The United States is considering slowing its military exit from Afghanistan by keeping a larger-than-planned troop presence this year and next because the new Afghan government is proving to be a more reliable partner, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday.
Carter, on his first overseas trip since starting the Pentagon job Tuesday, also said the Obama administration is “rethinking” the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, although he did not elaborate. (more…)
(Reuters) – The United States expressed concern on Wednesday about reports that Israel had moved forward plans for settlements in East Jerusalem, warning the move would call into question Israel’s commitment to peace with the Palestinians. (more…)
A Russian expert in oriental studies, Vyacheslav Matuzov, said that the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has close ties and cooperation with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).(more…)
Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and, now, the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the Secretary of “Defense” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace. Remember this is the month of the March hare.
According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a “war of perception.” Thus, the recent “liberation of the city of Marja” from the Taliban’s “command and control structure” was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if “The Hurt Locker” were real, and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.
“War is fun,” the helmets in Vietnam used to say with bleakest irony, meaning that if a war is revealed as having no purpose other than to justify voracious power in the cause of lucrative fanaticisms, such as the weapons industry, the danger of truth beckons. This danger can be illustrated by the liberal perception of Tony Blair in 1997 as one “who wants to create a world [where] ideology has surrendered entirely to values” (Hugo Young, the Guardian) compared with today’s public reckoning of a liar and war criminal.
Western war states such as the US and Britain are not threatened by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the antiwar instincts of their own citizens. Consider the draconian sentences handed down in London to scores of young people who protested Israel’s assault on Gaza in January last year. Following demonstrations in which paramilitary police “kettled” (corralled) thousands, first-offenders have received two and a half years in prison for minor offences that would not normally carry custodial sentences. On both sides of the Atlantic, serious dissent exposing illegal war has become a serious crime.
Silence in other high places allows this moral travesty. Across the arts, literature, journalism and the law, liberal elites, having hurried away from the debris of Blair and, now, Obama, continue to fudge their indifference to the barbarism and aims of Western state crimes by promoting retrospectively the evils of their convenient demons, like Saddam Hussein. With Harold Pinter gone, try compiling a list of famous writers, artists and advocates whose principles are not consumed by the “market” or neutered by their celebrity. Who among them have spoken out about the holocaust in Iraq during almost 20 years of lethal blockade and assault? And all of it has been deliberate. On January 22, 1991, the US defense Intelligence Agency predicted in impressive detail how a blockade would systematically destroy Iraq’s clean water system and lead to “increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease.” So, the US set about eliminating clean water for the Iraqi population: one of the causes, noted UNICEF, of the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five. But this extremism apparently has no name.
Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a “pre-fascist era.” Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. “Fascism” is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is “more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent.”
This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior United Nations officials in Iraq during the American and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.
In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud “our boys.” The candidates are almost identical political mummies shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a bit too eagerly, the British elite love America because America allows it to barrack and bomb the natives and call itself a “partner.” We should interrupt their fun.
According to a document obtained by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on Tuesday March 16, the 9/11 commission was warned on Jan. 6th, 2004 by high-level administration officials to “not cross the line” in the investigation of the events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.
Here’s a copy of the letter in question (page 26 of the PDF document).
Department of Defense
Department of Justice
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
Thomas H. Kean, Chairman
Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chairman
Your staff has advised us that the Commission seeks to participate in the questioning of certain enemy combatants detained in the war against terrorists of global reach. Such action by the Commission would substantially interfere with the ability of the United States to perform its law enforcement, defense and intelligence functions in the protection of the American people.
Your legislative commission has had extraordinary — indeed, unprecedented in the annals of American history — access to many of the Nation’s most sensitive secrets in the conduct of its work, including detainee information. In response to the Commission’s expansive requests for access to secrets, the executive branch has provided such access in full cooperation. There is, however, a line that the Commission should not cross — the line separating the Commission’s proper inquiry into the September 11, 2001 attacks from interference with the Government’s ability to safeguard the national security, including protection of Americans from future terrorist attacks. The Commission staffs proposed participation in questioning of detainees would cross that line.
As the officers of the United States responsible for the law enforcement, defense and intelligence functions of the Government, we urge your Commission to not further pursue the proposed request to participate in the questioning of detainees.
John Ashcroft, Attorney General
Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
George J. Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence
9/11 Commission findings based on torture
In December of 2009, we have published an important article titled “Much of 9/11 Commission findings cite intelligence garnered by torture” in which we describe that much of the material cited in the 9/11 Commission’s findings was derived from war detainees during brutal CIA interrogations authorized by the Bush administration. In fact, information derived from the interrogations was central to the 9/11 Report’s most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks.
The CIA has since revealed that in 2005 it destroyed videotapes of prisoners being tortured.
When asked by MSNBC News anchor if “under duress, will people tell the truth if tortured?” former CIA officer Robert Baer answered “under duress, under the threat of duress, people will tell what they think you want to hear. It is an unreliable tool. And the reason I say this is I have spent 21 years in the CIA, in and out of prisons watching these techniques, one way or another, reading reports, and the countries that torture, uniformly produce inaccurate intelligence. Torture does not work.”
They also talk about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed who has been waterboarded over 183 times.
The below text is a excerpt of the Examiner.com article on this newly released memo
The warning in the memo released by the government to the ACLU is just one example of how the Bush administration fiercely struggled to prevent the 9/11 Commission from conducting a deeper probe into the attacks. It is common knowledge that Bush and Cheney refused to cooperate with the investigation and when forced to do so, only testified together, not under oath.
9/11 Commissioners criticism
What may not be known to many Americans is that members of the 9/11 Commission have publicly stated that the investigation was a whitewash, and stymied from the beginning.
“I’m saying that’s deliberate. I am saying that the delay in relating this information to the American public out of a hearing… series of hearings, that several members of Congress knew eight or ten months ago, including Bob Graham and others, that was deliberately slow walked… the 9/11 Commission was deliberately slow walked, because the Administration’s policy was, and its priority was, we’re gonna take Saddam Hussein out.”
— Senator Max Cleland, former 9/11 Commissioner who resigned after calling it a “national scandal”
On Democracy Now, Cleland also said, “One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up”.
In 2006 the Washington Post reported that several members of the 9/11 Commission suspected deception on part of the Pentagon:
Some staff members and commissioners of the Sept. 11 panel concluded that the Pentagon’s initial story of how it reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public rather than a reflection of the fog of events on that day, according to sources involved in the debate.
9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerry also has unanswered questions. According to an article in Salon.com, he believes that there are legitimate reasons to believe an alternative version to the official story.”There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version,” Kerry said. The commission had limited time and limited resources to pursue its investigation, and its access to key documents and witnesses was obstructed by government agencies and key administration officials.
Commissioner Tim Roemer suggested that Commission members were considering a criminal probe of false statements. “We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting,”Roemer told CNN. “We were not sure of the intent, whether it was to deceive the commission or merely part of the fumbling bureaucracy.”
The document that the ACLU has obtained corroborates what officials involved in the 9/11 Commission have been saying for years. The entire “investigation” was nothing more than a whitewash designed to hide the facts about 9/11 from the American people.