"Our real enemy is not the ones living in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand; The real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable, the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it's profitable, the Banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us"
- Mike Prysner

"The chain reaction of evil... wars producing more wars... must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy... The loss of Liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad..."
- James Madison

video by

Major General Smedley Butler - 1935 :" WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. .. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many."

Julian Assange speaks out about living in a one-room embassy refuge

'It's like living in a space station': Julian Assange speaks out about living in a one-room embassy refuge with a mattress on the floor and a blue lamp to mimic daylight

By SARAH OLIVER - 29 September 2012 

The court in exile of Julian Assange – cyber terrorist, or the world’s greatest freedom fighter, depending on your world view – is a curiously muted place. The acolytes who pledged to maintain a protective vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has been encamped since June, are long gone. So, too, is the 50-strong squad of officers who policed his first few hours within the red-brick mansion block where the embassy is housed.

There’s now a policeman on the steps outside, and one by the lift in the communal foyer in case he makes a run for a rooftop helicopter. Another stands on an exterior stairwell with an unrestricted view of the clumsily made single bed on which Assange snatches sleep.

But 100 days after he sought political asylum here, the thrilling siege-cum-circus surrounding the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief’s bid to avoid extradition from the UK to Sweden has gone very quiet indeed.

Free thinker: Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been encamped since June

Inside the small and not very grand embassy, Assange is having lunch with diplomatic staff. They are sharing a traditional South American dish, ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus juice) to mark someone’s departure for Quito – the very journey Assange is now prevented from making by the authorities.

In the flesh he is taller, at 6ft 2in, and more athletic than pictures suggest. His familiar sweep of grey hair trimmed short, he is clean-shaven and wearing a traditional embroidered Ecuadorian shirt, along with bright white sports socks and sky-blue trainers. Reports of a lack of self-care seem wide of the mark.

Had Assange not found refuge within these walls, he would have been sent to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault.

He fears Swedish authorities will send him to America to face charges of espionage after WikiLeaks published a vast tranche of classified documents said to have been passed on by US army private Bradley Manning. Australian-born Assange could face life imprisonment in America.

He ushers me into the modest quarters that have been his home since he entered the embassy. The studio room has space for little more than a mattress on the floor, a rickety shelving unit and a small round table with leatherette chairs. But this is, for the time being at least, a cell of his choosing. So how is he then, living in this small corner of Ecuador with just a shared bathroom and a glossy red kitchen the size of a broom cupboard?

‘It’s a little bit like being in a space station,’ he says. ‘I have been in solitary confinement [following his arrest in 2010 on the sexual allegations] and this isn’t comparable to the difficulties in prison. I have complete control within a small environment and it enables me to do what is most important, which is to protect my work from the attacks it is under.

A policeman stands guard outside the Ecuadorian Embassy where Julian Assange has sought refuge

‘The first two months in the embassy were quite positive. We had a big political battle, we had momentum, there was the physicality of the training to use emergency equipment and the day-to-day task of building a life in here.

‘That has stabilised now and the stability is becoming annoying. There is a longer-term danger with all injustices that in continuing they become normalised.’

Yet there is nothing normal about the unique predicament in which he finds himself.

I am not permitted to tell you the precise nature of the safety equipment he keeps close to his bed, nor of the contents of the documents and diagrams pinned to his wall.

But I will say that Assange has relocated his cyber empire, running it with multiple mobile telephones and laptop computers. He meticulously shreds anything that might leave a paper trail. ‘The enemy is vicious, it’s like trench warfare in a monsoon,’ he says.

Rest has become elusive. ‘I work a 17-hour day, seven days a week. Sleep is difficult because of the police movements.’ (Certainly his room is noisy.)

‘There is an absurdly oppressive police presence, which is not a productive way to deal with the situation. I have a blue sky-light frequency lamp which mimics blue sky shining up to the ceiling. I have to have it on a timer or I am like a battery hen, I stay up all night working,’ he smiles.

He rarely has the time or appetite to read for pleasure; among the few books on his shelves are a Spanish dictionary and one on Guantanamo. He relaxes by watching films and TV shows on his laptop. He is currently immersed in The Twilight Zone, the cult Sixties sci-fi series, and is also enjoying a box set of The West Wing.

Sarah Oliver talks with Julian Assange about how he is coping with his confinement

His film selection is broad and includes The Ides Of March, with George Clooney as a corrupt White House hopeful, and a tale of an Aborigine prisoner’s civil-rights struggle, This Is How You’ll Make Your Bed In Prison.

Assange maintains a strict exercise regime, seeing a personal trainer every other day. Being Assange, this is an SAS veteran, who is also a military whistleblower. He has a running machine, which was a gift from film director Ken Loach, and runs between three and five miles each day, and also does boxing and calisthenics.

He makes a point of eating as much fresh food as can be brought into the embassy by friends and staff. On a ledge I spot charcoal capsules, to aid digestion, and Vitamin D pills, which compensate for the lack of sunlight.

He has also invested in a UVB light to make up for not being in the sun. He tried it for the first time two days before he appeared on the balcony to address supporters and the world’s media, six weeks ago.

‘I put it on so I would look better, not so pale. After half an hour, one of my staff said, “Julian, your face on one side is beetroot, and your neck as well.” I looked like a boiled lobster but the balcony was a major political moment and I thought what, what, what am I going to do?

‘I decided I would have to do the other side to match. My eyes were burning, I couldn’t see, I had blisters all down the left side and then my skin started to fall off.

‘A friend’s wife came in and experimented with everything in her make-up bag to even me out. It took an hour and a half to ensure I didn’t look like a Chernobyl victim,’ he laughs.

That balcony appearance, Assange’s first in public for two months, was the undoubted highlight of the past 100 days.

Home away from home: Julian Assange is now living in a studio room has space for little more than a mattress on the floor, a shelving unit and a small round table with leatherette chairs

‘I was heartened to have so much support but also just to see new bricks .  .  . I was like, “Wow, new bricks, they’re cool!”

‘I miss many things, going to the shops or out to eat with friends. I miss an open horizon, putting my toes in the sea, going fishing, climbing a mountain .  .  .’

But more than anything he misses his family. For Assange, 41, is a loving son and father. There are hints that he was in a serious relationship before his life became one of legal drama, although he shies away from discussing any details.

He says of his situation: ‘Most normal human relationships are made obviously difficult.

‘Anyone who I was in love with I would not be able to see because of security considerations. It has caused severe difficulties to a relationship that was important to me. Some members of my family, including my children, have had death threats.

‘I took certain risks. If you believe in philosophical or political ideas, you must pay the price and that is OK. But family members, they did not sign up to pay that price, most of all my children.

‘Now Right-wing bloggers in the US have called for them to be targeted to force us to stop publishing. They want to use my son as leverage against us. It is a significant ongoing problem.’

Assange is thought to be a father of two: a boy – the elder – and a girl. He will not reveal details about his children, their ages or countries of residence, for security reasons. He fears what might be done by individuals and states held up to scrutiny by WikiLeaks.

What he will say is this: ‘I raised my eldest son as a single father for more than 14 years in Australia. I was a busy father but not an absent one. I have not seen any of my children since before I was under house arrest.’ Then he adds tellingly: ‘The difficulties in logistics translate into the emotional environment.’

He does not believe his own life is in danger, despite the occasional outburst from the US far-Right opponents he describes as ‘crazy patriots’.

‘It’s more a war of attrition: character attacks, the financial blockade [which began in 2010 and has since cost WikiLeaks an estimated 95 per cent of its income] and 12 major court cases around the world. The US wants to show that people cannot get away with embarrassing them the way we have done. But it can’t have me die in a car accident because that is not making an example.’

Asked about British security services, Assange says cryptically: ‘We have had surveillance events from time to time, including after my entry into the embassy, but to speak about them now would be counter-productive.’

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appeared on the balcony to address supporters and the world's media six weeks ago

But even if he doesn’t fear being bumped off, the 100 days have taken their toll. ‘My health is slowly deteriorating.’ Mental or physical? I ask. ‘I hope it’s just physical,’ he replies. ‘I am taking steps to try to stop it but I have a problem with a lung which is causing a racking cough.’

However, his morale is far better than it was under house arrest, when he spent 560 days under stringent bail conditions in Norfolk and Sussex before he entered the embassy.

(The friends who posted his £200,000 bail, including socialite Jemima Khan and publisher Felix Dennis, have lost their money, but they remain ‘unyielding’ in their support.)

‘My time on bail and under house arrest was extremely beleaguering. This less so,’ says Assange.

Yet this modern nomad is more used to moving country every few weeks than being confined to one room. So what belongings did he bring with him to keep up his spirits? He gazes around hopelessly until his eyes alight on an orange felt hat from Kazakhstan, a gift from a friend, and assorted bottles of hard liquor, mostly unopened, also presents. ‘They don’t look good, do they?’ he grins. ‘But at least no one can say I have converted to Islam.’

He has no doubt that he will go to Ecuador one day. ‘I think it is inevitable but I will not be marooned there. From Ecuador, me and my staff could safely travel to and from a number of friendly countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Russia, Brazil, India, Venezuela, Chile and Argentina.

‘We must see the countries of the world as a chess board with light and dark areas in ever shifting arrangements depending on our latest publication.’ But how will he get to that first stepping stone of Ecuador, given that Foreign Secretary William Hague has made it clear he will be arrested even if he leaves the embassy handcuffed to a diplomat? Thus far he has been granted asylum by the government in Quito but not diplomatic status.

‘The UK has an obligation to respect diplomatic immunity and the sanctity of diplomatic vehicles. The issue is whether William Hague will instruct UK police to break the law.

‘If the US drops its actions against us then the situation becomes easy. The risk period for my extradition to the US – though it could come at any moment – is immediately before or immediately after the trial of Bradley Manning, since the accusation is that I was in some kind of conspiracy with him to obtain information from the US government.’ Manning’s trial is set to begin in February.

‘Unless the UK wants to be embroiled with a US extradition request, it is advisable that the deadlock between the UK and Ecuador is resolved by then.’

Assange is confident that the allegations of sex crimes committed in Sweden will be dropped. ‘It could be three months, it could be sooner,’ he judges.

The thrilling siege-cum-circus surrounding Julian Assange's extradition has gone very quiet of late

He won’t speak of the precise circumstances surrounding the allegations, saying: ‘It does not do for a gentleman to complain.’ He also fears that any attempt to defend himself might suggest a crime had been committed.

It is not in dispute that he slept with two women within days of each other while speaking at a conference in Stockholm. When they discovered his disloyalty they went, together, to the police.

Assange refuses to say if he believes it was a honey trap or if he was simply unlucky in that his actions gave his opponents a weapon to use against him. ‘In Sweden I was in a position where I was completely dependent on others for my safety, security and food.

‘Without wanting to go into private details, there are many things I would do differently given perfect hindsight. The facts, as recorded in the police documents, make my innocence clear.

‘The problem is that I have been trapped in the UK by the Swedish extradition claim for the past two years while the US has progressed its investigation into WikiLeaks and me to the point where it is ready to proceed with a prosecution, or almost ready.

‘Even if the Swedish case goes away, the US can just phone in an extradition order to the UK. If the US investigation goes away it will be fine, I can travel again.

‘If it proceeds to a prosecution then it is a chess game in terms of my movements. I would be well advised to be in a jurisdiction that is not in an alliance with the US, anywhere which allows me to keep on working.’

WikiLeaks and what it stands for is Assange’s raison d’etre; he remains defiant. ‘Will we ever stop? No. The preservation of history which matters – and the history which matters the most is what happened last week or last year – is about our common heritage. Its value and importance is beyond one person or institution.

‘To destroy such information – and not putting it in the public domain is the same as having it destroyed – is like burning the library in Alexandria.’

Some might see Assange as existing perilously close to lunatic conspiracy theories, for others he reveals dark truths about the world we all share. Does he think the rest of us are sleepwalking?

‘When you see institutions from around the world, not the spin, but the raw documents of titanic institutions like states, large companies and banks, you start to glimpse the common pattern of modern human civilisation and you can see how the world is drifting.

‘We risk moving into a transnational dystopia, the likes of which we have never seen, due to the increasing interconnectedness of states and economies.’

I take my leave of the embassy almost five hours after I was ushered in. Outside, the police have changed shifts. Based out of a mobile command unit parked over the road for the foreseeable future, they grumble about the lack of a toilet – they’ve recently been told not to use the facilities in Harrods – and how all the electric sockets have blown.

For them it’s just been another rainy day man-marking Julian Assange, enemy of America.

Terror delisting the MEK is a cynical sham

The dissident group's lavish lobbying has paid off: hoping to look tough on Iran, the Obama administration has enlisted the MEK in a proxy war

Richard Silverstein  -, Saturday 22 September 2012

The US delisting of the group is a sham. The Obama administration isn't even claiming the MEK has renounced terrorism. If it did, it knows that it's likely such a statement would rebound should the MEK's activities become exposed. The chief argument offered in defense of the change of heart is that the group has agreed to relocate from Camp Ashraf, where it's been a thorn in the side of the Iraqi Shi'ite led government, to a US facility, from which the residents would be relocated to foreign countries.

So, we're removing a terror group from the list not because it's stopped being a terror group, but because it's agreed to leave Iraq, where it had been a destabilizing influence. That's not a principled position. It's a position based on pure political calculation.

The MEK is useful in the covert war the US and Israel are waging against Iran's nuclear program. It is our proxy, much as the Cuban rebels involved in the Bay of Pigs operation served our interests in the fight against Fidel Castro; and the Afghan mujahideen fought a dirty war for us against the Soviets.

In fact, Alan Dershowitz has argued that the MEK should be removed from the treasury list not because it has stopped being terrorist, but because it collaborated with US covert activities inside Iran, meaning that it was serving US interests. Or put more simply: the MEK may be terrorists, but they're our terrorists.

Delisting the MEK serves several goals for President Obama. He can flex his muscles in the face of both the Iranians and Republicans. To the Iranians, he's implicitly saying he will make alliance with their worst enemy as long as they resist him at the negotiating table. To Mitt Romney, he's saying he's willing to get tough with the Iranians. This inoculates him from campaign attacks claiming he's soft on Iran or that he's willing to let Iran get the bomb.

You can bet that one of the president's campaign talking points will be that he delisted the MEK. It will establish his anti-Iran bona fides when the TV ads paid for by Sheldon Adelson's anticipated $100m start airing in the coming weeks.

Just as President Obama's anti-terror policies, including targeted assassinations and drone strikes, have betrayed his previous denunciations of such violations of constitutional principles, so his granting a seal of approval to the MEK marks a further erosion of his commitment to diplomacy and negotiation as the means for resolving international disputes, including the one with Iran.

Extracted from the original article which can be found here:

Julian Assange's Address to the UN

Thursday 27 September 2012

Transcript of Julian Assange’s Address to the UN on Human Rights - given on Wednesday 26th September - Proofed from live speech

Foreign Minister Patino, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

I speak to you today as a free man, because despite having been detained for 659 days without charge, I am free in the most basic and important sense. I am free to speak my mind.

This freedom exists because the nation of Ecuador has granted me political asylum and other nations have rallied to support its decision.

And it is because of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that WikiLeaks is able to "receive and impart information... through any media, and any medium and regardless of frontiers". And it is because of Article 14.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which enshrines the right to seek asylum from persecution, and the 1951 Refugee Convention and other conventions produced by the United Nations that I am able to be protected along with others from political persecution.

It is thanks to the United Nations that I am able to exercise my inalienable right to seek protection from the arbitrary and excessive actions taken by governments against me and the staff and supporters of my organisation. It is because of the absolute prohibition on torture enshrined in customary international law and the UN Convention Against Torture that we stand firmly to denounce torture and war crimes, as an organisation, regardless of who the perpetrators are.

I would like to thank the courtesy afforded to me by the Government of Ecuador in providing me with the space here today speak once again at the UN, in circumstances very different to my intervention in the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva.

Almost two years ago today, I spoke there about our work uncovering the torture and killing of over 100,000 Iraqi citizens.

But today I want to tell you an American story.

I want to tell you the story of a young American soldier in Iraq.

The soldier was born in Cresent Oaklahoma to a Welsh mother and US Navy father. His parents fell in love. His father was stationed at a US military base in Wales.

The soldier showed early promise as a boy, winning top prize at science fairs 3 years in a row.

He believed in the truth, and like all of us, hated hypocrisy.

He believed in liberty and the right for all of us to pursue happiness. He believed in the values that founded an independent United States. He believed in Madison, he believed in Jefferson and he believed in Paine. Like many teenagers, he was unsure what to do with his life, but he knew he wanted to defend his country and he knew he wanted to learn about the world. He entered the US military and, like his father, trained as an intelligence analyst.

In late 2009, aged 21, he was deployed to Iraq.

There, it is alleged, he saw a US military that often did not follow the rule of law, and in fact, engaged in murder and supported political corruption.

It is alleged, it was there, in Baghdad, in 2010 that he gave to WikiLeaks, and to the world, details that exposed the torture of Iraqis, the murder of journalists and the detailed records of over 120,000 civilian killings in Iraq and in Afghanistan. He is also alleged to have given WikiLeaks 251,000 US diplomatic cables, which then went on to help trigger the Arab Spring. This young soldier’s name is Bradley Manning.

Allegedly betrayed by an informer, he was then imprisoned in Baghdad, imprisoned in Kuwait, and imprisoned in Virginia, where he was kept for 9 months in isolation and subject to severe abuse. The UN Special Rapporteur for Torture, Juan Mendez, investigated and formally found against the United States.

Hillary Clinton’s spokesman resigned. Bradley Manning, science fair all-star, soldier and patriot was degraded, abused and psychologically tortured by his own government. He was charged with a death penalty offence. These things happened to him, as the US government tried to break him, to force him to testify against WikiLeaks and me.

As of today Bradley Manning has been detained without trial for 856 days.

The legal maximum in the US military is 120 days.

The US administration is trying to erect a national regime of secrecy. A national regime of obfuscation.

A regime where any government employee revealing sensitive information to a media organization can be sentenced to death, life imprisonment or for espionage and journalists from a media organization with them.

We should not underestimate the scale of the investigation which has happened into WikiLeaks. I only wish I could say that Bradley Manning was the only victim of the situation. But the assault on WikiLeaks in relation to that matter and others has produced an investigation that Australian diplomats say is without precedent in its scale and nature. That the US government called a "whole of government investigation." Those government agencies identified so far as a matter of public record having been involved in this investigation include: the Department of Defense, Centcom, the Defence Intelligence Agency, the US Army Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Forces in Iraq, the First Army Division, The US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit, the CCIU, the Second Army Cyber-Command. And within those three separate intelligence investigations, the Department of Justice, most significantly, and its US Grand Jury in Alexandria Virginia, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which now has, according to court testimony early this year produced a file of 42,135 pages into WikiLeaks, of which less than 8000 concern Bradley Manning. The Department of State, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Services. In addition we have been investigated by the Office of the Director General of National Intelligence, the ODNI, the Director of National Counterintelligence Executive, the Central Intelligence Agency, the House Oversight Committee, the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB - the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

The Department of Justice spokesperson Dean Boyd confirmed in July 2012 that the Department of Justice investigation into WikiLeaks is ongoing.

For all Barack Obama’s fine words yesterday, and there were many of them, fine words, it is his administration that boasts on his campaign website of criminalizing more speech that all previous US presidents combined.

I am reminded of the phrase: "the audacity of hope."

Who can say that the President of the United States is not audacious?

Was it not audacity for the United States government to take credit for the last two years’ avalanche of progress?

Was it not audacious to say, on Tuesday, that the "United States supported the forces of change" in the Arab Spring?

Tunisian history did not begin in December 2010.

And Mohammed Bouazizi did not set himself on fire so that Barack Obama could be reelected.

His death was an emblem of the despair he had to endure under the Ben Ali regime.

The world knew, after reading WikiLeaks publications, that the Ben Ali regime and its government had for long years enjoyed the indifference, if not the support, of the United States - in full knowledge of its excesses and its crimes.

So it must come as a surprise to Tunisians that the United States supported the forces of change in their country.

It must come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American teargas out of their eyes that the US administration supported change in Egypt.

It must come as a surprise to those who heard Hillary Clinton insist that Mubarak’s regime was "stable," and when it was clear to everyone that it was not, that its hated intelligence chief, Sueilman, who we proved the US knew was a torturer, should take the realm.

It must come as a surprise to all those Egyptians who heard Vice President Joseph Biden declare that Hosni Mubarak was a democrat and that Julian Assange was a high tech terrorist.

It is disrespectful to the dead and incarcerated of the Bahrain uprising to claim that the United States "supported the forces of change."

This is indeed audacity.

Who can say that it is not audacious that the President - concerned to appear leaderly - looks back on this sea change - the people’s change - and calls it his own?

But we can take heart here too, because it means that the White House has seen that this progress is inevitable.

In this "season of progress" the president has seen which way the wind is blowing.

And he must now pretend that it is his adminstration that made it blow.

Very well. This is better than the alternative - to drift into irrelevance as the world moves on.

We must be clear here.

The United States is not the enemy.

Its government is not uniform. In some cases good people in the United States supported the forces of change. And perhaps Barack Obama personally was one of them.

But in others, and en masse, early on, it actively opposed them.

This is a matter of historical record.

And it is not fair and it is not appropriate for the President to distort that record for political gain, or for the sake of uttering fine words.

Credit should be given where it is due, but it should be withheld where it is not.

And as for the fine words.

They are fine words.

And we commend and agree with these fine words.

We agree when President Obama said yesterday that people can resolve their differences peacefully.

We agree that diplomacy can take the place of war.

And we agree that this is an interdependent world, that all of us have a stake in.

We agree that freedom and self-determination are not merely American or Western values, but universal values.

And we agree with the President when he says that we must speak honestly if we are serious about these ideals.

But fine words languish without commensurate actions.

President Obama spoke out strongly in favour of the freedom of expression.

"Those in power," he said, "have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissent."

There are times for words and there are times for action. The time for words has run out.

It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks, to cease its persecution of our people, and to cease its persecution of our alleged sources.

It is time for President Obama do the right thing, and join the forces of change, not in fine words but in fine deeds.



Assange to UN: 'It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called on the United States to move from words to actions, and put an end to its persecution of WikiLeaks, its people and its sources. He made the statement during an address to a panel of UN delegates.

Addressing the representatives of the United Nations' member countries, the WikiLeaks founder spoke of the difference between words and actions, praising US President Barack Obama for his words.

"We commend and agree with the words that peace can be achieved… But the time for words has run out. It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks, our people and our sources."

Assange was highly critical of US involvement in the Arab Spring, denouncing Obama as audacious for exploiting it. He added that it is "disrespectful of the dead" to claim that the US has supported forces of change.

"Was it not audacious for the US President to say that his country supported the forces of change in the Arab Spring? Tunisian history did not begin in December 2010, and Mohamed Bouazizi did not set himself on fire so that Barack Obama could be re-elected," Assange told the panel.

"The world knew after reading WikiLeaks that Ben Ali and his government had for long years enjoyed the indifference, if not the support, of the US, in full knowledge of its excesses and its crimes. So it must come as a surprise to the Tunisians that the US supported the forces of change in their country, and it must come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American tear gas out of their eyes, that the US administration supported change in Egypt"

Julian Assange also spoke at length about Bradley Manning, the US private accused of supplying WikiLeaks with hundreds of sensitive diplomatic and military cables. Assange accused the US government of detaining Manning without charge and mistreating him, even attempting to offer him a deal in exchange for Manning's testimony against Assange. The WikiLeaks founder told the UN panel that Bradley Manning, accused of 'death penalty crimes', was"degraded, abused and psychologically tortured."

He added that the FBI had produced 42,135 pages of WikiLeaks-related activity, and less that 8,000 concern Bradley Manning, reiterating his belief that the US private is being senselessly detained.

Julian Assange made his address from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he took shelter in June after losing a court battle to avoid extradition to Sweden. The WikiLeaks founder fears that Sweden, which wants him for questioning over allegations of sexual assault, will extradite him to the US for his role in leaking thousands of secret diplomatic and military cables.

The British Foreign Office maintains that it has a binding obligation to arrest Assange once he leaves the embassy grounds. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, meanwhile, said that allowing Assange to be transferred to the country’s embassy in Sweden would be an acceptable compromise for all parties involved, as he would “remain under our protection while also satisfying the demands of the Swedish justice system.”

The Ecuador FM also said that Assange's right to freedom must be respected.

"I don’t know any case in history where diplomatic asylum did not end in freedom for the person. I hope this will not be an exception in history. Every country must respect the right of the country granting asylum and the person who was granted it."

Julian Assange told journalists present at the UN GA panel that "both the UK and Sweden have refused to offer guarantees" that he would not be extradited to the US, where both he and WikiLeaks have been declared 'enemies of the state' by the milatary, putting them in the same legal category as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The UK and Sweden have remained silent on the possibility of a compromise, though both publicly vowed that Assange should not face special treatment, whether better or worse than normal, under their legal systems.

Assange blasts 'absurd McCartyhism' during post-speech Q&A

Fairfax Newspapers: The US military officially designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as ‘enemies of the United States’ through declassified US Air Force counterintelligence documents. In light of these reports, do you believe this vindicates your decision to seek asylum in Ecuador, and what do you think this says – the statements made by the Australian and American governments regarding this issue?

Julian Assange: Those documents are now in full on the WikiLeaks website, just released tonight. They formed a part of the submission that we made to Ecuador. We had those documents for some months and of course were very concerned about them, but it was necessary to conduct, because of the sensitivities of some of the people involved in that investigation, to prevent their release until more recently. But yes, I encourage everyone to read those. It is an unusual position that I am in and the organization is in, and yes, it is difficult sometimes.

But it is also completely absurd. I mean, these claims against us are absurd. For example, that the US military should designate me and / or WikiLeaks as ‘the enemy’ in its formal investigation – investigation which carries a death penalty offense – into a person who was alleged to have come to my extradition hearing. And in the same document, it speaks about the victim being that of society, when there is no allegation that any documents have been released or published by us.

So I think that goes to the… to really quite sort of absurdist, neo-McCarthyist fervor that exists with some of these government departments in the US. I am hopeful that the White House over time is starting to shed that, but enormous wheels have been set in motion, as I described before, with over a dozen different US intelligence and investigative organizations churning through this, and it’s a very difficult process to stop once it starts. Even once everyone sees that it is completely absurd and counter to the values that the US should be trying to present to the world.

David Miller of Bloomberg News: If Sweden can guarantee that you won’t be extradited to the US, are you willing to give yourself up to the police?

JA: So, I understand that there was a question on the guarantees that had been asked of Sweden. Thus far, both the UK and Sweden have refused to give any guarantee in any measure at all. And the US and my home country Australia have even refused to assist in asking them, rather unfortunately. These countries are part of a strong intelligence and military alliance. It’s just part of the reality of dealing with them – that they do not like to put any roadblocks in front of the US, and I think it will be quite a hard battle to do that. I think it would be correct and right that those countries do so. But the state-to-state negotiations are of course a matter for Ecuador, which I and my legal team of course make representations [with]. Ultimately it’s a matter between states.

I’m about to lose satellite time. I understand that Kristinn Hrafnsson, a handsome looking gentleman with white hair, is up the front there somewhere. He is the WikiLeaks spokesperson and he can answer questions in relation to me and the organization.

‘Syria much more complex than simply overthrowing the government’

26 September, 2012 

Rubble from destroyed buildings blocks a street on September 24, 2012, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, following fighting between Syrian government troops and rebel forces. (AFP Photo/Str)

It was the persistent call for regime change that brought the UN and Syria itself to a stalemate in the first place, Conn Hallinan from Foreign Policy in Focus told RT, commenting on Western proposals for Syria voiced at the UN General Assembly.

RT: Moscow insists diplomacy and dialogue is the solution to the Syrian crisis, calling the West's approach "destructive." How do you see the polar views of the international community being bridged?

Conn Hallinan: I’m not sure how they’re going to be bridged unless there’s a step back on both sides. First of all, you cannot call for the replacement of the regime and then expect to have a diplomatic solution. So when President Obama says that Assad ought to be replaced, who is going to do the negotiating? If the default position is regime change, then it’s going to be a fight to the death. 

My impression is that both sides are at a stalemate. Seems to me that the solution here was originally basically the ones that both China and Russia have proposed, which is that you get a cease-fire, you do not talk about regime change at this point – that is part of the negotiations, that is part of the diplomatic process. And I do not see that happening so long as the United States, France and Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council, particularly Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are trying to initiate and engineer regime change. I’m a bit discouraged about where it is going to go from here, but if it does not have a diplomatic solution, I think the ripples are going to be just disastrous.

RT: As the Syrian conflict shows no signs of easing, is a UN-backed peace deal possible anymore, or have we surpassed that opportunity?

CH: I think it is possible. What we need to do is maybe recognize that in the long run, the Assad regime is going to go – I’m certainly not losing any sleep over that, but that is something that has to be decided as part of the negotiations. And at this point the war has not simply spread to Turkey but to Iraq and to Lebanon. It has the possibility of spreading into Jordan. This is a potential disaster, and people are treating it as if it is just simply a matter of overthrowing the government. It is not. It is much more complex and it is much more difficult.

RT: Russia remains supportive of UN special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi. What chance does his mission have in adding a breath of fresh air to the conflict, now that the mediator himself says that "he has a few ideas but no plan"?

CH: It is a possibility and it is all you can really talk about. The problem is to go back to the original thing. As long as the default position is regime change, I do not think any plan could work. I mean, the Assad regime is not going to give up voluntarily, and so it is a war to the death. So that is what needs to be changed. There needs to be a sort of diplomatic or cultural revolution, that people need to recognize the necessity to step back, and that there’s a political process that can resolve this. I do not think that the principal players are paying any attention to it.

RT: During some of the latest protests across the Muslim world, al-Qaeda flags have been raised by demonstrators outside US embassies in some countries – but the US and its allies keep supporting the rebels in Syria, of whom links to al-Qaeda have been made. Where's the line between friend and enemy here?

CH: I think it is very difficult at this point. There is no question that al-Qaeda has made an appearance in Syria, although you have to be really careful; al-Qaeda is not really an organization, it is really an ideology. But there’s no real question that al-Qaeda-type groups are active in Syria. In one, an interview with the Syrian National Council in Der Spiegel, has basically said that they have really taken over a significant portion of the fighting, that’s what the car bombs represent. We let the genie out of the bottle and I think we have blown life into al-Qaeda both from the Libyan war and this war, and I think it is going to come back and bite us.

RT: Syria's ally Iran has been one of the focal points of the UN General Assembly session, with Barack Obama saying the US "will do what it must" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Is he inching closer towards launching a war on the Islamic Republic?

CH: I certainly hope it is rhetoric, because such a war is certainly not going to accomplish anything besides making essentially a general war in the region. It is very hard to judge what is going to happen in this case. I hate to predict it, but I do think that if you call for Iran on their nuclear weapons and you do not mention the Israeli nuclear weapons at the same time, I do not know how that is going to be read in the region. I mean, everybody knows that Israel has nuclear weapons, but we do not even know that Iran is trying to build them; they cannot have them and Israel can? I do not think that is a message that is going to resonate with much of the facts in the Middle East.


The only real difference is the marketing strategy


İNTERNET İSYAN RAPORU -  (İnternet Ağı Şemsiyesi)

Bugün sizlere ilginç bir çalışmadan bahsedeceğim. Konu biraz karışık ama meramımı anlatacağımı ümit ediyorum.

ABD’nin özellikle internet medyasını kullanarak yaptığı bir planı deşifre edeceğim:

Bu planın ana beyni yani merkezi Pentagon. Plan bu merkezden yürütülmekte ve kontrol edilmektedir. Ancak bu merkezle bağlantılı bazı özel birimlerle de işbirliği yapılmaktadır.

Bunun için kullanılan ara birimlerden biri Kanada’da bir üniversite.(Başka iki ülke üniversitesi daha var.) Pentagon tüm dünyanın internet ağını izlenmekte. Bu izlemeyi basit bir takip olarak ele almayın.Yani şöyle düşünmeyin; nereye giriliyor nereler tıklanıyor vs.

Benim burada anlatacağım şey işin “basit izleme kısmı” ile ilgili değil. Bu birim, özellikle sosyal medyayı ve internet kullanıcılarının girdikleri sitelerdeki yorumları takip ediyor.

Neden özellikle bu iki alan seçilmiş? Bu alanlardan toplanılan bilgiler ortak bir havuzda bir araya getirilerek çeşitli analizler için kullanılıyor.(İşte üniversiteler burada devreye giriyor.) Mesela ABD, operasyon yapacağı ülkelerdeki kişilerin ruh halini ölçüyor. Bir anlamda toplumun ruhsal durumu inceleniyor. Yani kişilerin neye tepki verdikleri, neleri beğendikleri, öfkeleri, sevinçleri vs. Bu analizler kullanılarak, o ülke insanının ayaklanma tepkisi ortaya çıkarılıyor. Buna göre de raporlar hazırlanıyor.Burada önemli olan, kişilerin ruh hali ölçülürken, özellikle isyana olan eğilimlerine azami dikkat ediliyor.

Konunun bazılarına çok saçma geleceğini tahmin edebiliyorum. “Biz ne ile uğraşırken, millet nelerle uğraşıyor,” diyebilirsiniz ama ben de gerçekleri yazdığıma inanıyorum. Bu bilgiyi özellikle iki nedenle paylaşıyorum: Birincisi bu çalışmadan “bizim ilgili birimlerimizi” haberdar etmek, ikincisi ise ABD’nin bu çalışmasından haberdar olduğumuzu ortaya koymak.

Biraz sonra vereceğim örneklerle konu kafanızda daha da şekillenecek.

Ortak havuzda toplanan bu bilgilere dayanarak analizler yapılıyor ve buna göre de senaryolar yazılıyor. Analizlerde; toplumların neye tepki verdiği, bu tepkisini ne kadar sürdürdüğü, ne zaman tepki verdiği raporlanıyor. Bu iş için çok ciddi bir ekip çalışıyor ve çalışanlar da konusunun önde gelen uzmanları. İçi boş bir toplumsal mühendislik değil bu yapılanlar.

Toplumların tepkileri ölçülürken olaya bir de ticari açıdan yaklaşıyorlar. Yani bu işin bir kısmını da “ekonomik analiz” olarak ele alıyorlar. Toplumların tüketim eğilimlerini ve ihtiyaçlarını tespit ederek yeni pazarlar oluşturuyorlar. Yapılan bu analizlerin etki sahası oldukça geniş.

İçinde bulundukları ruh hali tespit edilen ülkelerin tepki alanları ayrı numaralandırılmış. Mesela ekonomik olarak değerlendirilen alanlarla ilgili şöyle bir raporlama yapılıyor: Falan ülkenin batısı şu ürünü tüketir, şuna kızar, şu hoşuna gider vs.

Şimdi gelelim bu işin Pentagon ayağına. Pentagon bu teknikleri nerede ve nasıl kullandı?

Pentagon, bu metodu Ortadoğu’da meydana gelen ayaklanmalarda kullanmıştır. Bu metodun diğer bir ayağı olan “İnternet Ağı Şemsiyesi” aracılığı ile bu ayaklanmalar organize edildi. Arap Baharı bilindiği üzere internet üzerinden organize edilerek halklar yönlendirildi. Arap Baharı ayaklanmalarında kimsenin aklına gelmeyecek psikolojik harp teknikleri kullanıldı. Örneğin, Mısır’daki Tahrir Meydanı, bu iş için seçilmişti. Bu meydana halkı çekebilmek için işte Pentagon bu İnternet Ağı Şemsiyesi’ni kullanmıştır.

Nasıl mı? Bu iş için Mısır’ın en etkili gazetelerinden biri olan Al Ahram Gazetesi’nin internet sayfası paravan olarak kullanıldı. Güya Al Ahram Gazetesi Tahrir Meydanı’na toplanma çağrısı yapmıştı. Aslında böyle bir şey yoktu. Yani Al Ahram Gazetesi çağrı falan yapmamıştı. Ama internette o gazetenin sayfası öyle sunuldu. Ancak burada bir detay daha vardı: İnternete giren tüm Mısırlılar bu çağrıyı gazetenin o sayfasında göremediler. Tahrir Meydanı’nda toplanma çağrısı sadece ilgili alanlardaki internet ağı kullanıcılarına servis edilmişti.

İş sadece bununla da kalmadı; bunun yanında cihad çağrıları, tüm dünya haberleri farklı bir şekilde sunuldu belirlenmiş olan bu ağı kullananlara. Mesela bu ağı kullananlara; “tüm dünyada İslami seferberlik başlatıldı” haberleri yayınlandı. Oysa gerçekte böyle bir haber yoktu. Bu seferberlik haberi sadece internetten Mısır’ın belli bölgelerine gösterildi. Bu haberleri görenler sanıyorlardı ki, tüm dünya aynı haberleri görüp, okuyor. Gerçek elbette böyle değildi. Bu internet ağını kullananları, ajanlar ve özel birimler, ellerindeki bond çantalardan yönlendiriyordu.

Daha açık bir örnek vermek gerekirse; Diyelim ki bir Mısırlı, bölgesindeki internet ağını kullanarak, uluslar arası bir yayın kuruluşu olan CNN’nin ana sayfasına giriyor. Ancak bu Mısırlının girdiği CNN sayfası, CNN’nin gerçek sayfası değildi. Bu Mısırlının girdiği sayfalar, önceden Pentagon tarafından hazırlanan, sahte sayfalardı. O topluma göre hazırlanmış, toplumu yönlendirmek üzere kurgulanmış sayfalardı.

(Tahrir Meydan’ı ile ilgili Facebook sayfası üzerinden örgütlenme ve iPhone, Blackberry kullanıcılarının yönlendirilmeleri artık bilinen şeyler olduğu için fazla üzerinde durmadım.)

Bütün bu çalışmalar için çok önceden müthiş bir ön hazırlık aşaması vardır. Bunun için önceden toplanılan bilgiler analiz edilmiş, isyan edebilme kapasitesi olan toplumun tüm bireyleri internet ağı kullanılarak yönlendirilmişti.

Pentagon’un bu yeni tekniği bugün Ortadoğu’da yaygın olarak kullanılmaktadır. Ortadoğu’da seçilmiş bazı bölgelerde internete girenler kolayca manipüle edilebilmektedir.

Nasıl mı? Bir örnek vereyim: Diyelim ki, bu sahte internet ağı kullanılarak, meşhur bir sitede şöyle yayın yapılıyor:

“Türk askerlerini; Suriye’de, Afganistan’da vs. ABD ile birlikte Ebu Garib hapishanesindeki görüntülere benzer görüntüler yayınlayarak gösteriyorlar.” İşte Türk askerlerinin de içinde bulunduğu bu yalan olan görüntüleri bu internet ağı kullanıcıları hiç şüphelenmeden izliyor ve gerçek sanıyor. Oysa kullandıkları internet ağı onları yanıltıyor. Bu görüntüleri izleyenler hiçbir şeyden şüphelenmiyor ve yayınlanan görüntüleri herkesin gördüğünü sanarak, gerçek kabul ediyorlar.

Şimdi bir düşünün bakalım; bu İnternet Ağı Şemsiyesi kullanılarak tüm dünya nasıl kandırılır? Tüm dünya iletişim araçları, onların tasarladığı, fakat bizim normal günlük girdiğimiz internet ağına toplanıp yönlendirme yapabilirler.

Bir örnek verelim; interneti açıyorsun, her zaman girdiğin haber sitelerine giriyorsun. Bu haber sitelerinin hepsi “İsa’nın gökten indiğini” yazıyor. Başka siteye giriyorsun yine aynı haber… Bu haber ve görüntüleri, komşuların, mahalledeki kişiler, ilçedekiler vs. hepsi görüyor. Bütün bu insanlar aynı tepkiyi veriyor. İnterneti bırakıp, Tv’yi açıyorsun aynı haberler orada da var. Demek ki, aynı sistemi burada (tv’de) da uyguluyorlar. (Bunun için internette kullanılan görüntüleri, spikerlerin dublörlerini kullanarak, sahte tv programları hazırlıyorlar.)

İşte bu aşamada 36 saatlik kaos planı devreye giriyor. Bu süre, yapılacak şeyler önceden tasarlandığı için yeterli bir süre.

Mısır’da uygulanan bu taktik 28 saat üzerine kuruluydu. Şehre gelen gazeteler bile planlanmıştı. (Gazetelerin bile sahtesini basmışlardı.)

İşte Pentagon’un yeni çalışma alanı bu. Ancak bizim bu yazımızdan sonra değişiklikler olur mu, bekleyip göreceğiz.

(Bu konuyla ilgili yurtdışında bir iki kitap çalışması da yapılıyor/yaptırılıyor. Sanırım 3-4 aya kadar piyasaya çıkar. Bu yazımızdan sonra onlar da çıkar mı bilmiyorum.)

Erol Elmas

US Sponsored “Islamic Fundamentalism”: The Roots of the US-Wahhabi Alliance

The alliance between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia helped spread the ideology of fundamentalist Sunni Islam all over the globe. The majority of its victims are not citizens of Western countries, but citizens of countries that U.S. elites consider a threat to their economic and geopolitical interests. Many victims of Sunni extremism (often called Wahhabism or Salafism[1]) are in fact Muslims (often with a secular leftist or nationalist political background), moderate Sunni or members of Shiʿite Islamic faith.

This article addresses the history of Wahhabi fundamentalism and the examples of Afghanistan in the 80s, as well as the current situation in Syria. Both cases illustrate America’s responsibility for the destruction of secular, socially progressive societies in the Islamic world and elsewhere.

The Origins of Wahhabism

Wahhabi ideology serves U.S. interests for several reasons. Its followers’ archaic perception of society makes them reject any kind of progressive social change. Therefore they are well equipped to push back socialist, secular or nationalist movements, whose independence-oriented policies are a threat to America’s geopolitical agenda. Although Wahhabism certainly is not representative of the majority of Sunni Muslims, Wahhabi Muslims are Sunni extremists, which causes them to maintain an extremely hostile stance towards Shi’te Islam.

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which brought down the secular-nationalist regime of Saddam Hussein (a Sunni), the influence of Shi’ite-dominated Iran increased and caused a certain power shift in favor of Shiʿite Islam in the region. Due to this strengthened Shiʿite representation, American activities in the Middle East in recent years have been almost exclusively directed against Shiʿite interests. The emancipation of deprived Shiʿite masses in Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen or Lebanon are contrary to aspirations from the side of the U.S., whose main allies in the region (next to Israel) consist of repressive Sunni regimes and terror groups.

In the case of Syria, President Bashar Al-Assad (an ally of Iran) and the secular Syrian society particularly evoke the hatred of extremists. The fact that Al-Assad belongs to the Alawite minority (a mystical religious group and a branch of Shiʿite Islam) makes him unacceptable to Wahhabi purists.

Portraying Syria ruled solely by its Alawi minority (as some mainstream journalists tend to do) would nevertheless be wrong. As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya pointed out, among the Syrian top officials killed by a terrorist attack on July 18, 2012, Sunnis and Christians could be found among the Alawites.[2]

It is therefore worth examining the background of these enemies of secularism, multi-faith society and progress. Wahhabism is a puritanical branch of Sunni Islam that was founded in the middle of the 18th Century by Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, a theologian who propagated holy war and the “purification” of Islam. One of his inspirations was Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328), an early Islamic fundamentalist scholar who opposed any kind of intellectual debate that differentiated between the word of god and its interpretation.

Al-Wahhab and his ideas might have been forgotten by history if he hadn’t made a pact with Muhammad ibn Saud, emir of Al-Diriyah and ruler of the first Saudi state in 1744.

According to Robert Dreyfuss, the Saudi-Wahhabi alliance:

“…began a campaign of killing and plunder all across Arabia, first in central Arabia, then in Asir in Southern Arabia and parts of Yemen, and finally in Rhiadh and the Hijaz. In 1802 they raided the Shiite holy city of Karbala in what is now Iraq, killing most of the city’s population, destroying the dome over the grave of a founder of Shiism, and looting property, weapons, clothing, carpets, gold, silver and precious copies of the Quran.”[3]

In order to keep the faith “pure”, influences from Greek philosophy, Christianity and Judaism had to be exterminated. Intellectuals, artists, scientists and progressive rulers were declared enemies with no right to live.

It goes without saying that the idea of representing the pure teaching of Islam was fanatically pursued; in fact, Wahhabi warriors were fighting in order to spread the most archaic lifestyle that could be found within Arab culture.

In the second half of the 19th century, British imperialism discovered the house of Al Saud as a potentially useful ally in its attempt to gain influence in the Middle-East.

Riadh had been invaded by the Ottoman sultan in 1818. The Al Saud returned to power in 1823, but its area of control was mainly restricted to the Saudi heartland of the Nejd region, known as the second Saudi State. In 1899 the British helped the Al Saud establish a base in its protectorate of Kuwait, in order to reconquer Riadh, at that time ruled by the pro-Ottoman Al Rashid dynasty.

Originally Great Britain’s motivation to gain influence in the Middle-East was caused by their view of Arabia and the Gulf as being “one link in a chain that ran from Suez to India, the two anchors of the empire.”[4] Vast oil reserves would be discovered in the 1930s.

Great Britain became the first country to recognize the new Saudi Arabia as an independent state, establishing its current borders in 1932. A “Treaty of Friendship and Good Understanding” between the British Crown and the Saudi monarch was signed already in 1927. The 1924 integration of the holy sites of Mecca and Medina into the kingdom through military conquest inevitably contributed to firmly entrenching Al Saud’s authority in the Muslim world.

U.S. interest in Saudi Arabia started to grow as well around the same time, and a treaty with the California Arabian Standard Oil Company was agreed upon in 1932. It was the first such agreement created in cooperation with a western oil company.

In the following years and decades, the increasing revenues in oil business enabled the Saudi financing of religious institutions worldwide, propagating extremist interpretations of Islam. The flow of petro-dollars was of great importance to Saudi elites, who adapted a luxurious lifestyle and at the same time maintained an alliance with the Wahhabi base.[5] They also maintained ties to U.S. state officials, who welcomed Saudi oil as well as radical Islam, as long as it was directed against those standing in the way of America’s geopolitical agenda.

“Foreign aid” financed by the Kingdom was tremendous, according to U.S. “anti-terror” expert Alex Alexiev (though he doesn’t acknowledge the U.S. involvement in spreading Wahhabi terror):

“Between 1975 and 1987, the Saudis admit to having spent $48 billion or $4 billion per year on ‘overseas development aid’, a figure which by the end of 2002 grew to over $70 billion (281 billion Saudi rials).These sums are reported to be Saudi state aid and almost certainly do not include private donations which are also distributed by state-controlled charities. Such staggering amounts contrast starkly with the $5 million in terrorist accounts the Saudis claim to have frozen since 9/11.”[6]

A report from September 2009, made by the United States Government Accountability Office, points out the historical relevance of U.S.-Saudi relations:

“Relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia have a long historical context. Since the establishment of the modern Saudi state in 1932, and throughout the Cold War, the governments of the United States and Saudi Arabia developed a relationship based on shared interests, including energy production and combating communism. For instance, both Saudi Arabia and the United States became major supporters of the Afghan Mujahideen’s struggle against the Soviet invasion in 1979.”[7]

Saudi-backed archaic ideology served as an incentive to thousands of confused young men to receive military training in Pakistan in the 1980s, from where they were sent to Afghanistan in order to kill Russians.

America’s ‘Holy War’ against the USSR in Afghanistan

In a famous interview from 1998, former National Security Advisor to President Carter and geopolitical strategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, openly admitted that the hidden agenda of U.S. involvement in the war between Soviet troops and Afghan Mujahideen (1979-1988) was about “giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” He also admitted that American covert support of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan had already started six months prior to the beginning of Soviet intervention in order to create a trap that would eventually lead to the collapse of the USSR. Nothing about this is worth regretting, according to Mr. Brzezinski, not even the U.S. alliance with radical Islam:

“What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”[8]

In addition, the former Pakistani regime under General Zia Ul Haq, whose political program consisted of a plan of “Islamisation” of the country, was the main American ally when it came to training Islamist fighters. This happened under close cooperation between the CIA and the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). The ideological indoctrination of the people supposed to fight against the Soviets was being delivered by Pakistani madrassas, schools of radical (Wahhabi) Islam, financed by Saudi Arabia.[9]

While U.S. officials justified their support for the Mujahideen by presenting them as some kind of supposed freedom fighters, their Islamist allies showed less restraint in revealing their plans for Afghanistan. One example was the ISI Director General at the time, Akhtar Abdur Rahman Shaheed, who expressed his opinion quite undiplomatically: “Kabul must burn! Kabul must burn!”[10]

While Brzezinski achieved his goal, the fate of Afghanistan is well known: decades of civil war, brutality, analphabetism, the worst possible violation of women’s rights, extreme poverty and sectarian violence. Not to mention pollution by depleted uranium causing a sharp increase in cancer rates thanks to the U.S. bombing campaign from October 2001.

United States and Saudi Arabia against Secular Syria

Many other scenarios involving CIA/Saudi-sponsored terrorism took place in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union (e.g. in Chechnya, Bosnia, Libya etc.).

Currently, Syria’s secular, multi-ethnic and multi-faith society is being targeted by these very same forces, as well as reactionary regimes belonging to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and Turkey. As with the war in Afghanistan in the 80s, U.S. involvement in the Syrian crisis is intended to isolate Iran and, once again, target Russia. In conjunction, Wahhabi extremists are carrying out the same work as their forefathers in the 18th Century, namely fighting all tolerant forms of Islam.

Might this have been the reason why insurgents killed the youngest son of Syria’s highest Islamic authority, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun? Indeed, the position of the Grand Mufti is not aligned with Wahhabi extremism, as was clearly shown in last year’s interview with Der Spiegel:

“I see myself as the grand mufti of all 23 million Syrians, not just Muslims, but also Christians and even atheists. I am a man of dialogue. Who knows, maybe an agnostic will convince me with better arguments one day, and I’ll become a non-believer. And if I’m enthusiastic about the opposition’s political platform, I also might change sides.”[11]

In addition, several events that took place on the day this particular interview are worth noticing:

“During the late afternoon, the grand mufti has other appointments: condolence visits with a Christian and a Muslim family. In the evening, he will have to comfort his wife once again, who is completely distraught over the death of Saria. He was the youngest of the couple’s five sons, and the only one still living at home. Saria’s fellow students are holding a vigil at his stone sarcophagus, even now, four weeks after the murder. The young man’s last resting place can be found in the courtyard of a modest mosque. Sheikh Hassoun visits this sad place every day.”[12]

This certainly does not correspond with the Western media’s picture of fanatical Islamists, who consider the death of their sons a sign of honour and martyrdom, as long as they have died under circumstances that caused the death of “infidels” as well. Such behaviour is encouraged by Saudi Arabia, as can be seen on a shocking video available on YouTube. The shocking footage features a father in Jeddah, selling his son to be sent to Syria as a suicide bomber. Even if one questions the authenticity of the video, the ongoing suicide bombings in Syria are undoubtedly real:


To be sure, the religion of Islam poses just as much or little a threat to the world as the religions of Judaism or Christianity. Nevertheless, certain radical pockets exist who use and abuse religion to justify their disgust for dissent and whose totalitarian practices can only be classified as fascist. Their attempts to destroy reason, progress and humanist ideals make them ideal tools for the most aggressive imperialist factions within the U.S. establishment to push for regime change and implement their exploitative impoverishing agendas.


1“Wahhabi” is a term usually used in a critical context by Muslims. Salafi means “ancestor” and is most often a term used by Sunni fundamentalists to describe themselves.

3 Dreyfuss, Robert: “Devil’s Game: How the United States helped unleash fundamentalist Islam”, New York 2005, S. 37.

4 Ibid.

5 See: Anhalt, Utz: Wüstenkrieg – Jemen, Somalia, Sudan in der Geostrategie der USA, S. 32.

10 See: “Silent soldier: the man behind the Afghan jehad General Akhtar Abdur Rahman Shaheed”, by Mohammad Yousaf, Karachi, 1991.

12 Ibid.


NATO vs. Syria

Americans should be concerned about what is happening in Syria, if only because it threatens to become another undeclared war like Libya but much, much worse. Calls for regime change have come from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who several weeks ago predicted a civil war. That is indeed likely if the largely secular and nationalist regime of Bashar al-Assad falls, pitting Sunni against Shia against Alawite. Indigenous Christians will be caught in the meat grinder. Ironically, many of the Christians in Damascus are Iraqis who experienced the last round of liberation in their own country and had to flee for their lives.

NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya. Turkish sources suggest that intervention would start with creation of a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border and then be expanded. Aleppo, Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, would be the crown jewel targeted by liberation forces.

Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderun on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army. Iskenderun is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.

CIA analysts are skeptical regarding the march to war. The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. The Agency has refused to sign off on the claims. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.

In the United States, many friends of Israel are on the Assad regime-change bandwagon, believing that a weakened Syria, divided by civil war, will present no threat to Tel Aviv. But they should think again, as these developments have a way of turning on their head. The best organized and funded opposition political movement in Syria is the Muslim Brotherhood.

(Published December 19, 2011)

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

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