Monday 29 November 2004

Britain's MI5 Mainly Responsible for Madrid's Deadly 3/11 Bombings

by Trowbridge H. Ford

While the established media lost all interest in the causes of the deadly Madrid bombings of March 11th, once the reactionary Popular Party government of José Maria Aznar was defeated in the general election three days later, the new Socialist government of José Luis Rodrigues Zapatero has pursued the matter with unwavering dedication, its commission on the matter confirming what this web site has maintained all along - it was the product of jailed, Syrian-born Eddin Barakat Yarkas aka Abu Dahdah. He apparently pulled off an even greater deception of Western counterterrorists than Osama bin-Laden's hijackers accomplished on 9/11. Aznar is increasingly contending, though, that they were still done by Eta, the Basque separatists.

The 3/11 disaster is a sad reminder of what imperialism means in the daily lives of people around the world, even those living in apparently safe Western Europe. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, American and British counterterrorist experts were so in charge that no one else could dispute what was going on, and how to counter any threats they may make. Washington and London knew best, and no one else had the temerity to challenge what they were claiming, and demanding. Poor Aznar's government was nothing more than a doormat for Anglo-American policymakers, jerked around by London and Washington to send troops to Iraq to quell the
unexpected resistance to the occupation, and to put the appropriate spin on the most unexpected attacks at home if they occurred.

Of course, to get Madrid on board for this great misadventure, London and Washington promised all kinds of protections and reassurances against any adverse repercussions. To protect Aznar's government from any attacks by the Basque separatists Eta, Britain made available all the signit information that its INTERSAT 707 satellite picked up over southern France - what the Echelon
station in Cornwall's Morwenstow was constantly monitoring. Thanks to any expressions terrorists used in plotting their attacks - e. g., allusions to Osama, Aznar, Iraq, cutting throats, achieving paradise and the like - London assured Madrid that it would suffer no blowback because of its support of the Coalition in toppling Saddam Hussein.

Washington was no less forthcoming in giving assurances to Madrid for any support it might provide. The National Security Agency would provide similar surveillance from southern Spain in Rota to what the British were providing in the north. In addition, American special forces were providing all kinds of counterterrorist training to troops in North African states to make sure that Al-Aqaeda did not pulll off any surprises on the Spanish mainland. Moreover, Britain and America were working hard so that Libya could be disarmed of its WMD, and rejoin the world community. For good measure, NATO was seriously considering moving its southern headquarters from Italy to southern Spain to meet better the challenges of Islamic extremism.

Right after the 9/11 attacks, Britain, thanks to its surveillance of Spanish airwaves, informed Madrid of the activities by Abu Dahdah's "rear guard base", especially his communications with hijacker Mohamed Atta, resulting in his arrest, and seven of his cohorts on November 18, 2001. Spain's High Center for Defence Intelligence (CESID), in making the arrests, found information that the Madrid cell was apparently planning attacks on all kinds of US and NATO facilities in Northern Europe. Five months later, CESID, it seemed, broke the back of Dahdah's network by catching bin-Laden's finance chief, Ahmed Brahim, in the San Joan Despi area of Barcelona, particularly because it was believed that the man the network was taking orders from, Muhammad Atef, had been killed by the US Air Force bombings of Tora Bora in Afghanistan.

Consequently, Britain's Security Service, MI5, increasingly thought that Britain would be the next important target of Dahdah's followers since they were regularly going to London to visit cleric Abu Qatada aka Omar Mahmud Othman, and other contacts there, particularly Abu Walid, Abu Al-Hareth, and Abu Bashir. They provided volunteers to the Taliban so that they could get the necessary training for carrying out new terrorist acts. As a result, Anglo-American counterterrorists increasingly played down the importance of attempts by Dahdah's followers to sink a ship in the Straits of Gilbraltar by a suicide attack, as other suicide bombers had attempted at Aden on the USS Cole in October 2000.

London and Washington did not even take seriously the possible role of Dahdah in the coordinated suicide attacks on Israeli, Belgian, and Spanish targets in Casablanca on May 16, 2003, in which 33 people were killed - resulting in Spanish and Moroccan counterterrorists tending to behave likewise. Obviously, Dahdah could not be directing anything important from his prison cell or else his communications in the field with his cohorts, "the chatter", would activate the alarms at Morwenstow.

MI5 became so convinced of its conspiracy theories about Aznar's problems that it put together its own plot about what Dahdah's disciples planned in Britain, thanks to the fact that Abu Qatada had now become its double agent. The Security Service arranged to make it look as if Canadian Mohammad Momin Khawaja, apparently an acquaintance of Qatada's, was the quartermaster of a domestic terrorist bombing by, it seems, securing the necessary fertilizer, centered around the activities of Waheed Mahmoud's PC UK Internet Cafe in Crawley. MI5 and the FBI even imagined that jihadist Jeffrey Leon Battle, one of the "Portland Seven" who had just been sentenced to 18 years in prison for attempting to fight with the Taliban, was somehow directing activities from his federal prison cell in Oregon.

The facts, though, were, unfortunately, totally different. Dahdah was carrying on from his Spanish prison cell as if his incarceration was no problem. He was communicating regularly with Jamel Zougham, whose PC shop in Madrid was making all the arrangements for the bombings despite the fact that his name had been on the watch lists - remember what happened to those on American watch lists before the 9/11 attacks! - of security agencies after the Casablanca bombings. In sum, Anglo-American counterrorists had their Spanish counterparts completely confused about what was in the offing.

When the devastating attacks occurred, US and British authorities, thanks to their concentrating upon Eta "chatter" in anticipation of a convenient Basque bombing to help Aznar's flagging electoral prospects, were completely surprised, as were CESID's, by what Dahdah had accomplished. To cover their tracks, as best they could, MI5 agent 'Gould' went around to Crawley in the hope getting all Mahmoud's associates to flee to Pakistan, stating that their arrest was imminent. Then Canadian Mounties arrested Khawaja on charges of conspiring to illegally obtain explosives, while terrorizing his family, and making a shambles of their house. Then, at the end of March, making good on 'Gould's threats, the "Crawley cell" - Jawad Akbar, Omar Khyam, Anthony Garcia, and others - was arrested on a variety of terrorist and immigration charges.

The FBI tried to keep the theory going by arresting one-time lawyer of Battle's in a child custody suit, former US Army Captain and convert to Islam Brandon Mayfield, after Spanish authorities supplied a finger print of one of the suspected terrorists, and the Bureau made a match with Mayfield after an inordinate length of time, and trying every method in the book for achieving so. Madrid ultimately discovered that it was one of Ouhnane Daoud's prints, a real suspect in the bombings.

While Britain and America were trying to escape from all the embarrassment caused by these heavy-handed arrests, and contorted charges which led nowhere, the Spanish commission investigating the tragedy determined that Dahdah had been its mastermind all along. "It is very clear to me," senior investigator Rafael Gómez Menor testified on October 26th, "if by mastermind we mean the person who has put the group together, prepared the group, trained it ideologically, sent them to Afghanistan to be prepared militarily for terrorism, that man is Abu Dahdah, without any doubt." (Renwick McLean, "Syrian is named as mastermind of Madrid attacks," International Herald-Tribune, October 27, 2004, p. 3)

In sum, the stage for the attacks had been set by Dahdah before he was imprisoned by Judge Baltasar Garzón in 2001, and it was simply a question of counterterrorists keeping track of what his followers were planning - what London and Washington prevented because of their wider, conspiratorial agendas to keep the misadventure in Iraq going. Little wonder that the Spanish people bailed out of it when they got the chance.

Wednesday 24 November 2004

MPs call for Blair's impeachment

Harold Pinter and author Iain Banks are to join MPs at Westminster to call for Tony Blair's impeachment over Iraq.

Twenty-three members have signed a Commons motion calling for the prime minister to be thrown from office.

They say he misled Parliament over the case for invading Iraq and want a probe by MPs to examine his conduct in relation to the war.

But the impeachment bid is widely expected to fail and probably will not even be debated in the Commons.

Downing Street says Tony Blair has already been cleared by four separate inquiries into the pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

The last attempted impeachment was of Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston back in 1848.

Of the MPs 10 are Conservatives including Boris Johnson and former ministers John Gummer and Douglas Hogg.

MPs from Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Lib Dems have also signed the motion.

The allegation against the prime minister is that in making the case against Iraq he was guilty of a serious breach of constitutional principles.

It says he has destroyed "the fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy" and wants a committee to decide whether there are grounds to impeach him on misconduct charges.

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price, who started the campaign, also wants a Commons debate on Mr Blair's conduct.

"We must make a stand or watch the democracy we have fought so often for against foreign enemies be subverted from within," he said.

"The rules of constitutional conduct had been brushed aside.

"People say politicians do nothing and are all alike but today we make a stand for parliamentary democracy," he added.

Full story...

How and Why Woolsey and Clinton Saved the CIA

by Trowbridge H. Ford


In investigating any covert operation - whether it be by one of the operatives, police involved in counterintelligence and law enforcement, or a researcher just trying to find out what really happened - it is always difficult because one does not know where to start, what necessarily to look for as one proceeds, and when to conclude that the process is finally over because operations often change course in midstream, just compounding the problems. Salisbury policeman L. C. Underwood in North Carolina, and I in rural Portugal learned this the hard way back in 1994 when he was trying to pick up the pieces after the murder of Swede Viktor Gunnarsson, the leading suspect in the assassination of statsminister Olof Palme in February 1986, the previous December, just when I was resuming my investigation of the conspiracy which murdered JFK in Dallas after a generation of inactivity.

Underwood became the leading suspect in Gunnarsson's assassination, once DCI James Woolsey had reprimanded 11 officials of the Agency over the botched inquiry into the spying for the Soviets for nearly a decade by its agent, Aldrich 'Rick' Ames. Ames's spying had been caused by the reckless, illegal operations that the Operations Directorate had allowed Oliver North to direct from Reagan's National Security Council, bypassing the normal chain of command in undertaking actions, and the usual checks about their feasibility, advisability, and responsibility, and its Counter Intelligence Center (CTC) had been loath to investigate its fallout for fear of Agency-threatening blowback.

If the Congress and the public learned what North had been able to put together with the help of Navy Secretary John Lehman, Jr., former SAS Major David Walker's private security firm KMS, Ltd., and the Consortium, an international arms network, while the White House, Pentagon, and the Agency merely turned a blind eye to what was going on, the federal government would have been shaken to its very foundations. Most probably, the Agency would have lost any real counterintelligence capability to the Bureau, and the Pentagon would have been given the authority to conduct covert operations, leaving the CIA with only an intelligence function.

Woolsey had reprimanded most of those responsible for allowing this to happen, and covering it up for far too long, most notably DDO Hugh E. 'Ted' Price, the former counter intelligence chief in 1990 who had not pursued the source of the spying after four years of KGB deception about the matter had been examined and finally dismissed, and ADDO Thomas Tweeten, who explained his perfunctory approval of North's plotting as if he were merely acting as his chaperon. (Ted Gup, The Book of Honor, p. 314.) To erase this blot on their careers, the Operations Directorate had used Freddie Woodruff, the Leningrad station chief when Olof Palme was assassinated, as a guinea pig to determine whether he was the spy.

While they determined that Woodruff wasn't, after he was assassinated by the KGB in August 1993 in Georgia right after a visit by Ames, the problem was merely compounded, not solved, by President Clinton inviting Latvian Grigory Leutchansky aka Loutchansky and Luchanski, head of the KGB-sponsored oil exporting firm Nordex, and a member of The Consortium, to a photo-dinner, also attended by Vice President Gore and 30 Senators, at a Washington museum in October. He was attending for favors rendered - what obiously included helping Evgenii Primakov, the former KGB chief, and now Russian foreign minister, drive US, bilateral, and multi-lateral policy in ways which suited President Boris Yeltsin's demands for money. Leutchansky's firm, thanks to its connections to hit man Leonid Borisovich Wolf, was noted for all kinds of illegal activities - assassinations, money laundering, drug-smuggling, and nuclear arms smuggling to Iran and North Korea.

Jewish business man, Sam Domb, arranged Leutchansky's invitation, and was a good friend of American scoff law, and Israeli money launderer Marc Rich. Domb was a conduit by which Nordex funneled illegal campaign funds to Clinton's campaign. Leutchansky discussed with the President the means he was using to force the Ukraine to return its nuclear ICBMs to Moscow - what had helped get Woodruff assassinated for assisting Georgia's drive for independence. Little wonder that when the smoke finally settled from the crisis, and Bob Woodward wrote about it in The Washington Post, "White House Provided DNC with Top-Secret Information," on April 8, 1997, he completely avoided the 1993 dinner.

When the Democratic National Committee (DNC) attempted to use Leutchansky similarly in the run-up to Clinton's re-election at a July 11, 1995 dinner at the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington, former DCI Woolsey belatedly complained: "At a bare minimum, any DNC invitation to Leutchansky in 1995 would show a severe lack of scrutiny and appalling bad judgement." DCI Woolsey had understandably refrained from commenting for operational reasons when Leutchansky had had dinner with the President at the White House back in 1993. An April 1997 issue of Time called Leutchansky "the most pernicious unindicted criminal in the world."

What had caused Woolsey to change radically his attitutde about Leutchansky was the unraveling of Woodruff's assassination. Originally, it had been explained by Lt. General Igor Georgadze, a former KGB officer, and now chief of Georgian President Edvard Shevarnadze's security, as the result of an accidental shooting when the vehicle they were driving in passed a check point, manned by Anzor Sharmaidze, without stopping, causing him to fire one shot which killed the CIA operator instantly. Sharmaidze was later convicted of the crime, sentenced to 15 years in prison, though he later claimed that the police had beaten a confession out of him. Moreover, Georgadze had been amazingly tardy in reporting the shooting, refused to provide investigators with his own weapon, and they never found any evidence of the bullet having penetrated the vehicle.

The FBI agents investigating the crime became increasingly dubious of Sharmaidze's guilt, reopening their investigation of the crime twice - apparently after Clinton dined with Leutchansky In October 1993, and the DNC tried to use him to help re-elect the President after Woolsey had resigned - what prompted Price's Operations Directorate to get Shevarnadze to do something about Georgadze, a close friend of Leutchansky's. The DO suspected that Georgadze had assassinated Woodruff to keep the lid on who was responsible and why for the collapse of the USSR. Both Shevernadze and Michael Gorbachev were suspected of having torpedoed the Soviet experiment to satisfy anti-communists in the West. As a result of CIA pressure, the Georgian President was forced to sack Georgadze in June 1995, and on August 29th, he carried out a nearly successful assassination attack upon Shevernadze.

By October, Georgian security officials started informing Langley of what had happened to Woodruff, and how his assassination had been covered up. Sharmadize's conviction, Houston-based lawyer Michael Pullara, now representing both him and Woodruff's relatives, recently explained, "...was an expedient and perhaps necessary political decision needed to protect the integrity of the Republic of Georgia in 1993." (Thomas Goltz, "Attorney Pushes to Reopen CIA Murder Case in Georgia," Eurasaia, August 27, 2004) Unless Woodruff's assassination had been covered up, in sum, a dangerous confrontation between Shevarnadze, and Boris Yeltsin's Russia would have occurred, probably jeopardizing Georgian independence.

The same hard-nosed approach to solving another ugly assassination occurred in North Carolina - that of Viktor Gunnarsson, the leading suspect in the murder of Sweden's Olof Palme on February 28, 1986 in Stockholm, on the night of December 3, 1993 after he had been targeted in Börje Wingren's book, Han sköt Olof Palme, the previous September. The set up of former policeman L. C. Underwood, the just resigned officer from the Salisbury police force, for Gunnarsson's murder had been ruined by the assassins hiding his body so well that it took another five weeks to find it - what required the murder of Gunnarsson's alleged new girl friend's mother, Mrs. Catherine Miller, to keep Underwood in focus by law enforcement officials in North Carolina for the Swede's murder.

The screw-up of Gunnarsson's assassination caused all kinds of problems for the prosecution of Underwood - especially establishing that the accused had a motive and opportunity for committting a murder of a man he had neither met nor seen while he had an alibi for being elsewhere at the time, and when Gunnarsson's body was nowhere to be found. The evidence ultimately showed that Gunnarsson died a few hours after he was last seen having dinner with Mr. Miller's daughter, Kay Weden, on the evening of December 3rd. (p. 17 of the Court of Appeals ruling) It also established that Gunnarsson was killed in Deep Gap by 1 a. m. on the morning of December 4th while Underwood was still back in Salisbury - 110 miles or a two-hour drive away.

Once Gunnarsson's body was finally found on January 7, 1994, the state tried repeatedly to find evidence that would destroy Underwood's alibi - especially evidence that the naked and alive Gunnarsson had been ín the trunk of Underwood's Monte Carlo right before he was murdered, and that the former police officer had killed him with the .38 caliber revolver that the Lincoln County Sheriffs Department had issued him, and he had somehow managed to keep despite evidence that he turned it in when he resigned 11 years earlier to join the Salisbury Police Department. The hunt for the revolver was highly reminiscent of efforts by Swedish police to find a similar revolver around Stockholm and Sweden after statsminister Palme had been assassinated.

It was only with the incarceration of Rex Allen Keller, Jr. for food stamp fraud that law enforcement and counterterrorist officials finally decided to go ahead with the set up of Underwood, thanks to the red flag that Woolsey raised with his former subordinates about Clinton's continuing dealings with Leutchansky. If the Georgians could arrange a cover up of Woodruff's assassination - what former KGB Chief Primakov had carried out to suit Yeltsin's financial needs - Agency agents could complete Underwood's set up - what Keller had apparently arranged by seeing to the murders of Gunnarsson and Mrs. Miller. As the assassination of Woodruff had possibly gotten rid of the Agency's most dangerous Soviet mole - and at least rendered his exposure, Ames's - as it turned out to be - less threatening as Woodruff's elimination deprived Ames of a colleague who could help justify his spying -Gunnarsson's murder complemented the process - getting rid of a convenient fall guy for the Stockholm shooting while disposing of another dangerous witness about what others had done.

Keller, it seems, was the assassin of both Gunnarsson and Mrs. Miller. He, according to a letter Underwood wrote to me, dated October 18, 2004, "...confessed to his girlfriend friend in 1993, Cherlyn Lashan Mack, that he was a well trained killer and a hit man and confessed to two murders." While Keller never told Ms. Mack who he had killed, and for whom, the killings of Gunnarsson and Ms. Miller seem the most likely, since they had just occurred, and remained unsolved. And then Keller was confident that Underwood would soon be blamed for them.

Underwood explained his relation with Keller in another letter I just received: "Keller and I were not friends, nor were we close. He ran a store in the police zone I patrolled. He was a low life that I used as a snitch and informant. We did not hang around together. Why he came into court and lied the way he did was a mystery. If I had had competent attorneys at trial, they would have cut Keller to pieces on cross examination. His testimony made no sense."

Unfortunately, Keller's testimony did make sense, though Underwood failed to realize that he was being made the fall guy for the Agency killings of Gunnarsson and Catherine Miller, as Keller cleverly concealed in his October 6, 1994 letter to Underwood shortly before he was released from federal penitentiary. After reassuring the police officer that he had nothing to worry about because of his previous relation with Mrs. Miller's daughter - "In short, you will not be charged, it was a pro hit." - he described the Palme assassination as a killing that Gunnarsson had peformed for Moscow, and "the hit on Gunnarsson was done to save a government from being embarrassed."

Of course, this was all nonsense, but it seemed to be possible in light of what was known at the time. Gunnarsson did not kill Palme, and even if he had, it would have been done for the West as Gunnarsson was a militant anti-collectivist - what made him a decoy for the people who really did it. Moreover, his own assassination was not performed to save Yeltsin's government from embarrassment, but the ones in Washington and London, though Keller might have believed so when he carried out the hit on the Swede.

To give credibility to his claims, Keller attributed them to fellow prisoners, CIA and NSA agents who had carried out missions for the NSC's Oliver North in El Salvador and the Middle East - most unlikely events since the Marine had resigned from the post 8 years before. Keller's associates were covert government disinformation agents - like Felipe Vidal Santiago aka Charles Morgan who had tried to recruit Gunnarsson to assassinate Palme, and had settled for making him a decoy when he refused - who were willing to set up Keller in the restaurant business, provided he was willing to set up Underwood as the killer of Gunnarsson and Mrs. Miller.

While Keller was reassuring Underwood, he did everything he could to undermine any confidence in what Ms. Mack might testify: "Fuck her! I don't have time for any more of her shit, and I am damned sure not going to jail or prison over her. You're right too, if she would have cared, she would have written more and come to see me more, but she did neither. Mostly, all I ever got from her was lies, and a hard time." (Keller's ltr. to Underwood, dated October 6, 1994.) Keller, thanks to professional advice apparently provided by
psychologists in the prison, attributed her behavior to chronic crack-cocaine addiction.

When Ms. Mack made a statement to police on July 28 1995 about Keller bragging about
being a professional hit man - what threatened to send him back to prison for the murders of Gunnarsson and Mrs.Miller - he moved into high gear to make sure that Underwood went there instead. He made statements that Underwood had asked him in either February 1993 or 1994 how he could dispose of a gun so that it could not be recovered by sniffer dogs - what was intended to explain why police had not found the .38 caliber Colt revolver and the
.22 caliber pistol they were looking for. In March 1994, Keller claimed that he helped Underwood make a missing tape, explaining why he no longer had a Dan Wesson .22 caliber pistol, yet failing to mention the .22 caliber Ruger rifle he still had, and could have killed Gunnarsson with. Finally, Keller stated that Underwood, who had already shown him were Kay Weden, Mrs. Miller's daughter, lived, gave him the Colt revolver, and $500 to scare and assault her in November and December 1993.

On October 12, 1995, Underwood was arrested, and charged with Gunnarsson's murder.

Unbeknownst to me, the CIA's DO leadership, thanks apparently to encouragement by the former DCI Richard Helms, began to seek my elmination through ricin poisoning - what I just attributed to high living at the time - because of my growing complaints about its assassinations, especially the JFK one. While I would suffer severe attacks of dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea 18 hours after having had dinner in the Thai restaurant in Caldas da Rainha - what, I believe, the new American ambassador to Portugal, Elizabeth Frawley Bagley arranged with the owner - they were not often enough and severe enough for me to be alarmed.
Moreover, I was just too busy with making arrangements for my girl friend to return to Sweden, and promoting the just published first volume of my biography of English barrister Henry Brougham to imagine that anyone, particularly America's covert government, was trying to kill me.

The book's appearance curiously raised further threats to me, though I still failed to suspect any danger. Since I have arrived in Portugal five years earlier, I often talked to friends and acquaintances about my theories surrounding America's assassinations during the 1960s - what I was increasingly saying that I was going to write a book about - and about the biography I had written about Brougham. I think that they increasingly thought that it was all just a lot of hot air - probably by one who the American government had grievances against rather than the reverse.

When Barry Rose published the book in April 1995, my friends were staggered by its appearance. Whatever was inside it, it certainly looked like a most impressive book. I particularly remember the son of a couple who lived in a grand villa nearby, stating with the greatest surprise: "I am really impressed. I never thought that you could write such a book." He maintained an impressive ham radio operation at the villa, apparently for the NSA, by which he monitored Cold War confrontations like the revolt that the Kremlin hardliners mounted unsuccessfully against Gorbachev during August 1991. His mother ran an international media service which provided educational materials to American schools around the globe - an ideal routine, either officially or informally, for keeping the Agency informed of my latest activities and intentions. Of course, if I could write an impressive-looking book about Brougham, I could also do one about Langley too.

In September 1995, I received several most unexpected articles about Jim Garrison, Oliver Stone, and Gerald Posner from the mother. While I had asked her to find out any information she could about Sir Michael Cook, she sent me Posner's article from The New York Times Magazine of August 5, 1995 about Garrison's investigation of the Dallas assassination, "Garrison Guilty: Another Case Closed," and responses by people like Oliver Stone to the article. Posner's article was just a rehash of his book, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of J.F.K., plus some telling criticisms of the New Orleans prosecutor's efforts to convict businessman Clay Shaw of the crime.

In characteristic style - what I would not do if I was again confronted by the clippings - I replied thus on September 12th:

"It's just more elaboration of a false explanation of the conspiracy, at the expense of the intended patsies, which Garrison started looking into right after the killing, and only put aside when it was determined that it could not be used to trace the murder back to Castro. Once William Manchester started asking embarrassing questions, and it was feared that The Death of a President would show that the United States government was just another banana republic which engaged in complicated political murders, Garrison was back in business, though the story was complicated further by claims of aliases, drugs, and homosexuality, and Langley had William Harvey infilitrate and misdirect the New Orleans investigation for good measure. As Ruby had had to kill Oswald because his trial threatened to blow the whole thing sky high, Harvey had had to clean things up because of misplaced responsibilities in people like John Roselli and Jack Ruby. In sum, Garrison is a corrupt official, probably under the influence of CIA from the very beginning; Stone a movie-maker who wants exciting scripts, no matter what their secret agenda, sponsors, and outcomes; and Posner is just a shit, in a long line of shits, going back to the Warrren Commission. I guess the only consolation for the deceased L. H. Oswald for his involvement in Operation Litle Egypt is his being the subject of so many books, one now by one of America's leading novelists. That the NYT continues to be an integral part of this shows that it is just a gutter rag, for sale to America's secret government.

To give you the background for what I have said, I am enclosing an outline I wrote last year for the book I am putting together. It will appear in a few years, God willing, and provided Langley doesn't have a job done on me, as it did with Roselli, Giancana, Cain, Nicoletti, Oswald, etc., ad nauseum."

I added that the CIA was trying too hard to prove that it was not behind the JFK assassination, an effort which was backfiring. For example, Mark Rieling's just published book, Wedge, tried too hard to prove that there was a gap between the Agency and the Bureau which Kennedy's murderer took advantage of, while saying too much about why and how Harvey and Roselli, with Hoover's neglect and Ruby's help, may have actually arranged it. Christopher Andrew's new study, For the President's Eyes Only, was based too much on the self-serving testimony of former DDP Helms and at the expense of former DCI John McCone to be reliable. While Helms might have been right to conclude that former President Nixon was a shit, I concluded, it took one to know one.

Unfortunately, this letter, like Keller's to Underwood, put us both on a deadly collision course with America's covert government, as we shall see.

Monday 22 November 2004

What You Didn't Know About the Dollar & Iraq

In case you are a Brit and think that this doesn't apply to you, guess what, it does!

The Federal Reserve is a system of private banks separate and distinct from the U.S. government. This banking system was originally conceived by John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan. The FED, as it it known, is listed in the white pages along with Federal Express, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and other businesses. The bank produces Federal Reserve Notes. They use these notes/dollars to purchase government bonds. These notes are a fiat currency. Historically, all fiat currencies eventually crash due to hyperinflation from over-issuance. The supply of paper is limitless. There is no intrinsic value in paper currency after delinking from a gold standard. This is why they are referred to as bank notes. Legally, they can't be referred to as 'money.' They are mere tickets/tokens. Forced tender laws were passed in order to give the paper currency legitimacy. The only thing giving bank notes value is TAXATION. Gold and silver have intrinsic value due to scarcity and the fact that it takes work to produce them (mining, smelting etc). This is why they have been used as money for 5000 years. Precious metals are a good store of value. They retain their value over time and aren't subject to inflation. The fiat paper system is designed to create debt through inflation (devaluation of currency). Whenever there is an increase in the money supply without a corresponding increase in gold or silver backing, inflation results. Inflation is a subtle form of theft banks impose upon citizens.

Goodbye gold-

In the 1960s Lyndon Johnson borrowed billions from the French Rothschilds so he wouldn't have to raise taxes to finance the Viet Nam war. Rothschild agent Charles de Gaulle demanded repayment in gold, not greenbacks. When Richard Nixon was elected he noted that the treasury was almost depleted of gold and he removed the dollar from the gold standard. But the debt still stood. Nixon collateralized the debt with the mineral estate of the western U.S. and a land-for-debt swap was initiated. Much of the western States were given to the banks. This is when Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. Their mandate was/is to PREVENT American citizens from logging, farming, ranching or otherwise exploiting these lands being held for the banks. The Bureau of Land Management and other agencies are used to harass ranchers and farmers from the land.

So, what does the foregoing have to do with Middle East? Plenty.

All central banks of the world hold U.S. dollar reserves equivalent to the local currency in circulation to facilitate trade. The dollar is the biggest American export. It is impossible to overstate this. Also, when any country wishes to purchase oil, they must first convert their local currency to U.S. dollars and then purchase oil from the cartels. This is the arrangement hammered out between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in 1974. The quid pro quo was that the U.S. armed the Saudis to the teeth.

In the last two years the euro currency has gained 30% relative to the U.S. dollar. The European banks are seeking to have the euro accepted as the new world reserve currency. Countries like China and Japan are sitting atop mountains of U.S. dollars that are being daily devalued. Since the U.S. dollar is printed by the FED at will and without restraint (and is not linked to gold), Americans are essentially getting the world's oil for free (it costs the FED around 4 cents to print a one hundred dollar Federal Reserve note). France and Germany would like a piece of the free oil pie.

FED chairman Alan Greenspan is forced to feed the recovery myth or risk a panic sell-off of dollars. This past spring he tripled the money supply to $50 billion per week. This is making even seasoned economists nervous. In August, Morgan Stanley chief economist Stephen Roach predicted a stock market crash on the scale of 1987s Black Monday. "The funding of America is an accident waiting to happen," he declared.

In speeches made outside of the U.S. (and only then) Greenspan has repeatedly warned of a possible 'systemic collapse' of the financial system. The printing of all of this paper is leading to massive inflation. All commodities have spiked from 10 to 90% over the last year. $15 dollar jeans available from Wal-Mart produced by slave labor in China somewhat disguise this fact. Another trick the money masters use to lull citizens is to periodically and surreptitiously ditch dinosaur industries from the DOW (like Kodak, this past spring) and supplant them with high-tech earners like Verizon, for instance. This is not to say that U.S. companies aren't investing billions of dollars in new production; they are. It's just that it's in China, not Ohio. China's quarter-trillion dollar export boom is America's import deficit. The debt-based credit inferno must create ever larger volumes of debt (credit) to prevent a financial implosion. The entire world growth since 2003 depends on the record FED money supply. Total U.S. debt now stands at $34 trillion. The U.S. GDP is $11 trillion. This means that debt is 3 times GDP, greater even than the depression of the 1930s. But happily for American citizens, the Federal Reserve of Cleveland commissioned a study recently on ways to diffuse this massive debt bomb.

Full story...

Friday 19 November 2004

US media applauds destruction of Fallujah

"It is necessary to put this on record. In the future, people will ask: what did you do and say while Fallujah was being destroyed?" these words appear at the end of this extract, they apply not only Faulluja but, indeed, to the whole world. The events unfolding are serious in a way that most people don't seem to want to understand. Humanity could stand or fall based on what happens over the next four years and I for one refuse to go out without screaming from the top of the nearest hill that what is being done in our name in Iraq and around the world is WRONG! The people who orchestrate, instigate and execture these evil plans are our true enemies!

Uncle Sam wants YOU to die for big business Not a single major voice has been raised in the American media against the ongoing destruction of Fallujah. While much of the world recognizes something horrifying has occurred, the US press does not bat an eye over the systematic leveling of a city of 300,000 people.

A journalist for the Times (London) described the scene the night the US onslaught began: “The districts comprising Fallujah’s perimeter—where most of the insurgents are concentrated—were already largely in ruins. The crumbling remains of houses and shell-pocked walls reminded me of my home town Beirut in the 1980s at the height of Lebanon’s civil war.... I began to count out loud as the bombs tumbled to the ground with increasingly monotonous regularity. There were 38 in the first half-hour alone. The bombing continued in waves until 5:15 a.m. as the American forces softened up their targets.”

And now? Buildings have been destroyed by the hundreds, corpses buried under many of them. A Christian Science Monitor reporter observes: “Some districts reeked from the sickening odor of rotting flesh, a stench too powerful to be swept away by a brisk breeze coming in from the sandy plain surrounding the city 40 miles west of Baghdad.

“A week of ground combat by Marines and some Iraqi troops, supported by tanks and attack helicopters, added to the destruction in a city where the homes and businesses for about 300,000 people are packed into an area a little less than 2 miles wide and a little more than 2 miles long. ... Cats and dogs scamper along streets littered with bricks, broken glass, toppled light poles, downed power lines, twisted traffic barriers and spent cartridges. Walls are full of bullet holes. Marines have blown holes in walls and knocked down doors to search homes and shops. Dead Iraqis still lay out in the open Monday.”

For all intents and purposes, the US military declared any male in Fallujah and any family unlucky enough to be caught in the hail of deadly fire legitimate targets for death. We will perhaps never know how many civilians have been slaughtered by US forces.

The chief United Nations human rights official, Louise Arbour, has called for an investigation of abuses, including the disproportionate use of force and the targeting of civilians. Arbour claimed that all violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws should be investigated, including “the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of human shields.” The American media either ignores or brushes this aside.

In none of the US media commentaries is there a single expression of concern about not merely the moral, but the legal issues involved in the attack on Fallujah. The American military operation in the city is an illegal act of aggression in an illegal, aggressive war.

As Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild and the US representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists, has noted, the attack began with an act contravening international law: “They [US forces] stormed and occupied the Fallujah General Hospital, and have not agreed to allow doctors and ambulances to go inside the main part of the city to help the wounded, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.”

Cohn continues: “Torture, inhuman treatment, and willful killing are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, treaties ratified by the United States. Grave breaches of Geneva are considered war crimes under our federal War Crimes Act of 1996. American nationals who commit war crimes abroad can receive life in prison, or even the death penalty if the victim dies. Under the doctrine of command responsibility, a commander can be held liable if he knew or should have known his inferiors were committing war crimes and he failed to prevent or stop them. ... Bush’s aggressive war against the people of Iraq promises to kill many more American soldiers and untold numbers of Iraqis. Nuremberg prosecutor Justice [Robert] Jackson labeled the crime of aggression ‘the greatest menace of our times.’ More than 50 years later, his words still ring true.”

There has been nothing like the attack on Fallujah since the Nazi invasion and occupation of much of the European continent—the shelling and bombing of Warsaw in September 1939, the terror bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940. All the talk about precision bombing in Iraq is dust thrown in the public’s eyes. The purpose of the devastation in Fallujah is to terrorize the Iraqi people and the entire population of the Middle East. Large numbers of people have been killed in the assault on the city.

Nowhere in the American media do you find a word of protest. No one asks for verification that the city is being held “hostage” by criminals and “foreign terrorists.” No one questions an operation to “root out” a relative handful of terrorists that requires razing a city to the ground.

It is necessary to put this on record. In the future, people will ask: what did you do and say while Fallujah was being destroyed? If readers can find major newspaper or television editorials denouncing the murderous attack, by all means, send them in to the WSWS. We have searched in vain.

Full story...

Thursday 18 November 2004

'Arrest without evidence' planned by Government

I hate to say "I told you so" but...

The Government is planning a change in the law to allow police to arrest suspects without evidence, it was claimed today.

The Law Society said it believed the new powers would be included in the Bill which will create the new British FBI.

It warned that the cumulative effect of the Government's clampdown on crime and terrorism would be a step towards a police state.

Janet Paraskeva, the Law Society's chief executive, said: "The Government is in serious danger of overstating the threat to public order and national security and bringing in draconian new laws, which will take away centuries of hard won rights.

"If the Bill to establish the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) includes the power to arrest someone without evidence, then solicitors could not support it.

"That would be a serious step in the direction of a police state.

"Anyone could be lifted from the streets or from their homes just on the basis of suspicion."

She added: "The threat to end jury trials for terrorism cases is another chipping away of the centuries old rights for people to be tried before a jury of their peers, which goes back to Magna Carta."

Soca will have around 5,000 investigators to crack down on serious crime and fraud, merging the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the investigating arms of customs and the immigration service.

A Law Society spokesman said they had been told on good authority that the new powers of arrest were being considered by ministers.

Full story...

If the US can't fix it, it's the wrong kind of democracy

Without Arafat, a Middle East peace settlement is in fact far less likely

by Seumas Milne

The more George Bush and Tony Blair evangelise about the need to spread democracy, the clearer it becomes that they mean something quite different by the word from the rest of the world. Bush and Blair's response to the death of Yasser Arafat - the Palestinian leader who unified and championed a dispersed and occupied people for 35 years - has been a particularly instructive case in point.

Bush was unable even to mention Arafat's name last Friday, when the pair hailed what most Palestinians consider a devastating loss as a marvellous opportunity for Middle East peace. But, they cautioned, progress towards a Palestinian state would only be possible if the Palestinians were prepared to embrace democracy. The fact that Arafat was elected with an overwhelming majority in internationally supervised elections, and continued to command majority support until his death, was evidently beside the point. He was the wrong kind of democratically elected leader.

As Bush and Blair joshed about poodles and Palestine in the White House, US occupation forces, backed up by British troops, rampaged through the Iraqi cities of Falluja and Mosul, boasting that they had killed 1,600 resistance fighters in four days. The violence and destruction was of course meted out in the name of democratic elections - which the US blocked for well over a year, while its puppet administration banned parties, newspapers and TV stations. If there seems any question that the elections might not maintain pro-occupation politicians in power (when polls show most Iraqis want foreign troops out now), there seems little doubt they will either be more tightly rigged or postponed again.

Meanwhile, pressure for democratic reform of pro-western dictatorships remains striking by its absence. The presidents of Egypt, Pakistan and Uzbekistan are free to carry on torturing and jailing their opponents without the inconvenience of the democratic reforms demanded of the Palestinians and others. As a 21st century Madame Roland might have said: "Oh democracy, what crimes are committed in your name".

In the Palestinians' case, the crimes stretch back more than half a century - and the US and Britain have been complicit at every stage, from their original dispossession and ethnic cleansing in 1948 to the acquiescence in Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, from the blind eye turned to 37 years of illegal Israeli settlements to the pressure to replace the elected Palestinian leader with somebody more pliant. Bush's demand in 2002 for the Palestinian president to be ousted not only gave the green light to Israel's incarceration of Arafat in the dank rubble of a former British army compound in Ramallah, but also offers a clue as to what he and Blair really mean by Palestinian democratic reform.

For it is simply an affront to common sense to claim that the Palestinians' plight - or, for that matter, Israel's problems with the Palestinians - stems from a lack of democracy. The Palestinians have a tradition of political pluralism stretching back decades, while the Palestinian authority in the occupied territories barely has the powers of a proper local authority, let alone those of a state - and the scope for meaningful democracy under military occupation is severely limited. The authority's failures arose largely from the weaknesses of the Oslo peace process, which gave it the role of middleman and security contractor for Israel, while closures and settlement expansion made Palestinians' lives ever more grim. The Palestinian problem is instead primarily one of colonisation and occupation - and the denial of self-determination and refugee rights. Those are the issues, rather than democracy, that the US and its allies have to address if they want to draw the poison of the conflict.

But that is manifestly not what Bush and Blair have in mind when they call for Palestinian democratic reform. Instead, as elsewhere, they mean the promotion of politicians and institutions which will entrench western-friendly policies: in the Palestinian case, those prepared to crack down on the armed groups, sign up to Israeli terms for a limited bantustan-style statehood and abandon wider Palestinian national aspirations. Hence the effort Britain, the US and Israel have put into cultivating and building up local leaders - such as Muhammad Dahlan, Arafat's former head of security in Gaza - who they hope will play such a role. Of course, this has nothing to do with democracy or reflecting Palestinian opinion: it is the very opposite. Indeed, when it comes to new elections to the Palestinian legislative council, the only shift is likely to be towards greater radicalism, if the Islamist Hamas movement decides to take part.

Full story...

Wednesday 17 November 2004

The Late, Great, American Republic: A Report from Mid-Century -- 2050

Think this is so far off the truth? If you do you aren't reading enough...

Uncle Sam wants YOU to die for big business A note from the "real" author: The following is an imaginary essay by an Oxford University historian at mid-21st century. It assumes a continuation of current political and economic trends set in motion by the Bush Administration. With a sudden and early awakening of sanity amongst the public, the media and the elites, which catalyzes effective dissent, protest and reform, a far different future might be realized. (Ernest Partridge).

Who could have imagined, at the turn of this century, how quickly and completely the American republic would collapse? Historically, the decline and fall of great empires normally takes place over decades, and in the case of Rome, over several centuries. The disintegration of the United States took place in just a few brief years.

At the close of the twentieth century, the United States was at peace and enjoying one of the most sustained and productive periods of prosperity in its history – a prosperity that favourably affected all segments of society. President Clinton, though mercilessly harassed by his political opponents, was highly esteemed by heads of state and ordinary citizens throughout the world. The United States, despite its manifest faults, was widely admired and envied by free peoples everywhere.

It was, to put it simply, a great time to be an American.

And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

The American economy collapsed and the American leadership, unlike the Roosevelt administration during the great depression of the 1930s, lacked the insight and will, and the federal treasury lacked the funds, to effect a rescue. The admirable American system of constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties, of a free and diverse press, of free enterprise and economic opportunity, and of popularly elected government was, by the close of the first decade, replaced by a despotic oligarchy in total control of the permanently ruling Republican party. Finally, the United States, through a unilateral abrogation of its treaty obligations and a series of aggressive wars, was transformed from "the leader of the free world” into a rogue state. As we all know, the community of nations responded to the new threat of American economic imperialism by forming the alliances that are today the dominant world powers: the Eurasian Union and Islamia.

Distrusted and isolated from the global community, the United States withdrew into itself to become the pitiful and impoverished third-world despotism that it is today.

The forces set in motion during the illegitimate Presidency of George W. Bush that led to this decline and fall were plain for all to see, and amazingly, however outrageous and contrary to the most fundamental American political traditions, they were not effectively resisted. When the American public came face-to-face with the dreadful consequences of these regressive and despotic forces, it was too late to resist and turn back. The fate of the American republic was sealed.

Full story...

Bush Threatens Mankind, Says Dr. Caldicott

Thank you to all the Bush voters out there, no seriously guys, thanks a lot. This is your fault, I hope you're happy living with the consequences of your ignorance and you arrogance.

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr Helen Caldicott fears US President George Bush's re-election will lead to Armageddon and she isn't sure if mankind would survive another four years.

"This is the most serious election that has ever occurred in the history of the human race, without a scrag of doubt," she told

"I don't know if we'll survive the next four years ... I don't think the Americans have, on the whole, the faintest idea - and I have to say also I don't think most Australians do either. But it's not just the threat from nuclear war. It's the threat of what's happening to the environment, the global warming which is occurring rapidly now, to ozone depletion, to species extinction, to deforestation - it's the whole thing."

Speaking from her son Will's Boston home, the Australian paediatrician, who runs the Nuclear Policy Research Institute in Washington, has just spent a frantic two-and-a-half months criss-crossing America to deliver her anti-nuclear and anti-Bush message. She discovered the country was more divided than at any time since she first stepped onto American soil in 1966.

Early on election day she was convinced Democratic challenger John Kerry would win but reality soon set in.
"This is what I've been afraid of and I actually can't believe it's happening," she said. "The voter turnout was so high, which should have supported Kerry.

"I don't think I've ever felt so personally, politically devastated in my life and that includes when [former president Ronald] Reagan won a second term of office - which was pretty devastating for me as I was so heavily involved in the anti-nuclear movement in those days.

"But this is worse, these people are much worse than the Reagan people."

Full story...

Friday 12 November 2004

It's the Corporate State, Stupid

"It is because you have been blinded to the truth... That you are a slave." - Morpheus

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

The early twentieth century Italians, who invented the word fascism, also had a more descriptive term for the concept -- estato corporativo: the corporatist state. Unfortunately for Americans, we have come to equate fascism with its symptoms, not with its structure. The structure of fascism is corporatism, or the corporate state. The structure of fascism is the union, marriage, merger or fusion of corporate economic power with governmental power. Failing to understand fascism, as the consolidation of corporate economic and governmental power in the hands of a few, is to completely misunderstand what fascism is. It is the consolidation of this power that produces the demagogues and regimes we understand as fascist ones.

While we Americans have been trained to keenly identify the opposite of fascism, i.e., government intrusion into and usurpation of private enterprise, we have not been trained to identify the usurpation of government by private enterprise. Our European cousins, on the other hand, having lived with Fascism in several European countries during the last century, know it when they see it, and looking over here, they are ringing the alarm bells. We need to learn how to recognize Fascism now.

Dr. Lawrence Britt has written an excellent article entitled “The 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism.” An Internet search of the number 14 coupled with the word fascism will produce the original article as well as many annotations on each of the 14 characteristics of fascism that he describes. His article is a must read to help get a handle on the symptoms that corporatism produces.

But even Britt’s excellent article misses the importance of Mussolini’s point. The concept of corporatism is number nine on Britt’s list and unfortunately titled: “Corporate Power is Protected.” In the view of Mussolini, the concept of corporatism should have been number one on the list and should have been more aptly titled the “Merger of Corporate Power and State Power.” Even Britt failed to see the merger of corporate and state power as the primary cause of most of these other characteristics. It is only when one begins to view fascism as the merger of corporate power and state power that it is easy to see how most of the other thirteen characteristics Britt describes are produced. Seen this way, these other characteristics no longer become disjointed abstractions. Cause and effect is evident.

For example, number two on Britt’s list is titled: “Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights.” Individual rights and corporate rights, at the very least conflict, and often are in downright opposition to one another. In the court system, often individuals must sue corporations. In America, in order to protect corporations, we have seen a steady stream of rules, decisions and laws to protect corporations and to limit the rights of the individual by lawsuit and other redress. These rules, decisions, and laws have always been justified on the basis of the need for corporations to have profit in order to exist.

Number three on Britt’s list is the identification of scapegoats or enemies as a unifying cause. Often the government itself becomes the scapegoat when the government is the regulator of the corporations. Often it is lawyers or administrators who take on the corporations. Often it is liberals who champion the rights of individuals, or terrorists who might threaten state stability or corporate profit. Any or all may become scapegoats for the state’s problems because they pose problems for corporations.

Full story...

America 2004 is Germany 1930

by Norman D. Livergood

We who live in the post-World War II period possess an immensely valuable symbol, even if we don't understand it or use it effectively: the example of Nazi Germany.

"The German experiment, except to those who are its victims, is particularly interesting, and, like the offer of a strong man to let himself be vivisected, should make a great contribution to political science. For the Germans are the most gifted and most highly educated people who ever devoted the full strength of a modern state to stopping the exchange of ideas; they are the most highly organized people who ever devoted all the coercive power of government to the abolition of their own intellectual life; they are the most learned people who ever pretended to believe that the premises and the conclusion of all inquiry may be fixed by political fiat."
Walter Lippmann. (1936), The Good Society

The 2004 election revealed that American citizens are as intellectually and morally incompetent as the Germans in 1930. Such incompetence and ignorance always lead to tyranny. The United States is exactly at the same point in national degradation as the German nation in the 1930s when Hitler assumed absolute power and began his regime of mass murder and war crimes against the people of the world.

We've been conditioned to see Germany under Hitler as an unquestionably horrible example of dictatorial tyranny and inhuman barbarity--and to see our present American culture as completely opposite to that of Nazi Germany. And we like to think that if a tyranny such as that in Germany under the Nazi regime were present and growing in America we'd unquestionably be able to see it.

So it's a shock when we realize: most people living in Nazi Germany didn't see the tyranny! They thought it was the best time of their lives!

Milton Mayer's book, They Thought They Were Free, concerns Germans still living after World War II who had been members of the Nazi Party. Mayer came to know them and studied their lives and attitudes.

"As we know Nazism, it was a naked, total tyranny which degraded its adherents and enslaved its opponents and adherents alike; terrorism and terror in daily life, private and public; brute personal and mob injustice at every level of association . . .

"These nine ordinary Germans [who lived in Nazi Germany] knew it otherwise, and they still know it otherwise.

"An autocracy? [they say] Yes, of course . . . But a tyranny, as you Americans use the term? Nonsense."

How could Germans living under Hitler's National Socialism not have seen what it was? How did their lack of social and personal awareness make them blind to their reality?

How could Americans now possibly be living under a creeping dictatorship and not know it? And how could we not only not see a police state condition but actually think we're living in complete freedom?

Because most of us don't WANT to know what's going on. We've lost the ability to think critically about political, economic, and social dangers confronting us.

If we have a job--as most people did in Nazi Germany--if the political-economic system seems stable--as it does in America--then that's all we want to know.

"When [modern man] is completely infantile ... he does not need and does not have an understanding of the outer world. It exists for him merely as gratification or denial."
Walter Lippmann (1889-1973)

To the Germans in Mayer's study, each occasion of Nazi violence was worse than the last, but only a little worse. So they waited for the one shocking event, thinking that they would join with others if or when it happened. But as the violence escalated, no one rose up to condemn the concentration camps and general oppression. No one wanted to act alone, and when a mass uprising failed to occur, the common people just let events take their course. They progressively lost the ability to understand the horror of Nazism and the will to oppose it.

Similarly, we don't see the growing fascism in America and the world because we don't want to see it and because it happens somewhat gradually, which makes it almost imperceptible to those who don't think critically. Everything in your society--Nazi Germany or twenty-first century America--seems so ordinary.

Full story...

Iraq: the unthinkable becomes normal

Another day brings more news of death and carnage in Iraq. The media successfully lie to the majority of the population and acts of unspeakable evil are carried out in our name. Makes you want to go back to bed and pull the duvet over you...

Mainstream media speak as if Fallujah were populated only by foreign "insurgents". In fact, women and children are being slaughtered in our name.

by John Pilger

Edward S Herman's landmark essay, "The Banality of Evil", has never seemed more apposite. "Doing terrible things in an organised and systematic way rests on 'normalisation'," wrote Herman. "There is usually a division of labour in doing and rationalising the unthinkable, with the direct brutalising and killing done by one set of individuals . . . others working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive napalm, bomb fragments that penetrate flesh in hard-to-trace patterns). It is the function of the experts, and the mainstream media, to normalise the unthinkable for the general public."

On Radio 4's Today (6 November), a BBC reporter in Baghdad referred to the coming attack on the city of Fallujah as "dangerous" and "very dangerous" for the Americans. When asked about civilians, he said, reassuringly, that the US marines were "going about with a Tannoy" telling people to get out. He omitted to say that tens of thousands of people would be left in the city. He mentioned in passing the "most intense bombing" of the city with no suggestion of what that meant for people beneath the bombs.

As for the defenders, those Iraqis who resist in a city that heroically defied Saddam Hussein; they were merely "insurgents holed up in the city", as if they were an alien body, a lesser form of life to be "flushed out" (the Guardian): a suitable quarry for "rat-catchers", which is the term another BBC reporter told us the Black Watch use. According to a senior British officer, the Americans view Iraqis as Untermenschen, a term that Hitler used in Mein Kampf to describe Jews, Romanies and Slavs as sub-humans. This is how the Nazi army laid siege to Russian cities, slaughtering combatants and non-combatants alike.

Normalising colonial crimes like the attack on Fallujah requires such racism, linking our imagination to "the other". The thrust of the reporting is that the "insurgents" are led by sinister foreigners of the kind that behead people: for example, by Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian said to be al-Qaeda's "top operative" in Iraq. This is what the Americans say; it is also Blair's latest lie to parliament. Count the times it is parroted at a camera, at us. No irony is noted that the foreigners in Iraq are overwhelmingly American and, by all indications, loathed. These indications come from apparently credible polling organisations, one of which estimates that of 2,700 attacks every month by the resistance, six can be credited to the infamous al-Zarqawi.

In a letter sent on 14 October to Kofi Annan, the Fallujah Shura Council, which administers the city, said: "In Fallujah, [the Americans] have created a new vague target: al-Zarqawi. Almost a year has elapsed since they created this new pretext and whenever they destroy houses, mosques, restaurants, and kill children and women, they said: 'We have launched a successful operation against al-Zarqawi.' The people of Fallujah assure you that this person, if he exists, is not in Fallujah . . . and we have no links to any groups supporting such inhuman behaviour. We appeal to you to urge the UN [to prevent] the new massacre which the Americans and the puppet government are planning to start soon in Fallujah, as well as many parts of the country."

Not a word of this was reported in the mainstream media in Britain and America.

"What does it take to shock them out of their baffling silence?" asked the playwright Ronan Bennett in April after the US marines, in an act of collective vengeance for the killing of four American mercenaries, killed more than 600 people in Fallujah, a figure that was never denied. Then, as now, they used the ferocious firepower of AC-130 gunships and F-16 fighter-bombers and 500lb bombs against slums. They incinerate children; their snipers boast of killing anyone, as snipers did in Sarajevo.

Bennett was referring to the legion of silent Labour backbenchers, with honourable exceptions, and lobotomised junior ministers (remember Chris Mullin?). He might have added those journalists who strain every sinew to protect "our" side, who normalise the unthinkable by not even gesturing at the demonstrable immorality and criminality. Of course, to be shocked by what "we" do is dangerous, because this can lead to a wider understanding of why "we" are there in the first place and of the grief "we" bring not only to Iraq, but to so many parts of the world: that the terrorism of al-Qaeda is puny by comparison with ours.

There is nothing illicit about this cover-up; it happens in daylight. The most striking recent example followed the announcement, on 29 October, by the prestigious scientific journal, the Lancet, of a study estimating that 100,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the Anglo-American invasion. Eighty-four per cent of the deaths were caused by the actions of the Americans and the British, and 95 per cent of these were killed by air attacks and artillery fire, most of whom were women and children.

The editors of the excellent MediaLens observed the rush - no, stampede - to smother this shocking news with "scepticism" and silence. They reported that, by 2 November, the Lancet report had been ignored by the Observer, the Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Star, the Sun and many others. The BBC framed the report in terms of the government's "doubts" and Channel 4 News delivered a hatchet job, based on a Downing Street briefing. With one exception, none of the scientists who compiled this rigorously peer-reviewed report was asked to substantiate their work until ten days later when the pro-war Observer published an interview with the editor of the Lancet, slanted so that it appeared he was "answering his critics". David Edwards, a MediaLens editor, asked the researchers to respond to the media criticism; their meticulous demolition can be viewed on the [] alert for 2 November. None of this was published in the mainstream. Thus, the unthinkable that "we" had engaged in such a slaughter was suppressed - normalised. It is reminiscent of the suppression of the death of more than a million Iraqis, including half a million infants under five, as a result of the Anglo-American-driven embargo.

In contrast, there is no media questioning of the methodology of the Iraqi Special Tribune, which has announced that mass graves contain 300,000 victims of Saddam Hussein. The Special Tribune, a product of the quisling regime in Baghdad, is run by the Americans; respected scientists want nothing to do with it. There is no questioning of what the BBC calls "Iraq's first democratic elections". There is no reporting of how the Americans have assumed control over the electoral process with two decrees passed in June that allow an "electoral commission" in effect to eliminate parties Washington does not like. Time magazine reports that the CIA is buying its preferred candidates, which is how the agency has fixed elections over the world. When or if the elections take place, we will be doused in cliches about the nobility of voting, as America's puppets are "democratically" chosen.

The model for this was the "coverage" of the American presidential election, a blizzard of platitudes normalising the unthinkable: that what happened on 2 November was not democracy in action. With one exception, no one in the flock of pundits flown from London described the circus of Bush and Kerry as the contrivance of fewer than 1 per cent of the population, the ultra-rich and powerful who control and manage a permanent war economy. That the losers were not only the Democrats, but the vast majority of Americans, regardless of whom they voted for, was unmentionable.

No one reported that John Kerry, by contrasting the "war on terror" with Bush's disastrous attack on Iraq, merely exploited public distrust of the invasion to build support for American dominance throughout the world. "I'm not talking about leaving [Iraq]," said Kerry. "I'm talking about winning!" In this way, both he and Bush shifted the agenda even further to the right, so that millions of anti-war Democrats might be persuaded that the US has "the responsibility to finish the job" lest there be "chaos". The issue in the presidential campaign was neither Bush nor Kerry, but a war economy aimed at conquest abroad and economic division at home. The silence on this was comprehensive, both in America and here.

Bush won by invoking, more skilfully than Kerry, the fear of an ill-defined threat. How was he able to normalise this paranoia? Let's look at the recent past. Following the end of the cold war, the American elite - Republican and Democrat - were having great difficulty convincing the public that the billions of dollars spent on the war economy should not be diverted to a "peace dividend". A majority of Americans refused to believe that there was still a "threat" as potent as the red menace. This did not prevent Bill Clinton sending to Congress the biggest "defence" bill in history in support of a Pentagon strategy called "full-spectrum dominance". On 11 September 2001, the threat was given a name: Islam.

Flying into Philadelphia recently, I spotted the Kean congressional report on 11 September from the 9/11 Commission on sale at the bookstalls. "How many do you sell?" I asked. "One or two," was the reply. "It'll disappear soon." Yet, this modest, blue-covered book is a revelation. Like the Butler report in the UK, which detailed all the incriminating evidence of Blair's massaging of intelligence before the invasion of Iraq, then pulled its punches and concluded nobody was responsible, so the Kean report makes excruciatingly clear what really happened, then fails to draw the conclusions that stare it in the face. It is a supreme act of normalising the unthinkable. This is not surprising, as the conclusions are volcanic.

The most important evidence to the 9/11 Commission came from General Ralph Eberhart, commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad). "Air force jet fighters could have intercepted hijacked airliners roaring towards the World Trade Center and Pentagon," he said, "if only air traffic controllers had asked for help 13 minutes sooner . . . We would have been able to shoot down all three . . . all four of them."

Why did this not happen?

Full story...

A Thousand Fallujahs
Scores Of Civilians Die In US Fallujah Onslaught
Fallujah GI - 'I Got My Kills... I Just Love My Job'
Fallujah Wounded Arriving By The Dozens
US Admits More Than 200 US Casualties In Fallujah
Fallujah Troops Under Heavy Fire
Fallujah - America's Guernica
Eyewitness - Iraqi Defiance Amid Carnage
Fallujah Fighting Spreads To Mosul And Ramadi
Mujahideen Control Majority Of Fallujah
US Takes 'Three Quarters Of Fallujah'
Inside Fallujah - 'Watching Tragedy Engulf My City'
'Fixing Fallujah' - BBC Radio Orwell Reporting For Duty
The Real Fury Of Fallujah

Thursday 11 November 2004

Palestinians mourn Arafat's death

Today is a sad day indeed, it's always sad when someone dies but when that someone is a person of the character of Yassir Arafat then it takes on a new dimension. Our deepest sympathies go to his family and all the Palestinian people. Nobody is perfect but Mr Arafat dedicated his life to the service of his people and that is admirable in itself. Let's just hope this isn't the spark which lights the fuse...

Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian people for the last three decades, died early this morning in a Paris hospital.

Palestinians poured onto the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where flags were lowered to half mast, at the news of the death of the 75-year-old president of the Palestinian authority.

World leaders also paid tribute to the Palestinian leader, while his long time enemy, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon described his death as an "historic turning point in the Middle East".

The Palestinian leadership acted quickly to fill the power vacuum, electing the former Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, unanimously as the new head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Cabinet minister Ibrahim Abu Najah confirmed that he is unlikely to face a challenger in the Palestinian authority's presidential elections, which must be held within the next 60 days.

In the meantime, the speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Rauhi Fattouh, will be sworn in later today as caretaker president.

"We can be certain the transition will be smooth, and the Palestinian people deserve to have free and fair elections," another cabinet minister, Saeb Erekat, told reporters.

On October 29, after a serious deterioration in his health, Mr Arafat flew out of his West Bank compound in Ramallah, where he had been a virtual prisoner of the Israeli army for the last two years.

He was taken to the French military hospital Percy, in the Paris suburb of Clamart, for treatment, but was thought to have suffered a brain haemorrhage on Tuesday.

Full story...

Tuesday 9 November 2004

Blair has departed from the rule of law, says his former adviser

So now we have confirmation of what we've known all along, Phony Tony is a war criminal and should be impeached then forced to stand trial for his crimes. He won't of course which is proof that there is no more democracy or justice in our society.

Tony Blair's former senior diplomatic adviser on Europe has accused the Prime Minister, and George Bush, of acting illegally over the war on Iraq.

In a speech last night, Sir Stephen Wall, who served under Baroness Thatcher, John Major and Mr Blair before leaving Downing Street this year, questioned the Prime Minister's judgement and accused him of "departing from the rule of law".

The timing of Sir Stephen's remarks, as the battle for Fallujah begins, were seen as highly damaging for Mr Blair, who faced criticism yesterday for committing British troops to support the assault. Sir Stephen, well-known for his pro-European views, is widely respected in the diplomatic community.

One source said: "He is an ultra-loyalist mandarin. It is astonishing that he has done this." His comments also raised further questions about the number of senior civil servants who privately believed the war to be illegal.

Sir Stephen, speaking at Chatham House, formerly known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said it should have been possible for a common European view on Iraq to have been reached before Britain became committed to an "unstoppable course of action" by the United States.

"I believe that in Britain we allowed our judgement of the direct consequences of inaction to override our judgement of the even more dire consequences of departing from the rule of law," he said.

In a sideswipe at Mr Blair, he added that to portray the choice as between effective action American-style, and inaction European or UN-style, was a caricature.

Downing Street played down the remarks, saying: "Sir Stephen Wall is entitled to his opinion. This was not his area of responsibility when he worked for the Government."

Last week, Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, made an appeal for the Fallujah attack to be avoided. Mr Annan has also said the war was illegal.

Mr Blair rejected the UN letter calling for caution, when he was challenged about it by Labour MPs and Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader

Full story...

Thursday 4 November 2004

Defeat, Dissent And The Bush Machine

Well, that's it. The great American electoral agony is over at last. Now George W. Bush - the duly elected, finally legitimate president of the United States - can get back to doing what he does best: killing people for corporate profit and personal aggrandizement.

Yes, it's a hard blow for the world. Yes, it's a deep shame for American democracy, poisoned by lies, fear, greed and hysteria. Yes, it means that tens of thousands of innocent people will now be killed--by more war, more neglect, more ignorance, more repression, more brutality, more hatred, more fanaticism. Yes, it means that the planet will be gashed with more wounds, smeared with more filth, left to wither and die. Yes, it's a giant step backward for the human spirit, back to the muck of arbitrary rule by vicious elites and their ham-fisted goons, their well-wadded courtiers, their yapping sycophants. Yes, it means that somewhere out there, in the blood-dimmed haze of a dark age falling, Lucifer and bin Laden are lighting cigars and raising a glass to toast the victory of their good friend George.

These are the facts, and they can't be altered. But how to respond to this catastrophe? Shall we weep, moan, rend our garments, cover ourselves with sackcloth and ashes? Shall we sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of republics? Shall we cower in the shadows and sing glamorous dirges for the Lost Cause, for vanished glories and broken dreams?

Or shall we come out fighting, unbowed, heads high, laughing fools to scorn, rejecting at every turn the moral authority of murderers and thieves to rule our lives, determine our reality, act in our name? Let's dispense with lamentation--give not a single moment to that emotional indulgence--and get right back to work, more determined than ever to bear down harder, dig deeper and excavate the radioactive nuggets of truth still glowing beneath the slag-heap of ruin that Bush and his terrorist partners have made of the world.

Let's fight, let's reject, let's resist--without violence, the weapon of the stupid, the hormonal secretion of evolutionary backsliders in thrall to the chemical soup in their heads, dull primitives dressing up their ape-lust for power with scraps of religion, philosophy and cant. Let's fight these pathetic, malfunctioning wretches who lay their hands on our world and rape it like beasts in mindless rut. Fight them with the truths we find, exposing their crimes and deadly hypocrisies to the people they've suckered, perverted and betrayed.

This is not an insurmountable task, no matter how impervious the Bush Machine--that monstrous conglomeration of judicial bagmen, Congressional rubber-stamps, hard-right media moguls, dopehead radio ranters, sex-crazed theocrats, neo-conservatives, neo-Confederates, war profiteers, think-tank bleaters, Wall Street sharks, oilmen, Moonies, gun nuts and woman-haters--might appear at the moment. Let's look at the facts. Despite four years of the most relentless barrage of propaganda, deceit, misinformation and fearmongering ever hurled against a free society, more than 54 million people voted to reject Bush and all his works: his Hitlerite policy of aggressive war; his gulag system of torture and lawless detention; his savage assault on civil rights, the environment, working people and the poor; his systematic destruction of social programs; his transfer of sovereignty from individuals and communities to the iron grip of his corporate donors; his trashing of hard-won international agreements on nuclear weapons, conventional arms, war crimes, global warming, the rights of women and the protection of children; his unleashing of rabid religious zealots into the bowels of government to set policies on science, health, education, welfare, while sucking up billions in public money to fund their sectarian causes.

Such mass dissent--even in "wartime," in the face of the Machine--is surely cause for hope. Moreover, recent academic studies show that a large majority of Bush supporters actually disagree with him on everything from the Kyoto treaty to missile defense to international law to workers' rights--but somehow believe that he shares their views. Most Bush-backers also still believe that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda colluded in the September 11 attacks and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction--yet this same majority says that the conquest of Iraq would be illegitimate if there were no WMD and no 9/11 connection. Thus more than half of the Bush voters on Tuesday oppose his actual policies, including the criminal war in Iraq--they just don't know it yet, because they're mired in carefully-cultivated delusion.

Full story...

Wednesday 3 November 2004

Bush on course for victory

I don't believe this!!! America, forgive me for saying this but you're a bunch of fucking idiots for letting this lunatic back into office, and on your heads will fall the consequences of your blindness, arrogance and stupidity. Bush, his coporate fiends and the religious nutters will bring yet more death, destruction, poverty and depression to the world. Thanks a lot people!

George Bush was this morning on course for another four years in the White House, with Ohio set to fall into the president's camp after a long election night marked by a record turnout.

Two of the three swing states had already been called: Florida for the incumbent, Mr Bush, and Pennsylvania for his challenger, John Kerry. Ohio's 20 electoral college votes would put Mr Bush on 274 - four more than the 270 he needed for victory.

The election was as close as predicted, but, by this morning, Mr Bush was heading for another term, with the Republicans also tightening their hold on the Senate and keeping control of the House of Representatives. With the possibility of more changes in the supreme court, a second Bush term would see the Republicans controlling all four key levers of government.

The record turnout - a predicted 121m votes compared to the 106m of four years ago - looked to have provided false hope for the Democratic challenger, Mr Kerry. Democrats thought that an energised electorate would favour them, but that later appeared to be wishful thinking. Americans, it seemed, were reluctant to change horses in midstream while the country was waging what Mr Bush had termed the war on terror.

The Democrats were, however, defiant even with Ohio's 20 electoral votes looking set to swing the contest decisively into the Republicans' favour. John Edwards, Mr Kerry's running mate, appeared before the party's faithful vowing that every vote would count. Seeking to lift his party's spirits, the youthful senator, said: "We will fight for every vote."

Even before a clear picture of the outcome in Ohio emerged, the writing was on the wall for Mr Kerry when Florida, one of the three key states, was called for Mr Bush. Florida, which Mr Bush won by only 535 votes in 2000, was a more comfortable victory for the president this time.

Full story...

Tuesday 2 November 2004

Message from the people of Fallujah

How does it feel to know that WE are the Evil Empire, or at least a pawn of the Evil Empire. All I can say is, THANKS A LOT TONY!

This letter was sent by representatives of the people of Fallujah to the UN secretary general Kofi Annan

"IT IS more than evident that US forces are committing daily acts of genocide in Iraq. As we write, these crimes are being perpetrated against the city of Fallujah.

US war planes are launching their most powerful bombs against the civilian population, killing and wounding hundreds of innocent people. Their tanks are pounding the city with heavy artillery.

As you know, there is no military presence in the city. There have been no actions by the resistance in Fallujah in the last few weeks because negotiations are in progress between representatives of the city and the Allawi government.

The new bombardment by the US has begun while the people are fasting during the celebration of Ramadan. Now many of them are trapped in the ruins of their homes and cut off from any outside assistance.

On the night of 13 October a single US bombardment destroyed 50 houses and their inhabitants. Is this a crime of genocide or a lesson about US democracy? The US is committing acts of terror against the people of Fallujah
for only one reason to force them to accept the occupation.

Your excellency and the whole world know that the US and their allies have destroyed our country on the pretext of the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

Now, after their own mass destruction and the killing of thousands of civilians, they have admitted that they have not found any.

But they have said nothing about the crimes they have committed. The whole world is silent, and even the killing of Iraqi civilians is not condemned. Will the US be paying compensation, as it made Iraq do after the 1991 Gulf War?

We know that we live in a world of double standards. In Fallujah the US has created a new and shadowy target ”Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Al-Zarqawi is a new excuse to justify the USAs criminal actions. A year has passed since this new excuse was dreamed up, and every time they attack homes, mosques and restaurants, killing women and children, they say. We have launched a successful operation against al-Zarqawi.

They will never say they have killed him, because he does not exist. The people of Fallujah assure you that this person is not in the city, nor probably anywhere else in Iraq.

Many times the people of Fallujah have asked that if anyone sees al-Zarqawi they should kill him. We know now that he is nothing but a phantom created by the US.

Our representatives have repeatedly denounced kidnapping and killing of civilians. We have nothing to do with any group that acts in an inhumane manner.

We call on you and the leaders of the world to exert the greatest pressure on the Bush administration to end its crimes against Fallujah and pull its army back from the city.

When they left a while ago, the city had peace and tranquillity. There was no disorder in the city. The civil administration here functioned well, despite the lack of resources.

Our offence is simply that we did not welcome the forces of occupation. This is our right according to UN Charter, according to international law and according to the norms of humanity.

It is very urgent that you, along with other world leaders, intervene immediately to prevent another massacre.
We have tried to contact UN representatives in Iraq to ask them to do this but, as you know, they are sealed off in the maximum security Green Zone in Baghdad and we are not allowed access to them.

We want the UN to take a stand on the situation in Fallujah.

Best wishes, in the name of the people of Fallujah, the shura council of Fallujah, the trade union association,
the teachers union, and the council of tribal leaders "

Kassim Abdullsattar al-Jumaily: President
The Study Center of Human Rights & Democracy
On behalf of the people of Fallujah and for:
Al-Fallujah Shura Council
The Bar Association
The Teacher Union
Council of Tribes Leaders
The House of Fatwa and Religious Education

Full story...

Monday 1 November 2004

Expanding Halliburton probe confirms Bush administration is most corrupt in US history

On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, allegations about the corrupt relationship between the Bush administration and Halliburton Corp., the company formerly run by Vice President Richard Cheney, have taken center stage once again. Press reports Friday said that the FBI has expanded an ongoing investigation into contracts obtained by Halliburton’s subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), in Iraq and Kuwait.

The FBI sought an interview with Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, a senior Army civil servant who objected to the KBR no-bid contract and complained that it represented preferential treatment. The Army gave KBR a secret $7 billion contract to restore Iraq’s oil fields just before Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Greenhouse is the chief contracting officer for the Army Corps of Engineers. In a letter to acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee on October 21, she said that Army officials had not justified the no-bid award by satisfying procedural requirements such as showing that KBR had “unique attributes” that no other contractor could match. She also charged that her repeated complaints were ignored, and that the Army allowed KBR officials to sit in on Pentagon meetings at which the awarding of contracts was discussed.

The letter charges that “employees of the U.S. government have taken improper action that favored KBR’s interests,” according to citations published in the press. Greenhouse said she “experienced repeated interference with her role” as chief monitor of Corps of Engineers contracts.

Greenhouse’s lawyer said that his client, who still works at the Pentagon, was seeking the protection of whistleblower provisions to block retaliatory actions such as demotion or firing. Greenhouse was threatened with demotion earlier this month.

Tensions within the Army Corps of Engineers apparently reached the breaking point on October 8, when the Corps gave Halliburton a one-year $165 million extension on a contract to provide food, fuel and other supplies for US forces stationed in the Balkans. According to an account in the Los Angeles Times, which obtained a copy of the contract document, Greenhouse wrote on the proposal, “I cannot approve this,” and made other written comments protesting the award. Greenhouse did not sign the final approval of the extension, as required. Instead, her assistant, Lt. Col. Norbert Doyle, signed it.

Greenhouse apparently felt that with so many investigations underway into KBR overcharging the US military or engaging in bribery and other corrupt practices, the Corps should not simply rubber-stamp an extension of the KBR contract in the Balkans, first awarded during the 1999 US assault on Serbia. The contract is being expanded to cover the entire continent of Europe, including newly established US bases in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

The Halliburton subsidiary has been hit with a series of complaints of overcharging and otherwise mishandling its contracts as the principal supplier of food, fuel and other materiel to the US invasion and occupation force in Iraq. It also faces investigations by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially illegal and corrupt dealings in Nigeria and Iran.

This is not the first time that top Pentagon officials appointed by George W. Bush have overruled career civil service professionals to award contracts to Vice President Cheney’s old firm. In the fall of 2002, an Army lawyer objected to the initial Iraq-related contract for KBR, $1.9 million to draw up a plan for operating the country’s oil infrastructure after a war. While tiny in relation to the huge oil field recovery and military supply contracts doled out later, this award was critical because it gave KBR an edge over any potential competitor. The Government Accountability Office later determined that the Army lawyer had been right.

Greenhouse herself objected at several points in the subsequent contracting process: when KBR placed a bid for the oil-field recovery contract whose specifications it had drawn up in the pre-war planning process; when the Army Corps of Engineers invited KBR officials to meetings where they were discussing the contract awards; and when the Pentagon proposed to make the “sole-source” no-bid contract for five years, longer than she believed necessary. Each time she was overruled.

Last December, after the first press reports about overcharging on KBR contracts to supply fuel to the military in Iraq, Army Corps contracting officer Mary Robertson found two alternative fuel suppliers who would offer a better price, but Halliburton refused to buy from them, insisting on continuing its exclusive relationship with the Kuwaiti-owned Altanmia. In a letter to KBR, Robertson protested, “Since the U.S. government is paying for these services, I will not succumb to the political pressure from the [Kuwaiti government] or the U.S. Embassy to go against my integrity and pay a higher price for fuel than necessary.”

Full story...