The evidence for the presence of thermite at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11 is extensive and compelling. This evidence has accumulated to the point at which we can say that WTC thermite is no longer a hypothesis, it is a tested and proven theory. Therefore it is not easy to debunk it. But the way to do so is very straightforward and is in no way mysterious.
To debunk the thermite theory, one must first understand the evidence for it and then show how all of that evidence is either mistaken or explained by other phenomena. Here are the top ten categories of evidence for thermite at the WTC.
- Molten metal: There are numerous photographs and eyewitness testimonies to the presence of molten metal at the WTC, both in the buildings and in the rubble. No legitimate explanation has been provided for this evidence other than the exothermic reaction of thermite, which produces the temperatures required and molten iron as a product.
- The fires at Ground Zero could not be put out for several months. Despite the application of millions of gallons of water to the pile, several rainfall events at the site, and the use of a chemical fire suppressant, the fires would not subside. Thermal images produced by satellite showed that the temperatures in the pile were far above that expected in the debris from a typical structure fire. Only thermite, which contains its own oxidant and therefore cannot be extinguished by smothering it, can explain this evidence.
- Numerous eyewitnesses who were fleeing the area described the air mass as a hot wind filled with burning particles. This evidence agrees with the presence of large quantities of thermite byproducts in the air, including hot metallic microspheres and still-reacting agglomerates of thermite.
- Numerous vehicles were scorched or set on fire in the area. Photographic evidence shows that cars parked within the lower-level garage areas of the WTC complex burned as if impacted by a super-hot wind like that described by the eyewitnesses. All non-metallic parts of the cars, including the plastic, rubber, and glass, were completely burned off by a hot blast.
- There was a distinct “white smoke” present—clearly different from smoke produce by a normal structural fire—as indicated by eyewitnesses and photographic evidence. The second major product of the thermite reactions is aluminum oxide, which is emitted as a white solid shortly after reaction.
- Peer-reviewed, scientific research confirmed the presence of extremely high temperatures at the WTC. The high temperatures were evidenced by metallic and other microspheres, along with evaporated metals and silicates. These findings were confirmed by 9/11 investigators and by scientists at an independent company and at the United States Geologic Survey.
- The elemental composition of the metallic microspheres from the WTC dust matches that of metallic microspheres produced by the thermite reaction.
- The environmental data collected at Ground Zero in the months following 9/11 indicate that violent incendiary fires, like those produced by thermite, occurred on specific dates. Peer-reviewed scientific analysis of these data show that the components of thermite spiked to extraorindary levels on specific dates in both the air and aerosol emissions at Ground Zero.
- Carbon nanotubes have been found in the WTC dust and in the lungs of 9/11 first responders. Formation of carbon nanotubes requires extremely high temperatures, specific metal catalysts, and carbon compounds exactly like those found in nanothermite formulations. Researchers have discovered that nanothermite produces the same kinds of carbon nanotubes. That finding has been confirmed by independent analysis in a commercial contract laboratory.
- A peer-reviewed scientific publication has identified the presence of nanothermite in the WTC dust. One of the critical aspects of that paper has been confirmed by an independent scientist.
There is also a great deal of indirect evidence for the thermite theory. This includes the attempts by NIST to downplay the evidence for thermite. It also includes things like a weak effort by Rupert Murdoch’s National Geographic Channel to discredit the ability of thermite to cut structural steel, which was itself roundly discredited by one independent investigator. It is now unquestionable that thermite can cut structural steel as needed for a demolition.
Therefore, debunking the WTC thermite theory is not easy but is very straightforward. Doing so simply requires addressing the evidence listed above point by point, and showing in each case how an alternative hypothesis can explain that evidence better. Given the scientific grounding of the thermite theory, use of the scientific method, including experiments and peer-reviewed publications, would be essential to any such debunking effort.
That is almost certainly why we have seen no such debunking. Instead, the people working to refute the WTC thermite theory have resorted to what might be called a case study in how NOT to respond to scientific evidence.
The failed thermite theory debunkers have produced:
- Thousands of chat room comments and other posts yet not one peer-reviewed scientific article.
- Alternate hypotheses that have little or no evidence to support them. For example, the mini-nuke hypothesis and the “Star Wars Beam” hypothesis.
- Government scientists declaring that the evidence simply doesn’t exist.
- Attempts to exaggerate the meaning of the evidence, for example by saying that thermite or nanothermite could not have caused all of the effects seen at the WTC.
- Deceptive efforts to introduce the government contractors who produced the official accounts as independent scientists.
The last of these methods has been the most popular. Trying to debunk the tenth piece of evidence for WTC thermite, NIST contractor James Millette produced an unreviewed paper that purports to replicate the finding of nanothermite in the WTC dust. This was apparently organized in the hope that doing so would discredit all of the evidence for thermite at the WTC.
Millette is well known for having helped produce the official reports on the analysis of WTC dust. He was responsible for creating the form that was used to pre-screen all materials found in the dust prior to any analysis by official investigators. Those official reports did not mention any of the evidence listed above, in particular failing to report the abundant iron microspheres scattered throughout the WTC dust. Additinally, Millette’s official report team did not find any red-gray chips, let alone nanothermite.
As he worked to debunk the WTC thermite research, Millette was still unable to find any iron microspheres. But he did claim to have finally found the red-gray chips. Curiously, he did not attempt to replicate the testing that would determine if those chips were thermitic.
Claiming to have found the chips, Millette perfomed an XEDS analysis for elemental composition but failed to do any of the other tests including BSE, DSC, the flame test, the MEK test, or measurement of the chip resistivity. Having inexplicably “ashed” the chips at 400 °C in a muffle furnace, thereby proving that they were not the nanothermite chips (which ignite at 430 °C), Millette ignored the remainder of the study he had set out to replicate. Because he did not do the DSC test, he could not do XEDS of the spheres formed from the chips. Since he had still not found spheres in the dust, he could not test those and this allowed him to ignore the testing of spheres produced by the thermite reaction.
Millette rested his case on FTIR, which I have also performed on chips from WTC dust but with a much different result. Like Millette’s paper, my FTIR work is not yet part of a peer-reviewed publication and therefore should not be taken as authoritative evidence. There has been less urgency to this supplemental work because what has been done to date has received no legitimate response from the government or from much of the scientific community. That sad fact should be the central point of discussion today.
In any case, Millette attempted only one tenth of the tests in his struggle to replicate (or refute) one tenth of the evidence for thermite at the WTC. His un-reviewed “one percent approach” was nonetheless very convincing to many people, including some of the people who produced the official reports for 9/11. But it is obvious to others that Millette’s work was not a replication in any sense of the word.
I’m looking forward to the peer-reviewed scientific article that finally does replicate the nanothermite paper or any of the other peer-reviewed scientific papers that give evidence for thermite at the WTC. Hopefully, we can approach those efforts without concerns about the sources and without recalling all the deception and manipulation that preceded them.
Until then, it is important to recognize the difference between the superficial appearance of science and the actual practice of science. Ignoring 90 percent of the evidence is not scientific. And replication of the 10 percent means actually repeating the work. If thermite debunkers and alternate hypothesis supporters can find the courage and focus to step through that challenge, maybe they can begin to add to the discussion.
 Here are only a few examples of the hot wind:
“Then the dust cloud hits us. Then it got real hot. It felt like it was going to light up almost.” -Thomas Spinard, FDNY Engine 7
“A wave — a hot, solid, black wave of heat threw me down the block.” – David Handschuh, New York’s Daily News
“When I was running, some hot stuff went down by back, because I didn’t have time to put my coat back on, and I had some — well, I guess between first and second degree burns on my back.” -Marcel Claes, FDNY Firefighter
“And then we’re engulfed in the smoke, which was horrendous. One thing I remember, it was hot. The smoke was hot and that scared me” -Paramedic Manuel Delgado
“I remember making it into the tunnel and it was this incredible amount of wind, debris, heat….” -Brian Fitzpatrick FDNY Firefighter
“A huge, huge blast of hot wind gusting and smoke and dust and all kinds of debris hit me” -Firefighter Louis Giaconelli
“This super-hot wind blew and it just got dark as night and you couldn’t breathe” -Firefighter Todd Heaney
 For example, see Joel Meyerowitz, Aftermath: World Trade Center archive. Phaldon Publishing, London, p 178. See photograph of the event on 11/08/01 that shows a stunning and immediate change of cloud-like emissions from the pile, from dark smoke to white cloud.
American national security journalist Jeremy Scahill and leftist British columnist Owen Jones announced recently that they would not share a platform with a Palestinian-Lebanese nun at the Stop The War Coalition’s November 30 UK conference.
Neither Scahill nor Jones provided any reason for their harsh “indictment” of Mother Agnes Mariam, who has worked tirelessly for the past few years on reconciliation in war-torn Syria, where she has lived for two decades.
The journalists – neither of whom have produced any notable body of work on Syria – appear to have followed the lead of a breed of Syria “activists” who have given us doozies like “Assad is about to fall,” “Assad has no support,” “the opposition is peaceful,” “the opposition is unarmed,” “this is a popular revolution,” “the revolution is not foreign-backed,” “there is no Al Qaeda in Syria,” “the dead are mostly civilians,” and other such gems.
For some of these activists, anything short of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure is no solution of any kind. Mother Agnes Mariam, whose Mussalaha (Reconciliation) movement inside Syria works specifically on mediation, dialogue and the promotion of non-violence, is unmoved by black-and-white solutions: Reconciliation, after all, is a series of political settlements forged on both local and national levels. There are only compromises there, not absolute gain. She doesn’t actually care who leads Syria and who wins or loses, providing the choice comes from a Syrian majority.
Yet the smear “Assad apologist” persists in following Mother Agnes on her visits to foreign capitals to gain support for Massalaha and its methods. It puts her at risk on the ground in Syria and inhibits her ability to open communications with those who would otherwise welcome the relief she brings.
When Scahill and Jones announced they would not share a platform with Mother Agnes at the STWC conference, she withdrew so as not to undermine the event’s anti-war unity objective. But instead of bringing this incident to a close, a maelstrom has erupted around the actions of the two journalists: “Who are they to pass judgement? Why would reporters seek to censor any voice?”
Award-winning British journalist and author Jonathan Cook perhaps put it best in his piece entitled “Bowing before the inquisitors on Syria”:
“Scahill and Jones have not done something principled or progressive here. They are trying to stay ‘onside’ with the corporate media, the main political parties and the Syria war-mongers. In short, they are looking out for their careers…They are looking to keep their credibility within a wider political system that, they otherwise seem to acknowledge, is deeply compromised and corrupt. In this episode, they are not chiefly worrying about countering moves towards an attack or saving Syrian lives, even while they claim this is exactly what their participation is about.”
Both journalists are outspoken against the censorship of information by the “establishment media” so it is particularly galling to see them succumb to the bullying narratives that have so dominated Syria coverage in the mainstream. In their own domain and area of expertise they don’t trust establishment voices, so why trust them in any other arena? This rather obvious contradiction has turned the tables on Scahill/Jones – if anything, generating interest in Mother Agnes and what she has to say.
Time to give her that platform back – no need for others to filter your information, you can judge for yourself below. And because so much of this debate has taken place on Twitter and the blogosphere, I invited “tweeps” from all sides of the Syrian divide to pose some questions too:
So without further ado, here is Mother Agnes Mariam, in her own words:
Did the Stop The War Coalition ask you to withdraw from their anti-war conference or did you choose to do so of your own volition?
I was invited to this conference, then I was informed about people that were against my coming and threatening to blow it up because of me. I preferred to immediately withdraw for the sake of this conference. Now, to tell you the truth I also have fear that this conference will not be useful, because these people attending are not applying non-violence principles. Non-violence principles means to be open to all adversaries. We can deal with people who don’t think like us. A non-violent approach is to dialogue precisely with people who are different. For a peace conference to begin like this, I felt like it is not a peace conference.
Have you ever heard of Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones before this?
No, not at all. Who are they? Didn’t even notice who the people were. I heard about this from my organizer – that some people opposed even my presence. I understand everybody – I have been in dialogue with precisely the kind of people who opposed my presence. But it is the first time I hear their names, so no, I don’t know them. I’m not a person in the “scene.” (laughs)
What do you think of the attempt to censor views on Syria – and does your own experience this week have any correlation with how the mainstream media has covered Syria for almost three years?
You know, before working in reconciliation, I thought the so-called “democratic world” was really protecting freedom of expression and political choices. I am not involved with politics but they are ‘framing’ me; politicizing me. Am very shocked to learn that in this democratic world it is forbidden to think differently, talk differently and act differently from people who proclaim themselves as the ‘absolute reference’ for public opinion. This is a campaign of defamation. I am threatened by them: not by Jabhat al-Nusra, with whom I sometimes have good relations, or Al Qaeda – but by French media, by prominent leaders and CEOs of catholic NGOs, and by reporters. Am really astonished at how a reporter can become a prosecutor and a judge and can issue the sentence, and I am afraid that he can apply this sentence because today I see he works in total impunity.
Some media outlets and activists have accused you of brokering a civilian evacuation in rebel-held Moadamiya, only to hand them over to the Syrian authorities. What actually happened?
It was a purely humanitarian endeavor. Our (Mussalaha) team receives calls from all over Syria asking us to investigate people who have disappeared, to find out conditions for their release, to mediate on prisoner exchanges, to get food supplies to populations in need, how to transport humanitarian aid to hot areas, how to bring medical equipment to dangerous areas, how to arrange ceasefires, how to help violent opponents to shift to non-violence. We help to implement a non-violent spirit – we work with everybody, all sides, to do this.
This particular evacuation was requested by the civilian population itself in Mouadamiya. We have Mussalaha team members from Mouadamiya who are mediators. We were addressing the humanitarian issue in Moadamiya for many months before this, to try to make reconciliation from a violent opposition to a non-violent opposition. And when I saw photos of starving children on the Facebook – like in Biafra – I went to the Syrian Minister of Social Affairs Kinda al-Chammat to say this was not acceptable and that we should do something. Then we made contact with all the world health groups and international NGOs – we had talks with them to provide food. A caravan of more than 20 trucks was ready to enter Moadamiya, but it was forbidden to enter. It is difficult to say by who – I think it was from the army that was besieging this rebel stronghold, but also from the warlords that fix enormous prices to provide the entrance of food. Minister Chammat was really open to finding a solution, I said if they are not giving us the green light, I will go myself to take the 18 children who were under threat of dying. So we were entrusted to negotiate with the notables and the families in Moadamiya. Our mediators (also from Moadamiya) were surprised when whole families expressed the wish to be evacuated – because they are the families of the rebels, and to ask to be evacuated means they will be relying on the government. When we heard this we thought it was an easier and safer solution because if you bring in food but the violence continues, those civilians will be harmed anyway.
You know, under the Geneva Convention, it is illegal to transform a residential area into a battleground and if you do that you cannot keep civilians there like human shields. So the evacuation was motivated first by the desire of the families (not all, you know). The first project was to evacuate 100-200 women and children without any of their belongings, because there was a big fear that undisciplined members from either side would breach the ceasefire. It was delicate. Then on the very day, Minister Chammat, seeing hundreds of women and children arriving, told us “let as many who want to leave come out, because we cannot make discrimination,” so she made it open for that day. The government agreed to let us go alone; we were not escorted. All this was done in negotiations between the ministry and the governor of rural Damascus. Our responsibility was to bring the civilians to the barricade, but when we went there the rebels did not allow the women to proceed. I concluded, through contacts with the families that they were willing to come out, but we had to negotiate directly with the rebels. So I took a white flag into the area called no man’s land. I was followed by two of our mediators and by Sister Carmel – and it was heroic from her because she is a fearful person but she didn’t want me to go alone. There were tens of young rebel men, some armed, others not. And we were taken on a tour to see the destruction of the city and they asked us to come to the military council. (A video of Mother Agnes inside Moadamiya can be viewed here) They gave us security assurance. The commander arrived and they asked me to make a statement, which they recorded by video. But then we were detained, they wanted us to remain like ransom in exchange to let the women go out. We were hearing many noises and even gunfire while we were waiting. Then a real battle broke out – it was a big danger for everybody. We noticed that among them there was no unity, each would say their own thing. Finally, another leader came and agreed to the evacuation. Many of the leaders of fighters wanted their own families to leave. Others who don’t have families didn’t care. All we did was to answer a humanitarian request from rebel families.
In total, we evacuated 6,600 women and children – we have all their names, they are all registered. More than 200 are not registered because they left immediately with relatives. Also 650 young men came on their own to surrender. The army considered them as fighters. A few were badly wounded and they were taken to hospital. The (media) criticism was based on fake stories because the opposition (not the ones in Moadamiyada) do not want to accept the success of reconciliation based on mediation between the government and rebels. And because – after the success of the Moadamiya evacuation – ten other points in Syria have asked for the same mediation. Yesterday, for example, we had another evacuation – from Beit Sahm I believe – who were evacuated temporarily until the violence ceases. These critics said many were killed, abducted, raped when they came out of Moadamiya. Yes, there have been some errors and undisciplined acts. For instance, nine of the women were robbed. Volunteers from the ‘popular committees’ robbed their gold. We have done this evacuation in three separate days. On the first day we had 20 boys that were arrested, but we launched a campaign about this and they have been released. There are only two young boys now who are detained. We are still following up to secure them. The rebels with whom we have negotiated have entrusted us with their families, and they are the families of leaders and fighters, not just normal families. Until today, the two boys who disappeared after the Moadamiya evacuations are a problem for me and my credibility with the rebels. I am struggling with the authorities to find these boys right now.
The other major attack against you stems from a report you wrote about the aftermath of an alleged chemical weapons (CW) attack in Ghouta. You are accused of whitewashing the incident, blaming rebels for it and even charging children of “faking death.” How do you respond to these charges?
I have been accused of denying CW attacks, of protecting the Syrian regime and of accusing the rebels of launching those attacks. I have never said this. In the forward of a study I did on this, I affirm: I am not an expert. I am not talking on a military basis, or a forensic or medical basis. I just questioned some videos. It started because I was asked by the parents – survivors of a terrible massacre in the Latakia mountains – to help find some children abducted with women after the massacre. Some had recognized their children in the pictures of the chemical attacks. They delegated me to look into this for them. I was tracking those children in the videos – without this task I would not have had any incentive to look at the videos. My work at the monastery was in iconography and restoration (preservation) – I am very used to using my eyes to look for tiny details. I noticed discrepancies in the videos. I came to look at them for one thing (the abducted children) and in the process I discovered these videos were fake. When I went to Geneva to the commissioners in the Human Rights Council, I told them about my findings in relation to the missing children and the videos, and they said they would be interested to have something written. I do not incriminate anybody in this study. I do not pretend to decide if there was a CW attack or not. There were discrepancies and I am simply asking questions. The study was done in a hurry – we even said it was a beta version. Now I am finalizing the study that will introduce even more evidence. Those videos – numbers 1, 6, 11, 13 among the 13 videos claimed by the US intelligence community as authenticated and verified to be presented to Congress as genuine evidence of CW attacks – are fake, staged and pre-fabricated. Nobody thus far is answering my charges – they are incriminating me without answering. My goal in this is to find the children; that’s my only goal. If they were used for staging, are they alive? Where are they now? If they are alive they must be returned to their families. If they are dead, we want to see their bodies to bury them so their parents can mourn them and we want to know how they were put to death and where. I am asking to see the graves where 1,466 alleged corpses are buried in Ghouta and to take from the pit samples to conduct an honest inquiry. Because I doubt that there is such a pit.
Question from Twitter user @MortenHj: “Can she elaborate on how she conduct her talks between the warring sides? How do they acknowledge her; promise safety?”
Normally, we are called by the rebel sides who invite us for some settlements. Usually Syrian fighters either want to shift to non-violence, surrender and continue their lives, or they want us to mediate an exchange between abductees and detainees. We mediate among the responsible parties in government, like the ministry of justice and ministry of social affairs – it depends, since each case has its own context. We do it on a neutral basis – we are mediators, not part of the conflict. We want to ease the fate of civilians and we consider the fate of the Syrian rebels. We do not care about foreign fighters. Those foreign fighters are legally not allowed to enter or be in Syria. But we have special care for the Syrian fighters. We consider them as victims. A 17 or 18-year-old boy who is to be jailed, his mother is crying, what am I to do?
We talk via phone or Skype, sometimes we visit them as I did in many places. Sometimes the leader of a rebel group come to see me in a disguised way. Our (more detailed) talks are preferably face to face to build trust and transparency.
Sometimes you have rebels who request the release of their people who have been captured, others want to surrender – they don’t want anymore to participate in the armed struggle. Sometimes the liberal factions ask for help against the radical factions. I always say that between Syrians there is not a real wall. There is not a watertight impervious wall, so we receive many requests. We have had meetings with Jabhat al Nusra (JaN). When they are Syrians they can be flexible, when they are radical (foreigners) they will not talk to you, they will kill you. It’s like the Baggara tribe of around 3 million – they have relatives in Liwa al-Tawhid and JaN too. Half the tribe are loyalists, half are opposition. And this is a hope for the future. Everybody can talk to everybody. Once in Raqqa they put me on the phone with the emir because they wanted dialysis equipment for their hospital and so we mediated and the ministry of health sent 3 dialysis machines for the sake of the civilian population. I am always astonished how my people in the reconciliation committee know everybody.
Question from Twitter user @Kreasechan – What does she think should happen to those in command positions in the regime who have committed or commissioned war crimes and crimes against humanity?
I will tell you something. All this ‘apparatus of incriminations’ is politicized. If you can read between the lines of the report of the international Commission of Inquiry, you will see that the Syrian government has a hierarchy so it is easy to incriminate the government as a whole. But the rebels don’t have a hierarchy – you have 2,000 different battalions. Every time you see violence by rebels, large scale ones with hundreds of civilians now killed every week on a sectarian basis… If you study the more than 100,000 dead in Syria, you will be surprised to see that more than 45% of them are from the army and security forces. Then you have 35% of civilians among those dead, more than half of whom are killed by opposition. Then you have 15-20% of dead who are rebels. So it is not true to say the government is the only one perpetrating things against human rights. The Commission of Inquiry will have to work without political pressure to implement a good inquiry where everyone will be heard, because we are scandalized that light is shed on one side, but not on the other side. I know by saying this, they will incriminate me. But in reality, I am on side of the victims – I care that they will be heard. If you don’t hear from every side, these victims will continue to be under violence with impunity. We must ask accountability from everybody. Those incriminated by a fair, unbiased inquiry will have to pay their crimes, even those who have instigated and financed sectarian crimes.
Question from Twitter user @Paciffreepress – Do you love Assad, Mother Agnes?
I live in Syria and I have a burden on my shoulders for Syria. I believe beheading Syria from its government is a dangerous aggression when the UN still continues to consider the government of Assad to be the legal government. I rely on the UN position, which is the legal position. I consider that the dismantling of any State is a crime against humanity because it deprives the citizens of their citizenship and from their legality. They become pariahs. The Syrian people should decide through fair elections.
Question from Twitter user @r3sho – What is her opinion about Kurdish autonomy in Syria?
I am with the Syrian people – they will choose their own way, even if they want to make a federation or whatever. I am personally against the division of Syria, but federalism is up to the people. In my view, dividing a country is an aggression, but if the country decides to be a federation, it is a legal thing. They are free to do so.
Question from Twitter user @broodmywarcraft: what does she have to say to those who call her a stooge for Assad?
I am a stooge only for peace, not for Assad. I am for peace through reconciliation. I am for dialogue and I am for discussing issues with everybody who wants to discuss peace. If any Syrian, on any side of this horrible conflict wishes to discus peace or work toward peace through reconciliation, I am ready to help.
Question from Twitter user @bangpound: Does she still think the children were faking it in Ghouta?
They were not faking it. I never said that at all. I believe that they were either under anesthesia or that they were killed. But as the videos are fake, my terrible question is what were they doing with them?
Question from Twitter user @Nouraltabbaa: If she is trying to perform a Mussalaha why is she meeting with Ali Kayyali and other militias but not the opposition fighters?
For some hard cases, I have to go beyond the civil administration to negotiate with the warlords. We go there officially as a reconciliation committee, accompanied by some Muslim clerics. I have to mediate with the opposition and the government and the popular committees. I have to mediate with everyone.
Question from Twitter user @HRIMark: What effect is the campaign of defamation and threats against her having on her and her work?
It affects my life. I cannot go back to my monastery. I was saved by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). They informed me about orders to abduct and kill me by foreign parties. They helped me to go out from Qara and they protected our monastery and they have not, to this day, given me the green light to return. A lot of them were workers in our monastery.
Question from Twitter user @Net_News_Global: Ask her, if she thinks, that there was, besides murderous propaganda, a real CW attack.
We have witnesses and ‘social sensors’ everywhere in Damascus. Until today we have received 88 claims of death in Moadamiya (from the August 21 attack).
We are told they were not killed because of sarin, that they were killed because of heavy shelling from the army and from suffocation from heavy shelling. The deceased were together in a shelter and they suffocated from this. Moadamiya people told us this. One of the reasons that I would like to see the graves is because 1,466 deaths is a real “social tsunami” in the Syrian society where everybody knows everybody and everybody is related. In the case of East Ghouta, we did not even have one case show up. We did not know of one single person who is dead. You know, to have relatives claiming this – the brother, the friend – nobody did. We did not have the “echo” of the death of 1,466 people. We are asking for a neutral inquiry with the presence of witnesses from both sides, where they will open the pits, see the victims, they will take samples randomly – where they took it, how they took it, etc. Samples should be sent to 5 labs under the same conditions and precautions. Until then there is a question mark on everything. I cannot say yes, I cannot say no.
Question from Twitter user @tob_la: How would she describe her relationship with Syrian intelligence services?
There is no relationship. This is despite the wild allegations of some people who believe that the heads of the Syrian intelligence meet with me, a simple nun, on a daily basis. Do you believe that these people would spare such time?
I have no “relations” with such authorities. As mediators we have to deal with these people when necessary. And without my mediation task I don’t have anything to do with them.
Question from Twitter user @MortenHj: What does she view as the biggest problem facing the refugees, especially children, with the approaching winter. How can anyone support?
This is a very big problem. We need warm clothes, blankets urgently. During my trip in the US – from California – they are sending me a container with a special kind of textile that is very warm. “Oakley” warm clothing. We can provide for the local diaspora or NGOs to come collect these things from anywhere in the world and send them in containers to Syria. We are trying to do a big push for winter now. We’re also getting some tents. I will be going back to the US where an NGO will be providing us with something that resembles tents, but is rectangular. We are planning to get thousands of these – one per family. You have whole neighborhoods that are destroyed. Instead of displacing residents outside their areas, I would like to return them to their home, even if it is destroyed, and put them on their land in a refurbished structure. Like this, slowly by slowly they can rebuild their homes.
Question by Twitter user @edwardedark: Could you please ask her why the Vatican has not been more outspoken on the plight of Christians in Syria?
I don’t know – maybe because the Vatican and all of us we are in solidarity with all the civilian population in Syria and we don’t want to emphasize a sectarian dimension because we viewed this as artificial. Christians have shared the same fate as Muslims in Syria – everybody faced the same violence. Monsignor Mamberti and the Pope are finally expressing their sadness for the sectarian nature that the conflict is taking, I think because now there is too much targeting of Christians now in Maaloula, Sadad, Qara, Deir Atieh, Nabek and other places. Every day Christian buses, schools are being targeted. In Bab Touma, Bab Sharqi, Jaramana, Kasa’a, Malki…
Now the Vatican is talking. Mgr. Mamberti is saying loudly and clearly that The Holy See cares about unity, sovereignty, and the place of the minorities so they will not be isolated, cornered, or forgotten. The Holy See is promoting reconciliation, dialogue and a peaceful settlement of the crisis. They are against the arming of any side. They want more creativity for peace and not creativity for war. What I found outstanding about the Monsignor’s recent comments is that he said the Syrian people should isolate the foreigners, distance themselves and denounce them. This is a very clear statement against foreign intervention. Then he opened the issue of humanitarian aid and the dialogue between religions – interfaith dialogue. This is not the task of experts, but the task of everybody, the believers. So there is a real change in language from the Vatican. The Holy See is no longer shy about Syria – and to tell you the truth, it is time. What is left for the Christians in Syria otherwise?
Mother Agnes is now on Twitter https://twitter.com/MotherAgnesMari
- Activist Group Issues Statement on Mother Agnes and the Campaign Against Her (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Investigative Journalist’ Scahill Takes Swipe at Mother Agnes (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- On Owen Jones and the Stop The War Coalition (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Mother Agnes and the Self Destruction of the Political Left (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Owen Jones & Mother Agnes. A lesson on conciliatory “leftists”. (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Open Letter to the Stop the War Coalition (pulsemedia.org)
The Solidarity Collective, a group of activists endeavoring to promote greater unity among the various alignments and groupings that make up the political left, has released a statement on the smear campaign being waged against Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. Taken to task in the statement are leftwing journalists Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones over their threat to back out of a London antiwar conference this weekend should they have to share a platform with Mother Agnes. Calling their “no platform” position “totally unacceptable,” the Collective deplores the attacks upon the Syrian nun and says it fully supports her right to be heard.
“We fully support the brave move by the London Catholic Worker group based at Guiseppe Conlon House who have invited Mother Agnes to a meeting during their retreat,” the statement reads. “It is only when we are fully informed on the Syrian conflict by those who live daily with the consequences that we will be be in a position to make decisions.”
Back in early September, when a US attack on Syria appeared imminent, I published an article entitled US Jews Back War on Syria But ‘Downplay’ Israel Angle. At that time AIPAC, the ADL, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations had all issued statements supporting a military strike on Syria, but as I noted—and as a Jewish media outlet also noted—none of the statements mentioned Israel. It was as if Israel’s role in all this were being deliberately downplayed. I posted that article on September 5. One day later, on September 6, RT published an interview with Mother Agnes in which she discussed her belief that videos uploaded to the Internet in the immediate wake of the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria had been fabricated. Three days after that, on September 9, came the formal release of the ISTEAMS report providing convincing evidence this was indeed the case.
Just as it has been clear for a long time that prominent Jews would like to see the US go to war in Syria, so also has it been obvious to me for a while now that the attacks on Mother Agnes are Zionist motivated. And apparently this is growing obvious to others as well. The Solidarity Collective’s statement in fact discusses the role played by one Zionist in particular:
A marvellous smear campaign as designed by Michael D Weiss has done much to further the cause of promoting her [Mother Agnes] as an Assad apologist and all round devious character. Incidentally some of the highlights of his CV are as follows: former director of Zionist pressure group Just Journalism whose stated concerns included ‘how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in UK media’, former fellow at Neo-Conservative war lobby think-tank Henry Jackson Society, he is a lead rebel advocate with Now Lebanon and also the author of proposals for US intervention for the Syrian opposition.
Weiss’ loathsome attack on Mother Agnes, in which he refers to her sarcastically as a “humble, pot-smoking emissary of God,” can be found here.
A little bit more from the Solidarity Collective’s statement is also instructive:
Much of the slander is sustained by her self proclaimed mission to provide what she believes are the true narratives of the conflict which are routinely, she says, misrepresented in global media. One such incident is the August 21st 2013 chemical attack in Damascus. The accepted truth as ‘assessed’ by the US government is that the attack was carried out by the Assad Regime. There was a threat of mass-resignation of CIA workers who refused to have their names attached to the document published pertaining to this ‘fact’. Mother Agnes as well as some credible impartial sources insist that it is much more likely that this was a rebel attack.
You can access the full statement here. A few days ago I wrote an article in which I commented that Mother Agnes “has considerably undermined the Western narrative on events in Syria,” and that obviously this has “upset a lot of plans and made a lot of people mad.” Judging from the timing of the events of early September, as I related above, this would seem to be the case.
Leftist luminaries Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones attempted to cast aspersions upon Mother Agnes, but instead they have brought discredit not only upon themselves, but upon the conference at which they are to speak in London next Saturday. We should not be surprised at the way all this has turned out.
As I reported previously, Scahill and Jones announced they would not take part in an antiwar conference organized by the Stop the War Coalition should they have to share the same platform with Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, a Syrian nun who has worked tirelessly to bring about an end to the bloodshed in her country. As yet, no explanation or elaboration has been offered by the pair as justification for their laying down of such an ultimatum. But for her own part, Mother Agnes has taken steps to ensure they will not have to undergo the abhorrent ordeal of appearing with her. She has pulled out of the conference.
In the war in Syria, or more precisely in the way the war has been reported, radically different narratives have been presented, narratives that are, and have been, almost completely counter to one another. In one view, that reported by Western mainstream media, Syrian President Bashar Assad is a brutal, criminal dictator intent on killing his own people, while those fighting to bring his government down are freedom fighters (although following the posting of a video showing one of the freedom fighters eating a human organ, the media shifted slightly and began allowing that “some” of the insurgents were extremists). By contrast, the picture presented by Russian and other foreign media, and on blogs like this one, is that Assad has the support of a sizeable portion of the Syrian people and that the conflict has little or nothing to do with democracy. Instead it is aimed at effecting regime change to the benefit of Gulf oil monarchies as well as the West and Israel. Also in this view, Assad, while not perfect, is not nearly as ogreish and demonic as he is made out to be in the Western media.
It comes down to who has the greater credibility—the Western, and principally US, media, which promoted the war in Iraq on the basis of false claims about weapons of mass destruction, or Russian media outlets like RT, who have no record of peddling lies in an effort to justify wars. You would think that for leftists the choice would be clear. But for some reason, Scahill, a reporter for The Nation, and Jones, who has a column in The Independent, have taken a position that possibly would suggest they accord the Western media the greater credibility—at least insofar as the Syrian war in general, and Mother Agnes in particular, are concerned.
Those favoring US intervention in Syria no doubt had their hopes raised by the August 21 chemical weapons attack. An all out escalation into a regional and possibly even global conflict seemed imminent, but the hopes of warmongers were dashed through some clever statesmanship by Vladimir Putin and also after Mother Agnes released a 50-page report introducing evidence that some of the videos uploaded immediately after the attack had been staged and scripted and suggesting that the attack might have been carried out not by the Syrian government but by the opposition. You can read the full report here. Decide for yourself whether you think it’s credible.
My own take on it all is that through her report, as well as through her presence, her holiness, and her actions—including the evacuation of more than 5,000 people from a besieged town in October—Mother Agnes has considerably undermined the Western narrative on events in Syria. And that obviously has upset a lot of plans and made a lot of people mad.
“Why did the invitation from Stop the War to a nun working to stop war raise objections?” asks William M. Boardman in an article posted Thursday. Boardman goes on to comment, “It’s hard to find any evidence that Mother Agnes has committed anything worse than what others consider thought-crimes and politically incorrect obeservations, some of which are actually correct.”
So was somebody pressuring Scahill and Jones to disassociate themselves from Mother Agnes? Did they think doing so would advance their careers? Did Scahill think it would win him additional appearances on the Rachel Maddow Show or CBS Evening News? Is Jones hoping for more exposure on Sky News and the BBC? I don’t have an answer to these questions. I would note only that intoxication of power is not something leftists are especially immune to any more so than anyone else. The main problem is succumbing to such impulses at the expense of someone making a genuine effort to achieve peace.
When faced with a choice between taking a stand based upon principle and one based upon convenience, the left seems to opt more and more for the latter these days, and it is attitudes such as this that are leading it, much like Western society as a whole, toward self destruction. So what should the organizers of the conference do? Here is my suggestion: Re-extend the invitation to Mother Agnes. Do so publicly. She may decline. But you will at least regain some credibility. Should she accept, all the better. And if Jones and Scahill wish to pull out as a result, even better yet. Their presence at the podium at this point is probably more of a liability than an asset in any event. Proceeding under the present conditions—with Scahill and Jones on the bill and the curtain in effect drawn on any participation by Mother Agnes—will cheapen and devalue the event.
- Owen Jones & Mother Agnes. A lesson on conciliatory “leftists”. (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Investigative Journalist’ Scahill Takes Swipe at Mother Agnes (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- On Owen Jones and the Stop The War Coalition (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Open Letter to the Stop the War Coalition (pulsemedia.org)
November 22, 2013, is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The true story of JFK’s murder has never been officially admitted, although the conclusion that JFK was murdered by a plot involving the Secret Service, the CIA, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been well established by years of research, such as that provided by James W. Douglass in his book, JFK And The Unspeakable. Ignore Douglass’ interest in the Trappist monk Thomas Merton and Merton’s prediction and focus on the heavily documented research that Douglass provides.
Or just turn to the contemporary films, taken by tourists watching JFK’s motorcade that are available on YouTube, which show clearly the Secret Service pulled from President Kennedy’s limo just prior to his assassination, and the Zapruder film that shows the killing shot to have come from President Kennedy’s right front, blowing off the back of his head, not from the rear as postulated in the Warren Commission Report, which would have pushed his head forward, not rearward.
I am not going to write about the assassination to the extent that the massive information permits. Those who want to know already know. Those who cannot face the music will never be able to confront the facts regardless of what I or anyone else writes or reveals.
To briefly review, the facts are conclusive that JFK was on terrible terms with the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. He had refused to support the CIA organized Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. He had rejected the Joint Chiefs’ Operation Northwoods, a plan to commit real and faked acts of violence against Americans, blame Castro and use the false flag events to bring regime change to Cuba. He had rejected the Joint Chiefs’ case that the Soviet Union should be attacked while the US held the advantage and before the Soviets could develop delivery systems for nuclear weapons. He had indicated that after his reelection he was going to pull US troops out of Vietnam and that he was going to break the CIA into a thousand pieces. He had aroused suspicion by working behind the scenes with Khrushchev to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis, leading to claims that he was “soft on communism.” The CIA and Joint Chiefs’ belief that JFK was an unreliable ally in the war against communism spread into the Secret Service.
It has been established that the original autopsy of JFK’s fatal head wound was discarded and a faked one substituted in order to support the official story that Oswald shot JFK from behind. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and President Johnson knew that Oswald was the CIA’s patsy, but they also understood, as did members of the Warren Commission, that to let the true story out would cause Americans to lose confidence in their own government at the height of the Cold War.
Robert Kennedy knew what had happened. He was on his way to being elected president and to holding the plotters accountable for the murder of his brother when the CIA assassinated him. A distinguished journalist, who was standing behind Robert Kennedy at the time of his assassination, told me that the killing shots came from behind past his ear. He submitted his report to the FBI and was never contacted.
Acoustic experts have conclusively demonstrated that more shots were fired than can be accounted for by Sirhan Sirhan’s pistol and that the sounds indicate two different calibers of firearms.
I never cease to be amazed by the gullibility of Americans, who know nothing about either event, but who confidently dismiss the factual evidence provided by experts and historians on the basis of their naive belief that “the government wouldn’t lie about such important events” or “someone would have talked.” What good would it do if someone talked when the gullible won’t believe hard evidence?
Revelations about the long-term global, intrusive spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other allied intelligence apparatuses have provoked widespread protests and indignation and threatened ties between erstwhile imperial allies.
Allied regimes have uniformly condemned NSA espionage as a violation of trust and sovereignty, a threat to their national and economic security and to their citizens’ privacy.
In contrast, Washington has responded in a contradictory manner: on the one hand, US officials and intelligence chiefs have acknowledged ‘some excesses and mistakes’, on the other hand, they defend the entire surveillance program as necessary for US national security.
Interpretations vary about the US global spying apparatus – how it was built and why it was launched against hundreds of millions of people. ‘Subjective’ and ‘objective’ explanations abound, evoking psychological, social, economic, strategic and political considerations.
A multi-factorial explanation is required.
The Integrated Hypothesis of the Global Police State
One of the essential components of a police state is an all-pervasive spy apparatus operating independently of any legal or constitutional constraints. Spy operations include: 1) massive surveillance over text, video and audio communications and 2) the capacity to secretly record, store and use information secretly collected. This information strengthens political and economic leaders who, in turn, appoint and direct the spy chiefs. The political and economic rulers control the spy-lords by setting the goals, means and targets of the surveillance state. The US global spy apparatus is neither ‘self-starting nor self-perpetuating’. It did not arise in a vacuum and it has virtually no strategic autonomy. While there may be intra-bureaucratic conflicts and rivalries, the institutions and groups function within the overall ‘paradigm’ established and directed by the political and economic elite.
The Global Spy Structure
The growth and expansion of the US spy apparatus has deep roots in its history and is related to the colonial need to control subjugated native and enslaved peoples. However, the global operations emerged after the Second World War when the US replaced Europe as the center of world imperialism. The US assumed the principal role in preventing the spread of revolutionary and anti-colonial movements from the Soviet Union, China, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba to war and crisis-burdened countries of Europe, North and Southeast Asia and Latin America. When the collectivist states fell apart in the 1990’s the US became the sole superpower and a unipolar world emerged.
For the United States, ‘unipolarity’ meant (1) an impetus toward total global domination; (2) a world-wide network of military bases; (3) the subordination of capitalist competitors in other industrial countries, (4) the destruction of nationalist adversaries and (5) the unfettered pillage of resources from the former collectivist regimes as they became vassal states. The last condition meant the complete dismantling of the collectivist state and its public institutions – education, health care and worker rights.
The opportunities for immense profits and supreme control over this vast new empire were boundless while the risks seemed puny, at least during the ‘golden period’, defined by the years immediately after (1) the capitalist takeover of the ex-Soviet bloc, (2) the Chinese transition to capitalism and (3) the conversion of many former African and Asian nationalist regimes, parties and movements to ‘free-market’ capitalism.
Dazzled by the vision of a ‘new world to conquer’ the United States set up an international state apparatus in order to exploit this world-historical opportunity. Most top political leaders, intelligence strategists, military officials and business elites quickly realized that these easy initial conquests and the complicity of pliable and kleptocratic post-Communist vassal rulers would not last. The societies would eventually react and the lucrative plunder of resources was not sustainable. Nationalist adversaries were bound to arise and demand their own spheres of influence. The White House feared their own capitalist allies would take on the role of imperialist competitors seeking to grab ‘their share’ of the booty, taking over and exploiting resources, public enterprises and cheap labor.
The new ‘unipolar world’ meant the shredding of the fabric of social and political life. In the ‘transition’ to free market capitalism, stable employment, access to health care, security, education and civilized living standards disappeared. In the place of once complex, advanced social systems, local tribal and ethnic wars erupted. It would be ‘divide and conquer’ in an orgy of pillage for the empire. But the vast majority of the people of the world suffered from chaos and regression when the multi-polar world of collectivist, nationalist, and imperialist regimes gave way to the unipolar empire.
For US imperialist strategists and their academic apologists the transition to a unipolar imperial world was exhilarating and they dubbed their unchallenged domination the ‘New World Order’ (NWO). The US imperial state then had the right and duty to maintain and police its ‘New World Order’ – by any means. Francis Fukiyama, among other academic apologists celebrated the ‘end of history’ in a paroxysm of imperial fever. Liberal-imperial academics, like Immanuel Wallerstein, sensed the emerging challenges to the US Empire and advanced the view of a Manichean world of ‘unipolarity’ (meaning ‘order’) versus ‘multipolar chaos’– as if the hundreds of millions of lives in scores of countries devastated by the rise of the post-collectivist US empire did not have a stake in liberating themselves from the yoke of a unipolar world.
By the end of its first decade, the unipolar empire exhibited cracks and fissures. It had to confront adversarial nationalist regimes in resource-rich countries, including Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, Bashar Assad in Syria, Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Khamenei in Iran. They challenged US supremacy in North Africa and the Middle East. The Taliban in Afghanistan and nationalist Islamist movements questioned US influence over the vassal rulers of Muslim countries – especially the puppet monarchs in the Persian Gulf.
On the other side of the imperial coin, the domestic economic foundations of the ‘New World Order’ were weakened by a series of speculative crises undermining the support of the US public as well as sectors of the elite. Meanwhile European and Japanese allies, as well as emerging Chinese capitalists, were beginning to compete for markets.
Within the US an ultra-militarist group of political ideologues, public officials and policy advisers, embracing a doctrine combining a domestic police state with foreign military intervention, took power in Washington. ‘Conservatives’ in the Bush, Sr. regime, ‘liberals’ in the Clinton administration and ‘neo-conservatives’ in the Bush, Jr. administration all sought and secured the power to launch wars in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans, to expand and consolidate the unipolar empire.
Maintaining and expanding the unipolar empire became the trigger for the White House’s global police state apparatus. As new regimes were added to Washington’s orbit, more and more surveillance was needed to make sure they did not drift into a competitor’s sphere of influence.
The year 2000 was critical for the global police state. First there was the dot-com crash in the financial sector. The speculative collapse caused massive but unorganized disaffection among the domestic population. Arab resistance re-emerged in the Middle East. The cosmically corrupt Boris Yeltsin vassal state fell and a nationalist, Russian President Vladimir Putin took power. The willing accomplices to the disintegration of the former USSR had taken their billions and fled to New York, London and Israel. Russia was on the road to recovery as a unified nuclear-armed nation state with regional ambitions. The period of unchallenged unipolar imperial expansion had ended.
The election of President Bush Jr., opened the executive branch to police state ideologues and civilian warlords, many linked to the state of Israel, who were determined to destroy secular Arab nationalist and Muslim adversaries in the Middle East. The steady growth of the global police state had been ‘too slow’ for them. The newly ascendant warlords and the proponents of the global police state wanted to take advantage of their golden opportunity to make US/Israeli supremacy in the Middle East irreversible and unquestioned via the application of overwhelming force (‘shock and awe’).
Their primary political problem in expanding global military power was the lack of a fully dominant domestic police state capable of demobilizing American public opinion largely opposed to any new wars. ‘Disaster ideologues’ like Phillip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice understood the need for a new ‘Pearl Harbor’ to occur and threaten domestic security and thereby terrify the public into war. They lamented the fact that no credible regimes were left in the Middle East to cast as the ‘armed aggressor’ and as a threat to US national security. Such an enemy was vital to the launching of new wars. And new wars were necessary to justify the scale and scope of the new global spy apparatus and emergency police state edicts the warlords and neoconservatives had in mind. Absent a credible ‘state-based adversary’, the militarists settled for an act of terror (or the appearance of one) to ‘shock and awe’ the US public into accepting its project for imperial wars, the imposition of a domestic police state and the establishment of a vast global spy apparatus.
The September 11, 2001 explosions at the World Trade Center in New York City and the plane crash into a wing (mostly vacant for repairs) of the Pentagon in Washington, DC were the triggers for a vast political and bureaucratic transformation of the US imperial state. The entire state apparatus became a police state operation. All constitutional guarantees were suspended. The neo-conservatives seized power, the civilian warlords ruled. A huge body of police state legislation suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere, the ‘Patriot Act’. The Zionists in office set the objectives and influenced military policies to focus on Israel’s regional interests and the destruction of Israel’s Arab adversaries who had opposed its annexation of Palestine. War was declared against Afghanistan without any evidence that the ruling Taliban was involved or aware of the September 11 attack of the US. Despite massive civilian and even some military dissent, the civilian warlords and Zionist officials blatantly fabricated a series of pretexts to justify an unprovoked war against the secular nationalist regime in Iraq, the most advanced of all Arab countries. Europe was divided over the war. Countries in Asia and Latin America joined Germany and France in refusing to support the invasion. The United Kingdom, under a ‘Labor’ government, eagerly joined forces with the US hoping to regain some of its former colonial holdings in the Gulf.
At home, hundreds of billions of tax dollars were diverted from social programs to fund a vast army of police state operatives. The ideologues of war and the legal eagles for torture and the police state shifted into high gear. Those who opposed the wars were identified, monitored and the details of their lives were ‘filed away’ in a vast database. Soon millions came to be labeled as ‘persons of interest’ if they were connected in any way to anyone who was ‘suspect’, i.e. opposed to the ‘Global War on Terror’. Eventually even more tenuous links were made to everyone… family members, classmates and employers.
Over 1.5 million ‘security cleared’ monitors were contracted by the government to spy on hundreds of millions of citizens. The spy state spread domestically and internationally. For a global empire, based on a unipolar state, the best defense was judged to be a massive global surveillance apparatus operating independently of any other government – including the closest allies.
The slogan, ‘Global War on Terror’ (GWOT) became an open-ended formula for the civilian warlords, militarists and Zionists to expand the scope and duration of overt and covert warfare and espionage. ‘Homeland Security’ departments, operating at both the Federal and State levels, were consolidated and expanded with massive budgets for incarceration and repression. Constitutional protections and the Writ of Habeas Corpus were ‘rendered quaint vestiges of history’. The National Security Agency doubled its personnel and budget with a mandate to distrust and monitor allies and vassal states. The targets piled upon targets, far beyond traditional adversaries, sweeping up the public and private communications of all political, military and economic leaders, institutions, and citizenry.
The ‘Global War on Terror’ provided the ideological framework for a police state based on the totalitarian conception that ‘everybody and everything is connected to each other’ in a ‘global system’ threatening the state. This ‘totalistic view’ informs the logic of the expanded NSA, linking enemies, adversaries, competitors and allies. ‘Enemies’ were defined as anti-imperialist states or regimes with consistently critical independent foreign and domestic policies. ‘Adversaries’ occasionally sided with ‘enemies’, or tolerated policymakers who would not always conform to imperial policies. ‘Competitors’ supported the empire but had the capacity and opportunity to make lucrative trade deals with adversaries or enemies – Allies were states and leaders who generally supported imperial wars but might provide a forum condemning imperial war crimes (torture and drone attacks). In addition, allies could undermine US imperial market shares and accumulate favorable trade balances.
The logic of the NSA required spying on the allies to root out any links, trade, cultural or scientific relations with adversaries and enemies, which might have spillover consequences. The NSA feared that associations in one sphere might ‘overlap’ with adversaries operating in strategic policy areas and undermine ally loyalty to the empire.
The spy logic had a multiplier effect – who gets to ‘spy on the spies?’ The NSA might collaborate with overseas allied intelligence agencies and officials – but American spymasters would always question their reliability, their inclination to withhold vital information, the potential for shifting loyalties. ‘Do our allies spy on us? How do we know our own spies are not colluding with allied spies who might then be colluding with adversarial spies?’ This justified the establishment of a huge national vacuum cleaner to suck up all transactions and communications – justified by the notion that a wide net scooping up everything might catch that big fish!
The NSA regards all ‘threats to the unipolar empire’ as national security threats. No country or agency within or without the reach of the empire was excluded as a ‘potential threat’.
The ‘lead imperial state’ requires the most efficient and overarching spy technology with the furthest and deepest reach. Overseas allies appear relatively inefficient, vulnerable to infiltration, infected with the residue of a long-standing suspect ‘leftist culture’ and unable to confront the threat of new dangerous adversaries. The imperial logic regards surveillance of ‘allies’ as ‘protecting allied interests’ because the allies lack the will and capacity to deal with enemy infiltration.
There is a circular logic to the surveillance state. When an allied leader starts to question how imperial espionage protects allied interest, it is time to intensify spying on the ally. Any foreign ally who questions NSA surveillance over its citizens raises deep suspicions. Washington believes that questioning imperial surveillance undermines political loyalties.
Secret Police Spying as a “Process of Accumulation”
Like capitalism, which needs to constantly expand and accumulate capital, secret police bureaucracies require more spies to discover new areas, institutions and people to monitor. Leaders, followers, citizens, immigrants, members of ethnic, religious, civic and political groups and individuals – all are subject to surveillance. This requires vast armies of data managers and analysts, operatives, programmers, software developers and supervisors – an empire of ‘IT’. The ever-advancing technology needs an ever-expanding base of operation.
The spy- masters move from local to regional to global operations. Facing exposure and condemnation of its global chain of spying, the NSA calls for a new ‘defensive ideology’. To formulate the ideology, a small army of academic hacks is trotted out to announce the phony alternatives of a ‘unipolar police state or terror and chaos’. The public is presented with a fabricated choice of its perpetual, ‘well-managed and hi-tech’, imperial wars versus the fragmentation and collapse of the entire world into a global war of ‘all against all’. Academic ideologues studiously avoid mentioning that small wars by small powers end more quickly and have fewer casualties.
The ever-expanding technology of spying strengthens the police state. The list of targets is endless and bizarre. Nothing and no one will be missed!
As under capitalism, the growth of the spy state triggers crisis. With the inevitable rise of opposition, whistleblowers come forward to denounce the surveillance state. At its peak, spy-state over-reach leads to exposure, public scandals and threats from allies, competitors and adversaries. The rise of cyber-imperialism raises the specter of cyber-anti-imperialism. New conceptions of inter-state relations and global configurations are debated and considered. World public opinion increasingly rejects the ‘necessity’ of police states. Popular disgust and reason exposes the evil logic of the spy-state based on empire and promotes a plural world of peaceful rival countries, functioning under co-operative policies – systems without empire, without spymasters and spies.
A previously unknown Greek far-left group has claimed responsibility for the shooting of two members of the country’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn group.
Golden Dawn members Emmanuel Kapelonis, 22, and Giorgos Foundoulis, 27 were killed in a drive-by shooting outside the local branch of the far-right party in the suburb of Neo Iraklio in a northern suburb of Athens.
The far-left group, calling themselves “Fighting Peoples’ Revolutionary Forces”, said the two were shot in retaliation for the recent murder of left-wing rapper Pavlos Fyssas.
“The attack was an act of retaliation for the murder of Pavlos Fyssas,” the group said in an 18-page statement published on a local news website.
Fyssas was fatally stabbed by suspected Golden Dawn member George Roupakias outside a café in Keratsini, western Athens in September.
The musician’s killing triggered a wave of protests across Greece and prompted strong statements by the country’s political leaders.
“We will not allow our country to become a place to settle scores,” Greece’s Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection Nikos Dendias said in a statement.
Since Fyssas’s murder, the leader of Golden Dawn and two of its lawmakers have been jailed pending trial on charges of running a criminal group.
Golden Dawn rose from a fringe group to win nearly seven percent of the vote in the 2012 general elections, and has seen its support rising to around 12 percent since then due to its widespread criticism of immigration and austerity reforms in the debt-stricken country.
Counterterrorism officials are investigating the authenticity of the group’s claim, local media report.
Greek officials fear the killings could affect the country’s future by sparking a new round of retaliation and further fueling social unrest.
After the Aug. 21 chemical weapons incident in Syria, a number of senior U.S. intelligence analysts disagreed with the Obama administration’s rush to judgment blaming the Syrian government, but their dissent on this question of war or peace was concealed from the American people.
The administration kept the dissent secret by circumventing the normal intelligence process and issuing on Aug. 30 something called a “Government Assessment,” posted at the White House press office’s Web site and fingering the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad as the guilty party.
Normally, such an important issue – a possible U.S. military engagement – would be the focus of a National Intelligence Estimate, but that would also cite the disagreements expressed within the intelligence community. By avoiding an NIE, the Obama administration was able to keep the lid on how much dissent there was over the Assad-did-it conclusion.
Once the “Government Assessment” was issued, Secretary of State John Kerry was put forward to present the case for launching a military strike against Syria, an attack that was only averted because President Barack Obama abruptly decided to ask congressional approval and then reached a diplomatic agreement, with the help of the Russian government, in which the Syrian government agreed to dispose of its chemical weapons arsenal (while still denying that it was responsible for the Aug. 21 attack).
Although war was averted, the Obama administration’s deception of the American public – by pretending that there was a government-wide consensus regarding Syrian government guilt when there wasn’t – was reminiscent of the lies and distortions used by President George W. Bush to trick the nation into war with Iraq over bogus WMD claims in 2003.
The behavior of the rest of Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. news media also shows that little has changed from a decade ago. Obvious indications of a deception were ignored and the few voices who raised the alarm were treated with the same mocking contempt that greeted skeptics of Bush’s case for invading Iraq.
Writers for Consortiumnews.com were among the few in the American media who noted the glaring flaws in the Obama administration’s case, including its refusal to release any of its supposed proof to support its conclusions and the curious absence of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper from the public presentation of the administration’s casus belli.
The reason for keeping the DNI on the sidelines was that he otherwise might have been asked if there was a consensus in the intelligence community supporting the administration’s certitude that Assad’s regime was responsible. At that point, Clapper would have had to acknowledge the disagreement from rank-and-file analysts (or face the likelihood that they would speak out).
Similarly, it appears that on-the-ground inspectors for the United Nations had their own doubts about the Syrian government’s responsibility, especially since Assad’s regime had allowed a UN team into Damascus on Aug. 18 to investigate what the regime claimed was evidence of rebels using chemical weapons.
It never made sense to some of these inspectors that Assad – just three days later – would launch a chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus just a few miles from the hotel where the UN inspectors were staying. Assad would have known that the Aug. 21 incident would mean serious trouble for his government, very possibly drawing the U.S. military into the Syrian civil war on the side of the rebels.
The UN inspectors also failed to find Sarin or other chemical agents at one of the two sites that they subsequently examined near Damascus, and they inserted a qualification in their report about apparent tampering at the one area where Sarin was found.
However, instead of noting the many holes in the U.S. “Government Assessment” and the UN report, the mainstream U.S. news media simply joined the rush to judgment, hyping dubious claims from both U.S. government officials and non-governmental organizations favoring U.S. military intervention in Syria.
The New York Times and other major news outlets that swallowed Bush’s false claims about Iraq WMD a decade ago also began reporting Obama’s dubious assertions about Syria as flat fact, not as issues in serious dispute. As I wrote on Oct. 25, one typically credulous Times story accepted “as indisputable fact that the Syrian government was behind the Aug. 21 attack on a suburb of Damascus despite significant doubts among independent analysts, UN inspectors and, I’m told, U.S. intelligence analysts.”
New details of the rebellion among the intelligence analysts have just been reported by former CIA officer Philip Giraldi for the American Conservative magazine. According to Giraldi’s account, a “mass resignation of a significant number of analysts” was threatened if the Obama administration issued an NIE without acknowledging their dissent.
A “hurriedly updated” NIE had reflected the Syrian government’s suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels and civilians, “while conceding that there was no conclusive proof,” Giraldi wrote, adding:
“There was considerable dissent from even that equivocation, including by many analysts who felt that the evidence for a Syrian government role was subject to interpretation and possibly even fabricated. Some believed the complete absence of U.S. satellite intelligence on the extensive preparations that the government would have needed to make in order to mix its binary chemical system and deliver it on target was particularly disturbing.
“These concerns were reinforced by subsequent UN reports suggesting that the rebels might have access to their own chemical weapons. The White House, meanwhile, considered the somewhat ambiguous conclusion of the NIE to be unsatisfactory, resulting in considerable push-back against the senior analysts who had authored the report.”
Demands from Above
When Obama’s National Security Council demanded more corroborative evidence to establish Syrian government guilt, “Israel obligingly provided what was reported to be interceptions of telephone conversations implicating the Syrian army in the attack, but it was widely believed that the information might have been fabricated by Tel Aviv, meaning that bad intelligence was being used to confirm other suspect information, a phenomenon known to analysts as ‘circular reporting,’” Giraldi wrote.
“Other intelligence cited in passing by the White House on the trajectories and telemetry of rockets that may have been used in the attack was also somewhat conjectural and involved weapons that were not, in fact, in the Syrian arsenal, suggesting that they were actually fired by the rebels.
“Also, traces of Sarin were not found in most of the areas being investigated, nor on one of the two rockets identified. Whether the victims of the attack suffered symptoms of Sarin was also disputed, and no autopsies were performed to confirm the presence of the chemical.
“With all evidence considered, the intelligence community found itself with numerous skeptics in the ranks, leading to sharp exchanges with the Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. A number of analysts threatened to resign as a group if their strong dissent was not noted in any report released to the public, forcing both Brennan and Clapper to back down.”
The Obama administration’s “solution” to this analyst revolt was to circumvent the normal intelligence process and issue a white paper that would be called a “Government Assessment,” declaring the Syrian government’s guilt as indisputable fact and leaving out the doubts of the intelligence community.
While this subterfuge may have satisfied the institutional concerns of the intelligence community – which didn’t want another Iraq-War-style violation of its procedural protocols on how NIEs are handled – it still left the American people vulnerable to a government deception on a question of war or peace.
Yes, there was no scene comparable to the positioning of CIA Director George Tenet behind Secretary of State Colin Powell as he delivered his deceptive Iraq War speech to the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003. Both Clapper and Brennan were absent from the administration’s testimony to Congress, leaving Secretary Kerry to do most of the talking with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey bracketing Kerry as mostly silent wing men.
And, yes, one could argue that the Obama administration’s hyping of its case against the Assad regime had a happy ending, the Syrian government’s agreement to eliminate its entire CW arsenal. Indeed, most of the grousing about the Syrian outcome has come from neocons who wanted to ride the rush to judgment all the way to another regime-changing war.
Dogs Not Barking
But Americans should be alarmed that a decade after they were deceived into a disastrous war in Iraq based on bogus intelligence – and the complete breakdown of Official Washington’s checks and balances – a very similar process could unfold that brought the country to the brink of another war.
Besides the disturbing fact that the Obama administration refused to release any actual evidence to support its case for war, there was the gullibility (or complicity) of leading news outlets in failing to show even a modicum of skepticism.
The New York Times and other major news organizations failed to note the dogs not barking. Why, for instance, was there no NIE? Why were the U.S. government’s top intelligence officials absent from public presentations of what amounted to an intelligence issue? It shouldn’t have required a Sherlock Holmes to sniff out the silenced intelligence analysts.
When a government leader refuses to reveal any of his supposed proof for a claim and conceals the professionals who don’t agree with his claim, any reasonably savvy person should draw the conclusion that the government leader doesn’t really have a case.
Though some Americans may cite the work of a few Web sites, like our own Consortiumnews.com, as having challenged the misguided conventional wisdom on Syria as we also did on Iraq, they should not draw too much comfort from this. After all, our readership is tiny when compared to the many sources of misinformation being disseminated to the broad American public.
The dangerous reality is that the United States remains vulnerable to the kinds of stampedes in judgment that can end up crushing people around the world.
[Here is some of our earlier reporting on the Syrian crisis: “A Dodgy Dossier on Syrian War”; “Murky Clues From UN’s Syria Report”; “Obama Still Withholds Syria Evidence”; “How US Pressure Bends UN Agencies.”]
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
In my last column, I emphasized that it was important for American citizens to demand to know what the real agendas are behind the wars of choice by the Bush and Obama regimes.
These are major long-term wars each lasting two to three times as long as World War II. Forbes reports that one million US soldiers have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
RT reports that the cost of keeping each US soldier in Afghanistan has risen from $1.3 million per soldier to $2.1 million.
Matthew J. Nasuti reports in the Kabul Press that it cost US taxpayers $50 million to kill one Taliban soldier. That means it cost $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban fighters. This is a war that can be won only at the cost of the total bankruptcy of the United States.
Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the current out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars is at least $6 trillion.
In other words, it is the cost of these two wars that explain the explosion of the US public debt and the economic and political problems associated with this large debt.
What has America gained in return for $6 trillion and one million injured soldiers, many very severely?
In Iraq, there is now an Islamic government allied with Iran in place of a secular regime that was an enemy of Iran, one as dictatorial as the other, presiding over war ruins, ongoing violence as high as that during the attempted US occupation, and extraordinary birth defects from the toxic substances associated with the US invasion and occupation.
In Afghanistan, there is an undefeated and apparently undefeatable Taliban and a revived drug trade that is flooding the Western world with narcotics.
The icing on these Bush and Obama “successes” are demands from around the world that Americans and former British PM Tony Blair be held accountable for their war crimes. Certainly, Washington’s reputation has plummeted as a result of these two wars. No governments anywhere are any longer sufficiently gullible as to believe anything that Washington says.
These are huge costs for wars for which we have no explanation.
The Bush/Obama regimes have come up with various cover stories: a “war on terror,” “we have to kill them over there before they come over here,” “weapons of mass destruction,” revenge for 9/11, Osama bin Laden (who died of his illnesses in December 2001 as was widely reported at the time).
None of these explanations are viable. Neither the Taliban nor Saddam Hussein was engaged in terrorism in the US. As the weapons inspectors informed the Bush regime, there were no WMDs in Iraq. Invading Muslim countries and slaughtering civilians are more likely to create terrorists than to suppress them. According to the official story, the 9/11 hijackers and Osama bin Laden were Saudis, not Afghans or Iraqis. Yet, it wasn’t Saudi Arabia that was invaded.
Democracy and accountable governments simply do not exist when the executive branch can take a country to wars on behalf of secret agendas operating behind cover stories that are transparent lies.
It is just as important to ask these same questions about the agenda of the US police state. Why have Bush and Obama removed the protection of law as a shield of the people and turned law into a weapon in the hands of the executive branch? How are Americans made safer by the overthrow of their civil liberties? Indefinite detention and execution without due process of law are the hallmarks of the tyrannical state. They are terrorism, not a protection against terrorism. Why is every communication of every American and apparently the communications of most other people in the world, including Washington’s most trusted European allies, subject to being intercepted and stored in a gigantic police state database? How does this protect Americans from terrorists?
Why is it necessary for Washington to attack the freedom of the press and speech, to run roughshod over the legislation that protects whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, to criminalize dissent and protests, and to threaten journalists such as Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, and Fox News reporter James Rosen?
How does keeping citizens ignorant of their government’s crimes make citizens safe from terrorists?
These persecutions of truth-tellers have nothing, whatsoever, to do with “national security” and “keeping Americans safe from terrorists.” The only purpose of these persecutions is to protect the executive branch from having its crimes revealed. Some of Washington’s crimes are so horrendous that the International Criminal Court would issue a death sentence if those guilty could be brought to trial. A government that will destroy the constitutional protections of free speech and a free press in order to prevent its criminal actions from being disclosed is a tyrannical government.
One hesitates to ask these questions and to make even the most obvious remarks out of fear not only of being put on a watch list and framed on some charge or the other, but also out of fear that such questions might provoke a false flag attack that could be used to justify the police state that has been put in place.
Perhaps that was what the Boston Marathon Bombing was. Evidence of the two brothers’ guilt has taken backseat to the government’s claims. There is nothing new about government frame-ups of patsies. What is new and unprecedented is the lock-down of Boston and its suburbs, the appearance of 10,000 heavily armed troops and tanks to patrol the streets and search without warrants the homes of citizens, all in the name of protecting the public from one wounded 19 year old kid.
Not only has nothing like this ever before happened in the US, but also it could not have been organized on the spur of the moment. It had to have been already in place waiting for the event. This was a trial run for what is to come.
Unaware Americans, especially gullible “law and order conservatives,” have no idea about the militarization of even their local police. I have watched local police forces train at gun clubs. The police are taught to shoot first not once but many times, to protect their lives first at all costs, and not to risk their lives by asking questions. This is why the 13-year old kid with the toy rifle was shot to pieces. Questioning would have revealed that it was a toy gun, but questioning the “suspect” might have endangered the precious police who are trained to take no risks whatsoever.
The police operate according to Obama’s presidential kill power: murder first then create a case against the victim.
In other words, dear American citizen, your life is worth nothing, but the police whom you pay, are not only unaccountable but also their lives are invaluable. If you get killed in their line of duty, it is no big deal. But don’t you injure a police goon thug in an act of self-defense. I mean, who do you think you are, some kind of mythical free American with rights?
“No legal issue arises when the United States responds to a challenge to its power, position, and prestige.” Dean Acheson , 1962, speaking to the American Society of International Law.
Dean Acheson declared 51 years ago that power, position, and prestige are the ingredients of national security and that national security trumps law. In the United States democracy takes a back seat to “national security,” a prerogative of the executive branch of government.
National security is where the executive branch hides its crimes against law, both domestic and international, its crimes against the Constitution, its crimes against innocent citizens both at home and abroad, and its secret agendas that it knows that the American public would never support.
“National security” is the cloak that the executive branch uses to make certain that the US government is unaccountable.
Without accountable government there is no civil liberty and no democracy except for the sham voting that existed in the Soviet Union and now exists in the US.
There have been periods in US history, such as President Lincoln’s war to prevent secession, World War I, and World War II, when accountable government was impaired. These were short episodes of the Constitution’s violation, and the Constitution was reinstated in the aftermath of the wars. However, since the Clinton regime, the accountability of government has been declining for more than two decades, longer than the three wars combined.
In law there is the concept of adverse possession, popularly known as “squatters’ rights.” A non-owner who succeeds in occupying a piece of property or some one else’s right for a certain time without being evicted enjoys the ownership title conveyed to him. The reasoning is that by not defending his rights, the owner showed his disinterest and in effect gave his rights away.
Americans have not defended their rights conveyed by the US Constitution for the duration of the terms of three presidents. The Clinton regime was not held accountable for its illegal attack on Serbia. The Bush regime was not held accountable for its illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Obama regime was not held accountable for its renewed attack on Afghanistan and its illegal attacks on Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen, and by its proxies on Syria.
We also have other strictly illegal and unconstitutional acts of government for which the government has not been held accountable. The Bush regimes’ acts of torture, indefinite detention, and warrantless spying, and the Obama regime’s acts of indefinite detention, warrantless spying, and murder of US citizens without due process. As the Obama regime lies through its teeth, we have no way of knowing whether torture is still practiced.
If these numerous criminal acts of the US government spread over the terms of three presidents pass into history as unchallenged events, the US government will have acquired squatters’ rights in lawlessness. The US Constitution will be, as President George W. Bush is reported to have declared, “a scrap of paper.”
Lawlessness is the hallmark of tyranny enforced by the police state. In a police state law is not a protector of rights but a weapon in the hands of government. [see Roberts & Stratton, The Tyranny of Good Intentions] The accused has no recourse to the accusation, which does not require evidence presented to a court. The accused is guilty by accusation alone and can be shot in the back of the head, as under Stalin, or blown up by a drone missile, as under Obama.
As a person aware of the long struggle against the tyrannical state, I have been amazed and disheartened by the acceptance not only by the insouciant American public, but also by law schools, bar associations, media, Congress and the Supreme Court of the executive branch’s claim to be above both law and the US Constitution.
As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book about how the law was lost, liberals and conservatives chasing after their favorite devils, such as child abusers and drug pushers, and prosecutors, judges, and police devoted to conviction and not to justice, have gradually eroded over time the concept of law as a protection of the innocent, With the atmosphere of threat created by 9/11, the final destruction of the protective features of law was quickly achieved in the name of making us safe from terrorists.
The fact that we are no longer safe from our own government did not register.
This is how liberty was lost, and America with it.
Can liberty be regained? Probably not, but there is a chance if Americans have the necessary strength of character. The chance comes from the now known fact that the neoconservative Bush/Cheney regime took America and its puppet states to war in Afghanistan and Iraq entirely on the basis of lies. As all evidence proves, these wars were not the results of mistaken intelligence. They were the products of intentional lies.
The weapons inspectors told the Bush regime that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Despite this known fact, the Bush regime sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN with fabricated evidence to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” and was a threat to the world. Even if such weapons had existed in Iraq, many countries have them, including the US and Israel, and the presence of weapons does not under the Nuremberg Laws justify unprovoked aggression against the possessor. Under the Nuremberg Laws, unprovoked military aggression is a war crime, not the possession of weapons that many countries have. The war crime was committed by the US and its “coalition of the willing,” not by Saddam Hussein.
As for the invasion of Afghanistan, we know from the last video of Osama bin Laden in October 2001, attested by experts to be the last appearance of a man dying of renal failure and other diseases, that he declared that he had no responsibility for 9/11 and that Americans should look to their own government. We know as a reported fact that the Afghan Taliban offered to turn over Osama bin Laden to Washington if the Bush regime would provide the evidence that indicated bin Laden was responsible. The Bush regime refused to hand over the (non-existent) evidence and, with support of the corrupt and cowardly Congress and the presstitute media, attacked Afghanistan without any legal justification. Remember, the FBI has stated publicly that it has no evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 and that that is why the crimes for which the FBI wanted bin Laden did not include responsibility for the 9/11 attack.
The war propaganda campaign was well prepared. Yellow ribbon decals were handed out for cars proclaiming “support the troops.” In other words, anyone who raises the obvious questions is not supporting the troops. Still today insouciant Americans sport these decals on their cars unaware that what they are supporting are the murder of foreign women, children and village elders, the death and physical and mental maiming of American soldiers, and the worldwide destruction of the reputation of the United States, with America’s main rival, China, now calling for a “de-Americanized world.”
A country with a population as insouciant as Americans is a country in which the government can do as it pleases.
Now that we have complete proof that the criminal Bush regime took our country to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq solely on the basis of intentional lies, how can the legal institutions, the courts, the American people possibly tolerate the Obama regime’s ignoring of the obvious crimes? How can America simply accept Obama’s statement that we mustn’t look back, only move ahead? If the US government, which has committed the worst crimes of our generation, cannot be held accountable and punished, how can federal, state, and local courts fill up American prisons with people who smoked pot and with people who did not sufficiently grovel before the police state.
Doubtless, the Obama regime, should it obey the law and prosecute the Bush regime’s crimes, would have to worry about being prosecuted for its own crimes, which are just as terrible. Nevertheless, I believe that the Obama regime could survive if it put all the blame on the Bush regime, prosecuted the Bush criminals, and desisted from the illegal actions that it currently supports. This would save the Constitution and US civil liberty, but it would require the White House to take the risk that by enforcing US law, US law might be enforced against its own illegal and unconstitutional acts by a succeeding regime.
The Bush/Cheney/John Yoo neoconservative regime having got rid of US law, no doubt the Obama regime thinks it is best to leave the situation as it is, rid of law.
Without accountability, America is finished. Not only will Americans live in a police state with no civil liberties, but the rest of the world is already looking at America with a jaundiced eye. The US is being reconstituted as an authoritarian state. All it takes is one failure of accountability for the police state to become entrenched, and we have had numerous failures of accountability. Does anyone really believe that some future government is going to make restitution to persecuted truth-tellers, such as Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowdon, as was done for Japanese Americans?
Now that we know for a certain fact that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were based on propaganda and lies, Congress and the world media should demand to know what was the real secret agenda. What are the real reasons for which Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded?
No truthful explanation for these wars exists.
Paul O’Neill, the Bush regime’s first Treasury Secretary, is on public record stating that at the very first cabinet meeting, long prior to 9/11, the agenda was a US attack on Iraq.
In other words, the Bush regime’s attack on Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.
What was the Bush regime’s secret agenda, kept secret by the Obama regime, that required an illegal, war criminal, attack on a sovereign country, an action for which officials of Hitler’s government were executed? What is the real purpose of Washington’s wars?
It is totally and completely obvious that the wars have nothing to do with protecting Americans from terrorism. If anything, the wars stir up and create terrorists. The wars create hatred of America that never previously existed. Despite this, America is free of terrorists attacks except for the ones orchestrated by the FBI. What the fabricated “terror threat” has done is to create a thorough-going domestic police state that is unaccountable.
Americans need to understand that they have lost their country. The rest of the world needs to recognize that Washington is not merely the most complete police state since Stalinism, but also a threat to the entire world. The hubris and arrogance of Washington, combined with Washington’s huge supply of weapons of mass destruction, make Washington the greatest threat that has ever existed to all life on the planet. Washington is the enemy of all humanity.
Australian citizen David Hicks suffered torture and brutal beatings at the hands of guards at Guantanamo prison. Breaking the gag order that was a condition of his release, Hicks spoke to RT about his ordeal and how he was coerced into pleading guilty.
38-year-old David Hicks spent over five years in Guantanamo Prison accused of aiding terrorists. He was eventually convicted under the 2006 Military Commissions Act for “providing material support to terrorism” and released in 2007 after pleading guilty. Hicks has filed to have the convictions overturned, alleging his plea was made under duress and he had no other choice but to confess.
During his six years at Guantanamo, Hicks says he was subjected to both mental and psychological torture, forced to take injections and brought to the brink of suicide by the prison staff.
“Myself and everyone else were tortured on a daily basis,” Hicks said. “That ranges from typical physical beatings to a whole range of psychological ploys. There was medical experimentation that was very scary to be subjected to.”
The staff at Guantanamo forced inmates to take pills and injections, and they would face beatings if they resisted, Hicks said. The prisoners were never informed as to the nature of the drugs they were made to take.
Hicks said that being white and Australian gave him a privileged position in the prison, allowing him to avoid some of the physical abuse that went on.
“Being white and, more importantly, English being my first language, that allowed me to communicate with the guards and probably talk my way out of being beaten and tortured more – this is the guards, so it’s separate to interrogation – versus some of the Arabs and Afghans, who couldn’t speak English at all.”
He described the guards as having “no patience” and when they were frustrated they would beat the inmates until their “bones were broken.”
“Once the detainee was beaten and removed, they’d have to use hoses and scrubbing brushes to remove the blood from the cement floor,” Hicks said.
After almost five years of imprisonment in Guantanamo, Hicks said he had lost the ability “to fight, to have hope, to believe that justice would prevail” and was contemplating suicide.
“Guantanamo is sort of this black hole where supposedly no laws apply except what they decide.”
Setting the record straight
When he was finally offered the chance to leave the prison it came with a price. Australian Prime Minister John Howard sent a message to Hicks’ lawyer, saying that “under no circumstances” would the Australian government allow him to return without entering into some sort of plea.
Hicks was subsequently given the opportunity to sign an Alford Plea – a piece of US legislation that allows a defendant to plead guilty, but without admitting guilt to a particular crime. Upon agreeing to the plea, Hicks was told he would be freed in 60 days.
“I ended up taking that deal, knowing that I could get out in 60 days and back to Australia and deal with it,” said Hicks, who still maintains his innocence.
When he returned to Australia he was put into isolation in an Adelaide prison and had a gagging order placed on him, forbidding him from talk about his experience in Guantanamo.
Six years on, however, Hicks is moving to set the record straight and clear his name of the charges that he claims are legally invalid.
Hicks referred to the case of Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni national also charged with providing material support to terrorists who had the charges overturned after an appeal in a federal court. The court ruled in his favor on the basis that the 2006 Military Commissions Act, under which the charges were made, was flawed and unconstitutional.
“Material support for terrorism is not a recognized crime and if it was, it was applied retroactively anyway,” said Hicks, describing his appeal as a “formality.”
The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan captured David Hicks in 2001 and handed him over to American jurisdiction for a $1,000 bounty. Hicks, a convert to Islam, admitted that he had trained in an al-Qaeda paramilitary camp during his time in Afghanistan, but maintains he never participated in terrorist activities.
Turkish border guards seized three vehicles loaded with over 1,000 kg of chemicals as they tried to illegally cross the border into Syria. One of the smugglers was arrested, while others managed to escape.
The Turkish General Staff reported that the chemicals were seized after a convoy of three vehicles refused to stop and attempted to illegally cross the border near the southeastern Turkish town of Reyhanli on Saturday.
Paramilitary police were ordered to shoot out the tires of the vehicles to stop them. As the tires caught on fire, the three drivers jumped out and fled in the direction of Syria. One of them was arrested.
The vehicles contained 20 bags of sulphur, weighing about 50 kg each, and eight sealed barrels. Their contents were not immediately known.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) chairman Faruk Logoglu said in a statement on Monday that the barrels are suspected to contain chemical material. “Traffic was from Turkey to Syria,” he added.
The arrested suspect’s nationality has not been made public. He was taken into custody after interrogation by the Reyhanli district gendarmerie headquarters and is to be sent to the prosecutor’s office.
Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense (CBRN) units from the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency have started examining the seized material, Logoglu’s statement said.
The Republican People’s Party has also criticized the release of a primary suspect in a similar case, saying that closing the investigation would be “a shame for Turkey,” Hurriyet newspaper reported, citing CHP’s deputy.
In May 2013, Turkish police seized a group of people after being informed that Syrian rebel groups were looking to obtain materials that could be used to produce chemical weapons.
A two -kilogram cylinder with what initially was suggested to be sarin gas was seized while searching the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra Front following their detention.
Some of the suspects accused of establishing a connection with a network in Turkey to convey chemical materials were released after lab tests proved that the seized chemicals were not sarin gas.
The alleged use of sarin – considered one of the world’s most dangerous chemical warfare agents – in a Damascus suburb on August 21 provoked an international outcry which nearly led to a US military strike against the Syrian regime, as Western countries assumed it was the Assad government who used the chemical weapons.
However, while a UN investigation proved that sarin was used near Damascus, it did not say who was behind the attack. At the same time, Russia also analyzed samples taken in the Syrian town of Aleppo, where chemical weapons were allegedly used in March. Experts concluded that rebels – not the army – were behind the Aleppo sarin attack.
In September, Syria agreed to comply with Moscow’s offer to put its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent destruction, in order to avert a possible military strike. Damascus declared the possession of 1,300 tons of chemicals and precursors needed for chemical weapons production, as well as over 1,200 empty chemical munitions.
On Thursday, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that Syria’s entire declared stock of chemical weapons has been placed under seal.
The organization acknowledged that Damascus has complied with the watchdog’s requirement, adopted on September 27, for the complete elimination of chemical weapons and production units in Syria before November 1.
The process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons stocks has a target finish date of mid-2014.