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Google will not censor ‘pied piper of Jihad’ who inspired 7/7 London bombings

Google is refusing to censor the rants of al-Qaeda terror preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly...

7/7 London bombings, 11yrs on: Iraq War raised terror threat, Chilcot suggests

Eleven years on from the London bombings of July 7, 2005, the Chilcot report appears...
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Video: “UK journalism … is dead” Ex MEP Richard Cottrell On Questioning The 7/7...

Journalism as an honourable, truth seeking profession in Britain, is dead. In this groundbreaking work of investigative journalism, Richard Cottrell lays bare a ... Via...

13 holes in government & media account of 2005 London Bombings

Litany of media, police & judicial failures: 10th anniversary of 7/7 London Bombings Lies & betrayal of victims' families: 10th anniversary of 7/7 London...
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Video: 7/7 London Bombings: no closure for families a decade on: call for independent...

Angela Belassie interviews Tony Gosling about the worrying anomalies which have trickled out since the 7/7 London Bombings which happened a decade ago. Via Youtube

The 7/7 London Bombings and MI5′s “Stepford Four” Operation: How the 2005 London Bombings...

Dedicated to former South Yorkshire terror analyst Tony Farrell who lost his job but kept his integrity, and with thanks to the documentation provided...

London Parsons Green IED 'similar to Boston Marathon bomb,' only partially detonated

Police have confirmed the explosion on a packed rush hour tube train at Parsons Green...

Bollards and barricades pop up in central London following Westminster attack (VIDEO)

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5 terrorist attacks that shook London

The car-and-knife attack in Westminster on Wednesday was the deadliest terrorist attack in the UK’s...

Armed police to ride London Underground after Greenwich bomb scare

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London mayor Sadiq Khan says terrorist attacks ‘part & parcel’ of big city life

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Axing CCTV in London a ‘crazy idea,’ counter-terrorism expert tells RT

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Class war to race row: The bitter electoral journey expected to end in London’s...

Londoners casting their ballots in the capital’s mayoral election are expected to make Labour’s Sadiq...

Islamophobe brands all Muslims ‘terrorists’ in shocking London train outburst (VIDEO)

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‘Downing St, you’re next!’ London threatened in apparent ISIS video

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London has the jitters after Brussels attacks – op-ed

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Brussels Bombings Destroy Fiction That All Terrorism Deaths Count as Equal

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Video: London’s 7/7 terror tragedy, 10 yrs on: fears of homegrown attacks mount

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Britain marks 10th anniversary of 7/7 bombings

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Saudi Arabia and CIA Behind Terror Bombings in Southern Russia?

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Volgograd Bombings: CIA’s Chechen Assets Attack Russia Ahead of Winter Olympics

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Anti-nukes activists to rally in London

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Bonston Bombings: Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev a Double Agent Recruited by the FBI?

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Are the Boston Marathon Bombings Tied to a New American Campaign into the Caucasus?

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Woolrich London Killing: Terrorism or False Flag?

Reports said two assailants hacked a British soldier to death. He’s been identified as Lee Rigby. He was killed in broad daylight. It was...

Foreign terrorists exploit human rights law to escape deportation – report

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All Islamic Terrorism Is Perpetrated by Fundamentalist Sunnis,

Except Terrorism Against Israel Eric Zuesse My examination of 54 prominent international examples of what U.S. President Donald Trump is presumably referring to when he uses...

‘Manchester bombing’s 23rd victim’: 7/7 survivor takes his own life after attack

A survivor of the 7/7 London bombings was found dead in his home after last...

Manchester attack: Police appeal for information on bomber’s blue suitcase

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Mosque near Manchester set on fire in ‘possible retaliation’ against concert bombing

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Manchester fell victim to callous terrorist attack says British Prime Minister

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Theresa May halts campaign to chair emergency Cobra meeting following Manchester ‘terrorist attack’

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MI5 launches inquiry into whether it could have prevented Westminster terrorist attack

Britain’s domestic intelligence agency MI5 has launched an internal inquiry into whether it could have...

Student accidently makes explosive chemical used in 7/7, Paris, & Brussels terrorist attacks

A university student accidentally created a highly explosive chemical in a college science lab, the...

Tunisia beach massacre: Security forces deliberately stalled response, inquest hears

Tunisian security forces “deliberately and unjustifiably” stalled in responding to a massacre of holidaymakers in which 38 tourists were killed, an inquest heard on...

Tunisia terrorist attack: Inquests open into deaths of 30 British tourists

Inquests into the deaths of 30 British tourists killed in the Tunisian beach massacre of 2015 are due to start on Monday at the...

Syrian Conflict: The Deceptions and Betrayals

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Nice attack copycats could target Britain’s rural towns, 7/7 detective warns

Terrorists could launch Nice-style attacks in smaller towns and cities across the UK to take...

A False Flag Event

A missionary friend of mine in Eastern Europe recently gave me a heads up regarding an excellent article written by Sebastian Swift entitled “5...

Pedophile fearing jail sparked evacuation after attempting suicide with ‘oven bomb’

A pedophile sparked a large-scale evacuation in Essex when he attempted to kill himself by “cooking” a bomb in his oven to avoid...

Armed law enforcement shortage leaves UK vulnerable to terror attack – Police Federation

Britain’s shortage of armed police officers may leave the country vulnerable to terror threats, the Police Federation of England and Wales has said. The federation...

UK terror threat up, but gun cop numbers down Home Office stats show

Armed police numbers have dipped by a fifth since 2010, virtually the exact figure deemed...

British Army’s ‘disappearing hitmen’ used legal loophole to fight in Yemen

By exploiting a legal loophole Britain dodged its human rights obligations and deployed secret soldiers...

1,000 more armed police on British streets to counter Paris-style attack

Hundreds more armed police will patrol the streets of Britain, equipped to deal with a...

Snowden condemns Britain’s new surveillance bill

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has voiced his opposition to the Investigatory Powers Bill, which was unveiled Wednesday by the British government, saying ministers are...

7/7 led to wars abroad and loss of freedoms at home… but do we...

For the London media 7/7 is 'done and dusted', but for Tony Gosling, who helped cover the IRA London bombing campaign for the BBC,...

UK government counter-terrorism bill would criminalize speech, political activity

By Jordan Shilton (WSWS) - The Conservative government in Britain is preparing to enact new legislation that, under the guise of the “war on terror,” will vastly...

Attack in Paris a Direct Result of Western Imperialism

T.J. Petrowski The tragic shooting in Paris of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in 2011, that left 12...

David Cameron Wants To ‘Make It Easier To Take Passports Away’

David Cameron will make a statement to the House of Commons later today on proposals for new legislation which will “make it easier to...

Jimmy Savile: ‘It couldn’t happen again.’ Yes it could and it’s probably happening right...

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The assassin’s guide to Western ‘democracy’

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France Planned False Flag Terror Attack in Britain

Intelligence services considered assassinating Muslim leader, blaming neo-nazis Paul Joseph Watson French intelligence services planned to stage a terror attack in Britain and then blame it...

British intelligence reportedly intercepted LinkedIn and Slashdot traffic to plant malware

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NSA Does the Grand Tour

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Old Game, New Obsession, New Enemy… Now It’s China

Countries are “pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world,” wrote Lord Curzon,...

Old Game, New Obsession, New Enemy… Now It’s China

Countries are “pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world,” wrote Lord Curzon,...

The China Fixation

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The Nairobi Mall Attack: Who is the “White Widow”? Why is She being Targeted?

There is a massive international media focus on Samantha Lewthwaite, the British mother of four young children, in connection with the Nairobi mall bombing....

Britain’s big brother approach slammed

Terror experts say that a Å“big brother” approach will never solve terrorism in Britain.Following the eighth anniversary of the July 7 bombings in London,...

Slash welfare budget, pour money into security – UK

The UK has proposed slashing welfare funding to divert it to the police and armed forces in the wake of the Woolwich attacks, despite...

Muslim connected to British intelligence says there will be more “lone wolf” attacks

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Drones = Assassinations = War Crimes

Journalist Scott Shane, with an assist from Mark Mazzetti, reports in the New York Times (May 22) on the decline in armed drone strikes....

Anti-NWO event to take place in Manchester

PRINT & SHARE THIS. The Truth Comes to Manchester!! Sponsored by criticalmassradio.co.uk Saturday 24th November 2012 will see a conference held in Manchester bringing together various...

Victims Families: 7/7 investigation a “whitewash”

Families of victims of the July 7, 2005 bombings in London have denounced a parliamentary investigation into the events as a “whitewash”. They accuse...

MI5 said Iraq “exacerbated the threat from international terrorism”

By David Morrison | Stella Rimington, the last but one head of MI5, was interviewed by Decca Aikenhead in The Guardian on 18 October...

17 US Attacks On Pakistan Since September – Media Applauds

By Bzangy Groink | One of the issues most vexing to Pakistan is the ongoing missile strikes by US unmanned Predator drones, or UAVs, into Pakistan’s...

FBI manufactured evidence

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Surveillance costs add to tax bills

CCTV and DNA advances add to bills but minister calls rises unacceptable Jill Sherman, Whitehall Editor, and Murad Ahmed Soaring costs of surveillance technology to combat...

WAC Confronts Peter Power

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ID card opposition is growing

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When truth is under attack

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Poll shows more people now oppose ID cards

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UK Muslim Leader Speaks out on False Flags

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BBC: Big Brother Cooperation

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Government rejects 7 July inquiry

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7/7 Survivors and relatives demand an independent public enquiry

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Bush Wants Microchipped Society

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UK in ‘discreet talks’ with Iran

BBC The government is attempting to "discreetly" talk to the Iranians to secure the release of 15 Royal Navy personnel, Downing Street has said. Tony...

Year of terror: Timeline of ISIS attacks in Great Britain

Published time: 16 Sep, 2017 07:54 Edited time: 16 Sep, 2017 09:48 The Parsons Green...

US warns citizens of terrorist attacks threat at European tourist hotspots

The US has extended a European travel alert for its citizens, warning that terrorists continue to...

500 British Muslims attend ‘anti-terrorism’ training camp

Published time: 29 Aug, 2017 10:44 Edited time: 29 Aug, 2017 14:10 More than 500...

Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary could be free next year

Notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary, accused of radicalizing the London Bridge terrorists, could be released...

149 Dead So Far In Ramadan Attacks

UK MI5 intelligence to investigate itself after Manchester attack – Home Secretary

Published time: 29 May, 2017 07:39 Edited time: 29 May, 2017 08:01 MI5 has launched...

‘It’s an awful event’: John Pilger talks to RT about Manchester bombing (VIDEO)

Veteran Australian broadcaster John Pilger spoke to RT’s Going Underground about the Manchester attack that...

British politician tried in vain to save police officer stabbed in Westminster attack

Published time: 22 Mar, 2017 17:41Edited time: 22 Mar, 2017 17:44 A Conservative MP tried to...

Half of jihadists now radicalized online, claims neocon think tank

Published time: 8 Mar, 2017 17:31 Half of the UK’s jihadists are now radicalized by extremist...

#SwedenAttack: The Truth About Sweden

President Trump has fired off two tweets in response to the media firestorm over his comments on Sweden at the rally in...

Down the Rabbit-Hole to Trump’s Victory

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org There are several key reasons why Donald Trump won, such as that he achieved a 1,405,004 nationwide popular-vote victory in...

Timeline: Germany’s Two Years of Islamist Terror and Migrant Crisis

This week, Germany experienced its worst terror atrocity since the 1980s, following 21 months of Islamist suicide bombings, shootings, axe attacks, and...

The Power Elite’s War

“A populace deprived of the ability to separate lies from truth, is no longer capable of sustaining a free society.” Journalist Chris Hedges As the ruling...

Why Brookings Institution & The Establishment Love Wars

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Hiroshima & Nagasaki survivors tell British MPs to scrap nuclear weapons

Japanese survivors of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki visited the British parliament...

US assigns over 1,000 spies and special ops to Rio Olympics – report

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Corporate Media’s Dubious Syria Coverage

By James F. Tracy

Western news media reportage on the rampant criminal activities of foreign-backed paramilitary groups operating within Syria still relies heavily on unreliable sources frequently referred to as “activists.” Such spokespersons routinely claim the Syrian military are committing atrocities against the Syrian population. The reports are often disputed by the Bashar al-Assad government and proven suspect or false when additional information is unearthed by independent researchers and alternative news media.

In July 2012 UK journalist Charlie Skelton reported that Western news outlets remain willing accomplices in a propaganda campaign being carried out by public relations practitioners. According to Skelton, “the spokespeople, the ‘experts on Syria’, the ‘democracy activists’ … The people who ‘urge’ and ‘warn’ and ‘call for action’” against the Assad regime are themselves part of a sophisticated and well-heeled propaganda campaign to allow NATO forces to give Syria the same medicine administered to Libya in 2011. “They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change,” Skelton reports,

and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.[1]

One needn’t look far for current examples of such uncertain reportage and sourcing from eminent news organizations. For example, a prominent February 8, 2014 story from Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, titled, “Aleppo Bombings Kill 23, Activists Say,” carries the lead, “At least 23 people have been killed as a regime helicopter dropped barrel bombs on an opposition-controlled district in Syria’s largest city Aleppo on Saturday, activists said.”[2]

The New York Times reports, “Rebel and government groups have each been accused of massacring civilians, and the government has stepped up air attacks on Aleppo with barrages of improvised ”barrel bombs” packed with high explosives that activists say have killed more than 200 people.[3]

Similarly influential papers such as the Washington Post also remain unabashedly forthright in their reliance on such sourcing. A recent Associated Press piece carried in the paper, titled, “Activists: Syrian Forces Launch New Aleppo Strikes,” quotes the Aleppo Media Center, a self-described “anti-Bashar Assad activist group.” Post readers are assured the entity “has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting.”[4]

Likewise, in November 2013 the BBC, whose Syria coverage tilts strongly toward “activist” observations, cites the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to break the story of Syrian government air strikes “kill[ing] dozens in Aleppo.“ As Skelton noted in his 2012 exposé, “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is commonly used as a standalone source for news and statistics” which are taken at face value and parroted by corporate media. While SOHR sounds like a credible and non-partisan human rights outfit, “’They’ are Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdel Rahman), who lives in Coventry,” Skelton observes. In 2011 Reuters reported that when Abdulrahman “isn’t fielding calls from international media, [he] is a few minutes down the road at his clothes shop, which he runs with his wife.”[5]

The analysis suggests how despite the fact that those regularly quoted as authorities on Syria are often far-removed from what is transpiring on the ground and thus involved in a more far-reaching disinformation program to confuse the public on the calculated murder and chaos being carried out throughout Syria by Western-financed mercenary forces.

With the foreign-backed destabilization of Syria now well over two years old, major corporate-owned and government-backed news media, perhaps amazingly, continue to rely on such questionable entities as sources. Indeed, a Google search of “activists say” and “Syria” yields 919,000 results.

A more careful LexisNexis database search for “Syria,” “Assad,” “government” and the phrases “activists say” or “activists report” in the subject headings or text of news items for conventional print outlets indexed for June 1, 2012 to February 7, 2014 yields a data set consisting of close to 2,000 pieces—1,638 newspaper articles, 205 BBC broadcast transcripts, and 148 web-based articles.[6] A total 134 articles appeared in the New Zealand Herald, 52 in the Washington Post, 38 in the New York Times, 30 in the Financial Times, and 28 in the International New York Times.

The following table breaks down the news outlets that, based on the above search parameters, appear to have used so-called “activists” as sources 20 or more times since June 1, 2012.

News Outlet

News Articles / Transcripts

Referencing “Associated Press”

British Broadcasting Corporation

205

New Zealand Herald

134

43

Belfast Telegraph Online

97

 –

Washington Post

52

26

Daily Star (Lebanon)

38

 –

New York Times

38

5

Today’s Zaman (Turkey)

36

 –

The National (UAE)

34

21

Anadolu Agency

32

 –

Bismarck Tribune

30

 –

Financial Times

30

15

Scotsman

29

 –

Guardian

28

 –

International New York Times

28

8

The Capitol (Annapolis MD)

26

13

McClatchey Tribune

26

 –

Times of Oman

26

 –

Salt Lake City Tribune

25

23

Times & Transcript

24

5

Times (London)

23

 –

The Mirror

22

 –

About 13.5% of the sample (270) either reference the Associated Press as a source or are AP wire stories. A search for “Associated Press” within the search results yields 270 articles, including a significant number appearing in the New Zealand Herald (43), the Washington Post (26), The National (21), the Bismarck Tribune (15), and the International New York Times (8). A far smaller number of the overall sample (33) reference “Reuters.”

Combined with an acquiescent news media that are arguably complicit in such deception, the end result amounts to sheer propaganda selling the “Syrian revolution” and further conditioning world public opinion for the inevitability of gradual regime change or even more direct military intervention.

After over two decades of phony atrocity stories and tall tales involving Middle Eastern bogeymen and their legion hordes—from babies being thrown out of incubators in Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait to bin Laden’s alleged 9/11 attacks, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, and Muammar Gaddafi’s fabricated “crackdown” on his people—the public should well understand that much of corporate news media merely function as a well-oiled propaganda machine where “special interests” pull the strings. This is particularly the case when the true powers that be seek to undermine sovereign governments and carry out programs of wholesale terrorism and destruction against their populations.

Notes

[1] Charlie Skelton, “The Syrian Opposition: Who’s Doing the Talking?” Guardian, July 12, 2012.

[2] “Aleppo Bombings Kill 23, Activists Say,” Anadolu Agency, February 8, 2014.

[3] Anne Barnard and Mohammad Ghannam, “Dozens Are Killed in Syrian Violence, Even Amid Preparations for Peace Talks,” New York Times, December 23, 2013, 12.

[4] “Activists: Syrian Forces Launch New Aleppo Strikes,” Associated Press / Washington Post, February 1, 2014.

[5] Skelton, “The Syrian Opposition”; “Coventry: An Unlikely Home to Prominent Syria Activist,” Reuters, December 8, 2011.

[6] A search including the past tense phrases “activists said” or “activists reported” would have likely retrieved an even larger sample.

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The Battle For Trust, Truth And The Internet: 2013 In Focus

29/12/2013 (This was written specifically for Deccan Herald) 

While the usual catalogue of violence, suffering and mayhem was witnessed during 2013 and sections of the media were fascinated with the lives or loves of Salman, Priyanka, Kareena and the rest of celebritydom, for this end-of-year look-back the stardust and the suffering will take a back seat. Instead, the spotlight falls on spin, trust and the internet, not least because 2013 was to a large extent a year of revelations, accusations, denials and clever public relations.  


In an age of instant, mass communications, we are bombarded with messages 24/7. From advertisements and round-the-clock news channels to newspapers, social media, text messages and emails, the onslaught is relentless. How to filter it all or to make sense of it? Who to believe and what to believe, especially when one source tells us something then another says something completely different. For the public, it can be a headache. And for those trying to influence us with their messages, they know full well that there is an information war as they battle for our hearts, minds and trust.


Edward Snowden’s revelations


If two words could be used to define 2013, they might possibly be Edward Snowden. This young American emerged from the shadowy world of espionage and surveillance to expose Washington’s monitoring of us all and its illegal snooping across the planet. For his efforts, he incurred the wrath of the US establishment.


Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has been the world’s sole superpower. Despite all the public statements about respect for a multi-polar world, away from the public gaze the US has done everything to ensure that it gains ‘full spectrum dominance’ of the planet. Edward Snowden’s releasing of classified information about the US’s activities did little to undermine this view. If Snowden achieved anything, it was to shatter any claims about the US being the model of democracy it likes to portray itself as whereby the individual is king and the state takes a back seat.


But wait a minute. Isn’t that view a bit extreme? In recent times, haven’t developments such as the internet come to play a vital in strengthening democracy by empowering the individual? On one level, this is true. The internet and social media provide a vehicle for self expression, and there is also the convenience of carrying out various practical tasks online. Many have put their heart and soul into the internet, and their lives revolve around tweeting, liking, disliking, sharing, mobile apps and ‘press to purchase’. We have been encouraged to place our trust in the corporations that we give our information to and have thus handed over all kinds of personal details to Facebook, Google and any number of companies.


It wasn’t always this way. The older generation can remember back to when a handful of TV and radio stations existed, snail mail was king and friends were people you personally knew and interacted with face to face. But now, everything is just a highly convenient click away and people have so many ‘friends’ that it’s astonishing. Online friends, that is - often distant acquaintances, usually ‘friends’ of ‘friends’ (virtual strangers who become virtual friends), whom they divulge all kinds of details to and share photos, feelings and much more with. In a quest for convenience and self expression, people have inadvertently surrendered their privacy and identities to that benign sounding realm ‘cyber space’. Information is flying about the place left, right and centre. But who controls it and what is done with it?


Edward Snowden shed light on such questions by exposing what some already suspected: no matter where we may reside in the world, we are potentially being listened to, watched and monitored by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US (or its counterpart in the UK). The internet is not the empowering tool that many thought it was. During the past year, we discovered that the NSA has either colluded with a range of large corporations that many trusted, or has somehow hacked into their digital databases. Courtesy of Edward Snowden, we found that our emails, phone conversations, internet and social media activities and physical movements are on file and available to be scrutinised at will. Our likes, dislikes, shares, political allegiances and activities, purchases, holiday destinations and personal feelings are all in the public domain to be tapped into.


While buying into all of those lofty libertarian ideals about the digital age being personally liberating, many were duped into handing over their personal information to those who have the power to strip us of our freedoms. The NSA has captured ‘cyber space’ and taken the keys to people’s digital homes. Ironically, they naively delivered them to it on a silver platter.


Former NSA employer Snowden blew the lid off the whole NSA data surveillance industry. He also blew the lid off how Big Brother USA spies on governments and the personal conversations of national leaders, both friend and foe alike, and disregards laws in order to access information as and when it deems fit.


All of this is an ugly truth that the US wanted to keep from us. As a result, Snowden became Washington’s public enemy number one. Before having his passport revoked, he fled to Hong Kong then Moscow. The US did everything it could to capture him and prevent further embarrassing revelations, even going as far to orchestrate the hijacking of the Bolivian president’s plane as it flew over Europe because it was thought Snowden may have been on board. After being in limbo inside Moscow airport for weeks, Snowden was finally granted asylum by Russia.


Snowden’s revelations should be of great concern to us all. It is not that we are just being monitored, it is that the internet is increasingly being centralised in the hands of certain key companies under the control of a few governments, with the US having the means to control the major transit routes that comprise the core of the net. The NSA has set out to control the internet from day one and can increasingly determine what we can access online.

  

And let’s not forget that other info warrior WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange, who also released sensitive information about US activities and remains on Washington’s ‘most wanted’ list. He spent all of 2013 in the small Ecuadorian embassy in London. Ecuador might have granted him asylum, but the British are not letting him go to the airport any time soon.


The Syrian crisis


Another key battle over information and trust occurred over Syria. The US became the self-appointed judge, jury and executioner and wanted to bomb Syria for the good of all peace loving people across the world in the name of preventing terror - so the White House’s spin machine would have liked us to believe. Many may not realise that a prelude to World War Three was possibly on the cards when the US threatened to bomb Damascus. Although difficult to confirm, some reports alleged that two missiles were actually launched from its warships in the Mediterranean, or possibly by Israel. They were supposedly shot down by the Russians who also had ships stationed there (as did the Chinese). In any case, tensions were high, and Russia was standing firm in its defence of Syria.


Barack Obama wanted to intervene, in a ‘humanitarian’ sense, because the Assad government had allegedly carried out a chemical weapons attack on its own people. That there was no evidence Assad was responsible seemed to matter little as Washington’s PR people went into overdrive, just like they did in 2003 over Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. But thankfully reason prevailed this time, not least in the British parliament, which voted not to get involved with attacking Syria. And given that no one could produce hard evidence to support US claims (not even Washington) about the said chemical weapons attack, Obama had to back down.


The whole scenario rested on information and trust. Did we trust the information being presented by the US? Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was based on what British MP George Galloway called a ‘pack of lies’, people are less inclined to rush to support US-led wars, and the internet has especially become a hotbed for the articulation of dissent. In this respect, Edward Snowden’s revelations are thus highly pertinent, given the US’s mass surveillance of almost everything online and Washington’s (and probably most governments) increasingly sophisticated attempts to control public access to content.


The rise of Narendra Modi


And so to India and the man of the moment - Narendra Modi, who was also at the centre of a battle for hearts and minds during the year. A wholly divisive figure or a shining beacon of hope for India? A hero of development in Gujarat or a case of spin triumphing over reality. Again, it was all about PR, perception and trust. One thing became clear during 2013, however; Modi was able to cement his phenomenal rise to the pinnacle of Indian politics.


While many hold Modi personally responsible for the killings and abuses that took place in Gujarat back in 2002, he has in some quarters succeeded in forwarding the message that his state is a shining example of development and that he is a suitable candidate for PM. Despite his many detractors, he has succeeded in securing a mass support base, especially among middle class youth.  


The future is bright, the future is Modi? Do you trust him? By early November, it was clear that his 960,000 followers on Google plus did. And it was clear that six million ‘likes’ on his official ‘fan page’ on Facebook did. On that page, it says: “the man endeared as a visionary & an untiring, selfless worker who has made Gujarat the cynosure of all eyes across the world.”


The future is definitely bright and we should certainly trust him, if we are to believe all the PR. And in this day and age, PR matters. It is impossible for everyone to have direct knowledge about everything that is happening in the world, so we turn to the media to inform us. But there are some heavy duty players at work, including- PR firms, lobbyists, image consultants and suchlike, whose sole aim is to get some highly distorted versions of ‘the truth’ into the public domain. And Modi has for some time had a genuine heavyweight on his side - the US-based PR/lobby giant APCO Worldwide.


This firm has been instrumental in helping to give Modi a timely and much needed makeover, remarketing him as prime ministerial material and globally promoting Brand Modi and Brand Gujarat. It culminated in 2013 with Modi being selected as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Indian general election.   


And so to everything else


There were numerous prominent deaths during 2013. The two biggest were arguably those of Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher. Mandela’s struggle against the barbaric apartheid regime in South Africa was inspirational for millions across the world. After being imprisoned by the regime for 27 years, he eventually rose to become PM of post-apartheid South Africa. His death united people in grief. Eulogies came from all sides of the political spectrum.


Former British PM Margaret Thatcher was granted a lavish funeral and her coffin was paraded through the streets of London. This upset many because her time as PM left deep wounds, which her passing served to reopen. For her supporters, she saved Britain from economic meltdown. However, regardless of the eulogies following her death, or probably because of them, many people vented some very bitter sentiments about Britain’s first woman PM and her social and economic legacies.


Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher were towering political figures. For different reasons, their deaths evoked some deep-seated feelings.


What else happened during the year? 2013 saw India and Pakistan still ‘skirmishing’, the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, droughts in Maharashtra and various crashes, crushes, bombings and blasts across the country. Many metro projects moved forward in a number of cities. Flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh claimed the lives of more than 5,700 people and trapped more than 20,000.


The perpetrators of that horrendous rape aboard a bus in Delhi were finally sentenced, and the controversial Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu became partially operational. Sachin decided to hang up his test match bat, Tehelka made headlines of its own for all the wrong reasons and the fodder scam from the nineties finally caught up with Lalu.


Typhoons lashed India and devastated the Philippines and French troops went into resource-rich Mali and stayed. A meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,491 people and damaging over 4,300 buildings, ‘austerity’ continued in Europe and the US was still printing dollars like they are going out of fashion. They might be, given the ongoing rush to buy gold by various countries and talk of replacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.


A building collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1,129 and injuring 2,500. It was the third worst industrial accident ever. And there was high-profile political turmoil  in Ukraine, Thailand, Egypt and Turkey. There was even a glimpse of a major thaw in US-Iran relations.


Many things happened that were unreported or under - reported, not least because they were not deemed ‘newsworthy’. For example, candlelit marches in Delhi are headline grabbing, the ongoing tragedy affecting Indian farmers is not. The IPL is extremely newsworthy, Irom Sharmila’s cause is not.  


And the same may be said about this particular look back. Some occurrences have been included, many have not. Any write up is bound to be partial and subjective. Ask ten different people to write about the year just gone and you would probably get ten totally different narratives.


However, this particular look back has been very apt because it had much in common with 2013. It was long and winding, had some interesting highlights (hopefully) and went over in a flash. But the biggest thing it has in common with 2013 - it’s finally over

.



Egypt’s Pinochet

Junta power runs Egypt. It reflects the worst of fascism writ large. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi rules as strongman. He heads the Supreme Council...

Egypt’s Pinochet

Egypt's Pinochet

by Stephen Lendman

Junta power runs Egypt. It reflects the worst of fascism writ large. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi rules as strongman. He heads the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). 

He's Washington's man in Cairo. Since August 2012, he's been top military commander. 

He's Defense and Military Production Minister. He's a 1977 Egyptian Military Academy graduate. He got US training. He's a US War College graduate.

He maintains close Pentagon ties. Washington manipulated Mubarak's ouster. It was complicit in toppling Mohamed Morsi. 

It deplores democracy. It opposes it at home and abroad. It's governed by a homeland police state apparatus. 

It backs pro-Western fascist despots globally. Doing so reflects business as usual.

Egyptian civilian officials have no legitimacy. They're appointed. They're figureheads. They're puppets. They're convenient stooges. 

Elections when held won't matter. Brute force runs Egypt. Ousting Morsi on July 3 was reminiscent of September 11, 1973. Chileans old enough to remember won't forget.

A reign of terror followed. Pinochet's "Caravan of Death" reflected it. A climate of fear included mass arrests, disappearances, torture and murder. 

Opposition government officials, academics, union heads, independent journalists, student leaders, activists, and other suspected regime opponents were targeted.

US citizens Charles Horman, Frank Teruggi, Boris Weisfeiler and Ronni Moffit were killed.

Horman's death was the subject of a 1982 Hollywood film. It was titled "Missing." He and thousands of others were Caravan of Death victims.

Nixon vowed to make Chile's economy scream. Kissinger was his national security advisor. He and CIA operatives orchestrated Salvador Allende's ouster.

After his 1970 election, Kissinger said:

"I don't see why we need to stand idly by and let a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people."

Allende was a progressive democratic leader. He was no communist. Junta head General Augusto Pinochet put General Sergio Arellano in charge of assuring provincial commanders complied with hard-line policies.

He was told to establish a uniform criteria of justice. He later explained, saying:

"With no concern for the guise of legality, as in the case of some War Councils, prisoners were taken out and shot under the cover of night. Most executions were attributed to attempts to escape."

Retired Lt. Col. Marcos Herrera Aracena said:

"General Arellano informed he that what Pinochet wanted was to bring an end to the remaining legal processes. In other words, finish with them once and for all."

Death squad justice was instituted. At issue was terrorizing Chileans. Instilling fear and crushing resistance were prioritized. Military commanders were ordered to go all out to solidify junta power.

Victims were buried in unmarked graves. Some were mutilated before being executed. General Joaquin Lagos explained why he didn't return some bodies to family members, saying:

"I was ashamed to see them. They were torn into pieces. So I wanted to put them together, at least leave them in a human form." 

"Yes, their eyes were gouged out with knives, their jaws broken, their legs broken." 

"At the end, they gave them the coup de grace. They were merciless. The prisoners were killed so that they would die slowly." 

"In other words, sometimes they shot them by parts. First, the legs, then the sexual organs, then the heart. In that order, the machine guns were fired."

Death squads killed thousands. Chile remains one of Latin America's most unequal societies. Chicago School fundamentalism creates wastelands. 

Chile remains a model of economic unfairness. Crony capitalism reflects out-of-control corruption, inequality and injustice. 

General el-Sisi is Egypt's Pinochet. Since usurping power, he instituted reign of terror justice. Sweeping crackdowns continue.

Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members are targeted. So are supporters and others challenging junta authority. Thousands were arrested. Others were disappeared, tortured and murdered. 

Over 1,000 nonviolent street protesters were killed. Everyone suspected of supporting MB is threatened. So are activists demanding democracy.

President Morsi is charged with murder, treason, espionage, and sponsoring terrorism. He's accused of collaborating with Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and anti-regime groups. Bogus charges claim he did so to destabilize Egypt. 

Kangaroo court justice awaits him. He faces possible capital punishment. Around three dozen other MB officials face similar charges.

Morsi remains in maximum security prison confinement. He's held incommunicado. Attorneys and family members are denied access. Some MB co-defendants remain at large.

On December 25, Egypt's so-called cabinet declared MB a terrorist organization. It did so unconscionably. 

It did it following Dakahlia Governate's Security Directorate headquarters bombing. Sixteen died. MB officials denied involvement.

A group named Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (Supporters of Jerusalem) claimed responsibility. Crackdowns on MB members continue. According to journalist Shahira Amin:

"This is a new escalation in a long-running feud between the security state and the Muslim Brotherhood." 

"What they are trying to achieve is to crush the Islamist group altogether and not to leave any room for that group to enter into political life again." 

"Declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terror group will mean criminalizing their activities, criminalizing their financing, and also criminalizing their membership." 

"Their protests are already outlawed. Their leaders are already behind bars and thousands of their supporters languish in prisons."

IKHWAN WEB is MB's official English language web site. On December 27, it headlined 'Muslim Brotherhood Legal Committee: Classifying Group as Terrorist Legally Null and Void."

"This classification came without investigation, without evidence." 

"No entity should be so classified or disbanded, except through legal procedures."

"Thus naming the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization is completely groundless in the absence of any evidence to prove this description which is vehemently rejected by the group."

"(T)he decision is invalid and illegal, because so far no court made any definitive judgments about the group and its leaders."

"The Brotherhood’s Legal Committee is considering an appeal of this decision. It will announce its course of action and legal position later."

Egypt Court of Cassation is its highest judicial authority. Seven appeals courts are next in importance.

Tanta Court of Appeals Judge Walid el Shaf'i called designating MB a terrorist organization illegal. If challenged in court, it'll be declared so, he said.

He cited Article 86 of Egypt's Penal Law. It can only be enforced by court order. Egypt's cabinet acted by executive decision. Doing so is illegal, he added.

On Thursday, dozens more MB members were arrested nationwide. Their land, funds, and other resources were confiscated.

Egypt's Islamic Medical Association hospitals are affected. An MB leader established them in the 1970s. They serve over two million patients annually.

They're mostly in poor neighborhoods. They're highly regarded. They considered preferred alternatives to poorly run government hospitals.

Since Morsi's ouster, government funding was cut. Admissions at Cairo's Nasr City district Central Hospital dropped by half. Many people fear seeking treatment. Doing so might suggest MB support.

Other network hospitals were forced to reduce services to save money. Central Hospital director Medhat Omar expressed concern, saying:

"If it goes on like this, we won't be able to take on any patients." Funds aren't available to pay salaries or other expenses.

Egypt's "war on terrorism" targets its own. It does so ruthlessly. It does it lawlessly. It aims to terrorize Egyptians into submission.

El-Sisi vowed to eradicate everyone challenging his power from "the face of the earth. Don't let these treacherous terrorist incidents affect your spirits," he said.

He referred to several recent bombings. "We're on the side of pronounced righteousness," he claimed. 

Many, perhaps most, Egyptians believed it last July. Fewer do today. Police state viciousness makes everyone fearful. 

Public demonstrations are banned. Anyone criticizing government policies risks arrest and imprisonment.

Dozens handing out pro-MB leaflets were arrested. One death was reported. During a Thursday army graduation ceremony, el-Sisi said:

"Egypt will stand firm in confronting terrorism and the people will never be afraid as long as the army is present."

Anyone charged with supporting MB "verbally or in writing" faces five years imprisonment. US expressed concern is too muted to matter.

Washington endorses coup d'etat harshness. A previous article asked when is a coup not one? It's when US officials suggest otherwise.

Reign of terror ruthlessness is official Egyptian policy. Rule of law principles don't matter. Government by diktat rules. No ones is safe from rampaging government forces.

MB officials risk being disappeared, tortured and murdered. Others face potential life in prison. So does anyone providing funding. Supporting MB publicly is considered terrorism.

Regular protests continue. People involved do so at great risk. One MB supporter perhaps spoke for others, saying: "People don't have anything to lose." 

Rights can't be gotten without sustained struggle. Conditions today are far worse than under Mubarak. 

State terror more than ever is official policy. Anyone challenging regime authority is vulnerable. Pinochet's ghost resides in Egypt. Same old, same old repeats.

London Guardian editors headlined "Egypt: back with a vengeance," saying:

"The skies are darkening over Egypt...How miserably different this is from" what most Egyptians hoped for.

Revolutionary change "is now being torn up by its roots...Mubarak regime (opponents) are now being victimized by its successor."

Egypt's rulers "are determined" to stamp out all opposition. "It is now evident that the Egyptian military, behind its unconvincing civilian facade, is ready to be as hard on its secular as on its religious opponents."

Mubarak's removal changed nothing. Junta power bided its time. It "gr(ew) a new head," said Guardian editors. "(N)ow (it's) back, quite literally, with a vengeance."

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

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour


http://www.dailycensored.com/egypts-pinochet/

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The War on Terrorism ... or whatever.

“U.S. hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s divided rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed political opposition coalition and announced the formation of an alliance dedicated to creating an Islamist state. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group.” 1
Pity the poor American who wants to be a good citizen, wants to understand the world and his country’s role in it, wants to believe in the War on Terrorism, wants to believe that his government seeks to do good … What is he to make of all this?
For about two years, his dear American government has been supporting the same anti-government side as the jihadists in the Syrian civil war; not total, all-out support, but enough military hardware, logistics support, intelligence information, international political, diplomatic and propaganda assistance (including the crucial alleged-chemical-weapons story), to keep the jihadists in the ball game. Washington and its main Mideast allies in the conflict – Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – have not impeded the movement to Syria of jihadists coming to join the rebels, recruited from the ranks of Sunni extremist veterans of the wars in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, while Qatar and the Saudis have supplied the rebels with weapons, most likely bought in large measure from the United States, as well as lots of of what they have lots of – money.
This widespread international support has been provided despite the many atrocities carried out by the jihadists – truck and car suicide bombings (with numerous civilian casualties), planting roadside bombs à la Iraq, gruesome massacres of Christians and Kurds, grotesque beheadings and other dissections of victims’ bodies (most charming of all: a Youtube video of a rebel leader cutting out an organ from the chest of a victim and biting into it as it drips with blood). All this barbarity piled on top of a greater absurdity – these Western-backed, anti-government forces are often engaged in battle with other Western-backed, anti-government forces, non-jihadist. It has become increasingly difficult to sell this war to the American public as one of pro-democracy “moderates” locked in a good-guy-versus-bad-guy struggle with an evil dictator, although in actuality the United States has fought on the same side as al Qaeda on repeated occasions before Syria. Here’s a brief survey:
Afghanistan, 1980-early 1990s: In support of the Islamic Moujahedeen (“holy warriors”), the CIA orchestrated a war against the Afghan government and their Soviet allies, pouring in several billions of dollars of arms and extensive military training; hitting up Middle-Eastern countries for donations, notably Saudi Arabia which gave hundreds of millions of dollars in aid each year; pressuring and bribing Pakistan to rent out its country as a military staging area and sanctuary.
It worked. And out of the victorious Moujahedeen came al Qaeda.
Bosnia, 1992-5: In 2001 the Wall Street Journal declared:
It is safe to say that the birth of al-Qaeda as a force on the world stage can be traced directly back to 1992, when the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic issued a passport in their Vienna embassy to Osama bin Laden. … for the past 10 years, the most senior leaders of al Qaeda have visited the Balkans, including bin Laden himself on three occasions between 1994 and 1996. The Egyptian surgeon turned terrorist leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has operated terrorist training camps, weapons of mass destruction factories and money-laundering and drug-trading networks throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia. This has gone on for a decade. 2
A few months later, The Guardian reported on “the full story of the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamist groups from the Middle East designed to assist the Bosnian Muslims – some of the same groups that the Pentagon is now fighting in “the war against terrorism”. 3
In 1994 and 1995 US/NATO forces carried out bombing campaigns over Bosnia aimed at damaging the military capability of the Serbs and enhancing that of the Bosnian Muslims. In the decade-long civil wars in the Balkans, the Serbs, regarded by Washington as the “the last communist government in Europe”, were always the main enemy.
Kosovo, 1998-99: Kosovo, overwhelmingly Muslim, was a province of Serbia, the main republic of the former Yugoslavia. In 1998, Kosovo separatists – The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) – began an armed conflict with Belgrade to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against the Serbs. 4
However, when US-NATO forces began military action against the Serbs the KLA was taken off the US terrorist list, it “received official US-NATO arms and training support” 5 , and the 1999 US-NATO bombing campaign eventually focused on driving Serbian forces from Kosovo.
In 2008 Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, an independence so illegitimate and artificial that the majority of the world’s nations still have not recognized it. But the United States was the first to do so, the very next day, thus affirming the unilateral declaration of independence of a part of another country’s territory.
The KLA have been known for their trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union.
Nota bene: In 1992 the Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs reached agreement in Lisbon for a unified state. The continuation of a peaceful multi-ethnic Bosnia seemed assured. But the United States sabotaged the agreement. 6
Libya, 2011: The US and NATO to the rescue again. For more than six months, almost daily missile attacks against the government and forces of Muammar Gaddafi as assorted Middle East jihadists assembled in Libya and battled the government on the ground. The predictable outcome came to be – the jihadists now in control of parts of the country and fighting for the remaining parts. The wartime allies showed their gratitude to Washington by assassinating the US ambassador and three other Americans, presumably CIA, in the city of Benghazi.
Caucasus (Russia), mid-2000s to present: The National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House have for many years been the leading American “non-government” institutions tasked with destabilizing, if not overthrowing, foreign governments which refuse to be subservient to the desires of US foreign policy. Both NGOs have backed militants in the Russian Caucasus area, one that has seen more than its share of terror stretching back to the Chechnyan actions of the 1990s. 7

Omission is the most powerful form of lie. – Orwell

I am asked occasionally why I am so critical of the mainstream media when I quote from them repeatedly in my writings. The answer is simple. The American media’s gravest shortcoming is much more their errors of omission than their errors of commission. It’s what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. So I can make good use of the facts they report, which a large, rich organization can easier provide than the alternative media.
A case in point is a New York Times article of October 5 on the Greek financial crisis and the Greeks’ claim for World War Two reparations from Germany.
“Germany may be Greece’s stern banker now, say those who are seeking reparations,” writes theTimes, but Germany “should pay off its own debts to Greece. … It is not just aging victims of the Nazi occupation who are demanding a full accounting. Prime Minister Antonis Samarass government has compiled an 80-page report on reparations and a huge, never-repaid loan the nation was forced to make under Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1945. … The call for reparations has elicited an emotional outpouring in Greece, where six years of brutal recession and harsh austerity measures have left many Greeks hostile toward Germany. Rarely does a week go by without another report in the news about, as one newspaper put it in a headline, ‘What Germany Owes Us’.”
“The figure most often discussed is $220 billion, an estimate for infrastructure damage alone put forward by Manolis Glezos, a member of Parliament and a former resistance fighter who is pressing for reparations. That amount equals about half the country’s debt. … Some members of the National Council on Reparations, an advocacy group, are calling for more than $677 billion to cover stolen artifacts, damage to the economy and to the infrastructure, as well as the bank loan and individual claims.”
So there we have the morality play: The evil Germans who occupied Greece and in addition to carrying out a lot of violence and repression shamelessly exploited the Greek people economically.
Would it be appropriate for such a story, or an accompanying or follow-up story, to mention the civil war that broke out in Greece shortly after the close of the world war? On one side were the neo-fascists, many of whom had cooperated with the occupying Germans during the war, some even fighting for the Nazis. Indeed, the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, acknowledged in August 1946 that there were 228 ex-members of the Nazi Security Battalions – whose main task had been to track down Greek resistance fighters and Jews – on active service in the new Greek army. 8
On the other side was the Greek left who had fought the Nazis courageously, even forcing the German army to flee the country in 1944.
So guess which side of the civil war our favorite military took? … That’s right, the United States supported the neo-fascists. After all, an important component of the Greek left was the Communist Party, although it wouldn’t have mattered at all if the Greek left had not included any Communists. Support of the left (not to be confused with liberals of course) anywhere in the world, during and since the Cold War, has been verboten in US foreign policy.
The neo-fascists won the civil war and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a suitably repressive internal security agency, named and modeled after itself, the KYP. For the next 15 years, Greece was looked upon much as a piece of real estate to be developed according to Washington’s political and economic needs. One document should suffice to capture the beauty of Washington’s relationship to Athens – a 1947 letter from US Secretary of State George Marshall to Dwight Griswold, the head of the American Mission to Aid Greece, said:
During the course of your work you and the members of your Mission will from time to time find that certain Greek officials are not, because of incompetence, disagreement with your policies, or for some other reason, extending the type of cooperation which is necessary if the objectives of your Mission are to be achieved. You will find it necessary to effect the removal of these officials. 9
Where is the present-day Greek headline: “What The United States Owes Us”? Where is the New York Times obligation to enlighten its readers?

Another step in the evolution of the Police State
“If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”
So say many Americans. And many Germans as well.
But one German, Ilija Trojanow, would disagree. He has lent his name to published documents denouncing the National Security Agency (NSA), and was one of several prominent German authors who signed a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to take a firm stance against the mass online surveillance conducted by the NSA. Trojanow and the other authors had nothing to hide, which is why the letter was published for the public to read. What happened after that, however, was that Trojanow was refused permission to board a flight from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, to Miami on Monday, September 30. Without any explanation.
Trojanow, who was on his way to speak at a literary conference in Denver, told the Spiegel magazine online website that the denial of entry might be linked to his criticism of the NSA. Germany’s Foreign Ministry says it has contacted US authorities “to resolve this issue”. 10
In an article published in a German newspaper, Trojanow voiced his frustration with the incident: “It is more than ironic if an author who raises his voice against the dangers of surveillance and the secret state within a state for years, will be denied entry into the ‘land of the brave and the free’.”11
Further irony can be found in the title of a book by Trojanow: “Attack on freedom. Obsession with security, the surveillance state and the dismantling of civil rights.”
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who oversees the NSA and other intelligence agencies, said recently that the intelligence community “is only interested in communication related to valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes.” 12
It’s difficult in the extreme to see how this criterion would apply in any way to Ilija Trojanow.
The story is a poignant caveat on how fragile is Americans’ freedom to criticize their Security State. If a foreigner can be barred from boarding a flight merely for peaceful, intellectual criticism of America’s Big Brother (nay, Giant Brother), who amongst us does not need to pay careful attention to anything they say or write.
Very few Americans, however, will even be aware of this story. A thorough search of the Lexis-Nexis media database revealed a single mention in an American daily newspaper (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch), out of 1400 daily papers in the US. No mention on any broadcast media. A single one-time mention in a news agency (Associated Press), and one mention in a foreign English-language newspaper (New Zealand Herald).
  1. Washington Post, September 26, 2013 
  2. Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2001 
  3. The Guardian (London), April 22, 2002 
  4. RT TV (Moscow), May 4, 2012 
  5. Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2001 
  6. New York Times, June 17, 1993, buried at the very end of the article on an inside page 
  7. Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs Post, “Barbarians at the Gate: Terrorism, the US, and the Subversion of Russia”, August 30, 2012 
  8. Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, October 16, 1946, column 887 (reference is made here to Bevin’s statement of August 10, 1946) 
  9. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1947, Vol. V (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971), pp. 222-3. See William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 3 for further details of the US role in postwar Greece. 
  10. Associated Press, October 2, 2013 
  11. Huffington Post, “Ilija Trojanow, German Writer, Banned From US For Criticizing NSA”, October 1, 2013 
  12. Washington Post, October 5, 2013 

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Gamal Sakr blames government for son’s death. (Photo: Susannah Ireland/ Independent) Mohamed Sakr was born and brought up in London before he was targeted and killed in February 2012 in Somalia.

Now his Egyptian-born parents Gamal and Eman Sakr, who have lived in Britain for 35 years, have accused ministers of betraying this country’s democratic values.

Speaking to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from their London home, the couple said they believe their son was left vulnerable to the attack after the government stripped him of his British citizenship months before he was killed.

“This is the hardest time we have ever come across in our family life,’ Mr  Sakr said in tears. “I’ll never stop blaming the British government for what they did to my son. They broke my family’s back.”

The comments follow the revelations by the Bureau and published in the Independent that the Home Secretary Theresa May has ramped up the use of powers allowing her to strip UK citizenship from dual nationals without first proving wrongdoing in the courts.

The investigation revealed the Coalition government has stripped 16 people, including five born in Britain, of their UK passports. Two, including Sakr, were later killed by drone strikes and one was secretly rendered to the United States.

The law states that the government cannot make someone stateless when it removes their citizenship. But Egyptian-born Mr and Mrs Sakr say their son Mohamed never had anything other than a British passport, despite in principle having dual nationality.

In September 2010 the family received notification that the government intended to remove their son’s British citizenship, on the grounds that he was ‘involved in terrorism-related activity’.

It was the first known instance in modern times of a British-born person being stripped of his nationality. His family insist that the action meant Mohamed, who was in Somalia, was left effectively stateless and stranded.

His mother still can’t quite believe it happened. ‘I was shocked. It never crossed my mind that something here in Britain would happen like this, especially as Mohamed had no other passport, no other nationality. He was brought up here, all his life is here.’

Mohamed’s parents were so worried that their other sons might also lose their British citizenship that they renounced the entire family’s dual Egyptian nationalities, shortly after they were told that Mohamed had been deprived of his citizenship.

‘I did this for the protection of the family, because they grew up here, they were all born here. And I felt that for them it was my responsibility to protect them. It was the only way I could protect them against that stupid law,’ says Mr Sakr.

‘No member of my family ever had an Egyptian passport,’ says Mr Sakr. ‘For the kids it never crossed my mind that they would have anything other than their British passports. I know they are British, born British, they are British, and carried their British passports.’

Mr and Mrs Sakr have thrived in Britain, running a successful business. They moved here from Egypt 35 years ago thinking it was a good place to raise a family.

‘It was democratic, and compared to where I was before in Egypt that was a big gap,’ Mr Sakr explains. ’There was no dictator here, no bad laws like there were back home, so we decided to start a new life.’

Mohamed was born in London in 1985 and grew up as a normal, sporty child. ‘He was very popular amongst his friends, yet very quiet at the same time, very polite, he was just a normal child,’ recalls Eman.

As he got older his parents had worried about him getting into trouble.  ‘He loved going out, he loved to dress up, to wear the best clothes, he liked everything to be top range,’ recalls Mr Sakr.

‘I used to tell him, after midnight there’s no good news. So I’d say, “Make sure you are home before 12”. He said “OK, OK I’ll try, you know,”’ said his mother.

In his early twenties he calmed down and in 2007 set up an executive car valeting business. His parents thought their son would follow in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps.

But in the summer of the same year Mohamed travelled to Saudi Arabia on what his parents say was a pilgrimage ‘with a couple of friends and their wives’, before heading to Egypt to join his family on holiday. From there, the Sakrs say, Mohamed and his younger brother also visited the family of a girlfriend in Dubai.

His actions were innocent, the family insists. But Mohamed was questioned for ‘at least three hours’ by immigration officials on his return to the UK. The questions focused on the countries he had visited and his reasons for going there.

‘He told them, “I didn’t plan to visit all these countries ­- it’s just how my summer has happened,”’ his mother recalls.

It’s thought that UK counter-terrorism officials were becoming concerned that a group of radicalised young men was emerging in the capital, influenced by British Islamists who had returned home after fighting in Somalia.

The Sakrs both say that their eldest son became the subject of repeated police ‘harassment’ in which he was stopped on numerous occasions by plain-clothes officers.

After one incident Mohamed told his mother ‘They’re watching me momma, everywhere I go they watch me.’ The family became convinced that their phones were being tapped.

Mohamed was spending a lot of time with a friend he had met when he was 12 – Bilal al­-Berjawi. The two had lived in adjacent flats.

The childhood friends would both lose their British citizenship weeks apart in 2010 – and would die weeks apart too, in covert US airstrikes.

Berjawi’s Lebanese parents had brought him to London as a baby, and like Sakr, Berjawi had drawn the attention of Britain’s counter-terrorism agencies.

The Sakr family insists they were not aware of any wrongdoing on Mohamed’s part, despite frequent trouble with the police.

In February 2009 Berjawi and Sakr visited Kenya for what they told their families was a ‘safari’.

Both were detained in Nairobi, where they were said to have been interrogated by British intelligence officials. The authorities suspected them of terrorism-related activities.

They were released and only deported back to the UK because both, at that time, still had their British citizenship.

While the two were still being detained in Kenya, police arrived at the London family home with a search warrant.

Cards left behind by officers identify them as members of SO15,­ the Met’s counter-terrorism squad. Mr Sakr says he was shocked to be told that the family might have to vacate their home for up to two weeks while officers searched. The indignant family found themselves put up in the nearby Hilton hotel.

Two days later the family was allowed home. And shortly afterwards Mohamed and Bilal were deported back to Britain.

Mr Sakr challenged his son: ‘I was asking questions, why has this happened and Mohamed said “Daddy, it’s finished, it will never happen again. It’s all done and dusted.” So I just put a cap on it and continued with a normal life.’

Mohamed’s mother insisted on accompanying him to a mosque so she could hear the sermons he was listening to.

I wanted to hear what they’re saying, I was always on top of this, always. I wanted to know why the police were after him, why?’ says Mrs Sakr. ‘So he used to take me to different mosques, and the sermons were normal, nothing unusual.’

In October 2009, with ever-growing trouble with the British authorities, Mohamed and Berjawi decided to slip out of the country. Neither told their families that they were leaving, or where they were going.

‘The police came asking “Where is Mohamed?” And I said “I don’t know.” That was the honest answer, I didn’t know where my son was,’ says Mr Sakr.

Months later Mohamed phoned his parents from Somalia. Both he and Berjawi were now living in a country gripped by civil war between radical Islamists and a rump UN-backed government.

While it’s been reported that both men were drawn to terrorist-linked groups, the Sakrs say the pair had innocent connections with the troubled east African nation. Berjawi had married a Somali woman in London, and Sakr at one time had also been engaged to marry a Somali girl.

Although both were killed by the US, most of the allegations against Sakr and Berjawi remain secret.

Some information has emerged, however. In November 2009, the pair were named along with a third British man in a Ugandan manhunt, accused of ‘sneaking into the country’ to plot terrorist activities. Later the men were linked to deadly bombings in that country’s capital.

The letter seen by the Bureau informing Mohamed’s family that he was losing his citizenship states he was ‘involved in terrorism-related activity’ and for having links with ‘Islamist extremists’, including his friend Bilal al-Berjawi.

The Sakrs remain defensive about these claims. ‘Have they done anything? Have they been caught in anything? Have they been caught in any action? Do they have any evidence against them that they have been involved in this or that? I haven’t seen. And they haven’t come up with it,’ says Mr Sakr.

‘It says they took his freedom away because he knew Bilal! Does it mean that because I know a bad person it means I’m bad, or know good people that I’m good? He’d known Bilal since he was 12 years old!,’ says Mohamed’s mother.

At first Mohamed wanted to fight the deprivation order, and his family hired lawyers in the UK. But they were told that in order to mount an effective appeal Mohamed would need to return to Britain.

Letter from the Home Office.

Letter from the Home Office.

His parents say he was too scared to come back.

‘He said, “Daddy, it is impossible for me,”’ says Mr Sakr. “He said, “If I go from here, they’ve already taken my passport from me, maybe they will catch me somewhere, and you will never hear from me again.” He knew something could happen to him.’

In February 2012, news agencies reported that a high-ranking Egyptian al Qaeda official had been killed in a US drone strike in Somalia.

It would be days before the family realised those reports actually referred to their son.

Mr Sakr says: ‘Their hands were washed. And that’s what they claimed when the news first came. They announced that Mohamed was Egyptian [cries]. That’s why they tried to show to the rest of the world, “He’s an Egyptian. He’s not British.”

‘Intelligence killed millions of Iraqis on the basis of wrong information. If we go and kill everyone based on intelligence information, then we are not living in the world of democracy and justice. We are living in the world of “Who has the power and who has the weapons to kill,”’ Mr Sakr rails.

‘If you’re not happy about a dictator or about rules or freedom of speech, and then you come to a country like Britain which we know for hundreds and hundreds of years has talked of democracy and freedom, and laws and justice. And suddenly you find there’s no justice, no freedom of speech, no democracy.’

© 2013 The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

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Shadow Lives: How the War on Terror in England Became a War on Women...

Once, as a reporter, I covered wars, conflicts, civil wars, and even a genocide in places like Vietnam, Angola, Eritrea, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, keeping away from official briefings and listening to the people who were living the war.  In the years since the Bush administration launched its Global War on Terror, I’ve done the same thing without ever leaving home.

In the last decade, I didn’t travel to distant refugee camps in Pakistan or destroyed villages in Afghanistan, nor did I spend time in besieged cities like Iraq’s Fallujah or Libya’s Misrata.  I stayed in Great Britain.  There, my government, in close conjunction with Washington, was pursuing its own version of what, whether anyone cared to say it or not, was essentially a war against Islam.  Somehow, by a series of chance events, I found myself inside it, spending time with families transformed into enemies.

I hadn’t planned to write about the war on terror, but driven by curiosity about lives most of us never see and a few lucky coincidences, I stumbled into a world of Muslim women in London, Manchester, and Birmingham.  Some of them were British, others from Arab and African countries, but their husbands or sons had been swept up in Washington’s war. Some were in Guantanamo, some were among the dozen Muslim foreigners who did not know each other, and who were surprised to find themselves imprisoned together in Britain on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda. Later, some of these families would find themselves under house arrest.

In the process, I came to know women and children who were living in almost complete isolation and with the stigma of a supposed link to terrorism. They had few friends, and were cut off from the wider world. Those with a husband under house arrest were allowed no visitors who had not been vetted for “security,” nor could they have computers, even for their children to do their homework.  Other lonely women had husbands or sons who had sometimes spent a decade or more in prison without charges in the United Kingdom, and were fighting deportation or extradition.

Gradually, they came to accept me into their isolated lives and talked to me about their children, their mothers, their childhoods — but seldom, at first, about the grim situations of their husbands, which seemed too intimate, too raw, too frightening, too unknowable to be put into words.

In the early years, it was a steep learning curve for me, spending time in homes where faith was the primary reality, Allah was constantly invoked, English was a second language, and privacy and reticence were givens. Facebook culture had not come to most of these families. The reticence faded over the years, especially when the children were not there, or in the face of the kind of desolation that came from a failed court appeal to lift the restrictions on their lives, an unexpected police raid on the house, a husband’s suicide attempt, or the coming of a new torture report from Washington’s then-expanding global gulag of black sites and, of course, Guantanamo.

In these years, I met some of their husbands and sons as well.  The first was a British man from Birmingham, Moazzam Begg. He had been held for three years in Washington’s notorious offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, only to be released without charges.  When he came home, through his lawyer, he asked me to help write his memoir, the first to come out of Guantanamo.  We worked long months on Enemy Combatant. It was hard for him to relive his nightmare days and nights in American custody in Kandahar and in the U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and then those limbo years in Cuba. It was even harder for him to visit the women whose absent husbands he had known in prison and who, unlike him, were still there.

Was My Husband Tortured?

In these homes he visited, there was always one great unspoken question: Was my husband or son tortured? It was the single question no one could bear to ask a survivor of that nightmare, even for reassurance. When working on his book, I deliberately left the chapter on his experiences in American hands in Bagram prison for last, as I sensed how difficult it would be for both of us to speak about the worst of the torture I knew he had experienced.

Through Moazzam, I met other men who had been swept up in the post-9/11 dragnet for Muslims in Great Britain, refugees who sought him out as an Arabic speaker and a British citizen to help them negotiate Britain’s newly hostile atmosphere in the post-9/11 years.  Soon, I began to visit some of their wives, too.

In time, I found myself deep inside a world of civilian women who were being warred upon (after a fashion) in my own country, which was how I came upon a locked-down hospital ward with a man determined to starve himself to death unless he was given refugee documents to leave Britain, children who cried in terror in response to a knock on the door, wives faced with a husband changed beyond words by prison.

I was halfway through working on Moazzam’s book when London was struck by our 9/11, which we call 7/7. The July 7, 2005, suicide bombings, in three parts of the London underground and a bus, killed 52 civilians and injured more than 700. The four bombers were all young British men between 18 and 30, two of them married with children, and one of them a mentor at a primary school. In video statements left behind they described themselves as “soldiers” whose aim was to force the British government to pull its troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Just three weeks later, there were four more coordinated bomb attacks on the London subway system.  (All failed to detonate.) The four men responsible, longterm British residents originally from the Horn of Africa, were captured, tried, and sentenced to life imprisonment. In this way, the whole country was traumatised in 2005, and that particularly includes the various strands of the Muslim community in Great Britain.

The British security services quickly returned to a post-9/11 stance on overdrive. The same MI5 intelligence agents who had interrogated Moazzam while he was in U.S. custody asked to meet him again to get his thoughts on who might be behind the attacks. However, three years in U.S. custody and five months at home occupied with his family and his book had not made him a likely source of information on current strains of thought in the British Muslim community.

At the same time, the dozen foreign Muslim refugees detained in the aftermath of 9/11 and held without trial for two years before being released on the orders of the House of Lords were rearrested. In the summer of 2005, the government prepared to deport them to countries they had originally fled as refugees.

All of them had been made anonymous by court order and in legal documents were referred to as Mr. G, Mr. U, and so on. This was no doubt intended to safeguard their privacy, but in a sense it also condemned them.  It made them faceless, inhuman, and their families experienced it just that way. “They even took my husband’s name away, why?” one wife asked me.

The women I was meeting in these years were mostly from this small group, as well as the relatives of a handful of British residents — Arabs — who were not initially returned from Guantanamo with the nine British citizens that the Americans finally released without charges in 2004 and 2005.

Perhaps no one in the country was, in the end, more terrorised than them, thanks to the various terror plots by British nationals that followed. And they were right to be fearful.  The pressure on them was overwhelming.  Some of them simply gave up and went home voluntarily because they could not bear house arrest, though they risked being sent to prison in their native lands; others went through years of house arrest and court appeals against deportation, all of which continues to this day.

Among the plots that unnerved them were one in 2006 against transatlantic aircraft, for which a total of 12 Britons were jailed for life in 2009, and the 2007 attempt to blow up a London nightclub and Glasgow International Airport, in which one bomber died and the second was jailed for 32 years. In the post-9/11 decade, 237 people were convicted of terror-related offences in Britain.

Though all of this was going on, much of it remained remote from the world of the refugee women I came to know who, in the larger world, were mainly preoccupied with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that, with Palestinian developments, filled their TV screens tuned only to Arabic stations.

These women did not tend to dwell on their own private nightmares, but for anyone in their company there was no mistaking them: a wife prevented from taking her baby into the hospital to visit her hunger-striking husband and get him to eat before he starved to death; another, with several small children, turned back from a prison visit, despite a long journey, because her husband was being punished that day; children whose toys were taken in a police raid and never given back; midnight visits from a private security company to check on a man already electronically tagged.

Here was the texture of a hidden war of continual harassment against a largely helpless population.  This was how some of the most vulnerable people in British society — often already traumatised refugees and torture survivors — were made permanent scapegoats for our post-9/11, and then post-7/7 fears.

So powerful is the stigma of “terrorism” today that, in the name of “our security,” whether in Great Britain or the United States, just about anything now goes, and ever fewer people ask questions about what that “anything” might actually be. Here in London, repeated attempts to get influential religious or political figures simply to visit one of these officially locked-down families and see these lives for themselves have failed. In the present political climate, such a personal, fact-finding visit proved to be anything but a priority for such people.

A Legal System of Secret Evidence, House Arrest, and Financial Sanctions

Against this captive population, in such an anything-goes atmosphere, all sorts of experimental perversions of the legal system were tried out.  As a result, the British system of post-9/11 justice contains many features which should frighten us all but are completely unfamiliar to the vast majority of people in the United Kingdom.

Key aspects for the families I have been concerned with include the use of secret evidence in cases involving deportation, bail conditions, and imprisonment without trial. In addition, most of their cases have been heard in a special court known as the Special Immigration Appeals Commission or SIAC, which is housed in an anonymous basement set of rooms in central London.

One of SIAC’s innovative features is the use of “special advocates,” senior barristers who have security clearance to see secret evidence on behalf of their clients, but without being allowed to disclose it or discuss it, even with the client or his or her own lawyer. The resignation on principle of a highly respected barrister, Ian Macdonald, as a special advocate in November 2004 exposed this process to the public for the first time — but almost no one took any interest.

And a sense of the injustice in this arcane system was never sufficiently sparked by such voices, which found little echo in the media. Nor was there a wide audience for reports from a team of top psychiatrists about the devastating psychological impact on the men and their families of indefinite detention without trial, and of a house-arrest system framed by “control orders” that allow the government to place restrictions of almost any sort on the lives of those it designates.

An even less noted aspect of the anti-terror legal system brought into existence after 9/11 was the financial sanctions that could freeze the assets of designated individuals.  First ordered by the United Nations, the financial-sanctions regime was consolidated here through a European Union list of designated people. The few lawyers who specialized in this area were scathing about the draconian measures involved and the utter lack of transparency when it came to which governments had put which names on which list.

The effect on the listed families was draconian.  Marriages collapsed under the strain. The listed men were barred from working and only allowed £10 a week for personal expenses. Their wives — often from conservative cultures where all dealings with the outside world had been left to husbands — suddenly were the families’ faces to the world, responsible for everything from shopping to accounting monthly to the government’s Home Office for every item the family purchased, right down to a bottle of milk or a pencil for a child. It was humiliating for the men, who lost their family role overnight, and exhausting and frustrating for the women, while in some cases the rest of their families shunned them because of the taint of alleged terrorism. Almost no one except specialist lawyers even knew that such financial sanctions existed in Britain.

In the country’s High Court, the first judicial challenge to the financial-sanctions regime was brought in 2008 by five British Muslim men known only as G, K, A, M, and Q. In response, Justice Andrew Collins said he found it “totally unacceptable” that, to take an especially absurd example, a man should have to get a license for legal advice about the sanctions from the very body that was imposing them. The man in question had waited three months for a “basic expense” license permitting funds for food and rent, and six months for a license to obtain legal advice about the situation he found himself in.

In a related case before the judicial committee of the House of Lords, Justice Leonard Hoffman expressed incredulity at the “meanness and squalor” of a regime that “monitored who had what for lunch.” More recently, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court endorsed the comments of Lord Justice Stephen Sedley who described those subject to the regime as being akin to “prisoners of the state.”

Among senior lawyers concerned about this hidden world of punishment was Ben Emmerson, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism. He devoted one of his official U.N. reports to the financial sanctions issue. His recommendations included significantly more transparency from governments who put people on such a list, the explicit exclusion of evidence obtained by torture, and the obligation of governments to give reasons when they refuse to remove individuals from the list.  Of course, no one who mattered was paying the slightest attention.

Against ideological governments obsessed by terrorism on both sides of the Atlantic and a culture numbed by violent anti-terrorist tales like “24” and Zero Dark Thirty, such complicated and technical initiatives on behalf of individuals who have been given the tag, implicitly if not explicitly, of “terrorist” stand little chance of getting attention.

“Each Time It’s Worse”

Nearly a decade ago, at the New York opening night of Guantanamo: Honour Bound to Defend Freedom, the play Gillian Slovo and I wrote using only the words of the relatives of prisoners in that jail, their lawyers, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, an elderly man approached Moazzam Begg’s father and me.  He introduced himself as a former foreign policy adviser to President John Kennedy. “It could never have happened in our time,” he said.

When the Global War on Terror was still relatively new, it was common for audiences to react similarly and with shock to a play in which fathers and brothers describe their bewilderment over the way their relation had disappeared into the legal black hole of Guantanamo Bay. In the years since, we have become numb to the destruction of lives, livelihoods, futures, childhoods, legal systems, and trust by Washington’s and London’s never-ending war on terror.

In that time, I have seen children grow from toddlers to teenagers locked inside this particular war machine.  What they say today should startle us out of such numbness. Here, for instance, are the words of two teenagers, a girl and a boy whose fathers had been imprisoned or under house arrest in Britain for 10 years and whose lives in those same years were filled with indignities and humiliations:

“People seem to think that we get used to things being how they are for us, so we don’t feel the injustices so much now. They are quite wrong: it was painful the first time, more painful the second, even more so the third. In fact, each time it’s worse, if you can believe that. There isn’t a limit on how much pain you can feel.”

The boy added this:

“There is never one day when I feel safe. It can be the authorities, it can be ordinary people, they can do something bad for us. Only like now when we are all in the house together can I stop worrying about my mum and my sisters, and even me, what might happen to us. On the tube [subway], in class at university, people look at my beard.  I see them looking and I know they are thinking bad things about me. I would like to be a normal guy who no one looks at. You know, other boys, some of my friends, they cut corners, things like driving without a current license, everyone does it. But I can’t, I can’t ever, ever, take even a small risk. I have to always be cautious, be responsible… for my family.”

These children have been brought up by women who, against all odds, have often preserved their dignity and kept at least a modicum of joy in their families’ lives, and so, however despised, however unnoticed, however locked away, made themselves an inspiration to others. They are not victims to be pitied, but women our societies should embrace.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s response to recent proposals that Washington establish a secret court to oversee the targeting of terrorist suspects for death-by-drone and President Obama’s expanding executive power to kill, speak for the world beyond the West.  They offer a different perspective on the war on terror that Washington and Great Britain continue to pursue with no end in sight:

“Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not of the same value as yours? That President Obama can sign off on a decision to kill us with less worry about judicial scrutiny than if the target is an American? Would your Supreme Court really want to tell humankind that we, like the slave Dred Scott in the nineteenth century, are not as human as you are? I cannot believe it.  I used to say of apartheid that it dehumanized its perpetrators as much as, if not more than, its victims. Your response as a society to Osama bin Laden and his followers threatens to undermine your moral standards and your humanity.”

Victoria Brittain, journalist and former editor at the Guardian, has authored or co-authored two plays and four books, including Enemy Combatant with Moazzam Begg. Her latest book, Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2013) has just been published.

Shadow Lives: How the War on Terror in England Became a War on Women...

Once, as a reporter, I covered wars, conflicts, civil wars, and even a genocide in places like Vietnam, Angola, Eritrea, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, keeping away from official briefings and listening to the people who were living the war.  In the years since the Bush administration launched its Global War on Terror, I’ve done the same thing without ever leaving home.

In the last decade, I didn’t travel to distant refugee camps in Pakistan or destroyed villages in Afghanistan, nor did I spend time in besieged cities like Iraq’s Fallujah or Libya’s Misrata.  I stayed in Great Britain.  There, my government, in close conjunction with Washington, was pursuing its own version of what, whether anyone cared to say it or not, was essentially a war against Islam.  Somehow, by a series of chance events, I found myself inside it, spending time with families transformed into enemies.

I hadn’t planned to write about the war on terror, but driven by curiosity about lives most of us never see and a few lucky coincidences, I stumbled into a world of Muslim women in London, Manchester, and Birmingham.  Some of them were British, others from Arab and African countries, but their husbands or sons had been swept up in Washington’s war. Some were in Guantanamo, some were among the dozen Muslim foreigners who did not know each other, and who were surprised to find themselves imprisoned together in Britain on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda. Later, some of these families would find themselves under house arrest.

In the process, I came to know women and children who were living in almost complete isolation and with the stigma of a supposed link to terrorism. They had few friends, and were cut off from the wider world. Those with a husband under house arrest were allowed no visitors who had not been vetted for “security,” nor could they have computers, even for their children to do their homework.  Other lonely women had husbands or sons who had sometimes spent a decade or more in prison without charges in the United Kingdom, and were fighting deportation or extradition.

Gradually, they came to accept me into their isolated lives and talked to me about their children, their mothers, their childhoods -- but seldom, at first, about the grim situations of their husbands, which seemed too intimate, too raw, too frightening, too unknowable to be put into words.

In the early years, it was a steep learning curve for me, spending time in homes where faith was the primary reality, Allah was constantly invoked, English was a second language, and privacy and reticence were givens. Facebook culture had not come to most of these families. The reticence faded over the years, especially when the children were not there, or in the face of the kind of desolation that came from a failed court appeal to lift the restrictions on their lives, an unexpected police raid on the house, a husband’s suicide attempt, or the coming of a new torture report from Washington’s then-expanding global gulag of black sites and, of course, Guantanamo.

In these years, I met some of their husbands and sons as well.  The first was a British man from Birmingham, Moazzam Begg. He had been held for three years in Washington’s notorious offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, only to be released without charges.  When he came home, through his lawyer, he asked me to help write his memoir, the first to come out of Guantanamo.  We worked long months on Enemy Combatant. It was hard for him to relive his nightmare days and nights in American custody in Kandahar and in the U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and then those limbo years in Cuba. It was even harder for him to visit the women whose absent husbands he had known in prison and who, unlike him, were still there.

Was My Husband Tortured?

In these homes he visited, there was always one great unspoken question: Was my husband or son tortured? It was the single question no one could bear to ask a survivor of that nightmare, even for reassurance. When working on his book, I deliberately left the chapter on his experiences in American hands in Bagram prison for last, as I sensed how difficult it would be for both of us to speak about the worst of the torture I knew he had experienced.

Through Moazzam, I met other men who had been swept up in the post-9/11 dragnet for Muslims in Great Britain, refugees who sought him out as an Arabic speaker and a British citizen to help them negotiate Britain’s newly hostile atmosphere in the post-9/11 years.  Soon, I began to visit some of their wives, too.

In time, I found myself deep inside a world of civilian women who were being warred upon (after a fashion) in my own country, which was how I came upon a locked-down hospital ward with a man determined to starve himself to death unless he was given refugee documents to leave Britain, children who cried in terror in response to a knock on the door, wives faced with a husband changed beyond words by prison.

I found myself deep inside a world of civilian women who were being warred upon (after a fashion) in my own country, which was how I came upon a locked-down hospital ward with a man determined to starve himself to death, children who cried in terror in response to a knock on the door, wives faced with a husband changed beyond words by prison.

I was halfway through working on Moazzam’s book when London was struck by our 9/11, which we call 7/7. The July 7, 2005, suicide bombings, in three parts of the London underground and a bus, killed 52 civilians and injured more than 700. The four bombers were all young British men between 18 and 30, two of them married with children, and one of them a mentor at a primary school. In video statements left behind they described themselves as “soldiers” whose aim was to force the British government to pull its troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Just three weeks later, there were four more coordinated bomb attacks on the London subway system.  (All failed to detonate.) The four men responsible, longterm British residents originally from the Horn of Africa, were captured, tried, and sentenced to life imprisonment. In this way, the whole country was traumatised in 2005, and that particularly includes the various strands of the Muslim community in Great Britain.

The British security services quickly returned to a post-9/11 stance on overdrive. The same MI5 intelligence agents who had interrogated Moazzam while he was in U.S. custody asked to meet him again to get his thoughts on who might be behind the attacks. However, three years in U.S. custody and five months at home occupied with his family and his book had not made him a likely source of information on current strains of thought in the British Muslim community.

At the same time, the dozen foreign Muslim refugees detained in the aftermath of 9/11 and held without trial for two years before being released on the orders of the House of Lords were rearrested. In the summer of 2005, the government prepared to deport them to countries they had originally fled as refugees.

All of them had been made anonymous by court order and in legal documents were referred to as Mr. G, Mr. U, and so on. This was no doubt intended to safeguard their privacy, but in a sense it also condemned them.  It made them faceless, inhuman, and their families experienced it just that way. “They even took my husband’s name away, why?” one wife asked me.

The women I was meeting in these years were mostly from this small group, as well as the relatives of a handful of British residents -- Arabs -- who were not initially returned from Guantanamo with the nine British citizens that the Americans finally released without charges in 2004 and 2005.

Perhaps no one in the country was, in the end, more terrorised than them, thanks to the various terror plots by British nationals that followed. And they were right to be fearful.  The pressure on them was overwhelming.  Some of them simply gave up and went home voluntarily because they could not bear house arrest, though they risked being sent to prison in their native lands; others went through years of house arrest and court appeals against deportation, all of which continues to this day.

Among the plots that unnerved them were one in 2006 against transatlantic aircraft, for which a total of 12 Britons were jailed for life in 2009, and the 2007 attempt to blow up a London nightclub and Glasgow International Airport, in which one bomber died and the second was jailed for 32 years. In the post-9/11 decade, 237 people were convicted of terror-related offences in Britain.

Though all of this was going on, much of it remained remote from the world of the refugee women I came to know who, in the larger world, were mainly preoccupied with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that, with Palestinian developments, filled their TV screens tuned only to Arabic stations.

These women did not tend to dwell on their own private nightmares, but for anyone in their company there was no mistaking them: a wife prevented from taking her baby into the hospital to visit her hunger-striking husband and get him to eat before he starved to death; another, with several small children, turned back from a prison visit, despite a long journey, because her husband was being punished that day; children whose toys were taken in a police raid and never given back; midnight visits from a private security company to check on a man already electronically tagged.

These women did not tend to dwell on their own private nightmares: a wife prevented from taking her baby into the hospital to visit her hunger-striking husband and get him to eat before he starved to death; another turned back from a prison visit because her husband was being punished that day; children whose toys were taken in a police raid and never given back; midnight visits from a private security company to check on a man already electronically tagged.

Here was the texture of a hidden war of continual harassment against a largely helpless population.  This was how some of the most vulnerable people in British society -- often already traumatised refugees and torture survivors -- were made permanent scapegoats for our post-9/11, and then post-7/7 fears.

So powerful is the stigma of “terrorism” today that, in the name of “our security,” whether in Great Britain or the United States, just about anything now goes, and ever fewer people ask questions about what that “anything” might actually be. Here in London, repeated attempts to get influential religious or political figures simply to visit one of these officially locked-down families and see these lives for themselves have failed. In the present political climate, such a personal, fact-finding visit proved to be anything but a priority for such people.

A Legal System of Secret Evidence, House Arrest, and Financial Sanctions

Against this captive population, in such an anything-goes atmosphere, all sorts of experimental perversions of the legal system were tried out.  As a result, the British system of post-9/11 justice contains many features which should frighten us all but are completely unfamiliar to the vast majority of people in the United Kingdom.

Key aspects for the families I have been concerned with include the use of secret evidence in cases involving deportation, bail conditions, and imprisonment without trial. In addition, most of their cases have been heard in a special court known as the Special Immigration Appeals Commission or SIAC, which is housed in an anonymous basement set of rooms in central London.

One of SIAC’s innovative features is the use of “special advocates,” senior barristers who have security clearance to see secret evidence on behalf of their clients, but without being allowed to disclose it or discuss it, even with the client or his or her own lawyer. The resignation on principle of a highly respected barrister, Ian Macdonald, as a special advocate in November 2004 exposed this process to the public for the first time -- but almost no one took any interest.

And a sense of the injustice in this arcane system was never sufficiently sparked by such voices, which found little echo in the media. Nor was there a wide audience for reports from a team of top psychiatrists about the devastating psychological impact on the men and their families of indefinite detention without trial, and of a house-arrest system framed by “control orders” that allow the government to place restrictions of almost any sort on the lives of those it designates.

An even less noted aspect of the anti-terror legal system brought into existence after 9/11 was the financial sanctions that could freeze the assets of designated individuals.  First ordered by the United Nations, the financial-sanctions regime was consolidated here through a European Union list of designated people. The few lawyers who specialized in this area were scathing about the draconian measures involved and the utter lack of transparency when it came to which governments had put which names on which list.

The effect on the listed families was draconian.  Marriages collapsed under the strain. The listed men were barred from working and only allowed £10 a week for personal expenses. Their wives -- often from conservative cultures where all dealings with the outside world had been left to husbands -- suddenly were the families’ faces to the world, responsible for everything from shopping to accounting monthly to the government’s Home Office for every item the family purchased, right down to a bottle of milk or a pencil for a child. It was humiliating for the men, who lost their family role overnight, and exhausting and frustrating for the women, while in some cases the rest of their families shunned them because of the taint of alleged terrorism. Almost no one except specialist lawyers even knew that such financial sanctions existed in Britain.

In the country’s High Court, the first judicial challenge to the financial-sanctions regime was brought in 2008 by five British Muslim men known only as G, K, A, M, and Q. In response, Justice Andrew Collins said he found it "totally unacceptable" that, to take an especially absurd example, a man should have to get a license for legal advice about the sanctions from the very body that was imposing them. The man in question had waited three months for a "basic expense" license permitting funds for food and rent, and six months for a license to obtain legal advice about the situation he found himself in.

In a related case before the judicial committee of the House of Lords, Justice Leonard Hoffman expressed incredulity at the "meanness and squalor" of a regime that "monitored who had what for lunch." More recently, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court endorsed the comments of Lord Justice Stephen Sedley who described those subject to the regime as being akin to “prisoners of the state.”

Among senior lawyers concerned about this hidden world of punishment was Ben Emmerson, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism. He devoted one of his official U.N. reports to the financial sanctions issue. His recommendations included significantly more transparency from governments who put people on such a list, the explicit exclusion of evidence obtained by torture, and the obligation of governments to give reasons when they refuse to remove individuals from the list.  Of course, no one who mattered was paying the slightest attention.

Against ideological governments obsessed by terrorism on both sides of the Atlantic and a culture numbed by violent anti-terrorist tales like “24” and Zero Dark Thirty, such complicated and technical initiatives on behalf of individuals who have been given the tag, implicitly if not explicitly, of “terrorist” stand little chance of getting attention.

"Each Time It's Worse"

Nearly a decade ago, at the New York opening night of Guantanamo: Honour Bound to Defend Freedom, the play Gillian Slovo and I wrote using only the words of the relatives of prisoners in that jail, their lawyers, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, an elderly man approached Moazzam Begg’s father and me.  He introduced himself as a former foreign policy adviser to President John Kennedy. “It could never have happened in our time,” he said.

When the Global War on Terror was still relatively new, it was common for audiences to react similarly and with shock to a play in which fathers and brothers describe their bewilderment over the way their relation had disappeared into the legal black hole of Guantanamo Bay. In the years since, we have become numb to the destruction of lives, livelihoods, futures, childhoods, legal systems, and trust by Washington’s and London’s never-ending war on terror.

In that time, I have seen children grow from toddlers to teenagers locked inside this particular war machine.  What they say today should startle us out of such numbness. Here, for instance, are the words of two teenagers, a girl and a boy whose fathers had been imprisoned or under house arrest in Britain for 10 years and whose lives in those same years were filled with indignities and humiliations:

"People seem to think that we get used to things being how they are for us, so we don't feel the injustices so much now. They are quite wrong: it was painful the first time, more painful the second, even more so the third. In fact, each time it’s worse, if you can believe that. There isn’t a limit on how much pain you can feel."

The boy added this:

"There is never one day when I feel safe. It can be the authorities, it can be ordinary people, they can do something bad for us. Only like now when we are all in the house together can I stop worrying about my mum and my sisters, and even me, what might happen to us. On the tube [subway], in class at university, people look at my beard.  I see them looking and I know they are thinking bad things about me. I would like to be a normal guy who no one looks at. You know, other boys, some of my friends, they cut corners, things like driving without a current license, everyone does it. But I can’t, I can’t ever, ever, take even a small risk. I have to always be cautious, be responsible... for my family."

These children have been brought up by women who, against all odds, have often preserved their dignity and kept at least a modicum of joy in their families’ lives, and so, however despised, however unnoticed, however locked away, made themselves an inspiration to others. They are not victims to be pitied, but women our societies should embrace.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s response to recent proposals that Washington establish a secret court to oversee the targeting of terrorist suspects for death-by-drone and President Obama’s expanding executive power to kill, speak for the world beyond the West.  They offer a different perspective on the war on terror that Washington and Great Britain continue to pursue with no end in sight:

"Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not of the same value as yours? That President Obama can sign off on a decision to kill us with less worry about judicial scrutiny than if the target is an American? Would your Supreme Court really want to tell humankind that we, like the slave Dred Scott in the nineteenth century, are not as human as you are? I cannot believe it.  I used to say of apartheid that it dehumanized its perpetrators as much as, if not more than, its victims. Your response as a society to Osama bin Laden and his followers threatens to undermine your moral standards and your humanity."

© 2013 Victoria Brittain

Victoria Brittain

Victoria Brittain, journalist and former editor at the Guardian, has authored or co-authored two plays and four books, including Enemy Combatant with Moazzam Begg. Her latest book, Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2013) has just been published.

Dead French Photographer was State Department-Funded — Embedded in Syria With Al Qaeda

 Further indication of the depraved nature of the West’s campaign against Syria, and the depraved nature of its institutions, methods, and faux-NGOs, vindicating a growing trend of ejecting Western “journalists” and NGO’s from an ever increasing number of nations, it is revealed that a French photographer recently killed in Syria was embedded with terrorist militants in Idlib, northern Syria, and was working on behalf of the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded “Reporters Without Borders.”

The UK Daily Mail revealed in their article, “French photographer killed by flying shrapnel in Syria as rebels launch fresh offensive on police academy in Aleppo,” that:

A French photographer has been killed by flying shrapnel in Syria while covering operations of an armed opposition group.

The French government said today Olivier Voisin had been working for Reporters Without Borders near the northwestern city of Idlib.

Idlib, Syria, along with much of northern Syria is admittedly overrun by Al Qaeda. In fact, a recent  Washington Post article stated that northern Syria was so overrun with Al Qaeda, that Western nations along with its Arab partners have decided to ship weapons in from Daraa in southern Syria. Of course, Daraa too is a long-time hotbed for extremist activity, including Al Qaeda, years before the so-called “uprising” even began.

The Post article titled, “In Syria, new influx of weapons to rebels tilts the battle against Assad,” admits:

A surge of rebel advances in Syria is being fueled at least in part by an influx of heavy weaponry in a renewed effort by outside powers to arm moderates in the Free Syrian Army, according to Arab and rebel officials.

The new armaments, including anti-tank weapons and recoilless rifles, have been sent across the Jordanian border into the province of Daraa in recent weeks to counter the growing influence of Islamist extremist groups in the north of Syria by boosting more moderate groups fighting in the south, the officials say.

Despite the rampant extremism in the north, French photographer Olivier Voisin found himself amongst these very militants in the midst of what we are told are waves of “rebel gains.” Apparently these “gains” are being made at high costs.

Voisin’s organization, Reporters Without Borders, is a notorious faux-NGO that plays a pivotal role globally, undermining nations targeted by Western corporate-financier interests, working in tandem with US State Department-backed proxies in Iran, China, Russia, Sudan, and everywhere else Wall Street and London seek to plant their flag. In 2008, Reporters Without Borders received cash from the State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) whose board of directors is a who’s who of warmongering Neo-Conservatives and corporate special interests.

While these corporate-financier interests constitute the antithesis of “human rights,” “human freedom,” and “democracy,” these very principles are used to leverage advantages and invoke public sympathy and support for subversion and regime change in targeted nations.

Reporters Without Borders also received cash from the Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Overbrook Foundation, and the US State Department’s Washington DC-based “Center for a Free Cuba.” It should be noted that the Sigrid Rausing Trust also provides funding for the International Crisis Group (ICG) (along with BP, Chevron, Shell, Deutsche Bank Group, and Morgan Stanley) who in part helped blueprint and cheerlead the violence that ultimately claimed Voisin’s life. In fact, the ICG includes amongst its board of directors, Kofi Annan who helped buy time for NATO militants to rearm and redeploy with a disingenuous “peace plan.”

And as Syria’s government and people fight against Al Qaeda militants coddled, armed, and funded  by NATO, admittedly based in Turkey side-by-side US-provided Patriot missile batteries, CIA agents, as well as French and British special forces, the Western corporate-media seems only able to condemn Voisin’s death along with unconfirmed, most likely fabricated accounts made by militants that Syria is firing “Scud missiles” into Aleppo. This, while confirmed, deadly car bombings bearing all of Al Qaeda’s hallmarks killed scores of civilians in Damascus, and was promptly excused, dismissed, and buried by the West. In fact, the US is blocking a UN resolution that would condemn the most recent Al Qaeda bombing in Damascus which claimed over 50 lives including school children.

The runaway depravity of the West, its governments, institutions, media, and faux-NGO’s are permanently disfiguring any potential concept of “international law” and has left the people of the West with a floundering legitimacy that will inevitably impact all other aspects of their life, not merely foreign policy. Criminal foreign policy is just one of many symptoms of a corrupt, corporate-financier dominated ruling oligarchy that has hijacked the institutions, charters, and social contracts that bind together a functional society. The solution is to boycott and ultimately replace these corporate-financier monopolies, by creating and cultivating local institutions that directly serve the interests of the people.

The Moral Decoding of 9-11: Beyond the U.S. Criminal State, The Grand Plan for...

911

We are bring to the consideration of our readers this incisive and carefully formulated analysis by Canada’s renowned philosopher Professor John McMurtry. 

The complete text published by the Journal of 9/11 Studies can be downloaded in pdf

*          *          *

I was sceptical of the 9-11 event from the first time I saw it on television. It was on every major network within minutes. All the guilty partieswere declared before any evidencewas shown.The first questions of any criminal investigation were erased.  Who had the most compelling motives for the event? Who had the means to turn two central iconic buildings in New York into a pile of steel and a cloud of dust in seconds?[i]

Other questions soon arose in the aftermath. Why was all the evidence at the crime scenes removed or confiscated?

Who was behind the continuous false information and non-stop repetition of “foreign/Arab terrorists”when no proof of guilt existed? Who was blocking all independent inquiry?

Even 11 years on these questions are still not answered.

But those immediately named guilty without any forensic proof certainly fitted the need for a plausible Enemy now that the “threat of the Soviet Union” and “communist world rule” were dead.  How else could the billion-dollar-a-day military be justified with no peace dividend amidst a corporately hollowed-out U.S. economy entering its long-term slide?While all the media and most of the people asserted the official 9-11 conspiracy theory as given fact, not all did.

A Bay Street broker with whom I was improbably discussing the event in Cuba had no problem recognising the value meaning. When I asked what he thought about the official conspiracy theory, he was frank:

“You can call it what you want, but America needs a war to pull the people together and expand into new resource rich areas. That what it has always done from Mexico on. And that is what it needs now”.  When I wondered why none in the know said so, he smirked: “It would be impolite”, adding, “It affects the entire future prosperity of America and the West”. And all the deaths? “It had to be done –far less than it could have been”. The 19 Arabs with box-cutters reducing the World Trade Center buildings to powder in a few seconds?He shrugged.

Thus everyone since 9-11 is prohibited nail-clippers on planes to confirm the absurd – including 15 of the 19alleged hijackers being from Saudi Arabia and several apparently still alive after crashing the planes into the buildings.[ii]As for the diabolical mastermind Osama bin Laden, he is never linked by credible evidence to the crime and never claims responsibility for the strike since the videos of him are fakes. “Ground Zero” is a double entendre. All doubts are erased apriori.

Decoding the U.S. Theater of Wars and the Moral Driver Behind

One already knew that suspension of belief is the first act of fiction, and that instant culture rules the U.S. One already knew that monster technical events are America’s stock in trade. And one already knew the long history of false U.S. pretexts for war – so well established that a young strategic thinker a decade after 9-11 advises the right-wing Washington Policy Institute on how to create a crisis by deadly planned incident to make war on Iran – “it is the traditional way of getting into war for what is best in America’s interests”.[iii]

One further knew from past research that the U.S.’s strategic leadership since 1945 had been Nazi-based in information and connections and the dominant Central-European figures articulating it ever after across Democrat and Republican lineshave a common cause. For over 40 years, Henry Kissinger as Republican and Zbigniew Brzezinski as Democrat have been protégés of David Rockefeller, selected as Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg Group leaders, and capable of any mass-homicidal plan to advance “U.S. interests”. The banker-and-oil imperial line through David Rockefeller as paradigm case goes back to the Nazi period to John Foster Dulles (an in-law) and his brother Allen Dulles (OSS and then CIA Director), who Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg called “traitors” for their support of the Nazi regime.  The Rockefeller Foundation funded and developed German eugenics programs in the pre-war years, Standard Oil supplied oil in collaboration with I.G. Farben, and so on.[iv]

The supreme moral goal and strategic methods governing U.S. covert-state performance have not only have been very similar in moral principle, but have deeply connected Rockefeller protégés Kissinger and Brzezinski, and more deeply still the theoretical godfather of U.S. covert state policy, Leo Strauss, who was funded out of Germany by David Rockefeller from the start.

The inner logic of covert and not-so-covert U.S. corporate world rule since 1945unified under Wall Street financial management and transnational corporate treaties for unhindered control of commodities and money capital flows across all borders is undeniable if seldom tracked. This architecture of the grand plan for a New World Order is evident in both strategic policy and global political and armed action over decades that have seen the objectives increasingly fulfilled with constructed deadly crises as pretexts for war the standard technique.[v]Behind them as first post-Nazi historical turn lies the 1947 National Security Act (NSA) which created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)and explicitly licensesdestruction of life, truth and other societies as institutional methods.

The CIA is charged with designing, planning and executing “propaganda, economic war, direct preventive action, sabotage, anti-sabotage, destruction, subversion against hostile States, assistance to clandestine liberation movements, guerrilla murders, assistance to indigenous groups opposed to the enemy countries of the free world”. The linkage back to Nazi methods and world-rule goal as the highest moral objective is not just one of corresponding ultimate principles and strategic policy formation. It relied on Nazi SS intelligence sources and means from the beginning of the covert terror state.[vi]

There is no heinous means that is not assumed as the highest morality by this long-standing covert institutional formation linking to the presidential office.It is an explicitly secret system involving at least the Defense Department and the CIA, the former with many more operatives and offices.

The Special Activities Division (SAD) to carry out NSA criminal operations, for example, also confers the highest honors awarded in recognition of distinguished valor and excellence – as did the earlier SS prototype in Germany. What people find difficult to recognise is that these actions, whether by the SAD or other system operations,are conceived as the highest duty, however life-system destructive and mass murderous they are. All participants are super patriots in their own view, as were the Nazis. Contradiction between declared and actual values, however, is a central mode of the covert system. For example, what can be considered a high duty in the perpetual U.S.“war on drugs”, the most morally obligatory commitment of the U.S. state,is at the same time a war against and with other drug operations to transport illegal hard drugs into the U.S. itself.[vii]

We might see here a parallel between foreign mass murder and domestic mass murder in 9-11, with both regarded as high patriotism in this supreme morality. In the background of America’s Reichstag Fire and likewise disclosing the unlimited geo-strategic action that can be operationalized as necessary and good, the post-1945 U.S. control of international sea-lanes made the covert U.S. state the world’s dominant narcotics controller so as to fund secret criminal war actions from South-East Asia to Latin America, entailing the addiction of its own peoples.[viii]This woeful method has been long known by experts, but came to be public knowledge in the Reagan-state funding of the death-squad Contras of Nicaragua as “the moral equal of our Founding Fathers” (a tribute he is said to have given later to the drug-running warlords and jihadists of Afghanistan).

These moral contradictions seem insane, but this is so only if one does not comprehend the underlying supreme morality of which they are all expressions.

Even U.S.-sponsored death squads torturing and killing tens of thousands of poor people across Latin America before 2000 and their return as direct covert U.S.-state method from Iraq to Syria after 9-11 – called “the Salvador option”[ix] – is regarded as necessary and obligatory to “defend the Free World and our way of life”. They entail ever more total U.S. world rule and self-maximizing position by strategic deduction from the supreme morality’s first premises.

The covert nature of the mass-murderous operationalization is never from moral embarrassment. It is solely to ensure effectiveness of execution against “soft” and “uninformed” public opinion, to terrorize people in situ from continued resistance, and to annihilate its leadership and community agency all the way down. Throughout the deciding moments of execution of the underlying supreme value program, global corporate money demand multiplication is always the ultimate value driver -as may be tested by seeking any covert U.S. action or overt war which is not so regulated beneath saturating propaganda of lawful intentions of peace and freedom.

These lines of underlying moral institution, policy, strategic plan, and massive life destruction at every level are indisputable facts of the covert and official faces of the U.S. state, but are typically not connected to the September 11, 2001 attack. Since most people cannot believe their own government or the “leader of the free world” could execute such a sabotage action as “9-11” in which thousands of American themselves died, these behavioral reminders forge the unifying meaning.

Worse still occurred in the last “war”before 9-11. In the background providing graphic example of how the covert U.S. state apparatus is structured to attack and murder U.S. citizens themselves to strategically maximize implementation of its supreme value program of transnational corporate money sequences over all barriers, there is the now known Operation Northwoods. Very familiar to the 9-11 truth movement, but unpublicized since its release under freedom of information laws, this Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff plan proposed that the CIA and other operatives covert operatives “undertake a range of atrocities” to be blamed on Cuba to provide pretext for invasion.

“Innocent civilians were to be shot on American streets; boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba were to be sunk on the high seas; a wave of violent terrorism was to be launched in Washington DC, Miami and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did commit; planes would be hijacked”.[x]

All would be blamed on Castro the Communist in place of bin Laden the Islamicist, and invasion of desired resistant territory would be achieved as a triumph of American freedom and interests over its enemies.

 Operation Northwoods was not, however, okayed by President Kennedy – perhaps another reason for his assassination and replacement by more pliant presidents to represent “America’s interests” in accord with the supreme morality. Underneath the stolen election of George Bush Jr.in contrast – whose family made its money, in part, by serving the covert financial requirements of the Nazi regime before and during the 1939-45 War – was a domestic and foreign administration which would push further than any in the past to advance “U.S. interests”to full-spectrum world rule. Its project included reversing the Roosevelt New Deal and the social state within the U.S. itself – “an anomaly” as Bush Jr. expressed the historical perspective and ethic at work.

This plan was more explicit in the published Project for the New American Century formed from 1997 on. It even supplied the need for a 9-11 event in its 2000 version, the year that Bush Jr. was elected and the year before 9-11. To indicate the “non-partisan” nature of the planning, Democrat National security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski had already hinted at the usefulness of a 9-11-style domestic attack to move policy forward in his 1998 book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives.[xi]

The Moral Compass of 9-11

As a moral philosopher with social value systems as my primary object of analysis, my first thoughts in understanding “9-11” were of the system motives,known methods, and objective interests driving the event which could coherently explain it.Whatever the immediate hold of the official conspiracy theory on the public mind,a rational explanation is required which is consistent with the suppressed facts and the organising geo-strategic plan on both sides of the event.

For over a decade before 9-11, there were three U.S.-propelled global trends that almost never come into the understanding of 9-11 itself. 9-11 truth seekers themselves have focused on the foreground technics and the transparent motive for oil. But these are undergirded by deeper sea-shifts of geopolitical and economic wars of seizure and destruction by other name against which the world’s people were rising. To compel books of analysis into one unifying frame, transnational corporate-rights treaties from NAFTA to the Maastracht Treaty to the WTO overrode all other rights across borders;the private “financialization”stripping of social sectors and welfare states had advanced across the world; and the totalizing movement of the system across all former “cold war” and cultural borders was “the new world order” in formation. Together these vast shifts towards transnational money-sequence rule of all reversed centuries of democratic evolution. And every step of the supreme value program was life blind at every step of its global operationalization.[xii]

Yet states and cultures were so sweepingly re-set into unaccountable transnational corporate and bank rule that few recognised the absolutist value program being imposed on the world.  Fewer still recognised all was unfolding according to plan.

What has been least appreciated about the long-term strategic plan unfolding on both sides of what was immediately called “9-11” – CallEmergency!–is that supreme banker and global money director David Rockefeller had summarized “the plan” to fellow money-party elites across borders at the Bildersberg meeting in Baden Baden Germany in June 1991 -exactly at the same time that the Soviet Union and its resistant barriers fell.[xiii] Bear in mind that Rockefeller among other initiatives appointed both Kissinger and Brzezinski for the lead in both the supranational Bilderberg and Trilateral strategic bodies of which he was the lead patron, not to mention financed the unemployed academic Leo Strauss out of Germany to be the godfather  “philosopher” of the “new world order”. Rockefeller speaks very precisely to his fellow “elite of the elite” of the Western world where only Americans and Europe are invited and reportage excluded:

“A supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries”, Rockefeller said.[xiv]

Observe the foundational new concepts in place of responsible government and democratic accountability. They are now consigned to “past centuries”. A “supranational sovereignty”has replaced them and is morally“preferable”. Rockefeller is not exaggerating. By 1991 a “supranational sovereignty” had already developed in the form of transnational treaties conferring override rights of “profit opportunity” on transnational corporations and private bank rule of government finances across borders – procedurally trumping any elected legislatures and their laws which are inconsistent with their thousands of treaty articles, even when the system eventually leads to world depression as now.[xv] The source of the legitimacy of governments, ultimate sovereignty, has now passed as preferable to “an intellectual elite and bankers”: more exactly, academic strategy servants and transnational money sequences overriding all human and planetary life requirements a-priori by the supreme moral goal.

Ask which function of the world’s people and means of life is not now in debt to Wall Street and the private global banking system it leads. Ask which means of life from food and water to autos and pension cheques is not thus ultimately controlled, or which commodity is not under oligopolist corporate sway. The “surely preferable” objective was already achieved by 1991 or in advanced global institutional motion. Now supreme over all else so that all else is now accountable to it, and it is not accountable to anything above it, “the plan”seemed all but accomplished by Rockefeller’s own considered words.

But what if people resist the new world rule with no life coordinate or constraint at any level of its execution? We may recall that during the death-squad rule of the Argentina generals at this time in which civilians were murdered and tortured in the thousands, National Security Adviser Kissinger congratulated the junta on their “very good results – - The quicker you succeed the better.”Kissinger also heartily approved of the earlier massacres and torture in Chile.

The resistance was in this way pre-empted long before the Soviet Union fell, and after 1990 had no block in the Middle East and Central Asia either. “The plan” has been very long term. Kissinger the geo-executer was originally appointed to high office by Rockefeller (to lead the Council on Foreign Relations back in 1954), and – to give a sense of the long-range trajectory of the plan design –was,incredibly,the U.S. administration’s first choice for an “independent 9-11 Commission”. The obviously not-independent Kissinger was still not a problem for “the free press” and official discourse. But when he was required to disclose his business connections, he withdrew to stay covert in his ongoing backroom capacities and enrichment.

The 9-11 sacrifice is better understood within the deep-structural context of the unfolding plan. Thus David Rockefeller gave special thanks to media like “the New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion” in co-operating with the plan. Rockefeller was again precise:

This plan for the world would have been impossible for us to develop if we had been subjected to the light of publicity during those years. [xvi]

The plan’s next decisive steps were in fact already in motion as Rockefeller expressed gratitude for the media black-out. A new strategic manifesto from the Pentagon was in preparation entitled “Defense Planning Guidance on Post-Cold- War Strategy,” completed on February 18, 1992.[xvii]Prepared under the supervision of Paul Wolfowitz, then the Pentagon’s Undersecretary for Policy, it was disclosed in March of 1992 by the New York Times.After the first invasion of Iraq, it became known as the Project for the New American Century, publicly released from 1997 to 2000 prior to 9-11.

Again we may note the long arc of planning control, crisis and war as required. Item 6 of the strategic plan defined the agenda in general terms: “In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant power in the region and preserve U.S. and western access to the region’s oil.”

Oil-rich Iraq had in fact been invaded – not only to privatize its peerlessly high-quality surface oilfields but to destroy its region-leading socialist infrastructure.Iraq became accessible for invasion as the arms-bankrupted Soviet Union was in collapse. We may observe that the covertly genocidal destruction of Iraq bridged Republican and Democrat administrations over three changes of government – disclosing how the covert state operates as a moral constant across party fronts.

The actions confirm and express the one supreme moral goal identified above. They bridge from Saddam himself as CIA-payroll killer and war proxy against Iran to recapture lost Iran oilfields dating from 1980 to 1988 to the fall of the USSR in 1991 as the axis of the long-term strategic plan of global turnaround to “America’s century” still to come before and after 9-11.But between 1990 and 2003 Saddam was transmuted from former ally to aggressor against Kuwait in an invasion given an official green light from the U.S. government, to “mushroom cloud”threat with invented “weapons of mass destruction”.

In fact, National Security Adviser Wolfowitz explained after the invasion found nothing of the kind: “[We had] virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil.”

Observe how the invasion is conceived as obligatory for a reason that expresses the supreme value goal. Observe that it occurs less than two years after 9-11, which gave the open-cheque justification for the bombing and occupation which allowed the expropriation of Iraq’s society’s oil resources.

The problem was not the evil Saddam or the “weapons of mass destruction”, the standard reverse projection.[xviii]The problem was the Iraqi people themselves and their developed oil-funded social life infrastructure between the supreme oil-fields and their U.S. corporate control and privatization. 9-11 was,thus, first the justification for invading Afghanistan – to clear the way for pipelines into the former Soviet republics from the Caspian Sea region– pipelines that prompted the U.S. representative to predictively warn the Taliban:“Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”[xix]9-11 was then the necessary basis of justification for the bombing of Baghdad for the unifying supreme objective.

In fact,seldom published in the corporate media keeping the glare of publicity away from the supreme moral objective, the publicly owned and managed oil revenues of Iraq had been invested since the 1950’s in Iraq’s advanced social infrastructure, leading the Middle East with free higher education, high health standards, and near universal livelihood security. The world’s oldest civilisation was robust in organisational capacities long before the CIA-asset Saddam was installed.

Despite his murdering his way to the top in this function, even Saddam could not destroy the system because socialist government had been achieved decades earlier by a powerful oil-workers’ union base and a population glad to have all education free, an efficient low-cost foods delivery system, and the most advanced public healthcare system in the Middle East. So there was not only the “sea of oil” as a motive to assert U.S. control in the new “supranational sovereignty” of the world. Just as important in this ultimate moral cause, what the U.S. covert state always seeks to destroy by any means, isa successful social infrastructure without private big oil, bankers and transnational corporations free to control it towards higher profit opportunities.

Unravelling the Supreme Moral Doctrine behind the U.S. Covert State

The genocide of Iraq, as the long-opposing “evil empire” was in free-fall, is the most important strategic anchoring prior to “9-11”. Covert strategic policy to forward the supreme goal is by now self-evident, but the inner moral logic is assumed not penetrated.  The most influential of Rockefeller’s protégés in this regard is the “philosopher king” of the U.S. covert state, Leo Strauss. While he never worked in a philosophy department or has any training in logic, his concept of “natural right” fits exactly to the “supranational sovereignty” of private money-sequence rule of the world – what “the intellectual elite” Rockefeller refers to invoke as “moral anchor”, “right” and “justice”.

The moral thought system is not unlike that of Mein Kampf without the racist rant, camouflaged everywhere in practice by the method of big lies – “noble lies” as Strauss exalts them.[xx] The innermost value driver is a perpetual war of dispossession of the weaker for the private transnational money-capital multiplication of the rich.

Nothing in this doctrine is too mendacious, greed-crazed and murderous if it fulfills the plan of this limitless private-capital rule as ultimate moral ground and compass. In Strauss’s canonical teaching of U.S. national security advisers and intellectual following, the ruling moral absolute is expressed by the core master idea behind the “supranational sovereignty” of an “intellectual elite and bankers”:

“limitless capital accumulation – — the highest right and moral duty”.[xxi]

This is the ethical absolute of the covert U.S. state and its strategic decision structure. And there is no internal limit within this moral universe to life means seizure from poorer societies and resource looting for the supreme goal.  It is the natural and absolute Good.

To justify its meaning, the Straussian canon adopts a potted reading of Western moral and political philosophy from Plato through Hobbes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx and Weber. This impresses American political operatives of the faith, but Strauss is a failed philosopher turned down by Paul Tillich for his post-doctoral Habilitation and only saved from academic ruin in Germany by Rockefeller grant money. While not taken seriously as philosophy anywhere else, it is worth decoding its talmudic involution for the borrowed ideas that drive its covert state disciples and neo-fascist public “intellectuals” in America.

The ultimately organising idea is to commend all forms of conquering and limitlessly expanding private capital as “natural right and law” with genocidal subjugations justified in glowing moral terms. For example, “noble lies” is the moral category for limitless mendacity. One may wonder how educated people can be so bent out of moral shape. So I now concisely provide what cannot be found elsewhere: the inner logic of the supreme doctrine as perversions of great thinkers.

Its framework of meaning and value helps us to understand why the 9-11 event could easily follow for the managers of the covert U.S. state and its Straussian planners as not at all anomalous or evil within their moral logic. 9-11 follows as a maximally rational and unique tool to achieve the objectives in fact achieved by 9-11, and the geo-strategic cabal behind it is servilely linked from the beginning to the dominant private transnational corporate and banking interests exemplified by David Rockefeller.

To understand this brutal moral universe and its connection to 9-11, the 9-11 wars and a globalizing police state, we need to understand the deformations of its basic organising ideas. Plato’s idea of “the noble lie” means, in fact, a myth or parable to communicate an underlying truth about the triadic human soul of reason, spirit and appetite which, Plato argues, should be reflected in the construction of the ideal state (in which the rulers are communist in their common property to keep them uncorrupted and true).

But through the prism of U.S. global money-party rule a la Strauss this idea becomes the principle of lying to the public to keep the vulgar herd – the people themselves – ignorant and obedient. The philosophies of Hobbes and Hegel are also grist for this mill. Hobbes argues that “man is moved by a restless desire for power after power that ceaseth only in death”, but this brute desire in the “State of Nature” is tamed by “the covenant of peace” ordered by the internal sovereign as absolute.

Via Strauss and the U.S. covert state this becomes right is might and the ultimate “natural right” is limitless private capital power and empire with no end of totalization across the peoples and lands of the world. Hegel too suits a fascist-capitalist reading since he argues “the State is the march of God  through the world”, and war itself is history’s test of which State is a higher realisation of “the absolute Idea”. But Hegel still envisaged a “universal state”to supersede the competitive private-property division of capitalism in the “universalization of right and law on earth”.

Once again U.S. private money-capital power with no bound, the supreme moral goal in the Rockefeller-Strauss doctrine, is opposite to the classical philosophy it invokes. Once more dialectical development of reason to more coherently inclusive conception and life is reversed into one-way private money capital sequences maximized to rule the world with the U.S. military as its instrument of force and terror.

However it conceals its meaning, all positions come down to this underlying value code – as may be tested on whatever transnational money-sequence demand, right or war is launched next. 9-11 construction in such a moral world does not violate this value code. It expresses it in self-maximizing strategic turn to achieve the ultimate goal.

Friedrich Nietzsche may provide the best fodder for the doctrine when he advises that “life is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of what is alien and weaker, imposing of one’s own forms, and at its mildest exploitation” in his superman vision of “beyond good and evil”. For philosophical Nietzscheans, this is code for the inner meaning of the angst of artistic creation. But this meaning is predictably lost on the U.S. covert-state school seeking the “supranational sovereignty” of “limitless capital accumulation” as the supreme good with the “intellectual elite” as servants to it. Karl Marx’s link of capitalism’s success to productive force development is the ultimate equivocation upon which this ruling doctrine depends – making no distinction between productive capital providing life goods and unproductive money sequencing hollowing out the world by money-capital multiplication. Marx, it must be acknowledged, did not made the distinction himself since this mutation of capital came a century after his death.[xxii]

Finally Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism does not ground this doctrine of “limitless capital accumulation as the highest right and duty” with the state to serve it, as Strauss again torturously suggests. In fact, Weber deplores any such perversion of public authority. His capitalist model is a young Benjamin Franklin speaking of money saved and invested as like having “a breeding sow”, not a transnational money-sequence juggernaut of eco-genocidal expansion.  Revealingly, Benjamin Franklin and “the protestant ethic” in general were most concerned about non-waste, which Strauss explicitly excludes from the meaning of “limitless capital accumulation”. For Leo Strauss and his U.S. “national security” disciples, the capitalist may waste as much as he wants by “natural right”.

Further, in complete inversion of source, the greed worship of the U.S. state, its patrons and its academy disciples reverses the model of the “spirit of capitalism” exemplified by Benjamin Franklin in proprietary claim on knowledge and inventions. He,in fact,refused to patent his famous Franklin Stove because he believed that no innovation or new knowledge from which other people could benefit should be denied them – just as he himself had benefitted from the community of knowledge and science as the distinguishing feature of being a civilised human being.

In short, it is important to recognise how twisted the covertly ruling doctrine is. No element of it is life coherent or true to the classical thinkers in which it costumes itself. In the end, only the transnational U.S. money party has any place in its rights and obligations, and any sacrifice of other life to its supreme goal is legitimate – linking back to the Nazi-U.S. corporate axis that nearly destroyed the civilised world once before.[xxiii]

Money-Capital Power UeberAlles: How Economic Rationality Leads the Plan

The U.S. culture of money-sequence “rationality” is the underlying intellectual and moral disorder which leads to “limitless money capital accumulation” as the supreme moral goal. In formal terms, the equation of rationality to atomic self-maximization is assumed a-prioriacross domains. With globalizing Wall-Street-led “financialization”, this “rationality” becomes equated to private money-sequence multiplication across all borders as theultimate Good. This is the innermost mutation of value logic and goal, the moral DNA, from which the cancerous world system develops on both sides of 9-11.[xxiv]

This first principle itself is,in fact,built into formal economics, decision and game theory, and strategic science, as I explain step by step in “Behind Global System Collapse: The Life-Blind Structure of Economic Rationality.”[xxv] It is axiomatic but unexamined, life-blindly absolutist but not recognised as morally problematic. To make a long story short, competitive self-maximization in the market is assumed to produce “the best of possible worlds” by mathematical proof. “Pareto efficiency” is believed to demonstrate this by private money exchanges between self-maximizing atoms apriori stripped of all life properties, relations, society, conditions of choice, and all natural and civil life support systems. Pareto himself recognised outside this formula what has since been covered up.

Not only is the formula consistent with most having remaining impoverished by the “optimum” of “no-one worse off”, what none who cite “Pareto efficiency” as a standard academic mantra ever acknowledge or even recognise. Pareto himself is in no doubt of the implication. As the fascist party he belongs to rules Italy and Rockefeller creates the Council of Foreign Relations, he asserts with approval: “Very moral civilized peoplehave destroyed and continue to destroy, without the least scruple, savage or barbarian peoples”.[xxvi]We glimpse here at the roots the supreme morality built into “economic science” itself.

Yet, as demonstrated in “Behind Global System Collapse”, even the most liberal canons of America, including John Rawls’ classic A Theory of Justice, are grounded in the same meta principle.[xxvii] Rationality and value are equated to self-maximizing gain with no limit within game-theoretic interactions as the sole limiting framework of “limitless money capital acquisition”. The generic equation defines, indeed, the dominant intellectual and economic mind-set of America and the global system in action since 1980. The cabal internal to U.S. national security strategic planning follows the moral logic to its most radical conclusions with no constraints by life or law.

The one absolute moral meaning is the spread of U.S. economic, military and political power as good for all, or, more exactly in Straussian language, limitless private transnational money-capital expansion as the highest right and moral duty. Only what is consistent with or serves this supreme morality, it follows, deserves to exist. This is the alpha and omega of the covert doctrine and state, and careful reading can find no disconfirmation beneath the rhetoric of “noble lies”.

The Iraq Paradigm:  Genocide Strategy From 1990 On

The Iraq line of the geostrategic plan from 1990 to 2001 and after is a paradigmatic articulation of the covertly ruling moral logic. It launches into the theatre of war as direct war attack when U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, is instructed to green-light Saddam’s already known plan to invade Kuwait in 1990: “The US. has no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait”, she advises. To formalize the lie as official and traditional, she reports: “Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America”.[xxviii]

The dispute was, in fact, over Kuwait’s drawing out oil from reserves underlying Iraq as enabled by the colonial split of the oil-rich Kuwait province from Iraq – the classic divide-and-rule policy holding also in the division of oil-rich Kurdistan among four manufactured states. Saddam had good reason to trust the U.S., not only by the long-term official promise of neutrality but as blood-mix ally when he waged a U.S.-supported war of aggression against Iran – which still remains the target. Note the big lie to provoke the supreme crime of war has remained without any glare of publicity that might derail the plan.

When Saddam did exactly as planned by invading Kuwait, Bush Sr. raved about the Nazi-like aggression against a weaker country in the reverse projection that always defines the covert U.S. state before, through and after 9-11. So in the same name of “preventing aggression” U.S. “defense” forces invaded Iraq to destroy any life capacity it had to defend itself – always the strategy since the defeat in Vietnam. The genocide began by the massacre of many tens of thousands of fleeing soldiers. Recall the weeping young woman, the Kuwait ambassador’s daughter, planted next to baby incubators falsely claiming the monster Saddam had murdered the babies. This reverse projection was soon to be made real thousands of times over inside the victim society of Iraq.

Reverse projection of evil is the meta law of U.S. psy-ops propaganda in the deadly conflicts and wars it covertly starts. This is the supreme moral program in action as “noble lies”. In this case, the air-bombing after surrender continued from U.S. and “special ally” Britain as “sanctions of Iraq” to “prevent aggression” – again the reverse projection. In fact the bombs continually fell on the water and electricity infrastructures of the defenceless people and against all lines of repair to restore either – “the line in the sand against Iraq aggression”. We might bear in mind that Wolfowitz was Undersecretary of Defense under Secretary Cheney at this time, their positions not unlike those at the time of 9-11.

Air-bombing, as Bertrand Russell long ago pointed out, is inherently fascist in erasing the killed and maimed from sight while ensuring impunity for the bombers of defenceless people.  But all such mass murder is only collateral damage to the supreme moral goal as “natural right and law”.  The air bombing of Iraq’s water and electricity supplies dressed in one big lie after another continued in slow mass-murderous destruction of the people and their social life infrastructures years on end.

Denis Halliday, United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator for the mission finally called it “genocide” (Wikipedia calls it “the Persian Gulf War”) when he resigned in 1998 to protest against “the crimes against humanity”. But no-one knew until the U.S. Department of Defense Intelligence got out that the first sweep of Iraq was planned down to the mass killing of the infants and children. September 11 in 2001 is better understood in this wider context of strategic planning by the covert U.S. terror state. For years the non-stop bombing of the people’s central life-water support system deliberately engineered mass dying from diseases of children in the hundreds of thousands.

What was predicted by Harvard Medical School researchers from the continuous civilian infrastructure bombing by the U.S. military – the deaths of over 500,000 children- was verified by the counts scientifically taken at the risk of researchers as the bombing continued month after month with NATO support.[xxix]

Full-spectrum corporate money-sequencing through Iraq under the Comprehensive Privatization Program would only be enabled by “9-11”down the road. But first the bases of advanced social life organization needed to be destroyed. The later-leaked U.S. Defense Intelligence document entitled “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities” expresses the moral DNA at work. I cite the key lines of U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency reports because they reveal the character of the supreme moral goal and its strategic planning.“With no domestic sources of water treatment replacement or chemicals like chlorine”and “laden with biological pollutants and bacteria”, the leaked Defense Intelligence Agency report says (italics added), “epidemics of such diseases as cholera, hepatitis, and typhoid” will “probably take six months before the [drinking and sewage water] system is fully degraded”.

The document continues, Conditions are favorable for communicable disease outbreaks [by the one-way air bombing] with the “most likely diseases during next sixty-ninety days of diarrheal diseases (particularly children) acute respiratory diseases (colds and influenza); typhoid; hepatitis (particularly children); measles, diphtheria, and pertussis (particularly children); meningitis including meningococcal (particularly children), cholera”. “Medical Problems in Iraq”, dated March 15, 1991, reports that the “water is less than 5 percent of the original supply – - diarrhea is four times above normal levels – - Conditions in Baghdad remain favorable for disease outbreaks”. The fifth document in June reports “almost all medicines in critically short supply” and “Gastroenteritis killing children – - in the south, 80 percent of the deaths are children”.[xxx]

In short, no limit to covert U.S. planning of indiscriminate mass murder for the supreme goal exists. The number who died in 9-11 suddenly pales in comparison. In all cases, it lets “those inimical to U.S. interests” know that there is no limit to how far the covert terror state will go for the supreme moral code not yet decoded. Combined with wars of aggression before and after 9-11, raining fire and explosions on civilians from the air so that no defense or escape can be made, saturating the fields of public meaning with big lies civilly dangerous to unmask, and bringing vast enrichment and new powers to transnational corporate conglomerates and their past and present CEO’s of the acting U.S. state – all become clear in their ultimate meaning once decoded. As the Democrat U.S. Secretary of State responded to the question of the 500,000 killed children, “we think the price was worth it”. No price is too much to pay for fulfilment of the transcendent project of the global U.S. state and its private capital rule as “the Free World”. “Those inimical to our interests” are those who oppose or are in the way of it, and thus “hate our freedom”.

The  Strategic Logic of Value through 9-11

By 2000 it was very clear to the U.S. strategic planners that the opening up of the Middle East and Central Asia after the fall of the Soviet Union had to be further pursued before it was too late.The great regret for the planning personnel of the coming Bush Jr. administration such as Paul Wolfowitz was that Iraq had not been taken over on the first invasion. The need for “full spectrum dominance” across the Middle East and Central Asia was thus the essential argument of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), with the prescription that no other “regional power”was able to contest this dominance.

The PNAC more explicitly recognised the strategic necessity for what Zbigniew Brzezinski had already called for in 1998 in The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives – namely,“the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat” to ensure public support for “the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power”. The now once untouchable Central Asia, formerly of the USSR, was thus targeted as essential not only for its vast oil reserves, but to complete rule of the “first truly global power”.

The Project for the New American Century was more explicit than Brzezinski in 2000, the year before 9-11. As former Defence Minister of Canada, Paul Hellyer, lucidly puts it in a recent address (italics added): “The authors of this American ‘Mein Kampf’ [the PNAC] for conquest recognized the difficulty of persuading sophisticated Americans to accept such a gigantic change in policy. So they wrote the following (subsequently removed from the record):  ‘Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary changes, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.’”[xxxi]

Excepting the Vietnam War ending in military defeat – but vastly enriched armaments and connected private bank and corporate interests – the hitherto favoured strategic-plan mode had been local death squads along with pervasive American media propaganda against the victims as “communists” and “sponsored by the USSR”. But once there was no remotely equal opponent in mass-kill capacities and transnational trade treaties now bound governments within corporate-rights law as overriding domestic laws and policies, anything became permissible. The plan for the “supranational sovereignty” of “limitless capital accumulation” in “full-spectrum power”required only 9-11 to derail world-wide peace, environmental and anti-corporate globalization movements growing into uncontrollable civilian capacity across borders and continents.

People were waking up to the one-way destruction of life systems at all levels. Iraq was not alone in the genocidal clearance of formersocialist infrastructures uniting peoples across ethnic lines. A far more democratic Yugoslavia was set up and destroyed by financial means in the same year by the 1991 U.S. Foreign Operations Appropriations Law after the 1980’s multiplication of public interest rates to over 20percent primedevoured social life support structures across the world.

This was the unseen financialization base of a global war against public and worker economic and political powers that was reaping a cumulative global civilian reaction of opposition to “the plan”. 9-11 ensured against the fightback of financially dispossessed peoples with the signature reverse operation – diversion to an external “terrorist threat” that stood in the way of more sweeping transnational corporate wars on more peoples being dispossessed. Civil war in Yugoslavia long targeted by Reagan’s secret National Security Directive 133 as early as 1984 was predicted and occurred after the underlying employment and welfare structure of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia collapsed under deliberate financial destabilization. (The villain of the piece, Slobodan Milosevic, was himself a major banker).

In oil-rich Somalia, two-thirds of its territory had been leased out to four transnational oil companies by 1993 – a condition of lost grounds of life for Somalians behind the primeval civil war ever since. These are merely expressions of the underlying logic of value and the plan for its supranational rule beneath the lights of publicity as “discretion”. The examples are myriad from Latin America to South-East Asia to sub-Sahara Africa and the Middle East to Israel and Canada today. But a descriptive law of the supreme moral goal holds across all diverse instances of its expression.

Strategic planning for the destruction of social life infrastructures of peoples for private money capital gain without limit is the ultimate value program throughout from the U.S. to China.

The people of the U.S. are not exempt from their own system of covert state rule, although democratic heroism here joins with the larger world against it. This is the ultimate moral struggle on earth today. The moral politics of the disorder are the enforcement of the descriptive law.  This is the ruling meta program, and it is carcinogenic by its nature. The supreme motive force it multiplies by is privately self-maximizing money possession (individual and corporate)seeking to be limitlessly more.More = Better. Less = Militant Demand for More.

The “9-11” event is the epicentre of the supreme moral objective seated in Wall Street. Itis best understood as an ultimate strategic maximizer of theitalicizedformula. Exactly expressed, its ultimatelyregulating axiology is private money inputs through all life to maximally more private money outputs in ad infinitum progression: Money àLife as Meansà More Money or, formally, $àLasMà$1,2,3,4— N.

At the highest level of anchoring moral meaning, this private money-demand rule seeks to beabsolute and total across borders with no quarter. “Full spectrum dominance” is its military method. Yet what distinguishes it from theNazirule it connects with as prior transnational corporate partner in war making is that in the U.S. private money demand multiplication at the top is the only organising value meaning. 97% of its money command is produced by private bank notes of others’ debt to the private bank system centred in Wall Street. Yet despite this very narrow centre of control,almost no global territory or field of life is outside its rule and strategic plan.

The “Trans-Pacific Partnership” is but its latest expression – focusing on private knowledge-patent money sequencing to rule out generic pharmaceuticals and other life-and-death knowledge commons from which higher profits cannot be made. The one underlying common principle throughout all phases is transnational corporate and bank money sequencing to more. Its converse is to overrideall life requirements at all levels, and strategically planned crises and wars are the advancing lines of control and enforcement.

What is not recognized through all the genocidal wars,ecocidal results, collapsing social life support systems and falling wages, however,is that this ruling value sequence rationally leads to9-11” as maximal strategic payoff progression.“Absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event”, the Project for the New American Century declared before 9-11,

“ – - the U.S risks the loss of a global security order that is uniquely friendly to American principles and prosperity”.

Decoded, this meant in theory and practice more transnational private money sequence progression to ever more control over all still-uncontrolled assets for more and richer returns without limit of take or life destruction. But these are unspeakable lines of value meaning, and that is likely why, for example, Wikipedia keeps altering the entry of my name with conspiracy theory attributions and smears to ensure that such deep-structural diagnosis does not gain currency. That is how this system works, and analysis will provide more variations of this gagging method on 9-11 ahead.

The strategic necessity of the 9-11 event for “global security order”can even be asserted by the principal architects of the administration under which it happened, and those who observe this can be dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”. Reverse projection is, as always, the essential psychological operation. The documented but shouted-down logistics included V-P Cheney having control of the air-de

At Least 20 CIA ‘Black Site’ Prisoners Still Missing

In one of President Barack Obama first acts in the White House, he ordered the closure of the CIA’s so-called “black-site” prisons, where terror suspects had been held and, sometimes, tortured.  The CIA says it is “out of the detention business,” as John Brennan, Obama’s pick to head the agency, recently put it.

(PHILIPPE MERLE/AFP/Getty Images) But the CIA’s prisons left some unfinished business.  In 2009, ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer listed more than thirty people who had been held in CIA prisons and were still missing.

Some of those prisoners have since resurfaced, but at least twenty are still unaccounted for.

Last week the Open Society Foundations’ Justice Initiative released a report pulling together the most current information available on the fates of the prisoners. A few emerged from foreign prisons after the turmoil of the Arab Spring. One has died. (The report relied exclusively on media accounts and information previously gathered by human rights groups. The Open Society Foundations also donate to ProPublica.)

The report counts 136 prisoners who were either held in a CIA black site or subject to so-called extraordinary rendition, in which detainees were secretly shipped to other countries for interrogation.

Many of the prisoners were tortured, either under the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” program or by other countries after their transfer. The report also lists 54 countries that assisted in some way with detention and rendition. The U.S. has not disclosed the countries it worked with, and few have acknowledged their participation.

The CIA declined our request to comment.

Here are the fates of a few of the prisoners we listed as missing back in 2009:

  1. Ayoub al-Libi, also known as Mustafa Jawda al-Mahdi, is a Libyan who was allegedly interrogated and detained by US personnel in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2004. The next year he was returned to Libya, where he was sentenced to death as member of LIFG, an Islamist anti-Gaddafi group (designated a terrorist organization by the U.S.) He was released when uprisings began against Gaddafi in February 2011. Human Rights Watch interviewed him in 2012.
  2. Hassan Rabai, also known as Mohamed Ahmad Mohamed Al Shoroieya, is a Libyan who was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and later transferred to Afghanistan – where he alleges that he was waterboarded by U.S. personnel. Bush administration officials have repeatedly said that only three terror suspects were ever subjected to waterboarding; Rabai would be the fourth.  He was eventually transferred to prison in Libya, where he remained until February 2011. Human Rights Watch interviewed him last year.
  3. Khaled al-Sharif, also known as Abu Hazam, was picked up with fellow Libyan and LIFG member Hassan Rabai and also held in Afghanistan. He remained in Libyan prison until March 2010, according to interviews he gave to Human Rights Watch.
  4. Mohammed Omar Abdel-Rahman is an Egyptian who was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and  considered a “senior Al-Qaeda operative.” He was transferred to prison in Egypt and was released in late 2010. He gave an interview in 2011 in which he admitted to running training camps in Afghanistan prior to 2001 but saying he had renounced violence.
  5. Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, also known as Abu Musab al-Suri, was tied to the bombings in Madrid and London in 2004 and 2005. Picked up by the CIA in 2005, he was transferred to prison in his native Syria. According to Syrian media, he was released by Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad in February 2012.
  6. Ali Abdul-Hamid al-Fakhiri, also known as Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, was a Libyan detained shortly after the 9/11 attacks. He was reportedly held in CIA as well as Egyptian custody over the next several years. According to a Senate Intelligence Committee report, he provided information about links between Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda – information he later said he had fabricated. He was transferred to Libyan prison in 2005 or 2006, and was found dead in his cell in May 2009.

The whereabouts (and in some cases identities) of many more remain unknown or uncertain.

In 2007, then-CIA director Michael Hayden said that “fewer than 100 people had been detained at CIA’s facilities.” But only 16 have been officially identified by the U.S. government. President George W. Bush acknowledged the CIA’s detention program in September 2006 and announced the transfer of 14 “high-value” detainees to Guantanamo Bay prison. Two other high-value detainees were subsequently acknowledged.

Much else about the CIA program is still unknown. President Barack Obama closed the black-site prisons on entering office, but preserved the ability to render and to hold people for the “short-term.”

Obama banned torture, but announced that no one would be prosecuted for previously sanctioned harsh interrogations. A Justice Department investigation into deaths of detainees in CIA custody ended without charges.

The Senate Intelligence Committee recently completed a 6,000-page report on the CIA’s detention program. At Brenan’s confirmation hearings, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), said the report shows the interrogation program was run by people “ignorant of the topic, executed by personnel without relevant experience, managed incompetently by senior officials who did not pay attention to detail, and corrupted by personnel with pecuniary conflicts of interest.” Rockefeller is one of the few to have read the report, which remains classified.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

The Benghazi Affair: Uncovering the Mystery of the Benghazi CIA Annex

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“The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation, according to the officials who briefed on intelligence.” WSJ, Nov 1, 2012

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, finally appeared before the US Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees on Wednesday, January 23, after a long delay. She was asked many questions by the Congress about what had happened in Benghazi on September 11 and how this could happen. The problem with the responses she gave to these questions was that she focused on the narrative presented in the State Department Report that had been released a month earlier, and which is deeply flawed.

In order to understand the nature of what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, and how the State Department under Hillary Clinton has been an important part of the cover up of what this second September 11 is actually a part of, it is important to understand the problem with the State Department Report being used to carry out the US government cover up of what I call the Benghazi Affair.

On December 18, the US State Department released its report on the September 11, 2012 attacks on two US facilities in Benghazi, Libya. These attacks had resulted in the deaths of the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans working for the US government in Libya. The US government had claimed that its report would shed light on what had become a contentious Congressional and media debate over the cause and details of the attack on these two US government compounds in Benghazi.

Soon, however, it became clear that the State Department Report issued by the Accountability Review Board (hereafter ARB Report), offered the public little information to add to what had already been made available by the State Department or the media. Instead, the public version of the ARB Report, referred to as the “unclassified” version, actually functions as part of the cover-up of what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. Most of this public document carefully refrains from any discussion of the role or activities of the CIA and what bearing this had on the events of September 11-12 2012 in Benghazi. But the role of the CIA in Benghazi and its bearing on what happened there on September 11 is the crucial question that any legitimate investigation into the situation must explore.

The trick of the Accountability Review Board (ARB) was that it issued two different versions of its Report. One version was an “unclassified” report that was available to the press, the public and the US Congress to discuss in public.(1) The other version was a “classified” report that was to be hidden from public or press scrutiny and was only to be available to Congress in a closed Congressional process. The unclassified version of the ARB Report could not mention the CIA activities. It could only discuss the role of the State Department in what happened.

The problem with such a restriction is that one of the US government sites in Benghazi that was attacked was a CIA facility referred to as the ‘Annex’ (hereafter CIA annex compound). The other site was allegedly a State Department administered facility referred to as the ‘Special Mission Benghazi Compound’ (hereafter special mission compound). This second compound, according to the WSJ, was actually created to provide diplomatic cover for the CIA facility.(2)

While some US Congressional Committees have been conducting investigations into what happened in Benghazi, they have agreed to discuss only the activities of the State Department in their open, public sessions, and to reserve any consideration or questions about the activities of the CIA for closed sessions of their committees, away from public view.(3)

Not only is the US Congress restricted from discussing the role of the CIA in Benghazi in open session, some of the mainstream US media have agreed to a request by the US government to withhold details about the CIA operations in Benghazi. The New York Times (NYT) is one such publication. (4) In an article briefly referring to the CIA annex compound, which the NYT says “encompassed four buildings inside a low-walled compound….” The NYT acknowledges that, “From among these buildings, the C.I.A. personnel carried out their secret missions.” But then the article explains that, “The New York Times agreed to withhold locations and details of these operations at the request of Obama administration officials….”

To declare an investigation into or discussion of the activities regarding the role of the CIA and its Annex compound as a forbidden subject during an open committee meeting of Congress, is to prevent the US Congress from fulfilling its oversight obligations over the US Executive branch of government. For the US government to require the US media to restrict coverage is to shroud the needed public discussion and investigation in darkness.

The effort to cover up the role of the CIA in the events resulting in the attack on the two US government facilities in Benghazi, however, demonstrates that something important is at stake and worth investigating.

Despite the US government effort to impose such restrictions, there are media accounts and some Congressional documents that provide a glimpse into the details of hidden CIA activity that the attacks on the US facilities in Benghazi help to reveal.

To understand the nature of this hidden activity, requires a willingness not only to critique the official explanations, but also to examine the events that can help to uncover the actual forces at work in Benghazi and the role they played in CIA activities in Libya.

One Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article is particularly helpful. The article, is titled “CIA Takes Heat for Role in Libya.” It provides a rare window into details of the murky world of the CIA operation in Benghazi and how it came about.(5)

The article notes that former CIA Director David Petraeus did not greet the bodies of the four Americans killed in Benghazi when they were returned to the US, even though two of those killed are acknowledged to have worked for the CIA. “Officials close to Mr. Petraeus,” the WSJ explains, “say he stayed away in an effort to conceal the agency’s role in collecting intelligence and providing security in Benghazi.”

Of the 30 or more American officials evacuated from Benghazi, only seven worked for the State Department. According to the WSJ, “Nearly all the rest worked for the CIA, under diplomatic cover, which was a principle purpose” of the special mission compound.

Soon after the struggle against the government of Libya began in February 2011, the CIA set up a compound in Benghazi for its spy operations. Eventually, the CIA gave its compound a State Department office name, the Annex, to disguise its purpose, the WSJ reveals. According to the US government, the role of the CIA in Benghazi was “focused on countering proliferation and terrorist threats….A main concern was the spread of weapons….”

“At the annex,” the WSJ explains, “many of the analysts and officers had what is referred to in intelligence circles as ‘light cover’ carrying U.S. diplomatic passports.”

Providing a cover for the secret operation of the CIA, however, created problems for State Department officials who felt the CIA was not “forthcoming with information,” even in the midst of the attack on the US facilities. As the WSJ notes, on September 11, 2012, “At 5:41 p.m. Eastern time, Mrs. Clinton called Mr. Petraeus. She wanted to make sure the two agencies were on the same page.”

Even after the attack was over and the analysts and officers had been evacuated, the accounts in the WSJ and McClatchy Newspapers, describe how quickly the CIA acted to clean out documents and equipment from the Annex. By contrast, the US government left the premises of the special mission compound unguarded and open to looters for weeks after the attack.

“The significance of the annex was a well-kept secret in Benghazi,” the WSJ reporters conclude. A McClatchy article documents how a well guarded secret was even the location of the CIA Annex compound. (6)

The implication is that the attackers at the special mission compound intended to flush out the covert location and presence of the CIA Annex compound so as to end its ability to continue its secret activities.(7)

An opinion piece, “The Fog of Benghazi”, appeared in the WSJ on November 3. It discusses what was at stake for the US government as a result of the September 11 attack in Benghazi(8): “America has since closed the Libya diplomatic outpost and pulled a critical intelligence unit out of a hotbed of Islamism, conceding a defeat. U.S. standing in the region and the ability to fight terrorist groups were undermined, with worrying repercussions for a turbulent Middle East and America’s security. This is why it’s so important to learn what happened in Benghazi.”

The effort to learn what happened in the Benghazi Affair, is similarly the subject of a 10 page letter dated October 19 sent by two US Congressmen to President Obama. (9) One of the Congressmen, Darrell Issa, is Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The other, Jason Chaffetz, is Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations.

Their letter raises ten questions for President Obama, the answers to which they explain are needed for the US Congressional investigation to determine the significance of the Benghazi affair. Also in their letter they include an attachment of 160 pages of data and photos which document the lawless environment in Libya, and particularly in Benghazi in the months before the Benghazi attack. This data was obtained by the US Congress from the State Department. (10) Though the data is labeled as sensitive, it is not classified material.

This data documents in a way that is now public, the perilous environment existing in Libya, providing a graphic description of the armed militias who carry out bombings, murders and kidnappings of government officials and others who try to challenge the lawlessness.

The data demonstrates the details of what the ARB Report acknowledges as “a general backdrop of political violence, assassinations, targeting former regime officials, lawlessness, and an overarching absence of central government authority in eastern Libya.” (11)

The Internet has made possible the publication of a number of investigative accounts of various aspects of the Benghazi Affair. Several of these propose that the CIA and even Chris Stevens were part of a gun running operation, gathering up weapons from Libya and facilitating their shipment to the insurgents fighting against the government in Syria. Some of the articles also propose that the CIA operation in Benghazi helped to send mercenaries from other countries to fight against the government of Syria. (12)

Fox News and a number of associated websites have featured articles which offer such accounts. Often, however, the articles rely on anonymous sources to support their claims.

Rarely are media offering accounts that portray this reality able to present direct evidence to support the narratives they develop.

An important exception is an article that appeared in the Times of London on September 14, 2012. This was three days after Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

The article documents that a ship, the Al Entisar (also written as Intisaar or The Victory in English), sailing under a Libyan flag with a 400 ton cargo, which included SAM-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and some humanitarian supplies, is said to have arrived September 6 at the Turkish Port of Iskenderun.(13)

The captain of the ship, Omar Mousaeeb, a Libyan from Benghazi, was accompanied by 26 Libyans who were on board to help smuggle the shipment from the Turkish Port across the border into Syria. The plan was then to distribute the weapons to insurgents in Syria who were allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.

This account by the Times of London provides specific details about the mechanisms and problems of this Libyan weapons pipeline to the insurgency in Syria. The article describes the conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) over who would get the weapons from the Al Entisar shipment.

“The scale of the shipment and how it should be disbursed, has sparked a row between the FSA and the Muslim Brotherhood, who took control of the shipment when it arrived in Turkey,” writes Sheera Frenkel, the author of the Times of London article.

Though the ship arrived at the port in Turkey on September 6, not all of the cargo had been transported into Syria by September 14, the article notes, though this is over a week after the ship arrived at the port in Turkey. While “more than 80 percent of the ship’s cargo,” the Times of London explains, “had been moved into Syria, Mr. Mousaeeb and a group of Libyans who had arrived with the ship said they were preparing to travel with the final load into Syria to ensure it was being distributed.” Actually their concern appeared to be to whom it was distributed, not how.

The Times of London refers to two Syrian activists with the FSA who complained that infighting within the insurgent ranks had delayed the arrival of the weapons in Syria, “There was widespread talk of Syrian groups who allied themselves with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement being given a larger share of the ship’s cargo.” One activist quoted objects that, “The Muslim Brotherhood, through its ties with Turkey, was seizing control of this ship and its cargo.”

While the Times of London does not directly link Chris Stevens or the CIA annex compound to the Al Entisar arms shipment to Turkey, the article does provide an important context for how the conflict over which insurgent group would get weapons from the shipment created a source of significant tension at the very time the attack on the two US compounds in Benghazi took place.

Given the question, “Why Chris Stevens would have traveled to Benghazi to be in this perilous environment on September 11,” an answer which points to some urgent matter which needed his attention, would help to provide the rationale for him to ignore the security considerations against his making such a trip.

Keeping in mind the importance of this shipment of weapons from Benghazi to Turkey, the need to work out the details of the weapons distribution process could very well have provided the motive for Stevens to plan a visit in Benghazi during such a perilous period as the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the US.

By September 11, infighting among the Muslim Brotherhood and other insurgent groups, over who would be given the weapons from the Al Entisar shipment, suggests the likelihood that Turkey’s Consul General in Benghazi and the US Ambassador needed to discuss the conflict over the weapons and the problem of how they should be moved into Syria and distributed among the insurgent groups.

In line with this reasoning, it is not surprising that Chris Stevens had a meeting with Turkey’s Consul General to Benghazi, Ali Sait Akin on September 11 at the Benghazi special mission compound.

The description of the infighting over the Al Entisar shipment to a port in Turkey of weapons for the Syrian insurgency, raises the possibility that the Turkish Consul General to Benghazi and Stevens discussed the conflict over the weapons. As of September 11, there were weapons that had yet to be distributed and smuggled into Syria from the Al Entisar shipment.

On September 10, when Stevens arrived in Benghazi, the shipment of arms had only recently been received at the Turkish port of Iskenderun, and the conflict among the insurgent groups who were to receive the weapons was not yet resolved.

According to documents that Congress received from the State Department, soon after Stevens arrived in Benghazi on September 10, he visited the CIA annex compound for a briefing.

On September 11 he stayed at the special mission compound but had meetings scheduled with someone from the Arabian Gulf Oil Co. (AGOCO), and later in the afternoon with someone from the Al Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services Co. (The names of the individuals were blacked out.) Then he had dinner and discussion with Ali Sait Akin, Turkey’s Consul General to Benghazi.(14)

While there has been no specific information made available by the State Department about the content of the meetings Stevens had on September 10 and 11, Turkey’s role in the shipping of weapons and foreign fighters into Syria to assist the fight against the Syrian government is the subject of numerous articles. The Times of London article describes previous difficulty experienced in trying to ship a cargo of weapons to where they could be safely unloaded and moved to insurgents in Syria. Given this previous experience it is not surprising that it was necessary to have the Turkish government intervene to settle problems that arose with the Al Entisar weapons shipment. It had taken several weeks “to arrange the paperwork for the Turkish port authorities to release the cargo.”(15) The Times of London quoted Suleiman Haari, who worked with Captain Mousaeeb. Haari explained that “Everyone wanted a piece of the ship. Certain groups wanted to get involved and claim the cargo for themselves. It took a long time to work through the logistics.”

This could account for the surprise visit by the then head of the CIA, David Petraeus on September 2 to Ankara. (16) Petraeus arrived in Ankara for what appeared to be talks with the President of Turkey and other Turkish government officials. Were Petraeus’s meetings with Turkish government officials needed to help make the arrangements for the Libyan ship to dock at the port in Turkey and unload the weapons that were to be smuggled across the border into Syria? This is a question Petraeus could answer if he were to testify at a US Congressional hearing again.

In light of the WSJ claim that the special mission compound had been set up to provide diplomatic cover for the CIA operation run out of the Annex, the question is raised as to whether the special mission compound was actually a State Department facility or a CIA facility acting under cover as a State Department operation.

According to the unclassified version of the ARB Report, Chris Stevens had arrived in Benghazi on April 5, 2011, “via a Greek cargo ship at the rebel-held city of Benghazi to re-establish a U.S. presence in Libya.” He had been appointed the US government’s “Special Envoy to the Libyan Transitional National Council” (TNC), acting as an official contact between the insurgents fighting to overthrow the government of Libya and the US government that was aiding them to bring about regime change in Libya. (17) Such an activity is contrary to international law and provisions of the UN charter (Article 2 Sections 1, 4, 7) which prohibit interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. (18)

Stevens’ mission, the Report states, “was to serve as the liaison with the TNC” for a post-Qaddafi government in Libya. The US embassy had been closed in February 2011, and was only reopened on September 22, 2011 with Gene Cretz as the Ambassador.

The ARB Report notes, however, that the CIA had set up the CIA compound in Benghazi in February 2011 soon after the insurgency arose against the Libyan government. This is a confirmation that the US government had put intelligence operatives on the ground in Benghazi just as the insurgency against the Libyan government was getting underway. This is also at least one month before Chris Stevens arrived in Benghazi.

The ARB Report also reveals that Chris Stevens stayed at the CIA Annex from the beginning of June, 2011 until June 21, 2011. Not until June 21 did “he and his security contingent move into what would become the Special Mission Benghazi compound….” According to the ARB Report the special mission compound in Benghazi was set up a few months after the CIA compound. (19)

This puts in perspective why the WSJ article on November 1 says that the special mission compound was established to provide diplomatic cover for the CIA facility, subsequently referred to as “the Annex”. Stevens remained as Special Envoy to the TNC and stayed in Benghazi until November 17, 2011. On May 26, 2012 Stevens arrived in Tripoli to replace Cretz as US Ambassador to Libya.

What was the State Department responsibility for the special mission compound? If its purpose was to provide diplomatic cover for the CIA, then what was the CIA responsibility? These are significant questions. But it is unlikely that such questions will be asked at the public Congressional oversight investigations because questions about the role of the CIA Annex in Benghazi have been declared to be a classified matter.

Though the NYT article, ”U.S. Approved Weapons for Libya Rebels Fell into Jihadis’ Hands,” about the Benghazi affair doesn’t go into detail about what the CIA was doing in Benghazi, it raises a significant issue that is likely to be at the root of why there was an attack on both the special mission compound and the CIA Annex compound.(20) The NYT refers to the concern US government officials involved in the program raise about the problems created by the US government helping to provide weapons to insurgents fighting in Libya and Syria. According to the NYT, what these Islamic militants will do with these weapons worries high level US government national security officials.

While officially, the US government claims it is not providing weapons, the Times of London article about the shipment of weapons from Benghazi to Turkey, provides a striking example of how the US and Turkish governments, both overtly, and covertly, appear to be involved in collecting weapons in Libya and helping to ship them to be used against the Syrian government and people.(21)

The NYT claims that the US government has little control over where these weapons go and the harm they do when used in Libya, Syria, or other conflicts in the region. The NYT reports, “Concerns in Washington soon rose about the groups Qatar was supporting, officials said. A debate over what to do about the weapons shipments dominated at least one meeting of the so-called Deputies Committee, the interagency panel consisting of the second-ranking officials in major agencies involved in national security. ‘There was a lot of concern that Qatar weapons were going to Islamist groups,’ one official recalled.” (22)

These supposed ‘Qatar’ weapons, however, did not originate with Qatar alone. By way of an example, the NYT quotes one US weapons dealer who wanted to sell weapons to the insurgency in Libya during the war against Libya. The NYT describes how he applied to the State Department for a license. “He also sent an e-mail to J. Christopher Stevens, then the special representative to the Libyan rebel Alliance, ” reports the NYT. According to e-mails provided to the NYT by the arms dealer, Marc Turi, Stevens wrote back to Turi that he would “share Mr. Turi’s proposal with colleagues in Washington.” Eventually the weapons dealer was encouraged to communicate with contacts in Qatar.(23)

Such examples help to demonstrate both that there is concern among US government officials in Washington about the US government arming militant Islamists, the very people the US government condemns as “terrorists” in other situations. Also though the weapons pipeline may have on the surface been made to appear unconnected to the US actually supplying the arms that are being distributed by Qatar or Saudi Arabia, in the case of Marc Turi, as one example, the weapons pipeline was arranged for by a license provided by the US government to ship the weapons to Qatar.

Such examples provide the context for how the US government has covertly and overtly been helping to provide the weapons that are then used by those hostile to the US to inflict harm on the Libyan and Syrian people and even on Americans, as those killed in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. This situation, several commentators have noted, is reminiscent to the Iran Contra Affair where the US government entities covertly acted in a way that jeopardized the interests and even the physical well being of US officials and civilians. And it is likely that the actions being taken by US government officials to arm and provide other forms of support for the Libyan and Syrian insurgencies, are contrary to US laws and constitutional obligations.(24)

Such considerations reflect some of the salient concerns raised by a number of online commentators about the Benghazi Affair. One example of many that have been published online in the last few months is the article “Benghazigate: The Cover-up continues” by Bill Shanefeld published at the American Thinker website. The article raises two important questions (25): “(1) The pre-”event” purpose of the compound and its Annex (since these operations probably motivated the perpetrators of the “event”); and (2) Team Obama’s failed policies in North Africa, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.”

The article also refers to some of the many contributions made by other online commentators. These various commentaries help to clarify that the Benghazi affair offers a relatively rare window into the on the ground actions of the US government’s clandestine operations. These actions are the partner to the role the US government is playing in the UN Security Council and the UN in general in its efforts to turn the UN into a partner in its CIA and NATO activities. The Benghazi Affair is an important situation and the question remains as to whether the illegal activities of the US government acting contrary to the obligations of the UN Charter in Libya and more recently Syria will come to light.
Notes

1. U.S. State Department Public Accountability Board Report

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/202446.pdf

2.Margaret Coker, Adam Entous, Siobhan Gorman, Margaret Coker, ”CIA
Takes Heat for Role in Libya,” WSJ, November 1, 2012.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204712904578092853621061838.html

3. Dana Milbanks, “Letting Us in on a Secret,” Washington Post,
October 10, 2012,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-letting-us-in-on-a-secret/2012/10/10/ba3136ca-132b-11e2-ba83-a7a396e6b2a7_print.html

4.Helene and Eric Schmidt, Michael S Schmidt, “Deadly Attack In Libya
was Major Blow to CIA Efforts,” New York Times, September 23, 2012.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/world/africa/attack-in-libya-was-major-blow-to-cia-efforts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

5. Margaret Coker, Adam Entous, Siobhan Gorman, Margaret Coker, ”CIA
Takes Heat for Role in Libya,” WSJ, November 1, 2012.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204712904578092853621061838.html

6.Nancy A. Youssef, “Libyans, diplomats: CIA’s Benghazi station a
secret – and quickly repaired,” McClatchy Newspapers, November 12,
2012.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/11/12/174455/libyans-diplomats-cias-benghazi.html

7. Catherine Herridge, “CIA moved swiftly to scrub, abandon Libya
facility after attack, source says,” Fox News, December 5, 2012.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/05/cia-moved-swiftly-scrub-abandon-libya-facility-after-attack-source-says/#ixzz2IE8icKIQ

8. “The Fog of Benghazi,” Opinion Piece, WSJ, Nov. 3, 2012

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204712904578090612465153472.html

9. Letter from Representative Issa and Representative Chaffetz to
President Obama, October 19, 2012

http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/10.19.12-Issa-and-Chaffetz-to-President.pdf

10. The Oversight Committee’s letter was accompanied by 166 pages of
documents and photos.

http://oversight.house.gov/release/oversight-committee-asks-president-about-white-house-role-in-misguided-libya-normalization-effort/

documents

http://1.usa.gov/S89qG7

11. U.S. State Department Public Accountability Board Report

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/202446.pdf

12. See for example, ”Interview with Clare M. Lopez”

http://goldandguns.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/former-cia-clare-lopez-on-the-benghazi-gun-running/

13. Sheera Frenkel, “Syrian rebels squabble over weapons as biggest
shipload arrives from Libya; Turkey,” Times (London), September 14,
2012, p. 23

14. Schedule of Chris Stevens activities on September 10 and September 14.

Included in data sent to President Obama by Issa and Chaffetz

15. Sheeran Frenkel, “Syrian rebels squabble over weapons as biggest
shipload arrives from Libya; Turkey,” Times (London), September 14,
2012, p. 23

16. “CIA chief Petraeus pays surprise visit to Turkey,” Hurriyet Daily
News, September 2, 2012

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/cia-chief-petraeus-pays-surprise-visit-to-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nid=29175

J. Millard Burr, “The Benghazi Attack: Some Thoughts,” Economic
Warfare Institute Blog, Oct 24, 2012.

http://econwarfare.org/viewarticle.cfm?id=5109

17. U.S. State Department Public Accountability Board Report

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/202446.pdf

18. Dr. Curtis Doebbler, “It is illegal to support rebels fighting a
legitimate government,” Note from Sibialiria.org,
http://syria360.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/supporting-the-doha-coalition-violates-international-law/

19. U.S. State Department Public Accountability Board Report

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/202446.pdf

Margaret Coker, Adam Entous, Siobhan Gorman, Margaret Coker, ”CIA
Takes Heat for Role in Libya,” WSJ, November 1, 2012.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204712904578092853621061838.html

20. Mark Mazzetti, James Risen, Michael S Schmidt, ”U.S. Approved Arms
for Libya Rebels Fell into Jihadis’ Hands,” NYT, December 5, 2012.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/africa/weapons-sent-to-libyan-rebels-with-us-approval-fell-into-islamist-hands.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

21. Sheera Frenkel, “Syrian rebels squabble over weapons as biggest
shipload arrives from Libya; Turkey,” Times ( London), September 14,
2012, p. 23

Also see other relevant articles such as:

Christina Lamb, “Covert US Plan to Arm Rebels,” The Sunday Times
(London), December 9, 2012, p. 1,2

Franklin Lamb, “Flooding Syria with Foreign Arms: A View from
Damascus”, Foreign Policy Journal, Nov. 5, 2012.

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2012/11/05/flooding-syria-with-foreign-arms-a-view-from-damascus/

J. Millard Burr, “You Can Kiss Petraeus Goodbye,” End Time News, Nov. 5, 2012

http://endtimesnews.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/benghazi-attack-reveals-split-in-gun-running-factions/

22. Mark Mazzetti, James Risen, Michael S Schmidt, ”U.S. Approved Arms
for Libya Rebels Fell into Jihadis’ Hands,” NYT, December 5, 2012.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/africa/weapons-sent-to-libyan-rebels-with-us-approval-fell-into-islamist-hands.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

23. Mark Mazzetti, James Risen, Michael S Schmidt, ”U.S. Approved Arms
for Libya Rebels Fell into Jihadis’ Hands,” NYT, December 5, 2012.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/africa/weapons-sent-to-libyan-rebels-with-us-approval-fell-into-islamist-hands.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

24. Michael Kelley, “The CIA’s Benghazi Operation May Have Violated
International Law,” Nov. 5, 2012

http://endtimesnews.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/benghazi-attack-reveals-split-in-gun-running-factions/

Oona A. Hathaway, Elizabeth Nielsen, Chelsea Purvis, Saurabh Sanghvi,
and Sara Solow, “ARMS TRAFFICKING: THE INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC
LEGAL FRAMEWORK.,” Yale Law School Report. Posted Nov. 15, 2011.

http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/cglc/YLSreport_armsTrafficking.pdf

25. Bill Shanefeld, “Benghazigate the cover-up continues.” American
Thinker, January 9, 2013.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/01/benghazigate_the_cover-up_continues.html

A version of this article appears on my netizenblog at
http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2013/01/24/benghazi-affair-cia-annex/

Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”

The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”

Qatar, Sponsor of Islamist Political Movements, Major Ally of America

persiangulf

Qatar and U.S. : Collusion or Conflict of Interests

In his inaugural address on January 21, U.S. President Barak Obama made the historic announcement that “a decade of war is ending” and declared his country’s determination to “show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully,” but his message will remain words that have yet to be translated into deeds and has yet to reach some of the U.S. closest allies in the Middle East who are still beating the drums of war, like Israel against Iran and Qatar against Syria.

In view of the level of “coordination” and “cooperation” since bilateral diplomatic relations were established in 1972 between the U.S. and Qatar , and the concentration of U.S. military power on this tiny peninsula, it seems impossible that Qatar could move independently apart, in parallel with, away or on a collision course with the U.S. strategic and regional plans.

According to the US State department’s online fact sheet, “bilateral relations are strong,” both countries are “coordinating” diplomatically and “cooperating” on regional security, have a “defense pact,” “ Qatar hosts CENTCOM Forward Headquarters,” and supports NATO and U.S. regional “military operations. Qatar is also an active participant in the U.S. – led efforts to set up an integrated missile defense network in the Gulf region. Moreover, it hosts the U.S. Combined Air Operations Center and three American military bases namely Al Udeid Air Base, Assaliyah Army Base and Doha International Air Base, which are manned by approximately 5,000 U.S. forces.

Qatar, which is bound by such a most intimate and closest alliance with the United States , has recently developed into the major sponsor of Islamist political movements. Qatar appears now to be the major sponsor of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, which, reportedly, disbanded in Qatar in 1999 because it stopped to view the ruling family as an adversary.

The Qatar –Brotherhood marriage of convenience has created the natural incubator of Islamist armed fundamentalists against whom the U.S. , since September 11, 2001, has been leading what is labeled as the “global war on terrorism.”

The war in the African nation Mali offers the latest example on how the U.S. and Qatar , seemingly, go on two separate ways. Whereas US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, was in London on January 18 “commending” the French “leadership of the international effort” in Mali to which his country was pledging logistical, transportation and intelligence support, Qatar appeared to risk its special ties with France, which peaked during the NATO – led war on Libya, and to distrust the U.S. and French judgment.

On January 15, Qatari Prime and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, told reporters he did not believe “power will solve the problem,” advised instead that this problem be “discussed” among the “neighboring countries, the African Union and the (U.N.) Security Council,” and joined the Doha – based ideologue for the Muslim Brotherhood and their Qatari sponsors, Yusuf Abdullah al – Qaradawi — the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars who was refused entry visa to U.K. in 2008 and to France last year – in calling for “dialogue,” “reconciliation” and “peaceful solution” instead of “military intervention.”

In a relatively older example, according to WikiLeaks , Somalia ’s former president in 2009, Sharif Ahmed, told a U.S. diplomat that Qatar was channeling financial assistance to the al-Qaeda – linked Shabab al-Mujahideen, which the U.S. listed as “terrorist.”

In Syria, for another example, the Brotherhood is the leading “fighting” force against the ruling regime and in alliance with and a culprit in the atrocities of the terrorist bombings of the al-Qaeda – linked Al-Nusra Front, designated by the United States as a terrorist organization last December; while the Brotherhood – led and U.S. and Qatar – sponsored Syrian opposition publicly protested the U.S. designation, the silence of Qatar on the matter could only be interpreted as in support of the protest against the U.S. decision.

Recently, Qatar has, for another example, replaced Syria , which has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1979, as the sponsor of Hamas, whose leadership relocated from Damascus to Doha , which the U.S. lists as a “terrorist” group, and which publicly admits being the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood.

Qatar, in all these examples, seems positioning itself to be qualified as a mediator, with the U.S. blessing, trying to achieve by the country’s financial leverage what the U.S. could not achieve militarily, or could achieve but with a much more expensive cost in money and souls.

In the Mali case, the Qatari PM Sheikh Hamad went on record to declare this ambition: “We will be a part of the solution, (but) not the sole mediator,” he said. The U.S. blessing could not be more explicit than President Obama’s approval of opening the Afghani Taliban office in Doha “to facilitate” a “negotiated peace in Afghanistan ,” according to the Qatari Foreign Ministry on January 16.

However, a unilateral Qatari mediation failed in Yemen, a Qatar – led Arab mediation in Syria has similarly proved a failure two years on the Syrian crisis, the “Doha Declaration” to reconcile Palestinian rival factions is still a paper achievement, the Qatari mediation in Sudan’s Darfur crisis has yet to deliver, the Qatari “mediation” in Libya was condemned as intervention in the country’s internal affairs by the most prominent among the post – Gaddafi leaders, and in post – “Arab Spring” Egypt Qatar dropped its early mediation efforts to align itself publicly to the ruling Brotherhood. But in spite of these failures, Qatar ’s “mediation” efforts were successful in serving the strategy of its U.S. “ally.”

Hence the U.S. blessing. The Soufan Group’s intelligence analysts on last December 10 concluded that “Qatar continues to prove itself to be a pivotal U.S. ally, … Qatar is often able to implement shared U.S.-Qatari objectives that Washington is unable or unwilling to undertake itself.

The first term Obama administration, under the pressure of “fiscal austerity,” blessed the Qatari funding of arming anti – Gaddafi Islamists in Libya, closed its eyes to Qatar’s shipment of Gaddafi’s military arsenal to Syrian and non – Syrian Islamists fighting the regime in Syria, “understood” the visit of Qatar’s Emir to Gaza last October as “a humanitarian mission,” and recently approved to arm the Qatar – backed and Brotherhood – led Egypt with 20 F-16 fighter jets and 200 M1A1 Abrams tanks.

This contradiction raises the question about whether this is a U.S. – Qatari mutual collusion or it is really a conflict of interests; the Obama administration during his second term has to draw the line which would give an explicit answer.

Seemingly nowadays, Doha and Washington do not see eye to eye on Islamic and Islamist movements, but on the battle grounds of the “war on terror” both capitals could hardly argue that in practice their active roles are not coordinated and do not complement each other.

Drawing on the historical experience of an Iranian similar “religious” approach, but on a rival “Shiite” sectarian basis, this Qatari “Sunni” Islamist” connection will inevitably fuel sectarian polarization in the region, regional instability, violence and civil wars.

Given the U.S. – Qatar alliance, the Qatari Islamist connection threatens to embroil the U.S. in more regional strife, or at least to hold the U.S. responsible for the resulting strife, and would sustain a deep – seated regional anti – Americanism, which in turn has become another incubator of extremism and terrorism and which is exacerbated by the past “decade of war,” which President Obama in his inaugural address promised to “end.”

Traditionally, Qatar, which stands in the eye of the storm in the very critical geopolitical volatile Gulf region, the theatre of three major wars during the last three decades, did its best to maintain a critical and fragile balance between the two major powers which determine its survival, namely the decades – old U.S. military presence in the Gulf and the rising regional power of Iran.

In 1992 it signed a comprehensive bilateral defense pact with the United States and in 2010 it signed a military defense agreement with Iran, which explains its warming up to closer ties with the Iran – supported Islamic anti – Israel resistance movements of the Hezbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Israeli – occupied Palestinian territories and explains as well Qatar’s “honey moon” with Iran’s ally in Syria.

However, since the eruption of the bloody Syrian crisis two years ago, the Qatari opening up to regional pro – Iran state and non-state powers was exposed as merely a tactical maneuver to lure such powers away from Iran. In the Syrian and Hezbullah cases, the failure of this tactic has led Qatar to embark on a collision course with both Syria and Iran, which are backed by Russia and China, and is leading the country to a U-turn shift away from its long maintained regional balancing act, a shift that Doha seems unaware of its threat to its very survival under the pressure of the international and regional conflicting interests as bloodily exposed in the Syrian crisis.

During the rise of the massive Pan-Arab, nationalist, socialist and democratic movements in the Arab world early in the second half of the twentieth century, the conservative authoritarian Arab monarchies adopted the Brotherhood, other Islamists and Islamic political ideology and used them against those movements to survive as allies of the United States, which in turn used both, spearheaded by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, against the former Soviet Union and the communist ideology, to their detriment after the collapse of the bipolar world order.

However history seems to repeat itself as the U.S. – backed Arab monarchies, spearheaded by Qatar, are resorting to their old tactic of exploiting the Islamist ideology to undermine and preempt an Arab anti – authoritarian revolution for the rule of law, civil society, democratic institutions and social and economic justice in Arab countries on the periphery of their U.S. protected bastion in the Arabian peninsula, but they seem unaware they are opening a Pandora’s box that would unleash a backlash in comparison to which al – Qaeda’s fall back on the U.S. will prove a minor precedent.

 Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

* [email protected]

Blast-Resistant Train Designs Revealed

A team of rail engineers has devised a series of simple ways to reduce the deadly impact of terror attacks on trains and metros. After studying the devastation caused by a bomb on a normal carriage, they have come up with potentially life-saving desig...

Midas’ Commentary for Friday, Januaray 11 – “An Ape Man Could see It”

January 11 - $1660 down $17.30 - Silver $30.37 down 51 cents

 

An Ape Man Could See It

 

“Recent smashdowns in the gold futures markets have triggered enormous buying of real metal, causing Swiss refineries to fall far behind in deliveries.”  …  Swiss gold fund manager Egon von Greyerz

 

GO GATA!

 

The question many of us had going into today was whether the no follow-through allowed rule would be implemented yet again by The Gold Cartel for the zillionth time in a row. The odds of them preventing the price of gold trading like any other free market were off the charts in their favor and they didn’t fail to deliver.

 

It began in the most noticeable of fashions in the Access Market yesterday and then continued when The Gold Cartel traders reported for work in London … giving us PLAN A of course.

 

Then, a lousy US trade number…

 

Jan. 11, 2013, 8:30 a.m. EST
U.S. trade deficit widens 15.8% to $48.7 billion

 

… fueled a further sharp rise in the euro. So gold, which had dipped to $1667 (giving up half its gains of yesterday) rocketed back to the unchanged area when the goon squad reappeared and the price was sent right back down. Not only sent back down, but smashed with another waterfall raid…

 

At one point gold was pushed back to $1655, which means all of its gains of yesterday were lost in an hour of Comex trading following yesterday’s close. The ludicrous reason offered by The Muppets for the fall will probably be this one…
 
DJ Fed's Plosser: Wants Fed To Tighten Before Most On FOMC

Fri Jan 11 09:30:04 2013 EDT

SOMERSET, N.J.--The leader of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
worried Friday that the central bank won't raise rates soon enough to prevent a
future inflation problem.

  While he doesn't expect inflation to rise above the Fed's 2% goal,
Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said, "this expectation is based on
my assessment that the appropriate monetary policy is likely to tighten more
quickly than the Committee anticipated in its latest statement."

  Because of the divergence between outlooks, Mr. Plosser said he sees "some
risks to inflation in the medium to longer run, given the current stance and
anticipated path of monetary policy."

  Mr. Plosser's comments came from the text of a speech prepared for delivery
before a gathering held by the New Jersey Bankers Association, in Somerset,
N.J. The official isn't currently a voting member of the monetary policy
setting Federal Open Market Committee…

-END-

You have to be kidding me! How many times is The Gold Cartel going to go to their well to raid gold on hypothetical Fed talk? This guy is not even a voting member.

As mentioned on the last hypothetical Fedspeak raid, only gold and silver were affected today. If there was meat to what they are feeding into the market, in coordination with this The Gold Cartel intervention, ALL the markets would be affected, not just gold and silver. But, the euro didn’t budge off its early highs and the DOW barely blinked. Can’t gold beat reporters count to ten?

The gold market has been trading in such a predictable, Gold Cartel influenced way for so long now (EVERY DAY they can be spotted), an ape man could see it. But, since the mainstream gold world pundits do not have the intelligence of an ape man, they never report on what is really going on.

This Kitco guy couldn’t even count before the big hit…

Gold Lower on Chart Consolidation, Bearish Outside Markets - Kitco News, Jan 11 2013 8:21AM

..the key outside markets are also in a bearish posture for the precious metals Friday morning, as the U.S. dollar index is firmer..

-END-

But, not true … look at what his own website showed the dollar trading:

USD 79.45 -0.31

Dave from Denver’s take on the Plosser speech…

This is ridiculous

Plosser says in a speech that inflation is a risk if the Fed doesn't tighten sooner than is reflected in the latest FOMC minutes? He's projecting 3% GDP growth for 2013.

Is this guy living in a cave on Mars? I guess he doesn't follow business and economic news, because the trade deficit for November released today was significantly higher than expected. In fact, the trade deficit was 20% higher than was forecast by Wall Street's brain trust. I can't recall EVER seeing a miss this big to the downside for import/export numbers. The reason cited was Iphones, but that's absurd because 1) Iphone 5 sales have disappointed so far and 2) Import forecasts would have incorporated assumptions about the affect of Iphone 5 sales. Conceptually what this means is that the rest of the world is buying less U.S. exported goods and the U.S. isn't manufacturing the goods being demanded by U.S. consumers. What this means is that manufacturing, one of the primary drivers of GDP outside of consumption, is still declining. It means that anyone who asserts that GDP for 3% is either living in a cave on Mars or is lying, for whatever motive.

What does this mean, it means that GDP esitmates for Q4 will likely be revised to below 1%. Moreover, it is generally acknowledged now that holiday sales for 2012 were disappointing. The consumer is largely tapped out, the number of people dependent on the Govt for living expenses (food stamps, general welfare, social security, social security disability and student loans) rises every month.

Please tell me, Mr. Plosser, where exactly is this GDP growth of 3% going to come from given that the trend in GDP going into 2013 is declining, 1% or less and the main driver of GDP over the last 12 years - consumption - is quickly eroding.

Jim Sinclair calls this nonsense "MOPE." Management Of Perception Economics." Everyone else calls this "Orwellian." This smack on silver is a table-pounding buy.

***

It seemed to me before yesterday’s rally that the waterfall bombings ought to be over for now because the physical markets were just too firm at the bombed out levels. Maybe down there, but not so at higher levels as today was clearly another financial market terrorist attack, attacks which continue to unnerve those on the long side because they occur for no reason and cause huge losses in the futures markets in seconds.

Gold’s eventual low was $1652.70, while silver was trashed to $30.07 before recovering to some degree.  Nothing has been done to change the technicals in terms of the bottom formations in each precious metal. But those breakouts mentioned yesterday were shattered.

James Mc lays it all out…

Cartel checklist- 10 for 10

Bill,
1% cap job - check.
Weak trade into the access trade close signaling the next day - check.
No follow through allowed - check.
Gold plummets on bullish news, weak USD - check.
Flash crash for no discernable reason - check.
Down, hard following 1% rally - check.
Lower PM fix than AM fix - check.
Technical points rendered irrelevant - check.
Fresh spec longs mowed down - check.
CFTC as co-conspirators - check.

Just a hop, skip, and a jump now from Feb. op. ex. and FND. Ya think one in a million describes the odds of $1,700 gold by then? It's obvious that the intensity of the rigging is commensurate to the intensity of investors wanting gold. As such, and based on days like today, gold bullishness must be off the charts. Of course like all other charts the cartel renders them meaningless.
James Mc

Everyone in the mainstream gold world should read what James Mc put out today and keeps bringing to our attention. The ape man doesn’t have to read it. It is too easy to spot for him.

Pimco’s Mohammed El-Erian knows exactly what James is talking about and even uses the “M” word regarding markets, but doesn’t go into any specifics…

Ft.com
Beware the ‘central bank put’
By Mohamed El-Erian

Mohamed El-Erian on the split between prices and fundamentals

The investment recommendations made by many financial commentators are now dominated by cross-asset class relative valuation rather than the fundamentals of the investment itself. A typical refrain runs something like this: buy X because it is cheaper than other things out there. This is an understandable approach as unusual central bank activism has artificially elevated certain asset prices. Yet the dominance of this increasingly popular advice comes with potential risks that need to be well understood and well managed.
High quality global journalism requires investment.

Several asset classes now have highly manipulated prices due to experimental central bank activities, both actual and signalled. The more this happens, the more investors come under pressure to migrate to higher risk investments in search of returns. Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, said as much at his latest press conference, noting that the aim of policy is to “push” investors to take more risk. True to his wish, many pundits seem eager to discard fundamentals in favour of searching for (and levering) anything that “yields” more…

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/bb66425c-54cf-11e2-89e0-00144feab49a.html...

-END-

The gold open interest rose 2564 contracts to 141,122, not that much for such an extensive move in the price. The silver open interest is back above Rocket Rich’s pivotal 140,000 mark, rising 2281 contracts to 141,122. On December 28, with the price of silver at $29.92, the MIDAS headline was:

SHOOT OUT AT OK CORRAL IS COMING

They are still shooting at The OK Corral, with JPM firing on rallies towards $31 and the physical buyers firing back when silver plunges towards $30, or takes that level out.

Behavioral Finance

*The yield on the 10 yr T note is 1.9%.

*Behavioral Finance is the same as Jim Sinclair’s MOPE. An ape man could see what is going on here too. Even the very visible, very establishment Mohamed El-Erian is willing to go there.

While we all are aggravated about what is going on here, there is a silver lining in it all.  TW has it right…

Today’s action

Dear Bill,
Please ignore my musings but the frequency of these waterfall attacks suggests that matters may be reaching a critical stage. If the gold price collapses then the cartel have won themselves some more time but the other possibility is that the bad guys are nearly all in and there’s not much more they can do. Also, behind all the shenanigans of the paper market is the real physical market (I always think of a large but slow flowing river) and these takedowns must be accelerating the physical off take and hence the end game. Testing times but I think something may be building.
Best regards
TW

For months  a number of us have cited the increased market manipulation intensity by The Gold Cartel and noted it wreaked of desperation. It went into high gear after October 4, 2012 with the price of gold threatening to take out the key $1800 level and silver managing a small close above its pivotal $35 level. The scene…

October 4 - Gold $1794.1 up $16.80 - Silver - $35.04 up 41 cents
That day the euro closed at 1.3017.

Who knows what else is going on behind the scenes, but what we do know is the US is looking more pathetic by the week and month in our inability to solve our fiscal deficit/growing debt problems. They are both out of control and nothing is being done about them. Meanwhile QE3 and DE4 are in full bloom. And based on the information sent our way, the demand for physical gold is stout, to put it mildly.

Yet, since October 4th the price of gold has fallen to $1660 with the price of silver dropping to  $30.37. 

But, the euro has RISEN to 1.3341. What gives? What about the pundits who kept saying the most important aspect affecting gold is a weaker dollar? Where are they now?

Daily euro
http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/E6/

Daily gold
http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/DG/

It is ignominious for the US to have the euro soaring like this against the dollar with all the problems they still have over there. There is a reason for it. As long mentioned here, there are NO SOLUTIONS for the US to our growing fiscal/debt issues which are acceptable to the American people and politicians. Kicking the can on tough fiscal issues, and manipulating our financial markets, is catching up to those doing so. Chaos is likely to breakout over these issues in the near future, and they know it. So, a bit of panic has set in. All they know to do is SHOOT THE MESSENGER; defuse the widely watched barometer of US financial market health, that being the gold price. It won’t be long before this nonsense catches up with them too.

Brian Meyers lays it out is coming in this NO SOLUTIONS time in the US…

The only choices available to 'put things right' are:

1) dramatically higher taxes
2) dramatically lower spending
3) dramatic cuts in entitlements
4) dramatically higher inflation

... or some combination, more likely. But only one of those 'options' is politically feasible: the one the public doesn't really understand and won't know who to blame (tho the gov will make plenty of table-pounding suggestions, to include China, the ME, etc... it's their fault, right?), inflation. Of course, against this is the massive deflationary pressures overhanging economy, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the business cycle. It has *everything* to do with 60 years of economic mismanagement.

In the end, the Fed will do *whatever is necessary* to inflate. Weimer-style hyperinflation is a definite possibility. Perhaps low-delta, but any delta on hyperinflation means a lot of someones have screwed up something huge.

***

A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say…

America on a Roll

Mexico Mike…

Ground Hog Day again

Hi Bill!
Today is yet another example of the Cartel standard operating procedure. There is no upside follow through allowed in the PM sector under any circumstances. Never mind that the dollar is dropping like a dying quail, or any other positive fundamentals. This is about management of investor sentiment and nothing more. And I would challenge any of the bozos that suggest there is no manipulation to
present a counter argument on why the reversals occur with such regularity to wipe out any significant gains in a prior session. For the small investors in this sector, every trading day is like another trip to the dentist.

The commentary that gold declined due to higher inflation in China is a joke. The Chinese have been among the most aggressive gold buyers on the planet in part due to their desire to have a bullion hedge to protect against inflation. The idea that any real selling would come from this news is a misrepresentation of the facts. But more
importantly, consider how that selling occurred. The usual high volume waterfall event, probably entirely manufactured from one seller dumping a large short order to destabilize the market. This has nothing to do with the Chinese, except perhaps to help them quietly buy more bullion in the aftermath at a discount.

Again I say, there is a shelf life to all of this nonsense. Perhaps investors in the West are clueless of what is going on. But the real bullion demand is coming from Asia and the Mideast and none of this market rigging is going to discourage these buyers. In fact it will probably encourage even more aggressive accumulation.

I cannot wait to see how the media presents the story when the eventual default event happens. Will it be the usual 'rogue trader' that is blamed for the failure to deliver? Or some accounting error to explain why millions of ounces of allocated bullion disappears from somewhere? Or, my favorite is that when a big bullion ETF blows up, they will point to the fine print and say it was always there in the contract that the unit holders could be settled out in cash only and not have a claim, when it is revealed that the bullion supposedly held by the fund is in actual fact just a book keeping entry.

There is not enough bullion coming out of the ground or available in this market to meet all of the outstanding claims and this situation becomes more acute with every waterfall selling event. Sooner or later one of the leveraged bullion scams is going to blow up like a hand grenade. It will be amusing to me when the analysts are running
around with their collective hair on fire in the aftermath. Just like the furor over the MFG collapse, everyone will be shocked it can happen and trying to find out how. Well folks, it is going on before your very eyes right now, for those who bother to look. Sure as the day follows the night, sooner or later one of the crooks is going to go too far and then there will no longer be the cover of tinfoil hat speculation to discount what we have been saying all along.

Have a great weekend Bill!
MexicoMike

MM is right on too, as is James Mc about these hideous waterfall attacks and constant price suppression being long in the tooth. We are gearing up for something spectacular on the precious metals upside, and it should not be too far off.

Perhaps this is why the gold/silver shares paid scant attention to today’s financial market terrorist attack. The XAU only fell .25 to 163.36. The HUI lost .32 to 322.05.

Dave from Denver is right on too. We have a mania coming. Hang in there!

GATA BE IN IT TO WIN IT!

Bill Murphy
www.LeMetropoleCafe.com

 

Your rating: None

Mehdi’s Morning Memo: 1% For You, 32% For Us

The ten things you need to know on Friday 11 January 2013...

1% FOR YOU, 32% FOR US

Who says MPs are out of touch, eh? From the Mirror's splash:

"Grasping MPs sparked fury yesterday - by demanding a £20,000 pay rise.

"A poll showed 69% thought their £65,738 salary was not enough.

"Just days after capping benefits and branding hard-up families scroungers, they whined that they should get an average 32% increase."

That would take their salary to £86,250. According to the Guardian, the survey of MPs carried out by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) found that Conservatives - the guys and girls behind the below-inflation 1% rise in benefits - were "the most likely to believe they were underpaid, with 47% saying so, while 39% of Labour MPs and 9% of Liberal Democrats held the same view".

Personally, I think there is a case to be made for higher salaries for MPs - but clearly now is not the time to make it. It's difficult to disagree with Unison's Dave Prentis: "At a time when millions of workers are getting zero pay rises, the idea that MPs believe they deserve a 32 per cent increase is living in cloud cuckoo land."

2) HERE COME THE GERMANS

First, Barack, now Angela. From the Times:

"David Cameron's hopes of negotiating looser ties between Britain and Brussels are all but impossible, according to an ally of Angela Merkel.

"Gunther Krichbaum, chairman of the Bundestag's European Affairs Committee, said that the Prime Minister's strategy was unwise and risked opening a Pandora's box that would threaten European stability.

"He also urged Mr Cameron not to "blackmail" the rest of Europe with threats as he tries win opt-outs from EU treaties."

The paper notes how his intervention comes "after President Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for Europe warned that Britain would be diminished in America's eyes if it marginalised itself within the EU.

"The flurry of diplomatic activity underlines the high stakes for Mr Cameron and his Europe policy with Britain's closest allies. The Prime Minister will promise a referendum in the next Parliament on a new relationship with the EU in a speech this month."

However, the Sun reports that

"David Cameron will hit back at President Obama’s attack on his EU referendum plan by unveiling a major European ally — the Dutch.

"The Sun has learned the PM will spell out his vision of a post-crisis Europe on January 22.

"And he will almost certainly make the speech in The Hague. Dutch leader Mark Rutte will back his bid to fight for powers and money to be returned to nation states."

3) GIVE MONEY, GET A JOB

You could not make this up. From the Independent:

"A Conservative Party donor and venture capitalist whose charity funds two academy schools was appointed an education minister today.

"Labour raised questions about a possible conflict of interest after John Nash was named as the successor to Lord Hill of Oareford, who was promoted to Leader of the Lords on Monday following the surprise resignation of Lord Strathclyde.

"Mr Nash, his family and companies have donated about £300,000 to the Conservatives since the mid-1980s. The charity he founded, Future, sponsors the Pimlico Academy and Millbank Primary Academy in London. He is a former chairman of the British Venture Capital Association."

Nash will be made a peer but won't take a salary and won't take any decisions in which his charity is involved.

Well, that's okay then.

4) BLAIR'S BANKING UNION

There was a time, not so long ago, when Tony Blair had to make do with a modest MP's salary.

Nowadays, however, as the Times reports, the ex-premier is able to do things like this:

"Tony Blair is in talks about a commercial alliance with one of the most highly paid bankers in the world.

"The combination would bring together Michael Klein's unrivalled contacts in global finance with the former Prime Minister's relationships in politics and government, particularly in the Middle East.

"The discussions, which could lead to a merger of their companies, highlight Mr Blair's ambitions for his commercial operations, which generate millions of pounds a year from advising governments and companies around the world.

The paper says "Mr Klein was co-head of Citigroup's investment bank, which made billions of dollars of losses on holdings of mortgage securities in the financial crisis".

A shameless alliance? You tell me.

5) 'SOCIAL ENGINEERING'

The former defence secretary and darling of the Tory right, Dr Liam Fox, has written a letter to 60 constituents. So what, I hear you ask?

Let the Daily Mail explain:

"Liam Fox has become the most prominent Conservative yet to announce that he will vote against gay marriage.

"The former defence secretary dismissed David Cameron's 'absurd' plans as a form of 'social engineering' that is 'divisive, ill-thought through and constitutionally wrong'.

"In a letter seen by the Daily Mail, Dr Fox said same-sex unions will alienate Conservative Party members and weaken the Church.

"He warned that pressing ahead with plans to introduce gay marriage is enraging 'sections of the British public who are not normally stirred to political anger', and called for a rethink before 'things get out of hand'."

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR..

Watch this video of two cats sharing one bowl of food. Go on, you know you want to..

6) PHONE HACKING, PART 557

The Guardian splashes on "the first hacking conviction":

"Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, 53, was found guilty of misconduct in public office at Southwark crown court after the jury decided she had tried to sell information from the phone-hacking inquiry, which was set up in 2010, to the News of the World."

Meanwhile, my colleague Ned Simons reports:

"The government will look 'absurd' if it rejects the Leveson Report’s recommendations for the regulation of the press in favour of a Royal Charter, a former chairman of the Conservative Party has said.

"Lord Fowler, also a former chairman of the House of Lords Communications Committee, has urged David Cameron to reverse his opposition to Lord Justice wrLeveson’s suggestion for the statuatory underpinning of the independent self-regulation of the press.

"On Friday peers will debate the Leveson Report, the recommendations of which has split parliament, the coalition and the Tory party down the middle."

7) WERE THE CURTAINS DRAWN, MATTHEW?

From the Daily Mail:

"Skills Minister Matthew Hancock missed his chance to publicise a flagship policy to help unemployed youths become more employable - by oversleeping.

"The red-faced minister was spurned by ITV's Daybreak after he was late for his primetime breakfast slot just before 7am.

"He has admitted that he could not get out of bed on time, despite the broadcaster sending a chauffeur-driven executive car to get him from his West London home."

8) 'THE RAPE OF JUSTICE'

A shocking story on the front of the Independent (with an eye-catching infographic as its image):

"Fewer than one rape victim in 30 can expect to see her or his attacker brought to justice, shocking new statistics reveal.

"Only 1,070 rapists are convicted every year despite up to 95,000 people – the vast majority of them women – suffering the trauma of rape – according to the new research by the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Office for National Statistics.

"The figures have reignited controversy over the stubbornly low conviction rates for sex crimes, as well as the difficulties in persuading victims to go to police in the first place."

9) 'BARBARIC SLAUGHTER'

Is Pakistan's Sunni majority engaged in a war on its Shia minority? From the Guardian:

"The vicious double bombing of a snooker club capped one of the bloodiest days in Pakistan for many months yesterday, leaving more than 100 people dead and hundreds injured in three different attacks.

".. Many of the dead and wounded, Murtaza said, were from the Shia sect of Islam, which extremist groups drawn from Pakistan's majority Sunni population regard as heretics.

"Shias, many of whom are members of the Hazara ethnic community in Quetta, have been particularly targeted by sectarian terror groups. Human Rights Watch said the government's failure to protect Shias 'amounts to complicity in the barbaric slaughter of Pakistani citizens.'"

10) 'ONESIE NATION' LIB DEMS

'Call Clegg' on LBC yesterday morning didn't go so well for the deputy prime minister. Even though he had a little 'help' from his friends..

From the Daily Mail:

"After half an hour of tough questioning, Nick Clegg must have been relieved to get a light-hearted question about whether he had worn a onesie.

"But caller 'Harry from Sheffield', was later unmasked as Harry Matthews, 20, a Liberal Democrat student activist and former intern in Mr Clegg's office - who bought the outfit for him.

".. He describes himself online as 'King of the Young Liberals', and gave Mr Clegg the green Incredible Hulk onesie at a party.

"Speaking afterwards, Mr Clegg denied the call was a stunt, saying: 'Of course I had no idea who the guy was.'"

Nick Clegg's 'Incredible Hulk onesie' can be seen here.

The Huffington Post UK's picture desk has done a mock-up of Clegg wearing his green onesie here.

“My core philosophy," the Lib Dem leader joked in front of the parliamentary press gallery lunch yesterday, "is of the Onesie Nation"

PUBLIC OPINION WATCH

From the Sun/YouGov poll:

Labour 42
Conservatives 31
Lib Dems 11
Ukip 10

That would give Labour a majority of 112.

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

@DavidJonesMP Huge gap in my zeitgeist awareness. Until today I didn't know what a onesie was and thought it was pronounced "oh-kneesy".

@StewartWood Big paradox for UK Eurosceptics that their view that EU membership holds back our engagement with US & China is not shared by the US & China

@caitlinmoran Nadine Dorries: "The teenagers ask me a lot of questions now." "What about?" Unspoken answer: what it's like eating balls. #bbcqt

900 WORDS OR MORE

Philip Collins, writing in the Times, says: "If David Cameron wants to win in 2015 he must find a big problem to take on. Championing care of the elderly fits the bill."

Menzies Campbell, writing in the Guardian, says: "Britain's future in Europe must be defined by its national interests, not those of the Conservative party."

Fraser Nelson, writing in the Telegraph, says: "The Tories have a moral mission – and David Cameron should say so."


Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Mehdi Hasan ([email protected]) or Ned Simons ([email protected]). You can also follow us on Twitter: @mehdirhasan, @nedsimons and @huffpostukpol

Learning to Love Torture, Zero Dark Thirty-Style

Seven easy, onscreen steps to making US torture and detention policies once again palatable.

On January 11th, 11 years to the day after the Bush administration opened its notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow’s deeply flawed movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, opens nationwide. The filmmakers and distributors are evidently ignorant of the significance of the date -- a perfect indication of the carelessness and thoughtlessness of the film, which will unfortunately substitute for actual history in the minds of many Americans.

The sad fact is that Zero Dark Thirty could have been written by the tight circle of national security advisors who counseled President George W. Bush to create the post-9/11 policies that led to Guantanamo, the global network of borrowed “black sites” that added up to an offshore universe of injustice, and the grim torture practices -- euphemistically known as “enhanced interrogation techniques” -- that went with them.  It’s also a film that those in the Obama administration who have championed non-accountability for such shameful policies could and (evidently did) get behind. It might as well be called Back to the Future, Part IV, for the film, like the country it speaks to, seems stuck forever in that time warp moment of revenge and hubris that swept the country just after 9/11.

As its core, Bigelow’s film makes the bald-faced assertion that torture did help the United States track down the perpetrator of 9/11. Zero Dark Thirty -- for anyone who doesn’t know by now -- is the story of Maya (Jessica Chastain), a young CIA agent who believes that information from a detainee named Ammar will lead to bin Laden. After weeks, maybe months of torture, he does indeed provide a key bit of information that leads to another piece of information that leads… well, you get the idea. Eventually, the name of bin Laden’s courier is revealed. From the first mention of his name, Maya dedicates herself to finding him, and he finally leads the CIA to the compound where bin Laden is hiding.  Of course, you know how it all ends.

However compelling the heroine’s determination to find bin Laden may be, the fact is that Bigelow has bought in, hook, line, and sinker, to the ethos of the Bush administration and its apologists. It’s as if she had followed an old government memo and decided to offer in fictional form step-by-step instructions for the creation, implementation, and selling of Bush-era torture and detention policies.

Here, then, are the seven steps that bring back the Bush administration and should help Americans learn how to love torture, Bigelow-style.

First, Rouse Fear. From its opening scene, Zero Dark Thirty equates our post-9/11 fears with the need for torture. The movie begins in darkness with the actual heartbreaking cries and screams for help of people trapped inside the towers of the World Trade Center: “I’m going to die, aren’t I?... It’s so hot. I’m burning up...” a female voice cries out. As those voices fade, the black screen yields to a full view of Ammar being roughed up by men in black ski masks and then strung up, arms wide apart.

The sounds of torture replace the desperate pleas of the victims. “Is he ever getting out?” Maya asks. “Never,” her close CIA associate Dan (Jason Clarke) answers.  These are meant to be words of reassurance in response to the horrors of 9/11. Bigelow’s first step, then, is to echo former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s mantra from that now-distant moment in which he claimed the nation needed to go to “the dark side.”  That was part of his impassioned demand that, given the immense threat posed by al-Qaeda, going beyond the law was the only way to seek retribution and security.

Bigelow also follows Cheney’s lead into a world of fear.  The Bush administration understood that, for their global dreams, including a future invasion of Iraq, to become reality, fear was their best ally. From Terre Haute to El Paso, Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, Americans were to be regularly reminded that they were deeply and eternally endangered by terrorists.

Bigelow similarly keeps the fear monitor bleeping whenever she can. Interspersed with the narrative of the bin Laden chase, she provides often blood-filled footage from terrorist attacks around the globe in the decade after 9/11: the 2004 bombings of oil installations in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, that killed 22; the 2005 suicide bombings in London that killed 56; the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad that killed 54 people; and the thwarted Times Square bombing of May, 2010. We are in constant jeopardy, she wants us to remember, and uses Maya to remind us of this throughout.

Second, Undermine the Law. Torture is illegal under both American and international law.  It was only pronounced “legal” in a series of secret memorandums produced by the Bush Justice Department and approved at the highest levels of the administration. (Top officials, including Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, evidently even had torture techniques demonstrated for them in the White House before green-lighting them.)  Maintaining that there was no way Americans could be kept safe via purely legal methods, they asked for and were given secret legal authority to make torture the go-to option in their Global War on Terror. Yet Bigelow never even nods toward this striking rethinking of the law. She assumes the legality of the acts she portrays up close and personal, only hedging her bets toward the movie’s end when she indicates in passing that the legal system was a potential impediment to getting bin Laden. “Who the hell am I supposed to ask [for confirmation about the courier], some guy at Gitmo who’s all lawyered up?” asks Obama’s national security advisor in the filmic run-up to the raid.

Just as new policies were put in place to legalize torture, so the detention of terror suspects without charges or trials (including people who, we now know, were treated horrifically despite being innocent of anything) became a foundational act of the administration. Specifically, government lawyers were employed to create particularly tortured (if you’ll excuse the word) legal documents exempting detainees from the Geneva Conventions, thus enabling their interrogation under conditions that blatantly violated domestic and international laws.

Zero Dark Thirty accepts without hesitation or question the importance of this unconstitutional detention policy as crucial to the torture program. From the very first days of the war on terror, the U.S. government rounded up individuals globally and began to question them brutally. Whether they actually had information to reveal, whether the government had any concrete evidence against them, they held hundreds -- in the end, thousands -- of detainees in U.S. custody at secret CIA black sites worldwide, in the prisons of allied states known for their own torture policies, at Bagram Detention Center in Afghanistan, and of course at Guantanamo, which was the crown jewel of the Bush administration’s offshore detention system.

Dan and Maya themselves not only travel to secret black sites to obtain valuable information from detainees, but to the cages and interrogation booths at Bagram where men in those now-familiar orange jumpsuits are shown awaiting a nightmare experience.  Bigelow's film repeatedly suggests that it was crucially important for national security to keep a pool of potential information sources -- those detainees -- available just in case they might one day turn out to have information.

Third, Indulge in the Horror: Torture is displayed onscreen in what can only be called pornographic detail for nearly the film’s first hour. In this way, Zero Dark Thirty eerily mimics the obsessive, essentially fetishistic approach of Bush’s top officials to the subject.  Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney's former Chief of Staff David Addington, and John Yoo from the Office of Legal Counsel, among others, plunged into the minutiae of “enhanced interrogation” tactics, micro-managing just what levels of abuse should and should not apply, would and would not constitute torture after 9/11.

In black site after black site, on victim after victim, the movie shows acts of torture in exquisite detail, Bigelow’s camera seeming to relish its gruesomeness: waterboarding, stress positions, beatings, sleep deprivation resulting in memory loss and severe disorientation, sexual humiliation, containment in a small box, and more. Whenever she gets the chance, Bigelow seems to take the opportunity to suggest that this mangling of human flesh and immersion in brutality on the part of Americans is at least understandable and probably worthwhile.  The film’s almost subliminal message on the subject of torture should remind us of the way in which a form of sadism-as-patriotic-duty filtered down to the troops on the ground, as evidenced by the now infamous 2004 photos from Abu Ghraib of smiling American soldiers offering thumbs-up responses to their ability to humiliate and hurt captives in dog collars.

Fourth, Dehumanize the Victims. Like the national security establishment that promoted torture policies, Bigelow dehumanizes her victims. Despite repeated beatings, humiliations, and aggressive torture techniques of various sorts, Ammar never becomes even a faintly sympathetic character to anyone in the film. As a result, there is never anyone for the audience to identify with who becomes emotionally distraught over the abuses. Dehumanization was a necessary tool in promoting torture; now, it is a necessary tool in promotingZero Dark Thirty, which desensitizes its audience in ways that should be frightening to us and make us wonder who exactly we have become in the years since 9/11.

Fifth, Never Doubt That Torture Works.  Given all this, it’s a small step to touting the effectiveness of torture in eliciting the truth. “In the end, everybody breaks, bro’: it’s biology,” Dan says to his victim.  He also repeats over and over, “If you lie to me, I hurt you” -- meaning, “If I hurt you, you won’t lie to me.” Maya concurs, telling Ammar, bruised, bloodied, and begging for her help, that he can stop his pain by telling the truth.

How many times does the American public need to be told that torture did notyield the results the government promised? How many times does it need to be said that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, 183 times obviously didn’t work? How many times does it need to be pointed out that torture can -- and did -- produce misleading or false information, notably in the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the Libyan who ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and who confessed under torture that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?    

Sixth, Hold No One Accountable. The Obama administration made the determination that holding Bush administration figures, CIA officials, or the actual torturers responsible for what they did in a court of law was far more trouble than it might ever be worth. Instead, the president chose to move onand officially never look back. Bigelow takes advantage of this passivity to suggest to her audience that the only downside of torture is the fear of accountability. As he prepares to leave Pakistan, Dan tells Maya, “You gotta be real careful with the detainees now. Politics are changing and you don’t want to be the last one holding the dog collar when the oversight committee comes…”

The sad truth is that Zero Dark Thirty could not have been produced in its present form if any of the officials who created and implemented U.S. torture policy had been held accountable for what happened, or any genuine sunshine had been thrown upon it. With scant public debate and no public record of accountability, Bigelow feels free to leave out even a scintilla of criticism of that torture program. Her film is thus one more example of the fact that without accountability, the pernicious narrative continues, possibly gaining traction as it does.

Seventh, Employ the Media. While the Bush administration had the Fox television series 24 as a weekly reminder that torture keeps us safe, the current administration, bent on its no-accountability policy, has Bigelow’s film on its side. It’s the perfect piece of propaganda, with all the appeal that naked brutality, fear, and revenge can bring.

Hollywood and most of its critics have embraced the film. It has already been named among the best films of the year, and is considered a shoe-in for Oscar nominations. Hollywood, that one-time bastion of liberalism, has provided the final piece in the perfect blueprint for the whitewashing of torture policy.  If that isn’t a happily-ever-after ending, what is?

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