......

em·pire
ˈemˌpī(ə)r/
noun
an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

Which country has more foreign military bases than any country in world history?

Which country spends more on violence and domination than the rest of the world combined?

Which country has overthrown or attempted to overthrow some 60 governments, most of them democracies?

Monday, October 20, 2014

On Newsweek’s Finding that a Major US Ally Cuts Off More Heads than ISIS

Newsweek has an article out called “When It Comes to Beheadings, ISIS has Nothing on Saudi Arabia”.
The article accurately illustrates that Saudi Arabia is essentially an established version of ISIS; in fact it was established the same way, which is also how Britain established its colonies like the USA, how US/Israel was, and is being, established, how the Afghan Taliban was established in a joint venture with the USA that lasted until 2001, and so on.
Newsweek details how the Saudis behead more people than ISIS (not to mention Saudis are big supporters of ISIS, and, according to leaked 2009 US documents, are the world’s overall biggest supporters of Sunni terror groups such as the formerly US-backed Taliban.)
The Saudi theocracy doesn’t just behead people or crucify people.  They slice your head off in public then crucify you.  Newsweek:
…if you were accused of banditry or drug smuggling, like seven Yemenis who were beheaded last year, your corpse will also be crucified.
There are different methods of crucifying the headless … while the headless corpse is mounted, your head is placed in a plastic bag… Your head is then raised above your body and appears to be floating and detached. Your corpse might be kept in that position for up to four days, as a grotesque warning to others of what might happen if they stray outside the law.
The article documents how this is done to people accused of being “sorcerers”, adulterers, people who plead not guilty to crimes (and, the article suggests, are likely innocent), and political dissidents (though Israel has the most political prisoners in the region, and it should also be noted that the USA puts people in cages for the rest of their lives for pretty crimes like shoplifting, while almost no one else does this.)
Noam Chomsky pointed out in a talk this month that Saudi Arabia is the single most radical Islamic state, and makes Iran look moderate by comparison (even though Iran also executes people; the top three countries for executing their own people are always Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.  China’s numbers are likely higher, but unknown.)  And Saudi Arabia, exactly unlike Iran, has been pursuing, and has in fact obtained access to, nuclear weapons, via a deal with nuclear Pakistan, another Islamic fundamentalist US ally and distant runner up to Obama’s USA for greatest threat to world peace at the start of 2014.
Newsweek likewise points out that Iran has “a far more democratic political process than Saudi Arabia.”  Iran, like the USA, China, and others, has a kind of fake democracy wherein candidates must be supported by religious authorities; in China, it is state authorities, and in the US, financial authorities, or oligarchs.
Newsweek then documents how the USA demonizes and criticizes not Saudi Arabia, but rather the more moderate and “democratic” country, Iran.  When US politicians visit Saudi Arabia, as Kerry, Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others regularly do, they “do not publicly condemn the country”; human rights violations are “not mentioned”.
Indeed, though the USA cages more women than any other country in the world, Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are not allowed to operate cars.
Newsweek then points out that this behavior – criticizing a relatively moderate country but not a far more extremist ally – reveals a blatant double-standard by the US.
However, Newsweek then asks “why” the USA has this double-standard, and doesn’t explore the question beyond offering a couple of incidental hints throughout the article.
Perhaps the Newsweek author doesn’t know, thinks the answer is unknowable, or has some other motive for not exploring the topic further, but it should be pursued and the article presents a good opportunity.
Again, the question is, why does the otherwise wonderful USA have this confusing and seemingly nonsensical “double standard”, wherein it criticizes countries (like Iran) that are moderate compared to US ally Saudi Arabia (not to mention scores of others)?
US Relationship with Saudi Arabia
“…starting in the 1930s, the Americans would come to displace the British as the chief ally of the Saudis, especially after the American-aided discovery of vast reserves of oil in Saudi lands. [Murray] Rothbard spelled out the military and crony connections involved:
The Rockefeller interest and other Western Big Oil companies have had intimate ties with the absolute royalties of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia ever since the 1930s. During that decade and World War II, King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia granted a monopoly concession on all oil under his domain to the Rockefeller-control-led Aramco, while the $30 million in royalty payments for the concession was paid by the U.S. taxpayer.
The Rockefeller-influenced U.S. Export-Import Bank obligingly paid another $25 million to Ibn Saud to construct a pleasure railroad from his main palace, and President Roosevelt made a secret appropriation out of war funds of $165 million to Aramco for pipeline construction across Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the U.S. Army was obligingly assigned to build an airfield and military base at Dhahran, near the Aramco Oilfields, after which the multi-million dollar base was turned over, gratis, to Ibn Saud.”
In the 1940s, US planners confirmed that the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, contained the greatest material prizes in world history, and set about ensuring that the US could control these resources (just as the US had previously worked to control the formerly most important resource, cotton, in order to bring Britain “to its knees”.  Britain then was holding profitable colonies and enticing lands that ambitious US slave-owning empire-builders were drooling over.)
In the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower asked his staff, privately, the question asked again decades later, publicly, by Bush Jr.: Why do people in the Middle East seem to hate us?  His staff investigated and determined that it was because the USA prevented democracy and supported repressive regimes in the Middle East so the US could control the region’s energy resources, and that the US should continue doing that.
The cozy gift-based US relationship with Saudi Arabia continues up to today, under Obama, who brown-noses the Saudis by, for example, sending them the biggest shipment of lethal weapons in US history, which Obama did in 2013.  The shipment included internationally banned cluster bombs, one of the personal favorite toys of Obama, as well as the Boston Bombers.
Professor Chalmers Johnson concludes from his extensive research that if Saudi Arabia were to become too upset with the USA, stopped dealing its oil in dollars and switched to some other currency (as did Saddam prior to the US invasion, after which the US switched Iraq back to dollars), then the entire US empire would collapse.
So, quite clearly, the USA refrains from criticizing Saudi Arabia because it is a cornerstone of the extremely profitable (for people like the Rockefellers and Bushes) US empire, but that is only one reason.
Tradition of Excellence
Another reason, one that people go to astounding lengths to avoid saying or even thinking, but which is plain to those looking from outside, is that the USA™ is a vicious, extreme country.  Since its inception, it has killed, enslaved, conquered, raped and tortured uncountable millions of people, continuing up to this second and projected far into the future.  Countries don’t have to do that.  China, for example, sailed to Africa before any western country.  The difference was China didn’t then enslave the people it found living there.  China still has zero foreign military bases.  Switzerland, during the same period in which the USA has been taking innumerable lives, expanding its living-space, and putting the entire world under garrison with 1,000 or so terrorist training camps, has never entered one war.  Instead, the Swiss developed an actual, highly effective defense policy (which partly hinges on not going around killing, torturing, and repressing people), and invented the Red Cross.
Beheading people is obviously not good, and it’s bad that the USA participates in it by backing Saudi Arabia to the literal hilt, but, as Chomsky pointed out this month, smashing the bodies of children into unrecognizable pieces like a sadistic giant, as the USA and its friends do constantly, makes beheading look “kind of polite”.  And the act, mostly carried out by Bill Clinton, of knowingly killing (way) over 500,000 kids (and many innocent others) simply has no contemporary equivalent, and constitutesmore murders than all people to have ever been slain by WMD in human history.
Of the US invasion of Vietnam to uphold Western colonial domination, “David Hackworth, a retired colonel and the most decorated officer in the Army, commented in 2003:”
”There were hundreds of My Lais. You got your card punched by the numbers of bodies you counted.”
As a reminder, at My Lai, a bunch of US terrorists strolled into town and machine-gunned hundreds of women and kids.  US soldiers also collected Vietnamese ears, noses, virginity, and so on, as trophies during the invasion.
Here’s Jimmy Carter, considered to be the absolute extreme end of US “human rights advocacy”, speaking about the US invasion of Vietnam:
The destruction was mutual.
I don’t feel that we ought to apologize or castigate ourselves or to assume the status of culpability.
I guess that’s why, rather than paying reparations to Vietnam, the USA is, to this day, making Vietnam pay reparations to the USA.  That, or it’s just bully’s justice.
As for the destruction being “mutual”, I’m not really sure why Carter thinks Vietnam invaded the USA, raped and machine-gunned countless women and children, carried out massive chemical warfare and land-mining that’s mutating and killing swathes of US citizens right now, took people’s ears and noses as trophies, and so on, but, uh… okay…
Anyway, the Western tradition of barbarism is old.  Europe is so outstandingly brutal that it has taken over essentially the entire world at one time or another, and has dug in like ticks (ticks with ICBMs) in the places where it was able to exterminate most of the previous inhabitants: the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  Those great nations, along with the homeland of Britain, have formed an illegal, global privacy-invasion, big-brother racket that creepily refers to itself as the “five eyes”, and is part of the ongoing domination expansion campaign of these groups.
For one specific example of traditional Western terrorism, British conquerors in India would slaughter people en masse and sew the skins of their Hindu and Muslim victims into the corpses of cows and pigs, as a form of religious humiliation, then fire them out of cannons!  This is how the Brits went about trying to convert people to Christianity.  It was a “convert or die and then get sewn into a sacred or forbidden animal and fired out of a cannon” kind of thing. ISIS makes people convert or die, but the Brits took it to another level of perversion.  Maybe it was the famous dry British sense of humor.
The Brits also beheaded people, but seemed to look happier about it (though maybe ISIS guys are smiling under their masks):
beheading
A British Royal Marine in April 1952 grins proudly as he displays the severed heads of a young man and woman who may have or may not have exercised their legal right to resist foreign occupation.
The classy Brits would also, a la Game of Thrones, line the roads with rotting corpses of people they had slaughtered, as a terror-warning to anyone thinking about resisting the Empire.  This is how the Brits were, as was often claimed in the West, establishing their global empire in a “fit of absent-mindedness.”  Just absent-mindedly displaying slaughtered corpses and sewing people into animals like in Silence of the Lambs.  Hm?  What’s that?  Sorry, I nodded off while I was doing my sewing.  So absent-minded.
As the world’s overall most extreme and dangerous terrorist group, there is no reason the driving forces of the USAwould want to criticize Saudi Arabia as long as it is acceptably cooperative.  Sure, some individuals within the USA (though not role models like Obama, Hillary) see reason to strongly criticize the Saudi practices; so do individuals in Saudi Arabia.  But the dominant barbarism of the USA prevails, and thus Saudi Arabia not only gets more US weapons in one 2013 shipment from Obama than any other country ever, but remains backed by Obama when it invades places like Bahrain to back up dictators who are carrying out repression by “systematically torturing children”, as documented by Amnesty.  The USA not only participates in what Saudi Arabia does to its own people, but goes far beyond that and slaughters millions of people thousands of miles from US shores.
So, to pick up where Newsweek left off with a question, it would certainly seem that the reasons for the USA’s apparent “double-standard” (which is really just a crude, very basic propaganda tactic) are that the US doesn’t care what allies do as long as they don’t present an obstacle to US government/corporate domination, and that US controllers are themselves the world’s leading extremists: If you don’t pay enough tribute or cooperate sufficiently, we’ll kill you slowly by cutting you off from the world, kill you quickly by detonating a million explosives in your cities, drench you with toxic chemicals, and send hundreds of thousands of impoverished US kids to kill you.
If Iran suddenly decided to give control of its resources and space back over to the USA, virtually all criticisms of Iran’s human rights issues emanating from the US would end, as in the case of Saudi Arabia, where they never began.  And if Saudi Arabia switched its oil-dealings to a non-US currency, the USA would, if it didn’t launch an outright terrorist invasion or proxy war, quickly start criticizing human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, just as the Bush regime used criticism of Israeli human rights abuses to make Israel cancel a weapons deal with China.
There are endless illustrations of this dynamic going back forever, but let’s look at one more crucial contemporary example:
Turkey
In August of last year, someone carried out a chemical weapons attack in Syria, intentionally killing room-fulls of kids, as well as innocent adults.
Obama intentionally lied and said Assad, president of Syria, did it because only he could have done it, and, based on that lie, stated that he was going to punish Assad, because such an attack warranted a punishment.  (That part is obviously true – such an attack certainly warrants punishment; legal punishment decided by an international tribunal, not ridiculous war criminal Barack Obama.)
Here, thanks to leaked information given to Seymour Hersh and reported in the London Review of Books, is what Obama determined was the correct punishment for the chemical attack:
Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful”…
The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure.Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers … navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles … ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ …
…two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities…’,
The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.
‘…a massive assault…’
That’s what Obama says is the necessary punishment for carrying out this chemical weapons attack against civilians.  Remember that.
Obama’s launch day came, but, seemingly inexplicably, Obama didn’t go through with his planned “massive assault”.  What happened?
It turned out the chemical attack was almost 100% certainly not carried out by Assad, and was almost 100% certainly carried out by major US ally and NATO member, Turkey:
‘We now know it was a covert action planned by [Turkish president] Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. TheTurks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’ Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria…
Obama’s staff began warning him not to attack Syria, though apparently without giving him this specific information (they self-censored since they were afraid to contradict Obama’s lies).
But after a while, the excuse no longer flies.  Certainly, once Hersh’s article was released and the whole world found out that it was Turkey who carried out the chemical terror attack, the NSA-expanding president could not credibly claim to be in the dark while the world is in the light.
The point is, look at what Obama did when he was saying that Assad was the one who carried out the attack: he went on TV and said we need to punish him with massive illegal violence.
But when it got out that Turkey was the one who carried out the attack, did Obama go on TV and say we need to teach the Turks a lesson by detonating tons of explosives in their cities?
No.  And now Obama is bombing Syria, anyway, just using a better propaganda pretext.
But why is he also not detonating explosives in Turkey?  The crime didn’t change.  Only the perpetrator changed.  How does that make a difference?
What kind of POS “global policeman” and “protector of the innocent” stops wanting to punish a gas attack intentionally targeting kids when he finds out his friends did it?
The evil, corrupt kind, that doesn’t care about terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes at all, and in fact commits them constantly, because what he really cares about is maintaining and expanding a global profit racket, or empire.  It couldn’t be much more clear.
Which takes us back to the beginning: as the record illustrates, the US corporate state is not bombing ISIS for any reason (including killing US citizens, which the US doesn’t care about outside of the implications for expansionism) except to try to nurture its profits racket.  The USA is not a human rights organization - in fact it spies on human rights organizations, like Amnesty.  The US does not bomb people for humanitarian purposes, and its bombings are illegal and virtually always make thingsmuch worse, regardless.  If we buy that the US corporate state bombs for humanity (just like how Chevron dumps toxic waste into the Amazon for humanity), we are being duped into embodying the precise desired response to the propaganda of the world’s biggest and most extreme terrorist network, which tells us: “Think that we are doing this to help you (even though we can’t stand you), and pay no attention to our personal enrichment and your impoverishment, mutilation, and death.  Those are also for your good.  We just don’t subject ourselves or our families to those parts because… uh… uh… Look over there!”
Don’t like referring to the blood-soaked venom excreted by Obama and the USA as “propaganda”?  Check out this video game created and released by the US army, which it uses as a propaganda tool to try to radicalize US children into becoming militants who will die and kill people to secure profits for US companies:
Virtually everyone you kill in the game is unshaven, and there is almost no blood, unlike every other one of these games.  This one is sanitized.  When you shoot someone, the person just falls down, lies still, and is no longer a “target”.
The US Army advertises this in gaming magazines so it can, like cigarette companies, target and hook children when they are young and impressionable.
In corporate news style (i.e. Fox’s “bomb them bomb them keep bombing them!” refrain) I’ll offer some ideas for what we can do, without using Fox’s suggested mass, illegal violence. 1) To stop crimes, stop being the world’s biggest perpetrator of crimes.  2) To achieve a more just and peaceful world than what he have now, let’s focus our efforts on balancing (otherwise known as “democratizing”)  the distribution of world power –  exactly what the USA and its integrated mega-corporations like Foxdon’t want, and forcefully block and prevent, so you know it’s the right track.  Here’s why this would help.
(Note on Newsweek: In the late 80s, Newsweek referred to then senator John Kerry as a “randy conspiracy buff” for investigating what was a completely true allegation: that the USA wasprotecting cocaine dealers in the US so it could illegally finance an illegal US terrorist operation against Nicaragua, with staging grounds in Honduras.)
Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.
Also published in Washington's Blog. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why Bush Censored Discovery of Chemical Weapons in Iraq

Reports out today:

A new report says the Bush administration concealed the discovery of chemical weapons in Iraq that had been developed with U.S. support in the 1980s — and then denied medical care to the wounded American soldiers involved. According to The New York Times, U.S. troops secretly reported finding more than 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or bombs after the 2003 invasion. All of the chemical weaponry predated 1991, just one year after Saddam Hussein stopped being a U.S. ally and recipient of the Western military aid that helped build his arsenal. At least 17 American and six Iraqi troops were wounded in their handling of the munitions in six separate incidents between 2004 and 2011. The weapons’ existence was kept from the troops entering those areas, and officials denied the victims the care they needed. One soldier talked about his health problems as a result of chemical exposure.
Andrew Goldman: “I still have residual blisters every now and then. I still have a lot of trouble breathing. I have a constant headache. I haven’t not had a headache since 2008 … Only thing I can think of is politics. Doesn’t jive with the story they wanted.”
In addition to raising new questions about the neglect of soldiers’ health and the Bush administration’s false pretext for going to war, the disclosure also carries implications for Iraq’s ongoing crisis. The Islamic State now controls most of the territory where the chemical weapons were found.
“In five of six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies…”
As reported by RT and others, the chemical weapons, etc., that the US provided Saddam Hussein:
…may now be in the hands of Islamic State militants [who now control the very areas where the weapons were found].
People are acting like this is all new information, but it is absolutely not.
Anyone who wanted to know could have known, starting in the early 1980s, that the USA was (completely openly, not even covertly) providing Saddam with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons components, since the USA was one of the members of the Axis of Evil that was waging a war of aggression and genocide against Iran and the Kurds, killing over a million (in addition to 500,000 young Iraqis, mainly conscripts).
In 1982, the USA took Saddam off its “terrorist” list (leaving Nelson Mandela on until 2007) so the USA could join in Saddam’s Axis for the invasion and genocide (the USA also committed genocide against the Kurds in Turkey, under Bill Clinton.)
Here, for example, is Noam Chomsky in 2006, giving what today is being reported as “new” information:
Bush administration policies have, again, consciously been carried out in a way, which they know is likely to increase the threat of terror. The most obvious example is the Iraq invasion. That was undertaken with the anticipation that it would be very likely to increase the threat of terror and also nuclear proliferation. And, in fact, that’s exactly what happened, according to the judgment of the C.I.A., National Intelligence Council, foreign intelligence agencies, independent specialists. They all point out that, yes, as anticipated, it increased the threat of terror. In fact, it did so in ways well beyond what was anticipated.
To mention just one, we commonly read that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Well, it’s not totally accurate. There were means to develop weapons of mass destruction in Iraq [provided by the USA] and known to be in Iraq. They were under guard by U.N. inspectors, who were dismantling them. When Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest sent in their troops, they neglected to instruct them to guard these sites. The U.N. inspectors were expelled, the sites were left unguarded. The inspectors continued their work by satellite and reported that over a hundred sites had been looted, in fact, systematically looted, not just somebody walking in, but careful looting. That included dangerous biotoxins, means to hide precision equipment to be used to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, means to develop chemical weapons and so on. All of this has disappeared. One hates to imagine where it’s disappeared to, but it could end up in New York.
Here is Chomsky in 2008 talking about how the US supported Saddam, including providing him with chemical weapons, etc.
Here is Chomsky in 2002 talking about how in the ’80s he was strongly opposing the USA’s noble mission to ensure Saddam could gas Iran and the Kurds.
Neither Iraq having US-provided WMD or US soldiers being injured by them and denied care by all-loving, all-benevolent US leaders (who always have the best interests of the world in their hearts) is news:

U.S. companies sold Iraq the ingredients for a witch’s brew

The United States almost went to war against Iraq in February because of Saddam Hussein’s weapons program. In his State of the Union address, President Clinton castigated Hussein for “developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them.”
“You cannot defy the will of the world,” the President proclaimed. “You have used weapons of mass destruction before. We are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again.”
Most Americans listening to the President did not know that the United States supplied Iraq with much of the raw material for creating a chemical and biological warfare program. Nor did the media report that U.S. companies sold Iraq more than $1 billion worth of the components needed to build nuclear weapons and diverse types of missiles, including the infamous Scud.
When Iraq engaged in chemical and biological warfare in the 1980s, barely a peep of moral outrage could be heard from Washington, as it kept supplying Saddam with the materials he needed to build weapons.
According to a 1994 Senate report, private American suppliers, licensed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, exported a witch’s brew of biological and chemical materials to Iraq from 1985 through 1989. Among the biological materials, which often produce slow, agonizing death, were:
* Bacillus Anthracis, cause of anthrax.
* Clostridium Botulinum, a source of botulinum toxin.
* Histoplasma Capsulatam, cause of a disease attacking lungs, brain, spinal cord, and heart.
* Brucella Melitensis, a bacteria that can damage major organs.
* Clostridium Perfringens, a highly toxic bacteria causing systemic illness.
* Clostridium tetani, a highly toxigenic substance.
Also on the list: Escherichia coli (E. coli), genetic materials, human and bacterial DNA, and dozens of other pathogenic biological agents. “These biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction,” the Senate report stated. “It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and removed from the Iraqi biological warfare program.”
The report noted further that U.S. exports to Iraq included the precursors to chemical-warfare agents, plans for chemical and biological warfare production facilities, and chemical-warhead filling equipment.
The American company that provided the most biological materials to Iraq in the 1980s was American Type Culture Collection of Maryland and Virginia, which made seventy shipments of the anthrax-causing germ and other pathogenic agents, according to a 1996 Newsday story.
Other American companies also provided Iraq with the chemical or biological compounds, or the facilities and equipment used to create the compounds for chemical and biological warfare. Among these suppliers were the following:
* Alcolac International, a Baltimore chemical manufacturer already linked to the illegal shipment of chemicals to Iran, shipped large quantities of thiodiglycol (used to make mustard gas) as well as other chemical and biological ingredients, according to a 1989 story in The New York Times.
* Nu Kraft Mercantile Corp. of Brooklyn (affiliated with the United Steel and Strip Corporation) also supplied Iraq with huge amounts of thiodiglycol, the Times reported.
* Celery Corp., Charlotte, NC
* Matrix-Churchill Corp., Cleveland, OH (regarded as a front for the Iraqi government, according to Representative Henry Gonzalez, Democrat of Texas, who quoted U.S. intelligence documents to this effect in a 1992 speech on the House floor).
The following companies were also named as chemical and biological materials suppliers in the 1992 Senate hearings on “United States export policy toward Iraq prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait”:
* Mouse Master, Lilburn, GA
* Sullaire Corp., Charlotte, NC
* Pure Aire, Charlotte, NC
* Posi Seal, Inc., N. Stonington, CT
* Union Carbide, Danbury, CT
* Evapco, Taneytown, MD
* Gorman-Rupp, Mansfield, OH
Additionally, several other companies were sued in connection with their activities providing Iraq with chemical or biological supplies: subsidiaries or branches of Fisher Controls International, Inc., St. Louis; Rhone-Poulenc, Inc., Princeton, NJ; Bechtel Group, Inc., San Francisco; and Lummus Crest, Inc., Bloomfield, NJ, which built one chemical plant in Iraq and, before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, was building an ethylene facility. Ethylene is a necessary ingredient for thiodiglycol.
In 1994, a group of twenty-six veterans, suffering from what has come to be known as Gulf War Syndrome, filed a billion-dollar lawsuit in Houston against Fisher, Rhone-Poulenc, Bechtel Group, and Lummus Crest, as well as American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) and six other firms, for helping Iraq to obtain or produce the compounds which the veterans blamed for their illnesses. By 1998, the number of plaintiffs has risen to more than 4,000 and the suit is still pending in Texas.
A Pentagon study in 1994 dismissed links between chemical and biological weapons and Gulf War Syndrome. Newsday later disclosed, however, that the man who headed the study, Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg, was a director of ATCC. Moreover, at the time of ATCC’s shipments to Iraq, which the Commerce Department approved, the firm’s CEO was a member of the Commerce Department’s Technical Advisory Committee, the paper found.
A larger number of American firms supplied Iraq with the specialized computers, lasers, testing and analyzing equipment, and other instruments and hardware vital to the manufacture of nuclear weapons, missiles, and delivery systems. Computers, in particular, play a key role in nuclear weapons development. Advanced computers make it feasible to avoid carrying out nuclear test explosions, thus preserving the program’s secrecy. The 1992 Senate hearings implicated the following firms:
* Kennametal, Latrobe, PA
* Hewlett Packard, Palo Alto, CA
* International Computer Systems, CA, SC, and TX
* Perkins-Elmer, Norwalk, CT
* BDM Corp., McLean, VA
* Leybold Vacuum Systems, Export, PA
* Spectra Physics, Mountain View, CA
* Unisys Corp., Blue Bell, PA
* Finnigan MAT, San Jose, CA
* Scientific Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
* Spectral Data Corp., Champaign, IL
* Tektronix, Wilsonville, OR
* Veeco Instruments, Inc., Plainview, NY
* Wiltron Company, Morgan Hill, CA
The House report also singled out: TI Coating, Inc., Axel Electronics, Data General Corp., Gerber Systems, Honeywell, Inc., Digital Equipment Corp., Sackman Associates, Rockwell Collins International, Wild Magnavox Satellite Survey, Zeta Laboratories, Carl Schenck, EZ Logic Data, International Imaging Systems, Semetex Corp., and Thermo Jarrell Ash Corporation.
Some of the companies said later that they had no idea Iraq might ever put their products to military use. A spokesperson for Hewlett Packard said the company believed that the Iraqi recipient of its shipments, Saad 16, was an institution of higher learning. In fact, in 1990 The Wall Street Journal described Saad 16 as “a heavily fortified, state-of-the-art complex for aircraft construction, missile design, and, almost certainly, nuclear-weapons research.”
Other corporations recognized the military potential of their goods but considered it the government’s job to worry about it. “Every once in a while you kind of wonder when you sell something to a certain country,” said Robert Finney, president of Electronic Associates, Inc., which supplied Saad 16 with a powerful computer that could be used for missile testing and development. “But it’s not up to us to make foreign policy,” Finney told The Wall Street Journal.
In 1982, the Reagan Administration took Iraq off its list of countries alleged to sponsor terrorism, making it eligible to receive high-tech items generally denied to those on the list. Conventional military sales began in December of that year. Representative Samuel Gejdenson, Democrat of Connecticut, chairman of a House subcommittee investigating “United States Exports of Sensitive Technology to Iraq,” stated in 1991:
“From 1985 to 1990, the United States Government approved 771 licenses for the export to Iraq of $1.5 billion worth of biological agents and high-tech equipment with military application. [Only thirty-nine applications were rejected.] The United States spent virtually an entire decade making sure that Saddam Hussein had almost whatever he wanted. . . . The Administration has never acknowledged that it took this course of action, nor has it explained why it did so. In reviewing documents and press accounts, and interviewing knowledgeable sources, it becomes clear that United States export-control policy was directed by U.S. foreign policy as formulated by the State Department, and it was U.S. foreign policy to assist the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
Subsequently, Representative John Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, investigated the Department of Energy concerning an unheeded 1989 warning about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. In 1992, he accused the DOE of punishing employees who raised the alarm and rewarding those who didn’t take it seriously. One DOE scientist, interviewed by Dingell’s Energy and Commerce Committee, was especially conscientious about the mission of the nuclear non-proliferation program. For his efforts, he received very little cooperation, inadequate staff, and was finally forced to quit in frustration. “It was impossible to do a good job,” said William Emel. His immediate manager, who tried to get the proliferation program fully staffed, was chastened by management and removed from his position. Emel was hounded by the DOE at his new job as well.
Another Senate committee, investigating “United States export policy toward Iraq prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait,” heard testimony in 1992 that Commerce Department personnel “changed information on sixty-eight licenses; that references to military end uses were deleted and the designation ‘military truck’ was changed. This was done on licenses having a total value of over $1 billion.” Testimony made clear that the White House was “involved” in “a deliberate effort . . . to alter these documents and mislead the Congress.”
American foreign-policy makers maintained a cooperative relationship with U.S. corporate interests in the region. In 1985, Marshall Wiley, former U.S. ambassador to Oman, set up the Washington-based U.S.-Iraq Business Forum, which lobbied in Washington on behalf of Iraq to promote U.S. trade with that country. Speaking of the Forum’s creation, Wiley later explained, “I went to the State Department and told them what I was planning to do, and they said, ‘Fine. It sounds like a good idea.’ It was our policy to increase exports to Iraq.
Though the government readily approved most sales to Iraq, officials at Defense and Commerce clashed over some of them (with the State Department and the White House backing Commerce).
“If an item was in dispute, my attitude was if they were readily available from other markets, I didn’t see why we should deprive American markets,” explained Richard Murphy in 1990. Murphy was Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs from 1983 to 1989.
As it turned out, Iraq did not use any chemical or biological weapons against U.S. forces in the Gulf War. But American planes bombed chemical and biological weapons storage facilities with abandon, potentially dooming tens of thousands of American soldiers to lives of prolonged and permanent agony, and an unknown number of Iraqis to a similar fate. Among the symptoms reported by the affected soldiers are memory loss, scarred lungs, chronic fatigue, severe headache, raspy voice, and passing out. The Pentagon estimates that nearly 100,000 American soldiers were exposed to sarin gas alone.
After the war, White House and Defense Department officials tried their best to deny that Gulf War Syndrome had anything to do with the bombings. The suffering of soldiers was not their overriding concern. The top concerns of the Bush and Clinton Administrations were to protect perceived U.S. interests in the Middle East, and to ensure that American corporations still had healthy balance sheets.
What are US “interests” in the Middle East?  Blum, in the same article, quotes Chomsky:
“It’s been a leading, driving doctrine of U.S. foreign policy since the 1940s that the vast and unparalleled energy resources of the Gulf region will be effectively dominated by the United States and its clients, and, crucially, that no independent indigenous force will be permitted to have a substantial influence on the administration of oil production and price.”
Not one US official who participated in the Axis of Evil genocide against Iran and the Kurds has been prosecuted or jailed.  Instead, Obama is protecting them, and has even hired at least one Bush Jr. era torturer into his regime (and Obama is himself, of course, a torturer).
However, one Dutch businessman, Frans van Anraat, who also provided Saddam with chemicals, etc., was jailed for 17 years for War Crimes, illustrating that trying American-monster counterparts of Anraat is, technically, possible.  At the very least, Anraat’s arrest confirms that we can, and should, disassociate ourselves from and boycott the heinous US corporate government.
Iraq having US and European weapons did not make an invasion legal in any way, which is why the highest authority in the UN stated that the invasion was illegal.  Do US chemical weapons and other WMD stockpiles, the world’s biggest, or the fact that the US has used them more than any other country, or the fact that the US was an accomplice in Saddam’s worst crimes, mean other countries can invade the US?
Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.
Also published in Washington's Blog, Counter Currents, and various other journals. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Casting Doubt on “Facts” That Drive the West

In this 25 minute interview (below), Professor Chomsky throws a monkey wrench into some of the most fundamental parts of the enveloping machinery of unquestioned propaganda that propels the West, particularly the highly insulated USA:

  • What is the most dangerous, war-like country?
  • Is Maoist China the worst country in terms of the number of citizens who died due to government policy?
  • Is Iran really a threat, or simply being labeled as one by Western countries that want to (again) seize control of Iran’s resources and incorporate the country into the West’s empire?
  • What do Western elites mean by “stabilization” and “destabilization”?
And more.
The professor also stresses the importance of creating our own media outlets (like Washington’s Blog) to counter deadly Western myths.  (As the late professor Chalmers Johnson has said, like Soviet Pravda[Johnson's comparison], “You don’t read the New York Times for the truth.  You read it for the lies.”  Johnson says his personal morning newspaper of choice is Antiwar.com.)
Part 1 of Chomsky interview (12 mins):

Part 2 (13.5 mins):

Robert Barsocchini is a researcher focusing on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.
Also  published in Washington's Blog.