Monday, February 26, 2007

CIA crimes in Latin America

automatically translated from spanish from


Coup d'etat in Chile, 11 of September of 1973

11 of September (Chile)

The Air Force bombs the Currency

The 11 of September of 1973 the Chilean Army Beyond aborted with criminal
force the socialist experience of the government of the Popular Unit
headed by the Rescuing president, which implied its death and the one of
thousands of Chileans.

This coup d'etat would mean an unpublished experience and the dark prelude
of which until today it would continue making the United States in the
rest of Latin America.

Next, a brief route by the thousand days of socialist government in Chile
and the events related to the coup d'etat of the 11 of September.

Popular unit for a Popular Government

It was the central slogan and the basic imperative that united and
mobilized to all the sectors of left and progressives in year 69 in Chile.
An ample cultural movement added to the campaign contributing creativity
and enthusiasm. The muralistas brigades arose therefore, of theater, song
and the most varied expressions of the art that participated actively in
the campaign.

Youth, mainly assumed an outpost position. As it said Beyond: "To be young
and to be revolutionary it is not until an almost biological

The elaboration of the program of government of the Popular Unit was
shaped in the plan of the forty measures.

The 22 of January of 1970, the Popular Unit proclaimed Beyond like unique
candidate to the presidency to Salvador. All along and the forces were
dedicated to the campaign: meetings, meetings, exits marry according to
house, preparation of linen cloths and paintings; it was a permanent task,
that grew in intensity as it approached the 4 of September of that year,
day of the elections.

In order to close the campaign in Santiago a great concentration was made
in the Tree-lined avenue (Reconciled main), with great marches that
converged from the four cardinal points.

The Tree-lined avenue was practically a human sea, from Italy Seat to
Central station and also the bordering streets, until it arrived the night
from the 4 of September of 1970 and gained the Chicho.

The first facist attempt to stop the assumption of Beyond a the government
was the murder of General René Schneider, until that moment Army
Commander-in-Chief, a day before its majority in the Congress was decided.
It was executed by a commando rightist who directed general Roberto Viaux
and induced by the North Americans.

The 22 of October, day of the voting in the Congress, was tense. Vote to
vote of the parliamentarians went clarifying the ratification of the
elections of the 4 of September.

The results were 153 in favor of Salvador Beyond, 35 against and 7
abstentions. The town celebrated it with joy in all the country.

Salvador Beyond is the first Marxist president in the history of the
humanity that arrives at the government by the own institutional rules of
the bourgeois system.

The Popular Government

And the history on the unpublished attempt began, to advance in the
construction of the Socialism by the route nonarmed. The diplomatic
relations with all the socialist countries were started again. Special
meaning had the reestablishment of the relations with Cuba, which helped
to run unjust the blockade imposed to the island by EE.UU.

The Agrarian Reformation was deepened, with the earth expropriation. The
Popular Government ended the large estate in 1972 and the nationalization
of the copper began that culminated with the favorable voting in the
Congress, even of the parties of the Right, which as well, indicated
enough of that historical vindication.

The creation of the call began area of social property of the economy,
with the expropriation, or rather, the purchase on the part of the state
of the 100 main companies. Also the deprived Bank was nationalized,
strikeing a hard blow to the financial oligarchy. This set of structural
measures, revolutionized to the country.

The reaction was brutal: a blockade economic international on the part of
EE.UU with the freezing of the sales of copper in the outside began,
whereas in Chile, the reaction implemented the internal sabotage, the
merchandise monopolizing, insumos and spare parts. The campaigns of loss
of prestige press, the calls and pressures of the right and the empire to
the Armed Forces (FF.AA.) so that they aimed a coup d'etat, were every day
of greater intensity.

In the parliamentary elections of March of 1973, the UP obtained 45% of
the votes. The shed urdido during the electoral campaign by the opposition
of right DC-PN sank that it tried to obtain both third in the cameras to
decree the ilegitimidad of the Government of Beyond.

They did not have left another option that to resort the military coup.
They made an attempt in June of the 73, the "Tanquetazo" that failed. But
it was a demonstration of a what was arranged and also of the incapacity
to resist a blow without having arms to defend the Popular Government.

The putsch coup participant would be the incentive to continue with the
subversion, the terror and all type of destabilizing maneuvers.

The 29 of July assassinated to the aide-de-camp of Beyond, Araya commander
Peters, simultaneously that followed the pressures against the loyal
uniformed ones the Government.

The women of some officials, in union to the rightists, carried out a
manifestation against Carlos Prats, Army Commander-in-Chief, obtaining
that he himself resigned to his position, naming in their place to Augusto
Pinochet, who assumes the 22 of August.

The Congress, with majority demo-rightist, approved a vote that raised the
unconstitutionality of the Popular Government; it granted to the coup
participants the legitimacy to him for the coup d'etat.

The last manifestation of masses of the UP was made the 4 of September of
1973, when being fulfilled three years of the electoral triumph. It was
one massive demonstration of endorsement of the popular sectors with more
of a million demonstrators. Diverse columns of workers, students and town
in general in front of marched the Presidential Palace under the slogan
"To support, to support the popular Government". The right and the DC
diminished that manifestation and followed with more force their campaign
of destabilization of the Popular Government.

The 11 of September of 1973

The armored ones assaulted the streets of Santiago

In principle the blow was planned for 15 or 16 of September with the
purpose of camouflaging its preparation with the mobilization of troops of
the traditional military parade of the 19 of September, although later it
was anticipated for day 11. The reaction could not allow that Beyond it
sent the call to a national plebiscito to dissolve to the situation in the
Technical University day 11. For that reason the confabulados ones quickly
agreed to advance the accomplishment of the blow. The "Tanquetazo" had
served to them as experience for the definitive blow. It had to be fast
and bloody from the beginning. It was necessary to bomb the Currency if
they did not surrender before.

The blow began at daybreak, with the rise of the Navy. Soon an
uncontrollable vortex of nigh raids of the Army was triggered in all the
territory and all the directions, the Navy, Aviation and also Customs
officers. They had everything planned to give an overwhelming and sudden
blow it.

There was space nor no time for the maneuver. UP could not be left it was
reorganized and defended. The plans of defense of the Popular Government
absolutely were exceeded.
[to publish]
Zarpazo Yankee of the blow

The order of the blow was issued by Richard M. Nixon, segundada by Henry
Kissinger. The preparation of the coup d'etat in Latin American Chile and
other countries was distributed from the School of the Américas instituted
in 1946 with Fort-Loving seat and transferred soon to Fort-Gullik in 1949
in the zone of the Panama Canal and from 1963 under the command of the
South commando of the Army of the United States.

By its classrooms they most of passed officials and sergeant majors of the
armies of the Latin American countries. It allowed to form ideologically
and militarily to more than 45,000 officials of 22 Latin American
countries, in special where the subversion was considered of first
magnitude, in individual Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and

Between its students they were the general coup participants Viola and
Videla (Argentina), Somoza (Nicaragua), Pinochet (Chile), Stroessner
(Paraguay), Banzer (Bolivia), Melgar Castro (Honduras), Carlos Humberto
Romero (El Salvador)

Chronology of the DAY 11 SEPTEMBER OF 1973

6:00 the boats of the Navy, that had weighed anchor the previous day to
participate in the Unitas Operation, return to Valparaiso. Naval strengths
occupy the streets of the port, Intendance and the plants of the Company
of Telephones of Viña and Valparaiso. In Santiago, the Commanding admiral
is stopped in his address.

6:30 an official of Customs officers of Valparaiso informs to the
presidential residence into Tomas Moor from the situation in the port. In
the Ministry of Defense already one is reunited all to High Command coup
participant presided over by Carvajal vice-admiral. General Pinochet has
settled in the school of Telecommunications of Peñalolen and general
Leigh, in the Academy military of the Fach in the Counts. The general
Mendoza, who has given his own blow in Customs officers, is in the
building of the institution in Amunategui street.

7:30 Accompanied by its personal guard, Beyond arrives at the Currency
that already is surrounded by the rebellious troops. In the following
minutes, numerous civil employees of government enter the Palace.

8:00 In his first speech by radio, Beyond informs to the country of the
rise that supposes restricted to the Navy in Valparaiso. Fifteen minutes
later the opposition radios transmit in chain the first proclamation of
the Armed Forces. Military cash destroy the National radio equipment and
smooth the radio of the Technical University. The transmitting towers of
radio Corporation and radio Vestibules are bombed.

9:00 After uselessly trying to communicate with the three
Commanders-in-Chief, Beyond knows clearly that all the Armed Forces are
coludidas in the blow and that have been beheaded the controls of those
arms whose heads kept fidelity to him. Then the first firings like product
of the confrontation between effective coup participants and snipers
installed in the buildings begin to feel public of the sector.

9:20 Beyond speaks for the last time through Magallanes Radio. With
touching words, in which it knows will be its last public speech, Beyond
one takes leave of the town that chose President.

10:00 the tanks begin to shoot intensely against the Currency from where
the defenders respond the fire, forcing to the attackers to fall back.
Beyond it rejects the draft notices of surrender of Carvajal and the offer
of his military aides-de-camp of an airplane to start off for exile. The
presidential guard of Customs officers leaves the Palace. Only the
Director of Customs officers, general Sepúlveda Galindo, remains until
minutes before the bombing.

11:00 At the request of the President, a group of women, between whom
their daughters count themselves, and some civil employees of government
leaves the Palace. In Adding, the Political Committee of the UP decides
not to resist: the workers will have to leave their centers of work and to
return to their homes.

12:00 Bombing of the Fach throws during fifteen minutes but of twenty
explosive pumps on the old building, the one that begins to burn by the
North wing, in front of the street Currency. In earth, the troops drop
tear pumps to the interior: the atmosphere becomes irrespirable. The
journalist Augusto Olivares commits suicide in one of the dependencies of
the Palace. Minutes later, the airplanes come to bomb the presidential
house of Tomas Moor. Confrontations in the Technical University, in
industries and populations throw dead tens of and hundreds of prisoners.
The embassies begin to fill of put in a home.

13:30 To the control of general Palacios, military cash enter the Currency
while one releases row of prisoners begins to leave the place. In the
second floor, after an intense shooting, President Allende dies with a
metralleta in his hands in the Hall Independence.

15:00 a new side of the conmina Military junta to 92 personeros of the
government and politicians of the UP to give itself in the term of one
hour in the Ministry of defense. Arsenio Pupin, Claudius Gimeno, Eduardo
Walls, Enrique the personal Orchard and all guards of Beyond, are
transferred to the Tacna regiment of where they disappear for always.

16,00 Firemen get to choke the fire of the Currency that single at dusk
managed to be extinguished. The body of Beyond, covered with a Bolivian
choapino, is retired by military cash and transferred to the Military

18.00 The touch begins of is in all the country. The prisoners of Santiago
begin to arrive at the National Stage and those of Conception are
transferred to Isla Quiriquina.

By this time, all the pockets of resistance have been squashed and the
Governing body controls all the national territory.


Charles Horman

American citizen of 31 years of age, stopped next to Frank Teruggi of 24
years, two days after the Coup d'etat of the 11 of September of 1973 by
the Chilean secret police and never returned of the interrogations.

A document that has the seal of top secret was found by the investigators
of the National Security Archive. It has been date of 25 of August of 1976
and in him one tells that Horman was kidnapped and taken to the National
Stage where they locked up to thousands of "suspects" to collaborate
Beyond with the democratic government of Salvador. Many of them were
assassinated under horrible tortures.

The Department of State knew that the regime of Pinochet killed Horman and
Teruggi but never said nothing to the families.

The document is signed by Rudy Fimbres, platoon leader of Chilean subjects
of the Department of State, and by other two North American diplomats:
R.S. Driscott and W.W. Robertson, and indicates, even, that the company it
gave information that contributed to motivate the murder.

"In worse of the cases, Intelligence it was to as much that Chile saw
Horman as a dangerous person and the North American authorities did not
make anything to prevent the logical result of the paranoia of the Chilean
government". Although in 1980 one inquired on the case, hid key history.

Source: Stella Calloni. Cóndor operation. Criminal pact. Editorial of
Social Sciences, Havana, 2006.

Frank Teruggi

American citizen of 24 years of age, stopped next to Charles Horman of 31
years, two days after the Coup d'etat of the 11 of September of 1973 by
the Chilean secret police and never returned of the interrogations.

A document that has the seal of top secret was found by the investigators
of the National Security Archive. It has been date of 25 of August of 1976
and in him one tells that Horman was kidnapped and taken to the National
Stage where they locked up to thousands of "suspects" to collaborate
Beyond with the democratic government of Salvador. Many of them were
assassinated under horrible tortures.

The Department of State knew that the regime of Pinochet killed Charles
Horman and Teruggi but never said nothing to the families.

The document is signed by Rudy Fimbres, platoon leader of Chilean subjects
of the Department of State, and by other two North American diplomats:
R.S. Driscott and W.W. Robertson, and indicates, even, that the company it
gave information that contributed to motivate the murder.

"In worse of the cases, Intelligence it was to as much that Chile saw
Horman as a dangerous person and the North American authorities did not
make anything to prevent the logical result of the paranoia of the Chilean
government". Although in 1980 one inquired on the case, hid key history.

Source: Stella Calloni. Cóndor operation. Criminal pact. Editorial of
Social Sciences, Havana, 2006.


Sergio Huidobro Justiniano

The 11 of September of 1973, was head of the Marines of the Chilean Army.
He was key in the final phase of the conspiracy coup participant. It was
born in 1921.

Huidobro had withdrawn in 1942 like naval cadet. In 1955, it made a Course
of Marines, in the "U.S. Marine Corps", in Quantico, Virginia, in the
United States. In 1956, he was commissioner in Washington. It made the
course of Commando and General Staff in Fort Bening, the United States. It
carried out visits to the Southern Command, Zone of the Panama Canal,
between years 1965 and 1968. Later, it attended the course of Naval
Instructor in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1970 it was promoted rear admiral.

The 9 of September of 1973, along with the head of Intelligence of the
Navy, the captain, Ariel González, gave to the letter signed by Jose
Toribio Merino, fixing the date of the coup d'etat. The letter indicated
the following thing: "9 of September of 1973. Gustavo and Augusto. Under
my word of honor, the 11 day H will be and hour, the 06.00. If you cannot
fulfill this phase, with the total of the forces that send Santiago, they
explain it to reverso. Admiral Huidobro is authorized to treat and to
discuss any subject with you. He greets with hope and understanding to
them, Merino". To reverso of the leaf, he added myself: "To Gustavo: it is
the last opportunity. J.T.". And more down: "Augusto: if you do not put
all the force in Santiago from the first moment, we will not live for the
future. Pepe". Leigh signed, soon Pinochet printed its company/signature
and die of the Command in Army commander.

He was a man of confidence of the vice-admiral Jose Toribio Merino.
Huidobro had a antiallendista position openly.

In the Secret Interference, the author talks about Huidobro of the
following form: "… And it was that night of Saturday 8 of August when it
happened a key episode, of that mark the course of history from two human
beings who agree to say a lie. Huidobro decided, then, an audacious
movement. It made come from the capital, with urgent character, to the
captain Ariel González, head of Intelligence of the General Staff of the

Very behind schedule at night they already urdieron the lie for the
dominical meeting of the admirals. Yes, they would say to them that both
had gone that night to a meeting in Santiago, in which the Army and the
Air Force had decided that the blow would be Tuesday 11, to six in the
morning. That simple. Like two children who invent a history to obtain
something of their parents. Only that in this case, was no puerilidad.
They were two adults who lay to gatillar an action armed of serious

And the meeting arrived. The admirals listened to the report of Huidobro.
One of them, asked Merino if it had participated in the conversations.
Merino watched Huidobro and this, without at least ruborizar itself, it
requested authorization to make enter the room to the captain, Ariel
González. Nobody dared to doubt the word of the head of Intelligence. Then
wine the question. Who would go to Santiago to complete the agreement by
the part of the Navy? Powers to admiral Huidobro occurred him to plenary
sessions. Carvajal vice-admiral already had itself displaced to Santiago
to meet with the other heads of the Armed Forces that participated in the
plot coup participant.

She was commander-in-chief of the Marine infantry until 1976. That year
happened to retirement.

In 1977, ambassador of Chile in Beijing was designated.


Winston Cabello

Chilean economist (1955-1973).

He was Regional Director of Planning in Copiapó (Region of Atacama, center
of Chile) during the government of the Popular Unit. The day after the
military coup, dependent public were mentioned next to other chiefs of the
rear of the government of Salvador Beyond, to the office of the commander
Oscar Haag, head of zone of State of siege. It was left prisoner in the
local jail, because supposedly, its vehicle had been used with "suspicious

Positions were never formulated to him nor was put under an Advice
military, even, the judge advocate Carlos Brito assured to him that it
would leave in freedom.

The 16 of October of 1973, arrived the Caravan of general Arellano at
Copiapó. This it selected to 16 prisoners for his execution. Thirteen of
them, including a Hair, were removed from the jail that night and
massacreed by members of the retinue and some officials of the regiment.
The other three were assassinated on the following day.

The official version was that they had died in an attempt of flight. The
13 were buried in a grave without mark in the cemetery of Copiapó, and
they were not discovered until 1990.

Most of her family emigrated to California, the United States, but her
Zita sister never forgot the secret a friend the night before leaving
Chile, the 11 of December of 1974:

"Before going to us, a friend who worked in Cepal invited to me to have
supper to her house. In a while in which we were solo, she asked to me, `
Sabes how died your brother? It killed it Arming Fernandez Larios with a
pothook'. It described the way to me in which my brother had died. I did
not want to know, was very terrible. I did not tell it to anybody, did not
have sense to increase the pain. But never I forgot the name Arming
Fernandez Larios."

It was not but until 1995 when Zita Hair found out that the assassin of
his brother lived in the United States. As of that moment she (at this
point economist and professor of Latin American Studies in the University
of California, with host Santa Cruz) dedicated herself to investigate to
Arming Fernandez Larios.

By the end of 1998, Zita gave a document of 15 pages containing antecedent
on Fernandez Larios to the organization for Center Justice &
Accountability (CJA), in San Francisco, California, that, among other
things, sponsors civil demands against rapists to the resident human
rights, of step or with goods in the United States. Soon, one went to the
greater writing desk of lawyers of California and ad convinced it to take
the case honorem.

The 15 of March of 2004 a panel of three judges of a Circuit of Appeals of
Atlanta ratified the failure of Federal the Distrital Court of Miami
(October of the 2003), that condemned to ex- Chilean military man Armando
Fernandez Larios to pay to four million dollars to the family of the
engineer Winston Cabello.

On the matter the family declared: "The money does not have sense for us,
but it is the only legal possibility that it gives EE.UU to look for
justice us. This it is a moral judgment and politician. Before, Fernandez
Larios lived calmly. Now he will have the punishment to worry all the life
about not having money, because they are going away it to clear. It is
important to seat this precedent, so that the future generations know that
the crimes will not be unpunished".

Note elaborated with information of the site Alive Memory



Red Christmas operation

By the end of 1981, the counterrevolution initiated plans of remarkable
spread to prove its forces. One of first was the denominated operation
"Red Christmas", that consisted of the mobilization forced of the border
Misquito communities in the Department of North Zelaya towards Honduras,
simultaneously that was assassinated to which they did not accept the
migration, operative that had to culminate with the assault by
contrarrevolucionarias forces to Port Heads, the departmental capital. The
idea consisted, in addition to the damage caused when uprooting to the
settlers of its places of residence, intimidating them with religious
prejudices and to mount an advertising show that showed the "sandinista
persecutions" like cause of the caused exodus.

Similar situations happened in the regions of Seven Bank 1 and 2 and in
Walpasiksa, zones of establishment of the same ethnic groups.

Source: Escalante, Fabian, the Secret War: Calipso operation, Editorial of
Social Sciences, Havana, 2005

Operation 40


The 17 of March of 1960, the President of the United States, Dwight
Eisenhower, signed the Memorando de Seguridad Nacional that authorized the
outbreak of Operation 40.

The general lineamientos of this operation included/understood:

• Crear and to unify the opposition of the Cuban Revolution.

• Promover campaigns of propaganda of subversive transmitters to urge the
town to the rebellion.

• Estimular the creation of an only clandestine organization for the
accomplishment of intelligence tasks, subversion and terrorism, in
correspondence with the interests of the opposition in exile.

• The development of paramilitary and terrorist operations in the
countryside, on the base of the creation of a guerrilla army that would
act of set with the contrarrevolucionarias organizations of the urban

In August of 1960 the organization of a armed expedition was decided that
of independent form was in capacity to occupy the Island and to destroy
the revolutionary power.

Agents of the company infiltrated in the Island to create new
organizativas structures that served like fifth column when the aggression
prepared in the outside took place. In October of 1960 the revolutionary
forces eliminated important actions of the company and the internal
counterrevolution in which the countryside carried out a scene key.


In January of 1961, like part of Operation 40, the company it conformed a
unit of denominated commandos Team Gray (gray equipment) who were due to
infiltrate in the Island to conduct specialized operations in war of
guerrillas, intelligence, psychological war, explosives and
communications. Several weeks began to infiltrate later by different
places from the Cuban territory, but almost all were detected and captured
by the revolutionary forces.

Parallel to the disembarkation of Invading Brigade 2506 by the Playa
coasts Girón, (Bay of Pigs), the company had planned an operation
classified in the upper secret one, a contingent of 160 men, trained in a
base of the company in Carolina of the South, that would attack the
Eastern town of Baracoa to produce a diversionary action when the
mercenarias forces disembarked.

With the defeat of the bands of cash settlements in the mountainous zones
of Cuba, those that had been supported and supplied with arms, the
ammunition and foods by the United States with the purpose of creating an
army that could participate in the overthrow of the Cuban Revolution,
eliminated the fifth column armed of the counterrevolution in level and
mountains of the Villas, that had been designed by the company according
to the concepts of Operation 40.

Mission, action and members

Operation 40 had like main mission to be the repressive corps of the
Brigade of assault 2506 once the disembarkation had consolidated positions
in Cuban territory subsequent to.

It was created to stop the main leaders of the Revolution to occupy the
main organisms of the central administration of the state, in special the
military institutions, key economic centers, and to seize of the archives
of the Cuban security. The men of Operation 40 could not step on Cuban
earth. When seeing as the invaders of the assault brigade were lowered in
Playa sands Girón, they modified the plan of disembarkation of the unit by
retirement to Florida.

The members of Operation 40 also acted like intermediaries between the
station of the company with seat in Florida, well-known like JM-WAVE and
the terrorist groups of Cuban origin with which the company it was not
interested in maintaining direct bondings, participated in the traffic of
arms coming from Scythes and New Orleans. Of this form, the terrorists
were supplied of money, arms, equipment and received instructions for the
accomplishment of the missions planned by the JM-WAVE headquarters.

In these actions it could not lack the connection with the North American
Mafia, extremely interested in recovering his lost paradise in Havana with
the coming of the Revolution. The main members of Operation 40, directed
by Joaquin Sanjenis, one of the heads of the police in the government of
ex- president Carlos Prío Socarrás and trained by FBI, came from the
repressive bodies of the tyranny of Fulgencio Batista and had been
collaborating of FBI or the company before the triumph of the Revolution.

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Assumed Bloodbath in Iraq

Leaving Iraq: Apocalypse Not

By Robert Dreyfuss, Washington Monthly. Posted February 19, 2007.

Much of Washington assumes that withdrawing from Iraq will lead to a
bigger bloodbath.

We need to question that assumption.

The Bush administration famously based its argument for invading Iraq on
best-case assumptions: that we would be greeted as liberators; that a
capable democratic government would quickly emerge; that our military
presence would be modest and temporary; and that Iraqi oil revenues would
pay for everything. All these assumptions, of course, turned out to be

Now, many of the same people who pushed for the invasion are arguing for
escalating our military involvement based on a worst-case assumption: that
if America leaves quickly, the Apocalypse will follow. "How would
[advocates of withdrawal] respond to the eruption of full-blown civil war
in Iraq and the massive ethnic cleansing it would produce?" write Robert
Kagan and William Kristol in the Weekly Standard. "How would they respond
to the intervention of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, Syria, and
Turkey? And most important, what would they propose to do if, as a result
of our withdrawal and the collapse of Iraq, al Qaeda and other terrorist
groups managed to establish a safe haven from which to launch attacks
against the United States and its allies?"

Similar rhetoric has been a staple of President Bush's recent speeches. If
the United States "fails" in Iraq -- his euphemism for withdrawal -- the
president said in January, "[r]adical Islamic extremists would grow in
strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to
topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil
revenues to fund their ambitions ... Our enemies would have a safe haven
from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people."

This kind of thinking is also accepted by a wide range of liberal hawks
and conservative realists who, whether or not they originally supported
the invasion, now argue that the United States must stay. It was evident
in the Iraq Study Group, led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, which,
participants say, was alarmed by expert advice that withdrawal would
produce potentially catastrophic consequences. Even many antiwar liberals
believe that a quick pullout would cause a bloodbath. Some favor
withdrawal anyway, to cut our own losses. Others demur out of geostrategic
concerns, a feeling of moral obligation to the Iraqis, or the simple fear
that Democrats will be blamed for the ensuing chaos.

But if it was foolish to accept the best-case assumptions that led us to
invade Iraq, it's also foolish not to question the worst-case assumptions
that undergird arguments for staying. Is it possible that a quick
withdrawal of U.S. forces will lead to a dramatic worsening of the
situation? Of course it is, just as it's possible that maintaining or
escalating troops there could fuel the unrest. But it's also worth
considering the possibility that the worst may not happen: What if the
doomsayers are wrong?

The al-Qaeda myth

To understand why it's a mistake to assume the worst, let's begin with the
most persistent, Bush-fostered fear about post-occupation Iraq: that
al-Qaeda or other Islamic extremists will seize control once America
departs; or that al-Qaeda will establish a safe haven in a rump, lawless
Sunnistan and use that territory as a base, much as it used
Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

The idea that al-Qaeda might take over Iraq is nonsensical. Numerous
estimates show that the group called Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and its
foreign fighters comprise only 5 to 10 percent of the Sunni insurgents'
forces. Most Sunni insurgents are simply what Wayne White -- who led the
State Department's intelligence effort on Iraq until 2005 -- calls POIs,
or "pissed-off Iraqis," who are fighting because "they don't like the
occupation." But the foreign terrorist threat is frequently advanced by
the Bush administration, often with an even more alarming variant -- that
al-Qaeda will use Iraq as a headquarters for the establishment of a global
caliphate. In December 2005, Rear Admiral William D. Sullivan, vice
director for strategic plans and policy within the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
delivered a briefing in which he warned that al-Qaeda hoped to "revive the
caliphate," with its capital in Baghdad. President Bush himself has warned
darkly that after controlling Iraq, Islamic militants will "establish a
radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia."

The reality is far different. Even if AQI came to dominate the Sunni
resistance, it would be utterly incapable of seizing Baghdad against the
combined muscle of the Kurds and the Shiites, who make up four fifths of
the country. (The Shiites, in particular, would see the battle against the
Sunni extremist AQI -- which regards the Shiites as a heretical,
non-Muslim sect -- as a life-or-death struggle.)

Nor is it likely that AQI would ever be allowed to use the Sunni areas of
Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks on foreign targets. In
Afghanistan, al-Qaeda had a full-fledged partnership with the Taliban and
helped finance the state. In Iraq, the secular Baathists and former Iraqi
military officers who lead the main force of the resistance despise AQI,
and many of the Sunni tribes in western Iraq are closely tied to Saudi
Arabia's royal family, which is bitterly opposed to al-Qaeda. AQI has, at
best, a marriage of convenience with the rest of the Sunni-led resistance.
Over the past two years, al-Qaeda-linked forces in Iraq have often waged
pitched battles with the mainstream Iraqi resistance and Sunni tribal
forces. Were U.S. troops to leave Iraq today, the Baathists, the military,
and the tribal leaders would likely join forces to exterminate AQI in
short order.

It's also worth questioning whether the forces that call themselves Al
Qaeda in Iraq have any real ties to whatever remains of Osama bin Laden's
weakened, Pakistan-based leadership. Such ties, if they exist, have always
been murky at best, even under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
With al-Zarqawi's elimination in 2006 and his replacement by a collegial
group, these ties are even muddier. Although it's convenient for the Bush
administration to claim that al-Qaeda is a Comintern-like international
force, it is really a loose ideological movement, and its Iraq component
is fed largely by jihadists who flock to the country because they see the
war as a holy cause. Once the United States withdraws, Iraq will no longer
be a magnet for that jihad.

The Sunni-Shiite civil war

The doomsayers' second great fear is that the Sunni-Shiite sectarian civil
war could escalate further, reaching near-genocidal levels and sucking in
Iraq's neighbors. "The biggest danger as we draw down is that the Shiites
will run roughshod over the Sunnis," says Brian Katulis of the Center for
American Progress, whose exit strategy, "Strategic Redeployment 2.0," is a
blueprint for many Democrats on Capitol Hill. Similarly, Wayne White, who
advised the Baker-Hamilton ISG, says that because of Baghdad's importance,
both Sunni and Shiite forces would probably rush to fill a vacuum in the
capital if the United States withdraws.

In fact, it's hard to find an analysis of the Iraq crisis that doesn't
predict an expanded Sunni-Shiite war once the United States departs. But
let's look at the countervailing factors -- and there are many.

First, the United States is doing little, if anything, to restrain ethnic
cleansing, either in Baghdad neighborhoods or Sunni and Shiite enclaves
surrounding the capital. Indeed, under its current policy, the United
States is arming and training one side in a civil war by bolstering the
Shiite-controlled army and police.

In theory, Baghdad is roughly divided into Shiite east Baghdad on one side
of the Tigris River, and Sunni west Baghdad on the other side. But in
isolated neighborhoods such as Adhamiya, a Sunni part of east Baghdad, and
Kadhimiya, a Shiite enclave in west Baghdad, ugly ethnic cleansing is
proceeding apace. The same is true along a necklace of Sunni towns south
of the capital, in an area that is predominantly Shiite; in mixed
Sunni-Shiite towns such as Samarra, the largest city of predominantly
Sunni Salahuddin Province, north of Baghdad; and in Diyala Province,
northeast of Baghdad. In these areas, it is facile to assert that U.S.
troops are restraining the death squads and religiously inspired killers
on both sides. And it would be impossible for us to do so even with a much
greater increase in American troops than the president has called for.

Second, although battle lines are hardening and militias on both sides are
becoming self-sustaining, the civil war is limited by physical
constraints. Neither the Sunnis nor the Shiites have much in the way of
armor or heavy weapons -- tanks, major artillery, helicopters, and the
like. Without heavy weaponry, neither side can take the war deep into the
other's territory. "They're not good on offense," says Warren Marik, a
retired CIA officer who worked in Iraq in the 1990s. "They can't assault
positions." Shiites may have numbers on their side. But because the Sunnis
have most of Iraq's former army officers, and their resistance militia
boasts thousands of highly trained soldiers, they're unlikely to be
overrun by the Shiite majority. Equally, the minority Sunnis won't be able
to seize Shiite parts of Baghdad or major Shiite cities in the south.
Presuming neither side gets its hands on heavy weapons, once you take U.S.
forces out of the equation the Sunnis and Shiites would ultimately reach
an impasse.

Even if post-occupation efforts to create a new political compact among
Iraqis fail, the most likely outcome is, again, a bloody Sunni-Shiite
stalemate, accompanied by continued ethnic cleansing in mixed areas. But
that, of course, is no worse than the path Iraq is already on under U.S.

A third fear is that Iraq's neighbors will support their proxies in this
fight. Indeed, they probably will -- but within limits. Iran, which is
already assisting various Shiite parties (especially the Supreme Council
for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq), would continue to do so. And Sunni
Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan would line up behind
Iraq's Sunnis. Even so, neither Shiite Iran nor the Sunni Arab countries
would likely risk a regional conflagration by providing their Iraqi
proxies with the heavy weapons that would enable them to wage offensive
operations in each other's heartland.

The only power that could qualitatively worsen Iraq's sectarian civil war
is the United States. Washington continues to arm and train the Shiites,
although so far it has resisted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's pleas to
provide Iraq's Shiite-led army and police with heavy weapons, armor, and
an air force. Only if that policy changed, and the United States began to
create a true Shiite army in Iraq, would the Sunni Arab states likely feel
compelled to build up Iraq's Sunni paramilitary militias into something
resembling a traditional army.

Thus, even if we assume that Iraq's parties cannot achieve some sort of
reconciliation as the United States withdraws, an American pullout is
hardly guaranteed to unleash unbridled chaos. On the contrary, each year
since 2003 that American troops have remained in Iraq, the violence has
escalated steadily.

A Kurdish power grab?

The third major concern about a post-occupation Iraq -- although it gets
less attention than it deserves -- is the possibility of a crisis
triggered by a Kurdish power grab in Kirkuk, the city at the heart of
Iraq's northern oil fields. Since 2003, the Kurds have been waging a
systematic, ugly round of ethnic cleansing, packing Kirkuk with Kurds,
kidnapping or driving out Arab residents (many of them settled there by
Saddam), and stacking the city council with Kurdish partisans.

Though Kurdish Iraq is mostly quiet and relatively prosperous under the
Kurdistan Regional Government that controls three northeastern provinces,
the Kurds may be tempted to expand their territory and secede from Iraq.
Under the occupation-imposed constitution, the Kurds have the right to
hold a referendum in Kirkuk later this year that would probably put that
oil-rich area under the control of the KRG; the Baker-Hamilton ISG called
the referendum "explosive" and recommended that it be postponed.
Alternatively, the Kurds might opt to take advantage of the Sunni-Shiite
civil war to seize Kirkuk by force. Either way, most Kurds know that a
Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk is an essential precondition for their ultimate
independence from Iraq.

It's hard to exaggerate the dangers inherent in a Kurdish grab for Kirkuk.
Such a move would inflame Iraq's Arab population (both Sunnis and
Shiites), impinge on other minorities (including Turkmen and Christians),
and provoke an outburst of ethnic cleansing in the city. Iraq's two-sided
civil war would become a three-sided affair.

But although this scenario sounds alarming, the reality is that, in the
event of an American withdrawal, the Kurds would find it exceedingly
difficult either to take Kirkuk or to declare independence. An independent
Kurdistan would be landlocked, surrounded by hostile nations, and would
possess a weak paramilitary army incapable of matching Iran, Arab Iraq, or
Turkey. If Kurdistan were to secede without gaining Kirkuk's oil, it would
not be an economically viable nation. Even with the oil, the Kurds would
have to depend on pipelines through Iraq and Turkey to export any
significant amount. Nor would Turkey, with its large Kurdish minority,
stand for a breakaway Kurdish state, and the Kurds know that the Turkish
armed forces would overwhelm them.

Conversely, under the U.S. occupation -- or, perhaps, because of it -- the
Kurds apparently feel emboldened to press their advantage in Kirkuk,
despite the dire consequences. And if the United States were to adopt the
idea floated by some in Washington of building permanent bases in
Kurdistan, it would embolden the Kurds further. (The threat of a Turkish
invasion is the chief deterrent to any move by the Kurds against Kirkuk,
but as long as the United States maintains a presence in Kurdistan, the
Turks will be reluctant to check the Kurds, for fear of running into U.S.
troops.) Thus, by staying or by creating bases in Kurdistan, the United
States is more likely to foster a Kurdish-Arab civil war in Iraq.

Will the center hold?

Not only is the worst-case scenario far from a sure thing in the event of
an American withdrawal, but there is also a best-case scenario. Precisely
because the idea of all-out civil war and a regional blowup involving
Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey is so horrifying, all the political forces
inside and outside Iraq have many incentives not to go there.

Certainly, four years into the war, passions on all sides have been
inflamed, communal tensions bared, and the secular, urban Iraqi middle
class has either fled or been decimated. The mass terror perpetuated by
armed gangs of extremists now occupies center stage. The broken Iraqi
state has ceased to exist outside the Green Zone, the economy is
devastated, and unemployment is believed to be hovering around 50 percent.

Yet the neoconservatives and the Bush administration weren't entirely
wrong in 2003 when they expressed confidence in the underlying strength of
the Iraqi body politic. Though things have gone horrendously awry, there
are many factors that could provide the glue to put Humpty Dumpty back
together again.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom in Washington, Iraq is not a
make-believe state cobbled together after World War I, but a nation united
by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, just as the Nile unites Egypt.
Historically, the vast majority of Iraqis have not primarily identified
themselves according to their sect, as Sunnis or Shiites. Of course, as
the civil war escalates, more Iraqis are identifying by sect, and tensions
are worsening. But it is not too late to resurrect some of the comity that
once existed. The current war is not a conflict between all Sunnis and all
Shiites, but a violent clash of extremist paramilitary armies. Most Iraqis
do not support the extremists on either side. According to a poll
conducted in June 2006 by the International Republican Institute,
"seventy-eight per cent of Iraqis, including a majority of Shiites,
opposed the division of Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines."

In addition, the country's vast oil reserves, conceivably the world's
largest, could help hold Iraq together. Iraqi politicians are currently
devising a law that would ratify the central government's control of all
of the country's oil wealth. Even the corruption that now cripples Iraq
tethers Iraqi political leaders to the central government and to the idea
of Iraq as a nation-state. "None of the big players really want civil
war," says an Iraqi military official closely affiliated with Ahmad
Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. "None of them want to give up the
regular flow of funds that they get now from corruption."

What most Iraqis do seem to want, according to numerous polls, is for
American forces to leave. Even within the current, skewed Iraqi political
system, a majority of Iraq's parliament supports a U.S. withdrawal. If we
add to the mix the powerful Sunni-led resistance, including former
Baathists, Sunni nationalists, and tribes, an overwhelming majority wants
to end the occupation.

This shared desire could be another crucial force in helping maintain the
integrity of Iraq. The catch-22 of Iraqi politics is that any Iraqi
government created or supported by the United States is instantly suspect
in Iraqi eyes. By the same token, a nationalist government that succeeds
in ushering U.S. forces out of Iraq would have overwhelming support from
most Iraqis on most sides of the conflict. With that support, such a
government might be able to make the difficult compromises -- like
amending the constitution to give minority protections to Sunnis -- that
the Maliki government has been unable or unwilling to make but that most
observers believe are crucial to any political settlement that might end
the fighting.

It is clear that there are many features of Iraq's current landscape that
lend themselves to the eventual creation of a stable, postwar nation --
although rebuilding the country will take generations. It is, at this
point, the best we can hope for. Like all best-case scenarios, it might or
might not happen. But the very same can be said of the worst-case scenario
-- a scenario that war hawks portray as a certainty and wave, like a
bloody shirt, to scare decision-makers and members of Congress into
supporting a failed strategy.

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posted by u2r2h at 2:20 PM 0 comments

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Old Chomsky Film and BBC misrepresenting 9/11

In Sight/ Chomsky: Still right about America's wrongs



Now playing 167 minutes Eurospace in Tokyo

After watching so much piffle on big and small screens lately, it's nice to come out of a movie theater feeling smarter than when you went in.

That's the Noam Chomsky effect, and it's evident in "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media," the 1992 documentary featuring probably America's top intellectual and what he thinks about the United States and all the rotten stuff it does and how and why it does it.

Despite being old as toast, the film's as timely and relevant as ever, in light of the tumultuous state of the planet. (It's being re-released here in conjunction with a Japanese translation that came out Feb. 2 of Chomsky's original book "Manufacturing Consent.")

Chomsky is well-known as a prolific, reviled and revered anti-sound-bite political activist, one of the big intellectual guns on the left in U.S. politics. He came out against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and has been crusading ever since. Now 78, he's emeritus professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He's retired but still active. His most recent book, co-authored with Gilbert Achcar in 2006, was "Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy."

He made the news last September when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez held up Chomsky's 2003 book, "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance," during a speech at the United Nations and said Americans should read it. It quickly became a best seller on

The documentary created by Canadians Mark Achbar ("The Corporation," 2003) and Peter Wintonick is both a look at Chomsky's life and career--highlights and controversies--and an exploration of his theories, especially those of "Manufacturing Consent."

The book (co-authored with Edward S. Herman) came out in 1988, a year that saw a nascent perestroika in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev and the election of George H. W. Bush to replace Ronald Reagan as the U.S. president.

The gist of "Manufacturing Consent" is that corporate media--chasing advertising dollars--serve the interests and agendas of the elite ruling class and not ordinary people.

As Chomsky says: "In a totalitarian state, it doesn't matter what people think, since the government can control people by force using a bludgeon. But when you can't control people by force, you have to control what people think, and the standard way to do this is via propaganda (manufacture of consent, creation of necessary illusions), marginalizing the general public or reducing them to apathy of some fashion."

As one example of that, the film graphically illustrates how The New York Times covered Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. Chomsky says this was an instance where the coverage was distorted because Indonesia was an ally of the United States.

It's fascinating to see how Chomsky composes his arguments and responds to his critics. He doesn't budge, just keeps cracking away with a mental encyclopedia of facts.

It's also interesting to see the footage of old TV interview shows, such as one in 1969 with the snide William F. Buckley Jr. On these shows, actual discussions take place; there aren't just three talking heads shouting one another down with personal attacks.

This nearly three-hour documentary (with intermission) is showing its age with some hokey outdated computer graphics that were probably neat at the time. But who cares? The issues and the questions we should be asking ourselves are still vital.

I will admit, though, after a diet of sound bites and e-mail morsels, it's initially a shock to digest the language Chomsky uses. He ladles out his speech in complex sentences that feel written and edited and rewritten. Maybe that's because he's a public speaker and has often lectured on the same topics; or it could be his brain is just whirring away and that's how he talks.

Whatever. Eventually it's like being at university and excited because you have a brilliant professor who is talking about something important. The cobwebs of the mind clear; the synapses fire, ready to question everything again. As Chomsky says, he's "helping people develop intellectual self-defense." That's a good thing in these troubled times, and this is an excellent film to revisit. (IHT/Asahi: February 23,2007)


“9/11: The Conspiracy Files,”
The BBC Joins the Ranks of the Untrustworthy United States Media

More than five years after the disaster of September 11, 2001, England’s BBC stepped into the ring of media outlets airing programs about the tragedy that is now referred to as “9/11” on February 18, 2007. The program, entitled “9/11: The Conspiracy Files,” took the time to interview some well-known Americans on both sides of the 9/11 argument. The hour-long program looked as if it might reveal something worthwhile, for about nine minutes. Guests like the outspoken Alex Jones, 911 Scholars for Truth Co-Founder Dr. Jim Fetzer, and Loose Change producer Dylan Avery actually got to make several excellent points before the real conspiracy was revealed.

At about eight minutes into the program, the narrator began to talk about the happenings of that catastrophic day. She told of that day’s United States Air Defense Command exercise and the mishaps that caused between Civil Air Traffic Control and the military getting the interceptors scrambled. The narrator went on to tell of the confusion of the interceptor pilots, not knowing in what direction they were to fly, and some flying the wrong direction. Further into the program she said “They found plenty of evidence of confusion and chaos, but no deliberate attempt to mislead the public…” You would think if the military was conducting an “exercise” and were costing the taxpayers money by using real planes, they would KNOW where their planes were, they would have alerted Civil Air Traffic Control, and there would be no confusion.

As if the BBC knew they were rubbing salt in the wounds of those seeking only the truth, they also interspersed comments by Davin Coburn, Researcher for Popular Mechanics Magazine. Coburn and Popular Mechanics, if you recall Charles Goyette’s August 23, 2006 show, claim World Trade Center Building 7, which was not hit by a plane that day and yet still “collapsed,” was “scooped out” by the falling debris of the Twin Towers. Scooped out? They made this claim, yet provided no proof. Goyette even went so far as to say that the owner of those photos let a magazine publisher view them but would not allow others searching for truth to view them, stating in his frustration, “I didn’t know they had different classes of citizens!”

The program narrator talked about the collapse of Building 7 and how “…with so much else going on that day, the event was barely reported…” Could this be the reason, nearly five years later, 43% of those polled by Zogby in May 2006 were unaware that Building 7 had collapsed? In the same pole, 48% of those polled said they did not think the government or the 9/11 Commission were “covering up” anything. Taking these two bits of information into account, would it be safe to speculate that if the 43% of people unaware of the Building 7 collapse WERE aware, would that alter the percentage of people who thought the government and 9/11 Commission were ”covering” something up?

It was clear that the tone of “9/11: The Conspiracy Files” was going against exposure of the truth when they began talking about the collapse of Building 7. Before Coburn was brought back on camera to explain the collapse, the program showed a couple of shots of other buildings being “demolished.” The program narrator commented that the collapse looks very similar to the “demolitions” they aired. Coburn also showed a video of the Building 7 collapse. The cameraman shooting Coburn’s interview made the comment that “it does look exactly like a controlled demolition” yet Coburn went on to say that he could see why people felt that way, but if they knew how the building was constructed and supported itself, along with the damage it sustained from the collapse of the towers, “the idea that it was a demolition holds no water.” Why did Building 7 “collapse” but not the buildings closer to the towers? Why was Building 7 a “raging inferno” but not the buildings closer to the towers? There were diesel storage tanks in Building 7, but a plane didn’t hit it. There was no jet fuel to ignite a fire there. How did Building 7 get “scooped out” but not the buildings closer to the towers?

The program went on to discuss the crash at the Pentagon. While the program admits the hole left by the Boeing 757 that slammed into the Pentagon was a mere 18 to 20 feet across, they claim that the building collapsed only “minutes later.” In actuality, it took nearly thirty minutes later to collapse. Photographic evidence of this is very clear from the documentary “911 In Plane Site.” What can also be clearly seen in this documentary, the first of it’s kind providing video images and asking brutally revealing questions about all the plane crashes that day, is that there is no debris consistent with the crash of a plane of that size and weight, fully fueled, on the lawn of the Pentagon. No fuselage, no wing parts, no engines, no tail section, no luggage, no passengers; nothing of the sort. Allyn Kilsheimer, one of those who came to help that day, claims he saw “a tire and a wheel and a fuselage section...pieces of…molten metal, that came from something as it hit the building.” It is very clear, from the video evidence shown in “In Plane Site” that there is NO fuselage section. View the preview for the documentary “911 In Plane Site” at, and you will further understand the outrageous claim that a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon.

Lt. Col Steve O’Brien, a C-130 Pilot, was in the air that day over Washington D.C. He saw a “distinctive silver” plane roll into about “30 to 40 degrees of bank, which is considerable for a commercial airliner.” Dr. Fetzer states -“…the story is inconsistent with the evidence we had. It’s not even physically possible, given the laws of aerodynamics, that a Boeing 757 could have taken the trajectory attributed to it, which I assume he confirmed, which was this plane barely skimmed the ground en route to it’s target. That’s not even physically possible.”

Near the end of the program, Senator Bob Graham is interviewed. He had quite a lot to say in just a few sentences. "I can just state that within 9/11 there are too many secrets, that is information that has not been made available to the public for which there are specific, tangible, credible answers and that withholding of those secrets has eroded public confidence in their government as it relates to their own security…embarrassment, apology, regret, those are not characteristics associated with the current White House…if, by conspiracy, you mean more than one person involved, yes, there was more than one person, and there was some collaboration of efforts among agencies and the administration to keep information out of the public’s hands.” The narrator of the program ended with “The other 9/11 Conspiracy theories are just that, theories. The evidence doesn’t support them.”

Civil Justice Foundation award winner and Transportation Safety Consultant Paul Sheridan has been an example to many Americans. Sheridan has written many people in search of answers, including then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former New York Attorney General, now Governor Eliot Spitzer. He wants, on behalf of all United States citizens, answers to some very simple questions. From Rumsfeld, as a witness at the Pentagon that day to confirm there is “no doubt in your mind that American Airlines Flight 77… Boeing 757 passenger aircraft” hit the Pentagon on 9/11. From Spitzer, Sheridan wants to know why Governor Spitzer will not allow the “common people…such access” to the photographs seen by Popular Mechanics. Sheridan goes on to ask how, in the light of the existence of such photograph’s that could “prove” what happened on 9/11, “The People’s Lawyer” can “allow such an outrage to go unresolved; legally, morally and in the context of compassion and respect for the 9/11 victims and their families?”

As the narrator points out in the program, “…many simply don’t accept the official conclusion, however distressing that may be for the relatives of those who died.” The relatives of those who died in the 9/11 tragedy have a right to know what really happened, as do the relatives of the service men and women being sent to Iraq to be slaughtered, daily, for this unfounded “War on Terrorism,” as do the United States Citizens, who are being asked to give up many of our freedoms, in light of these “terrorist attacks.” Dr. Fetzer proudly states that like all American Military officers, he took his oath to “protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic.” President George W. Bush, as every President before him, took the same oath before stepping into office. Fetzer just didn’t think defending the Constitution “would lead in this direction.”

Early in the program, Dr. Fetzer reveals the true conspiracy, “The very idea that 19 Islamic fundamentalists…hijacked these four commercial airliners, outfoxed the most sophisticated air defense system in the world, perpetrated these atrocities, unscathed, under control of a man in a cave in Afghanistan is only the most outrageous of the conspiracy...” In the documentary “One Nation Under Siege,” Journalist and author Jim Marrs agrees with Dr. Fetzer. “Nineteen Muslim fanatics…bypassed our forty billion dollar defense system…hi-jacked four planes…were totally lost from FAA Radar… satellite radar and NORAD Radar, made their way to New York and crashed into two prominent landmarks… the World Trade Center…another one crashed into the Pentagon…another one crashed in Pennsylvania, and all of this under the direction of a Muslim Cleric hiding in a cave in Afghanistan with a computer. Now, if that isn’t about the craziest conspiracy theory I ever heard…” “911 In Plane Site” and “One Nation Under Siege” producer William Lewis says in light of this world wide war on terrorism, effecting people worldwide, “someone really needs to ask the question ‘Why haven’t we been given all the facts?’”

Link to letters written to Rumsfeld and Spitzer by Paul Sheridan:

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posted by u2r2h at 11:43 PM 0 comments

Muravchik criminal plans an aggressive war

Iran: A war is coming

John Pilger: News analysis

22 February 2007 11:59

A woman holds a caricature of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as others wave Iranian flags during a rally earlier this month marking the 28th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Tehran. (Photograph: AP)
The United States is planning what will be a catastrophic attack on Iran. For the Bush cabal, the attack will be a way of “buying­ time” for its disaster in Iraq. In announcing what he called a “surge” of American troops in Iraq, George W Bush identified Iran as his real target. “We will interrupt the flow of support [to the insurgency in Iraq] from Iran and Syria,” he said. “And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

“Networks” means Iran. “There is solid evidence,” said a state department spokesperson on January 24, “that Iranian agents are involved in these networks and that they are working with individuals and groups in Iraq and are being sent there by the Iranian government.” Like Bush’s and Tony Blair’s claim that they had irrefutable evidence that Saddam Hussein was deploying weapons of mass destruction, the “evidence” lacks all credibility. Iran has a natural affinity with the Shia majority of Iraq, and has been implacably opposed to al-Qaeda, condemning the 9/11 attacks and supporting the US in Afghanistan. Syria has done the same. Investigations by The Los Angeles Times and others, including British military officials, have concluded that Iran is not engaged in the cross-border supply of weapons. General Peter Pace, chairperson of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said no such evidence exists.

As the American disaster in Iraq deepens and domestic and foreign opposition grows, “neocon” fanatics such as Vice-President Dick Cheney believe their opportunity to control Iran’s oil will pass unless they act no later than the spring. For public consumption, there are potent myths. In concert with Israel and Washington’s Zionist and fundamentalist Christian lobbies, the Bushites say their “strategy” is to end Iran’s nuclear threat. In fact, Iran possesses not a single nuclear weapon nor has it ever threatened to build one; the CIA estimates that, even given the political will, Iran is incapable of building a nuclear weapon before 2017, at the earliest.

Unlike Israel and the US, Iran has abided by the rules of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which it was an original signatory and has allowed routine inspections under its legal obligations -- until gratuitous, punitive measures were added in 2003, at the behest of Washington. No report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ever cited Iran for diverting its civilian nuclear programme to military use. The IAEA has said that for most of the past three years its inspectors have been able to “go anywhere and see anything”. They inspected the nuclear installations at Isfahan and Natanz on January 10 and 12 and in early February. The head of the IAEA, Mohamed El-Baradei, says an attack on Iran will have “catastrophic consequences” and only encourage the regime to become a nuclear power. The current United Nations Security Council resolution is the result of Washington coercion, as a leading Bush official all but admitted in India recently.

Unlike its two nemeses, the US and Israel, Iran has attacked no other countries. It last went to war in 1980 when invaded by Hussein, who was backed and equipped by the US, which supplied chemical and biological weapons produced at a factory in Maryland. Unlike Israel, the world’s fifth military power with thermo-nuclear weapons aimed at Middle-East targets, an unmatched record of defying UN resolutions and the enforcer of the world’s longest illegal occupation, Iran has a history of obeying international law and occupies no territory other than its own.

The “threat” from Iran is entirely manufactured, aided and abetted by familiar, compliant media language that refers to Iran’s “nuclear ambitions”, just as the vocabulary of Saddam’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction arsenal became common usage. Accompanying this is a demonising that has become standard practice. As Edward Herman has pointed out, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “has done yeoman service in facilitating this”; yet a close examination of his notorious remark about Israel in October 2005 reveals its distortion.

According to Juan Cole, American professor of modern middle history, and other Farsi language analysts, Ahmadinejad did not call for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. He said:“The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” This, says Cole, “does not imply military action or killing anyone at all.” Ahmadinejad compared the demise of the Jerusalem regime to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Iranian regime is repressive, but its power is diffuse and exercised by the mullahs, with whom Ahmadinejad is often at odds. An attack would surely unite them.

An American naval buildup in the eastern Mediterranean has begun. This is almost certainly part of what the Pentagon calls Conplan 8022, which is the aerial bombing of Iran. In 2004, National Security Presidential Directive 35, entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorisation, was issued. It is classified, of course, but the presumption has long been that NSPD 35 authorised the stockpiling and deployment of “tactical” nuclear weapons in the Middle East. This does not mean Bush will use them against Iran, but for the first time since the most dangerous years of the Cold War, the use of what were then called “limited” nuclear weapons is being openly discussed in Washington.

The well-informed Arab Times in Kuwait says Bush will attack Iran before the end of April. One of Russia’s most senior military strategists, General Leonid Ivashov says the US will use nuclear munitions delivered by Cruise missiles launched in the Mediterranean. “The war in Iraq,” he wrote on January 24, “was just one element in a series of steps in the process of regional destabilisation. It was only a phase in getting closer to dealing with Iran and other countries. [When the attack on Iran begins] Israel is sure to come under Iranian missile strikes. Posing as victims, the Israelis will suffer some tolerable damage and then an outraged US will destabilise Iran finally, making it look like a noble mission of retribution ... Public opinion is already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian hysteria, leaks, disinformation et cetera ... It remains unclear whether the US Congress is going to authorise the war.”

Asked about a US Senate resolution disapproving of the “surge” of US troops to Iraq, Cheney said: “It won’t stop us.” Last November, a majority of the American electorate voted for the Democratic Party to control Congress and stop the war in Iraq. Apart from insipid speeches of “disapproval”, this has not happened and is unlikely to happen. Influential Democrats, such as the new leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and would-be presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have disported themselves before the Israeli lobby. Edwards is regarded in his party as a “liberal”. He was one of a high-level American contingent at a recent Israeli conference in Herzliya, where he spoke about “an unprecedented threat to the world and Israel [sic]. At the top of these threats is Iran ... All options are on the table to ensure that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon.”

Can this really be happening again, less than four years after the invasion of Iraq which has left about 650 000 people dead? I wrote virtually this same article early in 2003; for Iran now read Iraq then. The silence must be broken now.


Bomb Iran

Diplomacy is doing nothing to stop the Iranian nuclear threat; a show of force is the only answer.
By Joshua Muravchik, JOSHUA MURAVCHIK is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
November 19, 2006

WE MUST bomb Iran.

It has been four years since that country's secret nuclear program was brought to light, and the path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere.

First, we agreed to our allies' requests that we offer Tehran a string of concessions, which it spurned. Then, Britain, France and Germany wanted to impose a batch of extremely weak sanctions. For instance, Iranians known to be involved in nuclear activities would have been barred from foreign travel — except for humanitarian or religious reasons — and outside countries would have been required to refrain from aiding some, but not all, Iranian nuclear projects.

But even this was too much for the U.N. Security Council. Russia promptly announced that these sanctions were much too strong. "We cannot support measures … aimed at isolating Iran," declared Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov.

It is now clear that neither Moscow nor Beijing will ever agree to tough sanctions. What's more, even if they were to do so, it would not stop Iran, which is a country on a mission. As President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put it: "Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen…. The era of oppression, hegemonic regimes and tyranny and injustice has reached its end…. The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world." There is simply no possibility that Iran's clerical rulers will trade this ecstatic vision for a mess of Western pottage in the form of economic bribes or penalties.

So if sanctions won't work, what's left? The overthrow of the current Iranian regime might offer a silver bullet, but with hard-liners firmly in the saddle in Tehran, any such prospect seems even more remote today than it did a decade ago, when students were demonstrating and reformers were ascendant. Meanwhile, the completion of Iran's bomb grows nearer every day.

Our options therefore are narrowed to two: We can prepare to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, or we can use force to prevent it. Former ABC newsman Ted Koppel argues for the former, saying that "if Iran is bound and determined to have nuclear weapons, let it." We should rely, he says, on the threat of retaliation to keep Iran from using its bomb. Similarly, Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria points out that we have succeeded in deterring other hostile nuclear states, such as the Soviet Union and China.

And in these pages, William Langewiesche summed up the what-me-worry attitude when he wrote that "the spread of nuclear weapons is, and always has been, inevitable," and that the important thing is "learning how to live with it after it occurs."

But that's whistling past the graveyard. The reality is that we cannot live safely with a nuclear-armed Iran. One reason is terrorism, of which Iran has long been the world's premier state sponsor, through groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Now, according to a report last week in London's Daily Telegraph, Iran is trying to take over Al Qaeda by positioning its own man, Saif Adel, to become the successor to the ailing Osama bin Laden. How could we possibly trust Iran not to slip nuclear material to terrorists?

Koppel says that we could prevent this by issuing a blanket warning that if a nuclear device is detonated anywhere in the United States, we will assume Iran is responsible. But would any U.S. president really order a retaliatory nuclear strike based on an assumption?

Another reason is that an Iranian bomb would constitute a dire threat to Israel's 6 million-plus citizens. Sure, Israel could strike back, but Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president who was Ahmadinejad's "moderate" electoral opponent, once pointed out smugly that "the use of an atomic bomb against Israel would totally destroy Israel, while [the same] against the Islamic world would only cause damage. Such a scenario is not inconceivable." If that is the voice of pragmatism in Iran, would you trust deterrence against the messianic Ahmadinejad?

Even if Iran did not drop a bomb on Israel or hand one to terrorists, its mere possession of such a device would have devastating consequences. Coming on top of North Korea's nuclear test, it would spell finis to the entire nonproliferation system.

And then there is a consequence that seems to have been thought about much less but could be the most harmful of all: Tehran could achieve its goal of regional supremacy. Jordan's King Abdullah II, for instance, has warned of an emerging Shiite "crescent." But Abdullah's comment understates the danger. If Iran's reach were limited to Shiites, it would be constrained by their minority status in the Muslim world as well as by the divisions between Persians and Arabs.

But such ethnic-based analysis fails to take into account Iran's charisma as the archenemy of the United States and Israel and the leverage it achieves as the patron of radicals and rejectionists. Given that, the old assumptions about Shiites and Sunnis may not hold any longer. Iran's closest ally today is Syria, which is mostly Sunni. The link between Tehran and Damascus is ideological, not theological. Similarly, Iran supports the Palestinian groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which are overwhelmingly Sunni (and as a result, Iran has grown popular in the eyes of Palestinians).

During the Lebanon war this summer, we saw how readily Muslims closed ranks across the Sunni-Shiite divide against a common foe (even as the two groups continued killing each other in Iraq). In Sunni Egypt, newborns were named "Hezbollah" after the Lebanese Shiite organization and "Nasrallah" after its leader. As Muslim scholar Vali Nasr put it: "A flurry of anti-Hezbollah [i.e., anti-Shiite] fatwas by radical Sunni clerics have not diverted the admiring gaze of Arabs everywhere toward Hezbollah."

In short, Tehran can build influence on a mix of ethnicity and ideology, underwritten by the region's largest economy. Nuclear weapons would bring regional hegemony within its reach by intimidating neighbors and rivals and stirring the admiration of many other Muslims.

This would thrust us into a new global struggle akin to the one we waged so painfully with the Soviet Union for 40-odd years. It would be the "clash of civilizations" that has been so much talked about but so little defined.

Iran might seem little match for the United States, but that is not how Ahmadinejad sees it. He and his fellow jihadists believe that the Muslim world has already defeated one infidel superpower (the Soviet Union) and will in time defeat the other.

Russia was poor and weak in 1917 when Lenin took power, as was Germany in 1933 when Hitler came in. Neither, in the end, was able to defeat the United States, but each of them unleashed unimaginable suffering before they succumbed. And despite its weakness, Iran commands an asset that neither of them had: a natural advantage in appealing to the world's billion-plus Muslims.

If Tehran establishes dominance in the region, then the battlefield might move to Southeast Asia or Africa or even parts of Europe, as the mullahs would try to extend their sway over other Muslim peoples. In the end, we would no doubt win, but how long this contest might last and what toll it might take are anyone's guess.

The only way to forestall these frightening developments is by the use of force. Not by invading Iran as we did Iraq, but by an air campaign against Tehran's nuclear facilities. We have considerable information about these facilities; by some estimates they comprise about 1,500 targets. If we hit a large fraction of them in a bombing campaign that might last from a few days to a couple of weeks, we would inflict severe damage. This would not end Iran's weapons program, but it would certainly delay it.

What should be the timing of such an attack? If we did it next year, that would give time for U.N. diplomacy to further reveal its bankruptcy yet would come before Iran will have a bomb in hand (and also before our own presidential campaign). In time, if Tehran persisted, we might have to do it again.

Can President Bush take such action after being humiliated in the congressional elections and with the Iraq war having grown so unpopular? Bush has said that history's judgment on his conduct of the war against terror is more important than the polls. If Ahmadinejad gets his finger on a nuclear trigger, everything Bush has done will be rendered hollow. We will be a lot less safe than we were when Bush took office.

Finally, wouldn't such a U.S. air attack on Iran inflame global anti-Americanism? Wouldn't Iran retaliate in Iraq or by terrorism? Yes, probably. That is the price we would pay. But the alternative is worse.

After the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917, a single member of Britain's Cabinet, Winston Churchill, appealed for robust military intervention to crush the new regime. His colleagues weighed the costs — the loss of soldiers, international derision, revenge by Lenin — and rejected the idea.

The costs were avoided, and instead the world was subjected to the greatest man-made calamities ever. Communism itself was to claim perhaps 100 million lives, and it also gave rise to fascism and Nazism, leading to World War II. Ahmadinejad wants to be the new Lenin. Force is the only thing that can stop him.,1,6860956.story?coll=la-headlines-suncomment&ctrack=1&cset=true

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

a telling of USA crimes

Feb 17, 2007

The power and the glory
By Roger Morris

(See also Part 1, Donald Rumsfeld's sharp elbows.)

In 1976, when Jimmy Carter took the US presidency from Gerald Ford, outgoing defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld went off to seek corporate wealth as head of G D Searle, a pharmaceutical company in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois. His period running the business, inherited by the family of his Chicago North Shore friend and early backer Dan Searle, would become part of Rumsfeld's legend of success as a master manager, negligently accepted as fact by the media and congressional representatives at his 2001 confirmation hearings.

The legend went this way: political prodigy slashes payroll 60%, turns decrepit loser into mega-profit-maker, earns industry kudos and multiple millions. In looking at men of prominence like Rumsfeld who revolve in and out of the private sector, the Washington media almost invariably adopt the press-release or booster business-page version of events from what inside-the-Beltway types call "the real world". In Rumsfeld's case, behind the image of corporate savior lay a far more relevant and ominous history.

In the documented version of reality, derived from litigation and relatively obscure investigations in the US and abroad, Searle turned out to enjoy its notable rise less thanks to Rumsfeldian innovative managerial genius than to old-fashioned reckless marketing of pharmaceuticals already on the shelf and the calling in of lobbying "markers" via its well-connected Republican chief executive officer. And over it all wafted the distinctive odor of corrupt practices. A case in point was Searle's anti-diarrhea medicine Lomotil, sold ever more widely and profitably internationally (in industry terms "dumped") - especially in Africa in the late 1970s - despite the company's failure to warn of its potentially dire effects on younger children.

"A blindly harmful stopcock," one medical journal called the remedy, which could be poisonous to infants only slightly above Searle's recommended dosage. Even taken according to directions, Lomotil was known to mask dangerous dehydration and cause a lethal buildup of fluids internally. Having advertised the medicine as "ideal for every situation", Searle did not undertake a cautionary labeling change until the end of 1981, nearly five years into Rumsfeld's tenure, and then only when threatened with damaging publicity by children's advocacy groups. Part of the vast outrage of multinational "pharmas" exploiting the Third World, the company under Rumsfeld would, like the more publicized Upjohn with its Depo-Provera, be implicated in widespread bribery of officials (and others) in poorer countries to promote the sale of oral contraceptives that had been found unsafe for North American or European women.

But Searle's magic potion, concocted well before Rumsfeld's arrival, was to be the controversial artificial sweetener aspertame, marketed under the trade name NutraSweet. By 1977, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had staunchly refused to approve aspertame for some 16 years, finding test data dubious or inconclusive and fearing that potential long-term dangers might prove prohibitive. As Rumsfeld took over in Skokie, the FDA was taking the rare step of recommending to Justice Department prosecutors that a grand jury investigate the company's applications for FDA approval for "willful and knowing failure to make reports ... concealing material facts and making false statements" in connection with the statutory application process required by law and FDA standards.

Over the next four years, federal regulators held firm against Searle's heavily financed campaigns. Only with Ronald Reagan's election to the US presidency in 1980 did fix and favor supplant science and the public interest. Having campaigned for the new president and been named to his transition team, Rumsfeld told his Searle sales force, according to later testimony, that "he would call in all his markers and that no matter what, he would see to it that aspartame would be approved".

The sequel would be a classic of the genre: Searle's reapplication to the FDA the day Reagan was inaugurated; the prompt appointment of an agreeable FDA commissioner who would later go to work for Searle's public relations firm for US$1,000 a day; further questionable, company-commissioned tests with more doubts by FDA scientists but approval of aspertame nonetheless; a later plague of health problems but by then vast profits throughout the corporate food economy followed by lavish, multi-company contributions to congressional committee members to stifle any outcry; eventually, a $350 million class-action suit alleging racketeering, fraud, and multiple abuses centering on Rumsfeld, who meanwhile had become gloriously rich from aspertame and the $2.7 billion sale of Searle to Monsanto in 1985.

In his return to the Pentagon in 2001, he would go duly unscathed by any of the company's history. By the time litigation would be filed, the United States was already 18 months into the occupation of Iraq.

As it was, despite his business conquests, Rumsfeld missed an even greater prize. He had been on a short list to become Ronald Reagan's running mate in the 1980 presidential campaign when the candidate unexpectedly reached for his defeated primary rival (and Rumsfeld nemesis) George H W Bush. While, over the next 12 years, Bush went on to the vice presidency and presidency, and Jim Baker - equally detested by Rumsfeld - went along with his patron to White House staff and cabinet power, Rumsfeld would build his Searle fortune and bide his time.

The one exception to his involuntary Reagan-era exile from government would be a stint in 1983-84 as special presidential envoy to the Middle East. He would be sent to arrange US support for Saddam Hussein's Iraq in its war with the hated Iranians of ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a role little noticed at the time, which nonetheless produced the notorious photo of Rumsfeld shaking hands with the Iraqi dictator. The deeper story was far more embarrassing than any simple handshake.

Most of the relevant records on Rumsfeld's several-month assignment are still classified, though it is clear that, as at the Office of Equal Opportunity, he took on his mission with a passion. He worked to shower on Saddam (in a manner as unnoticed as possible) an infamous flow of intelligence, financial credits, and sensitive materials and technology that would come to underpin Iraqi chemical- and bacteriological-warfare programs, leading to hideous gas attacks on Shi'ite dissidents and Kurds as well as the Iranian forces. In general, Rumsfeld put his shoulder to the wheel to shore up the war-worn Ba'athist regime that had attacked Iran in 1980.

In this mid-1980s de facto alliance with Saddam, as in much else, Rumsfeld was never alone. He was joined in this pro-Iraqi tilt in the Middle East by president Reagan, vice president Bush, secretary of state George Shultz, defense secretary Caspar Weinberger, national security advisers William Clark and Robert McFarlane, and a number of still obscure men like Paul Wolfowitz at State, Colin Powell, then Weinberger's aide at the Pentagon, and assistant secretary of defense Richard Perle, not to speak of his zealot acolyte assistant Douglas Feith (who would return in a pivotal post under Rumsfeld in 2001) as well as Bill Casey and Robert Gates at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), among other officials.

Their gambit was, in turn, backed by senators and congressmen in both parties who were briefed on Rumsfeld's mission and obligingly shunned oversight of the manifold aspects of the sometimes illegal collusion with the Iraqis. Their dereliction was assured, in part, by the general animus toward Iran on a Capitol Hill then in effect controlled by the Republicans, and increasingly under the bipartisan influence of the growing Israeli lobby and its Tel Aviv handlers. The lobby quietly, cynically pushed both for Reagan administration aid to Iraq and for covert arms-dealing with Iran (later exposed in the Iran-Contra scandal), viewing the ongoing no-winners carnage of two Islamic states as a boon. All this went on largely unreported, given the customary US media diffidence or indolence on national-security issues.

Historically, the moral outrage and far-reaching political folly of Washington's furtive arming of one tyranny to bleed another, with untold casualties on each side (including the murderous suppression of would-be democrats in both countries), would belong at the doorstep of Reagan's reactionary regime and the Washington foreign-policy establishment as a whole. Rumsfeld's role was instrumental and in some respects crucial, but only part of the larger disgrace.

At the same time, in the intelligence briefings he received as the first ranking US official to go to Iraq since the Baghdad Pact of the 1950s, he would have been uniquely aware, as no other senior figure in Washington, of the brutal character of Saddam Hussein's regime and, in particular, the sectarian, regional, tribal and clan politics that lay behind it. The Ba'athists were a government, after all, that the CIA itself had helped to recruit and install in the coup of 1963, reinstalled in 1968 when the agency's original clients lost control, and then watched closely while Baghdad had a flirtation (involving an arms-supply relationship) with the feared Russians (whose influence the bloody 1963 coup was supposed to counter). This was particularly true in the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli War of 1973 with its peace agreements from which Iraq emerged as a principal remaining challenge to Israel.

By 1983-84, the volatile, complex currents of Iraq's political culture, Saddam's essentially family and clan rule, and the now crude, now subtle layering of Sunni and Shi'ite in the Ba'athist bureaucracy and plutocracy, as well as the wartime distrust and savage repression of a suspect, subordinate Shi'ite majority, were well known to outside intelligence agencies as well as scholars and journalists. The CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and State Department Bureaus of Near Eastern Affairs and Intelligence and Research - and certainly Rumsfeld as presidential envoy - also had reason to understand much about Saddam's grandiose ambition, in Iraq's old rivalry with Egypt, to lead a pan-Arab nationalist renaissance to some kind of future parity with Israel's nuclear-armed military might.

In addition to the usual extensive intelligence-sharing with Israel's Mossad, less than two years before Rumsfeld's Iraq mission CIA operatives had literally lit the way for Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers in their June 1981 surprise attack on Saddam's fledgling nuclear reactor at Osirak. They planted guidance transmitters along the low-level flight path under Jordanian and Iraqi radar to the point of painting the target with lasers. The CIA and Mossad then watched as the Iraqis dauntlessly, defiantly began to rebuild and expand their nuclear program. From some 400 scientists and technicians with $400 million in funding, that program would grow to perhaps 7,000 scientists and technicians with as much as $10 billion at their command, some of which was indirectly made possible by the bounty Rumsfeld carried to Baghdad in the mid-1980s

For anyone dealing seriously with these issues, there could have been little doubt that Saddam would use the considerable aid and trade Rumsfeld was sliding his way under the table to mount a better-armed, more bloody war on Iran, to further the regime's most ambitious dreams of weapons development, and to tyrannize all the more savagely potentially rebellious Iraqi Shi'ites and Kurds. As Washington watched, he did all of that - and no one could have been less surprised than Rumsfeld himself. Long afterward, as some of the ugly essence of his mission to Baghdad dribbled out amid the ruins of President George W Bush's Iraqi occupation, Rumsfeld would be faulted for pandering to, and appeasing, Saddam (whose gassing of the Kurds had already begun) - in the wake of a single, timorous, hypocritical statement issued in Washington in March 1984 criticizing his use of chemical weapons. The actual toll of the policy to which he was integral would prove so much higher as time passed.

Iraqi chemical-weapons plants bombed in the 1991 Gulf War released agents to which some 100,000 US troops were exposed. The infamous Gulf War Syndrome might even be traced in some measure to the US credits, materiel and technology Rumsfeld had knowingly conveyed seven years before. So, too, of course, could Saddam's brutal 1980s repression of the Shi'ites, underlying the sectarian animus and resolve for vengeance and dominance by the US-installed Shi'ite regime after 2003 that shaped Rumsfeld's, and America's, historic failure in Iraq.

Others colluded at every turn in the long scandal of policy toward Iraq. Colin Powell, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Dick Cheney, as secretary of defense during the first Gulf War, would, for instance, be directly complicit in the syndrome outrage. Yet none of the participants in the larger disaster after September 11, 2001, was more directly responsible than Rumsfeld.

While Reagan's special envoy was, with his usual energy and sharp elbows, dickering with the Iraqis in the mid-1980s, Condoleezza Rice was an assistant professor of no scholarly distinction at Stanford; Cheney a third-term congressman from Wyoming squirming up the House leadership ladder; future viceroy of Baghdad L Paul "Jerry" Bremer moving from State Department clerk and Alexander Haig protege to lavish-party-giving ambassador to the Netherlands; and George W Bush, still by his own account given to "heavy drinking", absorbed in changing the name of his chronically failed Arbusto Energy oil company to Bush Exploration.

Waiting game
By 1987, Rumsfeld was flexing his muscles once more, preparing for the ultimate goal, assembling money and Republican Party support for a presidential run against George H W Bush in 1988. But after a dozen years out of office, and against the entrenched power of an heir apparent, he would soon enough discover that backing just was not there. Off more recent prominence and with a wider political base, Cheney would try to mount his own presidential campaign in the early 1990s, only to meet the same bitter rejection

Historians will only guess at the rancor building in these two deeply ambitious, deeply disappointed figures at the president they had, George W Bush, whom they no doubt saw as manifestly, maddeningly inferior. The Rumsfeld-Cheney recompense, at vast cost to the nation and world, would be their fierce seizure of power after September 11, 2001.

Rumsfeld spent the 1990s again in business, becoming CEO of General Instruments, then chairman of Gilead Sciences Pharmaceuticals, with another history reminiscent of Searle. In 1990, he joined the board of ABB, a Swedish-Swiss conglomerate that had gobbled up companies in the latter 1980s, including Westinghouse energy operations, and would move aggressively to win a $200 million contract for "the design and key components" for light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea. Rumsfeld pursued this prize even while chairing a congressional commission on missile threats that found a "clear danger" for the future from Pyongyang. In the alarming report, his otherwise fulsome resume failed to mention that he was an ABB director.

In 1996, he took leave from Gilead to become chief foreign-policy adviser, along with Wolfowitz, in Robert Dole's failed presidential run. He would end as the campaign's 18-hour-a-day manager. By 1997, amid the full-scale takeover of the Washington Republican Party by the long-churning cabal of neo-conservatives, he joined Cheney and Wolfowitz on a Newt Gingrich-instigated Congressional Policy Advisory Board to shape attacks on the second administration of president Bill Clinton.

In January 1998, Rumsfeld signed the celebrated letter so publicly sent to Clinton from the right-wing, Israeli-lobby-dominated Project for a New American Century. Alongside Wolfowitz, Perle and others soon to be key players in the younger Bush's regime, he vigorously urged the "removal" of Saddam. In July 1998, there followed the "Rumsfeld Commission" report on missile threats, wildly claiming, in an unnamed debut of the "axis of evil" drawn from the testimony and staff work of right-wing ideologues, that Iran, Iraq and North Korea would each be able to "inflict major destruction" on the United States by 2002. Through it all, including the first seven and a half months of their rule after the seamy election of 2000, there would be no trace of the actual danger that erupted out of a September morning sky in 2001.

Though he had repaired surface relations with the Bushes, Rumsfeld took no major role in the 2000 presidential race. In any case, the elder Bush had erased him from his son's list of possible running mates, while ultimately waving through Cheney, whose reactionary animus had been relatively well masked at the Pentagon in 1989-92. When, post-election, Cheney vetoed Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge for the Pentagon, and there were throbbing neo-con fears that a cosmetic Powell, bureaucrat at heart, would be far too equivocal at the State Department, Rumsfeld would be Cheney's, and so Bush's, antidote.

His appointment was a mark of the extreme poverty of Republican talent the administration reflected so graphically. The supposed party of national security, having held the White House for five of the previous eight terms and dominated Congress for much of the past 30 years, had no serious alternative to a man who had perched atop the Pentagon a full quarter-century before. Apart from the patently right-wing, widely discredited missile panel he had chaired, Rumsfeld had shown no palpable interest or competence in the ever more complex defense issues accumulating since then, much less the rapidly changing politics of the post-Cold War world. Nonetheless, fit, relatively youthful at 69, he strode again into the E-Ring. There was speculation that the old Halloween Massacre goal was still there, that Cheney, with his uncertain health, might step aside in 2004, that the undertaker might yet reach the Oval Office.

Rumsfeld began his Pentagon reprise by seizing on a dead Russian marshal and an octogenarian Washington bureaucrat few had ever heard of.

Like Osama bin Laden, steely-haired Nikolai Ogarkov first came to light during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. In 1977, at 50, he had become a prodigal chief of the Soviet General Staff. In that superannuated, medal-mummified company, he proved a dynamic, technically inclined, forward-thinking young general. Over the ensuing years, he would be an impressive Moscow spokesman on arms control, and defend stubbornly, even abjectly, the 1983 shooting down of a civilian Korean Airlines Boeing 747 that had veered into Soviet airspace.

Ogarkov would fall from power in a 1984 Kremlin struggle over weapons spending, write a valedictory book warning of US militarism, and die in post-Soviet obscurity in 1994. But his main, if esoteric, historical distinction would lie in a slight 1982 pamphlet in which he blamed the early, nearly lethal Russian defeats in World War II on a failure to adapt to the new German blitzkrieg concepts in tank warfare. Recent US advances in weapons technology, he argued, could leave the Russians similarly vulnerable if they didn't adapt quickly enough.

Sweeping changes in tactics and arms as well as more agile, responsive armed forces were needed to face the US challenge, the marshal advised. Otherwise, Soviet forces would fall into a series of devastating traps on a future remote-targeted battlefield in which the enemy would use the latest computerized surveillance and information systems in a new form of high-tech warfare. His vision soon gained vogue as much in Washington as amid the stultified upper reaches of the Soviet military of the early 1980s. It was grandly christened - and welcomed by Pentagon aficionados - as the "Revolution in Military Affairs" or, in that abbreviation-laden world, RMA.

There was a certain banality to Ogarkov's stress on technology. That a fighting force should be best attuned to the battlefield and adversary of the moment - modern, adaptable, quick and informed - should have been self-evident, on the order of the bloody lesson 80 years before of the czarist cavalry charging entrenched machine-guns in the Russo-Japanese War. Yet however obvious the premise, the RMA concept - transported to the Pentagon and put in the context of an onrushing generation of electronic warfare, of near-nuclear effects with non-nuclear means, along with Ogarkov's call for fresh tactics (and thus new weaponry and higher spending) - was taken up by innovators, opportunists, and their assorted hybrids on both sides of the Cold War.

This was particularly so among the Soviets, whose rusty Europe-heavy military was already being shaken and bled in Afghanistan by the mujahideen - in 1982-83, despite ample Saudi money, still only partially armed by their cynical CIA, Pakistani and Chinese handlers. At any rate, Ogarkov's truism was also grist for the Pentagon's back-ring band of civilian military "theorists", career bureaucrats ever in search of a mission and occupationally disposed to attribute evil genius - requiring a suitable Washington budgetary response - to the Red Menace.

Short, bald, and with stylishly severe wire-rimmed glasses, Andrew Marshall was a Dickensian clerk of a man who took up the bureaucratic cudgel RMA represented and brought it down inside the Pentagon. An economist by training, he had begun at Rand as an analyst in the late 1940s, when Rumsfeld was still in New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. Marshall was archetypical in the career-making fear and folly of the US-Russian mirror-image rivalry. He had been a protege of think-the-unthinkable World War III theorist Herman Kahn, and then, via Henry Kissinger's mentor Fritz Kraemer, had gone to work for Kissinger at the National Security Council (NSC) in the first term of president Richard Nixon. In 1973, he moved on to the Pentagon, where he presided over his own obscure nest, the Office of Net Assessment, from Rumsfeld I to II, while gradually gaining the reputation of resident genius of new war methods.

Discreet guru to reactionaries, ignored but thought untouchable by Democrats when in power, Marshall looked on as the Joint Chiefs not only spied on Kissinger's arms-control negotiations with the Russians, but also played an ardent supporting role in Nixon's fall. He subsequently signed on to Rumsfeld I's denial of defeat in Vietnam and then, on RMA's advent, used the concept to evoke ominous fears of a new Kremlin military prowess, justifying the orgy of Pentagon spending that took place during the Reagan era. (Ironically, of course, Ogarkov in 1982 was arguing for a Russian response to a still largely prospective US escalation of weaponry and warfare.) While the US armaments spree of the 1980s paid for some new RMA developments, most of the expenditures fit snugly within the corrupt, obtuse old Cold War system, with America's armed forces tailored to a lumbering Soviet threat in Europe, and no serious anticipation of the neo-insurgency wars that actually lay ahead.

As Marshall toyed with "flexibility" - and the Joint Chiefs cherry-picked his conjuring of Moscow's might for their own budgetary purposes, while ignoring the real import, and limits, of RMA - the Cold War ended in the equivocations and evasions of Bill Clinton's two terms in office and the low-rent, self-congratulatory installing of mafia regimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. The gnome-like Marshall, well past retirement but a lionized witness before the missile-threat commission, hung on for Rumsfeld's return.

The resulting history is far too close for much documented detail, though its silhouette is plain enough. Summoning Marshall as soothsayer, Rumsfeld made RMA the logo of his determination to gain managerial dominance over the Joint Chiefs and the Pentagon bureaucracy, exactly the opportunity he thought he had missed 25 years earlier. Under the old banner of a clash between a brave, beleaguered secretary of defense and the recalcitrant brass astride an impossible, "glandular" system, he held up the all-purpose, all-seasons ideal of Pentagon "reform". That "reform" movement was to be his ultimate takedown, his claim to greatness, and perhaps - who knew in 2001 - one last shot at the presidency.

Amid the inevitable claims of "streamlining" and "modernizing", Democrats applauded and reporters gushed reflexively about Rumsfeld as a celebrity CEO and national quipster. The willing ignorance, denial, careless trust, or craven acquiescence that marked the essential submissiveness of the political and media culture to Rumsfeld's rule were only part of a larger, thoughtless national abdication of judgment and responsibility in the wars he would propel in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

In blindly striking out after September 11 - a reflexive, grandly opportunistic, richly self-satisfying political act in the United States - without seriously understanding the politics or history of either country, he plunged the Pentagon into blundering, plundering occupations that made the nightmares of 2007 and beyond nearly inevitable.

That was the price - in the utter absence of serious dialogue in the 2000 election or the first eight months of 2001 - of the original uncontested surrender of foreign-policy power and initiative to such evident presidential incompetence (including the shocking ineptitude of NSC adviser Condoleezza Rice and her staff) and the long-predictable Rumsfeld-Cheney dominance. All of it was plain in Washington soon after George W Bush's arrival in the Oval Office; none of it was then questioned, much less challenged, by Congress, the remnant foreign-policy establishment, or the mainstream media. No democratic process so completely failed a test of substance as America's after September 11, 2001. No ensuing catastrophe was more consensual.

History will unravel only slowly Rumsfeld's relationship to the neo-cons, who dominated the middle and upper reaches of his Pentagon, a relationship more complex than contemporary hagiographies or demonologies have had it. Historically, he was their ally, patron, legitimizing figurehead, but never really of them, never a fellow ideologue, dogmatist, or slavish adherent to much of what they pursued. In enlisting Wolfowitz, Perle and their train, he would use them, much as he used Marshall, as he had used so many before, as means to what was so largely a personal, megalomaniacal end. But that use, too, was characteristically heedless of substance and cost.

He opened government as never before to men who habitually, automatically assumed that US and Israeli interests were identical, with no objectivity about US policy in a Middle East they scarcely understood to begin with. Their ignorance and presumption were matched only by their zeal to cluster in decisive quarters of the new Bush regime where decisions of grand strategy, of war and peace, were now shaped and predetermined.

"Like cancer cells," as witness Lieutenant-Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski would describe them in action in Rumsfeld's Defense Department. Half-educated and fanatically loyal to the rote Israeli-lobby view of the Middle East and the larger neo-con craze for US post-Cold War global hegemony, they crowded the domains of the No 3 official at the Pentagon, under secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith, whose career was a model of their kind and whose notorious Office of Special Plans was created as a fount for the fraudulent intelligence spurring the invasion of Iraq.

Historians will debate, too, the obvious blurred allegiance of what some call these American "Likudniks" with their utter conformity to the belligerent ultra-Zionist mentality of the Israeli right. Never before - not even in the post-World War II heyday of the powerful China lobby with its formidable grip on Capitol Hill but not within the upper reaches of the executive itself - had so many of such uncritical adherence to the policies of a foreign power been so well placed in Washington.

As often in US politics and government, however, no conspiracies were necessary, though a Pentagon-Israeli-lobby spy scandal has yet to be played out. Unrelieved substantive shallowness, a perversely narrow sociology of knowledge, long-jockeyed-for power and career advancement, a grandiose parochial vision of a Pax Americana world nursed in a hundred forgotten think-tank papers and incestuous conferences - all that as well imposed a stifling, disastrous orthodoxy on the administration.

Not least, they operated without the need to support their prejudices or delusions in authentic high-level debate, flourishing in their members-only domains of the Pentagon, the NSC staff, and the State Department, enjoying exclusive channels of communication to the White House controlled by Cheney, and unchallenged under a president of uniquely closed mind.

As for Rumsfeld's relations with his generals, the subject of veiled accusations of his heedlessness to dissent or running roughshod over warnings of serious problems, we actually know very little. The calamity in Iraq has brought more public criticism by senior officers than any other war in US history, including Vietnam, but almost all of it hurled from the relatively safe seats of two- and three-star retirement - and forlornly after the fact.

This much is clear: no major Pentagon leaks, the time-honored Washington weapon of dissenting commanders, marked the run-up to the invasion. There have been no public resignations in protest of Rumsfeld's policies. And the negligence, incompetence and inertia of commanders in recognizing and coping with the insurgency, in dealing with scandals of prisoner abuse, inadequate equipment and more, have been all too obvious. There is no evidence that any ranking US officer on duty pressed an intellectual or moral challenge to the unfolding debacle - even after it was too glaring to be ignored. As in so much else in his long record, Rumsfeld enjoyed, by Washington's inimitable mix of careerism and cowardice, submission and opportunism, a large supporting cast in his folly.

In the exhilarating dash to Baghdad in 2003, none of the admiring gallery seemed to notice that Rumsfeld's "new" military was largely the old one, "reformed" in name only; nor did many note that the vaunted lean, mean machine of RMA and the again-lionized Marshall had no grasp of how profoundly political was the act of overthrowing 40 years of Ba'athist rule; how deeply political was the campaign to which so many American lives, so much of the United States' material and symbolic national treasures, would be committed.

Rumsfeld would take his victory tour in the Persian Gulf region that spring as if a wrestler circling the mat after a stunningly swift pin. What was his toughest call, trailing reporters asked - part of the traditional garlands of victory tossed his way - and how did he "feel" at such a victorious moment?

It was hardly the time for the media, the seemingly omnipotent military, or the rest of US government and the political culture to reflect on how much "shock and awe" depended on overwhelming force brought down on the near-defenseless, on how much the concept reeked of racism and colonial pretense - of natives on the scene and in the vicinity "shocked and awed" like Zulus pounded and panicked by the Queen's own latest howitzers.

It was far too early for other questions - about a force cosseted at the end of vulnerable supply lines, nicely photogenic in night goggles but without enough body armor; about abbreviations like IED that had yet to enter the vocabularies of either commanders or reporters; about the familiar chase for medals and the absence of an enemy admitting defeat and ready to surrender (a missing essential of "victory" that would have much worried Maxwell Taylor).

Unreformed, uninformed commanders, uninstructed beyond brief battles, led their charges into Iraq relying on their generals. The generals relied on civilians. The civilians relied on (or were seduced or bullied by) the neo-cons. The neo-cons relied on their own ersatz expertise, Mossad insiders, and Iraqi exiles long out of touch with their homeland. The exiles - holed up in Baghdad palaces with US-paid-for mercenary guards, ignorant and contemptuous of the Iraq that had passed them by, and where they were now powerless, even with the might of the Pentagon behind them - relied on the Americans.

Rumsfeld, as always, relied on himself. The ranks trusted him - and political decision-makers - to know and manage post-Saddam politics in Iraq to secure the victory as well as to provide the political setting that fulfilled the military triumph. When they failed miserably, condemning the US force to a corrupt, untenable occupation and slow-wasting attrition of men and prestige, the debacle was complete.

Beyond Iraq were his other lasting legacies.

As no other US cabinet officer in history, he turned over crucial, self-sustaining functions of his department to privateers and private armies. He surrendered vital supply and commissariat services for the US military to profit-plundering contractors for whom US forces were neither fellow warriors, nor even shareholders, but captive "customers" to be treated with the offhandedness afforded by guaranteed contracts. He ceded security and combat functions essential to the national mission to a corps of thousands of hired guns whose qualifications, standards of conduct and ultimate loyalty - all integral to the safety and success of US forces - were beyond effective governmental control or measure. (Exposed in a congressional hearing on February 7, the scandal of the infamous Blackwell Security Corp, shirking amid vast profit the arming and protection of its own ranks, would be only a glimpse of the larger disgrace.)

Not since the British hired hordes of Hessians to crush George Washington's revolutionary army had a military force tracing to America been so utterly mercenary. The potential direct and indirect levy on policy and the armed forces would not be known for years.

As no other US cabinet officer in history, he squandered the integrity of his department and the unique, indispensable code of honor of its services. He joined, and often led, the rest of an intellectually degraded administration, heedless of constitutional and human rights, in violating the very heart of their ostensibly conservative convictions. With the ready sanctioning, and then de facto cover-up, of torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and the less noticed but equally gruesome prisons at Baghram Air Base and elsewhere in Afghanistan, he changed, for untold millions, the symbol of the United States and its once-proud military from freedom and the rule of law to the unforgettable prisoner's hood and shackles.

Rumsfeld's impact would not vanish with terms of office or elections. By the very nature of contracts, personnel practices, and imparted ethics - some of Washington's most permanent monuments - his legacies would remain deep in the tissue and soul of the institution he was entrusted to lead. At the end, a pathetic climax to his more than four decades either in government or imploringly on its threshold, there was only his hackneyed memo on Iraq policy - leaked, even more pathetically, in an apparent attempt somehow to vindicate him after all.

Thus, he growled that the Iraqi regime, like some seedy wrestling team, should "pull up its socks"; and, most poignantly, ever the politician conducting lethal policy as politics, he advised that Washington "announce that whatever new approach the US decides on, the US is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not 'lose'."

As he left office for the last time, it would be only the loss that mattered. As a pathologically unfit president struggled to recoup his historic blunder, as the neo-cons and Israeli lobby pressed on gullible media and a restive but still captive Congress the myth of an Iranian nuclear threat, as the US Navy and Air Force, lesser actors in the Iraq action, promised wondrous results in Persia, the chaos and ineffable danger were left to Robert Gates, the puffy courtier.

Weeks after Rumsfeld's departure, history - the little ever really known or understood - was already being waved off, forgotten. The past was too complicated and troublesome, too guilt-ridden and close to home, too filled with chilling consequences.

The worst of it was the most basic and damning. Donald Rumsfeld and all he represented, all he did and did not do, came out of us Americans. The undertaker's tally, including Iraq, was compiled at our leave, one way or another, at every turn. His tragedy was always ours.

Roger Morris, who served in the State Department and on the senior staff of the National Security Council under presidents Lyndon B Johnson and Richard Nixon, resigned in protest at the invasion of Cambodia. He then worked as a legislative adviser in the US Senate and a director of policy studies at the Carnegie Endowment, and writes this Rumsfeldian history from intimate first-hand knowledge as well as extensive research. A visiting honors professor at the University of Washington and research fellow of the Green Institute, he is an award-winning historian and investigative journalist, including a National Book Award Silver Medal winner, and the author of books on Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig and the Clintons. More recently, he co-authored with Sally Denton The Money and the Power, a history of Las Vegas, Nevada, as the paradigm of national corruption. His latest work, Shadows of the Eagle, a history of US covert interventions and policy in the Middle East and South Asia over the past half-century, will be published this year by Knopf.

(Copyright 2007 Roger Morris.)
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