Conference to Lay Plans to Prosecute High Level US War Criminals

Conference to Lay Plans to Prosecute High Level

US War Criminals



A two-day conference on obtaining prosecutions of high level American war criminals will open September 13th, in Andover, Mass. The conference will explore the legal grounds for, and plan for, obtaining prosecutions of President Bush and top officials of his Administration for war crimes.

In the tradition of America’s Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials after World War II, Justice Robert Jackson, the Conference’s purpose is “to hold high U.S. officials accountable in courts of law and, if guilt is found, to obtain appropriate punishments. Otherwise,” said the Conference’s convener, Lawrence Velvel, “the future will be threatened by additional examples of Executive lawlessness by leaders who need fear no personal consequences” for their actions, leading to “the possibility of more Viet Nams, more Iraqs, and more repression.”

Velvel emphasized, “This is intended to be a planning conference, one at which plans will be laid, and necessary organizational structures will be set up, to seek prosecutions to determine guilt and, if guilt is found, appropriate punishments.”

Attendees will hear from prominent authorities on international law, criminal prosecutions, and constitutional rights who are determined to give meaning to Justice Jackson’s words: “The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.”

Topics to be discussed, Velvel said, include:

# What international and domestic crimes were committed, which facts show crimes under which laws, and what punishments are possible.

# Which high level Executive officials — and Federal judges and legislators as well, if any — are chargeable with crimes.

# Which international tribunals, foreign tribunals and domestic tribunals (if any) can be used and how to begin cases and/or obtain prosecutions before them.

# The possibility of establishing a Chief Prosecutor’s Office such as the one at Nuremburg.

# An examination of cases already brought and their outcomes.

# Creating an umbrella Coordinating Committee with representatives from the increasing number of organizations involved in war crimes cases.

# Creating a Center to keep track of and organize compilations of relevant briefs, articles, books, opinions, and facts, etc., on war crimes and prosecutions of war criminals.

Scheduled to address the Conference are:

# Famed former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, author of the best-selling “The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder”(Vanguard).

# Phillippe Sands, Professor of Law and Director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals at University College, London . He is the author of “Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values” (Penguin/Palgrave Macmillan), among other works.

# Jordan Paust, Professor of Law at the University of Houston and author of “Beyond The Law.”

# Ann Wright, a former U.S. Army colonel and U.S. Foreign Service official who holds a State Department Award for Heroism and who taught the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare at the Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg, N.C. She is the coauthor of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”

# Peter Weiss, Vice President of the Center For Constitutional Rights, which was recently involved with war crimes complaints filed in Germany and France against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others.

# Benjamin Davis, Associate Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law and former American Legal Counsel for the Secretariat of the International Court of Arbitration.

# David Lindorff, journalist and co-author with Barbara Olshansky of “The Case for Impeachment: Legal Arguments for Removing President George W. Bush from Office”(St. Martin ’s Press).

# Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, and the U.S. implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

# Lawrence Velvel, a leader in the field of law school education reform, has written numerous internet articles on issues relevant to the conference.

Legal authorities, media representatives, and the general public are invited to attend the conference. Attendees will receive a special hotel rate of $99 per night.

Andover is nearly equidistant from both Boston’s Logan Airport , served by all major airlines, and the Manchester , N.H. , Airport, served by Southwest Airlines and USAir.

Further Information: Jeff Demers (see above) or Sherwood Ross, Ross Associates, Suite 403, 102 S.W. 6th Ave., Miami, FL 33130 or

The Military-Industrial Complex

The Military-Industrial Complex

It’s Much Later Than You Think

By Chalmers JohnsonMost Americans have a rough idea what the term “military-industrial complex” means when they come across it in a newspaper or hear a politician mention it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the idea to the public in his farewell address of January 17, 1961. “Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime,” he said, “or indeed by the fighting men of World War II and Korea… We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions… We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications… We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

Although Eisenhower’s reference to the military-industrial complex is, by now, well-known, his warning against its “unwarranted influence” has, I believe, largely been ignored. Since 1961, there has been too little serious study of, or discussion of, the origins of the military-industrial complex, how it has changed over time, how governmental secrecy has hidden it from oversight by members of Congress or attentive citizens, and how it degrades our Constitutional structure of checks and balances.

From its origins in the early 1940s, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was building up his “arsenal of democracy,” down to the present moment, public opinion has usually assumed that it involved more or less equitable relations — often termed a “partnership” — between the high command and civilian overlords of the United States military and privately-owned, for-profit manufacturing and service enterprises. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that, from the time they first emerged, these relations were never equitable.

In the formative years of the military-industrial complex, the public still deeply distrusted privately owned industrial firms because of the way they had contributed to the Great Depression. Thus, the leading role in the newly emerging relationship was played by the official governmental sector. A deeply popular, charismatic president, FDR sponsored these public-private relationships. They gained further legitimacy because their purpose was to rearm the country, as well as allied nations around the world, against the gathering forces of fascism. The private sector was eager to go along with this largely as a way to regain public trust and disguise its wartime profit-making.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Roosevelt’s use of public-private “partnerships” to build up the munitions industry, and thereby finally overcome the Great Depression, did not go entirely unchallenged. Although he was himself an implacable enemy of fascism, a few people thought that the president nonetheless was coming close to copying some of its key institutions. The leading Italian philosopher of fascism, the neo-Hegelian Giovanni Gentile, once argued that it should more appropriately be called “corporatism” because it was a merger of state and corporate power. (See Eugene Jarecki’s The American Way of War, p. 69.)

Some critics were alarmed early on by the growing symbiotic relationship between government and corporate officials because each simultaneously sheltered and empowered the other, while greatly confusing the separation of powers. Since the activities of a corporation are less amenable to public or congressional scrutiny than those of a public institution, public-private collaborative relationships afford the private sector an added measure of security from such scrutiny. These concerns were ultimately swamped by enthusiasm for the war effort and the postwar era of prosperity that the war produced.

Beneath the surface, however, was a less well recognized movement by big business to replace democratic institutions with those representing the interests of capital. This movement is today ascendant. (See Thomas Frank’s new book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, for a superb analysis of Ronald Reagan’s slogan “government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”) Its objectives have long been to discredit what it called “big government,” while capturing for private interests the tremendous sums invested by the public sector in national defense. It may be understood as a slow-burning reaction to what American conservatives believed to be the socialism of the New Deal.

Perhaps the country’s leading theorist of democracy, Sheldon S. Wolin, has written a new book, Democracy Incorporated, on what he calls “inverted totalitarianism” — the rise in the U.S. of totalitarian institutions of conformity and regimentation shorn of the police repression of the earlier German, Italian, and Soviet forms. He warns of “the expansion of private (i.e., mainly corporate) power and the selective abdication of governmental responsibility for the well-being of the citizenry.” He also decries the degree to which the so-called privatization of governmental activities has insidiously undercut our democracy, leaving us with the widespread belief that government is no longer needed and that, in any case, it is not capable of performing the functions we have entrusted to it.

Wolin writes:

“The privatization of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture, from a system in which democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributory elements, to one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled.” (p. 284)

Mercenaries at Work

The military-industrial complex has changed radically since World War II or even the height of the Cold War. The private sector is now fully ascendant. The uniformed air, land, and naval forces of the country as well as its intelligence agencies, including the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the NSA (National Security Agency), the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and even clandestine networks entrusted with the dangerous work of penetrating and spying on terrorist organizations are all dependent on hordes of “private contractors.” In the context of governmental national security functions, a better term for these might be “mercenaries” working in private for profit-making companies.

Tim Shorrock, an investigative journalist and the leading authority on this subject, sums up this situation devastatingly in his new book, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing. The following quotes are a précis of some of his key findings:

“In 2006… the cost of America’s spying and surveillance activities outsourced to contractors reached $42 billion, or about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends each year on foreign and domestic intelligence… [The] number of contract employees now exceeds [the CIA’s] full-time workforce of 17,500… Contractors make up more than half the workforce of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service (formerly the Directorate of Operations), which conducts covert operations and recruits spies abroad…”To feed the NSA’s insatiable demand for data and information technology, the industrial base of contractors seeking to do business with the agency grew from 144 companies in 2001 to more than 5,400 in 2006… At the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency in charge of launching and maintaining the nation’s photoreconnaissance and eavesdropping satellites, almost the entire workforce is composed of contract employees working for [private] companies… With an estimated $8 billion annual budget, the largest in the IC [intelligence community], contractors control about $7 billion worth of business at the NRO, giving the spy satellite industry the distinction of being the most privatized part of the intelligence community…

“If there’s one generalization to be made about the NSA’s outsourced IT [information technology] programs, it is this: they haven’t worked very well, and some have been spectacular failures… In 2006, the NSA was unable to analyze much of the information it was collecting… As a result, more than 90 percent of the information it was gathering was being discarded without being translated into a coherent and understandable format; only about 5 percent was translated from its digital form into text and then routed to the right division for analysis.

“The key phrase in the new counterterrorism lexicon is ‘public-private partnerships’… In reality, ‘partnerships’ are a convenient cover for the perpetuation of corporate interests.” (pp. 6, 13-14, 16, 214-15, 365)

Several inferences can be drawn from Shorrock’s shocking exposé. One is that if a foreign espionage service wanted to penetrate American military and governmental secrets, its easiest path would not be to gain access to any official U.S. agencies, but simply to get its agents jobs at any of the large intelligence-oriented private companies on which the government has become remarkably dependent. These include Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), with headquarters in San Diego, California, which typically pays its 42,000 employees higher salaries than if they worked at similar jobs in the government; Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the nation’s oldest intelligence and clandestine-operations contractors, which, until January 2007, was the employer of Mike McConnell, the current director of national intelligence and the first private contractor to be named to lead the entire intelligence community; and CACI International, which, under two contracts for “information technology services,” ended up supplying some two dozen interrogators to the Army at Iraq’s already infamous Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. According to Major General Anthony Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib torture and abuse scandal, four of CACI’s interrogators were “either directly or indirectly responsible” for torturing prisoners. (Shorrock, p. 281)

Remarkably enough, SAIC has virtually replaced the National Security Agency as the primary collector of signals intelligence for the government. It is the NSA’s largest contractor, and that agency is today the company’s single largest customer.

There are literally thousands of other profit-making enterprises that work to supply the government with so-called intelligence needs, sometimes even bribing Congressmen to fund projects that no one in the executive branch actually wants. This was the case with Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Republican of California’s 50th District, who, in 2006, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in federal prison for soliciting bribes from defense contractors. One of the bribers, Brent Wilkes, snagged a $9.7 million contract for his company, ADCS Inc. (“Automated Document Conversion Systems”) to computerize the century-old records of the Panama Canal dig!

A Country Drowning in Euphemisms

The United States has long had a sorry record when it comes to protecting its intelligence from foreign infiltration, but the situation today seems particularly perilous. One is reminded of the case described in the 1979 book by Robert Lindsey, The Falcon and the Snowman (made into a 1985 film of the same name). It tells the true story of two young Southern Californians, one with a high security clearance working for the defense contractor TRW (dubbed “RTX” in the film), and the other a drug addict and minor smuggler. The TRW employee is motivated to act by his discovery of a misrouted CIA document describing plans to overthrow the prime minister of Australia, and the other by a need for money to pay for his addiction.

They decide to get even with the government by selling secrets to the Soviet Union and are exposed by their own bungling. Both are sentenced to prison for espionage. The message of the book (and film) lies in the ease with which they betrayed their country — and how long it took before they were exposed and apprehended. Today, thanks to the staggering over-privatization of the collection and analysis of foreign intelligence, the opportunities for such breaches of security are widespread.

I applaud Shorrock for his extraordinary research into an almost impenetrable subject using only openly available sources. There is, however, one aspect of his analysis with which I differ. This is his contention that the wholesale takeover of official intelligence collection and analysis by private companies is a form of “outsourcing.” This term is usually restricted to a business enterprise buying goods and services that it does not want to manufacture or supply in-house. When it is applied to a governmental agency that turns over many, if not all, of its key functions to a risk-averse company trying to make a return on its investment, “outsourcing” simply becomes a euphemism for mercenary activities.

As David Bromwich, a political critic and Yale professor of literature, observed in the New York Review of Books:

“The separate bookkeeping and accountability devised for Blackwater, DynCorp, Triple Canopy, and similar outfits was part of a careful displacement of oversight from Congress to the vice-president and the stewards of his policies in various departments and agencies. To have much of the work parceled out to private companies who are unaccountable to army rules or military justice, meant, among its other advantages, that the cost of the war could be concealed beyond all detection.”

Euphemisms are words intended to deceive. The United States is already close to drowning in them, particularly new words and terms devised, or brought to bear, to justify the American invasion of Iraq — coinages Bromwich highlights like “regime change,” “enhanced interrogation techniques,” “the global war on terrorism,” “the birth pangs of a new Middle East,” a “slight uptick in violence,” “bringing torture within the law,” “simulated drowning,” and, of course, “collateral damage,” meaning the slaughter of unarmed civilians by American troops and aircraft followed — rarely — by perfunctory apologies. It is important that the intrusion of unelected corporate officials with hidden profit motives into what are ostensibly public political activities not be confused with private businesses buying Scotch tape, paper clips, or hubcaps.

The wholesale transfer of military and intelligence functions to private, often anonymous, operatives took off under Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and accelerated greatly after 9/11 under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Often not well understood, however, is this: The biggest private expansion into intelligence and other areas of government occurred under the presidency of Bill Clinton. He seems not to have had the same anti-governmental and neoconservative motives as the privatizers of both the Reagan and Bush II eras. His policies typically involved an indifference to — perhaps even an ignorance of — what was actually being done to democratic, accountable government in the name of cost-cutting and allegedly greater efficiency. It is one of the strengths of Shorrock’s study that he goes into detail on Clinton’s contributions to the wholesale privatization of our government, and of the intelligence agencies in particular.

Reagan launched his campaign to shrink the size of government and offer a large share of public expenditures to the private sector with the creation in 1982 of the “Private Sector Survey on Cost Control.” In charge of the survey, which became known as the “Grace Commission,” he named the conservative businessman, J. Peter Grace, Jr., chairman of the W.R. Grace Corporation, one of the world’s largest chemical companies — notorious for its production of asbestos and its involvement in numerous anti-pollution suits. The Grace Company also had a long history of investment in Latin America, and Peter Grace was deeply committed to undercutting what he saw as leftist unions, particularly because they often favored state-led economic development.

The Grace Commission’s actual achievements were modest. Its biggest was undoubtedly the 1987 privatization of Conrail, the freight railroad for the northeastern states. Nothing much else happened on this front during the first Bush’s administration, but Bill Clinton returned to privatization with a vengeance.

According to Shorrock:

“Bill Clinton… picked up the cudgel where the conservative Ronald Reagan left off and… took it deep into services once considered inherently governmental, including high-risk military operations and intelligence functions once reserved only for government agencies. By the end of [Clinton’s first] term, more than 100,000 Pentagon jobs had been transferred to companies in the private sector — among them thousands of jobs in intelligence… By the end of [his second] term in 2001, the administration had cut 360,000 jobs from the federal payroll and the government was spending 44 percent more on contractors than it had in 1993.” (pp. 73, 86)

These activities were greatly abetted by the fact that the Republicans had gained control of the House of Representatives in 1994 for the first time in 43 years. One liberal journalist described “outsourcing as a virtual joint venture between [House Majority Leader Newt] Gingrich and Clinton.” The right-wing Heritage Foundation aptly labeled Clinton’s 1996 budget as the “boldest privatization agenda put forth by any president to date.” (p. 87)

After 2001, Bush and Cheney added an ideological rationale to the process Clinton had already launched so efficiently. They were enthusiastic supporters of “a neoconservative drive to siphon U.S. spending on defense, national security, and social programs to large corporations friendly to the Bush administration.” (pp. 72-3)

The Privatization — and Loss — of Institutional Memory

The end result is what we see today: a government hollowed out in terms of military and intelligence functions. The KBR Corporation, for example, supplies food, laundry, and other personal services to our troops in Iraq based on extremely lucrative no-bid contracts, while Blackwater Worldwide supplies security and analytical services to the CIA and the State Department in Baghdad. (Among other things, its armed mercenaries opened fire on, and killed, 17 unarmed civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad, on September 16, 2007, without any provocation, according to U.S. military reports.) The costs — both financial and personal — of privatization in the armed services and the intelligence community far exceed any alleged savings, and some of the consequences for democratic governance may prove irreparable.

These consequences include: the sacrifice of professionalism within our intelligence services; the readiness of private contractors to engage in illegal activities without compunction and with impunity; the inability of Congress or citizens to carry out effective oversight of privately-managed intelligence activities because of the wall of secrecy that surrounds them; and, perhaps most serious of all, the loss of the most valuable asset any intelligence organization possesses — its institutional memory.

Most of these consequences are obvious, even if almost never commented on by our politicians or paid much attention in the mainstream media. After all, the standards of a career CIA officer are very different from those of a corporate executive who must keep his eye on the contract he is fulfilling and future contracts that will determine the viability of his firm. The essence of professionalism for a career intelligence analyst is his integrity in laying out what the U.S. government should know about a foreign policy issue, regardless of the political interests of, or the costs to, the major players.

The loss of such professionalism within the CIA was starkly revealed in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. It still seems astonishing that no senior official, beginning with Secretary of State Colin Powell, saw fit to resign when the true dimensions of our intelligence failure became clear, least of all Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet.

A willingness to engage in activities ranging from the dubious to the outright felonious seems even more prevalent among our intelligence contractors than among the agencies themselves, and much harder for an outsider to detect. For example, following 9/11, Rear Admiral John Poindexter, then working for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the Department of Defense, got the bright idea that DARPA should start compiling dossiers on as many American citizens as possible in order to see whether “data-mining” procedures might reveal patterns of behavior associated with terrorist activities.

On November 14, 2002, the New York Times published a column by William Safire entitled “You Are a Suspect” in which he revealed that DARPA had been given a $200 million budget to compile dossiers on 300 million Americans. He wrote, “Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every web site you visit and every e-mail you send or receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book, and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as a ‘virtual centralized grand database.'” This struck many members of Congress as too close to the practices of the Gestapo and the Stasi under German totalitarianism, and so, the following year, they voted to defund the project.

However, Congress’s action did not end the “total information awareness” program. The National Security Agency secretly decided to continue it through its private contractors. The NSA easily persuaded SAIC and Booz Allen Hamilton to carry on with what Congress had declared to be a violation of the privacy rights of the American public — for a price. As far as we know, Admiral Poindexter’s “Total Information Awareness Program” is still going strong today.

The most serious immediate consequence of the privatization of official governmental activities is the loss of institutional memory by our government’s most sensitive organizations and agencies. Shorrock concludes, “So many former intelligence officers joined the private sector [during the 1990s] that, by the turn of the century, the institutional memory of the United States intelligence community now resides in the private sector. That’s pretty much where things stood on September 11, 2001.” (p. 112)

This means that the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, and the other 13 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community cannot easily be reformed because their staffs have largely forgotten what they are supposed to do, or how to go about it. They have not been drilled and disciplined in the techniques, unexpected outcomes, and know-how of previous projects, successful and failed.

As numerous studies have, by now, made clear, the abject failure of the American occupation of Iraq came about in significant measure because the Department of Defense sent a remarkably privatized military filled with incompetent amateurs to Baghdad to administer the running of a defeated country. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (a former director of the CIA) has repeatedly warned that the United States is turning over far too many functions to the military because of its hollowing out of the Department of State and the Agency for International Development since the end of the Cold War. Gates believes that we are witnessing a “creeping militarization” of foreign policy — and, though this generally goes unsaid, both the military and the intelligence services have turned over far too many of their tasks to private companies and mercenaries.

When even Robert Gates begins to sound like President Eisenhower, it is time for ordinary citizens to pay attention. In my 2006 book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, with an eye to bringing the imperial presidency under some modest control, I advocated that we Americans abolish the CIA altogether, along with other dangerous and redundant agencies in our alphabet soup of sixteen secret intelligence agencies, and replace them with the State Department’s professional staff devoted to collecting and analyzing foreign intelligence. I still hold that position.

Nonetheless, the current situation represents the worst of all possible worlds. Successive administrations and Congresses have made no effort to alter the CIA’s role as the president’s private army, even as we have increased its incompetence by turning over many of its functions to the private sector. We have thereby heightened the risks of war by accident, or by presidential whim, as well as of surprise attack because our government is no longer capable of accurately assessing what is going on in the world and because its intelligence agencies are so open to pressure, penetration, and manipulation of every kind.

[Note to Readers: This essay focuses on the new book by Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Other books noted: Eugene Jarecki’s The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril, New York: Free Press, 2008; Thomas Frank, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008; Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.]

Chalmers Johnson is the author of three linked books on the crises of American imperialism and militarism. They are Blowback (2000), The Sorrows of Empire (2004), and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006). All are available in paperback from Metropolitan Books.

Copyright 2008 Chalmers Johnson

Think Tanks to Holding Tanks, Board Rooms to Gallows

Think Tanks to Holding Tanks,

Board Rooms to Gallows

The perversion and demise of the U.S. Republic and the global shakedown of U.S.- and Israeli-chosen enemies would not be possible without the neocon-Likudnik empire’s Propaganda Ministry.

This three-part document makes a layman’s case against the members thereof — most notably, News Corporation, The Associated Press, and the various ideological agents that are keeping media and state incestuously bonded and heading down the road to fascist self-destruction and global immolation.

Bite the Lamb; Cry Wolf

On September 6, 2007, Israeli Air Forces (IAF) jets violated Syrian airspace and destroyed a construction site which was alleged by Israeli officials to have been a nuclear facility intended for weaponization. The evidence accompanying the Israeli allegations, which was not officially put forward until months later, showed no wrongdoing on Syria’s part. That any mainstream news outlet would report the Israeli accusations without a healthy dose of skepticism would be a travesty.

But that’s just what happened: corporate news media practically parroted the U.S.-corroborated Israeli claims and omitted the exclusive criminality on the part of the accusers. The IAF raid was an act of aggressive war in gross violation of international law, and U.S. officials colluded with the Israelis; but you could go blind trying to find one mainstream news report wherein Syria’s defensive disposition or even its presumed innocence is implied, much less stated as fact.

Damascus is in good standing with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has not violated the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) — an agreement the nuclear-armed state of Israel has refused to enter, and the most indomitably-nuclear USA has serially ignored. Still, the plot has been spun around the Israeli- and U.S.-contrived threat of a nuclear-armed Syria.

How is that possible?

Nazi-German war criminal and propaganda guru, Joseph Goebbels, is often quoted on how leaders convince their subjects to believe the biggest lies in favor of the state. His instructions on the use of entertainment via theater and wireless media, to distract the captive audience from the dark cynicism of the regime’s desired ends — and techniques like repetition and omission for brainwashing purposes — have not been lost on the propagandists of the neocon-Likudnik empire.

Nine months before the Israeli-U.S. war crime against Syria, a rare news report surfaced about a campaign aimed at demonizing and overthrowing the Syrian and Iranian regimes (boldness mine):

For nearly a year, a select group of US officials has been quietly coordinating actions to counter the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, including increasing the military capabilities of Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

The group, known as the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group, or ISOG, is also coordinating a host of other actions, which include covert assistance to Iranian dissidents and building international outrage toward Iran by publicizing its alleged role in a 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina, according to interviews with half a dozen White House, Pentagon, and State Department officials who are involved in the group’s work. [1]

Government officials do not reveal illicit government plans to reporters without a hitch; hence the editor’s apple-polishing sterilization of the language. Notice that the so-called threat of a nuclear Iran and Iranian culpability in the Argentina attack are stated as facts, while the dubious legal status of the operation is omitted.

Those U.S. officials would have insisted on a “deep background” interview, or no story at all, if not for the editor’s assurance that the final draft would reflect the U.S. venture as a benign and necessary response to rogue actions of the Iranian and Syria governments. This is one way in which news media lie for the government with subtlety and plausible deniability while appearing to challenge power.

Fraudulent chicken-hawking for violent regime-change in Tehran and Damascus is nothing new for Michael Ledeen and his neocon contemporaries. One week after the above report, the co-architect of pre-invasion lies about Iraq WMDs could be found trumpeting the ISOG battle call:

[T]he only way to demonstrate a will to win is to go after the Iranians and the Syrians … God knows the evidence of Syrian involvement is overwhelming, and the latest information reportedly shows they are on both sides of the Sunni/Shiite divide. …

If we do not tackle Syria, we will simply provide the terrorists with more targets. If we do go after them, we may yet win this thing. As luck would have it, this is the ideal moment to go after the Iranians, since their supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is either dead or dying, and a vicious internal power struggle is under way in Tehran.

We should propose a better solution to the Iranian people: revolution, leading to their freedom. That would require the president and the secretary of State to call for regime change in Iran and Syria, something from which they have always retreated in the past. But if we want to win, that’s the first step. Anybody ready? [2]

One columnist, constantly spewing false and criminally-subversive filth, isn’t enough to affect mass sentiment. But, if enough Michael Ledeen’s spew their lies and conjecture via a substantial array of media — regularly, consistently, and over a duration — a sufficient portion of the audience will eventually, if unwittingly, accept the insanity as normalcy.

Thus, a dumbed-down (mainstream) mindset is incubated and the illegal wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran are easily sold.

[Source: bravenewfilms]

The efforts of ISOG, Ledeen, et al., have successfully passed through Congress numerous times over the past few years. The latest such effort is — surprise! — House Resolution 385: “Condemning the Attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentine, in July 1994 and for other purposes, before the US House of Representatives, July 15, 2008.”

Luckily, some U.S. officials actually know what’s up, or at least care to speak out. Congressman Ron Paul warns that the neocon regime-change fanatics are ”using a crime to justify a war,” and as usual, he is right.

Indeed, the natural complement to the repetition of big lies is the omission of even bigger truths.

Around the same time that ISOG was reported to have intensified its campaign against Syria and Iran (early-2006), ISOG member and Iran-Contra pal of Ledeen’s — Elliot Abrams — was planning his own shakedown operation in the Israeli-Occupied Territories of Palestine: uncivil war.

The plan, which employed a mercenary militia loosely connected to Palestinian minority party, Fatah, was to overtake Gaza and overthrow the newly-elected Parliamentary majority party, Hamas. (Neocon-Likudniks won’t put up with the self-determination of those who resist their ethnic cleansing of them.)

Curiously enough, funding, training, and safe haven toward what Abrams termed a “hard coup” were provided by the U.S. and Israeli governments and some of the same ”Arab allies” mentioned in the above report on the ISOG’s campaign against Iran and Syria.

By the time the Boston Globe ”covered” ISOG’s treachery, Abrams’ conspiracy had already been leaked to European and Middle Eastern news media and governments. By Winter 2006–7, the leaked story made its way to independent media outlets on the Internet. By June ‘07, Hamas had put down the Abrams coup in street battles against the Fatah-linked mercenaries (in part, because they’d caught word of it).

Very few non-Ministry experts, like Nir Rosen, were able to relate this truthful version of the events in the mainstream, but as marginalized voices. Rosen’s interview with CNN’s John Roberts only appears on the Internet in transcript form. As is typically the case, the story that did make the mainstream was a total inversion of reality in favor of the state criminals. [3]

Reuters’ and AP’s reports on this subject read like U.S. and Israeli government press releases. As with the Israeli aggression against Syria, the victims are blamed. Instead of U.S. and Israeli entities committing war crimes, Hamas — and by extension, all Palestinians who resist the Israeli occupation of their land by supporting Hamas and electing them to power — are deemed militant insurrectionists and conspirators. The illicit state acts are omitted altogether.

A complete fantasy has been reported over and over in thousands of newspapers and other news media since. It goes roughly thus: ”The violent, anti-Israel, Islamist (AP: “Islamic”) Hamas plotted and carried out a coup against Israel’s partner in peace, pro-U.S. moderate Fatah. . . [Therefore] Israel responded by blockading Gaza in an effort to make the Palestinian people rise up and toss out Hamas, which is dedicated to the violent destruction of the Jewish state.”

What is most heinously omitted is the Israeli and U.S. destruction of the state-less Palestinian people they are occupying. Absent are the Israeli kidnappings and assassinations of Hamas legislators, their family members, and their supporters since the party was elected to power.

Omitted also are the crippling sanctions that have been in place since then, and the supreme Israeli war crimes, like the destruction of Gaza’s only power plant and vital civilian infrastructure the previous Summer. News media would have us believe that the illegal blockade began after Hamas “staged a bloody, violent, brown-skinned, Islamist coup.”

As a result of the repetitions of lies and omissions of truths, all Palestinians who work for Hamas, support Hamas, or refuse to collaborate with the Fatah junta or the Israeli occupiers in the West Bank, are seen as being worthy of the collective punishment they receive at the hands of the U.S., Israeli, and E.U. governments.

These conspiracies against Syria, Iran, Iraq, and the Palestinians take root in neocon-Likudnik policy papers penned for U.S. and Israeli leaders like Benyamin Netanyahu, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush; conceived by neocons like Richard Perle, Meyrav and David Wurmser, Paul Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby; peddled by neocons like Ledeen, Charles Krauthammer, and Bill Kristol on Fox News and in print media; and implemented as U.S. policy and legislation by neocons like Abrams, Gary Ackerman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Joe Lieberman.

All of them should be held accountable for their willing participation in these schemes, which have involved aggressive war and collective economic punishment against innocent civilian populations.

A Precedent

During the Nüremberg Trials after WWII, Nazi German politicians, media moguls, bankers, arms makers, ideologues, and other ranking arms of the state were charged and sentenced for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes against peace for inciting, committing, and conspiring to commit those acts of aggression.

Among the exhibits entered as evidence against the defendants were public statements similar to the type made by Ledeen: the kind that discount potential genocides and economic disasters, while encouraging insurrection and perpetual war — all semantically smoke-screened as noble acts of liberation.

Other statements were more explicit and nakedly asserted, along the lines of what U.S. mainstream news media are inciting today: state-sponsored criminal acts of terror, aggressive war, and insurrection in Iran, for instance.

[Source: irancoverage]

Ideologues of the neocon-Likudnik empire follow the repetition-omission principle religiously. One prime example is their favorite fear-mongering fallacy that says Iran is Nazi Germany and President Ahmadinejad is Hitler.

Of course, Iran is neither a regional military-superpower nor an occupier of foreign lands, while the neocon-Likudnik empire is even more aggressive and more militarily dominant than the Third Reich ever was. But that aside, there are, in fact, striking parallels between Nazi treatment of their chosen enemies and the U.S. and allied approaches to theirs.

Nazi ideologues and news publishers alike portrayed certain ethnic, religious, and political groups in ways similar to the way Arabs, Muslims, and Persians are portrayed today by the neocon Ministry. And like the neocon-Likudnik empire, the Reich’s blamed such groups for all “attacks on the homeland.”

Almost immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, Arab- and Muslim-demonizing propaganda permeated the airwaves. One particularly conniving and hideous concoction involved footage of Palestinians dancing joyously in the streets. But it was a fraud: the celebration shown was taken from footage of something from several years earlier. The real dancing celebration involved Israeli covert agents who were also filming the event as it unfolded.

This false and demonizing propaganda is the kind Nazi propagandists were punished for.

[Source: Ryantineocons]

Why is the story of Israel spying on the United States NOT on the evening news? Well, it actually was, but was quickly pulled by the news outlet that ran the story (Fox!) as a result of pressure from the attack dogs of the Israel Lobby.

Neocon ideologists like Daniel Pipes, Brigitte Gabriel, Steve Emerson, and Andrew Bostom make comfortable livings as marginalizers and dehumanizers for that Lobby. Their job is to make people believe that Israel is not the most prolific terrorist state, and that the U.S. government is not the biggest sponsor of Israeli and other international terror entities.

Their craft boils down to dissent-crushing guilt projection.

A favorite pastime for these bigoted pseudo-scholars is blackmailing so-called moderate Muslims using vitriol against so-called extremist, Islamist, or terrorist Muslims — holding all Muslims (and the non-Muslims who defend them) accountable for the actions of a few.

“If you’re not speaking out, you’re aiding the Islamofascists,” to paraphrase the erstwhile-Lebanese Gabriel, who has had no trouble with Israel’s carpet-bombings and occupation of her native country all her life.

“Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene. All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” — Daniel Pipes, quoted in Le Monde Diplomatique, July 2003.

These Arabists [sic], orientalists [sic], Middle East [sic] experts, and terrorism [sic] experts claim, either baselessly or according to rigged polls, that a certain percentage of Muslims in the world are extremists, and that thus, tens of millions of Islamofascists [sic] are out there somewhere — ESPECIALLY IN THE UNITED STATES! — therefore, we better heed their counsel. Which requires their captive audience to put pressure on local governments to prevent new mosque construction in their towns and to shut down existing ones. College professors must be reported to law enforcement and the dean if they disagree with the government’s so-called war on terror. And if they don’t comply, the educators must be forced to resign or be fired.

Dark Age justice from those claiming to be on the ”civilized” side of their fantastic Clash.

These xenophobic charlatans baselessly claim that there are Hamas, Hezbullah, and Al-Qaeda “sleeper cells” in the United States. But to this day, the only cells shown to exist are the ones which mostly Arabs and Muslims are stuffed into without formal charges or due process. Many violent and inhuman activities transpire in and around those cells, but precious little of it involves sleep.

Most of these agents of inhumanity have been exposed and discredited more than once. Still, corporate media and news agencies rely heavily on them for TV ratings and newspaper and periodical readership. Again: If enough of them are given air time to spew their lies and conjecture via a substantial array of media — regularly, consistently, and over a duration — a sufficient portion of the audience will eventually accept the inhumanity as necessary or even noble.

Thanks mostly to the dehumanizers and their partners in news media, the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have gotten away with this and this, for example.

Like that of today’s ideologists, Nazis Alfred Rosenberg’s and Julius Streicher’s demonizing and dehumanizing propaganda helped to convince the audience that anyone or any group deemed as a threat to the Third Reich deserved tyranny and death.

For their false condemnation and collective punishment of their chosen enemies, Nazi Ministry figures were convicted of crimes against humanity. For similar offenses, neocon-Likudnik ministers have received a pass (so far).

Goddamn Pieces of Paper

Also entered as evidence at Nüremberg were violations of the post-WWI Versailles Treaty: a one-sided affair conceived by the “victors” and meant to humiliate the nation of Germany, blame it for the war, and keep its foreign-occupied population from self-determination or a healthy, competing economy. Any proud and self-respecting people would have defied such a tyrannical mandate.

Unfortunately for the German people, from their radicalized masses arose the most undesirable leadership, whose belligerent nature only lent credence to the ideological demons hyperbolized by FDR & Co. But if the Germans violated Versailles out of self-preservation, the Allied powers did much worse out of sadistic self-enrichment and the necessity of projecting their own guilt.

Which brings up another good comparison between USA versus Germany and USA versus Iran: the illegitimacy of the international mandates cited as justifications for preemption, the rank hypocrisy of prosecuting them unilaterally, and the disastrous effects those aggressive measures have on civilians.

Sanctions against Iran are legally baseless but for conjured neocon fear-mongering in the media and strong-arming in the U.N. The United States is perhaps the worst violator of the NPT, yet the neocon-Likudnik empire has convinced the world, through false propaganda, that Iran is.

Iran has been accused by some U.S. leaders of providing aid to those who have killed “hundreds of our brave men and women.” Yet in Iraq, the U.S. and allies are known to have killed more than a million non-combatants and caused millions more to be refugees, and U.S.-backed mercenary armies operate inside Iran, along its Iraqi and Pakistani borders, committing acts of terror and war.

You may have noticed that mainstream news reports never mention the U.S.-Iranian Algiers Accords, or even the U.S. Constitution, in the context of current U.S. build-up of aggressive war on Iran.

Signed in January 1981 by the United States and Iran, the Accords prohibit political and military intervention in Iranian affairs by the United States. The U.S. Constitution states that such binding agreements not violating the spirit of the Constitution itself are to be treated as a constitutional mandate. Every U.S.-involved sanction, asset-freeze, and embargo against Iran, and every U.S. dollar and man-hour spent in support of Iranian opposition groups, should be prosecuted as a violation thereof.

The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MeK) is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Its members live in, and operate out of, Camp Ashraf, Iraq, under U.S. and ”Coalition” military protection. Its administrative headquarters are located in London, under the name NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran). This much has been revealed in some mainstream news media.

But the so-called Iranian dissident group has also received hundreds of millions of U.S.-taxpayer dollars for its operations inside Iraq and Iran and in exile over the past few years, as well as secure training grounds in the United States. Illicit only begins to describe the nature of these acts; yet, barely a handful of conscientious investigative journalists and credible military- and foreign-affairs experts have reported on them.

[Source: artbell]

Painful Parallels

The Allied powers mindfully committed far more atrocities, against non-combatants, than any other party of either world war. They violated not only Versailles, but many other international agreements including Wilson’s 14 Points, the Hague Regulations of 1907, and the post-war precedents set at Nüremberg for which the Nazis were condemned and punished.

Allied malfeasance was rampant. Up to a point during WWII, U.S. and international bankers, politicians, and enterprising corporatists, including President Bush’s grandfather, were financing and profiteering off both sides, and generally rigging the apparatus quite handily.

How did those agents of empire get away with it? Well, for obvious starters, the three main so-called victors of WWII — the USA, Great Britain, and Russia — comprised the panel of judges, thanks to their self-granted infallibility (UN veto power, ultimately) by way of being “the winners.” We all know that saying about victors and spoils. And besides, who’s going to challenge the bullies when they have all the wherewithal and they’re all on the same side?

But how was this U.S. and Allied exceptionalism and legal immunity justified with the real world? The same way the initiation of those wars were made possible: Absolutist Propaganda.

During the build up to war in Europe, U.S. and Allied news media hyped Adolf Hitler’s extreme rhetoric and Germany’s violations of treaties and such, while omitting the more numerous violations by the FDR (and Truman) Administration. Allied savagery in the form of sanctions, embargoes, blockades, and boycotts were easily packaged as a credible and lawful means of enforcing ill-conceived, pro-allied mandates like Versailles, and ”reining in the Third Reich.” (Sound familiar?)

The tens of millions of non-combatants massacred and starved to death by the Allied powers were not newsworthy during the war; nor were their murders prosecutable afterward. The U.S. and its allies were fighting evil, spreading freedom, and saving the world; or at least that was the predominant message over the airwaves and front pages of most of the world’s media. Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Dresden didn’t happen.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq and the ongoing shakedown of Iran have been sold even more prolifically. The U.S. government, during George W. Bush’s second term alone, has spent hundreds of millions in U.S.-taxpayer dollars on insurrection and propaganda operations overseas.

The Third Reich’s propaganda operations were nasty, for sure; but they were only effective within a regional radius, at best. Neocon apologists would rather you not know that the Angelic FDR or the Noble Wilson or the Merciful Lincoln shut down newspapers and incarcerated journalists, intellectual dissidents and in the rarest cases, politicians, that even-handed coverage of “the noble effort” were deemed unpatriotic and treasonable, and that Japanese-Americans were kidnapped and forced into “internment camps” by the FDR regime. (And if these things are discussed as facts, they are used as proof that “even our most lionized leaders did it, so what’s the big fuss? It’s a ‘necessary evil’ for our own good!”)

And never mind the ridiculously contradictory triad of Allied leaders. The only genocidal tyrants were Hitler and Mussolini. Oh yeah, and Stalin. But he was our tyrant. He was always reacting to the aggression of others — to the tune of tens of millions murdered. Just like Israel is “our best ally in the war on terror” and is always reacting to the aggression from that army-less existential threat called the Palestinians — to the tune of a 60-year, genocidal ethnic cleansing. Just like the Jewish [sic] state and the House of Saud are our greatest partners in “free trade” and “national defense” in the Middle East — to the tune of at least $5 billion per year and the looming vengeance of millions of the region’s oppressed.

Nor will corporate media even hint at the parallels between: 1) the Russian and German military occupations in Europe and 2) the U.S. and Israeli regimes operating within the Israeli-Occupied Territories of Palestine (IOPTs) and Iraq.

But are prison camps not being operated, wherein detainees are held without charges or due process, tortured, and murdered? Are journalists and cameramen not being unlawfully detained, beaten, and killed by occupation forces? Are major news centers like Al-Jazeera, as well as local press offices, not being raided and shut down? Are U.S. occupation forces not writing self-lauding pieces and paying Iraqi newspapers to publish them as news reports? Are hotels where dozens of journalists stay not being shelled?

Are occupied people not collectively punished for lawfully resisting the occupation and ethnic cleansing, or for simply being? Are the houses of the occupied people not being demolished to pay the penance for their relatives’ alleged crimes, or to make way for racial colonies?

Are U.S. attorneys general and other government officials not perverting the rule of law to justify these acts and immunize themselves and their cronies from future prosecution (thus admitting guilt)?

Do these and all other such acts on the part of the indomitable occupiers not constitute war crimes?

Of course not. The global policemen are always right, and their inconceivable policies are always justified, because they were fighting the evil terrorists and their evil ideologies. At least, that’s what they would have mainstream society believe.

But who are “they” and how do they do it?

Part Two

[1] http://www%5Bdot%5Dboston%5Bdot%5Dcom/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/01/02/us_unit_works_quietly_to_counter_irans_sway/

[2] http://article%5Bdot%5Dnationalreview%5Bdot%5Dcom/?q=ZTYxZDcxMzkzNzhiMzFkNTAwMzkxNjE0Y2FkNmM0MTE=

[3] The conspiracy was actually laid out in unprecedented detail by the respectable Vanity Fair, but was released a year late and under the byline of a reporter whose otherwise high career marks were lowered by his being duped by the Ahmed Chalabi scam a few years earlier. In this case, the Ministry tweaked both the flow of information and the perception of verity.
See: http://www%5Bdot%5Dnewstatesman%5Bdot%5Dcom/politics/2007/09/mi6-mi5-intelligence-briefings

THE KISSINGER REPORT and the GLOBAL 2000 REPORT on Forced Population Reduction

National Security Study

Memorandum 200

(NSSM 200)– April 1974


on the need for massive population

reduction, advocating war,famine

and disease to reduce the world’s

population of “useless eaters”

to an acceptable,

meaning“profitable,” level.

The Global 2000 Report to the President: Volume 1

The Global 2000 Report to the President: Volume 2