Today Marks The Eighth Anniversary Of The US Neo-Colonial Invasion Of Afghanistan
It is no longer a question of when this nation will cross over the line and become a Fascist State. We have arrived some time ago. The questions is when we are going rise up and take back this nation and begin again to implement the principles of democracy that we all teach our children that this nation stands for; we are hypocrites to continue telling that lie in our classrooms. A nation fond of its reality TV now needs to face the realities of our national existence. The time for the new generation of patriots is at hand. Will we rise to the occasion or will we settle for being boot licking cowering dogs to the corporate powers and corrupt crony congress that we have elected and somehow just don’t have the guts to march out the door and into the prison cells where they belong. (Ed.)
"Someday, someday soon, we will need an armed resistance to take over America, a group willing to let the wealthy and powerful make all the decisions without any interference from elections or laws. You can be part of this, a member of 'the party' or you can risk going to the reeducation camps."
Anyone who doesn't think this is what it is all about is deluding themselves. Those who are helping bring this about under the guise of patriotism will, if we are lucky and have the courage of our Founding Fathers, find yourselves awakening in a nightmare, well deserved and well earned.
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and a regular contributor to Veterans Today. He specializes in political and social issues. You can see a large collection of Gordon's published articles at this link: VeteransToday.com”’
Under the pretext of a “war on terrorism” we, with our allies, are attempting to establish an American client state and US military bases in the heart of Central Asia.
No less than Iraq, the Afghanistan war is a predatory operation aimed at dominating a region replete with critical reserves of oil and gas.
Using our military prowess, US imperialism is seeking to offset its protracted and historic decline relative to its major rivals in Europe and Japan and new challengers, such as China and Russia.
Obama's Escalating Disaster | October 7, 2009
The U.S. war on Afghanistan began eight years ago, and yet today, the U.S. seems further than ever from achieving its goals. The Obama administration is now embroiled in a debate over whether to carry out a further escalation on top of the 21,000 troops Barack Obama ordered to Afghanistan earlier this year.
Gareth Porter is an investigative journalist who writes regularly for Inter Press Service about U.S. foreign policy in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. His latest book is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.
He spoke to Eric Ruder about where the debate in the political and military establishment is headed, and what that will mean for Afghanistan.
President Obama meets with Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the Oval Office (Pete Souza)
What's the intent behind Gen. Stanley McChrystal's report on Afghanistan? The tone of the report was much more pessimistic than past ones, and it was attached to a request for 40,000 more U.S. troops. Is this the Pentagon's attempt to demand something of Obama that he can't deliver and thus--as in the Vietnam era--shift blame for the crisis to "political leaders" who "tied the hands" of the military?
I'M VERY much persuaded that this is one of the things that McChrystal is thinking about. His report is so remarkably candid in terms of acknowledging the obstacles within Afghan society and the government to the success of any possible counterinsurgency war the U.S. might conceivably wage.
The report has to be considered an effort to paint a very pessimistic picture so that if, in fact, McChrystal is forced to go ahead with the troops he now has, or even if he gets more troops, he is able to point to the report that outlines a situation where failure, if it should occur, wasn't his fault. I think he suspects very strongly that the mission isn't going to work.
DO YOU think there's any chance that McChrystal will get the 40,000 additional troops?
I THINK there's zero chance he's going to get 40,000 troops. The figure is a tip-off that he's almost inviting rejection by Obama.
I suspect that he was already picking up clear signals from his contacts in Washington and in Florida at the Centcom command headquarters that Obama and some of his civilian advisers were very much disillusioned with the idea of fighting a long counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan.
I think that was certainly part of the context in which he wrote that assessment and asked for a number of troops so high that he must have known there was little chance he would actually get it.
HOW DID the U.S. war effort get to the point where such an escalation is even part of the debate? We had been told that the situation in Afghanistan had stabilized, and then this summer there was a sharp rise in the number of U.S. combat casualties and a sense that the Taliban had regained the initiative.
THIS IS a very important question, and I don't know enough of the story to be able to fill in all the blanks. There is a developing acknowledgment that the warlord-dominated structure of politics in Afghanistan is a serious problem.
One of the things that I do know has happened over the last several months is that the U.S. military and some other NATO military establishments have been for the first time conducting interviews with local tribal leaders and village notables. They're asking them what their grievances are, their honest assessment of the situation in their local and regional context, and so on.
It may be surprising, but after eight years in Afghanistan, this is something that the U.S. still hadn't done. They had no real basis for getting real feedback from the villages of Afghanistan where the population overwhelmingly is located.
So I have a feeling that for the first time, some of this information was starting to trickle up to the command level, and that may have been one factor in the degree to which the initial assessment by McChrystal was pessimistic. It also may account for the conclusions in the combined civilian/military campaign plan that was completed in August of this year, and that was even more pessimistic than the McChrystal report in some ways.
It did not have some of the pulled punches that I found in the McChrystal paper, which, for example, stated that there was a "crisis of confidence" in the Afghan government rather than a "crisis of legitimacy." The McChrystal report also failed to acknowledge that there is substantial support for the Taliban as the only available alternative to a government that is universally reviled, at least in the Pashtun region.
I think that this is probably a factor that has started to color the assessment both in the military and also from the civilian side of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
We are starting from a base of intelligence, if you will, on the nature of the Taliban and why it's so successful that is about as close to zero as you can imagine--in a war that has been going on for eight years now. This is one of the scandals that hasn't been written about.
The U.S. government and other NATO military contingents are utterly without real intelligence about the Taliban and the situation in the countryside. They know virtually nothing, and they have never bothered to really try to understand it.
This is a measure of the complete arrogance of the foreign military contingents in Afghanistan, especially the U.S. What intelligence they do have often comes from reports from people working for a warlord who are thus interested in skewing the information to serve the interests of their warlord boss.
A very high proportion of the intelligence that the U.S. military has collected in Afghanistan comes directly or indirectly from the warlords themselves or their minions. For the most part, this "intelligence" was leading the U.S. to do the bidding of the warlords.
This is a large reason for the fact that the U.S. military has had so many cases of carrying out air strikes against wedding parties. These strikes end up targeting tribal rivals of the warlord providing the "intelligence." This has happened over and over again.
This is certainly a problem that isn't fixed--and isn't going to be fixed by substituting a pessimistic initial assessment and a relatively pessimistic campaign plan for the previously optimistic ones.
OR BY bringing in a huge influx of new troops.
EXACTLY. MORE troops are not going to help at all, and it is arguable that it will alienate the Afghan people even more and hasten the approach of the day when there will be an overt political movement within the cities against the U.S. and other foreign military presence.
THE BASIC assumption of the McChrystal counterinsurgency strategy seems to be that an increase in the number of troops will give the U.S. the ability to "clear and hold" territory, protect civilians and become the guardian of law and order--which in turn would confer legitimacy on the central government. Do you think this strategy has a realistic chance of success? Secondly, does the fraud surrounding the recent Afghan election further complicate this strategy?
THE SHORT answer is no, it's not feasible, and it can't be feasible under any foreseeable circumstances.
You can talk about inducting hundreds of thousands more troops and police into the security structure, but these people are either going to be on the payroll of one of the warlords, as 125,000 to 150,000 armed men already are, or they're going to be extremely reluctant soldiers, particularly if they're Pashtuns.
If they're outside the Pashtun region and come from one of the other ethnic minorities that are anti-Pashtun, they won't be reluctant to fight in their own areas, but I don't think you'd be able to get them to go into a Pashtun region--and if you did, they wouldn't be effective troops.
There are so many contradictions built into the situation that it's just impossible to cook up a scenario under which the U.S. can do something to fundamentally change the realities that were described accurately in McChrystal's initial assessment and the combined civilian/military campaign plan.
The election sheds a great deal of light on this, of course. Not simply because of the massive fraud in the election, although that's an indicator of something going on, but it's relevant because President Hamid Karzai was forced to make deals with all of the warlords throughout the country--to give them even more privileges politically than they already had, in some cases carving either new provinces or parts of provinces under the control of the warlord in question, and in other cases assuring warlords that they wouldn't face any legal action for their war crimes or for any other crimes they might be guilty of.
And in every case, he assured them that no move is going to be made to diminish their de facto power in the provinces. This, of course, is the essence of the problem that the so-called government and the foreign military presence face in trying to combat the Taliban.
The Taliban is so strong in the Pashtun region in particular--although it's not strong exclusively there--because of the grievances against the warlord-dominated security forces and officials in those provinces. These forces are unaccountable, and they constantly carry out depredations, often violent ones, against civilians.
As a result, people who aren't sympathetic to the Taliban's ideology or version of jihadism are ready in most instances to support the Taliban in order to bring back a modicum of peace and security.
THERE'S A growing debate within the Obama administration about how to proceed, and also opposition to the war among the public, with a majority now saying the war isn't worth fighting. Can you talk about the impact this is having?
IT'S CLEAR that Obama and Joe Biden have become extremely skeptical that the U.S. ought to be trying to carry out a counterinsurgency strategy. They're looking for a way out of a war that Obama has already fueled by sending 21,000 troops this year and making a major statement that gave his blessing to increase the escalation.
There's no doubt that Obama has been influenced by the shift in public opinion. I think it has given him a bit more spine than he would otherwise have had to stand up to the military leadership and his field commander, who are clearly pushing him to agree to more troops.
Although, as I pointed out earlier, I suspect there's a certain shadow of doubt even in the minds of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chair of the joint chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen, that this is going to work, because this is such an extreme situation.
I have to underline the fact that no war the U.S. has ever been involved in has been so clearly without the minimum conditions that make it possible to imagine the U.S. winning. It's just not there.
Having said that, I think there are top officials of this administration who are still supporting the counterinsurgency war--for example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. They are still in line with the field commanders and Gen. David Petraeus to support more troops for Afghanistan.
So I don't take it for granted that the outcome of this is going to be that Obama is able to call off the dogs or even reduce the level of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan over the next year.
I think the situation almost inevitably is going to produce a compromise. That's the way these things work in the U.S. national security state. The president can have all the doubts in the world and think this is a terrible idea. In the end, he's going to be compelled for political reasons, despite the fact that public opinion is against the war, to make some compromise with his national security advisers. Ultimately, that's what's most likely to happen, but I hope I'm wrong.
I recently wrote an article in which I described the astonishingly strong parallel between the meetings going on right now and continuing in the next few weeks in the White House about Afghanistan, and the meetings in June 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson was desperate to find a way out of Vietnam--to avoid agreeing to tens of thousands more troops.
In the end, he caved in and agreed to the request. He didn't have the support of his own defense secretary, Robert McNamara, who supported the military leadership instead.
That's why I think the key swing vote in this is Defense Secretary Robert Gates. If Gates, as I believe to be the case, is supporting the military on this, I think it's going to be harder for Obama to give a firm "no."
Unlike those in our corporate media, I do not live in awe of military judgment. Like any other specialist, they see the world through the prism of their own narrow experience and of course think the only solution is theirs. Those "solutions" are often extreme, even to the point of condoning torture.
Or, as most people would say, "To a hammer, everything looks like a nail."
According to sources close to the administration, Gen McChrystal shocked and angered presidential advisers with the bluntness of a speech given in London last week.
The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago's unsuccessful Olympic bid.
Gen James Jones, the national security adviser, yesterday did little to allay the impression the meeting had been awkward.
Asked if the president had told the general to tone down his remarks, he told CBS: "I wasn't there so I can't answer that question. But it was an opportunity for them to get to know each other a little bit better. I am sure they exchanged direct views."
An adviser to the administration said: "People aren't sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn't seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly."
From everything I've ever read, the generals know their job is to execute orders coming from the White House. I wonder what make General McChrystal think his job description has suddenly changed? Don't tell me he's a Rush Limbaugh fan!
In London, Gen McChrystal, who heads the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces, flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda.
He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to "Chaos-istan".
When asked whether he would support it, he said: "The short answer is: No."
He went on to say: "Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support."
The remarks have been seen by some in the Obama administration as a barbed reference to the slow pace of debate within the White House.
The Religion/Anti-Religion Debate Rages In The Open.
The Religion/Anti-Religion Debate Rages In The Open.
There is nothing particularly unique in attacks on religion in America, or attacks by religion in America, but the oblique ferocity of those attacks on both sides has now placed the issue of the value and validity of religion and the very Existence of a God in the mainstream of debate. The Catholic Church in America is now calling for the removal of Penn and Teller from TV and Chris Hitchens can hardly keep up with his schedule of appearances and debates.
His Thesis is simple: “There is a choice between religion and civilization”! Atheists are no longer content to simply go their own way in silence; they are girded for open intellectual battle.
Penn & Teller (+) = Bullshit – Vatican:1,2,3
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Even After Acknowledging It's False, CNN And Fox News Continue To Push Smear Of Jennings
CNN's Lou Dobbs and Fox News' Brian Wilson and Sean Hannity ignored their own networks' past reporting and continued to forward the discredited smear that, while working as a teacher in 1988, Department of Education official Kevin Jennings failed to report an underage student's involvement with an older man. Dobbs claimed that "Jennings admit[ed] to failing to report a sexual matter involving a minor," and Wilson claimed that Jennings admitted that "he failed to alert authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him he was involved in a sexual relationship with an older man," even though both FoxNews.com and CNN have acknowledged that the student was of legal age -- 16 years old -- at the time.
Conservative media figures persist in reporting that student was 15, "a minor"
Dobbs: "Jennings admitting to failing to report a sexual matter involving a minor ... a homosexual relationship." Dobbs stated, "There are now calls for Kevin Jennings, the so-called school safety czar, to step down. Jennings admitting to failing to report a sexual matter involving a minor when he was a public school teacher, a homosexual relationship." [CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, 10/6/09]
Wilson: Jennings "admitted" that "he failed to alert authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him he was involved in a sexual relationship with an older man." Fox News correspondent Brian Wilson stated: "School safety czar Kevin Jennings is currently under fire because he admitted that in 1988, when he was a high school teacher, he failed to alert authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him he was involved in a sexual relationship with an older man. One member of the House believes Jennings would not have his current job if czars were required to face Senate confirmation hearings." [Fox News' Special Report, 10/6/09]
Hannity: "I'm not convinced of the timeline." Hannity stated on his Fox News program that Jennings "admitted that he gave counsel and advice to a 15-year-old sophomore who came to him and said he was having sex with an adult." He added, "Now, the kid has since come out, and he said, 'No, no, I was 16 at the time.' I'm not convinced of the timeline. But that's neither here or there. Jennings is the one that said the kid was 15." [Fox News' Hannity, 10/6/09]
CNN has acknowledged that driver's license "verifies he was actually 16 at the time," "the legal age of consent'
CNN's Yellin cited student's license, statement in debunking right-wing smears. After reporting that CNN spoke to the student -- whom Jennings has referred to as "Brewster" -- and reading from the same statement Brewster had provided to Media Matters for America, CNN's Jessica Yellin reported that "the critics have also contended that Brewster was 15 at the time of this incident; the Fox News website continues to report that." Yellin then aired an image of the student's driver's license, stating that it "verifies he was actually 16 at the time, not 15, which means that if there had been sex, he was actually the legal age of consent in Massachusetts." [CNN's The Situation Room, 10/2/09]
Dobbs told that student issued statement "saying he was of age when this happened."On October 2, Salon.com's Joe Conason stated on Lou Dobbs Tonight that Media Matters "has a statement ... [f]rom the young man who was allegedly involved in this incident, absolving Kevin Jennings of any responsibility, saying he was of age when this happened, so this may turn out to be nothing." [Lou Dobbs Tonight, 10/2/09]
After skipping fact-check to run with smear, Fox News has also acknowledged student was of legal age
Fox News tirelessly advanced false accusation that Jennings covered up "statutory rape." Fox News and its websites Fox Nation and FoxNews.com repeatedly advanced the falsehood that Jennings, in the words of Fox News host Bill Hemmer, knew of a "statutory rape" and "never reported it." While pushing this attack on Jennings, Fox News ignored evidence that the student was of legal age, and Media Matters has since confirmed that the student was of legal age and that Fox News' smears of Jennings were false.
Lott asked former student whether "rumor" that he was 15 is "accurate." As Media Mattersexclusively reported, FoxNews.com reporter Maxim Lott sent a Facebook message to Brewster with a timestamp reading, "October 1 at 5:03pm." Lott wrote: "Please give me a call or e-mail me if you'd like to clear up any of the rumors out there. In particular, in one speech Jennings said that you were 15 when he gave you advice. Is that accurate?" In response, the student told Lott on October 2, "I was 16 when Kevin gave me the advice he gave me." Media Matters exclusively obtained the Facebook exchange between Lott and the student, which Media Matters also published on October 2.
FoxNews.com later issued "Editor's Note" confirming student was 16 at the time. Prior to the Facebook exchange, Lott had written two stories for FoxNews.com discussing Jennings' 1988 conversation with Brewster and reporting as fact that Brewster was 15 at the time -- despite the fact that significant publicly available evidence suggested that Brewster was actually 16. Lott's stories now contain an editor's note stating, "Since this story was originally published, the former student referred to as 'Brewster' has stepped forward to reveal that he was 16 years old, not 15, at the time of the incident described in this report."
Fox-promoted claim that student was 15 debunked
Jennings' attorney stated in 2004 letter that student was 16, which is -- and was -- MA age of consent. In an August 3, 2004, letter, Constance M. Boland of the law firm Nixon Peabody -- which represented the organization that Jennings ran -- wrote that the "conversation" Jennings had was with "a sixteen-year-old student" and that there "is no factual basis whatsoever for" the "claim that Mr. Jennings engaged in unethical practices, or that he was aware of any sexual victimization of any student, or that he declined to report any sexual victimization at any time." [Boland letter, 8/3/04]
Former student: "I was of legal consent at the time." The former student provided Media Matters with the following statement, which Media Matters published on October 2:
Since I was of legal consent at the time, the fifteen-minute conversation I had with Mr. Jennings twenty-one years ago is of nobody's concern but his and mine. However, since the Republican noise machine is so concerned about my "well-being" and that of America's students, they'll be relieved to know that I was not "inducted" into homosexuality, assaulted, raped, or sold into sexual slavery.
In 1988, I had taken a bus home for the weekend, and on the return trip met someone who was also gay. The next day, I had a conversation with Mr. Jennings about it. I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time, though I was entirely legally free to do so. I was a sixteen year-old going through something most of us have experienced: adolescence. I find it regrettable that the people who have the compassion and integrity to protect our nation's students are themselves in need of protection from homophobic smear attacks. Were it not for Mr. Jennings' courage and concern for my well-being at that time in my life, I doubt I'd be the proud gay man that I am today.
Former student's driver's license also indicates he was at least 16 when he approached Jennings. Media Matters also exclusively obtained the Massachusetts driver's license of the student confirming that at the time of the incident he was at least 16 years of age.
Bold and Daring: The Way Progressive News Should Be
You probably never heard of Van Jones, and you may never hear of him again. Until last week, he was President Obama's adviser on "Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation" in theWhite House Council on Environmental Quality.
But he is no longer. Now he's out of a job. And therein lies a tale that should make all of us angry or nervous.
One man railroaded Jones out of his job: Fox News anchor and radio talk show host Glenn Beck. You remember him. He's the nut who called President Obama a "racist" on "Fox and Friends" last July 28.
There was a time, not so long ago, when calling the president of the United States a "racist" on national television would get an anchor fired. But that was before Fox News. At Fox, archenemy of President Obama, Beck was not only not fired he was treated like a folk hero -- even though some 60 major corporate sponsors stopped advertising on his program in protest.
Rather than apologize to President Obama, the decent thing to do, Beck went berserk, accusing Obama of staging a quiet coup d'etat to turn this country into a Cuba-like communist dictatorship. "There is a revolution," he warned his gullible audience, "and they think they can get away with it quietly. ... Most of America doesn't have a clue as to what's going on. There is a coup going on." (Cue the Black Hawk helicopters!)
And, to help him carry out that coup, fumed Beck, Obama has surrounded himself with a gang of communist agitators known as "czars." Beck's first target: "Green Jobs" czar Van Jones.
Jones hardly fits the profile of a dangerous radical, unless saving the environment is your definition of subversive activity. A graduate of the University of Tennesseeand Yale Law School, Jones became a community organizer and created the nation's first "Green Job Corps" in Oakland, Calif., in 2005. That same year, he also helped form the web-based grassroots organization Color of Change, which organized the current sponsor boycott of Beck's TV show. Jones left the organization in 2007. In January 2008, he launched "Green for All," a national organization to help lift people out of poverty through green jobs -- work for which he was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the country. In March 2009, he joined the Obama administration.
Yes, along the way, Jones made a few mistakes. He once signed a petition urging an investigation into the crazy theory that George Bush and Dick Cheney actually staged the attacks of Sept. 11. In 1992, after being falsely arrested in the Rodney King riots, he described himself as a "communist" -- though he never joined the Communist Party, but instead channeled his energies into founding a highly respected anti-police brutality organization in the Bay Area. More recently, he referred to Congressional Republicans attempting to derail Obama's legislative agenda as "a-holes."
Foolish mistakes, perhaps, but hardly worth destroying a career over. Yet, in 14 episodes of his show, Beck seized on these statements to paint Jones as a dangerous "communist-anarchist radical" heading a vast radical/environmental/black nationalist takeover of America from within the Obama White House.
It was a page ripped right out of the book of Commie witch hunter Joseph McCarthy: personal attacks on little-known government officials based on nothing but lies, smears and innuendo ("Are you now, or have you ever been...?") -- yet ultimately, just as successful. Within two weeks, Jones was forced to resign. And, rather than defend him, the Obama White House accepted his resignation.
Welcome to the Beckification of American politics -- where one cable host alone, with no help from Congress, can bring down a top government official, based on a campaign of lies and distortion. God save the Republic!
One thing for sure, which Obama should have considered before accepting Jones' resignation: Having once tasted blood, Glenn Beck won't be satisfied with destroying Van Jones alone. In fact, he's already identified his next targets: so-called White House "czars" on energy and climate change, Carol Browner; on science, John Holdren, on regulatory reform, Cass Sunstein, and on communications, Mark Lloyd.
Beck's diabolical campaign is all the more bizarre given his own avowed history with alcohol and drug addiction.
Which raises a serious question: Why believe a recovering alcoholic and drug addict over a former community organizer? I'll trust Van Jones any day over Glenn Beck.
(Bill Press is host of a nationally syndicated radio show and author of a new book, "Train Wreck: The End of the Conservative Revolution (and Not a Moment Too Soon)." You can hear "The Bill Press Show" at his Web site: billpressshow.com. His email address is: email@example.com.)
You Are Such A Racist Nigger."- Reader E-Mail
To answer your questions: Yes, the e-mail is quoted in its entirety. Yes, it's authentic; I received it a year or so ago. And, no, it is not unique in its sentiment, its coarseness or its deafness to irony. That note has always struck me as a stark benchmark of our slide into racial incoherence.
Here's another: Last week on "FOX & Friends," Glenn Beck, the FOX News host, declared President Obama a "racist" with "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."
Bare seconds later, Beck turned around and said, "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people..."
Maybe we should blame his confusion on the stress of being discriminated against. Nobody knows the trouble he's seen.
But seriously. Beck is just the latest conservative caught trying to manipulate race in a naked appeal to the resentments of the white underclass. It's a breathtakingly cynical campaign that has gathered steam in recent years.
From branding Sonia Sotomayor "racist" on ground so flimsy as to be nonexistent, to claiming that racial solidarity led Colin Powell to endorse Barack Obama, to an absurd Patrick Buchanan epistle ("A Brief For Whitey") that has gained wide traction online to the racially tinged ugliness that infected the McCain-Palin campaign toward the end, the extreme right has worked with fervor to convince white Americans of a thesis also, not coincidentally, advanced by David Duke: that they are victims of black and brown oppression.
If you didn't know better, you might be confused as to who brought whom over here on slave ships.
Plainly, this newfound concern about "racism" represents an attempt by conservatives to claim and neutralize the language of racial complaint, to do to it what they did to words like "liberal" and "feminist" - i.e., to render it unusable. But they are playing with fire in a dynamite warehouse.
What wound in all American life is more raw than race? What is more likely than race to suddenly flare into conflagration? Our most ruinous war was about race. Our greatest social revolution was about race. We have seen a hundred riots and rebellions fueled by race. Race is a major component of our most vexing issues: health care, education, the environment, crime. It is our most profound and oldest regret, a tender spot on the American psyche.
Which is why it's often difficult even for thoughtful people to have thoughtful discussions about it. One is at pains to tread carefully, to probe the issues, seek enlightenment and, yes, to dissent - without blowing up the dynamite warehouse. Then, in walks Glenn Beck carrying a torch.
Because where race is concerned, the aim of unthoughtful people is not to probe issues, to seek enlightenment, or even to dissent. It is to rouse the rabble, validate their fears. This gets politicians elected. It gets TV hosts ratings. And if in the process the warehouse is blown to smithereens, so be it.
Does it need to be argued that Beck's slur against the president is stupid? Is it necessary to say that you must present pretty strong evidence to prove a man whose mother was white carries a "deep-seated hatred for white people" - and that Beck doesn't even try, much less succeed? I hope Beck's idiocy is self-evident.
Because what matters here is not the insult to Obama, but the insult to our collective intelligence - and our collective hopes. One of which is that we will all someday evolve the courage, the compassion and the intercultural trust to face the hard truths of race head on, and thereby validate that self-evident truth upon which the country was founded.
But that will never happen as long as men like Beck find it profitable to toy with fire in a warehouse full of dynamite. God forbid it takes an explosion for them to get what should be obvious:
There are some things you just don't play with.
Leonard Pitts' column appears reguarly in The Baltimore Sun. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2009, The Baltimore Sun
(CINCINATTI, Ohio) - As in the 1930s, when the Great Depression swept through America, patriotic groups are springing up across the country like weeds. The funding and message is much the same as then. Illegal aliens are destroying America. Communism is taking over. Under it all, of course, is the real belief, that African Americans and Jews are the real enemy. The money, same as then: Wall Street.
Today the message is unclear but the dynamic the same. Behind every patriotic group is a bank, an insurance company, an oil cartel or an arms manufacturer that lives on aggressive war. Their loyalties are always to money and those who help them steal it and keep it, the crooked politicians, the foreign dictators and the "patriotic" mobs who join the organizations they fund.
What are their political beliefs? Nothing has changed, they are Fascists. Fascism is the religion of rule through money and power. Their tool is the police state, where spying, arrest and torture are legalized to fight off imaginary enemies. Courts, prosecutors, police agencies and the military are staffed only with "the faithful," those loyal to the party only. Sound familiar? Think Ashcroft, Gonzales, Rumsfeld and Rove and how the agencies, Justice, Defense, Homeland Security, SEC, Commerce and even the VA became servants of the powerful, arms of the ruling party.
Whatever the issue of the day, be it illegal immigrants, "socialism" or terrorists, who, if they don't exist, Fascist governments are always willing to furnish their own, the end result is always the same, subversion of freedom.
Freedom for them, freedom to push countries into war, freedom to rig prices, bribe government officials, poison food, drugs, air and water, freedom to flood our country with illegal aliens to push down wages and then ship all the jobs overseas when that makes even more profit, these freedoms are "their" idea of a paradise.
People are funny, they love freedom but only for themselves. You can arrest anyone speaking out, beat protesters and jail whistleblowers as long as you don't get too close to home. Military and police agencies who talk about their "oaths" are willing to keep them, only when convenient. Violent armed protests are allowed when the message is right but peaceful protesters are attacked by mobs of "oath swearing" thugs if they protest American jobs being sent overseas or the influence of a "not so imaginary" world banking conspiracy to run the planet and especially the United States into the toilet.
How did the folks who protest New World Order government actually end up working for it? Its really simple; the folks who run the secret government that buys and sells our elected officials buys and sells the press and loads the Internet with conspiracies, not real ones, but ones to take focus off the ones that put us where we are today.
Every time you hear about socialism, birth certificates, ACORN, gun seizure, vaccines, death panels or fluoridation, you are hearing from people who are also telling you not to investigate 9/11, government involvement in drug running, rigged voting machines, oil price fixing, the health insurance cartel, torture and wiretapping, political prosecutions or the current irrefutable evidence that top government officials have been spying for foreign governments for years, as outlined by FBI translator, Sibel Edmonds.
Take the conspiracy theories and make two lists. Find the ones financed by powerful special interests and they will load up airtime on Fox News and fill your email account. Hundreds of mirror websites will carry every word.
They are never called conspiracies at all. You can take a hundred emails warning you of one danger or another. If any of them are even partially true, be amazed. Most turn out to be total inventions, fantasies, fabrications and quickly discarded. They simply make up more, send them out and Fox News jumps onboard.
Behind the plots dreamed up by the lawyers and publicists working for big coal, big insurance, big oil and the useless and broken weapon lobby are the conspiracies you are supposed to laugh at, or so you are told. When you take a strong look at these and the facts behind them, they aren't so funny anymore.
Find the second group including the 9/11 "truthers" and the supporters of Sibel Edmonds and see who finances these? Supporters will be top military, law enforcement and intelligence people, backed by credible professionals- but you will never find an oil company, insurance cartel or arms manufacturer paying the bills as you do with the "birther" and "death panel" sites.
In 1934, America's wealthy: the Duponts, Goodyear, Rockefellers, Prescott Bush, National City Bank, Sun Oil, Singer Sewing Machine Company, Morgan Bank, the Carnegie Institute, Consolidated Gas along with the American Legion, tried to arrest President Roosevelt and set up a "German style" dictatorship in the United States.
These men, much as so many now threaten, considered themselves patriots.
Standing against them:
* Marine General Smedley Butler, twice winner of the Medal of Honor
* The Veterans of Foreign Wars headed by James Van Zandt
* General Douglas MacArthur
Those chosen to assault Washington were all veterans, Legionnaires, all oath swearers prepared to end democratic rule in America for a payday from the wealthy and a promise of being the ones kicking down the doors instead of the ones cowering in fear.
Little has changed. Imagine how so many people who endlessly talk about Illuminati, Zionists and the New World Order; secret rule by a international conspiracy meant to enslave the world are actually working so feverishly for the people they claim to want to bring down.
Is there a great conspiracy that runs our government? Does anyone really believe otherwise? Year after year we read of money buying influence, spy scandals, war for profit and powerful groups that buy regulatory agencies and elected officials who rewrite our laws, law no American ever really reads, at the whim of the invisible powers above.
It isn't just the Patriot Acts that nobody ever really read or knows about. Every cent of the hundreds of millions spent in Washington each year buys a line or two here and a bit of erasing there, laws, regulations, arrest orders, all for sale to the highest bidder.
Whatever the claimed politics of any American, how many are shocked at how little things have changed with the extreme left replacing the extreme right? Has a gun been seized? Has a war ended? Has illegal wiretapping stopped? Have the horrific Patriot Acts been rescinded? Has 9/11 been investigated? Has Congress and the Pentagon ended their "revolving door" free ride, working for corrupt industries while paid by the public and reaping the rewards after retiring, working as lobbyists and "consultants?"
Now police, military and veterans are being recruited into groups like "Oathkeepers," and being plied, on a daily basis, by rhetoric and propaganda, always draped in patriotism but, when you look under the surface, the "Libertarian" show is just that... show. The real message is this:
"Someday, someday soon, we will need an armed resistance to take over America, a group willing to let the wealthy and powerful make all the decisions without any interference from elections or laws. You can be part of this, a member of 'the party' or you can risk going to the reeducation camps."
Anyone who doesn't think this is what it is all about is deluding themselves. Those who are helping bring this about under the guise of patriotism will, if we are lucky and have the courage of our Founding Fathers, find yourselves awakening in a nightmare, well deserved and well earned.
Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and a regular contributor to Veterans Today. He specializes in political and social issues. You can see a large collection of Gordon's published articles at this link: VeteransToday.com.
He is an outspoken advocate for veterans and his powerful words have brought about change. Gordon is a lifelong PTSD sufferer from his war experiences and he is empathetic to the plight of today's veterans also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to feature Gordon's timely and critical reports on Salem-News.com, a news organization staffed by a number of veterans, particularly former U.S. Marines.
You can send Gordon Duff an email at this address: Gpduf@aol.com
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Health Care Poll: AP Finds Growing Support For Overhaul
By The Huffington Post News Editors
WASHINGTON — The fever has broken. The patient is out of intensive care.
October 07, 2009
by Astrid Fiano, Writer
This week President Obama held a health insurance reform event with doctors in the Rose Garden at the White House. Organizations represented at the event included the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, Doctors for America, American College of Pediatrics, and American College of Cardiology.
"We have now been debating this issue of health insurance reform for months," the President said, going on to state that medical professionals--the doctors and nurses of America--know the health care system best and are most supportive of reform. He also pointed out the medical professionals would not support insurance reform if they determined such reform would lead to government decisions about health care, and if reform would damage the doctor-patient relationship. Obama said the doctors had first-hand knowledge about challenges in the health care system, including out-of-pocket expenses and patients neglecting preventive care because of costs.
President Obama then discussed the reform measures of moving to electronic medical records, which would benefit medical professionals by less paper work and fewer tests, loan forgiveness for primary care physicians who practice in underserved areas, and fixing the Sustainable Growth Rate formula in Medicare.
Meanwhile, in the Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that the amended Chairman's Mark bill has been sent to the Congressional Budget Office for a complete score on the cost of the legislation. "We are offering a fiscally responsible bill that takes good ideas from both sides of the aisle. I have never felt more proud because, tonight, we take another step toward putting this country on a path to a healthy future," the Senator said in a statement to the media.
Baucus expressed approval of a letter authored by 22 state governors and sent to the majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate. In the letter, the governors affirmed their commitment to expanding health coverage to low-income Americans through the Medicaid program.
"We commend you and your colleagues for provisions included in your bills that will help states and territories. Many of the provisions will allow states and territories to achieve long-term savings and help those who currently go without health coverage," the letter stated.
"State budgets are breaking under the rising costs of health care, and the costs of maintaining the status quo have become too great to ignore," Baucus commented in a press release. "I'm encouraged by these governors' leadership in supporting health care reform that reduces health care costs over the long-term for government, for businesses and for all Americans."
Industry leaders also had praise for the bill's proposals. BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood has commended Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on an amendment to the bill creating a tax credit that would encourage investments in new breakthrough medical therapies to prevent, diagnose, and treat acute and chronic diseases. Small biotechnology companies with 250 employees or less would be reimbursed for a portion of their therapeutic development activities, including hiring scientists and conducting clinical studies. Greenwood also praised Chairman Baucus and amendment co-sponsors Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Kerry (D-MA), for supporting cutting-edge biomedical research. "Their leadership will help countless patients access advanced medical treatments," Greenwood said in a press release. "The future of the American economy depends on critical investments in one of America's core strengths: the development of advanced medical treatments and breakthroughs."
However, the legislation's tax on medical device manufacturers continues to draw strong congressional criticism. Legislators have sent letters to Baucus and House leaders urging reconsideration of the annual tax on medical device manufacturers. Senators Barbara Boxer's and Dianne Feinstein's (both D-CA) letter to Baucus on Friday discussed the fact that California has more medical technology workers than any other state. The proposed excise tax will have "disproportionate impact on California's fragile economy," the senators said, adding that medical device companies have told them that the tax will force cutting back research and development and lead to job loss.
Twenty members of the House have sent Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) a letter with similar sentiments. "We agree that health care reform is needed and should be paid for, but this proposal threatens to crush the very industry that could save billions of dollars in the healthcare system. This $40 billion dollar tax would hamper investment in R&D, slow innovation, and cut jobs at a time when unemployment rates are already too high. We cannot afford these losses."
The President's entire remarks at the health care reform event may be access at:
Senator Max Baucus' statements can be accessed at:
The Governors' letter may be accessed at: http://finance.senate.gov/press/Bpress/2009press/prb100209a.pdf
Trial Overseer Cites 'Abusive' Methods Against 9/11 Suspect
By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 14, 2009; Page A01
The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."
"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.
Crawford, a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantanamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.
Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani's health led to her conclusion. "The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge" to call it torture, she said.
Military prosecutors said in November that they would seek to refile charges against Qahtani, 30, based on subsequent interrogations that did not employ harsh techniques. But Crawford, who dismissed war crimes charges against him in May 2008, said in the interview that she would not allow the prosecution to go forward.
Qahtani was denied entry into the United States a month before the Sept. 11 attacks and was allegedly planning to be the plot's 20th hijacker. He was later captured in Afghanistan and transported to Guantanamo in January 2002. His interrogation took place over 50 days from November 2002 to January 2003, though he was held in isolation until April 2003.
"For 160 days his only contact was with the interrogators," said Crawford, who personally reviewed Qahtani's interrogation records and other military documents. "Forty-eight of 54 consecutive days of 18-to-20-hour interrogations. Standing naked in front of a female agent. Subject to strip searches. And insults to his mother and sister."
At one point he was threatened with a military working dog named Zeus, according to a military report. Qahtani "was forced to wear a woman's bra and had a thong placed on his head during the course of his interrogation" and "was told that his mother and sister were whores." With a leash tied to his chains, he was led around the room "and forced to perform a series of dog tricks," the report shows.
The interrogation, portions of which have been previously described by other news organizations, including The Washington Post, was so intense that Qahtani had to be hospitalized twice at Guantanamo with bradycardia, a condition in which the heart rate falls below 60 beats a minute and which in extreme cases can lead to heart failure and death. At one point Qahtani's heart rate dropped to 35 beats per minute, the record shows.
The Qahtani case underscores the challenges facing the incoming Obama administration as it seeks to close the controversial detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including the dilemmas posed by individuals considered too dangerous to release but whose legal status is uncertain. FBI "clean teams," which gather evidence without using information gained during controversial interrogations, have established that Qahtani intended to join the 2001 hijackers. Mohamed Atta, the plot's leader, who died steering American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center, went to the Orlando airport to meet Qahtani on Aug. 4, 2001, but the young Saudi was denied entry by a suspicious immigration inspector.
"There's no doubt in my mind he would've been on one of those planes had he gained access to the country in August 2001," Crawford said of Qahtani, who remains detained at Guantanamo. "He's a muscle hijacker. . . . He's a very dangerous man. What do you do with him now if you don't charge him and try him? I would be hesitant to say, 'Let him go.' "
That, she said, is a decision that President-elect Barack Obama will have to make. Obama repeated Sunday that he intends to close the Guantanamo center but acknowledged the challenges involved. "It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize," Obama said on ABC's "This Week," "and we are going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous, who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted, even though it's true." CONTINUED 1 2 3 Next >
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Betrayal In Geneva
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... on the ideals of human rights and international humanitarian law and should also represent the victim, not help war criminals get away with impunity. ...
War memorials and museums sanitize the instruments of death that turn young soldiers into killers, and small villages in Vietnam or Afghanistan into hellish bonfires.
War memorials and museums are temples to the god of war. The hushed voices, the well-tended grass, the flapping of the flags allow us to ignore how and why our young died. They hide the futility and waste of war. They sanitize the savage instruments of death that turn young soldiers and Marines into killers, and small villages in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq into hellish bonfires. There are no images in these memorials of men or women with their guts hanging out of their bellies, screaming pathetically for their mothers. We do not see mangled corpses being shoved in body bags. There are no sights of children burned beyond recognition or moaning in horrible pain. There are no blind and deformed wrecks of human beings limping through life. War, by the time it is collectively remembered, is glorified and heavily censored.
I blame our war memorials and museums, our popular war films and books, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as much as George W. Bush. They provide the mental images and historical references to justify new conflicts. We equate Saddam Hussein with Adolf Hitler. We see al-Qaida as a representation of Nazi evil. We view ourselves as eternal liberators. These plastic representations of war reconfigure the past in light of the present. War memorials and romantic depictions of war are the social and moral props used to create the psychological conditions to wage new wars.
War memorials are quiet, still, reverential and tasteful. And, like church, such sanctuaries are important, but they allow us to forget that these men and women were used and often betrayed by those who led the nation into war. The memorials do not tell us that some always grow rich from large-scale human suffering. They do not explain that politicians play the great games of world power and stoke fear for their own advancement. They forget that young men and women in uniform are pawns in the hands of cynics, something Pat Tillman’s family sadly discovered. They do not expose the ignorance, raw ambition and greed that are the engine of war.
There is a burning need, one seen in the collective memory that has grown up around World War II and the Holocaust, to turn the horror of mass murder into a tribute to the triumph of the human spirit. The reality is too unpalatable. The human need to make sense of slaughter, to give it a grandeur it does not possess, permits the guilty to go free. The war makers—those who make the war but never pay the price of war—live among us. They pen thick memoirs that give sage advice. They are our elder statesmen, our war criminals. Henry Kissinger. Robert McNamara. Dick Cheney. George W. Bush. Any honest war memorial would have these statesmen hanging in effigy. Any honest democracy would place them behind bars.
Primo Levi, who survived Auschwitz, fought against the mendacity of collective memory until he took his own life. He railed against the human need to mask the truth of the Holocaust and war by giving it a false, moral narrative. He wrote that the contemporary history of the Third Reich could be “reread as a war against memory, an Orwellian falsification of memory, falsification of reality, negation of reality.” He wondered if “we who have returned” have “been able to understand and make others understand our experience.” He wrote of the Jewish collaborator Chaim Rumkowski, who ran the Lodz ghetto on behalf of the Nazis, that “we are all mirrored in Rumkowski, his ambiguity is ours, it is our second nature, we hybrids molded from clay and spirit. His fever is ours, the fever of Western civilization that ‘descends into hell with trumpets and drums.’ ” We, like Rumkowski, “come to terms with power, forgetting that we are all in the ghetto, that the ghetto is walled in, that outside the ghetto reign the lords of death, and that close by the train is waiting.” We are, Levi understood, perpetually imprisoned within the madness of self-destruction. The rage of Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq, is a rage Levi felt. But it is a rage most of us do not understand.
A war memorial that attempted to depict the reality of war would be too subversive. It would condemn us and our capacity for evil. It would show that the line between the victim and the victimizer is razor-thin, that human beings, when the restraints are cut, are intoxicated by mass killing, and that war, rather than being noble, heroic and glorious, obliterates all that is tender, decent and kind. It would tell us that the celebration of national greatness is the celebration of our technological capacity to kill. It would warn us that war is always morally depraved, that even in “good” wars such as World War II all can become war criminals. We dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Nazis ran the death camps. But this narrative of war is unsettling. It does not create a collective memory that serves the interests of those who wage war and permit us to wallow in self-exaltation.
There are times—World War II and the Serb assault on Bosnia would be examples—when a population is pushed into a war. There are times when a nation must ingest the poison of violence to survive. But this violence always deforms and maims those who use it. My uncle, who drank himself to death in a trailer in Maine, fought for four years in the South Pacific during World War II. He and the soldiers in his unit never bothered taking Japanese prisoners.
The detritus of war, the old cannons and artillery pieces rolled out to stand near memorials, were curious and alluring objects in my childhood. But these displays angered my father, a Presbyterian minister who was in North Africa as an Army sergeant during World War II. The lifeless, clean and neat displays of weapons and puppets in uniforms were being used, he said, to purge the reality of war. These memorials sanctified violence. They turned the instruments of violence—the tanks, machine guns, rifles and airplanes—into an aesthetic of death.
These memorials, while they pay homage to those who made “the ultimate sacrifice,” dignify slaughter. They perpetuate the old lie of honor and glory. They set the ground for the next inferno. The myth of war manufactures a collective memory that ennobles the next war. The intimate, personal experience of violence turns those who return from war into internal exiles. They cannot compete against the power of the myth. This collective memory saturates the culture, but it is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Copyright © 2009 Truthdig, L.L.C.
By Ramtanu Maitra
A common refrain in Washington in some quarters is that if the United States begins withdrawing troops now, Afghanistan will be taken over by the Taliban. The Taliban will, once again, bring in al-Qaeda, posing a threat to Americans residing thousands of miles away. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, in an interview with Fortune magazine on Sept. 22, “If you want another terrorist attack in the U.S., abandon Afghanistan. . . . The last time we left Afghanistan, and we abandoned Pakistan, that territory became the very territory on which al-Qaeda trained and attacked us on September 11th.”
Rice, of course, held office when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime from Kabul, in 2001; her statement was issued at a time when President Obama and his administration has, under review, options which could lead to a wholesale reconsideration of its strategy.
It is important to investigate whether her statement is a valid assessment, or was made to rally those in Washington who want the present administration to adopt the British imperial policy and lead America into another Vietnam War, weakening the United States, and endangering the entire world. Is Rice doing exactly what was done by the 1960s’ policymakers who lied to the American people that the purpose of the Vietnam War was to prevent Communists from taking over Asia? Remember the “domino theory”? Now, find out how similar that theory is to the one that Rice is propagating.
The Taliban: A Laboratory Product
After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, the “free world” got together to push the Red Army back and smack the Russian bear. Money flowed into Afghanistan from the West and the Persian Gulf, with the intent of protecting the sovereignty of Afghanistan, preserving Islam, and crippling the Communists.
This went on for ten years, during which many Afghan-bred mujahideen (religious fighters) were armed and trained by the Western powers. Ten years later, in 1989, the Soviets, humiliated and badly mangled, left Afghanistan. Then, the groups of mujahideen the West had created fell upon each other and began a civil war, trying to grab control of Kabul.
During the 1980s, Saudi-funded radical Pakistani madrassas (seminaries) had pumped out thousands of Afghan foot soldiers for the U.S.- and Saudi-funded jihad against the Soviets. They also helped bind the independent-minded Pushtun tribesmen closely to the Pakistani government for the first time in history, easing the acute insecurity Pakistan had felt towards Afghanistan and the disputed border.
However, only in 1994—almost 15 years after the Soviet invasion began—did the world come to know about the rising force called the Taliban. Afghanistan had never had a politico-religious group of that name, nor had Afghans even heard about the group before. The Taliban was created as a handmaiden of outside forces, including:
• Saudi Arabia, which indoctrinated a group of Afghans by funding the establishment of thousands of madrassas inside Pakistan;
•The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which acted at the behest of Islamabad to gain control of Kabul through a proxy and dependent rag-tag group; and
• British intelligence, which saw the Taliban as a potent ally that would further British interests in Afghanistan and Central Asia by undermining all sovereign nation-states.
• All this, while Washington watched the development from a distance, essentially encouraging it.
To be precise, the Taliban is a laboratory product, created to unleash instability throughout the area. The instability is essential for the empire builders, and those who know how the British Empire was built in the 18th and 19th centuries, would recognize the phenomenon in a flash.
The Pakistani ISI and the military trained this group of Islamic zealots indoctrinated by Saudi-funded Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative version of Sunni Islam. Beginning in 1994, the Pakistani military, aided by these zealots, went against the somewhat war-weary Afghan mujahideen. With the Islamic flag in their hands and Pakistani soldiers providing the fighting-muscle, the Taliban soon overran most of Afghanistan, but not all. Between 1995 and 2001, when the United States landed its Special Forces from Uzbekistan, the Taliban rule had lost its momentum. Once a binding force in the midst of greedy, power-hungry mujahideen leaders, the Taliban, after it came to power, lost credibility fast. Reports indicate that not more than 5% of Afghans in 2001 still supported these zealots.
It also became evident in 2001, when the U.S. Special Forces, with the help of the Tajik-Uzbek-Hazara dominated Northern Alliance, breezed through Afghanistan and took control of the whole country in six weeks, that the Taliban could not fight. Although the Bush Administration did not divulge it at the beginning, it soon became public knowledge that Washington had allowed the Pakistani government to rescue thousands of Afghan Taliban, Pakistani adjuncts of the Taliban, Pakistani ISI and Army officers, al-Qaeda volunteers, and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) members from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. It is almost a replay of how the bin Laden family members were spirited out of the United States, just hours after the 9/11 attacks, when the entire airspace of the United States was under lockdown
The defeated Taliban and al-Qaeda had fled to Kunduz after losing battles across the north of the country, and many were surrendering. But then, something inexplicable happened. Over a three-day period, Pakistani military planes made non-stop flights in and out of the Kunduz airport, which was controlled by the Taliban.
All the important Taliban commanders and Pakistanis escaped along a safe-flight corridor, supposedly guaranteed by the Americans. That airlift, which American soldiers called “Operation Airlift of Evil,” made the Northern Alliance soldiers livid. The Indian government sent diplomatic protest notes to the American and British governments. The Kunduz airlift story became available to the world much later, when a high-level CIA officer, Gary Berntsen, who was reportedly the second-in-command during the operation, described it in his book.
Saudi Arabia’s Role
Following the capture of Kabul by the Taliban in 1996, only three nations—Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)—all close allies of the United States—recognized the regime. There is every reason why the Saudis did that.
Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and emergence of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, and Turkmenistan, bordering Afghanistan, the Saudis have pumped in money to indoctrinate the citizens of these nascent states. They provided the money, and Britain provided the manpower, in the form of a religious group, the Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT). The HuT is headquartered in England, but banned in many Central Asian states. If one were to ask Tony Blair or Gordon Brown about the HuT, one would be told that the group is “peace-loving.” Both prime ministers, despite the demands of many Britons, have refused to ban the group’s activities in Britain.
On the other hand, ask the same question of any of the Central Asian heads of state, and he would point out that the most ferocious militant group in Central Asia is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and almost all the members of the IMU were former HuT members.Both groups are dedicated to destroying Islamic sovereign nation-states and establishing a caliphate.
That is what al-Qaeda preaches, and so does Saudi Wahhabi doctrine. Presently, the British-run HuT has set up a base in Lahore, the second-most populous Pakistani city, bordering India. The Times of London reported in July, that Hizb ut-Tahrir was preparing for a “bloodless military coup,” in order to indoctrinate the region by “military means,” if necessary. Members of the group based in Lahore said the group was prepared to bring the Islamic caliphate to power by “waging war.”
As Afghanistan plunged into civil war in the 1990s, the Saudis began funding new madrassas in Pakistan’s Pushtun-majority areas, near the Afghan border, as well as in the port city of Karachi and in rural Punjab. The Pakistani Army saw the large number of madrassa-trained jihadis as an asset for its covert support of the Taliban in Afghanistan, as well as its proxy war with India in Kashmir. While in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), bordering Afghanistan, and the gateway to the famed Khyber Pass, madrassas supplied both Afghan refugees and Pakistanis as cannon fodder for the Taliban, the Binori madrassa and others associated with it formed the base for Deobandi groups (not too distant from the Wahhabi), such as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which sought to do the
Pakistan Army’s bidding in Kashmir. The many Ahle-Hadith seminaries supplied Salafi (Wahhabi) groups, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Arab sheikhs funded madrassas in the Rahimyar Khan area of rural Punjab, which formed the backbone of hard-core anti-Shi’ite jihadi groups like the Sipah-e-Sahaba, and its even more militant offshoot, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. All these groups shared training camps and other facilities, under the aegis of Pakistan’s ISI.
The Saudi and Gulf petrodollars encouraged a Wahhabi jihad-centered curriculum. Prominent madrassas included the Darul Uloom Haqqania at Akora Khattak in the NWFP and the Binori madrassa in Karachi. The Haqqania boasts almost the entire Taliban leadership among its graduates, including top leader Mullah Omar, while the Binori madrassa, whose leader Mufti Shamzai was assassinated, was once talked about as a possible hiding place of Osama bin Laden, and is also reportedly the place where bin Laden met Mullah Omar to form the al-Qaeda-Taliban partnership.
British-Saudi Joint Effort: The ‘Al-Yamamah’ Link
Saudi money does not flow out of the Saudi government Treasury, but from various charities. One such charity is al-Haramain. After al-Haramain figured among a number of Saudi charities accused by Washington of financing terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the foundation was closed in Saudi Arabia, in 2005. Al-Haramain was said to have received $45-50 million each year in donations, and has spent some $300 million on humanitarian work overseas.
However, the U.S. accusation has had no effect on the donors. The foundation and other private groups that have been dissolved, and their international operations and assets folded into a new body, have been named the Saudi National Commission for Charitable Work Abroad, which will employ all those who were working for al-Haramain and other charities that were closed because of their support for terrorist groups. In other words, the more it changed, the more it remained the same.
Where British and Saudi operations converge in the most profound way, is in the longstanding “al-Yamamah” covert operations slush fund, established through the arms-for-oil barter scheme first negotiated between the Margaret Thatcher government in Great Britain, and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, in 1985, and still operational today. As EIR has exclusively revealed, al-Yamamah has generated hundreds of billions of dollars in off-budget, offshore funds, that were one critical source of Anglo-Saudi funding to the Afghan mujahideen, in their battle against the Soviets. In a 2006 official biography, Prince Bandar’s ghostwriter boasted that al-Yamamah was a geopolitical partnership between London and Riyadh, to “combat communism” through the buildup of the covert funding conduit.
As recently as 2006, the funds were used to stage a number of attempted coups d’état in Africa, which had nothing to do with fighting communism, and everything to do with British schemes to engulf that continent in perpetual, genocidal war. The Anglo-Saudi schemes for South Asia are identical, and there is good reason to believe that al-Yamamah is an active feature of the ongoing destabilizations.
This brings us to the question of the relationship between the Saudis and al-Qaeda. Beside the fact that 15 of the 19 terrorist 9/11 operatives were Saudis, it is to be noted that, although the distance from Riyadh to southern Afghanistan is a fraction of the distance between Kabul and Washington, no airplane ever hit Saudi Arabia’s palaces, nor its fabled oilfields. All the major terrorist attacks that occurred inside Saudi Arabia were aimed against U.S. targets there.
In other words, if one ignores the mainstream media, there remains no doubt that Riyadh and al-Qaeda work hand-in-glove. Both have the same objectives. One of the major figures dealing with the Taliban, and protecting al-Qaeda, was the Georgetown University-educated Prince Turki bin al-Faisal, who was also an Ambassador to the United States. Prince Turki was given charge, in 1993, of dealing with the feuding factions of Afghan mujahideeen. The Taliban began to emerge a year later. Prince Turki was also working closely with the Pakistani ISI and met Mullah Omar inside Afghanistan.
Turki bin al-Faisal was the Saudi intelligence chief between 1979 and 2002, the crucial years during which the Taliban was “bred,” the Afghan Taliban brought al-Qaeda into Afghanistan, and the 9/11 events occurred in the United States. In 2002, the Saudi King appointed Prince Turki as the Ambassador to Britain. The appointment created an uproar in London, particularly among the intelligence community, but Prime Minister Tony Blair personally intervened to accept his credentials.
Britain in the Saddle
While the Saudis and the Pakistani military have played significant roles on the ground, shoring up the Taliban and bringing it together with al-Qaeda, Britain’s role was not simply to provide the indoctrinating terrorists, in the garb of the “peace-loving” Hizb ut-Tahrir, but much more, particularly after U.S. and other NATO troops were in Afghanistan. While some 9,000 British troops were sent into harm’s way, British empire-servers were also taking good care of the enemies who were killing the British soldiers.
The British operations came to light when Afghan President Hamid Karzai expelled two MI6 agents on Dec. 27, 2007, on charges that they posed a threat to the country’s national security. Afghan government officials said the decision to expel them was taken at the behest of the CIA, after the two agents were caught funding Taliban units. One of the agents, Mervyn Patterson, worked for the United Nations, while the other, Michael Semple, worked for the European Union. Both were Afghan specialists who had been operating in the country for over 20 years; that means they must have been interacting on behalf of London with all the al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders there.
An unnamed Afghan government official told the London Sunday Telegraph that “this warning,” that the men were financing the Taliban for at least ten months, “came from the Americans. They were not happy with the support being provided to the Taliban. They gave the information to our intelligence services, who ordered the arrests.” The source added, “The Afghan government would never have acted alone to expel officials of such a senior level. This was information that was given to the NDS [National Directorate of Security] by the Americans.” In 2006, U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan had loudly protested the British decision, in a deal with local tribal leaders, to withdraw troops from Musa Qala, opening the door for a Taliban takeover of the region.
The London Times wrote that, when Patterson and Semple were arrested, they had $150,000 with them, which was to be given to Taliban commanders in Musa Qala. “British officials have been careful to distance current MI6 talks with Taliban commanders in Helmand from the expulsions of Michael Semple, the Irish head of the EU mission and widely known as a close confidant of Britain’s ambassador, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, and Mervyn Patterson, a British advisor to the UN,” the Times wrote. But what has not been told, is that these two MI6 agents were operating in Helmand, the center of Afghanistan’s vast opium production.
Were Patterson and Semple not simply out to create a British faction within the Taliban, but to arrange for a large-scale opium shipment network, to generate cash for the City of London and Her Majesty’s Service?
Besides its covert operations inside Afghanistan, undermining both Kabul and Washington, Britain also rides American shoulders in Afghanistan. One such attempt that failed, was in January 2008, when President Karzai turned down the joint effort of Washington and London to appoint Lord Paddy Ashdown as the UN’s super envoy to Afghanistan. Ashdown, a “liberal” and a “democrat,” who wears his vainglorious feudal title on his shirtsleeves, was ready to pinch-hit for London and Washington, which are looking increasingly like colonial powers trying to occupy Afghanistan, to further undermine the “duly elected” Afghan President.
In addition, Britain works through some others who have the keys to almost all the locks in Washington.
Take, for instance, the duo of George Soros and Lord Mark Malloch-Brown. Soros, who has a hook over the world’s narcotics cartels, benefits immensely from the explosion of the drug traffic; Malloch-Brown, adequately trained by Her Majesty’s Service, serves the interest of the offshore banks and the City of London by helping to procure the much-needed liquidity to keep the imperial wheels greased. In April 2007, Malloch-Brown was appointed vice chairman of Soros’s Quantum Fund, whence come Soros’s billions. The Financial Times of London reported at the time, that “Sir Mark will also serve as vice-chairman of the billionaire philanthropist’s Open Society Institute (OSI), which promotes democracy and human rights, particularly in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.” The newspaper added, in a May 1, 2007 article: “In a letter to shareholders in his Quantum hedge funds, Mr. Soros said Sir Mark would provide advice on a variety of issues to him and his two sons, who now run the company on a day-to-day basis. With his extensive international contacts, Malloch-Brown will help create opportunities for [Soros Fund Management] and the fund around the world.”
Lord Malloch-Brown was earlier Britain’s Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. While Soros promotes drug legalization internationally, the Afghan drug lords do their part—with the help of the Afghan militia, illegal cash, and gunpowder. At the same time, the Soros-funded International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), formerly known as the Senlis Council, having enlisted a number of drug-loving bureaucrats, holds seminars on the “impossibility” of eradication of Afghan opium. Behind these shenanigans, the prime objective of the Senlis Council, and its benefactor Soros, is to legalize opium production.
The ‘Axis of Evil’
What emerges from this investigation is that the Taliban is not a natural product of Afghanistan, and ever existed there prior to 1994. The Taliban is a movement centered on the Wahhabi doctrine, funded by Saudi and Gulf money, as well as by the joint British-Saudi al-Yamamah slush fund. The Pakistani ISI and military train and arm them, and pro-British power players such as Soros and Malloch-Brown keep them in place, to create and launder opium-centered illegal money for the City of London and Wall Street.
While U.S. and other NATO troops are laying down their lives to fight the “evil incarnates,” the Taliban and al-Qaeda, those “evil incarnates” are being strengthened by the “best” allies of the United States—Britain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the City of London, not to mention Wall Street.
If Condoleezza Rice and her ilk feel deeply concerned that the security of the United States will be weakened by withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan, they should stop issuing their false statements and go after the real “axis of evil”—the British Empire and those who serve it.
1.. With Ralph Pezzullo, Jawbreaker: The attack on bin Laden and al-Qaeda: A personal account by the CIA’s key field commander (NewYork: Crown, 2005).