of rigor from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In federal courts, in any event, the corroboration required to sustain a confession or statement in the nature of a confession need only be independent, substantial, and reveal the words in question to be reasonably trustworthy, as appears, e. g., in Opper v. United States, 348 U. S. 84 (1954).

If such be the law here applicable, the required corroboration in this case must include evidence showing that Dzhokhar actually carried a large, heavy, black backpack on Boylston Street before the explosions on the afternoon on April 15, 2013, as claimed by the FBI and alleged in the indictment. Tsarnaeva exhibit 4, a product of investigation by the FBI, shows plainly that Dzhokhar did no such thing, hence no required corroboration has been established

5. Closing remarks: The views here expressed are not unique, but shared by good Americans, and others the world over. The undersigned and her sister Malkan are prepared to testify as expressed in the affidavit filed in support of the motion for leave to file a submission as amicus curiae. This argument is

Respectfully submitted,

May 15, 2015 /s/ Maret Tsarnaeva

Zhigulevskaya Str. 7, Apt. 4
364000 Grozny, Chechen Republic, RF Telephone: 011-7-938-899-1671

E-mail: [email protected] 10

Of counsel:

John Remington Graham of the Minnesota Bar (#3664X) 180 Haut de la Paroisse
St-Agapit, Quebec G0S 1Z0 Canada
Telephone: 418-888-5049

E-mail: [email protected]

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE

The undersigned certifies that this submission is consistent with the rules of this Court, that it is prepared in 14-point Times New Roman font, and that the bare text thereof consists of 2,331 words.

May 15, 2015 /s/ Maret Tsarnaeva

APPENDIX TSARNAEVA EXHIBIT 1

 

TSARNAEVA EXHIBIT 2

 

TSARNAEVA EXHIBIT 3

 

TSARNAEVA EXHIBIT 4

 

 

This is the communication I received from attorney John Remington Graham:

TO DR. PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, GREETINGS :

Dear Sir, — By way of introduction. I have practiced criminal law for nearly forty-eight years, both prosecuting and defending, and served as a founding professor in an accredited law school in my native Minnesota. I have appeared as counsel before courts of record in sixteen jurisdictions, and have a background in forensic science and medicine.  I can provide a résumé on request.

On March 25, 2015, while the trial was underway, I wrote and distributed a short opinion on the prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of capital felonies in Boston on April 15, 2013 in United States v. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, No. 13-CR-10200-GAO on the docket of the United States District Court for Massachusetts, commonly known as the “Boston marathon case”, or “the Boston bomber case”. I used eight photo exhibits to explain my conclusions that, as a matter of law, there was no probable cause to support the indictment, and that Mr. Tsanaev was plainly not guilty as charged. These views were shared by others reporting on the internet, but my opinion was meant to provide professional assurance to fellow citizens that, legally speaking, something was radically wrong with the prosecution. In fact there were then and still are a great many anomalies with the case.

The substance of the Boston marathon case, as I then saw it, and as I still see it, is that, on the day after the explosions on Boylston Street in Boston, the FBI crime lab determined from fragments at the crime scene, the FBI chief in Boston announced, and the indictment itself later confirmed that, shortly before the explosions, the culprits were carrying large, heavy-laden, black backpacks containing pressure cooker bombs. Two days later, the FBI chief in Boston stated publicly that the suspects were identified by a certain street surveillance video, which for some days was later displayed for public viewing on the FBI website. The video had been taken from Whiskey’s Steak House, and was used to create still-frame photos of Tamerlan Tsarnaev (the big brother, now deceased), and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (the little brother, later accused) as they walked up Boylson Street toward the finish line of the Boston marathon, shortly before the bombs went off. These two still frames were featured on posters distributed by the FBI in soliciting cooperation from the general public. But there is a third still-frame photo, taken from the same video, which shows unmistakably that Dzhokhar was carrying a small, light-weight, white backpack. The backpack carried by Dzhokhar was flat, and did not sag or bulge as would have been apparent if it contained a pressure cooker bomb filled with shrapnel as described in the indictment. This third still-frame photo was published by the major news media of the United States. I retrieved my first copy of this third still-frame photo from an internet report of CNN on April 19, 2015.

The bottom line is that the FBI’s own evidence eliminates Dzhokhar as a suspect, and conclusively proves he is not guilty as charged. This reality is literally as clear as the difference between black and white. The establishment press knew about it, and I cannot imagine how the federal prosecutors and counsel for the accused could not have known about it. So obvious was the actual innocence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that there was no need for a trial at all, because a good criminal defense lawyer could have taken the FBI information published the day after the explosions, the text of the indictment, and the third still-frame photo from the street surveillance video used by the FBI to identify suspects, and employed those items to support a pre-trial motion for dismissal of the indictment. I have on many occasions made such motions or seen such motions made by colleagues in federal courts, based on facts revealed by disclosures which prosecutors must and routinely do make available to counsel for the accused under a famous decision of the United States Supreme Court. And I have seen such motions granted on not a few occasions. Such practice is not uncommon, as I know from my own experience.

What was going on in Dzhokhar’s case? Why was there no motion to dismiss the indictment based on indisputable facts? Why was there a trial at all? Why did Judy Clarke, a big-time death-penalty lawyer appointed to defend Dzhokhar, admit to the jury in her opening statement that her client was guilty? She had decisive evidence that her client was not guilty. Why did she not use it, bring the case to an end, and thereby save her client’s life? In her final summation to the jury, Mme Clarke did not even ask for a verdict of not guilty. She made no mention of the exculpatory evidence generated by the FBI and mentioned in the indictment. Available were widely published photographs of possible paramilitary agents near the crime scene in Boston about the time of the explosions, carrying large, heavy-laden, black backpacks with characteristic markings which the FBI crime lab material revealed. But these persons with black backpacks were never investigated by the FBI. Why not?

I contacted Maret Tsarnaeva, the paternal aunt of Dzhokhar living in Chechnya which is part of the Russian Federation, a lawyer trained in the old Russian school of law in the Kyrgyz Republic which was once part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, but has been independent since the conclusion of the former Cold War. A very bright and interesting woman Maret turned out to be, and, from the beginning, she maintained that her nephew was not guilty. My conversations with her over Skype led me to conclude that Judy Clarke and her colleagues in the federal public defender’s office in Boston could not stand up to the political pressure and thus threw the case instead of defending Dzhokhar.

Mme Tsarnaeva executed an affidavit on April 17, 2015, which explains events when representatives of the federal public defender’s office in Boston met with Dzhokhar’s family in Russia. For those interested in details, I attach a copy of her affidavit exactly as sent to me by Maret from Russia and later filed with the federal district court in Boston, except that the affidavit filed in the federal district court includes Maret’s original signature in Russian script which I can verify with my business records.

Maret hoped to call exculpatory evidence to the attention of the presiding judge, because Dzhokhar’s lawyers were not defending the accused and federal prosecutors were acting without probable cause. After diligent research on options was made, Maret decided to attempt an appearance before the federal district court in Boston as a friend of the court. She had to apply to the presiding judge for permission to appear in this capacity, and to make a motion asking the court to appointment me as her personal counsel for this purpose on special occasion. Normally, to be admitted to practice before the court on special occasion, I would need a motion from a member of the local bar. My paralegal assistant and I contacted many lawyers in Massachusetts. Some were sympathetic, but none dared to participate, lest their reputations be harmed. I had practiced before the federal district court in Boston some years previously, and then had no difficulty in securing the routine courtesy of a member of the local bar in sponsoring my appearance on special occasion. But not even the American Civil Liberties Union in Massachusetts dared to assist Maret or myself. I had to assist Maret in making an intervention pro se, representing herself, while she listed me as “of counsel” so as to signal that she was guided by a lawyer, and asked the presiding judge to admit me on special occasion without sponsoring motion of a member of the local bar, due to unusual circumstances.  On instructions of court personnel, we could not proceed on the electronic record, and Maret’s pro se motion with supporting documents was served upon the federal district attorney and the federal public defender in paper and by registered mail, and the papers had to be filed with the office of the clerk of the federal district court, again in paper and regular postal service. But our task was accomplished by May 29, 2015.

For your convenience, I attach herewith the formal argument made by Maret Tsarnaeva acting pro se with my guidance, exactly as filed in the federal district court in Boston, except that the copy served and filed included the signature of Maret Tsarnaeva in Russian script, as I can demonstrate from my business records. We showed by text and exhibits, and by reference to the trial record and FBI-generated evidence that Dzhokhar cannot be guilty, because the FBI determined and the indictment alleged that the culprits carried black backpacks, but the FBI’s evidence showed that Dzhokhar was carrying a white backpack.

Maret expressed her grievances against the unethical misconduct of the federal prosecutors in proceeding when they knew they had no probable cause, and the unethical misconduct of court-appointed counsel in not defending in earnest. We enclosed the four most critical photo exhibits, including the results of the FBI crime lab investigation and the exculpatory third still-frame photo from the video used by the FBI to identify the culprits.

I am aware that many incredulous citizens cannot accept that the government of the United States would stage a show trial in Boston to convict an innocent young man and sentence him to death. But such events are not unusual in history. Judicial murder spoils the history of many nations. These incredulous citizens point to Dzhokhar’s alleged confession statements inside the boat in Watertown and at the time of sentencing.  But contrary to the beliefs of the uninitiated, it has been clear from ancient times that confession statements are the weakest and most suspicious of all testimony, as is stated by legal scholars going back many centuries. Maret’s pro se argument cited Sir William Blackstone, from whom the founding fathers of the United States learned the law, for this truth. False confessions are very common, and result from fabrication, artifice, duress, unfounded hopes, attempts to curry favor, even brainwashing. Hence, going back centuries the law has struggled to develop safeguards against false confessions.

The intervention by Maret Tsarnaeva in behalf of her nephew in the Boston marathon case is significant because, although denying her motion to appear as a friend of the court, the presiding judge entered an order, which appears on the electronic record, is numbered 1469, and directs that her filings be maintained by the office of the clerk of the federal district court in Boston. These documents should be accessible to those wishing to see and read them. Therefore, it is a matter of public record, not merely a matter of internet protest or gossip, that the federal prosecutors, the court-appointed lawyers for the accused, and the presiding judge are all aware of the FBI’s own evidence which excludes Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a suspect, and proves his actual innocence. It is also clear that the major news media of the United States, which orchestrated a false appearance that Dzhokhar was guilty of heinous crimes, and called for his execution, were aware that he was not guilty. They knew, as the report of CNN four days after marathon Monday makes plain, that Dzhokhar was in fact carrying a small, light-weight, white backpack, and that the government’s own evidence shows that the culprits, whoever they were, carried large, heavy-laden, black backpacks.

John Remington Graham of the Minnesota Bar (#3664X)

John Remington Graham is an attorney with decades of experience in the fields of constitutional, environmental, and criminal litigation. He served as a federal public defender; special counsel to Brainerd, Minnesota; and Crow Wing County attorney. He has a great many publishing credits in constitutional law and history, and also forensic medicine and science. He has lectured on constitutional law and legal history in the United States and Canada. Graham was also cofounding professor of law at Hamline University in Minnesota. As a young lawyer, he quickly realized an investigation into constitutional history was necessary to properly defend his clients against the judicial machine. Since then, Graham has been a diligent student of American, Canadian, and English constitutional history and law. He recognized that the American Constitution could not be understood without a thorough knowledge of its foundation in English Constitutional law and history. He has participated in major cases raising difficult questions of constitutional law, appearing before courts in sixteen jurisdictions within the United States. Additionally, in 1998 he was the advisor on British constitutional law and history for the amicus curiae for Quebec in the Canadian Supreme Court, a position that afforded him the opportunity of shaping Quebec’s argument in its case for peaceable secession. Graham received both a bachelor of arts in philosophy and a law degree from the University of Minnesota. Graham, his wife, and children have lived in Minnesota and Quebec.

“Jobless Recovery” and Bankruptcy in Detroit

August 18th, 2015 by Abayomi Azikiwe

Ruling class propaganda is challenged by conditions of poverty and unemployment

A recent study of the residential patterns in the Detroit area and the availability of employment shed light on the contradictory claims being made by the corporate media saying that the majority African American city is undergoing an economic resurgence.

According to an article published in the Aug. edition of Bridge magazine,

“Hundreds of thousands of city residents, many without access to a car, live in areas where there are fewer than 200 jobs for every 1,000 residents, neighborhoods that are miles away from where most jobs can be found, both in and outside of the city. Nearly 80 percent of city residents live over 10 miles from a central business district, one of the highest rates of the country.” (bridgemi.com)

Present patterns of de facto segregated housing contributes immensely to the crisis but cannot explain the problems in their entirety. Racism in hiring practices as well as substandard educational opportunities is a direct result of the virtual outlawing of affirmative action and the disinvestment in schooling and public services.

This same article emphasizes that

“Detroit has one of the worst jobs per capita rates among big cities, due largely to the closing of large manufacturing plants that were once spread across the city. Roughly half of the city’s population lives west of Woodward Avenue – more than 335,000 people. But across that vast stretch of Detroit there are only 30,500 jobs – less than one job for every 10 people. Similarly jobs-poor areas abound on the city’s east side.”

Reflecting on times past the report notes, “That wasn’t always Detroit’s story. For decades, many of the city’s neighborhoods teemed with nearby jobs as housing sprung up around the dozens of manufacturing plants in the city. But the plants moved or closed altogether. The neighborhoods remained but many have fallen into disrepair as unemployment soared and residents moved out toward the jobs that once were plentiful in the city.”

Source of the Problem

Corporations that took jobs out of the city are heavily responsible for the present situation.

Successive administrations in Washington and Lansing, the state capitol, have refused to initiate jobs programs that could employ hundreds of thousands of people on a permanent basis.

With the decline in jobs, the outmigration of population groups and subsequent falling tax revenues, the city was forced to borrow from banks which ensnarled the municipality into predatory arrangements that drained Detroit further. All of this came to a head during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, precipitating disastrous consequences.

The City of Detroit was forced into emergency management and bankruptcy during 2013-2014 under the guise of the need for a major restructuring of its finances. Within the process of the suspension of bourgeois democratic rights, municipal employees, retirees and residents witnessed the wholesale theft of at least $7 billion in healthcare and pension benefits as well as the selling off and seizure by the state of public assets such as Belle Isle, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Detroit Public Works, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), etc.

In a controversial mayoral election in 2013, Mike Duggan, a then resident of Livonia, one of the most segregated cities in the United States, ostensibly won a write-in election against former police chief and Wayne County Sheriff Bennie Napoleon. Duggan had served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Detroit Medical Center where it was privatized during his tenure.

At present hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks are being given to two leading billionaires whose businesses are based in the downtown area. Pizza magnate Mike Illitch, who owns the Detroit Tigers, and Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans, have reaped the benefits of the restructuring through donated public land and real estate speculation funded through taxes.

None of this large-scale transferal of wealth and denial of civil and economic rights has trickled down to benefit the majority African American city. Poverty, joblessness, educational decline, water shut-offs, foreclosures and evictions continue unabated.

Exposing the Agenda of the Ruling Class

Despite the cheerleading for the rich carried out by the corporate newspapers, television and radio stations, there is still large scale unemployment and poverty in the city. Tens of thousands are facing foreclosure, evictions and utility shut-offs.

The largest property tax foreclosures will be carried out within weeks. Thousands of homes are threatened with auction to so-called “real estate developers”, many of whom do not live in the city or its environs.

Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans chairs the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force which targets properties throughout the city for seizure through the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA). The principal focus of the Land Bank is residential properties and not the thousands of abandoned factories, warehouses, commercial structures and schools.

There has been no effort on the part of the Duggan administration or the Land Bank to take legal action against the financial institutions and corporations which looted the city for decades resulting in the current blight. Over $200 million remain in state coffers which were allocated under the federal Hardest Hit Fund in 2009, yet the Wayne County Treasurer or other public officials have not sought to file suit against the state and the U.S. Treasury Department for the failure of Lansing to utilize the funds to keep people in their homes.

Tens of millions of those dollars are being misused by Gilbert and his Task Force to tear down homes that could easily be rehabilitated for habitation creating thousands of jobs and revitalizing communities. Gilbert at present is being sued by the Department of Justice for mishandling Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.

A state review of the finances of Wayne County in July has led to the adoption of a consent agreement aimed at avoiding emergency management and bankruptcy, as was experienced by the city government. Nonetheless, this agreement will undoubtedly result in vicious attacks on county workers and retirees.

People’s Assembly and Speak Out to Attack Racist Economic Program

Economic ‘development projects’ are geared towards the maximization of profits for the rich utilizing expropriated public assets and tax revenues. The people of Detroit are being denied the right to decide how public funds are being utilized in the city.

A petition drive is underway to place the proposed regionalization of the water system on a ballot initiative. Dispossessed retirees for the City have created an organization, The Detroit Active and Retirees Association (DAREA), which is spearheading the petition drive in addition to playing a leading role in other community activities.

This burgeoning struggle will be the focus of an upcoming People’s Assembly and Speak Out on Aug. 29 in downtown Detroit. Thousands of pieces of literature have been distributed across the city calling on people to attend the public meeting at Grand Circus Park downtown.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition made the call for the gathering which has been endorsed by several local and national organizations. Thousands of leaflets for the event were passed out at the African World Festival during Aug. 14-16 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Midtown.

Issues which will be discussed includes the rise in police killings of civilians; the demand for a federal and bank-funded jobs program to rebuild the city; the restoration of public control of the Detroit Public Schools under emergency management in one form or another for the last decade-and-a-half; an end to foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs; the release of the hardest hit funds; freedom for Michigan political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney; support for African American shop owners and taxi drivers being driven out of downtown; among other related themes.

John Kerry, Cuba and Exporting US “Democracy”

August 18th, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

While the rapprochement between Cuba and the US will rank highly in the achievements of the Obama administration, it is a deal with sharp blades and rough edges. Such an issue provides a host of reactions. The doors may be opening, but what will Cuba be letting in?

The flag fetish on CNN was suggestive of omens to come. The aged marines who took the US embassy flag down from the embassy as Cuba fell to Fidel Castro were interviewed, while the new set were also given an airing about what it would be like to raise the holy item over the compound again.

The term “normalising” should perhaps be scrapped from the official US-Cuban handbook of engagement. There has been something fundamentally abnormal in the relations between Havana and Washington. Generations have witnessed empires with their ambitions and cruelties imposed upon Cuba. Spanish departure laid the way for US intrusions. Talk about emancipation was rapidly replaced by actions of the brute. When the Cuban mistress refused to comply with Uncle Sam’s lustful wishes, the anger exploded.

That tendency, in rather unedifying fashion, has continued in the form of Secretary of State John Kerry, who drew on that great tradition of US hectoring in telling the Cubans what they really wanted. That old, sadly ill-kept mummy called democracy was taken out of the tomb and displayed in speech. This was the mummy of distinct US pedigree.

Even before travelling to Havana to witness the flag-raising ceremony, Kerry was busy getting his grocery list of “what to tell Cubans” in order. There was the issue about how to deal with the excluded dissidents, for instance. As Kerry explained to the Miami Herald, “rather than have people sitting in a chair, at a ceremony that is fundamentally government-to-government, with very limited space, I will meet with them and actually have an opportunity to talk to them and exchange views.”[1]

For Kerry, a US embassy in Havana would be the best weapon of imposed reform, a Trojan horse of agitation. Yes, the Cuban people might be able to “decide” what reforms to have, rather than the United States, but “there is no question in my mind that we will have a better opportunity to stand up and fight for human rights there, being there, with an ambassador, with an embassy, able to engage with the people of Cuba.”

Much of US-Cuban relations revolve around such themes, showing how traumatic the loss of Cuba (the Cuba of heavily pressed flesh, ribald entertainment, and Battista) proved to be. This was Nora walking out of the Doll’s House. It was repudiation rejection and a grand jilting. And still, Castro was willing to seek “normal” relations even as the abnormality of conditions was being reasserted. President John F. Kennedy did the rest.

The result was the continuous language of the aggrieved. Embrace the US liberal democratic model because civil rights are the great badge of freedom, and the US, well, does it better than anybody else.  Leave aside that, even as Cuba was winding back segregation policies under the Castro government, the United States was still, not so much flirting as comingling with racial separation.

Then there were those socialist nasties taking place close to US soil, repeatedly anathemized by the Washington establishment: free medical treatment, education, redistribution of land. This was social welfare on steroids, deemed a grotesque affront to liberty’s land.Such is freedom, with its autochthonous gristle, its local inconsistencies, and even latent invisibilities. The world of ideas often floats above the cruelties of the real terrain. Both Cubans and many in the US may well know this, but the acceptance doesn’t necessarily translate into the official record.

And what of the export quality being suggested? US democracy, like various local wines, does not travel well, oxidising on route. Its battles are its own, organic conflicts that forge synthesis through internalised debates that only have a superficial universality. This lesson was well understood by such historians and writers as Daniel Boorstin, who made the stark point in The Genius of American Politics (1953).

Boorstin even went so far as to argue that, “Nothing could be more un-American than to urge other countries to imitate America. We should not ask them to adopt our ‘philosophy’ because we have no philosophy that can be exported.” Exceptionalism can never be flattered, even sincerely.

Kerry evidently doesn’t agree, seeing “normalisation” and Americanisation as more or less the same thing. Normalisation, for instance, entails that Cuba embrace a US “road map” one “toward real, full normalisation.” Lifting the embargo will happen, but on the proviso of the populace being able to “engage in a democratic process, to elect people, to have their own choices.”

But Realpolitik remains the elephant in the room, one which bastardises any effort to be entirely civil about civil rights or social reform inspired by any one, exported model. Give the people the vote, by all means, but redirect them, as in the case of Chile, if the outcome is undesirable to the super power chessboard.

The dirty wars of Central and South America, and the sturdy backing by Washington, linger like a malodorous smell. Memories of Henry Kissinger’s idea of directed democracy are everywhere. Melanio Martinez, almost 80, would remind Reuters about “who has committed more atrocities in the world than the United States? Who has invaded all of the countries of Latin America including Cuba? The United States.”[2] A touch hyperbolic for some, but not by much.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email:[email protected]

Notes

[1] http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article30921414.html

[2] http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/15/us-cuba-usa-reaction-idUSKCN0QK0CH20150815

 

Israel partnered with Obama’s war on Syria since conflict began in March 2011. It supports ISIS and other takfiri terrorists – providing arms, treating wounded fighters in Israeli hospitals.

It conducted half a dozen or more terror bombings on Syrian targets as well as several cross-border attacks.

It’s kept a relatively low profile in partnering with Obama’s war to topple Bashar al-Assad, eliminate a regional rival and isolate Iran ahead of likely greater destabilization and possible war on the Islamic Republic based on fabricated threats.

On Augut 16, Israeli media reported IDF preparations for possible Golan Heights ground operations on Syria’s side of the border if alleged terror attacks occur against Israel – likely false flags it can use as justification for aggression.

Israeli media reported state propaganda about threatening Islamists along Israel’s border. The IDF on high alert in response conducted a large-scale drill last week simulating three scenarios: countering a claimed terrorist attack on Israeli forces, a ground incursion into Syria, and repelling an alleged Iranian directed Hezbollah attack.

Fact: No evidence suggests Islamic State or other terrorist elements in Syria turning on their sources of support, namely Israel.

They haven’t attacked Israel or its military any time throughout nearly four and a half years of conflict. Nor has Iran or Hezbollah – neither indicating any intention to do so.

Israeli claims about earlier Iranian and Hezbollah attacks on its territory from Syrian Golan positions or Lebanon are a complete fabrication – used as pretext for possible aggression.

On Sunday, an IDF source lied claiming “(i)t’s clear that Iran is behind all of the (Golan area) terror attacks…in the past two years. The Iranians are using the border – they establish units – whether it’s (Jihad) Mughniyeh (a Hezbollah member Israel killed), (Samir) Kuntar (a Palestine Liberation Front operative), and more – to carry out” attacks.

These and similar reports are part of Israel’s propaganda war (at times turning hot) against Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Longstanding US/Israeli plans call for balkanizing Syria – part of their scheme to redraw the Middle East map, first by likely establishing a buffer and no-fly zone with Ankara in northern Syria.

US warplanes have been bombing Syrian infrastructure targets for nearly a year on the pretext of targeting ISIS. Turkey is involved attacking Kurdish forces in Syria.

Perhaps Israel now plans joining them more directly by sending troops cross-border into southern Syria – against Assad, not nonexistent terrorist threats. Will Libya 2.0 follow?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

 

This year the political environment in the Central Asia has been favorable to peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

The Afghan and Pakistani governments are battling intertwined insurgencies. Using this mutual interest, they have tried to improve relations and Pakistan became a mediator in the peace process in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the recent revelation of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar’s 2013 death accentuated a leadership struggle within the movement; the new leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, does not have full support. The talks were halted. Moreover, Taliban, as any non-monolithic organization, is divided on the topic of holding any meaningful talks from the very beginning.

  1. August 10, The fight between different groups of the Taliban was observed in the Nahri Saraj district of the Helmand province. At the end of July, militants captured wide territories in the province. The Now Zad district is under direct governance of Taliban.

Afghanistan Map of War, August 16, 2015

Click to see the full-size high resolution map (2583×2278)

Notwithstanding this, the recent series of attacks showed that the Taliban’s disunity has not made the group any less lethal. It shows that the Afghan government cannot effectively oppose to Taliban.

  1. August 7, Three suicide car bombs detonated in Kabul: in a residential area near an Afghan national army base, at a gate of a police academy and at an entrance to a base used by U.S. Special Operations. The bomb attack at the US base was followed by small arms fire and additional explosions. At least 44 people were killed and 265 wounded in these attacks.
  2. August 8, A suicide car bomber killed 29 and wounded 15 pro-government militants in the Khan Abad district of the Kunduz province.
  3. August 10, A suicide car bomb detonated at a checkpoint in the route to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. At least 5 people were killed and 16 wounded.

These attacks are more evidence of the fact that a part of Taliban leaders don’t support the peace process between Afghan government and militants. Another feature of the situation is the fact that in 2014, the Pakistani government started a military operation “Operation Zarb-e-Azb” in North Waziristan and Khyber along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border as a renewed effort against militancy. The Pakistani military pressure on the various militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, al-Qaeda, Jundallah and the Haqqani network, conducted a strong flow of militants through Pakistan-Afghanistan government.

This summer, typical activity of Taliban has been strengthened by militants from the North Waziristan (90% of it is cleared from militants by Pakistani forces).

  1. August 12, Intense clashes between Taliban and pro-government forces of Afghanistan were going at the Helmand, Kandahar, Farah, Zabul, Nangarhar, Baghlan, Kunduz, Badakhshan. Every day, the Taliban attacks over 30 times in different parts of the state.
  2. August 13, Taliban started a new full-scale offensive in the Kunduz province and captured the most of the Khanabad district, including 60 settlements. The city of Kunduz will be the next target of militants. Since this spring, the Taliban has already captured part of the Chahart Darah, Qual’ah-ye Za districts. The Afghan government made an attempt to launch military operation in order to recapture the ground from militants, but clashes ended unsuccessfully. Thus, Taliban controls at least 40% of the province.
  3. August 14, Taliban militants killed at least 15 servicemen of the Afghan police at checkpoint in the Musa Qal’ah district of the Helmand province.

In August, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has started to sharply criticize Pakistan for its policy in the North Waziristan because it represents a threat for Afghanistan. He believe that the lack of the Afghan national army’s capacity to control the Afghani-Pakistani border is a problem of Pakistan. And the Pakistani government has to stop military operation against militants in North Waziristan.

However, SouthFront assumes that Afghanistan’s actions are related to cooling of the Pakistan foreign policy toward the USA. Taliban is a rival enemy of the USA and ISIS in the region while the Afghan government is its ally. Furthermore, ISIS’s expansion to the north consists with the White House’s aim to destabilize the Russian and Chinese borders. Thus, the US has been trying to set fire between Kabul and Islamabad, hold a fragile situation together in order to prevent a rise of Taliban’s official political influence in Afghanistan because of a successful peace process. It’s a little hope for the start of serious talks without Islamabad’s support. This analysis explains another feature of the latest developments – a lack of ISIS activity in the region. Likely, Islamic State has been exercising some undetected organizational, military and other preparations to increase influence in Afghanistan.

The change of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot be hidden under the formal visits:

On August 13, the Afghan government sent a delegation, led by Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and included national intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil and Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai, to Pakistan to discuss an action plan after Islamabad-hosted peace talks with the Taliban. A day later, on August 14, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) announced that the medicines import from Pakistan will be banned. Meanwhile, Pakistan has raised custom dues at the Pakistani-Afghan border. Apparently, it isn’t a feature of the friendly relations.

Three years after Ecuador’s government granted political asylum to Julian Assange in its small ground-floor London embassy, the founder of WikiLeaks is still there — beyond the reach of the government whose vice president, Joe Biden, has labeled him “a digital terrorist.” The Obama administration wants Assange in a U.S. prison, so that the only mouse he might ever see would be scurrying across the floor of a solitary-confinement cell.

Above and beyond Assange’s personal freedom, what’s at stake includes the impunity of the United States and its allies to relegate transparency to a mythical concept, with democracy more rhetoric than reality. From the Vietnam War era to today — from aerial bombing and torture to ecological disasters and financial scams moving billions of dollars into private pockets — the high-up secrecy hiding key realities from the public has done vast damage. No wonder economic and political elites despise WikiLeaks for its disclosures.

During the last five years, since the release of the infamous “Collateral Murder” video, the world has changed in major ways for democratic possibilities, with WikiLeaks as a catalyst. It’s sadly appropriate that Assange is so deplored and reviled by so many in the upper reaches of governments, huge corporations and mass media. For such powerful entities, truly informative leaks to the public are plagues that should be eradicated as much as possible.

Notably, in the U.S. mass media, Assange is often grouped together with whistleblowers. He is in fact a journalistic editor and publisher. In acute contrast to so many at the top of the corporate media and governmental food chains, Assange insists that democracy requires the “consent of the governed” to be informed consent. While powerful elites work 24/7 to continually gain the uninformed consent of the governed, WikiLeaks has opposite concerns.

Genuine journalistic liberty exists only to the extent that overt or internalized censorship is absent. Especially in a society such as the United States with enduring press freedoms (the First Amendment is bruised and battered but still on its feet), the ultimate propaganda war zone is between people’s ears. So much has been surrendered, often unwittingly and unknowingly. Waving the white flag at dominant propaganda onslaughts can only help democracy to expire.

Julian Assange has effectively insisted that another media world is possible and the corporate warfare state is unacceptable. Not coincidentally, the U.S. government wants to capture Assange and put him away, incommunicado, in a prison cell.

*****

Last week, in Sweden, most but not all of the sexual-assault allegations against Assange expired. Still, Assange notes, “I haven’t even been charged.” And Sweden’s government — while claiming that it is strictly concerned about adhering to its laws — has refused to limit the legal scope to its own judicial process.

As the BBC reports, “Assange sought asylum three years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden, fearing he would then be sent to the U.S. and put on trial for releasing secret American documents.” Closely aligned with Washington, the Swedish government refuses to promise that it would not turn Assange over to the U.S. government for extradition.

“Julian Assange has spent more time incarcerated in the small rooms of the embassy, with no access to fresh air or exercise and contrary to international law, than he could ever spend in a Swedish prison on these allegations,” says one of his lawyers, Helena Kennedy.

*****

While government leaders have ample reasons to want to impale his image on a media spike and put him in prison for decades, many corporate titans — including venerated innovator billionaires of Silicon Valley — are not much more kindly disposed. The extent of their relentless commitments to anti-democratic greed has been brilliantly deconstructed in Assange’s 2014 book “When Google Met WikiLeaks.”
“Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower,” Assange wrote. “As Google’s search and internet service monopoly grows, and as it enlarges its industrial surveillance cone to cover the majority of the world’s population, rapidly dominating the mobile phone market and racing to extend internet access in the global south, Google is steadily becoming the internet for many people. Its influence on the choices and behavior of the totality of individual human beings translates to real power to influence the course of history.”

As for courage — which too often is the stuff of mystifying legends about heroes on pedestals — Assange’s observations might help us to grasp how it can gradually be summoned from within ourselves. Worth pondering: “Courage is not the absence of fear. Only fools have no fear. Rather, courage is the intellectual mastery of fear by understanding the true risks and opportunities of the situation and keeping those things in balance.”

Assange added: “It is not simply having prejudice about what the risks are, but actually testing them. There are all sorts of myths that go around about what can be done and what cannot be done. It’s important to test. You don’t test by jumping off a bridge. You test by jumping off a footstool, and then jumping off something a bit higher, and a bit higher.”

While visiting him last fall and a couple of months ago, I found Assange no less insightful during informal conversations. This is a dangerous person, in words and deeds — dangerous to the overlapping agendas of large corporations and governments in service to each other — dangerous to those who constantly make a killing from war, vast inequities and plunder of the planet.

Norman Solomon is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and the author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

Last Friday’s speech by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to mark 70 years since Japan’s surrender in World War II was a carefully contrived exercise. It sought to maintain a veneer of pacifism and contrition for the past crimes of Japanese militarism even as his government expands the country’s armed forces and ends constitutional constraints on Japanese participation in new US-led wars of aggression.

Every word and phrase in the speech was sifted and weighed for months by a government-appointed committee of academics, officials and political advisers. Abe’s cabinet formally approved the statement before it was delivered and released in Japanese and English, followed several hours later by a Chinese translation.

Governments and the media around the world carefully scrutinised the speech for any hint that Abe retreated from the words pronounced in 1995 by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on the 50th anniversary of the war’s end, and repeated a decade later by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2005. Murayama expressed “feelings of deep remorse” and a “heartfelt apology” for Japan’s “colonial rule and aggression.”

Since taking office in 2012, Abe has boosted the military budget, taken an aggressive stance toward China over disputed islets in the East China Sea, and sought to revise the historical record of Japanese aggression. As prime minister, he has visited the notorious Yasukuni shrine, a potent symbol of Japanese militarism, where class ‘A’ war criminals are interred. Abe has also denied the role of the Japanese military in forcing hundreds of thousands of women—so-called comfort women—into sexual slavery for its troops.

Abe’s statement carefully included all the words and phrases uttered by Murayama and Koizumi, but pointedly included no direct apology of his own and made only an oblique reference to “women behind the battlefields whose honour and dignity were severely injured.”

Having repeated the required phrases, Abe called for a halt to further apologies, reflecting the deep frustration in right-wing militarist circles over Japan’s “masochistic” approach to history. “We must not let our children, grandchildren and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologise,” he declared.

Abe also took an indirect swipe at China, insisting that Japan in the 1930s and 1940s had been “a challenger to the international order” but would not do the same again. Following Washington, the Abe government has repeatedly accused Beijing of failing to adhere to the “international order” and pursuing expansionist policies in relation to maritime disputes in the South China and East China Seas. In reality, the US as part of its “pivot to Asia,” has provocatively inflamed these disputes and encouraged allies like Japan to take a more aggressive posture toward China.

Abe vowed that Japan would “firmly uphold basic values such as freedom, democracy and human rights as unyielding values and, by working hand in hand with countries that share such values, hoist the flag of ‘Proactive Contribution to Peace’ and contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world more than ever before.”

Every phrase was riddled with duplicity and lies. The banner of “democracy” and “human rights” is precisely the pretext that the US has used to wage its criminal wars of aggression in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Abe is currently seeking to ram widely unpopular legislation through the Japanese parliament to circumvent the country’s post-war constitution and engage in “collective self-defence”—that is, extend the participation of the Japanese military in US-led wars and interventions.

Abe paid tribute to a list of countries—the US, Australia and European nations—that Japan fought in World War II and are lining up against China.

Abe’s catch-phrase of “pro-active pacifism” was aimed at justifying his government’s military build-up, restarting of arms exports and increasingly provocative stance against China. These all contradict Article 9 of the country’s constitution, which renounced war forever and declared that land, air and sea forces would never be maintained.

However, the most significant aspect of Abe’s speech—on which the media barely commented—was the introduction, which briefly recounted Japan’s rise in the 19th and 20th centuries. While not overt, his remarks unmistakeably defended Japanese imperialism. They echoed the war-time propaganda of the 1930s and 1940s—that Japan was waging a war for the liberation of Asia from the “Western powers.”

“More than one hundred years ago, vast colonies possessed mainly by the Western powers stretched out across the world,” Abe declared.

“With their overwhelming supremacy in technology, waves of colonial rule surged toward Asia in the 19th century. There is no doubt that the resultant sense of crisis drove Japan forward to achieve modernisation… The country preserved its independence throughout. The Japan-Russia war gave encouragement to many people under colonial rule, from Asia to Africa.”

While it is certainly true that the prospect of Western colonisation drove the Japanese ruling elites to build a modern capitalist economy, as well as a military machine, at breakneck speed, the result was not simply an “independent” country, but an imperialist power that sought to carve out its own colonial possessions. Japan’s defeat of Russia in 1905 led to the brutal colonial subjugation of Korea, just as its war against China in 1894–95 resulted in the takeover of Formosa, now Taiwan.

Abe presented Japan’s aggression against China—the seizure of Manchuria in 1931 and the invasion of the remainder of China from 1937—as an inadvertent mistake and the product of forces beyond its control. Again, the Western powers were to blame.

“With the Great Depression setting in and the Western countries launching economic blocs by involving colonial economies, Japan’s economy suffered a major blow. In such circumstances, Japan’s sense of isolation deepened and it attempted to overcome its diplomatic and economic deadlock through the use of force… In this way, Japan lost sight of the overall trends in the world… Japan took the wrong course and advanced along the road to war.”

Of course, Abe did not resurrect the slogan of a “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere,” which Japan’s militarist regime used to justify its conquest and colonial rule of much of East Asia as it fought US imperialism and its allies for domination of the region. But his speech was laced with the sentiment that Japan tried to liberate Asia from the Western powers. While not openly expressed, this attitude still prevails within militarist sections of the Japanese ruling elite, who believe that the country’s only misdeed was that it lost the war.

Abe’s statement received muted criticism from the Chinese and South Korean governments, which routinely whip up anti-Japanese sentiment to divert attention from their social and economic crises at home. A Chinese foreign ministry statement described Abe’s speech as “evasive” for failing to make an “explicit statement on the nature of the war.” South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Abe’s remarks “left much to be desired,” but made no specific criticism.

The American and international media appear to have heaved a collective sigh of relief that Abe included all the stock phrases and did not antagonise South Korea, in particular. As part of its “pivot to Asia” aimed at encircling China militarily, the Obama administration has gone to great lengths to establish greater collaboration between Japan and South Korea, two US allies, on intelligence and military matters.

Abe’s historical references, however, were no slip of the tongue. His rationalisation of Japanese aggression in World War II was an indication that “proactive pacifism” will be the banner, not simply for participating in US-led wars of aggression, but for prosecuting the independent interests of Japanese imperialism by military force, even if it again means conflict with rival powers such as the United States.

Classified NSA documents published by the New York Times and ProPublica this weekend have further exposed the vast scale of collaboration between the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the major telecommunications giants in carrying out illegal and unconstitutional spying operations.

The new documents, which come from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, originate from between 2003 and 2013. The participation of at least nine major tech firms in joint projects with NSA Special Source Operations was already revealed in documents leaked by Snowden in 2013, but the identities and roles of the firms involved remained murky.

The NSA’s longest and most fruitful corporate partner, which goes by the codename “FAIRVIEW” in the leaked documents, is AT&T. Repairs made to a FAIRVIEW fiber optic cable near Japan directly coincided with the rupturing of AT&T lines in the same location caused by a 2011 earthquake, the reports found.

The scale of the data transferred to the US intelligence agencies makes a mockery of claims from the Obama administration that the spying has been “targeted” at alleged terrorists.

AT&T was the first corporation to support NSA’s aim to have “live,” real-time surveillance of the internet. Some 400 billion Internet metadata records were sent to the NSA in one month toward the beginning of the company’s involvement in this program in 2003.

From 2003 onward, AT&T transferred billions of emails sent on US networks to the NSA. It embedded surveillance hardware in at least 17 of its US-based internet centers.

NSA documents describe AT&T as “highly collaborative” and praise the company for its “extreme willingness to help” with NSA operations around the world. AT&T maintains a “close partnership with FBI” and provides access to “Cable Stations/Switches/Routers (IP Backbone),” the documents state.

By 2011, AT&T was also giving the NSA 1.1 billion cell phone records per day. As the Times notes,

“This revelation is striking because after Mr. Snowden disclosed the program of collecting the records of Americans’ phone calls, intelligence officials told reporters that, for technical reasons, it consisted mostly of landline phone records.”

AT&T’s involvement in NSA spying was “global” in scope, one document states. The company helped transform the United Nations headquarters into an NSA listening post, with all UN internet communications passing into the hands of surveillance agents.

According to the documents, by 2013, AT&T was providing the NSA with access to 60 million foreign-to-foreign emails a day.

However, AT&T is only one of many companies involved. Telecommunications giant Verizon (referred to within the framework of a program called STORMBREW) collects data from eight interconnected sites across the continental US. STORMBREW also provides the NSA with access to seven “international choke points,” the documents state.

NSA protocols call for agents to exercise maximum courtesy in their dealings with the corporations, on the grounds that US intelligence ties to the corporations constitute “a partnership, not a contractual relationship.”

It has already been established by previous Snowden-leaked documents that the US government maintains secret contracts with the communications firms, paying out large sums of cash as part of its corporate operations.

According to the latest leaked documents, in 2011 alone the NSA paid AT&T nearly $190 million.

The Obama administration has worked to cover for the illegal actions of the companies in collaborating with warrantless mass surveillance. Earlier this year, the White House successfully blocked a lawsuit by AT&T customers demanding redress for privacy violations resulting from the company’s contracts with the US government.

In the wake of the Snowden revelations that began in 2013, the Obama administration has worked to ensure that all the spy programs would continue. In June of this year, the White House backed passage of the USA Freedom Act, which purported to end only one of the many programs that have been set up to spy on the population of the United States and the world: the metadata phone records program.

In fact, the new legislation merely transfers the responsibility to store phone records from the NSA itself to the telecommunications companies. As made clear by the revelations on AT&T’s role in collaborating with the NSA, this amounts to little more than changing the name of the sign on the door, since the telecommunications firms essentially function as extensions of the spy apparatus.

America’s neocons insist that their only mistake was falling for some false intelligence about Iraq’s WMD and that they shouldn’t be stripped of their powerful positions of influence for just one little boo-boo. That’s the point of view taken by Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt as he whines about the unfairness of applying “a single-interest litmus test,” i.e., the Iraq War debacle, to judge him and his fellow war boosters.

After noting that many other important people were on the same pro-war bandwagon with him, Hiatt criticizes President Barack Obama for citing the Iraq War as an argument not to listen to many of the same neocons who now are trying to sabotage the Iran nuclear agreement. Hiatt thinks it’s the height of unfairness for Obama or anyone else to suggest that people who want to kill the Iran deal — and thus keep alive the option to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran — “are lusting for another war.”

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)

Hiatt also faults Obama for not issuing a serious war threat to Iran, a missing ultimatum that explains why the nuclear agreement falls “so far short.” Hiatt adds: “war is not always avoidable, and the judicious use of force early in a crisis, or even the threat of force, can sometimes forestall worse bloodshed later.”

But it should be noted that the neocons – and Hiatt in particular – did not simply make one mistake when they joined President George W. Bush’s rush to war in 2002-03. They continued with their warmongering in Iraq for years, often bashing the handful of brave souls in Official Washington who dared challenge the neocons’ pro-war enthusiasm. Hiatt and his fellow “opinion leaders” were, in effect, the enforcers of the Iraq War “group think” – and they have never sought to make amends for that bullying.

The Destruction of Joe Wilson

Take, for instance, the case of CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Hiatt’s editorial section waged a long vendetta against Wilson for challenging one particularly egregious lie, Bush’s nationally televised claim about Iraq seeking “yellowcake” uranium from Niger, a suggestion that Iraq was working on a secret nuclear bomb. The Post’s get-Wilson campaign included publishing a column that identified Plame as a CIA officer, thus destroying her undercover career.

At that point, you might have thought that Hiatt would have stepped forward and tried to ameliorate the harm that he and his editorial page had inflicted on this patriotic American family, whose offense was to point out a false claim that Bush had used to sell the Iraq War to the American people. But instead Hiatt simply piled on the abuse, essentially driving Wilson and Plame out of government circles and indeed out of Washington.

In effect, Hiatt applied a “a single-issue litmus test” to disqualify the Wilson family from the ranks of those Americans who should be listened to. Joe Wilson had failed the test by being right about the Iraq War, so he obviously needed to be drummed out of public life.

The fact that Hiatt remains the Post’s editorial-page editor and that Wilson ended up decamping his family to New Mexico speaks volumes about the upside-down world that Official Washington has become. Be conspicuously, obstinately and nastily wrong about possibly the biggest foreign-policy blunder in U.S. history and you should be cut some slack, but dare be right and off with your head.

And the Iraq War wasn’t just a minor error. In the dozen years since Bush launched his war of aggression in Iraq, the bloody folly has destabilized the entire Middle East, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (including nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers), wasted well over $1 trillion, spread the grotesque violence of Sunni terrorism across the region, and sent a flood of refugees into Europe threatening the Continent’s unity.

Yet, what is perhaps most remarkable is that almost no one who aided and abetted the catastrophic and illegal decision has been held accountable in any meaningful way. That applies to Bush and his senior advisers who haven’t spent a single day inside a jail cell; it applies to Official Washington’s well-funded think tanks where neoconservatives still dominate; and it applies to the national news media where almost no one who disseminated pro-war propaganda was fired (with the possible exception of Judith Miller who was dumped by The New York Times but landed on her feet as a Fox News “on-air personality” and an op-ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal).

The Plame-Gate Affair

While the overall performance of the Post’s editorial page during the Iraq War was one of the most shameful examples of journalistic malfeasance in modern U.S. history, arguably the ugliest part was the Post’s years-long assault on Wilson and Plame. The so-called “Plame-gate Affair” began in early 2002 when the CIA recruited ex-Ambassador Wilson to investigate what turned out to be a forged document indicating a possible Iraqi yellowcake purchase in Niger. The document had aroused Vice President Dick Cheney’s interest.

Having served in Africa, Wilson accepted the CIA’s assignment and returned with a conclusion that Iraq had almost surely not obtained any uranium from Niger, an assessment shared by other U.S. officials who checked out the story. However, the bogus allegation was not so easily quashed.

Wilson was stunned when Bush included the Niger allegations in his State of the Union Address in January 2003. Initially, Wilson began alerting a few journalists about the discredited claim while trying to keep his name out of the newspapers. However, in July 2003 – after the U.S. invasion in March 2003 had failed to turn up any WMD stockpiles – Wilson penned an op-ed article for The New York Times describing what he didn’t find in Africa and saying the White House had “twisted” pre-war intelligence.

Though Wilson’s article focused on his own investigation, it represented the first time a Washington insider had gone public with evidence regarding the Bush administration’s fraudulent case for war. Thus, Wilson became a major target for retribution from the White House and particularly Cheney’s office.

As part of the campaign to destroy Wilson’s credibility, senior Bush administration officials leaked to journalists that Wilson’s wife worked in the CIA office that had dispatched him to Niger, a suggestion that the trip might have been some kind of junket. When right-wing columnist Robert Novak published Plame’s covert identity in The Washington Post’s op-ed section, Plame’s CIA career was destroyed.

Accusations of Lying

However, instead of showing any remorse for the harm his editorial section had done, Hiatt simply enlisted in the Bush administration’s war against Wilson, promoting every anti-Wilson talking point that the White House could dream up. The Post’s assault on Wilson went on for years.

For instance, in a Sept. 1, 2006, editorial, Hiatt accused Wilson of lying when he had claimed the White House had leaked his wife’s name. The context of Hiatt’s broadside was the disclosure that Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the first administration official to tell Novak that Plame was a CIA officer and had played a small role in Wilson’s Niger trip.

Because Armitage was considered a reluctant supporter of the Iraq War, the Post editorial jumped to the conclusion that “it follows that one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House – that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame’s identity – is untrue.”

But Hiatt’s logic was faulty for several reasons. First, Armitage may have been cozier with some senior officials in Bush’s White House than was generally understood. And, just because Armitage may have been the first to share the classified information with Novak didn’t mean that there was no parallel White House operation to peddle Plame’s identity to reporters.

In fact, evidence uncovered by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who examined the Plame leak, supported a conclusion that White House officials, under the direction of Vice President Cheney and including Cheney aide Lewis Libby and Bush political adviser Karl Rove, approached a number of reporters with this information.

Indeed, Rove appears to have confirmed Plame’s identity for Novak and also leaked the information to Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper. Meanwhile, Libby, who was indicted on perjury and obstruction charges in the case, had pitched the information to The New York Times’ Judith Miller. The Post’s editorial acknowledged that Libby and other White House officials were not “blameless,” since they allegedly released Plame’s identity while “trying to discredit Mr. Wilson.” But the Post reserved its harshest condemnation for Wilson.

“It now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career is Mr. Wilson,” the editorial said. “Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming – falsely, as it turned out – that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials.

He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush’s closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.

A Smear or a Lie

The Post’s editorial, however, was at best an argumentative smear and most likely a willful lie. By then, the evidence was clear that Wilson, along with other government investigators, had debunked the reports of Iraq acquiring yellowcake in Niger and that those findings did circulate to senior levels, explaining why CIA Director George Tenet struck the yellowcake claims from other Bush speeches.

The Post’s accusation about Wilson “falsely” claiming to have debunked the yellowcake reports apparently was based on Wilson’s inclusion in his report of speculation from one Niger official who suspected that Iraq might have been interested in buying yellowcake, although the Iraqi officials never mentioned yellowcake and made no effort to buy any. This irrelevant point had become a centerpiece of Republican attacks on Wilson and was recycled by the Post.

Plus, contrary to the Post’s assertion that Wilson “ought to have expected” that the White House and Novak would zero in on Wilson’s wife, a reasonable expectation in a normal world would have been just the opposite. Even amid the ugly partisanship of modern Washington, it was shocking to many longtime observers of government that any administration official or an experienced journalist would disclose the name of a covert CIA officer for such a flimsy reason as trying to discredit her husband.

Hiatt also bought into the Republican argument that Plame really wasn’t “covert” at all – and thus there was nothing wrong in exposing her counter-proliferation work for the CIA. The Post was among the U.S. media outlets that gave a podium for right-wing lawyer Victoria Toensing to make this bogus argument in defense of Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Libby.

On Feb. 18, 2007, as jurors were about to begin deliberations in Libby’s obstruction case, the Post ran a prominent Outlook article by Toensing, who had been buzzing around the TV pundit shows decrying Libby’s prosecution. In the Post article, she wrote that “Plame was not covert. She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak’s column.”

A Tendentious Argument

Though it might not have been clear to a reader, Toensing was hanging her claim about Plame not being “covert” on a contention that Plame didn’t meet the coverage standards of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Toensing’s claim was legalistic at best since it obscured the larger point that Plame was working undercover in a classified CIA position and was running agents abroad whose safety would be put at risk by an unauthorized disclosure of Plame’s identity.

But Toensing, who promoted herself as an author of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, wasn’t even right about the legal details. The law doesn’t require that a CIA officer be “stationed” abroad in the preceding five years; it simply refers to an officer who “has served within the last five years outside the United States.”

That would cover someone who – while based in the United States – went abroad on official CIA business, as Plame testified under oath in a congressional hearing that she had done within the five-year period. Toensing, who appeared as a Republican witness at the same congressional hearing on March 16, 2007, was asked about her bald assertion that “Plame was not covert.”

“Not under the law,” Toensing responded. “I’m giving you the legal interpretation under the law and I helped draft the law. The person is supposed to reside outside the United States.” But that’s not what the law says, either. It says “served” abroad, not “reside.”

At the hearing, Toensing was reduced to looking like a quibbling kook who missed the forest of damage – done to U.S. national security, to Plame and possibly to the lives of foreign agents – for the trees of how a definition in a law was phrased, and then getting that wrong, too.

After watching Toensing’s bizarre testimony, one had to wonder why the Post would have granted her space on the widely read Outlook section’s front page to issue what she called “indictments” of Joe Wilson, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and others who had played a role in exposing the White House hand behind the Plame leak.

Despite Toensing’s high-profile smear of Wilson and Fitzgerald, Libby still was convicted of four felony counts. In response to the conviction, the Post reacted with another dose of its false history of the Plame case and a final insult directed at Wilson, declaring that he “will be remembered as a blowhard.”

With Plame’s CIA career destroyed and Wilson’s reputation battered by Hiatt and his Post colleagues, the Wilsons moved away from Washington. Their ordeal was later recounted in the 2010 movie, “Fair Game,” starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. Though Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison, his sentence was commuted by President Bush to eliminate any jail time.

A Pattern of Dishonesty

While perhaps Hiatt’s vendetta against Joe Wilson was the meanest personal attack in the Post’s multi-year pro-war advocacy, it was just part of a larger picture of complicity and intimidation. Post readers often learned about voices of dissent only by reading Post columnists denouncing the dissenters, a scene reminiscent of a totalitarian society where dissidents never get space to express their opinions but are still excoriated in the official media.

For instance, on Sept. 23, 2002, when former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech criticizing Bush’s “preemptive war” doctrine and Bush’s push for the Iraq invasion, Gore’s talk got scant media coverage, but still elicited a round of Gore-bashing on the TV talk shows and on the Post’s op-ed page.

Post columnist Michael Kelly called Gore’s speech “dishonest, cheap, low” before labeling it “wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible.” [Washington Post, Sept. 25, 2002] Post columnist Charles Krauthammer added that the speech was “a series of cheap shots strung together without logic or coherence.” [Washington Post, Sept. 27, 2002]

While the Post’s wrongheadedness on the Iraq War extended into its news pages – with the rare skeptical article either buried or spiked – Hiatt’s editorial section was like a chorus with virtually every columnist singing from the same pro-invasion song book and Hiatt’s editorials serving as lead vocalist. A study by Columbia University journalism professor Todd Gitlin noted, “The [Post] editorials during December [2002] and January [2003] numbered nine, and all were hawkish.” [American Prospect, April 1, 2003]

The Post’s martial harmony reached its crescendo after Secretary of State Colin Powell made his bogus presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, accusing Iraq of hiding vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. The next day, Hiatt’s lead editorial hailed Powell’s evidence as “irrefutable” and chastised any remaining skeptics.

“It is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction,” the editorial said. Hiatt’s judgment was echoed across the Post’s op-ed page, with Post columnists from Right to Left singing the same note of misguided consensus.

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 19-20, 2003, and months of fruitless searching for the promised WMD caches, Hiatt finally acknowledged that the Post should have been more circumspect in its confident claims about the WMD.

“If you look at the editorials we write running up [to the war], we state as flat fact that he [Saddam Hussein] has weapons of mass destruction,” Hiatt said in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review. “If that’s not true, it would have been better not to say it.” [CJR, March/April 2004]

Concealing the Truth

But Hiatt’s supposed remorse didn’t stop him and the Post editorial page from continuing its single-minded support for the Iraq War. Hiatt was especially hostile when evidence emerged that revealed how thoroughly he and his colleagues had been gulled.

In June 2005, for instance, The Washington Post decided to ignore the leak of the “Downing Street Memo” in the British press. The “memo” – actually minutes of a meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his national security team on July 23, 2002 – recounted the words of MI6 chief Richard Dearlove who had just returned from discussions with his intelligence counterparts in Washington.

“Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” Dearlove said.

Though the Downing Street Memo amounted to a smoking gun regarding how Bush had set his goal first – overthrowing Saddam Hussein – and then searched for a sellable rationalization, the Post’s senior editors deemed the document unworthy to share with their readers.

Only after thousands of Post readers complained did the newspaper deign to give its reasoning. On June 15, 2005, the Post’s lead editorial asserted that “the memos add not a single fact to what was previously known about the administration’s prewar deliberations. Not only that: They add nothing to what was publicly known in July 2002.”

But Hiatt was simply wrong in that assertion. Looking back to 2002 and early 2003, it would be hard to find any commentary in the Post or any other mainstream U.S. news outlet calling Bush’s actions fraudulent, which is what the “Downing Street Memo” and other British evidence revealed Bush’s actions to be.

The British documents also proved that much of the pre-war debate inside the U.S. and British governments was how best to manipulate public opinion by playing games with the intelligence.

Further, official documents of this nature are almost always regarded as front-page news, even if they confirm long-held suspicions. By Hiatt’s and the Post’s reasoning, the Pentagon Papers wouldn’t have been news since some people had previously alleged that U.S. officials had lied about the Vietnam War.

Not a One-Off

In other words, Hiatt’s Iraq War failure wasn’t a one-off affair. It was a long-running campaign to keep the truth from the American people and to silence and even destroy critics of the war. The overall impact of this strategy was to ensure that war was the only option.

And, in that sense, Hiatt’s history as a neocon war propagandist belies his current defense of fellow neocon pundits who are rallying opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. While Hiatt claims that his colleagues shouldn’t be accused of “lusting for another war,” that could well be the consequence if their obstructionism succeeds.

It has long been part of the neocon playbook to pretend that, of course, they don’t want war but then put the United States on a path that leads inevitably to war. Before the Iraq War, for instance, neocons argued that U.S. troops should be deployed to the region to compel Saddam Hussein to let in United Nations weapons inspectors – yet once the soldiers got there and the inspectors inside Iraq were finding no WMD, the neocons argued that the invasion had to proceed because the troops couldn’t just sit there indefinitely while the inspectors raced around futilely searching for the WMD.

Similarly, you could expect that if the neocons succeed in torpedoing the Iran deal, the next move would be to demand that the United States deliver an ultimatum to Iran: capitulate or get bombed. Then, if Iran balked at surrender, the neocons would say that war and “regime change” were the only options to maintain American “credibility.” The neocons are experts at leading the U.S. media, politicians and public by the nose – to precisely the war outcome that the neocons wanted from the beginning. Hiatt is doing his part.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon andbarnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includesAmerica’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

The owners of U.S. newsmedia know that in order to serve their fellow U.S. aristocrats who want to kick out Russia’s current leader, Vladimir Putin, so as to enable them to buy Russia’s natural resources (and highly educated work-forces) cheap via “privatizations,” their PR campaign for their fellow aristocrats (their major advertisers) must be led by ‘respectable’ newsmedia, such as Foreign Policy magazine, and not by blatantly right-wing, obviously trashy, ones, such as Fox News.

Overtly conservative, nationalistic, ‘news’ media wouldn’t be able to sell to anyone who isn’t already on-board with privatizations of government assets as being a fundamental “free market” principle (i.e, equating fascism — the actual originator of privatizations — with constituting ‘capitalism,’ confusing the two systems as being one-and-the-same). So: not only the fascist media are anti-Putin, but media that pretend not to be are also.

Also important, however, is to black out entirely from all U.S. reporting, the U.S. Government’s now very active campaign to conquer Russia by installing next door to Russia, in its former buffer states (the Warsaw Pact nations), new NATO nations, such as Obama hopes to achieve in Ukraine by his February 2014 coup e’etat, which violently overthrew that nation’s then-neutralist democratically elected President, whom U.S. newsmedia very prominently reported was corrupt (in order to fool Americans into thinking that this was somehow a justified overthrow), while they didn’t report that all previous leaders of Ukraine had also been corrupt, so that this U.S. excuse for overthrowing Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych was entirely fake — not just illegitimate, but fake.

Furthermore, they didn’t report that the reason why Yanukovych had turned down the EU’s offer (which the U.S. had backed, and which turndown by him was America’s other main excuse for overthrowing him) was that it would have cost Ukraine $160 billion. In fact, U.S. newsmedia didn’t even report that the coup was a coup, even though the head of Stratfor, the private-CIA firm, has acknowledged that it was “the most blatant coup in history,” and the President of the Czech Republic has said that “only poorly informed people” don’t know that it was a coup. He said of these “poorly informed people,” that, “They believe that there was something similar, to our Velvet Revolution … Majdan was no democratic revolution.” And, on 20 June 2015, an obscure news-release from the Ukrainian Government itself headlined “Poroshenko asking Constitutional Court to recognize law stripping Yanukovych of presidential title as unconstitutional,” and reported, as I explained two days later:

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko requests the supreme court of Ukraine to declare that his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown by an illegal operation; in other words, that the post-Yanukovych government, including Poroshenko’s own Presidency, came into power from a coup, not from something democratic, not from any authentic constitutional process at all.

In a remarkable document, which is not posted at the English version of the website of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, but which is widely reported outside the United States, including Russia, Poroshenko, in Ukrainian (not in English), has petitioned the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (as it is being widely quoted in English):

I ask the court to acknowledge that the law ‘on the removal of the presidential title from Viktor Yanukovych’ as [being] unconstitutional.

It’s also interesting that when Stratfor’s founder admitted that it was “the most blatant coup in history,” he was saying this to a Russian publication, which published it only in Russian, whereas when his employee recently referred to it, in a video for an American audience, she said (at 4:43 on the video) “the United States helped support the revolution [though it was no revolution, just a coup] that took place in Ukraine this past year.”

Stratfor doesn’t want to go overboard to the extent of losing its big-bucks clients, some of which are the people that Obama’s foreign policies represent, but even this employee was so bold as to admit that the United States and not Russia is the aggressor between the two — something the U.S. media won’t allow to be said.

(She expressed puzzlement there at why the U.S. public have come to believe the demonization of Putin, but she’s not so dumb as not to know the answer to that, and she later even said it on the video, at 4:43: “The way that the American media has put it out there is that Russia is being the aggressor.” The video itself was even posted to youtube as, “Conversation: The U.S. Media’s Misleading Portrayal of Russia.” But the video portrayed the newsmedia as merely reflecting American public opinion, instead of as shaping it and being paid by their sponsors to shape it their way, which everyone at Stratfor knows is the reality. The deception is all paid-for. America’s aristocrats are running both the U.S. Government, and the way it and the world-at-large are being portrayed to the public. They control the public, both coming and going.)

America’s aggression against Russia first became overt when the U.S. aristocracy’s President, Bill Clinton (who killed FDR’s Glass Steagall Act and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society AFDC program, and so was one of the best fake ‘Democrats’ until Obama came along and turned Heritage Foundation ideas into U.S. national policies), rejected Russia’s request to join NATO, and he instead invited into NATO three former members of the Warsaw Pact: Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Clinton used the cooked-up excuse against Russia that Russia was then trying to retain Chechnya, though that’s a part of Russia which serves as an essential buffer against possible invasion by Islamic tribes to the south, from Georgia, Dagestan, and Azerbaijan; and so Chechnya’s breakaway movement actually did constitute a national security threat to the rest of Russia. Chechnya was none of the United States’s business, but Clinton needed an excuse, and it served that function for him. The Toledo Blade’s Mike Sigov even headlined on 7 November 1999, “Clinton’s Appeal to Halt Fighting in Chechnya Falls on Deaf Ears,” and he wrote: “‘Why does the United States keep humiliating us?’ they often ask. My friends in Russia, … periodically ask me this question. It happened when the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies denied Russia’s request to join NATO and instead admitted Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.” The U.S. aristocracy had wanted, actually, to conquer Russia; they didn’t want merely for the Cold War to end — this was now clear. They want to keep it going until Russia itself is conquered. Obama is doing the same thing at the end of his Presidency that Clinton had done at the end of his, but maybe even worse, because Obama has placed Ukraine into control by rabidly anti-Russian nazis, who are also nowteaching the children.

Despite the general blockade against truth, a few American newsmedia have reported, throughout this summer, that Ukraine’s far-right leaders (such asDmitriy Yarosh) are threatening another “Maidan,” to overthrow the present President of Ukraine, but they don’t report that those same leaders (includingYarosh himself) were instrumental in Barack Obama’s coup in February 2014: the CIA had arranged payments for Yarosh and his people, and, without this U.S. organization and financial backing (including even the establishment of a major TV station to propagandize for overthrowing Yanukovych and for mass-murdering the people who had voted for him), there would have been no coup. None of this information appears in U.S. newsmedia. The American public are widely ignorant of the reality about Ukraine. There are plenty of reports that stenographically transcribe and transmit to the American public the official ‘facts’ about Ukraine, but nothing that exposes the reality, which would be to expose the U.S. aristocracy itself (and this extends all the way from George Soros on the left, to the Koch brothers on the right: virtually the entire aristocracy are committed to defeating the public, not only at home, but abroad).

Therefore, Poroshenko is, in effect, telling Yarosh and his supporters: If you do this again, this time to me, then there will already be a decision from our highest court saying that what you did last time was illegal. And, Poroshenko had already acknowledged, just as the coup was ending, when the EU’s investigator asked him how the overthrow had occurred: We did it, the snipers who shot both the demonstrators and the police were ours; it was a set-up job so as to appear that the violence had been initiated or perpetrated by Yanukovych’s forces, which were actually performing a defensive function, not offensive at all. So: he was already privately on record as having acknowledged this. But that, too, was not published in the American press, even though the evidence for it was first posted online on 5 March 2014, just a week after the coup. Basically, it has all been kept secret from the American people, just as the coup itself has been, and just as the ethnic cleansing to get rid of Yanukovych’s voters has been.

And this has been a thoroughly bipartisan operation of the U.S. Government, not merely Democrats, and not merely Republicans. Both Parties are in the aristocrats’ pockets. (The man whom Congress applauded there was then overseeing the nazi operation.) This has not always been the case; it certainly wasn’t so when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was America’s President; but it is today.

So, some typical examples of their propaganda-operation are:

Bruce Stokes headlines in Foreign Policy on 6 August 2015, “NATO’s Rot from Within,” and concludes his analysis of polling in the 9 major NATO countries by noting a lack of public support for NATO in all countries except “the Americans (56 percent) and the Canadians (53 percent) stand ready to go to the defense of a NATO partner against Russia.” His implicit viewpoint is that all NATO countries need to tool-up for a war against Russia; Russia is surrounding NATO, NATO isn’t surrounding Russia.

The mainstream The Daily Beast headlines on 14 August 2015, “Pentagon Fears It’s Not Ready for a War With Putin,” and Nancy A. Youssef opens: “The U.S. military has run the numbers on a sustained fight with Moscow, and they do not look good for the American side. A series of classified exercises over the summer has raised concerns inside the Defense Department that its forces are not prepared for a sustained military campaign against Russia, two defense officials told The Daily Beast.” Again, the underlying assumption is that Russia is the biggest national security threat to the United States, and so there need to be increases in U.S. ‘defense’ spending, to counter Russia’s ‘aggression.’

U.S. News headlined on 23 June 2015, “Top GOP Lawmaker: US Must Consider Building New Nukes,” and Paul D. Shinkman opened: “America needs to replace a rotting arsenal of nuclear weapons and counteract an increasingly boisterous Russia, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee saidTuesday. For these reasons, it must consider the long-taboo prospect of building new nukes.”

The U.S. already spent 55.2% of its discretionary federal spending on its military. More money than that would transform the national economy into national impoverishment, because one can’t eat, nor live in, bombs and tanks, nor in any of the other machinery of destruction.

Why even watch ‘the news’ on television, or read about it in magazines or newspapers?

But there are a few honest news reports even in the U.S. major newsmedia: On 24 February 2014, just as the U.S. coup in Ukraine was ending, NBC News bannered, “U.S. Military Spending Dwarfs Rest of World,” and they showed that “The U.S. spent more on defense in 2012 than the countries with the next 10 highest budgets combined.” It was about 8 times what Russia had spent, and this amount didn’t even include the additional spending by other NATO countries, all of which have mutual-defense treaties with the U.S. When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the Warsaw Pact, which was to Russia what NATO was to the U.S., simply terminated; Russia has since been all alone; and it should have been brought into NATO if NATO weren’t to disband as the Warsaw Pact had done. But the U.S. didn’t do likewise; instead, it rejected Russia. Instead, to the exact contrary, the U.S. invited and brought into NATOseven of the eight former Warsaw Pact countries. That’s aggression. But the U.S. calls “aggression” anything that Russia does to protect itself. Only suckers would believe that, but there’s a sucker born every minute — no, every second! (How could the aristocracy even survive, otherwise?)

In February, President Obama issued his “National Security Strategy 2015” and it used the word “aggression” 18 times, of which 17 referred to Russia as the alleged “aggressor.” If this is merely a mental illness that Obama has, then why are the U.S. ‘news’ media in lockstep behind it? But this strategy isn’t directed only against Russia, it’s directed also against the rest of Europe, even against other NATO countries.

A 2013 Gallup poll of 65 countries that was co-sponsored by the U.S. Government and thus never fully published, reportedly found that among people worldwide, “The US was the overwhelming choice (24% of respondents) for the country that represents the

greatest threat to peace in the world today. This was followed by Pakistan (8%), China (6%), North Korea, Israel and Iran (5%).” (Russia wasn’t even there, in the top 5; and nothing below the top 5 was mentioned.) And Obama hadn’t yet perpetrated his coup and ethnic cleansing in Ukraine.

But there was no report of any such poll made afterwards, none at all. Perhaps the U.S. Government didn’t want another, because they now knew that they and their press would need to do a lot more work in order to get Russia to be #1 on that list. Maybe this is what they’ve been working on.

However, it’s already clear that the Nobel Committee should abolish their ‘Peace Prize,’ after their having given it to Kissinger, and then to Obama. Maybe they should replace it with a Hypocrisy Prize. Obama would certainly qualify for that. Maybe they could get him to trade in his old prize for that new one, so as to reduce their embarrassment (if they’re not just psychopaths, anyway, like Kissinger and Obama).

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

“I can look out at your faces and see you had the same reaction I do, which is that that’s an awfully small number.”  (60 Trainees) So said American Defense Secretary Ash Carter in testimony before an incredulous Senate Armed Services Committee on July 7, explaining that the $500 million American project, announced over a year ago, to train and arm a new Syrian rebel army to bring the Islamic State to its knees and force a political settlement on the Syrian regime simultaneously has, to date, trained just 60 fighters.

It’s been 53 months since the Syrian uprising started, 48 months since President Obama called for regime change in Syria, 29 months since the Islamic State took over northeast Syria, 14 months since they took over northwest Iraq, and 11 months since Obama promised to destroy them, and the entirety of the U.S.’ publicly-announced ground strategy to dislodge the Islamic State from Syria and end the war there is embodied in five dozen “trained” Syrians in Turkey somewhere.

The weeks following Carter’s testimony would bring no more reassurance. On July 29, reports emerged that Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, had captured a group of fighters from Division 30, a rebel group U.S. officials had earlier claimed was among those participating in the train-and-equip program. What would happen when the U.S.’ chief nemesis crossed the U.S.’ handpicked fighters? Division 30 responded by issuing a statement asking its “brothers” in JAN to release the fighters for the sake of the opposition’s “unity” and refused to fight JAN. The extent of the Pentagon’s response was to vigorously deny that any of the captured Division 30 fighters were themselves recipients of U.S. training.

It’s easy to understand the consternation of the senators at the Carter hearing. How could the U.S. foreign policy establishment possibly be so incompetent?

To move beyond incredulity and consternation, we need to put this training project in context. Over four brutal years of civil war, the U.S. has announced a succession of programs to aid “moderate” anti-government fighters in Syria – all similarly modest, even embarrassingly so. But U.S. rhetoric about these programs has been jumbled and self-contradictory, and has had only the most tenuous connection to events on the ground – and to the true scale of U.S. involvement in Syria. The wide gulf between rhetoric and reality evinces a deliberate public information strategy to conceal the nature of that involvement.

The U.S. and Syria’s Rebels – Rhetoric

Starting in March 2012, a year into the conflict, officials at the White House and the State Department began claiming that the U.S. was directly aiding the Syrian armed opposition with “nonlethal aid,” such as communications gear and medical supplies.

A year later, after the outgoing Pentagon and State Department chiefs Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton embarrassed the administration by making internal disagreements over Syria public, the incoming Secretary of State John Kerry announced that President Obama was going to begin “direct assistance” to the Syrian armed opposition, “though nonlethal,” including “food and medical supplies.” The Associated Press hailed this non-announcement as “a significant policy shift.”

Four months later, in June 2013, responding to mounting reports of regime chemical weapons use and the fall of the strategic city of Qusayr to regime forces, American officials told the New York Times that “the Obama administration…has decided to begin supplying the rebels for the first time with small arms and ammunition.” White House Advisor Ben Rhodes, however, would only speak of “direct military support” to the opposition: “He would not specify whether the support would include lethal aid, such as weapons.” Since this was the third time direct nonlethal support for the armed Syrian opposition had been announced “for the first time,” we can sympathize with the journalist who complained at the next day’s State Department press briefing, “I have to say – I hope I’m not alone in this – there is still quite a lot of confusion.”

The amounts of “nonlethal” aid that the opposition was said to receive were always small. By May 2014, it totaled just $80 million, and included “552,000 MREs, 1,500 medical kits, vehicles, communications equipment, generators, and over three tons of surgical and triage medical supplies.” Spread out over two years and a battlefield the size of Syria’s, these figures are only marginally more impressive than Carter’s 60 trained fighters.

Occasionally – usually at moments of pressure to “do something” – American officials let it be known that the U.S. was actually sending “lethal” aid to the rebels as well. In September 2013, after President Obama was forced to back down from his threat to bomb Syria after the Damascus countryside chemical weapons massacre, the Washington Post reported that, “according to U.S. officials,” arms shipments from the CIA, “limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked” had begun “arriving in Syria.” The Post described this as “a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.”

In April 2014, after the breakdown of peace talks in Geneva and several months of regime successes in retaking lost ground, U.S. government officials leaked the news that the U.S. had provided rebels in Syria with twelve 20-year-old antitank missile launchers – news that was given exhaustive coverage by the Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Brookings Institute and the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies, among others.

Mostly, however, U.S. officials maintained the line of “nonlethal aid” in public. In December 2012, a “senior administration official” told reporters, “until we understand how these arms promote a political solution, we do not see how provision of arms is a good idea.” In April 2013, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones reaffirmed, “We do not believe that it is in the United States or the Syrian people’s best interest to provide lethal support to the Syrian opposition.” Asked about the possibility of sending arms in February 2014, a senior U.S. officialtold the BBC, “We already, as you know, provide non-lethal aid.”

Three days before Mosul fell to the Islamic State, National Security Advisor Susan Rice stated publicly, for the first time, that the U.S. “is providing lethal and non-lethal support” to the “moderate, vetted opposition” in Syria. In reporting this statement, the staff of the Israeli dailyHaartez noted, “Rice gave more details than are usually provided by Obama administration officials.”

With so much contradictory information, it is little wonder that confusion reigned on this point, not only among the general public, but among American media organs and policymakers. Thus, after the fall of Mosul, the New York Times claimed that the city’s fall had increased “scrutiny” on “the decision by the Obama administration not to arm moderate Syrian rebels at the outset,” and Hillary Clinton was quick to note that she “pushed very hard” for arming moderate rebels. This past June, outgoing Daily Show host Jon Stewart ruthlessly mocked various Republican figures for proposing arming rebels in Syria, and implicitly praised Obama for not doing so. In criticizing the current nuclear deal with Iran, the Wall Street Journal recently editorialized, “The U.S. could have armed the Free Syrian Army to defeat Iran’s allied Assad regime in Damascus” to get a better deal.

These statements reveal the widely-held assumption that the U.S. has avoided engagement in the Syria conflict, but these statements can only exist in blissful denial of publicly-available information about the reality of the U.S.’ role in Syria since 2011.

The U.S. and Syria’s Rebels – Reality

Among the publicly-reported details of that role:

  • January 2012: According to the New York Times, three and a half months before the administration first announced “nonlethal aid” to the opposition, a secret CIA-assisted airlift of arms to the rebels began, which by March 2013 would comprise 160 flights and “an estimated 3,500 tons of military equipment.” The CIA helped “Arab governments shop for weapons,” and “vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”
  • June 2012: The New York Times reported that the CIA was in Turkey helping U.S. allies in the region decide which Syrian rebel groups should receive “automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons,” which were “being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”
  • August 2012: Reuters reported that the CIA was helping to “direct vital military and communications support to Assad’s opponents” from Turkey, under the authority of an intelligence finding from the president earlier in 2012, which “broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.”

In January 2013, Scott Stewart, an analyst at the private intelligence firm Stratfor, concludedbased on an examination of weapons seen in opposition-released videos that “the current level of external intervention in Syria is similar to the level exercised against the Soviet Union and its communist proxies following the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.”

All of this predates the announcement of John Kerry’s “significant policy shift” to provide “food and medical supplies” to the opposition. It also predates the State Department’s April 2013 affirmation that, “We do not believe that it is in…the Syrian people’s best interest to provide lethal support to the Syrian opposition.”

The scale of the material aid reportedly delivered to the armed Syrian opposition by the U.S. and its allies through these operations dwarfs anything discussed in the government’s public statements. In February 2014, the Abu Dhabi daily The National reported that Gulf states, with logistical help from American intelligence, had delivered $1.2 billion in weapons and supplies to rebels in Syria since July 2013 alone:

“That amount is set to rise to as much as $2bn, with Saudi Arabia, which oversees the fund according to rebels, seeking to put in between $400m and $800m in additional money over coming months.”

All such numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt, but the scale of Syria’s insurgency makes the figure credible.

In addition, while the U.S. loudly trumpeted its worries about inadvertently supporting “extremists” in Syria, its coordination with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in this period – now well-known – belies this commitment. At one point, the U.S. publicly suspended its “nonlethal aid” program to “moderate rebels” after their warehouses in northern Syria were seized by “extremists.” The demonstration would have been more convincing if the “extremists” in question had not been from a group known as the Islamic Front, widely acknowledged to bebankrolled by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A December 2013 report from the Brookings Institute looking at funding from Gulf countries for extremist groups in Syria claimed that “The U.S. Treasury is aware of this activity…but Western diplomats’ and officials’ general response has been a collective shrug.”

These reports of U.S. involvement in facilitating the arming of the opposition have never been refuted, or even denied. They are simply ignored, and lost in the confusion created by the landslide of contradictory public statements. The fact that leading newspapers and public figures now reprimand the Obama administration for not arming the rebels demonstrates the success of this apparent public information strategy.

The New Plan

This history should inform how we view U.S. government claims about its current doings in Syria.

In the public eye, at least, the effort to aid existing opposition groups in Syria has been replaced by a plan to create a new Syrian rebel army from scratch, training and equipping them in a neighboring country. But all the evidence suggests that this effort is no more serious, and no more central to the U.S.’ real plans in Syria, than the “nonlethal aid” program that consumed so much attention and public debate while American intelligence, with American regional allies, was organizing massive arms shipments to the opposition.

Obama first announced this new train-and-equip program June of last year. Congress approved funding for it in September. By November, recruitment for the new army still had not begun. By January, a host country for the program still had not been chosen, despite offers from four countries. In February, Turkey and the U.S. finally signed an agreement to begin training the force in Turkey, with Turkish and U.S. officials giving contradictory answers about whether the force would be allowed to fight the Assad regime. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently claimed that the Islamic holy month of Ramadan was slowing the training process because, “there’s a lot of folks that are interested in being with their families during that period” – a problem no other fighting force in Syria seems to have. In a devastating post-mortem published in July, Jamie Dettmer of The Daily Beast observed that the original plan called for training 15,000 soldiers by 2018, and asked “whether Syria would even exist by the time the envisaged force was at full strength.”

If this program were truly central to the U.S.’ Syria strategy, it is difficult to believe that this level of delay and recruitment failure – and now, attacks from Jabhat al-Nusra – would be tolerated. No doubt the military and intelligence officers tasked with its implementation are working sincerely. But for the U.S. foreign policy establishment as a whole, this program likely serves the same purposes as the State Department’s 2012-2014 initiatives to deliver MREs, radios and med kits to fighters in Syria: to demonstrate that the U.S. is involved, to create a public impression of an involvement so limited that it does not saddle the U.S. with any responsibility for the human catastrophe in Syria, and to consume media and legislative branch attention that might otherwise be directed at the main activities of the U.S. and its allies in Syria.

While this new training program spins its wheels, events on the ground in Syria are moving rapidly. Following the death of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have set aside their former squabbles and are cooperating in a renewed push to overthrow the Assad regime. This cooperation is manifest in a new rebel alliance, the Jaysh al-Fatih, led by al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. If U.S.’ actions during the first three years of the conflict are any guide, this new joint initiative was not organized without American input or support.

Jaysh al-Fatih may be contributing to the U.S.’s stated goal of regime change in Syria. It may be contributing to an unstated U.S. goal of continuing a war that is very costly for Iran, on whose compliance with the U.S.-brokered nuclear agreement a great deal now rests. Jaysh al-Fatih may now be seen as a crucial counterweight to the Islamic State. It would be irresponsible to assign motivations to the U.S. policymakers from the outside, but unless they have had a recent change of heart, Jaysh al-Fatih’s al Qaeda links and its human rights violations (includingviolence against Christians and Nusra’s threat to forcibly convert Alawis) are unlikely to be an overriding concern for them. As the Brookings Institute’s Charles Lister writes, “The vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al-Qaeda since mid-2012,” and the U.S. was helping to arm the Syrian insurgency since early 2012.

It has been necessary throughout the conflict, however, for the U.S. to distance itself from these troubling facts, by conveying the impression that its involvement in the conflict is limited to “nonlethal aid” – or, since last June, a small training program in Turkey.

Why does the U.S. only have sixty fighters to show for its $500 million, year-old training program? Because it reinforces the narrative – nurtured by a raft of previous hopelessly inadequate, publicly-announced and -debated programs to support the opposition – of the U.S. as a helpless bystander to the killing in Syria, and of President Obama as a prudent statesman reluctant to get involved. While the Senate berates the Pentagon chief over the program’s poor results, the U.S. is meanwhile outsourcing the real fight in Syria to allies with no qualms about supporting al Qaeda against their geopolitical opponents – unless the U.S. is, as before, cooperating directly or indirectly in that support.

Whereto Now?

Once it is recognized that the “helpless bystander” narrative is false, and that the U.S. has been deeply involved in the armed conflict almost from the start, it becomes both possible and necessary to question that involvement.

The U.S.’ direct cooperation with Turkey and Gulf states in arming the Syrian insurgency, combined with its refusal to engage in sincere peace talks (as expertly detailed by Hugh Roberts in The London Review of Books), virtually guaranteed that the war would continue without conclusion. The present crisis – 200,000 dead, over half the population driven from their homes, much crucial infrastructure destroyed and Syria’s territory fractured into multiple de facto statelets that will probably never reunify – is the result. Considering the Syrian people’s welfare, it is difficult to imagine a worse policy outcome. A refusal early-on to interfere in the conflict or countenance regional allies’ cooperation with extremist groups, or a genuine attempt at peace talks later in the conflict, or a full-fledged humanitarian intervention of the sort requested by many opposition figures – almost any policy alternative would have been better.

At this stage, it may well be too late to save Syria, but if U.S. policymakers want to try, a good place to start would be to make ending the violence – without preconditions and without regard for their preferred political outcome – the overriding objective in U.S. diplomacy and covert action. In a multi-religious country like Syria, that must entail restraining the ambitions of openly sectarian militant groups like Jaysh al-Fatih. It will mean walking away from a publicly-declared commitment to regime change in Syria. It will likely also mean straining relations with regional allies already discomfited by the nuclear pact with Iran. But to end the conflict, the policies and positions that have been perpetuating it must be changed.

Joel Veldkamp is an MA candidate at the University of Chicago’s Center for Middle East Studies who has previously lived in Damascus, Syria. Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelman42 Parts of this article are adapted from a paper presented at the 2015 Middle East History and Theory Conference at the University of Chicago: “Narrative and Reality in Direct U.S. Aid to the Syrian Armed Opposition, 2012-2014

 

The euro zone’s finance ministers, known as the Eurogroup, approved an agreement Friday evening with the Syriza-led government based on the austerity measures passed in Greece earlier that day.

The Greek parliament passed the 400-page Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as a precondition for receiving further loans of up to €85 billion. Athens is now set to receive the first tranche of the loan, with the timing to be overseen by the Eurogroup and Greece’s other creditors, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

As the Eurogroup meeting began, President Jeroen Dijsselbloem welcomed Syriza’s passage of measures that will cut the living standards of millions of workers, saying that they were the “strongest and most concrete” agreed to date. He stressed that Athens’ creditors would be able to halt payments quickly if a monitoring team in September or October found any sign of a retreat.

Dijsselbloem said in a press conference following the meeting that the measures had been approved and Greece would receive an initial €16 billion loan tranche on August 19. This would cover its immediate funding requirements and finance a €3.2 billion bond repayment due to the European Central Bank the following day.

Klaus Regling, who represented the European Stability Mechanism at the talks, said €10 billion in loans were being made available to go towards the immediate recapitalisation of Greek banks. However, the funds would remain in Luxembourg and only be released to Greek banks as requested.

The Eurogroup met under conditions of rising internal tensions over the terms of the agreement, as well as vocal demands by the IMF that any long-term loan agreement with Greece had to include debt relief aimed at ensuring that Greece will be able to pay back all of its loans.

IMF head Christine Lagarde participated in the Eurogroup meeting by phone. On Thursday, an IMF official told the Financial Times, “There’s a need for difficult decisions on both sides and by both sides. Difficult decisions in Greece regarding reforms, and difficult decisions for Greece’s European partners about debt relief. I think everybody understands that the IMF can only be [involved] when these decisions on these two sides are taken.”

Germany staunchly opposes any debt write-off. Greece owes Germany €87 billion, €20 billion more than the next biggest creditor, France. Germany’s position is backed by several other countries, including Finland.

Despite the crushing austerity just passed by Greece, the German government of Chancellor Angela Merkel had also expressed “scepticism” over sections of the agreement it viewed as too lenient to Athens. These include the way in which the scheduled €50 billion privatisation fund will operate and the delay, until autumn, of new laws allowing the mass firing of workers and attacks on collective bargaining rights.

Arriving at the meeting Dijsselbloem said, “There will be questions, there will be criticism, perhaps issues that will have to be clarified or improved.” He added that the IMF had agreed to look at Greece’s debt sustainability again in October.

Finland’s Alex Stubb said of the IMF’s proposals, “We’re with Germany on this. It’s a Catch-22 that we have to solve. The IMF only wants to be involved with debt relief. We want the IMF involved but we don’t want debt relief.”

Slovakia’s Peter Kazimir said, “For us, talking about a nominal haircut is impossible. No way.”

The involvement of the IMF in the overall agreement was left unresolved by the Eurogroup. Dijsselbloem said that the Eurogroup wanted to secure the support of the IMF, but this would only happen once the IMF was satisfied that the Greek government was imposing the austerity agreed and if it saw a basis for future debt sustainability.

Within Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is considering moves to restructure the political framework of the government. After losing the votes of nearly one third of his deputies (those in Syriza’s Left Platform and others), speculation mounted Friday that Tsipras would call a confidence vote for some time after August 20.

Without the Left Platform’s votes, Syriza and its coalition partner, the right-wing Independent Greeks, do not have a majority in parliament. Up to now, Tsipras has counted on the support of the New Democracy-led opposition to pass austerity measures, but ND may not support him in a confidence vote. This could lead to new elections.

In the run-up to Friday’s vote in parliament, Panagiotis Lafazanis, leader of the Left Current wing of Syriza’s Left Platform, issued a statement along with 13 other individuals from various pseudo-left tendencies. These include Anthonis Davanelos of the Internationalist Workers’ Left faction of the Left Platform and Andreas Pagiatsos of the Xekinima tendency.

Xekinima is affiliated with the Committee for a Workers International and is not part of the Syriza coalition.

Also listed are Spyros Sakellaropoulos of the Left Recomposition (ARAN) and Dimitris Sarafianos of the Leftwing Anticapitalist Regroupment (ARAS). These are both component parts of the Antarsya formation, which operates as a separate coalition outside Syriza. Others signing include former leading representatives of the pro-austerity social democratic PASOK party and former and current members of the Greek Communist Party (KKE).

The authors of the statement call for the “overthrow of the policies of the Memoranda, with an alternative plan for the next day, for democracy and social justice in Greece.” What is required for this, they state, is the “constitution of a broad political and social nationwide movement and for the creation to of committees of struggle against the new memorandum, against austerity and against the tutelage of the country.”

This is one lie piled upon another. Since January, the Left Platform has been a critical part of what they call the “government that was elected to abolish” the memorandums, with Lafazanis handed control of the Energy Ministry. Others leading figures, Dimitris Stratoulis and Costas Isychos, were given the deputy labour minister and deputy defence minister posts.

Despite their anti-austerity rhetoric, the Left Platform has worked consistently to ensure the survival of the Tsipras government and cover for its right-wing policies. They have remained loyally within Syriza, registering their votes in parliament to avoid bringing down the government.

They have remained within Syriza even after Tsipras removed Lafazanis and the others from their ministerial portfolios amid threats of expulsions.

Having passed the latest memorandum, Syriza is now tasked with imposing savage cuts against the working class, and the Left Platform knows this will provoke a social backlash.

At this stage the Left Platform has no intention of withdrawing from Syriza and only intends to depart the pro-austerity party if they are forced out. The “movement” being established by Lafazanis is the preparation for such an eventuality. The role of such a formation would be to divert social opposition as Syriza or any coalition government it is part of moves to impose levels of poverty unseen in post-war Europe.

 August 11, a group of geoengineering activists including San Francisco’s intrepid researcher and citizen journalist Patrick Roddie testified before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Patrick went on record about the hard evidence showing the mountains of metal raining down upon us and this Project’s massive environmental fallout.

They don’t have any excuses now. They have been informed. The EPA is now legally bound to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. If they don’t, THEY MAY BE PROSECUTED.

Joining Mr. Roddie are testifying activists: Jim Lee, Amanda Bayes and Max Bliss. Here is Patrick’s testimony:

Here is a link to the entire hearing:

http://www.c-span.org/video/?327586-1/epa-hearing-commercial-aircraft-emissions

Check out Patrick Roddie’s website http://stopsprayingus-sf.com
Follow Patrick on Twitter @webbery

Image Credit

Peter Kirby is a San Rafael, CA researcher, writer and activist. Check out his ebook Chemtrails Exposed: A New Manhattan Project.

Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterAKirby

Boardman writes: “American psychologists have voted overwhelmingly against helping their government torture people. In an even more radical step, the psychologists voted to obey international law, even in instances where US law tolerates war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

American Psychological Association acts to heal itself

American psychologists have voted overwhelmingly against helping their government torture people. In an even more radical step, the psychologists voted to obey international law, even in instances where US law tolerates war crimes or crimes against humanity.

That would be really good news if there weren’t a huge exception: the psychologists also voted that it would be all right for them to take part in “constitutional” interrogations by federal, state, and local law enforcement in the US. Given the ragged history of US law enforcement, this is a loophole that could at any moment become another noose.

The American Psychological Association's in-depth role in U.S. torture of detainees was revealed in a landmark report released earlier this year. (photo: Justin Norman/flickr)

The American Psychological Association’s in-depth role in U.S. torture of detainees was revealed in a landmark report released earlier this year. (photo: Justin Norman/flickr)

Nevertheless, this action by the American Psychological Association (APA), the largest organization of professional psychologists in the US, represents a significant sea change in the professional ethics of American psychologists since their secret alliance with the Bush administration’s “dark side,” as Vice President Cheney characterized their crimes against humanity. This ethical change has taken almost a decade since other American psychologists first started resisting their peers’ violation of the primary principle of their professional oath: “Take care to do no harm.”

Soon after September 11, 2001, a number of rogue psychologists, acting with the covert connivance of APA leadership, started shaping and participating in the interrogation regimes and torture programs at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram Air Force base, CIA black sites, and all the other locations where Bush administration officials claimed that the best way to get reliable information from prisoners (including those who knew nothing) was to humiliate and break them, to make them scream and bleed.

As awareness grew of the psychologist/Bush administration collusion in torturing prisoners and lying about it, resistance to this unprincipled behavior slowly emerged, led by, among others, Steven Reisner and Stephen Soldz. They were among the founders of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology in 2006, mobilized to take psychologists out of the torture business. By 2008, an APA membership referendum resulted in 59 percent opposed to psychologists working in places like Guantanamo or CIA black sites (the bad news being that 41 percent thought those crimes were OK). Until this year, the APA leadership fought against any reforms, lying and denying reality for years, led by APA ethics director Stephen Behnke (removed July 8).

“Psychologists should not torture people” – no longer a radical idea

The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have long barred their members from participating in torture sessions. By 2006, both medical profession organizations had formally prohibited their members from taking part in any CIA, military, or other Bush administration interrogations. This made cooptation of psychologists that much more attractive to an administration determined to torture people and lie about it no matter what the cost.

Meeting in Toronto on August 7, the APA Council of Representatives, the association’s governing body, adopted a six-page anti-torture resolution by a vote of 157 to 1, with seven members not voting. The Council has 173 members (almost all PhDs, none MDs), representing the APA’s membership of more than 122,500 psychologists in the US and Canada. The emerging story of APA-sanctioned torture has received spotty coverage over the past year, but it seems that only Democracy NOW! chose to cover the vote in which the APA began repairing a decade of hypocrisy and dishonesty. As APA’s new President-elect Susan McDaniel said before the vote:

We’re here today to reset our moral compass and ensure that our organization is headed in the right direction. As I said on Wednesday, I believe in psychologists’ capacity to make the world a better place. We’re here today to decide how to do that.

After the vote, Steven Reisner characterized the approved resolution this way:

What just happened is that after nine years of collusion and deceit between the American Psychological Association and the Department of Defense and the Bush administration, after nine years of what has now become a major scandal,… the APA council turned that around. The APA council acknowledged that it had been led down a deceitful path, that all of our policies in the past, which claimed to uphold human rights, were shams. But today, for the first time, we passed a real policy that upholds human rights and prohibits psychologists from being involved in any way in torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, insofar as those are part of national security interrogations, in detainee conditions.

The APA has resolved to heal itself, not to make amends 

Describing the context for action, the six-page resolution notes, among other points in the preamble, that:

  • The APA is an accredited non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations and is thereby committed to following the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, neither of which condone torture by “enhanced interrogation” or any other Orwellian name;
  • APA policy dating back to 1985 “condemns torture wherever it occurs”;
  • Psychologists in military or “national security” may be asked to violate principles of the APA Ethics Code;
  • The US, in ratifying the UN Convention Against Torture in 1994, did so with reservations that largely vitiated the treaty as a check on US behavior;
  • The APA adopted a policy in 2006 that incorporated US reservations that largely vitiated the treaty as a check on APA behavior;
  • “APA policy should clearly and consistently reflect the highest standard of human rights and should not be dependent upon a given statute or Presidential Executive Order, which could be rescinded at the will of a given Congress or President (even by the original author).”

The resolution proper begins by adopting the international law definition of torture in the UN Convention Against Torture, which is at variance with US law. The resolution also acknowledges that some 3,400 psychologists work for the Department of Defense (mostly at VA hospitals) and commits the APA to supporting the ethical behavior of these psychologists in these and similar “organizational settings.” And the resolution commits the APA to notifying the President, Congress, and other officials of the core of its mandate:

that, in keeping with Principle A of the Ethics Code to “take care to do no harm,”psychologists shall not conduct, supervise, be in the presence of, or otherwise assist any national security interrogations for any military or intelligence entities, including private contractors working on their behalf, nor advise on conditions of confinement insofar as these might facilitate such an interrogation. [emphasis added]

This prohibition does not apply to domestic law enforcement interrogations or domestic detention settings where detainees are afforded all of the protections of the United States Constitution, including the 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination (“Miranda” rights) and 6th Amendment rights to “effective assistance” of legal counsel.

Bush administration survivors and Obama administration participants continue to fudge the definition of torture in order to justify what they’ve done or justify what they continue to do. Guantanamo is the most glaring example. Does anyone think there are no more black sites? Does anyone think there are no more renditions of prisoners to countries where there are no effective limits on torture? Does anyone think the United States is even close to conforming willingly to the standards of international law?

Torture is only one of militarism’s inhumane demands

This is the definition of torture in Article 1 of the UN Convention Against Torture, the definition to which the US takes formal exception and exempts itself from following:

… any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted upon a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

That’s not such a high standard, nor is it without its loopholes – what does “intentionally” really mean? – and all the same, the United States is officially unwilling to say it will abandon official savagery.

The lone dissenter in the APA vote was retired colonel Larry James, a member of the Council representing APA Division 19, the Society of Military Psychologists. Larry James practiced at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as a high-ranking Army intelligence psychologist. He claims that he was a mitigating force in those places, that he ended many abuses. The evidence compiled by the APA’s own outside investigation by the Sidley Austin law firm, the 542-page “Hoffman Report,” contradicts Larry James’ claims. So does a 70-page 2010 misconduct complaint in Ohio, dismissed without explanation. In his statement before the APA vote, James offered clues to the way the US government will justify future torture routines:

Gosh, I get it. Abuse, human rights, no torture—who’s going to disagree with that? But I’m worried about second-, third-order effects, unintended consequences. So, I need to know: Does international law supersede U.S. law? Because if the answer to that is yes, this has dire negative consequences for all federal employees, particularly in the VA and the department of homeland defense.

In other words, the US is comfortable being a rogue state and will continue to resist efforts to make the US conform to the same rules as most of the rest of the world. This is not an unusual view for a military official. This has been the essence of US state power since World War II. This is why the vote at the APA is only limited good news. That a dishonest organization of psychologists has decided to go straight is a fine thing. But there is no such inclination apparent at the Defense Department, at the CIA, at the White House, in any part of the American national security state. And those agencies are not likely to have great difficulty finding more psychologists to do their unprincipled bidding at a decent price.

The comment by Larry James affirms, if anyone doubted it, that militarism remains the first principle of American policy. The Defense Department’s recent publication of its revised Law of War Manual reinforces that perception as it makes civilians into legitimate military targets and allows for treating reporters as spies. This has gone largely unreported (except for some whining about journalists being treated like enemies). And that helps explain why the APA vote has been widely unreported, and has been even less widely celebrated in a nation that has been morally adrift for more than thirty years.

 

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

(Please read Part I before this article)

The second part of the article series speaks upon the Russian-Saudi relationship that’s emerging in the Mideast, and it proves that it’s really not all that surprising in retrospect when one considers the motivating factors (energy, ISIL, and the Iranian deal) that affect both sides.

US-Saudi Energy Scheme Backfires

The oil price plunge that marked the end of 2014 wasn’t incidental, as it was really a calculated move by the US and Saudi Arabia to bring Russia and Iran to their knees. F. William Engdahl wrote about this back in late October, and his article on the topic painstakingly describes the strategic thought that went into this massive asymmetrical offensive against dual Russian-Iranian interests.Another piece released around that time also draws attention to what a foolhardy gambit this entire venture is, since it risks blowing up the US’ shale oil bubble and precipitating fears of a resultant economic collapse. The geopolitics of 1986, when such a move was first attempted against Moscow, are different than those of 2014-2015, and no matter how ‘well thought out’ the plan was, however, it failed to be the economic ‘knockout punch’ that the US and Saudi Arabia hoped it would be for both Russia and Iran.

It was at this point that the US likely asked the Saudis to reverse the plan and return back to pre-plot production levels, but somewhat surprisingly to some, Riyadh refused, and instead increased output to record levels (before scaling down just slightly) in order to ostensibly meet growing demand and widen its market share. But what’s really happening, Engdahl writes, is that the Saudis have turned on the US and are out to destroy their shale oil competitors, using their nearly $800 billion in reserves as a far-reaching buffer to any resultant social and economic problems associated with this policy. On the other hand, it could be that the US is the one on the economic offensive, seeing the entire situation as a game of chicken in forcing the Saudis to blink first. The US could, if it comes to it, print more money and ‘indefinitely’ prolong its shale oil loans (an unsustainable band-aid ‘solution’) so as to ward off the same negative consequences that Saudi Arabia would inevitably experience if it keeps bleeding tens of billions every year and running a budget deficit. The reason behind this asymmetrical aggression against a tried-and-tested American ally might be that Washington wants to establish more control over its client state as a run-up to geopolitically engineering its collapse per the Ralph Peters’ model.

No matter what the reason behind the American-Saudi oil war, it’s clear that it represents a classic (energy) security dilemma. The US fears that lower oil prices could eventually burst the shale credit bubble, while it believes it stands to gain by continuing their levels for now in order to capsize the Saudi economy and create avenues for more American control over the country. Looking at the Saudis, it’s the inverse – the potential for their economic decline is a negative that they’ll deal with for now, but it’s being sucked up in order to crash the US’ shale oil companies. Both sides, however, have a mutual fear over what the effect of Iran’s full return to the global energy market will be, but as was previously stated, the US can ‘indefinitely’ prolong its fake ‘remedy’ for dealing with this, while the Saudis will eventually run short of money sooner or later, which could lead to real repercussions for its economic, social, and eventually, political stability. One of the unstated but obvious aftereffects of the American-Saudi oil war is that Riyadh critically damaged its relations with Moscow because of it (since low energy prices inflict real damage on the Russian budget and economy), which is why this single issue, by itself, did not bring the Saudis to talk, let alone turn, to Russia. However, when combined with two other simultaneously occurring ones that will be examined right after this, the Saudis’ suspicions of American intentions towards them reached the boiling point where they spilled over and compelled Riyadh to enter into secret talks with Moscow, Washington’s New Cold War foe.

The ISIL Boomerang

376663_ISIL

Concurrent with the oil competition between the US and Saudi Arabia, ISIL struck back at one of its creators by bombing Saudi mosques in May and at thebeginning of this month. Attacks had been threatened even before then, but the first mosque bombing really opened the Saudis’ eyes to the fact that their spawn has grown out of control and might even have been strategically corralled by the US into attacking the Kingdom directly. In the beginning, Saudi Arabia might have thought that ISIL would remain a loyal proxy actor in between Syria and Iraq, but the miscalculated War on Yemen that the new king commenced proved to make fertile breeding ground for the terrorist group’s newest nest ofoperations along the country’s exposed southern border. Approaching ISIL from the standpoint that it’s an American-Saudi proxy gone bad, and that the US currently exercises the greatest degree of power in ‘guiding’ the group towards targets of mutual benefit, then it makes sense that Washington would deploy such asymmetrical pressure against Saudi Arabia in the midst of the heated oil war just like it does against the Syrian Arab Army during the ongoing regime change war.

The Saudis are already a paranoid lot, seeing conspiracies everywhere (especially those of an Iranian-Shiite nature) even if they don’t really exist, so they’re receptive as it is to any possible indication of a plot against them. Given this preconditioning, it’s understandable why they’d view ISIL’s threats and attacks as being part of an American plan, especially since it coincides with a period of publicly distrustful relations between the two (motivated by the oil war and the Iranian nuclear deal). The Saudis aren’t alone in this assessment either, sincesome Russian analysts also agree that this is the case and that the US has finally decided to move forward with Ralph Peters’ plan for taking down the Kingdom. It looks like the US wants to cripple, control, and then usher in the collapse of Saudi Arabia, and that it may have decided to initiate this power move since it saw a favorable window of opportunity with the rise of the ‘Alzheimer King’. It’s known that others are really behind the scenes (and shuffling things up while they’re at it), but still, the US might have seen the ascension of an incoherent king and the palace infighting and further successionist intrigue this would lead to as the destabilizing trigger for unleashing their long sought-after plans for the Saudis (although it’s not yet known how committed they are to this or how far they’ll ultimately go).

The existential threat that Saudi Arabia is facing from its fellow American-driven Wahhabist co-confessionalists (even before their first attack in May) was likely what drove the Kingdom into pondering a Russian outreach, but they refrained from doing so right away because breaking the country’s fake “isolationism” would have really upset the US even further than it already was, and it might have created the energy/terrorist security dilemma that it wasn’t yet sure was actually in existence. However, the decisive moment that made the Saudis want to reach out to the Russians came when they saw that the US was insistent (practically begging) to reach a deal with Iran. Feeling strategically abandoned by their decades-long ally (despite the billions in military hardware that the Kingdom bought from it over the years and the complex interdependent relationship between the two [similar on a smaller scale to US-China]) and under the foreboding threat of an economic/terrorist assault against it by its former friend (however ironic this might be), the Saudis felt that it was time to finally make a turn towards Russia and see if they could salvage their relatively deteriorating geopolitical situation for the better.

Iran Deal Leads To Secret Talks

It was around the springtime that Saudi Arabia realized that the US really wanted to seal a deal with Iran, and this was the final straw that pushed it past the edge and into initiating secret talks with Russia. The Saudis know that they are tied much too close to the US via their military and surface political relations to ever think about abandoning this relationship right now (no matter how tense and ugly it gets), but their main objective in speaking with Russia was to see what kinds of strategic benefits it could gain by doing so (other than making the US ‘jealous’). It’s likely that nothing was off the table and that the talks were very comprehensive and actually quite fruitful, since their secrecy was publicly dispelled during the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2015 when both sides announced major deals with the other. Russia will help Saudi Arabia build nuclear power plants (remarkably symbolic since the Iranian nuclear crisis was actually all about Tehran’s pursuit of the same), the Saudis will invest $10 billion into the Russian economy, and both sides’ highest leaders (President Putin and King Salman) will exchange visits to the other. It can thus be inferred that this secret round of diplomacy, unbeknownst at the time to the rest of the world, was successful enough to have set the stage for these goodwill agreements, and that the current relationship can be built upon for further mutual benefit (as recognized by Lavrov himself).

Let’s use educated reasoning to deduce the most probable topics and content of their talks:

Saudi Arabia Clarifies The Energy War Gone Wrong:

The elephant in the room is obviously the oil war, so this was likely the first thing that Russian and Saudi diplomats thoroughly and honestly discussed once they entered into secret contact with the other. The article earlier explained how something went terribly wrong with the US/Saudi oil war against Russia/Iran in that it now turned its two protagonists against one another, so the Saudis must have had some explaining to do to the Russians in detailing how this came to be (if they disclosed its origins, that is).

From right: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in Moscow, August 2015. © Kirill Kallinikov / RIA Novosti

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in Moscow, August 2015. © Kirill Kallinikov / RIA Novosti

At any rate, the two sides obviously discussed the oil war to some level of depth, and this could have very well included a conversation about Russia’s resiliency in the face of Saudi Arabia’s offensive against the US (example: how long can Russia hold out for in order to sink the US’ shale oil industry once and for all?), if indeed it is the Saudis that initiated it. Should they be on the ‘victim’ receiving end of things, then they correspondingly held a probable conversation about what both sides can do to help the other out in the name of shared budgetary/economic interests.

Somewhere in the mix of things, it was then decided for the Saudis to invest $10 billion in Russia’s economy, which given the examined discussion scenarios, could either be interpreted as a goodwill gesture of trust (to stick it out with the Saudis while they work on tanking America’s oil dreams) or as a symbolic token of ‘guilt’ for helping initiate the energy war that they’ve both fallen victim to. After getting past their mutual oil differences (which the $10 billion investment sure helped happen), the two sides likely turned the conversation towards talking about how they’ll deal with Iran’s future energy disruption once all of its resources eventually reach the global market.

If the topic was brought up in the first place, then it would have of course touched upon what both sides plan to do if the US risks the pyrrhic victory of sinking its own shale oil industry in order to have Iran emerge as the world’s main energy disruptor and be the reason for permanently offsetting Russia and Saudi Arabia’s budgetary and economic forecasts. The US can sustain this somewhat self-inflicted wound a lot better than energy-dependent Russia and Saudi Arabia, so the scenario of Washington pushing Tehran to pump the world full of cheap resources in order to bring down both of their economies must definitely scare them and is by all means an issue of mutual interest.

Collaborative Anti-ISIL Measures Discussed:

Saudi Arabia is so afraid of ISIL that it’s constructing a massive 600-mile-long wall along the Iraqi border in order to keep the terrorist group from formally expanding its ‘caliphate’ into the Kingdom, but its main oversight was that it never occurred to it that: it could be flanked from the Yemeni side; and ISIL can ‘spawn’ its own cells within the country via internet social networking. When the first attack happened in May, it threw the Saudis into a mild panic, and they finally woke up to the problem they’ve created. It doesn’t mean that they’ll stop supporting other terrorist groups, but that they’re done doing so with ISIL, especially since it could be that the US is now strategically ‘guiding’ it towards attacking Saudi Arabia. With such a mindset, it makes sense for Riyadh to entertain Moscow’s notions of an anti-ISIL coalition, even if they don’t agreewith one another about Syria’s formal participation. However, because it’s beenclarified during the joint meeting of Russia and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministers that Russia is more interested in coordinating presently existing anti-ISIL activity and not creating a brand new coalition, it’s possible that Saudi Arabia could play some passive role in this format by withdrawing its support for regime change terrorist groups in Syria, which will be expanded on more below.

Syrian Resolution Talks/Iranian Nuclear Deal:

The capstone of the secret (and ongoing) negotiations and the aspect most relevant to the Mideast’s geopolitics deals with the interrelated topics of resolving the War on Syria and Riyadh’s response to the imminent (now actual) Iranian nuclear deal. Saudi Arabia is fully cognizant of the “race to the finish” in wrapping up the Wars on Syria and Yemen, and assessing its interests (as it defines them) back to back, it recognizes that it’s much less likely to ‘succeed’ in the former during that timeframe but has a more heightened chance of doing so in the latter. Also, Saudi Arabia really wants to parade its new partnership with Russia in front of Iran and the US, believing that this can make a strong statement in a post-sanctions reality that sees the US chumming up with the Kingdom’s ideological and geopolitical rival. Thus, if pressed to choose, the Saudis could ‘trade’ their failed War on Syria (i.e. withdrawing their support of regime change terrorist groups) in a ‘face-saving’ manner in order to ‘win’ a publicized and positive relationship with Russia, as well as resources and time that could be ‘invested’ into ‘winning’ the War on Yemen before the “race to the finish” ends in six months’ time.

Before dismissing such talk as ‘speculation’, one should consider the recentshuttle diplomacy Russia’s partaken in to save Syria, as well as a couple other strategic facts that further this thesis. Firstly, Syria has obviously become a quagmire for the proxies that are fighting against it, and Saudi Arabia clearly can’t ‘win’ (or secure its ‘win’ from being taken over by Turkey) in this relatively short timeframe. From its perspective, it’s much better to cut its losses and focus on Yemen instead, and Russia could help ‘sweeten’ the deal by offering to throw in some (discounted) advanced weapon systems to calm the Kingdom’s fears about the Islamic Republic. Russia, after all, is known for juggling its military relationship with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, fierce enemies, while still retaining positive ties with both, so it’s foreseeable that it might think of attempting something similar (albeit on a much more grand scale) with Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Also, it must be pointed out that the BRICS Ufa Declaration doesn’t contain a single word whatsoever pertaining to the War on Yemen, despite addressing lesser significant conflicts such as the unrest in Burundi, the civil war in South Sudan, and the situation in Somalia, and given Russia’s UNSC history of supporting the Hadi government as it is, it’s probable that it already has ‘all its ducks in a row’ to facilitate this ‘grand bargain’ to save Syria at Yemen’s expense. But, before detractors accuse Russia of ‘multipolar treason’, they must first consider to what extent Russia is even capable of influencing the on-the-ground course of events in Yemen to the Houthis’ favor in the first place, and whether or not swapping Saudi Arabia’s failed War on Syria for Russia’s failed support of the Yemeni people is actually quite pragmatic (if unethical to some) in terms of the bigger geopolitical picture.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Stephen Harper has been changing our collective self-image. He has emphasized the martial, rather than the peace-making episodes, in our history, and had a war memorial replace art and literary images on the ubiquitous 20-dollar bill. Now his government wants to leave an even more durable trace of its rule: a “monument to the victims of Communism”. The concrete structure is to be erected near the Supreme Court.

Irregularities and waste plaguing this project have already become the object of criticism. So has its partisan nature, promoting Mr Harper’s party among voters of Eastern European origin. But this project also raises the issue of collective memory, which he tries to mould as part of the radical transformation of Canadian society, pursued with remarkable ideological consistency ever since assuming power.

The name of the monument is borrowed from the vocabulary of the Cold War. Communism has always been a vision, a goal, a future to be constructed rather than an established reality. No government, whether in Moscow, Beijing or Budapest, ever proclaimed the victory of Communism. Ironically, it is among Cold War warriors that the term came to denote a political reality to be decried and denounced. To invoke Communism twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War fits in with the aggressively self-righteous rhetoric typical of the Harper government.

Collaborators or patriots

In the 1930s and 1940s, fascists were common in Europe, each hailing the supremacy of an ethnic group, a race or a nation. Naturally, during the Nazi occupation of Europe they took part in massacres and other brutalities. As ethnic nationalism has re-emerged in recent years, monuments have cropped up in Eastern Europe to honour these Nazi collaborators, including SS members, nowadays presented as patriots who struggled against “Communism”.

To do so one needs to declare a moral equivalence between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. In Estonia, for instance, I have visited a “museum of occupations”, where four years of Nazi military occupation are put side by side with half a century of peace-time Soviet Estonia. The country, where the war Nazi collaborators exterminated virtually every Jew, making Estonia one of the first to earn from Berlin the title of jüdenrein (free of Jews), is portrayed as an innocent victim. The museum, which one enters between the images of a red star and a swastika, conveys the idea that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that destroyed it are basically the same.

Stephen Harper and Ukraine President Poroshenko

By trying to downplay the role of the Soviet Union in the struggle against Nazism, the Harper government tries to shape a new collective memory of World War II all the while reinforcing hostility toward Russia. Mr Harper has been by far the most hostile to Russia among world leaders. Unlike the Chinese president, who took part in V-Day celebrations on Red Square, or the German Chancellor who went to Moscow to honour Soviet soldiers killed fighting her country, Mr Harper scorned the occasion, thus helping erase from our collective memory the decisive role of the Soviet army, which resisted the Nazis all alone for nearly three years. At the same time, Mr Harper ardently supports ethnic nationalism, frequently anti-Russian. As it just turned out, his government allowed the Canadian Embassy to become a haven for anti-government rebels in Ukraine.

Defence Minister Jason Kenney who promotes the monument “to the victims of Communism” in Ottawa recently visited Ukraine where he encouraged a military confrontation with Russia. Curiously, Canadians of Chinese or Soviet descent are absent from the group Tribute to Liberty, which is behind this project, even though the number of “victims of communism” in the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union is incomparably higher than in all the countries of Eastern Europe combined.

The monument to “the victims of Communism” is also meant to discredit any left-leaning alternative to a triumphant neoliberalism. Elizabeth May of the Green Party has suggested that a monument be erected to the victims of capitalism (slavery, colonialism, exploitation, etc.), according to some estimates, over a billion people around the world. In Ottawa there is no monument to the victims of fascist regimes in Europe or to the victims of the Nazi regime in Germany. There is no monument to the victims of the vile treatment of the First Nations, which the official commission has recently termed “cultural genocide”. Canada has no monument for the victims of its own colonial wars, such as the one waged in South Africa, where the troops of the British Empire invented the concentration camp, an innovation that quickly spread to other places.

According to a survey on the CBC website, 88% of respondents were opposed to the monument. As matters now stand, the Royal Institute of Architects of Canada, Heritage Ottawa, former presidents of the Canadian Bar Association and others have objected to the project. The monument may never be built, particularly if another party is elected next autumn. But Mr Harper, a consistent ideologue and a consummate politician, has already made political capital off this project. More importantly, he has changed the image of Canada in the world and is working hard to change the way we see our future and remember our past.

Yakov M. Rabkin has been professor of history at the University of Montreal since his emigration from the USSR in 1973; his most recent book is Comprendre l’État d’Israël.

This Australian weekend has been getting pollsters and pundits salivating. Every political observer loves a good slaughter, and for some time now, Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has been willing to offer himself up for the billing.

The Fairfax/Ipsos poll, with an angle distinctly not slanted towards Rupert Murdoch, has proven to be punchy in its dimension – at least if you are a Coalition strategist. Current figures suggest that, should an election be held now (and yes, the operative word here is now), a 9.5 percent swing would eventuate, leading to a loss of 44 seats. The coalition hovers at a stale 44 percent of support, while Labor looks pretty with a collaring 56 percent.[1]

It has been a spectacularly bruising time for Coalition politics. The prime minister gravely miscalculated over the expenses scandal surrounding the now ex-speaker of the House, Bronwyn Bishop. “Choppergate”, as it came to be called, assumed plague like proportions, even finding voices of condemnation within the shock jock fraternity. The conservative clan were in revolt. The prime minister had gone too far.

Andrew Bolt, normally serenely arm-in-arm with Abbott in his columns, suggested that the behaviour of Bishop was “getting dangerous”. “Bishop wrongly claimed $5000 for a helicopter jaunt on purely party business but [Malcolm] Turnbull claimed just a train fare to the same city on parliamentary business.”[2] The party faithful were getting edgy; talks were held. Eventually, the speaker did step down.

Abbott’s own impoverished standing only looks worse when compared to Labour’s Bill Shorten. Abbott’s disapproval rating comes in at a hefty 59 percent. Shorten finds himself in less foreboding territory at 49 percent.

This, by any stretch of the imagination, is dire stuff, a solemn battle of negativities. Labor’s option is a faction sponsored machine man who resembles that very target of technocracy that the Australian poet A.D. Hope loathed – “These modern Dives with their talking screen/ Who lick the sores of Lazarus and grow fat.”

These are the advertisers, the materialists, the shallow popularisers desperate to stay on message not due to any coherent principle, but because they will do anything to get elected. But political stocks are desperately low, and it takes a certain deficiency in quality to propel Bill Shorten into politically viable territory.

Perusing such polls does come with its risks. Few in the recent British election predicted the Tory conquest, an outcome which managed to step over detritus and doom to see David Cameron re-elected. The 2012 US Presidential elections similarly saw a “tight” race between the candidates, till election night witnessed Barack Obama speeding pass the finishing line against a supremely incompetent opponent. Black magic tends to be a far better prospect for rewards than scientifically constructed poll numbers.

Besides, the Australian political system has a well worked curiosity called preferences. Governments can get across the line with the support of other parties who preference them in the final count. Primary votes in Australia matter less than secondary calculations, a desperate attempt to save a first placed vote from its initial doom. The only problem for Abbott’s crew is where those preferences are going to coming from.

The Australian Greens, in the poll, command a steady 16 percent. This can be viewed in a variety of ways. Given the nature of the Australian political system, these could be regarded as Labor votes in cold storage, unleased at the appropriate moment. Come election time, disgruntled Labor supporters might pitch for the Greens. Green voters will, in turn, fork out for Shorten. This makes the situation for Abbott even more precarious, though it does, disgracefully, offer an undeserved option for Labor. Yet again, major parties can cream the proceeds off their respective misbehaviour.

All in all, the difference now lies in how polls drive policy, an overly busy, sentimental engine that has no actual empirical value. Reversing the order of politics – that a policy should drive the measuring polls – hatchet men and women will be looking at the figures within parties and advise – no, tell – individuals to hop it if the going is getting worse. This is Westminster democracy at its self-defeating worst, the dominance of party hacks at the expense of leadership prowess.

In Abbott’s case, nerve will be everything. This he probably has, given his almost daft obliviousness to party squabbles and sounds governance. He seems to be Australia’s last true ideologue. Repeatedly, he has pursued a closed circle of advice, an even smaller circle of conviction. It will be something his colleagues may well lack.

There is already a palpable sense that options are being fielded, possible successors to a planned bloodbath: the urbane and more credible Malcolm Turnbull, who as such is considered with scepticism by many in the Liberal Party; the terrier-like ideologue Scott Morrison, cruel mastermind and implementer of the “turning back boats” policy; or the more judicious Julie Bishop, quietly doing the count. The captain, as of this point, risks being slain by his very own.

 

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email:[email protected]

Notes

[1] http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-leadership-faces-new-dangers-as-new-ipsos-poll-predicts-coalition-wipeout-20150816-gj01ip.html

[2] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/andrew-bolt-choppergate-getting-dangerous-for-prime-minister-bronwyn-bishop-must-go/story-fnpp4dl6-1227461629988

 

The standoff between China and the US in the South China Sea has intensified in recent months largely due to tit-for-tat maneuvering by both countries.

Washington has vehemently criticized China’s land reclamation in this strategic body of water.

It is also concerned about the implications of US primacy challenged in the maritime domain and the perceived undermining of America’s credibility among its regional allies.

For its part, Beijing accused the US of “militarizing” the South China Sea by deploying more military assets and conducting joint drills with regional allies in a rampant manner.

Indeed, a form of strategic competition between China and the US has increasingly come to define the core of the South China Sea disputes.

Enter a new player on the scene.

In late July, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signaled that Japan could conduct minesweeping operations in the South China Sea. It indicated a desire of the Abe administration to push forward with its ambitious national security strategy in virtue of the South China Sea issue.

“For a long time, the U.S. military has been conducting close-in surveillance of China and the Chinese military has been making such necessary, legal and professional response — why did this story suddenly pop up in the past weeks? Has the South China Sea shrunk?” Senior Col. Yang Yujun of China’s PLA said on 26 May 2015 [Xinhua]

Tokyo possesses advanced naval and air military power as well as amphibious warfare capabilities. With the recent passage of Abe’s security legislation in the Diet and the ongoing transformation of the US-Japan alliance, Japan’s military revival would be nothing less than a nightmare for China.

Japan has consequently become more active on the South China Sea issue. Jeff Smith, director of Asian Security Programs at the American Foreign Policy Council, says Tokyo’s moves constitute “very bold and very significant changes to a Japanese foreign policy that appears to be going all-in on a hedging strategy toward China”.

Tokyo engages ‘allies’

In addition to possible minesweeping operations in the disputed waters, Tokyo is mulling the transfer of defense equipment and sophisticated weaponry to the Philippines. A consensus on bolstering more substantive military cooperation was hammered out by Filipino President Benigno Aquino III and Abe in June 2015.

In the meantime, the first joint maritime drills were held by Japanese and Filipino troops near a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, with P-3C surveillance aircrafts dispatched by Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Such drills, which aim to support Manila and flex Japan’s maritime muscles, are very likely to be institutionalized. Furthermore, both sides are negotiating an agreement that could enable Japan to have access to Filipino military bases.

However, it is even more disconcerting that Japanese and American military forces could carry out joint patrols regularly in disputed South China Sea waters.

Despite the political, legal and fiscal hurdles for Tokyo, the Abe administration would like to expand collective self-defense to this area for several reasons.

First, it helps with steady implementation of the renewed US-Japan defense cooperation guidelines issued in April 2015, which allow for greater Japanese autonomy in security affairs and present China as the main adversary.

Second, closer Japan-US cooperation on the South China Sea issue may serve to strengthen Tokyo’s ties with ASEAN member states. During the Shangri-la Dialogue held in Singapore this May, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the “Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative”, which would spend $425 million in funding maritime security capacity-building of regional countries.

Tokyo is expected to be Washington’s prime partner n this endeavor.

Third, by engaging the South China Sea issue, Japan can enhance its counterbalancing against China in the East China Sea. Due the absence of an effective crisis management mechanism between Beijing and Tokyo, the possibility of an armed clash over the Diaoyu Islands (known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan) cannot be ruled out.

By being part of US deterrence acts vis-à-vis China in the South China Sea, Japan expects Washington’s firm commitment in the defense of offshore islands in the East China Sea.

Every sea has its thorn?

Therefore, the South China Sea issue is gradually becoming a thorny problem that threatens the relationship among Beijing, Washington and Tokyo.

Indeed, the US is a vital player that may define the trajectory of this dangerous game among big powers. As for the US, what role it can play over the South China Sea issue is closely related to its primacy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The alliance system is the foundation of US primacy, and the space for maneuver and dominance over global commons is what Washington really cares about.

The South China Sea issue is nothing but leverage to safeguard US regional primacy. Washington has been increasingly linking its credibility to the confrontation against China in the area, which is definitely not a wise move, given the complexity of the South China Sea issue and Washington’s lack of control over the claimant states.

Perhaps more worryingly, maritime Asia has long been a place where the US could dominate, but now the space has to accommodate more aspiring players.  The emerging military powers in the region, including Japan, have the potential to enormously change the strategic landscape of maritime Asia.

However, the South China Sea is not a good playfield for practicing power politics. The US-China wrestling along with security balancing moves taken by the middle and small powers in the region cast their shadow over this major shipping route for international trade.

China has never claimed sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, and the freedom of navigation of commercial vessels has never been sabotaged.

Beijing is working hard to promote a “dual-track approach”. As it continues to attach importance to bilateral negotiations, it has also expressed its desire tojointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

A more binding Code of Conduct that is under difficult negotiation will keep the behaviors of China and other claimants in check.

File photo of US President Barack Obama with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe at the White House [Image: White House]

File photo of US President Barack Obama with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe at the White House [Image: White House]

Ultimately, Japan’s high-profile involvement in the South China Sea issue would inevitably draw fierce resistance from Beijing. In fact, Seoul is also deeply concerned with Japan’s security presence and activities in the region.

Sins of the past

On the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII in August 1995, then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama issued a statement, frankly acknowledging that “colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations” and expressed his feelings of “deep remorse” and “heartfelt apology.”

Japan’s Yasukuni Shrine enshrines notorious class-A war criminals convicted by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.

They are worshiped by Abe’s cabinet and members of Japan’s National Diet while German Nazi war criminals convicted in the Nuremberg trials are disdained by people in every corner of the world.

Such immoral “historical revisionism” of the Abe administration considerably reinforces Beijing’s apprehension toward Japan’s national security strategy.

China-Japan relations would be further strained by Japan’s assertive role over the South China Sea issue.

Japan has its legitimate security concerns on maritime disputes but it should come up with more pragmatic and cautious thinking to deal with it.

“Anything but China” is not a wise approach for Japan.

By the same token, China should continue with strategic restraint and without giving up its hope of reconciling with Japan.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s editorial policy.

Minghao Zhao is a research fellow at the Charhar Institute in Beijing, an adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, and a member of the China National Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP).

Labour leadership frontrunner Corbyn has the advantage over many of his detractors in that he always opposed the Iraq war, and the War on Terror Longtime Iraq War Oppo Running scared.

That is the only explanation for the increasingly desperate and angry denunciations from the right wing of the UK’s Labour Party, as Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign looks more and more likely to win him the party’s leadership on 12 September. The mass grassroots support for the anti-war and anti-austerity candidate has taken most Labour politicians by surprise. Their horror at this development only indicates their sense of entitlement to their own positions, their undimmed arrogance in the face of political failure, and their paper-thin commitment to any form of real democracy.

This week war mongering multi-millionaire Tony Blair published a second article attacking Corbyn. Blair warns of “annihilation” for Labour if Corbyn becomes leader. In the Guardian he wrote: “The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes ‘disunity’. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.”

His fellow warmonger, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, told Channel 4 News on 13 August that elections cannot be judged on the basis of the Iraq war. Alastair Campbell, the spin-doctor who spun the 45 minutes WMD claim, has argued that a Corbyn victory would be a “car crash” for Labour.

It takes a supreme level of arrogance and insensitivity for those who were the architects of one of the most disastrous modern wars, whose consequences are still being played out across the Middle East with devastating outcomes for the people there, to feel that their pronouncements should be listened to. Jeremy Corbyn has the advantage over them in that he always opposed this war, and indeed the whole War on Terror since 2001, and he has been proved right.

His view is much more in tune with public opinion, on this and many other issues. How many people supporting Jeremy in this election are doing so because of his position on the Iraq war? Blair, on the other hand, lost the party a million votes in the election of 2005 (generally accepted to be largely as a result of the war), saw membership shrinking, again often for the same reason, and was forced out of office in 2007 again partly because of his enthusiastic backing of Israel in the Lebanon war of 2006.

Families of servicemen and women who died in Iraq this week launched the threat of legal action against Sir John Chilcot, demanding he set a date for publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, an inquiry which took its final evidence four years ago but still has been not been released to the public. Blair, Straw and Campbell are all likely to be at the least highly criticised.

Much of the decline in support for Labour can be dated to the war and its aftermath. Of course there are many other issues that are now persuading many Labour members and supporters to back Jeremy Corbyn: opposition to government austerity, a sense that levels of widening inequality need to be halted and reversed, opposition to the scapegoating of migrants and Muslims. The anti-Corbyn candidacy hysteria stems from support for a neoliberal consensus that has led to this inequality.

The potency of Jeremy’s campaign is precisely that it breaks the dominant political consensus in the UK and elsewhere, and puts forward a real alternative. While the right of Labour claim that the Conservatives will welcome a Corbyn victory, this is by no means the case among the more intelligent of them. The neoliberal pro-war consensus needs a supine and weakened Labour leadership, dragged increasingly onto the centre ground in the vain hope that it can implement a slightly more humane set of what are in essence barbaric policies. A Corbyn-led party will put on the agenda a range of policies that the Conservatives would rather were not given much airing.

There is also the small issue of democracy here. Labour’s electoral system was changed expressly to weaken trade union influence, and was accepted at a party conference by all sides. It ended the electoral college system where MPs got one third of the vote, trade unions another third, and individual members the final third. Perhaps least remarked on but most galling to Blair et al is that the MPs have no more say in the election than anyone else (although they do have the power to prevent candidates getting on the ballot paper).

The new system has worked to benefit the left, which certainly was not the intention. That the individual members and supporters, and union affiliates, have the temerity to vote for a left candidate is something that the Blairites thought they had put a stop to. They cannot believe how wrong they were.

Now they are desperately claiming that there are thousands of “entrists” with their own agenda, and combing through lists to disqualify anyone they can. This is a negation of democracy.  It is the same negation of democracy that we saw over Iraq. Then millions marched but were ignored, treated with contempt by a leadership that relied on the passive support of millions but did not see it as important to listen to their views.

What is happening with Corbyn’s campaign is that many people are waking up to the fact that there can be an alternative political manifesto and that the dominant neoliberal agenda can be fought. Perhaps what frightens the Blairites most is that, far from the myth that this will lead to annihilation, such policies can win elections. The onslaught the Conservatives are planning in this government will meet widespread opposition: there has already been one mass anti-austerity demo since the election, called by the Peoples Assembly, and in October there will be mass protests at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

The Corbyn campaign is one expression of that movement: the fear of mainstream politicians is that it lights a fire of opposition to their policies.

 Lindsey German is convenor of the Stop the War Coalition and co-author of A People’s History of London. 

Another Big Lie About Ukraine’s War

August 16th, 2015 by Eric Zuesse

What follows here, about the current U.S. government’s lying, is banned by all major news sites in the United States, and by most ‘alternative news’ sites, such as Common Dreams, Alternet, and Truthout (although some of those alt-news sites do issue watered-down reports from Robert Parry and a few other establishment journalists, about related matters):

Vladimir Kornilov posted to his facebook page on August 15th, a terrific question that’s getting increasing attention on other independent websites:

I wonder about this: When the army of the DNI [commonly called Ukraine’s ‘rebels’] are retired Russian military, the West immediately writes about “Russian aggression”. And if retired (believe that retired) military mercenaries from the EU are fighting on the side of the APU [commonly called the Ukrainian government], why do the same media not write about “the aggression of the European Union?”

That’s a great question, because it laser-focuses upon a Big Lie in the Western press regarding the civil war in Ukraine: that the Russian army is itself participating in Ukraine’s civil war (not merely providing professional military advisors to a self-arisen civilian army who are protecting their own families from invasions and basically from a U.S.-sponsored ethnic cleansing campaign by an imposed Ukrainian government in Kiev, which the residents in the separatist region never even had any participation in democratically electing — and, after the man, for whom those residents had actually voted 90%+ in Ukraine’s last genuinely democratic election, was thrown out of office in a violent February 2014 U.S. coup).

The Russian armed forces are not participants in Ukraine’s U.S.-caused civil war: that’s a fact. The allegation to the contrary is a U.S.-Ukrainian government lie — nothing else. (See note at the bottom if you don’t believe this.)

The U.S. Government is simply trying to fool the public into believing that the Ukrainian government’s bombing that area of the former Ukraine doesn’t cause thousands of the residents there to take up arms against those invaders, and against that government — the government which calls all of these residents ‘terrorists.’

Despite the claims by the Ukrainian government and by the American government that placed them into power, the Ukrainian government only wishes that it were fighting against Russia, and so it is urging the U.S. government and America’s allies to supply more weapons to them so as to enable that to happen. On August 15th, a Ukrainian government site headlined, “Ukrainian army is not ready for war with Russia with the use of aircraft, helicopters and missiles – expert,” and quoted “Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament, Valentine Badrak. According to the expert, ‘I am still of the opinion that the Kremlin made a bet on the maximum loss of Ukrainian personnel [in the event that Ukraine were to invade Russia — an invasion which some Ukrainian leaders strongly want], but in the final analysis the Kremlin boss can decide on war generation using modern aircraft, helicopters and missile technology.’”

Of course, ever since the war started, the bombs have been dropped by the Ukrainian government’s planes, onto the residents in this area, not by planes on the residents’ side, which has no air force of its own.

On 19 September 2014, I had headlined, “Russia’s Leader Putin Rejects Ukrainian Separatists’ Aim to Become Part of Russia,” and reported that, “The leader of the Ukrainian separatists says that their efforts to get Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to accept their territory as being a part of Russia have been firmly rejected by Putin’s government; and, so, ‘We will build our own country.’” And, ever since then, Putin has been very clear in all of his communications with Merkel and other foreign leaders, that Russia would not accept that region as being a part of Russia. He also made clear his reason: He wants the people in that region — who had voted 90%+ for a neutralist person, Yanukovych, to lead Ukraine — to remain within Ukraine’s electorate, so as to provide the necessary moderating element and counterbalance to the rabidly anti-Russian racists that were placed into power in Ukraine (next door to Russia), by Obama’s February 2014 coup.

In other words: not only is the Ukrainian government not at war with the Russian government, but Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, is doing everything he can to prevent such a war from occurring.

In fact: Before the United States overthrew and replaced Ukraine’s government in February 2014, in a coup that started being organized in early 2013, Ukraine had no civil war; it was at peace, as it long had been.

Obama destroyed Libya, and also Ukraine, and is now destroying Syria, all in his obsession to conquer Russia, which had helped all three. And, now, Vladimir Putin is demonized by the Western ‘news’ media.

That’s how ‘news’ is being ‘reported,’ in the West. Except for sites like this, which don’t sugar-coat the reality to protect the guilty (and to shift blame to the actual victim).

In fact: the entire case for sanctions against Russia is pure lies.

Please click onto the link here at any point where you want to see the evidence. (For example, here you can listen-in while Obama’s people are actually planning whom to place in charge of Ukraine after their coup will be over. Obama has some nerve, pontificating against Putin, even after such vileness became public.)

NOTE: So many comments have come in from readers at various websites who have been duped by Western propaganda to reject the reality that Ukraine’s armed forces were being defeated by the residents of Donbass (the former Ukrainian region where voters had voted more than 90% for Yanukovych), rather than by the Russian army. Therefore, I now recognize that a need exists for more than a link to the Ukrainian general saying this. His statement should be understood within its context. Here is that context: He went on television to explain to Ukrainians that the defeat of Ukraine’s armed forces was due to the residents of Donbass. He needed a bit of reality to sink into the duped Ukrainian public. He went as far as he could to avoid contradicting official propaganda, which blamed all of Ukraine’s problems upon Russia. But he needed the public also to understand that this really was a defeat of his forces by the residents of Donbass, instead of by Russia. A certain amount of truthfulness is occasionally needed even in a dictatorship (in this case, originating from Washington). He thus needed his people to understand that their armed forces actually were defeated by the Donbass residents. Here are some of the news reports at the time, which make clear the extent of that defeat:

23.1.2015 http://rian.com.ua/columnist/20150123/362446425.html

25.1.2015 http://www.kyivpost.com/multimedia/photo/ukraine-hides-devastating-losses-as-russia-backed-rebels-surge-forwards-378321.html

26.1.2015 http://rian.com.ua/story/20150126/362589244.html

If he had been saying this at a time when Ukraine’s forces were winning, then he might have been giving a speech about the ‘need’ to go further, beyond Donbass, and to invade Russia itself (which so many in the coup-government’s leadership have said they want to do). But he was instead saying this at a time when he needed a certain minimal amount of realism to sink in amongst his public. This was perhaps more patriotic on his part than the U.S. stooge-regime he represented wanted, but he evidently felt the need for a bit of honesty here. He just had to let some of the truth out, regardless what the regime’s masters in Washington might have wanted. After all: he knew that, ultimately, if he was to win at all, he would need his own troops, and their families, to understand the reality, at least a little bit, in order to be able to achieve such a victory. He knew that support from Washington would never be able to be enough to do the job, on its own.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Political developments are moving extraordinarily fast in the Mideast nowadays, with Russian and American diplomacy being the primary catalysts. Moscow has teamed up with Tehran to kick-start a new round of Syrian reconciliation talks, and it’s working with Riyadh in an effort to get the latter to agree to its inclusive (Syrian-government-incorporating) anti-ISIL initiative and hopefully withdraw its support for terrorists in the country.

As involves the US, Washington just struck a monumental deal with Tehran that paves the way for a rapprochement between the two sides, which of course has scared Riyadh to no end and somewhat motivated its cautious redirection towards Russia. No matter how complicated the larger situation appears, however, it’s unmistakable that two main trends have emerged – Russia and Saudi Arabia are getting closer with one another at the same time that the US and Iran are doing the same. This makes for a very peculiar state of affairs at the moment that needs a thorough and clarifying elaboration, a categorical comparison of its two main components, and a forecast for its evolution in order to help make sense of it all.

The first two parts of the article looks at the specifics of the US-Iran relationship and the Russian-Saudi one, explaining how they came into existence and the complex cause-and-effect interconnection between both of them. Part III picks up where the previous two left off and compares the perceptions and motivations surrounding each pivot, categorizing them into eight primary tracks. Finally, Part IV contains a phased scenario forecast that concludes the series by using the prism of these two pivots and their respective explanatory logic to help predict a couple visions of what the Mideast’s coming future might look like.

A Geo-Strategic Double-Think In The Desert

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia appearing to have be rethinking their traditional geostrategic relationships, in what could either be described as an embrace of multipolarity directed against no one (which in Iran’s case would be a walk-back from its previous Resistant and Defiant policy) or a potential pivot on behalf of, or against, someone else. This piece deals with Iran while the subsequent one addresses Saudi Arabia, so let’s begin by taking a look at what underlies Tehran’s recent geopolitical reevaluation towards the West.

One could say that ‘it’s all about the atoms’ when discussing what’s behind the US and Iran’s renewed diplomatic engagement, but that’s just part of it, despite being a crucial component. The Iranian nuclear negotiations were essentially a trust-building exercise between the US and Iran that was mediated by Russia, which undertook the role of making sure that Iran’s position was heard and accommodated by the West. On the reverse end, having experience in negotiating with the US at the highest levels since the beginning of the First Cold War, Russia also sought to help Iran understand the full consequences of everything that was being discussed and proposed by the American side, hoping that this could help offset any forthcoming legal and/or strategic surprises that the US might try to pull (even in a post-sanction environment). Out of its goodwill efforts, Russia expected for Iran to billions of dollars from its unfrozen funds to mutual ally Syria, as well as promise that it wouldn’t exploit its post-deal circumstances to overload the global energy market and crash commodity prices to its advantage.

The following section will contain a critical evaluation of the Iranian nuclear deal, but the reader must be reminded that the only reason it occurred was because Iran was the one who wanted to negotiate and resolve the dispute. Had it not taken the prerogative to do so or thought that it wouldn’t be in its best interests (as understood by its sovereign and internationally recognized authorities), Russia and China, in this New Cold War context, could have very well stood by its side and supported its decision. However, since the Iranian government earnestly wanted to clinch a deal no matter what (despite the serious consequences that this entails for its sovereignty), Russia helped facilitate its ally’s wish and respected its independent choice, and it did this no matter how disadvantageous the signed agreement might possibly end up being for its own long-term interests if Iran’s intentions towards it change and/or it decides to violate the unwritten pact between them to not compete in the energy sphere.

Iran Takes A Loss…

Quite a few analysts have argued that Iran took quite a strategic loss in signing the nuclear deal, although they differ somewhat in their explanations for why it ultimately agreed to it in the first place. To speak on the agreement’s critics and cautionaries, these include the likes of Peter Lvov,Christopher Black, and Eric Draitser. Lvov says that the arrangement places Iran in the Western strategic camp and is a major loss for Russia, which Black seconds. They say that the Islamic Republic was coerced into embarrassing nuclear energy restrictions and oversight, as well as the continuation of “terrorism”- and ballistic missile-related sanctions out of combined fear of a conventional strike and/or Color Revolution. Draitser is less critical in his assessment and sees it mostly through a business perspective, but he does caution that it could have catastrophic long-term consequences for Eurasia’s multipolar future.

rtx1a5eaThe author’s own analysis on this matter was written back in November when it first seemed like all sides would seal a deal, and it’s actually quite relevant to the current post-deal strategic situation. Overall, it’s argued that while Iran might see certain economic, military, and soft power benefits in the agreement, it’s put itself in a position to be exploited by the US further down the line and end up losing everything that it had earlier thought it gained. To expand on that piece for the current realities, it does seem like Color Revolution fears definitely motivated Iran’s leaders. For one, the ‘Kurdish test run’ from early May could have made them realize their vulnerability to a transnational Kurdish uprising, which might be the reason the government is officially neutral in thecurrent Turkish-Kurdish War and has temporarily closed its border with its northwestern neighbor.

Another point to be made is it’s not just Kurds who are at risk of becoming Color Revolutionaries, but regular pro-Western Iranian youth of any ethnicity. To many of them, the Islamic Revolution is a national tradition, but not one that they enthusiastically or actively support (which isn’t the same as saying they reject it). It’s kind of like baseball for most Americans – it’s boring, but they still go to a game every once in a while to show their patriotism and as something to simply do with their time, but they’re by no means ‘baseball fans’ (or anti-baseball, for that matter). Also, President Rouhani does appear to have very strong liberal shades much like former Russian President Medvedev, and since he’s officially running the show (just as Medvedev was during his tenure), Khamenei (reluctantly) supports him just as Putin did Medvedev when it came to UNSC 1973 that the West ultimately used to escalate the War on Libya. In both instances, it can be argued that the ‘man behind the throne’ didn’t fully approve of what his formal representative was doing, but still had to go along with it regardless in order to avoid a public government split that could easily be taken advantage of by international forces and their affiliated media outlets (as well as be the trigger for a [premature] Color Revolution attempt).

…So ‘Everybody’ Wins (Except Russia)

Here’s a quick overview of the dividends that all 6 negotiating partners are expected to receive once the deal begins to be formally implemented early next year:

Iran:

Tehran is eager to unfreeze the billions of dollars of seized funds that it had in the West, hoping to redirect them to its Hezbollah, Syrian, and Houthi allies as soon as possible. On the domestic front, it’s courting Western investment, capital, and expertise with the expectation that this will help facilitate an economic boom in the country. The Iranian market unquestionably has all the qualities for success (highly educated, resource-rich, very large, etc.), but the sanctions put an unexpected halt to its growth over the past decade.

US:

An Iranian worker welds two gas pipes at the beginning of construction of a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, 2013. Source: AP

An Iranian worker welds two gas pipes at the beginning of construction of a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, 2013. Source: AP

As written about articulately and soberly in Draitser’s analysis, the US is looking for a strategic partner that can help it indirectly extend influence into the heart of multipolar Eurasia, which explains Washington’s surprising turn-around when it comes to dealing with Iran. Building upon this assessment, it can be suggested that the US wants to encourage newly assertive and rightfully confident Iran to take things a step further by expanding its soft power influence along the southern flank of the former Soviet Union (Caucasus, Caspian, Central Asia), which could make the country an uncomfortable rival to traditional Russian influence there. One should recall a fleeting, yet important, detail mentioned almost as an afterthought in the Hoagland-Blinken Doctrine, where the strategic opportunity is held out for the US to support Iran’s possible post-sanctions role “as a gateway to Europe, as a gateway to India” for the Central Asian region.

China/France/Germany/UK:

These countries are mostly concerned with the economic and energy consequences of the deal, since they all want in on the coming riches. It was just described why Iran is ripe for an economic renaissance, so focusing on its energy potential, there are 3 complementary opportunities that Iran. The first two deal with gas export to the EU via either an Iran-EU and/or a Turkmenistan-Iran-EU pipeline, while the other is to China through the Iran-Pakistan-China route (with an additionalIran-India project being planned as well). The combined effect of all this gas on the market couldpredictably depress prices, and this would be compounded by the opening of Iran’s underutilized oil reserves as well (with the gas price being indexed to oil). Iran is used to surviving sanctions and ‘living on less’, so to speak, so it and its budgetary interests can easily absorb the relatively miniscule profit margins associated with low oil and gas prices since such expected revenue is still better than whatever Iran would be receiving if the sanctions were still in effect. Beijing, Paris, Berlin, and London are always in favor of the cheapest energy imports possible, so it would obviously be to their advantage to see all of these projects come to fruition (not just the LNG ones) to advance their mutual price-lowering objectives, and as just said, Iran looks to be supportive of this scenario despite reassurances that it may have previously given to Russia.

Russia:

Russia’s position is arguably a lot weaker than all of its co-negotiators’ when it comes to the expected windfalls following the Iranian nuclear deal. Of course, it theoretically has the same market opportunities as the others, but given that Russian businesses don’t have that robust of a presence in Iran as it is, they’re not really at a competitive advantage, and their rivals have the international scaling experience necessary to rapidly accelerate investments and drive out them out if it comes to it. This means that Russia’s expected economic dividends in Iran might not be as big, let alone as certain, as some pundits allege. Also, as was mentioned, the US may use Iran (with its witting or unwitting compliance) as a springboard for projecting destabilizing influence along Russia’s strategic southern periphery in the Caucasus, Caspian, and Central Asian. On top of that, it was just detailed how Iran could disrupt global energy prices to Russia’s detriment, and this would assuredly have serious long-term reverberations for the country’s budgetary and economic considerations. All in all, aside from some possible military and mild energy investment deals, it doesn’t seem like Russia directly gains anything at all from the Iranian nuclear agreement (except that billions of dollars of unfrozen funds could assist mutual ally Syria), and it actually looks to lose quite a bit of strategic leverage as a result of it (or at the very least, be confronted with a host of strategic uncertainties that can complicate its policy applications in Eurasia).

But Did It Really Understand What It Was Doing?

Iran radiates the vibe that it’s confidently in full control of everything that it’s unleashed with the nuclear deal, but how well does it really understand (or even properly recognize) some of the more far-reaching consequences associated with it? Here’s a quick checklist of the positives and negatives as they relate to Iran and the West in three key categories:

+/- Economic Opportunities

This is an immediate win-win for both sides (especially the West and their energy interests), but further down the line, it could be used as an element of pressure against Iran depending on how the Iranian-Western relationship matures. The deeper the US and its Western allies can entrench themselves in Iran’s post-sanction economic recovery, the more influential they’ll become, and thus, the more needed they’ll be by the government in order to keep economic growth solid. This could create national security implications if those same ‘Western partners’ decide to ‘suggest’ certain political actions that Tehran doesn’t agree with, and worse if they do so under the implicit threat of returning to the sanctions regime under the false auspices of Iran “returning to nuclear weapons research”. With growing pro-Western influence and likely even associated NGOs operating in the country by that time, it’s questionable to what degree Tehran would be able to reject their decrees without being subjugated to a new round of Color Revolution destabilization (especially if the mere threat of sanctions is enough to trigger a pre-planned anti-government campaign by co-opted citizens).

+/- Nuclear Checks

The meticulous detail to nuclear checks (which it must be said, no other country in the world has to humiliatingly go through) contained within the agreement is beneficial to the West, which by no means ever wants Iran to develop a nuclear deterrent, but it’s against Iran’s strategic interests for a couple of reasons. Foremost of these is that it eliminates the possibility that Iran could change its mind if the bilateral situation ever deteriorates to the point where it’s once more threatened by the US and its allies. In such a scenario, Iran could of course renege on the deal, but then it could lose out on future economic cooperation when the sanctions snap back (although previously agreed-upon deals will remain in force). Like Black noted in his previously cited piece, Iran has essentially surrendered any future nuclear deterrent or threat thereof, which ironically makes it even less safe than before because the omnipresent American/GCC military threat never went away when Iran’s nuclear sovereignty did (although the US’ current motives are not to strike), but Iran is now unable to use the nuclear card to its defensive advantage if such threats ever rise again.

– “Race To The Finish”

It was earlier written how Iran will likely send some of the billions of dollars of unfrozen funds it receives next year to its Hezbollah, Syrian, and Houthi allies, and this has thus opened up a ‘race to the finish’ between the US and Iran. The general idea is that Washington must bring its regional wars to a ‘favorable’ conclusion before Tehran’s truckload of treasure arrives to the battlefield and buffets the defensive potential of its partners, thereby rendering the US’ attempts at ‘victory’ all but useless and completely changing the regional dynamic. While there are certainly positive opportunities for Iran and its allies to be found in this reality, it does create a very unpredictable scramble by the US to urgently secure its militant and regime change interests before it’s too late (hand-in-hand with Turkey, it must be reminded), and in hindsight, this scramble and the fear it inspired in Saudi Arabia is one of the partial reasons for Riyadh initiating its nascent partnership with Moscow (which is being viewednegatively in Tehran).

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

The Iran Deal: A Triumph of Irrationality

August 16th, 2015 by Prof. Yakov M. Rabkin

It took years of intense negotiations, travel by diplomats equal to 16 around-the-world trips and thousands of pages of position papers to solve a problem … that never existed. Intelligence services of major powers, such as the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, repeatedly concluded that Iran was not developing a nuclear weapon. Crude attempts to plant intelligence raising the spectre of the bomb were no more credible than earlier claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

As we know, that false intelligence led Western powers to attack and devastate Iraq. The emergence of the Islamic State is one of the consequences of that attack. Millions of refugees from the war is another.

The signing of the accord in Vienna is highly instructive. The “Iranian threat” was invented in Israel and the United States and became a staple in Western media. In March 2007 the Israel Project, a Washington-based constituent of the Israel Lobby, distributed an “Iran Press Kit” to over 17,000 media professionals and 40,000 pro-Israel activists in the United States. It claimed that Iran is about to acquire nuclear weapons: “The Nuclear Clock is TICKING … and time is running out.”.

The meeting of the main Zionist lobby, AIPAC, featured inflammatory rhetoric and sinister images targeting Iran and comparing its president with Hitler. Israel called the non-existent bomb “an existential threat” and vowed to bomb Iran. Its Prime Minister brandished crude schemes of the bomb at the United Nations and repeatedly, in the course of several years, claimed that Iran was just a few months away from developing a nuclear capability. The non-existent weapon of mass destruction has been used as a weapon of mass distraction, diverting world attention away from the wretched fate of the Palestinians and focusing it on Israel’s threats to bomb Iran. Israel was now free to deal with the Palestinians with total impunity. Which it did. The new “existential threat” also served to consolidate political support and move Israeli society further right.

Israel, which has attacked its neighbours several times in its short history, reportedly possesses over 200 nuclear weapons and refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It accused Iran, a signatory of that treaty, which has not attacked another country for about three centuries, of plotting to develop a nuclear bomb. And the Western powers, aka “international community”, rather than ignore, let alone expose Israeli hypocrisy, took that accusation at face value. It helped that Iran is an Islamic republic often portrayed as irrational and irresponsible. It is somehow deemed inferior to Western powers, considered to be rational and responsible in spite of their record of two world wars and innumerable colonial wars, including recent unwarranted attacks on Iraq, Libya and other Arab countries. Racism is likely to have played a part. Iranians are Orientals, many of them of brownish complexion, and thus they cannot be trusted to play with matches.

This was not the first time racism affects decisions concerning nuclear weapons. It was in 1943, when German armies were deep on Soviet territory and the outcome of the war in Europe was far from certain, that President Roosevelt, in a conversation with General Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, refused to consider dropping the atomic bomb on Germany. The Jewish émigré scientists, including Einstein, who had who prompted the U.S. government to produce nuclear weapons, wanted to prevent Germany from acquiring a nuclear monopoly. Many of them were horrified when Washington ordered to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing massive civilian casualties. The racial explanation of the choice of Japan as the first nuclear test ground continues to divide the historians to this day. In any case, racism was then institutionalized in the United States, and its troops fighting the Nazis were racially segregated. More importantly, during the war Japanese Americans, seen less than human, were summarily uprooted and interned while this measure was applied only selectively to certain American citizens of German and Italian descent.

This racial thinking dovetails with the realities of a unipolar world. During the Cold War nobody in the West suggested that the Soviet Union did not have the right to develop nuclear weapons. Americans may have been upset, frightened and distressed that “the Russkies” broke the American nuclear monopoly but they never claimed they did not have the mental wherewithal needed to handle nuclear weapons. Now that the balance of power no longer exists Western powers routinely declare entire countries “rogue states” if their governments dare resist following Washington. Needless to say, Iran has been placed into that category for several decades.

The agreement signed in Vienna may defuse this burning non-issue. Predictably, Israel, which fabricated this issue to begin with, has denounced the agreement and reserved the right to attack Iran. Israel’s allies and agents in the United States will do their best to derail it. The drama may continue for months and years. But it is important to see not only the utter irrationality of the Western approach to Iran but also its colonial overtones. The “Iranian nuclear threat” embodies the Orwellian principle that some countries are apparently more equal than others.

Yakov M. Rabkin is professor of history at the University of Montreal; his most recent book is Comprendre l’État d’Israël. He published a detailed analysis of the origins of the “Iranian nuclear threat” in Revue internationale et stratégique (N°70, 2008) in Paris (for English version see: http://www.acjna.org/acjna/articles_detail.aspx?id=575)

Major transnational corporations, including Kraft, Motorola, Lenovo, Tyson and HTC have announced mass layoffs in recent days amid a boom in mergers and acquisitions, which are on track to hit a record this year.

Processed foods maker Kraft Heinz Co said Wednesday that it would cut 2,500 jobs in North America, amounting to 5 percent of its global workforce. The announcement is the result of last month’s $49 billion merger between Kraft and H.J. Heinz Co, in a deal orchestrated by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

The announced layoffs will include 700 at the company’s headquarters in Northfield, Illinois, near Chicago. Thousands more layoffs are expected as a result of the deal, as the company said it was “confident” that it would meet its estimated cost savings from the merger of $1.5 billion through 2017.

On Thursday, Chinese computer maker Lenovo announced 3,200 layoffs, or 5 percent of its global workforce. The layoffs will be concentrated in the company’s Motorola Mobility subsidiary, which this week announced an initial round of 500 layoffs in its Chicago-area headquarters. Another three hundred employees will lose their jobs with the closure of the company’s facility in Plantation, Florida. Lenovo purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014.

Also Thursday, Smartphone maker HTC announced that it would slash 2,250 jobs, or 15 percent of its global workforce, by the end of the year. The company is seeking to cut costs by 35 percent.

These layoffs follow last month’s announcement by Microsoft that it would eliminate 7,800 positions, mostly from its Nokia mobile phone division that it acquired in 2013. Only weeks later, San Diego-based semiconductor company Qualcomm Incorporated announced 4,700 layoffs.

Mass layoffs in the food processing and technology sector come amid an ongoing jobs bloodbath in the global energy sector. On Friday, Samson Resources Corp, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based oil and gas producer, filed for bankruptcy, threatening over a thousand jobs. The bankruptcy follows the firm’s purchase in 2011 by private equity firm KKR & Co.

Earlier this month, Alpha Natural Resources, America’s second-largest coal producer, filed for bankruptcy, endangering the jobs of the company’s 8,000 employees. Oil consulting firm Swift Worldwide Resources reported in June that over 150,000 energy sector jobs have been lost globally since the beginning of the downturn in oil prices last year.

Samson’s bankruptcy filing followed the announcement by multinational oil giant Royal Dutch Shell that it would eliminate 6,500 positions this year, as well as the announcement by British-based mining conglomerate Anglo American, the world’s fifth largest mining company, that it would slash 53,000 jobs.

The latest round of mass layoffs is closely related to the global boom in mergers and acquisitions. Under conditions of slowing global economic growth, together with record amounts of cash sitting on corporate balance sheets, Wall Street is using mergers and acquisitions to put additional pressure on US and global corporations to cut costs and restore profitability on the backs of employees.

Global mergers and acquisitions are close to hitting a record high this year, according to Thomson Reuters data. With a quarter of the year still to go, the value of deals hit $2.9 trillion, just shy of the $3 trillion figure for 2007, immediately before the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States, mergers have hit $1.4 trillion in 2015, up by 62 percent from a year ago.

On Monday, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced the biggest corporate takeover so far this year: the $37 billion purchase of Precision Castparts, an aerospace and defense metal fabricator with nearly 30,000 employees.

The growing rate of mergers and acquisitions is made possible by the continual infusion of cheap money from global central banks, which have pumped trillions of dollars into the global financial system through years of quantitative easing and zero-interest-rate policies.

Mergers activity has soared even as real economic growth has slowed. According to predictions by the International Monetary Fund, 2015 is set to be the slowest year for economic growth since 2009. The already gloomy growth outlook for the year was made worse Friday with the release of economic data for the Eurozone showing that the region’s economy grew only 0.3 percent in the second quarter; significantly lower than had been predicted by analysts.

This followed Friday’s release of negative economic figures for China, which showed that the country’s exports plunged by 8.3 percent in July. China’s poor exports performance likely contributed to its central bank’s decision to devalue the yuan this week, a move that roiled the global financial system.

The global boom in mergers and acquisitions, far from expanding economic output and growth, has as its aim the enrichment of shareholders through layoffs and wage cuts. The end result of this vicious cycle of economic stagnation and parasitism is the further enrichment of the financial oligarchy at the expense of the working class.

On July 25, 1990, Saddam Hussein entertained a guest at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad: U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie.

Glaspie told the Iraqi president: “I have direct instructions from President (George H.W.) Bush to improve our relations with Iraq. We have considerable sympathy for your quest for higher oil prices, the immediate cause of your confrontation with Kuwait.”

Glaspie then asked, point blank: “Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait’s borders?”

“As you know, for years now I have made every effort to reach a settlement on our dispute with Kuwait,” replied Hussein, deploying his own rendition of wartime spin. “There is to be a meeting in two days; I am prepared to give negotiations only this one more brief chance.”

When asked by Glaspie what solutions would be “acceptable,” Hussein was forthright: “If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab — our strategic goal in our war with Iran — we will make concessions. But, if we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq [Note: Hussein viewed Kuwait as part of Iraq] then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be.”

At this point, ever aware of the power dynamics at play, Hussein queried Glapsie: “What is the United States’ opinion on this?”

“We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait,” Glaspie answered. “Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960’s that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.”

Eight days later, Iraq invaded Kuwait and provided the Land of the Free™ with the pretext it needed to commence a relentless onslaught in the name of keeping the world safe for petroleum. Which brings me to a forgotten anniversary.

While Aug. 6, of course, marks the 70th anniversary of the nuking of Hiroshima, it also marks a quarter-century since the U.S. war against Iraq was initially launched. For most people — particularly willfully ignorant anti-war activists — the starting date for the war in Iraq is March 19, 2003. However, to accept that date is to put far too much blame on one party and one president. A more accurate and useful starting date is Aug. 6, 1990 when — at the behest of the United States — the United Nations Security Council imposed murderous sanctions upon the people of Iraq.

It is widely accepted that these sanctions were responsible for the deaths of roughly 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five. U.S. Ambassador the UN in the mid-90s was Madeleine Albright. In 1996,Leslie Stahl asked her on 60 Minutes if a half-million dead Iraqi children was a price worth paying to pursue American foreign policy. Albright famously replied: “We think the price is worth it.”

(Shortly afterwards, Albright was named U.S. Secretary of State by noted liberal Democrat hero, Bill Clinton.)

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

John Kerry Lectures Cubans About Democracy

August 16th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

US elections when held are farcical. Ordinary people have no say whatever. Big money-controlled duopoly power rules.

All so-called elections turn out the same way. Business as usual always triumphs. Things go from bad to worse. Neocons infesting Washington threaten world peace.

Alleged US normalization with Cuba is a thinly veiled scheme to recolonize the island state, steal its resources, exploit its people and open its markets without restrictions to US corporate predators.

Kerry berated Cuban “policies of the past that have not led to a democratic transition” – code language for capitulating to US hegemonic rule unconditionally.

He laughably claimed “the United Statse will remain a champion of democratic principles and reforms” – democracy solely for the privileged few, “reforms” meaning replacing social justice with neoliberal harshness.

Kerry “urge(d)” the Cuban government to fulfill its obligations under the UN and American human rights covenants” – ignoring Washington’s longstanding record as a scandalous human and civil rights abuser on a global scale.

Kerry lied saying embargo conditions “can only be lifted by congressional action.” US presidents can use executive authority to rescind inapplicable restrictions.

Washington isn’t at war with Cuba. It hasn’t been since its aborted three-day April 1961 Bay of Pigs aggression. Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA – 1917) constraints don’t apply. They restrict trade solely with countries hostile to America in times of war.

Other embargo related legislation, regulations and sanctions are invalid with diplomatic relations restored. Obama can end them with a stroke of his pen straightaway – the same legal way he can close Guantanamo.

World nations overwhelmingly demand both. America is out-of-step with reality and rule of law justice. It’s waged unacceptable political, economic and financial war on Cuba for over half a century.

Formally reopening Washington’s Havana embassy with a flag-raising ceremony and bombastic Kerry speech does nothing to change reality on the ground as long as anti-Cuban policies remain unchanged – except for too little positive tweaking.

On August 14, Fidel Castro turned 89. He’s the world’s preeminent statesman, a legend in his own time, a model of a responsible world leader.

Occasionally he writes reflections, expressing views candidly on vital issues. He’s justifiably suspicious of US intentions after over half a century of anti-Cuban policies, including hundreds of failed attempts to do him in.

On August 13, he wrote a commentary titled “Reality and dreams.” He called writing “a way to be useful (to combat) long-suffering humanity…”

He justifiably said America owes Cuba “many millions of dollars” for harmful actions against the nation and its people for over half a century – citing “irrefutable arguments and facts.”

He remains true to his redoubtable spirit and belief in rights all human beings deserve. “(W)e will never stop struggling for peace and the well-being of…every inhabitant on the planet regardless of skin color or national origin, and for the full right of al to hold a religious belief or not,” he said.

The equal right of all citizens to health, education, work, food, security, culture, science, and wellbeing, that is, the same rights we proclaimed when we began our struggle, in addition to those which emerge from our dreams of justice and equality for all inhabitants of our world, is what I wish for all.

To those who share all or part of these same ideas, or superior ones along the same lines, I thank you, dear compatriots.

You can’t express peace advocacy, support for rule of law principles and social justice thoughts, views and reflections any better than that.

Happy birthday, Fidel. Feliz cumpleanos. Wishing you many more in good health.

With very best wishes from America. May my country one day have a leader of your stature and virtue.

Imagine permanent peace and social justice instead of endless wars, neoliberal harshness and police state crackdowns on nonbelievers. Imagine a nation where everyone can breathe free.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

 

A group belonging to the Ukranian Azovets summer camp on the Vkontakte social network has posted dozens of photos of children learning to shoot AK-47 rifles. The camp is supposedly connected to the Azov battalion, slammed as ‘neo-Nazi’ by the US Congress.

The Azovets summer camp outside Kiev accepts kids from six years of age, operating under the moto: “the idea is in the nation, the strength is in you,”according to the camp’s page on the VKontakte social network.

Azovets doesn’t have an official web page, but actively promotes itself on social media, including on Facebook and Twitter accounts belonging to the Azov battalion.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

Instructors from the ranks of the Azov battalion’s volunteer fighters provide the young students with a diverse training program, which includes PE, hand-to-hand combat, survivalskills, knot-tying and more.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

Photos posted on the page showed children being taught how to assemble an assault rifle before being given AK-47s to fire.

There’s also an obstacle course arranged in accordance with military standards that the kids compete to overcome in the best possible time.

But it’s not all about practice, as lectures by “interesting people” from the radical group are also organized at the camp on a regular basis.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

The Azovets campers live in tents erected for them on the territory of the camp.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

The camp was established to show the children that there are things in life besides school and mobile devices and to “give them our love,” Oleksii, a platoon commander in the Azov battalion and instructor at the camp, told Ukrainian ICTV channel.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

“One has to be strong; has to be courageous to defend the territorial integrity of our motherland,” he added.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

Children in the camp wear identical T-shirts bearing the Azov battalion insignia – “Wolfsangel” or wolf hook, which was used during WWII by two of Nazi Germany’s SS divisions, the Azovets camp’s page revealed.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

The camp is primarily designed for the children of members of the Azov battalion who are now on the front, but Ukrainian kids from families unrelated to the unit are also welcome, according to an advertisement on the in.ck.ua website.

“Simultaneously, the wounded Azov regiment soldiers will be undergoing rehabilitation at the camp, with the communication with the children to have a positive influence on their recovery,” it added.

The price of a one-week stay at the Azovets camp stands at 900 hryvna (around $41) plus insurance.

In July, the House of Representatives of the US Congress unanimously adopted amendments to a proposal for the 2016 American defense budget that outlawed the allocation of funds for training and arming Ukraine’s Azov battalion.

The senators refer to Azov as an “openly neo-Nazi” and “fascist” organization and prohibit US instructors working in Ukraine from aiding the controversial unit.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

The volunteer Azov battalion was established in 2014 by Andrey Biletsky, a historian and firebrand political activist who describes his ideology as “social nationalism.” He is the leader of the Ukraine Patriot movement.

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

© vk.com/tabir.azovec

After being incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard, the unit actively participated in Kiev’s military assault on eastern Ukraine, allowing it to gain access to funds and heavy weaponry.

In December of last year, a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights blamed Azov and other Ukrainian volunteer battalions for an increasing number of human rights violations involving torture and forced disappearances of dissidents.

Global outrage was sparked when the Zimbabwean lion, Cecil was killed as a trophy; but to this day, Britain and America continue to display in museums human remains that are human trophies of their massacres and subjugation of indigenous populations.

Britain has recently revealed that it is currently negotiating with Zimbabwe over the repatriation of human remains, belonging to fighters from Zimbabwe’s struggle against British colonisers, currently displayed in the Natural History Museum of London.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, said in a speech that the Zimbabwean liberation war fighters, “whose heads were decapitated by the colonial occupying force, were then dispatched to England, to signify British victory over, and subjugation of, the local population.”

That Thursday night, the British Foreign Office confirmed that “remains of Zimbabwean origin” were on display in a museum in London.

President Mugabe also remarked that, “surely, keeping decapitated heads as war trophies, in this day and age, in a national history museum, must rank among the highest forms of racist moral decadence, sadism and human insensitivity.”

Prior to European and American colonialism, the first museums were founded in Africa and played an essential role in many African civilisations. In fact, museums have been a part of human history for more than 2,000 years.

The tradition of collecting and displaying intriguing items began in Black Ancient Egypt. Most rising Western cultures from the Roman Empire onwards then displayed exotic animals and flora in their museums. The word “museum” comes from the Greek mouseion, meaning “temple built for the muses and museums”, which were originally designed to promote art, science and ingenuity. After the European Dark Ages, the next step in the evolution of museums occurred as a result of the ingenuity of the Black African Moors who conquered and civilized parts of Europe. The study of the natural world was once again encouraged by the Black Moors establishing “curiosity cabinets” across Europe after a millennium of Western ignorance.

Prior to the 19th century, museums tended to be small and private, open only to the aristocracy of a given nation. During the 19th century, the modern museum as we know it began to take shape. With plunder streaming in from all corners of the British Empire, the modern museum was born.

The British Museum was created largely as a repository for artifacts looted from Africa between the 17th and 19th centuries. Such plunder includes many artifacts from Ancient Egypt which prove that the Ancient Egyptians, who established the first museum, were themselves dark-skinned Afroancestrals.

Across the world, one of the consequences of British colonialism was the violent appropriation of cultural artifacts, sacred and precious objects; and one of the legacies is their ongoing display in British museums. For centuries, the museums of Great Britain have served to bolster national white pride and glorify British imperial culture, by displaying a wide array of artifacts looted and plundered during European slavery and colonialism.

One example of the rather grim history of colonial racial terrorism is the long European history of human zoos, which featured Africans and conquered indigenous peoples, displayed in the same way as animals. Men, women and children would be kidnapped, locked up in cages and exhibited in front of European large audiences. Many people died after short stints in captivity and they lived in tortuous conditions. Visitors to the human zoos would often poke the African children with sticks, throw food at them and audiences were permitted to subject the captives to various degrading acts for a fee.

The primitive practice of putting indigenous people on display began during the modern period when explorers like Columbus and Vespucci lured natives back to Europe to be flaunted and paraded like trophies.

In the late 1800′s, Europe had been filled with human zoos in cities like Paris, Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, Warsaw, Milan, and London. Thirty-four million people visited the 1931 World Fair for human zoos in Paris. New York was not morally exempt from such racist and degrading practices. New York City saw these popular exhibits continue into the twentieth century, even after the ends of both World Wars. Millions of Americans attended these spectacles.

Prior to the Second World War, human Zoos in America were at their height and the New York Times reported at the time, “few expressed audible objection to the sight of a human being in a cage. The crowd loved it…It is absurd to make moan over the imagined humiliation and degradation that they suffer.” At a time when America and Britain accepted human zoos as perfectly normal, Adolf Hitler was the one to ban them.

By creating the first mass contact between Whites and Blacks, and by promoting the spectacularization of “The Other”, human zoos were a key factor in the progressive shift in the West from scientific to popular racism.

The primitive European and American practice of exhibiting Africans in zoos continued well into the 1950s. During the 1960s, the baton of state-sanctioned racism towards Africans was passed from Europe’s human zoos into its museums. In fact, historically, museums in Britain have held some of the most reprehensible images of Blacks as barbarians and savages, and the most degrading images of Black women.

A 20 year-old South African woman known as Sarah Baartman would be emblematic of the dark era that gave rise to the popularity of human zoos. She was taken by an exotic animal-dealer to London in 1810. Sarah had a genetic characteristic known as steatopygia; large buttocks and elongated labia. Thousands of British men, women and children would come to human zoos to gawk at her naked body. Sarah’s days were punctuated by rape and scientific examinations. In 1815, Sarah died in abject poverty and her skeleton, sexual organs and brain were put on display at the Museum of Mankind in Paris where they remained for almost a century until 1974. In 2002, President Nelson Mandela formally requested the repatriation of her remains.

If you add up the attendance for every English Premier league football, rugby, basketball and cricket game in Britain this year, the combined total will come to about 30 million people. That’s a big number, but 49 million people will visit British museums this year. Museums are important sites for contestation over grand narratives of history, especially nationalist and imperial history. For more people to see the British state openly flaunting stolen loot in a museum this year than those who will watch sport, shows that cultural imperialism and true primitive racial attitudes are deeply entrenched in British statehood.

During the “Great Scramble” for control over the continent in the late 19th century, art counted among the highest prizes of imperialist plunder. Britain still unashamedly displays thousands of stolen African artifacts worth hundreds of billions pounds in the British Museum, Liverpool Museum and elsewhere. Many other invaluable stolen artifacts from Africa, Asia and South America are in private British hands. Notably the Benin bronzes, ivories and other ancient works looted by British colonialists, especially during the reprisal attacks launched by the Queen’s soldiers against natives trying to resist imperialism in 1897.

The British Museum has long presented an array of African objects throughout its rooms, and its new African Galleries are second to none. Its ancient Egyptian collection is stunning. And they should be: while African collections in Germany, France and Belgium hold several important pieces, no other nation could match the British when it came to plundering so many art objects of a conquered people over so long a time period.

The British Museum, controls a quarter of a million artifacts from Africa alone, and maintains that looting those artifacts “was legal at the time.” As ever when the West perpetrates a crime against other people, they have a perversely fantastic way of asserting that their actions are completely bona fide, entitled and legal. Arthur Torrington OBE of the British Museums and Libraries Archives Council candidly admits that museums do not “want to accept the objects were stolen because if they do it for one, they’ll have to do it for all.

The modern British museum may literally have been built on the backs of oppressed indigenous populations and its rooms filled with plundered goods from Europe’s colonial conquests; but in this day and age, the ongoing display of stolen loot and human trophies is unjustifiable in a modern, civilized society.

Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on [email protected]

 

Disinformation and propaganda can take the form of omission just as much as straight forward lies and deception. There is no doubt that that all political parties, one way or another, in the past have been staunch supporters of Israel’s illegal actions over Palestine and its people, more particularly, in the offensive of Gaza starting July 2014. British government complicity that enables impunity of Israeli war criminals also profits from the death, destruction and apartheid regime imposed.

A future Labour government under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn would almost certainly reinstate the law on Universal Jurisdiction that was quietly amended by the previous Cameron government in order to facilitate the entry into Britain of Israeli politicians and military personnel without fear of arrest for alleged war crimes.

That contentious action was taken by the then Conservative Foreign Minister, William Hague, in order to accede to the demands of Binyamin Netanyahu and the government of Israel, and against the opposition of UK human rights groups.

The then Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said at the time:

We are clear about our international obligations and these new changes to existing law will ensure the balance is struck between ensuring those who are accused of such heinous crimes do not escape justice and that universal jurisdiction cases are only proceeded with on the basis of solid evidence that is likely to lead to a successful prosecution. These changes are essential to ensure we do not risk damaging our ability to help in conflict resolution or to pursue a coherent foreign policy.

In other words, it means the current government can choose what is and what is not a ‘heinous crime’ and what is and what is not ‘solid evidence’. This would likely be changed under Jeremy Corbyn which is why Israel has been vocal in its criticism of the labour leadership frontrunner.

A legal update in 2014 included the following;

Any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside the United Kingdom, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of a grave breach of any of the scheduled conventions or the first protocol shall be guilty of an offence

The “scheduled conventions” cover:

(1) the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field / (2) wounded sick & shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea / (3) the treatment of the prisoners of war / (4) the protection of civilian persons in time of war. (The “first protocol” relates to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts).

And:

Under each convention (Geneva Convention Act, Criminal Justice Act and International Criminal Court Act) is an Article (50, 51, 130 & 147 respectively) which sets out the “grave breaches” – acts including:

wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property.

Interestingly almost all of the ‘grave breaches’ stated above have been carried out by Israel either before, during or after the 2014 Gaza offensive

The re-instatement of this important piece of human rights legislation would bring Britain back into line with most of Europe where those alleged guilty of war crimes can be arrested pending trial.

The current suspension of this law in Britain has since enabled various members of the previous and/or present Israel government to visit the UK and to travel freely within the country to raise funds and/or disseminate propaganda to support the policies of Likud Prime Minister, Netanyahu, without fear of apprehension by the authorities.

There is certainly a strong feeling that a reversal of that erroneous policy is now well overdue in order to maintain Britain’s obligations to respect human rights and the International Court.

Sources of information of listed ‘grave breaches’  of the conventions constituting war crimes:

George W. Bush: May I Quote You, Mr. President?

August 16th, 2015 by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

Originally published by Global Research in November 2006 at the height of GWB’s second term in the White House

Here is a selection of  quotes from President George W. Bush with accompanying dates and sources:

#1: “International law? I better call my lawyer; he didn’t bring that up to me.” George W. Bush, December 12, 2003.

#2: “We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace.“/George W.Bush’s Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2004.

#3: “...for a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times. From that alliance has come an era of peace in the Pacific.“/Remark made by President George W. Bush to the Diet, Tokyo, Japan. February 18, 2002, even though the U.S. and Japan have been openly at war with each other.

#4: “One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief….My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it….If I have a chance to invade…, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it.“/remarks made by  Bush to author and Houston Chronicle journalist Mickey Herskowitz, who met GWB many times in 1999, to write a biography.

#5: “These people are trying to shake the will of the Iraqi citizens, and they want us to leave…I think the world would be better off if we did leave…“/This was said by Bush during the presidential debate of September 20, 2004]

#6: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.“/Bush’s remarks video clipped in Washington, D.C., as he signed the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005, on August 5, 2004.

#7: “Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness. [Bush's remark during a CNN Online Chat, August 30, 2000]

#8: “I believe God wants me to be presidentis a Bush’s statement that came during a meeting with Rev. Richard land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, in 1999. #9: [I was] “chosen by the grace of God to lead at that moment”, is a Bush’s quotation reported by Michael Duffy in Time magazine immediately after 9/11.

#10: God told me to strike at al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them comes from a remark made by Bush to Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, made to and reported by BBC News on Thursday, October 6 2005.

#11:“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my jobis a Bush’s remark to a group of Amish people he met with privately on July 9, 2004, and as published by the Lancaster New Era, July 16, 2004.

#12: “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur’” comes from a remark made by Bush during a discussion of the French economy during the 2002 G8 summit in Kananaskis, Alberta, as reported in The Times (London), July 9, 2002,

#13: ‘There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again. is taken from a video of Bush’s remarks in Nashville, Tennessee, September 17, 2002.

#14: “Ariel Sharon … is a man of courage and a man of peace” is a quote reported by Glenn Kessler, in the Washington Post of Tuesday, June 3, 2003.

#15: “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” comes from  remarks Bush made during a Social Security Conversation at the Athena Performing Arts Center in New York on May 24, 2005.

#16: “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace”  is taken from a Bush’s speech at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C., June 18, 2002.

#17: This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the tableis a widely known remark that Bush made during a press conference, after a meeting with EU leaders, on February 22, 2005.

#18: “Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction” is taken from Bush’s speech at the Midwest Airlines Center, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 3, 2003.

#19: “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find himwas recorded at a Bush’s White House press conference in Washington, D.C., on September 13, 2001.

#20: “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority” was recorded at George W. Bush’s White House press conference in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, Washington, D.C., on  March 13, 2002.

#21: “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories…for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them” is a statement Bush made in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2003.

#22: “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties [in Iraq]” is a statement made by Bush during a discussion in early 2003 about the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson in Nashville, Tennessee, and as quoted by Robertson himself.

#23: “Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them: If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you” comes from the transcript of a Bush’s speech made on March 17, 2003, days before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

#24: “Brownie (Michael Brown of FEMA), you’re doing a heck of a job” is still fresh in everybody’s memory; it is a public  statement made by Bush about Michael D. Brown, head of Fema, following Hurricane Katrina, at Mobile Regional Airport in Mobile, Alabama. on September 2, 2005.

#25: I’m also not very analytical. You know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do thingswas recorded by journalists aboard Air Force One, on June 4, 2003.

#26: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator is taken from an audio clip of President-elect George W. Bush, at a photo-op with congressional leaders during his first trip to Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2000; it was also reported on Online NewsHour, Washington, DC, December 18, 2000.

#27:“I’m the commander — see, I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.” can be found in Bob Woodward’s book “Bush at War”.

#28: “I don’t have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy” can be found in Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial.”

#29: “It’s amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, and incumbency”  is a comment made by George W. Bush, on June 14, 2001, to Göran Persson, unaware he was still on live TV.

#30: “It’s very important for folks to understand that when there’s more trade, there’s more commerce”  is a Bush’s remark made during a meeting of leades of the Americas, in Quebec City, Canada, April 21, 2001.

#31: “I would still invade Iraq even if Iraq never existed”

George W. Bush’s remark made to the Press-Telegram, Monday, August 21, 2006.

#32: “Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom.”

George W. Bush’s acceptance speech at the Republic National Convention, on September 2, 2004.

#33: Americans will speak of the battles like Fallujah. with the same awe and reverence that we now give to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.”

George W. Bush, November 10, 2006

#34: “We cannot rule this [an Israeli attack against Iran] out. And if it were to happen, I would understand it.”

George W. Bush, November 2, 2006  (in a conversation with French President Jacques Chirac]

#35: “You can’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam [Hussein] when you talk about the war on terror.”

George W. Bush, September 25, 2002

#36: “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th attacks.”

George W. Bush, (remarks made after a meeting with members of the Congressional Conference Committee on Energy Legislation, September 17, 2003)

#37: When he [Saddam Hussein] chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him.”

George W. Bush, March 21, 2005, (N.B.:145 U.N. inspectors were in Iraq in December 2002 and in January 2003, just before the March 20, 2003 American –led invasion of Iraq)

#38: You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.”

George W. Bush, September 6, 2006 (in an interview with CBS News Anchor Katie Couric)

#39: “I would say the best moment of all [in office] was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake.

George W. Bush, May 7, 2006 (while being interview by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag)

#40: “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.”

George W. Bush,  February  4, 2005 (comment made to a divorced mother of three, in Omaha, Nebraska)

#41: “We will make sure our troops have all that is necessary to complete their missions. That’s why I went to the Congress last September and proposed fundamental — supplemental funding, which is money for armor and body parts and ammunition and fuel.”

George W. Bush, September 4, 2004, (during a speech in Erie, Pa.)

#42: “It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. — More and more of our imports come from overseas.”

George W. Bush, comment made on September 25, 2000

#43: I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years. … We should approach our nation’s budget as any prudent family would.”

George W. Bush, statement made on February 27, 2001 (N.B.: From 2002 to 2006, the cumulative federal budget deficit has exceeded one and a half trillion (1.5 trillion) dollars)

#44: “Therefore, I, George W. Bush, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim June 10, 2000, “Jesus Day” in Texas and urge the appropriate recognition whereof, in official recognition whereof, I hereby affix my signature this 17th day of April 2000.”

George W. Bush, April 17, 2001 (Governor Bush’s “Jesus Day” 2000 Proclamation day of prayer)

#45: We feel our reliance on the Creator who made us. We place our sorrows and cares before Him, seeking God’s mercy. We ask forgiveness for our failures, seeking the renewal He can bring”.

George W. Bush, March 30, 2002, (in a radio broadcast)

#46:…But what if God has been holding his peace, waiting for the right man and the right nation and the right moment to act for Him and cleanse history of Evil?

George W. Bush, January 28, 2003, State of the Union address

#47: “The Columbia is lost. —The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth but we can pray they are safely home.”

George W. Bush, on February 1, 2003, (comment made after disaster struck the space shuttle Columbia)

#48: “The best way to fight evil is to do some good. Let me qualify that—the best way to fight evil at home is to do some good. The best way to fight them abroad is to unleash the military.”

George W. Bush, April 8, 2002, (in a speech in Knoxville, Tennessee)

#49: “We are going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the MidEast conflict”…”We are going to tilt it back toward Israel.”

George W. Bush, (comment made on January 30, 2001)

#50: “As a leader, you can never admit to a mistake; that is one of the keys to being a leader.”

George W. Bush, (comment to biographer Mickey Herskowitz, in 1999)

This is a selection of important news headlines, summaries and links, prepared by Citizens for Legitimate Government (CLG) at http://www.legitgov.org/

Pentagon under fire for guidelines that liken war reporters to ‘belligerents’| 10 Aug 2015 | Defenders of press freedom have accused the Pentagon of endangering journalists with new legal guidelines that liken war correspondents to spies and say they can be treated as “unprivileged belligerents” in some circumstances. The details were buried in the Department of Defence’s 1176-page Law of War Manual, which was published in June. The manual says journalists, in general, are civilians. However, it adds that in some circumstances they might be considered “unprivileged belligerents” – the same broad category that includes guerrillas or members of al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh]…It also sets out conditions under which journalists’ work will be censored.

U.S. sends six jets, 300 personnel to Turkey base in Islamic State fight | 09 Aug 2015 | The United States sent six F-16 jets and about 300 personnel to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey on Sunday, the U.S. military said, after Ankara agreed last month to allow American planes to launch air strikes ‘against’ Islamic State militants [I-CIA-SIS] from there. The Pentagon said in a statement the “small detachment” is from the 31st Fighter Wing based at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Support equipment was also sent but no details were provided.

US ex-intelligence chief on ISIS rise: It was ‘a willful Washington decision’| 11 Aug 2015 | The US didn’t interfere with the rise of anti-government jihadist groups in Syria that finally degenerated into Islamic State, claims the former head of America’s Defense Intelligence Agency, backing a secret 2012 memo predicting their rise. An interview with retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), given to Al Jazeera, confirms earlier suspicions that Washington was monitoring jihadist groups emerging as opposition in Syria…The classified DIA report presented in August 2012, stated that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al- Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” being supported by “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey.”

Truck Bomb Kills at Least 76 at Market in Baghdad’s Sadr City | 13 Aug 2015 | At least 76 people were killed and 212 wounded in a bomb attack on Thursday at a market in Baghdad’s Sadr City district, police and medical sources said. The bombing was one of the largest attacks on the capital since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took office a year ago.” A refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up inside Jamila market at around 6 a.m. (11 p.m. ET on Wednesday),” police officer Muhsin al-Saedi said.

Watchdog: U.S.-funded power plant in Afghanistan at risk of ‘catastrophic failure’ –Special Inspector General says $335 million plant already experiencing ‘premature failure of equipment’ | 12 Aug 2015 | A U.S.-funded power plant in Afghanistan is in danger of catastrophic failure, according to a letter released Thursday by a government watchdog. The 335 million Tarakhil power plant, near Kabul, was built as a joint venture by engineering firm Black & Veatch of Overland Park, Kan., and its then-partner Louis Berger Group, under a contract awarded by the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2007. [Sociopaths in Congress won't allocate twenty cents to fix a 150-year-old bridge in America--but the dirt-bags are fine with allocating billions to waste in Afghanistan, so the CIA can maintain its poppy fields and opi-m routes. --LRP]

Attacks on army, police and U.S. special forces kill 50 in Kabul | 08 Aug 2015 | A wave of attacks on the Afghan army and police and U.S. special forces in Kabul have killed at least 50 people and wounded hundreds…The bloodshed began on Friday with a truck bomb that exploded in a heavily populated district of the capital and ended with an hours-long battle at a base used by U.S. special forces. It became the deadliest day in Kabul for years. The Islamist insurgents claimed responsibility for both the police academy attack and the battle at the U.S. special forces base, though not for the truck bomb.

Dozens of retired generals, admirals back Iran nuclear deal | 11 Aug 2015 |Three dozen retired generals and admirals released an open letter Tuesdaysupporting the Iran nuclear deal and urging Congress to do the same. Calling the agreement “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” the letter said that gaining international support for military action against Iran, should that ever become necessary, “would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance.” The release came as Secretary of State John F. Kerry said U.S. allies were “going to look at us and laugh” if the United States were to abandon the deal and then ask them to back a more aggressive posture against Iran.

Anonymous attacks Israeli government over death of Palestinian toddler | 11 Aug 2015 | Hackers today attacked the website of the Office of the Prime Minister, that of the Israel army and that of a number of ministries and government departments. In a statement, the international group of hackers known as Anonymous said this was “because the Palestinian toddler’s voice was not heard…” The operation, #WasBurnedAlive, part of the greater #OpIsrael, started approximately 9 hours ago. At the time of writing, most of the websites were still down.

U.S. consulate in Turkey targeted as wave of attacks kills 9 –At least 10 injured in police station bombing | 10 Aug 2015 | Two women shot at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul on Monday and at least nine people were killed in a wave of separate attacks on Turkish security forces, weeks after Ankara launched a crackdown on Islamic State [I-CIA-SIS], Kurdish and far-left militants. The NATO member has been in a heightened state of alert since starting its “synchronised war on [of] terror” last month, including air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq. It has also rounded up hundreds of suspected militants at home.

John Kerry to raise US flag at Havana embassy | 14 Aug 2015 | The US secretary of state is to raise the American flag at the recently restored US embassy in Havana, another symbolic step in the thawing of relations between the two cold war-era foes. The ceremony, raising the flag over the building for the first time in 54 years, comes nearly four weeks after the US and Cubaformally renewed diplomatic relations and upgraded their diplomatic missions to embassies. While the Cubans celebrated with a flag-raising in Washington on 20 July, the Americans waited until John Kerry could travel to Havana.

Chelsea Manning could face solitary confinement at military prison | 13 Aug 2015 | Chelsea Manning, a soldier imprisoned for leaking classified U.S. information to pro-transparency site WikiLeaks, could face solitary confinement on charges she violated prison rules by having prohibited reading material, her attorney said on Wednesday. Manning was convicted in 2013 of providing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts [of myriad US war crimes] to WikiLeaks, in the biggest breach of classified materials in U.S. history. Manning has been charged with a number of disciplinary infractions and will attend a hearing before a three-person discipline adjustment board on Aug. 18 at the prison, attorney Nancy Hollander said. The alleged disciplinary infractions on July 2 and July 9 included attempted disrespect, the possession of prohibited books and magazines [?] while under administrative segregation, medicine misuse pertaining to expired toothpaste and disorderly conduct for pushing food onto the floor, Hollander said.

China explosions: death toll rises to 50 as troops dispatched to assist cleanup | 13 Aug 2015 | Elite military units trained to deal with chemical, nuclear and biological disasters have been dispatched to the site of a deadly explosion in northern China, where fires still smouldered in a landscape of destruction more than a day after the original devastating blasts. At least 50 deaths have been confirmed and 701 people admitted to hospital with injuries — 71 of those said to be “severe” — after a fire at warehouse containing “dangerous chemicals” sparked a series of blasts on Wednesday night. Four vehicles carrying more than 200 soldiers trained to deal with nuclear, biological and chemical catastrophes were dispatched to Tianjin, which is around 100 miles from Beijing.

Japan to restart first nuclear reactor since during ongoing Fukushima disaster | 10 Aug 2015 | Japan will on Tuesday begin restarting its nuclear power programme, officials said, after a two-year shutdown sparked by public fears following the Fukushima crisis. The restart comes more than four years after a quake-sparked tsunami triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima plant, prompting the shutdown of Japan’s stable of reactors in the world’s worst atomic crisis in a generation…But Japan’s people are sceptical and the country remains deeply scarred by Fukushima, which forced tens of thousands of people from their homes – many of whom will likely never return. On Monday about 400 protesters rallied in front of the Sendai plant, which is on the southern tip of Japan’s Kyushu island. [Notice that the US corporate-owned media 'forgot' to mention this protest and runs a *complete* blackout on any news regarding Fukushima?]

Utah Transit Authority to conduct TRAX terrorism exercise at Salt Lake airport | 11 Aug 2015 | What would happen if a terrorist attacked a light-rail train along the Wasatch Front? The Utah Transit Authority, along with various other agencies, will test emergency response protocols during a live-action drill scheduled Wednesday. UTA, in conjunction with the Utah National Guard 85th Civil Support Team, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Salt Lake City International Airport, Salt Lake City Fire Department and the Salt Lake City Police Department will conduct the exercise called “Operation Green Cloud.” The exercise will be a six-hour, full-scale emergency response drill simulating an attack on a Green Line TRAX train.

No to GMO: Scotland to outlaw growing of GM crops | 09 Aug 2015 | Scotland says it will ban genetically modified crops on its soil. According to officials, the move will protect the environment. They are also taking advantage of new EU laws, allowing member states to decide whether they want to grow the crops or not. Although the EU imports large quantities of GM crops from abroad, it is less sure about growing them on their own soil. Some environmental groups are worried about the impact they could have on the countryside, while there are also concerns over health issues for humans, despite producers of the crops insisting they are safe.

Al Gore said to be looking at another run for president | 13 Aug 2015 | Al Gore is reportedly talking about a possible run for president in 2016. Gore, of course, won the popular [and Electoral] vote 15 years ago but veered off in different directions, environmental and otherwise, after conceding the White House to George W. Bush [in a SCOTUS coup d'etat, prompting the birth of CLG aka 'Citizens for Legitimate Government']. According to BuzzFeed, a senior Democrat said, “They’re getting the old gang together.” That team is said to be working on “figuring out if there’s a path financially and politically.”

Hillary Clinton to give private email server to Justice Department | 11 Aug 2015 | Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is giving the U.S. Justice Department her private email server and a thumb drive of work-related emails from her tenure as secretary of state, a spokesman for her campaign said on Tuesday. Clinton’s use of her private email for her work as America’s top diplomat came to light in March and drew fire from political opponents who accused her of sidestepping transparency and record-keeping laws. The private account was linked to a server in her New York home.

Jimmy Carter Says He Has Cancer, Revealed by Recent Surgery | 13 Aug 2015 | Former President Jimmy Carter, who at age 90 still travels the world supporting the humanitarian endeavors that have consumed his time in the decades since he left office, announced Wednesday he has cancer that has spread to other parts of his body. “Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body,” Carter said in the statement released by the Carter Center. Carter announced on Aug. 3 that he had surgery to remove a small mass from his liver.

Connecticut Supreme Court says the death penalty is unconstitutional and bans executions for inmates on death row | 13 Aug 2015 | The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday that it would be unconstitutional to execute the remaining inmates on the state’s death row, effectively outlawing the death penalty in that state. This decision comes three years after Connecticut abolished capital punishment while leaving death sentences intact for inmates already on death row…This ruling would seem to answer a lingering question since Connecticut became the third state in recent years to drop the death penalty but exempt people on death row from that change.

Ah, then came the dawn. Protester who chased Bernie Sanders from stage is a Christian conservative and Sarah Palin supporter | 09 Aug 2015 | Bernie Sanders was physically chased from the stage by a group of Seattle protesters who claimed to be representing the Black Lives Matter movement, which has raised questions as to whether Sanders and his campaign have kept their economic message too narrow, possibly alienating a portion of the Democratic party base. But a subsequent detail suggests that the incident may have been fueled by something else entirely. The leader of the group is actually a Sarah Palin supporter. Instead the leader of the group who took the stage,Marissa Jenae Johnson, has stated as recently as three weeks ago that she had been campaigning for Sarah Palin in 2008. And further research from the website Patheos suggests that Johnson is a Christian fundamentalist. If she is indeed a Christian conservative, then it suggests that she and her partners may have been sabotaging the Bernie Sanders event not because they want the Democratic party to focus more on racial issues, but instead because they are Republicans want to make Sanders ‘look bad.’

Ferguson protests: state of emergency declared after violent night | 10 Aug 2015 | St Louis County has issued a state of emergency following Sundaynight’s escalation in violence during a demonstration marking the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. “In light of last night’s violence and unrest in the city of Ferguson, and the potential for harm to persons and property, I am exercising my authority as county executive to issue a state of emergency, effective immediately,” St Louis County executive Steve Stenger said in a statement. St Louis County police chief Jon Belmar will take over the operation of police emergency management in Ferguson and surrounding areas, Stenger said.

Man in critical condition after being shot by police in Ferguson | 10 Aug 2015 | A man was in a critical condition Monday after exchanging gunfire with police during protests marking the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters the suspect is in a critical, unstable condition in a local hospital and undergoing surgery. Speaking at a news conference, he said the shooting occurred after plainclothes detectives [agents provocateurs] monitored an individual in the crowd who they believed was armed, and who was believed to have three or four possible armed acquaintances.

Texas police chief fires officer who shot and killed unarmed teen | 11 Aug 2015 | An Arlington, Texas, police officer who shot and killed an unarmed college football player has been fired for “exercising poor judgment,” the city’s police chief said Tuesday. Officer Brad Miller lost his job because of the August 7 incident at a car dealership in Arlington, Police Chief Will Johnson told reporters. The officer was in the last stages of his field training when he shot Christian Taylor, 19, multiple times at a car dealership.

7 taken to hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning at Florida Walmart | 09 Aug 2015 | Thirteen people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after a 24-hour Walmart in central Florida was evacuated. Orange County Fire Rescue officials say the gas had reached unsafe levels by 4 a.m. Sunday at the Avalon Park store. Fire officials had to wait three hours to enter the building because the CO levels were too high. Fire Rescue spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy say 13 people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

One of Cecil’s cubs is killed by rival male after the lion was slaughtered last month, sparking fears remaining survivors have just DAYS to live | 09 Aug 2015 | One of Cecil the lion’s cub has been killed by a rival male triggering fears that the survivors may only have days to live. The much-loved lion was slaughtered by American dentist [sociopath] Walter Palmer last month, sparking outrage around the world. Now a further tragedy has befallen the pride after one of his cubs was killed by another male as he attempted to mate with its mother. And without a pride leader to protect them, locals fear that the remaining cubs could have just days left to live.

El Niño May Bring Record Heat, and Rain for California | 13 Aug 2015 | This year’s El Niño weather pattern could be the most powerful on record, federal forecasters said, while warning that the effects of the weather system are never certain. “We’re predicting this El Niño could be among the strongest El Niños in the historical record,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a teleconference with reporters. This year’s El Niño is already the second strongest for this time of year in more than 60 years of recordkeeping, he said.

The 36-cent ‘shade ball’ that could save $250 million and keep L.A. water clean | 12 Aug 2015 | Can 96 million balls improve water quality? Los Angeles is about to find out. On Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti was at the Los Angeles Reservoir to mark the addition of 20,000 of the small balls to the lake. Shade balls are used to protect water quality, prevent algae growth and slow evaporation from the city’s reservoirs. The L.A. Reservoir is the Department of Water and Power’s largest in-basin facility…The shade balls are expected to save 300 million gallons a year from evaporating from this particular reservoir.

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Palestinian Political Prisoners Protest Israeli Oppression

August 15th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israeli gulag hell – ruthlessly brutalized for their faith, ethnicity and determination to live free, not for any crimes they committed.

Israel cracks down hard on anyone challenging its police state harshness and longstanding plan for an ethnically pure nation exclusively for Jews – with Arabs confined to ghettoized bantustans, prisoners on their own land, denied virtually all rights, victims of apartheid viciousness worse than South Africa’s.

Hunger striker Muhammad Allan may die – in a coma after two months without food, hospitalized on a respirator receiving liquid minerals and nutrients intravenously.

Before losing consciousness, doctors said he suffered continuous shivering and seizures, struggling to breathe. After visiting her sonon Friday, Allan’s mother said “my son is dying.” If coma persists, he may become brain dead, perhaps beyond resuscitation.

Force-feeding in his critical state could kill him. The Addameer prisoner support group said “(a)ny medical coercion on Allan despite his refusal may cause the opposite effect and result in severe health problems and even potentially jeopardize Allan’s life, as evident in Israel’s previous attempts to force-feed Palestinian hunger strikers during the 1980s, which resulted in several deaths.”

Despite Israel’s new law authorizing the practice, its 1996 Patient’s Rights Act, Chapter 4, Informed Consent to Medical Care, Section 13 (a) states:

No medical treatment will be given to a patient unless the patient has given his informed consent to the treatment. In addition, the Act anchors the provisions with regard to medical treatment without consent under very strict conditions which are intended to undergo examination by the ethics committee of the medical institution.

Section 15 states:

(1) A clinician may give medical treatment that is not one of the treatments enumerated in the Supplement to this Act without the informed consent of the patient, if all the following conditions are met:

(a) The patient’s physical or mental state does not permit obtaining his informed consent;

(b) The clinician is not aware that the patient or his legal guardian objects to the receipt of medical treatment;

(c) It is impossible to obtain the consent of the patient’s authorized representative, should such a representative have been appointed under Clause 16 of this Act, or it is impossible to obtain the consent of the patient’s legal guardian, if the patient is a minor or a legally incapacitated person.

(2) Should the patient be deemed to be in grave danger but reject medical treatment, which under the circumstances must be given soon, the clinician may perform the treatment even against the patient’s wish, if an Ethics Committee, after having heard the patient, has approved administering the treatment, and has been persuaded that (c) there are reasonable grounds to suppose that, after receiving treatment, the patient will give his retroactive consent.

No family member or lawyer consented to Allan’s force-feeding. No ethics committee approved it. Allan wants freedom or death. No evidence suggests he’d give retroactive consent to what he refused for two months.

His father said he wrote letter to be read if he dies. He’ll “be part of history” dead or alive, he explained.

Israel imprisoned him twice before for courageously resisting tyranny. The PA detained him. He’s a successful young lawyer, the youngest of 10 children.

Residents of Einabus village where he lives call him gentle, conscientious and well-respected. His cousin Saif said “(m)any people come to him because he is an honest man.”

Eiabus attorney Mohammad Radshan said other lawyers call his service for clients “exemplary. He has an excellent relationship with the judges, lawyers and state prosecutors.”

Israel lied calling him “dangerous.” PA officials have done nothing to help him. Prison authorities refuse to release him despite no justification for his indefinite detention.

Hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners are protesting Israeli brutality – including violent raids any hour of the day or night, harsh prison conditions and denial of their fundamental human rights.

They remain in their cells, boycott work, and refuse to answer security checks or roll calls. They demand no more violent cell raids, proper medical care routinely denied, canceling sanctions against hunger strikers, ending solitary confinement, restoring family visits for prisoners denied them, no further arbitrary transfers, and restoring Arabic television channels blocked earlier.

At least four other political prisoners are hunger striking for justice. Musa Sufan since July 18 protesting longterm isolation without family visits and appalling medical care despite being diagnosed with cancer.

Fathi al-Khatib refused food for over three weeks. Othman Abu Aram almost as long. Abdul Majid Khdeirat for over two weeks.

Occupied Palestine could explode in violence if Allan dies. A spokesman for Islamic Jihad’s military wing said “(i)t is an Israeli crime against our prisoners and people if Muhammad Allan dies, that forces us to respond forcefully and ends any commitment of our side to the ceasefire” agreed to last summer.

A possible bloodbath looms. Israeli response to resistance is unrestrained brutality, including mass murder.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital and bestselling author of “Crash Proof,” believes the impending collapse of the United States dollar should be getting the attention of investors and news outlets and not the devaluation of the Chinese yuan.

Speaking in an interview with Newsmax TV on Tuesday, Schiff explained that the U.S. economy has an abundance of problems but China’s monetary policy (SEE: Donald Trump on China’s Devaluation: ‘They’re just destroying us’) isn’t one of them.

The contrarian investor stated that China’s economy isn’t experiencing a freefall and the current devaluation is minuscule. He noted that the yuan’s value has substantially increased over the past several years compared to the U.S. dollar.

“So this move was motivated not by the exchange rate between the yuan and the dollar, but between the yuan and all the other currencies because the dollars is in a bubble right now,” he said. “The dollar is very overvalued … and the dollar is a bubble. This dollar bubble is going to burst.”

He added that the U.S. economy is in a much worse situation right now than the Chinese. This is something, Schiff says, the Federal Reserve will have to admit. He also averred that the Fed won’t raise interest rates this year (SEE: Federal Reserve rate hike could cost indebted consumers $9 billion per year) and will have to do another round of quantitative easing.

“That’s going to sink the dollar and then the Chinese are going to have to revalue their currency much higher in the future against the dollar and it’s the dollar collapsing that’s going to hurt the US. Not this recent move by China,” Schiff posited.

The reasons why the U.S. dollar has been trading well since the financial crisis is because of hope, hype and speculation.

Schiff alluded to the immense trade deficit with China, and how China is producing all things the U.S. consumers and can’t produce. On the other hand, however, the U.S. doesn’t produce anything the Chinese want to consume.

Overall, Schiff asserts, the Chinese economy is “far more powerful” and “far more dynamic” than the U.S. economy. This is why the U.S. suffers from massive deficits.

“But people believe in the myth of this US economy, they believe that this bubble is genuine, they made the same mistake in the late 1990s, they made the same mistake right before the financial crisis of 2008. They’re making a mistake again,” said Schiff.

We’re on the verge of a much worse financial crisis than the one we went through in 2008 and it’s going to take the form of a currency crisis. You’re talking about currency wars. American is going to win the currency war, which is a race to the bottom, and you don’t want to win a currency war because a currency war is different from most wars in that the object is to kill yourself and unfortunately, we’re going to succeed.

At the time of this writing, the Dow Jones has fallen more than 200 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index has hiccuped just 40 points.

On August 4, the U.S. Appeals Court for the 10th Circuit shot down the Sierra Club’s petition for rehearing motion for the southern leg of TransCanada’sKeystone XL tar sands export pipeline. The decision effectively writes the final chapter of a years-long legal battle in federal courts. 

But one of the three judges who made the ruling, Bobby Ray Baldock — a Ronald Reagan nominee — has tens of thousands of dollars invested in royalties for oil companies with a major stake in tar sands production in Alberta.  And his fellow Reagan nominee in the Western District of Oklahoma predecessor case,David Russell, also has skin in the oil investments game.

The disclosures raise questions concerning legal objectivity, or potential lack thereof, for the Judges. They also raise questions about whether these Judges — privy to sensitive and often confidential legal details about oil companies involved in lawsuits in a Court located in the heart and soul of oil country — overstepped ethical bounds.

These findings from a DeSmog investigation precede President Barack Obama’s expected imminent decision on the northern, border-crossing leg of Keystone XL.

Investment Breakdown

Among the companies listed on Judge Baldock’s financial disclosure located on Judicial Watch’s website for the 2012 reporting year — the year Sierra Club filed its lawsuit — are some with a financial stake in tar sands production. They include ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO EnergyBPConocoPhillipsSunoco and Kinder Morgan subsidiary El Paso Production.

The “j” on the forms means a value of $15,000 or less, while “k” means $15,000-$50,000. Russell’s investment portfolio for the 2011 reporting year also included tar sands-related investments in companies ranging from Continental Resources, Plains All American and ONEOK Partners.

Appeals Court Judge Robert E. Bacharach — a President Obama appointeee in 2012 — also has his 2012 financial disclosure report online courtesy of Judicial Watch, showing he has no investments tied to the Alberta tar sands. Judge Carolyn B. McHugh, a 2013 Obama appointee, has no forms online to date.

A review of Baldock’s forms available on Judicial Watch’s website dating back to 2003 show that starting in 2005, Baldock began investing in all of the same oil companies he has investments in now. Russell had investments in Continental dating back to 2003 and held onto dividends for almost a decade. Neither Baldock nor Russell responded to a request for comment sent by DeSmog about whether they dropped their industry-related investments post-2012.

Financial disclosure reports from 2012 for the three judges who decided the 10th Circuit Court’s portion of the case in October 2013 denying Sierra Club the injunction it requested to get TransCanada to stop builidng Keystone XL South show no oil or gas industry investments.

DeSmog has submitted a request for financial disclosure reports for all seven of the judges who issued rulings for KeystoneXL South for both 2013 and 2014.

Tar Sands Ties

Continental Resources at one point signed a deal with TransCanada to carry 35,000 barrels per day of oil obtained viahydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale to market as an appendage of Keystone XL called theBakken Marketlink.

Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources and energy advisor for 2012 Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney, set up a lobbying group that lobbied for and eventually won the Bakken Marketlink deal called the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance.

Bakken Marketlink relies on the northern leg of Keystone XL though, which has yet to open shop, and which Hamm now calls “irrelevant.” Not that he cares either, with 90-percent of his company’s oil now moving by rail. Most pertinent to Judge Russell, Continental made a fat wad of cash from Keystone XL South opening up for business.

“Hamm says his lobby group received a written confirmation from TransCanada it would build the southern leg of the pipeline first, a step since approved by the Obama administration while the northern leg awaits permission,” Reuters wrote in a September 2012 investigation. “The southern leg should help drain a glut of crude in the Midwest and help Continental earn more on its oil.”

Indeed, thanks to Keystone XL South (and now Enbridge‘s “Keystone XL Clone”), record amounts of tar sands diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) now flood Gulf coast refineries.

“Between 2010 and mid-2012, pipeline shipments out of the Midwest were relatively flat at about 225,000 b/d until the reversal of the [Enbridge, Enterprise Product Partners jointly-owned] Seaway Pipeline, which now transports crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast,” explained Commodity Online.

Since then, Seaway has been expanded, and other pipelines, such as TransCanada’s [Keystone XL South], were built to carry crude oil out of the Midwest. By May 2015, pipeline shipments from the Midwest reached 1.3 million b/d, the highest sinceEIA began collecting pipeline shipment data in 1986.

ONEOK, which bought Koch Industries’ natural gas liquids unit in July 2005, also has a direct connection with TransCanada. The two companies jointly own the Northern Border Pipeline on a 50-50 basis, a line that brings gas extracted from the “Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to a growing U.S. Midwest market” according to TransCanada’s website.

The tar sands boom in Canada has served as a boon to gas drillers in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, with huge amounts of gas used to extract the tar sands and morph them into dilbit capable of flowing in pipelines.

So although Northern Border flows to midwest markets, it still locks in demand for gas drilling, with much of that gas used to enable huge amounts of dilbit to flow through TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline System.

Put another way, Judge Russell found a win-win investment and through his legal decision, helped make his investments more valuable assets.

The U.S. Courts seemingly oppose this type of conduct. But as a 2014 investigation published by the Center for Public Intregity explained, it is far from unprecedented, and Judges seldom recuse themselves nor face punishment.

A judge should disqualify himself or herself, explains 28 U.S. Code § 455, when “He knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding”

“Dire Precedent”

For the case itself, Sierra Club attorney Doug Hayes had argued the case should be reheard because of what it argues is the dangerous precedent it would set if the current ruling stood.

It “affects many other projects nationwide, and would allow the Corps to continue approving massive crude oil pipelines under Nationwide Permit 12 without ever analyzing their impacts, such as the risks and impacts of oil spills,” wrote Hayes, further arguing that the status quo “would permit agencies to avoid NEPA compliance by claiming ignorance of the law.”

US Judge Keystone XL Oil Investments

Source: U.S. Appeals Court for the 10th Circuit

NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, requires that federal agencies allow public comments and public hearings for large-scale energy infrastructure projects as part of their decision-making process. But for Keystone XL South, like Enbridge’sFlanagan South tar sands pipeline and Alberta Clipper (Line 67) project (two pieces of the “Keystone XL Clone”), the Obama Administration allowed these tar sands pipeline companies to dodge the conventional process and get under-the-radar Nationwide 12 Permits instead.

The decision “sets dire precedent,” wrote Hayes, and “involves issues of exceptional importance, as the holding allows other crude oil pipelines to be built with no consideration of oil spills or other impacts as required by NEPA. Prior to this case, the Corps had never before used NWP 12 to approve massive crude oil pipelines in this manner. Now, the Corps is approving other pipelines [he later pointed to Flanagan South] using NWP 12 without any project-specific NEPA analysis.”

Add to this “dire precedent,” then, the fact that at least two of the judges who handled Keystone XL South cases stand to gain financially from the rulings they issued and you have a perfect storm.

Duhaime’s legal definition of tyranny states: “A form of government other than a monarchy in which the formal written constitution is not adhered to and is broken by force of arms by a single person who then undertakes to rule as a monarch and primarily in his personal interests.”

With his unprecedented number of oppressive executive orders bypassing both US Congress and constitutional rule of law, the ex-constitutional lawyer himself President Obama has become a bona fide dictator and traitor exercising tyranny over the people of the United States.

According to McLean and McMillan’s Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics, essential features present in tyranny and dictatorship are that “the abuse of the state’s coercive force operates in the absence of rule of law” but instead by “rule of the tyrant’s arbitrary treatment of citizens if not by outright systematic use of terror.” The latter application using terror against the populace more accurately describes the evolution of US dictatorship from one criminal regime (Bush-Cheney’s) to Obama’s criminal regime. On marching orders from the globalists, through both the neocons remain in charge.

Clearly mounting evidence blatantly exists in recent years that demonstrate a totalitarian police state power in America. The systematic militarization of police state USA has used terror to recklessly and maliciously abuse its own citizenry, particularly those of color in cities across this nation. The soaring rate of militarized police deploying lethal force to willfully murder unarmed Americans, calculatingly cause growing racial tensions and civil unrest with near complete impunity reflects the growing contempt that agents of US government increasingly harbor against the very citizens they took oaths swearing to protect and serve. This police state phenomenon has unfolded in parallel process with elected government leaders who treasonously plot and destroy America despite taking oaths to both uphold and protect the Constitution and the nation from both foreign and domestic enemies.

While cold-blooded murder of US citizens is skyrocketing now (over 70 times of other Western nations), federal agencies across the boards not even remotely related to either law enforcement or the military have been buying up billions of rounds of bullets that upon impact tear the human body apart. What does that say about a government that has its postal service, Social Security Administration and Department of Game and Wildlife arming themselves to the hilt with brutally lethal weapons? The answer is pathetically obvious. The federal government has embarked on waging an all-out war against its own hapless, law abiding citizens.

Clearly First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly and public protest in this country are also no longer upheld or recognized as rule of law. In recent years the Occupy Movement and Democratic National Convention protests have been marred by excessive police brutality, bloody street violence and unlawful arrest. In the war against American protesters, police attacking them with the chemical weapon of tear gas that in any other war is criminally outlawed by international law, is used in the US to systematically silence the people’s voice from ever being heard in the wake of totalitarian oligarchy.

Criminalizing dissent is redefining homegrown terrorism to include anyone willing to exercise their basic civil liberties guaranteed US citizens under this nation’s Constitution that for over two centuries was recognized as the ultimate rule of law in America. But now any Americans daring to even criticize and object to the federal government’s growing tyranny is conveniently labeled a belligerent and enemy of the state subject to assassination or indefinite imprisonment led by a dictator president who matter-of-factly proclaims his despotic right to kill fellow Americans on US soil.

Early on in this twenty-first century we’ve observed the neocons’ “Pearl Harbor-like event” in their 9/11 inside job needed to justify their forever war on terror, making a war of terror on the entire world by committing human genocide in the false name of “global sustainability” and “CO2 climate change” with the puppet masters’ UN Agenda 21. Starting with their imperialistic war on Islam in the Middle East and Central Asia based on lies of mass deception, the real terrorists are the Empire killing machine that spawnedfake monster mercenary thugs whose CIA staged savagery is showcased weekly on youtube’s video parade.

After more than a dozen years of raging bloody counterinsurgency wars against darker-skinned people abroad, the US Empire has come home to treasonously roost, now in its first phase of war attacking American people. But with globalization a dominant theme in this age of global tyranny, corrupt governments throughout the Western world are each passing a plethora of subversive, draconian laws designed to unleash a thunderous wave of oppressive false imprisonment and citizen murder on a worldwide scale. To the globalists and their long time eugenics plan to depopulate the earth, 6.5 billion of us “useless eaters” must be assassinated. Enter the hard and fast kill method of World War III created by the neocon propaganda of cold war II, complete with first strike nuclear intervention. Never before in recorded human history has this world been so armed and dangerous, and precariously on the brink of self-annihilation.

As this New World Order noose tightens around our necks, more extreme draconian measures are being propagated by governments on a near weekly basis. Here are a few of the latest obscenities being cranked out by both the US federal government as well as by selected state governments, all designed to place the final nail in the coffin of America as a once great, independent, sovereign democratic republic.

As if the TPP as NWO’s secret blueprint and the NSA’s invasive warrantless massive data collection dossier on every American isn’t enough, introduced in June and passed two weeks later is the House of Representatives’ H.R. 2596 that morphed on July 7thinto the Senate as S. 1705, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016allocating funding to the likes of the CIA, NSA and FBI to force all internet servers and search engines to report any suspicious “terrorist” activity they may encounter. The language is worded in ambiguously confusing terminology in order to – out of fear and intimidation – purposely manipulate the likes of Google and Microsoft to over-report as extensions of Big Government. In the unsettling words of activist-writer Stephen Lendman, if this law passes in the Senate, its:

… Vague language makes independent journalists, political, anti-war, and social justice activists, academics and students doing legitimate research, as well as others vulnerable to being called suspected terrorists.

The game is to find any arbitrary excuse to criminalize and institutionalize virtually every American citizen as a potential homegrown terrorist, certifiably mentally ill or otherwise “undesirable” needing to be locked up. A case in point is the out of control weapon of the psychiatric diagnostic system driven by Big Pharma. The latest DSM has reached the absurdity of labeling anyone concerned about ingesting only healthy food with a mental disorder. Obama has executive orders authorizing those who arehomeless, those who have respiratory illness or those who are diagnosed with mental illness to be summarily rounded up against their will and consent and involuntarily placed in FEMA camp settings.

If people are so easily expendable as designated “useless eaters” deemed of little to no value to society by the elite, then virtually any and all of us in America are susceptible to what apparently awaits us sooner than later – incarceration and/or death. This list of expendables can easily include those with handicapped disabilities, the elderly, the infirm, the chronically unemployed, the indebted, those with criminal records, the welfare poor, the morbidly obese, the list can go on indefinitely until the only population left alive are either the globalists themselves or their subservient lackeys. At any rate, according to the likes of Bill and Ted’s bogus eugenics misadventures, the elite’s objective is to radically cull the human herd down from 7.3 billion to a mere half billion. That’s more than 13 out of 14 of us right now on this earth who are presently in the NWO firing squad crosshairs.

Another draconian template recently came to light when in late July Congress passed a law after a 15 minute “debate” to revoke US passports of Americans suspected of affiliating or sympathizing with “foreign terrorist organizations.” This passage gives the US Secretary of State power to now take away passports of Americans’ traveling abroad without any explanation, presumption of innocence or due process. The bill passed in the House without even a count but by mere voice approval, ostensibly to hone in on young Americans flying off to foreign lands to join and fight with ISIS. So If John Kerry concludes that your being in a foreign country threatens or compromises national security in any way, real or imagined, you and your passport become null and void, no questions asked. The room for tyrannical abuse here is once again limitless.

Because in recent years hundreds of thousands of US citizens have seen this Orwellian nightmare coming true in America, they’ve been leaving the US in record number droves, many renouncing their citizenship (3000 in 2013). Recognizing so many are escaping the feds’ totalitarian control, the government is now cracking down on “disloyal” expatriates, mandating foreign banks to fully disclose all US citizens’ assets living abroad, and aggressive IRS land grabbing to seize their foreign properties and assets for unpaid back taxes. This latest ploy is any Americans living abroad who owe the IRS $50,000 or more in taxes are having their passports pulled and these Americans are being sent home.

And this is only the beginning of the Empire’s militant arm extending across oceans to pluck any American citizen within their globalized target zone to rejoin the captive birdcage locked inside gulag Amerika. Ironically but definitely by globalist design, the US-Mexican border is wide open for ISIS terrorists to invade America along with any criminal elements freely entering the US but soon all US borders to Americans will likely be indefinitely closed, in effect captivating all US citizens from escaping their government’s lethal clutches while trapped inside the US. Something’s gone terribly wrong when ex-Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano openly admits terrorists wanting to harm America are arriving because of an unprotected border while law abiding Americans find it increasingly harder to leave the US than ever before.

Speaking of lethal clutches, the state of California is the first state in the US to mandate that all adults in America’s most populated state be required mandatory vaccinationswith absolutely no exemptions along with criminal penalties for those non-compliant. This Gestapo-like imposition has already been in the works nationally spearheaded by the US Public Health Department. Of course scientists, whistleblowers and anti-vacciners have been mysteriously murdered and relentlessly harassed for being courageous enough to tell the sinister truth about the damage that Big Pharma’s toxic vaccines around the world have already afflicted on humanity. Vaccines have been directly linked to spreading the very disease they’re supposed to prevent along with a myriad of horrifying conditions most notably autism, permanent brain damage and a host of other severe afflictions frequently enough resulting in death.

Yet this neo-Nazi global vaccine program conveniently paves the way for merging with long planned microchip implants for every American slated by 2017. And of course this invasive level of extreme central control over the global masses opens up the floodgate to an NWO Pandora’s Box – mind control programming, pre-crime arrests, genetically altered human DNA, electronic pulse weapon victimization, a cashless society where chips are arbitrarily turned off and/or assets seized and the unwanted are unable to feed themselves and systemically are starved to death. But the demonic New World Order must go on!

Speaking of seizing assets, the giant central banks are already stealing money out of private citizens’ accounts with the next massive redistribution of wealth reset button, only instead of tax-funded bail-outs the globalists have already devised economy collapse contingency plans with legislation authorizing banks to bilk billions of bail-indollars that’s already begun. With a gambling debt of $1.5 quadrillion in global derivatives being racked up by criminal banksters, their latest capital offense crime chapter in grand theft planet is already well underway.

In case you’ve been asleep all year long, the US military is massively moving record amounts of heavy weaponry and war making materials around North America like there’s no tomorrow. Timed with the historic Jade Helm 15 exercise ongoing tillSeptember 15th that’s supposedly operating in just nine states, actually Jade’s been busily going on in all fifty states the whole year long. Now the Homeland Securitydomestic army (the militarized police state merging with the US military) has suddenly erected undisclosed checkpoint inspections all over the country, interfering and limiting the right of Americans to freely travel within the lower 48 contiguous states.

Pervasive conditions identical to prewar Nazi Germany are undisputedly alive and well flashing red alert signals throughout America in 2015. What is increasingly clear is the feds are trying to keep the American public (like always) cluelessly blinded in the dark while preparing for large scale war soon fought on US soil, possibly in reaction to the feds’ orchestrated ISIS invasion and false flag attack(s) and/or potential earthshaking comet and asteroid collisions. The house of cards Western economy has been coordinated to collapse simultaneously in perfect storm convergence when inevitable catastrophes befall America with NWO vengeance along with their accompanying ripple effects felt around the world. More people are waking up and bracing for what’s imminently in store for us during the rest of this tumultuous, earth-changing year.

Another highly revealing, equally disturbing eye opener is news of the Pentagon’s recently released Law of War Manual calling for open season on journalists as belligerents and enemies of the state. Apparently the US killing machine in its wanton lust for war crime atrocities no longer feels comfortable embedding even the MSM presstitutes for either Jade Helm or future military conflicts around the world. Now journalists are declared the unwanted enemy, particularly those from independent news outlets bent on exposing Empire evildoing.

The 1165-page new laws of war manual give license to kill civilians with no pretense of concern as “collateral damage” anymore. Now they too are the apparent enemy lurking in every country where black ops are fighting, currently active in upwards of near three quarters of the earth’s nations. Human life on this planet in the twenty-first century under the already here and now New World Order is the US military’s latest enemy target. After all, we’re all casualties in this globalist genocidal war against humanity.

This endgame scenario has actually been a long time coming. The mushrooming of draconian laws in America has been exponentially soaring ever since 9/11. A half dozen years ago a number of states were outlawing private citizens from collecting rainwateron their own property, or prohibiting them from growing vegetable gardens on their private land, or feeding the homeless in public parks. Our freedoms in a controlled fascist police state sponsoring both global and domestic terrorism have been fast drying up over the last fifteen years at unprecedented freefalling speed, paving the way for implementation of the UN’s Agenda 21. Surviving humans in America will be herded into six metropolitan camps on each coast leaving America’s vast underground resources in between to be mined.

Yet still far too many sheeple sleep in delirium, too busily intoxicated and addicted to their gadget toys that entertain, distract, numb and dumb down the masses to ever notice the everyday signs of the one world government tyranny spearheaded by their own treasonous international crime cabal government. Whether too late or not, it’s time for revolution now. The feds’ already have a head start with the war they’re waging against us well underway. But what they’re most terrified of is the sleeping, dumbed down giant of America to finally smarten up and wake up to their diabolical agenda, and fully aware and alert rise up en masse in committed, unified solidarity to actively oppose the elitist death-mongering executioners. We outnumber the demonic sub-human species a thousand to one. While together it’s possible that we can beat their odds, divided we’re all doomed to unavoidably fall.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site athttp://empireexposed. blogspot. com/. He is also a regular contributor to Global Research.

Could US Senator John McCain find North Vietnam on a map during or before the period he spent 5 years as a POW in Hanoi? Could you? The answer is no.

North Vietnam only existed in Public Law 86-90. Some of the other countries we also recognize that are enshrined in the law did not exist concretely until 1991.

The Vietnam War and Ukrainian war are intrinsically and inseparably tied together by Public Law 86-90. Like Cossackia (the generic western geo-political term recognizing Donbas’ legitimacy), the problem with North Vietnam is it never existed! Even Wikipedia shallowly recognizes this. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV; Vietnamese: Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa),[a] generally known as North Vietnam…”

When we recognize North Vietnam as a country or North Vietnamese as the army we fought in Vietnam, we have no choice but to recognize “Cossackia” and the republics in Donbass. By extension, we must also recognize the right of the other regions (republics) inside Ukraine to break away like they were promised by the Ukrainian Nationalists.

Following up on the Public Law 86-90 story at www.globalresearch.ca entitled “US Congress and President Obama Officially Recognize Donbas’ Freedom! “Sputnik International interviewed Frank Costigliola, University of Connecticut Professor of History and editor of the Kennan Diaries.

The point of the interview was to ascertain the validity of the US recognizing Donbass on the basis of “Cossackia” according to the Captive Nations Proclamation of 1959.

During the interview professor Costigliola stated

The 1959 US Captive Nations Resolution was meant to antagonize the Soviet Union and has no bearing on United States policy, editor of the diaries of the leading Cold War US diplomat George Kennan, Frank Costigliola, told Sputnik…He noted that the resolution does not reach the significance of a formal recognition of the listed countries by the State Department. A decision to recognize the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lughansk “is a huge, huge step beyond the passage of this Captive Nations Resolution,” Costigliola argued. Moreover, the State Department could not have acted on the Captive Nations Resolution,..

Professor Costigliola has gone even further in a NY Times editorial giving president Obama sound foreign policy advice from the perspective of George Kennan. It’s worth the read. But is he correct to say that the Captive Nations Act has no impact on foreign policy?

If Public Law 86-90 has never had an effect on foreign policy, I am in respectful agreement with the professor. If Public Law 86-90 has been acted on, I am in respectful agreement with the professor that it should never have been able to happen. The law as Stepan Bandera had it written should not have been enacted.

But if it did happen, the genie is out of the bottle and I’m sure any court will agree once the precedent has been set, the law is applicable on all counts.

The problem with the Sputnik interview is it started with the presumption that the law was never acted on and Donbass would be setting a precedent. I respectfully request that professor Costigliola review the abridged history found in this article that he could not have known and comment based on what would have been the correct question.

If precedent had been set as early as the Vietnam War and can be shown in State Department policy affirmations, wouldn’t the same law apply to Donbass?

From his New York Times editorial, Costigliola notes “In 1946-47, Mr. Kennan laid out his containment policy, intending to limit its application to the major power centers of the world, particularly Western Europe and Japan. He grew horrified as containment exploded into a global venture miring the United States in areas of marginal strategic importance, such as Vietnam.”

Vietnam the pre-History of the war

In this short case study of the Vietnam War, the professor’s assumptions are proven wrong. Dead wrong, to the tune of 58,220 American soldiers dead wrong. Proven, it shows Law 86-90 has unquestionable authority or at least enough for Americans to die for.

In the professor’s defense, he wasn’t being disingenuous in the least. He was asked a question from the perspective of being a George Kennan scholar. Kennan stood against this happening. His “Containment” policies started being replaced by the policy of “Annihilation” as early as 1949.

The story of how America got involved in Vietnam starts in 1951 when Stepan Bandera took leadership over the world’s nationalist governments in exile. He had already consolidated Eastern Europe to the point that even Wikipedia makes the links betweenall the Eastern European and Baltic States to their SS Nazi origins in the Captive Nations article. By making it a world encompassing effort Bandera knew even his OUN would eventually gain support.

In 1951, Bandera set the agenda for what would eventually be “The Captive Nations.”

This was reported in the January 1952 Ukrainian Weekly. From the article- On November’30, 1951 the representatives of the peoples of Eastern Europe and Asia (comprising the countries of Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Georgia, Idel-Ural Cossackia, Crimea, North Caucasus, Turkestan and Ukraine) gathered in Munich and issued a joint appeal to the free world asking for help and support for their liberation from Soviet Russian tyranny.- link from George Mazni, former UCCA Arizona president and Ukrainian Nationalist extraordinaire

Notice in the article even at that date “Russian” was interchangeable with Soviet and both had to be destroyed.

By this time in WDC, the émigrés had become the darlings of the cold war. They stood behind Joe McCarthy and the China Lobby. In America by the mid-1950s, if you didn’t agree with the China Lobby foreign policy, you were unelectable. Among the leadership of the China Lobby were Marv Liebman and Yaroslav Stetsko.

Causal Factors: Vietnam – Public Law 86-90 and the Foundation for War

In 1954 Ngo Dim Diem became South Vietnam’s 1st President. He, along with Chiang Kai Shek (Taiwan), and Syngman Rhee (South Korea) was among Stepan Bandera and Stetsko’s closest friends and supporters. Ngo Dim Diem, true nationalist that he was,killed over 12,000 people he found disagreeable in one year.

By 1958 Stetsko (Bandera’s émigré foreign minister) who had sworn allegiance to Hitler forever promised to deliver Nationalist (Nazi) states all over the world to guarantee the destruction of the Soviet Union for the United States. He was even able to make petulant threats to CIA director Dulles based on his relationship to Joseph McCarthy. Dulles didn’t want to meet with the nazi. In a letter petitioning Dulles for a meeting Stetsko closed with- “I am on and off in Washington, testifying before the House of Un-American Activities Committee and the House Committee for Foreign Affairs, and I feel assured that you, sir, will find the time to give me an audience.”

The combined émigré community proved to be the ultimate political foot soldiers for McCarthyism. They wrote the questions and provided the testimony for Senator Joe McCarthy’s Un-American Committee crusade. They were literally SS Nazis deciding who was a good American.

I wonder how much satisfaction the Ukrainian nationalists got out of labeling Jewish professionals “damn commies” and ruining countless lives just after World War II. Only a few short years before this they were murdering, raping, and throwing people into gas chambers at concentration camps. I guess they cooled their jets a bit to become more palatable in American society. These were the people America trusted to provide most of the intel (which was disastrous) for the Cold War.

In 1959 the Captive Nations Resolution described by Bandera in 1951 was passed by a unanimous vote in Congress. Stepan Bandera lived to see this, his crowning achievement before he was assassinated.

In July 1960, the nationalist émigré groups gained their first major victory in the fight to establish nationalism in America. New York City hosted the Stars and Stripes Gala Affair that punctuated the Captive Nations Week celebration. At the parade on the podium were every prominent Jewish leader, 87+ US Senators and US Congressman, New York’s mayor, the Governor, and the captive nations leaders, which included at least seven former Third Reich SS officers. The nationalist Ukrainians marching in the parade were from Banderas army in WW2.

By this time the China Lobby Congress was primed for war. The McCarthy years and the threat of an accusation for being a communist sympathizer had done its job. The threat of a threat across the world in addition to all the provocative and embellished intelligence Congress was supplied took America to the brink of an ultra-nationalism it had not known since the “Business Plot” of the 1930′s.

By 1960 this ultra-nationalism was so rampant in American politics that Nationalism (Nazism) was once again discussed as a virtue openly. It became the litmus test for electability.

And we have also been brainwashed with another Communist basic tenet. They insist that love of country, the pride of a people in their history, their ideals and their accomplishments is wicked nationalism. Ever since the war, the Communist fronts, and the beatniks and the eggheads, have conducted a national chorus of denunciation of this wicked nationalism. Manifestly our religious organizations and our agencies for character-building in our youth are giving devoted service to halt this slump in morals. These agencies have need of every assistance.

But there is a latent force in American life which could be of vital help. The nation needs a rebirth of a great spiritual force, which has been impaired by cynicism and weakened by foreign infection. You can call it nationalism if you will.

-Former president Herbert Hoover 1960 Republican Convention

The Vietnam War Public Law 86-90 Its Use and Ramifications

In June 1954 Stetsko, Bandera’s second in command along with Marv Liebman founded the Asian People’s Anti-Communist League (APACL) in Taiwan. Its leadership was gleaned from Bandera supporters Chaing Kai Shek, Sygman Rhee, and Ngo Dim Diem among others. Liebman and Stetsko set the ideology and agenda for the group. This is important because they are the direct connection between Public Law 86-90 and the Vietnam War!

In May 1964 the Asian Peoples Anti-Communist League (APACL) demanded help from the world to fight for Vietnam, for US help to bring the war to the communists: “He said this stand of the APACL represents the “unanimous wish of the Asian people… Every free nation should support the Republic of Vietnam, which is waging the war for the “freedom of the whole free world.” Its not surprising Ukraine is echoing these same words today. -Taiwan Today -May 17, 1964 article “APACL Leader Backing Up Vietnam’s Appeal For Help”

Three months later the United States of America went to war against North Vietnam on August 2nd 1964. From this point onward North Vietnam existed according to its recognition as a state pursuant to Public Law 86-90.

By 1968 Stetsko had increased the scope of setting up nationalist states worldwide under the umbrella of the World Anti-Communist League. The APACL was his crowning glory at this point in history. WACL’s second conference was held in Saigon, Vietnam in 1968.

Public Law 86-90 Unleashed!

Nestled inside the Captive Nations Proclamation is the only reference up to that point in history for the country of North Vietnam. It didn’t exist but was constantly referred to throughout the war and even today, 50 years later. This document is the only one of its kind. It recognizes a North Vietnam and a North Vietnamese people before the Vietnam War.

Who were the American military fighting in Vietnam? America fought the North Vietnamese as per Public Law 86-90 showing it in play for the duration of the war through our current days.

The United States Government Archives also refer to North Vietnam as a country where US soldiers died. The US Gov Archives confirm the validity of Public Law 86-90.

58,220 American soldiers fought and died fighting in a war against a country that first existed in the mind of Stepan Bandera and Yaroslav Stetsko.

Why did America Fight the Vietnam War? The Real Reason Confirmed

According to president Johnson who made these decisions:

“I knew Harry Truman and Dean Acheson had lost their effectiveness from the day the Communists took over in China. I believed that the loss of China had played a large role in the rise of Joe McCarthy. And I knew that all these problems, taken together, were chickenshit compared with what might happen if we lost Vietnam.” Van Demark, Brian (1995). Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. Oxford University Press, p. 25

Against the backdrop of history, president Johnson’s reason for sending our troops to Vietnam was to protect Democracy. It wasn’t Vietnamese democracy, which didn’t exist in a fascist nationalist state. Our troops died in Vietnam to protect American democracy in the USA.

President Johnson’s gambit was to put off the takeover or complete makeover of the United States of America and give our country a chance to step back, reflect, and hopefully choose Democracy.

President Richard M. Nixon

President Nixon deserves a write up of his own. Nixon at the very beginning was one of the early supporters of the China Lobby and the émigré populations. He was a friend to Chiang Kai Shek and Yaroslav Stetsko. He personally made sure the social fabric of our nation would start to embrace nationalism. With over 20 years of glad-handing and friendships with nationalist’s world-wide, once he got into office Nixon backed America away from the nationalists and ended the Vietnam war in spite of his long history with the émigrés.

Nixon’s China policy infuriated them to the point he feared retribution from them. This is a sitting president of the United States fearing retribution from “anti-communist groups?!!” That alone should give you an idea of how large they have become. Over 100 countries were represented by this group led by Bandera’s Stetsko.

Nixon was afraid at the next election cycle they would destroy him by supporting his opponent. The president of the United States walked on eggshells around them after supporting them for over 20 years.

Cossackia

Its true! Cossackia and North Vietnam only exist in Public Law 86-90. Trouble in both countries threatened the peace and stability of the entire world. Our war dead from the Vietnam War are heroes. Soldiers always are.

Neither Cossackia nor North Vietnam should have been enshrined in our law for the past 56 years, but both are. Trouble in both countries was brought to our doorstep thanks to homegrown nationalists in the House and Senate listening to the émigré community. Neither country ever existed, but the people do. Because of the law both countries are recognized.

If America presses on with the Ukrainian lies we will be at war with a country that didn’t want war with us. The Ukrainian émigrés will get what they always wanted which is an American body count in a war with Russia. They openly state these things, its time you believed it.

The precedent has been shown in this one war. Does it need to be shown again in the one that preceded it? How about the ones that followed? It’s there. Research “the Middle East Solidarity Council.”

As sure as the legal precedent has been shown in Vietnam, Donbass has been recognized by the United States of America just like North Vietnam was. Should we dishonor 58,200 families in America by telling them their loved one died fighting in a fictitious country against a people that didn’t exist?

The most persuasive argument coming from the nationalists is that some people are critical of the law. The reason for this is the glass house argument. Ukraine is a country that didn’t exist before Stalin. They reject Stalin. Shown in the Global Research article, all the countries that make up Ukraine want their freedom as the payment they were promised by Bandera.

The final implosion of the Ukrainian nationalists is not worth American time, lives, or tax dollars. Taking part in their war crimes by supporting them will clearly be a very costly economic mistake for those personally involved. Those that hope to duck underlengthy International Criminal Court proceedings need to take notice.

The Glove Didn’t Fit

I don’t even need to say a word directly about what that sub-title references. You know already. When the glove didn’t fit the civil suits certainly did. But this time even the glove is a perfect match.

The ICC has no business inside American law proceedings, which is much faster and has a history of dealing with large-scale class action suits. This will undoubtedly be the proper venue given the list of Federal law that has been broken. Since members of both Houses of Congress are also citizens, they may figure out the legal and political fallout fairly quickly.

President Obama, it is the honor of your presidency at your own word to recognize the Cossack republics of DNR and LNR. It is as simple as honoring our war dead from Vietnam. US Public law intrinsically ties them both together. I know you didn’t have this information before this but now it’s in your hands. It’s time to stop the crimes of the Poroshenko regime and be the Americans we tell ourselves we are, once again. 

He talks like a human being, about the things that are real to me’. These are the words of a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, a candidate for the leadership of the UK Labour Party who is receiving massive and unexpected support, especially from the young.

I concur. He talks about the things which are real to me. What can be more real than the ever-present threat to us all from nuclear weapons?

Mr Corbyn is against nuclear weapons. He is against Trident renewal. He does not want one hundred billion pounds of citizens wealth spent on a new arsenal of weapons whose unique ability is the instantaneous incineration of millions of civilians. In this he reflects the wishes of the majority of British citizens. Mr Corbyn’s policy includes the statement “Not renewing Trident gives our country an opportunity to invest in industry, innovation and infrastructure that will rebalance our economy and transform it into a high skilled, high-tech world-leading economy. It is not only the right thing to do but a better way to deal with our economic challenges.”

By building arsenals of nuclear weapons we are issuing a threat of a horrible death to millions ‘if our vital interests are threatened’ as the alleged war criminal and ex prime minister Blair put it in his 2006 Green Paper,’ The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent’.

All the other three candidates for the labour party leadership are on the side of Blair. They all want to spend £100 billion on a new arsenal of nuclear weapons.Mr Burnham (who voted for the invasion of Iraq and would not rule out air strikes on Syria) wants to replace the Trident nuclear missiles system1.

Yvette Cooper (who supported the Iraq war and supports air strikes against ISIS) wants to rebuild our nuclear arsenal. Liz Kendall (the most hawkish of them all1) supports Trident renewal.

What has happened to the British Labour Party when the majority of its leadership candidates want the world’s population of ‘ordinary’ people to live under this hideous and inhuman threat?

The threat is real

The reality of the threat from arsenals of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched within minutes and subject to cyber attack by murderous hackers was underlined this month (August, 2015) by former US and Russian commanders, ‘Retired military officers from the United States, Russia and other nuclear powers issued a report warning of the mounting dangers of the short fuses that allow hundreds of atomic weapons to be launched within minutes’2. A report sponsored by the disarmament group Global Zero tells us ‘Hundreds of missiles carrying nearly 1,800 warheads are ready to fly at a moment’s notice’.And we are warned that the hair-trigger alert, which applies to half of the US and Russian arsenals, is particularly dangerous in an era when “warning and decision timelines are getting shorter, and consequently the potential for fateful human error in nuclear control systems is growing larger.”

James Cartwright is a retired four-star general who has been in charge of the US nuclear arsenal. It is hard to imagine a more authoritative voice. He warns“There are a set of vulnerabilities particularly for the US and Russia in these systems [nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert] that were built in the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties,” and “Many of these old systems are subject to false alarms,”

Our bold leaders escalate regardless

The human race and the planet will never be safe until nuclear weapons are banned (as are the other weapons of mass destruction – chemical and biological weapons) and a powerful international inspection team and force are in place to ensure compliance.

But never mind all that. The Obama government wants to spend as much as one trillion dollars on a new generation of nuclear warheads, bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles3. Insanity – as the American nutritionist Susan Powter has declared it. Paranoia would appear to be one form this insanity takes. How else can we explain the US government spending more today on the military than during the Cold War ($610 billion per year!). This is more than the combined military budgets of the next 7 countries3 – China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Germany and the UK.

The US has, at present, a stockpile of about 4,800 nuclear weapons with approximately 2,100 currently deployed. Each warhead is between 5 and 40 times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The detonation of a few such warheads could threaten everyone on the planet. How mad is that?

Russia has an estimated stockpile of 4,500 warheads with about 1,800 deployed on missiles and at bomber bases.

The UK government is planning to spend one hundred billion pounds of its citizens’ wealth on building a new arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Of course, in no case have the citizens of the countries concerned been asked if this is the way they want their wealth spent, not in Russia, not in the US and not in the UK.

The madness is real.

The brink of self destruction

The reality is generally kept from the public. But occasionally prescient individuals tell it the way it is. An example is Arthur Milholland4 whose headline in the Baltimore Times reads ‘As long as nuclear weapons exist, we’re on the brink of self annihilation’. He quotes Albert Einstein saying; “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything, save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

Mr Milholland tells us that most Americans have ‘little concept of how even a limited, regional war could end civilzation’, in fact they do not even know about the horrendous effects of a nuclear explosion. He tells us that there have been’.. hundreds of weapons accidents and malfunctions, mostly covered up. Moreover, serious threats to use nuclear weapons have been made time and again. They are always “on the table.” The phrase ‘all options are on the table ‘ has become familiar to us all from western sabre-rattling politicians.

Notes

1. Guardian 14.8.15

2. http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-end-hair-trigger-alert-for-us-russian-nukes-study-2015-4?IR=T

3. http://ecowatch.com/2015/08/11/obama-nuclear-weapons/Elliott Negin, Union of Concerned Scientists

4. Dr. Arthur Milholland is on the steering committee of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

 

Last August after protests followed Michael Brown’s murder, 19 journalists were arrested, according to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Others were harassed, threatened, tear gassed, pepper sprayed and abused by other brutal police tactics.

Authorities wanted journalists confined to a restricted area away from protests – to prevent their reporting on police brutality. Homeland Security operatives were involved. In a news conference, Obama lied saying:

Let me be clear that our constitutional rights to speak freely, to assemble, and to report in the press must be vigilantly safeguarded, especially in moments like these.

He prosecuted more whistleblowers of government wrongdoing than all his predecessors combined. He targets journalists for doing their job.

The late Helen Thomas blasted earlier him for “controlling the press.” Calling it “shocking.” Saying “(w)hat the hell do they think we are, puppets!!”

They’re supposed to stay out of our business. (Even) Nixon didn’t” go as far as he does. “It’s blatant. They don’t give a damn if you know it or not.

They demand no media reports on everything they want suppressed. Since Ferguson protests erupted on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s murder by killer cop Darren Wilson, journalists again were targeted.

This week alone, three were arrested and charged with interfering with on-duty police officers. What’s happening reflects war on responsible journalism – criminalizing reporters for doing their job.

On Tuesday, Canadian TV (CTV) Los Angeles Bureau Chief Tom Walters was charged with interfering with police nearly a year after he was arrested covering Ferguson protests last August.

At the time, he was pinned to the ground and handcuffed – then detained after asking Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson a question. Video recorded his arrest. He was then released uncharged after over eight hours in detention.

Recently, he was summoned to appear in St. Louis, MO court later this month for allegedly “failing to comply with officers’ lawful commands to disperse from West Florissant Avenue.”

It was the epicenter of last summer’s protests following Brown’s murder. On Tuesday, CTV News President Wendy Freeman issued a statement, saying:

CTV News strongly condemns the charges filed by St. Louis County against CTV News correspondent Tom Walters while he reported on the protests in Ferguson, Missouri last August.

Tom has the full support of CTV News as we fight these charges. Almost a year ago, (he) was arrested and detained for eight and a half hours for simply doing his job. As an organization that covers news both in Canada and internationally, CTV News is unwavering in its commitment to defending the rights of all journalists.

This week, Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly and Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery were arrested and detained – charged with trespassing on private property and interfering with an officer by failing to follow “repeated commands to immediately exit” a McDonald’s restaurant.

Both reporters were arrested last summer after being ordered out of the same McDonald’s during protests. They face a possible year in jail and $1,000 fine.

Cops nationwide complicit with Homeland Security, FBI operatives, and other federal security agents routinely target legitimate protesters for justice. They’re involved in Ferguson.

In 2011, Occupy Wall Street activists were viciously targeted in numerous cities across the country – harassed, beaten, kicked, dragged, pepper-sprayed, tasered, painfully handcuffed for hours, arrested and detained.

Committee to Protect Journalists deputy director Robert Mahony blasted police state tactics in Ferguson, saying:

“US authorities have no business hauling reporters into court for doing their jobs, especially on a world story like Ferguson. We are appalled by this judicial intimidation…and call on St. Louis authorities to drop all charges immediately” against arrested journalists.

If protests continue through the week or longer, it remains to be seen how many more journalists will be brutally targeted for doing their job.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

The Middle East has been in a state of chaos for years now, with each passing year bringing a new wave of instability, carnage and human suffering to the people of the region. From Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya to Syria, Western foreign policy has directly caused or exacerbated much of the chaos we see in the region today and has contributed to a growing trend of instability.

A pertinent question of our time however is whether this instability and destabilization is a result of inept strategy by Western nations, or a calculated strategy by the West to intentionally create chaos, balkanize nations and increase sectarian tensions in the region? 

The “New Thirty Years War”

Certain individuals within the US establishment have been drawing the comparison between the Middle East today and the Thirty Years War in Europe in the 17th century, with Prof. Larry Goodson of the US Army War College being one of the latest individuals to make the comparison. Even though the parallels between Europe and the Middle East are by no means exact, it has become somewhat of a talking point within Western geostrategic circles.

The Thirty Years War is a complex historical period, pertaining to numerous wars and conflicts fought by an array of power blocs for a variety of reasons. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica: “Although the struggles that created it erupted some years earlier, the war is conventionally held to have begun in 1618, when the future Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand II, in his role as king of Bohemia, attempted to impose Roman Catholic absolutism on his domains, and the Protestant nobles of both Bohemia and Austria rose up in rebellion.”

The war quickly spread to embroil the majority of Europe’s major powers who either believed there was an opportunity to conquer neighbouring powers or were drawn into the conflict by a force invading their lands, and is regarded by historians as one of the most destructive periods in European history. Villages, towns and cities were raped and pillaged by mercenaries who were fighting for different power blocs, devastating the European continent.

The Thirty Years War was brought to an end when a series of treaties was signed in 1648 known as the Peace of Westphalia, establishing a new political order in Europe in the form of co-existing sovereign states (although some historians dispute the significance of Westphalian sovereignty). James Bissett, the former Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, described the Westphalian system in a 2007 speech as laying “down the basic tenets of sovereignty—the principle of territorial integrity and of non-interference in the affairs of national states… The Westphalian order has frequently been violated, but age has not diminished the principles themselves.”

In July of 2014, the former director of policy planning for the US Department of State and the President of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Richard Hass, compared the Middle East of today to 17th century Europe, in his article “The New Thirty Years War”. Hass proclaims that the Middle East will likely be as turbulent in the future unless a “new local order emerges”:

For now and for the foreseeable future – until a new local order emerges or exhaustion sets in – the Middle East will be less a problem to be solved than a condition to be managed.

As I reported a year ago, this “new local order” may be in the form of a Middle Eastern Union.

Fragmenting the Middle East

Ubiquitous evidence indicates that there is an agenda by at least some strategists within the US to destroy the nation state and balkanize the region into feuding rump states, micro-states and mini-states, which will be so weak and busy fighting each other that they will be unable to unify against foreign colonial powers – most notably Western multinational corporations. After a prolonged period of destruction and chaos in the region, the people of the Middle East may be so weary of the horrors of war that they will accept a Western imposed order as a means of ending the fighting, even though the very same Western forces have been responsible for creating much of the intolerable chaos.

The strategy of balkanization can be traced back to at least the early 1990’s, when British-American historian Bernard Lewis wrote an article published in the 1992 issue of the CFR’s publication, ‘Foreign Affairs’, titled: Rethinking the Middle East. He envisages the potential of the region disintegrating “into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties.” Even though Lewis writes in his article that this is only one “possibility” of many other possibilities, it is starkly similar to the situation that we see in countries such as Iraq and Libya today:

Another possibility, which could even be precipitated by fundamentalism, is what has of late become fashionable to call “Lebanonization.” Most of the states of the Middle East—Egypt is an obvious exception—are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common national identity or overriding allegiance to the nation state.

Lewis continues:

The state then disintegrates—as happened in Lebanon—into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties. If things go badly and central governments falter and collapse, the same could happen, not only in the countries of the existing Middle East, but also in the newly independent Soviet republics, where the artificial frontiers drawn by the former imperial masters left each republic with a mosaic of minorities and claims of one sort or another on or by its neighbours.

Speaking at the Ford School in 2013, former US secretary of state and CFR member, Henry Kissinger, reveals his desire to see Syria balkanized into “more or less autonomous regions”, in addition to comparing the region to the “Thirty Years War” in Europe:

There are three possible outcomes. An Assad victory. A Sunni victory. Or an outcome in which the various nationalities agree to co-exist together but in more or less autonomous regions, so that they can’t oppress each other. That’s the outcome I would prefer to see. But that’s not the popular view…. I also think Assad ought to go, but I don’t think it’s the key. The key is; it’s like Europe after the Thirty Years War, when the various Christian groups had been killing each other until they finally decided that they had to live together but in separate units. (from 27.35 into the interview).

Creating a “Salafist Principality” in Syria

In May of this year, Judicial Watch released a series of formerly classified documents from the US Department of Defense and Department of State after the watchdog group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the two government agencies. One important document contained in the release was a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report which reveals that the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” – wanted to create a “Salafist principality in Eastern Syria in order to isolate the Syrian regime”:

Opposition forces are trying to control the Eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighbouring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts… If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran). (p.5)

The document adds:

ISI [the Islamic State of Iraq] could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organisations in Iraq and Syria. (p.5)

Balkanizing Iraq

 Fragmenting Iraq into three separate regions has been the goal of many within the US establishment since the 2003 invasion of the country, although NATO member Turkey has vocally opposed the creation of a Kurdish state in the North. In 2006, a potential map of a future Middle East was released by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters which depicted Iraq divided into three regions: a Sunni Iraq to the West, an Arab Shia State in the East and a Free Kurdistan in the North.

Even though the map does not reflect official Pentagon doctrine, it gives a glimpse into the minds of some of the top military strategists and corroborates with many other Western voices on the strategy for Iraq. As geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser noted in a recent article for New Eastern Outlook, the President Emeritus of the CFR, Leslie Gelb, argued in a 2003 article for the NY Times that the most feasible outcome in Iraq would be a “three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.”

Syria is shown as still being a unified country in the above map, although this may be because the Syrian proxy war did not begin until years later. Israel could also come to occupy more territory in the coming decades.

Different Country, Same Strategy

The same pattern of balkanization and chaos that we see in Iraq and Syria is also true in Libya. Following the NATO’s 2011 war in the North African nation, the country descended into an abyss of chaos and has essentially been split into three parts, with Cyrenaica comprising the East of the country, and the West split into Tripolitania in the Northwest and Fezzan in the Southwest. Libya is now a failed state which is devoid of central government and is stricken by tribal warfare, where rival militias who were once fighting alongside each other are now battling against one another.

The Iranian nuclear deal could mark a new beginning for Western geopolitical strategy in the Middle East, where they would work with regional powers to promote stability and refrain from military intervention (or intervention through proxies). Let’s hope this is true, and the West will halt the plethora of destabilization programs it has engaged in for years.

But the most probable scenario will be a continuation of the balkanization strategy that we have all come to expect; until a “new local order emerges” – an order that will be designed by, and for, Western interests of course.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The Rule of the Oligarchs: Moldova, A Feudal and Corrupt State

August 15th, 2015 by Global Research News

The Following report quoting Global Research was aired on Moldovan Television (JurnalTV.md). The original report is by South Front (crossposted by GR). 

The transcript is translated from Romanian.

The oligarchs have turned Moldova into a feudal state with a corrupt system where part of the population is abroad and those who remain here are close hostages.

So begins a report published by Global Research [Centre for Research on Globalization], a research institution based in Canada.

The authors of the report [South Front] state that the government in Chisinau is dominated by the oligarchy headed by Vladimir Plahotniuc, which has sold the country’s resources and has been involved in fraudulent financial transactions.

As for an eventual union with Romania, the oligarchs will never accept this idea because they do not want to lose power, while at the same time, Romanian nationalists using radical elements as a force which contribute to keeping Moldovans in fear.

The authors of the Global Research report, a research centre based in Canada, comments on the actions of former Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, in particular the fact that he allowed the National Bank to provide emergency loans to three banks: Banca de Economii, Banca Socilă and Unibank.

The report also talks about Moldova’s relations with Romania and the aspiration of people on both sides of the Prut [River] to meet.

It is not the first time our country is brought to the attention of the international community. Three days ago, in an interview published by The New York Times, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland said that Moldova is a country on the brink, captured by oligarchs, and could become the next security crisis in Europe.

Jagland recommends the Moldovan authorities to make reforms and provide a corrupt-free society to Moldovans who despite all disappointments, hopes to have a bright future.

(Rough translation from Rumanian, edited by Global Research)

http://jurnaltv.md/ro/news/2015/8/14/-moldova-un-stat-feudal-si-corupt-quot-10147490/

GR Editor’s Note: The Report was published first by South Front, crossposted on GR.

„Moldova, un stat feudal şi corupt” 

Oligarhii au transformat Republica Moldova într-un stat feudal, cu un sistem corupt în care o parte din populaţie este plecată peste hotare, iar cei rămaşi aici sunt aproape ostatici. Astfel începe un reportaj publicat de Global Research Centre, o instituţie de cercetare din Canada. Autorii materialului califică guvernarea de la Chişinău drept una oligarhică, condusă de Vladimir Plahotniuc, o guvernare ce ar fi vândut resursele ţării şi ar fi delapidat banii europenilor în interes personal. Cât priveşte o eventuală unire cu România, oligarhii nu vor accepta niciodată această idee pentru că nu vor să piardă puterea, deși, în același timp, folosesc naţionaliştii români radicali ca pe o forţă care să ţină moldovenii în frică.Autorii analizei Global Research, un centru de cercetare din Canada, comentează și acţiunile fostului premier Iurie Leancă, în special faptul că acesta a permis Băncii Naționale să ofere credite de urgență celor trei bănci jefuite – Banca de Economii, Banca Socilă și Unibank.

În reportaj se vorbeşte şi despre relaţia Republicii Moldova cu România şi năzuința unor cetățeni de pe ambele maluri ale Prutului de a se reuni.Nu este pentru prima dată când ţara noastră apare în atenţia comunităţii internaţionale. Acum trei zile, într-un interviu publicat de The New York Times, secretarul general al Consiliului Europei, Thorbjorn Jagland spunea că Moldova este un stat pe marginea prăpastiei, capturat de oligarhi, şi riscă să devină următoarea criză de securitate a Europei. Jagland recomanda autorităţilor de la Chişinău să facă reforme şi să ofere o ţară fără corupţie moldovenilor, care în ciuda tuturor dezamăgirilor, mai speră la un viitor luminos.

Yesterday Donetsk was hit by a record 800 artillery shells. The Telmanovo suburb was hit particularly hard, but the shelling was also very violent in the airport region. At least one local was killed and 2 wounded by the shelling. Meanwhile, Kiev has been continuing to pull its forces to the contact line. These forces include tanks and artillery systems, even multiple rocket launchers. The vice-speaker of the People’s Council Denis Pushilin informed that if Kiev escapes from the Minsk agreement the war will blaze up at any moment and it can touch not only Donbass. However, the vice-commander of Defense Ministry Corps Eduard Basurin didn’t confrim the information about full alert of the DPR’s Army.

The crew of Russia’s REN TV channel came under fire near Donetsk airport on Wednesday, the channel said on its website. “The Ukrainian military opened fire at the REN TV crew today when our correspondents were working near the Donetsk airport, which is one of the biggest flash points (in Donbass). Shooting has been under way in the village of Oktyabrsky, one kilometer away from Donetsk airport, for days,” REN TV said on its website. It is still unknown whether anybody was killed or wounded. We remember, many of Ukrainian pulbic experts and politicians clame that pro-Kiev forces have to kill Russian journalists in Donbass constantly.

At least 60 people have been killed and 200 others wounded in a truck bomb attack in Iraq’s Sadr City yesterday. The massive truck bomb ripped through the Jameela market in Baghdad’s crowded Sadr City neighborhood shortly after dawn on Thursday. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion, but such attacks are usually blamed on ISIS terrorists.

Mekorot, the Israeli firm, on Wednesday cut crucial water supplies to some areas in the northern West Bank. Palestinian authorities also said that water supplies north of the northern city of Nablus were mostly impacted after the move by Mekorot. The Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank, said it is working to reconnect the empty water pipes with another source of water.

The PWA has contacted Mekorot, but is yet to receive a response. Last week, dozens of Palestinian residents of the northern West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum staged a sit-in to protest the move by Mekorot to cut off supplies to 4,000 residents of the village. We remember, Israelis, including settlers, have access to 300 liters of water per day while the West Bank average is around 70 liters, below the World Health Organizations recommended minimum of 100 liters per day for basic sanitation, hygiene and drinking.

Prominent academic and author Dr Michel Chossudovsky warned that the so-called war on terrorism is a front to propagate America’s global hegemony and create a New World Order.

Dr Chossudovsky said terrorism is made in the US and that terrorists are not the product of the Muslim world.

According to him, the US global war on terrorism was used to enact anti-terrorism laws that demonised Muslims in the Western world and created Islamophobia.

Elaborating on his argument, Dr Chossudovsky said that NATO was responsible for recruiting members of the Islamic state while Israel is funding “global jihad elements inside Syria”.

Dr Chossudovsky, who is also the founder of the Centre for Research and Globalisation, further emphasised that the global war on terrorism is a fabrication, a big lie and a crime against humanity.

Echoing Dr Chossudovsky’s arguments, Malaysia’s prominent political scientist, Islamic reformist and activist Dr Chandra Muzaffar said that the US has always manipulated religion to further its global hegemony on sovereign states.

 

 ”The Globalization of War is undoubtedly one of the most important books on the contemporary global situation produced in recent years. 

In his latest masterpiece, Professor Michel Chossudovsky shows how the various conflicts we are witnessing today in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Palestine are in fact inter-linked and inter-locked through a single-minded agenda in pursuit of global hegemony helmed by the United States and buttressed by its allies in the West and in other regions of the world.”   Dr Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST)

The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity

Michel Chossudovsky

$14.00, Save 39%

The following text is the Preface of  Michel Chossudovsky’s New Book entitled: The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity

The Book can be ordered directly from Global Research Publishers. 

Americans Are Finally Learning About False Flag Terror

August 14th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

First published by GR in November 2013.

Governments Admit They Carry Out False Flag Terror

Governments from around the world admit they carry out false flag terror:

  • A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson
  • Soviet leader  Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939, and declared that the fire originated from Finland as a basis launching the Winter War four days later
  • Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this)
  • The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
  • As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960′s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news reportthe official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
  • 2 years before, American Senator George Smathers had suggested that the U.S. make “a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]“.
  • And Official State Department documents show that – only nine months before the Joint Chiefs of Staff plan was proposed – the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The 3 plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals
  • The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing
  • An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author)
  • Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion)
  • According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.
  • The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings
  • As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”.
  • Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”
  • United Press International reported in June 2005:

    U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

  • Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians
  • Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this)
  • At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence
  • A Colombian army colonel has admitted that his unit murdered 57 civilians, then dressed them in uniforms and claimed they were rebels killed in combat
  • U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants
  • The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – admitted last the Saudi government controls “Chechen” terrorists

Painting by Anthony Freda

So Common … There’s a Name for It

This tactic is so common that it was given a name for hundreds of years ago.

“False flag terrorism” is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. Or as Wikipedia defines it:

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy’s strategy of tension.

The term comes from the old days of wooden ships, when one ship would hang the flag of its enemy before attacking another ship in its own navy. Because the enemy’s flag, instead of the flag of the real country of the attacking ship, was hung, it was called a “false flag” attack.

Indeed, this concept is so well-accepted that rules of engagement for navalair and land warfare all prohibit false flag attacks.

Leaders Throughout History Have Acknowledged False Flags

Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the danger of false flags:

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”
- Plato

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
- U.S. President James Madison

“A history of false flag attacks used to manipulate the minds of the people! “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
- Adolph Hitler

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
- Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
- Josef Stalin

People Are Waking Up to False Flags

People are slowly waking up to this whole con job by governments who want to justify war.

More people are talking about the phrase “false flag” than ever before.

Global Research, Latest News and Top Stories

August 14th, 2015 by Global Research News

Reality and Dreams

August 14th, 2015 by Fidel Castro Ruz

The leader of the Cuban Revolution insists that we will never stop struggling for peace and the well-being of all human beings, for every inhabitant on the planet regardless of skin color or national origin.

Writing is a way to be useful if you believe that our long-suffering humanity must be better, and more fully educated, given the incredible ignorance in which we are all enveloped, with the exception of researchers who in the sciences seek satisfactory answers. This is a word which implies in a few letters its immense content.

All of us in our youth heard talk at some point about Einstein, in particular after the explosion of the atomic bombs which pulverized Hiroshima and Nagasaki, putting an end to the cruel war between the United States and Japan.

When those bombs were dropped, after the war unleashed by the attack on the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Empire had already been defeated. The United States, whose territory and industries remained removed from the war, became the country with the greatest wealth and the best weaponry on Earth, in a world torn apart, full of death, the wounded and hungry.

The Soviet Union and China together lost more than 50 million lives, along with enormous material damage. Almost all of the gold in the world landed in the vaults of the United States. Today it is estimated that the entirety of this country’s gold reserves reached 8,133.5 tons of this metal. Despite that, tearing up the Bretton Woods accords they signed, the United States unilaterally declared that it would not fulfill its duty to back the Troy ounce with the value in gold of its paper money.

The measure ordered by Nixon violated the commitments made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. According to a large number of experts on the subject, the foundation of a crisis was created, which among other disasters threatens to powerfully batter the economy of this model of a country. Meanwhile, Cuba is owed compensation equivalent to damages, which have reached many millions of dollars, as our country has denounced throughout our interventions in the United Nations, with irrefutable arguments and facts.

As has been expressed with clarity by Cuba’s Party and government, to advance good will and peace among all the countries of this hemisphere and the many peoples who are part of the human family, and thus contribute to the survival of our species in the modest place the universe has conceded us, we will never stop struggling for peace and the well-being of all human beings, for every inhabitant on the planet regardless of skin color or national origin, and for the full right of all to hold a religious belief or not.

The equal right of all citizens to health, education, work, food, security, culture, science, and wellbeing, that is, the same rights we proclaimed when we began our struggle, in addition to those which emerge from our dreams of justice and equality for all inhabitants of our world, is what I wish for all. To those who share all or part of these same ideas, or superior ones along the same lines, I thank you, dear compatriots.

Fidel Castro Ruz

August 13, 2015

1:23 a.m.

 

 

 

Initially published in August 2013

For almost two centuries American government, though always imperfect, was also a model for the world of limited government, having evolved a system of restraints on executive power through its constitutional arrangement of checks and balances.

Since 9/11 however, constitutional American government has been overshadowed by a series of emergency measures to fight terrorism. The latter have mushroomed in size and budget, while traditional government has been shrunk.

As a result we have today what the journalist Dana Priest has called

two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.[1]

More and more, it is becoming common to say that America, like Turkey before it, now has what Marc Ambinder and John Tirman have called a deep state behind the public one.[2] And this parallel government is guided in surveillance matters by its own Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, which according to the New York Times “has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court.”[3] Thanks largely to Edward Snowden, it is now clear that the FISA Court has permitted this deep state to expand surveillance beyond the tiny number of known and suspected Islamic terrorists, to any incipient protest movement that might challenge the policies of the American war machine.

Americans have by and large not questioned this parallel government, accepting that sacrifices of traditional rights and traditional transparency are necessary to keep us safe from al Qaeda attacks. However secret power is unchecked power, and experience of the last century has only reinforced the truth of Lord Acton’s famous dictum that unchecked power always corrupts. It is time to consider the extent to which American secret agencies have developed a symbiotic relationship with the forces they are supposed to be fighting – and have even on occasion intervened to let al-Qaeda terrorists proceed with their plots.

“Intervened to let al-Qaeda terrorists proceed with their plots”? These words as I write them make me wonder yet again, as I so often do, if I am not losing my marbles, and proving myself to be no more than a zany “conspiracy theorist.” Yet I have to remind myself that my claim is not one coming from theory, but from certain undisputed facts, about incidents that are true even though they have been systematically suppressed or under-reported in the American mainstream media.

Worse, I am describing a phenomenon that occurred not just once, but consistently, almost predictably. We shall see that, among the al-Qaeda terrorists who were first protected and then continued their activities were

 1) Ali Mohamed, identified in the 9/11 Commission Report (p. 68) as the leader of the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing;

2) Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden’s close friend and financier while in the Philippines of Ramzi Yousef (principle architect of the first WTC attack) and his uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (next)

3) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, identified in the 9/11 Commission Report (p. 145) as “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.”

4) Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, whose presence in the United States was concealed from the FBI by CIA officers for months before 9/11.[4]

 It might sound from these three citations that the 9/11 Commission marked a new stage in the U.S. treatment of these terrorists, and that the Report now exposed those terrorists who in the past had been protected. On the contrary, a principal purpose of my essay is to show that

1) one purpose of protecting these individuals had been to protect a valued intelligence connection (the “Al-Qaeda connection” if you will);

2) one major intention in the 9/11 Commission Report was to continue protecting this connection;

3) those on the 9/11 Commission staff who were charged with this protection included at least one commission member (Jamie Gorelick), one staff member (Dietrich Snell) and one important witness (Patrick Fitzgerald) who earlier had figured among the terrorists’ protectors.

In the course of writing this essay, I came to another disturbing conclusion I had not anticipated. This is that a central feature of the protection has been to defend the 9/11 Commission’s false picture of al-Qaeda as an example of non-state terrorism, at odds with not just the CIA but also the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In reality, as I shall show, royal family protection from Qatar and Saudi Arabia (concealed by the 9/11 Commission) was repeatedly given to key figures like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged “principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.”

This finding totally undermines the claim that the wars fought by America in Asia since 9/11 have been part of a global “war on terror.” On the contrary, the result of the wars has been to establish a permanent U.S. military presence in the oil- and gas-rich regions of Central Asia, in alliance with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Pakistan – the principal backers of the jihadi terrorist networks the U.S. been supposedly fighting. Meanwhile the most authentic opponents in the region of these Sunni jihadi terrorists – the governments of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran – have found themselves overthrown (in the case of Iraq and Libya) subverted with U.S. support (in the case of Syria), or sanctioned and threatened as part of an “axis of evil” (in the case of Iran). We should not forget that, just one day after 9/11, “Rumsfeld was talking about broadening the objectives of our response and ‘getting Iraq.’”[5]

The protection to terrorists described in this essay, in other words, has been sustained partly in order to support the false ideology that has underlain U.S. Asian wars for more than a decade. And the blame cannot be assigned all to the Saudis. Two months before 9/11, FBI counter-terrorism expert John O’Neill described to the French journalist Jean-Charles Brisard America’s “impotence” in getting help from Saudi Arabia concerning terrorist networks. The reason? In Brisard’s paraphrase, “Just one: the petroleum interests.”[6] Former CIA officer Robert Baer voiced a similar complaint in complained about the lobbying influence of “the Foreign Oil Companies Group, a cover for a cartel of major petroleum companies doing business in the Caspian. . . . The deeper I got, the more Caspian oil money I found sloshing around Washington.”[7]

The decade of protection for terrorists demonstrates the power of this extra dimension to the American deep state: the dark forces in our society responsible for protecting terrorists, over and above the parallel government institutionalized on and after 9/11.[8] Although I cannot securely define these dark forces, I hope to demonstrate that they are related to the black hole at the heart of the complex U.S-Saudi connection, a complex that involves the oil majors like Exxon, the military domination of oil and gas movements from the Persian Gulf and Central Asia, offsetting arms sales, Saudi investments in major U.S. corporations like Citibank and the Carlyle Group, and above all the ultimate United States dependency on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and OPEC, for the defense of the petrodollar.[9]

 This deeper dimension of the deep state, behind its institutional manifestation in our parallel government, is a far greater threat than foreign terrorism to the preservation of U.S. democracy.

 The FBI’s Intervention with the RCMP to Release Ali Mohamed, 1993

Let me begin this essay with the FBI’s instruction in 1993 to the Canadian RCMP to release the al-Qaeda organizer Mohamed Ali, who then proceeded to Nairobi in the same year to begin planning the U.S. Embassy bombing of 1998.

 In early 1993 a wanted Egyptian terrorist named Essam Hafez Marzouk, a close ally of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, arrived at Canada’s Vancouver Airport and was promptly detained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). A second terrorist named Mohamed Ali, “the primary U.S. intelligence agent for Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden,” came from California to the airport to meet him; and, not finding him, made the mistake of asking about his friend at the Vancouver airport customs office. As a result the RCMP interrogated Mohamed Ali for two days, but finally released him, even though Ali had clearly come in order to smugle a wanted terrorist into the United States.[10]

If the RCMP had detained Mohamed Ali, who was much bigger game than the first terrorist, hundreds of lives might have been saved. After being released, Ali went on to Nairobi, Kenya. There in December 1993 he and his team photographed the U.S. Embassy, and then delivered the photos to Osama bin Laden in Khartoum, leading to the Embassy bombing of 1998.[11] Ali later told an FBI agent that at some point he also trained al Qaeda terrorists in how to hijack airplanes using box cutters.[12]

The RCMP release of Ali Mohamed was unjustified, clearly had historic consequences, and may have contributed to 9/11. Yet the release was done for a bureaucratic reason: Ali Mohamed gave the RCMP the phone number of an FBI agent, John Zent, in the San Francisco FBI office, and told them, “If they called that number, the agent on the other end of the line would vouch for him.” As Ali had predicted, Zent ordered his release.[13]

Ali Mohamed was an important double agent, of major interest to more important U.S. authorities than Zent. Although Mohamed was at last arrested in September 1998 for his role in the Nairobi Embassy bombing, the USG still had not sentenced him in 2006; and he may still not have gone to jail.[14]

The story of his release in Vancouver and its consequences is another example of the dangers of working with double agents. One can never be sure if the agent is working for his movement, for his agency, or – perhaps most likely – for increasing his own power along with that of both his movement and his agency, by increasing violence in the world.[15]

 Ali Mohamed’s Release as a Deep Event Ignored by the U.S. Media

Mohamed’s release in Vancouver was a deep event, by which I mean an event predictably suppressed in the media and still not fully understandable. A whole chapter in my book The Road to 9/11 was not enough to describe Mohamed’s intricate relationships at various times with the CIA, U.S. Special Forces at Fort Bragg, the murder of Jewish extremist Meir Kahane, and finally the cover-up of 9/11 perpetrated by the 9/11 Commission and their witness, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (Mohamed’s former prosecutor).[16]

The deep event is also an example of deep politics, a mixture of intrigue and suppression involving not just a part of the U.S. Government, but also the governing media. To this day (according to a 2013 search of Lexis Nexis) the Vancouver release incident, well covered in Canada’s leading newspaper The Toronto Globe and Mail (December 22, 2001), has never been mentioned in any major American newspaper.

More disturbingly, it is not hinted at the otherwise well-informed books and articles about Ali Mohamed by Steven Emerson, Peter Bergen, and Lawrence Wright.[17] Nor is there any surviving mention of it in the best insider’s book about the FBI and Ali Mohamed, The Black Banners, by former FBI agent Ali Soufan (a book that was itself heavily and inexcusably censored by the CIA, after being cleared for publication by the FBI).[18] Since first publishing this paragraph, I have noticed that former CIA office Michael Scheuer also faults both Steve Coll and Lawrence Wright for their “whole-hog acceptance of the Saudi narrative” that minimizes U.S.-Saudi differences.[19]

There is no doubt of the FBI’s responsibility for Mohamed’s release, It (along with other FBI anomalies in handling Mohamed) is frankly acknowledged in a Pentagon Internet article on Mohamed:

In early 1993, Mohamed was detained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at the Vancouver, Canada, airport. He had come to the airport to meet an Egyptian who had arrived from Damascus but was found to be carrying two forged Saudi passports. When Mohamed was about to be arrested as well, he told the RCMP he was collaborating with the FBI and gave them a name and phone number to call to confirm this. The RCMP made the call and Mohamed was released immediately at the request of the FBI. When the FBI subsequently questioned Mohamed about this incident, he offered information about a ring in California that was selling counterfeit documents to smugglers of illegal aliens. This is the earliest hard evidence that is publicly available of Mohamed being an FBI informant.[20]

Contrast this official candor about the FBI responsibility for Mohamed’s release with the suppression of it in a much longer account of Mohamed (3200 words) by Benjamin Weiner and James Risen in the New York Times:

 [In 1993] he was stopped by the border authorities in Canada, while traveling in the company of a suspected associate of Mr. bin Laden’s who was trying to enter the United States using false documents.

Soon after, Mr. Mohamed was questioned by the F.B.I., which had learned of his ties to Mr. bin Laden. Apparently in an attempt to fend off the investigators, Mr. Mohamed offered information about a ring in California that was selling counterfeit documents to smugglers of illegal aliens.[21]

 A long Wall Street Journal account massages the facts even more evasively:

At about the same time [1993], the elusive Mr. Mohamed popped up again on the FBI radar screen with information that underscored the emerging bin Laden threat. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police questioned Mr. Mohamed in the spring of 1993 after his identification was discovered on another Arab man trying to enter the U.S. from Vancouver — a man Mr. Mohamed identified as someone who had helped him move Mr. bin Laden to Sudan. The FBI located Mr. Mohamed near San Francisco in 1993, where he volunteered the earliest insider description of al Qaeda that is publicly known.[22]

 In 1998, after the Embassy bombings, Mohamed was finally arrested. In the ensuing trial an FBI Agent, Daniel Coleman, entered a court affidavit (approved by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald) which summarized the Vancouver incident as follows: 

In 1993, MOHAMED advised the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”) that he had provided intelligence and counter-intelligence training in Afghanistan to a particular individual…. MOHAMED admitted that he had travelled to Vancouver, Canada, in the spring of 1993 to facilitate the entry of that individual into the United States…. MOHAMED further admitted that he and the individual had transported Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan to the Sudan in 1991…. MOHAMED told the RCMP that he was in the process of applying for a job as an FBI interpreter and did not want this incident to jeopardize the application. (In fact, MOHAMED then had such an application pending though he was never hired as a translator.)[23]

 Like the American media, this FBI affidavit suppressed the fact that Mohamed, an admitted ally of Osama bin Laden caught red-handed with another known terrorist, was released on orders from the FBI.

The Two Levels of American History: Official History and Deep History

 The whole episode illustrates what has become all too common in recent American history, the way in which secret bureaucratic policies can take priority over the public interest, even to the point of leading to mass murder (since it contributed at a minimum to the 1998 Embassy bombings, if not also 9/11). It is also an example of what I mean by the two levels of history in America, We can refer to them as those historical facts officially acknowledged, and those facts officially suppressed; or alternatively as those facts fit to be mentioned in the governing media, and those suppressed by the same media. This leads in turn to two levels of historical narrative: official or archival history, which ignores or marginalizes deep events, and a second level – called deep history by its practitioners or “conspiracy theory” by its critics – which incorporates them. The method of deep political research is to recover deep events from this second level.

 This activity sets deep political research at odds with the governing media, but not, I believe with the national interest. Speaking personally as an ex-diplomat, I should state clearly that the national interest does occasionally require secrets, at least for a time. Kissinger’s trip to China, for example, which led to a normalization of U.S.-Chinese relations, probably required secrecy (at least at the time) in order to succeed.

When insiders and the governing media collaborate in the keeping of a secret, as in the case of the FBI-ordered release of Mohamed, they probably persuade themselves that they are protecting, not just the FBI, but national security. However national security in this case was conspicuously not served by the subsequent embassy bombings, let alone by 9/11.

 In the glaring gap between these two levels of history is a third level — that of the privileged books about Mohamed – privileged in the sense that they have access to sources denied to others — that give important but selective parts of the truth. This selectivity is not necessarily culpable; it may for example be due to pressure from lawyers representing Saudi millionaires (a pressure I have yielded to myself).[24] But cumulatively it is misleading.

I owe a considerable debt in particular to Lawrence Wright’s book, The Looming Tower, which helped expose many problems and limitations in the official account of 9/11. But I see now in retrospect that I, like many others, have been delayed by its selectivity on many matters (including for example Mohamed’s RCMP release) from developing a less warped understanding of the truth.

The Longer History of FBI and USG Protection for Ali Mohamed

Why did John Zent vouchsafe for Mohamed in 1993, so that the RCMP released him. The explanation of Peter Lance, the best chronicler of the FBI’s culpability in both the first and second WTC attacks, is that Zent did so because Mohamed was already working as his personal informant, “feeding Zent ‘intelligence’ on Mexican smugglers who were moving illegal immigrants into the United States from the South.”[25] (FBI agent Cloonan confirms that Mohamed had been working as a local FBI informant since 1992.[26]) Elsewhere Lance describes Zent as “trusting and distracted,” so that he failed to realize Mohamed’s importance.[27]

But the FBI’s protection of Ali Mohamed did not begin with Zent. It dated back at least to 1989, when (according to the Pentagon Security bio)

While serving in the Army at Fort Bragg, he traveled on weekends to Jersey City, NJ, and to Connecticut to train other Islamic fundamentalists in surveillance, weapons and explosives. … Telephone records show that while at Fort Bragg and later, Mohamed maintained a very close and active relationship with the Office of Services [Makhtab-al-Khidimat] of the Mujihadeen, in Brooklyn, which at that time was recruiting volunteers and soliciting funds for the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. This was the main recruitment center for the network that, after the Soviets left Afghanistan, became known as al-Qaida….

The FBI observed and photographed Mohamed giving weapons training to a group of New York area residents during four successive weekends in July 1989. They drove from the Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn to a shooting range in Calverton, Long Island, and they fired AK-47 assault rifles, semiautomatic handguns and revolvers during what appeared to be training sessions. For reasons that are unknown, the FBI then ceased its surveillance of the group.[28]

 (Similarly in 1993 an FBI supervisor would again abruptly close down surveillance of another group from the al-Kifah Center at a militant training camp in Pennsylvania.)[29]

In the subsequent trial of Mohamed’s trainees and others for bombing the World Trade Center, the defense attorney, Roger Stavis, established that Mohamed was giving the al-Kifah trainees “courses on how to make bombs, how to use guns, how to make Molotov cocktails.” He showed the court that a training manual seized in Nosair’s apartment “showed how to make explosives and some kind of improvised weapons and explosives.”[30]

So why would the FBI, having discovered terrorist training, then cease its surveillance? Here the Wall Street Journal has what I am sure is the right answer: the FBI ceased surveillance because they somehow determined that the men were training “to help the mujahedeen fighting the Soviet puppet government in Afghanistan.”[31] (Note that the mujahedeen were no longer fighting the Soviet army itself, which had been withdrawn from Afghanistan as of March 1989.)

 Al-Kifah, Ali Mohamed, the Flow of Arabs to Afghanistan

Afghanistan is indeed the obvious explanation for the FBI’s terminating its videotaping of jihadists from the Brooklyn Al-Kifah Refugee Center. Incorporated officially in 1987 as “Afghan Refugee Services, Inc.,” the Al-Kifah Center “was the recruitment hub for U.S.-based Muslims seeking to fight the Soviets. As many as two hundred fighters were funneled through the center to Afghanistan.”[32] More importantly, it was

 a branch of the Office of Services [Makhtab-al-Khidimat]. the Pakistan-based organization that Osama bin Laden helped finance and lead and would later become al Qaeda. In fact, it was Mustafa Shalabi, an Egyptian who founded and ran the center, whom bin Laden called in 1991 when he needed help moving to Sudan.[33]

As we shall see, the Makhtab, created in 1984 to organize Saudi financial support to the foreign “Arab Afghans” in the jihad, was part of a project that had the fullest support of the Saudi, Egyptian, and U.S. Governments. And Ali Mohamed, although he remained in the US Army Reserves until August 1994, was clearly an important trainer in that project, both in Afghanistan and in America.

 A privileged account of Mohamed’s career by Peter Bergen, in Holy Wars, Inc., claims that

Ali Mohamed…was an indispensable player in al-Qaeda…. At some point in the early eighties he proffered his services as an informant to the CIA, the first of his several attempts to work for the U.S. government. The Agency was in contact with him for a few weeks but broke off relations after determining he was “unreliable.” That would turn out to be a masterful understatement, as Mohamed was already a member of Egypt’s terrorist Jihad group. After being discharged from the Egyptian Army in 1984, Mohamed [took] a job in the counterterrorism department of Egyptair. The following year he moved to the United States,[34]

 Bergen’s most serious omission here is that Mohamed, though he was on the State Department’s visa watch list, had been admitted to the U.S. in 1984 “on a visa-waiver program that was sponsored by the agency [i.e. CIA] itself, one designed to shield valuable assets or those who have performed valuable services for the country.”[35] This should be enough to question the CIA’s account that it found Mohamed “unreliable.” (Later, one of Mohamed’s officers at Fort Bragg was also convinced that Mohamed was “sponsored” by a U.S. intelligence service, “I assumed the CIA.”)[36] In addition Bergen omits that, before Mohamed’s brief stint as a formal CIA agent, he had been selected out of the Egyptian army in 1981 for a leadership training at Fort Bragg – an important point to which we shall return.[37]

 The FBI’s Cover-Up of Ali Mohamed in the Kahane Murder

 The CIA may have wanted to think that the Al-Kifah training was only for Afghanistan. But the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the mentor of the Center whom the CIA brought to America in 1990, was preaching for the killing of Jews and also for the destruction of the West.[38] His preachings guided Mohamed’s Makhtab trainees: as a first step, in November 1990, three of them conspired to kill Meir Kahane, the founder of the Jewish Defense League.

Kahane’s actual killer, El Sayyid Nosair, was detained by accident almost immediately, and by luck the police soon found his two coconspirators, Mahmoud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh, waiting at Nosair’s house. Also at the house, according to John Miller,

were training manuals from the Army Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg [where Ali Mohamed at the time was a training officer]. There were copies of teletypes that had been routed to the Secretary of the Army and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[39]

 And the Pentagon bio, with yet another gentle dig at the FBI, identifies the documents as Mohamed’s:

 In a search of Nosair’s home, the police found U.S. Army training manuals, videotaped talks that Mohamed delivered at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, operational plans for joint coalition exercises conducted in Egypt, and other materials marked Classified or Top Secret. These documents belonged to Mohamed, who often stayed in New Jersey with Nosair. The documents did not surface during Nosair’s 1991 trial for the Kahane murder. It is not known if the FBI investigated Mohamed in connection with these documents.

Yet only hours after the killing, Joseph Borelli, the chief of NYPD detectives, pronounced Nosair a “lone deranged gunman.”[40]A more extended account of his remarks in the New York Times actually alluded to Mohamed, though not by name, and minimized the significance of the links to terrorism in a detailed account of the Nosair home cache:

 The files contained articles about firearms and explosives apparently culled from magazines, like Soldier of Fortune, appealing to would-be mercenaries. But the police said the handwritten papers, translated by an Arabic-speaking officer, appeared to be minor correspondence and did not mention terrorism or outline any plan to kill the militant Jewish leader who had called for the removal of all Arabs from Israel.

 “There was nothing [at Nosair’s house] that would stir your  imagination,” Chief Borelli said….  A joint anti-terrorist task force     of New York City police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation  has been set up to look into any possible international links to the slaying, the official said, but so far has not turned up anything.

“Nothing has transpired that changes our opinion that he acted alone,” Chief Borrelli told a news conference yesterday  afternoon.[41]

 Later an FBI spokesman said the FBI also believed “that Mr. Nosair had acted alone in shooting Rabbi Kahane.” “The bottom line is that we can’t connect anyone else to the Kahane shooting,” an FBI agent said.[42]

 Blaming the New York County District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau, the FBI later claimed that the evidence retrieved from Nosair’s home was not processed for two or three years.[43] But Robert Friedman suggests that the FBI were not just lying to the public, but also to Morgenthau (who had just helped expose and bring down the CIA-favored Muslim bank BCCI).

According to other sources familiar with the case, the FBI told District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau that Nosair was a lone gunman, not part of a broader conspiracy; the prosecution took this position at trial and lost, only convicting Nosair of gun charges. Morgenthau speculated the CIA may have encouraged the FBI not to pursue any other leads, these sources say. ‘The FBI lied to me,’ Morgenthau has told colleagues. ‘They’re supposed to untangle terrorist connections, but they can’t be trusted to do the job.’[44]

Using evidence from the Nosair trial transcript, Peter Lance confirms the tension between Morgenthau’s office, which wanted to pursue Nosair’s international terrorist connections, and the FBI, which insisted on trying Nosair alone.[45]

The FBI’s Protection of Ali Mohamed in the 1993 WTC Bombing

In thus limiting the case, the police and the FBI were in effect protecting, not just Ali Mohamed, but also Nosair’s two Arab coconspirators, Mahmoud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh, in the murder of a U.S. citizen. The two were thus left free to kill again on February 26, 1993, one month after the FBI secured Mohamed’s release in Vancouver. Both Abouhalima and Salameh were ultimately convicted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, along with another Mohamed trainee, Nidal Ayyad.

To quote the Pentagon bio yet again,

In February 1993, the terrorist cell that Mohamed had trained exploded a truck bomb under the World Trade Center that killed six and injured about 1,000 persons. The perpetrators of this bombing included people Mohamed had trained, and Mohamed had been in close contact with the cell during the period leading up to the bombing [i.e. including January 1993, the month of Mohamed’s detention and release in Vancouver]. Mohamed’s name appeared on a list of 118 potential un-indicted co-conspirators that was prepared by federal prosecutors.

Ali Mohamed was again listed as one of 172 unindicted co-conspirators in the follow-up “Landmarks” case, which convicted Sheikh Rahman and others of plotting to blow up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and the George Washington Bridge.[46] The two cases were closely related, as much of the evidence for the Landmarks case came from an informant, Emad Salem, whom the FBI had first planted among the WTC plotters. But the prosecutors’ awareness of Ali Mohamed’s involvement must be contrasted with the intelligence failure at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center: according to Steve Coll, the CTC “immediately established a seven-day, twenty-four hour task force to collect intelligence about the World Trade Center bombing…but nothing of substance came in.”[47]

 In the WTC bombing case, the FBI moved swiftly to bring the Al-Kifah plotters to trial one month later, in March. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a DIA officer, later said that

we [i.e. DIA] were surprised how quickly they’d [i.e. FBI] made the arrests after the first World Trade Center bombing. Only later did we find out that the FBI had been watching some of these people for months prior to both incidents [i.e. both the 1993 WTC bombing and 9/11].[48]

 Shaffer’s claim that the FBI had been watching some of the plotters is abundantly corroborated, e.g. by Steve Coll in Ghost Wars.[49]

The U.S., Egyptian, and Saudi Backing for the Makhtab Network

 What was being protected here by the FBI? One obvious answer is an extension of Lance’s explanation for Zent’s behavior: that Mohamed had  already been a domestic FBI informant since 1992. However I entirely agree with New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who suspected that a much larger asset was being protected, the Saudi-sponsored network which we now know was the Makhtab-i-Khidimat, by this time already evolving into Al-Qaeda.

On the day the FBI arrested four Arabs for the World Trade Centre bombing, saying it had all of the suspects, Morgenthau’s ears pricked up. He didn’t believe the four were ‘self-starters,’ and speculated that there was probably a larger network as well as a foreign sponsor. He also had a hunch that the suspects would lead back to Sheikh Abdel Rahman. But he worried [correctly] that the dots might not be connected because the U.S. government was protecting the sheikh for his help in Afghanistan.[50]

This “larger network” of the Makhtab, although created in 1984, consolidated an assistance program that had been launched by the U.S. Government much earlier, at almost the beginning of the Afghan war itself.

In January 1980, Brzezinski visited Egypt to mobilize support for the jihad. Within weeks of his visit, Sadat authorized Egypt’s full participation, giving permission for the U.S. Air Force to use Egypt as a base…and recruiting, training, and arming Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood activists for battle…. Not only were they packaged and shipped to Afghanistan, but [by the end of 1980] they received expert training from U.S. Special Forces.[51]

U.S. military trainers had in fact already been in Egypt since at least 1978 (the year of the Israel-Egypt Camp David peace accords), training Sadat’s elite praetorian guard, of which Mohamed Ali was at the time a member. At first the training was handled by a “private” firm, J.J. Cappucci and Associates, owned by former CIA officers Ed Wilson and Theodore Shackley. But after Brzezinski’s visit in 1980, the contract was taken over by the CIA.[52]

In 1981 Ali Mohamed was selected out of the U.S.-trained praetorian guard for four months of Special Forces training at Fort Bragg: “Working alongside Green Berets, he learned unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency operations, and how to command elite soldiers on difficult missions.”[53] The leadership aspect of this training almost certainly means that Mohamed was part of the Pentagon’s Professional military education (PME) program for future leaders; and that he was being trained to transmit to Egypt the kind of Afghanistan-related skills that he later provided to Al-Kifah on Long Island in 1989.

Mohamed was thus in America when some of his fellow guard members, responding to a fatwa or religious order from Muslim Brotherhood member Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, assassinated Sadat in October 1981. The assassination only accelerated the export to Afghanistan of Muslim Brotherhood members accused of the murder. These included two of Mohamed’s eventual close associates, Sheikh Abdel Rahman and Rahman’s then friend Ayman al-Zawahiri, to whom Mohamed swore a bayat or oath of allegiance in 1984, after his return to Egypt.[54]

The Al-Kifah Target in 1993: Not Afghanistan but Bosnia

Morgenthau’s suspicions about Afghanistan in 1993 were very pertinent, but also somewhat anachronistic; by 1993, under its new director James Woolsey, the CIA had lost interest in Afghanistan. The new interim president of Afghanistan, Mojaddedi, under pressure from Washington, announced that the Arab Afghans should leave. Pakistan followed suit, closed the offices of all mujahedin in its country, and ordered the deportation of all Arab Afghans.[55]

But the Al-Kifah support network had new targets in mind elsewhere.

After 1991 the Brooklyn center was focused chiefly on training people for jihad in Bosnia, and at least two sources allege that Ali Mohamed himself visited Bosnia in 1992 (when he also returned to Afghanistan).[56]

 Al-Kifah’s English-language newsletter Al-Hussam (The Sword) also began publishing regular updates on jihad action in Bosnia….Under the control of the minions of Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman, the newsletter aggressively incited sympathetic Muslims to join the jihad in Bosnia and Afghanistan themselves….The Al-Kifah Bosnian branch office in Zagreb, Croatia, housed in a modern, two-story building, was evidently in close communication with the organizational headquarters in New York. The deputy director of the Zagreb office, Hassan Hakim, admitted to receiving all orders and funding directly from the main United States office of Al-Kifah on Atlantic Avenue controlled by Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman.[57]

One of Ali Mohamed’s trainees at al-Kifah, Rodney Hampton-El, assisted in this support program, recruiting warriors from U.S. Army bases like Fort Belvoir, and also training them to be fighters in New Jersey.[58] In 1995 Hampton-El was tried and convicted for his role (along with al-Kifah leader Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman) in the plot to blow up New York landmarks. At the trial Hampton-El testified how he was personally given thousands of dollars for this project by Saudi Prince Faisal in the Washington Saudi Embassy.[59] (In addition, “Saudi intelligence has contributed to Sheikh Rahman’s legal-defence fund, according to Mohammed al-Khilewi, the former first secretary to the Saudi mission at the U.N.)”[60]

Al-Kifah, Al-Qaeda, Tajikistan, and Drugs

Meanwhile the ISI had not lost interest in bin Laden’s Arabs, but began to recruit them with bin Laden’s support for battle in new areas, notably Kashmir.[61] Bin Laden in the same period began to dispatch his jihadis into areas of the former Soviet Union, notably to the infant Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Tajikistan.

 The outbreak of Islamist violence in Tajikistan…moved bin Laden to send a limited number of Al-Qaeda cadre to support Tajik Islamist forces, among them his close associate Wali Khan Amin Shah [an Uzbek later working in the Philippines with Ramzi Yousuf and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] and the soon-to-be-famous mujahid, Ibn Khattab. In addition, bin Laden, even after his 1991 move to Sudan, continued to run training camps in Afghanistan, where he welcomed the chance to train Tajiks, Uzbeks, Uighurs, and Chechens.[62]

In an al-Qaeda document captured in Iraq, bin Laden wrote

with the grace of Allah, we were successful in cooperating with our brothers in Tajikistan in various fields including training. We were able train a good number of them, arm them and deliver them to Tajikistan. Moreover, Allah facilitated to us delivering weapons and ammunition to them; we pray that Allah grants us all victory[63]

Many other accounts report that the delivery of arms and ammunition was facilitated by the involvement of the IMU and bin Laden in the massive flow of heroin from Afghanistan into the former Soviet Union. According to Ahmed Rashid,

 Much of the I.M.U.’s financing came from the lucrative opium trade through Afghanistan. Ralf Mutschke, the assistant director of Interpol’s Criminal Intelligence Directorate, estimated that sixty per cent of Afghan opium exports were moving through Central Asia and that the “I.M.U. may be responsible for seventy per cent of the total amount of heroin and opium transiting through the area.”[64]

Among the experts confirming the IMU-al-Qaeda-drug connection is Gretchen Peters,

The opium trade… supported the global ambitions of Osama bin Laden…. There was … evidence that bin Laden served as middleman between the Taliban and Arab drug smugglers…. With Mullah Omar’s approval, bin Laden hijacked the state-run Ariana Airlines, turning it into a narco-terror charter service… according to former U.S. and Afghan officials…. One U.S. intelligence report seen by the author described a smuggling route snaking up through Afghanistan’s northwest provinces if Baghdis, Faryab, and Jowzan into Turkmenistan. It was being used as of mid-2004 by “extremists associated with the Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and al-Qaeda,” the report said. Traffickers would move “both heroin and terrorists” along the route and “then onwards into other countries in Central Asia,” the CIA document said.[65]

 It has been widely reported that in the early 1990s, as US financial support dwindled and bin Laden’s finances were being rapidly exhausted in Sudan, his new involvement with the IMU and later the Taliban involved al-Qaeda also in the growing Afghan heroin traffic. Peters saw a CIA document confirming this.[66] Yet the 9/11 Report, in contorted language, denied this, as did a Staff Report:

 No persuasive evidence exists that al Qaeda relied on the drug trade as an important source of revenue, had any substantial involvement with conflict diamonds, or was financially sponsored by any foreign government.[67]

 This surprising claim was at odds with the views of many U.S. intelligence operatives. It also contradicted the official position of the British government, which told its Parliament in 2001,

 Usama Bin Laden and Al Qaida have been based in Afghanistan since 1996, but have a network of operations throughout the world. The network includes training camps, warehouses, communication facilities and commercial operations able to raise significant sums of money to support its activity. That activity includes substantial exploitation of the illegal drugs trade from Afghanistan.[68]

And there were allegations that the Brooklyn Al-Kifah Center, as well as bin Laden, was involved in drug trafficking.Back in 1993, the New York Times reported that, according to investigators, “Some of the 11 men charged in the [Day of Terror] plot to bomb New York City targets are also suspected of trafficking in drugs.”[69] Mujahid Abdulqaadir Menepta, a Muslim suspect in both the 9/11 case and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was linked by telephone numbers on his cell phones to ongoing criminal investigations, involving “organized crime, drugs, and money laundering.”[70] And Raed Hijazi, an al Qaeda terrorist arrested in Jordan in 1999, had previously become an FBI informant in order to avoid drug charges.[71]

 Was the U.S. Protection of the Al-Kifah Center Intended to Help Export Jihadis?

There is also no treatment in the 9/11 Report, and almost none elsewhere, of the allegations from Steven Emerson that by 1987, the Al-Kifah Center Al-Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn “had become a center for counterfeiting tens of thousands of dollars.”[72] Similarly there has been no government follow-up of the allegation by Yossef Bodansky, citing FBI informant Emad Salem, that one of the Al-Kifah cell leaders (Siddiq Ibrahim Siddig Ali)

had offered to sell a million dollars [of counterfeit currency] for $150,000, well below market value. … Quantities of counterfeit $100 bills were later found at the apartment of Sheikh Umar Abdel-Rahman.[73]

J.M. Berger goes further, reporting from court testimony: “In order to support Al Kifah’s operations,” Mustafa Shalabi, the head of the Al-Kifah Center until his murder in 1991, “employed a number of for-profit criminal enterprises, including gunrunning, arson for hire, and a counterfeiting ring set up in the basement of the jihad office.”[74] Yet the 9/11 Report is silent about these serious charges, which U.S. prosecutors at the time did not pursue.

Why this official reticence? The answer may lie in the fact that by 1996 bin Laden was “supporting Islamists in Lebanon, Bosnia, Kashmir, Tajikistan, and Chechnya.”[75] And in step with bin Laden, the al-Kifah Center was also supporting jihad after 1992 “in Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Philippines, Egypt, Algeria, Kashmir, Palestine, and elsewhere.”[76]

 But bin Laden and Al-Kifah were not acting on their own, they were supporting projects, especially in Tajikistan (1993-95) and then Chechnya (after 1995), where their principal ally, Ibn al-Khattab (Thamir Saleh Abdullah Al-Suwailem) also enjoyed high-level support in Saudi Arabia.[77]

Khattab enjoyed a certain amount of logistical and financial support from Saudi Arabia. Saudi sheikhs declared the Chechen resistance a legitimate jihad, and private Saudi donors sent money to Khattab and his Chechen colleagues. As late as 1996, mujahidin wounded in Chechnya were sent to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, a practice paid for by charities and tolerated by the state.[78]

Ali Soufan adds that America also supported this jihad: by 1996, “the United States had been on the side of Muslims in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya.”[79]

By protecting the Al-Kifah Center and its associates (including Mohamed) and not prosecuting them for their crimes (including murder), the U.S. Government was in effect keeping open a channel whereby those in America who wished to wage jihad were helped to wage jihad in other countries, not here. (After the arrest of Sheikh Rahman in 1993 the Al Kifah closed itself down. But we shall see that an allied institution, Sphinx Trading, continued to be protected, even after the FBI knew it had helped one of the alleged 9/11 hijackers prepare for 9/11.)

Was all this protection intended to keep just such a channel open? It was certainly an intentional result of the protection and support for the Makhtab al-Khidimat in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Supportfor the Makhtab, and Later for Al Qaeda

The Saudis, like the Egyptians, had domestic reasons for wishing to export as many Muslim Brotherhood members to possible death in Afghanistan, Bosnia, or anywhere else. Until 1979 Saudi Arabia had provided a home to Brotherhood members fleeing persecution in countries like Syria and Egypt, where some of them had tried to assassinate the Saudis’ political enemy Gamel Abdel Nasser. But in 1979 radical Wahhabis, condemning the ruling Saudi family as corrupt infidels, seized the Grand Mosque at Mecca and defended it for weeks.[80] Profoundly shaken, the Saudi family used its foundations, like the World Muslim League (WML), to subsidize the emigration of political Islamists, above all to the new jihad in Afghanistan which opened one month later against the Soviet Union.[81]

In Afghanistan both Rahman and al-Zawahiri worked with the Makhtab al Khidamat that had been created in 1984 by two other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Abdullah Azzam and the Saudi Osama bin Laden.[82] All that the 9/11 Commission Report has to say about the Makhtab’s financing is that “Bin Laden and his comrades had their own sources of support and training, and they received little or no assistance from the United States” (p. 56). But the Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid makes clear the support coming from the Saudi royal family, including Prince Turki (the head of Saudi intelligence), and also royal creations like the World Muslim League:

Bin Laden, although not a royal, was close enough to the royals and certainly wealthy enough to lead the Saudi contingent. Bin Laden, Prince Turki and General [Hameed] Gul [the head of the Pakistani ISI] were to become firm friends and allies in a common cause. The center for the Arab-Afghans was the offices of the World Muslim League and the Muslim Brotherhood in Peshawar which was run by Abdullah Azam. Saudi funds flowed to Azam and the Makhtab al Khidamat or Services Center which he created in 1984 to service the new recruits and receive donations from Islamic charities. Donations from Saudi Intelligence, the Saudi Red Crescent, the World Muslim League and private donations from Saudi princes and mosques were channeled through the Makhtab. A decade later the Makhtab would emerge at the center of a web of radical organizations that helped carry out the World Trade Center bombing [in 1993] and the bombings of US Embassies in Africa in 1998.[83]

Former Ambassador Peter Tomsen has described how the evolution of the Makhtab into al-Qaeda was accomplished with support from the offices of royally ordained organizations like the World Muslim League (WML) and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY):

Bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, headed the Muslim World League office in Peshawar during the mid-1980s. In 1988, he moved to Manila and opened a branch office of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. He made the charity a front for bin Laden’s terrorist operations in the Philippines and Asia. Al Qaeda operatives, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and his nephew Ramzi Yusuf [master bomb-maker of the 1993 WTC bombing], traveled to Manila in the early 1990s to help Khalifa strengthen al-Qaeda networks in Southeast Asia and plan terrorist attacks in the region.[84]

 There are many other examples of WML and WAMY connections to Al-Qaeda.  For example Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, a signatory of Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa to kill Jews and Americans, was invited in 1996 to the 34th WML Congress in Mecca and also spoke there to WAMY.[85] Yet there are only minimal references to Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the western (as opposed to the Asian) media, and none (according to a Lexis Nexis search in July 2013) linking him to the WML or WAMY.

The FBI’s hands-off attitude towards WAMY in America may help explain its protection of Ali Mohamed. According to former federal prosecutor John Loftus and others, there was a block in force in the 1980s against antiterrorism actions that might embarrass the Saudis.[86] This block explains for example the protection enjoyed by the chair of WAMY in Virginia, Osama bin Laden’s nephew Abdullah bin Laden. The FBI opened an investigation of Abdullah bin Laden in February 1996, calling WAMY “a suspected terrorist organization,” but the investigation was closed down six months later.[87]

How and Why Did a Passportless Osama Leave Saudi Arabia?

None of the official or privileged sources on Ali Mohamed has linked him to Saudi intelligence activities. But there is at least one such link, his trip, as described in the Coleman FBI affidavit, when he “travelled to Afghanistan to escort Usama bin Laden from Afghanistan to the Sudan.”[88] The FBI affidavit presents this, without explanation, as an act in furtherance of an al-Qaeda “murder conspiracy.” But Osama’s move to Sudan was synchronized with a simultaneous investment in Sudan by his bin Laden brothers, including an airport construction project that was largely subsidized by the Saudi royal family.[89]

A great deal of confusion surrounds the circumstances of bin Laden’s displacement in 1991-92, from Saudi Arabia via Pakistan and perhaps Afghanistan) to the Sudan. But in these conflicted accounts one fact is not contested: bin Laden’s trip was initially arranged by someone in the royal family.[90] Steven Coll in Ghost Wars reports that this person was Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki, who blamed it on pressure from the U.S:

 Peter Tomsen and other emissaries from Washington discussed the rising Islamist threat with [Saudi intelligence chief] Prince Turki in the summer of 1991…. At some of the meetings between Turki and the CIA, Osama bin Laden’s name came up explicitly. The CIA continued to pick up reporting that he was funding radicals such as Hekmatyar in Afghanistan…. “His family has disowned him,” Turki assured the Americans about bin Laden. Every effort had been made to persuade bin Laden to stop protesting against the Saudi royal family. These efforts had failed, Turki conceded, and the kingdom was now prepared to take sterner measures…. Bin Laden learned of this when Saudi police arrived at his cushion-strewn, modestly furnished compound in Jeddah to announce that he would have to leave the kingdom. According to an account later provided to the CIA by a source in Saudi intelligence, the officer assigned to carry out the expulsion assured bin Laden that this was being done for his own good. The officer blamed the Americans. The U.S. government was planning to kill him, he told bin Laden, by this account, so the royal family would get him out of the kingdom for his own protection. The escort put bin Laden on a plane out of Saudi Arabia.[91]

 Coll’s magistral but privileged book appeared in February 2004. Six months later the 9/11 Commission Report published a quite different account, implying that by 1991 the Saudi government was estranged from bin Laden:

The Saudi government… undertook to silence Bin Laden by, among other things, taking away his passport. With help from a dissident member of the royal family, he managed to get out of the country under the pretext of attending an Islamic gathering in Pakistan in April 1991.[92]

 Lawrence Wright claims that the prince returning Osama’s passport was Interior Minister Prince Naif, after bin Laden persuaded him he was needed in Peshawar “in order to help mediate the civil war among the mujahideen.”[93] Prince Naif, the most anti-American of the senior Saudi royals, gave back bin Laden’s passport on one condition, that he “sign a pledge that he would not interfere with the politics of South Arabia or any Arab country.”[94]

The “Islamic gathering” is almost certainly a reference to the on-going negotiations in Peshawar which eventually produced the Saudi-backed Peshawar Accord (finalized in April 1992) to end the Afghan Civil War. By several well-informed accounts, Bin Laden did play an important part in these negotiations, in furtherance (I would argue) of Prince Tuki’s own policies. Like Sheikh Rahman before him in 1990, bin Laden tried, vainly, to negotiate a truce between the warring mujahideen leaders, Massoud and Hekmatyar. In these negotiations (according to Peter Tomsen, who was there), Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda were all united in seeking the same objective: a united Sunni army that (in opposition to American appeals for Shia representation) that could retake Kabul by force.[95]

Thus I believe it is quite clear that bin Laden, in his mediation attempts to bring Hekmatyar into the Peshawar consensus, was acting in line with official Saudi and Pakistani interests. Others disagree. Without documentation, the author of the Frontline biography of bin Laden asserts,

Contrary to what is always reiterated bin Laden has never had official relations with the Saudi regime or the royal family. All his contacts would happen through his brothers.[96] …. Specifically he had no relation with Turki al-Faisal head of Saudi intelligence. He used to be very suspicious of his role in Afghanistan and once had open confrontation with him in 1991 and accused him of being the reason of the fight between Afghan factions.[97]

 Michael Scheuer, once head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, endorsed this claim, and reinforced it with the testimony of Sa’ad al-Faqih (a critic of the Saudi royal family who has been accused by the U.S. Treasury of being affiliated with al-Qaeda) that, “after the Soviets withdrew ‘Saudi intelligence [officers] were actually increasing the gap between Afghani factions to keep them fighting.’”[98]

But this claim if true must have beenafter Kabul fell to the jihadis in 1992, when Massoud, backed by the favored Saudi client Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, began to fight Hekmatyar, the favored client of Pakistan’s ISI. Before this time the U.S. State Department’s Afghan policy was to promote a broad-based opposition to the rump Communist government in Kabul, while “side-lining the extremists,” including both Hekmatyar and Sayyaf.[99]

Pakistan’s ISI in the same period clearly wanted a strong rebel alliance united behind Hekmatyar, and both the CIA and the Saudis continued to support them. As Barnett Rubin reports, “During this period, political ‘unity’ of some sort among the mujahidin groups was a major goal of U.S.-Pakistani-Saudi policy.”[100]And in 1990-91, as Washington cut its allocation for the CIA’s covert Afghan program by 60 percent, Prince Turki more than made up for the shortfall by increased contributions from Saudi Arabia.[101]

 I conclude that bin Laden’s mediation efforts in Peshawar in 1991 were in accordance with Prince Turki’s preferences, just as did Ali Mohamed, in organizing bin Laden’s subsequent move from Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Sudan. As Steve Coll reports, the break between bin Laden and the Saudi royal family did not become serious until 1993, after the involvement of bin Laden’s ally Sheikh Rahman in the first WTC bombing.[102]

Meanwhile Saudi royal support for this web of radical organizations, in which Ali Mohamed was a central organizer and trainer, continued until at least 1995, well after the WTC bombing of 1993. Anthony Summers reports that Turki may have personally renewed a deal with bin Laden as late as 1998:

In sworn statements after 9/11, former Taliban intelligence chief Mohammed Khaksar said that in 1998 the prince sealed a deal under which bin Laden undertook not to attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would provide funds and material assistance to the Taliban…. Saudi businesses, meanwhile, would ensure that money also flowed directly to bin Laden. Turki would deny after 9/11 that any such deal was done with bin Laden. One account has it, however, that he himself met with bin Laden – his old protégé from the days of the anti-Soviet jihad – during the exchanges that led to the deal.[103]

 In 1991 the Soviet troops had been out of Kabul for two years; and, as former US Ambassador Tomsen has reported, the CIA’s objective of a Pakistan-backed military overthrow in Kabul was at odds with the official U.S. policy of support for “a political settlement restoring Afghanistan’s independence.”[104] Ambassador Tomsen himself told the CIA Station Chief in Islamabad (Bill) that, by endorsing Pakistan’s  military attack on Kabul,

he was violating fundamental U.S. policy precepts agreed to in Washington by his own agency. American policy was to cut Hekmatyar off, not build him up. Bill looked at me impassively as I spoke. I assumed his superiors in Langley had approved the offensive. The U.S. government was conducting two diametrically opposed Afghan policies.[105]

Steve Coll agrees that “By early 1991, the Afghan policies pursued by the State Department and the CIA were in open competition with each other…. The CIA…continued to collaborate with Pakistani military intelligence on a separate military track that mainly promoted Hekmatyar and other Islamist commanders.”[106]

 This conflict between the State Department and CIA was far from unprecedented. In particular it recalled the CIA-State conflict in Laos in 1959-60, which led to a tragic war in Laos, and eventually Vietnam.[107]  Just as oil companies had a stake in that conflict, so too in 1990-92 the CIA was thinking not just of Afghanistan but of the oil resources of Central Asia, where some of the al-Kifah-trained “Arab Afghans” were about to focus their attention.

The State Department in Afghanistan represented the will of the National Security Council and the public state. The CIA, on the other hand, was not “rogue” (as has sometimes been suggested), it was pursuing the goals of oil companies and their financial backers – or what I have called the deep state — in preparing for a launch into the former Soviet republics of central Asia.

In 1991 the leaders of Central Asia “began to hold talks with Western oil companies, on the back of ongoing negotiations between Kazakhstan and the US company Chevron.”[108]  The first Bush Administration actively supported the plans of U.S. oil companies to contract for exploiting the resources of the Caspian region, and also for a pipeline not controlled by Moscow that could bring the oil and gas production out to the west.

In the same year 1991, Richard Secord, Heinie Aderholt, and Ed Dearborn, three veterans of U.S. operations in Laos, and later of Oliver North’s operations with the Contras, turned up in Baku under the cover of an oil company, MEGA Oil.[109]  This was at a time when the first Bush administration had expressed its support for an oil pipeline stretching from Azerbaijan across the Caucasus to Turkey.[110]  MEGA never did find oil, but did contribute materially to the removal of Azerbaijan from the sphere of post-Soviet Russian influence.

 As MEGA operatives in Azerbaijan, Secord, Aderholt, Dearborn, and their men engaged in military training, passed “brown bags filled with cash” to members of the government, and above all set up an airline on the model of Air America which soon was picking up hundreds of mujahedin mercenaries in Afghanistan.[111]  (Secord and Aderholt claim to have left Azerbaijan before the mujahedin arrived.)

 Meanwhile, Hekmatyar, who at the time was still allied with bin Laden, was “observed recruiting Afghan mercenaries [i.e. Arab Afghans] to fight in Azerbaijan against Armenia and its Russian allies.”[112]Hekmatyar was a notorious drug trafficker; and, at this time, heroin flooded from Afghanistan through Baku into Chechnya, Russia, and even North America.[113]

 Bin Laden, Ali Mohamed, and the Saudi Royal Family

By attempting to  negotiate Hekmatyar’s reconciliation with the other Peshawar commanders, bin Laden in 1991 was clearly an important part of this CIA effort. So, a year earlier, had been the blind Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman:

 In 1990, after the assassination of Abdullah Azzam, Abd al-Rahman was invited to Peshawar, where his host was Khalid al-Islambouli, brother of one of the assassins of Sadat…. On this trip, reportedly paid for by the CIA, Abd al-Rahman preached to the Afghans about the necessity of unity to overthrow the Kabul regime.[114]

This presumably was shortly before Sheikh Abdul Rahman, even though he was on a State Department terrorist watch list after being imprisoned for the murder of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, was issued a multiple-entry U.S. visa in 1990 “by a CIA officer working undercover in the consular section of the American embassy in Sudan.”[115] This was the same CIA-sponsored program that six years earlier had admitted Ali Mohamed, “a visa-waiver program that was … designed to shield valuable assets or those who have performed valuable services for the country.”[116]

And Ali Mohamed himself was, according to the New York Times, part of the CIA’s plan for a military solution: “In the fall of 1992, Mr. Mohamed returned to fight in Afghanistan, training rebel commanders in military tactics, United States officials said.”[117] Before this, Mohamed had been charged with the major task of moving bin Laden, his four wives, and his seventeen children from Afghanistan to Sudan. The task was a major one, for Osama moved with his assistants, “a stable of Arabian horses, and bulldozers.”[118]

 The Turki-bin Laden connection, which was cemented by Turki’s chief of staff and bin Laden’s teacher Ahmed Badeeb, may have been renewed as late as 1998:

In sworn statements after 9/11, former Taliban intelligence chief Mohammed Khaksar said that in 1998 the prince sealed a deal under which bin Laden undertook not to attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would provide funds and material assistance to the Taliban…. Saudi businesses, meanwhile, would ensure that money also flowed directly to bin Laden. Turki would deny after 0/11 that any such deal was done with bin Laden. One account has it, however, that he himself met with bin Laden – his old protégé from the days of the anti-Soviet jihad – during the exchanges that led to the deal.[119]

 Bin Laden’s move to the Sudan in 1991-92, the move organized by Ali Mohamed, appears to have been done in collaboration with his family. There is hotly contested evidence that Osama participated with his brothers in the construction of the Port Sudan airport, a project underwritten with funds from the Saudi royal family.[120] According to Lawrence Wright, “the Saudi Bnladen Group got the contract to build an airport in Port Sudan, which brought Osama frequently into the country to oversee the construction. He finally moved to Khartoum in 1992….”[121]

Not contested, but largely overlooked, is the evidence of how bin Laden financed his move, through investing $50 million in the Sudanese al-Shama Islamic bank – a bank that also had support from both the bin Laden family and also the Saudi royal family. As the Chicago Tribune reported in November 2001,

According to a 1996 State Department report on bin Laden’s finances, bin Laden co-founded the Al Shamal bank with a group of wealthy Sudanese and capitalized it with $50 million of his inherited fortune…..[122]

According to public records, among the investors in the Al Shamal Islamic Bank is a Geneva-based financial services conglomerate headed by Prince Mohamed al-Faisal al-Saud, [brother of Prince Turki], son of the late King [Faisal al-]Saud and a cousin [i.e. nephew] of the current Saudi monarch, King Fahd.

The Al Shamal bank, which opened for business in 1990, admits that Osama bin Laden held three accounts there between 1992 and 1997, when he used Sudan as his base of operations before fleeing to Afghanistan. But the bank insists in a written statement that bin Laden “was never a founder or a shareholder of Al Shamal Islamic Bank.”

Told of the bank’s statement, the State Department official replied that “we stand by” the assertion that bin Laden put $50 million into the bank.

The Al Shamal bank does acknowledge that among its five “main founders” and principal shareholders is another Khartoum bank, the Faisal Islamic Bank of Sudan. According to public records, 19 percent of the Faisal Islamic Bank is owned by the Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami Trust, headed by Saudi Prince [Mohammed al-Faisal] al-Saud.

 (The Dar Al-Mal Al-Islami or DMI Trust, “based in the Bahamas and with its operations center in Geneva,” was one of a spate of banks, mostly dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, that were set up with western guidance and assistance – in DMI’s case the assistance came from Price Waterhouse and eventually Harvard University.[123] DMI was one of the two main banks which, according to Jane’s Intelligence Review, had been funding the Makhtab and also the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), of which more below.)[124]

 The $3.5 billion DMI Trust, whose slogan is “Allah is the purveyor of success,” was founded 20 years ago to foster the spread of Islamic banking across the Muslim world. Its 12-member board of directors includes Haydar Mohamed Binladen, according to a DMI spokesman, a half-brother of Osama bin Laden…..

Though small, the Al Shamal Islamic Bank enabled bin Laden to move money quickly from one country to another through its correspondent relationships with some of the world’s major banks, several of which have been suspended since Sept. 11.

The Al Shamal bank was identified as one of bin Laden’s principal financial entities during the trial earlier this year of four Al Qaeda operatives convicted in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.[125]

 One might have expected this early and revealing insight into bin Laden’s finances to have been developed in the spate of privileged bin Laden and al Qaeda books that appeared in the years after 2001. In fact I have located only one brief inconsequential reference, in Steve Coll’s The Bin Ladens: “Osama had reorganized his personal banking at the Al-Shamal Bank in Khartoum, but his accounts gradually dried up.”[126]

There is of course no mention of the al-Shamal Bank in the 9/11 Commission Report.

 Federal Protection for Osama bin Laden’s Brother-in-Law, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa

 It seems clear that the 1980s official USG block against antiterrorism actions that might embarrass the Saudis was still in force in America in 1995. We see this in the extraordinary federal protection extended to Mohamed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden’s best friend and brother-in-law.

 On December 16, 1994, the San Francisco FBI arrested Khalifa in Morgan Hills (not far from Ali Mohamed’s home). Khalifa’s business card had been discovered in a search one year earlier of Sheikh Rahman’s residence, after which he had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Landmarks case. Soon afterwards, a State Department cable described him as

 a known financier of terrorist operations and an officer of an Islamic NGO in the Philippines that is a known Hamas front. He is under indictment in Jordan in connection with a series of cinema bombings earlier this year.[127]

 Khalifa, in other words, was like Ali Mohamed involved in terrorist operations on an international level. He was an important source of information and talked freely to the FBI agents who arrested him. In his possession they found “documents that connected Islamic terrorist manuals to the International Islamic Relief Organization, the group that he had headed in the Philippines.”[128] And in his notebook they found evidence linking him directly to Ramzi Yousef, who at the time was the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist for his role in the 1993 WTC bombing.

 But as Peter Lance narrates, “The Feds never got a chance to question him.” Instead, in January 1995, a decision was made by Secretary of State Warren Christopher and supported by Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick to whisk Khalifa from the United States to Jordan for trial, where he was soon “acquitted of terrorism charges and allowed to move to Saudi Arabia.”[129]There “Saudi officials greeted him at the airport.”[130]

 “I remember people at CIA who were ripshit at the time” over the decision, says Jacob L. Boesen, an Energy Department analyst then working at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. “Not even speaking in retrospect, but contemporaneous with what the intelligence community knew about bin Laden, Khalifa’s deportation was unreal.”[131]

 Even more unreal was the decision of a court in a civil case to return to Khalifa before his deportation the contents of his luggage, including his notebook and other computer files.[132]

I believe that Peter Lance, after all his meticulous scholarship, failed to identify who was really being protected by this evasive measure. He writes that Khalifa, from 1983 to 1991, “had been trusted by al Qaeda with running the Philippines branch of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), one of their key NGOs.”[133]

 But the IIRO was in the hands of a far greater power than al Qaeda, which in any case did not exist in 1983. It was a charitable organization that had been authorized in 1979 by Saudi royal decree, as an affiliate of another key institution of the royal family, the Muslim World League (MWL).[134] According to former CIA officer Robert Baer, the IIRO has been run “with an iron hand” by Prince Salman ibn Abdul-Aziz al Saud (the brother of Saudi King Abdullah), who “personally approved all important appointments and spending.”[135]

The creation date of 1979 reflects the important shift in that year of the Saudi royal family’s attitude towards the political Islamism of the Muslim Brotherhood or Ikhwan (of which Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was a senior member). As already noted, 1979 was the year radical Wahhabis, seized the Grand Mosque at Mecca. In response, the Saudi family foundations like the IIRO, to subsidize the emigration of the Muslim Brotherhood.[136]

 Thus Khalifa’s status in the IIRO was not anomalous. Besides the bombings in Jordan, the IIRO has also been linked to support of terrorists in the Philippines,[137] India,[138] Indonesia,[139] Canada,[140] Albania, Chechnya, Kenya,[141] and other countries, notably Bosnia.[142] In particular Khalifa personally has been accused of financing the Philippine terrorist group Abu Sayyaf (which in 1993 had kidnapped an American Bible translator).[143] Yet “The U.S. government has not designated Khalifa as a financial supporter of terrorism.”[144]

 Federal Protection for Al-Qaeda Plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

The Saudi royal protection for Jamal Khalifa was more than matched by the Qatari royal protection of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Yousuf’s uncle and co-conspirator in the Philippines. The 9/11 Commission, who judged KSM to be “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks,” made a muted acknowledgment of this Qatari protection of him:

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — Yousef’s uncle, then located in Qatar — was a fellow plotter of Yousef’s in the Manila air plot and had also wired him some money prior to the Trade Center bombing. The U.S. Attorney obtained an indictment against KSM in January 1996, but an official in the government of Qatar probably warned him about it. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed evaded capture (and stayed at large to play a central part in the 9/11 attacks).[145]

 From other sources, notably Robert Baer who was then a CIA officer in Qatar, we learn that the “official” was Sheikh Abdallah bin Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, the Qatari minister of the Interior and the brother of then Qatari Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalid al-Thani.[146] According to ABC News,

Mohammed is believed to have fled Qatar with a passport provided by that country’s government. He is also believed to have been given a home in Qatar as well as a job at the Department of Public Water Works. Officials also said bin Laden himself visited Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani in Qatar between the years of 1996 and 2000.[147]

In Triple Cross, Peter Lance, who does not mention KSM’s escape from Qatar, focuses instead on the way that, later in the same year, federal prosecutors kept his name out of the trial of Ramzi Yousuf in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing:

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mike Garcia and Dietrich Snell presented a riveting, evidence case… and characterized the material retrieved from Ramzi’s Toshiba laptop as ‘the most devastating evidence of all.”…. While Yousuf’s Toshiba laptop… contained the full details of the plot later executed on 9/11, not a word of that scenario was mentioned during trial. …. Most surprising, during the entire summer-long trial, the name of the fourth Bojinka conspirator, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed…was mentioned by name only once, in reference to a letter found in [Yousuf’s apartment].[148]

Lance repeatedly suggests that U.S. prosecutors in New York, and particularly Dietrich Snell, were responsible for minimizing the role of Khalid Sheikh Mohamed and other shortcomings, because they were seeking “to hide the full truth behind the Justice Department’s failures.”[149] But the matter of KSM’s escape in 1996, like the release of Jamal Khalifa, was sensitive at a much higher level than that of prosecutors. It was a was a matter that reached back into the black hole that is represented by the ultimate United States dependency on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and OPEC, for the defense of the petrodollar.

In other words, the suppression of KSM’s name was not surprising at all. On the contrary, it was totally consistent with one of the most sensitive and controversial features of the 9/11 story: the much-discussed fact that before CIA two counterterrorist officers protected two of the alleged hijackers from detection and surveillance by the FBI.

 Federal Protection for Alleged 9/11 Hijackers

 Morgenthau’s hypothesis that the CIA was protecting Saudi criminal assets received further corroboration in the wake of 9/11. There is now evidence, much of it systematically suppressed by the 9/11 Commission, that before 9/11 CIA officers Richard Blee and Tom Wilshire inside the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit, along with FBI agents Dina Corsi et al., were protecting from investigation and arrest two of the eventual alleged hijackers on 9/11, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — much as the FBI had protected Ali Mohamed from arrest in 1993.

There are also indications that al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, like Hampton-El before them, may have been receiving funds indirectly from the Saudi Embassy in Washington:

“[B]etween 1998 and 2002, up to US$73,000 in cashier cheques was funneled by [Saudi Ambassador Prince] Bandar’s wife Haifa – who once described the elder Bushes as like “my mother and father” – to two Californian families known to have bankrolled al-Midhar and al-Hazmi. … Princess Haifa sent regular monthly payments of between $2,000 and $3,500 to Majeda Dweikat, wife of Osama Basnan, believed by various investigators to be a spy for the Saudi government. Many of the cheques were signed over to Manal Bajadr, wife of Omar al-Bayoumi, himself suspected of covertly working for the kingdom. The Basnans, the al-Bayoumis and the two 9/11 hijackers once shared the same apartment block in San Diego. It was al-Bayoumi who greeted the killers when they first arrived in America, and provided them, among other assistance, with an apartment and social security cards. He even helped the men enroll at flight schools in Florida.”[150]

The Report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 (pp. 173-77), though very heavily redacted at this point, supplies corroborating information, including a report that Basnan had once hosted a party for the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdul Rahman. In other words, the Congressional investigation found indications that the same protection extended to those protected in the crimes of 1993, were protected again in 9/11.

The 9/11 Commission Report, overruling FBI reports, simplydenied that Saudi embassy money had supported the two hijackers.[151] It recognized that there had been an intelligence failure with respect to the al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, but treated it as an accident that might not have occurred “if more resources had been applied.”[152]  This explanation, however, has since been rejected by 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean. Asked if the failure to deal appropriately with al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi could have been a simple mistake, Kean replied:

Oh, it wasn’t careless oversight.  It was purposeful.  No question about that .…  The conclusion that we came to was that in the DNA of these organizations was secrecy.  And secrecy to the point of ya don’t share it with anybody.[153]

 In 2011 an important book by Kevin Fenton, Disconnecting the Dots, demonstrated conclusively that the withholding was purposive, and sustained over a period of eighteen months.[154] This interference and manipulation became particularly blatant and controversial in the days before 9/11; it led one FBI agent, Steve Bongardt, to predict accurately on August 29, less than two weeks before 9/11, that “someday someone will die.”\[155]

Before reading Fenton’s book, I was satisfied with Lawrence Wright’s speculations that the CIA may have wanted to recruit the two Saudis; and that “The CIA may also have been protecting an overseas operation [possibly in conjunction with Saudi Arabia] and was afraid that the F.B.I. would expose it.”[156] However I am now persuaded that Lawrence Wright’s explanation, that the CIA was protecting a covert operation, may explain the beginnings of the withholding in January 2000, but cannot explain its renewal in the days just before 9/11.

 Fenton analyzes a list of thirty-five different occasions where the two alleged hijackers were protected in this fashion, from January 2000 to about September 5, 2001, less than a week before the hijackings.[157] In his analysis, the incidents fall into two main groups. In the earlier incidents he sees an intention “to cover a CIA operation that was already in progress.”[158] However after “the system was blinking red” in the summer of 2001, and the CIA expected an imminent attack, Fenton can see no other explanation than that “the purpose of withholding the information had become to allow the attacks to go forward.”[159]

In support of Fenton’s conclusion, there is evidence (not mentioned by him) indicating that in mid-2001 the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC), who were the chief suppliers of the CIA protection, believed an al Qaeda attack was imminent, and that al-Mihdhar was important to it. On August 15, CIA Counterterrorism Chief Cofer Black told a secret Pentagon conference, “We’re going to be struck soon…. Many Americans are going to die, and it could be in the U.S.”[160] Three weeks earlier, CTC Deputy Chief Tom Wilshire had written that ““When the next big op is carried out…Khallad [bin Attash] will be at or near the top ….Khalid Midhar should be very high interest.”[161] Yet Wilshire (like his superior, Richard Blee), instead of expediting to the FBI the transmission of his knowledge about al-Mihdhar, did the opposite: he

 not only failed to tell anyone else involved in the hunt [for Al-Mihdhar] that Almihdhar would likely soon be a participant in a major al-Qaeda attack inside the US, but also supported a dubious procedure which meant that the FBI was only able to focus a fraction of the resources it had on the hunt.[162]

 Fenton’s serious allegation has to be considered in the light of the earlier instances of protection we have surveyed:

 1) the protection given to Salameh and Abouhalima in the 1990 Kahane murder, leaving them free to participate in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing;

2) the failure for two or three years to process Ali Mohamed’s documents seized in 1990, which could have prevented the 1993 World Trade Center bombing;

3) the release of Ali Mohamed from RCMP detention in 1993, leaving him free to participate in the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing;

4) the treatment of Ali Mohamed as an “unindicted coconspirator” in the 1993 WTC bombing case and Landmarks case, leaving him free to participate in the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing.

 There are other indicators that these events were part of a single long-term cover-up, one that is still ongoing. One of the connectors is Sheikh Abdul Rahman’s Al–Salaam Mosque in Jersey City, visited by Ali Mohamed and his trainees in 1989, and allegedly frequented by two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers (Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi) in 2000-01.[163]

 Next door to the Mosque in Jersey City was the Sphinx Trading Company, whose incorporator and director, Waleed Abouel Nour, was like Ali Mohamed listed as an unindicted coconspirator in the 1995 Landmarks conspiracy case. (The New York Times later reported that the FBI had identified Nour as a terrorist.)[164]

At minimum, two Ali Mohamed-trained members of the New York cell — El Sayyid Nosair and Siddig Ali Siddig — are confirmed to have kept mailboxes at Sphinx Trading during the 1990s, as did the blind Sheikh himself.

A decade later, the mailboxes were still being used by al Qaeda-linked terrorists.

Testifying in a sealed proceeding in 2002, a New Jersey policeman said the FBI told him that “several of the hijackers involved in the September 11th event also had mailboxes at that location.”

Police searched the office of a New Jersey businessman [Mohamed el-Atriss] whose name appeared on the Sphinx Trading Co. incorporation papers and found the names and phone numbers of several hijackers among his papers. The businessman eventually admitted having sold fake identification cards to two of the hijackers.[165] [One of the fake IDs was given to Khalid Al-Mihdhar.][166]

This important inquiry into the infrastructure of the Ali Mohamed connection was quickly shut down by the FBI:

 The police officer testified in 2002 that the FBI had shut down the New Jersey police investigation of these connections, without explanation but amid unconfirmed rumors (reported by the New York Times) that the businessman was himself an FBI informant. All terrorism charges against the businessman were eventually dropped.[167]

 The Saudi-American Petroleum Complex and the Defense of the Petrodollar

This on-going cover-up of a terrorist infrastructure spanning a decade is mirrored by the censorship of the Joint Inquiry findings about Osama Basnan, involved in the pass-through of Saudi Embassy funds to al-Mihdhar, and earlier the host of a party for Sheikh Abdul Rahman. One factor enabling the cover-up is the over-arching and little-understood U.S.-Saudi relationship, to understand which we must also consider the context of petrodollars, OPEC and the major oil companies.

 The export of Saudi oil, paid for by all customers in U.S. dollars, and in the U.S. case largely offset by the export of U.S. arms to Saudi Arabia, is a major underpinning of America’s petrodollar economy. As I have documented elsewhere, its current strength is supported by OPEC’s requirement (secured by a secret agreement in the 1970s between the US and Saudi Arabia) that all OPEC oil sales be denominated in dollars.[168] $600 billion of the Saudi dollar earnings have been reinvested abroad, most of it in U.S. corporations like Citibank (where the two largest shareholders are members of the Saudi Royal family).[169]

This fusion of U.S. and Saudi governing interests is as much political as economic. The first oil price hike of 1972-73, arranged by Nixon with the King of Saudi Arabia and the Shah of Iran, helped pay to arm Iran and Saudi Arabia as U.S. proxies in the region, following the withdrawal of British troops from the region in 1971.[170] The oil price hikes of 1979-80, on the other hand, were assuredly not the intention of President Carter, a political victim of the increases. They have however been credibly attributed to the work of oil majors like BP, possibly acting in collusion with Republicans; and had the result of helping to elect Ronald Reagan (as well as Margaret Thatcher in England).[171]

I am suggesting that there is a high-level fusion of interests between the U.S. and Saudi governments, oil companies and banks (not to mention facilitating alliances like the Carlyle Group) which the CIA tends to represent continuously, and not just ad hoc for the sake of any one particular goal. The on-going protection given through the years to criminals like Salameh, Ali Mohamed, al-Mihdhar, and al-Hazmi should be seen as symptoms of this high-level fusion of interests. Needless to add, the 99 percent of ordinary American people, having as a result now suffered a series of recurring attacks (the first World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 Embassy bombings, possibly even 9/11 itself) have been losers from this arrangement.

I am confident that the mystery of USG protection to terrorists can be traced in part to this “roof” of inscrutable governmental, financial, and corporate relationships between the United States and Saudi Arabia. There is a “black hole” at the center of this roof in which the interests of governments, petrodollar banks, and multinational oil companies, are all inscrutably mixed.

Notes

[1]Dana Priest and William Arkin, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State (New York: Little Brown, 2011), 52.

[2] E.g. Marc Ambinder and D.G. Grady, Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry (New York: Wiley, 2013); John Tirman, “The Quiet Coup: No, Not Egypt. Here,” HuffingtonPost, July 9, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-tirman/nsa-deep-state_b_3569316.html.

[3] Erich Lichtblau, “In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.,” New York Times, July 6, 2013.

[4] In addition there are unproven allegations that the United States granted a green card to Ayman al Zawahiri, identified in the 9/11 Commission Report (p. 57) as “the most important Egyptian in bin Laden’s circle” (p. 57), and since 2011 the leader of al-Qaeda (Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation And The Anatomy Of Terrorism [Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2005], 46). It is not contested that “Foreign trial transcripts and U.S. court records confirmed that Zawahiri had previously flown to America, once in the early 1990s, and again in 1994…. Ali Mohamed, bin-Laden’s American-trained military adviser, served as Zawahiri’s host during the 1994 American fundraising campaign” (Jayna Davis, The third terrorist: the Middle East connection to the Oklahoma City bombing [Nashville, TN: WND Books, 2004], 318-19).

[5] Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror(New York: Free Press, 2004), 30.

[6] Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, Ben Laden: la vérité interdite(Paris: Denoël, 2001), 14.

[7] Robert Baer, See No Evil: the true story of a ground soldier in the CIA’s war on terrorism (New York : Crown Publishers, 2002), 243-44; discussion in Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, oil, and war: the United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). 28-31; The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 170-72.

[8] Cf. my enlargement of the concept of an American deep state beyond parallel government in Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 20-23; Peter Dale Scott, “The ‘Deep State’ behind U.S. democracy,” VoltaireNet, April 6, 2011, http://www.voltairenet.org/article169316.html; etc.

[9] All of America’s military engagements since 1950 have involved defense of the petrodollar system. See Peter Dale Scott, “The Libyan War, American Power and the Decline of the Petrodollar System,” Asian-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, April 27, 2011, http://japanfocus.org/-Peter_Dale-Scott/3522.

[10] Peter Lance, Triple Cross: How bin Laden’s Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets, and the FBI — and Why Patrick Fitzgerald Failed to Stop Him(New York: Regan/ HarperCollins, 2006), 120-25. Cf. Toronto Globe and Mail, November 22, 2001; Tim Weiner, Enemies: a history of the FBI (New York: Random House, 2012), 397.

[11]Ali H. Soufan, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda (New York: Norton, 2011), 75-77.

[12] Lance, Triple Cross, 373. Cf. J.M. Berger, “Paving the Road to 9/11,” Intelwire, http://intelwire.egoplex.com/unlocking911-1-ali-mohamed-911.html: “Ali Mohamed was the utility player who created al Qaeda’s terrorist infrastructure in the United States — a series of connections, ideas, techniques and specific tools used by the [9/11] plot’s hijackers and masterminds….  Mohamed described teaching al Qaeda terrorists how to smuggle box cutters onto airplanes.”

[13] Lance, Triple Cross, 123-24.

[14]Soufan, The Black Banners, 561. The testimony of former FBI agents like Ali Soufan that Mohamed was not incarcerated has been challenged in a curious book by Special Forces veteran Pete Blaber, The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander (New York: Berkley Trade, 2010). Blaber claims to have interviewed Mohamed in a prison cell, after reading Mohamed’s perceptive document on how to track down Osama bin Laden. Blaber argues strenuously that Mohamed was not a double agent, but fails to deal with any of the countervailing evidence (such as the RCMP release).

[15]“D.E.A. Deployed Mumbai Plotter Despite Warning,” New York Times, November 8, 2009; cf. Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 246-47.  Cf. The Globe and Mail (Canada), May 26, 2011: “FBI thought Mumbai massacre plotter worked for them, court told.”Another much simpler domestic example of this puzzle is Richard Aoki, the FBI informant who in the 1960s supplied the Black Panthers in Oakland with arms (Seth Rosenfeld, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power [New York: Macmillan, 2012], 418-24, etc.).

[16] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 151-60. For a summary, see Peter Dale Scott, “Bosnia, Kosovo, and Now Libya: The Human Costs of Washington’s On-Going Collusion with Terrorists,” Asian-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, July 29, 2011, http://japanfocus.org/-Peter_Dale-Scott/3578.

[17] Steven Emerson, American jihad: the terrorists living among us (New York: Free Press, 2002), 57-58; Peter L. Bergen, Holy war, Inc.: inside the secret world of Osama bin Laden(New York: Free Press, 2001), 135;Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Knopf, 2006), 181-82. Wright gives a detailed summary of John Zent’s ensuing interview with Mohamed in May 1993, but says not a word about Zent’s intervention with the RCMP. To my knowledge the only privileged book to do so is Tim Weiner, Enemies: a history of the FBI(New York: Random House, 2012), 397: “He explained that he was working for the FBI and he offered the telephone number of his Bureau contact in San Francisco. The Canadians released Mohamed after the agent vouched for him.” Weiner’s relative candor came in 2012, long after this FBI scandal had already been publicized by Lance and other authors, including myself.

[18] Cf. Washington Post, June 1, 2012: “Soufan’s case was unusual because he never worked for the CIA. The PRB’s [Publications Review Board’s] authority [i.e. legal authority] is grounded in the secrecy agreements signed by agency employees that require them to submit any material prepared for public disclosure ‘either during my employment . . . or at anytime thereafter.’” In other words, the CIA’s PRB had no legal right to censor Soufan’s book, but did so anyway – an example of the blurring of past bureaucratic distinctions in today’s shadow state.

[19] Michael Scheuer, Osama bin Laden (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 218n.

[20] “Ali Mohamed Case,” Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA), Department of Defense, http://www.dhra.mil/perserec/adr/counterterrorism/mohamed.htm; citing the Toronto Globe and Mail.

[21] Benjamin Weiner and James Risen, “The Masking of a Militant: A special report; A Soldier’s Shadowy Trail In U.S. and in the Mideast,” New York Times, December 1, 1998. This embarrassing exercise in damage control cannot be found on Lexis Nexis.

[22] Peter Waldman, Gerald F. Seib, Jerry Markon, Christopher Cooper, “Sergeant Served U.S. Army and bin Laden, Showing Failings in FBI’s Terror Policing,” Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2001.

[23]Daniel Coleman, Affidavit, Sealed Complaint, United States of America v Ali Abdelseoud Mohamed, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, September 1998 (obtained by INTELWIRE.com), p.7, http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fintelfiles.egoplex.com%2Fali-mohamed-coleman-affidavit.pdf&h=UAQFrJ-ys. In fact Mohamed had been an FBI informant since at least 1992 (see below).

[24] I had no choice but to remove certain relevant material from The Road to 9/11. As British and American lawyers pointed out to me, my sources had already retracted their statements before me.

[25] Lance, Triple Cross, 125. Cf. Steven Emerson, “Osama bin Laden’s Special Operations Man,” Journal of Counterterrorism and Security International,

September 1, 1998, http://www.investigativeproject.org/187/osama-bin-ladens-special-operations-man:In a seemingly bizarre twist, while in California, Mohammed volunteered to provide information to the FBI on a smuggling operations involving Mexicans and other aliens not connected to terrorist groups. Within time, officials say, the relationship allowed Mohammed to divert the FBI’s attention away from looking at his real role in terrorism into examining the information he gave them about other smuggling.” But it could not have diverted the FBI’s attention for very long. By May 1993, five months later, Mohamed had described to Zent in some detail his activities with Obama and al-Qaeda (Wright, Looming Tower, 181-82; Berger, Ali Mohamed, 31-32).

[26] Lance, Triple Cross, 95. Cf. Tim Weiner, Enemies, 397.

[27] Lance, Triple Cross, 99. Similarly Tim Weiner writes that the FBI agents handling Mohamed “did not comprehend him” (Weiner, Enemies: a history of the FBI, 397).

[28] “Ali Mohamed Case,” Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA), Department of Defense, http://www.dhra.mil/perserec/adr/counterterrorism/mohamed.htm, emphasis added.

[29] John Miller, Michael Stone, Chris Mitchell, The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It (New York: Hyperion, 2002), 90-91.

[30] U.S. vs. Omar Abdel Rahman et al., September 11, 1995; quoted in Berger, Ali Mohamed, 210; cf. Lance, Triple Cross, 48.

[31] “Sergeant Served U.S. Army and bin Laden,” Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2001: “At the time, the FBI wrote them off as harmless zealots, fired up to help the mujahedeen fighting the Soviet puppet government in Afghanistan.”

[32] Bergen, Holy War, Inc., 134. The al-Kifah Center (al-Kifah means “the struggle”) was “known informally as ‘the jihad office.’… There was no problem finding volunteers, who might stay in Afghanistan up to three months at a time…. The volunteers joined the forces of the Hezb-I-Islami (Party of Islam), led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar” (Stephen Franklin, “Slain Muslim Had Link To Radical Cleric,”Chicago Tribune, July 11, 1993, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1993-07-11/news/9307110208_1_world-trade-center-bombing-sheik-omar-abdel-rahman-mustafa-shalabi.)

[33] Mitchell D. Silber, The Al Qaeda Factor: Plots Against the West (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 169-70.

[34] Peter Bergen, Holy Wars, Inc., 130-31.

[35]Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Knopf, 2006), 180; citing Boston Globe, February 3, 1995; cf. Robert Friedman, “The CIA’s Jihad,” New Yorker, March 17, 1995;Paul L. Williams, Al Qaeda: brotherhood of terror ([Parsippany, NJ?]: Alpha, 2002), 117.

[36]Lance Williams and Erik McCormick, “Al Qaeda terrorist worked with FBI,”San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 2001.

[37] “Ali Mohamed Case,” Pentagon, http://www.dhra.mil/perserec/adr/counterterrorism/mohamed.htm, Cf. Emerson, “Osama bin Laden’s Special Operations Man:”He had been in the United States earlier that decade, having graduated as a captain from a Special Forces Officers School at Fort Bragg in 1981 in a program for visiting military officials from foreign countries.”

[38] Robert Friedman, “The CIA and the Sheik,” Village Voice, March 30, 1993;  Evan Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe (New York: Berg, 2004), 26.

[39] John Miller, Michael Stone, Chris Mitchell, The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It (New York: Hyperion, 2002), 44. Cf. J.M. Berger, Jihad Joe: Americans who go to war in the name of Islam, (Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2011), 44: “The stash included military training manuals and documents given to Nosair by Sergeant Ali Mohamed, the jihadist mole at Fort Bragg.”

[40]Newsday, November 8, 1990.

[41]New York Times, November 8, 1990.

[42]New York Times, December 16, 1990. As before, it is instructive to compare the Pentagon’s version of the training given by Mohamed (“surveillance, weapons and explosives”) with that in the long article about Mohamed in the New York Times: “Mr. Mohamed met the local Muslims at an apartment in Jersey City, and taught them survival techniques, map reading and how to recognize tanks and other Soviet weapons, according to testimony by one of his students at Mr. Nosair’s 1995 Federal trial” (Weiner and Risen, “The Masking of a Militant: A special report,” New York Times, December 01, 1998; cf. Berger, Ali Mohamed, ).

[43]TV journalist John Miller, a former New York deputy police commissioner who would later become the FBI’s Assistant Director for Public Affairs, reported in The Cell (44) that the disputed evidence from Nosair’s home was withheld from NYPD officer Edward Morris, who prepared the NYPD case against Nosair: “On the third say after the shooting, while Norris was out to lunch, the FBI removed Nosair’s 16 boxes of files from Norris’s squad room. Unfortunately the evidence was about to enter a black hole. The FBI now says it turned the files the evidence was about to enter a black hole. The FBI now says it turned the files over to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, after it was decided, following a series of meetings and phone calls, that the local prosecutor and the NYPD would have exclusive jurisdiction over the murder case. The Manhattan DA’s office won’t comment on what was done with the files before Nosair’s trail, though Norris was never informed they were available. But this much is certain: The bulk of the material remained untranslated and unread for nearly three years.” [This last sentence is hard to reconcile with the detailed description given at the time by Borelli.]

[44] Friedman, “The CIA’s Jihad.”

[45] Lance, Triple Cross, 58-62.

[46] For the list, see Lance, Triple Cross, 574-75.

[47] Steve Coll, Ghost wars: the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 251.

[48] Quoted in Peter Lance, Triple Cross, 383.

[49] Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, 255; “Since 1989 the FBI had been running paid informants inside circles of Islamic radicals in New York and New Jersey. In 1990, the FBI carted away forty-seven boxes of documents and training manuals from the home of El Sayyid Nosair.” Cf. Lance, Triple Cross, 73-75, etc.

[50] Robert Friedman, “The CIA’s Jihad,” New Yorker, March 17, 1995.

[51] Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: how the United States helped unleash fundamentalist Islam (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2003), 274-75; quoting Jiohn Cooley, Unholy Wars (London: Pluto Press, 1999), 31-32: “By the end of 1980, U.S. military trainers were sent to Egypt to impart the skills of the U.S. Special Forces to those Egyptians who would, in turn, pass on the training to the Egyptian volunteers flying to the aid of the mujahideen in Afghanistan.”

[52] Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to terror: the rogue CIA and the legacy of America’s private intelligence network (New York: Carrol and Graf, 2005), 150, 247.

[54] Lance, Triple Cross, 194 (oath).

[55]  Scott, Road to 9/11, 161-62; citing Guardian (London), January 7, 1993; Evan F. Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe: The Afghan-Bosnian Network (Oxford and New York: Berg Publishers, 2004), 16.

[56] Ferrukh Mir, Half Truth (iUniverse.com, 2011), 163-64: “In 1992, Ali Mohamed, a double agent and ex-US Special Forces office with close ties to Al-Kifah, led a group of US militants who were all ex-US soldiers to train and fight in Bosnia. Abu Obadiah Yahiya, an ex-US Marine and security chief at the Brooklyn branch, lead [sic] a second group of US militants to fight in Bosnia.” Cf. Mark Huband, Trading Secrets: spies and intelligence in an age of terror(New York: I.B. Tauris, 2013), 112; “Mohamed – using the nom-de-guerre Abu ‘Abdallah – travelled to Bosnia as part of a team which trained and armed Muslim fighters there until June 1993, when he travelled on to Khartoum and was asked by bin Laden to set up the al-Qaeda cell in Nairobi, Kenya.”

[57] Evan Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe (New York: Berg, 2004), 39-41; citing Steve Coll and Steve LeVine, “Global Network Provides Money, Haven,” Washington Post, August 3, 1993. Bin Laden also gave money to the Third World Relief Agency to buy weapons for Bosnian fighters (Anonymous [Michael Scheuer], Through our enemies’ eyes: Osama bin Laden, radical Islam, and the future of America [Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc., 2006], 151).

[58]Scott, Road to 9/11, 149-50; Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 45, 73-75.

[59]Scott, Road to 9/11, 149; Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 73. I have been unable to identify this Prince Faisal securely. He is perhaps Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who frequently visited the United States in connection with his horsebreeding interests in Kentucky. In 2003 Gerald Posner claimed that Faisal’s older brother and business partner Ahmed bin Salman had had ties to al-Qaeda and advance knowledge of 9/11 (Gerald Posner, Why America slept: the failure to prevent 9/11 [New York: Random House, 2003]), 202. Cf. Anthony Summers and Robbyn Day, The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Bin Laden (New York: Ballantine Books, 2011), 405-07, 419, 563-64.

[60] Friedman, “The CIA’s Jihad.” About this time, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in 2013 the leader of al Qaeda, came without difficulty to America to raise funds in Silicon Valley, where he was hosted by Ali Mohamed (Lawrence Wright, New Yorker: “Zawahiri decided to look for money in the world center of venture capitalism-Silicon Valley. He had been to America once before, in 1989, when he paid a recruiting visit to the mujahideen’s Services Bureau branch office in Brooklyn. According to the F.B.I., he returned in the spring of 1993, this time to Santa Clara, California, where he was greeted by Ali Mohamed, the double agent.”)

[61] Bruce O. Riedel, The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2008), 43: “Osama also worked with ISI in the creation of a key Kashmiri jihadist group in the late 1980s, the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.” Cf. Yossef Bodansky, Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America (Rocklin, CA: Forum, 2001), 320.

[62] Michael Scheuer, “Central Asia in Al-Qaeda’s Vision of the Anti-American Jihad, 1979-2006,” China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly (2006), 3. 

[64] Ahmed Rashid, “They’re Only Sleeping: Why militant Islamicists in Central Asia aren’t going to go away,” New Yorker, January 14, 2002, http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/01/14/020114fa_FACT; cf. Ahmed Rashid, Jihad(New Haven:Yale UP, 2002), 165; Svante Cornell, “Narcotics, Radicalism and Security in Central Asia: The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,” Uppsala University, December 2004, 19: “Bolot Januzakov, Head of the Kyrgyz Security Council, asserted in 2000 that the IMU controlled the majority, perhaps up to 70%, of the heroin entering Kyrgyzstan.”

[65] Gretchen Peters, Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al Qaeda (New York: Macmillan, 2009), 69, 87, 89, 132-33.

[66] Peters, Seeds of Terror, 132-33.

[67] 9/11 Commission, “Monograph on Terrorist Financing: Staff Report to the Commission,” 7. Cf. 9/11 Commission Report, 171: “Al Qaeda has been alleged to have used a variety of illegitimate means, particularly drug trafficking and conflict diamonds, to finance itself…. While the drug trade was a source of income for the Taliban, it did not serve the same purpose for al Qaeda.” Yhe footnote to this sentence (p. 499) adds: “No evidence indicates any such involvement in drug trafficking, and none of the detained al Qaeda operatives has indicated that this was a method of fund-raising.”

[68]Evidence Presented to the British Parliament, 4th October 2001,” Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2001. Cf. New York Times, October 4, 2001. For further documentation, see Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War, 32, 36.

[69]New York Times, 7/20/93. Cf. J. R. de Szigethy, “Crime Scene — World Trade Center,” AmericanMafia.com, September 2004: “The murders [from the 1993 WTC bombing] were the result of a plot by members of an organized crime syndicate involved in drug trafficking.”

[70]Jayna Davis, The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing (Nashville: WND Books/Thomas Nelson, 2004), 303.

[71]Boston Herald, 10/17/01; cf. 9/11 Report, 175.

[72] Steven Emerson, American jihad: the terrorists living among us (New York: Free Press, 2002), 28.

[73] Yossef Bodansky, Terror! The Inside Story of the Terrorist Conspiracy in America (New York: S.P.I. Books, 1994), 166. Similarly Gerald Posner notes “rumors that [Mustafa] Shalabi [the head of the al-Kifah Center until he was murdered in February 1991] … might be involved in counterfeiting” (Posner, Why America slept, 8).

[74] Berger, Jihad Joe, 37; citing USA v. Rahman, S5 93 Cr. 181, court transcript, April 3, 1995.

[75] Scheuer, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes, 151.

[76] Emerson, American jihad, 28.

[77] Bin Laden’s and al-Qaeda’s proximity to Khattab is both asserted and disputed at high levels. See Robert W. Schaefer, The insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: from gazavat to jihad (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International, 2011), 165-66.

[78]Thomas Hegghammer.Jihad in Saudi Arabia : violence and pan-Islamism since  1979 (Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2010), 56.

[79] Soufan, Black Banners, 62. Jeremy Scahill also writes of Special Operations veterans in Blackwater with previous “experience in Chechnya” (Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield [New York: Nation Books, 2013], 408.).

[80] Yaroslav Trofimov, The Siege of Mecca: The 1979 Uprising at Islam’s Holiest Shrine (New York: Anchor, 2008).

[81] Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan, 179-82, 195-99.

[82] Steve Coll, Ghost wars: the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 155. For Azzam’s and OBL’s Muslim Brotherhood memberships, see Steve Coll, The Bin Ladens: an Arabian family in the American century (New York: Penguin Press, 2008), 148, 253.

[83] Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven: Yale UP, 2001), 131. Cf. Steven A. Yetiv, The Petroleum Triangle: Oil, Globalization, and Terror (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011), 65.

[84] Peter Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan: messianic terrorism, tribal conflicts, and the failures of great powers (New York: PublicAffairs, 2011), 198.

[85] Scott, Road to 9/11, 171; citing Rajeev Sharma, Pak Proxy War (New Delhi: Kaveri Books, 2002), 145-46.

[86] Cf. John J. Loftus ,  “What Congress Does Not Know about Enron and 9/11,” May 2003, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4219.htm: “The … block order, in force since the 1980’s, was against any investigation that would embarrass the Saudi Royal family. Originally, it was designed to conceal Saudi support for Muslim extremists fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan and Chechnya, but it went too far. Oliver North noted in his autobiography, that every time he tried to do something about terrorism links in the Middle East, he was told to stop because it might embarrass the Saudis. This block remains in place.”

[87] Scott, Road to 9/11, 172; citing Greg Palast and David Pallister, “Intelligence: FBI Claims Bin Laden InquiryWas Frustrated,” Guardian, November 7, 2001, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/nov/07/afghanistan.september11.

[88] Coleman affidavit, 2; in Berger, Ali Mohamed, 26.

[89] Coll, The Bin Ladens, 399-401.

[90] For a summary of some of the conflicting accounts, see Anthony Summers and Robbyn Day, The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Bin Laden (New York: Ballantine Books, 2011), 215-16.

[91] Coll, Ghost Wars, 231. In 2001 Peter Bergen had claimed that bin Laden “used his family connections with King Fahd to convince the [Saudi] government that he needed to leave the country to sort out some business matters in Pakistan. Arriving there in April 1991, he then sent a letter to his family telling them that he would not be able to return home. After some months in Afghanistan he arrived in Sudan” (Bergen, Holy Wars, Inc., 81-82).

[92]9/11 Commission Report, 57. In the December 2004 paperback edition of Ghost Wars (231-32), Coll adjusted his account to reconcile with the 9/11 Report. He replaced his sentence, “The escort put bin Laden on a plane out of Saudi Arabia,” with two new ones: “Two associates of bin Laden later offered a different version while under interrogation. They said a dissident member of the royal family helped him leave the country by arranging for bin Laden to attend an Islamic conference in Pakistan during the spring of 1991.” The “Islamic conference” is almost certainly a reference to the negotiations in Peshawar which produced the Saudi-backed Peshawar Accord (finalized in April 1992) to end the Afghan Civil War. Bin Laden did play a part in these negotiations. Like Sheikh Rahman before him, he tried, vainly, to negotiate a truce between the warring mujahideen leaders, Massoud and Hekmatyar (Wright, Looming Tower, 161; Roy Gutman. How We Missed the Story: Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and the Hijacking of Afghanistan [Washington DC., Endowment of the United States Institute of Peace,2008], 34).

[93] Steve Coll also suggests that the “interior ministry” (headed by Prince) supplied bin Laden  with “a one-time exit visa to travel to Pakistan to liquidate investments there” (Coll, The Bin Ladens, 381). Both motives may have been present in bin Laden’s mind, but his capacity to serve as a mediator may have been more influential in persuading the Saudis to arrange for his departure.

[94] Wright, Looming Tower, 161. For Naif (or Nayef) as anti-American, see Coll, Ghost Wars, 399; Coll, The Bin Ladens, 437, 626n.

[95] Tomsen, Wars of Afghanistan, 485: “Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood extremists, and Prince Turki’s General Intelligence Directorate supported the ISI’s extremist-centered Afghan strategy.”

[96] Against this odd claim cf. e.g. Wright, Looming Tower, 154: “The minister of the interior, Prince Naif, … summoned bin Laden to his office…. Bin Laden had reported to Naif…many times during the Afghan jihad.” As noted above, Ahmed Rashid claims that bin Laden and Prince Turki became “firm friends and allies” in the same cause (Taliban, 131).

[97] “A Biography of Osama bin Laden,” Frontline, PBS, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/bio2.html.

[98] Anonymous [Michael Scheuer], Through our enemies’ eyes: Osama bin Laden, radical Islam, and the future of America (Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc., 2006), 131.

[99] Coll, Ghost Wars, 207.

[100] Barnett R. Rubin, Afghanistan in the Post-Cold war Era (New York: Oxford UP, 2013), 86.

[101] Coll, Ghost Wars, 215-16.

[102] Coll, The Bin Ladens, 403-05.

[103] Summers, The Eleventh Day, 393: “Citing a U.S. intelligence source, the author Simon Reeve reported as much in 1999 – well before it became an issue after 9/11.” It is not contested that when bin Laden exited Sudan in 1996, his plane stopped in Qatar. “At the airport in Doha, Qatar’s capital, government officials boarded the plane and greeted bin Laden warmly” (Coll, Ghost Wars, 325).

[104] Peter Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan: messianic terrorism, tribal conflicts, and the failures of great powers (New York: PublicAffairs, 2011), 337.

[105] Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan, 406-07.

[106] Steve Coll, Ghost wars: the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 225.

[107] Scott, American War Machine, 94-105; Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (Ipswich MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2008), 98-103.

[108]Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven: Yale UP, 2001), 145.

[109]Thomas Goltz, Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter’s Adventures in an Oil-Rich, War-Torn, Post-Soviet Republic (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999), 272-75. Cf. Mark Irkali, Tengiz Kodrarian and Cali Ruchala, “God Save the Shah,” Sobaka Magazine, May 22, 2003, http://www.diacritica.com/sobaka/2003/shah2.html . A fourth operative in MEGA Oil, Gary Best, was also a veteran of North’s Contra support effort. For more on General Secord’s and Major Aderholt’s role as part of Ted Shackley’s team of off-loaded CIA assets and capabilities, see Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter, The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era (Boston: South End Press, 1987), 26-30, 36-42, 197-98.

[110]It was also a time when Congress, under pressure from Armenian voters, had banned all military aid to Azerbaijan (under Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act). This ban, reminiscent of the Congressional ban on aid to the Contras in the 1980s, ended after 9/11. “In the interest of national security, and to help in `enhancing global energy security’ during this War on Terror, Congress granted President Bush the right to waive Section 907 in the aftermath of September 11th. It was necessary, Secretary of State Colin Powell told Congress, to `enable Azerbaijan to counter terrorist organizations’” (Irkali, Kodrarian and Ruchala, “God Save the Shah,” Sobaka Magazine, May 22, 2003).

[111]Goltz, Azerbaijan Diary, 272-75; Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 7. As part of the airline operation, Azeri pilots were trained in Texas. Dearborn had previously helped Secord advise and train the fledgling Contra air force (Marshall, Scott, and Hunter, The Iran-Contra Connection, 197). These important developments were barely noticed in the U.S. press, but a Washington Post article did belatedly note that a group of American men who wore “big cowboy hats and big cowboy boots” had arrived in Azerbaijan as military trainers for its army, followed in 1993 by “more than 1,000 guerrilla fighters from Afghanistan’s radical prime minister, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.” (Washington Post, 4/21/94) Richard Secord was allegedly attempting also to sell Israeli arms, with the assistance of Israeli agent David Kimche, another associate of Oliver North. See Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War, 7, 8, 20. Whether the Americans were aware of it or not, the al Qaeda presence in Baku soon expanded to include assistance for moving jihadis onwards into Dagestan and Chechnya.

[112]Cooley, Unholy Wars, 180; Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War, 7. These important developments were barely noticed in the U.S. press, but a Washington Post article did belatedly note that a group of American men who wore “big cowboy hats and big cowboy boots” had arrived in Azerbaijan as military trainers for its army, followed in 1993 by “more than 1,000 guerrilla fighters from Afghanistan’s radical prime minister, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.” (Washington Post, April 21, 1994). The Azeri “Afghan Brigade” was formally dissolved in 1994, after which it focused more on sabotage and terrorism (Cooley, Unholy Wars, 181),

[113]As the 9/11Commission Report notes (58), the bin Laden organization established an NGO in Baku, which became a base for terrorism elsewhere. It also became a transshipment point for Afghan heroin to the Chechen mafia, whose branches “extended not only to the London arms market, but also throughout continental Europe and North America (Cooley, Unholy Wars, 176).

[114] Rubin, Afghanistan from the Cold War, 86.

[115] Peter L. Bergen, Holy War, Inc.: inside the secret world of Osama bin Laden (New York: Free Press, 2001), 67. Cf. Ali Soufan, Black Banners, 565 (murder of Anwar Sadat, watch list); Berger, Jihad Joe, 24 (watch list).

[116]Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Knopf, 2006), 180; cf. Paul L. Williams, Al Qaeda: brotherhood of terror ([Parsippany, NJ?]: Alpha, 2002), 117.

[117]  “A Soldier’s Shadowy Trail In U.S. and in the Mideast,” New York Times, December 1, 1998,  http://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/01/international/120198LADEN_SHADOW.html?pagewanted=4.

[118] Phil Karber, Fear and faith in paradise: exploring conflict and religion in the Middle East (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012), ZZ; cf. Wright, Looming Tower, 164-65.

[119] Summers, The Eleventh Day, 393: “Citing a U.S. intelligence source, the author Simon Reeve reported as much in 1999 – well before it became an issue after 9/11.”

[120] Coll, The Bin Ladens, 399-401. Cf. Geoffrey Wawro, Quicksand: America’s pursuit of power in the Middle East (New York: Penguin Press, 2010), ZZ: “Osama mixed business and religion. He committed to build an airport at Port Sudan;” Karber, Fear and faith in paradise, ZZ: “Bin Laden promised the people of Sudan an airport at Port Sudan.”

[121] Wright, Looming Tower, 165.

[122] The text of the State Department paper of August 14, 1996, “State Department Issues Factsheet on Bin Ladin,” is reproduced in Brisard and Dasquié, Ben Laden: la vérité interdite, 257-58.

[123] Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game, 180-81.

[124]Jane’s Intelligence Review, August 1, 2001; quoted in Scott, Road to 9/11, 356.

[125]John Crewdson, “Swiss Officials Freeze Bank Accounts Linked to Supporters of Terrorist Groups.” Chicago Tribune, November 3, 2001, http://www.sudanreeves.org/2004/12/22/us-state-departments–growing-expediency-in-dealing-with-khartoums-terrorist-connections-november-5-2001/. Cf. Ahmed, War on Truth, 98; Financial Times, November 29 2001, http://specials.ft.com/attackonterrorism/FT3RNR3XMUC.html : “A US State Department report in 1996 and a French investigation into the bank separately concur that bin Laden invested $50m in the bank on his arrival in Sudan in 1991, an allegation Mr Ismail [of the bank] denies.” Cf. also Brisard, Ben Laden: La Verité Interdite, 119-21, 308-10, etc.

[126] Coll, The Bin Ladens, 413. There is a brief reference to the State Department White Paper in Bergen, Holy Wars, Inc. (2001), 83: “Bin Laden…sank $50 million of his own money into the Al-Shamal Islamic Bank in Khartoum” (cf. 264n). The controversial author Yossef Bodansky links both the Faisal Islamic Bank and the Al-Shamal Bank to significant jihad activities, as well as possible drug trafficking (Yossef Bodansky, Bin Laden: the man who declared war on America (Rocklin, CA: Forum, 2001), 42-43.

[127] Lance, Triple Cross, 157-59, citing State Department Cable 1994STATE335575.

[128] Steve A. Yetiv, The petroleum triangle: oil, globalization, and terror (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2011), 114-15.

[129] Zachary Abuza, Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror (Boulder, CO:Lynne Rienner, 2003), 108. At ease in Saudi Arabia, Khalifa became a misleading source, rather than a topic of inquiry, in privileged bin Laden books like Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower (112-13, 450).

[130] Anonymous [Michael  Scheuer], Through our enemies’ eyes, 151.

[131] Lance, Triple Cross, 161, citing personal interview.

[132] Lance, Triple Cross, 162.

[133] Lance, Triple Cross, 157-58.

[134] Khalifa also “headed the Muslim World League office in Peshawar in the 1980s. In 1988, he moved to Manila and opened a branch office of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth [an allied royal creation]” (Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan, 198).

[135] Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil (New York: Crown, 2003), 167, 140.

[136] Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan, 179-82, 195-99.

[137] Abuza, Militant Islam in Southeast Asia, 93.

[138] Baer, Sleeping with the Devil, 69; Aaron Mannes, Profiles In Terror: The Guide To Middle East Terrorist Organizations(Lanham, MD: Rowman  & Littlefield, 2004), 41.

[139] Kumar Ramakrishna (ed.), After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism in Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, 2003), 139.

[140] Wesley J. L. Anderson, Disrupting Threat Finances: Utilization of Financial Information to Disrupt Terrorist Organizations in the Twenty-First Century (S.l.: BiblioScholar, 2012), 14.

[141] Girma Yohannes Iyassu Menelik, Europe: The future Battleground of Islamic Terrorism, 95.

[142] Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 41-42. Before being captured in Pakistan, Ramzi Yousuf was being sheltered by his maternal uncle Zahid al-Shaikh, a principal with Mercy International (Lance, 1000 Years for Revenge, 189). Mercy International was another Islamic NGO involved in recruiting “international volunteers” for the war in Bosnia (Richard Labévière, Dollars For Terror: The United States and Islam (New York: Algora, 2000), 151.

[143] Larry Niksch, Abu Sayyaf: Target of Philippine-U. S. Anti-Terrorism Cooperation (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 2007), CRS-4.

[144] Peter L. Bergen, The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda’s Leader (New York: Free Press, 2006), 444.

[145] 9/11 Commission Report, 73; citing Joint Inquiry Report (classified version), 324-28. Cf. pp. 146, 148: “In 1992, KSM… moved his family to Qatar at the suggestion of the former minister of Islamic affairs of Qatar, Sheikh Abdallah…, In January 1996, well aware that U.S. authorities were chasing him, he left Qatar for good.”

[146] Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil, 18-19, 194-96. Baer heard from another member of the al-Thani family, former police chief Hamad bin Jasim bin Hamad al-Thani, that when KSM came from the Philippines, Abdallah bin Khalid gave him 20 blank Qatari passports. Later, “As soon as the FBI showed up in Doha” in 1996, the emir ordered Abdallah to move KSM out of his apartment to his beach estate, and eventually out of the country (pp. 195-96).

[147] Brian Ross and David Scott, “Al Qaeda Ally? Member of Qatari Royal Family Helped Senior Al Qaeda Official Get Away,” ABCNEWS.com, February 7, 2003, http://web.archive.org/web/20030209235027/http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/DailyNews/qatar_alqaeda030207.html.

[148] Lance, Triple Cross, 253; emphasis in original. Lance does discuss the role of Qatar’s Sheikh Abdullah in helping KSM to escape the FBI (Cover up: what the government is still hiding about the war on terror [New York: Regan Books, 2004], 168-69).

[149] Lance, Triple Cross, 342.

[150] Anthony Summers and Robbyn Day, The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Bin Laden (New York: Ballantine Books, 2011), 410-15, 559-62; Former Senator Bob Graham, Keys to the Kingdom, 131-32; cf. David B Ottaway, The king’s messenger:Prince Bandar bin Sultan and America’s tangled relationship with Saudi Arabia (New York: Walker & Company, 2008), 198-99.

[151] 9/11 Commission, ”Appendix A: The Financing of the 9/11 Plot, Staff Report, Terrorist Financing, 1.“Despite persistent public speculation, there is no evidence that the hijackers who initially settled in San Diego, Mihdhar and Hazmi, received funding from Saudi citizens Omar al Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan, or that Saudi Princess Haifa al Faisal provided any funds to the hijackers either directly or indirectly. A number of internal FBI documents state without reservation that Bayoumi paid rent on behalf of Mihdhar and Hazmi, a claim reflecting the initial view of some FBI agents. More thorough investigation, however, has determined that Bayoumi did not pay rent or provide any funding to the hijackers.”

[152]9/11 Commission Report, 266-72 (272).

[153]Rory O’Connor and Ray Nowosielski, “Who Is Rich Blee?” 911Truth.org, September 21, 2111, http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20110921153919600; Rory O’Connor and Ray Nowosielski, “Insiders voice doubts about CIA’s 9/11 story,” Salon, October 14, 2111, http://www.salon.com/writer/rory_oconnor_and_ray_nowosielski/. O’Connor and Nowosielski add corroboration from former Counterterrorism Chief Richard Clarke. “Clarke said he assumed that ‘there was a high-level decision in the CIA ordering people not to share that information.’ When asked who might have issued such an order, he replied, ‘I would think it would have been made by the director,” referring to Tenet — although he added that Tenet and others would never admit to the truth today “even if you waterboarded them.’

[154]Kevin Fenton, Disconnecting the Dots (Walterville, OR: TrineDay, 2011); cf. Peter Dale Scott, ZZ, in James R Gourley, ed., The 9/11 Toronto Report: International Hearings on the Events of September 11, 2001 (Seattle, WA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012). According to Fenton (pp. 72-79), the post-9/11 cover-up of Wilshire’s behavior was principally the work of one person, Barbara Grewe, who worked first on the Justice Department Inspector General’s investigation of Wilshire’s behavior, then was transferred to two successive positions with the 9/11 Commission’s staff.

[155]9/11 Commission Report, 259, 271; Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Knopf, 2006), 352–54; Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 203.

[156]Lawrence Wright, “The Agent,” New Yorker, July 10 and 17, 2006, 68; cf. Wright, Looming Tower, 339-44; discussion in Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (Ipswich MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2008), 355, 388-89.

[157]Fenton, Disconnecting the Dots, 383-86.

[158]Fenton, Disconnecting the Dots, 48. Cf. Lawrence Wright, “The Agent,” New Yorker, July 10 and 17, 2006, 68; quoted approvingly in Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine, 399.

[159]Fenton, Disconnecting the Dots, 371, cf. 95.

[160] Quoted in Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars, 21.

[161] Tom Wilshire, July 23, 2001, in “United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui (No. 01-455), Substitution for the Testimony of ‘John.’” U.S. Court for the District of Alexandria, July 31, 2006; quoted in Fenton, Disconnecting the Dots, 274, 401.

[162]Fenton, Disconnecting the Dots, 276.

[163] Berger, Ali Mohamed, 17; citing Wayne Parry, “Mysterious pair in custody perplexes federal investigators,” Associated Press, November 11, 2001; Falasten M. Abdeljabbar, “Neighborhood tired of suspicions and fear,” The Jersey Journal,  December 18, 2001.

[164]Robert Hanley and Jonathan Miller, “4 Transcripts Are Released In Case Tied to 9/11 Hijackers,” New York Times, June 25, 2003.

[165] Berger, Ali Mohamed, 18; citing John Kifner, “Kahane Suspect Is a Muslim With a Series of Addresses,” New York Times, November 7, 1990; Transcript, Sealed Bail Hearing, US v. El-Atriss, November 19, 2002. The transcripts were unsealed after a lawsuit by several organizations including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

[166]Wayne Parry, “September 11 Fake ID Suspect Flees U.S.,” Associated Press, July 31, 2003, http://911review.org/Wiki/Mohamed-El-Atriss.html.

[167] Berger, Ali Mohamed, 18; citing Robert Hanley and Jonathan Miller, “4 Transcripts Are Released In Case Tied to 9/11 Hijackers,” New York Times, June 25, 2003; Wayne Parry, “Judge releases transcripts in Sept. 11 fake IDs case,” Associated Press, June 24, 2003. The New York Times story is worth quoting further: “*Mr. Atriss was a co-founder of a Jersey City check-cashing company, Sphinx Trading Company, that had bank accounts with millions of dollars and had as a co-owner Waleed Abouel Nour, whom the F.B.I. had identified as a terrorist.That business was at the same location, on Kennedy Boulevard, used as a mailing address by several of the hijackers and earlier by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, whose followers were convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.”

[168] Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War, 53. Cf. David E. Spiro, The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1999), x: “In 1974 [Treasury Secretary William] Simon negotiated a secret deal so the Saudi central bank could buy U.S. Treasury securities outside of the normal auction. A few years later, Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal cut a secret deal with the Saudis so that OPEC would continue to price oil in dollars. These deals were secret because the United States had promised other industrialized democracies that it would not pursue such unilateral policies.

[169] See e.g. Michael Quint, “Saudi Prince Becomes Citicorp’s Top Stockholder.” New York Times, February 22, 1991.

[170] Andrew Scott Cooper, The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011), 275, etc.; Scott, Road to 9/11, 33-34.

[171]F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New  World Order (London: Pluto Press, 2004), 173; Andrew Gavin Marshall, “The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda. The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the ‘Arc of Crisis.’” Global Research, September 4, 2010, http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-imperial-anatomy-of-al-qaeda-the-cia-s-drug-running-terrorists-and-the-arc-of-crisis/20907. Cf. Scott, Road to 9/11, 86-89.

Originally published by GR in February 2009

Here we build a prima facae case supporting the idea that Hollywood continues to be a target for infiltration and subversion by a variety of state agencies, in particular the CIA. Academic debates on cinematic propaganda are almost entirely retrospective, and whilst a number of commentators have drawn attention to Hollywood’s longstanding and open relationship with the Pentagon, little of substance has been written about the more clandestine influences working through Hollywood in the post-9/11 world. As such, our work delves into the field of what Peter Dale Scott calls “deep politics”; namely, activities which cannot currently be fully understood due to the covert influence of shadowy power players.

 The Latest Picture

A variety of state agencies have liaison offices in Hollywood today, from the FBI, to NASA and the Secret Service. Few of these agencies, though, have much to offer in exchange for favourable storylines, and so their influence in Hollywood is minimal. The major exception here is the Department of Defense, which has an ‘open’ but barely publicized relationship with Tinsel Town, whereby, in exchange for advice, men and invaluable equipment, such as aircraft carriers and helicopters, the Pentagon routinely demands flattering script alterations. Examples of this policy include changing the true identity of a heroic military character in Black Hawk Down (2001) due to his real-life status as a child rapist; the removal of a joke about “losing Vietnam” from the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and cutting images of Marines taking gold teeth from dead Japanese soldiers in Windtalkers (2002). Instances such as these are innumerable, and the Pentagon has granted its coveted “full cooperation” to a long list of contemporary pictures including Top Gun (1986), True Lies (1994), Executive Decision (1996), Air Force One (1997), The Sum of All Fears (2002), Transformers (2007), Iron Man (2008), as well as TV series such as JAG (1995-2005).

Such government activity, whilst morally dubious and barely advertised, has at least occurred within the public domain. This much cannot be said of the CIA’s dealings with Hollywood, which, until recently, went largely unacknowledged by the Agency. In 1996, the CIA announced with little fanfare the dry remit of its newly established Media Liaison Office, headed by veteran operative Chase Brandon. As part of its new stance, the CIA would now openly collaborate on Hollywood productions, supposedly in a strictly ‘advisory’ capacity.

The Agency’s decision to work publicly with Hollywood was preceded by the 1991 “Task Force Report on Greater CIA Openness,” compiled by CIA Director Robert Gates’ newly appointed ‘Openness Task Force,’ which secretly debated –ironically– whether the Agency should be less secretive. The report acknowledges that the CIA “now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation,” and the authors of the report note that this helped them “turn some ‘intelligence failure’ stories into ‘intelligence success’ stories, and has contributed to the accuracy of countless others.” It goes on to reveal that the CIA has in the past “persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests…”

These admissions add weight to several reports and Congressional hearings from the 1970s which indicated that the CIA once maintained a deep-rooted and covert presence in national and international media, informally dubbed “Operation Mockingbird.” In its 1991 report, the CIA acknowledged that it had, in fact, “reviewed some film scripts about the Agency, documentary and fictional, at the request of filmmakers seeking guidance on accuracy and authenticity.” But the report is at pains to state that, although the CIA has “facilitated the filming of a few scenes on Agency premises,” it does “not seek to play a role in filmmaking ventures.” But it seems highly implausible that the CIA, whilst maintaining a decades-long presence in media and academia, would have shown no interest in the hugely influential Cinema industry.

Indeed, it should come as no surprise that the CIA has been involved in a number of recent blockbusters and TV series. The 2001 CBS TV series, The Agency, executive produced by Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, Air Force One) was actually co-written by ex-CIA agent and Marine Bazzel Baz, with additional ex-CIA agents working as consultants. The CIA gladly opened its doors to the production, and facilitated both external and internal shots of its Langley headquarters as the camera gazed lovingly at the CIA seal. This arrangement was comparable to the Feds’ efforts on the popular TV series The FBI (1965-74) which was shaped by the Bureau in cooperation with ABC and which thanked J. Edgar Hoover in the credits of each episode. Similarly, The Agency glorified the actions of US spooks as they fought predictable villains including the Russian military, Arab and German terrorists, Columbian drug dealers, and Iraqis. One episode even shows the CIA saving the life of Fidel Castro; ironically, since the CIA in real life had made repeated attempts to assassinate the Cuban President. Promos for the show traded on 9/11, which had occurred just prior to its premiere, with tag lines like “Now, more than ever, we need the CIA.”

A TV movie, In the Company of Spies (1999) starring Tom Berenger depicted a retired CIA operative returning to duty to save captured Agency officers held by North Korea. The CIA was so enthusiastic about this product that it hosted its presentation, cooperated during production, facilitated filming at Langley, and provided fifty off-duty officers as extras, according to its website.

Espionage novelist Tom Clancy has enjoyed an especially close relationship with the CIA. In 1984, Clancy was invited to Langley after writing The Hunt for Red October, which was later turned into the 1990 film. The Agency invited him again when he was working on Patriot Games (1992), and the movie adaptation was, in turn, granted access to Langley facilities. More recently, The Sum of All Fears (2002) depicted the CIA as tracking down terrorists who detonate a nuclear weapon on US soil. For this production, CIA director George Tenet gave the filmmakers a personal tour of the Langley HQ; the film’s star, Ben Affleck also consulted with Agency analysts, and Chase Brandon served as on-set advisor.

Media sources indicate that the CIA also worked on the Anthony Hopkins/Chris Rock feature Bad Company (2002) and the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster Enemy of the State (2001). However, no details whatsoever about these appear to be in the public domain. Similarly, Spy Game director Tony Scott’s DVD commentary for said film indicates that he visited Langley whilst in pre-production but, according to one report, endorsement appeared to have been withheld after Chase Brandon read the final draft of the script.

More details than usual emerged about CIA involvement in the Tom Hanks movie Charlie Wilsons War (2007) and Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd (2006) – but not many. Milt Bearden had traveled to the Moscow Film Festival with De Niro and claims the pair then “disappeared and hung out with the mob and KGB crowd for a while. I introduced him to generals and colonels, the old guys I had been locked with for so many years.” De Niro later tagged along with Beardon to Pakistan. “We wandered around the North-West Frontier Province,” Bearden recalls, “crossed the bridge [to Afghanistan] I built years ago, hung out with a bunch of guys firing off machine guns and drinking tea.” Still, The Good Shepherd didn’t fulfill the CIA’s earnest hopes of being the CIA equivalent of Flags of Our Fathers (2006), which the Agency’s official historian says it should have been – all in the interests of what he calls a “culture of truth.”

Charlie Wilson’s War depicted the United States’ covert efforts to supply arms to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union in the 1980s which had the real-life consequence of America’s old ally turned against it in the form of al-Qaeda (as Crile explains in the book of the film). However, Beardon, who was the CIA agent who supplied the weapons, worked as consultant on the film and said prior to its release that it “will put aside the notion that because we did that, we had 9/11.” CIA involvement in the film therefore appears to have paid dividends.

The real reasons for the CIA adopting an “advisory” role on all of these productions are thrown into sharp relief by a solitary comment from former Associate General Counsel to the CIA, Paul Kelbaugh. In 2007, whilst at a College in Virginia, Kelbaugh delivered a lecture on the CIA’s relationship with Hollywood, at which a local journalist was present. The journalist (who now wishes to remain anonymous) wrote a review of the lecture which related Kelbaugh’s discussion of the 2003 thriller The Recruit, starring Al Pacino. The review noted that, according to Kelbaugh, a CIA agent was on set for the duration of the shoot under the guise of a consultant, but that his real job was to misdirect the filmmakers: “We didn’t want Hollywood getting too close to the truth,” the journalist quoted Kelbaugh as saying.

Peculiarly, in a strongly-worded email to the authors, Kelbaugh emphatically denied having made the public statement and claimed that he remembered “very specific discussions with senior [CIA] management that no one was ever to misrepresent to affect [film] content – EVER.” The journalist considers Kelbaugh’s denial “weird,” and told us that “after the story came out, he [Kelbaugh] emailed me and loved it… I think maybe it’s just that because [the lecture] was ‘just in Lynchburg’ he was okay with it – you know, like, no one in Lynchburg is really going to pay much attention to it, I guess. Maybe that’s why he said it, and maybe that’s why he’s denying it now.” The journalist stands by the original report, and Kelbaugh has pointedly refused to engage us in further discussion on the matter.

Early Screening

Clandestine agencies have a long history of interference in the cinema industry. Letters discovered in the Eisenhower Presidential Library from the secret agent Luigi G. Luraschi (identified by British academic John Eldridge), the Paramount executive who worked for the CIA’s Psychological Strategy Board (PSB), reveal just how far the CIA was able to reach into the film industry in the early days of the Cold War, despite its claims that it sought no such influence.

For instance, Luraschi reported that he had secured the agreement of several casting directors to subtly plant “well dressed negroes” into films, including “a dignified negro butler” who has lines “indicating he is a free man” in Sangaree (1953) and in a golf club scene in the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis vehicle The Caddy (1953). Elsewhere, CIA arranged the removal of key scenes from the film Arrowhead (1953), which questioned America’s treatment of Apache Indians, including a sequence where a tribe is forcibly shipped and tagged by the US Army. Such changes were not part of a ham-fisted campaign to instill what we now call “political correctness” in the populace. Rather, they were specifically enacted to hamper the Soviets’ ability to exploit its enemy’s poor record in race relations and served to create a peculiarly anodyne impression of America, which was, at that time, still mired in an era of racial segregation.

Other efforts were made. The PSB tried –unsuccessfully– to commission Frank Capra to direct Why We Fight the Cold War and to provide details to filmmakers about conditions in the USSR in the hope that they would use them in their movies. More successfully, in 1950, the CIA –along with other secretive organizations like the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) and aided by the PSB– bought the rights to and invested in the cartoon of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1954), which was given an anti-Soviet spin to satisfy its covert investors. Author Daniel Leab has pointed to the fact it took decades for the rumours about CIA involvement in Animal Farm to be properly documented; this, he observes, “Speaks volumes about the ability of a government agency to keep its activities covert.”

Additionally, the production of the Michael Redgrave featureNineteen-Eighty Four (1956) was in turn overseen by the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, which was supervised by the CIA. Key points in the movie were altered to demonise the Soviets.

The CIA also tampered with the 1958 film version of The Quiet American, provoking the author, Graham Greene, to denounce the film. US Air Force Colonel Edward Lansdale, the CIA operative behind Operation Mongoose (the CIA sabotage and assassination campaign against Cuba) had entered into production correspondence with director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who accepted his ideas. These included a change to the final scene in which we learn that Redgrave’s anti-hero has been hoodwinked by the Communists into murdering the suspicious American, who turns out not to be a bomb-maker as we had been led to believe, but instead a manufacturer of children’s toys.

 Behind the Scenes

It would be a mistake to regard the CIA as unique in its involvement in Hollywood. The industry is in fact fundamentally open to manipulation by a range of state agencies. In 2000, it emerged that the White House’s drug war officers had spent tens of millions of dollars paying the major US networks to inject anti-drug plots into the scripts of primetime series such as ER, The Practice, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Chicago Hope. Despite criticism for this blatant propagandizing, the government continued to employ this method of spreading its message on drugs.

The White House went to Tinsel Town again the following year when, on November 11, 2001 a meeting was held in Hollywood between President Bush’s then Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, and representatives of each of the major Hollywood studios to discuss how the film industry might contribute to the ‘War on Terror.’ Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America said with a straight face that, “content was off the table”, but Rove had clearly outlined a series of requests. It is hard to gauge the consequences of the meeting, but a Rambo sequel, for instance, was certainly discussed, and duly produced. Similarly, several series with national security themes emerged within a short time of the meeting including She Spies (2002-2004) and Threat Matrix (2003).

The meeting was, in fact, just one in a series between Hollywood and the White House from October to December, 2001. On October 17, in response to 9/11, the White House announced the formation of its “Arts and Entertainment Task Force,” and by November, Valenti had assumed leadership of Hollywood’s new role in the ‘War on Terror’. As a direct result of meetings, Congress sought advice from Hollywood insiders on how to shape an effective wartime message to America and to the world. In November 2001, John Romano, writer-producer of the popular US TV series Third Watch, advised the House International Relations Committee that the content of Hollywood productions was a key part of shaping foreign perceptions of America.

On December 5, 2001, the powerful Academy of Television Arts & Sciences convened its own panel entitled “Hollywood Goes to War?” to discuss what the industry might do in response to 9/11. Representing the government at the meeting were Mark McKinnon, a White House advisor, and the Pentagon’s chief entertainment liaison, Phil Strub. Also in attendance, among others, were Jeff Zucker, President of NBC Entertainment, and Aaron Sorkin, creator and writer of the White House drama The West Wing (1999-2006). Immediately after, Sorkin and his team set about producing a special episode of the show dealing with a massive terrorist threat to America entitled “Isaac and Ishmael”. The episode was given top priority and was successfully completed and aired within just ten days of the meeting. The product championed the superiority of American values whilst brimming with rage against the Islamist jihadists.

The interlocking of Hollywood and national security apparatuses remains as tight as ever: ex-CIA agent Bob Baer told us, “There’s a symbiosis between the CIA and Hollywood” and revealed that former CIA director George Tenet is currently, “out in Hollywood, talking to studios.” Baer’s claims are given weight by the Sun Valley meetings, annual get-togethers in Idaho’s Sun Valley in which several hundred of the biggest names in American media –including every major Hollywood studio executive– convene to discuss collective media strategy for the coming year. Against the idyllic backdrop of expansive golf courses, pine forests and clear fishing lakes, deals are struck, contracts are signed, and the face of the American media is quietly altered. The press has yet to be granted permission to report on these corporate media gatherings and so the exact nature of what is discussed at the events has never been publicly disclosed. It is known, however, that Tenet was keynote speaker at Sun Valley in 2003 (whilst still CIA head) and again in 2005.

Conclusions

Many would recoil at the thought of modern Hollywood cinema being used as a propagandist tool, but the facts seem to speak for themselves. Do agencies such as the CIA have the power, like the Pentagon, to affect movie content by providing much-sought-after expertise, locations and other benefits? Or are they able to affect script changes through simple persuasion, or even coercion? Do they continue to carry out covert actions in Hollywood as they did so extensively in the 1950s, and, beyond cinema, might covert government influence play some part in the creation of national security messages in TV series such as 24 and Alias (the star of the latter, Jennifer Garner, even made an unpaid recruitment video for the CIA)? The notion that covert agencies aspire to be more open is hard to take seriously when they provide such scant information about their role within the media, even regarding activities from decades past. The spy may have come in from the cold, but he continues to shelter in the shadows of the movie theatre.

Matthew Alford(PhD: University of Bath) lectures on Film and Television at the University of Bristol and is currently writing a book about propaganda in Hollywood. Robbie Graham is Associate Lecturer in Media at Stafford College. They can be contacted at: [email protected] and [email protected] respectively. References available on request.

 

Torture Never Stopped Under Obama

August 14th, 2015 by Shamus Cooke

This article was first published by GR in January 2010

“A year on, the [Obama] administration continues to look the other way when it comes to full disclosure of and remedy for human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S.A. in the name of countering terrorism.” – Amnesty International

What is Torture?  It can be physical or physchological,  quick or unhurried.  It implies lasting trauma unbefitting a human.  The U.N. defines torture as:

“ …any act by which severe pain or suffering, physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession…” (U.N. Convention Against Torture).

By this definition the U.S. continues to practice torture. Yes, Obama outlawed some especially shocking forms of torture — water boarding, for example — but other types of torture were not labeled “torture” and thus continue.

Surprisingly, this fact was recently discussed at length in The New York Times, under an Op-Ed piece appropriately entitled Torture’s Loopholes.  In it, an ex-interrogator explains some of the more glaring examples of how the U.S. currently tortures and argues for the practices to end.  In reference to Obama’s vow to end the systematic, obscene torture under Bush, the article states:

“…the changes were not as drastic as most Americans think, and elements of our interrogation policy continue to be both inhumane and counterproductive.”

The author says bluntly, “If I were to return to one of the war zones today… I would still be allowed to abuse [torture] prisoners.”

The article also explains how the U.S. “legally” continues a practice that thousands of people in the U.S. prison system already know to be psychological torture:

“…extended solitary confinement is torture, as confirmed by many scientific studies. Even the initial 30 days of isolation could be considered abuse [torture].”

Other forms of torture commonly practiced — since they are part of the Military’s updated Field Manual — are “…stress positions [shackling prisoners in painful positions for extended periods of time], putting detainees into close confinement or environmental manipulation [hot or frigid rooms]…”

Also mentioned as torture is sleep deprivation, a tactic used in combination with 20-hour interrogation sessions. The author concludes that these practices do “not meet the minimum standard of humane treatment, either in terms of American law or simple human decency.”  (January 20, 2010).

Unmentioned by the article are other forms of torture institutionalized under the Obama administration.  One is “sensory deprivation,” a deeply traumatizing psychological torture described in detail in Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine.  The new Army Field Manual says that the tactic — though not called “sensory deprivation” — should be used to “prolong the shock of capture,” and should include “goggles or blindfolds and earmuffs” that completely disconnects the senses from the outside world, where the captive is able to experience only the thoughts in their head.

Yet another blatant form of torture that Obama refused to stop practicing is “extraordinary rendition,” or what critics call “outsourcing torture.”  This is the practice of flying a prisoner to a country where torture is routinely practiced, so that the prisoner can be interrogated.  As reported by The New York Times:

“The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but pledges to closely monitor their treatment to ensure that they are not tortured, administration officials said Monday.” (August 24, 2009).

Human rights groups instantly called Obama’s bluff:  why transport terrorism suspects to other countries at all? If not for the fact that torture and other “harsh interrogation methods” are routinely practiced there? No justifiable answer has been given to these questions.

Another common way the U.S. continues to outsource torture is performed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.  There, the U.S. military often arrests suspects and hands over the interrogation duties to Iraqi or Afghan security forces, knowing full well that they regularly torture (this was also the strategy in the Vietnam war).  Unfortunately, handing over someone to be tortured means you are also guilty of the crime.

A less obvious form of torture is the concept of “indefinite detention” — holding someone in prison indefinitely without a trial.  The terrible experience of hopelessness that a victim of this crime experiences, over years, is a profound form of psychological torture.  This is one of the reasons why the American Constitution guarantees due process, a legal detail that the Obama administration continues to ignore.

In connection, The Washington Post recently announced that the Obama administration will detain 50 Guantanamo inmates “indefinitely,” without any legal charges or chance of a trial.  This act is consistent with earlier statements made by Obama, when he stated that “some detainees are too dangerous, to be released.”  Of course, there does not exist any evidence to prove that these detainees are dangerous, otherwise they would be prosecuted in a legal court.  The article reports that these detainees are “un-prosecutable because officials fear trials…could challenge evidence obtained through coercion [torture].” (January 22, 2010).

The Washington Post article also reports that 35 additional Guantanamo inmates will be tried in Federal or Military courts.  In the latter court, far less evidence — if any — is needed, and the military jury can be handpicked to deliver the preferred outcome.

Obama, like Bush, has sought to undermine the legal rights of those detained and the victims of torture who seek accountability.  Obama continues to refuse to release pictures (evidence) of detainee abuse, preventing Americans from really understanding what their government is guilty of.  Obama has also refused detainees in so-called “black sites” (U.S. Bagram Air Base, for example) access to attorneys or courts. Finally, by not prosecuting anyone for torture crimes in the Bush administration, Obama is guaranteeing that the worst forms of torture will continue, since institutionalized behavior rarely stops unless rewards or punishments are implemented.

In the end, the act of torture is impossible to separate from war in general.  The “rules of war” are always ignored by both sides, who implement the most barbaric acts to terrorize their opponents into submission.

Obama’s wars, like Bush’s, are wars of conquest. U.S. corporations want the oil and other raw materials in the region.  They also want to privatize the conquered state-owned companies, and to sell U.S. products in the new markets the war has opened them.  Many corporations benefit from the act of war itself (arms manufacturers and corporate-employed mercenaries), or from the reconstruction opportunities the destruction creates.

Working people have no interest in this type of war.  The hundreds of billions of dollars that Obama is using for destruction should be used to create jobs instead, or for health care, public education, social services, etc.   It is up to all working people to organize themselves — through their unions and community organizations — to broadcast this demand and make it a reality.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org).  He can be reached at [email protected]

Image: A “Bliar” black coffin is placed on the ground during a protest outside of a Chilcot inquiry session in London in 2010. (Photo: Chris Beckett/flickr/cc)

Families of servicemen and women killed in Iraq pledge legal action if investigation into war is not published soon

The father of a soldier killed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq said Wednesday that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should be tried as a war criminal, as military families pledged to take legal action against the UK government if it does not publish a long-delayed investigation into the war.

“I’d like to see Tony Blair dragged in shackles off to court as a war criminal because we have to bear in mind 180 British service personnel were killed here, over 3,500 wounded, two million Iraqis fled Iraq, over 100,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed,” Reg Keys, who lost his son, Lance Corporal Tom Keys, during the 2003 invasion, told the BBC.

Keys is part of a group of 29 families that on Wednesday threatened to sue the inquiry’s lead investigator, Sir John Chilcot, if he does not set a date of publication for the report within two weeks.

Stalling publication of the Chilcot Inquiry is keeping grieving families of slain veterans from getting “closure,” he added. The families have called the delay “morally reprehensible.”

Officials have pushed back publication of the Chilcot Inquiry for six years. Keys blamed the logjam on the government’s “Maxwellisation” procedure, which gives individuals criticized in official reports time to respond to allegations.

“This is an inquiry into a war… I don’t think Sir John has actually got that to be honest, the gravity of what’s happened here,” Keys said. As the process has dragged on, he added, coverage of the inquiry became “like an open wound that is continually prodded.”

Blair has continually denied responsibility for his role in fomenting instability in the Middle East and fended off questions about the progress of the inquiry. During a panel at the World Economic Forum in January, an audience member accused Blair of having “great responsibility” for the region’s current conflicts. In response, the former prime minister blamed a “closed minded view of the world” and a “perversion of Islam” which he says has perpetuated a “culture of hatred.”

Chilcot last month defended the Maxwellisation process as giving the investigative team “the best chance of getting it right.” He also said that the investigation is making “significant progress,” but that there is no “realistic timetable for completion.” Other sources have indicated the report is not likely to be published this year.

That response was poorly received by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who warned the retired civil servant that the cabinet was “fast losing patience.”

What follows is a report from a resident of Aleppo whose identity is not revealed for reasons of security.  Their reports delve deep into the terrorist underworld and expose many of the NGO and media narratives, as propaganda and hypocrisy.  We are thankful to these brave, courageous people who bring us the truth from inside Syria, without them we would still be in the dark as to the extent of the terror they are forced to endure day after night at the hands of the US  alliance funded and armed mercenary brigades.

An Escape from Reality

My sojourn on the Syrian coast was exquisite but too brief, a welcome respite from the hardship in Aleppo.

We left Aleppo just before sunrise.  The coast is to the West of us but we drove into the hazy sunrise, towards the east. This is Syria, where the crisis has made many things nonsensical.  The direct routes and main highways have been occupied and sabotaged by armed terrorist gangs and there is an ever present risk of sniper fire on these roads, so many are best avoided at all cost.

Rimal Beach, Tartous, Syria

Rimal Beach, Tartous, Syria

As we bumped and rattled along the road, 3 other passengers were conversing with the driver about the “bloody history” of our route.  “This is where the terrorists attacked a bus” said one, “there is where the terrorists massacred a Christian family”, said another.  “That is where Da’esh targeted a high ranking SAA General” said the driver, pointing at the burned out remains of a car and van on either side of the road, dust covered, eerie reminders of the assassination.  It was a sobering experience to travel this road of tragedy with its ghosts of lives taken so brutally and senselessly.

The road from Aleppo to Homs, shaped like a mirrored letter C, was the desert road.  We went through many fake check points and over rough gravel surfaces that, at one point, resulted in a flat tyre.  However, once past Homs the change is extraordinary.  The roads to Tartous are in good condition and the closer we got to the coast, the greener our surroundings.  This is how I remember the highways in Syria before the “conflict”.  This was Old Syria..the one that ceased to exist after 2011.

Some Syrian provinces have fared better in the crisis than others, but every one of them has been touched by loss.  Not one has been without its casualties in the Syrian armed forces.  Tartous, for instance, is considered one of the safest areas in Syria [maybe because of its Russian naval base] but even here, when you enter someone’s house you see the familiar pictures of lost sons, daughters, uncles, brothers, fathers on the walls, paying homage to the brave family members fighting terrorism in far flung provinces.

My destination was my teenage haunt of ar Rimal ad-Dhahabiyya [the Golden Sands] about 15km to the north of Tartous City.  The resort is secure, with water 24/7 and electricity, maximum 15 hours per day.  I was even able to turn on the air conditioning, an unheard of luxury in Aleppo.  Internet reception is excellent, again in marked contrast to the limited 3G reception in Aleppo.

Rimal is a reminder of Syria before 2011.  Peaceful ambiance, laughter, dancing, bikinis, parties. A typical Mediterranean resort, far removed from the ravages of war.  A cosmopolitan gathering of Syrian families without bombs, rockets or mortars to shatter their joviality. Hijabs mingling with bikinis on the packed beaches.

Mo article parasols

The peaceful early morning beaches, Rimal.

The only flares in the night skies came from celebratory fireworks not from terrorist rockets or mortar fire.  Here you could see Christians and Muslims from many different sects sitting side by side in friendly camaraderie.  None of the sectarianism being described in Western media, none of the religious judgementalism.

I did stumble upon several demolished chalets that closely resembled the bombed structures in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria.  In reality, the local municipality had demolished them because they were an eyesore and had been erected illegally by the corrupt resort manager. I couldn’t help thinking that they might still appear in an HRW tweet or in Western Media with the caption of the ubiquitous barrel bombs that are being blamed for everything.  I would certainly not put this beyond the “rebel” propagandists.

Demolished buildings in Tartous

Demolished chalets in Rimal, Tartous

I do know that photos & videos from Rimal have been used by the “opposition” to claim that Syrians & the Syrian Government are rejoicing in the deaths of their countrymen.  One of my relatives informed me that nobody had celebrated in the resort for the last four years out of respect for the suffering in Syria.  For the first time this year, they felt that they needed some relief from the intensity of the struggle and to remember the good old days in Syria when unity and peace were the norm. So let the terrorists mock our happiness, we have had enough of the sadness and sorrow that they have imposed upon us.

Life became a series of indulgences during my time in Rimal.  Delicious food, beautiful balmy nights, swimming in the warm sea with my nephews and nieces [although jellyfish were a less palatable hazard]. I had to laugh when at one point, I bumped into a group of elderly men and women discussing politics in the shallows.  They were even criticizing the government quite openly and stridently without “reprisal”.

I can’t tell you what a luxury it was to have a shower and an air conditioned room.  How quickly did I forget the showers in Aleppo, a large cup and a washbowl!

The drive back to Aleppo

All too soon, my time in paradise came to an end and after 6 days we were heading back to Aleppo. On the way back, I noticed that the C-like road between Homs and Aleppo had changed, even in such a short time.  As quickly as the Government were trying to asphalt roads in some areas, the terrorists were bombing them at night to create new craters and crevasses, forcing drivers back onto the gravel roads.  However, I can proudly say the Government was winning even this battle.  There were more newly asphalted roads than sabotaged ones.

I did manage to take some photos of the Aleppo province villages alongside that arid, remote highway.  These villages are famous, with their mud conical roofs, a typical feature of these village homes.  Originally they would have built miniature versions for birds, chickens and small domestic animals but over time they had evolved into human dwellings.  I remember seeing old WW11 and even WW1 archive videos showing Australian troops marching among these conical roofed houses, military motorcycle riders stopping to give the locals a pillion ride for fun.  Now these homes are deserted and abandoned, their inhabitants forced to flee inside or outside Syria, refugees from their own lands.

Mo article cones

Queiq River and its deadly secrets

Returning to Aleppo after such a delicious transportation into Syria of old, made me reflect on one important aspect of Aleppo, Queiq or Koweik, Aleppo’s river.  A thousand years ago this river fortuitously burst its banks in the winter and swept away the Crusader camps who were besieging Aleppo. In the summer its flow dries to a trickle that is the source of jokes and local proverbs.  The river lost much of its importance decades ago when Turkey built a dam at its source reducing flow into Aleppo & diverting its waters into Turkish territory.

The river was reduced to a dry valley, distinctly malodorous in the summer.  This ensured the loss of all the species of fish that had been documented by western scientists and historians centuries before. Turkish-Syrian relations had improved in the decade prior to the crisis to the extent that the Aleppo river basin had been converted into a series of canals dotted with beautiful bridges, illuminated at night.

With the advent of the crisis, however, the tide literally turned.  The river formed a natural border between terrorist held eastern Aleppo and government held western Aleppo.

The river became the terrorist dumping ground for dead bodies, massacred by the terrorists not by the government as depicted in western media whose sole aim was & still is,  to demonize the Syrian government.

A couple of years back, the terrorists were sending young kids to buy huge amounts of bread supplied by the government to feed the people of Aleppo city.  Once purchased, this bread was callously dumped in the river resulting in a crippling bread shortage for a long time.  Eventually the government managed to round up the culprits and imprison them.  I don’t have to tell you how the media portrayed this activity but the truth is, it was necessary to ensure the people of Aleppo didn’t starve.

The terrorist held areas in the East receive all the water from the Euphrates but they can’t store it all, so they have solved this issue by pouring thousands of litres of clean water into the filthy, contaminated water of Queik which is, of course, undrinkable.  This is not all, the Red Crescent is then pumping this filthy water into huge cisterns which is piped to the taps that people are using to fill up their water containers.

The Red Crescent is claiming that the water is clean and only needs chlorine tablets or boiling to purify it.  They ignore the fact that the river has been a dumping ground for dead and decaying corpses, stale bread, sewage and a myriad of filth and rubbish over the last 4 years.  Their actions in supplying this water to residents are indefensible, their claims that it is safe are criminal.

Those capable of dumping bread and clean water into a contaminated river to prevent half the city from eating the bread or having clean drinking water are committing heinous crimes against humanity.  I am not sure if it is a “war crime” as such but they are the real “infidels” if there is any real meaning for this word that they bandy about so liberally.

They are not “freedom fighters” or “moderates” that NATO and their allies are supporting so vociferously.  We are suffering from lack of water, we go thirsty while they are intentionally squandering it.  I watch, heavy hearted, as the elderly and children patiently wait in endless queues in the searing heat to fill their assorted containers.  I see them having to lug these heavy containers through the narrow alleyways, struggling under the weight as the precious water splashes into the dust beneath their feet.

Children carry a cylinder of water in a street of the Syrian city of Aleppo on April 17, 2014. At least 21 people were killed and 50 hurt in a rebel mortar attack on regime-held districts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said.    AFP PHOTO / ALEPPO MEDIA CENTRE / ZEIN AL RIFAI

Children carry a cylinder of water in a street of the Syrian city of Aleppo on April 17, 2014.  PHOTO / ALEPPO MEDIA CENTRE / ZEIN AL RIFAI

I feel nothing but rage when I see these thugs and criminals on the other side of the city pouring thousands of litres of clean, fresh water into the disease infested river under the noses of the thirsty Syrians they are claiming to liberate.  They are the terrorists, they are the monsters in this story and they are committing daily mass crimes against the citizens of Aleppo but this is never mentioned by the western media.

Are we not Syrian?  Does our plight mean nothing, does our story not count?  This is Aleppo, the real Aleppo, not the western media fantasy, this is our sleeping, waking, perpetual nightmare of life under terrorist occupation.

Image: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. © Jim Young / Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush told an audience in Iowa that he would not rule out resuming the use of torture by the US government under some circumstances. He said he believed it was effective in producing critical intelligence.

Bush was speaking before an audience of 250 Republican supporters at St. Ambrose University when asked if he would keep in place or repeal President Barack Obama’s executive order banning torture.

I don’t want to make a definitive, blanket kind of statement,” Bush told the audience, according to the Associated Press. “When you are president your words matter.”

Bush said he believed torture is inappropriate and that he was glad his brother, former President George W. Bush, largely ended the CIA’s use of torture before leaving office. He did not address the fact that the use of torture also began under George W. Bush’s presidency.

Bush added that he believed the techniques were effective in producing intelligence, but that “now we’re in a different environment.

It was under the Obama administration that an executive order was issued banning torture by the CIA. A Senate Intelligence Committee probe into torture under George W. Bush’s administration resulted in a heavily redacted report, released in December 2014, which contained shocking findings. It disclosed that the CIA had lied and covered up the brutality of the techniques used, and that the torture had failed to produce life-saving intelligence. The techniques used to coerce suspected Al-Qaeda detainees included waterboarding, sometimes as often as two to four times a day, being confined in a coffin-sized box for hours, rectal feeding, standing restrained for days, slapping, nudity, sleep deprivation and humiliation. The practice of torturing prisoners of war is banned under the Geneva Convention, to which the US is a signatory. The event on Thursday was Jeb Bush’s first appearance in Iowa. He is often called upon to answer for some of his brother’s unpopular decisions.

He also criticized President Obama and his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, for what’s happened in the region since his brother left office.

We declared success and then chaos occurred afterwards,” he said. “There has to be a plan for the long haul.”

Bush didn’t clarify what he meant by success. The invasion cost US taxpayers $1 trillion and Iraq continues to be impoverished and dysfunctional. As a result of the war, an estimated 500,000 Iraqis lost their lives, nearly 5,000 American military personnel were killed, and over 32,000 service men and women were left wounded, 30 percent of whom are mentally ill, and 20 percent of whom have brain or spinal injuries, according to Iraq war statistics.

In reiterating his own plan to root out the Islamic State terror group, which has since seized large chunks of Iraq, Bush called for engaging US allies and working to strengthen a coalition of moderates in Syria. However, his criticisms of Obama again brought to mind the objections leveled against his brother’s war.

We can’t unilaterally go into countries,” he said, according to Politico.

Greek Parliament Votes for New Round of Austerity Measures

August 14th, 2015 by Christoph Dreier

Early Friday morning, the Greek parliament passed a fresh round of harsh austerity measures following a 24-hour parliamentary session.

The debate over the new “memorandum of understanding” between the European institutions and the Syriza government was held less than six weeks after the landslide “no” vote in a referendum on accepting further austerity measures. The Syriza-led government responded to the overwhelming rejection of further cuts by moving as rapidly as possible to secure an agreement with the European banks.

The austerity agreement was approved with 222 votes for, 64 against, and 11 abstentions. A total of 43 Syriza deputies did not support the government, with 32 voting against the agreement and 11 abstaining. Seven of those who abstained had voted in support of the government in the last debate on austerity.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras relied on the support of his right-wing coalition partner, the Independent Greeks, and the openly pro-austerity opposition parties—New Democracy, PASOK and To Potami—to get the agreement passed. The Left Platform within Syriza, the Stalinist Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the fascist Golden Dawn voted against the proposal.

In total, the number of MPs in the governing coalition who backed the bailout fell to 118. This is below the minimum of 120 votes the government needs to survive a censure motion in parliament.

Following the vote, Greece’s Skai TV reported that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to call a vote of confidence after August 20, when his government is due to make a €3.2 billion debt repayment to the European Central Bank in exchange for an initial tranch of new loans. Were Tsipras to lose the vote, he would be forced to call a snap general election.

On Thursday, the bill was argued over in committee discussions for about nine hours, delaying the start of the main parliamentary debate until 4 am. Led by former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, the Left Platform made a show of opposition while professing loyalty to the government. This opposition is a political fraud, as the Left Platform has played and continues to play a key role in covering for Tsipras and presenting the Syriza-led government as a mechanism for opposing austerity.

Prior to the debate, in a public statement issued together with twelve other Syriza members who are not deputies in the parliament, Lafazanis declared that he was planning to build a nationwide movement “against the new memorandum.” The Tsipras leadership responded by saying that Lafazanis had clearly decided “to choose a different path from that of the government and Syriza.”

There is widespread talk of expulsions, with early elections leading to some form of new national coalition government.

The measures to be imposed by the Syriza government go far beyond the attacks imposed by previous governments. In the midst of a deep economic depression, the austerity bill will intensify social cuts and regressive tax hikes that target small farmers and poor home owners.

The government has also agreed to privatise huge sections of state property and cut workers’ already reduced pensions even further to save more than one percent of gross domestic product over the next one-and-a-half years.

This is only the beginning. The “memorandum of understanding” is a 29-page document with very detailed instructions for the work of the Greek government and parliament over the next three years. It suspends any democratic accountability over the running of Greece’s economy and places its functioning under the direct control of the European Union (EU).

“The authorities will accordingly pursue a new fiscal path premised on primary surplus targets of -1⁄4, 0.5, 1.75, and 3.5 percent of GDP in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and beyond, respectively,” the memorandum states. These specifications mean even harsher austerity measures than those already agreed on.

The Syriza government will soon face further demands dictated by officials from the EU, the European Central Bank and possibly the International Monetary Fund, who will make regular visits to Athens.

It is disputed whether figures from the Greek statistics agency, showing slight economic growth for the second quarter of this year, are accurate. But even if they are, Greece remains mired in a slump that further cuts will only exacerbate. Even EU circles predicted this week a decline in GDP of 2.3 percent for this year and 1.3 percent next year.

Regarding Greece’s debt, the memorandum leads to an even bigger burden. Even the optimistic figures of the EU Commission foresee an increase of the debt-to-GDP ratio to 201 percent next year. In 2009, before the so-called rescue packages, the ratio was 130 percent.

Nevertheless, the German government has repeatedly ruled out any debt “haircut” for Greece’s creditors: the ECB and primarily German, French and Italian banks.

German Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn told the radio stationDeutschlandfunk that “under the term debt relief you can also talk about extending maturities, having a period without making interest payments or redemption payments, and we can talk about that, we have always said that.”

At the same time, Germany’s Finance Ministry also made clear that even after the “yes” vote of the Greek parliament, the deal is not guaranteed. The finance ministers of the euro zone will meet today to decide on whether to accept the agreement. If they do, several parliaments will have to approve the decision. A vote in the German parliament is planned for Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

The Greek government is hoping for a new credit programme that would provide the country with loans of up to €86 billion to be able to pay back older loans from the troika (the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF) and avoid state bankruptcy.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble announced Wednesday that he sees a need for further “clarification.” According to a paper of the ministry, Schäuble is demanding a more effective privatisation strategy. Too many measures start too late—in October or even November—rather than immediately, the paper states.

The general reaction from European governments to Syriza’s capitulation, however, was positive. The European institutions issued a statement praising the “very good cooperation of the Greek authorities during the review mission, which has made possible this agreement after several months of negotiations.”

According to spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt, the European Commission is still preparing for the eventuality that no agreement is reached on Friday. Under these circumstances, a bridge credit from the European Financial Stability Mechanism, along the lines suggested by Germany, would be possible in order to avoid an immediate bankruptcy, Breidthard said. It remains unclear whether the IMF is willing to take part in the new credit program at all.

IMF official Delia Velculescu has called once more for EU states to accept some form of debt relief, concerned that the scale of austerity measures being demanded is unsustainable and may provoke economic collapse and social unrest.

During talks this week with Saudi Arabia and the Syrian opposition, Russian officials called for a political deal to lay the basis for the stabilization of Syria, proposing the formation of a new national unity government involving elements of the Assad regime, the Syrian opposition, and Kurdish and Iraqi forces.

“The talks focused on coordinating all those who are already fighting terrorists so that they put their main focus on fighting terrorism and leave for later settling scores between themselves,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in public remarks after discussions with the Saudi leadership.

Russia’s intervention would aim to “help all Syrians unite over the core task of preserving their country, ensuring stability and preventing it from becoming a hotbed of terrorism and other threats,” Lavrov said.

“We agreed to continue thinking about steps that should be taken to create a suitable environment to resume dialogue between the Syrian government and all other Syrian groups,” Lavrov said, referring to discussions with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir earlier this week.

Russian officials have been able to reach “common ground” with US and Saudi representatives during recent meetings, according to Lavrov, with Russian and Saudi officials agreeing to sponsor new negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition.

Speaking for the Saudi monarchy, Foreign Minister al-Jubeir ruled out any cooperation with the Syrian government. “As for a coalition in which Saudi Arabia would participate with the government of Syria, then we need to exclude that. It is not part of our plans,” Jubeir said. “Our position has not changed… there is no place for Assad in the future of Syria.” Saudi Arabia, together with Qatar and Turkey, has been one of the principal sources of funding and support for ISIS, the al-Nusra Front and other Islamist militias.

Discussions with US Secretary of State John Kerry last week focused on a deal to “unite the efforts of our two countries and other countries in the region more effectively,” the Russian Foreign Minister said in remarks to the media.

Washington’s receptiveness to cooperation with Russia over Syria was already indicated in July, when President Obama remarked that Putin’s involvement in supporting the Iran nuclear deal has given the US “an opportunity to have a serious conversation with them [Russia].”

In talks with the Syrian National Council leadership Thursday, Lavrov declared that Russia is prepared to back a political coalition that could include elements of the Syrian opposition, as well as Kurdish forces and other elements of the Syrian and Iraqi militaries.

In a sudden reversal, Moscow acquiesced last week to longstanding US demands for insertion of chemical weapons inspectors.

According to analysts and government officials, Moscow’s turn to negotiations stems from the fact that, behind closed doors, Putin’s leadership now believes that Assad’s removal is virtually inevitable. Having supported the regime politically and militarily against the US-engineered insurgency since 2011, Moscow is now seeking to salvage the situation.

“He is no longer of the opinion that Russia will support Assad to the end. I believe he can give up Assad,” Turkish President Recep Erdogan said last week in reference to discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I think that Moscow, at its heart, accepted as positive fact the end of Assad’s regime and is trying to save all that may be saved after the collapse,” chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia Geydar Dzhemal told Voice of America.

“Officially, Moscow has not rejected unwavering support for the Damascus government,” Alexander Shumilin of the Institute for US and Canada Studies told Voice of America. “But the situation around Syria is changing now, and Moscow is trying to adapt to this new, emerging situation,” Shumilin said.

The Russian initiatives are part of a flurry of diplomatic maneuvering over the fate of the besieged Syrian government that has gained momentum in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif discussed proposals for the formation of a transitional unity government with Syrian President Bashar al Assad during an official diplomatic visit.

Reports emerged Thursday of several truces brokered by Tehran during direct talks with one of the most influential al Qaeda-linked factions in Syria, known as Ahrar Al-Sham.

The cease-fire terms include 48-hour pauses in fighting in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani and in two towns in the northern province of Idlib, Fuaa and Kafraya. The initial truce agreements may become the basis for a longer-term deal to end hostilities in larger areas of the country, according to Iranian officials.

Other regional players are similarly pushing for a multilateral deal aimed at the formation of a new regime, as part of negotiations coordinated by the Putin government this week.

“Confronting terrorism requires a transitional body that brings together all Syrians,” Syrian National Coalition (SNC) member Hisham Marwa told press in advance of meetings with Putin.

“Victory against IS will come with political change in Syria that will unify all Syrian forces,” said Haytham Manna of the Cairo Conference Committee (CCC).

The CCC has advanced its own proposal for the creation of new committees including both opposition and Syrian government representatives, as the basis for a political and security framework leading to the installation of a transitional government.

US-aligned regional governments similarly voiced support for a deal over Syria this week. “The international community should exert more efforts to find a political solution to the situation in Syria,” Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Wednesday during a joint appearance with Lebanese premier Tamam Salam.

The Syrian government declared its commitment to negotiations Thursday, while continuing to insist publicly on its own plan for a transitional regime, which would retain Assad in power as head of state until 2021, but also incorporate elements of the opposition into the state structure.

“The Syrian government is ready to be a major party in negotiations that will lead to a settlement that will meet and satisfy the needs and aspirations of the Syrian people,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister told CNN Thursday.

As talks proceed, developments on the ground are underscoring that any diplomatic settlement over Syria will be implemented through a militarized carve-up of the country, spearheaded by the Pentagon and its regional partners and proxy forces.

As part of a deal reached in July between Ankara and Washington, Turkish President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) government leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan gained US backing for the imposition of a militarized “buffer zone” encompassing hundreds of square miles in northern Syria. The new zone would be occupied by Syrian opposition fighters and reinforced by the US and Turkish air forces, with US forces having been cleared to operate from Turkish bases as part of the agreement.

Once established, the military zone would serve as a staging area for US-backed rebel forces fighting against the Assad government.

Despite their public confidence in Putin’s readiness to accept a deal, the Turkish government is clearly preparing its own large-scale military intervention into areas of northern Syria.

Plans leaked in July showed that the Turkish government was on the verge of launching a massive invasion of northern Syrian with a force of some 18,000 soldiers, with the full-scale invasion being postponed largely out of concerns over domestic unrest. Turkish forces remain massed along the border, prepared to launch incursions that would inevitably draw Turkey into fighting with Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

The Jordanian government, which maintains close relations with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM), has already declared its plans to conquer its own enclave in southern Syrian, announcing an imminent invasion, to be led by a newly trained special forces brigade, on June 29, before backing off at the last moment. The US-led war coalition planned to provide “behind-the-lines” military support for the Jordanian operation, according the Financial Times .

On Wednesday, amid the ongoing negotiations, US warplanes launched their first manned combat missions against Syrian territory from Turkish bases. The US pilots entered Syrian airspace armed with an expanded targeting authorization, including discretion to target Syrian government forces, signed by President Obama on July 31.

US planes carried out large-scale strikes near Aleppo, Hasakah and Dayr Az Zawr, according to a statement from the US-led Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, launching at least 24 strikes against Syria and Iraq on Wednesday alone.

One of these US air strikes, targeting the village of Atmeh, killed eight civilians, including at least five children ages four through 10 and two women, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Infant Mortality Soars in Gaza after Eight Years of Israeli Siege

August 14th, 2015 by Maureen Clare Murphy

Image: Newborn babies at a shelter for Gaza families displaced by Israel’s bombing, August 2014. Mohammed Talatene APA images

The infant mortality rate in the occupied Gaza Strip has risen for the first time in 50 years, according to a newly published survey.

“The number of babies dying before the age of 1 has consistently gone down over the last decades in Gaza, from 127 per 1,000 live births in 1960 to 20.2 in 2008,” the study by UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, states. In 2013, it had risen to 22.4 per 1,000 live births. 

The number of babies in Gaza dying before they turn four weeks old soared by 70 percent, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013.

“Progress in combatting infant mortality doesn’t usually reverse. This seems to be the first time we have seen an increase like this,” said Dr. Akihiro Seita, director of UNRWA’s health program, in a press release.

“The only other examples I can think of are in some African countries which experienced HIV epidemics.”

The agency points to Israel’s blockade, now in its eighth year, as the likely factor behind this latest indicator of the de-development of the Gaza Strip.

Belal Dabour, a medical doctor in Gaza, says that the infant mortality rate “is affected by a multitude of factors, and those are in play before the birth of the infant, before the mother is even pregnant.”

The rise of the infant mortality rate is “the effect of a decade of blockade, including the infamous calorie count, restrictions on movement, poverty, dependence on food aid, power crises, the sewage flooding the streets, and the wars bringing down homes and bringing instead unstable and unhealthy shelters,” Dabour told The Electronic Intifada.

All these factors lead to “mothers having unhealthy childhoods and consequently unhealthy pregnancies, and to infants’ chances of survival, in the case that anything happens to them, plummeting,” he added.

Maternal death rate spikes

Meanwhile, maternal mortality rates may have almost doubled in Gaza between 2014 and 2015, according to the UN.

(A recent report exposed how infant mortality and maternal death rates are four times higher in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip than they are in Israel, and that life expectancy in those territories is about 10 years lower than that in Israel.)

Chronic electricity and fuel shortages, in large part because of Israel’s siege, profoundly affect the functioning of Gaza’s already fragile healthcare facilities, which were badly affected by Israel’s assault last summer.

The Guardian summarized the impact:

17 hospitals, 56 primary healthcare facilities, and 45 ambulances were damaged or destroyed, and the total cost of the conflict to Gaza’s healthcare system is estimated at $50 million. Sixteen healthcare workers were killed and 83, most of them ambulance drivers and volunteers, were injured. In total, more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, at least 500 of whom were children, and more than 10,000 wounded.

In addition, “The 51-day hostilities left $1.4 billion in direct and indirect damages and $1.7 billion in economic losses to Gaza,” according to the UN, and “some 100,000 people remain internally displaced, hosted in temporary accommodation or in makeshift shelters. 120,000 people are still waiting to be reconnected to the city water supply.”

After eight years of siege, an estimated 80 percent of Gaza’s population is reliant on humanitarian aid, mainly food assistance.

Israel’s blockade has “eliminated virtually all exports, shrank the manufacturing sector by as much as 60 percent, and reduced Gaza’s GDP by 50 percent, according to the World Bank,” scholar Sara Roy explained inThe Nation this week.

Meanwhile, Roy adds, “the unemployment rate in Gaza stands at 43 percent (over 60 percent of Gaza’s youth are unemployed), the highest in the world. Nearly 40 percent live in poverty.”

A shocking 90 percent of Gaza’s water supply is unfit for human consumption, electricity is sporadic and “a properly functioning sewage system no longer exists.”

Israeli impunity

The explosive power Israel used last summer in Gaza, a blockaded territory not much bigger than the city of Chicago, was roughly the equivalent of an atomic bomb.

After each episode of mass violence Israel wreaks on the tiny territory — in the summer of 2006, winter 2008-2009, autumn 2012 and summer 2014 — there is no accountability for Israel’s crimes, ensuring their repeat.Israel enjoys more control over Gaza than ever before, and pays no price for doing so.

There is little international attention paid towards Gaza one year after Israel’s high-tech war machinery was directed against a virtually defenseless population of 1.8 million, most of whom are refugees from the original mass displacement during Israel’s violent establishment in 1948, and their descendants.

Palestinian refugees have been denied their right of return for nearly 70 years.

And now the failure of member states of the United Nations to fund UNRWA has resulted in a budget gap of $101 million.

Palestinians protests UNRWA service cuts in Rafah, southern Gaza, on 4 August.
Abed Rahim KhatibAPA images

The agency has warned that if this gap is not filled by the beginning of the upcoming school year, it could delay the education for half a million students across the Middle East.

UNRWA officials have pointed to various factors contributing to its unprecedented budget crisis: emergencies in Gaza and Syria which divert funds from its core programming, including health and education; the decreased value of the euro, which has meant foreign exchange losses of $24 million; and economic crisis besetting donor countries.

Sandra Mitchell, UNRWA’s deputy commissioner-general, stated that “the needs of Palestinian refugees are only increasing with the blockade, with the occupation, the war on Syria, with restricted human rights of many Palestinian refugees.”

It is the first time that a core agency program is in jeopardy for lack of funding, Mitchell said.

“Every humanitarian crisis in the world is underfunded; the needs are just so great,” she added.

Dysfunction

The lack of functioning international political mechanisms means ever greater numbers of humanitarian crises.

“Without a political solution for the Palestine refugees, UNRWA will remain in place and our budget will grow as the needs of Palestinian refugees continue to grow,” Mitchell said.

UNRWA’s spokesperson Chris Gunness put it even more frankly: “The reason UNRWA exists, as I have said many times, is political failure.”

As stateless Palestinian refugee families are faced with the reality of reduced services, and the threat of a disruption in their children’s education, it is yet another reminder that they have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

To anyone who is paying attention, their anger is easy to understand.

The new austerity program that was proposed yesterday (13/8/2015) by the SYRIZA government and voted by the majority of SYRIZA and the discredited old pro-austerity and pro-EU (European Union) parties brings disaster for the Greek people. Economic depression will be aggravated, foreign debt will be increased, wages and pensions reduced even more, poverty exacerbated and Greece’s subservience to EU’s imperialism heightened.

The SYRIZA government has followed the course of the previous New Democracy (ND) government. It has been elected on an anti-austerity electoral platform. Once elected, it pretended that it negotiated forcefully with the EU for a remaking of the austerity restructuring program for Greece. However, soon it capitulated to EU and became another puppet government.

This political betrayal produced a schism in SYRIZA with its Left wing rejecting the new austerity program and ready to break out from the party. However, till now SYRIZA’s Left wing has adopted a hermaphrodite political position: it rejects the austerity program but supports the SYRIZA government that pushes it forward. This is an untenable position. SYRIZA’s Left wing has to decide: either it will remain within the party and try to rectify it (which is obviously infeasible) or it breaks out and creates a new political front. It would be foolish if it tries the second option on each own.

The SYRIZA’s Left wing has neither the organizational capabilities nor the political clout for this. If it had both (or either of them) it would not have participated in SYRIZA (whose treacherous course was predictable). A new popular political front can only be created if it unite the significant Left and popular forces that exist outside SYRIZA and have a significant presence in popular movements. A new political front must also have a clear program. It has to confront the EU and openly adhere Greece’s secession from this exploitative imperialist organization. Any hesitation regarding this is self-defeating. Unfortunately, SYRIZA’s Left wing till now has not made any clear move in these two crucial aspects. If it fails to do so then its demise is on the cards.

SYRIZA’s capitulation to the EU and the tough austerity measures of the new program (and their prerequisite actions) have already started biting people’s incomes and eroding SYRIZA’s electoral support. This is leading to an ‘Argntinian situation’. In Argentina neoliberal Peronist Menem government was voted out because of it austerity measures dictated by its dollarization policy (i.e. relinquishing monetary independency). A series of governments followed that all were nominally anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist. However, none of them ventured to cross the system’s ‘red line’: dollarization. The result was that all of them, in practice, followed Menem’s economic policies and for this reason they were forced out by popular revolt. Similarly, SYRIZA does not question the Greek systemic ‘red line’: the participation to the EU. This participation may bring profits to the Greek oligarchy but it is the ‘mother of almost all evils’ for the Greek pople. For this reason SYRIZA will also, sooner or later, face popular anger.

Currently, SYRIZA is trying to negotiate with the EU imperialist their permission to hold snap elections. It calculates that, before the new austerity measures destroy people’s incomes, a snap election will give SYRIZA enough electoral support to remain in government. However, the EU imperialists are hesitant as even a snap election will have an injurious economic impact. Moreover, they prefer a coalition between SYRIZA and the old pro-austerity and pro-EU parties.

In all cases people’s anger is boiling and the mainstream political parties (SYRIZA included) that are subservient to the EU and the Greek oligarchy are losing support. The times are calling for a change. The necessity for a new popular political front that will confront the EU and lead Greece’s secession from it is obvious.

The above text is the extended transcript of the interview I gave today to the News program of the Press TV.

The Refugees Are Coming!

August 14th, 2015 by Andre Vltchek

I don’t really know, I don’t understand how it feels: to live in a rich European country, which is rich mainly because it has been directly plundering many poor nations around the world. Or it has been plundering by association, through its membership in some extremist organization like NATO. To live there, refusing to acknowledge why it is rich, how it became rich.

Palaces, theatres, railroads, hospitals and parks in that rich country are built on broken skeletons and restless specters, on lakes of blood and shameless theft.

Then, when one looted country after another begins to sink, when there is nothing left there, when children begin dying from hunger and when men commence fighting each other over tiny boulders and dirty pieces of turf, pathetic boats, or dinghies, begin crossing the waterways, bringing half starved, half-mad refugees to the European sea-fronts decorated with marble.

What a horrifying sight! As if a woman, her hair waving in disarray, her lips broken, comes begging a man who raped her after killing her husband – begging for shelter and at least some work and piece of bread. She decided to abandon all her pride, because her children are sick and starving, because it is either this, or death.

That is what you reduced the world to, Europe – you, and your huge, insatiable offspring – North America!

Too egocentric, too cruel, you lost the ability to judge, to feel. All moral standards collapsed. There are no higher principles, anymore, only self-interest.

In Calais and Kos, in Paris, London, Stuttgart, and Prague, I heard the same questions posed with absolutely straight faces: “How are we going to absorb all those hordes of immigrants?”

Almost no one in the West is wondering aloud: “How did the people on other continents manage to endure those long centuries of colonialism and neo-colonialism, of shameless plunder, of slavery, of constant locust-like onslaught of corporate and neoliberal cannibalistic hordes? Wouldn’t a set of keys issued to each and every citizen of robbed, formerly or presently colonized country, be the tiniest, the most basic token of justice?”

Is it morally acceptable that a thief, an arsonist, a rapist, a liar, a serial killer, all in one, would be allowed to live in a mansion, surrounded by slums housing his victims?

In the West, in the Christian West, in fundamentalist West, such arrangement is obviously tolerable.

***

Most of the citizens of Europe are completely unrepentant. Only few of them are capable of detecting connection between their continent’s wealth, those hundreds of millions of ruined lives all over the world, and the latest wave of immigrants.

A few months ago, my comrade and fellow philosopher, Milan Kohout, lost his temper, after listening to staunchly racist, anti-immigrant guests at a studio of the Czech Television in Prague. He began shouting, live, at both the moderator, and the bigoted speakers.

Insulting letters commenced raining almost immediately: “Why don’t you stick a few of those ni**ers into your own bedroom, you asshole?” Or more threateningly: “You should be hanged for this, you bastard!”

Several weeks after the television appearance, I received his email:

Just letting you know I have been getting so many death threats that I am starting to take them seriously. Even the neighbors from the village we have the summerhouse in are threating us. I do not know whether I should take all this serious or not but I guess I have to be careful…

On the Greek island of Kos, which is now hosting several thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Asia, but which has neither camps nor other facilities for them, a brave medical volunteer (I decided not to use her name, as she was already threatened), described the recent developments:

The situation in Kos is totally out of control. The [right-wing] extremists of Golden Dawn – some of them fully armed – have unleashed pogroms against the refugees. Someone must speak loudly for the Mayor’s responsibilities… who had sabotaged every solidarity effort and possible solution, from the very beginning.

At the other side of Europe, the British Prime Minister is considering to employ the army, lamenting inconveniences being experienced by British holidaymakers. Traffic at the Eurotunnel is slow, often interrupted, as thousands of desperate refugees living in an appalling camp nicknamed “The Jungle” at the outskirts of the French city of Calais, are trying to reach England, some dying in the process.

Great Britain, responsible for the loss of hundreds of millions of human lives worldwide (through its colonial genocides and triggered/orchestrated famines), is now pretending that it is facing a serious “refugee crises”, while there are only some 25.000 asylum applicants on its territory.

As the Morning Star commented:

According to the Refugee Council up to 74 per cent of all asylum-seekers are refused residency in Britain. While numbers have grown since 2008, applications for asylum in 2014 were below 25,000, with those fleeing from conflicts in Afghanistan, Syrian and Eritrea among the highest number of applicants.

In Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Greece, in fact all over the Europe, right wing, xenophobic groups and movements are busy attacking and intimidating defenseless refugees.

Immigrants are portrayed as some menace, or pest, not as a group of desperate human beings – victims of the Empire.

It is mainly because of the collapse of integrity inside the Western political elites, mass media, as well as in academia and art world.

Now, most of those who are speaking in favor of accepting immigrants are doing so self-righteously, “out of charity”, not because they recognize that accepting victims of their continent’s cruelty is their moral obligation; not because they are convinced that breaking the gates of “fortress Europe” would be at least a tiny payment from the monstrous debt towards the world that had been ravished and plundered for numerous centuries.

***

It is not only what you see in Europe – that tip of the iceberg, that tiny fraction of misery that managed to land on Italian, Greek and Maltese shores.

The world is on the move. Tens of millions are displaced.

The overwhelming majority of the refugees are forced to leave their homelands because of political and economic imperialism of the West.

Syrians, Libyans, Iraqis and Afghanis were bombed to the stone-ages, just because they tried to feed, house and educate their people. In the eyes of the Empire, this was the greatest crime, as all resources are supposed to be used for alimenting Western corporations, banks and military complexes.

Eritreans were debilitated by sanctions and embargoes, right after their long war for independence. 10 million of Congolese people died since 1995, butchered by West’s allies – Rwanda and Uganda – so that Washington, London and Paris could enjoy a free flow of uranium and coltan. Many Congolese people are now trying to flee unimaginable horrors at home. Many Somalis are trying to escape, after Washington destabilized their country, after Kenya invaded its southern part on direct orders from the West, after the EU has been dumping toxic waste at its shores.

Even the plight of Rohingya people in Burma could be traced to the monstrous “divide and rule” of the British Empire in Asia.

For decades and centuries, the West kept overthrowing progressive governments, one after another. It has been murdering great political leaders like Patrice Lumumba, liquidating all attempts to build decent, socialist societies.

Then it would say: “Those ni**ers cannot govern their own countries… All their people want is to come to us, stealing our jobs, straining our social systems.”

It goes without saying that, if left alone, those countries that are now bleeding millions of their own people, “exporting refugees”, would be, most likely, as rich or even richer than the West. It applies to Iran and Iraq, Syria and Libya, perhaps even Congo and Indonesia.

The ongoing “refugee crises” is not a “problem that Europe has to deal with”. Europe is creating the crises. Europe is not “dealing” with anything. It is, as always, cheating, lying and calculating pennies, after stealing billions. Those who don’t see it are either blind or conditioned, alternatively well paid not to see.

If the mother earth gets hit, powerfully, with tremendous destructive force, pieces of it will fly, in all directions. The same applies to countries, to nations. If left in peace, states will find the way to take care of their people.

The present situation is actually just a tiny reflection, an overflow of horrors that the colonized and plundered world has to endure. It is just a tiny bit of that nightmare which is taking place inside Africa, the Middle East and several parts of Asia; a tiny bit thrown back to the face of the Europeans; being brought to and left at their doorsteps.

***

How come that “they” don’t see it? How come that almost all Western mass media are silent? How come most of present-day philosophers are not addressing, not combining the subjects of neocolonialism and immigration?

What I am saying in this essay is philosophically clear. It would be hard to dispute it. French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre came to several similar conclusions in his “Colonialism and Neocolonialism”, few decades ago. But that was “then”. Now, to combine the plunder of the Planet committed by the West, and the plight of the refugees, appears to be taboo.

But I don’t believe in taboos, as I don’t believe in a knowledge that is strictly “theoretical”.

In the past few years I documented human misery in countless battlefields, and in the refugee camps that are housing exiles from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh, Libya and many other broken places.

I often see, first hand, how grotesque, unsustainable, repulsive the situation is: while tiny Lebanon is now a host of over 2 million Syrian refugees, one of the main global bullies, the UK, has lesser than 25.000 registered asylum applicants on its turf!

Even the intellectuals of aggressive NATO country, Turkey, write openly and honestly in the newspapers: “We wanted to act like some smaller regional United States, therefore we should pay for those 1.8 million refugees who were forced to cross the border and settle in our camps.” Turkey is paying. As aggressive as it is, it has at least some dignity left, compared to the West.

There is simply something appalling, hypocritical, twisted, profoundly un-humanistic, in the way Europe addresses the plight of its victims.

Of course “it” is not something new. “It” has deep roots in both Christian dogmas and Christian cultural fundamentalism – the elements that are unyieldingly controlling the minds of the majority of European people. Such fundamentalism has been helping to accept and promote, even glorify, colonialism and neocolonialism, as well as the “exceptionalism”.

Fundamentalism and exceptionalism put their religions (even in the countries that became ‘secular’ on the surface), cultures, races and ways of life on the pedestal. They see “those others” as irrelevant. The suffering of “the others” is trivial, insignificant. Or it simply “does not exist”.

Orwell defined un-Christian, un-white and un-Western people simply as “un-people”, in the eyes of the West.

In Europe, wherever you go, you can read between the lines:

If millions of “them” starve to death, then be it – as long as Germany and France could maintain clean sidewalks and hospitals, and as long as the schools don’t have too many undesirable, foreign elements and influences.

Destruction of the world, killing and starving of millions, is sad but a necessary price to be paid for the high standard of living of the chosen, white, good Christian people in Europe and North America. Let the slaughter be contained to far away places! Let it not appear on the television screens. Let us not see the victims.

And let those dirty and uncivilized beings stay where they are. We don’t want to face them at our resort towns and in our capital cities. We don’t want to see their sores, their wounds, and their puss.

Let everything remain out of focus, as blurry as possible, and at extremely low volume.

As I was told in California, during a conference: “Do not show us graphic images of Africans suffering… Here, people are very sensitive!”

Neocolonialism? Modern slavery? We don’t like these terms. They belong to the Cold War era. They died with the Soviet Union, didn’t they?

***

As long as the Empire reigns, as long as the West rules over the planet, the refugees will be crossing dangerous waterways on board their fragile dinghies.

Some will die; others will make it.

Those who will make it will be put on trial. What they did is defined as “illegal”. They will have to prove that they are persecuted in their home country, that their lives have been threatened.

A tricky game… A very filthy game… Like in those days of Inquisition, men, women and children facing Western Christian “justice” would have to lie, in order to survive.

They would not be able to say: “I had to escape because your country killed my family”. Or: “Your continent robbed me of my livelihood”.

Fear of persecution… A “genuine” refugee would have to invent his or her imaginary story, his or her torturer: one that is approved by the Empire.

Then, and only then, a refugee would have at least a tiny chance to receive his or her asylum, a shelter and a piece of bread – a tiny bit of what was already stolen from his or her native land.

The Jungle camp in Calais, France

The Jungle camp in Calais, France.

Calais - anti refugee walls

Calais – anti refugee walls.

Congolese refugees in Goma

Congolese refugees in Goma.

fainted refugee in Kos (courtesy photo from Kos)

Fainted refugee in Kos (courtesy photo from Kos).

refugees in Kos Greece (photos courtesy from Kos)

Refugees in Kos Greece (photos courtesy from Kos).

Shia IDP on Madura Island, Indonesia

Shia IDP on Madura Island, Indonesia.

Somali refugee in Dadaab camp

Somali refugee in Dadaab camp.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western Imperialism.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

A future Labour government under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn (image above) would almost certainly reinstate the law on Universal Jurisdiction that was amended by the previous Cameron government in order to facilitate the entry into Britain of Israeli politicians and military personnel without fear of arrest for alleged war crimes.

That contentious action was taken by the then Conservative Foreign Minister, William Hague, in order to accede to the demands of Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government, and against the opposition of UK human rights groups.

The re-instatement of this important piece of human rights legislation would bring Britain back into line with most of Europe where those alleged guilty of war crimes can be arrested pending trial.

The current suspension of this law in Britain has since enabled various members of the previous and/or present Israel government to visit the UK and to travel freely within the country to raise funds and/or disseminate propaganda to support the policies of Likud Prime Minister, Netanyahu, without fear of apprehension by the authorities.

There is certainly a strong feeling that a reversal of that erroneous policy is now well overdue in order to maintain Britain’s obligations to respect human rights and the International Court.

 

Increasing evidence is coming in that the groups the U.S. is trying to install into power in Syria are actually contending groups of Sunni Islamic jihadists who seem to agree on only one thing: they want to replace the secular government of the Shiite Bashar al-Assad, who is supported by Russia and by Shiite Iran. They want to replace it with a Sunni Islamic government. Some of these groups have perpetrated terrorist attacks (some including beheadings) against Americans, and one such group is even al-Qaeda, the Sunni Islamic organization that, of course, perpetrated the 9/11, 2001, attacks and others.

In Syria, al-Qaeda goes under the name Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Nusra for short. As will be documented here, the United States has, until recently, been allied with al-Nusra, but, because of the bad image this U.S. alliance has spread about al-Nusra among their fellow-Sunnis, al-Nusra is now separating itself from ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, otherwise known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS, and which the United States is now assisting, to defeat the forces of Assad, notwithstanding ISIL’s infamous videos of their chopping off heads of nonbelievers.

Thus, for example, Britain’s Telegraph headlined on August 10th, “Al-Qaeda withdraws from fighting Isil in Syria to avoid ‘US cooperation’,” and reporter Nabih Bulos in Istanbul opened with:

Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria has declared it will withdraw from frontlines where it has been fighting against Islamic State because it does not want to cooperate with the US-led coalition.

Jabhat Al-Nusra declared on Sunday it would abandon the northern province of Aleppo, where it has been battling Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), leaving other rebel factions to take over its positions in the area.

The region north of the city of Aleppo has designated as a potential anti-Isil buffer zone by the US and Turkey.

Later, Bulos’s report went on to say:

Jabhat al-Nusra nevertheless insisted that even though it was abandoning its positions in the northern Aleppo countryside, it would continue the fight against Isil in other parts of the country.

Despite sharing their origins in al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and Isil have battled each other since a rancorous split in 2013.

Jabhat al-Nusra, whose jihadist militants are credited with being among the most effective on the battlefield, recently achieved a dazzling string of battlefield successes as part of the Army of Conquest, a loose coalition of Islamist factions.

Although it is thought to have received military and financial support from other members of the US-led coalition such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Jabhat al-Nusra has nevertheless repeatedly scuttled plans for Western support, branding Western-backed rebel factions as “collaborators.”

This report is consistent with two earlier reports that the famous American journalist, Seymour Hersh, was not able to find a publisher for inside the United States, and which were therefore (like the Telegraph report above) published in Britain, instead, both of them by the London Review of Books. Those Hersh articles were widely dismissed by U.S. news-media as being untrustworthy. (Hersh used unnamed sources — supposedly because the sources didn’t want to be fired.) Even Hersh’s main publisher, the New Yorker, has rejected his recent reports about this and related matters, and New York magazine (a competitor to the New Yorker) has allowed him to express his view of the conflict he’s having with the New Yorker’s current editor. (However, New York hasn’t published any of Hersh’s actual articles, either.)

Hersh’s first such artice was “Whose Sarin?” on 19 December 2013, and it opened:

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

The second one was more definitive, answering the question that the first of his two reports raised. It was issued on 17 April 2014, “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” and it reported that,

British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack, and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal.

During the interim months between the two articles, Hersh was able to answer the “Whose Sarin?” question. He found, and reported in the second article:

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. …

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria.

That report is further confirmed by the 10 August 2015 report in Britain’sTelegraph.

Eva Bartlett of Inter Press Service reported, on 8 July 2014, her interviews with victims of the U.S.-supported fighters in the Syrian city of Homs. Typical was this:

Mohammed, a Syrian from the Qussoor district of Homs, is now one of the reported 6.5 million internally-displaced Syrians.

I’m a refugee in Latakia now. I work in Homs, two days a week, and then return to Latakia to stay at my friend’s home. I left my house at the very end of 2011, before the area was taken over by al-Nusra and al-Farooq brigades.

He spoke of the sectarian nature of the insurgents and protests from the very beginning in 2011.

I was renting a home in a different neighbourhood of Homs, while renovating my own house. Just beyond my balcony there were protests that did not call for ‘freedom’ or even overthrowing the ‘regime’.They chanted sectarian mottos, they said they would fill al-Zahara – an Alawi [Shiite] neighbourhood – with blood. And also al-Nezha – where there are many Alawis and Christians.

An internal Stratfor (private CIA) email report, dated 7 December 2011, concerning the planning stages of the American mission to remove Bashar al-Assad (the mission that created refugees such as “Mohammed” from Homs), described their private meeting at the Pentagon, where the officials

“emphasized how the air campaign in Syria makes Libya look like a piece of cake. … It’s still a doable mission, it’s just not an easy one.” Obama’s people were “saying that the idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within. There wouldn’t be a need for air cover, and they wouldn’t expect these Syrian rebels to be marching in columns anyway.”

Obama’s people seem to have underestimated both sides of the war. Some European nations were supportive but not yet fully committed to the operation.

“The main base they would use is Cyprus, hands down. Brits and French would fly out of there. They kept stressing how much is stored at Cyprus and how much recce comes out of there. The group was split on whether Turkey would be involved, but said Turkey would be pretty critical to the mission to base stuff out of there.”

The Stratfor agent wrote that,

“I had a meeting with an incoming Kuwaiti diplomat (will be coded as KU301.) His father was high up in the regime, always by the CP’s/PM’s side. The diplo himself still seems to be getting his feet wet in DC (the new team just arrived less than 2 weeks ago,) but he made pretty clear that Kuwait was opening the door to allowing US to build up forces as needed. … He said that while KSA and Bahrain they can deal with it as needed and black out the media, Kuwait is a lot more open.”

Thus, “On the Kuwaiti political scene, the government is having a harder time dealing with a more emboldened opposition, but the opposition is still extremely divided, esp among the Islamists. The MPs now all have to go back to their tribes to rally support” for the operation against Assad. All of these Muslims were Sunnis.

An excellent overview article by Steve Chovanec, dated 16 November 2014, included a sub-head, “US-Supplied Rebels Align with al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda Aligns with ISIL.”

One thing that’s hidden in the West (since the West’s aristocracies are allied with the aristocracies in Arabic countries, which are almost exclusively Sunni) is that Islamic jihad is a specifically Sunni phenomenon, it’s not Shiite; Islamic terrorism that’s directed against Christian-majority nations is basically a Sunni phenomenon, it’s a phenomenon of the Arabic aristocracies that Western aristocracies are allied with, and this is the reason why there’s a tendency to attribute it to Iran and to other Shiite areas, which actually have nothing to do with it and are instead themselves at war against it within the Muslim world. Whereas Russia is allied with Shiite forces, and is therefore clearly and unequivocally opposed to Islamic terrorism, which is Sunni, the United States and its vassal-nations are basically allied with Sunni forces, and this means that Western aristocracies support the Sunni aristocracies that fund Islamic jihad.

A report from Russian Television on August 12th presents shelling of Damascus by (as the reporter describes it, at 1:38 in the video) “a rebel faction with very strong ties with Saudi Arabia, news reports saying that it is funded by Saudi Arabia.” Yet again, it’s a Sunni invasion of Shiite-run Syria, this time by Sunnis that are paid directly by the Sauds. And the Sauds, of course, dominate all of Sunni Islam, and are also the main funders of al-Qaeda. U.S. President Obama wants to defeat Russia even more than he wants to defeat ISIS, al-Qaeda, etc.Thus, the fact that Russia has always consistently been against Islamic-jihad groups, does not deter Obama from allying the U.S. with Saudi Arabia (the key backer of Islamic jihad groups), instead of with Russia. If he needs Islamic-jihad groups in order to defeat Russia, he’ll back them, but only secretly.

So, al-Nusra (or al-Qaeda) has now publicly separated itself from ISIL, because ISIL is receiving critically important assistance from the United States, just as al-Nusra is now being blamed by their fellow Sunnis for having done the same, between 2011 and 2013. Back in 2011, Obama thought he wouldn’t need ISIL’s help, but he does.

Furthermore, Obama is just copying all his predecessors back at least to Reagan, and even to the end of the Carter Administration, when Zbig Brzezinski told the Mujahideen (the earlier name for the Taliban) that “God is on your side.”The U.S. had used Sunnis such as Osama bin Laden to break the Soviet alliance with Afghanistan, much as the U.S. is now using Sunnis to try to break the Russian alliance with Assad, and likewise with Ukraine, including Crimea. Obama’s primary target throughout isn’t jihadists, so much as it’s Vladimir Putin. Bush’s “regime change” obsession was Saddam Hussein. Obama’s wasn’t just Muammar Gaddafi, and it wasn’t just Viktor Yanukovych; and it isn’t just Bashar al-Assad — it’s Vladimir Putin himself. It’s defeating Russia. All else is actually subordinate to that.

In this regard, Obama is following the position that was expressed by his friend Brzezinski who has expressed it many times, such as, in 1998, reprinted later under the heading, “How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen.”

As I bannered on 6 March 2015, “Brzezinski Says Russia’s Putin Wants to Invade NATO.” The U.S. is adding former communist nations to NATO, surrounding Russia with NATO nations all along Russia’s eastern borders, and to the south of Russia. But Brzezinski and others of his ilk say that Russia is surrounding NATO. The Obama Administration says such things as, “We’re building up on NATO’s borders. These are NATO countries, these are allies of ours, that are concerned based on what Russia is doing on their borders.” The Administration pretends that the U.S. isn’t the aggressor here — that Russia is. They’re saying that essential defense is instead aggression; meanwhile, unprovoked aggression is being done for “allies of ours” (but that were traditionally allies of theirs). Russia is supposed to accept that. Russia won’t.

After the end of communism, Brzezinski, and some others, continued hating Russia, because they had hated it ever since childhood, or at least ever since young adulthood. (Brzezinski was born a Polish nobleman.) They were indoctrinated with this form of racism, not merely with hatred of communism. What was originally a hatred of an ideology, thus remains in some people as a hatred of one specific ethnicity: Russians. World War III could result. Unless people like this are booted out of power in the United States — and in Europe.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

Image: A Palestinian man overlooks the Jaramana Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria in 1948. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

I went to an event last night and sat next to an insider in German and Austrian diplomacy. Much of the energies of the German and Austrian consulates now involve bringing families of those Jews whose homes, art and books were stolen, back to Germany and Austria to engage in securing reparations. I asked how this was done procedurally. This person said that an agreement brokered by Stuart Eizenstat of the Clinton State Department in the 1990s set a system in motion that established committees in Germany, Austria and other countries to oversee the return of possessions to Jews or their descendants.

An archive was kept and art returned…books kept in a central library, books returned…even bank accounts and property returned. When homes had been bought for far below market as Jews were forced to flee, their families are now compensated for the property At Current Market Values. “What about if people are now living in the home?” I asked. This person said then it was more complex but transfers of property even in that case had been done. And…as a result many Jews had returned to Austria and Germany. It was all working out.

In 2012, a $300 million dollar deal was reached for the last group of Holocaust survivors to receive compensation, and just last year the Obama administration negotiated a deal with France to pay reparations to American survivors of the Holocaust who were sent to death camps in French trains.

How is this not a model for Palestinians who lost property in 1948?

On reflection many of the homes and businesses that were transferred after the Nakba/War of Independence (using both terms) would have been possessed by Israelis without compensation or purchase at all. I have seen those houses, been in those houses. Who bought them? How were they paid for? Did people just…move in? And what about Arab businesses…like Jewish businesses in the thirties, there must have been tons of goods and inventory, factories and machinery, left behind….what happened to it, who was compensated?

I asked why this system could not be established for Palestinians. The records of where Palestinian homes and businesses were located are often quite complete. People still have deeds and even keys.

This person said there was no reason the same system could not be established though I could not quote this person on the record, and that I should reach out to Stuart Eizenstat who is now living in DC, and ask if he will broker the same deal.

What do you say, team humanity? Seems like a very good start. To me as a Jew and daughter of a family wiped out by the Holocaust it is symbolically as well as practically healing that these reparations are being made.

Shall we contact Stuart Eizenstat?

Mondoweiss Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from two thought-provoking Facebookposts author Naomi Wolf published in recent days.

This article was originally published by GR in November 2014

Doubts have been raised over the alleged alignment of al-Nusra and ISIL.  Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi has reasonably argued that perhaps the western-backed FSA factions are falsifying this link as a means to justify more US-Support.  

Brandon Turbeville has also reasonably argued that this could be a marketing ploy by western media to justify more US-aid.  If reports of this alignment are false, the facts remain that large amounts of US-backed rebels (SRF/FSA/Hazm) have defected to Nusra and ISIL, many, as the above Washington Post report states, have done so peacefully and without a fight.  If the Nusra-ISIL link is true, then my argument stands that this in no way justifies more US-aid to rebel groups, and it instead means that al-Nusra has taken US-aid given to it by western-backed rebels to ally with ISIL 

Instead of deterring the radical Islamist group, American airstrikes against them have accomplished two things: they have increased ISIL recruitment while at the same time have destroyed and degraded Syria’s infrastructure, murdering innocent Syrian civilians along the way.

FBI Director James Comey told Congress in mid-September, just a week before airstrikes against ISIL expanded from Iraq and into Syria, that, “Support for Islamic State increased after U.S. airstrikes began in Iraq,” and, “ISIL’s widespread use of social media and growing online support intensified following the commencement of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.”(1)  According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a large increase of 6,300 new fighters has been recruited into the group since the US began airstrikes. (2)(3)  This is not surprising given the fact that Islamic extremist groups like ISIL draw their greatest legitimacy among their constituency from either actually fighting, or appearing to fight against the United States.

A month ago, Patrick Cockburn, a leading correspondent on the Middle-East, reported that, “The US-led air attacks launched against Islamic State (also known as Isis) on 8 August in Iraq and 23 September in Syria have not worked. President Obama’s plan to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State has not even begun to achieve success. In both Syria and Iraq, Isis is expanding its control rather than contracting.”(4)

Despite not only failing to degrade ISIL, the US airstrikes have also accomplished another long-standing US goal in the region: the further destabilization of the Syrian state.  It has accomplished this by bombing Syria’s energy facilities and infrastructure under the pretext of choking off the revenues ISIL receives from its illicit oil sales. However this justification completely falls apart upon closer examination.

The US has been bombing oil and gas production sites, including oil fields and refineries inside Syria, and following one such strike in late September Reuters would report, “These so-called refineries are not a real target and they do not weaken Islamic State as they do not have any financial value for them,” Rami Abdelrahman of the [Syrian] Observatory [for Human Rights] told Reuters.  “They are composed of trucks with equipment to separate diesel and petrol used by civilians.”  These attacks, instead of striking at ISIL’s financial base, are accomplishing only the further destruction of Syrian infrastructure.

Coupled with this is the fact that although there have been widespread airstrikes against oil production in Syria, there have however been exactly zero strikes against oil production facilities inside of Iraq; the US is keeping in-tact energy facilities inside of the state that it has control over, whilst destroying the infrastructure of Syrian state which it seeks to degrade and destroy.  This two-faced approach is a further attack upon the Syrian government, eliminating any chance they have of recapturing their nation’s oil refineries in-tact, which would also subordinate Syria to foreign investment in the rebuilding process if they were ever to be recovered.  “The destruction of Syria’s oil infrastructure would also open the door for US and UK oil companies to win contracts to rebuild it, paid for in debt, by the Syrian state. Foreign companies running Syria’s oil and gas production would prevent Syria from nationalising their own resources and becoming an independent prosperous country. This would result in the basic enslavement of the country while mitigating the threat it poses to US client states including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” Maram Susli, a chemist who worked alongside Theodore Postol to debunk false claims of Assad’s complicity in the Ghouta chemical weapons attack, further analyzes.(5)(6)

It should also be noted that this isn’t just an attack on the Syrian government, it is also an attack on the Syrian people, as fuel and oil prices have soared following the bombings, as well as have electrical failures and power blackouts.  “The Americans are destroying our infrastructure,” one 35-year old resident said.(7)  It should be stated that in the end, these oil resources ultimately belong to the Syrian people.

Casting further doubt on the United States’ stated aims is the fact that senior Obama administration officials are now considering bombing pipelines in Syria “in an attempt to cut off the huge profits being made by Isis from captured oilfields.”(8 However ISIL does not use these pipelines to transport and sell its oil, instead it uses trucks and smuggles the oil through Turkey.  “Current oil production by the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) is estimated to be worth $800 million per year… The oil that ISIL sales on the black market—mostly via trucks through smuggling routes on the Turkish border—is sold at a steep discount at prices ranging from $25-$60 per barrel,” IHS, the consulting company widely quoted as an authority on ISIL oil revenues, reports.  Thus we see the seeds being planted for further justifications to attack and destroy Syria’s energy industry, with no valid connection to stopping ISIL. (emphasis added)

Along with the destruction of Syria’s oil infrastructure, in September the Ambassador for the European Union in Iraq, Jana Hybaskova, testified before the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee stating that several EU member states have bought oil from the Islamic State, while refusing to name the guilty parties.(9)  So while the western powers are profiting from ISIL’s illicit oil trade, keeping intact the refineries and oil fields in Iraq presumably to do so, they are as well destroying Syria’s infrastructure, as a further way to destabilize the Syrian state.

US-Supplied Rebels Align with al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda Aligns with ISIL

On November 1st Jamal Maarouf’s forces, the US-backed Syrian Revolutionary Front, were routed by al-Nusra, and according to reports ISIL fought alongside Nusra in the attack.(10)  Back in April, CIA-vetted Maarouf admitted to working alongside al-Nusra, providing the al-Qaeda group with whatever US-supplied weapons they needed whenever they asked for them.(11)  Despite US officials being aware of the fact that their weapons were going straight to al-Qaeda, in September Congress approved Obama’s plan of arming and training more rebels.(12)  Now it seems that al-Nusra, strengthened by weapons given to them while fighting along-side US-sponsored rebels, are using their US-weapons to ally with ISIL and take more weapons and fighters from the US-backed SRF headed by CIA-vetted Maarouf.

A day after Maarouf was routed on November 2nd, in the early hours of the morning between midnight and 4am, according to AP sources al-Nusra and ISIL agreed to stop fighting each other and to work together.  Agreements were made to work against the US-backed Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm.  FSA and Harakat Hazm fighters were reportedly overtaken by al-Nusra later that day, ISIL sending about 100 fighters in 22 pickup trucks to aid in the effort.(13)  Al-Nusra is the longtime ally of the US-backed FSA.  Back in early September FSA commander Bassel Idriss stated, ““We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front… Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch.”  It should be noted that Congress agreed to further supply Syrian rebels just a week after this admission.

Now it seems that al-Nusra and ISIL have joined forces against the FSA, yet reports of the encounter state that the FSA and Harakat Hazm militants defected to Nusra and ISIL peacefully, transferring large quantities of US-supplied weapons to them while doing so all without a fight.

Moderate rebels who had been armed and trained by the United States either surrendered or defected to the extremists as the Jabhat al-Nusra groupaffiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through the towns and villages the moderates controlled in the northern province of Idlib, in what appeared to be a concerted push to vanquish the moderate Free Syrian Army.”

 “Among the groups whose bases were overrun in the assault was Harakat Hazm, the biggest recipient of U.S. assistance offered under a small-scale, covert CIA program launched this year, including the first deliveries of U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles. The group’s headquarters outside the village of Khan Subbul was seized by Jabhat al-Nusra overnight Saturday, after rebel fighters there surrendered their weapons and fled without a fight.” (Washington Post, 11/2/14) (emphasis added)

This raises the question as to whether they were overrun at all, or if they freely allied with the much more successful and resource-equipped al-Nusra and ISIL groups.

In sum, US-backed Maarouf and his SFR, who admittedly have been fighting alongside and giving US weapons to al-Qaeda all along, were overtaken by Nusra and ISIL, their fighters defecting and their weapons being transferred.  Al-Nusra and ISIL have also agreed to work together, and the US-backed FSA and Harakat Hazm groups have freely defected to Nusra and ISIL, taking with them all of their US-supplied weaponry, including TOW antitank missiles.

It is not surprising that defections to Nusra and ISIL are widespread.  “Abu Majid, another rebel leader, who has been receiving western support for six months, said it had not prevented his recent defeat by Jabhat al-Nusra and that he was losing faith. More than 1,000 men, half his brigade’s strength, had left in despair, many defecting to Isil.”

Defection to the jihadists has now been going on for years. Mahmoud, a former prisoner of the regimewho used to work for the FSA, now runs safe houses in Turkey for foreign fighters looking to join Jabhat al-Nusra and Isil.” (The Telegraph, 11/11/14) (emphasis added)

This is not surprising given the fact that the majority of the arms shipments coordinated by the US through Saudi Arabia and Qatar have gone to the extremist elements that the Gulf States historically always have supported. For years the US has been actively coordinated the arming of the most virulent elements inside of Syria, making them the most powerful players within the region.  A year ago the New York Times reported that, “Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.”

“The United States is not sending arms directly to the Syrian opposition. Instead, it is providing intelligence and other support for shipments of secondhand light weapons like rifles and grenades into Syria, mainly orchestrated from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The reports indicate that the shipments organized from Qatar, in particular, are largely going to hard-line Islamists.” (emphasis added)

Therefore the fact that the most hard-lined extremist in Syria are also the most powerful makes a lot more sense. As the media constantly has been telling us that the US is only arming ‘moderate’ rebels, it has instead been coordinated the arming of Nusra and ISIL through its allied Gulf states Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  At the same time it has been overseeing this arming of extremist, al-Qeada jihadists, it has also been actively funding ‘vetted’ groups like the FSA and SRF who have been working alongside Nusra and ISIL, freely coordinated with them while supplying them with US-weaponry the CIA had given to them just days before.  The end result of all of this is that Nusra and ISIL have become the dominant military forces within the region, prompting widespread defection of groups armed and trained by the US into their ranks.  As Nusra and ISIL have grown stronger through US tutelage, they have further been able to overcome other recipients of US aid like the Harakat Hazm brigades, further consolidating US-weaponry and US-trained fighters.

Anthony Cartalucci has argued, “But if the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) is being funded, armed, trained, and otherwise supported with the combined resources of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, NATO-member Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and others, just how exactly is the “Islamic State,” and other extremist factions such as Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Al Nusra, getting even more cash and weapons?

“The answer… is that there were never, nor are there any “moderates” operating in Syria. The West has intentionally armed and funded Al Qaeda and other sectarian extremists…”

This is similar to the argument used by Senator Rand Paul when he recently testified against the arming of rebels in September before the Congress voted to approve the measure, deciding apparently that arming al-Qaeda and ISIL is worth the price of regime-change in Syria:  If the US and its allies have been arming moderate factions, to the tune of up to a billion dollars, how is it that the so-called moderates are virtually non-existent while the extremist elements have all of the power, weapons, and fighters?

Roots of the Bombing Campaign – Why US is Bombing ISIL

It should be understood that before the beginning of this year, when ISIL broke away and started fighting al-Nusra, that Nusra and ISIL had been working together for years.  Former British Army and Metropolitan Police counterterrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge has stated, “It should also be noted in this respect that the ‘moderate’ rebels the US and UK support themselves openly welcomed the arrival of such extremists. Indeed, the Free Syria Army backed by the West was allied with ISIS, until ISIS attacked them at the end of 2013.”

‘Vetted’ US rebels such as the FSA and the Syrian Revolutionary Front have admittedly been transferring US-supplied arms to, and working with, al-Nusra, who for the entirety of the Syrian crisis before 2014 was allied with ISIL, a working relationship we now see has reemerged as recent developments have unfolded.

When ISIL and Nusra did begin fighting earlier this year, we have seen that Obama had done nothing as ISIL was rampaging throughout Syria.  He was, however, benefitting from the media PR campaign which could now state that Obama’s rebels were fighting the evil ISIL terrorists, the American public conveniently forgetting that those rebels were fighting alongside al-Qaeda as they were doing so.

The rise of ISIL and their subsequent push into Iraq was anticipated; as early as February it was already predicted that ISIL would attempt to take territory in Iraq.  On February 11th the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, delivered the annual DIA threat assessment to the Senate Armed Service Committee.  He stated, “”Al-Qa`ida in Iraq (AQI), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL): AQI/ISIL probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014, as demonstrated recently in Ramadi and Fallujah, and the group’s ability to concurrently maintain multiple safe havens in Syria.”(14)  The push of ISIS into Iraq was anticipated and known, yet the Obama administration had done nothing to stop them.  The Wall Street Journal further states that, “The failure to confront ISIS sooner wasn’t an intelligence failure. It was a failure by policy makers to act on events that were becoming so obvious that the Iraqis were asking for American help for months before Mosul fell. Mr. Obama declined to offer more than token assistance.”

However, we do not have to wonder why Obama refused to act in this regard, he told us himself.  In an August interview with the New York Times, Obama said the reason, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.”  Obama thus exploited the rise of ISIL in order to obtain the geopolitical goal of pressuring Maliki to step down, which happened shortly afterwards.  The plan was successful, the slaughter and subjugation of countless Iraqi’s mere ‘collateral damage’ for this ‘higher end.’

ISIL then went onto consolidate its holdings further into Iraq, culminating in the overtaking of Mosul.  An event which Noam Chomsky describes as being, “pretty remarkable.  In fact, western military analysts were astonished.  Remember what happened, Iraq has an army, and the Iraqi army knows how to fight.  During the Iran-Iraq war that army fought hard and viciously, and in fact ultimately won the war, with US support.  There was an Iraqi army of 350,000 men, armed to the teeth with all kinds of advanced weapons.  They had been trained by the United States for over a decade.  They were faced by a couple of thousand lightly armed jihadi’s.  First thing that happened was all the generals ran away. Then all the troops ran away, leaving their weapons behind them. And then the jihadi forces just marched into Mosul and then into large parts of Iraq.  It was a pretty amazing phenomenon, it tells you a lot if you think about it.”

The Guardian would report,

“Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters. Isis extremists roamed freely on Wednesday through the streets of Mosul, openly surprised at the ease with which they took Iraq’s second largest city after three days of sporadic fighting.”(15)

The main discourse on this ‘amazing phenomenon’ has stated a few reasons to explain this event, however virtually no one, besides Professor Michel Chossudovsky, has been asking the obvious questions, “Had the senior Iraqi commanders been instructed by their Western military advisers to hand over the city to the ISIS terrorists? Were they co-opted?”

These questions are highly justified to ask.  Most analyst readily accept that the army was disloyal and unwilling to fight for their cities and thus fled, however asking whether they were instructed to flee is no more far-fetched then these mainstream assumptions.

Still after this the US did not start its airstrikes, it was only after ISIL began to threaten the Kurdish region of Erbil that the US initiated its bombing campaign.  The bombings were started ostensibly to defend the beleaguered Yazidi’s from the oncoming ISIL advance, however the problem with this is that the Yazidi’s were already protected and being escorted off Mt. Sinjar a full 3 days before the first US action; they were already being protected.  The US announced its airstrikes on August the 8th,(16) while the socialist Kurdish PKK fighters had already begun rescuing the Yazidi’s as early as the 5th.(17)

The real reason the US bombed ISIL now and not before was to protect western oil interests located in Erbil,(18)as well as defend the myriad of CIA agents stationed in the region,(19) along with the Israeli intelligence and military operatives conducting anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian operations.(20)  Obama admitted as much, “Obama, in a statement delivered at the White House late Thursday, said that strikes would be launched against extremist convoys “should they move toward” the Kurdish capital of Irbil, where the United States maintains a consulate and a joint operations center with the Iraqi military.”

 “We intend to take action if they threaten our facilities anywhere in Iraq . . . including Irbil and Baghdad,” he said.” (Washington Post, 8/8/14)

Obama was fine with ISIL rampaging through Iraq, killing civilians and pressuring Maliki to resign, until they threatened western oil interests.

Thus the Yazidi’s were saved by the socialists the US says is a terrorist organization, their bombs beginning to drop 3 days after the fact while the Yazidi’s were already safe and being evacuating off the mountain, all in order to protect Chevron and Exxon.(21)(22)

Mission Creep – ISIL Bombings to Justify Military Intervention

It has just been announced on November 12th that Obama is reviewing his ISIL strategy.  “In just the past week, the White House has convened four meetings of the President’s national security team, one of which was chaired by Obama and others that were attended by principals like the secretary of state. These meetings, in the words of one senior official, were “driven to a large degree how our Syria strategy fits into our ISIS strategy.” (23

Given the recent developments, of Nusra and ISIL aligning, of the US-backed rebels freely taking their US-training and US-arms into the ranks of al-Qaeda and ISIL, of how the US covert policy of Syrian regime-changecreated ISIL, with a little help from their Gulf allies, one would perhaps think that the Obama administration would abandon its oil-inspired plan of using virulent Islamic extremists to topple Assad, realize that there has never been a ‘moderate’ rebel force in the region, that Assad, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia are the most capable forces able to defeat the ISIL and have in fact been fighting them and al-Qaeda for over 3 years, and work towards realistically combating terrorism in the region, but you would be gravely mistaken.

“I think the President wants to make sure that we’re asking hard questions about what we’re targeting in Syria, how we’re able to degrade ISIL but also how we’re supporting opposition and building them up as a counterweight to ISIL but also ultimately of course to the Assad regime.”

Assad has been the biggest magnet for extremism in Syria, and the President has made clear that Assad has lost all legitimacy to govern. Alongside our efforts to isolate and sanction the Assad regime, we are working with our allies to strengthen the moderate opposition …”

“Among the options being discussed are a no-fly zone on the border with Turkey and accelerating and expanding the Pentagon program to vet, train and arm the moderate opposition.  Turkey has called for a no-fly zone, both to protect its border and to provide relief to Syrian rebels facing airstrikes from the regime.” (emphasis added)

It should be noted that the Syrian airstrikes are targeting al-Qaeda and ISIL rebels, and that a no-fly zone would protect the terrorists and further endanger the Syrian government along with the beleaguered Syrian population. As for arming more rebels, the evidence is abundantly clear that it was this exact same plan that created ISIL in the first place and encouraged terrorism to thrive in Syria, thus any such plans should be viewed for what they really mean: the Obama administration has chosen to continue supporting and showering weapons upon al-Qaeda linked extremist jihadi’s for the ‘greater good’ of massacring the civilian population, further miring Syria in chaos and turning it into a failed-state, with the end goal of toppling the insubordinate Assad ‘regime.’

We are now witnessing the contours of what many have been warning against all along, that the threat of ISIL and the US bombings that were justified through them, will eventually turn against the Syrian government, which, as stated above, is the real goal here.

The US will continue providing money and weapons to the rebels, never balking when proof after proof comes to light that their ‘vetted’ ‘moderates’ are working alongside al-Qaeda and ISIL, committing the exact same kinds of atrocities as them, and that all of the US-weapons in the region are going to violent extremists who daily murder innocents, rape women and children as young as 15 years old, eat the organs of their victims, and daily terrorize the Syrian population.  Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, who through US oversight are the main actors responsible for aiding and supporting the worst of the extremists, will continue pushing for regime change, pressuring the US to expand its bombs towards Assad.  As the war-hawk Republicans take control of the Senate in a month, with the likes of John McCain heading the Senate Armed Service Committee, the drums of war will continue to be sounded, loyally aided by the sycophantic mainstream media, and all will have forgotten the voices of the Syrian’s themselves; the western hubris justifying these ungodly atrocities under the guise of ‘helping’ and ‘protecting’ the Syrian people, blinded by their imperial greed to the fact that the only ones calling for this ‘help’ are everyone except the Syrians themselves.  It says a lot about one’s stance when regime-change efforts are justified in the name of humanitarian aid the local population while the indigenous Syrian’s themselves are opposed to it, compounded by the fact that such ‘humanitarianism’ involves arming and funding al-Qaeda and ISIL, although in reality, the FSA and SRF, along with all the rest, are themselves no different from the Islamic State.

There is still hope for the Syrians, but it will only be realized once we as western citizens honestly look upon our actions and understand our true role in all of this, and stop pretending to care about the Syrians by supporting an agenda aimed at making them suffer for the geopolitical aims of colonial powers.  We should be willing to accept the hard truths of what we have been involved in, and not be diluted by more comfortable lies of our professed benevolence and high moral intentions.  And not least of all, we should listen to what the Syrians have to say for themselves.

A few lost voices of the Syrian people, courtesy of Eva Bartlett:

 In a different area of Lebanon, I meet another Syrian, this time from the Aleppo outskirts. He is wiry, with grey hair though not yet 50, and a bright face, his presence emanating peace and calm… in spite of what he has gone through and lost.

“It isn’t a revolution,” he says, “What is that? Stealing from us, beheading us, destroying my country?  How is that a revolution? If it was a revolution, you target the government not the people, not the history.”(24)

Over the past two weeks in a small Lebanese village, I’ve gotten to know a number of Syrians, including a family from the Hasaka region in eastern Syria who’ve been pushed out of their village.

They returned six months ago, yearning to see their country, their home. But most people they knew had left, driven out by foreign terrorists. There was nothing left to return to.

“Their two kids help out with work but are otherwise in limbo, not able to continue university here…no money to do so. In Syria, it was virtually free.

Her words:

“We never thought we’d leave Syria, life was good. Everything was cheap, we had security. But we eventually had to…. not because of the government or the Syrian Army, because of the terrorists, mostly al-Nusra then. Now Daesh [ISIS] are there too, but they’re the same anyway.

Before we left, it had gotten to the point where we scarcely had access to water, had little electricity… The terrorists destroyed the power lines. The municipality would repair things and the terrorists would return and destroy them.”(25)

Following an April 21 mortar attack on Bab Touma, which killed 2 and maimed 23, I spoke with shop employees who had been present at the time of the attack. An employee in a shoe shop said:

“It was just after 3 pm, the area was packed with people. It happens a lot, a lot, a lot…all the time. Shrapnel flew everywhere, little bits and pieces. In the last two weeks, around ten mortars have landed in this area. This isn’t a revolution. They’ve come from outside. Do you know how we were living? We had security, work…but, sorry, now?”

“The terrorists know that their mortars accomplish nothing practically, they are just a vengeful act against the people of Damascus for not supporting them. Sometimes they film themselves as evidence of their loyalty, presented to anyone who would sponsor them financially to keep fighting against President Assad.”(26)

Although he chose to stay in the Old City, Father Frans was critical of the insurgents. In January 2012, he hadwritten: “From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

“People in Homs were already armed and prepared before the protests began,” said Kanawati. “If they hadn’t been planning for the protests from the beginning, the people wouldn’t have had the quantity of arms that they had.”

Abu Nabeel explained that in addition to the Hamidiyeh district where various old churches are to be found, Christians in other areas occupied by the armed insurgents also fled. “There were an estimated 100,000 Christians living in the Old City of Homs before it was taken over by terrorists. Most fled in February 2012. By March, only 800 had stayed, and by the end just over 100 remained,” he said.

The siege that the Syrian army enforced on the Old City in an attempt to drive out the insurgents had a drastic effect on the daily lives of those remaining.

“Suddenly, we didn’t have electricity or water. We had to wait for the water trucks to refill tanks,” said Kanawati. “There were many elderly who couldn’t leave their homes. We’d take food and medicine to people in the community.

Mohammed, a Syrian from the Qussoor district of Homs, is now one of the reported 6.5 million internally-displaced Syrians.  He spoke of the sectarian nature of the insurgents and protests from the very beginning in 2011.

 “I was renting a home in a different neighbourhood of Homs, while renovating my own house. Just beyond my balcony there were protests that did not call for ‘freedom’ or even overthrowing the ‘regime’. They chanted sectarian mottos, they said they would fill al-Zahara – an Alawi neighbourhood – with blood. And also al-Nezha – where there are many Alawis and Christians.”

“My aunt lives in another neighbourhood nearby. She’s Allawi and her husband is Sunni. Because she is Allawi, the ‘rebels’ wanted to kill her two sons. I chose Bashar al-Assad, so they said, ‘we will kill you, because you chose him.’”(27)

This is a conversation I had with a Homs man earlier in June. Homs, dubbed by the corporate media the “heart of the ‘revolution’…” hear what he says about freedom and the terrorist-rebels:

“You call for ‘freedom’, so my choice is Bashar al-Assad. This is my choice. ‘No, we must kill you for this choice, because you don’t know….you must die for this choice.’”(28)

“Later, in a convenience store near my crappo apartment-hotel, I chat with Samer, from Jaramana. Things are better he says, and I experienced. Less mortars now. “Udhak alei? You’re laughing at me? Democracry? That’s what this is about?” he says of the corporate media/NGOs/Western line of “human rights” and “freedom and democracy” re Syria.”(29

Back at the simple hotel I’ve stayed in here I see Mahmoud, the young Syrian teen I’d spoken with a couple of times while here last month.

“How’s the situation in Syria?” he asks earnestly when he understands I’ve just come back. I tell him Damascus, while still being mortared by those terrorists, is a little quieter now that the Syrian army has cleared them out of some areas of the Damascus countryside. And I mention that Kasab has now been liberated. “I know! I was hearing that just now on the news,” he says.

I’d been unsure of where he stood politically when I spoke with him before, but tonight he made it clear.

“I haven’t seen my family in three years. Those dogs “Jaysh al Horr” (“Free Syrian Army”) control the area of Ghouta where my family lives. If I go back to Damascus, I can’t see them. If I tried to go to my home, they’d slaughter me. God rid us of those bearded men.”(30)  

Yesterday, meeting with someone to coordinate a visit to an area outside of Damascus, after taking a phone call, he lamented that pretty much no corporate media will cover the story he’s just been reminded of: a man from the Latakia countryside whose male family members were slaughtered and female members kidnapped by foreign mercenaries in August 2013. The man himself has gone blind from an injury at the time. “They don’t want to hear these stories, it doesn’t suit their narrative,” my contact said.”(31)

Back at my hosts’ rented home in a different area of Homs, they show me photos and videos of their own ravaged home, footage which Abu Abdu took himself. He meticulously points out how not only did the “revolutionaries” occupying their home utterly trash and destroy it, but they thieved every conceivable thing from it. “Here, they took the motor to the washing machine. Here, they stripped the fridge of its motor. Here, they took the taps in the kitchen. They stripped the electrical wiring.” Basically, they took anything that could be ripped out of wall or floor that could in any way be sold: metals, piping, wiring…and of course all of the family’s jewelry and valuables

In the video he shows, the bedrooms are so trashed and a hole has been knocked into a wall for passage to the next apartment… you’d think the IOF had been here instead of the “freedom-loving revolutionaries.”(32)

“They want to burn Syria from within, want to leave these factions fighting each until Syria is burned down and Syria is bled-out.”(33)

Even when I’m not “looking” for stories to share from Syrians, they come to me. Sitting at the sea, a young man a few metres away began talking with me after he saw my Syria wrist-band.  I asked a few general questions, and then he let loose on the hell that is life in Halab (Aleppo) with the foreign insurgents. He did so in the same mournful voice that others I’ve met here and in Syria have had, again without the bitterness and anger you’d expect from people suffering so greatly under this manufactured crisis filled with its unending, ghastly atrocities.

He also said what virtually every other Syrian I’ve met has said: “You should have seen Syria before, it was the most beautiful place, the safest place.

Walked into a supermarket which I forgot I’d been to… When I got to the counter I realized he was Abu Mohammed, the new Sweida friend I’d met some days ago, who’d insisted on serving me coffee.

“Hi Ava (Eva, Ava, I like both renditions), I read many things on your blog… what you wrote about Gaza and now about Syria. You wrote the truth about us! Thank you! We want people to know we are not like what the TV says about us.”(34)

Most news accounts of Syria paint a desolate, sectarian country where people in areas secured by the Syrian army are miserable and where people, above all, want to see Bashar al-Assad gone. In all regards I found the opposite. In particular, I found wide-spread, and usually ardent, support for the President.

We also visited two different schools now housing displaced Palestinians and Syrians from Yarmouk. Their words were the same. “The terrorists took over the camp, took over our houses, stole our food. We want the camp back. Tell your governments to tell those terrorists to leave Yarmouk.”

Berwin Ibrahim, chair of the National Youth Party for Justice and Development said, “We don’t agree with the regime on many things, but we insist that our homeland comes first. We have corruption in the government. But that is like any government. The conspiracy, terrorism, and interference from Western countries has united supporters of the government and the opposition,” she said.

One of the opposition who had formally called for Assad to step down, Mohammad Abu Qasem, Secretary General of the Solidarity Party, said, “What’s happening in Syria is international terrorism, with many countries interfering in Syria. Since the elections were announced, the insurgents started working harder in Kasab and in Aleppo.”

Feminist activist, Suheir Sarmini, Deputy Secretary General of the Syrian National Youth Party, said, “President Obama and Congress have armed these gangs to kill our children, our people. Tell Obama and Congress to stop killing the Syrian people and not to interfere in Syrian sovereignty.”

In contrast to accusations that no ‘real’ opposition could exist within Syria, Mazen al-Akhrass, a member of Syria’s NDF and a political analyst, pointed out that two very vocal (and far more critical than those I met) opposition members remain in Syria, unscathed.

Louay Hussein and Hassan Abdul-Azeem are very well known and extremely against the regime, and they ask for more than ‘reforms’. Yet they have been living in Damascus—the “stronghold of the regime”—during the events, and their lives weren’t threatened. They are not in jail, and at this point they seem to have settled for partial reforms as a step towards full regime change.”

We met with Syria’s Grand Mufti, Dr. Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun. He spoke of the need for reconciliation and forgiveness amongst Syrians. He’s notable for walking the talk: Sheik Hassoun’s 21 year old son Sarya was assassinated in October 2011, on the same day that it was announced he’d be engaged ; during the funeral, while sobbing, the Mufti called for forgiveness and reconciliation, even for those who murdered his son.

“All of the churches and mosques that have been destroyed, we can rebuild. But who will bring back our children? Who will bring back my son Saria? When we have violation against any child, it is a violation against God. 

He mentioned that in March he’d been granted a prestigious Italian peace prize, by The Ducci Foundation, for his non-sectarian preaching of interfaith peace. But the Mufti never got to Rome.

“I was granted a visa for only ten days. They were afraid I’d stay longer. But Europeans are among those killing our people. If all the Syrian people die, it’s okay, no problem, just to keep their oil. I reject this ‘democracy’. We in Syria are not Sunni or Shia or Allawi nor Muslim nor Christian. We are human beings and must be respected. They want to start a religious war. We are going to extinguish this fire.”

On a personal note, I’d echo the Mufti’s call, and those of so many others I met in Syria. Come to Syria, see for yourselves. Very quickly you can get a taste of the senseless mortars, and the horrific testimonies of those assaulted by foreign mercenaries and takfiri ideologists. But also of the strength and resistance that is the Syrian people, who don’t intend any time soon to fall to occupation, and who will vote for President Assad in June.”(35)

Steven Chovanec is an independent geopolitical analyst based in Chicago, IL.  He is an undergraduate of International Studies at Roosevelt University and is a regular writer and blogger on geopolitics and important social matters.  His writings can be found at undergroundreports.blogspot.com, find him on Twitter @stevechovanec.