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Israel plans to invade Syria, says Malaysian PM

by AMERICA FIRSTER Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003 at 10:07 PM

Israel plans to invade Syria, says Malaysian PM

Israel plans to invade Syria, says Malaysian PM

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Oct 11 (AFP) - Israel plans to invade Syria and drag the United States into the war, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Saturday.

"Israel has been urging America to invade Syria, but America seems to be reluctant. So, in order to force the hands of America, Israel is going to invade Syria," Mahathir was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

"When that happens, the Americans will have to support Israel due to domestic political reasons that make Jewish votes a major factor in its presidential election," he said.

Mahathir had been asked to comment on Israel's strike a week ago on what the Jewish state described as a Palestinian training camp near Damascus, a claim denied by Syria.

The veteran Malaysian leader, who will take over the chairmanship of the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference at a summit here this week, was also asked what could be done apart from condemning the attack.

"We can go to war but we have no capacity to go to war. That's the problem, because we allow ourselves to become weak, people bully us."

Mahathir, who has led this moderate Islamic country for the past 22 years, is renowned for his controversial off-the-cuff comments on global affairs.



Bush Stance on Syria Hit Shows Neo-Cons Still Hold Sway

by Jim Lobe

ROME - The neo-conservatives in and around the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush may be on the defensive, but Washington's reaction to the Israeli attack on Syria Sunday show that they remain in the driver's seat at the White House. The fact that Bush has himself refused to in any way criticize the Israeli attack -- the first on Syria since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war -- shows how far the neo-cons have succeeded in aligning U.S. policy with the right-wing government in Israel, a key goal going back to the first Likud government of the late Menahim Begin and, more recently, since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon won elections in early 2001. It was the neo-cons who in 1982 defended Israel's invasion of Lebanon and the bloody siege of Beirut that followed. While then-President Ronald Reagan went along with the original invasion, his administration never publicly endorsed the invasion and eventually distanced itself from the Israelis as the siege wore on. Bush's explicit embrace of Israel's attack on an alleged Palestinian training camp in Syria, on the other hand, is a striking departure from decades of U.S. Middle Eastern diplomacy. Washington even denounced Israel's 1991 attack on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq and, unlike the present, joined with other members of the U.N. Security Council in condemning it. Indeed, Bush's statement Monday that he had told Sharon that ”Israel must not feel constrained defending the homeland” was almost breathtaking in its implied licence, particularly considering that it was Sharon who not only led the invasion of Lebanon but is also widely believed to have rolled all the way to Beirut without Begin's approval. Many experts and historians believe that Begin was intending a more limited military action and that Sharon took the initiative to take it much further. The neo-cons, one of whose core beliefs is that the United States and Israel confront the same enemies and share the same values, have had Syria in their sights for quite a long time. Israel, particularly Likud, has seen Damascus as the most steadfast and potentially the most dangerous of its Arab antagonists. Many of the same people both in and out of the administration who have favored making Syria a primary target in the U.S. ”war on terrorism” signed a report released four years ago that called explicitly for using military force to disarm Syria of supposed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and end its military presence in Lebanon. Among the signers of the report, which was released by a pro-Likud research group called The Middle East Forum (MEF) and the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL), were Bush's chief deputy on the Middle East on the National Security Council, Elliott Abrams; Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith; Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky; and two special consultants associated with the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who have been working on Mideast policy in the Pentagon and State Department, respectively, Michael Rubin and David Wurmser. The signers also included Richard Perle, the powerful former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, his colleague at AEI, former U.N. ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick; Michael Ledeen, another AEI fellow; Frank Gaffney, a former Perle aide in the Reagan administration who now heads the Center for Defense Policy; and David Steinmann, chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). With the exception of Kirkpatrick, all of these figures outside the administration played key roles in urging Bush to go to war in Iraq. The study, 'Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role?', was co-authored by MEF president Daniel Pipes, who was just named by Bush to a post at the U.S. Institute of Peace despite widespread charges that he has promoted Islamaphobia, and Ziad Abdelnour, who heads the USCFL. The study stressed that ”Syrian rule in Lebanon stands in direct opposition to American ideals”, and it rued Washington's habit since its disastrous withdrawal from Beirut in 1983 of engaging rather than confronting the regime, the only government on the State Department's ”terrorism list” with which Washington has full diplomatic relations. The group urged a policy of confrontation, beginning with tough economic and diplomatic sanctions that could not be waived by the president, and, if necessary, military force. Not surprisingly, the same general provisions have been incorporated into a new bill that is presently being debated in Congress, and Sharon's actions, according to many observers, may have been intended in part to promote the bill's chances of becoming law soon. Syria was also cited as a target in a public letter to Bush on Sep. 20, 2001 -- just 9 days after the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon -- by associates of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a think tank closely related to AEI whose director, William Kristol, also edits the neo-conservative Weekly Standard. Among other measures, it called for Bush to take military action in Afghanistan to remove the Taliban and destroy al Qaeda, to remove Saddam Hussein in Iraq ”even if the evidence does not link Iraq directly to the (Sep. 11) attacks; and cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it puts a stop to all terrorist acts emanating from territory under its control.” But it also called for the United States to target Hezbollah in Lebanon, and added, ”We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.” The letter was signed by 39 prominent right-wingers, almost all of them neo-conservatives, such as Kristol himself, Perle, Kirkpatrick, and Gaffney. ”Israel has been and remains America's staunchest ally against international terrorism, especially in the Middle East,” they wrote. ”The United States should fully support our fellow democracy in its fight against terrorism.” Throughout the Iraq war, many of these same people, as well as their close associates in the administration, such as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Feith, argued that Syria represented a serious threat to the United States and its troops in Iraq, at one point asserting that Damascus was sheltering senior Iraqi leaders and its WMD. ”There's got to be a change in Syria,” Wolfowitz said in April, adding that the government was a ”strange regime, one of extreme ruthlessness”. At the same time, another prominent conservative closely associated with Wolfowitz and Perle, in particular, former CIA director James Woolsey, was widely quoted on television as saying that the ”war on terrorism” should be seen as ”World War IV” that should include as targets ”fascists of Iraq and Syria”. Within this context, Sharon's decision to attack Syria appears designed to shine the spotlight once again on Syria as a key target in the war on terrorism. Coming at a time when the neo-cons in Washington are on the defensive over their pre-war claims about the dangers posed by Hussein in Iraq and the welcome which U.S. troops were supposed to have been accorded by the Iraqi population, the renewed focus on Syria conveniently changes the subject. The fact that Bush appears to have endorsed the attack and justified it publicly as self-defense also confirms that Bush sees the strategic relationship with Israel in much the same way as the neo-cons have long wanted U.S. president to do.


Our problem….

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, and it looks like we may be in for a possible replay of that horrific disaster in which tens of thousands lost their lives. Yesterday, Israel bombed alleged "terrorist camps" in Syria. The excuse: yet another suicide bombing in Israel, this time taking 19 innocent lives, immediately claimed by Islamic Jihad (which denied having military bases in Syria). This was one of the deadliest suicide bombings since the beginning of the Intifada, but in principle no different from the dozens of other vicious acts of terror that are now a feature of daily life in Israel. What is different, however, is that Israel's strategic orientation has radically changed.Whereas 30 years ago, Israel was on the defensive, and to a large degree dependent on the U.S., today they are clearly prepared to act on their own – without waiting for Washington's okay. That is the chief result of the Iraq war – the unleashing of Israel. We are seeing the first fruits of our Pyrrhic "victory" in this latest foray by an emboldened Ariel Sharon, who clearly hopes that the stalemated outcome of the first Yom Kippur war can now be overturned. Taken by surprise, in 1973, Israeli forces reeled from the combined Egyptian-Syrian sneak attack. Aided by "Operation Nickel Grass," an airlift of vital military supplies from the U.S., the Israelis held their positions and then started to push back – coming within 43 miles of Cairo and taking the Golan Heights before the UN called a halt. Today, it is the Syrians who have been taken by surprise, and, this time, the Israelis may not stop until they roll through the streets of Damascus. That, at least, is the threat implicit in their actions. The Iraq war, as we are beginning to discover, had nothing to do with "weapons of mass destruction," zero to do with Al Qaeda, and zilch to do with implanting "democracy" in the inhospitable soil of Iraq. The first phase of the second Yom Kippur War is revealing, in action, the strategic doctrine at the heart of U.S. Middle Eastern policy: the installation of Israel as regional hegemon.This doctrine was prefigured in a 1996 paper prepared for then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a working group consisting of several individuals who are now in top spots in the Bush administration. "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" recommended that Israel set itself free from its embarrassing and debilitating dependence on U.S. military and diplomatic support: no matter how unconditional, this support constrained Israel and prevented it from pursuing its true interests. The paper, co-authored by Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr.,Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser, portrayed Syria as the main enemy of Israel, but maintained the road to Damascus had to first pass through Baghdad:"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right – as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq."Today, three of Netanyahu's advisors – Perle, Feith, and David Wurmser – occupy top spots in the foreign policy councils of the Bush administration, where their fulsome support for the Iraq war helped implement the first part of the plan. David Wurmser is chief aide to Undersecretary of Defense John Bolton, who, before a single shot was fired against Iraq, was already promising Sharon that Syria would be next. As Ha'aretz reported at the time (scroll down):"U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials on Monday that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards."In February, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was already demanding action against Syria. At a meeting with a delegation of U.S. congressmen, Sharon handed the Americans their marching orders:"Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday that Iran, Libya and Syria should be stripped of weapons of mass destruction after Iraq. 'These are irresponsible states, which must be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction, and a successful American move in Iraq as a model will make that easier to achieve,' Sharon said to a visiting delegation of American congressmen. Sharon told the congressmen that Israel was not involved in the war with Iraq 'but the American action is of vital importance.'"But instead of being converted on the road to Damascus, the Americans were deterred from launching future wars by the unpleasant political and military blowback emanating from that deepening quagmire. Karl Rove's "no wars in '04" dictum threw a roadblock in the path of the pro-Israeli neoconservatives in the U.S. government, who are now under siege as a result of the Plame affair. The Israelis, enraged by this turn of events, are now playing their trump card.The Israeli attack on Syria is a replication of the U.S. attack on Iraq: the claim of terrorist "links" is followed by unilateral military action – this time, however, in defiance of the whole world, including the U.S. rather than just the UN. The actors are different, but the principle is the same, a similarity Israel's American amen corner will no doubt raise in order to justify Sharon's reckless provocation. Israel, we are endlessly told, has the right to "defend" itself – even if it means conquering and occupying all of Palestine and driving the original inhabitants into Jordan. As "A Clean Break" projected the plan:"Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq."Let's hand our Palestinian problem over to the Hashemites, say radical Likud hard-liners and their American supporters. There is no such people as the Palestinians, anyway, as Joan Peters and Alan Dershowitz aver: they are really just Jordanians. A Hashemite restoration in Iraq would pave the way for the creation of a Greater Israel, fulfilling God's promise to Abraham in the Bible:"To your descendants I give this land from the River of Egypt to the Great River, the river Euphrates."Israel, with its overweening military might, would dominate the Middle East. This is the goal of the Christian dispensationalist ministers, such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who believe Israeli hegemony in the Middle East represents the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. But a prophecy, in their view, can be self-fulfilling: it is their Christian duty, they believe, to hurry it along.The Christian apocalyptic vision of Armageddon in the Middle East – its inevitability and desirability as a portent of the Second Coming of Christ – is the key to understanding conservative Republican support for our war policy in Iraq. The fundies are perfectly aligned with neoconservative efforts to spread the conflict to Syria, Iran, and beyond, a development that would fulfill not only Biblical prophecy, but also the direst predictions of anti-war advocates.The recent report on Israel's growing military superiority out of Tel Aviv University's prestigious Jaffee Center led to widespread worries of Israeli "complacency," and, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:"The Jaffee researchers acknowledge that some of Israel´s new strategic gains depend on whether the United States manages to stabilize the regime in Iraq or whether it gets bogged down. If the latter happens, some of Israel´s gains could be wiped out, they say."The political and military bog in which George W. Bush is caught has him and his advisors, notably Rumsfeld, scrambling for an exit strategy. Before this can happen, Israel is seizing the moment to consolidate its gains. The attack on Syria comes just when Colin Powell has been raising more voluble objections to the odious "Wall of Separation" subsidized by U.S. tax dollars, and the threat to kill or exile Arafat is being taken seriously enough to raise serious concerns even among Israel's staunchest friends. Worse, from the Israeli perspective, is the news of secret peace talks between Washington and Tehran. Sharon, feeling betrayed, is saying: Expand the war, or I will.Dependent on the Republican activist base of millions of dispensationalist Christians, who put Israeli interests first, the President of the United States is powerless to stop Sharon's rampage. With his "road map" derailed, and the neocons already turning on him (or threatening to), George W. Bush must be content to watch helplessly as Sharon, the main beneficiary of the Iraq war, moves to harvest the fruits of the American victory – while the White House is stuck with an billion bill, rising casualties, and a simmering political scandal that threatens to unravel Bush's presidency. This is the thanks Bush gets for going to war for Israel's sake. Let that be a lesson to him. Too bad it comes far too late in the day to save either his presidency or his place in history. But better late than never.NOTES IN THE MARGINOur Fall fundraising drive is a great success, and that is due to you, our faithful and heroic readers. As of this writing, we have received just over ,000. For that, I can't thank you enough. Your contributions are deeply appreciated: it's a feeling of tremendous validation to see that so many of our readers have stuck by us. The sheer number of contributions is overwhelming. I am so moved that words, uncharacteristically, fail me, so I'll just say this: we'll work day and night to deserve this wonderful vote of confidence. – Justin Raimondo

JINSA/PNAC Zionist Extremists Pushed for Iraq Invasion and Beyond:

Please keep in mind (while reading the following about the Project for the New American Century-PNAC) that JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) Zionist extremists (both Christian and Jewish) like Richard Perle and Dick Cheney are also associated with PNAC as we know that the Iraq invasion/occupation was for Israel and oil:

Massive attention has now been given - and rightly so - to the reasons why Britain went to war against Iraq. But far too little attention has focused on why the US went to war, and that throws light on British motives too. The conventional explanation is that after the Twin Towers were hit, retaliation against al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in launching a global war against terrorism. Then, because Saddam Hussein was alleged by the US and UK governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the war could be extended to Iraq as well. However this theory does not fit all the facts. The truth may be a great deal murkier.

We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), Jeb Bush (George Bush's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences, was written in September 2000 by the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says "while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document attributed to Wolfowitz and Libby which said the US must "discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role". It refers to key allies such as the UK as "the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership". It describes peacekeeping missions as "demanding American political leadership rather than that of the UN". It says "even should Saddam pass from the scene", US bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently... as "Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has". It spotlights China for "regime change", saying "it is time to increase the presence of American forces in SE Asia".

The document also calls for the creation of "US space forces" to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent "enemies" using the internet against the US. It also hints that the US may consider developing biological weapons "that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool".

Finally - written a year before 9/11 - it pinpoints North Korea, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes, and says their existence justifies the creation of a "worldwide command and control system". This is a blueprint for US world domination. But before it is dismissed as an agenda for rightwing fantasists, it is clear it provides a much better explanation of what actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than the global war on terrorism thesis. This can be seen in several ways.

First, it is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts were sent to Washington in August 2001 to alert the CIA and FBI to a cell of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation (Daily Telegraph, September 16 2001). The list they provided included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested.

It had been known as early as 1996 that there were plans to hit Washington targets with aeroplanes. Then in 1999 a US national intelligence council report noted that "al-Qaida suicide bombers could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House".

Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers obtained their visas in Saudi Arabia. Michael Springman, the former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, has stated that since 1987 the CIA had been illicitly issuing visas to unqualified applicants from the Middle East and bringing them to the US for training in terrorism for the Afghan war in collaboration with Bin Laden (BBC, November 6 2001). It seems this operation continued after the Afghan war for other purposes. It is also reported that five of the hijackers received training at secure US military installations in the 1990s (Newsweek, September 15 2001).

Instructive leads prior to 9/11 were not followed up. French Moroccan flight student Zacarias Moussaoui (now thought to be the 20th hijacker) was arrested in August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a suspicious interest in learning how to steer large airliners. When US agents learned from French intelligence he had radical Islamist ties, they sought a warrant to search his computer, which contained clues to the September 11 mission (Times, November 3 2001). But they were turned down by the FBI. One agent wrote, a month before 9/11, that Moussaoui might be planning to crash into the Twin Towers (Newsweek, May 20 2002).

All of this makes it all the more astonishing - on the war on terrorism perspective - that there was such slow reaction on September 11 itself. The first hijacking was suspected at not later than 8.20am, and the last hijacked aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania at 10.06am. Not a single fighter plane was scrambled to investigate from the US Andrews airforce base, just 10 miles from Washington DC, until after the third plane had hit the Pentagon at 9.38 am. Why not? There were standard FAA intercept procedures for hijacked aircraft before 9/11. Between September 2000 and June 2001 the US military launched fighter aircraft on 67 occasions to chase suspicious aircraft (AP, August 13 2002). It is a US legal requirement that once an aircraft has moved significantly off its flight plan, fighter planes are sent up to investigate.

Was this inaction simply the result of key people disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or could US air security operations have been deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why, and on whose authority? The former US federal crimes prosecutor, John Loftus, has said: "The information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defence of incompetence."

Nor is the US response after 9/11 any better. No serious attempt has ever been made to catch Bin Laden. In late September and early October 2001, leaders of Pakistan's two Islamist parties negotiated Bin Laden's extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for 9/11. However, a US official said, significantly, that "casting our objectives too narrowly" risked "a premature collapse of the international effort if by some lucky chance Mr Bin Laden was captured". The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Myers, went so far as to say that "the goal has never been to get Bin Laden" (AP, April 5 2002). The whistleblowing FBI agent Robert Wright told ABC News (December 19 2002) that FBI headquarters wanted no arrests. And in November 2001 the US airforce complained it had had al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in its sights as many as 10 times over the previous six weeks, but had been unable to attack because they did not receive permission quickly enough (Time Magazine, May 13 2002). None of this assembled evidence, all of which comes from sources already in the public domain, is compatible with the idea of a real, determined war on terrorism.

The catalogue of evidence does, however, fall into place when set against the PNAC blueprint. From this it seems that the so-called "war on terrorism" is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives. Indeed Tony Blair himself hinted at this when he said to the Commons liaison committee: "To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11" (Times, July 17 2002). Similarly Rumsfeld was so determined to obtain a rationale for an attack on Iraq that on 10 separate occasions he asked the CIA to find evidence linking Iraq to 9/11; the CIA repeatedly came back empty-handed (Time Magazine, May 13 2002).

In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11. A report prepared for the US government from the Baker Institute of Public Policy stated in April 2001 that "the US remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq remains a destabilising influence to... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East". Submitted to Vice-President Cheney's energy task group, the report recommended that because this was an unacceptable risk to the US, "military intervention" was necessary (Sunday Herald, October 6 2002).

Similar evidence exists in regard to Afghanistan. The BBC reported (September 18 2001) that Niaz Niak, a former Pakistan foreign secretary, was told by senior American officials at a meeting in Berlin in mid-July 2001 that "military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October". Until July 2001 the US government saw the Taliban regime as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of hydrocarbon pipelines from the oil and gas fields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. But, confronted with the Taliban's refusal to accept US conditions, the US representatives told them "either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs" (Inter Press Service, November 15 2001).

Given this background, it is not surprising that some have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as creating an invaluable pretext for attacking Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been well planned in advance. There is a possible precedent for this. The US national archives reveal that President Roosevelt used exactly this approach in relation to Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. Some advance warning of the attacks was received, but the information never reached the US fleet. The ensuing national outrage persuaded a reluctant US public to join the second world war. Similarly the PNAC blueprint of September 2000 states that the process of transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force" is likely to be a long one in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor". The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the "go" button for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC agenda which it would otherwise have been politically impossible to implement.

The overriding motivation for this political smokescreen is that the US and the UK are beginning to run out of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies. By 2010 the Muslim world will control as much as 60% of the world's oil production and, even more importantly, 95% of remaining global oil export capacity. As demand is increasing, so supply is decreasing, continually since the 1960s.

This is leading to increasing dependence on foreign oil supplies for both the US and the UK. The US, which in 1990 produced domestically 57% of its total energy demand, is predicted to produce only 39% of its needs by 2010. A DTI minister has admitted that the UK could be facing "severe" gas shortages by 2005. The UK government has confirmed that 70% of our electricity will come from gas by 2020, and 90% of that will be imported. In that context it should be noted that Iraq has 110 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in addition to its oil.

A report from the commission on America's national interests in July 2000 noted that the most promising new source of world supplies was the Caspian region, and this would relieve US dependence on Saudi Arabia. To diversify supply routes from the Caspian, one pipeline would run westward via Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Another would extend eastwards through Afghanistan and Pakistan and terminate near the Indian border. This would rescue Enron's beleaguered power plant at Dabhol on India's west coast,

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