Police State USA (videos)

Dandelion Salad


The Militarization of Our Police

*Note: This is not a general blanket statement about police. We know there are many more decent, hard-working police officers than not and we respect you and what you do.

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“Rendition” Film All Too Real for CIA Kidnapping Victims (link; interview)

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, October 21, 2007


Watch an interview between Rendition director Gavin Hood (Academy Award winning Tsotsi) and ACLU Staff Attorney Ben Wizner here.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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US intelligence does not show Syrian nuclear weapons program, officials say by Larisa Alexandrovna

Dandelion Salad

by Larisa Alexandrovna
Global Research, October 21, 2007
Raw Story October 18, 2007

Cheney hand seen behind leaks of ‘misleading’ stories

Allegations that a Syrian envoy admitted during a United Nations meeting Oct. 17 that an Israeli air strike hit a nuclear facility in September are inaccurate and have raised the ire of some in the US intelligence community, who see the Vice President’s hand as allegedly being behind the disinformation.

A United Nations press release discussing the General Assembly’s Disarmament Committee meeting mistranslated comments ascribed to an unnamed Syrian diplomat as saying that Israel had on various occasions “taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria.”

The UN has since gone through the tape recordings of the meeting and found that there was no mention of the word “nuclear” at all. According to the UN, the error was one of translation, involving several interpreters translating the same meeting.

Recent news articles, however, continue to make allegations and suggest that a nuclear weapons facility was hit — something that the Syrian government has denied, the Israeli government has not officially confirmed and US intelligence does not show.

According to current and former intelligence sources, the US intelligence community has seen no evidence of a nuclear facility being hit.

US intelligence “found no radiation signatures after the bombing, so there was no uranium or plutonium present,” said one official, wishing to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject.

“We don’t have any independent intelligence that it was a nuclear facility — only the assertions by the Israelis and some ambiguous satellite photography from them that shows a building, which the Syrians admitted was a military facility.”

Their statements come as officials claim Syria has begun to ‘disassemble’ the site. An article today quotes former Administration hawk and onetime Bush United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, who links Syria’s alleged action with Iran.

Israel has not spoken publicly about the air raid, other than to confirm that it happened. The confirmation came nearly a month after the Sept. 6 bombing, and provided only that “Israeli officials said the strike took place deep inside Syria.”

“‘Radiation signatures’ are just the particular type of radiation that some activity would give off,” Dr. Ivan Oelrich, a nuclear weapons expert at the Strategic Security Project at the Federation of American Scientists, told RAW STORY. “For example, a nuclear bomb would produce a lot of radioactivity and a nuclear reactor explosion would produce a lot of radioactivity but if you measure it carefully so you can tell, not just that it is radioactive, but exactly what particular isotopes are contributing, then it is easy to tell the difference.

“If a reactor explodes or is blown up then I can, with careful measurements of the particular types of radiation, tell what the fuel was for the reactor and how long the reactor had been running when it was hit,” Oelrich added. “It gets complicated because you have to take into account how different species are transported in the air, how fast they decay, etc. but it can be done.”

An earlier report by Raw Story cited Vincent Cannistraro, Director of Intelligence Programs for the National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan and Chief of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorism Center under President George H. W. Bush, as saying that what the Israelis hit was “absolutely not a nuclear weapons facility.”

The Central Intelligence Agency, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

Administration said to leak stories to press

One US intelligence source familiar with the events expressed concern about recent news reports describing Syria as having a functioning nuclear weapons program and cautioned against attributing those reports to the US intelligence community.

“The allegations that North Korea was helping to build a nuclear reactor have not been substantiated by US intelligence,” said this intelligence official, adding, “ but that hasn’t stopped Dick Cheney and his minions at the NSC, Elliot Abrams and Steve Hadley, from leaking the information [to the press], which appears to be misleading in the extreme.”

Requests for comment to the National Security Council went unanswered.

Elliot Abrams, who currently serves as the Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy, was convicted during the Iran-Contra scandal for withholding information from Congress. He was pardoned by President George H. W. Bush along with other Iran-Contra players, some of whom have reappeared in the current Bush administration.

Iran Contra was a criminal scandal in which the Reagan-Bush White House sold weapons to Iran – an avowed enemy of the United States – then funneled the money to extremist anti-Communist group of guerrilla fighters called the Contras, who were fighting the democratically elected government of Nicaragua.

A failed coup in 2002 against Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, is also attributed to the approval of Abrams, according to an investigation by the UK Guardian.

Prior to the Iraq war, now-National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley was an integral part of misleading intelligence dissemination and approved clandestine meetings between Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and members of a secretive cabal inside the Department of Defense’s controversial Office of Special Plans.

During a 2006 interview with neoconservative scholar Michael Ledeen, Raw Story was able to obtain the first on the record confirmation of the trips having been approved by the National Security Council, including the then National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice:

“Obviously Hadley did not unilaterally do anything. The Pentagon paid for the expenses of the two DOD officials, and the American ambassador in Rome was fully briefed both before and after the meetings,” Ledeen said.

What concerns intelligence officials is what appears to be manipulation of the press and strategic leaks to the public of false information, undercutting professional intelligence analysis, similar to what occurred before the Iraq war in an apparent effort to bolster support for engaging Iran.

Larisa Alexandrovna is managing editor of investigative news for Raw Story and regularly reports on intelligence and national security stories. Contact her at larisa@rawstory.com.


U.S. Assisted Israel In Syrian Attack

Why did Israel attack Syria? by Jonathan Cook

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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Imperial Playground: Marching East of Iraq by Andrew G. Marshall

by Andrew G. Marshall
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Global Research, October 21, 2007

This article is Part III of The Imperial Playground: History of Iran in Recent History

The preparations and build-up for a war with Iran are speeding up, and the main force pushing for an attack upon Iran is Israel, as they claim that Iran wants to use a nuclear weapon against them.

There is an often-cited quotation that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, has said that “Israel must be wiped off the map!” in some absurdly hyperbolic threat of the intention to use a nuclear weapon against Israel. This is always mentioned by the West, predominantly Israel and the United States, in an effort to speed up support for action against Iran, however, this has been a gross misquotation and mistranslation on the part of Israel. What was really said, as reported by the Guardian, was that “The remarks are not out of context. They are wrong, pure and simple. Ahmadinejad never said them. Farsi speakers have pointed out that he was mistranslated. The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that ‘this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time’ just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished,” and that “He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The ‘page of time’ phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon. There was no implication that either Khomeini, when he first made the statement, or Ahmadinejad, in repeating it, felt it was imminent, or that Iran would be involved in bringing it about.”1

Even if the claims that Iran was pursuing the creation of nuclear weapons were true, it was reported in 2005 that, “A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis. The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House. Administration officials have asserted, but have not offered proof, that Tehran is moving determinedly toward a nuclear arsenal. The new estimate could provide more time for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. President Bush has said that he wants the crisis resolved diplomatically but that ‘all options are on the table’.”2 So, taking this into consideration, even if Iran was making a nuclear weapon, as of this year [2007], they would be 8 years away from having the components to make the bomb. Then, they would have to make it, and after that, develop the technology and equipment, which would be able to transport the bomb to whatever destination they choose.

However, even on top of this, after the Bush administration and senior Republican officials drafted a report suggesting Iran is very close to creating a nuclear weapon, “U.N. inspectors investigating Iran’s nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran’s capabilities, calling parts of the document ‘outrageous and dishonest’ and offering evidence to refute its central claims. Officials of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] said in a letter that the report contained some ‘erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements’,” and that, “The IAEA openly clashed with the Bush administration on pre-war assessments of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Relations all but collapsed when the agency revealed that the White House had based some allegations about an Iraqi nuclear program on forged documents. After no such weapons were found in Iraq, the IAEA came under additional criticism for taking a cautious approach on Iran, which the White House says is trying to build nuclear weapons in secret.” Further, “Among the committee’s assertions is that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at its facility in the town of Natanz. The IAEA called that ‘incorrect,’ noting that weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under IAEA monitoring.”3 In 2006, the BBC reported, “The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has not found conclusive evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, a US magazine has reported. Veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker, cites a secret CIA report based on intelligence such as satellite images,” and that “The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency.”4

Israel, however, despite all the above-mentioned evidence, is constantly pushing for war, in fact, the Jerusalem Post recently reported, “that time to launch an effective military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations was running out.”5 Oh, yes, time is running out, I mean, they might start making a bomb in the year 2015, so it’s best to annihilate the country now, on the off chance that they might consider creating a nuke in 8 years time; makes perfect sense . . . Excuse the sarcasm, but I just find that these types of statements, that we’re ‘running out of time’, are so absurd and blatantly exaggerated its as if I’m watching a piece of fiction, because clearly, these statements are not representative of reality. Further, “Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed the European Union [. . . ] for what he termed its appeasement attitude over Iran’s nuclear programme,” and that “Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, with an estimated 200 warheads.”6 The German daily Der Spielgel reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, while in Germany, said “Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons as America, France, Israel, Russia?”7, which is a tacit admission to Israel’s having nuclear weapons. Either a nuclear slip-up, or a subtle warning to Iran; nonetheless, it was an admission of an Israeli nuclear arsenal. And why is it that Israel, an aggressive country that has started many wars since its creation, is allowed to have over 200 nuclear weapons, while Iran, a country that hasn’t started a war in over a thousand years, isn’t allowed to even have nuclear technology? Clearly, it’s a strategy of double standards.

Moreover, it was reported that, “The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has been training on long-range flights, including refueling in mid-flight, in preparation for potential strikes against Iranian nuclear targets,” and that “Intelligence assessments received by the defense establishment concur that once Iran passes the point of no return in its nuclear efforts, the entire Middle East will enter a frantic nuclear armament race. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are expected to take the lead should such a scenario become reality,” and further, “Members of the international community – the US and Israel leading – are convinced that Iran’s race to enrich uranium is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. The Islamic Republic, on its side, insists it is looking for energy sources that would be an alternative to fossil fuels.”8

On the other side of the ocean, it was reported by the Guardian that, “The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months,” as “The vice-president, Dick Cheney, has long favoured upping the threat of military action against Iran. He is being resisted by the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates,” and that “Last year Mr Bush came down in favour of Ms Rice, who along with Britain, France and Germany has been putting a diplomatic squeeze on Iran. But at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him.”9 Could it be that Dick (Darth Vader) Cheney is acting on behalf of the document that was written up by the think tank he was previously a member of, which cited Iran as a selection for ‘regime change’? Chances are, yes, after all, Cheney has continuously stated his position as such. The article further stated, “The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran decisively. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.”

In 2006, the Telegraph reported that “The Bush administration is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran, to prevent it acquiring its own atomic warheads,” and that “Some US military chiefs have unsuccessfully urged the White House to drop the nuclear option from its war plans, [Seymour] Hersh writes in The New Yorker magazine. The conviction that Mr Ahmedinejad would attack Israel or US forces in the Middle East, if Iran obtains atomic weapons, is what drives American planning for the destruction of Teheran’s nuclear programme,” and further, “Hersh claims that one of the plans, presented to the White House by the Pentagon, entails the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.”10

Remember General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military official in the United States government, who stated that there is no evidence Iran is supplying weapons to Shi’ite insurgents in Iraq? Well guess what, he’s getting fired. As former Reagan administration economist Paul Craig Roberts wrote in an article outlining why Pace is being replaced, it could be a result of two very important comments Pace has made in recent times, “In the first statement General Pace says that every member of the US military has the absolute responsibility to disobey illegal and immoral orders. In the second statement, General Pace says that an order to use weapons of mass destruction is an illegal and immoral order,” and that “The Bush regime’s plan to attack Iran with nuclear weapons puts General Pace’s departure in a different light. How can President Bush succeed with an order to attack with nuclear weapons when America’s highest ranking military officer says that such an order is ‘illegal and immoral’ and that everyone in the military has an ‘absolute responsibility’ to disobey it?” and “Pace’s departure removes a known obstacle to a nuclear attack on Iran, thus advancing that possible course of action.”11 Pace, for the record, is set to leave in September of 2007, and will be replaced by Michael Mullen, who, according to USA Today, “Adm. Michael Mullen accused Iran, without being more specific, of giving aid to insurgent forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”12 So, as you can see for yourself, the incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is towing the party line, lock in step with the Administration’s lunacy-ridden claims and statements about Iran, which only seek to provide an excuse for a military assault on the country. As for the nuclear option, it seems that not much has changed, as it was recently reported that “The U.S. is retrofitting its B-2 Stealth bombers with massive bunker-buster bombs – a move that could be a prelude to an attack on Iran and its nuclear facilities.”13

Recently, at the beginning of August, it was reported that George Bush made the claim “that Iran has openly declared that it seeks nuclear weapons — an inaccurate accusation at a time of sharp tensions between Washington and Tehran,” and it goes on to give Bush’s quote, saying, “It’s up to Iran to prove to the world that they’re a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon.”14 It seems evident that propaganda efforts have been stepped up for an attack upon Iran, and the concept alone that the US intends to use nuclear weapons is an indication of how stark-raving mad these unbalanced individuals are who make up the Bush Administration. And, not only is the administration criminally off-balance, but Congress can be added as a member to that club (assuming they weren’t already founding members), as it was reported that “The US Senate has unanimously backed a measure censuring Iran for what it said was complicity in the killing of US soldiers in Iraq, intending to send a stern warning to Tehran. The chamber voted 97-0 in favor of the bill, making it one of the few areas of Iraq policy where all Democrats and all Republicans are in agreement.”15 This is an act on the part of the US Senate, which essentially gives the green light to the White House for an attack upon Iran.

Just as an aside, is it just me: or does there seem to be an overwhelming irony in the idea that the Bush administration is planning to nuke Iran because it’s afraid that Iran is making nukes? What a concept; to deter a country from pursuing a nuclear program (of which there is a possibility of inciting future disasters), by using nuclear weapons against that country, which guarantees a massive disaster. What kind of psychotic logic is this? And more importantly, what kind of society do we live in where it is at all acceptable to even mention using nuclear weapons against another country, let alone actually plan for it? And in case you were thinking that perhaps the British were taking a step back from this sociopathic plan, well, “British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday he would not rule out military action against Iran,” and the Reuters article went on to give Brown’s quote, “I firmly believe that the sanctions policy that we are pursuing will work, but I’m not one who’s going forward to say that we rule out any particular form of action.”16

The Secret War with Iran or How George Learned to Continue Status Quo Strategy

So, clearly it would appear that a war with Iran is not too hard a situation to imagine. However, what if I were to tell you that a war with Iran has already begun? Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-1998, wrote an article in June of 2005, in which he stated, “The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities. The violation of a sovereign nation’s airspace is an act of war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase,” and he continued, “President Bush has taken advantage of the sweeping powers granted to him in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, to wage a global war against terror and to initiate several covert offensive operations inside Iran. The most visible of these is the CIA-backed actions recently undertaken by the Mujahadeen el-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. It is bitter irony that the CIA is using a group still labelled as a terrorist organisation, a group trained in the art of explosive assassination by the same intelligence units of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, who are slaughtering American soldiers in Iraq today, to carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq.” On top of this, Ritter stated that, “the CIA-backed campaign of MEK terror bombings in Iran are not the only action ongoing against Iran. To the north, in neighbouring Azerbaijan, the US military is preparing a base of operations for a massive military presence that will foretell a major land-based campaign designed to capture Tehran,” and then goes on to explain, “The ethnic links between the Azeri of northern Iran and Azerbaijan were long exploited by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and this vehicle for internal manipulation has been seized upon by CIA paramilitary operatives and US Special Operations units who are training with Azerbaijan forces to form special unit capable of operating inside Iran for the purpose of intelligence gathering, direct action, and mobilising indigenous opposition to the Mullahs in Tehran. But this is only one use the US has planned for Azerbaijan. American military aircraft, operating from forward bases in Azerbaijan, will have a much shorter distance to fly when striking targets in and around Tehran. In fact, US air power should be able to maintain a nearly 24-hour a day presence over Tehran airspace once military hostilities commence.” Ritter concludes that, “history will show that the US-led war with Iran will not have begun once a similar formal statement is offered by the Bush administration, but, rather, had already been under way since June 2005, when the CIA began its programme of MEK-executed terror bombings in Iran.”17

In January of 2005, Reuters reported that, “The United States is conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets, according to The New Yorker magazine. An article by award-winning reporter Seymour Hersh says the secret missions have been going on since at least the middle of last year [2004], with the goal of uncovering target information about three dozen or more suspected sites,” and that, “The article also says US President George W Bush has approved secret operations targeting suspected terrorist operations in up to 10 countries in the Middle East and south Asia,” and one government consultant was quoted as saying, “The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible,” and further, “In the article, Hersh quotes the former intelligence official as saying that an American commando task force in south Asia is working closely with a group of Pakistani scientists who have dealt with their Iranian counterparts. The magazine reports that this task force, aided by information from Pakistan, has been penetrating into eastern Iran in a hunt for underground nuclear-weapons installations.”18

The above story was further reported by the Guardian newspaper, “Pakistan, under a deal with Washington, has been supplying information on Iranian military sites and on its nuclear programme, enabling the US to conduct covert ground and air reconnaissance of Iranian targets, should the escalating row over Iran’s nuclear ambitions come to a head,” and “The New Yorker report said the Americans have been conducting secret reconnaissance missions over and inside Iran since last summer with a view to identifying up to 40 possible targets for strikes should the dispute over Iran turn violent.”19

In April of 2006, Raw Story reported that “The Pentagon is bypassing official US intelligence channels and turning to a dangerous and unruly cast of characters in order to create strife in Iran in preparation for any possible attack, former and current intelligence officials say. One of the operational assets being used by the Defense Department is a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), which is being “run” in two southern regional areas of Iran. They are Baluchistan, a Sunni stronghold, and Khuzestan, a Shia region where a series of recent attacks has left many dead and hundreds injured in the last three months,” and that “One former counterintelligence official, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the information, describes the Pentagon as pushing MEK shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The drive to use the insurgent group was said to have been advanced by the Pentagon under the influence of the Vice President’s office and opposed by the State Department, National Security Council and then-National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice.”20

On January 11, 2007, the Washington Note reported, “Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran. The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country,” and the article even quoted Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address the night before, “Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq. We’re also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence-sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.” It further reported that, “Adding fuel to the speculation is that U.S. forces today raided an Iranian Consulate in Arbil, Iraq and detained five Iranian staff members,” and “what is disconcerting is that some are speculating that Bush has decided to heat up military engagement with Iran and Syria — taking possible action within their borders, not just within Iraq. Some are suggesting that the Consulate raid may have been designed to try and prompt a military response from Iran — to generate a casus belli for further American action. If this is the case, the debate about adding four brigades to Iraq is pathetic. The situation will get even hotter than it now is, worsening the American position and exposing the fact that to fight Iran both within the borders of Iraq and into Iranian territory, there are not enough troops in the theatre.”21

The adding of brigades to Baghdad of which the above-described article mentioned was in reference to what we know today as “The Surge.” The author stated that “the situation will get even hotter than it now is”, which turned out to be very correct. As reported in October of 2006, three months before Bush’s ‘State of the Union’ address, “More than 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the U.S. led invasion of the country began in March of 2003. This is according to a new study published in the scientific journal, The Lancet. The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. Researchers based their findings on interviews with a random sampling of households taken in clusters across Iraq. The study is an update to a prior one compiled by many of the same researchers. That study estimated that around 100,000 Iraqis died in the first 18 months after the invasion.”22 Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, wrote on August 10, 2007, that “Today, we are calling the fact that, around now, on our best estimate, a million people have died in Iraq as a result of the chaos launched by the US and UK led invasion. That is a million people, the majority of them women and children, who would overwhelmingly be alive today were it not for the actions of governments.”23

In February of 2007, the London Telegraph reported that, “America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme. In a move that reflects Washington’s growing concern with the failure of diplomatic initiatives, CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran’s border regions. The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime,” and that, “In the past year there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials. Such incidents have been carried out by the Kurds in the west, the Azeris in the north-west, the Ahwazi Arabs in the south-west, and the Baluchis in the south-east. Non-Persians make up nearly 40 per cent of Iran’s 69 million population, with around 16 million Azeris, seven million Kurds, five million Ahwazis and one million Baluchis. Most Baluchis live over the border in Pakistan,” and it continued, “Funding for their separatist causes comes directly from the CIA’s classified budget but is now ‘no great secret’, according to one former high-ranking CIA official in Washington who spoke anonymously to The Sunday Telegraph. His claims were backed by Fred Burton, a former US state department counter-terrorism agent, who said: ‘The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran’s ethnic minorities to destabilise the Iranian regime’.” Lastly, it mentioned, “A row has also broken out in Washington over whether to ‘unleash’ the military wing of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an Iraq-based Iranian opposition group with a long and bloody history of armed opposition to the Iranian regime ,” and that, “At present, none of the opposition groups are much more than irritants to Teheran, but US analysts believe that they could become emboldened if the regime was attacked by America or Israel.”24

As award winning journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker in March of 2007, “In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The “redirection,” as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims,” and that, “To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” On top of this, “The new American policy, in its broad outlines, has been discussed publicly. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is ‘a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,’ separating ‘reformers’ and ‘extremists’; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were ‘on the other side of that divide.’ (Syria’s Sunni majority is dominated by the Alawi sect.) Iran and Syria, she said, ‘have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize’.”25 So, what we are seeing here, is that in this new ‘Great Game’ over the Middle East and Central Eurasia, the Anglo-American alliance has chosen, like so many empires throughout the past centuries, to empower one religious sect over another, just as the British empowered the Sunnis in what is today known as Saudi Arabia to fight the Ottoman Empire, they saw fit to maintain that relationship with the Sunni countries, and today, have chosen to again use those connections to sow chaos across the Middle East; dividing the people, destabilizing countries, and expanding the Anglo-American Empire’s lebensraum [living space].

The New Yorker article further stated, “The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney.” So, here, we see divisions within the ruling class. Cheney, who has more often represented his neo-conservative lunatic peers, as opposed to Ms. Rice, who, before coming into government in the George W. Bush administration, was on the board of Chevron, and thus, owes her loyalty not to any half-baked, mentally defunct ideology, but to an industry; the oil industry. In the same month, March, it was reported that, “For all its efforts to apply economic and political pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, the United States has never used a potentially potent tool in its arsenal — penalties on foreign companies that assist Iran in producing oil and natural gas. That may be about to change. The Bush administration has quietly been warning energy companies, including Shell, Repsol and SKS, the Malaysian oil company, as well as the governments of China, India, Pakistan and Malaysia, that penalties are possible if they pursue energy deals with Iran. As a result, several huge projects planned for Iran could be vulnerable. These include one possible $10 billion project by Royal Dutch Shell and the Spanish oil company, Repsol YPF, to develop a natural gas field offshore in Iran, and a $20 billion venture by SKS Ventures of Malaysia to produce natural gas in Iran’s Golshan and Ferdows fields.”26 As we have seen from the history of the last hundred years in the region, related especially to Iran, a company like Royal Dutch Shell is not merely a ‘private interest’, but rather an imperial power house. So, as the oil companies seek diplomacy to see if they can secure good oil control inside Iran, the political diplomacy will follow. After all, historically, in the United States, it has been the oil companies that dominate the State Department, which handles foreign affairs, as with the current Condi Rice, James Baker in the George HW Bush administration who is an oil lobbyist, Henry Kissinger, who always acted in the interest of oil corporations, [i.e. Yom Kippur War], John Foster Dulles, whose brother, Allen Dulles, was CIA director at the same time, at which they both pressured then-President Eisenhower to authorize CIA covert action to overthrow Iran in 1953, which they did [for British Petroleum].

So, as the State Department is controlled by Big Oil, and with that, the National Security Council, of which Condoleezza Rice was the head of until she got a promotion to Secretary of State, and Zbigniew Brzezinski was National Security Adviser, then worked with BP, and Henry Kissinger was National Security Adviser and Secretary of State at the same time, they will act more strategically than say, neo-con lunatics. Remember, when the neo-con plan for Iraqi oil was designed to destroy OPEC, Shell sent in their man to tell the Ambassador to Iraq the real plan. So, as in the past few years the neo-cons have continuously stepped up pressure for an attack and conflict with Iran; other elitist factions have been hesitant, as they see the broader implications for such an attack. So, as oil companies seek development and oil control opportunities inside Iran, diplomacy will seek opportunities to delay any reactionary approach to Iranian relations (such as nuking their nuclear facilities), to try a different path of hushed diplomacy, as in, signing oil contracts. So, the oil companies seek to wait out the situation, see which way things turn, and depending on future circumstances, will make a decision when the time comes. However, there are even divisions within the oil industry on the present issue of Iran. American companies are barred from doing business, but European ones are attempting a go at it. The biggest of which is Royal Dutch Shell, which represents the British and Dutch elite, however, it was reported that, “the UK’s BP is thought to have decided against operating in the country.”27

On August 21, 2007, the Financial Times reported that, “Iran appointed a new deputy oil minister for international affairs yesterday as part of a government reshuffle. Hossein Noghrehkar-Shirazi, who will take over responsibility for liaison with foreign companies, was appointed by the acting oil minister,” and that, “Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, who “resigned” last week as oil minister, subsequently criticised the government for its decision to keep petrol prices at one of the world’s lowest levels,” and further, “Mr Nozari, the acting minister whose appointment requires parliamentary approval, has identified the boosting of Iran’s crude production as an immediate priority. Iran has apparently been struggling to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] quota.” It would seem that the Anglo-Americans are again using their OPEC tool to commit economic and petrodollar warfare on Iran. A sign we saw in 1990 in the lead-up to Saddam going from trusted proxy ally, to enemy number one, during the Gulf War. Are they trying to break Iran? Simultaneously, are the invested European oil companies in the region trying to grab what they can, while they can? Could this also be a conflict between the Anglo-American and the European oil industries over Iran, reflective of the division between the Anglo-Americans and European governments over the same issue? Europe has been attempting and stressing a more diplomatic approach to getting Iran to halt its uranium enrichment, while the Anglo-Americans call for immediate action, and military if necessary. However, what is key to note here, is that both the Anglo-Americans and the Europeans see nuclear energy in Iran as a threat, and thus both groups have an interest in seeing that the country never industrializes, but they differ on approaches to doing this. Since the Europeans do not control OPEC, as its principal leader is Saudi Arabia, a US-British protectorate. After all, the previous article pointed out how British Petroleum [BP] is staying out of Iran, as BP is an Anglo-American interest, after the merger of Amoco, formerly a Rockefeller Standard Oil enterprise, into British Petroleum, owned predominantly by the British monarch and ruling class members. The companies seeking work in Iran are European, and the interesting one to note is Royal Dutch Shell, which is still almost half British controlled. The majority shares are split between the Dutch monarch, with the largest share, and the British monarch.28 So, the British, in their typical stealth maneuvering throughout their diplomatic imperial history, are ensuring their interests with both factions, the Americans and the Europeans, to ensure that no matter which end succeeds in their approach to Iran, the British will maintain their hegemony. The Financial Times article concluded, “Given the strong possibility of tougher United Nations sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme, European companies – including OMV, of Austria, Spain’s Repsol and Royal Dutch Shell – are hesitating over whether to go ahead with plans for involvement in its energy sector. Nonetheless, high oil prices increased Iran’s revenue by 13.6 per cent to $54bn in the Iranian year ending March 20, and income is set to be even higher this year. The International Monetary Fund has forecast 5 per cent growth, largely driven by oil revenue, for Iran this year.”29 As I will examine later on, in the next Part of this essay, these various divisions between the Europeans and the Anglo-Americans in relations to Iran are slowly aligning in a political consensus.

In April of 2007, ABC News reported that “A Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News. The group, called Jundullah, is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran,” and that, “It has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials. U.S. officials say the U.S. relationship with Jundullah is arranged so that the U.S. provides no funding to the group, which would require an official presidential order or “finding” as well as congressional oversight. Tribal sources tell ABC News that money for Jundullah is funneled to its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.” It further reported that, “Regi [the leader of Jundullah] is essentially commanding a force of several hundred guerrilla fighters that stage attacks across the border into Iran on Iranian military officers, Iranian intelligence officers, kidnapping them, executing them on camera,” and “Most recently, Jundullah took credit for an attack in February that killed at least 11 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard riding on a bus in the Iranian city of Zahedan,” and it further mentioned, “Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.” Lastly, ABC reported, “Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s.”30 In other words, it’s reminiscent of the Iran-Contra Affair, where the US funded terrorists in Nicaragua by selling arms to Iran. Another parallel is that the agenda and strategy is being run out of the Vice President’s office, whereas George Bush Sr. was the Vice President at the time of Iran-Contra and there is much evidence pointing to his as being a leading role in the Affair.31

As the Sunday Telegraph reported in May of 2007, “President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert ‘black’ operations to achieve regime change in Iran,” and that, “Mr Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs,” and “Under the plan, pressure will be brought to bear on the Iranian economy by manipulating the country’s currency and international financial transactions. Details have also emerged of a covert scheme to sabotage the Iranian nuclear programme.” Further, it was revealed that, “The CIA will also be allowed to supply communications equipment which would enable opposition groups in Iran to work together and bypass internet censorship by the clerical regime,” and explained, “Authorisation of the new CIA mission, which will not be allowed to use lethal force, appears to suggest that President Bush has, for the time being, ruled out military action against Iran,” yet, the article went on to explain that, “However, the CIA is giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan. Iranian officials say they captured 10 members of Jundullah last weekend, carrying $500,000 in cash along with ‘maps of sensitive areas’ and ‘modern spy equipment’.”32 So essentially, the article explains that Bush has authorized the CIA to engage in a propaganda campaign with the intent to overthrow the current Iranian government. Sounds very similar to the 1953 CIA/MI6 coup against the Iranian Prime Minister Mossadeq, in which the intelligence agencies distributed propaganda, not to mention orchestrated terrorist attacks inside Iran, which is also reminiscent to the current scheme, as it was announced that the CIA was funding and arming and supplying intelligence to Jundullah, a terrorist organization being run out of Pakistan, as well as the previously mentioned MEK, another terrorist group, which is being run out of Iraq.

So now it is necessary to take a brief look at the group Jundullah, which will shed more light on the current geo-political situation in the region; namely the role of the imperial powers in the Middle East. It was further reported by Press TV that, “America says its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has hired a Pakistani gang to carry out terrorist operations inside Iran. The gang, called Jondollah, includes members of Baluch tribes and is led by Abdul Malek Rigi who is operating from Pakistan’s part of the Sistan and Baluchistan province in southeastern Iran,” and that, “The terrorist gang has so far carried out many deadly raids, resulting in the deaths or kidnapping of ordinary Iranian people as well as soldiers and officials in the region,” as well as the fact that, “The large Iranian community residing in the U.S. has strongly protested to a recent live interview with Rigi on Voice of America (VOA) in which he claimed responsibility for the operations.”33

As reported by the Sunday Morning Herald, Abdul Malek Rigi, the leader of the CIA operated terrorist group, Jundullah, “was a cell leader of Osama bin Laden’s Sunni Muslim al-Qaeda network in Iran, an overwhelmingly Shi’ite Muslim country. In June, state television said security forces had wounded Rigi and killed his brother,” and that, “Jundollah (God’s Soldiers), a shadowy Sunni Muslim group led by Rigi, in February claimed responsibility for an attack on a bus owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that killed 11 people and it has also been blamed for other violence in the region.”34 So, now the US is funding a group whose head was a leader of a cell of Al-Qaeda, which is the supposed ‘enemy’ of the United States. Not only that, but, as stated in Terrorism and Violence in Southeast Asia, “Jundullah was funded by al-Qaeda through Omar al-Faruq.”35 This was further reported by Time Magazine, which stated, “[Omar] al-Faruq told the CIA he helped Dwikarna establish Laskar Jundullah, a militant Islamic group dedicated to forming an Islamic state and involved in attacks on Christian villages in central Sulawesi province.”36 So, not only is the leader of Jundullah affiliated with al-Qaeda, but one of the original funders was also with Al-Qaeda; and yet, still, the United States is currently funding it, supplying it with intelligence and arming it. However, given what we have seen regarding such operations inside Iraq, this is no surprise. It again fits in with the current Anglo-American strategy of favouring the Sunni sects against the Shi’a/Shiite. Al-Qaeda is Sunni, so it’s being funded against Iran, which is Shiite.

As reported by Newsline in 2004, the founder of Jundullah, Attaur Rehman, “is closely associated with Al-Qaeda’s network in Pakistan.”37 The article quoted the Chief of the Karachi police in Pakistan, saying, “Jundullah has close ties with Al-Qaeda.” Last August [2006], the world learned of a supposed plot to blow up nearly a dozen commercial jetliners in midair, which originated in London. As CNN reported, “British and Pakistani authorities teamed up to thwart the attacks, and 24 men were arrested in overnight raids in Britain, authorities said. An undercover British agent infiltrated the group, giving the authorities intelligence on the alleged plan, several U.S. government officials said.”38 Michel Chossudovsky, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, wrote in an article that, “The initial reports of the Home Office point to the active collaboration of Pakistani Military Intelligence in uncovering the alleged terror plot. From the outset, most of the intelligence which led to the arrests in the UK was apparently gathered by Pakistan’s military intelligence (ISI), which is said to ‘have tipped off MI5’: While actively collaborating with the British police investigation, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is known to have supported and financed a number of “Islamic terror groups” including Al Qaeda. In fact the terrorist training camps in Pakistan were set up in the early 1980s with the support of the ISI and the CIA,” and that, “it [the Pakistani ISI] has also supported and provided financial assistance (during the entire post-Cold War era), to the two main Pakistan-based Kashmir rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba, (Army of the Pure) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Army of Mohammed), which claimed responsibility for the terror attack on the Indian parliament in October 2001.”39 Why this is significant to note is because as reported by International Terrorism Monitor, “Four or five of those detained by the British Police had gone to Pakistan after the earthquake of October 2005, in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and in the Balakote area of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) to do humanitarian relief work in camps run by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), the parent organisation of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET),” and that, “The Jundullah (Army of Allah), a pro-Al Qaeda organisation, took them to its training camp in the Waziristan area, trained them in the fabrication and use of explosives and dropped them back in the JUD quake relief camps.”40 So, Jundullah, the group which is now receiving special support from the US government, namely, the CIA, was implicated in helping train some people who were arrested in the 2006 liquid explosives bomb plot in London, as well as the fact that through those very individuals who were arrested, Jundullah was affiliated with Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), which is the parent organization of Lashkar e Taiba (LET). The LET is receiving funding and support from the Pakistani ISI, the intelligence agency long affiliated with the CIA and British intelligence.

The Pakistani ISI is a very nefarious organization, with many equally nefarious contacts. To explain the significance of this agency we must briefly look to the past. As stated in the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Ghost Wars, “Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq was a young captain in a Punjabi unit of Britain’s colonial army when London’s exhausted government finally quit India in 1947,” and that, “British-trained Punjabi Muslim army officers such as Zia became one of the new nation’s [Pakistan’s] most powerful ruling groups,” and so Zia rose through the ranks, making it to become a general. It was further stated that, “After 1977 he reigned as a dictator and ceded few political privileges to others. But he did not decorate himself in ornate trappings of power.[ . . . ] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had promoted him [Zia] to army chief of staff apparently in the belief that Zia would be compliant. Zia not only overthrew Bhutto but hanged him.”41 It continued, “In the context of 1979’s upheavals Zia was not a radical. He declared Pakistan an Islamic state but did not move as forcefully as Khomeni did in Iran,” which is interesting to note, especially since it was in line with Brzezinski’s ‘Arc of Crisis’ strategy in the region starting that year, where secular governments were changed in favour of hard-line religious governments which wouldn’t be able to achieve a level of development in such countries, and who would be subject to being demonized for radical policies as well as impeding the USSR from gaining a hegemonic presence in the region. It further stated, “Zia believed deeply in the colonial-era army’s values, traditions, and geopolitical mission – a thoroughly British orientation,” and that “Zia strongly encouraged personal religious piety within the Pakistan army’s officer corps, a major change from the past. He encouraged the financing and construction of hundreds of madrassas, or religious schools, along the Afghan frontier to educate young Afghans – as well as Pakistanis – in Islam’s precepts and to prepare some of them for anticommunist jihad.” It continued, “For the first four years of its Afghan jihad [starting in 1979], the CIA kept its solo operations and contacts with Afghans to a minimum,” and that, “To make his complex liaison with the CIA work, Zia relied on his chief spy and most trusted lietenant, a gray-eyed and patrician general, Akhtar Abdur Rahman, director-general of ISI,” and further, “About every other month [CIA officer] Howard Hart drove the dozen miles from Islamabad to Rawalpindi to have a meal with General Akhtar at ISI headquarters and catch up on the Afghan jihad.”42

The ISI is often seen as the ‘shadow government’ of Pakistan, as Steve Coll wrote in his book, “When Akhtar had taken over ISI almost a decade earlier [from 1988], it was a small and demoralized unit within the Pakistan military, focused mainly on regime security and never-ending espionage games with India. Now ISI was an army within the army, boasting multiple deep-pocketed patrons, including the supremely deep-pocketed Prince Turki and his Saudi General Intelligence Department. ISI enjoyed an ongoing operational partnership with the CIA.”43 So this was the agency that was used as a proxy by the CIA in the 80’s, which founded Al-Qaeda and fostered other such Islamic terrorist groups. It was reported in September of 2006 by the BBC that, “Pakistan’s intelligence agency was behind the train blasts in Mumbai in July that killed 186 people, Indian police say. The attacks were planned by the ISI and carried out by the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba, based in Pakistan, Mumbai’s police chief said.”44 Again we see the reference to the LET terrorist organization, which is affiliated through its parent organization JUD, with Jundullah, the terrorist group currently getting support from the CIA to orchestrate attacks in Iran. It seems likely that given the situation and the past precedents in parallel situations, Jundullah likely has ties to the Pakistani ISI, after all, it is based out of Pakistan and has affiliations with other groups which receive support from the ISI, shares leadership and connections with Al-Qaeda, which was founded and fostered by the CIA through the ISI, and now, given that the CIA is funding Jundullah, it seems likely that the ISI would also be involved. Perhaps, as in the past, the CIA funding, arming and operation of terrorist organizations is done through the ISI as its covert Central Asian intelligence proxy.

It is truly amazing how the US government deals in double standards. They declare a worldwide war against Al-Qaeda, declare Iran a monumental threat because of its support of terrorism and efforts in nuclear technology, and yet, at the same time, fund an Al-Qaeda affiliated group to orchestrate terror inside Iran, in an effort to topple the government. So, because Iran is such a threat, and supports terrorists, the US decides to support terrorists, to threaten the stability of Iran. The War on Terror more and more appears to be simply the War of Terror.

This is not the only terrorist threat to Iran. Over the past years, conflicts have been developing out of the Northern Iraqi Kurdistan region, which are affecting not only Iran across the Eastern border, but also Turkey along the Northern border, threatening to even draw Turkey into the enveloping crisis in the region. The Northern Kurdistan region of Iraq was not under the control of Saddam when he was in power, and since the 2003 US-led occupation of Iraq, has been under a regional government. On September 10 of 2007, the New York Sun reported that, “Kurdish guerrillas have launched a clandestine war in northwestern Iran, ambushing troops as they seek Western backing to secure an ethnic homeland. In retaliation, the Iranian army has carried out a series of counterattacks in the mountains, which span the border with Iraq,” and that, “Iranian newspapers have reported the deaths of seven soldiers in recent clashes with Kurdish guerrillas. Last month, the rebels claimed responsibility for shooting down an Iranian helicopter. A loose alliance of guerrillas, styling itself the Kurdistan Democratic Federation, is fighting for an independent state which would cover the Kurdish-majority areas of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria,” and the article concluded in stating, “Iran believes that the U.S. and Britain are now arming and training the Kurdish guerrillas to strike its territory from bases inside Iraq. Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, accused America of supporting terrorism inside the Islamic Republic. ‘America wants to carry out actions such as blowing up the country’s oil pipelines by supporting bandits and small groups of Kurdish rebels,’ he told the Iranian press.”45 So, if the Kurdish rebels are indeed receiving support from the Anglo-Americans, that would mean that they are funding at least three separate terrorist groups to carry out attacks inside Iran; the MEK, Jundullah, and possibly Kurdish separatist groups. So who really is the ‘greatest’ sponsor of terrorism, Iran, as is continually claimed, or the Anglo-Americans? Who is really the most destabilizing force in the region?

Would the statements of Iran’s government stand up to the facts here? Certainly there is precedent for such actions of the Anglo-Americans supporting terrorism, as it has been one of their most continuous and long-standing strategies in the region, however, precedent alone cannot be seen as solid fact. Nonetheless, there are several reports that could indicate that it is not simply precedent that points to the fingers of the Anglo-Americans in sponsoring the Kurdish rebels to take part in attacks against Iran. Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker Magazine reported back in 2004, that the Israeli government decided “to minimize the damage that the war was causing to Israel’s strategic position by expanding its long-standing relationship with Iraq’s Kurds and establishing a significant presence on the ground in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.”46 Hersh further reported that, “Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most important in Israel’s view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria. Israel feels particularly threatened by Iran, whose position in the region has been strengthened by the war. The Israeli operatives include members of the Mossad, Israel’s clandestine foreign-intelligence service, who work undercover in Kurdistan as businessmen and, in some cases, do not carry Israeli passports,” as well as the fact that, “The Israeli decision to seek a bigger foothold in Kurdistan—characterized by the former Israeli intelligence officer as “Plan B”—has also raised tensions between Israel and Turkey. It has provoked bitter statements from Turkish politicians and, in a major regional shift, a new alliance among Iran, Syria, and Turkey, all of which have significant Kurdish minorities.”

The London Guardian picked up this story, stating, “Israeli military and intelligence operatives are active in Kurdish areas of Iran, Syria and Iraq, providing training for commando units and running covert operations that could further destabilise the entire region,” and stated Israel’s aims “are to build up the Kurdish military strength in order to offset the strength of the Shia militias and to create a base in Iran from which they can spy on Iran’s suspected nuclear-making facilities,” and it ended with a quote from a senior Turkish official, “The lesson of Yugoslavia is that when you give one country independence everybody will want it. Kirkuk will be the Sarajevo of Iraq. If something happens there, it will be impossible to contain the crisis.”47

In 2002, before the US-led invasion in 2003, it was reported that, “The CIA has enhanced its declared presence and activity in the Kurdish area which is outside the control of Baghdad’s authority,” and that, “Opposition sources said that the CIA has reinforced its presence in northern Iraq by opening two field offices in the Kurdish area, and as from Monday a station for the American intelligence in the area which falls under the control of the Kurdistani national federation and another one in the area under the control of the Kurdistani democratic party.”48

As mentioned before, Iran is not the only country affected by this support for Kurdish rebel factions in the north of Iraq to conduct terrorist activities, as Turkey is directly affected. Back in January of 2007, it was reported that, “Turkey’s parliament went into secret session this week to debate sending troops to invade and occupy northern Iraq for security purposes. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the confrontation between the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish army – about 400 last year alone, according to Turkey’s Human Rights Association,” and it continued, “The PKK have bases around Kandili mountain in northern Iraq, and despite requests from Turkey for Iraqi and US occupation forces to attack these bases, Turkey says nothing has been done.”49 It was reported by USA Today that, “Turkey’s ambassador to Washington said Wednesday that U.S. weapons have been turning up in the hands of Kurdish guerrillas staging attacks in Turkey. Nabi Sensoy said that the United States is not doing enough to influence Kurdish politicians in key positions in the Iraqi government to crack down on the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, which has been fighting for an independent Kurdistan within Turkey for decades. He said that Turkey has been pressing the United States to ensure that U.S. weapons supplied to Kurdish forces within the Iraqi army are not funneled to the PKK,” and the article further stated, “The comments come as the Turkish officials have indicated that they are considering military operations against the PKK in Iraq, a move that the United States fears would cause further instability. While tensions between Ankara and Washington have increased, Turkey remains a key U.S. ally, providing vital support to U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq through Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, one of the most important U.S. military assets in the region.” The article continued, “Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman acknowledged that the U.S. military is not taking military action to try to stop the rebel activities. ‘The United States government certainly recognizes the PKK threat that exists for the Turkish government and the Turkish people,’ Whitman told reporters at the Pentagon. He repeated U.S. objections to possible Turkish incursions into Iraq,” and it further stated, “The PKK has been smuggling sophisticated explosive devices over the border from Iraq for attacks in Turkey.”50

The Turkish Weekly reported on September 10, 2007, that the “British Daily Telegraph claimed that the US officers have regular meetings with the PKK terrorists in Northern Iraq. Damien McElroy in his report mentioned ‘US army helicopters are reportedly used to shuttle officers to regular meetings with Kurdish fighters’. Mr. McElroy’s interview with the head of the PKK terrorists, Murat Karayilan (means ‘Black Snake’ in Turkish language). Mr. Karayilan accepted the US assistance to the PKK yet argued that the US did very little for the Kurds and can do more.”51

It was reported in June that the United States “urged Turkey not to conduct a cross-border operation into northern Iraq, following repeated threats by the Turkish military against both the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani.”52 A report in early July from Raw Story stated that, “The US military warned Turkey Tuesday against destabilizing northern Iraq by carrying out a threatened cross-border raid on Kurdish rebels. The US armed forces have a ‘great relationship with the military of Turkey,’ said Brigadier General Perry Wiggins, deputy director for operations of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. But he cautioned: ‘As the secretary of defense (Robert Gates) has said, any disruption up in northern Iraq would not be helpful at this time.’ Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Friday his country had drawn up plans for an eventual incursion into neighboring northern Iraq to pursue rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) taking refuge there.”53 On July 9, the International Herald Tribune reported that, “Turkey has massed 140,000 soldiers on its border with northern Iraq but so far there has been no violations, Iraq’s foreign minister said Monday. The Turkish military had no comment to the remarks by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, and it was unclear where he got the figures. If they were accurate, Turkey would have nearly as many soldiers along its border with Iraq as the 155,000 troops which the U.S. has in the country,” and that, “Turkey has been pressuring the United States and Iraq to eliminate PKK bases in Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq and has said it’s ready to stage a cross-border offensive if necessary.”54

A mere ten days later, “Turkey’s military has waged a cross-border incursion into Iraq, bombarding northern areas of the country, the Iraqi government said. The Iraqi government said Wednesday that Turkish artillery and warplanes bombarded areas of northern Iraq and urged Turkey to stop military operations and resort to dialogue,” and that, “Col. Hussein Kamal said about 250 shells were fired into Iraq from Turkey. He added that there were no casualties on the Iraqi side of the border.”55 On September 8, 2007, Reuters reported that, “Iraq wants Kurdish rebels based in its northern region of Kurdistan to stop using the area to launch attacks against neighbouring Turkey and Iran, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said,” and that, “Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an ethnic Kurdish homeland in the country, home to up to 15 million Kurds. Several thousand PKK fighters are believed to be based in mountains inside Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region near the Turkish border. Other guerrillas of the PJAK, who seek autonomy for Kurdish areas in Iran, shelter in the northeastern border area. PJAK [PEJAK], the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, is an Iranian offshoot of the PKK.”56

In a letter sent to President Bush by Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich on April 18, 2006, Kucinich wrote, “Last week I wrote to you regarding reports that U.S. troops are conducting military operations in Iran. I have included a copy of that letter below for your information. There are also reports, however, that the U.S. is fomenting opposition and supporting military operations in Iran among insurgent groups and Iranian ethnic minority groups, some of whom are operating from Iraq,” and he continued, “The Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK) is one such group. PEJAK is based in the Kurdish region of Iraq, a few miles from the Iranian border, and has staged attacks across the border in Iran since 2004 on behalf of Iranian Kurdish interests, according to an April 3, 2006 article in the Washington Times. PEJAK claimed to kill twenty-four Iranian soldiers in three raids against army bases in March. Iran’s official news agency also reported that three Republican Guard soldiers were killed in a gun battle near the Iraqi border in late March. Iran has denounced PEJAK as a terrorist group and has accused the U.S. of funding PEJAK. According to an April 15, 2006 article in the Economist, Iranians and Turks both believe that the U.S. is supporting PEJAK. It is hard to believe that PEJAK is operating successfully from Iraq without U.S. knowledge, support and coordination.”57

So, clearly, the Anglo-American policy in the region is still focused on efforts of destabilization of the countries, and thus, provide both an excuse and a feasible situation to maintain control over the region. Afghanistan and Iraq, often seen in the public view as two wars in the US-led ‘War on Terror’ which hopes to ‘rid the world of terrorism’, yet, in reality, these two major theatre wars are simply two geopolitical pivots in the broader strategy of Middle East and Eurasian imperial conquest.

Put simply, Afghanistan and Iraq are two extremely vital territories to occupy in order to use strategically for the broader war plans; imperial control over the entire region. Afghanistan, with its strategic location acting as an important area for the movement and transportation of oil and natural gas, via pipelines, as well as being a border state with former Soviet Satellite states rich in oil and natural gas to the north, China to the east, Pakistan to the South, and Iran to the west. Iraq has arguably an even more strategic importance to imperial control in the region, as the British have practiced for hundreds of years, with its northern border with Turkey, Syria to the West, Jordan also to the West, and both Syria and Jordan bordering Israel, Saudi Arabia to the South of Iraq, as is Kuwait, and Iran all along the East. Looking at a map of the broader Middle East to include Central Asia, if you were to decide a strategy of controlling the region, from Egypt to India, and could only choose two countries to take first, Iraq and Afghanistan would be the smartest choices. Now, put into play the fact that the main deterrents to imperialism from within the region are Iran and Syria, as well as the fact that your primary allies, and essentially proxy states, over which you have extensive control and authority, are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the significance of Afghanistan and Iraq become unparalleled.


Andrew G. Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Andrew G. Marshall

Imperial Playground: The Story of Iran in Recent History by Andrew G. Marshall

The New World Order, Forged in the Gulf by Andrew G. Marshall

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Bill Moyers Journal: Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater (video; Iraq)

Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal
October 19, 2007

On September 16, 2007, Blackwater contractors, during a complex confrontation in downtown Baghdad, shot and killed Iraqis in the crowded Nisour Square.

The FBI and State Department are currently investigating the incident, yet it further sheds light upon a growing private sector security force in Iraq and elsewhere, that many fear has not been held accountable to the same degree as have US military officials.

Jeremy Scahill has been covering Blackwater for THE NATION and other publications for more than three years. He is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, and is the author of BLACKWATER: THE RISE OF THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL MERCENARY ARMY, published by Nation Books. He is also an award-winning investigative journalist and correspondent for DEMOCRACY NOW!.

According to THE NEW YORK TIMES, there are between 160,000 and 180,000 private contractors in Iraq, including about 30,000 armed security forces. Blackwater employees represent about 1000 of these armed contractors. There were only about 9,200 total private contractors during the Persian Gulf War.

Few Americans had even heard of Blackwater before March 31, 2004, when four of its contractors were ambushed and brutally killed in Falluja, and days later, a US siege of the region began. It was “what would be one of the most brutal and sustained US operations of the occupation,” explains Scahill, who believes the US Military response to the killings sets a dangerous precedent.

Before the September 16, 2007 confrontation, Blackwater employees had been implicated in similar incidents involving questionable force, including in December 2006, when a drunk Blackwater contractor allegedly shot and killed a bodyguard for Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi. The contractor was subsequently fired by Blackwater, yet was sent back in the region with another private firm. “[State Department] officials said that Blackwater’s incident rate was at least twice that recorded by employees of DynCorp International and Triple Canopy, the two other United States-based security firms that have been contracted by the State Department to provide security for diplomats and other senior civilians in Iraq,” writes THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Still, as Blackwater’s founder Eric Prince reminded Congress a few weeks ago, “Blackwater personnel are subject to regular attacks by terrorists and other nefarious forces within Iraq.” As the WALL STREET JOURNAL reports, “The company has said it has done 16,000 missions for the State Department since June 2005, using its weapons just 1% of the time.” And recently two Blackwater helicopters helped evacuate the Polish Ambassador to Iraq after his convoy was attacked.

But questions about accountability still abound: when mistakes are made, to which rule of law should contractors answer, military or US criminal law? Officials in the State and Defense Departments are currently debating this very question.

Blackwater’s State Department contract expires next May, and according to the AP, officials in the Department intend to “ease out” Blackwater since many share “a mutual feeling that the Sept. 16 shooting deaths mean the company cannot continue in its current role.” Yet according to the WALL STREET JOURNAL, even if Blackwater was forced to leave Iraq, they would simply be replaced by another private security firm, since the State Department does not have the personnel available to step in:

“‘There’s just no way our system could handle trying to get hundreds of new people trained and sent to Iraq,’ said a State Department official. ‘That would be a multiyear process.'”

video link


h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

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.

Michael Chertoff Visits Topoff 4 Exercise by Alex Ansary (video)

Dandelion Salad

Alex Ansary
41 min 23 sec – 19-Oct-07

Alex Ansary

Topoff 4 took place at multiple locations in the Portland Metro area, as well as Phoenix, AR and Guam. In this clip, Mr. Chertoff visits David Douglas High School where 1100 teenagers volunteered to take part in this anti-terrorism exercise. The basketball court has been turned into a Rapid Screening Point (RSP) which is a temporary facility for high production screening of individuals with non-acute symptoms who are potentially ill or exposed to a harmful substance.

Later, a press conference with Michael Chertoff, Mayor Tom Potter and the Governor takes place. Alex Ansary was fortunate enough to get his question in first (at 23:23) which pertained to the strange nature of nearly a dozen major war games happening around the world and asked Chertoff when the American people would be told about the situation with China and Russia. (note: Mic was only on Chertoff, sorry). This question is quickly dismissed, but is later followed by an excellent question from Ginny Ross from the OTA (oregontruthalliance.org) about the driils that took place on 911. Steve Keller, another concerned reporter, asked the panel about the possible use of private military contractors in the exercise or in future law enforcement locally. In general, Chertoff pushed the message of a never ending terror threat in nearly all of his responses to the press.

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And Behind Door Number Three, World War? by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)


Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Glitzqueen’s blog
Oct. 21, 2007

Ah, what a toxic array of possibilities is spread now before Americans…

Will it be mere extension of economic ruin for all but tycoons, under Hillary or Barak or Mitt or Rudy?

Or will Shrub and Darth refuse to budge and deepen our impoverishment under openly fascistic martial law?

Or might the brewing Turkish/Kurdish skirmish ignite our next world war?

I wrote the preceding notes a week ago, expecting to raise eyebrows with further musings on how easily a Turkish advance into Kurdistan could escalate into an ultimate horror, given various energy pipeline schemes involving Turkey as a hub. But while I was working out the intricacies of allegiances, Shrub stole my thunder. His ruminations on World War III are less complicated. He’s set to invite global conflict on the sole pretext of denying Iran further nuclear know-how. Not a bomb, nor facilities equal to producing one, but simply a growing body of knowledge. New message: No more tinkering or you’re toast.

After Shrub’s calculated, pretend-casual words, the notion of World War III isn’t jaw-dropping, but there’s still some new-news in the essay I’d intended. Most outside the transnational oil and gas club would be surprised by the shape and scale of “Pipelineistan” — a term coined by Pepe Escobar in his book Globalistan: How the Globalized World Is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, Ann Arbor, MI, Dec. 2006). His volume, a far more thorough presentation of rivalries within the energy arena than I’d ever seen before, is hard slogging. While reading it, I’ve also been studying more recent antics of key players. Putin keeps popping up in the catbird seat, playing Europe and Asia against one another on behalf of Gazprom (now barely controlled by the state at 51 percent and on track to become the world’s largest corporate entity before long), and American companies keep losing out on deals at every turn.

I’ll elaborate on this lore soon, in a review of the book. For the moment, though, let’s review the prospect of World War III. Should it break out right away, we’ll probably lose. Face it, we’ve never been weaker — our treasury depleted; our debt stratospheric; our export trade based on arming other countries; our military so enfeebled it needs mercenaries; our populace dumbed-down and deluded; and respect for our nation around the globe as eroded as our civil liberties. Some Superpower we are, after three decades of policies that picked our pockets to enrich corporations with no fealty to anything but profits and tax-dodging.

So what the freak can Shrub and His Thugs be thinking? Yeah, they could bomb Iran in a heartbeat, as they’re itching to do, and embroider the tale with any lies they like. And they could instantly impose a draft, along with martial law. Whipping up a media frenzy would be harder this time, but doable, especially since they have all those concentration camps ready for dissenters. Enthusiasts could be rewarded with decent pay and benefits in defense industry jobs, as a full-bore War Economy takes off — those employees’ gains balanced against use of prisoners as slave labor, so profits wouldn’t suffer; they’d soar. The government and its corporate owners might even throw in extra enticements for willing workers, maybe letting them keep their homes and forgiving some of their debt. Meanwhile, many of the same companies, ostensibly American, could cash in on the “enemy” side, too, as quite a few U.S. firms did by operating in Hitler’s Germany.

But what if governments elsewhere kicked foreigners out and nationalized their holdings? That isn’t unthinkable. And what if there’s too much loathing here for all critics to be controlled by Shrub’s hired killers? Millions might well refuse to work for his war machine and band together in the streets, not allowing themselves to be grabbed at home off the world’s radar.

It seems too vast a chance for them to take, doesn’t it? And yet reality has never stood in their way before. Neo-cons boast that they “make their own reality,” remember.

So what do they stand to gain from waging a war they can’t win? Is helping their buddies make billions enough to justify the waste and the horror?

Well, in Iraq it has been. There’s no downside for those who created and sustain that debacle. Win or lose, the war-makers, their abettors and the investors get paid. All costs are borne by suffering Iraqis, our troops and American taxpayers.

Picture World War III as the same sort of corporate invention, but bigger: a clash of Titans, not governments but corporations wanting more and at last willing, in red ink terms, to risk some bleeding. That their proxies who do the actual fighting risk lives, limbs, health, freedom, even countries they love will be sheer sound and fury, signifying nothing to those in the boardrooms, who care only for the balance sheets and their personal hoards. No doubt Shrub craves the chance to drop bombs across Pipelineistan, where our corporations have built much less infrastructure than others. In a day or two, he could set the competitors back by a decade — and, with what he’d see as luck, the war might even spread to South America, so he could pound the latest pipeline there.

But what would this action do for us? Our foes have nukes, but why should they bother? Once we stop getting any oil, life as we know it would cease. There’d be no imports at all and government policies have made us made dependent upon them. Is the point that we’re deliberately to be made desperate, so there’ll be no more sass about rights and minimum wages?

Seems that way, doesn’t it? So any World War III that we’re pushed into fighting capriciously at this time would be a war we’d fight against ourselves.


Bush invokes threat of “World War III” by Patrick Martin

WWIII Coming Soon to Your Planet! by Jesus of Zion

Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad during the Surge by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)

The Disconnect by Michael (Bush & WWIII)

Bush’s World War Three by Michel Chossudovsky

Bush Press Conference (video)

It’s The Resistance, Stupid By Pepe Escobar

Suicide Is Not Painless by Frank Rich

Dandelion Salad

by Frank Rich
Submitted by davidswanson on Sun, 2007-10-21
After Downing Street
New York Times

It was one of those stories lost in the newspaper’s inside pages. Last week a man you’ve never heard of — Charles D. Riechers, 47, the second-highest-ranking procurement officer in the United States Air Force — killed himself by running his car’s engine in his suburban Virginia garage.

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The U.S. government routinely conducts experiments on weather modification by Chris Handy (07.30.07)

Dandelion Salad

by Chris Handy
Global Research, October 21, 2007
Daily Texan, University of Texas via U Wire – 2007-07-30

The U.S. government routinely conducts experiments on weather modification, and has been doing so for at least half a century. Previously classified under such names as “Project Cirrus” (1947) and “Project Popeye” (1966), weather modification is no longer a secret practice. In fact, a bill (S517) was sponsored in 2005 by Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a Republican, “to establish the Weather Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other purposes.” This bill did not become law. Yet, there is reason to believe that various government institutions are carrying out numerous legal and illegal weather experiments without informing the public.

This isn’t just a suspicion of the United States. The Chinese government announced in April the creation of the first-ever artificial snowfall over the city of Nagqu in Tibet. The event was only one in a series of Chinese weather modification experiments that have been going on for years. China, in fact, now conducts more cloud seeding projects than any other nation.

Cloud seeding through the use of silver iodide was discovered as a viable way to make rain clouds in 1946. In 1947, the U.S. military attempted to use this method to seed a hurricane, which later hit the Georgia coast near Savannah. In the mid-1960s, similar techniques were used in hopes of muddying the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam. The idea was to slow enemy troop movements through the introduction of inclement weather, and conversely to prevent foul weather over allies.

But cloud seeding with silver iodide is an archaic technique compared with newer advances in nanotechnology and other methods for weather monitoring and control. Microelectric Mechanical Sensors (MEMS) and the newer Global Environmental MEMS Sensors (GEMS), are extremely tiny machines used to monitor weather patterns.

No larger than dust particles, the sensors are designed to be sent up inside hurricanes and other weather systems in large numbers, reporting back data as they literally become a part of those systems. This data can later be used to improve weather forecasting and potentially control the weather through a better understanding of the complex mathematics involved in such systems. One goal is to “steer” these systems, sending them to specific targets and increasing or decreasing their size.

Another extremely controversial participant in the weather modification game is the infamous HAARP antenna grid in Gakona, Alaska. HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is an enormous array of antennas inspired by the free energy experiments of 19th-century electrical playboy Nikola Tesla. Commencing sometime around 1990, HAARP was only recently declassified, and much of the current research there is said to take place in secret.

HAARP fires massive amounts of energy into the ionosphere, heating and distorting a section up to 30 miles in diameter. There are various strange and frightening claims made about the project. It may be capable of shifting the position of the jetstream, which could impact global weather in ways that we still do not understand well. Other claims about HAARP, such as that it is part of a massive government mind-control operation or that it forms the main component of a giant death ray, are difficult to verify. But these theories are not as implausible as one might think.

Even in the face of mountains of evidence, many people still believe that weather modification of any kind is only a fantasy. People must be aware that these technologies have been around for a long time, are indeed being used and have great potential for dangerous and unethical uses. Our planet’s weather is part of a single interconnected system and any change to it, whether natural or not, affects every other element of that system. The organizations most interested in modifying this system appear to be applying their theories in incredibly irresponsible ways.

© Copyright Chris Handy, Daily Texan, University of Texas via U Wire, 2007 The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7139

It’s the Oil By Jim Holt

Dandelion Salad

By Jim Holt
10/20/07 “London Review Of Books

Iraq is ‘unwinnable’, a ‘quagmire’, a ‘fiasco’: so goes the received opinion. But there is good reason to think that, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, it is none of these things. Indeed, the US may be ‘stuck’ precisely where Bush et al want it to be, which is why there is no ‘exit strategy’.

Iraq has 115 billion barrels of known oil reserves. That is more than five times the total in the United States. And, because of its long isolation, it is the least explored of the world’s oil-rich nations. A mere two thousand wells have been drilled across the entire country; in Texas alone there are a million. It has been estimated, by the Council on Foreign Relations, that Iraq may have a further 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil; another study puts the figure at 300 billion. If these estimates are anywhere close to the mark, US forces are now sitting on one quarter of the world’s oil resources. The value of Iraqi oil, largely light crude with low production costs, would be of the order of $30 trillion at today’s prices. For purposes of comparison, the projected total cost of the US invasion/occupation is around $1 trillion.

Who will get Iraq’s oil? One of the Bush administration’s ‘benchmarks’ for the Iraqi government is the passage of a law to distribute oil revenues. The draft law that the US has written for the Iraqi congress would cede nearly all the oil to Western companies. The Iraq National Oil Company would retain control of 17 of Iraq’s 80 existing oilfields, leaving the rest – including all yet to be discovered oil – under foreign corporate control for 30 years. ‘The foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the Iraqi economy,’ the analyst Antonia Juhasz wrote in the New York Times in March, after the draft law was leaked. ‘They could even ride out Iraq’s current “instability” by signing contracts now, while the Iraqi government is at its weakest, and then wait at least two years before even setting foot in the country.’ As negotiations over the oil law stalled in September, the provincial government in Kurdistan simply signed a separate deal with the Dallas-based Hunt Oil Company, headed by a close political ally of President Bush.

How will the US maintain hegemony over Iraqi oil? By establishing permanent military bases in Iraq. Five self-sufficient ‘super-bases’ are in various stages of completion. All are well away from the urban areas where most casualties have occurred. There has been precious little reporting on these bases in the American press, whose dwindling corps of correspondents in Iraq cannot move around freely because of the dangerous conditions. (It takes a brave reporter to leave the Green Zone without a military escort.) In February last year, the Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks described one such facility, the Balad Air Base, forty miles north of Baghdad. A piece of (well-fortified) American suburbia in the middle of the Iraqi desert, Balad has fast-food joints, a miniature golf course, a football field, a cinema and distinct neighbourhoods – among them, ‘KBR-land’, named after the Halliburton subsidiary that has done most of the construction work at the base. Although few of the 20,000 American troops stationed there have ever had any contact with an Iraqi, the runway at the base is one of the world’s busiest. ‘We are behind only Heathrow right now,’ an air force commander told Ricks.

The Defense Department was initially coy about these bases. In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld said: ‘I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting.’ But this summer the Bush administration began to talk openly about stationing American troops in Iraq for years, even decades, to come. Several visitors to the White House have told the New York Times that the president himself has become fond of referring to the ‘Korea model’. When the House of Representatives voted to bar funding for ‘permanent bases’ in Iraq, the new term of choice became ‘enduring bases’, as if three or four decades wasn’t effectively an eternity.

But will the US be able to maintain an indefinite military presence in Iraq? It will plausibly claim a rationale to stay there for as long as civil conflict simmers, or until every groupuscule that conveniently brands itself as ‘al-Qaida’ is exterminated. The civil war may gradually lose intensity as Shias, Sunnis and Kurds withdraw into separate enclaves, reducing the surface area for sectarian friction, and as warlords consolidate local authority. De facto partition will be the result. But this partition can never become de jure. (An independent Kurdistan in the north might upset Turkey, an independent Shia region in the east might become a satellite of Iran, and an independent Sunni region in the west might harbour al-Qaida.) Presiding over this Balkanised Iraq will be a weak federal government in Baghdad, propped up and overseen by the Pentagon-scale US embassy that has just been constructed – a green zone within the Green Zone. As for the number of US troops permanently stationed in Iraq, the defence secretary, Robert Gates, told Congress at the end of September that ‘in his head’ he saw the long-term force as consisting of five combat brigades, a quarter of the current number, which, with support personnel, would mean 35,000 troops at the very minimum, probably accompanied by an equal number of mercenary contractors. (He may have been erring on the side of modesty, since the five super-bases can accommodate between ten and twenty thousand troops each.) These forces will occasionally leave their bases to tamp down civil skirmishes, at a declining cost in casualties. As a senior Bush administration official told the New York Times in June, the long-term bases ‘are all places we could fly in and out of without putting Americans on every street corner’. But their main day-to-day function will be to protect the oil infrastructure.

This is the ‘mess’ that Bush-Cheney is going to hand on to the next administration. What if that administration is a Democratic one? Will it dismantle the bases and withdraw US forces entirely? That seems unlikely, considering the many beneficiaries of the continued occupation of Iraq and the exploitation of its oil resources. The three principal Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards – have already hedged their bets, refusing to promise that, if elected, they would remove American forces from Iraq before 2013, the end of their first term.

Among the winners: oil-services companies like Halliburton; the oil companies themselves (the profits will be unimaginable, and even Democrats can be bought); US voters, who will be guaranteed price stability at the gas pump (which sometimes seems to be all they care about); Europe and Japan, which will both benefit from Western control of such a large part of the world’s oil reserves, and whose leaders will therefore wink at the permanent occupation; and, oddly enough, Osama bin Laden, who will never again have to worry about US troops profaning the holy places of Mecca and Medina, since the stability of the House of Saud will no longer be paramount among American concerns. Among the losers is Russia, which will no longer be able to lord its own energy resources over Europe. Another big loser is Opec, and especially Saudi Arabia, whose power to keep oil prices high by enforcing production quotas will be seriously compromised.

Then there is the case of Iran, which is more complicated. In the short term, Iran has done quite well out of the Iraq war. Iraq’s ruling Shia coalition is now dominated by a faction friendly to Tehran, and the US has willy-nilly armed and trained the most pro-Iranian elements in the Iraqi military. As for Iran’s nuclear programme, neither air strikes nor negotiations seem likely to derail it at the moment. But the Iranian regime is precarious. Unpopular mullahs hold onto power by financing internal security services and buying off elites with oil money, which accounts for 70 per cent of government revenues. If the price of oil were suddenly to drop to, say, $40 a barrel (from a current price just north of $80), the repressive regime in Tehran would lose its steady income. And that is an outcome the US could easily achieve by opening the Iraqi oil spigot for as long as necessary (perhaps taking down Venezuela’s oil-cocky Hugo Chávez into the bargain).

And think of the United States vis-à-vis China. As a consequence of our trade deficit, around a trillion dollars’ worth of US denominated debt (including $400 billion in US Treasury bonds) is held by China. This gives Beijing enormous leverage over Washington: by offloading big chunks of US debt, China could bring the American economy to its knees. China’s own economy is, according to official figures, expanding at something like 10 per cent a year. Even if the actual figure is closer to 4 or 5 per cent, as some believe, China’s increasing heft poses a threat to US interests. (One fact: China is acquiring new submarines five times faster than the US.) And the main constraint on China’s growth is its access to energy – which, with the US in control of the biggest share of world oil, would largely be at Washington’s sufferance. Thus is the Chinese threat neutralised.

Many people are still perplexed by exactly what moved Bush-Cheney to invade and occupy Iraq. In the 27 September issue of the New York Review of Books, Thomas Powers, one of the most astute watchers of the intelligence world, admitted to a degree of bafflement. ‘What’s particularly odd,’ he wrote, ‘is that there seems to be no sophisticated, professional, insiders’ version of the thinking that drove events.’ Alan Greenspan, in his just published memoir, is clearer on the matter. ‘I am saddened,’ he writes, ‘that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’

Was the strategy of invading Iraq to take control of its oil resources actually hammered out by Cheney’s 2001 energy task force? One can’t know for sure, since the deliberations of that task force, made up largely of oil and energy company executives, have been kept secret by the administration on the grounds of ‘executive privilege’. One can’t say for certain that oil supplied the prime motive. But the hypothesis is quite powerful when it comes to explaining what has actually happened in Iraq. The occupation may seem horribly botched on the face of it, but the Bush administration’s cavalier attitude towards ‘nation-building’ has all but ensured that Iraq will end up as an American protectorate for the next few decades – a necessary condition for the extraction of its oil wealth. If the US had managed to create a strong, democratic government in an Iraq effectively secured by its own army and police force, and had then departed, what would have stopped that government from taking control of its own oil, like every other regime in the Middle East? On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centred, the tactics – dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final ‘surge’ that has hastened internal migration – could scarcely have been more effective. The costs – a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) – are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success.

Still, there is reason to be sceptical of the picture I have drawn: it implies that a secret and highly ambitious plan turned out just the way its devisers foresaw, and that almost never happens.

Jim Holt writes for the New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker.

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.

Peace Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by David Swanson + Impeach Cheney 1st (MP3)

Dandelion Salad

By David Swanson
After Downing Street
Oct. 20, 2007

If you haven’t already, you really should read Chris Hedges’ book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” The portrait of war and wartime propaganda and emotion is brilliant and deadly accurate. But the headline is misleading. War does not give us lasting solid self-assured meaning. War gives us a temporary high that is rooted in desperate self-deception. Hedges’ book carries on the cover a photo of people with candles and U.S. flags, holding hands, eyes closed, mouths open. These people are smoking crack, they’re taking a two-week cruise of the Caribbean, they’re on stage at American Idol, they’re kneeling in church, they’re tapping shoes in airport men’s rooms. These people are escaping from their lives, not building lives that mean something to them. Continue reading

Bombings greet Bhutto By Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

By Eric Margolis
Toronto Sun
Sun, October 21, 2007

Deadly attack mars historic return from exile

On Thursday morning, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto arrived in Karachi, as she told me she would two weeks ago in London.

Huge crowds in the Bhutto family’s traditional power base received her with rapture and adulation.

Her enemies greeted her with two horrific bombs that killed more than 130 and wounded hundreds more, underlining the growing violence now consuming Pakistan.

While Washington and even the First Lady Laura Bush have been blasting Burma’s military junta for brutal repression, Pakistan’s U.S.-backed military junta, which receives $1 billion monthly in covert U.S. payments, is waging war against its own restive people, thousands of whom have been killed by the armed forces.

Shooting and beating rebellious Buddhist monks is evil; shooting and beating rebellious Muslim religious leaders is “anti-terrorism.”

I wished Benazir bon voyage just before she left Dubai for her historic return home, and cautioned her that my extensive reader mail from Pakistan was running very much against her because of the deal she had made with military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf to allow her return.

The widespread view among Pakistanis is that Benazir’s return and impending political power-sharing with Musharraf was engineered by Washington to add a veneer of legitimacy of democracy to his discredited military regime.

Unless Bhutto can quickly and decisively distance herself from Musharraf and his Bush administration sponsors, and show she is really in charge as prime minister, she and her cause may be gravely tarnished.

As reported in my recent columns, the U.S. has filled all senior positions in Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence service, ISI, with pro-American generals approved by the Pentagon and CIA. Even if Musharraf is ousted or blown up, the U.S. believes it can retain firm control over Pakistan and use its armed forces to wage war there and in Afghanistan against nationalist and Islamist forces battling western influence.

The military rules Pakistan. Musharraf and his American patrons run Pakistan’s military.

So what is left for future prime minister Bhutto? If Pakistanis conclude she is being cynically used, her political career could founder. If she can somehow push Musharraf and his generals back to their barracks, she will emerge triumphant.


Given the dizzying current political confusion between Musharraf, Bhutto, the Supreme Court, and exiled former PM Nawaz Sharif, it’s impossible to predict what will happen next.

But one thing is certain: recent polls show a majority of Pakistanis believe America under President George W. Bush has launched a war against Islam, and that Musharraf is America’s agent.

These disturbing beliefs could easily lead to increasing violence, even full-scale civil war.

Even if Musharraf and Bhutto eventually agree on some form of power-sharing, they will find themselves riding a tiger.

America’s 2001 invasion and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan, and Washington’s ongoing efforts to control Pakistan’s government, have ignited a spreading regional insurrection against western influence.

If the simmering civil war in nuclear-armed Pakistan blows into a wider conflict, the result will be an exceptionally dangerous world crisis in which nuclear-armed India could quickly become involved.

Iran factor

The growing threat of a U.S. attack on Iran will only deepen and spread the danger. An explosion in Pakistan would also isolate U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s most important national institution, the armed forces, has failed its duty to the nation.

Instead of allowing itself to be rented like the sepoys in the mercenary armies of Britain’s 19th century Imperial Indian Raj, Pakistan’s military should be assuring its commanders serve the interest of the nation, rather than foreign powers.

It’s true $1 billion a month rents a lot of co-operation. But Pakistan’s once proud soldiers have sold their honour cheap.

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.

Benazir Bhutto’s speech after assassination attempt (videos)

Bhutto bombing kicks off war on US plan by Syed Saleem Shahzad