US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a blunt ultimatum to Moscow Tuesday, vowing that the US will unilaterally abrogate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, one of the last remaining arms control agreements from the Cold War, within 60 days unless Russia submits to what Washington defines as compliance with the pact. The move represents a major escalation of the threat of global nuclear war: here.
This April 2017 video from the USA says about itself:
President Trump has issued executive orders to aggressively find and remove undocumented immigrants. Now even those merely suspected of a crime can be deported, along with those who’ve been following the law by checking in with immigration authorities. AJ+‘s Dena Takruri visited an Arizona community living in fear of ICE arrests.
Report details psychological and health impact of deportation on children
17 February 2018
Last August, the medical journal Frontiers in Pediatrics published an academic report entitled “Fear of Massive Deportations in the United States: Social Implications on Deprived Pediatric Communities” which details long-term health consequences of stress suffered by children whose parents are at risk of deportation. The report, written by Marie Leiner, Izul De la Vega and Bert Johansson, provides a systematic and chilling summary of the socio-psychological impact of mass deportations on millions of people. The report comes amidst an intensified crackdown on immigrants with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) boasting a staggering 30 percent increase in arrests from 2016, totaling at least 143,470 arrests in the 2017 fiscal year.
Leiner and her co-authors point out that regardless of whether the children might be living in the country legally or illegally, their parents—usually the intended targets of immigration raids—tend to use “negative coping mechanisms” to deal with the persistent stress and depression engendered by their situation. Because of the constant fear and insecurity, parents—and by extension—children “will experience limited access to the pillars that sustain society, including access to education, protection by law, basic needs (e.g., food and housing, health care) and opportunities to plan for the future.”
In real terms, this means parents who fear deportations stop taking their children to school, children fail to report family abuse, and parents stop seeking help in acquiring food, shelter or health care, both preventative and urgent, for themselves and their children. Above all, the environment of fear and instability prevents not just the parents, but also children from making any plans for the future.
As the report explains, each of the behaviors outlined above has an even more ominous consequence for childhood development. Missing school means that the children inevitably fall behind their peers; the continuation of abuse leads to a devastating physical and psychological fallout that will create lifelong scars.
Additionally, lack of access to basic needs and preventive health care will inhibit growth and brain development, and the inability to envisage a secure future makes children potentially prone to “many physical, mental and emotional problems.”
What adds to the danger is the fact that the targeted communities also generally tend to be the most economically disadvantaged. Some of the earlier studies on the subject quoted by the report have detailed findings on how living in poverty affects the brain development of children, leading to “decreased reading/language ability and executive functions,” as well as “behavioral, cognitive and emotional problems.” Children of immigrants dealing with the looming threat of deportations thus face double the structural barrier to a healthy life.
While the long-term effects of massive deportations on children have yet to be studied, Leiner and her colleagues point out that the situation they face is not fundamentally different from those faced by children living in condition of systematic “generalized fear.” Studies that have dealt with such conditions—whether due to immigration raids or violence that is the result of terrorism, war or organized crime—have all concluded that it is the main trigger for negative outcomes.
Based on these studies, the conclusion reveals that the long-term effects of the ongoing massive deportations yields a terrible societal consequence. The report notes that the “feeling that society has failed individuals is the seed that generates individuals who are dedicated to crime, delinquency, or who are simply disconnected from society and have no intention to positively contribute to a harmonious and balanced society.”
The dire consequences of massive deportations will not remain restricted to the targeted communities. They could, as Leiner et al. state, trigger “potential unintended consequences involving increased racial/ethnic discrimination, feelings of stigma, and possible lower tolerance of racial/ethnic diversity.” The negative consequences that will be initially seen in immigrant communities will soon spread and “affect every person” in the country.
The report concludes with the suggestion that the only way forward is through the creation of a “multidimensional approach for planning, understanding and considering all social, economic, and cultural implications” of the proposed immigration policies. In addition, what is needed is an investment in “early childhood programs that focus on families as an inseparable nucleus.”
The United States has the dubious distinction of one of two UN member states to not have ratified the Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989), the other being Somalia. The basic proposition underlying the convention is that in all actions that affect children a state should make “the best interest of the child” a primary consideration. A hallmark of a civilized society is its treatment of the most vulnerable sections of its population, including children. In this sense, the trauma produced by US government policy against immigrants, supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties, reflects the brutality of American capitalism.
World Socialist Web Site reporter Eric London recently spoke with Professor Chris Fradkin about his recently authored commentary in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics on the 2017 study “Fear of massive deportations in the United States: Social implications on deprived pediatric communities”: here.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the US as children face an increased threat of deportation after the Senate rejected a series of proposals to couple legal status for those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with stepped-up repressive measures against immigrants, including Trump’s wall along the US-Mexico border: here.
New York City immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir secured a delay to his impending deportation last week, as his legal team filed suit against the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency for retaliatory targeting of political opponents. Ragbir, who has lived in the United States for 27 years, was scheduled to be expelled to Trinidad on February 10. Federal officials agreed to accept a delay until a judge can evaluate the case, which could be as early as mid-March: here.
US judges issue temporary stays of deportations for Christian Indonesians: here.
As the two other lies were exposed, the Bushist-Blairite apologists for the Iraq war changed their propaganda to a third issue: Saddam Hussein, they said, was a dictator, and they wanted to replace him by war with democracy.
That Saddam Hussein was a dictator had not been the slightest problem for Donald Rumsfeld when he had gone to Iraq as US government special envoy to shake hands with Saddam and to try to sell him more United States poison gas to kill more Iraqi Kurds.
Donald Rumsfeld disavows original Iraq goals: ‘Democracy seemed unrealistic’
Former defense secretary who led US into 2003 invasion contradicted past statements in support of ‘model’ government in Times of London interview
Tom McCarthy in New York
Tuesday 9 June 2015 17.50 BST
Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense who led the United States into the Iraq war, has told an interviewer that he did not think, at the time of the 2003 invasion, that building a democracy in Iraq was a realistic goal.
The statement contradicts speeches and memos that Rumsfeld, now 82, personally issued before and after the invasion of Iraq.
“The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic,” Rumsfeld told the Times of London. “I was concerned about it when I first heard those words … I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories.”
The audience for Rumsfeld’s speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2003, two months after the invasion, heard the opposite message. “This much is clear: we have a stake in their success,” Rumsfeld said then, referring to the people of Iraq.
“For if Iraq – with its size, capabilities, resources and its history – is able to move to the path of representative democracy, however bumpy the road, then the impact in the region and the world could be dramatic. Iraq could conceivably become a model – proof that a moderate Muslim state can succeed in the battle against extremism taking place in the Muslim world today.”
Rumsfeld also held up the prospect of Iraq as a “model” democracy behind the scenes. As a co-signatory of the statement of principles of the Project for a New American Century thinktank, Rumsfeld urged Bill Clinton to topple Saddam Hussein and called on the US to “accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order”. The statement is widely identified as a germ of what became known as the neoconservative theory of “democratic dominoes” in the Middle East.
Throughout the early Bush years, key Rumsfeld lieutenants were top purveyors of the dominoes theory. Paul Wolfowitz, a fellow member of the Project of the New American Century who served as deputy defense secretary in Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, predicted that Iraq would become the “first Arab democracy” that would “cast a very large shadow, starting with Syria and Iran, across the whole Arab world”.
George W Bush, under whom Rumsfeld served as defense secretary for six years, had scathing words in his 2004 state of the union address for anyone who doubted the project of Iraqi democracy. “We also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare,” Bush said.
“Yet it is mistaken and condescending to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government. I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again.”
Statements by Republican candidates in the 2016 presidential race indicate that the history of the Iraq war, and how it was lost, will be up for debate, especially with a Bush in the race. At his presidential announcement last week, former Texas governor Rick Perry called the withdrawal from Iraq “a national disgrace” and argued that the US had “won” the war in 2009 only to see the Obama administration squander its victory by leaving.
Rumsfeld’s Times interview also appeared to contradict earlier comments on military power in the Middle East.
In the Times interview, Rumsfeld said the US was in a “war of ideas”.
“You begin to look at this thing not like a war, but more like the cold war,” Rumsfeld said. “You’re not going to win this with bullets, you’re in a competition of ideas.”
During an exchange in the House Armed Services Committee last Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the Obama administration was prepared to accept the break-up of Iraq as a unified national-state: here.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH GOES AFTER W.’S ADVISORS “After years of holding back, former President George Bush has finally broken his public silence about some of the key figures in his son’s administration, issuing scathing critiques of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.” [NYT]
A human rights group in Berlin, Germany, has filed a criminal complaint against the architects of the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has accused former Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of war crimes, and called for an immediate investigation by a German prosecutor.
Judge Hellerstein’s ruling gave the government, which has fought the case for more than a decade, two months to decide whether to appeal.
The American Civil Liberties Union has been seeking to make the pictures public, saying that the pictures “are manifestly important to the ongoing national debate.”
It is unclear how many photographs exist. The government says it has 29 relevant pictures from at least seven different sites but is believed to hold hundreds or thousands more.
This video from the USA says about itself:
10 Years After Abu Ghraib, Ex-Prisoners Seek Justice in Torture Lawsuit Against US Contractor CACI
5 May 2014
Ten years ago, the shocking photos of U.S. military personnel humiliating and torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib sparked global outcry as well as national hearings, investigations and finger pointing. But many at the center of the Abu Ghraib abuse have never faced a day in court.
An attempt to hold the U.S. contractor CACI International accountable could result in the torture victims being held liable for legal fees. In September, a federal court ordered four Iraqis who were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib to pay CACI nearly $14,000 after unsuccessfully suing the company for their torture.
In dismissing the initial lawsuit, the judge in the case did not directly address CACI‘s role in the abuse, instead citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision restricting lawsuits against corporations for abuses on foreign soil.
A federal judge ordered the Pentagon Friday to make public an estimated 2,100 photographs depicting torture of prisoners at US military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, or to file an individualized certification for each photo to support claims that their release will directly threaten the lives of US military personnel: here.
But the book is much more than a terrifying exposure of the secret US torture program. The book also contains—unexpectedly—wonderful literary passages, devastating portraits of the idiotic personalities and social types Slahi encounters among his torturers, wry humor, self-critical reflections and insights, and a humane, hopeful, and sensitive touch. This is all the more remarkable when one considers that Slahi wrote it by hand in the summer of 2005—in English, his fourth language—from a Guantanamo Bay “segregation cell.”
Slahi (sometimes spelled “Salahi”) was born in Mauritania in 1970. Apparently an exceptional student, he received a scholarship to study engineering in Duisburg, Germany in 1988. In 1991, Slahi traveled from Germany to Afghanistan to join the mujahedin movement, and while in Afghanistan he allegedly swore allegiance to Al Qaeda. However, after the central government fell, he returned to Germany and (by his own account) had no further involvement with Al Qaeda. He later spent time in Montreal, Canada working as an electrical engineer.
He was subsequently detained and interrogated by the authorities of various countries—Canada, Mauritania, the United States, and Senegal—but each time he was released for lack of evidence against him. However, in November 2001, he was asked to voluntarily report to a police station in Nouakchott, Mauritania for questioning, which he did. Then he disappeared.
In March 2010, on a petition for habeas corpus filed by Slahi’s pro bono attorneys, US federal district judge James Robertson reviewed Slahi’s file and determined that he was innocent of the government’s accusations and should be immediately released. However, the Obama administration appealed this ruling and it was vacated by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals—notoriously stacked with right-wing, pro-intelligence judges.
“I have, I believe, read everything that has been made public about his case, and I do not understand why he was ever in Guantanamo in the first place,” writes the editor Larry Siems in the book’s introduction. At this point, as Slahi himself suggests, he is being detained for no reason other than the embarrassment his release would cause to the US intelligence agencies as well as to the Mauritanian and Jordanian governments that facilitated his illegal rendition.
A significant portion of Guantánamo Diary has been censored by the American authorities. To the publisher’s credit, all of the government’s black bars have been reproduced on the printed page, so the reader can get a sense of the extent of the redactions. The censorship is often clumsy and absurd, with names censored in one place appearing without censorship in other places. In one place, the name of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) is censored. Interestingly, the words “she” and “her” are always censored when referring to a female torturer, while male torturers are referred to as “he” and “him” without censorship. In many cases, the editor’s helpful footnotes reconstruct the missing text from other publicly available sources.
In 2003 and 2004, Slahi’s US captors tortured him at Guantanamo Bay pursuant to a “special interrogation plan” personally approved by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The torture included long-term isolation, mock executions, sleep deprivation, and what the editor describes as “a litany of physical, psychological, and sexual humiliations.” Torturers threatened to hurt members of his family, kept him in a freezer and doused him with cold water, blasted his ears with rock music, sexually assaulted him, threatened to kill him, and repeatedly beat him within an inch of his life.
There is not space in this review to give a full account of Slahi’s torture—for that, one must read the book—but a few memorable passages can be highlighted.
At Guantanamo Bay, the guards apparently announce the impending interrogation of an inmate by shouting, “Reservation!” Each inmate is assigned a number, so “Reservation 760!” means that the interrogators are coming for Slahi. When Slahi hears the word “reservation,” he remembers, “My heart started to pound heavily because I always expected the worst.”
Suddenly a commando team consisting of three soldiers and a German shepherd broke into our interrogation room. Everything happened quicker than you can think about it. [Redacted] punched me violently, which made me fall face down on the floor.
“Motherf—er, I told you, you’re gone!” said [redacted]. His partner kept punching me everywhere, mainly on my face and my ribs. He, too, was masked from head to toe; he punched me the whole time without saying a word, because he didn’t want to be recognized. The third man was not masked; he stayed at the door holding the dog’s collar, ready to release it on me…
“Blindfold the Motherf—er, if he tries to look –”
One of them hit me hard across the face, and quickly put the goggles on my eyes, ear muffs on my ears, and a small bag over my head. I couldn’t tell who did what. They tightened the chains around my ankles and my wrists: afterwards, I started to bleed. All I could hear was [redacted] cursing, “F-this and F-that!” I didn’t say a word. I was overwhelmingly surprised, I thought they were going to execute me.
The torture continues, taking countless forms. In one episode, the guards placed Slahi in a specially prepared freezing cold room “full of pictures showing the glories of the US: weapons arsenals, planes, and pictures of George Bush.” The guards told him that he was forbidden to pray. “For the whole night I had to listen to the US anthem. I hate anthems anyway. All I can remember was the beginning, ‘Oh say can you see…’ over and over.”
Throughout the book, Slahi repeatedly asks his torturers, “Why am I here? What have I done?” They reply, “You tell me!”
In one revealing episode, upon learning that Slahi speaks German, an interrogator (context suggests German intelligence) threatens him, “Wahrheit macht frei [truth will set you free].” This is a variation on the infamous slogan erected on signs leading into the Holocaust death camps: “Arbeit macht frei [work will set you free].” In other words, the interrogator was identifying himself in no uncertain terms with the Nazis. Slahi writes, “When I heard him say that I knew the truth wouldn’t set me free, because ‘Arbeit’ didn’t set the Jews free.”
In the midst of these frightening passages—and this is one of the most incredible features of the book—Slahi manages a humane, delicate, even literary touch. Waiting for the next torture session (“waiting for torture is worse than torture”) his mind wanders over his life, the places he has lived, and the people he loves. The morning breeze from the sea displaces the sandy air over the impoverished city of Nouakchott; a muezzin sings twice in the early morning during Ramadan; a traditional Mauritanian wedding features intricate customs and intrigues; he imagines conversations with his mother over a cup of hot tea. (Slahi’s mother died on March 27, 2013, while her son was still held at Guantanamo.)
In a recurring dream, Slahi sees members of his family. He asks them, “Am I with you for real, or is it a mere dream?” His family replies, “No, you are really home!” He tells them, “Please hold me, don’t let me go back!” But he always wakes back up “to the dark bleak cell, looking around just long enough to fall asleep and experience it all again.”
Amidst descriptions of unimaginable suffering, the distinct voice of a writer emerges. Slahi describes the following scene at the conclusion of the illegal rendition flight to Amman, Jordan.
One of the guards silently helped my feet get into the truck that was parked inches away from the last step of the ladder. The guards squeezed me between them in the back seat, and took off in the truck. I felt comforted; it was warm inside the truck, and the motor was quiet. The chauffeur mistakenly turned the radio on. The female DJ voice struck me with her Sham accent and her sleepy voice. The city was awakening from a long, cold night, slowly but surely. The driver kept accelerating and hitting the brakes suddenly. What a bad driver! They must have hired him just because he was stupid. I was moving back and forth like a car crash dummy.
Guantánamo Diary can even be darkly funny in parts, such as those passages featuring Slahi’s contempt for the lazy, hopeless, American-boot-licking secret police in Mauritania and Jordan. “The funny thing about ‘Secret Police’ in Arab countries is that they are more known to the commoners than the regular police forces. I think the authorities in Arabic countries should think about new nomenclature, something like ‘The Most Obvious Police.’”
Slahi’s literary sketches of his torturers are simply devastating. “You could see that he had been doing this work for some time: there were no signs of humanity in his face,” Slahi writes of one American torturer. “He hated himself more than anybody could hate him.”
Guantánamo Diary exposes the American intelligence agencies and their foreign accomplices as sorry collections of sadists, racists, ignoramuses, and incompetents. “Of course he threatened me with all kinds of painful torture should it turn out I was lying,” Slahi says of one American interrogator. “‘You know we have some black motherf—ers who have no mercy on terrorists like you,’ he said, and as he proceeded, racial references kept flying out of his mouth. ‘I myself hate the Jews.’”
In another episode, Slahi remembers “one cowboy coming to me with an ugly frown on his face:”
“You speak English?” he asked.
“No English,” I replied.
“We don’t like you to speak English. We want you to die slowly,” he said.
“No English,” I kept replying. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction that his message had arrived. “I’m an asshole,” a torturer tells Slahi. “That is the way people know me, and I have no problem with it.” Slahi reproaches another interrogator who repeatedly uses the N-word. The interrogator explains: “N—– is not black. N—– means stupid.”
These are the same charming individuals that President Obama has repeatedly hailed as “heroes” and “patriots.”
The depraved and scatological culture of the US military is on display from the moment Slahi arrives at Guantanamo. His torturers’ vocabulary consists primarily of the F-word. In scenes reminiscent of the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs, Slahi describes how female torturers molest him, sexually humiliate him and other inmates, and attempt to have sex with him. “Having sex with somebody is not considered torture,” one female guard says mockingly. (A future war crimes tribunal may disagree.)
“What many [redacted] don’t realize is that men get hurt the same as women if they’re forced to have sex,” Slahi writes, in a heartbreakingly subtle (and heavily redacted) passage. In the book’s introduction, the editor quotes from official records indicating that at a 2005 Administrative Review Board hearing Slahi “became distraught and visibly upset” when he tried to describe his sexual abuse by female guards.
In the book’s darkest moments, Slahi struggles to retain his sanity. He frequently finds himself with confused emotions towards his captors, who spare no effort to degrade and manipulate him. Aggressively redacted passages near the end of the book appear to show Slahi connecting with several of the guards—but it is hard to tell whether these guards are sincere or whether it was all part of the “interrogation plan.” One looks forward to the day when Slahi is released and he can publish the book free from pressure and censorship.
As far as Slahi’s political ideas can be glimpsed in Guantánamo Diary, they are not far from what one would expect from an individual who traveled to Afghanistan in 1991 to attend an Al Qaeda training camp. He describes his desire at the time to fight “communists.” In his view, the ongoing US “war on terror” is simply a pretext for a war of extermination against Muslims. (Given his treatment at the hands of the United States, it is hard to blame him for believing the latter.)
Slahi’s religious sentiments are a strong presence in the book, and one does not doubt that they are sincerely felt. In times of crisis, Slahi clings to his pocket Koran and prays. “During the whole procedure, the only prayer I could remember was the crisis prayer, Ya hayyu! Ya kayyum!” The guards mock him for praying: “Oh, ALLAH help me… Oh, Allah have mercy on me,” they say, mimicking his prayers. “There is no Allah. He let you down!”
Above all, Slahi’s humane sentiments—in spite of everything—are what endear him to the reader. “Human beings naturally hate to torture other human beings, and Americans are no different,” Slahi reflects. He concludes his book with a powerful address to the American people. “What do the American people think? I am eager to know. I would like to believe the majority of Americans want to see Justice done, and they are not interested in financing the detention of innocent people.”
Indeed, Slahi’s book is further evidence of grave violations of American and international law for which nobody yet has been held accountable. Guantánamo Diary deserves to feature as a prominent exhibit in future war crimes prosecutions of all the individuals with whom Slahi comes into contact in the course of the book, together with all the senior officials in the Bush and Obama administrations who presided over Slahi’s rendition and continue to block his release from Guantanamo Bay.
In an encouraging sign, the book has already risen to number fourteen on the New York Times bestseller list. There are reasons why the American political establishment has fought so hard for so long to suppress Guantánamo Diary, and these are the same reasons why the book needs to be read.
Guantánamo torturer led brutal Chicago regime of shackling and confession: here.
Three guards at the Attica, New York maximum security prison escaped jail time as the result of a last-minute plea bargain announced on March 2. On the eve of a trial for the brutal beating of inmate George Williams, the three pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of official misconduct. Their only punishment was the loss of their prison jobs: here.
How George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’ illuminates the U.S.’s endless war on terror: here.
First, a quote from the dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell. The book is set in a fictional year 1984 (still in the future in 1948 when Orwell wrote the novel), in the dictatorial superstate Oceania (roughly, the USA plus Britain). Oceania is perpetually at war against another superstate; either Eurasia or Eastasia.
On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters, the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the booming of guns — after six days of this, when the great orgasm was quivering to its climax and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces — at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.
There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy. …
Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete. Reports and records of all kinds, newspapers, books, pamphlets, films, sound-tracks, photographs — all had to be rectified at lightning speed. Although no directive was ever issued, it was known that the chiefs of the Department intended that within one week no reference to the war with Eurasia, or the alliance with Eastasia, should remain in existence anywhere.
Today, in 2014, Oceania does not exist. NATO and its member states come closest to it.
Let us have a few looks at the history of Iran and Western countries.
This video from the USA is called 1953 Iran Coup – CIA Finally Admits Role.
In 1953, there was a democratically elected government in Iran. According to British and US oil tycoons, and the CIA, that democratically elected government ‘threatened the flow of oil to the free world‘. So, the CIA deposed the democratically elected government; replacing it with the dictatorial rule of a shah (emperor). Sixty years later, in 2013, the CIA at last admitted their role in that coup.
Who was that dictatorial emperor, helped to his throne by the CIA, Shah Reza Pahlavi?
Interview with the late Shah of Iran (circa 1975-76) regarding the need for Iran to acquire Nuclear Weapons.
Finally, the Iranian people were sick of the shah’s dictatorship. In 1979, they overthrew it. Of the various oppositional factions, Shiite Islamic religious leaders came out on top.
Oil tycoons and the CIA hated the overthrow of their old ally the shah. They helped to start a war against the new regime in Iran. Not a war with US soldiers: a war with the soldiers of the dictator of neighbouring Iraq, Saddam Hussein.
Saddam Hussein was an ally. He had ‘always been an ally’ of ‘Oceania’.
In this video, Donald Rumsfeld, later George W Bush’s Secretary of War ‘Defense’ during the Iraq war, greets Saddam Hussein.
They included viruses such as anthrax and bubonic plague, according to the Washington Post.
The extraordinary details have come to light because thousands of State Department documents dealing with the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war have just been declassified and released under the Freedom of Information Act.
He bitterly condemns Saddam as a ruthless and brutal monster and frequently backs up his words by citing the use of the very weapons which it now appears he helped to supply.
The question is: Why has he never said anything about his role in the negotiations?
‘Donald Rumsfeld has some explaining to do,’ a senior Pentagon official said last night, while Congressional sources said that a Senate Committee was considering opening hearings to investigate exactly what happened.
The documents could hardly have been released at a worse time for Mr Rumsfeld, who is building up troops in the Gulf in preparation for a war with Iraq that is generally expected to start in about a month.
They will also embarrass Tony Blair as he attempts to build international support for military action.
And they will cause a headache for the Foreign Office, because the news will be seen by Islamic countries as a prime example of American hypocrisy over the issue.
For years Middle Eastern countries have accused the US of double-talk over Iraq. They are bitterly critical that the American government helped arm Saddam during the 1980s in a war against Iran, which at that time Washington regarded as its biggest enemy in the region.
America’s critics are now disgusted by the way the administration has performed a somersault, and now expects them to agree that Saddam’s regime should be treated as a pariah.
This will make it even harder to persuade neighbouring states to offer Western troops bases and landing strips vital for such an onslaught.
But one thing was clear last night – President Bush will not let the embarrassment prevent him from forging ahead with his plans to attack Baghdad, and if that does happen Mr Blair will have no choice but to join him in the attack.
It was in late 1983 that Ronald Reagan made Mr Rumsfeld his envoy as the Iranians gained the upper hand in their war with Iraq.
Terrified that the Iranian Islamic revolution would spread through the Gulf and into Saudi Arabia – threatening US oil supplies – Mr Reagan sent Mr Rumsfeld to prop up Saddam and keep the Iranian militants within their own borders.
The State Department documents show that Mr Rumsfeld flew to Baghdad where he had a 90-minute meeting with Saddam followed by a much longer session with foreign minister Tariq Aziz.
‘It was a horrible mistake,’ former CIA military analyst Kenneth Pollack said last night.
‘We were warning at the time that Hussein was a very nasty character. We were constantly fighting the State Department.’
On November 1, 1983, a full month before Mr Rumsfeld’s visit to Baghdad, Secretary of State George Shultz was officially informed that the CIA had discovered Iraqi troops were resorting to ‘almost daily use of chemical weapons’ against the Iranians.
Nevertheless, Mr Rumsfeld arranged for the Iraqis to receive billions of pounds in loans to buy weapons and CIA Director William Casey used a Chilean front company to supply Iraq with cluster bombs.
According to the Washington Post, a Senate committee investigating the relationship between the US and Iraq discovered that in the mid-1980s – following the Rumsfeld visit – dozens of biological agents were shipped to Iraq under licence from the Commerce Department.
They included anthrax, subsequently identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare programme.
The newspaper says: ‘The Commerce Department also approved the export of insecticides to Iraq, despite widespread suspicions that they were being used for chemical warfare.’
At the time of his meeting with Saddam, Mr Rumsfeld was working for Searle – a company which dealt only in medicinal pharmaceuticals.
Both he and Searle made all their money from the distribution of a cardiovascular drug.
And no one in the US has ever suggested that Mr Rumsfeld had any personal interest at stake in the Iraq meetings.
The Defence Secretary was making no comment last night.
There was not just the Rumsfeld-Saddam scandal during the US Reagan administration. There was also the Iran/Contra scandal; in which the Reagan administration sold weapons to the regime in Iran (illegal under United States law), using the money to arm mercenaries of the overthrown Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua (also illegal under United States law).
And now, to a colleague of Rumsfeld in the Reagan administration and later in the George W Bush administration: Dick Cheney.
This video from the USA is called Cheney ’94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire.
Like Rumsfeld’s selling of chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein later did not hinder Rumsfeld at starting a bloody war in Iraq, where meanwhile there were no chemical weapons any more; Cheney’s selling of nuclear components to Iran later did not hinder Cheney in advocating war on Iran, recently and while he was Bush’s Vice President. Iran, which was supposedly close to getting nuclear weapons (which Cheney’s own intelligence services denied.)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (not her real name, but that is another long story), neoconservative Islamophobic pro-war ideologist, said, when interviewed on Dutch TV in 2008, that George W Bush had invaded Iraq. OK. He had invaded Afghanistan. OK. But Ms Hirsi Ali said she was not really ready to call George W Bush a good president of the USA as long as he had not invaded Iran yet.
What will Ms Hirsi Ali say now: ‘Iran is an ally. Iran has always been an ally’? I would not be that surprised.
James Stravidis, former Supreme Commander of NATO, says it is time to cooperate with Iran to achieve US interests in the Middle East: here.
“Nearly 300 armed American forces are being positioned in and around Iraq to help secure U.S. assets as President Barack Obama nears a decision on an array of options for combating fast-moving Islamic insurgents, including airstrikes or a contingent of special forces.” John Kerry has said the U.S. is open to discussions with Iran and considering drone strikes.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Washington was willing to talk to Iran about collaborating to beat back a Sunni insurgency led by the Al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has already gained control of most of Iraq’s Sunni regions in northern and central Iraq and is threatening Baghdad: here.
KERRY: IRAN FIGHTING ISIS ‘POSITIVE’ “The U.S. would be happy to have Iran’s help in fighting the Islamic State, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday in response to the news, first broken by The Huffington Post Monday night, that the U.S. has been aware of Iranian airstrikes in Iraq since at least last week. ‘I think it’s self-evident that if Iran is taking on ISIL in some particular place and it’s confined to taking on ISIL and it has an impact, it’s going to be –- the net effect is positive,’ Kerry … said. He emphasized that the U.S. was not cooperating with Iran, which is a top regional rival for most U.S. Middle Eastern allies and has not had diplomatic relations with Washington since 1979.” [HuffPost]
They may deny it but behind the scenes the West and Iran are co-operating: here.
Amid US talks with Iran, France debates rapprochement with Syria’s Assad: here.
The threat to Iraq’s unity from a rapid Islamist advance is another disastrous consequence of the 2003 invasion, writes ANDREW MURRAY: here.
How US policy on Iran came to be based on fabricated documents: here.
DEPUTY Oil Minister for International and Trade Affairs Ali Majedi has voiced Iran’s readiness to speedily replace Iraq oil in the world market if Baghdad was forced to stop its exports due to its security crisis. Making this attempt to curry favour with the USA he told IRNA on Saturday that Iran could replace Iraq oil in the world market in a short time: here.
US President Barack Obama has indicated that he favors extending the six-month interim nuclear agreement the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China entered into with Iran at the beginning of the year: here.
“I called it ‘Dirty Wars’ because, particularly in the Obama administration, a lot of people are being led to believe that there is such a thing as a clean war,” Scahill says. He goes on to discuss secret operations in Africa, the targeting of U.S. citizens in Yemen and the key role WikiLeaks played in researching the book. He also reveals imprisoned whistleblower Bradley Manning once tipped him off to a story about the private security company Blackwater. Scahill is the national security correspondent for The Nation magazine and longtime Democracy Now! correspondent. For the past several years, Scahill has been working on the “Dirty Wars” film and book project, which was published on Tuesday. The film, directed by Rick Rowley, will be released in theaters in June.
Within days of the September 11 2001 attacks it was clear that the Bush administration would exploit the terrorist attacks to push for war on Afghanistan and Iraq.
What is less well known is the huge transformation that occurred at the heart of the US government in those dark days – the topic of US journalist Jeremy Scahill’s new book Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield.
With the nation in a state of collective hysteria, the neoconservatives led by vice-president Dick Cheney and defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld rewrote the rules of the game, instituting a huge expansion of covert US wars.
Scahill spoke to me in London earlier this month about how covert action, secret prisons, drone strikes and assassination all began to be deployed on an unprecedented scale.
Having reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, the 38-year-old national security correspondent for The Nation magazine is one of the most knowledgeable observers of the so-called “war on terror.”
According to Scahill, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was sidelined after the World Trade Centre attacks, with Cheney and Rumsfeld viewing the CIA “as a worthless, liberal think tank.”
Instead they massively increased the funding and power of the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) – “the most closely guarded secret force in the US national security apparatus,” as Scahill describes it.
But after the September 11 terror attacks the Bush administration let JSOC “off the leash,” Scahill says.
Or as CIA counter-terrorism centre chief Cofer Black put it: “All you need to know is that there was a before 9/11, and there was an after 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves came off.”
JSOC’s primary role was established during the occupation of Iraq, Scahill says.
“The myth was that ‘the surge’ created this relatively stable couple of years in Iraq” – that US commander General David Petraeus instituted a brilliant counter-insurgency campaign.
However, “everyone in the US military knows this is just a fraudulent portrayal.” Rather “it had everything to do with JSOC creating a kind of Murder, Inc operation where it went down and just killed a tremendous number of people. There was no-one left to kill at one point,” he says bluntly. “JSOC had killed its way through every mom-and-pop resistance operation all the way through to al-Qaida in Mesopotamia.”
This, along with the US paying Sunni tribes, the “awakening councils,” not to kill US soldiers, was what was responsible for the lull in fighting, according to Scahill.
In the run-up to the Iraq war, the public in Britain was often told that one of the reasons Tony Blair was supporting president Bush so closely was that he would be able to influence, and hopefully constrain, US policy.
Scahill laughs when I raise this argument.
“The notion that Blair was going to rein in Bush or Cheney is laughable. If anything Britain was used as a cover by the United States to give legitimacy to the Iraq war.”
Scahill is also very critical of President Barack Obama’s record in office – noting how the first black president came under intense pressure from the US military establishment to massively expand the covert wars in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
“And elsewhere – they were asking for authority in the Philippines and Indonesia and certain cases in Latin America, they wanted covert action inside Iran,” he notes.
Enamoured by the generals and admirals, the Obama administration caved in and “start hitting in Pakistan at three or four times the rate Bush was authorising.” Similar upswings in drone strikes, and the inevitable civilian casualties, occurred in Yemen and Somalia.
“Obama was trying to find a way to continue some of these policies by simply tweaking them, or adjusting them in a small way,” Scahill says.
“He ended extraordinary rendition by the CIA and closed CIA black sites. Instead what he is doing is working with human rights-abusing forces around the world to do it for the United States.
“So it’s by proxy now.”
More broadly, Scahill believes “Obama has tried to find a way to legitimise the core of the Bush-Cheney programme while defending the system itself from attack both internally and externally. And it’s been pitched that this is a cleaner, more legal way of waging war.”
Has it worked?
“I think he has largely been effective in selling that idea to liberals.”
Scahill isn’t a pacifist – he believes in the right of the state to defend itself.
But US policy “is just self-defeating.
“My fear is that we are actually creating more new enemies than we are killing terrorists,” he says.
“What’s our security going to look like 10 years from now as a result of killing innocent people in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan?
“If you and I sit down a decade from now I’m sure we will be talking about attacks that took place as a result of policy implemented right now.”
A key reason so many US citizens either actively support or are ignorant about these damaging actions is arguably the media’s inability to hold the US government to account since the 2001 attacks.
“I don’t believe there is a conspiracy with fat white guys smoking cigars in a back room and deciding how they are going to screw the little people,” Scahill says. “It’s unnecessary.
“Powerful people in government are close friends with powerful people in the media.
“They are part of the same class of people. They hang out together at weekends. They have their little parties like the White House Correspondents’ Dinner where the president jokes about drones and the powerful media barons chuckle at his jokes, and their kids go to the same elite private schools.”
Scahill also argues that in the US “the default position is that power is right, that power is telling the truth, that the powerful are to be trusted.
“I think the opposite should be true – that you should always assume that what they are saying is manipulative,” he counters. “You have to be sceptical as a journalist.”
As Amy Goodman, his former colleague at news programme Democracy Now!, once said: “The role of journalism is to go where the silences are.”
By shining a light on the darkest parts of US foreign policy, Dirty Wars is a brilliant example of this noble aim.
Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield is published by Serpant’s Tail, priced £15.99. A documentary based on the book will be released later this year. For more information see www.dirtywars.org.
Dirty Wars, directed by Richard Rowley, is a documentary that follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill into the murderous, covert world of American Special Forces as the latter prosecute the US government’s so-called global war on terror: here.
Ian started looking at the cover-up of torture while covering a terrorism trial in 2007. “One of the defendants alleged that he was tortured,” he explained. “He said a succession of British agents would come along and ask the same questions.
“I heard a second person giving a similar account. Then I heard of a third person as he was being flown from Pakistan to London, minus three fingernails.”
Ian started to ask why this pattern existed. “Either intelligence officers are seeing what they can get away with,” he said. “Or there’s a policy they’re working to.”
The question is who ordered the abuse and why. Ian said, “You have to ask at what level was that policy agreed. Could it be lower than the prime minister? Could it be lower than the foreign secretary?”
Baha Mousa died under interrogation in Iraq in 2003. He was held for days in a stress position, deprived of sleep, covered alternately in urine and cold water, and repeatedly beaten.
Ian points out that the torture of Baha Mousa was allegedly to condition him for interrogation. But “what was actually going on was that people were just walking in, kicking the living daylights out of him, and walking out again”.
Thousands of people were abused in interrogation in Iraq. As a tool for gathering information Ian described it “ often utterly pointless”.
But he added, “Maybe it was an attempt at wider repression. The purpose of it could be to intimidate an entire people. And if that’s the case, who’s taking the decision?”
The British state has long used torture to terrorise those who challenge its power. Beatings, sexual humiliation, hooding, sleep deprivation, bombardment with white noise—the British army pioneered all these techniques.
In Kenya in 1952 British occupiers declared a state of emergency in response to demands for independence spearheaded by the Mau Mau organisation. Brutalities included castration, slicing off ears, boring holes in eardrums and flogging people to death.
In the early 1970s the British army used torture in Northern Ireland in response to a growing Republican movement and agitation for Catholic civil rights.
Ian charts the development of interrogation and torture techniques. The army developed what became known as the “five techniques”—hooding, starvation, sleep deprivation, and the use [of] noise and stress positions.
He says these methods were “guaranteed to leave no marks that would result in either official embarrassment or the risk of war crimes prosecutions”. But they would “cause intense pain and terror, plus lasting psychological damage”. The techniques were banned in 1972. But they continue to this day.
Denial and outsourcing
Those in power try to hide the truth of who orders torture through a process of mutual denial and outsourcing. Outsourcing has become particularly useful as the British “don’t even have to be in the room”. They can be “standing on the outside passing in the questions” as Ian put it.
The fact that the West uses torture has become more widely known. Ian warned that some can use the apparent “inevitability” of torture as a means of justifying it.
“There are enough people who think torture is in some way acceptable or inevitable,” he said. “You get David Miliband in his private conversations saying things like, ‘There’s a difference between torture and cruel and degrading treatment.’
“Because he’s not in the torture chamber on the receiving end, he presumably feels able to repeat the line that he’s heard from Foreign Office lawyers.”
But when it goes wrong, establishment figures lash out at each other. Ian recalled an interview given by former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw.
“Straw said no foreign secretary can know everything. At which point the head of MI6, Richard Dearlove, crops up to make it clear that everything they did was ministerial authorised.”
Put simply, “Ministers were not only authorising torture, they were encouraging it—yet were prepared to deny it”.
The Libyan connection
There is still more to be revealed. From late 2003 the West decided to bring Libya back into the fold. That meant enemies of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime became enemies of the West.
According to Ian, “We decided the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were dangerous. So we grab their leadership in the Far East, then fly them to Tripoli in front of their pregnant wives and six year old daughters so they can be tortured.
“It’s all about getting closer to their monstrous regime for commercial reasons. It’s as much about money as it is about weapons. It’s grotesque. And torture plays its part along the way.”
Ian is far from confident about either stopping torture or revealing the full truth about it. “We know a lot,” he said. “But there are unknown unknowns. We don’t have an acknowledgement—we have denial. I don’t think there’ll be an acknowledgement for a long time.
“Bloody Sunday showed us, as did Hillsborough, that when the state is involved in wrongdoing that leads to lots of people dying, it can’t be trusted to examine itself.
“When people in an organisation act like they’re hiding something, it’s usually because they’ve got something to hide.”
Network of repression built after the war
During the Second World War one of the poshest addresses in Kensington, London, became a torture centre. Prisoners passed through the unit that became known as the London Cage.
They were beaten, deprived of sleep and forced to assume stress positions for days at a time. Some were told they would be murdered and their bodies quietly buried.
Others were threatened with unnecessary surgery carried out by people with no medical qualifications. Guards boasted that they were “the English Gestapo”.
The London Cage was part of a network of nine “cages” around Britain. Three, at Doncaster, Kempton Park and Lingfield, were at hastily converted racecourses. Another was at the ground of Preston North End Football Club.
The British set up another torture centre in Egypt. According to Ian Cobain, “In 1944-45, the Joint Intelligence Committee talked about the anticipated need for widespread repression in post-war Germany.”
In reference to murderous paramilitaries used in Ireland in the 1920s, “They talked about having to have a Black and Tan type operation.”
In the four years after the war, 95,000 people were interned in the British zone of Allied-occupied Germany. The town of Bad Nendorf was evacuated and turned into an internment camp.
One “Tin Eye” Stephens, on attachment from MI5 and drawing on torture used during the war, was in charge. Over the next two years 372 men and 44 women passed through his hands.
One German inmate recalled being told, “We are not bound by any rules or regulations. We do not care a damn whether you leave this place on a stretcher or in a hearse.”
He was made to sleep on a wet floor in a temperature of minus 20°C for three days. Four of his toes had to be amputated due to frostbite.
As Ian said, “The use of torture by the British is always concealed behind denials and obfuscation and lies. It was in the 1940s, and it is today.”
Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture by Ian Cobain. The book draws on previously unseen documents and witness accounts to expose torture by the British state.
Cobain exposes a systematic use of torture that is far from being the work of a few rogue interrogators. He shows how those in power have used torture to protect their position. And he exposes the lie behind Britain’s claims to civilisation and democracy.
Two American whistleblowers alleging U.S. forces tortured them in Iraq can’t sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a federal appeals court in Chicago that found those along the military command chain enjoy broad immunity from such torture claims: here.