Antiwar Radio: Mark Ames: The Cold War that Wasn’t

Dandelion Salad

AntiwarRadio

Oct 31, 2008

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Mark Ames, author of The Cold War that Wasnt in The Nation, discusses the dominant narrative and ideological underpinnings in the U.S. press regarding the recent Georgian attack on South Ossetia and subsequent Russian counterattack on Georgia, the attempt to portray Russia as the aggressor by floating the idea of a first-strike cyber war despite the lack of any evidence, the alleged poisoning of Ukraines Victor Yushchenko and the current dispute between Yushchenko and Yulia Timoshenko over her reaction to the Georgia war, the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, the precedent set by U.S. intervention in Kosovo, the danger of putting defensive missiles in Eastern Europe while the U.S. foreign policy establishment contemplates first strike capability, U.S. NED support for the Russian National Bolsheviks, the shock therapy robbery of Russian resources under Yeltsins autocracy in the 1990s and the consequences.

Mark Ames is a journalist who has written for several publications including the New York Press, The Nation and GQ Russia and is the founding editor and regular contributor of the Moscow-based newspaper The eXile. He is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion From Reagans Workplaces to Clintons Columbine and Beyond and The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia.

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Alexander Litvinenko/Ex-KBG Spy

9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
Global Research, June 11, 2008

Editor’s Note:

This version of Professor’s Scott’s article does not include the footnotes (83). For the Version with footnotes in Word click here

The Deep State and 9/11

The unthinkable – that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians – has become not only thinkable but commonplace in the last century. A seminal example was in French Algeria, where dissident elements of the French armed forces, resisting General de Gaulle’s plans for Algerian independence, organized as the Secret Army Organization and bombed civilians indiscriminately, with targets including hospitals and schools. Critics like Alexander Litvinenko, who was subsequently murdered in London in November 2006, have charged that the 1999 bombings of apartment buildings around Moscow, attributed to Chechen separatists, were in fact the work of the Russian secret service (FSB).

Similar attacks in Turkey have given rise to the notion there of an extra-legal “deep state” – a combination of forces, ranging from former members of the CIA-organized Gladio organization, to “a vast matrix of security and intelligence officials, ultranationalist members of the Turkish underworld and renegade former members of the [Kurdish separatist] PKK.” The deep state, financed in part by Turkey’s substantial heroin traffic, has been accused of killing thousands of civilians, in incidents such as the lethal bomb attack in November 2005 on a bookshop in Semdinli. This attack, initially attributed to the Kurdish separatist PKK, turned out to have been committed by members of Turkey’s paramilitary police intelligence service, together with a former PKK member turned informer. On April 23, 2008, the former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar was ordered to stand trial for his role in this dirty war during the 1990s.

In my book The Road to 9/11, I have argued that there has existed, at least since World War Two if not earlier, an analogous American deep state, also combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld. I also pointed to recent decades of collaboration between the U.S. deep state and al-Qaeda, a terrorist underworld whose drug-trafficking activities have been played down in the 9/11 Commission Report and the mainstream U.S. media.

Still to be explained is the suppressed anomalous fact that al-Qaeda’s top trainer on airplane hijackings, Ali Mohamed, was simultaneously a double-agent reporting to the FBI, and almost certainly still maintained a connection to the CIA which had used him as an agent and helped bring him to this country in the 1980s. It is not disputed that Ali Mohamed organized the Embassy bombing in Kenya; and that he did so after the RCMP, who had detained him in Vancouver in the presence of another known terrorist, released Mohamed on instructions from the FBI.

From this historic background of collaboration, I would offer a hypothesis for further investigation: that the American deep state is somehow implicated with al-Qaeda in the atrocity of 9/11; and that this helps explain the conspicuous involvement of the CIA and other U.S. agencies in the ensuing cover-up.

Sibel Edmonds, the Turkish-American who was formerly an FBI translator, has publicly linked both al-Qaeda and American officials to the Turkish heroin trafficking that underlies the Turkish deep state. Although she has been prevented from speaking directly by an extraordinary court order, her allegations have been summarized by Daniel Ellsberg:

Al Qaeda, she’s been saying to congress, according to these interviews, is financed 95% by drug money – drug traffic to which the US government shows a blind eye, has been ignoring, because it very heavily involves allies and assets of ours – such as Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan – all the ‘Stans – in a drug traffic where the opium originates in Afghanistan, is processed

in Turkey, and delivered to Europe where it furnishes 96% of Europe’s heroin, by Albanians, either in Albania or Kosovo – Albanian Muslims in Kosovo – basically the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army which we backed heavily in that episode at the end of the century….Sibel says that suitcases of cash have been delivered to the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, at his home, near Chicago, from Turkish sources, knowing that a lot of that is drug money.

In 2005 Sibel Edmonds’ charges were partly aired in Vanity Fair. There it was revealed that she had had access to FBI wiretaps of conversations among members of the American-Turkish Council (ATC), about bribing elected US officials, and about “what sounded like references to large-scale drug shipments and other crimes.”

9/11: Not a Coup d’Etat, but One of a Series of American Deep Events

In 2003 Italian journalist Maurizio Blondet published a book entitled 11 settembre: colpo di stato (September 11th: A Coup d’Etat, [Milan, Effedieffe, 2002]). Over the years the view of 9/11 as a “coup d’état” has been endorsed by a number of observers, including Gore Vidal. In May 2008 a Google search for “coup d’état + 9/11” yielded 297,000 hits. One of the most recent hits, from Ed Encho, has suggested that the heart of the coup may have been the introduction on 9/11, without debate or even notice, of so-called “Continuity of Government” (COG) orders – secret orders still unknown but with constitutional implications. Unquestionably, as the 9/11 Commission Report states, COG, the fruit of two decades of secret Cheney-Rumsfeld collaboration, was implemented on 9/11. As we shall see, it is not clear just what this implied, either then or today. But journalists have claimed that earlier versions of COG plans involved suspension of the constitution.

However to call 9/11 a coup d’état exaggerates the difference between the current weakened condition of the public state, and the prior state of affairs that has been building for years, indeed for decades, towards just such a dénouement. For half a century the constitution and laws of the open or public state have been first evaded, then eroded, then increasingly challenged and subverted, by the forces of the deep state. I wish to suggest that this erosion has been achieved in part through a series of important deep events in post-war American history – events aspects of which (it is clear from the outset) will be ignored or suppressed in the mainstream media.

Recent history has seen a number of such events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that are so inexplicable by the public notions of American politics that most Americans tend not even to think of them. Instead most accept the official surface explanations for them, even if they suspect these are not true. Or if others say they believe that “Oswald acted alone,” they may do so in the same comforting but irrational state of mind that believes God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.

Thus on the one hand we must see that America has reached a condition where traditional civil rights are flagrantly restricted as never before – as when former Attorney General Gonzalez told a shocked congressional committee that “There is no expressed grant of habeas corpus in the Constitution.” At the same time, we must see that 9/11, as an unexplained or deep event nudging us away from constitutional normalcy and into an unnecessary permanent state of war, is not unprecedented. It is one of a series of similar unexplained events, all of which have had similar results, reaching back to the second Tonkin Gulf incident, the Kennedy assassination, even the misremembered outset of the Korean War.

The simulated “surprise” of the Bush administration to the 9/11 attack is indeed analogous to the simulated “surprise” of the Truman administration to the outbreak of war in Korea on June 25, 1950. The historian Bruce Cumings, in a volume of 957 pages, has recalled the curious behavior in previous weeks of high levels in Washington:

The CIA predicts, on June 14, a capability for invasion [of South Korea] at any time. No one disputes that. Five days later, it predicts an impending invasion. . . . Now, Corson … says that the June 14 report leaked out to “informed circles,” and thus “it was feared that administration critics in Congress might publicly raise the issue. In consequence, a White House decision of sorts was made to brief Congress that all was well in Korea.” . . . Would it not be the expectation that Congress would be told that all was not well in Korea? That is, unless a surprised and outraged Congress is one’s goal.

In his exhaustive analysis of the war’s origins, Cumings sees this U.S. deception by high level officials as a response to manipulated events, which in turn were the response to the threat of an imminent expulsion of the Chinese Nationalist KMT from Taiwan, together with a peaceful reunification of Korea. The details are complex, but of relevance to 9/11, not least because of the involvement of the opium-financed KMT:

By late June, [U.S. Secretary of State Dean] Acheson and Truman were the only high officials still balking at a defense of the ROC [the “Republic of China,” the KMT Chinese Nationalist remnant on Taiwan]….Sir John Pratt, an Englishman with four decades of experience in the China consular service and the Far Eastern Office, wrote the following in 1951: “The Peking Government planned to liberate Formosa on July 15 and, in the middle of June, news reached the State Department that the Syngman Rhee government in South Korea was disintegrating. The politicians on both sides of the thirty-eighth parallel were preparing a plan to throw Syngman Rhee out of office and set up a unified government for all Korea.”….Thus the only way out, for Chiang [Kai-shek, the KMT leader], was for Rhee to attack the North, which ultimately made Acheson yield and defend Nationalist China [on Taiwan].

Meanwhile, in South Korea,

an Australian embassy representative sent in daily reports in late June, saying that “patrols were going in from the South to the North, endeavouring to attract the North back in pursuit. Plimsoll warned that this could lead to war and it was clear that there was some degree of American involvement as well.” [According to former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam,] “The evidence was sufficiently strong for the Australian Prime Minister to authorize a cable to Washington urging that no encouragement be given to the South Korean government.”

Cumings also notes the warning in late April from an American diplomat, Robert Strong, that “desperate measures may be attempted by [the Chinese] Nationalist Government to involve [U.S.] in [a] shooting war as [a] means of saving its own skin.” In chapters too complex to summarize here, he chronicles the intrigues of a number of Chiang’s backers, including the China Lobby in Washington, General Claire Chennault and his then nearly defunct airline CAT (later Air America), former OSS chief General William Donovan, and in Japan General MacArthur and his intelligence chief Charles Willoughby. He notes the visit of two of Chiang’s generals to Seoul, one of them on a U.S. military plane from MacArthur’s headquarters. And he concludes that “Chiang may have found …on the Korean peninsula, the provocation of a war that saved his regime [on Taiwan] for two more decades:”

Anyone who has read this text closely to this point, and does not believe that Willoughby, Chiang, [Chiang’s emissary to Seoul, General] Wu Tieh Cheng, Yi Pōm-sōk, [Syngman] Rhee, Kim Sōk-won, Tiger Kim, and their ilk were capable of a conspiracy to provoke a war, cannot be convinced by any evidence.

He adds that anti-conspiratorialist Americans “are prey to what might be called the fallacy of insufficient cynicism” — a charge that may be revived, if it can ever be shown that 9/11 also was “a conspiracy to provoke a war.”

9/11, Tonkin Gulf, and the JFK Assassination

In 1964 Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, in response to Secretary of Defense McNamara’s assurances that there was “unequivocal proof” of a second “unprovoked attack” on U.S. destroyers. Today we know not only that there was no such second attack, but that the combined harassments of CIA-controlled PT boats and US destroyers in North Vietnamese waters were so provocative as to invite one. George Ball, who at the time was an Undersecretary of State, later commented in a 1977 BBC radio interview that

Many of the people who were associated with the war were looking for any excuse to initiate bombing. The sending of a destroyer up the Tonkin Gulf was primarily for provocation. … There was a feeling that if the destroyer got into some trouble, that it would provide the provocation we needed.

The Tonkin Gulf deep event presents a number of similarities to the Korean deep event in 1950. Tonkin Gulf also can be analyzed into three different phases: the deception of Congress by high level officials, preceded by provocative intrigues in Asia, and reinforced by deceptive manipulation of reports inside the NSA. (All three phases can also be discerned in the provocative maneuvers in 1968 of the U.S.S. Pueblo, in an incident or deep event that did not lead, as some clearly wished, to a military response against North Korea.)

We now know from a recently declassified in-house NSA history that on August 4, 1964, NSA possessed 122 pieces of SIGINT (signals intelligence) which taken together indicated clearly that there was no second North Vietnamese attack on August 4: “Hanoi’s navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on 2 August.” But of these 122 pieces, the White House was supplied with only fifteen – “only SIGINT that supported the claim that the communists had attacked the two destroyers.”

Meanwhile, over at CIA, “By the afternoon of Aug. 4, the CIA’s expert analyst on North Vietnam … had concluded that probably no one had fired on the U.S. ships. He included a paragraph to that effect in the item he wrote for the Current Intelligence Bulletin, which would be wired to the White House and other key agencies and appear in print the next morning. And then something unique happened. The Director of the Office of Current Intelligence, a very senior officer …, descended into the bowels of the agency to order the paragraph deleted. He explained: `We’re not going to tell LBJ that now. He has already decided to bomb North Vietnam’”

The parallel events in NSA and CIA illustrate how a shared bureaucratic mindset, or propensity for military escalation, can generate synergistic responses in diverse milieus, without there having necessarily been any conspiratorial collusion between the two agencies.

Of more than passing interest is the fact that the CIA in the 1960s still had senior officers who believed that sooner or later a showdown with the Chinese Communists was inevitable, and had renewed General Chennault’s old proposal for a large-scale landing by Chiang on the Chinese mainland. This seems to explain a series of manipulative escalatory moves in Laos, shortly before the Tonkin Gulf incidents, with a similar momentum towards expanding the U.S. war beyond South Vietnam. In 1963-64 one notes again, as in 1950, the intriguing of local KMT elements, in this case forces directly involved in the opium traffic.

As for 9/11, the paradox between surface tranquility and alarming warnings is as evident as it was in 1950. Even the 9/11 Commission Report acknowledges that in the summer of 2001 “the system was blinking red” for an al-Qaeda attack. Its record amply refutes Condoleezza Rice’s claim in May 2002 that “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would … try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.” Yet in the midst of this crisis the CIA in August 2001 was flagrantly withholding crucial evidence from the FBI that, if shared, would have assisted the FBI in its current efforts to locate one of the alleged hijackers, Khaled al-Mihdar. This withholding provoked an FBI agent to predict at that time, accurately, that “someday someone will die.”

As I describe in the forthcoming expanded reissue of my book The War Conspiracy, this culpable withholding of crucial evidence from the FBI by the CIA closely parallels the CIA’s withholding from the FBI of important information about Lee Harvey Oswald in October 1963. Former FBI Director Clarence Kelley in his memoir later complained that this withholding was the major reason why Oswald was not put under surveillance on November 22, 1963. Without these withholdings, in other words, neither the Kennedy assassination nor 9/11 could have unfolded in the manner in which they did.

And without understanding the details, we can safely conclude that operations of the CIA – the deep state — were somehow implicated, whether innocently or conspiratorially, in the background of both the JFK assassination and 9/11. With respect to the CIA’s withholding of information from the FBI about Oswald, even a former CIA officer, Jane Roman, has agreed that this indicates “some sort of [CIA] operational interest in Oswald’s file.” Lawrence Wright, commenting in The New Yorker about the CIA’s analogous withholding of information about al-Mihdar, has reached the similar conclusion that “The CIA may also have been protecting an overseas operation and was afraid that the F.B.I. would expose it.”

In short, from this perspective, 9/11 is not wholly without precedent in U.S. history. It should be seen not as a unique departure from orderly constitutional government – a coup d’état – but as yet another unexplained deep event of the sort that has continued to erode the American constitutional system of open politics and civil liberties.

9/11: Not Just Another Deep Event, But a Constitutional Deep Event

It is however a deep event of a new and unprecedented order. Deep events related to political control of this country are far more frequent than most of us like to recognize. Since the conspicuous assassinations of the 1960s and early 1970s – all deep events — at least six politicians have also died in single-plane crashes. Although many of these crashes were probably accidental, it is striking that only one Republican has died in this fashion, as opposed to five Democrats. Official accounts of the deaths of three of these Democrats – Senator Paul Wellstone, and Congressmen Hale Boggs and Nick Begich, have been challenged, as has the very suspicious “accidental” death in a 1970 single-plane crash of UAW labor leader Walter Reuther.

Of these deep events, some – notably the JFK assassination — stand out as having had structural impact on American political society. America’s three major wars since World War Two – Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq – have all been preceded by deep events that have cumulatively contributed to America’s current war-based economy. Looked at in this way, 9/11 falls into a sequence in which it is preceded by the Second Tonkin Gulf Incident and by the intrigues and lies in June 1950 concerning Korea.

But of all these deep events, 9/11 can be seen as the first to have had not only structural but constitutional implications. For with the introduction of COG before 10:00 AM on September 11, 2001, the status of the U.S. constitution in American society has changed, in ways that still prevail. What COG means in practice is still largely unknown to us. It is clear though that in abridging habeas corpus and the Fourth Amendment, the innovations after COG and 9/11 made the U.S. constitutional situation more like the situation in Britain, where written statutes are explicitly restricted supplemented by an undefined royal prerogative: a collection of powers belonging to the Sovereign which have no statutory basis.

Abuse of the British royal prerogative was one of the explicit grievances which ultimately led to the American Revolution. Then as now it was linked to imperial arrangements for standing armies to wage war. It could be said that in America today, the powers needed for imposing U.S. global dominance in the world have again come to restrict the scope of the constitutional public state.

The extent to which presidential power is limited by congressional statute has been and will be continuously and extensively debated. It is clear however that the George W. Bush administration has revived the extreme or monarchical view expressed, for the first time in American political history, by former president Richard Nixon: that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

Jack Goldsmith, a former Assistant Attorney General in George W. Bush’s Justice Department, has reported that, inside the White House, Cheney’s legal advisor David Addington frequently argued that “the Constitution empowers the President to exercise prerogative powers to do what is necessary in an emergency to save the country.” Goldsmith concluded that “The presidency in the age of terrorism – the Terror Presidency – suffers from many of the vices of [Nixon’s] Imperial Presidency.”

Cheney, supported by Addington, made clear in his Iran-Contra Minority Report of 1987 his belief that “the Chief Executive will on occasion feel duty bound to assert monarchical notions of prerogative that will permit him to exceed the law.” Cheney supported this claim by pointing to Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, which Jefferson, without using the word “prerogative,” justified by “the laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of serving our country when in danger.” But the Cheney-Addington defense of an on-going prerogative in an on-going war on terror has far more in common with 17th-century British monarchical legal theory, than with Jefferson’s single resort to such action, after a lifetime of attacking the notion of prerogative power.

As part of the case for an unrestrained or monarchical view of executive power, we have seen the contention that the President may disregard or marginalize treaty obligations prohibiting torture. Before COG was declared on September 11, 2001, a network of laws, developed through checks and balances by all three branches of federal government, prohibited torture. “It was not to last.”

In keeping with Cheney’s COG planning in the 1980s, the Bush administration has made similar inroads on habeas corpus, a right conferred by Magna Carta, reaffirmed by the English parliament in a statute of 1679, and mentioned in the U.S. constitution. Nevertheless, in defining the constitutional crisis we now face, it is important to see that it is not an unprecedented and anomalous event, but rooted in developments over decades.

9/11, Deep Events, and the Global Dominance Mindset in American Society

The continuity of past deep events is part of the problem facing those who wish to understand and correct what underlies them. For the mainstream U.S. media (as we now clearly see them) have become so implicated in past protective lies about Korea, Tonkin Gulf, and the JFK assassination that they, as well as the government, have now a demonstrated interest in preventing the truth about any of these events from coming out.

This means that the current threat to constitutional rights does not derive from the deep state alone. As I have written elsewhere, the problem is a global dominance mindset that prevails not only inside the Washington Beltway but also in the mainstream media and even in the universities, one which has come to accept recent inroads on constitutional liberties, and stigmatizes, or at least responds with silence to, those who are alarmed by them. Just as acceptance of bureaucratic groupthink is a necessary condition for advancement within the state, so acceptance of this mindset’s notions of decorum has increasingly become a condition for participation in mainstream public life.

In saying this, I mean something more narrow than the pervasive “business-defined consensus” which Gabriel Kolko once asserted was “a central reality,” underlying how “a ruling class makes its policies operate.” I would agree that, at least since the Reagan era, the mindset I am describing has become more and more clearly identified with the mentality of an overworld determined to protect its privileges and even enlarge them at the expense of the rest of society.

But the mindset I mean is narrower in focus – originally concerned with defending and now increasingly concerned with enlarging America’s dominance in the world, in an era of finite and increasingly scarcer resources. And it is also, increasingly, less a consensus than an arena of serious division and debate.

It is clear that the mindset is not monolithic. There have been recurring notable dissents within it, such as when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau revealed in the New York Times that the Bush administration, in defiance of the FISA Act, was engaged in warrantless electronic surveillance of telephone calls inside the United States. But on other issues, notably the Iraq War, the Times has conspicuously failed to play the judicious critical role that it did with respect to the U.S. war in Vietnam. In general, as Kristina Borjesson reports in her devastating book, “Investigative reporting is dwindling…because it is expensive, attracts lawsuits, and can be hostile to the corporate interests and/or government connections of a news division’s parent company.” And as to critical thinking about 9/11, as before about the Kennedy assassination, the Post has predictably gone out of its way to depict the 9/11 truth movement as a “cacophonous and free-range…bunch of conspiracists.”

According to a survey of Lexis Nexis, the New York Times did not report Attorney General Gonzalez’ newsworthy claim that “There is no expressed grant of habeas corpus in the Constitution.” (The Washington Post reported it, without comment, in a story of 197 words.) And on the question of torture even a liberal Harvard University professor, Michael Ignatieff, has argued in a University Press book from an even-handed starting point – “A democracy is committed to both the security of the majority and the rights of the individual” — to an alarming defense of “coercive questioning.”

In this state of affairs, I shall argue, the Internet provides an opportunity for opposition, of potentially immense political importance.

Deep Events as Intrigues within the Global Dominance Consensus

Many critics of American foreign policy on the left tend to stress its substantial coherence over time, from the War-Peace Studies for post-war planning of the Council on Foreign Relations in the 1940s, to Defense Secretary Charles Wilson’s plans in the 1950s for a “permanent war economy,” to Clinton’s declaration to the United Nations in 1993 that the U.S. will act “multilaterally when possible, but unilaterally when necessary.”

This view of America’s policies has persuaded some, notably Alexander Cockburn, to lament the displacement of coherent Marxist analysis by the “fundamental idiocy” and “foolishness” of “9/11 conspiracism.” But it is quite possible to acknowledge both that there are ongoing continuities in American policy and also important, hidden, and recurring internal divisions, which have given rise to America’s structural deep events. These events have always involved friction between Wall Street and the Council on Foreign Relations, on the one hand, and the increasingly powerful oil- and military-dominated economic centers of the Midwest and the Texas Sunbelt on the other.

At the time that General MacArthur, drawing on his Midwest and Texas support, threatened to challenge Truman and the State Department, the opposition was seen as one between the traditional Europe-Firsters of the Northeast and new-wealth Asia-Firsters. In the 1952 election, the foreign policy debate was between Democratic “containment” and Republican “rollback.” Bruce Cumings, following Franz Schurmann, wrote later of the split, even within the CIA, between “Wall Street internationalism” on the one hand and “cowboy-style expansionism” on the other.

Many have followed Michael Klare in defining the conflict as one, even within the Council on Foreign Relations, between “traders” and warrior “Prussians.” Since the rise to eminence of the so-called “Vulcans” – notably Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz, backed by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) – the struggle has frequently been described as a struggle between the multilateralists of the status quo and the unilateralists seeking indisputable American hegemony.

Underlying every one of the deep events I have mentioned, and others such as the U-2 incident, can be seen this contest between traderly (multilateralist) and warriorly (unilateralist) approaches to the maintenance of U.S. global dominance. For decades the warriorly faction was clearly a minority; but it was also an activist and well-funded minority, in marked contrast to the relatively passive and disorganized traderly majority. Hence the warriorly preference for war, thanks to ample funding from the military-industrial complex and also to a series of deep events, was able time after time to prevail.

The 1970s can be seen as a turning-point, when a minority CFR faction, led by Paul Nitze, united with corporate executives from the military-industrial complex like David Packard and pro-Zionist future neocons like Richard Perle to forge a succession of militant political coalitions, such as the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD). Cheney and Rumsfeld, then in the Ford White House, participated in this onslaught on the multilateral foreign policy of Henry Kissinger. In the late 1990s Cheney and Rumsfeld, even while secretly refining the COG provisions put into force on 9/11, also participated openly in the successor organization to the CPD, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

From his office interfacing between CIA and the U.S. Air Force, Col. L. Fletcher Prouty deduced that there was a single Secret Team, within the CIA but not confined to it, responsible for not only the Tonkin Gulf incidents (timed to enable already planned military action against North Vietnam) but other deep events, such as the U-2 incident of 1960 (which in Prouty’s opinion was planned and timed to frustrate the projected summit conference between Eisenhower and Khrushchev) and even the assassination of President Kennedy (after which the Secret Team “moved to take over the whole direction of the war and to dominate the activity of the United States of America”).

In language applicable to both Korea in 1950 and Tonkin Gulf in 1964, Prouty argued that CIA actions followed a pattern of actions which “went completely out of control in Southeast Asia:”

The clandestine operator… prepares the stage by launching a very minor and very secret, provocative attack of a kind that is bound to bring open reprisal. These secret attacks, which may have been made by third parties or by stateless mercenaries whose materials were supplied secretly by the CIA, will undoubtedly create reaction which in turn is observed in the United States…. It is not a new game. [but] it was raised to a high state of art under Walt Rostow and McGeorge Bundy against North Vietnam, to set the pattern for the Gulf of Tonkin attacks.

I mention Prouty’s thesis here in order to record my partial dissent from it. In my view his notion of a “team” localizes what I call the global dominance mindset too narrowly in a restricted group who are not only like-minded but in conspiratorial communication over a long term. He exhibits the kind of conspiratorialist mentality once criticized by G. William Domhoff:

We all have a tremendous tendency to want to get caught up in believing that there’s some secret evil cause for all of the obvious ills of the world …. [Conspiracy theories] encourage a belief that if we get rid of a few bad people, everything will be well in the world.

My own position is still that which I articulated years ago in response to Domhoff:

I have always believed, and argued, that a true understanding of the Kennedy assassination will lead not to `a few bad people,’ but to the institutional and parapolitical arrangements which constitute the way we are systematically governed.

Quoting what I had written, Michael Parenti added, “In sum, national security state conspiracies [or what I would call deep events] are components of our political structure, not deviations from it.”

The outcome of the deep events I have mentioned so far has been chiefly a series of victories for the warriors. But there have been other structural deep events, notably Watergate in 1972-74 and Iran-Contra in 1986-87, which can be interpreted, if not as victories for the traders, at least as temporary setbacks for the warriors. In The Road to 9/11 I have tried to show that Cheney and Rumsfeld, while in the Ford White House, bitterly resented the setback represented by the post-Watergate reforms, and immediately set in motion a series of moves to reverse them. I argue there that the climax of these moves was the imposition after 9/11 of their long-planned provisions for COG, formulated under their supervision since the early 1980s.

Thus since World War Two the warriorly position, initially that of a marginal but conspiratorial minority, has moved since the Reagan and Bush presidencies into a more and more central position. This is well symbolized by the rise in influence since 1981 of the Council for National Policy, originally funded by Texas oil billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt and explicitly designed to offset the influence of the Council on Foreign Relations. Comparing the 1950s with the present decade, it is striking how much the status of the State Department has declined vis-à-vis the Pentagon. With the accelerated militarization of the U.S. economy, the question arises whether a more traderly foreign policy can ever again prevail.

And since 9/11, especially with the institution of unknown COG procedures, some have talked of the overall subversion of democracy, by a new Imperial Presidency in the Bush White House.

9/11, the Threat to Constitutional Rights, and Congress

A skeptic might observe that there is still a Congress, with constitutional powers to review and restrict what the executive does. And it is true that a joint congressional committee, in 2002, did investigate CIA and FBI activities before and after 9/11. The powers of Congress have been weakened, however. A crucial section of this report, dealing precisely with the CIA’s and Saudi government’s relationship to the alleged hijacker al-Mihdar, was classified and withheld by the administration. When some of the explosive information was leaked to Newsweek, the committee members and staff (rather than the Saudi government) became the focus of a criminal leak investigation by the FBI. The chairman, Senator Bob Graham

thought the leak investigation was an obvious effort by the administration to intimidate Congress. And if that was the intention, it worked. Members of the joint committee and their staffs were frightened into silence about the investigation.

It would appear that the election of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress has done little to change this state of affairs. Warrantless electronic surveillance (which the President has referred to as a COG provision) was endorsed by the new 110th Congress in the Protect America Act of 2007, an act which restricted FISA Court supervision as the President had wished. This same 110th Congress failed to undo the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which (as Robert Parry wrote in the Baltimore Chronicle) “effectively eliminated habeas corpus for non-citizens, including legal resident aliens.”

Just as alarmingly, Congress has shown little or no desire to challenge, or even question, the over-arching assumptions of the war on terror. We are still in a proclaimed national emergency that was first proclaimed by President Bush on September 14, 2001. As the Washington Times wrote on September 18, 2001, “Simply by proclaiming a national emergency on Friday, President Bush activated some 500 dormant legal provisions, including those allowing him to impose censorship and martial law.” The Washington Times was referring to presidential Proclamation 7463 of September 14, 2001, “Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks.” The state of emergency that was subsequently declared on September 23, 2001, by Executive Order 13224, was again formally extended by the president on September 20, 2007.

COG, NSPD-51, and the Challenge to Congressional Checks and Balances

The constitutional implications of this state of emergency were aggravated by the President’s “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive” (NSPD)-51, of May 9, 2007, which decreed (without even a press release) that

When the president determines a catastrophic emergency has occurred, the president can take over all government functions and direct all private sector activities to ensure we will emerge from the emergency with an “enduring constitutional government.”

The Directive, without explicitly saying so, appeared to override the post-Watergate statutory provisions for congressional regulation enacted in 1977 by the National Emergencies Act.

Among major newspapers, only the Washington Post reported NSPD-51 at all, noting that the “directive formalizes a shift of authority away from the Department of Homeland Security to the White House.” It added that

After the 2001 attacks, Bush assigned about 100 senior civilian managers to rotate secretly to locations outside of Washington for weeks or months at a time to ensure the nation’s survival, a shadow government that evolved based on long-standing “continuity of operations plans.”

However the Post failed to note that these continuity of operations (COG) plans, which reportedly involve suspension of the Constitution and possibly Congress, were secret — the fruit of secret planning over two decades by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, even during periods of time when neither of the two men held a government position.

After urging from constituents, including many members of the 911truth movement, Congressman Peter deFazio did attempt to see the Continuity of Government (COG) plans in the classified Appendices of NSPD-51. Both he, and eventually the entire House Committee on Homeland Security, were denied the opportunity to see these appendices, on the grounds that the Committee did not possess the requisite clearances. This should have been a line in the sand for Congress to assert its constitutional rights and duties. As I have reported elsewhere,

The story, ignored by the mainstream press, involved more than the usual tussle between the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government. What was at stake was a contest between Congress’s constitutional powers of oversight, and a set of policy plans that could be used to suspend or modify the constitution.

But it appears that the current Congress will do nothing to support Congressman deFazio’s efforts at congressional oversight of COG.

Congress and the On-Going Cover-Up of 9/11

Furthermore, the 110th Congress took no action to ensure that all government agencies will collaborate with the National Archives, in fulfillment of the 9/11 Commission’s commitment

to release its supporting records to the public in 2009. A law to ensure this is badly needed.

The FBI has been declassifying documents cooperatively with respect to this commitment, and recently the CIA has begun to cooperate as well. But some federal agencies, notably the FAA and Pentagon, are not collaborating with the 9/11 Commission’s commitment at all. It may take a law to get them to do so. Both the FAA and the Pentagon declined to release important records to the 9/11 Commission, despite its statutory powers, until required to do so by judicial subpoena. But the law which created the 9/11 Commission in 2002 made no legal determination for the future of its records.

This is a matter of concern, because 9/11 has clearly initiated a major readjustment of our traditional constitutional balances and civil rights. I submit that a vigorous defense of the constitutional traditions of this country requires vigorous pressure for the release of the 9/11 Commission’s records, so that we can begin to resolve the mysteries of how this constitutional crisis arose.

In short, we are living in an on-going state of emergency whose exact limits are unknown, on the basis of a controversial deep event – 9/11 — that is still largely a mystery. Without endorsing the notion that a coup d’état has occurred, I would categorically assert that a radically hegemonic mindset, located primarily in Vice-President Cheney’s office, is currently using 9/11, the war on terror, and secret COG rules to assert prerogative limitations on the checks and balances of the U.S. constitution, without any significant challenge from a compliant Congress and media.

9/11, the Public, and Internet Politics

This raises the question whether the public, about to vote in the 2008 election, can exercise the constitutional restraints that Congress and the media have failed to supply. The answer, I submit, lies in what I would call Internet Politics, the mobilization of nationwide pressures on candidates in the next election through internet coordination.

There is I believe a latent majority of Americans who could agree to ask all candidates to

a) review and revise the Military Commissions Act of 2006, to unequivocally restore habeas corpus, within the limitations of the U.S. Constitution, Article One, Section 9;

b) unequivocally outlaw torture;

c) review and restrict the provisions for warrantless electronic surveillance in the Protect America Act of 2007.

d) vote for The American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 (H.R. 3835), which addresses these and other issues. This bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul on October 15, 2007, and is supported by both the Republican American Freedom Agenda, and the Democratic American Freedom Campaign.

Those in the 911truth movement could ask candidates to take two further steps

d) insist on the right of the Homeland Security Committees in Congress to review the COG appendices to National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)-51;

e) support a law to force all government agencies to collaborate with the National Archives, in fulfillment of the 9/11 Commission’s commitment to release its supporting records to the public in 2009.

But social thought is socially fashioned. For it to be effective it must be mobilized, and become more than a chorus of bloggers croaking from our backwater lilypads in the blogomarsh. Clearly it would take a strenuous concerted effort to create or persuade a movement, such as MoveOn, to take on all these issues.

Is it possible that some organization can be persuaded to accept this challenge, and take the first steps in mobilizing such a force?

© Copyright Peter Dale Scott, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9289

Litvinenko death: sensational new revelations

Dandelion Salad

RussiaToday

What brought about the death of Russia’s former security officer Aleksandr Litvinenko in London in 2006? Was he really poisoned with radioactive polonium-210? American journalist Edward Jay Epstein is hunting for the truth and reveals his sensational findings in an exclusive interview to RT.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

see

Was Polonium-210 Being Smuggled for a Dirty Bomb? By Paul Craig Roberts

Litvinenko case: interview with Edward Epstein (videos)

Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko/Ex-KBG Spy

NATO Marches Eastward by Justin Raimondo

Dandelion Salad

by Justin Raimondo
antiwar.com
April 2, 2008

We’re on a dangerous collision course with Russia, no matter who wins the White House

Bush Pushes Ukraine’s Membership in NATO

AssociatedPress

The relentless march of NATO, decades after the implosion of the Soviet Union and the death knell of the Leninist project, is surely an object lesson in the real motivations and character of “democratic” imperialism, here and in Europe. The Communist enemy may be long gone, but NATO soldiers ever onward, and ever eastward. Suddenly we’re back in the heyday of the Cold War: once again we hear the War Party’s clarion call – “The Russians are coming!”

What they really mean to say however – as the video clip above makes visibly and audibly clear – is that the Americans are coming, along with the Brits, actively seeking to delegitimize and destabilize the government still dominated by Vladimir Putin. A new campaign for “regime change” is in the making, this time aimed at Moscow.

…continued

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.

see

Was Polonium-210 Being Smuggled for a Dirty Bomb? By Paul Craig Roberts

Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko/Ex-KBG Spy

Edmonds-Sibel

Was Polonium-210 Being Smuggled for a Dirty Bomb? By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
March 25, 2008

In the recently published thriller, The Shell Game, Steve Alten weaves a tale of a neoconservative plot to attack Iran. To overcome resistance, a black op group associated with a Republican administration arranges for nuclear devices to be exploded in two American cities, with planted evidence pointing to Iran.

Recent developments make one wonder if fact is following fantasy.

The Bush regime’s propaganda against Iran is going full blast and obviously has a purpose. The foreign press reports that the reason for Cheney’s latest trip abroad is to cajole, threaten, and purchase support for a US attack on Iran.

The Israeli government continues to see an Iranian nuclear weapon on the horizon and to agitate for US action against Iran.

According to John McGlynn in Japan Focus (March 22, 2008), the Bush regime is already attacking Iran with Treasury Department actions to cut off Iran’s banking system from all international banking relationships, thereby preventing Iran from importing and exporting. McGlynn calls the US Treasury’s action a “US declaration of war on Iran.”

…continued

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.see

The March 20, 2008 US Declaration of War on Iran by John McGlynn

America’s Next 9/11 – A Little Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down

Litvinenko case: interview with Edward Epstein (videos)

Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko/Ex-KBG Spy

America’s Next 9/11 – A Little Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
03/24/08 “ICH

The investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein has taken up the Litvinenko case. [The Specter That Haunts the Death of Litvinenko, New York Sun, March 19, 2008]

The media used the Litvinenko case as sensational propaganda against Russian President Putin and then tossed it aside. For those whose memories of the case have faded, Alexander Litvinenko was a former KGB officer living in England who died in 2006, apparently from the radioactive isotope Polonium-210.

The British government encouraged the tale that Russian President Putin had sent Andrei Lugovoi to poison Litvinenko’s tea at a meeting on November 1, 2006. The story appealed to people brought up on James Bond thrillers, but the story never made any sense. Polonium 2-10 is a rare and tightly controlled substance as likely to contaminate the assassin as the victim. There are far easier and more effective ways of killing someone.

Moreover, there is no evidence to connect Russia to Litvinenko’s death. But this didn’t stop the British government from grandstanding, sending an extradition request for Lugovoi in July 2007. The British government sent the request despite the facts that there is no extradition treaty between Britain and Russia and the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens. Epstein suggests that the purpose of the extradition request was to block the Russian government from investigating Litvinenko’s death in London. Litvinenko had a false passport provided by the British government. A real investigation might have opened up the shadowy world of security consultants in which Litvinenko rubbed shoulders with former British police and intelligence officials.

The Russians asked to see the evidence. The case file delivered by the British contained nothing of substance. Not even the autopsy report was provided to the Russians. Epstein managed to convince the Russians to let him see the file and to question them about the case. In brief, if the British have a case, they are withholding the evidence.

The charge that Putin was behind Litvinenko’s death seems to have originated with Boris Berezovsky, one of the Russian Jewish oligarchs who had grabbed the lion’s share of privatized Soviet assets during Yeltsin’s presidency. Epstein reports that Berezovsky’s protector in Russia was Litvinenko, the deputy head of the organized crime unit of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB. When Berezovsky fled Russia to escape fraud charges, Litvinenko followed. Epstein reports that Berezovsky has declared an agenda of “overthrowing the regime of his archenemy, Mr. Putin.” According to Epstein, “Alex Goldfarb, the executive director of Mr. Berezovsky’s foundation, prepared for Litvinenko’s end by writing out his ‘deathbed’ statement, which, according to Mr. Goldfarb, was drawn from statements Litvinenko had dictated to him.”

Epstein writes: “A few hours after Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006, Mr. Goldfarb arranged a press conference and released the sensational deathbed statement accusing Mr. Putin of the poisoning.” Web sites supported by Berezovsky spread the story that Litvinenko was murdered by the FSB.

The effort to link Putin and the FSB to Litvinenko’s death might be a tale designed to cover-up a more serious crime in the making. Polonium-210 is an indication that someone is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Epstein finds reasons to suspect that Litvinenko had, and perhaps Berezovsky has, connections to a Polonium smuggling scheme, and Litvinenko’s death resulted from accidental or careless exposure to Polonium-210.

Who would be trying to build a secret nuclear weapon or perhaps only a “dirty bomb” that would serve to spread some radiation and massive amounts of fear and hysteria? The public has been carefully prepared to suspect Iran. If such a device were exploded somewhere in the United States, Bush, Cheney, and the neocon Nazis would have their second new Pearl Harbor to justify their planned attack on Iran.

We know that the Bush regime wants to attack Iran. Despite the NIE report that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program several years ago and despite no signs of a weapons program having been uncovered by IAEA inspectors, Bush, Cheney, and the neocon Nazis continue to agitate for striking Iran “before it is too late.” Their politicized military commander in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus, keeps insisting that Iran is training Iraqi insurgents and supplying weapons that are killing US troops. Bush and Cheney themselves have made trips to Europe and the Middle East trying to marshall support for an attack on Iran. Anyone who is not deaf, blind and stupid knows that the Bush regime is doing everything it can to create circumstances that will permit a US attack on Iran.

We know for a fact that the Bush regime created false evidence, lied, and deceived in order to attack Iraq. All the reasons given for the US invasion have proven to be false. The real agenda has never been declared. Yet, five years later the traitors in high office who deceived Americans into a war in behalf of a hidden agenda have not been held accountable. As Agatha Christie said, getting away with one murder makes it easy to commit another.

There is so much that Americans do not know about secret schemes serving undeclared agendas. Those who have attempted to clue in fellow citizens are invariably frustrated, because Americans have been trained to dismiss the messenger who brings news of “false flag” events as a “conspiracy theorist.”

Best-selling author Steve Alten in his recently published book, The Shell Game, attempts to reach Americans with a thriller that mixes fiction with fact. Alten describes a conspiracy, beginning in 2007 and ending in 2012, by a Black Op group in a Republican administration to set off nuclear weapons in two American cities, with planted evidence pointing to Iran. It is a historical thriller predictive of our immediate future by an author who has no illusions about the US Government or the interest groups that control it.

Alten’s book is a first-class thriller set in the real world of today. It is a perfect read for Americans who need their dose of reality to be watered down with fiction and delivered as entertainment.

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.

see

Litvinenko case: interview with Edward Epstein (videos)

Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko/Ex-KBG Spy

Litvinenko case: interview with Edward Epstein (videos)

Dandelion Salad

RussiaToday

March 21, 2008

A U.S. journalist says Aleksandr Litvinenko may have accidentally poisoned himself while trying to smuggle polonium-210. Edward Epstein joined RT to comment on his article in the New York Sun.

Continue reading

New Cold War: Great Game for Supremacy in the New World Order? by Andrew G. Marshall

by Andrew G. Marshall
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Global Research, October 31, 2007

Imperial Playground:

The Story of Iran in Recent History

PART 4:

There has been much talk in recent months of a return to the Cold War, as increasingly there is growing disparities and tensing relations between the West, namely the Anglo-Americans, and the Russian Federation, the former Soviet Union, as well as China. ‘Is the Cold War Back?’ as the headline of a Reuters article asked, stating, “Russia has revived its Soviet-era practice of continuous long-range bomber patrols, sending 14 aircraft on such missions in the latest in a series of moves apparently designed to show off Russia’s new-found assertiveness,” and that “Russia’s military is now receiving a major injection of cash to modernise ageing equipment — including new planes — after years of under-funding and neglect since the Soviet Union ceased to exist.”1 Recent plans made public that the United States is building missile shields in Eastern European countries has sparked equal controversy over a revival of a Cold War. As the Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos stated in late August of 2007, “That the United States are installing a defense shield in eastern Europe is a provocation in my view,” and that, “The U.S. has chosen the wrong path in my opinion. There is no point in building up a missile defense shield in Europe. That only unnecessarily rekindles old Cold War debates.”2 The article continued in saying, “The United States plans to deploy elements of its shield — designed to intercept and destroy missiles from ‘rogue states’ like Iran and North Korea — in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia sees the initiative near its borders as a threat to its own security. On Tuesday Russia’s military chief told the Czech Republic that hosting the shield would be a ‘big mistake’. Darabos said he saw no danger from Iranian long range missiles and the United States should try for a different solution.”

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is largely controlled by the Anglo-American establishment, has also been stepping up Cold War actions. NATO was created as a treaty during the early years of the Cold War as a method of forming an alliance against the Communist powers of the world, which had a parallel treaty organization, known as the Warsaw Pact. So if the near entire life span of this organization was in containing communist countries, namely the Soviet Union, it does not seem unlikely that it would return to what it does best. As the Sunday Telegraph reported in late August of 2007, “NATO vessels are closely monitoring the sea trials of Russia’s latest submarine, following Moscow’s increasingly provocative tests of Western airspace. In the latest twist to worsening East-West relations, Nato submarines and surface ships, which may include Royal Navy vessels, are trying to gather information on the new Amur class boat being tested in the Baltic,” and that, “The greater-than-normal scrutiny is, in part, a response to Russia’s decision to resume long-range bomber flights close to Nato airspace which has revived memories of Cold War confrontation between the two blocs,” and it further mentioned that, “Twice this summer, Russian Tu-95 nuclear bombers have been spotted heading towards British airspace off Scotland, prompting the RAF [Royal Air Force] to send intercepting aircraft to warn them off. On another occasion, Russian planes came within striking distance of the US Pacific airbase of Guam.”3

The article continues in explaining, “Apart from the threat it [the Russian submarine] poses as part of the Russian navy, Moscow is believed to have won contracts to export it to other states such as Venezuela, which is challenging the United States’ influence in Latin America. Russia also exports weapons to Iran and Sudan, although there is no sign yet that either country plans to buy an Amur class submarine. The fact that President Vladimir Putin’s regime is testing a powerful new addition to the Russian navy – after its fleet went through years of decline – shows a new military build-up is underway.” The article further stated, “Russia’s neighbour Georgia claimed yesterday that it, too, was being intimidated by Moscow. Russian jets, the government said, had twice entered its airspace this week. Earlier this month, a Russian warplane had fired a missile at a village on its territory. But Russia protested its innocence yesterday, accusing Georgia of inventing the charge to stir up tensions. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations said that the bomb fragments produced as evidence were of foreign origin.”

On this growing issue between Russia and Georgia, Press TV reported that, “Georgia’s aim to accelerate its joining the NATO by playing risky power games with Russia can stretch Moscow’s patience too far, observers say. ‘There is a threat’ that rising tensions between the two former Soviet republics could provoke a confrontation, said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent Russian defense analyst,” and that, “During the 2006 winter, Russian gas supplies to Georgia were cut off for prolonged repairs on a pipeline. A few months later, Russia banned the import of wine and mineral water from Georgia. Then, in September 2006, Georgia arrested four Russian officers charged for spying. This prompted Russia to suspend all direct transport and postal links, as well as to deport hundreds of Georgian immigrants from Russia. Russia has also given political and economic backing to two Georgian separatist regions.”4

It was also reported that, “The Russian ambassador to the Court of St James’s rejects US statements over the controversial Missile Defense project to be exclusively against Iran. ‘There is no convincing explanation for the installation of the US Missile Defense in eastern Asia,’ said Yuri Viktorovich Fedotov in an interview with BBC Radio. ‘Despite what US calls a missile defense shield against Iran, the project is a threat for Russia and other countries,’ Fedotov added,” and that “The statements are made as recent diplomatic conflict between Britain and Russia over the missile defense project and the verbal war for the extradition of a Russian agent accused of being involved in the murder of Alexander [Litvinenko] in London has escalated.”5

In early September of 2007, it was reported by the BBC that, “The UK’s Royal Air Force has launched fighter jets to intercept eight Russian military planes flying in airspace patrolled by Nato, UK officials say. Four RAF F3 Tornado aircraft were scrambled in response to the Russian action, the UK’s defence ministry said. The Russian planes – long-range bombers – had earlier been followed by Norwegian F16 jets.”6 Also in early September it was reported by the Financial Times that, “The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department, say American –officials. The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defence secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack. Current and former officials have told the Financial Times an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People’s Liberation Army [of China].”7

As well as this, it was reported that, “Taiwan’s cabinet agreed Wednesday to hike military spending by nearly 15 percent in next year’s budget in an apparent signal of its resolve against rival China. Under a draft budget, which has to be confirmed by parliament, the defence ministry is setting aside 345.9 billion Taiwan dollars (10.5 billion US), up 44.6 billion Taiwan dollars, the cabinet said in a statement,” and that, “The rise in spending is mainly aimed at financing procurement of military equipment, including US-made P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft. Washington, the island’s leading arms supplier despite not having formal diplomatic ties, has repeatedly asked Taipei to display its determination to defend itself by boosting military spending. The Chinese government had in May announced the biggest increase in its military budget in recent years, saying its spending in 2007 would rise 17.8 percent from last year to 350.9 billion yuan (about 45 billion dollars),” and the article continued in stating, “Reunification with Taiwan is one of China’s long-term strategic objectives, and analysts have said Beijing is beefing up its military partly to enable it to take the island back by force if necessary. China and Taiwan have been separated since the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still considers the island part of its territory. Taiwan has been led since the turn of the century by independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian, exacerbating fears in Beijing that the island could break away for good.”8

The above mentioned issue is extremely important, as it was reported back in 2005 by the Financial Times that, “China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday. ‘If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,’ said General Zhu Chenghu. Gen Zhu was speaking at a function for foreign journalists organised, in part, by the Chinese government. He added that China’s definition of its territory included warships and aircraft,” and the General continued in saying, “If the Americans are determined to interfere [then] we will be determined to respond,” as well as stating, “We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destrucion of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”9 The article further mentioned, “Gen Zhu is a self-acknowledged ‘hawk’ who has warned that China could strike the US with long-range missiles. But his threat to use nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan is the most specific by a senior Chinese official in nearly a decade.” So, essentially what this is suggesting is that in the case that China attempts to take back Taiwan, which it consistently threatens to do, even if it requires military force, and the US responds militarily in any way, which they have said they would in such an event, even if the act is firing on a Chinese ship, then the response of China would be to engage in nuclear war with the United States.

In early September of 2007, it was reported by the BBC that, “Britain has privately complained to Beijing that Chinese-made weapons are being used by the Taleban to attack British troops in Afghanistan. The BBC has been told that on several occasions Chinese arms have been recovered after attacks on British and American troops by Afghan insurgents.”10

Russia has extremely close ties with Iran, as it was reported back in 2005 that, “Russia has agreed to sell more than $1 billion worth of missiles and other defense systems to Iran,” and that, “The Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies cited unidentified sources in the Russian military-industrial complex as saying that Russian and Iranian officials had signed contracts in November that would send up to 30 Tor-M1 missile systems to Iran over the next two years.”11 In January of 2007, the Jerusalem Post reported that, “Voicing extreme concern over Russia’s recent sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, senior diplomatic and defense officials warned Moscow Tuesday that the deal could have serious security implications that would even ‘get back to Russia.’ Senior officials in Jerusalem said they ‘were not pleased’ with the sale of the anti-aircraft missiles, but that Russia was a sovereign country and they could not intervene. They did, however, issue a warning: ‘We hope they understand that this is a threat that could come back to them as well.’ Earlier Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Moscow had sent air defense missiles to Teheran, the first high-level confirmation that their delivery took place despite US complaints. Ivanov did not specify how many missile systems had been delivered.”12

On top of military agreements, Russia and Iran also have close ties economically and politically, and Russia is even helping Iran build a nuclear power plant. It was reported in September of 2007 that, “The Bushehr nuclear power plant that Russia is building in Iran will be commissioned no earlier than the fall of 2008, a source in the Russian nuclear sector said. The date for commissioning the $1 billion project in the south of the country, the Islamic Republic’s first NPP built by Russia, was postponed due to delays in Iranian payments to the contractor.”13 So, clearly, Russia has vested interests inside Iran, and has even gone so far as to help in building a nuclear power plant inside Iran, in a sign of a growing relationship between the two countries, and a very apparent signal that Russia is supporting Iran’s efforts to nuclear power, thusly, taking a position in opposition to the Anglo-American Alliance, and even the Franco-German Entente.

This is evident in as much as Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, back in 2006 had advised “to act without delay to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, saying that Iran had ‘blatantly crossed the line’,” and that “The chancellor compared Iran’s nuclear policy to the Nazi party’s rise to power in Germany, warning that in the past the nations of the world refused to take a stance against concrete threats, enabling some of history’s greatest catastrophes.”14 The newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated in August of 2007, that, “a diplomatic push by the world’s powers to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program was the only alternative to ‘an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran’,” and that, “In his first major foreign policy speech, Sarkozy emphasized his existing foreign policy priorities, such as opposing Turkish membership of the European Union and pushing for a new Mediterranean Union that he hopes will include Ankara,” and the article went on to report that, “Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and that major powers should continue their policy of incrementally increasing sanctions against Tehran while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.” The article then quoted Sarkozy as saying, “This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran,” and he continued, “Russia is imposing its return on the world scene by using its assets, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality,” of which the article continued, “Energy disputes between Russia and neighbors such as Belarus and Ukraine have raised doubts in Europe about Moscow’s reliability as a gas exporter. It supplies Europe, via its neighbors, with around a quarter of its gas demands. Sarkozy had warm words for the United States, saying friendship between the two countries was important. But he said he felt free to disagree with American policies, highlighting what he called a lack of leadership on the environment.”15 I find it comical that Sarkozy talks of Russia saying that, “When one is a great power, one should not be brutal,” yet he had ‘warm words’ for the US, of which I know no other country that is so brutal as a great power.

The Washington Post reported in early September of 2007, that, “U.S. plans to site parts of a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic are ‘politically dangerous,’ former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Saturday. ‘From my point of view the missile defense system is politically dangerous. It is perceived as an attempt to isolate Russia, which is not in Europe’s political interests,’ said Schroeder, who is a personal friend of President Vladimir Putin,” and that, “The United States wants to base interceptor missiles and a radar system in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying it needs protection against missile attacks from what it terms ‘rogue states’ like Iran and North Korea. Russia has reacted furiously, saying the plan will upset a delicate strategic balance between major powers and poses a threat to its own security. Schroeder said the plan was not in the European Union’s interests either.” The article continued, “Although trade and investment are booming, diplomatic relations between Russia and the European Union have deteriorated sharply over the past year. This is partly because of Russia’s squabbles with the Union’s new members such as Poland, which were once part of the Soviet bloc and are now wary of Moscow’s rising influence.”16

Remember Zbigniew Brzezinski? The Trilateral Commission founder, architect of the Afghan-Soviet War and ‘Arc of Crisis’ Strategy, who wrote the geo-strategic blueprint for American global hegemony, The Grand Chessboard, in which he stated, “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘antihegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc.”17 Well, within ten years of writing his book, Brzezinski’s predictions became quite true, as an alternative strategic bloc to the NATO countries has been set up, called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]. It was officially founded in 2001 [after initial agreements in 1996] by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 2006, it was reported that, “Six member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Wednesday agreed to stage a joint anti-terror military exercise in 2007 in Russia, according to a joint communiqué,” and that, “Except Uzbekistan, other five countries of the SCO held their first-ever joint anti-terror exercise within the framework of the SCO in August 2003, with the first phase in Kazakhstan and the second in China. As new threats and challenges, such as terrorism, separatism, extremism and cross-border crimes, are becoming increasingly prominent, the regional and international cooperation are required.”18

In 2003, it was reported that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), “signed a multilateral economic cooperation Framework Agreement in Beijing on 23 September to ‘deepen’ their mutual economic connections and ‘improve the investment environment’. At the meeting, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made three proposals. He wanted members to set as a long-term objective the establishment of a free trade area within the SCO; elaborate a series of more immediate measures such as improving the flow of goods across the member-states and reducing non-tariff barriers such as customs, quarantine, standards and transport services; and create large projects on economic and technological cooperation, giving priority to those in transportation, energy, telecommunication, agriculture, home appliances, light industry and textiles.”19

Apart from the main members of the SCO, there are also countries which are permitted Observer Status, meaning they won’t take part in the war games, but will be official observers of them and still develop closer ties with the SCO. As the Guardian reported in 2006, “At the one day annual summit of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on June 15, more limelight fell on the leader of an observer country than on any of the main participants. That figure happened to be the controversial president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Despite the lowly observer status accorded to his country, Ahmadinejad went on to publicly invite the SCO members to a meeting in Tehran to discuss energy exploration and development in the region. And the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, proposed that the SCO should form an ‘energy club’. While making a plea that his country should be accorded full membership of the SCO, the Pakistani president, Parvez Musharraf, highlighted the geo-strategic position of his country as an energy and trade corridor for SCO members. ‘Pakistan provides a natural link between the SCO states to connect the Eurasian heartland with the Arabian Sea and South Asia,’ he said,” and the article continued, “Founded in 1996 primarily to settle frontier problems between China and its post-Soviet neighbors – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan – the SCO expanded three years later to include Uzbekistan, which does not share common borders with China or Russia, the two countries at the core of the SCO. Since then SCO has developed as an organization concerned with regional security, thus focusing on counter-terrorism, defense, and energy cooperation. Energy-hungry China has its eyes fixed on the large oil and gas reserves that Russia and Kazakhstan possess, and even the modest gas reserves of Uzbekistan.” The article further mentioned that, “Iran applied for full membership; as did India,” as well as the fact that, “Last year [2005] when the SCO accorded observer status to four countries, it rejected a similar request from the United States,” and it continued, “The rising importance and coherence of the SCO worries Washington – as well as its closest Asian ally, Japan. ‘The SCO is becoming a rival block to the US alliance,’ said a senior Japanese official recently. ‘It does not share our values. We are watching it very closely’.”20

Further, it was reported in April of 2006 by the Asia Times that, “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which maintained it had no plans for expansion, is now changing course. Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan, which previously had observer status, will become full members. SCO’s decision to welcome Iran into its fold constitutes a political statement. Conceivably, SCO would now proceed to adopt a common position on the Iran nuclear issue at its summit meeting June 15,” and that, “Visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi told Itar-TASS in Moscow that the membership expansion ‘could make the world more fair’. And he spoke of building an Iran-Russia ‘gas-and-oil arc’ by coordinating their activities as energy producing countries. Mohammadi also touched on Iran’s intention to raise the issue of his country’s nuclear program and its expectations of securing SCO support.”21 Although, to this day, Iran’s membership has not been made official, making it a de-facto member of the SCO, much in the same sense that Israel is a de-facto member of NATO.22

In August of 2007, it was reported that, “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the proposed US missile defense shield in central Europe would pose a threat to Asia. At a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Ahmadinejad said such a plan goes beyond threatening one country and it is a source of concern for most of the continent. Washington is planning to station a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. Ahmadinejad added the six SCO member states, including China, are among those countries who are threatened by the US plan. He also criticized the US military attack on Iraq, which has destabilized the entire region. Iran has observer status in the SCO, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.”23

As for the relationship between China and Iran, it was reported in 2006 that, “Chinese President Hu Jintao called Friday for closer ties with Iran as he met his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the first time, while the United States followed events in Shanghai warily,” and that, “China and Iran have long had close economic ties, especially in the oil and gas fields, and are in negotiations over an energy deal that was tentatively inked in 2004 and could be worth more than 100 billion dollars. As part of the initial memorandum of understanding, Sinopec, China’s largest refiner, would buy 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas over 25 years, which alone could be worth more than 100 billion dollars. However, despite a series of Chinese delegations going to Tehran, the deal has yet to be finalized. Ahmadinejad arrived in China on Wednesday to participate in the leaders’ summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional forum that is increasingly being seen as a counterweight to US influence in Central Asia.”24

As we can see, this is not simply a strategy of Anglo-American interests at play in the region, as it is always necessary to take a look at the broader geopolitical implications of this region, especially in relation to the European Union, dominated by the Franco-German Entente, and most notably Russia and China. A competition for control of the region is very much underway, as whomever, or whichever powers control Central Eurasia (the Middle East and Central Asia); those same powers will then have control over the world’s primary oil and gas reserves and transportation, and thusly, will exert hegemonic influence over the entire world. With Russia, increasingly gaining strength and influence like never before since the fall of the Soviet Union, China, a rising world power whose thirst and demand for oil is the fastest growing in the world and whose future as a great power depends upon getting its hands on such resources, and with the European Union, a close ally of the Anglo-American Alliance, yet still has its own interests at heart so it, too, is increasingly attempting a relationship with Russia, which has massive natural gas reserves itself. The EU hopes to balance its relationships, so as to always remain on the winning end, however, as time goes forward, it may have to choose sides. Relations between the West, especially the Anglo-Americans, and the former Soviet Union grow tense, the EU may be caught in the middle and China forced to make strategic alliances.

It is clear that future military operations in Central Asia and the Middle East will not be like the previous occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, whereas Afghanistan remains under NATO control (the Anglo-American Alliance in collaboration with the Franco-German entente), and Iraq under Anglo-American occupation, but with little more than rhetorical opposition from observing countries around the world. The world accepted the occupation of Afghanistan under the guise of retribution for the 9/11 attacks, and the world stood by as Iraq was put under imperial control. But now the pieces have been set, the world sees the strategy, even though the general public may not, and other great powers have their fates vested in the region, such as Russia, China, the EU and most of the world at large, so to stand idly by now and do nothing as Anglo-American imperial expansion envelopes the entire region would be suicidal. It is in the interest of survival for Russia, China and the EU to maintain influence and control in the region. To do this, each will have to make strategic alliances, as is currently being done.

These activities have caused recent exclamations of a return to the Cold War era, however, I see it as something much more sinister and dangerous. Remember, the Cold War was referred to as “Cold” because it involved no actual fighting between the two main enemies, the United States and the USSR, or the NATO countries against the Warsaw Pact countries. In actuality, I would argue that what we are seeing take place is in fact a return not to the Cold War, but to the Great Game, which was the competition between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia from the early 1800s arguably up until the end of World War 2, when the Cold War began. One of the major theaters of war between Britain and Russia during the Great Game was Afghanistan, where the first Anglo-Afghan War began in 1838, the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1878, a brief alliance occurred between Russia and Britain in the early 20th Century, then the Third Anglo-Afghan War occurred in 1919, otherwise known as the second phase of the Great Game. During the Cold War, or the third phase of the Great Game, Afghanistan was the major theater of operations between the United States (Anglo-Americans) and Russia (Soviet Union) from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, ultimately leading to a collapse of the Soviet Union and an end to the ‘Cold War’. Now, after another brief alliance between the Anglo-American Alliance and Russia, just as occurred in the early years of the previous century starting in 1907, leading up to World War 1, it seems that now, in 2007, the fourth phase of this 200-year long Great Game for dominance over Central Asia has begun. Now made all the more dangerous with other great power interests such as the European Union and rising China, not to mention the existence and discussion of the use of nuclear weapons.

Rising Tensions and Quiet Mentions of War

Lately, there has been a significant increase in tensions between the West, predominantly the Anglo-Americans and Iran, and its respective allies, namely, Syria. These escalations in tension and conflict suggest a rapid strategy of progression to an all out war on the Islamic Republic of Iran, and possibly a wider array of countries in the region, leading to a full region-wide war.

In late August of 2007, the Sunday Telegraph reported that, “The White House’s plans to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organisation are intended to give the Bush administration cover if it launches military strikes on the Islamic republic, according to a prominent former CIA officer. Robert Baer, who was a high-ranking operative in the Middle East, said last week that senior government officials had told him the administration was preparing for air strikes on the guards’ bases and probably also on Iran’s nuclear facilities within the next six months,” and the article continues, “But among President George W Bush’s closest advisers, there is a fierce debate about whether to take unilateral military action independently of any UN security council moves. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set on diplomacy, Vice-President Dick Cheney is understood to favour air strikes. The justification for any attack, according to Mr Baer, would be claims – denied by Iran – that the guards are responsible for the sophisticated armour-penetrating improvised explosive devices that are exacting a heavy toll on US forces in Iraq.”25

On September 2, 2007, the Sunday Times reported that, “The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert. Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for ‘pinprick strikes’ against Iran’s nuclear facilities. ‘They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military’,” and it continued, “President George Bush intensified the rhetoric against Iran last week, accusing Tehran of putting the Middle East ‘under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust’. He warned that the US and its allies would confront Iran ‘before it is too late’.”26

A September 3 article in the Sunday Telegraph stated, “In a nondescript room, two blocks from the American Capitol building, a group of Bush administration staffers is gathered to consider the gravest threat their government has faced this century: the testing of a nuclear weapon by Iran. The United States, no longer prepared to tolerate the risk that Iranian nuclear weapons will be used against Israel, or passed to terrorists, has already launched a bombing campaign to destroy known Iranian nuclear sites, air bases and air defence sites. Iran has retaliated by cutting off oil to America and its allies, blockading the Straits of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf bottleneck, and sanctioned an uprising by Shia militias in southern Iraq that has shut down 60 per cent of Iraq’s oil exports. The job of the officials from the Pentagon, the State Department, and the Departments of Homeland Security and Energy, who have gathered in an office just off Massachusetts Avenue, behind the rail terminus, Union Station, is to prevent a spike in oil prices that will pitch the world’s economy into a catastrophic spin.” The article then said, “The good news is that this was a war game; for those who fear war with Iran, the less happy news is that the officials were real. The simulation, which took four months, was run by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with close links to the White House. Its conclusions, drawn up last month and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, have been passed on to military and civilian planners charged with drawing up plans for confronting Iran. News that elements of the American government are working in earnest on how to deal with the fallout of an attack on Iran come at a tense moment.”27

A report in the Sunday Telegraph stated that, “Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail. Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran,” and that, “Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action. In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq – arming and training militants – would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories. A prime target would be the Fajr base run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force in southern Iran, where Western intelligence agencies say armour-piercing projectiles used against British and US troops are manufactured.” The article continued, “US action would provoke a major Iranian response, perhaps in the form of moves to cut off Gulf oil supplies, providing a trigger for air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities and even its armed forces. Senior officials believe Mr Bush’s inner circle has decided he does not want to leave office without first ensuring that Iran is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon.”28

The New Yorker Magazine reported in late August of 2007 that, “If there were a threat level on the possibility of war with Iran, it might have just gone up to orange. Barnett Rubin, the highly respected Afghanistan expert at New York University, has written an account of a conversation with a friend who has connections to someone at a neoconservative institution in Washington,” which revealed that, “They [the source’s institution] have ‘instructions’ (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President [Dick Cheney] to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this—they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is ‘plenty’,” and it continued stating, “It follows the pattern of the P.R. campaign that started around this time in 2002 and led to the Iraq war. The President’s rhetoric on Iran has been nothing short of bellicose lately, warning of ‘the shadow of a nuclear holocaust’.”29

On September 10, Reuters reported that, “The Pentagon is preparing to build a military base near the Iraq-Iran border to try to curtail the flow of advanced Iranian weaponry to Shiite militants across Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday in its online edition. Quoting Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, the Journal said the Pentagon also plans to build fortified checkpoints on major highways leading from the Iranian border to Baghdad, and install X-ray machines and explosives-detecting sensors at the only formal border crossing between the two countries.”30 On the same day, the Sunday Telegraph reported that, “Iran has established a sophisticated spying operation at the head of the Arabian Gulf in a move which has significantly heightened tensions in its standoff with the United States. The operation, masterminded by the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, includes the construction of a high-tech spying post close to the point where Iranian forces kidnapped 15 British naval personnel in March. The move has forced British and American commanders to divert resources away from protecting oil platforms in the Gulf from terrorist attack and into countering the new Iranian threat,” and it continued, “The US military says that the spying post, built on the foundations of a crane platform sunk during the Iran-Iraq war, is equipped with radar, cameras and forward facing infra-red devices to track the movement of coalition naval forces and commercial shipping in the northern Arabian Gulf. Commanders fear that one of the main purposes of the Iranian operation is to enable the Revolutionary Guard to intercept more coalition vessels moving through the disputed waters near the mouth of the Shatt al Arab waterway south of the Iraqi city of Basra.”31

Incidentally, two days later, Raw Story ran an article stating, “As tensions between the United States and Iran increases, military action along the Iran-Iraq border intensifies. The latest moves come from America’s primary ally in its invasion of Iraq: Britain. Ostensibly to guard against importation of Iranian weapons and fighters targeting Western troops in Iraq, the UK is sending up to 350 troops to the Iranian border instead of bringing them home, The Independent of London reports Wednesday.” This follows much discussion recently that the UK, under the new unelected Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was preparing to withdraw from Iraq, leaving the US alone. In fact, the announcement had been made that British troops were to be returning home from Basra, the British-controlled Iraqi city, and as Raw Story pointed out, “The troop move was requested by US commanders, the paper says, and it will delay — perhaps indefinitely — the homecoming of 250 British troops who were told just days ago that they would be returning to the UK as part of a drawdown of forces in Iraq,” and that “Prime Minister Gordon Brown initiated the drawdown, and about 500 British troops completed their withdrawal from Basra Palace, their last remaining base in the city, to an airport on the city’s outskirts. The move was expected to be the final stage in Britain’s complete extraction from Iraq. Wednesday’s report follows on the heels of news that US troops would be establishing a base on the border to guard against Iranian-imported weapons.

Tensions between the US and Iran have gone from bad to dismal in recent years, with some fearing all-out war will erupt between the two countries, and the top US commander in Iraq has refused to rule out that possibility. US Army Gen. David Petraeus demurred Tuesday when he was asked by Sen. Joseph Lieberman whether the war should be expanded ‘in Iranian territory.’ And Petraeus ‘strongly implied’ that action against Iran would be necessary soon, The Independent reported.” On top of this, it was further pointed out that, “Along with British and US troops, Georgia recently sent about 1,200 extra troops to Iraq to patrol the border with Iran.”32

Further, Press TV reported that, “Britain is planning to increase its naval presence in the Persian Gulf by next year, a top British naval commander in the area has revealed. Deputy Combined Force Commander Royal Navy Commodore Keith Winstanley said Monday that Britain has a range of capabilities deployed at various times in the region ranging between submarines, frigates, and destroyers, and that it plans to increase its naval presence by 2008,” and that, “Winstanley, speaking onboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, added that strategic and economic interests had brought about a policy of engagement by Britain in the region,” and the article said at the end, “The last time there were active mine counter-measures in the region was in March of 2003,”33 which, coincidentally, was the same month that the war in Iraq began.

Not only are the Anglo-Americans fully on board and preparing for a possible attack on Iran, but even the Franco-German Entente seems to be steadily leaning that direction. French President Nicholas Sarkozy made headlines recently when he “called Iran’s nuclear ambition the world’s most dangerous problem,” and further, “raised the possibility that the country could be bombed if it persisted in building an atomic weapon,” as reported by the Sunday Times. The article continued, “The biggest challenge to the world was the avoidance of conflict between Islam and the West, President Sarkozy told the annual gathering of French ambassadors. Iran was the crossroads of the Middle East’s troubles and its nuclear aims ‘are without doubt the most serious crisis that weighs today on the international scene,” and that, “A nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and the world must continue to tighten sanctions while offering incentives to Tehran to halt weapons development, he said. ‘This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran,’ he said. He did not say who would carry out such an attack, which has been suggested by policy experts in Israel and the US.”34 Further, it was reported that, “French Defence Minister Herve Morin warned on Sunday that Iran’s nuclear programme posed a ‘major risk’ to the stability of the Gulf region. ‘It is necessary to make Iran understand that the nuclear risk creates a major risk of destabilising the region,’ Morin told journalists as he wrapped up a visit to the Gulf state of Qatar.”35

On September 14, it was reported that, “Germany denied on Friday that it wanted to hold off on sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. The government dismissed a report on the US TV channel Fox that it had broken ranks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and wanted to delay any sanctions to allow a deal struck between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on August 21 to take effect,” and it continued, quoting the German foreign ministry spokesman, “Germany is prepared to take the necessary steps against Iran, if necessary,” and that, “The five permanent Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany are due to meet to discuss a new draft UN resolution on sanctions against Iran on September 21 in Washington. Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity but the United States accuses Tehran of covertly developing atomic weapons.”36

Another conflict, which is directly related to the growing Iranian conflict, has been accumulating significance in the region, as it was reported that, “Syria accused Israel of bombing its territory on Thursday [September 6] and said it could respond to the Jewish state’s ‘aggression and treachery’,” and further, “Israel declined to comment on the charge by Syria, which said no casualties or damage were caused. The Syrian accusation was partly responsible for triggering a rise in world oil prices of more than $1.40 a barrel.”37 Another report stated that, “Syria is mulling a ‘series of responses’ after Israeli warplanes violated its airspace this week, Vice President Faruq al-Shara said in an interview with an Italian newspaper published Saturday. ‘I can say now that in Damascus a series of responses is being examined at the highest political and military levels. The results will not take long in coming’.”38

Press TV reported that, “Syria says Israel is planning to wage another war in the region after the Israeli army staged military exercises on the Golan Heights. The state-run Syrian daily al-Thawra said on Sunday that a recent war game by the Israeli military on the occupied Golan Heights has sent a clear message reflecting Israel’s intention for waging a new war in the region.”39 Another report states that, “Tehran has announced its readiness to assist Damascus by all means to counter the violation of Syrian airspace by Israeli warplanes. Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Mohammad-Hassan Akhtari said the Zionist Regime’s provocative moves had prompted Tehran to offer help to the Syrian government. Earlier Thursday, Syria’s official News Agency reported that several Israeli fighter jets had bombed Syrian territories. However, the Syrian army successfully forced the Israeli warplanes out of the Syrian airspace.”40

A September 12 report stated that, “Israel recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea, The New York Times reported Thursday. A US administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria, the Times reported,” and it quoted an unnamed official, stating, “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” and the article further said, “A US defense official confirmed Tuesday that Israel carried out an air strike well inside Syria last week, apparently to send Damascus a message not to rearm Hezbollah in Lebanon. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not know the target of the strike, which was conducted Thursday, but said the US military believed it was to send a message to the Syrians.”41

The Sunday Times later reported that, “It was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way,” and that, “Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea,” and it continued, “The Syrians were also keeping mum. ‘I cannot reveal the details,’ said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. ‘All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.’ The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.

Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from ‘secret suppliers’, and added that there were a ‘number of foreign technicians’ in the country. Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: ‘There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that’,” and further, “According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.”42
It was then reported that, “An official Syrian daily warned on Sunday that US ‘lies’ over nuclear cooperation with North Korea could serve as a pretext for an attack on Syria following an Israeli violation of its airspace,” and that, “Syria has said its air defences fired on Israeli warplanes which dropped munitions deep inside its territory in the early hours of September 6, triggering intense media speculation about the action. Israel has not confirmed the incident and kept up a policy of official silence, with the only details on the mysterious attack coming from foreign media reports citing anonymous officials.”43

Call It What You Want, It’s All Just a Game

As the prospect of a US-led war on Iran increases by the day, it is vital to understand the history of such actions. This was my intent in writing this essay, as to understand current crises and conflicts evolving in the region, it is important to examine the historical context of such crises over the past 200 years. Dating from the Great Game between the British and Russian empires for control of Central Eurasia, namely fighting for control in Afghanistan and Iran, the reasons behind the Great Game were simply stated as for maintaining hegemonic control. With brief alliances generating between Britain and Russia, formed for strategic conveniences, namely to counter rising German influence in the region in the lead up to World War 1 and during World War 2, the Great Game continued after the Second World War under a different name, the Cold War. For a new century, it was necessary to give a hundred year old strategy a new name, as especially after World War 2, the concepts of hegemony and expansion of control, imperialism in general, were not well received, considering the world just came out of Hitler’s attempt at such a strategy. In 1947, India gained independence from the British Empire, instigating the collapse of its imperial hegemony across the globe.

It was at this time, however, that the United States was now in the most pivotal position to exert its hegemony across the globe. With its extensive ties to Great Britain, the British latched onto the Americans in the Anglo-American Alliance, allowing not only for the US to protect US hegemony and interests abroad, but also British. To do this, however, there needed to be an excuse, as the world would not accept another global hegemon for the sake of hegemony. Thus, the Cold War came into being. Under the guise of deterring the spread of Communism under the auspices of the ‘Domino Theory’, the US managed to expand and protect Anglo-American hegemony around the globe. The Cold War was simply the third phase of the Great Game, as it applied the same strategies used for the previous hundred years, just under a new name and justified under a new threat.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, bringing an end to the Cold War, a New World Order began to form, the birth pangs of which were felt in the Middle East. This New World Order of creating a new global structure, of a more integrated global society, still has many conflicts arising out of it. After World War 1, the League of Nations was created in the hopes of securing a more integrated global community, which ultimately failed with the start of World War 2, after which the United Nations was created to serve the same purpose. Out of each world war, we see the move to create a more global society. Now, after the Cold War ended, we have a new conflict arising between the West and the East. This new conflict is about gaining supremacy in the New World Order, as many great powers seek to sway the balance away from a US-dominated New World Order, and towards a Russian or Chinese New World Order.

In the year 2000, then Chinese President, “Jiang Zemin called for joint efforts of the people of all countries to establish a fair and equitable new international political and economic order,” and he further stated, “With the collapse of the centuries-long colonialist system and the end of half-a-century Cold War, it has become increasingly difficult for hegemonism and power politics to go on and for the very few big powers or blocs of big powers to monopolize international affairs and control the fate of other countries.”44 In 2005, both China and Russia “issued a joint statement on a new world order in the 21st century, setting forth their common stand on major international issues, such as UN reforms, globalization, North-South cooperation, and world economy and trade. The statement was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao after their talks. During their talks, the two leaders discussed ways to further enhance the strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Russia, and exchanged views on major regional and international issues,” and that “The joint statement said the two countries are determined to strengthen their strategic coordination in international affairs.”45 More recently, in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin called “for a radical overhaul of the world’s financial and trade institutions to reflect the growing economic power of emerging market countries – including Russia. Mr Putin said the world needed to create a new international financial architecture to replace an existing model,” and as the Financial Times further reported, Putin’s “apparent challenge to western dominance of the world economic order came at a forum in St Petersburg designed to showcase the country’s economic recovery. Among 6,000 delegates at the biggest business forum ever held in post-Soviet Russia were scores of international chief executives including heads of Deutsche Bank, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Nestlé, Chevron, Siemens and Coca-Cola. Business deals worth more than $4bn were signed at the conference – including an order by Aeroflot for Boeing jets – as executives said they were continuing to invest in Russia despite deteriorating relations with the west. Mr Putin’s hosting of the forum capped a week in which he dominated the international stage. He warned last Monday that Russia might target nuclear missiles at Europe if the US built a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic,” and Putin’s “speech on financial institutions suggested that, along with an aggressive recent campaign against US ‘unilateralism’ in foreign policy, he was also seeking to challenge western dominance of the world economic order.”46

So clearly, from this last statement especially, we can see that both China and Russia are not opposed to forming a New World Order, which would be largely based on international institutions and integration, both economically and politically, but they are opposed to the West’s dominance of such a world order, and instead, seek to challenge that dominance with their own. Ultimately, the goals are similar, but the methods of getting there is where the West and the East differ. As the above Financial Times article mentioned, large global corporations are still investing in Russia, despite recent setbacks in certain areas, which shows the support for the process of globalization, which has thusly shaped the current world order. International corporations have no allegiance to people or national identities, but rather seek to exert their control across the entire globe, and will support any nations with great influence, so that with the battle for control in shaping the New World Order, the corporations will always be on the winning side. As the multinational corporations seek a more integrated global society, they must first gain control of the world markets, integrating the economies first. With economic integration, political and cultural will follow. The challenge for the great powers of the world is which ones will be dominant in this process, and thusly, which ones will have dominant control over the New World Order.

Out of conflict, comes societal reorganization. We seem to rapidly be heading toward another World War, which would have its starting point with an attack on Iran. Talk of a ‘new Cold War’ is misleading, as if any conflict occurs with Iran, if the US attacks the Islamic Republic, there will be nothing Cold about it. This new conflict, the fourth phase of the Great Game, will give rise to competition between the great powers for control over the Middle East and Central Eurasia in order to achieve hegemony in the New World Order. It is likely that a New Great Game will lead to a New World War, out of which will rise the New World Order. Whichever great powers come out of the next war as the victors, if indeed there are any, it is likely that it will be that power which will lead the New World Order.

As I have mentioned Zbigniew Brzezinski much in this essay, as his relevance to American hegemonic strategy is almost unparalleled, apart from other figures like Henry Kissinger, I feel it is relevant to end with a discussion on testimony that Brzezinski recently gave to the US Senate. In February of 2007, Brzezinski, “the national security adviser in the Carter administration, delivered a scathing critique of the war in Iraq and warned that the Bush administration’s policy was leading inevitably to a war with Iran, with incalculable consequences for US imperialism in the Middle East and internationally,” and Brzezinski was quoted as saying about the Iraq war, “Undertaken under false assumptions, it is undermining America’s global legitimacy. Its collateral civilian casualties as well as some abuses are tarnishing America’s moral credentials. Driven by Manichean principles and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability,” and he continued, describing what he termed a “plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran”, of which he said would involve, “Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks, followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure, then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran, culminating in a ‘defensive’ US military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” [Emphasis added].47

Brzezinski’s startling warning should not be taken for granted. Even though many factions of the ruling class are divided, for example someone like Brzezinski, who is very much opposed to the neo-conservatives, they are all still playing the same game. The game is hegemony and empire, the only difference is that some people and some countries have different methods of playing. In previous centuries, the battle for control of Central Eurasia was called what it was, the Great Game, a game for control, a game for power. The difference between two hundred years ago and today, is that we are in a much more globalized, integrated society, which has turned this Great game into, as Brzezinski aptly named his blueprint for American hegemony, the Grand Chessboard. It’s no longer simply just a great game, but is now simply a board game for the global ruling class. Sacrificing pawns, a simple act for them, can be seen in the eyes of the moral society as the destruction of entire nations and peoples.

There’s only so many players in this game, and they all have the same aim, just different methods of getting there. The unfortunate aspect of this, is that the people of the world are being tossed around like pawns in a chess game. The world is meant for all people, not just a select few, to inhabit and have a say in. So, if these people want to play games, let’s put them back in the playground, because their mentality has yet to surpass that of children during recess.

Mahatma Gandhi, the man who led India to independence from the British Empire, once said, “Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS.”

Notes

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

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

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

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

Attacking Iran for Israel? By Ray McGovern

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

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

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Andrew G. Marshall, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7219

Declassified Document: “U.S. Army explored using radioactive poisons to assassinate ‘important individuals'” by Robert Burns

Dandelion Salad

by Robert Burns
Global Research, October 10, 2007
Associated Press – 2007-10-09

US Considered Radiological Weapon
by Robert Burns

October 9, 2007. Associated Press. In one of the longest-held secrets of the Cold War, the U.S. Army explored the potential for using radioactive poisons to assassinate “important individuals” such as military or civilian leaders, according to newly declassified documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Continue reading

U.S. considered radiological weapon By Robert Burns

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Burns, AP Military Writer
October 8, 2007
AP

WASHINGTON

In one of the longest-held secrets of the Cold War, the U.S. Army explored the potential for using radioactive poisons to assassinate “important individuals” such as military or civilian leaders, according to newly declassified documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Approved at the highest levels of the Army in 1948, the effort was a well-hidden part of the military’s pursuit of a “new concept of warfare” using radioactive materials from atomic bombmaking to contaminate swaths of enemy land or to target military bases, factories or troop formations.

Military historians who have researched the broader radiological warfare program said in interviews that they had never before seen evidence that it included pursuit of an assassination weapon. Targeting public figures in such attacks is not unheard of; just last year an unknown assailant used a tiny amount of radioactive polonium-210 to kill Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London.

No targeted individuals are mentioned in references to the assassination weapon in the government documents declassified in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the AP in 1995.

The decades-old records were released recently to the AP, heavily censored by the government to remove specifics about radiological warfare agents and other details. The censorship reflects concern that the potential for using radioactive poisons as a weapon is more than a historic footnote; it is believed to be sought by present-day terrorists bent on attacking U.S. targets.

Continued…

h/t: ICH

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Afghanistan: Britain is protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time by Craig Murray


Dandelion Salad

by Craig Murray
Global Research, July 24, 2007
Daily Mail

This week the 64th British soldier to die in Afghanistan, Corporal Mike Gilyeat, was buried. All the right things were said about this brave soldier, just as, on current trends, they will be said about one or more of his colleagues who follow him next week.

The alarming escalation of the casualty rate among British soldiers in Afghanistan – up to ten per cent – led to discussion this week on whether it could be fairly compared to casualty rates in the Second World War.

But the key question is this: what are our servicemen dying for? There are glib answers to that: bringing democracy and development to Afghanistan, supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai in its attempt to establish order in the country, fighting the Taliban and preventing the further spread of radical Islam into Pakistan.

But do these answers stand up to close analysis?

There has been too easy an acceptance of the lazy notion that the war in Afghanistan is the ‘good’ war, while the war in Iraq is the ‘bad’ war, the blunder. The origins of this view are not irrational. There was a logic to attacking Afghanistan after 9/11.

Afghanistan was indeed the headquarters of Osama Bin Laden and his organisation, who had been installed and financed there by the CIA to fight the Soviets from 1979 until 1989. By comparison, the attack on Iraq – which was an enemy of Al Qaeda and no threat to us – was plainly irrational in terms of the official justification.

So the attack on Afghanistan has enjoyed a much greater sense of public legitimacy. But the operation to remove Bin Laden was one thing. Six years of occupation are clearly another.

Few seem to turn a hair at the officially expressed view that our occupation of Iraq may last for decades.

Lib Dem leader Menzies Campbell has declared, fatuously, that the Afghan war is ‘winnable’.

Afghanistan was not militarily winnable by the British Empire at the height of its supremacy. It was not winnable by Darius or Alexander, by Shah, Tsar or Great Moghul. It could not be subdued by 240,000 Soviet troops. But what, precisely, are we trying to win?

In six years, the occupation has wrought one massive transformation in Afghanistan, a development so huge that it has increased Afghan GDP by 66 per cent and constitutes 40 per cent of the entire economy. That is a startling achievement, by any standards. Yet we are not trumpeting it. Why not?

The answer is this. The achievement is the highest harvests of opium the world has ever seen.

The Taliban had reduced the opium crop to precisely nil. I would not advocate their methods for doing this, which involved lopping bits, often vital bits, off people. The Taliban were a bunch of mad and deeply unpleasant religious fanatics. But one of the things they were vehemently against was opium.

That is an inconvenient truth that our spin has managed to obscure. Nobody has denied the sincerity of the Taliban’s crazy religious zeal, and they were as unlikely to sell you heroin as a bottle of Johnnie Walker.

They stamped out the opium trade, and impoverished and drove out the drug warlords whose warring and rapacity had ruined what was left of the country after the Soviet war.

That is about the only good thing you can say about the Taliban; there are plenty of very bad things to say about them. But their suppression of the opium trade and the drug barons is undeniable fact.

Now we are occupying the country, that has changed. According to the United Nations, 2006 was the biggest opium harvest in history, smashing the previous record by 60 per cent. This year will be even bigger.

Our economic achievement in Afghanistan goes well beyond the simple production of raw opium. In fact Afghanistan no longer exports much raw opium at all. It has succeeded in what our international aid efforts urge every developing country to do. Afghanistan has gone into manufacturing and ‘value-added’ operations.

It now exports not opium, but heroin. Opium is converted into heroin on an industrial scale, not in kitchens but in factories. Millions of gallons of the chemicals needed for this process are shipped into Afghanistan by tanker. The tankers and bulk opium lorries on the way to the factories share the roads, improved by American aid, with Nato troops.

How can this have happened, and on this scale? The answer is simple. The four largest players in the heroin business are all senior members of the Afghan government – the government that our soldiers are fighting and dying to protect.

When we attacked Afghanistan, America bombed from the air while the CIA paid, armed and equipped the dispirited warlord drug barons – especially those grouped in the Northern Alliance – to do the ground occupation. We bombed the Taliban and their allies into submission, while the warlords moved in to claim the spoils. Then we made them ministers.

President Karzai is a good man. He has never had an opponent killed, which may not sound like much but is highly unusual in this region and possibly unique in an Afghan leader. But nobody really believes he is running the country. He asked America to stop its recent bombing campaign in the south because it was leading to an increase in support for the Taliban. The United States simply ignored him. Above all, he has no control at all over the warlords among his ministers and governors, each of whom runs his own kingdom and whose primary concern is self-enrichment through heroin.

My knowledge of all this comes from my time as British Ambassador in neighbouring Uzbekistan from 2002 until 2004. I stood at the Friendship Bridge at Termez in 2003 and watched the Jeeps with blacked-out windows bringing the heroin through from Afghanistan, en route to Europe.

I watched the tankers of chemicals roaring into Afghanistan.

Yet I could not persuade my country to do anything about it. Alexander Litvinenko – the former agent of the KGB, now the FSB, who died in London last November after being poisoned with polonium 210 – had suffered the same frustration over the same topic.

There are a number of theories as to why Litvinenko had to flee Russia. The most popular blames his support for the theory that FSB agents planted bombs in Russian apartment blocks to stir up anti-Chechen feeling.

But the truth is that his discoveries about the heroin trade were what put his life in danger. Litvinenko was working for the KGB in St Petersburg in 2001 and 2002. He became concerned at the vast amounts of heroin coming from Afghanistan, in particular from the fiefdom of the (now) Head of the Afghan armed forces, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, in north and east Afghanistan.

Dostum is an Uzbek, and the heroin passes over the Friendship Bridge from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, where it is taken over by President Islam Karimov’s people. It is then shipped up the railway line, in bales of cotton, to St Petersburg and Riga.

The heroin Jeeps run from General Dostum to President Karimov. The UK, United States and Germany have all invested large sums in donating the most sophisticated detection and screening equipment to the Uzbek customs centre at Termez to stop the heroin coming through.

But the convoys of Jeeps running between Dostum and Karimov are simply waved around the side of the facility.

Litvinenko uncovered the St Petersburg end and was stunned by the involvement of the city authorities, local police and security services at the most senior levels. He reported in detail to President Vladimir Putin. Putin is, of course, from St Petersburg, and the people Litvinenko named were among Putin’s closest political allies. That is why Litvinenko, having miscalculated badly, had to flee Russia.

I had as little luck as Litvinenko in trying to get official action against this heroin trade. At the St Petersburg end he found those involved had the top protection. In Afghanistan, General Dostum is vital to Karzai’s coalition, and to the West’s pretence of a stable, democratic government.

Opium is produced all over Afghanistan, but especially in the north and north-east – Dostum’s territory. Again, our Government’s spin doctors have tried hard to obscure this fact and make out that the bulk of the heroin is produced in the tiny areas of the south under Taliban control. But these are the most desolate, infertile rocky areas. It is a physical impossibility to produce the bulk of the vast opium harvest there.

That General Dostum is head of the Afghan armed forces and Deputy Minister of Defence is in itself a symbol of the bankruptcy of our policy. Dostum is known for tying opponents to tank tracks and running them over. He crammed prisoners into metal containers in the searing sun, causing scores to die of heat and thirst.

Since we brought ‘democracy’ to Afghanistan, Dostum ordered an MP who annoyed him to be pinned down while he attacked him. The sad thing is that Dostum is probably not the worst of those comprising the Karzai government, or the biggest drug smuggler among them.

Our Afghan policy is still victim to Tony Blair’s simplistic world view and his childish division of all conflicts into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. The truth is that there are seldom any good guys among those vying for power in a country such as Afghanistan. To characterise the Karzai government as good guys is sheer nonsense.

Why then do we continue to send our soldiers to die in Afghanistan? Our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is the greatest recruiting sergeant for Islamic militants. As the great diplomat, soldier and adventurer Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Alexander Burnes pointed out before his death in the First Afghan War in 1841, there is no point in a military campaign in Afghanistan as every time you beat them, you just swell their numbers. Our only real achievement to date is falling street prices for heroin in London.

Remember this article next time you hear a politician calling for more troops to go into Afghanistan. And when you hear of another brave British life wasted there, remember you can add to the casualty figures all the young lives ruined, made miserable or ended by heroin in the UK.

They, too, are casualties of our Afghan policy.

Craig Murray is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Craig Murray

 

see:

Drugs/Marijuana/War on Drugs/Prohibition (older posts)

Alexander Litvinenko/Ex-KBG Spy (older posts)

 

 


To become a Member of Global Research

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Kissinger’s Secret Meeting With Putin By Mike Whitney

Kissinger’s Secret Meeting With Putin

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
07/18/07 “ICH

“RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian strategic bombers heading for British airspace yesterday, as the spirit of the Cold War returned to the North Atlantic once again. The incident, described as rare by the RAF, served as a telling metaphor for the stand-off between London and Moscow over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.” (Times Online, Richard Beeston; “RAF scrambles to intercept Russian bombers, 7-18-07)

Men are always wicked at bottom unless they are made good by some compulsion.” Niccoló Macchiavelli

When a political heavyweight, like Henry Kissinger, jets-off on a secret mission to Moscow; it usually shows up in the news.

Not this time.

This time the media completely ignored—or should we say censored—Kissinger’s trip to Russia and his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, apart from a few short blurps in the Moscow Times and one measly article in the UK Guardian, no major news organization even covered the story. There hasn’t been as much as a peep out of anyone in the American media.

Nothing. That means the meetings were probably arranged by Dick Cheney. The secretive Veep doesn’t like anyone knowing what he’s up to.

Kissinger was accompanied on his junket by a delegation of high-powered political and corporate big-wigs including former Secretary of State George Schultz, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, former Special Representative for Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr., former Senator Sam Nunn and Chevron Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David O’Reilly.

Wow. Now, there’s an impressive line up.The group was (presumably) sent to carry out official government business as discreetly as possible. The media obviously complied with White House requests and kept their mouths shut.

Isn’t the First amendment great?

The array of talent in Kissinger’s delegation suggests that the US and Russia are engaged in sensitive, high-level talks on issues ranging from nonproliferation and Missile Defense, to energy exploration and development, to the Iranian “enrichment” program and partitioning of Serbia (Kosovo), to the falling dollar and the massive US current account deficit. The US and Russia are at loggerheads on many of these issues and relations between the two countries has steadily deteriorated.

No one really knows what took place at the meetings, but judging by Kissinger’s parting remarks; things did not go smoothly. He said to one reporter, “We appreciate the time that President Putin gave us and the frank manner in which he explained his point of view.”

In diplomatic phraseology, “frank” usually means that there were many areas of strong disagreement. Presumably, the main “bone of contention” is Putin’s insistence on a “multi-polar” world in which the sovereign rights of other nations is safeguarded under international law. Putin is ferociously nationalistic and he will not compromise Russia’s independence to be integrated into Kissinger and Co.’s wacky the new world order.

The Empire Strikes Back

Less than 48 hours after the “Russia-USA: A View on the Future” conference had ended, British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband announced that the British government “would expel four diplomats from the Russian Embassy in London in response to Russia’s refusal to extradite Andrei K. Lugovoi, whom the British prosecutors accused of using radioactive Polonium 210 to poison a Kremlin critic and former K.G.B. agent, Alexander Litvinenko, last fall.” (New York Times)

The expulsion of the diplomats is a clear indication that Bush ordered his “new poodle” Gordon Brown to begin a campaign of harassment against Russia.

The British action is unprecedented and outlandish. The Russian Foreign Ministry was evidently thunderstruck by the move. After all, Britain has refused to honor 21 requests from Russia to extradite gangster-oligarch Boris Berezovsky and the Chechen rebel leader Akhmed Zakayev, who currently live in London. As Deputy foreign minister Alexander V. Grushko said, “If Russia used the same formula, the British embassy would be short about 80 diplomats now.” The hypocrisy is shocking to say the least.

Besides, who is going to believe that the British government has taken a sudden interest in the death of a former-KGB agent? Heck, the Brits kill more Iraqis in a day around Basra then anyone in the Kremlin kills in a year. The whole thing stinks of political opportunism much like the investigation of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Russia is presently exploring its options for retaliation, but the implications of unexpected clash are obvious; the US and Britain have placed Russia on their “enemies list” and are planning to execute a guerilla war of harassment, slander, and covert operations intended to deepen the divisions between Europe and Russia. Naturally, Putin will continue to be demonized in the western media as a looming threat to democratic values.

Ultimately, the goal is to pit Europe against Russia while the Pentagon, the CIA, and M-15 settle on a long-term strategy for gaining access to vital petroleum and natural gas supplies in Central Asia and the Caspian Basin. That is still the main objective and both Putin and Kissinger know it.

So far, Putin appears to have the upper-hand in this regard because he has skillfully strengthened alliances with his regional allies–under the rubric of the Commonwealth of Independent States—and because most of the natural gas from Eurasia is pumped through Russian pipelines. An article in “Today’s Zaman” gives a good snapshot of Russia’s position vis a vis natural resources in the region:

“As far as natural resources are concerned Russia’s hand is very strong: It holds 6.6 percent of the worlds proven oil reserves and 26 percent of the world’s gas reserves. In addition, it currently accounts for 12 percent of world oil and 21 of recent world gas production. In May 2007, Russia was the world’s largest oil and gas producer.

As for national champions, Putin has strengthened and prepared Gazprom (the state-controlled gas company), Transneft (oil pipeline monopoly) and Rosneft (the state-owned oil giant). That is why in 2006 Gazprom retained full ownership in the giant Shtokman gas field (7) and took a controlling stake in the Sakhalin-2 natural gas project. In June 2007, it took back BP’s Kovytka gas field and now is behind Total’s Kharyaga oil and gas field.” (“Vladimir Putin’s Energystan and the Caspian” Today’s Zaman)

Putin–the black belt Judo-master–has proved to be as adept at geopolitics as he is at “deal-making”. He has collaborated with the Austrian government on a huge natural gas depot in Austria which will facilitate the transport of gas to southern Europe. He has joined forces with German industry to build an underwater pipeline through the Baltic to Germany (which could provide 80% of Germany’s gas requirements) He has selected France’s Total to assist Gazprom in the development of the massive Shtokman gas field. And he is setting up pipeline corridors to provide gas to Turkey and the Balkans. Putin has very deliberately spread Russia’s influence evenly throughout Europe with the intention of severing the Transatlantic Alliance and, eventually, loosening America’s vice-like grip on the continent.

Putin’s overtures to Germany’s Merkel and France’s Sarkozy are calculated to weaken the resolve of Bush’s neocon-“Trojan Horses” in the EU and put them in Russia’s corner. Putin is also attracting considerable foreign investment to Russian markets and has adopted “a ‘new model of cooperation’ in the energy sector that would ‘allow foreign partners to share in the economic benefits of the project, share the management, and take on a share of the industrial, commercial and financial risks’”. (M K Bhadrakumar “Russia plays the Shtokman card”, Asia Times) All of these are intended to strengthen ties between Europe and Russia and make it harder for the Bush administration to isolate Moscow.

The CFE and the impending Missile Defense Crisis

Last week Russia announced the suspension the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) in retaliation for Bush’s plans to put missile defense system into Poland and Czechoslovakia. The United States had never really complied with the provisions of the treaty anyway, but that hasn’t stopped Europeans from reacting with genuine concern. Russia is now free to redeploy its troops and heavy weaponry to its western-most borders. This is bound to cause a stir among the former-Soviet states in Eastern Europe. The move does nothing to enhance Russian security, but it does raise awareness of how Bush’s provocative Missile Defense is putting Europe on the firing-line. Missile Defense is a “lose-lose” situation for everyone involved; it greatly increases the likelihood of a slip up which could end in a nuclear exchange. Still, the expansion of NATO is a crucial part of the neocon plan for controlling the world’s dwindling resources; so we can expect that the present stand-off will only intensify as the warring parties jockey for position. The sudden appearance of Kissinger, Schultz, Rubin and Nunn suggests that the situation has gotten so worrisome that the Masters of the Empire are actually emerging from the shadows and getting directly involved. They have dropped the silly pretense that our celluloid-figurehead president is actually directing foreign policy at all. He isn’t.

But what can they do?

It is true that NATO has pushed itself into Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. But to what advantage? Putin will never allow NATO in Ukraine or Georgia—even if it means turning off the gas spigot and letting Europe freeze to death in the dark.

Cheney calls this blackmail.

Maybe. But to others it looks like a straightforward way of telling people that there’s a price to payfor bad behavior. If that’s blackmail—let them hire an attorney.

Kosovo: “The chances of independence are nothing”

Russia and the US are bitterly divided on the issue of Kosovo independence. “Kosovo independence” is a nothing more than a catchy moniker that was cooked up in a far-right think tank to express the geopolitical objectives of its advocates. It’s also a way of minimizing the US-generated ethnic cleansing which has made “partition” seem palatable. Its supporters are the usual assortment of western busybodies, neocons and globalists. Their dream is to weaken Serbia by splitting it up and making it more accessible to foreign interests.

Pro-American Secretary General Ban Ki Moon tried to quickly push through a resolution on independence at the UN Security Council this week, but Russian diplomats stopped him in his tracks.

No dice, Ban.

“I am deeply concerned about the lack of progress,” Ban muttered apologetically. “Any further delay is not desirable for the Balkan States or the European countries.”

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was uncharacteristically outspoken in his rejection of the proposed resolution. When he was asked by a reporter about the likelihood of the Kosovo independence”, Churkin growled, “The chances of that are nothing.”

Well said, Vitaly.

Kosovo is an interesting case that sheds a bit of light on the maneuverings of the globalist-claque and their plans for world domination. Chaos and death follow their every move. Their modus operandi is “divide and rule” through the indiscriminate violence and massive clandestine operations.

Russia deserves credit for not buckling under US pressure. Putin is opposed to rewarding “separatist” movements or of letting the United Nations dissect sovereign nations according to the whims of its main contributors. This angers the scheming globalists, but it is a sensible position. The UN’s mandate is to prevent wars of aggression—not redraw national borders. Just ask the Palestinians how well it worked out last time the UN got involved in the “nation-inventing” business.

Irina Lebedeva reveals the real motives behind Kosovo independence in her article “USA-Russia: Hitting the same Gate, or playing the same game?”

“The North Atlantic alliance documents indicate that the bloc aims at the “Balkanization” of the post-Soviet space by way of overtaking influence in the territories of the currently frozen conflicts and their follow-up internalization along the Yugoslavian lines are set down in black and white. For example, a special report titled “The New North Atlantic Strategy for the Black Sea Region”, prepared by the German Marshall Fund of the United States on the occasion of the NATO summit, already refers to Black Sea and South Caucasus (Transcaucasia) as a “new Euro-Atlantic borderland plagued by Soviet-legacy conflicts.” And the “region of frozen conflicts is evolving into a functional aggregate on the new border of an enlarging West.” Azerbaijan and Georgia in tandem, the report notes, provide a unique transit corridor for Caspian energy to Europe, as well as an irreplaceable corridor for American-led and NATO to bases and operation theatres in Central Asia and the Greater Middle East.”


Okay. So, NATO’s real goal is to break-up existing countries into smaller parts, undermine nationalism, incite ethnic conflicts and create a “new Euro-Atlantic borderland” that provides a “transit corridor for Caspian energy to Europe” as well as a jumping off spot for other military bases.


Sounds a lot like Iraq, doesn’t it?

 

This should dispel the notion that the US cares about the Muslims of Kosovo or that America bombed Belgrade into rubble to “get rid of the dictator, Milosevic”. That’s all half-truths, misinformation or outright lies. America’s only interests are bases and oil. Period.

 

Escalation and the prospect of a Wider War

 

An article was posted last night (7-18-07) by the Times Online:

 

 

“RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian strategic bombers heading for British airspace yesterday, as the spirit of the Cold War returned to the North Atlantic once again. The incident, described as rare by the RAF, served as a telling metaphor for the stand-off between London and Moscow over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. While the Kremlin hesitated before responding to Britain’s expulsion of four diplomats, the Russian military engaged in some old-fashioned sabre-rattling. (Times Online, Richard Beeston; “RAF Scrambles to intercept Russian bombers) http://www.timesonline.co.uk

This is a good example of how quickly hostilities can escalate when leaders feel overly confident in their poor judgment. Russia is not to be trifled with. Putin will not be hounded or humiliated into submission. He won’t be starved like the Palestinians, bombarded like the Iraqis, or abducted and tortured like the Empire’s other so-called enemies. If Brown and Bush decide that its “good sport” to poke the Bear with a stick—so be it. But, they should be aware of the consequences. Russia only spends 5% of what the US allocates yearly for military expenditures, but it can still flatten Washington and London in a matter of minutes. That’s always worth considering.

Putin: “Glavny protivnik”, the main enemy?

Putin is not America’s enemy. He is a fierce nationalist who has led his country out of depression and anarchy into prosperity and resurgent patriotism. He has stabilized the ruble, consolidated his regional power, and elevated the standard of living for every class of Russians. The Russian Federation now has the third largest FOREX reserves, the largest natural gas deposits, and—on many days—provides more oil to foreign markets than Saudi Arabia. The country has regained its international prestige and it has become a force for peace and stability in the region.

The West—and particularly the United States—needs to come to grips with Russia’s ascendant place on the world scene. Russia is not going away. Petroleum and natural gas are becoming scarcer and more costly by the day. Russia’s power will naturally grow in proportion to the diminishing of crucial supplies. This cannot be avoided without initiating a third and, perhaps, final world war.

America’s preeminence in the world depends to great extend on its ability to control the global economic system. That system requires that the dollar continue to be linked to oil reserves. But everywhere the petrodollar is under attack. The only solution is to control two-thirds of the world’s remaining petroleum –which is in the Caspian Basin—and demand payment in dollars.

But that plan has failed. The war in Iraq is lost and the longer America stays, the harder the fall will be. Oil will not continue to be traded in petrodollars, the USD will lose its place as the world’s “reserve currency”, and America will slide into a long and agonizing economic downturn.

The machinations and secret “shuttle diplomacy” of Kissinger and his cohorts will amount to nothing. The situation is irreversible. Geography is fate.

We need to extend the olive branch to Russia and prepare for the inevitable shifting of world power. In the meantime we need to withdrawal from Iraq and let the inescapable struggle for political power begin. Our presence only increases the violence.

American leadership can still be salvaged if we eradicate the cancer that has infected the body-politic and restore the principles of republican government. But that won’t be easy. The small cadres of ruling elites who control policy are driven by a force more powerful than the procreative urge or even the will to survive. They are overwhelmed by a sense of “entitlement”—the fanatical belief that they were born to run the world. This is the rich man’s fundamentalism.

The only way the US can play a productive role in the world’s future, and participate in the species-threatening decisions which face us all (global warming, peak oil, nuclear proliferation, famine, disease) is by removing this poisonous element from our political life and holding them accountable for their long list of crimes. Otherwise our confrontations with Russia, Venezuela, Iran and others will become increasingly uncontrollable and violent causing suffering and death on an unimaginable scale.

It’s up to us.

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No More Mister Nice Guy: Newsweek’s Kremlin Fairy Tale by Chris Floyd

Dandelion Salad

Written by Chris Floyd
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Putin’s Dark Descent.” That’s the minatory headline on the latest Newsweek International Edition. (I’m not sure what’s on the current cover of the Stateside edition: “Did Jesus Raise Puppies From the Dead? Theologians Weigh In,” or some other burning topic, I imagine.)

In any case, Newsweek International draws up a bill of indictment against the Russian president, who is not at all a nice guy, it seems. The big whopping article is by Owen Matthews (who, as it happens, was once a colleague of mine at the Moscow Times, more than 10 years ago, although aside from his patented “young fogey” look and jaded aristo mannerisms, I don’t recall that much about him.) Matthews’ story is a standard rehash of recent low points in Russia’s relations with the United States. (Oddly enough, Matthews entirely ignores the far more interesting — and turbulent — turn in Russia’s relationship with Britain, which has just expelled four Russian diplomats over the Litvinenko affair. Britain wants Moscow to extradite the man that UK police believe was behind Livenenko’s fatal radiation poisoning; Russia wants Britain to stop sheltering exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who has lately been using his safe London perch to call for armed revolution in Russia. UK experts say that Moscow-London relations are now at their lowest point since the 1970s.)

Continued…

see:

Alexander Litvinenko/Ex-KBG Spy