Monday, June 29, 2009

Human hunting - kill people for sport..

Somali Pirates are just doing what the WEST (colonialism 2.0)
is doing to them...

but the russians are taking Dekadence to New Heights:

Luxury yachts offer pirate hunting cruises
Luxury ocean liners in Russia are offering pirate hunting cruises aboard armed private yachts off the Somali coast.

Wealthy punters pay £3,500 per day to patrol the most dangerous waters in the world hoping to be attacked by raiders.

When attacked, they retaliate with grenade launchers, machine guns and rocket launchers, reports Austrian business paper Wirtschaftsblatt.

Passengers, who can pay an extra £5 a day for an AK-47 machine gun and £7 for 100 rounds of ammo, are also protected by a squad of ex special forces troops.

The yachts travel from Djibouti in Somalia to Mombasa in Kenya.

The ships deliberately cruise close to the coast at a speed of just five nautical miles in an attempt to attract the interest of pirates.

"They are worse than the pirates," said Russian yachtsman Vladimir Mironov. "At least the pirates have the decency to take hostages, these people are just paying to commit murder," he continued.

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posted by u2r2h at 4:27 AM 0 comments

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NEAR-FATAL MOMENT: Pope John Paul lies wounded in St. Peter's Square after an assassination attempt in this May 131981 file photo.

A group of 13 civil society organisations has written to Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov asking him to confer a high state honour on Roumyana Ougurchinska, a Bulgarian-born French journalist, whose 2007 book on the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II blamed Turkish ultra-nationalist organisation The Grey Wolves and shadowy forces linked to Western intelligence.

The group announced the request at a news conference in Sofia on June 24 2009, Bulgarian news agency BTA said.

On May 13 1981, John Paul II was seriously wounded in a shooting in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. A Turkish citizen, Mehmet Ali Agca, was found guilty of the shooting. At the time and subsequently, reports linked Bulgarian and Soviet secret services to the assassination attempt.

Frequently mentioned in connection with the case was Sergei Antonov, a representative in Rome at the time for Bulgaria’s Balkan Airlines.

During a 2002 visit to Bulgaria, John Paul II said that he did not believe that Bulgaria had been involved in the attempt to kill him.

Ourgurchinska (46) has lived in France most of her life and has authored two other books and numerous articles for French publications.

Her book outlined the theory that Agca was not the only gunman who fired on John Paul II. There was at least one more, from the Grey Wolves organisation to which Agca belonged. An ultra-nationalist organisation, Grey Wolves was against everything it saw as communist, supposedly including a Pope who came from what was then a country in the Soviet bloc.

The book reports alleged links between the Grey Wolves and operations set up by the US Central Intelligence Agency that would have acted covertly in countries in the event of a Soviet takeover. One of these "stay behind" operations was Operation Gladio, which had an Italian unit.

For the book, the author travelled to Rome, Sofia, Paris, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Washington, including for meetings with intelligence sources. A former CIA staffer reportedly told her that the agency had been aware that Bulgaria was not involved in the plot to murder John Paul II.

REACHING OUT: Pope John Paul II talks with Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca in a cell of Rome's Rebibbia prison in this December 2 1983 file photo

Roumiana Ogurchinska

The Consortium

On the Trail of Turkey's Terrorist Grey Wolves
By Martin A. Lee

In broad daylight on May 2, 50 armed men set upon a television station in Istanbul with gunfire. The attackers unleashed a fusillade of bullets and shouted slogans supporting Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Tansu Ciller.

The gunmen were outraged over the station's broadcast of a TV report critical of Ciller, a close U.S. ally who had come under criticism for stonewalling investigations into collusion between state security forces and Turkish criminal elements.

Miraculously, no one was injured in the attack, but the headquarters of Independent Flash TV were left pock-marked with bullet-holes and smashed windows. The gunfire also sent an unmistakable message to Turkish journalists and legislators: don't challenge Ciller and other high-level Turkish officials when they cover up state secrets.

For several months, Turkey had been awash in dramatic disclosures connecting high Turkish officials to the right-wing Grey Wolves, the terrorist band which has preyed on the region for years. In 1981, a terrorist from the Grey Wolves attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Vatican City.

But at the center of the mushrooming Turkish scandal is whether Turkey, a strategically placed NATO country, allowed mafiosi and right-wing extremists to operate death squads and to smuggle drugs with impunity. A Turkish parliamentary commission is investigating these new charges.

The rupture of state secrets in Turkey also could release clues to other major Cold War mysteries. Besides the attempted papal assassination, the Turkish disclosures could shed light on the collapse of the Vatican bank in 1982 and the operation of a clandestine pipeline that pumped sophisticated military hardware into the Middle East -- apparently from NATO stockpiles in Europe -- in exchange for heroin sold by the Mafia in the United States.

The official Turkish inquiry was triggered by what could have been the opening scene of a spy novel: a dramatic car crash on a remote highway near the village of Susurluk, 100 miles southwest of Istanbul. On Nov. 3, 1996, three people were crushed to death when their speeding black Mercedes hit a tractor and overturned. The crash killed Husseyin Kocadag, a top police official who commanded Turkish counter-insurgency units.

But it was Kocadag's company that stunned the nation. The two other dead were Abdullah Catli, a convicted fugitive who was wanted for drug trafficking and murder, and Catli's girlfriend, Gonca Us, a Turkish beauty queen turned mafia hit-woman. A fourth occupant, who survived the crash, was Kurdish warlord Sedat Bucak, whose militia had been armed and financed by the Turkish government to fight Kurdish separatists.

At first, Turkish officials claimed that the police were transporting two captured criminals. But evidence seized at the crash site indicated that Abdullah Catli, the fugitive gangster, had been given special diplomatic credentials by Turkish authorities. Catli was carrying a government-approved weapons permit and six ID cards, each with a different name. Catli also possessed several handguns, silencers and a cache of narcotics, not the picture of a subdued criminal.

When it became obvious that Catli was a police collaborator, not a captive, the Turkish Interior Minister resigned. Several high-ranking law enforcement officers, including Istanbul's police chief, were suspended. But the red-hot scandal soon threatened to jump that bureaucratic firebreak and endanger the careers of other senior government officials.

Grey Wolves Terror

The news of Catli's secret police ties were all the more scandalous given his well-known role as a key leader of the Grey Wolves, a neo-fascist terrorist group that has stalked Turkey since the late 1960s. A young tough who wore black leather pants and looked like Turkey's answer to Elvis Presley, Catli graduated from street gang violence to become a brutal enforcer for the Grey Wolves. He rose quickly within their ranks, emerging as second-in-command in 1978. That year, Turkish police linked him to the murder of seven trade-union activists and Catli went underground.

Three years later, the Grey Wolves gained international notoriety when Mehmet Ali Agca, one of Catli's closest collaborators, shot and nearly killed Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981. Catli was the leader of a fugitive terrorist cell that included Agca and a handful of other Turkish neo-fascists.

Testifying in September 1985 as a witness at the trial of three Bulgarians and four Turks charged with complicity in the papal shooting in Rome, Catli (who was not a defendant) disclosed that he gave Agca the pistol that wounded the pontiff. Catli had previously helped Agca escape from a Turkish jail, where Agca was serving time for killing a national newspaper editor. In addition to harboring Agca, Catli supplied him with fake IDs and directed Agca's movements in West Germany, Switzerland, and Austria for several months prior to the papal attack.

Catli enjoyed close links to Turkish drug mafiosi, too. His Grey Wolves henchmen worked as couriers for the Turkish mob boss Abuzer Ugurlu. At Ugurlu's behest, Catli's thugs criss-crossed the infamous smugglers' route passing through Bulgaria. Those routes were the ones favored by smugglers who reportedly carried NATO military equipment to the Middle East and returned with loads of heroin.

Judge Carlo Palermo, an Italian magistrate based in Trento, discovered these smuggling operations while investigating arms-and-drug trafficking from Eastern Europe to Sicily. Palermo disclosed that large quantities of sophisticated NATO weaponry -- including machine guns, Leopard tanks and U.S.-built Cobra assault helicopters -- were smuggled from Western Europe to countries in the Middle East during the 1970s and early 1980s.

According to Palermo's investigation, the weapon delivers were often made in exchange for consignments of heroin that filtered back, courtesy of the Grey Wolves and other smugglers, through Bulgaria to northern Italy. There, the drugs were received by Mafia middlemen and transported to North America. Turkish morphine base supplied much of the Sicilian-run "Pizza connection," which flooded the U.S. and Europe with high-grade heroin for several years.

[While it is still not clear how the NATO supplies entered the pipeline, other investigations have provided some clues. Witnesses in the October Surprise inquiry into an alleged Republican-Iranian hostage deal in 1980 claimed that they were allowed to select weapons from NATO stockpiles in Europe for shipment to Iran.

[Iranian arms dealer Houshang Lavi claimed that he selected spare parts for Hawk anti-aircraft batteries from NATO bases along the Belgian-German border. Another witness, American arms broker William Herrmann, corroborated Lavi's account of NATO supplies going to Iran.

[Even former NATO commander Alexander Haig confirmed that NATO supplies could have gone to Iran in the early 1980s while he was secretary of state. "It wouldn't be preposterous if a nation, Germany, for example, decided to let some of their NATO stockpiles be diverted to Iran," Haig said in an interview. For more details, see Robert Parry's Trick or Treason. ]

A Vatican Mystery
Italian magistrates described the network they had uncovered as the "world's biggest illegal arms trafficking organization." They linked it to Middle Eastern drug empires and to prestigious banking circles in Italy and Europe. At the center of this operation, it appeared, was an obscure import-export firm in Milan called Stibam International Transport. The head of Stibam, a Syrian businessman named Henri Arsan, also functioned as an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to several Italian news outlets.

With satellite offices in New York, London, Zurich, and Sofia, Bulgaria, Stibam officials recycled their profits through Banco Ambrosiano, Italy's largest private bank which had close ties to the Vatican until its sensational collapse in 1982. The collapse of Banco Ambrosiano came on the heels of the still unsolved death of its furtive president, Roberto Calvi, whose body was found hanging underneath Blackfriar's Bridge in London in June 1982. While running Ambrosiano, Calvi, nicknamed "God's banker," served as advisor to the Vatican's extensive fiscal portfolio.

At the same time in the mid- and late 1970s, Calvi's bank handled most of Stibam's foreign currency transactions and owned the building that housed Stibam's Milanese headquarters. In effect, the Vatican Bank -- by virtue of its interlocking relationship with Banco Ambrosiano -- was fronting for a gigantic contraband operation that specialized in guns and heroin.

The bristling contraband operation that traversed Bulgaria was a magnet for secret service agents on both sides of the Cold War divide. Crucial, in this regard, was the role of Kintex, a Sofia-based, state-controlled import-export firm that worked in tandem with Stibam and figured prominently in the arms trade. Kintex was riddled with Bulgarian and Soviet spies -- a fact which encouraged speculation that the KGB and its Bulgarian proxies were behind the plot against the pope.

But Western intelligence also had its hooks into the Bulgarian smuggling scene, as evidenced by the CIA's use of Kintex to channel weapons to the Nicaraguan contras in the early 1980s.

The Reagan administration jumped on the papal assassination attempt as a propaganda opportunity, rather than helping to unravel the larger mystery. Although the CIA's link to the arms-for-drugs traffic in Bulgaria was widely known in espionage circles, hard-line U.S. and Western European officials promoted instead a bogus conspiracy theory that blamed the papal shooting on a communist plot.

The so-called "Bulgarian connection" became one of the more effective disinformation schemes hatched during the Reagan era. It reinforced the notion of the Soviet Union as an evil empire. But the apparent hoax also diverted attention from extensive -- and potentially embarrassing -- ties between U.S. intelligence and the Turkey's narco-trafficking ultra-right.

Fabrication of the conspiracy theory might have even involved suborning perjury. During his September 1985 court testimony in Rome, Catli asserted that he had been approached by the West German BND spy organization, which allegedly promised him a large sum of money if he implicated the Bulgarian secret service and the KGB in the attempt on the pope's life.

Five years later, ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman disclosed that his colleagues, under pressure from CIA higher-ups, skewed their reports to try to lend credence to the contention that the Soviets were involved. "The CIA had no evidence linking the KGB to the plot," Goodman told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Friends of the Wolves

Duane "Dewey" Clarridge, the CIA station chief in Rome at the time of the papal shooting, had previously been posted in Ankara. Clarridge was the CIA's man-on-the-spot in Turkey in the 1970s when armed bands of Grey Wolves unleashed a wave of bomb attacks and shootings that killed thousands of people, including public officials, journalists, students, lawyers, labor organizers, social democrats, left-wing activists and ethnic Kurds. [In his 1997 memoirs, A Spy for All Seasons, Clarridge makes no reference to the Turkish unrest or to the pope shooting.]

During those violent 1970s, the Grey Wolves operated with the encouragement and protection of the Counter-Guerrilla Organization, a section of the Turkish Army's Special Warfare Department. Headquartered in the U.S. Military Aid Mission building in Ankara, the Special Warfare Department received funds and training from U.S. advisors to create "stay behind" squads comprised of civilian irregulars. They were supposed to go underground and engage in acts of sabotage if the Soviets invaded.

Similar Cold War paramilitary units were established in every NATO member state, covering all non-Communist Europe like a spider web that would entangle Soviet invaders. But instead of preparing for foreign enemies, U.S.-sponsored stay-behind operatives in Turkey and several European countries used their skills to attack domestic opponents and foment violent disorders. Some of those attacks were intended to spark right-wing military coups.

In the late 1970s, former military prosecutor and Turkish Supreme Court Justice Emin Deger documented collaboration between the Grey Wolves and the government's counter-guerrilla forces as well as the close ties of the latter to the CIA. Turkey's Counter-Guerrilla Organization handed out weapons to the Grey Wolves and other right-wing terrorist groups. These shadowy operations mainly engaged in the surveillance, persecution and torture of Turkish leftists, according to retired army commander Talat Turhan, the author of three books on counter-guerrilla activities in Turkey.

But the extremists launched one wave of political violence which provoked a 1980 coup by state security forces that deposed Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. The Turkish security forces cited the need to restore order which had been shattered by rightist terrorist groups secretly sponsored by those same state security forces.

Cold War Roots

Since the earliest days of the Cold War, Turkey's strategic importance derived from its geographic position as the West's easternmost bulwark against Soviet communism. In an effort to weaken the Soviet state, the CIA also used pan-Turkish militants to incite anti-Soviet passions among Muslim Turkish minorities inside the Soviet Union, a strategy that strengthened ties between U.S. intelligence and Turkey's ultra-nationalists.

Though many of Turkish ultra-nationalists were anti-Western as well as anti-Soviet, the Cold War realpolitik compelled them to support a discrete alliance with NATO and U.S. intelligence. Among the Turkish extremists collaborating in this anti-Soviet strategy were the National Action Party and its paramilitary youth group, the Grey Wolves.

Led by Colonel Alpaslan Turkes, the National Action Party espoused a fanatical pan-Turkish ideology that called for reclaiming large sections of the Soviet Union under the flag of a reborn Turkish empire. Turkes and his revanchist cohorts had been enthusiastic supporters of Hitler during World War II. "The Turkish race above all others" was their Nazi-like credo. In a similar vein, Grey Wolf literature warned of a vast Jewish-Masonic-Communist conspiracy and its newspapers carried ads for Turkish translations of Nazi texts.

The pan-Turkish dream and its anti-Soviet component also fueled ties between the Grey Wolves and the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), a CIA-backed coalition led by erstwhile fascist collaborators from East Europe. Ruzi Nazar, a leading figure in the Munich-based ABN, had a long-standing relationship with the CIA and the Turkish ultra-nationalists. In the 1950s and 1960s, Nazar was employed by Radio Free Europe, a CIA-founded propaganda effort.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the shifting geopolitical terrain created new opportunities -- political and financial -- for Colonel Turkes and his pan-Turkish crusaders. After serving a truncated prison term in the 1980s for his role in masterminding the political violence that convulsed Turkey, Turkes and several of his pan-Turkish colleagues were permitted to resume their political activities.

In 1992, the colonel visited his long lost Turkish brothers in newly independent Azerbaijan and received a hero's welcome. In Baku, Turkes endorsed the candidacy of Grey Wolf sympathizer Abulfex Elcibey, who was subsequently elected president of Azerbaijan and appointed a close Grey Wolf ally as his Interior Minister.

The Gang Returns

By this time, Abdullah Catli was also back in circulation after several years of incarceration in France and Switzerland for heroin trafficking. In 1990, he escaped from a Swiss jail cell and rejoined the neo-fascist underground in Turkey.

Despite his documented links to the papal shooting and other terrorist attacks, Catli was pressed into service as a death squad organizer for the Turkish government's dirty war against the Kurds who have long struggled for independence inside both Turkey and Iraq. Turkish Army spokesmen acknowledged that the Counter-Guerrilla Organization (renamed the Special Forces Command in 1992) was involved in the escalating anti-Kurdish campaign.

Turkey got a wink and a nod from Washington as a quid pro quo for cooperating with the United States during the Gulf War. Turkish jets bombed Kurdish bases inside Iraqi territory. Meanwhile, on the ground, anti-Kurdish death squads were assassinating more than 1,000 non-combatants in southeastern Turkey. Hundreds of other Kurds "disappeared" while in police custody. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the European Parliament all condemned the Turkish security forces for these abuses.

Still, there was no hard evidence that Turkey's security forces had recruited criminal elements as foot soldiers. That evidence surfaced only on Nov. 3, 1996, when Catli' died in the fateful auto accident near Susurluk. Strewn amidst the roadside wreckage was proof of what many journalists and human rights activists had long suspected -- that successive Turkish governments had protected narco-traffickers, sheltered terrorists and sponsored gangs of killers to suppress Turkish dissidents and Kurdish rebels.

Colonel Turkes confirmed that Catli had performed clandestine duties for Turkey's police and military. "On the basis of my state experience, I admit that Catli has been used by the state," said Turkes. Catli had been cooperating "in the framework of a secret service working for the good of the state," Turkes insisted.

U.S.-backed Turkish officials, including Tansu Ciller, Prime Minister from 1993-1996, also defended Catli after the car crash. "I don't know whether he is guilty or not," Ciller stated, "but we will always respectfully remember those who fire bullets or suffer wounds in the name of this country, this nation and this state."

Eighty members of the Turkish parliament have urged the federal prosecutor to file charges of criminal misconduct against Ciller, who currently serves as Turkey's Foreign Minister, as well as Deputy Prime Minister. They asserted that the Susurluk incident provided Turkey "with a historic opportunity to expose unsolved murders and the drugs and arms smuggling that have been going on in our country for years."

The scandal momentarily reinvigorated the Turkish press, which unearthed revelations about criminals and police officials involved in the heroin trade. But journalists also have been victims of death squads in recent years. The violent attack on Independent Flash TV was a reminder. Prosecutors have faced pressure, too, from superiors who are not eager to delve into state secrets. Thus far, no charges have been lodged against Ciller.

Across the Atlantic in Washington, the U.S. government has yet to acknowledge any responsibility for the Turkish Frankenstein that U.S. Cold War strategy helped to create. When asked about the Susurluk affair, a State Department spokesperson said it was "an internal Turkish matter." He declined further comment. ~

Martin A. Lee's book on neo-fascism, The Beast Reawakens, will be published by Little, Brown in July.

CIA’s Pope Shooter Early Al Qaeda?

Mehmet_ali_agcaDid Mehmet Ali Agca Go to the CIA School of False Flag Operations?

The man who served 19 years in an Italian prison (and 5 additional years in Turkey on unrelated charges) for shooting and attempting to assassinate the late Pope John Paul II in 1981 has been released from prison. Then, as now, the story of Mehmet Ali Agca’s supposed links to Soviet-era Bulgarian Secret Police plots to off the pontiff were taken seriously in some quarters. Back in the day, people like right-wing, fascist-sympathizing American politicos like Michael Ledeen were fans of this conspiracy theory. In fact, Ledeen has hardly given up on such mindfuck maneuvers. (It is suspected that Ledeen had a hand in the forged Nigerian yellowcake uranium documents that provided the infamous “16 words” in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address that prehaps provided the final straw in the Bush Administration's campaign to push the country into its aggression against Iraq.)

According to the Bulgarian journalist Krum Blagov, a tape purported as proof of the ‘Bulgarian Connection’ to the Pope shooting, and which surfaced in 1991, was fabricated for $1,000. Care to wager from which U.S. government office building in Virginia the money originated? It could prove interesting to follow the money on that one. Or maybe it was merely an internal Bulgarian thing – trying to curry favor with the West in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Bloc,Ledeen trying to cement anti-Communist sentiment with anti-Communist myths, etc. However, aside from the paucity of evidence for such a thing, the assassination attempt as a Communist plot occurs to me as one of those too-perfectly Evil and too-straight forward acts on the part of the Official Enemy to be true. Along the lines of 9-11, if you press me (or even if you don’t).

Pope John Paul’s anti-Communism was well known, then as now. He was a right-wing Pole who had always promoted the West in favor of the East. But not fanatically so, it would seem; he also reserved some criticism for the West. He was certainly no more extreme than other popes, and perhaps less so than some (say, the likes of the present Pope, for instance). Why would the Communists target him? Why at a moment when the West, under the leadership of Reagan and Thatcher, was likely to renew the Cold War in any event, as they did, would they kill a symbolic leader likely to replaced by a similarly anti-Communist in any event? Why be antagonistic at that very moment for such a pitiful and questionable gain? Is it possible they could have hoped the College of Cardinals would elect a new Communist-friendly Pope once John Paul was out of the Vatican1981_1way? No. Not hardly. The evidence of a Bulgarian or Soviet link to Ali Agca was never impressive at all. The evidence that he was a right-winger associated with the CIA was always more significant. He was a member of the Turkish fascist group the Grey Wolves, a group more likely to be aligned with the CIA than the Bulgarian Stalinists. In fact, the CIA employed the Grey Wolves against the Turkish left in the 1960s and 1970s. Does it seem likely that a Grey Wolf would suddenly do the bidding of the Bulgarian Communists?

Prefiguring recent revelations about the CIA skewing evidence to support the story about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (don’t tell me you need a link about that!), ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman told "the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1990 that his CIA colleagues, under pressure from agency higher-ups, had skewed their reports to try to lend credence to the notion of a Soviet plot to murder the pope."

Just as one can reasonably question whether former CIA asset Osama Bin Laden is actually formerly so, it is right to wonder whether Mehmet Ali Agca, would-be assassin of a Pope, was ever really anything other than a CIA asset. Was Agca and the CIA coziness with the essentiallyBinladen Islamo-fascist Grey Wolves a foreshadowing of the relationships it had with Osama Bin Laden and the Islamo-fascists that it set up to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan later in the 1980s?

After all, what had the U.S. government to gain from killing the Pope and blaming it on the Communists? Similarly, what has the U.S. government to gain from killing 3,000 Americans and blaming it on crazed Middle Easterners?

Are these serious questions???

Just take a look around.

Roumiana Ougartchinska, La vérité sur l'attentat contre Jean Paul II, Éditions Presses de la Renaissance, 2007 (ISBN 9782750902841)

Rumiana Ugarczinskiej

Roques, Valeska von - Verschwörung gegen den Papst. Warum Ali Agca auf Johannes Paul II. schoss., München, Blessing, 2001

An attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II occurred on May 13, 1981. Mehmet Ali Agca shot and seriously wounded the Pope in the Vatican City's St. Peter's Square. Agca was convicted for this crime in July 1981, and was deported to Turkey in 2001, after serving 20 years imprisonment.

Beginning in August 1980 Agca began criss-crossing the Mediterranean region, changing passports and identities, perhaps to hide his point of origin in Sofia, Bulgaria. He entered Rome on May 10, 1981, coming by train from Milan.

According to Agca's later testimony, he met with three accomplices in Rome, one a fellow Turk and two Bulgarians, with operation being commanded by Zilo Vassilev, the Bulgarian military attaché in Italy. He said that he was assigned this mission by Turkish mafioso Bekir Çelenk in Bulgaria. Le Monde diplomatique, however, has alleged that the assassination attempt was organized by Abdullah Çatl? "in exchange for the sum of 3 million marks", paid by Bekir Çelenk to the Grey Wolves.

According to Agca, the plan was for him and the back-up gunman Oral Çelik to open fire in St. Peter's Square and escape to the Bulgarian embassy under the cover of the panic generated by a small explosion. On May 13 they sat in the square, writing postcards waiting for the Pope to arrive. When the Pope passed, Agca fired several shots and critically wounded him, but was grabbed by a nun and several other spectators and prevented from finishing the assassination or escaping. Four bullets hit John Paul II, two of them lodging in his lower intestine, the others hitting his left hand and right arm. Two bystanders were also hit by stray assassin's bullets; Ann Odre, of Buffalo, New York, was struck in the chest while Rose Hill, of Jamaica, was slightly wounded in the arm. Çelik panicked and fled without setting off his bomb or opening fire. The Pope, who lost nearly three-quarters of his blood and thus suffered shock from near-exsanguination, underwent five hours of emergency intestinal surgery- which required transfusions and a temporary colostomy- at the Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic after a noted gastrointestinal surgeon, the late Dr. Francesco Crucitti, rushed across Rome to the hospital operating room after coming across a policeman. Agca, a professional assassin, when he first saw the Pope in Rome's Rebibbia Prison a few years later asked him how he had survived.

Agca was sentenced, in July 1981, to life imprisonment in Italy for the assassination attempt, but was pardoned by president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in June 2000 at the Pope's request. He was then extradited to Turkey, where he was imprisoned for the 1979 murder of left-wing journalist Abdi I.pekçi and two bank raids carried out in the 1970s. Despite a plea for early release in November 2004, a Turkish court announced that he would not be eligible for release until 2010. Nonetheless he was released on parole on January 12, 2006. However, on January 20, 2006, the Turkish Supreme Court ruled that his time served in Italy could not be deducted from his Turkish sentence and he was returned to jail.

Following the shooting, Pope John Paul II asked people to "pray for my brother (Agca), whom I have sincerely forgiven." In 1983, he and Agca met and spoke privately at the prison where Agca was being held. The Pope was also in touch with Agca's family over the years, meeting his mother in 1987 and his brother a decade later.

Although Agca had been quoted as saying that "to me [the Pope] was the incarnation of all that is capitalism", and attempting to murder him, Agca developed a friendship with the pontiff. In early February 2005, during the Pope's illness, Agca sent a letter to the Pope wishing him well and also warning him that the world would end soon.

Inspired by this act of forgiveness, Christian music artist Steve Taylor wrote the song, "To Forgive," which appeared on his 1985 release, "On the Fritz."

Motivations for the assassination attempt

Several theories exist concerning Mehmet Ali Agca's assassination attempt. One, strongly advocated since the early 1980s by Michael Ledeen among others, is that the assassination attempt had originated from Moscow and that the KGB instructed the Bulgarian and East German secret services to carry out the mission. The Bulgarian Secret Service was allegedly instructed by the KGB to assassinate the Pope because of his support of Poland's Solidarity movement, seeing it as one of the most significant threats to Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe.

Agca himself has given multiple conflicting statements on the assassination at different times. Attorney Antonio Marini stated: "Agca has manipulated all of us, telling hundreds of lies, continually changing versions, forcing us to open tens of different investigations". Originally Agca claimed to be a member of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), but they denied any ties to him.

The "Bulgarian Connection"

Then KGB Director Yuri Andropov, was convinced that the Pope John Paul II’s election was the product of an Anglo-German conspiracy orchestrated by Zbigniew Brzezinski to undermine Soviet hegemony in largely Catholic Poland and ultimately to precipitate the collapse of the entire Soviet Union. The Pope’s announcement of a pilgrimage to Warsaw fueled Andropov’s apprehension, with Andropov issuing a secret memorandum to Soviet schoolteachers:

The Pope is our enemy. . . . Due to his uncommon skills and great sense of humor he is dangerous, because he charms everyone, especially journalists. Besides, he goes for cheap gestures in his relations with the crowd, for instance, [the] puts on a highlander’s hat, shakes all hands, kisses children, etc. . . . It is modeled on American presidential campaigns. . . . Because of the activities of the Church in Poland our activities designed to atheize the youth not only cannot diminish but must intensely develop. . . . In this respect all means are allowed and we cannot afford sentiments.

Ali Agca had made several trips to Sofia, Bulgaria, and stayed in a hotel favored by the Bulgarian (DS). In Rome he had also had contacts with a Bulgarian agent whose cover was the Bulgarian national airline office. Soon after the shooting, Sergei Antonov, a Bulgarian working in Rome for Balkan Air, was arrested based on Agca's testimony and accused of being the Bulgarian agent who masterminded the plot. In 1986, after a three-year trial, he was found not guilty. According to the CIA's chief of staff in Turkey, Paul Henze, he later stated that in Sofia, he was once approached by the Bulgarian Secret Service and Turkish mafiosi, who offered him three million German mark to assassinate the Pope.

The Bulgarians chose Agca to supply themselves with plausible deniability; choosing a member of the Grey Wolves that had been involved with the local KGB in drug smuggling routes through Bulgaria to Western Europe would distance themselves because of the implausibility of the link.

The Bulgarian secret services have always protested their alleged involvement and argued that Agca's story was an anti-Communist plant placed by the Italian secret service (SISMI), and the CIA.

According to Ferdinando Imposimato, an Italian prosecutor in charge of the assassination investigation, Agca has confirmed the KGB and the Bulgarian involvement during their many private conversations in 1997-2000, tying it to the mysterious 1998 murder of Colonel Alois Estermann, a Swiss Guard. Ferdinando Imposimato has alleged a link with the East German secret service.

The Mitrokhin Commission's claims
Further information: Italian Mitrokhin Commission

According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, documents recovered from former East German intelligence services confirm the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II was ordered by the Soviet KGB and assigned to Bulgarian and East German agents with the Stasi to coordinate the operation and cover up the traces afterwards, however, Markus Wolf, former Stasi spy-master, has denied any links, and claimed the files had already been sent in 1995.

In March 2006, the controversial Mitrokhin Commission, set up by Silvio Berlusconi and headed by Forza Italia senator Paolo Guzzanti, supported once again the Bulgarian theory, which had been denounced by John Paul II during his travel to Bulgaria. Senator Guzzanti claimed that "leaders of the former Soviet Union were behind the assassination attempt", alleging that "the leadership of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate Pope John Paul" because of his support for Solidarity, relaying "this decision to the military secret services" (and not the KGB). The report's claims were based on recent computer analysis of photographs that purported to demonstrate Antonov's presence in St Peter's Square during the shooting and on information brought by the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, a controversial figure whose last feat was to indict Rwandese president Paul Kagame, claiming he had deliberately provoked the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against his own ethnic group in order to take the power. According to Le Figaro, Bruguière, who is in close contacts as well with Moscow as with Washington DC, including intelligence agents, has been accused by many of his colleagues of "privileging the reason of state over law."

Both Russia and Bulgaria condemned the report. "For Bulgaria, this case closed with the court decision in Rome in March 1986," Foreign Ministry spokesman Dimitar Tsanchev said, while also recalling the Pope's comments during his May 2002 visit to Bulgaria. Senator Guzzanti said that the commission had decided to re-open the report's chapter on the assassination attempt in 2005, after the Pope wrote about it in his last book, Memory and Identity: Conversations Between Millenniums. The Pope wrote that he was convinced the shooting was not Agca's initiative and that "someone else masterminded it and someone else commissioned it". The Mitrokhin Commission also claimed current Prime minister of Italy, Romano Prodi, was the "KGB's man in Italy". At the end of December 2006, Mario Scaramella, one of the main informer of senator Guzzanti, was arrested and charged, among other things, of defamation. Rome's prosecutor Pietro Salvitti, in charge of the investigations concerning Mario Scaramella, cited by La Repubblica, showed that Nicolò Pollari, head of SISMI, the Italian military intelligence agency and indicted in the Imam Rapito affair, as well as SISMI n°2, Marco Mancini, arrested in July 2006 for the same reason, were some of the informers, alongside Mario Scaramella, of senator Paolo Guzzanti. Beside targeting Romano Prodi and his staff, this "network", according to Pietro Salvitti's words, also aimed at defaming General Giuseppe Cucchi (current director of the Cesis), Milan's judges Armando Spataro, in charge of the Imam Rapito case, and Guido Salvini, as well as La Reppublica reporters Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe D'Avanzo, who discovered the Yellowcake forgery affair. The investigation also showed a connection between Scaramella and the CIA, in particular through Filippo Marino, one of Scaramella's closest partners since the 1990s and co-founder of the ECPP, who lives today in the US. Marino has acknowledged in an interview an association with former and active CIA officers, including Robert Lady, former CIA station chief in Milan, indicted by prosecutor Armando Spataro for having coordinated the abduction of Abu Omar, the Imam Rapito affair

Other theories

Some people, notably Edward S. Herman, co-author with Frank Brodhead of The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection (1986), and Michael Parenti, felt Agca's story was dubious, noting that Agca made no claims of Bulgarian involvement until he had been isolated in solitary confinement and visited by Italian Military Intelligence (SISMI) agents. On September 25, 1991, former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman (now Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy) revealed that his colleagues, following hierarchical orders, had falsified their analysis in order to support the accusation. He declared to the US Senate intelligence committee that "the CIA hadn't any proof" concerning this alleged "Bulgarian connection" Neither the Severino Santiapichi court, nor the investigation by judge Franco Ionta, found evidence that that SISMI planted Agca's story. A French lawyer, Christian Roulette, who authored books blaming Western intelligence agencies for the assassination attempt, testified in court that documentary evidence he referred to actually did not exist.

The Bulgarian secret services have always protested their alleged involvement and argued that Agca's story was an anti-Communist plant placed by the Grey Wolves, the Italian secret service, and the CIA - all three of whom had co-operated in NATO's secret Gladio network. Gladio was at the time involved in Italy's strategy of tension, also followed in Turkey by Counter-Guerrilla, the Turkish branch of Gladio. The Pope's assassination would hereafter have taken place in this frame. Edward Herman has argued that Michael Ledeen, who was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair and had alleged ties to the Italian P2 masonic lodge also linked to Gladio, was employed by the CIA to propagate the Bulgarian theory. Indeed, Le Monde diplomatique alleged that Abdullah Çatl?, a leader of the Grey Wolves, had organized the assassination attempt "in exchange for the sum of 3 million German Marks" for the Grey Wolves. In Rome, Catli declared to the judge in 1985 "that he had been contacted by the BND, the German intelligence agency, which would have promised him a nice sum of money if he implicated the Russian and Bulgarian services in the assassination attempt against the Pope". According to colonel Alparslan Türkes, the founder of the Grey Wolves, "Catli has cooperated in the frame of a secret service working for the good of the state".

Another theory, described in the Gordon Thomas's book Gideon’s Spies: Mossad’s Secret Warriors, rejects the KGB, Turkish and Bulgarian connections. According to Thomas, a British specialist on intelligence, the assassination was ordered by Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini as a first act of Jihad, the Muslim holy war, against Christianity and the Occident. This theory is based on the following elements: The Grey Wolves organization was pro-Iranian; Mehmet Ali Agca was trained in Iran; the text of a 1979 letter sent to the press by Mehmet Ali Agca just after he killed a Turkish journalist used formulas such as "Supreme Commander of the Crusaders" that are directly taken from Khomeini's style, while Agca is nearly illiterate. The 1983 Pope visit to his aggressor in jail was aimed to confirm this theory, just uncovered by the Israeli intelligence agency.

A Vatican connection?

On June 26, 2000 Pope John Paul II released the "Third Secret of Fatima" in which he said that Agca's assassination attempt was the fulfillment of this Secret. May 13 (the date of the assassination attempt) is the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin Mary to the three children of Fatima, something the pope has always regarded as significant, attributing his survival on that day to her protection. Some doubt the Church's full disclosure of the contents of this Secret, believing that it actually predicted the Apocalypse. While in prison on remand, Agca was widely reported to have developed an obsession with Fatima and during the trial claimed that he was the second coming of Jesus Christ and called on the Vatican to release the Third Secret.

On March 31, 2005, just two days prior to the Pope's death, Agca gave an interview to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. He claimed to be working on a book about the assassination attempt. La Repubblica quoted Agca claiming at length that he had accomplices in the Vatican who helped him with the assassination attempt, saying "the devil is inside Vatican's wall". He also said:

"Many calculating politicians are worried about what revealing the complete truth would do. Some of them fear that the Vatican will have a spiritual collapse like the Berlin Wall. Let me ask, why don't the CIA, the Sismi, the Sisde and other intelligence agencies reveal the truth about the Orlandi case?

Q: They say it's because there is still some uncertainty in the Emanuela Orlandi case.

Agca: In the 1980's, certain Vatican supporters believed that I was the new messiah and to free me they organized all the intrigue about Emanuela Orlandi and the other incidents they won't reveal."

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, disappeared at age 15 on June 22, 1983. Anonymous phone calls offered her release in exchange for the release of Agca. Archbishop Paul Marcinkus was alleged to be part of the kidnapping, although no charges were ever laid.

A week after this interview, Associated Press reported Agca denying having made such claims.


1. ^ a b c Martin A. Lee, "Les liaisons dangereuses de la police turque," Le Monde diplomatique, 3 March 1997 (French)
2. ^ Newton, Paula (2006-01-12). "Man who shot pope freed". Associated Press. Retrieved on 2008-10-26.
3. ^ Goktas, Hidir (2006-01-20). "Man who shot pope must return to jail: Turkish court". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2006-01-20.
4. ^ 'Ali Agça revient à la liberté avec ses secrets', January 12, 2006, Libération (see here (French)
5. ^ a b Remnick, David. "John Paul II," The New Yorker Magazine. April 11, 2004.
6. ^ Paul B. Henze. The Plot to Kill the Pope, Holiday House, 1985.[page needed]
7. ^ Arnaud de Borchgrave, The Attempted Assassination of John Paul II, April 6, 2005.
8. ^ a b Secret Warfare: Operation Gladio and NATO's Stay-Behind Armies ETH Zürich research project on Gladio directed by Dr. Daniele Ganser[dead link]
9. ^ "Stasi Files Implicate KGB in Pope Shooting," Deutsche Welle, January 4, 2005.
10. ^ "Soviets 'had Pope shot for backing Solidarity'". Daily Telegraph. 2006-03-03.
11. ^ Rwanda : Bruguière incrimine Paul Kagamé, Le Figaro, 21 November 2006 (French)
12. ^ "Un juge provocateur", Le Figaro, 22 November 2006, p.2
13. ^ "Soviet Union ordered Pope shooting: Italy commission". Reuters. March 2, 2006.
14. ^ Il falso dossier di Scaramella - "Così la Russia manipola Prodi", La Repubblica, 11 January 2007 (Italian)
15. ^ "How one man insinuated himself into poisoning case", International Herald Tribune, 9 January 2007.
16. ^ "Italian Judge Said to Drop Probe of Agca Being Coached". Washington Post. 1985-12-22.
17. ^ Crovitz, Gordon (1986-01-08). "Pope Trial: What Secret Files?". Wall Street Journal.
18. ^ Tagliabue, John (1986-01-15). "Court in Pope plot won't extend trial to hear testimony in U.S.". New York Times.
19. ^ Christian Roulette (1984). Giovanni Paolo II, Antonov, Agca. La pista. Rome: Edito da Napoleone. [page needed]
20. ^ Lobe, Jim (2003-06-23). "Veteran neo-con advisor moves on Iran". Asia Times.
21. ^ Nezan, Kendal (July 1998). "Turkey's pivotal role in the international drug trade". Le Monde diplomatique.
22. ^ "L'ultima verità di Ali Agca 'Avevo dei complici in Vaticano'" (in Italian). La Repubblica. 2005-03-31. (English translation with some commentary: "The Latest Truth From Ali Agca: 'I had accomplices in the Vatican'"[dead link])
23. ^ "Agca Denies Accusing Vatican of Complicity in Pope Shooting". Turkish Weekly. Associated Press. 2005-04-04.

Further viewing

* Jon Blair. (2005). Zero Hour - The Plot to Kill the Pope. 3BM Television.

External links

* Records of the RFE Rome Bureau on Antonov trial (boxes 16-19), Open Society Archives
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Monday, June 22, 2009

911 - Impossible Collapse ARCHITECTS

For Some, the Doubts Began Early

"Something is wrong with this picture,"
thought Nathan Lomba, as he watched replays
of the Twin Tower collapses on television on
September 11, 2001.

A licensed structural engineer trained in
buildings. responses to stress, Lomba saw
more on the screen than you or I. He puzzled,
"How did the structures collapse in
near*symmetrical fashion when the damage was
clearly not symmetrical?"

Lomba was hardly alone in his discomfort.
Most structural engineers were surprised when
the towers fell.

They mainly kept their misgivings to
themselves, though, as Scientific American
and the Journal of Engineering Mechanics,
BBC, the History Channel and government
agencies such as FEMA and NIST offered
varying and often imaginative theories to
explain how fires brought the towers down. In
2006, San Francisco Bay Area architect
Richard Gage, AIA, began raising technical
questions among his professional colleagues
about the destruction of the Twin Towers and
47 story WTC Building 7. Those who take time
to look at the facts overwhelmingly agree
that vital questions remain unanswered, Gage
has found. Today more than 30 structural
engineers, experts in what can and cannot
bring down buildings, have joined almost 700
other Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth
in signing the petition demanding a new

They cite a variety of concerns about the
"collapses" and the inadequacies of official
reports. Many, like Lomba, find the unnatural
symmetry of all three collapses suspicious.
The rapidity of collapse . acknowledged by
the government as essentially free* fall
acceleration . was troubling, too. Some note
that the fires were weak; others ask how the
tilting upper section of WTC 2 "straightened"
itself. Everywhere you look, pieces of the
puzzle don.t fit what been told.

New evidence mounting over the years only
validated initial discomfort: eyewitness
testimony of explosions, unexplained molten
iron in the debris pile, and chemical
evidence of steel*cutting incendiaries . all
omitted from government reports. Many
engineers attack implausibilities in the
Ba.ant pile driver model, the 2002 FEMA
report and the 2005 NIST report, and also
slipshod and dishonest methodology. Finally,
the collapse of WTC 7, not hit by any
airplane, mystified others. The repeated
postponement of the government.s report
seemed to add fuel to the fire. Artificial
Symmetry The symmetry of collapse struck Paul
Mason, a structural engineer in Melbourne,
Australia, and Dennis Kollar, P.E. (licensed
Professional Engineer in Wisconsin). Kollar
was troubled by the collapses. "totality and
uniformity" and the fact that the mass of
debris remained centered on the building core
all the way down. The towers should have
fallen "with increasing eccentricity as the
collapse progressed," writes Howard
Pasternack, P.E. These systematic collapses
required that many structural connections not
only fail "nearly simultaneously," but also
"in sequential order," wrote Frank Cullinan,
P.E., who designs bridges in Northern
California. That.s "impossible from
asymmetrical impact loading and ... small,
short*duration fires."

The engineers find it difficult to believe
the government.s claim scattered fires
brought about such an orderly collapse.
Failure of heat* weakened steel would show
"large deflection, asymmetric and local
failure, and slow progress," David Scott told
colleagues at the Institution of Structural
Engineers in the UK. It.s "a gradual
process," agrees Anders Björkman, and "cannot
be simultaneous everywhere." A Swedish naval
architect working in France, Björkman
maintains that failures "will always be local
and topple the mass above in the direction of
the local collapse." William Rice, P.E., a
Vermont structural engineer, expects
fire*induced failures to be "tilting, erratic
and twisting." while Ronald Brookman, S.E., a
licensed structural engineer from Novato,
California, figures on "a partial collapse to
the side." Symmetrical collapse requires
simultaneous failure of all supporting
columns, notes Charles Pegelow. "How could
all 47 core columns fail at the same
instant?" Pegelow has performed design work
on offshore oil rigs and tall buildings. His
opinion: "Fires could not do that."

Impossible Collapse Acceleration

The National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) characterized the Twin
Towers. collapse as "essentially in free
fall" (Section 6.14.4 of NIST NCSTAR 1).

Brookman wrote asking NIST investigators why
debris fell "with little or no resistance
from the intact structure below." Rice
questions how each tower "inexplicably
collapsed upon itself, crushing all 287
massive columns on each floor [while
maintaining near-freefall speed] as if the
80,000 tons of supporting structural steel
framework underneath didn.t exist." 4 Falling
objects should take "the path of least
resistance," notes Pasternack, while official
explanations claim that Tower debris took the
path of greatest resistance . through the
strong, cross* braced core structure all the
way to the ground. The Twin Towers were
overbuilt to prevent office workers from
getting seasick on windy days, says Kollar.
"There.s so much redundancy.... The building
has to be stiff enough so it doesn.t sway."
Perimeter columns designed to endure
hurricanes, Scott says, were loaded only to
"about 10% of their ultimate capacity" in the
gentle breeze on 9/11. 5 Gravity was "a
negligible part of the loading," says Kollar,
citing a claim by the Towers. engineers
Worthington, Skilling, Helle & Jackson that
even with all the columns on one side cut,
and several around the two corners, the Tower
would still withstand 100 mile*per*hour
winds. 6

The rapid breakup of this robust structure
appears to defy the laws of physics,
engineers say. Forty*five years of structural
design experience inform the view of Claude
Briscoe, P.E., that the government.s collapse
theories "seem to defy the laws of mechanics,
conservation of energy, and known structural
failure behavior." In the official story, the
kinetic energy of the falling debris would
have been largely absorbed by the energy
required to dismember the structure, bending
and twisting steel components, and
pulverizing 220 acres of concrete floors. To
accomplish all this while achieving a nearly
free*fall* speed collapse is "simply not
physically possible," says Mason. "There is
not sufficient energy available.... For this
massively strong structure to just crumble
away at near*free*fall speed would have
required immense amounts of explosive
energy." Weak Fires Vs. Explosive Events
Though four official accounts blame fire for
the destruction of all three World Trade
Center towers, the fires do not appear to
have been particularly severe. NIST states
that the jet fuel burned off in just ten
minutes. 7 "They also acknowledged that
office furniture burns for only 15 to 20
minutes in any one area" before it.s
consumed, 8 Scott points out. "There.s ample
evidence that the steel temperatures got
nowhere close to the "600+ degrees Centigrade

degrees Fahrenheit] required to cause
failure." We saw no "raging infernos" on TV,
David Huebner, P.E., points out. Sooty smoke
and dull red flames, Scott says, indicate
"cool fires ... fuel*starved fires." Firemen
at the 78th*floor impact zone reported "only
two small fires," Scott adds, "not the 1000*
degree*Centigrade inferno" government
officials claim. New York Fire Department
(FDNY) personnel, trained to assess fires.
structural hazards, had no reason to expect
total collapse, Brookman writes. Scott notes
that several steel*framed towers have burned
longer, hotter . and much more intensely
without collapse. "As engineers we know what
fire can do to steel and what it can.t."
"Over 100 recorded witnesses reported hearing
and seeing multiple explosions," Rice wrote.

Brookman cites "numerous eyewitness accounts,
including the FDNY oral histories, of
secondary explosions ... well below the
impact floors." His letter to Congressional
representatives describes "explosive clouds
of dust and debris moving horizontally and
vertically." Brookman added: "That does not
look anything like a heat*induced,
gravitational collapse mechanism." Rice notes
that "perimeter columns weighing several tons
each were ejected laterally up to [600]
feet." His conclusion: "Not possible without
explosives." Angular Momentum Arrested As the
South Tower began to fail, the top 25 stories
tipped as a unit, photos show. "The tilting
block doesn.t look right," Brookman said. It
should "continue to rotate and fall to the
ground." Edward Knesl and Lomba say the same
thing. The failure mode of such tall
structures should have been "a fall over to
the side" (Knesl) and "a toppling of the
upper floors to one side ... not a
concentric, vertical collapse" (Lomba). "It
looked like an explosive event," Brookman
said. "[The upper section] began tilting
toward the damage

zone, and then suddenly dropped straight down
and disintegrated in the process." Building
7.s Mystifying Implosion Baffling as the
Towers. "collapses" were, even more
perplexing was the destruction of World Trade
Center Building 7. "Unprecedented," says
Rice. "Unexplainable," says Huebner. "No
plane hit this building," points out Graham
Inman, a chartered engineer in London. Few
Americans have given any thought to the third
World Trade Center high*rise destroyed on
September 11th , since it was not repeatedly
televised. Kamal Obeid, S.E., ponders it. "A
localized failure in a steel*framed building
like WTC 7 cannot cause a catastrophic
collapse like a house of cards without a
simultaneous and patterned loss of several of
its columns at key locations within the
building." Videos show "simultaneous failure
of all columns," wrote Inman, "rather than
[the expected] phased approach," in which
undamaged columns would show resistance
sequentially. Though the building housed
"offices of the CIA, the Secret Service, and
the Department of Defense, among others,"
Rice notes, the 9/11 Commission left WTC 7.s
collapse out of its report. FEMA.s 2002
inquiry blamed WTC 7.s collapse on fires,
though it admits that its "best hypothesis
has only a low probability of occurrence."
Rice notes that the media have "basically
kept the collapse of WTC Building #7 hidden
from public view." The Phantom Pile Driver
Two days after 9/11, Dr. Zdenek Ba.ant
offered a rationale for the most catastrophic
structural failure in history. Seven years
later, his thesis 10 still underlies
official claims that total collapses were
"inevitable." Ba.ant.s mathematical model of

official story] that may have led to the
collapse of the 3 WTC buildings," he writes,
"and has stated that further study is needed,
but FEMA has not proceeded with further
research." Evidence was not just ignored; it
was destroyed. Firemen rioted at Ground Zero,
18 protesting the desecration of the dead in
a hasty "scoop and dump" clean*up of the
structural steel debris. "The destruction of
the crime scene evidence is inexcusable,"
Huebner writes. Scott laments the "masses of
vital forensic evidence" lost, and Bill
Manning, Editor in Chief of Fire Engineering
magazine, called FEMA.s investigation "a
half*baked farce." 19 Steel components were
stamped with identification numbers that
would have aided their reassembly for study,
but that reassembly never took place.
Brookman asks, "Why was the steel ... not
thoroughly examined by fire*safety and
structural experts before being shipped to
Asia for recycling?" Pegelow charges that
"FEMA hampered and distorted the
investigation," citing Dr. Abolhassan
Astaneh* Asl.s complaints in 2002 to the
House Committee on Science that FEMA held
back essential engineering drawings and
videotapes and photographs. Such flawed
methodology was accompanied by inadequate
theories that "cannot explain the loss of the
cores," Scott points out. He says FEMA.s
notion that floor connections all failed
simultaneously at the outer wall and at the
core is "not too plausible." Bill Genitsaris,
structural engineer and builder based in
Melbourne, believes that a pancake*style
collapse should have left supporting columns
standing. Such a collapse would have left at
least dozens of shattered floors in the
building footprint below. Only very small
floor sections were found, and not many of
them. Deceptive presentation further damaged
FEMA.s credibility. Tom Lackey, who designs
bridges for the Vermont Agency of
Transportation, cites the Minneapolis Bridge
collapse study as the "kind of analysis and
straightforward explanation" the WTC needs.
FEMA.s reports stack up poorly. Some of its
graphics "omit the cores altogether," says
Scott, and some depict columns half as wide
and twice as fa

apart as they actually were. Scott decries
"attempts to distort important technical
information." The Australians use more
colorful terminology: Mason says we have been
"taken for suckers;" Genitsaris says
been "stooged." Truncated and Fudged Computer
Model Undermines NIST Report (2005) NIST.s
$20 million report is generally believed, by
those who haven.t read its 10,000 pages, to
explain how fires and plane impacts destroyed
the WTC. "The report not only fails to
explain why and how the towers completely
collapsed," Brookman points out, "but it
states that the collapse became inevitable
without any further explanation." He asks why
NIST "considered conservation of energy and
momentum principles only up to the moment
prior to collapse." NIST stopped its
computerized models before the onset of
collapse," Scott complains. "No work was done
to calculate what happened during the
failure. Why are we content with this?" Ron
Brookman adds: "The complete collapse
mechanism ... cannot be .omitted for brevity.
in any comprehensive analysis."

NIST.s claim that a kinetic "attack" exceeded
the building.s reserve strength is not
supported by any calculations or "by any
evidence whatsoever or any serious structural
analysis," states Anders Björkman. While NIST
fails to show essential work on central
issues, its numerous volumes are packed with
distracting trivia. Huebner, whose
twenty*five years of structural engineering
experience includes forensic investigation of
structural collapses, compares NIST.s effort
to a "college paper where you just keep
adding [stuffing] to make the paper longer.
Lots of pages of nothing! Definitely trying
to cover up something." Brookman asked NIST
investigators to explain the "complete
pulverization of building materials and
contents" and "visibly explosive clouds of
dust, ash, and debris." He received no reply.
"I believe in the laws of physics," wrote
Brookman, "and rely on them every day."
NIST.s reports "seem to require multiple
leaps of faith in highly improbable events,"
wrote Pasternack. Computer models using
NIST.s best estimates of temperature and
damage could not even generate a collapse,
Scott points out. They.d "simply adjust the
input until the desired outcome is achieved."
NIST probably overestimated core column
damage, Scott believes, almost certainly
overestimated steel temperatures, and
definitely overestimated damage to fire
protection. So important an inquiry should
"rely on logical deduction, reason and
first*principle analysis," Scott says, "not
circular reasoning and adjusting models to
get agreement with a preconceived
explanation." 47-Story Building 7.s
Near-Freefall Collapse Defies NIST Report
(2008) " had trouble getting a handle on
building No. 7," NIST.s Dr. Shyam Sunder
acknowledged to New York Magazine over two
years ago. David Topete, S.E., asks why no
other nearby buildings collapsed when some
were much more severely damaged by fire and
Twin Tower debris. NIST.s recent report
blames one buckling column, number 79, for
WTC 7.s global and near*symmetrical collapse,
yet characterizes WTC 7.s fires as "normal
office fires" which only burn twenty minutes
in any given location before moving on.

Obeid rejects the suggestion that one failing
column could pull adjacent columns down. "It
is not possible for a local failure within
the lower structure to spread horizontally,"
he wrote recently. "Such a failure would
cause a break*away ... instead of pulling the
structure with it." Even if NIST.s horizontal
progression were somehow triggered, Obeid
says, "the building would not have collapsed
so neatly and symmetrically. All core columns
have to be severed at the same time to make
such a collapse." Disturbing Questions That
Must Be Answered To preserve America.s
"unprecedented freedoms," Clayton Simmons
says, "we must pursue the truth." He is
troubled by "my profession.s involvement in
this apparent cover*up and the media.s
refusal to address important questions."
Scott too expresses wonder that structural
engineers. response "has been amazingly
muted," even "uninterested." Rice found that
politicians also lacked interest. Many people
"remain willfully ignorant," writes
Genitsaris. "They believe that 9/11 does not
affect their lives ... regardless of the fact
that our freedoms are being taken from us."
Perhaps few are questioning, Brookman says,
because it.s "painful to look directly at the
events and consider the implications."
William Acri, P.E., believes that the
engineer.s oath "to hold public safety above
all else" demands that they raise questions.
If three modern steel high* rises really
underwent total progressive collapse in less
than two hours of fire, merely because of the
fires and some damage to the fireproofing,
"we need to understand WHY!" Scott writes. If
WTC 7 failed from a localized fire event,
Inman asks, why didn.t the owners and
insurers sue the designers? "Either the
building design was criminally faulty, or
other causes not related to the structural
design or fire" brought down WTC 7, he says.
Why Should Science-Based Forensic Evidence Be
Taboo? From all across America, and from
Australia, Canada, the UK, and France, the
structural engineers we spoke with for this
article join more than 675 other

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth in
calling for a new investigation into the
catastrophic destruction of the three World
Trade Center high*rises on September 11. "The
implications of the controlled demolition
hypothesis as outlined on the
website are staggering," says founding member
Richard Gage, AIA. "We therefore invite all
Americans to examine the science*based
forensic evidence very carefully and come to
their own conclusions." Lomba.s conclusion,
drawn from his initial perceptions and
validated by subsequent developments, is
clear: "Even if, for the sake of discussion,
we accept the hypothesis that the fire
protection was damaged and the fires somehow
weakened the steel frames, that still does
not explain the relatively concentric nature
of the failures." Scott challenges his fellow
structural engineers: "The building
performance on 9/11 matched controlled
demolition. It does not match fire*induced
collapse. We have the expertise to discern
this. Do we have the courage to broadcast


1 2 3
owers.shtml 5 "How Columns Will Be
Designed for 110*Story Buildings,"Engineering
News-Record, April 2, 1964. 6 James Glanz
and Eric Lipton, City in the Sky: The Rise
and Fall of the World Trade Center ( New
York: Times Books, 2003) 7
6&id=25807 8
, p. 183. 9
6011810422319 2 10
s/405.pdf 11
VideoID=9840845 12*2001*10.pdf 13
debris_06.html 14*
june07/overpass_05*10.html 15
TC911SciMethod.pdf 16
TCHighTemp 2.pdf 17
. 18

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Sunday, June 21, 2009


The urge to split the world into two warring camps is childish
by Peter Beaumont (source: The Guardian)
Sunday, June 21, 2009

Visiting Iran last year to cover parliamentary elections, I discovered a country utterly at odds with most of its depictions. I found myself discussing the sociologist Durkheim with a classical record producer in a cinema-cafe and debating the political situation in Iraq's Shia holy cities with a conservative mosque guard in southern Tehran. I sat with artists drinking bootleg vodka at a party and discussed the limits of personal freedom over the Islamic dress code with a liberal but headscarf-wearing teacher. Even the attitudes among supporters of President Ahmadinejad, whom I encountered in the countryside, were complex, confounding what I thought I knew. Iran, you see, makes a mockery of how the west would like to frame its reality.

Which makes reading many of the views expressed in the west during Iran's election crisis often baffling - I have struggled to recognise the place depicted. It is worrying, because if I have learnt a single thing from the last 15 years covering international crises, it is how simplified or distorted depictions of events are more easily established as given truths than challenged. And how dangerously, as Iraq made clear, those false images feed into the decision-making processes of western governments.

In the case of Iran, what has been visible in the west has been two competing versions of the country, coloured by political imagination and appropriated by the two rival - and confrontational - camps that have dominated our debate on foreign affairs since 11 September and the invasion of Iraq. Parties to a new cold war of ideas, their narrow and mutually antagonistic positions have reinterpreted each emerging international crisis to suit their own agenda and in defiance of the other's.

On one side are the remnants of the old left, bolstered by a new generation radicalised by anti-poverty, anti-globalisation and climate change activism. Informed by writers like the veteran activist Noam Chomsky and journalists such as John Pilger, their world view is characterised by an "anti-imperialist" narrative that is hostile to western interventions.

Opposing them is a more diffuse group with a far greater influence on policy-making, whose members range from broadly liberal to neoconservative. The unifying conviction that has glued this group together has been an almost religious belief in the transformative power that western democratic habits possess when transplanted into societies and cultures that have experienced largely restricted freedoms. It's a belief, it should be said, that remains strangely unshaken by the multiple failures in recent years.

The two tendencies, however, do mirror each other in one crucial aspect: the way in which they tend to describe a more homogenous Iran than exists - either more universally desperate for change or more supportive of Ahmadinejad.

More widely, the consequence of the domination of the debate on international affairs by these two world views is that each international crisis is co-opted as self-reinforcing evidence for their arguments, producing a degraded conversation full of finger-pointing and name-calling. Those who intervene, by and large, do so to confirm their credentials to their own audiences. The framing of issues like Iran in terms of a western-style, pro-democracy argument can also have unintended consequences. In a country whose leaders have an almost paranoid suspicion of the US and the UK, it offers an open invitation to interpret commentary as "interference" as inevitably has happened in the last few days.

In the case of events in Iran in the last two weeks, the reaction has been drearily familiar. For the dissenting left, confronted by what looks suspiciously like another "colour revolution" - after the "rose revolution" in Georgia and the "orange revolution" in Ukraine, which received support from the pro-democracy groups - the response has been to back the "anti-imperialist" Ahmadinejad, friend of the poor and foe of Zionism, as the likely victor. More victim of an attempted coup than responsible for a coup in office, it is a version of events that, through the necessity of bolstering his case, has tended to airbrush out the more unpalatable features of Ahmadinejad's Iran.

That critique has been more than matched by an equal barrage of opinion, often by those more familiar with Tel Aviv or Tallahassee than Tehran, who have bought wholeheartedly into a "freedom" narrative that seeks to interpret the mass demonstrations of those supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi in an equally simplistic fashion - as representative of the aspirations of all of Iran.

It is a version with its own lacunae. Investing so much in the reformist opposition, and beguiled by a particular version that emanates from north Tehran's unrepresentative suburbs, it fails to acknowledge either the nature of Mousavi's agenda - a self-described "fundamentalist reformist" who is far less radical than they assume - or the reality of the huge support both for Ahmadinejad in his constituency and the Islamic revolution.

The domination of the debate by two such facile and self-interested arguments is important, precisely because the picture that we have of Iran matters.

And over Iran right now, there is an overwhelming need for a careful examination of what is occurring, which goes beyond the usual glib depictions of Ahmadinejad as nothing more than a dictatorial Holocaust-denier or Mousavi as a receptacle for hopes of a kind of liberal western reformation of Iran's revolution.

The crisis of legitimacy that has been unfolding in the wake of Iran's contested elections is one that cannot be expressed through simplistic nostrums. The social and political tensions that have been building since the Islamic revolution have gained pace since the emergence of the Reformists as a serious political force. What they speak to are a set of concerns that can only be understood in an Iranian context. The problems encompassed include the pressing issue of how to reconcile the increasingly conflicted question of how people behave in private in their homes and in the more restrictive public spaces. There is the tension, too, that has been growing for over a decade between the concept of velayat e-faqih - clerical jurisprudence - and the desire for more meaningful democratic representation in the context of a socially conservative Islamic state.

Critically, too, for both the hardliners anxious to preserve the legacy of Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution and reformists, the current crisis is being driven by a fraught anticipation of precisely what will happen to one of the most important keystones of the revolution, the role of Supreme Leader, which even the incumbent ayatollah Ali Khamenei has questioned. Also brought into focus has been the issue of the shifting boundaries of the toleration of political expression and the terms on which they are set by an increasingly nervous regime, in a state that enjoys more freedoms than generally supposed, but which remain severely circumscribed.

Last, and perhaps most important of all, there is the issue of how Iran's brittle institutions negotiate a growing divide that - by the nature of the arithmetic involved on both sides - cannot be solved by either the ascendancy of Ahmadinejad's faction or the Reformists.

We are at a crucial moment not only for the Iranian nation, but for the geopolitics of the wider region. The challenge is not to mould Iran's reality into a shape we feel most comfortable with; to confirm our prejudices or our hopes. The challenge is to understand. Because only in understanding will we avoid setting up the conditions to repeat the worst errors of the last decade.

The Bomb Iran Faction: An Existential Question for the Power Elite?
by Gary Leupp (source: CounterPunch)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

There is clearly a faction of the power elite that is, and has for some years been pressing, for a U.S. military attack on Iran. It is not advocating a war, at least openly, or an occupation of that vast nation; rather, it is advocating an operation similar in concept to the Israeli attack on Iraq.s French-built Osiraq nuclear reactor in 1981. In a word, it is both advocating an Israeli-like action and justifying it explicitly as one on behalf of Israel.

That Israeli raid on the Iraqi reactor in 1981, justified at the time by Tel Aviv as an act of .preemptive self-defense,. was condemned by the entire world as an egregious violation of international law. President Ronald Reagan directed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to vote with other members of the Security Council to condemn the attack. It is a measure of the Israelification of U.S. foreign policy that a quarter-century later Vice President Cheney and the neconservatives who used his office as their general headquarters praised this action and raised preemption to the status of a sacred U.S. military doctrine. What was the attack on Iraq in 2003, to eliminate its (imaginary) weapons of mass destruction, but a preemptive Osiraq raid on crack?

George Bush declared that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction threatening its neighbors, requiring U.S. action (despite lack of UN approval). Iran and Kuwait, recent victims of real Iraqi aggression, stated that they did not feel threatened. Neither did any other bordering state. That left, by implication, Israel. But Israel was not much discussed as an issue during the massive propaganda build-up to the Iraq War. The last thing its proponents wanted was to convey the impression that this was a war for Israel, although that was in fact the only country in the world where the war enjoyed any popularity outside the U.S. (It was, as Joe Klein put it in a 2003 column, .thecasus belli that dare not speak its name..)

With Iran, it.s very different. Those advocating the attack on Iran don.t mince words: the U.S. must, they tell us, use its armed might to destroy Iran.s nuclear program for Israel. For years now been telling us that Iran is months away from the bomb and that therefore Israel hovers on the edge of the abyss. Oh, the issue of Iranian nukes threatening Europe is also used to justify the construction of the Polish missile base and Czech tracking radar system which many mainstream analysts find at best strategically futile and diplomatically provocative to Russia. No one in Europe takes an Iranian nuclear threat seriously. And the U.S. rhetoric about those facilities last year following the Russian invasion of Georgia (following the Georgian attack upon South Ossetia), exposed their real purpose.

But to the Chicken Littles crying that the sky is falling, Iran.s nuclear program is an existential issue for Israel, hence for the Jewish people. There is a certain intransigent reasoning here and manifest desperation. One saw it in the screeching editorials of Norman Podhoretz in 2007 praying for Bush to bomb Iran to prevent a .nuclear holocaust.. One saw it in the Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by neocon Iran expert and Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute Michael Ledeen, .Iran and the Problem of Evil. in June 2008 linking the entire history of anti-Semitism culminating in its European fascist varieties with Iranian Khomeinists and the Saudi Wahhabis. And one sees this craziness too in the ceaseless barrage of AIPAC-backed congressional resolutions targeting Iran.

The call for an attack on Iran, to the extent it is being voiced in the ruling class, is being most sharply framed by neocon columnists including some who recently served in the Bush administration. It is echoed by AIPAC and other Lobby organizations. In a just world the former would be completely disgraced by now, their lies about Iraq having been fully exposed, and the latter would be shamed into silence by the Israeli espionage scandal. But now that the Justice Department has dismissed the AIPAC spying charges filed in 2005, the Lobby and neocons are proclaiming the decision as a .vindication. of the activities of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman (passing U.S. documents pertaining to Iran to Israeli Embassy staff). An emboldened Jane Harman addressing AIPAC can made light of her wiretapped conversation with the .Israeli agent. revealed by Jeff Stein of theCongressional Quarterly. (You know, the guy who offered AIPAC money to buy her the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee in return for getting Rosen and Weissman off the hook.)

The message of the AIPAC spy case dismissal seems to be: the foreign policies of these two countries are one, or if not so, the desire of the smaller to determine that of the greater is understandable and legitimate (since its very existence is at stake). There is really no such thing as .spying. or .treason. in this relationship. all family, for God.s sakes! AIPAC emerges as strong as ever with half of Congress dutifully attending its convention.

That message rankles many in the Justice Department, including prosecutors who thought they had a cut and dried case against the AIPAC operatives. And I.d think there are many in the .intelligence community.---the professionals who use their research skills to prepare such reports as the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that stated .with a high degree of confidence. that Iran did not have an operative nuclear weapons program---who are galled by apparent Israeli influence on their work. They must be irked their findings can be ignored by higher-ups who tell them, .No, you don.t understand; Iran threatens Israel with nuclear holocaust.. They are, in effect, being told that Israeli policy requires the circulation of false propaganda concerning Iran.s nuclear program, and that Washington is going to cooperate in that propaganda, ignoring its own intelligence.

That.s the message George Bush conveyed to his own intelligence services when, after the NIE was released (having been delayed a year by the intervention of Cheney.s office), he met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and told him the document didn.t .reflect his own views. about the Iranian nuclear program. (As though a man challenged to pronounce .nuclear. has .views. about Iran.s nuclear program of comparable sophistication to the heads of the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, etc.!) What better manifestation of the division within the ruling class than this division between a president, fed bogus intelligence by neocon advisors with a Southwest Asia regime-change agenda, and his own intelligence agencies?

There is a section, a rather larger section, of the ruling class that doesn.t buy the alarmist depiction of Iran, and doesn.t see the point of a U.S. attack. Certainly they don.t see Iran.s nuclear program as an existential threat to themselves. Indeed, the blowback potential of such an attack is obvious to all with eyes to see, conscious of the existing increasingly problematic consequences of the U.S. alliance with Israel, and not blinded by paranoia. Maybe I.m projecting, but allotting some common sense to these people I.m assuming they realize there.s no way that public opinion in Europe, or in Latin America, Japan, China, South Asia, would see an Iran attack as anything other than an insanely immoral deployment of the preemption principle that underlay the Iraq attack. They.d see it as a ratcheting up of the bullying tactics that an hyper-puissance---in precipitous decline, maybe---felt compelled to adopt. Obama.s reputation would be toast.

There.s no way the 67 million Iranian people, most of whom view the nuclear program as an object of national pride, would understand a U.S. attack as anything other than a savage assault on the Iranian nation, and not the first by the U.S. As all Americans should know, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953 to punish it for its efforts to nationalize the nation.s oil industry. It installed the Shah whose vicious rule provoked the most mass-based revolution ever to sweep an Islamic society in 1979.

But we must understand, a neocon like Ledeen (whom by the way an Italian parliamentary investigation has linked to the Niger uranium documents forgeries behind Bush.s infamous State of the Union speech claim) sees the CIA overthrow of Mossadegh as a great moment in history, a great CIA success story. And he emphasizes that no people in the Middle East love Americans more than Iranians and are more eager to be freed!

This kind of delusion recalls neocon predictions the U.S. troops would be greeted in the streets of Baghdad with flowers. It also recalls what the unnamed White House official told New York Times columnist Ron Suskind in the months leading up to the war based on lies in Iraq. He berated Suskind for being rooted in the .reality-based community,. among those who .believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.. The Bush insider warned against such belief, dismissing it as naïve: .That.s not the way the world really works anymore,. he declared. an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while studying that reality, we.ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that.s how things will sort out. history.s actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.. The Bush administration is gone, but that (Straussian?) mindset persists in some quarters.

Those who don.t buy the alarmist case against Iran may be becoming increasingly concerned over time about the success of the attack-advocates in advancing their cause; indeed, the frontal attacks on the Israel Lobby from academics like John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt and former President Jimmy Carter--- unthinkable just a few years ago---testify to such concern. (On the Lobby and Iran, see especially pages 283-294 of the Mearsheimer-Walt book.)

Similarly the analyses of the “neoconservative” phenomenon, both as an intellectual movement that influences elite public opinion through such organs as the National Review and the Weekly Standard and editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and as a self-proclaimed “cabal” within government, have come under scrutiny especially since 2003 when journalists like Seymour Hersh, Jeet Heer and William Pfaff all indicated concern with a genuine threat. These days a well-known Jewish columnist, Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, in an exchange with Abraham Foxman notes a “dangerous tendency among Jewish neoconservatives to encourage a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear program. Their gleeful, intellectual warmongering—given the vast dangers and complexities of an attack on Iran--is nauseating.” (He wrote this in response to Foxman’s allegation that his critique of the influence of neoconservatism in producing the Iraq War constituted “anti-Semitism.”)

The neocons are sometimes described as an intellectual movement influenced by University of Chicago philosopher Leo Strauss as well as (in a curious way) Trotskyism, the principle proponents of which are almost entirely secular Jews and passionate Zionists. They argue that the U.S. should use its military power to bring “democracy” to the world and so many see them as neo-Wilsonians (with all the shoddy cynicism the originals represented). But Strauss, as leading authority on his thought Shadia Drury points out, argues that deception is the norm in political life, that the big lie is necessary to get the masses to embrace wise policy. (Thus the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq really have nothing to do with “democracy” but with unspoken geopolitical objectives.) The neocons have yet to be sufficientlyexposed, or defeated as a political force, but they’ve come under scrutiny in part because of the alarm some in the power structure feel at their rise to power in the early Bush years.

In Bush’s first State of the Union address, in January 2002, he made the reference to the “Axis of Evil,” bizarrely linking Iraq, Iran and North Korea to one another and---in that surreal atmosphere, in the minds of his audience, as the U.S. flag fluttered in the background of every TV screen 24/7---to 9/11. He somehow, when he held the respect of 90% of the people (when he served as what the Straussian would call the “gentleman” ruler manipulated in the background by the “wise”), was able to conflate the rogue Saudis who destroyed the Twin Towers and attacked the Pentagon with absolutely unrelated phenomena---the countries of Iraq, Iran and North Korea, which had little to do with or even hostile relations with one another. Who was responsible for this preposterous phrase but neocon David Frum, associate of neocon Richard Perle, head of the Defense Policy Board who was to insist that Mohamed Atta met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad?

That phrase “Axis of Evil”---placing Iran in the same crosshairs as Iraq---drew consternation from European allies. Asked at a security conference in February what it meant, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the top-ranking neocon in government, replied mysteriously, “You’re either for us or against us,” prompting continental editorialists to muse darkly about the descent of a kind of Manichaenism upon the post 9/11 U.S. Here in this country while (following, one might say, the Straussian game plan) fear fed gullibility and the Big Lie generally worked well, many in the intelligentsia (and academia in particular) suspected that the Iraq War was based on calculated deception. Whether it was the lies of Big Oil or the Military-Industrial Complex, clearly there were lies here. It was only after Iraq was firmly under U.S. occupation that the role of the neocons in the war preparations, and of Douglas Feith’s “Office of Special Plans” (what Mother Jones appropriately called the “Lie Factory”) in particular, became clear. (Most people still don’t know that Leo Shulsky, who headed the OSP under Feith, wrote this interesting paper “Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence” with Gary J. Schmitt earlier in his career.)

Since then many have come to think that in their desire to reconfigure Southwest Asia in what they suppose to be the interests of Israel the neocons are (1) prepared to lie through their teeth, and (2) threaten to severely jeopardize U.S. security.

My own critique of the neocons, the Lobby and Israel differs from the mainstream ones, coming as it does from a left anti-imperialist perspective. I’ve made as much a fuss as anyone about the neocons’ lies, by way of exposure. (My first forays out of academic writing into political column writing were to perform the sort of exposure which was not entirely absent in the mainstream press---in fact it was there in bits and pieces for those who looked for it---but seldom sharply expressed.) But liars are of course representative of bourgeois politics and mainstream journalism in general; lying is quite normative and so it, even of a Straussian variety, is not the main issue here.

Nor is “U.S. national security” as mainstream analysts understand it---the security of an imperialist country, a country which is as about as aggressive as a country can possibly be in the history of the world---the issue for me. For me the issue is that this faction of the power elite has a known project---there’s no secret about it---to transform (or in their cynical euphemism “bring democracy to”) what they call “the Greater Middle East.” This includes Afghanistan and whatever other parts of Central Asia they find useful. Various benefits accrue from their project, which they link to such ruling-class objectives as the Indian Ocean-Caspian oil pipeline project and the establishment of permanent military bases in the region. And they are prepared to slaughter hundreds of thousands to achieve their aims.

A conception of Israeli security guides their project, and central to it was the bloody conquest of Iraq. But this is only the beginning of the project. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser (who also worked in the OSP), and Meyrav Wurmser (of the Middle East Media Research Institute) all participated in the drafting of a white paper for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996 entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” Many have observed how it envisions “regime change” throughout the region to “secure the realm” of Israel. The “effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq,” according to the report, “—an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.”

Those bearing responsibility for the Iraq War, for the propaganda campaign leading up to it, for the editorials, for the disinformation, for the forged documents, for the coordinated public statements (“We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud over New York”), for the war---bear a heavy responsibility indeed. They are not limited to the neocons; as many have pointed out, Wolfowitz would be nothing without Rumsfeld, Libby would be nothing without Cheney, the Lie Factory products nothing without the performance of shame of Colin Powell at United Nations in February 2003. And Bush as Commander-in-Chief is ultimately responsible. But the neocons were unquestionably central players in the crime.

The neocons have generated enemies and lost credibility. But they’ve successfully eluded responsibility for their actions and continue to appear as respectable commentators on Fox News (if that’s not an oxymoron) and write columns for reputable publications. (Bill Kristol was just recently terminated as a New York Times columnist but was picked up by the Washington Post.) They are not without a lingering presence in the halls of power. Dennis Ross, Hillary Clinton’s Special Advisor on the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia (i.e., key advisor on Iran), also known as “Israel’s lawyer” for his efforts on behalf of the Jewish state as a U.S. diplomat during Israeli-Palestinian talks in 1999-2000), is probably the key such figure at present and a person to watch. He co-authored an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal Sept. 22, 2008 with Richard Holbrooke, R. James Woolsey, and Mark D. Wallace entitled, “Everybody Needs to Worry About Iran.” It stated without evidence that, “Iran is now edging closer to being armed with nuclear weapons, and it continues to develop a ballistic-missile capability.” In other words it was intended to make you worry and make you forget about the 2007 NIE.

(Former CIA boss Woolsey by the way seems a big enthusiast of the Noble Lie concept, having originally promoted the lie about the meeting between Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi embassy official in Prague and praised the disinformation articles about Saddam-al-Qaeda ties published by Jeffrey Goldberg in the New Yorker in 2002. He claimed that by showing that the Kurdish al-Ansar group was al-Qaeda affiliated and operating on Iraqi territory, Goldberg had decisively established Saddam’s al-Qaeda ties and put the CIA to shame.)

Ross is known to favor a policy of ultimatums to Iran followed by a naval blockade to prevent gasoline imports, then a blockade of oil exports, then massive air strikes on the nuclear facilities and military facilities. The goal would be not only the crippling of the nuclear program for a few years but the destruction of the military and regime. His may be a minority view within the administration, and his appointment even a sop to the Lobby, but he is dangerous.

The ruling class is clearly divided over how to deal with Iran, with the rise of Iran that has paradoxically accompanied the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Maybe this precipitous ascent occurred as a result of the cluelessness of neocon policymakers, few of whom understand Arabic or Persian or Middle East culture and history behind that of Israel. Maybe they genuinely didn’t understand the historical specificities of Shiism or the strength of Shiite solidarity. But by toppling the Sunni-based Baathists (whom the CIA had once favored as an alternative to communists or Islamists), the U.S. brought pro-Iranian Shiite Islamists to power---to Tehran’s great delight.

Meanwhile China, replacing Japan as Iran’s main oil customer, signs more and more contracts for pipeline construction and Russia continues work on the Bushehr nuclear reactor. The Russians and Iranians say that that reactor is for entirely peaceful purposes, and the IAEA backs them up, while the Israelis insist that it (like Osiraq 28 years ago), ought to be bombed---by the U.S., preferably. But the fact that that hasn’t happened yet, and that indeed the Bush administration denied the Israelis bunker-busting bombs in 2008, shows that the “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” faction of the U.S. ruling class has been on the defensive if not decline for some time now.

I’m not saying the U.S. ruling class is fundamentally divided into factions that are divided over Israel or an Israeli security agenda, more deeply than it is divided, say, about how to grapple with the collapse of the economy. Nor am I suggesting that the struggle between these factions is the only dynamic shaping Middle East policy or foreign policy generally. Foreign policy is generally shaped by its framers’ perception of what serves the interests of the ruling class as a whole, which is to say, what generates maximum profit for corporations in which U.S. capitalists are invested. It’s not unusual for the interests of the oil companies, for example, to diverge from the interests of Israel as promoted by the Lobby, although they can also converge. But there is a faction in the U.S. polity whose commitment to Israel, or to a particular vision of Israel’s security, seems to trump all other considerations including the broader “global interests” of U.S. imperialism. It is an understatement to say that during the George W. Bush years that faction was extraordinarily bold.

The general consensus in the ruling class seems to be at present that its needs are best served by this popular president as a uniting figure with a centrist politics that can distance the country from the Bush policies abhorred by the world and the American people while avoiding any major shifts in foreign policy. Thus we have plans for a gradual withdrawal from Iraq in accordance with the agreement already worked out by the Bush and Maliki regimes; a continued counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan that isn’t yet too controversial; continued Predator drone attacks on Pakistan, etc. The plan is to stay the course on the Bush foreign policy that meets with the approval of the generals. There may be some significant shifts from the preceding administration in U.S. policy towards Latin America and Europe, Russia. On Iran we have renewed diplomacy, and perhaps even the vital concession that Iran indeed has the right under the NPT to enrich uranium and master the nuclear cycle despite some technical violations of the agreement years ago which the U.S. has used to vilify Iran but have nothing to do with Iran as a nuclear weapons threat. In this context we might be seeing the twilight of the neocons as a political force.

But it is important to note the obvious, without being overly delicate about it: the government of Israel, its friends and advocates in the U.S., the neocons and the Lobby retain enormous political power to affect the course of policy. When AIPAC met last week, more than half the members of the House and Senate attended its gala Monday night dinner, featuring the “roll call” when all the legislators rise when asked to demonstrate the lobbyists’ clout on Capitol Hill. Their willingness to take part in such a ritual under current circumstances is itself an extraordinary statement of Lobby power.

But this takes place at a time when the Obama administration is rumored to be heading for a confrontation with the new Netanyahu administration in Israel over the fundamental problem in the Middle East: the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories seized during the (preemptive) war of June 1967. By his selection of former Senator George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East Obama signaled that the U.S. would start getting serious about obliging Israel to comply with international law. This provoked an outcry from those worried about a shift from the Bush policy of ignoring the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank, Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms.

“Senator Mitchell is fair,” complained Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “He’s been meticulously even-handed. But the fact is, American policy in the Middle East hasn’t been ‘even handed’ — it has been supportive of Israel when it felt Israel needed critical U.S. support. So I’m concerned. I’m not sure the situation requires that kind of approach in the Middle East.”

Obama however may be quite sure that after eight years of slavishly, unprecedentedly pro-Israeli policy the U.S. needs to try to establish some credibility as a rational if not dispassionate party in the Middle East. That means telling the Israelis they have to make peace with the Palestinians, stop settling their land and leave the illegal settlements they’ve established.

What he’s likely to be told is what Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s new foreign minister (whom many Israeli’s consider a “fascist” for his views on Palestinians, a particularly harsh designation in the Jewish state) told the Jerusalem Post in a recent interview. He complained that “People try to simplify the situation with these formulas — land-for peace, two-state solution — it’s a lot more complicated.” The real problem, he declared, “is not occupation, not settlements and not settlers. The biggest obstacle is the Iranians.”

Lieberman has also surprised many lately by stating that Israel after years of threats would not attack Iran after all. On April 26 he told the Austrian Kleine Zeitung, “We are not talking about a military attack. Israel cannot resolve militarily the entire world’s problem. I propose that the United States, as the largest power in the world, take responsibility for resolving the Iranian question.” In other words, he’s leaving it to the U.S. to solve the problem of Iran as the precondition for Israel addressing the problem of peace with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile we read of another Israeli Air Force refueling drill between Israel and Gibraltar, a 3,800 km flight the first week of May. This could be preparatory for an attack on Iran or designed to signal the U.S.: “We’re serious. You do this for us, or we’ll do it ourselves. Either way, you’ll take the consequences with us, as your Vice President Cheney noted in January 2005 when he said, ‘the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.’ So understanding our resolve, please do the right thing and do it instead of us!”

Because that really is the logic. And within the ruling circles of this imperialist country, where the interests of the masses don’t have much to do with decision-making, there are those who are terrified by thisillogic. But then again you have the broad bipartisan support for AIPAC-drafted Congressional resolution 362 designed to provoke war with Iran. Your characteristic politician—shallow, amoral, pragmatic, ignorant of the world and of history but acutely sensitive to constituency issues, calculating, reliant on opportunistic arrogant staffers---can simultaneously understand that something doesn’t make sense and yet requires political support. (Just like he/she may have concluded in high school that there probably was no God but for campaign purposes has to have a religious affiliation.) How many politicians have so much as cited the NIE?

Where this is all going to go is anyone’s guess. There’s a meeting coming up between Obama and Netanyahu May 18 in Washington. The Israeli press is expressing some anxiety about the encounter since U.S. officials have made it clear the U.S. president will pressure Netanyahu on the settlements issue. Obama seems to want to say to the world that he’s serious about getting some justice for the Palestinians. He may believe he can do so at minimal political expense, and this could be a shrewd political device at this juncture given the deterioration of the U.S. position in the world. Following the global revulsion at the New Year’s Gaza blitzkrieg the U.S. can obtain political capital from a period of public tension with its de facto ally over the settlements.

In that likely context of tension, the calls for bombing Iran will continue, coming from Israel, from the neocon columnists, from the Lobby, maybe from some inside the State Department and Pentagon. The cooler heads in the power structure, including in the intelligence community fighting heroic rear-guard actions, will continue to say in various ways privately and publicly: “Look, this is stupid. Not only does Iran not constitute an ‘existential threat’ to the state of Israel, it doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program, period. That’s just not what the science says (not that these people care about science). That’s what some people want you to believe to scare you into supporting their criminal plot to attack a sovereign country, just like they did Iraq on the basis of lies.”

Again, I’m not saying this matter of attacking Iran is the most fundamental issue dividing the power elite at this time. Nor is it the main issue on the minds of the people. But it’s something a strongly determined faction in this country have successfully placed on the policy agenda. They owe a great debt to Dick Cheney who bearing no outward marks of Zionist sentimentality but merely Big Oil written all over his face while nurturing the neocons during two Bush terms in office constantly declared and gave pseudo-legitimacy to the argument that Iran could have a nuclear program for one reason only: nuclear weapons. (This despite the fact that successive U.S. administrations had promoted an Iranian civilian nuclear program in the ‘60s and ‘70s when the Shah was in power and the Ford administration was doing so when Cheney served as Ford’s chief of staff.)

Let’s now see what kind of clout this “bomb Iran” faction can muster vis-à-vis the reasonable people within the crisis-ridden U.S. ruling class. As pro-Taliban Islamists take power in much of Pakistan, the Taliban continues its revival in Afghanistan, and the policy of paying off the Sunni tribes in Iraq crumbles, U.S. imperialism confronts the limits of its power and has (so to speak) to rethink. “Time for some real apocalyptic savagery” think some, the crazy ones, who imagine using nukes against Iran. They know that there are tens of millions of Christian Zionists, including Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins readers, who’d be down for unprecedented fireworks tomorrow, no questions asked. These folks aren’t providing intellectual leadership to the movement; they’re just yearning for the End Times and that affects their judgment.

Others probably think this has to be the time for a show-down with the nuts. One faction in the power elite must be thinking: They cannot be allowed to get their Iran attack on the basis of fantasy. Whatever one thinks about the mullahs, or Ahmadinejad, or Islam---they can’t be allowed another war-based-on-lies.

People on the radical left should observe the efforts of this faction, encouraging it of course, but observing how the root problem is really the system which nurtures and validates nuts like Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Bolton, and their media cheerleaders like Kristol and Podhoretz. But we should raise, if only for discussion the question: why is a system based indifferently on the pursuit of profit (which is what capitalist imperialism is all about) being asked to risk its health for this minor accretion to itself---the nuclear-powered settler-state of Israel--in a confrontation with Iran, a country that doesn’t even threaten the U.S. system (but actually in fact holds open broad investment opportunities with other imperialist countries are expoiting)?

What role do purely ideological factors play here? How do Zionism and, for some, biblical mythology about a Chosen People and a Promised Land intersect with and even outweigh other considerations such as “national security” in a conventional sense and most fundamentally, U.S. corporate profit?

In the collective mind of the U.S. ruling class, such questions are no doubt being posed, probably sometimes in wrong ways. Accused AIPAC spy Rosen now tells the Jerusalem Post his arrest was all due to anti-Semitism. There is such a thing as anti-Semitism, and a deep almost instinctual tendency to think in terms of ethnic stereotypes corrupts the American soul. The blogosphere abounds with commentaries that mix rational critique of U.S. policy with essentializing nonsense about the power of “the Jews” behind policy, without recognizing the diversity of Jewish opinion and the vital role of Christian Zionists with their belief in the End Times in enhancing Lobby strength.

But if the Lobby and the neocons step up their efforts to get the U.S. to bomb Iran on behalf of Israel (because make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here), their opponents may respond in a way that produces a widespread campaign of criticism in society pertaining to Israeli influence and Lobby power such as we have not seen in this country. That would be a very good thing. The objects of scrutiny will likely however claim that they are victims of anti-Semitism, and some of this will be imaginary. But there is real anti-Semitism in this country, and there can be dangerously essentializing explanations and attributions that contribute to it.

This is the first time that a major U.S. foreign policy question has been posed very frankly as an Israeli security question, posed as such, it must be said, by the “bomb Iran” advocates themselves. If the debate heats up in the coming months, during which by everyone’s calculations Iran is reaching goals which it says are milestones in peaceful nuclear energy development and Israel says are unacceptable, many issues not typically central to U.S. political discourse may come up. The public debate won’t be about blood and oil, bases and pipelines.

It will be about whether Israel is really threatened by Iran, a nation that hasn’t attacked another in centuries. It will be about whether the Lobby, on behalf of a nuclear power exposed as such, can successfully make the case that Israel as a nuclear power is truly threatened by a country with three thousand centrifuges producing small test batches of low enriched uranium. It will be about whether conventional political discourse in this country (which has always in any case been conducted in code obscuring the raw class interests involved, always broadcast in a cynical language in which “democracy” means “capitalism” or at least U.S. imperialist interests), will be eclipsed for a time by a discourse in which “Islamofascism” and “nuclear holocaust” and other sensationalistic terms (ridiculous terms which the neocons got Bush to vocalize publicly) designed to stifle thought are at the center of public discussion.

And it may be in part about the usages of the anti-Semitism charge. It will be necessary to carefully follow and objectively analyze the “bomb Iran” faction, its struggle with its opponents, and its defenses from criticism in the months to come.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

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