What we know, or have the means to know, is already in excess of any security threat that can be reasonably estimated from random groups of militant Islamicists. Not only that, the concentration of such huge information and spy networks in relatively few hands and the lack of oversight pose a domestic and global danger far greater than the sporadic actions of disenfranchised groups in the Middle East
How this came to be is the subject of this essay.
Let me begin with a personal reflection. My first book, The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and The American Media (December, 2005) was sent out to reviewers (including The Nation, Democracy Now, The Washington Post, and others). The Post asked for it after I’d sent them an op-ed on renditions that they liked, but didn’t publish. They read the book, but never reviewed it, although one of their reporters was at the time working on the renditions story.
Meanwhile, though the book was completed in December, 2005, it came out only a full year later. I never knew why. That means any influence on events I thought I could have through the book was substantially reduced. The book itself was reviewed only on the web and then only sporadically.
No mainstream left-liberal or independent journalist replied, reviewed the book, or offered me a spot to discuss any of the issues, although Abu Ghraib turned out to be the single most emblematic and important angle of the Iraq war. My pieces were widely reprinted on the net and would have been impossible for anyone with a serious interest in the topics to have missed.
Plagiarism, failing to attribute, ghettoizing, intentional or not – they’re all part of the equipment of propaganda. They contribute to the rewriting of history, the unjustified stigmatizing and isolation of some people and some ideas, and the unjustified emphasis on others. It would shatter the ideological mindset to acknowledge that citizen bloggers might actually be right, or worse yet, ahead of the media on a story. Or that there may have a blind spot in some journalists’ world-view. The corruption journalists are so quick to find in the business and political world is very much present also in theirs – and with as deadly consequences.
With these thoughts, here are the two deleted chapters from my book, analyzing the propaganda machine that controls political debate in the US. (They have been posted since 2008 at my blog).
Let’s hope the New Year brings a new investigation of this momentous crime.
(Written in December, 2005 – January 2006 as Chapter 11, “The Torture Trompe L’Oeil”. Published here with minor adaptations)
SPY MACHINE, LIE MACHINE
We were brainwashed into the war on terror. There is no other explanation for the insanity. Others have delineated the conspiracy behind 9-11.
Here, I lay bare the structure that allowed that conspiracy to unfold:
1. The privatization of the military and the central role played by unaccountable forces (special forces, military contractors, CIA).
2. The monopoly of intelligence functions by gigantic private contractors like CACI, leading to secrecy, unaccountability, and foreign control
3. The globalization and outsourcing of intelligence that has led to self-contradicting policies, foreign espionage, and corruption.
4. The financing of racial and religious extremism by a small group of wealthy financiers.
5. The existence of a propaganda machine in the media that is servile to Zionism.
I. Private Armies
The sexual and religious torture enacted at Abu Ghraib was first proposed in a book that asserted that Arabs understood only two things – force and shame, especially sexual shame. The book, Rafael Patai’s The Arab Mind (1) is scorned by academics, but nevertheless remains “the most popular and widely read book on the Arabs in the U.S. military” in the training of elite special forces. (2)
Since Rumsfeld made elite units central to both, that one remark should tell us the degree to which the torture at Abu Ghraib is central to the conceptualization of the Iraq war and, consequently, also of the War on Terror.
Delta Forces, Navy SEALs, Airforce Special Ops, Rangers, Civil Units, and Psychological Operations – the whole panoply of special forces has now become the critical heart of the War on Terror through several key appointments (3): as Army Chief of Staff, Peter Schoomaker, a member of Delta Forces who participated in the Iran hostage rescue (and perhaps also Waco), the first time a Special Forces commander has controlled the military; as Civilian Assistant Secretary for Special Operations, Thomas O’Connell, who served in the Phoenix program in Vietnam, and who in the early eighties ran Grey Fox, the Army’s secret intelligence unit; as Undersecretary for Defense, Cambone, who as director for a 1998 committee, headed by Rumsfeld, exaggerated the ballistic-missile threat and advocated that intelligence agencies go beyond the data at hand; and as Cambone’s aide, Boykin, the Christian warrior who is also the special forces hero.
As the occupation encountered unexpected resistance in November 2003 and entered a phase in which American forces were no longer to play the “good guy,” there was a major escalation in which Special Forces and CIA were involved – Task Force 121 (4), geared to the man-hunt of Saddam and the Baathist leadership as well as the A.Q.S.L. (Al Qaeda Special Leadership List) in Afghanistan. Reportedly, Boykin was influential in this and even present at the capture of Saddam.
The CIA by its mandate is secretive; special forces do not require congressional authorization to be deployed overseas and are not included in troop totals. With neither Bush nor Rumsfeld amenable to increasing the number of regular troops, they have expanded enormously. In 2004 the Pentagon allocated more than 41/2 billion dollars to them- a 34% increase over 2003; their numbers (active and reserve) rose to 47,000 according to a recent study. (5)
But precisely because of this lack of accountability, as well as because of their tasking with critical and lethal missions, Special Forces operatives, despite their iconic status with the public, have been liable to committing just the sort of brutalities against the civilian population that are at issue at Abu Ghraib. The Phoenix program, which killed some 40,000 South Vietnamese civilians between 1968 and 1972, was a Special Forces operation. (6)
As the torture investigations quietly expand, we find that the role of reservists in them has been less significant that that of the CIA, military intelligence, and special forces. Documents have emerged to show that a confidential report to Army generals in Iraq as early as December 2003 found that members of Task Force 121 had been abusing detainees throughout Iraq and were using a secret interrogation facility to hide their activities (7).
What this suggests is that Special Forces became important precisely for their unaccountability, precisely to facilitate greater brutality in interrogation, precisely to put into practice techniques such as those advocated by Patai.
No surprise then that besides using shadow forces, Rumsfeld has also been intent on skirting the public sector altogether and using private contractors paid around $1000 a day (8) – if they’re from Caucasian countries (non-Caucasian country nationals are paid substantially less) in special forces and in Military Intelligence, for reasons of flexibility and secrecy. There were about 15 – 25,000 such mercenaries in Iraq employed by companies like Blackwater Security around the time that Abu Ghraib became public and they were themselves often former elite operatives who were unaccountable under the traditional chain of command. (9)
While such private contractors had a large role in NATO security in Kosovo, they have had a much larger role in Iraq. On the ground, at least, the country’s defense has been outsourced.
We are increasingly faced with the reality of secret armies at the bidding of private interests that are accountable to no one but hidden cliques in the government.
Understanding Abu Ghraib through the mechanism of state and law is therefore beside the point, for the transfer of the state’s most essential function to the private sector is already an admission of the inadequacy of clear distinctions between the two. While Rumsfeld might claim that the transfer imports the efficiency of the “free-market,” it’s the opposite that’s true.
Business, through prolonged symbiosis with state power, turns out to be so clearly bureaucratic, inefficient, and corrupt, that an impartial observer has to conclude that the objective of privatization isn’t to save public money but to siphon it off from the government to select defense contractors. This puts Rumsfeld’s statement that victory in the war on terrorism would consist in convincing the American people that it was a long war in a quite dubious light. It also raises questions about what the role of his ominously titled Proactive Preemptive Operating Group (P2OG) might really be. Created in 2002 as a highly classified addition to Grey Fox, P2OG’s stated aim is to “improve information collection by stimulating reactions”(10) among terrorists, that is, in (11) provoking terrorism.
Provoke terrorism for what purpose?
What ends are served by a perpetual war? A former CIA officer considers counter-terrorism a “growth industry.”(12) Cui bono, indeed.
It is here that the patriotic rhetoric of Americanism is entirely belied, for the confluence of special forces and privateering is the conduit for foreign nationals to be funneled into the bowels of the war machinery, even into very sensitive security operations. At Abu Ghraib, Major Taguba noted that Titan and CACI employees included “third-country nationals,” a delicate reference which in a report meant to be disseminated strictly to Coalition partners (Great Britain, Poland, Italy, etc.) can only mean Israelis. The Israeli presence is also confirmed by General Karpinski and by a photograph (widely circulated on the internet) that shows a young soldier displaying the IDF’s insignia tattooed on his forearm. (13) At the Senate hearings, General Smith admitted that there were 37 contract interrogators at Abu Ghraib and named 2 security contractors, CACI and Titan, both known to have close ties to the Israeli military and technology communities. (See addendum for relationship to Berg killing)*
II The Spy Master: Defense Contractor, CACI
Pursuing these questions takes us inexorably into the hidden world of defense contractors in Iraq, among whom CACI is perhaps the most significant to the world of espionage.
CACI symbolizes completely the secret, total, and transnational character of the Promethean State* in its afferent functions. Deeply involved with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a majority of defense and civilian agencies, the intelligence community, 44 state governments, more than 200 cities, counties and local agencies in North America, it also contracts with government agencies in Asia-Pacific and Europe. It does not just collect information but in the totalizing manner of the Promethean vision “maps terrorist social networks.” (20) In the last half of 2002 it won $1.1 billion in government contracts including a $500 million deal to help run the Pentagon’s global-communications network that includes everything from ensuring that the system for firing nuclear weapons on submarines is error-free to managing the sensor system for detecting violations of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
[LR – Addendum: I used the term Promethean to express the self-valuation of the neo-conservatives that they were acting against the Olympian gods of law and reason – as embodied in international law and just war theory, for instance – on behalf of mankind. Put a different way, they saw themselves resurrecting the classical notion of virtu (as excellence or power) over the Judeo-Christian notion of virtue as goodness. This power they saw themselves as expressing through their infatuation with the future, with speed and secrecy, with innovation and technology. I use the biological term “afferent” to represent the espionage/surveillance activities of the state, embodied as a political sensory nervous system. I use the term “efferent” to represent the propaganda activities of the state as a political motor nervous system]
“We can monitor the entire globe,” says CACI’s CEO Jack London (21)
The depth of this penetration of government is not limited to telecommunications and intelligence. CACI also handles the Federal Aviation Administration’s global administrative-data network and runs a system for the Justice Department that lets lawyers pick through millions of documents for what they need. In July 2004, Transportation Services Administration, the villain of the pat-down searches abuse and an agency of Homeland Security, also became a new client.
CACI’s “Knowledge Management” systems capture and convert data to digital format, publish on the internet, manage the Freedom of Information Act process and declassification, electronic information distribution, and related services for the entire Department of Justice (including the FBI, Tax, Drug Enforcement, and Immigration & Naturalization) Defense, Transportation, DHS Customs and Border Protection, and the Environmental Protection Agency, computer and interrogation services to the Defense Department, and other agencies. (22)
CACI is thus at the heart not only of military intelligence, but of internal security, internet technology, air transportation, and law enforcement at home. It encompasses the most vital powers of the state in an octopus-like penetration of populations abroad and at home.
The nerve center of this octopus coincides with power centers and power brokers in Tel Aviv and Washington. Take, for instance, The Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah, an Israeli fundraising group which sponsored the first annual Defense Aerospace Executives Mission of Peace to Israel and Jordan in early 2002. The Jerusalem Fund’s honorary chairs include a former head of Mossad and Israel’s Minister of Internal Security, while the Chairman of the Mission of Peace is Joe Reeder, a former US Army undersecretary and now corporate lobbyist for Greenberg Traurig, a law firm, which, along with the Fund, sponsored the visit of CACI’s Jack London and others to Beit Horon. Beit Horon is an Israeli training camp where visitors can observe counter-terrorism exercises. (23)
On January 14 2004, just after the first Pentagon press release on Abu Ghraib, London was receiving the Fund’s Albert Einstein Technology award with right-wing Likud and ultra-Orthodox politicians in attendance, although for some reason CACI waited until February 2 to publicly announce the award. (24) London’s presentation on how to sell to the defense department took place in front of a powerful network of defense contractors, government officials, and lobbyists all intent on parceling out a healthy part of lucrative defense contracts to Israel. British contractors, violating the U.K.’s own sanctions on Israel in the interests of a booming arms trade, were also in attendance as were the U.S. assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at the DHS and members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee. While in Israel, participants also attended “high-level briefings and demonstrations on innovative technologies and their applications to homeland security, counter-terrorism, and national defense.” (25)
Indisputably, CACI is deeply tied to the sources of policy in the U. S. In a controversial Defense Policy Board presentation in August 2002, Laurent Murawiec, a Rand analyst and former Lyndon LaRouche (26) associate, declared Saudi Arabia the enemy and advocated seizing its oil wells,
“Iraq is the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot, and Egypt the prize.” (27)
Rand, the think-tank where CACI was founded in the 60s, (28) also employs neo-conservative theorist Francis Fukuyama who has told audiences at Tel Aviv University that Muslim Arab counties in the Middle East comprise the only group resistant to that global democracy which he believes is “the end of history.” (29)
CACI, like most military industry players, boasts a roster of former soldiers and spies, including board members Michael Bayer (former Vice Chairman of the Pentagon’s Business Board, and adviser to the Air Force, Army, U.S. Naval War College, and Sandia National Laboratory), Barbara McNamara (ex-Deputy Director of the National Security Agency), Arthur L. Money (former assistant Secretary of Defense), and Larry Welch, (an ex-Air Force General who served on the joint chiefs of staff during first Bush administration. (30)
Like CACI, Titan Inc. of San Diego has Israeli links. After serving as CIA Director, James Woolsey, another prominent advocate of the Iraq war and a lobbyist for Chalabi, became a Titan director; another Titan director, Edward Bersoff, who holds the largest stake in the company, has been an honored speaker at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, along with the likes of Benjamin Netanyahu.
As Taguba shows, CACI and Titan had a pivotal role at Abu Ghraib. The two interrogators charged for their part in prison abuse are both said to be CACI employees, Stephen Stefanowicz and John Israel. Taguba says the reservists saw them as “competent authorities,” although neither had a defined supervisory status and Israel, who is also identified as being an employee of Titan, did not have a top-secret security clearance, one of the requirements for being employed by CACI. CACI claims he has never been an employee. Although the Taguba report refers twice to him as an employee of Titan, Titan claims he is only one of their sub-contractors.
In the world of intelligence “carve out” subcontracts, such confusion is often the case, so that the CIA (and in this case, it seems, Israeli operatives) can hide behind what is termed “plausible deniability.”(31)
Stephanowicz, a former Navy reservist, has even boasted about working for the CIA and Joe Ryan, a CACI employee not named by Taguba, now says he underwent an “Israeli interrogation course” before going to Iraq. (32) One should note that until July 2003 the only language tool Titan offered on its website was for “Levantine Arabic,” i.e. the Arabic spoken in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria, where Israeli intelligence has had ample experience, not in Iraq
The power and reach of contractors like CACI forces us to recognize that the need for information that is said to drive interrogation practices is greatly exaggerated. What we know, or have the means to know ,is already in excess of any security threat that can be reasonably estimated from random groups of militant Islamicists. Not only that, the concentration of such huge information and spy networks in relatively few hands and the lack of oversight pose a domestic and global danger far greater than the sporadic actions of disenfranchised groups in the Middle East.
Corruption is one danger.
No-bid contracts were the norm for the CPA’s first 24 Iraq contracts. For the Pentagon there are, however, pay-offs – more power and more secrecy. Military privateers are not only hard to track, they are hard to punish. Is that why, under an administration contemptuous of mere man-made law, we find them proliferating? Egyptian-born Adel Nakhla, a translator with Titan, who seems to be the individual described graphically by a detainee as sodomizing a young boy in Cellblock 1A was fired by Titan on May 21, the same day the Justice Department announced that it was opening an investigation into abuse by an anonymous civilian at Abu Ghraib. But in May, two months after Taguba had called for Stephanowicz to be fired, CACI still said they had “received no information from the Dept. of Defense” on the matter. Charging private contractors under RICO (the racketeering law) which allows for harsher sanctions is also not easy because for that it is necessary to prove conspiracy. (33)
Nevertheless, some are trying. Two independent investigators are pursuing more than 40 new allegations of abuse by CACI and Titan. (34). The allegations, which the companies deny, include rape, sodomy, torture, and abuse of male and female detainees, including teenage boys. The tormentors were, reportedly, American men and women. Yet, curiously, in the Taguba report the three contractors who were named appear to have had a foreign affiliation of some kind.
LR, Addendum: I used the term Promethean to express the self-valuation of the neo-conservatives that they were acting against the Olympian gods of law and reason – as embodied in international law and just war theory, for instance – on behalf of mankind. Put a different way, they saw themselves resurrecting the classical notion of virtu (as excellence or power) over the Judeo-Christian notion of virtue as goodness. This power they saw themselves as expressing through their infatuation with the future, with speed and secrecy, with innovation and technology.
Private contractors aren’t covered by the code of military justice and even the federal government doesn’t seem to know how many there are.
In a May 4 letter in response to a Congressional inquiry, CPA head Bremer estimated that there were “approximately 20,000 contractors, most working for Iraqi or foreign private companies. His list did not include CACI or Titan, which suggests the real number may be far higher. (35)
Accountability is not the only problem. Another is incompetence.
Defense contractors with no experience are hired to do jobs over experienced non-military contractors. According to the Army IG investigation released on July 21, a third of contract interrogators at Abu Ghraib had not been properly trained in military interrogation techniques, a problem made especially serious because all 20 of the interpreters at Abu Ghraib worked for Titan and nearly half of all interrogators and analysts employed in January 2004 were CACI employees. A military spokesperson has stated that there are 4,700 Titan translators working for the military, mostly in and around Iraq and Afghanistan. During Gulf War I US forces employed one civilian contractor in Iraq for every 60 active-duty personnel, but, at the start of the current Iraq war, that figure was about one in 10. The boom in jobs has meant a lot of suspect employment practices. Torin Nelson, who arrived at Abu Ghraib in November 2003, says that he was awarded the job in the first interview, with no résumé required, no further interviews, or criminal records check. Nelson thinks CACI like Titan was “desperate” for Arabic speakers and afraid to be locked out of future contracts if it didn’t meet its quota. So was Titan and consequently most of the contract workers at Abu Ghraib had no real-world experience. Yet despite the poor quality of its workers, Titan holds more than 1,000 federal contracts, according to its web site. In July, it received a $255 million contract, through August 2011, to provide comprehensive intelligence and information technology support worldwide to U.S. military. In May 2004 Titan reported a 21 percent growth in its first quarter revenues mainly because of it linguist contract with the U.S. Army.
Likewise, CACI’s profits doubled between 2001 and 2003, shooting from $22 million (on total revenues of $557 million) to $44 million (on revenues of $843 million). (36) It was awarded a $10,118,040 firm-fixed-price contract from the U.S. Army on Feb. 26, 2004 for 24 contract specialists (37) to work in Iraq, that is, each costing $421,585 per year in public money. Hersh notes private companies like CACI and Titan Corp. could pay annual salaries of well over a hundred thousand dollars for the dangerous work in Iraq. (38)
Since August 2003 CACI has been awarded more than $66 million in government contracts for interrogation and other U.S. Army work in Iraq. (39) Although US human rights groups have demanded that the two companies be barred from further contracts in Iraq CACI has been granted a $16 million renewal of its contract while Titan has been given a new contract worth $164m. (40)
Alongside this mushrooming of high-tech information networks, the Promethean ideology promotes the efferent function equally, in order to target populations psychologically.
The spy network is so entwined with the propaganda that the public media is almost unceasingly a conscious or unconscious tool of psychological operations
CACI for instance was chosen as a sub-contractor by Harris Inc., the same Australian firm that was awarded the contract to run the Iraq public media network. It replaced Science Applications (SAIC) after there were complaints, not just about SAIC’s no-bid contract, but about its complete lack of media experience and the blatant bias in its broadcasts. (41) What is astonishing is that Harris, the replacement, is also a defense contractor with no media experience except for a stint upgrading Romania’s media network. Harris was hired with the idea that it would subcontract the media work out to experienced firms, in this case, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp and Al Fawares, a Kuwaiti-Iraqi publishing and telecom outfit that operated the Al Sabah newspaper. (42) Al Fawares was the contractor Berg was working for in Iraq. Apparently even under Harris, American government influence still continued to be so heavy-handed that the entire staff of the newspaper, Al Sabah, walked out and the Iraqi general director of the TV network, Al Iraqiya, resigned after just 6 months. (43)
III. Outsourcing Espionage
CACI, Titan, and Harris represent two related developments that characterize the Promethean state and explain its inherent brutality toward civilian populations: the complete militarization of information networks and privatization.
i) The first development involves the transfer of war into the realm of the intellectual, psychological, and moral. This is the 4th generation war, so beloved of futuristic military theorists and toward which Rumsfeld’s transformation is directed, a war in which not just the person but the “social networks and ideology” of terrorists are targeted through psy-ops and propaganda. The object is to destroy the sovereignty of the enemy-other and the values by which this enemy-other’s identity is constituted so as to leave it amenable to manipulation. What were the torture photographs if they not were meant to be directed against “the social networks and ideology” of Iraqis? What was the taunting with Israeli flags, with dogs, and with taboo sexual language and acts except an attack on identity and self?
ii) The second development, privatization, takes the conduct of war more and more out of the hands of the state and puts it into the hands of enormously wealthy and powerful business interests. Ultimately when we talk about intelligence being taken over by the military, we’re talking about the corporatization of information-gathering and dissemination because today the military is indistinguishable from the defense industries. In the post-Cold War period, this development has gone hand-in-hand with the rapid expansion of high-tech industries (especially those related to the so-called “information highway”), as well as with the introduction of neo-liberal economic regimes all over the planet.
From this perspective, outsourcing interrogation and torture is only another result of globalization, only instead of the miracles of efficiency and productivity that “privatization” promises, we find once more, as elsewhere, that public funds are simply siphoned off into the bloated, incompetent managed bureaucracies that most defense contractors have become. Any notion of a national interest is lost in corporate excess, incompetence, and corruption.
Intelligence becomes an end in itself, milked copiously from the driest udders for its price on the market.
Inevitably, we find foreign espionage, bid-rigging, inflated billing, questionable accountancy, and all the sorts of preferential treatment that have characterized the reconstruction of Iraq. They may look like aberrations to be corrected individually, but they are really the logical outcome of the penetration of government by multinational business.
To cite one instance — the State and Justice Departments forbid Defense from assisting the Colombian military. Defense, through the Interior Department which manages its contracts, turns around and uses a computer service contract to hire reservists. These reservists, because they fall under the category of “civilians,” can then train commandos for the Colombian military or interrogators for Afghanistan and Iraq. (44) The recently released memos about torture from the FBI illustrate this problem exactly. They show the FBI, CIA, and DHS all at war with each other over interrogation practices, each with its own individual standards, one branch even attempting to pass itself off as the other. What it amounts to is that financial incentives have driven different branches of the service to work against each other and to conspire to mislead each other, Congress, and the chain of command.
These developments can be laid directly at the foot of the outsourcing revolution under Vice- President Gore’s Reinventing Government program, which the CIA finally embraced after a long period in limbo following the end of the Cold War. It was a time when its very existence and utility were being called into question.
In September 1999, the Agency created In-Q-It (later renamed In-Q-Tel), a venture capital firm that invested in corporations with state-of- the-art technologies. (45) It also reorganized its Directorate of Administration to contract out the huge range of services it provided to its missions and adopted whole-sale the ethos and jargon of business. The president and defense secretary were old customers; Homeland Security, a new one; the terminology of the “Company,” as it was called – “assets” and “accounts” – that had formerly been used to provide cover for its real work were now taken quite literally. Director George Tenet spoke of having turned the business around. (46)
Notably absent in the argot of this new-model CIA is the territorial nation-state as the intended beneficiary. Instead, intelligence work is funneled increasingly to private contractors operating with little fidelity to ethical or legal standards set by Congress.
Almost half the board members of the leading intelligence trade association are current government officials. (47) Companies like CACI and Titan contract out retired intelligence employees, lobby government, and shower key members of Congress with contributions: The top contributor to Duncan Hunter (R-Ca.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is Titan. (48) Like the defense industry, the intelligence business is driven by a network of lobbyists and a web of close connections between government and the private sector. But while defense contractors are at least monitored, intelligence contractors have classified budgets and work in secret without proper oversight, one of the central findings of the 9/11 commission.
Agents today are MBA’s who tout CIA as a better employer than Apple, applaud the deregulation of the industry, and no longer abide by requirements that overseas operatives get a nod from headquarters before working with assassins.
Today, hit squads, assassinations, and “torture lite” are accepted business-practice.
Some idea of the climate of the new CIA may be gauged from remarks by “Buzzy” Krongard, until December 2004 the CIA’s third-ranked executive. Krongard said that Osama should be seen “not as a chief executive but more like a venture capitalist.” (49) Krongard, appointed in March 2001 as Executive Director of the CIA, was formerly the Vice-Chairman of Banker’s Trust investment bank, one of the 20 largest banks in the US. (50)
Such ties to Wall Street are of course not new but go back to the Second World War. Bill Casey, Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director, was also Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission under Nixon; David Doherty, the current Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange for enforcement, is the retired General Counsel of the Agency; John Deutsch the retired CIA Director from the Clinton Administration, sits on the board at Citigroup, the second largest US bank; three of Booz Allen’s current and former vice presidents have served as intelligence agency directors, including James Woolsey, who headed the CIA during the Clinton administration; and former NSA director, William Studeman, is now a vice president of Northrop Grumman. (51)
Besides adopting the ‘new economy’ model in its style and functioning, the CIA experienced another profound change in the 1990s – it was fractured by an internal struggle with the Pentagon appointees of the neo-conservatives. (52) These two interrelated developments had the effect of ‘outsourcing’ intelligence operations to private interests associated with the defense industry and the executive branch.
Intelligence became a commodity like any other in the neo-liberal market place, subject to the same distortions of monopolistic capital.
This is perfectly illustrated by the CIA’s struggle with the Pentagon, which was precipitated by the administration’s demand for “cooked intelligence” to justify a war on Iraq. The Pentagon was bent on promoting the main source of that intelligence, Ahmed Chalabi, a one-time CIA protégé who fell into disfavor with the Agency by the end of the 90s. The Chalabi affair demonstrates the bankrupt nature of the cry of national security that’s often used to justify espionage. Covert actions, all too often, have nothing to do with the publicly expressed goals of foreign policy but are an expression of inter-agency politicking, an end in themselves, or even a back-channel attempt to sabotage or short-circuit ostensible foreign policy goals. The result is ‘blowback’ or retaliation by the victims – both in the targeted population and at home. And because the provocation behind the blowback is hidden, the cycle of retaliation continues, escalating in intensity and scope. Covert provocative actions – so-called false-flag operations – by the CIA itself are often behind what is labeled terrorism or insurgency in order to justify further aggressive actions against the ‘insurgents.’
Abu Ghraib should be understood as part of just such an operation [false-flag]. There is ample evidence to support that notion.
In early 1995, Iranian intelligence described a CIA-financed plot to kill Saddam Hussein in apparent violation of a US ban on political assassinations. Although the FBI investigation reportedly cleared the agents involved, the charges are highly credible. (53) In 1997–1998, General Wayne Downing, Director of Combating Terrorism for the Homeland Security Defense Board for 10 months until he mysteriously resigned, co-authored a plan with CIA counter-terrorism chief, Duane Clarridge, to overthrow Hussein using Kurdish and Shi’ite fighters. (54)
These northern Iraq operations were no different from what happened in Afghanistan in 1979. In a 1996 memoir, former CIA director Robert Gates admitted that American intelligence began to aid the mujaheddin six months before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, not after, as the official story goes. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security adviser, has publicly confirmed this. Brzezinski expressed no regret for having orchestrated the Soviet entry, arguing that it had enabled the US to give the Soviets their own Vietnam. In an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur he remarked,
“What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?” (55)
In fact, the Cold War has justified a great deal of preemptive illegality on the part of the US over the last five decades.
In 1948, MI5 and the CIA collaborated to set up a “Stay Behind Army” of guerrilla fighters in Europe, who would conduct covert operations in the event of a Soviet invasion, using stashed away arms and explosives. The network was conceived by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, organized by the NSC, and staffed and funded by the CIA and it collaborated with secret units lodged in various European governments aided by former fascists and even criminal elements. Setting up local units like the Italian Gladio the network implemented what was called a “Strategy of Tension,” the staging of terrorist outrages to provoke the Left into an armed response that would discredit them and isolate them from popular support. The strategy also provided an excuse to curtain civil liberties in the host countries. (56)
The European strategy was only the least known of a world-wide program of covert actions and proxy wars, ostensibly defensive reactions to Communist attacks but in reality very often aggressive themselves. In 2000, James Risen of the New York Times explained:
“When the Central Intelligence Agency helped overthrow Muhammad Mossadegh as Iran’s prime minister in 1953, ensuring another 25 years of rule for Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, the CIA was already figuring that its first effort to topple a foreign government would not be its last. The CIA, then just six years old and deeply committed to winning the Cold War, viewed its covert action in Iran as a blueprint for coup plots elsewhere around the world, and so, commissioned a secret history to detail for future generations of CIA operatives how it had been done…..
Even though the American people may not know what has been done in their name, those on the receiving end certainly do: they include the people of Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959 to the present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-73), Greece (1967-73), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979 to the present), El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (1980s), and Iraq (1991 to the present). (57)
Chalabi, an expatriate, whose family grew rich from business dealings with Iraq’s British-backed Hashemite rulers, at one time actually did business with Saddam in Jordan and even funded Shia militants in Lebanon, but he managed nonetheless to sell the administration the idea that he was going to supplant Saddam with a democratic regime friendly to Israel, even promising the opening of an oil pipeline from Mosul to Haifa., a lucrative proposition against the background of the post-Cold War Israeli integration into the global market in the 1990s and the peace talks with the Palestinians. (58)
With no real Iraqi constituency, Chalabi was simply the CIA’s man and the head of an exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, created in 1992 by the CIA and the ubiquitous PR firm, the Rendon Group, yet another instance of seamless collaboration between espionage and public relations. With the accession of the Bush administration of January 2001, Chalabi was back in the game.
What ensued perfectly illustrates the schizophrenic nature of imperial foreign policy. Despite the disapproval of State and the CIA, Chalabi was taken up by the Defense Intelligence Agency which eventually gave him $335,000 a month from the summer of 2002 onward, as part of a classified program. In fact, in a development unprecedented in US history, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz regularly introduced raw INC intelligence and assessments into the Principals’ and Deputies’ Committees where the highest level decision-making on Iraq of the Federal Government takes place. (59) None of it was reviewed independently by the CIA, the State Department, or any other government agency but was eagerly adopted.
While the CIA fumed, Chalabi fed disinformation through Feith’s office in Defense, including proofs of Weapons of Mass Destruction, a supposed purchase of uranium from Niger, and predictions of popular Iraqi support. Neoconservatives were so enamored of the pro-Israeli democracy Chalabi promised that after the invasion they appointed him to the Iraqi Governing Council. By then however the CIA and State Department had already begun attacking him, convinced that his claims were fraudulent. Still, although he was proved utterly wrong on every one of those claims, it was only when he showed his sympathies to the Iranian Shia and reaffirmed the traditional Arab boycott of Israeli firms that Wolfowitz and Feith backed off. It was only then that the CIA replaced the multinational banker with the multinational spy, Iyad Allawi, as interim Iraqi prime minister.
It is this covert internecine struggle over policy, erupting from the morass of international espionage in Northern Iraq, against which Abu Ghraib, as well as its coverage in the media, must be viewed
Allawi, to whom Chalabi is related, comes out of the same tangle of transnational loyalties and British colonial policies. Like Chalabi, he also owes his existence to American covert actions. (60)
Part of the CIA-infiltrated Baath coup that worked against both the Nasserite nationalists as well as the Communists, whom he reportedly tortured, Allawi later defected completely to MI6 and the CIA, rising to power not because of any indigenous Iraqi constituency but because London-based oil investor Mashal Nawab paid around $350,000 in lobbying fees to promote him in DC. (61)
Allawi, who has put in one brother as Iraqi ambassador to the UN and used another in espionage, operates again through those personal networks outside institutional control.that give the lie to the rhetoric of “national” interests.
Allawi also illustrates the corruption of the liberal ideology of humanitarian interventionism. As head of the security subcommittee of the Provisional Government, he was instrumental in building up a new security apparatus with CIA chief Tenet that included a secret death squad division no different from those in the Phoenix program in Vietnam in 1968, a year when Allawi himself was busy with Baath death squads in Iraq. The budget for this Iraqi “security” is $3 billion, drawn from the $87 “reconstruction” money and laundered via Special Air Forces in Iraq.
In the laundering of reconstruction money into assassination squads we observe how with absolute precision the language of neo-liberal economics, which perpetually reconstructs or structurally adjusts every corner of the global economy aligns with the language of security and law and order, under which torture and assassinations are pursued.
Thus the SAP – the structural adjustment program of the global order by which economies are shattered and rebuilt – calls forth another SAP – the Special Access Program – under which the civilian population itself becomes targeted for detention and torture, as Peter Linebaugh has observed.
This inexorable interrelationship of corporate greed with espionage and of espionage with torture demonstrates that behind the virtuous rhetoric of universal law and reason and the nationalist language of state interest and security, the Promethean state is run by transnational private interests that are in effective control of ideology and arms and bend both to their purposes. It is in this secretive corporate matrix, hidden from the official channels of government and deeply implicated with American and foreign intelligence operations that we find the key to Abu Ghraib and precisely for that reason, official investigations of abuse are likely to prove completely and deliberately ineffective, for judge and jury are also drawn from the mesh of media, industry, and military from which the problem arises.
IV. The Creation of Jewish Consciousness
From this perspective, the universal language of a war of civilization against barbarism or even the particularist language of a Judeo-Christian crusade against Islam both appear as propaganda effects rather than as substantial realities. Actually, with one event provoking another, they may be on the verge of materializing in self-fulfilling prophecy.
By this I do no mean that there are no Zionist or Christian ideologues for whom the invasion of Iraq and the occupation is religious and racial. There are. The nature of the torture itself suggests this, as well as the justifications made for it in public debate and the public’s indifference to its racial and religious overtones.
There are many for whom these words of Rafael Eitan are resonant:
“The only good Arab is a dead Arab. When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches.”(62)
Sentiments like these may be disguised or even censored from official consciousness but they must have purchase at some level or we could not easily contemplate let alone implement the whole-sale targeting of civilians for terror bombing or torture.
But racial and religious chauvinisms are rarely an end in themselves. When they appear divorced from power they can do little, but when they are given the impunity of unchecked power, they blossom.
It was from the military victory of 1967 that Israel moved to the center of American foreign policy and it was from the rise of Israel that the Zionist diaspora began to feel its own power. Likewise, it was the bloodless victory of the Cold War that prepared the ground for the grandiose scheme to remake the Middle East for a safer Israel.
The history of that scheme is the final piece that needs to be reconstructed to understand how and why the policies of Abu Ghraib came to be adopted.
In the 1980s, the rise of the right-wing Likud government in Israel brought to the surface a long held but submerged desire among many hard-line Israelis to expel Palestinians from their land under cover of a larger war, one that would destabilize the Middle East and fragment the Arab states. On March 24, 1988, Ariel Sharon declared that if the Palestinian resistance continued, Israel would have to attack her Arab neighbors. and create “the circumstances” for the expulsion of the entire Palestinian population from the West Bank and Gaza and even from inside Israel proper. (63)
Such a widespread Middle Eastern War was not regarded as in the national interest by Israeli realists or by Americans who were prepared to let Saddam Hussein’s Iraq remain as it was, providing the balance to Iran and regional stability Yehoshafat Harkabi, an expert in Israeli foreign policy dismissed the Pax Israelica, concluding that Israel had not enough power to succeed on such a grand scale when it had failed in Lebanon against the weakest Arab state. (64)
In the late 1980s, even the oil interests that are said to have instigated the 2003 war were actually leery of any threats to stability in the area. After all, only 22 % of the 20 million barrels of crude oil consumed in the US comes from the Persian Gulf. (65) During the 80s the US actually supported Iraq in its decade-long war with theocratic Islam or at least played one against the other. Foreign investment, for example, rose from $537 million in 1992 (before the signing of the Oslo agreements) to $3.6 billion in 1997. The following year, however, the election of Binyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister increased tensions between Israel and its neighbors, frightening off investors. Foreign investment dropped by 40 percent. (66) These figures, published by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in September 1999, show how badly Israel needs normal relations with the Arab countries to guarantee the political stability and security that investors demand.
The wide-spread assumption that the “clash of civilization” rhetoric actually conceals American or even Israeli interests in the Gulf, conceived in realist terms seems somehow curiously unsupported when one examines these facts. That one radical and self-destructive political view has opportunely come to dominate debate should be attributed not to some Israeli or American “national interest” that it serves but rather to an orchestrated campaign promoting it.
In 1990, as the Cold War came to an end, this campaign to capture public opinion and government policy for the right commenced openly, deploying the language of cultural or religious war and manipulating public opinion through the strategic use of propaganda in the media, think tanks, and opinion journals. Leading it was the prominent neo-conservative Richard Perle who set up the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, to promote a war against Saddam Hussein. War-hawks, such as Perle and Frank Gaffney in policy circles and A.M. Rosenthal and William Safire in the media, demanded that Iraq’s military potential be destroyed, especially her nuclear weapons capacity. (67) At first, President Bush Sr. went along, but not far enough for these neo-conservatives who wanted first Hussein’s removal and then an American occupation of Iraq. Although their ideas found support with Defense Secretary Cheney and Undersecretary Wolfowitz, the neo-conservatives were opposed by General Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and General Schwarzkopf, the field commander. Ultimately, after pushing Hussein back into Iraq, Bush Senior demanded that Israel stop any new settlements in the occupied territories as a precondition for receiving $10 billion in loan guarantees toward the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jewish émigrés from the former Soviet Union.(68) It was at this point, the Israeli lobbying and espionage became more aggressive, for Israeli settlements are as central to Zionist strategy as Palestinian depopulation.
Both goals (settlements and depopulation) provide keys to understanding the culture in which the legitimization of torture becomes natural.
The expulsion of the Palestinian population provides one key, by pointing to the ideology of blood and soil that underlies Israeli and thus American actions in the Middle East. It suggests that racial and religious bigotry underlie the policies of detention and torture of the civilian population.
The flight of Israelis from Israel and the need to bring in (with incentives) an immigrant population to replace them provides the other more comprehensive key. It demonstrates how shallow the ideology of blood and soil really is and to what degree it is in fact orchestrated to serve powerful financial and business interests.
It is not “Jewish consciousness” that spontaneously drives Israeli settlements, but rather specific forces that have orchestrated that consciousness.
The proof for this lies in a 1990 National Jewish Population Study which found that 52% of Jews in the US married in the five years preceding the study had married a non-Jew and indicated that a very large and increasing proportion of the Jewish population was actually disconnected from involvement in its heritage.(69)
Two Orthodox programs, the Lubavitch Hasidic and the Aish Ha Torah first challenged this assimilation. I have already noted some of Aish Ha Torah’s activities in relation to CACI. The Lubavitch, a branch of Orthodox Hasidic Judaism (part of the Haredi, with whom they share a virulent Jewish chauvinism), are also highly praised in the American media, for instance by New York Times religion editor Peter Steinfels, (70). But they are criticized by many Orthodox themselves. Their web sites decry Jesus Christ virulently (71) and suggest that that the true Messiah is the 7th Lubavitch Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, who has stated controversially, “This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world … A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity.” (72)
Moshe Greenberg, formerly the Chair of the Department of Bible Studies at Hebrew University in Israel, writes about Sefer Hatanya (Tanya), the central work of Chabad hasidim:
“What emerged for me, from the study of the first chapters of the book and their antecedents was the discovery that the mainstream of Jewish thought is permeated by the genetic spiritual superiority of Jews over Gentiles, disconcertingly reminiscent of racist notions of our time. Judeo-centrism, not human universalism, is the core of traditional Jewish understanding of the Old Testament.”(73)
[LR, Note: Of course, the same thing could be said of most other religious texts, as well. However, it is the case that equivalent Hindu, Buddhist or Christian texts have been subjected to debate and criticism in a manner that Jewish texts have not, for a variety of reasons. This citation, thus, should not be read as any kind of singular criticism of Jewish people].
Yet, according to the Jerusalem Post of October 19, 2001, “Chabad is a movement of monumental importance. Observant Jews are profoundly dependent on its emissaries all over the world” (74) and the haredim [ultra-orthodox] are the fastest growing segment among contemporary Jews. (75)
Before his death in 1995, Schneerson, whose birthday was made into Education Day by President Reagan, greatly expanded Lubavitch outreach and influence in politics in the US (76) and Israel and on Jewish studies world-wide. Among other prominent US backers of the Lubavitchers on Capitol Hill are Senator Joseph Lieberman (D.Conn.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Assistant Secretary of Defense, Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Comptroller of the US Department of Defense, Dov Zakheim, an ordained Orthodox rabbi and former Comptroller of the Pentagon, and Stuart Eizenstat, former Deputy Treasury Secretary.
Billionaire gold and diamond magnate Joseph Gutnick of Australia, who credits Schneerson with directing him where to mine, was subsequently appointed by Schneerson as his main representative to the Israeli government. Gutnick, who was instrumental in the election of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister of Israel in 1996, is also a Hasidic rabbi. (77)
The movement of such right-wing groups to the center and the creation of a “Jewish consciousness” can be significantly attributed to the Mega Group, convened in 1991 by Rabbi Lurie, under Leslie Wexler (CEO of Victoria’s Secret) and Charles Bronfman (a top executive of Seagrams Corporation). At first it was made up of some 20 Jewish billionaires, including Bronfman’s brother Edgar, Chairman of the World Jewish Congress; Harvey Meyerhoff, the Baltimore real estate magnate; Laurence Tisch of Loews Corp.; Hollywood mogul, Stephen Spielberg; Max Fisher, a Detroit oilman; Max Lender of Lender Bagels; and Leonard Abramson, the founder of U.S. Healthcare. (78) Initially the object was simply to raise money quickly for Operation Exodus, which was United Jewish Appeal’s billion-dollar campaign for Soviet Jewish emigration. Mega Group members dominate the board of trustees of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the pro-Israeli think-tank in Washington, that has been campaigning for an Iraq war as the centerpiece of a “war against terrorism.” Both JINSA and Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy are heavily underwritten by Irving Moskowitz, a right-wing Zionist business magnate and JINSA board member who has lavishly financed the establishment of several religious settlements in Arab East Jerusalem. (79) Among the Mega Group’s institutional bases are the World Jewish Congress, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, and the United Jewish Fund, a recent merger of the major American and Canadian Jewish charities. Disbursing annual gross contributions of nearly $3 billion, Mega is now one of the most powerful concentrations of Jewish charitable giving, overshadowing even the traditional giant UJA. (80) The most important of Mega’s high-profile Jewish programs is Birthright Israel, which promotes trips to Israel for youth.
Members of “Mega” have financed the candidacies of every Likud prime minister, including of course, Sharon. (81) It was under the wing of Mega that many of the prominent neo-conservatives of the Bush administration have come to power.
Faced with the thwarting of settlements, those neo-conservatives began to assert themselves. In 1992, Wolfowitz, “a very close friend” of Sharon, and Lewis Libby, then Defense Secretary Cheney’s chief of staff, prepared a report for Cheney that revived the Sharon vision (82) and called for the overthrow of Saddam, but criticism from Brent Scowcroft, the pragmatic National Security Adviser, led Cheney to distance himself from it. Bush’s unwillingness to go along eventually cost him the 1992 election, when prominent neo-conservatives switched their support to Bill Clinton instead.
In 1996 another group of neo-conservatives, also with ties to the Likud, prepared a report for Netanyahu, then Likud prime minister. Headed by Perle, the group included among others Feith, David Wurmser of the American Enterprise Institute and his wife Meyrav, ensconced both at the right-wing Hudson Institute and the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). MEMRI is run by retired Israeli military and intelligence officers. Is function is ostensibly to present an objective view of Arab opinion through translations of the media and the statements of politicians, but it usually cherry-picks material from the most extreme element in Arab society to foster a negative view of Arabs among Americans. (83) The Netanyahu report was prepared for JINSA, which I have referred to earlier as a breeding ground for neo-conservative ideologues in the administration.
JINSA serves as a coordinating body for the activities of the various pro-Israeli organizations in the U.S. Strategically, the proponents of the “Clean Break” proposed the “creative destruction” of Iraq as the first step in a remaking of the Middle East.(84)
1) make a “clear break” with the Oslo negotiations and impose martial law in the
2) roll-back Syria.
3) make Iraq the strategic balance of the Middle East
4) and reestablish the principle of “preemption.”
In 1998 the Israeli lobby reiterated this plan to Clinton with no effect. Their failure prior to 2001 should call into question those paleo-conservatives like Patrick Buchanan who see Jewish-Christian Zionism as the sole factor behind US actions in the Middle East and war against Islam as ordained by the logic of Zionism. (85)
While the Israeli lobby does indeed provide the impetus and direction of policy, it would not have made its inroads into American government had Zionism not adroitly allied itself with the defense-industrial complex and then encountered a crisis in international finance that allowed it to play its hand.
One part of those inroads was accomplished by the capture of influential defense posts by pro-Israeli hawks and by systematic attempts to penetrate US security in the 1990s. These appear to have continued alongside U.S. investigations of the infiltration attempts. Media reports indicate that since the early to mid-1990s teams of young people posing as Israeli art students have been involved in surveillance and penetrating Federal buildings and facilities, including law-enforcement offices, such as the FBI and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), as well as military facilities.(86)
Investigation of this mystery has been derailed either from within or from pressure from pro-Israeli lobbyists, suggesting not only the increasing penetration of the intelligence services themselves not only by business but also by foreign – in this case, Israeli – operatives. From several reports, this may be especially true of the FBI. (87)
There were also calculated and far-sighted inroads through espionage into US defense policy. Again, this espionage is intimately bound up with government contracting and is in effect industrial espionage for the defense industry. Leading neo-conservative Richard Perle, who was caught spying for Israel while working as an aid to Senator “Scoop” Jackson in 1970, went on without reprimand to maintain a revolving door between work for Israeli defense firms and for the U.S. government, even being placed in charge of international security policy in 1982. In that position, he was able to circumvent protocol and hire two other pro-Israeli functionaries who had earlier had their security clearances revoked for espionage, Stephen Bryen and Michael Ledeen. In 1982, Douglas Feith was investigated over allegations that he had handed over secret documents to the Israeli embassy, but after being fired from the NSC, was nevertheless hired back by Perle. On leaving the Pentagon in 1986, Feith promptly started a law firm in Israel. In 1987, the most famous spy of them all, Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was imprisoned for life for selling a roomful of U.S. secret documents to Israel. (88)
In 2001, with the economy in recession and financial crisis threatening the markets, neoconservatives had managed to capture the most influential posts in defense by such aggressive tactics. Wolfowitz as Deputy Secretary of State brought Feith in at DOD, while Feith brought Perle to the Defense Policy Board and hired Ledeen. Ledeen, like his friend and long-time colleague at JINSA, Stephen Bryen, has had a documented history of passing on classified information to Israeli intelligence, has profiting from selling military technology preferentially to Israel, and has also transferred sensitive technology to China. Despite this record of espionage under the Reagan administration which was even noted by Secretary of State Schultz, Ledeen was hired by Feith as a consultant at OSP where he now handles material requiring high-level security clearance. Courtesy of Perle and Wolfowiz, Ledeen and Bryen even serve on the very mission that monitors unauthorized technology transfers to China, even though sensitive military technology they passed to Israel has then been sold to Russia and China.
Espionage, going one step further than a mere betrayal of the territorial state’s interest, circulates as part of the globalization of information.
The prospect of lucrative defense contracts drying up at the end of the Cold War also made the Zionist project attractive to segments of the military establishment by promising open-ended war against an ill-defined enemy. There were short-term gains to be made by players in the defense-energy sector – for Bechtel, and Chevron, for Halliburton, and Northrop.
America’s inordinate power and unquestioned status as the sole superpower now permitted a show of strength impossible when the Soviet Union was in existence, a show of strength that presents itself even in liberal ideology disguised as democratic universalism or humanitarian interventionism. Understanding this is essential to understanding that what happened at Abu Ghraib was not peculiar to Iraq nor even to the War on Terror but is completely an effect of the unrestrained power of the corporate-state at the end of the Cold War.
All arguments that ground themselves in a belief that the legitimizing of torture or collective punishment or preemption was somehow rationally warranted by the need for information or security fail to recognize the essential irrationality behind these acts, the irrationality of willfulness, of the unrestrained exercise of power.
Paradoxically, such irrationality is the final destination of the relentless rationality of the state.
If it was the sensation of their own unbridled power that gave the opportunity to those who called for a clash of civilizations, it was an anticipated blow to that power that provided the precipitant.
In March 2000, Wall Street’s high-tech index Nasdaq fell, taking with it the highly speculative markets in the US and Israeli which had made the rich much richer, but had also ruined labor-intensive industries and spawned a dispossessed underclass in Israel. (89) The neo-conservatives were also simultaneously faced with the prospect of the lifting of the decade-long sanctions on Iraq. This was presaged by French and Russian plans to break the air ban that fall and the decision by Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s independent minded President, to visit Iraq as part of a tour of OPEC nations designed to strengthen the oil cartel as a global force. Chavez also convened an OPEC Heads of State summit in Caracas, the first of its kind since 1975. He challenged wealthier nations to assume responsibility for what he called a manufactured oil crisis. (90)
These developments were the impetus for the now famous policy paper calling for American world domination released in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century. The PNAC Statement of Principles was signed by Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as well as by Eliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, Zalmay Khalilzad, and many others. With the prospect of Saddam rising from the ashes, things began to heat up. Two interesting meetings took place — Martin Indyk, US ambassador to Israel met without authorization in August with the former head of the Mossad, Ephraim Halevy, in the process triggering a CIA probe that suspended his security clearance; at the same time, Mega member, Ronald Lauder of cosmetic giant Estee Lauder, a major financial backer of Sharon, met with Sharon in September 2000, during the fragile peace process unfolding under Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Apparently these meetings set the stage for Sharon’s visits to the Islamic holy sites on the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, accompanied by armed security guards. It was seen by many as a staged provocation. The Palestinians, disillusioned by the concessions that had won them no part of the global pie, exploded that fall in the Second Intifada.
Then, at the end of the year, Saddam Hussein switched the reserve currency of Iraq from the dollar to the euro.
At the time it was a purely political move as the euro was low, but a warning was sounded in DC. Jordan followed suit. Who else might follow? The situation hearkened back to the origins of the Iraq occupation as a colonial project envisioned as early as the 1970s, when US plans to seize oil fields in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia first arose. Then too it was the prospect of resurgent anti-colonialism and the resuscitation of Iraq as the center of a new Arab unity that disturbed Washington. British intelligence memos from the time show that the greatest risk to the plan was foreseen in Kuwait, where the Iraqis were feared likely to intervene. Now again Iraq was the threat.
In February, the instability that resulted in the region gave Sharon and the right-wing a landslide victory. During the course of the year, for the first time since 1953, Israel’s GDP actually fell. Immediately, Sharon launched a propaganda offensive inside the United States, aimed at winning American support for his plans to overturn the Mid-East peace process.
One prong of the offensive consisted in hiring two U.S. public relations firms- Rubenstein Associates and Morris, Carrick and Guma – to promote Israeli government propaganda in the media and government circles in the US. (91) “We don’t want to be seen as the Sanhedrin,” insists Mega’s Charles Bronfman, but in fact it is clear that Mega was part of a calculated promotion of religious sentiment that enabled the rise of a right-wing government in Israel that would enact the policies that the elites favored, ultimately for financial reasons as much as religious ones.
The other prong of the pro-Sharon propaganda offensive, a think-tank, was created jointly by Mega members Abramson, Edgar Bronfman, and hedge-fund manager Michael Steinhardt, owner of the New Republic, and by the Israeli government. (92) It was named Emet, the three letters representing the beginning, middle and end of the alef-beit (the Hebrew Alphabet) and literally meaning truth, but a truth with a specialized meaning – Emet is the realization (the end) of God’s primordial will (the beginning) in his Creation (that is in the physical world).
Even before the Israeli government however, it was the Israeli lobby in the US that was consulted. The need for the imprimatur of Malcolm Hoelein, executive vice-president of the conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamatory League is a clear indication of who is the senior partner in the alliance between Israel and the American Jewish lobby. (93) In Israel, Emet employed the same PR strategy it had used in the US, demonstrating once again that it is elite interests rather than the interests of any “nation” so-called, Israel or the US, that have driven the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Emet at first lacked focus and was not very successful. But then came 9/11 and it was transformed. It became the very effective Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which claimed to be a non-profit and non-partisan group dedicated to eradicating international terrorism. FDD targeted its advertising at Washington, the Hamptons, and college campuses, even establishing fellowship programs that took 52 undergraduates and 19 professors to Israel in 2002, ostensibly to study the effects of terrorism first hand. But far from being apolitical, FDD was a front for right-wing politics: its president, Clifford May, is a former Republican National Committee PR man while Vice-President, Nir Boms, is an academic liaison for the Israeli Embassy in Washington and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces. The $3 million annual budget comes mainly from Mega with Bronfman, Steinhardt, and Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus each giving $250,000 in 2002. (94) Despite the claim to be anti-terrorist, one FDD official, Dr. Walid Phares, is closely associated with the Pro-Israel Lebanese militia, Guardians of the Cedar, and materials from the Israeli terrorist group Kach have been found on the website of another.
V. The Propaganda Machine:
Emet represents only one aspect of a well-financed propaganda machine lodged in the media and government, on campuses, and in think-tanks, which is where we must look ultimately for the reason why reporting on Abu Ghraib has failed.
That propaganda machine sets the limits of the debate, frames it and provides it with the terms in which alone it must be expressed.
The American media is already an easy mark for such control because of its corporate character. Music, film and TV production, cable and satellite channel ownership, and book and magazine publishing are all controlled by about fifty firms, of which about ten complete dominate most of the areas. According to one expert, only ten media giants – AOL Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi, Sony, Bertelsmann, AT&T and Liberty Media – control most of what is viewed and read in the US, even on internet. (95) Because of the concentrated control of this oligopoly, what competition for viewers does remain fosters unhealthy sensationalism instead of more insightful or comprehensive coverage.
In their classic work, “Manufacturing Consent,” Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman discuss how the mega-corporate stranglehold and advertising act as “filters” that block out certain news altogether and distort the rest. (96) Views likely to offend advertisers get pulled; reporters are fired or reassigned; stories are dropped. .
There is another powerful but unstated bias. Despite the popular label of a “liberal” media, the truth is that reporters only take reflexively liberal positions on certain social issues and do so largely because of the socio-economic background and education they share in common rather than from any concerted liberal bias.
Beneath the veneer of this superficial liberalism, media bias is distinctly corporate and reflects the demographics of that world.
Media watchdog, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), did a study of ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News in 2001 in which they found that “92 percent of all U.S. sources interviewed were white, 85 percent were male and, where party affiliation was identifiable, 75 percent were Republican.”(97) A year-long study by FAIR, of CNN’s media show, Reliable Sources showed a large bias in sources used. (98) Covering one year of weekly programs [December 1, 2001 to November 30, 2002] with 203 guests, the FAIR study found Reliable Sources’ guest list strongly favored mainstream media insiders and right-leaning pundits. Female critics were significantly underrepresented, ethnic minorities almost non-existent, and progressive views far outnumbered by conservative ones.”
Add to these institutional flaws, the domination of the Zionist lobby’s powerful machinery, and it becomes clear why reporting on the Middle East in general and American foreign policy there is thoroughly biased. Even without Emet’s public relations work, the media is completely dominated by pro-Israeli writers. Eric Alterman, a Nation columnist, lists the commentators and publications in America that can be counted on to be reflexively pro-Israel and then points out that are were less than half a dozen on the left who were reflexively pro-Palestinian in the same way: (99)
The pro-Israeli publications include the following:
The New Republic (Martin Peretz, Michael Steinhardt, Roger Hertog, Owners), Commentary (American Jewish Committee, Owner), US News and World Report (Mortimer Zuckerman, Owner), The New York Daily News (Mortimer Zuckerman, Owner), The New York Post (Rupert Murdoch, Owner), The Weekly Standard (Rupert Murdoch, Owner), The Wall Street Journal editorial page (Peter Kann, Editor) The Atlantic Monthly (Michael Kelly, Editor)
Pro-Israeli commentators include the following:
Not only are most opinion writers reflexively pro-Israel, those who are not are frequently targeted, like Henry Norr of the San Francisco Chronicle. (100)
Both the LA Times and the Washington Post have also been targeted with a focused boycott of one week each by pro-Israeli subscribers.
In the mid-1970s Si Kenen, editor of the AIPAC-affiliated Near East Report based in Washington, DC, started a column, The Monitor, to clarify “controversial issues and to expose negative propaganda.”(101) One of NER’s main targets was the team of Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, whose column was syndicated in about 250 American cities. When the columns contained errors about Israel, Kenen would orchestrate a letter-writing campaign to the papers carrying the columns. Eventually, Evans and Novak stopped writing on the Middle East for several years.
Similarly the pro-Israeli watchdog groups, CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) and FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East), intimidate print or TV journalists who dare contradict the official line on the Middle East. CAMERA has repeatedly confronted and attacked CNN, PBS, and NPR for their reporting and has pursued aggressive tactics against book stores and college libraries, indicting even the National Geographic, Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East, Webster’s New World Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica for “unabashed inventions.” (102)
Such persistent lobbying drives the media to distort news through the subtle rhetorical mechanisms that one sees at work in the coverage of Abu Ghraib — the habitual focus on individual actors at the lowest level and on procedure at the highest; the over-emphasis on the role of error, incompetence or lack of training; the restriction of evidence to government documents; the magnification of lesser infractions and the concealment of larger ones; sensationalism on one hand and on the other the normalization of state violence through bureaucratic jargon; distortion of history and acquiescence in government propaganda; a pretence at neutrality that hides both veiled and explicit bigotry. The media’s failure is the result of propaganda in which it is demonstrably a deferential participant and beneficiary.
A propaganda network, a culture permeated with self-deceiving exceptionalism and obsessed with domestic cultural divisions, a language of bureaucratic normalization and contextual distortion, and the commercial nature of the mass media – these are the reasons why the torture story stayed on the sidelines for two years before surfacing. They are also the reasons why the story disappeared as suddenly as it surfaced.
LR, Addendum: And it is for exactly the same reason that the true story behind the events of 9-11 have never been fully explored in public.
1) The Arab Mind, Rafael Patai, 1973. For a good critique, see “Sex, violence, and the Arab Mind,’” Ann Marlowe, Salon, June 8, 2004.
2) According to one professor at a US military college, cited in The Arab Mind, Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, May 27, 2004. Whitaker notes that on page 144 the reader is informed of “the Arab view that masturbation is far more shameful than visiting prostitutes.” Whitaker notes that opinions of Patai’s book among Middle East experts at American universities “are almost universally scathing.” and quotes one, “The best use for this volume, if any, is as a doorstop.” However, after Patai’s death in 1996, the book was reprinted by Hatherleigh Press in 2002 in time for the war in Iraq, “with an enthusiastic introduction by Norvell “Tex” De Atkine, a former US army colonel and the head of Middle East studies at Fort Bragg” who called it “essential reading” and claimed that at Fort Bragg it “formed the basis of my cultural instruction.”
3) “Moving Targets,” Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, December 15, 2003, posted online on December 8.
4) Hersh, op.cit. See also, “Fight to the death: the Iraqis who hated Saddam, hate the Americans more,” Paul McGeough, Sydney Morning Herald, December 20, 2003.
5) Fiscal 2004 DOD Budget Release. Compare with “Bush’s 2006 Budget,” Ann Tyson, Washington Post, February 8, 2005.
6) Special Operations Forces: Opportunities to Preclude Overuse and Misuse (Letter Report, 05/15/97, GAO/NSIAD-97-85), United States General Accounting Office.
7) According to Vietnamese sources; the American military puts the number at 20,000. See, The Phoenix Program, Douglas Valentine, originally published by The William Morrow Company, 1990; republished by Avon Books,1992 and by iUniverse.com, 2000.
See also “Flight of the Phoenix: From Vietnam to Homeland Security. An Open Letter to Maj. Gen. Bruce Lawlor,” Douglas Valentine, Counterpunch, August 25, 2002.
8) “U.S. Generals in Iraq Were Told of Abuse Early, Inquiry Finds,” Josh White, Washington Post, December 1, 2004.
9) “Iraq: Global Security Firms Fill in as Private Armies,” Robert Collier, San Francisco Chronicle, March 28th, 2004.
10) “The Struggle For Iraq: Security; Private Guards Take Big Risks, For Right Price,” James Dao; Eric Schmitt, in Washington, and John F. Burns, in Baghdad, NY Times, April 2, 2004. The article claims that “As many as two dozen companies, employing as many as 15,000 people, are working in Iraq” paying “salaries ranging from $100,000 to nearly $200,000 to entice senior military Special Operations forces to switch careers.”“Armed security business booms; 4 Fallujah victims privatized soldiers,” Jay Price, The News and Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina, claims salaries reach up to $300,000 a year for US special forces with a Harvard law degree versus “$1,000 a month for a former Nepalese Gurkha and perhaps half that for an Iraqi Kurd.”
11) “The Secret War,” William Arkin, Los Angeles Time, October 27, 2002.
12) “Detainee Says U.S. Handed Him Over for Torture,” Megan K. Stack and Bob Drogin, The Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2005.
13) “Brigadier General Janice Karpinski Met Israeli Interrogator in Iraq,” Leon Worden, Signal City Editor, July 4, 2004; “Israeli Interrogator at Abu Ghraib Prison Claim on BBC,” PA News, Scotsman.com, July 3, 2004. “An Abu Ghraib Photo We Didn’t See on the Front Page of the New York Times,” Counterpunch, May 24, 2004.
14) “The Sad Tale of Nicholas Berg,” Julie Rawe, Time Magazine, May 24, 2004.
15) “Beheading victim loved ‘adventure,’” Sewell Chan, Washington Post, May 14, 2004.
16) “Harris Corporation Awarded $96 Million Contract for Development of the Iraqi Media Network,” Harris Press Release, January 9, 2004.
17) harris denies berg employee
18) “Harris Corporation Selected For $10 Million Design And Analysis Phase Of The Electronic Records Archive Program,” Harris Press Release, August 3, 2004.
19) “The Unexamined Life of Nicholas Berg,” Sara Whalen, Arab News, May 21, 2004.
20) “CACI and Its Friends,” Tim Shorrocks, The Nation, June 4, 2004. See also CACI 2003 Annual Report.
21) “Homeland Security Is CACI’s Domain,” Business Week Online, Stan Crock, November 25, 2002.
22) CACI Homeland Security Solutions, CACI website.
23) “The Kings of Pain,” John Stanton, Counterpunch, May 15, 2004.
24) “CACI Chairman, President, and CEO Dr. J.P. (Jack) London Receives Albert Einstein Technology Award,” CACI News Release, February 2, 2004.
25) Supra. See also Stanton, op.cit., and “What Might Sharon Know About CACI?” Sara Whalen, Arab News, May 14, 2004.
26) A notable political activist and director of the Executive Intelligence Review News Service, LaRouche is a perennial Presidential candidate who has been jailed for mail fraud and accused of anti-Semitism. He claims both charges are politically motivated and baseless. See “Lyndon Larouche: Fascist Demagogue,” Chip Berlet and Joel Bellman, Public Eye.org, March 10, 1989.
27) “Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies,” Thomas Ricks, Washington Post, August 6, 2002.
28) By Herbert Kerr and Harry Markowitz. Markowitz shared the 1990 Nobel prize in economics for his theory of “portfolio choice,” which allows market investors to analyze risk as well as expected return, but his and Kerr’s work at Rand was in computer matrix codes with industrial and defense applications, work that continues at CACI. See also
“Private Contractors and Torture at Abu Ghraib, Iraq,” Democracy Now Interview with Pratap Chatterjee, May 12, 2004.
29) “Fukuyama in Tel Aviv: Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, and Francis Fukuyama come together to discuss the end of history in Israel,” Peter Berkowitz, The Daily Standard (affiliated to The Weekly Standard), March 19, 2004.
30) “Private Contractors and Torture at Abu Ghraib,” Pratap Chatterjee and A.C. Thompson, May 7, 2004.
31) “The Israeli Torture Template: Rape, Feces and Urine-Dipped Cloth Sacks,” Wayne Madsen, Counterpunch, May 10, 2004.
32) “The Things Bush Didn’t Mention In His Speech; The Re-Writing Of Iraqi History Is Now Going On At Supersonic Speed,” Robert Fisk, The Independent, May 26, 2004.
33) “Contract to torture,” Osha Gray Davidson, Salon, August 9, 2004.
34) “Partnering for Human Rights: Metro Detroit attorney and high school friend give Iraqi detainees a chance to be heard,” Patricia Anstett, Detroit Free Press, September 10, 2004.
35) “What are those ‘contractors’ doing in Iraq?” Deborah Avant, Washington Post, May 12, 2004.
36) “Private Contractors and Torture at Abu Ghraib, Iraq,” Pratap Chatterjee and A.C. Thompson, CorpWatch, May 7th, 2004.
37) DOD Contract No. 141-04, March 2, 2004.
38) “Chain of Command,” Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, May 17. 2004, posted online May 9. See also “Line Increasingly Blurred Between Soldiers and Civilian Contractors,” Ariana Eunjung Cha and Renae Merle, Washington Post, May 13, 2004 and “Private Contractors and Torture at Abu Ghraib, Iraq,” Democracy Now Interview with Pratap Chatterjee, May 12, 2004. CACI interrogators made up to $115,000 (about £65,000) a year, according to “Who Commands the Private Soldiers?” David Leigh, The Guardian, May 17, 2004. A former U.S. Green Beret or member of the Special Forces working in Iraq earns about $30,000 per month, a former member of the South African military earns about $4,000 per month, a Nepalese gurka earns about $1,000 per month, a Kurdish pesh merga earns about $250 per month, according to Peter Singer, author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003, quoted in “Iraq: Military Outsourcing,” Council on Foreign relations, May 20, 2004.
39) Quoted from the CACI website in “Partnering For Human Rights: Metro Detroit attorney and high school friend give Iraqi detainees a chance to be heard,” Patricia Anstett, Detroit Free Press, September 10, 2004 September 10, 2004
40) Also see “Abu Ghraib abuse firms are rewarded: As prison ringleader awaits sentence, defence (sic) contractors win multi-million Pentagon contracts,” Peter Beaumont, The Observer, January 16, 2005.
41) “Iraq: Broadcast Blues,” Bruce B. Auster, US News and World Report, January 26th, 2004; “Iraq: Report Rips SAIC Over Contracts,” Bruce V. Bigelow, Union-Tribune
March 25th, 2004.
42) “Iraq: How Harris Became a Major Media Player,” Noelle C. Haner, Orlando Business Journal, December 12, 2004.
43) “Information Warfare or Yesterday’s News?” Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch, January 6, 2004.
44) “Hired Guns. What to do about military contractors run amok,” Phillip Carter, Slate, April 9, 2004. See also “Iraq Interrogators Were Paid Under Computer Contract,”
Neil King Jr. and Christopher Cooper, Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2004 and
“Torture and the Firm,” on the weblog, Hobson’s Choice.
45) “CIA suffering James Bond envy?” Reuters, September 29, 1999. In (Intelligence)- Q-It (Information Technology) takes its name from the enigmatic “Q” who supplied Ian Fleming’s intrepid James Bond with lethal gadgets. Using $28 million in funds appropriated by the Congress, it was set up as a non-profit, yet “as in a normal private-sector business model” “will create “spin-off value” for those working with In-Q-It, who can then take products back to market.” CEO Gilman Louie made his name in computer video games while the board of trustees includes the chairman of Lockheed Martin and William Perry, former secretary of defense.
46) “The Company” Goes Corporate: The CIA’s new business model is the world of commerce,” Ted Gup, Slate, Nov. 4, 2003.
47) Security Affairs Support Association (SASA) online, Officers and Board.
48) “The Spy Who Billed Me,” Tim Shorrock, Mother Jones, Hanuary/February, 2005.
49) “Let Bin Laden stay free, says CIA man,” Tony Allen-Mills, The Times Online (UK), January 9, 2005.
50) Supra. Also, “Follow the Money: Bush, 9/11, and Deep Threat,” Fran Shor, Common Dreams, May 22, 2002.
51) Shorrock, op.cit.
52) A Center for Security Policy Brief No. 98-D 174, October 16, 1998 quotes remarks by Richard Perle at an American Enterprise Institute conference:
“[Of the many bad ideas currently emanating from the CIA’s Near East apparatus], the most important…is the belief that the only way to eliminate Saddam Hussein’s governance is by organizing a coup d’etat against him. Well, I’ve got news for you. Saddam is a lot better at resisting coups than we are at perpetrating them. So much better that every effort has failed, in many cases with significant losses of life. And despite numerous failures, the most recent of which is still very much alive in the memory of a great many people, we continue to pursue that course.”
“Not only is the institution wedded to the idea that we are capable of encouraging a coup that might bring Saddam down, but it is so committed to that view that it has resisted all alternative suggestions, including what I believe to be the most obvious, which is that we get behind the opposition to Saddam Hussein. And in fact, not only has the institution been unwilling to support an effort to get behind the opposition to Saddam Hussein, but I think it is fair to say that it has worked actively against any such suggestion. I’m afraid that, despite the valiant effort by a great many in Congress, the Administration will resist, continue to resist, in every way putting those resources [the money from legislation adopted to help support the Iraqi National Congress-led opposition to Saddam].”
53) “Officials Say Iranian Messages About Anti-Saddam Plot Triggered FBI Probe of CIA,” Walter Pincus, Washington Post, February 18,1998. Pincus himself has notable ties with the CIA. Before he joined the Post in the 1960s, he traveled abroad on a CIA subsidy to spy on student leaders from other countries. See “How I Traveled Abroad On CIA Subsidy,” Walter Pincus, San Jose Mercury, February 18, 1967, p. 14. He also led a media counter-attack against the revelation by investigative reporter, Gary Webb in the Mercury News of links between the CIA and the US drug trade. See “Pipe Dreams: the CIA, Drugs, and the Media,” Daniel Brandt, Stephen Badrich, NameBase News Line, No. 16, January-March, 1997.
54) “The deep politics of regime removal in Iraq: Overt conquest, covert operations
Part Three: The US war lobby and the disciples of NSC-68,” Larry Chin,
Online Journal, November 7, 2002.
55) “Abolish the CIA!” Chalmers Johnson, Tom Dispatch, November 6, 2004, a review of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001, by Steve Coll, New York: Penguin, 2004.
56) NATO’s Secret Armies. Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, Daniele Ganser, Frank Cass, January 2005. Cited in“The Pentagon’s ‘Nato Option,’” Lila Rajiva, Common Dreams, February 10, 2005.
57) “Abolish the CIA,” Johnson, op.cit.
58) “How Ahmed Chalabi conned the neocons,” John Dizard, Salon, May 4, 2004.
59) “Commentary: Why Defense hawks cut Chalabi,” Martin Sieff, UPI, March 7, 2003.
60) “A man for all intrigues,”Andrew Cockburn. Salon, May 29, 2004.
61) “Allawi’s ascent follows extensive PR campaign,” James Drinkard, USA Today, June 2, 2004.
62) After the six-day war in 1967, when new work-and-entry rules were imposed on Palestinians in Israel. Cited in “Rafael Eitan: Rafael Eitan, born Rafael Kaminsky, Israeli general, died on November 23rd, aged 75,” Economist, December 2, 2004.
63) Ralph Schoenman, The Hidden History of Zionism, Chapter 12, “Strategy for Conquest,” Veritas Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1988. “Generals Go on Defense: Ariel Sharon Vs. Time Inc.,” Brooke W. Kroeger, Newsday UN Bureau, November 16, 1984, summarizes Sharon’s involvement in atrocities against Arabs in the context of his $50 million libel suit against Time Magazine. In this context, Ben-Gurion wrote: “To maintain the status quo will not do. We have to set up a dynamic state bent upon expansion,” David Ben-Gurion, Rebirth and Destiny of Israel, New York: Philosophical Library in New York, 1954.
64) Israel’s Fateful Hour, Yehoshafat Harkabi, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, pp. 57-58. “Iraq: The Case Against Preemptive,” Paul W. Schroeder, The American Conservative, October 21, 2002.
65) “Kerry’s Low-Watt Energy Policy,” Robert Bryce, The Texas Observer, September 24, 2004.
66) “The Palestinian Question and the Socialist Alternative: An ODA E-book,” Organization for Democratic Action (Da’am in Arabic), Israeli Marxist party representing Israeli working class, especially Arab workers.
67) Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf: Open Letter to the President, 19 February 1998. Cited in “What To Do Now About Iraq,” Decision Brief No. 01-D76, Center for Security Policy, November 28, 2001.
68) “Bush won’t back loan to Jewish state,” Warren Strobel, Washington Times, March
69) National Jewish Population Survey of 1990, a once in a decade survey sponsored by the United Jewish Communities. It was the largest and most comprehensive ever conducted of American Jews and studied over 177,000 randomly selected Americans, Jews and non-Jews, 9000 through interviews. Cited in “13 Million US Jews?“ Joe Berkofsky, Jewish Telegraph Agency, September 24, 2002.
70) “The Secret of Lubavitch Success?” Peter Steinfels, New York Times, January 22, 2000.
71) Some sites suggest that Jesus was a “sexually immoral” false prophet. See the “Who Was Jesus?” page from the website of “Jews and Hasidic Gentiles, USA” at noahide.com.
72) From the Chabad text used on its outreach sites, ‘Likute Amarim’ or ‘Tanya
‘Kehot Publication Society’ New York-London, 1973. See also “Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America,” Stephen Bloom, Harcourt, Inc., 2001, which describes a seclusionist Chabad community taking over an Iowa town.
73) “A Problematic Heritage: The Attitude Toward the gentile in the Jewish Tradition — An Israel Perspective,” Moshe Greenberg, Conservative Judaism 48/2 (Winter, 1996):23-35.
74) See “A Messianism that Some Call Heresy,” by Jacob Neusner, Jerusalem Post, October 2001, a review of The Rebbe, the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference, by Orthodox scholar David Berger, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, September 1, 2001. Neusner, a professor of religion at Bard College, calls this “the most important book of Judaism – not about Judaism but of Judaism – to appear this year, and the most urgent in decades,” and writes “Chabad is a potent force: 2,600 institutions around the world, large numbers of English-speaking rabbis, control of most of Judaism in Italy as well as the chief rabbinate of Russia (its Russia budget alone is $20 million a year). It is an organization with immense world-wide financial resources.”
75) Convocation address, Joseph Dan, Gershom Sholem Professor of Kabbalah, Institute of Jewish studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, March 11, 1999.
76) “Jews on Hill digging into religious roots, “James D. Besser, Baltimore Jewish Times, June 9, 1995. See also “Hasidic Outpost In D.C.: New Lubavitch Center Raises Profile of Popular Director, Bill Broadway, Washington Post, July 3, 1999 and “Letter From Washington: The Republican Elephant And the Netanyahu Problem (Or) Bidding Farewell To Those FOBs (Friends Of “Bibi”),” Leon Hadar, Letter 5759, Ariga.com.
77) “‘Diamond Joe’ Gutnick and the Rebbe’s Prophecy,” Mathew Schifrin, Forbes, December 2, 1996.
78) “Titans of Industry Join Forces To Work for Jewish Philanthropy,” Lisa Miller, The Wall Street Journal, May 4, 1998.
79) “A Rose By Another Name: The Bush Administration’s Dual Loyalties,”
by Kathleen and Bill Christison, Counterpunch, December 13, 2002.
80) “Are megabucks prerequisite for Jewish mega-leaders?” Gary Rosenblatt, Jewish News Weekly, June 8, 2001. See also, “UJA-Federation Charity Turning to a ‘House of Lords’ In Try To Prevent ‘Historic Suicide’ of American Jewry,” Forward, 1998 and “Moneyed ‘Study Group’ Is Engine for Charity Revolution,” Julia Goldman, Forward, December 21, 2001.
81) “Israel: A Conspiracy Here, A Conspiracy There,” Karen Nakamura, Coastal Post, June 29, 2004. See also “Gambling on Extremism,” December 15, 2003.
82) “U.S. Strategy Plan Calls For Insuring No Rivals Develop,“ Patrick E. Tyler, The New York Times, March 8, 1992. On Libby’s role, see “Dick Cheney’s Song of America
Drafting a plan for global dominance,” David Armstrong, Harper’s, October, 2002.
83) “Repressive MEMRI,” Juan Cole, Antiwar, November 24, 2004. See also “A Rose By Another Name,” op.cit. “Drinking the Kool Aid,” W. Patrick Lang, Middle East Policy Council, Volume XI, Summer 2004, No. 2 gives a detailed insider‘s view of the intelligence “cooking” conducted by neoconservatives.
84) “Whose War? A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest,” Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative, March 23, 2003.
85) A similar assertion was made bluntly by 9/11 Commission’s Executive Director, Philip D. Zelikow, in a speech delivered at the University of Virginia Law School on September 10, 2002, several months before the Bush regime empanelled the 9/11 Commission and several months before it appointed Zelikow to be its Executive Director. Cited in “Blame Bush for What Came After 9/11; The real issue isn’t why the U.S wasn’t ready for the attack, but why the Administration used the tragedy to invade Iraq,” Ciro Scotti, Business Week Online, April 15, 2004.
86) “The Israeli ‘Art-Student’ Mystery,” Christopher Ketcham. Salon, May 7, 2002. Also “Spies, or students?” Nathan Guttman, Haaretz, March 1, 2005. “There is one source for all these stories and it is not an unreliable one. The source is the 60-page draft of an internal report by the intelligence division of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).”
The existence of the DEA report is convincingly documented in “Urban myth, my ass! More proof of conspiracies — spies, legislators and KSU,” Johns Sugg, Creative Loafing, March 27, 2002.
87) For a historical perspective of Israeli spying see “Israel’s 40-Year History of Espionage Against the United States,” Stephen Green, The Christian Science Monitor, May 22, 1989.
88) “Serving Two Flags, Neo-Cons, Israel and the Bush Administration,” Stephen Green, February 28/29, 2004.
89) “The Palestinian Question,” op. cit. Chapter 9, “Globalization Widens the Gap between Israel and the Arabs.”
90) “Chavez’s tour of OPEC nations arrives in Baghdad,” CNN, August 10, 2000 and “OPEC ends summit, blames wealthy nations for oil crisis,” CNN, September 29, 2000.
91) “Time to Expose Israel’s Propaganda Network,” Linda Heard, Gulf News, August 20, 2002.
92) “Jewish philanthropists to polish Israel’s image,” Melissa Radler and Yoav Appel
Jerusalem Post, March 2, 2001.
93) “New effort raises questions about Israeli P.R.,” Michael Jordan, Jewish Telegraph Agency, March 16, 2001. For one account of Jewish diasporic PR efforts see, “From The Heart: A Diary from Israel,” Steve Silvers, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, April 28, 2002.
94) “Most Favored Democracy: The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies goes on offense,” Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative, November 17, 2003.
95) “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” Mark Crispin Miller, The Nation, December 20, 2001.
96) Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, Pantheon, 1988.
97) “Who’s On the News?” FAIR, January 1, 2001.
98) “CNN’s Reliably Narrow Sources,” FAIR, March-April, 2003.
99) “Intractable foes, warring narratives,” Eric Alterman, MSNBC, March 28, 2002.
(100) “A Sick Day: Henry Norr loses his job for going against the war in Iraq,” LA Weekly, May 19, 2003.
(101) According to former Israeli diplomat Lenny Ben-David in Israel’s Defense Line, L. Kenen, Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1981, p. 320. Cited in “Watching the Pro-Israeli Media Watchers,” Manfred Gerstenfeld and Ben Green, Jewish Political Studies Review, 16:3-4 (Fall 2004).
(102) “Israel’s U.S. Influence Network. CAMERA and FLAME: Pressuring U.S. Media,”
Mitchell Kaidy, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July/August 1993, p. 29.
* This is the dangerous conjunction of intelligence and private contractors that forms the backdrop of the mysterious life and death of Nick Berg. According to Time magazine, Berg was rumored to work “for a telecom firm with ties to Israel.”(14) Could that be a reference to Al-Fawares, (15) which is a Kuwaiti-Iraqi subcontractor for Harris Incorporated, the Australian defense contractor that ended up with the contract to run the Iraqi media network?(16) Harris does have Israeli ties but it denies that Berg was an employee. (17) What about CACI, which supplied interrogators and telecom support? Harris worked with CACI together in at least one aspect of US telecommunications – electronic platforms. (18) When Gen. Kimmett publicly states that U.S. Military Police “monitored” Berg in Iraq, (19) should we note that CACI director Jack London has also publicly stated that “monitoring” by the Department of Defense is in CACI’s contract with the U.S. military?
[Originally published at Mind-Body Politic.com and republished here, with minor alterations].
See also my Wikileaks pieces at VT: