Tag Archives: George W. Bush

Iran,Iraq,Syria,Russia :Mission NOT accomplished for Big Oil

23 August 2012

 

Published (with an intro by Tom Engelhardt) on TomDispatch

In 2011, after nearly nine years of war and occupation, U.S. troops finally left Iraq. In their place, Big Oil is now present in force and the country’s oil output, crippled for decades, is growing again. Iraq recently reclaimed the number two position in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), overtaking oil-sanctioned Iran. Now, there’s talk of a new world petroleum glut. So is this finally mission accomplished?

Well, not exactly. In fact, any oil company victory in Iraq is likely to prove as temporary as George W. Bush’s triumph in 2003. The main reason is yet another of those stories the mainstream media didn’t quite find room for: the role of Iraqi civil society. But before telling that story, let’s look at what’s happening to Iraqi oil today, and how we got from the “no blood for oil” global protests of 2003 to the present moment.

Here, as a start, is a little scorecard of what’s gone on in Iraq since Big Oil arrived two and a half years ago: corruption’s skyrocketed; two Western oil companies are being investigated for either giving or receiving bribes; the Iraqi government is paying oil companies a per-barrel fee according to wildly unrealistic production targets they’ve set, whether or not they deliver that number of barrels; contractors are heavily over-charging for drilling wells, which the companies don’t mind since the Iraqi government picks up the tab.

Meanwhile, to protect the oil giants from dissent and protest, trade union offices have been raided, computers seized and equipment smashed, leaders arrested and prosecuted. And that’s just in the oil-rich southern part of the country.

In Kurdistan in the north, the regional government awards contracts on land outside its jurisdiction, contracts which permit the government to transfer its stake in the oil projects — up to 25% — to private companies of its choice. Fuel is smuggled across the border to the tune of hundreds of tankers a day.

In Kurdistan, at least the approach is deliberate: the two ruling families of the region, the Barzanis and Talabanis, know that they can do whatever they like, since their Peshmerga militia control the territory. In contrast, the Iraqi federal government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has little control over anything. As a result, in the rest of the country the oil industry operates, gold-rush-style, in an almost complete absence of oversight or regulation.

Oil companies differ as to which of these two Iraqs they prefer to operate in. BP and Shell have opted to rush for black gold in the super-giant oilfields of southern Iraq. Exxon has hedged its bets by investing in both options. This summer, Chevron and the French oil company Total voted for the Kurdish approach, trading smaller oil fields for better terms and a bit more stability.

Keep in mind that the incapacity of the Iraqi government is hardly limited to the oil business: stagnation hangs over its every institution. Iraqis still have an average of just five hours of electricity a day, which in 130-degree heat causes tempers to boil over regularly. The country’s two great rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, which watered the cradle of civilization 5,000 years ago, are drying up.  This is largely due to the inability of the government to engage in effective regional diplomacy that would control upstream dam-building by Turkey.

After elections in 2010, the country’s leading politicians couldn’t even agree on how to form a government until the Iraqi Supreme Court forced them to. This record of haplessness, along with rampant corruption, significant repression, and a revival of sectarianism can all be traced back to American decisions in the occupation years. Tragically, these persistent ills have manifested themselves in a recent spate of car-bombings and other bloody attacks.

Washington’s Yen for Oil

In the period before and around the invasion, the Bush administration barely mentioned Iraqi oil, describing it reverently only as that country’s “patrimony.” As for the reasons for war, the administration insisted that it had barely noticed Iraq had one-tenth of the world’s oil reserves. But my new book reveals documents I received, marked SECRET/NOFORN, that laid out for the first time pre-war oil plans hatched in the Pentagon by arch-neoconservative Douglas Feith’s Energy Infrastructure Planning Group (EIPG).

In November 2002, four months before the invasion, that planning group came up with a novel idea: it proposed that any American occupation authority not repair war damage to the country’s oil infrastructure, as doing so “could discourage private sector involvement.” In other words, it suggested that the landscape should be cleared of Iraq’s homegrown oil industry to make room for Big Oil.

When the administration worried that this might disrupt oil markets, EIPG came up with a new strategy under which initial repairs would be carried out by KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Long-term contracts with multinational companies, awarded by the U.S. occupation authority, would follow. International law notwithstanding, the EIPG documents noted cheerily that such an approach would put “long-term downward pressure on [the oil] price” and force “questions about Iraq’s future relations with OPEC.”

At the same time, the Pentagon planning group recommended that Washington state that its policy was “not to prejudice Iraq’s future decisions regarding its oil development policies.” Here, in writing, was the approach adopted in the years to come by the Bush administration and the occupation authorities: lie to the public while secretly planning to hand Iraq over to Big Oil.

There turned out, however, to be a small kink in the plan: the oil companies declined the American-awarded contracts, fearing that they would not stand up in international courts and so prove illegitimate. They wanted Iraq first to have an elected permanent government that would arrive at the same results. The question then became how to get the required results with the Iraqis nominally in charge. The answer: install a friendly government and destroy the Iraqi oil industry.

In July 2003, the U.S. occupation established the Iraqi Governing Council, a quasi-governmental body led by friendly Iraqi exiles who had been out of the country for the previous few decades. They would be housed in an area of Baghdad isolated from the Iraqi population by concrete blast walls and machine gun towers, and dubbed the Green Zone.  There, the politicians would feast, oblivious to and unconcerned with the suffering of the rest of the population.

The first post-invasion Oil Minister was Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, a man who held the country’s homegrown oil expertise in open contempt. He quickly set about sacking the technicians and managers who had built the industry following nationalization in the 1970s and had kept it running through wars and sanctions. He replaced them with friends and fellow party members. One typical replacement was a former pizza chef.

The resulting damage to the oil industry exceeded anything caused by missiles and tanks. As a result the country found itself — as Washington had hoped — dependent on the expertise of foreign companies. Meanwhile, not only did the Coalition Provisional authority (CPA) that oversaw the occupation lose $6.6 billion of Iraqi money, it effectively suggested corruption wasn’t something to worry about.  A December 2003 CPA policy document recommended that Iraq follow the lead of Azerbaijan, where the government had attracted oil multinationals despite an atmosphere of staggering corruption (“less attractive governance”) simply by offering highly profitable deals.

Now, so many years later, the corruption is all-pervasive and the multinationals continue to operate without oversight, since the country’s ministry is run by the equivalent of pizza chefs.

The first permanent government was formed under Prime Minister Maliki in May 2006. In the preceding months, the American and British governments made sure the candidates for prime minister knew what their first priority had to be: to pass a law legalizing the return of the foreign multinationals — tossed out of the country in the 1970s — to run the oil sector.

The law was drafted within weeks, dutifully shown to U.S. officials within days, and to oil multinationals not long after. Members of the Iraqi parliament, however, had to wait seven months to see the text.

How Temporary the Victory of Big Oil?

The trouble was: getting it through that parliament proved far more difficult than Washington or its officials in Iraq had anticipated. In January 2007, an impatient President Bush announced a “surge” of 30,000 U.S. troops into the country, by then wracked by a bloody civil war. Compliant journalists accepted the story of a gamble by General David Petraeus to bring peace to warring Iraqis.

In fact, those troops spearheaded a strategy with rather less altruistic objectives: first, broker a new political deal among U.S. allies, who were the most sectarian and corrupt of Iraq’s politicians (hence, with the irony characteristic of American foreign policy, regularly described as “moderates”); second, pressure them to deliver on political objectives set in Washington and known as “benchmarks” — of which passing the oil law was the only one ever really talked about: in President Bush’s biweekly video conferences with Maliki, in almost daily meetings of the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, and in frequent visits by senior administration officials.

On this issue, the Democrats, by then increasingly against the Iraq War but still pro-Big Oil, lent a helping hand to a Republican administration. Having failed to end the war, the newly Democrat-controlled Congress passed an appropriations bill that would cut off reconstruction funds to Iraq if the oil law weren’t passed. Generals warned that without an oil law Prime Minister Maliki would lose their support, which he knew well would mean losing his job. And to ramp up the pressure further, the U.S. set a deadline of September 2007 to pass the law or face the consequences.

It was then that things started going really wrong for Bush and company. In December 2006, I was at a meeting where leaders of Iraq’s trade unions decided to fight the oil law. One of them summed up the general sentiment this way: “We do not need thieves to take us back to the middle ages.” So they began organizing. They printed pamphlets, held public meetings and conferences, staged protests, and watched support for their movement grow.

Most Iraqis feel strongly that the country’s oil reserves belong in the public sector, to be developed to benefit them, not foreign energy companies. And so word spread fast — and with it, popular anger. Iraq’s oil professionals and various civil society groups denounced the law. Preachers railed against it in Friday sermons. Demonstrations were held in Baghdad and elsewhere, and as Washington ratcheted up the pressure, members of the Iraqi parliament started to see political opportunity in aligning themselves with this ever more popular cause. Even some U.S. allies in Parliament confided in diplomats at the American embassy that it would be political suicide to vote for the law.

By the September deadline, a majority of the parliament was against the law and — a remarkable victory for the trade unions — it was not passed. It’s still not passed today.

Given the political capital the Bush administration had invested in the passage of the oil law, its failure offered Iraqis a glimpse of the limits of U.S. power, and from that moment on, Washington’s influence began to wane.

Things changed again in 2009 when the Maliki government, eager for oil revenues, began awarding contracts to them even without an oil law in place. As a result, however, the victory of Big Oil is likely to be a temporary one: the present contracts are illegal, and so they will last only as long as there’s a government in Baghdad that supports them.

This helps explain why the government’s repression of trade unions increased once the contracts were signed.  Now, Iraq is showing signs of a more general return to authoritarianism (as well as internecine violence and possibly renewed sectarian conflict).

But there is another possibility for Iraq. Years before the Arab Spring, I saw what Iraqi civil society can achieve by organizing: it stopped the world’s superpower from reaching its main objective and steered Iraq onto a more positive course.

Many times since 2003 Iraqis have moved their country in a more democratic direction: establishing trade unions in that year, building Shi’a-Sunni connections in 2004, promoting anti-sectarian politicians in 2007 and 2008, and voting for them in 2009.  Sadly, each of these times Washington has pushed it back toward sectarianism, the atmosphere in which its allies thrive.  While mainstream commentators now regularly blame the recent escalation of violence on the departure of U.S. troops, it would be more accurate to say that the real reason is they didn’t leave far sooner.

Now, without its troops and bases, much of Washington’s political heft has vanished. Whether Iraq heads in the direction of dictatorship, sectarianism, or democracy remains to be seen, but if Iraqis again start to build a more democratic future, the U.S. will no longer be there to obstruct it.  Meanwhile, if a new politics does emerge, Big Oil may discover that, in the end, it was mission unaccomplished. [source]

Putin backs Russian push for Iraqi oil

 

President Vladimir Putin lobbied Iraq’s prime minister on Wednesday to support Russian energy investment, as the oil arm of gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) pushes for a foothold in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM) is still interested in Kurdistan’s oil, company sources and the province’s spokesman said, rebutting reports it had frozen projects in the Iraqi province.

Putin, a vocal opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, called for Russia to strengthen its presence in the OPEC oil producer state at talks with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at his residence near Moscow.

“Our companies are boosting their activities in Iraq – the whole list of our large energy companies,” Putin said. “I hope their work will develop step by step and we are very much hoping for your support, Mr Prime Minister.”

Russia’s second-largest crude producer LUKOIL (LKOH.MM) is developing the vast West Qurna-2 oil, while mid-sized Bashneft (BANE.MM) is teaming up with Britain’s Premier Oil PLC (PMO.L) after they won the right to tap oil in the Middle East country.

LUKOIL bought Norway’s Statoil (STL.OL) out of their partnership in West Qurna-2 in March, and CEO Vagit Alekperov said he would be open to taking on board a new partner.

“We bought it, 100 pct, if there is a good offer we can sell part of it, so far we feel comfortable with it,” Alekperov told Reuters. Asked if there was an offer in the works, he said “at the moment no, only outline ideas.”

Russia signed $4.2 billion worth of arms deals with Iraq on Tuesday.

DEAL NOT FROZEN

Late on Tuesday, the International Oil Daily cited Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi as saying Baghdad had received a letter from Gazprom, in which the company said it had frozen its contract with Kurdistan.

Baghdad has been angered by the plans of some international majors, including ExxonMobil (XOM.N), to tap oil and gas in the northern region. The central government says the deals are illegal.

A spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said Gazprom Neft had informed the KRG on Wednesday that it remains committed to its contract in the Kurdistan region.

Sources at Gazprom Neft also knocked down the report.

In August, Gazprom Neft acquired interests in two blocks in Kurdistan.

“Gazprom Neft is still working on these projects. The company keeps its interest in Kurdistan,” a Gazprom Neft source told Reuters.

Another source at the company said Gazprom Neft would be able to go ahead with the projects once the Iraqi central government and KRG resolve their differences.

He also said Gazprom Neft management will travel to Kurdistan before year-end to discuss oil development in the province. A company spokeswoman declined to comment.

Gazprom Neft already has a project in Iraq, near the Iranian border, where it expects to produce about 15,000 barrels per day from 2013. [source ]

 

And the other side “de la moneda” Judge for yourselves

 

October 11, 2012 

Iraq today stands on the brink of total control by Iran and the establishment of a new dictatorship. 

The dream for which so many American soldiers believed they were fighting is slipping away as Iraq moves in the opposite direction – toward Iran. 

Iran’s presence is already visible in Iraq, from the droves of pilgrims at Shi’ite holy sites to the brands of yogurt and jam on grocery shelves, and Iraqis see clear Iranian influence since the US troops left at the end of last year. 

It could be considered a natural step for the only two Shi’ite Muslim-led governments in the Sunnidominated Middle East to expand their relationship. However, many Iraqi Shi’ites are cautious of intrusion of their country’s sovereignty and afraid of being overrun by the Iranian theocracy. 



Iraqis are accusing Iran of meddling in Iraqi affairs to destabilize the new democracy and strengthen Iran’s influence over it and its neighbors. Top Iranian officials maintain they are only strengthening diplomatic and economic ties with Iraq, as they have sought to do since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, head of Iranian al-Quds Brigades General Qasim Sulaimani announced recently that Iraq and South Lebanon are submissive to Tehran’s will, stating that his country could regulate any movement with the aim to form Islamic governments in both countries. 

Not to mention the close relationship between Iran and Syria. This is the goal of the Iranians: to form the Shi’ite crescent – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Southern Lebanon – controlled by Hezbollah. The aim is to encircle Israel. Israel should worry about Iraq acquiring F-16 aircraft from the United States, especially since their pilots will be selected from among the Shi’ites most loyal to the regime in Tehran. “Iran wants to make Iraq a weak state,” said Maj.- Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, a US military spokesman in Iraq, a few years ago. 

This issue has also worried many American officials who have long feared what they described as Iranian meddling in Iraq and its potential to sow unrest across the Middle East. Those worries were a chief driver of failed efforts to leave at least several thousand American troops in Iraq beyond the end of last year’s withdrawal deadline. 

“The more you think about it, the more examples there are of Iranian influence,” says Buchanan. “They’re circumstantial, but that’s how behind-thescenes influence works.” Since Iraq’s 2010 election, Iraqis have witnessed the subordination of the state to Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki’s Iranian-backed Da’awa party, the erosion of judicial independence and intimidation of opponents. All of this happened during the Arab Spring while other countries were ousting dictators in favor of democracy. Iraq has become a sectarian battleground in which identity politics have crippled democratic development. 

Maliki has laid siege to his political opponents’ homes and offices, surrounded them with his security forces, all with the blessing of politicized judiciary and law enforcement systems that have become virtual extensions of his personal office. 

This is a typical textbook definition of “lawfare.” His national security adviser has complete control over the Iraqi intelligence and national security agencies, which are supposed to be independent institutions but have become a virtual extension of Maliki’s Da’awa Party; and his Da’awa loyalists are in control of the security units that oversee the Green Zone. The Iraqi prime minister uses secret prisons under the supervision of his elite security apparatus, and the Red Cross has conclusive evidence about these prisons. 

It was stated in its recent report that there is evidence detainees being tortured to extract confessions and information. The report mentioned that some of the torture sessions were attended by Iraqi judges. The Red Cross reported that there are three secret prisons in the Green Zone alone that are linked to Maliki’s office. The political process in Iraq is going in a very wrong direction; it’s going toward a dictatorship, while Iran views Maliki as its man in Baghdad and has dictated the shape of the current government. 

This Shi’ite Islamist government bodes ill for the country’s future. Today in Iraq, we see Maliki silencing and eliminating his opponents, using the law as a silent weapon for a quiet war. MALIKI IS using the judicial system to attack his political opponents, and the security services in Iraq have become part of the problem as they have been proven to be managing secret detention centers where torture is practiced under the personal supervision of the Office of the Prime Minister. It was revealed recently that 36 out of 38 inspectors-general at Iraqi ministries are from Maliki’s Da’awa Party. 

What we also see in Iraq now is that Iraq supports Syria, weapons from Iran being transported to Syria through Iraq, violations of UN security council resolutions against Iran and money laundering through Iraqi banks in favor of Iran with the full knowledge and support of the Office of the Prime Minister. The Iranian government played an important role in the revitalization of money laundering in Iraq by private banks in coordination with the Office of the Prime Minister. Armed groups backed by Tehran receive millions of dollars monthly in salaries and benefits from Iraqi banks under the guise of bank transfers or investment projects or grants to civil society organizations. It has been confirmed that Tehran-backed armed groups present in southern, central and northern Iraq are dealing with specific banks in these areas and receive their funds facilitated by the Da’awa Party. By consistently thinking of Maliki as a Shi’ite rather than an Iraqi Arab, American officials overlooked opportunities that once existed in Iraq but are now gone. Thanks to their own flawed policies, the Iraq they left behind is more similar to the desperate and divided country of 2006 than to the optimistic Iraq of early 2009. When American forces withdrew from Iraq at the end of last year, it was thought that they would be leaving behind a country that was politically unstable, increasingly volatile, and at risk of descending into the sort of sectarian fighting that killed thousands in 2006 and 2007. Nothing like this actually happened or will happen; instead we see Iraq falling under the full control of Iran. It is controlled by Iran’s embassy in Baghdad and its many consulates in other Iraqi cities. From a strategic standpoint, one can say that Iraq, with all its territory and capabilities, has become Iran’s strategic depth, supplementing its regional expansion. 

Iran controls the political decision-making and economy of Iraq. For all of its potential, Iraq has become merely an advanced strategic base for Iran. Iran may want to strike Israel via Hezbollah, and Iraq, due to its geographical location and the nature of the ruling powers, will be a key player in this regard. 

This is especially true when we observe in Iraq today that there is education, promoted by the Shi’ite parties linked to Iran, saying that the expulsion of Jews from the land of Palestine will be only at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It should also be noted that Iran is not crazy enough to attack the Gulf States and risk losing its legitimacy, as happened with Iraq when it invaded Kuwait. Iran must not be seen attacking Muslim states, which will antagonize the Muslim world. Iran will certainly target Israel first; this is the issue, aided by warmongering media campaigns, that would garner sympathy for Iran among the ignorant people of the Islamic world.[source]

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Euro supercomputer has Nazi-Era ideology:IBM and the connections to the WWII Holocaust

SOURCE

updated 1 August 2010 – We are surrounded with a mass of technology, some of it is positive and we are in control of some of it, and some we are definitely not in control of. There is an Orwellian fascist dictatorship in the works and it has a plan of controlling us in the most evil, negative way imaginable. There is class of ruling financial elite, led by the BIS and IMF who are possessed by such demonic cruelty.  It is time to stamp out this global financial fascism which has been firmly on the rise, once and for all. The end of the New World Order is here.

It is important to bare in mind,  that there are many more positive, good natured people in the world. They far outnumber the negative destructive forces of global elites who were out to destroy our planet. For them, the reign of tyranny and treason is over, there are less than 8,000 worldwide.

In 2003, the American Computer Science Association announced the unanimous adoption of a resolution in rejection of IBM Corporation proposed for ACSA corporate membership. ACSA announced that further investigation of IBM’s circa 1940′s role implementing Automation Schemes and delivering IBM USA manufactured equipment custom designed to facilitate Death Camp Genocide in NAZI-Era Germany, realignment of railroads to transport more than 6,000,000 European Jews to them, and delivery of the Census Documents IBM had collected for Europe’s Governments to NAZI Germany so that the Jews could be located “efficiently” constituted conspiracy to commit the most heinous crime against humanity in the history of humanity.  Among some…..

…..2500 documents, document archives and document libraries cited in the remarkable revelation as “direct evidence of Thomas J. Watson’s and IBM Corporation’s direct involvement in Genocide, Treason and War Crimes“, the resolution condemned IBM for “illegal circumvention of American Law in profiting by and participating in the inhumane genocide and murder of 6,000,000+ during World War II, and contribution of competitive economic and military advantage through computation technology to a regime so murderous and insane that it cost the lives of over 20,000,000 Europeans, namely the regime of Adolf Hitler”.

ACSA announced that it was adding to that condemnation, a recommendation that the family of J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller Jr. be added to the list of “parties of interest” for allowing Thomas J. Watson engage in ongoing profiteering from the Hitler regime up to and during World War II, along with other Morgan and Rockefeller business interests who likewise continued to sell to NAZI Germany during WW II even after America had entered the war. Even though Rockefeller and Morgan businesses were deeply involved in helping the Allies during the War Effort, the discovery that IBM, Standard Oil and AT&T, all Morgan/Rockefeller business interests continued profiteering from the NAZI’s before and DURING WWII was, itself, very condemning of the lack of social responsibility and political disloyalty to the United States by both business organizations during WWII.

These companies are all controlled and linked to the European Central Bank, IMF, Former Nazi bank – the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), Goldman Sachs, The Rothschild Financial dynasty, the corrupt Fascist (fasces) Global Financial System and the offshore Central Mafia Bank Cartel.

The Bush family are also no strangers in financing the Nazi War effort.

After 60 years of inattention and even denial by the U.S. media, newly-uncovered government documents in The National Archives and Library of Congress reveal that Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, served as a business partner of and U.S. banking operative for the financial architect of the Nazi war machine from 1926 until 1942, when Congress took aggressive action against Bush and his “enemy national” partners.

The documents also show that Bush and his colleagues, according to reports from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, tried to conceal their financial alliance with German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, a steel and coal baron who, beginning in the mid-1920s, personally funded Adolf Hitler’s rise to power by the subversion of democratic principle and German law.

Furthermore, the declassified records demonstrate that Bush and his associates, who included E. Roland Harriman, younger brother of American icon W. Averell Harriman, and George Herbert Walker, President Bush’s maternal great-grandfather, continued their dealings with the German industrial tycoon for nearly a year after the U.S. entered the war.

TEXT OF PUBLIC CONDEMNATION:

“There is something for the organizations and families Morgan and Rockefeller to learn here from their past: that American will no longer sit by and allow it’s leading business families derive profit in a way that leads opposing military factions to engage in war against the United States of America.  That is exactly what NAZI Germany did, it had, by the time America declared war on it, infiltrated the United States with it’s spies, sank numerous American Merchant Marine Convoys, killed numerous American civilians abroad and was already planning not only the conquest of North America, but developing missiles (like the Manhattan Express V4 ICBM) to carry explosives and nuclear warheads to New York, Washington DC, and Boston, just as the war progressed to Normandy.  And all during that time IBM, Bell and Standard Oil, all Morgan Companies and Rockefeller Companies, continued to provide technology, fuel and communications through hidden or other subsidiaries to the Nazi cause. It is incumbent, in the future, for American businesses, upon determining that a customer in a foreign land is using their products and services for the purposes of making war against the United States or terrorism against American citizens and assets, cease doing business with such customers, without further ado.”

“There needs to be a line drawn that no American business cross, certainly not the Morgans and the Rockefellers, the two most power, wealthiest business families in the United States, if not the world. They must recognize themselves as abiding by the United States Constitution, or they may not be allowed to continue doing business from the United States nor claiming themselves United States Citizens.  As to their servant, Thomas J. Watson, he and his family should have their assets seized, and put to the use of compensating surviving families of the Holocaust, and IBM Corporation should be compelled to pay compensations in excess of $50 Billion to the same surviving families, for the crime they committed was a deliberate act of making Nazi Germany a more efficient Death Camp – Genocide Machine.  Even today, IBM continues to practice many of the enslavement, criminal inculpation and bias crime behavior patterns it learned prior to and during World War II and that must end for all time.  It is hard for ACSA to make these statements given IBM’s role as the key pioneer of the computer industry and one of the last survivors of the era of Mainframe technology.  Many of us worked there.  And many of us can testify to the fact that NAZI-ism, Supremacism, Anti-Semitism and Fascism do appear to exist within IBM’s inner circles. Many of us encountered it there, particularly those who are of the Jewish faith.”

ABOUT IBM AND THE HOLOCAUST

The IBM effort to help the NAZIs was described as a “precision, concisely organized effort involving a melding of IBM Headquarters System Engineering, Design Automation and Management, overseen by an exuberant Thomas J. Watson” involved day to day in efforts to maneuver around State Department investigations, setting up a hidden linkage between a newly organized Swiss subsidiary, “Watson Business Machines” (a tactic adopted by Thomas J. Watson from his former mentor, John R. Paterson of NCR) and IBM’s Dehomag Subsidiary in Nazi Germany.  Watson is said to in addition to the foregoing, to have turned over private National Census documents it collected for Countries throughout Europe and in America to Hitler, in a blatant effort to woo profitable business from Adolf Hitler: by helping Germany locate “all the Jews of Europe” from within demographics stored in the Census data of other countries who hired IBM, so that it could efficiently and proficiently using IBM Tabulation Equipment, sort, file and categorize those very Jews for extermination in the Death Camps, where IBM equipment during World War II continued to be programmed, serviced and SS Death Camp employees trained by IBM personnel, all of it designed by an IBM greedily seeking to achieve “2nd Largest Customer” status for the country of NAZI Germany, even when it was at war formally with the United States.

All the while IBM held off continued probes by the US War Department, so as to hide this illicit conspiracy with the Nazi enemy, a declared enemy who was at war with the United States and knowledge of which treason has been carefully suppressed by IBM Corporation, whom it has been clearly documented had full knowledge of the Genocide and anti-American activities that it was involved in, gleefully and with pride: leading innocent civilians to extermination in it’s profit making endeavor as a contractor to NAZI Germany.  The census data provided illegally by IBM to Nazi Germany was also used for planning invasion and occupation plans for Europe and provided key information the NAZIs could have used for similar efforts to invade the United States and organize the “Manhattan Express” missiles it was constructing at the end of the war for missile attacks on the US mainland.  The data had been gathered by IBM under contracts with the countries of Europe targeted by Adolf Hitler for invasion, as in the USA.

Citing recently released information about IBM’s knowing and enthusiastic design and automation of NAZI Death Camps during the 1940′s in Nazi Germany, and it’s possible involvement in knowingly automating organizations engaged in terror against the United States, along with their Mafia counterparts involved in the distribution of HEROIN, ACSA included a key group of reference works (below) that summarize the IBM conspiracy with NAZI Germany.  the ACSA Board of Business Ethics said that it felt study of these historical materials and the citations within them could be useful in setting future higher standards of Corporate Responsibility for America and could also prevent a repeat of past mistakes that led to the present international situation that seems to descend directly from the horrors of NAZI behavior during World War II:

TEXT OF OFFICIAL ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE BY THE ACSA:

‘The ACSA calls for Investigation and Criminal Prosecution of IBM for engaging in Treason during WWII and for acts ACCESSORY to MASS MURDER, GENOCIDE, Conspiracy to violate International Territories, the illegal theft of and provision of private census data belonging to International Nations throughout Europe to NAZI Germany, and various Crimes Against Humanity, none of which war crimes bear any known Statute of Limitations, according to legal experts consulted with by the ACSA.  ACSA condemns IBM Corporation as being a “mean spirited, anti-democracy, greed driven autocracy incapable of social or corporate responsibility.  A company that will inevitably try to reduce it’s wholehearted participation in the Nazi’s very efficient murder of 12 million Europeans, to a statement alleging falsely that the company couldn’t control what it’s technology was used for.  But the point to be considered?

‘Without IBM’s CENSUS DATABASE and the highly regimented skills of IBM NY helping them to use them and designing their installations at the Death Camps and Military Planning Centers, the Nazi’s would have had a very difficult time finding Europe’s Jews, or targeting Nations for BLITZKRIEG.  And without IBM’s Equipment orchestrated from it’s very top by Chairman and CEO Thomas J. Watson, Nazi Germany would never have been able to manage and organize the movement of 6.5 Million Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, Gays, Handicapped and the elderly and infirm, across the Polish, Romanian, Czech, Russian, French, Dutch, German, Italian and other country sides that carried them directly to their Extermination, Asset Seizure and the case of able bodied men and women, placement into slavery and being worked to near death, starvation and Exterminated.  In our view, IBM crossed the line from Corporate dispassionate sale of equipment, and delved into finding new ways to help Hitler organize the Nazi war machinery and the Nazi Death Camps, and participated in even the rates, choices and decision making processes that led to the murder by Gas Chamber, Oven, Extreme Starvation, Experimentation, Hanging and Shooting of so many Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, Gays, Handicapped and the elderly and infirm.’

”The exuberance of Thomas J. Watson and his IBM Management Team when the United States was already at war with Germany in 1944, at creating the top secret subsidiary, Watson Business Machines, to sell IBM Tab Card Equipment through Swiss and Czech and French lines of secret distribution, laundering payments through secret bank accounts back into the USA and to directly provide education, programming and even hands on design and demonstration, of equipment solely intended to catalog, sort, assay and schedule Jews and other peoples of Europe for Extermination and to install and service it in the NAZI Death Camps at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau, Berkinau and elsewhere (78 Death Camps in all) suggests that IBM and Watson intended to cause so great a massacre of innocent civilians that their second largest customer, the Country of Nazi Germany, would expand usage of their equipment drastically, simply on account of being impressed with the ruthless and sadistic nature of IBM efficiency.

That it took extreme State Department pressure to convince Watson to give the Nazi’s Adolf Hitler  back their ‘Star of Merit’ Award for his contributions to the Death Camps’ operation, suggests that Watson took extreme pleasure in achieving profits from the corpses of millions of dead Jewry and others as mentioned above.   Watson’s greatest concern was that he might offend Hitler and lose his company it’s second largest customer, right at the height of war between America and Nazi Germany. As American’s stormed the beachheads at Normandy, being mowed down by the hundred, IBM’s only concern was that it might not be able to retrieve the equipment, which was only Leased to customers at the time, were the US successful in overwhelming the Nazi War Machine.  It is unbelievable that it took until February of 2001, for documents supporting these facts to surface.”

“In our opinion, representing a polling of the membership and members of the Computer Industry, IBM Corporation should be punished very severely for it’s Treason against the United States, and for its contribution of means, methods, organization and efficiency to the operation of Genocide Death Camps, and should be deprived of economic benefits equal in some number of millions of dollars, for each person murdered in those Death Camps.  Since 6.5 Million were murdered, the economic liability to IBM greatly exceeds its foreseeable net asset-value.  Accordingly, we recommend that the US Government seize and end the company’s very existence and place it’s technological resources through distribution with other companies to manage, while permanently closing IBM’s doors and barring it’s existence for all time.  That would be sufficient minimal punishment.

If one multiplied $8 million in economic compensation “per head” for the vast number of men, women and children of all ages murdered in the Death Camps,  times 6.5 million people, that tallies to $52 Trillion Dollars in fines, which IBM in no way could every come up with.  Accordingly, seizure of the records and the assets of IBM and dissolution to the rest of the industry and contributing resulting proceeds towards organizations designed to protect human freedom, eliminate HATE and prevent repeats of NAZI Germany and the Death Camps and murder of entire religious segments like the Jewish People, would be about the only fair consequence of acts of such ghastly and grizzly Corporate Greed.  Even at this late date, a sadly bereft of compassion IBM claims that the paperback edition of Edwin Black’s controversial book on the subject, contained ‘no additional documentary proof’ over the hardcopy edition, just another callous attempt by an empty, cold hearted and mentally deluded Company to hide what should be a source for great shame: it’s utter Treason against the United States during World War II.”

“To that end, we are asking the US Government and the International War Crimes Commission to intervene, freeze IBM Corporation and it’s assets, lock down it’s records and proceed to hearings before Congress regarding how to accomplish the forgoing.  There is no possible argument in opposition, because the combination of both Treason and Genocide in the acts of one company during War is entirely inexcusable, and in our opinion, raison d’être for laws regarding such acts.  It must be that no American Business may ever be found involved in such acts of perfidy against this country and against human liberties and expect to stay in business or avoid repercussions by burying it’s crimes behind a corporate veil of supremacy and criminal legalistic political rhetoric.

Though many of us have worked for or contracted to IBM in the past at one time or other, all of us now feel extremely strongly that IBM must be made to pay the ultimate price, since it was learned lately that IBM literally caused 6,500,000 Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, Gays, the Elderly, Infirm and others to be murdered in massive fits of ghastly murderous efficiency. To IBM, disloyalty to it’s own country and countrymen in the USA and the consequential death of these 6,500,000 children, women and men, along with the other 10 million Europeans and Russians who died at the hands of the NAZI Blitzkrieg: these are only secondary matters, secondary to it’s achievement of 100% of the decided upon Sales Quotas set upon it by Mr. Thomas J. Watson, it’s Chairman, a man who shall go down in history as one of the most vicious, deluded criminals in the history of the Computer Industry, a man who truly sold his soul for a dollar, a man who should have spent the last 25 years of his life in a maximum security prison in isolation and disgrace.

No Loyal American, no person of Jewish, Catholic or Gypsy descent, of the Gay lifestyle, who is handicapped or committed to human freedom should continue in IBM employment or do business with them, for such would be an utter betrayal to all that the liberation of the Death Camps of the Holocaust represented. And even after all of what we demand be done to IBM as a War Criminal, that would not be enough.  There is no punishment strong enough for the willing organizer of technology designed solely for the purposes of orchestrating the murder of 6,500,000 innocent civilians of all ages so methodically and so horrifically.”

No punishment will ever be enough. We must stamp out fascism in the world once and for all. This ideology has infiltrated the financial system. The global elite and the New World Order are the only people who stand to gain from this ideology.

UPDATED July 13, 2003

NOTE 1: List of primary NAZI Death Camps automated with IBM Corporation equipment by Thomas J. Watson under special contracts with the NAZI regime and background data about the camps.

There is an enormous amount of information about the most horrific crime in human history may be found on the web.  For Teachers, we recommend such guides as “the Schindler’s List Teaching Guide” to the Holocaust.

Hijacked by a corporate empire called the United States (that’s right – the United States is a corporation registered in Delaware), not to be confused with the United Sates of America (the country), with a constitution and a bill of rights. The United Sates “corporation” has a president, Barry Seotoro (already given the Nobel Peace prizein advance” of creating peace) and is run financially by the Federal Reserve Bank, a private offshore banking cartel which is domiciled in Puerto Rico. It is also connected directly to the Bank of International Settlements in Switzerland which is connected to the IMF. What next, are we are going to find the a link to the missing Nazi-Era gold that wasreportedly stored under the Vatican and in secret vaults in Switzerland, the only country the IMF is not targeting right now.

We know that during the “black op” Operation Paperclip – Ratlines were used as escape routes for Nazi-Era scientists who fled to the United States and South America in 1945.
The Orion Conspiracy details technology and the origins of the Nazi-Era scientists.

The Beast is a giant super computer based in Brussels, with the capability of holding a centralized record of everybody on the planet. The three-story computer in Brussels, Belgium is described as being the brain-child of the European Common Market which stated in 1974. It is said to be “self programming” and is intended to track the buying and selling activities of every person on earth. Additionally, the system is alleged to depend on invisible tattoos on the forehead or back of the hand of each person for identity purposes. Ominously, the tattoo will be of a unique, personalized number composed of three entries of three digits each. Haven’t we seen this “all seeing eye” in action before?

It’s time to end fascism for good. It’s about time we all took responsibility put aside our differences and evolved. East and West as equals, sharing our technologies and our resources. Transcend religion and work together.

Fraud, corruption, bribes, collusion, false flags, illegal money laundering, illegal stock market trading, media manipulation, fake derivatives and more are all part of the New World Order and central banking frauds’ global portfolio of tyranny and their 47 Trillion US Dollar Endgame.

Reflections And Warnings – An Interview With Aaron Russo

In this historic final interview, filmmaker and music promoter Aaron Russo goes in depth on the insider-knowledge given to him by a member of the Rockefeller family. Russo was told, “prior to 9/11″ of plans to stage terror attacks and invent the term “terrorist attack”, use this as an excuse to invade foreign nations like Afganistan and Iraq and then kickstart a high-tech police state control grid that would track the populations’ every move with implantable RFID microchips.
This information-packed presentation is filled with never-before seen footage. Throughout the film, Alex Jones breaks down the latest activities of the New World Order and how it ties into what Russo predicted.
Aaron explains how the elite created the women’s liberation movement to break up the family and tax working women. Russo breaks down the deception of democracy, which is nothing more than mob rule guaranteed to produce tyranny.
Russo also exposes the IRS & Federal Reserve. He blasts the unconstitutional and predatory institutions that have crippled the American Republic and crushed the people with bogus taxes, inflation and loss of privacy. Russo explains that he himself was persecuted in the late 1980′s by a criminal ‘retroactive’ tax scheme that attempted to levy new taxes on years already passed.
As night falls on the Republic, Aaron Russo delivers a powerful call for the forces of liberty to rise and crush tyranny. Only then can the Republic be restored. (Bless you Aaron Russo).


The Zyrich Files : White Torture In Swiss Torture Prison


Impunity at Home, Rendition Abroad: How Both Parties Made Illegality the American Way of Life

By Alfred W. McCoy

After a decade of fiery public debate and bare-knuckle partisan brawling, the United States has stumbled toward an ad hoc bipartisan compromise over the issue of torture that
rests on two unsustainable policies: impunity at home and rendition abroad.

President Obama has closed the CIA’s “black sites,” its secret prisons where American agents once dirtied their hands with waterboarding and wall slamming. But via rendition — the sending of terrorist suspects to the prisons of countries that torture — and related policies, his administration has outsourced human rights abuse to Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere. In this way, he has avoided the political stigma of torture, while tacitly tolerating such abuses and harvesting whatever intelligence can be gained from them.

This “resolution” of the torture issue may meet the needs of this country’s deeply divided politics. It cannot, however, long satisfy an international community determined to prosecute human rights abuses through universal jurisdiction. It also runs the long-term risk of another sordid torture scandal that will further damage U.S. standing with allies worldwide.

Perfecting a New Form of Torture

The modern American urge to use torture did not, of course, begin on September 12, 2001. It has roots that reach back to the beginning of the Cold War and a human rights policy riven with contradictions. Publicly, Washington opposed torture and led the world in drafting the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Geneva Conventions in 1949. Simultaneously and secretly, however, the Central Intelligence Agency began developing ingenious new torture techniques in contravention of these same international conventions.

From 1950 to 1962, the CIA led a secret research effort to crack the code of human consciousness, a veritable Manhattan project of the mind with two findings foundational to a new form of psychological torture. In the early 1950s, while collaborating with the CIA, famed Canadian psychologist Dr. Donald Hebb discovered that, using goggles, gloves, and earmuffs, he could induce a state akin to psychosis among student volunteers by depriving them of sensory stimulation. Simultaneously, two eminent physicians at Cornell University Medical Center, also working with the Agency, found that the most devastating torture technique used by the KGB, the Soviet secret police, involved simply forcing victims to stand for days at a time, while legs swelled painfully and hallucinations began.

In 1963, after a decade of mind-control research, the CIA codified these findings in a succinct, secret instructional handbook, the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual. It became the basis for a new method of psychological torture disseminated worldwide and within the U.S. intelligence community. Avoiding direct involvement in torture, the CIA instead trained allied agencies to do its dirty work in prisons throughout the Third World, like South Vietnam’s notorious “tiger cages.”

The Korean War added a defensive dimension to this mind-control research. After harsh North Korean psychological torture forced American POWs to accuse their own country of war crimes, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered that any serviceman subject to capture be given resistance training, which the Air Force soon dubbed with the acronym SERE (for survival, evasion, resistance, escape).

Once the Cold War ended in 1990, Washington resumed its advocacy of human rights, ratifying the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1994, which banned the infliction of “severe” psychological and physical pain. The CIA ended its torture training in the Third World, and the Defense Department recalled Latin American counterinsurgency manuals that contained instructions for using harsh interrogation techniques. On the surface, then, Washington had resolved the tension between its anti-torture principles and its torture practices.

But when President Bill Clinton sent the U.N. Convention to Congress for ratification in 1994, he included language (drafted six years earlier by the Reagan administration) that contained diplomatic “reservations.” In effect, these addenda accepted the banning of physical abuse, but exempted psychological torture.

A year later, when the Clinton administration launched its covert campaign against al-Qaeda, the CIA avoided direct involvement in human rights violations by sending 70 terror suspects to allied nations notorious for physical torture. This practice, called “extraordinary rendition,” had supposedly been banned by the U.N. convention and so a new contradiction between Washington’s human rights principles and its practices was buried like a political land mine ready to detonate with phenomenal force, just 10 years later, in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Normalizing Torture

Right after his first public address to a shaken nation on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush gave his White House staff expansive secret orders for the use of harsh interrogation, adding, “I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.”

Soon after, the CIA began opening “black sites” that would in the coming years stretch from Thailand to Poland. It also leased a fleet of executive jets for the rendition of detained terrorist suspects to allied nations, and revived psychological tortures abandoned since the end of the Cold War. Indeed, the agency hired former Air Force psychologists to reverse engineer SERE training techniques, flipping them from defense to offense and thereby creating the psychological tortures that would henceforth travel far under the euphemistic label “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

In a parallel move in late 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed General Geoffrey Miller to head the new prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, and gave him broad authority to develop a total three-phase attack on the sensory receptors, cultural identity, and individual psyches of his new prisoners. After General Miller visited Abu Ghraib prison in September 2003, the U.S. commander for Iraq issued orders for the use of psychological torture in U.S. prisons in that country, including sensory disorientation, self-inflicted pain, and a recent innovation, cultural humiliation through exposure to dogs (which American believed would be psychologically devastating for Arabs). It is no accident that Private Lynndie England, a military guard at Abu Ghraib prison, was famously photographed leading a naked Iraqi detainee leashed like a dog.

Just two months after CBS News broadcast those notorious photos from Abu Ghraib in April 2004, 35% of Americans polled still felt torture was acceptable. Why were so many tolerant of torture?

One partial explanation would be that, in the years after 9/11, the mass media filled screens large and small across America with enticing images of abuse. Amid this torrent of torture simulations, two media icons served to normalize abuse for many Americans — the fantasy of the “ticking time bomb scenario” and the fictional hero of the Fox Television show “24,” counterterror agent Jack Bauer.

In the months after 9/11, Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz launched a multimedia campaign arguing that torture would be necessary in the event U.S. intelligence agents discovered that a terrorist had planted a ticking nuclear bomb in New York’s Times Square. Although this scenario was a fantasy whose sole foundation was an obscure academic philosophy article published back in 1973, such ticking bombs soon enough became a media trope and a persuasive reality for many Americans — particularly thanks to “24,” every segment of which began with an oversized clock ticking menacingly.

In 67 torture scenes during its first five seasons, the show portrayed agent Jack Bauer’s recourse to abuse as timely, effective, and often seductive. By its last broadcast in May 2010, the simple invocation of agent Bauer’s name had become a persuasive argument for torture used by everyone from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to ex-President Bill Clinton.

While campaigning for his wife Hillary in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Clinton typically cited “24” as a justification for allowing CIA agents, acting outside the law, to torture in extreme emergencies. “When Bauer goes out there on his own and is prepared to live with the consequences,” Clinton told Meet the Press, “it always seems to work better.”

Impunity in America

Such a normalization of “enhanced interrogation techniques” created public support for an impunity achieved by immunizing all those culpable of crimes of torture. During President Obama’s first two years in office, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz made dozens of television appearances accusing his administration of weakening America’s security by investigating CIA interrogators who had used such techniques under Bush.

Ironically, Obama’s assassination of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 provided an opening for neoconservatives to move the nation toward impunity. Forming an a cappella media chorus, former Bush administration officials appeared on television to claim, without any factual basis, that torture had somehow led the Navy SEALs to Bin Laden. Within weeks, Attorney General Eric Holder announced an end to any investigation of harsh CIA interrogations and to the possibility of bringing any of the CIA torturers to court. (Consider it striking, then, that the only “torture” case brought to court by the administration involved a former CIA agent, John Kiriakou, who had leaked the names of some torturers.)

Starting on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the country took the next step toward full impunity via a radical rewriting of the past. In a memoir published on August 30, 2011, Dick Cheney claimed the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on an al-Qaeda leader named Abu Zubaydah had turned this hardened terrorist into a “fount of information” and saved “thousands of lives.”

Just two weeks later, on September 12, 2011, former FBI counterterror agent Ali Soufan released his own memoirs, stating that he was the one who started the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah back in 2002, using empathetic, non-torture techniques that quickly gained “important actionable intelligence” about “the role of KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] as the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.”

Angered by the FBI’s success, CIA director George Tenet dispatched his own interrogators from Washington led by Dr. James Mitchell, the former SERE psychologist who had developed the agency’s harsh “enhanced techniques.” As the CIA team moved up the “force continuum” from “low-level sleep deprivation” to nudity, noise barrage, and the use of a claustrophobic confinement box, Dr. Mitchell’s harsh methods got “no information.”

By contrast, at each step in this escalating abuse, Ali Soufan was brought back for more quiet questioning in Arabic that coaxed out all the valuable intelligence Zubaydah had to offer. The results of this ad hoc scientific test were blindingly clear: FBI empathy was consistently effective, while CIA coercion proved counterproductive.

But this fundamental yet fragile truth has been obscured by CIA censorship and neoconservative casuistry. Cheney’s secondhand account completely omitted the FBI presence. Moreover, the CIA demanded 181 pages of excisions from Ali Soufan’s memoirs that reduced his chapters about this interrogation experience to a maze of blackened lines no regular reader can understand.

The agency’s attempt to rewrite the past has continued into the present. Just last April, Jose Rodriguez, former chief of CIA Clandestine Services, published his uncensored memoirs under the provocative title Hard Measures: How Aggressive C.I.A. Actions after 9/11 Saved American Lives. In a promotional television interview, he called FBI claims of success with empathetic methods “bullshit.”

With the past largely rewritten to assure Americans that the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” had worked, the perpetrators of torture were home free and the process of impunity and immunity established for future use.

Rendition Under Obama

Apart from these Republican pressures, President Obama’s own aggressive views on national security have contributed to an undeniable continuity with many of his predecessor’s most controversial policies. Not only has he preserved the controversial military commissions at Guantanamo and fought the courts to block civil suits against torture perpetrators, he has, above all, authorized continuing CIA rendition flights.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama went beyond any other candidate in offering unqualified opposition to both direct and indirect U.S. involvement in torture. “We have to be clear and unequivocal. We do not torture, period,” he said, adding, “That will be my position as president. That includes, by the way, renditions.”

Only days after his January 2009 inauguration, Obama issued a dramatic executive order ending the CIA’s coercive techniques, but it turned out to include a large loophole that preserved the agency’s role in extraordinary renditions. Amid his order’s ringing rhetoric about compliance with the Geneva conventions and assuring “humane treatment of individuals in United States custody,” the president issued a clear and unequivocal order that “the CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.” But when the CIA’s counsel objected that this blanket prohibition would also “take us out of the rendition business,” Obama added a footnote with a small but significant qualification: “The terms ‘detention facilities’ and ‘detention facility’ in… this order do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.” Through the slippery legalese of this definition, Obama thus allowed the CIA continue its rendition flights of terror suspects to allied nations for possible torture.

Moreover, in February 2009, Obama’s incoming CIA director Leon Panetta announced that the agency would indeed continue the practice “in renditions where we returned an individual to the jurisdiction of another country, and they exercised their rights… to prosecute him under their laws. I think,” he added, ignoring the U.N. anti-torture convention’s strict conditions for this practice, “that is an appropriate use of rendition.”

As the CIA expanded covert operations inside Somalia under Obama, its renditions of terror suspects from neighboring East African nations continued just as they had under Bush. In July 2009, for example, Kenyan police snatched an al-Qaeda suspect, Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan, from a Nairobi slum and delivered him to that city’s airport for a CIA flight to Mogadishu. There he joined dozens of prisoners grabbed off the streets of Kenya inside “The Hole” — a filthy underground prison buried in the windowless basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency. While Somali guards (paid for with U.S. funds) ran the prison, CIA operatives, reported the Nation’s Jeremy Scahill, have open access for extended interrogation.

Obama also allowed the continuation of a policy adopted after the Abu Ghraib scandal: outsourcing incarceration to local allies in Afghanistan and Iraq while ignoring human rights abuses there. Although the U.S. military received 1,365 reports about the torture of detainees by Iraqi forces between May 2004 and December 2009, a period that included Obama’s first full year in office, American officers refused to take action, even though the abuses reported were often extreme.

Simultaneously, Washington’s Afghan allies increasingly turned to torture after the Abu Ghraib scandal prompted U.S. officials to transfer most interrogation to local authorities. After interviewing 324 detainees held by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) in 2011, the U.N. found that “torture is practiced systematically in a number of NDS detention facilities throughout Afghanistan.” At the Directorate’s prison in Kandahar one interrogator told a detainee before starting to torture him, “You should confess what you have done in the past as Taliban; even stones confess here.”

Although such reports prompted both British and Canadian forces to curtail prisoner transfers, the U.S. military continues to turn over detainees to Afghan authorities — a policy that, commented the New York Times, “raises serious questions about potential complicity of American officials.”

How to Unclog the System of Justice One Drone at a Time

After a decade of intense public debate over torture, in the last two years the United States has arrived at a questionable default political compromise: impunity at home, rendition abroad.

This resolution does not bode well for future U.S. leadership of an international community determined to end the scourge of torture. Italy’s prosecution of two-dozen CIA agents for rendition in 2009, Poland’s recent indictment of its former security chief for facilitating a CIA black site, and Britain’s ongoing criminal investigation of intelligence officials who collaborated with alleged torture at Guantanamo are harbingers of continuing pressures on the U.S. to comply with international standards for human rights.

Meanwhile, unchecked by any domestic or international sanction, Washington has slid down torture’s slippery slope to find, just as the French did in Algeria during the 1950s, that at its bottom lies the moral abyss of extrajudicial execution. The systematic French torture of thousands during the Battle of Algiers in 1957 also generated over 3,000 “summary executions” to insure, as one French general put it, that “the machine of justice” not be “clogged with cases.”

In an eerie parallel, Washington has reacted to the torture scandals of the Bush era by generally forgoing arrests and opting for no-fuss aerial assassinations. From 2005 to 2012, U.S. drone killings inside Pakistan rose from zero to a total of 2,400 (and still going up) — a figure disturbingly close to those 3,000 French assassinations in Algeria. In addition, it has now been revealed that the president himself regularly orders specific assassinations by drone in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia off a secret “kill list.” Simultaneously, his administration has taken just one terror suspect into U.S. custody and has not added any new prisoners to Guantanamo, thereby avoiding any more clogging of the machinery of American justice.

Absent any searching inquiry or binding reforms, assassination is now the everyday American way of war while extraordinary renditions remain a tool of state. Make no mistake: some future torture scandal is sure to arise from another iconic dungeon in the dismal, ever-lengthening historical procession leading from the “tiger cages” of South Vietnam to “the salt pit” in Afghanistan and “The Hole” in Somalia. Next time, the world might not be so forgiving. Next time, with those images from Abu Ghraib prison etched in human memory, the damage to America’s moral authority as world leader could prove even more deep and lasting.

Alfred W. McCoy is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a TomDispatch regular, and author most recently of the book, Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation (University of Wisconsin, 2012) which explores the American experience of torture during the past decade. Previous books include: A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (American Empire Project); Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, and The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. He has also convened the “Empires in Transition” project, a global working group of 140 historians from universities on four continents. The results of their first meetings were published as Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State.


G.Bush and CIA : Getting Away With Torture (pdf report)

1 Human Rights Watch | July 2011
Summary
George Tenet asked if he had permission to use enhanced interrogation techniques, including wate rboarding, on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.…“Damn right,” I said.—Former President George W. Bush, 2010
1
There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered iswhether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.—Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, June 2008
2
Should former US President George W. Bush be investigated for authorizing “water boarding”and other abuses against detainees that the United States and scores of other countries have long recognized as torture? Should high-ranking US officials who authorized enforced disappearances of detainees and the transfer of others to countries where they were likely tobe tortured be held accountable for their actions?In 2005, Human Rights Watch’s
Getting Away with Torture
? presented substantial evidence warranting criminal investigations of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet, as well as Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, formerly the top US commander in Iraq, and Gen. Geoffrey Miller, former commander of the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.This report builds on our prior work by summarizing information that has since been made public about the role played by US government officials most responsible for setting interrogation and detention policies following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, and analyzes them under US and international law. Based on this evidence, Human Rights Watch believes there is sufficient basis for the US government to order a broad criminal investigation into alleged crimes committed in connection with the torture and ill-treatment of detainees, the CIA secret detention program, and the rendition of detainees to torture.


The Syria Case: who is doing the talking?

A nightmare is unfolding across Syria, in the homes of al-Heffa and the streets of Houla. And we all know how the story ends: with thousands of soldiers and civilians killed, towns and families destroyed, and President Assad beaten to death in a ditch.

This is the story of the Syrian war, but there is another story to be told. A tale less bloody, but nevertheless important. This is a story about the storytellers: the spokespeople, the “experts on Syria”, the “democracy activists”. The statement makers. The people who “urge” and “warn” and “call for action”.

It’s a tale about some of the most quoted members of the Syrian opposition and their connection to the Anglo-American opposition creation business. The mainstream news media have, in the main, been remarkably passive when it comes to Syrian sources: billing them simply as “official spokesmen” or “pro-democracy campaigners” without, for the most part, scrutinising their statements, their backgrounds or their political connections.

It’s important to stress: to investigate the background of a Syrian spokesperson is not to doubt the sincerity of his or her opposition to Assad. But a passionate hatred of the Assad regime is no guarantee of independence. Indeed, a number of key figures in the Syrian opposition movement are long-term exiles who were receiving US government funding to undermine the Assad government long before the Arab spring broke out.

Though it is not yet stated US government policy to oust Assad by force, these spokespeople are vocal advocates of foreign military intervention in Syria and thus natural allies of well-known US neoconservatives who supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq and are now pressuring the Obama administration to intervene. As we will see, several of these spokespeople have found support, and in some cases developed long and lucrative relationships with advocates of military intervention on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The sand is running out of the hour glass,” said Hillary Clinton on Sunday. So, as the fighting in Syria intensifies, and Russian warships set sail for Tartus, it’s high time to take a closer look at those who are speaking out on behalf of the Syrian people.
The Syrian National Council

The most quoted of the opposition spokespeople are the official representatives of the Syrian National Council. The SNC is not the only Syrian opposition group – but it is generally recognised as “the main opposition coalition” (BBC). The Washington Times describes it as “an umbrella group of rival factions based outside Syria”. Certainly the SNC is the opposition group that’s had the closest dealings with western powers – and has called for foreign intervention from the early stages of the uprising. In February of this year, at the opening of the Friends of Syria summit in Tunisia, William Hague declared: “I will meet leaders of the Syrian National Council in a few minutes’ time … We, in common with other nations, will now treat them and recognise them as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

The most senior of the SNC’s official spokespeople is the Paris-based Syrian academic Bassma Kodmani.
Bassma Kodmani
Bassma Kodmani at Bilderberg Bassma Kodmani of the Syrian National Council. Photograph: Carter Osmar

Here is Bassma Kodmani, seen leaving this year’s Bilderberg conference in Chantilly, Virginia.

Kodmani is a member of the executive bureau and head of foreign affairs, Syrian National Council. Kodmani is close to the centre of the SNC power structure, and one of the council’s most vocal spokespeople. “No dialogue with the ruling regime is possible. We can only discuss how to move on to a different political system,” she declared this week. And here she is, quoted by the newswire AFP: “The next step needs to be a resolution under Chapter VII, which allows for the use of all legitimate means, coercive means, embargo on arms, as well as the use of force to oblige the regime to comply.”

This statement translates into the headline “Syrians call for armed peacekeepers” (Australia’s Herald Sun). When large-scale international military action is being called for, it seems only reasonable to ask: who exactly is calling for it? We can say, simply, “an official SNC spokesperson,” or we can look a little closer.

This year was Kodmani’s second Bilderberg. At the 2008 conference, Kodmani was listed as French; by 2012, her Frenchness had fallen away and she was listed simply as “international” – her homeland had become the world of international relations.

Back a few years, in 2005, Kodmani was working for the Ford Foundation in Cairo, where she was director of their governance and international co-operation programme. The Ford Foundation is a vast organisation, headquartered in New York, and Kodmani was already fairly senior. But she was about to jump up a league.

Around this time, in February 2005, US-Syrian relations collapsed, and President Bush recalled his ambassador from Damascus. A lot of opposition projects date from this period. “The US money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005,” says the Washington Post.

In September 2005, Kodmani was made the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) – a research programme initiated by the powerful US lobby group, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

The CFR is an elite US foreign policy thinktank, and the Arab Reform Initiative is described on its website as a “CFR Project” . More specifically, the ARI was initiated by a group within the CFR called the “US/Middle East Project” – a body of senior diplomats, intelligence officers and financiers, the stated aim of which is to undertake regional “policy analysis” in order “to prevent conflict and promote stability”. The US/Middle East Project pursues these goals under the guidance of an international board chaired by General (Ret.) Brent Scowcroft.
Peter Sutherland Peter Sutherland pictured at the Bilderberg conference. Photograph: Hannah Borno

Brent Scowcroft (chairman emeritus) is a former national security adviser to the US president – he took over the role from Henry Kissinger. Sitting alongside Scowcroft of the international board is his fellow geo-strategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who succeeded him as the national security adviser, and Peter Sutherland, the chairman of Goldman Sachs International. So, as early as 2005, we’ve got a senior wing of the western intelligence/banking establishment selecting Kodmani to run a Middle East research project. In September of that year, Kodmani was made full-time director of the programme. Earlier in 2005, the CFR assigned “financial oversight” of the project to the Centre for European Reform (CER). In come the British.

The CER is overseen by Lord Kerr, the deputy chairman of Royal Dutch Shell. Kerr is a former head of the diplomatic service and is a senior adviser at Chatham House (a thinktank showcasing the best brains of the British diplomatic establishment).

In charge of the CER on a day-to-day basis is Charles Grant, former defence editor of the Economist, and these days a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a “pan-European thinktank” packed with diplomats, industrialists, professors and prime ministers. On its list of members you’ll find the name: “Bassma Kodmani (France/Syria) – Executive Director, Arab Reform Initiative”.

Another name on the list: George Soros – the financier whose non-profit “Open Society Foundations” is a primary funding source of the ECFR. At this level, the worlds of banking, diplomacy, industry, intelligence and the various policy institutes and foundations all mesh together, and there, in the middle of it all, is Kodmani.

The point is, Kodmani is not some random “pro-democracy activist” who happens to have found herself in front of a microphone. She has impeccable international diplomacy credentials: she holds the position of research director at the Académie Diplomatique Internationale – “an independent and neutral institution dedicated to promoting modern diplomacy”. The Académie is headed by Jean-Claude Cousseran, a former head of the DGSE – the French foreign intelligence service.

A picture is emerging of Kodmani as a trusted lieutenant of the Anglo-American democracy-promotion industry. Her “province of origin” (according to the SNC website) is Damascus, but she has close and long-standing professional relationships with precisely those powers she’s calling upon to intervene in Syria.

And many of her spokesmen colleagues are equally well-connected.
Radwan Ziadeh

Another often quoted SNC representative is Radwan Ziadeh – director of foreign relations at the Syrian National Council. Ziadeh has an impressive CV: he’s a senior fellow at the federally funded Washington thinktank, the US Institute of Peace (the USIP Board of Directors is packed with alumni of the defence department and the national security council; its president is Richard Solomon, former adviser to Kissinger at the NSC).

In February this year, Ziadeh joined an elite bunch of Washington hawks to sign a letter calling upon Obama to intervene in Syria: his fellow signatories include James Woolsey (former CIA chief), Karl Rove (Bush Jr’s handler), Clifford May (Committee on the Present Danger) and Elizabeth Cheney, former head of the Pentagon’s Iran-Syria Operations Group.

Ziadeh is a relentless organiser, a blue-chip Washington insider with links to some of the most powerful establishment thinktanks. Ziadeh’s connections extend all the way to London. In 2009 he became a visiting fellow at Chatham House, and in June of last year he featured on the panel at one of their events – “Envisioning Syria’s Political Future” – sharing a platform with fellow SNC spokesman Ausama Monajed (more on Monajed below) and SNC member Najib Ghadbian.

Ghadbian was identified by the Wall Street Journal as an early intermediary between the US government and the Syrian opposition in exile: “An initial contact between the White House and NSF [National Salvation Front] was forged by Najib Ghadbian, a University of Arkansas political scientist.” This was back in 2005. The watershed year.

These days, Ghadbian is a member of the general secretariat of the SNC, and is on the advisory board of a Washington-based policy body called the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS) – an organisation co-founded by Ziadeh.

Ziadeh has been making connections like this for years. Back in 2008, Ziadeh took part in a meeting of opposition figures in a Washington government building: a mini-conference called “Syria In-Transition”. The meeting was co-sponsored by a US-based body called the Democracy Council and a UK-based organisation called the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD). It was a big day for the MJD – their chairman, Anas Al-Abdah, had travelled to Washington from Britain for the event, along with their director of public relations. Here, from the MJD’s website, is a description of the day: “The conference saw an exceptional turn out as the allocated hall was packed with guests from the House of Representatives and the Senate, representatives of studies centres, journalists and Syrian expatriats [sic] in the USA.”

The day opened with a keynote speech by James Prince, head of the Democracy Council. Ziadeh was on a panel chaired by Joshua Muravchik (the ultra-interventionist author of the 2006 op-ed “Bomb Iran”). The topic of the discussion was “The Emergence of Organized Opposition”. Sitting beside Ziadeh on the panel was the public relations director of the MJD – a man who would later become his fellow SNC spokesperson – Ausama Monajed.
Ausama Monajed

Along with Kodmani and Ziadeh, Ausama (or sometimes Osama) Monajed is one of the most important SNC spokespeople. There are others, of course – the SNC is a big beast and includes the Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition to Assad is wide-ranging, but these are some of the key voices. There are other official spokespeople with long political careers, like George Sabra of the Syrian Democratic People’s party – Sabra has suffered arrest and lengthy imprisonment in his fight against the “repressive and totalitarian regime in Syria”. And there are other opposition voices outside the SNC, such as the writer Michel Kilo, who speaks eloquently of the violence tearing apart his country: “Syria is being destroyed – street after street, city after city, village after village. What kind of solution is that? In order for a small group of people to remain in power, the whole country is being destroyed.”
Ausuma Monajed Ausuma Monajed. Photograph: BBC

But there’s no doubt that the primary opposition body is the SNC, and Kodmani, Ziadeh and Monajed are often to be found representing it. Monajed frequently crops up as a commentator on TV news channels. Here he is on the BBC, speaking from their Washington bureau. Monajed doesn’t sugar-coat his message: “We are watching civilians being slaughtered and kids being slaughtered and killed and women being raped on the TV screens every day.”

Meanwhile, over on Al Jazeera, Monajed talks about “what’s really happening, in reality, on the ground” – about “the militiamen of Assad” who “come and rape their women, slaughter their children, and kill their elderly”.

Monajed turned up, just a few days ago, as a blogger on Huffington Post UK, where he explained, at length: “Why the World Must Intervene in Syria” – calling for “direct military assistance” and “foreign military aid”. So, again, a fair question might be: who is this spokesman calling for military intervention?

Monajed is a member of the SNC, adviser to its president, and according to his SNC biography, “the Founder and Director of Barada Television”, a pro-opposition satellite channel based in Vauxhall, south London. In 2008, a few months after attending Syria In-Transition conference, Monajed was back in Washington, invited to lunch with George W Bush, along with a handful of other favoured dissidents (you can see Monajed in the souvenir photo, third from the right, in the red tie, near Condoleezza Rice – up the other end from Garry Kasparov).

At this time, in 2008, the US state department knew Monajed as “director of public relations for the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD), which leads the struggle for peaceful and democratic change in Syria”.

Let’s look closer at the MJD. Last year, the Washington Post picked up a story from WikiLeaks, which had published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables. These cables appear to show a remarkable flow of money from the US state department to the British-based Movement for Justice and Development. According to the Washington Post’s report: “Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified US diplomatic cables show that the state department has funnelled as much as $6m to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.”

A state department spokesman responded to this story by saying: “Trying to promote a transformation to a more democratic process in this society is not undermining necessarily the existing government.” And they’re right, it’s not “necessarily” that.

When asked about the state department money, Monajed himself said that he “could not confirm” US state department funding for Barada TV, but said: “I didn’t receive a penny myself.” Malik al -Abdeh, until very recently Barada TV’s editor-in-chief insisted: “we have had no direct dealings with the US state department”. The meaning of the sentence turns on that word “direct”. It is worth noting that Malik al Abdeh also happens to be one of the founders of the Movement for Justice and Development (the recipient of the state department $6m, according to the leaked cable). And he’s the brother of the chairman, Anas Al-Abdah. He’s also the co-holder of the MJD trademark: What Malik al Abdeh does admit is that Barada TV gets a large chunk of its funding from an American non-profit organisation: the Democracy Council. One of the co-sponsors (with the MJD) of Syria In-Transition mini-conference. So what we see, in 2008, at the same meeting, are the leaders of precisely those organisations identified in the Wiki:eaks cables as the conduit (the Democracy Council) and recipient (the MJD) of large amounts of state department money.

The Democracy Council (a US-based grant distributor) lists the state department as one of its sources of funding. How it works is this: the Democracy Council serves as a grant-administering intermediary between the state department’s “Middle East Partnership Initiative” and “local partners” (such as Barada TV). As the Washington Post reports:

“Several US diplomatic cables from the embassy in Damascus reveal that the Syrian exiles received money from a State Department program called the Middle East Partnership Initiative. According to the cables, the State Department funnelled money to the exile group via the Democracy Council, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit.”

The same report highlights a 2009 cable from the US Embassy in Syria that says that the Democracy Council received $6.3m from the state department to run a Syria-related programme, the “Civil Society Strengthening Initiative”. The cable describes this as “a discrete collaborative effort between the Democracy Council and local partners” aimed at producing, amongst other things, “various broadcast concepts.” According to the Washington Post: “Other cables make clear that one of those concepts was Barada TV.”

Until a few months ago, the state department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative was overseen by Tamara Cofman Wittes (she’s now at the Brookings Institution – an influential Washington thinktank). Of MEPI, she said that it “created a positive ‘brand’ for US democracy promotion efforts”. While working there she declared: “There are a lot of organizations in Syria and other countries that are seeking changes from their government … That’s an agenda that we believe in and we’re going to support.” And by support, she means bankroll.
The money

This is nothing new. Go back a while to early 2006, and you have the state department announcing a new “funding opportunity” called the “Syria Democracy Program”. On offer, grants worth “$5m in Federal Fiscal Year 2006”. The aim of the grants? “To accelerate the work of reformers in Syria.”

These days, the cash is flowing in faster than ever. At the beginning of June 2012, the Syrian Business Forum was launched in Doha by opposition leaders including Wael Merza (SNC secretary general). “This fund has been established to support all components of the revolution in Syria,” said Merza. The size of the fund? Some $300m. It’s by no means clear where the money has come from, although Merza “hinted at strong financial support from Gulf Arab states for the new fund” (Al Jazeera). At the launch, Merza said that about $150m had already been spent, in part on the Free Syrian Army.

Merza’s group of Syrian businessmen made an appearance at a World Economic Forum conference titled the “Platform for International Co-operation” held in Istanbul in November 2011. All part of the process whereby the SNC has grown in reputation, to become, in the words of William Hague, “a legitimate representative of the Syrian people” – and able, openly, to handle this much funding.

Building legitimacy – of opposition, of representation, of intervention – is the essential propaganda battle.

In a USA Today op-ed written in February this year, Ambassador Dennis Ross declared: “It is time to raise the status of the Syrian National Council”. What he wanted, urgently, is “to create an aura of inevitability about the SNC as the alternative to Assad.” The aura of inevitability. Winning the battle in advance.

A key combatant in this battle for hearts and minds is the American journalist and Daily Telegraph blogger, Michael Weiss.
Michael Weiss

One of the most widely quoted western experts on Syria – and an enthusiast for western intervention – Michael Weiss echoes Ambassador Ross when he says: “Military intervention in Syria isn’t so much a matter of preference as an inevitability.”

Some of Weiss’s interventionist writings can be found on a Beirut-based, Washington-friendly website called “NOW Lebanon” – whose “NOW Syria” section is an important source of Syrian updates. NOW Lebanon was set up in 2007 by Saatchi & Saatchi executive Eli Khoury. Khoury has been described by the advertising industry as a “strategic communications specialist, specialising in corporate and government image and brand development”.

Weiss told NOW Lebanon, back in May, that thanks to the influx of weapons to Syrian rebels “we’ve already begun to see some results.” He showed a similar approval of military developments a few months earlier, in a piece for the New Republic: “In the past several weeks, the Free Syrian Army and other independent rebel brigades have made great strides” – whereupon, as any blogger might, he laid out his “Blueprint for a Military Intervention in Syria”.

But Weiss is not only a blogger. He’s also the director of communications and public relations at the Henry Jackson Society, an ultra-ultra-hawkish foreign policy thinktank.

The Henry Jackson Society’s international patrons include: James “ex-CIA boss” Woolsey, Michael “homeland security” Chertoff, William “PNAC” Kristol, Robert “PNAC” Kagan’, Joshua “Bomb Iran” Muravchick, and Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle. The Society is run by Alan Mendoza, chief adviser to the all-party parliamentary group on transatlantic and international security.

The Henry Jackson Society is uncompromising in its “forward strategy” towards democracy. And Weiss is in charge of the message. The Henry Jackson Society is proud of its PR chief’s far-reaching influence: “He is the author of the influential report “Intervention in Syria? An Assessment of Legality, Logistics and Hazards”, which was repurposed and endorsed by the Syrian National Council.”

Weiss’s original report was re-named “Safe Area for Syria” – and ended up on the official syriancouncil.org website, as part of their military bureau’s strategic literature. The repurposing of the HJS report was undertaken by the founder and executive director of the Strategic Research and Communication Centre (SRCC) – one Ausama Monajed.

So, the founder of Barada TV, Ausama Monajed, edited Weiss’s report, published it through his own organisation (the SRCC) and passed it on to the Syrian National Council, with the support of the Henry Jackson Society.

The relationship couldn’t be closer. Monajed even ends up handling inquiries for “press interviews with Michael Weiss”. Weiss is not the only strategist to have sketched out the roadmap to this war (many thinktanks have thought it out, many hawks have talked it up), but some of the sharpest detailing is his.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

The justification for the “inevitable” military intervention is the savagery of President Assad’s regime: the atrocities, the shelling, the human rights abuses. Information is crucial here, and one source above all has been providing us with data about Syria. It is quoted at every turn: “The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA [Voice of America] that fighting and shelling killed at least 12 people in Homs province.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is commonly used as a standalone source for news and statistics. Just this week, news agency AFP carried this story: “Syrian forces pounded Aleppo and Deir Ezzor provinces as at least 35 people were killed on Sunday across the country, among them 17 civilians, a watchdog reported.” Various atrocities and casualty numbers are listed, all from a single source: “Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by phone.”

Statistic after horrific statistic pours from “the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” (AP). It’s hard to find a news report about Syria that doesn’t cite them. But who are they? “They” are Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdel Rahman), who lives in Coventry.

According to a Reuters report in December of last year: “When he isn’t fielding calls from international media, Abdulrahman is a few minutes down the road at his clothes shop, which he runs with his wife.”

When the Guardian’s Middle East live blog cited “Rami Abdul-Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” it also linked to a sceptical article in the Modern Tokyo Times – an article which suggested news outlets could be a bit “more objective about their sources” when quoting “this so-called entity”, the SOHR.

That name, the “Syrian Observatory of Human Rights”, sound so grand, so unimpeachable, so objective. And yet when Abdulrahman and his “Britain-based NGO” (AFP/NOW Lebanon) are the sole source for so many news stories about such an important subject, it would seem reasonable to submit this body to a little more scrutiny than it’s had to date.

The Observatory is by no means the only Syrian news source to be quoted freely with little or no scrutiny …
Hamza Fakher

The relationship between Ausama Monajed, the SNC, the Henry Jackson hawks and an unquestioning media can be seen in the case of Hamza Fakher. On 1 January, Nick Cohen wrote in the Observer: “To grasp the scale of the barbarism, listen to Hamza Fakher, a pro-democracy activist, who is one of the most reliable sources on the crimes the regime’s news blackout hides.”

He goes on to recount Fakher’s horrific tales of torture and mass murder. Fakher tells Cohen of a new hot-plate torture technique that he’s heard about: “imagine all the melting flesh reaching the bone before the detainee falls on the plate”. The following day, Shamik Das, writing on “evidence-based” progressive blog Left Foot Forward, quotes the same source: “Hamza Fakher, a pro-democracy activist, describes the sickening reality …” – and the account of atrocities given to Cohen is repeated.

So, who exactly is this “pro-democracy activist”, Hamza Fakher?

Fakher, it turns out, is the co-author of Revolution in Danger , a “Henry Jackson Society Strategic Briefing”, published in February of this year. He co-wrote this briefing paper with the Henry Jackson Society’s communications director, Michael Weiss. And when he’s not co-writing Henry Jackson Society strategic briefings, Fakher is the communication manager of the London-based Strategic Research and Communication Centre (SRCC). According to their website, “He joined the centre in 2011 and has been in charge of the centre’s communication strategy and products.”

As you may recall, the SRCC is run by one Ausama Monajed: “Mr Monajed founded the centre in 2010. He is widely quoted and interviewed in international press and media outlets. He previously worked as communication consultant in Europe and the US and formerly served as the director of Barada Television …”.

Monajed is Fakher’s boss.

If this wasn’t enough, for a final Washington twist, on the board of the Strategic Research and Communication Centre sits Murhaf Jouejati, a professor at the National Defence University in DC – “the premier center for Joint Professional Military Education (JPME)” which is “under the direction of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

If you happen to be planning a trip to Monajed’s “Strategic Research and Communication Centre”, you’ll find it here: Strategic Research & Communication Centre, Office 36, 88-90 Hatton Garden, Holborn, London EC1N 8PN.

Office 36 at 88-90 Hatton Garden is also where you’ll find the London headquarters of The Fake Tan Company, Supercar 4 U Limited, Moola loans (a “trusted loans company”), Ultimate Screeding (for all your screeding needs), and The London School of Attraction – “a London-based training company which helps men develop the skills and confidence to meet and attract women.” And about a hundred other businesses besides. It’s a virtual office. There’s something oddly appropriate about this. A “communication centre” that doesn’t even have a centre – a grand name but no physical substance.

That’s the reality of Hamza Fakher. On 27 May, Shamik Das of Left Foot Forward quotes again from Fakher’s account of atrocities, which he now describes as an “eyewitness account” (which Cohen never said it was) and which by now has hardened into “the record of the Assad regime”.

So, a report of atrocities given by a Henry Jackson Society strategist, who is the communications manager of Mosafed’s PR department, has acquired the gravitas of a historical “record”.

This is not to suggest that the account of atrocities must be untrue, but how many of those who give it currency are scrutinising its origins?

And let’s not forget, whatever destabilisation has been done in the realm of news and public opinion is being carried out twofold on the ground. We already know that (at the very least) “the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department … are helping the opposition Free Syrian Army develop logistical routes for moving supplies into Syria and providing communications training.”

The bombs doors are open. The plans have been drawn up.

This has been brewing for a time. The sheer energy and meticulous planning that’s gone into this change of regime – it’s breathtaking. The soft power and political reach of the big foundations and policy bodies is vast, but scrutiny is no respecter of fancy titles and fellowships and “strategy briefings”. Executive director of what, it asks. Having “democracy” or “human rights” in your job title doesn’t give you a free pass.

And if you’re a “communications director” it means your words should be weighed extra carefully. Weiss and Fakher, both communications directors – PR professionals. At the Chatham House event in June 2011, Monajed is listed as: “Ausama Monajed, director of communications, National Initiative for Change” and he was head of PR for the MJD. The creator of the news website NOW Lebanon, Eli Khoury, is a Saatchi advertising executive. These communications directors are working hard to create what Tamara Wittes called a “positive brand”.

They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change, and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.

But it’s never too late to ask questions, to scrutinise sources. Asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad – that’s a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin. The good news is, there’s a sceptic born every minute. Source


Monsanto Employees in the Halls of Government

 

16 February 12

For years, there’s been an open revolving door in Washington – sending workers from the Federal government to Monsanto and Monsanto back to the Federal government. This has a tendency to make people question the fairness and objectivity of the folks who are supposed to be overseeing the giant agricultural corporation.

Bovine growth hormone (rGBH)

When Monsanto got approval for use of its artificial bovine growth hormone in milk, the person in charge of preparing the report at Monsanto was Margaret Miller. Later, the person in charge of receiving the report and evaluating it was… Margaret Miller, by then Deputy Director of Human Safety and Consultative Services in the office overseeing the process..

Michael R Taylor, started off as a partner at the law firm that represented Monsanto on GBH issues. Then, as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy, he wrote the FDA’s rBGH labelling guidelines – the ones that insisted there was no difference between rGBH and regular milk. He also deleted references to problems with GMO foods, over the objection of staff scientists. Then he spent a few years working directly for Monsanto. And now? Barak Obama brought him back to the FDA to oversee Monsanto again, as his food safety issues czar!

Opening up foreign markets to GMOs

As long as Europe and other countries reject Genetically Modified (GMO) food, Monsanto has limited markets. Big Ag wanted someone who would push their issues as trade negotiator, and President Obama nominated Islam “Isi” Siddiqui, the vice president for science and regulatory affairs at at CropLife America, the U.S. agricultural/chemical industry trade group. Its members include Dow AgroSciences LLC, DuPont Crop Protection, and of course, Monsanto. Before that he was a senior trade advisor to Bill Clinton’s USDA.

GMO alfalfa

As a young lawyer, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas worked for Monsanto. When the Supreme Court ruled recently on Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa, Thomas was one of the votes in favor of his old boss. He didn’t even consider recusing himself –  although to be fair, the obvious conflict of interest probably wouldn’t have changed his vote, since Thomas would have voted the same way in favor of ANY large corporation.

GMO corn

How to get your GMO corn approved? First, Monsanto hired Linda J Fisher, who had served for 10 years as Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. Good person to have on your team – as your Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, heading up Monsanto’s Washington lobbying operation. And then – send her back into government, as the second in command at George W. Bush’s EPA.

And it goes on and on:

  • Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto-funded Danforth Plant Science Center, is now Obama’s director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture – responsible for a $500 million research budget.
  • Ramona Romero, corporate counsel to Monsanto’s chief GMO rival Dupont, is Obama’s general counsel for the USDA.
  • Bush’s Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman was a long-time proponent of big ag and free trade. She served on the board of directors of Calgene, one of the first companies to market GMO food (the failed Flavr Savr tomato) an affiliate of Monsanto which was later purchased by Monsanto. During the 2008 campaign when Obama was considering naming a Republican as his  Vuce President pick (to show how bi-partisan he is), Veneman was one of the choices he considered. (Note – this story has been updated to reflect the fact that at the time Ann Veneman served on the board of Calgene, it had not yet been purchased by Monsanto.)

Source: Red Green & Blue (http://s.tt/12Ao8)


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