Archive for February, 2008

Alleged Hijacker Booked On Post-9/11 Flights

February 29, 2008

Alleged Hijacker Booked On Post-9/11 Flights
Astounding FBI documents contradict 9/11 Commission report as CIA veteran Robert Baer calls for investigation to be re-opened

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Thursday, February 28th, 2008

digg_title = ‘Alleged Hijacker Booked On Post-9/11 Flights’; digg_bodytext = ‘Astounding newly released FBI documents obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act show that alleged 9/11 hijacker Hamza Al-Ghamdi had booked future flights to San Francisco and Riyadh, suggesting that he was unaware of his eventual fate aboard United Airlines Flight 175, the plane that hit the World Trade Centers south tower.’;

Astounding newly released FBI documents obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act show that alleged 9/11 hijacker Hamza Al-Ghamdi had booked future flights to San Francisco and Riyadh, suggesting that he was unaware of his eventual fate aboard United Airlines Flight 175, the plane that hit the World Trade Center’s south tower.

The papers consist of a 300 page Federal Bureau of Investigation timeline (PDF link) that was used by the 9/11 Commission but not made public until now.

The 9/11 Commission failed to mention in its final report that Al-Ghamdi was booked onto several flights scheduled to take place after 9/11, including another flight on the very day of the attacks.

The fact that Al-Ghamdi had booked post-9/11 flights obviously gives rise to doubts about whether the alleged hijacker knew the 9/11 attack was a suicide mission and even brings into question if he was on the flight at all.

(Article continues below)

Citing “UA passenger information,” on page 288 under an entry pertaining to “H AlGhamdi,” the FBI timeline reads: “Future flight. Scheduled to depart Los Angeles International Airport for San Francisco International Airport on UA 7950,” reports Raw Story (excerpt below).

Al-Ghamdi was also booked to fly on September 20, 2001 from Casablanca, Morocco to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and September 29, where he planned to fly from Riyadh to Damman, Saudi Arabia.

The FBI timeline documents also contradict with several other details of the 9/11 Commission Report, notably on the movements of alleged Flight 77 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar.

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According to researcher Paul Thompson, he believes the Commission cherry-picked the dates of the alleged hijacker’s movements in order to shield their ties with high-level Saudi Arabian officials.

He points to the redaction of the name of a person who is a known employee of a Saudi defense contractor, Omar al-Bayoumi, who lived at the same location, reports Raw Story.

“We know it’s Bayoumi,” said Thompson, “because after 9/11, the Finnish Government mistakenly released a classified FBI list of suspects that showed Bayoumi living in apartment #152 of Parkwood Apartments.” That information is available here.

“But also important is that it strongly suggests that the hijackers already had a support network in Southern California before they arrived,” Thompson continued.

“In the official version of the story now, the hijackers drift around L.A. listlessly for two weeks before chancing to come across Bayoumi in a restaurant [according to Bayoumi’s account],” Thompson added. “Whereupon he’s an incredible good Samaritan and takes them down to San Diego, pays their rent, etc.”

”But from the FBI’s timeline, we now know the hijackers started staying at Bayoumi’s place on Jan. 15 – the very same day they arrived,” Thompson says. “So obviously they must have been met at the airport and taken care of from their very first hours in the US. That’s huge because the FBI maintains to this day that the hijackers never had any accomplices in the US.”


Alleged Hamza Al-Ghamdi appears in his “martrydom tape,” which interestingly enough was only released in September 2006, post-9/11 just like his flight plans were.

Former 20-year veteran CIA case officer Robert Baer, who has previously asserted that 9/11 has aspects of being an inside job, told Raw Story that the new developments immediately demand the 9/11 investigation be re-opened.

“There are enough discrepancies and unanswered questions in the 9/11 Commission report that under a friendly administration, the 9/11 investigation should be re-opened,” wrote Baer.

“Considering that the main body of evidence came from tortured confessions, it’s still not entirely clear to me what happened on 9/11,” he concluded.

Raw Story provides further details concerning how the documents shed more light on the role of Saudi authorities and their complicity in the attack.

These new revelations mark the most astounding 9/11-related developments in many months and are sure to kick of a firestorm of new doubts about the crumbling official government story.

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China considers ending one-child policy

February 29, 2008

China considers ending one-child policy

This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Thursday February 28 2008. It was last updated at 14:46 on February 28 2008.
A child sits in a pram in Beijing, China

A child sits in a pram in Beijing, China. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

China could scrap its one-child policy, a senior family planning official said today, acknowledging concerns about its effects in creating an ageing society and gender gap.

The controversial rules, which restrict most urban families to a single child and rural households to two, were introduced in the 1970s in a bid to bring the country’s vast population – the world’s largest – from soaring out of control and outstripping limited resources.

But today the vice-minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission said officials were carrying out detailed examination of the environmental, social and other implications of changing the law.

Asked if they were planning to axe the one-child policy, Zhao Baige told reporters in Beijing that there was a “very serious process” of study.

“I cannot answer at what time or how [we will decide], but this has really become a big issue among decision makers,” she said.

“We want to have a transition from control to a slowdown [relaxation], incrementally. The attitude is to do the studies, to consider it responsibly.”

Although the population has yet to peak – it is expected to rise from 1.3 billion now to 1.5 billion in 2033 – the birth rate has dropped below the replacement rate of 2.1.

Rising prosperity in recent years has also helped to change attitudes. Zhao said 60% of young women now say they want a maximum of two children.

While there is no prospect of controls being thrown out overnight, changes could be rolled out region-by-region, or introduced for particular kinds of households.

Concessions already exist allowing people in their second marriage to have another baby if their spouse has none, and permitting couples without any siblings to have two children.

But officials are nervous of announcing potential changes in the rules lest people pre-empt them. Discussions about relaxations of the law in 1983 are believed to have led to the birth of an extra 30 million babies that year.

Zhao also acknowledged the problems posed by the longstanding cultural preference for boys and warned that in future the use of ultrasound to predict the sex of a child – and terminate female fetuses – could become “a big issue” for China.

It already has 118 male births for every 100 female; way above the global “normal” ratio of between 103 and 107 boys for every 100 girls.

The government is rolling out a scheme to encourage families to value girls by introducing special social and economic benefits for them.

It is developing an increasingly sophisticated set of policies around population control, focusing not just on the total number of citizens but also issues such as age distribution. It is also attempting to address the underlying causes of excess births and the preference for males, and to promote its policies more effectively.

“In the 70s it was always the same language – ‘One child is best’. Now it is about giving information on contraception,” said Zhao.

The enforcement system is far less punitive than in the 80s and early 90s, but families that exceed the official limits face fines or “compensation fees”. These can be punitive for poorer families – which can face the confiscation of property if they fail to pay – but almost insignificant for the wealthy.

That has spawned resentment that a good income can even affect a household’s ability to have children.

The commission also said that, in a case that became an international cause célèbre, two officials had been detained for three to six months, and one official sacked, after women in Shandong province were forced to have abortions and sterilisations. According to some reports, up to 7,000 women were affected.

However, Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist who tried to launch legal actions on behalf of the victims, is still imprisoned.

Exxon suxx. McCain duxx. By Greg Palast

February 28, 2008

Exxon suxx. McCain duxx. By Greg Palast

Dandelion Salad

By Greg Palast
27 February 2008

Nineteen goddamn years is enough. I’m sorry if you don’t like my language, but when I think about what they did to Paul Kompkoff, I’m in no mood to nicey-nice words.

Next month marks 19 years since the Exxon Valdez dumped its load of crude oil across the Prince William Sound, Alaska. A big gooey load of this crude spilled over the lands of the Chenega Natives. Paul Kompkoff was a seal-hunter for the village. That is, until Exxon’s ship killed the seal and poisoned the rest of Chenega’s food supply.

While cameras rolled, Exxon executives promised they’d compensate everyone. Today, before the US Supreme Court, the big oil company’s lawyers argued that they shouldn’t have to pay Paul or other fishermen the damages ordered by the courts.

They can’t pay Paul anyway. He’s dead.

That was part of Exxon’s plan. They told me that. In 1990 and 1991, I worked for the Chenega and Chugach Natives of Alaska on trying to get Exxon to pay up to save the remote villages of the Sound. Exxon’s response was, “We can hold out in court until you’re all dead.”

Nice guys. But, hell, they were right, weren’t they?

But Exxon didn’t do it alone. They had enablers. One was a failed oil driller named “Dubya.” Exxon was the largest contributor to George W. Bush’s political career after Enron. They were a team, Exxon and Enron. The Chairman of Enron, Ken Lay, prior to his felony convictions, funded a group called Texans for Law Suit Reform. The idea was to prevent Natives, consumers and defrauded stockholders from suing felonious corporations and their chiefs.

When George went to Washington, Enron and Exxon got their golden pass in the appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts. Today, as the court heard Exxon’s latest stall, Roberts said, in defense of Exxon’s behavior in Alaska, “What more can a corporation do?”

The answer, Your Honor, is plenty.

For starters, Mr. Roberts, Exxon could have turned on the radar. What? On the night the Exxon Valdez smacked into Bligh Reef, the Raycas radar system was turned off. Exxon shipping honchos decided it was too expensive to maintain it and train their navigators to use it. So, the inexperienced third mate at the wheel was driving the supertanker by eyeball, Christopher Columbus style. I kid you not.

Here’s what else this poor ‘widdle corporation could do: stop lying.

On the night of March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez was not even supposed to leave harbor.

If a tanker busts open, that doesn’t have to mean a thousand miles of shoreline gets slimed – so long as oil-slick containment equipment is in place.

On the night of March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez was not supposed have left port. No tanker can unless a spill containment barge is operating nearby. That night, the barge was in dry-dock, locked under ice. Exxon kept that fact hidden, concealing the truth even after the tanker grounded. An Exxon official radioed the emergency crew, “Barge is on its way.”

Paul’s gone – buried with Exxon’s promises. But the oil’s still there. Go out to Chenega lands today. At Sleepy Bay, kick over some gravel and it will smell like a gas station.

What the heck does this have to do with John McCain? The Senator is what I’d call a ‘Tort Tart.’ Ken Lay’s “Law Suit Reform” posse was one of the fronts used by a gaggle of corporate lobbyists waging war on your day in court. Their rallying cry is ‘Tort Reform,’ by which they mean they want to take away the God-given right of any American, rich or poor, to sue the bastards who crush your child’s skull through product negligence, make your heart explode with a faulty medical device, siphon off your pension funds, or poison your food supply with spilled oil.

Now, all of the Democratic candidates have seen through this ‘tort reform’ con – and so did a Senator named McCain who, in 2001, for example, voted for the Patients Bill of Rights allowing claims against butchers with scalpels. Then something happened to Senator McCain: the guy who stuck his neck out for litigants got his head chopped off when he ran for President in the Republican Party in 2000 for what one lobbyists’ website called McCain’s, “his go-it-alone moralism.”

So the Senator did what I call, The McCain Hunch. Again and again he grabbed his ankles and apologized to the K Street lobbyists, reversing his positions on, well, you name it. For example, in 2001, he said of Bush’s tax cuts, “I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans.” Now, in bad conscience, the Senator vows to make these tax cuts permanent.

On “Tort Reform,” the about-face was dizzying. McCain voted to undermine his own 2001 Patients Bill of Rights with votes in 2005 to limit suits to enforce it. He then added his name to a bill that would have thrown sealhunter Kompkoff’s suit out of federal court.

In 2003, McCain voted against Bush’s Energy Plan, an industry oil-gasm. But this week, following Exxon’s report that it sucked in $40.6 billion in earnings last year, the largest profit haul in planetary history, McCain failed to join Clinton, Obama, most Democrats and some Republicans on a bill to require a teeny sliver of industry profit go to alternative energy sources. On oil independence, McCain is AWOL, missing in action.

Well, Paul, at least you were spared this.

I remember when I was on the investigation in Alaska, fishermen, bankrupted, utterly ruined – Kompkoff’s co-plaintiffs in the suit before the court – floated their soon-to-be repossessed boats into the tanker lanes with banners reading, “EXXON SUXX.” To which they could now add, about a one-time stand-up Senator: “McCain duxx.”

Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Subscribe to his investigative reports at http://www.GregPalast.com

Elite ‘Democratic’ Planning at the Council on Foreign Relations (Part 1 of 2)

February 27, 2008

Elite ‘Democratic’ Planning at the Council on Foreign Relations (Part 1 of 2)

By Michael Barker

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Who are they and how did it start?

The… Council [on Foreign Relations] was conceived, in the words of its incorporating charter, ‘to afford a continuous conference on international questions affecting the United States.’ By its first annual report, November 1922, it had assurance of financial support for the startup years and close to 300 ‘carefully chosen’ members, including [Elihu] Root from the old Council, but also new and promising figures like Herbert H. Lehman, W. Averell Harriman, and John Foster Dulles.”  Peter Grose, (1996) – Official Council historian [1]

As with many elite planning groups the Council on Foreign Relations (the Council) proudly refers to itself as a “nonpartisan and independent membership organization”. However, like other democracy manipulating organizations (e.g. the two bipartisan groups the National Endowment for Democracy and its partner the US Institute of Peace) little critical commentary surrounds their work. The Council’s activities are nonetheless decidedly antidemocratic: that is, it promotes an elite form of democracy, often referred to as plutocracy or polyarchy, as opposed to its more participatory variants. Yet, considering the influential role the Council has exerted over the development of ‘democracy’ in the United States and beyond, it is strange that political scientists the world over tend to overlook this powerful agency of US hegemony.

Remarkably, until power elite researcher G. William Domhoff briefly wrote about the activities of the Council in his book, Who Rules America? (1967, pp.71-3), it appears that no one on the Left had critically analysed their work. [2] Furthermore, for many years, the only critical book-length study of the Council’s work was Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter’s excellent Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (Monthly Review Press, 1977). [3] In a recent article Laurence H. Shoup, (2004) states:

“One of the prime characteristics of the U.S. upper class is its high level of organization. One of the central organizations, accurately called ‘the citadel of America’s establishment,’ is the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Founded in 1921, the CFR is the most influential of all private policy planning groups. Its great strength is mainly exercised behind the scenes and stems from its unique position among policy groups: it is simultaneously both a think tank for foreign and economic policy and also has a large membership comprising some of the most important individuals in U.S. economic, intellectual, and political life. The Council has a yearly budget of about $30 million and a staff of over 200.” [4]

Official Council historian, Peter Grose, corroborates the secretive nature of their work when he observed that: “From its inception, the activities of the Council on Foreign Relations were private and confidential.” Yet despite making this point, in the following paragraph Grose acknowledges that the “Council’s founding fathers appreciated that democracy involved the factor of public opinion, but they were uncertain at first about how such opinion was to be formed and expressed.” [5] There is no real contradiction here as the publics’ role in democratic policy making, as considered by ruling elites, was perhaps best expressed by former Council board member (1932-7) Walter Lippmann,  in 1922 wrote “the common interests very largely elude public opinion entirely, and can be managed only by a specialized class whose personal interests reach beyond the locality.” [6] Perhaps with thoughts of the Council in mind Lippmann (1922, p.31-2) wrote:

“[R]epresentative democracy… cannot be worked successfully, no matter what the basis of election, unless there is an independent, expert organization for making the unseen facts intelligible to those who have to make the decisions… [P]ublic opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press as is the case today.” [7]

Inderjeet Parmar (2005, p.17) writes that in the early 1940s members of the Council and the State Department “were absolutely terrified of public opinion which, in the main, was isolationist, pacifist and, still, largely anticolonialist”. [8] So it is entirely consistent with the Council thinking that in 1947 the globalist Council created a ‘Propaganda and Foreign Policy’ group – shortly thereafter renamed as the ‘Public Opinion and Foreign Policy’ group – that aimed to “research possible ideas to influence and educate the American public on foreign policy issues”. [9]

Following in Lippmann elitist footsteps, Edward Bernays, one of the founding fathers of Public Relations (rather: propaganda), later helped refine the tools for “engineering consent”.  [10] Moreover, the Rockefeller Foundation (which at the time was one of the most influential liberal foundations’), sponsored and organized a number of Communications Seminars between 1939 and 1940 that “acknowledged the need to develop ways in which to manufacture public consent for desired policy changes”. [11] Research undertaken by Parmar concerning the critical period of 1939 to 1945, demonstrates the key role played by liberal foundations in engineering consent to “build a new globalist consensus”. [12]

The work of liberal foundations’ was not limited to developing the means to manufacture public consent for elite profit; they have also played an important role in supporting many progressive causes. Yet, as Nicolas Guilhot (2007, p.449) writes, by no means does this mean that their charitable work is a disinterested apolitical aid, because as in the case of the funding they provided for higher education,  liberal “philanthropists sought to ensure that social reform would be congruent with their own Interests”. Moreover:

“By investing in the universities, philanthropists pursued two specific objectives. In the first place, they obviously sought to foster the teaching of practical knowledge and skills serving the development of commerce and industry, against the prevailing academic traditions. But these educational and scientific investments were also a way of diagnosing the social upheavals caused by the accelerated shift from a still largely agrarian society to an industrial mass society characterized by the emergence of a polyglot and riotous urban proletariat… Aware that social reform was unavoidable, they chose to invest in the definition and scientific treatment of the ‘social questions’ of their time: urbanization, education, housing, public hygiene, the ‘Negro problem,’ etc. Far from being resistant to social change, the philanthropists promoted reformist solutions that did not threaten the capitalistic nature of the social order but constituted a “private alternative to socialism”. (Guilhot, 2007, pp.451-2)

Liberal foundations’ interests were not limited to education, but as Roelofs (2007, p.480) notes, “[t]heir influence is exerted in many ways” and also includes “creating ideology and the common wisdom; …controlling access to resources for universities, social services, and arts organizations; compensating for market failures; steering protest movements into safe channels; and supporting those institutions by which policies are initiated and implemented.” [13] As I have written about the anti-democratic practices at length elsewhere I will direct interested readers to my recent article Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions? (Part 1; Part 2).

Liberal Philanthropy and US Foreign Policy

Liberal foundations’ and their associated philanthropoids have always played a key role in the work of the Council. According to Shoup and Minter (1977, pp.94-5) the two foundations that provided the most support for the Council were the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York; indeed total foundation grants before 1936 averaged about $20,000 a year, although from 1936 to 1946, this increased to about $90,000 a year. In later years, the Ford Foundation also acted as a key Council funder, and in 1954 they gave the Council a $1,500,000 ten-year grant. [14]

As an example of liberal foundation largesse, Grose writes: “Supported by a $50,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation, the Council launched a major initiative in December 1937 to spread its activities and role across the United States, to replicate the New York Council in eight American cities.” Crucially, as Shoup and Minter (1977, p.30) observe, the establishment of these Council committees served two purposes, (1) they “influenc[ed] the thinking of local leaders”, and (2) “they provid[ed] the Council and the United States government with information about trends of thought on political affairs throughout the country”.

Given the Rockefeller Foundation’s involvement with the aforementioned Communications Seminars (1939-40) it is particularly interesting that Grose notes that in 1939 the Foundation funded (to the sum of $350,000 a secret Council project that was launched in collaboration with the US State Department. [15] This Rockefeller-funded project was later known as the War and Peace Studies Group – a project that aimed to development a concrete plan for US domination in the post-war world. [16] Grose continues


“Over the coming five years, almost 100 men participated in the War and Peace Studies [Group], divided into four functional topic groups: economic and financial, security and armaments, territorial, and political. These groups met more than 250 times, usually in New York, over dinner and late into the night. They produced 682 memoranda for the State Department, which marked them classified and circulated them among the appropriate government departments.”

 

Writing from a (far more) critical perspective, F. William Engdahl (2008) offers more details of their work:

 

“The core of the War & Peace Studies, which were designed for and implemented by the US State Department after 1944, was to be the creation of a United Nations organization to replace the British-dominated League of Nations. A central part of that new UN organization, which would serve as the preserver of the US-friendly postwar status quo, [17] was creation of what were originally referred to as the Bretton Woods institutions—the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or World Bank. The GATT multinational trade agreements were later added.

 

“The US negotiators in Bretton Woods New Hampshire, led by US Treasury deputy Secretary Harry Dexter White, imposed a design on the IMF and World Bank which insured the two would remain essentially instruments of an “informal” US empire, an empire, initially based on credit, and later, after about 1973, on debt.” [18]

 

Subsequently, Grose observes that, during the 1950’s, liberal foundations continued to provide massive support to the work of the Council: “from the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Corporation came $500,000 each, topped by $1.5 million from the new Ford Foundation in 1954.” Between 1940 and 1970 David Rockefeller also served as “an active Council member”, and from 1950 to 1970 he was the vice-president of the Council. In 1970, Rockefeller then became chairman of the Council’s board (a position he maintained until 1985), “succeeding [former chair of the Ford foundation] John J. McCloy, who had served for 17 years.” In his autobiography, David Rockefeller (2002, p.407) recalls:

 

“After World War II the Council played an important role in alerting Americans to the new threat posed by the Soviet Union and in crafting a bipartisan consensus on how to deal with the worldwide expansion of Communism. In 1947, Foreign Affairs, the Council’s distinguished journal, published the famous ‘X’ article, ‘The Sources of Soviet Conduct’ (written anonymously because George Kennan was serving in the State Department at the time). It outlined the doctrine of containment… [This] article became the defining document of U.S. Cold War policy.”

 

At around the same time that Rockefeller became chair of the Council’s board, former CIA analyst, William Bundy, amidst much controversy, became the new head of Foreign Affairs: [19]  it is noteworthy to point out that William’s brother, McGeorge Bundy, was well linked to liberal philanthropy’s inner circles as he served as the president of the Ford Foundation from 1966 to 1979. Moreover, it is vital to note that the activities of  the Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford Foundations’ – a grouping often referred to as the big three – were closely enmeshed with the CIA and US foreign policy elites during this period. Unsurprisingly, Victor Marchetti and John Marks’ (1980, p.237) in their book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence noted that the CFR “has long been the CIA’s principal ‘constituency’ in the American public. When the agency has need prominent citizens to front for its proprietary companies or other special interests, it has often turned to the Council [on Foreign Relations] members.” In 1977, Shoup and Minter also wrote that since its founding, the “directorship of the CIA has been in the hands of a Council leader or member more often than not”. [20]

Part 2 to follow…

Michael Barker is a doctoral candidate at Griffith University, Australia. He can be reached at Michael. J. Barker [at] griffith.edu.au. Most of his other articles can be found here.

 

Endnotes

[1] The CFR’s website provides links to the following books detailing their history: Robert D. Schulzinger, The Wise Men of Foreign Affairs (Columbia University Press, 1984); Michael Wala, The Council on Foreign Relations and American Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War (Berghann Books: 1994); Peter Grose, Continuing the Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996 (Council on Foreign Relations: 1996).

[2] The Council’s work had however been examined by the conservative writer, Emanuel M. Josephson in his book Rockefeller, ‘Internationalist’: The Man Who Misrules the World (Chedney Press, 1952). The Council also get a brief mention (on one page) in Horace Coon’s groundbreaking Money to Burn: Great American Foundations and Their Money (Transaction, 1938).

[3] In the past few years Laurence H. Shoup has continued to draw attention to the antidemocratic nature of the Council within the pages of Z Magazine, e.g. Election 2008: Ruling Class Conducts its Hidden Primary (2008), and The CFR Debates Torture, Part 1 & Part 2 (2006). Another useful treatment of the Council is provided in G. William Domhoff’s The Power Elite and the State: How Policy is Made in America (Walter de Gruyter, Inc., 1990), pp.113-151. Although the Council is bipartisan, here bipartisan can be left, right, or neither, a profile of their work has been compiled by Right Web (although it requires updating).

More recently Inderjeet Parmar has written about the Council, see Liberal-Imperial Brain Trust: The Political Significance of the Princeton Project on National Security (Paper prepared for presentation at the International Studies Association annual convention, Chicago, 2007); Think Tanks and Power in Foreign Policy: A Comparative Study of the Role and Influence of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1939-1945 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). The Council’s Archive is based at Harold Pratt House, 58 East 68th Street, New York City.

[4] In 2007, the Council has 4330 members.

[5] Shoup and Minter (1977, p.12) illustrate how the idea for the Council was “primarily that of British historian Lionel Curtis” who prior to the founding of the Council “had been in charge of setting up a network of semi-secret organizations… called the Round Table Groups” (which were “established by Lord Milner, a former British secretary for war, and his associates in 1908-1911”). For a detailed insider-account of the history of the Round Table Groups, see Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment (Books in Focus, 1981). Chapter 1 of this book can be found online. (In 1984, John G. Albert, who at the time was based at the US Air Force Academy, reviewed this book concluding that “its message is forcefully argued and casts a long shadow over previous interpretations of the events of the first half of this century”. Military Affairs, Vol. 48 (1), p.47.)

Corporate interests rated highly within the Council’s work right from the start: Grose writes: “For all their grumbling, the captains of finance among the membership clearly welcomed the intellectual stimulation and diversity, the unique synergy of interests envisioned at the start. They did all right by their Council. Members who were directors of large corporations seized the opportunity to inject the concerns of business into the reflections of scholars.”

Michael Wala (1994, p.xii) observes: “That the Council is without outside control and has refrained from publicity, remaining by choice in the background, has helped to foster the development of conspiratorial theories about its influence and function over the last three decades.”

[6] Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922), p.310

[7] Lippmann (1922, pp.43-4) writes: “Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct a propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks wise or desirable. For while people who have direct access can misconceive what they see, no-one else can decide how they shall misconceive it, unless he can decide where they shall look, and at what.” He famously notes that the “manufacture of consent”, was “supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy”, but “it has not”. In fact, he notes that it “has improved enormously in technic, because it is now based on analysis rather than on rule of thumb.” Lippmann then observes that “persuasion has become a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government.” (Lippmann, 1922, p.248)

It is noteworthy that, in 1914, Lippmann played an important role at the newly created publication The New Republic. This is because, as Bill Clinton’s mentor, Carroll Quigley (1966, p.938), points out, that it was around then that “the [J.P.] Morgan firm decided to infiltrate the Left-wing political movements in the United States.” He adds that: “The purpose was not to destroy, dominate, or take over but was really threefold: (1) to keep informed about the thinking of Left-wing or liberal groups; (2) to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could ‘blow off steam,’ and (3) to have a final veto on their publicity and possibly on their actions, if they ever went ‘radical.’” This relates to Lippmann, as Quigley continues by noting that the “best example of this alliance of Wall Street and Left-wing publication was The New Republic,” a magazine founded by Morgan partner Willard Straight and his wife Dorothy (whose money supported the magazine until 1953) (p.939).

According to Quigley: “The original purpose for establishing the paper was to provide an outlet for the progressive Left and to guide it quietly in an Anglophile direction.” He states that “[t]his latter task was entrusted” (in 1914) to Walter Lippman (p.939). The Morgan-connection is particularly relevant to this article because Quigley describes the Council on Foreign Relations as a “front for J.P. Morgan and Company”. He adds that the New York branch of the Council “was dominated by the associates of the Morgan Bank. For example, in 1928 the Council on Foreign Relations has John. W. Davis as president, Paul Cravath as vice-president, and a council of thirteen others, which included Owen D. Young, Russell C. Leffingwell, Norman Davis, Allen Dulles, George W. Wickersham, Frank L. Polk, Whitney Shepardson, Isaiah Bowman, Stephen P. Duggan, and Otto Kahn.” (p.952) Moreover, Shoup and Minter (1977, p.23) write that the “election of Herbet Hoover to the presidency in 1928… increase[d] the Council’s influence on foreign-policy formulation.” This is because Hoover himself had been a Paris member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (the Council’s British-based predecessor), his secretary of state, Henry L. Stimson, was a Council member, and Stimson’s economic adviser had also been a Council staffer.

It is important that the Council’s leadership reflects the power dynamic of the New York financial community, as “until the early 1950s, the most prominent place within the Council was held by men tied to Morgan interests.” However, thereafter Rockefeller linked individuals had played a more important role in directing the Council’s affairs. See Shoup and Minter (1977, p.104).

[8] Indedjeet Parmar, Catalysing Events, Think Tanks and American Foreign Policy Shifts: A Comparative Analysis of the Impacts of Pearl Harbor 1941 and 11 September 2001, Government and Opposition 40 (1), 2000, pp.1-25.

In a manner eerily similar to the Project for a New American Century’s (2000, p.51) ‘need’ for “‘some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor” (i.e. 9/11), Parmar notes that in 1941 Council members recognized in order to put their globalist plans into action: “Americans ‘need a shock (preferably a military one)’ to galvanise them into action, to bring them to their ‘senses’ and to recognize that the European war was their concern.” In December 1941, this shock came in the form of Pearl Harbor.For more on the similarities between Pearl Harbor and 9/11, see David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 (Interlink, 2004).

[9] Michael Wala (1994, p.158) also highlights that the group was “initiated” by Lester Markel, who at the time was the Sunday editor of the New York Times. Markel went on to become the founding chair of the International Press Institute (1951-4), a media group whose activities, as I note elsewhere, are closely entwined with the democracy manipulating community. The mainstream media itself are also intimately tied to the work of the Council: for example, “[i]n 1972, three out of ten directors of the New York Times Company and five out of nine editorial executives were Council members” (Shoup and Minter, 1977, p.66).

[10] Stewart Ewen (1996) writes in his classic book PR: A Social History of Spin that: “During the First World War, Bernays served as a foot soldier for the U. S. Committee on Public Information (CPI)-the vast American propaganda apparatus mobilized in 1917 to package, advertise and sell the war as one that would ‘Make the World Safe for Democracy.’”

[11] Michael Barker, “The Liberal Foundations of Media Reform? Creating Sustainable Funding Opportunities for Radical Media Reform,” Global Media (In Press).

It is no secret that the foreign policy establishment had contempt for the wider public; as Michael Wala (1994, p.11) points out: “’Public opinion,’ for the members of these groups, had a limited definition and was synonymous with a small group of people having the means to inform and influence large parts of the public.” Moreover, as far as the Council was concerned the only members of the “public that had to be educated” were “those members of society who had influence on the media and politics and to experts in a number of important fields” (p.12).

[12] Indedjeet Parmar, `To Relate Knowledge and Action’: the Impact of the Rockefeller Foundation on Foreign Policy Thinking during America’s Rise to Globalism 1939-1945, Minerva,40 (3),  2002, pp.235-263;  The Carnegie Corporation and the Mobilisation of Opinion During the United States’ Rise to Globalism, 1939–1945, Minerva, 37 (4), 1999, pp.355-378; Engineering Consent: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Mobilisation of American Public Opinion, 1939–1945, Review of International Studies, 26 (1), 2000, pp.35-48.

[13] Roelofs (2007, p.502) concludes that “the pluralist model of civil society obscures the extensive collaboration among the resource-providing elites and the dependent state of most grassroots organizations. While the latter may negotiate with foundations over details, and even win some concessions, capitalist hegemony (including its imperial perquisites) cannot be questioned without severe organizational penalties. By and large, it is the funders who are calling the tune. This would be more obvious if there were sufficient publicized investigations of this vast and important domain. That the subject is ‘off-limits’ for both academics and journalists is compelling evidence of enormous power.”

Liberal foundations also played a key role in ‘supporting’ the development of modern day medicine, see Richard E. Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and Capitalism in America (University of California Press, 1979).

[14] Shoup and Minter, 1977, pp.95-6. Liberal foundations continue to support the Council’s work, e.g. the Ford Foundation’s 2006 Annual Report (p.62) notes that they gave the Council a $200,000 grant for “research, seminars and publications on the role of women in conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction and state building”.

[15] Michael Wala (1994, p.33) notes, that in May 1943, the Council established a Peace Aims Group that “was financed through a special fund from the Rockefeller Foundation”. This Group “organized meetings attended by representatives of occupied European countries and by the Allies. At these meetings, they could express their peace and reparations proposals, thus providing the State Department with important information for the coordination of its foreign policy aims” (pp.33-4). After the war, the Rockefeller Foundation then provided the Council with $55,000 to establish a group known as the Economic Co-operation Administration (ECA) that was administered by Paul G. Hoffman (who went on to become the first president of the Ford Foundation). “Dwight D. Eisnehower became the chairman of that study group on ‘Aid to Europe,’ and ‘whatever General Eisenhower knows about economics,’ journalist Joseph Kraft quoted a member of the group as stating, ‘he has learned at the study group meetings.’ The Rockefeller Foundation went even further and suggested that the study group ‘served as a sort of education in foreign affairs for the future president of the United States.’” (Wala, 1994, pp.125-6)

[16] Also of interest, James Martin (1981) pointed out that the influential liberal historian, Charles A. Beard, “had opened up another sore while writing his book with a famed article in the Saturday Evening Post for October 4, 1947, ‘Who’s to Write the History of the War?,’ in which he revealed that the Rockefeller Foundation, working with its alter ego, the Council on Foreign Relations, had provided $139,000 for the latter to spend in underwriting an official-line history of how the war had come about, in an effort to defeat at the start the same kind of ‘debunking’ historical campaign which had immediately followed the end of World War I.” Also see Shoup and Minter (1977, pp.118-125) for more details on the work of the War and Peace Studies Group.

[17] For a brief account of the integral role played by the Council in the creation of the United Nations, see Shoup and Minter (1977, pp.169-72).

[18] F. William Engdahl (2008) adds that “State Department planning head, George F. Kennan wrote in a confidential internal memo in 1948, ‘We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population…Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security.’” Engdahl also notes: “Maintaining the role of the US dollar as world reserve currency has been the foremost pillar of the American Century since 1945, related to but more strategic even than US military superiority. How that dollar primacy has been maintained to now encompassed the history of countless postwar wars, financial warfare, debt crises, and threats of nuclear war to the present.” In addition, Joan Roelofs (2003, p.74) writes: “The new international monetary institutions, created in 1944 at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, were not to be jeopardized by U.S. economic instability. Consequently, after War II, the ‘Managerial Presidency’ was enlarged to include a Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). The CEA’s role was in institutionalize Keynesian economic planning for economic stability and to implement the Employment Act of 1946.”

After the successful War and Peace Studies, the next time that the Council would convene a group to study the entire international system was in 1973, when the 1980’s Project was initiated “to plan for and create the current neoliberal world system we now have.” See Laurence H. Shoup, Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War: The Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Z Magazine, March 1, 2003. For a detailed examination of the 1980s Project, see Shoup and Minter, 1977, pp.254-84.

[19] David Rockefeller (2002, p.408) writes he “strongly supported” the selection of William Bundy as the new head of Foreign Affairs, even though this “angered many Council members”, who “considered Bill a war criminal” owing to his former employment as assistance secretary of defense in the mid-1960s (a period during which the murderous scale of the Vietnam ‘War’ was escalating). David’s ability to overlook Bundy’s blood soaked past is entirely consistent. (Incidentally, the protests against William Bundy’s promotion were headed by Richard Falk, but the three others individuals joining Falk in the initial protest were Richard Barnet, Richard H. Ullman, and Ronald Steel, see Shoup and Minter (1977, p.46).) As Peter Collier and David Horowitz note in their excellent book The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976), pp.416-7: “If the new military regimes that began appearing on the already bleak political landscape of Latin America dealt harshly with their opposition, they also brought a certain stability. It was for this reason that David welcomed the new conservatism of Washington’s alliance with the Latin republics. Writing in Foreign Affairs… in 1966, David observed that the revised and scaled-down version of the Alliance for Progress  was better than ‘the overly ambitious concepts of revolutionary change of the program’s early years, because it created a climate more attractive to U.S. business.’” Following this line of reasoning it is not surprising that in 1979 David Rockefeller, the banker of the deposed (formerly US-backed) Shah of Iran, worked with Henry Kissinger to “put public and private pressure on the Carter administraton to allowed the deposed Shah of Iran into the country [US], assertedly for both humanitarian reasons and reason of state”. They succeeded in convincing the President to allow the Shah to come to the United States, an event that “precipitated the seizure of the American Embassy in Teheran and the taking of fifty-three hostages”. See Leonard Silk and Mark Silk, The American Establishment (New York: Basic Books, 1980), pp.224-5. For a full account of David Rockefeller’s involvement in the Iran hostage crisis, see Robert Parry, Original October Surprise, Consortium News, October 29, 2006. For details of how the Trilateral Commission initially succeed in getting Carter elected president, see Shoup, The Carter Presidency and Beyond: Power and Politics in the 1980s (Ramparts Press, 1980).

Given David Rockefeller’s involvement in the fall of the Carter Presidency, it is interesting to note that the Rockefeller-created Trilateral Commissionbrought Carter to power in the first place. Stephen Lendman’s (2008) review of F. William Engdahl’s new book Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (Global Research, 2007), titled Agribusiness Giants seek to gain Worldwide Control over our Food Supply, which provides a useful summary of David Rockefeller’s decidedly antidemocratic history. David’s brother Nelson Rockefeller, another influential member of the Council, has a similarly antidemocratic background, see Gerald Colby and Charlotte Dennett, Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil (HarperPerennial, 1995) – see their interview on Democracy Now. has been attributed as being the group that

[20] Shoup and Minter, 1977, p.61.

What the Times Didn’t Tell About McCain

February 27, 2008

What the Times Didn’t Tell About McCain

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080227_what_the_times_didnt_tell_about_mccain/

Posted on Feb 26, 2008

By Robert Scheer

As Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain twisted briefly in the wind kicked up by that New York Times story suggesting he had swapped political favors for the personal favors of an attractive lobbyist for the telecommunications industry, I kept waiting for the public policy punch line. Surely the Times would spell out just what it was that McCain had delivered to big media beyond what the paper originally reported: an all-too-typical congressional request that the FCC speed up its review of a broadcast licensing dispute.

Vicki Iseman, the lobbyist in question, is praised on her company’s Web site for her “extensive experience in telecommunications, representing corporations before the House and Senate Commerce Committees,” and for “her work on the landmark 1992 and 1996 communications bills.” Now that’s a biggie, because the 1996 legislation, although you would never have learned this from the mainstream media at the time, opened the floodgates for massive media consolidation, thus rewarding media moguls for their many millions in campaign contributions. McCain was a big player on that Commerce Committee at the time, and I expected a Times revelation as to just how Iseman got McCain to help gift the media barons with their dream legislation.

The revelation never came, because the annoying reality is that McCain was one of the rare Senate opponents of the telecom bill that Iseman was pushing—as opposed to The New York Times, which like every other major media outlet pushed for the legislation (in the case of the Times, without ever conceding its own corporation’s financial bias in the matter). McCain was one of five senators (and the sole Republican) who, along with Democrats Russ Feingold, Patrick Leahy, Paul Simon and the great Paul Wellstone, voted against the atrocious legislation, which President Bill Clinton signed into law.

The Times, which now has the temerity to question McCain’s integrity on telecommunications policy, ran a shameful editorial back then, under the headline “A Victory for Viewers,” insisting after the passage of the legislation that “there was one clear winner—the consumer.” Seven years later, the paper’s “Editorial Observer,” Brent Staples, bemoaned one direct consequence of the passage of the Telecom Act, under the title “The Trouble with Corporate Radio: The Day the Protest Music Died.” Noting that “corporate ownership has changed what gets played—and who plays it,” Staples observed that the top two radio owners went from having a total of 115 stations before the act was passed to 1,400 between them afterward.

This concentration of ownership in all media was the inevitable result of the legislation that the media moguls sought. That far-reaching impact was obvious only one year after the act’s passage, as Neil Hickey noted at the time in the Columbia Journalism Review: “ … far and away the splashiest effect of the new law during the last year has been the historic, unprecedented torrent of mergers, consolidations, buyouts, partnerships, and joint ventures that has changed the face of Big Media in America.” He then offers a staggering list of massive multibillion-dollar mergers consummated during that first year.

One of the early winners was Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which quickly became the biggest owner of television stations, bolstering its lineup of media properties such as TV Guide, HarperCollins and Twentieth Century Fox; quite a gift from legislation signed by President Clinton, which perhaps explains the warm relationship that subsequently developed between Murdoch and Hillary Clinton. Murdoch sponsored a fundraiser for Clinton’s senatorial re-election campaign in 2006, but when asked during the Iowa primary about Murdoch’s vast media holdings, including Fox News, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, Clinton ducked the question. Avoiding any reference to Murdoch, she conceded that “… there have been a lot of media consolidations in the last several years, and it is quite troubling.”

It’s not easy to maintain an evenhanded appraisal of McCain as he appropriates the Bush mantle. Of course, I wouldn’t vote for him; he is willing to let the Iraq war go on for a hundred years, and at the rate of at least $200 billion a year, that makes a mockery of his efforts to defeat earmarks and other wasteful government spending—beginning with the massive waste in the Pentagon budget that he has done so much to expose. His capitulation on President Bush’s use of torture is even more appalling. But it is absurd to attempt to pigeonhole McCain as a patsy for corporate lobbyists when he has been in the forefront of key efforts to challenge their power.

McCain in NYC AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Mac in NYC:  John McCain courts the crowd in New York City’s Rockefeller Center on Super Tuesday.

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, Terrorists Wanted the World Over

February 27, 2008

Tom Dispatch

posted 2008-02-26 15:13:30

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, Terrorists Wanted the World Over

One of Noam Chomsky’s latest books — a conversation with David Barsamian — is entitled What We Say Goes. It catches a powerful theme of Chomsky’s: that we have long been living on a one-way planet and that the language we regularly wield to describe the realities of our world is tailored to Washington’s interests.

Juan Cole, at his Informed Comment website, had a good example of the strangeness of this targeted language recently. When Serbs stormed the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, he offered the following comment (with so many years of the term “Islamofascism” in mind): “…given that the Serbs are Eastern Orthodox Christians, will the Republican Party and Fox Cable News now start fulminating against ‘Christofascism?'”

Of course, the minute you try to turn the Washington norm (in word or act) around, as Chomsky did in a piece entitled What If Iran Had Invaded Mexico?, you’ve already entered the theater of the absurd. “Terror” is a particularly good example of this. “Terror” is something that, by (recent) definition, is committed by free-floating groups or movements against innocent civilians and is utterly reprehensible (unless the group turns out to be the CIA running car bombs into Baghdad or car and camel bombs into Afghanistan, in which case it’s not a topic that’s either much discussed, or condemned in our world). On the other hand, that weapon of terror, air power, which is at the heart of the American way of war, simply doesn’t qualify under the category of “terror” at all — no matter how terrifying it may be to innocent civilians who find themselves underneath the missiles and bombs.

It’s with this in mind that Chomsky turns to terror of every kind in the Middle East in the context of the car bombing of a major figure in Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement. By the way, The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a new collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, has just been published and is highly recommended. Tom

The Most Wanted List

International Terrorism
By Noam Chomsky On February 13, Imad Moughniyeh, a senior commander of Hizbollah, was assassinated in Damascus. “The world is a better place without this man in it,” State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said: “one way or the other he was brought to justice.” Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell added that Moughniyeh has been “responsible for more deaths of Americans and Israelis than any other terrorist with the exception of Osama bin Laden.”

Joy was unconstrained in Israel too, as “one of the U.S. and Israel’s most wanted men” was brought to justice, the London Financial Times reported. Under the heading, “A militant wanted the world over,” an accompanying story reported that he was “superseded on the most-wanted list by Osama bin Laden” after 9/11 and so ranked only second among “the most wanted militants in the world.”

The terminology is accurate enough, according to the rules of Anglo-American discourse, which defines “the world” as the political class in Washington and London (and whoever happens to agree with them on specific matters). It is common, for example, to read that “the world” fully supported George Bush when he ordered the bombing of Afghanistan. That may be true of “the world,” but hardly of the world, as revealed in an international Gallup Poll after the bombing was announced. Global support was slight. In Latin America, which has some experience with U.S. behavior, support ranged from 2% in Mexico to 16% in Panama, and that support was conditional upon the culprits being identified (they still weren’t eight months later, the FBI reported), and civilian targets being spared (they were attacked at once). There was an overwhelming preference in the world for diplomatic/judicial measures, rejected out of hand by “the world.”

Following the Terror Trail

In the present case, if “the world” were extended to the world, we might find some other candidates for the honor of most hated arch-criminal. It is instructive to ask why this might be true.

The Financial Times reports that most of the charges against Moughniyeh are unsubstantiated, but “one of the very few times when his involvement can be ascertained with certainty [is in] the hijacking of a TWA plane in 1985 in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed.” This was one of two terrorist atrocities that led a poll of newspaper editors to select terrorism in the Middle East as the top story of 1985; the other was the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro, in which a crippled American, Leon Klinghoffer, was brutally murdered. That reflects the judgment of “the world.” It may be that the world saw matters somewhat differently.

The Achille Lauro hijacking was a retaliation for the bombing of Tunis ordered a week earlier by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. His air force killed 75 Tunisians and Palestinians with smart bombs that tore them to shreds, among other atrocities, as vividly reported from the scene by the prominent Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk. Washington cooperated by failing to warn its ally Tunisia that the bombers were on the way, though the Sixth Fleet and U.S. intelligence could not have been unaware of the impending attack. Secretary of State George Shultz informed Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir that Washington “had considerable sympathy for the Israeli action,” which he termed “a legitimate response” to “terrorist attacks,” to general approbation. A few days later, the UN Security Council unanimously denounced the bombing as an “act of armed aggression” (with the U.S. abstaining). “Aggression” is, of course, a far more serious crime than international terrorism. But giving the United States and Israel the benefit of the doubt, let us keep to the lesser charge against their leadership.

A few days after, Peres went to Washington to consult with the leading international terrorist of the day, Ronald Reagan, who denounced “the evil scourge of terrorism,” again with general acclaim by “the world.”

The “terrorist attacks” that Shultz and Peres offered as the pretext for the bombing of Tunis were the killings of three Israelis in Larnaca, Cyprus. The killers, as Israel conceded, had nothing to do with Tunis, though they might have had Syrian connections. Tunis was a preferable target, however. It was defenseless, unlike Damascus. And there was an extra pleasure: more exiled Palestinians could be killed there.

The Larnaca killings, in turn, were regarded as retaliation by the perpetrators: They were a response to regular Israeli hijackings in international waters in which many victims were killed — and many more kidnapped and sent to prisons in Israel, commonly to be held without charge for long periods. The most notorious of these has been the secret prison/torture chamber Facility 1391. A good deal can be learned about it from the Israeli and foreign press. Such regular Israeli crimes are, of course, known to editors of the national press in the U.S., and occasionally receive some casual mention.

Klinghoffer’s murder was properly viewed with horror, and is very famous. It was the topic of an acclaimed opera and a made-for-TV movie, as well as much shocked commentary deploring the savagery of Palestinians — “two-headed beasts” (Prime Minister Menachem Begin), “drugged roaches scurrying around in a bottle” (Chief of Staff Raful Eitan), “like grasshoppers compared to us,” whose heads should be “smashed against the boulders and walls” (Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir). Or more commonly just “Araboushim,” the slang counterpart of “kike” or “nigger.”

Thus, after a particularly depraved display of settler-military terror and purposeful humiliation in the West Bank town of Halhul in December 1982, which disgusted even Israeli hawks, the well-known military/political analyst Yoram Peri wrote in dismay that one “task of the army today [is] to demolish the rights of innocent people just because they are Araboushim living in territories that God promised to us,” a task that became far more urgent, and was carried out with far more brutality, when the Araboushim began to “raise their heads” a few years later.

We can easily assess the sincerity of the sentiments expressed about the Klinghoffer murder. It is only necessary to investigate the reaction to comparable U.S.-backed Israeli crimes. Take, for example, the murder in April 2002 of two crippled Palestinians, Kemal Zughayer and Jamal Rashid, by Israeli forces rampaging through the refugee camp of Jenin in the West Bank. Zughayer’s crushed body and the remains of his wheelchair were found by British reporters, along with the remains of the white flag he was holding when he was shot dead while seeking to flee the Israeli tanks which then drove over him, ripping his face in two and severing his arms and legs. Jamal Rashid was crushed in his wheelchair when one of Israel’s huge U.S.-supplied Caterpillar bulldozers demolished his home in Jenin with his family inside. The differential reaction, or rather non-reaction, has become so routine and so easy to explain that no further commentary is necessary.

Car Bomb

Plainly, the 1985 Tunis bombing was a vastly more severe terrorist crime than the Achille Lauro hijacking, or the crime for which Moughniyeh’s “involvement can be ascertained with certainty” in the same year. But even the Tunis bombing had competitors for the prize for worst terrorist atrocity in the Mideast in the peak year of 1985.

One challenger was a car-bombing in Beirut right outside a mosque, timed to go off as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers. It killed 80 people and wounded 256. Most of the dead were girls and women, who had been leaving the mosque, though the ferocity of the blast “burned babies in their beds,” “killed a bride buying her trousseau,” and “blew away three children as they walked home from the mosque.” It also “devastated the main street of the densely populated” West Beirut suburb, reported Nora Boustany three years later in the Washington Post.

The intended target had been the Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, who escaped. The bombing was carried out by Reagan’s CIA and his Saudi allies, with Britain’s help, and was specifically authorized by CIA Director William Casey, according to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward’s account in his book Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987. Little is known beyond the bare facts, thanks to rigorous adherence to the doctrine that we do not investigate our own crimes (unless they become too prominent to suppress, and the inquiry can be limited to some low-level “bad apples” who were naturally “out of control”).

“Terrorist Villagers”

A third competitor for the 1985 Mideast terrorism prize was Prime Minister Peres’ “Iron Fist” operations in southern Lebanese territories then occupied by Israel in violation of Security Council orders. The targets were what the Israeli high command called “terrorist villagers.” Peres’s crimes in this case sank to new depths of “calculated brutality and arbitrary murder” in the words of a Western diplomat familiar with the area, an assessment amply supported by direct coverage. They are, however, of no interest to “the world” and therefore remain uninvestigated, in accordance with the usual conventions. We might well ask whether these crimes fall under international terrorism or the far more severe crime of aggression, but let us again give the benefit of the doubt to Israel and its backers in Washington and keep to the lesser charge.

These are a few of the thoughts that might cross the minds of people elsewhere in the world, even if not those of “the world,” when considering “one of the very few times” Imad Moughniyeh was clearly implicated in a terrorist crime.

The U.S. also accuses him of responsibility for devastating double suicide truck-bomb attacks on U.S. Marine and French paratrooper barracks in Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 Marines and 58 paratroopers, as well as a prior attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, a particularly serious blow because of a meeting there of CIA officials at the time.

The Financial Times has, however, attributed the attack on the Marine barracks to Islamic Jihad, not Hizbollah. Fawaz Gerges, one of the leading scholars on the jihadi movements and on Lebanon, has written that responsibility was taken by an “unknown group called Islamic Jihad.” A voice speaking in classical Arabic called for all Americans to leave Lebanon or face death. It has been claimed that Moughniyeh was the head of Islamic Jihad at the time, but to my knowledge, evidence is sparse.

The opinion of the world has not been sampled on the subject, but it is possible that there might be some hesitancy about calling an attack on a military base in a foreign country a “terrorist attack,” particularly when U.S. and French forces were carrying out heavy naval bombardments and air strikes in Lebanon, and shortly after the U.S. provided decisive support for the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which killed some 20,000 people and devastated the south, while leaving much of Beirut in ruins. It was finally called off by President Reagan when international protest became too intense to ignore after the Sabra-Shatila massacres.

In the United States, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon is regularly described as a reaction to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist attacks on northern Israel from their Lebanese bases, making our crucial contribution to these major war crimes understandable. In the real world, the Lebanese border area had been quiet for a year, apart from repeated Israeli attacks, many of them murderous, in an effort to elicit some PLO response that could be used as a pretext for the already planned invasion. Its actual purpose was not concealed at the time by Israeli commentators and leaders: to safeguard the Israeli takeover of the occupied West Bank. It is of some interest that the sole serious error in Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid is the repetition of this propaganda concoction about PLO attacks from Lebanon being the motive for the Israeli invasion. The book was bitterly attacked, and desperate efforts were made to find some phrase that could be misinterpreted, but this glaring error — the only one — was ignored. Reasonably, since it satisfies the criterion of adhering to useful doctrinal fabrications.

Killing without Intent

Another allegation is that Moughniyeh “masterminded” the bombing of Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, killing 29 people, in response, as the Financial Times put it, to Israel’s “assassination of former Hizbollah leader Abbas Al-Mussawi in an air attack in southern Lebanon.” About the assassination, there is no need for evidence: Israel proudly took credit for it. The world might have some interest in the rest of the story. Al-Mussawi was murdered with a U.S.-supplied helicopter, well north of Israel’s illegal “security zone” in southern Lebanon. He was on his way to Sidon from the village of Jibshit, where he had spoken at the memorial for another Imam murdered by Israeli forces. The helicopter attack also killed his wife and five-year old child. Israel then employed U.S.-supplied helicopters to attack a car bringing survivors of the first attack to a hospital.

After the murder of the family, Hezbollah “changed the rules of the game,” Prime Minister Rabin informed the Israeli Knesset. Previously, no rockets had been launched at Israel. Until then, the rules of the game had been that Israel could launch murderous attacks anywhere in Lebanon at will, and Hizbollah would respond only within Israeli-occupied Lebanese territory.

After the murder of its leader (and his family), Hizbollah began to respond to Israeli crimes in Lebanon by rocketing northern Israel. The latter is, of course, intolerable terror, so Rabin launched an invasion that drove some 500,000 people out of their homes and killed well over 100. The merciless Israeli attacks reached as far as northern Lebanon.

In the south, 80% of the city of Tyre fled and Nabatiye was left a “ghost town,” Jibshit was about 70% destroyed according to an Israeli army spokesperson, who explained that the intent was “to destroy the village completely because of its importance to the Shi’ite population of southern Lebanon.” The goal was “to wipe the villages from the face of the earth and sow destruction around them,” as a senior officer of the Israeli northern command described the operation.

Jibshit may have been a particular target because it was the home of Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, kidnapped and brought to Israel several years earlier. Obeid’s home “received a direct hit from a missile,” British journalist Robert Fisk reported, “although the Israelis were presumably gunning for his wife and three children.” Those who had not escaped hid in terror, wrote Mark Nicholson in the Financial Times, “because any visible movement inside or outside their houses is likely to attract the attention of Israeli artillery spotters, who… were pounding their shells repeatedly and devastatingly into selected targets.” Artillery shells were hitting some villages at a rate of more than 10 rounds a minute at times.

All of this received the firm support of President Bill Clinton, who understood the need to instruct the Araboushim sternly on the “rules of the game.” And Rabin emerged as another grand hero and man of peace, so different from the two-legged beasts, grasshoppers, and drugged roaches.

This is only a small sample of facts that the world might find of interest in connection with the alleged responsibility of Moughniyeh for the retaliatory terrorist act in Buenos Aires.

Other charges are that Moughniyeh helped prepare Hizbollah defenses against the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, evidently an intolerable terrorist crime by the standards of “the world,” which understands that the United States and its clients must face no impediments in their just terror and aggression.

The more vulgar apologists for U.S. and Israeli crimes solemnly explain that, while Arabs purposely kill people, the U.S. and Israel, being democratic societies, do not intend to do so. Their killings are just accidental ones, hence not at the level of moral depravity of their adversaries. That was, for example, the stand of Israel’s High Court when it recently authorized severe collective punishment of the people of Gaza by depriving them of electricity (hence water, sewage disposal, and other such basics of civilized life).

The same line of defense is common with regard to some of Washington’s past peccadilloes, like the destruction in 1998 of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The attack apparently led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but without intent to kill them, hence not a crime on the order of intentional killing — so we are instructed by moralists who consistently suppress the response that had already been given to these vulgar efforts at self-justification.

To repeat once again, we can distinguish three categories of crimes: murder with intent, accidental killing, and murder with foreknowledge but without specific intent. Israeli and U.S. atrocities typically fall into the third category. Thus, when Israel destroys Gaza’s power supply or sets up barriers to travel in the West Bank, it does not specifically intend to murder the particular people who will die from polluted water or in ambulances that cannot reach hospitals. And when Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of the al-Shifa plant, it was obvious that it would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Human Rights Watch immediately informed him of this, providing details; nevertheless, he and his advisers did not intend to kill specific people among those who would inevitably die when half the pharmaceutical supplies were destroyed in a poor African country that could not replenish them.

Rather, they and their apologists regarded Africans much as we do the ants we crush while walking down a street. We are aware that it is likely to happen (if we bother to think about it), but we do not intend to kill them because they are not worthy of such consideration. Needless to say, comparable attacks by Araboushim in areas inhabited by human beings would be regarded rather differently.

If, for a moment, we can adopt the perspective of the world, we might ask which criminals are “wanted the world over.”

Noam Chomsky is the author of numerous best-selling political works. His latest books are Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy and What We Say Goes, a conversation book with David Barsamian, both in the American Empire Project series at Metropolitan Books. The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, has just been published by the New Press.

Copyright 2008 Noam Chomsky

Norway opens ‘Doomsday’ seed vault

February 27, 2008
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2008
14:49 MECCA TIME, 11:49 GMT
Norway opens ‘Doomsday’ seed vault

Wangari Maathai, left, Jose Manuel Barroso, centre, and Jens Stoltenberg at the ceremony [AFP]
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“The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is our insurance policy,” Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s prime minister, told delegates at the opening ceremony.
“It is the Noah’s Ark for securing biological diversity for future generations.”
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Backup plan
The cavern will act as a backup storage for seeds from gene banks around the world.
Initially, 100 million seeds from more than 100 countries have been sent for safekeeping at the $10m facility which holds 268,000 distinct seed samples, each from a different farm or field.
Stoltenberg said the vault, would guard “the fundamental building blocks of human civilisation” from forces, including climate change, threatening the “diversity of life that sustain our planet”.
The Norwegian prime minister and Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist and 2004 Nobel peace prize winner, put the first box of seeds in the vault at the inauguration ceremony.
The ‘Doomsday’ vault’s seed deposits range from major African and Asian staples such as rice, maize, wheat, cowpea and sorghum to European and South American varieties of eggplant, lettuce, barley and potato.
‘Frozen Garden of Eden’
“We will have a major [seed] collection here, one of the biggest in the world, from the opening day,” Cary Fowler, head of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which is funding the operations of the vault, said.
“We are going to put an end to extinction with this vault because we are going to have a safety backup, a Plan B.”
Jose Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, was also at the ceremony.
He called the project “a frozen Garden of Eden”.
Roger Smith, the founder of the Millennium Seed Bank in the UK’s Kew Gardens, told Al Jazeera there needed to be greater understanding of just how endangered some plant life is.
“We’re talking about a something like a rate of extinction 70 times greater for plants than is in the geographical record – we’re talking about thousands of species being lost,” he said.
Smith called the Svalbard vault a “double indemnity”, saying “it is the safe deposit box where seed banks can put some of their contents for security”.
The seeds will be kept at a storage temperature of minus 18-20 degrees Celsius.
Barley can survive 2,000 years, wheat 1,700 and sorghum almost 20,000 years under such conditions, according to the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
If the freezers failed, the permafrost would keep the cavern at around minus 4 Celsius, allowing time for repairs.
“I like having a Plan B to our Plan B,” Fowler said.

 
 
 

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

9/11: The Unraveling of the Official Story Continues By Mark H. Gaffney

February 26, 2008

9/11: The Unraveling of the Official Story Continues By Mark H. Gaffney

Dandelion Salad

By Mark H. Gaffney
02/25/08 “ICH

Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Today in America we are witness to a great unraveling, the likes of which we have never seen before. There are no historical precedents. For many months now the official narrative about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America has been coming apart, and I mean: at the seams. The official story about that terrible day is disintegrating. The trend shows no sign of abating and in recent weeks it even appears to have accelerated. At the present rate, soon there will be nothing left of the official version of events but a discordant echo and a series of extremely rude after shocks.

Is our nation prepared to face those rude shocks?

The unraveling began within weeks of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report (in July 2004) with the shocking revelation that members of the 9/11 commission were convinced that government officials, including NORAD generals, had deceived them during the investigation–––in essence, had lied to their faces during the hearings.[1] According to the Washington Post the members of the commission vented their frustrations at a special meeting in the summer of 2004. The panel even considered referring the matter to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation.

The unraveling continued in 2006 with the release of a follow-up volume, Without Precedent, authored by the two men who had co-chaired the commission, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton. The men had come under increasing fire ever since the release of their final report for presiding over what many now believe was a failed investigation. Stung by so much criticism, Kean and Hamilton felt the need to explain (and defend) themselves. The gist of their 2006 book is easily summarized. They write: ”We were set up to fail.”

The bleeding continued in May 2007 with the stunning announcement that former BYU physicist Steven Jones had found residues of thermate, a high temperature explosive, in the dust of the collapsed World Trade Center.[2] The discovery has the gravest implications for our nation, and probably for this reason the announcement went reported in the US media. In a later chapter I will discuss this important evidence in detail.

Yet another startling revelation occurred in December 2007 when we learned that the CIA destroyed evidence, in the form of audio-tapes, deemed vital to the official investigation.[3]

The news prompted 9/11 Commission co-chairs Kean and Hamilton to fire off an angry salvo in the New York Times in which they charged that the CIA had obstructed their investigation.[4] Their blunt accusation was explosive and should have caused every American to sit up and take notice. Unfortunately, the average American probably failed to connect the dots because, as usual, the US media offered nothing in the way of helpful context or analysis. We were fed the usual diet of tidbits and sound bytes: a wealth of minutiae. The big picture remained elusive.

But back to the unraveling story.

Starting in 2002, the CIA conducted interrogations of captured Al Qaeda operatives, including Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Binalshibh, at undisclosed CIA prisons outside the US. During these interrogations the CIA resorted to “enhanced interrogation techniques” (the CIA’s euphemism for torture) to extract information.[5] The methods included “waterboarding,” which induces a sensation of drowning in the unlucky individual. Evidently, the CIA decided for its own internal reasons to video-tape these early interrogation sessions. However, years later (in 2005), Jose A, Rodriquez, the CIA’s Director of Operations, ordered the tapes destroyed. For what reason? Well, according to current CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, because the tapes posed “a serious security risk.”[6] Hayden went on to clarify his rather cryptic remark, and explained to the press that if the tapes had become public they would have exposed CIA officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.” The excuse was flimflam, but the US media hung on Hayden’s every word as if he were speaking gospel. The press certainly did not throw him any hard balls. Nor did they press him on the point.

Hayden also claimed that the CIA had notified the appropriate committee heads in Congress in 2005 before destroying the evidence. But according to the Times this was immediately denied by the top two members of the House Intelligence Committee. A spokesman for Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), who at the time chaired the oversight committee, said that he was “never briefed or advised” that the tapes even existed, let alone “that they were going to be destroyed.”[7]

Kean and Hamilton had a similar reaction–––outrage. In their article they state categorically that the CIA never informed them about any taped interrogations, despite their repeated requests for all pertinent information about the captured Al Qaeda operatives, who were then in CIA custody. In fact, as damaging as the news about the CIA’s destruction of evidence surely was, the story exposed an even more serious problem. One might naturally assume that the official commission charged to investigate the events of 9/11 would have had unfettered access to all of the evidence pertinent to the case, including government documents and key witnesses. This goes without saying. Access was vital to the success of the investigation. How else could the commission do its work? Yet, it never happened.

CIA Stonewalled the Official Panel

In their article Kean and Hamilton summarize their dealings with the CIA.[8] They describe their private meeting with CIA Director George Tenet and how he denied them access to the captured members of Al Qaeda. Which means, of course, that the panel never had a chance to conduct its own interviews. Tenet even denied them permission to conduct second-hand interviews with the CIA interrogators, which Kean and Hamilton felt were needed to “to better judge the credibility of the witnesses and clarify ambiguities in the reporting.”[9] Ultimately, the commission was forced to rely on third-hand intelligence reports prepared by the CIA itself. Many of these reports were poorly written and incomplete summaries[10] which, according to the co-chairs “raised almost as many questions as they answered.”

In order to resolve the many uncertainties the commission prepared a list of questions, which they then submitted to the CIA. The questions covered a range of topics, such as the translations from the Arabic, inconsistencies in the detainees’ stories, the context of the questioning, how the interrogators followed up certain lines of questioning, and the assessments of the interrogators themselves. But the CIA’s response was less than helpful. In their article Kean and Hamilton state that “the [CIA] general counsel responded in writing with non-specific replies.” This is a bland way of saying that the agency stiffed the panel. Not satisfied, Kean and Hamilton made another attempt to gain access to the captives, but were again rebuffed during a head-to-head meeting with Tenet in December 2003. For this reason the ambiguities and other questions went unresolved and still flaw the commission’s final report. Yet, as I have indicated, the more serious problem was the panel’s lack of access to begin with, a problem that was by no means obvious until the recent story broke in the mainstream press. As we now know, Kean and Hamilton had inserted a caveat in their report (on page 146) conceding that they were denied access to the witnesses. Most readers, however, probably pass right over it without understanding its awful significance. I know I did, the first time I read the report.

The latest unraveling also came with a twist. Not even Porter J. Goss, CIA Director at the the time, knew that the tapes had been destroyed. That decision, as noted, was made by Jose A, Rodriquez, the CIA’s Director of Operations–––as in covert operations. According to the Times, Goss was angered to learn he had been left out of the loop.[11] But Goss declined to make a public statement. What are we to make of this? Why was the CIA chief kept in the dark about the destruction of evidence deemed vital to the 9/11 investigation? This is just as shocking as the destruction of the tapes because it points to a disconnect in the chain of command. Was the CIA’s covert branch, long notorious for staging rogue operations, up to its old tricks? Are there loose cannons at Langley still?

The 9/11 Commission Report was packaged and sold to the American people like some trendy product. The US media has told us countless times it is the definitive version of the events of September 11, and in 2008 most Americans probably take this for granted. When something is repeated enough times on television people begin to believe it whether it is true or not. This is what happens when mass marketing is made to serve a political agenda. We witnessed a similar phenomenon during the run-up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, when President G.W. Bush’s mantra about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and his supposed links to Al Qaeda were drummed into the brain of every American. Today, of course, we know different. None of it was true. Yet, on the eve of that war a Washington Post poll found that 70% of Americans believed that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. The case is a sobering example of the power of the corporate media to shape public opinion with–––let us call it by its true name–––propaganda.

OK. It is now 2008. Is America prepared to face reality? The 9/11 Commission’s lack of direct access to the captured members of al Qaeda can only mean that the official 9/11 investigation was fundamentally compromised from the outset. No other conclusion is possible, given the latest disclosures. In their recent article Kean and Hamilton do not repudiate their own report, at least, not in so many words. But they come close. They insinuate that the CIA’s stonewalling now calls into question the veracity of key parts of the official story, especially the plot against America supposedly masterminded by Khalid Shiekh Mohammed and approved by Osama bin Laden. Until now, the nation has assumed that all of this was soundly based on the testimony of the captured al Qaeda operatives, several of whom supposedly confessed. This is the story told in the 9/11 Commission Report. However, when you probe more deeply you discover the devil lurking in the details. I personally believe there was a plot by al Qaeda to attack America. Yet, without independent confirmation about what the captives actually confessed to, precisely what was said and by whom, indeed, whether they confessed at all, there is absolutely no way for us to know how much of the official story is true and how much was fabricated by the CIA for reasons we can only guess.

For all that we know, the entire story is a pack of lies. It comes down to whether the CIA is telling the truth. Should we believe them? Another important question is: How did the miscarriage of a lawful process of discovery happen, given that Congress invested the 9/11 Commission with the authority to subpoena evidence?

Philip Shenon’s New Book

Now, in February 2008, along comes a new “tell-all” book by Philip Shenon with much to say about the above, and some answers.[12] His book’s sub-title, The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission, sounds very promising. Nor does the author fail to deliver. Shenon covered the 9/11 Commission for the New York Times and over the course of the investigation he personally interviewed many of the commissioners and staff. His book is an overnight best-seller, and for good reason. It is a well-written expose and affords our best look yet at what went on behind-the-scenes. Instead of burdening us with his personal opinions, Shenon plays the role of reporter, and describes what happened through the eyes of the commissioners and staff. The book provides valuable insights into why the investigation failed.

Of course, we already knew large parts of the story. We knew about National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice’s incompetence, for example, and about the serious conflicts of interest on the commission, particularly in the case of Philip Zelikow, who served as the panel’s executive director. In that capacity Zelikow controlled many facets of the investigation, including the scheduling of witnesses and the vital flow of information between the staff and commissioners. Zelikow also edited (and, no doubt, doctored) the final report. In addition to being a long-time confidante of Rice, with whom he coauthored a book, Zelikow served on Bush’s transition team and even drafted a national security strategy paper that became the basis for the Bush administration’s attempts in late 2002 to justify the coming war against Iraq. It is hard to believe that Kean and Hamilton, who claim their goal was to lead a nonpartisan investigation, would have knowingly hired such a man–––a neocon–––to manage the day-to-day affairs of their panel. According to Shenon, it only happened because Zelikow failed to report the full extent of his ties to the Bush administration when he submitted his resume for the job. If Zelikow had been more forthcoming he would have been instantly eliminated from consideration. But this hardly excuses Kean and Hamilton for failing to properly vet the candidate.

Shenon’s most important revelation is sure to fuel the unraveling process. Shenon names CIA Director George Tenet as one of the government officials whom the commissioners and staff were certain had lied during the hearings.[13] Tenet gave testimony on three occasions (in addition to the private meetings with Kean and Hamilton) and in each of these hearings the CIA Director suffered from a faulty memory, frequently responding with “I can’t remember.” Initially, the commissioners were inclined to be sympathetic and gave the director the benefit of the doubt. (Tenet’s supporters at the agency reportedly made excuses for their boss: George could not remember because he was dead-tired, physically exhausted from dealing with the war on terrorism, and suffering from sleep deprivation–––not getting enough shuteye.[14] Poor old George.) But gradually the tide turned. By Tenet’s third appearance it was obvious to everyone he was perjuring himself.

Curiously, there no mention of this spectacle in the 9/11 Commission Report. Why not? Kean gave the reason at the panel’s first public hearing in New York City, when he said: “Our…purpose will not be to point fingers.” The comment was not well received. According to Shenon, it prompted a rumble in the audience, including sneers from the families of the victims who wanted those officials responsible to be held accountable.[15]

It is important to understand that when Tenet stiffed the commission he was carrying on a time-honored Langley tradition. For the first 25 years of its existence the CIA functioned entirely outside our constitutional framework of government. Like it or not, this is the disturbing reality. The state of affairs prevailed until the Watergate era when the Church hearings exposed a laundry list of criminal activities by the CIA, such as domestic spying, the assassination of foreign leaders, the overthrow of governments, plus the nasty habit of deceiving Congress. The Church hearings shocked the nation and led to the creation of House and Senate intelligence committees to provide the democratic oversight that was sorely lacking. At any rate, that was the intent. But as with so many good ideas it never worked as expected. The CIA soon found ways around the oversight process. This is not surprising when you consider that the agency’s expertise is clandestine operations. Today, the Intelligence Committees in both houses are widely viewed as a joke, and despite a chorus of denials from the agency and its admirers the perception is undoubtedly correct. To his credit, Shenon touches on the problem. The author mentions that one of the commissioners, former Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), once served on the Senate Intelligence Committee but quit in frustration because of the lack of any serious business. Said Gorton: “I felt it was a useless exercise–––I never felt I was being told anything that I hadn’t learned in the Washington Post.”[16] Does such an agency deserve our trust and respect?

As to why Kean and Hamilton did not make more aggressive use of their authority to subpoena evidence, Shenon’s answer is not very satisfying but rings true. The co-chairs were overcautious because they wished to avoid a legal showdown that would drag out in the courts.[17] A legal stalemate threatened to delay their investigation beyond the mandated deadline, which in their view would have been tantamount to a Bush victory. It was a huge mistake, however. Had Kean and Hamilton stood tough and issued blanket subpoenas early in the investigation as their legal counsel advised, the inevitable showdown in the courts would have worked in their favor. Bush and Tenet would have been perceived–––correctly–––as obstructing the investigation and would have come under increasing pressure and scrutiny. That sort of confrontation would have served the discovery process and the cause of 9/11 truth. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. This helps to explain why the official investigation failed in its stated objective: “to provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11.”[18]

Although Philip Shenon supports the official narrative, his research was so narrowly focused that his rather casual discounting of “conspiracy theorists” can do no harm to the 9/11 truth movement. (Here, of course, “conspiracy theorist” means anyone who does not agree with the official conspiracy theory.) Judging from his book, Shenon appears to be genuinely unaware that in 2007 the evidence shifted decisively in favor of the “conspiracy theorists.” It is ironic that, whatever his personal views, his book is likely to speed the unraveling process.

The showdown with the CIA, though long delayed, appears to be developing as I write, and it portends–––I believe–––a coming shift in the terms of the debate, away from the previous discussion about the incompetence of officials and “security failures” to more grave issues. But how this important drama will be played out remains unclear. Obviously, a new legally empowered investigative body is urgently needed, since the 9/11 Commission no longer exists. While there are many reasons to worry about the future––––we have entered the most dangerous time in our history––––the good news is that, once begun, the unraveling process is irreversible. It moves in only one direction: forward. As in the famous nursery rhyme, the official reality is falling apart and the pieces will never be put back together again.

Mark H. Gaffney’s forthcoming book, The 911 Mystery Plane and the Vanishing of America, will be released in September 2008. Mark’s latest, Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes, was a finalist for the 2004 Narcissus Book Award. Mark can be reached for comment at markhgaffney@earthlink.net Visit Mark’s web site at www.gnosticsecrets.com

NOTES

1 Dan Eggen, “9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon,” The Washington Post, August 2, 2006.

2 The Jones paper is posted at http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200704/JonesWTC911SciMethod.pdf

3 Mark Mazzetti, “CIA Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations,” New York Times, December 7, 2007.

4 Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, “Stonewalled by the CIA,” New York Times, January 2, 2008.

5 “CIA destroyed terrorism suspect videotapes. Director says interrogation tapes were security risk. Critics call move illegal,” NBC News, December 7, 2007.

6 Mark Mazzetti, “CIA Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations,” New York Times, December 7, 2007.

7 Ibid.

8 Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, “Stonewalled by the CIA,” New York Times, January 2, 2008.

9 The 9/11 Commission Report. Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, p.146.

10 Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission, Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2008, p.391.

11 Mark Mazzetti, “CIA Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations,” New York Times, December 7, 2007.

12 Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission, Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2008, p. 360.

13 Ibid., p. 360.

14 Ibid., pp. 258-260.

15 Ibid., p. 99.

16 Ibid., p. 229.

17 Ibid. pp. 94 and 201.

18 The 9/11 Commission Report. Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, p. xvi.

US Interventions: 1798 – Present (2005)

February 26, 2008

US Interventions: 1798 – Present (2005)

Dandelion Salad

by Global Policy Forum
Global Research, February 25, 2008
Global Policy Forum – 2005-12-01

US Military and Clandestine Operations in Foreign Countries – 1798-Present

Note: This list does not pretend to be definitive or absolutely complete. Nor does it seek to explain or interpret the interventions. Information and interpretation on selected interventions will be later included as links. Note that US operations in World Wars I and II have been excluded.

 

1798-1800 France Undeclared naval war against France, marines land in Puerto Plata.
1801-1805 Tripoli War with Tripoli (Libya), called “First Barbary War”.
1806 Spanish Mexico Military force enters Spanish territory in headwaters of the Rio Grande.
1806-1810 Spanish and French in Caribbean US naval vessels attack French and Spanish shipping in the Caribbean.
1810 Spanish West Florida Troops invade and seize Western Florida, a Spanish possession.
1812 Spanish East Florida Troops seize Amelia Island and adjacent territories.
1812 Britain War of 1812, includes naval and land operations.
1813 Marquesas Island Forces seize Nukahiva and establish first US naval base in the Pacific.
1814 Spanish (East Florida) Troops seize Pensacola in Spanish East Florida.
1814-1825 French, British and Spanish in Caribbean US naval squadron engages French, British and Spanish shipping in the Caribbean.
1815 Algiers and Tripoli US naval fleet under Captain Stephen Decatur wages “Second Barbary War” in North Africa.
1816-1819 Spanish East Florida Troops attack and seize Nicholls’ Fort, Amelia Island and other strategic locations. Spain eventually cedes East Florida to the US.
1822-1825 Spanish Cuba and Puerto Rico Marines land in numerous cities in the Spanish island of Cuba and also in Spanish Puerto Rico.
1827 Greece Marines invade the Greek islands of Argentiere, Miconi and Andross.
1831 Falkland/Malvinas Islands US naval squadrons aggress the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.
1832 Sumatra, Dutch East Indies US naval squadrons attack Qallah Battoo.
1833 Argentina Forces land in Buenos Aires and engage local combatants.
1835-1836 Peru Troops dispatched twice for counter-insurgency operations.
1836 Mexico Troops assist Texas war for independence.
1837 Canada Naval incident on the Canadian border leads to mobilization of a large force to invade Canada. War is narrowly averted.
1838 Sumatra, Dutch East Indies US naval forces sent to Sumatra for punitive expedition.
1840-1841 Fiji Naval forces deployed, marines land.
1841 Samoa Naval forces deployed, marines land.
1842 Mexico Naval forces temporarily seize cities of Monterey and San Diego.
1843 China Marines land in Canton.
1843 Ivory Coast Marines land.
1846-1848 Mexico Full-scale war. Mexico cedes half of its territory to the US by the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo.
1849 Ottoman Empire (Turkey) Naval force dispatched to Smyrna.
1852-1853 Argentina Marines land in Buenos Aires.
1854 Nicaragua Navy bombards and largely destroys city of San Juan del Norte. Marines land and set fire to the city.
1854 Japan Commodore Perry and his fleet deploy at Yokohama.
1855 Uruguay Marines land in Montevideo.
1856 Colombia (Panama Region) Marines land for counter-insurgency campaign.
1856 China Marines deployed in Canton.
1856 Hawaii Naval forces seize small islands of Jarvis, Baker and Howland in the Hawaiian Islands.
1857 Nicaragua Marines land.
1858 Uruguay Marines land in Montevideo.
1858 Fiji Marines land.
1859 Paraguay Large naval force deployed.
1859 China Troops enter Shanghai.
1859 Mexico Military force enters northern area.
1860 Portuguese West Africa Troops land at Kissembo.
1860 Colombia (Panama Region) Troops and naval forces deployed.
1863 Japan Troops land at Shimonoseki.
1864 Japan Troops landed in Yedo.
1865 Colombia (Panama Region) Marines landed.
1866 Colombia (Panama Region) Troops invade and seize Matamoros, later withdraw.
1866 China Marines land in Newchwang.
1867 Nicaragua Marines land in Managua and Leon in Nicaragua.
1867 Formosa Island (Taiwan) Marines land.
1867 Midway Island Naval forces seize this island in the Hawaiian Archipelago for a naval base.
1868 Japan Naval forces deployed at Osaka, Hiogo, Nagasaki, Yokohama and Negata.
1868 Uruguay Marines land at Montevideo.
1870 Colombia Marines landed.
1871 Korea Forces landed.
1873 Colombia (Panama Region) Marines landed.
1874 Hawaii Sailors and marines landed.
1876 Mexico Army again occupies Matamoros.
1882 British Egypt Troops land.
1885 Colombia (Panama Region) Troops land in Colon and Panama City.
1885 Samoa Naval force deployed.
1887 Hawaii Navy gains right to build permanent naval base at Pearl Harbor.
1888 Haiti Troops landed.
1888 Samoa Marines landed.
1889 Samoa Clash with German naval forces.
1890 Argentina US sailors land in Buenos Aires.
1891 Chile US sailors land in the major port city of Valparaiso.
1891 Haiti Marines land on US-claimed Navassa Island.
1893 Hawaii Marines and other naval forces land and overthrow the monarchy. Read More
1894 Nicaragua Marines land at Bluefields on the eastern coast.
1894-1895 China Marines are stationed at Tientsin and Beijing. A naval ship takes up position at Newchwang.
1894-1896 Korea Marines land and remain in Seoul.
1895 Colombia Marines are sent to the town Bocas del Toro.
1896 Nicaragua Marines land in the port of Corinto.
1898 Nicaragua Marines land at the port city of San Juan del Sur.
1898 Guam Naval forces seize Guam Island from Spain and the US holds the island permanently.
1898 Cuba Naval and land forces seize Cuba from Spain.
1898 Puerto Rico Naval and land forces seize Puerto Rico from Spain and the US holds the island permanently.
1898 Philippines Naval forces defeat the Spanish fleet and the US takes control of the country.
1899 Philippines Military units are reinforced for extensive counter-insurgency operations.
1899 Samoa Naval forces land
1899 Nicaragua Marines land at the port city of Bluefields.
1900 China US forces intervene in several cities.
1901 Colombia/Panama Marines land.
1902 Colombia/Panama US forces land in Bocas de Toro
1903 Colombia/Panama With US backing, a group in northern Colombia declares independence as the state of Panama
1903 Guam Navy begins development in Apra Harbor of a permanent base installation.
1903 Honduras Marines go ashore at Puerto Cortez.
1903 Dominican Republic Marines land in Santo Domingo.
1904-1905 Korea Marines land and stay in Seoul.
1906-1909 Cuba Marines land. The US builds a major naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
1907 Nicaragua Troops seize major centers.
1907 Honduras Marines land and take up garrison in cities of Trujillo, Ceiba, Puerto Cortez, San Pedro, Laguna and Choloma.
1908 Panama Marines land and carry out operations.
1910 Nicaragua Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.
1911 Honduras Marines intervene.
1911-1941 China The US builds up its military presence in the country to a force of 5000 troops and a fleet of 44 vessels patrolling China’s coast and rivers.
1912 Cuba US sends army troops into combat in Havana.
1912 Panama Army troops intervene.
1912 Honduras Marines land.
1912-1933 Nicaragua Marines intervene. A 20-year occupation of the country follows.
1913 Mexico Marines land at Ciaris Estero.
1914 Dominican Republic Naval forces engage in battles in the city of Santo Domingo.
1914 Mexico US forces seize and occupy Mexico’s major port city of Veracrus from April through November.
1915-1916 Mexico An expeditionary force of the US Army under Gen. John J. Pershing crosses the Texas border and penetrates several hundred miles into Mexican territory. Eventually reinforced to over 11,000 officers and men.
1914-1934 Haiti Troops land, aerial bombardment leading to a 19-year military occupation.
1916-1924 Dominican Republic Military intervention leading to 8-year occupation.
1917-1933 Cuba Landing of naval forces. Beginning of a 15-year occupation.
1918-1920 Panama Troops intervene, remain on “police duty” for over 2 years.
1918-1922 Russia Naval forces and army troops fight battles in several areas of the country during a five- year period.
1919 Yugoslavia Marines intervene in Dalmatia.
1919 Honduras Marines land.
1920 Guatemala Troops intervene.
1922 Turkey Marines engaged in operations in Smyrna (Izmir).
1922-1927 China Naval forces and troops deployed during 5-year period.
1924-1925 Honduras Troops land twice in two-year period.
1925 Panama Marines land and engage in operations.
1927-1934 China Marines and naval forces stationed throughout the country.
1932 El Salvador Naval forces intervene.
1933 Cuba Naval forces deployed.
1934 China Marines land in Foochow.
1946 Iran Troops deployed in northern province.
1946-1949 China Major US army presence of about 100,000 troops, fighting, training and advising local combatants.
1947-1949 Greece US forces wage a 3-year counterinsurgency campaign.
1948 Italy Heavy CIA involvement in national elections.
1948-1954 Philippines Commando operations, “secret” CIA war.
1950-1953 Korea Major forces engaged in war in Korean peninsula.
1953 Iran CIA overthrows government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. Read More
1954 Vietnam Financial and materiel support for colonial French military operations, leads eventually to direct US military involvement.
1954 Guatemala CIA overthrows the government of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.
1958 Lebanon US marines and army units totaling 14,000 land.
1958 Panama Clashes between US forces in Canal Zone and local citizens.
1959 Haiti Marines land.
1960 Congo CIA-backed overthrow and assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.
1960-1964 Vietnam Gradual introduction of military advisors and special forces.
1961 Cuba CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion.
1962 Cuba Nuclear threat and naval blockade.
1962 Laos CIA-backed military coup.
1963 Ecuador CIA backs military overthrow of President Jose Maria Valesco Ibarra.
1964 Panama Clashes between US forces in Canal Zone and local citizens.
1964 Brazil CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government of Joao Goulart and Gen. Castello Branco takes power. Read More
1965-1975 Vietnam Large commitment of military forces, including air, naval and ground units numbering up to 500,000+ troops. Full-scale war, lasting for ten years.
1965 Indonesia CIA-backed army coup overthrows President Sukarno and brings Gen. Suharto to power.
1965 Congo CIA backed military coup overthrows President Joseph Kasavubu and brings Joseph Mobutu to power.
1965 Dominican Republic 23,000 troops land.
1965-1973 Laos Bombing campaign begin, lasting eight years.
1966 Ghana CIA-backed military coup ousts President Kwame Nkrumah.
1966-1967 Guatemala Extensive counter-insurgency operation.
1969-1975 Cambodia CIA supports military coup against Prince Sihanouk, bringing Lon Nol to power. Intensive bombing for seven years along border with Vietnam.
1970 Oman Counter-insurgency operation, including coordination with Iranian marine invasion.
1971-1973 Laos Invasion by US and South Vietnames forces.
1973 Chile CIA-backed military coup ousts government of President Salvador Allende. Gen. Augusto Pinochet comes to power.
1975 Cambodia Marines land, engage in combat with government forces.
1976-1992 Angola Military and CIA operations.
1980 Iran Special operations units land in Iranian desert. Helicopter malfunction leads to aborting of planned raid.
1981 Libya Naval jets shoot down two Libyan jets in maneuvers over the Mediterranean.
1981-1992 El Salvador CIA and special forces begin a long counterinsurgency campaign.
1981-1990 Nicaragua CIA directs exile “Contra” operations. US air units drop sea mines in harbors.
1982-1984 Lebanon Marines land and naval forces fire on local combatants.
1983 Grenada Military forces invade Grenada.
1983-1989 Honduras Large program of military assistance aimed at conflict in Nicaragua.
1984 Iran Two Iranian jets shot down over the Persian Gulf.
1986 Libya US aircraft bomb the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, including direct strikes at the official residence of President Muamar al Qadaffi.
1986 Bolivia Special Forces units engage in counter-insurgency.
1987-1988 Iran Naval forces block Iranian shipping. Civilian airliner shot down by missile cruiser.
1989 Libya Naval aircraft shoot down two Libyan jets over Gulf of Sidra.
1989 Philippines CIA and Special Forces involved in counterinsurgency.
1989-1990 Panama 27,000 troops as well as naval and air power used to overthrow government of President Noriega.
1990 Liberia Troops deployed.
1990-1991 Iraq Major military operation, including naval blockade, air strikes; large number of troops attack Iraqi forces in occupied Kuwait.
1991-2003 Iraq Control of Iraqi airspace in north and south of the country with periodic attacks on air and ground targets.
1991 Haiti CIA-backed military coup ousts President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
1992-1994 Somalia Special operations forces intervene.
1992-1994 Yugoslavia Major role in NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.
1993-1995 Bosnia Active military involvement with air and ground forces.
1994-1996 Haiti Troops depose military rulers and restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to office.
1995 Croatia Krajina Serb airfields attacked.
1996-1997 Zaire (Congo) Marines involved in operations in eastern region of the country.
1997 Liberia Troops deployed.
1998 Sudan Air strikes destroy country’s major pharmaceutical plant.
1998 Afghanistan Attack on targets in the country.
1998 Iraq Four days of intensive air and missile strikes.
1999 Yugoslavia Major involvement in NATO air strikes.
2001 Macedonia NATO troops shift and partially disarm Albanian rebels.
2001 Afghanistan Air attacks and ground operations oust Taliban government and install a new regime.
2003 Iraq Invasion with large ground, air and naval forces ousts government of Saddam Hussein and establishes new government.
2003-present Iraq Occupation force of 150,000 troops in protracted counter-insurgency war
2004 Haiti Marines land. CIA-backed forces overthrow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

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see

Scan of the San Francisco article concerning Willie Brown’s possible foreknowledge of 9/11

February 26, 2008