A recent Mother Jones article discusses how FBI personnel justify their six-figure salaries by continually hatching fake terrorist plots and sending victims to prison. When there is no crime, the FBI creates fake crime via incitement and entrapment.
The Mother Jones article cites some interesting figures.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI’s victims were civil rights groups and anti-war demonstrators (COINTELPRO).
In the 1980s the victims came from the “war on drugs.”
In the 1990s the target became the Militia movement.
Since 9-11 the victims have been Muslims.
This FBI scam now consumes $3.3 billion tax dollars per year.
The article says the FBI had 1,500 informants in 1975. By 1980 it was 2,800. By 1981 it was 6,000. Today there are 15,000 officially listed in the FBI’s records, plus 45,000 not officially listed.
All are tasked with infiltrating Muslim communities in the United States, and inciting them to commit terrorist acts with fake bombs.
Some informants are coerced. If they help hatch terrorist plots, they can avoid prison or deportation. Typically the FBI scans the ICE database, looking for people who might have immigration problems. Patsies are sent to infiltrate Muslim communities and anti-war groups to look for other people who have immigration problems, or extramarital affairs, or anything else the FBI can use to blackmail its victims into joining a fake terrorist plot. Informants also look for desperate, homeless people who might be allured by a fake offer of cash.
An imam, for example, will know about everyone who regularly visits a mosque. Two Islamic religious leaders, Foad Farahi in Miami and Sheikh Tarek Saleh in New York City, are currently fighting deportation proceedings that began after they refused to become FBI patsies.
Once you become a coerced patsy, you are a slave for life. If you refuse to keep submitting, the FBI will send you to prison and tell all inmates that you are a snitch.
Some informants are not coerced. They are ex-felons and con men paid up to $100,000 per FBI assignment. Some informants are simply losers who fancy themselves living a James Bond life.
The Mother Jones article examined FBI scams that resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants, of which 49 defendants participated in plots led by an FBI agent provocateur. Almost all of the high-profile domestic terror plots since the 9-11 scam were FBI entrapment scams.
FBI agents provocateur record all their conversations with their patsies. Then the FBI edits the conversations so they appear more damning in court. When entire sections of dialogue vanish, the FBI claims that “technical problems” caused it. Besides, evidence is not needed when you are charged with terrorism. And since jury candidates are screened so that only morons remain, federal prosecutors enjoy a 99% conviction rate.
Two thirds of all patsies don’t go that far. They plead guilty, because the FBI threatens them. “If you force us to take you to trial, your sentence will be far worse.”
In most cases involving coerced patsies, the FBI eventually breaks its promise, and sends them to prison after all. Many patsies are poor and unemployed. Some have mental health issues. All coerced patsies are used and destroyed.
Essentially the FBI trolls the masses, selects victims from the herd, and publicly crucifies them.
In this way the FBI claims victories in the “war on terror,” so FBI personnel can keep their cushy, high-paying jobs.
Read more at:
To: the editor of BBC NEWS Magazine online.
This letter is a request for correction regarding mistakes found in article “9/11 conspiracy theories” published August 29, 2011.
1. On point 1, quote: “the transponder, which provides the exact location of the plane, was turned off or changed”
Airplane transponder is a machine that provides ground control with some data originating from the plane, such as the altitude of the plane, its name, its bearing and other data. It doesn’t provide horizontal (map) location of the plane, which can be read by primary radar data, which originates from ground radar installations and will continue to function whatever happens to the plane transponder.
Your assertion is wrong, so you’re requested to correct and clarify it.
2. On point 2, quote: “Controlled demolition is always carried out from the bottom floors up”
As you can see in the destruction of 12-14 rue parant – glacis – Belfort on February 21, 2008 (link) controlled demolition can start from the middle floors downward.
Your assertion is wrong, so you’re requested to substitute the word “always” with “usually”.
3. Also on point 2, quote: “No evidence has ever been found of explosive charges despite the extensive hand searches”
As clearly stated by NIST in their official website FAQ (point 12), quote: [Question] “Did the NIST investigation look for evidence of the WTC towers being brought down by controlled demolition? Was the steel tested for explosives or thermite residues? The combination of thermite and sulfur (called thermate) “slices through steel like a hot knife through butter.”
[Answer] “NIST did not test for the residue of these compounds in the steel.”
Your assertion is false and misleading, so you’re requested to inform the reader that NIST admits it never looked for explosives/incendiaries residues during their official investigation (US congress H.R. 4687 gives mandate to NIST and NIST alone to investigate the collapse and provide an official explanation on the collapses causes and dynamics).
4. On point 4, quote: “the military never gave orders to the air force to shoot the commercial airliner down.”
As clearly stated in 9/11 Commission Report page 40-41 in the chapter titled “United 93 and the shootdown order”, quote: “The Vice President authorized fighter aircraft to engage the inbound plane. He told us he based this authorization on his earlier conversation with the President”
You may remind that in the United States the President is also the commander in chief of the military.
Also, in the same page we have, quote: “At approximately 10:30, the shelter started receiving reports of another hijacked plane, this time only 5 to 10 miles out. Believing they had only a minute or two, the Vice President again communicated the authorization to ‘engage’ or ‘take out’ the aircraft.”
Your assertion is two times false, so you’re requested to correct and clarify it.
5. Point 5, quote: “Some scientists, who are sceptical of the official account, have examined four dust samples from Ground Zero and claim to have found thermitic material which reacts violently when heated up”
The scientific study you refer to is “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”, published by The Open Chemical Physics Journal. It is a peer-reviewed paper, which to date (August 29, 2011) has never been challenged by another peer-reviewed study or publication, as such the information within is considered scienfically correct until such a confutation appears.
So it’s not a mere claim by some sceptical scientists, but science’ position on the issue.
Your assertion is misleading, so you’re requested to provide credit to the study as a peer-reviewed scientific study.
6. Also on point 5, quote: “Furthermore, there is an alternative explanation for the “thermitic material” the sceptical scientists found in the dust – it is just a type of primer paint”.
The study itself poses the same question and scientifically refutes it – you may look in the document itself, point 7 “Could the Red Chip Material be Ordinary Paint?” to learn the reasons why the material cannot be any type of primer paint.
Your assertion is refuted by an unchallenged, peer-reviewed scientific study, and as such you must inform the readers your opinion is not scientifically based.
I hope to see the corrections soon, in a much needed confirmation that journalism has no master but truth.
Riccardo Pizzirani – Sertes
Lockerbie and the Belgian Nurses
The current ideology to justify aggressive war is based on a dogmatic dichotomy between Democracy and Dictators. The pro-war party in the West has been shifting the center of international law and order from the United Nations to a more exclusive club of “democracies” which alone have “legitimacy”. The core of this club is the English-speaking world, plus Israel, the European Union, and Japan. This “International Community” of democracies is understood to possess the unique moral right to decide when the leader of any country outside their charmed circle may be denounced as a “dictator” and overthrown with the help of a NATO bombing campaign.
This ideology assumes that Democracies respect human rights, whereas dictators by definition are criminals who systematically violate human rights and may be contemplating “genocide against their own people”. Certain details, such as the fact that the United States has the largest prison population in the world in both absolute and relative terms, and uses convicts for cheap labor in the arms industry, are not allowed to interfere with this dualistic world view.
The mainstream media maintain this dichotomy by sustained bias in their coverage of countries labeled “dictatorships” – which may include some countries whose leaders are in fact elected, such as Venezuela, Russia, Serbia under Milosevic, Belarus, but who attempt to follow policies contrary to the dictates of the self-designated “International Community”. Not all such countries may actually by attacked militarily, but the image created will make military attack easily justifiable if and when the time comes.
Selective reporting reduces the country to its Dictator and a minority of “pro-democracy protesters”. The Dictator is portrayed as a criminal, with no virtues that could possibly justify any popular support within his own country.
The Case of Libya
The case of Libya illustrates the way this works. Decades of one-sided media coverage firmly established Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi as an insane criminal. To the Western public whose only knowledge of Libya came from Western media reports, it would seem obvious that the Libyan people must unanimously want to get rid of such a leader.
It is obvious that there are people in Libya who hate Gaddafi and want to get rid of him. What is not obvious is exactly what they want to put in his place and just how representative they really are of the population as a whole.
In the West, the main reason to hate Gaddafi in recent years has been the Lockerbie bombing. For two decades, the allegation that the Libyan leader was responsible for the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, has been kept in the public eye by mainstream media.
Last February, leaders of the emerging rebellion in Libya gave interviews with Western media claiming to have documentary proof that Gaddafi ordered the terrorist attack that killed 270 people. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, former Libyan justice minister who heads the “National Transitional Council” in Benghazi told The Daily Telegraph that: “The orders were given by Gaddafi himself”.
Few in the West are likely to object that if the NTC leaders really possess such proof , they have been complicit in the crime for decades. Nor will Western media raise the question as to why the wily Gaddafi would leave “documentary proof” of orders to commit a terrorist act lying around for 23 years.
These claims serve to bond the NTC leaders with the Western powers, notably the United States and the United Kingdom, and to suggest a community of legality between them against “the criminal Gaddafi”. They help build the fiction of “legitimate, representative leaders of the Libyan people” whose views of human rights, democracy and the misdeeds of the evil dictator Gaddafi coincide with Western attitudes, as expressed by Western politicians and media.
By implication, the Libyan people have known all along that their leader is a mass murderer. This must be one reason the decent citizens want to get rid of him. But is this true?
Lockerbie in Libya
My visit to Libya in January 2007, to attend an international conference on the International Criminal Court, gave me the opportunity to hold private conversations with a number of well-educated Libyans who clearly knew a lot more about the West than the West knew about them. I was particularly interested in getting the take of unofficial Libyan citizens on two issues that at the time dominated Western perception of Libya: Lockerbie and the affair of the Bulgarian nurses. I should mention that I never got near Gaddafi, and the conference was sponsored by academics who held diverse opinions on important issues, often unlike those of the Leader, which didn’t seem to bother anyone. But on the issue of Lockerbie, I discovered two general widespread points of agreement.
On the one hand, nobody believed that Libya was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. It was taken for granted that Libya had been unfairly accused for political reasons.
On the other hand, it was clear that the sanctions imposed by the West to punish Libya for its alleged guilt had caused hardship and discontent. The power of the West both to impose sanctions and to project its images amounts to serious interference in the domestic politics of targeted countries, since very many people, especially the young, want to live in a “normal” country and may resent leaders who cause them to be treated as pariahs by the West. Therefore, it was understood that Gaddafi had finally given in to Western pressure to accept responsibility – but not guilt – for Lockerbie merely in order to get the unpopular sanctions lifted. The fact that he agreed to turn over two Libyan citizens to a Western court to be tried for the crime and to pay over two billion dollars of compensation to the victims was explicitly not an admission of guilt, but rather a response to blackmail by Great Powers in order to normalize relations and improve daily life.
This did not surprise me, since over the years I had read a lot about the Lockerbie case. Indeed, a great deal has been written exposing the weakness of the prosecution’s case, based on a totally implausible scenario (a bomb to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight was allegedly sent via airports in Malta, Frankfurt and London), technical “evidence” that had been tampered with by CIA agents, and a witness who was richly rewarded for testimony which did not fit the facts. All this has been told many times, for instance by Andrew Cockburn in the CounterPunch newsletter, or the London Review of Books, “The Framing of al-Megrahi” by British lawyer Gareth Peirce. But the fact that the case has been repeatedly exposed by careful analysis as a probable frame-up has not made the slightest impression on mainstream media and politicians who continue to blast Gaddafi as the monster who ordered the Lockerbie massacre.
One may add that at the time of the event in 1988, it was widely assumed that Iran had ordered the attack in retaliation for U.S. downing of an Iranian airliner over the Persian Gulf. When the United States, switching from its anti-Iran alliance with Iraq to war against Saddam Hussein, decided to accuse Libya instead, no motive was ever produced. But when a “dictator” has been stigmatized as a monster, no motive is needed. He just did it because that is the sort of thing evil dictators are supposed to do.
The two accused Libyan airline employees working in Malta had been put on trial in 2000 by three Scottish judges without a jury in a specially built court in the Netherlands. One of the Libyans was acquitted and the other, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison. The United Nations observer at this peculiar trial, Hans Köchler, called the guilty verdict “incomprehensible”, “arbitrary, even irrational” and noted “an air of international power politics” surrounding the proceedings.
On November 12, 2006, the Glasgow Sunday Herald quoted top State Department legal advisor Michael Scharf, who was the counsel to the US counter-terrorism bureau when the two Libyans were indicted for the bombing, as calling the case “so full of holes it was like Swiss cheese” and said it should never have gone to trial. He claimed the CIA and FBI had assured State Department officials there was an “iron-clad” case against the two Libyans, but that in reality the intelligence agencies knew well in advance of the trial that their star witness was “a liar”. But Great Powers can’t back down. Their sacred “credibility” is at stake. In short, they must keep lying to preserve the illusion of infallibility.
At the time I was in Tripoli, the defense team of the convicted Libyan was trying to appeal the conviction to a higher court. I was able to call on one of the lawyers on Megrahi’s defense team. I spent a long time in her office, trying to overcome her reluctance to speak about the case. Finally, she agreed to talk to me when I promised to keep our conversation to myself, so as not to risk harming the appeal. By now, the circumstances have changed drastically.
Here, briefly, is what she told me.
The Scottish judges were under enormous pressure to convict the two Libyans. After all, for years their guilt had been trumpeted by the United States demanding that they be “brought to justice”. A special court had been set up with the obvious purpose of convicting them. Yet the evidence which would merit conviction in a proper Scottish court was simply not there. The best the judges dared to do was to acquit one of the defendants and pass along the responsibility for acquitting the other to a higher court. But to the dismay of the Libyan defense team, the designated court of appeals evaded the dangerous issue by disqualifying itself. So now an appeal was being prepared for another high court, complete with new evidence further discrediting the prosecution case.
And in fact, five months later, on June 28, 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which had been investigating the case since 2003, recommended that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi be granted a second appeal against his conviction. The Commission said it had uncovered six separate grounds for considering that the conviction may have been an injustice. The announcement caused a sensation in the small circles following the affair. It seemed that Scottish justice was courageous enough to assert itself and allow hearings that would expose the CIA frame-up.
That sort of thing may happen in movies, but the real world is something else.
A sordid bargain
What happened after that helped set the stage for the NATO attack on Libya this year.
Time passed. It was two years later, in April 2009, that the appeal finally was due to get underway. But meanwhile, behind the scenes, secret bargaining was going on, amid leaks and rumors.
On August 21, 2009, on grounds that he was suffering from terminal cancer, Abdel Basset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was released from prison in Scotland by the Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill and allowed to “go home to die”.
Now, it so happens that in 2007, Tony Blair went to Libya to negotiate a British-Libyan agreement with Gaddafi covering law, extradition and prisoner transfer. Under this Prisoner Transfer Agreement, Libyan authorities asked for Megrahi to be sent home due to his illness.
The catch was that the Prisoner Transfer Agreement could be applied only when no legal proceedings were outstanding. So in order to benefit from it, Megrahi had to drop his appeal.
The matter is confused by the fact that he was formally released on “compassionate” grounds. One way or another, the deal was clear: al-Megrahi could go home, but the appeal was dead. Hans Kochler, UN-appointed special observer to the Lockerbie trial, thought Megrahi may have been subjected to “morally outrageous” blackmail to abandon his appeal against his will.
The sordid aspect of this bargain is that it deprived Megrahi of the right to clear his name, while leaving the CIA frame-up officially unexposed. There was nothing to counter the chorus of protestations from Hillary Clinton on down denouncing Scotland for having “freed the Lockerbie bomber”. Two years later, news that Megrahi has failed to die has elicited further indignation from Western media, who see this as proof that the UK had “sold the Lockerbie bomber for Libyan oil”. Naturally, the impression must be conveyed that the sly Libyan dictator tricked the naïve but greedy Brits into selling out their principles for petroleum.
But it is just as likely that it was the naïve Libyan dictator who was tricked by the unscrupulous British into thinking he had made a “gentleman’s agreement”. Rather than pursue an appeal which risked causing acute embarrassment to Western authorities, Megrahi could be released and the matter forgotten. The popular rejoicing at Megrahi’s return home was muted in Libya, but Western media pretended to be scandalized that a convicted mass murderer received a hero’s welcome. In reality, he was welcomed home discreetly as an innocent man who had been unjustly convicted, not as a mass murderer. And whenever he has been able to make himself heard, he has reiterated his desire to clear his name.
The Bulgarian nurses
The other subject I asked about while I was in Tripoli in 2007 was the plight of the Bulgarian nurses. In 2004, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor working in a Benghazi hospital were sentenced to death for allegedly having infected children with the HIV virus. Everyone in the West, myself included, assumed this was an outrageous injustice. When I raised the issue with highly Westernized, liberal Libyan intellectuals, I fully expected to hear strong criticism of the dictator for persecuting defenseless health workers. I was quite surprised when the reaction was somewhat different.
“Of course they are innocent”, I said.
The gentleman with whom I was talking, whom I could loosely describe as anti-Gaddafi, shook his head. “That’s not so clear”, he replied. And so I began to learn what was explained a few months later by Harriet Washington in a New York Times column, namely that:
“The evidence against the Bulgarian medical team, like H.I.V.-contaminated vials discovered in their apartments, has seemed to Westerners preposterous. But to dismiss the Libyan accusations of medical malfeasance out of hand means losing an opportunity to understand why a dangerous suspicion of medicine is so widespread in Africa.
“Africa has harbored a number of high-profile Western medical miscreants who have intentionally administered deadly agents under the guise of providing health care or conducting research.”
My conversations in Libya did not convince me that the Bulgarian health workers were guilty, but they did give me a new insight into the Libyan viewpoint. On the African continent, it was easy for even highly rational people to believe that foreign health workers might have been paid to infect children, either for experimental purposes or to “destabilize” the public health system. Secondly, it became clear that this was not a case of “the dictator Gaddafi” persecuting innocents. The arrest, alleged torture and conviction of the Bulgarian nurses were carried out by authorities in Benghazi. Indeed, last March 11, the day after France recognized the rebel National Transitional Council as the “sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people”, Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov complained to a European summit in Brussels that key members of that council in Benghazi “are the people who tortured the Bulgarian medics for eight years and that this cost us nearly $60 million” in reparations to the infected children and their families.
In January 2007, I was also assured by people in Tripoli that the death sentence against the nurses would never be carried out. This was true. In August of that same year, the medical workers were freed by the Gaddafi family and allowed to go home to Bulgaria after a much publicized trip to Libya by President Sarkozy’s wife at the time, Cecilia. This liberation was presented as a final reconciliation between Gaddafi’s Libya and Europe.
I abstained from writing about this for years, because I feel I do not know enough about Libya. But now I see others, who know even less, loudly advocating NATO support to rebels in a civil war whose real motives and consequences are obscure.
My first conclusion is to point out that just because a country is not a Western-style democracy does not mean that everything that happens there is “dictated” by a “dictator”. The term “dictator” serves to comfort the laziness of media and politicians who do not care to bother to investigate the complexities of an unfamiliar society.
My second and final conclusion is that we in the West have neither the right nor the ability to “fix” those unfamiliar societies such as Libya which we dismiss as “dictatorships”. As the financial crisis threatens to bring living standards in much of the West below what they were in Gaddafi’s Libya before NATO intervened there, our Western “democracy” is in danger of being gradually reduced to a mere ideological excuse to attack, ravage and pillage other people’s countries.
Diana Johnstone is author of Fools’ Crusade. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The post-9/11 years at the Department of Defense have seen an enormous increase in no-bid contracts, with the lack of competition approaching 50% during the first six months of this year.
Over the course of the last 10 years, the amount of money spent by the Pentagon on non-competitive contracts has almost tripled, from $50 billion in 2001 to $140 billion in 2010, according to the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News. And the reliance on no-bid deals has only gone up so far in 2011—to 45%—the highest rate recorded since 2001.
Like other federal agencies, the Defense Department is supposed to demand competitive bidding. But numerous loopholes in federal law make it possible for contracting officers to bypass restrictions and select a single company to provide goods and services. For example, the government may claim “an unusual and compelling urgency” to skip competition, when in fact, according to iWatch News, “the urgency stemmed from the agency’s lack of planning for requirements that have been known for years.”
Another problem is “bridge contracts”, in which the Pentagon extends an existing contract rather than put the contract out for rebidding. These account for one quarter of all sole source contracts.
The Pentagon defends itself by pointing that, on a dollar spent basis, in 2010 62% of all contracts were competitive. However, this figure does not compare well with other departments of the federal government. For example, the Department of Energy has a 94% competition rate, the Department of Homeland Security 77% and the State Department 74%.
Postponing elections for the fourth time, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently overturned the ruling of the Palestinian Supreme Court and issued a presidential decree further delaying local elections without setting a new date.
The last Palestinian elections were held in January 2006.
Just weeks after announcing that, in spite of the stalled reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah, elections would be held in the West Bank, Abbas declared a reversal of that decision in a recent presidential decree.
Issuing the same reason he gave for delaying the vote earlier this year, he stated “We have decided to postpone the local elections until better conditions are available to enable the election commission to work in all parts of the country.”
Senior Hamas official, Ismail Alashkar responded to the decree, stating, “We agreed in the Cairo (reconciliation) agreement that all elections, local and parliamentary, would be held after forming the government. We welcome Abbas’ decree in postponing them.”
Following a decision to postpone elections in June, Palestinian civil society took the case to the Palestinian Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Palestinian right to elections and declared that government postponement of the elections is illegal and that elections should therefore take place on their scheduled date of October 22, 2011.
The recent decision of President Abbas to further delay elections elicited astonished responses from Palestinian civil society groups, which argue that the Palestinian right to an election is a democratic right and should not be tied to the success or failure of the reconciliation process.
In a statement recently published in Al Quds newspaper, the Observatory of the Arab World to Democracy and Elections (MARSAD) referred to Abbas’ decision as a disappointment, stating “Postponing the local elections has put the credibility of the Palestinian political leadership in a hard position and has negatively affected public participation in the election process.”
Many of the PLO member organizations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian People’s Party, came together to hold an urgent meeting in Ramallah following Abbas’ decree, where they discussed the decision and stated that it was against basic Palestinian law as well as against the spirit and letter of the Supreme Court decision.
The parties also accused Abbas of making the decision single-handedly without consulting the council or any other parties or civil society organizations. Postponing a democratic election requires collective management and decision as well as the voice of the people, declared civil society groups.
The various political parties and civil society groups argued that this election is a democratic process guaranteed to its citizens by basic Palestinian law and as such it is guaranteed all of the time and is not contingent on the absence of turmoil between existing political factions. Palestinian civil society, pointing at the recent presidential decree, angrily asked that if Abbas is able to simply overturn the ruling of the Palestinian Supreme Court and its defense of the people’s rights, then what is the purpose of the Court?
The delay is not of paramount concern to either Hamas or Fatah, but has wider implications for other parties as well as Palestinian civil society. The terms of all local councils and municipalities ended in December 2008. However nearly three years later, they are still in office. In some cases, such as Hebron, local elections have not been held since 1976 and many political positions are now granted by appointment rather than democratic election. A further delay of the democratic process will only exacerbate this trend.
Abbas also mentioned the Palestinian September bid at the UN as a justification of further delay of the elections. However, wider political actions and the pursuit of UN membership or the recognition of statehood should not come at the expense of the people’s rights, nor should it delay implementation of a democratic election.
In a democracy, the right to elections should not be marred by the existence of political problems. The right of the people is non-negotiable and should not be postponed while Hamas and Fatah wrestle their grievances to the ground in an effort to reconcile two separate political ideologies. The Palestinian people have a right to decide their government and they have a right to decide it now. No more bukrah inshallah (tomorrow, God-willing).
JUBA — An Israeli delegation led by deputy Knesset speaker Danny Danon (Likud) paid an official visit to the republic of South Sudan on Monday during which Juba declared the establishment of full diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv, the Hebrew radio said on Tuesday.
South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Deng Alor said that his government would name its ambassador to Israel within the few coming days and would open an embassy in Tel Aviv. The radio said that Danon asked Alor to vote against recognizing a Palestinian state at the UN next month.
For his part, Danon said that Israel would help South Sudan to build its economy, adding that Tel Aviv was ready to develop bilateral relations with Juba in all spheres.
He said after meeting with president Salva Kiir that he invited the head of state and all South Sudanese people to visit the “holy land”.
The Israeli radio quoted Kiir as telling Danon that he resisted pressure by Hamas leaders not to establish relations with Israel.
It said that the new African country’s deputy parliament speaker Daniel Akot said after meeting with Danon that “Israel is like a big brother to South Sudan.”
August 2011 has become the deadliest month for US troops in the decade-long war in Afghanistan with 66 American soldiers killed in the month.
The figure, released by the Associated Press on Tuesday, eclipsed the earlier figure of 65 belonging to July 2010.
Most fatalities were those of an August 6 helicopter crash in which 30 US troops lost their lives. The victims were aboard a Chinook shot down by Taliban militants in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province in the single deadliest incident of the Afghan war.
Twenty-three other American troops died this month in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces in southern Afghanistan. The remaining 13 were killed in eastern Afghanistan.
Besides the 66 Americans killed so far this month, the US-led NATO coalition also suffered the loss of two British, four French, one New Zealander, one Australian, one Polish and five other troops whose nationalities have not yet been disclosed.
So far this year, 403 US-led soldiers, including at least 299 Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan, according to the AP tally.
There are currently about 150,000 US-led foreign troops in Afghanistan, almost 100,000 of them American forces.
A shooting incident outside a mosque in the Danish capital of Copenhagen has killed at least one person and wounded some others, police say.
Danish police officials say the shooting occurred in a parking lot next to the mosque after Muslim prayers marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Copenhagen Post reported.
Witnesses told local media that some 15-20 shots were fired from a car driving by as hundreds of worshippers were leaving the Muslim Cultural Institute.
“It’s horrible. It’s not a day of festivities anymore. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that it was a poor young man heading home to his parents to celebrate that Ramadan was over – and maybe some siblings sitting there waiting for him to come home and they were going to eat together and he’s not coming home now because somebody decided to kill him,” said Jibran Sarwar, one of the witnesses on the scene.
The Institute was founded in the late 1970, and includes both a mosque and several other facilities where Islam is being taught in Danish to children.
The institute has been frequented by many Muslims of South Asian origins. The developments come in backdrop of a dramatic rise of Islamophobia in several Western countries.
The Jewish Chronicle reported last week that a video made by Alan Duncan, UK minister for international development, infuriated the Israeli lobby so much that it was withdrawn from the ministry’s website.
In the video Duncan said that, “The wall is a land grab. It hasn’t just gone along the lines of the proper Israel boundary. It’s taken in open land which actually belongs to Palestine”. He added: “Israeli settlers can build what they want and then immediately get the infrastructure so that takes the water deliberately away from Palestinians here.”
Horrified that a government minister could say such things, the lobby went into action. The Board of Deputies of British Jews wrote to Duncan to demand the withdrawal of the video, copying in his boss, Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, and Foreign Secretary William Hague. Board president Vivian Wineman commented: “Mr Duncan’s apparent disregard for Israel’s legitimate security concerns is of great concern.”
The episode seems to have caused a row between Duncan’s department (DFID) and the Foreign Office. According to the Jewish Chronicle, “Civil servants at the FO made it clear that they did not believe Mr Duncan had struck the right diplomatic tone with the language he had used. However, they did not refer the matter to ministers when DfID and Mr Duncan defied the advice.”
But the FO has now prevailed. Duncan has been brought to heel and the video withdrawn. By way of explanation a spokesperson said, “The video was aimed at highlighting DfID’s work to alleviate poverty in the OPTs [Occupied Palestinian Territories], as well as some of the key challenges facing the Palestinian people. Unfortunately, some elements were misinterpreted and Mr Duncan has asked for it to be taken down”.
It is not clear whether Duncan believes his views were misinterpreted. But one thing is definitely clear – whilst the Israeli lobby in the UK is not visible as its US counterpart, it is still very effective.
By JOHN WALSH | August 30, 2011
Juan Cole is a brand name that is no longer trusted. And that has been the case for some time for the Professor from Michigan. After warning of the “difficulties” with the Iraq War, Cole swung over to ply it with burning kisses on the day of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. His fervor was not based on Saddam Hussein’s fictional possession of weapons of mass destruction but on the virtues of “humanitarian imperialism.”
Thus on March 19, 2003, as the imperial invasion commenced, Cole enthused on his blog: “I remain (Emphasis mine.) convinced that, for all the concerns one might have about the aftermath, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides.” Now, with over 1 million Iraqis dead, 4 million displaced and the country’s infrastructure destroyed, might Cole still echo Madeline Albright that the price was “worth it”? Cole has called the Afghan War “the right war at the right time” and has emerged as a cheerleader for Obama’s unconstitutional war on Libya and for Obama himself.
Cole claims to be a man of the left and he appears with painful frequency on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now as the reigning “expert” on the war on Libya. This is deeply troubling – on at least two counts. First, can one be a member of the “left” and also an advocate for the brutal intervention by the Great Western Powers in the affairs of a small, relatively poor country? Apparently so, at least in Democracy Now’s version of the “left.” Second, it appears that Cole’s essential function these days is to convince wavering progressives that the war on Libya has been fine and dandy. But how can such damaged goods as Cole credibly perform this marketing mission so vital to Obama’s war?
Miraculously, Cole got just the rehabilitation he needed to continue with this vital propaganda function when it was disclosed by the New York Times on June 15 that he was the object of a White House inquiry way back in 2005 in Bush time. The source and reason for this leak and the publication of it by the NYT at this time, so many years later, should be of great interest, but they are unknown. Within a week of the Times piece Cole was accorded a hero’s welcome on Democracy Now, as he appeared with retired CIA agent Glenn Carle who had served 23 years in the clandestine services of the CIA in part as an “interrogator.” Carl had just retired from the CIA at the time of the White House request and was at the time employed at the National Intelligence Council, which authors the National Intelligence Estimate.
It hit this listener like a ton of bricks when it was disclosed in Goodman’s interview that Cole was a long time “consultant” for the CIA, the National Intelligence Council and other agencies. Here is what nearly caused me to keel over when I heard it (From the Democracy Now transcript.):
AMY GOODMAN: So, did you know Professor Cole or know of him at the time you were asked? And can you go on from there? What happened when you said you wouldn’t do this? And who was it who demanded this information from you, said that you should get information?
GLENN CARLE: Well, I did know Professor Cole. He was one of a large number of experts of diverse views that the National Intelligence Council and my office and the CIA respectively consult with to challenge our assumptions and understand the trends and issues on our various portfolios. So I knew him that way. And it was sensible, in that sense, that the White House turned to my office to inquire about him, because we were the ones, at least one of the ones—I don’t know all of Mr. Cole’s work—who had consulted with him. (Emphases mine.)
That seems like strange toil for a man of the “left.” But were the consultations long drawn out and the association with the CIA a deep one? It would appear so. Again from the transcript:
AMY GOODMAN: Well, the way James Risen (the NYT reporter) writes it, he says, “Mr. Carle said [that] sometime that year, he was approached by his supervisor, David Low, about Professor Cole. [Mr.] Low and [Mr.] Carle have starkly different recollections of what happened. According to Mr. Carle, [Mr.] Low returned from a White House meeting one day and inquired who Juan Cole was, making clear [that] he wanted [Mr.] Carle to gather information on him. Mr. Carle recalled [his] boss saying, ‘The White House wants to get him.’”
GLENN CARLE: Well, that’s substantially correct. The one nuance, perhaps, I would point out is there’s a difference between collecting information actively, going out and running an operation, say, to find out things about Mr. Cole, or providing information known through interactions. (Emphasis mine.) I would characterize it more as the latter.
And later in the interview Carle continues:
On the whole, Professor Cole and I are in agreement. The distinction I make is it wasn’t publicly known information that was requested; it was information that officers knew of a personal nature about Professor Cole, which is much more disturbing. There was no direct request that I’m aware, in the two instances of which I have knowledge, for the officers actively to seek and obtain, to conduct—for me to go out and follow Professor Cole. But if I knew lifestyle questions or so on, to pass those along. (Emphasis mine.)That’s how I—which is totally unacceptable.
It would seem then that the interaction between the CIA operatives and Cole was long standing and sufficiently intimate that the CIA spooks could be expected to know things about Cole’s lifestyle and personal life. It is not that anyone should give two figs about Cole’s personal life which more than likely is every bit as boring as he claims. But his relationship with the CIA is of interest since he is an unreconstructed hawk. What was remarkable to me at the time is that Goodman did not pick up on any of this. Did she know before of Cole’s connections? Was not this the wrong man to have as a “frequent guest,” in Goodman’s words, on the situation in the Middle East?
This is not to claim that Cole is on a mission for the CIA to convince the left to support the imperial wars, most notably at the moment the war on Libya. Nor is this a claim that the revelation about the White House seeking information on Cole was a contrived psy-ops effort to rehabilitate Cole so that he could continue such a mission. That cannot be claimed, because there is as yet no evidence for it. But information flows two ways in any consultation, and it is even possible that Cole was being loaded with war-friendly information in hopes he would transmit it.
Cole is anxious to promote himself as a man of the left as he spins out his rationale for the war on Libya. At one point he says to Goodman (3/29), “We are people of the left. We care about the ordinary people. We care about workers.” It is strange that a man who claims such views dismisses as irrelevant the progress that has come to the people of Libya under Gaddafi, dictator or not. (Indeed what brought Gaddafi down was not that he was a dictator but that he was not our dictator.) In fact Libya has the highest score of all African countries on the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) and with Tunisia and Morocco the second highest level of literacy. The HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide.
Whither the Left on the Question of Intervention?
None of this is all too surprising given Cole’s status as a “humanitarian” hawk. But it is outrageous that he is so often called on by Democracy Now for his opinion. One of his appearances there was in a debate on the unconstitutional war in Libya, with CounterPunch’s estimable Vijay Prashad taking the antiwar side and Cole pro-war. It would seem strange for the left to have to debate the worth of an imperial intervention. Certainly if one goes back to the days of the Vietnam War there were teach-ins to inform the public of the lies of the U.S. government and the truth about what was going on in Vietnam. But let us give Democracy Now the benefit of the doubt and say that the debate was some sort of consciousness raising effort. Why later on invite as a frequent guest a man who was the pro-war voice in the debate? That is a strange choice indeed.
This writer does not get to listen to Democracy Now every day. But I have not heard a full-throated denunciation of the war on Libya from host or guests. Certainly according to a search on the DN web site, Cynthia McKinney did not appear as a guest nor Ramsey Clark after their courageous fact finding tour to Libya. There was only one all out denunciation of the war – on the day when the guests were Rev. Jesse Jackson and Vincent Harding who was King’s speechwriter on the famous speech “Beyond Vietnam” in 1967 in which King condemned the U.S. war on Vietnam. Jackson and the wise and keenly intelligent Harding were there not to discuss Libya but to discuss the MLK Jr. monument. Nonetheless Jackson and Harding made clear that they did not like the U.S. war in Libya one bit, nor the militarism it entails.
If one reads CounterPunch.org, Antiwar.com or The American Conservative, one knows that one is reading those who are anti-interventionist on the basis of principle. With Democracy Now and kindred progressive outlets, it’s all too clear where a big chunk of the so-called “left” stands, especially since the advent of Obama. In his superb little book Humanitarian Imperialism Jean Bricmont criticizes much of the left for falling prey to advocacy of wars, supposedly based on good intentions. And Alexander Cockburn has often pointed out that many progressives are actually quite fond of “humanitarian” interventionism. Both here and in Europe this fondness seems to be especially true of Obama’s latest war, the war on Libya . It is little wonder that the “progressives” are losing their antiwar following to Ron Paul and the Libertarians who are consistent and principled on the issue of anti-interventionism.
Democracy Now, quo vadis? Wherever you are heading, you would do well to travel without Juan Cole and his friends.
John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com
After wading through Cole’s loose prose and dubious logic to write this essay, the author suspects that the rejection of Cole by the Yale faculty was the result of considerations that had little to do with neocon Bush/Cheney operatives.
The majority of Jewish high school students in Israel have right-wing political views and would vote for Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as Prime Minister, according to the results of a survey released yesterday in the Israeli media.
The survey, conducted for the sixth annual Haair Conference for Education held in Haifa, surveyed 1000 11th and 12th graders online and was analysed by Tel Aviv University’s Kamil Fox, professor of statistics.
75% of Israeli youth object to removing the siege from the Gaza Strip and 60% believe that Israel is better off giving up on a peace agreement with the Palestinians if it includes returning Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. Moreover, 83% of the youth preferred no peace agreement with Syria over returning the occupied Syrian Golan.
NABLUS — Jewish settlers attacked on Monday evening the village of Qasra to the south east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus and inflicted damage on a number of fields planted with olive trees.
Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of settlements file in the northern West Bank, said in a press statement that settlers from the Aish Kodesh settlement outpost attacked the village and started inflicting damage to fields planted with olive trees.
He pointed out that this was the second attack by the settlers on the village in 48 hours, as the settlers attacked the village two days earlier and damaged dozens of olive trees before the villagers confronted them and chased them away.
Local sources also said that settlers Monday night uprooted 270 olive saplings from villagers fields at the edge of the village and that the settlers’ attacks increased since evening hours.
The sources also said that settlers were throwing stones at Palestinian cars on the road between Nablus and Ramallah and managed to break some car windows.