Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

A new article by our regular guest Sandy Davies! He writes:
Yes, that’s right. We’ve exported “lesser evil” politics to Iraq.  But in Iraq, it’s about who is less likely to take you away, torture and kill you.  For most people in western and northern Iraq, the Iraqi government death squads who the U.S. recruited, trained, unleashed and still supports are a greater threat than the Islamic State.  Resistance will remain a rational choice for millions of Iraqis as long as the U.S. offers them only death squads and air strikes, as it has done for 10 years.  

Our regular guest Nicolas J Sandy Davies latest article is a critique of Samantha Power’s Problem From Hell and the ideology of humanitarian intervention:
 
 
Rwanda has become the “dog that didn’t bark”, the genocide in which we didn’t intervene, which now justifies intervention everywhere else.  But what was the reality behind the myth of Rwanda, and what are the real lessons of post-Cold War U.S. war policy?

Obama Warned on Syrian Intel

Exclusive: Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story.
     
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
     
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
     
SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?
   
Precedence: IMMEDIATE
     
We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”
     
We have been down this road before – with President George W. Bush, to whom we addressed our first VIPS memorandumimmediately after Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 U.N. speech, in which he peddled fraudulent “intelligence” to support attacking Iraq. Then, also, we chose to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised. The fraudulent nature of Powell’s speech was a no-brainer. And so, that very afternoon we strongly urged your predecessor to “widen the discussion beyond …  the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.” We offer you the same advice today.
     
Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal. That is the most salient fact, according to CIA officers working on the Syria issue. They tell us that CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you.
     
We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe. Sadder still, this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave “clearly erroneous” sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.
      
Intelligence Summary or Political Ploy?
     
That Secretary of State John Kerry would invoke Clapper’s name this week in Congressional testimony, in an apparent attempt to enhance the credibility of the four-page “Government Assessment” strikes us as odd. The more so, since it was, for some unexplained reason, not Clapper but the White House that released the “assessment.”
     
This is not a fine point. We know how these things are done. Although the “Government Assessment” is being sold to the media as an “intelligence summary,” it is a political, not an intelligence document. The drafters, massagers, and fixers avoided presenting essential detail. Moreover, they conceded upfront that, though they pinned “high confidence” on the assessment, it still fell “short of confirmation.”
Déjà Fraud: This brings a flashback to the famous Downing Street Minutes of July 23, 2002, on Iraq, The minutes record the Richard Dearlove, then head of British intelligence, reporting to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials that President Bush had decided to remove Saddam Hussein through military action that would be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.” Dearlove had gotten the word from then-CIA Director George Tenet whom he visited at CIA headquarters on July 20.
     
The discussion that followed centered on the ephemeral nature of the evidence, prompting Dearlove to explain: “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” We are concerned that this is precisely what has happened with the “intelligence” on Syria.
     
The Intelligence
     
There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.
     
According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate vicinity died; others were injured.
We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.
     
In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.
Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.
     
At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government.
     
The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive. And they were. A weapons distribution operation unprecedented in scope began in all opposition camps on August 21-23. The weapons were distributed from storehouses controlled by Qatari and Turkish intelligence under the tight supervision of U.S. intelligence officers.
     
Cui bono?
      
That the various groups trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have ample incentive to get the U.S. more deeply involved in support of that effort is clear. Until now, it has not been quite as clear that the Netanyahu government in Israel has equally powerful incentive to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. But with outspoken urging coming from Israel and those Americans who lobby for Israeli interests, this priority Israeli objective is becoming crystal clear.
     
Reporter Judi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem in an important article in Friday’s New York Times addresses Israeli motivation in an uncommonly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria,” notes that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome. Rudoren continues:
“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.
      
“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”
      
We think this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the situation in Syria, and that deeper U.S. involvement – albeit, initially, by “limited” military strikes – is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict in Syria. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates that it is.
      
That Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. Iran’s leaders are not likely to be able to have much military impact in Syria, and Israel can highlight that as an embarrassment for Tehran.
      
Iran’s Role
       
Iran can readily be blamed by association and charged with all manner of provocation, real and imagined. Some have seen Israel’s hand in the provenance of the most damaging charges against Assad regarding chemical weapons and our experience suggests to us that such is supremely possible.
      
Possible also is a false-flag attack by an interested party resulting in the sinking or damaging, say, of one of the five U.S. destroyers now on patrol just west of Syria. Our mainstream media could be counted on to milk that for all it’s worth, and you would find yourself under still more pressure to widen U.S. military involvement in Syria – and perhaps beyond, against Iran.
       
Iran has joined those who blame the Syrian rebels for the August 21 chemical incident, and has been quick to warn the U.S. not to get more deeply involved. According to the Iranian English-channel Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif has claimed: “The Syria crisis is a trap set by Zionist pressure groups for [the United States].”
     
Actually, he may be not far off the mark. But we think your advisers may be chary of entertaining this notion. Thus, we see as our continuing responsibility to try to get word to you so as to ensure that you and other decision makers are given the full picture.
      
Inevitable Retaliation
      
We hope your advisers have warned you that retaliation for attacks on Syrian are not a matter of IF, but rather WHERE and WHEN. Retaliation is inevitable. For example, terrorist strikes on U.S. embassies and other installations are likely to make what happened to the U.S. “Mission” in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, look like a minor dust-up by comparison. One of us addressed this key consideration directly a week ago in an article titled “Possible Consequences of a U.S. Military Attack on Syria – Remembering the U.S. Marine Barracks Destruction in Beirut, 1983.”
      
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
      
Thomas Drake, Senior Executive, NSA (former)
Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan
Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
W. Patrick Lang, Senior Executive and Defense Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.)
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)
Todd Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)
Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army, Iraq
Coleen Rowley, Division Council & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

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.

NICOLAS “Sandy” DAVIES will join us on the phone to discuss hes recent article in Counterpunch.org laying out the ugly sad truth about the long history of war crimes at the center of US foreign policy. Sandy has been writing on this and related topics for years and his book Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq is another horrible but accurate piece of top notch investigative journalism.

With the national debate on whistle-blowers and national security, Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, I believe this is a critical perspective Punkonomics must address. On a personal level, as a professor teaching economic history, I regularly encounter the problem of having to teach the ugly truth to students who have no clue about their history and thus are, as the saying goes, condemned to repeat it. This shit keeps me up at night–literally :(

Here’s a link to the War Crimes as Policy article (includes the Guardian/BBC documentary that inspired it): https://punkonomics.org/2013/06/01/war-crimes-as-policy-douglas-valentine-and-nicolas-j-s-davies-in-counterpunch-org/

[previously appeared in East Orlando Post (http://www.eastorlandopost.com/)]

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Game of Threads: 2 of the over 1100 dead workers in the recent collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh

Game of Thrones Viewers get their Panties in a Bunch

I’m shocked! Just shocked… at how shocked people are about The Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones (season 3 episode 9). What’s your problem? You don’t seem to mind the slow-motion ballet-like torrents of blood in Quentin Tarantino’s film, or the mechanical butchery in a typical horror movie, or the gruesome pictures of victims in your run-of-the-mill TV crime drama? Where did this sensitive outrage come from?

Allow me to speculate that it’s all about the narrative: the story the authors tell us about the images we see and our own interpretation of it. Unlike in most media today, in this excellent gritty fantasy-drama, the heroic noble “good guys” get slaughtered randomly along with copious collateral damage (innocent bystanders). There is no cathartic moment in which justice is served and not even an overarching meaning to all the senseless suffering. Sort of like in the real world eh? The problem is that we are deeply conditioned to believe that if we do the right thing and behave well then we shall be rewarded. Really? Can I see some statistics please? Maybe there are just rewards in the afterlife, but there certainly aren’t any in this world.

If this rant is beginning to sound somewhat anti-religious then let me say that religious institutions do often behave deplorably, dupe people into submission, and justify horrible violence. However, every serious theology has a strong element of doubt built into it–read the book of Job in the Old Testament if you don’t believe me. Religion is what we make of it and what I’ll call the “media religion” is 3rd rate. It’s a rare pleasure to enjoy a highly entertaining, action packed, TV drama that bulks this trend. Whether the ubiquitous nudity is there for rating or is a valid element of the gritty realism I’m not quite sure but I ain’t complaining.

Now we need to deal with the two stinking bloated rotting elephant cadavers in the room: The Games of WAR and POVERTY. These games are not in an imagined medieval fantasy world. They are happening in the real world every day from the African Americans gunned down on our streets (one every 36 hours on average), through the torture centers and death squads in Iraq, and the mass sexual mutilation in the Congo, to the regular drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen (often on weddings BTW), to name just a few recent theatres of operations. Are these distasteful things we have to do to protect ourselves? Well the character Lord Walder Frey who orchestrated The Red Wedding massacre also had good reasons: revenge, sending a message, geo-political advancement, etc.

A little less obvious to our sensitive modern minds is the violence of poverty. Despite popular belief, people don’t just happen to be poor–a sad but inevitable human condition. The vast majority of human suffering is avoidable and is perpetrated by the powerful against the weak using violence. I’m thinking about the almost third of Americans who are hungry and half who are poor, the over billion people worldwide who are starving, the over 40,000 Americans who die each year from illness due to denied medical coverage, the generation(s) poisoned by our agricultural industry, and the many thousands of workers dying while crafting our cherished consumer goods in poor countries. These “savings” that cost so many lives do not go to the consumer as much as to the executive pay of our beloved leaders (North Korean pun intended). I am convinced that most Americans would be willing to pay a few percent more for our cheap apparel and electronics, but that option is not on the table because that’s not where the blood money goes. Instead we are offered crocodile tears, fake apologies, and public-relations campaigns that will have no positive effect on the suffering multitudes. Just like in the Game of Thrones: no happy ending, no justice, no balance .

So now you’re probably thinking I’m a socialist right? Well maybe I am but that’s not the point. Adam Smith is the greatest advocate of the free-market system (aka capitalism), and his concept of the Invisible Hand is constantly invoked to argue that unregulated individual self-interest leads to the best social outcomes. Sadly the people who use this to justify murder seldom read the great man himself, and if they do, seem to ignorantly or willfully misunderstand him. Smith argued that a free-market system could potentially yield such benefits if and only if it maintains an ethical balance by enforcing strict moral behavior. Wealthy and successful people must hold themselves ethically responsible and society as a whole must enforce a social ethic upon them. For example: insurance executives bragging that they denied coverage to so many thousands of people would not be celebrated by their peers nor rewarded with a monstrous Christmas bonus. Under Smith they would be socially ostracized by an elite that values entrepreneurial excellence and hard work and not economic warlordism, corporatism, and kleptocracy. Furthermore, their companies would be shut down for being destructive and criminal by a government representing the long term interests of all the people. Yeah, I know, this sadly sounds way more fantastical than anything Game of Thrones has to offer but my point is that a successful free-market economic system depends on a game of balance.

As the red witch Melisandre keeps telling everybody in Game of Thrones: “the night is dark and full of horrors.”

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.  Seewww.douglasvalentine.com or write to him atdougvalentine77@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 8im atpeacetopower@aol.com

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