Forget Comparing Renisha to Trayvon. How Do the Stories of Renisha McBride and Miriam Carey Stack Up?
What is the stunning similarity between the Renisha McBride story and that of Miriam Carey? What justifies prosecution in the former and complete silence in the latter? You might be surprised just how obvious this hypocrisy is. And no, it’s not about race.
I would like to start this article by making this point perfectly clear: I believe Theodore Wafer, the man who shot Renisha McBride on his front porch at 4:30am, should be charged with a crime.
Manslaughter? Involuntary manslaughter? Any of those would do if in fact the gun he was holding went off by accident. Murder in the 2nd degree is also a possibility in that it is not premeditated and there is nothing to suggest he was planning on having Renisha show up at his home so he could kill her.
The fact is, Wafer shot her through a closed and locked screen door according to his own statement. Unlike the Trayvon Martin case, Renisha wasn’t assaulting him and there is nothing at this point to indicate she posed a threat to his life.
As far as the reports go to this point, Wafer only attempted to call the police after the shooting. That fact in itself is reason enough to suggest Mr. Wafer handled the situation badly and must therefore answer for the actions that took place afterward resulting in the death of Renisha McBride.
You don’t have a right to take a life simply because someone is drunk and beating on your door at 4 in the morning. You might want to, but you don’t get to. We have laws in this country which we “little people” have to abide by.
Had Wafer simply called the cops and waited for them to show up, Renisha would have been arrested for being intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident as well as a DUI … but she would be alive to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. As it turns out, because of the actions of Theodore Wafer, her parents are now faced with that task while Renisha lies covered in a premature grave.
Renisha was only 18 years old.
That said, I don’t really have to wonder for too long why it is that the Renisha McBride story is now plastered all over CNN, the New York Times, Fox News, the Huffington Post (Black Voices section), ABC news and pretty much everywhere else while the story of what happened to Miriam Carey has disappeared down the memory hole.
Miriam Carey was the 35 year-old mother of one who was shot and killed by Capitol Police and the Secret Service after she made a wrong turn into an access road at the White House and immediately turned around to leave. That’s the official story.
She was chased by Secret Service from the scene in broad daylight down Pennsylvania Ave. and she ended up being surrounded and subsequently executed… while unarmed… with her 14 month-old child watching a few feet away.
Miriam was shot multiple times.
The police as well as the Secret Service violated their SOP by firing at her car on a busy city street while she was simply trying to flee the area.
Whenever the MSM have to report on this case (and it is extremely rare at this point) they always make the claim that she tried to “ram the gates” at the White House in order to gain entry.
That simply didn’t happen.
It didn’t happen according to the one eyewitness at that location and it didn’t happen according to the police report and the official story. But that doesn’t stop the press from using that lie to justify the shooting.
According to both the eyewitness and the police report, Miriam was attempting to leave the grounds of the White House when a Secret Service agent placed a barricade, a portable bike-rack, in front of her car. That is an important distinction.
She pushed through that bike-rack with her vehicle and the Secret Service agent jumped up on her hood to stop her. She sped off once clear of the others causing the agent to fall off her vehicle.
The point is, she was only viewed trying to leave the grounds and the “ramming” she did, was an effort to accomplish that goal, not as the the press would have you believe, to gain access to the grounds.
Now let’s go back to the Renisha McBride story.
What if Renisha had knocked on Wafer’s door, realized she was at the wrong house (her house was on a corner as well) and as she tried to leave, Wafer came out, grabbed her, pointed weapons at her and told her she couldn’t?
What if Renisha had “rammed through” his barricade (porch chairs) and made it out onto the street running away as fast as she could and Wafer had opened fire on her multiple times giving chase?
What if Wafer had caught up with Renisha 10 blocks away and gunned her down while she begged for mercy?
Would there be any question as to his guilt? Would there even be a need for a trial? Of course not. That’s murder in the first, by the way.
But essentially, as ridiculous as my hypothetical “what if” story is, that is EXACTLY what happened to Miriam Carey.
Carey wasn’t trying to gain access to the White House, where-as it can be argued that Renisha was doing just that at Theodore Wafer’s residence.
Carey was no longer on the president’s property, where-as Renisha was still on Wafer’s front porch when she was tragically killed.
And though it only pertains to the story by way of estimating their state of mind, Carey was sober as a judge when she died, where-as Renisha had more than double the legal limit of intoxicants in her system (alcohol and pot)
In the case of the Secret Service, they fired at Miriam at multiple locations with the intention to kill her and in the case of Renisha, one shot was fired and it may turn out it was by accident (still doesn’t absolve Wafer from responsibility or prosecution in my opinion)
In Washington, at the White House, the Secret Service reserves the right to use deadly force in order to prevent unwarranted access to the president’s home.
Ultimately that’s the justification given for the execution of Miriam Carey. That she attempted to “ram the gates” at the White House and gain entry to the building. And she died for it, according to the official story.
But of course, none of that is true.
Not a word from the like of Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson on behalf of Miriam Carey is to be found.
When viewed in these terms, the stories are remarkably similar and yet the end results in terms of moral outrage from the press and the community are vastly different.
Why is it that Renisha has posters and Twitter feeds and marches while Miriam lays unavenged in her premature grave as well?
You have to be the judge of that.
Should Theodore Wafer be prosecuted? Yes, he should.
Should the Secret Service be investigated for the extra-judicial murder of Miriam Carey? Should there be a real, independent investigation into what really happened that afternoon at the White House?
Renisha wasn’t armed and neither was Miriam. There is no indication that either had malice on their minds when they made their respective geographical mistakes.
So why scream outrage over the one while ignoring the other?
Over the weekend, the New York Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, published a piece investigating the Times’ thirteen month delay in the publication of a bombshell report on the Bush Administration’s domestic mass surveillance program back in 2004 and 2005. Sullivan’s revisitation of the issue in light of what we’ve learned since this summer about the NSA was a great public service.
We now know that the government lied to the New York Times about the legality of its spying to delay the publication of the story that would eventually win the Pulitzer Prize, hiding a tremendous fight inside the government about the legality of the spying. The report also contains an important new admission from former NSA chief—and its current public booster—General Michael Hayden, that “he can’t prove any harm to national security from the publication of the eavesdropping stories — then or now.” We hope Mr. Hayden will now revise the many hyperbolic statements he has made to the contrary.
Yet as the folks who, along with the ACLU, have been leading the lawsuits against NSA spying since early 2006, we need to point out a big problem with the New York Times’ characterization of the current mass spying.
The piece quotes Eric Lichtblau as saying that, as a result of the revelations, Congress made “all this stuff” legal, then adds: “There may be public outrage over the latest wave of surveillance revelations, but the government has a helpful defense: Hey, it’s legal.”
Not so. The government’s claims of “legality” are wrong, have been strongly criticized by national security law professors, and are currently being challenged in court by EFF, ACLU, and EPIC, among others. The Times dis-serves its audience by repeating them as if they were true.
In fact, the ACLU has a hearing in New York on Friday, November 22, in its key challenge to one of those “legal” claims: that the NSA’s indiscriminately collecting telephone records is “legal” under a convoluted interpretation of the section 215 of the 2001 Patriot Act that mentions neither telephone records nor the NSA. To try to make it fit, the government attempts to redefine the limits on production of “relevant” things to allow the collection of massive amounts of “irrelevant” information. In other words, by a plain reading of the statute, what the NSA is currently doing in collecting massive amounts of telephone records on an ongoing basis is not legal.
And that’s not even addressing the Fourth Amendment problems with mass, suspicionless seizure of records of our calls with doctors, business associates, churches, friends and lovers, records that can create an extremely intimate portrait of our lives and political activities. The government’s claim that the Fourth Amendment is not triggered by the ongoing collection of this sensitive information in an untargeted mass is far from settled.
The Fourth Amendment isn’t even the only amendment the NSA is violating. EFF focused on the First Amendment in our motion for partial summary judgment against the mass telephone records collection program we filed in California last Wednesday. The motion features declarations from 22 associations, from the California Gun Owners to Patient Privacy Rights to People for the American Way to the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, attesting to the First Amendment chilling effect from the collection of telephone records.
Also not “legal” is the mass collection of communications, including content, that the government claims is justified by section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. That’s the law Lichtblau references, passed in 2008 after the Times revelations. Section 702 also doesn’t say that mass, untargeted surveillance of Americans is allowed. To the contrary, 702 expressly forbids the government from intentionally acquiring any communications that are purely domestic. The NSA’s “upstream” access, tapping into the domestic fiber optic cables of AT&T and other carriers that carry the content of our emails, web searches, social networking posts and many of our phone calls, plainly violates section 702 and also violates the Constitution. EFF will be presenting these arguments before an open, adversarial public federal court starting in the spring.
These points were made well by former EFF attorney Jennifer Granick of Stanford and Professor Christopher Sprigman of the University of Virgnia in a piece in the Times in June, so it’s surprising that the Times simply repeated the government’s conclusions without question.
In short, nowhere in federal law, before or after the Times story in 2005, has Congress ever openly authorized the mass spying on Americans that is taking place. EFF is still fighting to force the release of the key FISA Court rulings, so we don’t know the specifics, but the fact that the government has convinced the secret, non-adversarial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to sign off, apparently based on contorted statutory interpretation, doesn’t change that. These questions need to be presented in the public courts where rule of law and due process rules are clear.
The piece admits that the Times was taken in by claims of “legality” in 2004. It shouldn’t get fooled again by government claims of “legality” of mass surveillance.
As you know I’m no fan of the New York Times
when it comes their Iran coverage. The entire newspaper staff there has blood on their hands, as far as I’m concerned, and in an ideal world they should be on trial for deliberately promoting the nonsense that led to the Iraq invasion, never mind the terrible “journalists” like Michael Gordon, the human dictaphone, who work there.
But just to point out that nothing has changed, I refer you to the latest example of crap posing as news by, who else, than Michael Gordon (and Mark Lander.) I could poke holes in this story all day but the best bit is about the Arak heavy water reactor.
They mention that this reactor, once operational, will produce plutonium which can theoretically be made into a bomb, and then they casually proceed to refer to “Iran’s plutonium production program” as if this is some sort of deliberate move by Iran to make plutonium
But plutonium is created in practically any nuclear reactor’s fuel rods, because of the laws of physics which apply equally to Iran as anywhere else. Aside from the fact that the reactor will be under constant IAEA safeguards, the irradiated reactor rods are extremely radioactive and so there is no way that this plutonium can be used for anything without it going through a very complex chain of reactions called “reprocessing” and furthermore, while the Shah was absolutely insistent that Iran retain a reprocessing capability, the Islamic Republic has no reprocessing facility and according to the IAEA itself, has shown no interest in it. In fact, Iran has repeatedly offered to fore-go reprocessing (the reactor rods from Iran’s Bushehr reactor are sent back to Russia for reprocessing.)
Of course, the NY Times could not be bothered to mention ANY of that instead Gordon and Landis made up a “plutonium production program” in Iran.
The New York Times’ editorial board has made a disappointing endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even as the actual text of the agreement remains secret. That raises two distressing possibilities: either in an act of extraordinary subservience, the Times has endorsed an agreement that neither the public nor its editors have the ability to read. Or, in an act of extraordinary cowardice, it has obtained a copy of the secret text and hasn’t yet fulfilled its duty to the public interest to publish it.
Without a publicly available agreement, readers are forced into the uncomfortable position of taking official government statements at face value. That’s reflected in the endorsement, which fails to note the myriad ways in which TPP has been negotiated undemocratically, shutting out public oversight while permitting corporate interests to drive the agenda. Given these glaring issues, it is disconcerting that the Times would take such a supportive stance on an agreement that is likely to threaten innovation and users’ digital rights well into the 21st century.
That situation leaves unanswered questions. Does the editorial board, for example, support the TPP provisions that would give private corporations new tools to undermine national sovereignty and democratic processes? Because “investor-state dispute settlement,” slated for inclusion in both the TPP and the EU-US trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), would give multinational companies the power to sue countries over laws that might cut into expected future profits. This could allow corporations to unravel any policy designed to protect users against violations of their right to privacy or free speech online. The paper’s endorsement notes that copyright enforcement could be expanded to suit legacy media companies, but provides no explanation of why a trade agreement is an acceptable venue for deciding such issues.
Does the New York Times also endorse an initiative to scrap democratic oversight of TPP by elected lawmakers? After all, Senate Finance committee leaders, Sen. Max Baucus and Sen. Orrin Hatch have renewed their call to pass fast-track, which would hand over Congress’ constitutional mandate over US trade policy to the Obama administration. Fast-track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, would restrict lawmakers from having any proper hearings on its provisions, limiting them to an up-or-down vote on the entire 29 chapter treaty.
The paper’s statement emphasizes how the Obama administration strives to make TPP’s policies “an example for the rest of the world to follow.” But if that’s the case, then it’s all the more important that the agreement be published immediately. Such a significant body of international law regulating digital policy must not be negotiated without proper, informed public debate. The secrecy of the process itself ensures that only some private interests will be represented at the expense of others. In addition, the U.S. Trade Representative’s history of pushing forth extreme copyright enforcement policies through other trade agreements gives little assurance that users’ rights will be considered in the TPP.
Trade representatives are working to finalize TPP negotiations by the end of the year. Negotiators are scheduled to meet in Salt Lake City next week to negotiate outstanding issues in this agreement, including provisions on liability for Internet Service Providers and anti-circumvention measures over DRM. Following that, trade delegates are seeking to finalize and sign this agreement in December in a ministerial meeting in Singapore.
It’s unfortunate that news outlets are giving little coverage to TPP, when media attention could have a major impact on how the US and the other 11 nations draft digital policy. But public media coverage is precisely the sort of accountability that official secrecy thwarts. Instead of endorsing an agreement the public can’t read, a responsible paper would condemn the secrecy involved. And if the Times has seen the text and knows what’s contained in the TPP, then they have a responsibility to publish the text immediately and expose the US government’s back room dealings.
In either case, it is deeply disappointing that the New York Times would even support the TPP when the public remains in the dark. An endorsement of TPP at this stage is an endorsement of opaque, corporate-driven policymaking.
We need to demand that our lawmakers oppose fast track, ask them to call for a hearing, and exercise their authority to oversee the U.S. trade office’s secret copyright agenda.
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership: We Won’t Be Fooled by Rigged Corporate Trade Agreements (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Congress Must Not Fast Track TPP to Ratification (eff.org)
Pro-Israel Policy groups such as AIPAC work with unlimited funding to divert US policy in the region (Middle East).
– Jack Straw, Member of Parliament and former Foreign Secretary of the British Labor Party
The United States should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran to spur the country to end its nuclear program.
– Sheldon Adelson, biggest donor to the Republican Party and major fundraiser for pro-Israel political action committees, speech at Yeshiva University, New York City, October 22, 2013
The question of war or peace with Iran rests with the policies adopted by the White House and the US Congress. The peace overtures by newly elected Iranian President Rohani have resonated favorably around the world, except with Israel and its Zionist acolytes in North America and Europe. The first negotiating session proceeded without recrimination and resulted in an optimistic assessment by both sides. Precisely because of the initial favorable response among the participants, the Israeli government escalated its propaganda war against Iran. Its agents in the US Congress, the mass media and in the Executive branch moved to undermine the peace process. What is at stake is Israel’s capacity to wage proxy wars using the US military and its NATO allies against any government challenging Israeli military supremacy in the Middle East, its violent annexation of Palestinian territory and its ability to attack any adversary with impunity.
To understand what is at stake in the current peace negotiations one must envision the consequences of failure: Under Israeli pressure, the US announced that its ‘military option’ could be activated – resulting in missile strikes and a bombing campaign against 76 million Iranians in order to destroy their government and economy. Tehran could retaliate against such aggression by targeting US military bases in the region and Gulf oil installations resulting in a global crisis. This is what Israel wants.
We will begin by examining the context of Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East. We will then proceed to analyze Israel’s incredible power over the US political process and how it shapes the negotiation process today, with special emphasis on Zionist power in the US Congress.
The Context of Israeli Military Supremacy in the Middle East
Since the end of World War II, Israel has bombed, invaded and occupied more countries in the Middle East and Africa than any previous colonial power, except the US. The list of Israel’s victims includes: Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, and Yemen. If we include countries where Israel has launched quasi-clandestine terrorist attacks and assassinations, the list would be greatly expanded to include a dozen countries in Europe and Asia – including the US through its Zionist terror network.
Israel’s projection of military power, its capacity for waging offensive wars at will, is matched by its near-total impunity. Despite their repeated violations of international law, including war crimes, Israel has never been censored at an international tribunal or subjected to economic sanctions because the US government uses its position to veto UN Security Council resolutions and pressure its NATO-EU allies.
Israel’s military supremacy has less to do with the native techno-industrial ‘brilliance’ of its war-mongers and more to do with the transfers and outright theft of nuclear, chemical, and biological technology and weapons from the US.Overseas Zionists in the US and France have played a strategic (and treasonous) role in stealing and illegally shipping nuclear technology and weapon components to Israel, according to an investigation by former CIA Director Richard Helms.
Israel maintains huge nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon stockpiles, refusing any access to international arms inspectors and is not obliged to abide by the non-proliferation treaty because of US diplomatic intervention. Under pressure from the local ‘Zionist power configuration’ (ZPC), the US government has blocked any action which might constrain Israel’s production of weapons of mass destruction. In fact the US continues to provide Israel with strategic weapons of mass destruction for use against its neighbors – in violation of international law.
US military aid and technology transfers to Israel exceed $100 billion dollars over the past half century. US diplomatic and military intervention was crucial in rescuing Israel from defeat during the 1973 war. US President Lyndon Johnson’s refusal to defend the unarmed intelligence ship, the USS Liberty in 1967, after it had been bombed and napalmed by Israeli fighter planes and warships in international waters, constituted a tremendous victory for Israel, thanks to Johnson’s Zionist advisers. Because of its impunity, even in killing American servicemen, Israel has been given a free hand to wage aggressive wars to dominate its neighbors, commit acts of terrorism, and assassinate its adversaries throughout the world without fear of retaliation.
Israel’s uncontested military superiority has converted several of its neighbors to quasi-client collaborators: Egypt and Jordan have served as de facto allies, along with the Gulf monarchies, helping Israel repress the region’s nationalist and pro-Palestinian movements.
The most decisive factor in the rise and consolidation of Israel’s power in the Middle East has not been its military prowess but its political reach and influence via its Zionist agents in the US. Washington’s wars against Iraq and Libya, and its current support of the mercenary assault against Syria, have destroyed three major secular nationalist opponents of Israel’s hegemonic ambitions.
As Israel accumulates more power in the region, expanding its colonization of Palestinian territory, it looks eastward toward destroying the last remaining obstacle to its colonial policies: Iran.
For at least two decades, Israel has directed its overseas agents – (the ZPC) – to destroy the government of Iran by destabilizing its society, assassinating its scientists, bombing its military establishments and laboratories, and strangling its economy.
After the ZPC successfully pushed the US into war against Iraq in 2003 – literally shredding its complex secular society and killing over a million Iraqis – it turned its sights on destroying Lebanon (Hezbollah) and the secular government of Syria as a way to isolate Iran and prepare for an attack. While thousands of Lebanese civilians were slaughtered in 2006, Israel’s attack on Lebanon failed, despite the support of the US government and the ZPC’s wild propaganda campaign. Hysterical at its failure and to ‘compensate’ for its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah and to ‘boost morale,’ Israel invaded and destroyed much of Gaza (2008/9) – the world’s largest open air prison camp.
Lacking military capacity to attack Iran on its own, Israel directed its agents to manipulate the US government to start a war with Tehran. The militarist leaders in Tel Aviv have unleashed their political assets (ZPC) throughout the US to work to destroy Iran – the last formidable adversary to Israeli supremacy in the Middle East.
The Israeli-ZPC strategy is designed to set the stage for a US confrontation with Iran, using its agents in the Executive branch as well as its ongoing corruption, bribery and control of the US Congress. ZPC control over the mass media enhances its propaganda campaign: Everyday the New York Times and the Washington Post publish articles and editorials promoting Israel’s war agenda. The ZPC uses the US State Department to force other NATO states to likewise confront Iran.
Israel’s Proxy War with Iran: US Political Pressure, Economic Sanctions and Military Threats
Alone, Israel’s ‘war’ with Iran would not amount to much more than its cyber sabotage, the periodic assassinations of Iranian scientists using its paid agents among Iranian terrorist groups and non-stop brow-beating from Israeli politicians and their ‘amen crowd’. Outside of Israel, this campaign has had little impact on public opinion. Israel’s ‘war’ on Iran depends exclusively on its capacity to manipulate US policy using its local agents and groups who dominate the US Congress and through the appointments of officials in key positions in the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Justice , and as Middle East ‘advisors’. Israel cannot organize an effective sanction campaign against Iran; nor could it influence any major power to abide by such a campaign. Only the US has that power. Israel’s dominance in the Middle East comes entirely from its capacity to mobilize its proxies in the United States who are assigned the task of securing total submission to Israel’s interests from elected and appointed government officials – especially in regard to Israel’s regional adversaries.
Strategically placed, ‘dual US-Israeli citizens’ have used their US citizenship to secure high security positions in the Government directly involved in policies affecting Israel. As Israelis, their activities are in line with the dictates of Tel Aviv. In the Bush administration (2001-2008) high placed ‘Israel Firsters’ dominated the Pentagon (Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith), Middle East Security (Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross), the Vice President’s office (‘Scooter’ Libby), Treasury (Levey) and Homeland Security (Michael Chertoff). In the Obama administration the ‘Israel Firsters’ include Dennis Ross, Rahm Emanuel, David Cohen, Secretary of Treasury Jack “Jake the Snake” Lew, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Michael Froman as Trade Representative among others.
Israel’s Proxy Power within the Executive branch is matched by its dominance of the US Congress. Contrary to some critics, Israel is neither an ‘ally’ or ‘client’ of the US. Evidence of the gross asymmetry of the relationship abounds over the past half century. Because of these powerful proxies in Congress and the Executive branch, Israel has received over a $100 billion dollar tribute from the US the past 30 years, or $3 billion plus a year. The US Pentagon has transferred the most up-to-date military technology and engaged in several wars on Israel’s behalf. The US Treasury has imposed sanctions against potentially lucrative trading and investment partners in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq and Syria) depriving US agricultural and manufacturing exporters and oil companies of over $500 billion in revenues. The White House sacrificed the lives of over 4,400 US soldiers in the Iraq War – a war promoted by Israel’s proxies at the behest of Israel’s leaders. The State Department has rejected friendly and profitable relations with over 1.5 billion Muslims by backing the illegal settlement of over half million Jewish colonists on military-occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The strategic question is how and why this one-sided relationship between the US and Israel persists for so long, even as it goes counter to so many strategic and elite US interests? The more immediate and pressing question is how this historically lopsided relationship effects contemporary US-Iran sanctions and nuclear negotiations?
Iran and the Peace Negotiations
Undoubtedly the newly elected Iranian President and his Foreign Minister are prepared to negotiate an end to hostilities with the US by making major concessions ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy. They have stated they are open to reducing or even ending the production of highly enriched uranium; reducing the number of centrifuges and even allowing intrusive, unannounced inspections, among other promising proposals. The Iranian government proposes a roadmap with end goals as part of the initial agreements. The European Union’s Foreign Secretary Lady Ashton has commented favorably on the initial meeting.
The US Administration has given conflicting signals following the Iranian overtures and the opening meeting. Some individual comments are guardedly positive; others are less encouraging and rigid. Administration Zionists like Jack ‘Jake’ Lew, the Treasury Secretary, insist sanctions will remain until Iran meets all US (read ‘Israeli’) demands. The US Congress, bought and controlled by the ZPC, rejects the promising Iranian overtures and flexibility, insisting on military ‘options’ or the total dismantling of Iran’s legal and peaceful nuclear program – ZPC positions designed to sabotage the negotiations. To that end, Congress has passed new, more extreme, economic sanctions to strangle Iran’s oil economy.
How Israel’s Political Action Committees Control the US Congress and Prepare War with Iran
The Zionist Power Configuration uses its financial firepower to dictate Congressional policy on the Middle East and to ensure that the US Congress and Senate do not stray one iota from serving Israel’s interests. The Zionist instrument used in the purchase of elected officials in the US is the political action committee (PAC).
Thanks to a 2010 US Supreme Court decision, Super PACs-linked to Israel spend enormous sums to elect or destroy candidates – depending on the candidate’s political work on behalf of Israel. As long as these funds do not go directly to the candidate, these Super PACs do not have to reveal how much they spend or how it is spent. Conservative estimates of ZPC-linked direct and indirect funds to US legislators run close to $100 million dollars over the past 30-years. The ZPC channels these funds to legislative leaders and members of Congressional committees dealing with foreign policy, especially sub-committee chairpersons dealing with the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, the largest Congressional recipients of ZPC money are those who have aggressively promoted Israel’s hard-line policies. Elsewhere around the world, such large scale payoffs for legislative votes would be considered blatant bribery and subject to felony prosecution and imprisonment for both parties. In the US, the purchase and sale of a politician’s vote is called ‘lobbying’ and is legal and open. The legislative branch of the US government has come to resemble a high-price brothel or white slavers’ auction – but with the lives of thousands at stake.
The ZPC has purchased the alliance of US Congress people and Senators on a massive scale: Of 435 members of the US House of Representatives (sic), 219 have received payments from the ZPC in exchange for their votes on behalf of the state of Israel. Corruption is even more rampant among the 100 US Senators, 94 of whom have accepted pro-Israel PAC and Super PAC money for their loyalty to Israel. The ZPC showers money on both Republicans and Democrats, thus securing incredible (in this era of Congressional deadlock), near unanimous (‘bipartisan’) votes in favor of the ‘Jewish State’, including its war crimes, like the bombing of Gaza and Lebanon as well as the annual $3 billion dollar plus US tax-payer tribute to Tel Aviv. At least 50 US Senators have each collected between $100 thousand and $1 million in ZPC money over the past decades. In exchange, they have voted for over $100 billion in tribute payments to Israel … in addition to other ‘services and payments’. The members of the US Congress are cheaper: 25 legislators have received between $238,000 and $50,000, while the rest got peanuts. Regardless of the amount, the net result is the same: Congressional members pick up their script from their Zionist mentors in the PACs, Super PACs and AIPAC and back all of Israel’s wars in the Middle East and promote US aggression on behalf of Israel.
The most outspoken and influential legislators get the biggest chunk of Zionist payola: Senator Mark Kirk (Bombs over Tehran!) tops the ‘pigs at the trough’ list with $925,000 in ZPC payoffs, followed by John McCain (Bombs over Damascus!) with $771,000, while Senators Mitch McConnell, Carl Levin, Robert Menendez, Richard Durban and other Zionophilic politicos are not shy about holding out their little begging bowls when the pro-Israel PAC bagmen arrive! Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tops the ‘House’ list with $238,000 for her 100% pro-Israel record as well as for being more war-mongering than even Netanyahu! Eric Cantor got $209,000 for championing ‘wars for Israel’ with American lives while cutting Social Security payments to US seniors in order to increase military aid to Tel Aviv. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, got $144,000 for ‘whipping the few wobbly’ Democrats back into Israel’s ‘camp’. House Majority Leader John Boehner was paid $130,000 to do the same among the Republicans.
The ZPC has spent huge amounts to punish and destroy a dozen or so dissident legislators who had stood up to Israel’s wars and grotesque human rights record. The ZPC has poured millions into individual campaigns, not only financing opposition candidates who pledged allegiance to the Israel but mounting scurrilous character assassinations of Israel’s critics in office. These campaigns have been mounted in the most obscure parts of the US, including in majority African-American districts, where local Zionist interests and influence are otherwise absolutely nil.
There are no comparable PACs, Super PACs, party leaders, or civic organizations that can contest the power of Israel’s Fifth Column. According to documents archived by the courageous researcher, Grant Smith of IRMEP, when it comes to Israel, the US Justice Department has adamantly refused to enforce its own federal laws requiring the prosecution of US citizens who fail to register as foreign agents while working for a foreign country – at least since 1963. On the other hand, the ZPC, through the so-call ‘Anti-Defamation League’, has successfully pressured the Justice Department, the FBI and NSA to investigate and prosecute law-abiding, patriotic US citizens critical of Israel’s land grabs in Palestine and the Zionist corruptors of the US political system on behalf of their foreign master.
The corruption and degradation of US democracy is made possible by the equally compromised and corrupted ‘respectable press’. Media critic, Steve Lendman, has pointed out the direct link between Israel and the mass media in his investigation of the New York Times. The leading (‘fair and balanced’) journalists reporting on Israel have strong family and political ties to that country and their articles have been little more than propaganda. Times reporter Ethan Bronner, whose son served in the Israel Defense Forces, is a long-time apologist for the Zionist state. Times reporter Isabel Kershner, whose ‘writing’ seems to come straight out of the Israeli Foreign Office, is married to Hirsh Goodman an adviser to the Netanyahu regime on ‘security affairs’. The Times bureau chief in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, lives comfortably in the ancestral home of a Palestinian family dispossessed from that ancient city.
The Times unflinching pro-Israel posture provides a political cover and justification for the corrupted US politicians as they beat the war drums for Israel. It is no surprise that the New York Times, like the Washington Post, is deeply engaged in disparaging and denouncing the current US-Iran negotiations – and providing ample space for the one-sided rhetoric of Israeli politicians and their US mouthpieces, while studiously excluding the more rational, pro-rapprochement voices of experienced former US diplomats, war-weary military leaders and representatives of the US business and academic communities.
To understand Congress’ hostility to the nuclear negotiations with Iran and their efforts to scuttle them through the imposition of ridiculous new sanctions, it is important to get to the source of the problem, namely the statements of key Israeli politicians, who set the line of march for their US proxies.
In late October, 2013, Former Israeli Defense Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin spoke of ‘having to choose between ‘the bomb’ or the bombing’ – a message which immediately resonated with the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations.On October 22, 2013, Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, called for harsh new sanctions on Iran and insisted that the US use them as leverage to demand that Iran agree to entirely abandon its peaceful nuclear energy and enrichment program. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon affirmed that ‘Israel will not accept any deal that allows Iran to enrich uranium’. It is Israel’s position to threaten war (via the US) if Iran does not submit to unconditional surrender of its nuclear program. This defines the position of all the major pro-Israel PACs, Super PACs and AIPAC. They in turn proceed to dictate policy to their ‘lick-spittles’ in the US Congress. As a result, Congress passes even more extreme economic sanctions on Iran in order to sabotage the ongoing negotiations.
Those who have received the biggest Zionist pay-offs from the pro-Israel PACs are the most vociferous: Senator Mark Kirk ($925,379), author of a previous sanctions bill, demands that Iran end its entire nuclear and ballistic missile program (!) and declared that the US Senate “should immediately move forward with a new round of economic sanctions targeting all remaining Iranian government revenue and reserves.”The US House of Representatives (sic) has already passed a bill sharply limiting Iran’s ability to sell its main export, oil. Once again, the Israel-ZPC-Congressional axis seeks to impose Israel’s war agenda on the American people! In late October 2013, Secretary of State Kerry was ‘grilled’ for 7 hours by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with the craven Kerry promising to promote Israel’s agenda on dismantling Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.
To counter the campaign to strangle Iran’s oil economy, promoted by Israel’s flunkeys in the Congress, the Iranian government has offered generous contracts to the US and EU oil companies.Existing nationalist provisions are being removed. Under the new terms, foreign companies book reserves or take equity stakes in Iranian projects. Iran hopes to attract at least $100 billion dollars in investments over the next three years. This stable country boasts the world’s largest gas and the fourth largest oil reserves. Because of the current US (Israel)-imposed sanctions, production has fallen from 3.5 million barrels per day in 2011 to 2.58 million barrels per day in 2013. The question is whether Big Oil and the giant US and EU companies have the power to challenge the ZPC-stranglehold over US-EU sanction policy. So far, the ZPC has dominated this critical policy and marginalized ‘Big Oil’ using threats, blackmail and coercion against US policymakers. This has effectively shut out US companies from the lucrative Iranian market.
As the US and the 5 other countries attempt to negotiate with Iran, they face enormous obstacles overcoming Israel’s power over the US Congress. Over past decades Israel’s agents have bought the loyalties of the vast majority of Congress people, training them to recognize and obey the whistles, signals and script from the war mongers in Tel Aviv.
This Axis of War, has inflicted enormous damage on the world resulting in the deaths of millions of victims of US wars in the Middle East, Southwest Asia and North Africa. The gross corruption and widely recognized bankruptcy of the US legislative system is due to its slavish submission to a foreign power. What remains in Washington is a debased vassal state despised by its own citizens. If the ZPC controlled Congress succeeds once again in destroying the negotiations between the US and Iran via new war-like resolutions, we, the American people, will have to pay an enormous price in lives and treasure.
The time to act is now. It is time to stand up and expose the role played by the Israeli PACs, Super PACs, and the 52 Major American Jewish Organization in corrupting Congress and turning our elected representatives into flunkeys for Israel’s wars. There has been a deafening silence from our noted critics – few alternative media critics have attacked Israel’s power over the US Congress. The evidence is openly available, the crimes are undeniable. The American people need real political leaders with the courage to root out the corrupted and corruptors and force their elected members in the House and Senate to represent the interest of the American people.
- Grant Smith “Ten Explosive US Government Secrets of Israel,” IRMEP.
- Daily Alert, October 24, 2013.
- Financial Times, 10/18/13, p. 6.
- Financial Times, 10/29/2013, p. 1.
Back in August, New York Times journalist Mark Landler wrote a gushing profile of Susan Rice, exploring the national security adviser’s alleged “idealism” when it comes to foreign policy and her increasingly influential role in the Obama administration. Landler documented how Rice, an “outspoken defender of human rights,” had managed to rein in her fervent humanitarian impulses and accept the need for “pragmatism” – after all, the United States cannot save everyone, everywhere. Sadly, our beneficence is constrained by practical realities.
Now we find Landler once again writing about Ms. Rice’s new realist approach to the Middle East and how it has impacted the president’s policy priorities in the region. In a piece published over the weekend, for which Rice provided an interview, Landler doesn’t even attempt to conceal his admiration for the brilliant strategist:
For Ms. Rice, 48, who previously served as ambassador to the United Nations, it is an uncharacteristic imprint. A self-confident foreign policy thinker and expert on Africa, she is known as a fierce defender of human rights, advocating military intervention, when necessary. She was among those who persuaded Mr. Obama to back a NATO air campaign in Libya to avert a slaughter of the rebels by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
First, this paragraph does not belong in the news section of the Times. Landler is clearly editorializing about a government official he likes and respects very much. This is not “reporting” as that term is defined by outlets like the New York Times.
Furthermore, consider the substance of this commentary about Rice, who, we are told, is “known as a fierce defender of human rights.” This raises some obvious questions. Where, exactly, is she “known” for her advocacy in this regard? Who are the people that purportedly view Rice as a champion of human rights? Not the people of Africa, one may assume, given that Rice, over the course of her career, has “shown an unsettling sympathy” for some of the continent’s most brutal tyrants.
In perhaps the most glaring example, Rice was able to suspend her “fierce” support for human rights long enough to strongly support Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, a violent and repressive ruler who died in 2012. Rice called him ”brilliant” and considered him a “true friend,” although she admitted to having some differences of opinion with the great man, over such trivial issues as democracy and human rights. But why let petty stuff like that come between friends?
Rice’s “self-confident foreign policy thinking” has never included any discernible consideration of the plight of the Palestinians, perhaps the most oppressed people on Earth. Her views have never strayed even an inch from the standard line that all “serious” U.S. officials must take when it comes to Israel.
Even a cursory view of Susan Rice’s career shows that her idea of “fiercely defending human rights” is essentially indistinguishable from that of virtually every other official in Washington: victims of human rights abuses are accorded dramatically different degrees of sympathy depending on the abusers’ standing with the U.S. Government. Imprisoned, suffering Gazans might as well not exist. Ditto for political prisoners in Ethiopia, or victims of terrorism in Colombia, or the countless families who have had loved ones killed by U.S. military interventions over the past few decades (all of which Rice has supported).
Mark Landler and the New York Times may genuinely not know about Rice’s flagrant hypocrisy, or they may simply be propagandizing for a particularly favored official. The latter is certainly more likely. Either way, calling a consistent advocate of military violence and repression a “fierce defender of human rights” is a clear – though unsurprising – failure of journalistic honesty. That label should only be applied to those who believe human rights are universal and are not dependent on the victims’ worthiness in the geopolitical perspective of the United States.
Justin Doolittle writes a political blog called Crimethink.
News reports of an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces in the suburbs of Damascus in the early morning hours of August 21 spreaded like wildfire. As reports were coming in, the US, French, and the British governments began to claim that there was a massacre. U.S. Government claimed that exactly 1429 people had died including 426 children. In the ensuing days and weeks the media repeatedly showed video images of ghastly scenes of dead and dying. Most of these videos were posted on the Internet and their authenticity could not be verified. Yet, those governments pronounced that the Syrian military was responsible for the massacre. As the U.S. and France prepared to carry out a military strike against Syria to punish President Assad, a UN team of chemical weapons experts were allowed after a few days to visit the sites in the Damascus suburbs called Ghouta where the attacks reportedly took place. The UN team visited Ghouta on August 27 and again on August 29. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who called it a war crime, released their report on September 16, 2013. The report’s basic conclusions were that sarin gas was used in a large-scale attack in Ghouta on August 21 and that surface to surface rockets were used to deliver the nerve agent. In making their determination about the rockets, the inspectors examined rocket parts and other ordnance. In my analysis, I examined the UN report carefully, especially its Appendix 5, which describes in some detail, with photographs and drawings, the two types of rockets they found in Ghouta. Prior to the publication of the UN report, two other significant reports were made public. One was reported in the New York Times and the other a report by the Human Rights Watch. Both these reports presented details of a warhead that could have carried between 50 and 60 liters of sarin – an amount that could explain the high casualty figure above quoted by the US government. The UN report, which was issued some time after these reports, repeated their conclusions. From my careful study and analysis of all these reports, I found that the UN report included diagrams and photographs that were in the said reports without referencing them. There was striking agreement between estimated and measured dimensions of the large warhead, which was merely a concept described in the New York Times article. It took center stage in the UN report. I describe in detail how I arrived at my conclusion. I believe there was communication between the UN team and the analysts outside, which prejudiced the report. The US Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed the UN inspectors as irrelevant because they would not bring to light any new information that the US did not already know. He was right. The purpose of my analysis is not to prove or disprove anything. The sole purpose is to raise questions about the integrity of the UN team’s report. Decisions on war and peace depend on it.
Detailed Analysis of the Published Reports
Alleged Chemical Attack in Ghouta on August 21, 2013
News reports of an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces in the suburbs of Damascus in the early morning hours of August 21 spreaded like wildfire. Social media exploded with Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and YouTube video uploads. As reports were coming in, the U.S., French, and the British governments were starting to claim that there was a massacre. The most stunning of these claims was an assertion by John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State that 1429 people died apparently from nerve gas inhalation of which 426 were children. Ghastly videos circulated with all mainstream TV channels showing the videos of victims. There was strangeness in the certainty of such a precise number in the chaos that would ensue after a poison gas attack. Noam Chomsky remarked during a lecture at MIT on September 10, 2013 that it reminded him of similarly precise body counts that Pentagon used to issue after encounters with the Viet Cong. They were largely made up, he said.
Internet Videos and “Independent” Media Experts
While the authenticity of these videos could not be verified, it was impossible to raise such an impertinent question in the midst of the media onslaught accompanied by commentary from “independent” experts. Several of them were veterans of the UN inspection team before the invasion of Iraq. For example, Charles Duelfer, the Deputy Head of the UN team and later Chief of the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, was a regular. A veteran of the U.S. Government programs in space and nuclear weapons, he was the top CIA officer directing the investigation of Saddam’s regime and its WMD programs, his website says.
Another was David Kaye, who was the Chief UN inspector for Iraq, who is now at the Potomac Institute – a beltway think tank funded mainly by the Pentagon. A third was Raymond Zilinskas, a former inspector with expertise on chemical and biological weapons, who is now at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. He once spoke enthusiastically about the evidence presented at the UN Security Council by Gen. Colin Powell about WMD in Iraq, which was discredited later as false.
These experts were seemingly speaking in unison that there was overwhelming evidence showing that Syrian government forces were behind the chemical weapons attack. Neither the U.S. government, nor its allies like Britain and France could wait for the report of the UN inspection team, which was in Damascus at the time. They pronounced their judgment based on information supplied by their own intelligence agencies and also relied on so-called “open source” information. They condemned President Assad for not allowing the inspectors immediate access to the alleged sites and pointed to his guilt in the alleged atrocity. A common refrain was why would he not allow immediate access if he had nothing to hide.
The UN Inspectors’ Report: of questionable integrity
However, a few days later, when the UN inspectors were able to travel to the sites, the tone of the U.S. government changed. Secretary of State Kerry remarked at a press conference that the UN team was “irrelevant” since they would not bring to light any more information than what the U.S. already knew. Ironically, the UN team’s report proved John Kerry’s point and here is why.
From my research and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that the UN report as well as human rights organizations like the Human Rights Watch were influenced by bloggers and analysts closely tied to the U.S. and its allies to prove that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attacks. Consequently, they produced reports that are of questionable quality and not above reproach. This is especially true about the UN team’s comments about the rockets being the delivery vehicles for the nerve agent.
The UN team had the mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used in the alleged attack on August 21, but not who was responsible for it. In order to carry out its mandate, the team relied on laboratory reports of analysis of collected blood, urine, soil and other environmental samples. It also analyzed samples from rocket parts, munitions, etc. In addition, it conducted a limited number of interviews with survivors and doctors. It finished its work on September 13 and Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, released the report on Monday, September 16 calling it a “war crime.”
The report said the following in the Letter of Transmittal:
Although the news of the discovery of sarin gas was by then an anticlimax, what was surprising was the UN team’s assertion that it found “clear and convincing” evidence that “surface-to-surface rockets” containing sarin were used. This was clearly going beyond the original mandate. The report also described certain details of the rockets along with the direction in which they were found to have penetrated the ground at the points of impact. There were a few pieces of evidence that would be crucial at the least to point the finger, if not outright implicate the Syrian government. One of them was the bearing of the tail end of the rocket protruding from the ground. From this data, the rocket’s firing point could be estimated. A second piece was the size of the payload that could be carried by the rocket, including other details that would reveal that the payload indeed was something other than high explosive. A third piece was markings on some rocket parts which could tell where they were made.
The Role of a Blogger named Elliot Higgins
The so-called “independent” experts had already gone on overdrive giving numerous TV and radio interviews and sending Twitter messages soon after the reports of the alleged attack surfaced. Their analysis and commentary were primarily based on video that appeared on the Internet on sites like You Tube, which were supposedly uploaded by eyewitnesses. There are certain bloggers who specialize in watching the social media on particular topics, compiling such information, and then making them available with their own commentary on their own websites called blog spots in web parlance.
The BBC says that the bloggers have been providing important analysis to governments and human rights groups based on their exhaustive monitoring of social media. Eliot Higgins, known online as Brown Moses, is one of a number of specialist bloggers from around the world who have been analyzing the use of chemical weapons in Syria. It appears that Eliot Higgins was the source of much of the video information about the alleged attack on August 21.
His website has literally hundreds of video clips from different times and places that are spliced together. For instance, while reviewing a file called “Syrian Government Chemical Attacks,” I found myself watching items from events that took place in January 2013 in Adra. Photographs of rockets in this video are similar, if not the same, as in the video uploaded on August 22 following the events in Ghouta. It might be reasonable to argue that multiple instances of chemical weapon use prove the brutality of President Assad. However, from an evidentiary point of view (I am mindful of it having worked at GAO for nearly ten years as a senior analyst), interspersing photographs from different incidents would be misleading at best.
New York Times Story on September 4
On September 4, well before the publication of the UN inspection team report, the New York Times published a major story written by its science writer William J. Broad. It was based on what the paper characterized as a new study by “leading weapons experts.” The new study reportedly solved the apparent disconnect between the reported large casualty figures and the known small payload capability of rockets in question. The article alluded to “some weapons experts” who had earlier estimated toxic payloads of one or two liters, which could not explain the casualty figures. The Times did not name or quote any of these experts, nor explain how they had arrived at their conclusion. The new study claimed that its analysis showed the rockets could carry a much larger payload of gas – about 50 liters. This made the casualty figure of 1429 plausible, the study indicated.
One of the two authors of the study is Professor Theodore Postol of MIT. He is known worldwide as a critic of the U.S. missile defense program. The other is Richard Lloyd, an engineer with long experience in the defense business, who describes himself as a warhead specialist. He spent nearly twenty years working for Raytheon and now works for Tesla Laboratory, Inc. located in Arlington, Virginia near the Pentagon – another “beltway” contractor. It is a technology company largely funded by the Pentagon and claims as one of its clients the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The New York Times made available Richard Lloyd’s analysis, which consisted of seventy Power Point slides, mostly snapshots from videos, which he most likely presented to someone in the “building” as the Pentagon is fondly called in the business. He is also a former UN weapon inspector. So, knows the business and people in it well. The article featured a drawing reproduced below of the rocket with “estimated dimensions” an artist’s impression of the nerve agent cloud rising after a rocket impact.
Rockets With Deadly Chemicals
Weapons experts believe this is the design of the rockets used in a suspected chemical attack last month in Syria, based on videos and photographs posted online. Related Article »
Human Rights Watch Report dated September 10
In a report called Attacks on Ghouta published on September 10, 2013, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) credited Elliot Higgins as the source of a collage of photographs of rocket parts related to Ghouta that were included in a figure bearing the title “Diagram of 330 mm chemical rocket variant.” It also included a scaled drawing of the rocket based on what it called “field measurements” without saying who made the measurements. One of the video clips from Higgins showed two men wearing gas masks, who looked like UN inspectors, making measurements with a regular measuring tape, which is also visible in four out of the six photographs in the HRW diagram shown later. It would be difficult to make precise measurements with such a tape. Also the exercise appeared rather cursory. However, the drawing shows precise dimensions including those of the internal parts of the rocket not visible from outside. It would be quite a feat to produce such a drawing without either actually examining a disassembled rocket, or X-raying it.
The UN Report describes two types of ordnance found at the sites they visited. At one of the sites they found an ordnance which had markings in Cyrillic and the number 179. This fact was already producing buzz on the Internet with experts knowledgeable in Russian weapons pointing out that only the Syrian government could have possessed such weapons.
Analysis of Igor Sutyagin from the U.K. Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
One such expert is Dr. Igor Sutyagin of the U.K. Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). It advertises itself as an independent think tank, but it is obvious from its website that it is pretty close to the British government. Dr. Sutyagin made a presentation on September 9 entitled “Assessing Chemical Weapons Use in Syria.”
He cuts an impressive figure with his Russian accent, and a wonkish style. He said that the UN inspectors had found an ordnance that could carry a chemical payload. After showing its similarity with the Russian M14 rocket and describing certain details, he homed in on the number “179”, which the UN report also highlighted as discussed later. He said it is a code for a plant in Novosibirsk, Russia that builds non-standard rockets. There are two points that are interesting in this context.
First, he gave credit to the blogger Brown Moses for having made accurate measurements on this rocket from the videos. It was a bit strange because Moses, a.k.a. Elliot Higgins, has reputedly no technical qualification and is based in the U.K. Why Sutyagin thought Moses could make such measurements is not obvious. Also which video was he referring to? Were they from the inspection team? The second point is that one can find very close resemblance between the photographs in the RUSI video presentation and those appearing in the UN report. In fact, there are red circles on the highlighted areas in both documents giving the impression that they are the same photographs.
The RUSI event was more than a week after the site visit of the UN inspectors, and a week before the publication of the UN report. Could it be possible that Dr. Sutyagin had access to the UN inspector’s photos and the Brown Moses reference was only a ruse to throw off the viewer? In return, perhaps he provided some tips to the inspectors about the no. “179” and certain other things, which made it into the report thus compromising its integrity. Whatever the motivation, the UN team should clarify how its information got out, as it seems it did.
Detailed Comparison of the UN and other Reports
Diagram in the UN Report (p/18) of the ordnance found in Ghouta
The UN report did not mention the ordnance’s similarity with the Russian M-14 munitions for obvious reasons, a point repeatedly stressed by Dr. Sutyagin in his presentation. However, it highlighted all other points he made about the non-standard characteristics of this particular rocket such as the circular nozzles as seen below in the relevant section of the UN report reproduced below.
The HRW report also made the same points about these munitions with strong hints about their Russian origin again citing unnamed independent sources, but again highlighting the same points made by Dr. Sutyagin. Coincidentally, Sutyagin said that “American sources” confirm his analysis hinting at a collaborative effort.
The second rocket that the inspectors found was the one that Richard Lloyd described in his study reported in the New York Times. Here, the report gives considerable importance to the measurement of bearings of the rocket ends and hints at the direction of their origin as “northwest” – a strong hint at the culpability of the Syrian military, whose base was in that direction. This despite scanty data from only two out of four sites, and its own expression of concern that “potential evidence was being moved and probably manipulated.” Whoever reads such fine print anyway?
50-60 Liter Warhead Design
However, the most significant point the UN report made was the confirmation in the report of Lloyd’s concept of a large annular-shaped warhead with crucial measurements that validated so to speak what was reported by the Times and then repeated by HRW and others. The strange coincidence is that the Times article, the Sutyagin analysis, and the HRW report all were published after the field measurements by the inspectors, but before the publication of the UN report.
Here are copies of drawings in the Times report (bottom) and the UN report. The similarities are striking.
Below Diagram in Lloyd report referenced in the New York Times.
Below is the diagram from the UN Report showing the dimensions of the warhead and photographs identifying various parts of the rocket and the warhead. Nearly same photographs also appear in the Lloyd report.
Here is one such snapshot from the Lloyd report:
Compare the above with the diagram below from the UN Report (p.21)
Below is a drawing reproduced from the HRW report. There is a lot of similarity among the HRW drawing, the one by Lloyd, and the UN Report above.
Finally, here is the drawing with detail dimensions of the rocket and the warhead from the New York Times article that credited MIT Professor Postol as the source.
Notice, the HRW report said that its dimensions were based on actual field measurements. So are those in the UN report. The Lloyd and Postol report provide just estimates gleaned supposedly from random You Tube videos. The table below is a comparison of the three reports .
A Comparison of warhead dimensions given by Lloyd, HRW, and UNSC Reports
How were they determined?
Payload Canister OD (cm)
Payload Canister ID (cm)
Payload Canister Length (cm)
|Human Rights Watch (HRW)||Actual measurement||
|UN Report||Actual measurement||
Striking Agreement between Estimated and Measured Values: too good to be true?
As is evident from the above comparison, there is stunning agreement between the measured and the estimated values for the most crucial dimensions of the warhead. Interestingly, there are some differences among the three reports when it comes to certain non-critical dimensions (not shown on the table) such as the length of the rocket motor. For example, Postol/Lloyd estimated the length of the rocket motor or engine as 125 cm whereas the corresponding HRW number is 155 cm and the UN figure is 134 cm.
In science or engineering, differences between estimated and measured values are routine. It would be more so in this case given the imprecise nature of the measuring tape. If any caliper or any other instrument were used, they were not visible in the video. So, the absence of any real difference makes them look suspect. The small difference between the UN data and the other two may be explained by a careful look at the drawings. The UN appears to have included the width of end flanges making their length 5 cm longer. Similarly, the UN measured the outer diameter of the canister, which includes the wall thickness. Hence, the difference in 1 cm for an estimated wall thickness of 5 mm or about 0.2 inch. It is also interesting how the other two studies estimated so accurately from video footage.
The real point is there are differences in measurements in certain non-critical dimensions (perhaps to show that they were independent), but near-exact agreement in others that matter. This dichotomy begs an obvious question. Could they have been manufactured to provide a scientific explanation to fit the casualty figure? Is it too good to be true? Alternatively, could there be one source for them, why are they almost identical? Then everybody could sing from the same hymn sheet, which appears to be the case.
Two types of munitions were found in Ghouta by the UN team. One was a rocket with 14 cm diameter. The second was a larger rocket with a 36 cm warhead. The UN report did not mention anything about a chemical payload for the smaller rocket. However, it estimated that the larger rocket was capable of delivering 50-60 liters of liquid payload.
It appears that the UN team provided photographs and physical measurements of the smaller rocket to Dr. Igor Sutyagin for analysis. His analysis was then incorporated in the UN report as its own. HRW also incorporated his analysis without crediting him.
It seems a similar process took place with the analysis of the larger rocket and its warhead. Here the outside analysts were Richard Lloyd and Theodore Postol. What was only a concept a few days ago, became the gospel after New York Times published the referenced article with enough scientific jargon and the obligatory mathematical equations and computer simulations to scare the lay reader from questioning the underlying assumptions. HRW did the same once again and claimed its analysis was independent, but the facts show otherwise.
Finally, there is no way to determine the truth behind the alleged chemical weapons attack in Ghouta in the middle of fierce fighting. As expected, there is no independent confirmation of the casualty figure. That has not stopped the U.S. and its allies from claiming that it was a crime against humanity. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has lent his voice to these claims and stopped just short of accusing the Syrian President for these crimes. But, his UN team is not free of blemish. In the past two decades, the UN has lost a lot of credibility around the world. It is time for some house cleaning. Needless to say, respected NGO’s like Human Rights Watch need to do the same if they are to be credible in the future.
To restore credibility of the UN process, all results of the UN team’s findings should be made public. During Syria’s chemical arsenal demilitarization it would be essential to verify the UN team’s comments about the munitions that are supposed to be part of inventory. The inspectors are going back to Syria. It behooves them to do so.
Chronology of Events
August 21 Alleged chemical weapons attack in Ghouta in the early hours of the morning reported
August 22 Brown Moses blog spot makes available You Tube videos of the attack. The video includes gruesome photographs of dead people, children, first aid workers. It also includes photographs of rocket parts and munitions.
August 27 The first UN inspectors travel to the sites of alleged attack, Videos of the UN inspectors collecting environmental samples and making measurements become available on “Brown-Moses” and other websites soon thereafter
August 29 UN inspectors make a second visit to the affected areas
August 30 U.S. Government publishes an Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013
August 30 Richard Lloyd of Tesla, Inc. makes a presentation on the rocket payload of Syrian warheads based on videos found on the internet (does not credit Brown-Moses blog although many are obviously from there), Makes the following key conclusions:
- Damage to the ground and rocket body inconsistent with large explosive payload
- Chemical payload requires a small explosive to disperse
- Rockets showed chemical filling ports.
- Dead animals nearby without visible injury indicates chemical attack
Sept. 3 Lloyd makes another presentation outlining his concept of the Syrian warhead, which he derived from the videos. He provides drawings of the rocket and the warhead with a fair amount of details, but significantly no dimensions.
Sept. 4 The New York Times publishes an article based on the Lloyd study. The article includes a drawing of the conceptual Syrian rocket and warhead, but this time with dimensions of various parts and the crucial warhead concept, which are then repeated elsewhere and described as independently developed. The drawing also includes an artist’s rendering of a rocket making a shallow penetration with the toxic chemical cloud above the rocket. The Times makes both Lloyd and Postol presentations available on the web.
Sept. 10 Human Rights Watch releases its report and shows a diagram of the rocket with exactly the same warhead dimensions as Postol/Lloyd, but claiming that theirs was developed from actual field measurements, not photographs, but copying the Lloyd concept in ditto. HRW did not reference the Lloyd study.
Sept. 16 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon releases the UN inspectors’ interim report that confirms that sarin was used in a large-scale attack on August 21. The report also stated that it was clear surface-to-surface rockets were used to deliver the gas. It went further and confirmed the concept and dimensions of the warhead described by Lloyd and Postol without, however, referencing the published study just like HRW.
Subrata Ghoshroy is currently a Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS). His research includes global peace and security, nuclear disarmament, and energy security with particular reference to South Asia. He is a keen analyst of the U.S. defense budget and policy and the military-industrial complex. He spent many years as an engineer and later transitioned to the policy world. He worked as a professional staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives and as a Senior Defense Analyst at the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress earning the distinction of its first and so far its only whistle-blower. He also served as a Congressional Science Fellow and a Senior Associate at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
On the Saturday Sept. 28th, disgraced Gen. Odlanier Mena shot himself in the head in a stairwell outside his home in Santiago, Chile. Convicted in 2007 and sentenced to six years for ordering the murder of Oscar Codoceo, Manuel Donoso, and Julio Valenzuela in 1973, a media firestorm over the conditions of his military prison, replete with nutritionist and tennis court, had forced conservative Pres. Piñera to approve his transfer to general population. Rather than face prison life, Gen. Mena made a choice he never offered the thousands whose torture he oversaw as head of the CNI (Chile’s secret police), years of suffering or a painless death. He chose the latter.
Such a sensational story rightly found traction in media outlets across the Hemisphere, but most, like the New York Times, failed to mention Mena’s training at the School of the Americas (SOA), a U.S. Army training facility for Latin American soldiers, as well the broader involvement of the Nixon Administration in fomenting the 1973 coup. That Gen. Mena was able to commit suicide on weekend leave to his comfortable home while technically a prisoner of the state is indication enough of Chile’s agonizing struggle for justice; that mainstream media outlets across the Hemisphere failed to link Mena to the policies of Kissinger and Nixon– policies that continue to the present even as the SOA has been rebranded WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation)– lays plain that Chilean generals are not the only ones who walk among us, blood on their hands, with impunity.
The New York Times, of course, is not the only publication to focus on the drama of Mena’s death without probing the accomplices who trained, funded, and protected him along the way. The Times, like others, stuck to descriptions of his death, limited the scope of his crimes, and devoted one of eight paragraphs to a sympathy plea from Mena’s lawyer while offering no voice to the family members of his countless thousands of victims. In order to understand this carnal mess, we must expand the timeline beyond that offered by the Times, which in their article begins in 1973, when Gen. Mena had recently transferred from the “Caravan of Death” unit of the Chilean Army to commander of the Rancagua Regiment in Arica Province. Without forgetting his eventual conviction for the murders of the civilians he ordered that year, it’s necessary to turn back the clock three years to 1970, when Mena attended a 9 month Command and General Staff Officer Course at Ft. Benning, GA, home of the School of the Americas. In doing so, the precise type of officers produced at the SOA will come into focus, and allow us a contemporary, domestic point of reference for both the 9/11/73 coup that bore Gen. Pinochet’s dictatorship and the implementation of “Operations Other Than War (OOTW)” that Mena became familiar with at Ft. Benning.
The SOA/WHINSEC has a long and gruesome history. Originally opened in the Panama Canal Zone in 1946, it relocated to Georgia in 1984 after the Panamanians finally achieved sovereignty over their Canal. Notorious graduates include Guatemalan Pres. Gen. Rios Montt (convicted this year, and subsequently released, of genocide), Argentine Pres. Gen. Roberto Viola (convicted in 1985 of murder, kidnapping, and torture) and Honduran Police Chief Juan Carlos “the Tiger” Bonilla (whose police force has murdered and repressed Hondurans so successfully since the 2009 coup that the U.S. State Department has rerouted military aide to his subordinates, an Orwellian maneuver necessitated by Congress’s disapproval of human rights abuses in Honduras). That is to say that the impact of SOA grads across the Hemisphere continues not only in the historical memories of Latin Americans and the nightmares of disgraced generals, but in the mundane standard operating procedures of lethal military bureaucracies from the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego.
Chile alone has sent more than 5,200 soldiers to be trained at the SOA in counterinsurgency, sniper fire, and interrogation techniques. Gen. Mena, high enough in rank in 1970 to forgo those courses, instead enrolled in Command and General Staff Officer Course (O-3), reserved for majors and above. According to the 1996 U.S. Army Course Catalog from the SOA, the stated purpose of the course was to train Latin American officers to “be able to command battalions, brigades and equivalent-sized units in peace or war…” and “efficiently manage manpower, equipment, money and time.” Certainly, his U.S. Army instructors would have been pleased with how efficiently Mena ran the Center for National Intelligence from 1977-80, renamed, like the SOA, after its previous moniker, DINA, had become too toxic.
During a time when the Chilean state faced no credible external threats, of all the course objectives listed in the SOA catalog, it must have been the Operations Other Than War (OOTW) training that Gen. Mena drew upon most frequently. The seemingly vague description, “To develop awareness of U.S. OOTW doctrine and of specific Latin American problems in a (sic) OOTW environment,” tells all when we trace the trajectories of SOA stars like Mena to the craters where they are currently crashing and burning all across Latin America. Among the “specific Latin American problems” Mena developed an awareness of during his time at the SOA most surely was the ascendance of the political left, a process now more than a half century old that manifested itself in Chile by the election of the Popular Unity coalition’s Salvador Allende Gossens to the presidency on Sept. 4th, 1970, six months after Mena’s enrollment at Ft. Benning. We can only imagine what must have been discussed by Mena and his Chilean colleagues in the portion of their course devoted to the objective of “Officer Preparation”, designed to familiarize them “with basic organization and doctrinal concepts”, but the outcome was tattooed in red across Chile during the 17-year Pinochet dictatorship.
Beyond the glaring omission of Mena’s training at the SOA, the New York Times and other mainstream outlets also ignored the larger story of U.S. direct involvement in the ’73 coup and complicity in all that followed. That story has been told by truth seeking independent journalists many times (for a great account of the mainstream media’s whitewashing of Latin American state violence, see Keane Bhatt’s article from July 29). Suffice it to say that Nixon’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has for many years been unable to travel freely abroad for fear that foreign courts will hold him accountable for his crimes against humanity. While the Times tries to relegate Mena’s suicide to the realms of history and pulp, we must remember that crimes like Mena’s are ongoing, and that the SOA/WHINSEC continues to export anti-democratic human rights abusers around the Hemisphere. Who says we don’t produce anything here anymore?
That is undoubtedly the question that many NYT readers were asking when they read an article warning that insurance companies in the exchanges were not paying enough money to attract many doctors. At one point the piece told readers;
“Dr. Barbara L. McAneny, a cancer specialist in Albuquerque, said that insurers in the New Mexico exchange were generally paying doctors at Medicare levels, which she said were ‘often below our cost of doing business, and definitely below commercial rates.’”
The claim that Medicare payments are “below our cost of doing business” might seem rather dubious to readers since most doctors accept Medicare patients. The median earnings of physicians are well over $200,000 a year (net of malpractice insurance), which means they are heavily represented in the one percent. Given their extraordinary incomes, which they vigorously protect by excluding foreign and domestic competition, it seems implausible that many doctors are willing to lose money by treating Medicare patients.
It is more likely that doctors are getting less than their desired pay when they treat Medicare patients, but still pocketing far more money than the overwhelming majority workers for their time. It would have been useful to clarify this point for readers rather than letting Doctor McAneny’s assertion pass unchallenged.
- Study debunks myth of doctors fleeing Medicare (dailykos.com)
Last week, we were among those who wrote about the latest revelations via the Guardian about how the NSA was sharing raw communications it had collected with Israeli intelligence. This is a big story for any number of reasons, but apparently the NY Times doesn’t think so. When Public Editor Margaret Sullivan asked why, the managing editor basically said the story wasn’t newsworthy:
He told me that The Times had chosen not to follow the story because its level of significance did not demand it.
“I didn’t think it was a significant or surprising story,” he said. “I think the more energy we put into chasing the small ones, the less time we have to break our own. Not to mention cover the turmoil in Syria.”
So, I asked him, by e-mail, was this essentially a question of reporting resources? After all, The Times could have published an article written by a wire service, like Reuters or The Associated Press.
“I’d say resources and news judgment,” he responded.
The resources issue is one I can understand totally. Here at Techdirt, we probably cover about one quarter to one third the number of stories we’d like to (which is also why I have about a thousand open tabs of stories I’m “hoping” to get to one of these days). But to claim that it’s not “significant” or “surprising” or somehow newsworthy is pretty crazy. This is a major part of the story — where the NSA keeps insisting that it is exceptionally careful with the data it collects, yet here it is handing off a ton of communications, including those of Americans, off to a foreign intelligence agency with basically no oversight. If the NY Times doesn’t think that’s newsworthy, the NY Times needs to recalibrate its newsworthy scale.
By Douglas Valentine | September 16, 2013
As soon as Kevin Drum at Mother Jones absolved the CIA of spewing poison gas as a provocation, many on the Liberal Left cautiously threw their weight behind Obama and the thrill of waging a punitive war on Syria.
“Perhaps regime change is a good idea,” Tom Hayden speculated in The Nation.
Left paterfamilias Noam Chomsky, who generally shows an appreciation for the subtleties of covert action, claimed that America is not supplying its Al Qaeda mercenary army with arms – even though Eric Schmidt at The New York Times reported over a year ago that CIA officers in Turkey were “helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arm.”
As if Hayden fomenting war and Chomsky covering for the CIA isn’t irony enough, Drum cleared the CIA in response to allegations of a provocation made by Rush Limbaugh. Which raises the question, what are the facts about the CIA’s penchant for “provoked responses” like the one in the Tonkin Gulf that started the Vietnam War?
Simply stated, black propaganda is one of many criminal but legally deniable things the CIA does. It often involves committing a heinous crime and blaming it on an enemy by planting false evidence, and then getting a foreign newspaper to print the CIA’s scripted version of events, which sympathetic journalists in America broadcast to the gullible public.
In the case of Syria, the CIA is using cooked Israeli “intelligence” as a catalyst – which is why, as Johnstone and Bricmont explain, the “intelligence” is so “dubious.”
Black propaganda has other “intelligence” applications as well, and is often used to recruit informants, and create deserters and defectors.
In his autobiography Soldier, Anthony Herbert told how he reported for duty in 1965 in Saigon at the joint CIA-military Specials Operations Group. The spooks asked him to join a secret psywar program. “What they wanted me to do was to take charge of execution teams that wiped out entire families and tried to make it look as though the VC themselves had done the killing. The rationale was that other Vietnamese would see that the VC had killed another VC and would be frightened away from becoming VC themselves. Of course, the villagers would then be inclined to some sort of allegiance to our side.”
As counter-terror guru David Galula explained, “Pseudo insurgents are a way to get intelligence and sow suspicion at the same time between the real guerrillas and the population.”
In a similar case in 1964, a famous CIA propaganda officer organized three armed “survey teams” which operated in neighboring hamlets simultaneously. When Vietcong propaganda teams departed from a hamlet, his cut-throat cadre would move in and speak to one person from each household, so the VC “would have to punish everyone after we left.”
In other words the CIA’s mercenaries (like some the CIA’s mercenaries in Syria) were provocateurs, setting people up for recriminations, for intelligence and publicity purposes.
Here’s another example: in 1964, CIA officer Nelson Brickham worked in the Sino-Soviet Relations Branch, where he managed black propaganda operations designed to cause friction between the USSR and China. At the heart of these black ops were false flag recruitments, in which CIA case officers posed as Soviet intelligence officers and, using actual Soviet cipher systems and methodology, recruited Chinese diplomats, who believed they were working for the Russians. The CIA case officers used the Chinese dupes to create all manner of mischief.
Brickham in 1967 created the Phoenix program in South Vietnam. The Phoenix program’s operations chief in 1970, Colonel Thomas McGrevey, had a “penetration agent” inside COSVN – the Central Office of South Vietnam. COSVN’s deputy finance director was the penetration agent. The deputy alerted McGrevey when the finance director was going on vacation, enabling McGrevey to mount a black propaganda campaign which framed the finance director for running off with embezzled funds.
A circular about the Phoenix program issued by the revolutionary Security Service in 1970, described how the nationalists viewed the CIA. As stated in the circular, “the most wicked maneuvers” of the CIA “have been to seek out every means by which to terrorize revolutionary families and force the people to disclose the location of our agents and join the People’s Self-Defense Force. They also spread false rumors. Their main purpose is to jeopardize the prestige of the revolutionary families, create dissension between them and the people, and destroy the people’s confidence in the revolution. In addition, they also try to bribe poor and miserable revolutionary families into working for them.”
Forged letters are a CIA specialty. Former CIA officer Philip Agee told how he mounted a successful operation using forged letters against Ecuadoran Antonio Flores Benitez, a key member of the Communist revolutionary movement. “By bugging Flores’ phone, we found out a lot of what he was doing. His wife was a blabbermouth. He made a secret trip to Havana and we decided to do a job on him when he landed back in Ecuador. With another officer, I worked all one weekend to compose a “report” from Flores to the Cubans. It was a masterpiece. The report implied that Flores’ group had already received funds from Cuba and was now asking for more money in order to launch guerrilla operations in Ecuador. My Quito station chief loved it so much he just had to get into the act. So he dropped the report on the floor and walked on it awhile to make it look pocket-worn. Then he folded it and stuffed it into a toothpaste tube-from which he had spent three hours carefully squeezing out all the toothpaste. He was like a kid with a new toy. So then I took the tube out to the minister of the treasury, who gave it to his customs inspector. When Flores came through customs, the inspector pretended to go rummaging through one of his suitcases. What he really did, of course, was slip the toothpaste tube into the bag and then pretend to find it there. When he opened the tube, he of course “discovered” the report. Flores was arrested and there was a tremendous scandal. This was one of a series of sensational events that we had a hand in during the first six months of 1963. By late July of that year, the climate of anti-Communist fear was so great that the military seized a pretext and took over the government, jailed all the Communists it could find and outlawed the Communist Party.”
Likewise the catalyst for the 1973 coup in Chile was a forged document-detailing a leftist plot to start a reign of terror – which was discovered by the enemies of President Salvador Allende Gossens. The result was a violent military coup, which the CIA officers (who had set it in motion through disinformation in the Chilean press) sat back and watched from their hammocks in the shade.
And on and on it goes.
General Ed Lansdale formalized CIA black propaganda practices in the early 1950s in the Philippines. To vilify the Communists and win support of Americans, one of his Filipino commando units would dress as rebels and commit atrocities on civilians, and then another unit would magically arrive with cameras to record the staged scenes and chase the “terrorists” away. Cameras were the key.
The CIA also concocted lurid tales of Vietminh soldiers’ disemboweling pregnant Catholic women, castrating priests, and sticking bamboo slivers in the ears of children so they could not hear the Word of God. Lansdale’s henchman, CIA agent-cum-journalist Joseph Alsop, gleefully reported this black propaganda.
The American “press” is the vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant X in black propaganda. When it comes to the CIA and the American press, one black hand washes the other. To gain access to CIA officials, reporters suppress or distort stories. They sell their black souls for scoops. In return, CIA officials leak stories to them. At its most incestuous, reporters and CIA officers are blood relatives. At one point, The New York Times correspondent in Vietnam, James Lemoyne, just happened to be the brother of the CIA’s counter-terror team chief in the Delta, Navy Commander Charles Lemoyne.
In a democratic society the media ought to investigate and report objectively on the government, which is under no obligation to inform the public of its activities and which, when it does, puts a “spin” on the news. As part of the Faustian Pact, when government activities are conducted in secret, illegally, reporters look away rather than jeopardize profitable relationships. The intended result is that the unwitting public is robbed of its freedom of speech – for how can you speak freely if you don’t know what’s going on?
If Lansdale hadn’t had Alsop to print his black propaganda, there probably would have been no Vietnam War. Likewise, Judith Miller, disgraced facilitator of the war on Iraq and rehabilitated Fox KKK-TV correspondent, brought you the Iraq War through false documents provided by CIA analysts.
We rarely know who the Alsops and Millers are in our midst, until after the fact. The CIA has a strict policy of keeping its atrocities to itself. And it is aided, in its eternal quest to deceive the American public, by the fact that black propaganda validates the beliefs of the Kevin Dumbs among us, as it assures their imagined security and sense of being exceptional.
In fact, black propaganda operations, and the CIA itself, are antithetical to democratic institutions.
A big part of the CIA’s current success is its ability to deliver its message through Left publications, and the Left’s unstated policy of self-censorship in regard to CIA operations. Most insidious, perhaps, are the former CIA officers who claim to be anti-war, and seek a veil of immunity by claiming to have been “analysts.” This is akin to saying “I was a bookkeeper for the Mafia. I never killed anyone.”
Of course it’s the bookkeepers who tell the bosses the names and addresses of the delinquents who haven’t paid their extortion money this week. The Phoenix Directorate in Saigon had analysts performing the same assassination, kidnapping and torture function on an industrial scale.
Despite the popular portrayal of the CIA as patriotic guys and girls risking everything to do a dirty job, the typical CIA officer is a sociopath without the guts to go it alone in the underworld. They gravitate to the CIA because they are protected there by the all-powerful Cult of Death that rules America.
The most dangerous facet of having former CIA officers slithering around is their uniform message that the CIA is necessary. These are not Phil Agees, revealing the ugly truth and calling for the CIA’s abolition. Like all the CIA’s political and psychological warfare experts, they are at the forefront of the war on terror, using psywar to achieve the goals of the Cult of Death that rules America. The result is a theatre of the absurd, a world of illusion.
Now we are told that the CIA Syrian mercenaries may launch a chemical attack on Israel from government-controlled territories as a “major provocation.” What you can be sure of is that some provocation will be launched and that the press, including most of the Left, will cover it up.
Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske gave a talk at the Institute of the Americas in San Diego. During the Q and A, audience member Aaron Montenegro asked her about the May 11, 2012 DEA-related shooting incident in Ahuas, in Honduras’ Mosquitia region in which four local, unarmed villagers were killed and several others wounded. (As Americas Blog readers know, CEPR has co-authored two in-depth reports on the incident with Rights Action, based on evidence and interviews with survivors, witnesses, and various U.S. and Honduran officials; and on a review of official investigations. And we have blogged about ongoing developments regarding the case as well.)
A recording of the revealing exchange is posted here, and a full transcript follows:
Question: I’d like to mention something that you didn’t talk about, and that’s the Ahuas case in Mosquitia and the lack of cooperation coming from the U.S. Embassy. For those of you who don’t know, in indigenous territory, the Mosquitia, there was a massacre that took place in the name of fighting narcotráfico, and this was taking place with U.S. State Department helicopters, with DEA agents and subcontracted Guatemalan pilots. And there has been a refusal to participate within this investigation as far as the ballistic tests are concerned. So I would just like for you to maybe address that and why there hasn’t been so much forward participation with that if you are talking about impunity. And then, another question I would like to
Moderator: Wait a minute, let’s do that one…
Kubiske: OK, Ahuas. I don’t share that characterization that you just gave. There was a program. It ran for a very short period of time, called “Operation Anvil” or yunque in Spanish, and it was, it was part of a regional aviation air interdiction program – so drug interdiction program by air. In that program, which was basically a program that was lending U.S. helicopters to Hondurans as they learned to do aerial interdiction — so it was a capacity building thing — they had one incident in Ahuas in which the Honduran people on board, Honduran police, in self-defense, shot at people on the ground. And in that back and forth four people — they didn’t shoot from the air, they shot down on the ground — when people were coming at them in a way that looked like the people were trying to recover drugs that had been delivered illegally into Honduran airspace and down into Ahuas. The goal was not to have anybody killed, obviously. People were killed, and it was a tragedy. And in looking at that program there are lessons learned about how to do that program if it were to happen in the future so that it would be safer, but it was a case in which there were investigations both in Honduras and in the United States. Those reports– at least one of those reports, is circulating in Washington, and it should be available from your congressman, probably. It’s not a case of impunity. It was a case in which there was a perceived threat.
There was — I’m going to go a little further and say it was not at all clear what was going on with the people. There was a boat coming at the boat that had the authorities. It was not at all clear that the people in the other boat were innocent or not innocent — still not clear — and it was very unfortunate. It happened in a community that was well armed, which people can see from the videos that exist of the event. So it was actually quite a dangerous interdiction as it happened.
And so one thing we learned is that when those drugs arrive in Gracias a Diós, which is a relatively unpopulated place — Ahuas has about 60…600 people I think — that these are not innocent communities. These are communities in which a lot of people find it not dangerous, perhaps, to help the drug traffickers who live there. And afterwards I think we know that many more people began to think that it was dangerous. We’ve seen some changes in behavior. That’s not to justify what happened. It’s a tragedy that four people died.
Ambassador Kubiske’s comments are disturbing for several reasons. Despite interviews with survivors and deceased victims’ relatives in The New York Times, the Associated Press, The Real News and other outlets – and despite several reports on the incident (including ours), she again presents a version of the events first made by U.S. officials immediately after the shootings, but the veracity of which has been called into question by both official and unofficial investigations. As we have described previously, these accounts have been contradicted by the National Commission of Human Rights (a Honduran government agency), by the Honduran officers involved, and even by DEA and other U.S. officials.
Kubiske states that “Honduran police, in self-defense, shot at people on the ground,” but then adds the qualification that “they didn’t shoot from the air, they shot down on the ground…” Yet the forensic evidence – bullet holes in the villager’s boat and gunshot wounds suffered by victims – is consistent not with a horizontal (and two-sided) fire-fight, but with shots fired from above. The survivors and other witnesses as well as the Honduran police officers, former DEA chief in Honduras Jim Kenney, and an unnamed U.S. official (speaking to the New York Times just days after the incident) have said that the boat passengers were also fired on from the helicopter.
To bolster her version of what happened, Kubiske cites secret evidence – a video, supposedly taken by a Customs and Border Protection P-3 surveillance plane (also previously described in our “Collateral Damage of a Drug War” report). Although she says that “people can see from the videos that exist of the event” that the “community [was] well armed” and that it was “a dangerous interdiction,” in fact “people” have been unable to see this supposed video evidence. It has, to our knowledge, been seen by few outside of certain congressional offices and a few journalists. (Other journalists – from major media outlets – who have requested to see the video have had their requests denied.)
Kubiske’s description of a “well-armed” community is part of what is most disturbing about her response to the question: she again blames the victims, people who the evidence suggests have nothing to do with drug trafficking but who were returning home that night along a major traffic route in the area – the Patuca river – as is common. She comes back to this theme, to reiterate that the shooting victims may have been partly to blame, at least: “It was not at all clear that the people in the other boat were innocent or not innocent — still not clear,” and even more chillingly says
…these are not innocent communities. These are communities in which a lot of people find it not dangerous, perhaps, to help the drug traffickers who live there. And afterwards I think we know that many more people began to think that it was dangerous. We’ve seen some changes in behavior. That’s not to justify what happened.
Kubiske never notes, of course, that one of those shot dead in the operation was Juana Jackson, who was pregnant, and that another was Hasked Brooks Wood, a 14-year-old boy, and whether, therefore, the State Department and/or DEA wouldn’t find it strange for pregnant women and children to be involved in the drug trade. Kubiske has previously denied that any of the shooting victims were pregnant, even though a doctor’s report and statements by numerous individuals in the community – as well as eyewitnesses to her (unprofessional and insensitive) open-air autopsy — attest to the fact that Jackson was pregnant.
As we have previously noted, in addition to obstructing Honduran investigations into the incident, the U.S. government has failed to provide any assistance to the surviving victims of the incident — some of whom needed significant medical attention – nor the families of the deceased victims.
Kubiske also states that this “was a case in which there were investigations both in Honduras and in the United States. Those reports– at least one of those reports, is circulating in Washington, and it should be available from your congressman, probably.” But as we have previously demonstrated, these reports themselves contain inconsistencies, and were based on improper investigations (as some authorities involved in the investigations have come forward to reveal). The public report to which Kubiske is referring is probably the Honduran Attorney General’s report, which has been sent to the U.S. State Department and congressional offices. It is this investigation that was the focus of our “Still Waiting for Justice” report released earlier this year, co-authored with Rights Action, and which we found had “serious flaws including major omissions of key testimony and forensic exams, a one-sided description and analysis of events, and ‘observations’ (in lieu of conclusions) that aren’t supported by the evidence that is cited.”
The U.S. report that Kubiske mentions is likely the DEA’s internal report on the incident, which has not been made public, and which has not been shared with Congress. Unfortunately, this remains the only U.S. probe into the shootings to have been conducted, as the State and Justice departments have refused to conduct an independent investigation despite calls from members of Congress for them to do so.
It is also worth noting that Kubiske never addressed Montenegro’s actual question regarding the reports that the U.S. didn’t cooperate with Honduran Public Ministry officials who carried out the official investigation of the Ahuas killings. Indeed, though Kubiske cites the Honduran investigation to support her version of events, the U.S. government hasn’t allowed the Public Ministry to question the ten DEA agents and various State Department contractors involved in the Ahuas operation, nor allowed them to perform ballistic tests on these agents’ firearms. The irony would be laughable if four lives hadn’t been lost: the State Department and the DEA have themselves severely undermined the very investigation that they rely on to defend their deadly operation in Ahuas.