Monday, October 26, 2009

Fascism, Socialism or Capitalism


Sunday, October 25, 2009

What is the current American economy: capitalism, socialism or fascism?

Socialism

Many people call the Bush and Obama administration's approach to the economic crisis "socialism".

Are they right? Here is some US blatant Propaganda....

http://www.dni.gov/nic/PDF_2025/2025_Global_Trends_Final_Report.pdf

Well, Nouriel Roubini writes in a recent essay:

This is a crisis of solvency, not just liquidity, but true deleveraging has not begun yet because the losses of financial institutions have been socialised and put on government balance sheets. This limits the ability of banks to lend, households to spend and companies to invest...

The releveraging of the public sector through its build-up of large fiscal deficits risks crowding out a recovery in private sector spending.

Roubini has previously written:

We're essentially continuing a system where profits are privatized and...losses socialized.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb says the same thing:

After finishing The Black Swan, I realized there was a cancer. The cancer was a huge buildup of risk-taking based on the lack of understanding of reality. The second problem is the hidden risk with new financial products. And the third is the interdependence among financial institutions.

[Interviewer]: But aren't those the very problems we're supposed to be fixing?

NT: They're all still here. Today we still have the same amount of debt, but it belongs to governments. Normally debt would get destroyed and turn to air. Debt is a mistake between lender and borrower, and both should suffer. But the government is socializing all these losses by transforming them into liabilities for your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What is the effect? The doctor has shown up and relieved the patient's symptoms – and transformed the tumour into a metastatic tumour. We still have the same disease. We still have too much debt, too many big banks, too much state sponsorship of risk-taking. And now we have six million more Americans who are unemployed – a lot more than that if you count hidden unemployment.

[Interviewer]: Are you saying the U.S. shouldn't have done all those bailouts? What was the alternative?

NT: Blood, sweat and tears. A lot of the growth of the past few years was fake growth from debt. So swallow the losses, be dignified and move on. Suck it up. I gather you're not too impressed with the folks in Washington who are handling this crisis.

Ben Bernanke saved nothing! He shouldn't be allowed in Washington. He's like a doctor who misses the metastatic tumour and says the patient is doing very well.
This is socialism . . . at least for the too big to fails.

Socialism is apparently a broad concept with many different schools. Socialists argue - at least on paper - that both losses and gains should be public. However, communism under the USSR or Mao's China was obviously very different from the stated socialist ideals. If you believe this essay unfairly portrays socialism (I have received many such comments), you are welcome to substitute the phrase "Soviet-style communism" for "socialism" in this essay.

Fascism?

Some, however, argue that the economy is more like fascism than socialism. For example, leading journalist Robert Scheer writes:
What is proposed is not the nationalization of private corporations but rather a corporate takeover of government. The marriage of highly concentrated corporate power with an authoritarian state that services the politico-economic elite at the expense of the people is more accurately referred to as "financial fascism" [than socialism]. After all, even Hitler never nationalized the Mercedes-Benz company but rather entered into a very profitable partnership with the current car company's corporate ancestor, which made out quite well until Hitler's bubble burst.

And Italian historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social" (page 416).

This perfectly mirrors Roubini's statement about the American government's bailout plan.

Remember that one of the best definitions of fascism - the one used by Mussolini - is the "merger of state and corporate power".

That could never happen in America, right?

Consider:

  • The government has given trillions in bailout or other emergency funds to private companies, but is largely refusing to disclose to either the media, the American people or even Congress where the money went
  • The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the former Vice President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, and two top IMF officials have all said that we have - or are in danger of having - oligarchy in the U.S.

Looting

As Examiner.com pointed out in May (it is worth quoting the essay at some length, as this is an important concept), looting has replaced free market capitalism:

Nobel prize-winning economist George Akerlof co-wrote a paper in 1993 describing
the causes of the S&L crisis and other financial meltdowns. As summarized
by the New York Times:

In the paper, they argued that several financial crises in the 1980s, like the Texas real estate bust, had been the result of private investors taking advantage of the government. The investors had borrowed huge amounts of money, made big profits when times were good and then left the government holding the bag for their eventual (and predictable) losses.

In a word, the investors looted. Someone trying to make an honest profit, Professors Akerlof and Romer [co-author of the paper, and himself a leading expert on economic growth] said, would have operated in a completely different manner. The investors displayed a “total disregard for even the most basic principles of lending,” failing to verify standard information about their borrowers or, in some cases, even to ask for that information.

The investors “acted as if future losses were somebody else’s problem,” the economists wrote. “They were right.”

The Times does a good job of explaining the looting
dynamic:

The paper’s message is that the promise of government bailouts isn’t merely one aspect of the problem. It is the core problem.

Promised bailouts mean that anyone lending money to Wall Street — ranging from small-time savers like you and me to the Chinese government — doesn’t have to worry about losing that money. The United States Treasury (which, in the end, is also you and me) will cover the losses. In fact, it has to cover the losses, to prevent a cascade of worldwide losses and panic that would make today’s crisis look tame.

But the knowledge among lenders that their money will ultimately be returned, no matter what, clearly brings a terrible downside. It keeps the lenders from asking tough questions about how their money is being used. Looters — savings and loans and Texas developers in the 1980s; the American International Group, Citigroup, Fannie Mae and the rest in this decade — can then act as if their future losses are indeed somebody else’s problem.

Do you remember the mea culpa that Alan Greesnspan, Mr. Bernanke’s predecessor, delivered on Capitol Hill last fall? He said that he was “in a state of shocked disbelief” that “the self-interest” of Wall Street bankers hadn’t prevented this mess.

He shouldn’t have been. The looting theory explains why his laissez-faire theory didn’t hold up. The bankers were acting in their self-interest, after all...Think about the so-called liars’ loans from recent years: like those Texas real estate loans from the 1980s, they never had a chance of paying off. Sure, they would deliver big profits for a while, so long as the bubble kept inflating. But when they inevitably imploded, the losses would overwhelm the gains...

What happened? Banks borrowed money from lenders around the world. The bankers then kept a big chunk of that money for themselves, calling it “management fees” or “performance bonuses.” Once the investments were exposed as hopeless, the lenders — ordinary savers, foreign countries, other banks, you name it — were repaid with government bailouts.

In effect, the bankers had siphoned off this bailout money in advance, years before the government had spent it...Either way, the bottom line is the same: given an incentive to loot, Wall Street did so. “If you think of the financial system as a whole,” Mr. Romer said, “it actually has an incentive to trigger the rare occasions in which tens or hundreds of billions of dollars come flowing out of the Treasury.”

In fact, the big banks and sellers of exotic instruments pretended that the boom would last forever, siphoning off huge profits during the boom with the knowledge that - when the bust ultimately happened - the governments of the world would bail them out.

As Akerlof wrote in his paper:

[Looting is the] common thread [when] countries took on excessive
foreign debt, governments had to bail out insolvent financial institutions, real estate prices increased dramatically and then fell, or new financial markets experienced a boom and bust...Our theoretical analysis shows that an economic underground can come to life if firms have an incentive to go broke for profit at society's expense (to loot) instead of to go for broke (to gamble on success). Bankruptcy for profit will occur if poor accounting, lax regulation, or low penalties for abuse give owners an incentive to pay themselves more than their firms are worth and then default on their debt obligations.

Indeed, Akerlof predicted in 1993 that the next form the looting dynamic would take was through credit default swaps - then a very-obscure financial instrument (indeed, one interpretation of why CDS have been so deadly is that they were the simply the favored instrument for the current round of looting).

Is Looting A Thing of the Past?

Now that Wall Street has been humbled by this financial crash, and the dangers of CDS are widely known, are we past the bad old days of looting?

Unfortunately, as the Times points out, the answer is no:

At a time like this, when trust in financial markets is so scant, it may be hard to imagine that looting will ever be a problem again. But it will be. If we don’t get rid of the incentive to loot, the only question is what form the next round of looting will take.

Bottom Line

So what do we really have: socialism-for-the-giants, fascism or an economy which calls itself "capitalism" but which allows looting?

Ultimately, it doesn't matter. They are just different brand names for the same basic type of economy. All three systems allow giant businesses which are friendly to the government to keep enormous private profits but to pass the losses on to the government and ultimately the citizens.

Whether we use the terminology regarding socialism-for-the-giants ("socialized losses"), of fascism ("public and social losses"), or of looting ("left the government holding the bag for their eventual and predictable losses"), it amounts to the exact same thing.

Whatever we have, it isn't free market capitalism.

Note: Yves Smith has called the financial services pay arrangement of "heads I win, tails you lose" looting, and has also argued that our form of capitalism is evolving into Mussolini style corpocracy, meaning fascism. But the label most often pinned on the Obama administration is socialism.

The bottom line is that I don't put much stock in what socialists might label a system, any more than what fascists or corporate looters would label a system. Whatever you call it, if the giants get all the benefits and pawn all of the losses off on the public, it is a very dangerous system.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The funding of all sides in a conflict through proxies has long been a part of the deceptions of war. It's a very useful technique to perpetuate war


The funding of all sides in a conflict through proxies has long been a part of the deceptions of war. It's a very useful technique to perpetuate a policy of permanent war....especially in Lebanon since 1948.....and it is still ongoing today.

Obama's Wars


The one thing I came away with from watching Obama's War was the point of view that Pakistan is the major threat and that we are giving them over 10 billion dollars in military and economic aid. According to some interviewed, the ISI is funneling money to the Taliban while others deny it......?


See the entire documentary Here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lyndon Johnson aided and abetted Israel's uranium enrichment program


October -13, 2009 -- Lyndon Johnson aided and abetted Israel's uranium enrichment program

Archived CIA files, woefully incomplete because of the political selectivity involved with the Freedom of Information and National Archives and Records Administration Acts, do contain enough information that highlights the participation of the administration of President Lyndon Johnson in the illegal acquisition by Israel of enriched uranium from the United States for Israel's nuclear weapons program.

Apparently, the CIA got around the political problems associated with maintaining detailed records on Israel's nuclear proliferation by keeping open source articles on the Israeli espionage activities. One of the archived documents is a Washington Post article written by Charles Babcock, dated June 5, 1986, titled "U.S. an Intelligence Target of the Israelis, Officials Say."

The article details the operations of Mossad operative Raphael ("Rafi") Eitan in illegally procuring 200 pounds of enriched uranium -- enough uranium for six nuclear fission bombs -- from a company called NUMEC -- Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation -- in Apollo, Pennsylvania in September 1968. Eitan and three other Mossad operatives traveled to NUMEC's plant and arranged with its owner, an American Zionist nuclear scientist named Zalman M. Shapiro, to have the enriched uranium shipped to Israel clandestinely. Shapiro denied the charges that he gave the uranium to the Israelis and the FBI closed the case, code named "Operation Divert," without charges ever being filed.

The Post article, however, points to a declassified FBI document that points to "Raphael Eitan, chemist, Ministry of Defense, Israel, born 11/23/26 in Israel," was part of the four-man Mossad team that went to the NUMEC facility in September 1968. The actual visit was on September 10, 1968 and it was approved by the Atomic Energy Commission. The team also included Avraham Hermoni, the scientific counselor at the Israeli embassy in Washington, and two officials of Israel's Department of Electronics, which was part of the Israeli Ministry of Science and Development. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review identified the other two Israelis as Ephraim Beigon and Abraham Bendor, aka Avraham Shalom. Bendor later became the head of Shin Bet, Israel's domestic intelligence service. In addition, Ephraim Lahav, the science minister-counselor of the Israeli embassy in Washington, made several trips to NUMEC in the 1960s. One of NUMEC's metallurgists was Bernard Cinai, aka Baruch Cinai, an Israeli citizen. NUMEC's illegal nuclear proliferation network extended from Israel and the United States to Britain, France, Japan, Spain, Belgium, and Germany. NUMEC and Israel ran a front operation called Isotopes and Radiation Enterprises (ISORAD). Some NUMEC engineers ended up working for Westinghouse Electric and were interviewed by FBI agents about the missing uranium.

Federal law enforcement sources told the Post that Hermoni attended a meeting at Shapiro's house in November 1968 at which 11 American scientists were present. In June 1969, FBI counter-intelligence agents witnessed Shapiro meeting with another Israeli embassy science attaché at Pittsburgh airport. Shapiro's home and work phones were tapped by FBI agents and he was trailed by FBI agents at every move. Attorney General Ramsey Clark authorized electronic surveillance of Shapiro based on the evidence compiled of his dealings with Mossad. Shapiro used an encrypted telephone provided by Mossad to communicate with Mossad agents in New York.

The only sanctions taken against NUMEC was a $930,000 fine it received from the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) for losing the enriched uranium. However, it was clear that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who usually held ultimate sway over domestic espionage matters, wanted to indict Shapiro, who later became the head of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, but was overruled by the Atomic Energy Commission and the Johnson and Nixon White Houses. However, there is also evidence of a strange turn-around in Hoover's feelings about NUMEC and Shapiro. The AEC sent a letter to Hoover in the late 1960s asking whether Shapiro should register as a foreign agent. The FBI director replied that Shapiro was not required to do so. However, after the Justice Department ordered the FBI to back down from its investigation of Israeli nuclear smuggling and the role NUMEC played in it in 1972, Hoover reportedly became very offended at the FBI being called off the case. Hoover died suddenly after his the rift with the Justice Department.

The FBI tried to interview Navy Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the U.S. nuclear submarine, over his dealings with NUMEC and his awarding the firm lucrative Navy contracts. Rickover refused any interviews with FBI agents over his association with the firm. The Navy's contracts with NUMEC saw the transfer of weapons-grade uranium from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to the Apollo plant ostensibly for the production of fuel rods for U.S. nuclear submarines.

In 1974, after the Israeli penetration of America's nuclear weapons program had reached critical mass, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General George "Scratchy" Brown, stated to a Duke University audience that Jews had too much control over America's banks, newspapers and elected officials and that Israel was a "burden" to the Department of Defense. One nettlesome individual Brown had to deal with was Israeli Colonel Yosef Langotsky, the assistant army attaché at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Langotsky was known to the FBI as a Mossad spy and he often was caught in secure areas of the Pentagon trying to recruit agents, most of them American Jewish employees of the Defense Department, into serving Israeli intelligence. Langotsky was eventually refused access to the Pentagon and he was recalled by the Tel Aviv authorities in 1979. Brown's comments about Jews were: "they own, you know, the banks in this country. The newspapers. Just look at where the Jewish money is." President Gerald Ford refused to fire Brown, although Ford was under immense pressure to do so, and Brown continued to serve into President Jimmy Carter's administration. Carter also resisted Jewish pressure to fire Brown. Brown retired on June 21, 1978 and died some six months later in December 1978 from a fast-acting form of cancer.

An investigation of Israeli nuclear proliferation by Representative Morris Udall's (D-AZ) House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs yielded little success. In December 1978, Shapiro told Udall under oath, "Let me state emphatically that I have never participated in any theft or diversion of special nuclear material." Udall, who ran for President in 1976, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease the year following his investigation of Israel's nuclear materials smuggling from the United States. The disease forced Udall to resign from Congress in 1991 and he died in 1998.

It was after Representative John Murtha (D-PA) asked for an investigation of the radioactive pollution caused by NUMEC, Atlantic Richfield, and Babcok & Wilson Co. at the Apollo plutonium and uranium plant in 2002, that the corporate media began investigating Murtha's connections with lobbyists. Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), whose sister served as executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), edged out Murtha for House Majority Leader after the Democrats took over control of the House in 2006. Murtha was also targeted in the FBI "Abscam" investigation, which used a convicted con-man named Melvin Weinberg to target a number of Democrats, including Senator Harrison Williams (D-NJ), who believed they were dealing with an Arab sheikh who was actually an impostor. Many, including federal judges, believed the Abscam investigation had a certain "odor" about it and was a case of prosecutorial misconduct.

Israel's illegal acquisition of U.S. nuclear technology was aided and abetted by President Lyndon B. Johnson and his CIA director Richard Helms. The chief of the CIA's Science and Technology directorate, Carl Duckett, planned to draft a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in 1969 detailing Israel's development of an atomic bomb in 1968. Duckett told the Post that Johnson told Helms not to publish the NIE. According to the Post, Duckett said Johnson told Helms "Don't tell anyone else, even Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara." Rusk and McNamara were Johnson's Secretaries of State and Defense, respectively. The CIA reportedly had secretly placed "sniffing" devices at Dimona that provided intelligence that proved Israel was developing nuclear weapons. The CIA also kept a wary eye on the smaller Israeli nuclear research facility at Nahal Soreq on the Mediterranean coast, although the site was often used by Israeli propagandists to show to the world that Israel's nuclear ambitions were purely peaceful. Soreq NRC was a branch of Shapiro's and the Israeli government's ISORAD. Duckett and his team had asked the AEC in a 1969 to estimate how many nuclear bombs Israel could make if it possessed all the missing uranium from NUMEC.

Ever since the Johnson administration, every U.S. president has followed a policy of "don't ask, don't tell" when it comes to Israel's nuclear weapons. An acknowledgement by the United States of Israel's nuclear arsenal would not only spur demands for Israel to open its program to international inspection but also focus on the covert methods by which Israel obtained the materials for its nuclear program. However, on a few occasions, U.S. intelligence and military documents have pointed to Israel's nuclear weapons program. The Post article cites a CIA document that was "inadvertently" made public in 1974. The document states: "We believe Israel already had produced nuclear weapons. Our judgment is based on Israeli acquisition of large quantities of uranium, partly by clandestine means."

One of the reasons that Israel is preventing Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu from emigrating from Israel is the knowledge the scientist undoubtedly possesses of Israel's clandestine nuclear technology acquisition program, including its work with apartheid South Africa and Taiwan in developing nuclear weapons outside the framework of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Vanunu was kidnapped by Mossad agents in Rome and tried and sentenced him in a secret tribunal in Israel for providing photographs of Israeli's Dimona nuclear weapons site to the Sunday Times of London. Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had claimed the facility was a "textile factory." Vanunu, who worked at Dimona, was sentenced to 18 years in solitary confinement. Vanunu now leads a Kafkaesque existence in Israel and although he converted to Christianity from Judaism in 1985, Vanunu, a native of Morocco, is prevented from leaving Israel for Australia or the United States.

A longtime CIA operative told WMR that, ideally, the United States should offer to swap convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard for Vanunu. Ironically, Pollard's Israeli control officer during his espionage for Israel while working for U.S. Naval Intelligence, was Eitan, who later became the head of an Israeli government owned chemical company. Eitan now leads the Gil pensioners' party in the Israeli Knesset. The failure to offer Pollard for Vanunu by successive U.S. administrations points to the power that Israel has over the U.S. decision-making process. In this case, what is good for America is not good for Israel and the loyalty of the Israel Lobby in Washington genuflects to what is good for Israel.

During Pollard's espionage for Israel in the 1980s, the FBI identified California businessman Richard K. Smyth in a scheme to ship 810 "krytrons," electronic triggers for nuclear weapons, to Israel. Smyth fled the United States after his federal indictment in May 1985. Babcock & Wilson Company, which took over the Apollo plant from NUMEC, continued to report the loss of enriched uranium.

Shapiro eventually went to work for Westinghouse's nuclear fuel division and he served as a consultant to the CIA.

With the revelations about the cooperation between the Turkish "Deep State" and Israeli in nuclear proliferation networks brought to light by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, as well as what is known about the CIA brass plate counter-proliferation operations of Brewster Jennings and Associates and Valerie Plame Wilson, there is no reason to believe that Israel has stopped its aggressive acquisition of nuclear materials and technology from the United States and other countries. Shapiro's and the Israeli government's ISORAD later inked a fuel contract with a Turkish entity called Global Fluids International SA. ISORAD has also developed links with the Chinese and Indian nuclear programs. The Post article maintained in the CIA archives quotes John Davitt, the head of the Justice Department's internal security section until 1980, as saying that Israeli intelligence was "more active than anyone but the KGB . . . They were targeted on the United States about half the time and on Arab countries about half the time."

Documented evidence that individuals with AIPAC, the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), as well as successive "science advisers" at the Israeli embassy in Washington and the Israeli Consulate General in New York have been involved in espionage activities in the United States indicates that not much has changed since Davitt identified the Israeli intelligence threat during his time at the Justice Department.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stuck in Kabul, with Saigon blues again


Stuck in Kabul, with Saigon blues again
By Pepe Escobar

Some things never change. It was "only" eight years ago that the George W Bush administration unleashed its mini-shock and awe over Afghanistan to, in theory, smash the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Stuck inside of Kabul with the Saigon blues again, the "overseas contingency operations" of the Barack Obama administration continue to perpetrate a myth; never shall the words "Afghanistan" and "oil" be mentioned in the same sentence.

Instead, what is played to the jaded Washington galleries is the shabby spectacle of the dance of the generals - the serpent biting its own tail of the show of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, National Security Adviser retired General Jim Jones and General Stanley McChrystal, the top man in Afghanistan. Add to it extended, "analytical" corporate media
reports of the "Has Obama lost his mojo?" kind; and the grandiose "Amanpour" at George Washington University collecting platitudes from the Pentagon supremo Robert Gates-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton combo.

McChrystal wants 40,000 extra troops and he wants them now. Jones basically told McChrystal to shut up. And non-general Gates saunters around practicing contortions.

An unnamed British government spokesman has been the only source to talk about that fateful Copenhagen meeting last week between a "furious" Obama and McChrystal; the spokesman said "they agreed that further 'Afghanization', including accelerated training of the Afghan army and police, needed to be at the center of NATO's [North Atlantic Treaty Organization's] counter-insurgency efforts".

Afghanize or else
The debate over what strategy should Obama go for in Afghanistan always revolves around counter-insurgency, as in "success in Iraq"; still another myth. Armchair warriors who would flee in horror from a night al fresco in the Hindu Kush pompously state NATO could successfully apply counter-insurgency while refusing to admit the Western-supported election rigged by the President Hamid Karzai machine made the Iranian presidential election look as clean as a whistle.

Reams of "experts" argue the US should "Afghanize" its war - as in Vietnamize; does it ring a bell? When that talk comes from people such as David Kilcullen, a former adviser to General David "I'm positioning myself for 2012" Petraeus who passes for a geopolitical eminence in Washington, it says everything one needs to know about Washington. Some others fear the government in Kabul will fall to the Taliban - it won't, as Karzai is too wily, when push comes to shove, to play the Taliban against the warlords.

National Security Adviser Jones had to hit the talk show circuit to state that Kabul is not falling, that the Taliban are not "coming back", and that there are less than 100 al-Qaeda jihadis in Afghanistan. Which raises the question: what's the point of the whole war then? Why the super-human need for the extra, "magical", 40,000 troops McChrystal has requested?

All this is played up deep inside a staggering financial black hole. According to Jo Comerford, executive director of the National Priorities Project, the war in Afghanistan has cost US taxpayers no less than $228 billion so far, with $60.2 billion in 2009 alone. The war under Obama is costing $5 billion a month; last year, under Bush, it was "only" $3.5 billion a month". Comerford projects "we'll hit $1 trillion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in March 2010". These $228 billion, Comerford points out, "equal 800,000 four-year university scholarships for US students" (no wonder China is overtaking the US). Not to mention that $228 billion would have turned Afghanistan into Singapore by now.

Have chaos, will travel
Steve Coll from the New America Foundation, writing in The New Yorker, argues that Obama should adopt a solution similar to that of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who - "boxed in by hardliners in his politburo and military" - orchestrated a gradual Soviet exit strategy from Afghanistan in the late 1980s.

It's wishful thinking to believe the generals will let Obama pull a Gorbachev. Even though the generals have no clue as how to fight a counter-insurgency in a rural, feudal society (their predecessors were humiliated in Vietnam); even though they have no clue how to conquer the "hearts and minds" of the Pashtun populations in the south and southeast away from the Taliban; and even though they ignore the deep mistrust Afghans in general feel in relation to Pakistanis (so much for the AfPak concept).

Many a general - but not McChrystal - would in fact love to infiltrate a bunch of special ops in Pakistan - a de facto invasion - and hit al-Qaeda's sanctuaries in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Now that's something they might convince Obama (and Islamabad) to authorize. But it gets worse. The Pentagon wants to drone out the Taliban not only in FATA but also in Quetta, Balochistan province's capital. Imagine the geopolitical fallout of the US bombing a major Pakistani city.

If Obama does not pull a Gorbachev, what are his options? Here's the state of play in the Dance of the Generals plus assorted functionaries. Mullen and McChrystal - as well as Secretary of State Clinton - want their 40,000 extra troops with a vengeance. Petraeus is as usual over the wall. He'll surf whatever is politically most profitable. Gates may turn down McChrystal, who he in fact appointed a few months ago.

Jones, as well as Vice President Joseph Biden, the Obama crowd on Capitol Hill and White House officials as well as the majority of the US population for that matter, are dead set against an escalation.

Obama is caught in a lose-lose situation. The generals are saying that without the magical 40,000, Obama loses the war and the race in 2012 - but that's a fallacy.

The Obama-friendly crowd is saying that extra troops plus "Afghanization" will be equal to "Vietnamization", with the likely endgame of the last Black Hawk leaving the embassy in Kabul. Obama in this case also loses in 2012 - but not necessarily.

For McChrystal, a mere drone war plus special ops in Afghanistan will lead to "Chaos-istan". His leaked report to the Washington Post is ebullient on "securing the population", good governance, building the Afghan army and police and turning US/NATO soldiers into robocop replicas of Mother Teresa. For McChrystal, now it's all about hearts and minds - the Pentagon singing We Are the World.

As an exercise in obfuscation, the strategy is working wonders. Not a peep all across US corporate media about the real reasons the US, the Pentagon rather, needs to stay in Afghanistan forever; to protect the troubled Trans-Afghanistan pipeline if it ever gets built; and to encircle and spy on neighboring strategic competitors Russia and China.

Whatever the industrial-military complex will bend Obama to do, it will look a lot like (a very expensive) Chaos-istan anyway.

Pepe Escobar is the author of
Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Into the Dark: America’s Descent into a Police State


Into the Dark: America’s Descent into a Police State

Gordon Duff Salem-News.com

Manipulated America: Divided we Fall.

Newsweek fiction cover
Is this the future?

(CINCINATTI, Ohio) – “From Turkey, they were putting all these bin Ladens on NATO planes. People and weapons went one way, drugs came back…A lot of the drugs were going to Belgium with NATO planes. After that, they went to the UK, and a lot came to the U.S. via military planes to distribution centers in Chicago and Paterson, New Jersey.”…FBI translator, Sibel Edmonds in the American Conservative

Top US officials are reported to have been selling US nuclear weapons secrets around the world as part of a spy ring which includes members of Congress from both parties. These and other accusations are broadly substantiated, but only by the American Conservative and newspapers around the world, including significant revelations about a 9/11 cover up. How can this be done in a “free country?”

Massive penetration of, not only Congress, but the Pentagon and State Department are outlined in detail, naming those involved and how it was done. Foreign intelligence agencies from Israel, Turkey and Pakistan, regularly accessed highly classified information and sold it around the world, even to terrorist organizations.

If 9/11 was a terrorist attack, inside job or planned to drag the US into an endless war in the Middle East for some other purpose, the information needed to plan the attacks was sold or given away by high ranking Americans who were under investigation by the FBI until 2001.

That investigation was ended by the Bush Administration and buried using States Secret Privilege, leading to the biggest espionage disaster in American history. This doctrine, since 2001, has been used to end nearly every aspect of accountability in our government. Any information can be withheld from Congressional investigations, such as with the 9/11 Commission and any whistle blower can be silenced, even those reporting threats to national security, as with Sibel Edmonds.

“John Ashcroft’s Justice Department confirmed Edmonds’s veracity in a backhanded way by twice invoking the dubious State Secrets Privilege so she could not tell what she knows. The ACLU has called her ‘the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.’”

Since 2001 and continuing through with President Obama, a regime of suppression and disinformation has taken over in Washington, totally unaccountable to Congress or the people. With the destruction of any ability for a people to make an informed decision through state secrecy laws without oversight and limit, there can be no democratic rule.

What are the basic mechanisms to overthrow a democracy?

If you control three institutions, you control a nation. First is the press. If you can manipulate the news, suppressing stories, stopping investigations and protecting “flawed” individuals while making the public look under their beds for imaginary enemies, your power is almost unlimited.

Second is government itself. If you can control government by putting the real power in the hands of a few committee chairmen or key “deal makers” and can flood the system with dirty money, there will be no real investigations, only cover-ups and no real laws, only raids on the public treasury by the powerful while crumbs are passed out to others.

Third is public opinion. Turning an intelligent electorate into a howling mob requires an endless series of both outlandish conspiracies and real threats, the truth behind all being misdirected through a concerted effort to divide a populace and keep them at each other, even to the brink of civil war, all to protect the economic cabal growing fat off “terror war” and “deregulation,” a buzzword for massive theft.

When former FBI translator, Sibel Edmonds, reported that Osama bin Laden was an active US asset up to the second the planes hit the twin towers on 9/11, she was put under Patriot Act gag orders by Attorney General John Ashcroft that lasted for years. Now that she is speaking, laying out facts supported by key FBI and CIA experts, nothing is hitting our papers. How bad are the facts being kept from us?

“The 2008 Sunday Times series detailed Edmonds’ allegations that Bush’s Under Secretary of State Grossman — the third-highest ranking official in the State Department, after Colin Powell and Richard Armitage — worked closely with both the Turks and Israel in obtaining and selling U.S. nuclear weapons technology on the worldwide black market, and that he had even tipped off Turkish diplomatic colleagues about the true identify of then-covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson’s front company, Brewster Jennings, several years before the operation was named publicly by columnist Robert Novak”

While we were pretending to use our Patriot Acts to defend America through torturing suspects to get the truth, we are learning that much more of that coerced testimony may have been gathered to support a wide cover-up of government crimes, many at the highest level. The American Conservative goes on:

These are some of the things Edmond has sworn to under oath, taken from an interview with former CIA official Philip Geraldi printed in the American Conservative:

PHILIP GIRALDI: We were very interested to learn of your four-hour deposition in the case involving allegations that Congresswoman Jean Schmidt accepted money from the Turkish government in return for political favors. You provided many names and details for the first time on the record and swore an oath confirming that the deposition was true.

Basically, you map out a corruption scheme involving U.S. government employees and members of Congress and agents of foreign governments. These agents were able to obtain information that was either used directly by those foreign governments or sold to third parties, with the proceeds often used as bribes to breed further corruption. Let’s start with the first government official you identified, Marc Grossman, then the third highest-ranking official at the State Department.

SIBEL EDMONDS: During my work with the FBI, one of the major operational files that I was transcribing and translating started in late 1996 and continued until 2002, when I left the Bureau. Because the FBI had had no Turkish translators, these files were archived, but were considered to be very important operations. As part of the background, I was briefed about why these operations had been initiated and who the targets were.

Grossman became a person of interest early on in the investigative file while he was the U.S. ambassador to Turkey [1994-97], when he became personally involved with operatives both from the Turkish government and from suspected criminal groups. He also had suspicious contact with a number of official and non-official Israelis. Grossman was removed from Turkey short of tour during a scandal referred to as “Susurluk” by the media. It involved a number of high-level criminals as well as senior army and intelligence officers with whom he had been in contact.

Another individual who was working for Grossman, Air Force Major Douglas Dickerson, was also removed from Turkey and sent to Germany. After he and his Turkish wife Can returned to the U.S., he went to work for Douglas Feith and she was hired as an FBI Turkish translator. My complaints about her connection to Turkish lobbying groups led to my eventual firing.

Grossman and Dickerson had to leave the country because a big investigation had started in Turkey. Special prosecutors were appointed, and the case was headlined in England, Germany, Italy, and in some of the Balkan countries because the criminal groups were found to be active in all those places. A leading figure in the scandal, Mehmet Eymür, led a major paramilitary group for the Turkish intelligence service. To keep him from testifying, Eymür was sent by the Turkish government to the United States, where he worked for eight months as head of intelligence at the Turkish Embassy in Washington. He later became a U.S. citizen and now lives in McLean, Virginia. The central figure in this scandal was Abdullah Catli. In 1989, while “most wanted” by Interpol, he came to the U.S., was granted residency, and settled in Chicago, where he continued to conduct his operations until 1996.

GIRALDI: So Grossman at this point comes back to the United States. He’s rewarded with the third-highest position at the State Department, and he allegedly uses this position to do favors for “Turkish interests”—both for the Turkish government and for possible criminal interests. Sometimes, the two converge. The FBI is aware of his activities and is listening to his phone calls. When someone who is Turkish calls Grossman, the FBI monitors that individual’s phone calls, and when the Turk calls a friend who is a Pakistani or an Egyptian or a Saudi, they monitor all those contacts, widening the net.

EDMONDS: Correct.

GIRALDI: And Grossman received money as a result. In one case, you said that a State Department colleague went to pick up a bag of money…

EDMONDS: $14,000

GIRALDI: What kind of information was Grossman giving to foreign countries? Did he give assistance to foreign individuals penetrating U.S. government labs and defense installations as has been reported? It’s also been reported that he was the conduit to a group of congressmen who become, in a sense, the targets to be recruited as “agents of influence.”

EDMONDS: Yes, that’s correct. Grossman assisted his Turkish and Israeli contacts directly, and he also facilitated access to members of Congress who might be inclined to help for reasons of their own or could be bribed into cooperation. The top person obtaining classified information was Congressman Tom Lantos. A Lantos associate, Alan Makovsky worked very closely with Dr. Sabri Sayari in Georgetown University, who is widely believed to be a Turkish spy. Lantos would give Makovsky highly classified policy-related documents obtained during defense briefings for passage to Israel because Makovsky was also working for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

GIRALDI: Makovsky is now working for the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, a pro-Israeli think tank.

EDMONDS: Yes. Lantos was at the time probably the most outspoken supporter of Israel in Congress. AIPAC would take out the information from Lantos that was relevant to Israel, and they would give the rest of it to their Turkish associates. The Turks would go through the leftovers, take what they wanted, and then try to sell the rest. If there were something relevant to Pakistan, they would contact the ISI officer at the embassy and say, “We’ve got this and this, let’s sit down and talk.” And then they would sell it to the Pakistanis.

GIRALDI: ISI—Pakistani intelligence—has been linked to the Pakistani nuclear proliferation program as well as to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

So the FBI was monitoring these connections going from a congressman to a congressman’s assistant to a foreign individual who is connected with intelligence to other intelligence people who are located at different embassies in Washington. And all of this information is in an FBI file somewhere?

EDMONDS: Two sets of FBI files, but the AIPAC-related files and the Turkish files ended up converging in one. The FBI agents believed that they were looking at the same operation. It didn’t start with AIPAC originally. It started with the Israeli Embassy. The original targets were intelligence officers under diplomatic cover in the Turkish Embassy and the Israeli Embassy. It was those contacts that led to the American Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and then to AIPAC fronting for the Israelis. It moved forward from there.

GIRALDI: So the FBI was monitoring people from the Israeli Embassy and the Turkish Embassy and one, might presume, the Pakistani Embassy as well?

EDMONDS: They were the secondary target. They got leftovers from the Turks and Israelis. The FBI would intercept communications to try to identify who the diplomatic target’s intelligence chief was, but then, in addition to that, there are individuals there, maybe the military attaché, who had their own contacts who were operating independently of others in the embassy.

GIRALDI: So the network starts with a person like Grossman in the State Department providing information that enables Turkish and Israeli intelligence officers to have access to people in Congress, who then provide classified information that winds up in the foreign embassies?

EDMONDS: Absolutely. And we also had Pentagon officials doing the same thing. We were looking at Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. They had a list of individuals in the Pentagon broken down by access to certain types of information. Some of them would be policy related, some of them would be weapons-technology related, some of them would be nuclear-related. Perle and Feith would provide the names of those Americans, officials in the Pentagon, to Grossman, together with highly sensitive personal information: this person is a closet gay; this person has a chronic gambling issue; this person is an alcoholic. The files on the American targets would contain things like the size of their mortgages or whether they were going through divorces. One Air Force major I remember was going through a really nasty divorce and a child custody fight. They detailed all different kinds of vulnerabilities.

GIRALDI: So they had access to their personnel files and also their security files and were illegally accessing this kind of information to give to foreign agents who exploited the vulnerabilities of these people to recruit them as sources of information?

EDMONDS: Yes. Some of those individuals on the list were also working for the RAND Corporation. RAND ended up becoming one of the prime targets for these foreign agents.

GIRALDI: RAND does highly classified research for the U.S. government. So they were setting up these people for recruitment as agents or as agents of influence?

EDMONDS: Yes, and the RAND sources would be paid peanuts compared to what the information was worth when it was sold if it was not immediately useful for Turkey or Israel. They also had sources who were working in some Midwestern Air Force bases. The sources would provide the information on CD’s and DVD’s. In one case, for example, a Turkish military attaché got the disc and discovered that it was something really important, so he offered it to the Pakistani ISI person at the embassy, but the price was too high. Then a Turkish contact in Chicago said he knew two Saudi businessmen in Detroit who would be very interested in this information, and they would pay the price. So the Turkish military attaché flew to Detroit with his assistant to make the sale.

GIRALDI: We know Grossman was receiving money for services.

EDMONDS: Yes. Sometimes he would give money to the people who were working with him, identified in phone calls on a first-name basis, whether it’s a John or a Joe. He also took care of some other people, including his contact at the New York Times. Grossman would brag, “We just fax to our people at the New York Times. They print it under their names.”

GIRALDI: Did Feith and Perle receive any money that you know of?

EDMONDS: No.

GIRALDI: So they were doing favors for other reasons. Both Feith and Perle were lobbyists for Turkey and also were involved with Israel on defense contracts, including some for Northrop Grumman, which Feith represented in Israel.

EDMONDS: They had arrangements with various companies, some of them members of the American Turkish Council. They had arrangements with Kissinger’s group, with Northrop Grumman, with former secretary of state James Baker’s group, and also with former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.

The monitoring of the Turks picked up contacts with Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11. They were discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country. The UK would take the south, the rest would go to the U.S. They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil. The Turks were very supportive, but wanted a three-part division of Iraq to include their own occupation of the Kurdish region. The three Defense Department officials said that would be more than they could agree to, but they continued daily communications to the ambassador and his defense attaché in an attempt to convince them to help.

Meanwhile Scowcroft, who was also the chairman of the American Turkish Council, Baker, Richard Armitage, and Grossman began negotiating separately for a possible Turkish protectorate. Nothing was decided, and then 9/11 took place.

Scowcroft was all for invading Iraq in 2001 and even wrote a paper for the Pentagon explaining why the Turkish northern front would be essential. I know Scowcroft came off as a hero to some for saying he was against the war, but he was very much for it until his client’s conditions were not met by the Bush administration.

GIRALDI: Armitage was deputy secretary of state at the time Scowcroft and Baker were running their own consulting firms that were doing business with Turkey. Grossman had just become undersecretary, third in the State hierarchy behind Armitage.

You’ve previouly alluded to efforts by Grossman, as well as high-ranking officials at the Pentagon, to place Ph.D. students. Can you describe that in more detail?

EDMONDS: The seeding operation started before Marc Grossman arrived at the State Department. The Turkish agents had a network of Turkish professors in various universities with access to government information. Their top source was a Turkish-born professor of nuclear physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was useful because MIT would place a bunch of Ph.D. or graduate-level students in various nuclear facilities like Sandia or Los Alamos, and some of them were able to work for the Air Force. He would provide the list of Ph.D. students who should get these positions. In some cases, the Turkish military attaché would ask that certain students be placed in important positions. And they were not necessarily all Turkish, but the ones they selected had struck deals with the Turkish agents to provide information in return for money. If for some reason they had difficulty getting a secuity clearance, Grossman would ensure that the State Department would arrange to clear them.

In exchange for the information that these students would provide, they would be paid $4,000 or $5,000. And the information that was sold to the two Saudis in Detroit went for something like $350,000 or $400,000.

GIRALDI: This corruption wasn’t confined to the State Department and the Pentagon—it infected Congress as well. You’ve named people like former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, now a registered agent of the Turkish government. In your deposition, you describe the process of breaking foreign-originated contributions into small units, $200 or less, so that the source didn’t have to be reported. Was this the primary means of influencing congressmen, or did foreign agents exploit vulnerabilities to get what they wanted using something like blackmail?

EDMONDS: In early 1997, because of the information that the FBI was getting on the Turkish diplomatic community, the Justice Department had already started to investigate several Republican congressmen. The number-one congressman involved with the Turkish community, both in terms of providing information and doing favors, was Bob Livingston. Number-two after him was Dan Burton, and then he became number-one until Hastert became the speaker of the House. Bill Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno, was briefed on the investigations, and since they were Republicans, she authorized that they be continued.

Well, as the FBI developed more information, Tom Lantos was added to this list, and then they got a lot on Douglas Feith and Richard Perle and Marc Grossman. At this point, the Justice Department said they wanted the FBI to only focus on Congress, leaving the executive branch people out of it. But the FBI agents involved wanted to continue pursuing Perle and Feith because the Israeli Embassy was also connected. Then the Monica Lewinsky scandal erupted, and everything was placed on the back burner.

But some of the agents continued to investigate the congressional connection. In 1999, they wiretapped the congressmen directly. (Prior to that point they were getting all their information secondhand through FISA, as their primary targets were foreigners.) The questionably legal wiretap gave the perfect excuse to the Justice Department. As soon as they found out, they refused permission to monitor the congressmen and Grossman as primary targets. But the inquiry was kept alive in Chicago because the FBI office there was pursuing its own investigation. The epicenter of a lot of the foreign espionage activity was Chicago.

GIRALDI: So the investigation stopped in Washington, but continued in Chicago?

EDMONDS: Yes, and in 2000, another representative was added to the list, Jan Schakowsky, the Democratic congresswoman from Illinois. Turkish agents started gathering information on her, and they found out that she was bisexual. So a Turkish agent struck up a relationship with her. When Jan Schakowsky’s mother died, the Turkish woman went to the funeral, hoping to exploit her vulnerability. They later were intimate in Schakowsky’s townhouse, which had been set up with recording devices and hidden cameras. They needed Schakowsky and her husband Robert Creamer to perform certain illegal operational facilitations for them in Illinois. They already had Hastert, the mayor, and several other Illinois state senators involved. I don’t know if Congresswoman Schakowsky ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman.

GIRALDI: So we have a pattern of corruption starting with government officials providing information to foreigners and helping them make contact with other Americans who had valuable information. Some of these officials, like Marc Grossman, were receiving money directly. Others were receiving business favors: Pentagon associates like Doug Feith and Richard Perle had interests in Israel and Turkey. The stolen information was being sold, and the money that was being generated was used to corrupt certain congressmen to influence policy and provide still more information—in many cases information related to nuclear technology.

EDMONDS: As well as weapons technology, conventional weapons technology, and Pentagon policy-related information.

GIRALDI: You also have information on al-Qaeda, specifically al-Qaeda in Central Asia and Bosnia. You were privy to conversations that suggested the CIA was supporting al-Qaeda in central Asia and the Balkans, training people to get money, get weapons, and this contact continued until 9/11…

EDMONDS: I don’t know if it was CIA. There were certain forces in the U.S. government who worked with the Turkish paramilitary groups, including Abdullah Çatli’s group, Fethullah Gülen.

GIRALDI: Well, that could be either Joint Special Operations Command or CIA.

EDMONDS: Maybe in a lot of cases when they said State Department, they meant CIA?

GIRALDI: When they said State Department, they probably meant CIA.

EDMONDS: Okay. So these conversations, between 1997 and 2001, had to do with a Central Asia operation that involved bin Laden. Not once did anybody use the word “al-Qaeda.” It was always “mujaheddin,” always “bin Laden” and, in fact, not “bin Laden” but “bin Ladens” plural. There were several bin Ladens who were going on private jets to Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. The Turkish ambassador in Azerbaijan worked with them.

There were bin Ladens, with the help of Pakistanis or Saudis, under our management. Marc Grossman was leading it, 100 percent, bringing people from East Turkestan into Kyrgyzstan, from Kyrgyzstan to Azerbaijan, from Azerbaijan some of them were being channeled to Chechnya, some of them were being channeled to Bosnia. From Turkey, they were putting all these bin Ladens on NATO planes. People and weapons went one way, drugs came back.

GIRALDI: Was the U.S. government aware of this circular deal?

EDMONDS: 100 percent. A lot of the drugs were going to Belgium with NATO planes. After that, they went to the UK, and a lot came to the U.S. via military planes to distribution centers in Chicago and Paterson, New Jersey. Turkish diplomats who would never be searched were coming with suitcases of heroin.

GIRALDI: And, of course, none of this has been investigated. What do you think the chances are that the Obama administration will try to end this criminal activity?

EDMONDS: Well, even during Obama’s presidential campaign, I did not buy into his slogan of “change” being promoted by the media and, unfortunately, by the naïve blogosphere. First of all, Obama’s record as a senator, short as it was, spoke clearly. For all those changes that he was promising, he had done nothing. In fact, he had taken the opposite position, whether it was regarding the NSA’s wiretapping or the issue of national-security whistle-blowers. We whistle-blowers had written to his Senate office. He never responded, even though he was on the relevant committees. (end)

Our questions regarding Edmonds and the extent of what her charges mean are several:

1. How can an FBI investigation of this scope be ended so quickly without any information reaching the public? We have come to believe that everything is leaked? How is such control maintained? 2. When a story like this is broken, why is there no followup investigation by the FBI, Congress or any attempt by investigative reporters, outside a few, to tell the American people the truth? 3. Why has President Obama kept the same repressive and illegal policies in place that were used by the Bush administration?

We are well beyond conspiracy theory. With the ability of our government to silence this story, which undermines the official versions of nearly everything from 9/11 to the most basic aspects of our national security, can any version of anything, investigated or not, commissions or not, ever be taken as more than part of the real conspiracy behind the conspiracies?

We have long accepted that our government was for sale to the highest bidder and that our press sold its soul after 9/11 for the privilege of being fed lies and continual access to more of the same. Anyone breaking with the crowd was cut off, denied access and pushed out.

A government operating in secret is, in itself, a conspiracy. Everyone working to stifle open government, end challenges to government power and continue down this path is a part of this conspiracy. They are working against, not only the idea of democracy, but against the lives of everyone living in America. This has left Americans subject to war for profit, rigged elections, economic slavery at the hands of financial pirates and the Obama administrations willingness to continue Bush era policies to impoverish working Americans.

The saddest part of this is the willingness of millions of Americans to join in to silence any movement for a free government. Under the guise of patriotism, extremist groups, funded and organized, sometimes publicly, sometimes secretly, by special interest and supported by massive press organizations, some under foreign control,

Groups clamoring for “freedom,” sometimes armed, are working feverishly on behalf of war profiteers, foreign spy agencies and criminal elements in our power elite. Why is suppressing the truth about 9/11 a way of making us free? Why is challenging the oil and defense cartels considered fascism?

The real goal is power, economic power. Stealing oil, running drugs and looting our defense budget is only part of it. With continual talk about conspiracies, Zionists, Socialists and endless cabals running a secret government, the real power, the multinational corporations and banking consortiums that control the Federal Reserve system, set oil and commodity prices, manipulate currencies set the course of human history, all unseen, have been around for decades.

Governments come and go, elections, real or rigged, assassinations, coups, none of it means much. Even the most secure democracy can be taken down by a handful of dedicated men, be they terrorists, spies or foreign agents. 9/11 proved that.

If only the intelligent can see and understand the danger, then the real cabal attacks the intelligent as “liberal” and “weak.”

If the patriotic and brave become a danger, send them to war or give them an imaginary enemy, fill the news with warnings and alerts.

If an investigation starts, channel it into a pet “paid off” Congressman or two and feed it lies. Lying is now an honorable part of our national security effort.

If someone stands up, what happens? With Edmonds, John Ashcroft issued executive orders to have her silenced. Others are called “truthers” as a way of discrediting them. How have we sunk to the point where asking for the truth can discredit someone?

If a story threatens to break, debunkers, agents of the cabal, jump on it immediately. They come in two flavors:

1. Debunkers present wild and implausible explanations attacking eye witness testimony, science and even video evidence using sarcasm and backed by powerful organizations. Debunkers need prove nothing, only claim, with no accountability, that they have “debunked.”

2. Debunkers also join any investigation but lead it to the “Twilight Zone.” Every legitimate story is dumped on the door of “Zionists” or space aliens by this type of debunker. They take plausible attacks on government lies and poison them with insane speculation in order to discredit anyone asking for a legitimate investigation.

Today, as usual, America is divided and moving toward a period of domestic discord and even home grow terrorism. Our military forces have become a prime recruiting ground for the corporate cabal. Every group that is easily influenced and easily misinformed, military, police, gun owners or those in isolated rural areas, are subject to wild stories of race war, imaginary Communist takeovers or worldwide Jewish conspiracies.

Whatever is blown up, a nuclear plant, a famous bridge or monument, the result will be the same:

* More oppressive laws* More defense spending

* More taxes or more debt

* More dead American soldiers

* More high prices for gas

* More and more pundits on TV crying about socialism

It doesn’t take a genius to understand any of this. We love watching movies and TV shows about government conspiracies identical to the one we really seem to have. Where is the line? How much has to be lies before we have become the thing we fear most of all, a police state?

Would we even know?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Fall of the Berlin Wall


Another Cold War Myth....

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

By WILLIAM BLUM

Within a few weeks many of the Western media can be expected to turn on their propaganda machines to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, November 9, 1989. All the Cold War clichés about The Free World vs. Communist Tyranny will be trotted out and the simple tale of how the wall came to be will be repeated: In 1961, the East Berlin communists built a wall to keep their oppressed citizens from escaping to West Berlin and freedom. Why? Because commies don't like people to be free, to learn the "truth". What other reason could there have been?

First of all, before the wall went up thousands of East Germans had been commuting to the West for jobs each day and then returned to the East in the evening. So they were clearly not being held in the East against their will. The wall was built primarily for two reasons:

The West was bedeviling the East with a vigorous campaign of recruiting East German professionals and skilled workers, who had been educated at the expense of the Communist government. This eventually led to a serious labor and production crisis in the East. As one indication of this, the New York Times reported in 1963: "West Berlin suffered economically from the wall by the loss of about 60,000 skilled workmen who had commuted daily from their homes in East Berlin to their places of work in West Berlin." (New York Times, June 27, 1963, p.12)

During the 1950s, American coldwarriors in West Germany instituted a crude campaign of sabotage and subversion against East Germany designed to throw that country's economic and administrative machinery out of gear. The CIA and other US intelligence and military services recruited, equipped, trained and financed German activist groups and individuals, of West and East, to carry out actions which ran the spectrum from terrorism to juvenile delinquency; anything to make life difficult for the East German people and weaken their support of the government; anything to make the commies look bad.

It was a remarkable undertaking. The United States and its agents used explosives, arson, short circuiting, and other methods to damage power stations, shipyards, canals, docks, public buildings, gas stations, public transportation, bridges, etc; they derailed freight trains, seriously injuring workers; burned 12 cars of a freight train and destroyed air pressure hoses of others; used acids to damage vital factory machinery; put sand in the turbine of a factory, bringing it to a standstill; set fire to a tile-producing factory; promoted work slow-downs in factories; killed 7,000 cows of a co-operative dairy through poisoning; added soap to powdered milk destined for East German schools; were in possession, when arrested, of a large quantity of the poison cantharidin with which it was planned to produce poisoned cigarettes to kill leading East Germans; set off stink bombs to disrupt political meetings; attempted to disrupt the World Youth Festival in East Berlin by sending out forged invitations, false promises of free bed and board, false notices of cancellations, etc.; carried out attacks on participants with explosives, firebombs, and tire-puncturing equipment; forged and distributed large quantities of food ration cards to cause confusion, shortages and resentment; sent out forged tax notices and other government directives and documents to foster disorganization and inefficiency within industry and unions ... all this and much more. (See Killing Hope, p.400, note 8, for a list of sources for the details of the sabotage and subversion.)

Throughout the 1950s, the East Germans and the Soviet Union repeatedly lodged complaints with the Soviets' erstwhile allies in the West and with the United Nations about specific sabotage and espionage activities and called for the closure of the offices in West Germany they claimed were responsible, and for which they provided names and addresses. Their complaints fell on deaf ears. Inevitably, the East Germans began to tighten up entry into the country from the West.

Let's not forget that Eastern Europe became communist because Hitler, with the approval of the West, used it as a highway to reach the Soviet Union and wipe out Bolshevism forever. After the war, the Soviets were determined to close down the highway.

In 1999, USA Today reported: "When the Berlin Wall crumbled, East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism." (USA Today, October 11, 1999, p.1.)

About the same time a new Russian proverb was born: "Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth."

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.

 
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