(Koo-sin-ich Re-mix) Dennis 4 Michigan Version (video)

Dandelion Salad


January 15th, Michigan Primary:

Voter Info:

Please spread this video and word about the Kucinich campaign widely. Copy and paste the Koo-sin-ich Remix & Original Koo-sin-ich Video links into an e-mail to your friends, especially your friends who don’t know who Kucinich is.
Michigan Remix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d2C0G…
Original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZoftT…

You can also download better quality copies of the videos for reposting elsewhere:

Viral Video Campaign Spot (Remix): Designed to draw attention to the Kucinich 2008 campaign issues the so called “top tier” avoid talking about – YOUR ISSUES.

We have a Real Choice this Primary Election.

Get involved with the Kucinich Campaign:

“Dennis Thumbs Up” source footage from George Lois’ 2004 Kucinich TV ad (used with permission):

Music track featured in the spot by Hybrid:



Olbermann: Taking Nothing For Granite + Primary Numbers + Poll Position + Bushed! (videos)

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Jan. 9, 2008

Taking Nothing For Granite 

Keith talks to Richard Wolffe.

Now What?

Keith talks with Dana Milbank.

Primary Numbers

Keith talks with David Shuster.

Poll Position 

Keith talks with Craig Crawford.






Silvestro the cat & the NH election (video; voter fraud) + Polls Wildly Different Than Results

Kucinich said NH shows race wide open + Clinton and McCain win US primary

01.08.08 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

Selected Episode

Jan. 8, 2008


For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
“Bush to Meet with Olmert & Abbas,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Tight Security for Bush’s Visit to Jerusalem,” IBA TV, Israel
“Showdown at the Straits of Hormuz,” Dubai TV, UAE
“A Town Surrounded by Settlements,” Dubai TV, UAE
“US Cannot Isolate Iran,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“A Dark Gaza,”Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Bedouins Uprooted in the Negev,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“UNIFIL Patrol Attacked in Lebanon,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“The Trial of Sha’ban Resumes,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Why Ron Paul’s left-wing champions are wrong by Elizabeth Schulte

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by Elizabeth Schulte
January 11, 2008

ELIZABETH SCHULTE challenges those on the left who speak out for Republican Ron Paul on the basis of his opposition to the war.

MAYBE YOU’VE seen them at antiwar protests–supporters of the “Love Revolution” of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. In Chicago, Paul backers hired a plane with a banner to fly over the demonstration in October. Continue reading

Don’t Be a Sucker (1947; must-see video)

Dandelion Salad

Replaced video May 10, 2013

weirdovideos | Sep 29, 2007

Glamdering wrote:

The footage is old, the concepts are older, but they’ve never been more applicable than they are today.

Never forget what it is that makes America great especially as our cultural dialogue focuses and polarizes around race, religion and cultural identity.

SB 1070? 9/11 Mosques? Is Obama a Muslim? Socialist?

Footage dates back to a 1947 documentary entitled Don’t Be A Sucker produced by the US Government. I’ve added the comment at the end and shot the color footage.

Continue reading

Ron Paul’s NH Primary Speech 1-8-08 (videos)

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C-Span’s coverage of Ron Paul’s New Hampshire Primary Speech 1-8-08.

Added: January 09, 2008


On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Who is Ron Paul? (video)

Tucker: Ron Paul Revealed (videos) + Paul’s Response

Silvestro the cat & the NH election (video; voter fraud) + Polls Wildly Different Than Results

Ron Paul On CNN in NH (video)

This System’s Achilles’ Heel By Malcolm Martin

Dandelion Salad

By Malcolm Martin
08/01/08 “

The American electorate again slogged through the political muck to try to be heard in 2006. Their effort turned out to be an exercise in complete futility or the nation’s symbol of anti-war motherhood Cindy Sheehan would not be challenging the nation’s first female House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2008. The experience, frustrating as it was, will open more minds to the real source of our oppression and the true telling of our nation’s history. The fact is that the story of the United States of America is bound up in the birth and rise of capitalism, and the nation’s present descent into dictatorship is part of the same economic system’s decline and inevitable death.

Coincidental with the birth of the US, fueled by the Industrial Revolution, the capitalist system was beginning to break the brutish shackles of feudalism on the people of that day. At the same time capitalism began creating the only force capable of destroying it—the working class. Nascent capitalism enjoyed explosive growth and it spawned revolutions around the world, including the American Revolution. The young and dynamic economic system found that a bourgeois democracy was the most fertile soil for development. The new nation and several other rising industrial countries adopted this form of government.

From the birth of the republic, capitalism has been able to provide the American people with several powerful incentives to buy into the program. Five percent of the world’s population is invited to consume 30% of the world’s resources by way of imperialism. Then the white American majority is invited to enjoy a disproportionate share of that material wealth by way of racism. An especially comfortable place is provided to politicians, intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats, and entertainers in the narrow strata of society Marx called the petty bourgeois.

Nowadays though, the deal with the capitalist devil is becoming more and more difficult to keep! The U.S. is being integrated into a global economy as capitalism searches for the lowest possible wage and the greatest possible profit. The process is steadily reshaping ours into a subsistence-wage service economy. The jobs of elite industrial workers, from auto and steelworkers to airline pilots, are disappearing across the country along with their health benefits and pensions. Even white Americans have begun to feel the pain of a declining standard of living. It is a process that will not be reversed.

Capitalism’s contradictory impulses have begun bumping into each other. It’s happening in the ongoing national debate on immigration and it happened in the recent Dubai Ports World controversy. Profits remain the system’s lifeblood so the ruling class craves an immigrant guest worker program and the United Arab Emirates’ petrodollars but the rabid anti-immigrant and anti-Arab sentiment coursing through U.S. society blocked that path to greater riches. The situation is worsening though. No matter the potential backlash now, desperate crumbling financial pillars of the system like Citicorp and Morgan Stanley are happily accepting the sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi, Singapore and China.

Racism and xenophobia and nationalism and patriotism and every other tactic of division have been promoted relentlessly by capitalism with good reason. White supremacy, Black Nationalism, religious fundamentalism, sexism, homophobia, and all the crackpot schemes and the nihilistic cults of the bourgeoisie, like al-Qaeda, are dead ends for all of us who work. In contrast, our unity would be a poison arrow shot into this system’s Achilles’ heel.

Now as capitalism enters its final stage, a nearly seamless political transition to fascism is well underway in the United States. The mass media, the electoral machinery, and both major political parties are under corporate control. The trappings of bourgeois democracy are a hindrance on profits and so they are being shredded. The Constitution and its Bill of Rights are being rendered meaningless by plans for perpetual war, by presidential signing statements and the theory of the unitary executive, extraordinary rendition, government surveillance programs and the like. Programs based on democratic principles like the public schools, Social Security, and Medicare are being starved to death. Separate and parallel Internet and military forces are being constructed along with internment camps and the legal construct for a martial law declaration. Blackwater is the growing private military force of the ruling class, protecting them in Baghdad and patrolling the streets of New Orleans for them now. Because there are too many sons and daughters of the working class in the US military it can not be trusted by the bourgeoisie when the order is given to attack the American people. Likely the two militaries will one day face each other in combat.

Bloodless coups in 2000 and 2004 installed George W. Bush in the White House and it would take a team of psychoanalysts and profilers to catalogue the many and varied mental pathologies of Bush and his henchmen in the U.S. government. The point to keep in mind is that in this time and in this place the capitalist system required barely human persons in power capable of carrying out insane and grotesquely inhumane policies, up to and including nuclear warfare. Capitalism, like the HAL 9000 computer onboard the spaceship Discovery in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey is out of the control of its makers. The system now has only human sentinels, best represented by the so-called Neo-Conservatives in ruling circles.

American bourgeois democracy is being held under water. It will drown, never to be resuscitated. The liberal intelligentsia of the petty bourgeois spins its wheels in the mud of this reality. On this point Al Gore’s quixotic campaign to sound the alarm on the ecological disaster right around the corner is instructive. In An Inconvenient Truth Gore lays out the incontrovertible facts of global warming, hoping to organize and agitate to a tipping point that changes governmental policy. A young Al Gore saw Dr. Martin Luther King do just that in his confrontation with racism. Despite titling his recent book “The Assault On Reason” Gore and clings to the idea that rationality still has influence in American ruling circles. The real inconvenient truth is that even the great Dr. King could not generate an effective civil rights movement in this era and that the rape of the planet will not end until a stake is driven into the heart of capitalism.

The sad truth is that the petty bourgeois cannot defeat the capitalist ruling class! They are a timid and passive group who, in this time for warriors, gather at the gates of the palace to nag and complain essentially to each other. There are scores of Internet websites, magazines, newspapers, radio programs and networks, and some small television networks where liberal, left, progressive, and other commentators show up to whine out loud. They rail against the outrages and inhumanity of the U.S. government and the Bush Administration. They point out the duplicity, the corruption, the hypocrisy, the inhumanity, and the utter criminality loosed in the world today but to no useful end since capitalism will not be reformed nor shamed to death. Pointing out the defects of capitalism has become as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. The ruling class brushes its liberal democratic critics off like gnats as long as they stay away from the third rail. But let one of these voices dare mention unity based on working class-consciousness and a mobilization to strike at profits and great danger would shortly thereafter visit.

No matter the danger, it must begin to be spoken by a warrior vanguard: socialism is the only way humankind will live into the distant future on this planet. Only a working class with a consciousness of itself and united across all racial, national and cultural boundaries is capable of seizing power. Only a working class in power will see to the end of this madness and willingly share our available resources for the sake of human survival.

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Expanding Police State: Operation Falcon Raid By Mike Whitney (audio; 11.07; article)

Dandelion Salad



There’s only one way to make sure that the machinery of state-terror is operating at maximum efficiency; flip on the switch and let er rip. That was thinking behind the massive roundup of 10,000 American citizens in what was aptly-christened Operation Falcon.

Award winning journalist Mike Whitney

First broadcast on 11/07/2007

Audio link


The Secret Raids of Alberto Gonzales

Operation Falcon: 10,000 Swept Up

By Mike Whitney
05/18/05 “Counterpunch

There’s only one way to make sure that the machinery of state-terror is operating at maximum efficiency; flip on the switch and let er rip. That was thinking behind last month’s massive roundup of 10,000 American citizens in what was aptly-christened Operation Falcon.

Operation Falcon was a massive clandestine dragnet that involved hundreds of state, federal and local law-enforcement agencies during the week of April 4 to April 10, 2005. It was the largest criminal-sweep in the nation’s history and was brainchild of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his counterpart in the US Marshal’s office, (Director) Ben Reyna.

The secret-raids “produced the largest number of arrests ever recorded during a single initiative,” Reyna boasted.

The details are mind-boggling. Over 960 agencies (state, local and federal) were directly involved acting on 13,800 felony warrants and spending nearly $900,000 on the operation. As the conservative Washington Times noted, “The sweep was a virtual clearinghouse for warrants on drug, gang, gun and sex-offender suspects nationwide.”

It’s clear that the Marshal’s office knew where the vast majority of the suspects were or they never would have had such stunning success rounding them up; which, of course, begs the question, “Why did they wait to apprehend alleged’ murderers, when they already knew where they were hiding?”

According to the press releases, which celebrated the dazzling display of law enforcement, the raids netted “162 accused or convicted of murder, 638 wanted for armed robbery, 553 wanted for rape or sexual assault, 154 gang members and 106 unregistered sex offenders.” (CNN)

Okay, that’s roughly 1,000 criminals; what about the other 9,000? Traffic tickets, late child-support payments, jay-walking???

“We’re really amazed. We had no idea we’d apprehend more than 10,000 bad guys,” said one federal law enforcement official who asked not to be identified. “We didn’t know what to expect, but the response from law enforcement personnel everywhere was truly amazing.” (CNN)

The media’s approbation does little to disguise the real purpose of Operation Falcon. (which is an acronym for “Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally.”)

The Bush administration is sharpening its talons for the inevitable difficulties it expects to face as a result of its disastrous policies. With each regressive initiative, the governing cabal seems to get increasingly paranoid, anticipating an outburst of public rage. Now, they’re orchestrating massive round-ups of minor crooks to make sure that every cog and gear in the apparatus of state repression is lubricated and ready to go.

Rest assured that Attorney General Gonzales has absolutely no interest in the petty offenders that were netted in this extraordinary crackdown. His action is just another indication that the noose is tightening around the neck of the American public and that the Bush team is fully prepared for any unpleasant eventualities. They want to make sure that everyone knows that they’re ready when its time to thin out the ranks of mutinous citizens.

(Note: to date, the US Marshall’s office has issued no public statement to the press as to whether the 10,000 people arrested in operation Falcon have been processed or released.)

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Police State America – A Look Back and Ahead by Stephen Lendman

License and (Voter) Registration, Please By Stephanie Mencimer

Dandelion Salad

By Stephanie Mencimer
Mother Jones
January 8, 2008

Washington Dispatch: On Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear what may be the most significant voting rights case since Bush v. Gore—and it could affect the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.

Ever since the 2000 presidential election, Republicans have been aggressively promoting the notion that Americans everywhere are impersonating their neighbors or dead people so they can sneak into polling booths and pull a few extra levers for Democrats. In 2006, according to the New York Times, Karl Rove told a group of GOP lawyers that election fraud was “an enormous and growing” problem, alleging that in some parts of the country “we have elections like those run in countries where the guys in charge are colonels in mirrored sunglasses.”

Egged on by the White House, GOP legislators in many states responded by passing legislation they claimed would restore integrity to the system by forcing voters to show government-issued ID before casting a ballot. Partisan interests in these laws have been only thinly veiled, largely because voter-ID laws prevent a lot of people from voting, specifically poor, elderly, and minority voters who disproportionately vote Democratic. Last year, when Texas was considering such a law, the former political director of the Texas Republican Party told the Houston Chronicle that requiring photo ID could cause legitimate Democratic voting to drop off enough to boost GOP prospects by 3 percent.


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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

01.07.08 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

Selected Episode

Jan. 7, 2008


For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
“Israeli & Palestinian Negotiators Meet Ahead of Bush’s Visit,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Israel Prepares to Welcome Bush,” IBA TV, Israel
“Initiative to Provide Solution to Lebanese Crisis,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Iranian Boats Intercept US Ships,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“New Round of Western Sahara Talks Begins,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Arabs Pity Their Leaders,” Syria TV, Syria
“Marriage Declines Amongst Youth in Jordan,” Jordan TV, Jordan
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

It’s the End of the World as We know it #25 (video)

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This week:

1. Pakistan mayhem
2. What if Bush died?
3. Nuclear Jihad
4. Gore in Bali-Wood
5. $100 Oil
6. R.E.M.
7. 2008 New Year’s Revolutions
8. ACT Up’s Queeruption

support this podcast by purchasing books and DVD’s from our store.

January 08, 2008

Indymedia US NewsReal January 2008 (video)

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On NEWSREAL, people — not corporations — make the news! NEWSREAL is a monthly compilation of coverage from citizen journalists (like you!) across the nation.

NEWSREAL’s goals are to embolden the global movement for social, environmental, and economic justice, strengthen non-corporate communication networks, and to encourage authentic participatory democracy, one community at a time.

Strong voices of the people. Keep sending in your segment contributions! And spread the word!

Submission details are here:



Here’s the lineup for the January episode of Indymedia Newsreal:

Shanti Sellz: I Am An American
Producer: Cindy Weber
Pato Productions
Profile of a humanitarian aid worker on the U.S.-Mexico Border.

The Los Angeles Burrito Project
Producer: Paola Gomez
A bike-distributed, tortilla-encased food-to-the-needy project in L.A.

End Executions
Producer: Houston Indymedia
A spirited march and rally against capital punishment in Houston, Texas.

Scar Presents No Borders Camp
Producer: Scar Media Collective
The trailer for a forthcoming full-length documentary about the 2007 No Borders Camp in Calexico/Mexicali.

“Indymedia NewsReal” is a monthly joint project of Free SpeechTV (http://www.freespeech.org) and the Independent Media Center (http://www.indymedia.org/en/index.shtml ). It brings stories of progressive grassroots organizing, going on in backyards everywhere, to a national television audience. Each program covers actions taken in local communities, by ordinary people, to address critical issues like the war, air and water pollution, reproductive rights, homelessness, for-profit prisons, sweatshops, racism, police brutality, indigenous struggles, and more. The Seattle PepperSpray Collective contributes segments to the “NewsReal” Project. In addition, we do the dubbing/mailing of the finished “NewsReal” for community screeners each month, and we also build the program’s outreach by featuring the monthly “NewsReal” on “Indymedia Presents.”

January 08, 2008

“Guardians of Power” by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, January 9, 2008

Reviewing David Cromwell and David Edwards’ book

David Cromwell is a Scottish writer, activist and oceanographer at the National Oceanography Centre in Britain. David Edwards is also a UK writer who focuses on human rights, the environment and the media. Together they edit an extraordinary “UK-based media-watch project” called Media Lens. It “offers authoritative criticism of mainstream media bias and censorship, as well as providing in-depth analysis, quotes, media contact details and other resources.”

Today, the media is in crisis, and a free and open society is at risk. Fiction substitutes for fact, news is carefully filtered, dissent is marginalized, and supporting the powerful substitutes for full and accurate reporting. As a result, wars of aggression are called liberating ones, civil liberties are suppressed for our own good, and patriotism means going along with governments that are lawless.

The authors challenge these views and those in the mainstream who reflect them – the managers, editors and journalists. Their aim in Media Lens and their writing is to “raise public awareness” to see “reality” as they do, free from the corrupting influence of media corporations and their single-minded pursuit of profit “in a society dominated by corporate power” and governments acting as their handmaiden. They note that Pravda was a state propaganda organ so “why should we expect the corporate press to tell the truth about corporate power” and unfettered capitalism when they support it? They don’t and never will.

The authors go further and say their “aim is to increase rational awareness, critical thought and compassion, and to decrease greed, hatred and ignorance (and do it by) highlight(ing) significant examples of systemic media distortion.” There are no shortage of examples.

That objective is highlighted in their 2006 book, “Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media” and subject of this review. It’s a work distinguished author John Pilger calls “required reading” and “the most important book about journalism (he) can remember” since Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s classic – “Manufacturing Dissent.” Cromwell and Edwards “have done the job of true journalists: they have set the record straight” in contrast to the mainstream that distorts and corrupts it for the powerful. Their book is must reading and will be reviewed in-depth, chapter by chapter, to show why. It’s also why no major broadsheet ever mentions it or its important content. This review covers lots of it.

The Mass Media – Neutral, Honest, Psychopathic

Years ago, journalist and author AJ Liebling said “The press is free only to those who own one.” He also warned that “People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.” “Guardians of Power” lifts the confusion powerfully. It starts off noting that the term media is “problematic.” It’s the plural of medium suggesting something neutral, and news organizations want us to believe “they transmit information in a similarly neutral, natural way” which, of course, they never do. Why? Because corporate giants are dominant, and large corporate entities control the media.

The authors thus argue that the entire corporate mass media, including broadcasters like BBC and the so-called mislabeled “liberal media,” function as a “propaganda system for elite interests.” It’s especially true for topics like “US-UK government responsibility for genocide, vast corporate criminality, (and) threats to the very existence of human life – (they’re) distorted, suppressed, marginalized or ignored.” Cromwell and Edwards present documented forensic proof to set the record straight and expose corporate media duplicity.

Doing it requires “understanding (that) curious abstract entity – the corporation,” more specifically publicly-owned ones. They’re required by law to maximize shareholder equity and do it by increasing revenue and profits. Corporate law prohibits boards of directors and senior executives from being friends of the earth, good community members or whatever else may detract from that primary goal. Social responsibility is off the table if it reduces profits, and executives who ignore that mandate may be sued or fired for so doing.

That led Canadian law professor Joel Bakan to call corporations “psychopathic creatures” that can’t recognize or act morally or avoid committing harm. It shows up at home and in foreign wars of aggression with Iraq as Exhibit A that’s the focus of three of the book’s 13 chapters.

First, an explanation of what Chomsky and Herman called the “propaganda model” in “Manufacturing Dissent” and that Herman later wrote about in “The Myth of the Liberal Media.” It works by focusing on “the inequality of wealth and power” and how those with it “filter out the news to print, marginalize dissent (and assure) government and dominant private interests” control all information the public gets. It’s done through a set of “filters” that remove what’s to be suppressed and “leav(es) only the cleansed (acceptable) residue fit to print” or broadcast on-air. The media is largely shaped by market forces and bottom line considerations. They also rely on advertisers for most of their revenue and are pressured to assure content conforms to their views.

More generally, the dominant media serve wealth and power interests that include their own as well as other corporate giants. They thus rely on “official sources” for news and information and ignore others considered “unreliable.” More accurately, they ignore the unempowered who have no say or whose views are out of the “mainstream.”

Media expert, Robert McChesney, explains the dilemma by saying publishers know their journalists must appear neutral and unbiased when, in fact, that notion is “entirely bogus” for three reasons:

— to appear neutral, journalists rely on “official sources” as legitimate news and opinion when, in fact, they’re not;

— a news “hook” or dramatic event is needed to justify covering a story, but the power elite does the selecting to serve its own interests; and

— advertisers apply pressure so content favors or at least won’t offend them.

McChesney also explains that “balanced (journalism) smuggles in values conducive to the commercial aims of the owners and advertisers, as well as the political aims of the owning class.” And as their power grows, so does their control over what news and information people get as well as a tsunami of sports and entertainment to divert and distract from what matters most.

Iraq – The Sanctions of Mass Destruction

The authors cite British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “big bad lie” in making a “moral case for war” for which there was none. Two years later, the Iraqi Planning Ministry and UN reported that almost one quarter of children aged five or under suffered from malnutrition. That condition was even worse than the appalling situation under economic sanctions and the destruction of the country that began after Saddam invaded Kuwait in August, 1990. Four days later, Operation Desert Shield was launched. It began with US-dictated economic sanctions, a large military buildup in the region, and a sweeping PR campaign for war that became Operation Desert Storm on January 17, 1991.

Before it ended on February 28, US forces committed grievous war crimes that included gratuitous mass killings as well as bombings to destroy essential to life facilities of almost everything imaginable. The dominant media ignored the human cost along with removed power, clean water, sanitation, fuel, transportation, medical facilities, adequate food, schools, private dwellings and places of employment. A defenseless nation was leveled by a ruthless superpower. It was only the beginning.

Twelve years of crushing genocidal sanctions followed. The results were predictable and devastating. Normal life was impossible and became a daily struggle to survive. By the mid-1990s, it was apparent many hadn’t and wouldn’t going forward. The media ignored it and instead blamed Saddam for what Washington and the West caused. The authors note that in the face of ugly facts, Tony Blair “once again employ(ed) his favoured strategy – passionately ‘sincere’ truth-reversal.”

That and clear facts on the ground got two UN heads of Iraqi humanitarian relief to resign in anger with Dennis Halliday in 1998 saying he did so because he “had been instructed to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over one million individuals, children and adults” including 5000 Iraqi children monthly in his judgment. The media was silent then and ever since in spite of appalling evidence of war crimes in plain sight.

Consider the so-called Oil-for-Food program as well. It was adopted under UN Resolution 986 in 1995 but was hopelessly inadequate by design. An internal 1999 UN report revealed it provided about 21 cents a day for food and 4 cents more for medicines with vitally needed items banned or in short supply. Everything considered potentially “duel use” was blocked including chlorine to purify water, vital medical equipment, chemotherapy and pain-killing drugs, ambulances and whatever else Washington wished to withhold punitively. The consequences were horrific, the media was silent, and instead supported Blair’s, Clinton’s (and now Bush’s) “moral war.”

As the authors put it: “With the wholehearted complicity of the media, the US and UK governments were able to blame the Iraqi regime for the suffering” it didn’t cause and could do nothing to prevent. “Supported by a wave of propaganda, journalists were able to pass over the West’s responsibility for vast crimes against humanity.” Examples abound like BBC’s John Simpson restricting his comments on “Western responsibility for genocide” to 16 words in one sentence in a November, 2002 on-air documentary.

The authors noted that nine months after Media Lens was launched in 2001, they “began to realise the extent to which even high-profile journalists were unable to defend their arguments” in the face of overwhelming evidence refuting them. They tried nonetheless, still do and it keeps getting worse.

Iraq Disarmed – Burying the 1991-98 Weapons Inspections

To make its case for the March, 2003 invasion, Bush and Blair promoted two “myth(s) of non-cooperation” – that Saddam refused to cooperate with UNSCOM weapons inspectors up to 1998 and had retained deadly WMD stockpiles that threatened the region and western interests. One big lie followed another like Saddam expelled weapons inspectors in December, 1998. In fact, he was remarkably cooperative in the face abusive intrusions few nations would ever tolerate and if demanded of the US would be impossible.

Making false claims was part of the scheme to attack and occupy the country as Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill discovered in the earliest days of the administration. He saw a secret memorandum preparing for war and a Pentagon document that discussed dividing up Iraq’s energy reserves among western Big Oil giants. The road to war was launched with no turning back even though Scott Ritter, UNSCOM’s chief weapons inspector, confirmed the following: that Bill Clinton ordered his team out of Iraq in December, 1998 on the eve of Operation Desert Fox, and the country was fundamentally disarmed with 90 – 95% of its (chemical and biological) WMDs “verifiably eliminated” at the time. There was no nuclear program.

Further, whatever remained didn’t “constitute a weapons program….only bits and pieces of useless sludge” past their limited shelf life. Conclusion: “Iraq cooperated in” its disarmament, but the US nonetheless manufactured a conflict in December, 1998 that was a precursor for the big one ahead. It was also learned that CIA spies operated with arms inspectors to get information the Clinton administration used for its attack. When it ended, Saddam wouldn’t allow inspectors back in and justifiably called them spies.

All along, the media reported the official line, ignored the truth and were thus complicit in the crimes of state they supported. The authors noted a “remarkable feature of media performance – that large numbers of individual journalists can come to move as an obedient herd despite easily available evidence contradicting the consensus view.” As it always is, “This was standard right across the media” that never lets facts conflict with their servility to power.

The authors also point to an “astonishing media omission” they call “the sludge of mass destruction” and cite CIA as the source. In a 1990 briefing, the spy agency stated: “(Iraq’s) Botulinum toxin (its biological weapons) is nonpersistent, degrading rapidly in the environment” and only has a shelf life of a year when stored below 27 degrees Celcius. Further, Scott Ritter debunked Tony Blair’s specter of an Iraq weaponized VX nerve agent. He confirmed UNSCOM found and blew up a VX factory in 1996. Iraq no longer could produce it and any amount remaining was worthless sludge. Comments from the media – support for Tony Blair and silence on the facts.

Iraq – Gunning for War and Burying the Dead

Throughout their book and with ample documentation, the authors eloquently and persuasively make their case. They conclusively prove without a doubt that “the role of the media is merely to channel the view of power (to allow it) to do as it pleases (so) the public will (only) be told what the powerful believe right, wrong, good and bad….all other views are ignored as irrelevant….” That’s what passes for mainstream journalism in the West without even a hiccup of contradiction or hint of remorse. Doing otherwise is viewed as “crusading journalism….no matter how corrupt the interests and goals driving war.” Noam Chomsky put it this way: “The basic principle, rarely violated, is what conflicts with the requirements of power and privilege does not exist.”

In the case of Iraq, the media fell right in line leading up to the conflict and once it began. It didn’t matter they were being used or that they were callously indifferent to “the immorality of the US-UK attack and the (appalling) suffering” it caused. The little touched on above can only hint at the human toll and plain fact that the “cradle of civilization” was erased by design and reinvented as a free market paradise for profit with the grand prize being Iraq’s immense, mostly undeveloped oil reserves.

Then, there’s the body count with estimates from 1990 to March, 2003 ranging up to 1.5 million or more deaths, two-thirds being children under age five. Post-US/UK invasion, it’s even more staggering from the highly respected Lancet, UK ORB polling firm, UNICEF and other sources – up to two million deaths with UNICEF data estimating 800,000 children under age five.

Slaughter on this scale is incontrovertible genocide under the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It “means any (acts of this type mass-killing) committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the national, ethnical, racial or religious group (by) killing (its) members; causing (them) serious bodily or mental harm; (or) deliberately inflicting (on them) conditions (that may destroy them in whole or in part).” By this standard alone, three US administrations and two in Britain are criminally liable. Additionally, there’s what the Nuremberg Tribunal called “the supreme international crime” against peace, and the level of culpability overwhelms.

Throughout it all, the media was unperturbed and continues to back the most appalling crimes of war and against humanity like they never happened. Consider this audacious comment from BBC political editor, Andrew Marr, from his 2004 book on British journalism: Those in the trade “are employed to be studiously neutral, expressing little emotion and certainly no opinion; millions of people would say that news is the conveying of fact, and nothing more.” The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

It continued as the media uniformly extolled the transfer of “sovereignty” in June, 2004 without mentioning that no legitimate government can exist under occupation and certainly not one turned to rubble. The authors quoted noted British journalist Robert Fisk saying “Alice in Wonderland could not have improved on this. The looking glass reflects all the way from Baghdad to Washington” with a stopover in London. Since it was formed, the “Iraqi government” is impotent. All power is in Washington, liberation is an illusion, and so is the notion of a free and democratic Iraq that was never part of the plan. Democracies are messy and the reason they’re not tolerated.

Afghanistan – Let Them East Grass

The authors quote media expert Edward Herman on how the major media and other experts “normalize the unthinkable” by ignoring the most appalling state-sponsored crimes, doubting their severity and believing ends justify means. Bottom line – poor people of color in developing nations don’t count, and the “art of successful mainstream journalism is to (convey this) without the public noticing.”

For the media on Afghanistan, the war largely ended when Kabul fell on November 13, 2001, a scant five weeks after it began on October 7. The bombing continued, but “the war was suddenly yesterday’s news,” and only Taliban crimes mattered. Ignored was what John Pilger wrote in his newest book “Freedom Next Time” – that “Through all the humanitarian crises in living memory, no country has been abused and suffered more, and none helped less than Afghanistan.” He then described what was more like a moonscape than a functioning nation. Little has changed since, but the major media are uniformly silent. All that matters is the “war on terrorism” that justifies occupation, continued conflict, mass suffering and death.

The authors cited a surreal example – “In the land of the blind, (a) one-eyed lion is news.” Against the backdrop of mass human suffering and deaths, ITN journalists reported on the plight of “Marjan” in Kabul’s zoo, and that a team of vets flew in to help. The network later mentioned that “Marjan” died as it callously ignored conditions on the ground for Afghanistan’s human population who remain unnamed and matter less than a lion. Conditions for them are appalling with humanitarian agencies reporting they saw “people (without food) still eating grass” in January 2002.

This contrasts with state-sponsored propaganda that Afghanistan is now free from “fear, uncertainty and chaos,” and the US and UK “act(ed) benignly, and (the)humanitarian military assault is beneficial.” Again, reality can’t deny the official message so blamed for continuing conflict are the “meddlesome Afghans (who) are undermining our good work.” Out of sight and mind are the real motives behind the 9/11 attack and the price Afghans (and Iraqis) pay for it.

Also ignored is why we occupy their country. It has nothing to do with terrorism, humanitarian intervention or democracy. It has everything to do with imperial gain. The result is an unimaginable level of suffering that continues today under a puppet government, a brutal occupation, and no end to either in sight. Try getting that type report in the mainstream.

Kosovo – Real Bombs, Fictional Genocide

No recent conflict in memory evoked more popular support on the right and left than the 1990s Balkan wars. They culminated in 1999 with a 78 day NATO air assault on Serbia whose leader, Slobadon Milosevic, was unfairly cast as the villain. The conflict lasted from March 24 to June 10 on the pretext of protecting Kosovo’s Albanian population. It was all a ruse. Kosovo is a Serbian province. It still is, but it’s under NATO occupation with plans to make it independent and complete the “Balkanization” of Yugoslavia.

In the run-up to war, the propaganda was familiar. Tony Blair called it “a battle between good and evil; between civilization and barbarity; between democracy and dictatorship.” British defence secretary, George Robertson, was even worse saying intervention was needed to stop “a regime which is bent on genocide,” and Bill Clinton also raised the specter of “genocide.” Each case was the equivalent of elevating Bunker Hill to Mt. Everest or maybe the heavens.

So how did unreported facts on the ground refute the official myth? The Balkan wars destroyed a country to keep predatory capitalism on a roll for new markets, valued resources and cheap exploitable labor. Slobadon Milosevic was the fall guy and ended up in the Hague where he was hung out to dry by the ICTY US-run court. There he was effectively silenced, denied proper medical care and forced in the end to take his secrets to the grave with him.

Earlier, however, war raged in his country for 78 mercilessly days as a sort of earlier version of “shock and awe.” NATO bombing killed 500 civilians, caused an estimated $100 billion in damage, and according to Amnesty International (AI), was responsible for “serious violations of the laws of war leading in a number of cases to the unlawful killing of civilians.” Translated in language AI rarely uses – NATO committed war crimes, but only its victims were punished. They were carried out on the pretext of averting a humanitarian crisis that didn’t exist so NATO invented one.

Here are facts unreported in the mainstream. One month before the bombing, the German Foreign Office stated that a “feared humanitarian catastrophe threatening the Albanian civil population had been averted (and) public life (in larger cities) returned to relative normality.” Instead of genocide, NATO reported after the war that 2000 people were killed in Kosovo on all sides in the year prior to the bombing, and the US-backed Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) did most of it.

NATO’s attack was the culprit. It caused a humanitarian crisis, and the flood of refugees occurred when the bombing began. So did lootings, killings, rape, kidnappings and pillage according to an OSCE study. The media response was breathtaking. It “exactly reverse(d) cause and effect suggesting that bombing was justified (to halt) the flood of refugees it had in fact created.” Once again, the lies were breathtaking.

The authors note that like for the Iraq conflict, this war “was made possible by audacious government manipulation of a public denied access to the truth by an incompetent and structurally corrupt media. Every British paper (and American ones, of course) except one took a pro-war line” editorially, and journalists “proudly proclaimed their role in supporting the ‘humanitarian intervention’ ” when there was none.

The authors also note that “Editors and journalists do not drop bombs or pull triggers, but without their servility to power the public would not be fooled and the slaughter would have to end” or would never have begun. No nominally democratic government can stand up against the majority will of its people – provided they know about “the complicity of the corporate mass media in mass murder.” Another alternative also works against which they’re defenseless – ignore them, denounce them and seek reliable independent news and information sources like Media Lens, this web site and many other reliable ones.

East Timor – The Practical Limits of Crusading Humanitarianism

Give credit where it’s due. Tiny impoverished East Timor is hardly a match for Indonesia with its 200 million population backed by Washington for what both countries gain from each other. Nonetheless and after “months of murderous intimidation” by Indonesian-backed militias, the East Timorese overwhelmingly voted for independence by a near four to one margin. It was courageous but costly, and it came in the form of “a horrendous bloodbath” against pro-independence backers.

The US held off responding for 10 days intentionally and only did so under great public pressure. The delay allowed 70% of all public buildings and private residences to be destroyed and three-fourths of the population to be “herded across the border to West Timor, where hostage taking, killings and sexual assault were a daily occurrence.” BBC’s Matt Frei was indifferent like his fellow correspondents generally are. He described it as a “moral crusade,” but UN commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, had different view with “thousands pay(ing) with their lives for the world’s slow response.”

BBC practically choked before casually admitting our Indonesian allies were behind the massacres. Never admitted on-air was that its military-run country is a major Western ally and business partner. For BBC and others in the dominant media, “news ceases to be news when it seriously damages establishment interests.”

East Timor gained independence on May 20, 2002. At the time, reports mentioned that around 200,000 East Timorese (or one-third of the population) were massacred or starved to death in 1975 after the Ford administration condoned Indonesia’s takeover of the territory and supplied the Surharto government with lists of communist sympathizers to round up and eliminate. Back then, it got little attention in the mainstream and quickly faded from view after independence.

Why so? Indonesia is mineral-rich while East Timor hardly matters. The authors cited the “Golden Rule of media reporting – the tendency to overlook horrors committed by the West and its allies.” They also call this “The calculations of realpolitik.” Mineral wealth trumps concern for an impoverished people whose only worth is the sweat they supply at the lowest possible cost – everywhere.

Haiti – The Hidden Logic of Exploitation

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and one of its most exploited. That’s saying a lot in a region dismissively called America’s “backyard” and ruthlessly exploited by Washington for decades. The country is small (around three times the size of Los Angeles) and has a population of around eight million. Since European settlers arrived 500 years ago, it experienced an almost unparalleled legacy of colonial violence and exploitation. Even when it gained independence from France on January 1, 1804, it lay in ruins. It was short-lived as France regained control and kept it until America took over later and solidified its hold when Woodrow Wilson sent in Marines in 1915 to protect US investments.

Washington remains in control, and the authors explain its logic to keep Haitians and other developing world people in line. Their “dreams of a better life must be crushed by violence and grinding poverty so extreme that local people will accept any work at any rate, and abandon all notions of improving their lot.” It’s the reason why western elites use “death squads, tyrants and economic oppression” as their methods of choice and why ordinary people are no match against them.

Hope for Haitians arose in 1990 when a Catholic priest named Jean-Bertrand Aristide gained prominence. He ran for President and shocked Washington by getting two-thirds of the vote to become Haiti’s first ever democratically elected leader. A September, 1991 US-backed military coup cut short his tenure, however. It removed him, reestablished harsh rule, and “stamp(ed) out (the beginnings of a) vibrant civil society” that began to take root. A bloodbath followed with CIA paramilitaries behind it.

Aristide regained nominal power in 1994 after he agreed to Washington’s neoliberal terms. Haiti’s constitutional rule was restored, and he was allowed to return as President along with 20,000 US “peacekeepers” to assure IMF demands were observed.

The authors noted the “free press” version of events from when Aristide was first elected. Like always, it glossed over facts and ignored “the long, documented history of US support for mass murderers attacking Aristide’s democratic government and killing his supporters….the hidden agenda behind (his return) to power (and) the limits imposed on his range of options by the superpower protecting its business interests.” There was barely a mention of US commercial interests in Haiti or how brutally Haitians are exploited for profit.

Against all obstacles, however, Aristide was overwhelmingly popular. It showed in November, 2000 when he was reelected President with 92% of the vote, and his Lavalas party dominated parliament from the earlier May election. Their control lasted four years, then ended abruptly on February 29, 2004. In the middle of the night, a US Marine contingent forcibly removed the Haitian leader because he defied the rules of imperial management, governed like a democrat and was committed to helping Haiti’s poor. Ever since, the country has been a killing field under US control with a paramilitary “peacekeeper” contingent as enforcers. They were sent illegally for the first time ever to support a coup d’etat against a democratically elected President instead of backing his right to return to the office he won freely and fairly.

The media ignored the facts and portrayed the US as an “honest broker.” They supported the scheme that Aristide “had to go” because his people no longer supported him nor did the international community. “Forget the democratic process. Forget the landslide victories.” Forget the successive US-backed bloodbaths following Aristide’s rise to power in 1990. Forget any hope Haiti might emerge from its nightmarish 500 year history. All that mattered was power and where most of it lay. No need to point a finger. A great need to denounce the media that turns a blind eye to it.

Idolatry Ink – Reagan, the ‘Cheerful Conservative’ and ‘Chubby Bubba’ Clinton

Few US presidents did more harm yet got more praise than Ronald Reagan, and Mark Hertsgaard wrote about it in his book,”On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency.” The authors here review his record and cover some of the adulatory avalanche following his death on June 5, 2004. It was a painful week to recall and one that abandoned any measure of truth to portray a man and his “extraordinary successful presidency.” It was indeed for the power elite and the way he served them at the expense of the public good.

Out of sight and mind were a few minor things that happened during his tenure. The Iran-Contra scandal for one that would have sunk Nixon faster than Watergate had he been the culprit. But there was much more, and the authors cover some of it to set the record straight on a man only corporatists and friendly tyrants could love.

Reagan earned his bona fides on two issues – supporting big business and claiming he was hawkishly anti-communist. The two were, in fact, the same with the authors saying “the real motive behind the American slaughter in the Third World – profits, not fear of the Soviet Union – is indicated by patterns of investment” that rose dramatically under US friendly regimes. Examples were in Chile under Pinochet, Iran under the Shah, Brazil under the generals, Guatemala after its democracy died, and many other client countries around the world. Excluded from investment and targeted for regime change are states run independently that place their sovereignty above our right to control it.

The authors give examples of leaders who tried in Central America and paid dearly for their effort. They put it this way: “Reagan’s eight years in office (1981-1989) produced a vast bloodbath as Washington funnelled money, weapons and supplies to client dictators and right-wing death squads battling independent nationalism across Central America.” Central Asia, Africa and wherever else an independent leader arose followed a similar pattern.

Major media ignored official Reagan administration policy – to “terrorize impoverished people into accepting a status quo that condemned them to lives of profitable misery.” It doesn’t matter how many tens of thousands die or how impoverished we condemn the living. Instead, typical media comments about Reagan were like the one from the London Guardian saying he’ll be “chiefly remembered now for….his tax cutting economic policies, his role in (ending) the cold war and his ability to make America feel so good about itself after the turmoil of Vietnam, civil rights and Watergate.”

Bill Clinton is still living, but he’s also well treated, aside from his personal peccadillos in office now forgotten. As usual, the media ignores his dark side that caused great harm at home and an overwhelming amount abroad. As the authors observe, it’s because demeaning a president is “disrespectful, even irresponsible.” So the worst of his record was unreported with plenty of choices to choose from such as eight harsh years of Iraq sanctions that caused around 1.5 million deaths with two-thirds of them children under age five. This and more go unmentioned because the media defer to power, and presidents and prime ministers get “unlimited respect bordering on reverence.” Want the truth? Independent journalism provides what’s absent in the mainstream everywhere.

Ultimate Change – The Ultimate Media Betrayal

The issue here is the danger that the planet may become uninhabitable because of climate change alone, and the authors cite evidence to show it. In each case, the conclusion is the same – global warming is real, threatening, and serious efforts are urgently needed to remediate it.

Enter the media with the authors saying although they “do report the latest disasters and dramatic warnings, there are few serious attempts to explore the identity and motives of corporate opponents to action” on this vital issue. Why? Because of powerful business opposition that includes the corporate press. The silence is deafening, and the authors state it’s “the mother of all silences, because the fossil fuel economy is the mother of all vested interests.”

It hardly matters that the London-based Global Commons Institute predicts over two million deaths worldwide in the next 10 years from climate-related disasters, and we see lesser amounts happening now every year. It gets worse with the prestigious journal Nature publishing a four-year research study by scientists from eight countries. They predict over one million species will be extinct by 2050, and they describe their findings as “terrifying.”

How does the oil industry respond? According to oil and gas industry consultant, Bob Williams, it must “put the environmental lobby out of business.” How does the media respond? Silence in the face of “much of life on earth threatened by mass death….” The authors say “the corporate media occasionally laments the destruction of our world in editorials, but it is not in the business of doing anything about it. In fact, literally the reverse is true.” In their advertising and content, they promote a lifestyle of excessive fossil fuel consumption – gas-guzzling cars, air travel and a whole array of other high energy consuming products most of which are unessential and do little to enhance our lives.

The authors wonder if readers may question their view on how the media approach climate issues and answer this way: “….we believe our lives, the lives of our children, indeed much of animal and plant life on this planet, are in great danger. We believe, further, that the means of mobilizing popular support for action to prevent this catastrophe – the mass media – is fatally compromised by its very structure, nature and goals. This is no joke,” and unless we expose and challenge the status quo “there may well be no future for any of us.” What greater motivation is there than that.

Disciplined Media – Professional Conformity to Power

Key here is that nations or people committing destructive acts don’t usually act out of ingrained cruelty and hatred. As the authors put it: “In reality, evil is not merely banal. It is often free of any sense of being evil – there may be no sense of moral responsibility for suffering at all.” A typical response when asked is: “I’m just doing what I’m paid to do (or) I’m just doing my job.” It’s as true of torturers as businessmen who must do as they’re told and know what comes with the job. Perform or find another one, and the same obligation holds for journalists. “Like military personnel, (they) also sign themselves over to authority” and that requires prioritizing their employers’ welfare “in everything they say and do.”

The result is always the same. Official enemies are demonized, government crimes are ignored or “prettified,” and corporate greed is overlooked along with the common good. The authors refer to this as the “gushing phenomenon” that led western journalists to “gush” over the fall of Baghdad and later the transfer of “sovereignty” in the country’s “first democratic elections in 50 years in January, 2005.” Never mind the absence of democracy, the myth that there is any, and the fact that the country’s “sovereignty” resides in Washington and is enforced from its branch office inside the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Mainstream journalists ignore this and are compliant because they have to be or find other work. They perform “in the absence of any conspiracy, with minimal self-censorship, and with even less outright lying.” Psychologist Eric Fromm explained the phenomenon that the authors expressed their way: that “all modern individuals are socialised to perceive themselves as morally empty vessels willing to accept whatever is demanded of them.” They’re “commodities to be bought and sold for employment” – to do their job and not question their employers. Journalists aren’t paid to lie. They simply “subordinate their capacity for critical thought to a professional standard (knowing this is) just how things are done.”

In a nominally free society, control isn’t maintained by violence but “by deception, self-deception, and by a mass willingness to subordinate our own thoughts and feelings to notions of professionalism and objectivity.” It’s sadly ironic that people who make an evil and violent world possible aren’t that way themselves. Nonetheless, it must be wondered how often, if ever, they consider the consequences of their actions or inactions.

Toward a Compassionate Media

The authors note that the dominant media’s “subliminal message is that our rulers are superior, transcendent, benign (so they must) be afforded respect, even awe, as the loftiest stratum of a proudly meritocratic political system” that places all other people and their leaders on lower rungs. It shouldn’t surprise that many journalists view western values and sophistication as “intellectually, culturally and morally superior to the less developed societies of the impoverished South.” In a word, “West is best” in their minds so it follows our lives have greater value.

Enter Media Lens and its mission. The authors state to the best of their knowledge it’s “the first serious attempt to provide a regular, radical response to mainstream propaganda in the UK.” If corporate-paid journalists did it, their careers would end so they can’t, won’t and don’t ever except around the edges where it hardly matters or is barely noticed. Media Lens, in the authors’ words, does “much more than talk about practical solutions.” It is “a practical solution.”

The dominant media depends on uncriticized “self-delusions” while the role of the alternative media is to challenge them. With an expanding internet, it can be done by reaching a mass audience with minimal cost. The authors refer to “citizen reporters” and their growing role in providing real news and information unavailable in the mainstream. They hope this will lead to a greater public awareness and “power to impose a news agenda on the mainstream” or replace it altogether as a reliable source. Even more, they hope to “motivate large popular movements” that may be able to “reform media structures to restrict the influence of corporate interests” where the bottom-line priority is their “bottom line.”

The authors go further as well and say an “honest media” require “truth telling (that) should be motivated by compassion for suffering rather than greed for wealth, status and privilege.” In their judgment, that’s incentive enough to seek real causes of problems and workable solutions to them. Their goal is an “honest, compassionate, non-corporate” media because a model based on profit and growing shareholder equity can’t possibly allow sentiment and compassion to be a consideration. It doesn’t flow to the bottom line.

Great goals begin with noble ideas backed by action, but the authors admit that vision is a long way off. For now, their “energies (are) spent….in joining, forming, funding and supporting real democratic media initiatives…. through Internet websites and blogs.” The mainstream can be challenged, they believe, and success depends on believing in three things: the benefits of ending others’ suffering; a compassionate media is worth working for; and acting to achieve it.

Full Human Dissent

Corporations today manipulate society and our lives by harming the greater good for profits. Consider the cost: “individual depression, global environmental collapse, wars for control of natural resources” and global dominion. It happens because we’re saturated in a “mass consumer culture” that ignores “our needs as human beings.” To counteract this, we need “to find more humanly productive answers” mainstream culture calls “dissident” or “absurd,” but the authors believe are possible and vital.

Approaches to “individual and social well-being (are) practiced in many traditional cultures (but have been) filtered out” of ours because they conflict with corporate goals already explained. The authors once worked for corporate employers and described their condition as “unrelieved boredom and stress….work….of no intrinsic interest (and) simply a means to the end of material acquisition.” They concluded that life centered around money and status “becomes a depressing dead end, a kind of emotional wasteland.”

They contrast that experience to their involvement today in “unpaid human rights and environmental work” that includes their Media Lens efforts. Compassionate dissent holds promise as a motivating force – “for media activism, peace activism, human and animal rights activism, and environmental activism.” It’s also “profoundly conducive to our own well-being.” The authors end by stating political dissent must be combined with human dissent. The combination can be powerfully self-liberating and “all the motivation we need to act for the welfare of the world.” Isn’t that a goal worth working for? Isn’t it what what we want for ourselves?

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net . Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman

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The Corporation (must-see video)

Pakistan and the “Global War on Terrorism” by Michel Chossudovsky

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, January 8, 2008

Part II of a Two Part Article

“The new Pakistani general [Musharraf], he’s just been elected — not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country, and I think that’s good news for the subcontinent.” (George W. Bush, 1999)

“In Afghanistan, the freedom fighters are the key to peace. We support the Mujahadeen…” (President Ronald Reagan, Seventh State of the Union Address, January 1988).

The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto must be understood in a historical context. Since the late 1970s, successive US administrations have contributed to repealing the Rule of Law, destroying Pakistani institutions of civilian and secular government and instating military rule.

During the Cold War and its aftermath, the repeal of democracy and the militarization of the Pakistani State have served US foreign policy objectives. Pakistan is a geopolitical hub from which US sponsored military and covert intelligence operations have been launched.

Pakistan is part of South Asia, at a strategic crossroads, bordering onto the Middle East, Central Asia and the former Soviet republics and within proximity of China’s Western frontier.

Benazir’s father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP) was deposed in a military coup d’Etat on July 5, 1977, which spearheaded Pakistan into a process of virtually uninterrupted military rule. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was subsequently executed, in a judicial assassination, on the orders of the US sponsored military junta.

Under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a secular postcolonial government had developed. Economic nationalism was promoted. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government, which had the support of a large majority of the electorate, was committed to a broad program of economic, social an institutional reforms.

From his early days as foreign minister in the 1960s, Bhutto had called for an independent and non-aligned foreign policy, free of US encroachment as well as the closing down of US military bases. In the course of the 1970s, a nationalization program of key industries under the PPP government was carried out, which undermined the interests of multinational capital.

In the Aftermath of the 1977 Military Coup

Following the 1977 military coup, the structures of democratic government were dismantled. The Constitution was abolished and martial law was established under the rule of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who became President in 1978.

The postcolonial political process had been reversed. At the outset of the Zia-ul-Haq regime, the populist PPP nationalization and agrarian reforms of the Bhutto era were reversed and undone.

In turn, the new military rulers sought, with Washington’s support, to undermine the secular structures of the Pakistani State.

Islamism became embedded in the functioning of the State under military rule. The tenets of “Islamic fundamentalism” sponsored by US intelligence were adopted by the military dictatorship of General Zia, with a view to undermining the structures of civilian government and the Rule of Law.

In 1980, the Parliament was replaced by a bogus consultative assembly, the Majlis-e-Shoora composed of scholars and professionals, all of whom were appointed by President Zia. A reign of terror marked by arbitrary arrests and imprisonment was installed in the name of Islam.

State violence under military rule supported the concurrent implementation of “free market” reforms under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank. IMF sponsored macro-economic reforms contributed to destroying the fabric of Pakistan’s economy. The external debt spiraled. Poverty became rampant. The commercial banking system was largely taken over by Western financial institutions.

Since 1977, a military dictatorship has largely prevailed. The short-lived democratically elected governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif did not, in a meaningful way, break the continuity of authoritarian military rule. Both Sharif and Bhutto served US interests and accepted the economic diktats of the IMF and the World Bank.

Pakistan’s Role in the Soviet-Afghan War

The Soviet-Afghan war was part of a CIA covert agenda initiated during the Carter administration, which consisted in actively supporting and financing the Islamic brigades, later known as Al Qaeda. The Pakistani military regime played from the outset in the late 1970s, a key role in US sponsored military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan. in the post-Cold war era, this central role of Pakistan in US intelligence operations was extended to the broader Central Asia- Middle East region.

The 1977 military coup in Pakistan, leading to the demise of the PPP government of Ali Bhutto, was a precondition for the launching of the CIA’s covert war in Afghanistan.

In April 1978, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), seized power in Afghanistan in a popular insurrection directed against the dictatorship of President Mohammed Daud Khan. The PDPA government instigated a land reform program, expanded education and health programs and actively supported women’s rights. Afghanistan’s relationship with the Soviet Union was also strengthened.

The CIA’s covert operation was intended to undermine and ultimately destroy the PDPA government, while also curtailing the influence of the Soviet Union in Central Asia. CIA covert support to the Islamic brigades was also instrumental in destroying the foundations of secular civilian government.

From the outset of the Soviet Afghan war in 1979, Pakistan under military rule actively supported the Islamic brigades. In close liaison with the CIA, Pakistan’s military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), became a powerful organization, a parallel government, wielding tremendous power and influence.

America’s covert war in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as a launch pad, was initiated during the Carter administration prior to the Soviet “invasion”:

“According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” (Former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Interview with Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 January 1998)

In the published memoirs of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who held the position of deputy CIA Director at the height of the Soviet Afghan war, US intelligence was directly involved from the outset, prior to the Soviet invasion, in channeling aid to the Islamic brigades.

With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a “parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government”. (Dipankar Banerjee, “Possible Connection of ISI With Drug Industry”, India Abroad, 2 December 1994). The ISI had a staff composed of military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats, undercover agents and informers, estimated at 150,000. (Ibid)

Meanwhile, CIA operations had also reinforced the Pakistani military regime led by General Zia Ul Haq:

Relations between the CIA and the ISI had grown increasingly warm following [General] Zia’s ouster of Bhutto and the advent of the military regime. … During most of the Afghan war, Pakistan was more aggressively anti-Soviet than even the United States. Soon after the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Zia [ul Haq] sent his ISI chief to destabilize the Soviet Central Asian states. The CIA only agreed to this plan in October 1984.(Ibid)

The ISI operating virtually as an affiliate of the CIA, played a central role in channeling support to Islamic paramilitary groups in Afghanistan and subsequently in the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union.

Acting on behalf of the CIA, the ISI was also involved in the recruitment and training of the Mujahideen. In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 Muslims from 43 Islamic countries were recruited to fight in the Afghan jihad. The madrassas in Pakistan, financed by Saudi charities, were also set up with US support with a view to “inculcating Islamic values”. “The camps became virtual universities for future Islamic radicalism,” (Ahmed Rashid, The Taliban). Guerilla training under CIA-ISI auspices included targeted assassinations and car bomb attacks.

Weapons’ shipments “were sent by the Pakistani army and the ISI to rebel camps in the North West Frontier Province near the Afghanistan border. The governor of the province is Lieutenant General Fazle Haq, who [according to Alfred McCoy] . allowed “hundreds of heroin refineries to set up in his province.” Beginning around 1982, Pakistani army trucks carrying CIA weapons from Karachi often pick up heroin in Haq’s province and return loaded with heroin. They are protected from police search by ISI papers. (1982-1989: US Turns Blind Eye to BCCI and Pakistani Government Involvement in Heroin Trade See also <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1556524838/centerforcoop-20&#8243; onmouseover=”return OL(‘Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 2003)., 477.’)” onmouseout=”return nd()” target=”_blank”>McCoy, 2003, p. 477) .

Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman, was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihad. He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.

During the Reagan administration, Osama, who belonged to the wealthy Saudi Bin Laden family was put in charge of raising money for the Islamic brigades. Numerous charities and foundations were created. The operation was coordinated by Saudi intelligence, headed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, in close liaison with the CIA. The money derived from the various charities were used to finance the recruitment of Mujahieen volunteers. Al Qaeda, the base in Arabic was a data bank of volunteers who had enlisted to fight in the Afghan jihad. That data base was initially held by Osama bin Laden.

The Reagan Administration supports “Islamic Fundamentalism”

Pakistan’s ISI was used as a “go-between”. CIA covert support to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan operated indirectly through the Pakistani ISI, –i.e. the CIA did not channel its support directly to the Mujahideen. In other words, for these covert operations to be “successful”, Washington was careful not to reveal the ultimate objective of the “jihad”, which consisted in destroying the Soviet Union.

In December 1984, the Sharia Law (Islamic jurisprudence) was established in Pakistan following a rigged referendum launched by President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Barely a few months later, in March 1985, President Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive 166 (NSDD 166), which authorized “stepped-up covert military aid to the Mujahideen” as well a support to religious indoctrination.

The imposition of The Sharia in Pakistan and the promotion of “radical Islam” was a deliberate US policy serving American geopolitical interests in South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Many present-day “Islamic fundamentalist organizations” in the Middle East and Central Asia, were directly or indirectly the product of US covert support and financing, often channeled through foundations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Missions from the Wahhabi secto of conservative Islam in Saudi Arabia were put in charge of running the CIA sponsored madrassas in Northern Pakistan.

Under NSDD 166, a series of covert CIA-ISI operations was launched.

The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades through the ISI. CIA and ISI officials would meet at ISI headquarters in Rawalpindi to coordinate US support to the Mujahideen. Under NSDD 166, the procurement of US weapons to the Islamic insurgents increased from 10,000 tons of arms and ammunition in 1983 to 65,000 tons annually by 1987. “In addition to arms, training, extensive military equipment including military satellite maps and state-of-the-art communications equipment” (University Wire, 7 May 2002).


Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1983 (Reagan Archives)

With William Casey as director of the CIA, NSDD 166 was described as the largest covert operation in US history:

The U.S. supplied support package had three essential components-organization and logistics, military technology, and ideological support for sustaining and encouraging the Afghan resistance….

U.S. counterinsurgency experts worked closely with the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in organizing Mujahideen groups and in planning operations inside Afghanistan.

… But the most important contribution of the U.S. was to … bring in men and material from around the Arab world and beyond. The most hardened and ideologically dedicated men were sought on the logic that they would be the best fighters. Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad. (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Afghanistan and the Genesis of the Global Jihad, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)

Religious Indoctrination

Under NSDD 166, US assistance to the Islamic brigades channeled through Pakistan was not limited to bona fide military aid. Washington also supported and financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the process of religious indoctrination, largely to secure the demise of secular institutions:

… the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..

The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

… AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said. “But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”

… Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.” (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)

The Role of the NeoCons

There is continuity. The architects of the covert operation in support of “Islamic fundamentalism” launched during the Reagan presidency played a key role in role in launching the “Global War on Terrorism” in the wake of 9/11.

Several of the NeoCons of the Bush Junior Administration were high ranking officials during the Reagan presidency.

Richard Armitage, was Deputy Secretary of State during George W. Bush’s first term (2001-2004). He played a central key role in post 9/11 negotiations with Pakistan leading up to the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. During the Reagan era, he held the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. In this capacity, he played a key role in the implementation of NSDD 163 while also ensuring liaison with the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus.

Meanwhile, Paul Wolfowitz was at the State Department in charge of a foreign policy team composed, among others, of Lewis Libby, Francis Fukuyama and Zalmay Khalilzad.

Wolfowitz’s group was also involved in laying the conceptual groundwork of US covert support to Islamic parties and organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Bush’s Secretary of Defence Robert Gates also was also involved in setting the groundwork for CIA covert operations. He was appointed Deputy Director for Intelligence by Ronald Reagan in 1982, and Deputy Director of the CIA in 1986, a position which he held until 1989. Gates played a key role in the formulation of NSDD 163, which established a consistent framework for promoting Islamic fundamentalism and channeling covert support to the Islamic brigades. He was also involved in the Iran Contra scandal.

The Iran Contra Operation

Richard Gates, Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, among others, were also involved in the Iran-Contra operation.

Armitage was in close liaison with Colonel Oliver North. His deputy and chief anti-terrorist official Noel Koch was part of the team set up by Oliver North.

Of significance, the Iran-Contra operation was also tied into the process of channeling covert support to the Islamic brigades in Afghanistan. The Iran Contra scheme served several related foreign policy:

1) procurement of weapons to Iran thereby feeding the Iraq-Iran war,

2) support to the Nicaraguan Contras,

3) support to the Islamic brigades in Afghanistan, channeled via Pakistan’s ISI.

Following the delivery of the TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran, the proceeds of these sales were deposited in numbered bank accounts and the money was used to finance the Nicaraguan Contras. and the Mujahideen:

“The Washington Post reported that profits from the Iran arms sales were deposited in one CIA-managed account into which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had placed $250 million apiece. That money was disbursed not only to the contras in Central America but to the rebels fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan.” (US News & World Report, 15 December 1986).

Although Lieutenant General Colin Powell, was not directly involved in the arms’ transfer negotiations, which had been entrusted to Oliver North, he was among “at least five men within the Pentagon who knew arms were being transferred to the CIA.” (The Record, 29 December 1986). In this regard, Powell was directly instrumental in giving the “green light” to lower-level officials in blatant violation of Congressional procedures. According to the New York Times, Colin Powell took the decision (at the level of military procurement), to allow the delivery of weapons to Iran:

Hurriedly, one of the men closest to Secretary of Defense Weinberger, Maj. Gen. Colin Powell, bypassed the written ”focal point system” procedures and ordered the Defense Logistics Agency [responsible for procurement] to turn over the first of 2,008 TOW missiles to the CIA., which acted as cutout for delivery to Iran” (New York Times, 16 February 1987)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was also implicated in the Iran-Contra Affair.

The Golden Crescent Drug Trade

The history of the drug trade in Central Asia is intimately related to the CIA’s covert operations. Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war, opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. (Alfred McCoy, Drug Fallout: the CIA’s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive, 1 August 1997).

Alfred McCoy’s study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, “the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer.” (Ibid) Various Islamic paramilitary groups and organizations were created. The proceeds of the Afghan drug trade, which was protected by the CIA, were used to finance the various insurgencies:

“Under CIA and Pakistani protection, Pakistan military and Afghan resistance opened heroin labs on the Afghan and Pakistani border. According to The Washington Post of May 1990, among the leading heroin manufacturers were Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan leader who received about half of the covert arms that the U.S. shipped to Pakistan. Although there were complaints about Hekmatyar’s brutality and drug trafficking within the ranks of the Afghan resistance of the day, the CIA maintained an uncritical alliance and supported him without reservation or restraint.

Once the heroin left these labs in Pakistan’s northwest frontier, the Sicilian Mafia imported the drugs into the U.S., where they soon captured sixty percent of the U.S. heroin market. That is to say, sixty percent of the U.S. heroin supply came indirectly from a CIA operation. During the decade of this operation, the 1980s, the substantial DEA contingent in Islamabad made no arrests and participated in no seizures, allowing the syndicates a de facto free hand to export heroin. By contrast, a lone Norwegian detective, following a heroin deal from Oslo to Karachi, mounted an investigation that put a powerful Pakistani banker known as President Zia’s surrogate son behind bars. The DEA in Islamabad got nobody, did nothing, stayed away.

Former CIA operatives have admitted that this operation led to an expansion of the Pakistan-Afghanistan heroin trade. In 1995 the former CIA Director of this Afghan operation, Mr. Charles Cogan, admitted sacrificing the drug war to fight the Cold War. “Our main mission was to do as much damage to the Soviets. We didn’t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade,” he told Australian television. “I don’t think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout. There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes, but the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan.” (Alfred McCoy, Testimony before the Special Seminar focusing on allegations linking CIA secret operations and drug trafficking-convened February 13, 1997, by Rep. John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus)

Lucrative Narcotics Trade in the Post Cold War Era

The drug trade has continued unabated during the post Cold war years. Afghanistan became the major supplier of heroin to Western markets, in fact almost the sole supplier: more than 90 percent of the heroin sold Worldwide originates in Afghanistan. This lucrative contraband is tied into Pakistani politics and the militarization of the Pakistani State. It also has a direct bearing on the structure of the Pakistani economy and its banking and financial institutions, which from the outset of the Golden Crescent drug trade have been involved in extensive money laundering operations, which are protected by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus:

According to the US State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (2006) (quoted in Daily Times, 2 March 2006),

“Pakistani criminal networks play a central role in the transshipment of narcotics and smuggled goods from Afghanistan to international markets. Pakistan is a major drug-transit country. The proceeds of narcotics trafficking and funding for terrorist activities are often laundered by means of the alternative system called hawala. … .

“Repeatedly, a network of private unregulated charities has also emerged as a significant source of illicit funds for international terrorist networks,” the report pointed out. … “

The hawala system and the charities are but the tip of the iceberg. According to the State Department report, “the State Bank of Pakistan has frozen more twenty years] a meager $10.5 million “belonging to 12 entities and individuals linked to Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda or the Taliban”. What the report fails to mention is that the bulk of the proceeds of the Afghan drug trade are laundered in bona fide Western banking institutions.

The Taliban Repress the Drug Trade

A major and unexpected turnaround in the CIA sponsored drug trade occurred in 2000.

The Taliban government which came to power in 1996 with Washington’s support, implemented in 2000-2001 a far-reaching opium eradication program with the support of the United Nations which served to undermine a multibillion dollar trade. (For further details see, Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, 2005).

In 2001 prior to the US-led invasion, opium production under the Taliban eradication program declined by more than 90 percent.

In the immediate wake of the US led invasion, the Bush administration ordered that the opium harvest not be destroyed on the fabricated pretext that this would undermine the military government of Pervez Musharraf.

“Several sources inside Capitol Hill noted that the CIA opposes the destruction of the Afghan opium supply because to do so might destabilize the Pakistani government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf. According to these sources, Pakistani intelligence had threatened to overthrow President Musharraf if the crops were destroyed. …

‘If they [the CIA] are in fact opposing the destruction of the Afghan opium trade, it’ll only serve to perpetuate the belief that the CIA is an agency devoid of morals; off on their own program rather than that of our constitutionally elected government'”. (NewsMax.com, 28 March 2002)

Since the US led invasion, opium production has increased 33 fold from 185 tons in 2001 under the Taliban to 6100 tons in 2006. Cultivated areas have increased 21 fold since the 2001 US-led invasion. (Heroin is “Good for Your Health”: Occupation Forces support Afghan Narcs Trade-Chossudovsky)

In 2007, Afghanistan supplied approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin. The proceeds (in terms of retail value) of the Afghanistan drug trade are estimated (2006) to be in excess of 190 billion dollars a year, representing a significant fraction of the global trade in narcotics.(Ibid)

The proceeds of this lucrative multibillion dollar contraband are deposited in Western banks. Almost the totality of the revenues accrue to corporate interests and criminal syndicates outside Afghanistan.

The laundering of drug money constitutes a multibillion dollar activity, which continues to be protected by the CIA and the ISI. In the wake of the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.

In retrospect, one of the major objectives of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was to restore the drug trade.

The militarization of Pakistan serves powerful political, financial and criminal interests underlying the drug trade. US foreign policy tends to support these powerful interests. The CIA continues to protect the Golden Crescent narcotics trade. Despite his commitment to eradicating the drug trade, opium production under the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has skyrocketed.

The Assassination of General Zia Ul-Haq

In August 1988, President Zia was killed in an air crash together with US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel and several of Pakistan’s top generals. The circumstances of the air crash remain shrouded in mystery.

Following Zia’s death, parliamentary elections were held and Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister in December 1988. She was subsequently removed from office by Zia’s successor, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993, she was re-elected and was again removed from office in 1996 on the orders of President Farooq Leghari.

Continuity has been maintained throughout. Under the short-lived post-Zia elected governments of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, the central role of the military-intelligence establishment and its links to Washington were never challenged.

Both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif served US foreign policy interests. While in power, both democratically elected leaders, nonetheless supported the continuity of military rule. As prime minister from 1993 to 1996, Benazir Bhutto “advocated a conciliatory policy toward Islamists, especially the Taliban in Afghanistan” which were being supported by Pakistan’s ISI (See F. William Engdahl, Global Research, January 2008)

Benazir Bhutto’s successor as Prime Minister, Mia Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) was deposed in 1999 in a US supported coup d’Etat led by General Pervez Musharraf.

The 1999 coup was instigated by General Pervez Musharaf, with the support of the Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Ahmad, who was subsequently appointed to the key position of head of military intelligence (ISI).

From the outset of the Bush administration in 2001, General Ahmad developed close ties not only with his US counterpart CIA director George Tenet, but also with key members of the US government including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, not to mention Porter Goss, who at the time was Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence. Ironically, Mahmoud Ahmad is also known, according to a September 2001 FBI report, for his suspected role in supporting and financing the alleged 9/11 terrorists as well as his links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “war on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005)

Concluding Remarks

These various “terrorist” organizations were created as a result of CIA support. They are not the product of religion. The project to establish “a pan-Islamic Caliphate” is part of a carefully devised intelligence operation.

CIA support to Al Qaeda was not in any way curtailed at the end of the Cold War. In fact quite the opposite. The earlier pattern of covert support not only extended, it took on a global thrust and became increasingly sophisticated.

The “Global War on Terrorism” is a complex and intricate intelligence construct. The covert support provided to “Islamic extremist groups” is part of an imperial agenda. It purports to weaken and eventually destroy secular and civilian governmental institutions, while also contributing to vilifying Islam. It is an instrument of colonization which seeks to undermine sovereign nation-states and transform countries into territories.

For the intelligence operation to be successful, however, the various Islamic organizations created and trained by the CIA must remain unaware of the role they are performing on geopolitical chessboard, on behalf of Washington.

Over the years, these organizations have indeed acquired a certain degree of autonomy and independence, in relation to their US-Pakistani sponsors. That appearance of “independence”, however, is crucial; it is an integral part of the covert intelligence operation. According to former CIA agent Milton Beardman the Mujahideen were invariably unaware of the role they were performing on behalf of Washington. In the words of bin Laden (quoted by Beardman): “neither I, nor my brothers saw evidence of American help”. (Weekend Sunday (NPR); Eric Weiner, Ted Clark; 16 August 1998).

“Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, the Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam. While there were contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in theatre had no contacts with Washington or the CIA.” (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Chapter 2).

The fabrication of “terrorism” –including covert support to terrorists– is required to provide legitimacy to the “war on terrorism”.

The various fundamentalist and paramilitary groups involved in US sponsored “terrorist” activities are “intelligence assets”. In the wake of 9/11, their designated function as “intelligence assets” is to perform their role as credible “enemies of America”.

Under the Bush administration, the CIA continues to support (via Pakistan’s ISI) several Pakistani based Islamic groups. The ISI is known to support Jamaat a-Islami, which is also present in South East Asia, Lashkar-e-Tayya­ba, Jehad a-Kashmiri, Hizbul-Mujahidin and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

The Islamic groups created by the CIA are also intended to rally public support in Muslim countries. The underlying objective is to create divisions within national societies throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, while also triggering sectarian strife within Islam, ultimately with a view to curbing the development of a broad based secular mass resistance, which would challenge US imperial ambitions.

This function of an outside enemy is also an essential part of war propaganda required to galvanize Western public opinion. Without an enemy, a war cannot be fought. US foreign policy needs to fabricate an enemy, to justify its various military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. An enemy is required to justify a military agenda, which consists in ” going after Al Qaeda”. The fabrication and vilification of the enemy are required to justify military action.

The existence of an outside enemy sustains the illusion that the “war on terrorism” is real. It justifies and presents military intervention as a humanitarian operation based on the right to self-defense. It upholds the illusion of a “conflict of civilizations”. The underlying purpose ultimately is to conceal the real economic and strategic objectives behind the broader Middle East Central Asian war.

Historically, Pakistan has played a central role in “war on terrorism”. Pakistan constitutes from Washington’s standpoint a geopolitical hub. It borders onto Afghanistan and Iran. It has played a crucial role in the conduct of US and allied military operations in Afghanistan as well as in the context of the Pentagon’s war plans in relation to Iran.

Pakistan remains a training ground for the US sponsored Islamic brigades in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South and South East Asia.

President Pervez Musharraf, is described by the Western media as “a U.S. ally in its battle against terrorism” Realities are turned upside down. The Pakistani military regime has consistently, since the late 1970s, abetted and financed “Islamic terrorist organizations” on Washington’s behalf.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international bestseller America’s “War on Terrorism” Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization. To order Chossudovsky’s book America’s “War on Terrorism”, click here

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The Destabilization of Pakistan by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Heroin is “Good for Your Health”: Occupation Forces support Afghan Narcs Trade by Chossudovsky