Saturday, May 30, 2009

Recalling " non-U.S. and non-Iraqi" interrogators at Abu Ghraib [The Israeli Torture Template Rape, Feces and Urine-Dipped Cloth Sacks]

As the controversy continues to swirl over President Obama's refusal to release explicit photos and videos from the U.S. detention prison at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad, it should be recalled that the facility was, in fact, an international "house of horrors."

On May 10, 2004, the following was published by CounterPunch:

May 10, 2004

The Israeli Torture Template

Rape, Feces and Urine-Dipped Cloth Sacks


With mounting evidence that a shadowy group of former Israeli Defense Force and General Security Service (Shin Bet) Arabic-speaking interrogators were hired by the Pentagon under a classified "carve out" sub-contract to brutally interrogate Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, one only needs to examine the record of abuse of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in Israel to understand what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld meant, when referring to new, yet to be released photos and videos, he said, "if these images are released to the public, obviously its going to make matters worse."

According to a political appointee within the Bush administration and U.S. intelligence sources, the interrogators at Abu Ghraib included a number of Arabic-speaking Israelis who also helped U.S. interrogators develop the "R2I" (Resistance to Interrogation) techniques. Many of the torture methods were developed by the Israelis over many years of interrogating Arab prisoners on the occupied West Bank and in Israel itself.

Clues about worse photos and videos of abuse may be found in Israeli files about similar abuse of Palestinian and other Arab prisoners. In March 2000, a lawyer for a Lebanese prisoner kidnapped in 1994 by the Israelis in Lebanon claimed that his client had been subjected to torture, including rape. The type of compensation offered by Rumsfeld in his testimony has its roots in cases of Israeli torture of Arabs. In the case of the Lebanese man, said to have been raped by his Israeli captors, his lawyer demanded compensation of $1.47 million. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel documented the types of torture meted out on Arab prisoners. Many of the tactics coincide with those contained in the Taguba report: beatings and prolonged periods handcuffed to furniture. In an article in the December 1998 issue of The Progressive, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb reported on the treatment given to a 23-year old Palestinian held on "administrative detention." The prisoner was "cuffed behind a chair 17 hours a day for 120 days . . . [he] had his head covered with a sack, which was often dipped in urine or feces. Guards played loud music right next to his ears and frequently taunted him with threats of physical and sexual violence." If additional photos and videos document such practices, the Bush administration and the American people have, indeed, "seen nothing yet."

Although it is still largely undocumented if any of the contractors named in the report of General Antonio Taguba were associated with the Israeli military or intelligence services, it is noteworthy that one, John Israel, who was identified in the report as being employed by both CACI International of Arlington, Virginia, and Titan, Inc., of San Diego, may not have even been a U.S. citizen. The Taguba report states that Israel did not have a security clearance, a requirement for employment as an interrogator for CACI. According to CACI's web site, "a Top Secret Clearance (TS) that is current and US citizenship" are required for CACI interrogators working in Iraq. In addition, CACI requires that its interrogators "have at least two years experience as a military policeman or similar type of law enforcement/intelligence agency whereby the individual utilized interviewing techniques."

Speculation that "John Israel" may be an intelligence cover name has fueled speculation whether this individual could have been one of a number of Israeli interrogators hired under a classified contract. Because U.S. citizenship and documentation thereof are requirements for a U.S. security clearance, Israeli citizens would not be permitted to hold a Top Secret clearance. However, dual U.S.-Israeli citizens could have satisfied Pentagon requirements that interrogators hold U.S. citizenship and a Top Secret clearance. Although the Taguba report refers twice to Israel as an employee of Titan, the company claims he is one of their sub-contractors. CACI stated that one of the men listed in the report "is not and never has been a CACI employee" without providing more detail. A U.S. intelligence source revealed that in the world of intelligence "carve out" subcontracts such confusion is often the case with "plausible deniability" being a foremost concern.

In fact, the Taguba report does reference the presence of non-U.S. and non-Iraqi interrogators at Abu Ghraib. The report states, "In general, US civilian contract personnel (Titan Corporation, CACI, etc), third country nationals, and local contractors do not appear to be properly supervised within the detention facility at Abu Ghraib."

The Pentagon is clearly concerned about the outing of the Taguba report and its references to CACI, Titan, and third country nationals, which could permanently damage U.S. relations with Arab and Islamic nations. The Pentagon's angst may explain why the Taguba report is classified Secret No Foreign Dissemination.

The leak of the Taguba report was so radioactive, Daniel R. Dunn, the Information Assurance Officer for Douglas Feith's Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Policy (Policy Automation Services Security Team), sent a May 6, 2004, For Official Use Only Urgent E-mail to Pentagon staffers stating, "THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED; DO NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY." Considering Feith's close ties to the Israelis, such a reaction by his top computer security officer, a Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), is understandable, although considering the fact that CISSPs are to act on behalf of the public good, it is also regrettable..

The reference to "third country nationals" in a report that restricts its dissemination to U.S. coalition partners (Great Britain, Poland, Italy, etc.) is another indication of the possible involvement of Israelis in the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. Knowledge that the U.S. may have been using Israeli interrogators could have severely fractured the Bush administration's tenuous "coalition of the willing' in Iraq. General Taguba's findings were transmitted to the Coalition Forces Land Component Command on March 9, 2004, just six days before the Spanish general election, one that the opposition anti-Iraq war Socialists won. The Spanish ultimately withdrew their forces from Iraq.

During his testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee, Rumsfeld was pressed upon by Senator John McCain about the role of the private contractors in the interrogations and abuse. McCain asked Rumsfeld four pertinent questions, ". . . who was in charge? What agency or private contractor was in charge of the interrogations? Did they have authority over the guards? And what were the instructions that they gave to the guards?"

When Rumsfeld had problems answering McCain's question, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, the Deputy Commander of the U.S. Central Command, said there were 37 contract interrogators used in Abu Ghraib. The two named contractors, CACI and Titan, have close ties to the Israeli military and technology communities. Last January 14, after Provost Marshal General of the Army, Major General Donald Ryder, had already uncovered abuse at Abu Ghraib, CACI's President and CEO, Dr. J.P. (Jack) London was receiving the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah's Albert Einstein Technology award at the Jerusalem City Hall, with right-wing Likud politician Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski in attendance. Oddly, CACI waited until February 2 to publicly announce the award in a press release. CACI has also received grants from U.S.-Israeli bi-national foundations.

Titan also has had close connections to Israeli interests. After his stint as CIA Director, James Woolsey served as a Titan director. Woolsey is an architect of America's Iraq policy and the chief proponent of and lobbyist for Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. An adviser to the neo-conservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs, Project for the New American Century, Center for Security Policy, Freedom House, and Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, Woolsey is close to Stephen Cambone, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, a key person in the chain of command who would have not only known about the torture tactics used by U.S. and Israeli interrogators in Iraq but who would have also approved them. Cambone was associated with the Project for the New American Century and is viewed as a member of Rumsfeld's neo-conservative "cabal" within the Pentagon.

Another person considered by Pentagon insiders to have been knowledgeable about the treatment of Iraqi prisoners is U.S. Army Col. Steven Bucci, a Green Beret and Rumsfeld's military assistant and chief traffic cop for the information flow to the Defense Secretary. According to Pentagon insiders, Bucci was involved in the direction of a special covert operations unit composed of former U.S. special operations personnel who answered to the Pentagon rather than the CIA's Special Activities Division, the agency's own paramilitary group. The Pentagon group included Arabic linguists and former members of the Green Berets and Delta Force who operated covertly in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. Titan also uses linguists trained in the languages (Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, and Tajik) of those same countries. It is not known if a link exists between Rumsfeld's covert operations unit and Titan's covert operations linguists.

Another Titan employee named in the Taguba report is Adel L. Nakhla. Nakhla is a name common among Egypt's Coptic Christian community, however, it is not known if Adel Nakhla is either an Egyptian-American or a national of Egypt. A CACI employee identified in the report, Steven Stephanowicz, is referred to as "Stefanowicz" in a number of articles on the prison abuse. Stefanowicz is the spelling used by Joe Ryan, another CACI employee assigned with Stefanowicz to Abu Ghraib. Ryan is a radio personality on KSTP, a conservative radio station in Minneapolis, who maintained a daily log of his activities in Iraq on the radio's web site before it was taken down. Ryan indicated that Stefanowicz (or Stephanowicz) continued to hold his interrogation job in Iraq even though General Taguba recommended he lose his security clearance and be terminated for the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

In an even more bizarre twist, the Philadelphia Daily News identified a former expatriate public relations specialist for the government of South Australia in Adelaide named Steve Stefanowicz as possibly being the same person identified in the Taguba report. In 2000, Stefanowicz, who grew up in the Philadelphia and Allentown areas, left for Australia. On September 16, 2001, he was quoted by the Sunday Mail of Adelaide on the 911 attacks. He said of the attacks, "It was one of the most incredible and most devastating things I have ever seen. I have been in constant contact with my family and friends in the US and the mood was very solemn and quiet. But this is progressing into anger." Stefanowicz returned to the United States and volunteered for the Navy in a reserve status. His mother told the Allentown Morning Call in April 2002 that Stefanowicz was stationed somewhere in the Middle East but did not know where because of what Stefanowicz said was "security concerns." His mother told the Philadelphia Daily News that her son was in Iraq but she knew nothing about his current status.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Bogus Torture Coverup by Scott Horton

The Pentagon is denying the facts: Photographs of Abu Ghraib torture are even more sexually explicit than first reported, including rape and sodomy, writes The Daily Beast's Scott Horton, who has obtained specific and detailed corroboration of the photos.

The Daily Beast has confirmed that the photographs of abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, which President Obama, in a reversal, decided not to release, depict sexually explicit acts, including a uniformed soldier receiving oral sex from a female prisoner, a government contractor engaged in an act of sodomy with a male prisoner and scenes of forced masturbation, forced exhibition, and penetration involving phosphorous sticks and brooms.

These descriptions come on the heels of a British report yesterday about the photographs that contained some of these revelations—and whose credibility was questioned by the Pentagon.

Click Image Below to View a Gallery of Some Rarely Seen Abu Ghraib Torture Photos

Article Page - Torture Gallery

The Daily Beast has obtained specific corroboration of the British account, which appeared in the London Daily Telegraph, from several reliable sources, including a highly credible senior military officer with firsthand knowledge, who provided even more detail about the graphic photographs that have been withheld from the public by the Obama administration.

A senior military officer familiar with the photos told me that they would likely provoke a storm of outrage if released. The well-informed source confirmed, just as reported in the Telegraph, that many of the photographs are sexually explicit, including those mentioned above. The photographs differ from those already officially released. Some show U.S. personnel engaged in sexual acts with prisoners and each other. In one, a female prisoner appears to have been forced to expose her breasts to be photographed. In another, a prisoner is suspended naked upside down from the top bunk of a bed in a stress position.

The Telegraph article quoted retired Major General Antonio Taguba, who directed the official inquiry in 2004 into the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Taguba told the Telegraph that the “pictures show torture, abuse, rape, and every indecency.” The Telegraph reported: “At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee. Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire, and a phosphorescent tube. Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.”

In response to the Telegraph account, Bryan G. Whitman, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense, attacked the newspaper. “That news organization has completely mischaracterized the images," he said. “None of the photos in question depict the images that are described in that article.” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, later in the day, widened the assault to a general one against British journalism. “If I wanted to read a writeup today of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I might open up a British newspaper,” Gibbs said. “If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not entirely sure it'd be in the first pack of clips I'd pick up.”

In one withheld photograph, not previously described, Specialist Charles A. Graner, Jr., an Abu Ghraib guard, is shown suturing the face of a prisoner, a reliable source tells The Daily Beast. The suturing appeared to serve no ostensible medical purpose than perhaps Graner’s attempts to humiliate or terrorize the prisoner, the source suggested. Graner was court-martialed and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in 2005 for charges that included prisoner abuse. A number of the withheld photographs, according to reliable sources, show Graner engaged in sexual acts with Specialist Lynndie A. England, another soldier assigned to duty at Abu Ghraib. She appears in some of the most notorious photographs disclosed so far, including one in which she walked a detainee on a leash—enacting a regimen later revealed as an authorized technique known as “walking the dog.”

Other suppressed photographs show a female prisoner assuming sexually suggestive poses in a chair, while a prison guard appears behind her in some frames. In another series, prisoners are shown hooded in a transport with open copies of pornographic magazines in their laps.

Still other withheld photographs have been circulating among U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq. One soldier showed them to me, including a photograph in which a male in a U.S. military uniform receives oral sex from a female prisoner.

The photographs differ from those already officially released. Some show U.S. personnel engaged in sexual acts with prisoners and each other. In one, a female prisoner appears to have been forced to expose her breasts to be photographed.

The Obama administration’s decision to challenge the Telegraph account presents a dilemma because many of the photographs have already been leaked, and they match the very images that Taguba described and which Pentagon spokesman Whitman denied. The already leaked photographs can be seen at the Web sites of, the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia, the Australian Broacasting Corp. Dateline program, and the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

The suppressed photographs and videos are the subject of a Freedom of Information Act litigation brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU prevailed against government claims of secrecy both in the federal district court and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. (Full disclosure: I supplied a legal expert’s opinion on the Geneva Conventions, which was cited by both courts in reaching their conclusions.) Yesterday, the Justice Department filed papers asking the court to reconsider its decision directing that the photographs be made public. In its papers, the Justice Department suggested it would seek to have the matter reviewed in the Supreme Court if its motion were to be denied.

The immediate pushback against the Telegraph story from the Pentagon, coupled with the decision of White House press secretary Gibbs to chime in, suggests the sensitivity of the issue. The full-scale strike against the Telegraph, the leading conservative quality newspaper in Britain, broadened into an offensive against the whole of British journalism, suggesting the precariousness of the public-relations effort.

The Pentagon spokesperson, Bryan G. Whitman, who came to prominence during the Bush administration, has drawn on standard operating procedures honed during the Rumsfeld era. Instead of offering correction of supposed factual inaccuracies, he has slammed the credibility of the publication itself. Yet his statement is both sweeping and extremely vague, and the claim that none of the photos reflect the descriptions in the article is immediately belied by an examination of the photos that have already been leaked.

Whitman has used this sort of bludgeoning attack on news organizations before. Ask Michael Isikoff at Newsweek. When Newsweek’s April 30, 2005, issue ran a brief Periscope piece referring to an internal report’s description of an incident in which a Quran was thrown down a toilet, Whitman launched a dramatic attack on the publication, pressuring it to retract and apologize. The report had, it later turned out, been correct. In 2007, the ACLU secured, through a Freedom of Information Act request, a copy of a 2002 FBI report which documented a prisoner’s charge that his Quran has been thrown in the toilet; five other cases of mishandling Qurans were reported, although the Pentagon insisted that none of them amounted to desecration.

The most prominent victim in the past of Whitman’s disinformation may have been none other than Barack Obama. On the campaign trail, in Austin, Texas, candidate Obama said he had gotten a message from an Army captain in Iraq who described how his unit had been shorted in munitions and equipment. I learned from reporters that Whitman started a whispering campaign with the Pentagon press corps telling them (not for attribution) that he didn’t believe Obama’s claims were true. Whitman’s game, however, was stopped by ABC reporter Jake Tapper, who tracked down the captain, interviewed him and fully verified the account.

Bryan Whitman remains on the job in the Pentagon today. But the effort to suppress the shocking photographs is already failing, as they leak to the public and reliable sources verify their authenticity. A senior military officer told me that in the months before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, Pentagon officials engaged in strange maneuvers to avoiding viewing the pictures. That, he noted, didn’t make the photos any less real. But it apparently made it easier for Pentagon officials to dissemble about them. That process hasn’t stopped.

Scott Horton is a law professor and writer on legal and national-security affairs for Harper's magazine and The American Lawyer, among other publications.

[racist] Oppo journalists in Venezuela--such victims!

Or maybe not.

Globovisión, Venezuela's equivalent of FUX Snooze, has been a news item in itself for the past few weeks, and for all the wrong reasons. Here's one of them:

Video in Spanish, but the pictures speak for themselves. Watch the chick with the blond bob, the little hand-held camera, and the bared teeth. Aggressive, isn't she? Her name is Beatriz Adrián, and she's supposed to be a journalist. But it seems that her real job is that of agent provocateur (or should that be agente provocateuse?) in the ongoing, futile and dirty fight by the ancien régime of Venezuela--now the opposition--to oust a popular, freely and democratically elected president.

So how is she a provoc?

Well, a few months ago, she claimed to have been harrassed by Chavista goons at a bakeshop where she and a friend went to breakfast one day. Turns out, the "Chavista harassers" were nothing of the sort; they were private security men on the job at the shop, and they didn't touch her. But she squeaked, and she squawked, and her "report" made the news on her channel, where everyone rallied around poor, brave, beleaguered Beatriz--at least until Mario Silva dissected the whole story on his VTV show, La Hojilla, and proved it to be more full of holes than a strip of Brussels lace. The defamed men, meanwhile, went to the authorities with their side of the story. (If you click on the link, you'll immediately see what was really at play--the guys she complained about are kind of non-white.)

More recently, Beatriz thought she'd scored a journalistic coup by bribing a National Assembly staffer to hand over some confidential documents. The staffer lost her job; Beatriz, again, got the kind of media exposure she hadn't counted on when the building's security cameras caught the whole shebang. But unlike the luckless lady from the National Assembly, she got to keep her job. After all, Globovisión needed her...

Which brings us to the videos above. Beatriz Adrián, apparently, has gone from phony "victim" of private security to taking the job on herself. When a VTV reporter, Erika Ortega Sanoja, tried to ask some questions of poor deluded old Mario Vargas Llosa, who was in country to make an ass of himself at a "forum" supporting the putschy ancien régime in the name of "freedom and democracy" (and who, incidentally, was NOT "detained" by security at any time--more on this later), Beatriz took exception to Erika's questioning, and repeatedly pushed and shoved her. At one point, witnesses say, she hit Erika on the head with her microphone; the latter ended up seeking first aid at the airport's infirmary, and reported the assault to the civil defence officer on duty. Beatriz Adrián, however, exhibited only rudeness and defiance throughout the encounter. She notably asked NO questions of Vargas Llosa herself, which is a very unjournalistic sort of thing to do. Instead, she kept spinning around, snarling, taking pictures of everyone around her, as if gathering evidence that she had been the victim of aggression--interesting, since the video cameras of more than one channel, including her own, caught her being very much the aggressor. At several points, she launched herself at other journalists present, including a cameraman for the Caracas community channel, Avila TV. (She missed. Kind of a metaphor, don'tcha think?)

By now you might be wondering why all this journalistic own-goaling is happening. Well, Globovisión is slipping closer and closer to the edge of having its licence revoked. As I've noted before, this sort of thing happens all the time in democracies when a broadcaster violates the terms of use for the public airwaves. But in Venezuela it isn't supposed to happen, and certainly not to overtly right-wing channels looking to overthrow a democratically elected government. Especially not if the owners of the channel also happen to own other highly lucrative things--such as, in the case of Globo's Guillermo Zuloaga, two Toyota dealerships recently busted for jacking up the price of the merchandise two- and threefold, thus ripping off the car-buying public. But again, that's grist for another story. Perhaps I'll make the entry about how this sort of price-gouging is emblematic of the "freedom and democracy" that Mario Vargas Llosa came so touchingly to defend, at great risk to the security of his person...from self-appointed guards like Beatriz Adrián.

Such poor victims, the whole lot of them--piss-poor victims, that is.

Obama continues the cover-up of White House involvement in Iraqi sexual torture

President Obama's refusal to release explicit photographs and videos showing U.S., coalition, and contractor military personnel engaged in heterosexual and homosexual rape and molestation at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other detention facilities in the occupied nation is allowing the Bush-Cheney administration to have a free pass in its involvement in and cover-up of the sordid practices. Obama claims he is trying to protect U.S. troops from retaliation but, in effect, he is only protecting Bush and Cheney by refusing to release the photographic and video evidence that could be used in their war crimes trials.

On November 18, 2005, WMR reported the following:

"There is good reason for the embarrassment of the Pentagon in the affair. The orders to take the sexually-oriented photos and videos, some of which involve teenage Iraqi boys and girls and sodomization by their guards, came directly from a pedophile and closeted male homosexual ring operating in the White House, according to the intelligence sources. Copies of the tapes and photos were sent directly to the White House for the entertainment of senior members of the Bush White House, including officials in the Vice President's office and the Executive Office of the President.

When the photos at Abu Ghraib became public, the senior military command structure in Iraq 'went nuts,' according to an individual who witnessed the cover-up of the affair. 'They ordered an immediate policy of denial about details of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib,' said the source. The source added that senior officers were disgusted that lower ranking guards were prosecuted and jailed when the order for the mistreatment came directly from the White House."

On December 22, 2008, WMR reported on the "installation of live streaming black boxes in the White House and the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building used to stream live video of torture sessions in Guantanamo, Cuba and Abu Ghraib to the Old Executive Office Building office of Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief Counsel David Addington and into the White House, itself. Media reports of torture sessions being taped may have been planted by the White House to deter investigators away from looking at live streaming capabilities in the offices of Cheney and President Bush."

The distinct possibility that Cheney, Addington, and others in the White House were being entertained by rape videos live from Baghdad demands that Obama release what is in the Pentagon's and CIA's possession forthwith. Otherwise, he will inherit the cover-up began by his predecessor and face the legal consequences of such action.

PressTV has reported on the photos WMR ran yesterday, photos that were only immediately called bogus in 2004 by neo-con and Israeli-influenced news outlets, including World Net Daily, Jewish World Review(and its contributor, former Washington Times editor Wes Pruden), Israel Forum, and the Boston Herald. These and other like-minded operations were also front-and-center in attacking Texas Air national Guard documents showing that George W. Bush was absent without leave (AWOL) were fake, even though Republican operatives had taken the originals and faxed, copied, and scanned them several times in order that they lost their "originality." As is known from the Niger yellow cake and other episodes, the neocons are masters at disinformation and psychological warfare operations (PSYOPs).

Unlike Watergate, in which the question was "What did the President [Nixon] know and when did he know it?" the question now is "The President knows and what is he going to do about it?"

UPDATE 2X. WMR revealing alleged portfolio of sexual abuse photos from Abu Ghraib

Today, the Daily Telegraph of the UK is reporting that President Barack Obama does not want released photographs showing the sodomization and other sexual abuse by U.S. or possibly coalition troops -- a possibility since they are not outfitted in desert camouflage uniforms -- and contractors of Iraqi detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Retired U.S. Army Major General Antonio Taguba, who conducted an investigation of the abuses at Abu Ghraib and was publicly humiliated by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was quoted in the Telegraph as saying: "These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency."

On January 10, 2008, WMR first revealed three of the Abu Ghraib photos showing the sodomization of a 14-year old female Iraqi detainee.

WMR made an editorial decision to hold back publishing other photos because of their graphic nature. However, because President Obama has thrown down a gauntlet to the free press in the United States in refusing to release the photos, WMR is, today, releasing the remainder of the photos of the rape incident involving the Iraqi girl and U.S., contractor, or coalition personnel.

Note: These photos are extremely graphic!

Photo One

Photo Two

Photo Three

Photo Four

Photo Five

Photo Six

Photo Seven

Photo Eight

Photo Nine

UPDATE 2X. Note: the right-wing World Net Daily ran a story stating that the above photos were taken from an American porn web site called "Iraq Babes," and a Hungarian site called "Sex in War," which was linked by the American site. Both were taken off line after the photos were circulated by Iraqi and Franco-Tunisian websites. WMR has previously reported that pornographic videos were being streamed from Abu Ghraib and other detention centers to the White House. Some of the video streams depicted homosexual rapes of young male prisoners.

The recent news about sexual rape at Abu Ghraib indicates that, once again, the neocon propaganda machine attempted to portray actual pornograohic scenes, possibly sold by American, Hungarian, and other troops in Iraq to dubious websites, as depictions involving paid actors and actresses.

Dark-green battle dress uniforms, such as those seen in the photos, were worn by the Multi-National Force (MNF) troops of the following nations in Iraq: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Macedonia, Poland, and Spain. Private military contractors wore all types of military-style clothing.

The neocon right has even suggested that photographs recently published by the Telegraph of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib were faked. In 2004, there was a row in Britain over alleged fake photos from Iraq involving British troops engaged in a beating of a prisoner. There has been a concerted effort by the neocon right and military commands to downplay and call anything purportedly coming from Iraq showing torture as fake. The UK's Daily Mirror caught such abuse in 2004 after showing photos of a British soldier urinating on a prisoner.

Only a full law enforcement investigation of those appearing in the photos will put to rest the origin of these sordid photos depicting the rape of an Iraqi female.

If all or part of the photographs from Abu Ghraib showing sexual molestation and rape are bogus, then President Obama will have to release what is in the possession of his administration to prove that the photos are either fake or part of an actual portfolio that was identified by General Taguba in his report.

Just another assassination in Washington, DC

WMR has learned from an well-informed source that the late President of the small Pacific island nation of Nauru, Bernard Dowiyogo, who died on March 9, 2003, while visiting Washington, DC, was given a heart attack-inducing drug with the knowledge of his six-member U.S. Secret Service protective detail. The drug resulted in Dowiyogo, a six-term president of Nauru, dying of massive heart failure at George Washington Hospital in Washington, DC. Dowiyogo first became President of Nauru in 1976.

The information recently obtained by WMR confirms our first report on March 9, 2007, concerning Dowiyogo's suspicious death:

"Our sources in Asia report that Dowiyogo was placed under tremendous pressure by Bush administration officials. Dowiyogo had tried to kick out the Russian-Israeli Mafia from his country. The mobsters had used the nation's lax tax and banking laws to set up shop to launder ill-gotten gains from illegal activities, including drug and weapons smuggling, online gambling, online child pornography, and tax evasion. The Bush administration had been infiltrated by mobsters and their allies, including fugitive Marc Rich's attorney, Irving Lewis Libby, who became Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff."

Just a few weeks before his death while under the protection of the U.S. Secret Service, the agency was transferred from the Department of Treasury to the new Department of Homeland Security.

Dowiyogo, who was 57, was in Washington to discuss with Bush administration officials the closing down of the Russian-Israeli Mafia financial pipeline that ran through his small island nation. Dowiyogo signed a secret agreement concerning money laundering in Washington on February 27.

WMR's latest information is that Dowiyogo collapsed after having dinner. After the president collapsed, he was rushed to George Washington Hospital and died after 11 hours of heart surgery failed to revive him.

The Australian newspaper reported on March 11, 2003, that a long-time Melbourne friend of Dowiyogo, Helen Bogdan, said, "he [Dowiyogo] would never have gone to Washington if they thought this was going to happen." Dowiyogo reportedly had detailed knowledge of Russian Israeli mafia money and properties in Australia. In March 2001, the Russian Central Bank stated that US$70 billion had been laundered through 400 offshore banks registered in Nauru by the Russian-Israeli mafia.

U.S. State Department mouthpiece Richard Boucher was quick with a "deepest condolence" message: "The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the people of Nauru and to the family of Bernard Dowiyogo on the passing of the president of Nauru," Boucher said at the State Department, just a few blocks away from the hospital where Dowiyogo died.

Dowiyogo was considered one of the South Pacific's strongest opponents to U.S. Navy nuclear ship patrols in the region and French nuclear testing in French Polynesia. It was ironic that his body was flown on a U.S. Air Force plane from Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii to Nauru. It was also suspicious that Dowiyogo's funeral was postponed in Nauru because of unexplained "delays" encountered in getting the president's body back to Nauru from Washington.

Just a few weeks after Dowiyogo died, Dowiyogo's successor as President, Derog Gioura, 71, a Dowiyogo political ally, suffered a heart attack and was rushed to an Australian hospital from the 8-square mile island state. Later reports stated that Gioura suffered a stroke. A few weeks later, Gioura said he was surprised to learn that the Bush administration had claimed that six suspected "terrorists," including two members of "Al Qaeda" had been arrested in Southeast Asia carrying Nauruan passports.

Dowiyogo's wife, Christina, who was at his side when he died in Washington, was reported on March 20, 2008, to have "died overnight."

Time for another look at that White House fire near Cheney's office

On December 22, 2008, WMR reported on the high-tech support provided the Bush-Cheney White House by Mike Connell's GovTech Solutions and his close colleague Jeff Averbeck's firm SmarTech. Connell died last December when the plane he was piloting crashed short of landing in Akron, Ohio.

WMR's report stated: "We have now learned that Connell and Averbeck may have been behind the installation of live streaming black boxes in the White House and the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building used to stream live video of torture sessions in Guantanamo, Cuba and Abu Ghraib to the Old Executive Office Building office of Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief Counsel David Addington and into the White House, itself.

Media reports of torture sessions being taped may have been planted by the White House to deter investigators away from looking at live streaming capabilities in the offices of Cheney and President Bush.

The fire that broke out in an 'electrical closet' in the Old Executive Office Building on December 19, 2007, near Cheney's ceremonial office likely contained the live streaming boxes used to stream torture sessions from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, according to our sources who added that SmartTech and Airnet have been in the live streaming video business since 2002."

With the recent statement of retired U.S. Army General Antonio Taguba that rape and other sexual molestation sessions were prevalent at Abu Ghraib and that they were photographed, the stories of the suspicious death of Connell and the White House fire have taken on new relevancy. As reported by WMR on January 10, 2008: "Army Major General Antonio Taguba's report on Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse stated that the abuse included 'A male MP guard 'having sex' with a female detainee.' 'Having sex' was an obvious attempt to avoid the use of the word "rape." It is obvious that Taguba's report was either altered or some evidence was not shared with him and his investigators . . . Another investigation conducted by Lt. Gen. Anthony Jones and Maj. Gen. George Fay of Abu Ghraib reported male homosexual rape of prisoners but not the rape of female prisoners."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

THE ROVING EYE Pipelineistan goes Iran-Pak By Pepe Escobar

The earth has been shaking for a few days now all across Pipelineistan - with massive repercussions for all the big players in the New Great Game in Eurasia. United States President Barack Obama's AfPak strategists didn't even see it coming.

A silent, reptilian war had been going on for years between the US-favored Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and its rival, the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, also known as the "peace pipeline". This past weekend, a winner emerged. And it's none of the above: instead, it's the 2,100-kilometer, US$7.5 billion IP (the Iran-Pakistan pipeline), with no India attached. (Please see Pakistan, Iran sign gas pipeline deal, May 27, 2009, Asia Times Online.)

This whole saga started way back in 1995 - about the time California-based Unocal started floating the idea of building a pipeline crossing Afghanistan. Now, Iran and Pakistan finally signed a deal this week in Tehran, by which Iran will sell gas from its mega South Pars fields to Pakistan for the next 25 years.

According to Iranian energy officials speaking to the ISNA news agency, the final deal will be signed in less than three weeks, slightly after the first round of the Iranian presidential election. The last 250 km of a 900-km pipeline stretch in Iran between Asalouyeh and Iranshahr, near the border with Pakistan, still needs to be built. The whole IP pipeline should be operational by 2014.

The fact that Islamabad has finally decided to move on is pregnant with meaning. For the George W Bush administration IPI was simply anathema; imagine India and Pakistan buying gas from "axis of evil" Iran. The only way to go was TAPI - an extension of the childish neo-conservative belief that the Afghanistan war was winnable.

Now, IP reveals Islamabad's own interests seemed to have prevailed against Washington's (unlike the virtually US-imposed Pakistan army offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley). The Barack Obama administration has been mum about IP so far. But it will be very enlightening to hear what former Bush pet Afghan Zalmay Khalilzad - who's been infiltrating himself as the next CEO of Afghanistan - has to say about it. (Please see Slouching towards Balkanization, May 22, 2009, Asia Times Online.) Khalilzad's Pipelineistan dream, since the mid-1990s, has always been a trans-Afghan pipeline capable of bypassing both Iran and Russia.

IP, IP, hurrah
India, for a number of reasons (the pricing system, transit fees and above all, security) de facto shelved the IPI idea last year. Had it not been the case, IPI would become a powerful vector in terms of South Asian regional integration - doing more to stabilize India-Pakistan relations than any diplomatic coup. Nevertheless, both Iran and Pakistan still have left an open door to India.

India's (momentary?) loss will be China's gain. Since 2008, with New Delhi having second thoughts, Beijing and Islamabad had set up an agreement - China would import most of this Iranian gas if India dropped out of IPI. China anyway is more than welcome business-wise to both Iran and Pakistan. Only in transit fees, Islamabad could collect as much as $500 million a year.

For Beijing, IP could not be more essential. Iranian gas will flow to the Balochistan province port of Gwadar, in the Arabian Sea (which China itself built, and where it is also building a refinery). And Gwadar is supposed to be connected to a proposed pipeline going north, mostly financed by China, along the Karakoram Highway (which by the way was largely built from the 1960s to the 1980s by Chinese engineers ... ).

Pakistan is the absolutely ideal transit corridor for China to import oil and gas from Iran and the Persian Gulf. With IP in place and with multi-billion-dollar, overlapping Tehran-Beijing gas deals, China can finally afford to import less energy via the Strait of Malacca, which Beijing considers exceedingly dangerous, and subject to Washington's sphere of influence.

With IP, not only China wins; Russia's Gazprom also wins. And by extension, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) wins. Russian deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yankovsky told the Kommersant business daily, "We are ready to join the project as soon as we receive an offer."

The reason is so blatant that Gazprom officials have not even bothered to disguise it. For Russia, IP is a gift-from-above tool in rerouting gas from Iran to South Asia, and away from competing with Russian gas. The big prize, in this case, is the Western European market, dependent almost 30% on Gazprom and the source of 80% of Gazprom's export profits.

The European Union is desperately trying to keep the Nabucco pipeline project - which bypasses Russia - afloat, so it may reduce its dependence on Gazprom. But as anyone in Brussels knows, Nabucco can only work if it is provided enough gas by either Iran or Turkmenistan. The Turkmenistan distribution system is controlled by Russia. And a deal with Iran implies no more US sanctions - still a long way away. With IP in place, Gazprom reasons, Nabucco is deprived of a key supply source.

All eyes on Balochistan
With IP firmly in place, the strategic spotlight focuses even more on Balochistan. (Please see Balochistan is the greatest prize, May 9, 2009, Asia Times Online.) First of all, there's an internal Pakistani question to be settled. An editorial in the Pakistani daily Dawn has stressed how Islamabad must be serious about hiring indigenous Balochi labor and making sure "the gains of the economic activity ... are focused on Balochistan for the benefit of its poverty-stricken people".

The port of Gwadar, in southwest Balochistan, near the Iranian border, is indeed bound to become a new Dubai - but not the way the vice president Dick Cheney and gang in Washington once dreamed of. Gas from the South Pars fields in Iran will definitely flow though it. As for gas from the Daulatabad fields in Turkmenistan, assuming TAPI ever gets built though war-torn Afghanistan, that's much more unlikely.

This all raises the crucial question: how will Islamabad deal with ultra-strategic Balochistan - east of Iran, south of Afghanistan, and boasting three Arabian sea ports, including Gwadar, practically at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz?

The New Great Game in Eurasia rules that Pakistan is a key pivot to both North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the SCO, of which Pakistan is an observer. Balochistan de facto incorporates Pakistan as a key transit corridor to Iranian gas from the monster South Pars fields, and not to a great deal of the Caspian wealth of "gas republic" Turkmenistan. For the Pentagon, the birth of IP is mega bad news. The ideal Pentagon scenario is the US controlling Gwadar - in yet one more prime confluence of Pipelineistan and the US Empire of Bases.

With Gwadar directly linked to Iran and developed virtually as a Chinese warehouse, the Pentagon also loses the mouth-watering opportunity of a long land route across Balochistan into Helmand, Nimruz, Kandahar or, better yet, all of these three provinces in southwest Afghanistan, where soon, not by accident, there will be another US mega-base in the "desert of death". From a Pentagon/NATO perspective, after the "loss" of the Khyber Pass, that would be the ideal supply route for Western troops in the perennial, now rebranded, GWOT ("global war on terror").

Balochis surging
Islamabad has promised an all-parties conference "within days" to seriously deal with Balochistan. No one is holding their breath. Over a year ago, Balochistan was promised greater control over its immense natural resources - the undisputed, number-one Baloch grievance - and a massive aid package. Not much has happened.

Punjabis derisively refer to Balochistan's "backwardness". But the heart of the matter is systematic, hardcore pillage by Islamabad - combined with hardcore repression and serial Latin America-in-the-1970s-style "disappearances" of political activists and senior Baloch nationalists. Not to mention virtually no investment in health, education and job creation. This Third World dictatorship catalogue of disasters fuels Baloch nationalism and separatism.

Islamabad's paranoia is "foreign involvement" in the different strands of Balochistan's nationalist movements. That would be, in fact, the CIA, MI5 and the Israeli Mossad, all engaged in overlapping agendas which manipulate Balochistan for balkanization of Pakistan purposes and/or as a base for the destabilization of neighboring Iran's southeast. While the Taliban, Afghan or Pakistani, can roam free across Balochistan, Baloch nationalists are intimidated, harassed and killed.

Sanaullah Baloch, a secretary of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, told Dawn how "several Baloch political parties tried to file charges against [former president General Pervez] Musharraf, but the country's institutions lack the will or courage to accept our plea against him." Studies show that rural poverty in Balochistan when Musharraf was in power increased 15% between 1999 and 2005.

Sanaullah Baloch roundly denounces the "civil-military elites" of Pakistan as implicated in the systematic repression going on in Balochistan; "Without their consent, no political regime can undo their policy of continued suppression."

And his analysis of why Islamabad has made a deal with the Taliban in Swat but won't do a deal with Balochis could not be more enlightening: "The establishment in Pakistan has always felt comfortable with religious groups as they do not challenge the centralized authority of the civil-military establishment. The demands of these groups are not political. They don't demand economic parity. They demand centralized religious rule which is philosophically closer to the establishment's version of totalitarianism. Islamabad's elite are stubborn against genuine Baloch demands: governing Balochistan, having ownership of resources, and control over provincial security."

So Islamabad still has all it takes to royally mess up what it has accomplished by approving IP. For the moment, Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia win. The SCO wins. Washington and NATO lose, not to mention Afghanistan (no transit fees). But will Balochistan also win? If not, all hell will break loose, from desperate Balochis sabotaging IP to "foreign interference" manipulating them into creating an even greater, regional, ball of fire.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

“Lei da Lealdade” em Israel por Lejeune Mirhan*

Como têm ocorrido nas últimas semanas, vários assuntos importantes vêm se destacando no Oriente Médio. Em especial a visita atrapalhada do vice-presidente dos EUA ao Líbano. Mas, inequívocamente o episódio de um projeto de Lei apresentado pelo novo governo israelense é tema de nossa coluna desta semana.

(foto: Alex Miller, deputado fascista que quer subjugar os palestinos)

Estado judeu

A história todo mundo conhece. Desde o final do século 19, judeus do mundo inteiro foram incentivados a se mudarem para a Palestina e por lá tentar estabelecer alguma base, assentar-se com sua família, cultivar um pequeno pedaço de terra, etc. Eram judeus vindo do várias partes do mundo. Na sua maioria compravam pequenos lotes de terras de palestino. Ou simplesmente a ocupavam usando para isso métodos diversos.

Um primeiro censo realizado no início do novo século mostrava de forma clara que a maioria residente era árabe, eram os palestinos. Os judeus eram apenas 8% da população local. No entanto, isso foi sendo alterado completamente com o passar dos anos, incentivados pela Agência Judaica, pelos sionistas.

Dois anos após a proclamação do Estado, feito por Ben Gurion em 15 de maio de 1948, o parlamento israelense aprovou uma lei em 1950 que dera cidadania automaticamente a todo e qualquer judeu ou judia que migrassem para Israel e que lá se estabelecesse. Esse direito ao retorno era também direito a estudo gratuito, trabalho, saúde gratuita, proteção e carteira de identidade nacional, direitos esses negados aos palestinos que ficaram na parte israelense de suas terras históricas e ancestrais.

Isso foi feito, entre outras medidas, para que fosse assegurado cada dia mais, o caráter judeu do Estado de Israel. Essa é a questão central. No entanto, isso não foi feito de forma a obrigar que árabes e palestinos em geral reconhecessem o tal caráter judeu desse estado.

A realidade vem se alterando, em especial no aspecto do que sociólogos e demógrafos chamam de “bomba populacional”. A média de número de filhos de uma mulher árabe é o dobro de uma mulher judia. Claro que entre os ortodoxos essa média de filhos se equipara aos dos palestinos. Previsões indicam que em 2050, com ou sem estado palestino, viverão em Israel mais árabes do que judeus.

Aqui entram algumas teorias conspirativas, nunca provadas. Mas, diz-se que sempre que os palestinos ultrapassam a marca de 20% da população de Israel, um massacre é feito, bombardeios como os da Faixa de Gaza durante 22 dias entre 27 de dezembro do ano passado e 21 de janeiro deste ano, estariam dentro dessa lógica de garantir certos momentos de massacres e “pequenos” genocídios para garantir o controle sobre o crescimento populacional.

De qualquer forma, os cidadãos árabes, palestinos e de outras nacionalidades que não sejam judeus, são cidadãos de segunda categoria. Mas, nunca lhe foi exigido fidelidade ao Estado de Israel, juramento à bandeira, compromisso com o caráter judaico desse estado. Agora, porém, as coisas estão mudando. E para pior.

A Lei fascista de Avigdor

Não se trata aqui de eu falar mais uma vez quem é esse cidadão, de viés fascista. Seu nome é Avigdor Liebermann e imigrou da Moldávia para Israel quando jovem. É ultranacionalista, de extrema direita, ainda que de orientação laica, ou seja, não é religioso. Como seu Partido cresceu barbaridade nas últimas eleições – Israel é a Nossa Casa (em hebraico, Israel Beitenu) – ele cacifou-se e exigiu o cargo de ministro das Relações Exteriores, ou seja, Chanceler. E levou.

A proposta que ele agora apresenta, de juramento de lealdade ao Estado judeu não é nova. Ele na verdade esta sendo coerente com o que pregou durante toda a sua campanha que lhe rendeu 15 vagas no Knesset (Parlamento de Israel). De que se trata? Deputados de seu Partido apresentaram no parlamento no último dia 24, domingo (para judeus é dia normal de trabalho, pois eles guardam os sábados), uma lei que vincula completamente a concessão de cidadania israelense a um juramento de fidelidade ao “judaísmo, ao sionismo e ao estado democrático de Israel”. Isso é incrível, mas era previsível. Vejamos.

Pelo menos 1,5 milhão de árabe-palestinos vivem nas terras que o mundo chama de Israel desde 29 de novembro de 1947 e 15 de maio de 1948. São os palestinos originários (estes estão bem velhinhos), ou seus descendentes de primeira e segunda geração, que conseguiram resistir e permaneceram em Israel (estima-se que outros quatro milhões, também descendentes ou originários, vivam em acampamentos precários em países vizinhos à Israel).

Esse mesmo Partido já havia proposto uma Lei no parlamento que proibisse que os palestinos fossem para as ruas protestar e lembrar o que eles chama de Al Nakba ou em árabe “Dia da Desgraça/Catástrofe”, sempre lembrado no dia 15 de maio, data da proclamação do Estado de Israel. Portanto, um partido fascista que proíbe manifestações livres de um povo. Ambas as proposições foram apresentadas pelo deputado ultranacionalista Alex Miller.

Uma proposição dessa natureza reforça o caráter judeu do Estado de Israel. Ou pelo menos essa é a intenção. Mas, na prática, o que ela reforça mesmo e a convicção que sempre tivemos que Israel é um estado racista, nenhum pouco democrático, excludente. Se aprovado ambas as proposituras, humilhará o mais de um milhão de palestinos a jurarem fidelidade a um Estado que não é o seu. Os obrigará a renegar a sua condição de palestinos, à sua identidade histórica. A proposta almeja na prática a completa perda da identidade nacional do povo palestino, de seu direito inalienável de serem cidadãos, de professarem sua religiosidade livremente e expressarem seus sentimentos políticos e nacionais. Ou seja, uma legislação típica de países fascistas. Esse é Israel da atualidade.

A intransigência de Bibi

Obama, como prevíamos, não dobrou o primeiro Ministro Bibi. Ao contrário. Ele conseguiu dar diversas entrevistas, mas não pronunciou uma só vez e palavra “Estado Palestino”. Continua irredutível. O poderoso lobbie israelense nos EUA, chamado AIPAC (na sigla em inglês), tem muito dinheiro e apoio em Washington e na Câmara dos Deputados e no Senado. Nos anos de existência de Israel – 61 anos – este país recebeu próximo de 200 bilhões de dólares (sem atualização monetária e sem levar em conta a inflação do período). Isso é muito mais do que os Estado Unidos destinaram no mesmo período para o restante de todos os países da terra que necessitam de ajuda humanitária! Ou seja, um pequeno país de sete milhões de judeus recebe mais do que toda a população da terra que precisaria de ajuda humanitária (pelo menos dois bilhões de pessoas).

Não creio que ambas as leis venham a ser aprovadas no parlamento, apesar da maioria esmagadora da extrema direita. Mas isso deixaria o país em maiores dificuldades políticas com a comunidade internacional do que já vem sendo criada desde a eleição e posse de Bibi e seu governo extremista. Como dizem os analistas, nunca um governo de Israel em 61 anos foi tão arredio e refratária às discussões de paz como este atual com sua composição de partidos direitistas.

Num gesto de força de Bibi e – lamentavelmente – de fraqueza de Obama, prosseguem as colonizações em terras palestinas. Tanto na Cisjordânia, como em Jerusalém Oriental, a parte árabe. Porta-vozes do governo de Israel reafirmam a todo o momento que as construções das casas não serão interrompidas. Mas não bastasse isso, uma dessas bombásticas declarações deixou clara a “indivisibilidade” de Israel, como eterna capital de Israel.

Por isso e tantos outros motivos que temos enumerado a paz, ora, a paz... está cada dia mais distante. Ou estou enganado? A história mostrará.

*Lejeune Mirhan, Presidente do Sindicato dos Sociólogos do Estado de São Paulo, Escritor, Arabista e Professor Membro da Academia de Altos Estudos Ibero-Árabe de Lisboa, Membro da International Sociological

Cheney and Rumsfeld pressured CIA to mislead Congress in the 1970s, too

By Margie Burns
Online Journal Contributing Writer

The first time Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld pressured the CIA to mislead Congress was in 1975 and 1976, when Cheney was chief of staff to President Gerald Ford and Rumsfeld was Ford’s secretary of defense.

Cheney, having held a series of positions alongside Rumsfeld -- starting under him in the Nixon administration -- also became campaign manager for Ford’s reelection campaign. George H. W. Bush was head of the CIA, appointed by Jerry Ford when Ford switched Rumsfeld from White House chief of staff to secretary of defense.*

The mission of the three men was to protect the Ford presidency and some elements in the CIA from the Church Committee. According to researcher Lamar Waldron, they succeeded.

Waldron is co-author, with Thomas Hartmann, of Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination, an exhaustively documented 800 pages compiling more than three decades of research into the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. In two recent interviews of more than an hour each, Waldron discussed how much some things haven’t changed since before Watergate.

Reacting to public outrage over a series of abuses -- including domestic surveillance -- exposed during Watergate, the Nixon impeachment and the winding down of the Vietnam War, in 1975 Congress authorized a special senate committee chaired by Democrat Frank Church of Idaho to look into abuses of the intelligence agencies, primarily the CIA and FBI. The Church Committee was convened, getting off to a slow start and under steady CIA-friendly media fire from the beginning; Ford appointed George H. W. Bush as head of the CIA and Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense in October 1975.

As Waldron points out, we now know from thousands of documents declassified since the 1970s that a massive amount of vital information was withheld by Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush from the Senate’s Church Committee. The White House and top echelon of the CIA withheld from the committee information about the CIA’s manipulation of the news media; domestic spying; and material about Cuba, including JFK’s plan to topple Fidel Castro on December 1, 1963, the Mafia’s infiltration of the anti-Castro plan, and the CIA’s unauthorized continuation of agency plotting to use the Mafia to assassinate Castro. Waldron and Hartmann document in Legacy of Secrecy that then-CIA official Richard Helms withheld the unauthorized extension of the mob-linked anti-Castro plots from JFK himself, and from President Lyndon Johnson and from the Warren Commission afterward -- and even from JFK’s own CIA Director.

The legacy of secrecy -- often for political or career reasons, depending on the individual, or for bureaucratic self-protection -- continued throughout the sixties and seventies to the Church investigation. Some particularly flashy and sensational material on the larger issues was shared with the committee, garnering headlines. Elements of the Castro assassination plots like those ‘exploding cigars’ to be given to Fidel, for example, were divulged by the CIA to Church and were exposed with much fanfare. But the deeper concern of intensive Mafia participation in the anti-Castro plots was never fully investigated -- not even by the later House Select Committee on Assassinations, and certainly not by the Church committee.

The back story is that from 1960 to 1963 Mafia participation in plots to assassinate Castro became, tragically for the United States, a powerful Mafia participation in plots to assassinate President Kennedy. The CIA picked up too lethal a tool in choosing the Mob to carry out its plans to remove Castro.

To this day, the general public -- which never bought the ‘lone nut’ theory that the manipulated Lee Harvey Oswald, a beginning-level marksman, singlehandedly brought off the miracle shot of the assassination -- still has not been permitted to know the full extent of the powerful arsenal of resources trained against President Kennedy by the wealthiest Mafia families in the U.S. Coordinated by Carlos Marcello, head of the oldest Mafia family in the U.S. (dating from the 19th century) and Gulf Coast kingpin in control of Louisiana and Texas, they had planned since 1962 to take out the Kennedy brothers -- either Attorney General Robert Kennedy, aggressively pursuing the Mob, or, more effectively, the brother in the White House who had appointed him as AG. When John Kennedy came down South -- as they had previously threatened -- they took him out, having tried twice before in November 1963 to get JFK, once in Tampa and once in Chicago. The helpless Oswald -- seen drinking a Coke in the Texas Book Depository two minutes after Kennedy’s murder -- was then taken out himself, by heavily mob-connected ‘nightclub owner’ (actually, mob gnome) Jack Ruby, given basically full run of the Dallas police station. The general public has also not been permitted to know the full extent of Ruby’s Mafia involvement, despite hundreds of pages of information detailing his mob connections.

One continuing consequence is the effect on U.S. relations with Cuba to this day, something Waldron and Hartmann deplore. As Waldron says, no national security reason justifies hiding the JFK assassination archives in the year 2009. Congress intended them to be revealed years ago; the Cuban official implicated in the anti-Castro plots -- Almeida -- has long since been outed and forgiven; and both the United States and Cuba would benefit from expanded trade and other relationships.

Releasing more millions of pages of documents already declassified would illuminate more history of the twentieth century, including one of its defining tragic events. Waldron says, in the wake of current controversy, that he would like very much to see Cheney testify under oath about the material withheld from the Church Committee. After all, there is no legitimate security concern to justify keeping the material hidden. There is no argument, however specious, that releasing it would somehow endanger our troops.

There is not even an argument, in regard to those anti-Castro plots, that ‘they worked.’ As Waldron says, “Nobody thought Castro would be in office this long.” Of course, as he also remarks, nobody thought during the 1970s that Cheney and Rumsfeld and George H. W. Bush would be back in government again, either, much less that they would return as vice president and secretary of defense in a bloody war and president, respectively. If we don’t learn from the past, we are condemned to relive it, with a vengeance. (The late Mary McGrory wrote about the return to government of so many Nixon retreads in her columns; very few other established Washington journalists did so, at least in newspapers and television news.)

In these changing times, one reason it would have been good to see the luminous Caroline Kennedy in the Senate is that she would be an excellent resource in support of warmer relations with Cuba. Few individuals would be better qualified to represent -- just by her presence -- U.S. awareness of our need to reach out to the islands near us, including Cuba, in a favorable, beneficial and practical way.

* * * * *

*Rumsfeld was Ford’s transition chairman in the WH, then chief of staff 1974 to 1975; secdef for Ford 1975-1977 (and secdef for GWBush 2001-2006, youngest and oldest person ever and 2nd longest holding that ofc, etc). Appointd secdef in Oct 1975 when George HW Bush appointd CIA head.

*Cheney was on Rumsfeld’s staff under Nixon; Cheney and Rumsfeld both were Nixon alums, along with GHW Bush, who was previously head of the Republican National Committee and resisted acknowledging the ills of Watergate to the bitter end. Cheney became assistant to pres under Ford; became Ford’s chief of staff when Rumsfeld became secdef, and Ford’s campaign manager. As deputy asst to pres in 1974-75, he memoed Rumsfeld about using the DOJ to get at journalist Seymour Hersh, then of the NYTimes.” Waldron says that all the information about CIA manipulation of the news media has “definitely not” come out. Much of it is contained in documents still held by the CIA in spite of being declassified.

Margie Burns, a freelance writer in the Washington, DC, area, can be reached at

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

North Korea's Second Nuclear Test - Fearful Pride


The US Geological Survey detected a 4.7 magnitude seismic event at 00:54 GMT on the 25th of May at Hwaderi, near Kilju City in North Harnkyung province in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK = "North Korea") at 10 km (6 miles) below the surface. The nature of the seismic signals indicated this to be the second nuclear test carried out by the DPRK, and the yield of the device was between 10 kT and 20 kT (kT = kilo-tons of TNT explosive power, 1 kT = 4.184 x 10-to-12th-power Joules). The Hiroshima bomb was 13 kT, and the Nagasaki bomb was 21 kT. The DPRK also conducted three short-range missile tests on the same day, a few hours after their nuclear detonation.

The last paragraph summarizes the publicly available facts about the DPRK's nuclear test #2 (see notes 1 and 2 for news accounts). Commentary on the meaning of this test was actually written three years ago, on the occasion of the DPRK's nuclear test #1 of 9 October 2006 (see notes 3 and 4).

My commentary of 2006 still applies because neither the policy goals of the United States and Security Council Nuclear Powers, nor the fears of the DPRK leadership have changed since 2006. In the simplest terms, world capitalism under the direction of the United States wants the North Koreans to dismantle their DPRK state and to integrate their economy and workforce into that of an expanded Republic of Korea (South Korea) in a manner similar to the dissolution of the East German communist state (Democratic Republic of Germany, 7 October 1949 to 3 October 1990). The foreign policy of the DPRK, of which its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs are a part, is aimed at combatting the existential threat to the DPRK governing elite.

First, let us consider some of the physical aspects of DPRK test #2.

A yield up to 20 kT is clearly a "success" and indicates the verification of one design of an implosion system (discounting the possibility of a gun-type assembly as in the Hiroshima bomb). I presume, but do not know, that this bomb is an experimental device that is neither compact and light-weight enough, nor ruggedized enough to fit within the payload mass and space limitations of a slim missile body, and to withstand the forces of acceleration required of a ballistic missile nuclear warhead. Any program aimed at that goal will require another test (in perhaps three years?) of a militarized packaging of the "pit" (nuclear core and its surrounding blanket of high explosives) tested today.

The amazingly deep burial at 10 km will probably assure full containment of radioactivity from the DPRK test. US underground tests were often 0.3 km to 0.5 km down. Because of the rapid attenuation of the high frequency parts of an electrical signal with its travel distance along a cable, the US nuclear program engineered its underground tests with the minimum burial depth necessary to assure containment, so as to have the highest fidelity possible for the detection and recording systems relaying and storing experimental data from sensors near the device. Optimizing the burial depth for signal fidelity required a sophisticated arrangement of plugs and backfill to seal the emplacement shaft or tunnel. I wonder if the DPRK test program is satisfied with simple low-fidelity data (the simplest being the sensation of an artificial earthquake), or if they have an underground alcove with high-fidelity recording equipment in a cavern near the detonation point. It may be that the DPRK wished to avoid snooping by US intelligence satellites, so it buried the entire test operation. It is also possible to partially decouple the force of a buried explosion from the surrounding earth by placing the bomb in the center of a larger cavity; this will transmit a weaker seismic signal, and could spoof seismic measurements of yield by foreign powers.

Clearly, the DPRK nuclear program scientists evaluated the data from their test of October 2006, made new calculations, undoubtedly built new assemblies for hydrodynamic testing (perfecting the dynamics of the heavy-metal implosion driven by chemical high explosives), and settled on a design that produced sizable yield. It is equally clear that their nuclear materials program was able to produce sufficient weapons-grade fissile material for at least one new device since 2006 (perhaps 10 kg), and probably several times that amount.

All in all, it is evident they are now a full-fledged member of the nuclear weapons club. The most honest reaction the Security Council of the UN, and the leading world powers could offer would be: "congratulations!"

Now, let us speculate on the political fallout.

The DPRK has made the clearest possible statement that the best defense against domination by superior powers is nuclear weaponry. The greater care with which the U.S. and Security Council Nuclear Powers approach the DPRK confirms this argument. When observing the situations of Palestine, Iraq and Iran, most of the rest of the world would concede the validity of the argument.

The policy of the U.S. is to encourage other nations to abide by the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- and renounce nuclear weapons -- while exempting itself from it; essentially "disarm that we may more easily rule." The DPRK posture is a rejection of the US policy, and a pointed example of rebellion calling out to the rest of the world.

Another aspect of the DPRK's nuclear weapons politics is to put its near neighbors on notice not to think of colonizing it. This message is particularly aimed at South Korea, seen as an extension of US capitalism, and to Japan. There are still Koreans living who remember being brutally enslaved by Imperial Japan, which forcibly annexed Korea during 1910 to 1945. Even more Koreans remember the 1950-1953 war between China and the U.S., on their peninsula. The casualties of that war, for the US-led anti-communist forces, were 474,000; the combined casualties for the communist Chinese and North Korean forces were between 1.19 million and 1.58 million; and the total number of Korean civilians killed or wounded is estimated at 2 million (5).

Today, Japan fustigates that it may have to build its own nuclear weapons (within one year!) to counter those of the DPRK, and South Korea issued similar statements to assuage domestic concerns about the nuclear developments in the North. There is little reason to fear aggression by the DPRK. While it may soon be true that it could launch a few nuclear warheads into South Korea, Japan and toward US bases and fleets in the Pacific, such attacks would ensure the swift destruction of the DPRK elite by retaliatory actions of the most modern military forces on this planet. Nuclear weapons would not be needed for this; waves of GPS-guided missile strikes with conventional high explosive warheads, followed by similarly guided airborne bombing would eradicate the DPRK nomenklatura and its entire military infrastructure. Also, it is very likely that missiles launched by North Korea would be immediately detected by US and allied nations' radars and satellites, and countered by anti-missile missiles (today's equivalent to the flak thrown up in WW2). Such defenses are more likely to be effective against long-range missiles since there is more time to react. The DPRK leadership knows from its own history that US-led military action has no regard for Korean loss-of-life, so they are fully aware that their nuclear arsenal is only a stratagem strictly limited to diplomatic gamesmanship short of actual war.

So, what does the DPRK leadership hope to gain by brandishing nuclear arms? The DPRK leadership's deepest desire is that of all elites everywhere: a long-term guarantee of its privileged position within the undisturbed extent of its domain. The DPRK wants to interact with the rest of the world in a way that sustains the physical and economic existence of their state but without introducing any ideas or social forces that weaken the control of the DPRK leadership, and the fealty of the population to that leadership. Clearly, the present DPRK regime is skeptical it can follow the Chinese example of introducing a state-directed form of capitalism while maintaining ideological control and sufficient popular obedience, so it is resistant to allowing the population wider exposure to foreign influences. The DPRK nuclear arsenal is the equivalent of a 10 foot (3.3 m) high wall topped with glass shards surrounding an estate with Pit Bulls and Doberman Pinschers running loose. It is a shield built with pride and motivated by fear.

Unfortunately, urging the DPRK leadership to engage in nuclear disarmament is equivalent to urging it to dissolve; the nature of their brittle power structure could not withstand the corrosive effects of the psychological, cultural and economic forces within world capitalism. They know this, hence the obsessive defensiveness. The most humane policy toward the DPRK would be to leave it alone. Over the long term, if it is neither harassed nor provoked, it will slowly relax many of its fears. Once the apprehensions of the DPRK are reasonably lowered because it is no longer being pressured and hurried to fit into a foreign capitalist agenda, then it is likely the society of the DPRK will evolve into greater harmony with the world consensus on many issues. Such a policy would be one of respecting the integrity of another society, and of non-interference. It is definitely not the policy with the highest expected return on investment (ROI), nor the earliest expected payoff, but it is the policy with the least likelihood of harming the Korean people and their neighbors. One has to imagine the possibility of arriving at nuclear disarmament as the inevitable consequence of the disuse of nuclear weapons: they are no longer maintained and rust away because their owners have moved on to other activities.

Internationally, patient respect will ultimately soften the fearful pride of an otherwise unaggressive state. The real solution to nuclear proliferation is the expansion of social and economic justice within our own nations, because nuclear arms are primarily a symptom of economic class warfare coupled with racism. Let the people of North Korea deal with their economic elite, and let us reform ours; and in that way we can eliminate the nuclear weapons squeezed out of the world's popular collective labor by our various ambitious and parasitic ruling classes.

Manuel Garcia, Jr., a former physicist at Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Laboratory, can be reached at







Racist, Genocidal, Hitleresque Parliamentarians in Israel

Khalid Amayreh - Israel's Little Hitler

By Khalid Amayreh • May 28th, 2009 at 7:37 • Category: Biography, Israel, Khalid Amayreh, Newswire, Our Authors, Palestine, Religion, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, Zionism

There is always fresh evidence justifying the Israeli-Nazi analogy. In recent days and weeks, a number of Israeli officials and lawmakers proposed "draft laws" that would effectively formalize Israel's de facto racism and seriously restrict the human and civil rights of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens.

One of the proposals being discussed would criminalize the commemoration of Nakba by Palestinians holding the Israeli citizenship. Predictably, the brazenly racist proposal has infuriated Israel’s 1.5-million-strong Palestinian community.

One Israeli Palestinian parliamentarian compared the proposed law with an imagined promulgation by Germany of a law banning all Jewish activities commemorating the holocaust.

The lawmaker's remarks are not far-fetched. After all, the Nakba or catastrophe is the Palestinian holocaust, whether we like or not. True, the scope may not be identical in both cases. However, it is also true that Zionists have wrested the Palestinian people historical homeland form its rightful native inhabitants, destroyed their homes and towns, and expelled them to the four corners of the globe.

More to the point, the Palestinians are the longest-suffering people in modern history. They are still being haphazardly killed in the hundreds and thousands by a Gestapo-like army which claims to be the "most moral army in the world." Palestinian homes are still being demolished, Palestinian land is still being stolen on a daily basis, and millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and especially Gaza Strip are still being hounded, starved, tormented, savaged and terrorized by the very country that shamelessly claims to be the only true democracy in the Middle East.

Aryeh Eldad

One of the most thuggish Israeli leaders who has been promoting Israel's manifestly racist discourse against non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular is Aryeh Eldad of the Nazi-like Ichud Leumi, or National Union.

This party holds more or less the same ideas and perceptions toward the Palestinian people that the German Nazis held against the Jews and other “Untermenschen.” It advocates genocide, ethnic cleansing, discriminatory treatment of non-Jews as well as wanton home demolitions and land confiscation of land owned by Palestinians.

Some of the party's associates have called for "wiping off the goyim (non-Jews) from the Land of Israel pursuant Biblical methods."

The term "Biblical methods" refer to the genocidal wars the ancient Israelites waged against the Canaanite tribes in Palestine as recorded in the Bible.

A few days ago, Eldad proposed that Jordan be "transformed" into a Palestinian state and that Palestinians in the West Bank be granted the Jordanian citizenship.

The proposal would impose the Israeli sovereignty on "all mandatory Palestine" from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean and prepare the psychological and legal grounds for the ultimate deportation of the estimated 5.1 million Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.

Interestingly, many Israeli leaders from various political parties have expressed keen interest in the diabolical proposal. Indeed, those who voiced reservations about the proposal did so on the ground that it was "unrealistic” and “impractical” not immoral and criminal.

In fact, even Labor party lawmakers in the Likud-led government voted in favor of referring the proposal to further discussion by the Knesset.

Eldad has a long history of making bluntly fascist and racist provocations against the Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line as well as against Islam and Muslims.

Nearly six months ago, he hosted in West Jerusalem a virulently anti-Islam "seminar" in which a number of fascist-minded speakers from Israel and abroad took part.

The one-day seminar was addressed by notorious Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes, an American-Jewish supremacist, Dutch Legislator Greet Wilders and Eldad himself.

After making characteristically venomous remarks against Islam, the Quran and Muslims, Wilders received a standing ovation.

A few years ago Eldad suggested that non-Jews were not true human beings.

He was quoted as saying during a protest against the eviction by the Israeli army of a small settler outpost in the West Bank that "it was sad that the army was treating real human beings as if they were Arabs."

Eldad has also been a focal advocate of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in East Jerusalem where successive Israeli governments have been trying to besiege Arab demographic presence while actively encouraging Jewish settlement activities in and around the occupied Arab city.

Arab Knesset member Ahmed Teibi has described Eldad and like-minded Jewish leaders as "representing and embodying the ugly face of racism and fascism."

"If Eldad and his ilk were living in any European country, they would be thrown behind bars immediately. The fact that they are thriving in Israel speaks volumes about the poisoned political environment in this country."

Teibi said the roots of Palestinians in occupied Palestine were deeper, much deeper, than the shallow roots of most Israeli Jews.

“Every honest person in this world can attest that every Jewish town or village is built on the ruins of an Arab town and village.”

I believe that honest people around the world are morally obligated to call the spade a spade, irrespective of whose hands the shovel happens to be.

Today, the ugly face of fascism is rising in Israel, and a Jewish Third Reich must never be allowed to evolve and prosper into a full-fledged Hitlerian monster at the hands of the very people who have made the epithet “Nazi” one of the ugliest words in all languages of the world.

Hence, the entire humanity is urged to combat and defeat the new Nazism now thriving in Israel. The fact that this Nazism is having a Jewish garment is totally irrelevant. Evil doesn’t become kosher or innocuous when done by Jews.