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August 21st, 2012 by Global Research

The New York Times published a front-page article on August 16 reporting that the US Justice Department is preparing to end a ten-month criminal investigation into the collapse of the Wall Street brokerage firm MF Global without charging the company or any of its employees.

This is despite what the Times called the “disappearance” of some $1 billion in customer money that emerged when the firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last October 31. MF Global raided clients’ accounts in an attempt to meet margin calls in the days leading up to its collapse. The newspaper reports that $175 million of this stolen money went to JPMorgan Chase.

The failure of the firm, on the other hand, left “farmers and other customers out millions,” according to the Times report.

Nevertheless, the company and its former chairman and CEO Jon Corzine are likely to be given a free pass by the government. The Times cited “people involved in the case who spoke on condition of anonymity,” making clear that news of the government whitewash had been deliberately leaked, presumably in an effort to prepare public opinion and dampen popular outrage.

The Times is no doubt also motivated by concerns over the impact on the Obama reelection campaign of yet another official cover-up of Wall Street criminality, given that Corzine is a former Democratic senator and governor of New Jersey and a top fundraiser for the Obama campaign. He hosted Obama’s first reelection fund-raising event at his Fifth Avenue apartment overlooking Central Park in Manhattan.

Failure to prosecute the multi-millionaire Goldman Sachs CEO (1994-1999)-turned Democratic office-holder will create difficulties for a campaign based—absurdly and cynically—on casting Obama as a quasi-populist alternative to his pro-Wall Street opponent.

Exactly one week before the appearance of the Times article on MF Global, the Justice Department announced it was ending a criminal investigation into securities fraud by Goldman Sachs and would not bring charges against the bank or any of its employees. In doing so, it spurned the recommendations of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which released a voluminous report last year documenting in detail how Goldman fraudulently offloaded toxic mortgage holdings onto investors and failed to tell them it was betting that the investments it was marketing would fail.

That same day, August 9, Goldman reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had ended a separate probe of a sub-prime mortgage deal stemming from 2006 and had decided to take no action. (See: “A law unto themselves,” http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/aug2012/pers-a15.shtml).

In the figure of Corzine, key aspects of the criminalization of the US ruling elite and the thoroughgoing corruption of its political system, including the incestuous ties between Wall Street and the Democratic Party, come together. Corzine embodies the financial parasites at the top 0.01 percent of the income scale whose swindling precipitated the global economic crisis and who have, with the assistance of the Obama administration, further enriched themselves from the social catastrophe they produced.

In his career, he personifies the revolving door between the boardroom and government office and the domination of the political system and both major parties by Wall Street. After being forced out of Goldman Sachs in 1999, Corzine used $62 million of the $400 million fortune he had accumulated to get himself elected US senator from New Jersey.

In 2005, he used another $38 million of his own money to win the state house in New Jersey. As governor, he imposed brutal cuts in health care, pensions, higher education and aid to the cities, as well as slashing 5,000 state jobs. As a result, he lost his reelection bid in 2009 to Republican Chris Christie.

In March of 2010 he became chairman and CEO of MF Global. He began making enormous bets with borrowed funds that the sovereign debt of countries such as Spain and Italy would not collapse, including a single bet of $6.3 billion—six times MF Global’s capital. When the firm reported a second quarter 2011 loss of nearly $190 million due to the worsening of the European debt crisis, investor confidence in the company collapsed.

Nevertheless, in the 18 months he headed the firm before running it into the ground, Corzine took in $14.25 million in total compensation. The August 16 New York Times article reports that Corzine is now considering launching a hedge fund.

The refusal of the government to prosecute MF Global or Goldman Sachs and their respective executives is anything but an aberration. Nearly four years since the Wall Street crash of September 2008, not a single high-ranking banker has been criminally prosecuted, let alone jailed.

Federal regulators have refused even to hold civil trials for bankers up to their necks in corrupt and illegal practices. Instead, the government has arranged one settlement after another in which financial firms and executives paid token fines and in return were let off without admitting guilt.

The Obama administration has brokered the following major settlements:

* In July 2010, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $550 million in a settlement with the SEC on charges of misleading buyers of mortgage-related investments.

* In October 2010, Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo agreed to pay $67.5 million to settle an SEC investigation into fraud and insider trading practices in the sub-prime mortgage market.

* In March 2011, the Justice Department dropped a criminal probe of Mozilo without laying any charges.

* In June 2011, JPMorgan Chase paid $153.6 million to settle a civil fraud case with the SEC.

* In July 2011, Citigroup settled a civil fraud case with the SEC for $75 million.

* In February 2012, the Obama administration brokered a settlement with Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial over rampant fraud and forgery in the processing of foreclosure documents. The banks were penalized a combined $25 billion—only $5 billion of it in cash—in return for the quashing of 49 state investigations with the potential for tens of billions in fines. The settlement enabled the banks to accelerate their foreclosing of homeowners.

The record speaks for itself. The American financial aristocracy is above the law. It lies, steals, cheats and destroys livelihoods with impunity, protected by its bribed political representatives. It has turned the economy into its personal gambling casino, secure in the knowledge that its losses will be covered by public funds.

Four days after 34 of their comrades were massacred by heavily armed police, striking South African platinum miners defied a company ultimatum to return to work Monday or be fired.

Stating that barely 27 percent of the workforce had reported to the Marikana mine on Monday, the mine’s owner, London-based mining conglomerate Lonmin, was forced to back off of its threat. It issued a statement saying that no one would be fired for not having gone back into the mine and set a new deadline of Tuesday morning.

The mine was unable to resume any production Monday, as rock drill operators, some 3,000 of whom have been on strike since August 10, refused to end their action. These workers, among the most brutally exploited in South Africa, are indispensable for digging new platinum out of the ground.

Thousands of strikers returned to the hill overlooking the mine where the massacre took place on Monday. The area remains a “bloody battlefield,” according to a report published Monday in the South African Mail & Guardian.

“Bloodied pieces of clothing littered the ground and surrounding bushes, while fresh yellow paint marked the areas where dead bodies were strewn,” the newspaper reported. An empty teargas canister was discarded close to one of the yellow paint markings, and nearby a spent flare was played with by a group of children.”

It was here last Thursday that an army of police backed by helicopters and armored vehicles used tear gas, water cannon and stun grenades to disperse the strikers, driving one group into a waiting phalanx of cops armed with automatic weapons and live ammunition. Sustained and random gunfire continued even after scores of the strikers fell dead and wounded in scenes that called to mind the historic massacres perpetrated by the former apartheid regime in Sharpeville and Soweto.

Workers who spoke to South African media were clearly angry and bitter at both the African National Congress government for organizing this bloodletting and the company, Lonmin, for treating their demands with contempt and ordering them to end their strike or lose their jobs, under conditions where the blood of their co-workers is still not dry.

“Expecting us to go back is like an insult. Many of our friends and colleagues are dead, then they expect us to resume work. Never,” Zachariah Mbewu, one of the strikers, told the South African Press Association (SAPA). “Some are in prison and hospitals. The worker added, “We are going back to the mountain, not underground, unless management gives us what we want.”

“Are they also going to fire the ones who are in hospitals and lying in mortuaries?” asked another striker, Thapelo Modima. “It is better to be fired anyway because we are suffering, our lives won’t change. Lonmin does not care about our well-being. They have so far refused to hear us out, only sending police to kill us.”

Yandisa Matomela, who does casual labor at nearby mines and joined the rock drill operators’ struggle, told the Mail & Guardian: “The government is under the ANC so it’s the ANC that killed those people. They don’t care about us. Government is looking after the mine, that’s why the police are here. More people will die but nothing will happen.”

While South African President Jacob Zuma declared a week of national mourning, the actions of the ANC government have made it abundantly clear that it and its key allies, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) union federation, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Stalinists of the South African Communist Party, stand fully behind the massacre.

In announcing the period of mourning, Zuma declared: “We must avoid finger-pointing and recrimination. We must unite against violence from whatever quarter. We must reaffirm our belief in peace, stability and order and in building a caring society free of crime and violence.”

Of course, the “violence” he was speaking of was not the bloody repression carried out by his own security forces, but the actions of workers, not only the platinum miners, but also impoverished township residents who have carried out militant protests over their abysmal living conditions. As for “finger-pointing,” the ANC government is going much further than that, scapegoating and persecuting the victims of the massacre while defending those who carried it out.

The Sowetan newspaper Monday quoted Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, a former banker who has been in her post for only about two months, as telling police that they shouldn’t worry about the mass killings in Marikana. “Safety of the public is not negotiable,” she said. “Don’t be sorry about what happened.”

Meanwhile, the government has made it clear it will show no mercy to 260 strikers arrested on the day of the massacre. They were brought aboard police buses, escorted by armored cars, to a court in the Pretoria township of Ga-Rankuwa on Monday morning under conditions that resembled a state of siege.

Police drove over 100 supporters of the miners out of the courthouse and into the street before the workers were brought in on the buses, from which they could be heard singing. The supporters, many of them women still trying to locate missing husbands and sons, held placards with slogans such as “Free the innocent workers.” Some fell to the street weeping as the column bearing the prisoners passed.

“Police officers holding shields formed a barricade at the court entrance,” the SAPA news agency reported. “The first lot of the mineworkers, walking in single file, filled the left side of the courtroom benches, which had been reserved for them. Some of them held hands. There were bloodstains on some of their clothes.”

Defense lawyers pointed out that the miners, who are being charged with crimes ranging from murder to public violence and robbery, had not been brought before a judge within 48 hours of their arrest, as required under South African law. The prosecution argued against letting the miners, some of them immigrants from neighboring African countries, free on bail, insisting that they had no known addresses. The defense countered that the shacks in which the workers sleep between their shifts are addresses and that they deserved the right to bail. The workers were sent back to prison, with the judge granting a seven-day postponement for further investigation and still more charges to be brought.

The government also announced the formation of a “task force” to investigate the issues that led up to the massacre. It is to include Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, Labor Minister Mildred Oliphant, the Chamber of Mines and other big business representatives, and the National Union of Mineworkers, whose leadership has been attempting from the outset to break the strike.

Excluded from these deliberations is the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the union that represents the striking rock drill operators, and which has been vilified by the NUM for opposing the larger ANC affiliated union’s collaboration with the mine bosses and the government.

The NUM has publicly denounced the strikers as “criminals” and the AMCU as “anarchists” and “ringleaders” who should be jailed and punished.

Together with the South African Communist Party (SACP), which along with COSATU is part of the tripartite alliance that is the political foundation of ANC rule, these union officials have played the most criminal role in justifying the massacre and denouncing its victims.

NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni issued a videotaped statement on the union’s web site Monday warning against “those dark forces who mislead our members, make them to believe that they’ve got extra power to make their life to be different overnight,” referring to the AMCU and other more militant unions.

COSATU said it “reiterates its call for workers to observe maximum discipline and unity in the face of a ruthless attempt to divide and weaken them” and declared its “full support” for the NUM’s “efforts to resolve the situation.” These efforts consisted of justifying the massacre in advance and then sending the NUM president to address the strikers over a bullhorn from the inside of a police armored car, demanding that they disperse. He was driven off by the workers.

The foulest reaction has been that of the Stalinists of the SACP, who have openly defended the massacre. The SACP in the North West province, where the slaughter took place, accused the leaders of the striking workers—not the police—of carrying out a “barbaric act” and demanded their arrest.

SACP official Dominic Tweedie was quoted as saying: “This was no massacre, this was a battle. The police used their weapons in exactly the way they were supposed to. That’s what they have them for. The people they shot didn’t look like workers to me. We should be happy. The police were admirable.”

In its official statement issued on August 19, the SACP called for a commission of inquiry being set up by President Zuma to turn its attention not to the lethal violence of the police, but to “the pattern of violence associated with the pseudo-trade union AMCU” and urged it to specifically investigate its president, Joseph Mathunjwa. Describing those who opposed the domination of the NUM as “demagogic” and “anarchic,” it claimed that the rival union was a creation of the mining companies.

These vicious attacks are a measure of the crisis within the ruling ANC and its cohorts in the NUM-COSATU union apparatus as well the Stalinist SACP. This crisis is driven by the growing militancy of the working class and its resistance to the attempt by these forces to subordinate its interests to the government and the transnational corporations and domestic capitalists that it represents.

The massacre at Marikana has served both to shock popular consciousness in South Africa and severely discredit this reactionary political alliance, together with the corrupt layer of ex-union officials and ANC politicians turned millionaires that it has spawned.

Stop the spread of war in the Middle East

August 21st, 2012 by Stop the War Coalition

The threat of a new level of Western intervention in Syria grew yesterday when Barack Obama claimed the threat of any use of chemical weapons Syria was “a red line for us”, adding that even movement of these kind of weapons “would change my calculations significantly.” (see http://bit.ly/QVRLgn)

Hillary Clinton announced in Istanbul that “very intensive operational planning” for military action in Syria would take place involving Turkish and US military and intelligence officials.  She went on to say, “we have been closely co-ordinating over the course of this conflict, but now we need to get into the real details.” (See Chris Nineham‘s article: “How the US and its allies are inching towards more direct intervention in Syria”: http://bit.ly/Rdcctl)

Meanwhile, Israel is using the Syrian conflict to raise the stakes over Iran. Last week, the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak have set a deadline of 25 September for Obama to clearly state that the US will take military action. (See http://bit.ly/SgL89F)

Stop the War is calling on all its groups and supporters to campaign against further war in the Middle East. Public meetings and other events are being organised around the country in September and October. (see http://bit.ly/qrKPEM)

A fact sheet on the Syrian situation is available on the Stop the War website. (see http://bit.ly/NlVuDp)

Please get involved in our campaign by contacting us in the office by phone or e-mail or your local group.

Iran and the 2012 Olympics

August 21st, 2012 by Kourosh Ziabari

For the Iranian people, the 2012 Olympic Games in London which wrapped up earlier on August 12 was thoroughly different from the previous editions of the summer Olympics. This year’s games came on the heels of a set of biting sanctions by the United States and European Union against Iran’s banking, insurance, transportation and oil sector which have dramatically crippled Iran’s economy and severely affected the innocent civilians.

While Israel, Iran’s traditional arch foe, has been intensively lobbying to convince the U.S. Congress to adopt more backbreaking economic sanctions on Iran and further isolate it over its nuclear program, the successful and unprecedented performance of Iranian athletes in London effectively appeased the country’s innumerable excruciating wounds.

The Iranian delegation to the 2012 Olympics snatched 12 medals, including 4 golds, in weightlifting, wrestling, taekwondo and athletics and came 17th in the medal table among some 204 participating nations, recording Iran’s best all-time performance in the Olympic Games.

For Iranians, every medal in such an important and defining event like Olympics means a hoisting of the country’s flag before the eyes of millions of international viewers and most importantly, every gold medal means that the people around the world will respectfully listen to your national anthem. In the time that the Western diplomats avoid hosting their Iranian counterparts and shun them in different meetings and spare no efforts to make sure that Iran is an isolated nation, they’re the athletes who bear the burden of promoting the name of their country and making their people proud and cheerful.

Zahra Kazemi Aliabad, a postgraduate student of English literature and a freelance journalist believes that the Iranian athletes performed in the 2012 Olympics brilliantly and brought glory and credit to the country: “I’m really proud that I’m an Iranian citizen. The Iranian sportsmen showed a fantastic performance. If you look at the Olympics medal table, you will find out that we stand above many prosperous and economically progressive nations such as Spain, Brazil, South Africa, Denmark, Turkey, Switzerland and Canada.”

“The U.S. and Israeli politicians are going through fire and water to convince the world leaders to boycott the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran. They already succeeded in dissuading Ban Ki Moon from attending. Their sole objective is to bring Iran to isolation. If they had the choice, they would even bar the Iranian athletes from international sports events, but Iranians’ glorious success in Olympics really disappointed them,” she added.

The 22-year-old blogger Mohammad Hossein Nikzad wrote a post on his weblog Aghalliyat (the minority) before the games started and called Olympics a precious opportunity for “cultural diplomacy.”

“Olympic is a platform and a free tribune for introducing Iranian culture [to the world]. More than 10 thousand athletes from different countries take part and the whole world is paying attention to the event. The country that performs in the games better can surely promote its culture more effectively and gain international prestige and credibility,” he wrote.

“Our responsibility is to categorically support our athletes and promote and talk about their successes in the mass media… of course we can not surpass a country like China which is a sports stronghold, but we can at least outperform weaker countries which usually grab numerous medals in the Olympic Games and make their people feel honored,” he added.

Following the conclusion of the games and once the Iranian delegation returned from London, the society was tremendously filled with joy and a communal feeling of delight. The mass media gave extensive coverage to the 12 medalists and invited them for interviews on different radio, TV stations and newspapers. The vivacious Persian blogsphere was also happy with the news that Iranian caravan finished 17th among the 204 participating nations, especially given the huge economic, political pressures which the country has been withstanding for a long time.

Hamid Sourian, Iran’s 55-kg Greco-roman wrestler and five-time world champion who clutched the first gold medal in the games for Iran updated his newly-established blog from London on July 6, expressing his satisfaction with the victory which ended his disappointing Olympics medal drought.

In his blog post titled “semi-declaration,” which received 1165 comments from the visitors, Sourian wrote, “I was flooded by your invaluable kindness. Had it not been your prayers and good wishes, it would have not been possible for me to make the achievement. I should make sure that this medal would not make me arrogant so that I might forget the Almighty God and the people who always stand shoulder by shoulder with me.”

The world wrestling giant wrote that he personally moderates all the comments he receives and even though he cannot personally reply to all of them, he reads them one by one and is always “thankful to the committed people for the compassion they show to him.”

Abolghasem Bayyenat, an Iranian political commentator and Ph.D candidate of political science at Maxwell School of Syracuse University also believes that the 2012 Olympics was an auspicious event for the Iranians: “The recent Olympic games fostered national cohesion in Iran in two important ways. First, international sports events in general have the function of raising national consciousness. The broader the contexts in which individuals find themselves the broader the scope of their in-group identification would be.”

“Sub-national group identifications, such as ethnic, sectarian and partisan identities, become less salient in an international context while national identities gain increased salience. It is in this line that during the recent Olympic Games Iranians, more than any other time in recent months or years, identified themselves along national lines rather than sub-national ones. The people of Iran thought of themselves more as Iranians rather than as Azeris, Kurds, Persians, Turkmans, Baluchs or other ethnicities,” he added.

“Second, people tend to identify more with groups which provide them with higher levels of honor and relative worth, if they have a choice. Iranian athletes performed far better in the recent Olympics games than any other neighboring country which share the same ethnicity with Iranian ethnic groups,” he wrote. “Being Iranian served as a source of pride for the nationals of Iran as, in overall terms, the Iranian team outperformed all Iran’s neighboring countries as well as many developed countries by a wide margin in the recent Olympic games. Thus, regardless of their political, ethnic and sectarian affiliations, Iranians felt proud to be Iranian as their national identity provided them with more honor than their sub-national identities.”

All in all, the 2012 Olympics was a dramatic scene for the Iranian people to regain their sense of dignity and honor in view of the increasing pressure on their country over its nuclear program. While the country’s politicians face a daunting job in resisting the mounting economic and political pressures, the Iranian athletes performed fantastically, proving that it’s not too easy to take Iran off the international equations.

On August 4, 1946 over one thousand miners assembled in Market Square in Johannesburg, South Africa. No hall in the town was big enough to hold them, and no one would have rented one to them anyway. The miners were members of the African Mine Worker’s Union (AMWU), a non-European union which was formed five years earlier in order to address the 12 to 1 pay differential between white and black mineworkers. The gathering carried forward just one unanimous resolution: African miners would demand a minimum wage of ten shillings (about 1 Rand) per day. If the Transvaal Chamber of Mines did not meet this demand, all African mine workers would embark on a general strike immediately. Workers mounted the platform one after the other to testify: “When I think of how we left our homes in the reserves, our children naked and starving, we have nothing more to say. Every man must agree to strike on 12 August. It is better to die than go back with empty hands.” The progressive Guardian newspaper reported an old miner getting to his feet and addressing his comrades: “We on the mines are dead men already!”[1]

The massacre of 45 people, including 34 miners, at Marikana in the North West province is an inevitable outcome of a system of production and exploitation that has historically treated human life as cheap and disposable. If there is a central core – a stem in relation to which so many other events are branches – that runs through South African history, it is the demand for cheap labour for South Africa’s mines. “There is no industry of the size and prosperity of this that has managed its cheap labour policy so successfully,” wrote Ruth First in reference to the Chamber of Mines ability to pressure the government for policies that displaced Africans from their land and put them under the boot of mining bosses.[2]

Masters and Servants

Mechanisms such as poll and hut taxes, pass laws, Masters and Servants Acts and grinding rural poverty were all integral in ensuring a cheap and uninterrupted supply of labour for the mines. Pass laws were created in order to forge a society in which farm work or mining was the only viable employment options for the black population. And yet the low wages and dangerous work conditions kept many within the country away, forcing the Chamber of Mines to recruit labour from as far afield as Malawi and China throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Sordid deals between Portuguese East Africa and Apartheid South Africa ensured forced labour to be recruited for the mines and by 1929 there were 115,000 Mozambicans working underground. “It has been said,” wrote First in her study of migrant Mozambican miners, “that the wealth of Reef gold mines lies not in the richness of the strike but in the low costs of production kept down by cheap labour.”[3]

When AMWU was formed in 1941 black miners earned 70 Rand a year while white workers received 848 Rand. White miners had been organized for many years, but there was little solidarity between the two groups as evidenced by the 1922 Rand Rebellion led by the whites-only Mine Workers Union. White miners went on strike against management’s attempt at weakening the colour bar in order to facilitate the entry of cheaper black labour into skilled positions. Supported by the Communist Party of South Africa under the banner of “Unite and Fight for a White South Africa!” the rebellion was viciously crushed by the state leaving over 200 dead. The growth of non-European unions in the 1940s was dramatic and for the very first time the interests of African mineworkers were on the table. Their demands threatened the very foundations of the cheap labour system, and so in 1944 Prime Minister Jan Smuts tabled the War Measure 1425 preventing a gathering of 20 or more on mine property. Despite these difficulties the union pressed on and in 1946 they approached the Chamber of Mines with their demand for wage increases. A letter calling for last minute negotiations with the Chamber of Mines was, as usual, ignored.

By August 12th tens-of-thousands of black miners were on strike from the East to the West Rand. The state showed the utmost brutality, chasing workers down mineshafts with live ammunition and cracking down on potential sympathy strikes in the city of Johannesburg. By August 16th the state had bludgeoned 100,000 miners back to work and nine lay dead. Throughout the four-day strike hundreds of trade union leaders were arrested, with the central committee of the Communist Party and local ANC leaders arrested and tried for treason and sedition. The violence came on the cusp of the 1948 elections, which would see further repression and the beginning of the country’s anti-communist hysteria.

National Union of Mineworkers Poster on Fortieth Anniversary of 1946 Strike.

While it did not succeed in its immediate aims, the strike was a watershed moment in South African politics and would forever change the consciousness of the labour movement. Thirty years late Monty Naicker, one of the leading figures in the South African Indian Congress, argued that the strike “transformed African politics overnight. It spelt the end of the compromising, concession-begging tendencies that dominated African politics. The timid opportunism and begging for favours disappeared.”[4] The Native Representative Council, formed by the state in 1937 to address the age old ‘native question,’ disbanded on August 15th and ANC president Dr. A.B. Xuma reiterated the demand for “recognition of African trade unions and adequate wages for African workers including mineworkers.”[5]

The 1946 mineworkers strike was the spark that ignited the anti-apartheid movement. The ANC Youth League’s 1949 Program of Action owes much to the militancy of these workers as does the Defiance Campaign of the 1950s and the emergence of the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) in the 1960s. It is too early to say what sort of impact the current Lonmin strike will have on South African politics, but it seems unlikely that it will be as transformative as those of the past. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), arguably the heirs to the 1946 strike are currently engaged in a series of territorial disputes with the breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). Meanwhile COSATU’s muted response has echoed the ANC’s line of equal-culpability and half-mast public mourning. The increasingly incoherent South African Communist Party has called for the arrest of AMCU leaders with some of its so-called cadres defending the police action. Former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s plea for miners to hold the line and form a more militant union reek of political opportunism.

Still Dependant on Cheap and Flexible Labour

What no one has dared to say, aside from the miners themselves, is that the mining industry remains dependant on cheap and flexible labour, much of it continuing to come from neighbouring countries. This has historically been the source of most miner’s grievances. A recent Bench Marks Foundation study of platinum mines in the North West province uncovered a number of factors linked to rising worker discontent in the region. Lonmin was singled out as a mine with high levels of fatalities, very poor living conditions for workers and unfulfilled community demands for employment. Perhaps most significant is the fact that almost a third of Lonmin’s workforce is employed through third party contractors.[6] This form of employment is not new in the mining industry. In fact, since minerals were discovered in the 19th century labour recruiters have scoured the southern half of the continent for workers. The continued presence of these ‘labour brokers’ on the mines and the ANC’s unwillingness to ban them – opting instead for a system of increasing regulation – is the bloody truth of South Africa’s so-called ‘regulated flexibility.’

There are a number other findings from the Bench Marks study that are worth mentioning as they illuminate some of the real grievances that have been lost amid photos of waving pangas. The number of fatalities at Lonmin has doubled since January 2011, and the company has consistently ignored community calls for employment, favouring contractors and migrant workers. A visit by the Bench Marks Foundation research team to Marikana revealed:

“A proliferation of shacks and informal settlements, the rapid deterioration of formal infra-structure and housing in Marikana itself, and the fact that a section of the township constructed by Lonmin did not have electricity for more than a month during the time of our last visit. At the RDP Township we found broken down drainage systems spilling directly into the river at three different points.”[7]

In fact, the study predicted further violent protests at Marikana in the coming year. The mass dismissal of 9000 workers in May last year inflamed already tense relations between the community and the mine as dismissed workers lost their homes in the company’s housing scheme.

Once again, these facts are hardly new in the world of South African mining. Behind the squalid settlements that surround the mineshafts there are immense profits to be made. In recent years the platinum mining industry has prospered like no other thanks to the increased popularity of platinum jewellery and the use of the metal in vehicle exhaust systems in the United State and European countries. Production increased by 60 per cent between 1980 and 1994, while the price soared almost fivefold. The value of sales, almost all exported, thus increased to almost 12 per cent of total sales by the mining industry. The price rose so dramatically throughout the 1990s that it is on par with gold as the country’s leading mineral export.[8] South Africa’s platinum industry is the largest in the world and in 2011 reported total revenues of $13.3-billion, which is expected to increase by 15.8% over the next five years. Lonmin itself is one of the largest producers of platinum in the world, and the bulk of its tonnage comes from the Marikana mine. The company recorded revenues of $1.9-billion in 2011, an increase of 25.7%, the majority of which would come from the Marikana shafts.[9]

For risking mutilation and death underground workers at Marikana made only 4000 Rand, or $480 a month. As one miner told South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper that, “It’s better to die than to work for that shit … I am not going to stop striking. We are going to protest until we get what we want. They have said nothing to us. Police can try and kill us but we won’t move.” These expressions of frustration and anger could be from 1922, 1946 or today. They are scathing indictments of an industry that continues to treat its workers as disposable and a state that upholds apartheid’s cheap labour policies. •

Chris Webb is a postgraduate student at York University, Toronto where he is researching labour restructuring in South African agriculture. He can be reached at christopherswebb_AT_yahoo.ca.


1. Monty Naicker, “The African Miners Strike of 1946,” 1976.

2. Ruth First, “The Gold of Migrant Labour,” Spearhead, 1962.

3. Ruth First, “The Gold of Migrant Labour,” Spearhead, 1962.

4. Monty Naicker, “The African Miners Strike of 1946,” 1976.

5. Dr. A.B. Xuma quoted in Monty Naicker, “The African Miners Strike of 1946.”

6. The Bench Marks Foundation, “Communities in the Platinum Minefields,” 2012.

7. The Bench Marks Foundation, “Communities in the Platinum Minefields,” 2012.

8. Charles Feinstein, An Economic History of South Africa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, 211.

9. Marketline Advantage Reports on South Africa’s Platinum Group Metals, 2011.

Who is Really Waging War on Syria?

August 21st, 2012 by Boris Volkhonsky

German spies, stationed on ships off the Syrian coast, are transmitting intelligence to the FSA to aid in their campaign against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) agents use high-tech equipment enabling them to observe troop movements as far inland as 600 kilometers. Later, this information is passed to US and British intelligence officers who pass it on to FSA.

[I]n this war the West is siding with forces it has been so keen to fight since 2001. The Jabhat al-Nusra is not just one of the anti-Assad groups (who are, by definition, good guys), but a jihadist group suspected of affiliations to al-Qaeda.

As reported by the Sunday Times, British intelligence on Syrian troop movements is helping rebels launch successful attacks on regime forces. The newspaper quoted a Syrian opposition official who said that British authorities “know about and approve 100%” the intelligence from their Cyprus military bases being passed through Turkey to the rebel troops of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

According to the official, the most valuable information has been on the movements of troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad towards the town of Aleppo. The information the rebels get from British intelligence through Turkey enabled them, among other things, to ambush troops and a column of more than 40 tanks in a valley near Saraqib. “We cut them off and destroyed many of them with repeat attacks with rocket-propelled grenades.” said the official.

Also on Sunday, the German newspaper Bild also revealed that Germany is much more active in Syria than was previously believed. German spies, stationed on ships off the Syrian coast, are transmitting intelligence to the FSA to aid in their campaign against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) agents use high-tech equipment enabling them to observe troop movements as far inland as 600 kilometers. Later, this information is passed to US and British intelligence officers who pass it on to FSA.

The German newspaper also quotes an unnamed US intelligence official as saying that “No Western intelligence service has such good sources inside Syria” as Germany’s BND.

The information really has a twofold impact.

On the one hand, it obviously shows that the West is in fact totally ignoring the UN resolutions on Syria which exclude any outside interference. While starting open warfare would require a UN Security Council approval, the West is conducting clandestine operations and supplying arms to the rebels. How far are NATO countries from openly admitting that they already have both feet in the Syrian civil war still remains an open question.

But there remains another question that the NATO strategists are probably reluctant to face – let alone answer it. In the past one and a half year (or, probably even more) the West has spent a lot of resources on its attempts to picture the Syrian president as not just a bad guy, but likely the worst ever seen in the region.

That, by definition, would presuppose that the rebels fighting Bashar Assad are good guys. Otherwise it would be too difficult to sell to the public the fact that the West is supporting them.

But as events in Libya and other Arabic countries have shown, the forces triumphing after the oppressive regimes are toppled are far from even distantly resembling the ideals of “democracy” propagated by the West. In Syria, where sectarian differences are greater than anywhere in the Middle East (possibly excluding Lebanon), the task of finding real “good guys” seems even harder. While the West is obsessed with the idea of toppling Bashar Assad, it will continue to turn a blind eye to the fact. But once (and if) it succeeds, the outcome might be even more dreadful than whatever atrocities are now ascribed to the Syrian “dictator”.

This fact is already beginning to dawn upon at least some members of the Western media community. On Monday, the Washington Post published a story about one of the groups within the Syrian opposition movement. The group, the al-Nusra Front for the Protection of the People of the Levant, popularly known as the Jabhat al-Nusra, is fielding scores of fighters, some of them foreigners, in the battle for Aleppo, and reportedly in other locations, too.

The fact that it recruits foreigners does not seem strange in the context of the above information on foreign aid to the rebels. Indeed, the war in Syria has ceased to be a civil war and is turning into a combined operation of outside forces.

But what is more important is the fact that in this war the West is siding with forces it has been so keen to fight since 2001. The Jabhat al-Nusra is not just one of the anti-Assad groups (who are, by definition, good guys), but a jihadist group suspected of affiliations to al-Qaeda. And, according to the Washington Post, it is gaining prominence in the war to topple the current regime in Syria.

So, the question that remains unanswered is the following – what will the US and its NATO allies do after they manage to topple Bashar al-Assad? And what if the virus of the anti-establishment militancy spreads to the countries the West would not like to be infected, like Saudi Arabia and its Gulf satellites. There is little reason to mourn the Saudi regime, but there may be reason to be wary of the forces that might replace it.

Boris Volkhonsky, senior research fellow, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies 

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To keep “all options on the table” in the U.S. – Israel plans to change the incumbent Syrian and Iranian regimes and neutralize what both Te;l Aviv and Washington perceive as an imminent “threat” is a formula missing the only feasible option to defuse their perceived threat peacefully, which is obviously much cheaper in money and human souls.

On August 19, Israeli former head of the Operations Directorate of the Israeli military, Maj. Gen. (res.) Uri Saguy, wrote in Haaretz that late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak “Rabin strove to achieve agreements with our neighbors before the Iranians got a bomb. If we had peace accords today with the Arab countries and with the Palestinians, what exactly would the Iranians’ conflict with us be about?”

Giving priority to making peace with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian people on the land – for – peace basis, which is the essence of the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by the 22 – member states of the Arab League in 2002, would disarm Iran of its Arab, Palestinian credentials and create a new regional environment that would in turn render any Arab alliance with Iran unnecessary and would uncover Iranian regional expansion as an endeavor sought per se by Tehran.

Instead, Israel is running away from peace making to warmongering, risking embroilment of the United States in a war on Iran that Washington does not want, at least for now.

Four-star chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said on August 19 that he has been conferring with his Israeli counterpart Benny Gantz on a regular “bi-weekly” basis and “we’ve admitted to each other that our clocks are turning at different rates.” Israel’s envoy to Washington, Michael Oren, acknowledged in a CNN interview the following day that Israel ‘s clock was ticking faster than Washington ‘s.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali “Khamenei has not [“probably”] given orders to start building a [nuclear] weapon,” according to Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak in a CNN interview on April 20; His Iranian counterpart Ahmad Vahidi this week dismissed Israeli warmongering as “psychological war;” General Martin Dempsey cautioned against an Israeli strike saying it would not destroy Iran’s nuclear program; President Shimon Peres last week joined senior security, military and political experts to warn against a unilateral Israeli strike not coordinated with the U.S.

In the RAND Review for spring this year, Ambassador James Dobbins, who directs RAND’s international security and defense policy center, and three expert analysts argued that “an Israeli or American attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would make it more, not less, likely that the Iranian regime would decide to produce and deploy nuclear weapons. Such an attack would also make it more, not less, difficult to contain Iranian influence.”

Nonetheless, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has been beating the drums of war, linking the Iranian “threat” to a second holocaust (a comparison dismissed by Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel). His newly appointed home front defense minister, Avi Dichter, says, “ Israel ’s existence is threatened.” Israel ’s top-tier missile defense system was announced upgraded and missile alert system tested. In a nationwide experiment to continue through Thursday, text messages warning of incoming missiles are being sent to cellphone users. Gas mask centers have already distributed more than four million masks.

Israeli warmongering is creating, in Saguy’s words, an “orchestrated and purposely timed hysteria” in Israel as if “someone is lighting a fire, then yelling that it has to put out.”

Financial markets are shivering, foreign investors are on guard, Israeli new shekel is growing increasingly weaker against the dollar and Pnina Grinbaum, a 55-year-old government clerk in Jerusalem , was quoted by the Associated Press on August 16 as saying: “I’m very afraid. I want peace, not war.”

The international stand – off on Iran ’s nuclear program as well as on the Syrian crisis is very tightly linked to the impasse, which saw the Arab and Palestinian – Israeli peace process reach a dead end.

The Syrian crisis in particular is more closely tied to the impasse in the Arab – Israeli conflict. De-linked from this conflict, it would boil down to an internal crisis that could be easily solved by Syrians themselves.

Regional and international involvement in the Syrian crisis has nothing to do with the internal crisis per se, but has exploited the internal crisis because it has a lot to do with the U.S. – Israel plans to isolate and contain what both countries perceive as an Iranian regional threat to their interests.

To this end, Israel and U.S. are now doing all what they can to break the alliance between Iran and Syria and the Syrian bridge linking Iran to Lebanese and Palestinian movements resisting Israeli military occupation, thus cutting off Iran from the Mediterranean, as well as depriving these movements from their Syrian support, by coordinating a ‘regime change” in Damascus.

For four years since Benyamin Netanyahu came to power, Israel risked a confrontation with the U.S. administration of President Barak Obama over his order of priorities in the Middle East, which gave precedence to reaching a negotiated political settlement for the Palestinian – Israeli conflict as a precondition to building up a U.S. , Arab and Israeli front against Iran .

Netanyahu advocated a reversed order of priorities and has succeeded in pushing the Palestinian – Israeli conflict down from the top of the U.S. regional agenda in favor of solving the U.S. – Israeli Iranian debacle first.

This rearrangement of Israel – U.S. priorities has marginalized the Arab – Israeli “peace process” to the extent that both countries feel relaxed enough now to feel free from any serious commitment to resume it.

However, developments prove this rearrangement of priorities counterproductive and playing in Iranian hands, making the regional Iranian alliances stronger, perpetuating the Syrian crisis, around which a new multi-polar world is emerging, and sidelining the Palestinian peace partners, leaving them with no other option but to take their deadlocked peace process to the United Nations, to bring back on track the Palestinian – Israeli conflict to the top of the international agenda in the Middle East, thus creating a fait accompli that will make impossible the Arab – Israeli – U.S. front against Iran that Washington has been trying to build up over the past few years.

Cornering the Palestinians longer in their United Nations option, similarly changing nothing on the ground to end the Israeli military occupation, would in no time see them loosing faith in peace making to be pushed involuntarily to realign regionally to the other side, which would exacerbate the Iran “threat” rather than containing it.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Since taking power federally in 2006, the Conservative government has undertaken a continuous attack on civil society organizations. One of the government’s first actions was to cut support for women’s organizations that lobbied or did research on the status of women. Environmental organizations have been accused of acting in the interest of foreign powers. Revenue Canada was given extra money to investigate them.

How did we come to the point where organizations advocating equality and changes to public policy appear to be seen by the government as the enemy of Canadians?

Tom Flanagan, University of Calgary professor and a top advisor to the Conservative leader made much of this very clear in a largely forgotten section of a book he published in 2007. 

In Harpers Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power, Flanagan writes about an episode in the 2006 election when it looked like abortion might become an issue. 

He writes:

“The door, however, had been opened for a final wave of attacks. Liberal outrider organizations — feminists, gay-rights activists, law professors, aboriginal leaders, environmentalists — came at us in human waves, claiming that Harper would roll back abortion rights, use the notwithstanding clause to quash gay marriage, and repudiate the Kelowna agreement and the Kyoto Accord. The Conservative Party simply can’t compare with the Liberals in the depth and breadth of these external linkages; Real Women and Campaign Life can’t compete with EGALE Canada and the National Action Committee on the Status of Women in terms of public funding and media clout. (We did score one minor coup when the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples broke ranks with other aboriginal organizations to support us instead other Liberal.) If the Conservative Party can stay in power for any length of time, it should be a priority to de-fund the support groups that the Liberals have cultivated so long with grants, subsidies and access to government.”

‘It should agree with the government’

This May Foreign Minister John Baird made it even clearer when challenged in Parliament over the government’s elimination of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Baird said: “Why should taxpayers have to pay for more than 10 reports promoting a carbon tax, something that the people of Canada have repeatedly rejected? That is a message the Liberal Party just will not accept. It should agree with Canadians. It should agree with the government.”

Flanagan recommended these groups be defunded and denied access to government and that is what happened. After all, these are the people who dared to suggest a Conservative government would repudiate Kyoto and the Kelowna Accord with First Nations.

That is how the current federal government views organizations who do not share their world view; the professors and the gay rights activists, the aboriginal leaders, women and environmentalists. They are just Liberal outriders. They are the enemy.

There is a straight line between Flanagan’s musings in his book and the actions of the federal government. It is all about controlling the narrative. It is all about reducing the voices that might speak out against the current government’s agenda.

Civil society organizations; groups like charities, unions, women’s organizations and others play a critical role in our society. They provide a voice that is not clearly heard at the political level. It is organizations of women who drive the fight for equality. Charities working for prisoners and immigrants made public the dangerous direction new policies on crime and immigration were taking us. Environmental groups and First Nations moved us as British Columbians to oppose the Gateway pipeline. Unions have fought for health and safety protections for immigrant workers.

Sometimes these views are not popular. Sometimes they don’t even agree with the government. But sometimes they mobilize us as a society to change the way we think. For our current federal government, that appears to be unacceptable.

But there is an even worse outcome than defunding, closing organizations and attacking others through Revenue Canada. That worst outcome is the chill that comes from the fear government will act against you. Many organizations will simply choose to withdraw from public debates rather than risk making themselves a target.

When a government silences the voices it does not want to hear, or when we silence ourselves out of fear, it is not an attack on individual organizations, it is an attack on democracy.  [Tyee]

Keith Reynolds is a National Research Representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. He has done policy work for all three levels of government. Keith maintains a Facebook page in honour of BC cheese. This was first posted on Policy Note.

US Desperation Surfaces in Syria

August 20th, 2012 by Tony Cartalucci

US-led NATO forces armed, funded, trained, and even provided air support to Syria for Libyan terrorists emanating out of Libya’s eastern Cyrenaica region – most notably Benghazi which had served as the premier international terrorist recruiting ground in the world, according to the US Army’s Combating Terrorism Center, producing a percentage per capita of militants outstripping even that of Saudi Arabia.

Operating under the banner of the “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group” (LIFG), a US State Department, British Home Office, and United Nations-listed international terrorist organization, and officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007, its commanders including Abdul Hakim Belhaj and Mahdi al-Harati led NATO’s military proxy forces on the ground as US, French, and British planes destroyed the nation from the air.

These very same commanders of this very same listed-terrorist organization would then turn its cash, weapons, and fighters on Syria, as early as November 2011, arriving on the Turkish-Syrian border to enjoy yet another NATO safe haven and logistical networks overseen by Western intelligence along with US funding and arms laundered through Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) members such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), addressing fellow terrorists in Syria. Harati is now commanding a Libyan brigade operating inside of Syria attempting to destroy the Syrian government and subjugate the Syrian population. Traditionally, this is known as “foreign invasion.” 
In essence, just as Al Qaeda had served as an “Arab Foreign Legion” for the US in Afghanistan in the 1980′s during its inception, it once again is serving as a foreign legion inside Syria, fighting Washington’s proxy war against the Syrian government.

It appears however that unlike in Afghanistan where Al Qaeda fought alongside a sizable indigenous force against foreign Soviet troops, the tactical environment is revered – where Washington’s proxy terrorist forces are foreigners facing a highly motivated, well organized, and better armed indigenous Syrian Army.

US Machinations Unraveling  - Shareholders Face Liquidation

Coordinated attempts by NATO and its proxy forces to invade and overrun the cities of Damascus and Aleppo in July and early August have failed, with proxy forces being expelled after suffering sizable loses. An attempt to decapitate Syria’s leadership in a bombing in central Damascus also fell flat, with high ranking officials quickly replaced, followed quickly by a cohesive military counter offensive.

The bombing was also followed by the mysterious disappearance of Saudi Arabia’s Bandar “Bush” Bin Sultan, who if confirmed assassinated, may indicate that NATO’s plans are suffering at even the highest levels of organization.

Compounding the West’s attempts to overthrow the government of Syria, is the increasing support Syria has been receiving due to Iranian efforts to assemble international forums representing half of the world’s population, condemning the support of foreign interference and promoting alternatives to the violent destabilization being carried out by the West. A 30 member conference was held ahead of the annual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting in Tehran, Iran – and another meeting will be held again on the sidelines of NAM toward the end of August. 

Image: An impressive counter to the so-called “Friends of Syria” confabs held by Wall Street and London corporate-financier interests in an attempt to sway global opinion toward a repeat of Libya’s destruction at NATO’s hands, the International Consultative Conference hosed by Iran seeks to end the flow of foreign arms into militant hands and resolve political differences through more civilized means.

With the tactical situation inside Syria deteriorating for Western proxies and international consensus shifting in unprecedented directions against Washington and London, shareholders in the West’s latest adventure appear to be making tacit moves to divest their support and protect their own interests, lest they be left with the ignominious results of an increasingly compounding failure.

Obama’s Recent Threats

With this in mind, the US has been making increasingly unhinged “Bush-esque” remarks regarding “weapons of mass destruction” in Syria and attempting to expand the pretexts under which it could “militarily intervene.” Even the very “movement” of Syria’s “unconventional weapons” in a “threatening manner,” US President Barack Obama claimed in a recent statement, would constitute a “red line.”

Obama claims that the US “fears” Syria’s unconventional weapons “falling into the hands of the wrong people.” If the US is willfully arming, funding, and threatening to back militarily, listed Al Qaeda terrorist organizations, then whose hands is the US referring to? And while the US struggles to foment victory in Syria, it seems to have stretched its support for terrorism all the way to Russia’s Caucasus Mountains, reigniting violence there, linked to Al Qaeda as well.

Image: The Washington Consensus’ shrinking legitimacy is proportionally matched to its increasingly untenable perpetuation. Its unjustified, disastrous military adventure in Libya seems to have resulted in a Pyrrhic victory, hobbling the institutions and legitimacy it needed to likewise undermine and overthrow the Syrian government in a timely fashion. Overstretched, it appears the West is even trying to strike at Russia with terrorist proxies that now span from North Africa all the way to the Caucasus Mountains.   

To say that the US is overstretched is an understatement. It is overstretched politically, economically, and tactically. It risks a historically unprecedented collapse that would destroy all shareholders invested in its increasingly unhinged and transparently illegitimate ambitions. Nations, in particular GCC members, are beginning to realize with acute alarm that their support of Washington’s agenda is now threatening their very self-preservation. A victory even at this point would still likely be Pyrrhic.

No matter how well Syria goes for the West from this point on, the mechanisms it has used to get here, including its “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, the legitimacy of the UN, the West’s so-called commitment to “human rights,” and the narrative of the so-called “War on Terror” have been undermined beyond salvage.

One can only imagine the mountains Washington is promising to move in order to keep its allies lined up behind them, particularly the ruling governments of Turkey and the GCC. For an elitist clique that has prided itself in “realist” political discourse, it has become increasingly surrealist. Whether or not Washington’s allies mirror this surrealism all the way to their own demise, remains to be seen.

Marine Sent to Mental Ward for Questioning 9/11

Former marine Brandon Raub was carted off by the Feds and locked in a psychiatric ward for Facebook posts questioning the government’s version of 9/11.

Surely the Feds are right … that kind of talk is crazy, right?

Maybe.  But remember that government apologists are also eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a trip to the insane asylum. (Those traits may also get one labeled as a potential terrorist.)

That would make many of the 9/11 Commissioners themselves crazy and dangerous … since they don’t buy what the government says about 9/11, they say that the government has covered up the state sponsorship of the 9/11 hijackers, and Al Qaeda flying planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon was entirely foreseeable .

Should they be committed to the same psych ward which Mr. Raub is enjoying?

Some people believe that government personnel were criminally negligent in letting 9/11 happen, and then obstructed justice to cover it up.  See this, this, this, this, and this.   Others believe that rogue government personnel allowed 9/11 to happen, or even played a role in the attacks themselves.

Isn’t our society built on freedom of speech? And if someone has kooky theories, won’t the scientific method and free debate defeat the baseless theories? Isn’t that what modern society is all about?

Raub’s attorney – the head of the non-partisan civil rights defense firm The Rutherford Institute – said:

For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon. This should be a wake-up call to Americans that the police state is here.”

What Do Mental Health Professionals Say About Those Who Question 9/11?

Many sociologists and mental health professionals say that those who believe the official version without any questioning are the ones suffering from psychological defense mechanisms.

Sociological studies shown that fear of terrorism has made people blindly accept false justifications for war – including the false claim that Saddam had a hand in 9/11 (when even the 9/11 Commission says he didn’t).

For example the following mental health professionals say that questioning the government’s cut-and-dried version of 9/11 is the sane thing to do:

  • Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, as well as Radiology, at Duke University Medical Center D. Lawrence Burk, Jr., MD
  • Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Ruters University Barry R. Komisaruk
  • Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine and Distinguished Professor of Global Health in the College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Michael D. Knox
  • Professor Emeritus, Psychology and Neuroscience, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Michael Gabriel
  • Professor Emeritus of Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies Ralph Metzner
  • Retired Professor of Psychology at Oxford University Graham Harris
  • Retired Psychiatrist. Former Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College. Former Major, U.S. Army Medical Corps, Vietnam Veteran 7 years service, Jon Bjornson, MD
  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nebraska and licensed Psychologist Ronald Feintech

There are many other mental health professionals who agree.

Wachsende Spannungen für Energie in der Ägäis

August 20th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Für den ersten Teil dieses Artikels, hier klicken

Nach dem Studium des östlichen Mittelmeers konzentriert sich William Enghdal auf vor kurzem in der Ägäis entdeckte Ressourcen, die tief greifende Umwälzungen in der geopolitischen Landschaft ankündigen. Im Falle Griechenlands, dessen Reserven und ihre Ausbeutung die Landesschulden tilgen könnten, haben die ausländischen Herren dieses Staates, der seine Souveränität verloren hat, ganz andere Pläne. So kam Hillary Clinton persönlich nach Athen, um die Interessen der Vereinigten Staaten und die ihres Ehemanns Bill in der Region zu verteidigen, wodurch sie den Spannungen mit Russland nicht wenig neue Nahrung gab.

Die Entdeckung Ende 2010 erheblicher Reserven von Erdgas in israelischen Gewässern im Mittelmeer hat die Nachbarn angespornt, ihre eigenen Gewässer genauer zu überprüfen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass das ganze östliche Mittelmeer immense unerschlossene Öl und Gas Reserven enthält. Dies hat enorme politische, geopolitische, wirtschaftliche Folgen und könnte auch militärische Auswirkungen haben.

Die ersten Erkundungen haben bestätigt, dass die Öl-und Gasreserven in den Gewässern vor der Küste von Griechenland, der Türkei, Zypern und vor Syrien ganz beeindruckend sind.

Der griechische Energie-Sirtaki

Mit der verheerenden finanziellen Krise des Landes ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass die griechische Regierung sich ernsthaft an die Suche von Öl und Gas gemacht hat. Seitdem sie die Reserven gefunden hat, begann das Land ein eigenartiges Ballett mit dem IWF und den Regierungen der Europäischen Union zu tanzen, eine Art „Energie Sirtaki“, um herauszufinden, wer diese großen Entdeckungen kontrollieren wird und damit, wem sie zuletzt zugutekommen werden.

Dezember 2010, als es noch möglich schien, die griechische Krise ohne Pläne für gigantische Rettung oder durch Privatisierung zu lösen, bildete das griechische Ministerium für Energie eine Gruppe von Experten, die die Aussichten für Öl und Gas in ihren Gewässern studieren sollten. Die Öl und Gas Industrie des Landes begann nach einer ersten kleinen Entdeckung von Erdöl im Jahr 2009 ihre Investitionen zu erhöhen. Dann wurden größere geologische Untersuchungen durchgeführt. Die ersten Schätzungen ergaben, dass die Ölmenge vor der griechischen Küste im Ionischen Meer, im Westen, 22 Milliarden Barrel und rund 4 Milliarden Barrel im Norden der Ägäis, im Osten, übertreffen würde.  [1]

Die südlichen Teile des Ägäischen Meeres und des Meeres von Kreta sind noch nicht erforscht und die Zahlen könnten sich letztlich als viel höher erweisen. Ein vorheriger Bericht des nationalen griechischen Rates für Energiepolitik kündigte an: “ Griechenland ist eines der am wenigsten erforschten Länder Europas für potenzielle Ölreserven.” [2]. Laut des Analysten Aristoteles Vassilakis „die Erdgas Menge messenden Erhebungen bewerten die Reserven auf $ 9 Billionen“ [3].Auch wenn nur ein kleiner Teil davon verfügbar wäre, würde er ausreichen, die Finanzen Griechenlands und der gesamten Region radikal zu verändern.

David Hynes, der Öl-Ressourcen Experte der Tulane-Universität (New Orleans) verriet vor kurzem einem Publikum in Athen, dass Griechenland möglicherweise seine Krise und die Rückzahlung der Schulden durch die Ausbeutung der neuen Erdöl- und Erdgaslagerstätten überwinden könnte. Er schätzte, dass diese dem Land mehr als 300 Milliarden Euro in 25 Jahren einbringen könnte. Aber stattdessen muss die griechische Regierung derzeit Gehälter-Kürzungen und Renten Aussetzungen akzeptieren, um ein zweites Darlehen von der EU und dem IWF zu bekommen, was das Land nur noch tiefer auf den Weg des wirtschaftlichen Niedergangs bringen wird.  [4]

Es ist bekannt, dass die Führer des IWF und der EU und auch jene von Deutschland erfordern, dass Griechenland seine Häfen und öffentliche Unternehmen, darunter natürlich die Ölgesellschaften des Staates verkaufe, um seine Schulden zu reduzieren. Im besten Fall würde der Verkauf der Anteile des Landes 50 Milliarden Euros bringen [5].Die Pläne sehen vor, dass die öffentliche Erdgas-Firma DEPA, 65 % ihrer Aktien für die Rückzahlung der Schulden privatisiere [6]. Käufer kämen wahrscheinlich vom Ausland, wie es auch für andere griechische Unternehmen in ähnlicher Situation der Fall war.

Das Problem, über die Anforderung des IWF hinaus, dass Griechenland seine Erdölvorkommen verschleudere, liegt in der Tatsache, dass Griechenland keine Ausschließliche Wirtschafts-Zone (AWZ) beantragt hat, wie es die meisten anderen Länder, die auf Öl bohren, gemacht haben. Es gab bis jetzt nur wenig Bedürfnis dazu. Eine AWZ verleiht dem Staat bestimmte Rechte auf die Bodenschätze in seinen Gewässern nach dem, im November 1994 in Kraft getretenen Dritten UNO-Übereinkommen über das Gesetz des Meeres. Kraft dieses kann eine Nation eine Exklusivität (AWZ) bis auf 200 Seemeilen vor der Küste behaupten  [7].

Die Türkei hat schon gesagt, dass sie es für einen „ Kriegsakt” halten würde, falls Griechenland weiter weg in der Ägäis bohren würde [8]. Bisher hatte dies noch keine Folgen, weil keine Öl- oder Gasreserve bekannt war. Jetzt ist es jedoch eine ganz andere Frage.

Evangelos Kouloumbis, ehemaliger Minister der Industrie sagte kürzlich, dass das Land „50% seines Bedarfs mit dem im Offshore-Bereich in der Ägäis entdeckten Öl abdecken könnte und dass das einzige Hindernis der türkische Widerstand gegenüber einer möglichen griechischen Förderung sei”  [9].

Auch Hillary kann tanzen

JPEG - 182.4 kB

Epikaira Magazin Bericht: „Hillary kam nach Griechenland um Öl-Exploration-Verträge abzuschließen” 21. Juli 2011.

Im Juli 2011 trat Washington dem griechischen „Energie-Sirtaki“ bei. Außenministerin Hillary Clinton besuchte Athen mit Energiefragen im Auge. Sie wurde von seinem Sonderbeauftragten für Euroasiatische Energie, Richard Morningstar begleitet. Morningstar war als Berater von Präsident Bill Clinton für Energie-Diplomatie im kaspischen Becken zuständig, und einer der besonderen strategischen Agenten Washingtons in den geopolitischen Kämpfen, um die ehemalige Sowjetunion zu zerstückeln und Russland einzukreisen, als es in das Chaos durch ehemalige UdSSR-, nun pro-NATO Staaten stürzte.

Morningstar und der sehr umstrittene Matthew Bryza waren die wichtigsten Architekten in Washington von US-Projekten von Öl und Erdgas-Pipelines, die Russland und seine Lieferung von Gas zur Europäischen Union verhindern sollten. Bryza ist ein Gegner der russischen South Stream-Pipeline, die durch die Länder des Mittelmeers geht [10]. Es ist klar, dass die Obama-Verwaltung nicht neutral zu den neuen Entdeckungen von Öl und Gas steht. Drei Tage nach Hillarys Abfahrt von Athen hat die griechische Regierung die Errichtung einer neuen staatlichen Agentur vorgeschlagen, die Anrufe für Ausschreibungen auf Prospektion und Bohren verwaltet.

Morningstar ist der amerikanische Wirtschafts-Guerilla Spezialist gegen die russische Energie-Politik. Er war entscheidend für die Wahrung der umstrittenen BTC-Pipeline, welche von Baku ausgeht, über Tbilissi in Georgien und bis zum türkischen Ceyhan Hafen geht – ein kostspieliges Unternehmen, nur um einen Transit über Russland zu vermeiden. Er hat offen vorgeschlagen, dass Griechenland und die Türkei ihre historischen Auseinandersetzungen über Zypern aufgäben, sowie viele andere Fragen und zustimmten, ihre Reserven von Öl und Gas in der Ägäis gemeinsam zu verwalten. Er sagte auch der griechischen Regierung, dass sie die Zusammenarbeit mit Moskau für die South Stream-Pipeline und das Burgas-Alexandropolis-Pipeline-Projekt vergessen sollten  [11].

Laut einem im Juli 2011 veröffentlichten Bericht des Politologen Aristoteles Vassilakis, sei das Ziel von Washington, das Griechenland und die Türkei zur Vereinigung ihrer Kräfte auffordert, die Erträge des Öls und Gas zu teilen. Nach seinem Bericht schlägt Washington vor, Griechenland 20 % vom Umsatz zuzuschreiben, 20 % der Türkei und dass die US-Firma Noble Energy, die bereits vor der Küste in israelischen und griechischen Gewässern bohrt, den Löwenanteil, nämlich 60 % bekommen würde [12].

Bill, der Ehemann von Außenministerin Hillary, ist Lobbymann in Washington im Namen der Noble Energy Firma [13]

Zypriotische Komplikationen 

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Der Zypriotische Präsident Demetris Christofias und der israelische Premierminister Benjamin Netanyahu auf Zypern im Februar 2012.

Als ob diese geopolitischen Komplikationen nicht genügten, hat Noble Energy auch große Mengen von Gas vor der Küste der Republik Zypern entdeckt. Dezember 2011 verkündete das Unternehmen, dass Bohrungen in einem Gebiet gelungen wären, die mindestens 200 Milliarden Kubikmeter Erdgas versprechen. Charles Davidson, der Generaldirektor von Noble Energy, wies gegenüber der Presse hin, dass „diese neueste Entdeckung zeigt, dass dieses Becken von primärer Wichtigkeit auf globaler Ebene, in Bezug auf Quantität und Qualität ist“. [14].

Zypern ist eine komplizierte Schachfigur. Vor kurzem freigegebene Regierungsdokumente aus den 70er Jahren zeigen, dass Henry Kissinger, der damalige Außenminister, die Bewaffnung des Regimes seines ehemaligen Schülers in Harvard und Premierminister Bulent Ecevit aktiv gefördert und erleichtert habe, um in Zypern eine türkische Invasion 1974 zu organisieren, wodurch die ethnische Teilung der Insel in einen türkischen Teil im Norden und einem anderen griechischen und zypriotischen im Süden erfolgte; eine Teilung, die auch heute noch erhalten bleibt. Die Kissinger-Strategie, von den Briten unterstützt, wurde entwickelt, um einen Vorwand für eine permanente militärische US- und britische Präsenz zu schaffen, um eine militärische Abhörstation im östlichen Mittelmeer während des Kalten Krieges zu erstellen. [15]

Der griechische Teil des Südens, wo Noble Energy große Vorkommen von Gas entdeckt hat, ist heute Mitglied der EU. Sein Präsident, Demetris Christofias, ist der einzige kommunistische Führer der Europäischen Union. Er ist auch ein enger Freund von Israel und Russland. Darüber hinaus ist er sehr kritisch gegenüber der US-Außenpolitik sowie jener der Türkei [16].

Im Moment plant Israel eine Unterwasser Gasleitung vom israelischen Feld der Levante durch die Hoheits-Gewässer von Zypern bis zum griechischen Festland, zur Versorgung des EU-Marktes. Die Regierungen von Zypern und Israel einigten sich auf die Abgrenzung von ihren jeweiligen Wirtschaftszonen, und ignorierten dabei die Türkei. Letztere bedrohte Zypern offen aufgrund seiner Vereinbarung mit Noble Energy. Russland reagierte, indem es erklärte, dass es die türkischen Drohungen gegen Zypern nicht dulden würde, was die russisch-türkischen Beziehungen noch ein bisschen mehr kompliziert macht [17].

Die türkisch-israelischen Beziehungen andererseits, einst freundschaftliche Beziehungen, werden in den letzten Jahren unter Erdogans Außenpolitik zunehmend angespannt. Ankara äußerte seine Besorgnis über die jüngsten Zusammenhänge zwischen Israel und seinen historischen Gegnern, Griechenland und dem griechischen Teil Zyperns. Die türkische Nordzypern Republik, Verbündete der Republik Türkei, fürchtet, nicht mit Recht in der gemeinsamen Nutzung von Gas behandelt zu werden, nachdem Israel und Nicosia eine Vereinbarung trafen, welche die 250 Kilometer des Meeres zwischen den beiden Partnern aufteilt. [18]

Es wird deutlich, vor allem wenn wir gleichzeitig auf die Karte des östlichen Mittelmeers schauen, dass der wilde Appetit für Öl und Gas und deren Betrieb den Grundstein eines groß angelegten Konflikts in der Gegend legt, welcher die strategischen Interessen der Vereinigten Staaten, Russlands, der Europäischen Union, Israels, der Türkei, Syriens und des Libanon betrifft.

F. William Engdahl ist ein Journalist der Vereinigten Staaten, Spezialist der energetischen und geopolitischen Fragen. Letztes veröffentlichte Werk :Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century (2010).¸

Übersetzung: Horst Frohlich


[1] «Greek Companies Step Up Offshore Oil Exploration-Large Reserves Possible», par Ioannis Michaletos, balkanalysis.com, 8 décembre 2010.

[2] Ibid.

[3] «Hillary came to Greece to seal oil exploration deals!», par Hellas Frappe, hellasfrappe.blogspot.com, 21 juillet 2011.

[4] «Drilling for oil in the Aegean may help ease Greece’s debt crisis», par Chris Blake, hellenext.org, 7 juillet 2011.

[5] Ibid.

[6] «Greece Considering Plugging Aegean Islands into Turkish Energy Grid», par John Daly, businessinsider.com, 22 novembre 2011.

[7] Convention des Nations Unies sur le Droit de la mer, 6ème partie, article 76, Définition du plateau continental.

[8] Chris Blake, op. cit.

[9] Ioannis Michaletos, op. cit.

[10] Hellas Frappe, op. cit.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] «Vast gas fields found off Israel’s shores cause trouble at home and abroad», par Hugh Naylor, thenational.ae, 34 janvier 2011.

[14] «Significant Natural Gas Discovery Offshore Republic of Cyprus», Communiqué de presse de Noble Energy, maritime-executive.com, 28 décembre 2011.

[15] «New documents link Kissinger to two 1970s coups», par Larisa Alexandrovna et Muriel Kane, rawstory.com, 26 juin 2007. The Cyprus Conspiracy, America Espionnage and the Turkish invasion, par Brendan O’Malley et Ian Craig, I.B. Tauris éditeur, 1999.

[16] «http://turkeymacedonia.wordpress.co…, par Yilan,turkeymacedonia.wordpress.com, 30 mai 2011.

[17] «Turkey and Cyprus Gas: More Troubles Ahead in 2012», par Stephen Blank, silkroadstudies.org, 9 janvier 2011.

[18] Hugh Naylor, op. cit.

France Falls Victim in Its Allegiance to the U.S.

August 20th, 2012 by Thierry Meyssan

François Hollande’s presidential campaign largely consisted of denunciations of the catastrophic policies and garishness of his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. He pledged that change would come immediately. One hundred days after his election, Hollande may have altered the style of rule but not the policies which remain the same even as France sinks ever deeper into crisis. 

The main themes being debated by the French press as well as the manner in which these themes are framed expose the rank submission of the French governing classes to U.S. domination. They also serve to justify that acquiescence.

• The French people expected that once the elections were over several large firms would announce layoff plans. The release of an internal memo from France’s biggest carmaker, PSA Peugeot Citroën, contemplating the closing of its factories in Aulnay-sous-Bois and Sevelnord and the elimination of more than 8000 jobs, not counting all the ancillary employment, came as a bombshell. The government responded with empty gestures by summoning the CEO of the PSA, questioning his competence while falling back on a stereotypical portrayal of a big boss exploiting the working class.

In reality, PSA Peugeot Citroen is involved in the process of forming a strategic alliance with General Motors. Having succumbed to the pressure of the Zionist lobbying group called United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in the U.S., GM demanded its French partner to cease its business relationship with Iran, which it did without hesitation. Previously, the firm had conducted one quarter of its activities in the Islamic Republic.

During this entire affair, French management has abjectly folded to U.S. dictates and the government has not dared rebuke it. Both sides have preferred to emphasize fake economic problems rather than admit to public opinion that they have sacrificed their economy to the demands of Washington.

• Another controversy has erupted over shale gas. French territory has the most important gas reserves in Europe after Poland. Nicolas Sarkozy handed out 64 exploration permits. François Hollande, as candidate, promised to backtrack given the disastrous effects of hydraulic fracturing on the environment. His government has since made contradictory pronouncements while finally allowing exploration to proceed.

Again, the governing class generated a phony debate to keep its voluntary servitude from being seen clearly for what it is. The press dutifully repeated that the low costs of natural gas would enhance the competitivity of the French industry, while balancing economic recovery with ecological concerns.

It should be kept in mind that natural gas exploitation was a White House directive formulated in Cheney’s energy task force in 2000 which is now being carried forward by the Obama administration. At issue here is preventing by whatever means Paris from turning to Russia for natural gas which would inevitably distance France from Washington and bring it closer to Moscow.

It might also be noted that the German governing class, confronted with the same dilemma, has not buckled to U.S. pressure. Business leaders have chosen to supply their industries with Russian gas. Former Social-Democratic chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, himself has been appointed chairman of the board of North Stream AG, the gas company that will begin to supply his country by the end of the year. That the Atlanticist chancellor Angela Merkel is still in office can only be comprehended as a desire on the part of German elites to stall Washington at this pivotal moment.

• Yet another subject dear to the mainstream press is the debate which has pitted Nicolas Sarkozy against his successor on the issue of Syria. The former president asserts that François Hollande cannot repeat his own successes in Libya. The lobbyist Bernard-Henri Lévy, with his usual finesse, is accusing Vladimir Putin of killing children in Aleppo and demanding planes to bombard the thugs of Assad the tyrant.

Mr. Hollande is caught in the trap created by his own cowardice. He accepted that the Security Council mandate to protect the Libyan population be used to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. Rather than prosecute Sarkozy for an illegal war that claimed 160,000 victims, he is apologizing for not being able to do the same thing to Syria. Feigning candor, his Foreign Minister explains that one can’t violate international law by openly bombarding Damascus but one can do so discretely, by arming terrorists for example.

There is nothing new in this tactic. Three previous ministers; Bernard Kouchner (independent), Alain Juppe (Right) and Laurent Fabius (Left), have also devoted themselves to destroying the foreign policy inherited by them. Once a “defender of Nations”, France has become the obedient purveyor of Blair’s doctrine of “humanitarian intervention”. They can’t even use the cynical pretext of pursuing colonial aims since it is the Anglo-Americans who have profited the most from the French attacks on the Libyan people. Similarly, it is the Anglo-Americans who will grab the lion’s share of Libyan gas, while if France continues to support the secret war against the Syrian people it will make itself increasingly hated throughout the Middle East.

Carefully distracted by their media, the French people seem not to be able to make the connection between betrayal by their elites and their own economic problems.

Thierry Meyssan is founder and chairman of Voltaire Network. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.

Translated from French by Michele Stoddard.

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Der Betrieb von dem Tamar-Gasfeld hat begonnen. Es sollte Israel ab Ende 2012 beliefern.

Die jüngste Entdeckung von großen Gas- und Ölvorkommen im östlichen Mittelmeer ändert radikal die geopolitische Gleichung der Region und sogar über sie hinaus. In der Tat ist dies die Gelegenheit für Israel, von Energie-Abhängigkeit zur Energie-Souveränität zu gelangen, während der Libanon mit Unterstützung von Washington einen Teil des Gases beansprucht, der sich in seinen Hoheitsgewässern befindet. William Engdahl untersucht die Auswirkungen dieser wichtigen Entwicklung, die einer der Hauptgründe für die Destabilisierung von Syrien durch den Katar und den Westen ist.

Die jüngsten Entdeckungen von nicht einfach wichtigen, sondern riesigen Öl und Gas Lagerstätten, die in einem zuvor wenig erforschten Teil des Mittelmeers (zwischen der Griechenland, die Türkei, Zypern, Israel, der Syrien und der Libanon) liegen, gestatten die Annahme, dass die Region ein “neuer Persischer Golf” werden könnte. Wie es beim “anderen” Persischen Golf der Fall war, könnte die Entdeckung dieser Kohlenwasserstoff-Reichtümer in der Tat gleichbedeutend mit einem schrecklichen geopolitischen Fluch für die Region werden.

Die historischen Konflikte im Nahen Osten könnten bald durch neue Kämpfe für den Zugang zu Öl und Gas Ressourcen des östlichen Mittelmeeres, der Levante und dem Ägäischen Becken verdrängt werden. Zunächst werden wir die Auswirkungen der Entdeckung einer riesigen offshore Gas und Öl Lagerstätte vor der Küste von Israel studieren. In einem zweiten Artikel werden wir die Auswirkungen der Entdeckung von Erdgas und Erdöl in der Ägäis zwischen Zypern, Syrien, Türkei, Griechenland und dem Libanon sehen.

Ein israelischer Leviathan

Was alles umwälzte, war die spektakuläre Entdeckung, in dem von Geologen benannten Levante-Becken. Im Oktober 2010 hat Israel ein gigantisches Offshore-Erdgaslager entdeckt, das sich, seiner Meinung nach, in seiner Ausschließlichen Wirtschafts-Zone (AWZ) befinde.

Diese Entdeckung liegt etwa 135 km westlich vom Hafen Haifa und in 5 km Tiefe. Diese Erdgasansammlung wurde in Anlehnung an das biblische Seeungeheuer “Leviathan” genannt. Drei israelische Energieunternehmen in Zusammenarbeit mit der in Texas ansässigen Firma Noble Energy verkündeten ihre ersten Schätzungen auf 450 Milliarden Kubikmeter – was aus ihnen die wichtigste Gasentdeckung in Tiefwasser der letzten zehn Jahre macht -, und was die malthusische “Peak Oil Theorie” noch ein wenig mehr diskreditiert, die behauptet, dass die Welt vor einer enormen strukturellen Öl-, Gas und Kohle-Knappheit steht. Um eine Vorstellung zu bekommen, wäre das Leviathan Gasfeld ausreichend, Israel ein Jahrhundert mit Gas zu versorgen  [1].

Eine Energie-Selbstversorgung war für den Staat Israel seit seiner Gründung im Jahre 1948 unvorstellbar. Wichtige Öl- und Gasforschungsarbeiten wurden mehrfach durchgeführt, aber hatten keine Ergebnisse erzielt. Im Gegensatz zu seinen energiereichen arabischen Nachbarn entging diese Chance Israel. Aber im Jahr 2009 entdeckte Noble Energy, Israels Partner für Prospektion, im Becken der Levante die Lagerstätte von Tamar, etwa 80 km westlich vom Hafen Haifa, mit rund 238 Milliarden Kubikmeter Erdgas von höchster Qualität. Tamar war in 2009 die größte Entdeckung von Gas der Welt.

Damals wurden die israelischen Gasreserven insgesamt auf nur 45 Milliarden Kubikmeter geschätzt. Tel-Avivs Vorhersagen schätzten, dass die Ausbeutung von Yam Tethys, das etwa 70 % des Erdgasbedarfs des Landes sichert, innerhalb von drei Jahren erschöpft sein würde.

Dank Tamar verbesserten sich die Aussichten weitgehend. Dann machte Noble Energy nur ein Jahr später, in dem gleichen geologischen Becken der Levante, seine wichtigste Entdeckung seit seiner Gründung vor Jahrzehnten mit Leviathan [2]. Was Gas betrifft, ist Israel innerhalb weniger Monate von Hungersnot zum Überfluss gekommen.

Mit den Entdeckungen von Tamar und dann von Leviathan begann Israel sich zu fragen, wie es eine führende Erdgas-Export Nation werden könnte und wie es auch Erdöl und Erdgas Steuer-Einnahmen sammeln könnte um einen Staatsfond zu schaffen, der in die nationale Wirtschaft langfristig investieren würde wie es China und viele arabische Länder der OPEC machen  [3].

«”Das Einzugsgebiet der Levante kommt den großen weltweiten Ausbeutungsbereichen gleich”, sagte ein Sprecher für das Programm von Energie-Ressourcen des geologischen Instituts der Vereinigten Staaten (US Geological Survey oder USGS), “seine Erdgasvorkommen sind wichtiger als alles, was wir in den Vereinigten Staaten gekannt haben” » [4].

In der Ahnung, dass diese wichtigen Entdeckungen von Kohlenwasserstoffen das geopolitische Gleichgewicht in der gesamten Region stören könnten, hat das USGSurvey eine erste Schätzung der Öl und Gas Reserven der Region des Östliches Mittelmeeres begonnen (einschließlich des Ägäischen Beckens durch die griechische, türkische und zyprische Küsten begrenzt, des Einzugsgebietes der Levante vor der Küste von Libanon, Israel und Syrien, und dem Nil-Becken vor der ägyptischen Küste). Dass seine Ergebnisse beeindruckend waren, wäre ein Understatement.

Unter Berufung auf die vorigen Bohrungs-Daten und geologischen Untersuchungen in der Region schloss das USGSurvey, dass “das Öl und Gas-Becken der Levante schätzungsweise 1,680 Milliarden Barrel Öl und 3 450 Milliarden Kubikmeter Gas beinhalte”. Darüber hinaus werden, Schätzungen zufolge, „die unentdeckten Öl- und Gas Ressourcen in der Provinz des Nil-Beckens (begrenzt durch den Kegel des Nils im Westen, durch Strabo, im Norden, durch die Pytheas- und Zypern Spalten im Osten und südlich des Levante-Beckens) auf etwa 1,760 Milliarden Barrel Öl und 6 850 Milliarden Kubikmeter Erdgas geschätzt” [5].

USGSurvey bewertet die Ressourcen insgesamt für das östliche Mittelmeer, als Ganzes, auf 3,40 Milliarden Barrel Öl und 9 Billionen Kubikmeter Gas. Plötzlich steht die Region allen neuen potenziellen Konflikten und geopolitischen Herausforderungen gegenüber.

Um diese Zahlen in Perspektive zu setzen, schätzt die USGSurvey, dass das westliche sibirische Becken – die größte, bekannte Gas-Lagerstätte – 18 200 Milliarden Kubikmeter Gas enthält. Der Nahe Osten und Nordafrika haben außerdem mehrere erdgasreiche Gebiete, einschließlich des Beckens von Rub Al-Khali (12 62 Milliarden Kubikmeter Gas) im südwestlichen Saudi-Arabien und Nord-Jemen; In der Umgebung von Ghawar (große Ghawar Spalte) im Osten von Saudi-Arabien (6 427 Milliarden Kubikmeter) und in der gefalteten Kette des Zagros (6003 Milliarden Kubikmeter) entlang des Persischen Golfs im Irak und Iran  [6].

Vor ein paar Monaten war die Priorität für die nationale Sicherheit Israels, seine ausländischen Zulieferungen zu garantieren, wegen der alarmierenden Tatsache seiner nachlassenden inländischen Gas-Produktion. Diese Energiekrise wurde noch verschärft durch die Manifestationen der sogenannten “arabischen Frühlinge”, die Ägypten und Libyen Anfang 2011 erschüttert haben. Sie führten zum Sturz von Präsident Mubarak, dessen Regime rund 40 % des israelischen Erdgasbedarfes zur Verfügung stellte. Dazu kam die Aufhebung des Verbots für islamische Parteien in Ägypten, einschließlich der Muslimbruderschaft und der radikalen Salafi Al-Nour Partei, und die Tatsache, dass die Bereitstellung durch Pipeline an Israel von ägyptischem Gas wiederholt das Ziel von Sabotage und Störung wurde, – die jüngste fand im Februar dieses Jahres im Nord-Sinai statt – konnte Israel für seine zukünftige Energiesicherheit nur nervös machen [7].

Die libanesische Reaktion speist neue Spannungen

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Die Entdeckung von Leviathan durch Israel vor seiner Küste löste sofort einen neuen geopolitischen Konflikt aus, als der Libanon argumentierte, dass ein Teil des Gasfeldes in den Territorialgewässern der eigenen Ausschließlichen Wirtschaftszone (AWZ) liegt. Der Libanon schickte seinen Anspruch der UNO, mit Unterstützung von Karten, worauf der israelische Außenminister Lieberman antwortete: „Wir geben keinen Zoll nach“.

Was in der mediterranen Energielandschaft nicht funktioniert, ist die Tatsache, dass Israel, wie die Vereinigten Staaten, das Übereinkommen der Vereinten Nationen von 1982 über das Gesetz des Meeres, das globale Rechte für Unterwasser Ressourcen erteilt, nie ratifiziert hat. Die israelischen Gasbohrungen von Leviathan sind eindeutig auf israelischem Gebiet, was der Libanon auch nicht anficht, aber er meint, dass sich die Lagerstätte bis in seine eigenen Hoheitsgewässer ausdehne. Hisbollah sagt, dass das Tamar-Gasfeld, das Gas vor Ende des Jahres liefern sollte, dem Libanon gehöre.

Washington verlor keine Zeit, seine eigenen Karten der Energiepolitik in dem Streit über Erdgas zwischen dem Libanon und Israel auszuspielen. Als im Juli 2011 Israel sich vorbereitete, seinen eigenen Vorschlag bei den Vereinten Nationen für die Demarkationslinie auf dem Meer zwischen Libanon und Israel einzureichen, sagte Frederic Hof, der für Syrien und den Libanon verantwortliche US Diplomat, dass seine Regierung das libanesische Dokument unterstützen würde und trug damit zu den wachsenden Spannungen, die seit Beginn des “arabischen Frühlings” zwischen Israels Ministerpräsident Benjamin Netanjahu und Präsident Obama bei  [8].

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Sheldon Adelson wurde von Benjamin Netanyahu beauftragt, die Republikaner zu finanzieren und eine zweite Amtszeit von Barack Obama zu verhindern.

Netanjahu hätte vor kurzem den acht-reichsten Mann der USA, seinen engen Freund und Milliardär der Kasinos von Las Vegas, Sheldon Adelson aufgefordert, Millionen Dollar direkt für Wahlkämpfe der Republikaner einzusetzen, einschließlich für Newt Gingrich und Mitt Romney. Dies bedeutet eine noch nie da gewesene israelische Intervention in die US-Präsidentschafts-Kampagne, allein um zu versuchen, eine zweite Amtszeit von Obama zu verhindern [9]. Die neuen Fragen im Zusammenhang mit der Kontrolle der enormen, vor der Küste von Israel und dem Libanon, sowie vor den zyprischen, griechischen und türkischen Ufern entdeckten Energiereserven, werden eine immer wichtigere Rolle in einer Region spielen, die bereits eine der kompliziertesten, der globalen politischen Welt ist.

(Fortsetzung folgt…)

Der nächste Artikel wird weiteren Komplikationen gewidmet, mit Bezug auf Öl und Gas Entdeckungen im Ägäischen Meer.

F. William Engdahl ist ein Journalist der Vereinigten Staaten, Spezialist der energetischen und geopolitischen Fragen. Letztes veröffentlichte Werk :Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century (2010).


[1] «Big Gas Find Sparks a Frenzy in Israel», par Charles Levinson et Guy Chazan, The Wall Street Journal, 30 décembre 2010.

[2] «Israël: Leviathan détient plus de gaz que précédemment estimé»Offshore Energy Today, 19 décembre 2011.

[3] «Israël a assez de gaz pour devenir exportateur», AFP, 29 décembre 2010.

[4] US Department of the Interior, «Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Levant Basin Province, Eastern Mediterranean», US Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010–3014, mars-avril 2010.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] «Forecast Blackout Israel is about to run out of natural gas: Shortage expected to last at least until next year, when the Tamar gas field starts production», par Avi Bar-Eli et Itai Trilnick, Haaretz, 2 février 2012 . Voir aussi Reuters, «Blast Hits Gas Pipeline Between Egypt, Jordan, Israel», 4 février 2012.

[8] «US Backs Lebanon on Maritime Border Dispute with Israel», par Barak Ravid, Haaretz, 10 juillet 2011.

[9] «Sheldon Adelson Probe: Donations From Casino Owner Could Embarrass Republican Candidates», Reuters, 8 février 2012. Pour plus d’informations sur les liens Adelson-Gingrich-Romney-Netanyahu voir «The Bibi Connection», par Max Blumenthal, Al-Akhbar.com, 12 janvier 2012.


Video: Ariane Wu
Read full transcript

The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.

One of the Bay Area’s most prominent radical activists of the era, Richard Masato Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities. He was a member of several radical groups before joining and arming the Panthers, whose members received international notoriety for brandishing weapons during patrols of the Oakland police and a protest at the state Legislature. 

Aoki went on to work for 25 years as a teacher, counselor and administrator at the Peralta Community College District, and after his suicide in 2009, he was revered as a fearless radical. 

But unbeknownst to his fellow activists, Aoki had served as an FBI intelligence informant, covertly filing reports on a wide range of Bay Area political groups, according to the bureau agent who recruited him.

That agent, Burney Threadgill Jr., recalled that he approached Aoki in the late 1950s, about the time Aoki was graduating from Berkeley High School. He asked Aoki if he would join left-wing groups and report to the FBI. 

Informant 6 - CoverPageC-600px.jpg
Aoki is listed in an FBI report on the Black Panther Party as an “informant” with the code number “T-2.”

“He was my informant. I developed him,” Threadgill said in an interview. “He was one of the best sources we had.”

The former agent said he asked Aoki how he felt about the Soviet Union, and the young man replied that he had no interest in communism.

“I said, ‘Well, why don’t you just go to some of the meetings and tell me who’s there and what they talked about?’ Very pleasant little guy. He always wore dark glasses,” Threadgill recalled. 

Aoki’s work for the FBI, which has never been reported, was uncovered and verified during research for the book, “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power.” The book, based on research spanning three decades, will be published tomorrow by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

In a tape-recorded interview for the book in 2007, two years before he committed suicide, Aoki was asked if he had been an FBI informant. Aoki’s first response was a long silence. He then replied, “ ‘Oh,’ is all I can say.”

Later during the same interview, Aoki contended the information wasn’t true.

Asked if this reporter was mistaken that Aoki had been an informant, Aoki said, “I think you are,” but added: “People change. It is complex. Layer upon layer.”

However, the FBI later released records about Aoki in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.  A Nov. 16, 1967, intelligence report on the Black Panthers lists Aoki as an “informant” with the code number “T-2.”

An FBI spokesman declined to comment on Aoki, citing litigation seeking additional records about him under the Freedom of Information Act.

Since his death – Aoki shot himself at his Berkeley home after a long illness – his legend has grown. In a 2009 feature-length documentary film, “Aoki,” and a 2012 biography, “Samurai Among Panthers,” he is portrayed as a militant radical leader. Neither mentions that he had worked with the FBI.

Harvey Dong, who was a fellow activist and close friend, said last week that he had never heard that Aoki was an informant. 

“It’s definitely something that is shocking to hear,” said Dong, who was the executor of Aoki’s estate. “I mean, that’s a big surprise to me.”

Dong recalled that Aoki tended to “compartmentalize” the different parts of his life. Before he shot himself, Dong said, Aoki had laid out in his apartment two neatly pressed uniforms: One was the black leather jacket, beret and dark trousers of the Black Panthers. The other was his U.S. Army regimental.

In Berkeley in the late 1960s, Aoki wore slicked-back hair, sported sunglasses even at night and spoke with a ghetto patois. His fierce demeanor intimidated even his fellow radicals, several of them have said. 

“He had swagger up to the moon,” former Berkeley activist Victoria Wong recalled at his memorial.

From gangs to the military

Aoki was born in San Leandro in 1938, the first of two sons. He was 4 when his family was interned at Topaz, Utah, with thousands of other Japanese Americans during World War II.

After the war, Aoki grew up in West Oakland, in an area that had been known as Little Yokohama before becoming a low-income black community. He joined a gang and became a tough street fighter who as an adult would boast, “I was the baddest Oriental come out of West Oakland.”

He shoplifted, burgled homes and stole car parts for “the midnight auto supply business,” he told Berkeley’s KPFA radio in a 2006 interview. Oakland police repeatedly arrested him for “mostly petty-type stuff,” he said in the 2007 interview. Still, he graduated from Herbert Hoover Junior High School as co-valedictorian.

But the internment during World War II had shattered his family, Aoki had said. His father became a gangster and abandoned his family, and his mother won custody of her sons and moved them to Berkeley. Aoki did well academically at Berkeley High School and became president of the Stamp and Coin Club. However, he assaulted another student in the hallway and, as he recalled, “beat him half to death.”

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Aoki was an avid firearms collector and military enthusiast. After high school, he joined the Army and later was a reservist.

Credit: Courtesy of Harvey Dong

Three days after graduating from high school in January 1957, Aoki reported for duty at Fort Ord, near Monterey. He had enlisted in the U.S. Army the prior year, at age 17. He acknowledged in the 2007 interview that he had “cut a deal” in which military authorities arranged for his criminal record to be sealed.

Aoki said he had hoped to become the army’s first Asian American general, but he served only about a year on active duty and seven more in the reserves before being honorably discharged as a sergeant. 

Although he saw no combat, he became a firearms expert. “I got to play with all the toys I wanted to play with when I was growing up,” he told KPFA. “Pistols, rifles, machine guns, mortars, rocket launchers.”

Being in the reserves left Aoki a lot of free time, and he became deeply involved in left-wing political organizations at the behest of the FBI, retired FBI agent Threadgill said during a series of interviews before his death in 2005. 

“The activities that he got involved in was because of us using him as an informant,” he said.

Threadgill recalled that he first approached Aoki after a bureau wiretap on the home phone of Saul and Billie Wachter, local members of the Communist Party, picked up Aoki talking to fellow Berkeley High classmate Doug Wachter.

At first, Aoki gathered information about the Communist Party, Threadgill said. But Aoki soon focused on the Socialist Workers Party and its youth affiliate, the Young Socialist Alliance, also targets of an intensive FBI domestic security investigation.

By spring 1962, Aoki had been elected to the Berkeley Young Socialist Alliance’s executive council, FBI records show. That December, he became a member of the Oakland-Berkeley branch of the Socialist Workers Party, where he served as the representative to Bay Area civil rights groups. He also was on the steering committee of the Committee to Uphold the Right to Travel.

In 1965, Aoki joined the Vietnam Day Committee, an influential anti-war group based in Berkeley, and worked on its international committee as liaison to foreign anti-war activists.

All along, Aoki met regularly with his FBI handler. Aoki also filed reports by phone, Threadgill said.

“I’d call him and say, ‘When do you want to get together?’ ” Threadgill recalled. “I’d say, ‘I’ll meet you on the street corner at so-and-so and so on.’ I would park a couple of blocks away and get out and go and sit down and talk to him.” 

Arming the Black Panthers

Threadgill worked with Aoki through mid-1965, when he moved to another FBI office and turned Aoki over to a fellow agent. Aoki was well positioned to inform on a wide range of political activists. 

Aoki attended Merritt College in Oakland, where he met Huey Newton, a pre-law student, and Bobby Seale, an engineering student, who were in a political group called the Soul Students Advisory Council. 

In fall 1966, Aoki transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior in sociology. That October, Seale and Newton took a draft of their 10-point program for what would become the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to Aoki’s Berkeley apartment and discussed it over drinks. The platform called for improved housing, education, full employment, the release of incarcerated black men, a halt to “the robbery by the capitalists of our black community” and an “immediate end to police brutality.” 

Soon after, Aoki gave the Panthers some of their first guns. As Seale recalled in his memoir, “Seize the Time:”

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Aoki (left) represented the UC Berkeley Asian American community as part of the Third World Liberation Front.

Credit: Courtesy of Nancy Park

“Late in November 1966, we went to a Third World brother we knew, a Japanese radical cat. He had guns … .357 Magnums, 22’s, 9mm’s, what have you. … We told him that if he was a real revolutionary he better go on and give them up to us because we needed them now to begin educating the people to wage a revolutionary struggle. So he gave us an M-1 and a 9mm.”

In early 1967, Aoki joined the Black Panther Party and gave them more guns, Seale wrote. Aoki also gave Panther recruits weapons training, he said in the 2007 interview.

“I had a little collection, and Bobby and Huey knew about it, and so when the party was formed, I decided to turn it over to the group,” Aoki said in the interview. “And so when you see the guys out there marching and everything, I’m somewhat responsible for the military slant to the organization’s public image.”

In early 1967, the Panthers displayed guns during their “community patrols” of Oakland police and also that May 2, when they visited the state Legislature to protest a bill. 

Although carrying weapons was legal at the time, there is little doubt their presence contributed to fatal confrontations between the Panthers and the police. 

On Oct. 28, 1967, Newton was in a shootout that wounded Oakland Officer Herbert Heanes and killed Officer John Frey. On April 6, 1968, Eldridge Cleaver and five other Panthers were involved in a firefight with Oakland police. Cleaver and two officers were wounded, and Panther Bobby Hutton was killed. 

During the period Aoki was arming the Panthers, he also was informing for the FBI. The FBI report that lists him as informant T-2 says that in May 1967, he reported on the Panthers.

None of the released FBI reports mention that Aoki gave guns to the Panthers.

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Retired FBI agent Wes Swearingen worked closely on counterintelligence operations and surveillance of radical groups, including the Black Panthers.

Credit: Josiah Hooper/Center for Investigative Reporting

FBI’s reliance on informants

M. Wesley Swearingen, a retired FBI agent who has criticized unlawful bureau surveillance activities under the late Director J. Edgar Hoover, reviewed some of the FBI’s records. He concluded in a sworn declaration – filed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records on Aoki – that Aoki had been an informant.  

Swearingen served in the FBI from 1951 to 1977, and worked on a squad that investigated the Panthers. 

“Someone like Aoki is perfect to be in a Black Panther Party, because I understand he is Japanese,” he said. “Hey, nobody is going to guess – he’s in the Black Panther Party; nobody is going to guess that he might be an informant.”

Swearingen also said the FBI certainly must have additional records concerning Aoki, including special informant files.

“Aoki wouldn’t even have to be a member of the party. If he just knew Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, if he went out to lunch with them every day, they would have a main file,” he said. “But to say they don’t have a main file is ludicrous.”

In the 1990s, testimony from Swearingen helped to vacate the murder conviction of Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, a Black Panther leader in Los Angeles. Evidence showed that the FBI and Los Angeles Police Department had failed to disclose that a key witness against Pratt was a longtime FBI informant named Julius C. Butler. Pratt later won a civil suit for wrongful imprisonment, with the City of Los Angeles paying Pratt $2.75 million and the FBI paying him $1.75 million.

During the late ’60s and early ’70s, the FBI sought to disrupt and “neutralize” the Black Panthers under COINTELPRO, the bureau’s secret counterintelligence program to stifle dissent, according to reports by the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities.

As part of COINTELPRO, the committee found, the FBI used informants to gather intelligence leading to the weapons arrests of Panthers in Chicago, Detroit, San Diego and Washington. By the end of 1969, at least 28 Panthers had been killed in gunfights with police and many more arrested on weapons charges, according to news accounts.

Hoover declared in late 1968 that the Panthers, who by now had chapters across the nation, posed “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” He cited their radical philosophy and armed confrontations with police.

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A young Richard Aoki is involved in a 1969 protest at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way near the UC Berkeley campus.  Credit: Courtesy of the Oakland Tribune

Although Aoki later would boast of his role with the Panthers, he was secretive about his relations with them at the time, explaining in the 2007 interview that he feared being expelled from UC Berkeley if his activities were known.

In early 1969, Aoki emerged as a leader of the Third World Liberation Front strike at UC Berkeley, which demanded more ethnic studies courses. He advocated violent tactics, according to interviews with him and Manuel Delgado, another strike leader.

Scores of students and police were injured during the three-month confrontation, which became the campus’s most violent strike to date. Gov. Ronald Reagan declared a state of emergency and sent the National Guard to quell the violence.

At a memorial service for Aoki at Wheeler Hall in May 2009, Seale, of the Black Panthers, and other activists hailed Aoki as a “fearless leader and servant of the people.”  In a phone conversation last week, Seale expressed surprise at hearing that Aoki was an informant and declined to comment further. 

Seth Rosenfeld was an investigative reporter for the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle and has won the George Polk Award and other journalism honors. He can be reached at [email protected]. This story was edited by Robert Salladay and copy edited by Nikki Frick

War and its Relationship to Morality

August 20th, 2012 by David Swanson

I spoke this past weekend at the Kateri Peace Conference in upstate New York ( http://kateripeaceconference.org ) along with Kathy Kelly, John Horgan, Ellen Grady, James Ricks, Matt Southworth, Walt Chura, and many others.  Watch for the video, because a terrific discussion took place around a series of questions posed by the event organizers.  The following are some of the initial responses I had prepared beforehand.

Why Work Against War

War engages me because of its unique relationship to morality.  Killing is a long-standing taboo.  Killing is often if not always the worst thing that can be done to someone.  But killing on a larger scale, organizing numerous people to kill numerous other people is often treated very differently.  When a government kills its own people, that’s generally considered an outrage.  But when a government kills another nation’s people, that’s not always viewed as a moral problem. In fact a government killing its own people is often used as a justification for another nation to come in and kill more of the first nation’s people.  Killing in war, and lesser crimes in war, are given a moral pass or even praised.  A U.S. military sniper bragged on the debut episode this week of NBC’s war reality show “Stars Earn Stripes” that he had “160 kills.”  Not that he killed 160 people.  The people are erased in his language. “I have 160 kills.”  And the show itself is a dramatization of U.S. news coverage of U.S. wars, in which the only participants are Americans.  The 95% of victims in our one-sided slaughters are rarely mentioned in U.S. news coverage, and on this new war-o-tainment show the heroic warriors attack empty fields, blow up guard towers with no guards, kick in doors of uninhabited houses, and spend so much time talking about how “real” it all is that none of them seem to notice that there are no enemies or victims to be found.

War used to get a moral pass as a sporting contest between two armies on a distant battlefield.  Then it became the occupation of people’s homes and the slaughter of those people.  Now our propaganda is working to restore war’s status as a sport, not against an honorable opponent but against an invisible one.  Members of our government talk about wanting to make the Iranian people suffer with sanctions, but we’re not to picture the Iranian people.  Members of our government talk about funding killing as a jobs program, but we’re not to see them as sociopaths.

War is becoming a sport to be approved of regardless of who dies, and with a blank spot for the piece of knowledge that tells us the leading cause of death for U.S. troops is suicide, and the second leading cause being shot by Afghan troops you are supposedly training.  Real war is still hell.  Human beings still suffer mental breakdowns from engaging in it, including engaging in it from a drone pilot’s desk.  But drones are part of an attempt to avoid danger for the five percent of humanity that appears in our news-o-tainment.  This is an attempt to strip war of morality.  Muhammed Ali wouldn’t kill Vietnamese, but his daughter on the so-called reality show will blow the heads off paper targets that represent non-American humanity.  We haven’t created this kind of moral exemption for anything other than war, not for rape or slavery or child abuse or cruelty to animals.  We lock up football stars who hurt dogs, but not Americans who torture and kill human beings in time of war — and war is without limit in time or space.  Among ourselves we’ve become less violent — still outrageously violent, but less so — and less racist, and less sexist, and less bigoted all around.  But militarism is racism’s partner.  The idea of making war on white people has been taboo for 65 years.  Making war on non-white people draws unquestioning support of both the genocidal and the humanitarian variety. 

Do we need radical love?  Yes, not only of enemies, but of invisible nonentities, those distant in space and those distant in time.  We must love the foreigners we are killing and the great grandchildren we are depriving of a livable environment.  And we must love them as equals, as exactly as worthy as ourselves, which obliges us to take considerable risks to our own well being. If our names and our resources are being used to murder, to maim, to terrorize, and to destroy the homes of people in huge numbers, what does that oblige us to do?  And if most of us do little to nothing, what does that oblige those of us who are aware to do?  My answer is anything that looks most likely to succeed, an answer that results in nonviolent actions and a lot more of them. 

Why Not Give Up and Whine Miserably?

I do peace activism out of habit and paid employment.  But I’m miserable when I’m not doing it, so there must be something motivating me.  It certainly isn’t hope that we’re about to succeed.  But neither have I ever spent a moment worrying that we won’t.  If we have a moral obligation to do something, we have the same moral obligation not to waste time fretting over whether we’re about to succeed.

It certainly isn’t the expectation of riches and fame and glory, which are all far more easily obtained elsewhere.  But a lot of what I do is write, and I enjoy writing. I enjoy reading. I enjoy the stimulation I get from other minds through books and through discussions like this one.  I enjoy the process of writing.  I enjoy the praise and recognition that comes from writing and giving speeches.  And yet there’s no sum of money or volume of praise that can motivate me to write or speak a view I oppose or even to address a topic that I find unimportant.  I just can’t do it.

So, what drives me is not fundamentally recognition, but I do think it’s worthwhile for those of us who are always speaking on panels to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are always in the audience.  Should we not give each other recognition and praise and respect regardless of whether our roles are those of spokespeople.  There are equally important and more important jobs in a movement.  So take a moment right now to shake the hand of someone near you and thank them for what they do.  Thank them in fact for their service, because unlike soldiers they are providing a service.

What motivates the people you just shook hands with?  What motivates you?  And what really motivates me?  I suspect the answer is the same for all of us.  We want to reduce suffering and increase happiness.  I’m tempted to say I’m motivated by the severity of the crisis, the likelihood that we have very little time left to avert environmental and/or nuclear catastrophe.  But this isn’t true.  Even a little injustice is enough.  I was an activist before I knew we were destroying the atmosphere, before I knew of the level of death and trauma caused by our bombs and our billionaires, before we’d legalized baseless imprisonment, before we’d tossed out the Fourth Amendment, before we’d given presidents full war powers and personal lists of so-called nominees to be murdered.  New outrages are added to old, but they weren’t required to get most of us active in the first place, and we won’t go silent if they’re undone. 

Think about a small child witnessing the death by missile of his parents and crying over their bodies in hopelessness and terror.  This is not an uncommon scene.  We fund it with our tax dollars.  But it’s in a different country far away.  Were it here in this town, people would not stand for it.  Undoing the policies of death would be priority number 1.  But it’s somewhere else.  So people accept it.  And that strikes me as either incredibly stupid or incredibly greedy.  Stupidity offends me deeply.  I have a hard time not myself offending people by mocking their cherished beliefs when I find them stupid.  So, objecting to stupidity is almost certainly part of my motivation.  But it’s not clear to me that most people really are that stupid.  I think most people go out of their way not to acknowledge what is happening because they feel ashamed and powerless and comfortable and greedy.  We could have better lives without our empire, but most people don’t believe that.  They wish they could have the world’s oil and gas and labor without killing anybody, but the next best thing is to not pay attention to the killing or the system of injustice it maintains.  And that offends me.  That’s dishonesty — a quality far worse than stupidity. 

I’m not suggesting we worship honesty and intelligence for their own sake, but that we apply them to the basic morality of which we are all capable at close range.  We can all love our loved ones.  We ought to be able and willing to love, in a similar but not identical manner, everyone else as well.  Everyone in some sense must be our loved one.  That we don’t achieve this or even strive for it is an embarrassment to be outgrown.  It ought to be part of every child’s education.  Loving those we don’t know can in fact be easier than loving some of the people we do know.  It’s not the same sort of love, but it has to be a kind of love if we are to find it in ourselves to take appropriate actions on their behalf and in partnership with them on behalf of us all.

What Way Forward?

I have a theory that we talk about peace and justice because we don’t want to talk about peace.  We chant “No justice, no peace,” threatening to disturb the peace if we don’t get our justice.  I want to disturb the war.  I want to nonviolently afflict the comfortable to comfort the afflicted but I think we need to reverse the chant. I say “No peace, no justice.”  You cannot begin to make justice in the middle of killing and dying.  You can’t build a just nation with bombs.  First the bombs have to stop.  That’s the very first priority.  Then the threat of bombs has to stop.  That’s the second priority.  Then justice and democracy can begin. 

We also talk a lot about peace without meaning it.  We talk about peace in our hearts and in our personal lives.  We don’t mean the abolition of war and the elimination of standing armies.  I’m all for peace in our hearts.  And I’m all for peace in our personal lives.  But I wouldn’t kick out of the peace movement people who are unpleasant and acrimonious.  We need all the people we can get. What I mean by peace is first and foremost and almost entirely the absence of war.  It’s popular to say “Peace must be more than just the absence of war,” was if the mere absence of war is talk to be reserved for the speeches of beauty queens.  But, you know, living is more than oxygen — yet without reliable oxygen everything else falls apart.  Without peace not much else matters.

Woody Allen said “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work.  I want to achieve immortality through not dying.”  Well I don’t want to achieve peace in my heart or in my little corner of a dying world.  I want to achieve peace through putting an end to warfare. 

Justice, including the redistribution of the military’s trillion dollars a year, including the liberation of nations living under our threat, including the preservation of a natural world ravaged by war making and war preparation can follow.

Now how do we make that a national priority?  I’m not sure we do.  I think maybe we need to make it a human priority.  We have more strength in numbers and in solidarity.  We need to bring the stories of others here.  We need to put pressure on foreign governments that still respond to it.  If we can’t close the School of the Americas, but we can help convince South American nations to stop sending students, let’s start there.  If we can’t shut down our oil companies, but the people of Iraq can block their oil law, let’s help.  If we can’t free Bradley Manning, but we can encourage Ecuador to protect Julian Assange, we should.  We should be the U.S. arm of a global movement, with the establishment of representative government in our own country as one of our distant dreams, to be advanced perhaps by work at the state and local levels where we still have a chance.

One of our top priorities in the United States must be education, about the rest of the world, and about alternatives to war thinking.  By war thinking I mean the sort of thinking that is currently asking “How can we oppose war in Syria without offering an alternative?”  Now most people would oppose an individual murder even if they couldn’t offer an alternative.  What is the alternative to murder?  First and foremost it is not murdering.  What is the alternative to supporting fanatical terrorists in Syria?  It’s demilitarization.  Stop arming these dictatorships for years and then turning against them.  Support nonviolent uprisings like that in Bahrain rather than assisting in the brutal crackdown.  Reject violent uprisings like the one our nation has helped produce in Syria.  Send in nonviolent forces.  Send in independent media.  Not to generate propaganda for war but to generate pressure for peace.  Send aid.  Not weapons that are called aid.

While there may be global trends against war, our nation has empowered presidents to make wars, guaranteeing that they will, and built up a military industrial complex that generates wars at will.  The top priority of civil libertarians, of opponents of poverty, of advocates for education, or environmentalists, and of everyone working for a better world ought to be the dismantlement of the military industrial complex, and if we merged these movements we could do it.  Less than 10 percent of what it swallows each year could make state college free.  Imagine what the other 90% could do.  Imagine what all those college-educated people could imagine that other 90% could do.

What Are We Up Against?

We’re up against ignorance, including willful ignorance.  We’re up against apathy, which can benefit from the fantasy that all will magically work out, that the universe has a moral arc.  Things may work out or we may all die horribly.  That’s why we do what we have to do.  We’re up against partisanship and the widespread poisonous idea that rather than demanding representation from our government we should be cheering for one political party within our government and forgiving all its sins.  But most of all we’re up against disempowerment and the ridiculous but nearly universal belief that we can’t change things.

George W. Bush’s memoirs recall top Republicans in 2006 secretly demanding withdrawal from Iraq under public and electoral pressure.  Imagine how the peace movement would have grown if such responses to it had been public.  But why shouldn’t it have grown exactly the same in the face of the pretence that we were having no impact?  Why should we believe such a pretense?  Why should we care if it’s a pretense or not?  Shouldn’t we push ahead as our morality requires regardless?

I recently read some memoirs by a peace activist from this part of the country named Lawrence Wittner.  He participated in his first political demonstration in 1961.  The USSR was withdrawing from a moratorium on nuclear testing.  A protest at the White House urged President Kennedy not to follow suit.  “For decades I looked back on this venture as a trifle ridiculous,” Wittner wrote.  “After all, we and other small bands of protesters couldn’t have had any impact on U.S. policy, could we?  Then in the mid-1990s, while doing research at the Kennedy Library on the history of the world nuclear disarmament movement, I stumbled onto an oral history interview with Adrian Fisher, deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.  He was explaining why Kennedy delayed resuming atmospheric nuclear tests until April 1962.  Kennedy personally wanted to resume such tests, Fisher recalled, ‘but he also recognized that there were a lot of people that were going to be deeply offended by the United States resuming atmospheric testing.  We had people picketing the White House, and there was a lot of excitement about it.’”  If the picketers in 1961 had had the slightest notion that Kennedy was being influenced by them, their numbers would have multiplied 10-fold. 

If you work for an online activist group you discover that people will take 10 minutes to write you letters explaining why taking 10 seconds to email their lousy bum of a Congress member would be a waste of time.  We’ve advanced to the point of actively working to disempower each other.

In 1973-1974, Wittner visited GI coffee houses in Japan including in Yokusaka, where the Midway aircraft carrier was in port.  The Japanese were protesting the ship’s carrying of nuclear weapons, which was illegal in Japan, and which the U.S. military, of course, lied about.  But U.S. soldiers with whom Wittner and other activists had talked, brought them onto the ship and showed them the nukes.  The following summer, when Wittner read in a newspaper that, “a substantial number of American GIs had refused to board the Midway for a mission to South Korea, then swept by popular protest against the U.S.-backed dictatorship, it occurred to me,” writes Wittner, “that I might have played some small role in inspiring their mutiny.”

In the late 1990s, Wittner interviewed Robert “Bud” McFarlane, President Ronald Reagan’s former national security advisor: “Other administration officials had claimed that they had barely noticed the nuclear freeze movement.  But when I asked McFarlane about it, he lit up and began outlining a massive administration campaign to counter and discredit the freeze — one that he had directed. . . .  A month later, I interviewed Edwin Meese, a top White House staffer and U.S. attorney general during the Reagan administration.  When I asked him about the administration’s response to the freeze campaign, he followed the usual line by saying that there was little official notice taken of it.  In response, I recounted what McFarlane had revealed.  A sheepish grin now spread across this former government official’s face, and I knew that I had caught him.” 

Let’s not wait to catch them.  Let’s know they’re lying.  Why do you think they’re spying on us?  When someone tells you to stop imagining that you’re having an impact, ask them to please redirect their energy into getting 10 friends to join you in doing what needs to be done.  If it has no impact, you’ll have gone down trying.  If it has an impact, nobody will tell you for many years.

David Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Agent Orange: The Deadly Legacy of Chemical Warfare

August 20th, 2012 by Stephen Lendman

Fifty-one years and counting! On August 10, 1961, America began spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Operation Ranch Hand waged herbicidal warfare for 10 years.

Around 20,000 sorties were flown. Other spraying was done from boats, trucks, or soldiers mounted with backpacks. Over five million acres were contaminated. About 20% of South Vietnam was sprayed at least once. 

Millions of gallons of dioxin-containing defoliant were used across vast areas. Concentrations were 50 times greater than for other defoliation purposes. Horrific consequences followed. 

Dioxin is one of the most deadly known substances. It’s both natural and man-made. It’s a potent carcinogenic human immune system suppressant. Minute amounts cause serious health problems and death.

Agent Orange kills! It accumulates in adipose tissue and the liver. It alters living cell genetic structures. Exposure results in congenital disorders and birth defects. It causes cancer, type two diabetes, and numerous other diseases.

In 2009, the US Institute of Medicine reported evidence linking Agent Orange to soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (including hairy-cell leukemia), Hodgkin’s disease, and chloracne.

It also associated it with prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, amyloidosis (abnormal protein deposits), Parkinson’s disease, porphyria cutanea tarda (a blood and skin disorder), ischemic heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, cancer of the larynx, lung, bronchea and trachea, as well as spina bifida in offspring of exposed parents.

Vietnam’s Red Cross also links it to liver cancer; lipid metabolism disorder; reproductive abnormalities; development disabilities; paralysis; and congenital deformities like cleft lip, cleft palate, club foot, hydrocephalus, neural tube defects, fused digits, and muscle malformations.

Dioxin remains toxic for decades. It’s not water soluble or easily degradable. It contaminates soil, foliage, air and water. It can be inhaled, absorbed through skin, or gain bodily entry through eyes, ears, or other cavity passages. It enters the food chain. Crops, plants, animals, and sea life are poisoned.

Its effects killed millions of Southeast Asians. Many others were disabled and/or suffer from chronic illnesses. Future generations are affected like earlier ones.

Around three million US servicemen and women were harmed. So were many American civilians. Many died. Living victims suffer from diseases, birth defects, and other ill effects.

Agent Orange use was always controversial. In 1964, the Federation of American Scientists objected. In 1966, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) issued a resolution. It called for investigating its effects.

In 1967, 17 Nobel laureates and 5,000 scientists petitioned to end its use. In 1969, evidence showed birth defects and still births in mice. In 1970, ecological field tests were conducted. Other studies confirmed dioxin’s harm. Ecocide and genocide best describe it. Human studies provided damning evidence.

In the early 1970s, Vietnam veterans reported skin rashes, cancer, psychological symptoms, birth defects, and other health problems. A 1979 class-action lawsuit against herbicide producers was settled out of court in 1984. 

An Agent Orange Settlement Fund was established. Through 1996, affected veterans got about $200 million in compensation. It was too little, too late. It insulted survivors. 

In July 2011, 50 years after spraying began, HR 2634: Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2011 was introduced. It was referred to committee. No further action was taken. Congress prioritizes war making. Effects on US service men and women from past and current ones don’t matter.

Law Professor Marjorie Cohn asked what’s “the difference between super powers like the United States violating the laws of war with impunity and the reports of killing of Syrian civilians by both sides in the current war?”

“Does the United States have any credibility to demand governments and non-state actors end the killings of civilians, when through wars and drones and its refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the use of Agent Orange, the United States has and is engaging in the very conduct it publicly deplores?”

It’s done that and much more. It’s responsible for millions of  Yugoslav, Afghan, Iraqi, Libyan, and Syrian deaths, as well as many others in numerous other counties. Conventional and illegal weapons are responsible.

Depleted uranium (DU) contamination began in the 1970s. US forces used DU freely since America’s Gulf war. Dirty bombs, shells, missiles, and other munitions are used.

DU and other toxic weapons are illegal under international law. The 1925 Geneva Protocol and subsequent Geneva Weapons Conventions prohibit use of chemical and biological agents in any form.

The 1925 Geneva Convention Gas Protocol prohibits poison gas. The 1907 Hague Convention bans use of any “poison or poisoned weapons.”

Dioxin kills. DU is radioactive and chemically toxic. The US code, Title 50, Chapter 40, Section 2302 prohibits use of “weapons of mass destruction,” saying:

“The term ‘weapon of mass destruction’ means any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity.”

America’s use is lawless. Doing so constitutes war crimes. Millions of combatants and civilians have been irreparably harmed or killed. In current US direct and proxy wars, others are affected daily.

August 10 is International Agent Orange Day. Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC) members urge observing it annually in silence at noon. Doing so for 51 seconds this year was commemorated. 

Established in February 2005, VOARRC campaigns for victims denied justice. Wars remain hell when they’re over. They don’t end when bombs stop falling and combat ceases. Devastation remains long-lasting. Millions of Southeast Asians and US veterans suffer from physical injuries, illnesses, and/or trauma. Millions of others died.

Washington wants its toxic legacy buried and forgotten. Survivors can’t let it happen. No one should tolerate America’s imperial ravaging. New victims are affected daily. 

American service men and women suffer like combatants and civilians they target. On average, 18 US soldiers commit suicide daily. Countless others suffer physical and psychological injuries. PTSD, depression, neurotic disorders and psychoses are commonplace.

Thousands of war veterans come home permanently disabled. Many more experience chronic illnesses. PTSD sufferers experience anxiety, nervousness in crowds, depression, flashbacks,  nightmares, trouble concentrating, difficulty sleeping, feelings of detachment, irritability, and unusual behavior.

Normal kids come home killers. Wives, children, and others are abused. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and violence are common. Many needing help don’t get it.

America doesn’t give a damn about men and women sent to war when they’re no longer needed. In 2011, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said it usually takes around four years for the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin providing proper mental healthcare. Funding is inadequate.

It takes weeks or longer for suicidal vets to be examined. For many it’s too late. Countless others suffer from America’s toxic legacy. They’re nameless and faceless out of sight and mind at home.

Nothing done compensates for tragedy. Ending wars alone can prevent them. What greater priority than that!

A Final Comment

In December 2009, a five-part Chicago Tribune series focused on Agent Orange’s deadly legacy. Since its health threats were acknowledged, America “established a record of neglect,” it said.

Veterans and affected family members seeking help and compensation “face delays and a maddening bureaucracy.” Southeast Asians were abandoned and forgotten.

Forty years later, two offspring of an Vietnam vet may or may not reflect others. Between them, they’ve had 41 surgeries, including five brain operations, two for spinal cord injuries, and one hysterectomy. Their father died in 2008 from leukemia. He waited years for proper help.

Both daughters have Chiari malformations. It’s a structural brain defect. It’s associated with spin bifida. One daughter waited three and half years for help. It was inadequate, and by them her bladder shut down.

Her sister sought help and was denied. “They’re waiting for you to die,” she said. Imagine the deplorable suffering of millions of Southeast Asians. 

Compassion was never America’s long suit. Killing, destruction, conquest, and plunder are prioritized. Imagine what’s planned ahead. Human needs be damned. Wealth, power and dominance alone matter. 

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

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


Fresh evidence has been increasingly emerging lately of Western weapons shipments to the Syrian opposition, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

“Fresh facts have been emerging lately, including in media reports, that Western-made weapons keep arriving at the Syrian opposition camp through third countries,” Gatilov Twitted on Monday.

“The question arises: How do our Western partners, who are proposing that sanctions be imposed on Syria, see their guaranteed implementation?” the high-placed Russian diplomat said.

- Libya arms Syrian rebels, Sunday Times claims 

London-based newspaper Sunday Times claims that Libya is increasing deliveries of weapons to Syrian rebels.

The paper says that the weapons, including missile systems, are delivered via Lebanon.

Libyan ships with them anchor in neutral waters 30 kms from the Lebanese coast.

When the night darkness descends, big boats come from Tripoli and unload the weapons.


All Australians to be Treated as Terrorist Suspects?

August 20th, 2012 by James Sinnamon

This article contains James Sinnamon’s submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) which wants to pass new laws to make all your emails and other internet transactions up to two years back accessible to the Australian Government. “If Australian governments were serious about protecting Australians from terrorism, they would not have given transnational corporations with interests in every kind of industry including military total access to information about resources and infrastructure relating to location and operation of power, water supply and telecommunications, land-use planning, national statistics, scientific research institutions and banks. What is left, I ask, for terrorists?” 

The Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) paper claims that Australia faces terrorist threats and that, in order to defeat these threats:

1. It is to be made an offence for any citizen to fail to “assist in the decryption of communications”. In other words, each Internet user may not refuse to give to government agencies a copy of his/her private encryption key so that all his/her electronic business and private correspondence can be read by police and security agencies.

2. It be required that data transmitted by all Internet users be retained for up to two years by their respective Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

So, if these proposals become law, Internet users will be required to allow police and security agencies to read all business and personal correspondence and data uploads, as well as any more going back up to two years.

Nowhere, in the discussion paper, has it been shown how these sweeping powers could have prevented past acts of terrorism or other criminal acts from being carried out on Australian soil.

In Chapter two, Interception and the TIA Act, the paper notes the greater power and sophistication of communication technologies made available to terrorist and criminal organisations since 1979 when the current Act was enacted.

However, no-where in the paper is the commensurate increase in sophistication and power of surveillance technologies available to police and security agencies acknowledged or factored in.

If the paper acknowledged that the government possesses equal and possibly superior surveillance technologies to non-government agencies, I believe that the basis of these proposed changes to the law would be nullified.

One-sided appraisal of technology fails to admit Government already technologically well-empowered

From their present one-sided appraisal of technology, the Committee has made a breathtaking leap of logic by claiming that only by, in effect, treating all Australian Internet Users as potential terrorists or potential criminals and by subjecting them to the surveillance that only criminal and terrorist suspects were previously subjected to, could the law enforcement authorities and security agencies provide us with the protection that they were previously able to.

The report shows how current targeted surveillance powers have been effective in thwarting numerous crimes:

“In 2010/2011 there were 2441 arrests, 3168 prosecutions (2848 for serious offences) and 2034 convictions (1854 for serious offences) based on lawfully intercepted material. 2 Law enforcement agencies made 91 arrests, 33 prosecutions and obtained 33 convictions based on evidence obtained under stored communications warrants.

“These figures may underestimate the effectiveness of interception because a conviction can be recorded without entering the intercepted material into evidence. Interception also allows agencies to identify criminal connections, …

“Telecommunications data is commonly the first source of important lead information for further investigations and often provides a unique and comprehensive insight into the behaviour of persons of interest.” (p14)

The discussion paper fails to explain why, if this was possible under existing laws, the proposed additional powers are necessary.

Four cases in which suspects have been convicted of conspiring to commit terrorist acts are also cited, but, again, the paper fails to explain why, if this was possible under existing laws, the proposed additional powers are necessary.

Australian participation in illegal wars

How can Australia expect other nations to respect our own sovereignty and territorial integrity, when it has failed to accord that respect to other nations?

Since 1991, Australia has participated in three illegal wars under false pretexts: Two against Iraq and, our longest ever war, in which we are still engaged, against Afghanistan. As a result of the wars against Iraq and sanctions in which Australia participated, some estimates put the death toll as high as one million.

The 1991 war against Iraq was launched after Iraq had been cynically tricked into invading Kwait by the then ambassasor to Kuawit April Glaspie, who has since disappeared from public view. In order to overcome opposition to that war, the “Incubator babies” story, in which cruel Iraqi invaders were said to have thrown babies out of incubators onto hospital floors was fabricated. In 2003 it was claimed that Iraq posed a threat to the world with its renewed Weapons of Mass Destruction program. This claim was demolished in 2003 before the US Congress of CIA by CIA agent Valerie Plame, who testified that she had found no evidence of Iraq WMDs.

False flag terrorism

No-where in this discussion paper is another source of terrorism acknowledged, that is false flag terrorism. False flag terrorism is carried out by governments seeking to justify repression and gain political advantage by blaming the terrorism on opponents. Earlier this year, although it denies this, the Syrian Government was accused of having committed the Houla Massacre, in which 108 men, women and children were murdered in order to blame their deaths on the opposition Syrian National Council.

It was because the Syrian government was blamed for the Houla Massacre that the Australian Government expelled the Syrian Ambassador from Australia and imposed sanctions against Syria.

In October 2005 the late former President of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid said, in an interview with SBS, that he believed that either the Indonesian military or the Indonesian police planted the second larger bomb which destroyed the Sari Club on 12 October 2002.[1] 202 people including 88 Australians perished in those attacks known as the Bali Bombing attacks.

Many credible figures including Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bowman, the former Director of Advanced Space Programs Development for the U.S. Air Force in the Ford and Carter administrations, believe that senior figures in the Bush administration were complicit in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in which almost 3,000 residents of the United States died. I stated my agreement with Lieutenant Colonel Bowman in my submission of 7 September 2009 to the Australian parliamentary Inquiry Into Human Rights on 7 September 2009.[2] I include a copy with this submission. [See copy as Endnote 7.] Until earlier this year that submission was posted on the Federal Parliamentary web-site along with all the other submissions.

In 1963, the US joint Chiefs of Staff put to President John F Kennedy that the US military stage apparent hijackings of civilian aircraft, terrorist murders and apparent military attacks against United States military bases in order to put the blame on Cuba. this proposal was known as Operation Northwoods.[3] Fortunately, President Kennedy rejected that proposal before he was sadly murdered.

Privatisation of Institutions and information

Successive Australian governments, both state and federal, have deregulated and privatised institutions and their information and outsourced services from the time of Keating. They have done this without the permission of the electorate, which has never been asked, as Financial Review Editor, Laura Tingle, recently put forward in her Quarterly Review essay, “Great Expectations,”.[4] Corroborating Tingle’s observations, sociologist, Sheila Newman wrote that,

“With deregulation and privatisation (under Hawke and Keating), governments dissolved the very institutions that gave them power. Because of Hawke and Keating’s actions, Australian governments now have so little power that they are unable to satisfy the promises they make at election time to the electorate.”

How can Australian citizens trust governments which are now almost powerless against corporate interests to represent their citizens? How can the Committee ask Australians to cede yet more power and information to feeble government powers that have shown undeniable trends to privilege corporations like News Ltd with lax media ownership laws even when British parliamentary inquiries have exposed their management as condoning and encouraging spying at every level? How can the Committee ask Australians to cede yet more power and information to governments which have allowed a myriad of private fly-by-night organisations to take over our entire telecommunications system, power, water and other utilities, resulting in so many complaints that states have now replaced one omsbudsman with many omsbudsmen?

If Australian governments were serious about protecting Australians from terrorism, they would not have given transnational corporations with interests in every kind of industry including military total access to information about resources and infrastructure relating to location and operation of power, water supply and telecommunications, land-use planning, national statistics, scientific research institutions and banks.

What is left, I ask, for terrorists?

Surely Australia’s best defense against terrorism lies in Australian citizens being able to protect their own interests and privacy from government and commercial organisations? Who else can they really trust?


To the extent that Australia faces a terrorist threat at all, the paper offers no practical proposal of how to meet that threat. In all likelihood, greater surveillance at the hands of Governments and security agencies, which have done so little to earn the trust of Australians, will only serve to make larger numbers more apathetic and less able to act if they see evidence of real terrorist threats.

Australians need more civil rights, not fewer, to ensure that dark or incompetent processes cannot proceed behind a wall of secrecy and ill-informed authority in the name of security. It has been suggested that Australia could consider adopting the European Civil Code, also known as the Napoleonic Code, instead of its ‘ad hoc British system’. In the EU, only Britain has failed to adopt this Roman Law based model. Australia needs a Civil Code of citizens’ rights, legally defendable, modelled on the French one to combat the disorganising forces of the markets and perceived threats to security.[5]

There is a great deal more in the 61 pages of this discussion paper than I have been able to properly address in the limited time available to me. Nevertheless, I believe this submission demonstrates that the measures proposed in discussion paper pose an unwarranted threat to the democratic freedoms of Internet users.

The proposals have never been put to the voting public and had this been done I believe that they would have been rejected just as the Australian public previously rejected a proposal to filter Internet traffic.

Accordingly, I ask that either the proposals contained in the discussion paper be rejected by Parliament or that they be put to the public in a referendum.


[1] “Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings?” by Michel Chossudovsky at http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10931

[2] The submission I made to the Australian parliamentary Inquiry Into Human Rights on 7 September 2009 contained the following factual errors:

(i) Lieutenant Colene Robert Bowman did not serve on “President Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program.” He had retired when Jimmy Carter was President.

(ii) Morgan Reynolds, who is listed in my submission, claims that the WTC Twin Towers were destroyed by particle beams from outer space and that the aircraft seen to fly into each of the respective WTC Twin Towers were, in fact, holograms, so cannot be considered a credible supporter of 9/11 Truth.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

[4] Laura Tingle in “Great Expectations,” Quarterly Essay, June 2012, p.34, writes: “Yet, here is the crucial point: voters weren’t consulted about the changes – except belatedly at the ballot box, when both major parties were in fundamental accord.”

[5] http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/politics/tingle-verbals-australians-in-quarterly-essay

[6] Loose paraphrase from last paragraph in Sheila Newman, “Tingle-ing Australians,” in Independent Australia

Appendix: James Sinnamon’s 2009 submission to the Australian National Human Rights Consultation

National Human Rights Consultation Submission


Name: James SINNAMON

The following is a verbatim adaptation of the three page submission I presented to the Australian Federal Parliamentary Inquiry Into Human Rights on 7 September 2011. On this adaptation I have corrected one relatively minor factual error and noted one misjudgement which appeared on the first. These are detailed in the Appendix at the end of this document. (This adaptation is four pages in length rather than three pages. This is because of difficulty I faced in copying and editing with the Open Source Libre Office Writer program the original PDF document.)

Submission Text:

This submission disputes the entire justification for the draconian anti-terrorist laws that have taken away from ordinary citizens, basic human rights and civil liberties that were once taken for granted in Australia.

As few cannot be unaware the justification for these draconian laws and the associated imposts upon our daily lives such as airport security checks and the banning of the ownership of megaphones, deemed by former Prime minister John Howard to be a terrorist weapon was the spectacular and deadly terrorist attack of 11 September 2001, the anthrax scare that shortly ensued and a number of other deadly terrorist attacks that have occurred since then – Bali, the Madrid bombing and the London Tube bombing. Much of Australian public opinion had come to accept that the curtailments of our rights are a price well worth paying in order to prevent similar tragedies from ever occurring on our own shores.


However, a large number of credible, authoritative and well known figures as well as a substantial sections of public opinion in the United States, and even more so, outside the United States question the official explanations of these attacks. They argue that the evidence that the attacks were perpetrated by a ubiquitous world wide terrorist network known as ‘al Qaeda’ has never been produced. They also argue that the investigations by the 9/11 Commission and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) failed to ask many critical questions and ignored a great deal of evidence submitted to them.

The supposed evidence of Al Qaeda’s guilt that was given to NATO by Colin Powell in order to win NATO’s participation in the so- called ‘war on terror’ has never been made public and the evidence promised by Colin Powell to the United Nations, that would have legally made the United Nations a participant in the ‘war on terror’, was never produced.

Many have therefore called for the holding of a new and thorough investigation that would properly examine all the physical evidence, take account of all witnesses’ statements and have the power to subpoena key players in the events of 9/11 including former President George W Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. Indeed, it seems as if the City of New York may very well soon be conducting its own investigation into 9/11 as the group New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYCCAN – http://nyccan.com) has succeeded in collecting, as of 14 June 2009, 47,767 signatures of residents of New York City which asks that New York City hold a ballot within 3 months to decide whether or not an investigation into 9/11 be set up by New York City. This number exceeds the number of 45,000 that would make the holding of the ballot mandatory.

Many who question the official version of 9/11 go as far as to argue that, because of mountains of physical evidence which contradicts the official story and the fact that senior members of the Bush administration have been caught out lying and contradicting themselves, there is a prima facie case that members of the Bush administration themselves were complicit in the September 11 attacks.

People who are calling for a new investigation include:

* Lt. Col. Robert Bowman, PhD, U.S. Air Force (ret). Colonel Bowman was a fighter pilot who who flew 100 missions in the Vietnam war. He served on the Star Wars program under Presidents Ford and Carter.
* General Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (ret) former head of NATO.
* Col. George Nelson, MBA, U.S. Air Force (ret). Colonel Nelson is an experienced air crash investigator who states that the physical evidence at the crash sites of United Airways Flight 95 flatly contradicts the official account. (see(http://www.physics911.net/georgenelson).
* Lt. Col. Guy S. Razer, MS Aeronautical Science, U.S. Air Force (ret).
* Raymond L. McGovern Former Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis, a 250-person unit responsible for political analysis of every country and region in the world.
* William Christison – Former Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis, a 250-person unit responsible for political analysis of every country and region in the world. 29-year CIA veteran. 29-year CIA veteran.
* US Senator Max Cleland Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Labor under George W. Bush 2001 – 2002.
* Morgan Reynolds – Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Labor under George W. Bush 2001 – 2002.
* Paul Craig Roberts – Assistant Treasurer of the U.S. Treasury under Ronald Reagan.
* Daniel Ellsberg – Author of “The Pentagon Papers” which told the world the truth about the Vietnam War.
* Paul Hellyer – Former Minister of National Defense of Canada.
* Michael Meacher – Former Under Secretary for Industry, Under Secretary for Health and Social Security, Minister for the Environment, and Member of the House of Commons (UK).
* Tony Benn – Former Member of British Parliament 1942 – 2001.
* Andreas von Buelow, PhD Former Minister of Justice (West Germany). Former Minister for Research and Technology.
* Horst Ehmke, PhD – Former Minister of Justice (West
* Germany). Former Minister for Research and Technology. • Francesco Cossiga Member, – President of Italy (1985 – 1992) and Former Prime Minister.
* Yukihisa Fujita – Member, House of Councillors (the upper house), National Diet of Japan.
* Jeanette Fitzsimons – Greens Member of Parliament, New Zealand, 1996 – present.
* General Leonid Ivashov – Former Chief of Staff of the Russian armed forces.

Many more who are calling for a new investigation are listed on the web site a href=”http://patriotsquestion911.com/.

Abundant solid evidence in contradiction with the official account of the 9/11 attacks can be found on many sites including http://ae911truth.org (Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth) and http://911truth.org/.

If these people are right — and I believe they are — then Australia’s efforts to combat terrorism are not directed towards where the real terrorist threat lies.


In regard to the terrorist threat much closer to home, on 12 October 2004 former president, Abdurrahman Wahid said in an interview with SBS that he believed that either the Indonesian military or the Indonesian police planted the second larger bomb which destroyed the Sari Club. This allegation has never been properly investigated.

Before discussing the appropriateness or otherwise of the measures now in place to combat terrorism, the Human Rights consultation needs to evaluate firstly how real is that threat and secondly from what quarters the terrorist threat, if it exists, is likely to come from.

The Human Rights Consultation should therefore at least seriously look at the abundant evidence which stands in contradiction to the official accounts of terrorists atrocities in recent years and try to bring about renewed and proper investigations. Furthermore, it should give its full support to those people overseas who are seeking to bring about proper investigations into 9/11, the London Tube Bombings, the Madrid Train bombings, the Bali bombings etc.

Appendix to Submission to HRC: A correction to my original Submission and a comment

Robert Bowman: Of retired Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bowman who was the first person list as calling for a new investigation, I originally wrote, “He served on President Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program.”. In fact, he served under former Presdents Ford and Carter and had retired before President Reagan was inaugurated.

Morgan Reyolds: Morgan Reynolds holds views not shared by the mainstream of the 9/11 Truth Movement and which are easy for the ‘debunkers’ to debunk. These include that the WTC Twin Towers were destroyed by particle beams from outer space and that the aircraft seen to fly into each of the respective WTC Twin Towers were, in fact, holograms. Many people purporting to be 9/11 Truthers promote such views in obvious attempts to discredit the 9/11 as a whole. What motivates such a high profile 9/11 Truther as Morgan Reynolds to promote views which are damaging to the 9/11 Truth Movement is unclear. Had I been aware that he held these views I would not have included his name in this list.

Pussy Riot, The Unfortunate Dupes of American Hegemony

August 19th, 2012 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

My heart goes out to the three Russian women who comprise the Russian rock band, Pussy Riot. They were brutally deceived and used by the Washington-financed NGOs that have infiltrated Russia. Pussy Riot was sent on a mission that was clearly illegal under statutory law.

You have to admire and to appreciate the spunk of the young women. But you have to bemoan their gullibility. Washington needed a popular issue with which to demonize the Russian government for standing up to Washington’s intention to destroy Syria, just as Washington destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and as Washington intends to destroy Lebanon and Iran. 

By intentionally offending religious worshipers–which would be a hate crime in the US and its European and British puppet states–the talented young women violated a statutory Russian law.  

Prior to the women’s trial, Russian President Putin expressed his opinion that the women should not be harshly punished. Taking the cue from Putin, the judge gave the women, deceived and betrayed by the amerikan-financed NGOs, two years instead of seven years. 

I am advised that after six months, Putin will see that the women are released.  But, of course, that would not serve the propaganda of the Amerikan Empire.  The instructions to the Washington-financed fifth column in Russia will be to make any government leniency for Pussy Riot impossible. 

Washington-organized protests, riots, property damage, assaults on state and religious images by Washington’s Russian dupes will make it impossible for Putin to stand up to nationalist opinion and commute the sentences of the Pussy Riot women.

This is what Washington wants. As Washington continues to murder vast numbers of people around the globe, it will point its finger at the fate of Pussy Riot. The western bought-and-paid-for presstitute media will focus on Russia’s evil, not on the evil of Washington, London, and the EU puppet states who are slaughtering Muslims by the bucket-full.

The disparity between human rights in the west and in the east is astonishing. When a Chinese trouble-maker sought protection from Washington, the Chinese “authoritarian” government allowed the person to leave for America.  But when Julian Assange, who, unlike the presstitute western media, actually provides truthful information for the western peoples, was granted political asylum by Ecuador, Great (sic) Britain, bowing to the country’s amerikan master, refused the obligatory free passage from the UK.

The UK government, unlike the Chinese government, doesn’t mind violating international law, because it will be paid buckets of money by Washington for being a pariah state.

As Karl Marx said, money turns everything into a commodity that can be bought and sold:  government, honor, morality, the writing of history, legality. Nothing is immune to purchase. 

This development of capitalism has reached the highest stage in the US and its puppet states, the governments of which sell out the interest of their peoples in order to please Washington and be made rich, like Tony Blair’s $35 million.

Sending their citizens to fight for Washington’s empire in distant parts of the world is the service for which the utterly corrupt European politicians are paid. Despite the wondrous entity known as European Democracy, the European peoples and the British are unable to do anything about their misuse in Washington’s interest. This is a new form of slavery. If a country is an amerikan ally, its people are amerikan slaves.

Washington Eyes Iran: “Proxy War” through Israel

August 19th, 2012 by Dr. Ismail Salami

The Israeli narrative of launching an attack on Iran’s nuclear plants has been so overpoweringly hyped up and taken for granted by Israeli media that one achieves certitude that such an attack will happen and that Iran will sit idly in the manner of a befuddled, thunderstruck and petrified nation.

Strangely, western and Israeli media aggrandize the military prowess of Israel to the skies and underestimate that of Iran. Playing on a paradoxical plane, the US-led psyops against Iran are geared towards inflating the Iranian nuclear threat and manufacturing a nuclear illusion over Iran while the same authors of anti-Iran plots relegate the country’s military might to such a pitiful minimum that Iran will eventually have no choice but to buckle under the military might of the Zionist regime.

The fact is that Israel has a long history of showing teeth to and spewing out threats against Iran and that it has never mustered up enough courage to launch such an attack as it knows the consequences of such grave foolhardiness. Despite the claims of some western analysts such as Richard Silverstein who have even elaborated on an Iranian war plan by Israel, a glance at the history of threats against and lies about Iran sheds light on the banality of these claims and reveals who really steers this malicious bark of threats against the Islamic Republic.

With the advent of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, the US government realized that they had lost a long-time ally in the Middle East, namely the US-installed puppet Shah and that their regional sway would dwindle significantly. On the strength of this new realization, Washington envisioned other ways to maintain its regional influence on the one hand, and keep a vigil eye on the new developments and their effects on the region on the other.

Iran was now emerging as a new power which was predicted to exercise a great amount of political influence in the region and inject new blood in the veins of the Middle East. In order to stymie the materialization of such an idea, then US President Jimmy Carter afforded Israel in 1979 the ability to see spy satellite photos, thereby implicitly giving the regime green light to use them for future pre-emptive strikes against the Middle East and Russia. Now emboldened by this gesture of amicability, Israel, which has refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for years despite its colossal nuclear arsenal, felt free to explode its nuclear bomb for the first time in South Indian Ocean. No wonder, the US officials have never accepted to agree that it was a nuclear explosion.

Since then, Israel has directed its baneful sword of vengeance against the Islamic Republic under the encouragement of Washington and availed itself of any chance to deal a blow to Iran and its friends to boot. In order to further corner Iran, Washington decided to engage the Iranian nation in a lethal war for which they thought Iranians were not ready in view of the young Iranian revolution. To this end, they encouraged and funded despotic Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein to mount an invasion of the country and catch it unawares.

In 2002, New York Times published a horrific report indicating that a covert program during the Reagan administration “provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war.”

Paradoxically, the covert program was conducted when President Reagan’s top aides, including Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci and Gen. Colin L. Powell, then the national security adviser, were voicing their open condemnation of Iraq for using chemical weapons, especially after Iraq attacked Kurds in Halabja in March 1988.

Is there no limit to US hypocrisy?

Iraq was a Muslim country and Iran for its part had certain reservations in bombing Iraqi cities lest they would lead to human losses although the latter bombed, re-bombed and re-bombed the Iranian cities and inflicted damage after damage.

To sum up, Washington encouraged and financed the Iraqi dictator and fought its war of cowardice through the Iraqi regime.

The war came to an end in 1988 with inconceivable human losses on both sides. Iran embarked on a costly reconstruction of its infrastructures severely damaged by Iraqi missiles and bombs thanks to the financial support of the US government.

But there was no end to Washington’s malicious policy of devastation.

Now that Washington was bitterly frustrated in its subversive gambit against Iran, it sought another adversary to replace Iraqi Saddam. Israel was thought to be a perfect substitute and a formidable foe for this mission as it was a Jewish population repeatedly condemned by Iranian leaders as an occupying regime. For its part, the Zionist regime harbored some covert and overt aversion for the Islamic Iran.

Under the pretext that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons program and that it might jeopardize or even exterminate the Zionist regime, Washington handed Israel some feeble excuse to initiate a series of threats against the Islamic Republic. All this chicanery has been done with the sole purpose of destroying the Iranian nation.

According to a report by Reuters, the US, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: 1. Tehran does not have a bomb; 2. It has not decided to build one, and 3. It is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.

To that effect, a highly classified 2011 US intelligence assessment also largely affirms that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapons program, a view, originally made in 2007. Known as national intelligence estimates (NIE), the reports conclude that “Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.”

Yet, despite the testimony of their own intelligence agencies, Washington keeps a mulishly adamant stance on Iran, disseminates falsity on its nuclear energy program and goads Israel into attacking Iran. Israel is, however, paralyzed by fear to start a war of no return against Iran and instead proceeds with its ‘bomb’ rhetoric.

In the final analysis, the US is intent on fighting a proxy war against Iran through Israel as it did in the past through Iraq. In fact, this Washington does only to gratify its own morbid temptation in attacking Iran.

On the surface, it looked like a simple game of “Gotcha,” when New York Bank regulators blew the whistle on London’s Standard Chartered Bank for  laundering money. The fact that the money was allegedly tied to Iran cast a major shadow on the allegations, given the Islamic Republic’s “bad guy” image in American policy circles.

Big money was said to be involved when a NY State regulator, Benjamin Lawsky, considered a publicity seeking cowboy in banking circles, made the explosive charge that Standard Chartered bank abetted $250 billion of money-laundering transactions with Iran.

On the surface the case was open and shut and headline-making, even though other federal regulators didn’t immediately jump in with guns blazing.

Then, as Reuters reported, it all became even murkier when Britain’s Central Bank governor portrayed Lawsky as marching to his own tune, and out of step with federal regulators in Washington. “One regulator, but not the others, has gone public while the investigation is still going on,” the Bank of England’s Mervyn King said at a news conference in London.”

Suddenly, the plot thickened, even as the media tide carried with it the assumption that the bank was guilty as sin. With the Regulator calling Standard Chartered a “Rogue Institution,” its shares began dropping in value. In one morning’s trading, on the basis of accusations in a press release and uncontested legal charges, the bank lost $16 billion after the unproven allegations that US. Sanctions on Iran were violated hit the presss.

Bank officials initially contested the scale of the transgression indicating that only a small part of its business with Iran was involved, no more than $14 million. Federal regulators also implied that NY State was exaggerating the scale of any potential problem and that Lawsky’s language was unnecessarily “strident.”

But it is strident language that gets attention in a media that rarely bothers to investigate issues like these.

Not mentioned in the first stories was that Standard Chartered had met Lawsky’s office months earlier, but nothing was said then about any high crimes and misdemeanors.

That would change when the opportunity for a big media story materialized. Now, Lawsky was treating this case as major violation of national security, saying: “This is a case about Iran, money laundering, and national security,” Lawsky said , “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners, both federal and state, in this effort. No bank, big or small, foreign or domestic, is above the law.”

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?  But the British were furious because their investigation was not complete, but, whatever the truth, the perception of wrong-doing began killing the banks stock price. An auditing firm accused of fudging the numbers also adamantly denied it.

Bank critics in the US lashed out at the British regulators who criticized a lack of protocol by the NY regulator. Wrote James Kwak on BaselineScenarioo.com, a leading economics blog:

“Standard Chartered almost certainly conspired to evade U. S. sanctions?* Why are they mad at Benjamin Lawsky instead of at Standard Chartered? And when you think a violation of inter-regulator “protocol” is worse than a systematic plan to defraud the U. S. government and break sanctions against Iran, of all countries—it’s hard to imagine how you could be more captured, without knowing it.”

Is this true?  No Court has agreed with the accusation, and now none will because there has now been a settlement with no admission of guilt,

Standard Chartered initially said they would fight back. CEO Peter Sands issued this statement,  “(We) fundamentally reject the overall picture and believe there are no grounds for them to take this action,” he told reporters. The threat to cancel the bank’s license to operate in New York would be “wholly disproportionate,” he said.

It turns out that the pressure to punish the bank was partly due to fury at a colorful comment allegedly made by a Standard Chartered executive who challenged the arrogance of New York regulators in a conversation way back in 2006.

Bank Executive Richard Meddings allegedly said then: “You f—ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world that we’re not going to deal with Iranians?”

Daring to criticize the self-righteousness of US regulators and US policy in a off the record comment (not even in a document) apparently marked the bank for retaliation by flag-waving and thin-skinned regulators.

What was Standard Chartered to do?  Stand on principles and its “facts” and possibly loose its license in New York, or try to settle —without admitting wrongdoing. At the same time, more investigations are underway in connection with its alleged violations of US sanctions laws.

What do you think happened? The bank did a quick calculation and decided to pay up rather than be shut down. They coughed up $340 million in a case that smacks of official extortion dressed up as high principles. The NY regulator has the power to close the bank if it believes the bank is untrustworthy, even if the bank is not guilty of any particular transgression. The Bank says the accusations deal with only 1% of some 60,000

Iranian wire transfers that New York regulator claims were involved.

Naked Capitalism (NC) reports that the regulator tried to shake Standard Chartered down for even more money. “The amount agreed was less than he was initially rumored to be seeking, which was in the $500 to to $700 million range. However, as we also indicated, in a “good” settlement, neither side gets what it wants. And given that the Federal authorities were roused by the New York action and are also reported to be negotiating settlements, they will likely have to secure decent dollar amounts so as not to be perceived to be completely incompetent, which would have cut into what SCB would pay to New York.”

The NC website also explains, “SCB was handling Iran’s foreign oil sale related payments.

Meanwhile in London, according to Fortune, “Money managers’ reacted to the U.S. allegations that Standard Chartered hid money tied to Iran with these words: Everyone does it.”

The U.S. business magazine added,  “Talk that the bank could lose its ability to work and trade in the state is being dismissed as simply “loony.”

Meanwhile, money managers in the City believe that the bank’s credit looks solid and its equity value is now cheap compared to its peers – even ones that have their plates full with their own scandals ranging from the Libor fixing to insider trading. Nevertheless, the company’s stock and bonds are expected to trade at a discount to its peers until the bank either resolves the issue or sets aside the cash to deal with it…It wasn’t too long ago that the big European banks actually flaunted their close relationship with entities connected to Iran.”

The Guardian seemed sympathetic to Standard Chartered too,  reporting that the bank called its decision “pragmatic…in the best interest of shareholders and customers”.

The newspaper explained, “The loss of its banking licence would be more damaging than the fine, although Sands on Tuesday told the Business Standard paper in India – where the bank has a high street banking operation – that he did not believe the bank would be stripped of its ability to conduct business directly in the US.

Ian Gordon, banks analyst at Investec, said: “It has taken the nuclear option off the table and suggests the total settlement will be manageable.”

Maybe Richard Meddings was right, even though the exercise of his “freedom” of speech has proven very costly. Ironic isn’t it, that sanctions are supposedly in place to stop Iran from going nuclear,  just as fact challenged regulators use the “nuclear option” to get their way.

And so it goes, another day in the world of banking where hypocrisy reigns and trillions in global money laundering are ignored.  Prosecution of wrong doers are few and far between because officials get more pats on the back from their bosses for bringing in money rather than putting wrong doers in jail. A government that has dragged its feet in prosecuting crimes committed by the likes of Bank of America or Goldman Sachs has no problem going after small fry like Standard Charter to show that they are “doing something” with Iran as the pretext.

This tale of regulatory complicity feels like all the stories we read about the police shaking down the mafia so they can be cut in to the rackets.

Wall Street has become a place where real financial fraudsters go unpunished while inflated cases like this get the attention especially when a demonized “evil doer” like Iran is said to be involved.  Real crimes like the way sanctions hurt ordinary Iranians go unreported.

News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at News Dissector.net. He is the author of The Crime of Our Time about pervasive financial crime, (Disinformation Books) and directed the film Plunder on the same subject. He also hosts a show on ProgressiveRadioNetwork (PRN.fm.) This commentary first appeared on PressTV.com. Comments to [email protected]

“The Morality” of Drone Warfare

August 19th, 2012 by Global Research

There have been a number of articles published recently on the morality of drone wars, many of them suggesting  that those of us with grave concerns about the growing use of drones have either got it wrong, are confused, or are just plain misguided. 

Writing in The Observer, Peter Beaumont posed the question ‘Are drones any more immoral than other weapons of war?‘  After suggesting that “much of what has been written on both sides of the debate on the surrounding moral and legal issues has been ill-informed and confused” he then goes on to give a rather unhelpful summary of the international law arguments surrounding the use of force against non-state actors based on the recent paper ‘The Strategic Context of Lethal Drones’ published by the American Security Project.     

With regard to morality he suggests that

“[the] compelling question to be asked over the future of drone warfare… is the one posed by Foust and Boyle [of the American Security Project] who demanded whether, as a military tool, drone warfare is actually effective; whether its use is justified when set against the political fallout that the drone campaign has produced and whether drones have actually reduced the threat posed by militants.” 

The question, in other words is, do the ends justify the means?  Hardly the most moral position.  However, at least Peter Beaumont engaged with the argument. 

Last month Flight Global writer Craig Hoyle dismissed any concerns that campaigners may have about the growing use of drones. While, shuddering to use the phrase ‘drone wars’, he  says campaigners are all simply “missing the point”  (but omits to say how exactly).  Apparently he  thinks that those with moral and ethical qualms about drones simply have nothing better to do now that we have outlawed cluster bombs and anti-personnel mines (did we have a point on those Craig?)

Describing himself as an ex-CIA official, Phillip Mudd writing in Newsweek acknowledges there  are ethical issues arising from the use of drones but argues that in relation to war zones  they are “misdirected”.  In war zones, he writes,  drones are just  another “delivery tool” to apply lethal force, like a rifle  or a piece of artillery.  The point he clearly misses though is that unlike the rifleman or tank driver, the drone operator is sitting safely thousands of miles away,  and it is this very distance – both physical and psychological  – that is a key ethical issue.  

Mudd goes on to argues that drones give the option for lethal force to be used beyond war zones  – and not just for killing terrorist suspects either:

“In an age of non-state threats that are as deadly as al Qaeda, and more pervasive—drug trafficking organizations, human trafficking networks, and pirates off Somalia, to name a few—armed drones give policymakers, and operators, the option of intervening in areas that are not warzones.”

Mudd argues that the ethical dilemma that drones present  is should we  accept insecurity or accept targeted killing:

“Do you want to kill, to reduce an emerging threat before it reaches our shores? Or do you want to limit authorized killings to warzones? If it’s security you insist on, we now have the most surgical killing machine the world has ever seen. Is that the future you want? And if not, are you prepared to accept the consequences?”

To formulate the ethical choice on this issue as either accepting (and thereby legitimizing) drone targeted killings on the one hand or  accepting a future of continuing insecurity on the other is simplistic nonsense.  There are of course other (and we would argue) much better ways to pursue security, peace and justice.

A more thoughtful piece  was Joseph Singh’s Betting Against a Drone Arms Race. Singh, a researcher at the US think tank Center for a New American Security, rejects the arguments made by many, including recently by Noel Sharkey and Michael Ignatieff, that US drone use outside wars zones could  encourage other nations to use forces in a similar way.  Instead,  Singh argues, drones are fundamentally no different from piloted  aircraft in respect of applying lethal force: 

 ”Any state otherwise deterred from using force abroad will not significantly increase its power projection on account of acquiring drones.”

While he cites the downing of a Turkish jet by Syria in June as proof that nations will not tolerate breeches of national sovereignty, he doesn’t really grapple with the fact that the US use of drones outside war zones is a precedent that others may well follow.   

US academic and philosopher Bradley Strawser, interviewed in the Guardian about his views on drones earlier this month was quoted as saying “It’s all upside. There’s no downside. Both ethically and normatively, there’s a tremendous value.”   Strawser, who is assistant professor of philosophy at Monterey Naval Postgraduate School, later said the Guardian “misrepresented” his views and was given space to argue his case in his own words, to which we will come in a moment. 

In his interview he names and then dismisses three objections to drone warfare.  Firstly, while he says he  shares “the gut feeling that there’s something odd” about the “lopsided asymmetry” of drone killing he says that it’s like police officers having bullet-proof vests in a shoot out with bank robbers.   Er, no, it’s not….

The  second  objection that he names and then rejects is “the suggestion that risk-free remote killing degrades traditional conceptions of valour”. Whilst I have very occasionally  heard this argument, the objection to risk free remote killing that most people make is not because it undermines concepts of valour but that it makes it easier to undertake attacks both within theatres of conflict and in the wider sense.  To be fair to Strawser he does comes to this in his final argument,  but ends up by not dealing with the argument, instead saying: “There could be an upside. There are cases when we should go to war and we don’t, especially in humanitarian case like Rwanda.

In the space he was given to clarify his position, Strawser heavily nuances his position.  He argues that drones “can be a morally preferable weapon of war if they are capable of being more discriminate than other weapons that are less precise and expose their operators to greater risk.”  Note that “can be” and “if” in there…   Like Joseph Singh (above) Straswer also makes the obvious point that drones can be moral but “only if the mission is just”.

We started this review of recent writing on drones with Peter Beaumont’s Observer article.  He began his reflection by recalling how three years previously he had come across the victims of an Israel drone strike whilst in Gaza.  We can’t finish this round-up without mentioning Dr Rajaie Batniji fantastic article in The Lancet, reflecting about his recent visit to see family in Gaza, drones and the search for dignity.  Read it and weep.

Dangerous Anti-Iranian Warmongering

August 19th, 2012 by Stephen Lendman

America and Israel wage aggressive wars of choice. Enemies don’t exist so they’re created. Belligerence is standard practice. Reckless irresponsibility defines their thinking. 

Ravaging countries to control them is policy. Rule of law principles and human lives don’t matter. Wealth and power alone are prioritized. So is thinking might is right and what we say goes.

War against Syria rages. No end in sight is imminent. Iran is next. Managed news misreporting condones what should be condemned. Fiction substitutes for facts. Unconscionable policy is reported nonchalantly. Wrong is portrayed as right.

On August 18, Haaretz asked “Will Israel attack Iran? The voice of experience vs. an insider’s view,” saying:

“Since no one knows for sure what (Netanyahu and Barak) will decide….perhaps they don’t know for sure….”

Maybe well-connected Israelis have clues. Writer Anshel Pfeffer left them unnamed. He called them “knowledgeable” about what may be imminent.

“Of course there’s going to be an attack,” said one. “(I)t’s already happening, all the pieces are in place. This is for real.” He’s involved in current policy decisions. He’s “junior by decades” to the former insider non-believer.

The older, perhaps wiser, man “has been on close terms with” Netanyahu and Barak for decades. Other former experienced insiders also express skepticism. Younger men and women in government are up to speed on policy.

How have Netanyahu and Barak governed before? Neither leader initiated war as prime minister. As defense minister, Barak opposed attacking Syria’s alleged nuclear site in 2007. He also was against expanding Cast Lead. As prime minister, Netanyahu also stopped short of initiating war.

For months, Israeli and Western media hyped a nonexistent Iranian “threat.” A “window of opportunity” to confront it is “closing” keeps repeating. 

On the one hand, rhetoric may be more bark than bite. On the other, manipulating people to support war may force Netanyahu and Barak to wage it.

So far, action hasn’t followed bombast. “But since an unprecedented amount is being said and done in preparation for an attack, the bluff could well materialize into a concrete action and experience give way to a new reality,” said Pfeffer.

Haaretz writer Amir Oren headlined “Former Israeli intelligence chief: On Iran, Netanyahu and Barak dangerously stoking flames of war,” saying:

Major General (res.) Uri Saguy formerly headed IDF Operations Directorate as well as military intelligence chief earlier. He decided to go public against “orchestrated and purposely timed (anti-Iranian) hysteria that puts the country into a state of anxiety, artificial or not.” 

His outspokenness is significant. He’s “outraged,” he said, “by the zero degree of responsibility shown by the person who is interviewed or who leaks information, although I can’t say I am surprised by this.”

“Analyses are one thing. Someone who analyzes something in one way today could be voicing the total opposite opinion a month and half from now, with the same self-confidence and persuasive ability. Responsibility is another thing.”

“When something goes wrong, the blame will be laid on someone else….It would be a mistake if Israel uses force, certainly now, in order to thwart the Iranian nuclear potential.”

He’s saying Netanyahu and Barak are irresponsible. They can’t be trusted. They’re endangering Israelis and regional neighbors. As prime minister, Netanyahu made no “important” decisions. Choices he and Barak made were wrongheaded and ill-considered.

He can barely contain himself on Netanyahu. “That man,” he calls him. He “hasn’t succeeded in most of the strategic tests he’s been subjected to. When I listen to him, I hear echoes of people who lost their parents in mysterious circumstances and then shout about being orphans.”

He’s also outraged about suggesting an “existential threat,” letting emotion override reason, and Israel’s willingness to go it alone no matter what other nations think.

He worries about overreaching and bringing down a “house of cards.” At the same time, he said:

“Do I agree that Iran should have a bomb? No, I don’t personally agree, but it doesn’t depend only on me and therefore not only will an attack not advance the achievement of the goal, it also entails long-term dangers.”

Key also is diplomacy and peace, not war. “If we had peace accords” with regional countries and Palestinians, no confrontation with Iran would exist. Nor one with Syria. Assad sought peace, but was spurned.

Saguy calls making peace with neighbors “a diplomatic and moral obligation.” Relying on militarism is self-defeating. Instead of filling a hole, Israel’s digging a deeper one. Doing so assures bad outcomes.

On August 16, Barak addressed Israel’s Knesset. He endorsed attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. He assailed anti-war opponents. At the same time, Netanyahu criticized Shimon Peres for saying Israel can’t go it alone.

Former IDF deputy chief of staff Uzi Dayan sees a window of opportunity to avoid war. Netanyahu/Barak bluster has a purpose, he believes. They want tougher sanctions and Washington leading an attack. They’ll act alone only as a last option. So far they haven’t decided either way.

Reports suggest US officials disappointed both men. In private meetings, discussions didn’t produce results Israel wants. Getting US support and guarantees are prioritized. Electoral politics in America takes precedence. 

Post-election until January’s inauguration and a new Congress convenes leaves a void of sorts. If Netanyahu/Barak bombast is more bark than bite, is either leader or both able to back down after months of “existential threat” hype?

On August 17, former Israeli military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin headlined his Washington Post op-ed “For peace with Iran, prepare for war,” saying:

Netanyahu/Barak logic believes Israel’s choice is between “the bomb and the bombing.” So far, sanctions, covert actions, and threats haven’t deterred Iran. Yadlin added an alleged “zone of immunity” preventing an effective Israeli strike.

He wants Obama to visit Israel and say America is committed to military action if other alternatives don’t halt Iran’s nuclear program. 

He also wants him to tell Congress that he reserves the right to strike, increase US regional force strength, give Israel more advanced technology and intelligence, publicly hype an alleged Iranian threat, and commit to protecting Israel and regional security.

In other words, he wants ironclad US assurance that Washington and Israel agree on Iranian policy. No matter that Iran poses no threat. Military aggression is illegal, and initiating it puts millions of lives at risk.

His convoluted logic also claims preparing for war is the best way to avoid it. Unmentioned was urging peace through diplomacy, reason, conflict resolution, and knowing wars beget endless ones. 

They don’t solve problems. They create them. Attacking Iran is madness. Israel will be gravely harmed. So will America, regional countries, and others if economic consequences prove dire. 

Responsible leaders don’t take these risks. They also follow fundamental rule of law principles, urge peace over conflict, and work cooperatively with neighbors and allies. Doing otherwise assures outcomes no one should tolerate.

A Final Comment

On August 17, Iran’s President Mahmoud Armadinejad addressed regional concerns on International al-Quds Day. Since 1979, it’s been commemorated on Ramadan’s last day.

It expresses solidarity with Palestinians. It opposes destructive Zionist policies. It’s also against Israel’s control of Jerusalem. Quds is the city’s Arabic name.

Ahmadinejad called Zionism a tool for imposing Israeli regional hegemony. He’s right. Zionism isn’t Judaism. Longstanding Israeli policy calls for for dividing, controlling, and at times waging war to achieve it.

He said the “existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to all humanity.” Destructive policies harm everyone. Jews aren’t exempt.

Ahmadinejad criticized Israeli policy, not Judaism. He doesn’t advocate “wip(ing Israel) off the map.” He called its agenda self-destructive. Many others agree. Living by the sword assures dying by it. 

Israel is a modern-day Sparta. Confronting over cooperation is lose, lose. Wars make enemies, not allies or solutions. Western double standards fuel conflicts. Ahmadinejad’s “New Middle East” excludes US/Zionist influence. Achieving peace depends on it.

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

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


The Coming Israeli Dictatorship

August 19th, 2012 by Devon DB

It has recently been revealed that the Israeli Cabinet has passed new changes to their protocol, giving more power to the Prime Minister. Globes reported last week: 

The cabinet today approved changes to cabinet protocol, which broaden the prime minister’s powers, giving him greater control over ministers’ work.

The 51-page document lists amendments drawn up Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser as part of staff work to facilitate the cabinet’s decision-making process. These are the first changes to the cabinet procedures since Israel’s independence in 1948, when the original procedures were written.

The amendments are even more significant at this time in view of reports of a possible strike by Israel against Iran within months.

The amendments allow the prime minister to decide, when distributing the cabinet agenda, that ministers absent from the meeting will not be allowed to vote in absentia, which they can currently do, and may only vote if they have prearranged another minister to vote on their behalf.

Another amendment allows the prime minister to change the agenda set by the ministerial committee, and decide whether to hold or to postpone a cabinet meeting “due to special grounds that will be notified to the committee chairman”. The problem with this authority granted to the prime minister is that he will be able to submit an issue for a vote several times until it is passed; alternatively, he can remove an issue from the agenda at his sole discretion.

Other amendments state that telephone votes by the cabinet will be signed within 12 hours of the vote, and that the prime minister can shorten this time as he sees fit. He also now has the right to appeal decisions by ministerial committees, and he will also have the right to decide that a cabinet decision against which a ministerial committee has appealed will not be valid until the cabinet again discusses the issue. (emphasis added) [1]

This is quite disturbing as it essentially gives the Prime Minister the power to force his agenda on the entire government.  By allowing him to decide what bills are and are not up for votes, he essentially controls the legislative process.

He can then ensure that his agenda is given the green light by the Cabinet by shortening the time length of telephone votes, which will have the effect of squashing any opposition by simply forcing dissenting members to make a split decision without having ample time to state their arguments. A potential side effect of this is that the possibility of making a hasty decision that will have farreaching short or long-term effects could potentially increase substantially due to the Cabinet not having sufficient time to consider the consequences of the action(s) that is (are) being proposed.

Many speculate that the reason such changes were made was because of the possibility of a military attack on Iran. This is quite possible, as recently leaked documents [2] show that Israel is in fact planning an attack on Iran. Thus, such new powers would come in handy of Netanyahu to force his pro-war agenda on Israel.

These new changes put Israel’s democracy at risk. Labor Party chairwoman MK Shelly Yachimovic stated that such modifications to Cabinet protocol “disrupt the cabinet’s decision-making process and transfer the government’s authority to one man – himself” and that “”Fateful political, defense, and socioeconomic decisions are liable to be taken without substantive cabinet discussion as required.” [3]

Just like with the United States, any powers the Prime Minister currently has, the next Prime Minister will receive as well. The very fabric of Israeli society is now at risk and a dictatorship may be slowly on its way into existence.


1: “Netanyahu granted more Cabinet powers,” Globes, August 12, 2012

2: Richard Silverstein, “Netanyahu’s Secret War Plan: Leaked Document Outlines Israel’s “Shock and Awe” Plan to Attack Iran,” Global Research, August 16, 2012

3:  Globes, August 12, 2012

Murder, sabotage, bribery, contract killings — and that’s just the behavior of Western political leaders and their Arab allies. Forget the fancy titles, manners and clothes — ongoing violence in Syria shows that the foreign policy of these powers is being conducted by terrorists and thugs in high offices. Which let’s one glimpse what level of barbarity is being perpetrated by the Western terror army, running amok in the streets and villages of Syria.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file photo)
British Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file photo)

The latest display of criminality in high office is the call by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for the “smashing” of Syria and the killing of its president, Bashar al-Assad. The words may have been spoken with an eloquent French accent, but their practical meaning has all the savagery of cold-blooded bludgeoning.

What we are seeing is a descent into barbarism and an open embrace of international lawlessness — by the same governments that appoint themselves to lecture the rest of the world on the principles of democracy and human rights.

Reports and videos, showing that the Western-backed mercenaries of the so-called Free Syrian Army are bolstered by al-Qaeda brigades and other terrorists, have been greeted with barely veiled glee in Washington and European capitals.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice have pointedly refused to condemn the surge in bombing atrocities across Syria that have accompanied the influx of terrorists into the country over recent months. Indeed, Washington officials have effectively condoned such barbarities by their studied silence. Rice has even made statements, suggesting that more such atrocities will follow until the Syrian president does what her government demands and surrenders office. In mafia terminology, it’s called “making an offer he can’t refuse.”

The “terror” that Washington and other Western governments have promoted as the defining existential threat to democratic civilization over the past 10 years, has suddenly and seamlessly morphed into “war with terror” when it comes to Syria. And Western media that are intoxicated with hubris over supposed “free, independent thinking” do not even raise a timid question about this glaring contradiction. Indeed, these organs compound their intellectual bankruptcy with moral bankruptcy by concealing their government’s outrageous duplicity.

However, for those with eyes, when it comes to Syria, the mask of Western pretence at defending international law and human rights has now been ripped off. The face revealed is a grotesque, salivating monster, whose motives are evidently selfish elite power and domination in the strategic Middle East region. And this objective is to be achieved by any means necessary — foremost by the collusion with bloodthirsty killers.

In asserting their geopolitical objective over Syria, the Western governments are openly deploying terrorists and killers who supposedly were the reason, why Western governments spent trillions of dollars fighting foreign wars, invading and occupying sovereign countries, destroying millions of innocent lives, incarcerating and torturing thousands, and turning over democratic societies into draconian police states.

US President Barack Obama has time and again lauded American military veterans for their sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 4,500 US forces were killed in Iraq, thousands more maimed and psychologically destroyed, with record numbers committing suicide once back home in Civvy Street. In Afghanistan, the death toll continues to rise — with a spate of ‘green on blue’ attacks, in which Afghan security personnel turn their guns on American troops.

How must the families in the Iraqi city of Haditha feel where, in 2005, US marines shot dead 25 inhabitants, including women and children? — Just one of countless other such massacres and war crimes. Why were they killed in the putative “war on terror” that has now become a US “war with terror”? Or how about the family of the 14-year-old Iraqi girl, who was gang-raped by an American platoon, which then butchered her broken body to cover up their crime? Or the families in Iraq’s Fallujah city, whose loved ones where incinerated with the Pentagon white phosphorus bombs during 2004-2005? What was that holocaust all about in the pursuit of a supposed war against terrorists, the same terrorists, who are now armed, trained, and directed by Washington, London, and Paris to overthrow the legal government of Syria?

Or how about the thousands of unnamed villagers, killed in remote areas of Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia in continuing American drone attacks?

Fabius recently told reporters in Turkey, “The Syrian regime must be smashed fast.” He also called for Assad’s death.

Elsewhere, it is reported that Qatar, the West’s Arab ally in the sabotage of Syria, has resorted to bribery to destabilize the government in Damascus. Apparently, the Al Thani royal rulers of the Persian Gulf emirate offered USD 1 million to the Syrian ambassador in Mauritania to defect, thereby attempting to tarnish Assad’s government. The Syrian Ambassador, targeted by the honey-trap, Hamad Albni, denounced the bribe as “blatant interference” in his country’s affairs.

It was just the latest in a barrage of dirty tricks that Qatar and the royal rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have engaged in against Syria, including bribing the nation’s Army ranks to dessert, fabricating news stories on Arab media channels, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, and jamming the satellite signals for the Syrian national broadcaster. The latter is a war crime, but don’t expect the Western crime bosses in office to bat an eyelid over that.

This is on top of these billionaire rulers funneling USD 100 million from their own impoverished, downtrodden countries to pay for American and Israeli weapons and explosives that are being used by the Western terrorist army to kill and maim women and children across Syria.

Meanwhile, Oxbridge-educated British Foreign Secretary William Hague announces with his ever-so-polite plumy accent that “Her Majesty’s” government is to supply an extra USD eight million to Syria. Not to help refugees or victims of Western-orchestrated violence, but to help the terrorists escalate their campaign of tearing that country apart and no doubt creating more refugees.

Clinton, Fabius, Hague and their royal Arab friends may dress in fine clothes, speak with polished accents, and have manicured, scented hands. But make no mistake. They may not pull the triggers, slit throats, or switch the detonators. That’s for the goons on the ground to do and to keep the blood from appearing on those scented, lily-white hands of their bosses.

In the Orwellian world of Western governments, these politicians are called “Foreign Ministers.” In the world of normative reasoning and language, they are known simply as “Ministers of Terrorism.”

“This is a clear-cut intention to repeat the Libyan scenario,” Dolgov says, referring to Clinton’s recent statement on a possible introduction of a no-fly zone over Syria, something that he says is little more than a call for an armed interference in Syria’s internal affairs. The no-fly zone stipulates destroying missile defense systems and launching air strikes, and it, in fact, means an armed invasion of Syria which can only be fulfilled without being endorsed by the UN. All the more so that Russia and China several times blocked the UN Security Council resolutions which paved the way for resolving the Syrian crisis through the Libyan scenario.”

Russia’s Western partners in the Action Group for Syria have demonstrated unwillingness to help Moscow contribute to a cease-fire in this Middle Eastern country. The planned session of the Action Group for Syria with the participation of Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the EU has been postponed indefinitely.

It was Russia that earlier offered the five permanent UN Security Council members to take part in the Action Group for Syria’s ambassadorial meeting in New York on Friday. Also, Russia hammered out a draft declaration where it formulated its initiatives on the Syrian settlement. The document, in particular, urged the conflicting parties to agree on an early cease-fire in Syria by notably appointing special envoys tasked with holding peace negotiations.

The West has preferred to keep mum on Russia’s proposal on exerting pressure on both parties to the Syrian conflict. Small wonder, given that the West is playing its own card in Syria, our political commentator says.

Western countries continue to lend military support to the opposition in a bid to oust a legal power in Syria. Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried, in fact, to create a new anti-Syrian coalition that could bring together Britain, France, Germany and Turkey.

During a video conference, the five coordinated steps to render additional assistance to Syrian opposition. They pledged more arms and means of communication to militants who are keen to topple the Assad regime.

Additionally, more mercenaries are set to be dispatched to Syria in the near future. A year ago, the same steps were in place with respect to then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, says Boris Dolgov, of the Moscow-based Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“This is a clear-cut intention to repeat the Libyan scenario,” Dolgov says, referring to Clinton’s recent statement on a possible introduction of a no-fly zone over Syria, something that he says is little more than a call for an armed interference in Syria’s internal affairs. The no-fly zone stipulates destroying missile defense systems and launching air strikes, and it, in fact, means an armed invasion of Syria which can only be fulfilled without being endorsed by the UN. All the more so that Russia and China several times blocked the UN Security Council resolutions which paved the way for resolving the Syrian crisis through the Libyan scenario.”

Earlier in the week, two field commanders from Libya joined those foreign mercenaries who are currently helping armed Syrian opposition depose President Bashar Assad. The two men were at the helm of militants attacking Gaddafi’s presidential palace in Tripoli in 2011.

On Friday, the Al-Arabya TV channel quoted a source in the United States as saying that 14 surface-to-air Stinger missiles have been delivered to the Syrian opposition at an area on the border with Turkey. The source added that both the United States and Turkey are aware of the arms delivery, and that “financing has probably come from Saudi Arabia.”

Alexander Sotnichenko, a St.Petersburg- based Middle East expert, warns that the West’s playing with fire in Syria is fraught with grave consequences. This will further exacerbate the situation, and is unlikely to help spread democratic values in Syria, Soitnichenko says.

“Hefty sums injected into the Syrian opposition may finally lead to Bashar Assad stepping down,” Sotnichenko says. “This will mean Syria ultimately turning into a battle zone where a civil war is very likely,” he concludes.

Meanwhile, the use of a force-leaning scenario was not supported by a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which wrapped up in Mecca earlier this week. A statement to this effect was made by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, which was echoed by Sergei Demidenko of the Institute of Strategic Assessments and Analysis in Moscow.

“Saudi Arabia and Qatar have realized that the West will not meddle in the conflict now that the presidential elections in the United States are yet to be held,” Demidenko says. “Right now, they pretend to join the international community in saying ‘no’ to military interference in Syria, something that is nothing but lip-service. ”

On Friday, Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi was appointed the new UN-Arab League envoy to Syria. He will replace Kofi Annan who earlier said he will quit in late August. In the meantime, Moscow has already expressed hope that Lakhdar Brahimi will successfully interact with the Action Group for Syria.

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An Israeli October Surprise for Obama?

August 18th, 2012 by Robert Parry

A pressing foreign policy question of the U.S. presidential race is whether Israel might exploit this politically delicate time to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites and force President Obama to join the attack or face defeat at the polls, a predicament with similarities to one President Carter faced in 1980.

There is doubt in some quarters that Israel’s Likud government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would time an attack on Iran in the weeks before a U.S. election with the goal of dooming the incumbent Democratic president, Barack Obama, or forcing his hand to commit American military might in support of Israel.

But there was a precedent 32 years ago when another Likud government had grown alienated from the Democratic president and found itself in a position where it could help drive him from office by covertly assisting his Republican rivals in another crisis involving Iran.

President Jimmy Carter with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin celebrating the Camp David peace accords. However, privately, Carter and Begin grew deeply distrustful of one another. (Photo credit: the Carter Center)

In that case – known as the “October Surprise” mystery – President Jimmy Carter was trying to gain the release of 52 Americans then held hostage in Iran. Carter also was pushing the Likud government of Prime Minister Menachem Begin to reach a peace settlement with the Palestinians that would allow them to establish their own state on the West Bank.

Begin, however, was determined to implement a Likud strategy “to change the facts on the ground” by moving Jewish settlers into the Occupied Territories, what Likud called Judea and Samaria, part of historical Israel given to the Jewish people by God. That set up a clash with Carter who was determined to achieve a comprehensive Middle East peace that would establish a Palestinian state on the West Bank.

As Begin maneuvered to block such an arrangement, Carter grew frustrated and then infuriated. In his White House Diary, Carter described how heated the confrontation became after Begin insisted on deferring any agreement pending a Knesset debate.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Carter wrote. “We spent about forty-five minutes on our feet in his study. I asked him if he actually wanted a peace treaty, because my impression was that he did with apparent relish everything he could do to obstruct it. He came right up and looked in my eyes about a foot away and said that he wanted peace as much as anything else in the world. It was almost midnight when I left. We had an extremely unsatisfactory meeting …

“I have rarely been so disgusted in all my life. I was convinced he would do everything possible to stop a treaty, rather than face the full autonomy he had promised in the West Bank.”

The disdain was mutual. Begin was furious over what he regarded as Carter’s high-handed actions at Camp David in 1978, forcing Israel to trade the occupied Sinai to Egypt for a peace deal. Begin feared that Carter would use his second term to bully Israel into accepting a Palestinian state on West Bank lands.

Former Mossad and Foreign Ministry official David Kimche described Begin’s attitude in his 1991 book, The Last Option, saying that Israeli officials had gotten wind of “collusion” between Carter and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat “to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Kimche continued, “This plan – prepared behind Israel’s back and without her knowledge – must rank as a unique attempt in United States’s diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation.”

However, Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980 when, Kimche wrote, “he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby.”

In a 1992 memoir, Profits of War, Ari Ben-Menashe, an Israeli military intelligence officer who worked with Likud, agreed that Begin and other Likud leaders held Carter in contempt.

“Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David,” Ben-Menashe wrote. “As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israel’s back.”

Buying Time

So, to buy time for Israel to build up its West Bank settlements and thus make a Palestinian state impossible, Begin felt Carter’s reelection had to be prevented.

The most inviting way was to cooperate with Republicans both in undermining Carter at home and possibly using Israel’s continuing clandestine influence inside Iran to obstruct Carter’s desperate efforts to win freedom for 52 U.S. hostages held by Islamist radicals there.

Questioned by congressional investigators about this history in 1992, Carter said he realized by April 1980 that “Israel cast their lot with [Ronald] Reagan,” according to notes I found among the unpublished documents in the files of a House task force that had looked into the October Surprise case. Carter traced the Israeli opposition to his reelection to a “lingering concern [among] Jewish leaders that I was too friendly with Arabs.”

In 1993, a special House task force released a report claiming to have found “no credible evidence” to support various allegations by Iranians, Israelis, Europeans, Arabs and Americans that the Reagan campaign went behind Carter’s back to make contacts with Iran that stopped Carter from gaining the hostages’ release until after Reagan was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1981.

The task force stuck to that conclusion despite discovering that the Israelis began shipping U.S. military equipment to Iran in 1981 with what they claimed was approval from the Reagan administration. Those shipments were exposed when one of the Israeli-chartered planes crashed inside the Soviet Union in July 1981.

However, over the past couple of years, the House task force’s conclusions crumbled amid discoveries that important evidence was hidden from investigators, that internal doubts on the task force were suppressed, and that George H.W. Bush’s administration withheld information in 1991 that would have corroborated a key allegation.

The collapse of those 1993 findings by the House task force left behind a troubling impression — that Israel’s Likud hardliners may have teamed up with ambitious Republicans and some disgruntled elements of the CIA to help remove a U.S. president from office. And since the earlier Likud government had gotten away with it, that might encourage the current one to try something similar.

As for the historical mystery, it is far more reassuring to think that no such thing could occur, that Israel’s Likud – whatever its differences with Washington over Middle East peace policies – would never seek to subvert a U.S. president, and that Republicans and CIA dissidents – no matter how frustrated by the political direction of an administration – would never sabotage their own government.

But the evidence from 1980 points in that disturbing direction, and there are some points that are not in dispute. For instance, there is no doubt that CIA Old Boys and Likudniks had strong motives for seeking President Carter’s defeat in 1980.

Inside the CIA, Carter and his CIA Director Stansfield Turner were blamed for firing many of the free-wheeling covert operatives from the Vietnam era, for ousting legendary spymaster Ted Shackley, and for failing to protect longtime U.S. allies (and friends of the CIA), such as Iran’s Shah and Nicaragua’s dictator Anastasio Somoza.

Legendary CIA officer Miles Copeland told me in 1990 that “the CIA within the CIA” – the inner-most circle of powerful intelligence figures who felt they understood best the strategic needs of the United States – believed Carter and his naïve faith in American democratic ideals represented a grave threat to the nation.

“Carter really believed in all the principles that we talk about in the West,” Copeland said, shaking his mane of white hair. “As smart as Carter is, he did believe in Mom, apple pie and the corner drug store. And those things that are good in America are good everywhere else. …

“Carter, I say, was not a stupid man,” Copeland said, adding that Carter had an even worse flaw: “He was a principled man.”

Reagan’s Landslide

Carter’s inability to resolve the hostage crisis set the stage for Reagan’s landslide victory in November 1980 as American voters reacted to the long-running hostage humiliation by turning to a candidate they believed would be a tougher player on the international stage. Reagan’s macho image was reinforced when the Iranians released the hostages immediately after he was inaugurated, ending the 444-day standoff.

The coincidence of timing, which Reagan’s supporters cited as proof that foreign enemies feared the new president, gave momentum to Reagan’s larger agenda, including sweeping tax cuts tilted toward the wealthy, reduced government regulation of corporations, and renewed reliance on fossil fuels. (Carter’s solar panels were later dismantled from the White House roof.)

Reagan’s victory also was great news for CIA hard-liners who were rewarded with World War II spymaster (and dedicated cold-warrior) William Casey as CIA director. Casey then purged CIA analysts who were detecting a declining Soviet Union that desired détente and replaced them with people like the young and ambitious Robert Gates, who agreed that the Soviets were on the march and that the United States needed a massive military expansion to counter them.

Casey embraced old-time CIA swashbuckling in Third World countries and took pleasure in misleading or bullying members of Congress when they insisted on the CIA oversight that had been forced on President Gerald Ford and had been accepted by President Carter. To Casey, CIA oversight became a game of hide-and-seek.

As for Israel, Begin was pleased to find the Reagan administration far less demanding about peace deals with the Arabs, giving Israel time to expand its West Bank settlements. Reagan and his team also acquiesced to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, a drive north that expelled the Palestine Liberation Organization but also led to the slaughters at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

And, behind the scenes, Reagan’s administration gave a green light to Israeli weapons shipments to Iran (which was fighting a war with Israel’s greater enemy, Iraq). The weapons sales helped Israel rebuild its contacts inside Iran and to turn large profits, some of which were plowed into financing West Bank settlements.

In another important move, Reagan credentialed a new generation of pro-Israeli American ideologues known as the neoconservatives, a move that would pay big dividends for Israel in the future as these bright and articulate operatives fought for Israeli interests both inside the U.S. government and through their opinion-leading roles in the major American news media.

In other words, if the disgruntled CIA Old Boys and the determined Likudniks did participate in an October Surprise scheme to unseat Jimmy Carter, they got much of what they were after.

Yet, while motive is an important element in solving a mystery, it does not constitute proof by itself. What must be examined is whether there is evidence that the motive was acted upon, whether Menachem Begin’s government and disgruntled CIA officers covertly assisted the Reagan campaign in contacting Iranian officials to thwart Carter’s hostage negotiations.

On that point the evidence is strong though perhaps not ironclad. Still, a well-supported narrative does exist describing how the October Surprise scheme may have gone down with the help of CIA personnel, Begin’s government, some right-wing intelligence figures in Europe, and a handful of power-brokers in the United States.

Angry Old Boys

Even before Iran took the American hostages on Nov. 4, 1979, disgruntled CIA veterans had been lining up behind the presidential candidacy of their former boss, George H.W. Bush. Casting off their traditional cloak of non-partisanship, they were volunteering as foot soldiers in Bush’s campaign. One joke about Bush’s announcement of his candidacy on May 1, 1979, was that “half the audience was wearing raincoats.”

Bill Colby, Bush’s predecessor as CIA director, said Bush “had a flood of people from the CIA who joined his supporters. They were retirees devoted to him for what he had done” in defending the spy agency in 1976 when the CIA came under heavy criticism for spying on Americans, assassination plots and other abuses. Reagan’s foreign policy adviser Richard Allen described the group working on the Bush campaign as a “plane load of disgruntled former CIA” officers who were “playing cops and robbers.”

All told, at least two dozen former CIA officials went to work for Bush. Among them was the CIA’s director of security, Robert Gambino, who joined the Bush campaign immediately after leaving the CIA where he oversaw security investigations of senior Carter officials and thus knew about potentially damaging personal information.

Besides the ex-CIA personnel who joined the Bush campaign, other pro-Bush intelligence officers remained inside the CIA while making clear their political preference. “The seventh floor of Langley was plastered with ‘Bush for President’ signs,” said senior CIA analyst George Carver, referring to the floor that housed top CIA officials.

Carter administration officials also grew concerned about the deep personal ties between the former CIA officers in Bush’s campaign and active-duty CIA personnel who continued to hold sensitive jobs under Carter.

For instance, Gambino, the 25-year CIA veteran who oversaw personnel security checks, and CIA officer Donald Gregg, who served as a CIA representative on Carter’s National Security Council, “are good friends who knew each other from the CIA,” according to an unpublished part of a report by a House task force that investigated the October Surprise issue in 1992. [I found this deleted section – still marked “secret” – in unpublished task force files in 1994.]

‘Blond Ghost’

Perhaps most significantly, Bush quietly enlisted Theodore Shackley, the legendary CIA covert operations specialist known as the “blond ghost.” During the Cold War, Shackley had run many of the CIA’s most controversial paramilitary operations, from Vietnam and Laos to the JMWAVE operations against Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

In those operations, Shackley had supervised the work of hundreds of CIA officers and developed powerful bonds of loyalty with many of his subordinates. For instance, Donald Gregg had served under Shackley’s command in Vietnam.

When Bush was CIA director in 1976, he appointed Shackley to a top clandestine job, associate deputy director for operations, laying the foundation for Shackley’s possible rise to director and cementing Shackley’s loyalty to Bush. When Shackley had a falling out with Carter’s CIA Director Turner in 1979, Shackley quit the agency. Privately, Shackley believed that Turner had devastated the agency by pushing out hundreds of covert officers, many of them Shackley’s former subordinates.

By early 1980, the Republicans were complaining that they were being kept in the dark about progress on the Iran hostage negotiations. George Cave, then a top CIA specialist on Iran, told me that the “Democrats never briefed the Republicans” on sensitive developments, creating suspicions among the Republicans that Carter might time a hostage release for maximum benefit in the election, a so-called “October Surprise.”

So, the Republicans sought out their own sources of information regarding the hostage crisis. Bush’s ally Shackley began monitoring Carter’s progress on negotiations through his contacts with Iranians in Europe, Cave said. “Ted, I know, had a couple of contacts in Germany,” said Cave. “I know he talked to them. I don’t know how far it went. … Ted was very active on that thing in the winter/spring of 1980.”

Author David Corn also got wind of the Shackley-Bush connection when he was researching his biography of Shackley, Blond Ghost. “Within the spook world the belief spread that Shackley was close to Bush,” Corn wrote. “Rafael Quintero [an anti-Castro Cuban with close ties to the CIA] was saying that Shackley met with Bush every week. He told one associate that should Reagan and Bush triumph, Shackley was considered a potential DCI,” the abbreviation for CIA director.

Some of the legendary CIA officers from an even earlier generation, those who had helped overthrow Iran’s elected government in 1953 and put the Shah on the Peacock Throne, also injected themselves into the hostage crisis.

Carter, a ‘Utopian’

Miles Copeland, one of the agency’s old Middle East hands, claimed in his memoir, The Game Player, that he and his CIA chums pondered their own hostage rescue plan while organizing an informal support group for the Bush campaign, called “Spooks for Bush.”

In the 1990 interview, Copeland told me that “the way we saw Washington at that time was that the struggle was really not between the Left and the Right, the liberals and the conservatives, as between the Utopians and the realists, the pragmatists. Carter was a Utopian. He believed, honestly, that you must do the right thing and take your chance on the consequences. He told me that. He literally believed that.” Copeland’s deep Southern accent spit out the words with a mixture of amazement and disgust.

Copeland’s contacts at the time included CIA veteran Archibald Roosevelt and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger – both of whom were close to David Rockefeller whose Chase Manhattan Bank handled billions of dollars in the Shah’s accounts, a fortune that the Iranian mullahs wanted to lay their hands on.

“There were many of us – myself along with Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Archie Roosevelt in the CIA at the time – we believed very strongly that we were showing a kind of weakness, which people in Iran and elsewhere in the world hold in great contempt,” Copeland said. As Copeland and his friends contemplated what to do regarding the hostage crisis, he reached out to other of his old CIA buddies.

According to The Game Player, Copeland turned to ex-CIA counter-intelligence chief James Angleton. The famed spy hunter “brought to lunch a Mossad chap who confided that his service had identified at least half of the [hostage-holding] ‘students,’ even to the extent of having their home addresses in Tehran,” Copeland wrote. “He gave me a rundown on what sort of kids they were. Most of them, he said, were just that, kids.”

One of the young Israeli intelligence agents assigned to the task of figuring out who was who in the new Iranian power structure was Ari Ben-Menashe, who was born in Iran but emigrated to Israel as a teen-ager. Not only did he speak fluent Farsi, but he had school friends who were rising within the new revolutionary bureaucracy.

In his memoir, Profits of War, Ben-Menashe offered his own depiction of Copeland’s initiative. Though Copeland was generally regarded as a CIA “Arabist” who had opposed Israeli interests in the past, he was admired for his analytical skills, Ben-Menashe wrote.

“A meeting between Miles Copeland and Israeli intelligence officers was held at a Georgetown house in Washington, D.C.,” Ben-Menashe wrote. “The Israelis were happy to deal with any initiative but Carter’s. David Kimche, chief of Tevel, the foreign relations unit of Mossad, was the senior Israeli at the meeting. … The Israelis and the Copeland group came up with a two-pronged plan to use quiet diplomacy with the Iranians and to draw up a scheme for military action against Iran that would not jeopardize the lives of the hostages.”

Arms Dealing

In late February 1980, Seyeed Mehdi Kashani, an Iranian emissary, arrived in Israel to discuss Iran’s growing desperation for spare parts for its U.S.-supplied air force, Ben-Menashe wrote.

Kashani, whom Ben-Menashe had known from their school days in Tehran, also revealed that the Copeland initiative was making inroads inside Iran and that approaches from some Republican emissaries had already been received, Ben-Menashe wrote.

“Kashani said that the secret ex-CIA-Miles-Copeland group was aware that any deal cut with the Iranians would have to include the Israelis because they would have to be used as a third party to sell military equipment to Iran,” according to Ben-Menashe.

In March 1980, the following month, the Israelis made their first direct military shipment to Iran, 300 tires for Iran’s F-4 fighter jets, Ben-Menashe wrote. Ben-Menashe’s account of these early Israeli arms shipments was corroborated by Carter’s press secretary Jody Powell and Israeli arms dealer William Northrop.

In an interview for a 1991 PBS “Frontline” documentary, Jody Powell told me that “there had been a rather tense discussion between President Carter and Prime Minister Begin in the spring of 1980 in which the President made clear that the Israelis had to stop that [arms dealing], and that we knew that they were doing it, and that we would not allow it to continue, at least not allow it to continue privately and without the knowledge of the American people.”

“And it stopped,” Powell said. At least, it stopped temporarily.

Closer Enemies

Carter also may have had political enemies who had penetrated his inner circle. Jamshid Hashemi, an Iranian businessman who was recruited by the CIA in January 1980 along with his brother Cyrus, said that in spring 1980, he encountered Donald Gregg, the CIA officer serving on Carter’s National Security Council staff, at Cyrus’s Manhattan office.

Jamshid Hashemi said his brother Cyrus was playing a double game, officially helping the Carter administration on the hostage crisis but privately collaborating with the Republicans. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

The alleged involvement of Gregg is another highly controversial part of the October Surprise mystery. A tall man with an easy-going manner, Gregg had known George H.W. Bush since 1967 when Bush was a first-term U.S. congressman. Gregg also briefed Bush when he was U.S. envoy to China. Gregg served, too, as the CIA’s liaison to the Pike Committee investigation of the CIA when Bush was CIA director in 1976.

“Although Gregg was uniformly regarded as a competent professional, there was a dimension to his background that was entirely unknown to his colleagues at the White House, and that was his acquaintance with one of the Republican frontrunners, George Bush,” Sick, the former Carter aide on the National Security Council,  wrote in October Surprise.

As the Iran crisis dragged on, Copeland and his group of CIA Old Boys forwarded their own plan for freeing the hostages. However, to Copeland’s chagrin, his plan fell on deaf ears inside the Carter administration, which was developing its own rescue operation. So, Copeland told me that he distributed his plan outside the administration, to leading Republicans, giving sharper focus to their contempt for Carter’s bungled Iranian strategy.

“Officially, the plan went only to people in the government and was top secret and all that,” Copeland said. “But as so often happens in government, one wants support, and when it was not being handled by the Carter administration as though it was top secret, it was handled as though it was nothing. … Yes, I sent copies to everybody who I thought would be a good ally. …

“Now I’m not at liberty to say what reaction, if any, ex-President [Richard] Nixon took, but he certainly had a copy of this. We sent one to Henry Kissinger. … So we had these informal relationships where the little closed circle of people who were, a, looking forward to a Republican President within a short while and, b, who were absolutely trustworthy and who understood all these inner workings of the international game board.”

Desert One

Encircled by a growing legion of enemies, the Carter administration put the finishing touches on its hostage-rescue operation in April. Code-named “Eagle Claw,” the assault involved a force of U.S. helicopters that would swoop down on Tehran, coordinate with some agents on the ground and extract the hostages.

Carter ordered the operation to proceed on April 24, but mechanical problems and the mysterious decision by one of the pilots to turn back forced the operation to be terminated. At a staging area called Desert One, one of the helicopters collided with a refueling plane, causing an explosion that killed eight American crewmen.

Their charred bodies were then displayed by the Iranian government, adding to the fury and humiliation of the United States. After the Desert One fiasco, the Iranians dispersed the hostages to a variety of locations, effectively shutting the door on another rescue attempt.

By summer 1980, Copeland told me, the Republicans in his circle considered a second hostage-rescue attempt not only unfeasible, but unnecessary. They were talking confidently about the hostages being freed after a Republican victory in November, the old CIA man said.

“Nixon, like everybody else, knew that all we had to do was wait until the election came, and they were going to get out,” Copeland said. “That was sort of an open secret among people in the intelligence community, that that would happen. … The intelligence community certainly had some understanding with somebody in Iran in authority, in a way that they would hardly confide in me.”

Copeland said his CIA friends had been told by contacts in Iran that the mullahs would do nothing to help Carter or his reelection. “At that time, we had word back, because you always have informed relations with the devil,” Copeland said.

“But we had word that, ‘Don’t worry.’ As long as Carter wouldn’t get credit for getting these people out, as soon as Reagan came in, the Iranians would be happy enough to wash their hands of this and move into a new era of Iranian-American relations, whatever that turned out to be.”

In the interview, Copeland declined to give more details, beyond his assurance that “the CIA within the CIA,” his term for the true protectors of U.S. national security, had an understanding with the Iranians about the hostages. (Copeland died on Jan. 14, 1991.)

A Unified Campaign

In summer 1980, Ronald Reagan wrapped up the Republican nomination and offered the vice presidential slot to his former rival, George H.W. Bush. As Bush’s team merged with Reagan’s campaign, so too did Bush’s contingent of CIA veterans. Reagan’s campaign director William Casey – a spymaster for the World War II-era Office of Strategic Services – also blended in well with the ex-intelligence officers.

Many of the October Surprise allegations have Casey and his longtime business associate John Shaheen, another OSS veteran, meeting with Iranians and other foreigners overseas.

Casey also had secret meetings with Kissinger, according to Casey’s chauffeur, and with banker David Rockefeller and ex-CIA officer Archibald Roosevelt, who had gone to work for Rockefeller, according to the Sept. 11, 1980, visitor log at the Reagan-Bush headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

On Sept. 16, 1980, five days after the Rockefeller group’s visit to Casey’s office, Iran’s acting foreign minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh spoke publicly about Republican interference. “Reagan, supported by Kissinger and others, has no intention of resolving the problem” with the hostages, Ghotbzadeh said. “They will do everything in their power to block it.”

Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr held a similar opinion from his position in Tehran. In a 1992 letter to the House task force on the October Surprise case, Bani-Sadr wrote that he learned of the Republican back-channel initiative in summer 1980 and received a message from an emissary of Ayatollah Khomeini: The Reagan campaign was in league with pro-Republican elements of the CIA in an effort to undermine Carter and wanted Iran’s help.

Bani-Sadr said the emissary “told me that if I do not accept this proposal they [the Republicans] would make the same offer to my rivals.” The emissary added that the Republicans “have enormous influence in the CIA,” Bani-Sadr wrote. “Lastly, he told me my refusal of their offer would result in my elimination.”

Bani-Sadr said he resisted the GOP scheme, but the plan ultimately was accepted by Ayatollah Khomeini, who appeared to have made up his mind around the time of Iraq’s invasion of Iran in mid-September 1980. However, still sensing a political danger if Carter got the Iranians to change their minds, the Republicans opened the final full month of the campaign by trying to make Carter’s hostage talks look like a cynical ploy to influence the election’s outcome.

On Oct. 2, Republican vice-presidential candidate Bush brought up the issue with a group of reporters: “One thing that’s at the back of everybody’s mind is, ‘What can Carter do that is so sensational and so flamboyant, if you will, on his side to pull off an October Surprise?’ And everybody kind of speculates about it, but there’s not a darn thing we can do about it, nor is there any strategy we can do except possibly have it discounted.”

Multiple Channels

One congressional investigator who was involved in the Iran-Contra and the October Surprise inquiries told me years later that his conclusion was that the Republicans were pursuing every avenue possible to reach the Iranian leadership to make sure Carter’s hostage negotiations failed.

Former Israeli intelligence officer Ben-Menashe, in his book and in sworn testimony, said the ultimately successful channel was one involving both former and current CIA officers, working with French intelligence for the security of a final meeting in Paris — and with Israelis who were given the task of delivering the payoff in weapons shipments and money to Iran.

The key meeting allegedly occurred on the weekend of Oct. 18-19, 1980, between high-level representatives of the Republican team and the Iranians. Ben-Menashe said he was part of a six-member Israeli support delegation for the meeting at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.

In his memoir, Ben-Menashe said he recognized several Americans, including Republican congressional aide Robert McFarlane and CIA officers Robert Gates (who had served on Carter’s NSC staff and was then CIA Director Turner’s executive assistant), Donald Gregg (another CIA designee to Carter’s NSC) and George Cave (the agency’s Iran expert).

Ben-Menashe said Iranian cleric Mehdi Karrubi, then a top foreign policy aide to Ayatollah Khomeini, arrived and walked into a conference room. “A few minutes later George Bush, with the wispy-haired William Casey in front of him, stepped out of the elevator. He smiled, said hello to everyone, and, like Karrubi, hurried into the conference room,” Ben-Menashe wrote.

Ben-Menashe said the Paris meetings served to finalize a previously outlined agreement calling for release of the 52 hostages in exchange for $52 million, guarantees of arms sales for Iran, and unfreezing of Iranian monies in U.S. banks. The timing, however, was changed, he said, to coincide with Reagan’s expected Inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981.

Though the alleged participants have denied taking part in such a meeting, the alibis cited by the Americans have proved porous. For instance, Gregg produced a photograph of himself in a bathing suit on a beach with the processing date stamped on the back, “October 1980.”

There have been others reasons to doubt their innocence. An FBI polygrapher working for Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh’s investigation asked Gregg in 1990, “were you ever involved in a plan to delay the release of the hostages in Iran until after the 1980 Presidential election?” Gregg’s negative answer was deemed deceptive. [See the Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, Vol. I, 501]


Meanwhile, other evidence has surfaced supporting Ben-Menashe’s testimony. For instance, Chicago Tribune reporter John Maclean, son of author Norman Maclean who wrote A River Runs Through It, confirmed that he was told by a well-placed Republican source on that weekend in October 1980 that Bush was flying to Paris for a clandestine meeting with a delegation of Iranians about the American hostages.

David Andelman, the biographer for Count Alexandre deMarenches, then head of France’s Service de Documentation Exterieure et de Contre-Espionage (SDECE), testified to the House task force that deMarenches told him that he had helped the Reagan-Bush campaign arrange meetings with Iranians on the hostage issue in summer and fall of 1980, with one meeting in Paris in October.

Andelman said deMarenches insisted that the secret meetings be kept out of his memoir because the story could otherwise damage the reputations of his friends, William Casey and George H.W. Bush.

The allegations of a Paris meeting also received support from several other sources, including pilot Heinrich Rupp, who said he flew Casey from Washington’s National Airport to Paris on a flight that left very late on a rainy night in mid-October 1980.

Rupp said that after arriving at LeBourget airport outside Paris, he saw a man resembling Bush on the tarmac. The night of Oct. 18 indeed was rainy in the Washington area. Also, sign-in sheets at the Reagan-Bush headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, placed Casey within a five-minute drive of National Airport late that evening.

A French arms dealer, Nicholas Ignatiew, told me in 1990 that he had checked with his government contacts and was told that Republicans did meet with Iranians in Paris in mid-October 1980.

A well-connected French investigative reporter Claude Angeli said his sources inside the French secret service confirmed that the service provided “cover” for a meeting between Republicans and Iranians in France on the weekend of October 18-19. German journalist Martin Kilian had received a similar account from a top aide to intelligence chief deMarenches.

As early as 1987, Iran’s ex-President Bani-Sadr had made similar claims about a Paris meeting.

Finally, a classified report from the Russian government regarding what its intelligence files showed about the October Surprise issue stated matter-of-factly that Republicans held a series of meetings with Iranians in Europe, including one in Paris in October 1980. “William Casey, in 1980, met three times with representatives of the Iranian leadership,” the Russian report said. “The meetings took place in Madrid and Paris.”

At the Paris meeting in October 1980, “R[obert] Gates, at that time a staffer of the National Security Council in the administration of Jimmy Carter, and former CIA Director George Bush also took part,” the Russian report said. “In Madrid and Paris, the representatives of Ronald Reagan and the Iranian leadership discussed the question of possibly delaying the release of 52 hostages from the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran.”

(The Russian report had been requested by Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana, as part of the 1992 task force investigation of the October Surprise case. It arrived on Jan. 11, 1993, just two days before the task force was to release its own report rejecting the October Surprise suspicions.

(According to Hamilton and task force chief counsel Lawrence Barcella, the startling Russian report may never have been shown to Hamilton, until I sent him a copy in spring 2010. In interviews, Hamilton told me, “I don’t recall seeing it,” and Barcella said in an e-mail that he didn’t “recall whether I showed [Hamilton] the Russian report or not.”[See Consortiumnews.com’s “Key October Surprise Evidence Hidden.”])

Whatever the reasons, Carter failed to get the hostages out. The coincidence that the anniversary of the hostage-taking fell on Election Day 1980 further damaged Carter’s hopes as Americans were forced to relive the humiliations of the previous year.

Reagan romped to victory in a landslide, winning 44 states and bringing with him a Republican Senate. Among the Democrat casualties were key figures in efforts to rein in the powers of the imperial presidency – and of the CIA – including Frank Church of Idaho, Birch Bayh of Indiana and George McGovern of South Dakota.

In retrospect, some of Carter’s negotiators felt they should have been much more attentive to the possibility of Republican sabotage. “Looking back, the Carter administration appears to have been far too trusting and particularly blind to the intrigue swirling around it,” said former NSC official Gary Sick.

Tough Talk

As the Inauguration neared, Republicans talked tough, making clear that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t stand for the humiliation that the nation endured under Jimmy Carter. The Reagan-Bush team intimated that Reagan would deal harshly with Iran if it didn’t surrender the hostages.

A joke making the rounds of Washington went: “What’s three feet deep and glows in the dark? Tehran ten minutes after Ronald Reagan becomes President.”

On Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1981, just as Reagan was beginning his inaugural address, word came from Iran that the hostages were freed. The American people were overjoyed.

Privately, some Reagan insiders laughed about their October Surprise success. For instance, Charles Cogan, a high-ranking CIA officer, told the House task force in 1992 that he attended a 1981 meeting at CIA headquarters between Casey and one of David Rockefeller’s top aides, Joseph V. Reed, who had just been appointed to be Ambassador to Morocco.

Cogan testified that Reed joked about having blocked Carter’s hostage release. A task force investigator, who spoke with Cogan in a less formal setting, told me that Reed’s wording was, “We fucked Carter’s October Surprise.”

In the months and the years that followed, many of the key figures in the October Surprise mystery saw their career paths veer steeply upward. Casey was appointed to head the CIA; Gregg became Vice President Bush’s national security adviser; Robert McFarlane later became Reagan’s NSC adviser; though relatively young, Robert Gates vaulted up the CIA’s career ladder, becoming head of the analytical division and then deputy director. (He later served as Secretary of Defense for George W. Bush and Barack Obama.)

As for Israel and Iran, the arms network flowed with weapons to Iran and millions of dollars in profits back to Israel, with some of the money going to build new settlements in the West Bank. In summer 1981, this hidden Israeli-Iranian arms pipeline slipped briefly into public view.

On July 18, 1981, an Israeli-chartered plane was shot down after straying over the Soviet Union. In a PBS interview nearly a decade later, Nicholas Veliotes, Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, said he looked into the incident by talking to top administration officials.

“It was clear to me after my conversations with people on high that indeed we had agreed that the Israelis could transship to Iran some American-origin military equipment,” Veliotes said.

In checking out the Israeli flight, Veliotes came to believe that the Reagan camp’s dealings with Iran dated back to before the 1980 election. “It seems to have started in earnest in the period probably prior to the election of 1980, as the Israelis had identified who would become the new players in the national security area in the Reagan administration,” Veliotes said. “And I understand some contacts were made at that time.”

When I re-interviewed Veliotes on Aug. 8, 2012, he said he couldn’t recall who the “people on high” were who had described the informal clearance of the Israeli shipments but he indicated that “the new players” were the young neoconservatives who were working on the Reagan-Bush campaign, many of whom later joined the administration as senior political appointees.

In the mid-1980s, many of the same October Surprise actors became figures in the Iran-Contra scandal of 1985-86, another secret arms-for-hostages scheme in which Israel served as the middleman in U.S. arms shipments to Iran.

According to official Iran-Contra investigations, the plot to sell U.S. weapons to Iran in 1985-86 for its help in freeing American hostages then held in Lebanon involved Cyrus Hashemi, John Shaheen, Theodore Shackley, William Casey, Donald Gregg, Robert Gates, Robert McFarlane, George Cave, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush – not to mention various Israeli officials.

In 1993, I took part in an interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in Tel Aviv during which he said he had read Gary Sick’s 1991 book, October Surprise, which made the case for believing that the Republicans had intervened in the 1980  hostage negotiations to disrupt Carter’s reelection.

With the topic raised, one interviewer asked, “What do you think? Was there an October Surprise?”

“Of course, it was,” Shamir responded without hesitation. “It was.” Later in the interview, Shamir, who succeeded Begin as prime minister in the 1980s, seemed to regret his frankness and tried to backpedal on his answer, but his confirmation remained a startling moment.

Carter’s Uncertainty

Three decades after leaving office, former President Carter told an interviewer that he still hadn’t made up his mind on whether Ronald Reagan’s campaign secretly sabotaged his negotiations with Iran to gain release of the American hostages.

In an interview for a book, Conversations with Power by Brian Michael Till, Carter expressed uncertainty about the old political mystery, but he said he had discussed the matter with his ex-national security aide Gary Sick, who embraced the suspicions in a 1991 book, October Surprise.

“I have never taken a position on that because I don’t know the facts,” Carter told Till. “I’ve seen explanations that were made by George H.W. Bush and the Reagan people, and I’ve read Gary Sick’s book and talked to him about it. I don’t really know.”

Still, Carter said he remains curious as to why the Iranians waited until immediately after Reagan was sworn in on Jan. 20, 1981, to allow the hostages to fly out of Tehran:

“The thing that I do know is that after they [the Iranians] decided to hold the hostages until after the election, I did everything I could to get them extracted, and the last three days I was president, I never went to bed at all. I stayed up the whole time in the Oval Office to negotiate this extremely complex arrangement to get the hostages removed and to deal with $12 billion in Iranian cash and gold.

“And I completed everything by six o’clock on the morning that I was supposed to go out of office. All the hostages were transferred to airplanes and they were waiting in the airplanes. I knew this — so they were ready to take off — and I went to the reviewing stand when Reagan became president.

“Five minutes after he was president, the planes took off. They could have left three or four hours earlier. But what, if any, influence was used on the Ayatollah [Ruhollah Khomeini] to wait until I was out of office. I don’t know.”

Yet, for the past three decades, Carter has seemed more concerned about being accused of sour grapes than learning the truth about whether a Republican dirty trick helped sink his presidency.

In 1996, while meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat, Carter reportedly raised his hands into a physical stop position when Arafat tried to confess his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations.

“There is something I want to tell you,” Arafat said, addressing Carter at a meeting in Arafat’s bunker in Gaza City in the presence of historian Douglas Brinkley. “You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election.”

Arafat was apparently prepared to provide additional details and evidence, but Carter raised his hands, indicating that he didn’t want to hear anymore.

In the interview with Till, Carter also expressed continued uncertainty as to why a crucial helicopter for the U.S. hostage-rescue operation in April 1980 turned back rather than fly on to Tehran, a decision that forced the surprise assault to be scrubbed, a huge embarrassment for the Carter administration.

To carry out the mission, Carter had ordered eight helicopters to take part, including two as backups. As the mission proceeded, two helicopters developed mechanical troubles, cutting the number to the minimal of six. But one helicopter had turned back “with no reasonable explanation,” Carter said, forcing the rescue to be called off when the number of available helicopters dropped to five.

The so-called “Desert One fiasco” raised questions about Carter’s competence and ever since then rumors have persisted regarding possible sabotage of the operation by military and intelligence personnel who were hostile to Carter’s presidency.

While no hard evidence has ever emerged about the sabotage of Carter’s rescue operation, significant evidence does exist that operatives inside Reagan’s campaign – with the help of Israeli operatives – took steps to frustrate Carter’s attempt to negotiate release of the hostages before the November 1980 election.

In the ensuing decades, the failure of the U.S. political/media structure to get to the bottom of the October Surprise and its sequel the Iran-Contra scandal also makes the prospect for a repeat in 2012 more likely.

Since Israeli’s Likud has never been held accountable for its alleged interference in the U.S. political process in 1980, Menachem Begin’s ideological descendants might feel embolden to try it again.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

To read more of Robert Parry’s writings, you can now order his last two books, Secrecy & Privilege and Neck Deep, at the discount price of only $16 for both. For details on the special offer, click here.]  

Israeli threats heighten danger of Middle East war

August 18th, 2012 by Peter Symonds

The latest Israeli threats to launch an unprovoked war of aggression against Iran underscore the recklessness and criminality of the Obama administration’s drive to reshape the Middle East and reassert US dominance over the region. While Israeli political leaders may more openly declare their intentions, they only echo Obama’s oft-repeated statement that the US keeps all options on the table, including war, for dealing with Iran.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon last Sunday called on the US and its European allies to “declare today that the talks [with Iran] have failed,” and to set a deadline for Iran to end its nuclear program. Asked how long the Iranian regime should be given, Ayalon replied, “weeks, and not more than that”.

Ayalon’s comments came amid intense speculation in the Israeli media that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security officials were close to making a decision to attack Iran. On Tuesday, the Ma’ariv newspaper reported that Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak had set September 25 as the date for Obama to commit to taking military action against Iran.

On Wednesday, a leaked memo outlined Israeli war plans that included “an unprecedented cyber-attack” to shut down Iran’s communications; the use of carbon fibre munitions to collapse the country’s power grid; as well as “a barrage of tens of ballistic missiles” and “hundreds of cruise missiles”, supplemented by air strikes, aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, its military apparatus and its political and military leaders.

Also on Wednesday, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, told a public forum that Israel would be willing to attack Iran even if it could not completely destroy Iran’s nuclear programs. “Diplomacy hasn’t succeeded,” he bluntly declared. “We’ve come to a very critical juncture where important decisions do have to be made.” Asked when Israel’s window of opportunity to attack would close, he answered: “Not in the too-far distant future.”

These latest threats are partly aimed at intimidating critics within Israel, where there is widespread opposition to a war on Iran, as well as to pressure the Obama administration to escalate its own threats against Iran. Regardless of Israeli officials’ conscious purpose in making these statements, their warmongering only heightens tensions throughout the region and adds to the dangers of war.

Moreover, Iran is not the only target. Israeli ambassador Oren expressed concerns about Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons amid the country’s worsening civil war. He said that the situation was “highly fluid, highly flammable” and indicated that Syria might have to be “dealt with first” before Iran. Israel has already threatened to attack Syria’s chemical weapons.

The pretexts being exploited by the US and its allies to justify war against Iran are entirely cynical. The US is threatening to attack Iran over unsubstantiated allegations that it is developing a nuclear weapons capacity, while turning a blind eye to the Israel’s large stockpile of nuclear bombs and delivery systems. Likewise the US and Israel are making inflated claims about Syria’s chemical weapons to provide an excuse for military aggression.

For US and Israeli strategists, the civil war in Syria and the preparations to attack Iran are closely interlinked. Iran through its support for its ally, the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, as well as the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian organisation Hamas, is regarded as the chief obstacle to the consolidation of the Middle East under American hegemony. As the US-backed military intervention in Syria escalates, so does the military build-up by the US and its allies in Persian Gulf against Iran.

Israel, with US support, is already engaged in a highly provocative, covert war of sabotage and assassination inside Iran.

Moreover, by enlisting the support of the reactionary Sunni monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as the Turkish government, the US is deliberately stoking the flames of a regional sectarian war along Sunni-Shiite lines.

The Syrian opposition militias being armed by the US and its allies include Sunni extremist fighters, including Al Qaeda-linked groups, which are pathologically hostile to the “Shiite” regimes of Iran and Syria. Having raised the political temperature to boiling point, a relatively minor episode—a naval clash in the Persian Gulf, or a border incident between Syria and Turkey—can become the trigger for a regional war that would draw in the major powers.

The escalating intervention of US imperialism and its allies into the Middle East is a response to the revolutionary movements of the working class that erupted last year in Egypt and Tunisia. The NATO war to oust the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi on bogus humanitarian grounds has become the model for US-led efforts to remove President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The promotion of Sunni Islamists and extremists in Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East meets up with the deepest needs of US imperialism and the Middle East’s venal ruling elites to divide the working class.

The only social force capable of preventing the descent into a catastrophic war in the Middle East and internationally is the working class. Workers throughout the region, regardless of their language, religion or ethnicity, share common class interests in opposing imperialist intervention, militarism and war, as well as the relentless assault on their living standards and democratic rights. What is needed is a unified struggle of the working class directed against the root cause of war—the profit system itself—and for a United Socialist States of the Middle East.

Perfecting America’s “Technowar”

August 18th, 2012 by Tony Cartalucci

RT recently aired a piece titled, “Homemade bombs beat high-tech? Afghan war failure looms,” in which the astronomical amount of money spent on military weapons systems is examined versus the apparent inability of the US to “win” in Afghanistan.


In all likeness the US’ inability to “win” reflects a failure to balance the weakening of armed resistance to occupation with the propping up of a suitable proxy government. And when fighters are taking up weapons simply to see off foreign invaders – something Afghans have been doing perpetually throughout their history – it would seem that the US, despite all it’s military prowess, would need to impossibly scour every crack and crevice to eradicate every man capable of picking up arms and fighting.

If this sounds like a familiar narrative, it’s because the United States fought a similar war in Southeast Asia spanning Laos and Vietnam. Dr. James William Gibson, author of the book “The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam,” was interviewed in 1987 by “Alternative Views” and gave an in-depth cautionary history of a war driven by a “production process” mentality, complete with quotas motivating soldiers, driving commanding officers, and directing policy makers, all within the backdrop of reasserting a slipping global imperial paradigm.


Gibson points out the obvious flaws of using a “production process” approach towoard war. Soldiers motivated to meet quotas for body counts will fabricate numbers, or worse yet, take innocent life in an increasingly desperate and degenerate bid to survive (missed quotas meant more time spent out in the field). Officers likewise will make tactically fatal decisions in pursuit of meeting these irrational quotas in their sycophantic bid to climb up the military hierarchy.

The vector sum is a war not based on the just cause of national defense, nor driven by actual achievable strategic objectives, but a war motivated by opportunistic interests attempting to profit from the “rules” set by policy – from the soldiers on the ground seeking the “payment” of survival, to the officers managing the conflict seeking advancement, to the corporations and their representatives at the top seeking profits and geopolitical corporate-financier hegemony. In this way, the war can take on a life of its own, a dangerous tropism.

The Vietnam and Afghan Wars were never wars of national defense. They were military adventures sold to the public as “necessary” for national defense. In reality, each in turn was a response to shifting geopolitical spheres of influence and the ruling elite’s desire to dominate them. In Vietnam, the goal was to reassert Western influence over the Vietnamese who were setting a dangerous anti-imperialist precedent for the world.

In Afghanistan, the goal appears to be a means of projecting US power against Iran, Pakistan, and even up to the gates of China itself. It has served as a point of geopolitical leverage, destabilization, reordering, and chaos in a region that may have otherwise moved forward together, shaping a multipolar global order that checked or negated the hegemony of Wall Street and London.

Image: The Fortune 500′s newly launched lobbying front, “Defending Defense.” It, in reality, is designed to defend only the bottom line of the military industrial complex and the immense, unwarranted power it has procured and projects globally.

It too has taken on a life of its own, with profiteers and opportunists seeking its preservation, even expansion to justify increasing bottom lines. For example, “Defending Defense” is a lobbying front assembled by the American Enterprise Institute – a think-tank with Fortune 500 interests fully represented upon its board of trustees, advisory council, and “national council.” The lobbying effort not only cites current wars the US is fighting, but cites future potential wars that require yet more money to be shifted from productive peaceful progress, to the pursuit of hegemonic megalomania – because it is not just about war profits, it is about the power derived in the pursuit of global preeminence.

The goal of propping up a proxy government in Vietnam failed, leaving millions dead, with Americans bled dry both literally and financially in the process. The military industrial complex, however, came out only stronger.

Today, these same corporate-financier interests are doing it again. And when asked the question, “have we learned anything in Vietnam?” many people imagine it is posed rhetorically to our leaders.

These leaders have learned the perfect balance of war profiteering, managing public perception, and eliminating political dissent. They have learned that the war must be fought against the people at home just as vigorously as it is fought abroad.

On the battlefield, they have mastered the art of motivating officers seeking promotions, willing to say, do, or believe anything in order to proceed up the next rung. They’ve managed to push soldiers just enough to keep them in line and on mission, but not too much to where widespread meaningful dissent forms. And as Dr. Gibson pointed out in his 1987 interview, in the “production process” of war, soldiers are easily replaced, so with today’s repeated tours of duty, we see merely the system maximizing return on investment.

Indeed, our leaders have learned much from Vietnam. They are on their way to perfecting the “technowar.” 

America’s troupe of “activists” continue attempts to divide and undermine Russian society

When the US is overtly backing the terrorist invasion of Syria, seeing to the death, displacement, and disruption of millions of lives abroad, while hosting a mass murdering fugitive dictator at home, what then is it to back an act of hooliganism in a Russian church targeting a geopolitical rival?

The US State Department-backed so-called “punk band” going by the name of “Pussy Riot,” stormed into a Moscow church, defaming the Russian government while mocking the beliefs of churchgoers with vulgarity and disruptive behavior. Marketed as an act of “freedom of expression” by the Western media and the West’s collection of foreign ministries, it was in reality what would be called both a hate-crime and disorderly conduct in the West. Furthermore, in the West, such an act would come with it steep fines and lengthy jail sentences.

In fact, similar cases have played out in the West – minus the feigned indignation over the perceived violation of free speech of alleged bigots, racists, and hooligans that have preceded “Pussy Riot.” In many cases, the West has actively pursued not only people harassing others and creating public disturbances, but also those distributing material to like minded people who’s beliefs are simply perceived as “socially harmful.” 

The West Has Jailed Many For Similar or Lesser Offenses

  • 3 Years in Jail for Revising History: In 2006, the BBC reported, ”British historian David Irving has been found guilty in Vienna of denying the Holocaust of European Jewry and sentenced to three years in prison.” The BBC also reported, ”the judge in his 2000 libel trial declared him “an active Holocaust denier… anti-Semitic and racist.”" Irving’s beliefs, as unpopular as they may be, were expressed in his writings and speeches, not in the middle of a synagogue he had burst into. 
  • 4 Years and 2 Years in Jail for Operating “Racist” Website: For the crime of operating a US-based “racist” website and possessing with intent to distribute “racist material,” two British men, Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle were sentenced to 4 years and 2 years respectively in the UK in 2009. The presiding judge, according to the BBC, “told the men their material was “abusive and insulting” and had the potential to cause “grave social harm.”" Unlike Pussy Riot, however, these 2 men only crammed their leaflets into the door of a synagogue – instead of bursting in. Still they received 3-4 years in prison.   
  • 5 Years in Jail for Disagreeing With Mainstream History: Also in 2009, a man was jailed for 5 years for “propagating Nazi ideas and Holocaust denial” in Austria, Reuters reported. Gerd Honsik apparently wrote books and magazines which he attempted to distribute in schools, though it was the content of the material, not the manner in which he tried to distribute it that earned him his lengthy jail sentence. Unpopular though his ideas may be, according to the latest tirade by the West, he not only should’ve been allowed to proclaim them publicly, but do so in a place of worship amongst those he despised.    
  • 3 Years in Jail for Harassing a Jewish Man and Public Hate Speech: In 2011, an Australian man posted an “anti-Semitic” video on YouTube earning him a 3 year jail sentence. The video apparently showed the convicted man insulting a Jewish man before going on a tirade “in front of the Perth Bell Tower,” reported ABC of Australia. Clearly insulting someone in Australia and creating a public disturbance is a punishable crime, yet somehow the Australian government sees insulting churchgoers in Russia as “freedom of expression.” Equally as clear, is that hypocrisy and selective principles are being liberally exercised.
  • Detainment for “Hateful” Public Disturbance: This year, the British Daily Mail reported in their article, “Elmo in cuffs: Man dressed as Sesame Street character is carried away in Central Park after anti-Semitic rant in front of kids,” that “the appearance of a hate-spewing man dressed up as Elmo was a jarring one for many New Yorkers who visited Central Park on Sunday afternoon.” The article elaborated by saying that though the man was put in handcuffs and taken away, he was not arrested. While no arrest or sentence was handed down, the story clearly indicates that there is a line drawn as to what is “freedom of speech” and what is “disturbing the peace” in the United States. 
  • Arrested for Aggravating “religious and racial” Facebook Comments:  For the crime of posting “anti-Semitic” remarks on Facebook, the BBC reported that “five men and a 15-year-old youth” were arrested in May, 2012. The BBC would elaborate by reporting, “the six people arrested were charged with a breach of the peace with religious and racial aggravations.”

Politically-Motivated Hypocrisy and Proxy Poseurs

Regardless of what one’s beliefs may be on “freedom of expression” and what lines if any exist between responsible and irresponsible use of this freedom, one cannot ignore the astounding hypocrisy exhibited by the West – now wringing their hands in feigned disapproval over the jailing of “Pussy Riot” while their jails are full of “hate speech” perpetrators – many of whom did not even specifically target or disturb the subjects of their perceived scorn.


Images: “Pussy Riot’s” support campaign is spearheaded by Oksana Chelysheva of the US State Department-funded “Russian-Chechen Friendship Society,” a clearing house for Chechen terrorist propaganda. Along with US State Department-subsidized Alexey Navalny and the West’s media outlets on their side, the hooligan anti-establishment “punk rockers” now on trial in Moscow have a decidedly “establishment” backing. Read more here. (click images to enlarge)


The real reason why the Western media outlets have been so keen on covering the “Pussy Riot” trial has nothing to do with “free speech.”

The West, and more specifically, the corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London, see Russia’s current government as a barrier to not only the return to the unmitigated plundering of the Russian people they had enjoyed in the 1990′s, but a check and balance inhibiting their hegemonic ambitions globally. The West has propped up with money and political support the opposition movement from which “Pussy Riot” has emanated.

This latest stunt was designed specifically to breath new life into the crumbling, overtly foreign-backed “opposition” that has been attempting to divide and undermine both Russia and the government of President Vladamir Putin, before, during, and after his return to the presidency. Instead, this latest stunt does little more than further expose the increasingly visible hypocrisy and injustice pervading all parts of Western society.

Finally, “Pussy Riot” are not punk rockers. They are US State Department-backed instruments of corporate-financier hegemony, used as leverage against a Russian government standing in the way of Wall Street and London’s order of international corporatocracy. The punk culture, ironically represents the antithesis of such an international order – ironic indeed that so many have superficially defended “Pussy Riot” as targeted “punkers” when substantively they are “poseurs.”

German picture of the beach at Dieppe after the raid

The tide of World War II turned in early December 1941, when a counter-offensive of the Red Army in front of Moscow signalled the failure of Hitler’s Blitzkrieg strategy. That setback doomed Nazi Germany to lose a war it had to fight without the benefit of Caucasian oil and other resources it had hoped to gain through a speedy victory over the Soviet Union. The war was far from over, however, and for the time being the Red Army continued to do battle with its back to the wall, so to speak. Material help from the United States and Great Britain was forthcoming, but what the Soviets really needed from their allies was effective military assistance. And so Stalin asked Churchill and Roosevelt to open a second front in Western Europe. An Anglo-American landing in France, Belgium, or Holland would have forced the Germans to withdraw troops from the Eastern Front, and would therefore have afforded the Soviets much-needed relief.

In Great Britain and in the USA, which had entered the war only recently, in December 1941, political and military leaders were divided with respect to the possibilities and the merits of a second front. A number of British and American army commanders – including the American chief of staff, George Marshall, as well as General Eisenhower – wanted to land troops in France as soon as possible. They enjoyed the support of President Roosevelt, at least initially. He had promised Churchill that the United States would give priority to the war against Germany, and would settle accounts with Japan later; this decision became known as the “Germany First” principle. Consequently, Roosevelt was eager to deal with Germany right away, and this task required opening a second front. In May 1942 Roosevelt promised the Soviet minister of foreign affairs, Molotov, that the Americans would open a second front before the end of the year.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, on the other hand, was an outspoken opponent of a second front. He may have feared, as some historians suggest, that a landing in France might lead to a duplication of the murderous warfare associated with the battlefields of northern France in the First World War. But it is more likely that Churchill liked the idea that Hitler and Stalin were administering a major bloodletting to each other on the Eastern Front, and that he believed that London and Washington would benefit from a stalemated war in the East. Since he already had nearly three years of war experience, Churchill had much influence on Roosevelt, a newcomer to the war in Europe. It is therefore understandable that the opinion of the British leader ultimately prevailed, and that plans for opening a second front in 1942 were quietly discarded. In any event, Roosevelt himself discovered that this course of action – or rather, inaction – opened up some attractive prospects.

For example, it allowed him, in spite of the “Germany First” principle, to quietly commit a high proportion of manpower and equipment to the war in the Pacific, which was very much “his” war, and where American interests were more directly at stake than in Europe. He and his military and political advisors also started to realize that defeating Germany would require huge sacrifices, which the American people would not be delighted to bring. Landing in France was tantamount to jumping into the ring for a face-off with a formidable German opponent, and, even if ultimately successful, that would be a bloody and costly affair. Was it not far wiser to stay safely on the sidelines, at least for the time being, and let the Soviets slug it out against the Nazis?

With the Red Army providing the cannon fodder needed to vanquish Germany, the Americans and their British allies would be able to minimize their own losses. Better still, they would be able to build up their strength in order to intervene decisively at the right moment, like a deus ex machina, when the Nazi enemy and the Soviet ally would both be exhausted. With Great Britain at its side, the USA would then be able to play the leading role in the camp of the victors, to act as supreme arbiter in the sharing of the spoils of the supposedly common victory, and to create a “new order” of its liking in Europe. In the spring and summer of 1942, with the Nazis and Soviets locked in a titanic battle, watched from a distance by the “Anglo-Saxon” tertius gaudens, it did indeed look as if such a scenario might come to pass. (Incidentally, the hope for a long, drawn-out conflict between Berlin and Moscow was reflected in numerous American newspaper articles and in the much-publicized remark already uttered by Senator Harry S. Truman on June 24, 1941, only two days after the start of the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union: “If we see that Germany is winning, we should help Russia, and if Russia is winning, we should help Germany, so that as many as possible perish on both sides.”)

Of course, the Americans and the British could not reveal the true reasons why they did not wish to open a second front. Instead, they pretended that their combined forces were not yet strong enough for such an undertaking. It was said then – and it is still claimed now – that in 1942 the British and Americans were not yet ready for a major operation in France. Allegedly, the naval war against the German U-boats first had to be won in order to safeguard the required transatlantic troop transports. However, troops had been successfully ferried from North America to Great Britain for quite some time, and in the fall of that same year the Americans would experience no trouble whatsoever landing a sizable force in distant North Africa, on the same side of the admittedly dangerous Atlantic Ocean. (These landings, known as Operation Torch, involving the occupation of French colonies such as Morocco, did not force the Germans to transfer troops from the Eastern Front, did not provide any relief to the Soviets, and can therefore not be construed as the opening of a second front.)

In reality, it was already possible in the summer of 1942 to land a sizable force in France or elsewhere in Western Europe and open a second front. The British army had recuperated from the troubles of 1940, and large numbers of American and Canadian troops had joined them on the British Isles and were ready for action. Furthermore, it was not a secret that the Germans only had relatively few troops available to defend thousands of kilometres of Atlantic coast, and these troops also happened to be of considerably inferior quality compared to their forces on the Eastern Front. On the Atlantic coast, Hitler had about 60 divisions at his disposal, which were generally deemed to be second-rate, while no less than 260 German divisions did battle in the East. It is a fact, furthermore, that on the French coast in 1942 the German troops were not yet as strongly entrenched as they would be later, namely, at the time of the landings in Normandy in June 1944; the order to build the fortifications of the famous Atlantic Wall was only given by Hitler in August 1942, and the construction would drag on from the fall of 1942 until the spring of 1944.

Stalin, who knew that the German defences in Western Europe were weak, continued to press London and Washington for a landing in France. Churchill also experienced considerable domestic pressure in favour of a second front, for example from members of his own cabinet, such as Richard Stafford Cripps, and particularly from the side of the trade unions, whose members were sympathetic to the plight of the Soviets. Thankfully, relief from this relentless pressure came suddenly to the British Prime Minister in the form of a tragedy that appeared to demonstrate conclusively that the Western Allies were not yet able to open a second front: on August 19, 1942, a contingent of Allied soldiers, sent on a mission from England to the French port of Dieppe, seemingly in an effort to open some sort of “second front,” were tragically routed there by the Germans.

Of the total of 6,086 men who made it ashore, 3,623 – almost 60 percent – were either killed, wounded, or captured. The British Army and Navy suffered approximately 800 casualties, and the RAF lost 106 aircraft. The 50 American Rangers who participated in the raid had 3 casualties. But the bulk of the losses were suffered by Canadian troops, with nearly 5,000 men the bulk of the entire force; no less than 3,367 of them – 68 percent! – became casualties; about 900 were killed, nearly 600 were wounded, and the rest were taken prisoner. Of losses such as these, it is traditionally considered that they were “not in vain”; but unsurprisingly, the media and the public wanted to know what the objectives of this raid had been, and what it had achieved, especially in Canada. However, the political and military authorities only provided unconvincing explanations, though these duly found their way into the history books. For example, the raid was presented by Churchill as a “reconnaissance in force,” as a necessary test of the German coastal defences. But did one really have to sacrifice thousands of men to learn that the Germans were strongly entrenched in a seaport surrounded by high cliffs, in other words, in a natural fortress? In any event, crucial information such as the location of pillboxes, cannon, and machine gun positions could have been gleaned through aerial reconnaissance and through the services of local resistance fighters.

Talking about the Résistance, the raid was also purported to boost the morale of the French partisans and the French population in general; if so, it was unquestionably counterproductive. Indeed, the outcome of the operation, an ignominious withdrawal from a beach littered with abandoned equipment and corpses, and the sight of exhausted and dejected Canadian solders being marched off to a POW camp, was not likely to cheer up the French. If anything, the affair provided grist for the propaganda mill of the Germans, allowing them to ridicule the incompetence of the Allies, boast of their own military prowess, and thus dishearten the French while giving a lift to Germany’s own civilians, who were very much in need of some good news on account of the constant flow of bad tidings from the East.

Last but not least, Operation Jubilee was also claimed to have been an effort to provide some relief to the Soviets. It is obvious, however, that Dieppe was merely a pinprick, unlikely to make any difference whatsoever with respect to the fighting on the Eastern Front. It did not cause the Germans to transfer troops from the East to the West; to the contrary, after Dieppe the Germans could feel reasonably sure that in the near future no second front would be forthcoming, so that they actually felt free to transfer troops from the west to the East, where they were desperately needed. To the Red Army, then, Dieppe brought no relief.

Historians have mostly been happy to regurgitate the official rationalizations of Jubilee, and in some cases they have invented new ones. Just recently, for example, the Dieppe raid was proclaimed to have been planned also, if not primarily, for the purpose of stealing equipment and manuals associated with the Germans’ Enigma code machine, and possibly even all or parts of the machine itself. But would the Germans not immediately have changed their codes if the raid had achieved that objective? (The argument that the plan was to secretly steal the Enigma material, and that that the raiders would have blown up the installations prior to withdrawing from Dieppe, thus destroying evidence of the removal of Enigma equipment, is unconvincing, because it presupposes a high degree of naivety on the part of the Germans.)

After the June 1944 allied landings in Normandy, code-named Operation Overlord, an ostensibly convincing rationale for Operation Jubilee was concocted. The Dieppe Raid was now triumphantly revealed to have been a “general rehearsal” for the successful Normandy landings. Dieppe had supposedly been a test of the German defences in preparation for the big landing yet to come. Lord Mountbatten, the architect of Jubilee, who was – and continues to be – blamed by many for the disaster, thus claimed that “the Battle of Normandy was won on the beaches of Dieppe” and that “for every man who died in Dieppe, at least 10 more must have been spared in Normandy in 1944.” A myth was born: the tragedy of Jubilee had been the sine qua non for the triumph of Overlord.

A very important military lesson had allegedly been learned at Dieppe, namely, that the German coastal defences were particularly strong in and around harbours. It was for this reason, presumably, that the Normandy landings took place on the harbourless stretch of coastline north of Caen, with the Allies bringing along an artificial harbour, code-named Mulberry. But was it not self-evident that the Germans would be more strongly entrenched in seaports than in insignificant little beach resorts? Had it really been necessary to sacrifice thousands of men in order to learn that lesson? And one must also wonder whether information, obtained from a “test” of the German coastal defences in the summer of 1942, was still relevant in 1944, especially since it was mostly in 1943 that the formidable Atlantic Wall fortifications had been built. If Dieppe was a “general rehearsal,” why was the main event not staged until two years later? Is it not absurd to proclaim Jubilee as a rehearsal for an operation that had not even been conceived yet? Finally, the advantage of lessons learned at Dieppe, if any, were almost certainly offset by the fact that at Dieppe the Germans had also learned lessons, and possibly more useful lessons, about how the Allies were likely – and unlikely – to land troops. The idea that the tragedy of Jubilee was a precondition for the triumph of Overlord, then, is merely a useful myth.

Even today, then, the Dieppe tragedy remains shrouded in disinformation and propaganda. But perhaps we can catch a glimpse of the truth about Dieppe by finding inspiration in an old philosophical conundrum: If one seeks to fail, and does, does one fail, or succeed? If a military success was sought at Dieppe, the raid was certainly a failure; but if a military failure was sought, the raid was a success. In the latter case, we should inquire about the real objective of the raid, or, to put it in functionalist terms, about its “latent,” or hidden, rather than its “manifest” function.

There are many indications that military failure was intended. First, the town of Dieppe happened to be, and was known to be, an eminently defensible site, and therefore necessarily one of the strongest German positions on the Atlantic coast of France. Anyone arriving there by ferry from England sees immediately that this port, surrounded by high and steep cliffs, bristling at the time with machine guns and cannon, must have been a deadly trap for the attackers. The Germans could not believe their eyes when they found themselves being attacked there. One of their war correspondents, who witnessed the inevitable slaughter, described the raid as “an operation that violated all the rules of military logic and strategy.” Other factors, such as poor planning, inadequate preparations, inferior equipment (such as tanks that could not negotiate the pebbles of Dieppe’s beach), make it seem more likely that the objective was military failure, rather than success.

On the other hand, the Dieppe operation, including its bloody failure, actually made sense if it was ordered for a “latent” non-military purpose. Military operations are frequently carried out to achieve a political objective, and that seems to have been the case at Dieppe in August 1942. The Western Allies’ political leaders in general, the British political leadership in particular, and Prime Minister Churchill, above all, found themselves under relentless pressure to open a second front, were unwilling to open such a front, but lacked a convincing justification for their inaction. The failure of what could be presented as an attempt to open a second front, or at least as a prelude to the opening of a second front, did provide such a justification. Seen in this light, the Dieppe tragedy was indeed a great success, even a double success. First, the operation could be, and was, presented as a selfless and heroic attempt to assist the Soviets. Second, the failure of the operation seemed to demonstrate only too clearly that the western Allies were indeed not yet ready to open a second front. If Jubilee was intended to silence the voices clamouring for the opening of a second front, it was indeed a great success. The Dieppe disaster silenced the popular demand for a second front, and allowed Churchill and Roosevelt to continue to sit on the fence as the Nazis and the Soviets slaughtered each other in the East.

The political motivation for Dieppe would explain why the lambs that were led to the slaughter were not American or British, but Canadian. Indeed, the Canadians constituted the perfect cannon fodder for this enterprise, because their political and military leaders did not belong to the exclusive club of the British-American top command who planned the operation, and who would obviously have been reluctant to sacrifice their own men. Our hypothesis likewise explains why the British were also involved, but in much smaller numbers, and why the Americans sent only a token force.

After the tragedy of Dieppe, even Stalin stopped begging for a second front. The Soviets would eventually get one, but only much later, in 1944, when Stalin was no longer asking for such a favour. At that point, however, the Americans and the British had urgent reasons of their own for landing on the coast of France. Indeed, after the Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, when Soviet troops were relentlessly grinding their way towards Berlin, “it became imperative for American and English strategy,” as two American historians (Peter N. Carroll and David W. Noble) have written, “to land troops in France and drive into Germany to keep most of that country out of [Soviet] hands.” When a second front was finally opened in Normandy in June 1944, it was not done to assist the Soviets, but to prevent the Soviets from winning the war on their own.

The Soviets finally got their second front when they no longer wanted or needed it. (This does not mean that did they did not welcome the landings in Normandy, or did not benefit from the belated opening of a second front; after all, the Germans remained an extremely tough opponent until the very end.) As for the Canadians, who had been sacrificed at Dieppe, they also got something, namely, heaps of praise from the men at the top of the military and political hierarchy. Churchill himself, for example, solemnly declared that Jubilee had been “the key to the success of the landings in Normandy” and “a Canadian contribution of the greatest significance to final victory.” The Canadians were showered with prestigious awards, including no less than three Victoria Crosses. The hyperbolic kudos and the unusually high number of VCs probably reflected a desire on the part of the authorities to atone for their decision to send so many men on a suicidal mission in order to achieve highly questionably political goals.

Jacques R. Pauwels is author of The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002

Week in Review: US Imperialism and the 9/11 Cover Up

August 18th, 2012 by Global Research

SYRIA: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War?
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-08-31

ONLINE INTERACTIVE I-BOOK. The insurgency in Syria is based on the “Libya Model”: it is integrated by mercenaries and Al Qaeda affiliated paramilitary brigades supported by British, French and Turkish Special Forces…

Keep the Ball Rolling: It’s Time to Stop Mainstream Media Lies
Donate Five minutes a Day to Global Research
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-08-22

The Globalization of War: The “Military Roadmap” to World War III
- by Michel Chossudovsky, Finian Cunningham – 2012-08-20

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Russia’s “Pussy Riot” Stunt Supported by US State Department
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-18

War in the Congo: Children, young men flee M23 recruitment
- 2012-08-18

Did Paul Kagame order the 1994 assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana.
- by Milton Allimadi – 2012-08-18

Ecuador President: “We Are Not A Colony”
Rafael Correa Stands Up To The Jackbooted British Gestapo
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2012-08-18

Syria and Pakistan: The Issue of National Sovereignty
- by Ghinwa Bhutto – 2012-08-18

Julian Assange: Ecuador Calls On OAS, UNASUR, ALBA Support Against UK Threat
- 2012-08-18

The Impact of Economic Sanctions on Iran’s Oil Exports
- by Dan Graeber – 2012-08-17

The US Supreme Court and “The Rule of Flaw”
America’s ultimate proponent of tyranny
- by Prof. John Kozy – 2012-08-17

The US Supreme Court has failed in every possible way. It is notorious for having issued iniquitous opinions. It has consistently negated the ideals the founding fathers wrote into the Preamble of the Constitution.

The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account of 911 Cannot Be True
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2012-08-17

Fire has never—prior to or after 9/11—caused steel-frame high-rise buildings to collapse…

Radiation Danger Covered Up Ever Since Nuclear Weapons Invented
- by Washington’s Blog – 2012-08-17

Planetary Crossroads! Where Do We Want to Go?
- by Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri – 2012-08-17

Latest UN Syria Report Compiled by Washington Think-Tanker
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-17

How President Obama Created Paul Ryan
- by Shamus Cooke – 2012-08-17

The Euro Is Not in Trouble. People Are.
- by Prof. Vicente Navarro – 2012-08-17

Binyamin Netanyahu: Mad or Crazy?
- by Uri Avnery – 2012-08-17

Can the US and its Allies arbitrarily Violate International Law?
- by Rick Rozoff, John Robles – 2012-08-17

Saudi Shame on the Islamic World: “The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation with United States Imperialism ”
- by Finian Cunningham – 2012-08-17

These jihadists, who have gravitated to Syria from Britain, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, among other countries, are directed by Washington, London and Paris…

Netanyahu’s Secret War Plan: Leaked Document Outlines Israel’s “Shock and Awe” Plan to Attack Iran
- by Richard Silverstein – 2012-08-16

“The reason they leaked it is to expose the plans advanced by the Bibi-Barak two-headed warrior. Neither the IDF leaker, my source, nor virtually any senior [Israeli] military or intelligence officer wants this war”.

America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally: Former UK Ambassador
- by Craig Murray – 2012-08-16

Poll: Majority of Jewish Israelis oppose attack on Iran
- by Michael Carmichael – 2012-08-16

“Freedom Fighters”: The Foot Soldiers of the American Empire
Selected Articles
- by Julie Lévesque – 2012-08-16

9/11: The Attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001
The Official Version Amounts to an Enormous Lie
- by Thierry Meyssan – 2012-08-16

Hiroshima and The Glorification of American Militarism
- by Dr. Gary G. Kohls – 2012-08-16

The Push to Ignite a Turkish Civil War Through a Syrian Quagmire
- by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2012-08-16

Turkey itself is a major target for destabilization, upheaval, and finally balkanization through its participation in the US-led siege against Syria.

Is Washington Deaf As Well as Criminal?
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2012-08-16

Censored Tehran Peace Conference and Media Disinformation
- by Prof. James F. Tracy – 2012-08-16

Syria: Proxy War Powder Keg
- by Bryce White – 2012-08-16

Russia in the Middle East: Return of a superpower?
- by Eric Walberg – 2012-08-16

None of the insurgents were Syrian. Britons among foreign mercenaries: UK journalist
- 2012-08-15

GRTV: The Economic Collapse and the Neoliberal Onslaught
The origins of the economic crisis and its consequences
- by Michel Chossudovsky, James Corbett – 2012-08-15

For decades, the IMF and the World Bank have used the cover of development and restructuring to plunder and loot the developing world. Now, these institutions begin to set their sights on the struggling economies of Europe and other developed countries…

Canada and The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
- by Yves Engler – 2012-08-15

Congo Genocide: Will Obama’s America collaborate or refuse?
- by Ann Garrison – 2012-08-15

9/11 TIMELINE: Stand Down. Minute-by-minute chronology from 7:59 a.m. till 10:06:05 a.m
- by Mark Elsis – 2012-08-15

Israeli-US Script: Divide Syria, Divide the Rest
- by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2012-08-15

Several Arab countries as well as Iran and Turkey are being lined up for a major conflict, because the US is losing its superpower status. Igniting Eurasia with fire and sedition appears to be Washington’s answer to preventing its own decline.

The world cannot afford more victims of war
- 2012-08-15

People’s Tribunal and Assembly on the Cuban Five, Toronto, Sept 21-23
- 2012-08-15

West Throttling Syria, Tightening Noose
- by Ismail Salami – 2012-08-15

Syria’s Economic Crisis. Al Assad Government Roles Back Neoliberal Reforms
- by Dr. Linda Matar – 2012-08-15

Imperialist Adventurism: Payback for America’s Unholy Military Alliance
- by Finian Cunningham – 2012-08-15

Goldman Sachs Above the Law
- by James Hall – 2012-08-15

Obama: Angel of Death?
- by Anthony Freda – 2012-08-14

Libyan Terrorists Are Invading Syria
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-14

Ecuador Accepts Julian Assange’s Bid for Asylum: Report
- 2012-08-14

The Global 1%: Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class
- by Prof. Peter Phillips, Kimberly Soeiro – 2012-08-14

Impunity at Home, Rendition Abroad: How Both Parties Made Illegality the American Way of Life
- by Prof. Alfred W. McCoy – 2012-08-14

“Nothing Urgent” on 9/11: The Curious Lack of Military Action on the Morning of September 11, 2001
- by George Szamuely – 2012-08-14

The Groundwater Footprint: The Privatization of the World’s Water Resources
- by Susanne Posel – 2012-08-14

Iranian earthquakes leave over 300 dead
- by Mark Church – 2012-08-14

Obama’s Bipartisan Transition to “Right America”
- by Michael T Bucci – 2012-08-14

Syria: Terrorism As A Weapon
- by John Cherian – 2012-08-14

Israel’s Netanyahu Attempts to Shame UN
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-13

CIA Provides Stinger Missiles to Syrian “Freedom Fighters”
Syria’s Parallels with Afghanistan
- by Deepak Tripathi – 2012-08-13

Partition and Destabilization: Covert Plan to “Break Syria into Pieces”
- by Saeed Shabazz – 2012-08-13

As battles in Syria rage, there appears to be talk of breaking the country into pieces as a way to end conflict. But the question arises over whose interests would be served by cutting up the Arab nation?

9/11 Attacks: Criminal Foreknowledge and Insider Trading lead directly to the CIA’s Highest Ranks
CIA Executive Director “Buzzy” Krongard managed Firm that handled “Put” Options on UAL
- by Michael C. Ruppert – 2012-08-13

Although uniformly ignored by the mainstream U.S. media, there is abundant and clear evidence that a number of transactions in financial markets indicated specific (criminal) foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

West Celebrates as Dark Age Descends over Egypt
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-13

US Military Build-up against China
Blueprint of Washington Think Tank on Contract to DoD
- by Peter Symonds – 2012-08-13

Ryan pick marks further shift to the right in US presidential campaign
- by Patrick Martin – 2012-08-13

Israel’s ‘Bomb Iran’ Timetable
- by Ray McGovern – 2012-08-13

Bradley Manning Tortured at Quantico
Details of Defense Motion
- 2012-08-13

Hate Crimes and Mass Murders in America: Eroding the Fabric of American Society
- by Dr. Ismail Salami – 2012-08-13

Quebec’s “Red Square” Movement
- by David Camfield – 2012-08-13

Olympic Realities: Kidnappings, Torture, Cover Up and One Woman’s Lone Battle..
- by Felicity Arbuthnot – 2012-08-13

The Election of a “Puppet President”: High Stake Outcomes Based on Non-issues
Whether you vote Republican or Democrat, the oligarchs will win
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2012-08-13

Confronting Wall Street: Establishing a Democratic Public Postal Banking System in America
Letter Carriers Consider Bringing Back Banking Services
- by Ellen Brown – 2012-08-12

The Games Of Summer: From Playing Fields To Battle Fields
- by Danny Schechter – 2012-08-12

The Events of 9/11: Does the truth have a chance?
- 2012-08-12

September 2001: Women of Afghanistan Speak out on the 9/11 Attacks
RAWA statement on the terrorist attacks in the US
- by Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan – 2012-08-12

September 11, 2001: “Who Attacked our Country”? … said George W Bush
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-08-12

What Paul Ryan Has and Obama Wants
- by David Swanson – 2012-08-12

Syria facing pressure amid UK, France naval drills
- by Kostantin Garbov – 2012-08-12

Pro-Israel War Ads on Municipal Buses
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
- by Mark Matthews – 2012-08-12

UN Designates “Free Syrian Army” Affiliates as Al Qaeda
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-12

Obama Administration Drops Criminal Investigation of Goldman Sachs
- by Barry Grey – 2012-08-11

The War on Iran is Already Underway?
- by Kourosh Ziabari – 2012-08-11

The Romney- Ryan Ticket: Running the Radical Republican Right-Wing
- by Michael Carmichael – 2012-08-11

The Role of Private Military and Security Companies in Modern Warfare
Impacts on Human Rights
- by Jose L. Gómez del Prado – 2012-08-11

Washington Puts Its Money on Proxy War
The Election Year Outsourcing that No One’s Talking About
- by Nick Turse – 2012-08-11

Bankster Fraud Has Driven 100 Million Into Poverty, Killing Many
- by Washington’s Blog – 2012-08-11

The Fate of Greece’s Refugees and Migrant Workers: Picking the Grapes or Getting Swept Up
- by Chris Jones – 2012-08-11

US-Saudi Sponsored Al Qaeda Killers in Syria
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-11

NATO’s War against Yugoslavia was based on Lies
- by Blokhin Timur, Vukotic Iovanna – 2012-08-11

Terrorism as an Instrument of US Foreign Policy: UN-Backed Rogue States Plan Syria’s Slaughter
- by Felicity Arbuthnot – 2012-08-11

The United States and its Comrade-in-arms, Al Qaeda
And other tales of an empire gone mad
- by William Blum – 2012-08-10

False Flag Terror and Conspiracies of Silence
- by Prof. James F. Tracy – 2012-08-10

A potential backdrop and precursor to the Colorado and Wisconsin events is the oft-forgotten Operation Gladio, a campaign involving US and British intelligence-backed paramilitaries anonymously carrying out mass shootings and bombings of civilian targets throughout Europe.

Spiking Grain Prices Raise Specter Of Global Food Crisis
- by Naomi Spencer – 2012-08-10

British Government Sends Money to Al Qaeda “Rebels” on the UN-State Department List of Terrorist Organizations
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-10

War in the Congo: Children, young men flee M23 recruitment

August 18th, 2012 by Global Research

Thousands of children and young men are fleeing rebel-held areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern North Kivu Province to escape forced recruitment by the insurgents, NGOs say.

“One day, five rebels of M23 stormed our town [Rugari, north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu]. They went to the chief asking him to show them all houses where they can find young men. The chief resisted, they tied him up and went on searching into houses until they arrested 36 children and [took] them away to train as fighters,” said Barthelemy Schilogolo, head of local the NGO, Paix et Justice pour la Reconciliation, told IRIN.

M23 – a group of former DRC national army (FARDC) soldiers who mutinied in April – is fighting government troops in North and South Kivu; the conflict has caused the displacement of close to half a million people. A number of other local militias – known as Mai Mai – are involved in the conflict and have also been accused of human rights abuses.

According to Schilogolo, M23 fighters are under pressure to increase recruitment. “Every two days, commanders of M23 come from Bunagana [an M23-held town on the DRC-Uganda border] to Rugari for regular patrols to control how their fighters are keeping positions. I’ve witnessed areas where a front commander is forcefully picked up when he failed to show how many recruits he recruited,” he said.

The NGO World Vision recently highlighted the issue, reporting that nearly 200 children had been forced to join the fighting. The group says the majority of refugees – an estimated 57,000, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – fleeing into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda are children, with some reporting that they were fleeing recruitment into armed groups.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has also documented over 100 civilians forcibly recruited by M23 over the past four months, most of whom were young men aged 24 and under.

Auguy Sebisimbo was forcefully recruited alongside 15 other youths – including children as young as 12 – by M23 in July in his home area of Rutshuru, the main town in the area controlled by M23.

“They took us to Bunanga, gave us arms and military uniforms without any training apart from a few exercises to show us how to shoot a gun,” he told IRIN.

A week into his capture, he fled during a fierce, day-long battle between M23 and FARDC forces; now back at home, he says the conflict continues to make his life difficult. “We are existing but feeling like we are not, because if the rebels recruit you by force and send you to the front line you may die. If not, it is not easy to endure the heavy gunshots that traumatize you. It is like you are dead,” he said.

They took us to Bunagana, gave us arms and military uniforms without any training apart from a few exercises to show us how to shoot a gun According to a statement by the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), at least 26 children are documented as having been forcibly recruited by M23 since April 2012, although reports indicate that the actual number is significantly higher; overall, the mission reports that more than 150 children have been recruited by armed groups in eastern DRC since the beginning of 2012. Individuals interviewed described how they were forced to carry looted goods, supplies and ammunition over long distances. Upon arrival at their destinations, they were handed uniforms and weapons and underwent military training in camps.

It added that there were also reports of the execution of civilians who resisted recruitment.

“Whilst forced recruitment by various armed groups has long characterized conflict in the DRC, numbers have increased substantially since the upsurge of recent hostilities in the east, and in particular the actions of the M23 in Rutshuru territory, North-Kivu Province,” Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MONUSCO Roger Meece said in the statement. “Using children and youth in armed conflict will create generations trained in violence, tearing apart the fabric of Congolese society.”

The United States has declined to comment on whether Washington will push for further investigation into a statement by a former top aide to Rwanda’s Paul Kagame implicating him in the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana.

The death of Habyarimana, whose plane was downed by a missile on April 6, 1994, sparked several weeks of massacres that claimed an estimated one million lives. 
Now Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, Rwanda’s former chief of military staff claims Gen. Kagame had ordered the downing of the presidential plane. He first made the claim on June 21 at the start of a trial in South Africa of gunmen who are accused of trying to kill him. Gen. Nyamwasa has repeated those claims about Gen. Kagame’s role in Habyarimana’s death in recent media interviews. 
“The Department of State does not have a comment on this,” a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department told The Black Star News via e-mail message, when asked whether an investigation of Gen. Nyamwasa’s comments was warranted. The U.S. has been Kagame’s major supporter over the years.

Nyamwasa has been living in South Africa where he fled in February 2010 after a falling out with Gen. Kagame. In June 2010, he survived a spectacular assassination bid that resembled an episode from a James Bond film, in South Africa. 

Gen. Nyamwasa was reportedly waylaid by a gunman near the entrance of the garage of their home. He survived shots to the stomach and says he only lived because the would-be assassin’s gun jammed. 
A total of six alleged gunmen, including three Rwandan nationals and three Tanzanians, were captured by South African security officials. The men are now on trial in a Johannesburg court. 

Gen. Nyamwasa claims the suspects are part of a hit squad sent by Gen. Kagame to kill him because he knows state secrets that could land the Rwanda president in trouble. “There are facts in my knowledge that the president of Rwanda ordered the killing of the former president of Rwanda, President Habyarimana,” Gen. Nyamwasa said, on June 21 during testimony in court.

Gen. Nyamwasa told the court he was sitting next to his driver as he and his wife returned to their Johannesburg apartment complex after shopping when the shooter, holding a pistol reached in through the driver’s window. When Gen. Nyamwasa opened his door he was shot in the lower abdomen. He then made a futile grab for the gun as the gunman stepped back to finish him off; but the weapon jammed. The gunman later fled; Nyamwasa’s driver is also on trial as a conspirator.

The Rwandan government has denied Gen. Nyamwasa’s allegations. Rwanda says Nyamwasa fled to South Africa because he was implicated in acts of terrorism inside Rwanda. He was later tried in absentia in Rwanda and convicted. 
Separately, in May 2011, British newspapers also reported that the Kagame government had sent assassins to London to pursue Rwandan dissidents there.

Separately, on November 17, 2006, a French investigative judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière, indicted Gen. Kagame for the assassination of Habyarimana. The French had taken an interest because the pilot and crew of the presidential plane shot down were French citizens. Also dead in the doomed flight was Burundi’s President Cyprien Ntaryamira. 

Jean-Louis Bruguière claims Kagame did not care that the ethnic Tutsi minority would be massacred after the killing of Habyarimana, who belonged to the majority ethnic Hutus. He claimed Kagame wanted to foment maximum chaos and carnage in order to justify seizing power, which he did, shortly thereafter. Kagame and his Rwanda Patriotic Front invaded Rwanda from Uganda in 1990 with the support of President Yoweri Museveni.

Gen. Kagame also denied the charges by Jean-Louis Bruguière  and said the French wanted to deflect their role in the Rwanda genocide, having supported the Habyarimana regime. Kagame’s supporters maintain that Hutu extremists shot down the plane.

One theory on the Habyarimana assassination reported by The New York Times was that the missiles used to down the presidential jet came from an old soviet stockpile shipped to Uganda, which then gave them to Kagame’s RPF.

For years, the U.S. had offered Gen. Kagame a blank check, ignoring gross violations of human rights in Rwanda and involvement in atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  
There has been a serious crack in this relationship since the recent release of a United Nations report implicating Rwanda in the upsurge of violence, including massacres, in Congo. The UN found that Rwanda armed and trained some of the fighters in the insurgent group, M23, and the U.S. has suspended military aid to Rwanda following the report’s publication. 
Washington was also pushed into an odd spot when it was revealed that U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, had tried to initially block the UN report’s release.

Congolese activists say the M23 uprising was fomented by Kagame who prefers chaos in Congo to justify repeated military invasions in order to plunder Congo’s resources, while working with warlords such as Bosco Ntaganda who is wanted by the International Criminal Court at the Hague. 

Ecuador President: “We Are Not A Colony”

August 18th, 2012 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

A coward dies many deaths; a brave man dies but once.

The once proud British government, now reduced to Washington’s servile lackey, put on its Gestapo Jackboots and declared that if the Ecuadorean Embassy in London did not hand over WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, British storm troopers would invade the embassy with military force and drag Assange out. Ecuador stood its ground. “We want to be very clear, we are not a British colony,” declared Ecuador’s Foreign Minister. Far from being intimidated the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, replied to the threat by granting Assange political asylum.

The once law-abiding British government had no shame in announcing that it would violate the Vienna Convention and assault the Ecuadorean Embassy, just as the Islamic students in the 1979 Khomeini Revolution in Iran took over the US Embassy and held the diplomatic staff captive.  Pushed by their Washington overlords, the Brits have resorted to the tactics of a pariah state. Maybe we should be worried about British nuclear weapons.

Let’s be clear, Assange is not a fugitive from justice. He has not been charged with any crime in any country. He has not raped any women. There are no indictments pending in any court, and as no charges have been brought against him, there is no validity to the Swedish extradition request. It is not normal for people to be extradited for questioning, especially when, as in Assange’s case, he expressed his complete cooperation with being questioned a second time by Swedish officials in London.

What is this all about?  First, according to news reports, Assange was picked up by two celebrity-hunting Swedish women who took him home to their beds.  Later for reasons unknown, one complained that he had not used a condom, and the other complained that she had offered one helping, but he had taken two. A Swedish prosecutor looked into the case, found that there was nothing to it, and dismissed the case.

Assange left for England. Then another Swedish prosecutor, a woman, claiming what authority I do not know, reopened the case and issued an extradition order for Assange.  This is such an unusual procedure that it worked its way through the entire British court system to the Supreme Court and then back to the Supreme Court on appeal. In the end British “justice” did what the Washington overlord ordered and came down on the side of the strange extradition request. 

Assange, realizing that the Swedish government was going to turn him over to Washington to be held in indefinite detention, tortured, and framed as a spy, sought protection from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. As corrupt as the British are, the
UK government was unwilling to release Assange directly to Washington. By turning him over to Sweden, the British could feel that their hands were clean. 

Sweden, formerly an honorable country like Canada once was where American war resisters could seek asylum, has been suborned and brought under Washington’s thumb. Recently, Swedish diplomats were expelled from Belarus where they seem to have been involved in helping Washington orchestrate a “color revolution” as Washington keeps attempting to extend its bases and puppet states deeper into traditional Russia.  

The entire world, including Washington’s servile puppet states, understands that once Assange is in Swedish hands, Washington will deliver an extradition order, with which Sweden, unlike the British, would comply. Regardless, Ecuador understands this. 

The Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced that Ecuador granted Assange asylum because “there are indications to presume that there could be political persecution.” In the US, Patino acknowledged, Assange would not get a fair trial and could face the death penalty in a trumped up case.

The US Puppet State of Great (sic) Britain announced that Assange would not be permitted to leave Britain. So much for the British government’s defense of law and human rights. If the British do not invade the Ecuadorean Embassy and drag Assange out dead or in chains, the British position is that Assange will live out his life inside the London Embassy of Ecuador. According to the New York Times, Assange’s asylum leaves him “with protection from arrest only on Ecuadorean territory (which includes the embassy). To leave the embassy for Ecuador, he would need cooperation that Britain has said it will not offer.” When it comes to Washington’s money or behaving honorably in accordance with international law, the British government comes down on the side of money.

The Anglo-American world, which pretends to be the moral face of humanity has now revealed for all to see that under the mask is the face of the Gestapo.

Syria and Pakistan: The Issue of National Sovereignty

August 18th, 2012 by Ghinwa Bhutto

The colonial rulers did indeed divide to rule, and they still do. That is why the media likes to project the predicament of Syria in sectarian terms.

America’s allies in the region, Turkey, Jordan, and the Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were mobilised. They armed and financed a group of militants. They infiltrated Syria from Jordan and Turkey not only to topple Assad’s regime but also to frighten the genuine and peaceful opposition off the streets. Contradicting their stand against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Americans has been financing and arming the organisation in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Egypt. They have also terrorised the minorities out of these countries so as the fragmentation of the Middle East becomes an accomplished fact.

Pakistan is as much affected by what happens in Syria, as Syria is in Pakistan. Supporting the writ of the Syrian government on its territories is also supporting our own sovereignty.

On the Eve of August 14, Dilip Hiro wrote in Yale Global: The Syrian imbroglio is a sectarian one, produced by a mix of age-old conflict between Sunnis and Shias, and an old imperialist policy of divide-and-rule. The 1947 partitioning of British India into India and Pakistan eased communal violence dramatically. … The Britain conceded a homeland for Indian Muslims….In Syria, a viable solution lies in partition. (http://yaleglobal. yale.edu/ content/partitio n-solution- syria)

I disagree with Hiro.

I met my Pakistani husband in Syria, and in Pakistan I lost him. Syria linked our destinies. I fleeing the ravages of the Lebanese civil war and he escaping a despotic general that killed his father and oppressed his people. We both come from countries that were suffering the aftermath of partition, a colonial legacy.

There were no British casualties amongst the one-and-a-half million who died when the subcontinent was divided. All those killed and maimed were Indians. It looked more like the Indians had conceded to Britain rather than Britain conceding to the Indians, as Hiro asserts. Since then the two new nations have fought four wars, have two unresolved disputes over water shares and over Kashmir. They have built two nuclear arsenals that they have drawn at each other. I can hardly say this is the evidence of what Hiro whimsically calls eased violence.

One wonders if Hiro thought to ask the Baloch, Sindhis, Punjabis, Kashmiris, Bengalis, the people of Junnagadh and Hyderabad, the Biharis, if they felt independent since Partition. The 14th of August remains the day of Partition and not of Independence. The two words are not interchangeable. Partition is an example not to follow.

On the 14th of August we must observe decades of further subjugation. Only the rulers of the two nations have a reason to celebrate, because on that day the British had bestowed on them their separate fiefdoms. Under them the subcontinent drifted into a state of underdevelopment, injustice and inequality. As a consequence, today the governments of India and Pakistan have lost their writ over vast tracks of their lands.

The colonial rulers did indeed divide to rule, and they still do. That is why the media likes to project the predicament of Syria in sectarian terms. The people came to the streets in Syria like the rest of the Arab world seeking freedom and democracy. But the Arab Spring took the Americans and their allies by surprise. They never imagined that the oppressed, hungry and dispossessed people of Asia would rise against their oppressors. They supported and placed despotic rulers. They armed their police, to crush any local uprising.

Based on Prof Raymond Wheeler’s 1930s study of the effects of the weather cycles on human behaviour, American scientists blamed the uprising in the Middle East to the hot weather. To them Mohammad Bouazizi of Tunisia set himself on fire not because he was hungry but because of solar activities.

Two centuries ago, famines ravaged India during a period of recurring droughts. India’s wheat was dispatched to Manchester to feed the cheap labour of industrial England. Indians were so starved that they ate their dead and their babies. Imperial scientists like Norman Lockyer declared that black spots on the Sun’s surface, and not the free market, caused the Indian starvation. Nothing, it seems, has changed in imperial minds.

When the Egyptians went to the streets, the United States supported undemocratic Hosni Mubarak till the end. They changed tactics when the people’s demonstration persisted.

In October 2011, six months after the start of the Syrian uprising, the American ambassador to Syria, Robert Stephen Ford, was attacked with eggs, tomatoes, and pebbles as he provocatively visited an opposition lawyer in downtown Damascus. People spontaneously gathered around his vehicle and threw at him whatever was at hand. A women interviewed by the Lebanese channel Al-Jadeed said, “We don’t want his democracy because it has become a knife with which they are cutting our throats”.

Such displays of people power are not acceptable for Americans. The Arab revolutions had to be derailed. America’s allies in the region, Turkey, Jordan, and the Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were mobilised. They armed and financed a group of militants. They infiltrated Syria from Jordan and Turkey not only to topple Assad’s regime but also to frighten the genuine and peaceful opposition off the streets. Contradicting their stand against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Americans has been financing and arming the organisation in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Egypt. They have also terrorised the minorities out of these countries so as the fragmentation of the Middle East becomes an accomplished fact. Such fragmentation will divide the region into small sectarian and ethnic entities in perpetual strife. It will weaken the resistance of the Arabs against Israel, America’s thorn in the side of the Middle East.

The Americans cannot afford to have democratic regimes in the resource-rich developing countries. If the people are empowered the Americans and their economic institutions won’t be able to bully the rulers into signing on the dotted line of IMF and WTO agreements. Where will they get their cheap outsourcing from, their oil, their raw material, and their food?

I was in Lebanon in 2006 visiting my ailing father when Israel invaded, destroyed, and killed in the southern part of the country. Condoleezza Rice brazenly announced from Israel that the pains of Lebanon are the “birth pangs” of the new Middle East. Rice’s New Middle East is a greater Middle East that will stretch till Asia Minor. It also includes a New Pakistan, a smaller Pakistan. It is a quest to control the diminishing natural resources.

The destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure incurred a death toll of more than a thousand civilian, 30 percent of which were children, the displacement of one quarter of the Lebanese population, a devastating oil spill that spread over a distance of 170 kilometres, the damage to two world heritages, Tyre and Byblos, and an economic loss of over $1.5 billion dollars. To Rice that was the beginning of a “creative destruction.” This war is known as the Israel-Hezbollah war in which an organic Lebanese organisation, Hezbollah, aborted the birth of the “new Middle East.” With support from their Syrian and Iranian neighbours, the Lebanese people were able to successfully resist the Israeli aggression. My father lived another day to watch his people accomplish what the armies of the Arabs could not in more than six decades of Arab Israeli conflict.

Pakistan is as much affected by what happens in Syria, as Syria is in Pakistan. Supporting the writ of the Syrian government on its territories is also supporting our own sovereignty. Today Pakistan and Syria are suffering aggression because their people have been denied the right to govern themselves since their independence. The popular leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Hafiz al-Assad took the fight against imperial hegemony upon themselves. The people were indeed behind them. But history is loud and clear today that the fight against injustice is neither one man’s fight nor one nation’s, it is the fight of the whole human race. Give people freedom and they will defend it.

The writer is the chairperson of PPP-Shaheed Bhutto 

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British threats to invade Ecuador’s embassy will be discussed at international- level talks between the foreign ministers of the Organization of American States. The proposal was adopted despite the US saying OAS has nothing to do with the issue.

Ecuador’s resolution to convene a meeting of the OAS member nations’ foreign ministers was adopted with 23 voting in favor, three against and five abstentions.

The US and Canada were among those who opposed the measure, stating that the dispute over Assange’s fate is a bilateral matter between Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and should not be dragged to the international table.

The US State Department stated earlier on Friday that the OAS has “no role” to play in a “bilateral issue between Ecuador and the United Kingdom.” Not party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum, the United States “does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law,” the statement read.

The foreign ministers of the bloc’s thirty-five member states will convene at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC, on August 24.

A special meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States was held on Thursday and Friday. The bloc discussed Ecuador’s proposal to arrange a ministerial meeting of the member states to address the issue as a matter of international law.

Ecuador called for an emergency OAS meeting after it received a memorandum from the UK that included a threat of an assault on the country’s London embassy to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was seeking political asylum there, if he is not handed over to the British authorities. The contents of the letter were revealed the day before Ecuador publicly announced its decision to grant Assange political asylum.

While the UK maintains that it has a right to extract Assange from Ecuador’s embassy, the Latin American country says any entry by British authorities onto its ambassadorial premises to arrest Assange would constitute a violation of Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

On Thursday, British Foreign Minister William Hague said that the UK “remains committed” to its obligation to extradite Assange to Sweden, and that the Ecuadorian government’s decision will not change anything as Assange’s diplomatic immunity is not recognized by the UK.

Ecuador promised to pursue all legal avenues, including an appeal to the International Criminal Court, if the UK refuses to grant Assange safe passage from the country.

But as long as London refuses to give him safe passage, Assange will stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy, the country’s president Rafael Correa said in a radio interview on Friday. Correa asserted that Ecuador won’t hand Assange over to the UK authorities as there is no legal basis for such demands.

In search of regional support, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino also called on the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) to hold meetings with a similar agenda.

The ALBA countries responded to the call with a statement expressing their solidarity with Ecuador and a “most resounding rejection” of the UK’s threats against the country. According to a press release published by Ecuador, the ALBA governments warned Britain of “the serious and irreversible consequences the execution of these threats would have on the political, economic and cultural relations” with its member countries.

The executive secretary of the ALBA, Rodolfo Sanz, confirmed that an emergency meeting on the issue would take place on Saturday. Sanz said the majority of ALBA member states support Ecuador and believe the UK authorities should recognize Assange’s political asylum status in full accordance to the international law.

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Domestic demand for gasoline in Iran was driving growth in the energy sector for the year. OPEC, in its latest report, said retail gasoline consumption in Iran was up more than 20 percent for the first five months of the year, though overall oil demand was relatively flat.  Inflation, meanwhile, was up from stable levels reported last year.  Iran has struggled to find a reliable consumer base given international sanctions pressure and the recent levels suggest the Islamic republic is retreating somewhat from the international energy sector.
The Organization of Petroleum Economies, in its August report, said Iranian crude oil production in part led to a decline in overall output from the Vienna-based cartel. OPEC said crude oil production for its members, not including Iraq, was reported at 28.1 million barrels per day in July, a decline of 270,000 bpd compared with the previous month.  The decline in OPEC oil production in part was led by Iran, which saw its export options curtailed by sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European governments. Tehran announced it still had a viable consumer base in China, however, which received about 12 percent of its oil needs from Iran. The Indian government, meanwhile, said it would circumvent EU sanctions by extending government-backed insurance to tankers carrying Iranian crude because of the “definite need” for oil.
Sanctions, however, have hurt the Iranian economy and its overall crude oil levels. Italian energy company Eni reported that it’s been unable to get oil out of Iran for the second straight month, however, because of insurance and banking problems. OPEC reported that the Iranian central bank posted an inflation rate of 22.9 percent this year after ending last year relatively flat. Domestically, oil demand reported a growth rate for May of 7.9 percent, or around 100,000 barrels per day. OPEC suggested any growth from Iran’s oil demand was likely the result of gasoline consumption. The Iranian Oil Ministry, however, reported that domestic gasoline consumption was down 6.1 percent during the first two weeks of Ramadan, but has since recovered modestly by 1.8 percent. Gasoline consumption in Iran was up 22 percent during the first five months of the year compared with the same period last year, OPEC said.
Growth in Iranian gasoline demand could be a sign that the country’s energy sector is retracting in response to sanctions pressure. Any external inhibitors fro Iran were in contrast to neighbouring Iraq, whose crude oil production is at least partially handicapped by domestic political disputes. On Monday, Iraqi officials said oil output reached 3.2 million bpd, taking the No. 2 spot from Iran among OPEC members.

Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz in early 2012 caused an increase in oil prices. While recent spikes in crude were in response to Persian Gulf tensions, long-term trends were attributed mostly to economic stimulus initiatives in the United States and European Union.


The US Supreme Court and “The Rule of Flaw”

August 17th, 2012 by John Kozy

“The Supreme Court’s only armor is the cloak of public trust; its sole ammunition, the collective hopes of our society.”—Irving R. Kaufman

The Supreme Court of the United States is an institution that has failed in every possible way. It is notorious for having issued iniquitous opinions; it has not only failed to resolve but has exacerbated conflicts; and it has consistently negated the ideals the founding fathers wrote into the Preamble of the Constitution. The ultimate consequence is that any American is deluded who believes that America can be changed substantively by using the electoral process.

Identifying failed institutions is not difficult; changing them is. The Supreme Court of the United States, often referred by the acronym SCOTUS in a veiled attempt to personify it, is an institution that has failed in every possible way. It is notorious for having issued iniquitous opinions; it has not only failed to resolve but has exacerbated conflicts; and it has consistently negated the ideals the founding fathers wrote into the Preamble of the Constitution. SCOTUS, as far back as 1803, usurped the Constitution and converted the incipient enlightenment nation into an endarkened reactionary one.

Some, of course, will disagree, who believe that SCOTUS is not a failed institution, but the American people are slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that it is:

“Just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing and three-quarters say the justices’ decisions are sometimes influenced by their personal or political views, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News.

Those findings are a fresh indication that the Court’s standing with the public has slipped significantly in the past quarter-century, according to surveys conducted by several polling organizations. Approval was as high as 66 percent in the late 1980s, and by 2000 approached 50 percent.”

Although a 56% disapproval rating is nowhere near the disapproval rating of the Congress (83%), it is a substantial majority which, I suspect, results from the many issues that have come before the Court that have been exacerbated rather than resolved by the Court’s actions. When a large number of people reject a decision of the Court, the legal dispute changes into a social problem that divides the nation and provokes conflict—exactly the opposite of what a legal system should do. The Court, in fact, makes such issues irresolvable. SCOTUS has the last word; there is no other forum the people can turn to, and they lose their respect for the law and its authority. Not even force is a viable alternative, and overt opposition can easily be interpreted as criminal behavior. No nation with such an institution can ever “establish Justice” or “insure domestic Tranquility.” Simply impossible! The only possible consequence is, ultimately, a police state.

Some members of the Court over time have said the same thing: Charles Evans Hughes, in a lecture, claimed “a great chief justice must be able to project an institutional image of non-partisanship. Otherwise, the court will be perceived as just another political branch of the federal government and, as a consequence, lose both its prestige and power,” and John Marshall writes, in McCulloch v Maryland, that issues “must be decided peacefully, or remain a source of hostile legislation, perhaps, of hostility of a still more serious nature. . . .” The Court has ignored both of these pieces of advice. It especially ignored this advice when it intervened in the presidential election of 2000. Of course, it is impossible to say why the Court acted the way it did when it in involved itself in the election, but the Court should have known that whatever it did would demolish any respect it had with at least half the electorate. Some, like George Will claim, “the passions that swirled around Bush v Gore . . . dissipated quickly. And remarkably little damage was done by the institutional collisions that resulted,” and Justice Scalia has simply said, “get over it!” But Will is simply wrong and getting over it is not easy. Most of the problems today’s America faces were caused by the Court’s intervention in Bush v Gore. The damage it has done to both the Court’s reputation and the nation is enormous and might never be repairable.

But the Court is infamous for its horrid decisions. Numerous lists of them exist. Every group has its own, showing just how widespread the problem has become. Liberals have theirs, so do conservatives, so do libertarians. Newspapers and magazines have published lists; books about bad decisions have been written. Some bad decisions have been overturned, yet they continue to be issued. Nothing ever changes which makes the way the Court acts suspicious. It appears that the Court really settles no issues. What is really going on?

When SCOTUS agrees to review a case, a fixed process takes place: The Court accepts written briefs from the participants and listens to oral arguments (usually limited to 30 minutes). During these arguments, the justices can ask questions. Some time after the oral arguments are held, the Court assembles, each member presents his/her view, and a vote is taken. This vote decides the issue. For all practical purposes, the Court at this point is done. Nothing after this vote really matters; all of it is show and has no legal function.

Nevertheless, the process does continue. A justice from the group that comprises the majority is assigned the task of drafting the opinion, and this justice then invariably assigns the task to a clerk. The clerk then searches past decisions of the Court for things other justices have said that can be used to support the majority’s view. These “sayings” are often referred to as “controlling rules,” and the search for them can be likened to dragging the gutter for pearl-laden oysters.

This process is justified by a doctrine referred to as starie decisis which in English means “let the decision stand.” The reasoning behind it is simple: The legal system needs to be consistent. Decisions in cases should not contradict each other, when a decision is being made, past decisions have to be looked at to make sure no inconsistency results. The consistency, obviously, is sought in controlling rules. But the process breaks down and insures nothing. The fact that some decisions have been overturned by finding a different controlling rule proves it decisively. The choice of controlling rules is entirely subjective. In the end, the task comes down to finding one the opinion’s writer likes. No more, no less. Opinions are not based on any law; in fact, the entire process is a gigantic flaw.

Controlling rules are like fish—very slippery. And the places they can be searched for is not limited to earlier decisions. Jurists have found controlling rules in books, legal reviews, legal commentaries, Blackstone, in English Common Law, and even elsewhere. In Laidlaw v Organ, which considered whether a vendor is obliged not to conceal any of the defects of an article, numerous authorities are cited in the search for a controlling rule: Pothier, Florentinus, Cicero, Diogenes, and Antipater. Among these authorities, two controlling rules were presented: That a vendor can conceal defects, and that a vendor is obliged not to conceal defects. How does one choose between these? Well, s/he picks the one that best suits her/his purpose. Which did the opinion’s writer choose? Why, of course, the former. Why? “The interest of commerce not permitting parties to set aside their contracts with too much facility, they must impute it to their own fault in not having better informed themselves of the defects in the commodities they have purchased,” and the province of ethics and law are not co-extensive. Although the majority of authorities reviewed—Pothier, Florentinus, Cicero, and Diogenes— thought otherwise, , the controlling rule was selected from Antipater because it suited the aims of SCOTUS better. Antipater? How’s that for scraping the bottom of the barrel for a controlling rule? Not only is the doctrine of controlling rules completely subjective, historically SCOTUS has always used it to promote commerce over ethics. Veniality suppresses morality. If you want to see just how viscious SCOTUS is, read Top 10 worst Supreme Court decisions.

What is called starie decisis in American jurisprudence has for centuries been called the method of authority by Scholastic philosophers and was discarded by non-clerical scholars well before the eighteenth century. It is obviously a faulty method when used for intellectual pursuits. Unless the authority is known to be right, the method propagates error, but SCOTUS doesn’t care. John Marshall had set the tone for the Court in 1803 in Marbury v Madison. First of all, although he found that Marbury was entitled to the commission sought, Marshall refused to order that it be delivered, thus setting the precedent for the Court’s practice of issuing unjust rulings. This ruling made it obvious that establishing justice was not the Court’s job even though the Constitution says that it is one goal the nation was established to attain. Second, Marshall writes that “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is” Although apparently never questioned by anyone but Jefferson who writes that because of this ruling the Constitution is “a thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please,” this claim commits the fallacy of amphiboly. “What the law is” is ambiguous. It can mean either what the law says or what what it says means.

Charles Evans Hughes writes, “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is, and the judiciary is the safeguard of our property and our liberty under the Constitution.” What Hughes fails to see is that although the judiciary should be “the safeguard of our property and our liberty” it can just as easily be their repressor. And that’s exactly what SCOTUS has become.

Why would anyone in a nation with a legislature claim that is it the judiciary’s duty “to say what the law is”? If the meaning of a law cannot be determined from its diction, the law can be invalidated because of its imprecision. If necessary, the legislature can then redraft the law. What laws and even the Constitution say is apparent; what they mean may not be. But why should a nine member body assume that responsibility and why should its “interpretation” be the last word? Why is it impossible for some other body, say linguists, for instance, to say, “No, you’re wrong.” Marshall, by making the claim he did, made the Court into an absolute oligarchy. That apparently was his purpose. No one, not the people, legislators, governors, presidents, priests, or popes can undo the Court’s opinions. James Madison envisioned the judicial branch of our government as “an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive.” Unfortunately the Court itself penetrated that bulwark easily enough.

The ultimate consequence is that any American is deluded who believes that America can be changed substantively by using the electoral process. The Court completely controls the American government, including the electoral process. The Court in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission has made corrupting the Federal Government into a Constitutional right held by the affluent. Having suborned the Constitution by making itself the last word’s speaker on any Constitutional issue the Court leaves absolutely no opportunity available for the people to effect any change of the government by electing different presidents or representatives. Nothing will ever be substantially different in the United States of America until checks of some kind are placed on the Court’s absolute authority. The Court has taken Baron Acton’s maxim, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, to heart and has been totally corrupted. Justices legislate from the bench by writing into the law their beliefs and biases.

Yet the Court’s history does have some lessons the judiciary should take to heart. It is obvious to any objective observer that America is in decline. In spite of its military and economic power, America is falling behind because of the political biases the Court has legalized. Still SCOTUS seeks to cement these biases into jurisprudence. If America collapses, and it seems increasingly likely that it will, what will ensue? Well, consider this:

Roger Brooke Taney, the fifth Chief Justice, had, it is said, a determination to be a great Chief Justice. He is now remembered only for having delivered the majority opinion in Dred Scott v Sandford that ruled that African Americans, having been considered inferior at the time the Constitution was drafted, were not part of the original community of citizens and could not be considered citizens of the United States. This decision was an indirect cause of the Civil War. Taney also held that Congress had no authority to restrict the spread of slavery into federal territories, and that such previous attempts to restrict slavery’s spread were unconstitutional.

Just as many of today’s Court’s decisions are, the Dred Scott decision was widely condemned at the time as an illegitimate use of judicial power. Taney had hoped that a Supreme Court decision declaring federal restrictions on slavery in the territories unconstitutional would put the issue beyond the realm of political debate. What it did, instead, as so many other decisions have, was exacerbate it.

Taney spent his final years despised by both North and South. His decision destroyed the culture of the South, the South physically, and the lives of its male youth. It also cost Taney his Maryland estates: Taney died during the final months of the war on the same day that Maryland abolished slavery. This decision and its aftermath proves that a decision of the Court can destroy a nation.

Taney was punished by abolitionists in the Senate after his death. When the House of Representatives passed a bill to appropriate funds for a bust of Taney to be displayed in the Supreme Court, the Senate rejected it. Senator Charles Sumner said, “If a man has done evil in his life, he must not be complimented in marble” and proposed that a vacant spot, not a bust of Taney, be left in the courtroom “to speak in warning to all who would betray liberty!” He claimed, “I speak what cannot be denied when I declare that the opinion of the Chief Justice in the case of Dred Scott was more thoroughly abominable than anything of the kind in the history of courts. Judicial baseness reached its lowest point on that occasion.” Well, perhaps Summer was wrong. Judicial baseness may not yet have reached its lowest point. If the Court’s ideological decisions ultimately lead to the collapse of America, the Court will go down in history as the basest of institutions.

In more than two hundred years, the Court’s membership has not displayed any high degree of sagacity. People of strong political and cultural biases who lack open minds are not intelligent. A person who lacks the ability to question his own beliefs is a bigot. That’s what jurists who legislate their own beliefs into law are. Americans someday may treat them all just as Chief Justice Taney was treated—as nobodies remembered only for their bigotry.

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

Die Türkei selbst ist, durch seine Beteiligung an der US-geführten Belagerung gegen Syrien, eine wichtige Zielscheibe für Destabilisierung, Umbruch und letztlich Balkanisierung. Ankara hat um seiner neo-osmanischen Regionalpolitik willen seine Brücken nach Syrien verbrannt. Die türkische Regierung betreibt aktiv einen Regimewechsel, spioniert in Syrien für die NATO und Israel, verletzt die syrische Souveränität, unterstützt Akte des Terrorismus und Gesetzlosigkeit, und bietet logistische Unterstützung für den Aufstand innerhalb Syriens.

Alle Chancen für eine Form regionaler türkischer Führung unter neo-osmanischen Vorzeichen sind geschwunden. Die südlichen Grenzen der Türkei sind in geheimdienstliche und logistische Drehscheiben für die CIA und den Mossad verwandelt worden, vervollständigt mit einem geheimdienstlichen “Nervenzentrum” in der türkischen Stadt Adana. Trotz Dementis der Türkei sind Berichte über Adana unbestreitbar und türkische Offiziere wurden auch bei verdeckten militärischen Operationen gegen die Arabische Republik Syrien festgenommen. Die türkische Arbeiterpartei hat sogar gefordert, dass der US-Generalkonsul in Adana als “Drahtzieher und Anleiter der Aktivitäten syrischer Terroristen” abgeschoben werde. Mehmet Ali Ediboglu und Mevlut Dudu, zwei türkische Parlamentsabgeordnete, haben ausgesagt, dass ausländische Kämpfer Häuser an der Grenze der Türkei zu Syrien angemietet und dass türkische Krankenwagen dabei geholfen hätten, Waffen für die Aufständischen in Syrien zu schmuggeln.

Regionale Isolierung der Türkei

Wenn der syrische Staat zusammenbricht, wird die benachbarte Türkei der größte Verlierer sein. Der türkische Ministerpräsident Recep Tayyip Erdogan und seine Regierung sind töricht, die Türkei auf eine Katastrophe auszurichten. Abgesehen von den historisch schlechten Beziehungen Ankaras zu Armenien, hat Erdogan es geschafft, im Alleingang das Land von Russland und von dreien der wichtigsten Nachbarn der Türkei zu entfremden. Dies hat die türkische Wirtschaft geschädigt und unterbricht den Fluss türkischer Waren. Es hat auch schon hartes Durchgreifen gegen Aktivisten im Zusammenhang der türkischen Politik gegen Damaskus gegeben. Ebenso ist die Freiheit der türkischen Medien  betroffen; Erdogan hat mit der Gesetzgebung zur Einschränkung der Medienfreiheit weiter gemacht. Ministerpräsident Erdogan und der türkische Außenminister Ahmet Davutoglu haben sogar beide Reporter angegriffen, „die die Aussagen von Präsident Assad in Cumhuriyet zitiert haben, und werfen ihnen Verrat vor, weil sie die offizielle türkische Darstellung zu dem in [sic.] Syrien [wegen Spionage] abgeschossenen türkischen Kampfflugzeug in Frage gestellt haben.“

An der Ostflanke der Türkei bauen sich Spannungen sowohl mit dem Irak als auch dem Iran auf. Bagdad überprüft seine diplomatischen Beziehungen mit der türkischen Regierung, weil Ankara die kurdische Regionalregierung im Nordirak ermuntert, unabhängig von der irakischen Bundesregierung zu handeln. Erdogans Regierung hat dies teilweise wegen der standhaften Opposition Bagdads gegen einen Regimewechsel in Syrien und zum Teil wegen der Stärkung der Allianz des Irak mit dem Iran getan. Teheran hat auf der anderen Seite die visafreie Einreise von türkischen Staatsbürgern in Iran gestoppt und warnte die türkische Regierung, dass sie in Syrien die Flammen eines regionalen Feuers anfacht, das letztendlich auch die Türkei verbrennen würde.

Wachsende innere Spaltungen in der Türkei

Trotz aller patriotischen Reden der türkischen Regierung, um das türkische Volk gegen Syrien zu sammeln, ist die Türkei eine über Erdogans Feindseligkeiten mit Damaskus sehr geteilte Nation. Ein wesentlicher Teil der Nationalversammlung der Türkei oder des türkischen Parlaments und der  Oppositionsparteien verurteilen Erdogan dafür, das türkische Volk irrezuführen und ihr Land in eine Katastrophe zu bewegen. Außerdem wachsen unter den Bürgern der Türkei die Ressentiments gegen Erdogans Zusammenarbeit mit den USA, der NATO, Israel und den arabischen Diktaturen – wie Katar und Saudi-Arabien – gegen die Syrer und andere. Eine Mehrheit der türkischen Bürger ist gegen die türkischen Beziehungen zu Israel, die Beherbergung von NATO-Einrichtungen in der Türkei, das Raketenschild-Projekt und die Zusammenarbeit mit den USA im Nahen Osten.

Die Republikanische Volkspartei, die zweitgrößte politische Partei und wichtigste Oppositionspartei in der Türkei, hat die Regierung in Ankara wegen Syrien verurteilt. Ihr Anführer, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, hat Ministerpräsident Erdogan offen der Einmischung in die inneren Angelegenheiten von Syrien beschuldigt. Andere politische Parteien der Türkei schlossen sich Kilicdaroglu in dem Urteil über Erdogan und seine regierende Partei für Gerechtigkeit und Entwicklung an. Devlet Bahceli, der Führer der Partei der Nationalistischen Bewegung, hat die türkische Regierung davor gewarnt, sein Land durch Einmischung in einen Krieg mit Syrien zu ziehen. „Einige westliche Länder üben Druck auf die Türkei aus für eine Intervention in Syrien. Die Türkei sollte nicht in diese Falle tappen“. Bahceli, der die drittgrößte türkische politische Partei führt, hat nach der türkischen Presseberichten  Erdogan gewarnt. Die Partei für Frieden und Demokratie, die die viertgrößte türkische politische Partei ist, hat ebenfalls klargestellt, dass sie gegen einen Krieg mit Syrien ist. Der Politiker Selahattin Demirtas, der einer der Führer der Partei für Frieden und Demokratie ist, hat davor gewarnt, dass jede militärische Intervention von Ankara in Syrien die Türkei in einen größeren regionalen Krieg ziehen würde. Hasan Basri Ozbey, der stellvertretende Führer der türkischen Arbeiterpartei, hat angekündigt, dass seine Partei eine Klage gegen den türkischen Präsidenten Abdullah Gül beim türkischen Parlament und dem türkischen  Höchsten Gericht erheben wird, um Gul rechtlich zu belangen, weil die Arbeiterpartei „hat klare Hinweise darauf“ habe, „dass [Gul] Terrorismus und Krieg gegen Syrien angestiftet und ein geheimes Abkommen mit den Vereinigten Staaten unterzeichnet hat, das allein schon Grund zu einem Verfahren ist.“ Mustafa Kamalak, der Führer der Partei der Glückseligkeit, hat sogar eine türkische Besuchsdelegation zu Bashar Al-Assad geleitet, um ihre Unterstützung für Syrien und den Widerstand gegen Erdogans Politik zu zeigen.

Die Mobilisierung des türkischen Militärs an der syrischen Grenze als eine Demonstration der Stärke ist eine psychologische Taktik, um das syrische Regime einzuschüchtern. Eine groß angelegte militärische Operationen gegen die Syrer wäre sehr gefährlich für die Türkei und könnte die türkischen Streitkräfte spalten. Teile des türkischen Militärs sind im Widerspruch zur türkischen Regierung und das Militär selbst ist über die türkische Außenpolitik geteilt. Erdogan traut nicht einmal der Hälfte der eigenen militärischen Führung und hat 40 von ihnen wegen Plänen, ihn zu stürzen, verhaftet. Wie kann er eine solche Streitkraft aussenden, um das benachbarte Syrien anzugreifen oder denken, dass er sie in einem ausgeweiteten Krieg kontrollieren könnte?

Die Gefahr eines “Rückstosses” aus Syrien

Während die Türkei tönt, dass sie nicht zulassen wird, dass kurdische Milizen Basen im Norden Syriens etabliert, erleichtert die türkische Regierung selber tatsächlich eben dies. Es besteht für die Türkei die reale Gefahr eines “Rückstosses” aus Syrien. Wie Syrien ist die Türkei ein Kaleidoskop von verschiedenen Völkern und Glaubensrichtungen. Die Menschen in der Türkei sind durch den Vorrang der türkischen Sprache und eine gemeinsame Staatsbürgerschaft zusammen gehalten. Türkeis Minderheiten machen mindestens ein Drittel des Landes aus. Ein erheblicher Anteil der türkischen Minderheiten haben Verbindungen zu Syrien, dem Irak, oder Iran.

Die Kurden und andere ähnliche iranische Völker allein bilden etwa 25% der türkischen Bevölkerung, was bedeutet, dass einer von vier türkischen Staatsangehörigen kurdische und iranische Wurzeln hat. Andere ethnische Minderheiten sind Araber, Armenier, Assyrer, Aserbaidschaner, Bulgaren und Griechen. Noch nie standen exakte Zahlen zur Verfügung über die schiitischen Muslime der Türkei, aufgrund der historischen Verfolgung und Einschränkungen für schiitische Muslime in der Türkei aus der osmanischen Zeit. Irgendetwas von 20% bis 30% oder mehr der türkischen Bevölkerung kann als schiitische Muslime, was Aleviten, Alawiten und Imamiten umfasst, eingeordnet werden. Die Türkei hat auch eine kleine christliche Minderheit, von denen einige historische oder organisatorische Verbindungen zu Syrien haben wie die türkischen Aleviten und ethnischen Araber. Die Türkei würde auf die eine oder andere Weise aufgezehrt werden, sollte sich ein breiterer sektiererischer Konflikt von aus Syrien verbreiten und sollten die Syrer entlang konfessioneller Bruchlinien aufgeteilt werden.

Die selbstzerstörerische Verwicklung der Türkei in Syrien

Alle oben diskutierten Faktoren sind ein Beleg für eine Katastrophe. Der Bürgerkrieg in der Türkei ist eine reale Möglichkeit in einem zunehmend polarisierten türkischen Staat. Sollte Syrien brennen, wird die Türkei letztendlich auch brennen. Deswegen warnt ein ganzes Spektrum türkischer politischer Führer ihr Land und die Menschen, dass die Folgen für das Feuer, das Erdogan, Davutoglu und Gül in Syrien anfachen, verheerende Folgen für die Türkei und alle Anrainerstaaten Syriens haben wird.

Erdogans Regierung hat es geschafft, die Türkei seinen wichtigsten Nachbarn zu entfremden, die türkische Wirtschaft zu schädigen und die eigenen Landesgrenzen zu destabilisieren. Dies ist jedoch nur die Spitze des Eisbergs im Vergleich zu den Zerstörungen, die sie für die Türkei auslösen könnten. Die Türken sind in eine Falle gegangen, in die sie für eine selbstzerstörerische Kamikaze-Operation gegen Syrien gerissen worden sind. Die US-geführte Belagerung Syriens beabsichtigt, Chaos im gesamten Nahen Osten zu schaffen und mehrere regionale Konflikte zu entfachen. Gewalt und die Konflikte von Syrien ausgehend sollen den Libanon und den Irak auszehren. Inmitten diesen Tumult wird die Türkei gezerrt, um geschwächt und gespalten zu werden – so wie die USA, die NATO und Israel es in ihrem Projekt eines „neuen Nahen Ostens“ ins Auge gefasst haben.

Quelle: Strategic Culture Foundation

Global Research Editor’s Note

As September approaches, we are reminded that the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 will soon be upon us once again. 11 years laters, are we any closer to the truth about what really happened on that fateful day?

For the next month until September 11, 2012, we will be posting on a daily basis important articles from our early archives pertaining to the tragic events of 9/11. 

“The official theory about the Twin Towers is that they collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airplanes and the resulting fire.

The following text by Professor David Ray Griffin originally published on Global Research in January 2006 forecefully refutes the official narrative.  


Michel Chossudovsky, August 2012

The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2006-01-29

In The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004), I summarized dozens of facts and reports that cast doubt on the official story about 9/11. Then in The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (2005a), I discussed the way these various facts and reports were treated by the 9/11 Commission, namely, by distorting or simply omitting them. I have also taken this big-picture approach, with its cumulative argument, in my previous essays and lectures on 9/11 (Griffin, 2005b and 2005d).[1] This approach, which shows every aspect of the official story to be problematic, provides the most effective challenge to the official story.

But this way of presenting the evidence has one great limitation, especially when used in lectures and essays: It means that the treatment of every particular issue must be quite brief, hence superficial. People can thereby be led to suspect that a more thorough treatment of any particular issue might show the official story to be plausible after all.

In the present essay, I focus on one question: why the Twin Towers and building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed. One advantage of this focus, besides the fact that it allows us to go into considerable detail, is that the destruction of the World Trade Center provides one of the best windows into the truth about 9/11. Another advantage of this focus is that it will allow us to look at revelations contained in the 9/11 oral histories, which were recorded by the New York Fire Department shortly after 9/11 but released to the public only in August of 2005.

I will begin with the question of why the Twin Towers collapsed, then raise the same question about building 7.

1. The Collapse of the Twin Towers

Shortly after 9/11, President Bush advised people not to tolerate “outrageous conspiracy theories about the attacks of 11 September” (Bush, 2001).[2] Philip Zelikow, who directed the work of the 9/11 Commission, has likewise warned against “outrageous conspiracy theories” (Hansen, 2005). What do these men mean by this expression? They cannot mean that we should reject all conspiracy theories about 9/11, because the government’s own account is a conspiracy theory, with the conspirators all being members of al-Qaeda. They mean only that we should reject outrageous theories.

But what distinguishes an outrageous theory from a non-outrageous one? This is one of the central questions in the philosophy of science. When confronted by rival theories—let’s say Neo-Darwinian Evolution and Intelligent Design—scientists and philosophers of science ask which theory is better and why. The mark of a good theory is that it can explain, in a coherent way, all or at least most of the relevant facts and is not contradicted by any of them. A bad theory is one that is contradicted by some of the relevant facts. An outrageous theory would be one that is contradicted by virtually all the relevant facts.

With this definition in mind, let us look at the official theory about the Twin Towers, which says that they collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airplanes and the resulting fires. The report put out by FEMA said: “The structural damage sustained by each tower from the impact, combined with the ensuing fires, resulted in the total collapse of each building” (FEMA, 2002).[3] This theory clearly belongs in the category of outrageous theories, because is it is contradicted by virtually all the relevant facts. Although this statement may seem extreme, I will explain why it is not.

No Prior Collapse Induced by Fire

The official theory is rendered implausible by two major problems. The first is the simple fact that fire has never—prior to or after 9/11—caused steel-frame high-rise buildings to collapse. Defenders of the official story seldom if ever mention this simple fact. Indeed, the supposedly definitive report put out by NIST—the National Institute for Standards and Technology (2005)—even implies that fire-induced collapses of large steel-frame buildings are normal events (Hoffman, 2005).[4] Far from being normal, however, such collapses have never occurred, except for the alleged cases of 9/11.

Defenders of the official theory, of course, say that the collapses were caused not simply by the fire but the fire combined with the damage caused by the airliners. The towers, however, were designed to withstand the impact of airliners about the same size as Boeing 767s.[5] Hyman Brown, the construction manager of the Twin Towers, said: “They were over-designed to withstand almost anything, including hurricanes, . . . bombings and an airplane hitting [them]” (Bollyn, 2001). And even Thomas Eagar, an MIT professor of materials engineering who supports the official theory, says that the impact of the airplanes would not have been significant, because “the number of columns lost on the initial impact was not large and the loads were shifted to remaining columns in this highly redundant structure” (Eagar and Musso, 2001, pp. 8-11). Likewise, the NIST Report, in discussing how the impact of the planes contributed to the collapse, focuses primarily on the claim that the planes dislodged a lot of the fire-proofing from the steel.[6]

The official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse—never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York City—never.

One might say, of course, that there is a first time for everything, and that a truly extraordinary fire might induce a collapse. Let us examine this idea. What would count as an extraordinary fire? Given the properties of steel, a fire would need to be very hot, very big, and very long-lasting. But the fires in the towers did not have even one of these characteristics, let alone all three.

There have been claims, to be sure, that the fires were very hot. Some television specials claimed that the towers collapsed because the fire was hot enough to melt the steel. For example, an early BBC News special quoted Hyman Brown as saying: “steel melts, and 24,000 gallons of aviation fluid melted the steel.” Another man, presented as a structural engineer, said: “It was the fire that killed the buildings. There’s nothing on earth that could survive those temperatures with that amount of fuel burning. . . . The columns would have melted” (Barter, 2001).[7]

These claims, however, are absurd. Steel does not even begin to melt until it reaches almost 2800° Fahrenheit.[8] And yet open fires fueled by hydrocarbons, such as kerosene—which is what jet fuel is—can at most rise to 1700°F, which is almost 1100 degrees below the melting point of steel.[9] We can, accordingly, dismiss the claim that the towers collapsed because their steel columns melted.[10]

Most defenders of the official theory, in fact, do not make this absurd claim. They say merely that the fire heated the steel up to the point where it lost so much of its strength that it buckled.[11] For example, Thomas Eagar, saying that steel loses 80 percent of its strength when it is heated to 1,300°F, argues that this is what happened. But for even this claim to plausible, the fires would have still had to be pretty hot.

But they were not. Claims have been made, as we have seen, about the jet fuel. But much of it burned up very quickly in the enormous fireballs produced when the planes hit the buildings, and rest was gone within 10 minutes,[12] after which the flames died down. Photographs of the towers 15 minutes after they were struck show few flames and lots of black smoke, a sign that the fires were oxygen-starved. Thomas Eagar, recognizing this fact, says that the fires were “probably only about 1,200 or 1,300°F” (Eagar, 2002).

There are reasons to believe, moreover, that the fires were not even that hot. As photographs show, the fires did not break windows or even spread much beyond their points of origin (Hufschmid, 2002, p. 40). This photographic evidence is supported by scientific studies carried out by NIST, which found that of the 16 perimeter columns examined, “only three columns had evidence that the steel reached temperatures above 250°C [482°F],” and no evidence that any of the core columns had reached even those temperatures (2005, p. 88).

NIST (2005) says that it “did not generalize these results, since the examined columns represented only 3 percent of the perimeter columns and 1 percent of the core columns from the fire floors”. That only such a tiny percent of the columns was available was due, of course, to the fact that government officials had most of the steel immediately sold and shipped off. In any case, NIST’s findings on the basis of this tiny percent of the columns are not irrelevant: They mean that any speculations that some of the core columns reached much higher temperatures would be just that—pure speculation not backed up by any empirical evidence.

Moreover, even if the fire had reached 1,300°F, as Eagar supposes, that does not mean that any of the steel would have reached that temperature. Steel is an excellent conductor of heat. Put a fire to one part of a long bar of steel and the heat will quickly diffuse to the other parts and to any other pieces of steel to which that bar is connected.[13]

For fires to have heated up some of the steel columns to anywhere close to their own temperature, they would have needed to be very big, relative to the size of the buildings and the amount of steel in them. The towers, of course, were huge and had an enormous amount of steel. A small, localized fire of 1,300°F would never have heated any of the steel columns even close to that temperature, because the heat would have been quickly dispersed throughout the building.

Some defenders of the official story have claimed that the fires were indeed very big, turning the buildings into “towering infernos.” But all the evidence counts against this claim, especially with regard to the south tower, which collapsed first. This tower was struck between floors 78 and 84, so that region is where the fire would have been the biggest. And yet Brian Clark, a survivor, said that when he got down to the 80th floor: “You could see through the wall and the cracks and see flames . . . just licking up, not a roaring inferno, just quiet flames licking up and smoke sort of eking through the wall.”[14] Likewise, one of the fire chiefs who had reached the 78th floor found only “two isolated pockets of fire.”[15]

The north tower, to be sure, did have fires that were big enough and hot enough to cause many people to jump to their deaths. But as anyone with a fireplace grate or a pot-belly stove knows, fire that will not harm steel or even iron will burn human flesh. Also in many cases it may have been more the smoke than the heat that led people to jump.

In any case, the fires, to weaken the steel columns, would have needed to be not only very big and very hot but also very long-lasting.[16] The public was told that the towers had such fires, with CNN saying that “very intense” fires “burned for a long time.”[17] But they did not. The north tower collapsed an hour and 42 minutes after it was struck; the south tower collapsed after only 56 minutes.

To see how ludicrous is the claim that the short-lived fires in the towers could have induced structural collapse, we can compare them with some other fires. In 1988, a fire in the First Interstate Bank Building in Los Angeles raged for 3.5 hours and gutted 5 of this building’s 62 floors, but there was no significant structural damage (FEMA, 1988). In 1991, a huge fire in Philadelphia’s One Meridian Plaza lasted for 18 hours and gutted 8 of the building’s 38 floors, but, said the FEMA report, although “[b]eams and girders sagged and twisted . . . under severe fire exposures. . . , the columns continued to support their loads without obvious damage” (FEMA, 1991). In Caracas in 2004, a fire in a 50-story building raged for 17 hours, completely gutting the building’s top 20 floors, and yet it did not collapse (Nieto, 2004). And yet we are supposed to believe that a 56-minute fire caused the south tower to collapse.

Unlike the fires in the towers, moreover, the fires in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Caracas were hot enough to break windows.

Another important comparison is afforded by a series of experiments run in Great Britain in the mid-1990s to see what kind of damage could be done to steel-frame buildings by subjecting them to extremely hot, all-consuming fires that lasted for many hours. FEMA, having reviewed those experiments, said: “Despite the temperature of the steel beams reaching 800-900°C (1,500-1,700°F) in three of the tests. . . , no collapse was observed in any of the six experiments” (1988, Appendix A).

These comparisons bring out the absurdity of NIST’s claim that the towers collapsed because the planes knocked the fireproofing off the steel columns. Fireproofing provides protection for only a few hours, so the steel in the buildings in Philadelphia and Caracas would have been directly exposed to raging fires for 14 or more hours, and yet this steel did not buckle. NIST claims, nevertheless, that the steel in the south tower buckled because it was directly exposed to flames for 56 minutes.[18]

A claim made by some defenders of the official theory is to speculate that there was something about the Twin Towers that made them uniquely vulnerable to fire. But these speculations are not backed up by any evidence. And, as Norman Glover, has pointed out: “[A]lmost all large buildings will be the location for a major fire in their useful life. No major high-rise building has ever collapsed from fire. The WTC was the location for such a fire in 1975; however, the building survived with minor damage and was repaired and returned to service” (Glover, 2002).

Multiple Evidence of Controlled Demolition

There is a reverse truth to the fact that, aside from the alleged cases of 9/11, fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse. This reverse truth is that every previous total collapse has been caused by the procedure known as “controlled demolition,” in which explosives capable of cutting steel have been placed in crucial places throughout the building and then set off in a particular order. Just from knowing that the towers collapsed, therefore, the natural assumption would be that they were brought down by explosives.

This a priori assumption is, moreover, supported by an empirical examination of the particular nature of the collapses. Here we come to the second major problem with the official theory, namely, that the collapses had at least eleven features that would be expected if, and only if, explosives were used. I will briefly describe these eleven features.

Sudden Onset: In controlled demolition, the onset of the collapse is sudden. One moment, the building is perfectly motionless; the next moment, it suddenly begins to collapse. But steel, when heated, does not suddenly buckle or break. So in fire-induced collapses—if we had any examples of such—the onset would be gradual. Horizontal beams and trusses would begin to sag; vertical columns, if subjected to strong forces, would begin to bend. But as videos of the towers show,[19] there were no signs of bending or sagging, even on the floors just above the damage caused by the impact of the planes. The buildings were perfectly motionless up to the moment they began their collapse.

Straight Down: The most important thing in a controlled demolition of a tall building close to other buildings is that it come straight down, into, or at least close to, its own footprint, so that it does not harm the other buildings. The whole art or science of controlled demolition is oriented primarily around this goal. As Mark Loizeaux, the president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., has explained, “to bring [a building] down as we want, so . . . no other structure is harmed,” the demolition must be “completely planned,” using “the right explosive [and] the right pattern of laying the charges” (Else, 2004).[20] If the 110-story Twin Towers had fallen over, they would have caused an enormous amount of damage to buildings covering many city blocks. But the towers came straight down. Accordingly, the official theory, by implying that fire produced collapses that perfectly mimicked the collapses that have otherwise been produced only by precisely placed explosives, requires a miracle.[21]

Almost Free-Fall Speed: Buildings brought down by controlled demolition collapse at almost free-fall speed. This can occur because the supports for the lower floors are destroyed, so that when the upper floors come down, they encounter no resistance. The fact that the collapses of the towers mimicked this feature of controlled demolition was mentioned indirectly by The 9/11 Commission Report, which said that the “South Tower collapsed in 10 seconds” (Kean and Hamilton, 2004, p. 305).[22] The authors of the report evidently thought that the rapidity of this collapse did not conflict with the official theory, known as the “pancake” theory. According to this theory, the floors above the floors that were weakened by the impact of the airliner fell on the floor below, which started a chain reaction, so that the floors “pancaked” all the way down.

But if that is what happened, the lower floors, with all their steel and concrete, would have provided resistance. The upper floors could not have fallen through them at the same speed as they would fall through air. However, the videos of the collapses show that the rubble falling inside the building’s profile falls at the same speed as the rubble outside[23] (Jones, 2006). As architect and physicist Dave Heller (2005) explains:

the floors could not have been pancaking. The buildings fell too quickly. The floors must all have been falling simultaneously to reach the ground in such a short amount of time. But how?. . . In [the method known as controlled demolition], each floor of a building is destroyed at just the moment the floor above is about to strike it. Thus, the floors fall simultaneously, and in virtual freefall. (Garlic and Glass 6)

Total Collapse: The official theory is even more decisively ruled out by the fact that the collapses were total: These 110-story buildings collapsed into piles of rubble only a few stories high. How was that possible? The core of each tower contained 47 massive steel box columns.[24] According to the pancake theory, the horizontal steel supports broke free from the vertical columns. But if that is what had happened, the 47 core columns would have still been standing. The 9/11 Commission came up with a bold solution to this problem. It simply denied the existence of the 47 core columns, saying: “The interior core of the buildings was a hollow steel shaft, in which elevators and stairwells were grouped” (Kean and Hamilton, 2004, 541 note 1). Voila! With no 47 core columns, the main problem is removed.

The NIST Report handled this most difficult problem by claiming that when the floors collapsed, they pulled on the columns, causing the perimeter columns to become unstable. This instability then increased the gravity load on the core columns, which had been weakened by tremendously hot fires in the core, which, NIST claims, reached 1832°F, and this combination of factors somehow produced “global collapse” (NIST, 2005, pp. 28, 143).

This theory faces two problems. First, NIST’s claim about tremendously hot fires in the core is completely unsupported by evidence. As we saw earlier, its own studies found no evidence that any of the core columns had reached temperatures of even 482°F (250°C), so its theory involves a purely speculative addition of over 1350°F.[25] Second, even if this sequence of events had occurred, NIST provides no explanation as to why it would have produced global—-that is, total–collapse. The NIST Report asserts that “column failure” occurred in the core as well as the perimeter columns. But this remains a bare assertion. There is no plausible explanation of why the columns would have broken or even buckled, so as to produce global collapse at virtually free-fall speed, even if they had reached such temperatures.[26]

Sliced Steel: In controlled demolitions of steel-frame buildings, explosives are used to slice the steel columns and beams into pieces. A representative from Controlled Demolition, Inc., has said of RDX, one of the commonly used high explosives, that it slices steel like a “razor blade through a tomato.” The steel is, moreover, not merely sliced; it is sliced into manageable lengths. As Controlled Demolition, Inc., says in its publicity: “Our DREXSTM systems . . . segment steel components into pieces matching the lifting capacity of the available equipment.”[27]

The collapses of the Twin Towers, it seems, somehow managed to mimic this feature of controlled demolitions as well. Jim Hoffman (2004), after studying various photos of the collapse site, said that much of the steel seemed to be “chopped up into . . . sections that could be easily loaded onto the equipment that was cleaning up Ground Zero.”[28]

Pulverization of Concrete and Other Materials: Another feature of controlled demolition is the production of a lot of dust, because explosives powerful enough to slice steel will pulverize concrete and most other non-metallic substances into tiny particles. And, Hoffman (2003) reports, “nearly all of the non-metallic constituents of the towers were pulverized into fine power.”[29] That observation was also made by Colonel John O’Dowd of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “At the World Trade Center sites,” he told the History Channel, “it seemed like everything was pulverized” (History Channel, 2002).

This fact creates a problem for the official theory, according to which the only energy available was the gravitational energy. This energy would have been sufficient to break most of the concrete into fairly small pieces. But it would not have been anywhere close to the amount of energy needed to turn the concrete and virtually all the non-metallic contents of the buildings into tiny particles of dust.

Dust Clouds: Yet another common feature of controlled demolitions is the production of dust clouds, which result when explosions eject the dust from the building with great energy. And, as one can see by comparing videos on the Web, the collapses of the towers produced clouds that are very similar to those produced by controlled demolitions of other structures, such as Seattle’s Kingdome. The only difference is that the clouds produced during the collapses of the towers were proportionally much bigger.[30]

The question of the source of the needed energy again arises. Hoffman (2003), focusing on the expansion of the North Tower’s dust cloud, calculates that the energy required simply for this expansion—ignoring the energy needed to slice the steel and pulverize the concrete and other materials—exceeded by at least 10 times the gravitational energy available.

The official account, therefore, involves a huge violation of the laws of physics—a violation that becomes even more enormous once we factor in the energy required to pulverize the concrete (let alone the energy required to break the steel).

Besides the sheer quantity of energy needed, another problem with the official theory is that gravitational energy is wholly unsuited to explain the production of these dust clouds. This is most obviously the case in the first few seconds. In Hoffman’s words: “You can see thick clouds of pulverized concrete being ejected within the first two seconds. That’s when the relative motion of the top of the tower to the intact portion was only a few feet per second.”[31] Jeff King (2003), in the same vein, says: “[A great amount of] very fine concrete dust is ejected from the top of the building very early in the collapse. . . [when] concrete slabs [would have been] bumping into each other at [only] 20 or 30 mph.”

The importance of King’s point can be appreciated by juxtaposing it with the claim by Shyam Sunder, NIST’s lead investigator, that although the clouds of dust created during the collapses of the Twin Towers may create the impression of a controlled demolition, “it is the floor pancaking that leads to that perception” (Popular Mechanics, 2005). The pancaking, according to the official theory being defended by Sunder, began at the floor beneath the holes created by the impact of the airliners. As King points out, this theory cannot handle the fact, as revealed by the photographs and videos, that dust clouds were created far above the impact zones.

Horizontal Ejections: Another common feature of controlled demolition is the horizontal ejection of other materials, besides dust, from those areas of the building in which explosives are set off. In the case of the Twin Towers, photos and videos reveal that “[h]eavy pieces of steel were ejected in all directions for distances up to 500 feet, while aluminum cladding was blown up to 700 feet away from the towers” (Paul and Hoffman, 2004, p. 7). But gravitational energy is, of course, vertical, so it cannot even begin to explain these horizontal ejections.

Demolition Rings: Still another common feature of collapses induced by explosions are demolition rings, in which series of small explosions run rapidly around a building. This feature was also manifested by the collapses of the towers.[32]

Sounds Produced by Explosions: The use of explosives to induce collapses produces, of course, sounds caused by the explosions. Like all the previous features except the slicing of the steel columns inside the building, this one could be observed by witnesses. And, as we will see below, there is abundant testimony to the existence of such sounds before and during the collapses of the towers.

Molten Steel: An eleventh feature that would be expected only if explosives were used to slice the steel columns would be molten steel, and its existence at the WTC site was indeed reported by several witnesses, including the two main figures involved in the clean up, Peter Tully, president of Tully Construction, and Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Incorporated. Tully said that he saw pools of “literally molten steel” at the site. Loizeaux said that several weeks after 9/11, when the rubble was being removed, “hot spots of molten steel” were found “at the bottoms of the elevator shafts of the main towers, down seven [basement] levels” (both statements quoted in Bollyn, 2004).[33]

Also, Leslie Robertson, the chief structural engineer for the Twin Towers, said: “As of 21 days after the attack, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running” (Williams, 2001). Knight-Ridder journalist Jennifer Lin, discussing Joe “Toolie” O’Toole, a Bronx firefighter who worked for many months on the rescue and clean-up efforts, wrote: “Underground fires raged for months. O’Toole remembers in February seeing a crane lift a steel beam vertically from deep within the catacombs of Ground Zero. ‘It was dripping from the molten steel,” he said’” (Lin, 2002). Greg Fuchek, vice president of sales for LinksPoint, Inc., which supplied some of the computer equipment used to identify human remains at the site, described the working conditions as “hellish,” partly because for six months, the ground temperature varied between 600 degrees Fahrenheit and 1,500 degrees or higher. Fuchek added that “sometimes when a worker would pull a steel beam from the wreckage, the end of the beam would be dripping molten steel” (Walsh, 2002). And still more witnesses spoke of molten steel.[34]

This testimony is of great significance, since it would be hard to imagine what, other than high explosives, could have caused some of the steel to melt.

The importance of the nature of the collapses, as summarized in these 11 features, is shown by the fact that attempts to defend the official theory typically ignore most of them. For example, an article in Popular Mechanics (2005), seeking to debunk what it calls some of the most prevalent myths about 9/11 fabricated by “conspiracy theorists,” completely ignores the suddenness, verticality, rapidity, and totality of the collapses and also fails to mention the testimonies about molten steel, demolition rings, and the sounds of explosions.[35]

2. Testimonies about Explosions and Related Phenomena in the 9/11 Oral Histories

Most of these 11 features—all but the slicing of the core columns and the molten steel in the basements—are features that, if they occurred before or during the collapses of the towers, could have been observed by people in the area. And, in fact, testimonies about some of these phenomena have been available, since shortly after 9/11, from reporters,[36] fire fighters,[37] police officers,[38] people who worked in the towers,[39] and one prominent explosives expert, Van Romero, [40] who said on that very day after viewing the videotapes, that the collapses not only resembled those produced by controlled implosions but must, in fact, have been caused by “some explosive devices inside the buildings” because they were “too methodical” to have been chance results of the airplane strikes (Uyttebrouck, 2001).[41] Some of these testimonies were very impressive. There were, however, only a few of them and they were scattered here and there. No big body of testimony was readily accessible.

But this situation has dramatically changed. Shortly after 9/11, the New York Fire Department recorded over 500 oral histories, in which firefighters and emergency medical workers recounted their experiences of that day. [Emergency Medical Services had become a division within the Fire Department(Dwyer, 2005a).] Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, however, refused to release them. But then the New York Times, joined by several families of 9/11 victims, filed suit and, after a long process, the New York Court of Appeals ordered the city to release the bulk of these oral histories, which it did in August 2005[42] (Dwyer, 2005b). The Times then made them publicly available (NYT, 2005).[43]

These oral histories contain many dozens of testimonies that speak of explosions and related phenomena characteristic of controlled demolition. I will give some examples.


Several individuals reported that they witnessed an explosion just before one of the towers collapsed. Battalion Chief John Sudnik said: “we heard . . . what sounded like a loud explosion and looked up and I saw tower two start coming down” (NYT, Sudnick, p. 4).

Several people reported multiple explosions. Paramedic Kevin Darnowski said: “I heard three explosions, and then . . . tower two started to come down” (NYT, Darnowski, p. 8).

Firefighter Thomas Turilli said, “it almost sounded like bombs going off, like boom, boom, boom, like seven or eight” (NYT, Turilli, p. 4).

Craig Carlsen said that he and other firefighters “heard explosions coming from . . . the south tower. . . . There were about ten explosions. . . . We then realized the building started to come down” (NYT, Carlsen, pp. 5-6).

Firefighter Joseph Meola said, “it looked like the building was blowing out on all four sides. We actually heard the pops” (NYT, Meola, p. 5).

Paramedic Daniel Rivera also mentioned “pops.” Asked how he knew that the south tower was coming down, he said:

It was a frigging noise. At first I thought it was—do you ever see professional demolition where they set the charges on certain floors and then you hear ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop’? . . . I thought it was that. (NYT, Rivera, p. 9)

Collapse Beginning below the Strike Zone and Fire According to the official account, the “pancaking” began when the floors above the hole caused by the airplane fell on the floors below. Some witnesses reported, however, that the collapse of the south tower began somewhat lower.

Timothy Burke said that “the building popped, lower than the fire. . . . I was going oh, my god, there is a secondary device because the way the building popped. I thought it was an explosion” (NYT, Burke, pp. 8-9).

Firefighter Edward Cachia said: “It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit. . . . [W]e originally had thought there was like an internal detonation, explosives, because it went in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the tower came down” (NYT, Cachia, p. 5).

The importance of these observations is reinforced by the fact that the authors of the NIST Report, after having released a draft to the public, felt the need to add the following statement to the Executive Summary:

NIST found no corroborating evidence for alternative hypotheses suggesting that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition using explosives planted prior to September 11, 2001. . . . Instead, photos and videos from several angles clearly showed that the collapse initiated at the fire and impact floors and that the collapse progressed from the initiating floors downward.

Firefighters Burke and Cachia presumably now need to ask themselves: What are you going to believe, your own eyes or an official government report?

Flashes and Demolition Rings

Some of the witnesses spoke of flashes and of phenomena suggestive of demolition rings. Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory said: “I thought . . . before . . . No. 2 came down, that I saw low-level flashes. . . . I . . . saw a flash flash flash . . . [at] the lower level of the building. You know like when they demolish a building?” (NYT, Gregory, pp. 14-16).

Captain Karin Deshore said: “Somewhere around the middle . . . there was this orange and red flash coming out. Initially it was just one flash. Then this flash just kept popping all the way around the building and that building had started to explode. . . . [W]ith each popping sound it was initially an orange and then a red flash came out of the building and then it would just go all around the building on both sides as far as I could see. These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger, going both up and down and then all around the building” (NYT, Deshore, p. 15).

Firefighter Richard Banaciski said: “[T]here was just an explosion. It seemed like on television [when] they blow up these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions” (NYT, Banaciski, pp. 3-4).

Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick said: “It looked like sparkling around one specific layer of the building. . . . My initial reaction was that this was exactly the way it looks when they show you those implosions on TV” (NYT, Fitzpatrick, pp. 13-14).

Horizontal Ejections

A few witnesses spoke of horizontal ejections. Chief Frank Cruthers said: “There was what appeared to be . . . an explosion. It appeared at the very top, simultaneously from all four sides, materials shot out horizontally. And then there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could see the beginning of the collapse” (NYT, Cruthers, p. 4).

This testimony is important, because the official theory holds that the ejections were produced by the floors collapsing. So listen to firefighter James Curran, who said: “I looked back and . . . I heard like every floor went chu-chu-chu. I looked back and from the pressure everything was getting blown out of the floors before it actually collapsed” (NYT, Curran, pp. 10-11).

Battalion Chief Brian Dixon said, “the lowest floor of fire in the south tower actually looked like someone had planted explosives around it because . . . everything blew out on the one floor” (NYT, Dixon, p. 15).[44]

Synchronized Explosions

Some witnesses said that the explosions seemed to be synchronized. For example, firefighter Kenneth Rogers said, “there was an explosion in the south tower. . . . I kept watching. Floor after floor after floor. One floor under another after another . . . [I]t looked like a synchronized deliberate kind of thing” (NYT, Rogers, pp. 3-4).[45]

Why Does the Public Not Know of These Reports? If all these firefighters and medical workers witnessed all these phenomena suggestive of controlled demolition, it might be wondered why the public does not know this. Part of the answer is provided by Auxiliary Lieutenant Fireman Paul Isaac. Having said that “there were definitely bombs in those buildings,” Isaac added that “many other firemen know there were bombs in the buildings, but they’re afraid for their jobs to admit it because the ‘higher-ups’ forbid discussion of this fact” (Lavello, n.d.). Another part of the answer is that when a few people, like Isaac and William Rodriguez, have spoken out, the mainstream press has failed to report their statements.

3. Implications

The official theory about the collapse of the towers, I have suggested, is rendered extremely implausible by two main facts. First, aside from the alleged exception of 9/11, steel-frame high-rise buildings have never been caused to collapse by fire; all such collapses have all been produced by carefully placed explosives. Second, the collapses of the Twin Towers manifested at least 11 characteristic features of controlled demolitions. The probability that any of these features would occur in the absence of explosives is extremely low. The probability that all 11 of them would occur is essentially zero.[46]

We can say, therefore, that the official theory about the towers is disproved about as thoroughly as such a theory possibly could be, whereas all the evidence can be explained by the alternative theory, according to which the towers were brought down by explosives. The official theory is, accordingly, an outrageous theory, whereas the alternative theory is, from a scientific point of view, the only reasonable theory available.[47]

4. Other Suspicious Facts

Moreover, although we have already considered sufficient evidence for the theory that the towers were brought down by explosives, there is still more.

Removal of the Steel: For one thing, the steel from the buildings was quickly removed before it could be properly examined,[48] with virtually all of it being sold to scrap dealers, who put most of it on ships to Asia.[49] Generally, removing any evidence from the scene of a crime is a federal offense. But in this case, federal officials facilitated the removal.[50]

This removal evoked protest. On Christmas day, 2001, the New York Times said: “The decision to rapidly recycle the steel columns, beams and trusses from the WTC in the days immediately after 9/11 means definitive answers may never be known.”[51] The next week, Fire Engineering magazine said: “We are literally treating the steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial fire scene evidence (Brannigan, Corbett, and Dunn, 2002). . . . The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately” (Manning, 2002).

However, Mayor Bloomberg, defending the decision to dispose of the steel, said: “If you want to take a look at the construction methods and the design, that’s in this day and age what computers do.[52] Just looking at a piece of metal generally doesn’t tell you anything.”[53] But that is not true. An examination of the steel could have revealed whether it had been cut by explosives.

This removal of an unprecedented amount of material from a crime scene suggests that an unprecedented crime was being covered up.[54]

Evidence that this cover-up was continued by NIST is provided by its treatment of a provocative finding reported by FEMA, which was that some of the specimens of steel were “rapidly corroded by sulfidation” (FEMA 2002, Appendix C). This report is significant, because sulfidation is an effect of explosives. FEMA appropriately called for further investigation of this finding, which the New York Times called “perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation” (Killough-Miller, 2002). A closely related problem, expressed shortly after 9/11 by Dr. Jonathan Barnett, Professor of Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is that “[f]ire and the structural damage . . . would not explain steel members in the debris pile that appear to have been partly evaporated” (Glanz, 2001). But the NIST report, in its section headed “Learning from the Recovered Steel,” fails even to mention either evaporation or sulfidation.[55] Why would the NIST scientists apparently share Mayor Bloomberg’s disdain for empirical studies of recovered steel?

North Tower Antenna Drop: Another problem noted by FEMA is that videos show that, in the words of the FEMA Report, “the transmission tower on top of the [north tower] began to move downward and laterally slightly before movement was evident at the exterior wall. This suggests that collapse began with one or more failures in the central core area of the building” (FEMA 2002, ch. 2).[56] This drop was also mentioned in a New York Times story by James Glanz and Eric Lipton, which said: “Videos of the north tower’s collapse appear to show that its television antenna began to drop a fraction of a second before the rest of the building. The observations suggest that the building’s steel core somehow gave way first” (Glanz and Lipton, 2002). In the supposedly definitive NIST Report, however, we find no mention of this fact. This is another convenient omission, since the most plausible, and perhaps only possible, explanation would be that the core columns were cut by explosives—an explanation that would fit with the testimony of several witnesses.

South Tower Tipping and Disintegration: If the north tower’s antenna drop was anomalous (from the perspective of the official theory), the south tower’s collapse contained an even stranger anomaly. The uppermost floors—above the level struck by the airplane—began tipping toward the corner most damaged by the impact. According to conservation-of-momentum laws, this block of approximately 34 floors should have fallen to the ground far outside the building’s footprint. “However,” observe Paul and Hoffman, “as the top then began to fall, the rotation decelerated. Then it reversed direction [even though the] law of conservation of angular momentum states that a solid object in rotation will continue to rotate at the same speed unless acted on by a torque” (Paul and Hoffman, 2004, p. 34).

And then, in the words of Steven Jones, a physics professor at BYU, “this block turned mostly to powder in mid-air!” This disintegration stopped the tipping and allowed the uppermost floors to fall straight down into, or at least close to, the building’s footprint. As Jones notes, this extremely strange behavior was one of many things that NIST was able to ignore by virtue of the fact that its analysis, in its own words, “does not actually include the structural behavior of the tower after the conditions for collapse initiation were reached” (NIST 2005, p. 80, n. 12). This is convenient because it means that NIST did not have to answer Jones’s question: “How can we understand this strange behavior, without explosives?” (Jones, 2006).

This behavior is, however, not strange to experts in controlled demolition. Mark Loizeaux, the head of Controlled Demolition, Inc., has said:

[B]y differentially controlling the velocity of failure in different parts of the structure, you can make it walk, you can make it spin, you can make it dance . . . . We’ll have structures start facing north and end up going to the north-west. (Else, 2004)

Once again, something that is inexplicable in terms of the official theory becomes a matter of course if the theory of controlled demolition is adopted.

WTC Security: The suggestion that explosives might have been used raises the question of how anyone wanting to place explosives in the towers could have gotten through the security checks. This question brings us to a possibly relevant fact about a company—now called Stratesec but then called Securacom—that was in charge of security for the World Trade Center. From 1993 to 2000, during which Securacom installed a new security system, Marvin Bush, the president’s brother, was one of the company’s directors. And from 1999 until January of 2002, their cousin Wirt Walker III was the CEO (Burns, 2003).[57] One would think these facts should have made the evening news—or at least The 9/11 Commission Report.

These facts, in any case, may be relevant to some reports given by people who had worked in the World Trade Center. Some of them reportedly said that although in the weeks before 9/11 there had been a security alert that mandated the use of bomb-sniffing dogs, that alert was lifted five days before 9/11 (Taylor and Gardiner, 2001).

Also, a man named Scott Forbes, who worked for Fiduciary Trust—the company for which Kristen Breitweiser’s husband worked—has written:

On the weekend of [September 8-9, 2001], there was a “power down” condition in . . . the south tower. This power down condition meant there was no electrical supply for approximately 36 hours from floor 50 up. . . . The reason given by the WTC for the power down was that cabling in the tower was being upgraded . . . . Of course without power there were no security cameras, no security locks on doors [while] many, many “engineers” [were] coming in and out of the tower.[58]

Also, a man named Ben Fountain, who was a financial analyst with Fireman’s Fund in the south tower, was quoted in People Magazine as saying that during the weeks before 9/11, the towers were evacuated “a number of times” (People Magazine, 2001).

Foreknowledge of the Collapse: One more possibly relevant fact is that then Mayor Rudy Giuliani, talking on ABC News about his temporary emergency command center at 75 Barkley Street, said:

We were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse, and it did collapse before we could get out of the building.[59]

This is an amazing statement. Prior to 9/11, fire had never brought down a steel-frame high-rise. The firemen who reached the 78th floor of the south tower certainly did not believe it was going to collapse. Even the 9/11 Commission reported that to its knowledge, “none of the [fire] chiefs present believed that a total collapse of either tower was possible” (Kean and Hamilton, 2004, p. 302). So why would anyone have told Giuliani that at least one of the towers was about to collapse?

The most reasonable answer, especially in light of the new evidence, is that someone knew that explosives had been set in the south tower and were about to be discharged. It is even possible that the explosives were going to be discharged earlier than originally planned because the fires in the south tower were dying down more quickly than expected, because so much of the plane’s jet fuel had burned up in the fireball outside the building.[60] This could explain why although the south tower was struck second, suffered less structural damage, and had smaller fires, it collapsed first—after only 56 minutes. That is, if the official story was going to be that the fire caused the collapse, the building had to be brought down before the fire went completely out.[61]

We now learn from the oral histories, moreover, that Giuliani is not the only one who was told that a collapse was coming. At least four of the testimonies indicate that shortly before the collapse of the south tower, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) had predicted the collapse of at least one tower.[62] The director of OEM reported directly to Giuliani.[63] So although Giuliani said that he and others “were told” that the towers were going to collapse, it was his own people who were doing the telling.

As New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer has pointed out, the 9/11 Commission had access to the oral histories.[64] It should have discussed these facts, but it did not.

The neglect of most of the relevant facts about the collapses, manifested by The 9/11 Commission Report, was continued by the NIST Report, which said, amazingly:

The focus of the Investigation was on the sequence of events from the instant of aircraft impact to the initiation of collapse for each tower. For brevity in this report, this sequence is referred to as the “probable collapse sequence,” although it does not actually include the structural behavior of the tower after the conditions for collapse initiation were reached. . . . [Our simulation treats only] the structural deterioration of each tower from the time of aircraft impact to the time at which the building . . . was poised for collapse (80n, 140).

Steven Jones comments, appropriately:

What about the subsequent complete, rapid and symmetrical collapse of the buildings? . . . What about the antenna dropping first in the North Tower? What about the molten metal observed in the basement areas . . . ? Never mind all that: NIST did not discuss at all any data after the buildings were “poised for collapse.” Well, some of us want to look at all the data, without computer simulations that are “adjusted” to make them fit the desired outcome. (Jones, 2006)

Summary: When we add these five additional suspicious facts to the eleven features that that the collapses of the Twin Towers had in common with controlled demolitions, we have a total of sixteen facts about the collapses of these buildings that, while being inexplicable in terms of the official theory, are fully understandable on the theory that the destruction of the towers was an inside job.

5. The Collapse of Building 7

As we have seen, the 9/11 Commission simply ignored the facts discussed above. Still another matter not discussed by the Commission was the collapse of building 7. And yet the official story about it is, if anything, even more problematic than the official story about the towers—as suggested by the title of a New York Times story, “Engineers Are Baffled over the Collapse of 7 WTC” (Glanz, 2001).[65]

Even More Difficult to Explain

The collapse of building 7 is even more difficult to explain than the collapse of the towers in part because it was not struck by an airliner, so none of the theories about how the impacts of the airliners contributed to the collapses of the towers can be employed in relation to it.

Also, all the photographic evidence suggests that the fires in this building were small, not very hot, and limited to a few floors. Photographs of the north side of the building show fires only on the 7th and 12th floors of this 47-floor building. So if the south side, which faced the towers, had fires on many other floors, as defenders of the official account claim, they were not big enough to be seen from the other side of the building.[66]

It would not be surprising, of course, if the fires in this building were even smaller than those in the towers, because there was no jet fuel to get a big fire started. Some defenders of the official story have claimed, to be sure, that the diesel fuel stored in this building somehow caught fire and created a towering inferno. But if building 7 had become engulfed in flames, why did none of the many photographers and TV camera crews on the scene capture this sight?

The extreme difficulty of explaining the collapse of building 7—-assuming that it is not permissible to mention controlled demolition—has been recognized by the official bodies. The report prepared under FEMA’s supervision came up with a scenario employing the diesel fuel, then admitted that this scenario had “only a low probability of occurrence.”[67] Even that statement is generous, because the probability that some version of the official story of building 7 is true is the same as it is for the towers, essentially zero, because it would violate several laws of physics. In any case, the 9/11 Commission, perhaps because of this admission by FEMA, avoided the problem by simply not even mentioning the fact that this building collapsed.

This was one of the Commission’s most amazing omissions. According to the official theory, building 7 demonstrated, contrary to the universal conviction prior to 9/11, that large steel-frame buildings could collapse from fire alone, even without having been hit by an airplane. This demonstration should have meant that building codes and insurance premiums for all steel-frame buildings in the world needed to be changed. And yet the 9/11 Commission, in preparing its 571-page report, did not devote a single sentence to this historic event.

Even More Similar to Controlled Implosions

Yet another reason why the collapse of building 7 is especially problematic is that it was even more like the best-known type of conventional demolition—-namely, an implosion, which begins at the bottom (whereas the collapse of each tower originated high up, near the region struck by the plane). As Eric Hufschmid has written:

Building 7 collapsed at its bottom. . . . [T]he interior fell first. . . . The result was a very tiny pile of rubble, with the outside of the building collapsing on top of the pile.[68]

Implosion World.com, a website about the demolition industry, states that an implosion is “by far the trickiest type of explosive project, and there are only a handful of blasting companies in the world that possess enough experience . . . to perform these true building implosions.”[69] Can anyone really believe that fire would have just happened to produce the kind of collapse that can be reliably produced by only a few demolition companies in the world? The building had 24 core columns and 57 perimeter columns. To hold that fire caused this building to collapse straight down would mean believing that the fire caused all 81 columns to fail at exactly the same time. To accept the official story is, in other words, to accept a miracle. Physicist Steven Jones agrees, saying:

The likelihood of near-symmetrical collapse of WTC7 due to random fires (the “official” theory)—requiring as it does near-simultaneous failure of many support columns—is infinitesimal. I conclude that the evidence for the 9/11 use of pre-positioned explosives in WTC 7 (also in Towers 1 and 2) is truly compelling.[70]

Much More Extensive Foreknowledge

Another reason why the collapse of building 7 creates special problems involves foreknowledge of its collapse. We know of only a few people with advance knowledge that the Twin Towers were going to collapse, and the information we have would be consistent with the supposition that this knowledge was acquired only a few minutes before the south tower collapsed. People can imagine, therefore, that someone saw something suggesting that the building was going to collapse. But the foreknowledge of building 7’s collapse was more widespread and of longer duration. This has been known for a long time, at least by people who read firefighters’ magazines.[71] But now the oral histories have provided a fuller picture.

Widespread Notification: At least 25 of the firefighters and medical workers reported that, at some time that day, they learned that building 7 was going to collapse. Firefighters who had been fighting the fires in the building said they were ordered to leave the building, after which a collapse zone was established. As medical worker Decosta Wright put it: “they measured out how far the building was going to come, so we knew exactly where we could stand,” which was “5 blocks away” (NYT, Wright, pp. 11-12).

Early Warning: As to exactly when the expectation of the collapse began circulating, the testimonies differ. But most of the evidence suggests that the expectation of collapse was communicated 4 or 5 hours in advance.[72]

The Alleged Reason for the Expectation: But why would this expectation have arisen? The fires in building 7 were, according to all the photographic evidence, few and small. So why would the decision-makers in the department have decided to pull firefighters out of building 7 and have them simply stand around waiting for it to collapse?

The chiefs gave a twofold explanation: damage plus fire. Chief Frank Fellini said: “When [the north tower] fell, it ripped steel out from between the third and sixth floors across the facade on Vesey Street. We were concerned that the fires on several floors and the missing steel would result in the building collapsing” (NYT, Fellini, p. 3).

There are at least two problems with each part of this explanation. One problem with the accounts of the structural damage is that they vary greatly. According to Fellini’s testimony, there was a four-floor hole between the third and sixth floors. In the telling of Captain Chris Boyle, however, the hole was “20 stories tall” (2002). It would appear that Shyam Sunder, the lead investigator for NIST, settled on somewhat of a compromise between these two views, telling Popular Mechanics that, “On about a third of the face to the center and to the bottom–approximately 10 stories–about 25 percent of the depth of the building was scooped out” (Popular Mechanics, March 2005).

The different accounts of the problem on the building’s south side are not, moreover, limited to the issue of the size of the hole. According to Deputy Chief Peter Hayden, the problem was not a hole at all but a “bulge,” and it was “between floors 10 and 13″ (Hayden, 2002).

The second problem with these accounts of the damage is if there was a hole that was 10 or 20 floors high, or even a hole (or a budge) that was 4 floors high, why was this fact not captured on film by any of the photographers or videographers in the area that day?

With regard to the claims about the fire, the accounts again vary greatly. Chief Daniel Nigro spoke of “very heavy fire on many floors” (NYT, Nigro, p. 10). According to Harry Meyers, an assistant chief, “When the building came down it was completely involved in fire, all forty-seven stories” (quoted in Smith, 2002, p. 160). That obvious exaggeration was also stated by a firefighter who said: “[Building 7] was fully engulfed. . . . [Y]ou could see the flames going straight through from one side of the building to the other” (NYT, Cassidy, p. 22).

Several of the testimonies, however, did not support the official line. For example, medical technician Decosta Wright said: “I think the fourth floor was on fire. . . . [W]e were like, are you guys going to put that fire out?” (NYT, Wright, p. 11). Chief Thomas McCarthy said: “[T]hey were waiting for 7 World Trade to come down. . . . They had . . . fire on three separate floors . . . , just burning merrily. It was pretty amazing, you know, it’s the afternoon in lower Manhattan, a major high-rise is burning, and they said ‘we know’” (NYT, McCarthy, pp. 10-11).

The second problem with the official account here is that if there was “very heavy fire on many floors,” why is this fact not captured on any film? The photograph that we have of the north side of the building supports Chief McCarthy’s view that there was fire on three floors. Even if there were fires on additional floors on the south side of the building, there is no photographic support for the claim that “the flames [on these additional floors went] straight through from one side of the building to the other.”

Moreover, even if the department’s official story about the collapse of building 7 were not contradicted by physical evidence and some of the oral histories, it would not explain why the building collapsed, because no amount of fire and structural damage, unless caused by explosives, had ever caused the total collapse of a large steel-frame building.[73] And it certainly would not explain the particular nature of the collapse—that the building imploded and fell straight down rather than falling over in some direction, as purportedly expected by those who gave the order to create a large collapse zone. Battalion Chief John Norman, for example, said: “We expected it to fall to the south” (Norman 2002). Nor would the damage-plus-fire theory explain this building’s collapse at virtually free-fall speed or the creation of an enormous amount of dust—additional features of the collapses that are typically ignored by defenders of the official account.

The great difficulty presented to the official theory about the WTC by the collapse of building 7 is illustrated by a recent book, 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers, one of the authors of which is New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer, who wrote the stories in the Times about the release of the 9/11 oral histories. With regard to the Twin Towers, Dwyer and his co-author, Kevin Flynn, support the theory put out by NIST, according to which the towers collapsed because the airplanes knocked the fire-proofing off the steel columns, making them vulnerable to the “intense heat” of the ensuing fires.[74] When they come to building 7, however, Dwyer and Flynn do not ask why it collapsed, given the fact that it was not hit by a plane. They simply say: “The firefighters had decided to let the fire there burn itself out” (Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, p. 258). But that, of course, is not what happened. Rather, shortly after 5:20 that day, building 7 suddenly collapsed, in essentially the same way as did the Twin Towers.

Should this fact not have led Dryer and Flynn to question NIST’s theory that the Twin Towers collapsed because their fireproofing had been knocked loose? I would especially think that Dwyer, who reported on the release of the 9/11 oral histories, should re-assess NIST’s theory in light of the abundant evidence of explosions in the towers provided in those testimonies.[75]

Another Explanation: There is, in any case, only one theory that explains both the nature and the expectation of the collapse of building 7: Explosives had been set, and someone who knew this spread the word to the fire chiefs.

Amazingly enough, a version of this theory was publicly stated by an insider, Larry Silverstein, who owned building 7. In a PBS documentary aired in September of 2002, Silverstein, discussing building 7, said:

I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, “We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.”[76] And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse. (PBS, 2002) [77]

It is very puzzling, to be sure, that Silverstein, who was ready to receive billions of dollars in insurance payments for building 7 and the rest of the World Trade Center complex, on the assumption that they had been destroyed by acts of terrorism, would have made such a statement in public, especially with TV cameras running. But his assertion that building 7 was brought down by explosives, whatever the motive behind it, explains why and how it collapsed.

We still, however, have the question of why the fire department came to expect the building to collapse. It would be interesting, of course, if that information came from the same agency, the Office of Emergency Management, that had earlier informed the department that one of the towers was going to collapse. And we have it on good authority that it did. Captain Michael Currid, the president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said that some time after the collapse of the Twin Towers, “Someone from the city’s Office of Emergency Management” told him that building 7 was “basically a lost cause and we should not lose anyone else trying to save it,” after which the firefighters in the building were told to get out (Murphy, 2002, pp. 175-76).[78]

But that answer, assuming it to be correct, leaves us with more questions, beginning with: Who in the Office of Emergency Management knew in advance that the towers and building 7 were going to collapse? How did they know this? And so on. These questions could be answered only by a real investigation, which has yet to begin.

6. Conclusion

It is, in any case, already possible to know, beyond a reasonable doubt, one very important thing: the destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job, orchestrated by domestic terrorists. Foreign terrorists could not have gotten access to the buildings to plant the explosives. They probably would not have had the courtesy to make sure that the buildings collapsed straight down, rather than falling over onto surrounding buildings. And they could not have orchestrated a cover-up, from the quick disposal of the steel to the FEMA Report to The 9/11 Commission Report to the NIST Report. All of these things could have been orchestrated only by forces within our own government.

The evidence for this conclusion has thus far been largely ignored by the mainstream press, perhaps under the guise of obeying President Bush’s advice not to tolerate “outrageous conspiracy theories.” We have seen, however, that it is the Bush administration’s conspiracy theory that is the outrageous one, because it is violently contradicted by numerous facts, including some basic laws of physics.

There is, of course, another reason why the mainstream press has not pointed out these contradictions. As a recent letter to the Los Angeles Times said:

The number of contradictions in the official version of . . . 9/11 is so overwhelming that . . . it simply cannot be believed. Yet . . . the official version cannot be abandoned because the implication of rejecting it is far too disturbing: that we are subject to a government conspiracy of ‘X-Files’ proportions and insidiousness.[79]

The implications are indeed disturbing. Many people who know or at least suspect the truth about 9/11 probably believe that revealing it would be so disturbing to the American psyche, the American form of government, and global stability that it is better to pretend to believe the official version. I would suggest, however, that any merit this argument may have had earlier has been overcome by more recent events and realizations. Far more devastating to the American psyche, the American form of government, and the world as a whole will be the continued rule of those who brought us 9/11, because the values reflected in that horrendous event have been reflected in the Bush administration’s lies to justify the attack on Iraq, its disregard for environmental science and the Bill of Rights, its criminal negligence both before and after Katrina, and now its apparent plan not only to weaponize space but also to authorize the use of nuclear weapons in a preemptive strike.

In light of this situation and the facts discussed in this essay—as well as dozens of more problems in the official account of 9/11 discussed in my books—I call on the New York Times to take the lead in finally exposing to the American people and the world the truth about 9/11. Taking the lead on such a story will, of course, involve enormous risks. But if there is any news organization with the power, the prestige, and the credibility to break this story, it is the Times. It performed yeoman service in getting the 9/11 oral histories released. But now the welfare of our republic and perhaps even the survival of our civilization depend on getting the truth about 9/11 exposed. I am calling on the Times to rise to the occasion. 


[1] Both lectures are also available on DVDs edited by Ken Jenkins ([email protected]). See also Griffin, 2005c.

[2] Bush’s more complete statement was: “We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of 11 September—malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty.” Excellent advice.

[3] This report was carried out by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The public was exposed to this theory early on, with CNN saying shortly after 9/11: “The collapse, when it came, was caused by fire. . . . The fire weakened that portion of the structure which remained after the impact. . . to the point where it could no longer sustain the load” (CNN, September 24, 2001).

[4] NIST describes the collapses of the towers as instances of “progressive collapse,” which happens when “a building or portion of a building collapses due to disproportionate spread of an initial local failure” (NIST Report, p. 200). NIST thereby falsely implies that the total collapses of the three WTC buildings were specific instances of a general category with other instances. NIST even claims that the collapses were “inevitable.”

[5] The chief structural engineer, Leslie Robertson, said that the Twin Towers were designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707, at that time (1966) the largest airliner. See “The Fall of the World Trade Center,” BBC 2, March 7, 2002 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/worldtradecentertrans.shtml ). For a comparison of the 707 and the 767, see “Boeing 707-767 Comparison,” What Really Happened (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/boeing_707_767.html). Also relevant is the fact that in 1945, a B-25 bomber struck the Empire State Building at the 79th floor, creating a hole 20 feet high. But there was never the slightest indication that this accident would cause the building to collapse (see Glover, 2002).

[6] The NIST Report (2005, pp. xliii and 171) says: “the towers withstood the impacts and would have remained standing were it not for the dislodged insulation (fireproofing) and the subsequent multifloor fires.”

[7] Supported by these authorities, the show went on to claim that “as fires raged in the towers, driven by aviation fuel, the steel cores in each building would have eventually reached 800°C [1472°F]—hot enough to start buckling and collapsing.”

[8]In Griffin, 2004, pp. 12-13, I cite Professor Thomas Eagar’s acknowledgment of this fact.

[9] Given the fact that the claim that the fires in the towers melted its steel is about as absurd, from a scientific point of view, as a claim could be, it is amazing to see that some scientific journals seemed eager to rush into print with this claim. On the day after 9/11, for example, New Scientist published an article that said: “Each tower [after it was struck] remained upright for nearly an hour. Eventually raging fires melted the supporting steel struts” (Samuel and Carrington, 2001). The article’s title, “Design Choice for Towers Saved Lives”, reflects the equally absurd claim—attributed to “John Hooper, principal engineer in the company that provided engineering advice when the World Trade Center was designed”—that “[m]ost buildings would have come down immediately.”

[10] Stating this obvious point could, however, be costly to employees of companies with close ties to the government. On November 11, 2004, Kevin Ryan, the Site Manager of the Environmental Health Laboratories, which is a division of Underwriters Laboratories, wrote an e-mail letter to Dr. Frank Gayle, Deputy Chief of the Metallurgy Division, Material Science and Engineering Laboratory, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In this letter, Ryan stated: “We know that the steel components were certified to ASTM E119. The time temperature curves for this standard require the samples to be exposed to temperatures around 2000°F for several hours. And as we all agree, the steel applied met those specifications. Additionally, I think we can all agree that even un-fireproofed steel will not melt until reaching red-hot temperatures of nearly 3000°F. Why Dr. Brown would imply that 2000°F would melt the high-grade steel used in those buildings makes no sense at all.” After Ryan allowed his letter to become public, he was fired. His letter is available at http://www.septembereleventh.org/newsarchive/2004-11-11-ryan.php .

[11] One well-known attempt to defend the official account has tried to use the absurdity of the steel-melting claim against those who reject the official account. In its March issue of 2005, Popular Mechanics magazine published a piece entitled “9/11: Debunking the Myths” (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1227842.html?page=1&c=y). This article sets out to debunk what it alleges to be “16 of the most prevalent claims made by conspiracy theorists.” One of these “poisonous claims,” according to Popular Mechanics, results from the fact that that these “conspiracy theorists” have created a straw-man argument—pretending that the official theory claims that the buildings came down because their steel melted—which the conspiracy theorists could then knock down. Popular Mechanics “refutes” this straw-man argument by instructing us that “[j]et fuel burns at 800° to 1500°F, not hot enough to melt steel (2750°F). However, experts agree that for the towers to collapse, their steel frames didn’t need to melt, they just had to lose some of their structural strength.” As we have seen, however, the idea that the towers collapsed because their steel melted was put into the public consciousness by some early defenders of the official theory. For critics of this theory to show the absurdity of this claim is not, therefore, to attack a straw man. The idea that the official theory is based on this absurd claim is, in any case, not one of “the most prevalent claims” of those who reject the official theory.

[12] Even Shyam Sunder, the lead investigator for the NIST study, said: “The jet fuel probably burned out in less than 10 minutes” (Field, 2004). The NIST Report itself says (p. 179): “The initial jet fuel fires themselves lasted at most a few minutes.”

[13] The NIST Report (2005, p. 68), trying to argue that steel is very vulnerable unless it is protected by insulation, says: “Bare structural steel components can heat quickly when exposed to a fire of even moderate intensity. Therefore, some sort of thermal protection, or insulation, is necessary”. As Hoffman (2005) points out, however: “These statements are meaningless, because they ignore the effect of steel’s thermal conductivity, which draws away heat, and the considerable thermal mass of the 90,000 tons of steel in each Tower.” Also, I can only wonder if the authors of the NIST Report reflected on the implications of their theory for the iron or steel grating in their fireplaces. Do they spray on new fireproofing after enjoying a blazing hot fire for a few hours?

[14]Quoted in “WTC 2: There Was No Inferno,” What Really Happened (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/wtc2_fire.html).

[15] Quoted in “Tape Sheds Light on WTC Rescuers,” CNN, August 4, 2002 (http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/08/04/wtc.firefighters/ ). The voices of the firefighters reportedly “showed no panic, no sense that events were racing beyond their control.” (Dwyer and Fessenden, 2002)

[16] As Eric Hufschmid (2002, p. 33) says: “A fire will not affect steel unless the steel is exposed to it for a long . . . period of time”.

[17] CNN, September 24, 2001.

[18] Kevin Ryan, in his letter to Frank Gayle (see note 10, above), wrote in criticism of NIST’s preliminary report: “This story just does not add up. If steel from those buildings did soften or melt, I’m sure we can all agree that this was certainly not due to jet fuel fires of any kind, let alone the briefly burning fires in those towers. . . . Please do what you can to quickly eliminate the confusion regarding the ability of jet fuel fires to soften or melt structural steel.”

[19] See, for example, Eric Hufschmid’s “Painful Deceptions” (available at www.EricHufschmid.Net); Jim Hoffman’s website (http://911research.wtc7.net/index.html); and Jeff King’s website (http://home.comcast.net/~jeffrey.king2/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html ), especially “The World Trade Center Collapse: How Strong is the Evidence for a Controlled Demolition?”

[20] Incredibly, after explaining how precisely explosives must be set to ensure that a building comes straight down, Loizeaux said that upon seeing the fires in the Twin Towers, he knew that the towers were “going to pancake down, almost vertically. It was the only way they could fail. It was inevitable.” Given the fact that fire had never before caused steel-frame buildings to collapse, let alone in a way that perfectly mimicked controlled demolition, Loizeaux’s statement is a cause for wonder. His company, incidentally, was hired to remove the steel from the WTC site after 9/11.

[21] The fire theory is rendered even more unlikely if the first two characteristics are taken together. For fire to have induced a collapse that began suddenly and was entirely symmetrical, so that it went straight down, the fires would have needed to cause all the crucial parts of the building to fail simultaneously, even though the fires were not spread evenly throughout the buildings. As Jim Hoffman has written: “All 287 columns would have to have weakened to the point of collapse at the same instant” (“The Twin Towers Demolition,” 9-11 Research.wtc7.net, n.d., http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/towers/slides.html ).

[22] That statement is probably a slight exaggeration, as the videos, according to most students, seem to suggest that the collapses took somewhere between 11 and 16 seconds. But this would still be close to free-fall speed through the air.

[23] As physicist Steven Jones puts it, “the Towers fall very rapidly to the ground, with the upper part falling nearly as rapidly as ejected debris which provide free-fall references . . . . Where is the delay that must be expected due to conservation of momentum—one of the foundational Laws of Physics? That is, as upper-falling floors strike lower floors—and intact steel support columns—the fall must be significantly impeded by the impacted mass. . . . [B]ut this is not the case. . . . How do the upper floors fall so quickly, then, and still conserve momentum in the collapsing buildings? The contradiction is ignored by FEMA, NIST and 9/11 Commission reports where conservation of momentum and the fall times were not analyzed” (Jones, 2006; until then available at http://www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html).

[24] Each box column, besides being at least 36 by 16 inches, had walls that were at least 4 inches thick at the base, then tapered off in the upper floors, which had less weight to support. Pictures of columns can be seen on page 23 of Hufschmid, 2002. The reason for the qualification “at least” in these statements is that Jim Hoffman has recently concluded that some of them were even bigger. With reference to his article “The Core Structures: The Structural System of the Twin Towers,” 9-11 Research.wtc7.net, n.d. [http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/arch/core.html], he has written (e-mail letter of October 26, 2005): “Previously I’ve been saying that the core columns had outside dimensions of 36″ X 16″, but I now think that at least 1/3 of them had dimensions of 54″ X 22″, based on early articles in the Engineering News Record and photographs I took of close-up construction photos on display at the Skyscraper Museum in Manhattan. . . . Also, according to the illustration in the Engineering News Record, the thickness of the steel at the bases was 5″, not 4″.”

[25] And, as Hoffman (2005) says, NIST’s claim about these tremendously hot fires in the core is especially absurd given the fact that the core “had very little fuel; was far from any source of fresh air; had huge steel columns to wick away the heat; [and] does not show evidence of fires in any of the photographs or videos.” All the evidence, in other words, suggests that none of the core columns would have (from the fire) reached the highest temperatures reached by some of the perimeter columns.

[26] NIST rests its theory largely on the idea that collapse began with the failure of the trusses. Being much smaller and also less interconnected, trusses would have been much easier to heat up, so it is not surprising that the NIST Report focuses on them. To try to make its theory work, however, NIST claims that the trusses became hotter than their own evidence supports. That is, although NIST found no evidence that any of the steel had gotten hotter than 1112°F (600°C), it claims that some of the steel trusses were heated up to 1,292°F (700°C) (2005, pp. 96, 176-77). A supposedly scientific argument cannot arbitrarily add 180°F just because it happens to need it. In any case, besides the fact that this figure is entirely unsupported by any evidence, NIST’s theory finally depends on the claim that the core columns failed as “a result of both splice connection failures and fracture of the columns themselves,” because they were “weakened significantly by . . . thermal effects” (2005, pp. 88, 180). But there is no explanation of how these massive columns would have been caused to “fracture,” even if the temperatures had gotten to those heights. As a study issued in the UK put it: “Thermal expansion and the response of the whole frame to this effect has not been described [by NIST] as yet” (Lane and Lamont, 2005).

[27] The RDX quotation is in Tom Held, ‘Hoan Bridge Blast Set Back to Friday,’ www.jsonline.com (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), Updated Dec. 19, 2000 (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/dec00/hoan20121900a.asp ). The DREXS quotation is in Hufschmid’s video, “Painful Deceptions” (www.EricHufschmid.Net).

[28] In that statement, Hoffman said that most of the sections seemed to be no more than 30-feet long. He later revised this, saying that, judging from an aerial image taken 12 days after the attacks, most of the pieces seemed to be between 24 and 48 feet long, with only a few over 50 feet. He also noted that “the lengths of the pieces bears little resemblance to the lengths of the steel parts known to have gone into the construction,” which means that one could not reasonably infer that the pieces simply broke at their joints (e-mail letter, September 27, 2005).

[29] The available evidence, says Hoffman (2003), suggests that the dust particles were very small indeed—on the order of 10 microns.

[30] Hoffman (“The Twin Towers Demolition”) says that the clouds expanded to five times the diameter of the towers in the first ten seconds. The Demolition of the Kingdome can be viewed at the website of Controlled Demolition, Inc. (http://www.controlled-demolition.com/default.asp?reqLocId=7&reqItemId=20030317140323). The demolition of the Reading Grain Facility can be seen at ImplosionWorld.com (http://implosionworld.com/reading.html).

[31]Jim Hoffman, “The Twin Towers Demolition.”

[32]For visual evidence of this and the preceding characteristics (except sliced steel), see Hufschmid’s Painful Questions; Hufschmid’s video “Painful Deceptions” (available at www.EricHufschmid.Net); Jim Hoffman’s website (http://911research.wtc7.net/index.html); and Jeff King’s website (http://home.comcast.net/~jeffrey.king2/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html), especially “The World Trade Center Collapse: How Strong is the Evidence for a Controlled Demolition?”

[33] Bollyn says (e-mail letter of October 27, 2005) that these statements were made to him personally during telephone interviews with Tully and Loizeaux, probably in the summer of 2002. Bollyn added that although he is not positive about the date of the telephone interviews, he is always “very precise about quotes” (http://www.americanfreepress.net/09_03_02/NEW_SEISMIC_/new_seismic_.html).

[34]Professor Allison Geyh (2001) of Johns Hopkins, who was part of a team of public health investigators who visited the site shortly after 9/11, wrote: “In some pockets now being uncovered they are finding molten steel”. Dr. Keith Eaton, who somewhat later toured the site with an engineer, said that he was shown slides of “molten metal, which was still red hot weeks after the event” (Structural Engineer, 2002, p. 6). Herb Trimpe (2002), an Episcopalian deacon who served as a chaplain at Ground Zero, said: “[I]t was actually warmer on site. The fires burned, up to 2,000 degrees, underground for quite a while. . . . I talked to many contractors and they said . . . beams had just totally had been melted because of the heat.”

[35] This article in Popular Mechanics is, to be blunt, spectacularly bad. Besides the problems pointed out here and in note 11, above, and note 39, below, the article makes this amazing claim: “In the decade before 9/11, NORAD intercepted only one civilian plane over North America: golfer Payne Stewart’s Learjet, in October 1999.” In reality, as genuine 9/11 researchers know, the FAA reported in a news release on Aug. 9, 2002, that it had scrambled fighters 67 times between September 2000 and June 2001, and the Calgary Herald (Oct. 13, 2001) reported that NORAD scrambled fighters 129 times in 2000. By extrapolation, we can infer that NORAD had scrambled fighters over 1000 times in the decade prior to 9/11. The claim by Popular Mechanics could be true only if in all of these cases, except for the Payne Stewart incident, the fighters were called back to base before they actually intercepted the aircraft in question. This is a most unlikely possibility, especially in light of the fact that Major Mike Snyder, a NORAD spokesperson, reportedly told the Boston Globe a few days after 9/11 that “[NORAD’S] fighters routinely intercept aircraft” (Johnson, 2001).

As to why Popular Mechanics would have published such a bad article, one clue is perhaps provided by the fact that the article’s “senior researcher” was 25-year old Benjamin Chertoff, cousin of Michael Chertoff, the new head of the Department of Homeland Security (see Bollyn, 2005a). Another relevant fact is that this article was published shortly after a coup at this Hearst-owned magazine, in which the editor-in-chief was replaced (see Bollyn, 2005b). Young Chertoff’s debunking article has itself been effectively debunked by many genuine 9/11 researchers, such as Jim Hoffman, “Popular Mechanics’ Assault on 9/11 Truth,” Global Outlook 10 (Spring-Summer 2005), 21-42 (which was based on Hoffman, “Popular Mechanics’ Deceptive Smear Against 9/11 Truth,” 911Review.com, February 15, 2005 [http://911review.com/pm/markup/index.html]), and Peter Meyer, “Reply to Popular Mechanics re 9/11,” http://www.serendipity.li/wot/pop_mech/reply_to_popular_mechanics.htm. To be sure, these articles by Hoffman and Meyer, while agreeing on many points, take different approaches in response to some of the issues raised. But both articles demonstrate that Popular Mechanics owes its readers an apology for publishing such a massively flawed article on such an important subject.

[36] NBC’s Pat Dawson reported from the WTC on the morning of 9/11 that he had been told by Albert Turi, the Fire Department’s Deputy Assistant Chief of Safety, that “another explosion . . . took place . . . an hour after the first crash . . . in one of the towers here. So obviously . . . he thinks that there were actually devices that were planted in the building” (Watson and Perez, 2004). A Wall Street Journal reporter said: “I heard this metallic roar, looked up and saw what I thought was just a peculiar site of individual floors, one after the other exploding outward. I thought to myself, “My God, they’re going to bring the building down.” And they, whoever they are, HAD SET CHARGES . . . . I saw the explosions” (Shepard and Trost, 2002). BBC reporter Steve Evans said: “I was at the base of the second tower . . . that was hit. . . . There was an explosion. . . . [T]he base of the building shook. . . . [T]hen when we were outside, the second explosion happened and then there was a series of explosions” (BBC, Sept. 11, 2001; quoted in Bollyn, 2002).

[37] In June of 2002, NBC television played a segment from tapes recorded on 9/11 that contained the following exchange involving firefighters in the south tower:

Official: Battalion 3 to dispatch, we’ve just had another explosion.

Official: Battalion 3 to dispatch, we’ve had additional explosion.

Dispatcher: Received battalion command. Additional explosion (“911 Tapes Tell Horror Of 9/11,” Part 2, “Tapes Released For First Time”, NBC, June 17, 2002 [www.wnbc.com/news/1315651/detail.html ]).

Firefighter Louie Cacchioli reported that upon entering the north tower’s lobby, he saw elevator doors completely blown out and people being hit with debris. “I remember thinking . . . how could this be happening so quickly if a plane hit way above?” When he reached the 24th floor, he encountered heavy dust and smoke, which he found puzzling in light of the fact that the plane had struck the building over 50 stories higher. Shortly thereafter, he and another fireman “heard this huge explosion that sounded like a bomb. It was such a loud noise, it knocked off the lights and stalled the elevator.” After they pried themselves out of the elevator, he reported, “another huge explosion like the first one hits. This one hits about two minutes later . . . [and] I’m thinking, ‘Oh. My God, these bastards put bombs in here like they did in 1993!’ . . . Then as soon as we get in the stairwell, I hear another huge explosion like the other two. Then I heard bang, bang, bang—huge bangs” (Szymanski, 2005a). A briefer account of Cacchioli’s testimony was made available in the Sept. 24, 2001, issue of People magazine, some of which is quoted in Griffin, 2004, Ch. 1, note 74.

[38] Terri Tobin, a lieutenant with the NYPD public information office, said that during or just after the collapse of the south tower, “all I heard were extremely loud explosions. I thought we were being bombed” (Fink and Mathias, 2002, p. 82). A story in the Guardian said: “In New York, police and fire officials were carrying out the first wave of evacuations when the first of the World Trade Centre towers collapsed. Some eyewitnesses reported hearing another explosion just before the structure crumbled. Police said that it looked almost like a ‘planned implosion’” (Borger, Campbell, Porter, and Millar, 2001).

[39] Teresa Veliz, who worked for a software development company, was on the 47th floor of the north tower when suddenly “the whole building shook. . . . [Shortly thereafter] the building shook again, this time even more violently.” Veliz then made it downstairs and outside. During this period, she says: “There were explosions going off everywhere. I was convinced that there were bombs planted all over the place and someone was sitting at a control panel pushing detonator buttons” (Murphy, 2002).

William Rodriguez worked as a janitor in the north tower. While he was checking in for work in the office on sub-level 1 at 9:00 AM, he reports, he and the other 14 people in the office heard and felt a massive explosion below them. “When I heard the sound of the explosion,” he says, “the floor beneath my feet vibrated, the walls started cracking and everything started shaking. . . . Seconds [later], I hear another explosion from way above. . . . Although I was unaware at the time, this was the airplane hitting the tower.” Then co-worker Felipe David, who had been in front of a nearby freight elevator, came into the office with severe burns on his face and arms yelling “explosion! explosion! explosion!” According to Rodriguez: “He was burned terribly. The skin was hanging off his hands and arms. His injuries couldn’t have come from the airplane above, but only from a massive explosion below” (Szymanski, 2005b).

Stationary engineer Mike Pecoraro, who was working in the north tower’s sixth sub-basement, stated that after his co-worker reported seeing lights flicker, they called upstairs to find out what happened. They were told that there had been a loud explosion and the whole building seemed to shake. Pecoraro and Chino then went up to the C level, where there was a small machine shop, but it was gone. “There was nothing there but rubble,” said Pecoraro. “We’re talking about a 50 ton hydraulic press–gone!” They then went to the parking garage, but found that it, too, was gone. “There were no walls.” Then on the B Level, they found that a steel-and-concrete fire door, which weighed about 300 pounds, was wrinkled up “like a piece of aluminum foil.” Finally, when they went up to the ground floor: “The whole lobby was soot and black, elevator doors were missing. The marble was missing off some of the walls” (Chief Engineer, 2002).

One of the “prevalent claims” of 9/11 skeptics that Popular Mechanics tries to debunk (see note 11, above) is the claim that explosives were detonated in the lower levels of the tower. The magazine, however, conveniently ignores the testimonies of Veliz, Rodriguez, and Pecoraro.

[40] This expert is Van Romero, vice president for research at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Romero had previously been the director of this institute’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center, which studies the effects of explosions on buildings.

[41] Romero, it is true, changed his public stance 10 days later, as announced in Fleck, 2001. But this is not a convincing retraction. “Subsequent conversations with structural engineers and more detailed looks at the tape,” according to this article, led Romero to conclude that “the intense heat of the jet fuel fires weakened the skyscrapers’ steel structural beams to the point that they gave way under the weight of the floors above.” But there is no indication as to what any structural engineer said, or what Romero saw in his “more detailed looks at the tape,” that led him to change his earlier view that the collapses were “too methodical” to have been produced by anything except explosives. There is no suggestion as to how weakened beams would have led to a total collapse that began suddenly and occurred at virtually free-fall speed. Romero has subsequently claimed that he did not change his stance. Rather, he claimed that he had been misquoted in the first story. “I was misquoted in saying that I thought it was explosives that brought down the building. I only said that that’s what it looked like” (Popular Mechanics, 2005). But if that is the truth, it is strange that the second story, written by Fleck, did not say this but instead said that Romero had changed his mind. Romero clearly did change his mind—or, to be more precise, his public stance.

A clue to the reason for this change may be provided by another statement in the original article, which said that when the Pentagon was struck, “[Romero] and Denny Peterson, vice president for administration and finance [at New Mexico Tech], were en route to an office building near the Pentagon to discuss defense-funded research programs at Tech” (Uyttebrouck, 2001). Indeed, as pointed out in a later story on the New Mexico Tech website (“Tech Receives $15 M for Anti-Terrorism Program” [http://infohost.nmt.edu/mainpage/news/2002/25sept03.html ]), the December 2003 issue of Influence magazine named Romero one of “six lobbyists who made an impact in 2003,” adding that “[a] major chunk of [Romero’s] job involves lobbying for federal government funding, and if the 2003 fiscal year was any indication, Romero was a superstar,” having obtained about $56 million for New Mexico Tech in that year alone. In light of the fact that Romero gave no scientific reasons for his change of stance, it does not seem unwarranted to infer that the real reason was his realization, perhaps forced upon him by government officials, that unless he publicly retracted his initial statements, his effectiveness in lobbying the federal government for funds would be greatly reduced. Romero, to be sure, denies this, saying: “Conspiracy theorists came out saying that the government got to me. That is the farthest thing from the truth” (Popular Mechanics, 2005). But that, of course, is what we would expect Romero to say in either case. He could have avoided the charge only by giving a persuasive account of how the buildings could have come down, in the manner they did, without explosives.

[42] As Dwyer explained, the oral histories “were originally gathered on the order of Thomas Von Essen, who was the city fire commissioner on Sept. 11, who said he wanted to preserve those accounts before they became reshaped by a collective memory.”

[43] The 9/11 oral histories are available at a New York Times website (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/ met_WTC_histories_full_01.html). I am heavily indebted to Matthew Everett, who located and passed on to me virtually all the statements I have quoted from these oral histories.

[44] Like many others, Dixon indicated that he later came to accept the official interpretation, adding: “Then I guess in some sense of time we looked at it and realized, no, actually it just collapsed. That’s what blew out the windows, not that there was an explosion there but that windows blew out.” I have here, however, focused on what the witnesses said they first experienced and thought, as distinct from any interpretation they may have later accepted.

[45] Some of the testimonies also mentioned the creation of a dust cloud after the explosions. One firefighter said: “You heard like loud booms . . . and then we got covered with rubble and dust” (NYT, Viola, p. 3). Another said: “That’s when hell came down. It was like a huge, enormous explosion. . . . The wind rushed. . . , all the dust. . . and everything went dark” (NYT, Rivera, p. 7). Lieutenant William Wall said: “[W]e heard an explosion. We looked up and the building was coming down . . . . We ran a little bit and then we were overtaken by the cloud” (NYT, Wall, p. 9). Paramedic Louis Cook, having said that there was “an incredible amount of dust and smoke,” added that there was, “without exaggerating, a foot and a half of dust on my car” (NYT, Cook, pp. 8, 35).

[46] Even if we were generous to a fault and allowed that there might be as high as a 1-in-10 chance (a chance much higher than 1-in-100, or 1-in-500) that any one of the 11 features could occur without explosives, the chance that all 11 of them would occur together would be one in 100 billion. (This calculation with its very generous assumption of 1-in-10 does assume the 11 are independent of each other. For more completeness, if only 6 were independent while 5 were correlated to others, we would still have one chance in a million. Yet, if the chance were 1-in-100 and each is independent, we would have one chance in ten-to-the-22nd-power.)

Were we to also add in the probability that all these features would occur in three buildings on the same day, the probability would become so vanishingly small that it would be hardly distinguishable from zero.

On the other hand, if explosives were used in the buildings, there would be a high probability that all 11 features would have occurred in all three buildings. For this argument, I am indebted to James Fetzer, who—through his essay “‘Conspiracy Theories’: The Case of 9/11″—inspired it, and to Paul Zarembka, who helped with the final formulation.

[47] A nice summary of the argument for this conclusion has been provided by Nila Sagadevan (e-mail communication of November 8, 2005) in response to a person who asked: “Are you saying all the floors simply fell down as though there were nothing supporting them?” Stating that this is precisely what he was saying, he then suggested the following thought-experiment:

Imagine a massive steel cable, lowered from a tall crane, firmly secured to the middle of the uppermost (110th) floor of one of the towers.

Now, imagine that this floor were somehow decoupled from the rest of the structure beneath it.

Summon your personal genie and have him make all 109 floors and supporting structures beneath this now-supported slab magically disappear.

What we now have is our concrete floor slab dangling 1,350 feet up in the sky, suspended by a cable from our imaginary crane.

Now, have your genie cut the cable.

Your 110th floor would now freefall through the air and impact the ground in about 9 seconds (which is about how long it took for the top floors of both towers to reach the ground).

Now, imagine a variation of this scenario: We will not decouple the top floor nor dabble with a crane.

Instead, we shall ask our genial genie to magically “soften” all the supporting columns of the lower 109 floors.

Wouldn’t every one of these floors and their now-softened supporting structures immediately begin to buckle under the weight of the 110th floor?

Wouldn’t this buckling significantly slow down the descent of the top floor by continuing to offer a degree of resistance to its descent?

Wouldn’t these progressive viscous “arrests”—-the sagging steel aided by ripping rivets, shearing bolts and tearing welds—-slow down the top floor’s fall significantly?

Wouldn’t this cause the top floor to take a lot longer than 9 seconds to eventually reach the end of its descent and come to rest atop the crushed pile of floors beneath it?

But on September 11, 2001, every floor, of every tower, fell as though nothing existed below it but air.

For that to happen, every supporting (i.e., resisting) column beneath every collapsing floor would have had to have been taken out of the way.

Only well-placed explosives can do that.

This is what happens in a controlled demolition.

Sagadevan’s point is not significantly affected if we say that the collapse time was closer to 15 seconds, since that is still very close to free-fall speed through the air.

[48]The official investigators found that they had less authority than the clean-up crews, a fact that led the Science Committee of the House of Representatives to report that “the lack of authority of investigators to impound pieces of steel for examination before they were recycled led to the loss of important pieces of evidence” (http://www.house.gov/science/hot/wtc/wtc-report/WTC_ch5.pdf).

[49] “Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris,” Eastday.com, January 24, 2002 (http://www.china.org.cn/english/2002/Jan/25776.htm ).

[50] This removal was, moreover, carried out with the utmost care, because “the loads consisted of highly sensitive material.” Each truck was equipped with a Vehicle Location Device, connected to GPS. “The software recorded every trip and location, sending out alerts if the vehicle traveled off course, arrived late at its destination, or deviated from expectations in any other way. . . . One driver . . . took an extended lunch break of an hour and a half. . . . [H]e was dismissed” (Emigh, 2002).

[51] New York Times, December 25, 2001. This protest was echoed by Professor Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, who said: “Where there is a car accident and two people are killed, you keep the car until the trial is over. If a plane crashes, not only do you keep the plane, but you assemble all the pieces, take it to a hangar, and put it together. That’s only for 200, 300 people, when they die. In this case, you had 3,000 people dead. You had a major . . . manmade structure. My wish was that we had spent whatever it takes. . . . Get all this steel, carry it to a lot. Instead of recycling it. . . . After all, this is a crime scene and you have to figure out exactly what happened“ (CBS News, March 12, 2002).

[52] Bloomberg was thereby recommending precisely what Bill Manning, the editor of Fire Engineering, had warned against when he wrote: “As things now stand . . . , the investigation into the World Trade Center fire and collapse will amount to paper-and computer-generated hypotheticals” (Manning, 2002). What Bloomberg desired and Manning feared is exactly what we got with the NIST Report. It is, in fact, even worse. Physicist Steven Jones, after pointing out that there are “zero examples of fire-caused high-rise collapses” and that even NIST’s “actual [computer] models fail to collapse,” asks: “So how does the NIST team justify the WTC collapses?” He answers: “Easy, NIST concocted computer-generated hypotheticals for very ‘severe’ cases,” and then these cases were further modified to get the desired result. The NIST Report, Jones adds, admits this, saying on page 142: “The more severe case . . . was used for the global analysis of each tower. Complete sets of simulations were then performed for [these cases]. To the extent that the simulations deviated from the photographic evidence or eyewitness reports [e.g., complete collapse occurred], the investigators adjusted the input” (Jones, 2006).

[53] “Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris.”

[54] Bill Manning wrote: “The structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers. Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the ‘official investigation’ blessed by FEMA . . . is a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure. Except for the marginal benefit obtained from a three-day, visual walk-through of evidence sites conducted by ASCE investigation committee members—described by one close source as a ‘tourist trip’—no one’s checking the evidence for anything” (Manning, 2002).

[55] See the section headed “The ASCE’s Disclosures of Steel Sulfidation” in Hoffman, 2005.

[56] For visual evidence, see Hoffman, “North Tower Collapse Video Frames: Video Evidence of the North Tower Collapse,” 9-11 Research.wtc7.net, n.d. (http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/videos/wtc1_close_frames.html ).

[57] Marvin Bush’s role in the company is mentioned in Craig Unger, 2004, p. 249.

[58]Forbes’ statement is posted at www.apfn.org/apfn/patriotic.htm.

[59] For Giuliani’s complete statement, see “Who told Giuliani the WTC Was Going to Collapse on 9/11?”, What Really Happened, n.d. (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/wtc_giuliani.html); it can be heard at www.wireonfire.com/donpaul .

[60] As Hufschmid points out, “photos show the spectacular flames vanished quickly, and then the fire . . . slowly diminished” (2002, p. 38).

[61] “If the . . . intention was to blame the collapse on the fires,” Peter Meyer has written, “then the latest time at which the towers could be collapsed would be just as the fires were dying down. Since the fire in the South Tower resulted from the combustion of less fuel. . . , the fire in the South Tower began to go out earlier. . . . Those controlling the demolition thus had to collapse the South Tower before they collapsed the North Tower” (Peter Meyer, n.d.).

[62] Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division Chief John Peruggia said that he was told that the “north tower was in danger of a near imminent collapse.” Medical technician Richard Zarrillo, evidently a liaison between the OEM and EMS, said that he was told that “the buildings are going to collapse.” Fire Marshal Stephen Mosiello and Deputy Assistant Chief of Safety Albert Turi also used the plural (“buildings”) in reporting what they heard from Zarrillo. Turi reported that when Zarrillo was asked “where are we getting these reports?”, his reply was: “you know, we’re not sure, OEM is just reporting this” (NYT, Oral Histories of Peruggia, Zarrillo, Mosiello, and Turi).

[63] In “A Brief History of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management,” we read: “1996: By executive order, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management is created. The Director reports directly to the Mayor, and serves as the local Director of Civil Defense” (  http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/other/oem_history.html  ).

[64] “The city . . . initially refused access to the records to investigators from . . . the 9/11 Commission” but “relented when legal action was threatened” (Dwyer, 2005b).

[65] Glanz (2001) wrote that “[e]xperts said no building like it, a modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire.”

[66]For photographs and discussion, see Hufschmid, 2002, pp. 62-65, and the section entitled “The ‘Raging’ Fires at WTC Tower Seven” in “The World Trade Center Fires (Not So Hot Eh?),” Global Research, September 27, 2004 (http://globalresearch.ca.myforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=523 ).

[67]FEMA, 2002, Ch. 5, Sect. 6.2, “Probable Collapse Sequence,” discussed in Griffin, 2004, p. 22.

[68] Hufschmid, 2002, p. 64. The collapse of building 7 also had all the other features of conventional demolitions, such as beginning suddenly and then going down at virtually free-fall speed—which in this case meant under 7 seconds. This similarity to conventional implosions was commented on by Dan Rather. Showing a video of the collapse of building 7 on CBS that very evening, Rather said that it was “reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television before when a building was deliberately destroyed by well-placed dynamite to knock it down” (CBS News, September 11, 2001). Videos of the collapse of building 7, which have seldom appeared on mainstream television, can be viewed at various websites, including  www.geocities.com/killtown/wtc7.html
 and www.whatreallyhappened.com/wtc7.html. Particularly good for this purpose is Eric Hufschmid’s DVD, “Painful Deceptions” (available at www.EricHufschmid.Net).

[69] Implosion World.com ( http://www.implosionworld.com/dyk2.html  ).

[70] Steven Jones, e-mail letter, October 10, 2005.

[71] See Norman, 2002, and Firehouse Magazine, 2002a and 2002b.

[72] Chief Frank Fellini said that the collapse zone was established “five or six hours” before the building came down, which would have been around noon (NYT, Fellini, p. 3). This time fits with the testimony of a firefighter who said he “heard reports all day long of 7 World Trade possibly coming down” and of another who said: “We hung out for hours waiting for seven to come down” (NYT, Murray, p. 12, and Massa, pp. 17-18).

[73] Even earthquakes, which have produced some partial collapses, have never produced total collapses.

[74] “[F]ederal investigators concluded that it had been primarily the impact of the planes and, more specifically, the extreme fires that spread in their wake, that had caused the buildings to fall. . . . After the planes hit, . . . [m]uch of the spray-on fireproofing in the impact zone was dislodged, leaving the structural steel exposed and mortally vulnerable to the intense heat” (Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, p. 252). These co-authors (p. 253) even endorse NIST’s claim—-which is totally unsupported (Hoffman, 2005)–that the collapses became “inevitable.”

[75] Dwyer, in fact, wrote an article entitled “Vast Archive Yields New View of 9/11,” New York Times, August 13, 2005 ( http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/13/nyregion/nyregionspecial3/13records.html?ex=1131339600&en=e619ef623287178f&ei=5070
  ). But he did not mention the “new view” that would be suggested by the testimonies about explosions.

[76] Silverstein’s statement has been quoted in many places, including Morgan and Henshall (2005). A critique of this book entitled “9/11 Revealed? New Book Repeats False Conspiracy Theories,” put out by the U.S. State Department (http://usinfo.state.gov/media/Archive/2005/Sep/16-241966.html ), claims that “[t]he property owner was referring to pulling a contingent of firefighters out of the building in order to save lives because it appeared unstable.” But that is hardly a plausible interpretation, especially given the following sentence and the fact that elsewhere during the documentary (PBS, 2002), we hear the expression clearly used to mean “bring the building down.”

[77] Silverstein’s statement can be viewed (http://www.infowars.com/Video/911/wtc7_pbs.WMV) or heard on audio file (http://VestigialConscience.com/PullIt.mp3). For a discussion, see Baker, n.d.

[78] Currid, incidentally, was re-elected president in 2002 (http://www.uniondemocracy.com/UDR/34-NYC%20Public%20Employees.htm ).

[79] Letter to the LA Times Magazine, September 18, 2005, by William Yarchin of Huntington Beach, California, in response to an interview with me in that magazine, conducted by Mark Ehrman, entitled “Getting Agnostic about 9/11,” published August 28, 2005.



Baker, Jeremy, n.d. “PBS Documentary: Silverstein, FDNY Razed WTC 7,” Infowars.com (http://www.infowars.com/print/Sept11/FDNY.htm ).

Barter, Sheila, 2001. “How the World Trade Center Fell,” BBC News, September 13 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1540044.stm).

Bollyn, Christopher, 2001. “Some Survivors Say ‘Bombs Exploded Inside WTC,’” American Free Press, October 22 ( http://www.americanfreepress.net/10_22_01/Some_Survivors_Say__Bombs_Expl/some_survivors_say__bombs_expl.html  ).

__________, 2002. “New York Firefighters’ Final Words Fuel Burning Questions About 9-11,” American Free Press, August 9 ( http://americanfreepress.net/08_09_02/New_York_Firefighters__/new_york_firefighters.html ).

_____, 2004. “New Seismic Data Refutes Official Explanation,” American Free Press, updated April 12.

_____, 2005a. “9/11 and Chertoff: Cousin Wrote 9/11 Propaganda for PM,” Rumor Mill News, March 4 (http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=66176 ).

_____, 2005b. “The Hidden Hand of the C.I.A. and the 9/11 Propaganda of Popular Mechanics,” American Free Press, March 19 (http://www.rense.com/general63/brutalpurgeofPMstaff.htm ).

Borger, Julian, Duncan Campbell, Charlie Porter, and Stuart Millar, 2001. “Special Report: Terrorism in the US,” Guardian, September 12 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/story/0,11209,600839,00.html).

Brannigan, Francis L., Glenn P. Corbett, and Vincent Dunn, 2002. “WTC ’Investigation’?: A Call to Action” Fire Engineering, January (http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm ?Section=ARCHI&ARTICLE_ID=133211&VERSION_NUM=1&p=25).

Burns, Maggie, 2003. “Secrecy Surrounds a Bush Brother’s Role in 9/11 Security,” American Reporter, 9/2021, January 20.

Bush, George W., 2001. Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations, November 10.

Chief Engineer, The, 2002. “We will Not Forget: A Day of Terror” (http://www.chiefengineer.org/article.cfm?seqnum1=1029)

Dwyer, Jim, 2005a. “Vast Archive Yields New View of 9/11,” New York Times, August 13 (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/13/nyregion/nyregionspecial3/13records.html ?pagewanted=print).

_____, 2005b. “City to Release Thousands of Oral Histories of 9/11 Today,” New York Times, August 12.

Dwyer, Jim, and Ford Fessenden, 2002. “Lost Voices of Firefighters, Some on 78th Floor,” New York Times, August 4 (http://www.mishalov.com/wtc_lostvoicesfiredept.html ).

Dwyer, Jim, and Kevin Flynn, 2005. 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers, New York: Times Books.

Eagar, Thomas, 2002. “The Collapse: An Engineer’s Perspective,” which is part of “Why the Towers Fell,” NOVA, April 30 (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/wtc/collapse.html).

Eagar, Thomas, and Christopher Musso, 2001. “Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation,” JOM: Journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, 53/12, pp. 8-11.

Else, Liz, 2004. “Baltimore Blasters,” New Scientist 183/2457 (July 24): p. 48 (http://archive.newscientist.com/secure/article/article.jsp ?rp=1&id=mg18324575.700). The reason for the title is that the office of Controlled Demolition, Inc., is near Baltimore.

Emigh, Jacqueline, 2002. “GPS on the Job in Massive World Trade Center Clean-Up,” July 1 (http://securitysolutions.com/ar/security_gps_job_massive ).

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Field, Andy, 2004. “A Look Inside a Radical New Theory of the WTC Collapse,” Firehouse.com, February 7 (http://cms.firehouse.com/content/article/article.jsp?sectionId=46&id=25807 ).

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 Firehouse Magazine, 2002a. “WTC: This Is Their Story: Interview with Deputy Chief Peter Hayden,” April (http://www.firehouse.com/terrorist/911/magazine/gz/hayden.html ).

Firehouse Magazine, 2002b. “WTC: This Is Their Story: Interview with Captain Chris Boyle,” August (www.firehouse.com/terrorist/911/magazine/gz/boyle.html ).

Fleck, John, 2001. “Fire, Not Extra Explosives, Doomed Buildings, Expert Says,” Albuquerque Journal, September 21 (http://www.abqjournal.com/terror/anniversary/pmvan09-21-01.htm ).

Fink, Mitchell, and Lois Mathias, 2002. Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11, 2001. New York: Harper Collins.

Geyh, Allison, 2001. Magazine of Johns Hopkins Public Health, Late Fall.

Glanz, James. 2001. “Engineers Are Baffled over the Collapse of 7 WTC; Steel Members Have Been Partly Evaporated,” New York Times, November 29.

lanz, James, and Eric Lipton, 2002. “Towers Withstood Impact, but Fell to Fire, Report Says,” New York Times, March 29.

Glover, Norman, 2002. “Collapse Lessons,” Fire Engineering, October ( http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm ?Section=Archi&Subsection=Display&P=25&ARTICLE_ID=163411&KEYWORD=norman %20glover ).

Griffin, David Ray, 2004. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about 9/11 and the Bush Administration. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch (Interlink).

___________, 2005a. The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch (Interlink).

_________, 2005b. “9/11 and the American Empire: How Should Religious People Respond?” 9/11 CitizensWatch, May 7 (http://www.911itizenswatch.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=535 ).

_____________, 2005c. “9/11 and the Mainstream Press,” 9/11 Visibility Project, July 29 (http://www.septembereleventh.org/newsarchive/2005-07-29-pressclub.php ).

_____, 2005d. “Truth and Politics of 9/11: Omissions and Distortions of The 9/11 Commission Report,” Global Outlook, Issue 10 (Spring-Summer), pp. 45-56. Available at www.GlobalOutlook.ca.

Griffin, David Ray, and Peter Dale Scott, eds., 2006. 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch (Interlink).

Hansen, Thomas, 2005. “Outrageous Conspiracy Theories: Report on a Conversation with Philip Zelikow,” 9/11 Visibility Project, June 7 (http://www.septembereleventh.org/newsarchive/2005-06-07-outrageous.php ).

Heller, David, 2005. “Taking a Closer Look: Hard Science and the Collapse of the World Trade Center,” Garlic and Grass, Issue 6, November 24 (http://www.garlicandgrass.org/issue6/Dave_Heller.cfm ).

History Channel, The, 2002. “The World Trade Center: Rise and Fall of an American Icon,” September 8.

Hoffman, Jim, 2003. “The North Tower’s Dust Cloud: Analysis of Energy Requirements for the Expansion of the Dust Cloud Following the Collapse of 1 World Trade Center,” Version 3, 9-11 Research.wtc7.net, October 16 (http://911research.wtc7.net/papers/dustvolume/volume.html ).

_____, 2004. “Your Eyes Don’t Lie: Common Sense, Physics, and the World Trade Center Collapses,” 9-11 Research.wtc7.net (http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/radio/youreyesdontlie/index.html  ).

_____, 2005. “Building a Better Mirage: NIST’s 3-Year $20,000,000 Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century,” 911 Research, August 21 (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/nist/index.html).

Hufschmid, Eric, 2002. Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack. Goleta, CA: Endpoint Software.

Johnson, Glen, 2001. “Otis Fighter Jets Scrambled Too Late to Halt the Attacks,” Boston Globe, September 15 (http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=print ).

Jones, Steven E., 2006. “Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?” In Griffin and Scott, eds., 2006.

Kean, Thomas H., and Lee H. Hamilton, 2004. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Authorized Edition, New York: W. W. Norton. (For the sake of convenience, Kean and Hamilton, who as chair and vice-chair of the Commission, respectively, signed the Preface, are listed as the Report’s authors.)

Killough-Miller, Joan, 2002. “The ‘Deep Mystery’ of Melted Steel,” WPI Transformations, Spring (http://www.wpi.edu/News/Transformations/2002Spring/steel.html ).

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Nieto, Robin, 2004. “Fire Practically Destroys Venezuela’s Tallest Building,” Venezuelanalysis.com, October 18.

NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology), 2005. Final Report of the National Construction Safety Team on the Collapses of the World Trade Center Towers (Draft), June.

Norman, John, 2002. “Search and Rescue Operations,” Fire Engineering, October.

Paul, Don, and Jim Hoffman, 2004. Waking Up from Our Nightmare: The 9/11/01 Crimes in New York City. San Francisco: Irresistible/Revolutionary.

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Government Has Been Covering up Radiation Danger for 67 Years

The U.S. and other governments have been covering up nuclear meltdowns for fifty years to protect the nuclear power industry.

It turns out that the U.S. tried to cover up the destructive nature of radiation produced by nuclear weapons 67 years ago. As Democracy Now reports:

The army was well aware in 1943 of the enormous potential for radiation dangers to civilians and military personnel as a result of the use of radioactive weapons ….

[The New York Times] was essentially putting out the official government narrative [regarding the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki], which is that atomic radiation is not harmful, is not a major byproduct of the nuclear weapons program. You know, it’s only the blast that has essentially a very short impact. The reason that this has importance is that for really a half century, this narrative became the government’s response to all protests against nuclear power, the nuclear weapons programs of the 1950s and 1960s and the Cold War. So, [The New York Times] essentially set the table that the government was to occupy for the next half century as they disputed any attempt to rein in, you know, the rapid acceleration of nuclear weapons and power programs.

Nothing has changed. Governments worldwide continue to this day to cover up the amount – and health effects – of radiation released by military and energy facilities.

And the same considerations which drove the cover up in 1945 are still driving it. The archaic uranium reactor designs developed more than 40 years ago are good for making bombs.

Planetary Crossroads! Where Do We Want to Go?

August 17th, 2012 by Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri

We are now at a grave planetary crossroad. Individually, we are also at potentially and dramatically life-changing times. Jokingly, baseball legend Yogi Berra use to say: “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.” So, where do we truly want to go?


Well, now we have two choices. Collectively, as wrecked societies and battered cultures that have been created by insider elites, wealthy banksters and their government cohorts, our “strings” have been pulled to conform and dance to rigged criminal tunes. This is all for the benefit of a dark cabal, a new world dis-order. It is all based on harm and destruction.

Individually, most humans have bought into rigged news and a Western culture, based on fear and chronic violence.

The now illegal “perpetual” war machine (funded by tax-payer money and black ops) is the only thing that “works”. Killing is thriving, while real health care, education, elder care, and infra-structure (with thousands of crumbling bridges and wrecked roads) are all trashed.

Those in power, whether at a local, state, or federal level are gutting every social service to supposedly balance the budget. Any “public” agency no longer works for us.

This actually funds war and killing. These criminals are not working for us. They’ve been paid off or threatened. Either way, no one in public office is working for “we, the people.”  A new report on the FDA’s internal spying on their staff is just the latest example of their being co-opted by the pharmaceutical corporations

The corruption and stench of criminality is so pervasive throughout all governments that it is not fixable in its present state. This entire system is bereft of any moral or ethical values. It far surpasses the days of Caligula and ancient Rome. Further, the corporate-controlled media is part of the news-lies “reported” to us. It is all hype and planned drivel to a dumbed-down, brain-damaged populace. Cell phones, “Smart” Meters, and other EMF/RF invisible harm, plus prescription mind-altering drugs and other chemicals we breathe are wrecking our ability to think clearly. This was just so evident on a New York City radio interview I did last week. I believe that millions of people are aware of what is happening.

Hate permeates our society. It stems from FEAR and is the lowest aspect of our behavior. It is based in our lesser charkas and our reptilian brain. Just look around you! Movies, “games”(?), television programs, children’s and adult’s activities –all are filled with out-of-control VIOLENCE. Is this what we want to teach our innocent, small children and grandchildren as they grow up? Do we want them harmed as they grow up? Do we want their hearts filled with insensitivity and hate? When we teach our children to look both ways before crossing, we are teaching them precaution and care. We want the best for those we love! We pray for peace; but the cabal creates war after war. Is this the world we really want?

REMEMBER: This scenario of our daily lives (now gutted, with millions having lost their homes and jobs) is filled with chronic poverty. Millions of children around our world go to bed without food. Illness abounds now that the food supply is poisoned with GMO’s, Aspartame, fluoride, pesticides and other toxic metals and chemicals. Vaccines are loaded with more poisons, under the Orwellian guise of “protecting” us. Yet, they are covertly filled with more dangerous and lethal ingredients. The air we share and breathe is filled with deadly pollution and aerosol Chemtrails.

The military has changed our natural weather. In their hubris, they want to “own it” and continue to geo-engineered it, via Chemtrails aerosols and HAARP, to create droughts, hurricanes, floods, typhoons, tsunamis, and earthquakes.

We no longer have real weather or real clouds. All are created with toxic chemicals that have disrupted and altered our natural cycles and weather patterns. This summer’s drought is NOT a natural cycle.

Out of Control Financial Corruption

We have been manipulated by banksters and wealthy but psychopathic criminals with hearts of darkness who are bent on behind-the-scenes destruction. They have been playing both sides in many countries. We are deliberately pitted against one another. It’s their hidden agenda of massive harm. We have been lied to and deceived. It has been chronic and it permeates every facet of our daily lives. From illnesses, to education, to false-flag events, to social mores. it has all been orchestrated and RIGGED for centuries. Going back more than 200 years, this is what the Rothchilds did with their wealth. They rigged wars from behind the scenes, pitting both sides against one another. It is part of our hidden history. They are not alone. The entire global banking is a criminal enterprise; and now there is “co-operation” of 147 multi-national corporations that are destroying our lives and our planet.

The LIBOR [London Inter-Bank Offer Rate] scandal is just the latest in a decades-long scenario of continual hidden bankster manipulation and theft of massive amounts of our money. It has been the long-term plan of the New World dis-order (in collusion with government officials) to break the US and other Western countries. In essence, this has meant the loss of millions of jobs and the theft of millions of homes. From personal discussions with several close friends, the banks and mortgage companies REFUSED to negotiate with their customers. It does not matter which mortgage company or which bank was involved. NONE of them negotiated with customers! Excuses abounded. Lies continued. People had to send and re-send hundreds of pages of “supporting evidence” to their bank/mortgage company that conveniently got “lost.” This is the way a totally broken and corrupt system “works.” In my own circle of friends, 17 have lost their homes. All these people are professionals (including my daughter). The mainstream corporate media continues to be complicit in this cover-up.

It’s not just the latest “currency war.” It is our planned destruction:

The elite have hidden $32 trillion in off shore accounts, while everything else continues to be gutted:

The “trans-national capitalists” (as reported on an August 14 Global Research article) are the ones who “characterize the dominant class structures of specific countries” and are behind the financial wreckage:

Continued printing of worthless “green toilet paper” (as I term it) is not only NOT sustainable, but has destroyed millions of people’s lives. Having just driven across the US for the ninth time, the rampant poverty is noticeable all over. But it is NOT reported. Communities are in extremis. Thousands of stores are closed. There are no jobs! Food prices continue to skyrocket. Millions of miles of roads are wrecked, but tolls are required to get from one place to another…even when driving on them is dangerous! Again, this is their hidden agenda. In essence, the tax debt is NEVER repayable, but keeps recycling through fraud to keep the 99 percent in perpetual debt slavery.

The “debt clock” is a graphic view of where this is currently. See: www.usdebtclock.org

As reported in London today, the day of reckoning is shortly to be here:

For any citizen to have to “bail out the banks” is sheer insanity. Whatever has been “reported” is a continued Orwellian cover-up. This system is NOT fixable; and Iceland is the only country to stand up to the banksters. We must ALL do the same thing!

No more. We do have another Choice!

Collectively, we have never chosen a path of peace and love. We have untapped power and marvelous creative energy to build a new world of peace, of good will, of harmony, of kindness and compassion. We can use the highest of our human potential to CHANGE and bring forth a world of real ACCORD and CARING. TRULY, THIS IS POSSIBLE! We do not have to buy into or support (in any way!) any path of harm or injury created by those planning our destruction. 

PLEASE HELP BRING PEACE to all of us! The tide is rapidly turning, as millions of us find out what is really happening with financial scandals, insider theft and trading, and enormous corporate and government lies. Collectively, we can do this. It can be done without harm! Let us join together, using our highest human potential to create a world of harmony and caring. 

The highest good of which we ALL are capable starts individually in our own hearts. This is the beginning of creating an elevated consciousness.

Latest UN Syria Report Compiled by Washington Think-Tanker

August 17th, 2012 by Tony Cartalucci

Collections of “interviews” conducted abroad and “in the field” shape latest UN report 

“The [UN] report covers the period between Feb. 15 and July 20 and involved 1,062 interviews, both in the field and in Geneva,” reported the Washington Post in their article titled, “UN expert panel concludes Syria regime, militia have committed war crimes against civilians.” The Washington Post also writes that the UN report stated, “anti-government armed groups committed war crimes, including murder, extrajudicial killings and torture.”

The value of a report based on “interviews” is throwaway propaganda – to be twisted and used by both sides accordingly, but ultimately adding nothing in terms of documented facts or forensic, photographic, and/or video evidence. While providing a window into the current state of propaganda hanging over the Syrian conflict, the report adds nothing in terms of a better understanding of actual events on the ground. The language used by the Washington Post, and the selectively accusing title chosen indicates that the “twisting” and leveraging of the UN’s latest report has already begun.

UN Report Compiled (Again) by Washington Think-Tanker  

The latest report is but a tired rehash of the equally useless UN Human Rights Council’s report (full text .pdf) published in November 2011. This too was nothing more than a collection of “interviews” conducted abroad with “witnesses” provided by Syrian opposition groups and alleged defectors.

Image: Screenshot from the Washington D.C.-based Middle East Policy Council’s board of directors from which the UN has drawn Karen Koning AbuZayd as head of their recent “expert panel” on Syria. With fellow board members representing the collective interests of the American and Gulf State corporate-financier interests currently underwriting armed militants inside Syria, the conflict of interest resigns the legitimacy of the report – based entirely on “interviews” – as well as the legitimacy of the UN itself. (click image to enlarge)

The UN panel for both the 2011 and most recent report was co-headed by Karen Koning AbuZayd, a director of the US Washington-based corporate think-tank, Middle East Policy Council. Its board of directors includes Exxon men, CIA agents, representatives of the Saudi Binladin Group (Osama Bin Laden’s family business), former ambassadors to Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, US military and government representatives, and even the president of the US-Qatar Business Council, which includes amongst its membership, AlJazeera, Chevron, Exxon, munitions manufacturer Raytheon (who supplied the opening salvos during NATO’s operations against Libya), and Boeing.

Image: Just some of the corporate members of the US-Qatar Business Council, whose president just so happens to sit on the same board of directors of the Middle East Policy Center as Karen AbuZayd, co-author of, now two, conveniently timed UN reports on Syria.
In other words, the very underwriters of the armed militancy that is consuming Syria are sitting alongside the head of the UN commission producing reports portraying the Syrian government as guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The hypocrisy, criminality, and fraud is, for a lack of a better term, astronomical. 

Such reports based on unverified “interviews” conducted with admitted members of Syria’s opposition, citing absolutely no evidence, and compiled by representatives of the very corporate-financier interests who have conspired since at least 2007 to undermine and overthrow the Syrian government with armed sectarian extremists represent biased propaganda serving special-interests that has absolutely no place within the allegedly pluralistic United Nations.

The UN, however is by no means pluralistic. It is a tool of the corporate-financier interests of the nations that dominate it, specifically interests emanating from Wall Street and London and those in their geopolitical orbit. Not only is the most recent UN report throwaway propaganda, it may serve as an exhibit in future war crime tribunals leveled against those conspiring against the people of Syria. For the UN, it has categorically proven the failure of “global governance” and demands its replacement by multipolar cooperation that recognizes national sovereignty, and the primacy of the nation-state as an unassailable, uncrossable line.

How President Obama Created Paul Ryan

August 17th, 2012 by Shamus Cooke

Paul Ryan is suddenly a household name after becoming Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate. Before that, Ryan had only become right-wing leadership material in the last year, based on his proposed national budget that hacks away at the core of many national social programs, including Medicare.

No one deserves more credit for Ryan’s rapid rise into stardom than President Obama, who opened heavy political doors for the aspiring Republican vice president, none more weighty than that Pandora’s box of “entitlement reform” — cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other social programs.

Destroying these programs has been on the Republicans agenda forever; however, for decades there has not existed an environment to implement them — political suicide would’ve been the result.

For example, the Republican Eisenhower and Nixon presidencies make the modern Democratic party look like right-wing Republicans: Eisenhower taxed the wealthy at 90 percent; Nixon over 70 percent, both never dared discuss cutting either Social Security or Medicare in public.

Now it seems that anything is possible.

But it was the Obama Administration that started the “yes we can” motto to cutting Social Security and Medicare. Although Bush Jr. had similar ambitions, he froze in the face of massive opposition. Obama has obliterated this opposition, akin to his predator drones dismembering a Pakistani funeral.

Although it’s rarely discussed in the so-called liberal press, Obama has worked to undermine Social Security and Medicare since he became President. His proposed national budget would have made a Republican blush only four years ago, and only looks “progressive” when compared to Ryan’s travesty of a budget. Both demand condemnation. Let the pro-Obama camp debate the “lesser/greater evil inherent in the two budgets” (one could also debate the competing virtues in two piles of feces).

Obama’s budget planned to cut $3 trillion from the national budget in ten years. The New York Times explains:

“The proposal also includes $580 billion in adjustments [cuts] to health and entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid.”

That leaves $260 billion in cuts to other yet-to-be-named social programs.

Social Security has also been on Obama’s chopping block since 2008. For example, Obama had been working with Republicans behind closed doors to work out a so-called “Grand Bargain” deal that aimed to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare. An interesting article in the Washington Post explains:

“…the major elements of a [Grand] bargain seemed to be falling into place: $1.2 trillion in [national programs] agency cuts, smaller cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients [cuts by dollar inflation], nearly $250 billion in Medicare savings [cuts] achieved in part by raising the eligibility age. And $800 billion in new taxes.”

After the Grand Bargain failed (barely), Obama came to rely on his prior political creation: the bi-partisan deficit reduction committee, which he tasked to shred the social safety net. To ensure the job was done right he appointed the most right-wing Democrats possible.

The committee created “trigger cuts” which will conveniently go into effect after the November 2012 election, assuming that no new budget deal goes into effect. The cuts will destroy at least $50 billion a year in non-military domestic spending programs, until 2021.

Obama’s drive to cut these cherished programs has been fanatical; it’s safe to say that he’s worked on nothing harder during the last four years of his presidency. It was this carefully crafted environment that nurtured Paul Ryan, who sought to make a name for himself by out right-winging the right-wing Democratic President. Ryan had to aim high and far right, since the President had veered wildly to the right past most of Ryan’s Republican colleagues.

Now Paul Ryan is the subject of a frontal assault from the Democratic Party and its allies; but this is play fighting amongst corporate-bought hypocrites who mostly agree. Working people shouldn’t choose sides in this corporate yelling match, no matter how lesser the evil one side may seem.

Obama is doing his best to lure working people back into his campaign camp by proposing to “tax the rich” to help fund his deficit reduction plan (while still cutting massive social programs!). But Obama made this same promise the last time he campaigned. He then extended the Bush tax cuts, which would have expired by themselves had he not intervened. New election, same promise.

To really tax the rich Obama would have to show a little audacity for once. If Obama actually fought to remove the Bush tax cuts, the richest 1% would see their income taxes raised 3 percentage points, to 38 percent.

This baby step is more of a distraction than a solution. Some progressives act as if this promise of Obama’s — which means absolutely nothing — would be the greatest achievement for working people since civil rights.

In reality, a much greater demand for increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations is needed. Labor and community groups need to independently put forward their own demands to tax the rich and corporations to prevent ALL cuts to social programs. Otherwise, the “solutions” offered by the Democrats will continue to be aligned with the Republicans, at the expense of working people, and the inequalities in wealth will continue to grow. Labor and community groups have been quiet about the coming post-election austerity “trigger” budget cuts to social programs in an effort to give Obama much needed political cover. Instead, these groups would serve their members better by uniting in massive mobilizations nationally to demand “no cuts” to social programs.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org) He can be reached at [email protected]  



The Euro Is Not in Trouble. People Are.

August 17th, 2012 by Prof. Vicente Navarro

One of the phrases frequently written in economic circles in the United States (and to a lesser degree in Europe) is “the Euro is going to collapse.” Those who repeat that phrase over and over again do not seem to know how the Euro was established, by whom, and for whose benefit. If they knew the history of the Euro, they would have noticed that the major forces behind the Euro have done very well and continue to do so.

As long as they continue to benefit from the Euro’s existence, the Euro will continue to exist.

Let’s start with the Euro’s history and the major reason it was established. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, it looked like East and West Germany could reunite and as the Western German establishment wanted become, once again, a united Germany. That possibility did not please democratic Europe. Twice in the 20th century, the majority of European countries had to go to war to stop the expansionist aims of a united Germany. The European governments were not pleased to see post-Nazi Germany reunited. President François Mitterrand of France even said ironically that, “I love Germany so much that I prefer to see two Germanys rather than one.”

The only alternative these governments saw was to make sure the united Germany would not become an isolated country in front of everyone else. Germany had to become integrated into Europe. It had to become Europeanized. Mitterrand thought one way of doing this was to have the German currency, the mark, be replaced by a new European currency, the Euro. This was thought to be a way of anchoring post-Nazi Germany to democratic Europe.

The German establishment, however, put forth conditions. One was to establish a financial authority, the European Central Bank (ECB), that would manage the Euro and have as its only objective to keep inflation down. The ECB would be under the heavy influence of (i.e., controlled by) the German Central Bank, the Bundenbank. The other condition was to establish the Stability Pact, which would impose financial discipline on member states of the Eurozone. Their public deficits would have to remain lower than 3% of their GDP, even in moments of recession.

The ECB is instructing the governments of its monetary zone to dismantle Social Europe and they are doing it.

To understand why the other countries accepted these conditions, one has to understand that neoliberalism (which started with President Ronald Reagan in the United States and with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom) was the dominant ideology in those countries. A major position within that neoliberal dogma was to reduce the role of the states as much as possible, encouraging private financing and de-emphasizing domestic demand as the way of stimulating the economy. In this view, the main motor of the economy should be the growth of exports. These are the roots of the problem not of the Euro, which is in good health but of the welfare and well-being of the population in those countries.

The European Central Bank is not a central bank

What a central bank does, among other things, is to print money and, with that money, buy public bonds of the state, making sure the interest rates on those bonds are reasonable and do not become excessive. (The U.S. Federal Reserve, for example, has created more than $2.3 trillion since 2008 and used it to buy U.S. government bonds and mortgage-backed securities).  The central bank protects states against the financial market’s speculation. The ECB, however, does not do this. The interest rates on the states’ public debt in some countries has skyrocketed because the ECB has not bought any of their debt for quite some time. Spain and Italy are fully aware of this.

What the ECB does, however, is to lend a lot of money to private banks at a very low interest rate (lower than 1%), with which they buy public bonds with very high interest (6% to 7% in Italy and Spain). It is a fantastic deal for these banks! Since last December, the ECB has lent more than 1 trillion Euros (1,000,000 million Euros) to private banks, half of it (500,000 million Euros) to Spanish and Italian banks. This transfer of public funds (the ECB is a public institution) to the private financial sector is justified by indicating that this aid was needed in order to save the banks and, thus, ensure credit is being offered to small and medium-sized business enterprises and families in debt. Credit, however, has not appeared. Both individuals and businesses continue to have difficulties obtaining it.

Occasionally, the ECB buys public bonds in the secondary markets from states that are in trouble, but it buys them in an almost clandestine way, in very small doses and for very short periods of time. The financial markets are aware of this situation. This is why the high interest of the public bonds goes down for a while when the ECB buys them and then goes up again, making it very difficult for states to sustain them. The ECB should announce openly that it will not allow the interest of the public bonds to go over a certain level, making it impossible for financial markets to speculate with them. But the ECB does not do this, leaving the states unprotected in front of those financial markets.
In this situation, the agreement that Spain and Italy must reduce their public deficits to recover the confidence and trust of financial markets is not credible. Spain has been reducing the public deficit, while the interest of Spanish bonds has been increasing, proving that it is the ECB, not the financial markets, that can determine what that interest rate will be.

Who controls the European financial system?

In theory, the ECB was supposed to be the manager of the Euro. But the one that really controls the Euro, and the European financial system, is the Bundesbank, the German Central Bank. It was designed that way, as previously noted. But there was another reason for control of the European financial system by the Bundesbank and the German banks. That influence (almost to the point of control) was the result of a set of decisions made by the German government, specifically by the Schröder social democratic government (Program 2010), and continued by Merkel’s conservative governments, which emphasized the export sector as the economy’s main motor. Oskar Lafontaine, Schröder’s Minister of Finance, wanted to put domestic demand as the main motor of the German economic recovery. He proposed increasing salaries and public expenditures. He lost and left the social democratic party, forming a new party, Die Link/The Left, and Schröder (now working for an export-oriented industry) won. As a consequence of that emphasis on exports (the majority to the Eurozone), German banks accumulated an enormous amount of Euros. Rather than using these Euros to increase German workers’ salaries (which would have stimulated not only the German economy, but the whole European economy), the German banks exported those Euros, investing in the periphery of the Eurozone. That investment was the cause of the housing bubble in Spain. Without German money, the Spanish banks could not have financed that bubble, which was based on a huge speculation.

When did the crisis appear in Spain?

When German banks stopped lending to Spain as a result of their panic (when they learned that they themselves were contaminated with toxic products from U.S. banks) the housing bubble collapsed, creating a hole in the Spanish economy equivalent to 10% of its gross domestic product, all within a few months. It was an economic tsunami, an authentic disaster. Immediately, the public national budget went from a surplus to an enormous deficit, as a result of the collapse of revenues to the states. It was not a result of growth of public expenditures (Spain had the lowest public expenditures per capita among the EU-15), but rather the dramatic decline of revenues due to the economic collapse. The emphasis by the “Troika” (the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) that Spain needs to cut its public expenditures even more is profoundly wrong because the public deficit has not been caused by a growth of those expenditures (as suggested by the frivolous remarks of Chancellor Merkel about the “extravagance of the Spanish public sector”). Moreover, those cuts have brought about another recession.

What is the purpose of the financial aid?

The official rhetoric is that the financial authorities of the Eurozone have made available to Spain 100,000 million Euros to help its banks. Reality, however, is very different. The Spanish banks and the Spanish state are deeply in debt. They owe a lot of money to foreign banks, including German banks, which have lent almost 200,000 million Euros to Spain. These banks are screaming to have their money back. That is why the 100,000 million Euros have been approved by the German parliament. Peter Bofinger, economic advisor to the German government, put it quite clearly: “This assistance is not to these countries in trouble (like Spain) but rather to our own banks who own a lot of private debt in those countries.” (Pratap Chatterjee, “Bailing out Germany: The Story Behind the European Financial Costs” [28/05/42]). It could not have been said better.

If the European authorities had wanted to help Spain, they should have lent that money at very low interest to the Spanish public credit agencies (such as ICO, Official Institute of Credit), resolving the enormous problem of lack of credit in Spain. This alternative was, of course, never considered.

Where is the supposed problem with the Euro?

The fact that Spain has an enormous problem of lack of liquidity does not mean the Euro is in trouble. Many regional governments cannot pay their public servants because of a lack of money. As a matter of fact, those enormous differences in credit availability within the Eurozone are benefiting the German banks. Today, there is a flow of capital from Spain to Germany, enriching German banks and making German public bonds very secure. The fact that there is an enormous crisis with huge unemployment rates in the peripheral countries does not mean, however, that the Euro is in crisis. It would be in crisis only if these peripheral countries, including Spain, would leave the Euro. That would mean the collapse of the German banks and the European financial system. But this is not going to happen. The measures being taken in Spain and other peripheral countries, with the support of the Troika, by the Spanish and other governments are the measures that the conservative forces they represent have always dreamed of: cutting salaries, eliminating social protection, dismantling the welfare state, and so on. They claim they are doing it because of instructions from Brussels, Frankfort, or Berlin. They are shifting responsibilities to foreign agents, who supposedly are forcing them to do it. It is the externalization of blame. Their major slogan is, “There are no alternatives!”

When Mr. Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, calls Mr. Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish president of the most conservative government in the European Union, close to the Tea Party of the United States, he tells him that in order to help him, he will have to make reforms in the labor market (i.e., make it easier for employers to fire workers). He is quite open about it. In a recent press conference (August 9, 2012), Mr. Draghi was quite clear. The ECB will not buy Spanish public bonds unless the Spanish government takes tough, unpopular measures such as reforming the labor market, reducing pension benefits, and privatizing the welfare state. The Rajoy government will gladly follow these instructions. It has already made many cuts and projects 120,000 million Euros more in cuts within the next two years. The Euro and its system of governance are working beautifully for those who have the major voice within the Eurozone today. The ECB is instructing the governments of its monetary zone to dismantle Social Europe and they are doing it. It is what my good friend Jeff Faux, a founder of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., used to call “the international class alliances,” that is, the alliance among the dominant classes around the world. That alliance is clearly operating in the Eurozone today. It is because of this that the Euro is going to be around for a long, long time.

Vicente Navarro

Vicente Navarro is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Pompeu Fabra University, Spain, and Johns Hopkins University in the US. In 2002 he was awarded the Anagrama Prize (Spain’s equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize in the USA) for his denunciation of the way in which the transition from dictatorship to democracy has been engineered, in his book Bienestar Insuficiente Democracia Incompleta, De lo que no se hable en nuestro pais (Insufficient Welfare, Incomplete Democracy; A book about what is being silenced in Spain).

Binyamin Netanyahu: Mad or Crazy?

August 17th, 2012 by Uri Avnery

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU may be crazy, but he is not mad.

Ehud Barak may be mad, but he is not crazy.

Ergo: Israel will not attack Iran.

I HAVE said so before, and I shall say so again, even after the endless talk about it. Indeed no war has been talked about so much before it happened. To quote the classic movie line: “If you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk!”

In all Netanyahu’s bluster about the inevitable war, one sentence stands out: “In the Committee of Inquiry after the war, I shall take upon myself the sole responsibility, I and I alone!”

A very revealing statement.

First of all, committees of inquiry are appointed only after a military failure. There was no such committee after the 1948 War of Independence, nor after the 1956 Sinai War or the 1967 Six-day War. There were, however, committees of inquiry after the 1974 Yom Kippur war and the 1982 and 2006 Lebanon Wars. By conjuring up the specter of another such committee, Netanyahu unconsciously treats this war as an inevitable failure.

Second, under Israeli law, the entire Government of Israel is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Under another law, all ministers bear “collective responsibility”. TIME magazine, which is becoming more ridiculous by the week, may crown “King Bibi”, but we still have no monarchy. Netanyahu is no more than primus inter pares.

Third, in his statement Netanyahu expresses boundless contempt for his fellow ministers. They don’t count.

Netanyahu considers himself a modern day Winston Churchill. I don’t seem to remember Churchill announcing, upon assuming office, “I take responsibility for the coming defeat.” Even in the desperate situation of that moment, he trusted in victory. And the word “I” did not figure large in his speech.

IN THE daily brainwashing, the problem is presented in military terms. The debate, such as it is, concerns military capabilities and dangers.

Israelis are especially, and understandably, worried by the rain of tens of thousands of missiles expected to fall on all parts of Israel, not only from Iran, but also from Lebanon and Gaza. The minister responsible for civil defense deserted just this week, and another one, a refugee from the hapless Kadima party, has taken his place. Everybody knows that a large part of the population (including myself) is completely defenseless.  

Ehud Barak has announced that no more than a measly 500 Israelis will be killed by enemy missiles. I do not aspire to the honor of being one of them, though I live quite near the Ministry of Defense..

But the military confrontation between Israel and Iran is only a part of the picture, and not the most important one.

As I have pointed out in the past, far more important is the impact on the world economy, already steeped in a profound crisis. An Israeli attack will be viewed by Iran as American-inspired, and the reaction will be accordingly, as explicitly stated by Iran this week.  

The Persian Gulf is a bottle, whose neck is the narrow Strait of Hormuz, which is totally controlled by Iran. The huge American aircraft carriers now stationed in the gulf will be well advised to get out before it is too late. They resemble those antique sailing ships which enthusiasts assemble in bottles. Even the powerful weaponry of the US will not be able to keep the strait open. Simple land-to-sea missiles will be quite enough to keep it closed for months. To open it, a prolonged land operation by the US and its allies will be required. A long and bloody business with unpredictable consequences.

A major part of the world’s oil supplies has to pass through this unique waterway. Even the mere threat of its closure will cause oil prices to shoot sky-high. Actual hostilities will result in a worldwide economic collapse, with hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of new unemployed.    

Each of these victims will curse Israel. Since it will be crystal clear that this is an Israeli war, the rage will be turned against us. Worse, much worse – since Israel insists that it is “the state of the Jewish people”, the rage may take the form of an unprecedented outbreak of anti-Semitism. Newfangled Islamophobes will revert to old-time Jew-haters. “The Jews are our disaster,” as the Nazis used to proclaim.

This may be worst in the US. Until now, Americans have watched with admirable tolerance as their Middle East policy is practically dictated by Israel. But even the almighty AIPAC and its allies will not be able to contain the outburst of public anger. They will give way like the levees of New Orleans.

THIS WILL have a direct impact on a central calculation of the warmongers.

In private conversations, but not only there, they assert that America will be immobilized on the eve of elections. During the last few weeks before November 6, both candidates will be mortally afraid of the Jewish lobby.

The calculation goes like this: Netanyahu and Barak will attack without giving a damn for American wishes. The Iranian counter-attack will be directed against American interests. The US will be dragged into the war against its will.

But even in the unlikely event that the Iranians act with supreme self-restraint and do not attack US targets, contrary to their declarations, President Obama will be compelled to save us, send huge quantities of arms and ammunition, bolster our anti-missile defenses, fund the war. Otherwise he will be accused of leaving Israel in the lurch and Mitt Romney will be elected as the savior of the Jewish State.

This calculation is based on historical experience. All Israeli governments in the past have exploited American election years for their purposes.

In 1948, when the US was required to recognize the new Israeli state against the express advice of both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, President Truman was fighting for his political life. His campaign was bankrupt. At the last moment Jewish millionaires leaped into the breach, Truman and Israel were saved.

In 1956, President Eisenhower was in the middle of his re-election campaign when Israel attacked Egypt in collusion with France and Britain. It was a miscalculation – Eisenhower did not need Jewish votes and money and put a stop to the adventure. In other election years the stakes were lower, but always the occasion was used to gain some concessions from the US.

Will it work this time? If Israel unleashes a war on the eve of elections, in an obvious effort to blackmail the president, will the American public mood support Israel – or could it go the other way? It will be a critical gamble of historic proportions. But like Mitt Romney, Netanyahu is a protégé of the Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and he may be no more averse to gambles than the poor suckers who leave their money in Adelson’s casinos.

WHERE ARE the Israelis in all this?

In spite of the constant brainwashing, polls show that the majority of Israelis are dead set against an attack. Netanyahu and Barak are seen as two addicts, many say megalomaniacs, who are beyond rational thinking.

One of the most striking aspects of the situation is that our army chief and the entire General Staff, as well as the chiefs of the Mossad and the Shin Bet, and almost all their predecessors, are totally and publicly opposed to the attack.

It is one of the rare occasions when military commanders are more moderate than their political chiefs, though it has happened in Israel before. One may well ask: how can political leaders start a fateful war when practically all their military advisors, who know our military capabilities and the chances for success, are against it?

One of the reasons for this opposition is that the army chiefs know better than anyone else how totally dependent on the US Israel really is. Our relationship with America is the very basis of our national security.

Also, it seems doubtful whether Netanyahu and Barak have a majority for the attack even in their own government and inner cabinet. The ministers know that apart from everything else, the attack would drive investors and tourists away, causing huge damage to Israel’s economy.

So why do most Israelis still believe that the attack is imminent?

Israelis, by and large, have been totally convinced by now (a) that Iran is governed by a bunch of crazy ayatollahs beyond rationality, and (b) that, once in the possession of a nuclear bomb, they will certainly drop it on us.

These convictions are based on the utterances of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which he declared that he will wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

But did he really say that? Sure, he has repeatedly expressed his conviction that the Zionist Entity will disappear from the face of the earth. But it seems that he never actually said that he – or Iran – would ensure that result.

That may seem only a small rhetorical difference, but in this context it is very important.

Also, Ahmadinejad may have a big mouth, but his actual power in Iran was never very great and is shrinking fast. The ayatollahs, the real rulers, are far from being irrational. Their whole behavior since the revolution shows them to be very cautious people, averse to foreign adventures, scarred by the long war with Iraq that they did not start and did not want.  

A nuclear-armed Iran may be an inconvenient near-neighbor, but the threat of a “second holocaust” is a figment of the manipulated imagination. No ayatollah will drop a bomb when the certain response will be the total annihilation of all Iranian cities and the end of the glorious cultural history of Persia. Deterrence was, after all, the whole sense of producing an Israel bomb

IF NETANYAHU & Co. were really frightened by the Iranian Bomb, they would do one of two things:

Either agree to the de-nuclearization of the region, giving up our own nuclear armaments (highly unlikely);

Or make peace with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world, thereby disarming the ayatollahs’ hostility to Israel.

But Netanyahu’s actions show that, for him, keeping the West Bank is vastly more important than the Iranian bomb.

What better proof do we need of the craziness of this whole scare?

Rick Rozoff discusses General Assembly resolutions on Syria and how the US and its allies are circumventing standard procedure in order to win a propaganda battle.

“Everything that the West and its Persian Gulf allies have done over the last seventeen months has worsened the situation, [costing] more Syrian lives,” Rozoff said.

What do you make about Kofi Annan’s sudden decision.

I don’t know how unexpected it was for those in the know, but it was unexpected for many, to see Kofi Annan all of a sudden decide not to renew his mandate? Which was to have expired at the end of this month.

It didn’t surprise me. I would just tell you frankly, I believe that his stepping down was coordinated with the introduction of the resolution in the General Assembly, which was introduced by the current Secretary-General – Kofi Annan’s successor, Ban Ki-moon – who lambasted the Syrian government, made comparisons to Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990s as though suggesting that what happened in Syria was a replication of the precedents I mentioned.

And again, you know, poisoned the well, or prejudiced the vote by his comments. We have to recollect that Kofi Annan himself would never have been Secretary-General of the UN if then-U.S. representative to the UN, the Secretary of State later, Madeleine Albright hadn’t single-handedly rammmed through his nomination and secured his position at the expense of Boutros Boutros-Ghali who was running for reelection for that position.

So, Kofi Annan was the U.S.’s man in the United Nations for two terms. And if anything I was rather surprised he hadn’t tipped his hand earlier in terms of supporting the West’s position. But you know, in fact he did to some extent at the Geneva meeting of the so-called Action Group, where there were different interpretations of what came out. There was Russia’s and China’s, for example, and there was his, which intimated or stated I think even more explicitly that Bashar Assad had to step down as president and the government had to cede power to some sort of coalition. So, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. I think these events were coordinated and then the fact that he received a guest editorial in the Financial Times, the morning of the General Assembly vote, as I recollect last Friday, explaining his position all seems to be a fairly coordinated campaign.

What do you think about: several Russia officials made statements that the resolution actually served to worsen the situation in Syria?

Yes, it does. And everything that the West and its Persian Gulf allies have done over the last seventeen months has worsened the situation, cost more Syrian lives, led to the further destabilization, in many ways made irreparable damage to the nation of Syria, which one would now have to assume is the intent. For example Vitaly Churkin also said after the vote last Friday [August 3, 2012] that to take the vote to the General Assembly while the Security Council was still deliberating on the Syrian issue was a violation of the United Nations Charter.

So, the U.S. and its allies have again circumvented the standard procedure in order to win a propaganda battle, but a propaganda battle that will continue as we were just talking about with the escalation in the loss of Syrian lives as a result. The West and its Saudi allies and Qatari allies will sacrifice the life of every last Syrian if they accomplish their geopolitical objectives, which are not only regime change in Damascus, it’s also to prolong the perceived isolation of Russia and China. That’s the significance of this vote last Friday more than anything else.

Syria is much more the pretext than the actual issue being discussed, because what is at issue right now is whether the U.S. and its allies can arbitrarily violate international law, whether they can subvert the concepts of the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of states, whether somebody sitting in the State Department can determine who has to step down as head of state and who is going to replace him. And the U.S. has done this on a least four occasions since early last year. I’m talking about Ivory Coast, Libya, Yemen and now Syria. And there is every reason to believe that if they are successful in Syria, then they would move on to the next countries. And I would suggest that the twelve countries that voted against the resolution on Friday are exactly the twelve countries that are going to be targeted.

Can you list those countries for our listeners?

Yes. The twelve countries that voted against the resolution are Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Myanmar, Nicaragua, North Korea, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

And you think all those countries are on a hit list for regime change?

Each except for Myanmar decidedly are. And I’m a bit surprised that the former Burma, Myanmar, voted against the resolution as it had not voted against the resolution in February.

Why do you think they did this?

I have no idea. I would have thought that since Hillary Clinton’s visit to Myanmar last November that she had pretty much shifted Myanmar away from China and towards the United States. So, frankly I have no explanation for why they voted against the resolution unless they sensed something. If you’d asked me a year ago it would have been self-evident why Myanmar voted against it, because it itself was targeted for regime change at the time.

Somebody has them on the checklist and I think it’s important that they not be able to make checks in each box. And if developments in Syria, that is Western and allied efforts to overthrow the government in Syria, are thwarted with the continued opposition of Russia and China in the first place, then I don’t think we have to worry about the other eleven nations, because of course Syria is one of them. But should they be successful in Syria, then I think the remaining eleven nations are likely targets.

Listen, one last question regarding Syria, which you just brought up again. About a week ago it looked like Assad was all but finished. What do you think Assad’s chances are, and the current Syrian government’s chances are of staying in power?

Barring a direct foreign military intervention, I think better with each passing day. The successful campaign to secure Damascus and now Aleppo, the two largest cities in the country, has given the lie to the media propaganda in the West, in the first place, about the fact that there was no unity within the government, that the Syrian nation and people were divided, that the government had no substantive support…

Yes, they were talking about everybody bailing out, that the high officials saw no future, and after the assassination at the security building.

That’s a good point you raise. With the murder by a suicide bombing of four leading officials of the government, including the Defense Minister and the Deputy Defense Minister…

And the intelligence head I believe it was.

Yes. The reports in the West were that this is “the final nail in the coffin”, to quote Leon Panetta, the Pentagon chief, with the Syrian government and it was only a matter of days if not hours before it fell and so forth. And we’ve seen quite the reverse occur. We’ve seen the government reestablish control over the capital of Damascus as well as Aleppo. And basically what are going on now are mopping-up operations. And it also demonstrates that the Syrian military is firmly in support of the government.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

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These jihadists, who have gravitated to Syria from Britain, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, among other countries, are directed by Washington, London and Paris in time-honoured fashion of these powers’ criminal involvement with Islamic fundamentalists under the catch-all nom de guerre of Al Qaeda. They are weaponised by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel; they are trained and based by Turkey and Jordan. And their brains are weaponised by Saudi Wahhabism, with all its intolerant pathological hatred to anyone who opposes its tyranny and Western objectives.

Far from promoting solidarity and peace, the OIC has shown itself to be a political instrument serving the geopolitical interests of Washington and its allies in the destruction of Syria and their designs for entrenching hegemonic control over the Middle East. That control is all about exploiting the resources of the region to enrich Western corporations and banks, paying off elite rulers and impoverishing the mass of people.”

As the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) concludes its emergency summit in Mecca this week with the suspension of Syria, its member states should now consider amending the body’s name – to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation with United States Imperialism (OICUSI).

For the OIC stands as a violation of every principle it is supposed to represent. In calling for this conference with its flagrantly politicised agenda, Saudi Arabia emerges as the shame of the Islamic world.

Admittedly, the acronym OICUSI is a bit clunky, but it would be far more truthful than the present OIC. The 57-member organisation, founded in 1969, represents some two billion Muslims worldwide and is charged with “promoting solidarity among members and upholding peace and security”.

Far from promoting solidarity and peace, the OIC has shown itself to be a political instrument serving the geopolitical interests of Washington and its allies in the destruction of Syria and their designs for entrenching hegemonic control over the Middle East. That control is all about exploiting the resources of the region to enrich Western corporations and banks, paying off elite rulers and impoverishing the mass of people.

Of course the Syrian people want reform and more democracy. But they won’t achieve that so long as Saudi Arabia and the other Western proxies remain on their thrones of deception colluding with the foreign enemies of the people.

Just at the hour when the people of Syria are desperately in need of international solidarity and peace, the OIC delivers a kick in the teeth.

In this way, the OIC is following in the disgraceful footsteps of the 21-member Saudi-dominated Arab League, which suspended Syria last November.

These sanctions against Damascus are based on the entirely bogus claim fomented by Washington and the former colonial powers London and Paris that the conflict in Syria stems solely from repression and violence perpetrated by the government of President Bashar Al Assad against his people. This propaganda narrative turns reality completely on its head. The violence in Syria over the past 17 months has largely stemmed from armed groups that are supplied, directed and infiltrated by the Western powers in collusion with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.

The US-led axis is attempting to tear Syria apart by fuelling sectarian bloodshed between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and between Muslims, Christians, Druze and Kurds. The desecration of Islam is particularly vile. Mosques have been turned into sniper posts to fire on civilians, and whole villages have been massacred – the throats of children slit – by so-called Holy Warriors.

These jihadists, who have gravitated to Syria from Britain, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, among other countries, are directed by Washington, London and Paris in time-honoured fashion of these powers’ criminal involvement with Islamic fundamentalists under the catch-all nom de guerre of Al Qaeda. They are weaponised by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel; they are trained and based by Turkey and Jordan. And their brains are weaponised by Saudi Wahhabism, with all its intolerant pathological hatred to anyone who opposes its tyranny and Western objectives.

In the context of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, this conspiracy of terror and mass murder should be matter of diabolical shame for member states Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan. These supposedly Islamic countries are colluding with the Western powers and their criminal Zionist proxy in the murder of Muslims and other Syrians in the service of imperialist domination of the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia in particular is seen as abusing its historic role as custodian of the holy Islamic centre of Mecca to further a despicable political agenda. By calling the extraordinary meeting of the OIC in Mecca – supposedly to discuss the violence in Syria – Saudi Arabia is covering its blood-soaked hands with a mantle of religious sanctity.

By contrast, Iran’s delegation to the OIC conference, headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stood out as upholding the principles of the organisation. Iran rightly pointed out the basic injustice that the Syrian government was not even invited to the Mecca conference to hear the charges being levelled against it, and to have the opportunity to defend itself against such charges. One shouldn’t be surprised by the absence of jurisprudence for Syria at the Saudi-orchestrated event. After all, thousands of ordinary Bahrainis are being dragged through military courts in Saudi-backed Bahrain solely on the basis of trumped up prosecutions with no right to defend themselves either.

Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi noted at the beginning of the three-day conference: “Every country, especially OIC countries, must join hands to resolve this issue in such a way that will help the peace, security and stability in the region.”

He warned: “By suspending [Syria’s] membership, this does not mean you are moving towards resolving an issue. By this, you are erasing the issue.”

Unfortunately, Salehi’s sound advice was ignored. With typical Wahhabist attitude of no discussion, no explanation, the Saudi-hosted conference ended with the formal suspension of Syria from the OIC. The heavy-handed conclusion achieves what it was meant to: to not give Syria a fair hearing, to further isolate the country in the eyes of the world, to conceal the violent involvement of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan in the destruction of Syria, and to give political cover for their imperialist masters in the dismemberment of Syria.

The Mecca summit has all the signs of a tawdry show trial, shamefully under the banner of Islam, conducted, of all places, in the holy city. Current OIC chief is Turkish national Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. He said the decision to suspend Syria sent “a strong message” to Damascus.

A statement issued at the end of the summit said participants had agreed on “the need to end immediately the acts of violence in Syria and to suspend that country from the OIC”.

The suspension was “also a message to the international community stating that the Muslim world backs a peaceful solution [in Syria], wants an end to the bloodshed and refuses to let the problem degenerate into a religious conflict and spill over into the wider region,” the OIC chief Ihsanoglu added.

Absolutely not true. First, if the OIC was serious about “ending immediately the acts of violence in Syria” then it would have suspended the memberships foremost of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey – the instigators of so-much bloodshed, terrorism and crimes against humanity in Syria that are inflaming the region.

Second, on the claim that “the Muslim world backs a peaceful solution in Syria”, it should be noted that the Geneva accord agreed by the UN Security Council at the end of June, which calls for an inclusive political dialogue in Syria, has been continually violated by the Western, Arab, Turk, Israeli backers of the Jihadist terror army assailing that country.

Indeed, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says these parties have sabotaged the Geneva accord.

At the OIC summit, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in particular have arrogated the banner of the Muslim world, when in truth they are the unseemly standard bearers for imperialist butchery in the Middle East.

In this holy month of Ramadan, where faith, compassion and truth before God is supposed to be adhered to more than ever, the Saudi OIC conference is truly an abomination of all that is supposedly represented by “Islam/peace”.

I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided – after immense pressure from the Obama administration – to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.

This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries – arguably millennia – of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.

The provisions of the Vienna Convention on the status of diplomatic premises are expressed in deliberately absolute terms. There is no modification or qualification elsewhere in the treaty.

Article 22

1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter
them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises
of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the
mission or impairment of its dignity.
3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of
transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

Not even the Chinese government tried to enter the US Embassy to arrest the Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen. Even during the decades of the Cold War, defectors or dissidents were never seized from each other’s embassies. Murder in Samarkand relates in detail my attempts in the British Embassy to help Uzbek dissidents. This terrible breach of international law will result in British Embassies being subject to raids and harassment worldwide.

The government’s calculation is that, unlike Ecuador, Britain is a strong enough power to deter such intrusions. This is yet another symptom of the “might is right” principle in international relations, in the era of the neo-conservative abandonment of the idea of the rule of international law.

The British Government bases its argument on domestic British legislation. But the domestic legislation of a country cannot counter its obligations in international law, unless it chooses to withdraw from them. If the government does not wish to follow the obligations imposed on it by the Vienna Convention, it has the right to resile from it – which would leave British diplomats with no protection worldwide.

I hope to have more information soon on the threats used by the US administration. William Hague had been supporting the move against the concerted advice of his own officials; Ken Clarke has been opposing the move against the advice of his. I gather the decision to act has been taken in Number 10.

There appears to have been no input of any kind from the Liberal Democrats. That opens a wider question – there appears to be no “liberal” impact now in any question of coalition policy. It is amazing how government salaries and privileges and ministerial limousines are worth far more than any belief to these people. I cannot now conceive how I was a member of that party for over thirty years, deluded into a genuine belief that they had principles.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

Poll: Majority of Jewish Israelis oppose attack on Iran

August 16th, 2012 by Michael Carmichael

Israeli support for a unilateral attack on Iran has collapsed – dramatically.  By a huge margin of over two to one, Israelis believe that it would be a mistake for Israel to attack Iran without US support.  61% oppose a unilateral attack, while only 27% support it.  

This is a huge setback for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak who have championed a unilateral Israel attack on Iran modelled on the successful 1981 Israeli air strike on the Osirak reactor in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. 

According to reports from Israel, the final straw came recently when Sheldon Adelson and his pet puppet, Mitt Romney, strenuously urged Netanyahu to attack Iran in order to upstage President Obama in the US presidential election.  Israelis are not fond of either Romney or his chief financial backer, and their unpopularity will now impact Netanyahu who rules Israel by a tiny majority in the Knesset that is fashioned out of a very shaky coalition of extremist right-wing parties.

“A majority of Jewish Israelis oppose an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities without U.S. cooperation, and think it is unlikely Israel will soon launch a unilateral strike against the Islamic Republic, a poll released Thursday has found.

Some 61 per cent of those questioned oppose an Israeli strike, compared to 27 per cent in favor, the poll by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University’s Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution found.

In addition, 56 per cent think the chances are low that Israel would launch such a strike unilaterally, compared to 33 per cent who assume Israel will go ahead anyway.

The poll, conducted last week, interviewed 516 respondents and had a 4.5 per cent margin of error.

Speculation, fueled by a flurry of reports and analysis in Israeli media, has snowballed in recent days that a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran is only a matter of months, or even weeks.

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, pointing to repeated statements by Iranian leaders that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.

Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon and insists that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. ( http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/poll-most-israelis-oppose-attack-on-iran-nuclear-facilities-1.458743)  

For more updates and links to important breaking news; see Planetary’s page on FaceBook at:

Since the end of World War II, the Anglo-American Empire has covertly supported the deployment of foreign and domestic “foot soldiers”, including terrorists and paramilitary brigades to bring about regime change and further its agenda of World domination.

One of the earlier examples of such a modus operandi, still widely ignored, is Gladio, “NATO’s European stay-behind army”, active during the Cold War. Controlled by the CIA and Britain’s MI6, Gladio members orchestrated terrorist attacks in Western Europe, which were blamed on Communist entities. 

Gladio was falsely presented to key European state officials as a stand-by secret army used for propaganda purposes to counter a possible communist take over. The ultimate goal of Gladio was to demonize the Communist and Socialist parties and encourage European citizens to endorse their governments’ commitment to “National Security”.   

American citizens were not exempt from such scheming. As Prof. James F. Tracy explains:

“The string of still unresolved US political assassinations throughout the 1960s suggest how such practices were not restricted to foreign countries. Nor were they solely the terrain of intelligence agencies. Along lines similar to Gladio, in the early 1960s the US Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed Operation Northwoods, where terrorist attacks would be initiated against US civilians in American cities and the violence blamed on Cuban combatants to justify war against the island nation.[2] The Kennedy administration rejected the proposal. While Northwoods exhibited the capacity for government to conceive and propose such plans, Gladio was demonstrably carried out against Western civilian populations in multiple locations over many years.” (Prof. James F. Tracy False Flag Terror and Conspiracies of Silence.)

The recruitment of  paramilitary armies and death squads has played a key role in the conduct of US foreign policy. With the Soviet-Afghan war, these “secret soldiers” were turned into highly visible “freedom fighters”, waging the Empire’s war at the forefront and in plain sight: Afghan Mujahideen, Nicaraguan Contras, Kosovar and Haitian rebels, etc.

As recent history has proven, the Western powers are still using this virtuous terminology to describe their foot soldiers, their terrorists in the Middle-East,  the “pro-democracy Libyan rebels” and the “Free Syrian Army”. But who’s “freedom” and “liberty” are they fighting for? If an armed gang such as the “Free Syrian Army” invaded any Western street, they would be labelled as terrorists and promptly crushed by the military: 

The mainstream media not only ignores history, it distorts reality, it omits to report essential information. It never ”connects the dots”. As Tony Cartalucci notes:

As West berates Syria for “killing civilians” Western weapons flow into terrorist hands from NATO. The New York Times in their article, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” confirms what many have already long known – that the West, led by the US and its Gulf State proxies, have been arming terrorists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, while berating the Syrian government for “violating” a UN mandated ceasefire and for “failing to protect” its population. (Tony Cartalucci CONFIRMED: US CIA Arming Terrorists in Syria)

These omissions and distortions result in a Kafkaesque interpretation of reality which eventually becomes, with the exception of the independent alternative media, a mainstream media consensus serving dominant financial and political interests. 

Here is a short list of recent articles on Western freedom fighters, together with selected articles from our archives.  You can also browse our archives  for many more articles on the subject.   


CIA Provides Stinger Missiles to Syrian “Freedom Fighters”

Syria’s Parallels with Afghanistan
- by Deepak Tripathi – 2012-08-13

UN Designates “Free Syrian Army” Affiliates as Al Qaeda

- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-12

US-Saudi Sponsored Al Qaeda Killers in Syria

- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-11

Terrorism as an Instrument of US Foreign Policy: UN-Backed Rogue States Plan Syria’s Slaughter

- by Felicity Arbuthnot – 2012-08-11

Al Qaeda, The CIA and Media Propaganda directed Against Syria

- by Devon DB – 2012-08-03

Humanitarian Military Intervention in Syria? Who is Behind the Atrocities?

- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-07-30


The Al Qaeda Connection: Who are we Helping in Libya? Here are Some Answers. - 2011-03-27

The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq - by Dr. Webster G. Tarpley – 2011-03-28


Watching Syria, remembering Nicaragua - by Richard Becker – 2012-07-22

How United States Intervention Against Venezuela Works - by Philip Agee – 2005-09-15

Damning the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment - by Joe Emersberger – 2008-02-19


THE “SPECTER” OF AL QAEDA IN AFRICA: A Cover for Western Reconquest of the Continent - by Finian Cunningham – 2012-04-05
British Intelligence Worked with Al Qaeda to Kill Qaddafi - by Gerald A. Perreira – 2011-03-25


Kosovo and Albania: Dirty Work in the Balkans: NATO’s KLA Frankenstein - by Tom Burghardt – 2011-01-30

KOSOVO’S “MAFIA STATE”: From Madeleine to Hillary: The US Secretary of State’s “Love Affair” with the KLA- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-04-06


Gladio – Death Plan For Democracy - by Peter Chamberlin – 2008-02-05

Ex-Italian President: Intel Agencies Know 9/11 An Inside Job - by Paul Joseph Watson – 2007-12-05

NATO’s secret armies linked to terrorism? - by Daniele Ganser – 2004-12-15

9/11: The Attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001

August 16th, 2012 by Thierry Meyssan

Global Research Editor’s Note

As September approaches, we are reminded that the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 will soon be upon us once again. 11 years laters, are we any closer to the truth about what really happened on that fateful day?

For the next month until September 11, 2012, we will be posting on a daily basis important articles from our early archives pertaining to the tragic events of 9/11. 

The following text by Thierry Meyssan originally published on Global Research in April 2002 focusses on the attack on the Pentagon.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, August 16, 2001

The book of Thierry Meyssan entitled  l’Effroyable imposture, has been the source of much controversy in France. With a view to promoting constructive debate, we reproduce the text of Meyssan’s  presentation to a meeting under the auspices of the Arab Ligue. 

Who was behind the September 11 attacks?

by Thierry Meyssan 

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),  globalresearch.ca , 19 April 2002

Translation of the transcript of the presentation by Thierry Meyssan on 8 April 2002 at the Zayed Center in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), at a gathering organized under the auspices Arab League.For the original French text click here . Read also in French, the transcript of Meyssan’s Interview with TV5. 

Your Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the first minutes following the first attack on the World Trade Center, officials suggested to the media that the person behind the attacks was Osama bn Laden, the epitome of Muslim fanaticism. Not long after, the recently appointed director of the FBI, Robert Mueller III, designated nineteen kamikazes by name and mobilized all the means at the disposal of his agency to track down their accomplices. The FBI thus never undertook any investigation but, instead, organized a man hunt, which, in the eyes much of the United States public, quickly took on the appearance of an Arab hunt. This reached such a pitch that people were incited to attack – even kill – Arabs whom they naively considered collectively responsible for the attacks.

There was no investigation by Congress, which, at the request of the White House, renounced exercising its constitutional role, supposedly in order not to adversely affect national security. Nor was there investigation by any media representatives, who had been summoned to the White House and prevailed upon to abstain from following up any leads lest such inquiries also adversely affect national security.

If we analyze the attacks of September the eleventh, we notice first off that there was much more to them than the official version acknowledges.

1.We know about only four planes, whereas at one point it was a question of eleven planes. Further, an examination of the insider-trading conducted in relation to the attacks shows put-option speculative trading in the stock of three airline companies: American Airlines, United Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. 2.The official version does not include the attack on the White House annex, the Old Executive Office Building (called the “Eisenhower Building”). Yet, on the morning of the eleventh, ABC television broadcast, live, pictures of a fire ravaging the presidential services building. 3.Neither does the official version take into account the collapse of a third building in Manhattan World Trade Center complex, independently of the twin towers. This third building was not hit by a plane. However, it, too, was ravaged by a fire before collapsing for an unknown reason. This building contained the world’s biggest secret CIA operations base, where the Agency engaged in economic intelligence gathering that the military-industrial lobby considered a waste of resources that should have been devoted to strategic intelligence gathering.

If we look closely at the attack against the Pentagon, we notice that the official version amounts to an enormous lie.

According to the Defense Department, a Boeing 757, all trace of which had been lost somewhere over Ohio, flew some 500 kilometers (300 miles) without being noticed. It supposedly entered Pentagon air space and descended on to the lawn surrounding the heliport, bounced off the lawn, broke a wing in collision with an electric transformer station, hit the façade at the level of the ground floor and first story, and was totally consumed by fire, leaving no other traces than two dysfunctional black boxes and pieces of passengers’ bodies.

It is obviously impossible that a Boeing 757 could, for some 500 kilometers, escape detection by civil and military radar, by fighter-bomber planes sent in pursuit of it and by observation satellites that had just been activated.

It is also obviously impossible that a Boeing 757 could enter the Pentagon’s air space without being destroyed by one or more of the five missile batteries protecting the building.

When one examines the photographs of the façade, taken in the minutes following the attack (even before the Arlington civilian fire fighters had time to deploy), one sees no trace of the right wing on fire in front of the façade, nor any hole in the façade into which the plane could have been swallowed up.

Apparently without the least fear of laying itself open to ridicule, the Defense Department declared that the jet engines, made out of tempered steel, had disintegrated under the shock of the impact – without damaging the façade. The aluminum of the fuselage is claimed to have combusted at more than 2,500° Celsius within the building and to have been transformed into gas, but the bodies of the passengers which it contained were so little burned that they were later identified from their finger prints.

Responding to journalists during a press conference at the Pentagon, the fire chief claimed that “no voluminous debris from the aircraft” had remained, “nor any piece of the fuselage, nor anything of that sort”. He declared that neither he nor his men knew what had become of the aircraft.

Close examination of the official photographs of the scene of the attack, taken and published by the Defense Department, shows that no part of the Pentagon bears any mark of an impact that could be attributed to the crash of a Boeing 757.

One must acknowledged the evidence: it is impossible that the attack against the Pentagon on September 11, killing 125 persons, was carried out by a jet airliner.

The scene of the attack was thoroughly disturbed on the following day by the immediate launch of new construction work, with the result that many of the elements necessary to reconstruct what had happened are missing. The elements that do remain, however, converge in a single hypothesis that it is not possible to prove with certainty.

An air traffic controller from Washington has testified seeing on radar an object flying at about 800 kilometers per hour, moving initially toward the White House, then turning sharply toward the Pentagon, where it seemed to crash. The air traffic controller has testified that the characteristics of the flight were such that it could only have been a military projectile.

Several hundred witnesses have claimed that they head “a shrill noise like the noise of a fighter-bomber”, but nothing like the noise of a civilian aircraft.

Eye-witnesses have said that they saw “something like a cruise missile with wings” or a small flying object “like a plane carrying eight or twelve persons”.

The flying object penetrated the building without causing major damage to the façade. It crossed several of the building rings of the Pentagon, creating in each wall it pierced a progressively bigger hole. The final hole, perfectly circular, measured about one meter eighty in diameter. When traversing the first ring of the Pentagon, the object set off a fire, as gigantic as it was sudden. Huge flames burst from the building licking the façades, then they shrank back just as fast, leaving behind a cloud of black soot. The fire spread through a part of the first ring and along two perpendicular corridors. It was so sudden that the fire protection system could not react.

All these testimonies and observations correspond to the effects of an AGM[air to ground missile]-86C of the third (most recent) generation of CALCM [conventional air launched cruise missile -- see picture at http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/agm-86c.htm], equipped with depleted uranium warheads and guided by GPS [global positioning system]. This type of missile, seen from the side, would easily remind one of a small civilian airplane, but it is not a plane. It produces a shrill whistle comparable to that of a fighter-bomber, can be guided with enough accuracy to be directed through a window, can pierce the most resistant armor and can set off a fire – independent of its piercing effect – that will generate heat of over 2,000° Celsius.

This type of missile was developed jointly by the Navy and the Air Force and is fired from a plane. The missile used against the Pentagon destroyed the part of the building where the new Supreme Naval Command Center was being installed. Following the attack, the Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Vernon Walters, failed to show up in the crisis room of the National Military Joint Intelligence Center when the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported there. Instead, he abruptly left the Pentagon.

Who, then, could have fired such a missile on the Pentagon? The answer was given by the off-the-record revelations of Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, and by Karl Rove, senior advisor to the president, to journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post. Eighteen days later, these men discounted the veracity of the information they had given the journalists, claiming that they had been speaking under the stress of great emotion.

According to those close to George W. Bush, in the course of the morning, the Secret Service received a telephone call from those behind the attacks, apparently in order to make demands. To give credence to their demands, the masterminds revealed the secret codes giving access to the secure telephone lines available to the president for secure communication with the various intelligence agencies and services as well as for access to the nuclear arsenal. In fact, only a very few persons with the highest security clearances, in the top ranks of the government, could have had these codes. It follows that at least one of the persons behind the attacks of September 11 has a top government post, either civilian or military.

To give credence to the fable of Islamic terrorists, the United States authorities invented kamikazes.

Although it would have been possible for a well organized group of persons to bring fire arms into commercial air liners, the kamikazes apparently used cardboard cutters as their only weapons. They are said to have learned to pilot Boeing 757s and 767s in the space of several hours of simulator training, becoming better pilots than professionals. This mastery allowed them to carry out complex in-flight approach maneuvers.

The Justice Department has never explained how it established the list of the kamikazes. The airline companies have furnished the exact number of passengers in each plane, and the passenger lists, incomplete, do not mention the persons who boarded at the last minute. In checking the these lists, one notices that names of the kamikazes are not on them and that only three passengers are not identified for flight 11 and only two for flight 93. It is thus impossible that 19 kamikazes boarded. Further, several of those listed as kamikazes have turned up, alive. The FBI nonetheless maintains that the high-jackers have all been definitively identified and that complementary information such as birth dates makes it improbable that they could be confused with persons of the same name. For those who might doubt this, the FBI has a ridiculous proof: whereas the planes burned and the twin towers collapsed, the passport of Mohammed Atta was miraculously found intact on the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center.

The existence of high-jackers, whether these or others, is confirmed by telephone calls made by several passengers to members of their families. Unfortunately, these conversations are known to us only by hearsay and have not been published, even in the case of those that were recorded. Thus, it has been impossible to verify that they were actually made from a particular cell phone of from a telephone on board. Here, too, we are asked to take the FBI at its word.

Further, it was not indispensable to have high-jackers to carry out the attacks. The Global Hawk technology, developed by the Air Force, makes it possible to take control of a commercial airliner regardless of the intentions of its pilot(s) and to direct it by remote control.

There remains the case of Osama bn Laden. If it is generally admitted that he was a CIA agent or collaborator during the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the current version of events claims that he turned coat and became public enemy number one of the United States. This story does not bear up under scrutiny either. The French daily le Figaro revealed that last July, Osmam bn Laden was a patient at the American hospital in Dubai, where he was visited by the head of CIA regional office. CBS television in the United States has revealed that, on September 10, Osama bn Laden was undergoing dialysis at the Rawalpindi military hospital, under the protection of the Pakistani army. And the renown French journalist Michel Peyrard, who was a prisoner of the Taliban, has recounted how, last November, Osama bn Laden was living openly in Jalalabad while the United States was bombing other regions of the country. It is difficult to believe that the greatest army in the world, come to Afghanistan to arrest him, was unable to do so, while the mollah Omar was able to escape from United States military force on a moped.

In view of the elements that I have just presented, it appears that the attacks of September can not be attributed to foreign terrorists from the Arab-Muslim world – even if some of those involved might have been Muslim – but to United States terrorists.

The day after the attacks of September 11, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1368 acknowledged “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense in accordance with the Charter”, calling on “all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harboring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable”.

If one wishes to heed the call of the Security Council, to enforce Resolution 1368 and to punish those who really are guilty, the only way to accurately identify the guilty parties is to set up a commission of inquiry whose independence and objectivity are guaranteed by the United Nations. This would also be the only way to preserve international peace. In the meantime, Your Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the foreign military interventions of the United States of America are devoid of any basis in international law, whether it be their recent intervention in Afghanistan or their announced interventions in Iran, Iraq and in numerous other countries.

Thierry Meyssan is the author of the book 11 septembre 2001: l’Effroyable imposture, Paris: Editions Carnot, 2002, Copyright © T Meyssan  2002.

The original URL of this article is:

Hiroshima and The Glorification of American Militarism

August 16th, 2012 by Dr. Gary G. Kohls


August 6, 9, 2012 was the 67th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the whole truth of which has been heavily censored and mythologized starting with the news of the event that created understandable joy because of the end of that awful war.


Hundreds of millions of Americans took in, as gospel truth, the heavily edited stories about the end of the war. To the average American, the war’s end was such a relief that there was no questioning. For the soldiers who were particularly war-weary, no moral questions were raised regarding the justification of their use.

The immediate history was written by the victors, of course, with no balancing input from the losing side. But, several decades later, after intensive research by unbiased historians, we now know that the patriotic narrative contained a lot of false information, often orchestrated by war-justifying militarists – starting with General Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur, aka “the American Caesar”, successfully imposed a virtual total censorship of what really happened at Ground Zero. One of his first acts after taking over as viceroy of Japan was to confiscate and/or destroy all the unpleasant photographic evidence documenting the horrors of the atomic bombings.

Back in 1995, the Smithsonian Institute was preparing to correct the pseudo-patriotic myths by staging an honest, historically-accurate 50th anniversary display exploring all sides of the atomic bombings. This provoked serious right-wing reactionary outrage from veterans groups and other “patriot” groups (including Newt Gingrich’s GOP-dominated Congress) the Smithsonian felt compelled to remove all of the contextually important aspects of the story, especially the bomb-related civilian atrocity stories. So again we had another example of powerful politically-motivated groups that falsified history because of a fear that “unpatriotic” truths, albeit historical, would contradict their deeply-held beliefs – and intolerable psychological situation for many blindered superpatriots.

The Okinawa bloodbath could have been avoided


The Smithsonian historians did have a gun to their heads, of course, but in the melee, the mainstream media – and their easily brain-washable consumers of propaganda – ignored a vital historical point. And that is this: the war could have ended as early as the spring of 1945 without the August atomic bombings, and therefore there could have been averted the 3 month bloody battle of Okinawa that resulted in the deaths of thousands of American Marines with tens of thousands of Japanese military casualties and uncounted thousands of Okinawan civilian casualties.

In addition, if the efforts had succeeded at ending the war via early Japanese efforts for an armistice, there would have been no need for the atomic bombs nor for an American land invasion – the basis of the subsequent propaganda campaign that retroactively justified the use of the bombs.

President Truman, was fully aware of Japan’s search for ways to honorably surrender months before the fateful order to incinerate, without warning, the defenseless women, children and elderly people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who had not been given a choice by their militarist, fascist government about going to war..

That top-secret intelligence data, de-classified in the 1980s, showed that the contingency plans for a two-stage US invasion of the mainland (the first one no sooner than November 1, 1945 and the second one in the spring of 1946) would have been unnecessary.

Japan was working on peace negotiations through its Moscow ambassador as early as April of 1945 when the battle of Okinawa was just starting. Harry Hopkins, President Truman’s close advisor, was aware of Japan’s desire for an armistice. He cabled the president from Moscow, saying: “Japan is doomed and the Japanese know it. Peace feelers are being put out by certain elements in Japan.”

Truman’s team knew of these and other developments because the US had broken the Japanese code years earlier, and US intelligence was intercepting all of Japan’s military and diplomatic messages. On July 13, 1945, Foreign Minister Togo said: “Unconditional surrender (giving up all sovereignty, thereby deposing Hirohito, the Emperor god) is the only obstacle to peace.”

What did Truman know and when did he know it?

Since Truman and his advisors knew about these efforts, the war could have ended through diplomacy, first with a cease-fire and then a negotiated peace, by simply conceding a post-war figurehead position for the emperor Hirohito – who was regarded as a deity in Japan. That reasonable concession was – seemingly illogically – refused by the US in their demands for “unconditional surrender”, which was initially demanded at the 1943 Casablanca Conference between Roosevelt and Churchill and reiterated at the Potsdam Conference (July 1945) between Truman, Churchill and Stalin.

When General Douglas MacArthur heard about the demand for unconditional surrender, he was appalled. He recommended dropping that demand to facilitate the process of ending the war peacefully. William Manchester, in his biography of MacArthur, American Caesar, wrote: “Had the General’s advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.”

Even Secretary of War Henry Stimson, said: “the true question was not whether surrender could have been achieved without the use of the bomb but whether a different diplomatic and military course would have led to an earlier surrender. A large segment of the Japanese cabinet was ready in the spring of 1945 to accept substantially the same terms as those finally agreed on.” In other words, Stimson felt that the US prolonged the war, including the battle for Okinawa, and could have made using the bombs unnecessary if it had engaged in honest negotiations.

Shortly after WWII, military analyst Hanson Baldwin wrote: “The Japanese, in a military sense, were in a hopeless strategic situation by the time the Potsdam Declaration (insisting on Japan’s unconditional surrender) was made.”

Admiral William Leahy, top military aide to President Truman, said in his war memoirs, I Was There: “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. My own feeling is that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.”

And General Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a personal visit to President Truman a couple of weeks before the bombings, urged him not to use the atomic bombs. Eisenhower said: “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.”

After the bombings of August 6 and 9, the “unconditional” surrender terms were quietly dropped

Ironically – and tragically – after the war ended, the emperor was allowed to remain in place as spiritual head of Japan, the very condition that made the Japanese leadership refuse to accept the humiliating “unconditional surrender” terms.

So the two essential questions that need answering (to figure out what was going on behind the scenes) are these:  1) Why did the US refuse to accept Japan’s only concession concerning their surrender (Japan’s ability to retain their emperor) and 2) with the end of the war in the Pacific already a certainty why were the bombs still used?

The factors leading up to the decision to use the bombs

Scholars have determined that there were a number of factors that contributed to Truman’s decision to use the bombs.

1) The US had made a huge investment in time, mind and money (a massive 2 billion in 1940 dollars) to produce three bombs, and there was no inclination – and no guts – to stop the momentum.

2) The US military and political leadership – not to mention most war-weary Americans – had a tremendous appetite for revenge because of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Of course, mercy isn’t a consideration for any wartime military force, and that includes the US military. The only factor to be considered was ending the war by any means necessary, no matter what methods are used. So, in the elation of the end-of-war moment, the public asked no questions and no explanations were demanded by the relieved citizens who quite willingly accepted the propaganda that justified the hideous end.

National security typically allows – indeed, demands – stealing, cheating and lying about what really happens at the ground zeroes of history. The absurd old saying that “all’s fair in love and war” applies most emphatically to war.

3) The fissionable material in Hiroshima’s bomb was uranium and Nagasaki’s was plutonium. Scientific curiosity about the differences between the two weapons was a significant factor that pushed the project to its completion. The Manhattan Project scientists and the US Army director of the project, General Leslie Groves, wanted answers to a multitude of questions raised by the project, including “what would happen if an entire city was leveled by a single nuclear bomb?” The decision to use both bombs had been made well in advance of August 1945. Harry Truman did not specifically order the bombing of Nagasaki.

The three-day interval between the two bombs was unconscionably short. Japan’s communications and transportation capabilities were in shambles, and no one, either the US military or the Japanese high command, fully understood what had happened at Hiroshima, particularly the short-term or long-term after effects of the radiation. The Manhattan Project was so top secret that even MacArthur had been kept out of the loop until a few days before Hiroshima was reduced to ashes.

4) The Soviet Union had proclaimed its intent to enter the war with Japan 90 days after V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day, May 8, 1945), which would have been Aug. 8, two days after Hiroshima was bombed. Indeed, our Russian allies did declare war on Japan on August 8 and was advancing eastward across Manchuria, eager to reclaim territories lost to Japan in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. The US didn’t want Japan surrendering to Russia (soon to be the only other superpower and a future enemy) so the first nuclear threat “messages” of the Cold War were “sent”, loud and clear.

Russia indeed received far less of the spoils of war than they had hoped for, and the two superpowers were instantly and deeply mired in the arms-race stalemate that eventually resulted in their mutual moral (and fiscal) bankruptcies that occurred a generation or two later.

The reality for the victims

An estimated 80,000 innocent, defenseless civilians, plus 20,000 essentially weaponless young Japanese conscripts died instantly in the Hiroshima bombing. Hundreds of thousands more suffered slow deaths from agonizing burns, radiation sickness, leukemias and virtually untreatable infections for the rest of their shortened lives; and generations of the survivor’s progeny were doomed to suffer horrific radiation-induced illnesses, cancers and premature deaths that are still on-going at this very hour. Another sobering reality that has been covered up is the fact that 12 American Navy pilots, their existence well known to US command, were instantly incinerated in the Hiroshima jail on August 6, 1945.

The 75,000 victims who died in the huge fireball at Nagasaki on August 9 were virtually all civilians, except for the inhabitants of an allied POW camp near Nagasaki’s ground zero. They were instantly liquefied, carbonized and/or vaporized by an experimental weapon of mass destruction that was executed by obedient, unaware scientists and soldiers, and blessed by Christian military chaplains who were just doing their duty. The War Dept. knew of the existence of the Nagasaki POWs and, when reminded of that fact before the B-29 fleet embarked on the mission, simply replied: “Targets previously assigned for Centerboard (code name for the Kokura/Nagasaki mission) remain unchanged.”

So the official War Department.National Security State-approved version of the end of the war in the Pacific contained a new batch of myths that took their places among the long lists of myths by which nations make war. And such half-truth versions are still standard operating procedure that are continuously fed to us by the corporate, military, political and media opinion leaders that are the war-makers and war profiteers of the world.

The well-honed propaganda of the war machine manufactures glory out of inglorious gruesomeness, as we have witnessed in the censored reportage of the US military invasions and occupations of sovereign nations like North Korea, Iran, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Granada, Panama, the Philippines, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, etc. And this list doesn’t even start to uncover the uncountable Pentagon/CIA covert operations and assassination plots in the rest of the known world, where as many as150 nations have been bribed – or threatened – to host, usually against the population’s will, American military and CIA bases, secret torture (euphemistically called “rendition”) sites and other covert operations.

But somehow most of us Americans still hang on to a shaky “my country right or wrong” patriotism, desperately wanting to believe the cunningly-orchestrated myths that say that the war-profiteering 1%, the exploitive ruling elite and the ChickenHawk politicians, military leaders and media talking heads that are in their employ, only work for peace, justice, equality, liberty and spreading democracy, all the while being blind to the fact that America has historically supported right-wing fascist dictatorships that make the world unsafe for democracy all the while ensuring easy access for vulture capitalists, high finance, multinational corporations and other exploiters to be able to do their dirty work.

While it is true that the US military has faced down the occasional despot (usually the ones who won’t cooperate with the “interests” of the 1%), more often than not the rationalization for going to war is the same as those of the anti-American “freedom fighters”, ”insurgents” or the other “evil empires” that are on the other side of the battle line. The justification of the atrocities of August 6 and 9, 1945 are symbolic of the brain-washing that goes on in all “total wars”, which always result in other varieties of mass human slaughter in war known as  “collateral damage” and “friendly fire”.

Is it too late to resuscitate the humanitarian, peace-loving America? 

It might already be too late to rescue and resuscitate the humanitarian, peace-loving America that we used to know and love. It might be too late to effectively confront the corporate hijacking of liberal democracy in America. It might be too late to successfully bring down the arrogant and greedy ruling elites who are selfishly exploiting the resources of the world and dragging the planet and its creatures down the road to destruction. The rolling coup d’etat of the Friendly American Fascists may already have happened.

But there is always hope. Rather than being silent about the wars that the soulless and ruthless war-mongers are provoking all over the planet (with the very willing pushes by the Pentagon, the weapons industry and their conservative lapdogs in Congress), people of conscience need to ramp up their resistance efforts and teach the whole truth of history, in spite of the painful lessons that will be revealed.

We need to start owning up to the uncountable war crimes that have been hidden from history, including the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And then we need to go to the streets, publicly protesting and courageously refusing to cooperate with those who are transforming America into a criminal rogue nation that will eventually be targeted for its downfall by the billions of suffering victims outside our borders, just as happened to Nazi Germany and Fascist Japan.

Doing what is right for the whole of humanity for a change, rather than just doing what is profitable or advantageous for our over-privileged, over-consumptive and unsustainable American way of life, would be real honor, real patriotism and an essential start toward real peace.

Is Washington Deaf As Well as Criminal?

August 16th, 2012 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The morons who rule the American sheeple are not only dumb and blind, they are deaf as well. The ears of the american “superpower” only work when the Israeli prime minister, the crazed Netanyahu, speaks. Then Washington hears everything and rushes to comply.

Israel is a tiny insignificant state, created by the careless British and the stupid Americans. It has no power except what its american protector provides. Yet, despite Israel’s insignificance, it rules Washington.

When a resolution introduced by the Israel Lobby is delivered to Congress, it passes unanimously. If Israel wants war, Israel gets its wish. When Israel commits war crimes against Palestinians and Lebanon and is damned by the hundred plus UN resolutions passed against Israel’s criminal actions, the US bails Israel out of trouble with its veto.

The power that tiny Israel exercises over the “worlds’s only superpower” is unique in history. Tens of millions of “christians” bow down to this power, reinforcing it, moved by the exhortations of their “christian” ministers.

Netanyahu lusts for war against Iran. He strikes out against all who oppose his war lust. Recently, he called Israel’s top generals “pussies” for warning against a war with Iran. He regards former Israeli prime ministers and former heads of the Israeli intelligence service as traitors for opposing his determination to attack Iran. He has denounced america’s servile president Obama and america’s top military leader for being “soft on Iran.” The latest poll in Israel shows that a solid majority of the Israelis are opposed to an Israeli attack on Iran. But Netanyahu is uninterested in the opinion of Israeli citizens. He has Washington watching his back, so he is war mad. It is a mystery why Israelis put Netanyahu in public office instead of in an insane asylum.

Netanyahu is not alone. He has the american neoconservatives in his corner. The american neoconservatives are as crazed as Netanyahu. They believe in nuclear war and are itching to nuke some Muslim country and then get on to nuking Russia and China. It is amazing that no more than two or three dozen people have the fate of the entire world in their hands.

The Democratic Party is helpless before them.

The Republican Party is their vehicle.

The Russians, watching Netanyahu push Washington toward dangerous confrontations keep raising their voices about the danger of nuclear war.

On May 17 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned the West against launching “hasty wars,” which could result “although I do not want to scare anyone” in “the use of a nuclear weapon.”

On November 30 of last year the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia warned of nuclear war with NATO. General Nikolai Makarov said that NATO’s eastward expansion meant that the risk of Russia coming into conflict with NATO had “risen sharply.” General Makarov said, “I do not rule out local and regional armed conflicts developing into a large-scale war, including using nuclear weapons.”

Here is Russian president Medvedev (currently the prime minister) describing the steps toward nuclear war that Russia has taken pushed by the crazed warmongers in Washington wallowing in their insane hubris:

With regard to the american missile bases on Russia’s borders, “I have made the following decisions. First, I am instructing the Defense Ministry to immediately put the missile attack early warning radar station in Kaliningrad on combat alert. Second, protective cover of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons will be reinforced as a priority measure under the program to develop our air and space defenses. Third, the new strategic ballistic missiles commissioned by the Strategic Missile Forces and the Navy will be equipped with advanced missile defense penetration systems and new highly-effective warheads. Fourth, I have instructed the Armed Forces to draw up measures for disabling missile defense system data and guidance systems. These measures will be adequate, effective, and low-cost. Fifth, if the above measures prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the US missile defense system in Europe. One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Region. Other measures to counter the European missile defense system will be drawn up and implemented as necessary. Furthermore, if the situation continues to develop not to Russia’s favor, we reserve the right to discontinue further disarmament and arms control measures.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said, as politely as possible, that the US seeks to enslave the world, that the US seeks vassals, not allies, that the US seeks to rule the world and that the US is a parasite on the world economy. It would be difficult for an informed person to take exception with Putin’s statements.

Putin told the politicians in Washington and Western and Eastern European capitals that surrounding Russia with anti-ballistic missiles “raises the specter of nuclear war in Europe.” Putin said that the Russian response is to point nuclear armed cruise missiles, which cannot be intercepted by anti-ballistic missiles, at the US missile bases and at European capitals. The American move, Putin said, “could trigger nuclear war.”

Putin has been trying to wake up the american puppet states in Europe at least since February 13, 2007. At the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin said that the unipolar world that Washington was striving to achieve under its banner, “is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.”

That has certainly happened to the US which now has a police state as thorough-going as Nazi Germany. And even better armed: http://rt.com/usa/news/dhs-ammo-rounds-security-560/print/

Putin went on to tell his European audience that in Russia, “we are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.” Instead, Putin said, “we are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basis principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, Who likes this? Who is happy about this?”

People are not happy, Putin said, because they don’t feel safe. Not to feel safe “is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this–no one feels safe!” The result, Putin said, is “an arms race.”

Putin politely unbraided the Italian defense minister, a person owned by Washington, for suggesting that NATO or the EU could take the place of the UN in justifying the use of force against sovereign countries. Putin took exception to the idea that Washington could use its puppet organization or its puppet states to legitimize an act of US aggression. Putin stated flatly: “The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN.”

Putin went on to discuss the forked tongue of Washington. Reagan and Gorbachev had firm agreements, but Reagan’s successors put “frontline forces on our borders. . . . The stones and concrete blocks of the Berlin Wall have long been distributed as souvenirs. But we should not forget that the fall of the Berlin Wall was possible thanks to a historic choice – one that was also made by our people, the people of Russia – a choice in favor of democracy, freedom, openness and a sincere partnership with all the members of the big European family. And now they are trying to impose new dividing lines and walls on us – these walls may be virtual but they are nevertheless dividing ones that cut through our continent. And is it possible that we will once again require many years and decades, as well as several generations of politicians, to dissemble and dismantle these new walls.”

Putin’s speech of more than 6 years ago shows that he has Washington’s number. Washington is The Great Pretender, pretending to respect human rights while Washington slaughters Muslims in seven countries on the basis of lies and fabricated intelligence. The american people, “the indispensable people,” support this murderous policy. Washington uses the status of the dollar as reserve currency to exclude countries that do not do Washington’s bidding from the international clearing system.

Washington, awash in hubris like Napoleon and Hitler before they marched off into Russia, has turned a deaf, dumb, and blind ear to Putin during the entirety of the 21st century. Speaking on May 10, 2006, Putin said: “We are aware of what is gong on in the world. Comrade wolf [the US] knows whom to eat, he eats without listening, and he’s clearly not going to listen to anyone.”

“Where,” Putin asked, is Washington’s “pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue its own interests?” For Washington, “everything is allowed, there are no restrictions whatsoever.”

China also has caught on. Now the hubris that drives Washington toward world hegemony confronts two massive nuclear powers. Will the criminal gang in Washington drive the world to nuclear extinction?

Washington, thinking that it owns the world, has imposed more unilateral sanctions on Iran without any basis in any recognized law. The imposed sanctions are nothing but Washington’s assertion that its might is right.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Washington could stick its sanctions up its ass. “We consider efforts to impose internal American legislation on the entire world completely unacceptable.”

Washington will do what it can to assassinate Putin and effect regime change through the Russian “opposition” that Washington funds. Failing that, Washington’s pursuit of world hegemony has run up against a brick wall. If the fools in Washington with their hubris-inflated egos don’t back off, that mushroom cloud they have been warning about will indeed blossom over Washington.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

Censored Tehran Peace Conference and Media Disinformation

August 16th, 2012 by James F. Tracy

If anyone needs additional proof of the tremendous censorial control wielded over corporate and alleged  “independent” media regarding Western powers’ imperialist projects they need look no further than the thorough news blackout of the August 9 Tehran Consultative Conference on Syria.[1] As this censorship ensued, “progressive” news outlets continued their barrage of dubious and misleading information on the continuing turmoil within Syria.

The August 9 Tehran conference was sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran, attended by representatives from close to 30 nations, including Russia, China, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela, Cuba, and the UN envoy to Tehran. Its express intent was to “strengthen all-out regional and international efforts to help Syrian people to find a way out of ongoing crisis and prepare a suitable ground for national dialogue in a peaceful atmosphere.”

Given the meeting’s suggestion of dialogue over force the conveners excluded the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar–countries behind the program to destabilize Syria’s al-Assad’s regime.[2]

The discussion is anticipated to continue as a corollary to the Non-Aligned Movement meeting taking place in Iran in late August. Iran hopes the August 9 conference will be a genuine first step in a peace process between the Syrian regime and internal opposition groups.

Conference delegates emphasized a recognition of Syrians’ grievances while also expressing concern over how “the entry of known terrorist groups and sects into the Syrian conflict” threatens regional peace and security.[3]

White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the meeting. “There is vast evidence that demonstrates that Iran has been engaged in an effort to prop up Assad as he brutally murders his own people,” Carney asserted. In an interview on NBC television US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice similarly claimed how Iran was playing a “nefarious” role in the Syria conflict, and acting as leader of an “axis of resistance” that was “bad for the region.”[4]

At a stage when the terrorist campaign in Syria appears to be faltering, the conference has likely caught US diplomats off guard. “I think the US State Department is freaked out because this is a huge defeat for Hillary Clinton,” political analyst Webster Tarpley stated on Iran’s PressTV. “What is Hillary Clinton’s diplomacy worth when 30 countries—including about half the world when you get down to it—can come together on a pro-Syrian, pro-independence platform?”[5]

Since the Tehran confab’s discourse was characterized with a spirit of national self-determination and clearly sought to contest NATO’s deceptive imperialist designs, one might expect the left-progressive news media and blogosphere especially to be abuzz with extensive coverage of the event. Such coverage or commentary has yet to emerge.

In fact, progressive media outlets continued what was arguably a campaign of disinformation that for some time has championed the Western-backed, mercenary-infused Free Syrian Army while ignoring its now thousands of murders and atrocities. For example, on August 12 The Nation ran a story by Democracy Now correspondent Sharif Abdul Kouddous,[6] the Egyptian-American reporter with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood [7] who received accolades in left media circles for his 2011 coverage of Tahrir Square.

In the first of a three-part series, Kouddous related his recent foray to the Syrian city of Zabadani, “one of the earliest towns to stage demonstrations against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, with residents taking to the streets two weeks after the uprising in Deraa on March 15, 2011.”

With vivid accounts of bloodshed perpetrated by the Syrian forces, Kouddous emphasizes to Nation readers how Zabadani’s steadfast revolution derives from the grassroots, thus differing from the one being waged by ruthless NATO-backed death squads throughout the rest of the country. “People that were unarmed at first decided to arm themselves,” one local activist tells Kouddous. “The regime made this happen.”

The readership is told how the village is “controlled by residents and fighters with the Free Syrian Army—which in Zabadani are made up almost entirely of local volunteers and defecting soldiers hailing from the area.”

In an August 14 Democracy Now interview highlighting the Nation piece, Amy Goodman asked Kouddous why he chose Zabadani to profile. “Well, I found a way into Syria,” Kouddous replied.

As we know, the Syrian government does not really allow journalists in on official visas, or very rarely does. And so, there was a way in through Lebanon to reach this town. I was hoping to reach Damascus, but the number of checkpoints around Damascus prevented that from happening.

In fact, Zabadani is well known as one of the very few “rebel holdouts” in Syria. As the BBC similarly reported in January, “Zabadani is the only town near Damascus seething with rebellion. It’s the only town where the president has ceded power.”[9]

Thus the city is an especially ideal backdrop for a piece promoting the now-familiar NATO propaganda line of the popular indigenous uprising repressed by the brutal Assad regime, even though the scenario appears to be far from common.

As recently as late July, France 24 reported a less triumphant situation for Zabadani’s FSA forces, with the Syrian Army making significant inroads toward retaking the city. “’Those who want to fight must come here!’” an FSA commander boasts. “’They [Syrian forces] are cowards and dogs – they just bark orders into their walky-talkies.’ Despite the bravado,” a France 24 correspondent observed, “Syrian forces have pushed the rebels back and many rebel-held areas are now under the army’s control.”

According to this account (and contrary to Kouddous’ romanticization of the FSA), “Even the hardiest,” of Zabadani’s inhabitants “can’t stand anymore fighting.” One woman told the French journalists “she would rather take her family into the countryside, while the rest of the Free Syrian Army defends the rest of the district.”[8]

Kouddous’ reportage contributes to the progressive media’s larger project of seemingly authenticating the mainstream news outlets’ simplistic, NATO-friendly “popular revolution” news frame of the overall Middle East destabilization process.

Yet nothing makes the intent to mislead audiences more apparent than this deceptive amalgam of stifling coverage of a potentially productive and meaningful peace conference, denying a real voice to the victims of Western-backed mercenaries and death squads, and paying calculated homage to the Zabadani rebellion. The familiar formula seeks to prop up a now-transparently doubtful storyline begun in January 2011.


[1] The news blackout is initially observed by Webster Tarpley. “Tehran Conference Belies US Syria Claims: Webster Tarpley,” Press TV, August 10, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giTEnaAW2yY

[2] Syria: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War? Online Interactive Book, ed. Michel Chossudovsky, 2012, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29234

[3] “Participants in Iran Conference on Syria Issue Final Statement,” FARS News Agency, August 9, 2012, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9104253537

[4], “US Raps Iran on Syria After Tehran Conference,” Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, August 10, 2012, http://www1.bssnews.net/newsDetails.php?cat=3&id=271302&date=2012-08-10

[5] “Tehran Conference Belies US Syria Claims: Webster Tarpley,” Press TV,  See also, “Tarpley: 30 Nations Meet in Tehran for Alternative to Hillary Clinton’s Attack on Syria,” Voltaire Network, August 12, 2012, http://www.voltairenet.org/Tarpley-30-Nations-Meet-in-Tehran

[6] Sharif Abdel Kouddous, “On the Ground in Zabadani, a Syrian Town in Revolt,” The Nation, August 13, 2012, http://www.thenation.com/article/169360/ground-zabadani-syrian-town-revolt

[7] Reporting from Tahrir Square in early 2011, Kouddous remarked, “One man who is sure Mubarak’s time is up is my uncle Mohamed Abd El Qudoos. A leading opposition protester, Mohamed is the head of the Freedom Committee in the Press Syndicate, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Why does one of the progressive news program’s foremost correspondents have ties to and tout the fiercely reactionary Muslim Brotherhood? ”Live From Egypt, The Rebellion Grows Stronger,” Democracy Now! January 30, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2011/1/30/live_from_egypt_the_rebellion_grows_stronger_by_sharif_abdel_kouddous

[8] Jeremy Bowen, “Zabadani: The Town President Assad Does Not Control,” BBC, January 20, 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16663264

[9] “Rebels and Assad’s Forces Face-Off in Zabadani,” France 24, July 28, 2012, http://www.france24.com/en/20120728-syria-zabadani-free-syrian-army-rebels-bashar-al-assad-troops-mortars

James F. Tracy is Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University and an associate of Project Censored. More information is available at his blog, memorygap.org.

Syria: Proxy War Powder Keg

August 16th, 2012 by Bryce White

As the Syrian conflict escalates and continues unabated, so too does the intense rhetoric and diplomatic wrangling surrounding it, revealing the war’s immense geopolitical stakes. With the potential for a wider, regional war increasing day by day, it is all the more pressing to understand the intricacies of Syria’s strife and begin working toward its peaceful resolution.

Two conflicting narratives have developed to explain the country’s recent violence: On one side, Western and Gulf policymakers and media have portrayed the uprising as spontaneous and peaceful, and the Syrian government as a ruthless and indiscriminate murderer of its civilians. Other Arab governments, along with independent media and analysts, assert that the government is fending off terrorists armed and funded from abroad. As time passes, the details emerging of the situation unfortunately confirm the latter.

Even before the current phase of armed insurgency, Syria was being purposefully destabilized by U.S. State Department-funded groups. The Washington Post discussed this in their article, “U.S. Secretly Backed Syrian Opposition Groups, Cables Released by Wikileaks Show.” [1] The country is just one of the many targeted by the West’s engineered geopolitical ploy of the ‘Arab Spring,’ which swept through the Middle East and north Africa, overturning sovereign states less than compliant to U.S. interests in the region. When demonstrations failed to topple the regime as had happened in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, armed groups were inserted by U.S. and NATO planners to instead bring down Damascus through violence.

Since April, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have overtly coordinated financing and material support for the rebels. [2] Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others are admittedly also providing weapons to the rebels via U.S. coordination and logistical support in Turkey and Lebanon. [3] Lebanon’s March 14 alliance, vehemently anti-Syrian, has also had a hand in supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels. [4] These details had extensive prior documentation, and were then made public as official policy. Even the former focal point of the Arab Spring, Libya, has committed weapons to the insurgency. [5] The Obama administration has also licensed a U.S. group to collect money for arms purchases, [6] effectively allowing the unwitting or nefarious to sponsor bloodshed. In addition, C.I.A. officers are currently stationed in southern Turkey, supplying automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and antitank weapons to the rebels, once again financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. [7]

The recipients of this foreign political, financial, material and logistical support, collectively labeled the Free Syrian Army, have been repeatedly cited for their human rights abuses and the presence of extremist elements within their ranks – most noticeably by Human Rights Watch.

The motivation for these abuses are in many cases along sectarian lines, Syria being one of the few remaining havens in the Middle East for the Shia and Alawite communities. With the presence of al-Qaeda and other Sunni militant groups now openly admitted in the mainstream media, [8] political cover is being given to the rebels to carry out sectarian warfare against the Alawite community including the al-Assad regime, and the Shia and Christian communities.

Al-Qaeda’s presence is brazenly displayed across the country, [9] with the group’s signature black flag now awash in the country, harkening back to post-revolution Libya, where the flag was hoisted most prominently atop Benghazi’s courthouse.

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Human Rights Watch’s extensive list of abuses carried out by the opposition run the gamut from kidnapping and detention to torture, forced confessions and execution. [10] This is an all too familiar repeat of the abuses carried out by Libyan rebels last year, including in that case widespread genocide of the country’s black African population. [11] During the League of Arab States’ observer mission in Syria, these systematic abuses were confirmed in cities such as Homs, where kidnappings, sabotage of government and civilian facilities, and armed blockades were all attributed to the insurgents, creating a desperate humanitarian situation within the city. The governor of Homs stated that the armed groups were responsible for the city’s escalation in violence, defying pleas for peace from religious figures and city notables. [12] This fact of the conflict, that the armed opposition is responsible for escalating the violence, has been confirmed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. [13]

The insurgents crossing into Syria are often not even Syrian nationals, rendering ‘Free Syrian Army’ a misnomer at best and destroying the credibility of their stated goals. Many rebels were previously committed to jihad against NATO forces and Shi’ites in Iraq, and have traversed the border to unleash similar devastation inside Syria. An aide to Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki stated, “Al Qaeda that is operating in Iraq is the same as that which is operating in Syria. We are 100 percent sure from security coordination with Syrian authorities that the wanted names that we have are the same wanted names that the Syrian authorities have.” The origin of other fighters include Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many eyewitnesses have reported the fighters as having foreign dialects, and the bodies of fighters killed in action later have been found burned, in an attempt by others to cover their tracks and conceal their true origins.

NATO forces have been widely reported to be training Syrian rebels in southeast Turkey, [14] in preparation for their entry into the country. Once inside Syria, the rebels dutifully carry out mass murder to then blame upon the Assad regime as a pretext for further outside meddling. The most prominent of these massacres occurred in the village of Houla, in which 108 civilians were killed. The rebels and complicit mainstream media immediately named and shamed the Syrian government, intensifying their calls for regime change and outside intervention. As eyewitness reports later confirmed, [15] the Houla massacre was the work of armed groups who had seized control of the area and then indiscriminately murdered men, women and children. President Assad made a speech soon after, saying, “Even monsters couldn’t perpetrate what we have seen.” [16]

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The crisis being engineered inside Syria must be viewed in the context of a much larger geopolitical endgame. As Syrian parliamentarian Khaled Aboud has said, “it is not an internal conflict between the spectra of Syrian people, but a clash over the strategic interests between regional and international powers.” [17] The overarching objective is the limiting of Iran’s regional sphere of influence, Tehran being the current epicenter of the ‘Resistance’ movement in opposition to American and Israeli imperial interests. In this sense, Syria has truly become an unspoken proxy battleground between the NATO and Resistance power blocs. If Assad is able to survive the current influx of foreign mercenaries, Tehran will have a continued and strengthened sphere of influence stretching from central Asia to the eastern Mediterranean.

To topple Syria, Iran’s foremost ally and proxy, the Sunni-Shia divide has been co-opted to systematically dismantle the Iranian axis and solidify Israel’s position as the sole regional hegemon. The Sunni monarchies of the Gulf are eager to limit Persian Shia influence in the region, and their participation in the anti-Syrian campaign also provides cover for their continued crackdown on dissenters. The same is true of Turkey regarding their Kurdish population. The collapse of the Assad regime also removes Hezbollah’s next-door state sponsor, killing two Iranian proxies with one stone. This is the motivation behind the Lebanese Hariri faction’s participation in fueling the insurgency, as it will remove the political influence of Iran and the March 8 movement.

Iran has been reluctant to stand idly by during all of this, despite the backlash that could result from Syria’s and Iran’s hypocritical aggressors. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said in testimony, “We are seeing a growing presence by Iran and that is of deep concern to us that that’s taking place. There’s now an indication that they’re trying to train a militia within Syria to be able to fight on behalf of the regime.” [18] The State Department has likewise accused Hezbollah of training and advising government forces, [19] although without presenting evidence for the accusation. Whether or not these accusations are true, they are important in that they portray Iran as a source of instability in the conflict, despicably attempting to mitigate a full-blown proxy invasion. However, Iran is still pursuing peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the conflict. This was on display recently in Tehran, when Iran hosted representatives from nearly 30 countries including Russia and China, collectively representing over half the world’s population standing in defiance of Western imperial designs.

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Iran’s efforts, no matter how futile they might appear at this stage, should be welcomed as Tehran is now the only external player making serious attempts to preserve Syrians’ lives, infrastructure and uncertain future.

Bryce White is an independent geopolitical analyst and student of political science residing in San Diego.


[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-secretly-backed-syrian-opposition-groups-cables-released-by-wikileaks-show/2011/04/14/AF1p9hwD_story.html

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/world/middleeast/us-and-other-countries-move-to-increase-assistance-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=1

[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/syrian-rebels-get-influx-of-arms-with-gulf-neighbors-money-us-coordination/2012/05/15/gIQAds2TSU_story.html

[4] http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/aug2011/leba-a12.shtml

[5] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/8917265/Libyas-new-rulers-offer-weapons-to-Syrian-rebels.html

[6] http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/01/2925990/us-eases-arms-purchases-for-syrian.html

[7] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?pagewanted=all

[8] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/world/middleeast/al-qaeda-insinuating-its-way-into-syrias-conflict.html?pagewanted=all

[9] http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NH14Ak01.html

[10] http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses

[11] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/16/libyan-militias-detainee-torture-amnesty-international

[12] http://globalresearch.ca/Report_of_Arab_League_Observer_Mission.pdf

[13] http://sana.sy/eng/22/2012/08/11/435872.htm

[14] http://www.presstv.ir/detail/214641.html

[15] http://www.syrianews.cc/marat-musin-anna-news-syria-report-houla/

[16] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/world/middleeast/assad-condemns-houla-massacre-blaming-outside-terrorists.html

[17] http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-08/14/c_131784980.htm

[18] http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/14/pentagon-iran-training-pro-regime-militias-in-syria/

[19] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/world/middleeast/us-officials-say-hezbollah-helps-syrias-military.html

Russia in the Middle East: Return of a superpower?

August 16th, 2012 by Eric Walberg

The US “withdrawal” from Iraq last year and the planned “withdrawal” from Afghanistan in 2014 cannot help but change the face of Central Asia and the Middle East. But how does Russia fit in

The world is living through a veritable slow-motion earthquake. If things go according to plan, the US obsession with Afghanistan and Iraq will soon be one of those ugly historical disfigurements that — at least for most Americans — will disappear into the memory hole.

Like Nixon and Vietnam, US President Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who “brought the troops home”. But one cannot help but notice the careful calibration of these moves to fit the US domestic political machine — the Iraqi move to show Americans that things on the international front are improving (just don’t mention Guantanamo), the Afghan move put off conveniently till President Barack Obama’s second term, when he doesn’t need to worry about the fallout electorally if things unravel (which they surely will).

Of course, Russia lost big time geopolitically when the US invaded Afghanistan, and thus gains as regional geopolitical hegemon by the withdrawal of US troops from Central Asia. Just look at any map. But American tentacles will remain: Central Asia has no real alternative economically or politically anymore to the neoliberal global economy, as Russia no longer claims to represent a socialist alternative to imperialism. The departure of US troops and planes from remote Kyrgyzstan will not be missed — except for the hole it leaves in the already penurious Kyrgyz government’s budget and foreign currency reserves. Russia is a far weaker entity than the Soviet Union, both economically and politically. Thus, Russia’s gain from US weakness is not great.

Besides, both Russia and the US support the current Afghan government against the Taliban — as does Iran. In fact, in case US state department and pentagon officials haven’t noticed the obvious, the main beneficiary of the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq has been Iran, again by definition. The invasion brought to power the ethnic Persian Tajiks in Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq set up a Shia-dominated government there.

 Similarly, when the US invaded Iraq, Russia lost politically and economically. The US cancelled Sadam Hussein’s state debts, which hurt the Russians and Europeans but not the US. The US just happened to be boycotting Iraq for the previous decade and took pleasure from shafting its sometime allies for ignoring US wishes. However, once Iraqi politicians begin to reassert some control over their foreign policy, Russia will be seen as a much more sympathetic partner internationally.

Ironically, on many fronts, Iran now holds the key to readjusting the political playing field and establishing rules that can lead away from the deadly game being played by the US, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, with broader implications for broader nuclear disarmament, EU-US relations, but above all, for the continued role of the dollar as world reserve currency. This encourages Russia to maintain its alliance with Iran over vague (and empty) promises of US-Russian world hegemony as envisioned by the now-discredited Medvedev Atlantists in Moscow.

Russia’s relations with both Central Asia and the Middle East since the collapse of the Soviet Union have been low key. In the Middle East, it maintains relations with Palestine’s Hamas, and, as a member of the so-called quartet of Middle East negotiators (along with the EU, the US and the UN), insists that Israel freeze expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories as a condition of further talks. It appears to be trying to regain some of the goodwill that existed between the Soviet Union and Arab states, supporting the UN Goldstone Report which accused Israel of war crimes in its 2008 invasion of Gaza.

It embarked on a diplomatic offensive with Arab states in 2008, offering Syria and Egypt nuclear power stations, and is re-establishing a military presence in the Mediterranean at the Syrian port, Tartus, though Syria’s current civil war, with Russia and Iran lined up against the West and the Arab states could leave Russia on the losing side. Western attempts to portray Russia as the power-hungry bad guy in Syria do not hold water. Russia is concerned about heightened civil war in an evenly divided population, with rebel groups openly armed by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s Arab and Western foes. The hypocrisy in the Arab world is appalling: Gulf monarchies and Saudi Arabia loudly demand that Egypt’s new government swear off any attempt to “interfere” in their internal politics, but brazenly arm Syrian rebels.

 Russia is still struggling to leave its own tragic civil war in Chechnya behind, and to make sure there’s a place at the table for its Muslims. With its 16 million Muslims (about 12 per cent of the population), it has expressed interest in joining the Organization of Islamic Conference. Its unwillingness to let Syria slide into civil war does not gain it any brownie points among its own separatist Muslims in the Caucasus and elsewhere, but it is not willing to carve up either Syria or the Russian federation in the interests of some fleeting peace.

The importance of Jewish financial and economic interests in post-Soviet Russia — both the banking and industrial oligarchs and the Kosher Nostra mafia — ensures that Israel gets a sympathetic hearing from Russian leaders. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is a Russian Jew who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1978.

Israel is also able to take advantage of the persistence of Muslim unrest and dreams of independence in the Caucasus within Russia to prevent Moscow from taking any strong position to pressure Israel. Russia’s prickly neighbor Georgia harbors Chechen rebels and Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, uses Israeli and US military advisers. Of course, the US benefits from Israeli pressures on Russia. This is a key feature of the current Great Game, where the US and Israel act as the new imperial “centre”.

It is popular to call this era a new Cold War. However, history never repeats itself. There certainly is a new tension in world politics following 9/11, and the failure of the newly aggressive US to successfully assert its hegemony around the world, including Russia, keeps the fires of chauvinism hot in the US. On the US right, Russia is seen merely as the Soviet Union reborn, a ruse to hide the KGB’s agenda of world communist control. For the saner Obamites, it is a more diffused Cold War, dominated by a new US-Israeli imperial centre, the “empire-and-a-half”, with shifting alliances of convenience, though with a strong, new opposition player on the horizon — a savvier, more articulate Islamic world, with Iran, Turkey and Egypt in the first rank.

 The desire by both the US and Israel to overthrow the Iranian government is now the only common goal left in this “empire-and-a-half”, but it is a common goal only because Israel is in the driver’s seat. Israel resents Iran as an existential threat not to Israel itself, but to Greater Israel and regional domination. Iran serves as a powerful example, a third way for Muslim countries, and is most definitely a rival to Israel as Middle East hegemon.

 Among the new Arab Spring governments, it is only Egypt’s that worries Israel. Just imagine if Egypt and Iran start to cooperate. Add in Shia-dominated Iraq, Turkey and Russia, as Russia has good relations with all four, and common objects on the international scene. Suddenly the Middle East playing field takes on a totally different appearance.

A rational US policy to join with Russia and China to accommodate Iran could save the teetering dollar, or at least give the US a chance to prepare for an orderly transition to a new international currency. If Russia, China and Iran defuse the current nuclear crisis between the US and Iran peacefully, with a nod to Turkey and a resolve to make Israel join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, this could pave the way for a new Eurasian playing field. If and when the US withdraws from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will be drawn in as well.

This would set off a chain of events that could change the whole nature of the current Great Game leading to a Russia-India-Iran-China axis (Russia-India-China summits have already been held yearly since 2001), leaving Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Israel to sort out their regional conflicts outside of a new, very different great game. US interests would be considered but without US diktat, forcing, or rather allowing the US to put its own house in order. Iran would finally be accepted as the legitimate regional player that it is. If the US cannot bring itself to make a graceful exit from its self-imposed crisis in the region, this will only accelerate its decline.

Russia inherits fond memories across the Middle East region as the anti-Zionist Soviet Union’s successor. It now has the chance to gain long term credibility as a principled partner not only in the Middle East but to non-aligned countries everywhere, and should hold the fort, the anti-imperial one, against what’s left of empire.

Eric Walberg writes for http://weekly.ahram.org.egy/ and is author of Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games  http://claritypress.com/Walberg.html You can reach him at http://ericwalberg.com/