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Friday, March 23, 2007

Denial of human rights for Macedonians in Greece

Human Rights Movement for Macedonians in Greece, the O.S.C.E. Review Confrence, Vienna, 4–29 1996
Presented By: The Lerin Region Macedonian Cultural Association of Ontario Toronto, Canada, October, 1996

Introduction
In the case of the Macedonian minority in Greece, the official state policy is to deny its existence. This position gives rise to two questions.

1) Why does the Greek state officially deny the existence of the Macedonian minority in Greece?
2) Is the official Greek position true or false?

The answers become evident from the facts below.

The Untold Story
During the late nineteenth century the Ottoman Empire was disintegrating and the region known as Macedonia became a hotly contested area, especially between the emerging states of Greece and Bulgaria. In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), Macedonia was partitioned among Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. By the Treaty of Bucharest (1913) Greece annexed 51% of the region of Macedonia. The consequences for one of the indigenous peoples in the Balkans—the Macedonians—were most horrendous. With the objective of consolidating sovereignty over its newly acquired territory, the Greek state subjugated the Macedonians completely, and for the rest of the 20th century continuously and systematically undertook to eliminate all traces of the Macedonian identity. There are three steps a state can take to destroy a body of people who consider themselves a distinct nation by virtue of their historical, linguistic and ethnic links:

1) eradication;

2) expulsion and colonization;

3) forced denationalization and assimilation.

Eradication 1913—over 160 Macedonian villages were burned with significant loss of life and the remaining population forced to flee. 1946—49—further extermination and expulsion of Macedonians during the Greek Civil War.

Expulsion and Colonization
1920—approximately 70,000 Macedonians were obliged to move to Bulgaria in exchange for approximately 25,000 Greeks.

1923—resettlement of approximately 565,000 refugees from Asia Minor and approximately 55,000 colonists from Greece.

1948—approximately 28,000 Macedonian children were evacuated out of areas where civil war was raging to the safety of Eastern European countries. Their evacuation became exile. To this day the Greek state denies their right to return to their places of birth.

1950's—continued colonization with people from Turkey, Egypt and other parts of Greece.

1960's—continued colonization of confiscated properties whereby it is handed over to persons of “proven patriotism” for Greece.

1990's—continued colonization with persons of Greek descent from the Caucasus. Forced Denationalization and Assimilation

1914—Professor R.A. Reiss reports to the Greek government: “Those whom you would call Bulgarian speakers, I would simply call Macedonians. …. I repeat the mass of inhabitants there (Macedonia) remain simply Macedonians.”

1919—Greek Commission on Toponyms issues instructions for choosing Hellenic names for Macedonian place names.

1920—Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs publishes administrative booklet, “Advice on the Change of the Names of Municipalities and Villages.”

1925—Greece denies the existence of Macedonians and refers to them as Slavophone Greeks or Old Bulgarians.

1926—Legislative Orders in Government Gazette #331 orders Macedonians names of towns, villages, mountains changed to Greek names.

1927—Cyrillic inscriptions destroyed or overwritten from Macedonian churches, tombstones, and icons. Church services in the Macedonian language are outlawed. Macedonians were forced by the Greek state to abandon their personal names and adopt Greek names assigned to them. Some of the hellenized names still echo their original forms. For example, Mr. Popov became Mr. Pappas. Other Macedonian names were replaced with completely different Greek names. For example, Mr. Ickarov became Mr. Christidis.

1928—1,497 Macedonian place names converted to Greek since

1926. English journalist V. Hild reveals, “The Greeks do not only persecute living Slavs (Macedonians) …., but they even persecute dead ones. They do not leave them in peace even in their graves. They erase the Slavonic inscriptions on the headstones, remove the bones and burn them.” Decree 87 orders accelerated denationalization of Macedonians. Greek Ministry of Education sent “specially trained” instructors to accelerate conversion to the Greek language.

1938—Law 23666 banned the use of the Macedonian language and strove to erase every trace of the Macedonian identity. Macedonians were fined, beaten, jailed, and exiled to arid islands for simply being Macedonian by birth and/or for speaking Macedonian. Adults and children were further humiliated by being forced to drink castor oil when they were caught speaking the Macedonian language.

1940—39 more Macedonian place names changed to Greek since 1929.

1945—Law 697 brought into force more regulations for changing Macedonians toponyms to Greek.

1947—Law L-2 arbitrarily and without due process stripped citizens of their citizenship.

1948—Law M provided for confiscation of properties.

1953—Greek authorities meet in Salonika to plan expulsion of Macedonians and to bring Greeks from the south to colonize lands belonging to Macedonian exiles. Decree 504—continued property confiscation and parcels of land are given to Greek colonists along with financial incentives.

1954—Law 2951 confiscated land is placed in the hands of Agricultural Institutions and Commissions for Expropriations who decide how to redistribute properties.

1959—Law 3958 allows for confiscation of property of those who left Greece and did not return within five years. The populations of many Macedonian villages in the districts of Florina, Kastoria, and Edessa were forced to swear language oaths never to speak Macedonian and to speak only Greek. The people would gather in the appointed place in their respective villages and in front of Greek church, government, and military officials were made to give the following oath: “ I promise before God and men and the official authorities of the state that from this day on I shall cease speaking the Slavic Idiom, which only gives grounds for misunderstanding to the enemies of our country, the Bulgarians, and that I will speak everywhere and always the official language of my fatherland, the Greek language, in which the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ is written.”

1962—Decree 4234 reinforced past laws regarding confiscated properties of exiled Macedonians and denied them the right of return.

1979—135 Macedonian place names changed to Greek since 1940.

1982—Greek internal security police urges intensive campaign to wipe out remaining Macedonian consciousness and use of the language. Law 106841 allows the right of return to political exiles provided they are ethnic Greeks by birth. Macedonian exiles continue to be denied the right of return.

1985—Decree 1540 allows the right to reclaim confiscated properties to political exiles provided they are ethnic Greeks by birth. Macedonian exiles are denied this right.

1987—Greece establishes special “kindergartens” for two and three year old Macedonian children so as to ensure they learn the Greek language and prevent them from learning the Macedonian language at home.

The 1990's—Fear of Greek Authorities and State Harassment Greece is probably the only member of the OSCE which has not granted any freedoms and human rights to its diverse nationalities. Apart from the Muslim Turkish minority in Western Thrace, other ethnic minorities in Greece such as the Macedonians cannot organize their own cultural associations, schools and religious institutions. Greece is probably the only member of the OSCE which does not permit the return of political refugees and others whose citizenship has been arbitrarily revoked without due process. The present population of the Macedonian districts in Northern Greece is approximately 2 millions. Approximately 1 millions are of direct Macedonian descent. After nearly a century of systematic effort to denationalize the Macedonians, many have succumbed and developed a Greek consciousness and refer to themselves as Greeks or Greek Macedonians. The Greek state has always portrayed the Greek identity as being more cultured and superior. The Macedonian identity has always been portrayed as an uncivilized, barbaric and dirty presence within a pure Greek space. The psychological aim is to make people abandon using the Macedonian language. It has gotten to the point where one is looked down upon for speaking Macedonian. The language is referred to as the “local idiom.” It is interesting to note that the Macedonian language is recognized internationally, but it is forbidden in Greece. After three generations of policies of denationalization by the Greek state the Macedonian consciousness among the population has been badly damaged to the point where those who retain their Macedonian consciousness fear to declare it openly. This fear is difficult to comprehend by those who grew up in free and open societies. You have to experience it to understand it. Among the older generation of Macedonians the fear is pervasive and ingrained. It is as if the person is always on guard for his actions and words for fear that he will be betrayed or heard by Greek authorities. When one Macedonian was pressed further on this issue he blurted out in exasperation, “It (fear) has gotten into the genes!”

In 1993 a delegation from Human Rights Watch/Helsinki visited the Greek province of Macedonia and reported that: “Harrassment of the Macedonian minority has led to a widespread climate of fear. A large number of people interviewed by the mission stated specifically that they did not want their names used, for fear of losing their jobs or suffering from the kind of harassment experienced by human rights activists—being followed, threatened and harassed.”

The Case of the Village of Agios Panteleimon in the District of Florina
This village sits on the shore of a medium sized lake as does a neighboring village. The lake level is receding and this gave rise to tensions with the neighboring village as to where village boundaries actually stood. In 1992 the neighboring village began to encroach closer to Agios Panteleimon. Several villagers of Agios Panteleimon went to inspect the area of concern and were met by a police officer who used words to the effect, “ If you are looking for land go and ask Kiro Gligorov (reference to the President of the Republic of Macedonia).” The police officer meant they were unwanted citizens and they could not expect any support from the Greek authorities. The villagers proceeded to sow wheat seed on their village land which the neighboring villagers promptly ploughed under and claimed the land was theirs. The villagers of Agios Panteleimon then sought to complain, on several occasions, to the Prefect of Florina who did his utmost to avoid meeting with them.

When the Prefect was finally confronted by the villagers of Agios Panteleimon he used words to the effect, “They (neighboring villagers) are Greeks. You are Slavs (Macedonians)! Even if they invade your houses (let alone your plots), I will do nothing. You can go to Skopje (Macedonia) or Sofia (Bulgaria) because you have more in common with those people.”

The Case of Canadian Citizens of Macedonian Descent
Basel Sipidias is an ethnic Macedonian who was born in the Greek province of Macedonia. He went to Canada in 1968 and is now a Canadian citizen. As retired pensioners, he and his wife sought to return to their native village to attend the wedding of their niece. Upon their arrival at Salonika Airport on June 19, 1995, Mr. Sipidias was shocked when Greek customs officials ordered him to leave his wife and proceed to the inspection room. He was then ordered to leave the country with the same plane he and his wife landed in. No explanation was given. He was then manhandled back onto the airplane with barely enough time to explain his situation to his wife who was allowed to proceed with her journey. Three hours later he was back in Frankfurt Airport where a customs official recognized him from his previous departure. The official was shocked to see him. With assistance of Lufthansa personnel who phoned Salonika police it was determined that Mr. Sipidias was expelled because of his Macedonian activities in Canada. Mr. Sipidias is over 65 years old. He is a deacon and sings during religious services in a Macedonian Church in Toronto, Canada.

Pando Tanev is a retired Canadian citizen who has lived in Canada since 1960. He and his wife were born in the Greek province of Macedonia. On June 8, 1995 they were traveling with Canadian passports. They arrived at a Bulgarian/Greek border crossing en route into Greece where the Tanev's sought to visit their native village. Mr. Tanev was detained at the border crossing and after a short delay was told he would not be allowed to enter. When Mr. Tanev asked why not. The customs official replied that it was an order from the Ministry. The Tanev's were stranded. Their bus continued into Greece. They were denied the courtesy of calling a taxi to take them back to Bulgaria and had to rely on a passing motorist to assist them. The Greek Consulate in Toronto, Canada

Canadian citizens of Macedonian descent have been harassed and intimidated by officers in the Consulate. This is especially the case when Canadian citizens ask the Consulate for documents needed to settle their affairs back in their native villages. There have been cases of Canadian citizens actually being denied service and even being forcibly ejected from the Consulate simply because they were viewed as being “unpatriotic” to Greece.

Greek Nationalism—Origin and Nature
One of the founding beliefs in the construction of the modern Greek state since 1830 is the continuity of the Greek nation from antiquity, through the Byzantine period, and up to the present. As one Greek scholar (Politis 1991—92:17) put it, “Over the intervening millenia, the population of the region had become accustomed to referring to themselves by such terms as “Christians.” “Romyi,” “Moraites,” “Roumeliotes,” “Cretans,” and so forth. It was only through the efforts of a nascent national intelligentsia in the mid-nineteenth century that the terms Elladha (Greece) and Ellinas (Greek), which previously had referred to the ancient pagans inhabiting the (Balkan) peninsula, came to be applied to the contemporary population.” The contemporary Greek state defines all its citizens as being Greek. It does not recognize the existence of other ethnic minorities such as the Macedonians, Vlachs, Chiams, Arvinities, Albanians, Romas, Pomaks and Turks. The only exception to this official position is the Turkish minority in Western Thrace which the Greek state identifies as Muslim Greeks and accords them the status of an official minority in accordance with the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. The notion of the Greek nation (ethnos) and the need to protect it from other “ethnic impurities” is a powerful one. Patriotism to Hellenism is encouraged to the point where Greek society can be characterized as chauvinistic. Greek society has also been conditioned to the point where it is xenophobic toward multiculturalism and the presence of other non Greeks in its midst. Any group who seeks to assert its ethnicity is viewed as behaving against the national interest of Greece and a threat to Hellenism.

Greek Orthodox Church and State
Of central importance is the relationship between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Greek State and between the Greek Orthodox Church and the other Orthodox churches and other religions. The Church has always had an integral place in Greek society and a correspondingly large influence on political affairs. For nearly four centuries of foreign occupation the Christian Eastern Orthodox Church symbolized the maintenance of Greek culture and the Greek language. It took an active part in the Greek people's struggle for emancipation to such an extent that Hellenism—or Greek nationalism—is to some extent actually identified with the Orthodox faith. Successive Constitutions have referred to the Church as being “dominant.” Article 3 of the Greek Constitution describes the Church as the prevailing religion in Greece as that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ. The overwhelming majority of the population are members of the Greek Orthodox Church and it represents the religion of the State itself. Its role in public life is reflected by, among other things, the presence of the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs at the sessions of the Church hierarchy at which the Archbishop of Athens is elected. Also the President of the State takes his oath of office according to Orthodox ritual.

Father Nikodimos Tsarknias Father Tsarknias is a citizen of Greece who considers himself to be part of the Macedonian minority in Greece. He was ordained as a priest in the Greek Orthodox Church in 1973 and went to live and work in the district of Florina. In the 1980's out of concern and a sense of justice he commenced publishing a newsletter calling for greater cultural rights for the Macedonian minority. As a result of his advocacy for human rights he ran into difficulties with the Greek Orthodox Church and Greek authorities which culminated in his expulsion from the Church in February 1993. In order to retain his position as a clergyman, Father Tsarknias became a monk in the Macedonian Orthodox Church in the neighboring Republic of Macedonia.

Father Tsarknias then began to experience legal difficulties. Over the next two years he was convicted twelve times of offences under Articles 175 and 176 of the Greek Penal Code. Article 175 is known as “Pretence of Authority” whereby one exercises the service of a clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Church and holds himself out as a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church when he is not. Article 176 applies to a citizen who wears the uniform of a religious official without the right to do so.

Father Tsarknias endured psychological and physical abuse at the hands of the Greek authorities. He always maintained that as a member of the Macedonian Orthodox Church he had the right to wear religious robes. He was not deceiving anyone. Trials in Greek courts followed on December 2, 1994, November 22, 1995 and May 8, 1996 before he was finally acquitted of all charges and convictions under Article 175 and 176. Given the facts of the case the Greek courts could not uphold Article 175 and 176.

In fact, the charges laid against Father Tsarknias were in violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights dealing with the individual's freedom of thought, conscience and relgion; and freedom to manifest one's religion. However, Father Tsarknias still cannot exercise full freedom of religion in Greece. Article 9 further states that freedom to manifest one's religion shall be subject to limitations as are prescribed by law and as are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, and for the protection of public order.

It is to be expected that Greece will not permit the construction of a Macedonian Orthodox Church and services in the Macedonian language on the grounds that it would a) disturb the public order, and b) be against the national interests of Greece. In addition to state imposed restrictions, approval is required by the Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in whose eparchy Father Tsarknias would wish to construct a Macedonian Church. A further example of the problems faced by Father Tsarknias relates to matters concerning freedom of the press which is provided for in Article 14 of the Greek Constitution. Father Tsarknias is associated with a monthly newspaper by the name of Moglena which espouses greater cultural and human rights for the Macedonian minority.

While the state has not seized or stopped the publication, there have been problems in getting equal access to the Postal system. Father Tsarknias submitted a second written request to the Ministry of Press and Mass Media in Athens on October 9, 1996 seeking equal distribution rights as other newspapers. The Ministry's written response was short and without detail. It simply declined to grant equal distribution rights because the Moglena newspaper was not published according to the regulations. Moreover, Father Tsarknias received a summons in October 1996 to appear for questioning at the Magistrate's Court in Aridea in connection with his association with the newspaper Moglena. The harassment of Father Tsarknias continues.

Risto Sideropoulos
Mr. Sideropoulos is a citizen of Greece who considers himself to be part of the Macedonian minority in Greece. Mr. Sideropoulos is also a human rights activist and a member of the Macedonian Human Rights Movement in Greece. In June 1990 Mr. Sideropoulos along with other delegates attended the CSCE Copenhagen Conference. During a press conference Mr. Sideropoulos made statements that he belongs to the Macedonian minority living in Greece, that his cultural rights were being violated, and that he does not have the right to freely express his views or use his Macedonian language. As a result of his openness in declaring his Macedonian identity Mr. Sideropoulos was charged in May 1994 with “spreading false information which may cause disruption of the international relations of Greece,” under Article 191 of the Greek Penal Code. The charges were unsustainable and eventually were dropped in September 1995 with no explanation given, and nor was any compensation offered to Mr. Sideropoulos for loss of income and costs. Need for OSCE to Safeguard Human Rights Activists The OSCE provides forums for citizens of member states to participate as delegates of Non Governmental Organizations. It is noteworthy to observe that the OSCE allows and encourages participation by Non Governmental Organizations.

With the aim to achieving these objectives there is a need to ensure that citizens of OSCE member states are not subsequently prosecuted or persecuted when they return to their respective countries following their attendance at OSCE conferences. This certainly is relevant for citizens of Greece. On the one hand they may desire to participate at OSCE conferences, but their exposure to retaliation by the state prevents them from venturing forward. The OSCE needs to address these risks in order to achieve full and open debate on the issues pertaining to the Human Dimension.

OSCE Obligations of Greece
1990 CSCE Copenhagen Conference on the Human Dimension to which Greece is a signatory states in Article 32: “Persons belonging to national minorities have the right freely to express, preserve, and develop their ethnic, cultural, linguistic, or religious identity and to maintain and develop their culture in all its aspects, free of any attempts at assimilation against their will.” Article 33 states: “Participating states will protect the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of national minorities … and create conditions for the promotion of that identity.”

1991 CSCE Meeting On National Minorities in Geneva in which Greece participate concluded: ‘Issues concerning national minorities … are matters of legitimate international concern and consequently do not constitute exclusively an internal affair of the respective State ….

Participating States reaffirm, and will not hinder the exercise of, the right of persons belonging to national minorities to establish and maintain their own educational, cultural and religious institutions, organizations and associations. Conclusion In answer to the questions posed at the beginning, it is reasonable to conclude that Greece chooses to deny the existence of the Macedonain minority and other ethnic minorities because Greece still views these groups as being a threat to its national interest and to Hellenism. Greece has yet to come to terms and accept the notions of diversity and multiculturalism which is so common in other western democracies. For example, the city of Toronto, Canada has citizens representing approximately 172 ethnic backgrounds.

Nobody is viewed as a threat to the Canadian national interest for choosing to self identify. Nobody is viewed as being anti-Canadian for choosing to express his individual cultural heritage. The difference between Canada and Greece in this respect is like day and night. With respect to the question of whether or not the Macedonian minority exists, the answer is obvious. It surely and truly exists because human beings who were born in a place called Macedonia chose to identify themselves as Macedonians long before they became part of the Greek state. The Macedonians have over the centuries developed their own unique culture, language, customs and traditions. It is their God given right to self identify however they please. There is something terribly wrong when on the one hand, Greece proudly describes itself as the “cradle of democracy” and goes to great lengths to preserve ancient monuments as a testament to past glories, and then on the other hand, deliberately pursues the destruction of a living national body—the Macedonian minority. Greek society has not yet adjusted to the evolutionary change which is taking place in Europe and within its midst. The Greek state and Church remain stridently unreceptive to notions of cultural diversity, tolerance, and equality regardless of whether it relates to the existence of the Macedonian minority or any other group. Given that Greek society has been heavily steeped in Hellenism to the exclusion of all other nationalities it will take some time for a more open and tolerant view of the world to take root. In fairness to Greek society there are progressive elements who see and understand the need for change. They are actively pursuing it all the way to the level of the Greek government and abroad. The Macedonian minority and other minorities in Greece would welcome progressive change. All they simply want is to be equal citizens of Greece with the right to express their ethnicity and maintain their language, culture and traditions. It is long overdue.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: The Official Legend of 9/11 is a Fabricated Setup

The Pentagon has released a 26 page transcript of the "confession" of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who isnow being presented to World public opinion as the mastermind and architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

This "confession" was read (in his presence) from a prepared text by his "personal [legal?] representative" at "military hearings" held behind closed doors at the US Guantanamo concentration camp.

According to the transcript, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claims responsibility for the attacks on the WTC twin towers and the Pentagon: “I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z.”
According to his prepared statement, he also "confessed" to an impressive list of terrorist attacks as well as the planning of a “second wave” of post 9/11 attacks, which were to include the bombings of skyscrapers in New York, Chicago and Washington, attacks on London's Heathrow airport, Canary Warf and the Tower of Big Ben.

He also claimed responsibility for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Richard Reid’s attempt to ignite a shoe bomb on an Transatlantic flight in December 2001, and the October 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia.

In a statement read by his personal representative, he allegedly confessed to planning the assassination of several former presidents, including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, as well as Pope John Paul II.

With regard to The Wall Street Journal's reporter Daniel Pearl, KSM's statement reads: “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl... For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.”

KSM was arrested in March 2003 and was then imprisoned for more than three years in secret CIA detention facilities. He claims to have made this confession without any form of pressure being exerted on him. Several press reports suggest that he was tortured.

Khalid Sheikh Mohamed personifies the "outside enemy" of America. His "confession" upholds the illusion that Al Qaeda outwitted the 40 billion dollar US intelligence apparatus, in waging a terrorist attack on America.

The arrest and confessed statements of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed serve to uphold the official 9/11 narrative, namely that the 9/11 attacks were masterminded by Islamic terrorists.

The following text by Chaim Kupferberg, first published by Global Research in October 2003, shortly after the arrest of KSM, reveals with foresight and accuracy the nature of the propaganda ploy. According to Kupferberg, a "marketing plan" was established in June 2002 to introduce Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to the public as the 9/11 mastermind.

Kupferberg exposes with accuracy and foresight, how the official legend was fabricated around Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

His analysis reveals the historical background behind the creation of the 9/11 Legend. The latter serves to drown the lies and inconsistencies contained in the official 9/11 narrative; it also sustains the "global war on terrorism".

Serious doubts have been expressed on the authenticity of the KSM confession. The latter is ultimately intended, in a clumsy and inept fashion, to uphold the shaky legitimacy of the Bush administration.

The Official Legend of 9/11 as a prefabricated set-up

As we will see, the Moussaoui indictment had lain the groundwork for the eventual Khalid Shaikh Mohammed/ Ramzi Binalshibh/ Mustafa Ahmed nexus that really gets rolling in June 2002, when Khalid is first introduced as the 9/11 "mastermind", then proceeds through Binalshibh's choreographed arrest in September 2002, and culminates with the simultaneous arrest of Khalid and Mustafa Ahmed in March 2003. Further, we will see how FBI Director Mueller uses the details in the Moussaoui indictment to explicitly pair up Khalid and Mustafa Ahmed - a full nine months before these characters end up sharing news space for their own simultaneously choreographed apprehensions.

The unsealed December 2001 Moussaoui indictment also set out two "unindicted co-conspirators" who had yet to play their final roles in the unfolding 9/11 Legend - Ramzi Binalshibh and Mustafa Ahmed al-hawsawi (the "official" paymaster)...
Of the various pivot points in the unfolding 9/11 Legend, the time period of June 4-5 2002 was among the most significant.

...Around the same time that the joint Senate-House Inquiry was proceeding under the co-chairmanship of Bob Graham and Porter Goss (the September 11 breakfast partners of Omar Saeed's reported ISI "handler"), Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was formally introduced as the operative mastermind behind 9/11. John J. Lumpkin of the Associated Press wrote the definitive article here, courtesy of the revelations of an anonymous "top U.S. counterterrorism official"

...Lumpkin's key June article served as a guidepost as to how the unfolding 9/11 Legend would finally crystallize. As reported by Lumpkin, in the same article where Khalid was introduced as the new 9/11 mastermind, he was also "accused of working with Ramzi Yousef in the first bombing of the World Trade Center [in '93]" in addition to working with Yousef on a 1995 plot (code-named Bojinka) to bomb a dozen airliners headed to the United States

...It was not by accident that the 9/11 paymaster - now officially dubbed as Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi - was mentioned in an article introducing Khalid as the mastermind. As it turned out, about the same time that Lumpkin's article was making the rounds, Robert Mueller was making a statement before the Senate-House Committee, narrating the full details of the money trail story (as set out in the Moussaoui indictment), but this time adding the role of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who, according to Mueller's statement, shared a credit card with Mustafa Ahmed "Alhawsawi."

Thus, Mueller inserted Khalid into the Money Trail Story by way of a direct connection with the "Mustafa Ahmad" alias. And now, thanks to Lumpkin, "Mustafa Ahmad" was not to be thought of as simply a convenient pseudonym, but rather as a real person, bin Laden's bona fide "financial chief"...

...Once Lumpkin's June 2002 article on Khalid was out, further incriminating details were coming out fast and furious. According to CBS News, U.S. officials now had "evidence" that Khalid had met with "some of the 9/11 hijackers at their Hamburg, Germany apartment in 1999." Presumably, Ramzi Binalshibh - Mohammed Atta's Hamburg roommate who was also thought to be a potential "twentieth hijacker" - was among them. Lumpkin's key June article also mentioned Binalshibh as part of Atta's Hamburg "cell." And as Binalshibh was paired with Mustafa Ahmed as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Moussaoui indictment, we have perhaps an indication that Khalid, Binalshibh, and Mustafa Ahmed were part of a concerted strategy touched off in early June 2002 to bring this phase of the 9/11 Legend to a close. Conveniently timed for release on the very next day - June 6, 2002 - further news followed that, according to National Security Agency intercepts, Khalid was heard talking on the telephone with hijacker Mohammed Atta. Moreover, for the very first time, authorities were now reporting that Khalid was actually the uncle of Ramzi Yousef. In other words, when the nephew failed to bring down the Towers in '93, the uncle took up the slack in '01.

Perhaps it was this sort of conceptually artistic symmetry that made Khalid so attractive as the designated mastermind. Through Khalid, one had a direct connection to the first World Trade Center attack, providing a smoking gun continuity leading directly to al-Qaida. Prior to Khalid's June 2002 public promotion, he was lurking on the official terror lists merely as an indicted conspirator in the 1995 Bojinka plot masterminded by Ramzi Yousef. Thus, while Khalid had not previously been directly connected to the 9/11 plot, he did make the "most wanted" cut based on his alleged 1995 collaboration with Yousef. With that in mind, one can almost picture sitting in with the members of the National Security Council on a balmy Spring morning in late May 2002, leafing through their photo albums as they argued over the most appropriate candidate to close off the official 9/11 Legend. As it turned out, they chose the guy with the unibrow and the hair shirt.

What was the official reason for revealing the role of Khalid at this point in time? According to CBS News, it was senior al-Qaida figure Abu Zubaydah (captured a few months previously) who had "fingered [Khalid] as the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks." Abu Zubaydah, the first "big fish" captured in the War On Terror, had previously - and conveniently - been fingered as a major al-Qaida player by Ahmed Ressam...

... As we will see, once Ramzi Binalshibh's number comes up for apprehension (in September 2002), followed by the capture of Khalid and Mustafa Ahmed in March 2003, another version will be offered for the timing of Khalid's introduction as 9/11 mastermind. But first, we should take note of James Risen's June 5, 2002 article for the New York Times, in which Risen reported that the authorities "had begun to suspect soon after the [Sept. 11] attacks that [Khalid] had some role in the hijackings. But in the next months, a detailed financial investigation of the money trail from the plot led officials to believe that he had a more prominent role than previously suspected." In other words, as Risen had framed it, Khalid had first garnered notice for 9/11 by way of his connection to the money trail. Was this a retrospective addition into the record? - for Khalid most certainly did not make it into the Money Trail Story as of December 2001, when pretty much all the details of the money trail were crystallized within the Moussaoui indictment. On the other hand, there is a possibility that Khalid was intended from the very beginning to be featured as the 9/11 mastermind, yet perhaps he could not be safely inserted back into the Legend by way of the money trail until that nasty confusion over the "Mustafa Ahmad" alias was resolved...

...By June of 2002, the contents of the Moussaoui indictment could indeed be viewed as the clear signpost pointing the way to the manner in which the final loose ends of the Official 9/11 Legend would be tied up for posterity. With Ramzi Binalshibh and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi already tied together as unindicted co-conspirators in the Moussaoui case, FBI Director Robert Mueller would, by this time, explicitly weave in Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, pairing him up with Mustafa Ahmed and thereby inserting this newly-christened 9/11 mastermind into the Money Trail Story. The Associated Press' John Lumpkin would reference all three in his key June 2002 article. It is as if the powers-that-be were putting this trio of nefarious characters on notice - from here on, their fates were to be indelibly entwined.

If habitual coincidence is the mother of all conspiracy theories, then one must surely raise a discerning eyebrow at the revelation that, around this time - after more than a decade of staying hidden in the shadows - Khalid Shaikh Mohammed suddenly was stricken with an urge to conduct his very first interview, with none other than Ramzi Binalshibh at his side. The journalist chosen for this honor was the London bureau chief of Al-Jazeera, Yosri Fouda...
...On September 9, 2002, the die was cast. Al-Jazeera was broadcasting Part I of Fouda's historic interview with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. For the first time, millions would hear - from the planners themselves - exactly how the September 11 plot was put in motion. It was al-Jazeera's version of VH1's Behind The Music, featuring guest commentaries from Vincent Cannistraro and Lyndon LaRouche. Unfortunately, viewers would only get the audio feed of Khalid and Binalshibh, as Binalshibh and Khalid purportedly had confiscated from Fouda his videotape of the proceedings before he had taken leave of them back in June.

In more ways than one, September 9 was an ideal launch date for the interview broadcast. By then, the mainstream media had the whole summer to feed the public - and themselves - with various leaks, revelations, and "official" comments concerning Khalid and Binalshibh's newfound place in the 9/11 pantheon. Set-up and payoff. Moreover, the interview was now being broadcast in the immediate lead-up to the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, thereby further raising the profile of this historic broadcast...

...It was practically a seamless propaganda extravaganza, except for one small detail - Fouda had gone on record as dating the interview to June of 2002, thereby raising the prospect of two plausible scenarios. Scenario One: Khalid and Binalshibh's respective roles in the plot were first discovered solely due to Fouda's contact with them; or Scenario Two: The decision to send Fouda on his interview errand was made at the same time that a decision was made to market Khalid as the new 9/11 mastermind. Of the two scenarios, the first one was far more palatable - from a propaganda perspective - as at least it could be kept within the borders of plausible deniability, and only Fouda would get burned by it. The second scenario, however, would raise the prospect of one of those uncomfortable coincidences that could conceivably expose the 9/11 Legend as a pre-fabricated set-up.

Only two days after the initial broadcast of Fouda's interview with Khalid and Binalshibh - on the first anniversary commemorating the 9/11 attacks - Pakistani forces, accompanied by FBI agents, raided an apartment complex in Karachi. After a "four hour" gun battle involving "hundreds" of Pakistani soldiers and policemen, the authorities captured, among a few others, Ramzi Binalshibh himself. Their original target, however, had been Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, whom they had been tracking for months throughout Karachi. While Khalid had just barely slipped away only a few hours before Pakistani forces had arrived at his door, the authorities were reportedly "surprised" to discover that they had netted Binalshibh in the process. At least that is now the official version of the day's events...

...With the well-timed arrest of Ramzi Binalshibh in September 2002, journalist Yosri Fouda was in a bind. Only days before, he had gone on record - repeatedly - as dating his interview with Khalid and Binalshibh to June 2002. Up to the time of Binalshibh's arrest, the official legend had it that Khalid's pivotal role as 9/11 mastermind was revealed to U.S. authorities through their interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in March 2002. Now, in the aftermath of Binalshibh's capture, word was circulating that perhaps authorities had learned of Khalid's true role by way of Fouda. That contention, of course, would remain most plausible if Fouda's interview could definitively be back-dated to a time before early June 2002 - that is, to a time before Khalid was first publicly announced as 9/11 mastermind. The alternative scenario quite simply pointed to a conclusion that would have to be denied at all costs - that the decision to out Khalid publicly as the 9/11 mastermind was coordinated with the decision to send Fouda on his interview errand with Khalid. Had Fouda erred, then, by initially claiming that his historic interview had taken place in June 2002? Had he possibly exposed a seam pointing the way to a coordinated set-up?

Soon after the Binalshibh arrest, Fouda took the opportunity to revise the date of his interview for the record, revealing to Abdallah Schleifer of the Kamal Adham Center For Journalism:

Fouda: "Actually, this question of dates is very important for another reason. All of these Islamist websites that were denouncing me alluded to my interview as taking place in June. That's what I mentioned both in my article in The Sunday Times Magazine and in my documentary - that I met them in June."

Schleifer: "So?"

Fouda: "I lied."

Schleifer: "Really?"

Fouda: "Yeah."

Schleifer: "But you're going to come clean with [us], right?"

Fouda (laughter): "Yes, of course. I lied because I needed to lie. I'll tell you why. Because I thought, maybe even expected, that if something when wrong and I needed to get in touch with them through a website or a statement or a fax ... they would be the only ones who would know that I had met them one month earlier than I let on, and so I'd know I was talking to the right people.

So after the first wave of denunciations a pro-Qa'ida website "jehad.net" put up a statement online in the name of Al-Qa'ida clearing me of any blame or connection with Ramzi's arrest and I knew this was an authentic communique because it alluded to the interview taking place in May."

Apparently, Fouda had lied again, for on March 4, 2003 (i.e. a few days after Khalid's eventual arrest), Fouda offered up this newest version of his 48-hour encounter to The Guardian:
"It was late afternoon, Sunday 21 April 2002, when I packed my bags before joining Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-shibh for a last prayer before saying goodbye."

That, as they say in legal parlance, is a very definite recollection. In short, Fouda had impeached his own testimony through these two explicitly detailed, contradictory dates. Fouda, through this compounded lie, was now calling into question the very credibility of his entire interview with Khalid and Binalshibh...

...Recall that, back in June 2002, the "official" legend at the time had it that it was Abu Zubaydah, back in March 2002, who had spilled the goods on Khalid. Yet with Khalid's March 2003 apprehension, this one aspect of the legend was duly revised. As revealed by Keith Olbermann in a March 3, 2003 MSNBC.com item: "Ironically, it would be [Fouda's] interview that would point out, to U.S. intelligence, that [Khalid Shaikh] Mohammed and Binalshibh were the brains behind the 9/11 attacks"...

...Within weeks of Binalshibh's Sept. 11, 2002 arrest, the disinformation apparatus was revisiting the Daniel Pearl thread of the 9/11 Legend, this time with a bombshell UPI exclusive from Richard Sale and Anwar Iqbal, dated September 30, 2002:

..."Bob Baer, a former case officer in the agency's Directorate of Operations, said he provided Pearl with unpublished information about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed...

...'I was working with Pearl,' said Baer, who had written a book about his time as a CIA official and has acted as a consultant and source for numerous media outlets. 'We had a joint project. Mohammed was the story he was working on, not Richard Reid' "...

...In Baer's book, See No Evil, Khalid is mentioned briefly as an expert in hijacking planes, but precious little detail is offered. One must be extremely cautious in assimilating any "official" details about Khalid offered after June 2002, as one cannot be sure as to which biographical details were fabricated solely to buttress Khalid's early June 2002 legend as the 9/11 mastermind. Interestingly, while Baer's brief reference to Khalid in his book is one of the very few public characterizations of him offered between September 2001 and June 2002, one must wonder why Baer chose to wait a good eight months after the Pearl kidnapping before revealing this new chapter about Khalid. Even more so, one must wonder why, back in June 2002, when Khalid was making the headlines as the newly marketed 9/11 mastermind - and at a time when the red-hot Baer was doing the post-9/11 media circuit - he apparently did not find it newsworthy to reveal the Khalid angle to the Pearl story. Or perhaps he had forgotten it altogether, and it had taken as long as three weeks after the Binalshibh arrest to jog his memory.

But with his memory now firmly jogged, apparently he would set out to discover what happened to his "joint project" partner, Daniel Pearl. Perhaps to his horror, he discovered that Pearl might have been disposed of by their joint research subject. "I have heard from (intelligence) people who follow this closely that it was people close to [Khalid Shaikh] Mohammed that killed him [Pearl], if it wasn't Mohammed himself," Baer revealed to UPI...

...On September 26, 2002 , only days before Baer's bombshell admission, John Lumpkin of the Associated Press presented his update on the 9/11 paymaster role. Recall that it was Lumpkin who had written, back in early June 2002, the definitive article introducing Khalid as the 9/11 mastermind, including references to the now-official paymaster Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi (a.k.a. Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif) and Ramzi Binalshibh. Now, Lumpkin was reporting the contents of Robert Mueller's formerly secret testimony before the Joint Senate-House Committee, made back in early June 2002, around the time of Lumpkin's key article on Khalid...

...And, as if to lay the groundwork for Khalid and al-Hisawi's eventual simultaneous capture, Lumpkin wrote, "Both al-Hisawi and Mohammed are at large and are among the most wanted al-Qaida figures remaining." He might also have mentioned Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, but then that wasn't the point of the article. As I have argued, the time was fast approaching for al-Hisawi, Binalshibh, and Khalid (in conjunction with the Moussaoui indictment) to wrap up this segment of the 9/11 Legend and to take their indelible places in the official history books...

...Approaching the end of 2002, with Binalshibh secretly stashed away in U.S. custody - and with most people focused on the emerging War In Iraq - the time was now ripe to bring this part of the Official 9/11 Legend to its neat and tidy conclusion. For the record, the aforementioned John J. Lumpkin of the Associated Press (who had written the definitive June 2002 article introducing Khalid as the new 9/11 mastermind) took the opportunity - on December 27, 2002 - to clarify the true identity of the official 9/11 paymaster, this time providing the very first explicit acknowledgment of those troublesome contradictions previously conveyed through the pages of the Associated Press...

...Not that many people noticed - or cared. Still, all that prior nasty confusion concerning the 9/11 paymaster alias had to be qualified and clarified in time for [Mustafa Ahmed] al-Hisawi's approaching "official" arrest...

...In any case, the main story points of the Official 9/11 Legend were fully elaborated and resolved with the simultaneous capture of Khalid and the official paymaster, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi, in March 2003. Only weeks later, however, with the War In Iraq in full sway, these presumably senior operatives in the 9/11 plot drew negligible scrutiny from the media and the public at large. Both men were reportedly stashed away in secret locations, presumably sharing the fruits of their interrogations with anonymous officials, who would duly pass off the requisite "scoops" to writers with a curious penchant for special intelligence access (Gerald Posner, for example).

Meanwhile, the - perhaps choreographed? - farce of the Moussaoui trial would drag on, with Moussaoui reportedly insistent on calling Khalid and Binalshibh as witnesses for the defense. At this point, one would be cautioned as to drawing any firm conclusions about the ongoing events of the Moussaoui trial. The important fact to keep in mind is that Moussaoui all along was likely set up as the convenient vessel through which the Justice Department and Mueller's FBI - cunningly obscured by Mueller's hedges - would gradually elaborate the main contours of the Official 9/11 Legend in that crucial first year following 9/11. In other words, by way of the lone Moussaoui indictment, the authorities were able to provide the illusion of a massive legal investigation covering literally thousands of pages, spanning continents in order to ferret out the full depth of Moussaoui's nefarious associations. In this respect, one might surmise that once Moussaoui has fully served his purpose as an investigative/propaganda vessel (as he likely already has), the authorities will then proceed to demonstrate that the Moussaoui case was never particularly relevant after all - thereby successfully concealing the all-important function that his case did serve in the finely calibrated public dissemination of the Official 9/11 Legend.

Given the foregoing, it remains to be seen how the authorities will conclusively deal with the festering anomalies surrounding their three prize catches - the elusive Binalshibh, the perhaps dead Khalid, and the perhaps fictitious Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi. Nevertheless, it is a safe bet that in the meantime, the authorities will continue to weave ever more complex and murky tapestries around the personalities of these operatives, employing the mercenary talents of writers like Gerald Posner to add to the crumbling sediment of "facts."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Global Realignment and the Decline of the Superpower

The United States has been defeated in Iraq. That doesn’t mean that there’ll be a troop withdrawal anytime soon, but it does mean that there’s no chance of achieving the mission’s political objectives. Iraq will not be a democracy, reconstruction will be minimal, and the security situation will continue to deteriorate into the foreseeable future.

The real goals of the invasion are equally unachievable. While the US has established a number of military bases at the heart of the world’s energy-center; oil output has dwindled to 1.6 million barrels per day, nearly half of post-war production. More importantly, the administration has no clear strategy for protecting pipelines, oil tankers and major facilities. Oil production will be spotty for years to come even if security improves. This will have grave effects on oil futures; triggering erratic spikes in prices and roiling the world energy markets. If the contagion spreads to the other Gulf States, as many political analysts now expect, many of the world’s oil-dependent countries will go through an agonizing cycle of recession/depression.

America’s failure in Iraq is not merely a defeat for the Bush administration. It is also a defeat for the “unipolar-model” of world order. Iraq proves that that the superpower model cannot provide the stability, security or guarantee of human rights that are essential for garnering the support of the 6 billion people who now occupy the planet. The mushrooming of armed groups in Iraq, Afghanistan and, now, Somalia foreshadows a broader and more violent confrontation between the over-stretched American legions and their increasingly adaptable and lethal enemies. Resistance to the imperial order is on the rise everywhere.

The United States does not have the resources or the public support to prevail in such a conflict. Nor does it have the moral authority to persuade the world of the merit of its cause. The Bush administration’s extra-legal actions have galvanized the majority of people against the United States. America has become a threat to the very human rights and civil liberties with which it used to be identified. There’s little popular support for imprisoning enemies without charges, for torturing suspects with impunity, for kidnapping people off the streets of foreign capitals, or for invading unarmed sovereign nations without the approval of the United Nations. These are fundamental violations to international law as well as commonly held principles of human decency.

The Bush administration defends its illegal activities as an essential part of the new world order; a model of global governance which allows Washington to police the world according to its own discretion. The vast majority of people have rejected this model and polls clearly indicate declining support for US policies nearly everywhere. As former Jimmy Carter National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski noted:

“American power may be greater in 2006 than in 1991, (but) the country’s capacity to mobilize, inspire, point in a shared direction and thus shape global realities has significantly declined. Fifteen years after its coronation as global leader, America is becoming a fearful and lonely democracy in a politically antagonistic world.”

The United States is a nation in a state of irreversible decline; its foundational principles have been abandoned and its center of political power is a moral swamp. The Bush presidency represents the ethical low point in American history.

The U.S. now faces a decades-long struggle which will engulf the Middle East and Central Asia leading to the steady and predictable erosion of America’s military, political and economic power.

This is not the “new century” that Bush and his fellows envisioned.

There are still dead-enders within the Bush administration who believe that we are winning the war. Vice President Dick Cheney has celebrated the “enormous success” of the Iraqi occupation, but he finds himself increasingly isolated in his views. Reasonable people agree that the war has been a strategic and moral catastrophe. The US has paid a heavy price for its recklessness; losing over 3,000 servicemen while seriously undermining its standing in the world. A small cadre of Iraqi guerillas has demonstrated that it can frustrate the efforts of best-equipped, best-trained, high-tech military in the world. They have made Iraq an ungovernable quagmire which, by the standards of asymmetrical warfare, is the very definition of success.

But what if Bush’s plans had succeeded? What if his dark vision of “victory” had been realized and the US was able to subjugate the Iraqi people, control their resources, and create an “Arab fa├žade” through which the administration could carry out its policies?

Is there any doubt that Bush would quickly march on Tehran and Damascus? Is there any doubt that Guantanamo and other CIA “black sites” around the world would increase in number and size? Is there any doubt that global warming, peak oil, nuclear non proliferation, poverty, hunger and AIDS would continue to be brushed aside by Washington’s corporatists and banking elites?

Is there any doubt that success in Iraq would further strengthen a tyrannical system that limits the decision-making on all the issues of global importance, even the very survival of the planet, to a small fraternity of well-heeled plutocrats and gangsters?

The “new world order” promises despotism not democracy.

Many people believe that America has undergone a silent coup and has been taken over by a cabal of political fantasists and war-mongers. But this is only partially true. The US has a long history of covert activity, black-ops, and other clear violations to international law. Perhaps, we are reluctant to accept the truth because it’s easier to stick our heads in the sand and let the marauding continue.

The truth is there’s a straight line from the founding of this country to the killing fields of Baghdad. That line may be interrupted by periods of enlightenment and peace, but it is still an unbroken stripe from the Continental Congress to Abu Ghraib, from Bunker Hill to Falluja, from Valley Forge to Guantanamo Bay. It all grows from the same root.

The United States now faces mounting resistance from all corners of the earth. Russia, China, and the Central Asian countries have joined together in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to fend off US-NATO influence in the region. And in Latin America, an alliance of leftist governments has formed (Mercosur) under the leadership of Hugo Chavez. Africa still remains politically fragmented and open to western exploitation, although ham-fisted interventions in Somalia, Nigeria and Sudan suggest that the empire will face escalating resistance there as well.

These new coalitions are an indication of the massive geopolitical changes that are already underway. The world is realigning in reaction to Washington’s aggression. We can expect to see these groups continue to strengthen as the administration pursues its resource war through force of arms. That means that the “old order”--the United Nations, NATO and the transatlantic Alliance--will come under greater and greater strain until relations are eventually cut off.

The UN has already become irrelevant through its blind support of US policy in the Middle East.
Its silence during Israel’s destructive rampage through Lebanon, as well as its failure to acknowledge Iran’s “inalienable rights” under the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) has exposed the UN as a “rubber stamp” for US-Israeli belligerence. An attack on Iran will be the end of the UN, an institution that held great promise for the world, but now merely provides cover for an elite-western agenda. On balance, the UN facilitates more wars than it stops. It won’t be missed.

Afghanistan holds the key for understanding what’s in store for the EU, NATO and the transatlantic Alliance. There is no possibility of success in Afghanistan. If the men who planned the invasion had a grasp of the country’s history they would have known how the war would progress. They would have realized that Afghanis traditionally take their time to fight back; (Eric Margolis predicted that the real war would not take place until 4 to5 years after the initial invasion) measuring the strength of their enemy and garnering greater public support. Then they proceed with deliberate steps to rid their country of the invaders. These are fiercely nationalistic and independent people who have fought occupation before and know what it takes to win.

We are mistaken to think that the war in Afghanistan is merely a Taliban (or worse still) “terrorist” insurgency. The present conflict represents a general uprising of Pushtun nationals who seek to end foreign occupation. They know first-hand that US-NATO policy has strengthened the warlords, expanded the drug trade, reduced security, and increased terrorism. According to the Senlis Council Report, the occupation has triggered “a humanitarian crisis of starvation and poverty… US policies in Afghanistan have re-created a safe-haven for terrorism that the 2001 invasion aimed to destroy.”

The Afghan armed resistance is resourceful and intractable and has a growing number of recruits to swell its ranks. Eventually, they will prevail. It’s their country and they’ll be there long after we’ve gone.

An America defeat in Afghanistan could be the straw that breaks NATO’s back. The administrations’ global schema depends heavily on support from Europe; persuading the predominantly white, western nations to join the battle and secure pipeline corridors and landlocked energy supplies throughout Central Asia. Failure in Afghanistan would send tremors through Europe’s political landscape and give rise to a generation of anti-American politicians who will seek to dissolve relations between the two traditional allies. But a breakup seems inevitable. After all, Europe has no imperial aspirations and its economies are thriving. They don’t need to invade and occupy countries to get access to vital resources. They can simply buy them on the open market.

As Europeans begin to see that their national interests are better served through dialogue and friendship, (with suppliers of resources in Central Asia and Russia) then the ties that bind Europe to America will loosen and the continents will drift further apart.

The end of NATO is the end of America as a global power. The present adventurism is not sustainable “unilaterally” and without the fig-leaf of UN cover. America needs Europe, but the chasm between the two is progressively growing.

It is impossible to predict the future with any degree of certainty, but the appearance of these coalitions strongly suggests a new world order is emerging. It is not the one, however, that Bush and the neoconservatives anticipated. America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to prevent it from addressing brush-fires in Latin America and Russia, further strengthening US rivals and precipitating macroeconomic changes that could crush the American middle class. The likelihood of a major economic retrenchment has never been greater as the administrations’ reckless defense spending, lavish tax cuts, and trade deficit have set the stage for the US dollar to be dethroned as the world’s “reserve currency”. The three pillars of American imperial power--political, economic and military--rest on the crumbling foundation of the US greenback. If the dollar falls, as many currency traders now expect, then foreign (baskets of) currencies will rise, and America will slip into a deep recession/depression.

America’s military and economic unraveling is likely to take a decade or more depending on the situation in Iraq. If the Bush administration is able to exert control over Middle East oil, then the dollar will continue to be linked to vital resources and American supremacy will persist. If, however, conditions on the ground deteriorate, then Central Banks around the world will decrease their dollar holdings, Americans will face hyper-inflation at home, and the US will lose its grip on the global economic system. The Bush administration must, therefore, ensure that oil continues to be denominated in USDs and that the world economy remains in the hands of western elites, banking giants and corporatists.

The chances for success in Iraq are gradually diminishing. The US has shown that it is incapable of establishing security, providing basic social services, or keeping the peace. The guerilla war continues to intensify while the over-extended US military has been pushed to the breaking point. We expect the occupation of Iraq to be untenable within 5 years if present trends continue.

America’s military and economic unraveling will undoubtedly be painful, but it may generate greater parity among the nations, which would be a positive development. The superpower model has been an abysmal failure. It has wreaked havoc on civil liberties at home and spread war and instability across the world. The present system needs a major shakeup so that power can be more evenly distributed according to traditional democratic standards. America’s decline presents a unique opportunity to restore the Republic, restructure the existing global-paradigm, and begin to build consensus on the species-threatening challenges which face us all.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Who Ordered the Assassination of Dr. David Kelly?

The British media has become embroiled in yet another set of distortions regarding the death of British government weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly in July 2003. Kelly died in mysterious circumstances in the woods near his home in Oxfordshire.

Kelly was Britain's foremost expert on biological weapons, with direct access to WMD intelligence on Iraq. In the months leading up to his death, he had become increasingly skeptical regarding Iraq's alleged WMDs. "It was Dr Kelly who exposed claims by President George Bush, Tony Blair and Colin Powell that mobile biological warfare units had been found in Iraq as false." (Independent, 25 July 2003)

According to the Hutton inquiry report:

"Dr Kelly took his own life... [T]he principal cause of death was bleeding from incised wounds to his left wrist which Dr Kelly had inflicted on himself with the knife found beside his body''.

Suicide was seemingly assumed from the outset by Lord Hutton, and the Hutton Inquiry descended into establishing who, between the BBC and the Government, was to blame for the suicide (rather than the murder) of Dr Kelly.

The inquiry led by Lord Hutton pointed to "suicide" as the cause of death, in contradiction with the results of the autopsy. "Suicide was never proved, either by the Coroner or Lord Hutton, as required by law". (See Dr. Stephen Frost, et al, Global Research, 28 November 2006)
The inquiry purported to obviate the need for an inquest as well as exonerate the Government of Tony Blair and the Secret Service "of all significant charges". It was an obvious camouflage. (See the analysis of Rowena Thursby, Global Research, Oct 2006, see also dr-david-kelly.blogspot.com)

On November 3, 2006, The London Times published a letter by Lord Hutton, in which he attempted to defend his report on Dr. David Kelly's death. In the letter, Lord Hutton dwells on the issue of the allegedly "sexed up" intelligence, ignoring the arguably much larger issue of his failure to establish exactly how Dr. David Kelly died.

A response to Lord Hutton's letter to The Times was submitted by three distinguished doctors ( Drs. C. Stephen Frost, David Halpin and Searle Sennett) The Times, refused to publish the response, which was subsequently published as an article by Global Research. Drs. Frost et al contributed to breaking the mainstream media silence on the possibility that Dr David Kelly did not commit suicide.

What was dismissed by the mainstream British media was that Lord Hutton, who seemingly assumed suicide from the outset, had undermined due process, and therefore laid himself open to charges of cover-up, by himself "sexing up" his own findings on the cause of Dr David Kelly's death. But, a cover-up of what? (See Drs. C. Stephen Frost, et al, op cit).

New British Media consensus

In its "Conspiracy Files" documentary (25 February 2007), the BBC questioned the official version that Kelly had committed suicide, as outlined in the Hutton inquiry report. In this BBC programme, the findings of the Hutton inquiry are refuted through carefully documented research and analysis. It was not suicide, it was murder.

The media consensus regarding the cause of Dr. Kelly's death seems to have been reversed. Or has it?

While the BBC and the British media have acknowledged that Dr. Kelly might have have been murdered, they have failed to address two crucial questions:

1. If it wasn't suicide, who ordered the assassination of David Kelly?

2. Who ordered the cover-up of a criminal act?

Contradicting their own assessment of the evidence, the BBC is suggesting that the government of Tony Blair could not possibly have been involved. John Morrison, former deputy chief of British defence intelligence, who was interviewed by the BBC's "Conspiracy Files" programme, states emphatically that there was "no British secret service plot to kill Dr Kelly."

Morrison rejects suggestions that Dr Kelly could have been the victim of British agents licensed to kill: "It is indeed complete fantasy that there are agents that are licensed to kill". According to Morrisson:

"There are intelligence agencies around the world who do engage in assassinations, there's no doubt about that. Some of them not very nice people at all..... But we [ in Britain] have never had a policy of assassination to my knowledge in the history of the UK intelligence agencies, and certainly not in the last few decades". (Source BBC website)

If Her Majesty's government was not involved because The British Secret Service "does not have a policy of assassination", who then could possibly be behind the murder of David Kelly?

Criminal Investigation

If it was murder rather than suicide, one would expect a full fledged police investigation leading up to trial court proceedings.

One would also expect --as in a bona fide criminal investigation-- that one or more "suspects" would be identified, and that "methods", "motives" and "intent" would be examined. Moreover, one would also expect that the issue of alleged government involvement be either confirmed or dismissed in a court of law.

Will a criminal investigation --which could potentially bring down the government-- be allowed to proceed?

Or will there be another cover-up, "to cover-up the cover-up"?

Saddam did It

Meanwhile, in the interest of "balanced reporting", the BBC documentary also included an authoritative statement by Richard Spertzel, a former US weapons inspector who worked with Dr Kelly in Iraq. Spertzel believes that "the Iraqis assassinated him" implying that Kelly might have been murdered on the orders of Saddam Hussein and that the defunct Baathist regime's intelligence apparatus was behind the assassination.

"It has always been obvious that his death was highly convenient for the UK intelligence services but one of Kelly's former colleagues, Richard Spertzel, an American biological weapons inspector, says that the Iraqi intelligence service may have been pursuing a vendetta against him. Spertzel says both he and Kelly were known to be on an Iraqi hit list."(emphasis added. Irish independent, 26 Feb 2007)

Contradictory statement: "Convenient for UK intelligence" but it was, according to Spertzel, more likely that the Iraqi Intelligence service was behind the murder.

Qui Buono? Who benefits? Did the murder of Dr. Kelly serve the interests of Iraq. Was it "convenient" for the defunct Baathist regime?

And why the Hutton report cover-up? If the murder had been ordered by Iraq, why did they need to cover it up? If indeed Iraqi agents had been behind it, this would have been front page news: the reports of the Iraqi sponsored vendetta and murder of a prominent British scientist would have been plastered on Britain's tabloids. Just imagine the headlines.

Where is the motive? What interest would the post-Saddam Iraqi resistance have in murdering the man who was revealing the lies behind the Iraqi WMD allegations, which served as the main justification for waging war on Iraq. Remember: Dr David Kelly was the source for a BBC report claiming the government of Tony Blair had "sexed up" its dossier on Saddam's alleged WMD arsenal. And ultimately, the "sexed up" WMD report was the casus belli, the pretext for waging war on Iraq, which was invoked by the US and its indefectible British ally.

Complicity of the State? "Set the hares running"

Liberal MP Norman Baker, who was interviewed in the BBC programme, outlines the results of his investigation. He states that it was not suicide, but murder.

"I've concluded in my mind, beyond reasonable doubt as it were, that it's impossible for the suicide explanation to hold water. The medical evidence doesn't support it in any way, the psychological evidence barely supports it either and as it wasn't obviously natural causes or an accident, then you're driven to the conclusion that it must have been some sort of murder." (GMTV "The Sunday Programme", 25 February 2007)

"Describing his approach as non-sensational and factual, he said he has tested various theories 'to destruction'. One witness who contacted him recently claimed to "know" that Dr Kelly was murdered. Asked about "complicity of the State", Mr Baker chose his words carefully, claiming this would 'set the hares running'. He is pursuing a number of leads"

Norman Baker's inquiry has reached the conclusion that Kelly was assassinated but he asserts categorically that the British government could not possibly have been involved:

"I don't believe the Prime Minister, the politicians and the Government were responsible for what happened to David Kelly. I believe they treated him shamefully and I believe they treated him callously in that they deliberately leaked his name to the press and they were quite happy to offer him up as fodder in some sort of Soviet-style Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in order to discredit Andrew Gilligan and the BBC".