The Hague-based International People’s Tribunal has ruled that the Indonesian regime that replaced Indonesian President Sukarno committed crimes against humanity in 1965. The governments of Australia, Britain, and the United States have also been pronounced guilty as complicit partners in the massacre of 500,000 to 1000,000 people or more in Indonesia. People were murdered in Indonesia due to their principles, political ideology, ethnic backgrounds, and opposition to foreign influence. Albeit the ruling is an important historical acknowledgment, the assistance that the Australian, British, and US governments provided to the coup and played in the massacres is not a secret.
Asia-Pacific Research presents these excerpts from the Australian journalist John Pilger’s book The New Rulers of the World, which was published by Verso in 2002, in the interest of providing the historical background about the massacres that took place in Indonesia. Reading them will educate one on the despicable and criminal roles that Australia, Britain, and the US played. ”There were bodies being washed up on the lawns of the British consulate in Surabaya, and British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so that they could take part in this terrible holocaust,” for example Pilger writes. In his work John Pilger also notes that the US was directly involved in the operations of the death squads and helped compile the lists of people to be murdered while the Australian, British, and US media were used as propaganda tools to whitewash the coup and bloodbaths in Indonesia. A key point, however, that is emphasizes is that the underlying economic motivations and plunder hidden behind the ideological discourse of the Cold War that really motivated the massacres in Indonesia. – Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Asia-Pacific Research Editor, 22 July 2016.
Indonesians preparing to die in a mass grave
Excerpts from The New Rulers of the World (Verso)
John Pilger, 2002
… according to a CIA memorandum, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and President John Kennedy had agreed to ‘liquidate President Sukarno, depending on the situation and available opportunities’. The CIA author added, ‘It is not clear to me whether murder or overthrow is intended by the word liquidate.’
Sukarno was a populist, the founder of modern Indonesia and of the non-aligned movement of developing countries, which he hoped would forge a genuine ‘third way’ between the spheres of the two superpowers. In 1955, he convened the ‘Asia-Africa Conference’ in the Javanese hill city of Bandung. It was the first time the leaders of the developing world, the majority of humanity, had met to forge common interests: a prospect that alarmed the western powers, especially as the vision and idealism of nonalignment represented a potentially popular force that might seriously challenge neo-colonialism. The hopes invested in such an unprecedented meeting are glimpsed in the faded tableaux and black-and-white photographs in the museum at Bandung and in the forecourt of the splendid art deco Savoy Hotel, where the following Bandung Principles are displayed:
I – Respect for fundamental human rights and the principles of the United Nations Charter.
2 – Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
3 – The recognition of the equality of all peoples.
4 – The settlement of disputes by peaceful means.
Sukarno could be a democrat and a demagogue. For a time, Indonesia was a parliamentary democracy, then became what he called a ‘guided democracy’. He encouraged mass trade unions and peasant, women’s and cultural movements. Between 1959 and 1965, more than 15 million people joined political parties or affiliated mass organisations that were encouraged to challenge British and American influence in the region. With 3 million members, the PKI was the largest communist party in the world outside the Soviet Union and China. According to the Australian historian Harold Crouch, ‘the PKI had won widespread support not as a revolutionary party but as an organisation defending the interests of ‘the poor within the existing system’. It was this popularity, rather than any armed insurgency, that alarmed the Americans. Like Vietnam to the north, Indonesia might ‘go communist’ .
In 1990, the American investigative journalist Kathy Kadane revealed the extent of secret American collaboration in the massacres of 1965-66 which allowed Suharto to seize the presidency. Following a series of interviews with former US officials, she wrote, ‘They systematically compiled comprehensive lists of communist operatives. As many as 5,000 names were furnished to the Indonesian army, and the Americans later checked off the names of those who had been killed or captured.’ One of those interviewed was Robert J Martens, a political officer in the US embassy in Jakarta. ‘It was a big help to the army,’ he said. ‘They probably killed a lot of people and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.’ Joseph Lazarsky, the deputy CIA station chief in Jakarta, said that confirmation of the killings came straight from Suharto’s headquarters. ‘We were getting a good account in Jakarta of who was being picked up,’ he said. ‘The army had a “shooting list” of about 4,000 or 5,000 people. They didn’t have enough goon squads to zap them all, and some individuals were valuable for interrogation. The infrastructure [of the PKI] was zapped almost immediately. We knew what they were doing . . . Suharto and his advisers said, if you keep them alive you have to feed them.’
Having already armed and equipped much of the army, Washington secretly supplied Suharto’s troops with a field communications network as the killings got under way. Flown in at night by US air force planes based in the Philippines, this was state-of-the-art equipment, whose high frequencies were known to the CIA and the National Security Agency advising President Johnson. Not only did this allow Suharto’s generals to co-ordinate the killings, it meant that the highest echelons of the US administration were listening in and that Suharto could seal off large areas of the country. Although there is archive film of people being herded into trucks and driven away, a single fuzzy photograph of a massacre is, to my knowledge, the only pictorial record of what was Asia’s holocaust.
The American Ambassador in Jakarta was Marshall Green, known in the State Department as ‘the coupmaster’. Green had arrived in Jakarta only months earlier, bringing with him a reputation for having masterminded the overthrow of the Korean leader Syngman Rhee, who had fallen out with the Americans. When the killings got under way in Indonesia, manuals on student organising, written in Korean and English, were distributed by the US embassy to the Indonesian Student Action Command (KAMI), whose leaders were sponsored by the CIA.
On October 5, 1965, Green cabled Washington on how the United States could ‘shape developments to our advantage’. The plan was to blacken the name of the PKI and its ‘protector’, Sukarno. The propaganda should be based on ‘[spreading] the story of the PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality’. At the height of the bloodbath, Green assured General Suharto: ‘The US is generally sympathetic with and admiring of what the army is doing.” As for the numbers killed, Howard Federspiel, the Indonesia expert at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in 1965, said, ‘No one cared, as long as they were communists, that they were being butchered. No one was getting very worked up about it.’
The Americans worked closely with the British, the reputed masters and inventors of the ‘black’ propaganda admired and adapted by Joseph Goebbels in the 1930s. Sir Andrew Gilchrist, the Ambassador in Jakarta, made his position clear in a cable to the Foreign Office: ‘I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change.’ With more than ‘a little shooting’ under way, and with no evidence of the PKI’s guilt, the embassy advised British intelligence headquarters in Singapore on the line to be taken, with the aim of ‘weakening the PKI permanently’ .
Suitable propaganda themes might be: PKI brutality in murdering Generals and [Foreign Minister] Nasution’s daughter . . . PKI subverting Indonesia as agents of foreign Communists . . . But treatment will need to be subtle, e.g. (a) all activities should be strictly unattributable, (b) British participation or co-operation should be carefully concealed.
Within two weeks, an office of the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department (IRD) had opened in Singapore. The IRD was a top-secret, cold war propaganda unit headed by Norman Reddaway, one of Her Majesty’s most experienced liars. It would be salutary for journalists these days to study the critical role western propaganda played then, as it does now, in shaping the news. Indeed, Reddaway and his colleagues manipulated the press so expertly that he boasted to Gilchrist in a letter marked ‘secret and personal’ that the story he had promoted – that Sukarno’s continued rule would lead to a communist takeover – ‘went all over the world and back again’ . He described how an experienced Fleet Street journalist agreed ‘to give exactly your angle on events in his article … . i.e. that this was a kid glove coup without butchery.’
Roland Challis, the BBC’s South-East Asia correspondent, was a particular target of Reddaway, who claimed that the official version of events could be ‘put almost instantly back to Indonesia via the BBC’. Prevented from entering Indonesia along with other foreign journalists, Challis was unaware of the extent of the slaughter. ‘It was a triumph for western propaganda,’ he told me. ‘My British sources purported not to know what was going on, but they knew what the American plan was. There were bodies being washed up on the lawns of the British consulate in Surabaya, and British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so that they could take part in this terrible holocaust. It was only much later that we learned the American embassy was supplying names and ticking them off as they were killed. There was a deal, you see. In establishing the Suharto regime, the involvement of the IMF and the World Bank was part of it. Sukarno had kicked them out; now Suharto would bring them back. That was the deal.’
With Sukarno now virtually powerless and ill, and Suharto about to appoint himself acting president, the American press reported the Washington-backed coup not as a great human catastrophe, but in terms of the new economic advantages. The massacres were described by Time as ‘The West’s Best News in Asia’. A headline in US News and World Report read: ‘Indonesia: Hope . . . where there was once none’. The renowned New York Times columnist James Reston celebrated ‘A gleam of light in Asia’ and wrote a kid-glove version that he had clearly been given. The Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt, who was visiting the US, offered a striking example of his sense of humour: ‘With 500,000 to a million communist sympathisers knocked off,’ he said approvingly, ‘I think it’s safe to assume a reorientation has taken place.’
Holt’s remark was an accurate reflection of the complicity of the Australian foreign affairs and political establishment in the agony of its closest neighbour. The Australian embassy in Jakarta described the massacres as a ‘cleansing operation’. The Australian Ambassador, KCO Shann, enthused to Canberra that the Indonesian army was ‘refreshingly determined to do over the PKI’, adding that the generals had spoken approvingly of the reporting on Radio Australia, which he described as ‘a bit dishonest’.’ In the Prime Minister’s Department, officials considered supporting ‘any measures to assist the Indonesian army … cope with the internal situation’.
In February 1966, [British] Ambassador Gilchrist wrote a report on the scale of the massacres based on the findings of the Swedish Ambassador, who had toured central and eastern Java with his Indonesian wife and had been able to speak to people out of earshot of government officials. Gilchrist wrote to the Foreign Office: ‘The Ambassador and I had discussed the killings before he left [on the tour] and he had found my suggested figure of 400,000 quite incredible. His enquiries have led him to reconsider it a very serious under-estimate. A bank manager in Surabaya with twenty employees said that four had been removed one night and beheaded . . . A third of a spinning factory’s technicians, being members of a Communist union, had been killed … The killings in Bali had been particularly monstrous. In certain areas, it was felt that not enough people [emphasis in the original] had been killed.’
On the island of Bali, the ‘reorientation’ described by Prime Minister Holt meant the violent deaths of at least 80,000 people, although this is generally regarded as a conservative figure. The many western, mostly Australian, tourists who have since taken advantage of cheap package holidays to the island might reflect that beneath the car parks of several of the major tourist hotels are buried countless bodies.
The distinguished campaigner and author Carmel Budiardjo, an Englishwoman married to a tapol and herself a former political prisoner, returned to Indonesia in 2000 and found ‘the trauma left by the killings thirty-five years ago still gripping many communities on the island’. She described meeting, in Denpasar, fifty people who had never spoken about their experiences before in public. ‘One witness,’ she wrote, ‘who was 20 years old at the time calmly told us how he had been arrested and held in a large cell by the military, 52 people in all, mostly members of mass organisations from nearby villages. Every few days, a batch of men was taken out, their hands tied behind their backs and driven off to be shot. Only two of the prisoners survived . . . Another witness, an ethnic Chinese Indonesian, gave testimony about the killing of 103 people, some as young as 15. In this case, the people were not arrested but simply taken from their homes and killed, as their names were ticked off a list.’
‘In the early sixties,’ he said, ‘the pressure on Indonesia to do what the Americans wanted was intense. Sukarno wanted good relations with them, but he didn’t want their economic system. With America, that is never possible. So he became an enemy. All of us who wanted an independent country, free to make our own mistakes, were made the enemy. They didn’t call it globalisation then; but it was the same thing. If you accepted it, you were America’s friend. If you chose another way, you were given warnings, and if you didn’t comply, hell was visited on you. But I am back; I am well; I have my family. They didn’t win.’
Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s, described the terror in Indonesia from 1965 – 66 as a ‘model operation’ for the American-run coup that got rid of Salvador Allende in Chile seven years later. ‘The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders,’ he wrote, ‘[just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965.’ He says Indonesia was also the model for Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, where American-directed death squads assassinated up to 50,000 people. ‘You can trace back all the major, bloody events run from Washington to the way Suharto came to power,’ he told me. ‘The success of that meant that it would be repeated, again and again.’
Indonesia, once owing nothing but having been plundered of its gold, precious stones, wood, spices and other natural riches by its colonial masters, the Dutch, today has a total indebtedness estimated at $262 billion, which is 170 per cent of its gross domestic product. There is no debt like it on earth. It can never be repaid. It is a bottomless hole.
A well-connected retired general in the Saudi military has traveled to Israel, in the latest indication of a growing link between Tel Aviv and Riyadh which has come to light in recent months.
Anwar Eshki made the visit earlier in the week, meeting with Israel’s foreign ministry director general Dore Gold Yoav Mordechai and a number of Knesset members, the daily Ha’aretz reported.
The daily called the visit “a highly unusual one,” as Eshki couldn’t have traveled to Israel without approval from the Saudi government.
Eshki and Gold raised an uproar first in June 2015 when they held a publicized joint event in Washington, after meeting privately several times over the preceding year.
Gold attended the event a few days before assuming the role of director general of the Israeli foreign ministry.
Israeli legislator Esawi Freige, who organized Eshki’s meeting with his fellow members of Knesset, shed some light on the trip. “The Saudis want to open up to Israel,” he said.
“This is a strategic step for them. They said they want to continue what former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat started. They want to get closer to Israel. This is clearly evident,” Fregie noted.
He was referring to the former Egyptian president’s negotiations with Israel, which culminated in the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1979 – the first between an Arab state and Tel Aviv at the time.
Haaretz said that during the meeting with the parliamentarians, Eshki encouraged dialog in Israel on Saudi Arabia’s Arab Peace Initiative.
The proposal was unveiled in 2002, offering normalized ties with Israel by 22 Arab countries in return for Tel Aviv’s withdrawal from the occupied West Bank.
During an interview with the Qatari news channel Al Jazeera in April, Eshki said Riyadh would open an embassy in Tel Aviv if Israel accepted the Saudi initiative. He also said the Saudis were not interested in “Israel becoming isolated in the region.”
Back in May, Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva reported that Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies [sic], namely Jordan and Egypt, had been sending messages to Israel through various emissaries, including former British PM Tony Blair.
They had asked Tel Aviv to resume Middle East negotiations under new terms, which included changes to the Saudi initiative, the paper said.
Most Arab governments have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Even so, reports have indicated that several of them, including Saudi Arabia, have had secret relations with Tel Aviv.
Last November, the Associated Press reported that Israel was set to open a “permanent mission” in the UAE.
In May, the Middle East Eye news portal reported that Israel and some Arab countries, including the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan, were planning to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and replace him with former leader of the Fatah movement Mohammad Dahlan.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry traveled to Jerusalem al-Quds for talks with Israeli leaders earlier this month.
The minister outraged many Egyptians for visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s family, during which the two watched the Euro 2016 soccer final.
I just appeared for an extensive live commentary on Press TV on events in Munich, Germany, where a terrorist attack has taken place. I pointed out that today is the 22nd of July, the most important date in the history of the Zionist entity. There are reports of 6 people dead so far. On this day in 1946, Israel carried out its first false flag terrorist attack on the King David Hotel. This day five years ago, Anders Brevik, a far-right patsy massacred dozens of pro-Palestinian activists in Norway. Professor Ola Tunander wrote a detailed study of the event for a peer-reviewed Security Studies journal. His conclusion was that the attack had been orchestrated by Israeli intelligence (Mossad).
The attacks in Munich have taken place in the Olympia Shopping Mall. Today is the 72nd anniversary of the false flag terrorist attack which led to the founding of the Jewish State. I have suggested that the planners may want to pay hommage to the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre, carried out by two Jewish double agents Abu Nidal and Luttif Affiv and blamed on the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. The attacks in Munich may be random, meaningless, though tragic events. But they may also be about criminalising the exposure of coercive engineered migration, Zionism’s covert war on Germany and driving hatred and suspicion between Muslims and Christian/secularists, all to the benefit of the Zionist entity and its never-ending ‘War on terror’. I will be posting the video soon and the full analysis of this new episode of Gladio.
Update: The Zionists think we are stupid; it is their fatal flaw. A friend has just informed me that the German journalist I mentioned in my last piece on the Nice Attack, Richard Gutjahr, is at the scene in Munich! This guy gets around! He is married to Mossad agent Einat Wilf, a close confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gutjahr is tweeting from the scene with a tweet in German which reads ”Stehe vor dem OEZ” I’m standing outside the Olympia Einkaufzentrum( shopping mall).” Being an intelligence journalist is obviously an exciting job.
Richard, es ist ein sehr gutes Jahr fur dich!
President Barack Obama made the White House press corps giggle while speaking about the deadly Munich attack, shifting the tragic topic to his personal feelings about his daughters. The shooting rampage in Germany saw nine people killed and 16 injured.
Obama was speaking to law enforcement agents at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as news from Germany got to the White House.
“We don’t know exactly what’s happening there, but obviously our hearts go out to those who may have been injured,” he told reporters.
However the president, in his final months in office, did not dwell on the tragedy for long. He quickly changed the topic, calling the Munich tragedy “a good reminder” of his recent words, that “our way of life, our freedoms,” are threatened.
That’s when Obama began to ramble about children growing and “leaving their dad,” obviously referring to his older daughter, Malia.
“I’m sorry. I’m getting a little too personal. Getting a little too personal there,” Obama cut himself short, drawing the audience’s laughter.
He then collected himself, going back to serious issues and praising the “men and women in uniform every single day, who are under some of the most adverse circumstances imaginable at times, making sure to keep us safe.”
A report in 21st of July edition of Le Figaro newspaper states that France’s anti-terrorist executive (sous-direction anti-terroriste- SDAT) has ordered Nice’s urban surveillance authorities to destroy all CCTV footage of the Nice Attacks on Bastille Day that rocked the city on the 14th of July 2016.
Although SDAT have cited articles 53 and L706-24 of the prosecution procedure and article R642-1 of the penal code, authorities in Nice interviewed by Le Figaro say that it is the first time they have ever been asked to destroy evidence at a crime scene – something they point out is illegal.
The explanation given by the French Ministry of Justice is that they don’t want ‘uncontrolled’ and ‘non-authorised (non maîtrisée) diffusion of the images of the terrorist attacks. The Judicial Police have noted that 140 videos of the attacks in their possession show ‘important pieces of the inquiry’ (éléments d’enquête intéressants). The French government claims it wants to prevent ISIS from gaining access to videos of the attacks for the purposes of propaganda. They also claim that the destruction of evidence is intended to protect the families of the victims. The comments section of the Le Figaro article is replete with outrage and disgust by the fact that the French government, instead of preserving evidence for the purposes of a thorough, independent investigation, is in fact behaving rather more like the chief suspect in the attack – ordering the destruction of vital evidence.
There is something rotten in France’s Judicial Police. Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attacks on the 7th of January 2015, the judicial police behaved suspiciously before and as they did after the ‘suicide’ of Limoge’s deputy Police Commissioner Helric Fredou. Fredou was found dead shortly after the arrival of the French Judicial Police to his office in Limoges shortly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. His family were not allowed see his body for 24 hours after his death; they suspect foul play. The Judicial Police claimed he had shot himself in the head, though his mother said she did not see evidence of this. The police commissioner was said to be suffering from depression, a claim denied by the family doctor. Fredou was found dead in his office before the publication of a report on the relationship between Jeanette Bougrab, a former press secretary of Nicolas Sarkozy, and one of the deceased in the attack, Stéphane Charbonnier
He was found dead in his office before the publication of a report on the relationship between Jeanette Bougrab, a former press secretary of Nicolas Sarkozy, and one of the deceased in the attack, Stéphane Charbonnier known as ‘Charb’. The relationship between Bougrab, who is close to all the leaders of the French Zionist movement, and Charb, was one of the most controversial aspects of the Charlie Hebdo massacre story. Fredou was also investigating the background of the Kouachi brothers who were accused of the massacre. They had lived in the town of Limoges.
An article in France’s l’Est Républicain newspaper attempts to reassure the public of the French government’s bona fides with the title ‘No, the footage of the attack has not been deleted’. The report asserts that the Ministry of Justice have not ordered the destruction of evidence but just the deletion of the images from the cameras in Nice. This reassurance might be enough to placate those who are loathe to question the narrative of the war on terror. But, as the recent booing of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Nice showed, the French people are waking up.
Now France’s Judicial Police and anti-terrorist authorities want to destroy evidence of the attacks. In most crime cases, those who destroy or seek to destroy evidence are usually trying to cover something up. I have already pointed out some of the inconsistencies in the story we have been told about the Nice massacre. I have not claimed nothing happened or no one was killed but rather that the video evidence so far presented does not match the story. Perhaps new video evidence proving the government’s story will emerge. Let’s hope so! If researchers and journalists with a proven record of peace advocacy and a passion for truth and honesty in reporting were to gain access to those videos, ISIS would be weakened not strengthened.
But we would be naive to believe the French government intends to weaken ISIS, given the incontrovertibly proven fact that they support the child-murdering head choppers in Syria. While some will find their comfort zones and systems justification syndrome perturbed by this information, many more will simply fall back to sleep. Falling asleep is easier in the short term but in time people will realise that the mattress is being pulled from under them, so that when they wake up in terrible discomfort, it will be too late. It’s time to wake up!
The failed coup in Turkey last week was a political and geopolitical earthquake as it has the potential to fundamentally alter the Middle East, NATO, and potentially the balance of power globally. But while the implications of the recent developments are clear, what actually took place on the night/morning of July 15 – July 16 is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. But why is that? Why are the connections for the most part not being made by Western pundits and journalists alike?
Here again we run into the controlled corporate media apparatus, one which is dominated by the very same interests that dominate the governments of the US and EU, and its incredible power to misinform. As the great Michael Parenti famously wrote, “[The media’s] job is not to inform but disinform, not to advance democratic discourse but to dilute and mute it. Their task is to give every appearance of being conscientiously concerned about events of the day, saying so much while meaning so little, offering so many calories with so few nutrients.”
Nowhere is Parenti’s contention more true than with the coup in Turkey. For while the media has certainly reported the allegations from President Erdogan and his government of the hidden hand of US-based billionaire Fetullah Gulen, almost none of the major media outlets have done the necessary investigation to uncover the real significance of Gulen and his movement. Specifically, and almost as if by magic, there is virtually no mention of Gulen’s longstanding ties to the CIA, his penetration of the various institutions of the Turkish state, nor is there any serious investigation into the financial networks and connections leading from Gulen to nearly every corner of the Islamic (and non-Islamic) world.
And while Gulen, along with many neocons in the US, have been propagating the narrative that President Erdogan and his forces themselves staged the coup in order to justify the ongoing crackdown on political rivals, secularists, and other anti-Erdogan forces, the media by and large has not connected the events in Turkey to their larger geopolitical significance, one which should shed some light on what may have happened. And, in a further dereliction of duty, the media has also mostly ignored the absolutely critical likelihood of the involvement of US-NATO intelligence.
History as a Guide
From Iran in 1953 to Chile in 1973 and countless other countries, the CIA and its intelligence agency cousins in NATO have been involved in myriad coups similar to the one that took place in Turkey last week. However, one would be remiss in not noting the striking similarities between the 2016 coup in Turkey and the one that took place on September 12, 1980.
Throughout the mid to late 1970s Turkey saw a major upsurge of terrorism and violence, much of which was attributed to fascist formations such as the Grey Wolves, along with other groups. However, what is now known is that much of the violence took the form of provocations which many experts allege were orchestrated by CIA-affiliated individuals and networks.
Perhaps the most significant of these was Paul Henze, a man who spent decades as an intelligence coordinator in Ethiopia, Turkey, and elsewhere throughout the Cold War. As Daniele Ganser noted in his book NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, “A right wing extremist on trial later plausibly argued that the massacres and terrors of the 1970s had been a strategy to bring [coup leader General] Evren and the military right to power: ‘The massacres were a provocation by the [Turkish intelligence agency] MIT. With the provocations by the MIT and the CIA the ground was prepared for the September 12 coup.’” (p. 239)
But of course, these actions did not take place in a vacuum; there were intelligence operators in place who facilitated the events that took place. As renowned author and media critic Edward Herman and co-author Frank Brodhead wrote in their 1986 book The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection :
“Paul Henze began his long CIA career under Defense Department cover as a “foreign affairs adviser” in 1950. Two years later, he began a six-year hitch as a policy adviser to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in Munich, West Germany. By 1969, Henze was CIA chief of station in Ethiopia, and he served as station chief in Turkey from 1974 through 1977. When Zbigniew Brzezinski assembled his National Security Council team for President Jimmy Carter, Henze was hired as the CIA’s representative to the NSC office in the White House.”
Considering the intimate connection between Henze and Brzezinski, it is not hard to see that Henze was essentially involved in the same global operation as Brzezinski, namely the weaponization of terrorism for strategic gain against the Soviet Union. And while Brzezinski famously masterminded the creation of the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Henze already had achieved similar results in Turkey, organizing right wing forces for the purposes of destabilization. In his book, Gansler cites counter-terrorism scholar and expert on GLADIO operations Selhattin Celik, who wrote in 1999 that:
“[When US President Jimmy Carter] heard about [the 1980 coup in Turkey] he called Paul Henze, former Chief of the CIA station in Turkey who had left Ankara shortly before the coup to become a security adviser to President Carter in Washington on the Turkey desk of the CIA… Carter told Henze what the latter already knew: ‘Your people have just made a coup!’ The President was right. Paul Henze, the day after the coup, had triumphantly declared to his CIA colleagues in Washington: ‘Our boys have done it!”
Celik bluntly referred to Henze as “the chief architect of the September 12, 1980 coup.” It’s not hard to see why. From having been on the ground in the early to mid-1970s, to then becoming a coordinator in Washington while being the point person on Turkey for the National Security Council under Brzezinski, Henze was clearly instrumental. As Gansler notes, according to Celik, “Brzezinski supported the position of Henze. During a discussion in the National Security Council of the situation in Iran where in 1979 Khomeiny [sic] had seized power Brzezinski expressed his view that ‘for Turkey as for Brazil a military government would be the best solution.’”
While none of this should come as a surprise to anyone remotely familiar with how US intelligence operated in the Cold War, perhaps the depth of the connections between US intelligence, its NATO cousins, and the Turkish military and deep state represent something of an epiphany. As Turkish politician and social activist Ertugrul Kurkcu wrote in Covert Action Quarterly in 1997:
The close ties between the Turkish, US military, and intelligence circles, along with US concerns over Turkey’s military cooperation, have been major obstacles in Turkey’s path to broader democracy. [Turkish politician and journalist Fikri] Saglar charges that US interest in Turkish affairs is not confined to official NATO relations and trade ties. He points to the notorious message by the CIA’s then-Turkey Station Chief Paul Henze in Ankara to his colleagues in Washington the day after the 1980 coup “Our boys have done it!” Henze crowed. Saglar concludes that foreign intelligence organizations including the CIA, have coopted collaborators from among the extreme-right and exploited them for their particular interests.
In effect, what the 1980 coup demonstrates more than anything is that the Turkish military, as well as the far right fascist terror gangs such as the Grey Wolves, are in various ways assets of the US, and under the thumb of US intelligence. To be sure, one could quibble about the degree to which they are entirely assets, proxies, or simply longtime collaborators, but this distinction is of minor importance. What matters is that the historical record clearly indicates collusion between the Turkish military and deep state and the CIA.
But this is all ancient history, right? Surely these networks and connections have eroded over time, and what happened in 1980 is of only secondary significance to the internal politics of Turkey and the ongoing struggles for power. Well, yes… but on second thought, maybe not.
Who’s Who on the Turkish Chessboard?
In trying to provide analysis of what just took place in Turkey, one must have some understanding of the political factions vying for power in Turkey. They can roughly be broken down into three camps, though there is often overlap between the groups.
The first faction is that of President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). Erdogan and the AKP come from the “moderate Islamist” milieu of the Muslim Brotherhood, having spent years fighting against the militantly secular Turkish military and state order. As Dr. Essam al-Erian, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, explained in 2007, “the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic group that has a close relationship with all moderate Islamists, the most prominent of which is the Justice and Development Party.”
This point is of critical importance because it connects Erdogan and his political machine to a much broader international network active throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It further provides an explanation as to Erdogan’s seeming fanaticism over the war in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad whose father crushed the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, as well as his unwavering support for former Egyptian President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader deposed by current President Sisi.
The second faction is that of the Kemalists, with its power generally residing in the military and elements of the deep state. They see themselves as the custodians of the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. The Kemalists are deeply connected to major capitalist interests in the country, and have a long history of collaboration with the US and NATO. As noted above, the Turkish military has long-standing ties to the CIA and NATO intelligence, and has long been understood as one of the most reliable US-NATO partners.
The third political faction of note is that of Turkish billionaire Fetullah Gulen whose global network of schools has made him into one of the single most powerful individuals in the region, though he runs his network from the comfort of his Pennsylvania estate. Not only has the Gulen network made significant inroads penetrating nearly every state institution in Turkey, it is also hugely influential in the US, both in terms of long-standing ties to US intelligence, and perhaps equally important, its massive lobbying and influence-peddling apparatus. Indeed, in 2010 six major Turkish-American federations with ties to the Gulen movement joined together to create the Assembly of Turkic American Federations (ATAF), a non-profit organization that has become one of the more prominent lobbying groups in Washington dealing with Turkish and Turkic peoples issues.
It is essential to remember that although it is known that last week’s coup was carried out by elements of the military, it is unclear exactly which faction they were representing, or if it was a combination of two. But here it is useful to examine the recent history of the Gulen network (known as Hizmet) and its penetration of state institutions in order to assess what potential role it may have played in the coup.
Connecting the Dots: Fetullah Gulen and CIA Fingerprints on Turkey Coup?
While it is easy to point the finger at the CIA and US-NATO intelligence for anything that happens anywhere in the world – the Empire’s reach is truly global – one must be cautious not to simply assert US culpability without properly drawing out the tangible connections. And in this case, that is doubly true. However, it is here that Gulen’s significance really comes into play, for it is his far-reaching network of contacts, surrogates, and proxies that have penetrated nearly every significant state institution.
Long before last week’s failed coup, analysts had been making the connection between Gulen, infiltration of the Turkish state, and the CIA. As political analyst Osman Softic wrote in 2014:
“Given that the Hizmet sympathizers skilfully [sic] infiltrated some of the most sensitive structures of the state such as the police, intelligence, judiciary and public prosecution, it is quite plausible that this movement may have served as a convenient mechanism for destabilization and even overthrow of the Erdoğan government, by much more powerful and sinister international actors… Gülen himself may have become a convenient pawn in their attempt to destabilize Turkey.”
The allegation that Gulen agents have penetrated all throughout the Turkish state is nothing new. In fact, such assertions have dogged Gulen and the Hizmet movement for at least the last two decades. But it is the connection to US intelligence and the elite circles of US foreign policy that truly completes the picture.
Enter Graham Fuller, former Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, whose links to Gulen’s movement run deep. Fuller has gone so far as to defend Gulen on Huffington Post in recent days in an article entitled The Gulen Movement Is Not a Cult — It’s One of the Most Encouraging Faces of Islam Today in which he admits – he had no choice as it is well documented – that he wrote a letter in support of Gulen’s green card application to the US in 2006. Although his rhetoric attempts to distort the nature of, and reason behind, his support for Gulen, Fuller does imply that Hizmet represents a social movement aligned with, and amenable to, US interests, one which could be used as a potent weapon in a critical NATO ally.
Fuller fails to note that he doesn’t simply have a passing connection with the Gulen movement, but that he has attended numerous Gulenist functions including large events, such as those organized by the Turquoise Council for Americans and Eurasians, a reputed Gulenist umbrella organization run by Kemal Oksuz (a.k.a. Kevin Oksuz), a prominent member of the Gulen network.
In addition to Fuller, infamous former CIA operative and US Ambassador to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, also wrote a letter backing Gulen as he sought sanctuary in the US. Interestingly, Abramowitz was also the co-author, along with fellow neocons Eric Edelman and Blaise Misztal, of a fiery January 2014 op-ed in the Washington Post that all but demanded that the US topple Erdogan’s government. Yes, chin-scratchingly interesting.
So, let’s see if we got it all down. Gulen leads a multi-billion dollar business empire and charter/private school network with global reach. He is directly connected to two of the most notorious CIA operatives in the recent history of US-Turkish relations. He has a political lobbying network whose tentacles stretch from Washington to Central Asia. Oh, and by the way, according to former Turkish intelligence chief Osman Nuri Gundes, Gulen’s network of schools in the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan provided the cover for at least 130 CIA agents in the mid to late 90s.
Now let’s add to that equation the fact that the RAND corporation, one of the most influential think tanks within US policy circles, suggested in a detailed 2004 report entitled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies that US policy should:
“Support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views. They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam… Support the secularists on a case-by-case basis.”
It would seem that, more than a decade ago, and at a time when Gulen and Erdogan were still friendly, their organizations still allied, that US policy was to push Gulen and the moderate Islamist elements that he and Erdogan represented. It seems quite likely that the falling out between Erdogan and Gulen had less to do with personal issues and egos (though that undoubtedly played a part) than it did with policy and loyalty.
The Geopolitics and Strategy of the Failed Coup
Despite his commendable service to US imperialism in Syria, including hosting both terrorist and Syrian expatriate proxies of the US, Erdogan has clearly upset the apple cart with Washington. Perhaps his most egregious crime came just recently when he issued an apology for the November 2015 downing of a Russian jet. But, of course, it wasn’t the apology itself that set off official Washington, it was the reorientation of Turkish foreign policy away from the US, NATO, and Europe, and towards Russia, China, and the emerging non-western power bloc. This was his grave sin. And it wasn’t the first time, though undoubtedly Washington wanted to make sure it would be his last.
One must recall that Erdogan has a nasty habit of making deals with US adversaries, including the signing of the massive Turk Stream pipeline deal, the decision to purchase missile systems from China (which Erdogan later reneged on), the signing of a lucrative nuclear energy deal with Russia, and many others. In short, for Washington, Erdogan proved to be an unreliable ally at best, and a dangerous political manipulator at worst. So, as with so many leaders who came to be seen that way by the US political elites, he had to go. And Gulen’s network would come in handy.
Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the events of the failed coup was the use of the NATO base at Incirlik. As the Los Angeles Times noted:
“Turkish officials said the organizers of the uprising were given crucial aid from officers at Incirlik Air Base, a facility that hosts most of the 2,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in Turkey and is a key base for the U.S.-led coalition’s ongoing air campaign to defeat the Islamic State militant group in neighboring Iraq and Syria… official media reported the arrest of the top Turkish military official at Incirlik, Gen. Bekir Ercan Van. Van was among 10 soldiers arrested at the base, part of an operation Turkish officials say provided air-to-air refueling for F-16 fighter jets… [which] were a crucial part of the coup attempt, used to intimidate government supporters in the streets.”
The implications of this information should not be understated. While it is entirely possible that the story was concocted by Erdogan’s people in order to carry out a purge of top military officials perhaps seen as disloyal to Erdogan or much too loyal to secular Kemalists, it is also plausible that the Turkish government’s narrative is correct.
Were that to be the case, then the obvious implication would be that Incirlik was a base of operations for the coup, the locus of Turkish military power behind the coup, and US intelligence and military behind them. Considering the centrality of Incirlik to NATO operations in the Middle East, it is not unreasonable to assume that aside from just military personnel, Incirlik is a node in the global CIA network. In fact, considering that the base is home to both US drones conducting operations in the Syria-Iraq theater, as well as a hub of the US “extraordinary rendition” program, it almost goes without saying that Incirlik houses significant CIA assets.
Seen from this perspective then, Incirlik was obviously pivotal to the failed coup plot, and has since become essential to Erdogan’s purging of his rivals from the ranks of the military. Moreover, it was long a bone of contention between Ankara and Washington, with Erdogan’s government wanting to assert more control over the base than Washington was prepared to allow. In many ways, Incirlik became the nexus of a tectonic shift in Turkish politics, and in the geopolitics of the region.
Ultimately, the failed 2016 coup in Turkey will have lasting ramifications that will impact the years and decades ahead. With Turkey now clearly breaking with the US-NATO-EU axis, it is rather predictable that it will seek to not only mend fences with both Russia and China, but to place itself into the non-western camp typified by BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China’s One Belt One Road strategy, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, etc.
The failure of the coup is clearly a failure for the US and its allies who see in Erdogan an adversary, not a partner. For his part, Erdogan has much criminal behavior to answer for. From his illegal fomenting of war in Syria, to the purges and arbitrary detentions ongoing in Turkey today, to the attacks on secular institutions and human rights, Erdogan has a rap sheet a mile long. But of course sharing a bed with criminal regimes has never been a problem for Washington.
No, the problem has been, and will continue to be, that Erdogan doesn’t play by the rules; rules set forth by the US. And with this US-backed coup, he will only get stronger. Surely, many sleepless nights lay ahead for the strategic planners in Washington.
In a fresh embarrassment for The New York Times, a photographic forensic expert has debunked a new amateurish, anti-Russian analysis of satellite photos related to the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, labeling the work “a fraud.”
Last Saturday, on the eve of the second anniversary of the tragedy that claimed 298 lives, the Times touted the amateur analysis asserting that the Russian government had manipulated two satellite photos that revealed Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles in eastern Ukraine at the time of the shoot-down.
The clear implication of the article by Andrew E. Kramer was that the Russians were covering up their complicity in shooting down the civilian airliner by allegedly doctoring photos to shift the blame to the Ukrainian military. Beyond citing this analysis by armscontrolwonk.com, Kramer noted that the “citizen journalists” at Bellingcat had reached the same conclusion earlier.
But Kramer and the Times left out that the earlier Bellingcat analysis was thoroughly torn apart by photo-forensic experts including Dr. Neal Krawetz, founder of the FotoForensics digital image analytical tool that Bellingcat had used. Over the past week, Bellingcat has been aggressively pushing the new analysis by armscontrolwonk.com, with which Bellingcat has close relationships.
This past week, Krawetz and other forensic specialists began weighing in on the new analysis and concluding that it suffered the same fundamental errors as the previous analysis, albeit using a different analytical tool. Given Bellingcat’s promotion of this second analysis by a group with links to Bellingcat and its founder Eliot Higgins, Krawetz viewed the two analyses as essentially coming from the same place, Bellingcat.
“Jumping to the wrong conclusion one time can be due to ignorance,” Krawetz explained in a blog post. “However, using a different tool on the same data that yields similar results, and still jumping to the same wrong conclusion is intentional misrepresentation and deception. It is fraud.”
A Pattern of Error
Krawetz and other experts found that innocuous changes to the photos, such as adding a word box and saving the images into different formats, would explain the anomalies that Bellingcat and its pals at armscontrolwonk.com detected. That was the key mistake that Krawetz spotted last year in dissecting Bellingcat’s faulty analysis.
Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins
Krawetz wrote: “Last year, a group called ‘Bellingcat’ came out with a report about flight MH17, which was shot down near the Ukraine/Russia border. In their report, they used FotoForensics to justify their claims. However, as I pointed out in my blog entry, they used it wrong. The big problems in their report:
“–Ignoring quality. They evaluated pictures from questionable sources. These were low quality pictures that had undergone scaling, cropping, and annotations.
“–Seeing things. Even with the output from the analysis tools, they jumped to conclusions that were not supported by the data.
“–Bait and switch. Their report claimed one thing, then tried to justify it with analysis that showed something different.
“Bellingcat recently came out with a second report. The image analysis portion of their report heavily relied on a program called ‘Tungstène’. … With the scientific approach, it does not matter who’s tool you use. A conclusion should be repeatable though multiple tools and multiple algorithms.
“One of the pictures that they ran though Tungstène was the same cloud picture that they used with ELA [error level analysis]. And unsurprisingly, it generated similar results — results that should be interpreted as low quality and multiple resaves. … These results denote a low quality picture and multiple resaves, and not an intentional alteration as Bellingcat concluded.
“Just like last year, Bellingcat claimed that Tungstène highlighted indications of alterations in the same places that they claimed to see alterations in the ELA result. Bellingcat used the same low quality data on different tools and jumped to the same incorrect conclusion.”
Although Krawetz posted his dissection of the new analysis on Thursday, he began expressing his concerns shortly after the Times article appeared. That prompted Higgins and the Bellingcat crew to begin a Twitter campaign to discredit Krawetz and me (for also citing problems with the Times article and the analysis).
When one of Higgins’s allies mentioned my initial story on the problematic photo analysis, Krawetz noted that my observations supported his position that Bellingcat had mishandled the analysis (although at the time I was unaware of Krawetz’s criticism).
Higgins responded to Krawetz, “he [Parry] doesn’t recognize you’re a hack. Probably because he’s a hack too.”
Further insulting Krawetz, Higgins mocked his review of the photo analyses by writing: “all he has is ‘because I say so’, all mouth no trousers.”
Spoiled by Praise
Apparently, Higgins, who operates out of Leicester, England, has grown spoiled by all the praise lavished on him by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and other mainstream publications despite the fact that Bellingcat’s record for accuracy is a poor one.
For instance, in his first big splash, Higgins echoed U.S. propaganda in Syria about the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack — blaming it on President Bashar al-Assad — but was forced to back down from his assessment when aeronautical experts revealed that the sarin-carrying missile had a range of only about two kilometers, much shorter than Higgins had surmised in blaming the attack on Syrian government forces. (Despite that key error, Higgins continued claiming the Syrian government was guilty.)
Higgins also gave the Australian “60 Minutes” program a location in eastern Ukraine where a “getaway” Buk missile battery was supposedly videoed en route back to Russia, except that when the news crew got there the landmarks didn’t match up, causing the program to have to rely on sleight-of-hand editing to deceive its viewers.
When I noted the discrepancies and posted screenshots from the “60 Minutes” program to demonstrate the falsehoods, “60 Minutes” launched a campaign of insults against me and resorted to more video tricks and outright journalistic fraud in defense of Higgins’s faulty information.
This pattern of false claims and even fraud to promote these stories has not stopped the mainstream Western press from showering Higgins and Bellingcat with acclaim. It probably doesn’t hurt that Bellingcat’s “disclosures” always dovetail with the propaganda themes emanating from Western governments.
It also turns out that both Higgins and “armscontrolwonk.com” have crossover in personnel, such as Melissa Hanham, a co-author of the MH-17 report who also writes for Bellingcat, as does Aaron Stein, who joined in promoting Higgins’s work at “armscontrolwonk.com.”
The two groups also have links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council, which has been at the forefront of pushing NATO’s new Cold War with Russia. Higgins is now listed as a “nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative” and armscontrolwonk.com describes Stein as a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.
Armscontrolwonk.com is run by nuclear proliferation specialists from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey, but they appear to have no special expertise in photographic forensics.
A Deeper Problem
But the problem goes much deeper than a couple of Web sites and bloggers who find it professionally uplifting to reinforce propaganda themes from NATO and other Western interests. The bigger danger is the role played by the mainstream media in creating an echo chamber to amplify the disinformation coming from these amateurs.
Just as The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major outlets swallowed the bogus stories about Iraq’s WMD in 2002-2003, they have happily dined on similarly dubious fare about Syria, Ukraine and Russia.
And just as with the Iraq disaster, when those of us who challenged the WMD “group think” were dismissed as “Saddam apologists,” now we’re called “Assad apologists” or “Putin apologists” or simply “hacks” who are “all mouth, no trousers” – whatever that means.
For instance, in 2013 regarding Syria, the Times ran a front-page story using a “vector analysis” to trace the sarin attack back to a Syrian military base about nine kilometers away, but the discovery of the sarin missile’s much shorter range forced the Times to recant its story, which had paralleled what Higgins was writing.
Then, in its eagerness to convey anti-Russian propaganda regarding Ukraine in 2014, the Times even returned to a reporter from its Iraq-falsehood days. Michael R. Gordon, who co-authored the infamous “aluminum tubes” article in 2002 that pushed the bogus claim that Iraq was reconstituting a nuclear weapons program, accepted some new disinformation from the State Department that cited photos supposedly showing Russian soldiers in Russia and then reappearing in Ukraine.
Any serious journalist would have recognized the holes in the story since it wasn’t clear where the photos were taken or whether the blurry images were even the same people, but that didn’t give the Times pause. The article led the front page.
However, only two days later, the scoop blew up when it turned out that a key photo supposedly showing a group of soldiers in Russia, who then reappeared in eastern Ukraine, was actually taken in Ukraine, destroying the premise of the entire story.
But these embarrassments have not dampened the Times’ enthusiasm for dishing out anti-Russian propaganda whenever possible. Yet, one new twist is that the Times doesn’t just take false claims directly from the U.S. government; it also draws from hip “citizen journalism” Web sites like Bellingcat.
In a world where no one believes what governments say the smart new way to disseminate propaganda is through such “outsiders.”
So, the Times’ Kramer was surely thrilled to get fed a new story off the Web that claimed the Russians had doctored satellite photographs of Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missile batteries in eastern Ukraine just before the MH-17 shoot-down.
Instead of questioning the photo-forensic expertise of these nuclear proliferation specialists at armscontrolwonk.com, Kramer simply laid out their findings as further corroboration of Bellingcat’s earlier claims. Kramer also mocked the Russians for trying to cover their tracks with “conspiracy theories.”
Ignoring Official Evidence
But there was another key piece of evidence that the Times was hiding from its readers: documentary evidence from Western intelligence that the Ukrainian military did have powerful anti-aircraft missile batteries in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, and that the ethnic Russian rebels didn’t.
In a report released last October, the Netherlands’ Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) said that based on “state secret” information, it was known that Ukraine possessed some older but “powerful anti-aircraft systems” and “a number of these systems were located in the eastern part of the country.” MIVD added that the rebels lacked that capacity:
“Prior to the crash, the MIVD knew that, in addition to light aircraft artillery, the Separatists also possessed short-range portable air defence systems (man-portable air-defence systems; MANPADS) and that they possibly possessed short-range vehicle-borne air-defence systems. Both types of systems are considered surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). Due to their limited range they do not constitute a danger to civil aviation at cruising altitude.”
Since Dutch intelligence is part of the NATO intelligence apparatus, this report means that NATO and presumably U.S. intelligence share the same viewpoint. Thus, the Russians would have little reason to fake their satellite photos showing Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile batteries in eastern Ukraine if the West’s satellite photos were showing the same thing.
But there is a reason why the Times and other major mainstream publications have ignored this official Dutch government document – because if it’s correct, then it means that the only people who could have shot down MH-17 belong to the Ukrainian military. That would turn upside-down the desired propaganda narrative blaming the Russians.
Yet, that blackout of the Dutch report means that the Times and other Western outlets have abandoned their journalistic responsibilities to present all relevant evidence on an issue of grave importance – bringing to justice the killers of 298 innocent people. Rather than “all the news that’s fit to print,” the Times is stacking the case by leaving out evidence that goes in the “wrong direction.”
Of course, there may be some explanation for how both NATO and Russian intelligence could come to the same “mistaken” conclusion that only the Ukrainian military could have shot down MH-17, but the Times and the rest of the Western mainstream media can’t ethically just pretend the evidence doesn’t exist.
Unless, of course, your real purpose is to disseminate propaganda, not produce journalism. Then, I suppose the behavior of the Times, other MSM publications and, yes, Bellingcat makes a lot of sense.
[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “MH-17: Two Years of Anti-Russian Propaganda” and “NYT Is Lost in Its Ukraine Propaganda.”]
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
Tony Heller of http://realclimatescience.com/ presents at the 34th Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, on July 9, 2016
TOKYO — The residents of Japan’s island prefecture of Okinawa have staged a sit-in protest against the construction of helipads for the US military forces in the region, local media reported Friday.
The construction, which was suspended two years ago, resumed on Friday morning, according to media reports.
The local residents are concerned that helipads could be used by the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, considered to be defective by its opponents.
In exchange for construction of six helipads, the United States agreed in 1996 to return to Japan almost half of the 17,500 acres of land in the Yanbaru jungles, used by the US forces as a training camp. The Japanese government had built two helipads but construction of the remaining four was halted in 2014 due to the protests.
Since becoming operational in 2007, the V-22 Osprey has had three crashes resulting in six deaths and several minor incidents.
The influential Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, which belongs to Prince Faisal bin Salman (son of King Salman), Governor of Madinah, tore into Turkish President Recep Erdogan with a series of vicious attacks that brings to the fore the cracks in the politics of the Muslim Middle East following the failed coup in Turkey last Friday. On successive days, three Op-Eds have appeared, authored by two of the most authoritative establishment talkers in the Saudi media – Abdulrahman Al-Rashed (currently general manager of Al-Arabiya television and formerly editor-in-chief of the daily) and Eyad Abu Shakra (incumbent managing editor of the daily).
The first Op-Ed entitled Will Turkey Boycott the West? by Al-Rashed appeared on Tuesday in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt in Turkey. Its message to Erdogan was two-fold: a) Do not annoy the West (read US); and, b) There will be dire consequences if Erdogan pressed for the extradition of the Islamist cleric Fetullah Gulen from the US.
Evidently, Erdogan ignored Al-Rashed’s advice and doomsday predictions and went ahead to allege a likely US role in the coup attempt and warn that Washington will be making a “big mistake” if Gulen is not extradited. On Thursday, Shakra and Al-Rashed in separate articles followed up with a scathing attack on Erdogan personally and his politics.
Shakra in his article titled About Erdogan and Turkey’s Coup Attempt condemned Erdogan for the crackdown on ‘Gulenists’ and all but cited Gulen as a torch bearer of political Islam as much as Erdogan claims himself to be. The article hinted that Gulen casts an appeal within the ruling party AKP. Shakra pointedly brought in former president and AKP’s co-founder Abdullah Gul and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu). He virtually advised a patch-up between Erdogan and Gulen.
Al-Rashed in a second article alleged that Erdogan is grandstanding on the ‘Arab Street’ and his fate cannot be any different from that of Abdel Gamal Nasser and Sadam Hussein. Worse still, he drew comparison with Imam Khomeini. His article They All Walked This Path also seems to suggest Saudi displeasure that Erdogan draws support from parts of the Arab world. Qatar — whose Emir is close to Erdogan?
What is it that is frightening the Saudi royal family? Prima facie, the disclosures by the famous Saudi whistleblower Mutjahid (who many suspect to be a dissenter within the House of Saud) to the effect that Gulen has strong links with Saudi Arabia and that the powerful deputy crown prince and defence minister Mohammed bin Salman was in the know of the Turkish coup seems to have some basis. There is indeed a tone of panic in the Saudi media attack on Erdogan.
According to Mutjahid, Mohammed bin Salman apparently suspects that the Turkish intelligence knows about the Saudi-UAE role in the attempted coup against Erdogan. (Curiously, according to reports, Turkish military attaché in Kuwait tried to flee to an unnamed western country from the Saudi airport of Dammam before being detained for involvement in the coup attempt.) The Saudi talkers have probably gone on the offensive as the best form of defence, fearing a retaliation by Erdogan.
More importantly, Saudis must be feeling frightened about the manner in which the coup attempt in Turkey was countered by Erdogan, who invoked ‘people’s power’. Shades of ‘Arab Spring’! This is the spectre that always haunted the Saudis – masses pouring out into the streets in their tens of thousands as the final arbiters of political power in a Muslim country. Worse still, this political tactic also leaps out of the manifesto of the Muslim Brotherhood, which poses an existential threat to the Saudi regime.
The point is, from the Saudi viewpoint, the most dangerous thing about Erdogan is not his ‘neo-Ottomanism’ but his close links with the Brothers for whose sake he even sacrificed Turkey’s state-to-state relations with the Egyptian regime of President Abdel Fattah- el-Sisi (who came to power through a Saudi-backed military coup).
Finally, the Saudis are big losers – next only to Israel – in the rapprochement between Turkey and Iran that is getting under way in regional politics. Erdogan told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a phone conversation on Tuesday that he is ready to work with Iran and Russia to restore regional peace. The Iranian official news agency quoted Erdogan as saying,
- Today, we are determined more than ever before to contribute to the solution of regional problems hand in hand with Iran and Russia and in cooperation with them.
Of course, such a realignment in the Muslim Middle East would profoundly impact the balance of forces in regional politics, virtually isolating Saudi Arabia.
In April, the French and British foreign ministers visited Tripoli to show support for Libya’s UN-backed unity government. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged Libya’s neighbours to get behind the government, adding, “There is no other possible path.” Reports have however recently surfaced showing that Western forces, including France, have been assisting General Khalifa Haftar – a figure who has been threatened with EU sanctions for refusing to support the unity government and who has been fighting some groups involved in the Western-backed campaign against Daesh.
Earlier this month, air traffic control recordings obtained by the Middle East Eye showed that British, French, Italian and US troops, have been coordinating air strikes in support of Haftar. On Wednesday, the death of three French soldiers led to the first official confirmation that French special forces are operating in Libya, something the unity government say they were not informed of. France’s presence in the country was first reported by Le Monde in February, with reports claiming that a detachment was aiding Haftar in his battle against Daesh from a base at Benghazi airport. Earlier this year, the Pentagon said its units were deployed to “partner” local militias against Daesh and Britain has admitted sending RAF reconnaissance flights over the country.
Since the fall of the Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi in 2011, the country has struggled to stay on course. Today Libya is in the middle of a civil war and is split between two warring parliaments. The political vacuum has allowed for the powerful militant group Daesh to gain a foothold and criminal networks to flourish.
General Khalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA), has been the key force fighting against Libya Dawn, an umbrella of several armed groups who have supported Omar Al-Hassi’s General National Congress (GNC). The GNC was replaced by the House of Representatives (HoR) following an election but political opponents of the new parliament challenged its legitimacy and revived the GNC in Tripoli. Fighters from Libya Dawn forced the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thani and the HoR to Tobruk. Haftar’s crackdown is known as Operation Dignity.
The UN-backed unity government, effectively Libya’s third parliament, was formed in Tunisia in December 2015, with the aim of bringing an end to the conflict. It has the difficult task of replacing the two governments, bringing unity to the fractured country and dealing with security concerns arising from the presence of Daesh.
But it has faced endless opposition. The government only managed to sail into Tripoli in March 2016 as opposition groups prevented them from flying in. Daesh has also made things difficult – in the run-up to the January 16 2016 deadline for its formation, the militant group led a sustained attack against Libya’s vital infrastructure. While the unity government does have the mandate to call for the UN to militarily intervene, unsanctioned military actions by Western countries only works to undermine the already very thin veneer of legitimacy it has.
In Libya, the response to the news of the French soldiers has been strong, with condemnations from the UN-backed government and angry protests in Tripoli. As Fayez Serraj, the Prime Minister of Libya, said in a recent op-ed, “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Daesh) is not our greatest enemy. National division is.” The divisions within Libya have allowed it to veer into civil war, with groups such as Daesh managing to exploit the cleavages in the country. The growth of Daesh is a symptom of conflict in Libya not the cause.
Serraj continues, “The stark lesson from the past five years of turmoil is that when Libyans fail to work together they empower those who would destroy our country… terrorists will be defeated by our Armed Forces uniting under civilian command, not rival militias rushing to claim a political prize.” This applies to achieving peace in Libya- by backing one side politically while supporting another militarily, divides that are preventing peace only widen. In supporting Haftar whose power base is in the east, it undermines the unity government’s struggle to gain control of this heavily divided area.
Aside from the implications of peace for the country, there is also a question of the legality of the action. As Libya’s Supreme State Council put it, it is a “clear deception by a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a sponsor of the [December 2015] political agreement”. Stop the War Coalition’s Chris Nineham told RT: “They are not backed by the UN, these interventions. They are not checked anywhere. They are just unilateral acts of military aggression.” Some have gone even further. “This is a sort of coup against the political process and against the democratic path chosen by the Libyan people,” Mansour Al Hasadi, a member of the GNA, told Al Jazeera.
Britain and France took the lead in pushing for military intervention in 2011. While the intervention led to rapid results and was initially considered successful, the country now contends with three parliaments, the growing presence of Daesh and continued violence. Peace seems a distant prospect. Yet the same international powers have not learned from their mistakes.
Union boss Len McCluskey has accused British intelligence agencies of using agents provocateurs to undermine Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The Unite general secretary said he believed spies were using “dark practices” in an attempt to “stir up trouble” and suggested they could be behind the abuse of MPs on social media.
McCluskey told the Guardian he thought the truth would come out in 30 years, when classified government documents are released into the public domain.
Asked if he believed online abuse of Corbyn’s critics was posted by people trying to discredit his supporters, he said: “Of course, of course. Do people believe for one second that the security forces are not involved in dark practices?
“We found out just a couple of years ago that the chair of my union then, the Transport and General Workers Union, was an MI5 informant at the time that there was a strike taking place that I personally as a worker was involved in. [In] 1972, I was on strike for six weeks. And 30 years later it comes out that the chair of my union at that time was an MI5 informant.”
When asked again if he believed classified documents would reveal the involvement of British intelligence agents in Corbyn’s leadership strife, McCluskey said: “Well I tell you what, anybody who thinks that that isn’t happening doesn’t live in the same world that I live in.
“Do you think that there’s not all kinds of rightwingers who are not secretly able to disguise themselves and stir up trouble? I find it amazing if people think that isn’t happening.”
Labour MP Angela Eagle, who dropped out of the leadership race to back ‘unity candidate’ Owen Smith, dismissed McCluskey’s comments as “over the top.”
“These are serious issues. Rape threats, death threats and organized bullying are not something to be ignored or minimised. We have a democracy and we need Labour politics of solidarity to avoid the kind of anger and hostility that the politics of division inspires,” she said.
There is a historical precedent to provocateurs both in the UK and the US.
In 2009, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake accused the police of using undercover agents to incite the crowds at the G20 protests in London.
In the US, the FBI ran a secret program called COINTELPRO from 1956 to 1971 which infiltrated groups such as the Black Panther Party and peace activists such as Martin Luther King Jr.
The FBI conducted systematic plots and surveillance to discredit and harass King, including false allegations he was influenced by communists and a threatening letter sent by agents in 1964 calling him “an evil, abnormal beast,” just one year after he delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.
The release of the Chilcot Report into the circumstances under which the United Kingdom took part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 has raised fresh questions of how Australia came to join the unfortunately named “coalition of the willing.”
Initial reactions to the Chilcot Report came from John Howard, Australian Prime Minister at the time of the formal announcement of the decision to become part of that coalition. Howard essentially argued that it was the “right” decision, taken on the basis of the best available intelligence at that time.
The current Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has expressed similar views. Both Howard and Bishop are lawyers, although that is not immediately obvious from their expressed views. Neither seems to have even a basic grasp of the principles of international law, or indeed even the law of evidence.
Successive Australian governments of both major political persuasions have refused to conduct a formal inquiry into the circumstances under which Australia joined the Iraq invasion and occupation. This is probably because both major parties are culpable in ignoring both the law and the evidence.
It is therefore important to look at the origins of Australia’s involvement, not only because of the Chilcot Report, but because what we now know about the decision making process discredits the protestations about “faulty intelligence” and good faith claims about ridding the world of an “evil dictator”, all designed to bring peace and democracy to the Middle East.
The legal starting point is Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, a document that Australia was instrumental in formulating. Article 2(3) of the Charter provides:
“All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”
Article 2(4) further provides:
“All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.”
These two provisions are rarely cited in the context of Iraq and were completely ignored in the legal opinion provided to the Australian government.
The Charter does of course provide an exception to the general prohibition on the use of force, and that is in the self-defence provisions of Article 51. A nation may of course act in self-defence if attacked by another State. As is well settled law, there must be an actual or imminent threat of an armed attack; the use of force must be necessary; and the force used must be proportionate.
No sensible argument can be mounted that Australia was threatened by Iraq, either directly or indirectly. Claims to the contrary, made in early 2003 by the Australian government do not withstand scrutiny.
A decade of sanctions had enfeebled Iraq’s military capacity as well as exacting a devastating toll upon its civilian population. An estimated 500,000 Iraqis, mainly women, children and older persons, died as a direct result of the sanctions. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright callously described those deaths as “worth it” to dismember Iraqi society.
The post-invasion death toll is well in excess of a million people. Again, it is a measure of the callous indifference to the truth about the invasion’s consequences that the Australian media persistently refer to the death toll as “more than 100,000”. While literally true the effect is to dramatically understate the true human costs of the invasion.
The only operative provision of Article 51 therefore is that force may be used pursuant to a resolution of the Security Council authorizing the use of force. Circumventing that restriction was in fact one of the central preoccupations of the UK and Australian governments.
In November 2002 the Security Council passed Resolution 1441 and the key issue was whether or not that Resolution constituted such an authorization. Chilcot devoted considerable space to this legal question, devoting the whole of Part 5 of the Report to the legal maneuvering that went on.
Suffice to say at this point that the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion, including the whole of the UK Foreign Office legal team, considered that it was insufficient to justify the use of force.
Prime Minister Howard set out the political argument for Australia to join the coalition attack on Iraq in an address on 4 February 2003 to the Australian Parliament. This was on the eve of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s ill-fated address to the Security Council.
Howard assured the House that the government would not make a final decision to commit to military conflict (although troops had already been deployed to the Middle East) “unless and until it is satisfied that all achievable options for a peaceful resolution have been explored.”
This is to be contrasted with one of the central conclusions of the Chilcot Report that the diplomatic alternatives to war had not been pursued as far as was possible. The reasons for this will become obvious.
Howard further made the unequivocal statement that “the Australian government knows that Iraq still has chemical and biological weapons and that Iraq wants to develop nuclear weapons.” The presumed evidential basis for this bold assertion was apparently British and US intelligence. Again, the Chilcot Report refers to the opposite conclusion. The views of the intelligence agencies were much less forthright than the political spin put on them by the British Prime Minister. The same was equally true of Howard’s claims.
Howard even went so far as to repeat the discredited claim that “uranium has been sought from Africa (sic) that has no civil application in Iraq.” This was essentially an echo of George Bush’s infamous 16 words in the State of the Union address in January 2003. In fact, the 2002 US National Intelligence Estimate described that “intelligence as “highly suspect.”
This followed an investigation on behalf of the US intelligence agencies by Ambassador Joseph Wilson in February 2002, a year before Howard’s statement to Parliament that concluded that reports of Saddam Hussein seeking uranium or Yellow cake were “unequivocally wrong.”
Undeterred by the real evidence, the Howard government introduced a resolution into the House on 18 March 2003 to seek authorization for Australian military action in Iraq. The resolution relied in part on assertions about Iraq’s continued possession and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in defiance of Security Council Resolutions. The resolution before the Australian parliament also claimed that resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 provided “clear authority for the use of force against Iraq.”
In support of this extraordinary claim, Howard tabled in the House the legal advice upon which the government purportedly relied. He said that the advice was consistent with that provided to the UK government by its Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith.
At best, that was a partial truth. In fact, the terms of Resolution 1441 provided that should Iraq be found to be in material breach of its obligations, then the matter was to be returned to the Security Council for its assessment and consideration. There was nothing in Resolution 1441 that expressly or impliedly authorized the resort to force without further consideration by the Security Council.
This was known to the UK Government because in February 2002, more than a year before the invasion, all 14 members of the Foreign Office legal team had advised the government that in their opinion Iraq could not be attacked without a specific further authorization from the Security Council.
This was also the view of the UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith. He provided Tony Blair, the then UK Prime Minister with a detailed analysis, which reached the same conclusion. As the Chilcot Report makes clear, Blair did not provide his Cabinet with a copy of Goldsmith’s opinion. To do so would have undermined the propaganda campaign then in full swing.
Blair was not prepared to seek a resolution from the Security Council authorizing force because he knew he could not command the necessary support from the Council, even discounting the likely French and Russian vetoes. It is logically contradictory to claim, as Howard did, that the Security Council resolutions authorized force, and refuse to test that as Goldsmith had advised was the prudent course because one knows that such authorization would not be forthcoming.
Instead of confirming what the legal opinions had advised, both Blair and Howard continued to make unequivocal statements that Saddam Hussein was defying Security Council resolutions, concealing weapons of mass destruction, and pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Chilcot again found that there was no proper basis for these statements, including the evidence of the two independent inspectors, Mohammed al-Baradi and Hans Blix that they could find no evidence of any weapons or weapons program, and that Saddam Hussein was co-operating with the inspection teams.
Goldsmith’s detailed opinion was finally provided to the Cabinet on 7 March 2003. It was clearly not what Blair and the others intent on war wanted to hear. Goldsmith was therefore sent to the United States where he conferred with Bush’s legal advisers.
Goldsmith duly returned to the UK and in a written answer to a question in the House of Lords in 337 words reversed the position he had carefully set out over 12 pages of legal argument only ten days earlier. Goldsmith’s answer said in effect that the alleged material breaches by Iraq of Resolution 678 (which dealt with the ceasefire after the first Gulf War in 1991) “revived” that resolution.
Professor Vaughn Lowe, professor of International Law at Oxford University has written, “there is no known doctrine of the revival of authorizations in SecurityCouncil resolutions” (2).
Apart from Professor Lowe, the overwhelming weight of legal opinion was that Goldsmith’s new position was untenable. A 551-page report from a Dutch Commission of Inquiry headed by a former President of the Dutch Supreme Court reported on 9 October 2010 that the 2003 invasion of Iraq “had no basis in international law.” That Dutch Report received very little coverage in the Australian media.
Sir Michael Wood used almost identical words in his evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry. Sir Michael was the Senior Legal Adviser at the foreign Office at the time of the invasion. He told the Inquiry:
“I considered that the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law.” Sir Michael went on to say: “In my opinion, that use of force had not been authorized by the Security council, and had no other basis in international law.”
Whether John Howard knew about the unanimous opinion of the Foreign Office’s legal team, or Goldsmith’s detailed analysis of 7 March 2003 is not known. If he did, he did not mention it. Howard told the Australian parliament that the advice he had received was “consistent with” the UK advice. He could only be referring to Goldsmith’s 337-word parliamentary answer, because manifestly Howard’s legal advice, tabled at the same time, did not reflect either Goldsmith’s original advice, the Foreign Office legal advice, or the weight of world legal opinion.
Although the Chilcot Report did not state a specific legal view on the issue, it is clear from a reading of Part 5 of the Report where 169 pages are devoted to detailing the processes by which the legal positions were pursued, concealed from the Cabinet, modified and ultimately misrepresented, that 1441 could not operate as an authorization for the use of force, much less the “revival” of earlier resolutions.
Other critics have been less reticent. Professor Phillipe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London said in June 2010 that documents disclosed at the Chilcot Inquiry showed that Goldsmith had a 180 degree turn in his opinion between 7 March and 17 March 2003 “in the total absence of any new facts or legal considerations.” (3)
Lord Alexander, a former head of the Bar Council of England and Wales thought Goldsmith’s 17 March 2003 answer was “risible” and said so publicly on 14 October 2003. (4)
So where did John Howard obtain legal advice so against the weight of authority? Unlike in the UK where the government at least sought the advice of its most senior legal adviser, the Attorney General, the Howard government instead obtained an opinion from two middle level public servants.
Their opinion does not acknowledge that the weight of legal opinion differed from theirs. Their interpretation of the Security Council resolutions was plainly wrong, “risible” to borrow Alexander’s terminology. They provided no evidence for concluding that Iraq was in material breach of Security Council resolutions as Howard had asserted. They also accepted the doctrine of “reactivation” when such a notion, as noted above, is unknown in international law.
As former Commonwealth Solicitor-General Gavan Griffiths wrote:
“The Australian and UK legal advises are entirely untenable. They furnish no threads for military clothes. It is difficult to comprehend that the fanciful assertions (they are not arguments) of the two advices have been invoked by Australia and the UK to support the invasion of another State.” (5)
In both the UK and Australian cases, seeking legal opinions was in reality no more than window dressing, a fig leaf of attempted respectability. The decision to go to war against Iraq had been made early in 2002.
The Cheney Task Force, with its maps dividing up Iraq’s oil riches among western oil companies was one motive for waging an unjustified and illegal war of aggression. Meeting the wishes of the Israelis as set out in the 1982 Yinon Plan was another. Saddam Hussein’s decision to trade oil in other than US dollars was also a crucial factor.
At one time, Saddam Hussein had been a US ally. The British and Americans had supplied the weapons of mass destruction he used during the war with Iran in the 1980s. Once their objectives differed Saddam Hussein became expendable, and ‘regime change’, a much favoured and practiced American option became the policy.
Further confirmation of this, were it needed, comes from the report of the head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, following a visit to the US. What is now known as the Downing Street Memo was written on 23 July 2002, eight months before the invasion, and well before legal opinions, UN Inspector’s Reports, or parliamentary debates.
The Memo stated in part:
- Military action was now seen as inevitable.
- President Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein through military action, justified by a conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
- Intelligence was being fixed around the policy.
The facts did not matter. A policy decision had been taken and nothing could be allowed to divert the policy objective of invading Iraq and stealing its resources.
It is a reasonable inference that the Australian government was fully aware of this. Precisely what they knew and when they knew it must await the establishment of a proper inquiry. We do know however, that the views of the two Ignoring the major foreign intelligence agencies, the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) and the Office of National Assessments (ONA) were disclosed in a report of the parliamentary joint committee in December 2003.
The DIO and ONA had concluded:
- The threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was less than it had been a decade earlier (1991)
- Under sanctions that prevailed at the time, Iraq’s military capability remained limited and the country’s infrastructure was still in decline.
- The nuclear program was unlikely to be far advanced. Iraq was unlikely to have obtained fissile material.
- Iraq had no ballistic missiles that could reach the US.
- There was no known chemical weapons production.
- There was no specific evidence of resumed biological weapons production.
- There was no known biological weapons testing or evaluation since 1991.
- There was no known Iraq offensive weapons research since 1991.
- Iraq does not have nuclear weapons.
- There was no evidence that chemical weapon warheads for missiles had been developed.
- No intelligence had accurately pointed to the location of weapons of mass destruction.
Ignoring the evidence (not an honest belief as pleaded then and now) and an overt willingness to join US foreign policy misadventures has led to one of the greatest policy debacles in Australian foreign policy history. It has resulted in the deaths of more than a million Iraqis and millions more displaced and their lives destroyed.
It has given rise to the threat of Islamic terrorism that plagues countries throughout the Middle East, North Africa and as recent events have shown in France and other European nations.
The Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals following World War 2 called a war of aggression “the supreme international crime differing only from other crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
That the principal perpetrators of the Iraq War, Bush, Blair and Howard, have thus far escaped accountability for waging a war of aggression is unconscionable. Australia must have a Chilcot type inquiry and judicial processes must follow their inevitable conclusions.
James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law.