Ralph Nader: How Many Impeachable Offenses Do The Spineless Dems Need? (video)

Looks like C-SPAN did cover this huge event. I couldn’t find anything on their website when I looked yesterday. Thanks to CSPANJUNKIE for posting this (and all of his other videos). ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

CSPANJUNKIEdotORG

SEPTEMBER 15, 2007 C-SPAN

see:

From the March to the Cell: Washington, D.C. 9/15/07 by Guinea: The 1930’s Smut Peddler

September 15, 2007 Antiwar Rally, March and Die-In (long video) + 73 Photos from the Sept. 15 Antiwar Rally + Iraq Veterans Arrested (videos

Greenspan Misses Cheney’s Memo: Spills the Beans on Oil By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
09/16/07 “ICH

For those still wondering why President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney sent our young men and women into Iraq, the secret is now “largely” out.

No, not from the lips of former secretary of state Colin Powell. It appears we shall have to wait until the disgraced general/diplomat draws nearer to meeting his maker before he gets concerned over anything more than the “blot” that Iraq has put on his reputation.

Rather, the uncommon candor comes from a highly respected Republican doyen, economist Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, whom the president has praised for his “wise policies and prudent judgment.” Sadly for Bush and Cheney, Greenspan decided to put prudence aside in his new book, The Age of Turbulence, and answer the most neuralgic issue of our times—why the United States invaded Iraq.

Greenspan writes:

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”


Everyone knows? Would that it were so. But it’s hardly everyone. Sometimes I think it’s hardly anyone.

There are so many, still, who “can’t handle the truth,” and that is all too understandable. I have found it a wrenching experience to be forced to conclude that the America I love would deliberately launch what the Nuremburg Tribunal called the “supreme international crime”—a war of aggression—largely for oil. For those who are able to overcome the very common, instinctive denial, for those who can handle the truth, it really helps to turn off the Sunday football games early enough to catch up on what’s going on.

60 Minutes

On January 11, 2004, viewers of CBS’ 60 Minutes saw another of Bush’s senior economic advisers, former treasury secretary Paul O’Neill discussing The Price of Loyalty, his memoir about his two years inside the Bush administration. O’Neill, a plain speaker, likened the president’s behavior at cabinet meetings to that of “a blind man in a roomful of deaf people.” How does he manage? Cheney and “a praetorian guard that encircled the president” help Bush make decisions off-line, blocking contrary views.

Cheney has a Rumsfeldian knack for aphorisms that don’t parse in the real world— like “deficits don’t matter.” To his credit, O’Neill picked a fight with that and ended up being fired personally by Cheney. In his book, Greenspan heaps scorn on that same Cheneyesque insight.

O’Neill made no bones about his befuddlement over the president’s diffident disengagement from discussions on policy—except, that is, for Bush’s remarks betraying a pep-rally-cheerleader fixation with removing Saddam Hussein and occupying Iraq.

Why Iraq? “Largely Oil”

O’Neill began to understand better after Bush’s inauguration when the discussion among his top advisers abruptly moved to how to divvy up Iraq’s oil wealth. Just days into the job, President Bush created the Cheney energy task force with the stated aim of developing “a national energy policy designed to help the private sector.” Typically, Cheney has been able to keep secret its deliberations and even the names of its members.

But a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit forced the Commerce Department to turn over task force documents, including a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries, terminals, and potential areas for exploration; a Pentagon chart “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts;” and another chart detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects—all dated March 2001.

On the 60 Minutes, program on December 15, 2002, Steve Croft asked then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “What do you say to people who think this [the coming invasion of Iraq] is about oil?” Rumsfeld replied:

“Nonsense. It just isn’t. There—there—there are certain…………. things like that, myths that are floating around. I’m glad you asked. I—it has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.”


Au Contraire

Greenspan’s indiscreet remark adds to the abundant evidence that Iraq oil, and not weapons of mass destruction, was the priority target long before the Bush administration invoked WMD as a pretext to invade Iraq. In the heady days of “Mission Accomplished,” a week after the president landed on the aircraft carrier, then-deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz virtually bragged about the deceit during an interview. On May 9, 2003, Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair:

“The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason…”


That was seven weeks after the invasion; no weapons of mass destruction had been found; and Americans were growing tired of being told that this was because Iraq was the size of California. Eventually, of course, Wolfowitz’ boss Rumsfeld was forced to concede, as he did to me during our impromptu TV debate on May 4, 2006: “It appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.”

But three years before, during that heady May of 2003 when all else seemed to be going along swimmingly, the inebriation of apparent success led to another glaring indiscretion by Wolfowitz. During a relaxed moment in Singapore late that month, Wolfowitz reminded the press that Iraq “floats on a sea of oil,” and thus added to the migraine he had already given folks in the White House PR shop.

But wait. For those of us absorbing more than FOX channel news, the primacy of the oil factor was a no-brainer. The limited number of invading troops were ordered to give priority to securing the oil wells and oil industry infrastructure immediately and let looters have their way with just about everything else (including the ammunition storage depots!). Barely three weeks into the war, Rumsfeld famously answered criticism for not stopping the looting: “Stuff happens.” No stuff happened to the Oil Ministry.

Small wonder that, according to O’Neill, Rumsfeld tried hard to dissuade him from writing his book and has avoided all comment on it. As for Greenspan’s book, Rumsfeld will find it easier to dodge questions from the Washington press corps from his sinecure at the Hoover Institute at Stanford.

Eminence Grise…or Oily

The other half of what Col. Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff at the State Department, calls the “Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal” is still lurking in the shadows. What changed Cheney’s mind toward Iraq from his sensible attitude after the Gulf War when, as defense secretary, he defended President George H. W. Bush’s decision not to attempt to oust Saddam Hussein and conquer Iraq? Here is what Cheney said in August 1992:

“…how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth?…not that damned many. So I think we got it right…when the president made the decision that we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.”


Cheney’s rather transparent remarks as CEO of Halliburton in autumn 1999 suggest what lies behind the cynical exploitation of genuine patriotism to recruit throwaway soldiers to trade for the chimera of control over the oil in Iraq:

“Oil companies are expected to keep developing enough oil to offset oil depletion and also to meet new demand…So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously in control of 90 percent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. The Middle East with two-thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost is still where the prize ultimately lies.”


Not only Cheney, but also many of the captains of the oil industry were looking on Iraq with covetous eyes before the war. Most people forget that the Bush/Cheney administration came in on the heels of severe shortages of oil and natural gas in the U.S., and the passing of a milestone at which the United States had just begun importing more than half of the oil it consumes. One oil executive confided to a New York Times reporter a month before the war: “For any oil company, being in Iraq is like being a kid in F.A.O. Schwarz.”

Canadian writer Linda McQuaig, author of It’s the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet (2004), has noted that decades from now it will seem to everyone a real no-brainer. Historians will calmly discuss the war in Iraq and identify oil as one of the key factors in the decision to launch it. They will point to growing US dependence on foreign oil, the competition with China, India, and others for a share of the diminishing world supply of this precious, nonrenewable resource, and the fact that Iraq “floats on a sea of oil.” It will all seem so obvious as to provoke little more than a yawn.

Other Factors Behind the Invasion

There were, to be sure, other factors behind the ill-starred attack on Iraq—the Bush administration’s determination to acquire large, permanent military bases in the area outside of Saudi Arabia, for one. But that factor can be viewed as a subset of the energy motivation—the need to have substantial influence over the extraction and disposition of the oil in Iraq. In other words, the felt need for what the Pentagon prefers to call “enduring” military bases in the Middle East is a function of its strategic importance which, in turn, is a function—you guessed it—of its natural resources. Not only oil, but natural gas and water as well.

I find the evidence persuasive that the other major factor in the Bush/Cheney decision to make war on Iraq was the misguided notion that this would make that part of the world safer for Israel. Indeed, the so-called “neo-conservatives” still running U.S. policy toward the Middle East continue to have great difficulty distinguishing between what they perceive to be the strategic interests of Israel and those of the United States. And in my view, they show themselves extremely myopic on both counts.

Why Are Americans Silent?

Could it be that most of us Americans remain “good Germans” because we are unwilling to recognize the moral implications of starting what is likely to be the first of the resource wars of the 21st century?; because we continue to be comfortable hogging far more than our share of the world’s natural resources?; and because we prefer to look the other way when our leaders tell us that aggressive war is necessary to protect that siren-call, “our way of life,” from attack by those who are just plain “jealous?”

Perhaps a clue can be found in the remarkable reaction I received after a lecture I gave two and a half years ago in a very affluent suburb of Milwaukee. I had devoted much of my talk to the implications of what I consider the most important factoid of this century: the world is running out of oil.

Afterwards some twenty folks lingered in a small circle to ask follow-up questions. A persistent, elegantly dressed man, who just would not let go, dominated the questioning:

“Surely you agree that we need the oil. Then what’s your problem? Some 1,450 killed thus far are far fewer than the toll in Vietnam where we lost 58,000; it’s a small price to pay… a sustainable rate to bear. What IS your problem?”


I asked the man if he would feel differently if one of the (then) 1,450 already killed were his own son. Judging from his abrupt, incredulous reaction, the suggestion struck him as so farfetched as to be beyond his ken. “It wouldn’t be my son,” he said.

And that, I believe, is a HUGE part of the problem.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. A former CIA analyst, he is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

An earlier, shorter version of this article has appeared on Consortiumnews.com.

see:

Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil: Lambasts Bush on Economy By Graham Paterson

Greenspan on 60 Minutes: It was all Bush’s fault By Mike Whitney

Victims of the death squads: One family’s harrowing story of kidnap and murder in Iraq By Kim Sengupta

Dandelion Salad

By Kim Sengupta
ICH
09/16/07 “The Independent

Nadia Hayali tells Kim Sengupta of the day her family were seized and she lost her husband, a story that gives the lie to claims that US forces are succeeding in Baghdad

Anyone who believes that the American-led “surge” in Iraq is succeeding should hear the story of Mohammed and Nadia al-Hayali. Both fluent in English – Nadia, who was born in Montpellier, also speaks French – they were the kind of well-educated, modern Iraqis who should have been the driving force behind a new secular democracy. Yet Mohammed is believed dead at the hands of kidnappers who seized the whole family, and Nadia is living the miserable half-life of the exile with their two children in Jordan.

While the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, spouted statistics in Washington last week to indicate that progress was being made in the Iraqi capital – suicide bombings down, fewer sectarian murders – what happened to the Hayalis dispels this carefully constructed impression of greater normality. Simply to recount my friendship with them demonstrates how far Baghdad has sunk.

I first met Mohammed, then 40, and Nadia, 39, at the Hunting Club, a private establishment behind high walls, surrounded by armed guards. With a joint income of about $1,100 a month, the couple represented the comfortable middle class. The club was the one public place in the city where the Hayalis and their set could socialise in safety, using the restaurants, tennis courts and swimming pool.

This was the autumn of 2004. President Bush had declared “mission accomplished” in Iraq 18 months earlier. Although the insurgency was already under way, with dead bodies turning up in the streets, daily power cuts, and petrol queues looping around blocks for miles, the Hayalis still hoped that the country would settle down after a period of turbulence. They lived in al-Jamiya, a once-prosperous district now described as “mainly Sunni”, where previously sectarian labels did not matter. Before the war, when Mohammed was working as an internet engineer and Nadia as a teacher, the fact that he was a Sunni and she was a Shia did not seem worthy of comment.

Nadia had initially thought that the invasion was worth the pain to get rid of Saddam Hussein and bring an end to UN sanctions. Mohammed, who after the fighting earned about $500 a month working for the medical charity Merlin, opposed the war – not, he stressed, because he was a lover of the regime, but because he thought it would open a Pandora’s box of trouble. He was right, but in 2004 it was still possible for me to visit them at home, where Nadia, also a talented artist, had decorated the place with Japanese vases, Rajasthani prints and her own paintings.

I would stop at Ali al-Hamdani’s renowned pastry shop to pick up presents for the children, and met the Hayalis’ relations and friends. The talk was often of what they would do when life returned to normal. There were trips to the national art museum and the theatre.

When I returned a year later, at the end of 2005, everything had changed. Suicide bombings were a daily occurrence. Death squads, often made up of members of the security forces, roamed the streets, and kidnappings had become common. It was no longer safe to go to restaurants or the theatre, and outings to the Hunting Club had stopped too, after it emerged that abductors were watching the entrances for potential victims.

My visits to the Hayalis had to be carefully planned to avoid anyone seeing me. Groups of men in dark glasses cruised around in Audis and BMWs; they were insurgents, I was told, looking for US or Iraqi security convoys to attack. Shias in Jamiya were beginning to feel unsafe, and the middle-class exodus from Iraq was well under way.

The Hayalis, like many of their friends, had by now made the decision to emigrate. “We don’t want to leave. It’s our country,” said Mohammed. “But what is left now? The place is destroyed. This is what liberation has done to us.” The family’s income had dropped by half, because the Baghdad International School, where Nadia worked, closed as funds dried up and pupils fled the country.

Mohammed now kept a gun in the house, an old Glock. “It is the sort of thing one has to have nowadays,” he said sheepishly. “But I don’t even know how to use it. It’s things like this that make me want to leave even more.” The last time I saw him was when they were waiting for visas to Dubai, which came through after I left. “We are just surviving day by day,” said Nadia. “Terrible things are taking place all around us. Unless we get out now, something bad will happen.”

I learned what happened next in a phone call from Nadia in April this year. Her voice was flat, emotionless. The family had been kidnapped by an armed gang, she said. She and the two children, Dahlia, eight, and Abdullah, 10, had eventually been freed, but Mohammed had been kept captive, despite the payment of a ransom. It was not until this summer, when I saw Nadia and the children in Amman, the capital of Jordan, that the final tragedy came out.

“Do you remember how it was, even a few years ago?” asked Nadia. The confident, articulate woman I remembered had gone, and the trauma of recent months was written on her pale, drawn face. “We thought things couldn’t get worse, violence will ease off, things will get better. How wrong we were.”

In the final days before their departure, she said, they were unloading the shopping from their Jeep Cherokee when half a dozen men came into their driveway, carrying Kalashnikov rifles and pistols. “They said they wanted me. Somebody had told them that I was a Christian, that I was working for the Americans at the airport. Even to this day I do not know who said this about me, or why. Mohammed insisted that he go too. The children were clinging on to us, and of course we could not leave them behind.

“We were blindfolded. They put Mohammed in one car and I was with the children in the other. There was one man who kept questioning me about my religion. They said Christians were targets because of what was going on in Iraq, but also because of what was happening to Muslims in Europe, like the controversy over the hijab in France. I told them I was not a Christian, I didn’t work at the airport, that I was a teacher. They were a Sunni gang who said they were followers of al-Qa’ida.

“At one point Dahlia started screaming, and one of the men stuck his gun against her face and said he would shoot her unless she kept quiet. I covered her with my body, that is all I could do.”

The family were taken to Habaniyah, an hour’s drive away, where Mohammed was put in a room by himself. “There were about six or seven in the gang. One of them was young, only about 15. He was very polite, he called me khala – Auntie. I remember thinking, ‘How did this young boy end up with these killers?’

“Dahlia could not speak, she could not even sit up, she just lay shivering. I could not think of anything else but her and Abdullah. They questioned me for five hours. Then they took Abdullah into another room and asked him questions as well. They gave us dinner, chicken and some rice, but I could not eat anything, I was feeling sick. Dahlia kept waking up, she was having nightmares.”

The next morning the abductors said they were going to search the family’s home. They were looking, they said, for money, the family’s identification documents and their computers. Sitting in their darkened, airless captivity, the family were not to know that the computers would seal Mohammed’s fate. He had been working for a fund-raising agency for small businesses in Baghdad, and this had brought him into contact with US and Iraqi government organisations, classing him as a collaborator in the eyes of his captors.

“They looked through Mohammed’s laptop. Then they began to question him in another room. I could hear raised voices. A little later I managed to see him. He whispered to me that I must deny all knowledge of his work. I said, ‘But you have not done anything wrong.’ He insisted that I must not argue with the gang, so when I was questioned, I simply told them I did not know anything about his work. They kept on saying I was lying, but I just stuck to my story. Then they questioned Abdullah about it, and he genuinely knew nothing.

“A little while later they began beating Mohammed, whipping him with their belts. I could hear the blows. The only thing I could do was try to distract the children from the noise. Then it fell silent. I was afraid that they had killed him. I said I wanted to go to the toilet, and saw him lying on the floor, covered by a blanket. He was hurt, but not dead.

“I was begging the men not to kill Mohammed, and let him go. I told them that our religion asks us to forgive people. They said they would try to make sure he was not killed, but their bosses would make the decision.”

The next day Nadia and the children were told that they would be released. Mohammed would be kept behind for further investigation. The gang needed Nadia on the outside to get the ransom money they were going to demand.

“That last meeting with Mohammed was just so terrible. He was telling me he did not think he would get out alive, he was saying that he would not see us ever again. He was crying, he asked me to look after Dahlia and Abdullah, tell them how much he loved them. I said to him, ‘I will refuse to leave, I’ll stay with you.’ But he said I must go for the sake of the children. That was the last time I saw him.”

Nadia and the children were dropped off near their home. She was told that they must not leave the house, and to await messages about what to do next. In the end a ransom of $10,000 was delivered by Nadia after she had gathered the money with the help of relations and friends, but Mohammed was almost certainly already dead.

“I stayed at the house waiting for news,” she told me. “I could see men from the gang out in the street. I had one phone call from them, asking me why I wasn’t sending the children to school. I said it was too dangerous, there were a lot of kidnappings. The man said it would be safe, they would look after Dahlia and Abdullah. I really did not have an answer to that.”

Finally Nadia and the children fled to her parents’ home, in a safer part of the city. There they learned that two members of the family had gone to the Baghdad morgue, having heard that Mohammed’s body might be there. But when they arrived, they were told that the body had already been buried. They were shown a photograph of a man; one of the relatives thought it was Mohammed, while the other was unsure.

“I never went back to our home,” said Nadia. Instead she took the children to Dubai, then Amman, where they live in a tiny flat and she has found an office job. “I keep on thinking maybe it was not Mohammed in that photo at the morgue. Perhaps the kidnappers are still holding him. But I know this is probably a false hope.

“I just cannot understand why Mohammed is not here with us. We have known each other all our lives. Ours isn’t an arranged marriage – we met at high school. I know many people have suffered in Iraq. But when you have spent your life with someone, someone you love, it is hard, very hard.”

The greatest tragedy is that the story of the Hayalis is far from unique. No police report was ever made on Mohammed’s kidnapping and probable murder, so it is not included in the figures purporting to show that the “surge” is working. The same is true of vast numbers of deaths, because going to the police, infiltrated and dominated by militias in many districts of Baghdad, is considered futile or downright dangerous. For Nadia and others like her, George Bush’s last throw of the dice is irrelevant.

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.

Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil: Lambasts Bush on Economy By Graham Paterson

Dandelion Salad

By Graham Paterson
ICH
09/16/07 “The Times


AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East

Britain and America have always insisted the war had nothing to do with oil. Bush said the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddam’s support for terrorism.

Fed veteran Alan Greenspan lambasts George W Bush on economy

By Graham Paterson

09/16/07 “The Times” — – THE highly respected former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, launches a harshly critical attack on President George W Bush’s economic competence in his memoir published tomorrow.

While his declaration that America’s prime motive for the Iraq war was oil will set off one political storm, his onslaught against Republican fiscal mismanagement will cause another, just as the economy becomes a big issue in the primary election campaign.

Greenspan’s 531-page book will do little to restore faith in the Bush administration’s claims of economic proficiency at a time when the markets are deeply unsettled. He has harsh words for Bush, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, and the Republicans over their big spending and lack of financial discipline. They are contrasted with former president Bill Clinton, whom Greenspan clearly admires.

He writes that Bush’s failure to curb spending was “a major mistake” and that Republican congressmen were “feeding at the trough”. “The Republicans in Congress lost their way,” he says. “They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose [the 2006 congressional election].”

He sums up his deep disappointment with Bush. “My biggest frustration remained the president’s unwillingness to wield his veto against out-of-control spending,” Greenspan writes. “Not exercising the veto power became a hallmark of the Bush presidency . . . To my mind, Bush’s collaborate-don’t-confront approach was a major mistake.”

In contrast Greenspan, an adviser to Gordon Brown who describes his own politics as “lifelong libertarian Republican”, called Clinton’s 1993 economic plan “an act of political courage”.

When Bush and Cheney won the 2000 election, Greenspan writes, “I thought we had a golden opportunity to advance the ideals of effective, fiscally conservative government and free markets . . . I was soon to see my old friends veer off in unexpected directions.”

He rejects the Republican mantra that “deficits don’t matter” and says that in the Bush-Cheney White House “little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences”.

Greenspan, 81, who retired last year after serving six presidents either as chairman of the Fed or as an economic adviser, makes no secret of his admiration for Clinton but believes he was undermined by the scandal of his relationship with the intern Monica Lewinsky.

“President Clinton’s old-fashioned attitude towards debt might have had a more lasting effect on the nation’s priorities. Instead, his influence was diluted by the uproar about Monica Lewinsky.”

When the news first broke, Greenspan discloses, “I was incredulous. ‘There is no way these stories could be correct,’ I told my friends. ‘No way’.”

Later, when the affair was confirmed, Greenspan says, “I wondered how the president could take such a risk. It seemed so alien to the Bill Clinton I knew, and made me feel disappointed and sad.”

He has sharp views on other presidents he has known, judging that there is something abnormal about anyone willing to undergo what it takes to get the job. Gerald Ford, he writes, “was as close to normal as you get in a president, but he was never elected”.

The Watergate tapes, he says, show Richard Nixon as “an extremely smart man who is sadly paranoid, misanthropic and cynical”. He recalls telling a friend who had accused Nixon of anti-semitism that “he wasn’t exclusively anti-semitic. He was anti-semitic, anti-Italian, anti-Greek, anti-Slovak. I don’t know anybody he was pro”.

Ronald Reagan’s ability to joke and tell folksy anecdotes in support of a particular policy represented an “odd form of intelligence”.

The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World is likely to be pored over in Wall Street and the City for clues to Greenspan’s still hugely influential views on the economy.

He forecasts that inflation will be harder to contain in future and predicts that far higher interest rates will be needed to maintain price stability. At some point, he argues, the movement of people from farms to factories in countries such as China will slow, leading inevitably to higher wages and prices.

Economists have been critical of Greenspan’s 2003 decision to cut interest rates which, they argue, helped create the housing bubble, the collapse of which provoked this summer’s banking crisis.

Greenspan defends the policy. “We wanted to shut down the possibility of corrosive deflation,” he writes. “We were willing to chance that by cutting rates we might foster a bubble, an inflationary boom of some sort, which we would subsequently have to address . . . It was a decision done right.”

In the book, which has an initial print run of 1m copies, Greenspan includes details of his private life, including his relationship with the television journalist Andrea Mitchell, 60.

After their first date in 1985 he invited her back to his flat to read an economics paper he had written. They have been together ever since. “I’m not threatened by a powerful woman; in fact, I’m now married to one,” Greenspan says.

He started writing the memoir, for which he received a reported advance of £4m, on the day he retired from the Fed in January, 2006. Most of it was composed in the bath, a practice he began after he received a back injury in the 1960s.

© Copyright 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd.

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.

see:

Greenspan on 60 Minutes: It was all Bush’s fault By Mike Whitney

September 11: Relevant Questions by Ramzy Baroud

Dandelion Salad

Written by Ramzy Baroud
Atlantic Free Press
Sunday, 16 September 2007

Osama bin Laden has once again managed to occupy the stage and to insist on his relevance to the story of September 11, 2001. In his most recent video message, released by Reuters a few days before the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, bin Laden voiced some typically absurd statements, calling on Americans to embrace Islam and so forth.

What is really worth noting in bin Laden’s message, however, is not the message itself, but the underlying factors that can be deduced from it. First, bin Laden wished to convey that he is alive and well and thus the US military efforts have failed miserably.

Second, his reappearance – a first since October 2004 – will be analyzed endlessly by hundreds of “experts” who will inundate widespread audiences with every possible interpretation – the fact that he looked healthy, that he dyed his beard, that he dressed in Arab attire as opposed to a military fatigue and a Kalashnikov by his side, that he read from a paper and so on.

Conspiracy theorists are already up in arms, some questioning whether the character in the video is bin Laden at all, and others wondering why the tape was promoted by a US terrorist watch group – SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) Intelligence Group – even before its release by Reuters, and why it didn’t make it directly to the various extremist websites first, as is usually the case.

The news and the Internet are already rife with stories that are connected with bin Laden’s re-emergence. A prominent Muslim scholar told Agence France-Press that the dyed beard is a “sign of war” according to the Salafi Islamic school to which bin Laden belongs. Go figure.

Others, who wish to highlight the fact that US security efforts have managed to prevent further attacks on US soil, would rather emphasize factors such as bin Laden not having made any direct threats (a supposed sign of weakness).

Bin Laden has indeed succeeded in diverting attention from the legacy and meaning of September 11 by reducing it to a mere fight between a disgruntled man – whose whereabouts since the Tora Bora Mountains battle in Afghanistan remains uncertain – and a president who dragged his country into a costly, unjustified and unpopular war.

The reality, however, is starkly different from this caricature reductionism, which the experts on “Islamic terrorism” fail to explain. For those who have shaped their careers on deciphering and decoding bin Laden, worrying about the bigger picture would hardly be self-serving.

But indeed there is a bigger picture, one that bin Laden’s message, and the touting of the importance of that message, are unfortunately undermining. While there are lessons that must be gleaned from six years of tragic war, terror and wanton killing and destruction, these lessons hardly include the need for a wholesale conversion of Americans to Islam (one need not pose as an Islamic scholar to claim that such a call is un-Islamic).

For bin Laden somehow to represent existing opposition to President George W Bush’s policy would indeed be very unfortunate and would actually detract from these important lessons.

First, although they repeatedly voice grievances similar to those held by millions of Muslims (and others) around the world, bin Laden and al-Qaeda do not speak for or represent mainstream Muslims. Mainstream Islam has historically been grounded on tolerance and moderation, qualities that bin Laden and his fanatics hardly represent.

Second, extremism in the Muslim world may be on the rise, but this doesn’t pertain to bin Laden and his scarce messages. The obvious fact is that extremism (Muslim or any other) is intrinsically related to areas of conflict and never happens in a vacuum or under stable socioeconomic realities.

A study of suicide bombings and foreign occupations, oppression and radical interpretation of religious (or any ideological) texts, massacres, wanton killings and calls for revenge will show that each of these factors is greatly related to the other.

Third, the war on Iraq was a pre-calculated move that dates to 2002, when US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz and his neo-conservative ilk began pushing for forceful and hostile foreign policy. September 11 merely provided the opportunity to justify such a war, even though those terrorists had nothing to do with Iraq.

Fourth, the combination of fear, public panic and war continue to undermine US democracy. Under the guise of an ill-defined “war on terror”, Americans have paid an irreversible price – more Americans have died in Iraq than did in the September 11 attacks; the numbers of Americans wounded in Iraq top 20,000; Americans are spied on; people with integrity are losing their jobs for taking a moral stance and opposing the Bush administration; respected intellectuals are questioned at airports and community groups of conscientious citizens are monitored as security threats.

Fifth, it is America’s war on Iraq, underreported killing fields in Afghanistan and blind support and financing of Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine that largely fuel terrorism and extremism and which are costing the US its so-called battle for “hearts and minds”.

The obvious truth is that such a battle can never be won when a million Iraqis are killed and 4 million are made homeless in their own country. No “hearts and minds” can be captured when Palestinians are killed in Israel’s “routine” daily missions in Gaza and the West Bank, or when poor Afghan peasants are blown to bits in random “searches” for bin Laden.

Indeed, it is in the Bush administration’s interest for bin Laden to disseminate his messages at a time when some important and overdue questions ought to be asked. It isn’t bin Laden and his dyed beard that should be flashing on our screens on this tragic day, but the disgraced faces of those who exploited the tragedy of a stricken nation to inflict tragedies on others.

September 11 should be a day on which we remember those who died in New York, near Washington and in Pennsylvania, and also in Kabul, Baghdad and Gaza, so that we can work together at bringing all the culprits to account.

Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in numerous newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London). Read more about Baroud at his website ramzybaroud.net.

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.

Big Brother is watching us all by Humphrey Hawksley

Dandelion Salad

by Humphrey Hawksley
Global Research, September 16, 2007
BBC News

The US and UK governments are developing increasingly sophisticated gadgets to keep individuals under their surveillance. When it comes to technology, the US is determined to stay ahead of the game.

“Five nine, five ten,” said the research student, pushing down a laptop button to seal the measurement. “That’s your height.”

“Spot on,” I said.

“OK, we’re freezing you now,” interjected another student, studying his computer screen. “So we have height and tracking and your gait DNA”.

“Gait DNA?” I interrupted, raising my head, so inadvertently my full face was caught on a video camera.

“Have we got that?” asked their teacher Professor Rama Challapa. “We rely on just 30 frames – about one second – to get a picture we can work with,” he explained.

Tracking individuals

I was at Maryland University just outside Washington DC, where Professor Challapa and his team are inventing the next generation of citizen surveillance.

They had pushed back furniture in the conference room for me to walk back and forth and set up cameras to feed my individual data back to their laptops.

Gait DNA, for example, is creating an individual code for the way I walk. Their goal is to invent a system whereby a facial image can be matched to your gait, your height, your weight and other elements, so a computer will be able to identify instantly who you are.

“As you walk through a crowd, we’ll be able to track you,” said Professor Challapa. “These are all things that don’t need the cooperation of the individual.”

Since 9/11, some of the best scientific minds in the defence industry have switched their concentration from tracking nuclear missiles to tracking individuals such as suicide bombers.

Surveillance society

My next stop was a Pentagon agency whose headquarters is a drab suburban building in Virginia. The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) had one specific mission – to ensure that when it comes to technology America is always ahead of the game.

Its track record is impressive. Back in the 70s, while we were working with typewriters and carbon paper, Darpa was developing the internet. In the 90s, while we pored over maps, Darpa invented satellite navigation that many of us now have in our cars.

“We ask the top people what keeps them awake at night,” said its enthusiastic and forthright director Dr Tony Tether, “what problems they see long after they have left their posts.”

“And what are they?” I asked.

He paused, hand on chin. “I’d prefer not to say. It’s classified.”

“All right then, can you say what you’re actually working on now.”

“Oh, language,” he answered enthusiastically, clasping his fingers together. “Unless we’re going to train every American citizen and soldier in 16 different languages we have to develop a technology that allows them to understand – whatever country they are in – what’s going on around them.

“I hope in the future we’ll be able to have conversations, if say you’re speaking in French and I’m speaking in English, and it will be natural.”

“And the computer will do the translation?”

Opinion polls, both in the US and Britain, say that about 75% of us want more, not less, surveillance

“Yep. All by computer,” he said.

“And this idea about a total surveillance society,” I asked. “Is that science fiction?”

“No, that’s not science fiction. We’re developing an unmanned airplane – a UAV – which may be able to stay up five years with cameras on it, constantly being cued to look here and there. This is done today to a limited amount in Baghdad. But it’s the way to go.”

Smarter technology

Interestingly, we, the public, don’t seem to mind. Opinion polls, both in the US and Britain, say that about 75% of us want more, not less, surveillance. Some American cities like New York and Chicago are thinking of taking a lead from Britain where our movements are monitored round the clock by four million CCTV cameras.

So far there is no gadget that can actually see inside our houses, but even that’s about to change.

Ian Kitajima flew to Washington from his laboratories in Hawaii to show me sense-through-the-wall technology.

“Each individual has a characteristic profile,” explained Ian, holding a green rectangular box that looked like a TV remote control.

Using radio waves, you point it a wall and it tells you if anyone is on the other side. His company, Oceanit, is due to test it with the Hawaiian National Guard in Iraq next year, and it turns out that the human body gives off such sensitive radio signals, that it can even pick up breathing and heart rates.

“First, you can tell whether someone is dead or alive on the battlefield,” said Ian.

“But it will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised. And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We’ll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they’re actually thinking.”

He glanced at me quizzically, noticing my apprehension.

“Yeah, I know,” he said. “It sounds very Star Trekkish, but that’s what’s ahead.”

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Saturday, 15 September, 2007 at 1130 BST on BBC Radio 4.

Global Research Articles by Humphrey Hawksley

 


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From the March to the Cell: Washington, D.C. 9/15/07 by Guinea: The 1930’s Smut Peddler

Thanks for your courage and patriotism and that of the others who were arrested for civil disobedience. Without your civil disobedience there would have been no news coverage of this huge event. It’s shameful that our media is that blatantly dishonest in its reporting of the news. Love to you all. ~ Lo

Guinea: The 1930’s Smut Peddler

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Exclusive: The North American Union On Drugs by William Mac

William’s blog: The Mac Manifesto

This Week In Time

by William Mac
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Sept. 16, 2007

Like most people in this country I was opposed towards the very notion that there may be a North American Union. The possibility that America’s, Canada’s, and Mexico’s leaders could be conspiring in secret behind the great curtains of government caused me to squirm in my sleep and count down the hours until Democracy was destroyed and Big Brother took its place. It all seemed so horrific, so tyrannical, and so unnecessary. I thought about what would happen to the constitution, I thought about the dangers of centralized power… I thought about all of the bad and damaging things that could possibly come with a North American Union such as a one money system, the loss of America’s identity, and so on. Yet, now I just think it’s a damn good idea.

A few weeks ago an old friend of mine called me up, his name is Hugo. He was bringing over his new friend – who’s name I can’t remember. When they arrived Hugo and his friend stepped out of a beat up Toyota Corolla. I immediately noticed that Hugo was with an ex-convict due to the tear tattoo under his left eye. I asked him how long he’d been out, but he didn’t speak English very well so Hugo translated, “long time,” he said, “it back in L.A I in jail for” he concluded. Hugo and his friend are from Mexico. I went to Middle School and High School with Hugo and he lives very near my house still to this day. The reason Hugo and his friend had come over to my house early that evening was to show me their hefty sized bag of blow…which I was fine with. People do blow, and they’re perfectly respectable people, and I was going to sit down with them for an hour and partake just the same.

I offered Hugo and his friend a glass of Brandy; after all, I pride myself on being a good host. After we all sat down quietly around the dining room table, and as the crickets began to chirp in the now cooling Southern air, Hugo, his friend, and I took a car key and dipped it into the bag and breathed in the white dust in small amounts. After the piggish snorting sound resided, and everyone took a sip of their brandy, I began to bring up an issue that I always enjoy bringing up around Latinos: immigration. What better way to get to the roots of any problem in America than to talk to the people that are affected by it most?

I explained to Hugo and his ex-con friend that it was extremely hard for me, and many others, to figure out exactly what kind of stance to take on the issue of immigration. On one end of the spectrum I would like to simply say “get out” and be done with it, yet on the other end I know that such an action is no way to solve a problem. Hugo, who was born in Mexico and traveled across the border with his parents around the age of 3, and his friend who had come across the border himself in his mid teens, agreed with me that the issue was indeed a difficult one to solve. As the conversation progressed I continued to express my desire for some kind of logical solution to the problem, and Hugo translated my thoughts periodically to his friend, and again translated his friend’s thoughts back to me. “He’s good opinions,” said Hugo’s friend in broken English. “No gringos talk this much about immigration with us, and none of them try to understand nothing… they just get angry,” he paused in reflection, took a sip of Brandy, and said sincerely “but, even though I love Mexico it is still poor and no nothing there for anyone, so have to come here, I just want to be happy.”

Both of my guests expressed to me that they wanted Social Security cards. They explained the situation as though if only a Social Security card could be obtained, then their lives would be complete. But, I took the conversation along a different rout. I began asking what could be done in order make Mexico more desirable to live in. “If Mexico was a better place,” I said “then no one would want to leave so badly.” My guests began explaining to me about the drug cartels, the lack of a middle class, the corrupt presidents and police, and how they know much of the U.S Government aids in furthering these problems by making deals with the cartels.

As we all paused for a moment to inhale yet another small amount of the White Lady, take a sip of brandy, and listen for the crickets… it dawned on me; if a North American Union was to be created, perhaps this whole issue could be solved. I brought this up to break the contemplative silence of us all. I explained that perhaps if Mexicans could travel freely to America and Americans could travel just as freely to Mexico, and there was one money system… then Mexico would perhaps begin to prosper. If Mexico began to prosper, and people could travel between borders just fine… then there would be no major immigration issues, and both countries could benefit. What was I saying though? I was entirely against the North American Union, or so I thought. “Then maybe all the gringos want to come to Mexico!” laughed my new Mexican ex-con friend.

After spending an hour and a half in what has become one of the most relaxing and enlightening conversations I have ever had, I bid my guests goodbye. I sat down on my porch and lit a cigarette and began to go over the reasons as to why I was so against a North American Union. After the conversation, the whole concept of a North American Union just seemed like it would make things easier, and would solve a lot of problems. Sure, there would be dangers. The government and corporations would no doubt attempt to exert more economic and social control over us as citizens… but as always it is our job as citizens to combat such tyranny. And, hell, with a major issue like immigration out of the way, we could concentrate on preventing tyranny as a greater majority and as closer brethren. If we could handle this right, I thought to myself, then a North American Union could be very good for all of us, and could make life in this continent much more simple. Besides, I concluded, I’ve been wanting to make a trip down to Mexico for a long time, but I keep forgetting to get a passport.

Secret tales from Vienna by Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

By ERIC MARGOLIS
Toronto Sun
Sun, September 16, 2007


At the height of the Cold War, plans for an invasion had spies and soldiers on edge

VIENNA — Memories of past glories still haunt this majestic imperial capitol of the now sadly vanished Austro-Hungarian Empire.

There are also fresher memories of the post-war era when the Soviets shared control of Vienna with Britain, France and the United States. A large, freshly gilded Soviet war memorial still looms over the city.

The old, sinister days of spying, kidnapping and black marketeering were captured here by Carol Reed’s magnificent film, The Third Man, starring Orson Wells as the charming thug, Harry Lime.

My father used to produce plays with Wells, and the actor often regaled us with amusing tales about making this film in the ruins of Vienna under the baleful eyes of the KGB.

Half a century later, Wells’ presence still haunts Vienna. I half imagine seeing him in the twilight, dressed in a long, black great coat and fedora, slipping around a corner into the dusk. Vienna also has another fascinating secret.

Back in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, I was studying international law at a Swiss university.

A group of Swiss Army officers in mufti (civilian dress) were arrested by Austria for spying on its modest fortifications on its Czech border.

Many jokes about “chocolate spies” were made at the time over this seeming trivial incident. But the Swiss, as always, were deadly serious.

The Swiss officers were monitoring Austria’s eastern defenses against the Soviet Warsaw Pact because their intelligence service had uncovered frightfully alarming news.

Continued…

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Was Libya Framed for Lockerbie Bombing? By Linda S. Heard

Dandelion Salad

By Linda S. Heard
Global Research, September 15, 2007
Gulf News – 2007-09-04

On December 21 1988, a Pan Am plane mysteriously exploded over Scotland causing the death of 270 people from 21 countries. The tragedy provoked global outrage. In 1991, two Libyans were charged with the bombing.

In the event, only Abdulbaset Ali Mohammad Al Megrahi, a Libyan agent, was pronounced guilty by a panel of three judges, who based their decision on largely circumstantial evidence. Al Megrahi and the Libyan government have protested their innocence all along.

Nevertheless, after suffering punitive UN sanctions which froze overseas Libyan bank accounts and prevented the import of spare parts needed for the country’s oil industry, Tripoli reluctantly agreed to pay $2.7 billion to victims? families ($10 million per family), on condition the pay-out would not be deemed as admission of guilt.

In February, 2004, the Libyan prime minister told the BBC that his country was innocent but was forced to pay-up as a “price for peace”.

Al Megrahi is currently serving a life sentence but earlier this year the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission ruled there may have been a miscarriage of justice on the basis of lost or destroyed evidence.

Later this month, a Scottish appeals court is due to revisit the case and is expected to overturn Al Megrahi’s conviction as unsafe.

The Libyan leader’s son Saif Al Islam recently said he is confident Al Megrahi will soon be found innocent and will be allowed to return home.

On Sunday, an Observer expose written by Alex Duval Smith reported “a key piece of material evidence used by prosecutors to implicate Libya in the Lockerbie bombing has emerged as a probable fake” with allegations of “international political intrigue and shoddy investigative work” levelled at “the British government, the FBI and the Scottish police”.

The Observer story maintains Ulrich Lumpert a Swiss engineer who was “a crucial witness” has now confessed that he lied about the origins of a timer switch.

Recently, Lumpert gave a sworn declaration to a Swiss court, which read “I stole a prototype MST-13 timing device” and “gave it without permission on June 22, 1989 to a person who was officially investigating the Lockerbie affair”.

The owner of the company that manufactured the switch – forced into bankruptcy after being sued by Pan Am – says he told police early in the enquiry that the timer switch was not one his company had ever sold to Libya.

Moreover, he insists the timer switch shown to the court had been tampered with since he initially viewed it in Scotland, saying the pieces appeared to have been “carbonised” in the interim. He also says the court was so determined to prove Libya’s guilt it brushed aside his evidence.

In 2005, a former Scottish police chief signed a statement alleging the CIA had planted fragments of a timer circuit board produced at trial, evidence supporting earlier claims by a former CIA agent to the effect his agency “wrote the script” to ensure Libya was incriminated.

There are also allegations that clothing allegedly purchased by the bomber in Malta before it was wrapped around the bomb, was intact when discovered but by the time it reached the court it was in shreds.

Life sentence

The shopkeeper who sold the item made a statement to the effect Al Megrahi had never been a customer. Instead, he identified an Egyptian-born Palestinian Mohammad Abu Talb – now serving a life sentence in Sweden for a synagogue bombing.

Professor Hans Koechler, appointed by the UN to be an observer at the trial, has termed its outcome “a spectacular miscarriage of justice”. Koechler has repeatedly called for an independent enquiry, which, to date, the British government has refused to allow.

Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, insists “no court is likely to get to the truth, now that various intelligence agencies have had the opportunity to corrupt the evidence”.

Jim Swire, the father of one of the Lockerbie victims, said “Scottish justice obviously played a leading part in one of the most disgraceful miscarriages of justice in history.”

Craig Murray, a former British ambassador, who was earlier second-in-command of Britain’s Aviation and Maritime Department from 1989 to 1992, writes about a strange incident on his website.

Murray says a colleague told him “in a deeply worried way” about an intelligence report indicating Libya was not involved in the Pan Am bombing. When he asked to see it, his colleague said it was marked for named eyes only, which Murray describes as “extremely unusual”. Earlier, a CIA report that had reached a similar conclusion had been conveniently buried.

If Al Megrahi walks, as is likely, Libya will be vindicated and would presumably be able to reclaim monies paid in compensation along with its reputation.

This would also be a highly embarrassing turn of events for Britain and the US not to mention their respective intelligence agencies, and would leave the question of who bombed Pan Am Flight 103 unanswered.In a perfect world, Libya should also receive an apology from its accusers and should be allowed to sue for damages for all that it lost as a result of UN sanctions.

But in a world where political expediency often triumphs, the appeal has no foregone conclusion despite the exposure of dubious “evidence” and suspect “witnesses”.

Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at lheard@gulfnews.com Response to this article may be considered for publication.

see:

Key Lockerbie Witness Admits Perjury by Prof. Ludwig De Braeckeleer

 


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Key Lockerbie Witness Admits Perjury by Prof. Ludwig De Braeckeleer

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Ludwig De Braeckeleer
Global Research, September 15, 2007

They have eyes to see but do not see
and ears to hear but do not hear

Ezekiel 12:2

The Lockerbie Affair has taken yet another extraordinary twist. On Friday August 31st, I received from Edwin Bollier, head of the Zurich-based MeBo AG, a copy of a German original of an Affidavit.

The document is dated July 18th 2007 and signed by Ulrich Lumpert who worked as an electronic engineer at MeBo from 1978 to 1994. I have scrutinized the document carefully and concluded that I have no reason to doubt its authenticity or the truthfulness of its content.

Lumpert was a key witness (N° 550) at the Camp Zeist trial, where a three Judges panel convicted a Libyan citizen of murdering 270 persons who died in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

In his testimony, Lumpert stated that: “of the 3 pieces of hand-made prototypes MST-13 Timer PC-Boards, the third MST-13 PC-Board was broken and [he] had thrown it away.”

In his Affidavit, certified by Officer Walter Wieland, Lumpert admits having committed perjury.

“I confirm today on July 18th 2007, that I stole the third hand-manufactured MST-13 Timer PC-Board consisting of 8 layers of fibre-glass from MEBO Ltd. and gave it without permission on June 22nd 1989 to a person officially investigating in the Lockerbie case,” Lumpert wrote. (The identity of the official is known.)

“It did not escape me that the MST-13 fragment shown [at the Lockerbie trial] on the police photograph No PT/35(b) came from the non-operational MST-13 prototype PC-board that I had stolen,” Lumpert added.

“I am sorry for the consequences of my silence at that time, for the innocent Libyan Mr. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi sentenced to life imprisonment, and for the country of Libya.”

In just seven paragraphs, the Lumpert affidavit elucidates the longstanding mysteries surrounding the infamous MST-13 timer, which allegedly triggered the bomb that exploded Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie on December 21st 1988.

The discovery of the MST-13 timer fragment

In the months following the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, someone discovered a piece of a grey Slalom-brand shirt in a wooded area located about 25 miles away from the town. According to a forensics expert, the cloth contained a tiny fragment – 4 mm square – of a circuit board. The testimony of three expert witnesses allowed the prosecutors to link this circuit board, described as part of the bomb trigger, to Megrahi.

There have been different accounts concerning the discovery of the timer fragment. A police source close to the investigation reported that it had been discovered by lovers. Some have said that it was picked up by a man walking his dog. Others have claimed that it was found by a policeman “combing the ground on his hands and knees.”

At the trial, the third explanation became official. “On 13 January 1989, DC Gilchrist and DC McColm were engaged together in line searches in an area near Newcastleton. A piece of charred material was found by them which was given the police number PI/995 and which subsequently became label 168.”

The alteration of the label

The officer had initially labelled the bag ‘cloth (charred)’ but had later overwritten the word ‘cloth’ with ‘debris’.

The bag contained pieces of a shirt collar and fragments of materials said to have been extracted from it, including the tiny piece of circuit board identified as coming from an MST-13 timer made by the Swiss firm MeBo.

“The original inscription on the label, which we are satisfied, was written by DC Gilchrist, was “Cloth (charred)”. The word ‘cloth’ has been overwritten by the word ‘debris’. There was no satisfactory explanation as to why this was done.”

The judges said in their judgement that Gilchrist’s evidence had been “at worst evasive and at best confusing”.

Yet the judges went on to admit the evidence. “We are, however, satisfied that this item was indeed found in the area described, and DC McColm who corroborated DC Gilchrist on the finding of the item was not cross-examined about the detail of the finding of this item.”

It has long been rumoured that a senior former Scottish officer, who has worked at the highest level of the Lockerbie inquiry, has signed a statement in which he claims that evidence has been planted. UK media have confirmed the story. Thus, the Scottish officer has confirmed an allegation previously made by a former CIA agent. The identity of the officer remains secret and he is only known as “Golfer”.

“Golfer” has told Megrahi’s legal team that Gilchrist had told him that he had not been responsible for changing the label.

The new page 51

According to documents obtained by the Scotland on Sunday, the entry of the discovery is recorded at widely different times by UK and German investigators. Moreover, a new page 51 has been inserted in the record of evidence.

During the Lockerbie investigation, Dr Thomas Hayes and Allan Feraday were working at the DERA Forensic laboratory at Fort Halstead in Kent.

Dr Hayes was employed at the Royal Armament Research Development Establishment (RARDE). In 1995, RARDE was subsumed into the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). In 2001, part of DERA became the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

Dr Hayes testified that he collected the tiny fragment of the circuit board on May 12th 1989. He testified that the fragment was green. (Keep in mind that the board stolen from Lumpert is brown.) His colleague, Alan Feraday, confirmed his story at the Zeist trial.

The record is inserted on a loose-leaf page with the five subsequent pages re-numbered by hand. Dr Hayes could not provide a reasonable explanation for this rather strange entry, and yet the Judges concluded that: “Pagination was of no materiality, because each item that was examined had the date of examination incorporated into the notes.”

The argument of the Court is illogical as the index number Dr Hayes gave to the piece is higher than some entry he made three months later.

And there is more. In September 1989, Feraday sent a Polaroid photograph of the piece and wrote in the attached memorandum that it was “the best he could do in such short time.” So, are we supposed to believe that it takes forensic experts several months to take a Polaroid picture?

Dr Hayes could not explain this. He merely suggested that the person to ask about it would be the author of the memorandum, Mr Feraday.

This however was not done. At the young age of 43, Hayes resigned just a few months after the discovery of the timer fragment.

Based on the forensic Dr Hayes had supplied, an entire family [The Maguire seven] was sent to jail in 1976. They were acquitted in appeal in 1992. Sir john May was appointed to review Dr. Hayes forensic evidence.

“The whole scientific basis on which the prosecution in [the trial of the alleged IRA Maguire Seven] was founded was in truth so vitiated that on this basis alone, the Court of Appeal should be invited to set aside the conviction,” said Sir john May.

In the Megrahi’s case, Dr Hayes did not even perform the basic test which would have established the presence of explosive residue on the sample. During the trial, he maintained that the fragment was too small while it is factually established that his laboratory has performed such test on smaller samples.

Had he performed such test, no residue would have been found. As noted by Lumpert, the fragment shown at the Zeist trial belongs to a timer that was never connected to a relay. In other words, that timer never triggered a bomb.

Dr Alan Feraday’s reputation is hardly better. In three separated cases,where men were convicted on the basis of his forensic evidence, the initial ruling was overturned in appeal.

After one of these cases in 2005, a Lord of Justice said that Feraday should not be allowed to present himself as an expert in the field of electronics.

According to forensic scientist, Dr Michael Scott, who was interviewed in the documentary The Maltese Double Cross – Lockerbie, Feraday has no formal qualifications as a scientist.

The identification of the MeBo timer

Thomas Thurman worked for the FBI forensics laboratory in the late 80’s and most of the 90’s. Thurman has been publicly credited for identifying the fragment as part of a MST_13 timer produced by the Swiss company Mebo.

“When that identification was made, of the timer, I knew that we had it,” Thurman told ABC in 1991. “Absolute, positively euphoria. I was on cloud nine.”

Again, his record is far from pristine. The US attorney General has accused him of having altered lab reports in a way that rendered subsequent prosecutions all but impossible. He has been transferred out the FBI forensic laboratory.

“He’s very aggressive, but I think he made some mistakes that needed to be brought to the attention of FBI management,” says Frederic Whitehurst, a former FBI chemist who filed the complaints that led to the Inspector General’s report.

“We’re not necessarily going to get the truth out of what we’re doing here,” Whitehurst concluded.

The story shed some light on his formation. The report says “Williams and Thurman merit special censure for their work. It recommends that Thurman, who has a degree in political science, be reassigned outside the lab and that only scientists work in its explosives section.”

And the legal experts were just as fake as their scientific counterparts. In late 1998, Glasgow University set up the Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit [LTBU] to provide impartial advice to the world media on the legal aspects of the complex and unique trial.

Andrew Fulton, a British diplomat, was appointed as a visiting law professor to head the Unit. Fulton has no legal experience whatsoever. Prior to his appointment as head of LTBU, Fulton was MI6 station chief in Washington DC.

The modification of the MST-13 timer fragment

Forensic analysis of the circuit board fragment allowed the investigators to identify its origin. The timer, known as MST-13, is fabricated by a Swiss Company named MeBo, which stands for Meister and Bollier.

The company has indeed sold about 20 MST-13 timers to Libyan military (machine-made 9 ply green boards), as well as a few units (hand-made 8 ply brown boards) to a Research Institute in Bernau, known to act as a front to the Stasi, the former East German secret police.

The two batches are very different but, as early as 1991, Bollier told the Scottish investigators that he could not identify the timer from a photograph alone. Yet, the Libyans were indicted in November 1991, without ever allowing Bollier to see the actual fragment, on the ground that the integrity of the evidence had to be protected.

But in 1998, Bollier obtained a copy of a blown-up photograph that Thurman had shown on ABC in 1991. Bollier could tell from certain characteristics that the fragment was part of a board of the timers made for East Germany, and definitely not one of the timers delivered by him to Libya.

In September 1999, Bollier was finally allowed to see the fragment. Unlike the one shown by Thurman on ABC, this one was machine-made, as the one sold to Libya. But, from the absence of traces of solder, it was obvious that the timer had never been used to trigger a bomb.

“As far as I’m concerned, and I told this to [Scottish Prosecutor Miriam Watson], this is a manufactured fragment,” Bollier says. “A fabricated fragment, never from a complete, functional timer.”

The next day, Bollier was shown the fragment once more. You may have already guessed that it now had the soldering traces. “It was different. I’m not crazy. It was different!” says Bollier.

Finally, at the trial, Bollier was presented a fragment of a circuit board completely burnt down. Thus, it was no longer possible to identify to which country that timer had been delivered. As he requested to explain the significance of the issue, Lord Shuterland told him that his request was denied.

How did the Judges account for all the mysterious changes in the appearance of the fragment? They simply dismissed Bollier as an unreliable witness.

“We have assessed carefully the evidence of these three witnesses about the activities of MEBO, and in particular their evidence relating to the MST-13 timers which the company made. All three, and notably Mr Bollier, were shown to be unreliable witnesses. Earlier statements which they made to the police and judicial authorities were at times in conflict with each other, and with the evidence they gave in court. On some occasions, particularly in the case of Mr Bollier, their evidence was self contradictory.” (§ 45)

A scenario implausible on its face

“The evidence which we have considered up to this stage satisfies us beyond reasonable doubt that the cause of the disaster was the explosion of an improvised explosive device, […] and that the initiation of the explosion was triggered by the use of an MST-13 timer,” wrote the three Judges. (§ 15)

Lockerbie experts, such former CIA Robert Baer, have suspected that the MST-13 timer could have been given by the Stasi to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command [PFLP-GL], a terrorist group based in Syria, funded by Iran, and led by Ahmed Jibril.

The allegation deserves attention as it is well known that the two organizations had strong ties. Moreover, the archives of the Stasi reveal that agency had infiltrated the Swedish government and it is well documented that Jibril’s close collaborators were operating from Sweden. Yet, I never believed for a moment that the Lockerbie bomb had been triggered by a timer.

No terrorist would ever attempt to bomb an airliner with a timer triggered bomb, and definitely not during the winter season, let alone Christmas time, where the time tables are absolutely useless as delays are the norm rather than the exception.

Don’t take my word for it. Terrorists such Ahmed Jibril and counter-terrorists such Noel Koch have stated that much.

“Explosives linked to an air pressure gauge, which would have detonated when the plane reached a certain altitude or to a timer would have been ineffective,” Jibril said.

“I know all about the science of explosives. I am an engineer of explosives. I will argue this with any expert that the bomb went on board in London. I do not think the Libyans had anything to do with this.”

Noel Koch headed the US Defence anti-terrorism Department from 1981 to 1986. Koch ridiculed the idea that terrorist would gamble on the likelihood that an unaccompanied luggage would be successfully transferred twice, first from Malta to Frankfurt, and then from Frankfurt to London.

“I can tell you this much that I know about terrorism: it’s simple,” Koch says. “You don’t complicate life. Life’s complicated enough as it is. If you’ve got a target you want to get as close as you can to it and you don’t go through a series of permutations that provide opportunities for failure and that provide opportunities for discovery. It doesn’t work that way.”

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission

On November 13th 1991, two Libyans were indicted for the murder of 270 people who died in the Lockerbie bombing. The indictment was the outcome of a three year US-UK joint investigation.

Although Libya never acknowledged a responsibility in the matter, a decade long UN sanctions forced Colonel Gaddafi to handover the two men accused of the worst act of terrorism in the UK. On April 5th 1999, they were transferred to camp Zeist in the Netherlands where they were judged under Scottish Law.

On January 31st 2001, a panel of three Scottish Judges acquitted one of them. They convicted the other for murder and sentenced him to life. Megrahi is serving his sentence in a prison near Glasgow.

Megrahi’s appeal was rejected on March 14th 2002. The European Court Of Human Rights declared his application inadmissible in July 2003.

In September 2003, he applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission [SCCRC] for a legal review of his conviction. His request was based on the legal test contained in section 106 (3) (b) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

The provision states that an appeal may be made against “any alleged miscarriage of justice, which may include such a miscarriage based on … the jury’s having returned a verdict which no reasonable jury, properly directed, could have returned.”

On June 28th 2007, the SCCRC has decided to grant Megrahi a second appeal and to refer his case to the High Court. An impressive 800 pages long document, stating the reasons for the decision, has been sent to the High Court, the applicant, his solicitor, and Crown Office. Although the document is not available to the public, the Commission has decided “to provide a fuller news release than normal.”

Is it too much to ask why the “fuller news release than normal” lists only four of the six grounds that justify the Commission conclusion that a miscarriage of justice might have occur?

As recently pointed out by Dr. Hans Koechler, who was an international observer appointed by the United Nations at the Lockerbie trial, we may also wonder “why a supposedly independent judicial review body [the SCCRC] would try to exonerate “preventively” officials in a case which is being returned to the High Court for a second appeal because of suspicions of a miscarriage of justice.”

Indeed, the SCCRC’s statement: “The Commission undertook extensive enquiries in this area but found nothing to support that allegation or to undermine the trial court’s conclusions in respect of the fragment [of the MST-13 MeBo timer]” is rather difficult to justify.

Towards a criminal investigation ?

Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter in the tragedy, describes the ruling of Megrahi as the most disgraceful miscarriages of justice in history, blaming both the Scottish legal system and US intelligence.

“The Americans played their role in the investigation and influenced the prosecution,” Swire told the Scotsman Newspaper.

Top level UK diplomats tend to agree with him, such Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya.

“No court is likely get to the truth, now that various intelligence agencies have had the opportunity to corrupt the evidence,” Miles told the BBC.

The spectacular decision of the SCCRC is certain to give a second life to the dozen of alternative theories of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Nearly two decades later, the case is back to square one.

Back to square one

Let us give Lord Sutherland, Lord Coulsfield and Lord Maclean some credit. After hearing 230 witnesses and studying 621 exhibits during 84 days of evidence, spread over eight months, the three judges of the Lockerbie trial almost got correctly the date of the worst act of terror in the UK.

In the first line of the first paragraph of the most expensive verdict in history (₤80m)

http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/library/lockerbie/index.asp, they wrote: “At 1903 hours on 22 December 1988 Pan Am flight 103 fell out of the sky.” As a matter of fact, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded on December 21st 1988.

Michael Scharf is an international law expert at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Scharf joined the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence in April 1989. He was also responsible for drawing up the UN Security Council resolutions that imposed sanctions on Libya in 1992.

“It was a trial where everybody agreed ahead of time that they were just going to focus on these two guys, and they were the fall guys,” Sharf wrote.

“The CIA and the FBI kept the State Department in the dark. It worked for them for us to be fully committed to the theory that Libya was responsible. I helped the counter-terrorism bureau draft documents that described why we thought Libya was responsible, but these were not based on seeing a lot of evidence, but rather on representations from the CIA and FBI and the Department of Justice about what the case would prove and did prove.”

“It was largely based on this inside guy [Libyan defector Abdul Majid Giaka]. It wasn’t until the trial that I learned this guy was a nut-job and that the CIA had absolutely no confidence in him and that they knew he was a liar.”

The magic luggage

According to the Lockerbie verdict, the bomb was hidden in a Toshiba Radio, wrapped in clothes, located in a luggage that was mysteriously boarded in Malta.

The Court has examined this allegation in depth and the matter occupies 24 paragraphs of the final verdict (§ 16 to § 34). After reviewing all the evidence and testimonies, the three judges came to the following conclusions.

“Luqa airport had a relatively elaborate security system. All items of baggage checked in were entered into the airport computer as well as being noted on the passenger’s ticket. After the baggage had passed the sniffer check, it was placed on a trolley in the baggage area to wait until the flight was ready for loading.

“When the flight was ready, the baggage was taken out and loaded, and the head loader was required to count the items placed on board. The ramp dispatcher, the airport official on the tarmac responsible for the departure of the flight, was in touch by radiotelephone with the load control office. The load control had access to the computer and after the flight was closed would notify the ramp dispatcher of the number of items checked in. The ramp dispatcher would also be told by the head loader how many items had been loaded and if there was a discrepancy would take steps to resolve it.

“In addition to the baggage reconciliation procedure, there was a triple count of the number of passengers boarding a departing flight, that is there was a count of the boarding cards, a count by immigration officers of the number of immigration cards handed in, and a head count by the crew.

“The records relating to KM180 on 21 December 1988 show no discrepancy in respect of baggage. The flight log (production 930) shows that fifty-five items of baggage were loaded, corresponding to fifty-five on the load plan.

“On the face of them, these arrangements seem to make it extremely difficult for an unaccompanied and unidentified bag to be shipped on a flight out of Luqa.

“If therefore the unaccompanied bag was launched from Luqa, the method by which that was done is not established, and the Crown accepted that they could not point to any specific route by which the primary suitcase could have been loaded.

“The absence of any explanation of the method by which the primary suitcase might have been placed on board KM180 is a major difficulty for the Crown case.

A internal 1989 FBI memo indicates that there is no indication that an unaccompanied luggage was transferred from Air Malta to Pan Am. Law authorities from Malta and Germany came to the same conclusion.

And yet, without any explanation, the judges wrote in the conclusion of the verdict that: “the absence of an explanation as to how the suitcase was taken into the system at Luqa is a major difficulty for the Crown case but after taking full account of that difficulty, we remain of the view that the primary suitcase began its journey at Luqa.” (§ 82)

The Maltese storekeeper

According to the verdict, Megrahi bought the clothes, in which the bomb was wrapped, in Sliema, a small town of Malta, including the “cloth” in which the fragment was “discovered” by Dr Hayes. At first sight, the “cloth” appears to be part of a slalom shirt, indeed sold in a little shop, Mary’s House, located on the island of the Mediterranean Sea.

However, upon closer examination, the “cloth” raises a series of issues. Firstly, the colour of the label is incorrect. A blue slalom shirt label should have blue writing, not brown.

Secondly, the breast pocket size corresponds to a child shirt, not a 16 ½ sized allegedly bought by Megrahi, for the pocket would have been 2 cm wider.

Thirdly, German records show the shirt with most of the breast pocket intact while the evidence shown at Zeist has a deep triangular tear extending inside the pocket.

Fourthly, last but certainly not least, the storekeeper initially told the investigators he never sold such shirts to whoever visited him a few weeks before the Lockerbie tragedy.

Tony Gauci’s (the storekeeper) testimony was pivotal in the case against Megrahi. Gauci gave a series of 19 statements to the police which are fully inconsistent. Yet, the Judges found him trustworthy. Allow me to disagree.

On January 30th 1990, Gauci stated: “That time when the man came, I am sure I did not sell him a shirt.” Then, on September 10th 1990, he told the investigators that: “I now remember that the man who bought the clothing also bought a ‘Slalom’ shirt.” And to make things worse, two of his testimonies have disappeared.

When were the clothes bought?

According to the verdict, Megrahi bought the clothes on December 7th 1989. Gauci remembered that his brother had gone home earlier to watch an evening football game (Rome vs. Dresden), that the man came just before closing time (7pm), that it was raining (the man bought an umbrella) and that the Christmas lights were on.

The game allows for only two dates: November 23 or December 7. The issue is critical for there is no indication that Megrahi was in Malta on November 23rd but is known to have been on the island on December 7th.

Malta airport chief meteorologist testified that it was raining on November 23rd but not on December 7th. Yet the judges determined the date as December 7th. This rather absurd conclusion from the judges raises two other issues.

The game Rome-Dresden on December 7th was played at 1:00 pm, not in the evening. What is more, Gauci had previously testified that the Christmas lights were not up, meaning that the date had to be November 7th.

On September 19th 1989, Gauci stated that “the [Christmas] decorations were not up when the man bought the clothing.” Then, at the Lockerbie trial, Gauci told the Judges that the decoration lights were on. “Yes, they were … up.”

Who was the mysterious buyer?

“We are nevertheless satisfied that his identification, so far as it went, of the first accused as the purchaser was reliable and should be treated as a highly important element in this case,” wrote the judges.

In fact, Gauci never identified Megrahi. He merely stated that Megrahi resembles the man to whom he had sold the clothes, but only if he were much older and two inches taller. Gauci had however identified another man: Abu Talb.

And in case you wonder, Talb was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command [PFLP-GL], the terrorist group led by Ahmed Jibril.

In late October 1988, the senior bomb maker of the PFLP-GC, Marwan Khreesat, was arrested in Frankfurt in company of Hafez Dalkamoni, the leader of the organization German cell.

Dalkamoni had met Talb in Cyprus and Malta the weeks before. In their car, police found a bomb hidden in a Toshiba radio. Khreesat told the police that he had manufactured five similar IED’s.

Each device Khreesat had built was triggered by a gauge pressure that activates a timer – range from 0 to 45 minutes – when the plane reaches a cruising altitude of 11,000 meters. The timers of all recovered bombs were set on 30 minutes. It takes about 7 minutes for a 747 to reach cruising altitude. Pan Am 103 exploded 38 minutes after take-off from London.

German police eventually recovered four of the IED’s Khreesat had built. No one seems to know what ever occurred to the fifth one which was never recovered. When police raided Talb apartment in Sweden, they found his appointment notebook. Talb had circled one date: December 21st.

Contrary to Jibril’s statement, and surely he must know better, a bomb triggered by a gauge pressure set at 11,000 meters would not have detonated during the Frankfurt to London flight as the airliner does not reach cruising altitude on such short flight.

Then again, such device would not have detonated at all if it had been located in the luggage area as the hold is at the pressure of the passengers’ zone and never drops below the pressure equivalent to 2,400 meters.

This is why, when the judges were presented with the undisputable and undisputed evidence that a proper simulation of the explosion – taking proper account of the Mach stem effect – would locate the explosion outside the luggage hold, they simply decided to dismiss the existence of a scientifically well established fact.

“We do not consider it necessary to go into any detail about Mach stem formation,” the judges wrote.

Had the judges deemed “necessary to go into the details regarding Mach stem formation”, they would have been forced to acknowledge that the position of the bomb was fully incompatible with the indictment. That a magic unaccompanied luggage went mysteriously three times through airport security was “plausible”. That it jumped on its own out of the luggage hold at London airport was a little too much to believe.

In truth, a proper simulation of the explosion locates the bomb just a few inches away from the skin of the plane, a position fully consistent with the very specific damages left by the explosion.

The truth was inconvenient. The three judges had to dismiss it in order to justify a verdict that had been decided more than a decade before the first day of the Zeist trial.

Shame on those who committed this horrific act of terror. Shame on those who have ordered the cover-up. Shame on those who provided false testimony, and those who suppressed and fabricated the evidence needed to frame Libya. And shame on the media for their accomplice silence.

And to those who seek the truth, I advise them to follow the drug trail on the road to Damascus.

Global Research Articles by Ludwig De Braeckeleer


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British academics warn US is preparing “shock and awe” attack on Iran by Peter Symonds

Dandelion Salad

by Peter Symonds
Global Research, September 15, 2007
wsws.org

An 80-page study written by two British security analysts and released on August 28 makes a chilling estimation of the overwhelming force that the US would use in the event of any attack on Iran. “The US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days, if not hours, of President George W. Bush giving the order,” the paper declared.

The authors, Dr Dan Plesch and Martin Butcher, concluded on the basis of publicly available sources that “US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets within Iran in a few hours. US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.”

Both Plesch and Butcher have written extensively on security and international relations. Plesch is director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies. The study, entitled “Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East” made no estimate of Iran’s nuclear programs—the nominal pretext for a US war—and reached no definitive conclusion as to the likelihood of an attack. But it did outline the Pentagon’s extensive preparations and examined probable US military strategies.

Plesch and Butcher assessed that any US military attack would not be limited to Iran’s nuclear facilities, but would aim to eliminate its ability to strike back by destroying its military capacities and economic infrastructure. “Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focussed on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact,” they stated.

The paper examined the Pentagon’s Global Strike plans developed under the Bush administration to enable the US military to strike anywhere around the world at short notice. Since 2001 in particular, the role of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), previously a nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union, has been modified to “enable the seamless delivery of tailored effects, anywhere and anytime, across the globe…. The US has strategic forces prepared to launch massive strikes on Iran within hours of the order being given.”

Plesch and Butcher analysed the available types of US bombers and conventional bombs and calculated that 100 strategic bombers, each with 100 “smart” bombs, would be enough to hit 10,000 individual targets. “This strike power alone is sufficient to destroy all major Iranian political, military, economic and transport capabilities,” the authors conclude. “Such a strike would take ‘shock and awe’ to a new level and leave Iran with few if any conventional military capabilities to block the straits of Hormuz or provide conventional military support to insurgents in Iraq.”

The study all but ruled out the US use of nuclear weapons, declaring that “the human, political and environmental effects would be devastating, while their military value is limited.” But the authors did acknowledge “clear evidence that nuclear weapons use [against Iran] is being given serious political consideration” in the US. And while stating that a US or British nuclear attack on Iran was “most unlikely,” Plesch and Butcher did not think it impossible. They calculated that nearly three million “prompt deaths” would occur in the event that 300 kilotonne nuclear bombs were dropped on just 11 suspected Iranian WMD sites.

A substantial portion of the paper dealt with the various US options, using military forces already in place within the region, to counter Iranian responses to a US attack. “Iran has a weak airforce and anti-aircraft capability, almost all of it is 20-30 years old and it lacks modern integrated communications. Not only will these forces be rapidly destroyed by US air power, but Iranian ground and air forces will have to fight without protection from air attack,” the authors stated.

The paper noted the existence of standing US war plans to counter any blockade of the strategic straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, and to seize the western Iranian province of Khurzestan, where the bulk of the country’s oil production occurs. It detailed the ability of the US military in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan to devastate forces and bases inside Iran hundreds of kilometres from the border without a ground invasion. It cited a variety of sources pointing to covert US operations already taking place inside Iran to identify targets and foment armed rebellion among ethnic and religious minorities.

Considering the question “how likely is an attack?” the authors pointed out: “The [US] administration has steadfastly refused to remove the military option from the table, and has continued to prepare to go to war. Congress rejected a proposal to require the president to consult it before going to war with Iran.” The study cited a number of menacing comments by senior Bush officials this year, as well as belligerent anti-Iranian statements by Republican and Democrat presidential candidates. It also noted Congressional moves for tougher measures against Tehran.

The authors rebutted many of the arguments commonly advanced as reasons why the US would not launch an attack on Iran. They assessed the likelihood of a compromise over Iran’s nuclear programs as “extremely remote” as “the United States refuses to offer any form of security guarantee to Iran, and indeed is actively engaged in attempts to undermine Iranian authorities.” As to the European Union’s attempts to broker a deal, “privately, and not so privately, senior US officials … deride the EU’s efforts as futile.”

Responding to those who point out the US military is bogged down in Iraq and lacks troops, the study stated: “Army overstretch from long-term deployments in Iraq is a significant problem, but providing forces for a short duration war (following the pattern of the initial invasion of Iraq) would be much less of a problem. Iran has little ability for conventional military attack outside its own territory, allowing the US considerable scope to sit back and await internal developments after the type of attacks described in this paper.”

The paper also considers Iran’s capacity to retaliate in other ways, either directly against US allies like Israel and US bases or indirectly by encouraging unrest among Iraqi Shiites. The authors regarded such arguments as strengthening the military case for an overwhelming, rather than limited, US attack. They pointed out that Iran retained some options for counter-missile strikes and had closely observed US military operations around its borders. “At the same time, the US armed forces have been preparing for this contingency for many years and it would be hard to be the military commander telling President Bush that Iran is just not ‘doable.’”

Plesch and Butcher did not make any predictions about a war, but they did note that the lack of publicity surrounding US military preparations was no guarantee against a US attack. “US military, if not political, readiness for a war using minimum ground forces indicates that the current seeming inaction surrounding Iran is misleading. The United States retains the ability—despite difficulties in Iraq—to undertake major military operations against Iran. Whether the political will exists to follow such a course of action is known only to a few senior figures in the Bush administration.”

Plesch and Butcher made no attempt to analyse the underlying economic and strategic reasons for a US attack on Iran or to consider in detail the potential for it triggering a broader war. Their study in no way challenged the escalating US propaganda campaign concerning Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programs. The real motivation for a reckless, new US war on Iran lies in the Bush administration’s attempts to establish unfettered American dominance in the resource-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia. Any outcome that allows America’s European and Asian rivals to strengthen their influence in these key regions is simply intolerable to the US ruling elite.

The rather limited scope of the study only makes its conclusion all the more disturbing: the military preparations that would allow the Bush administration to reduce much of Iran to rubble at short notice have already been completed.

Peter Symonds is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Peter Symonds

 


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Fred Mason + Tina Richards + Gloria La Riva + Peta Lindsay; Sept 15 Rally in Wash, DC (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Fred Mason: Working People Want This War to End!

liamh2

On Saturday, September 15, 2007, the ANSWER Coalition, a progressive antiwar group, sponsored a Mass March and Die-In in Washington, D.C. Its purpose was to raise the consciousness of enough people in this country to stop the illegal and immoral Iraq War and to prevent the Bush-Cheney Gang from launching a war against Iran. The rally took place in Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, where a number of prominent speakers were heard.

One of the speakers was Fred Mason. He is the President of the Maryland and District of Columbia, AFL-CIO. He said: “Working people want this war to end.” He added that Congress should “cut off the funding and bring the troops home.” For additional details, and updates, on the Sept. 15th rally, and for the exact number of arrests, please see: http://www.ANSWERCoalition.org.

Tina Richards: “All Power to the People!

One of the speakers was Tina Richard, CEO of Grassroots America. A Marine Mom, she read a very moving poem to the crowd from her son, Cloy, an Iraq War Veteran. It was entitled, “A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures.” When she finished the poem, Ms. Richards demanded: “All power to the people!”

Gloria La Riva: George W. Bush Is a Terrorist!

One of the speakers was Gloria La Riva. She is with the “National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.” Ms. La Riva said: “George W. Bush is a terrorist for his [Iraq] war…He is also a terrorist for the U.S. government policy which he has intensified against the country of Cuba.”

Peta Lindsay: “This War Is a War Against Women!

One of the speakers Peta Lindsay. She is with the ANSWER oganization and goes to school at Howard U. in the D.C. Ms. Lindsay said: “This War [in Iraq] is a war against women…George Bush is the world’s biggest criminal.”

see:

Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin: Bring the Troops Home! + Brian Becker: The People Will Mobilize! (videos)

Cindy Sheehan: We Have Had Enough! + War Protesters vs. Capitol Police + Rev. Lennox Yearwood: War Is Obsolete! (videos)

Davis Fleetwood at the War Protest Sept 15 + Civil Disobedience Brings Arrests at U.S. Capitol (videos)

Can’t do DC on 9/15? Telephone Protest for September 2007 + Write to YOUR Elected Officials!

Dueling Demonstrations Washington Post h/t: Antiwar.com