Search Results for: NSL

Editorial – The State of Our Union: A House Divided, Enslaved & Mired in the Mistakes of the Past

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”—Abraham Lincoln

History has a funny way of circling back on itself.

The facts, figures, faces and technology may change from era to era, but the dangers remain the same.

This year is no different, whatever the politicians and talking heads may say to the contrary.

Sure, there’s a new guy in charge with a talent for stirring up mayhem and madness, but for the most part, we’re still recycling the same news stories that have kept us with one eye warily glued to the news for the past 100-odd years: War. Corruption. Brutality. Economic instability. Partisan politics. Militarism. Disease. Hunger. Greed. Violence. Poverty. Ignorance. Hatred.

Translated Doc Debunks Narrative of Al Qaeda-Iran ‘Alliance’

For many years, major U.S. institutions ranging from the Pentagon to the 9/11 Commission have been pushing the line that Iran secretly cooperated with Al Qaeda both before and after the 9/11 terror attacks. But the evidence for those claims remained either secret or sketchy, and always highly questionable. In early November, however, the mainstream media claimed to have its “smoking gun”—a CIA document written by an unidentified Al Qaeda official and released in conjunction with 47,000 never-before-seen documents seized from Osama bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The EyeOpener- Police State Gadgets & the Technology of Enslavement

Taser: Popular Technology of Pain Compliance in Law Enforcement

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The popular conception of the police state, derived mainly from works of science fiction,
revolves heavily around the deployment of exotic technologies for keeping the populace firmly under the thumb of an authoritarian government. Perhaps it is the frequency with which these devices are presented to us in fictionalized form that prevents many from noticing that this technology is not the stuff of sci-fi fantasy, but increasingly a part of our everyday lives.

Jack Cover, a NASA researcher, began development on the taser which was completed in 1974, although not widely adopted by police departments until the last decade. Since its inception as a standard police implement the taser has courted controversy, with critics blaming the weapon for as many as 515 American deaths since 2001. It has also been denounced by the United Nations Committee Against Torture, Amnesty International, and other organizations as a potential weapon of terror.

This is our EyeOpener Report by James Corbett, introducing and presenting the taser, the use and implementation of this ‘pain technology’ in other settings, including airplanes, airports as the front line of the police state and a testing ground for new police state technology, and how the police, TSA and other law enforcement agents are being actively recruited and encouraged to be as aggressive as possible in dealing with the public, and aided in doing so by the federal government, the courts, and the upper ranks of their own departments.

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Twilio Demonstrates Why Courts Should Review Every National Security Letter

The list of companies who exercise their right to ask for judicial review when handed national security letter gag orders from the FBI is growing. Last week, the communications platform Twilio posted two NSLs after the FBI backed down from its gag orders. As Twilio’s accompanying blog post documents, the FBI simply couldn’t or didn’t want to justify its nondisclosure requirements in court. This might be the starkest public example yet of why courts should be involved in reviewing NSL gag orders in all cases.

The War on Cannabis

On January 4, President Donald Trump’s Attorney General reversed the Cole Memorandum put into place during the Obama administration. It protects states that have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use from the heavy hand of the federal government. During his confirmation hearing Jeff Session told Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado that he wouldn’t violate states’ rights in the state by going after medical patients, recreational consumers, marijuana growers and distributors. He went back on that promise. On this edition of The Geopolitical Report, we examine the ongoing war against cannabis and its long history, beginning with the regulation of the plant in the mid-1800s. From the propaganda war launched by Harry J. Anslinger of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to scheduling marijuana in the same category as heroin and the ever escalating war against the plant by Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Obama, and now Trump, the fight to legalize cannabis continues. Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe in some form of legalized marijuana. Any move by Congress, however, will be to protect an emerging industry that will provide a significant boost in taxation, and not for the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.

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Show Notes

Did Jeff Sessions Just Increase the Odds Congress Will Make Marijuana Legal?

Legal history of cannabis in the United States

New Anti-Drug Law is in Effect Today

Roosevelt Asks Narcotic War Aid

5 Elite Families Who Made Their Fortunes in the Opium Trade

Thank President Nixon, the DEA & US Prison Industry for Classifying Marijuana as a Schedule I Drug

Report: Aide says Nixon's war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies

Reagan's Drug War Legacy

Ronald Reagan Lied About Marijuana Effects (1980s)

Clinton’s Drug War

Drug War Statistics

Newsbud Exclusive- The Most Oppressive Regime on Earth Receives Nearly $8 Billion in US Foreign Military Sales Contracts

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) appear regularly on the Pentagon’s daily list of contracts. Through FMS, the U.S. government procures and transfers weaponry and matériel to allied nations and international organizations. The Saudi government is one of the most oppressive regimes on Earth. It is also one of the U.S. war industry’s favorite customers. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) issued 65 FMS contracts worth at least $7,981,111,000 to Saudi Arabia during 2017.

Advanced Electronics Co. (Riyadh) received $29,934,295 to help Saudi Arabia’s Air Force with cyber protection and cyber facilities, specifically Cyber Protection System Builds 0-2 updates.

AECOM received $9,000,000 for FMS (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE): professional architecture & engineering services. Atkins North America Inc. received $9,000,000 for FMS (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Oman) for professional architect-engineer services.

Boeing received $10,326,551 (Saudi FMS = $595,464, 5.77% of total contract) for Harpoon / SLAM-ER missile system and Harpoon launch systems integrated logistics & engineering. This missile system is very lucrative for Boeing. Other nations that purchase this weapon include Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherlands, Oman, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, and UK. Boeing received $12,399,305 (Saudi FMS = 143 missiles for $4,913,562, 39.63% of total contract): Harpoon & SLAM-ER spares. Boeing received $8,354,991 for Harpoon & SLAM_ER engineering, training, equipment, logistics, tech support for 25 nations, including Saudi Arabia.

Boeing received $18,290,920 for AN/APG-63(V)3 radar for use on Saudi Arabia’s F-15SA aircraft. Boeing received $18,719,151 to sustain AN/APG‐63 and Talon HATE radar subsystems for USA's ANG and Saudi Arabia’s Air Force. Boeing received $20,288,031 for USA & FMS (Israel, Saudi Arabia): F-15 equipment manufacturer infrastructure support. Boeing received $46,399,274 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): interim contractor support for F-15SA aircraft at King Khalid Air Base. Boeing received $480,421,520 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): repair F-15 parts. Al Raha Group for Technical Services (Riyadh) received $185,722,274 for procurement services, warehousing, and bench stocking of unclassified consumables & spares for Saudi Arabia’s F-15 program. S&K Aerospace received $559,011,645 to supply the Saudi Air Force with F-15 C/D/S/SA logistics support & supply consumables, and operation & maintenance of print plant / print-on-demand facilities.

Boeing received $25,522,594 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): post-production service support on 24 AH-6i helicopters. Boeing received $222,549,505 to provide Saudi Arabia’s Land Forces Aviation Command with 8 new CH-47F helicopters.

Boeing received $92,900,000 for E-3 AWACS engineering and technical support for USAF & FMS (Japan, NATO, Saudi Arabia, UK, France). Boeing received $240,195,180 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): AWACS modernization, phase 1.

Boeing received $143,414,164 to modify 24 Saudi Arabia’s AH-64E helicopters. Boeing received $3,276,522,609 for AH-64 helicopter multi-year lots 7-11, AH-64E full-rate production of aircraft, Longbow crew trainers, equipment, spares, logistics, and engineering. Includes unspecified FMS to Saudi Arabia. Longbow LLC received $183,474,414 for FMS (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UK): radar electronic units.

Booz Allen Hamilton received $28,035,789 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): support Saudi Land Forces Armor Corps in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Critical Solutions International (CSI) received $131,946,942 for FMS (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia): Husky 2nd generation system, sub-systems, parts, storage, tools, field service reps, and training.

Cubic Defense Applications received $14,823,747 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): contractor logistics support on P5 training system at Saudi bases.

DRS Systems received $82,340,766 for FMS (Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia): Horizontal Technology Integration 2nd generation, forward looking infrared (HTI SGF) thermal receiver unit, and A- & B-Kit spares.

General Dynamics received $20,615,139 for USA & FMS (Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia): MK82-6 bomb bodies (10,933), MK84-4 bomb bodies (866), MK84-10 bomb bodies (1,365). General Dynamics (GD Arabia Inc.) received $10,035,953 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): logistics & maintenance support.

General Dynamics received $13,144,278 for FMS (Kuwait, Australia, Saudi Arabia): Abrams systems & sustainment systems technical support. General Dynamics received $60,749,739 for FMS (Australia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia): work on technical support for Abrams vehicles & derivative systems.

General Electric received $643,000,000 for FMS (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain): F110-GE-129 engines, spares, monitoring systems, repair, etc. Woodward FST Inc. received $7,313,497 FMS (Saudi Arabia): overhaul F100-PW-220/220E Augmenter Spraying Manifold.

Intuitive Research Technology Corp. (IRTC) received $7,893,117 for FMS (Germany, Netherlands, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Spain, UAE, Qatar, Greece): programmatic support for the lower tier project office. Eight months later, IRTC received $10,581,641 for FMS (unnamed, presumably same as the prior batch): programmatic effort for the Lower Tier Project Office Missile Systems Independent Integration Analysis under the Amcom Express program.

Iron Mountain Solutions received $7,018,280 for FMS (Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Thailand, UAE, Jordan, Sweden, Egypt, Slovakia, Tunisia, Brazil): technical support for the Utility Helicopter Project Office. Quantitech Inc. received $10,140,682 for FMS (UAE, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Thailand, Taiwan, Tunisia): program support, Utility Helicopter Project Office.

Kaman Corp. received $85,169,000 for joint programmable fuze, FMU-52 (lot 13) & production, test & engineering support. 26% of contract is FMS (Bahrain, Belgium, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, S. Korea, Lebanon, Morocco, Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE). L-3 received $37,347,368 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): 38,284 M734A1 multi-option fuzes; and 165,426 M783 point detonating/delay fuzes.

Kilgore Flares received $28,057,935 for FMS (Saudi Arabia, Egypt): infrared countermeasure flares (M206 272,900; MJU-7A/B 171,480; MJU-10/B 45,000). TelePrime received $7,489,587 for AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser. Involves FMS including, but not limited to France, UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia.

Kratos Technology & Training Solutions received $46,217,067 for program planning and technical / instructional services to support Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 in Riyadh (30%), Jubail (30%), Jeddah (30%), Ras al Ghar (5%), Saudi Arabia; Orlando, FL, USA (5%).

Lockheed Martin received $7,426,983 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): software modifications to establish a software baseline for MH-60R. Lockheed Martin received $332,136,017 for FMS (UK, Egypt, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Netherlands, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Poland): Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor [M-TADS/PNVS .pdf], subcomponent production, and tech services for AH-64 helicopters. Lockheed Martin received $3,767,831,000 for FMS (Saudi Arabia) & U.S. Army UH-60 multi-year production. Base quantity consists of 257 aircraft: 142 Army UH-60M, 40 Saudi UH-60M & 75 HH-60M.

Lockheed Martin received $7,568,460 to provide Saudi Arabia with C-130J spares & support elements.

Lockheed Martin received $13,360,903 for FMS (Kuwait, UAE, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan): post-production support basic labor and technical support.

Lockheed Martin received $21,098,062 to provide USA & FMS (South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan) with PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) field support services. Lockheed Martin received $39,219,294 for FMS (Germany, Netherlands, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Japan, UAE): PAC-3 Missile Support Center post-production support (recapitalize launcher, field missile activities, maintenance). Lockheed Martin received $130,342,972 for FMS: (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, UAE, Taiwan): FY2017 PAC-3 production. Lockheed Martin received $944,888,827 initial FY2018 PAC-3 production. Includes 54 U.S. Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles, 24 MSE missiles for Qatar, 130 Saudi Arabia Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) missiles, and ground support equipment.

Lockheed Martin received $55,500,000 FMS (Saudi Arabia): set up live fire ranges for Saudi Arabia’s National Guard.

Northrop Grumman received $75,000,000 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): Joint Threat Emitter support services.

Odyssey Systems Consulting Group received $8,159,916 for professional acquisition support services for the FMS division at Hanscom AFB and Eglin AFB. FMS includes Australia, UAE, NATO, Qatar, Turkey, UK, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, South Korea, Morocco, Oman, Poland, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, France, India, Norway, Belgium, Japan, Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal. Odyssey Systems received $12,184,292 for professional acquisition support (management: program, financial; admin & other support) for the FMS division, and Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems International Branch at Hanscom AFB and geographically separated units. Involves FMS to Australia, France, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, and NATO. Odyssey Systems received $16,495,203 for professional acquisition support services, and to provide advisory & assistance to the battle management directorate, Hanscom AFB. Involves FMS (Saudi Arabia, UAE).

Raytheon received $10,158,872 for USA and FMS (UAE, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Spain, Germany, Qatar): PATRIOT engineering. Raytheon received $23,044,183 for FMS (Israel, Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia): support for PATRIOT Field Surveillance program. Includes missile assessment, testing, recertification, and repair. Raytheon received $202,185,977 for FMS (Germany, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Netherlands, Qatar, Spain, Taiwan): PATRIOT engineering.

Raytheon received $16,871,813 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) initial integrated logistics support and training. Raytheon received $32,332,259 for JSOW technical support for U.S. Navy, Australia, Finland, Greece, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Turkey, Qatar. Raytheon received $302,439,830 for FMS (Saudi Arabia): 618 JSOW air-to-ground missiles (Block III C), containers, parts/spares, and engineering.

Raytheon received $78,723,292 AIM-9X Block II support & sustainment for USA, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Oman, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey. Raytheon received $199,757,307 (Saudi FMS = $1,055,006, 0.53% of overall contract) for AIM-9X Block II lot 17 missiles, containers, and spare parts / units.

Raytheon received $36,705,000 for Advanced Technology Receiver Card, Raytheon’s patented 4-channel receiver of simultaneous tracking direct measurement processing, ultra-tight GPS / inertial navigation system coupling, innovative fast satellite acquisition. Involves FMS to Saudi Arabia.

Raytheon received $80,043,448 for Design Agent Engineering & technical support on Phalanx, SeaRAM, and Land-based Phalanx. Involves FMS (Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Canada, UK, South Korea, Portugal, Greece).

Raytheon received $31,485,233 for FMS (Saudi Arabia, Lebanon): TOW missiles. Raytheon received $292,436,322 for FMS (Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Thailand, Bahrain, Morocco): TOW missiles.

NOTE: The amount ($7,981,111,000) is a very conservative estimate. The figure is likely much higher. Total 2017 FMS to Saudi Arabia is difficult to determine because DOD is deliberately vague regarding funding allocations and often does not itemize among recipient nations.

# # # #

Christian Sorensen, Newsbud Analysts & Author, is a writer and an independent journalist. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 2007-2011. He holds advanced degrees in Translation Studies and International Relations. His work focuses on the U.S. war industry.

A-RCI = acoustic rapid commercial off-the-shelf

CLS = contractor logistics support

COTS = commercial off-the-shelf

ECP = engineering change proposal

LRIP = low rate initial production

PEO = program executive office, the space where military and civilian officials direct a major acquisition program

SRA = selected restricted availability = implementation of depot-level maintenance and modifications with the goal of updating a ship’s technical and military capabilities

TI = technical insertion

To avoid competitive bidding, DOD invokes 10 U.S.C. 2304, FAR 6.302, and FAR 8.405-6. DOD uses 15 U.S.C. 638 to avoid competitive bidding when dealing with small businesses. DOD uses CFR 206.302-4 to avoid competitive bidding when dealing with treaties and foreign transactions.

Ukraine Arrests Prime Minister’s Interpreter, Accuses Him of Spying for Russia

Ukraine’s counterintelligence agency has arrested the principal translator of the country’s prime minister, accusing him of spying for Russia. The translator has been identified as Stanislav Yezhov, who has served as a translator for two consecutive Ukrainian prime ministers. As part of his job, Yezhov has been present at nearly all high-level meetings between Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, and foreign leaders since 2016, when Groysman assumed his executive post. In the last year alone, Yezhov accompanied the Ukrainian prime minister during official trips to Washington, London and Berlin. Before translating for Groysman, Yezhov is thought to have served as an interpreter for Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s former President. Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician, occupied that office from 2010 until his ousting from power in 2014, as a result of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.

When Washington Assured Russia NATO Would Not Expand – Editorial

Statecraft is a complicated business, but the criteria by which we judge statesmen turn out to be less so. The central question reduces to whether those charged with formulating policy succeed in enhancing the power and security of the nation they lead. Yet near-term advantage does not necessarily translate into long-term benefit. With the passage of time, a seemingly clever gambit can yield poisonous fruit. So it is with the way the George Herbert Walker Bush administration managed the end of the Cold War.

How George Soros’ People Enlisted Me As A ‘Foot-Soldier In The Fight Against Putin’ – Editorial

There I was minding my own business last Friday afternoon when a bunch of lobbyists in Prague suddenly enlisted me as “a foot-soldier in the fight against Putin.” As Queen Victoria probably didn’t say, “we are not amused." In Russia, they have a wonderful phrase: “Скажи мне кто твой друг и я скажу кто ты,” which roughly translates as “tell me who is your friend and I'll tell you who you are.” And it’s a sentiment which contains plenty of logic. So you can just imagine my discomfort when, the misleadingly named, “European Values,” a George Soros’ funded pressure group, pretended that I’d signed up to something called the “Prague Declaration” alongside a motley crew of anti-Russia opportunists.

Newsbud Exclusive- The 2011 Conspiracy Against Syria Unravels!

Last week, a bombshell was dropped by former Qatari politician Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabel al-Thani, who oversaw Qatari intervention in Syria until 2013. Simultaneously occupying the post of prime minister and foreign minister during the so-called “Arab Spring,” Hamad was at the forefront of his country’s role in the proxy war against Syria and thus has first-hand inside knowledge of the covert discussions that were being held between the various countries mutually hostile to the Syrian government at the time. Amidst outing his frustrations regarding the current Gulf crisis, he shared some of that knowledge with the outside world in an interview on Qatari television:

When the events first started in Syria, I went to Saudi Arabia and met with King Abdullah. I did that on the instructions of his highness the prince, my father. He [King Abdullah] said we are behind you. You go ahead with this plan and we will coordinate but you should be in charge. I won’t get into details, but we took full charge and anything that was sent [to Syria] would go to Turkey and was in coordination with the US forces and everything was distributed via the Turks and the US forces. And us and everyone else were involved, the military people. There may have been mistakes and support was given to the wrong faction, but not Daesh - they are exaggerating if they say that.[sic][1] Maybe there was a relationship with Nusra [al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria], it’s possible but I myself don’t know about this. But I can tell you that even if that was the case, when it was decided that Nusra is not acceptable, the support for Nusra stopped and the concentration was on the liberation of Syria. We were fighting over the prey [i.e. Assad and his supporters], and now the prey is gone, and we are still fighting. And now Bashar [al-Assad] is still here. If you say ‘okay, Bashar can stay,’ we don’t mind. We have no feelings of vengeance against him, but you [the US and Saudi Arabia] were with us in the same trench.”[2] (emphasis added)

In June, Hamad had already told American talk show host Charlie Rose practically the same thing, but in a less comprehensive fashion:

“Look, in Syria everybody did mistakes, including your country [the US]. When the war, or the revolution, happened in Syria, all of us worked through two operation rooms, one in Jordan and one in Turkey. The first one was in Jordan. And there was countries, some of the GCC countries, among them the Saudi’s, the Emirati’s, Qatar, the United States and other allies, and they was working from there. And all of us was supporting the same group [the armed opposition]. In Turkey we did the same.”[3]

One could take these startling admissions in two directions. The first one could lead to a conclusion that once the rebellion was in full gear, the above-mentioned countries started to support the armed opposition in the form of funding, arms supply and propaganda. This, however, is increasingly becoming documented knowledge and part of the historical record. Moreover, this conclusion would still accept the notion that there was first a tangible and widespread revolution against Assad’s rule which evolved into a civil war, and that the countries in question only afterwards capitalised on these events to further their own geopolitical agendas. In contrast, a second direction could explore the possibility that the covert discussions of which Hamad revealed some were already taking place from the very onset, “when the events first started in Syria,” or even before that. If substantiated, this hypothesis would challenge the claim that the origins of the Syrian debacle lay at a massive uprising against the Syrian government, the latter which was accused of brutally cracking down on initially peaceful protests. The collusion of the geopolitical regime change agendas of the US and its NATO and Gulf allies, particularly Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as Israel, then, might constitute the real first cause of the tremendous suffering of the Syrian people. This article chooses the more provocative second direction.

Syria, an eternal target

Since Syria became independent from France in 1946, Western countries and intelligence agencies regularly conspired to overthrow the ruling regimes of the day. In 1949, a CIA-backed coup succeeded, although very briefly, in ousting Syria’s democratically elected president, and in 1956 and 1957, American and British intelligence twice failed to overthrow the Syrian government, the latter plot which included assassination attempts of leading figures in the Syrian power structure.[4] A recently declassified CIA document, too, revealed multiple agency plans to engineer the collapse of Hafez al-Assad’s government in 1986, including by way of exacerbating sectarian tensions, which is exactly what the US and its allies had done a couple of years earlier when they backed the 1982 Muslim Brotherhood insurrection in Hama.[5] After bloody clashes between the army and Brotherhood Islamists had left thousands dead there, US military intelligence dryly observed that “the Syrians are pragmatic [and] do not want a Muslim Brotherhood government.”[6]

Following 9/11, Syria immediately ended up on the Pentagon’s drawing board. In a 2007 interview with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now, retired four-star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark disclosed that in the aftermath of 11 September, 2001, a fellow general of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told him that the Ministry of Defense had decided “to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off [with] Iran.”[7] Not long after the US invaded Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration put sanctions on Syria for its alleged ties to terrorism,[8] and soon various American and Israeli officials were issuing threats against the Syrian government that hinted at it being next on Washington’s Middle East chopping block.[9] Paul Wolfowitz, for instance, declared a month after the invasion of Iraq that “there has got to be regime change in Syria” as well, and American-born Israeli journalist Caroline Glick even called for a pre-emptive war against Damascus.[10] At the same time, however, Syria was a primary partner in America’s secretive “extraordinary rendition” program in which terrorism suspects were extradited to foreign countries where they were to be interrogated and often tortured.[11] Furthermore, since 9/11 the Syrian government was providing the US with important intelligence about al-Qaeda, and therefore, the CIA and State Department figured that finishing the job in Iraq first remained the top priority in American foreign policy for the time being.[12]

Laying the groundwork

Still, declassified documents and admissions from government officials reveal that covert operations to destabilise the government of Bashar al-Assad, who ascended to the presidency after his father’s death in 2000, were ongoing during the Iraq war. In a cable released by Wikileaks, William Roebuck, then chargé d’affaires at the American embassy in Damascus, advised his superiors in 2006 to coordinate more closely with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to fan the flames of sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Syria.[13] And indeed, in his widely circulated 2007 piece The redirection, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said that the US was partaking “clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria” which bolstered Sunni extremist groups sympathetic to al-Qaeda. More concretely, Hersh wrote that the “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad,” just as Roebuck had suggested in the previous year. Furthermore, a former high-ranking CIA officer revealed to Hersh that the Americans and Saudi’s provided political as well as financial support to the Syrian National Salvation Front, a coalition of opposition groups centred around former Vice-President Adbul Halim Khaddam and the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.[14]

In addition, the Washington Post reported in April 2011 that the State Department had secretly funnelled millions of dollars to Syrian political opposition groups since at least 2005, drawing on analysis from several Wikileaks cables. It also provided funds to Barada TV, a London-based opposition satellite channel which began broadcasting in April 2009 and conveniently ramped up operations in 2011 to cover the unfolding demonstrations.[15] The role of such clandestine operations in laying the groundwork for regime change should not be underestimated. Also in April 2011, a couple of months into the Arab revolts, the New York Times reported that Congress- and State Department-funded NGOs such as Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy, both infamous for their roles in instigating colour revolutions around the world, “played a bigger role in fomenting protests [in the Arab world] than was previously known,” particularly in Yemen and Egypt.[16]

In Syria, however, it went further than actions that could be disguised as “democracy building campaigns,” as the New York Times described the funding and training of activists and political opposition groups around the Arab world. In a bombshell statement, former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas gave a piece of insight into the pre-2011 underground plans to destabilise Syria in 2013. During a debate on French television in June of that year, he exposed plans of foreign-engineered armed rebellion as far back as 2009:

“I am going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the hostilities began in Syria. I was there by chance for other business, not at all for Syria. I met with British officials, some of whom are friends of mine, and they confessed while trying to persuade me that preparations for something were underway in Syria. This was in Britain, not America. Britain was preparing the invasion of rebels into Syria. […] I just need to say that this operation goes way back. It was prepared, conceived and planned.[17] (emphasis added)

When Dumas spoke to a correspondent of Syrian state-sponsored news outlet SANA two weeks later, he added that he was approached by two people, an Englishman and a Frenchman, who asked him to participate in the preparations for a plan to topple the Syrian government. Dumas said that he refused, but that “events proved that they were serious about what they were saying.”[18]

When zooming out, all of this clearly interlocks with the big agendas of Western deep states regarding the Middle East. In 2008, one of the think tanks closely aligned to the Pentagon, RAND corporation, published a paper that discussed several US government policy options in “the long war” against Washington’s various adversaries in the Middle East. Aside from continuing supporting “the conservative Sunni regimes” in the Gulf, the authors proposed a “divide and rule” strategy as well, as such a policy “focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts.” “This strategy,” RAND added, “relies heavily on covert actions, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces.”[19] And indeed, in retrospect this appears to have been the chosen strategy in Washington’s efforts to topple Assad as well as Gaddafi respectively in Syria and Libya, where supporting local insurgents has led to the enormous amount of loss of life, the displacement of millions and the enormous infrastructural destruction of both countries.

Revolution?

When mainstream publications narrate the Syrian war, they by default explain the root cause of it to be anti-government demonstrations that were violently suppressed by the Assad government. In the viral “explanation” videos of the Guardian,[20] Vox[21] and Kurzgesagt,[22] the Syrian government, standardly characterised as an “authoritarian” or “quasi-dictatorial” regime, is depicted as the villain that brutally cracked down on massive peaceful pro-democracy protests across the country, after which those who wanted change eventually had no other alternative than to take up arms themselves. This narrative, however, is deeply flawed on every fundamental level.

First of all, it turns out that there were no signs of revolutionary sentiment in early 2011. One would expect that if Syria was ruled over by a brutal and unpopular dictatorship, the Syrian government would have to face popular uprisings all across the country, just like in Tunisia and Egypt. As reported by Time magazine’s correspondent in Damascus Rania Abouzeid, however, demonstrations in the wake of the Arab uprisings in February either “fizzled” because they failed to garner support, or they were mainly focused on the situation in other Arab countries and attracted less than 200 people.[23] In a follow-up article in the beginning of March called “Sitting pretty in Syria: why few go bashing Bashar,” Abouzeid explained why “even critics concede that Assad is popular and considered close to the country’s huge youth cohort.” Despite the one-party rule and the widespread corruption and lack of political freedom resulting from it, high unemployment and poverty rates and the repressive and vigilant state-security apparatus the Syrian government shared with the pro-American ruling regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, “Assad has a hostile foreign policy toward Israel and stridently supports the Palestinians and the militant groups Hamas and Hizballah,” which are very much “in line with popular Syrian sentiment.” Furthermore, “Assad is viewed as a reformer even by some Syrians who may despise the regime, blaming its shortcomings on his father’s still present ‘old guard’.” Indeed, drawing from interviews with human rights activists, Abouzeid stressed that the majority of Syrians want reform to take place within the party, the government and the security agencies.[24] As suggested by a poll conducted by a leading Turkish think tank, that sentiment had not changed by late 2011, as only 5% of the Syrian respondents said they supported violent protest, while 91% opposed it.[25]

It is no surprise, then, that the events that triggered the war did not take place in the country’s largest cities such as was the case in the Tunisian and Egyptian capital cities of Tunis and Cairo, where mass protests forced Ben Ali and Mubarak to resign. Rather, the first incident happened in the southern regional town of Dara’a, close to the Syrian-Jordanian border. In mid-March, the arrest of a group of 15 kids who had sprayed a graffiti slogan containing the words “the people want the regime to fall” on a wall had sparked protests which resulted into casualties as well as the torching of the Baath Party headquarters and the courthouse of the town. According to Abouzeid, who was in the country contrary to most journalists who wrote about the incident, “Assad responded immediately, sending a high-ranking delegation to deliver his condolences to the families of the dead,” after which the governor was dismissed, and the kids were released.[26] While most Western media publications quoted unnamed “witnesses” and “activists” as saying that security forces brutally cracked down on the demonstrations in Dara’a, Lebanese and Israeli media reported that seven police officers and at least four demonstrators had been killed in the clashes that had erupted.[27] In addition, several reports observed rooftop snipers targeting both civilians and police, which is reminiscent of other highly questionable and obscure events, such as the 1982 Muslim Brotherhood insurgency in Hama, the 2014 Maiden square demonstrations in Kiev and the 2016 killings during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas. In all these events, rooftop snipers who are by now either confirmed or suspected to be agent provocateurs killed both peaceful demonstrators and police officers.[28]

Although it is unclear what exactly transpired in Dara’a, it has all the appearances of an at least partially staged event. When demonstrators as well as security forces die, this means that there must have been an armed insurrection which was either embedded with the protestors, or which drove the peaceful demonstrators off the streets. Taking in mind Roland Dumas’s revelation of European plans of the invasion of rebels into Syria and Dara’a’s close proximity to Jordan, where one of the two multinational operation rooms with the specific goal of regime change would soon be (or perhaps was already) set up, it is at least plausible that several foreign countries conspired to plan the events in Dara’a. And indeed, Reuters reported a couple of days before the eruption of violence that Syrian security forces had seized a large shipment of weapons, explosives and night-vision goggles from a truck at al-Tanaf, the Iraq-Syria border crossing that is the closest one to Dara’a;[29] and Saudi official Anwar al-Eshki later confirmed to BBC television that his country had sent weapons to the al-Omari mosque in Dara’a prior to the moment all hell broke loose in the town.[30]

A second critique of the mainstream narrative thus shatters the myth that the anti-government demonstrations were peaceful during the first phase of the so-called revolution, as already from the very onset the amount of dead security forces seemed to equal those of the demonstrators, at least some of the latter who must have been foreign-backed armed insurgents. This pattern continued throughout the first months of the conflict, as dozens of police officers and soldiers were massacred in March and April.[31] By mid-December 2011, the UN’s human rights chief Navi Pillay estimated the death toll of the conflict to total around 5.000 casualties.[32] Contrast that to the government’s count of 478 police officers and 2.091 soldiers and security forces killed among its ranks between 29 March 2011 and 20 March 2012, which was incorporated into a report from the UN’s Human Rights Office.[33] Although absolutely nothing can justify or excuse state aggression against protestors, it is clear that a significant part of the violence should be attributed to armed insurgents. Furthermore, according to Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit priest in Homs who was killed by Jabhat al-Nusrah in 2014, “very often the violence of the security forces is a reaction to the cruel violence of the armed insurgency.”[34]

Finally, although no one dismisses the fact that significant anti-government demonstrations with attendees totalling tens of thousands were held in the spring and summer of 2011, the mainstream narrative ignored the huge, ostensibly larger, pro-government rallies that were held in response to the violence that was happening across the country. Although both sides clearly inflated the number of attendees at their respective rallies, Camille Otrakji (in an article intentionally non-normative and critical of both sides) estimated that up to one million Syrians attended pro-government demonstrations, which is close to five percent of the population or 50 times the amount of the only pro-Mubarak rally in Egypt.[35] These observations suggest that Assad is popular, which is backed up by several additional sources, some of whom from entities openly hostile to the Syrian government. In 2008, an American poll by the University of Maryland and Zogby International found that Arab respondents considered Assad the world leader that they admired the most aside from Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah.[36] A year later, the Syrian president was chosen as the person of the year by CNN’s Arabic readers, more than doubling the score of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who came in second.[37] At the beginning of 2012, nine months into the conflict, Assad’s popularity among Syrians had not faltered. Analysis of 18 large polls on Facebook conducted in 2011 showed an average of 53% in favour or President Assad, while support for typical demands of the opposition, such as changing the colours of the Syrian flag, an Arab boycott of Syria, Turkish or NATO intervention and a UN vote targeting the Syrian government, were very weak.[38] In January 2012, the Guardian reported that a poll linked to the Qatari government found that, to its surprise, some 55% of Syrians wanted Assad to stay while most Arabs outside Syria felt the president must resign. This indicates the growing bifurcation between Syrian and Arab public opinion, or between those undergoing the horror of war and those consuming news about it, which indicates the effectiveness of Gulf and Western propaganda in turning global public opinion against the Syrian government.[39]

A source enormously biased against Assad, NATO, confirmed that this sentiment did not change over the course of the conflict. An internal study of the Atlantic military alliance conducted in June 2013 estimated that 70% of the Syrian population supported the president while 20% adopted a neutral position, in contrast to a mere 10% support for the rebels.[40] Although Western media and officials were quick to denounce the 2014 presidential elections, the first real democratic and competitive ones in decades following a 2012 referendum that amended the constitution, the results actually pretty accurately reflected NATO’s assessment. Assad defeated his two opponents with 88.7% of the votes, with a massive participation rate of 73.7%. This means that a staggering 64% of the eligible voters chose for Assad to remain in power, which more than doubles the 26% that put Donald Trump into the White House.[41] As to the credibility of the elections, over 100 international observers from both allied (e.g. Russia and Iran) and non-partisan (e.g. Brazil, Venezuela and Uganda) countries monitored the elections and issued a statement declaring that the elections were “free and fair” and were held “in a democratic environment, contrary to Western propaganda.”[42] As Sunnis make up 75% of the Syrian populace and Alawites only 11%, this completely debunks the false representation of Assad’s rule as a sectarian Alawite dictatorship suppressing a Sunni majority.

The standard narrative employed to explain the origins of the Syrian “civil war” thus has the truth totally backwards. Not only did and does the Syrian government headed by President Assad enjoy a considerably large popularity and was there hardly any widespread revolutionary fervour against the Baath Party during the so-called Arab Spring, the insurgency, commonly described in Western and Gulf media as some sort of unified opposition, was violent and brutal from the very day the conflict started on 15 March 2011. This, of course, does not mean that Syrian security forces did not use excessive force to suppress dissent or did not commit human rights violations over the course of the conflict, nor does it mean that there was never meaningful opposition and agitation against the government. While Assad’s governance around 2011 was often praised for its foreign policy, its secularism and protection of women rights and minorities, the stability of the country and social inclusion in the sectors of education and health, Assad failed to better the dire economic situation, effectively fight corruption, lessen fears over the security-intelligence apparatus and abolish the one-party rule of the Baath Party.[43] The Western mass media pointed to these failures in order to construct a simplified narrative of “the Syrian people” on the one hand against “the government” on the other, as if Arabs, in contrast to Westerners, are not capable of having complex political systems in which various pressure groups agree on some things and disagree on other issues.

Conclusion

Otrakji offers a clear explanation of why most Syrians allow the continuation of the authoritarian nature of the Syrian government:

“While the coalition opposed to Assad successfully promoted its role as a champion of individual political freedom, Assad’s supporter’s reaction was: ‘great, but never at the expense of our national freedom and dignity.’ This is a key element that western media fail to understand about the psychology of the Syrian people. Many Syrians are more preoccupied with protecting their country’s national interests rather than their own right to challenge President Assad at the 2014 Presidential elections. You will not convince them to sacrifice their national dignity in favor of promises by a highly energetic coalition of all the Gulf Arabs, Turkey, and western countries that often attempted to control Syria’s decisions, suppress Syria’s aspirations, or simply weaken Syria’s role in the region so that they can enjoy more influence. To many Syrians, including but not limited to Assad’s supporters, ‘the international community’ + the GCC are seen as vultures and sharks. The two Assads, unlike the Qatar financed Syrian opposition, have always been willing to suffer constant pressure, punishment and isolation, to protect Syria’s dignity and independence.”[44]

Indeed, most Syrians perceive the war in a totally different fashion as the propagandised masses in the West and in much of the rest of the Arab world. Many Syrians abhor fellow countrymen who cry for Western intervention, because they see the conflict not as a civil war but as a proxy war waged by the US, Israel, Turkey, the GCC and NATO against their freedom and security. Syrians know their history, as well as the broader history of neo-colonialism in the Middle East and elsewhere, and know that the “humanitarian” concerns of foreign officials are nothing but a disguise for what they perceive as just the latest iteration of Western imperialism. As a result, they turn for help to their own government, the supposed unpopularity and brutality of which paradoxically constituted the backbone of selling the war on Syria in the first place.

The real reason for instigating the proxy war on Syria, as this article has demonstrated, has nothing – absolutely nothing – to do with “saving” the Syrian people. When are we going to learn that, time and time again, mainstream media coverage is little more than propaganda to justify foreign intervention, which, time and time again, strengthens – not lessens – the grip of hostile governments over their populations? In a 2016 interview with Swedish media, at a time the mass media was crying crocodile tears over Aleppo, a Syrian doctor who actually lives in Aleppo was asked what the outside world should do to help Syria and its people from the hell of war. His answer? “Leave us alone, forget us.”[45]

# # # #

Bas Spliet, Newsbud Contributing Analyst,  is a bachelor’s student History and Arabic at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He is interested in geopolitics, focusing most of his time in getting a better understanding of wars in the Middle East. His analyses can be found atwww.scrutinisedminds.com. He can be reached at bas.spliet@gmail.com.

Notes

[1] According to a leaked mail to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and an admission of Vice-President Joe Biden, both senior officials under the second Obama administration, Qatar was among the countries that provided support to ISIS: Patrick Cockburn, “We finally know what Hillary Clinton knew all along – US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding Isis,” Independent, 14.10.2016, http://independent.co.uk/voices/hillary-clinton-wikileaks-email-isis-saudi-arabia-qatar-us-allies-funding-barack-obama-knew-all-a7362071.html; Barbara Plett Usher, “Joe Biden apologised over IS remarks, but was he right?”, BBC, 07.10.2014, http://bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29528482.

[2] Quoted from translation provided by Zero Hedge: Tyler Durden, “In shocking, viral interview, Qatar confesses secrets behind Syrian war,” Zero Hedge, 29.10.2017, http://zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-28/shocking-viral-interview-qatar-confesses-secrets-behind-syrian-war.

[3] Ben Norton, “U.S. and Gulf allies supported Islamist extremists in Syria, Qatar’s ex-prime minister admits, bolstering growing evidence,” Alternet, 16.06.2017, http://alternet.org/grayzone-project/us-and-gulf-allies-supported-islamist-extremists-syria-qatars-ex-prime-minister.

[4] Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 1: the Syrian conflict in historical perspective,” Scrutinised Minds, 29.11.2016, http://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/11/29/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-1-the-syrian-conflict-in-historical-perspective/; Ben Fenton, “Macmillan backed Syria assassination plot,” Guardian, 27.09.2003, http://theguardian.com/politics/2003/sep/27/uk.syria1.

[5] Brad Hoff, “New declassified CIA memo presents blueprint for Syrian regime change collapse,” Libertarian Institute, 14.02.2017, http://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/cia-memo-scenarios-of-syrian-regime-collapse/; Tim Anderson, The dirty war on Syria: Washington, regime change and resistance (Montréal, Global Research Publishers, 2016), 15-6.

[6] US Defense Intelligence Agency, Syria: Muslim Brotherhood pressure intensifies (Washington DC, May 1982), 8, available at http://syria360.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/dia-syria-muslimbrotherhoodpressureintensifies-2.pdf.

[7] Amy Goodman, “Gen. Wesley Clark weighs presidential bid: ‘I think about it every day’,” interview with Wesley Clark, Daily Show, Democracy Now, 02.03.2007, available at http://democracynow.org/2007/3/2/gen_wesley_clark_weighs_presidential_bid.

[8] “Bush signs Syria sanction bill,” CNN, 13012.2003, http://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/12/12/bush.syria/.

[9] John J. Maersheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy,” London Review of Books 28, no. 6 (2006), 59-60, available at http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/IsraelLobby.pdf.

[10] Nathan Guttman, “Some senior U.S. figures say Syria has crossed the red line,” Haaretz, 14.04.2003, http://haaretz.com/print-edition/features/some-senior-u-s-figures-say-syria-has-crossed-the-red-line-1.12943; Caroline Glick, “Fighting the next war,” Jerusalem Post, 19.04.2007, cited in Jonathan Cook, Israel and the clash of civilisation: Iran, Iraq and the plan to remake the Middle East (London: Pluto Press, 2008), 138.

[11] Jane Mayer, “Outsourcing torture: the secret history of America’s ‘extraordinary rendition’ program,” New Yorker, 14.02.2005, http://newyorker.com/magazine/2005/02/14/outsourcing-torture.

[12] Maersheimer and Walt, “The Israel lobby,” 60.

[13] William Roebuck, “Influencing the SARG in the end of 2006,” 13.12.2006 (Wikileaks, cable 06 Damascus 5399 a), available at http://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06DAMASCUS5399_a.html.

[14] Seymour Hersh, “The redirection: is the administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?”, New Yorker, 05.03.2007, http://newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection.

[15] Craig Whitlock, “U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by Wikileaks show,” Washington Post, 17.04.2011, http://washingtonpost.com/world/us-secretly-backed-syrian-opposition-groups-cables-released-by-wikileaks-show/2011/04/14/AF1p9hwD_story.html?utm_term=.f2259efaf369.

[16] Ron Nixon, “U.S. groups helped nurture Arab uprisings,” New York Times, 14.04.2011, http://nytimes.com/2011/04/15/world/15aid.html.

[17] Quoted from Youtube, “Roland Dumas: the British prepared for war in Syria 2 years before the eruption of the crisis,” channel of Syrian buzzard, posted on 18.06.2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeyRwFHR8WY.

[18] Christof Lehman, “Former French Foreign Minister Dumas blows the whistle on Western war plans against Syria,” NSNBC International, 03.07.2013, http://nsnbc.me/2013/07/03/former-french-foreign-minister-dumas-blows-the-whistle-on-western-war/.

[19] Christopher Pernin et al., Unfolding the future of the long war: motivations, prospects and implications for the U.S. army (Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 2008), 16.

[20] Youtube, “The war in Syria explained in five minutes: Guardian animations,” channel of the Guardian, posted on 18.09.2013, http://youtube.com/watch?v=K5H5w3_QTG0.

[21] Youtube, “Syria’s war: who’s fighting and why,” channel of Vox, posted on 07.04.2017, http://youtube.com/watch?v=JFpanWNgfQY.

[22] Youtube, “The European refugee crisis and Syria explained,” channel of Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell, posted on 17.09.2015, http://youtube.com/watch?v=RvOnXh3NN9w&t=33s.

[23] Rania Abouzeid, “The Syrian style of repression: thugs and lectures,” Time, 27.02.2011, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2055713-1,00.html.

[24] Rania Abouzeid, “Sitting pretty in Syria: why few go bashing Bashar,” Time, 06.03.2011, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2057067,00.html.

[25] Mensur Akgün and Sabiha Senyücel Gündogar, The perception of Turkey in the Middle East 2011, transl. Jonathan Levack (Istanbul: TESEV Publications, February 2012), 15-6, available at http://fes-tuerkei.org/media/pdf/Publikationen%20Archiv/Ortak%20Yay%C4%B1nlar/2011/2011%20Perception%20of%20Turkey%202011.pdf.

[26] Rania Abouzeid, “Syria’s revolt: how graffiti stirred an uprising,” Time, 22.03.2011, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2060788,00.html.

[27] Michel Chossudovsky, “Six years ago: the US-NATO-Israel sponsored Al Qaeda insurgency in Syria. Who was behind the 2011 ‘protest movement’?”, Global Research, 09.03.2017, http://globalresearch.ca/syria-who-is-behind-the-protest-movement-fabricating-a-pretext-for-a-us-nato-humanitarian-intervention/24591.

[28] Chossudovsky, “Six years ago: the US-NATO-Israel sponsored Al Qaeda insurgency in Syria;” James Corbett, “Dallas ambush follows pattern of provacateured false flags,” Corbett Report, 07.08.2016, http://corbettreport.com/dallas-ambush-follows-pattern-of-provocateured-false-flags/; Anderson, The dirty war on Syria, 18.

[29] “Syria says seizes weapons smuggled from Iraq,” Reuters, 11.03.2011, http://reuters.com/article/us-syria-iraq/syria-says-seizes-weapons-smuggled-from-iraq-idUSTRE72A3MI20110311.

[30] Quoted from Youtube, “Syria - Daraa revolution was armed to the teeth from the very beginning,” channel of Truth Syria, posted on 10.04.2012, http://youtube.com/watch?v=VKN-tP4s_uU.

[31] Sharmine Narwani, “Syria: the hidden massacre,” Russia Today Op-Edge, 07.05.2014, http://rt.com/op-edge/157412-syria-hidden-massacre-2011/.

[32] “Syria: 5.000 dead in violence, says UN human rights chief,” Guardian, 12.12.2011, http://theguardian.com/world/2011/dec/12/syria-5000-dead-violence-un.

[33] Independent International Commission of Inquiry, Periodic update (UN: OHCHR, 24.05.2012), 2, available at http://ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/PeriodicUpdate24May2012.pdf.

[34] Frans van der Lugt, “Bij defaitisme is niemand gebaat,” Mediawerkgroep Syrië, 13.01.2012, http://mediawerkgroepsyrie.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/bij-defaitisme-is-niemand-gebaat/.

[35] Camille Otrakji, “The real Bashar al-Assad,” Conflicts Forum, 02.04.2012, http://conflictsforum.org/2012/the-real-bashar-al-assad/.

[36] Shilbey Telhami, 2008 annual Arab public opinion poll (Maryland: University of Maryland and Zogby International, April 2008), slide 95, available at http://brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/0414_middle_east_telhami.pdf.

[37] “CNN’s Arabic readers choose Assad as 2009 person of the year,” CNN Arabic, 21.01.2010, http://archive.arabic.cnn.com/2010/middle_east/1/1/assad.2009/index.html.

[38] Camille Otrakji, “Analyzing the largest Syria Facebook polls,” Syria Page, 24.01.2012, http://creativesyria.com/syriapage/?p=129.

[39] Jonathan Steel, “Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from western media,” Guardian, 17.01.2012, http://theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jan/17/syrians-support-assad-western-propaganda.

[40] “Poll: 70% of Syrian support Assad, says NATO,” Before It’s News, 13.06.2013, http://beforeitsnews.com/middle-east/2013/06/poll-70-of-syrians-support-assad-says-nato-2452134.html.

[41] Anderson, The dirty war on Syria, 33-5;

[42] Anahita Mukherji, “Foreign delegation in Syria slams West, endorses elections,” Times of India, 05.06.2014, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Foreign-delegation-in-Syria-slams-West-endorses-elections/articleshow/36069541.cms.

[43] Otrakji, “The real Bashar al-Assad.”

[44] Otrakji, “The real Bashar al-Assad.”

[45] Patrik Paulov, “’Aleppo has been under fire by terrorists for four years’. Interview with Aleppo doctor about life in Syria’s largest city,” Proletarën, 25.05.2016, http://proletaren.se/utrikes-mellanostern/aleppo-has-been-under-fire-terrorists-four-years.

Newsbud Exclusive- GMOs Kill – Not Save – The Hungry of the World

KCrJowZIuB GMOs. Scientists can, and should, keep debating the dangerousness and unpredictability of genetical interference in food production, the effects of GMOs on pesticide usage and its possible relation to cancer and other diseases. On a more fundamental level, however, the most important question is the following: why would we even want genetically modified instead of organic food on our plate? The main answer, proponents claim, is that GMOs are necessary to enhance the amount of global food production as they are one of the if not the only viable solution at increasing yield and thus at fighting global hunger. Much of the GMO discourse rests on this assertion, which means that when it is debunked as a myth, the whole argument for the need of genetically engineering our food almost totally succumbs in the blink of an eye.

Following the Second World War, modern yield-increasing agriculture methods were gradually introduced throughout the world, which, so argued agribusiness giants and the Rockefeller and Ford foundations who supported them, would reduce world hunger. In reality, this so-called “Green Revolution” gave rise to an unseen amount of control over the global food production by a handful of Anglo-American companies, in the process of which wealthy landowners became richer and poor peasant farmers remained poor. The same companies and organisations who were at the forefront of the Green Revolution, using basically the same arguments, then went on to foment the “Gene Revolution.” While they further consolidated their grip on the global food supply from the mid-1980s onwards, they argued that at the same time, GMOs would increase yield, reduce pesticide usage and be the ultimate solution to global hunger and poverty. This argumentation implied that, by opposing or even criticising the GMO project, one de facto supported genocide against the world’s poor.[1]

Over the last couple of years, two decades into the Gene Revolution, however, it has become crystal clear that GMOs have failed on their promise. In July 2009, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a US-based non-profit science advocacy organisation with a membership numbering hundreds of thousands of professional scientists and private citizens, published a report on “biotechnology’s broken promises” called Failure to yield. The organisation carefully examined the record of genetically modified (GM) crops in the US, where they have been commercially grown since the mid-1990s and where the best and most extensive data on GMOs is available. Specifically, they reviewed the data of soybeans and corn, the main GM food crops. “Despite proponents’ claims,” the authors concluded, “genetic engineering has actually done very little to increase the yields of food and feed crops. Given such a track record, it appears unlikely that this technology will play a leading role in helping the world feed itself in the foreseeable future.” Although the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data do show rising crop yields nationwide since the 1990s, the study found that most of the gains cannot be attributed to the adoption of GMOs. For instance, USDA data showed a 28% increase in corn production per acre between the periods 1991-1995 and 2004-2008, but the Union of Concerned Scientists discovered that only 3-4% of that growth was attributable to the genetically engineered Bt corn, as opposed to 24-25% that had resulted from other factors, such as traditional breeding.[2]

A 2013 article published in the International Journal of Agricultural sustainability, too, found that “relative to other food secure and exporting countries (e.g. Western Europe), the US agroecosystem is not exceptional in yields.” By comparing agricultural productivity of staple crops such as maize, canola and wheat between North America and Western Europe over the last 50 years, the authors maintain that “the US (and Canadian) yields are falling behind economically and technologically equivalent agroecosystems matched for latitude, season and crop type.”[3] Contrary to the often-made claim that Europe’s reluctance to embrace GMOs is causing it to fall behind the US, the opposite is thus in fact the case.

More recently, more mainstream outlets, too, are starting to point to the failure of GM crops to increase food production. In 2001, the USDA had already admitted that “the application of biotechnology at present is most likely […] not to increase maximum yields. More fundamental scientific breakthroughs are necessary if yields are to increase.”[4] Fifteen years later, however, those “fundamental scientific breakthroughs” remain absent, as is now acknowledged in mainstream publications. In 2016, the US National Academy of Sciences released a report about the “experiences and prospects” of GM crops. Although the Academy does not exclude potential yield increases in the future (without backing that claim up with evidence, it should be mentioned), it agreed with the above-mentioned studies, namely that “the nation-wide data on maize, cotton and soybean in the United States do not show a significant signature of genetic-engineering technology on the rate of yield increase.”[5] That same year, the New York Times, the establishment “paper of record,” conducted its own comparative research between North American and Western European agricultural productivity in a study that used data from the UN, and too concluded that “the United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields – food per acre – when measured against Western Europe, a region with comparably modernized agricultural producers such as France and Germany.”[6]

Furthermore, by analysing data from the US Geological Survey, the Times study also discovered that overall pesticide usage had increased, not decreased, since the adoption of GMOs in the US. Although the use of toxins that kill insects and fungi had fallen by a third, “the spraying of herbicides, which are used in much higher volumes, has risen by 21 percent. By contrast, in France, use of insecticides and fungicides has fallen by a far greater percentage – 65 percent – and herbicide use has decreased as well, by 36 percent.”[7] Not only has insecticide and fungicide usage thus dropped twice as fast in a technologically comparable but quasi GMO-free environment, the results suggest that usage of herbicides only declines in GMO-poor agroecosystems. Therefore, another argument of GMO apologists, that GM technology would reduce pesticide usage, is thereby called into question as well. And indeed, the Times study mentioned that herbicide use in soybeans, a leading American GM crop, had skyrocketed since the adoption of GMOs in the US, having grown two and a half times in the last two decades, at a time when planted acreage of the crop grew by less than a third. This was not new information for sceptics, though. A 2012 study published in Environmental Sciences Europe discovered that, paradoxically, “herbicide-resistant crop technology has led to a 239 million kilogram increase in herbicide use in the United States between 1996 and 2011.” Recognising that insecticide use had fallen, the author calculated that over this same period of time that GMOs were gradually introduced in America, overall pesticide usage actually rose by 7%.[8]

Finally, in addition to abundant evidence that points to the failure of GMOs to increase yield, the introduction of GM crops has in some case studies even decreased the production of food per acre. In 2004, the Australian Network of Concerned Farmers put out a report about the plantation of GM canola in their country, concluding that “there is no evidence that GMO canola crops yield more, but there is evidence they yield less. Although Monsanto claim a 40% yield increase with Roundup Ready canola, their best on their website for Australian trials are 17% less than our national average.”[9] A 2002 report from the UK-based Soil Association, based on extensive research into the adoption of GM crops in North America, came to roughly the same conclusion: “For farmers considering growing GM crops, the crops have not, overall, delivered on their promises of higher yields, better returns and lower agrochemical use. The only exception was Bt maize yields, though there was no net income benefit. In most cases they have performed worse than non-GM crops, including substantially lower yields for PR soya.”[10] (emphasis added)

Taking all of this in mind, is it then such a surprise that GM projects that promise to fight global hunger in Africa or Asia keep turning out to be massive failures? One of the most-touted of such projects in Asia was “Golden Rice,” a GM crop that was gaining momentum around the turn of the century, which, according to the biotech industry and obedient American officials and mass media, could be a life saver for millions of people suffering from Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD). This prospect, an ideal promotion for the still young GM industry, first hit the headlines in 2000. Time did not caution its words on the cover of the magazine’s July edition, bluntly stating that “this rice could save a million kids a year.”[11] President Bill Clinton was a staunch pusher of the project as well. “If we could get more of this golden rice, which is a genetically modified strain of rice, especially rich in Vitamin A, out to the developing world, it could save 40.000 lives a day, people that are malnourished and dying,” he exclaimed at a press conference after a three-day summit of the G8.[12] From the onset, however, there was not a shred of evidence to back these claims up, and indeed, it was eventually discovered that Golden Rice contained too little provitamin A to effectively combat VAD in people who have a generally nutrition-poor diet, in other words, the people in the Global South who are actually dying from it.[13] Even more mind-boggling, tried and tested, simple, affordable and probably healthier alternatives were already available before the Golden Rice project came off the ground, but they remained underfunded. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), remedies in the form of vitamin A supplementation had already averted an estimated 1.25 million deaths in 40 countries by 1998.[14] Moreover, Francesco Branca, a malnutrition expert at the same organisation, proclaimed that in addition to handing out supplements and fortifying existing foods with vitamin A (which by 2009 had already been successfully done by Dutch food giant DSM, for instance),[15] teaching people to grow carrots or certain leafy vegetables are, as things stands right now, “more promising ways to fight the problem.”[16]

The project generating the most global media coverage that sought to promote GM technology as the ultimate solution for poverty in Africa was probably Monsanto-trained scientist Florence Wambugu’s GM sweet potato project in Kenya. Travelling around the world in the early 2000s and receiving up to $6 million in funds from Monsanto, the World Bank and USAID, she appeared on numerous mass media channels and outlets to propagandise a genetically engineered virus-resistant sweet potato that could allegedly double output for farmers in Kenya. “Millions served,” shouted a headline in Forbes magazine in December 2002, continuing with a deceptive subtitle intended to ridicule critics, “while the West debates the ethics of genetically modified food, Florence Wambugu is using it to feed her country.”[17] Wambugu was so convinced that GM technology could save Africa from starvation, that she told the New Scientist in 2000 that “in Africa GM food could almost literally weed out poverty.”[18] The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, too, claimed in a 2003 report on GMOs that “the use of GM virus-resistant sweet potatoes could prevent dramatic and frequent reductions in yield of one of the major food crops of many poor people in Africa.”[19] The actual results, just like with the Golden Rice project, did not receive saturated media coverage, however. In January 2004, it emerged that, following a three-year trial of the GM plant, non-transgenic crops yielded much more tuber compared to the newly introduced GM crop. Furthermore, the report that published these findings, compiled by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO, formerly KARI), also found “all lines tested [to be] susceptible to viral attacks,” of which the yield losses resulting from these viral diseases “can be as high as 80 per cent.”[20] In contrast, again reminiscent of the Golden Rice project, Aaron DeGrassi of the British Institute of Development Studies had already shined light on better alternatives. Aside from scrutinising Wambugu’s GM sweet potato for not addressing the crop’s major problems, he pointed out in a June 2003 92-page report studying GM projects in Sub-Saharan Arica that “conventional sweet potato breeding in Uganda was able in just a few years to develop with a small budget a well-liked virus-resistant variety with yield gains of nearly 100%.”[21] Thus, once again, most of the research money and effort was absorbed by the GM industry, all the while an organic and sustainable solution was already available but lacking sufficient funds.

These two examples suggest that organic rather than GM agricultural projects are the real solution to fight global hunger. They are not isolated instances. The largest ever study examining sustainable agriculture initiatives in developing countries found that when sustainable agricultural practices in a variety of systems and crops were adopted, crop yield skyrocketed by 79% on average. The study, published in 2006 in Environmental Science & Technology comprising analysis of 286 projects covering 37 million hectares spread over 57 countries, additionally found that of the projects with pesticide data, 77% resulted in a decline of pesticide use by 71% while yields grew by 42%. Although the authors cautioned that it remains uncertain whether these approaches can meet future global food needs, “more widespread adoption of these resource conserving technologies […] would contribute to increased agricultural productivity, particularly as evidence indicates that productivity can grow in many farming systems as natural, social, and human capital assets also grow.” The study also disclosed that “poor households benefit substantially [from these sustainable practices],” but to address food poverty problems, “the challenge is to find ways to improve all farmer’s access to productive technologies and practices that are also resource conserving.”[22] This cannot merely be done by industrialised agriculture, the authors argue, because evidence points to significant environmental and health problems as a result of a blind belief in industrial and technological progress over the past decades. Furthermore, “there are growing concerns that such systems may not reduce food poverty,” they go on to say. “Poor farmers need low-cost and readily available technologies and practices to increase local food production and to raise their income,” including integrated pest management, integrated nutrient management, incorporating forestry, fish and livestock into farming systems, and finally, reducing the amount of tillage. “What is important,” the study stated, “is who produces the food, has access to the technology and knowledge to produce it, and has the purchasing power to acquire it.”[23] One does not have to go on a limb to assume that global adoption of GM technology, inevitable linked to the need for a technocratic elite and thus to monopolisation, will develop in the opposite direction, away from rather than towards local and durable solutions.

In 2008, the idea that the exchange of knowledge on organic agricultural practices offers the real solution to rising global food demands was fortified by none other organisation than the UN. To answer the question to what extent organic agriculture could enhance food security in Africa, a collaborative task force was set up in 2004 between the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Their findings were even more stunning than the above-mentioned study, namely a 116% average crop yield increase for all African projects and a 128% increase for the projects in East Africa.[24] Just like the other study, the UN report points out that “organic and near-organic agricultural methods and technologies are ideally suited for many poor, marginalized smallholder farmers in Africa, as they require minimal or no external inputs, use locally and naturally available materials to produce high-quality products, and encourage a whole systemic approach to farming that is more diverse and resistant to stress.” This could eventually cause the African continent to become self-sufficient and throw off the chains of structural enslavement it remains in even after colonial times, because “organic agriculture can increase agricultural productivity and can raise incomes with low-cost, locally available and appropriate technologies, without causing environmental damage.” Furthermore, “by addressing many different causal factors simultaneously,” evidence suggests that organic agriculture “can build up natural resources, strengthen communities and improve human capacity,” and in this way, is “highly promising for food security in Africa.”[25]

The picture I am trying to demonstrate here was most recently confirmed by a peer-reviewed paper from July published in the Geographical Review. The author, professor of geography William G. Mosely, pointed to how the introduction and failure of expensive GM seeds for Bt cotton in India has resulted in a steep rise in farmer suicides in Maharashtra state as one example to make his point, which is the following:

“[GM] technology is sufficiently expensive that it is inaccessible to the poorest of the poor for whom food insecure is [a] great issue. Furthermore, such [GM] solutions are often aimed at maximizing production under ideal conditions, as opposed to minimizing risk in highly variable meteorological environments. […] As such, investing in GMO-seed technology represents a significant financial risk for many small farmers in variable rainfall environments, let alone the volatility of markets where farmers must sell all or part of their harvest if they are to cover their input costs. A more viable approach to helping the poorest of the poor increase production and meet food needs is informed by agroecology.”[26]

There is only one problem with agroecological approaches that increase the amount of food and help farmers manage pest problems, however. In stark contrast to the GMO industry, they are starved of resources. “Unfortunately,” Mosely observed, “funding for work in this area has been woefully limited, probably because agroecological approaches are unlikely to generate the profits derived from the GMO nonsolution to global hunger.”[27] In other words, by plundering scarce research funds from proven initiatives that would enhance the ability of poor people around the world to become self-sufficient and increase their standard of living, the GM industry is killing – not saving – the hungry of the world.

As long as we know how to work with nature, we could produce everything in abundance. To drive home this point, I would like to conclude by pointing you to a short award-winning documentary called Homegrown revolution, which stars a family that has become entirely self-sufficient while living fifteen minutes from downtown Los Angeles.[28] When Jules Dervaes “found out that genetically modified food had entered the food supply,” he and his family decided to start growing as much food as they could on a space in their garden not bigger than one tenth of an acre. After a couple of years, they succeeded in producing 6.000 pounds of organic fruit and vegetables a year, producing biodiesel to drive their cars and holding a city farm including bees, chickens, ducks and goats. All of this has enabled them to become “directly and indirectly self-sufficient” in a dense urban area, as they buy non-growable foods with income from their garden surplus which they sell to individuals and restaurants. The documentary closes with a quote from Dervaes, which, I think, is relevant for everyone on the planet, from struggling farmers in Africa and Asia to urban consumers in the West, as all our currently enslaved by the corporate food industry:

“In our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can – and will – overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do one thing most essential to change the world: we change ourselves!”

We thus find ourselves at an important crossroads in history. Are we going to let Big Agra and the powers behind these companies use food as a weapon to rule over us, exactly as Henry Kissinger envisioned in his 1974 National Security Memorandum 200,[29] or are we going to, by growing our own crops and buying only organic food from local markets, set ourselves free and break the creeping monopolisation of the most basic necessity of life?

# # # #

Bas Spliet, Newsbud Contributing Analyst,  is a bachelor’s student History and Arabic at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He is interested in geopolitics, focusing most of his time in getting a better understanding of wars in the Middle East. His analyses can be found atwww.scrutinisedminds.com. He can be reached at bas.spliet@gmail.com.

Notes

[1] William Engdahl, Seeds of destruction: the hidden agenda of genetic manipulation (Montréal: Global Research, 2007), 123-253.

[2] Union of Concerned Scientists, issue briefing to Failure to yield: evaluating the performance of genetically engineered crops (Cambridge, MA, July 2009), available at http://ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html#.Wedp31u0PIV.

[3] Jack A. Heineman et al., “Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest,” International Journal on Agriculture Sustainability 12, no. 1 (2014), published online on 14.06.2013, available at http://tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408.

[4] Quoted in Engdahl, Seeds of destruction, 244.

[5] National Academy of Sciences, Genetically engineered crops: experiences and prospects (Washington, DC, 2016), chapter 4: “Agronomic and environmental effects of genetically engineered crops,” 97-105, available at http://nap.edu/read/23395/chapter/7#104.

[6] Danny Hakim, “Doubts about the promised bounty of genetically modified crops,” New York Times, 29.10.2016, http://nytimes.com/2016/10/30/business/gmo-promise-falls-short.html.

[7] Hakim, “Doubts about the promised bounty of genetically modified crops.”

[8] Charles M. Benbrook, “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. – the first sixteen years,” Environmental Sciences Europe, published on 28.09.2012, available at http://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/2190-4715-24-24.

[9] Network of Concerned Farmers, Will GM crops yield more in Australia? (November 2004), quoted in Engdahl, Seeds of destruction, 241.

[10] Soil Association, Seeds of doubt: North American farmers’ experiences of GM crops (Bristol, September 2002), 57, available at http://orgprints.org/9041/1/Seeds_of_Doubt.pdf.

[11] Cover of Time magazine 156, no. 5 (July 2000), available at http://content.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601000731,00.html.

[12] Quoted in Richard Lloyd Parry, “Clinton attacks Europe for moving too slowly over ‘safe’ GM food,” Independent, 23.07.2000, http://independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/clinton-attacks-europe-for-moving-too-slowly-over-safe-gm-food-707884.html.

[13] “Golden Rice ‘could save a million kids a year’,” GM Watch, section of “GM Myths,” last updated in May 2012, http://gmwatch.org/en/golden-rice-could-save-a-million-kids-a-year.

[14] World Health Organisation, “Micronutrient deficiencies: vitamin A deficiency,” http://who.int/nutrition/topics/vad/en/.

[15] Peter Foster, “Fortified rice to save millions of lives each year,” Telegraph, 14.05.2009, http://telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/5318253/Fortified-rice-to-save-millions-of-lives-each-year.html.

[16] Martin Enserink, “Tough lessons from Golden Rice,” Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education, http://fbae.org/2009/FBAE/website/news_tough-lessons-from-golden-rice.html.

[17] Lynn J. Cook, “Millions served,” Forbes, 23.12.2002, http://forbes.com/free_forbes/2002/1223/302.html.

[18] “Feeding Africa,” New Scientist, 27.05.2000, reprinted on GENTECH’s archive, http://gene.ch/gentech/2000/May/msg00138.html.

[19] Nuffield Council on Bioethics, The use of genetically modified corps in developing countries (London, 2003), 43, available at http://nuffieldbioethics.org/wp-content/uploads/GM-Crops-Discussion-Paper-2003.pdf.

[20] Gatonye Gathura, “Monsanto’s GE potato fails in Africa,” Organic Consumer Association, 29.01.2004, http://organicconsumers.org/old_articles/monsanto/africapotato020204.php.

[21] Aaron DeGrassi, Genetically modified drops and sustainable povery alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa: an assessment of current evidence (Third World Network – Africa, June 2003), executive summary, I-II, available at http://biosafety-info.net/file_dir/1919248844e4526271.pdf.

[22] J.N. Pretty, et al., “Resource-conserving agriculture increases yields in developing countries,” Environmental Science & Technology 40, no. 4 (2006), 1118, available at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es051670d.

[23] Pretty, et al., “Recouce-conserving agriculture increases yields in developing countries,” 1114-5.

[24] UNEP and UNCTAD, Organic agriculture and food security in Africa (New York and Geneva: United Nations, 2008), 16, available at http://unctad.org/en/Docs/ditcted200715_en.pdf.

[25] UNEP and UNCTAD, executive summary to Organic agriculture and food security in Africa, VII-XI.

[26] William G. Moseley, “A risky solution for the wrong problem: why GMOs won’t feed the hungry of the world,” Geographical Review 107, no. 4 (2017), introduction, available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gere.12259/full.

[27] As most of the article is behind the paywall, I refer to this quote via GM Watch, which has a review of the paper up on its site: “Why GMOs won’t feed the hungry of the world but agroecology can,” GM Watch, 20.07.2017, http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17740-why-gmos-won-t-feed-the-hungry-of-the-world-but-agroecology-can.

[28] Urban Homestead, Homegrown Revolution (documentary, 2009), available at http://youtube.com/watch?v=7IbODJiEM5A&t=5s.

[29] Joseph Brewda, “Henry Kissinger’s 1974 plan for food control genocide,” Schiller Institute Food for Peace Movement, 08.12.1995, http://schillerinstitute.org/food_for_peace/kiss_nssm_jb_1995.html

Targeting Michael Flynn & Shielding the Radical Cleric Gulen: Special Counsel Robert Mueller MUST Step Down

General Michael Flynn, Former National Security Advisor to President Trump, is being investigated by Special Counsel for accepting legitimate payments from Turkish companies for researching and exposing Wanted Terrorist and Radical Islamist Fethullah Gulen and his $25+ Billion criminal network in the United States.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is Special Counsel in charge of the case. He is the same Robert Mueller who used his position as Director of the FBI to shield and cover up Gulen’s criminal-terrorist network and operations, and take drastic measures to quash a whistleblower’s Gulen-related reports. These previous connections and actions by Mr. Mueller create a direct conflict of interest with his current position as Special Counsel in Flynn’s case, and require that he must immediately step down from the case.

………………………………………..

In May 2017 the Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

Not long after being appointed Mr. Mueller began targeting former national security adviser Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, expanded the investigation beyond the Russia-Gate probe, and began a furious pursuit of Mr. Flynn’s Turkish connections and his vocal stand on the wanted radical Islamic Cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Mr. Mueller’s inquiries went from Russia-connections to Flynn’s outing of Gulen’s twenty five-billion-dollar sleeper terror cell in the United States. Not finding any substantial evidence against Flynn within the Russia-Gate scope, the Special Counsel team switched gears and started a Turkey-Gate. During the past several months Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors have used multiple grand juries to issue subpoenas for documents related to Mr. Flynn. All this despite President Trump’s demand that:

Mr. Mueller should confine his investigation to the narrow issue of Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s presidential campaign, not conduct an expansive inquiry into the finances of Mr. Trump or his associates.

Mr. Mueller’s prosecution team and F.B.I. agents have spent hours going over the details of Mr. Flynn’s perfectly legitimate business dealings with a Turkish-American businessman who worked with Mr. Flynn’s consulting business, the Flynn Intel Group. Why? Because the business arrangements included research for and exposure of the world’s largest radical Islamist network, operating in the United States for over two decades- the Gulen Network.

The targeting of Mr. Flynn through consolidated Obama Whitehouse leaks and one-sided media attacks began six months prior to the Special Counsel appointment. It started with an editorial penned by Mr. Flynn on November 8, 2016, when he became the first public official to unabashedly expose the radical cleric long protected by multiple government agencies- the CIA, State Department and FBI, starting under President Bill Clinton’s administration:

The primary bone of contention between the U.S. and Turkey is Fethullah Gülen, a shady Islamic mullah residing in Pennsylvania whom former President Clinton once called his “friend” in a well circulated video.

Gülen portrays himself as a moderate, but he is in fact a radical Islamist. He has publicly boasted about his “soldiers” waiting for his orders to do whatever he directs them to do. If he were in reality a moderate, he would not be in exile, nor would he excite the animus of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government.

To professionals in the intelligence community, the stamp of terror is all over Mullah Gülen’s statements in the tradition of Qutb and al Bana. Gülen’s vast global network has all the right markings to fit the description of a dangerous sleeper terror network. From Turkey’s point of view, Washington is harboring Turkey’s Osama bin Laden.

However, funding seems to be no problem for Gülen’s network. Hired attorneys work to keep the lucrative government source of income for Gülen and his network going. Influential charities such as Cosmos Foundation continue their support for Gulen’s charter schools. Incidentally, Cosmos Foundation is a major donor to Clinton Foundation. No wonder Bill Clinton calls Mullah Gülen “his friend.”

By writing and publishing this strong commentary Lt. General Flynn not only took on the enormously powerful Gulen’s terrorist network, but also the wrath of the CIA and the FBI, the Intelligence and law enforcement agencies tasked with bringing Gulen into the United States in 1998, his grooming, and his ongoing protection for over two decades.

FBI Director Mueller & the Gulen Case Cover-Up

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was directly involved in quashing and covering up Gulen and Gulen Network related cases within the FBI’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and White-Collar Crime divisions. The dossiers and mountains of criminal and espionage evidences on Gulen’s network resided in multiple FBI field offices, with the FBI’s Washington D.C., Chicago, and New Jersey Field Offices being the three most important investigative centers on the case.

Mr. Mueller was the primary official responsible for the invocation of the State Secrets Privilege, gag orders and retroactive classification of congressional records in my case, the Sibel Edmonds Case, a large part of which pertained to criminal, terrorism and espionage related operations conducted by Fethullah Gulen and his Networks in the United States.

Gulen’s money laundering and terrorism-related operations have been known to the FBI for two decades. It was only after the attempted coup in Turkey that some of these facts began surfacing in the mainstream media:

Over the past two decades, Gulen’s Turkish followers have opened up taxpayer-funded charter schools in the U.S. Some parents have expressed concern about the connection to the Gulen movement, while others don’t seem to mind. But CBS News has learned the FBI is investigating whether Gulen’s followers have skimmed money from those schools in order to fund his movement in Turkey. A senior State Department official believes Gulen-linked charities and educational institutions in the U.S. look “a lot like the ways in which organized crime sets itself up... to hide money for money laundering.”

Based on information provided by Emanet, federal investigators believe former officials at his Ohio school illegally paid themselves about $5 million in federal contracts and then sent those U.S. tax dollars to Bank Asya, a bank in Turkey linked to Gulen’s followers.

In March of 2016 the following report erased any doubts about Gulen’s terrorist and criminal activities in the US - spanning over two decades:

Living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, with a net worth of around $25 billion, Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen has catalyzed a global movement of charter schools from Africa to Latin America into the United States. Building private schools in over 180 countries around the world, the global Gülen movement has paved the way for the largest U.S. charter school network with more than 140 schools in some 26 states.

What lies underneath this charter-school network, however, is a possible undercurrent of white-collar crime and corruption. Known in Turkey as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization or FETÖ this growing network is being investigated by the FBI for everything from fraud and malpractice, to misuse of public funds. One spokeswoman for the bureau said that an investigation is ongoing and FBI agents carried out raids at 19 Gülen-affiliated charter schools in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio in 2014.

            …

Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks demonstrate a concern by U.S. officials that these Turkish teachers and businesses “might be using the reputation of the school as a cover to get to the U.S.” These cables state that the H1B visa applications were “not convincing” and that Gülen’s more moderate message “cloaks a more sinister and radical agenda.”

Receiving approximately $150 million a year in tax breaks and subsidies, government officials are increasingly concerned that taxpayer dollars are being used to fund a close-knit network of Turkish teachers and businesses using charter schools as a Trojan horse for embedding into the U.S. education system.

In March 2016, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark went on record and stated that the United States has become a part of Turkey's problems for letting Fethullah Gülen, who is wanted in Turkey, stay in the U.S. Clark went on adding that he found it strange how Gulen has been allowed to remain and operate in the United States:

We are even part of that. One of the most wanted people in Turkey is a man named Gülen, a former ally of President Erdoğan, who is in the United States, running a network of charter schools subsidized by the United States. Very strange," he added.

Documents from Wikileaks has shown that American officials have been worried Gülen could be targeting children across the U.S. through running over 125 Gülen charter schools in 25 states:

In 2005, one U.S. embassy worker expressed concern about the schools: “We have multiple reliable reports that the Gülenists use their school network (including dozens of schools in the U.S.) to cherry pick students they think are susceptible to being molded as proselytizers,” U.S. Embassy officials in Ankara said in a 2005 report. And we have steadily heard reports about how the schools indoctrinate boarding students,” they said.”

Despite the publication of mounting criminal evidence against Gulen’s operations, to this date the FBI has continued shielding this terrorist:

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on Concept Schools, a charter school network in the Midwest funded by the Gülen movement. Though an ongoing FBI investigation has found the schools divert Illinois taxpayer dollars to Gülen-affiliated contractors, the Concept network continues to receive government funds:

Days after federal agents swept into the headquarters of Concept Schools and a charter school it operates in Rogers Park in June 2014, top Chicago Public Schools officials took notice of the raids on the taxpayer-funded charter operator but decided to steer clear.

More than two years since the FBI raids brought the still-ongoing federal investigation involving Concept to light, the charter operator has continued to do business with contractors identified in court documents as allegedly having been involved in defrauding a government grant program, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

As the longest serving FBI Director, Mr. Mueller was in charge of the FBI’s investigations and pursuit of Gulen and his network for eleven years. During his tenure he not only continued the same policy and practices of his predecessors in shielding and protecting Gulen’s criminal network, he went even further by quashing and covering up reports and cases involving Gulen’s terrorist-criminal-espionage operations through retaliations, invocation of the State Secrets Privilege, and hindering Congressional oversight and investigations through retroactive classification.

Mr. Mueller, due to his direct involvement as former FBI Director and his role in covering up and protecting Gulen Networks’ criminal operations within the United States, by shutting down pertinent FBI investigative operations and by transferring certain terrorism related Gulen files to the counterintelligence division, has a major conflict of interest as Special Counsel targeting Flynn’s case as it pertains to exposing the Gulen network and his relationship with Turkish entities sharing the same interest in exposing and extraditing Fethullah Gulen. Thus, Mr. Mueller must step down from his position as Special Counsel in this case- a case targeting and probing Lt. General Michael Flynn.

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is editor and publisher of Newsbud, founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), and author of the acclaimed book Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, and The Lone Gladio, a Political Spy Thriller. She has appeared on national radio and TV as a commentator on matters related to whistleblowers, national security, and excessive secrecy & classification. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award. Ms. Edmonds is a certified linguist, fluent in four languages, and has an MA in public policy from George Mason University and a BA in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University.

*Sibel Edmonds Court Case: Sibel Edmonds v. United States Department of Justice, et al.

**Concocting the Flynn Scandal: Clinton-CIA-FBI Conspire & Collude in A Coup Against Trump

***Sibel Edmonds’ FBI Case Timeline under FBI Director Robert Mueller

As a language specialist for three languages, including Turkish and Farsi, and with Top Secret Security Clearance, Sibel Edmonds began working for the FBI’s Washington Field Office in September 2001.

Between December 2001 and March 2002, Edmonds reported serious criminal conduct and related cover ups within the FBI. Edmonds took her reports to the FBI HQ OPR Unit, DOJ-Inspector General’s Office, and later the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After her termination, Sibel Edmonds’ reports were confirmed by the FBI in unclassified briefings to Congress, and by a Justice Department’s Inspector General Report.

In May 2004, the Justice Department retroactively classified Edmonds' briefings, as well as the FBI briefings, and forced Members of Congress who had the information posted on their Web sites to remove the documents.

The remarkable act of retroactive classification exemplifies a dangerous abuse of secrecy by the government regarding Edmonds' case. At least two Senators, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), publicly supported Edmonds and pushed the Justice Department to declassify at least some of its investigation into her dismissal.

In March 2002 she reported several problems inside the FBI, including certain sensitive cases being covered up and certain employees with highly questionable alliances. Upon formally reporting criminal conduct and related cover-ups she was retaliated against, and ultimately fired within a few weeks -  in April 2002.

In June 2002 Senators Grassley and Leahy wrote the Justice Department Inspector General asking specific questions about Edmonds' allegations, stating that the FBI had confirmed many of Edmonds’ allegations in unclassified briefings. This letter was later retroactively classified in May 2004.

In July 2002 Edmonds filed a lawsuit to challenge the FBI's retaliatory actions.

In August 2002 Senator Leahy wrote Attorney General John Ashcroft, asking for a speedy and thorough investigation of Edmonds' case. This letter was later retroactively classified in May 2004. The investigation was not completed for another two years, and then classified.

In May 2004 the Justice Department retroactively classified Edmonds' briefings to Senators Grassley and Leahy in 2002, as well as FBI briefings regarding Edmonds’ allegations.

In June 2004 the Project on Government Oversight filed suit against the Justice Department and Attorney General Ashcroft, saying the retroactive classification violated the organization's First Amendment rights.

In July 2004 a Justice Department investigation into Edmonds' dismissal was completed, but was classified. The report found that Edmonds' allegations of corruption within the FBI ""were at least a contributing factor" in her dismissal.

In July 2004 Judge Reggie Walton in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed Edmonds' lawsuit, relying on the government's States Secrets Privilege.

In January 2005 the ACLU filed a brief urging the D.C. Court of Appeals to reinstate the Edmonds' case, saying that the government is abusing the ""State Secrets Privilege"" to silence employees who expose national security blunders. Oral argument was scheduled for April 21, 2005.

In January 2005 the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General released an unclassified summary of its investigation into Edmonds' termination. The report concluded that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program, and that many of her allegations were supported.

In August 2005 the ACLU filed Edmonds’ case with the Supreme Court. The ACLU also asked the Supreme Court to reverse the D.C. appeals court's decision to exclude the press and public from the court hearing of Edmonds' case in April. The appeals court had closed the hearing at the eleventh hour without any specific findings that secrecy was necessary.

In November 2005 the Supreme Court denied review in Edmonds’ case.

In 9 Months, Trump has Bombed to Death more Civilians than Obama Did in 8 Years

When President Donald Trump took office in January, it was unclear whether the bombast from his campaign would translate into an aggressive new strategy against terrorism. At campaign rallies he pledged to “bomb the hell” out of the Islamic State. He openly mused about killing the families of terrorists, a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits violence against noncombatants. Ten months into his presidency, a clearer picture is emerging. The data indicate several alarming trends.

The Federal Reserve is About To Pull The Plug: Prepare For ‘Quantitative Tightening’ & ‘Creative Destruction’

What will happen as the US Federal Reserve decides to pull away the “unconventional” monetary stimulus punch bowl from the US and global economies?  Will their actions truly be for the good of both US and foreign economic and political stability, or is it all part of a much wider, longer term design aimed at nurturing collective chaos en route to a grander planned sense of international ‘synthesis’?  In this latest episode of Money and Fear, we’ll look at both “Quantitative Easing” (QE) as well as its impending policy nemesis, “Quantitative Tightening” (QT), or the Fed’s shrinking of its balance sheet, coupled potentially with hiking interest rates, as ad hoc and imminently unruly processes.  The Fed’s – and foreign central banks’ - latest measures are about to wreak havoc in markets, not unlike what happened nearly a decade ago, which triggered said QE implementation in the first place.  Sober questioning coupled with quantitative data and a sampling of input from leading commentators will be offered for your sense of defense, so tune in.

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Show Notes

Today the music stops

Federal Reserve Will Continue Cutting Economic Life Support

Back To Rehab Or Continue Chasing The Dragon

Gold Investment “Compelling” As Fed May “Kill The Business Cycle”

The Fed Balance Sheet and its $4.5trn Conundrum

The Fed's new frontier: What happens, why it matters and what could go wrong

The consequences of shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet

Wall Street Icon Warns The Fed's Balance Sheet Unwind "Is Very Dangerous For Markets”

The Fed's Balance Sheet Reduction Could Be A Lot More Dangerous Than People Think

Fed plan to reverse QE is fraught with danger

Want To Know What The S&P500 Does Next? Just Look At The Fed's Balance Sheet

The Most Dangerous Balance Sheet in the World

The Fed Is About to Unleash a Monster: Market Recon

The Fed is about to start unwinding its unprecedentedly large balance sheet — and no one knows what will happen

Bank stocks are rising after the Fed announces it will unwind its balance sheet (BAC, GS, C, JPM, KEY, WFC, BBT)

The Fed Is Ready To Begin Chipping Away At $4.5 Trillion Balance Sheet

Deutsche Bank: "This Is The $2.5 Trillion Question"

Fed's Asset Bubbles Now At The Mercy Of The Rest Of The World's Central Bankers.

QT1 Will Lead to QE4

*For additional footnotes and links refer to the Newsbud article link above

Naval False Flags & the Twentieth ‘American Century’

In his most recent book The true flag, veteran American journalist Stephen Kinzer chronicled what he called “the mother of all debates” in the United States, which transpired in the last years of the nineteenth century. Unlike today, America’s most prominent intellectual leaders were gripped by a question that would not only decide the country’s future but determine the outlook of the next century for the entire world: how should the US act in the world? Should America intervene in faraway countries to “defend freedom” and hence establish a global empire, or should it turn inward and allow people abroad to choose their own destinies? There of course had already been several isolated instances of free trade imperialism in Asia, and with the 1823 Monroe doctrine, the US, albeit theoretically, gained its first foothold in Latin America. Only when the Western frontier was officially declared closed in 1890, three decades after the Civil War, however, did it became conceivable to contemplate exerting permanent power over lands beyond North America. This prompted many statesmen to dream about the glory of empire, but it horrified many other intellectuals, who reminded the former that the US itself had been a colony, and that unlike its European counterparts, it should not rule over, but with the consent of, the governed. The imperialist side was lead by a powerful trio; Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, publisher William Randolph Hearst and Theodore Roosevelt. They received strong opposition, however, from anti-interventionists of all stripes, many of whom were involved with the newly-founded Anti-Imperialist League. They included German immigrant and Senator Carl Schurz, industrialist and one of the country’s richest men Andrew Carnegie, social reformer Jane Addams, leading African American activist Booker T. Washington, and from 1899 onwards, Mark Twain.[1] During the twentieth “American Century,” these and many future intellectuals were often able to obstruct the US’s entry in foreign wars of expansion, convincing many Americans that global military intervention was not in the nation’s interests. Combined with a steady stream of propaganda, however, a number of naval mass casualty attacks blamed on the enemy of the day succeeded in temporarily changing public opinion in favour of war. As a result, at the expense of the lives of many more Americans and people from all over the world, the American empire was born.

The USS Maine and the Spanish-American War

The first opportunity for expansion following the consolidation of the the territory of the US as we know it today came in the late 1890s. In 1807, Thomas Jefferson had written that “nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that vehicle.”[2] Yet, William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, two of the nation’s most-read newspapers, were drumming up support for war with Spain over Cuba, where indigenous revolts threatened Spain’s grip over one of its last but most wealthy colonies. The Journal and the World made up countless stories of Spanish atrocities and misreported several incidents so as to agitate public opinion against Spain.[3] Their reporting was so sensational and deplorable that these two journals were coined as the originators of “yellow journalism,” coverage with eye-catching headlines and little or no legitimate well-researched background, perhaps equivalent to today’s “fake news.” Still, alleged Spanish atrocities were not enough of a reason to declare war, certainly because the yellow press’s influence outside New York was limited. In addition, Spain did everything in its power to avoid starting a war with the US. While the American navy increasingly possessed steel military vessels, the Spanish navy was still largely made up of wooden ships. The Spaniards knew war would mean colonial suicide, as the US was the wealthiest and militaristically most powerful nation of the Americas and geographically much closer to Cuba.[4] Indeed, Spanish Atlantic Commander Admiral Pascual Cervera had warned his government of “our lack of everything that is necessary for a naval war, such as supplies, ammunition, coal, provisions, etc. We have nothing at all.”[5]

Soon, though, the US was embroiled in its first major foreign war of conquest, resulting in it wresting control not only over Cuba but also the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam and even non-Spanish Hawaii by the dawn of the new century. The trigger had been the sinking of the USS Maine, an American naval ship that exploded on 15 February 1898 in the Cuban harbour of Havana, leading to the death of 266 of the 355 crew members. On 24 January, while potential war was looming, the White House had decided to send the Maine to Cuba, ironically to ensure the safety of American citizens and interests. It did not properly notify the Spanish of this bold move, however, nor had it been made clear to Captain Charles Sigsbee that they were not expected when the vessel arrived in Cuba on 25 January.[6] According to Kinzer, those who wished for war with Spain clearly hoped for some sort of confrontation, even though the journey was officially dubbed a “friendly visit.” In an astonishing prediction, Senator Lodge wrote to a friend that “there may be an explosion any day in Cuba which would settle a great many things.”[7] Fortunately, the Spanish welcomed the Maine and permitted her to dock. On a quiet night three weeks later, two days before the ship had been scheduled to leave Havana for New Orleans,[8] however, the Maine was torn apart.

On 21 March, a naval board of inquiry concluded that the blast was caused solely by a mine situated under the bottom of the ship.[9] Although the board maintained that it was unable to determine responsibility, the finding that an external explosion would have destroyed the vessel gave enough leeway to the pro-war press to pin the blame on the Spanish, which they were already doing directly after the incident anyway. During the week following the tragedy, the Journal on average devoted eight and a half pages to the explosion of the Maine and pinning the blame on Spain. As the war cries intensified, a suitable slogan emerged: “Remember the Maine and to hell with Spain!” Meanwhile, Pulitzer’s World expounded the mine theory as well, even though he himself privately admitted that “nobody outside of a lunatic asylum” believed Spain had sanctioned this “act of treachery.”[10] As Hearst and Pulitzer were beating the drums of war in their yellow press, Lodge and Roosevelt pressured Congress and a more reluctant President William McKinley for a declaration of war. John Davis Long, Secretary to the Navy and personal friend of the president, wrote in his diary that “Roosevelt, in his precipitate way, has come very near to causing more of an explosion than happened to the Maine. [...] The very devil seemed to posses him.”[11] On 19 April, Congress passed a joint resolution, including an amendment disclaiming any intention of annexing Cuba, that demanded complete Spanish withdrawal and authorised the president to use as much military force as necessary to help Cuba gain independence. By 25 April, war had been declared.

From the very onset, a few cautious observers doubted the official story. Navy Secretary Long wrote in his diary that the explosion was probably “the result of an accident.”[12] The navy’s chief engineer, George W. Melville, suspected that the blast was caused by a magazine explosion inside the vessel rather than by an external mine; and Philip R. Alger, the navy’s leading weapons and ammunition expert, told the Washington Evening Star a couple of days following the incident that the damage appeared to have come from a magazine explosion. Yet, somehow, the opinions of these government experts and officials went unheard by the board of inquiry, even though it was entirely possible that the coal bunkers overheated and caused the magazines that stored ammunition, gun shells and gunpowder, which were situated next door, to explode. Indeed, a couple of weeks before the sinking of the Maine a different investigatory board had warned the Secretary of the Navy of exactly that - that spontaneous coal fires, which occurred frequently in that era, could detonate nearby magazines on American military ships. Still, a new official inquiry from 1911 reaffirmed the conclusion of an exterior mine.[13]

Decades later, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover asked naval historians to take another look at whether the cause of the explosion was internal or external. Contrary to the 1898 official inquiry, this private investigation attracted a range of scholars and technical experts, who concluded that the explosion was, “without a doubt,” internal. A 1998 National Geographic Society computer model study, on the other hand, determined that both a coal bunker overheating and an external mine could have caused the magazine to explode, but it concluded that the latter was more plausible.[14] Finally, in a 2002 History Channel documentary scientists reconstructed the inward-bending hull of the damaged ship, previously thought to be evidence of an external mine explosion, concluding that the shape of the damaged hull was a result of the inrushing water rather than of an explosion external to the vessel.[15] Whether the primary blast was internal or external, I doubt that it was just an accident. Precisely because of the possibility of spontaneous combustions in coal bunkers aboard US naval ships, the Maine was equipped with a thermostatically controlled fire alarm system. Moreover, Commander Wainwright, executive officer of the Maine, had a reputation for caution and thorough safety procedures.[16] Coupled with the fact that none of the ships that had previously experienced spontaneous coal combustions were lost as a result of fires, it seems extremely unlikely that the Maine was the first vessel to accidentally explode, just at that junction in history when its faith would set the US on its path to empire. The question, then, remains: who benefited? The Spanish? Or the Cuban revolutionaries and/or the pro-war axis in Washington?

The RMS Lusitania and World War I

After the short but successful war against Spain, famously dubbed “a splendid little war” by Ambassador to the UK John Hay, the “American Century” was born. The scars from the Civil War were finally healed, the economy boomed, and from then on, America would leave its footprints in all corners of the world. The consequences for the anti-interventionist movement were disastrous. Charles Eliot Norton, who had given a speech in 1898 that had set the anti-imperialist movement in motion, admitted that “we are defeated for the time [being].”[17] Indeed, in the beginning of the twentieth century the Anti-Imperialist League was only a shadow of its former strength. It even did not object the US’s entry into World War I, and it eventually disbanded in 1920. Roosevelt, who himself had fought in the Spanish-American War, on the other hand, was welcomed as a hero. He was elected Governor of New York in 1898, became McKinley’s vice president in 1900 and assumed the country’s highest command after the president was murdered in 1901. He was then reelected president in 1904, and in 1908, his close friend William Howard Taft succeeded him. Surprisingly though, once in the Oval Office, a saturated Roosevelt toned down his expansionism, focused most of his time on national matters and only intervened in Panama to secure land for the construction of the interoceanic canal. The Philippine-American War, which dragged on until 1902 and was considerably less “splendid” and “little,” had scaled down the imperialist fever a bit. It turned out that the anti-imperialist movement, whose leaders had correctly warned that any attempt to annex the Philippines would set off rebellions, was not dead after all.

The Taft presidency, however, came to be known for its “dollar diplomacy,” the usage of economic power in foreign policy through handing out loans to target countries as a way of expanding American influence. This angered Roosevelt, who decided to declare another candidacy in 1912 after Taft had intervened in Nicaragua and Honduras on behalf of American business interests. After being denied the Republican nomination, he ran as an independent. This split the Republican vote and allowed a supposedly ardent promoter of peace, Woodrow Wilson, to win the presidency. By the time World War I broke out, a powerful anti-interventionist wave again swept across the nation. Many believed that this was not “the war to end all wars” but rather just another European conflict perpetuated by the old colonial powers’ lust for territorial expansion and profit.[18] The loss of American lives seemed the only way to reverse the tide.

And low and behold, that is exactly what happened on 7 May 1915. With the naval war in full swing, a German U-boat torpedoed a British ocean liner called the RMS Lusitania en route from New York to Liverpool, killing nearly 1.200 people including 128 Americans. The event was instrumental in turning public opinion in many countries against Germany and became an iconic symbol for military recruitment. Although it did not directly lead to the US’s entry into the war, it definitely laid the necessary groundwork and played an essential role in the Allied propaganda leading up to the US declaring war in 1917 after the Zimmerman Telegraph revealed Germany’s bid at a possible alliance with Mexico. In Britain, it was decided upon to hold a formal inquiry to determine responsibility, but as James Perloff has shown, Captain William Turner was already picked as the scapegoat prior to the investigation.[19] Over the last hundred years, however, many pieces of evidence have come to light that reveal Allied foreknowledge and a scheme to make certain that the Lusitania would meet its tragic faith, thereby engineering public outrage against the enemy. Patrick Beesley, a British intelligence officer during World War II considered to be one of the leading authorities on the history of British naval intelligence, studied the incident and came to a surprising conclusion:

“Unless and until fresh information comes to light, I am reluctantly driven to the conclusion that there was a conspiracy deliberately to put the Lusitania at risk in the hope that even an abortive attack on her would bring the United States into the war. Such a conspiracy could not have been put into effect without Winston Churchill’s express permission and approval.”[20] (emphasis added)

From the onset of the war, the Allied Powers had set up a naval blockade in an attempt to restrict the maritime supplies to the Central Powers. This was considered a key element in the eventual Allied victory, as both Germany and Britain heavily depended on imports to feed their populations and to supply their war industries. The consequences were disastrous, as hundreds of thousands of Germans died as a result of the blockade. Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty in 1914, was right when he claimed that the aim was to “starve the whole population - men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound - into submission.”[21] The Germans reacted with a counter-blockade, but the British navy was superior. That gave way to Germany’s U-boat campaign, in which it during the course of the war sank thousands of enemy ships by submarine warfare. Churchill openly hoped that German U-boats would, accidently or not, target ships carrying American citizens and clearly encouraged President of the Board of Trade Walter Runciman to put innocent people in harm's way when he wrote to him that it was “most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hopes especially of embroiling the United States with Germany.”[22] The Germans were careful to avoid attacking American ships, however, and so the downing of a British boat with American passengers on board had to do the job. Four revelations expose the plot that Beesley called a “conspiracy.”

First, multiple quotes by Allied officials reveal signs of foreknowledge. On 2 May, American Ambassador to the UK Walter Hines Page wrote to his son that “the blowing up of a liner with American passengers may be the prelude [to the US’s entry into the war]. I almost expect such a thing. [...] If a British liner full of American passengers be blown up, what will Uncle Sam do? That’s what’s going to happen.[23] (emphasis added) Edward Mandell House - Wilson’s chief advisor on European politics and diplomacy during World War I, and more importantly, key behind-the-scenes player in establishing Wilson as president and one of the founding fathers of the Council on Foreign Relations - was in the American embassy in Britain with British Foreign Minister Edward Gray on the morning of the fateful 7 May, and, bizarrely, recorded in a telegraph that he foresaw the event a couple of hours in advance. Quoting from a biography detailing his intimate papers, he had written:

“‘We spoke of the probability of an ocean liner being sunk,’ recorded House, ‘and I told him [Gray] that if this were done, a flame of indignation would sweep across America, which would in itself probably carry us into the war.’ An hour later, House was with King George in Buckingham Palace. ‘We fell to talking, strangely enough,’ the Colonel [House] wrote that night, ‘of the probability of Germany sinking a trans-Atlantic liner… He said, ‘Suppose they should sink the Lusitania with American passengers on board…’ That evening House dined at the American Embassy. A despatch came in, stating that at two in the afternoon a German submarine had torpedoed and sunk the Lusitania off the southern coast of Ireland. Many lives had been lost.”[24] (emphasis added)

Second, although Wilson was personally involved in covering it up, it is now mainstream history that the Lusitania was not only carrying passengers and civilian cargo but high explosives and other contraband as well. Decades later, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stumbled upon a package that Wilson had ordered concealed in the archives of the Treasury Department, only to be opened by a US president, which contained the original cargo manifest. Contrary to the manifest that was shown to the outside world in 1915, the original bill of lading did list contraband, including millions of small-arms ammunition and above 50 tons of shrapnel shells. The most plausible explanation for the sinking of the vessel in just 18 minutes, many believe, is that the torpedo strike set off a secondary blast of high explosives in the ship’s magazines, comparable to the case of the USS Maine.[25] It remains unknown which material eventually caused that explosion, but an interesting affidavit of the US Justice Department offers additional circumstantial evidence of conspiracy. In the document, a chemist employed by British Naval Attaché to Washington Captain Guy Gaunt claimed that the captain had asked him what the effect of sea water coming into contact with guncotton would be, whereupon he answered that only contact between water and the pyroxylin type of guncotton could cause sudden explosion. Gaunt then went on to buy tons of pyroxylin and had it packaged in burlap and loaded onto the Lusitania. Perhaps this is what really accounts for the numerous containers of butter and cheese listed in the manifest for the unrefrigerated compartments on the ship.[26]

Third, Germany tried to warn passengers that the Lusitania route crossed a war zone, and that it therefore could be targeted by its U-boats. The Germans knew that the vessel had the dual function of traversing passengers while at the same time shipping contraband to the war front. They were thus faced with a dilemma; either they risked turning world opinion against them if they attacked civilian vessels carrying weapons and ammunition, or they let the chances of losing the war increase if they allowed the shipment of war material to the front. Therefore, the German embassy tried to place advertisements in 50 American newspapers that were sold in the vicinity of the departure point of the Lusitania a week before its final journey, warning of the risk for passengers of boarding the vessel. In a remarkable move, the US State Department ordered the warning’s publication suppressed, and the advertisement only appeared in a few journals. Thus, while Germany clearly showed attempts at avoiding killing American civilians, the State Department did the exact opposite and put them in harm’s way.[27] The warning read as follows:

“TRAVELLERS intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and here allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.”

Lastly, as a final nail in the coffin, the British Admiralty failed to provide the most basic guarantees of a safe passage while knowing full well that the Lusitania and a German U-boat were on a collision course. Not only could it have ordered the Lusitania to reroute around northern Ireland where it knew no U-boats were operating, navy ships did not accompany the Lusitania when it entered the war zone as well, even though that was common practice when there were threats of German submarine attacks. Naval Intelligence Officer Joseph Kenworthy, who met with fellow Admiral officials, including Churchill, two days prior to the attack in the Admiralty’s map room, admitted in his postwar book that “the Lusitania was deliberately sent at considerable reduced speed into an area where a U-boat was known to be waiting with her escorts withdrawn.” (emphasis added) Interestingly, although that does not change the core of the statement, his publisher removed the word “deliberately” due to pressure from the Admiralty.[28]

Pearl Harbour and World War II

After World War I, the battle of semantics indicated that the “larger policy” had won. Anti-interventionists were now called “isolationists,” a pejorative label that implied blindness to the nation’s interests and the world’s problems instead of prudent restraint. The term “imperialism,” on the other hand, was ditched in favour of “globalism” or “internationalism,” which gave the connotation that the victors of history did not promote war and coercive power but rather economic growth, human rights and, above all, democracy. Yet, horrified by World War I, most Americans recognised that involvement in that war was to be a one-time exception, and thus, the US entered a long and profound period of anti-interventionism not seen since before the Spanish-American War. Indeed, the first three presidents of the interbellum were all classic conservatives who sought to keep their country’s nose out of global affairs, and perhaps, President Herbert Hoover is the most clear example of this “isolationist” era. During his presidency, he bluntly told the American people that in “a large part of the world,” the US was seen as “a new imperial power intent upon dominating the destinies and freedoms of other people.” Soon after taking office in 1929, he declared that “it ought not to be the policy of the United States to interfere by force to secure or maintain contracts between our citizens and foreign states.” According to Kinzer, “no previous president had spoken like that. None has since.”[29]

It is in this climate that Franklin Delano Roosevelt ascended into the Oval Office in 1933. As a result, he had to balance the scales between his moderated public speeches and his personal desire to involve the US into World War II when yet another global conflict broke out in 1939. In January 1941, while the war was already in full swing in Europe, Asia and Africa, a Gallup poll revealed that a staggering 88% of American citizens were still opposed the US’s entry into another European war.[30] FDR understood the anti-war sentiment that gripped America, and stated in a 1940 election speech that “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”[31] To make this statement into a lie, a plot more sinister than that of the RMS Lusitania had to be connived, as the latter had not immediately sparked the desired outcome of catapulting the US into World War I. This time, a harbour full of American servicemen was to be sacrificed.

That happened on the morning of Sunday 7 December, 1941 in Hawaii, where a large American naval base was stationed. Commencing on 7.48 am Hawaiian Time, over 350 Imperial Japanese military planes, launched from six aircraft carriers, attacked the base. After 90 minutes, all eight US navy ships were damaged, four of them had sunk, and eventually, 2.403 Americans lost their lives. The attack came as a profound surprise to the pacified American people, who had now been convinced that entering the war was necessary after all. On 8 December, an hour after FDR delivered his “day of infamy” speech to a joint session of Congress, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan, officially bringing the US into World War II. On 11 December, then, Germany and Italy declared war on the US, after which the American government responded in kind. In the mass media and history books, the event is remembered as a surprise attack that happened due to an unimaginable failure of American intelligence, and most of all, incompetence of Hawaiian commanding officers Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and General Walter Short. Not only did the Roosevelt administration on multiple levels provoke Japan into making the first overt act of war, however, it knew the attack was coming, held Kimmel and Short in the dark and deliberately allowed it to happen. Naval officer and cryptanalyst Joseph J. Rochefort, who unlike Kimmel and Short was not removed from the information pipeline, remarked after the war that the Pearl Harbour tragedy was a “cheap price” for the unification of America.[32]

In January 1995, following decades of indefatigable archival research, journalist and World War II veteran Robert B. Stinnett discovered a very interesting memorandum in the personal classified archive of Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence in the World War II era. Being one of FDR’s most trusted advisors, having grown up in Japan and basing his reports on a worldwide network of American military cryptographers and radio intercept operators, few understood Japan’s diplomatic and military activities better than McCollum in the lead up to the war. McCollum believed that war between Japan and the US was inevitable, but that Japan had to be provoked into making the first “overt act of war.” In the October 1940 memorandum, which circulated in Washington’s intelligence circles, he advised an eight-step plan to succeed in this:

“It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify their attitude. Therefore, the following course of action is suggested:

  1. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
  2. Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies.
  3. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek.
  4. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.
  5. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
  6. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian islands.
  7. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
  8. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British empire.”[33]

To shatter any doubt why the US should adopt these provocative actions, McCollum concluded that “if by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better.”[34] Declassified intelligence cables from 1941 reveal that the Roosevelt administration indeed desired that Japan would make the first overt act of war. Following official concerns by Kimmel about the danger of Japanese hostilities, Admiral Harold Stark, chief of naval operations, ordered Kimmel that “if hostilities cannot repeat cannot be avoided the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act,” reiterating that “undertake no offensive action until Japan has committed an overt act.”[35] In addition, Secretary of War Henry Stimson recorded in his diary that “in spite of the risk involved, however, in letting the Japanese fire the first shot, we realized that in order to have the full support of the American people, it was desirable to make sure that the Japanese be the ones to do this, so that there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who were the aggressors.”[36]

In April 1940, Washington had decided to keep major portions of the navy’s military fleet in Hawaiian waters. Admiral James Richardson, Kimmel’s predecessor, resigned in protest because he believed that contrary to the fleet’s normal anchorage dock on the West Coast, Pearl Harbour was vulnerable to attacks from all sides. After this first step, action F, had been implemented, the Roosevelt administration started to enact the other seven steps during the course of the following year.[37] In response, as McCollum had hoped, Japan started preparing for war, especially after July 1941, when FDR had put into effect the last of McCollum’s proposals, action H. By imposing a complete embargo on all American and British trade with the Japanese, Japan, which heavily depended on foreign resources much the same as Germany had in World War I, had almost no other choice than to resort to military action. Rochefort later remarked that “we cut off their money, their fuel and trade. We were just tightening the screws on the Japanese. They could see no way of getting out except going to war.”[38]

Not only was it becoming pretty obvious that Japan increasingly saw war as the last recourse, Stinnett’s tireless research has also revealed that the intelligence community was aware that a Japanese spy was collecting information on the Pearl Harbour docks for a potential surprise attack. In May 1941, American intelligence discovered that a chancellor in the Japanese consulate called Tadashi Morimura was actually a spy reporting on types of warships and aircraft he saw operating from Pearl Harbour and at Army airfields. Naval intelligence, then, wiretapped his telephone and closely observed the diplomatic messages Morimura sent back to Tokyo. These coded messages were consistently and quickly decrypted and translated, as American cryptographers had cracked the “Purple” code used by Japan for diplomatic communication. On 21 August, Morimura sent a report to Japan that detailed the grid coordinates of the Pearl Harbour docks, piers and anchorage areas. By 29 September, he finished a more intricate grid system and sent it home, and although American intelligence intercepted and read these messages, they failed to act, let alone notify Kimmel or Short. This information was subsequently used by the Japanese military to construct a bomb plot for the assault, maps from a downed Japanese plane revealed after the attack. On 2 December, Morimura informed Tokyo that “no changes observed by afternoon of 2 December. So far they do not seem to have been alerted. Shore leave as usual;” and three days later, the spy cabled the Japanese fleet heading towards Pearl Harbour that “there are no barrage balloons up and there is an opportunity left for a surprise attack against these places.” (emphasis added) Several American cryptographic stations intercepted these two messages, but contrary to most diplomatic messages from between 1 and 6 December, they were supposedly only deciphered and translated after 7 December in an inexplicable crash of the impressive American cryptographic system.[39]

This is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as there are a myriad of additional signs of foreknowledge of the assault. As far back as January 1941, almost a full year before the Japanese attack, American Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew reported to Washington that “my Peruvian colleague told a member of my staff that he had heard from many sources including a Japanese source that the Japanese military forces planned in the event of trouble with the United States, to attempt a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor with all their military facilities.”[40] Also in early 1941, Congressman Martin Dies, who headed a committee investigating Japanese espionage activities, uncovered a Japanese military map that exposed “clear proof of the intentions of the Japanese to make an assault on Pearl Harbour.” In 1963, Dies disclosed that when he told Secretary of State Cordell Hull about this information, Hull asked him, after having consulted FDR, to keep quiet about it.[41] Knowing full well its vulnerability, Washington nevertheless kept the fleet at Pearl Harbour and further enacted the McCollum plan over the course of the next months.

Upon his arrival in the US in August, Yugoslavian double agent Dusko Popov warned FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover that he had discerned through information supplied by the Germans that Japan was planning a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour “before the end of the year.”[42] In November, Iowa Senator Guy Gillette received information from Kilsoo Haan, a Korean nationalist figure who engaged in intelligence activities through the Sino-Peoples League for the US, that Japan would make an attack on Pearl Harbour before Christmas. Gillette informed the president, who said the matter would be looked into.[43] During the course of November, Ambassador Grew reiterated on several occasions that the US should not underestimate the increasing possibility of Japan declaring war, stating that “war with the United States may come with dramatic and dangerous suddenness,” and that “we cannot give substantial warning [for a surprise attack].” Astonishingly enough, instead of making preparations to counter such a surprise attack, Washington ordered all US and Allied shipping out of the North Pacific Ocean. When Kimmel sought a way around this “Vacant Sea” policy and organised a search for Japanese carrier forces in the North Pacific Ocean, the White House promptly ordered him to pull back and abort the exercise.[44]

On 26 November, then, the US issued a ten-point memorandum that called for the settling of Japanese-American tensions, which in reality dealt the final blow to the possibility of peace. Rochefort later confessed that “I believe sincerely that the November 26 letter was an actual ultimatum the Japanese could not accept and their only alternative was to go to war.”[45] From that moment on, Japan decided to go ahead with its plan to attack Pearl Harbour, and Washington clearly knew it. In the first days of December, the Dutch army decoded a dispatch from Tokyo to its Bangkok embassy, forecasting an attack on Hawaii, among other targets in Asia. Brigadier General Elliott Thorpe, then military attaché in Dutch-controlled Java, realised its importance and immediately contacted Washington, but his alarms went unheeded by the army’s Chief of Staff General George Marshall. Thorpe tried again three more times, but eventually, he was told “don’t send this anymore, we are not interested.”[46] It is clear from another revelation that the military and intelligence circles were not just uninterested at this point but, to the contrary, knew that Japan was moving eastward towards Hawaii. Captain Johann Ranneft, Dutch naval attaché in Washington, attended a meeting of the Office of Naval Intelligence on 2 December and wrote in his diary that “the location of 2 Japanese carriers leaving Japan with eastern course are pointed to me on the map.” A day before the fateful 7 December, he returned and was again shown the position of the Japanese carriers, which were now situated just a couple of hundred miles northwest of Pearl Harbour. He recorded in his diary that “no one among us mentions the possibility of an attack on Honolulu. I myself do not think about it because I believe that everyone in Honolulu is 100 percent on the alert, just like everyone here at ONI [the Office of Naval Intelligence].”[47] History tells us, however, that despite this overwhelming amount of information pointing to a surprise attack on Hawaii, Kimmel and Short, along with thousands of American servicemen, were deliberately left out in the open.

Finally, Stinnett’s archival research revealed that American cryptologists had not only cracked Japan’s diplomatic “Purple” messages, which is common knowledge, but intercepted Japanese naval pre-Pearl Harbour communication as well. Although many historians claim that the Japanese navy maintained radio silence in the weeks leading up to the attack, Stinnett has found 129 Japanese naval intercepts obtained by US naval monitor stations between 15 November and 6 December that directly contradict that assertion. In separate interviews with Stinnett, Homer Kisner and Duane L. Whitlock, then respectively chief operators at Station H and Station CAST, analysed and confirmed these intercepted naval messages. After the war, Japanese sources disclosed that Japanese navy officers indeed broke the policy of radio silence by communicating several broadcasts that bluntly unmasked the plot. For instance, in early december one radio broadcast unveiled the preparations for “the carrier striking force’s attack on Hawaii” and the “Hawaii attack.” Considering the 129 obtained intercepts, it is quite possible, even likely, that US cryptologists decoded and translated this and/or other damning messages. Despite numerous Freedom of Information requests, however, full access to the naval archives remains closed to the public. As a result, a cloak of secrecy obstructs the full truth about Pearl Harbour.[48]

At any rate, on a final note, all remaining doubts about FDR’s personal knowledge of the plot are shattered by a quote published in the US Naval Institute's Naval History Magazine. After learning of the the Kimmel and Short families’ efforts to posthumously restore the Pearl Harbour commanders, Helen E. Hamman went public with a secret from her father Don C. Smith, who directed the Red Cross’s War Service before World War II and was summoned by the president in the lead up to the attack:

“Shortly before the attack in 1941 President Roosevelt called him [Smith, my father] to the White House for a meeting concerning a Top Secret matter. At this meeting the President advised my father that his intelligence staff had informed him of a pending attack on Pearl Harbor, by the Japanese. He anticipated many casualties and much loss, he instructed my father to send workers and supplies to a holding area at a P.O.E. [port of entry] on the West Coast where they would await further orders to ship out, no destination was to be revealed. He left no doubt in my father’s mind that none of the Naval and Military officials in Hawaii were to be informed and he was not to advise the Red Cross officers who were already stationed in the area. When he protested to the President, President Roosevelt told him that the American people would never agree to enter the war in Europe unless they were attack[ed] within their own borders. [My father] was privy to Top Secret operations and worked directly with all of our outstanding leaders. He followed the orders of his President and spent many later years contemplating this action which he considered ethically and morally wrong.”[49] (emphasis added)

The Cold War: Operation Northwoods and the Gulf of Tonkin incident

World War II was the deadliest military conflict ever in absolute terms of total casualties. Over 60 million people from all over the world perished, including hundreds of thousands of Americans. On the backbone of all this death and destruction, the US outgrew its former place among the Great Powers and established a hegemony over the Western hemisphere. The American economy was in better shape than any other European or Eurasian superpower, and after the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, the US dollar was established as a global reserve currency interchangeable to gold at a fixed price. In addition, the IMF and World Bank were created, two globalist institutions which would further the American-led world order in the coming decades. Similarly, with the coming into existence of the United Nations and NATO, the US gained a dominant position on respectively the diplomatic and military front as well. At the same time, however, communist regimes thrived from the Soviet Union and China to Southeast Asia and Cuba, and hence, the Cold War paradigm was born. Declassified cables reveal that in the 1960s, too, American intelligence agencies again planned a series of false flag assaults, this time to be blamed on the Cuban government of Fidel Castro.

In 1997, a throve of once-secret military records were made public by the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board, the federal agency overseeing the release of government records related to the JFK assassination. Among them was a document titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba (TS),” a top secret collection of draft memoranda written by the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962 following the Bay of Pigs failure the year before. The document called for “a series of well coordinated incidents” that would have the “genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces.” Known collectively as Operation Northwoods, these actions would constitute “pretexts” for the “justification for US military intervention in Cuba,” as apparently neither the American nor the Cuban people were going to accept such overt intervention without this covert strategy. The plans detailed in the document included assassinating Cuban émigés, attacking the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay, orchestrating terrorism in American cities, blowing up drones disguised as manned aircraft, and, interestingly enough, hijacking planes. More in line with the mass casualty events at sea discussed above, the document also mentioned that “we could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.” This is especially reminiscent of the case of the USS Maine, an American military boat that was blown up on the other side of the island more than 60 years earlier in order to ignite the Spanish-American War. And indeed, the authors directly referred to “a ‘Remember the Maine’ incident [that] could be arranged in several forms.”[50] Fortunately, the plans concocted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Defense were eventually rejected by the Kennedy Administration.

Under the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson, who succeeded JFK after the latter was assassinated in 1963, however, a naval false flag was again engineered in order to escalate the Vietnam War. In the 1950s, American tax dollars and military advisors were already heavily involved in the Indochina War between France and the Vietminh independence movement. In the early 1960s, then, US involvement increased rapidly, as the Kennedy administration tripled the amount of troops in both 1961 and 1962. It was only after the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, though, that Congress managed to pass the closest thing there ever was to a declaration of war against North Vietnam. This resolution, passed immediately after American military vessels were said to have come under attack from North Vietnamese torpedo boats on 2 August and again on 4 August, authorised the president to express America’s military might in Southeast Asia, thereby providing a flimsy legal base for the disastrous Vietnam War.[51]

According to the official story presented to the public at the time, the Johnson administration had done nothing to provoke a naval engagement in the Tonkin Gulf. Essentially, the USS Maddox was said to peacefully minding its own business in the area when it came under sudden attack from North Vietnamese forces on 2 August. Navy and military officials declared that they had acted with restraint, refusing to respond, as they only reacted with returning fire after the second attack two nights later. This turned out to be blatantly untrue. Archival research has established that after its approval by Johnson in January 1964, the US started carrying out covert naval commando attacks against North Vietnam under a plan called Operation Plan 34-A. The naval battle between the Maddox and the North Vietnamese torpedo boats occurred in the immediate aftermath of a series of such 34-A maritime raids on coastal targets. Although the American destroyer was in international waters when the battle itself took place, the North Vietnamese forces logically concluded that the Maddox’s appearance was related to the 34-A raids.[52]

Not only had the US thus provoked the North Vietnamese just like it had provoked the Germans and the Japanese in respectively the Lusitania and Pearl Harbour cases, however, it had fired the first shots as well. This conclusion was made by Robert Hanyok, an intelligence analyst and historian with the Department of Defense, who published his findings in an article in the NSA’s own internal classified publication in early 2001, which was made available to the public under pressure of Freedom of Information Requests in 2005.[53] When “the Vietnamese boats inexorably closed the gap between themselves and the destroyer,” Hanyok wrote, “Captain Herrick ordered Ogier’s gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first.”[54]

Even more startling was Hanyok’s second finding. Confirming what many analysts had already suspected, he concluded that the 4 August attack had never actually taken place at all. Drawing from a comprehensive analysis of intelligence signals and intercepts that he was able to look into, he concluded that the attack simply had not occurred, and that Agency officials had “mishandled” and “skewed” intelligence in order to make the case that the attack did happen.[55] This means that the American destroyers essentially fired at a non-existing adversary on the night of 4 August, after which President Johnson asked for a congressional resolution and ordered retaliatory bombing against North Vietnam in response to what was, in all actuality, a non-event.

Conclusion: a new “American Century?”

Starting shortly after the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the escalation of the war, a huge anti-Vietnam War movement gradually developed and made American intervention less and less popular. After the capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese army in 1975, which indicated the end of the war, the American people became prone to what was soon called the “Vietnam Syndrome.” The massive protests and riots against American involvement, the Watergate scandal as well as the horrific images from the front and stories of cruel atrocities all contributed to a general distrust to any type of foreign intervention. As a result, the last Cold War administrations had no choice but to scale down overt military intervention. It was only after the First Gulf War of 1990-1991, which resulted in a quick and relatively decisive victory, that President George H. W. Bush declared that the Vietnam Syndrome was finally “kicked.”[56] Still, a propagandistic lie was again needed to find support for that war as well. The UN Security Council was only able to authorise the use of “all means necessary” to eject Iraq from Kuwait after Nayirah al-Sabah’s testimony asserted that Iraqi soldiers had taken babies out of incubators and left them to die during the invasion of Kuwait. It later turned out, however, that Nayirah was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US, and that it simply did not happen, just like the second attack in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964 did not happen.[57]

Over the course of the twentieth century, the US gradually assumed a hegemonic position on the global geopolitical chessboard like none European or Eurasian superpower was ever able to. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the advent of the First Gulf War, President George H. W. Bush declared a unipolar “new world order” in which the US would become the uncontested superpower. In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor and former executive director of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, authored a book in which he meticulously outlined how the US must defend its global primacy by preventing, at all costs, the emergence of a Eurasian rival, as the present situation of an Atlantic superpower exerting global hegemony was unique to history.[58] Members of the conservative think tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC) such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Elliot Abrams, all of whom obtained key positions in the George W. Bush administration in 2001, understood this very well. In a policy document called “Rebuilding America’s defenses” published in September 2000 in anticipation of the presidential elections, PNAC outlined an aggressive military plan “for a new century” of American global domination.[59] As I have demonstrated in this article, the twentieth “American Century” might have looked totally different absent a number of naval false flag operations. PNAC recognised that the same counted for the 21st century. “The process of transformation [towards American primacy], even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one,” it postulated,” absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor.”[60] Prophetically, that “new Pearl Harbor” came one year later in the form of the 9/11 attacks. Perhaps it is not that silly after all that one in every two Americans doubt the government’s official account of Osama bin Laden having masterminded the well-coordinated sophisticated assaults from a cave in Afghanistan while on dialysis.[61]

# # # #

Bas Spliet, Newsbud Contributing Analyst,  is a bachelor’s student History and Arabic at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He is interested in geopolitics, focusing most of his time in getting a better understanding of wars in the Middle East. His analyses can be found atwww.scrutinisedminds.com. He can be reached at bas.spliet@gmail.com.

Notes

[1] Stephen Kinzer, The true flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the birth of the American empire (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017).

[2] Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Norvell, 11.06.1807 (Library of Congress: The Thomas Jefferson Papers, series 1: general correspondence), http://loc.gov/resource/mtj1.038_0592_0594/?sp=2&st=text.

[3] James Perloff, “Trial run for interventionism,” The New American, 20.08.2012, 29-31, http://morganhighhistoryacademy.org/Trial%20Run%20For%20Interventionism%20TNA%20August%2020,%202012.pdf.

[4] Edward P. McMorrow, “Who destroyed the USS Maine - an opinion (part 2),” The Spanish-American War, http://spanamwar.com/Mainemo2.htm.

[5] Quoted in Perloff, “Trial run for interventionism,” 33.

[6] Perloff, “Trial run for interventionism,” 32.

[7] Kinzer, The true flag, 29.

[8] Edward P. McMorrow, “Who destroyed the USS Maine - an opinion (part 1),” The Spanish-American War, http://spanamwar.com/Mainemo1.htm.

[9] Louis Fisher, “The destruction of the Maine (1898),” The Law Library of Congress, 04.08.2009, http://loc.gov/law/help/usconlaw/pdf/Maine.1898.pdf.

[10]  Ivan Musicant, Empire by default: the Spanish-American War and the dawn of the American Century (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998), 143-4.

[11] Quoted in Kinzer, The true flag, 35.

[12] Quoted in Kinzer, The true flag, 33.

[13] Fischer, “Destruction of the Maine (1898),” 2-3.

[14] Fischer, “Destruction of the Maine (1898),” 3-5.

[15] Perloff, “Trial run for interventionism,” 35.

[16] McMorrow, “Who destroyed the USS Maine - an opinion (part 1).”

[17] Quoted in Kinzer, The true flag, 226.

[18] Kinzer, The true flag, 231-3.

[19] James Perloff, “False flag at sea,” James Perloff, 21.05.2014, http://jamesperloff.com/2014/05/21/false-flag-at-sea/.

[20] Quoted in Ralph Raico, “Rethinking Churchill,” Mises Institute, 14.11.2008, http://mises.org/library/rethinking-churchill.

[21] Quoted in Ralph Raico, “The blockade and attempted starvation of Germany,” Mises Institute, 07.05.2010, http://mises.org/library/blockade-and-attempted-starvation-germany.

[22] Quoted in Raico, “Rethinking Churchill.”

[23] Quoted in Burton J. Hendrick, The life and letters of Walter H. Page, Volume I (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1923), 436, http://ia600200.us.archive.org/24/items/lifelettersofwal03hend/lifelettersofwal03hend.pdf.

[24] Charles Seymour, The intimate papers of Colonel House (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1926), 432, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/g/genpub/ACL9380.0001.001/478?rgn=full+text;view=image.

[25] Donald E. Schmidt, The folly of war: American foreign policy, 1898-2005 (New York: Algora Publishing, 2005), 73, http://books.google.be/books?id=865MBAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=nl&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. You can find the original manifesto here: http://rmslusitania.info/downloads/crossing202_supplementary_cargo_manifest.pdf.

[26] Perloff, “False flag at sea.”

[27] Gabriel Donohoe, “The sinking of the Lusitania, America’s entry into World War I, a bonanza for Wall Street,” Global Research, 08.05.2010, reprinted on 10.08.2014, http://globalresearch.ca/the-sinking-the-lusitania-americas-entry-into-world-war-i-a-bonanza-for-wall-street/5381121.

[28]  Perloff, “False flag at sea.”

[29] Kinzer, The true flag, 233-5.

[30] Robert B. Stinnett, Day of deceit: the truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor (London: Constable, 2000), 33.

[31] Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Campaign address at Boston, Massachusetts,” (Speech, Boston, 30.10.1940), The American Presidency Project, http://presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15887.

[32] The reminiscences of Captain Joseph J. Rochefort (US Naval Institute Oral History Program, 1970), 163, quoted in Stinnett, Day of deceit, 117.

[33] Memorandum from Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum to ONI director Captain Walter Stratton Anderson, 7.10.1940 (McCollum’s personal classified file, RG 38, Station US papers, box 6, folder 5750-15, Archives II, College Park, Maryland), reproduced in full in Stinnett, Day of deceit, 261-7.

[34] Memorandum from Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum.

[35] Cable from Admiral Harold Stark, 28.11.1941 (Navy Department, RG 38, Station US papers, MMRB, Archives II, College Park, Maryland), reproduced in full in Stinnett, Day of deceit, 284-5.

[36] Quoted in Stinnett, Day of deceit, 178-9.

[37] Stinnett, Day of deceit, 17-8 and 36.

[38] The reminiscences of Captain Joseph J. Rochefort (US Naval Institute Oral History Program, 1970), 65, quoted in Stinnett, Day of deceit, 121.

[39] Stinnett, Day of deceit, 83-119.

[40] Quoted in Stinnett, Day of deceit, 31.

[41] Michael T. Griffith, “The Pearl Harbor attack: an introduction,” Mike Griffith, 2012, http://miketgriffith.com/files/phintro.htm.

[42] Thomas O’Toole, “Did Hoover know of Pearl Harbor?”, Washington Post, 02.12.1982, http://washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1982/12/02/did-hoover-know-of-pearl-harbor/7510d069-2ac9-4512-a543-d2ce1aceca7c/?utm_term=.f3fca71009fa.

[43] Steven L. Danver, Popular controversies in world history: investigating history’s intriguing questions (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2011), 250, available online: http://books.google.be/books?id=slVobUjdzGMC&printsec=frontcover&hl=nl&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.

[44] Stinnett, Day of deceit, 142-51.

[45] The reminiscences of Captain Joseph J. Rochefort (US Naval Institute Oral History Program, 1970), 66, quoted in Stinnett, Day of deceit, 218.

[46] “Elliott Thorpe, 91, army attache who warned of Japanese attack,” New York Times, 28.06.1989, http://nytimes.com/1989/06/29/obituaries/elliott-thorpe-91-army-attache-who-warned-of-japanese-attack.html; Interview with Thorpe from BBC documentary Sacrifice at Pearl Harbor, produced by Roy Davies (London: BBC, 1989), from 41m45 until 43m00, available on Youtube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=7p1TOA99S88&t=2549s.

[47] Stinnett, Day of deceit, 42-59.

[48] Stinnett, Day of deceit, 189-224.

[49] Daryl S. Borgquist, “Advance warning? The Red Cross connection,” Naval History Magazine 13, no. 3 (1999), http://usni.org/magazines/navalhistory/1999-06/advance-warning-red-cross-connection.

[50] US Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba (TS),” US Department of Defense, 13.03.1962, available online at the National Security Archive, http://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//news/20010430/northwoods.pdf.

[51] Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon, “30-year anniversary: Tonkin Gulf lie launched Vietnam War,” FAIR - Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, 27.07.1994, http://fair.org/media-beat-column/30-year-anniversary-tonkin-gulf-lie-launched-vietnam-war/; John Prados, “Essay: 40th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident,” National Security Archive, 04.08.2004, http://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/essay.htm.

[52] Prados, “Essay: 40th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.”

[53] John Prados, “Tonkin Gulf intelligence ‘skewed’ according to official history and intercepts,” National Security Archive, 01.12.2005, http://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/press20051201.htm.

[54] Robert Hanyok, “Skunks, bogies, silent hounds, and the flying fish: the Gulf of Tonkin mystery, 2-4 August 1964,” Cryptologic Quarterly 19, no. 4 (2001), 16, http://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/relea00012.pdf.

[55] Prados, “Tonkin Gulf intelligence ‘skewed’ according to official history and intercepts.”

[56] Alan Rohn, “Vietnam Syndrome,” Vietnam War, 27.06.2014, http://thevietnamwar.info/vietnam-syndrome/.

[57] Tom Regan, “When contemplating war, beware of babies in incubators,” Christian Science Monitor, 06.09.2002, http://csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p25s02-cogn.html.

[58] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The grand chessboard: American primacy and its geostrategic imperatives (New York: Basic Books, 1997).

[59] Bette Stockbauer, “‘Rebuilding America’s defenses’ and the Project of the New American Century,” Antiwar, 18.06.2003, http://antiwar.com/orig/stockbauer1.html.

[60] Project for the New American Century, Rebuilding America’s defenses: strategy, forces and resources for a new century (report, Washington, DC, September 2000), 51, http://informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf.

[61] Harris MacLeod, “New poll finds most Americans open to alternative 9/11 theories,” YouGov UK, 12.09.2013, http://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/09/12/new-poll-finds-most-americans-open-alternative-911/.