Friday, February 29, 2008

An Invention Called 'The Jewish People'

By Tom Segev
Thu., February 28, 2008
Courtesy Of:

Israel's Declaration of Independence states that the Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel and was exiled from its homeland. Every Israeli schoolchild is taught that this happened during the period of Roman rule, in 70 CE. The nation remained loyal to its land, to which it began to return after two millennia of exile. Wrong, says the historian Shlomo Zand, in one of the most fascinating and challenging books published here in a long time. There never was a Jewish people, only a Jewish religion, and the exile also never happened - hence there was no return. Zand rejects most of the stories of national-identity formation in the Bible, including the exodus from Egypt and, most satisfactorily, the horrors of the conquest under Joshua. It's all fiction and myth that served as an excuse for the establishment of the State of Israel, he asserts.

According to Zand, the Romans did not generally exile whole nations, and most of the Jews were permitted to remain in the country. The number of those exiled was at most tens of thousands. When the country was conquered by the Arabs, many of the Jews converted to Islam and were assimilated among the conquerors. It follows that the progenitors of the Palestinian Arabs were Jews. Zand did not invent this thesis; 30 years before the Declaration of Independence, it was espoused by David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and others.

If the majority of the Jews were not exiled, how is it that so many of them reached almost every country on earth? Zand says they emigrated of their own volition or, if they were among those exiled to Babylon, remained there because they chose to. Contrary to conventional belief, the Jewish religion tried to induce members of other faiths to become Jews, which explains how there came to be millions of Jews in the world. As the Book of Esther, for example, notes, "And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them."

Zand quotes from many existing studies, some of which were written in Israel but shunted out of the central discourse. He also describes at length the Jewish kingdom of Himyar in the southern Arabian Peninsula and the Jewish Berbers in North Africa. The community of Jews in Spain sprang from Arabs who became Jews and arrived with the forces that captured Spain from the Christians, and from European-born individuals who had also become Jews.

The first Jews of Ashkenaz (Germany) did not come from the Land of Israel and did not reach Eastern Europe from Germany, but became Jews in the Khazar Kingdom in the Caucasus. Zand explains the origins of Yiddish culture: it was not a Jewish import from Germany, but the result of the connection between the offspring of the Kuzari and Germans who traveled to the East, some of them as merchants.

We find, then, that the members of a variety of peoples and races, blond and black, brown and yellow, became Jews in large numbers. According to Zand, the Zionist need to devise for them a shared ethnicity and historical continuity produced a long series of inventions and fictions, along with an invocation of racist theses. Some were concocted in the minds of those who conceived the Zionist movement, while others were offered as the findings of genetic studies conducted in Israel.


Prof. Zand teaches at Tel Aviv University. His book, "When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?" (published by Resling in Hebrew), is intended to promote the idea that Israel should be a "state of all its citizens" - Jews, Arabs and others - in contrast to its declared identity as a "Jewish and democratic" state. Personal stories, a prolonged theoretical discussion and abundant sarcastic quips do not help the book, but its historical chapters are well-written and cite numerous facts and insights that many Israelis will be astonished to read for the first time.

Israel Threatens Gazans With "HOLOCAUST"

Israel Warns Of Invasion Of Gaza

Last Updated: Friday, 29 February 2008, 15:36 GMT
Courtesy Of The

Israel's deputy defence minister has said it will be left with "no choice" but to invade Gaza...

Matan Vilnai said the Palestinians risked a big disaster - using the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.

...Speaking on Israel Army Radio, Mr Vilnai said if Palestinians increased rocket fire, they will bring upon themselves what he called a "shoah" - a Hebrew word for catastrophe, and for the Nazi Holocaust.
The BBC's Katya Adler in Jerusalem says many of Mr Vilnai's colleagues have quickly distanced themselves from his comments and also tried to downplay them saying he did not mean genocide.

"We're getting close to using our full strength. Until now, we've used a small percentage of the army's power because of the nature of the territory," he added.

Separately, the chairman of the Knesset's defence and foreign affairs committee, Tzachi Hanegbi, said Israel "must make a strategic decision to order the army to prepare quickly".

A recent opinion poll has indicated a majority of Israelis favour a truce with Hamas.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Alleged Hijacker Booked Post-9/11 Flights

FBI Documents Contradict 9/11 Commission Report

By Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: Thursday February 28, 2008
Courtesy Of The

Newly-released records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request contradict the 9/11 Commission’s report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and raise fresh questions about the role of Saudi government officials in connection to the hijackers.

The nearly 300 pages of a Federal Bureau of Investigation timeline used by the 9/11 Commission as the basis for many of its findings were acquired through a FOIA request filed by Kevin Fenton, a 26 year old translator from the Czech Republic. The FBI released the 298-page “hijacker timeline” Feb. 4.

The FBI timeline reveals that alleged hijacker Hamza Al-Ghamdi, who was aboard the United Airlines flight which crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, had booked a future flight to San Francisco. He also had a ticket for a trip from Casablanca to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

Though referenced repeatedly in the footnotes of the final 9/11 Commission report, the timeline has not previously been made available to the public.

The FBI timeline is dated Nov. 14, 2003 but appears to have been put together earlier (since the last date mentioned in the document is Oct. 22, 2001) and was provided to the 9/11 Commission during its 2003 investigation. The final Commission report cites the FBI timeline 52 times.

Post Sept. 11, 2001 Flights

The FBI timeline reveals that Al-Ghamdi, the alleged United hijacker, was booked onto several flights scheduled for after the 9/11 attacks, a piece of information not documented in the Commission’s final report. According to the FBI timeline, Al-Ghamdi was booked on another United Airlines flight on the very day of the attack.

On page 288 under an entry pertaining to “H AlGhamdi,” the FBI timeline reads: "Future flight. Scheduled to depart Los Angeles International Airport for San Francisco International Airport on UA 7950."

The sourcing reads simply: “UA passenger information.”

The timeline similarly documents Al-Ghamdi’s bookings for several other post 9/11 flights, including one on Sept. 20, 2001 from Casablanca, Morocco to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and another on Sept. 29, 2001 from Riyadh to Damman, Saudi Arabia. (FBI Timeline 2, p. 296 under “H Alghamdi”)

No additional information or explanation is offered in the FBI timeline itself.

The Saudi Connection

In January 2000, then-FBI Director Louis Freeh and CIA Director George Tenet attended regular briefings as Malaysian intelligence conducted surveillance of a “terrorist summit meeting” in Kuala Lumpur. Among the attendees were Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, two men who would later allegedly hijack American Airlines Flight 77 and crash it into the Pentagon.

A week after the Malaysian summit, al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi traveled to the United States. According to the 9/11 Commission report, they arrived in Los Angeles on Jan. 15 and “spent about two weeks there before moving to San Diego.” (9/11 Commission report, p. 215, chapter 7). The footnote for this item shows that the Commission relied on a different FBI report, “‘Summary of Pentbom Investigation,’ Feb.29, 2004 (classified version), p.16.”

But the FBI timeline contradicts this claim, placing the alleged hijackers in San Diego with specific details. According to the timeline, the two men resided in Apartment 152 at Parkwood Apartments, San Diego, from Jan. 15 through Feb. 2, 2000.

“A rental application shows that before renting Apartment 150 Parkwood Apartments on 02/05/2000, AL-MlHDHAR and Nawaf Alhazmi alleged that they resided with [REDACTED] from 01/15/2000 to 02/02/2000 at Apartment 152 of the same apartment complex,” page 52 of the FBI timeline reads.

Two pages later, the same apartment complex is noted again, this time with its full address: “AL-MIHDHAR and Nawaf Alhazmi resided at Parkwood Apartments, located at 6401 Mount Ada Road, Apartment 150, San Diego, CA. [REDACTED] was the co-signor and guarantor on the lease agreement for this apparement. The rental application shows that before renting Apartment 150, AL-MIHDHAR and Nawaf Alhazmi resided with [REDACTED]." (A photograph of apartment 152 appears atop this article. An image of apartment 150 appears on page 2.)

In other words, according to the only public account, both Al-Mihdhar and Hazmi were in San Diego, not Los Angeles, contrary to the Commission’s report.

Why did the Commission use an alternate source for the whereabouts of the two men, when the FBI’s own timeline said they were in San Diego by Jan. 15, the same day as their arrival in the US?

Paul Thompson, author of the The Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute: A Comprehensive Chronicle of the Road to 9/11--and America's Response, has been wading through the FBI timeline since its release. His preliminary analysis can be found at the website of the History Commons (formerly known as the Center for Cooperative Research).

Thompson believes that the possible motive for the Commission to alter the dates is to obscure official Saudi ties to the hijackers.

He points to the redaction of the name of a person who is a known employee of a Saudi defense contractor, Omar al-Bayoumi, who lived at the same location.

“We know it’s Bayoumi,” said Thompson, “because after 9/11, the Finnish Government mistakenly released a classified FBI list of suspects that showed Bayoumi living in apartment #152 of Parkwood Apartments.” That information is available here.

“But also important is that it strongly suggests that the hijackers already had a support network in Southern California before they arrived,” Thompson continued.

“In the official version of the story now, the hijackers drift around L.A. listlessly for two weeks before chancing to come across Bayoumi in a restaurant [according to Bayoumi’s account],” Thompson added. “Whereupon he's an incredible good Samaritan and takes them down to San Diego, pays their rent, etc.”

”But from the FBI's timeline, we now know the hijackers started staying at Bayoumi's place on Jan. 15 – the very same day they arrived,” Thompson says. “So obviously they must have been met at the airport and taken care of from their very first hours in the US. That's huge because the FBI maintains to this day that the hijackers never had any accomplices in the US.”

Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer in the Middle East whose See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism became the inspiration for the award winning film Syriana, concurs with Thompson’s view.

“There are enough discrepancies and unanswered questions in the 9/11 Commission report that under a friendly administration, the 9/11 investigation should be re-opened,” Baer wrote in an email message Tuesday night.

“Bayoumi clearly offered material assistance to [the 9/11 hijackers].”

READ THE DOCUMENTS: PDF pages 1-105, PDF pages 106-210, PDF pages 211-297.

Continue to page 2: Who is Bayoumi?

Much has been reported about Omar al-Bayoumi and his alleged relationship with the government of Saudi Arabia. In his recent book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, New York Times reporter Phillip Shenon discusses at length the questions surrounding Bayoumi and his ties to the Saudi government.

“Bayoumi seemed clearly to be working for some part of the Saudi government,” Shenon wrote on page 52. “He entered the United States as a business student and had lived San Diego since 1996. He was on the payroll of an aviation contractor to the Saudi government, paid about $2,800 a month, but apparently did no work for the company.”

In fact, Bayoumi was an employee of the Saudi defense contractor Dallah Avco. According to a 2002 Newsweek article about Bayoumi, Dallah Avco is “an aviation-services company with extensive contracts with the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, headed by Prince Sultan, the father of the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar.”

Newsweek points to another connection between Bayoumi and Bandar:

“About two months after al-Bayoumi began aiding Alhazmi and Almihdhar, NEWSWEEK has learned, al-Bayoumi's wife began receiving regular stipends, often monthly and usually around $2,000, totaling tens of thousands of dollars. The money came in the form of cashier's checks, purchased from Washington's Riggs Bank by Princess Haifa bint Faisal, the daughter of the late King Faisal and wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi envoy who is a prominent Washington figure and personal friend of the Bush family. The checks were sent to a woman named Majeda Ibrahin Dweikat, who in turn signed over many of them to al-Bayoumi's wife (and her friend), Manal Ahmed Bagader. The Feds want to know: Was this well-meaning charity gone awry? Or some elaborate money-laundering scheme? A scam? Or just a coincidence?”

According to then-Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), who served as a co-chair of the 9/11 Congressional inquiry that preceded the 9/11 Commission, during the period of Alhazmi and Almihdhar’s arrival in the US, Bayoumi had an “unusually large number of telephone calls with Saudi government officials in both Los Angeles and Washington.” (Graham and Nussbaum, 2004, pp. 168-169)

Bayoumi moved to London in 2001 and lived there until his arrest immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. Following his release, Bayoumi returned to Saudi Arabia, where he was interviewed in October 2003 by the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, and Senior Counsel Dieter Snell.

Snell did not respond to requests for comment; Zeilkow could not be reached.

According to Shenon, several staff members working under Snell, “felt strongly that they had demonstrated a close Saudi government connection,” based on “explosive material” on al-Bayoumi and Fahad al-Thumairy, a “shadowy Saudi diplomat in Los Angeles.”

Shenon recounts how Snell, in preparing his team’s account of the plot, purged almost all of the most serious allegations against the Saudi government and moved the “explosive” supporting evidence to the small print of the report’s footnotes. (The Commission, pp. 398-399)

Two commission investigators who were working on documenting the 9/11 plot, Michael Jacobsen and Raj De, argued that it was “crazy” to insist on 100 percent proof when it came to al-Qaeda or the Saudi regime. In the end, however, and with a publishing deadline looming, Snell’s caution and Zelikow’s direction buried apparently promising leads.

In similar fashion, 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Report produced by Congress -- an entire chapter outlining evidence of Saudi and other state sponsorship -- were redacted.

Baer Has Additional Questions:

“Considering that the main body of evidence came from tortured confessions, it's still not entirely clear to me what happened on 9/11,” Baer said.

“Among other questions [I have]: Why did [Prince] Bandar's wife sent money to Bayoumi? What are Bayoumi’s links to the Sultan? How were the 15 Saudis [among the 19 hijackers] selected to carry out the attack? Who fed the credit card used by Abu Zubayda? What happened to Abu Zubayda's telephone bills? Who was he calling in the U.S? None of these questions are unreasonable nor would answering them violate intelligence sources and methods."

In a recent review of Shenon’s book, former Democratic senator and 9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey called on Congress to investigate alleged Saudi ties.

“Congress should demand direct access to those who organized the attacks; our indirect interviews were at best inadequate,” Kerrey wrote. “And Congress should pursue [the] question of whether the Saudi government aided the conspiracy.”

Kerrey declined to comment for this article. Other Commission members did not respond to requests for comment.

Larisa Alexandrovna is managing editor of investigative news for Raw Story and regularly reports on intelligence and national security stories.


Operation Condor: Dirty War, Death Squads and The Disappeared

"These military regimes hunted down dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, priests and nuns, intellectuals, students and teachers and other people not just guerrillas (who, under international law are also entitled to due legal process). These illegal military regimes defied international law and traditions of political sanctuary to carry out their ferocious state terror and destroy democratic opposition forces."
By Steven Katsineris
(Wednesday, February 27, 2008)
Courtesy Of:

“Operation Condor…involved the intelligence agencies…in a joint effort to eliminate perceived enemies of those regimes throughout the world.”

-- Daniel Brandt, Public Information Research, USA.

Operation Condor was the name given to a secret union of intelligence services of six US-supported, South American military governments- Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, which operated during the 1970s into the early 1980s.

Under Operation Condor the intelligence agencies were to use their joint resources to round up thousands of people who were suspected of involvement with leftist groups and imprison them in camps or secret detention centres. Many were tortured, interrogated, then executed and secretly buried, becoming known as the disappeared. Those that escaped their own dictatorship’s security services were often captured and tortured in other Condor countries and eventually returned from where they fled to be executed. Condor agents also located and killed dissidents in operations outside Latin America, in several European nations and the USA.

The most active period of this multinational secret police and army cooperation against leftwing and other opposition was between 1975 to 1978. The overall result of this massive political repression and terrorist dirty war, was that an estimated 35,000 people were murdered, many disappearing without a trace. Hundreds of thousands of others were imprisoned and tortured.

The Historical Beginnings Of Condor

The historical roots of Operation Condor go back a long way, when the US began telling South American military commanders about the growing dangers of communism in the region, at the Inter-American Conference in Mexico City in 1945. Agreements on mutual military assistance and cooperation followed in 1951. They also covered the supply of US arms and funding, the use of US military advisers, and the training of Latin American officers in the USA and the US army’s School of the Americas in the Panama Canal Zone.

The move towards “continental defence against communism” was accelerated after the victory of Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba in 1959.

The following year General Bogart, the head of US Southern Command invited his Latin American military counterparts to a meeting in his military base in Panama. The outcome of this was an annual Conference of American Armies [CAA] the first was held in Panama. It was then transferred to the American Military College at West Point and from 1965 it met every two years. This Wrest Point meeting place was the roots of the later secret Operation Condor.

Fearful of leftwing opposition movements, at its second meeting US and Latin American military commanders speeded up links between their intelligence agencies. The CAA established a standing committee in the Canal Zone to exchange information and intelligence. From then on a continental communications network functioned and regular secret intelligence meetings were held between Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia and others. Files and other information was supplied by military intelligence services, security police and death squads and made available by these countries and circulated between them through a network of military attaches.

In 1968, General Porter, the head of the US Southern Command explained the strategy for combating radical and socialist movements in Latin America and it sounded very close to the eventual structure of Operation Condor. He said, “In order to facilitate the coordinated employment of internal security forces within and among Latin American countries, we are…endeavouring to foster inter-service and regional cooperation by assisting in the organisation of integrated command and control centres; the establishment of common operating procedures and the conduct of joint and combined training exercises.”

At the 10th meeting of the CAA, in Caracas, Venezuela on the 3rd of September 1973, General Fortes, commander of the Brazilian army, said as far as collective action was concerned, in the struggle against communism, “the only effective methods are the exchange of experience and information, plus technical assistance when requested.” On this basis, the CAA decided to “strengthen information exchange in order to counter terrorism and control subversive elements in each country.”

As Chile [in 1973] and other South American countries one by one came under repressive military regimes, up until 1976, Argentina was the only country in the region where thousands of Chilean, Uruguayan, Bolivian and other political exiles were able to find refuge. The response of the Argentine police and armed forces was to become more repressive and the military formed a death squad, the Argentine Anti-communist Alliance [AAA].

In March 1974, Chilean, Uruguayan, and Bolivian police leaders met with the deputy chief of the Argentine federal police, Alberto Villar [who was also a joint founder of the AAA], to investigate ways of working together to wipe out the presence of thousands of ‘subversive’ political exiles in Argentina. The Chilean representative, the general of the military police, proposed that a member of the military or police be placed in each embassy as a security agent to coordinate operations with the police and armed forces of each country. The meeting also decided to create “an intelligence centre where we can obtain information on individual Marxists and exchange programmes and information about politicians. We must be able to move freely across the frontiers between Bolivia, Chile and Argentina and operate in all three countries without an official warrant.” Villar promised delegates that the Argentine Federal Police’s Foreign Affairs Department would deal swiftly with any foreigners that the neighbouring juntas wanted eliminated.

The Violent Birth Of Operation Condor

By August 1974, the bodies of foreign, especially Bolivian refugees began to appear on various Buenos Aires rubbish tips. On September 30, a bombing in Buenos Aires carried out by a Chilean military unit led by a CIA agent [Michael Townley] killed Chilean General Carlos Prats, [he had been the commander-in-chief of the Chilean army, until the coup of September 1973] who was a leader of the opposition to the dictatorship of General Pinochet.

Police and military units and crossed borders at will to carry out covert operations. In March and April 1975, over two dozen Uruguayans exiles were arrested in Buenos Aires by Argentinian and Uruguayan police, who jointly interrogated them in Argentine police stations.

In May, Paraguayan police arrested two men representing a united underground opposition organization. The men were Jorge Fuentes Alarcon a leading member of the Chilean group MIR [Movement of the Revolutionary Left] and Amilcar Santucho, from Argentina’s ERP [Peoples Revolutionary Army]. These Chilean and Argentine guerrilla groups had joined with other organizations from Uruguay and Bolivia to resist the region’s oppressive military regimes. Fuentes and Santucho were on their way to Paris for an opposition meeting when captured.

The military operation that followed the arrests involved the intelligence agencies of at least four countries, including the US FBI. One FBI officer Robert Scherrer’s job included maintaining intelligence liaisons with various regimes. Fuentes was interrogated by Paraguayan and Argentine intelligence officers, as well as US embassy officials in Buenos Aries, who then passed on information to the Chilean secret police [Dina]. Documents indicate these combined intelligence efforts may have led to the formal launch of Operation Condor several months later.

Fuentes was interrogated for four months, then turned over to the Chilean DINA. Jorge Fuentes was last seen alive inside Chile’s most feared secret detention centre, Villa Grimaldi, near Santiago. Other DINA victims testified years later to human rights groups, that they saw Fuentes after he arrived from Paraguay “badly wounded from the tortures.” They told that he was kept in a cage and was driven insane by continuing DINA torture before disappearing.

Operation Condor’s Formal Launch

On August 25, Colonel Contreras, head of Chile’s National Intelligence Directorate [DINA] visited the CIA headquarters in Washington, where he held a long secret meeting with Vernon Walters, deputy director responsible for Latin America. The leader of the Chilean Junta Pinochet had given Contreras wide powers destroy “the cancer of communism” in Chile, but Contreras efforts extended far beyond Chile.

On September 25, Colonel Manuel Contreras from DINA wrote a letter to his Paraguayan counterpart, Pastor Coronel, thanking him for his cooperation. Contreras says, “I am sure that this mutual cooperation will continue and increase in the accomplishment of the common objectives of both services.”

At its meeting of 19-26 October 1975, in Montevideo, Uruguay, the CAA [Conference of American Armies] gave the approval for a proposal prepared by Contreras for a “meeting of national intelligence services.”

Contreras’s main proposal was for the establishment of a continental database “similar to Interpol database, but dealing in subversion.”

Another long letter soon followed, Contreras invited three top Paraguayan intelligence officials to attend a “strictly secret” meeting in Santiago with intelligence chiefs from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay. Chile paid all expenses for this, “First Working Meeting on National Intelligence” which took place on November 25-December 1, 1975. In his introduction Contreras described the meeting as, “the basis of excellent coordination and improved activities of the national security of our respective countries.”

These representatives of the security forces forged an agreement to set up a joint “information bank” and “task forces” to cooperate in a war to destroy the opponents of imperialism and military rule. Thus a more organized system of units operated across national borders, spying on, kidnapping, torturing and murdering dissidents and other people from these countries.

Although the Condor countries committed themselves to a war against communism, it included human rights activists, writers, priests, trade unionists, students and others. Judges, intellectuals and journalists who criticised torture or corruption were seen as opponents and treated as the ideological enemy. The Argentinians outdid all the other dictatorships in the zeal and ferocity of their annihilation campaign.

In one of the most gruesome cases of joint operations between the military commands of Argentina and Chile the bodies of 119 abducted in Chile turned up in Argentina with fake documents. The Argentine security forces had tried to pass the disappeared victims off as Argentinians who had died in inter-faction party strife.

But Operation Condor’s state terror extended outside Latin America, with the exiled leaders of democratic, leftist and revolutionary groups and other political opponents of the rightist regimes hunted wherever they took refuge and assassinated. An “anti-subversion” network was set up in Europe based on Italian fascist terrorist groups. On October 6, 1975, Bernardo Leighton, Chile’s former vice president and a founding member of the Christian Democratic Party and his wife were shot by a hit squad.

Both survived their severe wounds, but Mrs Leighton was left paralysed.

Despite this failed killing, Pinochet had a meeting with a leader of the Italian rightwing groups, Stefano Delle Chiaie, who agreed to continue to help Chile’s regime. Regular bilateral meetings of Condor and CAA continued as usual as did death squad activities with devastating effects during 1976. Among other high profile killings were those of an Uruguayan senator, Zelmar Michilini, who was assassinated in June 1976. The former left-wing military leader and former president of Bolivia, Juan Torres was also shot dead in Argentina. On June 8, in a friendly meeting in Santiago, Chile, Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State, in the Nixon and Ford administrations told General Pinochet “that the people of the United States are wholeheartedly behind you, and wish you every success.”

That same year the most well known action of Condor was carried out in Washington. Orlando Letelier, the minister of defence and foreign affairs in the elected government of Allende of Chile, had escaped to the US, and was carrying out a campaign to isolate the Pinochet dictatorship. On September 21, Letelier and his American aide Ronni Moffet [25] were killed when a bomb ripped the car they were travelling in apart. This was a major Condor blunder. Such actions and the scale of repression made the existence of Condor difficult to continue to hide.

The newly elected US president Jimmy Carter had made human rights part of his election platform. He was not prepared to countenance Condor-style operations, especially in the US. And he did not want the sort of exposure that pointed towards the involvement the US intelligence agencies in such activities. Some US investigators were determined to identify those responsible.

The trail led eventually to Michael Vernon Townley, a US citizen and former CIA agent, with ties to the fascist Chilean group Patria y Libertad, who organised the murders. Townley left the US and returned to Chile after the 1973, CIA-backed coup. With his skills as an electronics and bugging expert he joined the Chilean secret police, DINA. The Chilean regime was forced to extradite him to the US in 1978. In return for informing on his Cuban exile accomplices and naming DINA commander Colonel Manuel Contreras as the man who ordered the killings, Townley was given a reduced sentence. Later Townley was given a new identity by the US government under its Witness Protection Program. A number of countries have since expressed an interest in speaking to Townley, but the US has resisted these overtures.

A More Discreet Condor Continues Its Crimes

The FBI’s chief officer in Argentina filed a special report on Phase Three of Operation Condor, the policy of international “targeted assassinations” only to have extracts find they’re way into the US press. This resulted in a US Congressional Committee of inquiry was established. The Chileans responded by sacking Contreras and disbanding Dina [only to replace it by another secret police organization]. It is believed that the Carter administration forced the member countries to closure down Condor, as part of the US’s new strategy of promoting the re-establishment of democracy in Latin America. Leaks exposing the existence of Condor were embarrassing and to some it had outlived its usefulness.

Representatives of all the Condor states met in Buenos Aires between 13-15, December 1976 to discuss the future direction. The Argentinians, with the support of Paraguay, pushed for a more guarded and secure way for continuing their campaign. The meeting decided to work more closely with the Latin American Anti-Communist Federation [CAL].

CAL held its third meeting in Asuncion, Paraguay, in March 1977. All the top leadership of the dictatorships, including the Argentine President, General Videla and General Leigh, a member of the Chilean junta attended it. Also present were a variety of Latin American torturers and death squad members. The spread of leftist social and political movements in Central America and the rise of radical ideas inside sections of the Catholic Church alarmed them. A plan put forward by the Bolivians, named after the Bolivian dictator Hugo Banzer, was adopted.

Its purpose was to “eradicate” the supporters of liberation theology in the church. Under this plan, hundreds of priests, nuns, bishops and lay members of religious communities were murdered. It culminated in the execution of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

The Argentinians took charge of most of the coordination of the repression throughout Latin America. Their soldiers, police and civilians were entrusted with death squad operations. The Argentinians also sent several military missions to Central America to assist the local armed forces and secret police in “anti-subversive” efforts. In early 1979, they initiated “anti-subversive” training courses in Buenos Aires for the military forces of allied states.

Intelligence meetings of the various national security agencies, as well as the CAA, continued with the assistance of the US military. In 1977, the CAA met in Managua, Nicaragua and in Botoga, Colombia in 1979.

Operation Condor Emerges In A New Form

In 1979, the Somoza regime in Nicaragua was overthrown and this gave renewed encouragement to the other dictatorships to work together to standardise their regional operations. General Mason, of Argentina chaired CAL’s fourth meeting in September 1980; the meeting favoured the adoption the brutally efficient Argentine model throughout Latin America.

From April 1980, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil were pursuing the formation of an “international anti-terrorist organisation”, Condor in a new form.

Meanwhile CAL was coordinating the massacres carried out by the death squads and security forces in Central America. The Agremil files continued to circulate among the general staff of Condor, resulting in the organizing of cross border arrests, exchanges of prisoners and international torture and killing squads.

Following the election of the Republican president Ronald Reagan in 1981, the next CAA meeting was held in Washington. The victory of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua gave fresh impetus to the anti-subversion efforts of the dictatorships. On December 1, 1981 the US administration released $19 million to fund the training of an initial contingent of 500 Contras [Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries] by Argentine army officers.

The representatives renewed their agreements on exchange of information about “terrorists” and decided to set up a permanent CAA headquarters in Santiago.

The End Of Operation Condor

In 1985, the Argentine dictatorship gave up power, in the wake of a military defeat and popular discontent. Chile and Paraguay were left to fight the “anti-terrorist” war. As covert US intervention increased in Nicaragua and the rest of Central America the Reagan administration entrusted more of it’s secret war to the CIA, CAL and the private sector agencies. As the last of the military regimes collapsed and more democratic governments returned to the region, so finally Operation Condor had outlived its usefulness and ceased to function. Its existence and brutal atrocities were by now hard to hide.

Uncovering Condors Secrets

In 1993, a Paraguayan ex-political prisoner acting on a tip-off took a judge who was investigating human rights cases to a police station in Asuncion and there they discovered a vast cache of documents of police terror. These uncensored files, known as the “archives of terror” show the inner workings of the Paraguayan political police and state terror network, Operation Condor.

They also document the presence of Nazis in the southern cone of South America and their activities in Condor. According to estimates there are between 500,000 to 700,000 individual pages of documents and photos.

The release of the secret files, along with the release of documents under freedom of information, [with limitations as CIA files are exempt from declassification] in the US and new assertive judicial investigations are shedding fresh light on Latin Americas worst era of political repression.

This information is helping to pull together a more complete picture of Condor and the role of US agencies, as well as aiding the judicial investigations of US, Spanish, Brazilian, Argentine and others in uncovering human rights crimes against their citizens. For instance the case of the Swiss-Chilean student Alexei Jaccard, who was abducted off the streets of Buenos Aires in May 1977. He was taken to the infamous torture centre at the Navy School of Mechanics, from which he then “disappeared”.

These documents are also of benefit to long grieving relatives seeking knowledge of missing family. Among others the widow of Paraguayan, Federico Tatter, who because of his opposition to the dictatorship of General Stroessner fled to Argentina in 1963 and was kidnapped in Buenos Aires in 1976. His wife obtained photographs from human rights groups showing him as a prisoner of Paraguayan police.

The Role Of The United States

“Operation Condor” is the code name for the collection, exchange and storage of intelligence data concerning socalled “leftists,” communists and Marxists, which was recently established between cooperating intelligence services in South America in order to eliminate Marxist terrorist activities in the area. In addition, “Operation Condor” provides for joint operations against terrorist targets in member countries…A third and most secret phase of Operation Condor involves the formation of special teams from member countries who travel anywhere in the world to non-member countries to carry out sanctions up to assassination against terrorists or supporters of terrorist organizations.” This September 28, 1976 cable marked “secret foreign political matters” and with lines deleted is from the FBI’s legal attache` in Buenos Aires, Robert Scherrer. For a long time it was the only released document that mentions Condor, the Pentagon’s Defence Intelligence Agency recently declassified a more complete version of the above information. Also other material has come to light about the US role.

The declassification of long-secret files is confirming US government agencies more actively cooperated with the Condor regimes repressive activities than had previously been acknowledged. These files confirm the US not only knew about Condor but aided and facilitated Condor operations as a matter of secret and routine policy. In 2001, Prof. J. P. Mc Sherry of Long Island University who has written articles on Condor discovered a document that she described as “another piece of increasingly weighty evidence suggesting that US military and intelligence officials supported and collaborated with Condor as a secret partner or sponsor.”

The State Department cable dated October 13, 1978 is from US Ambassador to Paraguay Robert White, to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. “ On October 11, I called on chief of staff General Alejandro Fretes Davalos… he read me the …minutes resulting from the visit of General Orozco, chief of Chilean intelligence to Asuncion…The document is basically an agreement to coordinate all intelligence resources in order to control and eliminate subversion…They keep in touch with one another through a US communications installation in the Panama Canal Zone Which covers all Latin America. This US communications facility is used by student officers to call home…but it is also employed to coordinate intelligence information among the southern cone countries. They maintain the confidentiality of their communication through the US facility in Panama by using bilateral codes… obviously this is the Condor network which all of us have heard about over the last few years.”

In a final comment White makes a recommendation, “The two FBI agents here tell me there is likelihood Condor will surface during Letelier trial in the US. If General Fretes Davalos is accurate in describing the communications it uses as an encrypted system within the US communications net… it would seem advisable to review this arrangement to insure that its continuation is in the US interest.”

With Latin American officers using American facilities to transmit intelligence, this would have clearly provided US officials with the opportunity to closely monitor Condor activities and know exactly what operations were undertaken. Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, said the cable implied “foreknowledge, cooperation and total access to the plans and operations of Condor. The degree to which the USA knew about and supported these operations has remained secret until now, the layers of the onion are peeling away here,” he said.

“This document opens a pandora’s box of questions on the US knowledge of and role in Operation Condor,” said Peter Kornbluh.

Former Ambassador White, who now runs the Center for International Policy, a research organization said in a recent interview that he received no response to his message to Secretary Vance. “What it suggests to me is that people in the US government really actively worked not to have this knowledge, this evidence, in play.”

The Panama base mentioned above houses the headquarters of the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), the US Special Forces, the Army School of the America’s (SOA), among other facilities. Tens of thousands of Latin American officers were trained at the SOA, which used torture manuals released by the Pentagon and the CIA. American officers trained there have confirmed that the base is the centre of the hemispheric rightwing alliance. A military graduate of the School said, “The school was always a front for other special operations, covert operations.” An Argentine navy officer whose unit was organized into “kidnap commandos” (or “task forces”) in 1972, said that the repression was part of “a plan that responded to the Doctrine of National Security that had as its base the School of the Americas, directed by the Pentagon in Panama.”

An Uruguayan officer who admitted working for the CIA in the 1970s said that the CIA not only knew of Condor operations, but also supervised them.

Another amazing piece of recently released information is the admission by the CIA in September 2000, that DINA chief Manuael Contrearas was a CIA “asset” between 1974 and 1977, and that he had received a large unspecified payment for his services. During this period Contreras was known as “Condor One,” the leading organiser and champion of Operation Condor. The CIA did not divulge this information in 1978, when a US Federal Grand Jury indicted Contreras for his role in the Letelier-Moffitt assassinations. Contreras was sentenced to a prison term in Chile after the fall of the military junta for this crime. He was also convicted in absentia in Italy for the Leighton assassination attempt. The CIA says that it only asked Contreras about Condor after the assassinations of Letelier and Moffitt in 1976. This is hardly credible, when one considers that Condor informed the CIA of previous assassination plans. As well the CIA helped organise and train the DINA in 1974 and retained the services of Contreras as an asset for a year after the Letelier and Moffitt murders. The CIA destroyed the files on Contreras in 1991.

In other known cases of US agencies collaboration with Condor according to declassified US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) reports, the CIA had played a key role in setting up the computerized links (Condortel) to coordinate the intelligence and operations units of the Condor states.

The USA, Condor Crimes and Conclusions

Declassified US documents make clear that US security officers saw Condor as a legitimate “counterterror” organization. One 1976 DIA report stated “ that one Condor team was structured like a US Special Team” and described Condor’s “joint counterinsurgency operations.” In this report it was noted that Latin American military officers bragged about their Condor activities to their US counterparts and among each other. Numerous other CIA, DIA, and State Department documents refer to Condor as a countersubversive organization and some describe its assassination role in a matter-of-fact way.

The documentary record is still fragmented and many files continue to be classified as secret, but we know that security forces in Latin America classified and targeted people for torture and murder on the basis of their political ideology (or even perceived ideology) rather than illegal acts.

These military regimes hunted down dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, priests and nuns, intellectuals, students and teachers and other people not just guerrillas (who, under international law are also entitled to due legal process). These illegal military regimes defied international law and traditions of political sanctuary to carry out their ferocious state terror and destroy democratic opposition forces.

US training, doctrine, organizational models, technology transfers, weapons sales, finance, military aid and ideological attitudes profoundly shaped the security forces of the region. Viewed in this context, US national security strategists and their counterparts in Latin America regarded large sections of the society as potentially subversive. They adopted the Cold War National Security Doctrine, a political doctrine of internal war and counterrevolution that targeted “internal enemies.” During these years the military in one country after another ousted their civilian governments in a series of US-backed coups, even in such long standing democracies as Chile and Uruguay and installed repressive totalitarian regimes.

The new documentary evidence shows something of the USA’s central role in financing, training and collaborating with institutions that carried out torture, assassinations and coups in the name of national security. The CIA denies that it provided information to governments that would have resulted in people being killed. But the past history of the CIA as well as recent evidence show that this can’t be believed. The CIA aided these regimes because they were anti-socialist allies, and the ends were assumed to justify the means, resulting in appalling atrocities.

There is still a lot we don’t know. With only a couple of exceptions, those that kidnapped, tortured and killed have not been tried. The US National Security Archive has called on the US government and the intelligence community, the NSA, CIA, DIA and others to fully divulge their files on Condor. Hopefully with the continued pressure of lawyers and human rights activists we will get further information that will expose assistance to Condor and provide some truth and accountability of the US role in the Latin American repression.

War criminals like former generals Pinochet of Chile and Videla of Argentina and others must be tried for their human rights crimes. And it is evident that other leading figures in the US political, military and intelligence establishment like George Bush, Henry Kissinger, Richard Helms, Cyrus Vance belong in the same dock as the dictators.

In Latin America fragile civilian governments are struggling with the effects of decades of state terror excesses and control their still powerful military/security organizations. And while institutionalised torture and executions are not as widespread it has not ceased. In May 2000, the Committee on Hemispheric Security of the Organization of American States (OAS) reviewed 10 years of anti-subversion cooperation in Latin America. Many of the Latin American states have concluded new intelligence agreements among themselves and with the US aimed at greater cooperation against “terrorism.”

The Conference of American Armies (CAA) still meets regularly (in Argentina in 1995 and Ecuador in 1997). A military conference on intelligence services organized by the Bolivian Army was also held in March 1999 and attended by the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuala. These meetings and agreements confirm the continuing role of the Latin American armed forces in social control when faced with serious domestic opposition for social change.

With US agencies unwilling to reject security doctrines that rationalise violations of human rights as a legitimate means to an end and security in the Americas so important to the US, the USA’s public espousal of rights and freedoms does not mean democracy and human rights have priority.

It would not take much for another form of Operation Condor to rise again if the interests of the USA and its allies were challenged.

And so the continental scale covert extermination campaign that was Condor vanished from Latin America leaving an estimated toll of 35,000 people dead (more than 10,000 of them in Argentina) and leaving their grieving families still trying to learn what had happened to their disappeared love ones. And while Condor was proceeding, the rightist military regimes in each of these Latin American countries were carrying out mass murders of citizens that resulted in the deaths and disappearances of an estimated 350,000 people and the imprisonment and torture of hundreds of thousands of others. Millions of people also became exiles and political refugees.

“…our people want Pinochet brought to trial for the crimes he committed against humankind. Crimes that should never be forgotten, because that’s the first step towards forgiveness and oblivion. We do not have the right to forget or forgive; it would be an insult to every raped victim, to every person thrown into rivers or the ocean, it would be an insult to all those who were savagely tortured and then murdered by the military under general Pinochet’s command.”

-- Tito Tricot, Chile 1999.

Source: by courtesy & © 2008 Steven Katsineris

Taliban Making Gains In Afghanistan

Intelligence Chief: Taliban Making Gains In Afghanistan

Story Highlights:

- Mike McConnell: "They'll fill in an area when we withdraw"
- He says the Afghan government controls only about 30 percent of the country
- McConnell: The majority of Afghanistan is under the influence of local tribes
- He says the Taliban has suffered "significant degradation" in its leadership
From Pam Benson
Updated 3 hours, 17 minutes ago
Courtesy Of:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A resurgent Taliban is back in charge over parts of Afghanistan, the chief U.S. intelligence official said Wednesday in an assessment that differed from the one made last month by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

More than six years after the United States invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban has regained control of about 10 percent of the country, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Just a few weeks ago, Gates touted NATO military success in Afghanistan in 2007 and said the Taliban controlled no land.

"The Taliban occupy no territory in Afghanistan on a continuing basis," Gates said during a Pentagon briefing in January.

Despite his less-optimistic assessment on that score, McConnell said the Taliban has suffered "significant degradation" in its leadership and is unable to successfully face off against U.S. and NATO forces.

He attributed an uptick in violence to the Taliban resorting to the terrorist tactics used by al Qaeda in Iraq -- suicide attacks and roadside bombings.

McConnell also said the Taliban chooses other means to engage.

"They'll fill in an area when we withdraw, or they will influence a village or region if our presence is not there," he said.

He stressed the need not only for improved security, but also for better governance, noting the federal government controls only about 30 percent of Afghanistan, leaving the majority of the country under the influence of local tribes.

At the Senate threat assessment hearing, McConnell said the same safe haven in Pakistan that has enabled al Qaeda to regain strength has allowed the Taliban to "train, recruit, rest and recuperate and then come back into Afghanistan to engage."

But he praised Pakistani authorities for helping the United States "more than any other nation in counterterrorism operations."

However, Gen. Michael Maples, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the senators Pakistani efforts to confront al Qaeda and the Taliban in the ungoverned regions of the country have had little impact.

"Pakistani military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas have had limited effect on al Qaeda," Maples said.

Both Maples and McConnell expressed concern about al Qaeda's continued effort to recruit and train operatives for terrorist operations against the United States and its allies and its stated desire to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

...The committee's chairman -- Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware -- just returned from the region and called the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan "a superhighway for extremists."

"The main message I bring back is that Afghanistan is the forgotten war and Pakistan is the neglected frontier," Biden said Tuesday.

"Afghanistan is slipping toward failure because it has never been a priority, and it has to become one."

He said the Pakistani-Afghan border should be considered the central front in the war on terror.

Don't Miss:

Read McConnell's full statement (PDF)

General: Army strained, combat tours may be cut

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Western Involvement In The Rwandan Genocide

By Andrew G. Marshall
Original Source:
February 24, 2008
Courtesy Of:

This report examines the Rwandan genocide in a geopolitical context including the roles of Western powers, multinational corporations and International Financial Institutions.

Setting Up Base in Central Africa

Political History

Uganda was for decades a colony of the British Empire until it achieved independence in 1962. At this time, "Uganda's was one of the most promising economies in sub-Saharan Africa, with a sound agricultural base, developing industries, and a significant mining sector. Agriculture was an important foreign exchange earner through the export of coffee, cotton and tea while at the same time providing basic self-sufficiency in food. The manufacturing sector produced inputs for the agricultural sector and consumer goods, and was becoming a significant source of foreign exchange through the export of textiles."[1]

In 1971, Idi Amin came to power in Uganda. Amin, widely considered a brutal dictator, lasted until 1979, when the Tanzanian army and the United National Liberation Front ousted him. In December 1980 Milton Obote assumed power for the second time. The economy was in a deep crisis and infrastructure was severely damaged from the war.[2]

IMF/World Bank Structural Adjustments

Obote looked to the International Financial Institutions to help reconstruct the economy This "led to the introduction of an economic reform package in mid-1981, a typical IMF/World Bank Structural Adjustment Program with considerable donor support. The centrepiece of the Program was a massive devaluation of the Ugandan shilling, from 7.80 to US$1, to 78.00."[3] By 1984, the shilling was devalued to be worth USh (Ugandan Shilling) 270 for every US dollar.

Following these actions, Uganda again plunged into financial crisis. "Eighteen months after the collapse of the IMF program and the subsequent military coup, the National Resistance Army (NRA), which had been involved in a civil war, took over control of the Ugandan capital, and its political wing, the National Resistance Movement(NRM), established a government with a platform of national unity and broad-based economic reform."[4]

Debt and Military Spending

Yoweri Museveni, head of the National Resistance Council (NRC), was sworn in as president on January 29, 1986. Museveni's government "agreed on a new policy package with the IMF and the World Bank in early 1987, formalized in an Economic Recovery Program introduced in May 1987,"[5] and in October of 1987, Museveni met with US President Ronald Reagan and then Vice-President George HW Bush at the White House.[6]

Uganda's economic 'recovery' program had the aim of giving the International Financial Institutions a strict hold on the country. The external debt spiraled overnight, increasing almost threefold to 3.7 billion by 1997."[7] By 1997, Uganda's debt to the World Bank was 2 billion dollars, as the loans to the country "had been tagged to support the country's economic and social reconstruction."[8]

With World Bank oversight, the money that was supposed to go toward programs promoting social and economic growth was diverted into funding the United People's Defense Force (UPDF) that was involved in military operations in Rwanda and the Congo. Uganda became a proxy state for US covert actions in East Africa. The IMF and World Bank ensured adequate Ugandan military funding.

The Rwandan Genocide

Rwanda's Colonial Past

The Rwandan genocide occurred in 1994, but rose out of events in the late 80s and early 90s relating directly to Rwanda's economy. This event was triggered by the assassination of Rwandan President Habyarimana in 1994, who was President during the1990 to 1993 civil war.

Due largely to its colonial past Rwanda's economy is highly dependent on coffee exports and widespread divisions exist among its people. Most notable is the division fostered between the Hutu and the Tutsis, which began in 1926[9] as part of a Belgian strategy to "fuel inter-ethnic rivalries as a means of achieving political control..."[10] The Belgians favoured the Tutsis over the Hutu.

In 1962 Belgium gave up Rwanda and the Tutsis lost their monopoly of power, giving rise to Hutu control. Many Tutsis were expelled from office.

"In 1973 Hutu military leader, Juvénal Habyarimana and a group of his followers, executed a successful coup. Habyarimana and the Hutu elite led Rwanda through almost two decades of economic prosperity."[11]

Economic Problems and Structural Adjustments

In the late 1980s, economic problems arose for Rwanda's monoculture coffee economy. This started in 1987, when "the system of quotas established under the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) started to fall apart and world prices plummeted." Rwanda's state controlled fund that promoted coffee price stabilization became massively indebted.[12]

Deliberations were undertaken between Habyarimana's government and the IMF and World Bank. The World Bank sent a group to Rwanda in 1988 to "review Rwanda's public expenditure program," and they implemented a Structural Adjustment Program with many conditions.[13]

This coincided with the start of the Rwandan Civil War (1990-1993), which formed as the Hutu aristocracy became divided against each other,"[14] and at the same time, a "guerilla group comprised of a majority of Tutsi refuges trained in Ugandan camps, [the] Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), invaded Rwanda and attempted to reach the capital Kigali," which had the result of weakening Habyarimana's regime and led to the civil war.[15]

The Structural Adjustment Program was implemented in this politically unstable context and required a 50 percent devaluation of the Rwandan franc, carried out in November 1990. This was "barely six weeks after the incursion from Uganda of the rebel army of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)." The economic shock exacerbated the civil war and resulted in massive inflation and significant increases in the price of fuel and food.[16]

Societal Collapse

"State enterprises were pushed into bankruptcy and public services collapsed," including health and education.[17] In 1992, during the height of the civil war, the IMF ordered a second devaluation, which led to further price increases. In a single year coffee production tumbled by another 25 percent. Because so much land was dedicated to coffee there was not enough available to produce food.[18]

Widespread famines followed, which in turn led to the implementation of a World Bank and IMF Structural Adjustment Program requiring the liberalization of trade, economic deregulation, and cheap food imports and aid, which destabilized local markets.[19]

Under the Structural Adjustment Program Rwanda signed onto with the donor institutions, large loans were given to the Rwandan Central Bank for importing commodities. Many of the loans were "diverted by the regime (and its various political factions) towards the acquisition of military hardware (from South Africa, Egypt and Eastern Europe)."[20]

Western Military Backing

The years of the Rwandan Civil War and the genocide itself took place during a time when Madeline Albright was Bill Clinton's Ambassador to the United Nations and Kofi Annan was the head of the UN's peacekeeping operations. Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen alleged in his book, Jaded Tasks: Brass Plates, Black Ops, & Big Oil, that Albright and Annan ignored evidence that the US backed Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) was responsible for the April 6, 1994 terrorist missile attack on the aircraft carrying the Hutu president of Rwanda.[21]

Madsen explains that the initial RPF invasion of Rwanda from Uganda in 1990, "had the military backing of the first Bush administration [1989-1993], including Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney," and that the aim of the RPF was to overthrow Rwanda's Hutu president.[22] Madsen exposed how the RPF deputy leader, Paul Kagame was trained at US Army installations in the United States and when, during the 1990 invasion of Rwanda, the RPF's leader was killed, "Kagame became the head of the guerrilla army, and his ties with the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department became closer." Classified UN documents revealed that Annan and Albright were aware of this information.[23]

It came out in a French National Assembly inquiry that, "the U.S. even supplied the RPF with the Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles that were used to shoot down the Rwandan presidential aircraft," and that a UN investigation team got a hold of information that, "a company linked to the CIA leased the warehouse used to assemble the missile launchers."[24] However, the investigation was closed down once the relationship to the US was realized.

It was in 2004 when a French investigation was completed on the shooting down of the plane, and as Madsen explained, those who were close to the investigation had revealed a disturbing connection to what Madsen describes as a "shadowy organization" composed of powerful political and oil interests, commonly known as the "International Strategic and Tactical Organization."[25]

Debt Repayment

Less than a year after the 1994 massacres Rwanda's creditors approached the Tutsi-led RPF government regarding the debts of the former regime that had been used to finance the bloodshed. "The Tutsi-led RPF government, rather than demanding the cancellation of Rwanda's odious debts, had welcomed the Bretton Woods institutions with open arms," because, "They needed the IMF 'greenlight' to boost development of the military," which is exactly where the new loans went.[26]

The genocide was successful in its intentions, as the French-supported Hutu Habyarimana government was replaced with a US-supported Tutsi Paul Kagame government, with the aid of US special forces and CIA. The situation should in fact be viewed as, "an undeclared war between France and America."[27]

The aim was to "install an Anglo-American protectorate in Rwanda," which, "enabled the US to establish a neocolonial foothold in Central Africa." This was successfully achieved, as the language of the private and government sectors switched from French to English.[28]


[1] John K. Baffoe, Structural adjustment and agriculture in Uganda. International Labour Organization, March 2000:

[2-4] Ibid

[5] John K. Baffoe, op cit

[6] BNET, Elizabeth Bagaaya Nyabongo of Toro. UXL Newsmakers, 2005:

[7] Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, 2nd ed. Global Research: 2003, page 112.

[8] Ibid, pages 112-113

[9] Ibid, page 104

[10] Ibid

[11-12] Moise Jean, The Rwandan Genocide: The True Motivations for Mass Killings. Emory Endeavors in World History Volume I: March 2007, page 6

[13] Michel Chossudovsky, op cit, page 103

[14] Ibid, page 107

[15-16] Moise Jean, op cit, page 7

[17-21] Michel Chossudovsky, op cit, page 107-109

[22-24] Wayne Madsen, Jaded Tasks – Brass Plates, Black Ops, & Big Oil: The Blood Politics of Bush & Co. TrineDay: 2006, page 2

[25] Ibid, page 3

[26] Ibid, page 6-7

[27] Michel Chossudovsky, op cit, pages 115-116

[28] Ibid, pages 118-120

Andrew G. Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Global Research Articles by Andrew G. Marshall

International Terror Most-Wanted List

If Washington turned its definition of terror on the U.S., America could rise to the top of its own most-wanted list.

By Noam Chomsky,
Original Source:
February 26, 2008.
Courtesy Of:

One of Noam Chomsky's latest books -- a conversation with David Barsamian -- is entitled What We Say Goes. It catches a powerful theme of Chomsky's: that we have long been living on a one-way planet and that the language we regularly wield to describe the realities of our world is tailored to Washington's interests.

Juan Cole, at his Informed Comment website, had a good example of the strangeness of this targeted language recently. When Serbs stormed the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, he offered the following comment (with so many years of the term "Islamofascism" in mind): "...given that the Serbs are Eastern Orthodox Christians, will the Republican Party and Fox Cable News now start fulminating against 'Christofascism?'"

Of course, the minute you try to turn the Washington norm (in word or act) around, as Chomsky did in a piece entitled What If Iran Had Invaded Mexico?, you've already entered the theater of the absurd. "Terror" is a particularly good example of this. "Terror" is something that, by (recent) definition, is committed by free-floating groups or movements against innocent civilians and is utterly reprehensible (unless the group turns out to be the CIA running car bombs into Baghdad or car and camel bombs into Afghanistan, in which case it's not a topic that's either much discussed, or condemned in our world). On the other hand, that weapon of terror, air power, which is at the heart of the American way of war, simply doesn't qualify under the category of "terror" at all -- no matter how terrifying it may be to innocent civilians who find themselves underneath the missiles and bombs.

It's with this in mind that Chomsky turns to terror of every kind in the Middle East in the context of the car bombing of a major figure in Lebanon's Hizbollah movement. By the way, The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a new collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, has just been published and is highly recommended. Introduction by TomDispatch editor, Tom Engelhardt.

The Most Wanted List: International Terrorism

By Noam Chomsky

On February 13, Imad Moughniyeh, a senior commander of Hizbollah, was assassinated in Damascus. "The world is a better place without this man in it," State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said: "one way or the other he was brought to justice." Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell added that Moughniyeh has been "responsible for more deaths of Americans and Israelis than any other terrorist with the exception of Osama bin Laden."

Joy was unconstrained in Israel too, as "one of the U.S. and Israel's most wanted men" was brought to justice, the London Financial Times reported. Under the heading, "A militant wanted the world over," an accompanying story reported that he was "superseded on the most-wanted list by Osama bin Laden" after 9/11 and so ranked only second among "the most wanted militants in the world."

The terminology is accurate enough, according to the rules of Anglo-American discourse, which defines "the world" as the political class in Washington and London (and whoever happens to agree with them on specific matters). It is common, for example, to read that "the world" fully supported George Bush when he ordered the bombing of Afghanistan. That may be true of "the world," but hardly of the world, as revealed in an international Gallup Poll after the bombing was announced. Global support was slight. In Latin America, which has some experience with U.S. behavior, support ranged from 2% in Mexico to 16% in Panama, and that support was conditional upon the culprits being identified (they still weren't eight months later, the FBI reported), and civilian targets being spared (they were attacked at once). There was an overwhelming preference in the world for diplomatic/judicial measures, rejected out of hand by "the world."

Following The Terror Trail

In the present case, if "the world" were extended to the world, we might find some other candidates for the honor of most hated arch-criminal. It is instructive to ask why this might be true.

The Financial Times reports that most of the charges against Moughniyeh are unsubstantiated, but "one of the very few times when his involvement can be ascertained with certainty [is in] the hijacking of a TWA plane in 1985 in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed." This was one of two terrorist atrocities the led a poll of newspaper editors to select terrorism in the Middle East as the top story of 1985; the other was the hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro, in which a crippled American, Leon Klinghoffer, was brutally murdered,. That reflects the judgment of "the world." It may be that the world saw matters somewhat differently.

The Achille Lauro hijacking was a retaliation for the bombing of Tunis ordered a week earlier by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. His air force killed 75 Tunisians and Palestinians with smart bombs that tore them to shreds, among other atrocities, as vividly reported from the scene by the prominent Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk. Washington cooperated by failing to warn its ally Tunisia that the bombers were on the way, though the Sixth Fleet and U.S. intelligence could not have been unaware of the impending attack. Secretary of State George Shultz informed Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir that Washington "had considerable sympathy for the Israeli action," which he termed "a legitimate response" to "terrorist attacks," to general approbation. A few days later, the UN Security Council unanimously denounced the bombing as an "act of armed aggression" (with the U.S. abstaining). "Aggression" is, of course, a far more serious crime than international terrorism. But giving the United States and Israel the benefit of the doubt, let us keep to the lesser charge against their leadership.

A few days after, Peres went to Washington to consult with the leading international terrorist of the day, Ronald Reagan, who denounced "the evil scourge of terrorism," again with general acclaim by "the world."

The "terrorist attacks" that Shultz and Peres offered as the pretext for the bombing of Tunis were the killings of three Israelis in Larnaca, Cyprus. The killers, as Israel conceded, had nothing to do with Tunis, though they might have had Syrian connections. Tunis was a preferable target, however. It was defenseless, unlike Damascus. And there was an extra pleasure: more exiled Palestinians could be killed there.

The Larnaca killings, in turn, were regarded as retaliation by the perpetrators: They were a response to regular Israeli hijackings in international waters in which many victims were killed -- and many more kidnapped and sent to prisons in Israel, commonly to be held without charge for long periods. The most notorious of these has been the secret prison/torture chamber Facility 1391. A good deal can be learned about it from the Israeli and foreign press. Such regular Israeli crimes are, of course, known to editors of the national press in the U.S., and occasionally receive some casual mention.

Klinghoffer's murder was properly viewed with horror, and is very famous. It was the topic of an acclaimed opera and a made-for-TV movie, as well as much shocked commentary deploring the savagery of Palestinians -- "two-headed beasts" (Prime Minister Menachem Begin), "drugged roaches scurrying around in a bottle" (Chief of Staff Raful Eitan), "like grasshoppers compared to us," whose heads should be "smashed against the boulders and walls" (Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir). Or more commonly just "Araboushim," the slang counterpart of "kike" or "nigger."

Thus, after a particularly depraved display of settler-military terror and purposeful humiliation in the West Bank town of Halhul in December 1982, which disgusted even Israeli hawks, the well-known military/political analyst Yoram Peri wrote in dismay that one "task of the army today [is] to demolish the rights of innocent people just because they are Araboushim living in territories that God promised to us," a task that became far more urgent, and was carried out with far more brutality, when the Araboushim began to "raise their heads" a few years later.

We can easily assess the sincerity of the sentiments expressed about the Klinghoffer murder. It is only necessary to investigate the reaction to comparable U.S.-backed Israeli crimes. Take, for example, the murder in April 2002 of two crippled Palestinians, Kemal Zughayer and Jamal Rashid, by Israeli forces rampaging through the refugee camp of Jenin in the West Bank.

Zughayer's crushed body and the remains of his wheelchair were found by British reporters, along with the remains of the white flag he was holding when he was shot dead while seeking to flee the Israeli tanks which then drove over him, ripping his face in two and severing his arms and legs. Jamal Rashid was crushed in his wheelchair when one of Israel's huge U.S.-supplied Caterpillar bulldozers demolished his home in Jenin with his family inside. The differential reaction, or rather non-reaction, has become so routine and so easy to explain that no further commentary is necessary.

Car Bomb

Plainly, the 1985 Tunis bombing was a vastly more severe terrorist crime than the Achille Lauro hijacking, or the crime for which Moughniyeh's "involvement can be ascertained with certainty" in the same year. But even the Tunis bombing had competitors for the prize for worst terrorist atrocity in the Mideast in the peak year of 1985.

One challenger was a car-bombing in Beirut right outside a mosque, timed to go off as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers. It killed 80 people and wounded 256. Most of the dead were girls and women, who had been leaving the mosque, though the ferocity of the blast "burned babies in their beds," "killed a bride buying her trousseau," and "blew away three children as they walked home from the mosque." It also "devastated the main street of the densely populated" West Beirut suburb, reported Nora Boustany three years later in the Washington Post.

The intended target had been the Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, who escaped. The bombing was carried out by Reagan's CIA and his Saudi allies, with Britain's help, and was specifically authorized by CIA Director William Casey, according to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's account in his book Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987. Little is known beyond the bare facts, thanks to rigorous adherence to the doctrine that we do not investigate our own crimes (unless they become too prominent to suppress, and the inquiry can be limited to some low-level "bad apples" who were naturally "out of control").

"Terrorist Villagers"

A third competitor for the 1985 Mideast terrorism prize was Prime Minister Peres' "Iron Fist" operations in southern Lebanese territories then occupied by Israel in violation of Security Council orders. The targets were what the Israeli high command called "terrorist villagers."

Peres's crimes in this case sank to new depths of "calculated brutality and arbitrary murder" in the words of a Western diplomat familiar with the area, an assessment amply supported by direct coverage. They are, however, of no interest to "the world" and therefore remain uninvestigated, in accordance with the usual conventions. We might well ask whether these crimes fall under international terrorism or the far more severe crime of aggression, but let us again give the benefit of the doubt to Israel and its backers in Washington and keep to the lesser charge.

These are a few of the thoughts that might cross the minds of people elsewhere in the world, even if not those of "the world," when considering "one of the very few times" Imad Moughniyeh was clearly implicated in a terrorist crime.

The U.S. also accuses him of responsibility for devastating double suicide truck-bomb attacks on U.S. Marine and French paratrooper barracks in Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 Marines and 58 paratroopers, as well as a prior attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, a particularly serious blow because of a meeting there of CIA officials at the time.

The Financial Times has, however, attributed the attack on the Marine barracks to Islamic Jihad, not Hizbollah. Fawaz Gerges, one of the leading scholars on the jihadi movements and on Lebanon, has written that responsibility was taken by an "unknown group called Islamic Jihad."

A voice speaking in classical Arabic called for all Americans to leave Lebanon or face death. It has been claimed that Moughniyeh was the head of Islamic Jihad at the time, but to my knowledge, evidence is sparse.

The opinion of the world has not been sampled on the subject, but it is possible that there might be some hesitancy about calling an attack on a military base in a foreign country a "terrorist attack," particularly when U.S. and French forces were carrying out heavy naval bombardments and air strikes in Lebanon, and shortly after the U.S. provided decisive support for the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which killed some 20,000 people and devastated the south, while leaving much of Beirut in ruins. It was finally called off by President Reagan when international protest became too intense to ignore after the Sabra-Shatila massacres.

In the United States, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon is regularly described as a reaction to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist attacks on northern Israel from their Lebanese bases, making our crucial contribution to these major war crimes understandable. In the real world, the Lebanese border area had been quiet for a year, apart from repeated Israeli attacks, many of them murderous, in an effort to elicit some PLO response that could be used as a pretext for the already planned invasion. Its actual purpose was not concealed at the time by Israeli commentators and leaders: to safeguard the Israeli takeover of the occupied West Bank.

It is of some interest that the sole serious error in Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid is the repetition of this propaganda concoction about PLO attacks from Lebanon being the motive for the Israeli invasion. The book was bitterly attacked, and desperate efforts were made to find some phrase that could be misinterpreted, but this glaring error -- the only one -- was ignored. Reasonably, since it satisfies the criterion of adhering to useful doctrinal fabrications.

Killing Without Intent

Another allegation is that Moughniyeh "masterminded" the bombing of Israel's embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, killing 29 people, in response, as the Financial Times put it, to Israel's "assassination of former Hizbollah leader Abbas Al-Mussawi in an air attack in southern Lebanon." About the assassination, there is no need for evidence: Israel proudly took credit for it. The world might have some interest in the rest of the story. Al-Mussawi was murdered with a U.S.-supplied helicopter, well north of Israel's illegal "security zone" in southern Lebanon. He was on his way to Sidon from the village of Jibshit, where he had spoken at the memorial for another Imam murdered by Israeli forces. The helicopter attack also killed his wife and five-year old child. Israel then employed U.S.-supplied helicopters to attack a car bringing survivors of the first attack to a hospital.

After the murder of the family, Hezbollah "changed the rules of the game," Prime Minister Rabin informed the Israeli Knesset. Previously, no rockets had been launched at Israel. Until then, the rules of the game had been that Israel could launch murderous attacks anywhere in Lebanon at will, and Hizbollah would respond only within Israeli-occupied Lebanese territory.

After the murder of its leader (and his family), Hizbollah began to respond to Israeli crimes in Lebanon by rocketing northern Israel. The latter is, of course, intolerable terror, so Rabin launched an invasion that drove some 500,000 people out of their homes and killed well over 100. The merciless Israeli attacks reached as far as northern Lebanon.

In the south, 80% of the city of Tyre fled and Nabatiye was left a "ghost town," Jibshit was about 70% destroyed according to an Israeli army spokesperson, who explained that the intent was "to destroy the village completely because of its importance to the Shi'ite population of southern Lebanon." The goal was "to wipe the villages from the face of the earth and sow destruction around them," as a senior officer of the Israeli northern command described the operation.

Jibshit may have been a particular target because it was the home of Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, kidnapped and brought to Israel several years earlier. Obeid's home "received a direct hit from a missile," British journalist Robert Fisk reported, "although the Israelis were presumably gunning for his wife and three children." Those who had not escaped hid in terror, wrote Mark Nicholson in the Financial Times, "because any visible movement inside or outside their houses is likely to attract the attention of Israeli artillery spotters, who... were pounding their shells repeatedly and devastatingly into selected targets." Artillery shells were hitting some villages at a rate of more than 10 rounds a minute at times.

All of this received the firm support of President Bill Clinton, who understood the need to instruct the Araboushim sternly on the "rules of the game." And Rabin emerged as another grand hero and man of peace, so different from the two-legged beasts, grasshoppers, and drugged roaches.

This is only a small sample of facts that the world might find of interest in connection with the alleged responsibility of Moughniyeh for the retaliatory terrorist act in Buenos Aires.

Other charges are that Moughniyeh helped prepare Hizbollah defenses against the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, evidently an intolerable terrorist crime by the standards of "the world," which understands that the United States and its clients must face no impediments in their just terror and aggression.

The more vulgar apologists for U.S. and Israeli crimes solemnly explain that, while Arabs purposely kill people, the U.S. and Israel, being democratic societies, do not intend to do so.

Their killings are just accidental ones, hence not at the level of moral depravity of their adversaries. That was, for example, the stand of Israel's High Court when it recently authorized severe collective punishment of the people of Gaza by depriving them of electricity (hence water, sewage disposal, and other such basics of civilized life).

The same line of defense is common with regard to some of Washington's past peccadilloes, like the destruction in 1998 of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The attack apparently led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but without intent to kill them, hence not a crime on the order of intentional killing -- so we are instructed by moralists who consistently suppress the response that had already been given to these vulgar efforts at self-justification.

To repeat once again, we can distinguish three categories of crimes: murder with intent, accidental killing, and murder with foreknowledge but without specific intent. Israeli and U.S. atrocities typically fall into the third category. Thus, when Israel destroys Gaza's power supply or sets up barriers to travel in the West Bank, it does not specifically intend to murder the particular people who will die from polluted water or in ambulances that cannot reach hospitals.

And when Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of the al-Shifa plant, it was obvious that it would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Human Rights Watch immediately informed him of this, providing details; nevertheless, he and his advisers did not intend to kill specific people among those who would inevitably die when half the pharmaceutical supplies were destroyed in a poor African country that could not replenish them.

Rather, they and their apologists regarded Africans much as we do the ants we crush while walking down a street. We are aware that it is likely to happen (if we bother to think about it), but we do not intend to kill them because they are not worthy of such consideration. Needless to say, comparable attacks by Araboushim in areas inhabited by human beings would be regarded rather differently.

If, for a moment, we can adopt the perspective of the world, we might ask which criminals are "wanted the world over."