Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’
by stuartbramhall in Mind Control and Disinformation, Things That Aren't What They Seem
According to Daniel Hopsicker in MadCow Morning News, it turns out Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of the two alleged Boston bombers, was married to the daughter of former top CIA official Graham Fuller. Uncle Ruslan, in turn, had a decade-long business relationship with Halliburton, the oil company/defense contractor formerly run by Dick Cheney that awarded billions of dollars in no-bid contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back in the nineties, Tsarni served for two years as a “consultant” for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. It’s been well-documented that USAID (which is funded by the US State Department) is often used as a front for CIA and other US intelligence operations.
In the early 1990s Ruslan Tsarni married the daughter of former top CIA Graham Fuller, who spent 20 years as operations officer in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong. In 1982 Fuller was appointed the National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia at the CIA, and in 1986, under Ronald Reagan, he became the Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, with overall responsibility for national level strategic forecasting.
At the time of their marriage, Ruslan Tsarni was known as Ruslan Tsarnaev, the same last name as his nephews Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged bombers.
It is unknown when he changed his last name to Tsarni.
Coincidentally Graham Fuller is listed as one of the American Deep State rogues on FBI translator whistleblower Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery. According to Edmonds, the gallery features subjects of FBI investigations she became aware of during her time as an FBI translator.
She asserts that these individuals engaged in criminal activities subsequently protected under the doctrine of State Secrets. After Attorney General John Ashcroft went all the way to the Supreme Court to silence her, she posted the twenty-one photos to the Internet with no names.
One photo has been subsequently identified as Graham Fuller.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg. Read full post here: MadCow Morning News
Crossposted at Daily Censored
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on Civil Liberties, Attacks on the Working Class, Mind Control and Disinformation, The Global Economic Crisis
Peter McGrain 2011
The hour-long documentary Ethos, narrated by actor/activist Woody Harrelson, is now available free online.
In my opinion, it has powerful take home lessons for Americans across the political spectrum. Largely because it addresses what I view as the two main obstacles to political change in the US 1) the immense power private banks enjoy via their control over the money supply and 2) the enormous power the corporate media exerts over public information. Much of this is elucidated through excellent cameo interviews with prominent dissidents such as Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Howard Zinn, Edward Said, Cynthia McKinney, Norman Solomon, Benjamin Barber and Chalmers Johnson.
The main goal of the film is to clearly articulate the current political crisis Americans face in the 21st century, which it does by exploring the historical context in which the crisis has developed. The documentary describes a number of significant historical events that are usually omitted from history textbooks.
It starts out with a general overview of the ways in which corporations have steadily increased their control over our supposedly democratic government.
There is special emphasis on the power private banks wield by controlling the money supply. Harrelson starts back in 1910 with the secret “conspiracy” by J.P. Morgan and other major bankers to create the Federal Reserve. Contrary to popular belief, the Fed isn’t a branch of the federal government. What it is, in essence, is a cartel of private banks.
Harrelson also devotes a long section to the use of the corporate media to manipulate public opinion and instigate Americans’ overwhelming drive to consume. He begins by describing the work, in the early 20th century, of Edward Bernays. Bernays, considered the father of the public relations industry, held the view common to many corporate elites that the wider public must be controlled because they’re incapable of meaningful participation in democratic government. Bernays perfected the technique of manipulating unconscious fears and desires, not only to help corporations sell people stuff they don’t need, but to assist government in social control.
In the final part of the film, Harrelson reveals how the Bush administration used the science of public relations to 1) convince the American people of the need for the US to invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan and 2) generate sufficient fear in the population to pass legislation stripping Americans of most civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
Crossposted at Daily Censored
by stuartbramhall in The Wars in the Middle East
Retiring Congressman Ron Paul, former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, comes down on the same side as many progressives on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. A recent post on his website, reiterates comments he made when was president about Gaza being nothing but a vast concentration camp.
It has never mattered to Paul which party was in power. His greatest appeal, especially among young supporters, is his ability to tell the unvarnished truth. He puts the blame for Gazan atrocities squarely where it belongs: with the US government, which is the main supplier of planes and bombs Israel uses to attack Palestinians.
He highlights Obama’s hypocrisy in “racing” to justify Israel’s massacre of Gazan civilians – “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders” – reminding us of all the missiles our President is raining down on Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and numerous other countries.
The libertarian congressman sides with progressive columnist Glenn Greenwald when he emphasizes that current US policy only exacerbates the loss of human life on both sides. He also points outs that our country’s bellicose Middle East policy serves to reduce, rather than increase US security.
Read more here: How to end the tragedy in Gaza
by stuartbramhall in The Wars in the Middle East
Writing at ConsortiumNews.com, long time investigative reporter Robert Parry reveals that Petraeus would have been sacked if he hadn’t resigned. Quoting political and intelligence insiders, he makes a strong case that Bush’s favorite general had a long history of undermining Obama’s peace initiatives in the Middle East. As an example, Parry discloses how Petraeus and his neocon friends from the Bush administration tried to maneuver the President into launching a military strike against Iran.
Parry also describes Petraeus’ machinations to prevent Obama from enacting plans to draw down troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
He reiterates the conventional wisdom that the only reason Obama appointed the four start general to head the CIA was to keep him out of the presidential race.
Read more here.
by stuartbramhall in The Wars in the Middle East
A recent article in the Guardian reveals that Britain has denied a US request to use bases in the UK, Cyprus, Ascension Island or Diego Garcia for either military or air support of an attack on Iran. Government spokespersons cite secret legal advice, drafted by the attorney general’s office and circulated to Downing Street, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence, indicating a preemptive strike on Iran potentially violates international law.
The secret memo takes the position that Iran, which has consistently denied it has plans to develop a nuclear weapon, fails to meet the standard of presenting “a clear and present threat”.
Quite a drastic and refreshing change from Tony Blair’s gung ho support for George W Bush’s (illegal) aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps the tide is turning.
Read more here
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media
If video won’t play go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p_NretS7To
Brilliant news summary by Wide Awake News anchor Charlie McGrath. McGrath reminds us that the garbage the mainstream media feeds us regarding the US political system, the US economy and the war on terror is nothing but a tissue of lies. It’s stuff like this that reminds us why TV news and newspaper are losing their audience to Internet radio and TV.
Political lies: McGrath reminds us that the Red and Blue team both bat for the same side – that Obama continued all George W Bush’s policies and that Romney, if elected, will merely continue Obama’s. He compares the presidential debates to a “made for TV” sporting event in which both the Republican and Democratic Party agree not to address the important issues affecting Americans.
Economic lies: He reminds us that the US economy is controlled by the Federal Reserve and private banks, that there is no recovery, that our savings and pensions are being steadily wiped by inflation, that global debt can’t ever be repaid and that the banksters who collapsed the economy in 2008 haven’t gone anywhere – if anything they have merely consolidated their control over the banking and monetary system.
The ludicrous war on terror: An American is five times more likely to be struck by lightening than to be killed by a terrorist. Yet the US continues to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to spread democracy by torturing and assassinating people. We pretend we’re getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, just like we pretend we’re getting out of debt. No one ever mentions the 137,000 private contractors who have replaced the US troops in Iraq.
The funny thing is that most Americans already seem to know this stuff, which is why they have the poorest voter turnout of all industrialized countries. During most presidential elections, slightly over half of eligible US voters vote. During non-presidential years, the turnout is 36-38%. Americans already know that nothing they do in the voting booth will make a damn bit of difference to their lives.
by stuartbramhall in The Wars in the Middle East
From the New York Times – go to paragraph 15 on page 2:
Despite the highly publicized withdrawal of US troops last December, recently a unit of Special Operations soldiers was quietly deployed to Iraq to “advise on counter terrorism and help with intelligence.” Meanwhile Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the redeployment of small units of American Special Operation forces on “training missions.”
In other words Obama, the anti-war president who won the Nobel Peace prize, hasn’t managed to end US involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s obvious the Times is trying to kill the story by burying it at the end of an article about Syria. I wonder why?
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on Civil Liberties, Inspiring Moments in Resistance
According to the New Zealand Herald, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino proposed on Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be Ecuador’s embassy in Stockholm. In this scenario, Assange would remain under Ecuadorian protection while undergoing questioning about sexual assault allegations. Patino also hinted to “new” developments in the Swedish case, stating “several elements of proof have been dismissed.”
At the moment, the governments of Britain and Ecuador are at an impasse. Despite granting him diplomatic immunity, Ecuadorian authorities can’t transport him out of the country, owing to a threat by British authorities to arrest him if he steps foot outside the embassy. According to the Business Recorder, British and Swedish officials have refused to comment on the proposal .
Assange took shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June after exhausting all appeals against extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations. His biggest fear is that Sweden will hand him over to the US, where he could face prosecution over the release of a vast cache of leaked Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and diplomatic cables.
According to Andrew Kreig, Director of the Justice Integrity Report, Wikileaks reported back in February on hacked emails they obtained from Stratfor, a Texas political intelligence company with ties to Karl Rove. The cables discussed a secret federal indictment against Assange.
Kreig’s article also provides interesting background on various Swedish civil servants with CIA credentials, as well as Rove’s links to Swedish officials pursuing Assange’s extradition.
by stuartbramhall in The Global Economic Crisis, The Wars in the Middle East
In an effort to reduce its debt burden, Britain plans to cut its defense force by 20% by 2020. In announcing the UK’s plans to cut 102,000 to 82,000 military personnel, Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammon signaled his intention to withdraw all British troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, despite noises Obama is making about extending the occupation. Exorbitant military spending is responsible for a considerable chunk of western debt, and I’m thrilled to see America’s closest ally setting such a sensible example. Obviously no one relishes the prospect of laying off 20,000 troops – especially in an economy that’s already shrinking. However by making major defense cuts, the British government relieves pressure to make further public service cuts. All military spending has a nasty habit of magnifying itself. You can’t deploy troops without investing billions of dollars in jets, drones, helicopters, tanks, humvees and bases, and the vast amount of increasingly expensive oil necessary to run them.
Britain Announces $97 Billion of Quantitative Easing
The defense cuts will go a long way towards financing the new round of quantitative easing (combating a shrinking economy by injecting £50 billion or $97.15 billion of additional money into it) the Bank of England announced yesterday. The goal: to provide a cash infusion to increase business expansion and jobs creation. This seems a far more humane and financially prudent way to increase jobs than sending more young men and women to die in the Middle East
“New” Labour Favors Bloated Defense Budgets
The two main critics of Britain’s impending defense cuts are its top military brass and – in the tradition of George W Bush’s favorite pet poodle Tony Blair – the Labour Party. In my view Labour has made an extremely short-sided decision to come down on the side of extravagant military budgets. A more strategic move would have been to let the Conservatives take all the flack from the generals (and presumably from the Obama administration – Hillary will have a cow) for being “soft on terrorism.” All the Labour Party accomplishes in continuing to support bloated military budgets is to solidify the link in voters’ minds between Labour and the lengthy, pointless and unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bloated Military Budgets and Greek Debt
It’s a real pity Greece didn’t take a page out of Powers’ book when their debt problems first started. Over the last decade, Greece has spent a much larger proportion of GDP on defense than most other European Union (EU) nations. Economists claim that if Athens had cut defense spending to levels similar to other EU states, they could have saved around €150 billion – which is more than its last bailout.
Prominent economist Angelos Phillippides points out that Germany became an economic powerhouse mainly because it had no military budget for 62 years. Greece, in contrast, spent 7% of its GDP on defense when other European countries spent an average 2.2%. If you were to add up 5% compounded from 1946 to today, there would be no debt at all.
Germany: the Country Profiting most from Greek Weapons Purchases
Dimitris Papadimoulis, an MP with the Coalition of the Radical Left party, claims that Germany – which campaigns the loudest for Greek austerity cuts – is also the country that benefits the most from Greek arms purchases. In fact Greece is Germany’s biggest European arms purchaser, buying 15% of Germany’s total arms exports. This includes over €2 billion for submarines Greece doesn’t need and which have proven to be faulty. Papadimoulis complains that Greece still owes €1 billion on the submarines. This is three times the amount Germany pressured Athens to make in additional pension cuts to secure its latest EU aid package.
A Trail of Bribery and Fraud
According to the Guardian, speculation is rife that international aid was dependent on Greece following through on agreements to buy more military hardware from Germany and France. Katerina Tsoukala, a Brussels based security expert, talks about the veil of secrecy and corruption that surrounds Greece’s military procurements. She has reason to believe they have spent far more on defense expenditures than official records reveal. In April, former defense minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos was jailed pending trial on charges of accepting an €8 million bribe from Ferrostaal, the German company that helped oversee the scandal-marred sale of four Class 214 submarines to the Greek navy. To date, Athens has taken delivery of only one of the subs, after the other vessels were found to have technical glitches.
It appears that Greece bases their military contracting process on the US model, where “bribery” takes the form of campaign contributions and free trips and helicopter rides. The $100+ billion of US defense contractor payments that mysteriously vanish every year make Greece’s problems with weapons procurement fraud seem incredibly puny.
by stuartbramhall in The Wars in the Middle East
Anyone who has followed the war in Iraq is aware of the bitter religious and political rivalry between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Thus it’s pity that the mainstream corporate media fails to enlighten us about the major sectarian conflict underlying the civil war in Syria. Yes, civil war. For thirteen months, the Muslim Brotherhood, which claims to represent the majority Sunni population, has been fighting to overthrow the predominantly Shiite government of Bashar al-Assad. The US media, which continues to perpetuate the myth that Syria’s only problem is a ruthless dictator who likes shooting unarmed civilians, omits important historical facts essential to understanding the current military conflict:
- This is the second attempt by Syrian Sunnis, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, to overthrow the Shiite government. The first uprising of Sunni Islamists occurred in 1976 -1982, against the regime of Hafez al-Assad (father of the current dictator Bashar al-Assad).
- The civil war in Libya was also Sunni-led, which is the main reason the Muslim Brotherhood, which runs post-Gaddafi Libya, has instituted strict sharia law. The latter is notorious for extremely harsh penalties (including death) for blasphemy, homosexuality, theft, adultery and use of intoxicants.
- Both the Libyan and Syrian rebels have received major financial support from Sunni Gulf States in the Arab League, most notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Qatar also provided the bulk of military aid to the Libyan rebels. Both countries have approved weapons shipments to the Free Syrian Army. However at the request of Secretary of State Clinton, they have postponed delivery to avoid undermining the Annan peace process. At the same time, it’s a matter of public record that Sunni Gulf states are supplying the funds for Free Syrian Army salaries See Gulf States Warned Against Arming Syria. In addition, many former Libyan rebels have relocated to Syria with their weapons.
Most of this background, about Syria’s sectarian divisions and the major support Syrian rebels receive from Sunni Gulf states (as well as CIA trainers and US special operations forces – see Why the US Wants Regime Change in Syria), receives fairly good coverage in the British and international press. In contrast, the US media merely functions as the propaganda arm of the Obama administration.
The Political Agenda of Wahhabi Sunnis
As Tariq Ali outlines in his book the Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity, the Sunni Wahhabism practiced in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, is a conservative and austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Koran. Strict Wahhabis believe that Muslims who don’t practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies. Part and parcel of Wahhabism is the belief that their religious doctrine must also have political expression. This translates into the view of many Sunnis that the only form of government acceptable to Allah is an Islamic state operating according to strict Sharia law.
Wahhabism’s explosive growth began in the 1970s when Saudi and United Arab Emirate (UAE) charities (and US intelligence) began funding Wahhabi schools (Madrassas) throughout the Islamic world. The US government strategically supported the rise of Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood to counter the secular Arab leftists and nationalists who controlled most of the Middle East prior to 1967 (see Israel’s Role in Creating Hamas). The latter were understandably unsympathetic to the corporate interests of US oil companies who were heavily invested in the region.
The spread of Madrassas in Pakistan led to the gradual islamization of a state that was largely secular at the time of its separation from India (see Wikileaks: Saudi Arabia, UAE funded jihadi networks). This was accompanied by increasing religious intolerance and the creation of a jihadist mujaheddin army (funded and trained by the CIA) to repel the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. These CIA freedom fighters would later become the Taliban, who would come to occupy all of Afghanistan and enact an extremely oppressive version of Sharia law.
The US Role in Bringing Sharia Law to Libya
The US and NATO have recently been complicit in bringing a similar Wahhabi government to Libya. Owing to Syria’s close relationship with Iran’s Shia-led government, Obama is extremely gung-ho about pursuing a similar agenda in Syria. Fortunately, thanks to the refusal of China and Russia to go along with UN-sanctioned regime change, the truth about Syria’s civil war is gradually coming out (at least in the international media). Many Syrian civilians, especially Shias, Christians, Sufis and other minorities, are terrified of the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power and subjecting them to the same intense persecution these minorities experience in Saudi Arabia, Libya and other states governed by Whahhabi Sunnis.
Disunity in the Syrian Opposition
It has also come out that there are deep divisions in both the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Free Syrian Army. Both veteran opposition leaders and a new generation of young activists are deeply critical of the lack of support they receive from the Muslim Brotherhood leaders and Syrian exiles who run the SNC. Many of the SNC’s critics are Sunni Muslims who see strong advantages to continuing secular rule in Syria. They just want to end the hereditary dictatorship of the Assad family.
Likewise, members of the Free Syrian Army who have defected from Assad’s forces feel that their military experience makes them the natural leaders of the rebel forces. Yet they are continually overruled by religious zealots who control the purse strings, thanks to their links to Sunni governments in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
A few analysts have speculated that this disunity was the main rationale for the SNC’s urgent request for NATO support. Their leadership believes an international bombing campaign would serve to unify a hopelessly fragmented opposition, as it did in Libya.