Soon there could be an influx of Syrian refugee families settled in America. They would be typically settled in a small city, let’s say like Flint, Michigan. The city authorities would receive help and a few special federal programs to assist in supplying the needs of these newcomers to USA. They would be given a house or an apartment, which would be subsidized under a county housing program which in turn is paid from federal money. They would be given free medical coverage under an existing county or state medical program, and they could visit the local medical centers free of charge. The county medical bills would be sent to a federal source for payment.
These new Syrian refugees are not your typical group, who we have seen on TV, walking through Europe in summer 2015. These newcomers to America are not from the refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan which the media has followed for years.
This is a special group with direct ties to the federal government of America. These are the fighters of the Free Syrian Army and their wives and children. To the Americans welcoming them into their communities, they would appear to be Syrian families who have suffered over 5 years of war and untold stories of loss and hardship. But, in reality these were the fighting men, the mercenaries of the US CIA program in Turkey and Syria. Some people labeled them “The John McCain’s Army”, in honor of the Republican Senator of Arizona, who was the FSA’s main supporter in Congress. Sen. McCain gave such passionate speeches in Congress; he was able to convince his fellow Senators of the need to send American military weapons, satellite imagery and technical training to these fighters. These men were paid large monthly paychecks, much more that the average income of uneducated laborers in Syria. In 2011 their monthly pay was $1,000. As the years went by, their salary was increased. The payroll was managed by an official of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who was playing a key role in the regime change program in Syria. The paychecks were issued in Turkey, payable in US dollars.
USA, UK, NATO, EU, Australia, Canada, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia each had instrumental roles in the international attack on Syria for the purpose of regime change. People questioned: how could democratic countries promote armed terrorism for the purpose of bringing democracy to Syria? Experts pondered how democracy could be achieved from the barrel of a gun. The Americans never wondered how monarchies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar could bring democracy to Syria, when there has never been any freedom or democracy in either country.
In the Vietnam War, the American government used a local tribe to fight for USA. They were a close-knit mountain tribe called Hmong. They were trained and given weapons. They were sent on specific missions to kill both North Vietnamese troops, and also others. It was a highly secret covert program. Those Hmongs fighting had made a specific deal with the US federal government. That in the event of failure on the US side in the war, they would be evacuated to USA and would be safely placed into new lives with full benefits to care for them. I am sure there were sleepless nights among them, wondering who will win the war, and would the Americans fulfill their promises to them. In the end, the US government stood by their word and evacuated the Hmong people, in the thousands, to Fresno, California. There, they were put into free houses and apartments; all paid by the Fresno county Section 8 program. Section 8 was a program designed to help the poorest people, typically with young children. Fresno county government offices then billed the US federal government offices to cover the free housing for the Hmong ‘refugees’. They were given free medical coverage at Valley Medical Center, which is the Fresno county funded hospital. Each was given a Medi-Cal card, which entitled them to free medical. The Medi-Cal program was a California State funded program to cover the poorest Californians.
They were given coverage on the Food Stamp program, which gave free foods to the Hmongs, through the existing welfare program.
History is about to repeat itself, as the Syrian Arab Army with their allies inside Syria have taken strategic areas in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Palmyra, Homs, Deir Ez Zor and many other locations, and the US sponsored ‘rebels’ appear to be facing defeat on the battlefields. The FSA spokesman has already predicted defeat.
When and if this happens in the coming days or weeks, the FSA will pull back into Turkey and the US agents, who are headquartered in Adana, will coordinate the safe and swift removal of the FSA and their wives and children. They will be put on chartered planes from the Adana airport to arrive finally at their new home, which could be Flint, Michigan.
Flint is a troubled community. It has severe water problems as well as economic problems. The Flint city and county officials could be more than happy to have special federal money coming their way, which would be tied to the “Syrian Refugee” settlement. The local churches, mosques and various charities would all rally around their newcomers. The American people are well known for their generous and welcoming nature. Everyone in USA can trace their ancestry back to newcomers at some point in time. America is a melting-pot and they are proud of that heritage.
At first glance, these Syrian refugees may appear to be war-weary and looking for a new life of security and peace. It might take years for some incident to happen, where their military training and terrorist background could re-surface. Their American neighbors will not be aware that the Free Syrian Army was founded on the principals of Radical Islam. The founders of the FSA were all fighting for the purpose of regime change in Syria, in order to establish Sharia law, and to transform the secular government of Syria into an Islamic State. The FSA fighters were all strictly Sunni Muslims, even though Syria is made up of 18 different sects, and millions of Christians, but the FSA were an exclusive ‘one-sect-militia’.
The American CIA plan of attack on Syria was formulated in 2006, and the wheels put into motion. The Radical Islamic political ideology was keeping pace with the CIA regime change plan. The Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated every major city in USA and UK, and had portrayed themselves as legitimate political persons, who just happened to be Muslims. Knowing that the US and UK protect religious rights; they found safe haven and grew stronger and stronger. The CIA decided to formulate the FSA, and describe it as “Freedom Fighters” to the western audiences, through the network of mainstream media. Political propaganda machines went to work through CNN, BBC, France24 and Al Jazeera as they cranked out story after story of Syrian ‘regime’ atrocities, while never mentioning the FSA war crimes and atrocities. Knowing that most Americans never check the details of news report independently, they could fabricate stories and use fabricated videos to change the hearts and minds of western viewers into believing that the “John McCain’s Army” were freedom fighters, akin to the founding fathers of America.
There are already hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Germany, and scattered through various European countries. The Europeans are fearful that terrorists could be hiding among the mainly normal refugees. They are fearful of future terrorist attacks which could be committed by the very refugees they welcomed in and housed, clothed and fed.
Welcoming in hundreds of past terrorists, such as the FSA, could have disastrous results in USA. When you ask the people of Aleppo: “Who made you leave your homes?” they answered, “The FSA.” When you ask the Christians in Homs: “Who destroyed your churches and killed the Priests?” they answered, “The FSA.” When you ask the 16 year old Christian girl near Homs: “Who captured you and gang raped you for 6 months in 2012?” she answered, “The FSA.”
Given the facts and past history of the Free Syrian Army, would you want them living next door to your family?
Recently Paul Craig Roberts recounted a conversation he had with James Jesus Angleton, a former head of CIA counterintelligence, in which they discussed strategies that the CIA employs to dupe the American and global public, with a view to perpetrating criminal agendas, cloaked beneath the lie of “national interests”. Angleton explained to Roberts that,
“intelligence services create stories inside stories, each with its carefully constructed trail of evidence, in order to create false trails as diversions. Such painstaking work can serve a variety of purposes … Then if the official story gets into trouble, the backup story can be released in order to deflect attention into a new false story or to support the original story.”
The strategy of “stories within stories”, and using competing narratives to confuse, to distract, and to lead the public down false paths (red herrings) is entirely consistent with the 9/11 crimes, the subsequent “War On Terror”, and the criminal invasion of Syria.
The official stories explaining the 9/11 false flag are bundled with hidden stories, “limited hangouts”, and “distance from accountability” strategies — all serving to daze and confuse North Americans in particular, to the point where we revert to passively accepting the narrative of the day and the overarching lie that supporting the neo-con war agenda is patriotic.
The first 9/11 story – Story A – identified al Qaeda and Bin Laden as the primary perpetrators, but this story is being supplanted by another story – story B – which features Saudi Arabia as the villain. No doubt Saudi Arabia played a role in the crime and the on-going cover-up, but “Story B” is also a “limited hangout” in the sense that only a limited part of the story is “hanging out”. It also serves to provide cover or “distance from accountability” for some of the major villains who are still shielded from the glare of the spotlight. Additionally, it serves to lead us down false trails (red herring) that divert public attention from the hidden agenda of global war and poverty.
The Saudi Arabia limited hangout does beg an important question though: Will the CIA’s Wahhabi mercenary outfits — ISIS, al Qaeda/ al Nursra Front, and all the fraudulently labelled “moderates”, be targeting Saudi Arabia next?
The same strategy of “stories within stories” is occurring with the West’s criminal war of aggression on Syria.
Professor Tim Anderson explains in an interview that,
“Washington’s plan for a New Middle East – with compliant states across the region – is failing. Their Plan B is to partition or otherwise divide Syria and Iraq. Their Plan C will be to withdraw while pretending that they have helped bring peace to the region.”
The original Plan A: to quickly destroy democratic, pluralist, non-sectarian Syria with Western and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) backed terrorist invaders — with a view to setting up a stooge Wahhabi-style dictatorship, is failing. Not only are the terrorists being defeated on the battlefield, but the psy op “strategy of disassociation” is crumbling as well. More and more people are seeing through the lies of the “moderate rebel” story: the Western/GCC – backed “moderates” (all of whom share the same strategic ambitions as ISIS and the West) are at least as bad, maybe worse than their “comrades in arms”, “ISIS”. When U.S State Department spokesperson Mark Toner explained that they might put a “pause” on funding the so-called “moderates”, who publicly and brazenly chopped off the head of a Palestinian boy, the “strategy of disassociation” was beheaded as well.
Plan B is also failing, at least in Syria, since the “balkanization” efforts at creating ethnically or religiously-based enclaves within Syria is hitting the wall of Syria’s longstanding culture of religious freedom and pluralism. Syrians identify themselves first and foremost as Syrians, and not according to their religious affiliations.
Hopefully, Plan C is around the corner. The West will pretend that it has achieved peace, and it will withdraw its disgusting terrorist proxies.
The ugly truth about the genocidal Western designs for Syria – well documented for years by sources including former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief Michael Flynn, by Generals Dempsey, and Clark, by Vice-President Biden, and by publicly available Defence Intelligence Agency documents, as well as from other open source documents — is increasingly being accepted.
Despite the fake reporting, the fake NGOs, the “stories within stories”, the indolence and criminality of the corporate presstitutes, the ugly truth is imposing itself on Western audiences, whether they like it or not.
Just peace requires this uncomfortable foundation of truth.
How the Australian, British, and US Governments Shamelessly Helped Kill Countless People in Indonesia in 1965
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.
Copyright © Asia-Pacific Research, Asia-Pacific Research, 2016
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.
What emerges on the sixth day of the failed coup attempt in Turkey is that three inflection points could be in play in the Turkish-American relations in the coming days and weeks. They are:
- The functioning of the Incirlik Air Base on the Syrian border;
- Extradition of Islamist cleric Fetullah Gulen from the US; and,
- The massive purge of ‘Gulenists’ that is under way in Turkey.
Each of them is going to be trickier to negotiate than the other two and, yet, all three are also inter-related.
The power supply for Incirlik has been suspended since Friday and a back-up generator is barely enabling the US facilities there to support flight operations and around 2700 stationed in that NATO base. It’s an untenable situation. The US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter telephoned his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik on Tuesday evening to stress the importance of operations at the Incirlik to the counter-ISIS campaign.
But on his part, Isik regretted his inability to attend the counter-ISIS defence ministerial that Carter was hosting in Washington on Wednesday. Turkey was represented only at ambassadorial level at Wednesday’s conference which was attended by the defence ministers of some 30 countries, NATO, and top Pentagon officials to discuss “the next plays in the campaign that will culminate in the collapse of ISIL’s control over Mosul and Raqqa”. (Pentagon)
The detention of the commander at Incirlik Gen. Bekir Ercan Van and his subordinates underscores the sensitivities involved here. Gen. Van resisted arrest and had apparently sought political asylum in the US before being led away by the Turkish security.
Interestingly, in an interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday, President Recep Erdogan said some of those who have been detained have started confessing and that there might have been foreign involvement. Erdogan warned that it would be a “big mistake” if the US decided not to extradite Gulen.
The official Turkish position will be that there is no linkage between continued access of US forces to Incirlik and Gulen’s extradition, but, clearly, that is not the state of play here. The Turks know that Incirlik provides the most efficient base for conducting the US operations in Syria.
However, Washington is not likely to extradite Gulen to Turkey, while Erdogan has staked his prestige on that issue. It seems as of now no wriggle room really exists here – unless some face-saving formula can be found such as the US revoking Gulen’s ‘green card’ and/or persuading him to leave for a third country.
The point is, Gulen has been a ‘strategic asset’ of the US intelligence for two or three decades and if Turkish security agencies interrogate him, that may cause even more damage to the Turkish-American relationship and even, perhaps, complicate the US’ relations with third countries where Gulen’s extensive network might have functioned or are still functioning as the CIA’s front organizations. (Sputnik )
Meanwhile, what role, if any, that Israel might have played in the coup attempt also remains a mystery. Israel is keeping pin-drop silence, but would certainly know that Gen. Akin Ozturk, former chief of air force, who has confessed his leadership role in the attempted coup, used to be the Turkish military attaché in Tel Aviv at one time. (Algemeiner )
By the way, these are the exact words Erdogan used in the interview on Wednesday with Al Jazeera:
- Other states could be behind this coup attempt. Gulenists have a ‘supreme intelligence,’ which could have plotted all this. The time will come for all these links to be revealed.
Erdogan explicitly hinted at the involvement of more than one country in the coup attempt.
Israel is mighty upset with Erdogan over his close ties with Hamas. Equally, Israel favors the creation of a Kurdistan state that could provide a base for its intelligence in a highly strategic region neighboring Iran. There is congruence on this issue between Israel and the US. The Turks have long suspected the US intentions in Iraq and Syria. (Read a fascinating interview with a retired Turkish admiral titled Goal Reached? Military Coup Attempt Disempowers Turkish Armed Forces.)
The plot really thickens if the opinion piece in the Saudi establishment daily Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday is read keeping in view the recent establishment of a Saudi consulate in Erbil in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. (The daily, incidentally, is owned by Prince Faisal, son of King Salman.) The article all but warns Erdogan that he may be overthrown if he pushes for Gulen’s extradition from the US, and that he risks the West’s wrath if he proceeds with the crackdown on ‘Gulenists’. (Asharq al-Sharq )
Now, on whose side are the Saudis playing in this great game? For a quick answer, read a stunning statement by a top Israeli national security expert, here, recently.
Make no mistake, the US and its European allies are certain to pile pressure on Erdogan to fall in line. The standoff can become a showdown as time passes — and even take an ugly turn. The stakes are very very high for the western alliance system and the US’ regional strategies. This is where Erdogan’s crackdown on ‘Gulenists’ will be grabbed by the West as an alibi to isolate him.
Simply put, the US cannot let go of Turkey. Sans Turkey, NATO gets badly weakened in the entire southern tier – Balkans, Black Sea, Caucasus, Caspian, Southern Russia and Central Asia, Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean – and the US’ containment strategy against Russia will be doomed.
Beyond that, from the limited perspective of the Syrian conflict also, whatever chance the US and its allies (Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc) still would have to put in motion a viable ‘Plan B’ to counter the Russian-Iranian axis would critically depend on Turkey remaining a partner and willing to pursue an interventionist role.
It is surprising that the reaction of the NATO member states to a coup attempt in Turkey was rather modest, Afshin Rattansi, an RT contributor and the host of RT’s Going Underground said, adding that some years ago they would have rushed to aid their ally.
RT:This coup has given Erdogan a perfect chance to tighten his grip on alleged enemies within the army. What could this lead to?
Afshin Rattansi: Yes, very worrying to hear. But possible reintroduction of the death penalty and thousands are being arrested. We have got to remember that the CIA backed the coup in 1980, 36 years ago – half a million people were arrested. We can’t be sure whether it is going to be that number this time round. It’s interesting that the Prime Minister so quickly blamed the Gulen movement. Now, who is this movement? The cleric lives in the US. Well, that is the movement that reportedly funds the Hillary Clinton campaign. Certainly there will be people in Ankara not wishing for a Clinton presidency anytime soon given that so many supporters right now are being arrested. There are ties here that show how complex the events of the past 12 hours are.
RT:How would it impact relations with the EU? Would the union now discuss the membership of a country that is weighing bringing back the death penalty?
AR: As we hear in London during the referendum debate, it was repeatedly told to the British people that there is no chance whatsoever Turkish accession to the EU – that was before the referendum. So Britain does not really have a say in that today. But I think obviously critical to the whole situation in the past few hours is the Incirlik Air Base. Turkey is a NATO country. Astonishing that just a couple of years ago we would have expected NATO nations to have come to the aid of the Erdogan government, which was elected in November. This time? Nothing.
Also astonishing is John Kerry in Moscow looking to evaluate the situation, not [offering] immediate support for this linchpin of NATO supremacy, as they see it in terms of world security – this critical country in terms of their domination of the Middle East. Well, the reason why they are not going to be joining the EU any time soon is the flip-flopping of Erdogan.
He went from being a hero of the Arab world, when he championed the cause of Palestinians, [then] suddenly he switched to being – along with Britain and the US – pro-the overthrow of the secular government of Syria and supporting de facto ISIS/ISIL/DAESH and al-Qaeda linked groups.
RT: As you said, Turkey is an ally of the US in the region. But today it is saying it doesn’t want to be friends with the country that allegedly protects its enemy, Fethullah Gulen, who has actually denied being a part of this plot. The man is in self-imposed exile in America. Can Ankara afford such aggressive rhetoric against Washington?
AR: We know very well in this country [the UK] that one intelligence side doesn’t know what the other is doing – when I’m thinking of MI5 and MI6. So it has to be noted that while Erdogan has been supporting Anglo-American policy in destabilizing Syria, just in the past few days, and I think that is what a lot of analysts and observers have noted, sudden rapprochement with Russia – Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft, there have been very frosty relation between the two countries – just in the past few days sudden rapprochement; rapprochements with China and then revelations of back channels with President Assad himself – the man that Britain and the US have been trying to overthrow now for five or six years. Coincidence that suddenly there is a coup; maybe there are forces within the US that were expecting this.
It is no surprise that there would be great instability in Turkey. It is not just Erdogan’s foreign policies, it is the brutal economic policies he has. But let’s not forget: Ever since this CIA-backed coup of 1980, the economic policies of Turkey have been determined by big multinationals, by big powerful forces to the detriment of millions of working-class Turks.
RT: Is Erdogan capable of getting complete control over all of the military in the country? There is huge discontent in the military, isn’t there?
AR: In NATO nations, militaries just as in Britain, as in Turkey, are not controlled by sovereign governments after all – it is up to NATO command, which is answerable to Washington as to what the military does, which is why in the initial reports of the military coup attempt one wondered immediately by the American connections to these military forces in the US, which is presumably what President Erdogan is alluding to as regards the future relations between Ankara and Washington.
Turkey seeks enhanced Iran ties: PM (July 15th)
The Global War on Terror, 2001-2016: Fifteen Years of the 9/11 Cover Up
The Kevin Barrett-Chomsky Dispute in Historical Perspective – First part of the series titled “9/11 and the Zionist Question”
Looking back with hindsight fifteen years after the transformative events of September 11, 2001, the quality of life for most people has significantly declined since 9/11. Beginning immediately on the very day of infamy, the forces of authoritarian reaction began to ramp up the power of unbridled militarism abroad and greatly expanded police powers at home, all in the name of combating Islamic terrorism. But what really happened on 9/11? Who did what to whom? Who is telling the truth and who is lying?
In the fifteen years since 9/11 a vast and multi-faceted citizens’ movement has done much of the investigative work that our thoroughly corrupted governments refused to do on our behalf. Why have there been no genuine investigations by officialdom into the originating event of the Global War on Terror? How was the federal investigation of the 9/11 crime transformed into a federally orchestrated cover up?
The outcome of the people’s inquiry points compellingly to the conclusion that the real culprits behind the 9/11 attacks were not a group of Islamic jihadists acting alone out of no other motivation than religious zealotry. Rather, the dominant group directing the 9/11 false flag event was composed primarily of Israel First neoconservatives who sought to demonize Muslims in order to create the necessary malleable enemy required for their purposes. The real culprits of 9/11 used the event to create a replacement enemy meant to revitalize the vast military and national security apparatus that was fast becoming obsolete following the end of the Cold War with the demise of the Soviet Union.
One of the objectives of the 9/11 criminals was to traumatize whole populations thereby making them more compliant and subject to manipulation. From the opening hours of the 9/11 debacle, the murder and mayhem was immediately blamed, without any forensic investigation whatsoever, on Muslim extremists said to be hostile to the West. The event was thereby framed within a pre-existing geopolitical concept already dubbed by Samuel Huntington as “a clash of civilizations.” The effect of the instant interpretation was to cast the Jewish state’s regional enemies as part of a larger Islamic conspiracy to undermine “the West.”
Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations was meant to signal that the core political economy of the USA, the so-called permanent war economy, should continue even though the Cold War had ended. The fabricated story line introduced on 9/11 was consistent with Huntington’s assessment that the new post-Cold War conflicts would cut across religious and cultural spheres of human interaction. With Huntington and Bernard Lewis as their guides, the authors of the 9/11 psychological operation have developed a false concept of “the West” as an exclusively Judeo-Christian construct. This post-9/11 interpretation has involved the creation of a false assumption that the history of Islamic religion, culture and philosophy is entirely external to the history of Western Civilization.
The characterization of Islam as a new and aberrant strain of influence in Europe and throughout the so-called “West” misrepresents the deep history of cross-cultural interaction. The Zionist-directed campaign to mischaracterize Muslims as a recent and alien injection into Western Civilization fails to take into account the importance of Islamic advances in mathematics, architecture, medicine and art in the genesis of the European Renaissance. As Edward Said has reminded us, there is an especially rich heritage in the Iberian peninsula of cross-fertilization between Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars. Their collaborative exchanges flourished especially in Cordoba, the Iberian jewel of the Islamic caliphate of Al-Andalus.
Since 2001 the culprits of 9/11 have hired, armed, organized, and directed various mercenary proxy armies that fight under Islamic flags. With assistance being channeled especially through the CIA and Mossad safe haven of Saudi Arabia, these mercenary forces have done the bidding of their Zio-American patrons. Western-supported mercenary forces, including al-Qaeda and its supposed antagonistic cousin the “Islamic State” [ISIL, ISIS, IS, Daesh], have been deployed in a series of false flag terror events designed to keep alive anti-Muslim fear and loathing in Western minds.
Moreover, units of the so-called “Islamic State”, which funnel stolen oil to the European Union through Turkey, are regularly deployed throughout the Grand Chessboard of Eurasia. The aim is to give justification for Western military operations aimed ultimately at preparing the ground for the expansion of Greater Israel. The world’s dominant military-industrial complex has been covertly harnessed to this project of expansion. A crucial part of this network of military-industrial power lies in the Zionist-controlled mainstream media and institutions of higher education. These agencies have been co-opted to become instruments of the Islamophobic propaganda so crucial to preparing Western public opinion for aggressive invasions of Muslim countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and most recently Syria.
The deceptive façade of the Global War on Terror is meant to disguise this military and psychological system of aggressive warfare combined with engineered pollution of the mental environment with the toxin of hyped up Islamophobia.
Dr. Kevin Barrett has characterized the Global War on Terror as a global war on Muslims for Israel. Noam Chomsky disagrees. He has made himself a very significant nemesis to Kevin Barrett. Barrett is one of the most unrelenting researchers and publicists in the 9/11 Truth Movement. So far Chomsky has been quite effective in deploying his enormous prestige to prevent the citizens’ investigation on 9/11 from receiving a fair hearing, but especially in the foundation-funded platforms of progressive, Left, and anti-war activism.
This opening part introduces my essay, “9/11 and the Zionist Question: Is Noam Chomsky a Disinfo Agent for Israel?” In due course the larger paper will be published in its entirety here at American Herald Tribune. This essay explores the antagonisms between Kevin Barrett and Noam Chomsky with particular emphasis on the research and scholarship on false flag terrorism and especially on the contested events of 9/11. The argument is advanced that Prof. Chomsky has quite purposely promoted an agenda of cover up on 9/11, reducing himself to the level of crude propagandists and paid proponents of the dominant 9/11 narrative such as Jonathan Kay and Michael Shermer.
In the fifteen years since 9/11 the concerted and continuing cover up of the truth has become an enormous element of the overall 9/11 crime. Growing understanding of the role of mass media and institutions of higher learning in maintaining this cover up is fast eroding the credibility of these strategic agencies. The health of free and democratic societies depends on an informed citizenry who more often than not are deceived by the very agencies supposed to be responsible for public education.
You will read “Noam Chomsky as the Left’s Trojan Horse” in the next part.
“One simply cannot engage in barbarous action without becoming a barbarian… one cannot defend human values by calculated and unprovoked violence without doing mortal damage to the values one is trying to defend.” – J William Fulbright, The Arrogance of Power.
Imagine, for a moment, what would happen if a foreign university in the United States appointed an individual who had killed US civilians – or anyone, for that matter – to serve as chair of its board of trustees?
Or this post-World War II European example from David Marr, a US American historian of modern Viet Nam and Australian National University professor emeritus: “If the post-war West German government had selected a former German army officer who had killed (or ordered the killing of) unarmed French civilians to head the Goethe Institute in Paris, do you think the French government would have accepted this? Going back one step, would Bonn ever have selected such a person in the first place?”
Would the reaction be ‘forgive and forget’, or outrage that the university or government and its supporters could be so blind, so insensitive, so short-sighted as to select someone with such a dark past to assume such a key position?
What about a former Navy SEAL who admitted to being involved in the cold-blooded murder of a score of Vietnamese civilians in early 1969 in the Mekong Delta?
During President Barack Obama’s visit to Viet Nam in May, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Bob Kerrey’s appointment as chair of the Fulbright University Vietnam, or FUV, board of trustees, igniting an international media firestorm.
There were headlines such as “Ex-US senator’s role in Vietnam university opens wartime wounds” in the Financial Times on 31 May 2016; “Bob Kerrey’s war record fuels debate in Vietnam on his role at new university” in The New York Times on 2 June; “War record of Vietnam university’s US chairman angers some” by Associated Press on 14 June; and “Vietnam’s Kerrey dilemma: Fulbright U appointment is lightning rod for US ties” in Asia Times on 21 June.
Fulbright University Vietnam has been billed by the Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam, a non-profit organisation based in Massachusetts, as “the first private, non-profit Vietnamese university founded on the principles of accountability, meritocracy, transparency, self-governance, mutual respect and open inquiry”. The trust plays a leadership role in the development of the university.
One of the most outspoken opponents of Bob Kerrey’s appointment has been Ton Nu Thi Ninh, Viet Nam’s former ambassador to the European Union, who has called for his resignation.
Referring to his appointment as an act that “shows insensitivity to the feelings of the Vietnamese and, may I say, disregard for our opinions, our sense of self-respect and our dignity,” Ninh wrote in a statement that has been widely distributed in both Vietnamese and English that:
“If the US side insists on holding to its decision, then, in my view, FUV can no longer be considered a joint education project as averred by the founding team.
“A happy marriage is one where both parties listen to each other, have consideration for one another’s opinions and respect each other’s emotions. Otherwise, Fulbright University will be an American university project in Viet Nam conceived and decided upon by Americans, in which the opinions and contributions of the Vietnamese are secondary.”
What Bob Kerrey and his unit did to those civilians with automatic weapons and knives, resulting in the deaths of 21 men, women and children, is between him and his Maker. He has had to live with the psychological and emotional fallout of that long ago night in Thanh Phong, saying he once flirted with the idea of suicide.
This is how Kerrey recalled that tragedy in his memoir, When I Was a Young Man (Harcourt Books 2002):
“I saw women and children in front of us being hit and cut to pieces. I heard their cries and other voices in the darkness as we made our retreat to the canal.
“… The young, innocent man who went to Vietnam died that night. After that night, I no longer had illusions or objectivity about the war. I had become someone I did not recognise.”
What most accounts do not mention is that Kerrey and his men were not just on a routine ‘takeout mission’ to assassinate ‘Viet Cong’ leaders in what was classified as a free-fire zone, but were reportedly on a CIA mission under the auspices of the Phoenix Program, which routinely included the murder of civilians.
The objective of Contre Coup – counter terror – as the strategy was known, was to seek out and terrorise not only individual Viet Cong but also their families, friends and neighbours, according to Douglas Valentine, author of The Phoenix Program, the only comprehensive account of the CIA’s torture and assassination operation in Viet Nam.
Shamefully, Kerrey was awarded and accepted a Bronze Star for ‘heroic achievement’ in that raid. The citation, reflecting body count as a metric of success, reads as follows: “The net result of his patrol was 21 Viet Cong killed, two hooches destroyed and two enemy weapons captured.”
The record is crystal clear. When Bob Kerrey was confronted in 2001 with declassified documents about his role in the Thanh Phong massacre, he admitted his culpability. That makes him a war criminal, albeit one who has never been charged and tried in a court of law.
According to Section 18 of the US Code 2441, a war crime is “any conduct defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed in Geneva on 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party”.
The consequences of a guilty conviction, according to US law, are as follows: “Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.”
Thus, if Bob Kerrey were convicted in a US court of law, he could very well receive the same sentence as his victims with the state as executioner.
Instead, he’s been a free man who has enjoyed success as a businessman, a political leader and a university president while his victims – from the baby, one of his unit’s last victims, to a 65-year-old grandfather whom he reportedly held down as a knife was slid across his throat – have mouldered in their graves for the last 47 years.
Has he apologised directly to the victims’ relatives and the survivors? Has he taken any concrete steps to make amends?
Indeed, one could argue that Kerrey has parlayed his status as a ‘war hero’ into success in the worlds of business and politics.
A glowing 2008 profile on the US government-funded Voice of America, entitled “Bob Kerrey, war hero, politician, educator”, referred to Kerrey’s induction into “the elite Navy SEALs special forces unit” and glossed over his role in the Thanh Phong killings by stating that he “earned the Bronze Star for combat action that would later prove controversial because it involved civilian casualties”.
The Harvard connection
While I understand Kerrey’s motivation to do penance and while I recognise his contributions to US-Viet Nam relations, there are surely better qualified individuals without his deadweight baggage.
So why was he selected? In a phrase, ‘the Harvard connection’. What were they thinking?
One of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Fulbright University Vietnam is Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and, in particular, Tommy Vallely, its senior advisor for Mainland Southeast Asia.
Vallely founded the Harvard Vietnam Program in 1989, which led to the establishment of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program in 1994 in Ho Chi Minh City – a partnership between the University of Economics, HCMC, and the Harvard Kennedy School.
Himself a veteran of the American War in Viet Nam, Vallely also happens to be a close friend and confidant of John Kerry, who in turn is a friend of his long-time US Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey.
Perhaps Kerrey’s appointment was in part the result of this perfect storm of friendship and loyalty, in addition to his desire to give back. The distressing fact is that he was viewed as a viable choice for chair of the FUV board of trustees, bloodstained past notwithstanding.
Mark Bowyer, a long-time expat with extensive Viet Nam experience, wrote a spot-on piece about the Kerrey affair in which he expressed doubt that “reminding the world of previously unpunished US atrocities in Viet Nam is a judicious use of the political capital accumulated during Barack Obama’s recent successful visit”.
While the focus should be on the FUV and the challenges ahead, including fundraising, the spotlight is squarely on the controversial selection of Kerrey and that tragic night in Thanh Phong.
That’s really the heart of the matter. Bob Kerrey, a self-confessed war criminal, as chair of the board of trustees of a US university in Viet Nam named after Senator J William Fulbright?
What parallel universe do his supporters inhabit? They either do not comprehend the implications of selecting such a polarising figure for such an important position, or do not care. Could it be that sense of superiority and exceptionalism that distinguishes nationalists from patriots, what Fulbright wrote about so eloquently and passionately in The Arrogance of Power?
For his part, Kerrey should have had the good sense to gracefully decline the offer. There are other less visible roles for him to play and still have a positive impact.
Instead of acknowledging the misjudgement of his Harvard friends and following an honourable course of action by resigning, however, Kerrey has chosen to dig in his heels. A case of pride goes before a fall, or ego over prudence with a measure of wartime guilt thrown into the mix?
To say that the reaction to Kerrey’s appointment has been mixed is an understatement. Many in the pro-Kerrey camp have a lack of knowledge about his background and the status of the Fulbright University Vietnam as a private initiative with bi-national support.
I even received a Facebook message from a Vietnamese mid-career professional urging me to support Bob Kerrey, after reading some of my critical comments in the media.
He later posted this simple yet sincere statement on my Facebook page: “I am with Bob”. I countered with this heartfelt reply: “I’m with the victims of Bob’s (Thanh Phong) slaughter and for someone who will not taint the reputation of this fledgling university.”
Dr Mark Ashwill is managing director of Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company with offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Ashwill blogs at An International Educator in Vietnam.
Dr. James Petras who has been alongside three outstanding leaders of the world – Chile’s late Salvador Allende, Venezuela’s late Hugo Chavez and Greece’s late Andreas Papandreou – as an advisor warns that the United States and other imperialist powers should never be trusted.
The following is a transcript of a recorded interview with professor James Petras by Marwa Osman.
Q: How do you assess the influence of Zionism in setting the agenda for Western governments?
A: I think Zionism has become a very important influence on western, European and US diplomacy, particularly to the Middle East and in particular any questions relating to Israel’s foreign policy. In the US I think it is extremely important. Zionism has set the agenda for the US, it has helped elect officials, it has intimidated critics, it has received enormous funds from the US government and in general we can say that Israel dominates the US policy in the Middle East. The Zionists played a very important role in organizing the invasion of Iraq, they were involved with the war in Afghanistan, they are currently involved in the war inside of Syria, and they have deep positions within the state department and within the Pentagon. In the Pentagon, they have been very prominent in encouraging the US to escalate its wars and destroy the Muslim population in that region. In the treasury department, Israeli Zionists have been influential in imposing sanctions against Iran and I think the agreement was made between Iran and the US despite the pressure from the Zionists and they continue to harass any policy which would implement the Iran-US agreement, that is, what would facilitate trade and investment. So in general, England, France and the United States are very much influenced by Zionist policy regarding the Islamic countries and I think this is a major hindrance to any accommodation and understanding that would lessen the prospect of war and focus attention on the role that Israel plays along with Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the Islamic people and of the population as a whole.
Q: How do you think Zionists have managed to keep such an influence away from the public’s eye and basically away from the media?
A: I think that Zionist influence in the media is enormous. If you look at the major television networks bearing common that Zionists are in the leading positions like CBS, NBS, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal are very much controlled and influenced by owners and writers tied to Israeli interests. The Financial Times is also no exception to that and that has played a major role in influencing the public opinion and beyond that we have the fact that many Zionists have penetrated the government and they are simply a lobby pressuring the Congress and that plays a role also. Zionists contribute over 60% of the funding of the Democratic Party and about 35 to 40% of Republican Party funding so they influence the government directly and they influence the media and they influence the congress and the electoral process. All of this is accompanied by ferocious attacks on critics of Israel. We have seen many writers and academics who have lost jobs in medical and other professions who have criticized Israel and have been subject to harassment and some have even suffered violent threats against their lives and certainly against their employment.
Q: What are the highlights of your first hand observations during the years you served as an advisor to Andreas Papandreou? Have things changed for the better now?
A: Things are much worse now. When I was in the government back in 1982 till 1985, we implemented a policy much more balanced, criticizing the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. We saw the Palestinian President at the time, Yasser Arafat, who visited Papandreou and they exchanged similar ideas on the Liberation of Palestine. Papandreou did not pursue his radical commitments that he made in the campaign but he did implement many reforms dealing with women’s rights, with expanding the health programs and the higher education programs. In other words he was an effective social reformer but he did not pursue the maximum agenda which was to withdraw from NATO and from the European Union although he threatened to but it was mainly a bluff. So one can say that in comparison to the current period, Papandreou was certainly much more of a reformer much more effective developing an independent foreign policy than the current governments of Greece. It’s a shame to say that Greece is going backwards rather than at least standing with the independent programs of the past.
Q: Why did the US decide to overthrow the government of President Salvador Allende? Can you depict the depth of US involvement in toppling Chilean government based on your own observations?
A: A number of things that I think are very crucial. One was when the Allende government was democratically elected it proceeded to nationalize the major industries like the copper industry, banks and some of the major industrial plants or turn them into worker represented institutions. So the first objective for Washington, particularly Henry Kissinger, was to undermine the independent economic policy of Chile. The second thing is that Chile served as a democratic alternative in Latin America, an independent foreign policy with good relationships with all of the progressive governments including Cuba and Washington did not want an example in Latin America of a democratically elected socialist government with an independent foreign policy with a critical stance on imperialist wars overseas including the war against China, the US support for the Shah etc. So I think Allende and the socialist government in Chile was overthrown through Washington’s direct involvement with financial aid, with pressures within the Chilean military to eliminate democratically oriented generals and also to pay for certain strikes particularly in the transport industry with the truck owners who were paid very substantial amounts by US CIA officials to paralyze the economy. I was an advisor to the government of Allende at the foreign ministry and I attempted to inform them on the role that Washington was playing in sabotaging the Chilean autonomy in the military. The problem was that the US had a great influence on the military and the military that was allied with the US was not purged and the democratic military officials eventually were ousted and that allowed the coup to move forward.
Q: Comparing the governance model of Allende with Chavez, you believe the reason for Chavez’ success was his structural renewal of the Venezuelan political system while Allende failed to meet its necessity. Do you think this is the reason behind the failure of the uprisings in some Arab countries, while the same fact served as a main factor for the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution?
A: I think both in the case of Imam Khomeini and Chavez, they moved very directly to eliminate the potential of the coup forces in the military. Imam Khomeini got rid of the generals and conspirators of the Shah within the military and therefore eliminated the possibility of intrigues and a military coup. Chavez did the same thing. When he was elected the first thing he did was to evoke a new constitutional assembly and a new constitution was formed and Chavez was very influential in the recruitment and promotion of democratically constitutionally oriented military officials so when Washington promoted the coup against Chavez it was defeated. They only captured a small minority of the military and unlike Allende who believed that the military was a democratic force not taking account of the long term ties to the United States under the previous right wing government. I think that the changes in the military and in the constitution were crucial to the advancement in Iran and Venezuela by making the military and civilian electoral processes work hand in hand. There are many other reasons for the failure of the uprisings in different Arab governments. They failed to mobilize the masses, they relied on simple maneuvers in parliament and elections. They didn’t attempt to organize an independent military that would be nationalistic anti-imperialist. Many of those so called progressive Arab governments were themselves very corrupt and thought they could make deals with the United Sates and I think ultimately fooled themselves and left their countries vulnerable to military coups, US interventions etc. It is hard to believe that if 1 million Arab fighters were recruited in Iraq, they couldn’t have prevented an invasion but Saddam Hussein was too much manipulated by Washington thinking that he could make deals with Washington against Iran and other adversaries with other Persian Gulf countries and he was wrong.
Q: How did you see the mindset of President Papandreou, President Salvador Allende of Chile, and President Hugo Chavez in their fight against US dictatorship?
A: Well I think Papandreou was committed to winning the vote and the only way to win the public vote was by taking public opinion. Greece had suffered a military dictatorship like the Shah of Iran. In the early 60s and late 70s Greece had been under right wing governments which hindered Greece’s independence in its foreign policy. They prejudiced Greece’s living standards and in that sense Papandreou was able to understand the dynamics of civil society and to win an election. Now the problem with Papandreou was that he thought he could work within the capitalist system, he thought he could modify capitalism to make it more responsive, he thought he could work with the European Union and NATO and bring them in a more progressive direction and so while he pursued reforms he misread the natures of the limitations imposed by the structure. So on the one hand he would take positions but would take right turns. So it was a very paradoxical situation; I know I used to visit Papandreou to advise him on policies and he would take notes on paper of what I would suggest as an independent anti-imperialist policy and I thought I was having a major influence but when I left the office his secretary told me that I was followed by the US ambassador, so he was playing both sides by using a lot of my advice and criticism on the one hand to make speeches in parliament and on the other hand make practical decisions aligned with his conferences with the US embassy. Now with Chavez, it was a much different story. Chavez was much more committed, honest and in tune with the people. I was in many meetings with President Chavez, I spoke with him in the Sorbonne in Paris where we shared a platform. He was very much committed to fighting imperialism and he was the only major president in the west that opposed the war on terrorism. He said it shouldn’t be a war on terrorism, it should be a war on poverty and misery that create violent confrontation. For opposing Washington’s policies in the Middle East he became a target. Now I think President Chavez was a brilliant political and social analyst but I think he made mistakes by depending too much on the oil industry and social programs when he should have diversified the economy by focusing on being less dependent on oil and more on developing Venezuela as a diversified economy and one that was capable of being more self-sufficient. Allende was a contradiction in the sense that he was very democratic, very socialist but had weak understanding of the military basis, of popular basis for sustaining the government. He believed that every government would respect democracy and of course he was very naive. Washington never paid any attention. They used democracy as a tool to destroy the government. They exploited the weaknesses of the electoral process, they destroyed the independent military and carried out the coup which led to about 15 years of dictatorship and a reversal in all the major changes in agriculture reform, national ownership of the media and resources etc. So I think one has to have a more comprehensive look. You cannot trust imperialism to abide by its agreements.
Q: Are there any interesting memories during the years as their advisor to recall?
A: A lot of it depends on the issues. I once went swimming with Papandreou and when we were swimming I saw that there were people in scuba suits and I asked him why these people were swimming around and he said these are my bodyguards because we received intelligence information that the Mossad may try to assassinate the President Papandreou while we were swimming. So I found that amusing that the president of a country engaged in a vacation with me and at the time took the concern and right to defend himself even under water. Now with President Chavez, I was very impressed by his capacity to not only to engage in serious discussions but also had a very bright kind of a touch with the people. When we finished a major meeting he met with different admirers and audiences and some of them were from his region of the country and President Chavez engaged in a song contest with some of them. I was amused by the fact that Chavez knew the popular songs that corresponded to the audience that attended him in the informal session. And finally with president Salvador Allende, I remember my first meeting with him and it was in the middle of the Vietnam war and I was part of the anti-war movement and I had just come from the United States and I asked President Allende if he could give a statement and he immediately sat down and taped a rousing speech in defense of the Vietnamese and against US imperialism. I was very respectful because he was at that time playing a leading role in the government and taking the time to engage in international solidarity with the American people’s struggle against the war. And clearly Allende distinguished between the progressive American people and the imperialist government in Washington.
What was your reaction when you heard FBI Director James Comey announce to the world that the Bureau would not be recommending that charges be filed against Hillary Clinton over her handling of emails while she was Secretary of State? Did you do a humorous spit take with your coffee like some modern day Danny Thomas? Were you frozen in place like Americans were on November 22, 1963? Did your jaw hit the floor with your tongue rolling out like a flabbergasted cartoon character?
Chances are you weren’t the least bit surprised that no charges were recommended. But what does that tell you about our political system?
That millions of Americans weren’t remotely caught off guard by the exculpation of Hillary Clinton is less a commentary about American attitudes than it is a clear indication of the all-pervasive criminality that is at the heart of America’s political ruling class. And the fact that such criminality is seen as par for the course demonstrates once again that the rule of law is more a rhetorical veneer than a juridical reality.
But consider further what the developments of recent days tell us both about the US and, perhaps even more importantly, the perception of the US internationally. For while Washington consistently wields as weapons political abstractions such as transparency, corruption, and freedom, it is unwilling to apply to itself those same cornerstones of America’s collective self-conception. Hypocrisy is perhaps not strong enough a word.
Not Even Hiding It Anymore…
Remember the good old days when corrupt politicians committed their crimes in smoke-filled rooms, making handshake deals in quiet corners of luxury hotel suites or over lobster at five star restaurants? Those things certainly still happen, but the transgressions, like all things, seem to have lost a bit of their classiness. It may not be the Plaza Hotel, but the Phoenix airport was no less a scene of wanton lawlessness and impropriety when former President, and soon to be First Gentleman, Bill Clinton met privately with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The meeting, which only came to light thanks to the work of local ABC15 morning anchor Christopher Sign, has been widely criticized by pundits and legal experts from both sides of the political spectrum. Naturally, questions about impropriety, and potential illegal tampering in a federal investigation, were immediately raised once the meeting was made public. Of course, nothing was done to alleviate any of those concerns, calling into question the very impartiality of the investigation.
But the larger story has to do with symbolic message being sent by the meeting. Specifically, there is one set of laws for American citizens, and an entirely different set of laws for political elites like the Clintons.
Moreover, there’s more to it than just criminality. There is the air of superiority which oozes from every action taken by the Clintons who have made hundreds of millions of dollars unscrupulously pandering to, and serving the interests of, the financial elite of Wall Street and the corporate oligarchy. That feeling of invincibility is what drives someone like Bill Clinton to demand that the FBI surrounding him at the Phoenix airport dictate to bystanders that there are to be “no photos, no pictures, no cell phones.” To make such a demand is to see oneself as above the law, above the First Amendment, above the plebs, as it were.
And this sort of behavior is what we’ve come to expect from the Clintons. Who can forget the seemingly endless rap sheet that the dynamic Democrat duo has earned over the decades? The Whitewater Scandal, in many ways a template for the Clinton email scandal, involved shady business practices and political insider dealing by the Clintons and their real estate developer cronies. And, like the email scandal, Whitewater was an example of the Clintons deliberately destroying records that likely implicate them in very serious crimes.
As the New York Times reported in 1992, “The Clintons and Mr. McDougal disagree about what happened to Whitewater’s records. Mr. McDougal says that at Mr. Clinton’s request they were delivered to the Governor’s mansion. The Clintons say many of them have disappeared. Many questions about the enterprise cannot be fully answered without the records.”
So it seems the Clintons have this nasty habit of committing crimes and then destroying the records of those crimes and claiming complete ignorance about what happened. For you and me, such a flimsy excuse would go over like a lead balloon, likely leading to jail time. For the Clintons, the controversy quietly fades away and slips down the memory hole.
And then of course there’s the mysterious death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, the man who filed three years of delinquent Whitewater corporate tax returns, and then was subsequently found dead a month later. While his death was officially ruled a suicide, the serendipitous development for the Clintons led to speculation that Foster was killed on the order of the Clintons in order to silence a potentially damning source of information about Clinton misdeeds.
Indeed, some claim that evidence exists that Foster was in fact murdered, including the statements from one of the lead prosecutors investigating the death, Miguel Rodriguez, who claims that photos showed a gunshot wound on Foster’s neck, a wound that was not mentioned in the official report. Whether true or not, the speculation about the Clintons’ involvement in a political assassination has only grown.
But of course there are so many more scandals it’s hard to keep count. From appointments of Clinton Foundation donors to key State Department positions in a sort of “pay for play” scheme, to the salaries paid to people like Hillary’s Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin who, while working for the State Department, also worked for Teneo, a consulting firm run by another close Clinton crony. And who could forget the Clinton Foundation and the myriad conflict of interest issues, lack of transparency, and outright criminality associated with it?
This article would go on for tens of thousands more words were it to chronicle all of Clinton’s scandals. But the true focus here is not even simply on Clinton crimes, but rather on the culture of corruption and lawlessness that exists unfettered in Washington; it is the endemic corruption that the Clintons represent, perhaps better than anyone.
Corruption and Malfeasance: As American as Apple Pie
It is difficult to encapsulate in a few short paragraphs the multi-layered forms of corruption that are embedded in the very fabric of America’s political culture. Perhaps it could be best separated into three distinct, though interrelated, categories: the open door, the closed door, and the revolving door.
The open door of corruption and criminality represents the kind of wrongdoing that takes place out in the open, in full view of the public, but which is treated as anything but criminal. Whether it be lying the US into wars of aggression – the Iraq War was based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, the war on Libya was sold on the pretext of lies about civilians being murdered by the government – or simply the obviously corrupt form of campaign financing that allows Wall Street and the corporate elites to bankroll the alleged “democracy” that the US so proudly proselytizes the world over; these forms of corruption and criminality are in many ways the bedrock of American politics.
As the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg famously stated, “To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” By this very definition, every political leader in the US going back decades is guilty of war crimes.
Going further, one can draw on the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt who, in a now legendary speech at Madison Square Garden in 1936, unequivocally proclaimed:
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.
But today, rather than welcoming the hatred of Wall Street and the corporate oligarchy, America’s politicians pander to them, grovel before them, kiss their rings in hopes of securing for themselves a financially and professionally lucrative future. So deep is the rot that most Americans passively accept this as business as usual, failing to understand that it is anything but acceptable.
The closed door forms of criminality are often completely concealed from public view, and what does become known is only thanks to courageous actions by reporters and whistleblowers. Take for instance the activities of the CIA, only a fraction of which were exposed by the Church and Pike Committees, which included obviously criminal activities ranging from the overthrow of governments to assassination of political leaders to domestic spying and propaganda, all of which being blatantly illegal.
But the closed door also conceals the activities of prominent political figures such as Hillary Clinton, whose secret lobbying for things like right wing coup governments in Honduras, shows the degree to which politicians literally conspire in secret. Clinton, like so many of her colleagues, also grovels at the feet of Wall Street financiers, including taking massive payoffs for speeches with the tacit wink-wink-nudge-nudge that goes along with them.
Finally, the revolving door is one of the shining examples of America’s political corruption, or perhaps better put, complete subservience to the corporate oligarchy. When key government officials leave public life and head to that oft-lionized “private sector,” what they are actually providing is access – access to government for corporations and capital.
When the head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) leaves her government post and takes a job as President of Merck & Co. Inc’s vaccine division, no one bats an eye.
When the architect of Obamacare, who before working on the health plan was an executive at one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers, leaves her government job and takes a position with Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group, it garners barely a passing comment.
When Wall Street executives take positions at head of the Treasury Department – Tim Geithner and Hank Paulsen both worked for Goldman Sachs, as just one example – it is simply “the way things are.” This revolving door form of political corruption may not be anything new, but it is so rarely defined as corruption. But that’s exactly what it is.
However, none of this prevents Washington from publicly admonishing other countries for their corruption problems. Russia? Zimbabwe? Venezuela? China? Nigeria? All corrupt. United States? Well, er, ummm… Democracy! Freedom! This is the sort of reflexive hypocrisy that typifies American exceptionalism or, as the rest of the world might call it, the arrogance of empire.
A senior United Nations official has accused Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service of frustrating U.N. investigations into its alleged role in torture and other war crimes, even as the SBU has been allowed to guide the international investigation into the shooting down of Malaysia Airline Flight 17 for nearly two years.
On June 29, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic criticized various “armed groups” in Ukraine for engaging in torture and arbitrary detention, adding that “The Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) is also not always providing access to all places where detainees may be kept. … OHCHR (the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights) also continues to receive accounts about torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary and incommunicado detention by the SBU, especially in the conflict zone.
“Torture and threats to members of the families, including sexual threats, are never justifiable, and perpetrators will be held to account sooner or later. … War crimes, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of human rights cannot be the subject of an amnesty.”
In late May, U.N. inspectors called off their Ukraine torture investigation because the SBU denied the team access to detention facilities where human rights groups had found evidence of torture.
“This denial of access is in breach of Ukraine’s obligations as a State party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture,” according to the U.N. statement at the time. Sir Malcolm Evans, head of the four-member U.N. delegation, said: “It has meant that we have not been able to visit some places where we have heard numerous and serious allegations that people have been detained and where torture or ill-treatment may have occurred.”
Yet, the SBU, which is also responsible for protecting state secrets, has strongly influenced the direction of the supposedly Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team trying to determine who was responsible for shooting down MH-17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing 298 people.
Conflict of Interest
Although Ukrainian military units are among the logical suspects in the case, Ukraine was made one of five countries responsible for the inquiry and granted what amounts to veto power over what information the JIT can release. A recent internal report on how the JIT operates also revealed how dependent the investigators have become on information provided by the SBU.
According to the report, the SBU has helped shape the MH-17 investigation by supplying a selection of phone intercepts and other material that would presumably not include sensitive secrets that would implicate the SBU’s political overseers in Ukraine. But the JIT report seems oblivious to this conflict of interest, saying:
“Since the first week of September 2014, investigating officers from The Netherlands and Australia have worked here [in Kiev]. They work in close cooperation here with the Security and Investigation Service of the Ukraine (SBU). Immediately after the crash, the SBU provided access to large numbers of tapped telephone conversations and other data. …
“At first rather formal, cooperation with the SBU became more and more flexible. ‘In particular because of the data analysis, we were able to prove our added value’, says [Dutch police official Gert] Van Doorn. ‘Since then, we notice in all kinds of ways that they deal with us in an open way. They share their questions with us and think along as much as they can.’”
The JIT report continued: “With the tapped telephone conversations from SBU, there are millions of printed lines with metadata, for example, about the cell tower used, the duration of the call and the corresponding telephone numbers. The investigating officers sort out this data and connect it to validate the reliability of the material.
“When, for example, person A calls person B, it must be possible to also find this conversation on the line from person B to person A. When somebody mentions a location, that should also correlate with the cell tower location that picked up the signal. If these cross-checks do not tally, then further research is necessary.
“By now, the investigators are certain about the reliability of the material. ‘After intensive investigation, the material seems to be very sound’, says Van Doorn, ‘that also contributed to the mutual trust.’”
Another concern about how the SBU could manipulate JIT’s investigation is that the long assignments of investigators in Kiev over a period of almost two years could create compromising situations. Kiev has a reputation as a European hotbed for prostitution and sex tourism, and there’s the possibility of other human relationships developing over long periods away from home.
According to the JIT report, four investigating officers from Australia are stationed in Kiev on three-month rotations while Dutch police rotate in two teams of about five people each for a period of a “fortnight,” or two weeks.
The relative isolation of the Australian investigators further adds to their dependence on their Ukrainian hosts. According to the report, “The Australian investigators find themselves a 26 hour flight away from their home country and have to deal with a large time difference. ‘For us Australians, it is more difficult to get into contact with our home base, which is why our operation is quite isolated in Kiev’, says [Andrew] Donoghoe,” a senior investigating officer from the Australian Federal Police.
The JIT’s collegial dependence on the SBU’s information has not led to a quick resolution of the mystery of MH-17. Almost two years after the tragedy, the JIT has struggled to even pin down where the suspected anti-aircraft missile was fired, bringing down the passenger jet en route between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur. The location of the alleged missile firing was something that U.S. officials claimed to know within days of the crash but have kept secret.
The snail’s pace of the investigation and the curious failure of the U.S. government to share usable data from its own intelligence services have caused concerns among some family members of MH-17 victims that the inquiry has been compromised by big-power geopolitics.
Immediately after the shoot-down, the U.S. government sought to pin the blame on ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and their Russian government backers, a charge that was crucial to getting the European Union to adopt economic sanctions against Russia. But – as more evidence emerged – the possible role of a Ukrainian military unit became more plausible.
According to the Dutch intelligence service in a report released last October, the only anti-aircraft missiles in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, capable of hitting a plane flying at 33,000 feet belonged to the Ukrainian military.
Twists in the Investigation
After CIA analysts had time to evaluate U.S. satellite, electronic and other intelligence data, the U.S. government went curiously silent about what it had discovered, including the possible identity of the people who were responsible. The U.S. reticence, after the initial rush to judgment blaming Russia, suggested that the more detailed findings may have undercut those original claims.
A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the CIA’s conclusion pointed toward a rogue Ukrainian operation involving a hard-line oligarch with the possible motive of shooting down Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official plane returning from South America that day, with similar markings as MH-17. But I have been unable to determine if that assessment represented a dissident or consensus view inside the U.S. intelligence community.
Although the JIT also includes Belgium and Malaysia, the key roles have been played by the Netherlands, Australia and Ukraine, with Ukraine’s SBU arguably the most influential party as it feeds the other investigators leads to pursue.
Given the SBU’s legal responsibility to shield Ukrainian government secrets, you might think the question would have arisen whether the SBU would supply any data that might implicate some powerful political figure connected to the regime in Kiev. But there was nothing in the JIT’s update to suggest any such suspicion.
Regarding the SBU’s refusal to grant access to the U.N.’s torture investigators in May, Ukraine’s deputy justice minister Natalya Sevostyanova said the U.N. team was denied access to SBU centers in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, frontline towns in the simmering civil war between the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and Russian-supported eastern Ukrainian rebels.
SBU director Vasyl Hrytsak said the reason for barring the U.N. team was to protect Ukrainian government secrets, adding: “If you arrive, for example, in the United States and ask to come to the C.I.A. or the F.B.I., to visit a basement or an office, do you think they will ever let you do it?”
[For more background on this controversy, see Consortiumnews.com’s “More Game-Playing on MH-17.”]
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).
The Republican dominated House Select Committee on Benghazi has released its long awaited final report on the 2012 Benghazi attack which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. And, surprise, the report reveals absolutely nothing of substance that wasn’t already known.
Naturally, Democrats running interference for Hillary Clinton have continually charged that the probe was simply an act of partisan politics designed more to hurt Clinton in the presidential campaign than to uncover the truth about what happened. No doubt there is truth to such an allegation.
But the most important fact about this whole manufactured drama, the one that neither Democrats nor Republicans want to touch, is the simple fact that what happened in Benghazi was perhaps the most complete encapsulation of everything wrong and criminal about the illegal US war against Libya. Moreover, it exposes the uncomfortable truth that the US harnesses terrorism, using it as one of the most potent weapons it has against nations that refuse to submit to the will of Washington and Wall Street. In effect, it was not merely terrorists that killed the four Americans in Benghazi, it was US policy.
The Benghazi Report: 800 Pages of Almost Nothing
Despite the triumphal pronouncements of Republican political opportunists, the new report reveals very little that is new. As the Wall Street Journal noted:
“Congressional Republicans’ most comprehensive report yet on the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, outlined few new criticisms of Hillary Clinton, highlighting more broadly what it called an array of failings by the Obama administration… The report largely confirmed the existing story line—that a group of anti-American Libyan militants stormed U.S. installations in a carefully planned assault, killing four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya…The latest document presented few notable facts not found in earlier investigations…”
As the Wall Street Journal correctly notes, the new report is mostly just a rehashing of prior conclusions reached from previous reports, while doing yeoman’s service for the political establishment by confirming and, consequently, concretizing a completely distorted narrative about what happened. Essentially, the final report amounts to a whitewash that is more about scoring political points than revealing the truth about what happened. Why? Well, put simply, the truth of what happened in Benghazi implicates both wings of the single corporate Republicrat party.
There is mention of the CIA facility near the ‘US diplomatic facility’ in Benghazi, but absolutely no context for what exactly the CIA was involved in there, and how it relates to a much larger set of policies executed by the Obama administration, of which Hillary Clinton was a key player. Indeed, the very fact that this critical piece of the puzzle is conspicuously missing from the Official NarrativeTM demonstrates that the House Select Committee on Benghazi report is more about concealing the truth than revealing it.
Take for instance the fact that the report totally ignores the connection between the CIA facility and mission in Benghazi and the smuggling of arms and fighters from Libya to Syria in an attempt to export to Syria the same sort of regime change that wrought death and destruction on Libya. As Judicial Watch noted in regard to the declassified material it obtained:
Judicial Watch… obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance… The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.
Just this one small excerpt from a set of publicly available documents sheds more light on the real story of Benghazi and the Obama administration’s disastrous and criminal wars in Libya and Syria than 800 pages of the House report. Were it really the mission of the House committee to expose the truth of what happened, perhaps they could have started with a Google search.
Indeed, the connection goes further. As a Department of Defense memo in 2012 indicated, “During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the [Qaddafi] regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012… weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya, to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria.”
This revelation should be a bombshell; the US and its proxies inside Libya were actively shipping weapons to Syria for the purposes of fomenting war and effecting regime change. Further, it would be shockingly negligent to omit the fact that “early September 2012” is when the shipments stopped – the attack on the CIA annex in Benghazi, not coincidentally, took place on September 11, 2012 – and not connect it to the Benghazi incident. One could almost forgive such an omission if one were naïve enough to believe that it was simply an error, and not a deliberate obfuscation.
A serious analysis of these events would reveal an international network of arms and fighters being smuggled from Libya to Syria, all under the auspices of the Obama administration and the agencies under its control. But of course, the report focuses instead on the utterly irrelevant negligence on the part of the Obama administration which really obscures the far greater crime of deliberate warmongering. But hey, political point scoring is really what the House committee was looking for.
The Larger Story Completely Ignored
As if it weren’t offensive enough that the House committee report has completely whitewashed the events in Benghazi, the congressional hearings and subsequent report do absolutely nothing to bring clarity to what exactly the US was doing with respect to the arming, financing, and backing of terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda and other well-known terror groups.
There is no discussion of the fact that Washington was knowingly collaborating with some of the nastiest al-Qaeda elements in the region, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group led by Abdelhakim Belhadj. This terror group, which was in the vanguard of the US-backed effort to topple the government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Muammar Gaddafi, was a known quantity to all counterterrorism experts specializing in that part of the world. As the New York Times reported in July 2011, in the midst of the war against the Libyan Government:
The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in 1995 with the goal of ousting Colonel Qaddafi. Driven into the mountains or exile by Libyan security forces, the group’s members were among the first to join the fight against Qaddafi security forces… Officially the fighting group does not exist any longer, but the former members are fighting largely under the leadership of Abu Abdullah Sadik [aka Abdelhakim Belhadj].
Perhaps the enlightened truthseekers of the House committee would have thought it prudent to note that the Benghazi incident was the direct outgrowth of a criminal US policy of collaboration with terrorists, the leader of whom is now, according to some sources, connected to ISIS/Daesh in Libya. But, alas, such explosive information, publicly available to those who seek it out, would have been deeply embarrassing to the undisputed grandmasters of wrongheaded political posturing, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both of whom gleefully posed for pictures with the hardened terrorist leader Belhadj. Oops.
It would also have been nice had the House committee bothered to look at the studies conducted on that part of Libya vis-à-vis terrorist recruitment, to get a sense of the scale of the issue with which they were allegedly dealing. They might have considered examining a 2007 study from the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point entitled “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records” which explained quite clearly that:
“Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia… The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked [to] the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qa’ida which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qa’ida on November 3, 2007… The most common cities that the fighters called home were Darnah [Derna], Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 and 51 fighters respectively. Darnah [Derna] with a population just over 80,000 compared to Riyadh’s 4.3 million, has far and away the largest per capita number of fighters in the Sinjar records.”
It certainly might have been useful had the House committee taken even a cursory look at a map to see the Benghazi-Derna-Tobruk triangle (the stronghold of the anti-Gaddafi terrorist forces linked to al-Qaeda) and to understand the broader context of the events of September 11, 2012. The investigators – that term being used rather loosely, and somewhat ironically, in this case – should have been able to discern the larger significance of what they were examining. One could almost assume that, like the proverbial ostriches, House Republicans were busy hiding their heads in the sand, or perhaps in other, more uncomfortable places.
Ultimately, the House Select Committee on Benghazi report will achieve absolutely nothing. It will not even score the political points that the Republicans leading the effort have been after for three years now. Hillary Clinton will continue her presidential bid completely unaffected by the information and, if anything, will likely benefit from this charade as it will lend credence to her endless assertions of a “vast right wing conspiracy” against her. Never mind the fact that she is a right wing neoconservative herself. Never mind the fact that the blood of tens of thousands of Libyans is on her hands. Never mind the fact that, as President, she will undoubtedly unleash more death and destruction on the people of the Middle East and North Africa.
There is only one lasting achievement upon which the House committee can hang its hat: it has done an excellent job of cementing an utterly shallow and superficial narrative about the events of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, one which will be endlessly repeated by the mouthpieces of corporate media and mainstream historians.
Indeed, a false history will be written, with the US as a victim of incompetence and its own poor planning. Nothing will be said of the blatant criminality of the US effort in Libya. But, as Kurt Vonnegut was fond of saying, “So it goes…”