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Ex-MI6 spy who compiled Trump-Russia collusion dossier says it’s ‘70 to 90% accurate’ —...

The former MI6 spy behind an infamous dossier that accused Donald Trump of asking prostitutes...

MI6, MI5 & GCHQ in court over mass surveillance practices — RT UK News

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MI6 ‘doesn’t trust’ Boris Johnson enough to share information with him, claims report —...

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Video: Were Tehran ISIS terrorists backed by CIA, Mossad, MI6, Western secret services?

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Video: UK secret services, MI5 MI6 complicit in Manchester Arena terror attack?

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Video: MI6 doesn’t need ‘Daniel Craig on steroids’: Spy chiefs use cinema ad to...

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Tech firms distancing themselves from spies thanks to Snowden – MI6 chief

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MI6 used hoax WMD reports based on action film ‘The Rock’ to justify Iraq...

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Video: Jail CIA MI6 not Street Dealers! 2008: banks suck in billions in cash...

In 2009 the US Office on Drugs and Crime reported billions in cash had flowed into banks from drug cartels to keep them from...
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Video: MI6 think they can pin Litvinenko assassination on Putin Now Boris Berezovsky is...

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Video: Drugs As Weapons Against Us: Did Jimi Hendrix’ manager Mike Jeffery work for...

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MI6 forced to show how it may snoop on privileged lawyer-client exchanges

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Iran Arrests MI6 Spy: Arrested Agent had contacts with “Five British Intelligence Officers”,

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Ex-MI6 chief warns to leak Iraq secrets

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Proof MI6 and MI5 Aided Libyan Torture

Abdelhakim_Belhadj
New evidence has emerged that proves the UK was complicit in the kidnap and torture of a Libyan man. For over a decade British politicians including  Gordon Brown, Jack Straw and David Miliband have strongly denied that the UK had involvement with torture. Crucially, the files detail a meeting between senior heads of MI6,  MI5 and Gaddafi's external intelligence agency.

SYRIA: CIA-MI6 Intel Ops and Sabotage

SYRIA: CIA-MI6 Intel Ops and Sabotage

This incisive article by veteran war correspondent  Felicity Arbuthnot was published by Global Research a year ago, on February 2, 2012.

You will not read it in the New York Times.

At a time of  mounting media fabrications –when “objective truths are fading” and  “lies are passing into history”– this analysis reveals the diabolical modus operandi of US-NATO terrorism and  how covert intelligence ops are applied to trigger conditions for the collapse of nation states. One of these “conditions” is the outright killing of  innocent civilians as part of a cover operation and then blaming president Bashar Al Assad of  have committed atrocities against his own people

Michel Chossudovsky,  Global Research , January 27, 2012


“In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces, …a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. …[to] be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention, …

Once a political decision has been reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals. …Incidents should not be concentrated in Damascus …

Further : a “necessary degree of fear .. frontier incidents and (staged) border clashes”, would “provide a pretext for intervention… the CIA and SIS [MI6 should use … capabilitites in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.” (Joint US-UK leaked Intelligence Document, London and Washington, 1957)


“'The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history."
(George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950.)

For anyone in two minds about what is really going on in Syria, and whether President Assad, hailed a decade ago as “A Modern Day Attaturk”, has become the latest megalomaniacal despot, to whose people a US-led posse of nations, must deliver “freedom”, with weapons of mass, home, people, nation and livelihood destruction, here is a salutary tale from modern history.

Have the more recent sabre rattlings against Syria* been based on US-UK government papers, only discovered in 2003 - and since air brushed (or erroneously omitted) from even BBC timelines, on that country?(i)

In late 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion, Matthew Jones, a Reader in International History, at London’s Royal Holloway College, discovered “frighteningly frank” documents:1957 plans between then UK Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, and then President, Dwight Eisenhower, endorsing: “a CIA-MI6 plan to stage fake border incidents as an excuse for an invasion (of Syria) by Syria’s pro-western neighbours.” (ii)

At the heart of the plan was the assassination of the perceived power behind then President Shukri al-Quwatli. Those targeted were: Abd al-Hamid Sarraj, Head of Military Intelligence; Afif al-Bizri, Chief of Syrian General Staff: and Khalid Bakdash, who headed the Syrian Communist Party.

The document was drawn up in Washington in the September of 1957:

“In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces, reduce the capabilities of the regime to organize and direct its military actions … to bring about the desired results in the shortest possible time, a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals.

“Their removal should be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention, and in the light of circumstances existing at the time.”

In the light of President Assad’s current allegations of foreign forces and interventions, cross border incursions (as Colonel Qadafi’s before him, so sneered at by Western governments and media – and, of course, ultimately proved so resoundingly correct.) there are some fascinating, salutary phrases:

“Once a political decision has been reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals.

“Incidents should not be concentrated in Damascus … care should be taken to avoid causing key leaders of the Syrian regime to take additional personal protection measures.”

Further : a “necessary degree of fear .. frontier incidents and (staged) border clashes”, would “provide a pretext for intervention”, by Iraq and Jordan - then still under British mandate.

Syria was to be: “made to appear as sponsor of plots, sabotage and violence directed against neighbouring governments … the CIA and SIS [Her Majesty's Secret International Serivce, MI6] should use … capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.”

Incursions in to Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, would involve: “sabotage, national conspiracies, and various strong arms activities”, were, advised the document, to be blamed on Damascus.

In late December 2011 an opposition “Syria National Council” was announced, to “liberate the country”, representatives met with Hilary Clinton. There now seems to be a US – endorsed “Syrian Revolutionary Council.”

The Eisenhower-Macmillan plan was for funding of the: “Free Syria Committee” and “arming of political factions with paramilitary or other actionist capabilities”, within Syria.

CIA-MI6, planned fomenting internal uprisings and replacing the Ba’ath-Communist-leaning government, with a Western, user-friendly one. Expecting this to be met by public hostility, they planned to: “probably need to rely first on repressive measures and arbitrary exercise of power.”

The document was signed off in both London and Washington. It was, wrote Macmillan in his diary: “a most formidable report.” A Report which was: “withheld even from British Chiefs of Staff …”

Washington and Whitehall had become concerned at Syria’s increasingly pro-Soviet, rather than pro-Western sympathies – and the Ba’ath (Pan Arab) and Communist party alliance, also largely allied within the Syrian army.

However, even political concerns, were trumped by Syria then controlling a main pipeline from the Western bonanza of Iraq’s oil fields, in those pre-Saddam Hussein days.

Briefly put: in 1957, Syria allied with Moscow (which included an agreement for military and economic aid) also recognized China – and then as now, the then Soviet Union warned the West against intervening in Syria.

Syria, is unchanged as an independent minded country, and the loyalties remain. It broadly remains the cradle of the Pan Arab ideal of Ba’athism, standing alone, since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

In 1957, this independent mindedness caused Loy Henderson, a Senior State Department official, to say that:“the present regime in Syria had to go …”

Ultimately, the plan was not used, since, British mandate or not, neighbouring countries refused to play. However, the project, overtly, bears striking similarity to the reality of events over the last decade, in Syria – and the region.

In a near 1957 re-run, Britain’s Foreign Minister, William Hague has said President Assad “will feel emboldened” by the UN Russia-China vote in Syria’s favour.

Hilary (“We came, we saw, he died”) Clinton, has called for: “friends of a democratic Syria”, to unite and rally against the Assad government:

“We need to work together to send them a clear message: you cannot hold back the future at the point of a gun”, said the women filmed purportedly watching the extrajudicial, illegal assassination of may be, or may be not, Osma Bin Laden and others – but certainly people were murdered – by US illegal invaders – at the point of lots of guns.

Supremely ironically, she was speaking in Munich (5th February) historically: “The birth place of the Nazi party.”

The Russia-China veto at the UN on actions against Syria, has been condemned by the US, varyingly, as: “Disgusting”, ‘shameful”, “deplorable”, “a travesty.”

Eye opening, is the list of US vetoes to be found at (iii). Jaw dropping double standards can only be wondered at (again.).

Perhaps the bottom line is: in 1957, Iraq’s oil was at the top of the agenda, of which Syria held an important key. Today, it is Iran’s – and as Michel Chossudovsky notes so succinctly: “The road to Tehran is through Damascus.”(iv)

Notes

i. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14703995

ii. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/sep/27/uk.syria1

iii. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/4237/us-on-un-veto_disgusting-shameful-deplorable-a-tra

iv. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25955

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Fascism’s Ugly Face in Ukraine

Fascism's Ugly Face in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Far-right Ukrainian ultranationalists are fascist extremists. Washington provides support. Oleh Tyahnybok heads the neo-Nazi Svoboda party. It's allied with likeminded groups. 

They openly display Stepan Bandera's Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) red and black flag. 

He was a Nazi collaborator. He participated in mass executions and ethnic cleansing.

Svoboda's slogan is "Ukraine for the Ukrainians." Bandera said the same thing. He wanted Ukraine made ethnically pure. Mass extermination followed to do so.

Svoboda earlier called itself Socialist-Nationalists. It bears erie resemblance to Hitler's National Socialism. It reflects fascism writ large.

Hooliganism is longstanding fascist strategy. Blackshirt and Brownshirt violence helped elevate Mussolini and Hitler to power respectively. 

Communists, socialists, unionists and other opponents were attacked. El Duce's 1922 March on Rome coup made him Italy's youngest ever prime minister.

He took full advantage. He established a one-party state dictatorship. He eliminated competitors. Italy's business class, military and moderate right wing supported him.

In Weimar Germany's final years, economic and political crisis conditions existed. Ahead of 1932 parliamentary elections, Prussian authorities reported about 300 acts of politically motivated violence.

About two dozen were killed. Hundreds of others were injured. Brownshirt storm troopers enlisted working class support.

Goebbels provoked communists and social democrats. Propaganda highlighted Nazi martyrs killed or injured in street battles.

Hitler's Mein Kampf was a revolutionary manifesto. It denounced what he called the world's twin evils - communism and Judaism.

It openly said Germany's future "lie('s) in the acquisition of land in the East at the expense of Russia."

He blamed Weimar governance, communists, social democrats and Jews for Germany's crisis. He wanted an entirely new order established. 

He wanted absolute control. He eliminated all competitors. He transformed Germany into a one-party state dictatorship. He wanted Nazi hegemony over Europe.

Right-wing extremism dominates Western societies today. America more than ever resembles a police state. Duopoly power runs things.

Rule of law principles don't matter. Human and civil rights are disappearing in plain sight. Friendly US fascism is increasingly unfriendly. It's a short leap to tyrannical rule.

Ideological extremists threaten Europe. They're more subtle than earlier day fascists. They're just as dangerous. They want unchallenged power replacing democratic freedoms.

Neoliberalism replaced social justice. Right-wing politics dominates. US Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. 

Not a dime's worth of difference separates them. Most of Europe operates the same way. Societies are increasingly unfit to live in.

Hard line fascism is a short leap away. Con men like Obama and like-minded European counterparts take full advantage. Powerful interests are served at the expense of all others.

In summer 2013, months before violence erupted in Ukraine, Svoboda conducted paramilitary training.

Obama supports its extremism. So do key EU partners. Fascist elements operated openly in Ukraine since Washington's 2004 Orange Revolution.

Democratically elected Viktor Yanukovoych was ousted. Viktor Yushchenko replaced him. 

Soros money was involved. So were State Department funded organizations. In January 2010, Yanukovych was reelected.

He defeated Yushchenko. His last presidential act was naming Bandera a Hero of Ukraine. 

It's the highest national title award. It's given for "personal heroism and great labor achievements." Honoring Bandera caused uproar in Russia, Poland, Ukraine and elsewhere.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and other Jewish groups condemned it. His award was later revoked.

Post-war, he worked for West German intelligence. Washington-recruited Nazi General Reinhardt Gehlen headed it. In 1959, KGB assassins killed him. 

His close associates were CIA and MI6 operatives. Their past Nazi affiliation was no deterrent. 

Bandara's legacy thrives in Ukraine today. His present day counterparts get open US support. 

In late January, Ukrainian leaders, civic groups and religious organizations wrote Washington, EU officials and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

They condemned neo-Nazi support. They said in part:

"You should understand that in supporting the actions of the guerrillas in Ukraine…you...are directly protecting, inciting and egging on Ukrainian neo-Nazis and neo-fascists."

"None of these oppositionists (Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok) hide that they are continuing the ideology and the practices of the OUN-UPA." 

"Wherever the Euromaidan people go in Ukraine, they disseminate, besides the slogans mentioned above, neo-Nazi, racist symbols." 

"Also confirming the neo-Nazi nature of the Euromaidan is the constant use of portraits of the bloody executioners of our people, Bandera and Shukhevych - agents of the (Nazi military intelligence) Abwehr."

"Have the UN, the EU, and the USA ceased to recognize the Charter and Verdict of the International War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremburg, where the Hitlerite Nazis and their henchmen were convicted?" 

"Have human rights ceased to be a value for the countries of the EU and the world community?" 

"Is the Ukrainian nationalists' devotion to Hitler and his mass murders of civilians now considered democracy?"

Western-supported fascist elements are responsible for violent protests. They're terrorizing Ukrainians. They're murdering civilians. They're killing police.

They're occupying government buildings. They're setting others ablaze. Yanukovych defends his country responsibly. 

He's wrongfully blamed for their violence. He's battling fascism's ugly agenda.

Rogue elements support it. Others are duped to do so. Washington and EU partners fund it. Most Ukrainians have no idea what's going on.

Their futures are on the line. So is Ukraine's sovereignty. Eighty-one years ago this past January 30, Hitler rose to power.

He became Germany's chancellor. He did so with Western support. He kept it through much of the 1930s. 

He established a ruthless dictatorship. Mass slaughter, barbarism and anti-Semitism defined it. He ravaged most of Europe. He murdered millions.

He might have emerged victorious if he hadn't invaded Soviet Russia. Waging war on two major fronts defeated him. Imagine if things turned out the other way.

Fascism didn't die. It's alive and well. It resides in Europe. It thrives in America. US policy exceeds the worst of Nazi crimes.

Hitler's Third Reich lasted a dozen years. Post-WW II America wages war on humanity. It does so at home and abroad. 

Millions ruthlessly slaughtered attest to America's ruthlessness. Syria is in the eye of the storm. So is Ukraine. Both countries are US-instigated battlegrounds.

How many more will die before both conflicts end? What will happen in their aftermath? 

How many more countries will America attack? Venezuela is the top Western Hemisphere target. Iran tops the Middle East list.

Trotsky once wrote:

"Fascism is a particular governmental system based on the uprooting of all elements of proletarian democracy within bourgeois society." 

"The task of fascism lies not only in destroying the Communist vanguard but in holding the entire class in a state of forced disunity." 

"To this end, the physical annihilation of the most revolutionary section of the workers does not suffice." 

"It is also necessary to smash all independent and voluntary organizations, to demolish all the defensive bulwarks of the proletariat, and to uproot whatever has been achieved during three-quarters of a century by the Social Democracy and the trade unions." 

European Jews suffered most under Hitler. So did all other Third Reich enemies. 

Washington wants all challengers eliminated. It wants supreme global power. It's waging war on humanity to achieve it. 

It may end up destroying it altogether. How many wars are too many? How many more millions will suffer and die? How much more ravaging is too much?

When will Washington's imperial agenda be challenged? When will White House lies be universally denounced?

On February 20, an Office of the Press Secretary statement wrongfully blamed Yanukovych. It ignored months of US-instigated, manipulated, supported street violence. It lied said:

"We are outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people."  

"We urge President Yanukovych to immediately withdraw his security forces from downtown Kyiv and to respect the right of peaceful protest, and we urge protesters to express themselves peacefully."  

"We urge the Ukrainian military not to get involved in a conflict that can and should be resolved by political means."   

"The use of force will not resolve the crisis - clear steps must be taken to stop the violence and initiate meaningful dialogue that reduces tension and addresses the grievances of the Ukrainian people."  

"The United States will work with our European allies to hold those responsible for violence accountable and to help the Ukrainian people get a unified and independent Ukraine back on the path to a better future."

It bears repeating. Washington bears full responsibility. Plans to topple Yanukovych were made well before violence erupted.

Obama chose when and how to initiate it. He's in league with Ukrainian fascist extremists. He wants another imperial trophy. He'll stop at nothing to get it.

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

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Angleton and Dulles–Two Despicable CIA Rats Exposed

My Australian counterpart, Greg Maybury, recently wrote a compelling blog about ex-CIA counterintellingence chief James Jesus Angleton, one of the most ruthless, paranoid, and admired spies in Coporations Invisible Army (CIA). I am reprinting a portion of the blog here, along with my reaction to it.

Maybury writes, "...the CIA’s legendary chief of counter-intelligence – its brain for years – was James Jesus Angleton (aka The Kingfisher)...the narrative of the CIA would not be complete without him to be sure.

"He began his career shortly after the formation of the CIA in 1947, and was the station chief in Italy just after the war ended. Here he was instrumental in the undermining of the bourgeoning communist movement taking root in the later 40s, and amongst the tactics he used was eliciting the support of Italy’s Mafia, thereby setting a long-time precedent for the agency that was to feature frequently in its clandestine operations for decades to come.

"He was amongst the most out-there of people, a TS Eliot quoting/loving, chain-smoking, hard-drinking, orchid-growing, fly-fishing, gem collecting, insomniac raconteur who burned the spy-candle at both ends. Exceedingly well read and (counter?) intelligent, he was something of a polymath. In his day many considered this dude the sharpest tool in the spy shed, bar none! JJ’s motto: ‘absolute security at any cost’, one that would prove to be his undoing, as we will see.

"The term ‘Angeltonian’ even entered the espionage vernacular to become a byword in spy circles for overly conspiratorial and/or obsessively paranoid behaviour. Angleton was like DCI Allen Dulles alter ego – he was the uber-counter-spy, the spookiest of spooks in the spookier end of the spook business.

"If his boss Dulles was the Dagger in the Cloak and Dagger business, JJ was the Cloak! His spycraft was apparently second to none in the non-communist world. Even the Soviets had a fan club going of sorts; he was that good at what he did, they even copied his methods, proving that even in the spy world, the ‘imitation as the sincerest form of flattery’ thing still applies. He was once quoted as saying that: ‘Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state’.

"The origin of his nick-name The Kingfisher is uncertain, but interestingly they are a bird species that have evolved unique visual faculties whereby they can see equally well in polar opposite environments, in their case air and water. A nice metaphor one suspects given his line of work, especially if it was not intended.

"On a more mundane level his nick-name may have been because of his striking features, which were indeed bird-like, if not ‘kingfisherish’. He eventually rose to the position of chief of Counter-intelligence at The Company, and although it’s not known if he ever sought the position or was even offered it, he would have been a prime candidate for Director either way. He could even have interrogated/interviewed himself for the job, a bonus. The motherfucker was that good.

- Spy v Spy Redux -

"He served under Dulles, and then later on Dulles successors, firstly John McCone, then Richard Helms, and for a brief time William Colby. A cryptographer by training (and it has to be said) inclination, he was also very knowledgeable about nuclear technology, having worked on the Manhattan Project (of which more in a later episode), and was apparently involved in the breaking of the Germans’ Enigma code, which did so much to aid the allied effort in the latter part of the War.

"Both these skills were handy during a Cold War. If there is such a thing as spy heaven (a safe house or waiting room in the afterlife maybe?), most of them be coming up to the Kingfisher, high-fiving his avian-eyed ass and be saying how much they ‘love his work’.
As indicated he was as paranoid as they come, for the most part a truly valuable character trait in the counter-spy business, given that the counter espionage and counter intelligence business is all about stopping the targets of your spying from doing what you’re trying to do to them, which is to spy on them. By definition, this means being permanently paranoid.

"Or more accurately, the counter spy/espionage/intelligence ‘schtick’ is more about ensuring that the spies on the other side enjoy minimal success at recruiting your own spies to spy on you and not them as you’d prefer them to continue doing without you finding out about it until it is too late.

"However, like JJ often did, I digress!

"And if Angleton trusted anyone, it is not known whether it worked to their advantage or not, and we’re not even talking about the Soviets here. We’re talking his own – indeed, especially his own – CIA colleagues. He was one of the coldest and most calculating of the Langley Cold Warriors. A strong pro-war hawk on Vietnam, he was also notoriously known for his surveillance of anti-war protesters, political activists and domestic dissidents (of which there were no shortages) during the Vietnam War and throughout the 60’s and early 70’s. He has also been frequently mentioned as having involvement in, knowledge of, and/or connections to the JFK hit and the Norma Jean suicide/accidental death/murder.

- The Hollow Man -

"As good as Angleton was, he wasn’t good enough though to pick up on arguably the biggest spies in the West before they defected to the USSR, who were located in the UK, and operating out of the august Cambridge University.

"As CIA CI chief, part of his responsibility was liaison with foreign intelligence and security officials and spooks, including with Mossad, SAVAK and MI6. Although some say he had his suspicions about the Cambridge group before anyone else did including the British – yes, he was that paranoid – he failed to act on these in time to prevent their subsequent defection. This was an outcome from which he never recovered, and indeed amongst many other missteps, it brought about his downfall eventually, but not for a long time to come.

"After the belated discovery of the aforementioned Cambridge spies (one of whom – Philby – Angleton worked with closely in London during the war, and later got pissed with on a frequent basis, and with whom he shared secrets that got many Western agents killed), Angleton became even more paranoid, seeing spies all over the Langley complex, which began to irritate a lot of people, managing to piss off not only then DCI Richard Helms, but also J Edgar Hoover over at the FBI HQ as well, with Hoover pulling the pin on any further cooperation with the super-spook.

"To piss Edgar off, or to have him pull the pin on you as we’ve seen in an earlier episode, was not all that difficult and certainly not always a good career move to repeat it inside or outside of the FBI. And as for being paranoid, there were few more so than Edgar. But Angleton survived Edgar; he was that ‘good’! And that paranoid! History tells us that paranoia is often proven most justified when it is the most ignored, but many would argue the lessons of history don’t appear to have become a collective political wisdom in the West, and especially some might say in Washington D.C., or for that matter in Langley.

"Not even Angleton though could last forever in the CIA. The culture didn’t make allowances for that. His increasingly pathological paranoia eventually brought him unstuck."

Maybury's apt portrayal of JJ Angleton left me chilled and angry. To think that America was literally turned over, post-WWII, to rats like him and the Dulles brothers never stops infuriating me. Shrewd, ruthless, paranoid, warmongering sociopaths controlled our foreign and domestic policy for over half a century and still do. Of course, they could not have done it in a vacuum. When considering the sources and consequences of Corporation Invisible Army's consolidation of power, one must remember that Operation MK-ULTRA (the covert experimentation with and drugging of innocent Americans) relied on Operation Mockingbird (the subversion of the free press); Operation PBSUCCESS (the overthrow of duly elected foreign governments) went hand in hand with Operation Paperclip (the secret recruitment of Nazi war criminals to serve in our intelligence, medicine, military and aerospace spheres). Angleton and Dulles made sure they could run roughshod over democracy in secret. In so doing, they amassed power unprecedented in our history. More power than presidents, legislative bodies, the Pentagon, and the media combined.

While I concur with most of the content, I take exception to three assertions--one) von Braun was a Nazi...his reputation was softened by a compliant press (which assiduously, and at Dulles's insistence, referred to him as a "German" scientist) once he emigrated to America and his new position at NASA; two) ALL Nazis were war criminals because they either knew of the death camps or participated in the executions; three) Dulles was sympathetic to Hitler and the Reich because his Sullivan and Cromwell clients had big-time investments to protect. Dulles's "Heil Hitler" salutation in correspondences with the Fuhrer is telling.

May Angleton and Dulles and all the other rats burn in hell for eternity.

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming/dp/098882907X

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US Hegemony and Puerto Rico’s Economic Crisis

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – A major economic crisis is looming in the Caribbean.  Puerto Rico, a US Commonwealth will be the center of attention in the world of finance in the coming months ahead.  Puerto Rico’s economy has been in a recession since 2006 and its bonds are close to junk status.  Puerto Rico is facing an alarming economic downturn that is clearly unsustainable.  The economy is headed for a major collapse, one not seen since the great depression, this time it could be far worse.  Puerto Rico has $70 billion in debt and an underfunded government pension system that will be eventually face cuts which only adds to more economic uncertainties for the population.  Unemployment levels are at 14.7 percent and a mass migration of the Puerto Rican people to the United States in search of better opportunities has taking hold.  Puerto Rico’s economy is dependent upon the United States government and its corporations, which many are pharmaceutical conglomerates.  It is politically and socially a “Colonial Possession” of the United States since the Spanish-American war of 1898.  However, Puerto Rico is not alone.  The United States has other colonial possessions namely Guam, American Samoa in the Pacific and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  France and Great Britain also has “Colonial Possessions” or “Overseas Territories” in a number of regions throughout the world.  Puerto Rico is no exception to the rule; it is a colony that has been exploited politically and economically for more than a century under US rule.

Puerto Rico’s economy is in a dire situation. As of October 2013, the official number of people who are unemployed is at 14.7 percent, perhaps a lot higher if you count those that have dropped out of the labor force because they are no longer looking for employment opportunities.  The Public debt is currently at $70 Billion and increasing daily. Early this month an article written by Justin Velez-Hagan who is executive director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce for Forbes magazine titled ‘Default: Puerto Rico’s Inevitable Option’ describes what lead to Puerto Rico’s debt crises:

With triple tax exemption (federal, state, and local), combined with higher-than-average yields, Puerto Rican bonds became so popular in recent years that it was able to rack up $70 billion of debt now held by institutional investors and mutual funds alike. The debt-to-GDP ratio is now nearly 70% and growing, not including pension obligations, which raises the ratio to over 90%. With a per capita debt load of $19,000 and growing, Puerto Ricans shoulder almost 4 times the burden of U.S. leader Massachusetts which carries a deficit of $5,077 per citizen

Puerto Rico’s debt is 4 times larger than Massachusetts who Velez-Hagan acknowledges as the most indebted state per citizen with $19,000. The Washington Post also sounded alarm bells concerning Puerto Rico’s economic crises. In ‘Puerto Rico, with at least $70 billion in debt, confronts a rising economic misery’ Michael A. Fletcher describes what the commonwealth faces with cuts to pensions and government jobs and a rise in taxes all across the board including small and big businesses causing a migration of Puerto Ricans to major US cities:

The economy here has been in recession for nearly eight years, crimping tax revenue and pushing the jobless rate to nearly 15 percent. Meanwhile, the government is burdened by staggering debt, spawning comparisons to bankrupt Detroit and forcing lawmakers to severely slash pensions, cut government jobs and raise taxes in a furious effort to avert default.

The implications are serious for Americans outside Puerto Rico both because a taxpayer bailout would be expensive and a default would be far more disruptive than Detroit’s record bankruptcy filing in July. Officials in San Juan and Washington are adamant that a federal bailout is not on the table, but the situation is being closely monitored by the White House, which recently named an advisory team to help Puerto Rican officials navigate the crisis.

The island’s problems have ignited an exodus not seen here since the 1950s, when 500,000 people left for jobs on the mainland. Now Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, are again leaving in droves.  They are choosing the uncertainty of the job market in Orlando or New York City or Philadelphia over what they view as the certainty that their dreams would be crushed by the U.S. territory’s grinding economic problems.

Bloomberg Businessweek also published an article with concerns affecting the “Muni-Bond Market” that can rattle Wall Street’s Mutual Fund companies. ‘Puerto Rico’s Borrowing Binge Could Rock the Muni-Bond Market’ stated the facts:

The island’s plight affects almost anyone with a mutual fund invested in the municipal-bond market. Exempt from local, state, and federal taxes in the U.S., Puerto Rican bonds are held by 77 percent of muni funds, according to research firm Morningstar (MORN). About 180 funds, including ones run by OppenheimerFunds, Franklin Templeton Investments (BEN), and Dreyfus (BK), have 5 percent of their assets or more in Puerto Rican bonds.

General-obligation bonds, or GOs, which account for about 15 percent of the commonwealth’s public debt, carry the lowest investment-grade rating from Moody’s Investors Service (MCO) and S&P. A downgrade could force many mutual funds to sell part of their Puerto Rican holdings, flooding the market. “Puerto Rico could represent a systemic issue for the municipal-bond market,” says Carlos Colón de Armas, an economist and former official of the Government Development Bank, which conducts the island’s capital-markets transactions. “We are now in a situation where the bonds are trading like junk. I think the ratings agencies have been careful not to lower the GOs further, to avoid creating havoc in the muni-bond market.”

The Obama administration is sending a team of economic advisors according to Bloomberg News last month “With a $70 billion debt load and a substantially underfunded government pension system, the island has fueled market speculation it may need a bailout from Washington.” The report also stated what was on the agenda:

Most of the group’s work will focus on improving Puerto Rico’s management of federal funds to ensure officials are getting the amounts they are entitled to and putting them to effective use, according to the officials.  “There is less here than some people think,” said Jeffrey Farrow, who served as the Clinton White House’s liaison on Puerto Rican affairs. “This is pretty straightforward and an extension of what they have been doing in the past, but more intense, formalized and public.”

The first team of officials was scheduled to be from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Health, Education and Housing and Urban Development departments, officials said.  Puerto Rico’s education, health and housing departments are among of the biggest recipients of federal funding and have also been responsible for past Puerto Rico budget shortfalls.

The EPA’s intervention may stem from concerns regarding the ability of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to comply with new federal air quality regulations that take effect in 2015.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of the agencies participating under Washington’s request. Washington has required that the Puerto Rico government and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) comply with new federal air quality regulations by 2015. The online news source Caribbean Business reported back on July 11th, 2013 ‘PREPA falling behind on 2015 EPA Deadline’ that Puerto Rico is in a race to meet Washington’s air-quality standards by 2015:

A high-ranking regulatory official is concerned that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) isn’t moving fast enough to comply with strict federal air-quality standards taking effect in two years, as industry sources told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS that key decisions on the compliance process won’t be taken until next spring.  Prepa plans to either close or convert most of its oil-firing units to natural gas to comply with the new air-quality standards, but it won’t select a liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier and decide on a method to deliver the gas to north-coast plants until March 2014, according to industry sources. That means the final contracts would probably not be enacted and finalized until the fourth quarter of 2014, they added.

Meanwhile, Prepa has an agreement with Texas-based Excelerate Energy to construct an offshore LNG terminal to feed the massive Aguirre powerplant in Guayama. A formal application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was filed in April and the project remains in the permitting phase. Excelerate officials have said they expect the facility to be in service in early 2015, but that outlook depends on getting timely federal approval on its environmental impact statement and several permits.

Puerto Rico’s plan to convert most of its oil-firing units to natural gas will have an impact on its economy. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) does not have the economic capacity to invest in the construction of new plants that would supply natural gas. “While the cash-strapped public utility can’t afford to build its own plants, there is interest from large energy companies to construct new generation units through public-private partnerships (P3s)” the report stated. “That is especially the case because the move to natural gas isn’t just about compliance, but about bringing down power costs.” Caribbean Business said that Edgardo Fábregas, a former member of PREPA’s board confirmed that the public utility is considering a plan to construct a gas-fired plant “The former Prepa board member said the public utility was considering a longer-term plan to construct, through a P3 initiative, a massive natural gas-fired plant, probably on the site of Arecibo’s Cambalache plant, which is rarely used.” The report also said that Fábregas admitted to the costs associated with the project:

To do a project right, building a plant that could “flex up or down” rapidly and would have the capacity to power the entire north coast, would cost $7 billion, and take six years to build. The project would allow for the elimination of the Palo Seco and San Juan plants, Fábregas said. “We have to move to natural gas as soon as we can, but at the end of the day, you have to renew your system. I understand the cost and time implications involved, but if we don’t start, we will never finish,” he added.

According to Robert Bryce, a senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative think tank based in New York City produced a report called ‘The High Cost of Renewable-Electricity Mandates’. He wrote about the effects of Washington’s new air-quality proposal:

Motivated by a desire to reduce carbon emissions, and in the absence of federal action to do so, 29 states (and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) have required utility companies to deliver specified minimum amounts of electricity from “renewable” sources, including wind and solar power. California recently adopted the most stringent of these so-called renewable portfolio standards (RPS), requiring 33 percent of its electricity to be renewable by 2020.  Proponents of the RPS plans say that the mandated restrictions will reduce harmful emissions and spur job growth, by stimulating investment in green technologies.

But this patchwork of state rules—which now affects the electricity bills of about two-thirds of the U.S. population as well as countless businesses and industrial users—has sprung up in recent years without the benefit of the states fully calculating their costs.  There is growing evidence that the costs may be too high—that the price tag for purchasing renewable energy, and for building new transmission lines to deliver it, may not only outweigh any environmental benefits but may also be detrimental to the economy, costing jobs rather than adding them.  The mandates amount to a “back-end way to put a price on carbon,” says one former federal regulator. Put another way, the higher cost of electricity is essentially a de facto carbon-reduction tax, one that is putting a strain on a struggling economy and is falling most heavily, in the way that regressive taxes do, on the least well-off among residential users.

To be sure, the mandates aren’t the only reason that electricity costs are rising—increased regulation of coal-fired power plants is also a major factor—and it is difficult to isolate the cost of the renewable mandates without rigorous cost-benefit analysis by the states.

The new mandate is called Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that automatically “require electricity providers to supply a specified minimum amount of power to their customers from sources that qualify as “renewable,” a category that includes wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal.” The report clarified what the results of the new energy plan would bring:

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is similarly bullish on the state programs. The RPS rules are designed “to stimulate market and technology development,” the agency says, “so that, ultimately renewable energy will be economically competitive with conventional forms of electric power. States create RPS programs because of the energy, environmental, and economic benefits of renewable energy.”[4]

Although supporters of renewable energy claim that the RPS mandates will bring benefits, their contribution to the economy is problematic because they also impose costs that must be incorporated into the utility bills paid by homeowners, commercial businesses, and industrial users. And those costs are or will be substantial. Electricity generated from renewable sources generally costs more—often much more—than that produced by conventional fuels such as coal and natural gas. In addition, large-scale renewable energy projects often require the construction of many miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The cost of those lines must also be incorporated into the bills paid by consumers.

What Edgardo Fábregas forgets to mention is that Bryce’s analysis on the price of producing electricity through renewable energy sources can be astronomical. It is an amazing prediction given by the EPA under the Obama administration’s directives. It is important to note that the major players in the RPS programs are connected to Wall Street and major banks that includes Goldman Sachs who is one of President Obama’s major campaign contributors. Author and journalist Matt Taibbi wrote an article on the history of Goldman Sachs and the US government’s relationship for Rolling Stone magazine called ‘The Great American Bubble Machine’. Taibbi explains how Goldman Sachs would benefit from Washington’s air-quality mandates:

The new carbon credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that’s been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won’t even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

Here’s how it works: If the bill passes, there will be limits for coal plants, utilities, natural-gas distributors and numerous other industries on the amount of carbon emissions (a.k.a. greenhouse gases) they can produce per year. If the companies go over their allotment, they will be able to buy “allocations” or credits from other companies that have managed to produce fewer emissions. President Obama conservatively estimates that about $646 billion worth of carbon credits will be auctioned in the first seven years; one of his top economic aides speculates that the real number might be twice or even three times that amount.

The feature of this plan that has special appeal to speculators is that the “cap” on carbon will be continually lowered by the government, which means that carbon credits will become more and more scarce with each passing year. Which means that this is a brand new commodities market where the main commodity to be traded is guaranteed to rise in price over time. The volume of this new market will be upwards of a trillion dollars annually; for comparison’s sake, the annual combined revenues of all electricity suppliers in the U.S. total $320 billion.

One other important factor to consider regarding Puerto Rico’s energy demands in the future is the supply of natural gas. Puerto Rico is hoping to secure a steady supply of natural gas from the United States for the next 100 years. “A key part of the plan is to secure a long-term LNG contract with the U.S., which has the most economical prices in the world, the result of a boon in U.S. natural gas exploration, which has unearthed a supply that experts say will last a century” according to the Caribbean Business report.  In the 2012 State of the Union Address, US President Barack Obama said “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.” F. William Endahl, a research associate at Global Research wrote a ground breaking report, ‘The Fracked-up USA Shale Gas Bubble’ wrote that the 100 year supply of natural gas is in fact an inaccurate prediction:

In a sobering report, Arthur Berman, a veteran petroleum geologist specialized in well assessment, using existing well extraction data for major shale gas regions in the US since the boom started, reached sobering conclusions. His findings point to a new Ponzi scheme which well might play out in a colossal gas bust over the next months or at best, the next two or three years. Shale gas is anything but the “energy revolution” that will give US consumers or the world gas for 100 years as President Obama was told.

Berman wrote already in 2011, “Facts indicate that most wells are not commercial at current gas prices and require prices at least in the range of $8.00 to $9.00/mcf to break even on full-cycle prices, and $5.00 to $6.00/mcf on point-forward prices. Our price forecasts ($4.00-4.55/mcf average through 2012) are below $8.00/mcf for the next 18 months. It is, therefore, possible that some producers will be unable to maintain present drilling levels from cash flow, joint ventures, asset sales and stock offerings.” [16]

Berman continued, “Decline rates indicate that a decrease in drilling by any of the major producers in the shale gas plays would reveal the insecurity of supply. This is especially true in the case of the Haynesville Shale play where initial rates are about three times higher than in the Barnett or Fayetteville. Already, rig rates are dropping in the Haynesville as operators shift emphasis to more liquid-prone objectives that have even lower gas rates. This might create doubt about the paradigm of cheap and abundant shale gas supply and have a cascading effect on confidence and capital availability.” [17]

What Berman and others have also concluded is that the gas industry key players and their Wall Street bankers backing the shale boom have grossly inflated the volumes of recoverable shale gas reserves and hence its expected supply duration. He notes, “Reserves and economics depend on estimated ultimate recoveries (EUR) based on hyperbolic, or increasingly flattening, decline profiles that predict decades of commercial production. With only a few years of production history in most of these plays, this model has not been shown to be correct, and may be overly optimistic….Our analysis of shale gas well decline trends indicates that the Estimated Ultimate Recovery per well is approximately one-half the values commonly presented by operators.” [18] In brief, the gas producers have built the illusion that their unconventional and increasingly costly shale gas will last for decades.

However, Caribbean Business says that “Prepa has invited several suppliers to bid on a project to supply the north-coast plants with natural gas. It is spelling out its gas needs at its Palo Seco and San Juan plants, letting the energy companies decide the best way to supply the natural gas” and that “Prepa has made some progress on its natural gas conversion plan, which energy experts say is the only way to bring down the high cost of electricity.” Allowing energy companies decide how to supply gas would add to the price in the long run. Russia Today recently reported that “fracking technology” is causing major environmental problems within the United States. Since 2008, the state of Texas has been experiencing more earthquakes than ever before:

Between 1970 and 2007, the area around the Texas town of Azle (pop. 10,000) experienced just two earthquakes. The peace and quiet began to change, however, at the start of 2008, when 74 minor quakes were reported in the region. Now an increasing number of people, including scientists, are speculating that natural gas production by fracking – a process that forces high pressure water and chemicals into rock in order to extract natural gas reserves – is the culprit. The problem, however, is proving the claims.

Cliff Frolich, earthquake researcher at the University of Texas, said waste water injection wells from fracking could be responsible for the recent spate of earthquake activity. “I’d say it certainly looks very possible that the earthquakes are related to injection wells,” he said in an interview with KHOU television.

Frolich left room for doubt when he said thousands of such wells have operated in Texas for decades with no quakes anywhere near them. Frolich co-authored a 2009 study on earthquake activity near Cleburne, just south of Azle, which concluded: “The possibility exists that earthquakes may be related to fluid injection.” A recent government study lent credence to Frolich’s findings.

There have been Anti-fracking protests around the world. Fracking or “hydraulic fracturing” is a water-intensive process where millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals combined are injected underground with intensive pressure to fracture rocks that surround an oil or gas well. This process then releases extra oil and gas from the rock which flows into the well. “Fracking Technology” is proving to be environmentally dangerous for the health and safety of communities located in close proximity to these well sites. It causes many problems for the air we breathe and long-term environmental damage. For example, water can become contaminated from the toxins fracking has caused. It is an environmental hazard.

EPA rules and regulations also have the potential to impose a “carbon tax option” for states according to The Hill, A Washington D.C. based daily newspaper reported last month that Brookings Institution economist Adele Morris said that a carbon excise tax can be imposed on states:

Morris, a carbon tax supporter, argues that a carbon excise tax could be part of the “menu of specific approaches” that the agency gives states that will craft plans to meet the federal guidelines. Morris suggests that the EPA could “allow states to adopt a specific state-level excise tax or fee on the carbon content of fuels combusted by the power plants regulated under this rule.”

In other words, an excise tax associated with renewable energy supplies can be added only leading to higher energy costs for households, businesses and major industries. It would also allow Puerto Rico to contribute to the environmental degradation because of its future demands of natural gas which has no guarantee of supplies for the next 100 years. It is a recipe for disaster for both the economy and the environment.

 Will new EPA rules bankrupt farmers?

It is estimated that Puerto Rico imports at least 85% of the food supply from the United States according to the Latin American Herald Tribune. ‘Puerto Rico Imports 85 Percent of Its Food’ stated that “Puerto Rico imports 85 percent of the food its residents consume due to the lack of competitiveness among companies in this U.S. commonwealth, Agriculture Secretary Javier Rivera told Efe.” Agriculture Secretary Rivera admits that the majority of food is imported from the United States even though Puerto Rico has the capability to produce its own food, but cannot compete with US food suppliers. Rivera continued “Although we have the technical capacity, we’re not able to produce competitively” Why? “The secretary attributed the drop in production to the high operating costs of growing food on the island, which are, in turn, a result of high labor costs, as well as rising energy and fertilizer prices. Rivera acknowledged that therefore many farmers – of which there are fewer than 2,000 on the island, according to recent statistics – have come to depend on government subsidies to stay in business.” With new EPA regulations, remaining farmers will bear higher-energy costs because of the EPA’s new federal air quality regulations that will start in 2015. Agriculture on the island would be affected and farmers would be economically bankrupt when energy prices begin to rise.

From the 1929 Great Depression to the Recession of 2014

Looking back to the 1930’s, Puerto Rico was in economic despair due to the effects of the Great Depression. In 1940, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) under the leadership of Washington’s puppet governor Luis Munoz Marin came to power with 37.9% of the vote compared to 39.2% of the Republican-Socialist coalition. The PPD also won the 1944 elections with 64.8% of the vote. The PPD was determined to transform Puerto Rico’s economy from an Agricultural farm-based to an export-driven modern industrial economy.

The US and Puerto Rico governments wanted to fast track the urbanization in many areas from a rural society to a modern, industrial urban center that would resemble New York City’s economy. For a short period of time, the project did increase living wages, improved housing conditions, health care and education. It also led to equitable land reforms,. At the same time the plan increased unemployment rates because many Puerto Ricans were unqualified for the types of jobs the new Industrial economy provided. It increased the migration levels to the United States, namely New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Puerto Rico became more dependent on U.S. markets and created more public and private debts. The most important aspect of US economic and political control of Puerto Rico was the cultural transformation of the population. It became what sociologist call “Americanization”. They were subjected to American culture, media, laws, and even its foods under Washington’s economic and social plan. In ‘Economic History of Puerto Rico: Institutional Change and Capitalist Development’ by James L. Dietz, professor of economics and Latin American studies at California State University wrote:

Industrialization and the accompanying decline of agriculture after the late 1940s did nothing to expand and make permanent the relative autonomy of the early 1940s. Instead, the PPD program had just the opposite result: it laid the foundation for increased dominance by U.S. capital from the 1950s to the present. The PPD’s goal of eventual political independence, after the attainment of social justice and a solution to the island’s economic problems, faded further into the future and eventually disappeared altogether. It may be that Munoz and the PPD never really were committed to independence, as many have suggested, but it is more likely that, as the PPD’s redirection of the economy under Munoz’s leadership tied its destiny ever closer to that of the United States, what they had became what they wanted as what they had wanted slipped further and further from their grasp

In ‘How an Economy Grows and why it Crashes’ author and economist Peter Schiff stated that “The evidence supporting these claims is largely emotional. What is far more certain is that the government’s monopoly control of public projects and services almost always leads to inefficiency, corruption, graft, and decay.” Puerto Rico’s economy was under US control then as it is now. Dietz says that “From 1941 to 1949, the government followed a program of land reform, control over and development of infrastructure and institutions, administrative organization, and limited industrialization through factories owned and operated by the government.” Comparing to what Peter Schiff said the Puerto Rican government’s control of certain economic sectors led to numerous “inefficiencies” and “Decay.” The bleak economic growth of Puerto Rico did not improve through a program called ‘Operacion Manos a la Obra’ or ‘Operation Bootstrap’ in English. It was known as “Industrialization by Invitation” to attract foreign investment. It failed in the long-run. Dietz further wrote:

“Yet Operation Bootstrap made it difficult for Puerto Ricans to improve their standard of living through their own efforts, since it put control over that process in the hands of U.S. firms, whose interests did not necessarily coincide with those of the majority on the island. It is likely that no one consciously intended such results from a development program that seemed so promising, but Puerto Rico’s colonial relation with the United States prevented, or at a minimum made more difficult, a more independent existence for the economy and society”

Puerto Rico’s dependence on the US mainland became evident as the years went by, but right from the beginning of World War II, Puerto Rico’s economy suffered.  “The war shut Puerto Rico off from its primary export market and source of imported goods, and meanwhile, there were no war industries to absorb surplus labor; consequently, unemployment increased” according to Dietz.  Today, Puerto Rico is suffering from a recession that started in 2006. In another report by Caribbean Business ‘PR reverses growth forecast, now predicts another year of recession’ and stated the dire predictions by the government of Puerto Rico, “The Puerto Rico government has dropped expectations for economic growth this fiscal year as the island struggles to pull out of a marathon downturn dating back to 2006. The Planning Board said Friday it is now projecting that the economy will shrink by 0.8 percent in fiscal 2014, dropping its previous forecast for razor-thin growth of 0.2 percent.” Puerto Rico’s economy will continue to decline as the US economy continues with its own economic problems. It will become more difficult as time progresses for Puerto Rico.

The Collapsing US Dollar and the Fall of Rome   

The US Dollar as a the world’s reserve currency is in its last stages because the US owes trillions of dollars in household, corporate and financial debt and future underfunded welfare liabilities.  The demand for U.S. dollars kept prices and interest rates low. It allowed the U.S. government to acquire the economic power it needed to dominate the world economically. It allowed the Federal Reserve Bank to print dollars unconditionally. Although the US dollar is still dominate with more the 50% of foreign currency reserves in the world, a gradual transition for other currencies is coming in the near future. The dollar will eventually lose its value. Interest rates on every loan and credit card will rise.

This is a recipe for disaster, because if a country such as Puerto Rico cannot produce its own food and is dependent on a foreign source that is the most indebted nation in world history with more than $17 trillion dollars in debt which continues to increase each passing day is a serious problem for Puerto Rico’s future. Tyler Durden of zerohedge.com provided a chart in 2012 to show the fiscal danger the United States faces in the near future. Durden explains:

We present the following chart showing total US Federal debt/GDP as well as Deficit/(Surplus)/GDP since inception, or in this case as close as feasible, or 1792, which appears to be the first recorded year of historical fiscal data. We can see why readers have been so eager to see the “real big picture” – the chart is nothing short of stunning.

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ENDS
 
Notes to editors
 
1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 / [email protected] uk

Oil, Azerbaijan and the Strange Case of Rick Bourke

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/oil_azerbaijan_and_the_strange_case_of_rick_bourke_20131016/ Posted on Oct 16, 2013 ...

Oil, Azerbaijan and the Strange Case of Rick Bourke

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/oil_azerbaijan_and_the_strange_case_of_rick_bourke_20131016/

Posted on Oct 16, 2013

By Amy Goodman

Oil is the source of so much pain in the world. Around the globe, wherever oil is extracted, people suffer a constellation of injuries, from coups and dictatorship to pollution, displacement and death. Pipelines leak, refineries explode, tankers break up and deep-sea drill rigs explode. The thirst for oil disrupts democracies and the climate. Not far from the burgeoning fracking fields of Colorado, Frederic “Rick” Bourke sits in a minimum-security federal prison. His crime: blowing the whistle on corruption and bribery in the oil-rich region of the Caspian Sea.

Rick Bourke is perhaps best known for founding the luxury handbag company Dooney and Bourke. He is a philanthropist, and has invested his wealth into ventures seeking novel cures for cancer. In the mid-1990s, he met a Czech national named Viktor Kozeny, dubbed “The Pirate of Prague,” who reaped tens of millions of dollars through controversial deals during the privatization of Czech national assets. Kozeny sought greater fortunes by recruiting investors for the takeover of SOCAR, the state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic on the western shore of the Caspian Sea.

Kozeny promised unprecedented returns on the investments. Serious investors vetted the opportunity and sank huge sums into the enterprise, including Columbia University’s investment fund, the insurance giant AIG, legendary hedge-fund manager Lee Cooperman, a longtime executive at Goldman Sachs, and former Senate majority leader George Mitchell. Bourke’s attorney, Michael Tigar, summed up the result on the “Democracy Now!” news hour: “Kozeny was a crook. He stole every bit of Rick Bourke’s money and all of the other investors’ money. He bribed Azeri officials. He lives today happily unextradited in the Bahamas.” 

Kozeny paid huge sums to the president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev. Like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Aliyev was a former top-level KGB official. He gained control of the country shortly after the Soviet breakup. His son, Ilham, during the period of Kozeny’s scheme, was the head of SOCAR. Kozeny employed a Swiss lawyer named Hans Bodmer to coordinate the complex scam. An American named Thomas Farrell, who runs a bar in St. Petersburg, Russia, became the bagman, ferrying duffel bags of cash to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

The investment tanked, and Kozeny absconded with the remaining funds. Rick Bourke went to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which has a history of going after white-collar crime.  He spoke with Assistant District Attorney Mariam Klipper, an expert on privatization in Eastern Europe. The DA’s office indicted Kozeny, who skirted the prosecution and is enjoying relative immunity in the Bahamas. 

As the lone whistle-blower, Bourke also cooperated with federal prosecutors. Nevertheless, they decided to set their sights on him. He eventually was found guilty under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, not for bribing anyone, but for alleged knowledge of the bribes, even though the entire case rested on testimony of the Swiss lawyer, Bodmer, and Farrell. At sentencing, former assistant district attorney Klipper wrote to federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, seeking a lenient sentence for Bourke: “He was extremely helpful,” she wrote. He “came to my office voluntarily and spoke candidly and with conviction about the case. We did not offer anything in return. ... I never had reason to doubt him.” While Bodmer and Farrell also were indicted, they received very favorable plea deals. They both quickly left the U.S.

Much of the court record is sealed, likely because of the involvement of intelligence agencies. In a remarkable twist in the case, the former head of Britain’s intelligence service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, and the former deputy director of operations at the CIA, James Pavitt, both sought to testify on Bourke’s behalf. They were reportedly denied the opportunity, perhaps to protect the intelligence value of both Bodmer and Farrell. In the murky world of petroleum geopolitics, it is very difficult to know.

The son of Heydar Aliyev, Ilham Aliyev, succeeded his father as president of Azerbaijan, ruling the country with dictatorial control. He just won his third term as president last week, with the initial election results being reported the day BEFORE voting began. Human Rights Watch issued a report in September, “Tightening the Screws: Azerbaijan’s Crackdown in Civil Society and Dissent.”

Rick Bourke sits in the federal prison in Englewood, Colo., sentenced to a year and a day. Former Washington Post reporter Scott Armstrong, who founded the National Security Archive and chaired the Government Accountability Project, spent years investigating the case. As a senior investigator on the Senate Watergate Committee, Armstrong uncovered the existence of President Richard Nixon’s secret taping system. He knows corruption when he sees it, and considers Bourke a genuine whistle-blower. He summed up the case: “This elaborate set of frauds that Kozeny was involved in were in essence covered up by the United States government, who chose instead to bring the full weight of their investigative enthusiasm against the whistle-blower. And that just shocks the conscience.”


Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,000 stations in North America. She is the co-author of “The Silenced Majority,” a New York Times best-seller.

© 2013 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

Rick Bourke.

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Transnational actors — the case of trade unions!

During the academic year 2013/2014, Prof. Knut Kjeldstadli leads the research project Globalization and the Possibility of Transnational Actors - The Case of Trade Unions at the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo/Norway. In this guest post, he outlines the purpose of this collective research project.

In 1990 workers at a metal sheet factory in Ravenwood in West Virginia in USA were fired. Scabs were brought in. The answer of the local steel workers’ union was a campaign which came to last for two years. The target was the international corporation – owned by a Swiss billionaire –that owned the factory. The union and their supporters succeeded in mapping his property network. They campaigned at the local level, activated the work security authorities (Arbeidstilsynet) and pressed his customers in USA not to buy his products. They also linked up with trade unions in Switzerland, his bank and hindered him in buying property elsewhere. In all there were campaigns in 28 countries. In 1992 the Ravenwood steelworkers won. Others have not been that successful.

Transnational campaigns and trade union action are both part of, and an answer to, the phenomenon we call globalization. Or maybe we should speak in plural about globalizations, as these processes of interweaving take place at several levels with different logics as, for example, supranational institutions, culture industry etc. Yet at the core is the economy and technology and at the core of the core are transnational corporations or TNCs in globalist lingo. In 2008 they were close to 80000, controlling more than one fourth of world production and 70 per cent of world trade. We reckon that among the 100 largest economic units in the world 51 are corporations, 49 are countries.

Photo by transnationalinstitute


Sometimes globalizations are understood almost as a subject of – not history or social sciences – but of geology – huge long term processes that are impersonal, inevitable and irreversible – and almost impossible to act upon – or against. And certainly there is this deep trend. However, these developments have not appeared from nowhere. They have been consciously promoted by powerful agents, governments and corporations.  Yet, from the point of view of individuals, they seem so overwhelming that they appear as impersonal structures.

This raises the question: Is transnational action possible for those who are not in power? Or more optimistically put: Under what circumstances is collective transnational action possible? This goes to the heart of the matter of what we deal with in our CAS-group.

There are several transnational institutions, networks, organizations and movements that might have been focused upon. We have chosen trade unions as our case, for several reasons:

1) Trade unions are the most immediate counterparts or adversaries of the corporations.

2) They try – at least to a certain extent – to counter national and global inequality.

3) They work at several levels – from local to global, and are engaged within a national space while striving to organize transnationally.

4) Unions still have – despite of backlashes – a relatively robust organization. Among the movements that react to market driven globalization unions probably have the greatest capability.

5) Unions display a manifold of political approaches, from those who rely on being the winners in the global market competition to those who very much oppose it – such as the Ravenwood workers.

6) And then the last part of the six-pack: The international trade union movement contains within itself contradictions and tensions that have to be overcome if effective collective action is to be successful.

Photo by transnationalinstitute
The challenges, hindrances and problems are obvious – ranging from practical issues of communication to suppression and conflicting interests among wage earners. How does a local shop steward act when a car producing company such as Volvo stages a competition between its plants about which one produces not only in the most effective way, but also at the lowest costs due to acceptance of shrinking pay and less social benefits? Shall this shop steward resign and accept the new terms? Shall he or she accept the closure of the factory? Shall he or she try to reach out to colleagues in the plants in other branches of the company? This logic also works between countries and the competition over who offers the most business friendly conditions. Sometimes the problems and counter forces seem overwhelming.

Yet there are important instances of agency, even several instances of successful actions and policies. This will be pursued in our group:

Political scientist Roland Erne – from Switzerland and Dublin – works on a more generalizing theory of trade union transnational action, building on available case studies. Under what circumstances has such agency been possible?

Political economist Andreas Bieler, from Germany and Nottingham, deals with cooperation between trade unions and other social movements over the issue of access to clean and drinkable water, as well as with cooperation between trade unions in the Global South, such as COSATU in South Africa and CUT in Brazil.

From Norway Oslo comes human geographer Ann Cecilie Bergene. She works on one particular challenge to unions – temporary work agencies. While the standard worker in the North is still the type that has a permanent, full-time contract with benefits, in the South two thirds are more or less casually employed as opposed to one third in the North. Looking at Eastern and Southern Europe there are reasons to speak about an element of the global South in the global North.

Also from Oslo, historian Idar Hellewill work on the stance of unions towards this kind of work – precarious, temporary, and often vulnerable. He will partly compare how national unions have tackled this and partly study those instances of transnational actions that do exist.


Now – globalization also involves people who move, the majority of today’s ca. 250 million migrants being labour migrants. These labour migrants come from a varied background and enter a variety of professions. Social anthropologist Sabina Stan, from Romania, Canada and Dublin, handles the theme of global care chains. Women from the South and East leave their family, sometimes their children, to take care of other families’ children. They are hushjelper in Norway, the badanti of Italy, maids, sometimes camouflaged as au pair. The global care chain also comprises nurses and other health personnel, both publicly and privately employed. The last may grow, due to privatization. She will investigate trade union reactions to this development.

Photo by China Supertrends

Construction workers have been at the forefront among those who have had to face the erosion of standard work, temporary work, etc. Historian Darragh Golden, from Ireland and Dublin, studies labour migration within the European Union with a particular focus on the policies of construction workers’ unions in Italy and Ireland.

Unions and immigrants – in Norway, maybe Scandinavia – is the theme of Knut Kjeldstadli, Norway, Oslo, historian and group leader. The Norwegian Fellesforbundet, mainstay of the male industrial working class, has formulated the motto: “We are a union for workers in Norway, not only for Norwegian workers”. Here there are historical lines to be drawn. In 1912, strikers in the company town of Rjukan protested against evictions of foreign workers: “We stand together with our comrades, who accidentally – accidentally - are born in another country”.

Finally, some have queried whether trade union are really a topic to be studied through basic research, considering the Centre’s name here in Norwegian is Senter for grunnforskning. There is an implicit dichotomy – on the one hand there is basic research, which is curiosity driven, which is initiated by researchers, which is free, which may be abstract, which is not expected to have any immediate practical use. On the other hand, there is commissioned or applied research, undertaken at the request of employers or customers, where questions are predefined, which is not free, and immediate and profitable results are expected. Now this dichotomy does not exhaust the possibilities. To my mind our group is engaged in what I shall call strategic basic research, strategisk grunnforskning – meaning that it is researcher driven and defined, it enjoys the fantastic freedom CAS offers – and yet our questions address a certain horizon of problems defined by a societal interest, and are legitimized more by their social use value than their academic exchange value.

[This post is based on Prof. Knut Kjeldstadli's project introduction at the Centre for Advanced Study, Oslo, on 5 September 2013.]

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Global Research and Countercurrents 22/6/2013, The Market Oracle 23/6/2013 and Deccan Herald 27/6/2013

“The innocent have everything to fear, mostly from the guilty, but in the longer term even more from those who say things like ‘The innocent have nothing to fear.’" Terry Pratchett (British author), in Snuff (Doubleday, 2011).

For many people, personal privacy vs widespread surveillance has been a major issue for decades. However, some thought mass spying on us has been happening but chose to downplay it. Others didn’t want to know and just didn’t care. Edward Snowden’s recent revelations indicate it is happening and that we should all care.    

Former National Security Agency (NSA) worker turned whistleblower Edward Snowden has now turned his attention to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British equivalent of the NSA. On Friday, Snowden released documents to The Guardian newspaper in the UK to back up his claims that GCHQ has secretly accessed fibre optic cables carrying huge amounts of internet and communications data. According to The Guardian, the agency is able to tap into, analyse and store data. Snowden told the newspaper that the NSA has a more prolific British ally in GCHQ. (GCHQ is one of three UKintelligence agencies, alongside MI5 and MI6.)

“It’s not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight… They (GCHQ) are worse than the US.” Edward Snowden

Although it is physically impossible for the intelligence agencies to read everyone’s emails, for instance, GCHQ can apparently record phone calls, read email and Facebook postings and review website traffic if they so wish. It can also access entire web use histories on individuals. Although GCHQ can only store certain data for 30 days, the Guardian says the practice is subject to little scrutiny. GCHQ operation can tap cables that carry global communications with the potential to carry 600 million daily ‘telephone events’.

“If GCHQ have been intercepting huge numbers of innocent people's communications as part of a massive sweeping exercise, then I struggle to see how that squares with a process that requires a warrant for each individual intercept.” Nick Pickles, Big Brother Watch director, as reported in The Guardian, 22 June.

This massive interception effort operates under two programmes: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation. GCHQ is tapping 200 internet links, each with a data rate of 10Gbps, and the agency has the technical capacity to concurrently analyze 46 of these 200 streams of data at a time.

The revelations come alongside reports of the NSA snooping on US and international citizens via the metadata held on them by telecommunication companies, and secret data-sharing agreements between the NSA and consumer-web giants, such as Facebook, Google, Apple and others under the PRISM scheme.

GCHQ is able to capitalize on the UK's position at the edge of Western Europe, by tapping into the vast quantity of data flowing through cables around the UK and abroad. Over 300 GCHQ and 250 NSA analysts sift through the data, which they use to identify communications relating to security, terror, organized crime, and economic well-being.

Britain and the US are the founding members of the Five-Eyes intelligence sharing agreement. The Five-Eyes are members of a special club of former British colonies that gather and intelligence with each other. AustraliaCanadaand New Zealand are the three other members.

According to The Guardian, Britain's ability to tap these fibre-optic cables makes it the web eavesdropping powerhouse of the Five-Eyes, with the documents provided by Snowden saying that of the five, Britain has "the biggest Internet access."

The Guardian reports that British personnel on the team of 300 GCHQ and 250 NSA analysts sifting through the data have "a light oversight regime compared to the US"

The newspaper reports that 850,000 NSA and employees and private American contractors have been able to access to the information gathered by CGHQ. One of the documents quotes NSA boss Gen. Keith Alexander as urging British spies to collect everything they could.
"Why can't we collect at the signals, all the time? Sounds like a good summer homework project for Menwith," is written at the top of a slide shown by the Guardian that supposedly quotes Alexander during a 2008 visit to the UK. The slide is titled, "Collect-it-all."
Menwith refers to RAF Menwith Hill, a secret signals intelligence gathering facility in the Yorkshire countryside run by the US.
GCHQ operatives tapped the fibre-optic cables over the last five years at the point where the transatlantic cables reach British shores - these cables move Internet and telephone data from North America to Western Europe.  All of this was done with agreements with the communications companies, described by the document as "intercept partners."
Last week, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Robert Cole defended bulk collection of cellphone data and other business records to US lawmakers:
"If you're looking for a needle in a haystack, you've got to get the haystack first," said Cole during a June 18 House intelligence committee hearing on the matter. "That's why we have the ability under the [FISA] court order, to acquire . . . all of that data, we don't get to use all of that data, necessarily." As reported by John Reed in Foreign Policy on 21 June.
Britain and the US are rapidly perfecting the system to allow them to capture and analyse a large quantity of international traffic consisting of emails, texts, phone calls, internet searches, chat, photographs, blogposts, videos and the many uses of Google.
Writing in The Guardian on Friday 21 June, Henry Porter states:
“Mastering the Internet treats the rights of billions of foreign web users, the possible menace to the privacy of British and American citizens and the duties of their legislators with equal contempt. After Iraq and the banking crash, the world may come to see MTI as further evidence of a heedless delinquency in two of the world's oldest democracies.”
Porter talks about the lack of meaningful oversight in both countries, the use of commercial companies in the surveillance process and the wholesale disregard for the fundamentals of both countries’ democratic principles. Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights organisation Liberty, says that GCHQ are exploiting the fact that the internet is so international in nature and that what's holding them back from going further is technological capability, certainly not ethics (1).

Why it matters, really matters
For too long, the majority in Britain has been led to believe that governments in major western liberal democracies operate with benign intentions, that the government acts on our behalf and in our interests and that only those with something to hide have anything to fear. The belief is forwarded that the loss of liberty and intrusions into our personal privacy are small prices to pay for ensuring our safety in a barbaric world that wants to attack and inflict terror on us.
It’s all part of the dominant narrative. It’s all part of a dominant narrative that seeks to mislead and to mask the real essence of power and the true nature of intent behind notions of patriotism, nationalism, bowing down to the flag, militarism and that ‘we’, ‘the nation’ are in united in cause and belief.   
What Snowden’s revelations illustrate is the unaccountable face of power. And this should concern us because it’s not the greater good of humankind, queen, flag or country that this power serves. It ultimately serves capital and the extremely wealthy, whose interests are diametrically opposed to those of ordinary people across the world (2).

Look no further to see who funds the major political parties or individual politicians to do their bidding. Look no further than the backgrounds of many of these politicians. But, most important, look no further to see who owns the major corporations and banks and who sits on the bodies that hammer out major policies (3)(4)(5). It is the powerful foundations and think tanks headed or funded by private corporations that drive US and British policies, whether at home or abroad, and that includes the Project for a New American Century (6) and the resultant ongoing war of terror waged on countries across the world.

Western liberal democracy has been quite successful in making many at home blind to the chains that bind and which make them immune to the falsehoods that underpin the system. However, with the economic meltdown, ‘austerity’, increasing public awareness of corporate crimes, disillusionment with mainstream politics and the ramping up of wars, paranoia and the stripping away of civil liberties, social control is no longer able to operate on the relatively benign level that it once did. The collapse of the economic system and its propping up has laid bare just who that system is set up to benefit. State violence and mass surveillance is now part of the changing agenda of liberal democracy that is no longer able to hide behind the pretence of being liberal or democratic. The mask has slipped and we are right to be concerned.

“The world has evidence of the totally monitored future that GCHQ and NSA plan for us and that political establishments turn a blind eye to…. fear still trumps everything. On Tuesday, the head of NSA, General Keith B Alexander, and the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, insisted that many terror plots had been stopped by surveillance. In Britain, the foreign secretary, William Hague… was joined by three former home secretaries, Jack Straw, Lord (John) Reid and Alan Johnson, to reassure us that mass surveillance was indeed necessary to make interdictions and… that further powers were needed… The point about these latest revelations is that they show there are more than adequate powers for interception on both sides of the Atlantic and that the terror agenda and, to a lesser degree, the fear of paedophilia, may well have been used to elaborate a huge system of espionage and domestic surveillance.” – Henry Porter, The Guardian 21 June.

Notes

Sources for this article
The Guardian 21 and 22 June

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Don’t Worry About Surveillance: In Britain, Everything’s Okay!

Global Research and Countercurrents 12/6/2013 and The 4th Media 21/6/2013

In the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’, a ‘war on terror’, fighting for ‘democratic freedoms’ or whatever the script happens to be this week, British Foreign Secretary William Hague can be relied on to sell US-British militarism to a public fed up with constant wars and (increasingly less) ignorant of their underlying reasons (1).    

In Syria, Hague has worked to try to replace Assad with a regime that could be controlled by the US and Israel. He has also campaigned for the EU to lift its arms embargo from the anti-Assad militants. Hague is a staunch supporter of Israel. His attitude towards Israel has been well documented: his dislike of the Syrian regime is backed up by a tangible strategy of aggression and destabilization, while mere lip service is paid to the protecting Palestinians or their treatment and plight (2). This is the same William Hague who declared that the intention was not regime change in Libya, but to protect civilians. The US and its allies, including Britain, helped instigate and fuel the war in Libya (3), and NATO bombs and western supported regime change have subsequently left over 100,000 Libyans dead, thousands more injured and much civilian infrastructure destroyed. 


During the Libyan conflict, 200 prominent African figures accused western nations of “subverting international law” in Libya. The UN had been misused to militarise policy, legalise military action and effect regime change, according to University of Johannesburg professor Chris Landsberg. He stated that it was unprecedented for the UN to have outsourced military action to NATO in this way and challenged the International Criminal Court to investigate NATO for “violating international law.” 


Rather than being held to account for the death and destruction in Libya, Hague has carried on where he left off with strong rhetoric directed towards Iran and a call for sanctions (4) and a concerted commitment to topple the Syrian government by force (5) (6) (7). For public consumption, this is all spuriously carried out under the banner of humanitarianism or in the name of global security.


As a client state of the US (mainstream British media often portray this as a ‘special relationship), Britain can be relied on to do Washington’s bidding. When Hague beats the drum over LibyaAfghanistanSyria or Iran, the drum is provided courtesy of Washington and Tel Aviv. Foreign Secretary Hague beats it on cue. 


It all begs the question, how much trust can we place in someone like Hague, especially when they try to reassure the British public that British intelligence services do not illegally snoop on the British population?  


Documents leaked by former US intelligence worker Edward Snowden suggest GCHQ, the British Government’s ‘listening post’ in CheltenhamEngland (equivalent to the US National Security Agency), may have had access to the US spy programme PRISM since at least June 2010.


Hague has told the British parliament that British spies have not used US surveillance programmes to get around laws restricting their ability to eavesdrop on the public in Britain. He has said that there is no indiscriminate trawling for information through the contents of people's communications and GCHQ operates within a strict legal framework.


Hague has stated: "It has been suggested that GCHQ uses our partnership with the United States to get around UK law, obtaining information that they cannot legally obtain in the United Kingdom… I wish to be absolutely clear that this accusation is baseless."

Every time GCHQ wants to intercept an individual's communications, Hague asserts that the agency must seek a warrant signed by him, the interior minister or another secretary of state. He asserts that every decision is based on extensive legal and policy advice and warrants are legally required to be necessary, proportionate and carefully targeted.


The UK's 2001 Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) permits international agreements that allow "mutual assistance in connection with, or in the form of, interception of communication," providing the foreign secretary has given his authority. It also allows for the interception of the content of both domestic communications and communications between the UK and elsewhere, provided a warrant has been signed, usually by a minister.


The 1994 Intelligence Services Act gives senior ministers the power to "disapply" UK law when granting written permission. This legislation ensures that no UK intelligence agency or officer is likely to be sued or prosecuted in Britain as a result of any mass surveillance operation.


In the US, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) gives US intelligence agencies wide-ranging powers to conduct surveillance of data that is held by or passes through the US: it provides for the gathering of information that may not only protect the US against hostile acts but which "is necessary to … the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.”


The US government can therefore basically do what it deems necessary to maintain its global hegemony. It has access to huge amounts of global data thanks to the numerous sophisticated ‘listening posts’ the US has on foreign soil. The NSA's largest eavesdropping centre outside the US is based in North Yorkshire. It is a satellite receiving station that monitors foreign military traffic, but can also access Britain's telecommunications network. The US military refer to the ‘golf ball’ encased satellite systems there as helping to secure full spectrum dominance of land, sea, air, space and information. Writer Garbrielle Pickard believes its presence entails the US having full spectrum control over the UK (8).


Given that the US thus has access to so much data beyond its national borders, it is easy to see just why the issue of the British government circumventing British law to access information held by the US on British citizens is of vital concern to the public. Even more so given Hague argues that the growing and diffuse nature of threats from terrorists, criminals or espionage has only increased the importance of Britain’s intelligence relationship with the United States.


In a more general sense, the underlying message being put forward by officialdom is that ‘no one has anything to fear as long as you are not terrorists or some other threat to national interest.’ In an age of perceived terror threats and subsequent clampdowns on civil liberties as a result of the illegal wars and covert and overt interventions abroad that politicians like Hague attempt to justify on fallacious grounds, just who does that rule out? The ‘terror threat’ and vague notions of the ‘national interest’ are highly convenient reasons for including anyone or everyone in the surveillance net.


What about Muslims, dissidents, civil-liberties types, ‘trouble-makers’, environmental campaigners, 'occupy' individuals, ‘lefties’, trade unionists, human rights activists or particular writers, bloggers and journalists? Surveillance and the infiltration of groups deemed ‘subversive’ (but working well within the law and an integral part of plural democracy) have been carried out by the intelligence services for many decades (9). In pointing out some of these types of activities, Annie Machon in The Guardian notes that real democracies don’t infiltrate legitimate protest groups. But, as she notes, in Britain they do (10).


A key element here is that of trust. Do we trust what politicians like Hague say or do? Do we trust our governments? Should we trust Google, Facebook and any other company that stores our personal details (11)?


NSA whitleblower Edward Snowden apparently thinks we should not. He wanted to expose the “omniscient state powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents.” Dennis Mitchell, a senior GCHQ officer, who retired in 1984 in protest at the Thatcher government's ban on trade unions there, referred to "actions which I believe would be considered unacceptable by the general public were it aware of them". He described GCHQ as a powerful, unaccountable arm of government. According to him, the only real watchdog at that time was the workforce, not the law.



Perhaps Snowden or Mitchell might agree to some extent with Michael Foucault’s premise that society now resembles a bright modern prison. Foucault warned that the bright visibility is a trap (12). Increasing visibility (on Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc) leads to power being located on an individualised level throughout a person's entire life. Foucault suggested that a ‘carceral continuum’ runs through modern society, from the maximum security prison, through secure accommodation, probation, social workers, police and teachers, to our everyday working and domestic lives. In this digital age, now more than ever before.


Under the guise of fighting the so-called ‘war on terror’, combating weapons proliferation and gathering economic intelligence, institutions such as GCHQ and the NSA are, in reality, operating a highly intrusive Big Brother Police State Surveillance Empire that is being used to specifically monitor the activities of genuine political opposition and dissent, as well as undermine the privacy, freedom and constitutional civil liberties of targeted peoples and nations throughout the world… Identification technologies such as video surveillance, biometrics and national ID cards will undoubtedly find their way into the sprawling informational GCHQ/NSA vortex, eventually rendering all personal, communal, commercial, economic, and political control to the State - a system of absolute tyranny that can only be labeled as ‘global slavery’.” Steve Jones (13).


Notes





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Towards the Globalization of CIA Torture and Rendition

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by Jeff Lincoln

A report released in early February by the Open Society Justice Initiative titled “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition” establishes that the Central Intelligence Agency, acting under the direction of the highest levels of the US government, has utilized a global network of secret prisons, foreign intelligence agents, and interrogation and torture centers to send detainees to without any legal protections.

This arrangement is worldwide and includes the involvement of at least 54 different countries touching almost every continent.

There is enormous diversity among the countries involved. They include Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, Syria and Jordan, which carried out the torture on suspects that the CIA rendered to them. Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Thailand hosted secret prisons operated by the CIA where detainees could be held clandestinely and have interrogations or torture conducted directly by American intelligence operatives.

European nations such as Macedonia, Georgia, and Sweden detained and delivered suspects to the CIA to be tortured. Larger countries such as Britain or Germany conducted some of the interrogations themselves while smaller countries such as Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, or Greece provided intelligence, logistical support, use of airspace, etc.

On the whole, the report stands as an indictment against all of Washington’s allies and client states in its self-proclaimed “war on terror.”

The Australian government stands implicated in the rendition of Mamdouh Habib, an Australian national, to Egypt where he was tortured and then later transferred to Guantanamo Bay where he was detained until he was released without charge in 2005.

Egypt stands as the country that has interrogated, tortured and abused the most people subject to extraordinary rendition. The relationship between the US and Egypt dates back to the Clinton administration that used the country almost exclusively for its rendition program, which was dramatically ramped up after September 11, 2001.

Italy’s secret services played a role in the abduction of Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric who was previously given asylum in Italy but was abducted in Milan in 2003; he was then placed on a flight to Egypt. Italian authorities authorized some 46 stopovers by CIA operated aircraft at Italian airports.

The United Kingdom, the country that enjoys the closest relationship with US imperialism, has extensive involvement with America’s rendition program. In addition to providing airspace, MI6 and other British intelligence worked hand in glove with the CIA to abduct and interrogate suspects. Omar Deghayes, a Libyan national but a British resident was arrested in 2002 and transported by US and British intelligence agents to Bagram, where he was subjected to abuse. After interrogation by MI5 agents, he was sent to Guantanamo where he underwent further physical abuse, suffering a broken finger, a broken nose, and damage to his right eye.

In 2004, the British government arranged to have a former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Sami al-Saadi, rendered into Libyan custody by approaching him in China and convincing him to fly to the British embassy in Hong Kong where he would be allowed to return to the UK. Instead, his whole family was taken into custody in Hong Kong and flown over to Libya where Mr. al-Saadi remained for six years and was subjected to torture by physical beatings and electric shocks.

While the report sheds some light on what countries are involved, the numbers of individuals subjected to rendition remains unknown. By 2005, it is estimated that about 150 persons were rendered to foreign countries according to admissions made by then-president George W. Bush. The real number is likely much higher, as Egypt alone has had to acknowledge that it received sixty to seventy terror suspects since September 11, 2001. Human Rights Watch has attempted to compile a list of persons who have been held in CIA prisons, and they have identified almost forty people who have either gone missing or whose whereabouts are unknown.

There are dozens more countries detailed in the report than just the ones mentioned above. Still, the report is extremely limited in scope in that it does not document transfers or detentions by any agency other than the CIA. It does not include the detention practices of the Defense Department, for example, and its notorious facilities in Guantanamo Bay or Afghanistan. Moreover, what is known is only based on the experiences of 139 individuals who have been released from custody. Nevertheless, it is now clear that the US government has been running a detention and “enhanced interrogation” operation with tentacles that span the globe.

It appears likely that the United States intentionally sought out the widespread involvement of so many countries to ensure that those who might later nominally reject these practices would themselves be so implicated that they would be unwilling to publicly expose the details of Washington’s dirty deeds.

Indeed, none of the countries mentioned in the report, save one, has even admitted any culpability for their participation in gross human rights violations. The lone exception is Canada, which assisted in the rendition of Canadian citizen Maher Arar in 2002 to Syria where he was tortured. A hastily conducted commission placed blame on the Royal Mounted Police but absolved those higher up in government of any responsibility. Other nations, such as Britain, Sweden and Australia have quietly settled lawsuits alleging their participation but have made no admission of liability.

As a matter of fact, far from acknowledging their complicity in abduction, rendition, and torture, many of the countries in the report were publicly denouncing these practices by the US government at the same time they were secretly abetting them.

A number of liberal and human rights organizations have reacted to the revelations in the Open Society Justice Initiative report by calling for and supporting the efforts of international tribunals to hear cases brought against officials of some of the countries complicit in assisting in the rendition of persons by the US Government.

While there are some actions pending in the European Court of Human Rights and other high courts against some of the countries named in the report for their role in assisting in rendition, the cases will have no impact on the operations of the CIA.

Setting aside the obvious fact that cases can only be brought by individuals whom the CIA has already decided to release, the outcome of these actions hinge on the narrow issue of the extent to which the participating countries knew or should have known torture was likely to occur. This glosses over the more fundamental issue that, unlike extradition, extraordinary rendition is, by definition, a transfer without legal process. In fact, the whole CIA program is designed to place detainee interrogations completely beyond the reach of law. Moreover, the US government has refused to recognize the jurisdiction of international courts of human rights.

President Barack Obama for his part, despite making claims of reversing the Bush-era CIA policies, has further escalated the crimes committed by his predecessor.

In January 2009, Obama issued a series of executive orders that purported to close down then existing CIA detention facilities and also created a task force to examine rendition practices and make recommendations to ensure humane treatment. These orders were nothing more than a sham to conceal the fact that, rather than restricting the ability of the CIA to conduct extraordinary renditions, the orders were purposely crafted to preserve it.

While Obama has ordered the CIA to shut down certain detention facilities, the directive specifically exempts facilities designed to hold people on a temporary or transitory basis. In other words, the executive order essentially codifies the CIA’s authority to detain suspects and then to render them to other countries to face interrogation, trial, or worse. Furthermore, if the CIA wanted the detainees to remain in the custody of the United States, they could be sent to a facility operated by the Department of Defense or kept offshore on a Navy vessel.

The task force created by Obama’s order functions merely as a fig leaf for the continuation of Bush-era policies. The report, which was completed in 2009, has not been made public and is not binding on any agency. However, as an example of its toothlessness, a Justice Department press release disclosed that one of the recommended safeguards was relying on assurances from the receiving country that the detainees would be treated humanely.

The Justice Department under Obama appointee Eric Holder has closed inquiries into the treatment of over 100 detainees who were in CIA custody overseas, including several who died while in custody, stating that no criminal charges would be pursued.

Iran marks oil nationalization day

Iran has marked the 62nd anniversary of the nationalization of its oil industry as a momentous breakthrough in the nation's movement for independence, Press TV reports.

On March 20, 1961, members of the Iranian parliament passed a bill introduced by then Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq on the nationalization of the oil industry.

Mosaddeq garnered the support of his nationalist party and religious groups led by prominent cleric, Ayatollah Abolqasem Kashani, for the initiative.

Experts say before nationalization of Iran’s oil industry, the British government, which controlled Iran's oil industry through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, reaped higher profits from Iran's oil resources than the Iranian government.

Some scholars believe that nationalization of Iran’s oil industry was the main reason behind the 1953 joint CIA-MI6-sponsored coup d'état, codenamed Operation Ajax, which overthrew Mosaddeq.

ASH/SS

New Evidence: Tony Blair Was Told Before Invasion Iraq Had No WMDs

Yes, it's been several long years of C&L reminding people there was no legitimate reason to invade Iraq. You might be as tired of reading about it as we are of pointing it out. But it's important that we continue to deconstruct the facade that was used to sell us on the Iraq invasion, because we're seeing the same slow buildup of "facts" about Iran. War is only about money and power, and rarely if ever about justice:

Fresh evidence is revealed today about how MI6 and the CIA were told through secret channels by Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair told Parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was “active”, “growing” and “up and running”.

A special BBC Panorama programme tonight will reveal how British and US intelligence agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.

It describes how Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister, told the CIA’s station chief in Paris at the time, Bill Murray, through an intermediary that Iraq had “virtually nothing” in terms of WMD.

Sabri said in a statement that the Panorama story was “totally fabricated”.

However, Panorama confirms that three months before the war an MI6 officer met Iraq’s head of intelligence, Tahir Habbush al-Tikriti, who also said that Saddam had no active WMD. The meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, took place days before the British government published its now widely discredited Iraqi weapons dossier in September 2002.

Lord Butler, the former cabinet secretary who led an inquiry into the use of intelligence in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, tells the programme that he was not told about Sabri’s comments, and that he should have been.

Butler says of the use of intelligence: “There were ways in which people were misled or misled themselves at all stages.”

When it was suggested to him that the body that probably felt most misled of all was the British public, Butler replied: “Yes, I think they’re, they’re, they got every reason think that.”

WMD Lies – Mainstream Media Must Also Shoulder Responsibility

Even since before the hyped "shock and awe" beginning of the Iraq war, it was obvious to almost every critical-thinking person that a tidal wave of government lies and deceit was about to lead to mass murder.

Open War Crimes: US and British-Backed Weapons Airlift From Croatia to Terrorists in Syria

It’s well known by now that the NATO and Gulf States' initial plans to overturn the sovereign state of Syria has been running behind schedule since their operation was launched two years ago. They had hoped for the sort of slam dunk which they enjoyed in overturning the country of Libya in late 2011.

This same formula could not be applied again however, so Plan B, a ground war using proxies has meant a longer drawn out conflict, with western backed terrorist groups sustaining heavy losses in their fight to topple the Assad government on behalf of NATO and its Gulf allies.

The main obstacle with Plan B is that the very idea of directly arming terrorists in Syria is not one which can be sold openly in either the US or Britain. Plan C is to draw in the UN by creating a ‘chemical weapons’ crisis in Syria, but thanks to a prominent online leak of documents relating to UK DOD contractor Britamthe British have been caught brokering a deal transferring ex-Gaddafi stocks from Libya to Syria to be blamed on Assad, paid for by Qatar. The WMD threat still remains a hard sell for western voters…

From the NATO Allied corner, something drastic needed to be done.

Whilst politicians in the West, namely those in Washington DC, London and parts of Europe, have been publicly denying that they were helping to organise running arms into Syria and issuing very public pleads for ‘humanitarian aid’ for those they identify as the Syrian Opposition, activity back stage has been furious. The debate in government and the media has been mere window dressing for the real operation being quietly carried out.

NATO Gun-running via Croatia

It can now be revealed that NATO allied nations were busy using proxy states to drive their war in Syria – putting together one of the biggest international black operation transfers of military supplies in recent history. So it’s official: large caches of hardware from the West have been transferred to the Syrian jihadist mercenary collective known as the ‘Free Syrian Army’ , ‘Syrian Rebels’, or ‘Syrian Opposition’ – depending on who you ask, a brash move which may be vehemently opposed by other UN Security Council members – namely Russia and China.

Multiple media sources reveal the details of this massive airlift comprised of 75 airplanes, and an estimated 3,000 tons of military weaponry on board has left Croatia and has already been delivered… to Syria.

It is also confirmed from these reports that Saudi Arabia has financed a large portion of this purchase secretly transported to al Qaeda and other FSA fighters – who are working with the support of the CIA, MI6 and others, along with other financial and material support of Qatar and Saudi, to further destabilise and overthrow the Assad government in Syria.

Croatia’s daily newspaper Jutarnji List reported:

From the start of November last year, till February this year, 75 planes flew out from Zagreb Airport with over 3,000 tons of weapons and ammunition bound for Syrian rebels…

The newspaper, quoting diplomatic sources, says that besides Croatian weapons the planes were full with weapons from other European countries including the UK. The weapons were organised by the United States of America.

Sources say that the first few flights to leave Croatia bound for Syria with weapons were operated by Turkish Cargo, which is owned by Turkish Airlines. After those flights, Jordanian International Air Cargo took over the flights. The deal to provide arms to the rebels was made between American officials and the Croatian Ambassador to the US.

In addition to this huge gun-running operation, Croatia also appears to be guilty of either having advanced knowledge, or possibly coordinating with Syrian terrorists as evidenced by their recently withdraw all of troops from the UN observer mission in Golan Heights, indicating that the recent kidnapping by Free Syrian Army Terrorists of at least 20 UNIFIL peacekeepers in the Golan Heights was known in advance by Croatia.

The kidnapping incident may have been designed to test the UN, but also to pull Syria’s southern neighbor, Israel, even closer to the conflict, a development which would almost surely prompt the UN to declare this as trigger to a regional crisis, followed by an authorised military intervention. Pulling Israel in would also risk involving Hezbollah from Lebanon, who are already engaging in assisting Assad in training a new specialist paramilitary force in Syria to deal with urban warfare.

If it was known by Croatia, then one can only conclude that this was also known by US and British operatives as well. Both the US and Britain will naturally claim deniability as their legal out in this case, by deniability through the use of proxies makes no innocent parties when the prospect of a multi-regional war beckons as a result of the west’s financial, logistical, political, and now material involvement in the overthrow of a sovereign state and internationally recognised government.

Much worse, however, is that by employing proxies like Jordan, Croatia, Turkey,and others, the NATO allies have guaranteed long-term retribution down the road, should Syria prevail in this fight. For Syria, it is now known which countries collaborated with the West to dismantle their country. This fact alone will ensure conflict in the region for a generation.

US officials are on record as admitting to helping arrange the weapons airlift, as cited in this Feb 25, 2012 article in the New York Times:

“An official in Washington said the possibility of the transfers from the Balkans was broached last summer, when a senior Croatian official visited Washington and suggested to American officials that Croatia had many weapons available should anyone be interested in moving them to Syria’s rebels.”

Terrorist receive recoilless guns from the former Yugoslavia

Revelations are not limited to the Croatian news report, as we see the US and Europe’s mainstream media wall of silence has begun to crack, including here a recent report from London’s Daily Telegraph sent across Syria’s borders with Jordan and NATO-member Turkey. The article entitled, “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’“ goes on to give further details of direct European involvement in illegal weapons running:

The United States has coordinated a massive airlift of arms to Syrian rebels from Croatia with the help of Britain and other European states, despite the continuing European Union arms embargo, it was claimed yesterday…

Decisions by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, to provide non-lethal assistance and training, announced in the past week, were preceded by much greater though less direct Western involvement in the rebel cause, according to a Croat newspaper.

The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours.

as from Croatia, weapons came “from several other European countries including Britain”, without specifying if they were British-supplied or British-procured arms.

British military advisers however are known to be operating in countries bordering Syria alongside French and Americans, offering training to rebel leaders and former Syrian army officers…

… The weapons, including rocket launchers, recoil-less guns and the M79 anti-tank weapon, have been seen in rebel hands in numerous videos, and were first spotted by an arms expert Eliot Higgins, who blogs under the name Brown Moses. He traced them moving from Dera’a in the south, near the Jordanian border, to Aleppo and Idlib provinces in the north.

Hague: Denies Britain’s involvement in gun-running

It is also no big secret that Britain has deployed a significant contingent of troops and support personnel to Jordan at least as far back as Autumn 2012 as part of its ongoing ‘joint military exercises’ with the Jordan military, but this latest revelation puts into clearer perspective the overwhelming likelihood that high level British military operation have actually been involved in the transfer of arms from Jordan into the hands of the international terrorist confab of mostly foreign fighter running under the west’s media banner of “Syrian Rebels”.

Consequences for Croatia, and Britain

What Britain may be guilty of here, is cynically – and illegally, trying to side-stepping the EU embargo on arms into Syria by using the fledgling EU state of Croatia as their delivery mechanism, because Croatia does not officially join the EU until July 1, and has not implemented any binding EU legislation. This flagrant violation of both EU and international law should mean that Croatia’s entrance into the EU could be appealed by other members states willing to raise an objection, with what are now clear grounds to mount a legal challenge against Croatia.

Regardless of any EU outcomes however, Croatia at least –  is guilty of international war crimes.

International and EU Sanctions Against the US, Britain, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia

As expected, Britain’s Foreign Office denies all of the claims connecting it to the Croatian gun-running program, but if Britain is involved – even indirectly, through a proxy like Croatia, or if British military personnel are aiding and abetting these known terrorist fighters in Syria through the transfer of weaponry, then Britain can also be brought into the international legal framework to answer for what it has done behind the public’s back.

The international war crimes which are now in the public view could test the legal framework of the EU, the UN and the ICC in the Hague. The legal door is now open for charges against state actors including US, Britain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – for the crimes of illegally arming a force of foreign fighters and known terrorists in Syria – designed to destroy the country from within. Many UN resolutions, including the recent Resolution 1973 applied in Libya by the UN, have been implemented on much more spurious and shaky grounds than the overwhelming evidence available regarding Syria.

Consequences for NATO and the UN

Despite any denials in Brussels, NATO are involved through their member states Turkey and Croatia, as well as US, UK, and France from behind. Any involvement should question these country’s NATO status, or at least it begs the question what is NATO for, or even the UN, if their member states are conspiring together to subvert international law?

Moreover, Israel’s unwarranted airstrike against a Syrian Military Research facility last month was also ignored by the UN, but this is not surprising as Israel has long been allowed to operate outside of international law and norms.

If the international community does not act in this instance, then it opens the door to more brazen criminality sans borders, which could spawn similar illegal operations against Iran, opening the door to a Third World War.

US uniformed Personnel Training Rebels in Jordan

Der Spiegel also reports this week that, despite denials by Washington DC, Americans are definitely training Syrian rebels in neighboring Jordan. The reports goes on:

It is not clear if the Americans are members of the US armed forces or are part of a private contracting firm, but the trainers wear uniforms, the paper reported.

It added that the training, which also involves Jordanian intelligence officers, had been going on “for some time,” and that the rebels were being taught how to use anti-tank weaponry.

France sends ‘aid’ for Syria to Jordan

France played an integral part in the destruction of Libya in 2011, and they might also have an interest in their former colonial possessions in Syria, but it’s not clear as yet if France’s commitment to overthrowing the Assad government is on par with the US and Britain’s efforts. Back in August 2012, France had also been sending large shipments designated for Syria via Jordan, claiming that these shipment contained ‘aid and medical supplies’ – intended for Syrian refugees. Real Syrian News reported:

An Antonov 124 cargo aircraft landed at the Marka military airport in Amman on Saturday. The cargo is said to include a field hospital and medical supplies for the refugees in the Zaatari camp near the Syrian border. An A310 airliner carrying 85 French military staff and medical equipment arrived in Jordan on Thursday.

After the Croatian airlift, it’s now not a stretch to suspect that other countries could be involved in similar operations under the cover of supplying ‘humanitarian aid’.

Consequences for Jordan

The overwhelming body of evidence proves that Jordan is playing the key role as proxy and facilitator for the West’s wishes and desires to destroy the country of Syria. The consequences for Jordan, should the West’s efforts fail, is that Jordan has now exposed itself as a provocateur and enemy of both Syria, and Lebanon, and indeed Iran also. It is not know how much Jordan has been paid for its services, or what promises have been made to its royal family in exchange for facilitating the Syrian upheaval, but it cannot compensate Jordan for playing the crucial role in possibly fomenting a regional or multi-theatre global war.

Syria Crisis Planned by the US and NATO Allies Before the ‘Arab Spring’

Despite previous denials and avoiding the issue by states persons like Hillary Clinton and William Hague, it is certain that ‘al Qaeda’ terrorists are operating in Syria and receive various kinds of support from the West and their Gulf allies, and that these are many of the same terrorist who are responsible for violence and killing in Iraq. The New York Times confirmed this fact recently:

Iraqi officials said the extremists operating in Syria are in many cases the very same militants striking across their country. “We are 100 percent sure from security coordination with Syrian authorities that the wanted names that we have are the same wanted names that the Syrian authorities have, especially within the last three months,” Izzat al-Shahbandar — a close aide to the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki — said in an interview on Tuesday. “Al Qaeda that is operating in Iraq is the same as that which is operating in Syria,” he said.

Bangkok based analyst, Tony Cartalucci, from Land Destroyer blog, adds another important piece of evidence in this mix, pointing out the fact that the US and its NATO operatives have been engineering the crisis in Syria well before the official ‘uprising’ began in 2011:

Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, in his 2007 New Yorker report titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?“stated explicitly that: “To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Cartalucci provides further background to support the west’s own knowledge and involvement is the current crisis:

Is there any doubt that the US has executed this plot in earnest, arming and funding sectarian extremists “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” on both Syria’s northern and southern border? Where else, if not from the West and its regional allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, could extremists be getting their weapons, cash, and logistical support from?

And of course, Syria’s borders with Jordan and Turkey have been long-ago identified by the US Army’s own West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) as hotbeds of sectarian extremist/Al Qaeda activity – hotbeds that the West is purposefully funneling thousands of tons of weaponry through, while disingenuously claiming it is attempting to prevent such weapons from falling into the hands of extremists.

The CTC’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” identified Syria’s southeastern region near Dayr Al-Zawr on the Iraqi-Syrian border, the northwestern region of Idlib near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border, as having produced the majority of fighters found crossing over into Iraq throughout the duration of the Iraq War.


Image: (Left) West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into Iraq came from during the US invasion/occupation. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr in Syria’s southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right) A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of so-called “pro-democracy fighters.” These areas are now admittedly the epicenters of fighting, and more importantly, despite being historical hotbeds of Al Qaeda activity, precisely where the West is flooding with cash, weapons, and military “advisers.”

Just like in Libya where the West literally handed an entire nation to sectarian extremists, we are watching a verbatim repeat in Syria – where we are told Al Qaeda terrorists are “pro-democracy” “freedom fighters” that deserve US cash, weapons, and support, when it couldn’t be any clearer they aren’t.  

Not only has the US and UK lied to the world about their policy toward Syria and their current level of support for increasingly overt terrorists committing an array of atrocities – their latest act including the taking of over 20 UN peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights - but have revealed once again the manufactured facade that is the “War on Terror…”

Terrorist Groups Currently Active in Syria

Known terrorist groups are operating in Syria and are receiving the full backing of NATO Allies and Gulf states Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They include – but are not limited to, Saudi Intelligence-backed Jabhat al-Nusra or ‘al Nursa Front’, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group,  Abdullah Azzam Brigades and Al Baraa ibn Malik Martyrdom Brigade, the jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham, the PKK (in northeast Syria), Kata’ib Mohadzherin from the Russian Caucus region - to name only a few.

Earlier reports of rogue Russian and Chechen terrorists filtering into Syria appear to be preceded by Salafists killing Sufi leaders in the Russian Federation. The Pakistan Christian Post reports:

Recently in Dagestan the Sufi spiritual leader Said Efendi Chirkeisky was killed by a suicide bomber along with a few followers. This happened in late August and the closeness to the recent attack against Sufi leaders in Tatarstan is a clear reminder that Salafism is a potent force within parts of the Russian Federation. Therefore, not surprisingly the Russian Federation is extremely alarmed by major Western powers once more working in collusion with the FSA, al-Qaeda and a whole array of Salafi terrorist organizations.

It’s worth noting also that like Libya’s new militant governor of Tripoli, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, terrorist group Kata’ib Mohadzherin’s leader Airat Vakhitov was also imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Both were released and filtered back into fighting regions to organise al Qaeda-type Islamist groups – both active in countries which the US and NATO have been actively vying for regime change, in Libya and Syria respectively. You can draw your own conclusions here about what Guantanamo is in reality.

The same New York Times article (above) also mentions terrorists’ theocratic designs of establishing some caliphate in the region:

One Qaeda operative, a 56-year-old known as Abu Thuha who lives in the Hawija district near Kirkuk in Iraq, spoke to an Iraqi reporter for The New York Times on Tuesday. “We have experience now fighting the Americans, and more experience now with the Syrian revolution,” he said. “Our big hope is to form a Syrian-Iraqi Islamic state for all Muslims…"

It’s important to understand that such claims by any shadowy ‘al Qaeda’ figures must also be balance with the reality that these militants have been historically, and are still today, directed and funded at the highest levels of both US and Saudi intelligence, and others. When you see terror spokesman like Ayman al-Zawahri, the alleged leader of Al Qaeda, praise the Syrian fighters by referring to them as “the lions of the Levant,” in messages released exclusively via a known CIA media dissemination outlets like SITE, or INTEL CENTER, then readers should be suspicious of why it’s been released and what political effect it is designed to have.

Now that some of the scope of NATO Allies operation in Syria has been exposed to the public, perhaps political representatives, media journalist, and editors will be able to report more accurately on the Syrian crisis, and demand a withdrawl of NATO, Arab League and others country’s support for the growing and highly dangerous paramilitary and other al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups who are currently working to take power by destabilising the country of Syria.

It’s all happening out in the open now.

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Supervisor of Intelligence Estimate Hailed for Preventing War With Iran

Transcript

Hassan Ghani

An award for integrity and honesty, for work that essentially prevented a war.Thomas Fingar, now a Professor at Stanford University, oversaw the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran in 2007, during a period when the Bush administration was beating the drums of war. Its conclusion, that all 16 US intelligence agencies judged with high confidence that Iran had given up its nuclear weapons programme in 2003, placed an insurmountable obstacle on the path to conflict.Critics of the report's conclusions say it was politicised. But speaking to us in Oxford, where he's currently teaching as part of an overseas programme, Thomas Fingar told us that unlike the flawed WMD report on Iraq in 2002, his assessment has withstood scrutiny over the years.Professor Thomas Fingar, Chairman of National Intelligence Council (2005-2008)“The assessment of our estimate has been reviewed many times. Many times before we issued it, many times in the years since, in the years since with additional information. Judging by the public statements, the annual threat testimony and the other statements of the administration, which must be consistent with the classified report, they haven’t changed it. It stood up as good analytic tradecraft. There are people who characterise it as if it was written in order to prevent war – that’s not why it was written, it was written to describe the situation as best we understood it.Hassan GhaniWhen asked what went wrong in 2002, Fingar says those authoring the NIE on Iraq caved in to pressure to produce a rushed report.Professor Thomas Fingar, Chairman of National Intelligence Council (2005-2008)“They produced an estimate in 17 days. That was the congressionally imposed deadline agreed to by George Tenet. So they produced something in 17 days, which had two weekends in there. It’s a classic case of you want something real bad, you get something real bad. Stuff pulled off the shelf not really re-evaluated, no ability to go back and really tear into this stuff. And we were not going to make that mistake again with the Iran estimate. So we took the heat and said ‘you don’t get it until we’re ready’.”Hassan GhaniBut he that ultimately politicians can choose to ignore the intelligence agencies, if they don't get the results they want.Professor Thomas Fingar, Chairman of National Intelligence Council (2005-2008)“The decision to go to war had clearly been made before that estimate was undertaken. Troops were moving, you could not have been in Washington and not known there was going to be war. For I&R we said there’s not evidence of a reconstituted nuclear programme – that was the only one that really mattered – and we said no, evidence isn’t there, the evidences can all be explained in other ways. That’s the third sentence of the estimate. So if you cared about this enough to read to the third sentence, you’d know that there was a dissent on the major justification for the conflict.”Hassan GhaniThe Sam Adams associates present their award each year for integrity in intelligence. Many previous awardees have been intelligence professionals and whistleblowers.2010 Sam Adams awardee, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, was piped into the ceremony by video link. He used the opportunity to tackle an upcoming Hollywood movie, which he says is an attack on Wikileaks, and renews the push for war with Iran.Julian Assange, Wikileaks“We have something here, which is a recent acquisition of Wikileaks. The script to a tens of millions of dollar budget Dreamworks movie. What is it about? It is about us, nominally. It is about Wikileaks the organisation. It is a mass propaganda attack against Wikileaks the organisation and the character of my staff and our activities and so on. But it is not just an attack against us, it fans the flames to start a war with Iran. It’s coming out in November, it’s being filmed now. So that’s the reality of where we’re at. Not merely a war of intelligence agencies, but a war of corrupt media, corrupt culture.”Hassan GhaniSam Adams himself was a CIA analyst in the Vietnam-era, tasked with estimating enemy strength in numbers. His conclusion that the Viet-cong numbered at least half a million, twice the official figure, was swept under the rug at the time, seen as politically unacceptable. He later did go public, but too late to have an impact on the war.Raymond McGovern, Former CIA Analyst“He went to an early death at age 55, with great remorse that he had not gone outside the system, that he had not said what he knew back in 1967, half way through the war. The way he explained it to me is, that Vietnam memorial, made of granite in a V, that whole left section wouldn’t be there, because there would be no names to carve into that granite. If he had spoken out, if I had spoken out, if we had spoken around 1967, when we had that cable from General Abrahams saying ‘we can’t go with the honest figures, because we’ve been projecting a view of progress’.”Hassan GhaniAnd so just as interesting as this year's award winner, are those presenting it to him. Former US Army Colonel Ann Wright resigned as a State department official in protest over the Iraq War. She argues that too many within government are carried along with political tides, often at the expense of what's best for the nation.Ann Wright, Former US State Dep. Official“There were so many people, that were a part of the decision to go ahead and invade and occupy Iraq, that knew better. That knew that the rationale for it was wrong, but they went along with the senior leadership of our country, who for whatever reason it was, whether it was for oil or for whatever it was, wanted to take out the Saddam Hussein regime.”Hassan GhaniLike other Sam Adams associates, she sees whistleblowers as an essential check to keep the system in balance.Ann Wright, Former US State Dep. Official“So many whistleblowers find that the system doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. Because usually it’s something that the government system is doing wrong and whistleblowers are saying ‘wait wait, this is going wrong’ or ‘maybe there’s even criminal acts that are happening that the government’s involved in and we’ve got to stop that and change it’. And we find that many times the government and senior officials in the government don’t want to hear that.”Hassan GhaniPrevious Sam Adams award winner, Coleen Rowley, blew the whistle after 9/11 on major intelligence sharing failures within the FBI in the run up to the attacks. Her 9/11 commission testimony helped re-organise the agency and the way information is shared.Coleen Rowley, Former FBI Agent, Whistleblower“They realised that 9/11 occurred because the agencies blocked information from each other, they blocked it vertically, horizontally, and they blocked it from the public. So the people who are in those environments, when information is blocked and there is lack of sharing, what is their choice? They almost have to either become a whistleblower or then live forever with the consequences of knowing that they could have done something. That’s why Wikileaks, or a method of sharing information, and of course I talked about sharing information between agencies, but it’s also with the public. The 9/11 commission said if the information even had been shared of Moussawi’s arrest, that would have probably prevented 9/11. So it’s an incredible situation, most people think that secrecy is protecting them, and it’s the exact opposite.”Hassan GhaniRowley believes much more information should be made public, whether or not it's politically embarrassing.Coleen Rowley, Former FBI Agent, Whistleblower“We’ve had some good inspector general investigations, for instance of torture in the CIA, to this day though it remains secret. And you see the opposite is Abu Ghraib, that report was made public, and so at least the public learned about it, and there was at the time an outcry about the fact that it was discovered that abuses were occurring in Abu Ghraib. But the CIA torture report, I think it’s probably a good investigation, but the public still doesn’t know, and so what’s happened? There’s a movie out there that’s using a false narrative – the public doesn’t know that it’s false, because how would they know? Because they’ve never seen the truth. It’s a pretty incredible situation, the truth really matters.”Hassan GhaniThe US government says it’s necessary to prosecute whistleblowers to protect national security. And for whistleblowers who do choose to go public, the consequences are increasingly dangerous.Coleen Rowley, Former FBI Agent, Whistleblower“Especially under Obama, there have been prosecutions, I think it’s 7 now, twice as many as all Presidents of all time, under the official espionage act. If you go back to deepthroat, and the FBI who knew that the highest level of President’s men were actually engaging wrongdoing – would that repeat today? I really wonder, especially now with the surveillance and the monitoring.”Hassan GhaniThomas Drake is the only whistleblower so far who's managed to fight espionage charges under Obama and win - there are six other cases. A former senior executive at the NSA, he blew the whistle to the media on a failed billion dollar surveillance programme which he believed violated the constitution.Thomas Drake, Former NSA Executive, Whistleblower“I would I eyewitness to massive fraud, waste and abuse on a multi-billion dollar program, a boondoggle programme called trailblazer, when there was actually a superior alternative, and was also a program that would have completely honoured the fourth amendment and the exclusive statute by which the US government, NSA, was authorised to violate the fourth amendment rights fo Americans. That was under FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wilfully broke the law, criminally. But what happened later, as all of this came out and I ended up going to a reporter, decriminalised the reporting of the government wrong doing. They criminalized the reporting of government criminal conduct.”Hassan GhaniDrake says he was careful not to reveal any classified information, and after reviewing laws on disclosure, thought that the worst that could happen is that he would lose his job. Instead, he faced espionage charges amounting to 35 years in prison.Thomas Drake, Former NSA Executive, Whistleblower“I was turned into enemy of the state, I mean I'm charged with the espionage act, I'm being put into the same category as historical spies in US history, the Alder Hiss’, the Robert Hanssens, the Alrdich Ames of the world. That the category of people you become associated with. So it's probably one of the worst things an american can be charged with, under the espionage act, because you are painted into a very dark corner, you have betrayed your country. I was put under investigation by the bush administration, but the Bush administration never actually indicted me, it took the Obama administration to actually indictment me. And when they indicted me, they threw everything they had at me.In 2008, his presidential campaign, he actually lauded whistleblowers, he called them out as patriots. Who better to call the government onto the carpet when they’re up to no good. And yet he’s presided over the most draconian crackdown on truth tellers and whistleblowers of any administration, actually all administrations combined. It truly is unprecedented.Hassan GhaniDespite immense pressure to plead out, Drake maintained his innocence, and on the eve of trial government prosecutors dropped the charges. But Thomas Drake has been left blacklisted, financially bankrupt, and disturbed at the path his country is following.Thomas Drake, Former NSA Executive, Whistleblower“I'm having great difficulty recognising my own country, in terms of the government, the form of government under which I took an oath to support and defend four times in my government career. Any yet I was criminalized, and was painted as an enemy of the state, for simply speaking truth to power, and it was clear they were going to make me an object lesson, and they threw everything they had at me.Hassan GhaniOf course, it's not just US administrations that face accusations of covering up fraud and criminal acts under the guise of national security. Annie Machon was an agent in the British spy agency MI5. She claims Britain is ahead of the US in terms of stifling whistleblowers from within the intelligence community.Annie Machon, Former MI5 Agent, Whistleblower“They a rethink about the official secrets act and launched a new in 1989, the 1989 official secrets act, which obviated, got rid of, the public interest defence. And the only reason that clause was put in was to stifle whistleblowing. There’s already that old law to stop treachery, so this is designed to stifle whistleblowers. And it has been used many times in the UK since, against David Shayler, Richard Tomlinson, Katherine Gun, and it has a very chilling effect on the idea that if you see crimes committed by the spy agencies, what do you do with that information? The only person that you can go to legally under the OSA of 1989 is the head of the agency you wish to make a complaint against. So you can imagine how many of those complaints are upheld.And I think it’s particularly pertinent at the moment, certainly in the last 10 years, where we’ve seen false information fed into the political process, where we’ve seen politicisation of intelligence in the run up to the Iraq war, with the Downing Street memo and the head of MI6 saying the intelligence facts had to be fitted around the policy. And also where we see torture and extraordinary rendition, where our British spies are being used to do that and they are protected under a lot of secrecy laws, and the government in fact wants to make greater protection for them by setting up secret courts, where the accused can’t even see what they’re accused of. It’s Kafkaesque.”Hassan GhaniAllegations against British intelligence services of complicity in torture do still make it through to the media when the alleged victims speak out. But with tight laws around disclosure in the UK, it's impossible to say whether or not what we hear is just a fraction of what's taking place.Annie Machon, Former MI5 Agent, Whistleblower“I worked in MI5 in the mid-1990s for six years. That I would say would be the only marginally ethical decade of its hundred year existence, because up until 1989 it did not officially exist - it could do whatever it wanted - and post 9/11 the gloves came off with the intelligence agencies. So in the 1990s peace was breaking out, they didn’t get involved in torture, they stopped looking at political activists, the whole shebang. So that was actually the more ethical era, and yet in those six years David Shayler and I saw so much going wrong that we felt compelled to blow the whistle. So how much worse is it now? That has to be the question. I think all we’re seeing now with extradition and torture cases is definitely very much the tip of the iceberg.Hassan GhaniIt’s clear that the act of whistleblowing, even in the public interest, is under serious threat. Some may consider this a positive development in terms of national security. Others see it as the end of public accountability for those in positions of power.Thomas Drake, Former NSA Executive, Whistleblower“If the government begins to exercise increasing influence, even if it’s self-censorship where people will not speak up because they’re afraid that they’re going to be noticed by the government, that means that critical information about government activities will never see the light of day. And especially the secret side of government, you would think that’s the part of government you want the most accountability with. Well, if they’re choking off the sources and they’re making it very clear, even though I was able to prevail and hold off the government and remained a free man, the message was still sent.”

Cameron In Peace Talks Appeal To Taliban

David Cameron issued a direct appeal to the Taliban to enter peaceful talks on the future of Afghanistan after hosting talks at Chequers with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari today. The prime minister said the two...

UK intends to interfere in Algeria

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Algerian counterpart Abdelmalek Sellal (From L)

The British government intends to legitimize its plans for interference in Algeria’s affairs, claiming that it wants to help the African country to cope with al-Qaeda threat in the region.

On his way to the Northwest African country, British Prime Minister David Cameron told the reporters that his aim was to help Algeria "to help itself" amid growing threats from terrorists.

Cameron is the first British Prime Minister to visit Algeria since it became independent in 1962.

Talking with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmalek Sellal in the capital Algiers on Wednesday, Cameron offered Britain’s support in a new partnership against terrorism.

“What we have agreed is a strengthened partnership that looks at how we combat terrorism and how we improve security of this region,” Cameron said.

Cameron’s trip to Algeria, where he was accompanied by National Security Adviser Sir Kim Darroch and Sir John Sawers, the head of Britain’s international spy agency MI6, comes a fortnight after a deadly attack on a gas plant in the southern Sahara desert.

The attack on the In Amenas gas field led to a hostage-taking siege that ended with the deaths of almost 40 people, including six Britons. The violence was blamed on armed men who had infiltrated into Algeria from Mali.

On January 11, France launched a war in Mali under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who control the north of the African country.

Britain promised to send up to 330 military personnel to Mali and West Africa in order to help France’s war in the African country.

MOS/SSM/HE

The Real Invasion of Africa is Not News, and a Licence to Lie is...

africom

A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.

The invasion has almost nothing to do with “Islamism”, and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a “menacing arc” of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus “red menace” of a worldwide communist conspiracy.

Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Last year, Africom staged Operation African Endeavor, with the armed forces of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the US military.

Africom’s “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.

It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite whose “historic mission”, warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged”.

A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the , which in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.

Long planned as a “mission” for NATO, not to mention the ever-zealous French, whose colonial lost causes remain on permanent standby, the war on Africa became urgent in 2011 when the Arab world appeared to be liberating itself from the Mubaraks and other clients of Washington and Europe. The hysteria this caused in imperial capitals cannot be exaggerated. NATO bombers were dispatched not to Tunis or Cairo but Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi ruled over Africa’s largest oil reserves. With the Libyan city of Sirte reduced to rubble, the British SAS directed the “rebel” militias in what has since been exposed as a racist bloodbath.

The indigenous people of the Sahara, the Tuareg, whose Berber fighters Gaddafi had protected, fled home across Algeria to Mali, where the Tuareg have been claiming a separate state since the 1960s. As the ever watchful Patrick Cockburn points out, it is this local dispute, not al-Qaeda, that the West fears most in northwest Africa… “poor though the Tuareg may be, they are often living on top of great reserves of oil, gas, uranium and other valuable minerals”.

Almost certainly the consequence of a French/US attack on Mali on 13 January, a siege at a gas complex in Algeria ended bloodily, inspiring a 9/11 moment in David Cameron. The former Carlton TV PR man raged about a “global threat” requiring “decades” of western violence. He meant implantation of the west’s business plan for Africa, together with the rape of multi-ethnic Syria and the conquest of independent Iran.

Cameron has now ordered British troops to Mali, and sent an RAF drone, while his verbose military chief, General Sir David Richards, has addressed “a very clear message to jihadists worldwide: don’t dangle and tangle with us. We will deal with it robustly” – exactly what jihadists want to hear. The trail of blood of British army terror victims, all Muslims, their “systemic” torture cases currently heading to court, add necessary irony to the general’s words. I once experienced Sir David’s “robust” ways when I asked him if he had read the courageous Afghan feminist Malalai Joya’s description of the barbaric behaviour of westerners and their clients in her country. “You are an apologist for the Taliban” was his reply. (He later apologised).

These bleak comedians are straight out of Evelyn Waugh and allow us to feel the bracing breeze of history and hypocrisy. The “Islamic terrorism” that is their excuse for the enduring theft of Africa’s riches was all but invented by them. There is no longer any excuse to swallow the BBC/CNN line and not know the truth. Read Mark Curtis’s Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam (Serpent’s Tail) or John Cooley’s Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism (Pluto Press) or The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski (HarperCollins) who was midwife to the birth of modern fundamentalist terror. In effect, the mujahedin of al-Qaida and the Taliban were created by the CIA, its Pakistani equivalent, the Inter-Services Intelligence, and Britain’s MI6.

Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, describes a secret presidential directive in 1979 that began what became the current “war on terror”. For 17 years, the US deliberately cultivated, bank-rolled, armed and brainwashed jihadi extremists that “steeped a generation in violence”. Code-named Operation Cyclone, this was the “great game” to bring down the Soviet Union but brought down the Twin Towers.

Since then, the news that intelligent, educated people both dispense and ingest has become a kind of Disney journalism, fortified, as ever, by Hollywood’s licence to lie, and lie. There is the coming Dreamworks movie on WikiLeaks, a fabrication inspired by a book of perfidious title-tattle by two enriched Guardian journalists; and there is Zero Dark Thirty, which promotes torture and murder, directed by the Oscar-winning Kathryn Bigelow, the Leni Riefenstahl of our time, promoting her master’s voice as did the Fuhrer’s pet film-maker. Such is the one-way mirror through which we barely glimpse what power does in our name.

For more information on John Pilger, please visit his website at www.johnpilger.com

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Spies and the Media

Combat the epidemic of misinformation that plagues the corporate media! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Truthout and keep independent journalism strong.

Paul Jay, Senior Editor, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to this week's edition of The Machon Report with Annie Machon, who now joins us from Germany.

Annie was an intelligence officer for the U.K.'s MI5 in the 1990s, but she left after blowing the whistle on incompetence and crimes of British spy agencies. She's also a director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, in Europe. She's a writer and political commentator.

Thanks for joining us again, Annie.

Annie Machon, Fmr. MI5 Intelligence Officer: My pleasure.

Jay: So what story have you been following recently?

Machon: Well, this is something that's been in the U.K. media for a while now, the intimate linkage between top politicians and media proprietors, and corrupt relations between police officers and the politicians and the media. This is leading to a big trial against a number of political and also media figures, including Rebekah Brooks, who used to be the editor of a national newspaper in the U.K. And this has resulted in a big judicial inquiry, which has produced something called the Leveson Report, investigating exactly how this corruption occurs.

And this is an area that I've been very interested in for many years. First of all, I come from a journalistic family anyway, and we were always brought up to believe that the press should hold power to account. Then I ended up working as an intelligence officer for MI5 in the U.K., and then ended up, after that, blowing the whistle, going public about a whole series of crimes that the U.K. intelligence agencies had committed. And this resulted in a number of trials, a number of arrests, and also massive spin in the media against the whistleblowers. So for many years now I've been watching stories about how spin can be managed, about how the intelligence agencies and spies can control the media.

So the Leveson Report has laid bare the connections between politics and police and the intelligence agencies. And it sort of, I think, concerns many people across the world. It's very difficult to trust the mainstream media these days, because they know that there are these sort of mechanisms going on in the background.

However, because of my experience as a whistleblower and my experience as a researcher and a speaker since, I think I've got quite a good handle on exactly how those levers of control are used against the mainstream media across the West. And this is a subject that I've been speaking about across Europe at investigative journalism conferences. And always after these talks, the journalists will come up to me and say it's at least as bad as you've been talking about.

So I'd just like to set out, really, a few key areas in the way that governments and the intelligence agencies can control the mainstream media and why we should not trust them implicitly, especially after they have allowed intelligence to be classified and that intelligence to be used and abused to take us into wars, illegal wars, in the Middle East.

Jay: Is there some evidence that what's happened in the U.K. with the Murdoch-owned newspaper and such that that's going to be portrayed, I guess, as if it's an anomaly, this one situation out of control? But is there evidence that it's actually more systematic than that?

Machon: Very much so. I mean, virtually every newspaper in the U.K. has been implicated in abusive practices that have been revealed about the Murdoch empire and the News of the World. And the way it works is that journalists in the mainstream media now have no job security. They now rely on briefings from government or the intelligence agencies or sort of police officers or whatever to get stories, and once they get their stories, they are expected to publish them uncritically. Otherwise, they don't get the next story and they can't then keep their job and earn a living. So they become these sort of stooges of the spin machine.

But it can get worse, because if you are particularly pliant as a journalist in the mainstream media, then you might be asked to do more and become what is known as an agent of influence, where you then report back to the police or you report back to the government or to the spy agencies about the stories your media organization may be investigating. They were actually switching.

Jay: Right. One of the things I know from the Canadian experience when CSIS was formed, which is essentially the Canadian spy agency, there was a royal commission that led to it, and it had various recommendations. And I remember clearly that there was a specific recommendation—I believe this was in the 1970s, by memory—that there actually—that CSIS should make sure that it actually had people in the various newsrooms across the country, that it should try to have at least one paid informant in every newsroom. Have you come across things like this?

Machon: I have indeed. I mean, there is a similar operation in the U.S. I think it was called Operation Mockingbird. But in the U.K. particularly, within MI6, which is the external intelligence gathering agency, the sort of James Bond wannabes, they have a little department which used to be called Information Operations, which [incompr.] specifically to plant stories in the media, even fake stories, in order to gain political advantage or to manipulate the spin of the story. So this happens time and time again.

So there's a whole sort of array of soft power that spies can use against the media in order to control their media profiles. So you have people being planted with stories, you have people reporting back to the spies, you have cozy lunches and interconnections between various agencies and the media, and then you also have this department in the U.K., IOPS, which plants fake stories in order to manipulate the perception. So it goes across a whole array of different methods. That's the sort of soft power in the U.K.

The hard power—so the carrot and the stick—the stick bit is where they start using a battery of laws to protect government and spies and the military and the police. And I think the U.K. is probably the least accountable and most legally protected of all Western democracies when it comes to this. There's a whole range of laws, starting with injunctions, super injunctions, government injunctions, libel laws, terrorist laws, whatever, that can be used against journalists trying to do their job.

But the worst one is the Official Secrets Act from 1989. And this makes it a crime for a whistleblower to report crimes committed by the spies or by the military or by governments. But it also makes it a crime for the journalists to report it. They can get two years in prison for exposing crimes up to and including murder committed by these people.

So they are very, very protected by this battery of laws, and it has a very chilling effect on democracy.

Jay: And I guess you add to that the extensive electronic surveillance now, which more or less every phone call, every email and such is being vacuumed up and looked at for key words. And they can do specific spying when they want to rather easily now. And I suppose journalists are well aware every time they pick up the phone, everything being said is no longer confidential.

Machon: I think they're very aware of the problem. They're just not very aware of what they can do about it. And that's where the intersection between the sort of hacktivist community and the journalist community are growing. So, for example, if you have some contact with a potential whistleblower coming out of the central government or the spy agencies, the pushback from those agencies potentially could be very severe, lifechanging for both the whistleblower and the journalist. And ensuring that sort of degree of safety can be very difficult.

I've just been involved in helping to set up in the U.K. a new organization in the U.K. called Whistleblowers U.K., and these are exactly the ideas and processes we've been trying to thrash out.

So it is very difficult in this surveillance society for a journalist to get a good whistleblower and to protect that whistleblower adequately. And this is why I think organizations, the methodology of organizations like WikiLeaks has been so valuable now, the idea that a whistleblower can retain a degree of control by leaking information and then deciding, do they want to go public about it, do they want to sort of turn their lives inside out by fighting the cause around this information.

But WikiLeaks have changed the playing field for most mainstream media. And I think if I were a whistleblower now sitting behind my desk at MI5, I would think long and hard about how I would do it, and I would probably attempt to go to WikiLeaks, because there would be a sense that you retain control and at least your information will get out there. A lot of the mainstream media can act as a sort of self-censoring blockage of information between those who know information that's important and those who need to know that important information, which is the citizenry, so they can make informed decisions.

Machon: So it's a very difficult world now. I mean, it's great that there's more and more independent media, not the sort of corporatist media that so many people distrust. So The Real News Network is making a great contribution to it.

Jay: Well, thanks. And I'd like to also talk to anyone who might be listening to any of my phone calls or any of the work we're doing at The Real News. I hope you're not getting too bored. You're welcome to listen in, because it's not going to stop us. We don't really have anything to hide. And you can actually see everything on The Real News Network anyway. Thanks very much for joining us, Annie.

Machon: Thank you.

Jay: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network, those of you who are watching, and those of you who are just kind of listening in.

Spies and the Media

Context: As yet there are no context links for this item.

Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to this week's edition of The Machon Report with Annie Machon, who now joins us from Germany.

Annie was an intelligence officer for the U.K.'s MI5 in the 1990s, but she left after blowing the whistle on incompetence and crimes of British spy agencies. She's also a director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, in Europe. She's a writer and political commentator. Thanks for joining us again, Annie.ANNIE MACHON, FMR. MI5 INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: My pleasure.JAY: So what story have you been following recently?MACHON: Well, this is something that's been in the U.K. media for a while now, the intimate linkage between top politicians and media proprietors, and corrupt relations between police officers and the politicians and the media. This is leading to a big trial against a number of political and also media figures, including Rebekah Brooks, who used to be the editor of a national newspaper in the U.K. And this has resulted in a big judicial inquiry, which has produced something called the Leveson Report, investigating exactly how this corruption occurs.And this is an area that I've been very interested in for many years. First of all, I come from a journalistic family anyway, and we were always brought up to believe that the press should hold power to account. Then I ended up working as an intelligence officer for MI5 in the U.K., and then ended up, after that, blowing the whistle, going public about a whole series of crimes that the U.K. intelligence agencies had committed. And this resulted in a number of trials, a number of arrests, and also massive spin in the media against the whistleblowers. So for many years now I've been watching stories about how spin can be managed, about how the intelligence agencies and spies can control the media. So the Leveson Report has laid bare the connections between politics and police and the intelligence agencies. And it sort of, I think, concerns many people across the world. It's very difficult to trust the mainstream media these days, because they know that there are these sort of mechanisms going on in the background. However, because of my experience as a whistleblower and my experience as a researcher and a speaker since, I think I've got quite a good handle on exactly how those levers of control are used against the mainstream media across the West. And this is a subject that I've been speaking about across Europe at investigative journalism conferences. And always after these talks, the journalists will come up to me and say it's at least as bad as you've been talking about. So I'd just like to set out, really, a few key areas in the way that governments and the intelligence agencies can control the mainstream media and why we should not trust them implicitly, especially after they have allowed intelligence to be classified and that intelligence to be used and abused to take us into wars, illegal wars, in the Middle East.JAY: Is there some evidence that what's happened in the U.K. with the Murdoch-owned newspaper and such that that's going to be portrayed, I guess, as if it's an anomaly, this one situation out of control? But is there evidence that it's actually more systematic than that?MACHON: Very much so. I mean, virtually every newspaper in the U.K. has been implicated in abusive practices that have been revealed about the Murdoch empire and the News of the World. And the way it works is that journalists in the mainstream media now have no job security. They now rely on briefings from government or the intelligence agencies or sort of police officers or whatever to get stories, and once they get their stories, they are expected to publish them uncritically. Otherwise, they don't get the next story and they can't then keep their job and earn a living. So they become these sort of stooges of the spin machine.But it can get worse, because if you are particularly pliant as a journalist in the mainstream media, then you might be asked to do more and become what is known as an agent of influence, where you then report back to the police or you report back to the government or to the spy agencies about the stories your media organization may be investigating. They were actually switching.JAY: Right. One of the things I know from the Canadian experience when CSIS was formed, which is essentially the Canadian spy agency, there was a royal commission that led to it, and it had various recommendations. And I remember clearly that there was a specific recommendation—I believe this was in the 1970s, by memory—that there actually—that CSIS should make sure that it actually had people in the various newsrooms across the country, that it should try to have at least one paid informant in every newsroom. Have you come across things like this?MACHON: I have indeed. I mean, there is a similar operation in the U.S. I think it was called Operation Mockingbird. But in the U.K. particularly, within MI6, which is the external intelligence gathering agency, the sort of James Bond wannabes, they have a little department which used to be called Information Operations, which [incompr.] specifically to plant stories in the media, even fake stories, in order to gain political advantage or to manipulate the spin of the story. So this happens time and time again. So there's a whole sort of array of soft power that spies can use against the media in order to control their media profiles. So you have people being planted with stories, you have people reporting back to the spies, you have cozy lunches and interconnections between various agencies and the media, and then you also have this department in the U.K., IOPS, which plants fake stories in order to manipulate the perception. So it goes across a whole array of different methods. That's the sort of soft power in the U.K. The hard power—so the carrot and the stick—the stick bit is where they start using a battery of laws to protect government and spies and the military and the police. And I think the U.K. is probably the least accountable and most legally protected of all Western democracies when it comes to this. There's a whole range of laws, starting with injunctions, super injunctions, government injunctions, libel laws, terrorist laws, whatever, that can be used against journalists trying to do their job. But the worst one is the Official Secrets Act from 1989. And this makes it a crime for a whistleblower to report crimes committed by the spies or by the military or by governments. But it also makes it a crime for the journalists to report it. They can get two years in prison for exposing crimes up to and including murder committed by these people. So they are very, very protected by this battery of laws, and it has a very chilling effect on democracy.JAY: And I guess you add to that the extensive electronic surveillance now, which more or less every phone call, every email and such is being vacuumed up and looked at for key words. And they can do specific spying when they want to rather easily now. And I suppose journalists are well aware every time they pick up the phone, everything being said is no longer confidential.MACHON: I think they're very aware of the problem. They're just not very aware of what they can do about it. And that's where the intersection between the sort of hacktivist community and the journalist community are growing. So, for example, if you have some contact with a potential whistleblower coming out of the central government or the spy agencies, the pushback from those agencies potentially could be very severe, lifechanging for both the whistleblower and the journalist. And ensuring that sort of degree of safety can be very difficult.I've just been involved in helping to set up in the U.K. a new organization in the U.K. called Whistleblowers U.K., and these are exactly the ideas and processes we've been trying to thrash out.So it is very difficult in this surveillance society for a journalist to get a good whistleblower and to protect that whistleblower adequately. And this is why I think organizations, the methodology of organizations like WikiLeaks has been so valuable now, the idea that a whistleblower can retain a degree of control by leaking information and then deciding, do they want to go public about it, do they want to sort of turn their lives inside out by fighting the cause around this information.But WikiLeaks have changed the playing field for most mainstream media. And I think if I were a whistleblower now sitting behind my desk at MI5, I would think long and hard about how I would do it, and I would probably attempt to go to WikiLeaks, because there would be a sense that you retain control and at least your information will get out there. A lot of the mainstream media can act as a sort of self-censoring blockage of information between those who know information that's important and those who need to know that important information, which is the citizenry, so they can make informed decisions.MACHON: So it's a very difficult world now. I mean, it's great that there's more and more independent media, not the sort of corporatist media that so many people distrust. So The Real News Network is making a great contribution to it.JAY: Well, thanks. And I'd like to also talk to anyone who might be listening to any of my phone calls or any of the work we're doing at The Real News. I hope you're not getting too bored. You're welcome to listen in, because it's not going to stop us. We don't really have anything to hide. And you can actually see everything on The Real News Network anyway. Thanks very much for joining us, Annie.MACHON: Thank you.JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network, those of you who are watching, and those of you who are just kind of listening in.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


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Britain’s Moral Standing ‘At Risk’ Over Plans For Secret Court Hearings

Britain's moral standing in the world is at risk unless major changes are made to a controversial piece of legislation that will see a rise in secret court hearings, a joint report from a senior Tory and a human rights barrister has warned. The Justic...

Al-Qaida nel Maghreb islamico: Chi sono e chi c’è dietro?

ansar el dine

Global Research, 21 gennaio 2013

Chi c’è dietro il gruppo terroristico che ha attaccato il complesso gasifero della BP-Statoil-Sonatrach del giacimento di Amenas, che si trova al confine con la Libia nel sud-est dell’Algeria?
L’operazione era stata coordinata da Moqtar Belmoqtar, leader della brigata islamista al-Mulathamin, o “coloro che si firmano con il sangue”, affiliata ad al-Qaida. L’organizzazione di Belmoqtar è coinvolta nel traffico di droga, nel contrabbando e nel sequestro di stranieri nel Nord Africa. Sebbene la sua ubicazione sia nota, l’intelligence francese ha soprannominato Belmoqtar “l’imprendibile”. Belmoqtar si è assunta la responsabilità, per conto di al-Qaida, del rapimento di 41 ostaggi occidentali, tra cui 7 statunitensi, nel complesso gasifero della alla BP di Amenas. Belmoqtar, tuttavia, non è stato direttamente coinvolto nell’attacco vero e proprio. Il comandante sul campo dell’operazione era Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri, un veterano jihadista del Niger, che aveva fatto parte del Gruppo Algerino per la Predicazione e il Combattimento (GSPC) nel 2005. (Albawaba, 17 gennaio 2013)

L’operazione per il sequestro di Amenas è stata effettuata cinque giorni dopo l’avvio degli attacchi aerei della Francia contro i militanti di al-Qaida nel Maghreb Islamico (AQIM) nel nord del Mali. Le forze speciali francesi e le truppe del Mali hanno ripreso il controllo di Diabaly e Konna, due cittadine a nord di Mopti. La città di Diabaly era stata apparentemente presa pochi giorni prima dai combattenti guidati da uno dei principali comandanti di AQIM, Abdelhamid Abu Zeid. Mentre l’attacco terroristico e il sequestro dell’impianto gasifero d’In Amenas è stato descritto come una vendetta, non è stata per nulla improvvisato, come confermato dagli analisti, l’operazione con ogni probabilità è stata pianificata con largo anticipo: “Ufficiali europei e statunitensi dicono che il raid era quasi certamente fin troppo elaborato, per essere stato pianificato in così breve tempo, anche se l’operazione della Francia avrebbe spinto i combattenti a condurre un assalto che avevano già preparato.”
Secondo i recenti rapporti (20 gennaio 2012) ci sono state circa 80 vittime, tra ostaggi e combattenti jihadisti. Vi erano diverse centinaia di lavoratori nell’impianto gasifero, la maggior parte dei quali  algerini. “Tra le persone soccorse, solo 107 su 792 lavoratori erano stranieri”, secondo il ministero degli Interni algerino. I governi britannico e francese incolpano i jihadisti. Secondo il primo ministro britannico David Cameron: “Naturalmente la gente farà delle domande sulla reazione algerina a questi eventi, ma vorrei solo dire che la responsabilità di queste morti ricade direttamente sui terroristi che hanno lanciato questo attacco, feroce e vile. (Reuters, 20 gennaio 2013).
Notizie di stampa confermano, tuttavia, che il gran numero di morti tra gli ostaggi e i combattenti islamici è stato il risultato dei bombardamenti delle forze algerine. Dei negoziati con i rapitori, che avrebbero potuto salvare delle vite, non sono stati seriamente contemplati né dai governi algerini né da quelli occidentali. I militanti chiedevano la fine degli attacchi francesi nel nord del Mali, in cambio della sicurezza per gli ostaggi. Il leader di al-Qaida Belmoqtar aveva affermato: “Siamo pronti a negoziare con l’occidente e il governo algerino, a condizione che s’interrompano i bombardamenti dei musulmani del Mali.” (Reuters, 20 gennaio 2013) Nelle fila dei jihadisti vi erano mercenari provenienti da un certo numero di paesi musulmani, tra cui la Libia (ancora da confermare), così come dei combattenti provenienti da paesi occidentali.

Al-Qaida nel Maghreb Islamico (AQIM). Chi è?

Vi è un certo numero di gruppi affiliati attivamente presenti nel nord del Mali:
• Al-Qaida nel Maghreb Islamico (AQIM), guidato da Abdelmaleq Druqdel, “l’emiro di al-Qaida nel Maghreb islamico”,
• Ansar al-Din guidato da Iyad Ag Ghaly,
• il Movimento per l’Unicità e la Jihad in Africa occidentale (MUJAO).
Il Gruppo Islamico Armato, o Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA) che era in primo piano negli anni ’90, è in gran parte defunto. I suoi membri hanno aderito ad AQIM.
Il Movimento Nazionale per la Liberazione del Azawad (MNLA) è un movimento per l’indipendenza tuareg, nazionalista e laico.

Cenni storici

Nel settembre 2006, il Gruppo Salafita per la Predicazione e il Combattimento (GSPC) unì le forze con al-Qaida. Il GSPC è stato fondato da Hassan Hattab, un ex comandante del GIA. Nel gennaio 2007, il gruppo mutò ufficialmente il nome in al-Qaida nel Maghreb Islamico (AQIM). Nei primi mesi del 2007 la nuova formazione stabilì stretti rapporti con il Gruppo combattente islamico libico (LIFG). I comandanti del GSPC si ispirano all’insegnamento religioso del salafismo dell’Arabia Saudita, che storicamente ha svolto un ruolo importante nell’addestramento dei mujahidin in Afghanistan. La storia dei comandanti jihadisti di AQIM è importante per affrontare la questione più ampia:

• Chi c’è dietro le varie fazioni affiliate ad al-Qaida?
• Chi sostiene i terroristi?
• Quali interessi politici ed economici servono?

Il Counsil on Foreign Relations (CFR) di Washington fa risalire le origini di AQIM alla guerra in Afghanistan: “La maggior parte dei leader principali di AQIM si crede sia stato addestrata in Afghanistan durante la guerra contro i sovietici, nel 1979-1989, nell’ambito del gruppo di volontari del Nord Africa conosciuto come “arabi afghani”, che ritornarono nella regione e radicalizzarono i movimenti islamici, negli anni che seguirono. Il gruppo è diviso in “katiba” o brigate, che  raggruppano cellule diverse e spesso indipendenti. Il comandante supremo del gruppo, o emiro, dal 2004 è Abdelmaleq Druqdel, noto anche come Abu Mussab Abdelwadud, un ingegnere esperto di esplosivi che ha combattuto in Afghanistan ed ha origini nel GIA in Algeria. Fu sotto la guida di Druqdel che AQIM dichiarò che la Francia è il suo obiettivo principale. Uno dei “più violenti e radicali” leader di AQIM è Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, secondo gli esperti di antiterrorismo. Abu Zied è legato a diversi rapimenti ed esecuzioni di cittadini europei nella regione. (Council on Foreign Relations, al-Qaida nel Maghreb Islamico, Cfr.org, senza data).

Ciò che il rapporto del CFR non riesce a ricordare è che la Jihad islamica in Afghanistan fu un’iniziativa della CIA, avviata nel 1979 durante l’amministrazione Carter. Venne attivamente sostenuta dal presidente Ronald Reagan nel corso degli anni ’80. Nel 1979, la più grande operazione segreta nella storia della CIA venne attuata in Afghanistan. Missionari wahabiti provenienti dall’Arabia Saudita crearono delle scuole coraniche (madrase) in Pakistan e Afghanistan. I libri di testo islamici utilizzati nelle madrasse venivano stampati e pubblicati in Nebraska. Il finanziamento occulto veniva incanalato ai mujahidin con il sostegno della CIA: “Con l’attivo incoraggiamento della CIA e dell’ISI pakistano, che volevano trasformare la jihad afghana in una guerra globale condotta da tutti gli stati musulmani contro l’Unione Sovietica, circa 35.000 musulmani radicali provenienti da 40 paesi islamici si unirono alla lotta in Afghanistan, tra il 1982 e il 1992. Decine di migliaia di persone andarono a studiare nelle madrase pakistane. Alla fine, più di 100.000 musulmani radicali stranieri furono direttamente influenzati dalla jihad afghana.” (Ahmed Rashid,”I taliban: l’esportazione dell’estremismo”, Foreign Affairs, novembre-dicembre 1999).

La Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), usando i militari pakistani dell’Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), svolse un ruolo chiave nell’addestramento dei mujahidin. A sua volta, l’addestramento dei guerriglieri sponsorizzati dalla CIA venne integrato con gli insegnamenti dell’Islam: “Nel marzo 1985, il presidente Reagan firmava la Decisione direttiva per la Sicurezza Nazionale N° 166, … [che] autorizzava [l']intensificazione degli aiuti militari occulti ai mujahidin, e chiariva che la guerra segreta afghana aveva un nuovo obiettivo: sconfiggere le truppe sovietiche in Afghanistan attraverso azioni occulte e incoraggiare il ritiro sovietico. La nuova assistenza segreta degli Stati Uniti iniziò con un drammatico aumento delle forniture di armi, un costante aumento fino a 65.000 tonnellate all’anno nel 1987… così come un “flusso incessante” di specialisti della CIA e del Pentagono che si recarono al quartier generale segreto dell’ISI pakistana, sulla strada principale di Rawalpindi, in Pakistan. Gli specialisti della CIA incontrarono i funzionari dell’intelligence pakistana per pianificare le operazioni dei ribelli afghani.” (Steve Coll, Washington Post, 19 luglio 1992)
Moqtar Belmoqtar, la mente dietro l’attacco terroristico della brigata islamista al-Mulathamin al  complesso gasifero di Amenas, è uno dei membri fondatori di AQIM. Fu addestrato e reclutato dalla CIA in Afghanistan. Belmoqtar era un volontario nordafricano, un “afgano arabo” arruolatosi a 19 anni come mujahidin per combattere nelle fila di al-Qaida in Afghanistan, in un momento in cui la CIA e la sua affiliata pakistana, l’Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), sostenevano attivamente sia il reclutamento che l’addestramento dei jihadisti. Moqtar Belmoqar ha combattuto nella “guerra civile” in Afghanistan. Tornato in Algeria nel 1993, si unì al GSPC. La storia di Belmoqtar e il suo coinvolgimento in Afghanistan suggeriscono che sia stato sponsorizzato quale “asset dell’intelligence” statunitense.

Il ruolo degli alleati degli USA: Arabia Saudita e Qatar

Al-Qaida nel Maghreb Islamico (AQIM) fin dal 2007 aveva stabilito una stretta relazione con il Gruppo combattente islamico libico (LIFG), i cui leader erano stati addestrati e reclutati in Afghanistan dalla CIA. Il LIFG era sostenuto segretamente dalla CIA e dall’MI6 britannico. Il LIFG è stato supportato direttamente dalla NATO durante la guerra del 2011 contro la Libia, “fornendo  armi, addestramento, forze speciali e perfino aerei per aiutarlo a rovesciare il governo della Libia.” (Tony Cartalucci, The Geopolitical Reordering of Africa: US Covert Support to Al Qaeda in Northern Mali, France “Comes to the Rescue”, Global Research, gennaio 2013).

Le Forze speciali britanniche SAS giunsero in Libia prima dell’inizio dell’insurrezione, in qualità di consulenti militari del LIFG. Recentemente, relazioni confermano che AQIM ha ricevuto armi dal Gruppo combattente islamico libico (LIFG). Mercenari del LIFG si sono integrati nelle brigate di AQIM. Secondo il comandante Moqtar Belmoqtar, che ha coordinato l’operazione del sequestro  di In Amenas: “Siamo uno dei principali beneficiari delle rivoluzioni nel mondo arabo. Per quanto ci riguarda, abbiamo ottenuto delle armi (dalla Libia), questa è una cosa naturale in simili circostanze.” http://www.hanford.gov/c.cfm/oci/ci_terrorist.cfm?dossier=174

L’impianto della BP ad In Amenas è situato direttamente sul confine con la Libia. Si sospetta che vi fosse un contingente di combattenti del Gruppo combattente islamico libico (LIFG) coinvolto nell’operazione. AQIM ha anche legami con il Fronte al-Nusra in Siria, sostenuto segretamente da Arabia Saudita e Qatar.

Al-Qaida nel Maghreb Islamico è indelebilmente legato all’agenda delle intelligence occidentali. È descritto come “uno dei più ricchi e più armati gruppi militanti della regione”, finanziato segretamente da Arabia Saudita e Qatar. Il giornale francese Canard enchaîné ha rivelato (nel giugno 2012) che il Qatar (un fedele alleato degli Stati Uniti) ha finanziato varie entità terroristiche in Mali, tra cui il salafita Ansar al-Din: “I ribelli tuareg del MNLA (indipendentisti e laici), Ansar al-Din, AQIM (al-Qaida nel Maghreb islamico) e Mujao (Jihad in Africa occidentale), ricevono dollari dal Qatar, secondo un rapporto (The Examiner). Il giornale satirico francese Canard enchaîné riportava [nel giugno 2012] che il Qatar stava probabilmente finanziando gruppi armati nel nord del Mali, che si diffondevano in Algeria e nell’Africa occidentale. I sospetti che Ansar al-Din, il principale gruppo armato pro-shari’ah nella regione, abbia ricevuto finanziamenti dal Qatar, circolano in Mali da diversi mesi. Rapporti (ancora non confermati) su un aereo del ‘Qatar’ che sarebbe atterrato a Gao carico di armi, denaro e droga, per esempio, sono emersi all’inizio del conflitto. L’articolo originale cita un rapporto dell’intelligence militare francese che indicava che il Qatar forniva sostegno finanziario a tutti e tre i principali gruppi armati nel nord del Mali: l’Ansar al-Din di Iyad Ag Ghali, al-Qaida nel Maghreb Islamico (AQIM) e il Movimento per l’Unicità e la Jihad in Africa occidentale (MUJAO). L’importo del finanziamento concesso a ciascuno dei gruppi non viene menzionato, ma si parla di rapporti ripetuti del DGSE francese al ministero della Difesa, che indicavano il sostegno del Qatar al ‘terrorismo’ nel nord del Mali.”
Il ruolo di al-Qaida nel Maghreb islamico come attività dell’intelligence deve essere attentamente valutata. L’insurrezione islamica crea le condizioni che favoriscono la destabilizzazione politica del Mali come Stato-nazione. Quali interessi geopolitici vengono serviti?

Osservazioni conclusive: “The American Sudan”

Con amara ironia, il sequestro nel sud dell’Algeria e la tragedia risultante dall’operazione militare di “salvataggio” algerina, fornisce una giustificazione umanitaria all’intervento militare occidentale guidato dall’US AFRICOM. Quest’ultimo non opera solo in Mali e Algeria. Potrebbe anche includere la vasta regione che si estende sulla cintura sub-sahariana del Sahel, dalla Mauritania al confine occidentale del Sudan. Questa escalation è parte di un piano militare e strategico degli Stati Uniti, fase segeunte della militarizzazione del continente africano, “un passo successivo” della guerra USA-NATO in Libia del 2011. Si tratta di un progetto di conquista neo-coloniale degli Stati Uniti di una vasta area.
Mentre la Francia è l’ex potenza coloniale che interviene a nome di Washington, la fine del gioco  vedrà l’esclusione della Francia, infine, dal Maghreb e dall’Africa sub-sahariana. Questo declassamento della Francia come potenza coloniale, è stato avviato fin dalla guerra di Indocina nel 1950. Mentre gli Stati Uniti si preparano, a breve, a condividere il bottino di guerra con la Francia, l’obiettivo ultimo di Washington è “ridisegnare la mappa del continente africano” e infine portare l’Africa francofona nella sfera di influenza statunitense. Quest’ultima si estenderebbe su tutto il continente, dalla Mauritania sull’Atlantico a Sudan, Etiopia e Somalia. Un analogo processo di esclusione della Francia dall’Africa francofona è in corso dal 1990 in Ruanda, Burundi e  Repubblica del Congo. A sua volta, il francese quale lingua ufficiale nell’Africa francofona, viene insidiato. Oggi in Ruanda l’inglese è la lingua ufficiale, accanto al kinyarwanda e al francese. Da quando l’RPF è al governo, dal 1994, l’istruzione secondaria veniva offerta in francese o in inglese. Ma dal 2009 viene offerta solo in inglese. L’università, dal 1994, non utilizza più il francese. (Il presidente del Ruanda Paul Kagame non legge o non parla francese). Nel 2009, il Rwanda entrava a far parte del Commonwealth.
La posta in gioco è un vasto territorio che, durante il periodo coloniale francese copriva l’Africa occidentale ed equatoriale francese. Il Mali durante il periodo francese veniva indicato come Le Soudan français (il Sudan francese). Ironia della sorte, questo processo di indebolimento e, infine, di esclusione della Francia dall’Africa francofona viene effettuato con l’avallo tacito dell’ex presidente Nicolas Sarkozy e del presidente François Hollande, entrambi al servizio degli interessi geopolitici degli Stati Uniti, a danno di quelli della Repubblica francese. La militarizzazione del continente africano fa parte del mandato dell’US AFRICOM. L’obiettivo a lungo termine è esercitare il controllo geopolitico e militare su una vasta area, che storicamente rientrava nella sfera d’influenza della Francia. Questa zona è ricca di petrolio, gas, oro, uranio e minerali strategici. (Cfr. R. Teichman, The War on Mali. What you Should Know: An Eldorado of Uranium, Gold, Petroleum, Strategic Minerals…, Global Research, 15 gennaio 2013)

Copyright © 2013 Global Research

How Britain Enthusiastically Teamed Up with Bush’s Horrific Torture and Rendition Agenda

Britain and the US stood shoulder to shoulder in the war on terror -- even when working the dark side.

January 23, 2013  |  

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Editor's Note: The following is Part II of an excerpt from Ian Cobain's new book,  A Secret History of Torture (Counterpoint Press, 2012). Copyright 2012, Portobello Books. All Rights Reserved. Click here to read Part I.

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Tony Blair took a train from Brighton to London, where he issued a statement that pledged unswerving support for the US. He described terrorism as "the new evil in our world," perpetrated by people with no regard for the sanctity of human life. There was now to be a battle between the free world and terrorism, he said. "We therefore here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy and we, like them, will not rest until this evil is driven from our world."

Quietly, Britain pledged logistics support for the rendition program, which resulted in the CIA’s Gulfstream V and other jets becoming frequent visitors to British airports en route to the agency’s secret prisons. Over the next four years, a 26-strong flight of rendition aircraft operated by the CIA used UK airports at least 210 times. Dozens of other private executive jets that the agency chartered were also regular visitors to the UK. Nineteen British airports and RAF bases were used, including Heathrow, Birmingham, Luton, Bournemouth and Belfast. The agency’s favorite destination was Prestwick in Scotland, which it used more than 75 times. One CIA pilot described Prestwick as an ideal refueling stop. "It’s an 'ask no questions' type of place, and you don’t need to give them any advance notice you’re coming."

The US authorities also asked the UK government for permission to build a large prison on Diego Garcia, the British territory in the Indian Ocean that operates as a US military base. A Royal Marines officer made some preliminary plans, before the project was dropped, for logistical rather than legal reasons. Diego Garcia continued to be used as a stopover for rendition flights, however, and senior United Nations officials believe that a number of prisoners were held and interrogated there between 2002 and 2003.

The UK would do more than offer mere logistics support to the rendition program, however. It would "perform," in Bush’s words, by becoming an enthusiastic participant in the rendition and torture program. As in the summer of 1940, its first victims would be British. But as then and since, Britain would enshroud its use of torture in the greatest possible secrecy.

In October 2001, when the United State