The News Drones – Fake Photos Helped Lead US to War in Iraq By Walter Brasch

Dandelion Salad


09/03/07 “

Add faked photos to the list of lies told by the Bush­Cheney Administration before its invasion of Iraq.

In a town hall meeting in Bloomsburg, Pa. this week, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a 12-term congressman, said that shortly before Congress was scheduled to vote on authorizing military force against Iraq, top officials of the CIA showed select members of Congress three photographs it alleged were Iraqi Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones. Kanjorski said he was told that the drones were capable of carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical agents, and could strike 1,000 miles inland of east coast or west coast cities.

Kanjorski said he and four or five other congressmen in the room were told UAVs could be on freighters headed to the U.S. Both secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and President Bush wandered into and out of the briefing room, Kanjorski said.

Kanjorski said it was the second time he was called to the White House for a briefing. He had opposed giving the President the powers to go to war, and said that he hadn’t changed his mind after a first meeting. Until he saw the pictures, Kanjorski said, “I hadn’t thought that Iraq was a threat.” That second meeting changed everything. After he left that meeting, said Kanjorski, he was willing to give the President the authorization he wanted since the drones “represented an imminent danger.”

Kanjorski said he went to see Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a retired Marine colonel. Murtha, said Kanjorski, “turned white” when told about the drones; Murtha, a former intelligence officer, believed that such information was classified.

Several years later, Kanjorski said he learned that the pictures were “a god-damned lie,” apparently taken by CIA photographers in the desert in the southwest of the U.S. The drone story itself had already been disproved, although not many major media carried that story.

In October 2002, President Bush said in Cincinnati that “Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.” He said that he was concerned “that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States.” In that same speech, he claimed, “Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles-far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations-in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work.” Bush further claimed, “Surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons.” Those claims were later proven false.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said that at the time the President made his speech, intelligence analysts had already discounted that threat. Nelson had told Florida Today in December 2003 that no analysts had “found anything that resembles an UAV that has that capability.” Any drones that Iraq did have, John Pike, director of Global Security, a major military and intelligence “think tank,” told Florida Today, had limited range, and would not be able to target Tel Aviv, let alone the U.S.

Nelson, on the floor of the Senate in January 2004, said that the information presented by the Administration was crucial in getting him and others to authorize a pre-emptive strike.

In a four-day period after that meeting in northeast Pennsylvania, Rep. Kanjorski did not return phone calls to follow up on his statements. The Department of Defense and the CIA did not comment. Certain representatives who could confirm the meeting were unavailable.

Assisting on this story were Bill Frost, and John and Sandie Walker.

Walter Brasch, professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University, is an award-winning syndicated columnist and the author of 15 books, most of them about social issues, the First Amendment, and the media. His forthcoming book is America’s Unpatriotic Acts; The Federal Government’s Violation of Constitutional and Civil Liberties (Peter Lang Publishing.) You may contact Brasch at or at

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Do We Have the Courage to Stop War With Iran? By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
09/02/07 “

Why do I feel like the proverbial skunk at a Labor Day picnic? Sorry; but I thought you might want to know that this time next year there will probably be more skunks than we can handle. I fear our country is likely to be at war with Iran – and with the thousands of real terrorists Iran can field around the globe.

It is going to happen, folks, unless we put our lawn chairs away on Tuesday, take part in some serious grass-roots organizing, and take action to prevent a wider war – while we still can.

President George W. Bush’s speech Tuesday lays out the Bush/Cheney plan to attack Iran and how the intelligence is being “fixed around the policy,” as was the case before the attack on Iraq.

It’s not about putative Iranian “weapons of mass destruction” – not even ostensibly. It is about the requirement for a scapegoat for US reverses in Iraq, and the White House’s felt need to create a casus belli by provoking Iran in such a way as to “justify” armed retaliation – eventually including air strikes on its nuclear-related facilities.

Bush’s August 28 speech to the American Legion comes five years after a very similar presentation by Vice President Dick Cheney. Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars on August 26, 2002, Cheney set the meretricious terms of reference for war on Iraq.

Sitting on the same stage that evening was former CENTCOM commander Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who was being honored at the VFW convention. Zinni later said he was shocked to hear a depiction of intelligence (Iraq has WMD and is amassing them to use against us) that did not square with what he knew. Although Zinni had retired two years before, his role as consultant had enabled him to stay up to date on key intelligence findings.

“There was no solid proof that Saddam had WMD…. I heard a case being made to go to war,” Zinni told “Meet the Press” three and a half years later.

(Zinni is a straight shooter with considerable courage, and so the question lingers: why did he not go public? It is all too familiar a conundrum at senior levels; top officials can seldom find their voices. My hunch is that Zinni regrets letting himself be guided by a misplaced professional courtesy and/or slavish adherence to classification restrictions, when he might have prevented our country from starting the kind of war of aggression branded at Nuremberg the “supreme international crime.”)

Cheney: Dean of Preemption

Zinni was not the only one taken aback by Cheney’s words. Then-CIA Director George Tenet says Cheney’s speech took him completely by surprise. In his memoir, Tenet wrote, “I had the impression that the president wasn’t any more aware than we were of what his No. 2 was going to say to the VFW until he said it.”

Yet, it could have been anticipated. Just five weeks before, Tenet himself had told his British counterpart that the president had decided to make war on Iraq for regime change and that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

When Bush’s senior advisers came back to town after Labor Day, 2002, the next five weeks (and by now, the next five years) were devoted to selling a new product – war on Iraq. The actual decision to attack Iraq, we now know, was made several months earlier, but, as then-White House Chief of Staff Andy Card explained, no sensible salesperson would launch a major new product during the month of August – Cheney’s preemptive strike notwithstanding. Yes, that’s what Card called the coming war: a “new product.”

After assuring themselves that Tenet was a reliable salesman, Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dispatched him and the pliant Powell at State to play supporting roles in the advertising campaign: bogus yellowcake uranium from Niger, aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment, and mobile trailers for manufacturing biological warfare agents – the whole nine yards. The objective was to scare or intimidate Congress into voting for war, and, thanks largely to a robust cheering section in the corporate-controlled media, Congress did so on October 10 and 11, 2002.

This past week saw the president himself, with that same kind of support, pushing a new product – war with Iran. And in the process, he made clear how intelligence is being fixed to “justify” war this time around. The case is too clever by half, but it will be hard for Americans to understand that. Indeed, the Bush/Cheney team expects that the product will sell easily – the more so, since the administration has been able once again to enlist the usual cheerleaders in the media to “catapult the propaganda,” as Bush once put it.

Iran’s Nuclear Plans

It has been like waiting for Godot … the endless wait for the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear plans. That NIE turns out to be the quintessential dog that didn’t bark. The most recent published NIE on the subject was issued two and a half years ago and concluded that Iran could not have a nuclear weapon until “early-to-mid-next decade.” That estimate followed a string of NIEs dating back to 1995, which kept predicting, with embarrassing consistency, that Iran was “within five years” of having a nuclear weapon.

The most recent NIE, published in early 2005, extended the timeline and provided still more margin for error. Basically, the timeline was moved 10 years out to 2015 but, in a fit of caution, the drafters settled on the words “early-to-mid next decade.” On February 27, 2007, at his confirmation hearings to be director of national intelligence, Michael McConnell repeated that formula verbatim.

A “final” draft of the follow-up NIE mentioned above had been completed in February 2007 and McConnell no doubt was briefed on its findings prior to his testimony. The fact that this draft has been sent back for revision every other month since February speaks volumes. Judging from McConnell’s testimony, the conclusions of the NIE draft of February are probably not alarmist enough for Vice President Dick Cheney. (Shades of Iraq.)

According to one recent report, the target date for publication has now slipped to late fall. How these endless delays can be tolerated is testimony to the fecklessness of the “watchdog” intelligence committees in House and Senate.

As for Iran’s motivation if it plans to go down the path of producing nuclear weapons, newly appointed Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked about that at his confirmation hearing in December. Just called from the wings to replace Donald Rumsfeld, Gates apparently had not yet read the relevant memo from Cheney’s office. It is a safe bet that the avuncular Cheney took Gates to the woodshed after the nominee suggested that Iran’s motivation could be deterrence:

“While they [the Iranians] are certainly pressing, in my opinion, for a nuclear capability, I think they would see it in the first instance as a deterrent. They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons – Pakistan to the east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west, and us in the Persian Gulf.”

Unwelcome News (to the White House)

There they go again – those bureaucrats at the International Atomic Energy Agency. On August 28, the very day Bush was playing up the dangers from Iran, the IAEA released a note of understanding between the IAEA and Iran on the key issue of inspection. The IAEA announced:

“The agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use.”

The IAEA deputy director said the plan just agreed to by the IAEA and Iran will enable the two to reach closure by December on the nuclear issues that the IAEA began investigating in 2003. Other IAEA officials now express confidence that they will be able to detect any military diversion or any uranium enrichment above a low grade, as long as the Iran-IAEA safeguard agreement remains intact.

Shades of the preliminary findings of the UN inspections – unprecedented in their intrusiveness – that were conducted in Iraq in early 2003 before the US abruptly warned the UN in mid-March to pull out its inspectors, lest they find themselves among those to be shocked-and-awed.

Vice President Cheney can claim, as he did three days before the attack on Iraq, that the IAEA is simply “wrong.” But Cheney’s credibility has sunk to prehistoric levels; witness the fact that the president was told that this time he would have to take the lead in playing up various threats from Iran. And they gave him new words.

The President’s New Formulation

As I watched the president speak on August 28, I was struck by the care he took in reading the exact words of a new, subjunctive-mood formulation regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions. He never looked up; this is what he said:

“Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.”

The cautious wording suggests to me that the White House finally has concluded that the “nuclear threat” from Iran is “a dog that won’t hunt,” as Lyndon Johnson would have put it. While initial press reporting focused on the “nuclear holocaust” rhetorical flourish, the earlier part of the sentence is more significant, in my view. It is quite different from earlier Bush rhetoric charging categorically that Iran is “pursuing nuclear weapons,” including the following (erroneous) comment at a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in early August:

“This [Iran] is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon.”

The latest news from the IAEA is, for the White House, an unwelcome extra hurdle. And the president’s advisers presumably were aware of it well before Bush’s speech was finalized; it will be hard to spin. Administration officials would also worry about the possibility that some patriotic truth teller might make the press aware of the key judgments of the languishing draft of the latest NIE on Iran’s nuclear capability – or that a courageous officer or official of Gen. Anthony Zinni’s stature might feel conscience bound to try to head off another unnecessary war, by providing a more accurate, less alarmist assessment of the nuclear threat from Iran.

It is just too much of a stretch to suggest that Iran could be a nuclear threat to the United States within the next 17 months, and that’s all the time Bush and Cheney have got to honor their open pledge to our “ally” Israel to eliminate Iran’s nuclear potential. Besides, some American Jewish groups have become increasingly concerned over the likelihood of serious backlash if young Americans are seen to be fighting and dying to eliminate perceived threats to Israel (but not to the US). Some of these groups have been quietly urging the White House to back off the nuclear-threat rationale for war on Iran.

The (Very) Bad News

Bush and Cheney have clearly decided to use alleged Iranian interference in Iraq as the preferred casus belli. And the charges, whether they have merit or not, have become much more bellicose. Thus, Bush on August 28:

“Iran’s leaders … cannot escape responsibility for aiding attacks against coalition forces…. The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops. I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

How convenient: two birds with one stone. Someone to blame for US reverses in Iraq, and “justification” to confront the ostensible source of the problem – “deadeners” having been changed to Iran. Vice President Cheney has reportedly been pushing for military retaliation against Iran if the US finds hard evidence of Iranian complicity in supporting the “insurgents” in Iraq.

President Bush obliged on August 28:

“Recently, coalition forces seized 240-millimeter rockets that had been manufactured in Iran this year and that had been provided to Iraqi extremist groups by Iranian agents. The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased in the last few months …”


Recent US actions, such as arresting Iranian officials in Iraq – eight were abruptly kidnapped and held briefly in Baghdad on August 28, the day Bush addressed the American Legion – suggest an intention to provoke Iran into some kind of action that would justify US “retaliation.” The evolving rhetoric suggests that the most likely immediate targets at this point would be training facilities inside Iran – some twenty targets that are within range of US cruise missiles already in place.

Iranian retaliation would be inevitable, and escalation very likely. It strikes me as shamelessly ironic that the likes of our current ambassador at the UN, Zalmay Khalilizad, one of the architects of US policy toward the area, are now warning publicly that the current upheaval in the Middle East could bring another world war.

The Public Buildup

Col. Pat Lang (USA, retired), as usual, puts it succinctly:

“Careful attention to the content of the chatter on the 24/7 news channels reveals a willingness to accept the idea that it is not possible to resolve differences with Iran through diplomacy. Network anchors are increasingly accepting or voicing such views. Are we supposed to believe that this is serendipitous?”

And not only that. It is as if Scooter Libby were back writing lead editorials for The Washington Post, the Pravda of this administration. The Post’s lead editorial on August 21 regurgitated the allegations that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is “supplying the weapons that are killing a growing number of American soldiers in Iraq;” that it is “waging war against the United States and trying to kill as many American soldiers as possible.” Designating Iran a “specially designated global terrorist” organization, said the Post, “seems to be the least the United States should be doing, given the soaring number of Iranian-sponsored bomb attacks in Iraq.”

As for the news side of the Post, which is widely perceived as a bit freer from White House influence, its writers are hardly immune. For example, they know how many times the draft National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program has been sent back for redrafting … and they know why. Have they been told not to write the story?

For good measure, the indomitable arch-neocon James Woolsey has again entered the fray. He was trotted out on August 14 to tell Lou Dobbs that the US may have no choice but to bomb Iran in order to halt its nuclear weapons program. Woolsey, who has described himself as the “anchor of the Presbyterian wing of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs,” knows what will scare. To Dobbs: “I’m afraid within, well, at worst, a few months; at best, a few years; they [Iran] could have the bomb.”

As for what Bush is telling his counterparts among our allies, reports on his recent meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy are disquieting, to say the least. Those circulating in European foreign ministries indicate that Sarkozy came away convinced that Bush “is serious about bombing Iran’s secret nuclear facilities,” according to well-connected journalist Arnauld De Borchgrave.

It Is Up to Us

Air strikes on Iran seem inevitable, unless grass-roots America can arrange a backbone transplant for Congress. The House needs to begin impeachment proceedings without delay. Why? Well, there’s the Constitution of the United States, for one thing. For another, the initiation of impeachment proceedings might well give our senior military leaders pause. Do they really want to precipitate a wider war and risk destroying much of what is left of our armed forces for the likes of Bush and Cheney? Is another star on the shoulder worth THAT?

The deterioration of the US position in Iraq; the perceived need for a scapegoat; the knee-jerk deference given to Israel’s myopic and ultimately self-defeating security policy; and the fact that time is running out for the Bush/Cheney administration to end Iran’s nuclear program – together make for a very volatile mix.

So, on Tuesday let’s put away the lawn chairs and roll up our sleeves. Let’s remember all that has already happened since Labor Day five years ago.

There is very little time to exercise our rights as citizens and stop this madness. At a similarly critical juncture, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was typically direct. I find his words a challenge to us today:

“There is such a thing as being too late…. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with lost opportunity…. Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: ‘Too late.'”

Ray McGovern, a member of the American Legion, was an Army infantry/intelligence officer in the sixties. He then served for 27 years as an analyst with the CIA and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He currently works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Alternate Focus: The Bases Are Loaded (video; Iraq)

Dandelion Salad


August 06, 2007

In this episode we bring you a piece sent to us by our friends in San Diego, who have a great show called “Alternate Focus,” which mostly trains their investigative lens on issues related to the Middle East. They do excellent work and this piece is really good. “The Bases Are Loaded” is their look at US military bases in Iraq.

Will the U.S. ever leave Iraq? Official policy promises an eventual departure, while warning of the dire consequences of a “premature” withdrawal. But while Washington equivocates, facts on the ground tell another story. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, and author Chalmers Johnson, are discovering that military bases in Iraq are being consolidated from over a hundred to a handful of permanent US “megabases” with lavish amenities. While US officials try to obscure much of what is taking place through denials and quibbles over the definition of “permanent,” this excellent video cuts through the crap. Gary Hart, James Goldsborough, Nadia Keilani, Raed Jarrar, Bruce Finley, Kam Zarrabi, and Mark Rudd all add their observations about the extent and purpose of the bases in Iraq.

Pepperspray Productions formed shortly after the WTO protests in Seattle, in response to the Independent Media Center’s call, “don’t hate the media, be the media!”. We believe that the Corporate Media is not telling us the whole story, and that the people must make our own media if we want our voices to be heard.


‘Kidnapped’ Filipinos build US embassy by Nicola Smith

House panel probes charges of human trafficking in Iraq embassy project By Robert Brodsky

Plan Iraq – Permanent Occupation by Stephen Lendman

McMansions, SUVs, Mega-Churches and the Baghdad Embassy by Phil Rockstroh

The Predicted Financial Storm Has Arrived By Gabriel Kolko

Dandelion Salad

By Gabriel Kolko
09/02/07 “ZMag

Contradictions now wrack the world’s financial system, and a growing consensus exists between those who endorse it and those who argue the status quo is both crisis-prone as well as immoral. If we are to believe the institutions and personalities who have been in the forefront of the defense of capitalism, we are on the verge of a serious crisis-if not now, then in the near future.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank for International Settlements, the British Financial Services Authority, the Financial Times, and innumerable mainstream commentators were increasingly worried and publicly warned against many of the financial innovations that have now imploded. Warren Buffett, whom Forbes ranks the second richest man in the world, last year called credit derivatives-only one of the many new banking inventions-“financial weapons of mass destruction.” Very conservative institutions and people predicted the upheaval in global finances we are today experiencing.

The IMF has taken the lead in criticizing the new international financial structure, and over the past three years it has published numerous detailed reasons why it has become so dangerous to the world’s economic stability. Events have confirmed its prognostication that complexity and lack of transparency, the obscurity of risks and universal uncertainty, especially regarding collateralized debt and loan obligations, will cause a flight to security that will dry up much of the liquidity of banking. “…Financial innovation itself,” as a Financial Times columnist put it, “is the problem”. The ultra-creative system is seizing up because no one understands where risks are located or how it works. It began to do so this summer and fixing it is not very likely.

It is impossible to measure the extent of the losses. The final results of this deluge have yet to be calculated. Even many of the players who have stakes in the countless arcane investment instruments are utterly ignorant. The sums are enormous.

Only a few of the many measures give us a rough estimate:

The present crisis began-it has scarcely ended there–with subprime mortgage loans in the U.S., which were valued at over $1.3 trillion at the beginning of 2007 but are, for practical purposes, worth far, far less today. We can ignore the impact of this crisis on U.S. housing prices, but some projections are of a 10 percent decline-another trillion or so. Indirectly, of course, the mortgage crisis has also brought many millions of people into the larger financial world and they will get badly hurt.

What the subprime market did was unleash a far greater maelstrom involving banks in Germany, France, Asia, and throughout the world, calling into question much of the world financial system as it has developed over the past decade.

Investment banks hold about $300 billion in private equity debts they planned to place-mainly in leveraged buy-outs. They will be forced to sell them at discounts or keep them on their balance sheets-either way they will lose.

The near-failure of the German Sachsen LB bank, which had to be saved from bankruptcy with 17.3 billion euros in credit, revealed that European banks hold over half-trillion dollars in so-called asset backed commercial paper, much of it in the U. S. and subprime mortgages. A failure in America caused Europe too to face a crisis. The problem is scarcely isolated.

The leading victim of this upheaval are the hedge funds. What are hedge funds? There are about 10,000 and, all told, they do everything. Some hedge funds, however, provided companies with capital and successfully competed with commercial banks because they took much greater risks. A substantial proportion is simple gamblers; some even bet on the weather–hunches. Many look to their computers and mathematics for models to guide their investments, and these have lost the most money, but funds based on other strategies also lost during August. The spectacular Long-term Capital Management 1998 failure was also due to its reliance on ingenious mathematical propositions, yet no one learned any lessons from it, proving that appeals to reason as well as experience fall on deaf ears if there is money to be made.

Some gained during the August crisis but more lost, and in the aggregate the hedge funds lost a great deal-their allure of rapid riches gone. There have been some spectacular bankruptcies and bailouts, including some of the biggest investment firms. Investors who got cold feet found that withdrawing money from hedge funds was nigh on impossible. The real worth of their holdings is hotly contested, and valuations vary wildly. In reality, there is no way to appraise them realistically-they all depend largely on what people want to believe and will take, or the market.

We are at an end of an era, living through the worst financial panic in many decades. Now begins global financial instability. It is impossible to speculate how long today’s turmoil will last-but there now exists an uncertainty and lack of confidence that has been unparalleled since the 1930s-and this ignorance and fear is itself a crucial factor. The moment of reckoning for bankers and bosses has arrived. What is very clear is that losses are massive and the entire developed world is now experiencing the worst economic crisis since 1945, one in which troubles in one nation compound those in others.

All central banks are wracked by dilemmas. They have neither the resources nor the knowledge, including legal powers, to remedy the present maelstrom. Although there is clamor from financiers and assorted operators to bail them out, the Federal Reserve must also weigh the consequences of its moves, above all for inflation. Then there is the question of “moral hazards.” Is the Federal Reserve’s responsibility to save financial adventurers from their own follies? Throughout August the American and European central banks plunged about a half-trillion dollars into the banking system in an attempt to unfreeze blocked credit and loans that followed the subprime crisis-an event which triggered a “flight to safety” which greatly reduced banks’ willingness to loan. In effect, the Federal Reserve relied on banks to restore confidence in the financial system, subsidizing their efforts.

Central banks’ efforts succeeded only very partially but, in the aggregate, they failed: banks and investors now seek security rather than risk, and they will sit on their money. The Federal Reserve privately acknowledges its inability to cope with an inordinately complex financial structure. European central bankers are in exactly the same dilemma: they simply don’t know what to do.

But this scarcely touches the real problem, which is structural and impinges wholly on the way the world financial structure has evolved over the past two decades. As in the past, there is a critical split in the banking and finance world and each has political leverage along with clashing interests. More important, central banks were not designed to cope with today’s realities and have neither the legal powers nor knowledge to control them.

In this context, central banks will have increasing problems and the solutions they propose, as in the past, will be utterly inadequate, not because their intentions are wrong but because it is impossible to regulate such a vast, complex economy-even less today than in the past because there is no international mechanism to do so. Internationalization of finance has meant less regulation than ever, and regulation was scarcely very effective even at the national level.

Not only leftists are naïve but so too are those conservatives who think they can speak truth to power and change the course of events. Greed’s only bounds are what makes money. Existing international institutions-of which the IMF is the most important–or well-intentioned advice will not change this reality.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Origins of the Cold War – A Second Look by Dr. Everett Thiele

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Everett Thiele
Global Research, September 3, 2007

“The men who possess real power in this country have no intention of ending the Cold War.” Albert Einstein

“For years it was pretended that the threat was from the Russians, the routine pretext for violence and subversion all over the world.” Noam Chomsky

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” Winston Churchill in the “iron curtain” speech

Continue reading

Information Warfare, Psy-ops and the Power of Myth by Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Whitney
Atlantic Free Press
Monday, 03 September 2007

The bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque in Samarra is the cornerstone of Bush’s psychological operations (psy-ops) in Iraq. That’s why it is critical to have an independent investigation and discover who is really responsible. The bombing has been used as a “Pearl Harbor-type” event which has deflected responsibility for the 650,000 Iraqi casualties and more than 3 million refugees. These are the victims of American occupation not civil war.

The bombing was concocted by men who believe that they can control the public through perception management. In practical terms, this means that they create events which can be used to support their far-right doctrine. In this case, the destruction of the mosque has been used to confuse the public about the real origins of the rising sectarian tensions and hostilities. The fighting between Sunni and Shiite is the predictable upshot of random bombings and violence which bears the signature of covert operations carried out by intelligence organizations. Most of the pandemonium in Iraq is the result of counterinsurgency operations (black-ops) on a massive scale not civil war.

The Pentagon’s bold new approach to psychological operations (psy-ops) appears to have derived from the theories of former State Dept official, Philip Zelikow (who also served on the 9-11 Commission) Zelikow is an expert on “the creation and maintenance of ‘public myths’ or ‘public presumptions’. His theory analyzes how consciousness is shaped by “searing events” which take on “transcendent importance” and, therefore, move the public in the direction chosen by the policymakers.

“In the Nov-Dec 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs he (Zelikow) co-authored an article called ‘Catastrophic Terrorism’ in which he speculated that if the 1993 bombing of the World Trade center had succeeded ‘the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. ‘It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America’s fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet bomb test in 1949. The US might respond with draconian measures scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects and use of deadly force. More violence could follow, either future terrorist attacks or US counterattacks. Belatedly, Americans would judge their leaders negligent for not addressing terrorism more urgently”. (Wikipedia)

Zelikow’s article presumes that if one creates their own “searing event” (such as 9-11 or the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque) they can steer the public in whatever direction they choose. His theory depends entirely on a “state-media nexus” which can be depended on to disseminate propaganda uniformly. There is no more reliable propaganda-system in the world today than the western media.

New Clues in the Bombing

New clues have surfaced in the case of the bombing of the Golden Mosque which suggests that the claims of the Bush administration are false. An article by Marc Santora, (“One Year Later, Golden Mosque still in Ruins”, New York Times) provides eyewitness testimony of what really took place one year ago:

“A caretaker at the shrine described what happened on the day of the attack, insisting on anonymity because he was afraid that talking to an American could get him killed. The general outline of his account was confirmed by American and Iraqi officials.

The night before the explosion, he said, just before the 8 p.m. curfew on Feb. 21, 2006, on the Western calendar, men dressed in commando uniforms like those issued by the Interior Ministry entered the shrine.

The caretaker said he had been beaten, tied up and locked in a room.

Throughout the night, he said, he could hear the sound of drilling as the attackers positioned the explosives, apparently in such a way as to inflict maximum damage on the dome”.(NY Times)

Clearly, if the men were men dressed in “commando uniforms like those issued by the Interior Ministry”, then the logical place to begin an investigation would be the Interior Ministry. But there’s never been an investigation and the caretaker has never been asked to testify about what he saw on the night of the bombing. However, if he is telling the truth, we cannot exclude the possibility that paramilitary contractors (mercenaries) or special-ops (intelligence) agents working out of the Interior Ministry may have destroyed the mosque to create the appearance of a nascent civil war.

Isn’t that what Bush wants to divert attention from the occupation and to show that the real conflict is between Shiites and Sunnis?

It’s unlikely that the mosque was destroyed by “Sunni insurgents or Al Qaida” as Bush claims. Samarra is predominantly a Sunni city and the Sunnis have nearly as much respect for the mosque as a cultural icon and sacred shrine as the Shiites.

The Times also adds, “What is clear is that the attack was carefully planned and calculated”.

True again. We can see from the extent of the damage that the job was carried out by demolition experts and not merely “insurgents or terrorists” with explosives. Simple forensic tests and soil samples could easily determine the composition of the explosives and point out the real perpetrators.

The Times even provides a motive for the attack: “Bad people used this incident to divide Iraq on a detestable sectarian basis.”

Bingo! The administration has repeatedly used the incident to highlight divisions, incite acrimony, and prolong the occupation.

Finally, the Times notes the similarities between 9-11 and the bombing of the Golden Mosque: “I can describe what was done as exactly like what happened to the World Trade Center.”(NY Times)

In fact, the bombing of the Golden Mosque is a reenactment of September 11. In both cases an independent investigation was intentionally quashed and carefully-prepared narrative was immediately provided. The government’s version of events has been critical in supporting the extremist policies of the Bush administration.

Just as 9-11 has been used to justify the enhanced powers of the “unitary” president, the evisceration of civil liberties, and a permanent state of war; so too, the bombing of the Golden Mosque, has been used to create a fictional narrative of deeply ingrained sectarian animosity that has no historical precedent. Both events need to be exposed by thorough and independent investigations.

The Bush administration has consistently abandoned the limitations of “reality-based” politics. They govern through demagoguery, force and deception. This is no different.

9-11 and the Golden Mosque are the foundation blocks in the Pentagon’s “Strategic Information” program. It is a war that is directed at the American people and it relies heavily on the power of myth.

Forewarned is forearmed.

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Ali Larijani , who is the head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council responsible for nuclear discussions with the West, has called nuclear negotiations a “diplomatic chess.” Perhaps he is implying that like a good chess player he plans a few moves ahead of his opponent. After receiving two sanctions, Larijani had taken the position that as long as the Security Council (SC) refuses to return Iran’s case to the IAEA, Iran will not clarify nuclear ambiguities that have been reported by the Atomic Agency and will continue to reduce cooperation on many additional inspection activities that are not within the framework of the standard Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Continue reading