Posts Tagged ‘cia’

Lest we forget: http://www.globalresearch.ca/new-ukraine-government-launches-airstrikes-and-prepares-austerity-measures

 

Right-click and select “save as” to download: Punkonomics2014-5-14

We’re very excited to be back on the airwaves in Central Florida!

We had with us on the phone: Ben Smith from Belmont University (Alabama), and in the studio: Chris Garlock (Rollins Economics alumnus and Crummer MBA), and Shaheen Alhumaydhi (Rollins student)

And of course the usual clowns Beni Balak (me, aka the doctor) and Jesse (aka Mr Catnip)

Some links to INDEPENDENT media:

We will continue to follow the unfolding crisis…

The group behind the clashes is Right Sector, the strike force of the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Ukraine’s government.

Ukrainian anti-government protesters in January 2014. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The death toll in Odessa stands at 42 people killed, most of them burned to death or suffocated by smoke inhalation in the inferno at the Trade Unions House.  There is no dispute over who were the victims and who were their killers.  The victims were pro-Russian protesters who had occupied the building.  The attackers who set fire to it with petrol bombs were members of Right Sector, the ultra-Nationalist strike force of the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in February.

Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh told Newsweek on March 19th that the Western-backed coup regime in Kiev has organized Right Sector militia members into new paramilitary forces for a “war” to “cleanse the country” of pro-Russian protesters.  So it is not clear whether the militiamen responsible for the mass murder in Odessa were in fact newly recruited Ukrainian “National Guard” troops or just “civilian” Right Sector thugs, nor whether they were locals from Odessa or forces sent in from Kiev, Lviv or elsewhere in Western Ukraine.

For Americans, a more serious question hangs over Ukraine’s Waco in Odessa and indeed over the entire U.S. role in the crisis in Ukraine.  The earliest media reports of Right Sector’s existence date only from January 2014 as it took charge of the protests in Kiev, and the earliest article on Right Sector’s web site dates from November 25th 2013.  Right Sector was created less than six months ago, as the U.S. State Department and the CIA was already laying the groundwork for the coup in Ukraine.  So what role has the U.S. played in the recruiting, training and direction of this group that now has so much blood on its hands?

Dmytro Yarosh, Right Sector’s leader, joined the Stepan Bandera All-Ukrainian Tryzub (Trident) paramilitary organization in 1994.  He became the head of the militia in 2005. Like the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, one of three parties in the coup government, Tryzub drew inspiration from the World War II-era Ukrainian leader Stepan Bandera and his Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, who massacred tens of thousands of Poles and Jews during World War II and supported German campaigns that killed many more.

Despite his early collaboration with the Nazis, Bandera soon fell foul of the German occupiers in Ukraine and spent most of the war in the Zellenbau prison for political prisoners at Sachsenhausen concentration camp.  Like his hero, Yarosh speaks fiercely of Ukrainian independence from both Russia and the West, although most of his venom is directed at Russia and Russians in Ukraine.  As in Syria and throughout the world, the violent, dangerous forces the U.S. recruited and deployed to overthrow Ukraine’s government are not entirely under U.S. control but are more easily directed toward violence and chaos than toward any constructive purpose.

So, in the wake of Right Sector’s inferno in Odessa, we have to ask a second question, “What role is the CIA still playing today in directing or advising Right Sector as it commits mass murder in Odessa and wages war on pro-Russian protesters across the country?”

NATO leaders formally declared in Bucharest on April 3rd 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members of NATO.”  U.S. coup manager Victoria Nuland flew back from Kiev to tell the National Press Club in Washington on December 13th 2013 that the U.S. had spent $5 billion to “help Ukraine,” and that it had not spent all that money for nothing.  Then Mrs. Kagan flew back to Kiev to oversee the transition from the recruitment and movement building phase of the coup to the unleashing of Right Sector street violence in the Hrushevskoho Street riots in Kiev on January 19th.  As America’s angel of death flew back and forth across the Atlantic in taxpayer-funded comfort, the 42 victims of Ukraine’s Waco in Odessa were living their lives and minding their own business, with no inkling of the unfolding scheme that would lead to their horrific deaths.

Routinely omitted from the Western propaganda narrative on Ukraine is the fact that Russia has had a reasonable proposal for the future of Ukraine on the table all along, since before the emergence of Right Sector, before the coup in Kiev and before Russia reclaimed Crimea in response to the coup.

Russia’s proposal is for a neutral and federal Ukraine.  NATO leaders would abandon their plans to absorb Ukraine into NATO, and the different regions of Ukraine would be granted greater autonomy under a new federal constitution.  This offers the hope of ending the back-and-forth all-or-nothing power struggle that has turned the people of Ukraine into pawns of Russian- and Western-backed oligarchs and their foreign allies since 1991.

The main obstacle to the Russian proposal is its reasonableness. It’s really the only sensible framework for a solution to the crisis.  But the U.S., its NATO allies and the coup government in Kiev have staked out extreme positions, calling pro-Russian Ukrainians “terrorists”, threatening them with military force and blaming Russia for everything.  This makes it difficult for the U.S. and its allies to accept Russia’s proposal without very obviously and publicly backing down.

Former US Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock has urged the Obama administration to stop making aggressive public statements and to engage in quiet diplomacy to resolve the crisis, before matters get any worse for the people of Ukraine or for U.S.-Russian relations.  Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) has urged the president to ask NATO to formally rescind the 2008 Bucharest declaration that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, and to work in good faith to implement the April 17th Geneva agreement to de-escalate the crisis.  Above all, VIPS writes, Obama must “let cooler heads prevail.”

However, if Right Sector leaders and the coup government are still getting very different advice and direction from their CIA case officers at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, none of this will work and we can expect further escalation, more Right Sector atrocities and the rising danger of an unthinkable war between the U.S. and Russia.  It will be no comfort to recognize that none of that had to happen.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of “Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.” Davies also wrote the chapter on “Obama At War” for the book, “Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.”

http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=33e4ec877eed6a43863a4a92e&id=234c5e2f76&e=529d9ad9ce

GregPalast.com
Lap Dancers, the CIA, Pay-offs, and
BP’s Deepwater Horizon

By Greg Palast  |  for Truthdig
Friday, 18. April 2014

From his investigation for Channel 4 Television in the newly released film, Vultures and Vote Rustlers.

There was CIA involvement through a company called Mega Oil. They were shipping in arms under the cover of oil tools.

The BP executive was explaining to me how the CIA, MI6 and British Petroleum engineered a coup d’état, overthrowing an elected president of a nation who was “not favorable to BP.” The corporation’s former Vice-President, Leslie Abrahams, is pictured here, holding an AK-47 in front of BP headquarters in Baku, Azerbaijan.  Like most of the other BP executives I spoke with, he proudly added that while he was working for BP, he was also an operative for MI6, British intelligence.

The conversation was far from the weirdest I had in my four-continent investigation of the real story of the Deepwater Horizon.
The BP oilrig blew out on April 20, 2010, four years ago this Sunday.

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration officially OK’d BP’s right to resume drillingin the Gulf of Mexico. And two weeks ago, just to assure the company that all is forgiven, the U.S. Department of the Interior gave BP a new contract to drill in the Gulf of Mexico––right next to where the Deepwater Horizon went down. At the same time, the forgive-and-forget U.S. Justice Department has put the trial of David Rainey, the only BP big-shot charged with a felony crime in the disaster, on indefinite hold.

The Deepwater Horizon blow-out incinerated eleven men on the rig and poisoned 600 miles of Gulf coastline. What political fairy dust does BP keep in its pocket to receive virtual immunity from the consequences?

To understand what really happened in the Gulf of Mexico, and how BP became a corporate creature beyond the reach of the law, British television network Channel 4 sent me on a four-continent investigation through a labyrinthine funhouse of bribery, lap-dancing, beatings, Wikileaks, a coup d’état, arrests and oil-state terror.

I found the cause of the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon seven thousand miles from the Gulf in the ancient city of Baku, the Central Asian caravan stop on the Silk Road.


For the interview with agent Abrahams and the full story of the Deepwater Horizon, see, Vultures and Vote Rustlersthe documentary which will be available as a download without charge for the next two days courtesy of the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund.


The literal source of Soviet power until 1991, Baku has been exporting petroleum for 3,000 years. As the Soviet Union shattered into pieces that year, BP set its sights on the city. It is now the capital of the new nation of Azerbaijan, which sits atop the biggest untapped oil field in the world, right beneath the Caspian Sea.

A coup for BP
BP Chairman Lord Browne flew into Baku as soon as the young state elected its first president. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined him via the “Iron Lady,” a plane the corporation outfitted especially for her. At a state dinner, Browne handed BP Vice-President Abrahams a briefcase and showed him the contents: a check for $30 million. Browne then gave the check to the president of Azerbaijan.

Still, the new president remained “not favorable” to BP’s demand for control of the Caspian oil, so MI6, the CIA and the corporation went into action. The spy agencies armed and empowered the former Soviet KGB chief Heydar Aliyev, who in 1993 overthrew Azerbaijan’s elected government. Once he became dictator, Aliyev named himself president for life and within four months signed a no-bid deal to give the reserves to BP.

BP and MI6 man Abrahams was instructed, he told me, to “smooth the way” for the deal by taking Azeri officials to London in Lord Browne’s jet for weekends of lap-dancing and other entertainment. By Abraham’s own estimation, he paid over $3 million in additional cash bribes to make certain BP would have no trouble.

I should note that Abrahams broke no law: bribery by a British subject was legal then. BP did not deny the pay-offs when I questioned them directly, and MI6 officers proudly confirmed the coup d’état’s purpose of locking in the offshore deal for BP.

Quick-dry, quick-kill cement
What does this have to do with the blow out of the Deepwater Horizon?

This: It is now well established that the disaster occurred when the cement used to cap the well failed, allowing explosive methane gas to fill the rig and transform it into a sinking fire ball.

But this was not BP’s first cement failure and explosion. Just 17 months earlier, BP’s Caspian Sea Transocean rig suffered exactly the same fate.

The cause of the two blow-outs was identical. In the Caspian as in the Gulf, BP laced its cement with nitrogen gas. The nitrogen bubbles sped up the drying of the mixture, saving BP half a million dollars a day on rig rental charges. But in offshore high-pressure zones, nitrogen-spiked cement can fail. And it did. Twice.

Question: Why in the world was BP allowed to use this insanely dangerous “quick-dry” cement just after a failure in the Caspian? Answer: A cover-up––via threats, beatings, arrests, bribery, perjury and the complicity of the U.S. State Department.

I only learned of the prior blow-out because of a coded message from the Caspian Sea received from one very nervous eye witness. To get the evidence, I flew to Baku and headed across the road-less desert to find more witnesses.

But we had been ratted out. My crew was placed under arrest by Azerbaijan’s secret police. While they demanded our film, I was allowed to keep my pen, which was actually a hidden camera. (I’ve learned a few things from Maxwell Smart.)

How do you keep a monstrous blow-out from going public? As one of the arresting cops told us with odd pride, “BP drives this country.” It drives it with cash. Robert Ebel, former chief of oil analysis for the CIA, estimates that at least $140 million of payments by BP for Azeri oil has gone unaccounted for. Where did it go? Notably, the Aliyev ruling family lives like pashas despite the president’s official salary of $100 a month.

Oil worker advocate Mirvari Gahramanli said she was beaten by police for raising questions. In case I doubted it, she showed me photographs of a dozen cops slamming her with long clubs.

What’s worse, while I was tossed out of the country (it would have looked bad to throw a TV reporter into a dungeon), my witnesses disappeared.

Wikileaks and oily lies
Just five months before the Deepwater Horizon spill, BP Vice-President for Gulf Exploration David Rainey testified before the U.S. Congress that the company had drilled offshore “for the last 50 years in a manner both safe and protective of the environment.”

BP’s testimony was a lie. The Caspian rig blew out a year earlier.

But the lie was good enough for Congress. Based on Rainey’s assurances, legislators pressured the Department of the Interior to drop objections to plans for drilling in the Gulf’s deep waters.

Withholding information from Congress is a felony crime. But Rainey has one heck of a defense: the U.S. State Department was in on the cover-up.

Deep in the pile of confidential State Department cables released by one courageous U.S. soldier, Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, we have the notes from a secret meeting between the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Anna Dearse, and the chief of BP’s Caspian operation.

The hugger-mugger was demanded by BP’s American partners, Chevron and Exxon.  The U.S. oil companies had complained to the State Department that they were no longer getting their piece of the Caspian loot and BP wouldn’t tell them why. (You’ll remember that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was a member of Chevron’s board of executives.)

In the memo, which you can see in our film, Vultures and Vote Rustlers, the U.S. Ambassador provides the details of the blow-out of the bad cement on the BP rig.

The State Department kept schtum, not even warning U.S. safety regulators. And Exxon and Chevron’s chiefs joined BP’s Rainey in the mendacious sales pitch to Congress, testifying, despite their knowledge, that their offshore drilling methods were safe as a game of checkers.

Justice is not always abused: David Rainey was indicted for felonious obstruction of Congress. However, the charge centers on a relatively minor falsehood: his alleged understatement of the amount of oil bursting into the Gulf. Neither Rainey nor BP will be tried for the deadlier lie to Congress — the prior blow-out caused by the penny-pinching quick-dry cement — because the U.S. government is itself complicit in the cover-up.

Blow-backs and blow-outs
And that’s why we are seeing the red carpet rolled out for BP in the Gulf once more.

When the U.S. government participates in the corruption of other democracies, when it authorizes bribery and ignores police-state tactics to benefit from business deals, the sins of empire can come back to haunt the nation. In the CIA’s world this is called “blow-back.” What was covered up in Baku has killed Americans in the Gulf, and it will likely continue to kill.

And bribery does not simply stay “over there.” American officials are not as different from the Baku bandits as they may like to believe. The agency in charge of regulating BP’s drilling in the Gulf, the U.S. Minerals Mining Service, was rife with watchdogs who, like their Azeri counterparts, took backhanders and pay-outs from BP. And when I say BP was in bed with the regulators, that is not a metaphor: a BP lobbyist was sleeping with a chief of the agency.

Don’t bother sending David Rainey a file in a cake: the BP man won’t get two minutes of jail time. His trial has been suspended indefinitely.

Immunity from law is not new to BP. As I reported two weeks ago, BP was the main culprit in the disaster caused by the Exxon Valdez grounding. The company walked away without paying a dime to the victims. In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, a few tenacious attorneys have ensured the corporation pays some compensation in the Gulf. But that money comes nowhere close to the damage it caused and will do nothing to harm the company’s bottom line.

The oil is still there
Today BP has declared Gulf waters clean, as if Mother Nature were just a toilet you can poop in and flush. But I’ve been to the Gulf shores. Dig down ten inches in the shoals off Gulfport and you’ll hit Deepwater Horizon crude.  Biologist Rick Steiner tells me BP’s poisonous sludge will remain just under the surface for another 40 year. Hidden––just like BP’s crimes.

Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic, inside his investigations from the Arctic to the Congo, hunting down rogue billionaires. Palast’s reports are seen on BBC-TV and Britain’s Channel 4.

Watch Palast’s report BP: In Deep Water on Free Speech TV, this Sunday at 7pm & 9pm ET. Check out the trailer here.

Greg Palast is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers, Billionaires & Ballot BanditsThe Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse.

HELP US FOLLOW THE MONEY. Visit the Palast Investigative Fund’s store or simply make a tax-deductible contribution to keep our work alive!


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We know that The US, and especially Republicans including President Reagan and Donald Rumsfeld among others, helped the racist South African Apartheid regime and tried to stop the global movement to dismantle it. But Here are some more ugly facts. At the very least this should make Americans think about their role in defending “freedom” and “liberty” then and, more importantly, NOW.

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/25/exclusive_nsa_fbi_dia_sued_over

It’s nice to see the inside reports of things we know already. What we should learn from this is how this crap (and worse) is going on today in multiple countries.

CIA Confirms Role in 1953 Iran Coup.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq (Nimble Books: 2010), with a foreword by Benjamin Ferencz, a chief investigator and the only surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg war crimes trials, and the founding father of the International Criminal Court.  Nicolas’ writing about American war crimes has been published by Alternet, Huffington Post, Z Magazine and warisacrime.org.  You can reach him at peacetopower@aol.com

Sandy referenced a book on the show: America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else (William Blum, 2013)

This is the Guardian/BBC documentary to which his article below is a response:

The CIA: Keepers of the Hit Lists

War Crimes as Policy

by DOUGLAS VALENTINE and NICOLAS J.S. DAVIES

In February the Guardian and BBC Arabic unveiled a documentary exploring the role of retired Colonel James Steele in the recruitment, training and initial deployments of the CIA advised and funded Special Police Commandos in Iraq.

The documentary tells how the Commandos tortured and murdered tens of thousands of Iraqi men and boys.  But the Commandos were only one of America’s many weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.   Along with US military forces – which murdered indiscriminately – and various CIA funded death squads – which murdered selectively – and the CIA’s rampaging palace guard – the 5,000 man strong Iraq Special Operations Forces – the Commandos were part of a genocidal campaign that killed about 10% of the Sunni Arabs of Iraq by 2008, and drove about half of all Sunnis from their homes.

Including economic sanctions, and a 50 year history of sabotage and subversion, America and its Iraqi collaborators visited far more death and destruction on Iraq than Saddam Hussein and his regime.

For the last few weeks, American pundits have been cataloguing the horrors.   They tell how the Bush and Obama regimes, united in the unstated policy of war crimes, probably murdered more than a million Iraqis, displaced around five million, and imprisoned and tortured hundreds of thousands without trial.

A few have further explained that the dictatorial administrative detention laws, torture, and executions that characterize the occupation are still in place under Prime Minister Maliki.   The prime minister’s office, notably, is where the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau is currently ensconced.

All of this meets the definition of genocide in the Genocide Convention, and violates multiple articles of the Geneva Conventions, which guarantee protection to civilians in time of war.   But the responsible Americans have gone unpunished for their war crimes, not least of which was falsifying intelligence about Iraq’s non-existent weapon of mass destruction as a pretext for the invasion.  British legal advisors repeatedly warned their government that invading Iraq would be a crime of aggression, which they called “one of the most serious offenses under international law.”

For anyone familiar with the CIA, this was predictable.  But the US Government, through secrecy and censorship, destroyed much of the hard evidence of its war crimes, making it harder to prove.   And the media is content to revise history and focus public attention on front men like Steele, rather than the institutions – in particular the CIA – for whom they work.

History, however, provides contextual evidence that what happened in Iraq amounts to a policy of carefully planned war crimes.  Indeed, the CIA modeled the Iraqi Special Police Commandos on the Special Police forces it organized and funded in Vietnam.  In November 2000, Counterpunch published an article describing how Congressman Rob Simmons, while serving as a CIA officer in Vietnam, created the Special Intelligence Force Unit (SIFU) on which the Iraqi Special Police Commandos are very likely modeled.   This is only one of many historical examples of the CIA’s modus operandi.

There are other examples.  As we were reminded by the Guardian, Steele headed the U.S. Military Advisor Group in El Salvador (1984-1986), where US advised units were responsible for thousands of cases of torture and extra-judicial killing.  They operated in rural and urban areas, but wherever they operated, they were directed against anyone opposing US policy – usually leftists.

The CIA’s death squads in El Salvador were periodically moved from one administrative cover to another to confuse investigators.  The CIA played this shell game with its Special Police Commandos in Iraq as well, rebranding them as the “National Police” following the exposure of one of their torture centers in November 2005.  In its finest Madison Avenue marketing traditions, the CIA renamed the Commandos’ predatory Wolf Brigade as the “Freedom Brigade”.

In Vietnam, the CIA built an archipelago of secret torture centers to process the hundreds of thousands of detainees kidnapped by its mercenary army of “counter-terror” death squads.  All around the world, CIA officers and their Special Forces lackeys teach torture techniques and design the torture centers, often hidden at military posts.   This is well known.

Major Joe Blair, the Director of Instruction at the School of the Americas (1986-9), described the training the U.S. gave to Latin American officers as follows: “The doctrine that was taught was that if you want information you use physical abuse…false imprisonment…threats to family members… and killing.  If you can’t get the information you want, if you can’t get that person to shut up or to stop what they’re doing, you simply assassinate them, and you assassinate them with one of your death squads.”

In 2000, the School of the Americas was rebranded as “WHINSIC”, but, as Blair testified at a trial of SOA Watch protesters in 2002, “There are no substantive changes besides the name.  They teach the identical courses that I taught, and changed the course names and use the same manuals.”

General Paul Gorman, who commanded U.S. forces in Central America in the mid-1980′s, defined this type of warfare based on war crimes as “a form of warfare repugnant to Americans, a conflict which involves innocents, in which non-combatant casualties may be an explicit object.”‘

Another problem, apart from historical amnesia, is that each war crime is viewed as an isolated incident, and when the dots are connected, the focus is on some shadowy character like Steele.  The Guardian made an attempt to connect Steele to Petraeus and Rumsfeld, which again, is commendable.  But the fact is that the entire National Security State has been designed and staffed with right-wing ideologues who support the unstated US policy of war crimes for profit.

We know who these security ideologues are.  The problem is, they regularly have lunch with the reporters we trust to nail them to the wall.

For example, on 17 March 2013, CNN talking head Fareed Zakaria had Donald Gregg on his show to discuss North Korea.  Zakaria introduced Gregg as President Bush the Superior’s national security advisor in the 1980s, but did not mention that Gregg, while a CIA region officer in charge in Vietnam, developed the “repugnant” form of warfare based on war crimes described by General Gorman above, or that he oversaw its application in El Salvador through a back-channel “counter-terror” network.

Gregg’s plan, used by Steele in El Salvador and then Iraq, requires US advisers to coordinate civilian security services (like the Iraqi Special Police) with military intelligence and civil affairs units to provide death squads and military units with information on the location of guerrillas, whose hideouts are bombed by U.S. warplanes, then ravaged in My Lai-style cordon and search operations in which counter-terror hit teams hunt enemy cadres in their homes.

In Vietnam, Gregg and his CIA companions – many of whom migrated to El Salvador – put together a chart of VC political cadres from “battered” detainees.  They’d force the detainees to point out on a map where their comrades were hiding.  Then the CIA officers would take the detainees up in a helicopter to point out the hiding places on the ground.  A Special Forces or CIA paramilitary unit would then snatch the cadre and bring them to region’s secret torture center, run by a CIA-paid and owned Special Police officer – the kind of guy Steele and before him Congressman Simmons advised.

“We brought guys in from the national prison to flesh out the reports,” Gregg told me about one particular operation.  “We had guys analyzing reports, marking photographs, putting the pictures together on the wall, and then photographing that.  That led to 96 people in the organization.  Using military intel, we took photos of the houses where they lived… then took the photos back to the helicopter where we had the 23 people, who were hooded, and they circled the faces of the cadre. ”

There’s more historical evidence, of course, but this is the plan the CIA exported to El Salvador, and that Steele employed, with some modifications, in Iraq.

After finishing with Gregg, Zakaria took a commercial break and returned with Paul Wolfowitz, Bush the Inferior’s Deputy Secretary of Defense and proponent of the Iraq War.

ZAKARIA: “How do you think about as an American policy maker, the issue of – was it worth the price in American lives and treasure? By some estimates $1 trillion.

WOLFOWITZ: “I would like as much as anyone to be able to say, let’s forget about the Persian Gulf. Let’s forget about the larger Middle East.  But that part of the world isn’t leaving us alone. Al Qaeda isn’t leaving us alone. Pakistan isn’t leaving us alone. I think our interests and our values would be advanced if we stick with it.”

Zakaria did not ask Wolfowitz what he meant by “leaving us alone.”  He simply said, “Paul Wolfowitz, pleasure to have you on.”

War Criminals Wave Press Passes

Given the history of America’s genocidal wars in Vietnam and Central America, it is unfortunate that the Guardian limited itself to establishing that Steele and his administrative boss, General David Petraeus, and his boss Donald Rumsfeld, underwrote systematic torture and extrajudicial killing.

What needs to be stressed is that thousands of Americans, including political bosses like Wolfowitz, and scores of journalists with access, knew that the CIA-owned Ministry of Interior had more than a dozen secret prisons, and they knew what went on in them – as one Iraqi general told the film-makers, “drilling, murder, torture – the ugliest sorts of torture I’ve ever seen.”

Likewise, the composition of and operations of Special Police death squads, an American interviewee said, “were discussed openly, wherever it was, at staff meetings,” and were “common knowledge across Baghdad.”

It is a testament to the power of U.S. “information warfare” that this policy of war crimes comes as a surprise to the general public.   Such is the power of National Security State insiders David Corn and Michael Isikoff, who happily turn the policy of calculated war crimes into the “hubris” of a handful of sexy mad patriots whom the Establishment is glad to sacrifice on the pseudo-altar of public theatre.

Certainly people have to be reminded, and the young have to learn, that America’s long-standing policy of war crimes for profit cannot exist without the complicity of the mainstream media, who exploit our natural inclination to believe the best of “our” leaders and especially of our soldiers.  As George Orwell wrote in 1945, “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Belligerent nationalism is often understood as the essence of what it means to be a “patriotic” American, and this veneration for the nation is taught to all budding reporters at journalism schools, along with the Code of Silence.   Which is why, when insider Seymour Hersh reported that the CIA and Israel were training U.S. Special Forces assassination teams for deployment in Iraq, on the CIA’s Phoenix program model, he described it in a bloodless manner that made it seem necessary and, at worst, a mistake.

But war crimes are not a mistake; they are a “repugnant” and thoroughly intentional form of warfare.

Hersh quoted a former CIA station chief as saying, “We have to resuscitate Iraqi intelligence, holding our nose, and have Delta and agency shooters break down doors and take them”—the insurgents—“out.”

Hold our noses, Hersh suggested, and commit war crimes.  And when Amy Goodman interviewed him about it, she did not ask if what he described constituted a policy of war crimes.  And when Zakaria looked at Wolfowitz, he failed to question him about the war crimes he plotted and committed.

All this psychological warfare is waged in the name of morale – to make us, and our journalists, feel good about our belligerent nationalism – about being complicit in the war crimes perpetrated by the Perles, Frums, and Feiths.

After the CIA death squads eliminated the senior leadership of the Iraqi government, they eliminated “mid-level” Baath Party members, the middle class of Iraq.   Cover was provided by Newsweek, which quoted an army officer who said, “The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists. From their point of view, it is cost-free.  We have to change that equation.”

How did they do this?  In one case, U.S. forces held a general’s three sons as hostages to persuade him to turn himself in.  Then, instead of releasing his sons as promised, they staged an elaborate mock execution of his 15-year-old youngest son, before torturing the general himself to death.

All of it covered up.  Not one victim featured on TV.

If you were to believe the New York Times – the newspaper of record – it doesn’t know the names of the senior CIA officers in Iraq behind these sorts of barbaric practices.   Or publishers and editors may claim that the Intelligence Identity Protection Act prevents them from naming names, but they could easily describe the jobs, and tell us what’s being done.   They could finesse the law.  But they don’t even do that, and that’s the Big Secret upon which the policy of war crimes utterly depends.

The Times conceals the simple truths that undermine our so-called “democracy.”   Truths, like how the CIA nurtured the exile leadership it installed in Iraq, and organized and funded the Ministry of Interior as its private domain, replete with a computerized list of every Iraqi citizen and every detail of their lives.

The Times could at least describe the CIA as “Keeper of the Hit Lists: Blackmail Central.”

But the Times won’t, because it’s a family affair.  As we well know, the Iraqi National Congress was headed by Ahmed Chalabi, the CIA-sponsored source on the myth of weapons of mass destruction, hand-delivered to Times reporter Judy Miller, now a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Chalabi’s lies, and Miller’s dutiful reporting of them, were the pretext for the war on Iraq.

What is never mentioned is that the INC was founded and funded by the CIA, and that another of its leaders was the exiled General Hassan al-Naqib, whose son, Falah al-Naqib, then became the CIA’s handpicked Interim Interior Minister in Iraq and appointed his uncle General Thavit to lead the Special Police Commandos.

Times reporters undoubtedly lunch with Uncle Thavit and his CIA case officer.

The Times doesn’t explain the CIA’s precious methods of dominance: that any American working for the Interior Ministry, or prime minister’s office, was reporting to a publicly acknowledged administrative boss, usually in the military or State Department, and secretly to a CIA case officer, his operational boss.   Or that every unit in the Special Commandos had a CIA case officer handing out hit lists to its American “Special Police Transition Team”.  Up to forty-five Americans, mostly Special Forces, worked with each Iraqi unit.  These teams were in round-the-clock communication with their CIA bosses via the Special Police Command Center, and there is no record of the Special Police ever conducting operations without U.S. supervision, even as they massacred tens of thousands of people.

Every militia and Iraqi Special Forces unit had a CIA case officer doing likewise.  Every Iraqi politician and ministry officer has a CIA case officer too.  And Times reporters drink with these advisors inside the Green Zone.  It’s the secret that enables atrocity.

American journalists do not report the truth.   Consider their deference to the Interior Ministry’s CIA advisor Steven Casteel after his Special Police Commandos launched their reign of terror in Baghdad.   Hersh’s sanitized reports of a Phoenix-style terror campaign in Iraq were conveniently forgotten and instead they regurgitated Casteel’s black propaganda – that all atrocities were either rumor or innuendo or perpetrated by “insurgents in stolen police uniforms.”

Forget about what Hersh said about “mistakes.”  Such an explanation was as ludicrous as General Petraeus claiming that the Iraqis formed the Special Police Commandos on “their own initiative.”

Knight Ridder did not mention that Casteel had managed DEA operations in Latin America and been the DEA’s Chief of Intelligence before being sent to Iraq, or that the CIA has controlled the DEA’s overseas targeting for 40 years, on a purely political basis.  Casteel had served as a CIA lackey in Latin America, attacking left wing drug traffickers and letting right wing traffickers flourish, supporting the CIA sponsored Los Pepes-AUC death squads who were responsible for about 75% of civilian deaths in the Colombian civil war over the next 10 years.

To its credit, Knight Ridder did investigate Commando atrocities, and might have uncovered the whole story, except that its Iraqi reporter, Yasser Salihee, was shot and killed by an American sniper in June 2005.  And while it had sufficient evidence to debunk Casteel’s cover story, it instead blamed the abuses on infiltration of the good guy Commandos by bad guy “Shiite militias”.

After the exposure of the al-Jadiriyah torture center, journalists reported that heads would roll.  But a major CIA asset, Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Asadi, maintained command of the National (formerly Special) Police, undermining the reforms promised by the new Interior Minister, Jawad al-Bulani.

Asadi remains in that position, his forces embedded and deeply implicated in persistent human rights abuses in Iraq, where prisons are still rife with rape, torture, executions (judicial and extra-judicial) and disappearances.  During Arab Spring demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Baghdad in March 2011, demonstrators spotted Asadi on a rooftop directing snipers as they shot peaceful protesters in the square below.

The Guardian and the BBC made a good start, but US journalists need to break the Code of Silence and launch an ongoing investigation into the full extent of U.S. command and control of the Special Police Commandos and all the other death squads and torture centers the United States brought to Iraq.  The investigation must seriously examine the roles of the CIA and of US Special Forces, including the secret Joint Special Operations Command and the “Nightstalkers” who worked with the Wolf Brigade in 2005.  The investigation must lead to accountability for each and every war crime committed.

American journalists were glad to demonize Saddam Hussein for his war crimes – real and imagined. Now they need to identify and humanize the up to 1,800 dead bodies that piled up every month in Baghdad, and to follow up with Iraqi human rights groups like the Organization for Follow-Up and Monitoring, who matched 92% of the bodies of execution victims with names and descriptions of people detained by US-led Interior Ministry forces.

America’s ruling National Security State, under the Obama regime, has expanded, through the CIA, “covert” paramilitary operations from 60 countries in 2008 to 120 nations.  If we are ever to have a whiff of true democracy, we need our journalists to reveal the extent to which the CIA commands and controls these operations, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we need them to explain, on a daily basis, how the National Security State corrupts intelligence and “news” for the same racist imperial purposes that have defined US foreign policy since the Vietnam War.

Doug Valentine is the author of five books, including The Phoenix Program, and “A Crow’s Dream,” his first book poems.  See www.douglasvalentine.com or write to him at dougvalentine77@gmail.com

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq (Nimble Books: 2010), with a foreword by Benjamin Ferencz, a chief investigator and the only surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg war crimes trials, and the founding father of the International Criminal Court.  Nicolas’ writing about American war crimes has been published by Alternet, Huffington Post, Z Magazine and warisacrime.org.  You can reach him at peacetopower@aol.com

This article originally appeared in the April issue of CounterPunch magazine.