by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
May 8, 2009
One of the most frustrating features of observing American foreign policy is to see the gap between the encapsulated thinking of the national security bureaucracy and the sensible unfettered observations of the experts outside. In the case of Afghanistan, outside commentators have called for terminating current specific American policies and tactics — many reminiscent of the US in Vietnam.
Observers decry the use of air strikes to decapitate the Taliban and al Qaeda, usually resulting in the death of other civilians. They counsel against is the insertion of more and more US and other foreign troops, in an effort to secure the safety and allegiance of the population. And they regret the on-going interference in the fragile Afghan political process, in order to secure outcomes desired in Washington.1
One root source for this gap between official and outside opinion will not be addressed soon — the conduct of crucial decision-making in secrecy, not by those who know the area, but by those skilled enough in bureaucratic politics to have earned the highest security clearances. However it may be more productive to criticize the mindset shared by the decision-makers, and to point out elements of the false consciousness which frames it, and which should be corrigible by common sense.
Why One Should Think of So-Called “Failed States” as “Ravaged States”
I have in mind the bureaucratically convenient concept of Afghanistan as a failed or failing state. This epithet has been… Continue reading
by Kenneth J. Theisen
28 March 2009
President Barack Obama continued with his latest escalation of the war in Afghanistan
by announcing his plans to send an additional 4,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan
to train Afghan government puppet forces. He also announced plans to send hundreds
of diplomats and civilian officials to the country, in what Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton called an “integrated military-civilian strategy”.
Like his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama raised the specter of “terrorism”
to justify his actions.
Obama stated that, “If the Afghanistan government falls to the Taliban
or allows al-Qaida to go unchallenged, that country will again be a base for
terrorists.” Obama warned that the al-Qaida “terrorists” were
actively planning further attacks on the U.S. from havens in Pakistan. He stated,
“So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and
focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan,
and to prevent their return to either country in the future.” He went on
to claim, “That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that
could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the
same: we will defeat you.” Does this sound a little too much like Bush’s
excuse for the initial invasion in 2001? I was waiting to hear Obama say, “bring
This latest escalation builds on Obama’s previously announced plan to
send 17,000 troops to that war-torn country. President George… Continue reading
Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials
By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 29, 2009; A01
When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to
waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that
they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations
yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White
House to get those secrets out of him.
The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda
terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.
In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of
Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials
who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through
the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information
from Abu Zubaida — chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was
obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.
Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that
made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly
described him as “al-Qaeda’s chief of operations,” and other top officials
called him a “trusted associate” of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.
Abu Zubaida was not even an official member… Continue reading
March 12, 2009
“There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government — in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.” – Charles Freeman.
For a one-hour introduction to the Israel Lobby; please check out this excellent Dutch documentary on the controversy that erupted following the publication of Mearsheimer and Walt’s academic paper, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”, in its condensed form at the London Review of Books (The book which then followed is highly recommended.);
Charles Freeman’s statement as published by the Wall Street Journal (!);
Charles Freeman, a veteran diplomat slated to become the top U.S. intelligence analyst, withdrew from consideration Tuesday. He released a statement denouncing the “Israel Lobby” for “character assassination.” Here is the text of the statement.… Continue reading
VIDEO: “An Unholy Alliance” – Documentary examines CIA and other intelligence agency links to the global drug trade.
Part 2 of 6
Part 3 of 6
Part 4 of 6
Part 5 of 6
Part 6 of 6
In 1996, directors Chris Hilton and David Roberts released “An Unholy Alliance” as the second part of a trilogy of documentaries dealing with the global drug trade; with a focus on heroin and opium. The documentary offers a valuable history of the drug trade, with much rare footage, including footage of CIA favorite, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Since Hekmatyar is back in the news, now is an important time to remind people of Hekmatyar’s dubious past, and his links to the heroin industry in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The CIA and the Afghan Arabs
An Unholy Alliance starts off in Peshawar, which was a major hub of activity for the CIA and the ISI, as they deployed the Afghan Mujahadin in a proxy war against the Soviet Union, beginning in 1979. Since the 1980s, CIA apologists like Peter Bergen, and former CIA station chief Milton Bearden have claimed that the CIA never directly trained the Mujahidin and the associated Arabic recruits;
Peter Bergen: “While the charges that the CIA was responsible for the rise of the Afghan Arabs might make good copy, they don’t make good history. The truth is more complicated, tinged with varying shades of gray. The… Continue reading
by Eve Conant NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Jan 12, 2009
In the grim, sleepless months of excavation after the September 11 attacks, forensic pathologists in New York City worked day and night to identify the dead. They didn’t have much to go on. The collapsed World Trade Center towers had burned at temperatures reaching 2,000 degrees, incinerating those trapped inside. Many of the bodies of the passengers aboard the two airplanes that struck the buildings were consumed by burning jet fuel, leaving only traces of DNA, much of it so damaged that it was impossible to read. Few bodies were found intact. Most of the human remains culled from the vast wreckage at Ground Zero were little more than tiny fragments of charred tissue and bone. The volume was overwhelming. Robert Shaler, who headed the city’s Department of Forensic Biology and was a leader of the identification effort, worried his lab would be paralyzed if it tried to identify every piece. At first, they decided they would only attempt to test samples that were “the size of a thumb or larger,” he says. But when they saw how small many of the fragments were, they changed their minds. “If we were really going to make an honest effort,” Shaler says, “we had to do everything that came along.”
Shaler and his colleagues at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner gave weekly updates to family members of the victims, reporting how many of the dead had been identified and reassuring them that the city was doing everything to identify their loved ones.…Continue reading
by Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories
For eighteen months the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normalcy of daily life. A flicker of hope emerged some six months ago when an Egyptian arranged truce produced an effective ceasefire that cut Israeli casualties to zero despite the cross-border periodic firing of homemade rockets that fell harmlessly on nearby Israeli territory, and undoubtedly caused anxiety in the border town of Sderot. During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel’s 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle.
Israel also refused exit permits to students with foreign fellowship awards and to Gazan journalists and respected NGO representatives. At the same time, it made it increasingly difficult for journalists to enter, and I was myself expelled from Israel a couple of weeks ago when I tried to enter to carry out my UN job of monitoring respect for human rights in occupied Palestine, that is, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Gaza. Clearly, prior to the current crisis, Israel… Continue reading
US gives Israel free reign on whether to invade Gaza
Friday January 2, 2009
The United States gave Israel free reign Friday on whether to send troops into
the Gaza Strip, insisting that the key to a ceasefire is an Israeli demand for
Hamas to permanently halt rocket fire.
But the White House said it has asked Israel to try hard to avoid civilian
casualties as reserves were called up for an expected ground incursion on top
of a week of air strikes that has killed more than 400 Palestinians.
“We’ve been in regular contact with the Israelis,” White House deputy
press secretary Gordon Johndroe told reporters when asked if US officials were
trying to prevent a possible ground offensive.
US officials have urged the Israelis “to be mindful that any of the actions
that they’re taking in Gaza avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and also to
help continue with the flow of humanitarian goods,” he said.
“So I think any steps they are taking, whether it’s from the air or on
the ground or anything of that nature, are part and parcel of the same operation,”
“Those will be decisions made by the Israelis,” he said.
“Israel has a right to defend itself from these rocket attacks, and so
we’ll see,” Johndroe said when asked about progress toward a ceasefire.
After briefing Bush about events in Gaza, just 18 days before he hands the
White House to his successor Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
said Washington was pursuing diplomacy with its partners in the Middle East.…
Wednesday Dec 24, 2008
By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)
The Bush administration, speaking for the U.S.A., therefore must consider it tolerable that 6 million children die every day – children who could be fed if we weren’t wasting billions on stealth fighters, littoral combat boondoggles and non-effective defense against non-existant ballistic missiles from Iran.
Just so you get that, here it is again:
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, CÃ´te d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.…
by Michael Parenti
December 7, 2008
Author’s website: www.michaelparenti.org.
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan.
Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something
about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.
Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan,
the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist
organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened
to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive
writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated
the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good
thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.
Some Real History
Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged,
with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only
3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary
elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973,
the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic,
corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration
in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side
of the demonstrators.
The military officers who took charge invited the… Continue reading
By Dave Lindorff
December 2, 2008
Before the odor of burned gunpowder has left the air of the Taj Mahal Hotel
in Mumbai, the US is lecturing India not to go off half-cocked and attack Pakistan,
simply because all of the attackers in the terrorist assaults in that city arrived
by boat, apparently from neighboring Pakistan. US officials, including Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, are calling on India to engage in a “transparent”
and “thorough” investigation into the attacks to establish who was
How different this is from the American government’s response to the
9-11 attacks in the US!
Instead of a “transparent” investigation, we got secret sessions
of the Congressional intelligence committees, closed-door interviews of key
officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney by the 9-11 Commission,
and of course the secret round [up] of thousands of mostly Islamic people living
in the US, many of whom were held for months incommunicado and without charge,
some of whom were subjected to torture, and many other of whom were deported
to likely arrest, torture and even death.
Instead of a calm assessment of what had happened and who was responsible,
the Bush Administration rounded up Saudi members of the Bin Laden family, and
others connected to the regime in Saudi Arabia, whence came most of the people
reportedly involved in the hijacking of the four planes used in the attacks,
and, with no attempt at interrogation, flew them home to Saudi Arabia.
Then, again with only minimal evidence, the US launched an all-out war within
days upon Afghanistan, with the goal of ousting and destroying the Taliban government
of that country.…
October 17, 2008
by Peter Dale Scott
For over two years now I have been speaking and writing about what I call deep events. I mean by deep events the traumatic and unexpected episodes that recur periodically in US history and alter it, nearly always for the worse. These deep events can never be properly analyzed or understood, because of an intelligence dimension which results in a socially imposed veil of silence, both in the government and in the Mainstream Media.
The more that I look at these deep events comparatively, ranging over the past five decades, the more similarities I see between them, and the more I understand them in the light of each other. I hope in this paper to use analogies from the murder of JFK and 9/11 to cast new light on the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.1
I began this analysis in 2006 by comparing the JFK assassination with 9/11. I drew attention to over a dozen similarities, of which today I will be focusing on only four:
1) the remarkable and puzzling speed with which those in power identified what I call the designated culprits (Lee Harvey Oswald and the 19 alleged hijackers),
2) the self-incriminating trail allegedly left by the culprits themselves — such as the bundle that James Earl Ray is said to have conveniently left in a doorway on his way to his car. Oswald was said to have carried a flagrantly falsified draft card identifying… Continue reading
Peter Dale Scott
August 17, 2008
Recently I published two articles pointing to suggestive similarities between the recurring deep events in recent American history — those events which, because of their intelligence aspects, are ignored, misrepresented, or covered up in the American media. The first article pointed to overall similarities in many deep events since World War II. The second pointed to surprising points of comparison in the two deep events which were followed shortly by major U.S. wars: the John F. Kennedy assassination and 9/11. In the background of all these events, I suggested, was recurring evidence of the milieu “combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld.”1
Inthis essay I shall first attempt to lay out the complex geography ornetwork of that milieu, which I call the global drug connection, andits connections to what has been called an “alternative” or “shadow” CIA. I shall then show how this network, of banks, financial agents of influence, and the alternative CIA,contributed to the infrastructure of the Kennedy assassination and aseries of other, superficially unrelated, major deep events.
In this narrative, the names of individuals, their institutions, and their connections arerelatively unimportant. What matters is to see that such a milieu existed; that it was on-going, well-connected, and protected; and that, with increasing independence from governmental restraint, it played a role in major deep events in the last half century.
This of course strengthens the important hypothesis to be investigated,that this on-going milieu may also have contributed to the… Continue reading
This is a news item pertaining to the Complete 911 Timeline investigative project, one of several grassroots investigations being hosted on the History Commons website. The
data published as part of this investigation has been collected, organized, and published by members of the public who are registered users of this website.
9/28/2008: Pentagon on 9/11, Shoe Bombing, Bin Laden in the Soviet-Afghan War and More – Additions as of September 28, 2008
This week, a massive amount of new entries have been added to the timeline, dealing with a whole range of different issues. We will start with the day of 9/11, in particular the Pentagon, which a fire chief warned could be a target nearly 20 minutes before it was hit. The attack itself created confusion by setting off 300 fire alarms, although some medical workers thought the ensuing evacuation was a drill. After wandering about outside the building, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld refused to follow the established emergency plan and evacuate, instead sending deputy Paul Wolfowitz to an alternate military command center, where the computers and communication systems did not work.
The first fighter was seen arriving over the Pentagon at around 10:40 a.m., the FAA sent the White House incorrect details of the hijacked planes in the early afternoon, and astronauts viewed the devastation in New York from space. Meanwhile, the FBI established a command post near the Pentagon and limited the evidence that needed to be photographed there.
The… Continue reading
By Tod Fletcher
September 11, 2008
In THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED , David Ray Griffin provides a brilliant and much-needed companion to his path-breaking and movement-building book on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor (NPH; 2004). Now, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of those horrific events, Griffin surveys in detail all the main lines of evidence against the official account of 9/11 to have emerged during the last four years. THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED (NPHR) has been designed as volume 2 of a two-volume set with NPH as volume 1; together they provide a thorough and up-to-date case against the official conspiracy theory (they can be bought separately, of course).
Griffin has already published four other books that provide in-depth analysis of most of the evidence to have emerged since 2004. NPHR’s main purpose is to provide an easily accessible survey of all of the new evidence, so that it is now possible for a beginner to the subject (including journalists and members of Congress) to master its enormous complexity simply by reading two books. NPHR is structured identically to NPH; each chapter in NPHR comments and builds on the corresponding chapter in NPH. Much of the content is entirely new; there are many facts and analyses in NPHR which Griffin presents for the first time, and which literally make the book an up-to-the-minute statement of the case.
In the Preface, Griffin explains why he undertook to “update” The New Pearl Harbor . In the Introduction he… Continue reading
by Cindy Sheehan
September 10, 2008
The 7th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is approaching and it seems like
a good time to reflect on what our nation has lost since that tragic day and
what we can do to go forward.
I do not think that anyone alive on that day will forget the shock that struck
our nation when the symbols of US capitalism and militarism were struck out
of the clear blue sky. I was in panic mode for a few days, because I did not
hear from Casey who was stationed at Ft. Hood on that day and his base went
into lock-down and he was too busy to call. Even though we mourn with our fellow
Americans, the loss of over 3000 innocent people and the pain their families
have had to deal with, the attacks of 9-11 have touched every American.
There are several ways to look at 9-11:
– 9-11 was planned and executed by the US government.
— BushCo did not plan 9-11, but they knew it was going to happen and
did nothing to prevent it and, in fact, may have allowed it to happen.
— 9-11 was planned and executed by a group of 17 terrorists (14 of them
from Saudi Arabia) without the foreknowledge of the US government and we were
attacked because the terrorists "hated our freedoms and democracy."
Whichever of the theories is true, one thing is for sure: the Bush regime’s
response to 9-11 was woefully… Continue reading
by P. Devlin Buckley
September 5, 2008
The American Monitor
Law firms representing victims of the 9/11 attacks in an
ongoing legal dispute with wealthy Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda have
recently turned their attention to two individuals with unique ties to the U.S.
Lawyers for victims of the attacks, as well as insurance companies of property
owners in New York, have filed a motion of discovery in federal district court
in Manhattan targeting the Saudi-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) and two
of its former executives, Khalid bin Mahfouz and Yassin al-Qadi.
Both Mahfouz and al-Qadi have a murky history that includes alleged ties to
the CIA, the White House, the Bush family, al-Qaeda, and organized crime on
a global scale.
The discovery motion, if granted, would advance the case by requiring both
sides to disclose and exchange all available pertinent facts regarding the defendants.
The motion comes just days after a circuit court ruled members of the Saudi
government are immune from terrorism lawsuits in the United States, a setback
in the plaintiffs’ case against Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda in the
years leading up to 9/11. There are some defendants, however, the ruling does
not protect, including Khalid bin Mahfouz, Yassin al-Qadi, and the NCB.
Government documents, expert testimony, and media reports dating back several
years suggest Mahfouz and al-Qadi have raised millions of dollars for al-Qaeda
and other militant groups. Evidence indicates some of the defendants’
activities were sanctioned by the U.S. government.
During the late… Continue reading