Bulletin N° 277
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Subject : ON PERCEPTIONS OF VIOLENCE IN A SOCIETY
DIVIDED : FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN
INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, GRENOBLE, FRANCE.
11 December 2006
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Recently one of my clever colleagues announced that "Stressed is just
desserts spelled backwards!"
Indeed, most forms of institutionalized violence are made to appear
acceptable and inevitable, soon to be forgotten. The pollution we
eat and breath, the noise we endure, the attacks on our nervous systems
in all manner of forms are quickly accepted by our species as simply an
inevitable part of daily life in modern times. Although the violence in
our daily lives is not what anyone would actively seek out to live
with, it quickly becomes absorbed as a "normal" way of life.
In 1969, a report on violence in the U. S. was submitted to The
National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. Charles
Tilly, Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, wrote the
first essay for this report in which he observed:
collective violence has followed regularly out of the central,
political processes of western countries.
to seize, hold, or realign the levers of power have continually engaged
in collective violence as part
struggles. The oppressed have struck in the name of justice, the
privileged in the name of order, those in
the name of fear. [from The History of Violence in America (1969), p.4.]
Ruling class violence has historically included the beating up of the
working class by police and managers whose force was necessarily
solicited in order to stabilize an intrinsically unstable system. It
has been this way for
thousands of years. But what is the international system today that
is being protected? The institutionalized violence we detect today
includes, but is not limited to, the economic
violence of UNEMPLOYMENT and POVERTY, the financial violence of creating dependency and insecurity by imposing a system of
DEBT-SLAVERY, the judicial
violence of false imprisonment and
indifference to prisoner abuse, the political violence of
SELF-CENSORSHIP, the psychological violence of MANUFACTURING
NEEDS and MANIPULATING DESIRES, and the physical violence of
inflicting MILITARY CONQUEST and POLICE INTERROGATION. All these
of violence --the highly visible, like the less visible--
can be understood as symptoms of
a political economy in disarray.
At the beginning of the last century H. G. Wells was among the first to
ask : "Does the Grand Strategy of capitalism depend on war?" At
the beginning of this century, socialists have revised this question to
read : "Are
corporations constantly waging war on the rest of us by implementing
tactics to accomplish their Grand Strategy, which targets
mankind in order to extract a maximum of private profits." From Baghdad
to Bakersfield, California, from Greensboro, North Carolina to Gaza we
can now ask the same question : "Do we exist to serve the economy? Or
the economy exist to serve us?" This is the capitalist conundrum,
worldwide. . . .
"Uncle Sam's gone crazy."
The poetic outrage, the tragic descriptions of inhumanity, the
justified disgust at our relentless greed and self-destructive behavior
are captured and will continue to be captured in the works of scholars
and artists to be published in the years to come. “We are not stuff
that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves,” wrote Norbert
Wiener, the Russian American author of Cybernetics (first
published in French in 1948). But behind this violence there lies a
larger paradigm --a generative
structure with a history and logical
functions which reproduce themselves. In order to change these patterns
understand them. This effort takes us beyond les belles lettres and into the material reality of social relationships which give these
structures their specific meanings, according to their context.
Bertell Ollman's studies of dialectical materialism [see Dance
of the Dialectic, Steps in Marx's Method (2003) or
the French translation, La dialectique
mise en oeuvre : Le processus d'abstraction dans la méthode de Marx (2005)] represent a major advance in evaluating scientific methods that
might enable us to better understand the nature of social
relationships. By examining systematically the structures of the
political economy from which all human relationships are derived,
Ollman's work helps us to discover how these structures are in many
ways detrimental to the quality of our lives, despite the
fact that they do generate increasing
for a small number of influential people. Anthony Wilden, as we
have mentioned before, approaches this same phenomenon of capitalist
hegemony from a different perspective in his book, The
Rules are No Game (1987).
"President Bush is in a state
of denial," the headlines of U.S. daily newspapers report. But a look
at the institutions seem to indicate that the crisis is the visibility of violence, and not the violence per se,
and not the ominous meaning of this violence for all of us on the other
Perception tests :
Young lady/old hag
So maybe it's both, but then how do we decide which
one to see?
Or maybe it's nothing but a bunch of patterns
of light and dark on the paper?
The shifting of perceptions is a test in cognitive science; some would
that the ability to discover new patterns is a survival skill. It is
certainly a requisite for intellectual growth. Take the
example from linguistic science :
Time flies like
like a banana.
The shift in meaning comes with reflection, but only if reflection is
possible. By limiting our thought processes, and thus narrowing our
perceptions, conformity, obedience, and a tolerance of tyranny might be
expected. Formal censorship serves this objective, rendering
alternative views meaningless or absurd. But there are other means to
achieve the same objective, such as Fear . . . .
Concerning Terror and public
of violence in our contemporary world, we
refer readers to the excellent collection of essays gathered by Edward S.
Herman and Bertell Ollman :
Also, Judea Pearl's pacifist work
Los Angeles, California represents an appeal for reason to check the
terror and military madness that has
U.S. political elite :
Finally, the 8 articles below, which include two shockingly graphic descriptions of
torture and murder are, in our considered opinion, the necessary raw
analysis of a failing political economy based on artificial
scarcity and the private profit motive.
Item A. by Richard
Wolf reminds us of the virtual reality that the American
political elite are holding on to for comfort and justification.
Item B., from Grenoble University graduate student Frédéric Méni, is a short, one-minute and
extremely violent Video of a torture session
by U.S. forces in Iraq. (We issue this warning : readers may not
wish to see this documentation of extreme human suffering at the hands
of U.S. armed forces.)
Item C., by Deborah
Davies, is a British video documentary by Channel 4 on
torture in U.S.
prisons, including "correctional institutions" in the states of
Texas, Florida, Utah, Arizona, and California. (Again,
we issue this warning : readers may not wish to see this documentation of
extreme human suffering at the hands of U.S. armed forces.)
Item D. is an article from the New York Times,
describing the imprisonment and psychological torture experienced of Jose Padilla who has been held for 3 1/2 years as a terrorist suspect in a small
prison cell at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, S.C.
Item E., from CEIMSA research associate Elisabeth Chamorand,
is a written description of a new generation of weapons developed for
social control against democratic resistance to state policy.
Item F., by Sibel
Edmonds, founder and director of National Security
Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC ), is a two-part article on the attack
against U.S. national sovereignty, as International Capital takes
control of U.S. domestic and foreign policy.
Item G., "The Media
lynching of Jimmy Carter," was sent to us by our
research associate Edward Herman, in a
review of the former U. S. President's book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,
by Norman Finkelstein.
Item H., from Dahr Jamail,
a description of the U.S. military's murderous siege of Falluja which
is now in its second week.
And finally, for readers who have not yet listened to Howard Zinn's
talk at Northwestern University, we offer this Internet link :
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Dircector of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Richard Wolff :
6 December 2006
From the Monthly Review website posted December 2, 2006…..I thought you
might use this.
The "Iraqis Must
Now Provide Security" Fantasy
much talk these days about "transferring responsibilities for security"
in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking the locals to do "their share" and so
on. Clearly, possible post-election policy shifts in the US are now
objects of strategic maneuvering (press leaks, contradictory
statements, shifting political alliances, etc.). Certain hard
facts may help observers grasp the military and political realities
despite the fantastic fog created by very noisy political battles.
by Rick Wolff
Consider some details from the latest comprehensive report of the
Congressional Budget Office ("Estimated Funding for Operations in Iraq
and the War on Terrorism" August 8, 2006) available at www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/iraq.cfm .
For the years 2001 through 2006, the CBO says that US military
operations in Iraq cost $ 254 billion and those in Afghanistan plus
some homeland security expenditures took another $ 128 billion.
In addition, during the same years, diplomatic and foreign aid
expenditures in Iraq totaled $ 22 billion and in Afghanistan, etc.
another $ 12 billion. Combining these, we can conclude that the
costs of the Iraq war in the direct US government effort there (all
sorts of indirect costs are not included in these calculations) amount
to: $ 276 billion for Iraq and $ 140 billion chiefly for Afghanistan.
Keeping these orders of magnitude in mind, lets turn to the funds
provided to "Indigenous Security Forces" across the same period,
2001-2006. According to the CBO, in Iraq that sum totals $14
billion while in Afghanistan it is $ 3 billion. For perspective,
it is worth noting that New York City allocated about $20 billion for
its police department across the same years.
Such a disparity yields some inescapable conclusions. Given the
admitted destruction, disorganization, and demoralization endemic to
the military and police apparatuses in Iraq and Afghanistan, they would
need massive funds to rebuild their capacities to cope with the
consequences of invasion and occupation. Given the decimation
that invasion and occupation wrought on their already weak economic
structures, they could not possibly raise such funds internally.
Given the political problems preventing the US's "coalition" partners
or NATO from supplying such funds, only one possible source
remained. It would have been necessary (although perhaps not
sufficient) for the US to expend massive resources on and for
"indigenous security forces." That is what the US government did
What the Iraqi military and police failed to do with $14 billion of US
money complemented what the US could not do with its $ 276
billion. Moreover, the civil war now unleashed has deepened all
the problems that already had overwhelmed the combined US-Iraq military
and police controls. Thus, the notion that a "solution for Iraq"
might be provided by reducing US forces and expenditures and relying
more on Iraq's "indigenous security forces" with or without "help" from
Iraq's neighbors (themselves economically constrained and politically
divided) is little short of bizarre. It might be a solution for
an American administration in political trouble at home -- if the ensuing disasters and tragedies in Iraq and beyond do not get
blamed on that administration. But, for Iraq, what looms is yet
more agony, death, and destruction, for which the US will get
Rick Wolff is Professor of Economics at University of
Massachusetts at Amherst. He is the author of many books and articles, including (with Stephen Resnick) Class Theory and History: Capitalism
and Communism in the U.S.S.R. (Routledge, 2002) and (with Stephen Resnick) New Departures in Marxian Theory (Routledge, 2006). This article
was adapted from an earlier version that Wolff published at www.globalmacroscope.com
from Frédéric Méni :
7 December 2006
I really think it’s horrible, but I’m fully convinced that you should
post it anyway because it represents something that might become more
common in the future if nothing is done to stop it. Also, closing our
eyes would be a form of cooperation.
This video provides some evidence of the type of torture engaged in by
our allies. As citizens of the U.S. each of us is responsible for the
actions of our government. We are complicit in the torture, distance
from the tools used to inflict pain in no way reduces our part in these
disgusting acts of barbarity.
from Francis Feeley :
7 December 2006
Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods,
Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails
explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq?
just some of the victims of wholesale torture taking place inside the
U.S. prison system that we uncovered during a four-month investigation
for BBC Channel 4. It’s terrible to watch some of the videos and
realise that you’re not only seeing torture in action but, in the most
extreme cases, you are witnessing young men dying.
The prison guards stand over their captives with electric cattle prods,
stun guns, and dogs. Many of the prisoners have been ordered to strip
naked. The guards are yelling abuse at them, ordering them to lie on
the ground and crawl. ‘Crawl, motherf*****s, crawl.’
If a prisoner doesn’t drop to the ground fast enough, a guard kicks him
or stamps on his back. There’s a high-pitched scream from one man as a
dog clamps its teeth onto his lower leg.
Another prisoner has a broken ankle. He can’t crawl fast enough so a
guard jabs a stun gun onto his buttocks. The jolt of electricity zaps
through his naked flesh and genitals. For hours afterwards his whole
Lines of men are now slithering across the floor of the cellblock while
the guards stand over them shouting, prodding and kicking.
Second by second, their humiliation is captured on a video camera by
one of the guards.
The images of abuse and brutality he records are horrifyingly familiar.
These were exactly the kind of pictures from inside Abu Ghraib prison
in Baghdad that shocked the world this time last year.
And they are similar, too, to the images of brutality against Iraqi
prisoners that this week led to the conviction of three British
But there is a difference. These prisoners are not caught up in a war
zone. They are Americans, and the video comes from inside a prison in
They are just some of the victims of wholesale torture taking place
inside the U.S. prison system that we uncovered during a four-month
investigation for Channel 4 that will be broadcast next week.
Our findings were not based on rumour or suspicion. They were based on
solid evidence, chiefly videotapes that we collected from all over the
In many American states, prison regulations demand that any ‘use of
force operation’, such as searching cells for drugs, must be filmed by
The theory is that the tapes will show proper procedure was followed
and that no excessive force was used. In fact, many of them record the
Each tape provides a shocking insight into the reality of life inside
the U.S. prison system – a reality that sits very uncomfortably with
President Bush’s commitment to the battle for freedom and democracy
against the forces of tyranny and oppression.
In fact, the Texas episode outlined above dates from 1996, when Bush
was state Governor.
Frank Carlson was one of the lawyers who fought a compensation battle
on behalf of the victims. I asked him about his reaction when the Abu
Ghraib scandal broke last year and U.S. politicians rushed to express
their astonishment and disgust that such abuses could happen at the
hands of American guards.
‘I thought: “What hypocrisy,” Carlson told me. ‘Because they know we do
it here every day.’
All the lawyers I spoke to during our investigations shared Carlson’s
belief that Abu Ghraib, far from being the work of a few rogue
individuals, was simply the export of the worst practices that take
place in the domestic prison system all the time. They pointed to the
mountain of files stacked on their desks, on the floor, in their office
corridors – endless stories of appalling, sadistic treatment inside
America’s own prisons.
Many of the tapes we’ve collected are several years old. That’s because
they only surface when determined lawyers prise them out of reluctant
state prison departments during protracted lawsuits.
But for every ‘historical’ tape we collected, we also found a more
recent story. What you see on the tape is still happening daily.
It’s terrible to watch some of the videos and realise that you’re not
only seeing torture in action but, in the most extreme cases, you are
witnessing young men dying.
In one horrific scene, a naked man, passive and vacant, is seen being
led out of his cell by prison guards. They strap him into a
medieval-looking device called a ‘restraint chair’. His hands and feet
are shackled, there’s a strap across his chest, his head lolls forward.
He looks dead. He’s not. Not yet.
The chair is his punishment because guards saw him in his cell with a
pillowcase on his head and he refused to take it off. The man has a
long history of severe schizophrenia. Sixteen hours later, they release
him from the chair. And two hours after that, he dies from a blood clot
resulting from his barbaric treatment.
The tape comes from Utah – but there are others from Connecticut,
Florida, Texas, Arizona and probably many more. We found more than 20
cases of prisoners who’ve died in the past few years after being held
in a restraint chair.
Two of the deaths we investigated were in the same county jail in
Phoenix, Arizona, which is run by a man who revels in the title of
‘America’s Toughest Sheriff.’
His name is Joe Arpaio. He positively welcomes TV crews and we were
promised ‘unfettered access.’ It was a reassuring turn of phrase – you
don’t want to be fettered in one of Sheriff Joe’s jails.
We uncovered two videotapes from surveillance cameras showing how his
tough stance can end in tragedy.
The first tape, from 2001, shows a man named Charles Agster dragged in
by police, handcuffed at the wrists and ankles. Agster is mentally
disturbed and a drug user. He was arrested for causing a disturbance in
a late-night grocery store. The police handed him over to the Sheriff’s
deputies in the jail. Agster is a tiny man, weighing no more than nine
stone, but he’s struggling.
The tape shows nine deputies manhandling him into the restraint chair.
One of them kneels on Agster’s stomach, pushing his head forward on to
his knees and pulling his arms back to strap his wrists into the chair.
Bending someone double for any length of time is dangerous – the
manuals on the use of the 'restraint chair’ warn of the dangers of
Fifteen minutes later, a nurse notices Agster is unconscious. The
cameras show frantic efforts to resuscitate him, but he’s already brain
dead. He died three days later in hospital. Agster's family is
currently suing Arizona County.
His mother, Carol, cried as she told me: ‘If that’s not torture, I
don’t know what is.’ Charles’s father, Chuck, listened in silence as we
filmed the interview, but every so often he padded out of the room to
cry quietly in the kitchen.
The second tape, from five years earlier, shows Scott Norberg dying a
similar death in the same jail. He was also a drug user arrested for
causing a nuisance. Norberg was severely beaten by the guards, stunned
up to 19 times with a Taser gun and forced into the chair where – like
Charles Agster – he suffocated.
The county’s insurers paid Norberg’s family more than £4 millions
in an out-of-court settlement, but the sheriff was furious with the
deal. ‘My officers were clear,’ he said. ‘The insurance firm was afraid
to go before a jury.’
Now he’s determined to fight the Agster case all the way through the
courts. Yet tonight, in Sheriff Joe’s jail, there’ll probably be
someone else strapped into the chair.
Not all the tapes we uncovered were filmed by the guards themselves.
Linda Evans smuggled a video camera into a hospital to record her son,
Brian. You can barely see his face through all the tubes and all you
can hear is the rhythmic sucking of the ventilator.
He was another of Sheriff Joe’s inmates. After an argument with guards,
he told a prison doctor they’d beaten him up. Six days later, he was
found unconscious of the floor of his cell with a broken neck, broken
toes and internal injuries. After a month in a coma, he died from
‘Mr Arpaio is responsible.’ Linda Evans told me, struggling to speak
through her tears. ‘He seems to thrive on this cruelty and this
mentality that these men are nothing.’
In some of the tapes it’s not just the images, it’s also the sounds
that are so unbearable. There’s one tape from Florida which I’ve seen
dozens of times but it still catches me in the stomach.
It’s an authorised ‘use of force operation’ – so a guard is videoing
what happens. They’re going to Taser a prisoner for refusing orders.
The tape shows a prisoner lying on an examination table in the prison
hospital. The guards are instructing him to climb down into a
wheelchair. ‘I can’t, I can’t!’ he shouts with increasing desperation.
One guard then jabs him on both hips with a Taser. The man jerks as the
electricity hits him and shrieks, but still won’t get into the
The guards grab him and drop him into the chair. As they try to bend
his legs up on to the footrest, he screams in pain. The man’s lawyer
told me he has a very limited mental capacity. He says he has a back
injury and can’t walk or bend his legs without intense pain.
The tape becomes even more harrowing. The guards try to make the
prisoner stand up and hold a walking frame. He falls on the floor,
crying in agony. They Taser him again. He runs out of the energy and
breath to cry and just lies there moaning.
One of the most recent video tapes was filmed in January last year. A
surveillance camera in a youth institution in California records an
argument between staff members and two ‘wards’ – they’re not called
One of the youths hits a staff member in the face. He knocks the ward
to the floor then sits astride him punching him over and over again in
Watching the tape you can almost feel each blow. The second youth is
also punched and kicked in the head – even after he’s been handcuffed.
Other staff just stand around and watch.
We also collected some truly horrific photographs.
A few years ago, in Florida, the new warden of the high security state
prison ordered an end to the videoing of ‘use of force operations.’ So
we have no tapes to show how prison guards use pepper spray to punish
But we do have the lawsuit describing how men were doused in pepper
spray and then left to cook in the burning fog of chemicals.
Photographs taken by their lawyers show one man has a huge patch of raw
skin over his hip. Another is covered in an angry rash across his neck,
back and arms. A third has deep burns on his buttocks.
‘They usually use fire extinguishers size canisters of pepper spray,’
lawyer Christopher Jones explained. ‘We have had prisoners who have had
second degree burns all over their bodies.
‘The tell-tale sign is they turn off the ventilation fans in the unit.
Prisoners report that cardboard is shoved in the crack of the door to
make sure it’s really air-tight.’
And why were they sprayed? According to the official prison reports,
their infringements included banging on the cell door and refusing
medication. From the same Florida prison we also have photographs of
Frank Valdes – autopsy pictures. Realistically, he had little chance of
ever getting out of prison alive. He was on Death Row for killing a
prison officer. He had time to reconcile himself to the Electric Chair
– he didn’t expect to be beaten to death.
Valdes started writing to local Florida newspapers to expose the
corruption and brutality of prison officers. So a gang of guards
stormed into his cell to shut him up. They broke almost every one of
his ribs, punctured his lung, smashed his spleen and left him to die.
Several of the guards were later charged with murder, but the trial was
held in their own small hometown where almost everyone works for, or
has connection with, the five prisons which ring the town. The foreman
of the jury was former prison officer. The guards were all acquitted.
Meanwhile, the warden who was in charge of the prison at the time of
the killing – the same man who changed the policy on videoing – has
been promoted. He’s now the man in charge of all the Florida prisons.
How could anyone excuse – still less condone – such behaviour? The few
prison guards who would talk to us have a siege mentality. They see
themselves outnumbered, surrounded by dangerous, violent criminals, so
they back each other up, no matter what.
I asked one serving officer what happened if colleagues beat up an
inmate. ‘We cover up. Because we’re the good guys.’
No one should doubt that the vast majority of U.S. prison officers are
decent individuals doing their best in difficult circumstances. But
when horrific abuse by the few goes unreported and uninvestigated, it
solidifies into a general climate of acceptance among the many.
At the same time the overall hardening of attitudes in modern-day
America has meant the notion of rehabilitation has been almost lost.
The focus is entirely on punishment – even loss of liberty is not seen
as punishment enough. Being on the restraint devices and the chemical
Since we finished filming for the programme in January, I’ve stayed in
contact with various prisoners’ rights groups and the families of many
of the victims. Every single day come more e-mails full of fresh horror
stories. In the past weeks, two more prisoners have died, in Alabama
and Ohio. One man was pepper sprayed, the other tasered.
Then, three weeks ago, reports emerged of 20 hours of video material
from Guantanamo Bay showing prisoners being stripped, beaten and pepper
sprayed. One of those affected is Omar Deghayes, one of the seven
British residents still being held there.
His lawyer says Deghayes is now permanently blind in one eye. American
military investigators have reviewed the tapes and apparently found ‘no
evidence of systematic abuse.’
But then, as one of the prison reformers we met on our journey across
the U.S. told me: ‘We’ve become immune to the abuse. The brutality has
So far, the U.S. government is refusing to release these Guantanamo
tapes. If they are ever made public – or leaked – I suspect the images
will be very familiar.
Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo – or even Texas. The prisoners and all guards
may vary, but the abuse is still too familiar. And much is it is taking
place in America’s own backyard.
Deborah Davies is a reporter for Channel 4 Dispatches. Her
investigation, Torture: America’s Brutal Prisons, was shown on
Wednesday, March 2, at 11.05pm.
from Deborah Sontag :
5 Decemberr 2006
Video Is a Window Into Jose
day during his three and a half years as an enemy combatant, Jose
Padilla experienced a break from the monotony of his solitary
confinement in a bare cell in the brig at the Naval Weapons Station in
by DEBORAH SONTAG
That day, Mr. Padilla, a Brooklyn-born Muslim convert whom the Bush
administration had accused of plotting a dirty bomb attack and had
detained without charges, got to go to the dentist.
“Today is May 21,” a naval official declared to a camera videotaping
the event. “Right now we’re ready to do a root canal treatment on Jose
Padilla, our enemy combatant.”
Several guards in camouflage and riot gear approached cell No. 103.
They unlocked a rectangular panel at the bottom of the door and Mr.
Padilla’s bare feet slid through, eerily disembodied. As one guard held
down a foot with his black boot, the others shackled Mr. Padilla’s
legs. Next, his hands emerged through another hole to be manacled.
Wordlessly, the guards, pushing into the cell, chained Mr. Padilla’s
cuffed hands to a metal belt. Briefly, his expressionless eyes met the
camera before he lowered his head submissively in expectation of what
came next: noise-blocking headphones over his ears and blacked-out
goggles over his eyes. Then the guards, whose faces were hidden behind
plastic visors, marched their masked, clanking prisoner down the hall
to his root canal.
The videotape of that trip to the dentist, which was recently released
to Mr. Padilla’s lawyers and viewed by The New York Times, offers the
first concrete glimpse inside the secretive military incarceration of
an American citizen whose detention without charges became a test case
of President Bush’s powers in the fight against terror. Still frames
from the videotape were posted in Mr. Padilla’s electronic court file
To Mr. Padilla’s lawyers, the pictures capture the dehumanization of
their client during his military detention from mid-2002 until earlier
this year, when the government changed his status from enemy combatant
to criminal defendant and transferred him to the federal detention
center in Miami. He now awaits trial scheduled for late January.
Together with other documents filed late Friday, the images represent
the latest and most aggressive sally by defense lawyers who declared
this fall that charges against Mr. Padilla should be dismissed for
“outrageous government conduct,” saying that he was mistreated and tortured during his years as an enemy
Now lawyers for Mr. Padilla, 36, suggest that he is unfit to stand
trial. They argue that he has been so damaged by his interrogations and
prolonged isolation that he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and
is unable to assist in his own defense. His interrogations, they say,
included hooding, stress positions, assaults, threats of imminent
execution and the administration of “truth serums.”
A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Vician, said Sunday that the
military disputes Mr. Padilla’s accusations of mistreatment. And, in
court papers, prosecutors deny “in the strongest terms” the accusations
of torture and say that “Padilla’s conditions of confinement were
humane and designed to ensure his safety and security.”
“His basic needs were met in a conscientious manner, including Halal
(Muslim acceptable) food, clothing, sleep and daily medical assessment
and treatment when necessary,” the government stated. “While in the
brig, Padilla never reported any abusive treatment to the staff or
In the brig, Mr. Padilla was denied access to counsel for 21 months.
Andrew Patel, one of his lawyers, said his isolation was not only
severe but compounded by material and sensory deprivations. In an
affidavit filed Friday, he alleged that Mr. Padilla was held alone in a
10-cell wing of the brig; that he had little human contact other than
with his interrogators; that his cell was electronically monitored and
his meals were passed to him through a slot in the door; that windows
were blackened, and there was no clock or calendar; and that he slept
on a steel platform after a foam mattress was taken from him, along
with his copy of the Koran, “as part of an interrogation plan.”
Mr. Padilla’s situation, as an American declared an enemy combatant and
held without charges by his own government, was extraordinary and the
conditions of his detention appear to have been unprecedented in the
military justice system.
Philip D. Cave, a former judge advocate general for the Navy and now a
lawyer specializing in military law, said, “There’s nothing comparable
in terms of severity of confinement, in terms of how Padilla was held,
especially considering that this was pretrial confinement.”
Ali al-Marri, a Qatari and Saudi dual citizen and the only enemy
combatant currently detained in the United States, has made similar
claims of isolation and deprivation at the brig in South Carolina. The
Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Vician, said Sunday that he could not
comment on the methods used to escort Mr. Padilla to the dentist.
Blackened goggles and earphones are rarely employed in internal prison
transports in the United States, but riot gear is sometimes used for
One of Mr. Padilla’s lawyers, Orlando do Campo, said, however, that Mr.
Padilla was a “completely docile” prisoner. “There was not one
disciplinary problem with Jose ever, not one citation, not one act of
disobedience,” said Mr. do Campo, who is a lawyer at the Miami federal
public defender’s office.
In his affidavit, Mr. Patel said, “I was told by members of the brig
staff that Mr. Padilla’s temperament was so docile and inactive that
his behavior was like that of ‘a piece of furniture.’ ”
Federal prosecutors and defense lawyers are locked in a tug of war over
the relevancy of Mr. Padilla’s military detention to the present
criminal case. Federal prosecutors have asked the judge to forbid Mr.
Padilla’s lawyers from mentioning the circumstances of his military
detention during the trial, maintaining that their accusations could
“distract and inflame the jury.”
But defense lawyers say it is unconscionable to ignore Mr. Padilla’s
military detention because, among other reasons, it altered him in a
way that will impinge on his trial.
Dr. Angela Hegarty, director of forensic psychiatry at the Creedmoor
Psychiatric Center in Queens, N.Y., who examined Mr. Padilla for a
total of 22 hours in June and September, said in an affidavit filed
Friday that he “lacks the capacity to assist in his own defense.”
“It is my opinion that as the result of his experiences during his
detention and interrogation, Mr. Padilla does not appreciate the nature
and consequences of the proceedings against him, is unable to render
assistance to counsel, and has impairments in reasoning as the result
of a mental illness, i.e., post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated
by the neuropsychiatric effects of prolonged isolation,” Dr. Hegarty
said in an affidavit for the defense.
Mr. Padilla’s status was abruptly changed to criminal defendant from
enemy combatant last fall. At the time, the Supreme Court was weighing
whether to take up the legality of his military detention and
thus the issue of the president’s authority to seize an American
citizen on American soil and hold him indefinitely without charges
when the Bush administration pre-empted its decision by filing
criminal charges against Mr. Padilla.
Mr. Padilla was added as a defendant in a terrorism conspiracy case
already under way in Miami. The strong public accusations made during
his military detention about the dirty bomb, Al Qaeda connections
and supposed plans to set off natural gas explosions in apartment
buildings appear nowhere in the indictment against him. The
indictment does not allege any specific violent plot against America.
Mr. Padilla is portrayed in the indictment as the recruit of a “North
American terror support cell” that sent money, goods and recruits
abroad to assist “global jihad” in general, with a special interest in
Bosnia and Chechnya. Mr. Padilla, the indictment asserts, traveled
overseas “to participate in violent jihad” and filled out an
application for a mujahedin training camp in Afghanistan.
Michael Caruso, a public defender for Mr. Padilla, pleaded “absolutely
not guilty” for him to charges of conspiracy and of providing material
support to terrorists. Mr. Padilla faces two charges that each carry a
maximum penalty of 15 years.
Over the summer, Judge Marcia G. Cooke of United States District Court
in Miami threw out the most serious charge, of conspiracy to murder,
kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country, saying that it replicated
accusations in the other counts and could lead to multiple punishments
for a single crime. This was a setback for the government, which has
appealed the dismissal.
Mr. Padilla’s lawyers say they have had a difficult time persuading him
that they are on his side.
From the time Mr. Padilla was allowed access to counsel, Mr. Patel
visited him repeatedly in the brig and in the Miami detention center,
and Mr. Padilla has observed Mr. Patel arguing on his behalf in Miami
But, Mr. Patel said in his affidavit, his client is nonetheless
mistrustful. “Mr. Padilla remains unsure if I and the other attorneys
working on his case are actually his attorneys or another component of
the government’s interrogation scheme,” Mr. Patel said.
Mr. do Campo said that Mr. Padilla was not incommunicative, and that he
expressed curiosity about what was going on in the world, liked to talk
about sports and demonstrated particularly keen interest in the Chicago
But the defense lawyers’ questions often echo the questions
interrogators have asked Mr. Padilla, and when that happens, he gets
jumpy and shuts down, the lawyers said.
Dr. Hegarty said Mr. Padilla refuses to review the video recordings of
his interrogations, which have been released to his lawyers but remain
He is especially reluctant to discuss what happened in the brig,
fearful that he will be returned there some day, Mr. Patel said in his
“During questioning, he often exhibits facial tics, unusual eye
movements and contortions of his body,” Mr. Patel said. “The
contortions are particularly poignant since he is usually manacled and
bound by a belly chain when he has meetings with counsel.”
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
from Elisabeth Chamorand :
7 Decewmber 2006
Say Hello to the Goodbye Weapon
[Documents obtained under the Freedom of
Information Act detail the US military's extensive human tests of its
Active Denial System - a non-lethal weapon that uses millimeter wave
radiation to induce instant, searing pain that forces people to flee.]
By David Hambling
crowd is getting ugly. Soldiers roll up in a Hummer. Suddenly, the
whole right half of your body is screaming in agony. You feel like
you've been dipped in molten lava. You almost faint from shock and
pain, but instead you stumble backwards -- and then start running. To
your surprise, everyone else is running too. In a few seconds, the
street is completely empty.
You've just been hit with a new
nonlethal weapon that has been certified for use in Iraq -- even though
critics argue there may be unforeseen effects.
According to documents obtained
for Wired News under federal sunshine laws, the Air Force's Active
Denial System, or ADS, has been certified safe after lengthy tests by
military scientists in the lab and in war games.
The ADS shoots a beam of
millimeters waves, which are longer in wavelength than x-rays but
shorter than microwaves - 94 GHz (= 3 mm wavelength) compared to 2.45
GHz (= 12 cm wavelength) in a standard microwave oven.
The longer waves are thought to
limit the effects of the radiation. If used properly, ADS will produce
no lasting adverse affects, the military argues.
Documents acquired for Wired
News using the Freedom of Information Act claim that most of the
radiation (83 percent) is instantly absorbed by the top layer of the
skin, heating it rapidly.
The beam produces what
experimenters call the "Goodbye effect," or "prompt and highly
motivated escape behavior." In human tests, most subjects reached their
pain threshold within 3 seconds, and none of the subjects could endure
more than 5 seconds.
"It will repel you," one test
subject said. "If hit by the beam, you will move out of it -
reflexively and quickly. You for sure will not be eager to experience
But while subjects may feel like
they have sustained serious burns, the documents claim effects are not
long-lasting. At most, "some volunteers who tolerate the heat may
experience prolonged redness or even small blisters," the Air Force
The reports describe an
elaborate series of investigations involving human subjects.
The volunteers were military
personnel: active, reserve or retired, who volunteered for the tests.
They were unpaid, but the subjects would "benefit from direct knowledge
that an effective nonlethal weapon system could soon be in the
inventory," said one report. The tests ranged from simple exposure in
the laboratory to elaborate war games involving hundreds of
The military simulated crowd
control situations, rescuing helicopter crews in a Black Hawk Down
setting and urban assaults. More unusual tests involved alcohol, attack
dogs and maze-like obstacle courses.
In more than 10,000 exposures,
there were six cases of blistering and one instance of second-degree
burns in a laboratory accident, the documents claim.
The ADS was developed in
complete secrecy for 10 years at a cost of $40 million. Its existence
was revealed in 2001 by news reports, but most details of ADS human
testing remain classified. There has been no independent checking of
the military's claims.
The ADS technology is ready to
deploy, and the Army requested ADS-armed Strykers for Iraq last year.
But the military is well aware that any adverse publicity could finish
the program, and it does not want to risk distressed victims wailing
about evil new weapons on CNN.
This may mean yet more rounds of
testing for the ADS.
New bombs can be rushed into
service in a matter of weeks, but the process is more complex for
nonlethal weapons. It may be years before the debates are resolved and
the first directed-energy nonlethal weapon is used in action.
The development of a truly safe
and highly effective nonlethal crowd-control system could raise
enormous ethical questions about the state's use of coercive force. If
a method such as ADS leads to no lasting injury or harm, authorities
may find easier justifications for employing them.
Historically, one of the big
problems with nonlethal weapons is that they can be misused. Rubber
bullets are generally safe when fired at the torso, but head impacts
can be dangerous, particularly at close range. Tasers can become
dangerous if they are used on subjects who have previously been doused
with flammable pepper spray. In the heat of the moment, soldiers or
police can forget their safety training.
Steve Wright of Praxis, the
Center for the Study of Information and Technology in Peace, Conflict
Resolution and Human Rights, notes that there are occasions when this
has happened in the past. He cites British soldiers, who increased the
weight of baton rounds in Northern Ireland.
"Soldiers flouted the rules of
engagement, doctoring the bullets by inserting batteries (to increase
the weight) and firing at closer ranges than allowed," says Wright.
There may also be technical
issues. Wright cites a recent report on CS gas sprays which turned out
to be more dangerous in the field than expected.
"No one had bothered to check
how the sprays actually performed in practice, and they yielded much
more irritant than was calculated in the weapon specification. This
underlines the need for independent checking of any manufacturers'
specifications. Here secrecy is the enemy of safety."
Eye damage is identified as the
biggest concern, but the military claims this has been thoroughly
studied. Lab testing found subjects reflexively blink or turn away
within a quarter of a second of exposure, long before the sensitive
cornea can be damaged. Tests on monkeys showed that corneal damage
heals within 24 hours, the reports claim.
"A speculum was needed to hold
the eyes open to produce this type of injury because even under
anesthesia, the monkeys blinked, protecting the cornea," the report
The risk of cancer is also often
mentioned in connection with the ADS system, despite the shallow
penetration of radiation into the skin.
But the Air Force is adamant
that after years of study, exposure to MMW has not been demonstrated to
promote cancer. During some tests, subjects were exposed to 20 times
the permitted dose under the relevant Air Force radiation standard. The
Air Force claims the exposure was justified by demonstrating the safety
of the ADS system.
The beam penetrates clothing,
but not stone or metal. Blocking it is harder than you might think.
Wearing a tinfoil shirt is not enough - you would have to be wrapped
like a turkey to be completely protected. The experimenters found that
even a small exposed area was enough to produce the Goodbye effect, so
any gaps would negate protection. Holding up a sheet of metal won't
work either, unless it covers your whole body and you can keep the tips
of your fingers out of sight.
Wet clothing might sound like a
good defense, but tests showed that contact with damp cloth actually
intensified the effects of the beam.
System 1, the operational
prototype, is mounted on a Hummer and produces a beam with a 2-meter
diameter. Effective range is at least 500 meters, which is further than
rubber bullets, tear gas or water cannons. The ammunition supply is
The military's tests went beyond
safety, exploring how well the ADS works in practice. In one war game,
an assault team staged a mock raid on a building. The ADS was used to
remove civilians from the battlefield, separating what the military
calls "tourists from terrorists."
It was also used in a Black Hawk
Down scenario, and maritime tests, which saw the ADS deployed against
It might also be used on the
battlefield. One war game deployed the ADS in support of an assault,
suppressing incoming fire and obstructing a counterattack.
"ADS has the same compelling
nonlethal effect on all targets, regardless of size, age and gender,"
says Capt. Jay Delarosa, spokesman for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons
Directorate, which decides where and how the ADS might be deployed.
"It can be used to deny an area
to individuals or groups, to control access, to prevent an individual
or individuals from carrying out an undesirable activity, and to delay
or disrupt adversary activity."
The precise results of the
military's war games are classified, but Capt. Delarosa insists that
the ADS has proven "both safe and effective in all these roles."
The ADS comes in a variety of
shapes and sizes. As well as System 1, a smaller version has been
fitted to a Stryker armored vehicle - along with other lethal and
nonlethal weapons - for urban security operations. Sandia National Labs
is looking at a small tripod-mounted version for defending nuclear
installations, and there is even a portable ADS. And there are bigger
"Key technologies to enable this
capability from an airborne platform - such as a C-130 - are being
developed at several Air Force Research Laboratory technology
directorates," says Diana Loree, program manager for the Airborne ADS.
The airborne ADS would
supplement the formidable firepower of Special Forces AC-130 gunships,
which currently includes a 105-mm howitzer and 25-mm Gatling guns. The
flying gunboats typically engage targets at a range of two miles or
more, which implies an ADS far more powerful than System 1 has been
developed. But details of the exact power levels, range and diameter of
the beam are classified.
from Information Clearing House :
15 November 2006
The Highjacking of a Nation
his farewell address in 1796, George Washington warned that America
must be constantly awake against "the insidious wiles of foreign
influencesince history and experience prove that foreign influence is
one of the most baneful foes of republican government."
by Sibel Edmonds
Today, foreign influence, that most baneful foe of our republican
government, has its tentacles entrenched in almost all major decision
making and policy producing bodies of the U.S. government machine. It
does so not secretly, since its self-serving activities are advocated
and legitimized by highly positioned parties that reap the benefits
that come in the form of financial gain and positions of power.
Foreign governments and foreign-owned private interests have long
sought to influence U.S. public policy. Several have accomplished this
goal; those who are able and willing to pay what it takes. Those who
buy themselves a few strategic middlemen, commonly known as pimps,
while in DC circles referred to as foreign registered agents and
lobbyists, who facilitate and bring about desired transactions. These
successful foreign entities have mastered the art of 'covering all the
bases' when it comes to buying influence in Washington DC. They have
the required recipe down pat: get yourself a few 'Dime a Dozen
Generals,' bid high in the 'former statesmen lobby auction', and put in
your pocket one or two 'ex-congressmen turned lobbyists' who know the
ropes when it comes to pocketing a few dozen who still serve.
The most important facet of this influence to consider is what happens
when the active and powerful foreign entities' objectives are in direct
conflict with our nation's objectives and its interests and security;
and when this is the case, who pays the ultimate price and how. There
is no need for assumptions of hypothetical situations to answer these
questions, since throughout recent history we have repeatedly faced the
dire consequences of the highjacking of our foreign and domestic
policies by these so-called foreign agents of foreign influence.
Let's illustrate this with the most important recent case, the
catastrophe endured by our people; the September Eleven terrorist
attacks. Let's observe how certain foreign interests, combined with
their U.S. agents and benefactors, overrode the interests and security
of the entire nation; how thousands of victims and their loved ones
were kicked aside to serve the interests of a few; foreign influence
and its agents.
Senator Graham's Revelation
It has been established that two of the 9/11 hijackers had a
support network in the U.S. that included agents of the Saudi
government, and that the Bush administration and the FBI blocked a
congressional investigation into that relationship.
In his book, "Intelligence Matters," Senator Bob Graham made clear that
some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27
pages of the congressional inquiry's final report that were blocked
from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of
both parties in the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Here is an excerpt from Senator Graham's statement from the July 24,
2003 congressional record on the classified 27 pages of the
Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11: "The most serious omission, in
my view, is part 4 of the report, which is entitled Finding, Discussion
and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.
Those 27 pages have almost been entirely censured.The declassified
version of this finding tells the American people that our
investigation developed information suggesting specific sources of
foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were
in the United States. In other words, officials of a foreign government
are alleged to have aided and abetted the terrorist attacks on our
country on September 11, which took over 3,000 lives."
In his book Graham reveals, "Our investigators found a CIA memo dated
August 2, 2002, whose author concluded that there is incontrovertible
evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi
government. On September 11, America was not attacked by a
nation-state, but we had just discovered that the attackers were
actively supported by one, and that state was our supposed friend and
ally Saudi Arabia." He then cites another case, "We had discovered an
FBI asset who had a close relationship with two of the terrorists; a
terrorist support network that went through the Saudi Embassy; and a
funding network that went through the Saudi Royal family."
The most explosive revelation in Graham's book is the following
statement with regard to the administration's attitude on page 216: "It
was as if the President's loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with
America's safety." Further, he states that he asked the FBI to
undertake a review of the Riggs Bank records on the terrorists' money
trail, to look at other Saudi companies with ties to al-Qaeda, to plan
for monitoring suspect Saudi interests in the United States; however,
Graham adds: "To my knowledge, none of these investigations have been
completedNor do we know anything else about what I believe to be a
state-sponsored terrorist support network that still exists, largely
undamaged, within the United States."
What Graham is trying to establish in his book and previous public
statements in this regard, and doing so under state imposed 'secrecy
and classification', is that the classification and cover up of those
27 pages is not about protecting 'U.S. national security, methods of
intelligence collection, or ongoing investigations,' but to protect
certain U.S. allies. Meaning, our government put the interests of
certain foreign nations and their U.S. beneficiaries far above its own
people and their interests. While Saudi Arabia has been specifically
pointed to by Graham, other countries involved have yet to be
In covering up Saudi Arabia's direct role in supporting Al Qaeda, the
9/11 Commission goes even a few steps further than the congress and the
Executive Branch. The report claims "there is no convincing evidence
that any government financially supported al-Qaeda before 9/11." Their
report ignores all the information provided by government officials to
Congress, as well as volumes of published reports and investigations by
other nations, regarding Muslim and Arab regimes that have supported al
Qaeda. It completely disregards the terrorist lists of the Treasury and
State Departments, which have catalogued the Saudi government's decades
of support for Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
Why in the world would the United States government go so far to
protect Saudi Arabia in the face of what itself declares to be the
biggest security threat facing our nation and the world today?
Why is the United States willing to set aside its own security and
interests in order to advance the interests of another state?
How can a government that's been intent upon using the terrorist
attacks to carry out many unjustifiable atrocities, prevent bringing to
justice those who've been established as being directly responsible for
More importantly, how is this done in a nation that prides itself as
one that operates under governance of the people, by the people, for
How did our government bodies, those involved in drafting and
implementing our nation's policies, evolve into this foreign
In order to answer these questions one must first establish who stands
to lose and who stands to gain by protecting Saudi Arabia from being
exposed and facing consequences of its involvement in terrorist
networks activities. In addition to identifying the nations in
question, we must identify the interests as well as the actors; their
agents. Let's look at Saudi Arabia as one of the successful foreign
nations that have mastered the art of 'covering all the bases' when it
comes to buying and peddling influence in Washington DC, and identify
its hired 'agents' and 'agents by default.'
Foreign Agents by Default
Although when it comes to our complex diplomatic threading with
Saudi Arabia the easiest answer appears to be the 'oil factor,' upon
further inspection the Saudi's influence and role extends into other
areas, such as the Military Industrial Complex and the too familiar
According to the report published by the Federation of American
Scientists (FAS), Saudi Arabia is America's top customer. Since 1990
the U.S. government, through the Pentagon's arms export program, has
arranged for the delivery of more than $39.6 billion in foreign
military sales to Saudi Arabia, and an additional $394 million worth of
arms were delivered to the Saudi regime through the State Department's
direct commercial sales program. Oil rich Saudi Arabia is a cash-paying
customer; a compulsive buyer of our weaponry. The list of U.S. sellers
includes almost all the major players such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop
Grumman, and Boeing.
The report by FAS establishes that despite the show of U.S. support
demonstrated by this astounding quantity of arms sales, Saudi Arabia's
human rights record is extremely poor; see the U.S. State Department's
2000 Human Rights Report. Saudi Arabia's position as a strategic Gulf
ally has blinded U.S. officials into approving a level and quality of
arms exports that should never have been allowed to a non-democratic
country with such a poor human rights record.
Further, there are indications of Saudi's active role as a player in
the nuclear black-market. According to Mohammed Khilewi, first
secretary at the Saudi mission to the United Nations until July 1994,
the Saudis have sought a bomb since 1975; they sought to buy nuclear
reactors from China, supported Pakistan's nuclear program, and
contributed $5 billion to Iraq's nuclear weapons program between 1985
and 1990. While the U.S. government vocally opposes the development or
procurement of ballistic missiles by non-allies, it has been very quiet
in Saudi Arabia's case, considering the fact that it possesses the
longest-range ballistic missiles of any developing country.
The Military Industrial Complex certainly seems to be a winner in
having the congressional report pertaining to the Saudi government's
role in supporting the 9/11 terrorist activities being classified. The
exposure would have meant grounds for U.S. sanctions and retributions;
it would have risked the loss of billions of dollars in revenue from
its 'top customer.' These companies don't even have to officially
register as foreign agents; after all, their strong loyalty and
unbreakable bond with foreign elements exists by default; it is called
mutual benefit. They are 'Foreign Agents by Default.'
This holds true for other parties and players involved within the MIC
network; the contractors and the investors. Let's look at one of these
famous and influential players; another foreign agent even if only by
default; a man who defended the Saudis against a lawsuit brought by the
9/11 victims' family members; a man who happens to be the senior
counsel for the Carlyle Group, which invests heavily in defense
companies and is the nation's 10th largest defense contractor with ties
to the Saudi Royal Family, Enron, Global Crossing, among others; James
Baker; Papa Bush's Secretary of State. On the morning of September
11th, 2001, Baker was reportedly at a Carlyle investor conference with
members of the Bin Laden family in the Ritz Carlton in Washington DC,
while Bush Sr. was on the payroll of the Carlyle group.
The Carlyle Group, a Washington, DC based private equity firm that
employs numerous former high-ranking government officials with ties to
both political parties, was the ninth largest Pentagon contractor
between 1998 and 2003, an ongoing Center for Public Integrity
investigation into Department of Defense contracts found. According to
this report, overall, six private investment firms, including Carlyle,
received nearly $14 billion in Pentagon deals between 1998 and 2003.
Considering the fact that Saudi Arabia is the top buyer of the U.S.
weapons industry, Carlyle's investment and its stake, and of course
Jimmy Baker's far reaching influence within the Pentagon and congress,
everything seems to come together and fit perfectly to shield this
foreign interest no matter the price to be paid by the American public.
The political action committees (PACs) of the biggest defense companies
have given $14.2 million directly to federal candidates since Clinton's
first presidential bid, according to the Center for Responsive Politics
(CRP). In 1997 alone the defense industry spent $49.5 million to lobby
the nation's decision-makers.
Between 1998 and 2004, for the six-year period, Boeing Company spent
more than $57 million in lobbying. For the same period of time,
Lockheed Martin poured over $55 million into lobbying activities.
Northrop Grumman exceeded both by investing $83 million in lobbying,
and based on a report issued by POGO, it contributed over $4 million to
individuals and PACs.
With 'dime a dozen' generals on their boards of directors, numerous
high-powered ex congressmen and senators at their disposal in the 'K
Street Lobby Quarter,' tens of millions of dollars in campaign
donations, and billions of dollars at stake, the Military Industrial
Complex surely had all the incentives to act just as foreign agents
would, and fight for their highly valued client; the Saudi Government.
They appear to have had all the reasons to ensure that the report would
not see the light of the day; no matter what the effect on the country,
its security, and its interests.
K Street Lobby Quarter
The fact that Saudi Arabia pours large sums into lobbying firms and
public relations companies with close ties to congress does not come as
a big surprise. The FARA database under the DOJ website lists Qorvis
Communications as one of Saudi Arabia's registered foreign agents. In
2003, for only a six months period, Qorvis received more than $11
million from the Saudi government. Another firm, Loeffler Tuggey
Pauerstein Rosenthal LLP, another registered foreign agent, received
more than $840,000 for the same six-month period, and the list goes on.
Just for this six month period the government of Saudi Arabia paid a
total of more than $14 million to 13 lobbying and public relations
companies; all registered as foreign agents.
Why do the Saudis spend nearly $20 million per year in lobbying
activities in the U.S. via their hired agents? What kind of return on
investment are they getting out of the United States Congress?
Let's take Loeffler's group and examine its value for the Saudi
government, since it was paid over $3 million in three years between
2003 and 2005. The firm was founded by former Republican Congressman
Tom Loeffler of Texas. Loeffler served in the Republican Leadership as
Deputy Whip, and as Chief Deputy Whip during his third and fourth term.
He was a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Energy and
Commerce Committee and Budget Committee. In the two Bush campaigns for
governor, Loeffler, who contributed $141,000, was the largest donor. In
1998, he served as national co-chair of the Republican National
Committee's "Team 100" program for donors of $100,000 or more, and
afterwards held the same title during George W. Bush's presidential
campaign. Loeffler's generosity extends to the members of congress as
well. In 6 years, he has given more than $185,000 to members of
congress, 97% of it going to only Republican members. During the same
six-year period, Loeffler's firm received more than $18 million in
The firm's managing director happens to be William L. Ball. Ball served
as Chief of Staff to Senators John Tower (R-TX) and Herman Talmadge
(D-GA). In 1985, he joined the Reagan Administration as Assistant
Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. Later he was assigned to
the White House to serve President Reagan as his chief liaison to the
Congress. Wallace Henderson is also a Partner; he was Chief Counsel and
Chief of Staff to Representative W. J. Tauzin (R-LA), Chief of Staff to
U.S. Senator John Breaux (D-LA).
By having foreign agents such as the Loeffler Group, in addition to
their foreign agents by default, the MIC, the Saudis seem to have all
their bases covered. Former secretaries and deputy secretaries with
open access to the current ones, former congressmen and senators who
used to be positioned on strategically valuable committees and know the
rules of the congressional game, and millions of dollars available to
be spent and channeled and re-channeled to various PACs go a long way
toward ensuring results. Money counts. Money is needed to bring in
votes. Professional skills and discretion are required to get this
money to various final destinations. The registered foreign agents, the
lobby groups, are geared for this task. The client is happy in the end;
so are the foreign agents and the congressional actors.
Other Savvy Nations
Of course, the sanction and legitimization of far reaching foreign
influence and strongholds in the U.S., despite the many dire
consequences endured by its citizens, is not limited to the government
of Saudi Arabia. Numerous well-documented cases can be sited for others
such as Turkey, Pakistan, and Israel, to name a few.
I won't get into the details and history of my own case, where the
government invoked the state secrets privilege to gag my case and the
congress in order to 'protect certain sensitive diplomatic relations.'
The country, the foreign influence, in this case was the Republic of
Turkey. The U.S. government did so despite the far reaching
consequences of burying the facts involved, and disregarded the
interests and security of the nation; all to protect a quasi ally
engaged in numerous illegitimate activities within the global terrorist
networks, nuclear black-market and narcotics activities; an ally who
happens to be another compulsive and loyal buyer of the Military
Industrial Complex; an ally who happens to be another savvy player in
recruiting top U.S. players as its foreign agents and spending million
of dollars per year to the lobbying groups headed by many 'formers.'
Turkey's agent list includes generals such as Joseph Ralston and Brent
Scowcroft, former statesmen such as William Cohen and Marc Grossman,
and of course famous ex-congressmen such as Bob Livingston and Stephen
Solarz. Turkey too seems to have all its bases covered.
Another well-known and documented case involves Pakistan. Over two
decades ago Richard Barlow, an intelligence analyst working for
then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney issued a startling report. After
reviewing classified information from field agents, he had determined
that Pakistan, despite official denials, had built a nuclear bomb. In
the March 29, 1993 issue of New Yorker, Seymour Hersh noted that "even
as Barlow began his digging, some senior State Department officials
were worried that too much investigation would create what Barlow
called embarrassment for Pakistan." Barlow's conclusion was politically
inconvenient. A finding that Pakistan possessed a nuclear bomb would
have triggered a congressionally mandated cutoff of aid to the country,
and it would have killed a $1.4-billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to
Islamabad. A few months later a Pentagon official downplayed Pakistan's
nuclear capabilities in his testimony to Congress. When Barlow
protested to his superiors, he was fired. A few years later, the
Executive Branch would slap Barlow with the State Secrets Privilege.
As we all now know, Pakistan provided direct nuclear assistance to Iran
and Libya. During the Cold War, the U.S. put up with Pakistani lies and
deception about their nuclear activities, it did not enforce its
restrictions on Pakistan's nuclear program when it counted, and as a
result Pakistan ended up with a U.S.-made nuclear weapons system. Yet
again, after 9/11, the Bush administration issued a waiver ending the
implementation of almost all sanctions on Pakistan because of the
perceived need for Pakistani assistance in the fight against Al Qaeda
and the Taliban, who ironically were brought to power by direct U.S.
support in the 1980s in the first place.
Weiss, in the May-June 2004 issue of the Bulletin states: "We are
essentially back where we were with Pakistan in the 1980s. It is
apparent that it has engaged in dangerous nuclear mischief with North
Korea, Iran, and Libya (and perhaps others), but thus far without
consequences to its relationship with the United States because of
other, overriding foreign policy considerations--not the Cold War this
time, but the war on terrorism." He continues: "But now there is a
major political difference. It was one thing for Pakistan, a country
with which the United States has had good relations generally, to
follow India and produce the bomb for itself. It is quite another for
Pakistan to help two-thirds of the "axis of evil" to get the bomb as
FARA & LDA
An agent of a 'foreign principal' is defined as any individual or
organization which acts at the order, request, or under the direction
or control of a foreign principal, or whose activities are directed by
a foreign principal who engages in political activities, or acts in a
public relations capacity for a foreign principal, or solicits or
dispenses any thing of value within the United States for a foreign
principal, or represents the interests of a foreign principal before
any agency or official of the U.S. government.
In 1938, in response to the large number of German propaganda agents in
the pre-WWII U.S., Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was
established to insure that the American public and its lawmakers know
the source of propaganda intended to sway public opinion, policy, and
laws. The Act requires every agent of a foreign principal to register
with the Department of Justice and file forms outlining its agreements
with, income from, and expenditures on behalf of the foreign principal.
Any agent testifying before a committee of Congress must furnish the
committee with a copy of his most recent registration statement. The
agent must keep records of all his activities and permit the Attorney
General to inspect them. However, as is the case with many laws, the
Act is filled with exemptions and loopholes that allow minimization of,
and in some cases complete escape from, warranted scrutiny.
There are a number of exemptions. For example, persons whose activities
are of a purely commercial nature or of a religious, academic, and
charitable nature are exempt. Any agent who is engaged in lobbying
activities and is registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) is
exempt. The LDA of 1995 was passed after decades of effort to make the
regulation and disclosure of lobbying the federal government more
effective. However, LDA also has serious and important loopholes and
limitations that can be summed up as: Inadequate Disclosure, Inadequate
Enforcement, and Inadequate Regulation of Conduct. The recent
congressional scandals make this point very clear.
In addition, neither act deals with an important issue: Conflict of
Interest. Many of these agents, with their loyalty to the foreign hand
that feeds them, end up being appointed to various positions,
commissions and special envoys by our government. Recall Kissinger and
his appointment to head the 9/11 Commission, and of course the recent
revelation by Woodward on his advisory position to the current White
House. Take a look at Jimmy Baker's current appointment on the Iraq
commission. Same goes for the father of all the 'dime a dozen
generals', Brent Scowcroft, and one of his new protégés,
General Joseph Ralston. In short, neither FARA nor LDA creates
meaningful oversight, control, or enforcement; neither deals with
conflict of interest issues, and neither provides any deterrence or
consequences for unethical or illegal conduct.
It used to be congressional 'pork projects' and 'corporate influence'
that raised eyebrows now and then; here and there. Gone are those days.
Today the unrestricted and uncontrollable money game and influence
peddling tricks within the major decision-making and policy producing
bodies of the U.S. government have reached new heights; yet, no raised
eyebrows are registered. Sadly, today, a new version of 'The Manchurian
Candidate' would have to be produced as a documentary.
The other day I received a request to sign on to a petition put forth
by a group of 9/11 family members urging the congress to reopen the
investigations of 9/11 and declassify the infamous 27-pages which deal
with foreign governments, U.S. allies, that provided support for those
who carried out the attacks on our nation. My heart goes out to them. I
do sympathize with them. I am known to take on similar propositions and
methods of activism myself. However, looking at the realities, seeing
what it takes to get things done in Washington, realizing how this
beast works in the Real Sin City, I would encourage them to look at the
root cause, rather than the symptoms. There are only two ways I can see
that can bring about what they have been fighting for and what the
majority of us desire to see in terms of bringing about Truth,
Oversight, and Accountability; Justice.
The family members, and their supporters, us, either have to tackle the
major cause; the corruption of our government officials via
unrestricted and undisciplined 'revolving doors' and 'foreign influence
& lobby' practices, and push for expedient meaningful reforms by
the new ambitious congress, and have them prove to us their worth. Or,
they may as well give up their long-held integrity, go bid high for one
or two former statesmen, hire a few dime a dozen generals, and buy
themselves a couple of ex-congressmen turned lobbyists; that will do
Sibel Edmonds is the founder and director of National Security
Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). Ms. Edmonds worked as a language
specialist for the FBI. During her work with the bureau, she discovered
and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and
intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security
implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was
retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since
that time, court proceedings on her case have been blocked by the
assertion of "State Secret Privilege"; the Congress of the United
States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case
through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice. Ms.
Edmonds is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani; and has a MA in
Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University,
and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington
University. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006
PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. She can be reached at: email@example.com
The Auctioning of Former Statesmen & Dime a Dozen Generals
“The real rulers in Washington are invisible
and exercise power from behind the scenes.”- - Justice Felix
used to be the three branches - congress, the executive, and the courts
- that we considered the make-up of our nation’s federal government.
And some would point to the press as a possible fourth branch, due to
the virtue of its influence in shaping our policies. Today, more and
more people have come to view corporate and foreign lobby firms, with
their preponderant clout and enormous power, as the official fourth
branch of our nation’s government. Not only do I agree with them, I
would even take it a step further and give it a higher status it
Operating invisibly under the radar of media and public scrutiny, lobby
groups and foreign agents have become the ‘epicenter’ of our
government, where former statesmen and ‘dime a dozen generals’ cash in
on their connections and peddle their enormous influence to the highest
bidders turned clients. These groups’ activities shape our nation’s
policies and determine the direction of the flow of its taxpayer driven
wealth, while to them the interests of the majority are considered
irrelevant, and the security of the nation is perceived as
In Part1 of this series I used Saudi influence via its lobby and foreign
agents by default as a case to illustrate how certain foreign
interests, combined with their U.S. agents and benefactors, override
the interests and security of the entire nation. This illustrative
model case involved three major elements: the purchasing of a few ‘dime
a dozen generals,’ bidding high in the auctioning of ‘former
statesmen,’ and buying one or two ex-congressmen turned lobbyists. In
addition, the piece emphasized the importance of the “Military
Industrial Complex (MIC),” which became a de facto ‘foreign agent’ by
the universally recognized principle of ‘mutual benefit.’
This article will attempt to illustrate the functioning of the above
model in the case of another country, the Republic of Turkey, and its
set of agents and operators in the U.S. In doing so, I want to
emphasize the importance of separating the populace of example nations
- Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan… - from their regimes and
select key participating actors. As is the case with our nation, they
too suffer the consequences of their regime’s self-serving policies and
conduct. Not only that, they also have to endure what they consider
‘U.S. imposed policies’ that further the interests of only a few. Think
of it this way, the majority of us in the States do not see the
infamous and powerful neocon cabal as the chosen and accepted
representatives of our nation’s values and objectives. We do not want
to be perceived and judged based on the actions of a few at Abu Ghraib
or Guantanamo. The same is valid for these nations’ citizenry; so let
not their corrupt and criminal regimes be the basis of our judgment of
Moreover, as we all know, those subject to criticism in these articles
have mastered the art of spinning when it comes to the media and
propaganda. The Israeli lobby is quick to stamp all factually backed
criticism as ‘anti-Semitic’ and attack it as such. The Turkish lobby,
in this regard, as with everything else, follows its Israeli mentors;
they label all dissent and criticism as anti-Turkey, or, Kurdish or
Armenian propaganda; while the Saudi lobby goes around kicking and
screaming ‘anti-Muslim propaganda.’ I am not known to be ‘politically
correct’ and am often criticized for it. I readily accept that and all
responsibilities associated with it. I am not seeking a position as a
diplomat, neither am I serving any business, organization, or media
channel furthering a particular ideology. This is me, saying it as I
see it; no more, no less. By the end of this series it should be
obvious, at least for many, that the selection of the nations
encompasses varied sides and affiliations. Moreover, the main purpose,
and the target of these commentaries, goes to the heart of our own
government and its epicenter; lobbyists and the MIC.
* * * *
Many Americans, due to the effective propaganda and spin machine of
Turkey’s agents in the U.S., and relentless efforts by high-level
officials and lobbying groups on Turkish networks’ payroll, do not know
much about Turkey; its position and importance in the areas of
terrorism, money laundering, illegal arms sales, industrial and
military espionage, and the nuclear black-market. Not many people in
the States would name Turkey among those nations that threaten global
security, the fight against terrorism, nuclear proliferation, or the
war on drugs. For the purpose of this article it is necessary to have
at least a rudimentary knowledge of Turkey, its strategic location
within global criminal networks, its various networks and entities
operating behind seemingly legitimate fronts, and its connection to the
military and political machine in the U.S.
For many Americans Turkey is one of the closest allies of the United
States; a most important member of NATO; a candidate for EU membership;
and the only Middle-Eastern close ally and partner of Israel. Some
acknowledge Turkey’s highly prized status in the United States due to
its location as the artery connecting Europe to Asia, its cross borders
with Iran, Iraq and Syria to its East and South, with the Balkan states
to its west, and with the Central Asian nations to its north and
northeast. Others may recognize the country as one of the top U.S.
customers for military technology and weapons.
Interestingly enough, these same qualities and characteristics which
make Turkey an important ally and strategic partner for the nation
states, make it extremely crucial and attractive to global criminal
networks active in transferring illegal arms and nuclear technology to
rogue states; in transporting Eastern Narcotics, mainly from
Afghanistan through the Central Asian states into Turkey, where it is
processed, and then through the Balkan states into Western Europe and
the U.S.; and in laundering the proceeds of these illegal operations
via its banks and those on the neighboring island of Cyprus.
The Real Lords of the Poppy Fields
It is a known fact that there often is a nexus between
terrorism and organized crime. Terrorists use Narco-traficking and
international crime to support their activities. Frequently, the same
criminal gangs involved in narcotics smuggling have links to other
criminal activities, such as illegal arms sales, and to terrorist
groups. The Taliban's link to the drug trade is irrefutable. In 2001, a
report by the U.N. Committee of Experts on Resolution 1333 for
sanctions against the Taliban stated that “funds raised from the production and trade of opium and heroin
are used by the Taliban to buy arms and war materials and to finance
the training of terrorists and support the operation of extremists in
neighboring countries and beyond.”
Afghanistan supplies almost 90% of the world's heroin, which is the country’s main cash crop,
contributing over $3 billion a year in illegal revenues to the Afghan
economy, which equals 50% of the gross national product. In 2004,
according to the U.S. state department, 206,000 hectares were cultivated, a half a million acres, producing 4,000 tons
of opium. “It is not only the largest heroin producer in the world,
206,000 hectares is the largest amount of heroin or of any drug that I
think has ever been produced by any one country in any given year,”
Charles, former assistant secretary of state for International
Narcotics and Law Enforcement, overseeing anti-drug operations in
Heroin trafficking is also the main source of funding for the
al-Qaeda terrorists. A Time Magazine article in August 2004 reported that al-Qaeda has established a smuggling
network that is peddling Afghan heroin to buyers across the Middle
East, Asia, and Europe, and in turn is using the drug revenues to
purchase weapons and explosives. The article states: “…al-Qaeda and its
Taliban allies are increasingly financing operations with opium sales.
Anti-drug officials in Afghanistan have no hard figures on how much
al-Qaeda and the Taliban are earning from drugs, but conservative
estimates run into tens of millions of dollars.” Anti-drug officials say the only way to cut off al-Qaeda's pipeline is to attack it at the
source: by destroying the poppy farms themselves. This year,
Afghanistan's opium harvest is expected to exceed 3,600 tonsenough
to produce street heroin worth $36 billion.
Key congressional leaders have been pressing the Pentagon to crack down
on the major drug traffickers in Afghanistan upon learning that Al
Qaeda is relying more than ever on illicit proceeds from the heroin
trade. Congressional investigators who returned from the region in 2004
found that traffickers are providing Osama bin Laden and other
terrorists with heroin as funds from Saudi Arabia and other sources dry
up. "We now know Al Qaeda's dominant source of funding is the illegal
sale of narcotics," said Rep. Kirk-IL, a member of the House
Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, as reported by Washington
Times. Rep. Kirk added that Bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror
organization is reaping $28 million a year in illicit heroin
It is puzzling to observe that in reporting this major artery of
terrorists’ funding, the U.S. mainstream media and political machine do
not dare to go beyond the poppy fields of Afghanistan and the fairly
insignificant low level Afghan warlords overseeing the crops. Think
about it; we are talking about nearly $40 billion worth of products in
the final stage. Do you believe that those primitive Afghan warlords,
clad in shalvars, sporting long ragged beards, and walking with long
sticks handle transportation, lab processing, more transportation,
distribution, and sophisticated laundering of the proceeds? If yes,
then think again. This multi billion-dollar industry requires highly
sophisticated networks and people. So, who are the real lords of
Afghanistan’s poppy fields?
For Al Qaeda’s network Turkey is a haven for its sources of funding.
Turkish networks, along with Russians’, are the main players in these
fields; they purchase the opium from Afghanistan and transport it
through several Turkic speaking Central Asian states into Turkey, where
the raw opium is processed into popular byproducts; then the network
transports the final product into Western European and American markets
via their partner networks in Albania. The networks’ banking
arrangements in Turkey, Cyprus and Dubai are used to launder and
recycle the proceeds, and various Turkish companies in Turkey and
Central Asia are used to make this possible and seem legitimate. The Al
Qaeda network also uses Turkey to obtain and transfer arms to its
Central Asian bases, including Chechnya.
Since the 1950s Turkey has played a key role in channeling into Europe
and the U.S. heroin produced in the "Golden Triangle" comprised of
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. These operations are run by mafia
groups closely controlled by the MIT (Turkish Intelligence Agency) and
the military. According to statistics compiled in 1998, Turkey’s heroin
trafficking brought in $25 billion in 1995 and $37.5 billion in 1996. That amount makes up nearly a quarter of Turkey’s GDP.
Only criminal networks working in close cooperation with the police and
the army could possibly organize trafficking on such a scale. The
Turkish government, MIT and the Turkish military, not only sanctions,
but also actively participates in and oversees the narcotics activities
In July 1998, Le Monde Diplomatique reported that in an
explosive document made public at a press conference in Istanbul, the
MIT, Turkish Intelligence Agency, accused Turkey’s national police, of
having “provided police identity cards and diplomatic passports to
members of a group which, in the guise of anti-terrorist activities,
traveled to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary and Azerbaijan
to engage in drug trafficking”. MIT provided a list of names of
some of the traffickers operating under the protection of the police.
The Turkish police returned the compliment and handed over a list of
named drug traffickers employed by the MIT!
In January 1997, Tom
Sackville, minister of state at the British Home Office, stated
that 80% of the heroin seized in Britain came from Turkey, and that his
government was concerned by reports that members of the Turkish police,
and even of the Turkish government, were involved in drug trafficking.
In an article published in Drug
Link Magazine, Adrian Gatton cites the case of Huseyin Baybasin,
the famous Turkish heroin kingpin now in jail in Holland. Baybasin
explains: “I handled the drugs which came through the channel of the
Turkish Consulate in England,” and he adds: “I was with the Mafia but I
was carrying this out with the same Mafia group in which the rulers of
Turkey were part.” The article also cites a witness statement given to
a UK immigration case involving Baybasin’s clan, and states that
Huseyin Baybasin had agreed to provide investigators with information
about what he knew of the role of Turkish politicians and officials in
the heroin trade. The article quotes Mark Galeotti, a former UK
intelligence officer and expert on the Turkish mafia, “Since the 1970s,
Turkey has accounted for between 75 and 90 per cent of all heroin in
the UK. The key traffickers are Turks or criminals who operate along
that route using Turkish contacts.” In 2001, Chris Harrison, a senior
UK Customs officer in Manchester, told veteran crime reporter Martin
Short that Customs could not get at the Turkish kingpins because they
are “protected” at a high level.
In 1998, the highly official International
Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) of the U.S. State
Department, revealed that “about 75% of the heroin seized in Europe is either produced in,
or derives from, Turkey”, that “4 to 6 tons of heroin arrive from there
every month, heading for Western Europe” and that “a number of
laboratories for the purification of the opium used in transforming the
basic morphine into heroin are located on Turkish soil". The report
stresses that Turkey is one of the countries most affected by
money-laundering, which takes place particularly via the countries of
the ex-Soviet Union, such as Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan,
through the medium of casinos, the construction industry, and tourism. INCSR’s 2006
report cites Turkey as a major transshipment point and base of
operations for international narcotics traffickers and associates
trafficking in opium, morphine base, heroin, precursor chemicals and
We know that Al Qaeda and Taliban’s main source of funding is the
illegal sale of narcotics. Based on all the reports, facts, and expert
statements, we know that Turkey is a major, if not the top, player in
the transportation, processing, and distribution of all the narcotics
derived from the Afghan poppies, and as a result, it is the major
contributing country to Al Qaeda. Yet, to date, more than five years
into our over exhaustive ‘war on terror propaganda’, have we heard any
mentioning of, any tough message to, any sanction against, or any
threat that was issued and targeted at Turkey?
We all know of our president’s ‘selective evilization’ of countries
that have been ‘chosen’ to be on our hit list. But how many of us know
of our government’s ‘selective go free cards’ that have been issued to
those ‘ally countries’ that directly fund and support the terrorist
networks? In fact, our government would rather move heaven and earth,
gag ‘whistleblowers’ with direct knowledge of these facts, classify
congressional and other investigative reports, create a media black-out
on these ‘allies’ terrorist supporting activities, than do the right
thing; do what it really takes to counter terrorism.
…and the WMDs we actually located & have known about
In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush declared
he would keep “the world's most destructive weapons" from Al Qaeda and
its allies by keeping those weapons from evil governments. Later he
told a campaign audience in Pennsylvania, “We had to take a hard look
at every place where terrorists might get those weapons and one regime
stood out: the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.” Well, the Iraqi WMD
that never was!
Here is what CIA Director Porter Goss said bluntly before the Senate Intelligence Committee in February 2004, “It
may be only a matter of time before Al Qaeda or other groups attempt to
use chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons. We must
focus on that.” And we know that he knows; has known for the longest
Seymour Hersh in his March 2003 article quotes Robert Gallucci, a former United Nations weapons inspector who
is now dean of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service,
“Bad as it is with Iran, North Korea, and Libya having nuclear-weapons
material, the worst part is that they could transfer it to a non-state
group. That’s the biggest concern, and the scariest thing about all
this. There’s nothing more important than stopping terrorist groups
from getting nuclear weapons.”
Although numerous prestigious reports by agencies and organizations
such as IAEA, and news articles in the European media, have clearly
established Turkey, and various international networks operating in and
out of Turkey, as major players within the global nuclear black-market
and illegal arms sales, the relevant agencies and main media in the
U.S. have maintained a completely silent and hands off position.
Nuclear black-market related activities depend on Turkey for
manufacturing nuclear components, and on its strategic location as a
transit point to move goods and technology to nations such as Iran,
Pakistan, and others. Not only that, Turkey’s status and close
relationship with the U.S. enables it to obtain (steal) technology and
information from the U.S.
Lying at the crossroads not only between Europe and Asia, but also
between the former Soviet Union and the Middle East, Turkey is already
a well-established transit zone for illicit goods, including nuclear
material and illegal weapons sales. According to a report by Turkish Atomic Energy
Authority (TAEA), at least 104 nuclear smuggling incidents had occurred in the past eight years in
Turkey. For instance, in September 1999, 5 Kilograms of Uranium
enriched to 4.6 percent were confiscated from an international
smuggling ring in Turkey, which included four Turkish, one Azerbaijani,
and three Kazakhstani citizens. The report cites over one hundred incidents like this, and these are only cases
that have been intercepted and reported.
Turkey played a major role in Pakistan and Libya’s illicit activities
in obtaining nuclear technologies. In June 2004, Stephen Fidler, a
reporter for Financial
Times reported that in 2003, Turkish centrifuge motors and
converters destined for Libya's nuclear weapons program turned up in
Tripoli aboard a ship that had sailed from Dubai. One of those detained
individuals in this incident, a ‘respected and successful’ Turkish
Businessman, Selim Alguadis, was cited in a public report from the
Malaysian inspector-general of police into the Malaysian end of a
Pakistani-led clandestine network that supplied Libya, Iran and North
Korea with nuclear weapons technologies, designs and expertise.
According to the report, “he supplied these materials to Libya."
Mr. Alguadis also confessed that he had on several occasions met A Q
Khan, the disgraced Pakistani scientist who has admitted transmitting
nuclear expertise to the three countries. Selim Alguadis remains a
successful businessman in Turkey with companies in several other
countries. He was released immediately after being turned over to
Turkish authorities. His partner, another well-known and
internationally recognized wealthy businessman, Gunes Cire,
also actively participated in transferring nuclear technology and parts
to Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. Although under investigation by
several international communities, Alguadis and his partners continued
free in Turkey and conduct their illegitimate operations via their
‘legit international business’ front companies.
David Albright and Corey Hinderstein of the Institute for Science and
International Security (ISIS) identify Turkey’s major role in the
nuclear black-market. According to their report,
workshops in Turkey made the centrifuge motor and frequency converters
used to drive the motor and spin the rotor to high speeds. These
workshops imported subcomponents from Europe, and they assembled these
centrifuge items in Turkey. Under false end-user certificates, these
components were shipped from Turkey to Dubai for repackaging and
shipment to Libya.
Turkey’s illegal arms smuggling activities are not limited to Europe
and the Middle East; many of these activities reach U.S. soil.
According to a report published by the Institute for the
Analysis of Global Security, in April 2004 the Italian police
searched a container destined for the port of New York onboard a
Turkish ship at the port of Tauro during a routine customs inspection,
sparked by discrepancies between the various customs declarations.
Inside the container more than 8,000 AK47 assault rifles, 11 submachine
guns, and magazines worth over seven million dollars were discovered.
Our tough talking president works very hard to sound convincing when he
says ‘we have to take a hard look at every place where terrorists might
get those weapons;’ in fact, he has succeeded in fooling many into
believing those words. However, while he was determined to move heaven
and earth to get our nation into a war and a quagmire with a country
that did NOT possess ‘those weapons,’ he refused and continues to
refuse to look at his own ‘allies-packed backyard’ where he would find
a few that not only do possess ‘those weapons,’ but also distribute and
sell them to the highest bidders no matter what their affiliation.
* * * *
Curiously enough, despite these highly publicized reports and
acknowledgements of Turkey’s role in these activities, Turkey continues
to receive billions of dollars of aid and assistance annually from the
United States. With its highly placed co-conspirators and connections
within the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Congress, Turkey never
has to fear potential sanctions or meaningful scrutiny; just like Saudi
Arabia and Pakistan. The criminal Turkish networks continue their
global criminal activities right under the nose of their protector, the
United States, and neither the catastrophe falling upon the U.S. on
September Eleven, nor their direct and indirect role and ties to this
terrorist attack, diminish their role and participation in the shady
worlds of narcotics, money laundering and illegal arms transfer.
The ‘respectable’ Turkish companies established and operate bases in
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and other similar former soviet states. Many of
these front companies, disguised under construction and tourism
entities, have received millions of dollars in grants from the U.S.
government, allocated to them by the U.S. congress, to establish and
operate criminal networks throughout the region; among their networking
partners are Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Albanian Mafia. While the
U.S. government painted Islamic charity organizations as the main
financial source for Al Qaeda terrorists, it was hard at work trying to
cover up the terrorists’ main financial source: narcotics and illegal
arms sales. Why?
For years and years, information and evidence being collected by the
counterintelligence operations of certain U.S. intelligence and law
enforcement agencies has been prevented from being transferred to
criminal and narcotics divisions, and from being shared with the Drug
Enforcement Agency and others with prosecutorial power. Those with
direct knowledge have been prevented from making this information
available and public by various gag orders and invocation of the State
Secrets Privilege. Why?
Is this due to the fact that the existence and survival of many U.S.
allies; Turkey, almost all Central Asian nations, and after the
September Eleven attack, Afghanistan; greatly depend on cultivating,
processing, transporting, and distributing these illegal substances? Is
it caused by the fact that a major source of income for those who
procure U.S. weapons and technology, our military industrial complex’s
bread and butter, is being generated from this illegal production and
illegal dealings? Or, is it the fear of exposing our own financial
institutions, lobbying firms, and certain elected and appointed
officials, as beneficiaries?
When it comes to criminal and shady global networks most people
envision either Mafiosi like entities who keep to themselves and are
separated from society, or, street level gangster-like criminals.
Contrary to these expectations, the top tier Turkish criminal networks
consist mainly of respectable looking businessmen, some of whom are
among the top international businessmen, diplomats, politicians, and
scholarly individuals. Their U.S. counterparts are equally respected
and recognizable; some of whom are high-level appointed bureaucrats
within the State Department and the Pentagon; some are elected
officials, and others consist of the combination of the two who have
now set up their own companies and lobbying groups.
The American Turkish Council (ATC)
Operating tax-free and under the radar is one of the most
powerful “non-profit” associations in the U.S., the American Turkish
Council (ATC). Some who are familiar with its operations and
players describe it as ‘Mini AIPAC;’ this description aces it. ATC
followed the AIPAC model; with the direct help of AIPAC & JINSA, it
created a base out of which to stretch its tentacles, reaching the
highest echelons of our government. While the ATC is an association in
name and in charter, the reality is that it and other affiliated
associations arethe U.S. government, lobbyists,
foreign agents, and MIC. Investigative journalist, John Stanton,
correctly describes the ATC as an extraordinary group of elite and interconnected
Republicans, Democrats and corporate and military heavyweights who are
spearheading one of the most ambitious strategic gambits in U.S.
Included in ATC’s management, board of directors, and advisors; in
addition to Turkish individuals of ‘interest;’ is a dizzying array of
U.S. individuals. The ATC is led by Ret. General Brent Scowcroft, who
serves as Chairman of the Board; George Perlman of Lockheed Martin, the
Executive Vice President; other board members include: Former National
Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Ret. General Elmer Pendleton, Ret.
General Joseph Ralston, Ret. Col. Preston Hughes, Alan Colegrove of
Northrop Grumman, Frank Carlucci of Carlyle Group, Christine Vick of
Cohen Group, Representative Robert Wexler, Former Rep. Ed
Whitfield…Basically many formers; statesmen, ‘dime a dozen generals,’
On the members - paying clients – side; their list includes all the
MIC’s who’s who, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman; the
Washington Lobby scene’s who’s who; The Cohen Group, The Livingston
Group, Washington Group International…
Of course, there are also many Turkish companies that are members of
the ATC. Most of these companies have branches and operations in Libya,
Dubai, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and
Turkmenistan. Although the official listings of their businesses are
cited as ‘construction,’ ‘real estate’, ‘manufacturing,’ and ‘tourism’;
the main activities of these businesses are known to be related to
global illegal arms sales and narcotic processing and trafficking.
These companies provide necessary fronts and channels to launder
proceeds. Curiously enough, hundreds of millions of dollars have been
granted by the United States government, approved by the congress, to
these Turkish companies under the guise of various ‘U.S. Central Asian
development programs;’ and ‘Iraq & Afghanistan reconstruction
‘ATC is joined in the creation of the New EuroAsia by the American Azerbaijan
Chamber of Commerce (AACC). AACC’s Honorary Council of Advisors
just happens to have General Scowcroft and the following persons of
significance: Henry Kissinger and James Baker III. Former Council
members include Dick Cheney and Richard Armitage, and Board of Trustee
members include media-overkill subject Richard Perle of AEI, and
Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas.’
The MIC Factor
In part1 we discussed the MIC as ‘agents by default;’ marriages and loyalties
based on ‘mutual benefit;’ our previous example was Saudi Arabia, top
customer of U.S. weaponry. Well, Turkey only tails the Saudis slightly
in that category; between 1992 and 1996, Turkey was the second largest
importer of weaponry, spending more than $7
billion in four years. A report by the World Policy Institute shows that Turkey is the third largest
recipient of U.S. military aid, behind Israel and Egypt. Between 1994
and 2003, Turkey took delivery of more than $6.8 billion in U.S.
weaponry and services.
In fiscal year 1989, U.S. aid to Turkey was $563,500,000. According to
National Monitor Report, in 1991, Turkey received more than $800
million in U.S. aid, “an exceptional return” on its $3.8 million
investment in Washington lobbyists. At the time, International
Advisors, INC. (Douglas Feith & Richard Perle lobbying firm as
registered agents for Turkey) was paid more than $1 million for
representing Turkey in the U.S. for the purpose of securing these types
of deals. In 2003, Turkey received a $1
billion aid package. During this period their registered and known
lobbyists were the Livingston Group, headed by the former Speaker of
the House Bob Livingston, and Solarz Associates, headed by a formerly
powerful Representative, Stephen Solarz. Turkey, from 2000 to 2004, for
only four years, paid Livingston $9 million for his lobbying services. What did the Republic of Turkey get for its
$2 million per year investment in Ex-Congressman Livingston’s services?
A Joint Report by the Federation of American Scientists and the World Policy Institute
found that the vast majority of U.S. arms transfers to Turkey were
subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. In many cases, these taxpayer funds are
supporting military production and employment in Turkey,
not in the United States. Of the $10.5 billion in U.S. weaponry
delivered to Turkey since 1984, $8 billion in all has been directly or
indirectly financed by grants and subsidized loans provided by the U.S.
government. Many of the largest deals - such as Lockheed Martin's sale
of 240 F-16s to the Turkish air force and the FMC Corporation's
provision of 1,698 armored vehicles to the Turkish army - involve
co-production and offset provisions which steer investments, jobs, and
production to Turkey as a condition of the sale. For example, Turkey's
F-16 assembly plant in Ankara - a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) - employs 2,000 production workers,
almost entirely paid for with U.S. tax dollars.
Let’s recap the above data: Not only does our government, actually, our
taxpayers, subsidize $8 billion of Turkey’s $10 billion weapons
purchases; the production of this weaponry and the associated
employment occurs not in the U.S., but overseas, in Turkey. We, the
taxpayers, are subsidizing these purchases; our nation readily
transfers its technology to a country that ranks high in global
narcotics, terrorist and WMD related activities; while a select few MIC
related firms such as Lockheed and the pimping middlemen, the
lobbyists, get fatter and richer.
One Stop Shop: The Cohen Group
Like many other former statesmen, William Cohen, former
Secretary of Defense, dived into the business of lobbying and
consulting, and created his own Washington firm, The Cohen Group,
which works for some of the largest companies in the defense industry,
such as Lockheed Martin, and serves numerous foreign players. The Cohen
Group is one of the primary and most active members of the American Turkish Council (ATC). Cohen’s client, Lockheed Martin, happens to be on the board of
ATC, in addition to being listed as ATC’s top paying client.
The group claims on its Website that its principals have "a century and
a half of combined experience in the Congress, the Defense Department,
the State Department, the White House, and state and local governments"
and that they “have developed extensive expertise and relationships
with key international political, economic, and business leaders and
acquired invaluable experiences with the individuals and institutions
that affect our clients' success abroad.” Abroad indeed. With a
few ‘dime a dozen generals’ and former statesmen, the firm owes its
phenomenal speedy success to interests ‘abroad’ and of course, the MIC!
Let’s look, with great amazement, I hope, at how this ingenious lobby
venture serves as foreign agent for several influences without having
to register as such; with complete immunity against any scrutiny.
According to Intelligence Online, in its March 27, 2006 issue, Cohen
accompanied Bush on his trip to India and Pakistan in March 2006. The
Cohen Group is very active in India; Joseph Ralston, Cohen’s Vice
Chairman, led two delegations of U.S. Defense Chiefs to India the
previous year. The trips were organized in conjunction with the U.S.
India Business Council; among the participants were Lockheed Martin,
Northrop Grumman, and Boeing.
On June 9, 2006, Intelligence Online reports ‘already operating
in India, the Cohen Group headed by William Cohen, has just opened an
office in Beijing... Since 2003 the Cohen Group has equally been
employing Christine Vick. She is a former Vice President of Kissinger
Associates; the consultancy founded by former Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger, and had been in charge of the firm’s Chinese business.’
Prior to the October 2005 release of Paul Volcker's report on
violations of the United Nations' Iraq oil-for-food program, the
Australian wheat exporter AWB
Limited hired Cohen’s firm. AWB paid approximately $A300 million in
trucking fees on its wheat contracts to a Jordanian company, Alia,
which owns no trucks! The funds were funnelled to Saddam’s regime. AWB
hired Cohen Group as part of its ‘strategy, ’ code-named ‘Project
Rose’, to deal with the UN inquiry headed by Paul Volcker and
corruption allegations made against it by U.S. wheat farmers and ‘hostile
US politicians.’ Cohen Group is not a law firm; what kind of
services and representation is it providing for this criminal case?
So who are the key players at Cohen’s lobby firm, giving it its
value? Well of course, a handful of powerful formers; in addition to
Cohen as the top principal we have former Undersecretary of State Mark
Grossman, and two formerly high-level ‘dime a dozen generals:’ General
Joseph Ralston and General Paul Kern; let’s briefly look at them; shall
Ret. General Paul Kern
Cohen Group senior counselor is retired general Paul J. Kern, a
former head of the Army Materiel Command, who recently served on a
panel convened by the Defense Department to recommend improvements in
how it acquires weapons systems; of course, a topic of great interest
to Cohen clients.
Acquisition Performance Assessment Panel , DAPAP, was created to
recommend changes in the awarding of military contracts. Over half of
this panel is executives of large defense corporations. Among the
Committee’s six members are Frank Cappuccio, VP of Lockheed Martin, and
retired General Kern, who is the Senior Counselor of the Cohen Group!
When the Pentagon is informed of wasteful practices, it commonly
ignores them. Congressman Walter Jones, (R-N.C.) is quoted as
understating, "We’ve got an agency that is not doing its job of being a
watchdog for the taxpayers." Retired Army Reserve officer Paul
Fellencer Sr. complained to the Pentagon’s fraud hot line last year
about $200-million worth of outrageous overpayments for ordinary
supplies. Pentagon investigators never bothered to call him and
dismissed his tip as "unsubstantiated," the news service said.
One wonders how many American citizens are aware of the fact that a
‘dime a dozen general’ such as Kern, who happens to be a Senior Counsel
of a lobby firm with foreign interests and MIC representation, who
happens to sit on the board of Lockheed Martin, gets to sit on a panel
that monitors and advises on awarding military contracts to the private
MIC companies by the Pentagon. Would it take an absolute genius to
figure out that this is ‘putting a fox in charge of the hen house’?
If not, then how could this get past the decision makers at the
Pentagon? How come our lawmakers, those in charge of ensuring the
checks and balances in our government, those we consider our
representatives, sit there either unaware or unbothered by this red
flag visible from a hundred miles away? What happened to ‘investigative
journalists with good noses;’ were they all inflicted by congested
sinuses at the same time?
Fmr. Gen. Joseph Ralston
Ralston, one of Cohen Group’s Vice Chairmen, is on the board of
Lockheed Martin, which paid the Cohen Group $550,000 in 2005, according
to a Lockheed filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ralston is also a member of the 2006 Advisory Board of the American Turkish Council
(ATC), and one of Turkey’s top advocates. If you think this ‘dime a
dozen general’ ended one career and removed himself from the U.S.
government by becoming ‘the foreign agent man,’ think again after
reading the following.
On August 28, 2006, the U.S. State Department appointed the former U.S. Air Force General, current Vice Chairman of the Cohen
Group, board member of American Turkish Council, registered lobbyist
for Lockheed Martin, Joseph Ralston, as a “Special Envoy” for
countering the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)! Lo and behold, Ralston’s
appointment came as Turkey was finalizing the purchase of 30 new
Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft valued at $3 billion, and as Turkey was
due to make its decision on the $10 billion purchase of the new
Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF aircraft. Coincidentally, the U.S. Congress
approved the sale of the F-16s to Turkey in October 2006, shortly after
Ralston’s return from Turkey.
While the implications of Ralston’s appointment caused a major stir within the Kurdish community and organizations, mainly pointing to
Ralston’s position with the Turkish lobby in the U.S. (he is on the
board of ATC), and within Turkey’s own communities, pointing to
Ralston’s position with Lockheed Martin (he is on the board of Lockheed
Martin), our own media, watchdog organizations, and congress let this
gargantuan conflict of interest pass under the radar.
Our government sent this man, Ralston, as a special envoy to help
resolve the highly critical Northern Iraq situation with possible dire
consequences in the near future. Considering Ralston’s livelihood and
his loyalties, as a member of the board of the directors of Lockheed
Martin, as the vice chairman of a lobbying firm with foreign interests,
as an advisor and board member for the most powerful Turkish Lobby
group, ATC, who did this man represent while in Turkey as the special
envoy? What interests did he really represent; Iraq’s situation,
Lockheed’s livelihood, which depends on further conflicts and
bloodshed; the corrupt and criminal government of Turkey and its
representation via ATC; or, the furthering of the Cohen Group’s future
Why in the world did no one within the U.S. mainstream media give even
the slightest coverage of this conflict of interest? Why did no one,
Democrat or Republican, in our congress make a peep? Why haven’t we
heard anyone asking Ralston the most important question, in dire need
of an answer: ‘Who’s your daddy Ralston; boy?’ Ralston’s position is no
different than what is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “A
person conceived and born out of wedlock.” With the possibility of
any one of four daddies, and without the benefit of a DNA test, how do
we go about determining Ralston’s real daddy?
Fmr. Undersecretary Marc Grossman
The second Vice Chairman of Cohen’s firm is Marc Grossman, who
was the U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs in the State
Department from 2001 until 2005. From November 1994 to June 1997,
he served as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. In January 2005 Grossman
resigned from his position and joined the Cohen Group. In late December
2005, Grossman joined Ihlas Holding, a large and alleged shady Turkish
company which is also active in several Central Asian countries.
Grossman is reported to receive $100,000 per
month for his advisory position with Ihlas.’ Most and foremost,
Grossman is known for his extraordinarily cozy relationship with Turkey
and Israel; followed by Pakistan.
Here is Grossman as the key speaker at an ATC conference in March 2002;
while Undersecretary of State; and here it is followed by Grossman’s visit to Turkey in December 2002, to approve the $3 billion U.S. aid to
Turkey for the Iraq Cooperation deal. There he goes again, Grossman back to
Turkey in December 2003 re: approval of Turkey’s eligibility to
participate in tenders for Iraq’s reconstruction! Here is Grossman as the key speaker at an ATC Conference held at the Omni
Shoreham Hotel in December 2004, while Undersecretary. Here is Grossman as the guest of honor and key speaker at the American
Turkish Society dinner in New York in February 2005, while
Undersecretary. Here he is again, at the lavish Turkish Ottoman Dinner Gala in November
2005. Here is Grossman at the award dinner gala by the Turkish lobby group, the
Assembly of American Turkish Association (ATAA), in Chicago, receiving
his award in November 2005. Here is
Grossman as the key speaker at the ATC annual conference in March 2006,
and later, in June 2006, at the MERIA
Conference to discuss Turkey’s importance to the U.S. & Israel.
This list can go on for pages and pages; but I believe you all get it;
Here is a comment by Wolfowitz during his visit to Turkey: ”I'm delighted to be back in
Turkey and so is my colleague Marc Grossman, who feels like Turkey is a
second home.” Second home indeed, Mr. Grossman!
Please do not make the grave and naive mistake of assuming that
Grossman found and obtained his highly lucrative and questionable
positions after his resignation in January 2005. Within two
months after his confident resignation, this boy got the vice
chairmanship of the Cohen Group. Only six months later, Grossman ended
up securing a ‘special advisory’ position for a foreign company that
reported his monthly fee at $100,000 a month. The industrious Grossman
seems to be juggling so many balls simultaneously: numerous foreign
sponsored dinner speeches, the demanding pimping activities of Cohen’s
firm, the very ‘special advising’ of a shady foreign company…
We all have a pretty good idea how long and how much work it takes to
secure that level of income and those positions. Did Grossman beat the
odds and get lucky as soon as he got out of the State Department? Did
he hit the jackpot? Or, did he diligently and industriously work at it,
while in his position as the ambassador to Turkey and as Deputy
Secretary of State? Did he sell his soul while under his oath of
office? Did he sell our government’s soul? Did he sell our nation and
its interests? If so; for what and how much?
* * * *
Long gone are the days when generals were content to retire and go
back home where they held their heads high as honorable patriots and
heroes who had served their nation; where they marched in their towns’
parades as proud distinguished men and women who had fulfilled their
duty to the people. Today, as we clearly see, they perceive themselves
and their authority as a commodity; they go about marketing their worth
(nationally and internationally; foreign and domestic) long before they
leave their positions as public servants.
The same goes for many of our statesmen. While in office, Grossman and
others like him appear to have one objective in mind and in action: to
make sure that their future employer who is waiting for them on the
other side of the revolving door will receive special and lucrative
arrangements so that they can be compensated handsomely later.
we briefly described the Foreign
Agents Registration Act (FARA), established to insure that the
American public and its lawmakers know the source of propaganda
intended to sway public opinion, policy, and laws; and the
Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) of 1995, which was passed to make the regulation and disclosure of
lobbying the federal government more effective. The article emphasized
that both of these cosmetic laws are filled with exemptions and
loopholes that allow minimization of, and in some cases complete escape
from, warranted scrutiny, and have serious loopholes and limitations.
The Cohen Group is an excellent case, illustrating the futility of
FARA, since the firm does not have to be registered. They can claim
that Turkey is not their ‘direct’ client; they can argue that they are
not getting paid ‘directly’ by the government of Turkey or any other
foreign entity or government. They certainly can; no matter that
Grossman receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from a dubious
Turkish company. Does Cohen discount Grossman’s Vice Chairmanship
salary accordingly? No matter that half a million dollars per year from
their client Lockheed Martin is mainly for services provided to Turkey,
and having the group’s second chairman serve on Lockheed’s board is
another way to get around all restrictions. The incestuous relationship
twists and turns: The Cohen Group on the board of ATC, The Cohen Group
a paying member client of ATC, The Cohen Group as Lockheed’s lobbyist,
Cohen’s men on the board of Lockheed, Lockheed on the board of ATC,
Lockheed also a paying client of ATC…How is your head; spinning yet?
We are proud of the large turnout at the ballot box for the midterm
elections a few weeks ago; a sign of participatory citizenship. Perhaps
we’ll be repeating this phenomenon, if not increasing it, for the
presidential elections in two years; another means to demonstrate our
‘democratic government process in action’ for badly needed change. But
who really runs our country? Who really shapes our public policies and
determines the flow of our hard-earned tax money entrusted to our
government? If you had the patience to go through this article, which
sheds light on only a fragment of what really takes place behind our
backs, within the halls of our government, in all three branches, you
would start questioning your significance as a voter and taxpayer, and
you would begin wondering whether you are governed by who you think you
The foreign influence, the lobbyists, the current highly positioned
civil servants who are determined future ‘wanna be’ lobbyists, and the
fat cats of the Military Industrial Complex, operate successfully under
the radar, with unlimited reach and power, with no scrutiny, while
selling your interests, benefiting from your tax money, and serving the
highest bidders regardless of what or who they may be. This deep
state seems to operate at all levels of our government; from the
President’s office to Congress, from the military quarters to the civil
servants’ offices. Let’s let Marcus Cicero’s timeless warning from over
two thousand years ago put the finishing touch on this article:
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it
cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less
formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the
traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers
rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government
itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents
familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments,
he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He
rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night
to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so
that it can no longer resist. A murder[er] is less to fear.”- - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Sibel Edmonds is the
founder and director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). Ms. Edmonds worked as a language
specialist for the FBI. During her work with the bureau, she
discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups,
and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security
implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was
retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since
that time, court proceedings on her case have been blocked by the
assertion of “State Secret Privilege”; the Congress of the United
States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case
through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice. Ms.
Edmonds is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani; and has a MA in
Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University,
and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington
University. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006
PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award.
from Edward Herman :
9 December 2006
lynching of Jimmy Carter.
Even an Ex-President Can't Say in America
Lynching of Jimmy Carter
It seems Israel's "supporters" have conscripted me in their
lynching of Jimmy Carter. Count me out. True, the historical part of
Carter's book, Palestine:
Peace Not Apartheid, contains errors in that it repeats standard
Israeli propaganda. However, Carter's analysis of the impasse in the
"peace process" as well as his description of Israeli policy in the
West Bank is accurate - and, frankly, that's all that matters.
A wag once said that there is no Pravda (Truth) in Izvestia (News)
and no Izvestia in Pravda. The same can be said of our Pravda (The New
York Times) and Izvestia (The Washington Post). Today both party organs
ran feature stories trashing Carter using Kenneth Stein's resignation
from the Carter Center as the hook. (I was sitting in the airport when
this earth-shattering story came on CNN.) But like John Galt, many
people must have wondered, Who (the hell) is Kenneth Stein? Stein wrote
exactly one scholarly book on the Israel-Palestine conflict more than
two decades ago (The Land Question in Palestine, 1984). Even in his
heyday, Stein was a nonentity. When Joan Peters's hoax From Time
Immemorial was published, I asked his opinion of it. He replied that it
had "good points and bad points." Just like the Protocols of the Elders
Later Stein wrote a sick essay the main thesis of which was, "the
Palestinian Arab community had been significantly prone to
dispossession and dislocation before the mass exodus from Palestine
began" - so the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 was
really no big deal ("One Hundred Years of Social Change: The Creation
of the Palestinian Refugee Probem," in Laurence Silberstein (ed.), New
Perspectives on Israeli History, 1991).
The Pravda ( NYT) story was written by two reporters who seem to
have made a beeline for the newsroom from their bat mitzvahs. They
quote Stein to the >effect that Carter's book is "replete with factual errors,
copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions and
simply invented segments". I doubt there's much to this. Most of the
background material is Carter's reminiscences. Maybe he copied from
Rosalyn's diary (she was his note taker). Then Pravda reports that "a
growing chorus of academics...have taken issue with the book". Who do
they name? Alan Dershowitz and David Makovsky. Makovsky is resident
hack at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Israel
Pravda saw no irony in citing Dershowitz's expertise for a story
on fabrication, falsification and plagiarism regarding a book on the
Israel-Palestine conflict. As always, one can only be awed by the party
discipline at our Pravda. It makes one positively wistful for the days
when commissars quoted Stalin on linguistics.
Norman Finkelstein's most recent book
is Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of
anti-Semitism and the abuse of history (University of California Press).
from Dahr Jamail :
Military Takes to Desperate Tactics
Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
Dec 9 (IPS) - People living in areas where resistance to U.S.-led
occupation is mounting are facing increased levels of collective
punishment from the occupation forces, residents say.
Siniyah town 200 km north of Baghdad with a population of 25,000
has been under siege by the U.S. military for two weeks.
IPS had earlier reported unrest in Siniyah Jan. 20 when the U.S.
military constructed a six-mile sand wall in a failed attempt to check
Located near Beji in the volatile but oil-rich Salahedin province,
Siniyah has become a vivid example of harsh tactics used by occupation
forces, who have lost control over most of the country.
"Thirteen children died during the two-week siege due to U.S.
troops' disallowance for doctors to open their private clinics as well
as closure of the general medical centre there," a doctor from the city
reported to IPS via satellite phone.
The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from
the U.S. military. IPS had to reach him by phone since the military
blockade has cut the city off from the outside world.
"This is not the first time U.S. troops have conducted such a
siege here, but this time it represents murder," the doctor said.
A U.S. military public relations officer in Baghdad told IPS on
phone that the military was doing "what it had to do to fight the
terrorists in and around Siniyah" and that "no medical aid is being
When IPS told him it had received contradictory information from a
doctor in that city, he replied, "that is just not true."
The siege has generated resentment against the Shia-dominated
Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki, who has failed
to comment on the deaths. Sunnis have not missed the sharp contrast to
his order to U.S. troops to lift their checkpoints around the Shia area
of Sadr City in Baghdad.
Sectarian conflict has been rising between Shias and Sunnis, two
differing followings within Islam. Sunnis are the majority
worldwide,but Shias are said to be the majority within Iraq.
Abdul Kareem al-Samarrai'i, a leading member of the Islamic Party
that participates in the Maliki government, stated on Baghdad Space
Channel that the 13 children died in Siniyah "because of the siege and
the U.S. army orders to deprive the town of any medical care."
Duluiyah, another small town roughly 60 km north of Baghdad has
been under siege by the U.S. military for the last three weeks.
"They (U.S. military) applied the siege upon Duluiyah (close to
Samarra) many times, the last of which partially ended last week,"
Samir Muhammad of the Samarra municipality council told IPS.
The Geneva Conventions forbid use of collective punishment.
International law says the occupying power in a country is responsible
for safeguarding the civilian population.
Fallujah in al-Anbar province to the west of Baghdad continues to
face attacks and harassment by the U.S. military, according to local
"Why don't those people admit their failure and leave,"
55-year-old Khalaf Dawood from Fallujah told IPS. "They are being hit
and their soldiers are getting killed all over the city. All they are
doing is killing civilians and suffocating the city economically as
Electricity supply in Fallujah was recently cut off for three days
after resistance snipers launched attacks on U.S. soldiers. U.S.
military vehicles are attacked regularly around the city.
Several local people told IPS that on average one civilian a day
is killed by U.S. gunfire in Fallujah, while raids on houses have been
stepped up heavily.
The U.S. military commander in Fallujah admitted to local media
last month that at least five attacks on average were being conducted
everyday against his troops and Iraqi army units. The vast majority of
the population of Fallujah continues to demand unconditional withdrawal
of U.S. troops from their city.
Meanwhile, the situation in Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar
province where Fallujah is also located, has deteriorated further.
Residents told IPS that bombardment from U.S. warplanes and helicopters
has killed many civilians.
IPS reported Nov. 17 that U.S. military had shelled several houses
in Ramadi, killing 35 civilians.
A partial siege of the city continues, and residents are
complaining that a new militia formed by Maliki's government in the
name of "fighting terror" has been rounding up young men from the city.
The militia recently took control of the University of Anbar in
Ramadi and started harassing students. U.S. soldiers blocked the main
road to the university before the militia entered the campus.
"They even harassed the president (principal) of the university
and accused him of being an al-Qaeda leader," a university professor
speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "The principal is a
professor in chemistry and a very peaceful man who has dedicated his
life to science and supervising PHD and MSC graduates."