ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Terrorism and American Foreign Policy–Published September 25, 2001

Terrorism and American Foreign Policy

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—by Robert Elias September 25, 2001
Professor of politics at University of San Francisco, California

T

he US has suffered terrible crimes from the terrorist attacks two weeks ago. They have taken a horrible toll in lost lives, and have shaken the nation to its foundations. We’ve felt a rush of emotions, including horror, fear, grief, sorrow, anger and even calls for revenge. As a person from New York, I take the terrorism very personally. I have family, friends and acquaintances there, and I’m still not sure about all of them. I’m very angry about the senseless deaths.

These terrorists and their acts are despicable, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

In response to these acts, our emotions are understandable, and we should do nothing to belittle these feelings. It almost seems blasphemous to suggest that we add to these emotions a part of us that also thinks about what happened and why. And yet there’s a need, beyond our feelings, also to understand. Why did this happen to us? Our leaders in Washington have rushed in with their response, and there’s the danger that we, the people, will be left behind or left completely susceptible to Washington’s lead rather than making up our own minds about why this happened, and what to do.

Unfortunately, in trying to understand why this terrorism has occurred, we’ve been given little help by those upon which we rely for information. Our educational system has provided us neither the history nor the critical perspective to understand. Our officials refuse to ask the question “why,” except in terms of stereotypes that divert us from the causes and focus us instead on the symptoms. And most crucially, our mainstream media has almost exclusively parroted official analyses and solutions, acting not like watchdogs but rather like lapdogs. Officials and our media operate essentially under the assumption that there can be no question of “why,” since there’s nothing we could have conceivably done that has anything to do with provoking terrorism.

To the extent that “why” is considered at all, it’s almost completely superficial. Our officials tell us that: “The terrorists hate us, they are different from us, they are evil, they want to hurt or destroy us for no good reason, and we—the strongest and most armed nation in the world—have nevertheless been too weak in defending ourselves, and must respond with war to root out the perpetrators and make sure this never happens again. We deplore this and all acts of violence, officials tell us, and we will violently retaliate against this outrage.” And our media repeat this level of non-analysis and contradiction almost verbatim. As media critic I.F. Stone once said, “The Washington press corps is like a group of stenographers with amnesia,” dutifully printing official handouts and reporting events with little or no historical or critical perspective.

So we need to think for ourselves. And to do this will require a great deal of courage. If, as President Bush has suggested, America is a strong and great nation, then we can afford to have the courage to ask difficult questions and to consider new ways of thinking about and acting in the world. A part of doing so will require that we examine American foreign policy.

In subsequent meetings, America’s economic and other policies abroad will be considered. Today we’d like to focus on some of our foreign, military and human rights policies. We’d like to consider the possibility that there’s a relationship between some of our policies abroad and acts of terrorism committed against us. It’s true that many peoples around the world hate us but the reasons are far more complicated than the simplistic explanations that officials and the media have been giving us. So we must ask why.

But by asking why, and by trying to truly understand, we must remember that acts of terrorism like the ones we’ve just experienced can never be justified. I repeat: nothing we’ve ever done, none of our policies, no matter how questionable, can ever justify terrorism. But if terrorism can never be justified, that does not mean that it cannot be explained or understood. No matter how apparently extreme we might find the views of terrorists, we’re not talking about people who act for no reason. What are the reasons, and why do many people outside the US hate us?

Another caveat for our discussion today. If we shed a critical light on American policies, shall we be viewed as unpatriotic, or even as traitors? If we view patriotism as blindly waving the flag, as supporting the nation right or wrong, and as America, love it or leave it, then the answer is “yes.” But I’d like to suggest a more enlightened view of patriotism, as stated by the Nobel Prize writer Albert Camus, who said that “The true patriot is one who gives his highest loyalty not to his country as it is, regardless of what it does, but rather to what it can and ought to be.” In other words, the real patriot insists that his or her nation live up to its ideals.

Americans are a great people. But what are we great for? For the amount of violence we’re capable of delivering? For the wars we’ve decided to fight? For the level of revenge we’ve sought and accomplished? Is this what makes us great? We keep hearing how Americans are “strong” but strength is inconsequential compared to a people who are decent, generous, caring, heroic, courageous and compassionate. And those things we are! Those are things we should be proud of.

But can we say the same for our foreign policies? Are these policies compassionate and courageous, or something quite different? Most Americans would be shocked if they really knew or if they really comprehended and felt the violence that has been done abroad by US foreign policy in their name.

Most officials, however, are well aware of our past and present policies. In the rare instance when they are reminded of the shady aspects and negative consequences of those policies, there’s almost never any debate about the facts. Most of our underhanded policies were revealed by the US Congressional Hearings chaired by Senator Frank Church, and have been corroborated by many other official and non-official sources. Actually, there’s a widespread agreement among both the proponents and the opponents of US foreign policy about the kinds of actions we’ll be describing for you today.

The disagreement instead stems from the rationale for our policies, and whether those policies—no matter how distasteful—are nevertheless justified. Defenders of US foreign policy argue that our actions are warranted. Generally speaking, they subscribe to what has been called, in international relations, the “realist” school of thinking. That perspective argues that of course the US has done unsavory things abroad but it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and everyone is doing unsavory things. We’ve done, they argue, what we’ve done not only to survive but also to make sure we’re the top dog in the world—and it’s a good thing that peace and freedom-loving people like us are the ones directing the show. For example, in 1992, George Bush Sr. observed that: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognizes one sole and preeminent power, the USA. And they regard this with no dread. For the world trusts us with power, and the world is right. They trust us to be fair, and restrained. They trust us to be on the side of decency. They trust us to do what’s right.”

The realist school further argues that anything other than an “ends justify the means” approach to world politics makes the false presumption that peoples and nations will be more good than evil. That, according to the realists, is a mistakenly positive view of human nature. Anyone, they argue, who believes that human nature is basically good, or that humans can be induced to act good, and that peoples and nations can peacefully and freely coexist is hopelessly idealistic.

Of course, the critics of US foreign policy, or the idealists, see things differently. They believe we can and should take peace and human rights seriously. For this, they are labeled as unrealistic and even utopian. But the idealists argue that those who are truly the utopians, in the sense of believing something that cannot come true, are actually the realists, since the realists harbor pie-in-the-sky notions that we can keep pursuing violent and underhanded policies without our having to pay some consequences or without the world eventually blowing itself to bits. The idealists argue that the realists make unnecessarily negative assumptions about people and the world, and then adopt cutthroat policies that turn those assumptions into self-fulfilling prophecies.

And the debate between the two sides rages. But while the debate continues, the policy battles have always been won by the realists, who justify our often-violent policies. So, if you’re happy about the world you see, then thank the realists. If, however, you have some concerns about our policies and about the state of our nation and the world, then you might want to consider some alternatives.

This may be painful for us to hear but let’s begin examining the history of our foreign policy by stating the bottom line: more than any other tool, the US has used violence as the main vehicle of its policies toward peoples and nations abroad. For example, in its little more than 200 years of history, the US has intervened militarily in other nations about 200 times; about once a year. The interventions have varied from minor to outright war but most of them have been serious. Now if this sounds like someone’s wild-eyed ravings, keep in mind that in the early 1980s, President Reagan admitted to 125 US military interventions, and his government added several more during his time in office. Reagan not only acknowledged this number of interventions, he bragged about them. One of the major studies of US military intervention was conducted again not by some wild radical but rather by Republican Senator Jacob Javits in the 1970s, and by his count we were already up to 150 military interventions by then. It would be interesting to examine each of these interventions but that would take far too much time. Instead, we’ll focus on the period since 1945.

Unfortunately, the shorter time period won’t improve the picture. From 1945 to 2000, for example, the US attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, usually successfully, and crushed more than 30 populist movements struggling against dictatorships, killing several million people in the process, and condemning millions more to a life of misery. Those are shocking numbers but keep in mind that defenders of US foreign policy rarely quarrel with these numbers but rather only try to show why they were necessary. Beyond these actions abroad, it’s also instructive to examine US policies that have created terrorists, carried out torture and assassinations, developed death squads, provided training manuals for repression, granted safe haven for terrorists and war criminals, used weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations, promoted and used chemical and biological weapons, perverted foreign elections and otherwise intervened in foreign political systems, and undermined hundreds of UN resolutions and treaties (with the US often the only dissenting vote among the world’s nations).

Woodrow Wilson, who was elected President based on a platform that promised to keep the US out of World War I, nevertheless pushed the US into the War after his election, and justified our participation, arguing that the goal of US foreign policy was to “make the world safe for democracy.” Perhaps if we try hard we can find instances where our policy has produced democracy but it’s far easier to find endless examples where our policy has undermined it. This may be because the real objective of our foreign policy has instead been “making the world safe for capitalism,” and for the US to control as much of the world as possible, shaping it into the American image. In that, our policies have been very successful. In 1997, Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading newsmagazine, editorialized that: “Never before in history has a country dominated the earth so totally as the United States does today… America is the Schwarzenegger of international politics: showing off muscles, intrusive, intimidating… The Americans, in the absence of limits put to them by anybody or anything, act as if they own a kind of blank check in their very own “McWorld.”

In 1996, the Annual Report of the world’s leading human rights organization, Amnesty International, concluded that: “It is a paradox that a nation that did so much to articulate and codify human rights in its foundation documents has so consistently resisted and undermined the effective functioning of an international framework to protect these principles and values.” “…repression, torture and terror has occurred disproportionately among countries in the American sphere of influence.” “Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, a woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed, or “disappeared” at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.” How can Amnesty International say these things about us?

Many years ago, the Chinese writer Moh-Tze said: “To kill one person is murder. To kill thousands is foreign policy.” This seems to be reflected in American policies abroad. So let’s quickly review the list of offenses.

US Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The indiscriminate use of bombs by the US, usually outside a declared war situation, for wanton destruction, for no military objectives, whose targets and victims are civilian populations, or what we now call “collateral damage.”

Japan (1945) China (1945–46) Korea & China (1950–53)
Guatemala (1954, 1960, 1967–69) Indonesia (1958) Cuba (1959–61)
Congo (1964) Peru (1965) Laos (1964–70)
Vietnam (1961–1973) Cambodia (1969–70) Grenada (1983)
Lebanon (1983–84) Libya (1986) El Salvador (1980s)
Nicaragua (1980s) Iran (1987) Panama (1989)
Iraq (1991–2000) Kuwait (1991) Somalia (1993)
Bosnia (1994–95) Sudan (1998) Afghanistan (1998)
Pakistan (1998) Yugoslavia (1999)
Macedonia (1999)

US Use of Chemical & Biological Weapons

The US has refused to sign Conventions against the development and use of chemical and biological weapons, and has either used or tested (without informing the civilian populations) these weapons in the following locations abroad:

Bahamas (late 1940s–mid-1950s)
Canada (1953)
China and Korea (1950–53)
Korea (1967–69)
Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (1961–1970)
Panama (1940s–1990s)
Cuba (1962, 69, 70, 71, 81, 96)

And the US has tested such weapons on US civilian populations, without their knowledge, in the following locations:

Watertown, NY and US Virgin Islands (1950)
SF Bay Area (1950, 1957–67)
Minneapolis (1953)
St. Louis (1953)
Washington, DC Area (1953, 1967)
Florida (1955)
Savannah GA/Avon Park, FL (1956–58)
New York City (1956, 1966)
Chicago (1960)

And the US has encouraged the use of such weapons, and provided the technology to develop such weapons in various nations abroad, including:

Egypt
South Africa
Iraq

US Political and Military Interventions since 1945

The US has launched a series of military and political interventions since 1945, often to install puppet regimes, or alternatively to engage in political actions such as smear campaigns, sponsoring or targeting opposition political groups (depending on how they served US interests), undermining political parties, sabotage and terror campaigns, and so forth. It has done so in nations such as

China (1945–51) South Africa (1960s–1980s)
France (1947) Bolivia (1964–75)
Marshall Islands (1946–58) Australia (1972–75)
Italy (1947–1975) Iraq (1972–75)
Greece (1947–49) Portugal (1974–76)
Philippines (1945–53) East Timor (1975–99)
Korea (1945–53) Ecuador (1975)
Albania (1949–53) Argentina (1976)
Eastern Europe (1948–56) Pakistan (1977)
Germany (1950s) Angola (1975–1980s)
Iran (1953) Jamaica (1976)
Guatemala (1953–1990s) Honduras (1980s)
Costa Rica (mid-1950s, 1970–71) Nicaragua (1980s)
Middle East (1956–58) Philippines (1970s–90s)
Indonesia (1957–58) Seychelles (1979–81)
Haiti (1959) South Yemen (1979–84)
Western Europe (1950s–1960s) South Korea (1980)
Guyana (1953–64) Chad (1981–82)
Iraq (1958–63) Grenada (1979–83)
Vietnam (1945–53) Suriname (1982–84)
Cambodia (1955–73) Libya (1981–89)
Laos (1957–73) Fiji (1987)
Thailand (1965–73) Panama (1989)
Ecuador (1960–63) Afghanistan (1979–92)
Congo (1960–65, 1977–78) El Salvador (1980–92)
Algeria (1960s) Haiti (1987–94)
Brazil (1961–64)
Peru (1965) Albania (1991–92)
Dominican Republic (1963–65) Somalia (1993)
Cuba (1959–present) Iraq (1990s)
Indonesia (1965) Peru (1990–present)
Ghana (1966) Mexico (1990–present)
Uruguay (1969–72) Colombia (1990–present)
Chile (1964–73) Yugoslavia (1995–99)
Greece (1967–74)

US Perversions of Foreign Elections

The US has specifically intervened to rig or distort the outcome of foreign elections, and sometimes engineered sham “demonstration” elections to ward off accusations of government repression in allied nations in the US sphere of influence. These sham elections have often installed or maintained in power repressive dictators who have victimized their populations. Such practices have occurred in nations such as:

Philippines (1950s)
Italy (1948–1970s)
Lebanon (1950s)
Indonesia (1955)
Vietnam (1955)
Guyana (1953–64)
Japan (1958–1970s)
Nepal (1959)
Laos (1960)
Brazil (1962)
Dominican Republic (1962)
Guatemala (1963)
Bolivia (1966)
Chile (1964–70)
Portugal (1974–75)
Australia (1974–75)
Jamaica (1976)
El Salvador (1984)
Panama (1984, 89)
Nicaragua (1984, 90)
Haiti (1987, 88)
Albania (1991–92)
Russia (1996)
Mongolia (1996)
Bosnia (1998)

US Versus World at the United Nations

The US has repeatedly acted to undermine peace and human rights initiatives at the United Nations, routinely voting against hundreds of UN resolutions and treaties. The US easily has the worst record of any nation on not supporting UN treaties. In almost all of its hundreds of “no” votes, the US was the “sole” nation to vote no (among the 100–130 nations that usually vote), and among only 1 or 2 other nations voting no the rest of the time. Here’s a representative sample of US votes from 1978–1987:

US Is the Sole “No” Vote on Resolutions or Treaties

For aid to underdeveloped nations
For the promotion of developing nation exports
For UN promotion of human rights
For protecting developing nations in trade agreements
For New International Economic Order for underdeveloped nations
For development as a human right
Versus multinational corporate operations in South Africa
For cooperative models in developing nations
For right of nations to economic system of their choice
Versus chemical and biological weapons (at least 3 times)
Versus Namibian apartheid
For economic/standard of living rights as human rights
Versus apartheid South African aggression vs. neighboring states (2 times)
Versus foreign investments in apartheid South Africa
For world charter to protect ecology
For anti-apartheid convention
For anti-apartheid convention in international sports
For nuclear test ban treaty (at least 2 times)
For prevention of arms race in outer space
For UNESCO-sponsored new world information order (at least 2 times)
For international law to protect economic rights
For Transport & Communications Decade in Africa
Versus manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction
Versus naval arms race
For Independent Commission on Disarmament & Security Issues
For UN response mechanism for natural disasters
For the Right to Food
For Report of Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination
For UN study on military development
For Commemoration of 25th anniversary of Independence for Colonial Countries
For Industrial Development Decade in Africa
For interdependence of economic and political rights
For improved UN response to human rights abuses
For protection of rights of migrant workers
For protection against products harmful to health and the environment
For a Convention on the Rights of the Child
For training journalists in the developing world
For international cooperation on third world debt
For a UN Conference on Trade & Development

US Is 1 of Only 2 “No” Votes on Resolutions or Treaties

For Palestinian living conditions/rights (at least 8 times)
Versus foreign intervention into other nations
For a UN Conference on Women
Versus nuclear test explosions (at least 2 times)
For the non-use of nuclear weapons vs. non-nuclear states
For a Middle East nuclear free zone
Versus Israeli nuclear weapons (at least 2 times)
For a new world international economic order
For a trade union conference on sanctions vs. South Africa
For the Law of the Sea Treaty
For economic assistance to Palestinians
For UN measures against fascist activities and groups
For international cooperation on money/finance/debt/trade/development
For a Zone of Peace in the South Atlantic
For compliance with Intl Court of Justice decision for Nicaragua vs. US.
**For a conference and measures to prevent international terrorism (including its underlying causes)
For ending the trade embargo vs. Nicaragua

US Is 1 of Only 3 “No” Votes on Resolutions and Treaties

Versus Israeli human rights abuses (at least 6 times)
Versus South African apartheid (at least 4 times)
Versus return of refugees to Israel
For ending nuclear arms race (at least 2 times)
For an embargo on apartheid South Africa
For South African liberation from apartheid (at least 3 times)
For the independence of colonial nations
For the UN Decade for Women
Versus harmful foreign economic practices in colonial territories
For a Middle East Peace Conference
For ending the embargo of Cuba (at least 10 times)

In addition, the US has:

Repeatedly withheld its dues from the UN
Twice left UNESCO because of its human rights initiatives
Twice left the International Labor Organization for its workers rights initiatives
Refused to renew the Antiballistic Missile Treaty
Refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty on global warming
Refused to back the World Health Organization’s ban on infant formula abuses
Refused to sign the Anti-Biological Weapons Convention
Refused to sign the Convention against the use of land mines
Refused to participate in the UN Conference Against Racism in Durban
Been one of the last nations in the world to sign the UN Covenant on Political &
Civil Rights (30 years after its creation)
Refused to sign the UN Covenant on Economic & Social Rights
Opposed the emerging new UN Covenant on the Rights to Peace, Development & Environmental Protection

Sampling of Deaths From US Military Interventions & Propping Up Corrupt Dictators (using the most conservative estimates)

Nicaragua 30,000 dead
Brazil 100,000 dead
Korea 4 million dead
Guatemala 200,000 dead
Honduras 20,000 dead
El Salvador 63,000 dead
Argentina 40,000 dead
Bolivia 10,000 dead
Uruguay 10,000 dead
Ecuador 10,000 dead
Peru 10,000 dead
Iraq 1.3 million dead
Iran 30,000 dead
Sudan 8–10,000 dead
Colombia 50,000 dead
Panama 5,000 dead
Japan 140,000 dead
Afghanistan 10,000 dead
Somalia 5000 dead
Philippines 150,000 dead
Haiti 100,000 dead
Dominican Republic 10,000 dead
Libya 500 dead
Macedonia 1000 dead
South Africa 10,000 dead
Pakistan 10,000 dead
Palestine 40,000 dead
Indonesia 1 million dead
East Timor 1/3–1/2 of total population
Greece 10,000 dead
Laos 600,000 dead
Cambodia 1 million dead
Angola 300,000 dead
Grenada 500 dead
Congo 2 million dead
Egypt 10,000 dead
Vietnam 1.5 million dead
Chile 50,000 dead

Other Lethal US Interventions

CIA Terror Training Manuals

Development and distribution of training manuals for foreign military personnel or foreign nationals, including instructions on assassination, subversion, sabotage, population control, torture, repression, psychological torture, death squads, etc.

Specific Torture Campaigns

Creation and launching of direct US campaigns to support torture as an instrument of terror and social control for governments in Greece, Iran, Vietnam, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama

Supporting and Harboring Terrorists

  • The promotion, protection, arming or equiping of terrorists such as:
  • Klaus Barbie and other German Nazis, and Italian and Japanese fascists, after WW II
  • Manual Noriega (Panama), Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Osama bin Laden (Afghanistan), and others whose terrorism has come back to haunt us
  • Running the Higher War College (Brazil) and first School of the Americas (Panama), which gave US training to repressors, death squad members, and torturers (the second School of the Americas is still running at Ft. Benning GA)
  • Providing asylum for Cuban, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Haitian, Chilean, Argentinian, Iranian, South Vietnamese and other terrorists, dictators, and torturers

Assassinating World Leaders

Using assassination as a tool of foreign policy, wherein the CIA has initiated assassination attempts against at least 40 foreign heads of state (some several times) in the last 50 years, a number of which have been successful, such as: Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Ngo Dihn Diem (Vietnam) Salvador Allende (Chile)

Arms Trade & US Military Presence

  • The US is the world’s largest seller of weapons abroad, arming dictators, militaries, and terrorists that repress or victimize their populations, and fueling scores of violent conflicts around the globe
  • The US is the world’s largest provider of live land mines which, even in peacetime, kill or injure at least several people around the world each day
  • The US has military bases in at least 50 nations around the world, which have led to frequent victimization of local populations.
  • The US military has been bombing one Middle Eastern or Muslim nation or another almost continuously since 1983, including Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq (almost daily bombings since 1991)

This, then, is a sampling of American foreign policies over the last 50 years. The FBI uses the following definition for Terrorism: “The unlawful use of force or violence committed by a group or individual, who has some connection to a foreign power or whose activities transcend national boundaries, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” This sounds like the terrorism we just experienced. It also sounds a lot like the US policies and actions since 1945 that I’ve just described.

In response to these policies, it wouldn’t be surprising if eventually the US suffered some backlash. In fact, US officials have a word for the repercussions: “blowback,” which describes the way questionable and often deplorable policies often come back to haunt us. Even former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger admitted, a few years ago, that: “We’ve presented to the rest of the world a vision of the bully on the block who pushes a button, people out there die, and we don’t pay anything except the cost of a missile… that’s going to haunt us in trying to deal with the rest of the world in the years ahead.”

In one of its recent, official reports, the US State Department concludes that if the people of a rogue nation experience enough suffering, they will overthrow their rulers, or compel them to adopt more sensible behavior. This view has been used by the US to promote suffering and subversive policies from Nicaragua to Iraq. But now the policy has apparently been turned against us: Islamic fundamentalists have concluded that Americans need to begin suffering in order to change US policies towards the Muslim world.

If the recent terrorism was carried out by Osama bin Laden, then why has he struck? Describing bin Laden is a long story that will be told, in detail, in a subsequent session of this forum. Briefly, we know that bin Laden is a fanatical Islamic fundamentalist who was not created by the US but who, along with a legion of terrorist followers, was nevertheless trained, equipped, and financed by the CIA to oppose the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. These followers, the mujahedeen (mujahidin), numbered between 15,000 and 50,000 people, and they went on to play a terrorist role in Chechnya, Bosnia, China, France, the Philippines, the Middle East, and elsewhere. They are a good example of blowback from US policy.

While President, Ronald Reagan welcomed members of the Mujahadin to the White House in 1985, and about them he said: “These are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.” (Earlier, he had said the same thing about the contra terrorists the US created to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.) In effect, then, we are about to go to war, in Afghanistan, against the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers!

Bin Laden and his followers are fascists. But they also oppose corrupt and repressive Middle East regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt) supported by US, the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the genocide against Bosnian Muslims, the Indian occupation of Kashmir, the US military bases in Saudi Arabia, the US war against Iraq, and the daily humiliation suffered by Palestinians and other Arabs, who have seen their resources stolen, their lands taken, and their lives jeopardized by war and other violence.

Interestingly enough, a very recent Wall Street Journal interview of prominent Muslims and other Middle Easterners, including bankers, businessmen, professionals, and many with close ties to the US, shows that the grievances of these “non-terrorists” were almost identical to those of bin Laden and his followers. Apparently, it doesn’t take a crazy terrorist to recognize these injustices.

President Bush claims that America is the “brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world,” but to the contrary, the US is seen by tens of millions of people abroad as the main enemy of their human and democratic rights, and the main source of their oppression. Right now, many Americans want revenge for the deaths we’ve suffered from the recent terrorism; so, too, do some of the people who have been the victims of our violence also want revenge.

President Bush claims that terrorists attack us because they oppose freedom, but others believe, to the contrary, that we’re targets because our policies deprive other peoples of the freedom they so desperately want. In his speech the other night, Bush actually said that terrorists were envious of our democratically elected government! I’m sure Al Gore would wholeheartedly agree! Bush claims the terrorism was an attack on “civilization” but what kind of civilization commits its own terrorism, and designs its response to the terrorism committed by others in terms of “blood revenge?” Our policy is riddled with double standards, and only perpetuates the cycle of violence. When they attack, they’re terrorists. When we attack, we’re only retaliating. When they respond to our retaliation with further attacks, they’re terrorizing us again. When we respond with further attacks, we’re only retaliating again. And on and on.

Former US Senator J. William Fulbright warned us, during the Vietnam period, against the “arrogance of power” in US foreign policy. Now, at the start of the 21st century, the US is the most heavily armed nation on earth, and yet our arms and our persistent, violent use of them has not prevented us from now feeling more vulnerable than ever to outside attack. What went wrong? The explanation has to be more complicated than merely our failure to fight outside violence with enough violence of our own.

Despite the abuses of American foreign policy, we could take the realist view, and conclude that it was all somehow necessary. Even so, shouldn’t we expect some consequences? Is this really the best we can do? It’s time to repeat what I said earlier: Nothing can ever justify terrorism. But can’t we learn something from this incident, not only about how best, strategically, to respond to the recent terrorism but also how to respond intelligently to the problem, generally?

Some have argued that for some strange reason the historic violence of US foreign policy had nothing to do with the particular motives bin Laden had for the terrorism we just experienced. We’ll hear more about bin Laden and US Middle East policy in one of our subsequent forums, but does this sound plausible to you? Even if true, isn’t it likely that some other acts of terrorism will be forthcoming against us for policies such as the ones we’ve pursued?

One of the best ways of adding to the US policy of violence would be, of course, to pursue the war that US officials have begun to launch. It’s the wrong thing to do, and will likely make the situation much worse. The hardline, conservative Institute for Strategic Studies in Great Britain, for example, has argued that: “Going after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan will likely destabilize its friendly neighbor Pakistan and throw a nuclear-armed country into the hands of the militants.” Former Soviet military leaders have warned us against an invasion of Afghanistan; guerilla and terrorist forces defeated Russia’s best soldiers. We risk another Vietnam-style quagmire against an elusive target that can never be defeated militarily. And we risk the possible re-establishment of the military draft in the US, and the sacrifice of another generation of Americans to a fruitless war. Even if we care nothing for other peoples, we should be concerned about the senseless deaths of our own soldiers, which are likely to come.

Going to war, such as by bombing or invading Arab and Muslim states, and thereby potentially killing thousands of innocent people, will only convince more people that bin Laden is right about the US, and create thousands of new volunteers for anti-American terrorism. Collateral damage doesn’t just kill innocent people; it also creates martyrs and fanatical avengers. Besides, military strikes can never be effective in successfully targeting mobile terrorist headquarters.

We already had a war on terrorism in the 1980s, and back then we worried about Latin American terrorists as much as Middle Eastern. That war failed because terrorism is a political not a military problem, and because the US refused to honestly examine the sources of the violence. During our war on terrorism, the US was itself creating and arming terrorists in Nicaragua, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Critics have argued that we lost the last war on terrorism because the CIA was handcuffed; but to the contrary, the CIA remains one of the main sponsors of terrorism around the world.

It’s curious that when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, we didn’t declare war on all right-wing fascist groups in the US, and chalk up to collateral damage any others who might have gotten killed or injured in the process of conducting that war. Yet that’s what we’re prepared to do in Afghanistan and other nations. Is that because American fascists are not as evil as Islamic fundamentalist fascists? (One doesn’t have to endorse fascist views—any more than fundamentalist views—to recognize that McVeigh’s actions had causes: the government’s assaults at Waco and Ruby Ridge and its contamination of its own soldiers in the Gulf War—in which McVeigh served.)

President Bush is right in using the word, “justice,” but war and militarism can never accomplish justice. This terrorism is a crime against humanity, and that’s how it should be pursued: as a crime against which we and the international community must bring all the forces of law enforcement and criminal prosecution to bear. This is a job for international police work not the military.

Let’s get tough on terrorism. The only way to do this is by examining the sources and not merely the symptoms of terrorism, even if means admitting our own role in the violence. For all the warmongering and saber-rattling, Washington’s proposed actions provide only a weak and superficial response that will never get to the roots of the problem and will instead only multiply the symptoms. That takes no courage whatsoever.

I love America for many things, but I don’t love it for its foreign policies; I don’t love it for the way we’ve treated other peoples and nations. I would love America more if we were to fundamentally change those policies. Albert Einstein once said that: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we used when we created them.” Those words hold two insights: first, that we must change the way we think about and act in the world, and second, that we must look at ourselves and not merely at others. If we’re a great nation, then we should be strong enough for self-examination. If we value life and freedom so much, then we need to act like it. We need real courage, which is not a matter of knee-jerk revenge but rather of having the guts to reexamine what we’ve been doing in the world while we also take seriously the symptoms and the perpetrators of the horrible terrorism that has struck us.

THE WHOLE WORLD HAS ITS HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND–Truth About Isis

[THE WHOLE WORLD HAS ITS HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND, when it comes to ISIS.  No authority has protested in the past, nor do they protest today, the fact that ISIS is wholly a US/SAUDI-owned entity.  They nurtured it together in the prison camps of Iraq and Saudi, until it was ready to stand on its own two legs in Syria.  There is no surprise here, except for the great astonishment everyone experiences when learning the truth about this state-sponsored terrorism, and the fact that no government (‘cept Russia) dares to mention this dire truth.]

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‘No one can bury heads in sand:’ Hezbollah leader calls for help fighting ISIS in Syria

Russia-Today
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.(Reuters / Sharif Karim)
Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.(Reuters / Sharif Karim)

 

Calling it a global existential threat, Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has urged supporters to join the fight against the Islamic State, confirming that his Shiite militant group has been fighting the Sunni extremists all across Syria.

READ MORE: ‘No will’ to fight ISIS? US Defense Sec blasts Iraqi troops

“Today we are facing a kind of danger that is unprecedented in history, which targets humanity itself,” Nasrallah said Sunday during a televised broadcast referring to Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL).

“This is not just a threat to the resistance in Lebanon or to the regime in Syria or the government in Iraq or a group in Yemen,” the Shiite movement’s head continued. “This is a danger to everyone. No one should bury their heads in the sand.”

He called on volunteers to stand up against IS extremist fighters: “We invite everyone in Lebanon and the region to take responsibility and confront this danger and end their silence and hesitation and neutrality.”

Read more
First confession: Pentagon admits 2 Syrian children killed in US airstrikes

Nasrallah’s comments were made ahead of Monday’s anniversary of the retreat of Israeli troops from Lebanon in 2000.

The leader has confirmed for the very first time that Hezbollah members are fighting Islamic State together with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in various parts of Syria and not just around the border regions.

“We are fighting alongside our Syrian brothers, alongside the army and the people and the popular resistance in Damascus and Aleppo and Deir Ezzor and Qusayr and Hasakeh and Idlib,” he said. “We are present today in many places and we will be present in all the places in Syria that this battle requires.”

READ MORE: Mortar attack on Russian embassy in Damascus an ‘act of terror’ – Moscow

Nasrallah also expressed disappointment with the US-led coalition against Islamic State, saying it was not effective and had not stopped jihadists from moving around freely.

Read more
​ISIS taking advantage of Syrian conflict, opposition & govt should cease fire – UN envoy tells RT

At the same time, he addressed the opposition, stressing that any support for the anti-Assad movement within Syria would only lead to more power in the hands of jihadists.

Sunni forces in Lebanon have been critical of Hezbollah’s role in Syria, as the group has not supported uprisings against Assad.

Lebanon is heavily affected by the Syrian conflict, as the majority of the refugees seeking shelter there are from the bordering war-torn state, with their number currently estimated at over 1.2 million.

The civil war in Syria started four years ago, when the Western-backed opposition began an armed rebellion against Assad’s government. By 2013, large portions of eastern Syria and western Iraq had fallen under control of militants from the Islamic State, which emerged amid the turmoil of the conflict, along with other extremist groups fighting against both Assad and the opposition. The conflict in Syria has claimed over 200,000 lives so far.

Fighting Terrorists By Creating Terrorists

[We have armed every nation in the Middle East “to the teeth,” yet now we fight to keep them from murdering each other with those very same weapons.  We have intentionally ramped-up local antagonisms, in order to create the desire for more weapons.  Every Middle Eastern nation spends most of its money and everything that it can borrow to purchase every weapon that they can get, because that is what American leaders want.  American militarists and Empire Builders have pushed through every political barrier, in order to entangle American interests in this morass, so that later we could play at “world policeman.”  Why would American leaders have acted so maliciously towards future victims of their policies? 

Why do they purposely create the circumstances which will compel future military interventions?  If the goal is simply the introduction of American forces, then why not just move those forces in, instead of trying to arm every side and then send in American forces to keep the killing below an “acceptable” threshold as justification for impending aggression?  Answering certain questions exposes the aggression in American humanitarianism.  Human lives mean nothing to an unrestrained military aggressor, except when they prove to be an embarassment or reveal America’s true nature.]

America’s Virulent, Extremist Counterterrorism Ideology

ForeignPolicyLogo

America’s Virulent, Extremist Counterterrorism Ideology

Throughout the 13-plus years of the war on terrorism, one line of effort that everyone in Washington agrees on is the necessity to counter the ideology put forth by terrorist groups. Unfortunately, everyone also agrees that U.S. government agencies have done a terrible job at achieving this. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) recently derided the State Department’s counter-ideology efforts as “laughable” compared with the propaganda of the Islamic State. Whether termed “strategic communications,” “counter-messaging,” or “countering violent extremism,” there is a rare Washington consensus that this essential task is also the one that the United States has been the worst at accomplishing. But it’s not just about building a less-pathetic State Department Twitter feed. By extension, “success” mandates changing how terrorist groups think and communicate, and influencing individuals deemed susceptible to terrorists’ messaging.

Focusing on terrorists’ ideology is attractive because it requires altering the brains of enemies and neutral third parties, while, more importantly, requiring no change in America’s own thinking. Yet in the past six months there has been a little noticed, but significant, shift in America’s own counterterrorism ideology.

The language senior officials and policymakers are increasingly using to characterize terrorist threats — and to describe the projected length of the war on terrorism — has diversified and metastasized. The enemy, once identified as simply al Qaeda and affiliated groups, now includes amorphous concepts like “Islamic extremism” or “violent extremists.” Meanwhile, any shared understanding of when the war might end has basically vanished from public discourse. Where there was once an aspiration in Washington to wind down the era of “perpetual war,” there is now an agreement that America faces a “multigenerational” threat.

With little awareness of the consequences of this shift in discourse, U.S. counterterrorism ideology has become far more nebulous, less concrete, and gradually more open-ended. The war on terrorism is going poorly: The number, estimated strength, lethality (within countries they operate in, not against Americans), and social media influence of jihadi terrorist groups is growing. Yet, the same tough-sounding clichés and wholly implausible objectives are repeated over and over, with no indication of any strategic learning or policy adjustments. If this virulent and extremist — virulent in that it’s poisonous and harmful and that repeatedly espousing it ensures continued strategic failure, and extremist in that it proclaims the most extreme objectives that will never be achieved — U.S. counterterrorism ideology goes unchecked, it will further delude government officials and U.S. citizens into the false belief that the current courses of action are normal and acceptable and require no modification.

This latest ideological change is most conspicuous in descriptions of who the United States is at war with. The enemy has always been overly classified and somewhat hidden, but at least there was once a recognized list of discrete groups. Now, the adversary is an undefined and contested category of groups or people allegedly connected with the act of terrorism. If the U.S. government were as imprecise with its bombs as with its descriptions of its terrorist enemies, it would be a war crime. This matters: If you cannot name your opponents, you certainly cannot know them, much less measure progress in defeating them.

Consider the nebulous jumble of abstract enemies that officials have pronounced. In February, President Barack Obama said, “We are at war with people who have perverted Islam” and said that the international community must “eradicate this scourge of violent extremism.” Similarly, when attempting to describe the enemy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, claimed that the United States is in a fight “against the group that has perverted Islam.” In February, National Security Advisor Susan Rice contextualized the U.S. mission as “to cut off violent extremism at the knees.” Earlier that month, she attempted to describe the undefined enemy: “As al Qaeda core has been decimated, we have seen the diffusion of the threat to al Qaeda affiliates, ISIL, local militia[s], and homegrown violent extremists.” Eric Holder, then the attorney general, claimed, also in February, that the United States is simply “combating the threat of violent extremism.” Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, said the enemy is “ISIL and other violent extremist groups.”

Some policymakers have been even vaguer. When asked to define the enemy, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “I call them the enemy of Islam.” Let’s set aside the fact that Kerry is now presuming to interpret what is legitimate faith for 1 billion Muslims. Just who is this enemy precisely?

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates are outdoing one another in blurring the enemy and exponentially expanding the number of individuals whom the United States must defeat. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) coined the Taken doctrine: “On our strategy on global jihadists and terrorists, I refer them to the movie Taken … Liam Neeson. He had a line, and this is what our strategy should be: ‘We will look for you, we will find you, and we will kill you.’” Less theatrically, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) merely pledged, “We will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.” Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, “We are in the early years of a struggle with violent Islamic extremists that will last many decades.” Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), while touting his alleged willingness to name the enemy, called them “radical Islam” and “haters of mankind.” Again, it’s fine, though meaningless, to talk tough, but whom are these threats being made against?

The other threatening recent shift in U.S. counterterrorism ideology relates to the end state in the war on terrorism and when this might come about. Although Obama once claimed that this war, “like all wars, must end,” officials and policymakers no longer pretend that the war on terrorism will ever end; nor do they offer any narrative for how this war would end. Rather, they are attempting to normalize the war on terrorism as something all Americans should accept and get used to. As Defense Secretary Ashton Carter admitted, “We need to be thinking about terrorism more generally as a more enduring part of our national security mission.”

This shift was crystallized in a remarkable recent observation by CIA Director John Brennan. Three years ago, Brennan, then Obama’s closest counterterrorism advisor, pledged, “We’re not going to rest until al Qaeda the organization is destroyed and is eliminated from areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Africa, and other areas. We’re determined to do that.” Yet, last month, when asked at Harvard University when the war on terrorism will end, he responded philosophically: “It’s a long war, unfortunately. But it’s been a war that has been in existence for millennia.… So this is going to be something, I think, that we’re always going to have to be vigilant about.” In other words, defeating terrorism is eschatological and eternal.

Similarly, Obama and his senior aides have come to repeatedly reframe the war in decades. The new National Security Strategy describes it as “a generational struggle in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war and 2011 Arab uprisings, which will redefine the region as well as relationships among communities and between citizens and their governments.” Meanwhile, Dempsey, the most senior uniformed military official, warned of Islamic terrorism: “I think this threat is probably a 30-year issue.”

Likewise, on Capitol Hill, this view has become standardized. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said it is a “multigenerational struggle” with “no cheap way to win this fight.” Similarly, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called it “a generational fight for civilization against brutal enemies.” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) went even further than Brennan, noting, “We’ve been fighting this radical Islamist ideology for 1,400 years.” In other words, long before the United States was even established. Forget who the enemy is; who is this “we”?

What is most disheartening about this radicalized counterterrorism discourse is that these same officials and policymakers still pretend that these diffuse terrorist threats will be “destroyed,” “defeated,” or “eliminated.” This quite simply will not happen because the United States and its partners keep applying the same strategies and policies while foolishly hoping for a different result. Officials claim that terrorists’ ideology is their “center of gravity,” a term the Pentagon defines as: “The source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act.” Yet, again, because nothing has succeeded at countering that ideology, we are supposed to become accustomed to an endless war against a nondescript concept.

The only ideology that the United States can influence or control is its own. Instead, Washington has busied itself conflating local militancy with threats to the homeland, refusing to identify the enemy, proclaiming tough-sounding and implausible strategic objectives, and demonstrating no meaningful learning or adjustments over 13 years. The lack of precision employed when defining America’s adversaries in the war on terrorism and the absence of any end state (combined with those unachievable objectives) comprise a dangerous and extremist set of beliefs for U.S. officials and policymakers to hold. If the war on terrorism is really all about ideology and ideas, then the United States should spend as much time analyzing its own ideology as it does its enemies’. The emerging counterterrorism ideology that Washington is expressing is hazardous, illusory, and sadly unchallenged.

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

“Pushing Back” the Boat People In Asia and In Europe, Symptom of Universal Insanity

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Fransiska Nangoy

BANGKOK/JAKARTA (Reuters) – Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia gave no response on Wednesday to a United Nations appeal for them to rescue thousands of migrants, many of them hungry and sick, adrift in boats in Southeast Asian seas.

There were conflicting statements on whether regional governments would continue to push back migrant boats in the face of the UN warning that they risked a “massive humanitarian crisis”.

“Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have decided not to receive boat people, as far as I am aware,” Major General Werachon Sukhondhapatipak, spokesman for Thailand’s ruling junta, told Reuters.

He declined to comment on the UN refugee agency UNHCR’s appeal on Tuesday for an international search and rescue operation for the many stranded on the seas between Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The UN has said several thousand migrants were abandoned at sea by smugglers following a Thai government crackdown on human trafficking.

Malaysia’s Home Ministry also declined to comment on the U.N. rescue appeal.

The issue would be discussed at a meeting of 15 countries, to be held in Bangkok on May 29, Thai junta spokesman Werachon said.

But the Royal Thai Navy said on Wednesday that its policy was not to send the boats back to sea.

“If they come to Thai waters we must help them and provide food and water,” Rear Admiral Kan Deeubol told Reuters. “For human rights reasons, we will not send them back to sea.”

Earlier this week, a junta spokesman said that a surge in migrants to Indonesia and Malaysia from Bangladesh and Myanmar had been caused by the crackdown and by Thai authorities blocking boats from landing.

Thailand ordered a clean-up of suspected traffickers’ camps last week after 33 bodies, believed to be of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, were found in shallow graves near the Malaysian border.

That has made traffickers wary of landing in Thailand, the preferred destination for the region’s people smuggling networks, leading to many migrants being left out at sea.

‘IT’S A POLICY MATTER’

A senior Malaysian maritime official said on Tuesday, after more than 1,000 people arrived on the Malaysian island of Langkawi at the weekend, that any more boats trying to land would be turned back

“We don’t allow them in,” said First Admiral Tan Kok Kwee, northern region head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. “It’s a policy matter.”

Indonesia provided food, water and medical supplies to around 500 passengers on a boat off the coast of the northwestern province of Aceh on Monday, before sending the vessel towards Malaysia.

The Indonesian Navy said the passengers of the boat they sent onwards wanted to go to Malaysia, not Indonesia.

A day earlier and also in Aceh, Indonesia rescued nearly 600 migrants from overcrowded wooden boats. Those migrants were brought ashore and remain on Aceh.

The Indonesian policy was to offer food and shelter to refugees and coordinate with international migrant and refugee bodies, Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir told reporters on Wednesday. This it had done with the nearly 600 migrants it rescued on Sunday, he added.

“What we do not do is load them on to the ship and push it to the ocean,” he said.

But advocacy group ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights criticised the Indonesian government for sending the boat back to sea on Monday.

“Towing migrants out to sea and declaring that they aren’t your problem any more is not a solution to the wider regional crisis,” ABHR Chairperson and Malaysian lawmaker Charles Santiago said in a statement.

Many of the arrivals are Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority from Myanmar described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

‘BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS’

An estimated 25,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya boarded rickety smugglers’ boats in the first three months of this year, twice as many in the same period of 2014, the UNHCR has said.

“When countries such as Thailand implement a push back policy, we find Rohingya bodies washing ashore,” said Sunai Phasuk at Human Rights Watch in Thailand.

“If these three countries move forward with push backs, blood will be on their hands.”

Malaysia’s police chief said that joint work with the Thai police force had helped Malaysian police smash seven syndicates involved in smuggling and trafficking in March and April.

The syndicates operated in northern Malaysia and southern Thailand, Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters on the Thai island of Phuket, where members of the two police forces met this week for annual talks on international crime.

Among 38 people arrested were two Malaysian policemen, he said.

As well as trafficking, Malaysian police believe the syndicates were involved in forging UNHCR documents, he said.

(Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy in JAKARTA and Apichai Thornoi in PHUKET, Thailand; Writing by Simon Webb; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson)

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Homeland Security Stockpiling Lots of “Less Lethal Specialty Munitions”

Are They Arming for Riots Across America? Homeland Stockpiling “Less Lethal Specialty Munitions”

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Mac Slavo

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One of the biggest stories for years in the alternative media was the mysterious and foreboding purchase by Homeland Security of more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.

Thanks to coverage on prominent sites like DrudgeReport, the story reached into mainstream media, prompting official spin and downplaying of the purchase.

Now, a new Homeland Security purchase order listed on FedBizOpps  also raises an eyebrow or two, given the heated and divided political and social climate at hand. Just look at what happened in Ferguson…

A request for “less lethal specialty munitions” for use by Homeland Security dated March 23, 2015 reads:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends to solicit responses to Request for Information (RFI) 20082225-JTC for Less Lethal Specialty Munitions (LLSM) for use by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). CBP is interested in incorporating commercial and industry practices that support this type of procurement. To accomplish this, CBP intends to make industry a partner in all facets of the acquisition process, specifically by considering existing market capabilities, strengths and weaknesses for the acquisition of this commodity.

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Over the course of 9 pages (PDF), the technical requirements call for an arsenal of specialized weaponry for training and deployment against crowds.

On top of a wide range of gas and chemical grenades, rubber bullets and other riot rounds, the purchase calls for “controlled noise and light distraction devices,” including flash bangs which set off a 175 dB sound with 6 – 8 million candelas light bursts in 10 milliseconds.

So why are the Feds prepping to take on crowds?

Officially, the request is put through Customs and Border Patrol, a subset of the Department of Homeland Security, but it is unlikely that the equipment will be used to protect the border and keep out illegal aliens. But the riot gear and crowd control devices have many potential uses.

Perhaps, the equipment for use in instances like last year, when protesters in Murrieta confronted Customs and Border Patrol agents and blocked buses carrying a wave of illegal immigrants from Central America?

The requested equipment includes:

Hand Delivered Pyrotechnic Canisters, including

  • Smoke Canister for Training (Reduced Toxicity)
  • Continuous Discharge Large Smoke Canister (Operations)
  • Continuous Discharge CS Canister
  • Orange Colored Smoke Canister
  • Green Colored Smoke Canister
  • Pocket Tactical Smoke Canister
  • Pocket Tactical CS Canister
  • Three Part Sub-Munitions CS Canister
  • Non-Burning Internal Canister OC Grenade

Non-Pyrotechnic Indoor/Outdoor Use

  • Flameless Expulsion Grenade (OC)
  • Flameless Expulsion Grenade (CS)
  • Flameless Expulsion Grenade (Inert)

Hand Delivered Rubber Ball Grenades

  • Rubber Ball Grenade
  • Rubber Ball Grenade (CS)

40mm Launched Specialty Impact Munitions

  • 40mm Direct Impact Sponge Cartridge
    40mm Direct Impact Sponge Cartridge (OC)
  • 40mm Direct Impact Sponge Cartridge (Marking)
  • 40mm Direct Impact Sponge Cartridge (Inert)
  • 40mm Sponge Training Rounds

Crowd Management Projectile Cartridges

  • 40mm Smokeless Powder Blast (OC)
  • 40mm Smokeless Powder Blast (CS)
  • 40mm Long Range Canister (CS)
  • 40mm Long Range Canister (Smoke)
  • 40mm Cartridge Four Part Sub-Munitions (CS)
  • 40mm Cartridge Four Part Sub-Munitions (Smoke)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions (100 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions (200 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions (300 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions OC (100 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions OC (200 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions OC (300 Meters)

Controlled Noise And Light Distraction Devices

  • Distraction Device Compact
  • Distraction Device
  • Distraction Device Reloadable Steel Body
  • Distraction Device Reload
  • Command Initiated Distraction Device Reload
  • Distraction Device Training Fuse
  • Distraction Device Training Body
  • Multiple Detonation Distraction Device
  • Low Profile Distraction Device
  • Command Initiator

Ferret Rounds

  • 40mm Ferret Round (OC Powder)
  • 40mm Ferret Round (OC Liquid)
  • 40mm Ferret Round (CS Powder)
  • 40mm Ferret Round (CS Liquid)
  • 40mm Ferret Round (Inert Powder)

The ferret rounds are designed to penetrate barriers and deliver debilitating or disrupting chemicals:

“The projectile shall be designed to penetrate barriers of glass, particle board, and interior walls. Upon impact of the barrier, the nose cone will rupture and instantaneously deliver the OC liquid on the other side of the barrier. “

The collection of equipment provides a diverse range of toys with which authorities could push back crowds and potentially intimidate free speech as well.

Are there more riots coming? Is widespread civil unrest only a matter of time? Is it related to martial law exercises like Jade Helm 15?

What do the Feds know that we don’t?

They are getting ready… are you?

 

Related Reading:

The Prepper’s Blueprint: Prepare For Any Disaster

If Martial Law Comes to America “Dissidents and Subversives Would Be Rounded Up”

The 17 Elements of Martial Law

How the CIA made Google

How the CIA made Google

Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet— part 1

Medium .net Medium News

By Nafeez Ahmed

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

THIS IS PART ONE. READ PART TWO HERE.


This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I’d like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons.


In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, western governments are moving fast to legitimize expanded powers of mass surveillance and controls on the internet, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

US and European politicians have called to protect NSA-style snooping, and to advance the capacity to intrude on internet privacy by outlawing encryption. One idea is to establish a telecoms partnership that would unilaterally delete content deemed to “fuel hatred and violence” in situations considered “appropriate.” Heated discussions are going on at government and parliamentary level to explore cracking down on lawyer-client confidentiality.

What any of this would have done to prevent the Charlie Hebdo attacks remains a mystery, especially given that we already know the terrorists were on the radar of French intelligence for up to a decade.

There is little new in this story. The 9/11 atrocity was the first of many terrorist attacks, each succeeded by the dramatic extension of draconian state powers at the expense of civil liberties, backed up with the projection of military force in regions identified as hotspots harbouring terrorists. Yet there is little indication that this tried and tested formula has done anything to reduce the danger. If anything, we appear to be locked into a deepening cycle of violence with no clear end in sight.

As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.

Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.

The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.

The shadow network

For the last two decades, US foreign and intelligence strategies have resulted in a global ‘war on terror’ consisting of prolonged military invasions in the Muslim world and comprehensive surveillance of civilian populations. These strategies have been incubated, if not dictated, by a secret network inside and beyond the Pentagon.

Established under the Clinton administration, consolidated under Bush, and firmly entrenched under Obama, this bipartisan network of mostly neoconservative ideologues sealed its dominion inside the US Department of Defense (DoD) by the dawn of 2015, through the operation of an obscure corporate entity outside the Pentagon, but run by the Pentagon.

In 1999, the CIA created its own venture capital investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. But the inspiration for In-Q-Tel came earlier, when the Pentagon set up its own private sector outfit.

Known as the ‘Highlands Forum,’ this private network has operated as a bridge between the Pentagon and powerful American elites outside the military since the mid-1990s. Despite changes in civilian administrations, the network around the Highlands Forum has become increasingly successful in dominating US defense policy.

Giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation are sometimes referred to as the ‘shadow intelligence community’ due to the revolving doors between them and government, and their capacity to simultaneously influence and profit from defense policy. But while these contractors compete for power and money, they also collaborate where it counts. The Highlands Forum has for 20 years provided an off the record space for some of the most prominent members of the shadow intelligence community to convene with senior US government officials, alongside other leaders in relevant industries.

I first stumbled upon the existence of this network in November 2014, when I reported for VICE’s Motherboard that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel’s newly announced ‘Defense Innovation Initiative’ was really about building Skynet — or something like it, essentially to dominate an emerging era of automated robotic warfare.

Read PART 1 and PART 2 HERE

Obama’s “al-CIA-da” Strategy–Fight ISIS To Give Al-Nusra Time To Grow Strong

[Al Golani is a creation of the intelligence agencies (SEE: The layers of fiction surrounding Al Nusra chief Abu Mohammed Al Jolani).  He is credited with leading one of the currents generated by the break-up of Al-Qaida In Iraq, the same terrorist outfit which has been holding Lebanese soldiers hostage, after beheading 4 of them.  Nusra is fighting a holding action on the Leb. Army, giving ISIS time to lay in supplies the mountains of the east, preparing for an anticipated major assault upon Lebanon from Qalamoun in Syria.  Lebanon is expected to join a US anti-ISIS coalition, while it fights al-Nusra without proper weapons. 

Truth be told, Lebanon is expected to fold-up and play dead in the face of a sustained assault by the offspring of al-Q In Iraq.  Both ISIS  and al-Nusra are “al-CIA-da.”]

Nusra Front Quietly Rises in Syria as Islamic State Targeted

daily star LEB

W460

The Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group.

But while the Islamic State group gets most of the attention largely because its penchant for gruesome propaganda, the Nusra Front quietly has become one of the key players in the four-year civil war, compromising other rebel groups the West may try to work with while increasingly enforcing its own brutal version of Islamic law.

Its scope of influence now abuts the Golan Heights bordering Israel, and its membership largely composed of Syrian nationals refuse any negotiations with the government of embattled President Bashar Assad, further complicating the brutal conflict.

“The Nusra Front will most likely outlast ISIS in Syria, and will represent a severe and existential threat to the aspirations of the Syrian people in terms of a pluralistic, democratic society,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, using an alternate acronym for the extremist group.

The Islamic State group helped create the Nusra Front, providing financing, manpower and military hardware in 2012. But the group and its patron eventually had a falling out in 2013 for ideological as well as strategic reasons. The Nusra Front, while loyal to al-Qaida, has cooperated with other Syrian rebel factions in the fight to oust Assad.

In recent months, the group has overrun rebel strongholds in Syria’s Idlib province, trouncing two prominent, U.S.-backed rebel factions, Harakat Hazm and the Syria Revolutionaries Front. Following the deadly clashes, SRF leader Jamal Maarouf fled to Turkey and Hazm announced it was dissolving.

A Middle East-based Western diplomat said the Nusra Front began its attacks on moderate, U.S.-backed rebel factions after the American-led coalition began airstrikes in September targeting both the Islamic State group and the Khorasan group, which Washington says is a special cell within Nusra plotting attacks against Western interests. U.S. officials last week said airstrikes have hit as many as 17 separate targets connected to the Khorasan group.

The Nusra Front responded with a series of spectacular attacks targeting moderate rebel groups and forces loyal to Assad in northwestern Syria, the diplomat said.

It “has now created coherent control of a strategic area between Idlib and Hama (provinces) in northwestern and central Syria,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to brief journalists.

At the same time, the group has become increasingly aggressive toward local populations. In January, members of the group reportedly shot a woman dead in front of a crowd in Idlib after they accused her of being a prostitute. The group also has carried out public lashings, crucifixions and kidnappings — though it has not publicized the atrocities like the Islamic State group.

Activists in southern Syria say the Nusra Front was behind the January bombing that destroyed the shrine of a 13th century Muslim scholar. The Nusra Front issued a statement denying it was involved but activists say its members were seen placing the bombs.

“They’re trying to come across as rational, moderate, more dynamic,” Gerges said. “They don’t celebrate savagery in the same way like the Islamic State group.”

Residents say among the group’s most worrisome action so far is forcing members of the minority Druze sect living in Idlib’s Jabal al-Summaq region to convert to Sunni Islam.

The Druze, a 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam, made up about 5 percent of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million people. In addition to Syria, Lebanon and Israel have large Druze communities.

“The Druze in Idlib are being subjected today to religious persecution. The Nusra Front carried out shameful acts. They have dug graves and damaged shrines,” said former Lebanese Cabinet minister Wiam Wahhab, a Druze politician with close ties to the community in Syria.

Activists estimate several hundred Druze have been forced to convert. A purported Nusra Front document, posted online and dated Feb. 1, outlined an agreement that saw Druze in 14 villages in Idlib convert. Under the deal, the Druze will implement Islamic laws, destroy tombs, impose Islamic dress on women and stop having mixed-sex schools. Idlib-based activist Asaad Kanjo said many Druze there have fled.

“You are likely to see this sort of behavior from Nusra in Idlib province because they are increasingly the dominant party in this part of Syria, and are in the midst of a concerted effort to eliminate rivals there,” said Faysal Itani, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council. “Nusra ultimately wants to rule Syria.”

An opposition activist in Kafranbel, a town in Idlib, said the group has established an elaborate network of social services and Shariah courts and rules uncontested. Remaining rebel groups in the province operate only with Nusra’s approval, he said.

However, the group’s increasingly belligerent approach toward other rebel groups is starting to alienate former allies, said the activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The main Western-backed Syrian group, the Syrian National Coalition, which in the past has been wary not to criticize Nusra, has changed its tune.

“We are concerned over Al Nusra’s latest actions and abuses against civilians and (Free Syrian Army) fighters,” said spokesman Salem al-Meslet, adding that the abuses were akin to the Islamic State group and Syrian government forces’ “criminal behavior.”

The criticism has led the Nusra Front to issue a rare statement defending itself, saying its target are only those proven to have committed “crimes” against Muslims and fighters.

“It was not our intention on any day to spread influence and expand and control the worshippers and the country,” the statement from its Al-Manara Al-Bayda media arm said. “Rather, our goal and aim is to lift injustice from the oppressed, and push away every enemy that attacks the honor, religion, and sanctities of the Muslims.”

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