22 November, 2009

46th anniversary of the assassination of JFK

BOOK REVIEW: 'JFK': Skyhorse Publishing Brings Back L. Fletcher Prouty's 'Secret History of U.S.', His Version of Who Really Murdered President Kennedy -- and Why

Reviewed By David M. Kinchen
Huntingtonnews.net Book Critic

Editor's Note: This review is being published on the 46th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963.

Military insider L. Fletcher Prouty published "JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy" in 1996. Prouty, whose character "Man X" was played by Donald Sutherland in Oliver Stone's 1991 movie "JFK," not only didn't believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, he says the assassination was engineered and carried out by a powerful cabal consisting of the Central Intelligence Agency and leaders of the military-industrial complex.

Prouty (1917-2001) was an adviser to Stone in the making of the movie, but his book soon disappeared from the shelves. It was published by the Carol Publishing Group, and copies have sold for as much as $100 on Amazon.com. Now comes the book, complete with photos, from Skyhorse Publishing in New York (416 pages, $14.95). The book includes the original introduction by Stone, who calls Air Force Lt. Col. (Ret) Prouty's book "The Secret History of the United States: 1943-1990."

Prouty, who was a Washington insider for nearly 20 years -- the last few of them as Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Kennedy -- has, to say the least, a highly unusual perspective to offer on the assassination and the events that led up to it.

As portrayed by Sutherland in the Oliver Stone film, he asks New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (played by Kevin Costner) to ponder why Kennedy was killed, Prouty leaves no doubt where he stands. The president, he claims, had angered the military-industrial establishment with his procurement policies and his determination to withdraw from Vietnam, and had threatened to break the CIA into "a thousand pieces" after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. His death was in effect a coup d'etat that placed in the White House a very different man with a very different approach--one much more acceptable to what Prouty consistently calls "the power elite."

The movie and Prouty's book were attacked with great vehemence by critics and historians alike. Polls have shown that the 26-volume Warren Commission report on the assassination, published in 1964, is believed by very few. I didn't believe the official explanation for one second. I was supported by a fellow reporter named Earl Golz when I worked at The Milwaukee Sentinel from 1967 to 1976. Golz, a native of Waukegan, IL, left The Sentinel to report for the Dallas Morning News, where he wrote more than 180 stories about the assassination, many of which contradicted the "official" story.

I learned very recently that Golz, 76, now retired from the Austin (TX) American-Statesman, is in a nursing home in Austin, suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Whether or not you believe the Warren Commission report and its defenders, "JFK" is a book you should read. Call it revisionist history -- or the real story, stripped of the Beltway whitewash of "conventional wisdom" -- or the ravings of a conspiracy nut, this is a book with plenty of punch.

Harry Truman, who created the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, later said it was a decision he regretted. Kennedy, who inherited the disastrous April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba from the Eisenhower administration, is on record as saying he wanted to break the agency "into a thousand pieces." He also intended to remove the fledgling military element and the CIA agents from Vietnam by 1965. Prouty demonstrates to my satisfaction that Kennedy was following the recommendations of the Oct. 2, 1963 McNamara-Taylor report in this decision.

As I read "JFK" I was reminded of another work of "revisionist" history that has gained wide acceptance, Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." Zinn's 1980 book has sold more than a million copies and has been used for high school and college history courses. Historian and political scientist Zinn writes from a populist point of view.

I don't know how Zinn feels about Prouty's book, but I have a feeling he probably agrees with many of the points outlined in the book, if only because Prouty departs from the conventional point of view. Prouty's behind-the-scenes look at how the CIA has shaped postwar U.S. foreign policy is fascinating, as are his questions about the security arrangements in Dallas, his knowledge of the extraordinary government movements at that time (every member of the Cabinet was out of the country when Kennedy was shot) and his perception that most of the press has joined in the cover-up ever since. The latter element makes sense to me, because the news media was an integral part of the military-industrial complex in the 1960s, when departing President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about it on Jan. 17, 1961. Even today, there's the case of General Electric, a major military contractor, owning the NBC network and its influential NBC News and MSNBC units.

Kudos to Skyhorse Publishing for republishing "JFK." Despite its flaws, it's an important book by a man who worked with many of the most powerful government insiders.


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posted by u2r2h at Sunday, November 22, 2009 0 comments

17 November, 2009

Indian Paper Accurate about US Afghanistan Pakistan


Military morass


Afghanistan: The election has left President Hamid Karzai more isolated and his foreign backers more confused than ever before.


An Afghan soldier standing next to a burning fuel truck after an attack on a NATO convoy near Jalalabad in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, on November 8.

THE election fiasco, coupled with the rapidly escalating violence, has shattered whatever little credibility the occupation forces had in the eyes of ordinary Afghans. Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) had to concede finally that more than a million votes cast in the presidential election were fraudulent. Besides, last October was among the most violent months since the 2001 invasion â€" the United States Army suffered its highest casualty in a single month and then there were the audacious attacks launched by the Taliban in the heart of Kabul.

The suicide attack on a United Nations compound came soon after the announcement that there would be a second round of the presidential election. The attack on the U.N. personnel has had serious political ramifications. With the morale of the U.N. shattered, Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon announced the withdrawal of more than half of its personnel. War-torn Afghanistan is largely dependent on international humanitarian aid. The U.N.’s active involvement in the sham election process had made its personnel a target for the Taliban.

The second round was belatedly called off after Abdullah Abdullah’s refusal to run. Hamid Karzai’s challenger said that the second round would be as fraudulent as the first. The U.S. and the international community represented by the U.N. wasted no time in recognising Karzai as the legitimate winner. A second round, according to most observers, would have been a bigger charade than the first.

According to international observers, very few Afghans voted in the first round in August anyway. Karzai would have emerged as the eventual winner if the run-off had gone ahead. The incumbent President had stitched up a wide-ranging coalition of warlords and power brokers, which delivered him the vote in bulk in the first round. The Taliban stepped up its violence dramatically after the Election Commission’s initial announcement of a run-off. Even more Afghans would have stayed at home in a second-round voting.


Abdullah Abdullah, who quit the presidential race ahead of the proposed second round, at a press conference on November 4, where he alleged that President Hamid Karzai’s re-election had no legal basis.

Meanwhile, the Barack Obama administration is still debating whether to accede to the demands of the U.S. military establishment for another troop surge in Afghanistan. The military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has been publicly lobbying for an additional 40,000 troops. In a report submitted to the White House, he has argued that the only way to avoid defeat in the Afghanistan war is to increase American boots on the ground.

There is no longer much talk emanating from Washington about the “good war” in Afghanistan. Now more emphasis is being devoted to engaging the “good” Taliban and buying off insurgent fighters, as was done with some success in Iraq. The U.S. military has now been authorised to pay Taliban fighters who renounce violence. A clause in the annual U.S. Defence Appropriation Bill authorises the American army in Afghanistan to help financially those Afghans who want to “reintegrate into society”. Around $1.3 billion has been earmarked for this purpose.

The election fiasco, which played out for more than two months, has left President Karzai more isolated and his foreign backers in a state of confusion. Key Western leaders no longer even accord him the respect due to a head of state. While congratulating him on his re-election, President Obama upbraided him on the corruption that characterised his earlier stint in office. Obama told reporters in Washington that he had warned Karzai that there should be “a much more serious effort to eradicate corruption” and that “the proof is not going to be in words, it should be in deeds”.

Stories leaked by the U.S. administration about Karzai’s younger brother Ahmad Wali Karzai being on the Central Intelligence Agency’s payroll and profiting from the drug trade figured prominently in the American media. The Obama administration wants Karzai to take action against prominent warlords such as Rashid Dostum and the Tajik leader Mohammed Fahim. The Uzbek and Tajik warlords are Karzai’s close political allies. Both of them expect to inherit lucrative Ministries, and not jail terms, during Karzai’s second term.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Karzai must “actually arrest and prosecute” those who are corrupt. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told him as he began his second term that British soldiers would no longer be asked to lay down their lives for a government steeped in corruption. Brown told the British media that the Karzai government had become a “byword for corruption”. Kai Ede, the head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, said in November that Karzai should not take international support for granted. He emphasised that the government in Kabul should shed its corrupt image and stop cohabiting with warlords. Ban ki-Moon also joined in the chorus of criticism while at the same time taking care to legitimise the flawed election.

In the first week of November, the Afghan government belatedly issued a statement rejecting the foreign criticism of Karzai, saying that the criticisms “violated national sovereignty”. However, in a speech he made after being officially named the winner of the presidential election, Karzai pledged to “wipe out the stain of corruption” and work closely with his political opponents.

The sudden concern in the West about the Karzai government’s corruption and deals with warlords reeks of hypocrisy. U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces operating in Pashtun areas have been depending on the help of warlords for some time now. Militias controlled by Afghan warlords have been providing protection for NATO convoys and forward U.S. bases. General McChrystal himself acknowledged that American and NATO ties with warlords were one of the reasons for the alienation of the populace from the occupation forces.


Karzai at a press conference in Kabul on November 3, a day after he was declared winner.

A report published by the Centre of International Cooperation at New York University (NYU) revealed that General Nazri Mahmed, a warlord in Badakshan province who was said to control “a significant portion of the province’s lucrative opium trade”, was on the payroll of the German military contingent. The report claimed that Western governments were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on contracts with security providers, most of them warlords and human rights violators. The U.N. estimates that there are 120,000 armed men employed by around 5,000 private militias. During the Bush presidency, the CIA armed and financed warlords such as Fahim and Dostum who helped during the 2001 invasion.

The Obama administration’s main goal is to train an effective Afghan fighting force that will eventually do most of the fighting. Given the current state of the Afghan army, this will be difficult to achieve. An internal U.S. report, details of which emerged in early November, describes the Afghan security force as badly trained, largely illiterate and highly corrupt. Recent events have also shown that the Afghan forces have been infiltrated by the Taliban.

In recent months, many Western soldiers were killed by defecting Afghan soldiers and policemen. One out of every five Afghan soldiers recruited leaves within a year. The current strength of the Afghan army stands at 90,000. General McChrystal recommended to Washington in September that the strength of the Afghan security force be doubled within a year. If this target is to be achieved, it will entail the deployment of 15,000 U.S. and NATO trainers. Leading NATO countries such as France and Germany are loath to send any more personnel.

President Obama is delaying his decision to despatch the additional troops urgently requested by the U.S. military brass. His Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has been maintaining that the U.S. is in Afghanistan for the long haul. Obama, in a major speech in August, described the war in Afghanistan as “a war of necessity” against those plotting to attack the U.S. This view is now being increasingly questioned in Washington, and public opinion in the West is increasingly turning against the war. Mathew Hoh, a senior State Department official posted in Afghanistan, recently resigned to protest against it. In his resignation letter, he said that if the U.S. administration’s goal was to thwart Al Qaeda from regrouping, then the U.S. might as well occupy Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, all countries where Al Qaeda is known to have a presence.

Peter Galbraith, the U.N.’s Deputy Head of Mission in Afghanistan who resigned in September to protest against the U.N.’s failure to supervise a fair and free election, has said that Karzai “cannot be an effective partner in Obama’s enhanced counter-insurgency strategy” as the Afghan leader is viewed at home and abroad as “ineffective” and “tolerating corruption”. A former British Minister with responsibility for Afghanistan, Kim Howells, recently called for the withdrawal of the bulk of the British forces fighting in Afghanistan. “It would be better to bring home the great majority of our fighting men and women and concentrate instead on using the money saved to secure our own borders,” he wrote in the Guardian.

American commentators and scholars opposed to the war have urged Obama to stand up against the pressure being mounted by the military, the right wing and the media in the U.S. to escalate the war. Their refrain is that history has shown that Afghanistan is “the graveyard of empires”.

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posted by u2r2h at Tuesday, November 17, 2009 0 comments

14 November, 2009

Afghanistan GET OUT NOW - US SLAVE to situation not master

Interesting article...

apart from the war-crime of attacking a soverign country and
killing by remote control their civilians..

ALL FOR GEOPOLITICS and AIRBASES and Pipeline Dreams...

Afghanistan Tipping Point

by Ed Flaherty

It appears the U.S. is at a true tipping point in its Afghanistan war policy. President Obama, after eight meetings with his "war council" (why can’t they call those things peace councils?), has reportedly rejected all four options presented to him, each of which called for an increase in troops. Reports indicate that the President is insisting on an option that details how and when we can militarily exit Afghanistan. That brings a sigh of relief, but that relief is only momentary. After eight years of increasing Afghan, American, and Nato deaths, after eight years of ever-increasing insurgency strength, after eight years of ballooning corruption and deteriorating living conditions, how and when to exit are very valid and difficult questions.

War is easy to start, very difficult to end. The U.S. cannot "wash its hands" of Afghanistan, and no scenario for its future is certain or pretty. And leaving Afghanistan without the capture of Osama bin Laden is and should be offensive to many, myself included. The one thing certain, in my opinion, is that we are irretrievably cast in the role of foreign military invaders (like Alexander, the Turks, the Mongols, the British, and the Russians), and that no progress can be made unless and until we undertake a military withdrawal. If President Obama begins taking steps toward a military withdrawal, he will face immense pressure from large elements of the military, from almost all Republicans, and from many within his own party.

I take the liberty of sprinkling some facts, and some opinions and statements from others, not to titillate abstract discussion but to prod readers into learning more AND taking action by calling the President, Sens. Grassley and Harkin, and members of the House, PROMPTLY.

Unemployment in Afghanistan is 40%.

The Kharzai government and the provincial governments are corrupt, and they won’t become prettier by imitating the U.S. presence. Blackwater (now Xe) provides security for U.S. diplomats in Afghanistan, including Sec. Of State Clinton.

The most recent CNN poll (Nov 1) reveals that 58% of the U.S. public is against any military expansion in Afghanistan.

90% of all U.S. expenditures in Afghanistan are for military operations. 10% for development.

Over 90% of all Afghans who wound up in Guantanamo, were captured by other Afghanis for ransom money provided by the U.S. The captors often wound up on the "enemy" side.

Daniel Ellsberg, in a recent interview with the Real News Network [Ellsberg: from Vietnam to Afghanistan] said the counterinsurgency doctrine recited by Gen. McChrystal is the same pacification doctrine he helped author more than 40 years ago. He says none of the militrary advisers believe 40,000 additional troops would be sufficient. It would take 600,000 to one million, and the end result would not be success. Ironically, shortly after Ellsberg's interviews, the story of Matthew Hoh surfaced. Hoh, a former Marine Corps captain with Iraq combat experience, resigned in September as the senior U.S. State Dept. official in Zabul province, Afghanistan.

He said, "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end." The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, retired general Karl Eikenberry, tried to persuade Hoh to stay, to no avail. It reportedly is now the Eikenberry cables to President Obama, urging no troop increases that factored into the President’s decision on Wednesday to reject the four war-expansion options.

General Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Nov. 4 that emergency funding would likely be needed for Iraq and Afghanistan on top of the $130 billion already budgeted for FY 2010.

Estimates of the emergency request are in the $50 billion range. According to the National Priorities Project, Iowa’s share of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars' direct expenditures has been $6.9 billion. Roughly a billion dollars per year, with no end in sight, if expansion in Afghanistan sucks up any decrease from Iraq operations, another intricately related subject. We did not pay much critical attention to Afghanistan because we all wanted to get bin Laden, and because the Iraq war was such a debacle. We now risk letting up on efforts to close up the Iraq war because our attention is drawn to the stench of the Afghanistan debacle.

So, Iowa spending about $1 billion per year on the direct cost of the wars is about double the shortfall we predict in Iowa’s budget this fiscal year. And what a relief it would be if the Oct. 21 announcement that 3,500 Iowa National Guard members will go to Afghanistan next year, could be rescinded. The Iowa City Press Citizen’s Veteran’s Day "Our View" editorial was right on in saying "we call upon our leaders to ensure we are only sending them to fights worth fighting..."

Ray McGovern, ex-army intelligence officer & CIA analyst, writing for truthout.org on Nov 1, writes "would you believe there is no current National Intelligence Estimate {NIE} on Afghanistan? Rather, Generals Petraeus and McChrystal are running the show..." McGovern goes on to quote Rudyard Kipling on the epitaphs of those "who tried to hustle the East." He also, on Nov 4 at Commondreams, quotes the pre-eminent cold-war diplomat & academic, George Kennan, who in 1965 said, "If we can find nothing better to do than embark upon a further open-ended increase in the level of our commitment simply because the alternatives seem humiliating and frustrating, one will have to ask whether we have not become enslaved to the dynamics of a single unmanageable situation â€" to the point where we have lost much of the power of initiative and control over our own policy, not just locally but on a world scale."

Another better-known McGovern, George, the WWII bomber pilot, when asked on Nov 7 what advice he would give President Obama responded, "I would urge him to get out of Afghanistan." Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy, on October 1 at Commondreams.org said, "U.S. media and politics are now awash in talk about getting smarter and shrewder in Afghanistan. The idea of setting a country right while raging war is a popular Washington fantasy;"

William Polk in the Oct 19, 2009 issue of "Nation" asks, " Does our presence lead toward a sustainable result after our withdrawal? Can the occupation be maintained without turning a large part of the Afghan population and others against us? And can we afford it? I think the answer to all three is no."

Russ Feingold, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin on Oct 19: " A troop buildup would very likely end up driving more extremists across the border into Pakistan, futher destabilizing that nuclear-armed country. And the Taliban and other exremists could exploit a larger troop presence for propaganda purposes â€" recruiting a host of new militants by claiming that the US is planning to permanently occupy Afghanistan."

Enough rambling. Check out Dahr Jamail, Mikhail Gorbachev, Chris Hedges, Joe Volk, Robert Scheer, etc. ad infinitum. We have been digging this hole for eight years, and the only way we’ll get out of it is first to stop digging it deeper. Advise the White House to kill the military expansion options and begin plans to come home. Tell Congress no more dollars for expanded war. Talk to friends and neighbors and enemies, and come up with your own action plan ideas. Grassley ph. 202 224-3944. Harkin 202 224-3254. White House 202 456-1111. U.S. House â€" you know ‘em by heart.

Ed Flaherty is a member of Veterans for Peace and Johnson County Democrats Central Committee and other suspect groups. Ed is a retired banker.

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posted by u2r2h at Saturday, November 14, 2009 0 comments

12 November, 2009

Iran Contra 911 connection

After the Carter Administration failed to secure the release of American
hostages held by Iran, Carter lost the 1980 election to Reagan. Following
this, evidence emerged, particularly during the Iran-Contra investigations,
that Republicans and CIA operatives, including George H.W. Bush, William
Casey and Robert Gates, had sabotaged Carter's negotiations with the
Iranians and made their own deal for hostage release. Thus, the phrase
'October Surprise' was coined. The evidence and allegations mounted and
eventually caused a crisis of legitimacy, and so a 'bi-partisan' Commission
was appointed to 'investigate' the matter. It was chaired by Lee Hamilton,
and in January, 1993 a report was released that pretended to 'debunk' the
evidence that the October Surprise operation had in fact occurred.
Investigative journalist/author Robert Parry, who had investigated these
things at the time, has written an account of how the Commission operated
under the direction of Hamilton. Hamilton is known to most readers here as
the Vice-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, which has become famous for its
own flawed process, which included employing Commissioners and staff with
conflicts of interest, Zelikow/May drafting an outline for the final report
prior to investigating, ignoring witnesses with direct knowledge and hard
evidence that contradicted their desired conclusions, relying on the
testimony of interested parties and tortured prisoners, etc.

See this timeline on the 9/11 Commission: fittingly for this post, the first
entry is "Mid-1980s: Future 9/11 Commissioner Believes White House Lies
about Iran-Contra Affair without Checking":

Mid-1980s: Future 9/11 Commissioner Believes White House Lies about
Iran-Contra Affair without Checking

Hamilton and Cheney hold a press conference together about the Iran-Contra
Affair investigation on June 19, 1987. [Source: J. Scott Applewhite]
Future 9/11 Commission vice chairman Lee Hamilton (D-IN), at this time
chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, fails to properly investigate
Iran-Contra allegations. He learns of press reports indicating that the
Reagan administration is illegally funneling weapons and money to the
anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua, but when the White House denies the
story, Hamilton believes it. Hamilton will later acknowledge that he has
been gullible, and will say of his political style, “I don’t go for the
jugular.” It is during the Iran-Contra investigation that Hamilton becomes
friends with Dick Cheney, at this time a Republican congressman. [Shenon,
2008, pp. 33] Cheney is the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence
Committee and so must work closely with Hamilton, including on the
Iran-Contra investigation. [PBS, 6/20/2006] Hamilton calls Cheney “Dick”
and they will remain friends even after Cheney becomes vice president in
2001 and Hamilton, as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, begins to
investigate Cheney’s actions as a part of the Commission’s work.
[Shenon, 2008, pp. 33] Hamilton will also fail to properly investigate
“October Surprise” allegations (see 1992-January 1993).

Entity Tags: Lee Hamilton

Timeline Tags: US confrontation with Iran, 9/11 Timeline, Iran-Contra Affair

Category Tags: 9/11 Commission

Such was the situation in late 1992 as America reached an important turning
point for whether the people would get to understand their recent history or
not. A bipartisan House task force wanted to debunk allegations that Ronald
Reagan’s campaign in 1980 had sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s
negotiations with Iran about freeing 52 Americans, who were taken hostage 30
years ago this week.

That alleged act of treachery, making Carter look weak and inept, set the
stage for Reagan’s landslide victory on Nov. 4, 1980, exactly one year to
the date after the hostages were seized. But the suspicions about this
so-called October Surprise case only reached a critical mass in 1991-92
after several years of disclosures about the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages

Despite Republican denials about any secret pre-election 1980 dealings with
Iran â€" and the anger that the allegations drew from influential
neoconservatives in the Washington press corps â€" a House task force was
created to examine the case, although without much enthusiasm and mostly
with an eye toward debunking the suspicions.

By November 1992, especially after President George H.W. Bush lost his
reelection bid to Bill Clinton, the task force’s determination to proclaim
the Republican innocence had solidified. The Democrats would be in control
of the White House and Congress and were looking forward to bipartisan

However, after Bush’s electoral defeat, the floodgates that had long
protected the Reagan-Bush team gave way. To the dismay of the task force,
evidence of Republican guilt poured in.

The new evidence was so powerful, including multiple corroborations of
secret Republican meetings with Iranians behind Carter’s back, that task
force chief counsel Lawrence Barcella saw no choice but to extend the
investigation several months and to rethink the planned debunking.

Barcella told me later that he approached Rep. Lee Hamilton, a centrist
Democrat who was chairman of the task force, with a request to give the
investigators three more months to evaluate the new evidence.

But Hamilton, who prides himself in coming up with bipartisan answers to
questions that otherwise might spur partisan conflict, said no. He ordered
Barcella to wrap up the probe and to continue with the planned debunking.

Concocting Alibis

Hamilton’s refusal to extend the investigation forced the task force to
improvise. It found itself with no choice but to concoct a series of
irrational alibis for key Republicans, especially for William Casey,
Reagan’s campaign chief in 1980 and later Reagan’s CIA director.

For the debunking to work, Casey had to be accounted for on crucial days
because various witnesses had placed Casey in Europe at secret meetings with
Iranian emissaries, including cleric Mehdi Karrubi, then a foreign policy
adviser to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

So, the task force constructed one Casey alibi around the fact that
Reagan’s foreign policy aide Richard Allen had written Casey’s home
number down in his notes on a specific day. Even though Allen had no record
or recollection of reaching Casey that day, the task force cited the writing
down of Casey’s home number as proof that Casey was at home.

For another key day, Oct. 19, 1980, the task force relied on the unsupported
memory of Casey’s nephew Larry Casey, who claimed that his late father had
called his brother, Bill Casey, that day and found him at work at the
Reagan-Bush campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

Though Larry Casey had no corroboration for that memory, the task force
cited it as “credible” and thus dismissed other evidence placing Casey
in Paris at a meeting with Karrubi that day. The task force stuck to its
conclusion even though I had notified the task force that Larry Casey had
given me, in a PBS Frontline interview in 1991, an entirely different story
for the same day.

Larry Casey insisted to me that he vividly remembered his parents having
dinner with Bill Casey at the Jockey Club in Washington on Oct. 19, 1980.
”It was very clear in my mind even though it was 11 years ago,” Larry
Casey said.

But then I showed Larry Casey the sign-in sheets for the Reagan-Bush
campaign headquarters. The entries recorded Larry Casey’s parents picking
up Bill Casey for the dinner on Oct. 15, four days earlier. Larry Casey
acknowledged his error, and indeed an American Express receipt later
confirmed Oct. 15 as the date of the Jockey Club dinner.

In 1992, however, Larry Casey had replaced the Jockey Club dinner with
“the phone call alibi,” which he had not mentioned in the Frontline

Though Larry Casey’s alibi was anything but “credible,” the House task
force accepted it as solid proof.

Bush’s Whereabouts

An alibi for George H.W. Bush on that same day also had holes. Bush â€" as
the vice presidential nominee â€" was under Secret Service protection, so it
should have been easy to establish his whereabouts, but it wasn’t.

Bush’s redacted Secret Service records listed one non-public trip on Oct.
19, to the Chevy Chase Country Club, but it could not be corroborated either
by club officials, Bush’s supposed guests or his Secret Service team.

Another reputed movement by the candidate that afternoon was to the home of
a personal friend, but the Bush administration refused to disclose the
identity of the friend. Eventually, in mid-1992, the administration agreed
to tell a few task force officials the name of the personal friend but only
if the congressional investigators agreed not to interview the witness.

The task force accepted this peculiar arrangement, even though one might
have thought that then-President Bush would have been eager to clear up any
suspicions by allowing an interview. No interview was ever conducted and the
name of the supposed alibi witness remains secret from the American people.

Another person connected to the alleged Paris meeting on Oct. 19, 1980, CIA
officer Donald Gregg, also struggled to come up with an alibi, ultimately
producing a photograph of himself in bathing trunks at a beach. On the back
of the photo, there was a stamp showing that the photo had been processed in
October 1980, a point that proved nothing.

There were other problems with the alibis. Documents that investigators
expected to find, such as Casey’s 1980 passport and key pages from his
calendar, had disappeared.

Meanwhile, as December 1992 wore on, more and more evidence was arriving
implicating Republicans in 1980 contacts with Iranians, including the sworn
testimony of the biographer for the chief of French intelligence Alexandre

The biographer, journalist David Andelman, said deMarenches had described
arranging meetings between Republicans and Iranians in the summer and fall
of 1980, with one meeting held in Paris in October. But deMarenches demanded
that the story be kept out of his memoir to protect the reputations of his
friends, George H.W. Bush and William Casey, Andelman said.

Andelman’s testimony corroborated longstanding claims from a variety of
international intelligence operatives about a Paris meeting involving Casey
and Bush. But the task force brushed Andelman’s testimony aside,
paradoxically terming it “credible” but then claiming it was
“insufficiently probative.”

Contemporaneous Report

The task force also was aware of contemporaneous knowledge about the alleged
Bush-to-Paris trip by Chicago Tribune reporter John Maclean. Maclean, the
son of author Norman Maclean who wrote A River Runs Through It, said a
well-placed Republican source told him in mid-October 1980 about Bush’s
secret trip to Paris to meet with Iranians on the U.S. hostage issue.

After hearing this interesting tidbit, Maclean passed on the information to
David Henderson, a State Department Foreign Service officer. Henderson
recalled the date as Oct. 18, 1980, when the two met at Henderson’s
Washington home to discuss another matter.

For his part, Maclean never wrote about the Bush-to-Paris leak because, he
told me later, a Reagan-Bush campaign spokesman denied it. As the years
passed, the memory of the leak faded for both Henderson and Maclean, until
the October Surprise story bubbled to the surface in the early 1990s.

Henderson mentioned the meeting in a 1991 letter to a U.S. senator that was
forwarded to me. In the letter, Henderson recalled the conversation about
Bush’s trip to Paris but not the name of the reporter.

A Frontline producer searched some newspaper archives and found a story
about Henderson that Maclean had written. Though not eager to become part of
the October Surprise story in 1991, Maclean confirmed that he had received
the Republican leak. He also agreed with Henderson’s recollection that
their conversation occurred on or about Oct. 18, 1980. But Maclean still
declined to identify his source.

The significance of the Maclean-Henderson conversation was that it was a
piece of information locked in a kind of historical amber, untainted by
later claims and counter-claims.

One could not accuse Maclean of concocting the Bush-to-Paris allegation for
some ulterior motive, since he hadn’t used it in 1980, nor had he
volunteered it a decade later. He only confirmed it when approached by
Frontline and even then wasn’t particularly eager to talk about it.

Still, in December 1992, Hamilton had issued the order to end the
investigation with a finding of Republican innocence â€" and contrary facts
were not going to get in the way of that mission. [For a full accounting of
the October Surprise evidence, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

Avoiding Dissent

For the task force, all that was left to do was to run the report past some
bored congressmen and hope that no one looked too closely at the evidentiary
gaps and the irrational alibis. That plan mostly worked but a staff aide to
Rep. Mervyn Dymally of California spotted some of the absurd alibis.

One of those alibis was the bizarre claim that Richard Allen writing down
Casey's home phone number proved that Casey was at home. Another alibi was
that because a plane flew from San Francisco directly to London on another
key date, Casey must have been onboard, even though actual documentary
evidence refuted that.

According to sources who saw Dymally's dissent, it argued that "just because
phones ring and planes fly doesn't mean that someone is there to answer the
phone or is on the plane." But Dymally's reasonable observations were
fiercely opposed by Hamilton.

Hamilton warned Dymally, who was retiring from Congress, that he would "come
down hard" on Dymally if the dissent were not withdrawn. The next day,
Hamilton fired all the staffers who had worked on Dymally's Africa

Seeing the firings as retribution (though Hamilton denied a connection),
Dymally relented and withdrew the dissent, which was never made public. With
that obstacle cleared, the task force report was shipped off to the

The report was scheduled for release on Jan. 13, 1993, just one week before
George H.W. Bush’s Presidency officially would come to an end. But there
was still one more surprise for the October Surprise task force.

On Jan. 11, 1993, Hamilton received a response to a query he had sent to the
Russian government on Oct. 21, 1992, requesting any information that Moscow
might have about the October Surprise case.

The Russian response came from Sergey V. Stepashin, chairman of the Supreme
Soviet’s Committee on Defense and Security Issues, a job roughly
equivalent to chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In what might have been an unprecedented act of cooperation between the two
longtime enemies, Stepashin provided a summary of what Russian intelligence
files showed about the October Surprise charges and other secret U.S.
dealings with Iran.

In the 1980s, after all, the Soviet KGB was not without its own sources on a
topic as important to Moscow as developments in neighboring Iran. The KGB
had penetrated or maintained close relations with many of the intelligence
services linked to the October Surprise allegations, including those of
France, Spain, Germany, Iran and Israel.

History had shown, too, that the KGB had spies inside the CIA and other U.S.
intelligence agencies. So, Soviet intelligence certainly was in a position
to know a great deal about what had or had not happened in 1980.

The Supreme Soviet’s response was delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow
by Nikolay Kuznetsov, secretary of the subcommittee on state security.
Kuznetsov apologized for the “lengthy preparation of the response.” It
was quickly translated by the U.S. embassy and forwarded to Hamilton.

To the shock of the task force, the six-page Russian report stated, as fact,
that Casey, Bush and others had met secretly with Iranian officials in
Europe during the 1980 presidential campaign. The Russians asserted that the
Reagan-Bush team indeed had disrupted Carter’s hostage negotiations, the
exact opposite of the task force’s conclusion.

As described by the Russians, the Carter administration offered the Iranians
supplies of arms and unfreezing of assets for a pre-election release of the
hostages. The Iranians “discussed a possible step-by-step normalization of
Iranian-American relations [and] the provision of support for President
Carter in the election campaign via the release of American hostages.”

But the Republicans were making their own overtures to the Iranians, the
Russian report said. “William Casey, in 1980, met three times with
representatives of the Iranian leadership,” the report said. “The
meetings took place in Madrid and Paris.”

At the Paris meeting in October 1980, “R[obert] Gates, at that time a
staffer of the National Security Council in the administration of Jimmy
Carter and former CIA Director George Bush also took part,” the Russian
report said. “In Madrid and Paris, the representatives of Ronald Reagan
and the Iranian leadership discussed the question of possibly delaying the
release of 52 hostages from the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran.”

Both the Reagan-Bush Republicans and the Carter Democrats “started from
the proposition that Imam Khomeini, having announced a policy of ‘neither
the West nor the East,’ and cursing the ‘American devil,’ imperialism
and Zionism, was forced to acquire American weapons, spares and military
supplies by any and all possible means,” the Russian report said. The
Republicans just won the bidding war.

”After the victory of R. Reagan in the election, in early 1981, a secret
agreement was reached in London in accord with which Iran released the
American hostages, and the U.S. continued to supply arms, spares and
military supplies for the Iranian army,” the Russian report continued.

The deliveries were carried out by Israel, often through private arms
dealers, the Russian report said.

What to Do

The matter-of-fact Russian report was stunning. It also matched other
information the task force had. The task force had discovered that the
Israelis, for example, had shipped U.S. military spares to Iran in 1981,
with the secret acquiescence of senior Reagan-Bush administration officials.

Hamilton and his task force faced a quandary about what to do with the
explosive Russian report, which â€" if accurate â€" made the task force
report, which was then at the printers, not worth the paper it was being
printed on.

Reputations, including Hamilton’s, could have been severely damaged.
During his days as House Intelligence Committee chairman in the mid-1980s,
Hamilton had come under criticism for ignoring early evidence about Oliver
North’s secret contra-supply operations and getting blindsided by the
covert military shipments to Iran in 1985-86.

When the Iran-Contra scandal finally broke in late 1986, Hamilton was named
co-chairman of the investigative committee and quickly bought into White
House cover stories that were later shattered by Iran-Contra special
prosecutor Lawrence Walsh.

In January 1993, if Hamilton had to renounce his own October Surprise
report, he might have been left with a tattered reputation, known as the
Republicans’ favorite chump. He might not have built a glittering
post-congressional career as a well-regarded senior statesman invited to sit
on important panels like the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group.

So, in January 1993, Hamilton and the task force decided to bury the Russian

“We got the stuff from the Russians just a few days before” the task
force’s own report was set for release, Barcella told me in an interview
in 2004. “We weren’t going to be able to look into it, whether it was
new information, disinformation or whatever it was.”

When I asked him why the task force didn’t just release the Russian report
along with the task force report, Barcella responded that the Russian report
was classified, precluding its disclosure to the public. There was no
interest in pressing for its declassification, though Hamilton would have
been in a strong position to do so and presumably the incoming Clinton
administration would have cooperated.

Instead, the Russian report was simply boxed up and filed away with other
unpublished information that the task force had collected in its year-long
investigation. Barcella said he envisioned the material ending up in some
vast government warehouse, “like in the movie ‘Raiders of the Lost

Actually, the Russian report found an even less elegant resting place. In
late 1994, I discovered the task force’s documents, including the Russian
report, in boxes that had been piled up in a former Ladies Room in an
obscure office off the Rayburn House Office Building’s parking garage. [To
examine the key “Ladies Room” documents, click here.]

Having hidden the Russian report and other incriminating evidence, Hamilton
and his task force turned next to managing how the Washington press corps
would treat the debunking report. The task force briefed friendly reporters
making sure the debunking conclusion got wide dissemination.

Then, a news conference was held on Jan. 13, 1993, to release the task
force’s findings. However, copies of the report were not given to
reporters beforehand.

In a strange process, the reports were kept shrink-wrapped at the front of
the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing room while Hamilton and his
Republican co-chairman Henry Hyde conducted the news briefing, followed by
questions mostly from reporters who had already bought into the debunking.

Copies of the task force report were only handed out after the news
conference was over.

Then, to ensure that there would be little or no second-guessing, Hamilton
composed an op-ed for the New York Times that was entitled “Case
Closed.” The article cited the supposedly solid alibis for the whereabouts
of Casey as the key reason why the task force findings “should put the
controversy to rest once and for all.” [NYT, Jan. 24, 1993.]

Floor Speech

Ten days later, Henry Hyde took to the House floor to gleefully mock anyone
who still doubted the October Surprise innocence of Ronald Reagan and George
H.W. Bush.

During a "special order" speech, the white-haired Hyde did acknowledge some
weaknesses in the House task force findings. Casey's 1980 passport had
disappeared, as had key pages of his calendar, Hyde admitted.

Hyde noted, too, that French intelligence chief deMarenches had told his
biographer that Casey did hold hostage talks with the Iranians in Paris in
October 1980. Several French intelligence officials had corroborated that

But Hyde insisted that two solid blocks of evidence proved that the October
Surprise allegations were false. Hyde said his first cornerstone was
hard-rock alibis for Casey and other key suspects.

"We were able to locate [Casey's] whereabouts with virtual certainty" on the
dates when he allegedly met with Iranians in Europe to discuss the hostages,
Hyde declared. (Those alibis included Allen’s writing down Casey’s home
phone number and Casey’s nephew recalling his father chatting with Casey
on a specific day a dozen years earlier.)

Hyde also cited an alibi placing the late Iranian financier/CIA operative
Cyrus Hashemi in Connecticut on a weekend when Hashemi’s brother, Jamshid,
had testified under oath that Cyrus was with Casey and Iranian emissary
Mehdi Karrubi in Madrid.

That “alibi” rested on phone records showing two one-minute calls, one
from a lawyer to Hashemi's home and one back to the lawyer. There was no
evidence that Hashemi received or made the calls, and the pattern more
likely fit a call asking a family member when Hashemi was due home and the
second call giving the answer.

FBI Wiretaps

The second debunking cornerstone, Hyde said, was the absence of anything
incriminating on FBI wiretaps of Cyrus Hashemi over five months in late 1980
and early 1981 when he was under suspicion for his secret dealings with

"There is not a single indication that William Casey had contact with Cyrus
or Jamshid Hashemi," Hyde said. "Indeed, there is no indication on the tapes
that Casey or any other individuals associated with the Reagan campaign had
contact with any persons representing or associated with the Iranian

But Hyde was wrong about the absence of incriminating evidence on the
Hashemi wiretaps, although they were still secret in 1993 so Hyde’s
argument was impossible to judge.

However, when I accessed the raw House task force documents in late 1994, I
found a classified summary of the FBI bugging. According to that summary,
the bugs revealed Cyrus Hashemi deeply enmeshed with Republicans on arms
deals to Iran in fall 1980 as well as in financial schemes with Casey's
close friend and business associate, John Shaheen.

And contrary to Hyde's claim of "not a single indication" of contact between
Casey and Cyrus Hashemi, the Iranian banker was recorded as boasting that he
and Casey had been "close friends" for years.

That claim was supported by a CIA memo which stated that Casey recruited
Cyrus Hashemi into a sensitive business arrangement in 1979, a year before
the October Surprise machinations.

Beyond that, the secret FBI summary showed Hashemi receiving a $3 million
offshore deposit, arranged by a Houston lawyer who said he was a longtime
associate of George H.W. Bush. The Houston lawyer, Harrel Tillman, told me
in an interview that in 1980, he was doubling as a consultant to Iran's
Islamic government.

After Ronald Reagan’s election in November 1980, Tillman was back on the
line promising Hashemi help from the "Bush people" for one of his foundering
business deals. Then, the FBI wiretaps picked up Hashemi getting a cash
payment, via a courier arriving on the Concorde, from the corrupt Bank of
Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).

The House task force had concealed these documents, allowing Hamilton and
Hyde to miswrite an important chapter of recent American history.

Another irony of the falsified October Surprise history was that
Hamilton’s wished-for bipartisanship never materialized. The Republicans
pocketed the Democratic readiness to cover up for Ronald Reagan and George
H.W. Bush â€" and then launched a partisan war against Bill Clinton.

To this day, now 30 years after Iranian radicals seized the American
hostages, the real story of what happened and how the Republicans
manipulated the process remains mostly unknown.

[For more information on this enduring mystery, see Consortiumnews.com’s
“How Two Elections Changed America” or Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the
Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous
Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat,
and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy &
Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost
History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available
there. Or go to Amazon.com.

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posted by u2r2h at Thursday, November 12, 2009 0 comments

08 November, 2009

OBAMA disregards UN res 242!!

Check out the gall of this article.

The writer, no doubt an israeli (unpaid?) agent and paid propagandist
dares to remind us of UN resolution 242 which was violated by Israel
countless times. He phantasizes a condition by which the AGRESSIVE
war of 1967 (Israel attacked, remember?) was justified and the
illegal seizure (he can't spell, sign of ideologe mindwash?)
of arab lands by way of deception and FALSE FLAG attacks
(dressed as arabs, King David Hotel [google it!]) is
somehow justified because of ROMANS and GREEKS and racist
shit from the barbaric times????

How deluded!! But it is logical if injustice is to be justified!!

NOW READ this Goebbels-logic "Mein Kampf" -like fever-rant:

A Bad Idea
The problem is that Fayad’s plan and the Quartet’s acceptance of it, ignore U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967), which deals with establishing permanent borders for Israel.
STEPHEN KRAMER Jewish Times Israel Correspondent

A bad idea is being spread throughout the world: the State of Palestine. Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, recently said that there is a Palestinian state on the West’s agenda, regardless of whether the Palestinians are fulfilling their obligations under the road map or the Oslo Agreements from the 1990s. His conclusion is based on the Quartet’s (America, Russia, E.U., and U.N.) redefinition of the Roadmap peace plan, which excludes the principle of reciprocity.

“In August, [unelected] Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad announced a unilateral plan to establish a de facto Palestinian state in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem following a two-year statebuilding process. Fayad’s 54- page plan to build Palestinian infrastructure and establish Western-style public institutions is the first of its kind since the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. His state-building vision has already elicited Western enthusiasm and financial and political support from the Obama administration and European countries.


So what’s the problem with Fayad’s reasonable-sounding proposal? After all, even Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, of the center-right Likud Party, is in favor of a Palestinian state. The problem is that Fayad’s plan and the Quartet’s acceptance of it, ignore U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967), which deals with establishing permanent borders for Israel. It explicitly states that the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East should include the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict. The omission of the word “all” before “territories” is crucial to a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. It was precisely written to articulate that Israel need not withdraw entirely from territory siezed in its defense.

Prime Minister Fayad’s plan states: “If occupation has not ended by then [2011] and the nations of the world from China to Chile to Africa and to Australia are looking at us, they will say that the Palestinian people have a ready state on the ground. The only problem is the Israeli occupation [the Israeli communities and security presence] that should end.”

Israeli occupation of “Palestine” is the crux of the matter. Resolution 242 also mentions the right of all “States” in the region (there is no mention of a future Palestinian state!) to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force. The Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, commonly known as the West Bank after 1946, are vital to Israel and are indisputable facts on the ground.

Fayad’s plan calls for massive Palestinian development in areas controlled by Israeli troops, known as Area C, including Jewish communities with hundreds of thousands of Israeli residents. Included in the Fayad plan are an airport in the Jordan Valley, Palestinian control of Jerusalem’s Atarot airport, and water installation projects near Tulkarm and Kalkilya, two Palestinian cities adjacent to the Green Line (the 1949 Israeli-Arab Armistice line). These would constitute Palestinian facts on the ground.

Without the mass transfer of hundreds of thousands of Israelis from the West Bank, including neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Fayad’s “facts” are out of the question. Even if it were only the small Jewish communities far from large settlements that were dismantled, approximately 80,000 Israelis would need to be transferred. Meanwhile, Israel is still reeling from its 2005 evacuation of 8,000 Israelis from Gaza, most of whom are still not permanently housed.

Many would say that the transfer of Jews from the State of Palestine is just too bad and that Israel should never have built communities there. But that begs the question: What was the purpose of Resolution 242, which didn’t even envision a Palestinian state? Historical context is necessary to understand why Israeli settlements are permanent, except perhaps for a very few that would be abandoned at the time of a final peace treaty with defensible borders for Israel and the new Palestinian state.

Capsule history: In 1922 the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine was given to Britain to establish a home for the Jews, without prejudicing the rights of the small Arab population. Within weeks of receiving the Mandate, Britain reduced the size of the Mandate dramatically, giving all of the land east of the Jordan River (78 percent of the Mandate) to Emir Abdullah, which today constitutes the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Britain also prohibited Jewish settlement in many areas west of the Jordan while putting out the welcome mat for Arab immigrants.

In all of history there has never been a State of Palestine. The name “Palestine” refers to the Philistines, an ancient sea people from Asia Minor who inhabited the southern coast of Israel. “Philistine Syria” Greek) and “Provincia Syria Palaestina” (Roman) were names used to suppress the Jewish influence there. (www.palestinefacts.org.) After Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, the West Bank and Gazan Arabs failed to declare their own state or even agitate for one. Instead, Jordan occupied and then annexed the West Bank and Egypt occupied Gaza. Israelis began to settle in both areas after winning the defensive Six Day War in 1967. Therefore, Jews have usurped no “Palestinian” state when settling anywhere in Mandate territory. The U.N. dealt with a solution to Israel’s permanent borders by passing Resolution 242 after the Six Day War of 1967. The recent and unwelcome neglect of 242 by the Quartet only complicates the resolution of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Prime Minister Fayad’s plan isn’t all bad. The establishment of workable institutions by a Palestinian government intent on establishing permanent borders with Israel would be welcomed. But the unelected and independent Fayad has no political clout with Arabs, though he is praised by Western leaders. The Fatah Party, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, lost control of Gaza in 2006 to the avowedly terroristic Hamas organization, and has its hands full retaining power in the West Bank. Nor has Fatah turned over a new leaf by relinquishing its anti-Semitic agenda, which it transmits to the Palestinians from cradle to grave.

In addition, a State of Palestine that doesn’t include Gaza is problematic. For that matter, a Palestine that includes Gaza may be even more problematic, given its Hamas overlords and the fact that Gaza is separated from the West Bank by Israeli territory.

President Obama has blundered by his disregard of Resolution 242. His indifference to Israel’s security was evident immediately preceding the latest Roadmap peace plan. The Quartet’s leaders must face this issue: the Palestinians have never swerved from their goal of a Palestinian “right of return” to Israel, which would effectively destroy Israel.

The Palestinians won’t even consider the idea of Jewish residents living in their hoped-for state, while Arabs constitute one-fifth of Israel’s population and enjoy living standards that are among the highest in the Muslim world. And Israel is called an apartheid state! Do Quartet leaders really want to help establish a 23rd Arab state that doesn’t accept its Jewish neighbor and is by definition racist? If not, they should discard the bad idea of a unilateral Palestinian state. There will be room in the Middle East for “Palestine” when the Palestinians are ready for a just and lasting peace with Israel.

Stephen Kramer resided and worked in the Atlantic City area until 1991, when he moved to Israel with his wife, Michal Langweiler, and two sons. He can be reached at Sjk1@jhu.edu.


in contrast, here is an article that is based on meticulous research and
best of all... verifyable facts

The Israel-Arafat Agreement
Noam Chomsky
Z Magazine, October, 1993
On August 30, the Israeli Cabinet approved a draft agreement on "Palestinian self-rule" that had been reached by the government of Israel and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat's personal representatives. Parts of the agreement have not been revealed or are not yet settled at the time of writing (September 2), but it is likely that something much like the published text (NYT, Sept. 1) will be instituted, and that it will be followed by separate agreements between Israel and Arab states.

To understand what has been achieved, it is necessary to recall the relevant background, much of it familiar to readers of this journal, at least.

The June 1967 war brought the superpowers perilously close to confrontation, driving home the importance of a diplomatic settlement. In November 1967, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242, which expressed a broad international consensus on the general terms for a settlement. The current agreement is based entirely on UN 242 (and 338, which endorses it). Article I of the 1993 draft agreement, outlining the "Aim of the Negotiations," specifies that "the negotiations on the permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338"; no other UN Resolutions are mentioned, thus resolving a central issue in the controversy in accord with US-Israeli demands.

UN 242 "emphasiz[es] the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security." It calls for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" and "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force." It calls for an agreement among states; Palestinian rights are mentioned only in the call for "a just settlement of the refugee problem," left unspecified. UN 242 is therefore thoroughly rejectionist, if we understand the concept of rejectionism in nonracist terms: as denial of the right to national self-determination of one or the other of the two contending parties in the former Palestine.

With varying degrees of ambiguity, UN 242 was accepted by the contending states of the region over the next few years, though their interpretations differed. The Arab states rejected full peace, Israel rejected full withdrawal.

The phrase "withdrawal from territories" has been a particular bone of contention. In most of the world (including Europe), it has been understood to imply Israeli withdrawal from all of the territories occupied during the war, with at most minor -- and mutual -- adjustments. At first, that was also Washington's interpretation. UN Ambassador Arthur Goldberg informed King Hussein of Jordan that the US insisted that "there must be a mutuality in adjustments," a classified State Department history observes: to both Israel and the Arab states, "U.S. officials emphasized that any territorial adjustments would be limited in nature and would not, of necessity, be detrimental to the Arab states"; there would be at most "minor reciprocal border rectifications" with no "substantial withdrawing of the [pre-war] map." It was on this understanding, explicitly conveyed by US government mediators, that the Arab states accepted the resolution, and the US itself unequivocally held to this interpretation until 1971. In those years, Israel was alone among major actors in rejecting this interpretation of the document.

The disagreements over interpretation came to a head in February 1971, when UN mediator Gunnar Jarring presented a proposal to Egypt and Israel that called for full peace between them in return for full Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory. Egyptian President Sadat accepted the proposal. Sadat's acceptance of Jarring's "famous" peace proposal was a "bombshell," Prime Minister Rabin recalls in his memoirs, a "milestone." While officially welcoming Egypt's expression "of its readiness to enter into a peace agreement with Israel," the government of Israel rejected the agreement, stating that "Israel will not withdraw to the pre-June 5, 1967 lines. The reasoning was explained by Haim Bar-Lev of the governing Labor Party: "I think that we could obtain a peace settlement on the basis of the earlier [pre-June 1967] borders. If I were persuaded that this is the maximum that we might obtain, I would say: agreed. But I think that it is not the maximum. I think that if we continue to hold out, we will obtain more."

The crucial question was how Washington would react. The Jarring-Sadat agreement was consistent with official US policy. There was, however, a conflict between the State Department and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, who was then engaged in a campaign to undermine and displace Secretary of State Rogers, as he was soon to do. Kissinger insisted that the US must insist upon "stalemate": no diplomacy, no negotiations. His position prevailed, and Sadat's peace offer was rejected.

Since 1971, the US and Israel have been virtually alone in rejecting the standard interpretation of the withdrawal clause of UN 242. The basic cause for the misery and suffering that followed is their conviction, which has proven to be correct, that "if we continue to hold out, we will obtain more." The isolation of the US and Israel became still more marked by the mid-1970s, when the terms of the international consensus shifted to include a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, thus departing from earlier rejectionism. In January 1976, the US vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for a settlement in terms of UN 242, with this amendment. The US veto, repeated later, excluded the Security Council from the diplomacy. The General Assembly continued to pass near-unanimous resolutions in similar terms (the US and Israel opposed); a negative US vote amounts to a veto. The US also blocked initiatives from Europe, the Arab states, the PLO and others. The last of the regular UN resolutions was in the midst of the Gulf conflict, in December 1990 (144-2).

Through this period, the US and Israel were the leaders of the rejectionist camp, joined by increasingly marginal elements of the Islamic world, justly termed "extremist." The conclusions being unacceptable, the facts have been "vetoed" along with numerous peace initiatives, buried deep in the memory hole together with Sadat's "famous milestone" and much else that is inconvenient.

Israel's policy spectrum with regard to the occupied territories is illuminated in a study by Peace Now, which compares four different plans for the territories from 1968 to 1992, asking how many Palestinians would be within areas annexed by Israel if these plans were enacted today: (I) the 1968 Allon Plan (Labor); (II) the 1976 Labor Party Settlement Plan (never officially adopted though "it has informed practical decision-making and action"); (III) the Ariel Sharon Plan of 1992 (Likud), which created eleven isolated and discontinuous "cantons" for Palestinian autonomy; (IV) the Defense Establishment Plan of 1992 (Labor), which deals only with the West Bank. The number of Palestinians in settlements to be annexed are as follows:
Allon Plan: 385,000, 91,000 in the West Bank and the rest in Gaza
Labor Party Settlement Plan: 603,000, 310,000 in the West Bank
Sharon Plan: 393,000, 378,000 in the West Bank
Defense Establishment Plan: 204,000 in the West Bank, Gaza unspecified

To these figures must be added the 150,000 Palestinians of East Jerusalem, to be annexed in all plans, the Peace Now study notes. "The Labor Party plan of 1976 would annex the greatest number of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza," while the Sharon Plan "is the maximalist plan with regard to the West Bank," though ceding self-rule to more Gaza Palestinians than the Labor plans.

As the analysis indicates, the policy spectrum has been narrow, and invariably rejectionist. The political blocs have differed on West Bank Arab population concentrations, Labor being more concerned than Likud to exclude them from areas scheduled for Israeli takeover. Washington has favored Labor Party rejectionism, more rational than the Likud variety, which has no real provision for the population of the occupied territories except eventual "transfer" (expulsion).

After the Gulf war, Europe accepted the US position that the Monroe Doctrine effectively extends over the Middle East; Europeans would henceforth refrain from independent initiatives, limiting themselves to helping implement US rejectionist doctrine, as Norway indeed did in 1993. The Soviet Union was gone from the scene, its remnants now loyal clients of Washington. The UN had become virtually a US agency. Whatever space the superpower conflict had left for nonalignment was gone, and the catastrophe of capitalism that swept the traditional colonial domains of the West in the 1980s left the Third World mired in general despair, disciplined by forces of the managed market. With Arab nationalism dealt yet another crushing blow by Saddam's aggression and terror and PLO tactics of more than the usual ineptitude, the Arab rulers had less need than before to respond to popular pressures with pro-Palestinian gestures. The US was therefore in a good position to advance its rejectionist program without interference, moving towards the solution outlined by Secretary of State James Baker well before the Gulf crisis: any settlement must be based on the 1989 plan of the government of Israel, which flatly bars Palestinian national rights (Baker Plan, December 1989).

Washington's general goals have been stable for a long period. The basic concern is the enormous oil wealth of the region. Planning has long been guided by a strategic conception that assigns local management to an "Arab Facade" of weak and dependent dictators, who will ensure that profits from Gulf oil flow primarily to the US (and its British client), not to the people of the region. A network of regional gendarmes is to keep order; local "cops on the beat" as Nixon's Defense Secretary, Melvin Laird, described them in the context of the Nixon Doctrine. The responsibility of the Middle East cops was outlined in 1973 by the Senate's leading expert on the topic, Henry Jackson: to "inhibit and contain those irresponsible and radical elements in certain Arab States...who, were they free to do so, would pose a grave threat indeed to our principal sources of petroleum in the Persian Gulf" -- more accurately, to the vast wealth they yield. Senator Jackson was referring specifically to the tacit alliance between Israel, Iran (under the Shah), and Saudi Arabia.

As for Kurds, Palestinians, slum-dwellers in Cairo, and others who contribute nothing to the basic structure of power -- they have no rights, by the most elementary principles of statecraft. Perhaps they can occasionally be used in one or another power play, but that is where their rights end, as the history of the Kurds has demonstrated, today once again. The status of the Palestinians has been even lower than that of other worthless people; their value is not zero, but negative, in that their plight has had a disruptive effect in the Arab world, thus interfering with US goals. They must therefore be marginalized somehow, perhaps under a form of "autonomy" that leaves them to manage their own affairs under Israeli supervision. That plan, proposed at Camp David, was taken up when the "peace process" was renewed at Madrid in the Fall of 1991. As the conference opened, one of Israel's most knowledgeable and acute observers of the territories, journalist Danny Rubinstein, wrote that the US and Israel were proposing "autonomy as in a POW camp, where the prisoners are `autonomous' to cook their meals without interference and to organize cultural events." Palestinians are to be granted little more control over local services, he wrote, adding that even advocates of Greater Israel never call for literal annexation of the territories, which would require Israel to provide the "restricted services" available to Israel's second-class Arab citizens, at enormous cost.

As discussed here at the time, the best outcome, from Washington's point of view, would be a settlement that entrenches the traditional strategic conception and gives it a public form, raising tacit understandings to a formal treaty. If some arrangement for local "autonomy" can suppress the Palestinian issue, well and good. Meanwhile security arrangements among Israel, Turkey, Egypt and the United States can be extended, perhaps bringing others in if they accept the client role. There need be no further concern over possible Soviet support for attempts within the region to interfere with such designs.

While the negotiations were proceeding without issue, Israel stepped up the harsh repression in the territories, following the thinking outlined by Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin (now Prime Minister). In February 1989, he explained to Peace Now leaders that the US had granted Israel time to suppress the Intifada by force, diverting attention by meaningless diplomatic maneuvers: "The inhabitants of the territories are subject to harsh military and economic pressure," Rabin said: "in the end, they will be broken" and will accept Israel's terms. These policies achieved much success, extended with Rabin's recent "closure" of the territories, a crushing blow to the staggering Palestinian economy.

From the early days of the Intifada, if not before, it was becoming clear that the PLO leadership was losing its popular support in the occupied territories. Local activists from secular nationalist sectors, while still recognizing the PLO as the sole agent for negotiations, spoke with open contempt of its corruption, personal power plays, opportunism, and disregard for the interests and opinions of the people it claimed to represent.

By all indications, the disaffection increased in the years that followed, while the fundamentalist opposition that Israel had initially nurtured gained popular support, feeding on this growing discontent and on the demoralization as Rabin's program was implemented, with constant US support at all levels: economic, diplomatic, and ideological.

These matters, reviewed with particular detail and depth in Israel Shahak's regular reports, have received only sporadic and inadequate coverage here.

With its popular support in decline and its status deteriorating in the Arab world, the PLO became more tolerable to US-Israeli policymakers, particularly as the growing fundamentalist movement evoked memories of the resistance that had driven Israel out of much of Lebanon. Informal Israel-PLO contacts were increasingly reported. These reached their culmination with the August 1993 agreement, which bypassed the delegations engaged in the official "peace process," and indeed also excluded the PLO, apart from Arafat and a few close associates.

The agreement was welcomed with great acclaim, marred only by skepticism as to whether it could hold. "America's own greatest interest," the twin goals of "enhanced security for Israel and regional peace," both...seem closer to achievement this morning than ever before," the New York Times editors observed as the agreement was announced. Apart from omission of the tacit background understanding that the "regional peace" must ensure US control, their identification of Washington's highest priorities is accurate, though automatic identification of US government policy with "America's greatest interest" takes a leap of faith; it is not obvious that ignoring Palestinian national rights and the security of others is in the interest of the people of the United States.

The editors may, however, be right in thinking that long-standing US policy goals have been advanced. The intended eventual outcome of the 1993 agreement falls well within the bounds of traditional US-Israeli rejectionism, adopting essential features of the Sharon Plan as well as the Labor Party's Allon Plan. That much was spelled out the same day on the facing page of the Times by Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin, a close associate of Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. He informed his US audience that

"the permanent solution will be based on Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and from most of the West Bank. We agree to a confederated formula between Jordan and the Palestinians in the West Bank, but we will not return to pre-1967 borders. United Jerusalem will remain the capital of the State of Israel."

In return, "After years of rejection of Israel as part of the Middle East, the Arabs will accept and recognize Israel's right to exist as a sovereign state within secure and defined borders in this region" -- as they did, for example, in the vetoed Security Council resolution of January 1976, gone from history along with much else like it, so that Beilin's statement will ring true to American ears.

The reasons for preferring "confederation" to Palestinian independence have nothing to do with security. As has been understood since 1948, when Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made the point explicit, an independent Palestinian state serves Israeli security interests better than "a state linked to Transjordan [now Jordan], and maybe tomorrow to Iraq." The problem is that an independent state would be a barrier to eventual integration of parts of the territories and control of their resources, primarily water. As for "united Jerusalem," that is a concept of broad and as yet undetermined scope. "Withdrawal from Gaza" and other territories is understood to exclude Jewish settlements and the resources they control. And even this "permanent settlement" lies well down the road.

It is understandable, then, that the Times editors, expressing the prevailing view, should see the "historic deal" as a great opportunity. It is "the Middle East equivalent of the fall of the Berlin wall," chief diplomatic correspondent Thomas Friedman proclaimed. The projected arrangements represent the "triumph of realism over fanaticism and political courage over political cowardice." "Realists" understand that in this world, you follow US orders. Those who are not convinced of the justice of traditional US-Israeli rejectionism are not only wrong, but are "fanatics" and "cowards," thus excluded from respectable society. The hysteria of the rhetoric suggests that more is understood than appears on the surface.

While some Israeli advocates in the US felt that the victory was not far-reaching enough, more perceptive ones recognized the scale of what had been achieved. The PLO had been forced "to become more reasonable," acceding to Israel's demands, as Times columnist William Safire, a self-described "pro-Israeli hawk," put the matter. "Arafat finally appears to be ready to accept [Menahem] Begin's approach [of 1978], adding the Gaza-Jericho twist," Safire comments, "having been softened by 15 years of Israeli hard line" -- to which we may add US intransigence.

The draft agreement makes no mention of Palestinian national rights, the primary issue on which the US and Israel broke with the international consensus from the mid-1970s. Throughout these years, it was agreed that a settlement should be based on UN 242.

There were two basic points of contention: (1) Do we interpret the withdrawal clause of 242 in accord with the international consensus (including the US, pre-1971), or in accord with the position of Israel and US policy from 1971? (2) Is the settlement based solely on UN 242, which offers nothing to the Palestinians, or 242 and other relevant UN resolutions, as the PLO had proposed for many years in accord with the nonrejectionist international consensus. Thus, does the settlement incorporate the right of refugees to return or compensation, as the UN has insisted since December 1948 (with US endorsement, long forgotten), and the Palestinian right to national self-determination that has repeatedly been endorsed by the UN (though blocked by Washington)? These are the crucial issues that have stood in the way of a political settlement.

On these issues, the agreement explicitly and without equivocation adopts the US-Israeli stand. As noted, Article I states that the "permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338," nothing more. Furthermore, as Beilin made explicit, the withdrawal clause of UN 242 is to be understood in the terms unilaterally imposed by the US (from 1971). In fact, the agreement does not even preclude further Israeli settlement in the large areas of the West Bank it has taken over, or even new land takeovers. On such central matters as control of water, it speaks only of "cooperation" and "equitable utilization" in a manner to be determined by "experts from both sides." The outcome of cooperation between an elephant and a fly is not hard to predict.

The victory of the rejectionists is complete, even in the ideological sphere; given US global power, the version of history designed by its doctrinal institutions becomes the general framework for discussion in most of the world, including Europe.

For Palestinians in refugee camps and elsewhere outside the territories, the agreement offers little hope, and they have expressed understandable bitterness. Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon also "criticized the PLO for making concessions with Israel that could jeopardize Palestinian national rights and undermine the joint Arab negotiating strategy," Lamis Andoni reported from Amman, giving "Israel the upper hand in imposing its conditions on each Arab country separately."

A separate matter entirely is whether the two sides would be well-advised to accept the agreement devised by Israel and Arafat. For the US and Israel, the question hardly arises: the agreement falls within the framework on which they have insisted.

For the Palestinians, the question is more complex. The agreement entails abandonment of most of their hopes, at least for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, realistic alternatives may be much worse.

Given US power, refusal to accept US-Israeli terms is at once translated into a demonstration of the worthlessness of such "fanatics" and "cowards," who thereby cede any rights they might have been thought to have. Palestinians were once "the darling of many Western liberals," Thomas Friedman writes (meaning, presumably, that some Western liberals regarded them as at least semi-human); but they are beloved no more, and unless they toe the line their former admirers may abandon them to their fate. Furthermore, the agreement should offer Palestinians some relief from the barriers to development imposed by the military administration, no small matter. And it moves beyond Rubinstein's "autonomy of a POW camp" in that Palestinians are assigned control over "direct taxation." An Israeli-supervised "strong police force" of Palestinians might, at worst, be the local counterpart of Israel's South Lebanon Army, subduing the population by terror and threat while the masters observe closely, ready to move if the iron fist is needed. But it might turn out that Palestinian police will treat the population less harshly than the Israeli army and border police, and settler depredations should reduce. Though the agreements say nothing about the matter, there may be a decline in Israeli settlement and in the development programs designed to integrate the extensive areas designated for Jewish settlement into the Israeli economy, leaving Palestinians on the side. Many issues can be debated, but not -- at least not seriously -- within a doctrinal framework that identifies "realism" as what the US and Israel demand, and dismisses critical analysis in advance as "fanaticism" and "cowardice."

The respected head of the Palestinian delegation, Haidar Abdul Shafi, had some observations on these matters in a talk in Bethlehem on July 22, 1993, just as Arafat was secretly moving to take matters into his own hands, bypassing local Palestinians. Abdul Shafi held out little hope for the "peace process," which excludes entirely the possibility "that Palestinians must be the main authority in the interim period for the people and for the land," leading to true national self-determination. He stressed, however, that

"the negotiations are not worth fighting about. The critical issue is transforming our society. All else is inconsequential... We must decide amongst ourselves to use all our strength and resources to develop our collective leadership and the democratic institutions which will achieve our goals and guide us in the future... The important thing is for us to take care of our internal situation and to organize our society and correct those negative aspects from which it has been suffering for generations and which is the main reason for our losses against our foes."

His remarks seem to me apt, and of much broader import, ourselves included.

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posted by u2r2h at Sunday, November 08, 2009 0 comments

05 November, 2009

Ruppert DOOM PROPHET USA-centric disaster catastrophe apocalypse

You'd be hard-pressed to find a movie that channels the anxieties of our time with the power and terror of the documentary Collapse. For 82 riveting minutes, Michael Ruppert, a former Los Angeles cop who became a rogue investigative reporter and author, sits in what looks like a brick bunker and talks about where he thinks the United States is now headed. It's not a pretty picture, but it is not a naive one either. The grippingly articulate Ruppert is like Noam Chomsky as a wry pundit of doom.
In 2006, he predicted the current economic crisis, and his startlingly detailed foresight seizes your attention. So you'd better believe that you're sitting up and listening when he starts to talk about ''peak oil'' â€" i.e., the likelihood that most of the planet's oil reserves have already been eaten up. According to Ruppert, the ''economic crisis'' is more than a bad patch; it's the finally visible symptom of a greater underlying instability. And what's coming? A society, he says, that will have to reimagine how it lives if it wants to survive. Collapse was directed by Chris Smith (The Yes Men), who interviewed Ruppert for 14 hours and does a superb job of editing his words into a dramatic cautionary monologue. You may want to dispute Ruppert, but more than that you'll want to hear him, because what he says â€" right or wrong, prophecy or paranoia â€" takes up residence in your mind.
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posted by u2r2h at Thursday, November 05, 2009 0 comments

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