Tag Archives: afghanistan

Is Syria another Operation Ajax?

If you want an alternative perspective on what’s happening in Syria to the one you’ve been getting on the MSM, try this one by Lebanese-American writer and activist Joyce Chediac. Is Syria another Operation Ajax?

At least since 1953 (and probably before that) it has been a tried-and-true tactic of the CIA to finance and conduct (either directly or indirectly) “false flag” civil unrest in a country they want to overthrow. They will then blame escalations of violence on the person running the government (the target of the operation) and use his perceived abuses to justify political or military intervention (directly or indirectly).

The list of countries where they have carried on this kind of operation is lengthy (I counted 53 in Tim Weiner’s book “Legacy Of Ashes”). Here’s a short list:

  • Iran (1953)
  • Guatemala (1954)
  • Indonesia (1958)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (1960)
  • Dominican Republic (1961)
  • South Vietnam (1963)
  • Brazil (1964)
  • Chile (1973)
  • Afghanistan (1979)
  • Turkey (1980)
  • Nicaragua (1981)
  • Iraq (1992)
  • Afghanistan (2001)
  • Venezuela (2002)
  • Iraq (2003)
  • Haiti (2004)

So when you see something similar happen in Syria, you’d be naïve not to wonder if the version of events we are getting from the corporate media isn’t the same bunch of fabricated bullshit that we’ve seen so many times before. Assad may be the antichrist – like so many were before him – or maybe he’s being set up. Since Washington has been funneling money to a right-wing Syrian opposition group since at least 2005, there is obviously more to the story than the one we are being told.

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Some Thoughts on Heroin and Afghanistan

Afghanistan as a whole supplies 92% of the world’s opiates. The Head of the Taliban’s Supreme Council, Mullah Mohammed Omar, declared it “un-Islamic” to process heroin in July 2001 and production for that year fell by 91%. Two months later, the 9/11 attacks happened in the United States and were immediately blamed on Al Qaeda operating out of Afghanistan. The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001. NATO forces, lead by the U.S.A., removed the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan. Since then, opium production in Afghanistan has reached all-time historical highs. Recent estimates by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimate that 52% of the nation’s GDP, amounting to $2.7 billion annually, is generated by the drug trade and some 3.3 million Afghans are involved in producing opium. There are currently around 437,000 troops making up the NATO / Afghan / USA non-NATO force in Afghanistan. As the CIA has a history of dealing with drug traffickers (i.e. the Contras), we have to wonder what’s going on in Afghanistan. How is the product leaving the country when it has 430,000 foreign troops spread out all over it? One argument is that opium is such a huge part of the Afghan economy, that NATO troops can’t destroy it without creating huge financial burdens on the farmers. Yet the $2.5 Billion that opium production provides the Afghan economy each year is a pittance compared to the cost of the war, which is already well over $369 Billion for the USA alone. Another $2.5 Billion to destroy 90% of the world’s opium seems like a easy decision. Why hasn’t it been made yet? Is it possible that the NATO forces are supporting the world’s heroin trade?

References:

World Bank website – Afghanistan Opium Report

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime website – World Drug Report

Wikipedia “War In Afghanistan”

Nautilus Institute: Opium And Heroin Production

Wikipedia: “Mohammed Omar”

Wikipedia: “US involvement in Contras”

Cost Of War

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The Afghanistan Debate

As the Australian parliament begins a long-overdue debate about our involvement in Afghanistan, expect to hear a lot of hot air about what a nasty piece of work the Taliban are and how we are there to put an end to their nastiness. You’ll hear about their theocracy, their imprisonment of women in burqas and nose-slitting for the disobedient.

Expect to hear statements, such as the one Foreign Minister Stephen Smith recently made, about Afghanistan being “current hotbeds or danger points” for international terrorism.

I have several issues with these arguments.

1. They Cut Both Ways

To begin with – as much as I dislike theocracies and religion in any form, from a diplomatic perspective, we have to realise that if disliking a country’s politics or religion gives us moral grounds to invade that country, then we are acknowledging that that country also has moral grounds to invade OUR country if they dislike OUR politics or religion. The USA didn’t like it very much the last time a handful of Saudis decided they didn’t like American politics. In fact, they used the attack that stemmed from that dislike as an excuse for invading a couple of countries. We have to be extremely careful what precedents we set interceding in international affairs.

2. They Are Hypocritical

The second issue, about being a “hotbed” for terrorism, is troubling for the same reason. It is a record of fact that the CIA has been a supporter of terrorists and dictators for many decades. Terrorists and dictators with names such as Saddam, Noriega, Pinochet, Suharto, Mobutu and “Papa Doc” Duvalier all received either direct or indirect support from the CIA. (Australia also was a direct supporter of at least one of these men – General Suharto.)

Of course it is also a matter of record that the CIA has been and is currently involved in supporting other terrorist organisations such as Israel’s MOSSAD and Pakistan’s ISI. If we argue that supporting terrorists makes a country open to invasion, we have to then acknowledge that it is equally acceptable for other people to invade our countries with the same justification.

So keep an eye out for any such hypocritical justifications during the government debates.

Of course, the typical politician will claim that our country (and our friends such as the USA) are justified in our/their support of terrorism or our politics. It’s one of the accepted truths of domestic politics that our position is right because it is our position. Capitalism is right and communism is wrong because we are capitalists. Christianity is right and Islam is wrong because the majority of our population is Christian.

We are right because it is unthinkable that we could possibly be wrong.

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No Illusions #12 – Ewan Saunders, Socialist Alliance #AusVotes

Ewan Saunders is the Socialist Alliance’s Brisbane candidate in the upcoming federal election. I caught up with him recently to talk about socialism, climate change, indigenous communities, and the Socialist Alliance’s policies on subjects like Iraq, Afghanistan and immigration.

As I mention during the show, if you’re interested in hearing more about “participatory democracy”, then listen to my 2008 interview with Richard Moore.

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When They Attack Us, They Are Crazy

It’s been fascinating to me to note the difference between the way the media has been treating the two Americans who have lashed out at their government in the last month – John Patrick Bedell, who shot a couple of Pentagons guards, and Joe Stack, who flew a plane into an IRS building in Austin – and they way the media treats civilian deaths at the hands of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The media, completely unable to even explore whether or not men like Bedell and Stack might have had genuine grievances, have immediately closed ranks to write both men off as being crazy. There’s no investigative reporting, no genuine inquiry into what would make these US citizens commit acts of suicide to make a point about the actions of the US government. Both men have just been tarred and brushed. The media grabs quotes from family and friends that make it sound like each man was a loony and then they editorialise with descriptions to back that up.

Some examples:

On Bedell:

The Washington Post just puts it in the headline “Pentagon shooter’s spiral from early promise to madness”.

The Boston Globe, in its first paragraph, says Bedell “crisscrossed the country in a frenetic and sometimes doped-up state”.

The Mirror in the UK claims he was a “conspiracy theorist”.

The Associated Press claims Bedell “a history of mental illness”.

CBS News leads with the headline that Bedell was a “nut”.

On Stack:

The Christian Science Monitor refers to Stack’s online writing as a “lengthy, disjointed screed”.

USA Today says his writing “drips with cynicism, paranoia and narcissism.”

Of course, the 535 Afghani civilians who were murdered by US & NATO bombs in 2009, are just “collateral damage” or “civilian casualties”. When one out of every three people killed by US bombs in Afghanistan is a civilian, that’s just unfortunate. Obama is actually increasing the use of drones, not decreasing them. The media makes no psychological analysis about the people who are sending in drones that kill THOUSANDS of innocent civilians, men, woman and children. They don’t ask whether or not those people, the politicians or the soldiers, are paranoid or suffering from a mental illness. The issue isn’t even broached.

The lesson? When “we” kill civilians, it’s justifiable. But when someone, even one of our own, attacks us, then they suffer from a mental illness.

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The Kidnapping of Haiti by John Pilger

Insightful as always, award-winning Australian journalist John Pilger has written his assessment of what’s happening in Haiti. Here’s an excerpt:

The theft of Haiti has been swift and crude. On 22 January, the United States secured “formal approval” from the United Nations to take over all air and sea ports in Haiti, and to “secure” roads. No Haitian signed the agreement, which has no basis in law. Power rules in an American naval blockade and the arrival of 13,000 marines, special forces, spooks and mercenaries, none with humanitarian relief training.

When I was last in Haiti, I watched very young girls stooped in front of whirring, hissing, binding machines at the Port-au-Prince Superior Baseball Plant. Many had swollen eyes and lacerated arms. I produced a camera and was thrown out. Haiti is where America makes the equipment for its hallowed national game, for next to nothing. Haiti is where Walt Disney contractors make Mickey Mouse pjamas, for next to nothing. The US controls Haiti’s sugar, bauxite and sisal. Rice-growing was replaced by imported American rice, driving people into the cities and towns and jerry-built housing. Years after year, Haiti was invaded by US marines, infamous for atrocities that have been their specialty from the Philippines to Afghanistan.

Not for tourists is the US building its fifth biggest embassy in Port-au-Prince. Oil was found in Haiti’s waters decades ago and the US has kept it in reserve until the Middle East begins to run dry. More urgently, an occupied Haiti has a strategic importance in Washington’s “rollback” plans for Latin America. The goal is the overthrow of the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, control of Venezuela’s abundant oil reserves and sabotage of the growing regional cooperation that has given millions their first taste of an economic and social justice long denied by US-sponsored regimes.

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The USA Had A Major Clandestine Operation Running In Iran

Seymour Hersh writing in The New Yorker magazine, July 2008:

Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.

Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.

(read the full story)

"… designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership".

The article goes on to say:

The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change.

Now think about the activities of the last couple of weeks. Starting to add up for you?

And who was running JSOC? General Stanley A. McChrystal, President Obama’s recently anointed Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

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Is Obama Fighting Bush’s Holy War?

While there is some doubt as to the author of this article in AlterNet (the byline says it’s by Clive Anderson, while the bio down the bottom says it’s by Australia’s own Clive Hamilton), the subject matter is fascinating. And a little bemusing. I had always assumed that George W. Bush’s religiosity was a sham, a cynical attempt to convince the unthinking American God-fearing public to go along with his crazy schemes. This article, however, claims that Bush told French President Jacques Chirac that:

"This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins".

Apparently Chirac himself confirms this in a new book published in France last March and the conversation had been published earlier by a French theology professor who the French government turned to for clarification about what the hell Bush might have been talking about.

I seriously never thought of Bush as really nuts. I figured he just put on the whole Jesus-lovin’ Texan ol’ boy routine purely as manipulation, just as a way to squeeze extra votes out of the Religious Right. Could I have been wrong? Is Bush simply insane?

And if Obama continues his "war" in Afghanistan (I still laugh at how the US likes to declare that it’s a war but refuse to classify their prisoners as Prisoners Of WAR under the Geneva Convention), is he perpetuating Bush’s Holy Jihad?

Yet again we see Christianity used as a justification for the murder of tens of thousands of civilians. It’s just another reason why we need to treat Christianity in the same way we treat any other intolerant, violent philosophy – with extreme disdain and our own (non-violent) intolerance.

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Terrorist, Guerilla or Freedom Fighter?

Last night I went to the cinema to see "The Baader Meinhof Complex", an excellent film about the rise and fall of The Red Army Faction (RAF), an urban guerilla movement started by disaffected students in West Germany in the 60s who carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, and robberies in an attempt to bring awareness to the corruption in the West German government which, they felt, was being run by former Nazis with the support of large American corporations. Were they terrorists, guerillas or freedom fighters? It all depends on who is telling the story.

I totally recommend this film although it’s not for the faint of heart and you won’t come out of the cinema feeling uplifted or positive about the state of the world. The issues that the RAF were protesting in the 60s are still around – and in a worse state – today. American imperialism runs rampant across the globe, using the ‘free media’ as its propaganda tool and manipulating the minds of the populace with suggestion that an Obama is really more than a couple of degrees different from a Bush.

The film stars a couple of familiar faces –

Horst Herold, who played Hitler in the brilliant DOWNFALL (which has served for unlimited parodies on YouTube) and here plays the president of the Federal Police, and warns the politicians that the guerillas won’t stop until their issues are actually addressed, something none of the politicians wants to hear.

Moritz Bleibtreu who I remember as the lead role in DAS EXPERIMENT, another brilliant film, and here plays Andreas Baader, the flawed but fearless leader of the RAF. As his girlfriend says at one point "Andreas has more revolution in him than the rest of us put together."

Anyway, go see the movie.

With the question of "terrorist or freedom fighter" fresh in my mind, I was reading from Robert Fisk’s excellent book "The Great War For Civilisation – The Conquest of the Middle East" today and the following lines jumped out at me. He’s writing about Afghanistan in the late 70s:

For "terrorists", read "guerillas" or – as President Ronald Reagan would call them in the years to come – "freedom fighters." Terrorists, terrorists, terrorists. In the Middle East, in the entire Muslim world, this word would become a plague, a meaningless punctuation mark in all our lives, a full stop erected to finish all discussion of injustice, constructed as a wall by Russian, Americans, Israelis, British, Pakistanis, Saudis, Turks, to shut us up. Who would ever say a word in favour of terrorists? What cause could justify terror? So our enemies are always "terrorists." In the seventeenth century, governments used "heretic" in much the same way, to end all dialogue, to prescribe obedience. Karmal’s policy (CR Note: Karmal was the President of Afghanistan who was in support of the Russian invasion) was simple: you are either with us or against us. For decades, I have listened to this dangerous equation, uttered by capitalist and communist, presidents and prime ministers, generals and intelligence officers and, of course, newspaper editors.

Click on the book cover to order the book from BookDepository in the UK – free worldwide shipping!

As Fisk points out – every time you read or hear the word "terrorist", be aware that it’s being used to shut you up. It’s a manipulative word, a weasel word, and the use of it by politicians or the media should tell you something about their true agenda.

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Seymour Hersh talks about Cheney’s death squads

Update 21/05/09: According to Gulf Times, Hersh is denying he ever said that Cheney’s hit squad killed Bhutto. AmericanThinker delights in providing more details.

Original Post: According to Dawn.com, US journalist Seymour Hersh claims a US government hit squad assassinated Benazir Bhutto on the order of Dick Cheney. Why? Apparently because she announced (on the below TV interview with David Frost) that Osama Bin Laden. Remember how the BBC, when they ran the clip (originally aired on Al Jazeera), edited out the comment about Bin Laden? Hersh says the US was pissed that she leaked that Bin Laden is already dead, which would reduce their justification for continued occupation of Afghanistan and so they had her whacked. And who did the job? Probably JSOC, the top top secret "snake-eating, throat-slitting" black ops team formerly lead by Obama’s new Afghanistan leader, General Stanley McChrystal.

Do I buy it? Yes and no. Do I believe the US assassinates foreign leaders from time to time? Of course I do. They have admitted it. Do I believe they might have been involved in killing Bhutto? Yes, I do. But not because she spoke out about Bin Laden. More likely because the US had invested a LOT ($10 billion) in Pakistan’s military dictator Musharraf and they didn’t want to see that go to waste under a Bhutto government. Of course, it didn’t buy them much time. Musharraf was forced to resign in August 2008 amid corruption allegations and Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, is now President.

Watch Bhutto’s interview on Frost:

Watch Hersh interviewed on Gulf News:

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