Archive for the 'CIA' Category

US supported terrorists in Iran strike, killing 42.

Amazing how we decry the “terrorism” of Iran sponsored origin in Hezbollah and Hamas while we secretly sponsor terrorism in Iran.  The groups which Iran sponsors have a strong claim to being designated as “freedom fighters.”  Jundullah (the group which claims responsibility for the attack on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard yesterday), on the other hand, has no good claim to being a freedom fighting group in my humble opinion.  And the US does indeed sponsor Jundullah according to ABC News:

A Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News.The group, called Jundullah, is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran. 

It has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials.

U.S. officials say the U.S. relationship with Jundullah is arranged so that the U.S. provides no funding to the group, which would require an official presidential order or “finding” as well as congressional oversight.

Tribal sources tell ABC News that money for Jundullah is funneled to its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/04/abc_news_exclus.html

Seymour Hersh has long been reporting on the US/Jundullah connection:

In an interview with NPR on his latest New Yorker Article, titled ‘Preparing the battlefield’, the renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reveals more striking details of his findings on the aim of the $400 million budgeted US covert operations inside Iran. He provides valuable information on US military preparations to strike the country, on the total expansion of the Bush Administration’s executive power, about the US recognition of Iran’s overall positive role in Iraq and on the US support for the anti-Iran terrorist organisations Jondollah, PJAK and MEK.

Hersh explains that the aim of the US covert operations inside Iran is to create a pretext for attack with the goal of regime change. “The strategic thinking behind this covert operation is to provoke enough trouble and chaos so that the Iranian government makes the mistake of taking aggressive action which will give the impression of a country in acute turmoil”, he said. “Then you have what the White House calls the ‘casus belli’, a reason to attack the country. That is the thinking and it is very crazy.”

Hersh comments that the decision to launch these covert operations was prompted by the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate’s verdict that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons programme and that the approval by the US Congress leadership of the $400 million budget for the operations “is totally an expansion” of the executive powers of the Bush Administration.

He explains how the Bush Administration’s policy of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” has led the US to support the Baluchi organisation Jondollah and the MEK (Mujahideen-e-Khalq a.k.a PMOI), both of which have clear track records of terrorist activities including against the US. He reiterates that the US has been giving arms and cash to the terrorists in the MEK for years and reveals that “most of the [MEK] leaders have been taking our money and cashing it in an awful lot of bank accounts in London.” He also reveals for the first time that the US has trained MEK teams in the state of Nevada and that “they do a lot of crazy stuff inside Iran”.

Wikipedia sums it up thusly:

ABC news reported in April 2007, citing US and Pakistani tribal and intelligence sources,[8] that the terrorist group “has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials” to destabilize the government in Iran.[18] According to this report by Brian Ross and Christopher Isham of ABC News, the United States government had been secretly encouraging and advising the Jundullah in its attacks against Iranian targets. This support is said to have started in 2005 and arranged so that the United States provided no direct funding to the group, which would require congressional oversight and attract media attention.[19] The report was denied by Pakistan official sources.[20] But despite their denial ABC stood by their claim.[21] Alexis Debat, one of the sources quoted by Ross and Isham in their report alleging US support for the Jundullah, resigned from ABC News in June 2007, after ABC officials claimed that he faked several interviews while working for the company.

Brian Ross, an award winning journalist and the correspondent who worked most closely with Mr. Debat, said the Jundullah story had many sources. “We’re only worried about the things Debat supplied, not about the substance of that story,” he said in regard to the Jundullah report. Mr. Ross has said, so far ABC has found nothing that would undermine the stories Mr. Debat worked on. But he acknowledged that as the stories of fabrications continue to roll in, the network “at some point has to question whether anything he said can be believed.”[23] This caused the network in 2007 to send a second team of producers to Pakistan investigating the original reports.[21] ABC never retracted the story. The ABC exclusive further reveals that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney discussed the activity of the group against Iran during his visit to Pakistan.[8] The exclusive makes parallels between American support for Jundallah and U.S. involvement in Nicaragua through Contras.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jundallah#United_States

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A short note on Obama’s speech.

Nice to see Obama admit in public that the US overthrew Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953, which fact, along with the support of the Shah, has sort of culminated in our recent standoff with Iran over the last 30 years. 

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=97071&sectionid=351020502

Now, it would be nice if he would start confessing to every other coup we’ve ever been involved in.

Some of the elements of his speech today were pretty laughable such as his castigating Hamas for not renouncing violence.  Is there any reason to ask Hamas to renounce violence when Israel just pounded Gaza killing 1300 Gazans?  The fact of the matter is that we’ve always wanted for the US and our client states to have a monopoly on violence.  Anyone else is just a terrorist. 

Additionally, demanding Hamas recognize Israel is a silly thing to ask since Israel doesn’t recognize Palestine and East Timor doesn’t recognize Indonesia and Taiwan doesn’t recognize China etc.  If we are going to start asking countries to recognize other countries, especially the ones that are taking your land and call part of your land their country… we’d better get started soon, because the list is pretty long. 

Despite his recent insistence that Israel freeze settlement expansion (only a small part of Israel’s daily crimes against Palestinian Arabs) Obama is still a staunch ally of Israel and his refusal to talk to Hamas is good evidence of that.  He will talk to everyone else, even recently saying he will talk to Hezbollah.  Why not talk to Hamas?  Remember, 64% of Israelis polled last year think that Hamas should be engaged diplomatically.  Barack won’t do it because of AIPAC.

Obama ignores the 2007 NIE on Iran and declares Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons… why?

What sort of games is Obama trying to play with his assertions that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program?  In January, in an interview with Stephanopolous he said this:

OBAMA: Well, I think that Iran is going to be one of our biggest challenges. And as I said during the campaign, you know, we have a situation in which not only is Iran exporting terrorism through Hamas, through Hezbollah, but they are pursuing a nuclear weapon that could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/Economy/Story?id=6618199&page=2

The LA Times made it a point today to report on Obama’s assertions and how they are in contrast to the findings of the NIE of 2007:

Little more than a year after U.S. spy agencies concluded that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb.

In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran’s “development of a nuclear weapon” before correcting himself to refer to its “pursuit” of weapons capability.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-usiran12-2009feb12,0,4465766.story

You can read the NIE’s report here:

http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf

Of course, Obama is perfectly aware of that NIE and used it for his own political purposes back when it first came out:

By reporting that Iran halted its nuclear weapon development program four years ago because of international pressure, the new National Intelligence Estimate makes a compelling case for less saber-rattling and more direct diplomacy. The juxtaposition of this NIE with the president’s suggestion of World War III serves as an important reminder of what we learned with the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq: members of Congress must carefully read the intelligence before giving the President any justification to use military force.

http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/12/iran_nie_reax.php

Whereas a half year earlier he said this during a debate:

SEN. OBAMA: –I think it would be a profound mistake for us to initiate a war with Iran. But have no doubt, Iran possessing nuclear weapons will be a major threat to us and to the region. I understand that.  But they’re in the process of developing it, and I don’t think that’s disputed by any experts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/27/us/politics/27debate_transcript.html?_r=2&pagewanted=20&ei=5070&en=3c575c4e9f414ba3&ex=1179460800

Of course it was indeed disputed by the experts at the IAEA for example and later on that year by the collective opinion of 16 of the nation’s intelligence agencies.

Why is Obama doing this?

New administration, same old murder machine. US massacres 16 Afghanistani civilians.

There will be no different approach to our murders in Afghanistan and other places as Obama takes power.  Already, less than one week into Obama’s presidency we see that the US military has killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan after initially claiming to have killed 15 militants:

President Hamid Karzai on Sunday condemned a U.S. operation he says killed 16 Afghan civilians, while thousands of villagers denounced the American military during an angry demonstration, Reuters reported.

Karzai said the killing of innocent Afghans “is strengthening the terrorists.”

The operation causing the latest controversy happened this week in eastern Laghman province. The U.S. military said on Saturday that troops, backed by air support, had killed 15 militants in an overnight operation.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28838876/

In addition, our murders in Pakistan have also not changed under Obama.  We sent drone planes in to kill Al Queda or Taliban types and took out a bunch of innocents along with them:

Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed.

Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven “foreigners” – a term that usually means al-Qaeda – but locals also said that three children lost their lives.

Dozens of similar strikes since August on northwest Pakistan, a hotbed of Taleban and al-Qaeda militancy, have sparked angry government criticism of the US, which is targeting the area with missiles launched from unmanned CIA aircraft controlled from operation rooms inside the US.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5575883.ece

The violinist has changed but the music is the same.  Real change in America requires a radical new approach.  Politics as usual will not hack it.

Parenti on Afghanistan: A must-read.

Michael Parenti has written a marvelous succint summary of the last 30 or so years of Afghanistan’s history.  This is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand exactly what has been going on there for the last 30 years and answers questions such as the reasons we were funding jihadists in Afghanistan in the 80s such as Osama bin Laden etc. to go in and fight against Russia in Afghanistan, and whether or not there was ever a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan or were the Soviets invited by the Afghanistani government (if you guessed invited you are right, but you didn’t get it from a US government or media source).  You’ll see that the USA has been screwing up Afghanistan for much longer than the last 7 years. 

Parenti is one of the originals who woke me up from my long slumber regarding the secret combinations that rule our nation in the early 90s.  His work here is amazing.  This was posted over at informationclearinghouse.info, a great source of news and perspective.  Here is the story:

December 05, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse” — Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan. Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.

Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan, the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.

Some Real History

Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged, with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only 3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973, the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic, corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side of the demonstrators.

The military officers who took charge invited the PDP to form a new government under the leadership of Noor Mohammed Taraki, a poet and novelist. This is how a Marxist-led coalition of national democratic forces came into office. “It was a totally indigenous happening. Not even the CIA blamed the USSR for it,” writes John Ryan, a retired professor at the University of Winnipeg, who was conducting an agricultural research project in Afghanistan at about that time.
The Taraki government proceeded to legalize labor unions, and set up a minimum wage, a progressive income tax, a literacy campaign, and programs that gave ordinary people greater access to health care, housing, and public sanitation. Fledgling peasant cooperatives were started and price reductions on some key foods were imposed.

The government also continued a campaign begun by the king to emancipate women from their age-old tribal bondage. It provided public education for girls and for the children of various tribes.

A report in the San Francisco Chronicle (17 November 2001) noted that under the Taraki regime Kabul had been “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs—-in the 1980s, there were seven female members of parliament. Women drove cars, traveled and went on dates. Fifty percent of university students were women.”

The Taraki government moved to eradicate the cultivation of opium poppy. Until then Afghanistan had been producing more than 70 percent of the opium needed for the world’s heroin supply. The government also abolished all debts owed by farmers, and began developing a major land reform program. Ryan believes that it was a “genuinely popular government and people looked forward to the future with great hope.”

But serious opposition arose from several quarters. The feudal landlords opposed the land reform program that infringed on their holdings. And tribesmen and fundamentalist mullahs vehemently opposed the government’s dedication to gender equality and the education of women and children.

Because of its egalitarian and collectivist economic policies the Taraki government also incurred the opposition of the US national security state. Almost immediately after the PDP coalition came to power, the CIA, assisted by Saudi and Pakistani military, launched a large scale intervention into Afghanistan on the side of the ousted feudal lords, reactionary tribal chieftains, mullahs, and opium traffickers.

A top official within the Taraki government was Hafizulla Amin, believed by many to have been recruited by the CIA during the several years he spent in the United States as a student. In September 1979, Amin seized state power in an armed coup. He executed Taraki, halted the reforms, and murdered, jailed, or exiled thousands of Taraki supporters as he moved toward establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. But within two months, he was overthrown by PDP remnants including elements within the military.

It should be noted that all this happened before the Soviet military intervention. National security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski publicly admitted–months before Soviet troops entered the country–that the Carter administration was providing huge sums to Muslim extremists to subvert the reformist government. Part of that effort involved brutal attacks by the CIA-backed mujahideen against schools and teachers in rural areas.

In late 1979, the seriously besieged PDP government asked Moscow to send a contingent of troops to help ward off the mujahideen (Islamic guerrilla fighters) and foreign mercenaries, all recruited, financed, and well-armed by the CIA. The Soviets already had been sending aid for projects in mining, education, agriculture, and public health. Deploying troops represented a commitment of a more serious and politically dangerous sort. It took repeated requests from Kabul before Moscow agreed to intervene militarily.

Jihad and Taliban, CIA Style

The Soviet intervention was a golden opportunity for the CIA to transform the tribal resistance into a holy war, an Islamic jihad to expel the godless communists from Afghanistan. Over the years the United States and Saudi Arabia expended about $40 billion on the war in Afghanistan. The CIA and its allies recruited, supplied, and trained almost 100,000 radical mujahideen from forty Muslim countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan itself. Among those who answered the call was Saudi-born millionaire right-winger Osama bin Laden and his cohorts.

After a long and unsuccessful war, the Soviets evacuated the country in February 1989. It is generally thought that the PDP Marxist government collapsed immediately after the Soviet departure. Actually, it retained enough popular support to fight on for another three years, outlasting the Soviet Union itself by a year.

Upon taking over Afghanistan, the mujahideen fell to fighting among themselves. They ravaged the cities, terrorized civilian populations, looted, staged mass executions, closed schools, raped thousands of women and girls, and reduced half of Kabul to rubble. In 2001 Amnesty International reported that the mujahideen used sexual assault as “a method of intimidating vanquished populations and rewarding soldiers.’”

Ruling the country gangster-style and looking for lucrative sources of income, the tribes ordered farmers to plant opium poppy. The Pakistani ISI, a close junior partner to the CIA, set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA’s arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland became the biggest producer of heroin in the world.

Largely created and funded by the CIA, the mujahideen mercenaries now took on a life of their own. Hundreds of them returned home to Algeria, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Kashmir to carry on terrorist attacks in Allah’s name against the purveyors of secular “corruption.”

In Afghanistan itself, by 1995 an extremist strain of Sunni Islam called the Taliban—heavily funded and advised by the ISI and the CIA and with the support of Islamic political parties in Pakistan—fought its way to power, taking over most of the country, luring many tribal chiefs into its fold with threats and bribes.

The Taliban promised to end the factional fighting and banditry that was the mujahideen trademark. Suspected murderers and spies were executed monthly in the sports stadium, and those accused of thievery had the offending hand sliced off. The Taliban condemned forms of “immorality” that included premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality. They also outlawed all music, theater, libraries, literature, secular education, and much scientific research.

The Taliban unleashed a religious reign of terror, imposing an even stricter interpretation of Muslim law than used by most of the Kabul clergy. All men were required to wear untrimmed beards and women had to wear the burqa which covered them from head to toe, including their faces. Persons who were slow to comply were dealt swift and severe punishment by the Ministry of Virtue. A woman who fled an abusive home or charged spousal abuse would herself be severely whipped by the theocratic authorities. Women were outlawed from social life, deprived of most forms of medical care, barred from all levels of education, and any opportunity to work outside the home. Women who were deemed “immoral” were stoned to death or buried alive.

None of this was of much concern to leaders in Washington who got along famously with the Taliban. As recently as 1999, the US government was paying the entire annual salary of every single Taliban government official. Not until October 2001, when President George W. Bush had to rally public opinion behind his bombing campaign in Afghanistan did he denounce the Taliban’s oppression of women. His wife, Laura Bush, emerged overnight as a full-blown feminist to deliver a public address detailing some of the abuses committed against Afghan women.

If anything positive can be said about the Taliban, it is that they did put a stop to much of the looting, raping, and random killings that the mujahideen had practiced on a regular basis. In 2000 Taliban authorities also eradicated the cultivation of opium poppy throughout the areas under their control, an effort judged by the United Nations International Drug Control Program to have been nearly totally successful. With the Taliban overthrown and a Western-selected mujahideen government reinstalled in Kabul by December 2001, opium poppy production in Afghanistan increased dramatically.

The years of war that have followed have taken tens of thousands of Afghani lives. Along with those killed by Cruise missiles, Stealth bombers, Tomahawks, daisy cutters, and land mines are those who continue to die of hunger, cold, lack of shelter, and lack of water.

The Holy Crusade for Oil and Gas

While claiming to be fighting terrorism, US leaders have found other compelling but less advertised reasons for plunging deeper into Afghanistan. The Central Asian region is rich in oil and gas reserves. A decade before 9/11, Time magazine (18 March 1991) reported that US policy elites were contemplating a military presence in Central Asia. The discovery of vast oil and gas reserves in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan provided the lure, while the dissolution of the USSR removed the one major barrier against pursuing an aggressive interventionist policy in that part of the world.

US oil companies acquired the rights to some 75 percent of these new reserves. A major problem was how to transport the oil and gas from the landlocked region. US officials opposed using the Russian pipeline or the most direct route across Iran to the Persian Gulf. Instead, they and the corporate oil contractors explored a number of alternative pipeline routes, across Azerbaijan and Turkey to the Mediterranean or across China to the Pacific.

The route favored by Unocal, a US based oil company, crossed Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. The intensive negotiations that Unocal entered into with the Taliban regime remained unresolved by 1998, as an Argentine company placed a competing bid for the pipeline. Bush’s war against the Taliban rekindled UNOCAL’s hopes for getting a major piece of the action.

Interestingly enough, neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations ever placed Afghanistan on the official State Department list of states charged with sponsoring terrorism, despite the acknowledged presence of Osama bin Laden as a guest of the Taliban government. Such a “rogue state” designation would have made it impossible for a US oil or construction company to enter an agreement with Kabul for a pipeline to the Central Asian oil and gas fields.

In sum, well in advance of the 9/11 attacks the US government had made preparations to move against the Taliban and create a compliant regime in Kabul and a direct US military presence in Central Asia. The 9/11 attacks provided the perfect impetus, stampeding US public opinion and reluctant allies into supporting military intervention.

One might agree with John Ryan who argued that if Washington had left the Marxist Taraki government alone back in 1979, “there would have been no army of mujahideen, no Soviet intervention, no war that destroyed Afghanistan, no Osama bin Laden, and no September 11 tragedy.” But it would be asking too much for Washington to leave unmolested a progressive leftist government that was organizing the social capital around collective public needs rather than private accumulation.

US intervention in Afghanistan has proven not much different from US intervention in Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere. It had the same intent of preventing egalitarian social change, and the same effect of overthrowing an economically reformist government. In all these instances, the intervention brought retrograde elements into ascendance, left the economy in ruins, and pitilessly laid waste to many innocent lives.

The war against Afghanistan, a battered impoverished country, continues to be portrayed in US official circles as a gallant crusade against terrorism. If it ever was that, it also has been a means to other things: destroying a leftist revolutionary social order, gaining profitable control of one of the last vast untapped reserves of the earth’s dwindling fossil fuel supply, and planting US bases and US military power into still another region of the world.

In the face of all this Obama’s call for “change” rings hollow.

Michael Parenti’s recent books are Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader and the forthcoming God and His Demons. For further information, visit www.michaelparenti.org.

Remembering 9/11 and its victims.

I will pause today to remember the victims of the violence of 9/11/01 when the World Trade Center was attacked.  What a horrible and avoidable tragedy that was.

I will also pause today to remember the victims of 9/11/73 when the US was involved in the overthrow of the democratically elected leader of Chile, Salvadore Allende.  Pinochet was installed as dictator and 3000 people were killed and thousands more imprisoned or lost.  What a horrible and avoidable bit of violence that was.

I will also pause to remember the victims of 9/11/1857 when some individual members of my own church massacred some 120 members of a emigrant wagon outfit.  What a horrible and avoidable tragedy.

I will not restrict myself to 9/11 though.  I will pause to remember all of the victims of violence throughout the world, both US sponsored violence and otherwise.  War and murder are such juvenile solutions to the problems spawned by greed and avarice.  When will the world learn… when will the powers that be learn that violence will only beget more violence?  The violence our government now sponsors in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Georgia etc. will come back to haunt us again.  The chickens do come home to roost and it will not be a pretty time for the power that made the world to tremble for so long. 

May some of us, at least, learn to love our enemy and to do good to those who do evil to us as the teachings of the greatest teacher of all teach us.

US to attack Iran in the coming weeks?

Just when you thought Iran was dissappearing sllightly from the radar of the US war machine’s sites…

Holland’s military intelligence service (AIVD) recently suspended an intelligence operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging the Iranian weapon manufacturing industry following estimates that the United States plans to attack the Islamic republic in the coming weeks, according to a report by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, quoted by media worldwide Monday.

 

The report stated that the operation, deemed successful, was recently halted due to preparations for an American airstrike in Iran. The Dutch believe that the bombed targets will include the locations of their espionage operation. Knowledgeable sources told the Dutch newspaper that a senior agent was recently removed from the country “due to the belief that the US is about to make a decision within weeks on a strike in Iran using unmanned aircraft.”

 

According to the report, the information obtained by Holland due to its operation in Iran was shared with the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3590336,00.html

This comes after an Iranian General said last week that an attack on Iran would trigger WWIII.  May this alarm be false.


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