Posts Tagged ‘Council on Foreign Relations’

William Blum on the American Demonization of Iran

February 8, 2017

I bought a copy today of William Blum’s book, America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything (London: Zed Books 2013). Blum’s a long term, extremely vociferous and very knowledgeable critic of American foreign policy and its allies. He’s been protesting against the country’s assassinations, coups and manufactured wars and other interventions since the Vietnam War, and his website, the Anti-Empire Report, is highly recommended for telling you what the media is not reporting about the global actions of America and its allies.

The book’s chapters deal with:
US foreign policy vs. the world; Terrorism; Iraq; Afghanistan; Iran; George W. Bush; Condoleezza Rice; Human rights, civil liberties and torture; WikiLeaks; Conspiracies; Yugoslavia; Libya; Latin America; Cuba; The Cold War and anti-Communism; the 1960s; Ideology and society; Our precious environment; The problem with capitalism; The media; Barack Obama; Patriotism; Dissent and resistance in America; Religion, Laughing despite the Empire; But what can we do?

It’s a treasure trove of information showing just how unpleasant American foreign policy is, and how the military-industrial complex running it has not only bombed, murdered and exploited people all over the world, it also lies shamelessly and constantly to its own people as well as the world at large. Nearly every page has a telling fact that flips the conventional, establishment narrative right on its head.

The chapter on Iran is a case in point. Blum cites White House aides, journos and diplomats to show that Iran’s nuclear programme was never a threat, despite the hysterical table-thumping by the odious Tzipi Livni and the rest of the thugs now running Israel. Far from it. Over a decade ago, the Iranians were even responsible for negotiating some of the peace deals in Afghanistan, and even approached Bush through the Swiss ambassador for a deal to improve relations with America, in which they promised to give major concessions. Blum writes

Shortly after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran made another approach to Washington, via the Swiss ambassador, who sent a fax to the State Department. The Washington Post described it as ‘a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table – including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.’ The Bush administration ‘belittled the initiative. Instead, they formally complained to the Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax’. Richard Haass, head of policy planning at the State Department at the time and now president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the Iranian approach was swiftly rejected because in the administration ‘the bias was toward a policy of regime change.’

So there we have it. The Israelis know it, the Americans know it. Iran is not any kind of military threat. Before the invasion of Iraq I posed the question: What possible reason would Saddam Hussein have for attacking the United States or Israel other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide? he had no reason, and neither do the Iranians. (p. 105).

James Dobbins, Bush’s representative to the Bonn conference in which the parties in the Middle East negotiated the political settlement for Afghanistan, states that it was the Iranians who made sure that democracy and the war on terrorism were included in the Afghan constitution, not the Americans. (pp.104-5). Now that’s very, very definitely something I haven’t heard report on the Beeb. Have you?

But what struck me as urgently important this week was this passage

Not long ago, Iraq and Iran were regarded by USrael as the most significant threats to Israeli Middle East hegemony. thus was born the myth of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the United States proceeded to turn Iraq into a basket case. The left Iran, and thus was born the myth of the Iranian Nuclear Threat. As it began to sink in that Iran was not really that much of a nuclear threat, or that this ‘threat’ was becoming too difficult to sell to the rest of the world, USrael decided that, at a minimum, it wanted regime change. The next step may be to block Iran’s lifeline – oil sales using the Strait of Hormuz. Ergo the recent US and EU naval buildup near the Persian Gulf, an act of war trying to goad Iran into firing the first shot. If Iran tries to counter this blockade it could be the signal for another US Basket Case, the fourth in a decade, with the devastated people of Libya and Afghanistan, along with Iraq, currently enjoying America’s unique gift of freedom and democracy. (Pp. 98-9, my emphasis).

The Americans have been gearing up for a war with Iran for the past decade. But this week Donald Trump’s advisers were banging their shoes on the table for war. An American warship had been fired upon by the Yemeni Houthi rebels. The Houthis are Shi’a, and so backed by Iran. At the same time, the Iranians test fired a ballistic missile that flew 500 miles before crashing. This was, assures Drumpf, a preparation for nuclear missiles. The Orange Generalissimo and his courtiers therefore started talking about a possible attack on Iran.

I’ve blogged earlier this week about how a war with Iran would be disastrous. It also wouldn’t be to liberate the Iranian people from a deeply authoritarian and repressive regime. It would be just another attempt by US-Saudi oil multinationals to grab their oil, just as America and Britain organised a coup against Mossadeq when he nationalised Anglo-Persian Oil in the 1950s.

Iran’s not a threat, and the Iranians were responsible for establishing clauses mandating democracy and denouncing terrorism in the Afghan constitution. This is all about finding a pretext for a new pack of lies to justify yet the invasion and looting of yet another country.

Advertisements

Counterpunch Article Claiming US Spy Agencies Trying to Engineer War with Russia

January 14, 2017

Counterpunch also carried another very good article critiquing the intelligence services’ report on Russian hacking by Mike Whitney. After analysing the report and its contents, Whitney argues that the report actually doesn’t say anything new and doesn’t back up its case. What it is trying to do encourage Trump to pursue an increasingly hard-line policy towards Putin and engineer a war with Russia. This is response to the Russians’ and Assad’s successful attacks on the American proxies in Syria – al-Qaeda and ISIS. This is perceived by the hawks as a danger to American global military dominance. Whitney writes

But the case, as presented, is one-sided and lacks any actual proof. Further, the continued use of the word “assesses” – as in the U.S. intelligence community “assesses” that Russia is guilty – suggests that the underlying classified information also may be less than conclusive because, in intelligence-world-speak, “assesses” often means “guesses.” (“US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’”, Robert Parry, Consortium News)

Bottom line: Brennan and his fellow spooks have nothing. The report is little more than a catalogue of unfounded assumptions, baseless speculation and uncorroborated conjecture. In colloquial parlance, it’s bullshit, 100 percent, unalloyed Russophobic horse-manure. In fact, the authors admit as much in the transcript itself when they say:

“Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.”

What kind of kooky admission is that? So the entire report could be BS but we’re supposed to believe that Putin flipped the election? Is that it???

What’s really going on here? Why have the Intelligence agencies savaged their credibility just to convince people that Russia is up to no good?

The Russia hacking story has more to do with recent developments in Syria than it does with delegitimizing Donald Trump. Aleppo was a real wake up call for the US foreign policy establishment which is beginning to realize that their plans for the next century have been gravely undermined by Russia’s military involvement in Syria. Aleppo represents the first time that an armed coalition of allied states (Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah) have actively engaged US jihadist-proxies and soundly beat them to a pulp. The stunning triumph in Aleppo has spurred hope among the vassal states that Washington’s bloody military juggernaut can be repelled, rolled back and defeated. And if Washington’s CIA-armed, trained and funded jihadists can be repelled, then the elitist plan to project US power into Central Asia to dominate the world’s most populous and prosperous region, will probably fail. In other words, the outcome in Aleppo has cast doubts on Uncle Sam’s ability to successfully execute its pivot to Asia.

That’s why the Intel agencies have been employed to shape public perceptions on Russia. Their job is to prepare the American people for an escalation of hostilities between the two nuclear-armed superpowers. US powerbrokers are determined to intensify the conflict and reverse facts on the ground. (Recent articles by elites at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute reveal that they are as committed to partitioning Syria as ever.) Washington wants to reassert its exceptional role as the uncontested steward of global security and the lone ‘unipolar’ world power.

That’s what this whole “hacking” fiasco is about. The big shots who run the country are trying to strong-arm ‘the Donald’ into carrying their water so the depredations can continue and Central Asia can be transformed into a gigantic Washington-dominated corporate free trade zone where the Big Money calls the shots and Capital reigns supreme. That’s their dreamstate, Capitalist Valhalla.

They just need Trump to get-with-the-program so the bloodletting can continue apace.

For the full article, go to: http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/10/us-intel-agencies-try-to-strong-arm-trump-into-war-with-russia/

Daniel Hannan on Norris McWhirter, Supporter of Fascism

April 6, 2014

McWhirter

Norris McWhirter, Founder of the Freedom Association and probable supporter of the anti-Semitic and racist League of Empire Loyalists

The extreme Right-wing Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan, amongst his other attacks on the Left and the NHS, criticised the comedian David Baddiel for his film criticising Norris McWhirter in his online Telegraph column. Baddiel had made the terrible offence of comparing the Freedom Association, which McWhirter founded, to the BNP. Guy Debord’s Cat has also posted a detailed critique of Hannan’s comments, ‘Hannan: McWhirter is a Decent Man (Because I Say So)’ at http://buddyhell.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/hannan-mcwhirter-was-a-decent-man-because-i-say-so/.

In fact Baddiel’s comment about the Freedom Association being similar to the BNP has more than a little truth in the context of McWhirter’s extreme Right-wing political views. There is evidence that McWhirter was a member of the League of Empire Loyalists, a Fascist, anti-Semitic organisation that formed the National Front along with the BNP, the Greater Britain Movement and Racial Preservation Society. Even if he was not formally a member, McWhirter and his brothers subscribed to Candour, the League’s magazine, which attempted to spread its highly conspiracist view of the decline of British civilisation due to a global Jewish conspiracy. It was the same view as that of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, with the exception that the Nazis obviously focussed on Germany rather than Britain.

McWhirter and the Aldermaston March

The February 1989 issue of the Freedom Association’s newsletter, Freedom Today, printed a photograph of a car containing Norris McWhirter and his elder brother, Kennedy, surrounded by a crowd of angry CND protesters at the first Aldermaston March in 1958. The photograph was supposed to show the violent nature of peace marchers. According to the Times the McWhirters had appeared at the march in a car shouting at the crowd through a loudspeaker. They told the demonstrators that they were each guilty of increasing the threat of war and voting with their feet for ‘Soviet imperialist domination’. They then turned into a field, where they got out and attempted to display their own placards. They then scuffled with some of the marchers, and were forced to get back into the car. The marchers then started to rock it. The police eventually appeared, and managed to get the McWhirters and their car out of the crowd and away from the demonstration.

McWhirter and the LEL

Norris McWhirter stood as the Conservative candidate for Orpington in 1964. However, it looks very much like that if they weren’t formal members of the League of Empire Loyalists, they supported them sufficiently strongly to take part in some of their stunts. George Thayer in his book, The British Political Fringe: A Profile, published in 1965 stated that as the League supported nuclear weapons they ‘made a habit of harassing the Aldermaston marches’. Rosine D’Bouneviallel, a member of the League with custody of their records, confirmed that the incident was one of the LEL stunts. She did not state that the McWhirters were members of the League, but did say that they subscribed to candour.

See ‘Kennedy McWhirter 22/10/23 – 3/11/89’ in Stephen Dorril, ‘Gone but not Forgotten’, in Lobster 19: 10-13 (11).

A.K. Chesterton and the League of Empire Loyalists

The League of Empire Loyalists was founded in October 1954 by Arthur Keith (A.K.) Chesterton, a cousin of the writer G.K. Chesterton, and one of the ideologues of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. Its members including the future leaders of the National Front and related Fascist organisations, John Tyndall, Martin Webster, Colin Jordan and John Bean. It Strongly campaigned against any infringement of British sovereignty, including British involvement in a future EU or federated Europe, as well as the UN, NATO, SEATO and CENTO. It also demanded that Britain should not relinquish its Empire, but should continue to maintain and strengthen it. It also demanded that Non-White immigration to the UK should be stopped.

Chesterton, Anti-Semitism and Fascism

Chesterton split from Mosley and the BUF in 1938, and supported the British war effort against Nazi Germany. He was thus, unlike Mosley, never charged with treason. He was, however, extremely anti-Semitic. Apart from the BUF, he was also a member of the Nordic League, whose membership also included Serocold Skeels, a known Nazi agent, and William Joyce, Lord Haw Haw. Like the Nazis, the Nordic League also demanded the extermination of the Jews, and Chesterton fully shared their vile views. Chesterton later wrote a pamphlet attacking the leader of the BUF, complaining that Mosley had been deceived by the leader of one of the other factions within the BUF, which itself had become a parody of German Nazism. The pamphlet was published by the National Socialist League, the similarity of whose name to Hitler’s party was certainly not accidental. After the War Chesterton retreated from the genocidal implications of earlier extreme anti-Semitism, through his opposition to Nazism and friendship with individual Jews like Joseph Leftwich. He denounced the racial anti-Semitism of Houston Steward Chamberlain and the Nazi ideologue, Alfred Rosenberg, and demanded that those responsible for the death camps should be hanged. Like Mosley he also strenuously denied that he was a Fascist after the War.

Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories and the LEL

Chesterton was a professional journalist. He was the deputy editor of the Fascist magazine, Truth, from 1944 to 1953. In 1953 he was also literary adviser to Lord Beaverbrook, and founded the anti-Semitic newspaper, Candour. Chesterton was strongly influenced by the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Father Denis Fahey, A.N. Field, Douglas Reed, C.H. Douglas and Nesta Webster. He believed that Jewish financier and bankers, controlled by Bernard Baruch and Paul and Max Warburg, had been responsible for funding all the social unrest around the globe from the Russian Revolution onwards. The Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks agreements, along with the World Bank, Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and United Nations were part of a plot to establish a global Jewish ‘One World’ superstate and destroy the British Empire. In his 1965 book, The New Unhappy Lords, Chesterton made it clear that he believed that global Communism was merely a subordinate branch of this international conspiracy. Moscow and Peking were, he declared, merely ‘branch offices’, while the headquarters of the conspiracy was in New York. Despite his denial that he was a Fascist, and disapproval of political violence, this is very much the same conspiratorial view as Hitler’s, except that it was updated to include the new, post-War supranational organisations.

Political Stunts

The League attempted to spread its vile ideas not by marches or demonstrations, but through a series of disruptive stunts. Amongst these were the blowing of bugle horns at Conservative party conferences. When Krushchev and Bulganin arrived at Victoria Station as part of their détente peace tours of the West, the League’s members shouted that Anthony Eden had shaken hands with a murderer. They also gatecrashed the 1958 Anglican Lambeth Conference disguised as Greek Orthodox bishops. As racist imperialists, they also disrupted meetings of the Movement for Colonial Freedom and the Anti-Slavery Society.

Whatever Hannan says about McWhirter, it is clear that he had some extremely unpleasant Right-wing views, which could fairly be described as Fascistic. If he was indeed a subscriber to Candour, as claimed by the keeper of the LEL’s records, then he was clearly at least one of their fellow travellers. He may not have formally joined the League out of a desire to maintain his membership of the Tories. After their disruptive antics at the 1958 Tory party conference led to fighting between the conference’s stewards and members of the Leagues, the Conservatives took strong measures to throw out League sympathisers. The Freedom Association has also supported brutal and repressive extreme Right-wing dictatorships, so Baddiel actually was right to compare the Freedom Association to the BNP and attack the noxious views of its founder. And by his own support for McWhirter, Hannan has also shown how extreme his own political views are.

For further information on the League of Empire Loyalists, see Kevin Koogan, ‘The League of Empire Loyalists’ in Lobster 46, Winter 2003, pp. 26-9, and Richard Thurlow, Fascism in Britain: A History, 1918-1985 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd 1987).

Destabilising the Global Price of Oil – the Real Reason for the Ousting of Saddam Hussein

September 6, 2013

Don’t Destroy the oil wells.

– George ‘Dubya’ Bush’s demand to preserve the oil infrastructure during the invasion of Iraq.

‘Gosh, no, we won’t go, we won’t die for Texaco’

-Chant of American anti-war protestors during Gulf War 1, ‘Desert Storm’.

War is theft by other means.

– Joseph Bronowski, British scientist and Fabian Socialist.

I’ve already mentioned that one of the causes of increased American hostility to Assad’s regime was Syria’s breach of the oil embargo on Iraq through the illegal importation of Iraqi oil through the Kirkuk-Banyas pipeline. In fact it was Saddam Hussein’s repeated and unpredictable breaches of the quota limits placed by Big Oil and OPEC on Iraqi oil production that was one of the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq and his removal by Bush and Blair. Following Calouste Gulbenkian’s acquisition of exclusive oil rights from King Faisal of Iraq in 1925, the major oil companies – Anglo-Persian, now BP, Royal Dutch Shell, CFP of France and Standard Oil, now Exxon and its sister companies – agreed to maintain high oil prices by deliberately limiting oil production in Iraq. These companies, including Gulbenkian’s own, had the right to drill for oil everywhere in Iraq. In practice, only 0.5 per cent of the country was actually drilled for oil. Iraq has 74 known oil fields. Of these, only fifteen were producing oil in 2006. There are 526 known pools of oil. Only 125 of these have been drilled. from 2003 to 2005 Iraq’s oil output was less than under the oil for food programme. The profits of the five major US oil companies were massively increased following Bush’s invasion. In 2005 these were $89 billion, three times the amount in 2002.

In December 2000 a meeting of the major oil companies as part of the Joint Task Force on Petroleum of the James A. Baker III institute and the Council on Foreign relations criticised Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as a ‘swing producer, posing a difficult situation for the US government’ due to tight markets having left America and the rest of the world increasingly vulnerable to disruption and provided their enemies with a potential influence over the price of oil. Hussein would one minute cut oil production down to a minimum out of support for the Palestinian Intifada. A week or so later he would increase oil production to the maximum limit provided under the oil for food programme. This meant that oil prices across the globe rose and fell unpredictably. The Task Force’s report concluded that ‘Saddam is a “destabilizing influence … to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East”. In 2002 the US attempted to launch a coup against President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. According to OPEC’s secretary general, Ali Rodriguez, this was because Colonel Gaddafi had contacted Rodgriguez to say that he and Hussein were planning to launch another Arab oil embargo. Venezuela had already broken the 1973 Arab oil embargo, and Big Oil was afraid that it would do the same under Chavez. Hence the US hurried prepared a coup. Rodriguez contacted Chavez, and with 48 hours the coup had collapse. Hussein’s actions in Iraq could affect oil production and prices across the world, encouraging countries like Venezuela, Iran or Russia to break the tariffs level by OPEC. The Council on Foreign Relations thus concluded that

‘Saddam Hussein has demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon to manipulate oil markets … United States should conduct an immediate policy review towards Iraq, including military, energy, economic, and political/diplomatic assessments’.

This report was seized on by Dick Cheney and the Neo-Cons, who wished to remove Hussein in order to create a low tax, completely free market state in Iraq and the decision made in 2001 to invade and removed Saddam Hussein.

Obama and Cameron’s demands for military strikes against Syria have little to do with the use of chemical weapons on civilians. Indeed, James A. Baker III had been Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff when the US was providing Hussein with the intelligence to target the Kurds and Iranians with poison gas and other weapons. Rather it is a continuation of one of the aims for the invasion of Iraq: to control that nation’s oil industry.

Sources

Michael Young, ‘Syria, the US and Terrorism’, in Christopher Heffelfinger, ed., Unmasking Terror: A Global Review of Terrorist Activities (Washington D.C., The Jamestown Foundation 2005) 223-6.

Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse: ‘Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?’, The Best Legal Whorehouse in Texax’, ‘No Child’s Behind Left’ and Other Tales of Class Combat in a Dying Regime (London: Penguin 2006).