by Stephen Lendman
July 11, 2008
Party conventions are less than two months off, and already rumors are circulating. When the Democrats hold theirs from August 25 – 28, Obama is the virtually sure nominee. According to some, however, things aren’t settled for Republicans a week later. Presumptive nominee John McCain may not be as certain as most people think, and why so should be asked.
For one thing, he trails in the polls (including in key battleground states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania) but not enough to be worrisome (in most of them), and the latest June Reuters/Zogby one is typical. It shows Obama ahead by about five points, and in recent months he’s been up by from 6 to 10 and in one poll down six to McCain. It’s much the same from a June Financial Dynamics one, but shows up much differently when respondents are asked which party’s candidate they’ll support. In recent months, Democrats have been strongly favored – since January from up 6 to 15 with three of the five survey months showing double digit leads.
That’s indeed worrisome, and it showed up last March 29 in the Cook Political Report. It noted that by “almost every available gauge, Republicans are in deep trouble. Except that is, for the one that counts most – the presidential election trial heat.” Back then, Obama or Clinton v. McCain came out pretty even with either side gaining an edge in different polls but not by much.
Fast forward to June 14, and the Cook Report said this: “After Clinton dropped out (Democrats quickly united and in Gallup polls) Obama is holding a steady 7-point lead, his largest since Gallup began tracking in March. (Further) Democrats now routinely hold a 6-to-8 point advantage on party identification. So Obama will have a distinct edge if he is as popular among Democrats as McCain is among Republicans. (He) represents the embodiment of change, which is an advantage in this political climate” when voters are begging for it. Yet it’s too early to predict an outcome, and months earlier the Cook Report called the race a toss-up. It still says “anyone has a 50-50 chance of picking the winner today.”
That view may change after the latest Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll came out June 25 – conducted from June 19 – 23. Right or wrong, it was hugely different from others up to mid-June. It showed Obama with a “sizable” lead over McCain, and here are the numbers:
— head to head in a two-man race, Obama leads McCain by 49% to 37%;
— however, in a four-man race (including Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr), Obama outscores McCain 48% to 33% for a 15 point spread.
Conclusion: Nader, Barr, and a Green Party candidate are running; others likely also but not enough to matter unless a prominent figure unexpectedly does as an independent; alternate candidates at this stage are taking votes from McCain, most likely Republican ones. Why so? Largely because voters trust Obama more on their top concern – the economy. Other domestic issues also while McCain scores higher on national security matters.
Most significant is McCain’s “passion gap” among conservatives – 58% support him, but 15% are for Obama and another 13% undecided. In contrast, 79% of self-described “liberals” back Obama. Further, and equally significant, more than half (55%) of McCain supporters lack enthusiasm, and only 13% are “very enthusiastic.” It’s mirror opposite for Obama – 81% of his backers are “enthusiastic” and nearly half “very enthusiastic.”
Two Times/Bloomberg poll results highlight McCain’s problem. First is George Bush’s approval rating. It scored the lowest ever: 23% with 73% disapproving of his job performance.
Second is the Christian right’s feeling that McCain isn’t solid on its issues, and as a senator flip-flopped on key ones. Supporting abortion in cases of rape and incest, for example, and wanting stem cell research to go forward. Also his reference to Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as “agents of intolerance” in his 2000 presidential campaign. He later apologized, but it may be too little, too late.
Discord In the Ranks
Rumblings below the surface have Republicans worried. It’s clear from the above poll results and in a May 11 AFP report. It noted that “many party members (are) having a hard time accepting (McCain and they’re) showing it with symbolic votes against him in” primaries. Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Carolina to name three recent ones. It worries party leaders that “as many as 25% of Republicans want a different candidate” based on how many preferred other choices than McCain. Why so? Because his “reputation as a party maverick and a compromising moderate” makes him unpredictable. It also disgruntles “the party’s most conservative and ideological members,” and they’ve got plenty of clout to matter.
In recent weeks, however, McCain fought back by tilting noticeably to the right the way he’s often done in the past. His speeches focused on conservative red meat issues like the Iraq war, national security, and appointing conservative High Court Justices while avoiding controversial ones like abortion, gay rights and others the religious right opposes. Nonetheless, his electability problem showed up in a May Wall Street Journal poll. It gave Bush a 27% approval rating, and 43% think McCain is “too closely aligned with the Bush agenda.” That spells trouble (like the Times/Bloomberg results), and Democrats are exploiting it.
There’s also McCain’s temperament, his unimpressive intellect, unpredictability, his bigotry, arrogance, hardheadedness, legendary temper, instability, and his genius for making enemies among the faithful he needs for support. Observers also describe some recent speeches as wooden, halting, mechanical, bumbling, uninspiring, mean-spirited, and clearly no match for Obama who outclasses him. Then consider how Alexander Cockburn described him last February in a CounterPunch article: “a dunderhead in statecraft, devoid of self control, capricious in moral standards and an imbecile in his lack of political judgment.” Worst of all it shows, and “the better people get to know (him), the less they care for him.” The public as well that’s shifting more to Obama as the two candidates face off with four months to go until November.
More reasons are McCain’s flip-flops on long-held positions – on defense spending, domestic spying, torture, the estate tax, Social Security, balanced budgets, immigration, taxes, and numerous others – to convince conservatives he’s one of them, pretend he’s also centrist, but end up satisfying neither side because he’s not believable. He may triangulate around domestic issues like abortion and campaign finance reform but in most respects he’s conservative, hard right, and pro-business down the line. And on foreign policy, he’s a super-hawk, as extremist as any, a shoot-first kind of guy, and an unabashed adherent of the Bush-Cheney doctrine, much like Joe Lieberman who’s rumored as one of his vice-presidential choices.
Consider another issue as well – widely reported on July 3. The pro-McCain Wall Street Journal headlined: “McCain Shakes Up Campaign Organization.” It went on to say he did it “for the second time in a year (because he) lags behind….Obama in the polls and faces criticism that his message is fractured and his operation is disorganized.” McCain approved the changes after close aides told him his presidential hopes were endangered, and his campaign had to be revamped to save it.
The Journal reported more bad news as well by comparing his war chest to Obama’s. Through May, Obama raised $287.5 million, had $43.1 million in cash on hand, continues to raise about $1 million a day, and expects to bring in another $200 million by November 4. In contrast, McCain trails badly and surprisingly so for a Republican. He raised $119 million, had $36 million in cash on hand left, and new campaign-finance loopholes may net him tens of millions more. That plus whatever public funding brings in, however, will still leave him well behind.
On July 6, AP reported more trouble as well. For starters, McCain’s “trying to succeed a deeply unpopular fellow Republican in a year that favors Democrats.” He also lacks a “coherent message let alone much of a strategy.” His “troubles are so acute that he recently gave (his) senior advisor “full operational control” of his campaign and “scaled back the duties of (his) campaign manager.” Republican pollster, Steve Lombardo, stated his concern: ” McCain’s got “no big theme around which to build a winning campaign.” He needs a “big strategic message (to) show differences between” him and Obama to help him win.
At best, GOP insiders are “cautious.” They worry that every poll shows McCain behind, and “on voters’ most important issues, (he) trails on (all of them) but Iraq and terrorism. He also lags in key states,” including key battleground ones. And when “it comes to message and strategy, McCain has appeared to flounder.” One more thing as well. “McCain’s campaign is roughly 300-strong compared with Obama’s 1000-person plus operation.” Another sign of a mismatch, so far at least.
McCain’s Health As A Campaign Issue
Then there’s the health issue and delay in releasing his medical records. His former bouts with skin cancer raise questions about his fitness. He’s had one or more very common squamous cell carcinomas, but three more serious “thin” melanomas and one a potentially deadly deep one since 1993. On June 18 Dermatologist Kevin Berman explained the risks in a SkinCancerConnection.com piece.
Three of McCain’s tumors were diagnosed as “melanoma in-situ,” meaning they were caught early, were superficial, hadn’t penetrated into deep layers of skin, so hadn’t spread to other parts of his body. His deep melanoma is another matter. It was diagnosed and treated in 2000 after it penetrated to a depth of 2.2 mm on his face and was excised “with wide margins (through) a lymph node dissection that showed that the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes and ‘presumably’ not to any other internal organs.” The five-year survival rate in this case is about 80%, so Dr. Berman asks is McCain’s health an issue.
Overall, younger patients do better than older ones, and McCain will be 72 in August. In addition, women survive better than men, and limb melanomas turn out better than facial ones for which McCain was treated. However, everyone is unique, and “the fact that (he’s been) cancer free for 8 years is a good sign that (he’s) cured.” But it’s no guarantee for anyone, let alone a man with a history of skin cancer.
Further, melanoma is deadly and “can reappear later without any warning on any internal organ,” so it’s unwise to say McCain is “out of the woods” and the reason periodic checks are necessary. He gets full body ones every three months because it’s uncommon to have had this many melanomas. That alone is reason for concern.
Dr. Berman’s prognosis: he won’t place odds on reoccurrences or complications, nor will he predict how McCain’s history will affect his campaign or his health as president if elected. His only advice is to avoid excessive sun and suntanning, use a good sunscreen when exposed, and hope a good set of genes provide protection. McCain doesn’t have them, however.
On May 23 (a quiet time ahead of the Memorial Day weekend), he released an astonishing 1173 pages of medical records (covering 2000-2008 only), including what relates to his August 2000 melanoma surgery. They showed no evidence of a recurrence, and his primary care physician, Dr. John Eckstein, said: “While it is impossible to predict any person’s future health, today I can find no medical reason or problems that would preclude Senator McCain from fulfilling all the duties and obligations of the president of the United States.” We find “no evidence of metastasis or recurrence of the invasive melanoma as we approach the eighth anniversary of that operation.” Mr. McCain’s prognosis is “very good” because the greatest risk comes within “the first few years after surgery.”
The records also revealed:
— a history of kidney stones;
— high cholesterol;
— nasal allergies;
— a recent colonoscopy in which six benign polyps were removed;
— occasional brief episodes of “benign postitional vertigo” (dizziness) when he stands up too quickly, but it’s “not a precursor for a stroke;” and
— a “significantly reduced range of motion” in his shoulders, arms and right knee from his wartime injuries and as a POW.
Overall, he was pronounced healthy and cancer-free.
He takes simvastatin for high cholesterol; hydrochlorothiazide for kidney stone prevention; aspirin to prevent blood clots; the antihistamine Zyrtec for nasal allergies; Ambien CR to aid sleep while traveling; and a multivitamin.
In 1999, McCain released 1500 earlier medical documents prior to his presidential run against George Bush. They were part of a US Navy project to assess the health of former POWs. They showed normal psychological tests and mental state and judged he had readjusted “exceptionally well” to civilian life. A 1974 psychiatric evaluation described him as “ambitious, competitive and energetic” with no evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) despite admitting twice he attempted suicide in captivity.
For now at least, McCain’s health seems not an issue unless there’s something hidden or his enemies or Obama want to make it one. Consider also at least six past presidents who were incapacitated for a time, unable to fulfill their duties as a result, but remained in office nonetheless – Lincoln, Garfield, Wilson, FDR, Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson.
Health As A Campaign Issue and For Serving Presidents
Consider four in particular who as candidates ran and were elected president in spite of debilitating or soon to be worrisome health problems. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921 in office) for one. On October 3, 1919 (in his second term), he suffered a disabling stroke that doctors should have predicted from his history. Prior to his first election, he had atherosclerosis. He suffered a stoke in 1896 that caused marked weakness of the right upper limb and “sensory disturbances” in his fingers. For a time, he couldn’t write normally. He suffered a recurrence of right upper limb weakness in 1904 and lost vision in his left eye in 1906.
Up to and after his first 1912 election, he had multiple other neurological problems, and from 1915-1919 severe headaches causing double vision and signs of heart weakness. Wilson was a sick man, was twice elected president anyway, hid his condition from officials and the public, and when incapacitated remained president anyway.
Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1945 in office) was another example from prior to his first election. A 1921 poliomyelitis attack (at age 39) left him paralyzed below the hips. Between 1920 and 1932, he developed an enlarged pigmented lesion above his left eye that some believe was a malignant melanoma. As president, it was excised, leaving a scar above the eyebrow. In 1944, his health was so poor, he was advised not to run a fourth time. In January that year, he complained of headaches, “seemed strangely tired, even in the morning,” and once blacked out at his desk. He was gravely ill, but kept it hidden.
In March 1944, hypertensive heart disease and high blood pressure were discovered, and he was diagnosed as cyanotic from poor circulation. By month’s end, he was worse with congestive heart disease. He had a series of other problems throughout the year, was in no condition to remain president, yet he ran and was reelected in November. On April 12, 1945, he died at age 63, and, considering his wartime stress, it’s a wonder he lasted that long. A stroke of good luck as well that disaster was avoided because a leader in his condition was commander-in-chief but couldn’t perform his duties.
Jack Kennedy was done in by an assassin, not his health, but had he lived long enough it might have. Some around him said “from a medical standpoint, (he) was a mess.” He was hospitalized more than three dozen times in his life and given last rites on three occasions.
He nearly died of scarlet fever at age 2 years, 9 months. He contracted measles, whooping cough and chicken pox the same year, and as a child, was susceptible to upper respiratory infections and bronchitis. He suffered jaundice in 1935, had a history of sports-related injuries because “his physique was inadequate,” and his mother remembered him as “a very, very sick little boy.” He began taking steroids for colitis in the 1930s and developed later complications from it, including duodenal ulcer, back problems, and underactive adrenal glands known as Addison’s disease.
He had a host of other problems as well, including a likely bout of malaria as a naval officer in the Pacific. The 1960 presidential campaign exhausted him (at age 43) because he overdid it for a man in his health. His Addisonism was diagnosed in 1947, at the time told he had one year to live, and was given his last rites shortly after. Yet as senator and president, it was hidden, and one observer called it “one of the most cleverly laid smoke screens ever put down around a politician(‘s)” health.
Finally, there’s Ronald Reagan. After childhood, he had a series of health problems but nothing debilitating or serious – severe nearsightedness, fractures, urinary tract infections, prostate stones, hearing loss, temporomandibular (jaw) joint degeneration, osteoarthritis in his right thumb, and in 1967 a “trans-urethral prostatectomy” because of his history of “benign prostatic hypertrophy and several episodes of prostatitis.”
Things changed, however, after he was shot in March 1981. He was lucky and might have died from loss of blood alone, and only modern surgical care saved him. He had polyps removed in 1984 and a more serious one surgically in 1985. Some minor skin cancer as well in 1987. Alzheimer’s disease was another matter, and there were early signs in his presidency long before he was officially diagnosed (at age 83) or the public learned of it.
Straightaway in Cabinet meetings, he forgot the names of his officers. At other times his trusted aides and visiting dignitaries and once referred to his vice-president as “Prime Minister Bush.” In Brazil he toasted the people of Bolivia, and on one memorable occasion went completely blank when asked a question, until his wife Nancy whispered a response in his ear. After being shot, he became disoriented, and it took months for him to recover but likely never fully. Those around him began to speculate, and it became noticeable in his second term. Alzheimer’s progresses slowly, and though marginalized with it in office, he survived to age 93 when he died at his California home in June 2004.
John McCain – Will He or Won’t He Be Nominated in September
Writer Steve Rosenbaum thinks maybe not, and if so, it will be a “genuine September Surprise.” Why so? He thinks around mid-August, he and/or the party will decide he can’t win, but he’ll cite health or another excuse for dropping out. True or not, he looks bumbling and uncertain on stage and at times like he’s about “to keel over.”
As bad or worse, he’s got tepid Christian right support. The public sees him as pro-war as George Bush, and they want the Iraq one at least ended. Further, Bush’s endorsement is a kiss of death, and he may rue the day he got it. That along with his temper, unpredictable flip-flops, and a legion of enemies on the Hill make him vulnerable to stepping down or being dumped. But not to “sit this one out” and hand Obama the election, according to Rosenbaum. Not this time at least when Republicans plan to win and keep the presidency even though Democrats seem poised for big congressional gains.
They’ll do it the same way as in 2004, electoral fraud aside. They’ll “swift boat” Obama John Kerry-style, dig up any dirt they can find, play up the race card, call him soft on national defense, say he plans to raise taxes, whatever it takes to tear down a candidate who looks like a winner – and do it with a fresh new face, but a well-known conservative one or at least conservative enough. The possibilities range from Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell to Michael Bloomberg, Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar with a host of others as well – all without McCain’s baggage.
Can it happen? Why not, according to Rosenbaum, and he’s not alone thinking it. It may be Republicans best chance to win, although changing horses this late ups the odds against it. Nonetheless, some party faithful want a bona fide conservative and nearly anyone but McCain. Others hate his flip-flops and at least one calls him the most flawed candidate ever and the Republican from Hanoi, referring to allegations that he got preferential POW treatment after his father, Admiral JS McCain, became CINCPAC Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command over all Vietnam forces.
An organization called “Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain” feels a lot of questions remain about his time in captivity. They want answers, and feel he’s obligated to provide them. So far he hasn’t. It fuels criticism and doubts, and it’s not doing his campaign or the party any good.
Will it sink him? Who knows, but we’re into July, the convention is approaching, so party brokers have little time left to decide. Let him run and maybe lose, or if elected be unacceptable because he’s too unpredictable. Stay tuned. If Rosenbaum and others are right, a September surprise is coming, and the fireworks are about to start.
On the other hand, Republicans may stick with a likely loser, someone many insiders dislike, go for a 1976 repeat, turn things over to a Democrat, let him deal with their mess, then retake the presidency next time around. Either way, whoever takes over next year faces an unenviable task. Maybe one too great for any head of state.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM – 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening
© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9560
By Bill Moyers
July 11, 2008
Corporate media colludes with democracy’s demise
I heard this story a long time ago, growing up in Choctaw County in Oklahoma before my family moved to Texas. A tribal elder was telling his grandson about the battle the old man was waging within himself. He said, “It is between two wolves, my son. One is an evil wolf: anger, envy, sorrow, greed, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is the good wolf: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The boy took this in for a few minutes and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf won?”
The old Cherokee replied simply, “The one I feed.”
Democracy is that way. The wolf that wins is the one we feed. And in our society, media provides the fodder.
By Kate Gibson
July 11, 2008
Fannie and Freddie shares under siege; no bailout on horizon, Paulson says
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — U.S. stocks sank Friday, with the Dow industrials falling below the 11,000 level for the first time since August 2006, as the price of oil climbed and investors contemplated the possible demise of mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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In a recent immigration court case involving Turkish Islamic Leader, Fetullah Gulen, US prosecutors exposed an illegal, covert, CIA operation involving the intentional Islamization of Central Asia. This operation has been ongoing since the fall of the Soviet Union in an ongoing Cold War to control the vast energy resources of the region – Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – estimated to be worth $3 trillion.
The scene for these dramatic disclosures was an application for a Green Card in the Eastern District Court in Philadelphia by “controversial Islamic scholar” Fetullah Gulen. Gulen, who has been living in the United States since 1998, argued that he qualified for the Green Card as “an extraordinarily talented academic.”
The court case was covered extensively by the Turkish press. Leading Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported:
“Gülen’s financial resources were detailed in the public prosecutor’s arguments, which claimed that Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Turkish government, and the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, were behind the Gülen movement. It stated that some businessmen in Ankara donated 10 to 70 percent of their annual income to the movement and that it corresponded to $20,000 to $300,000 per year per person. It added that one businessman in Istanbul donated $4-5 million each year and that young people graduating from Gülen’s schools donated between $2,000 and $5,000 each year.”
Another leading Turkish newspaper reported (translated by Rastibini)
Among the reasons given by the US State Department’s attorneys as to why Gülen’s permanent residence application was refused, is the suspicion of CIA financing of his movement.
[ . . . ]
“There is even CIA suspicion”
“Because of the large amount of money that Gülen’s movement uses to finance his projects, there are claims that he has secret agreements with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkic governments. There are suspicions that the CIA is a co-payer in financing these projects,” claimed the attorneys.
[ . . . ]
Among the documents that the state attorneys presented, there are claims about the Gülen movement’s financial structure and it was emphasized that the movement’s economic power reached $25 billion. “Schools, newspapers, universities, unions, television channels . . . The relationship among these are being debated. There is no transparency in their work,” claimed the attorneys.”
Who is Gulen?
Fetullah Gulen is “a 67-year-old Turkish Sufi cleric, author and theoretician,” according to a recent profile in the UK’s Prospect magazine. Prospect ran a public poll last month to find the world’s greatest living intellectual. Gulen ‘won’ the poll after his newspapers alerted readers to the poll’s existence. Gulen is also the leader of the so-called ‘Gulen Movement’ which claims to have seven million followers worldwide. The Gulen Movement has extensive business interests, including “publishing activities (books, newspapers, and magazines), construction, healthcare, and education.”
Gulen and the CIA
The fact that the prosecutors in the court cite documents that claim that Gulen has been financed in part by the CIA is remarkable for a number of reasons, even though there have been strong suspicions about the CIA’s involvement in the Gulen Movement for years. The Russian intelligence agency, the FSB, has repeatedly taken action against the Gulen movement for acting as a front organization for the CIA. In December 2002, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported:
“Russian secret service claims: Turkish religious brotherhood works for CIA
The FSB, the Russian intelligence organization formerly called the KGB, has claimed that the ‘Nurcus’ religious brotherhood in Turkey has engaged in espionage on behalf of the CIA through the companies and foundations it has founded. FSB head Nikolay Patrushev has mentioned the names of these companies and foundations, saying, ‘The brotherhood engages in anti-Russian activities via two companies, Serhad and Eflak, as well as foundations such as Toros, Tolerans and Ufuk.’ Patrushev has accused the brotherhood of conducting pan-Turkish propaganda, of trying to convert Russian youths to Islam by sowing the seeds of enmity, and of engaging in certain lobbying activities. These companies and foundations have turned up in the internet site of Fethullah Gulen [alleged leader of the Nurcu religious community currently living in the United States who is a defendant in several court cases in Turkey, accused of engaging in anti-secularist activities.]””
Russia has banned all of Gulen’s madrassas, and in April of this year, banned the Nurcu Movement completely.
The Gulen Movement founded madrassas all over the world in the 1990’s, most of them in the newly independent Turkic republics of Central Asia – Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – and Russia.
These madrassas appear to be used as a front for enabling CIA and State Department officials to operate undercover in the region, with many of the teachers operating under diplomatic passports.
Why Central Asia?
Central Asia, with its vast energy wealth, is of major interest to US oil and gas companies. The region is also of key strategic interest in the ‘Great Game’ as Russia, China and the US compete for dwindling energy supplies. The US government has been using Turkey as a proxy to gain control over Central Asia via Pan-Turkic nationalism and religion.
Sibel Edmonds Case
Twenty six people wrote reference letters supporting Gulen’s application for a Green Card – most notably ex-CIA agent George Fidas, former Turkish ambassador Morton Abramowitz, and former CIA Deputy Director Graham Fuller who appears in Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery.
I called Sibel Edmonds to comment on the latest revelations. She said:
You’ve got to look at the big picture. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the super powers began to fight over control of Central Asia, particularly the oil and gas wealth, as well as the strategic value of the region.
Given the history, and the distrust of the West, the US realized that it couldn’t get direct control, and therefore would need to use a proxy to gain control quickly and effectively. Turkey was the perfect proxy; a NATO ally and a puppet regime. Turkey shares the same heritage/race as the entire population of Central Asia, the same language (Turkic), the same religion (Sunni Islam), and of course, the strategic location and proximity.
This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.
This is why I have been saying repeatedly that these illegal covert operations by the Turks and certain US persons dates back to 1996, and involves terrorist activities, narcotics, weapons smuggling and money laundering, converging around the same operations and involving the same actors.
And I want to emphasize that this is “illegal” because most, if not all, of the funding for these operations is not congressionally approved funding, but it comes from illegal activities.
And one last thing, take a look at the people in the State Secrets Privilege Gallery on my website and you will see how these individuals can be traced to the following; Turkey, Central Asia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – and the activities involving these countries.
Many of the people in Sibel’s State Secrets Privilege Gallery are closely connected to Gulen, and each other, as well as the operations that Sibel mentions. Many of them have actively advocated for using Muslims to further their own needs – from Turkistan to Albania and Central Asia.
Marc Grossman, former State Department #3 and former Turkish ambassador, and one of the key named individuals in Sibel’s case, is currently receiving $1.2 million per annum from Ihlas Holding, a Gulen-linked Turkish conglomerate. Sibel has previously referred to Ihlas as ‘semi-legitimate‘ and ‘alleged shady‘ – and emphasized that Grossman’s current payoff is a result of services performed while he was in office.
Grossman’s predecessor as ambassador in Turkey was Morton Abramowitz – in fact, Grossman actually worked under Abramowitz in Ankara for a number of years. During that period, the US opened an espionage investigation into activities at the embassy involving Major Douglas Dickerson, a weapons procurement specialist for Central Asia. Dickerson and his wife, an FBI translator, later became famous when they tried to recruit Sibel to spy for this criminal network.
Abramowitz, who is not listed in Sibel’s State Secrets Privilege Gallery, wrote a letter in support of Gulen for his immigration case. He has long advocated the use of Islamic fighters in furtherance of US interests, including the Afghan mujaheddin against the Soviets and the Kosovo Liberation Army during the war in the Balkans, acting as an advisor to the Kosovar Albanians.
Another player from Sibel’s Gallery is Enver Yusuf Turani – Prime Minister of East Turkistan, a ‘country’ recognized by only one country, the United States. East Turkistan, aka Xinjiang, is officially a part of China, and home to the Uyghur people and the “Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement,” a UN-nominated terrorist organization “funded mainly by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and received training, support and personnel from both the al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime of Afghanistan.” In fact, the Uyghurs constitute a significant percentage of detainees – at least 22 – at Guantanamo Bay since 2001. Five of those have been set free, and were eventually sent to Albania, amid much controversy.
According to TurkPulse:
“One of the main tools Washington is using in this affair in order to get Turkey involved in the Xinjiang affair is some Turkish Americans, primarily the Fetullah Gulen team who are prosecuted in absentia in Turkey for trying to found a theocratic State order in this country because he runs his activities from the United States, his protégé. Another Turk used in this affair is Enver Yusuf Turani, who is the self styled Foreign and Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in exile. He has been an American citizen since 1998. Enver Yusuf is in close cooperation with Fetullah Gulen… Their activities for the government in exile are based on a report entitled “the Xinjiang Project” drafted by Graham Fuller in 1998 for the Rand Corporation and revised in 2003 under the title “the Xinjiang Problem.” It emphasises the importance of the Xinjiang Autonomous region in encircling China and provides a strategy for it.”
In fact, Abramowitz and Fuller were key players in the establishment of ‘East Turkistan,’
“proclaiming the government in exile within 4-5 months, starting in May (2004) and completing the proclamation in mid- September. The ceremony was held at Capitol Hill under American flags in Washington.”
Two others from Sibel’s gallery, Sabri Sayari and Alan Makovsky, have been similarly involved with Gulen, Fuller, and Abramowitz – co-authoring books and articles, making joint appearances, dinners etc.
Earlier I quoted Sibel saying
“And I want to emphasize that this is “illegal” because most, if not all, of the funding for these operations is not congressionally approved funding, but it comes from illegal activities.”
Where does this funding come from? Narcotics trafficking, nuclear black market, weapons smuggling, and terrorist activities. As Sibel makes clear in her The Highjacking of a Nation article, the management of the heroin industry from the farms in Afghanistan to the streets of London and elsewhere “requires highly sophisticated networks,” from the protection of the convoys from Afghanistan through Central Asia to their final destination, to the laundering of the billions of dollars in proceeds in Central Asian casinos and financial institutions in Dubai and Cyprus. “So, who are the real lords of Afghanistan’s poppy fields?” Sibel asks. The heroin trade finances al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but they aren’t the real lords of the poppy fields. Journalist Ahmed Rashid, author of “Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia ” and other similar books about these issues recently noted on Democracy Now that a “cartel” controls Afghanistan’s heroin, which supplies 93% of global heroin supply.
Sibel has been trying to tell us about these operations for years, but has been gagged by the State Secrets Privilege which was invoked citing certain ‘sensitive foreign diplomatic and business relationships.’ These ‘sensitive relationships’ have now been exposed to a degree, thanks to the immigration case against Mr Gulen – one of the Turkish operatives who have been fronting for the CIA in the Islamization of Central Asia, incorporating drug trafficking, money laundering, and the nuclear black market, and the convergence with terrorism.
One Last Question
At the end of our interview, Sibel asked me to leave you with this question:
“After 911, the US Government engaged in mock investigations and shut down many small Islamic charities and organizations, giving the appearance of action in the so-called ‘War on Terror.’ Why did they harbor, support and resource Fethullah Gulen’s $25 billion madrassa-and-mosque-establishment efforts throughout the Central Asian region and the Balkans?”
I was raised in a working class family. My father was a full-time trade union official for the Musicians Union and my mother, before she became a full-time ‘housewife’, had been a chorus girl working in pantomime and a member of the Tiller Girls (the Brit version of The Rockettes) and during WWII she worked in a factory making bomb sights at Fry’s Diecasting where she campaigned on behalf of the female workers for equal pay (in the face of opposition from the male-run union). Not exactly typical of working class life but definately of it.
The Britain I grew up in was saturated with class: your accent (acquired via your education), dress and address defined who you were, even how intelligent it was assumed you were, what paths in life were open to you, your ambitions, in fact the whole nine yards were laid out for you from the day you were born.
Your chances of becoming a member of the middle class were strictly limited and if you managed by some miracle to get beyond a high school education, you faced a literal minefield of prejudice at university. You either abandoned your class entirely or faced a very schizophrenic future, something I experienced directly when by some miracle I made it to art school and ‘escaped’ from the working class future all my neighbourhood mates faced here in South London where I grew up.
Just how far this background is from those who define what ‘our’ culture is should surely be apparent to all, but at the same time it’s also somewhat removed from what we regard as working class culture, at least as it’s defined by those who run the dominant culture and surely this is the problem: what is working class culture? Is there one and how important is it to revolutionary change?
Just how much culture is defined by the middle classes is perhaps not so readily apparent but it is totally pervasive, in fact in a world defined by the ruling elites via a hegemonic media, even so-called working class or popular culture, pop music, fashion etc, is itself shaped by the very same middle class elites who run it.
By and large, working class life as it is actually lived is demonized and denigrated eg, so-called binge drinking, the violence of an alienated youth whose lives have been effectively criminalized by this awful neo-fascist New Labour government has led to the complete polarization of society into two mutually exclusive worlds. And who is doing the polarization? The middle class elites who run the media that targets the working class, from the tabloids to Big Brother and it’s reflected in the way the BBC for example has ‘dumbed down’ its programming. In the past it promulgated a distinctly middle class view of life, pushing so-called high cultural values and all but ignoring working class life and experience and even where it deigned to explore working class life it was expressed through the filter of the middle class values and attitudes.
Today working class life is effectively a culture of consumerism dominated by the car, shopping malls and television. Even the efforts of New Labour to recruit more working class people into higher education is nothing more than a reflection of the reality of the demands of modern production, the equivalent of the 19th century demand for a working class who needed to be able to read and write in order function in the factory environment (not that even this too wasn’t fought tooth and nail by some elements of the ruling class, who feared even a minimally educated working class and with good reason).
In part this process is also a reflects the destruction of ‘traditional’ working class communities with the loss of manufacturing especially that of mining, steel and transportation which produced our trade unions and with them, a truly working class culture rooted in factory life and the communities of working people that lived adjacent to the factories.
This transformation has been thirty years in the making, in fact we can pinpoint its beginnings with the Thatcher counter-revolution in the late 1970s. It highlights the fact that as well as the frontal attack on the organized working class mounted by the neo-liberals, the importance of destroying (what’s left) of our collective memory and replacing it with an entirely erzatz one, based on a totally ficticious account of how we got here (let alone who we are).
Although my parent’s families for example (between them there were sixteen brothers and sisters) were all either socialists or communists, effectively they lived in two worlds. Left culture is inherently intellectual, a world of ideas, debates, books and learning let alone action and in this respect it has much in common with ‘middle class’ culture (and yes, many lefties are middle class, some even from the upper class), but do we share the same cultural values?
To some degree it’s a peculiarly English thing, but then that’s where I am. It was only when I moved to NYC that I actually felt ‘free’ of my class roots, not that the US doesn’t have classes but they express themselves in very different ways. In NYC I could simply be British and specifically a Londoner and I was accepted as such (even an ‘exotic’).
These issues are important becuase in a world filtered and shaped by a single, dominant media, the class that runs it shares what is called ‘high culture’. They even manage and shape so-called low culture because they also control the means of production and distribution.
The degree to which this is important, no central, to getting rid of capitalism has not been generally recognized by the Left, the notable exception (or is that the exception of note?) being the ideas of Antonio Gramsci and the role of intellectuals in shaping our perceptions and understanding of the world and how it works.
Why this is important should be obvious. In the past, working class culture was simply ignored, denigrated or stereotyped, but with the creation of a hegemonic and now global, mass media that shapes how reality is presented to us, the issue of culture has taken centre stage.
This explains the transformation that the mass media has undergone over the past few years and the exceptional focus on ramping up a ficticious past, especially that of all the wars imperialism has launched with a never-ending flood of old war movies, underhanded appeals to ‘patriotism’, ‘documentaries’ and so forth. So for example, the ‘history’ taught at school consists almost entirely of WWII!
Indeed, the objective has been to rewrite history in its totality, a process that is reflected in New Labour’s onslaught on working class ‘culture’, a ‘culture’ that is ironically a construct of the middle class intelligentsia as projected through the mass media, and especially working class youth who have been demonized to the point that more than ever, resembles Victorian attitudes to the ‘great unwashed’.
More than ever before this reinforces the importance of our so-called alternative media and the need to counter the corporate media’s adoptance of ‘blogging’ and its sanitized version of ‘citizen journalism’ (after first ignoring and then denigrating it).
It reveals just how frightened the ruling elites and their servants are of the independent media and the potential it has to open peoples’ minds to the truth. Even vaguely progressive journalists such as Robert Fisk reveal their fears of an independent media.
“I despise the internet. It’s irresponsible and, often, a net of hate. And I don’t have time for Blogopops. But here’s a tale of two gutless newspapers which explains why more and more people are Googling rather than turning pages.” — Robert Fisk: ‘No wonder the bloggers are winning’, Published in the London Independent, 21 July 2007
With ‘friends’ like these, who needs enemies? And what, exactly is it that we’re ‘winning’? Fisk, like so many of the media intelligentsia are understandably fearful of a truly independent media, we threaten their comfortable and well-paid positions as purveyors and gatekeepers of ‘responsible’ journalism. It goes even further, the new independent media made possible by the Internet takes us back several hundred years to the invention of moveable type and the printing press, to founders of ‘people’s journalism’ such Thomas Paine.
This is why it’s not enough to expose the crimes of our leaders, we have to reveal their ‘tools of the trade’, how they manipulate our fears and desires in order to keep us in ‘our place.’
1. Ironically, what became ‘traditional’ working class life was itself the result of the complete destruction of pre-industrial culture as rural communities were forced into our rapidly expanding industrial cities, a process that was probably unique to Britain and accounts for the ‘memory hole’ that exists in the UK, totally unlike the mainland European countries where links to pre-industrial, indeed pre-capitalist culture have survived.
2. For an interesting and useful contemporary view of this see ‘The Communist Bugaboo’ By Gaither Stewart’.
3. I have never accepted the term ‘alternative’ media, it marginalizes and devalues our interpretation of the world, preferring instead the term independent media, independent that is of the dead hand of the corporate state. I’ve [been] writing about it for several years now. See for example, ‘Blogopopsicles of the world unite!’, Tuesday, August 7, 2007 and,
‘Flogging the Bloggers, Hobbling the Hip-Hoppers’, Tuesday, 17 April, 2007. www.williambowles.info/ini/2007/0407/ini-0482.html
4. ‘Letter from a far-off galaxy, a tale of two worlds’, Friday, August 3, 2007.
5. Just how frightened the corporate media is of independent news is revealed in the latest Media Lens piece, ‘MEDIA ALERT: NEWS INTERNATIONAL THREATENS MEDIA LENS WITH LEGAL AND POLICE ACTION’, July 10th, 2008.
6. ‘400 Years of Blogging’, 14 March 2005.
This essay is archived at: http://www.creative-i.info/?p=290
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Interview conducted by William Hughes
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by Sherwood Ross
July 10, 2008
At least a score of high Bush Administration officials authorized, and hundreds of U.S. military and other government employees committed, crimes involving the torture of prisoners captured in the Middle East, published reports and legal documents indicate.
Indeed, any impartial probe of the widespread abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody could go well beyond the handful of prison guards who have been arrested and tried to date. The list would include top White House officials who designed the torture policies and Pentagon flag officers who executed them. It would include CIA officials and their contract pilots and immigration personnel involved in abducting suspects to be tortured as well as foreign officials who turned suspects over to U.S. authorities for torture. It would include doctors, nurses, and paramedics who abetted interrogators in torture and the civilian contractors of the Department of Defense (DOD) who tortured inmates.
In his May 8, 2004, radio broadcast, President Bush deplored “shocking conduct in Iraqi prisons by a small number of American servicemen and women.” But he added, “We will learn the facts, the extent of the abuse, and the identities of those involved. They will answer for their actions.” As that’s the case, let’s begin, starting at the top.
President Bush himself bears primary responsibility for torture for his arbitrary February 8, 2002, suspension of the Geneva Conventions that protect prisoners. This action set the tone for the prison scandals that shocked the conscience of the world with the publication in 2004 of the bizarre prisoner abuse photographs from Abu Ghraib near Baghdad .
As for Vice President Dick Cheney, he’s been described by retired Army Colonel Larry Wilkerson, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, as the man who provided “the philosophical guidance that led to the torture of detainees.” Wilkerson, who quit the State Department in January, 2005, said he didn’t fault Cheney for wishing to keep America safe “but he’ll corrupt the whole country to save it.”
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and his former Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz, both authorized torture practices. When Bush nominated Wolfowitz as World Bank boss, Legislative Counsel Christopher Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union lamented, “As privates and sergeants are getting jail time, top level officials are getting promoted.” Human Rights First (HRF) has charged Rumsfeld with direct responsibility for torture. And the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) named Rumsfeld one of 10 defendants in a criminal complaint filed in Karlsruhe, Germany, for brutal acts of torture at Abu Ghraib.
CCR Vice President Peter Weiss said CCR filed its complaint in Germany “because there is simply no other place to go” as USA refuses to join the International Criminal Court, and Iraq has no authority to prosecute. Under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction suspected war criminals may be prosecuted anywhere.
Apparently, Rumsfeld did not put the military on the torture track without internal opposition. Then U.S. Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora, now retired, put up a diligent fight, according author Jane Mayer of The New Yorker. On December 2, 2002, Rumsfeld formally okayed coercive punishments such as “hooding,” “stress positions,” “exploitation of phobias,” “deprivation of light and auditory stimuli” and other tactics long forbidden by the Army Field Manual, Mayer wrote.
One torture victim was Saudi detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani, a terrorist suspect arrested in Afghanistan in connection with the 9/ll skyjackings. According to Mayer, he was stripped and shaved, put in an isolation pen under artificial lights for 160 days, kept in a cold room, interrogated for up to 20 hours at a stretch, deprived of sleep, straddled by female guards, forced to wear a bra and women’s underwear on his head, put on a leash and threatened by dogs, taunted that his mother was a whore, and forced to listen to blaring pop music.
It was Rumsfeld who appointed Dr. Stephen Cambone, the Defense Undersecretary who gave the orders to “soften up” Iraqi prisoners. Cambone told Major General Geoffrey Miller, former Guantanamo commandant, to go to Iraq to “Gitmo-ize” the interrogation process. Miller reportedly said, “You have to treat them like dogs” and okayed use of stress positions “for agonizing lengths of time,” according to reporter Seymour Hersh. Cambone is named in the CCR complaint for his role in “creating a secret operation program whose mandate included committing war crimes.”
One form of torture begins with “extraordinary rendition.” Alleged terror suspects have been abducted by the CIA and flown to be tortured (and/or murdered) in Egypt , Saudi Arabia , Syria , Morocco , Jordan and Uzbekistan , etc. The practice was begun around 1996 under President Clinton and vastly expanded by President Bush after 9/11. Sandy Berger, Clinton ‘s National Security Council director, and counterterrorism boss Richard Clarke, have been identified as having approved extreme rendition. Clinton , of course, is also culpable. Right now, Italy would like to lay its hands on 22 C.I.A. agents who three years ago abducted Milan resident cleric Hassan Osama Nasr for torture in Egypt .
CIA pilots involved in extraordinary rendition flights, as well as their boss, former CIA Director Porter Goss and CIA ex-counter-terrorism chief Cofer Black should be called to account. Recall Goss asked Congress to exempt CIA operatives from any law banning torture and Black told Congress, “After 9/11, the gloves came off.” Any European officials who transferred suspects to the CIA are culpable.
One human rights consortium said last April it has documented the involvement of over 600 U.S. military and civilian personnel for the abuse and torture of 460 detainees.
A spokesman the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project, Professor Meg Satterthwaite of NYU Law School, said “detainee abuses were widespread, and few people have truly been brought to justice.” Added Tom Malinowski, of Human Rights Watch, one of the participating groups, “We’ve seen a series of half-hearted investigations and slaps on the wrist.”
As ex-President Carter writes in “Our Endangered Values”(Simon & Schuster) the “superficial investigations” into torture conducted by the Pentagon “have made it obvious that no high-level military officers or government officials will be held accountable…”
USA may be holding 11,000 prisoners in Iraq , Afghanistan , and at Guantanamo , Cuba , Human Rights First says. So far, more than 100 prisoners are said to have perished in U.S. custody. Captives include 800 Pakistani boys aged 13-15, some of them tortured, the International Red Cross has charged.
A key architect of the “new paradigm” torture policy is ex-White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales, now Attorney General, author of a torture memo in January of 2002. He dismissed the Geneva Conventions banning torture as “quaint.”
His predecessor, Attorney General John Ashcroft, told Bush the Conventions outlawing torture did not apply to Taliban detainees. The CCR sued Ashcroft on behalf of Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who was abducted to Syria and tortured. Immigration and Naturalization Service(INS) and FBI agents who arrested Arar at JFK Airport and put him on a plane to Syria are culpable.
In addition to Ashcroft, the CCR suit cited Larry Thompson, Acting Attorney General said to have signed the rendition order; FBI Director Robert Mueller; J. Scott Blackman, regional INS director; Edward McElroy, then INS director for the New York City district; and INS Commissioner James Zigler.
High Bush aides responsible for torture include Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, who on August 1, 2002, drafted what became known as the “torture memo.” Also, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff who, when head of Justice’s criminal division, advised the CIA it was okay to use water torture.
Other law violators include John Yoo, now a University of California professor, who advised Bush the Geneva Conventions did not apply to detainees; Jack Goldsmith, who drafted the torture policy for Gonzales when he headed Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel; David Addington, Cheney’s top lawyer and a principle author of a White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects; Douglas Feith, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy who had oversight for Abu Ghraib and like prisons; and former Pentagon general counsel William Haynes II, author of memos rationalizing torture.
That such policy memos were translated into action was established by Human Rights Watch, which reported prison interrogators in the Baghdad area got a lecture from military lawyers saying Geneva Conventions did not apply and torturing was legit.
Among military officers involved in torture are:
# Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, U.S. senior commander in Iraq for about a year starting in June, 2003. His memo of September 14, 2003, authorized use of interrogation techniques such as dogs, isolation, and stress positions. Major General Walter Wojdakowski was his deputy commander in charge of an involved military intelligence brigade and is one of those named in the CCR criminal complaint. And Major General Barbara Fast, cleared by the Army of any wrongdoing, served as chief of intelligence for Sanchez.
# Colonel Thomas Pappas, head of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, was in charge of Iraq prisons and therefore responsible for what took place. He is also named in the CCR suit for torture “amounting to war crimes.” Lieutenant Colonel Steve Jordan, of 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, is said by CCR to even have witnessed one detainee’s death caused by his subordinates’ mistreatment.
# Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, with direct charge for Abu Ghraib and subsequently demoted to colonel, admitted to violation of the Geneva Conventions by holding so-called “ghost detainees” in secret. Sanchez, Pappas, and Karpinski are named in an ACLU complaint. Also, Captain Carolyn Wood, who oversaw interrogation at Bagram prison and approved the use of dogs and stress positions.
# Lt. General William Boykin reportedly advised Cambone to use water torture and to humiliate captives via religious taunting. Participating doctors, nurses, and paramedics who aided torturers at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere would be culpable as well.
# Air Force General Counsel Mary Walker, who headed a Rumsfeld working group on interrogation guidelines, rationalized that some criminal conduct was “not unlawful.”
# Lt. Colonel Stephen Jordan, former supervisor of interrogators at Abu Ghraib was named in the CCR complaint as having “clear knowledge” of ongoing abuses, and Lt. Colonel Jerry Phillabaum, commander of a military police battalion that oversaw Abu Ghraib was said by CCR to have failed to report war crimes.
# CCR also filed a class action suit in Federal court against Titan Corp. of San Diego and CACI International of Arlington, Va., and three of their employees, Stephen Stefanowicz and John Israel of CACI, and Adel Nahkla of Titan for abuses Abu Ghraib. Plaintiffs said they were hooded and raped, stripped naked and urinated on, prevented from praying, beaten with chains and boots, and forced to watch their father tortured to death. CACI has strongly denied the charges.
Title 18 of the U.S. Code makes it a crime for an American to commit torture “outside the United States ” and authorizes fines and prison terms of up to 20 years. If deaths result, those convicted may be jailed for life or executed. HRF has charged as of April, 2005, 108 foreign detainees had died in U.S. custody.
CCR President Michael Ratner said, “the existence of ‘torture memos’ drafted by administration officials and the authorization of techniques that violated humanitarian law by Secretary Rumsfeld, Lt. General Sanchez and others make clear that responsibility for Abu Ghraib and other violations of law reaches all the way to the top.”
Calling for an investigation, Amnesty International’s Jumana Musa, warned, “Torture thrives on impunity. By not holding accountable the people who drafted and implemented the policies, the US government is giving a wink and a nod to torturers world wide.”
Sherwood Ross is an American reporter and public relations consultant who has worked for major dailies and as a wire service columnist. To comment on this article or arrange for speaking engagements: email@example.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9558
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Acoustic microwave armaments? Laser induced plasma channels? Vortex ring guns? Are these high-tech MacGuffins spiffing-up the latest Hollywood near-future thriller? Regrettably, no. Welcome to the twisted world of “non-lethal” weapons research brought to you by the “fun” folks at the Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD). Continue reading
by Andrew G. Marshall
July 11, 2008
Establishing an “Arc of Crisis”
Many would be skeptical that the Anglo-Americans would be behind terrorist acts in Iraq, such as with the British in Basra, when two British SAS soldiers were caught dressed as Arabs, with explosives and massive arsenal of weapons. Why would the British be complicit in orchestrating terror in the very city in which they are to provide security? What would be the purpose behind this? That question leads us to an even more important question to ask, the question of why Iraq was occupied; what is the purpose of the war on Iraq? If the answer is, as we are often told with our daily dose of CNN, SkyNews and the statements of public officials, to spread democracy and freedom and rid the world of tyranny and terror, then it doesn’t make sense that the British or Americans would orchestrate terror.
However, if the answer to the question of why the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq occurred was not to spread democracy and freedom, but to spread fear and chaos, plunge the country into civil war, balkanize Iraq into several countries, and create an “arc of crisis” across the Middle East, enveloping neighboring countries, notably Iran, then terror is a very efficient and effective means to an end.
An Imperial Strategy
In 1982, Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry wrote an article for a publication of the World Zionist Organization in which he outlined a “strategy for Israel in the 1980s.” In this article, he stated, “The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.” He continued, “An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon.” He continues, “In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul and Shiite areas in the South will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.”
The Iran-Iraq War, which lasted until 1988, did not result in Oded Yinon’s desired break-up of Iraq into ethnically based provinces. Nor did the subsequent Gulf War of 1991 in which the US destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure, as well as the following decade-plus of devastating sanctions and aerial bombardments by the Clinton administration. What did occur during these decades, however, were the deaths of millions of Iraqis and Iranians.
A Clean Break for a New American Century
In 1996, an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, issued a report under the think tank’s Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000, entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” In this paper, which laid out recommendations for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they state that Israel can, “Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats,” as well as, “Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense into all Palestinian areas,” and to, “Forge a new basis for relations with the United States—stressing self-reliance, maturity, strategic cooperation on areas of mutual concern, and furthering values inherent to the West.”
The report recommended Israel to seize “the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon,” and to use “Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.” It also states, “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”
The authors of the report include Douglas Feith, an ardent neoconservative who went on to become George W. Bush’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2001 to 2005; David Wurmser, who was appointed by Douglas Feith after 9/11 to be part of a secret Pentagon intelligence unit and served as a Mideast Adviser to Dick Cheney from 2003 to 2007; and Meyrav Wurmser, David’s wife, who is now an official with the American think tank, the Hudson Institute.
Richard Perle headed the study, and worked on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee from 1987 to 2004, and was Chairman of the Board from 2001 to 2004, where he played a key role in the lead-up to the Iraq war. He was also a member of several US think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century.
The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is an American neoconservative think tank, whose membership and affiliations included many people who were associated with the present Bush administration, such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Richard Armitage, Jeb Bush, Elliott Abrams, Eliot A. Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Peter Rodman, Dov Zakheim and Robert B. Zoellick.
PNAC produced a report in September of 2000, entitled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” in which they outlined a blueprint for a Pax Americana, or American Empire. The report puts much focus on Iraq and Iran, stating, “Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests in the Gulf as Iraq has.” Stating that, “the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security,” the report suggests that, “the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification,” however, “the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime change of Saddam Hussein.”
Engineer a Civil War for the “Three State Solution”
Shortly after the initial 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the New York Times ran an op-ed piece by Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Member of the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, the most influential and powerful think tank in the United States. The op-ed, titled, “The Three State Solution,” published in November of 2003, stated that the “only viable strategy” for Iraq, “may be to correct the historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” Citing the example of the break up of Yugoslavia, Gelb stated that the Americans and Europeans “gave the Bosnian Muslims and Croats the means to fight back, and the Serbs accepted separation.” Explaining the strategy, Gelb states that, “The first step would be to make the north and south into self-governing regions, with boundaries drawn as closely as possible along ethnic lines,” and to “require democratic elections within each region.” Further, “at the same time, draw down American troops in the Sunni Triangle and ask the United Nations to oversee the transition to self-government there.” Gelb then states that this policy “would be both difficult and dangerous. Washington would have to be very hard-headed, and hard-hearted, to engineer this breakup.”
Following the example of Yugoslavia, as Gelb cited, would require an engineered civil war between the various ethnic groups. The US supported and funded Muslim forces in Bosnia in the early 1990s, under the leadership of the CIA-trained Afghan Mujahideen, infamous for their CIA-directed war against the Soviet Union from 1979-1989. In Bosnia, the Mujahideen were “accompanied by US Special Forces,” and Bill Clinton personally approved of collaboration with “several Islamic fundamentalist organisations including Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.” In Kosovo, years later, “Mujahideen mercenaries from the Middle East and Central Asia were recruited to fight in the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1998-99, largely supporting NATO’s war effort.” The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the British Secret Intelligence Services (MI6), British SAS soldiers and American and British private security companies had the job of arming and training the KLA. Further, “The U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization, indicating that it was financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals, among them allegedly Usama bin Laden,” and as well as that, “the brother of a leader in an Egyptian Jihad organization and also a military commander of Usama bin Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict.”
Could this be the same strategy being deployed in Iraq in order to break up the country for similar geopolitical reasons?
The Asia Times Online reported in 2005, that the plan of “balkanizing” Iraq into several smaller states, “is an exact replica of an extreme right-wing Israeli plan to balkanize Iraq – an essential part of the balkanization of the whole Middle East. Curiously, Henry Kissinger was selling the same idea even before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.” It continued, “this is classic divide and rule: the objective is the perpetuation of Arab disunity. Call it Iraqification; what it actually means is sectarian fever translated into civil war.”
In 2006, an “independent commission set up by Congress with the approval of President George W Bush,” termed the “Baker Commission” after former Secretary of State, James Baker, “has grown increasingly interested in the idea of splitting the Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish regions of Iraq as the only alternative to what Baker calls ‘cutting and running’ or ‘staying the course’.”
It was also reported in 2006 that, “Iraq’s federal future is already enshrined within its constitution, allowing regions to form, if not actually prescribing how this should happen,” and that, “the Iraqi parliament (dominated by Shi’a and Kurds) passed a bill earlier this month [October, 2006] allowing federal regions to form (by majority vote in the provinces seeking merger).” Further, “The law, which unsurprisingly failed to win Sunni support, will be reviewed over the next 18 months in a bid to bring its opponents round.” The article, however, stated that instead of a three state solution, “a system based upon five regions would seem to have more chance of succeeding. A five-region model could see two regions in the south, one based around Basra and one around the holy cities. Kurdistan and the Sunni region would remain, but Baghdad and its environs would form a fifth, metropolitan, region.” The author of the article was Gareth Stansfield, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House think tank in London, which preceded, works with and is the British equivalent of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“Ethnic Cleansing Works”
In 2006, the Armed Forces Journal published an article by retired Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters, titled, “Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look.” In the article, Peters explains that the best plan for the Middle East would be to “readjust” the borders of the countries. “Accepting that international statecraft has never developed effective tools — short of war — for readjusting faulty borders, a mental effort to grasp the Middle East’s “organic” frontiers nonetheless helps us understand the extent of the difficulties we face and will continue to face. We are dealing with colossal, man-made deformities that will not stop generating hatred and violence until they are corrected.” He states that after the 2003 invasion, “Iraq should have been divided into three smaller states immediately.” However, Iraq is not the only country to fall victim to “Balkanization” in Peters’ eyes, as, “Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan,” and “Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan.” Further, “What Afghanistan would lose to Persia in the west, it would gain in the east, as Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren.” Peters states that “correcting borders” may be impossible, “For now. But given time — and the inevitable attendant bloodshed — new and natural borders will emerge. Babylon has fallen more than once.” He further makes the astonishing statement that, “Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.”
The map of the re-drawn Middle East, initially published alongside Peters’ article, but no longer present, “has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles.” Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed wrote of Peters’ proposal, that “the sweeping reconfiguration of borders he proposes would necessarily involve massive ethnic cleansing and accompanying bloodshed on perhaps a genocidal scale.”
Federalism or Incremental Balkanization?
A month before Peters’ article was published, Leslie Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Joseph Biden, a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, in which they stated, “America must get beyond the present false choice between “staying the course” and “bringing the troops home now” and choose a third way that would wind down our military presence responsibly while preventing chaos and preserving our key security goals.” What is this third option? “The idea, as in Bosnia, is to maintain a united Iraq by decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group—Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab—room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests.”
They describe a few aspects of this plan. “The first is to establish three largely autonomous regions with a viable central government in Baghdad. The Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would each be responsible for their own domestic laws, administration and internal security. The central government would control border defense, foreign affairs and oil revenues.” Then, “The second element would be to entice the Sunnis into joining the federal system with an offer they couldn’t refuse. To begin with, running their own region should be far preferable to the alternatives: being dominated by Kurds and Shiites in a central government or being the main victims of a civil war.”
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2007, Leslie Gelb stated that his plan for “federalizing” Iraq, “would look like this: The central government would be based on the areas where there are genuine common interests among the different Iraqi parties. That is, foreign affairs, border defense, currency and, above all, oil and gas production and revenues.” And, “As for the regions, whether they be three or four or five, whatever it may be, it’s up to—all this is up to the Iraqis to decide, would be responsible for legislation, administration and internal security.”
The Senate subsequently passed a nonbinding resolution supporting a federal system for Iraq, which has still yet to be enacted upon, because it stated that this resolution was something that had to be enacted upon by the Iraqis, so as not to be viewed as “something that the United States was going to force down their throats.” Further, “when Ambassador Ryan Crocker appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he testified in favor of federalism. In his private conversations with senators, he also supported the idea,” yet, while in Baghdad, the Ambassador “blasted the resolution.” Could this be a method of manipulation? If the American Embassy in Baghdad promotes a particular solution for Iraq, it would likely be viewed by Iraqis as a bad choice and in the interest of the Americans. So, if the Ambassador publicly bashes the resolution from Iraq, which he did, it conveys the idea that the current administration is not behind it, which could make Iraqis see it as a viable alternative, and perhaps in their interests. For Iraqi politicians, embracing the American view on major issues is political (and often actual) suicide. The American Embassy in Baghdad publicly denouncing a particular strategy gives Iraqi politicians public legitimacy to pursue it.
This resolution has still not gone through all the processes in Congress, and may, in fact, have been slipped into another bill, such as a Defense Authorization Act. However, the efforts behind this bill are larger than the increasingly irrelevant US Congress.
Also in 2007, another think tank called for the managed “break-up of Iraq into three separate states with their own governments and representatives to the United Nations, but continued economic cooperation in a larger entity modeled on the European Union.” In a startling admission by former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, stated in 2007 that the “United States has “no strategic interest” in a united Iraq,” and he also suggested “that the United States shouldn’t necessarily keep Iraq from splitting up.”
Clearly, whatever the excuse, or whatever the means of dividing Iraq, it is without a doubt in the Anglo-American strategy for Iraq to balkanize the country. Saying that what is being proposed is not balkanization, but federalism, is a moot point. This is because reverting to a more federal system where provinces have greater autonomy would naturally separate the country along ethno-religious boundaries. The Kurds would be in the north, the Sunnis in the centre, and the Shi’ites in the south, with all the oil. The disproportionate provincial resources will create animosity between provinces, and the long-manipulated ethnic differences will spill from the streets into the political sphere. As tensions grow, as they undoubtedly would, between the provinces, there would be a natural slide to eventual separation. Disagreements over power sharing in the federal government would lead to its eventual collapse, and the strategy of balkanization would have been achieved with the appearance of no outside involvement.
 Global Research, Iraqi MP accuses British Forces in Basra of “Terrorism”. Al Jazeera: September 20, 2005: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050920&articleId=983
 Linda S. Heard, The Prophecy of Oded Yinon. Counter Punch: April 25, 2006: http://www.counterpunch.org/heard04252006.html
 Richard Perle, et. al., A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies: June 1996: http://www.iasps.org/strat1.htm
 PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Project for the New American Century: September 2000: Page 17
 PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Project for the New American Century: September 2000: Page 14
 Leslie Gelb, The Three State Solution. The New York Times: November 25, 2003:
 Michel Chossudovsky, “Osamagate.” Global Research: October 9, 2001:
 Pepe Escobar, Exit strategy: Civil war. Asia Times Online: June 10, 2005:
 Sarah Baxter, America ponders cutting Iraq in three. The Times: October 8, 2006: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article664974.ece
 Gareth Stansfield, The only solution left for Iraq: a five-way split. The Telegraph: October 29, 2006: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/10/29/do2904.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/10/29/ixopinion.html
 Ralph Peters, Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look. Armed Forces Journal: June 2006: http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2006/06/1833899
 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”. Global Research: November 18, 2006: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3882
 Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, US Army Contemplates Redrawing Middle East Map to Stave Off Looming Global Meltdown. Dissident Voice: September 1, 2006:
 Leslie Gelb and Joseph Biden, Jr., Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq. The New York Times: May 1, 2006: http://www.cfr.org/publication/10569/unity_through_autonomy_in_iraq.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb%3Fpage%3D2
 Leslie Gelb, Leslie Gelb before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The CFR: January 23, 2007: http://www.cfr.org/publication/12489/leslie_gelb_before_the_senate_foreign_relations_committee.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb
 Bernard Gwertzman, Gelb: Federalism Is Most Promising Way to End Civil War in Iraq. CFR: October 16, 2007: http://www.cfr.org/publication/14531/gelb.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb
 Robin Wright, Nonpartisan Group Calls for Three-State Split in Iraq. The Washington Post: August 17, 2007: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/17/AR2007081700918.html
 AP, French report: Former U.N. envoy Bolton says U.S. has ‘no strategic interest’ in united Iraq. International Herald Tribune: January 29, 2007: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/01/29/europe/EU-GEN-France-US-Iraq.php
Andrew G. Marshall contributed to breaking the Climate Change consensus in a celebrated 2006 article entitled Global Warming A Convenient Lie, in which he challenged the findings underlying Al Gore’s documentary. According to Marshall, ‘as soon as people start to state that “the debate is over”, beware, because the fundamental basis of all sciences is that debate is never over’. Andrew Marshall has also written on the militarization of Central Africa, national security issues and the process of integration of North America. He is also a contributor to GeopoliticalMonitor.com
He is currently a researcher at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) in Montreal and is studying political science and history at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia.