US secret drone bases
'Drone bases in Africa'
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The Salafization of the Turkey
Rouhani's full speech.
'Iran's threat propaganda dangerous for world security' - Rouhani to UN Assembly 2013 (FULL SPEECH)
Published on Sep 24, 2013
Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world President Hassan Rouhani said in his address to the UN General Assembly. At the same time, militarism of "some players" and generalization of western values, he says, poses a true danger for the world securit
CrossTalk: Dividing Ukraine
Published on Dec 4, 2013
Are we witnessing a second Orange Revolution in Ukraine? Is it a zero-sum game for all parties involved? Is it possible to work out a deal that the EU, Ukraine and Russia can be satisfied with? And is 'going West or East' too simplistic for a Ukraine divided? CrossTalking with Mark Sleboda, Jan Techau and Alexander Mercouris.
Ukraine on Edge
Ukraine on Edge: Fresh clashes erupt near parliament in Kiev
Clashes have occurred between the protesters and the Berkut special police forces in Kiev. Dozens of rally participants have tried to break through police cordons near Ukraine parliament. Some of them attacked the police with sticks. The law enforcers have been fighting back, not letting the protesters pass
'Any association with EU would be economic suicide for Ukraine'
Published on Dec 2, 2013
Another day of tension in the Ukrainian capital. Thousands remain in Kiev's central square, while others have moved to the Prime Minister's office. Protests turned violent during the night. Government buildings were stormed, and hundreds of people were injured, including police, protesters and journalists. Demonstrators are demanding the President's resignation following his rejection of an EU trade integration deal.
House of Saud
CrossTalk: House of Saud
Published on Dec 2, 2013
Is an alliance with Saudi Arabia a good bet for Washington? Can the Saudis carry out an independent foreign policy? How likely is a joint Israel-Saudi Arabia attack on Iran? And is arms trade the only thing keeping Washington and Saudi Arabia together? CrossTalking with Mark Levine and Brian Becker.
Saudi Arabia pt3
Why Would Saudi Arabia Support the 9/11Conspirators, Why Would the US Gov. Cover it Up? - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt3
On RAI with Paul Jay, Senator Bob Graham says the Saudis had a high certainty that the US government would not reveal their role and would take out its vengeance on some place else -PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay. And welcome back to Reality Asserts Itself with Senator Bob Graham.
Senator Graham was the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He was also the chair of the congressional joint committee into 9/11. And he held many other important positions on intelligence, and from 2010 to 2012 was on the CIA External Advisory Board.
Thanks for joining us again, Senator.
So we were talking off-camera. And I think we're going to just pick up where we were, and then we'll kind of get back to where I was headed in the interview.
But we were talking about the role of the media and how little and practically no discourse there is, debate, followup on issues raised by your commission and other books that have come out on the whole issue of the Saudi 9/11 commission. What do you make of that?
BOB GRAHAM, FMR U.S. SENATOR: It's an enigma to me as to why something that is so important, not just to be sure we have a historical record right, but that justice is done--. One of the side consequences of this coverup of the Saudis is the 3,000 families and survivors of the victims of 9/11 have been trying to get justice in a federal court for their losses. And in each instance, they have been turned away under the shield of sovereign immunity. You cannot sue Saudi Arabia. And the United States government has gone into the courthouse on the side of the Saudis, not on the side of the U.S. citizens who have lost so grievously.
So this is an issue that is contemporary and has real impact and significance today. And why major U.S. media has not seen this as an issue worthy of in-depth investigation and dogged followthrough is an enigma to me.
JAY: Now, when the Saudis are asked about this issue, the former head of Saudi intelligence Turki says that the Saudi intelligence actually tried to warn the Bush administration that an attack was coming. He said that they had been monitoring people in the United States and that they told the Bush administration that they had specific information that something was coming and they were ignored, that there seemed to be no interest on the part of the Bush administration in what they had to say.
GRAHAM: I've heard rumors of that. I have not personally confirmed that that is an accurate statement. But I wouldn't be surprised. There was just sort of a general disbelief--I think the 9/11 Commission called it a lack of imagination--that something of this scale could occur in the United States, and therefore when people sounded alarms that it might in fact be on the verge of happening, they were largely ignored.
JAY: So when you say the Saudi state is involved in this, it's somewhat contradictory if the head of intelligence is trying to warn the United States that it's coming. I mean, do you see this as something that's, you know, government policy, or individuals in the government were involved?
GRAHAM: It wouldn't be government policy in the sense that someone would stand up in the State of the Union address and announce that we are going to have a policy of not following leads that suggest the United States may be in some immediate peril.
JAY: No. Back up. I'm talking about the Saudi policy. When you look at the Saudi role--and we're certainly going to get to, actually, where you're headed there, in terms of what we think was the U.S. government consciousness at the highest level on all of this, but right now I just wanted to ask, when you say this is the Saudi government involved, so is this Saudi government at the highest levels making Saudi government policy? Or these are individuals involved in the government and royal family that are doing something sort of on their own?
GRAHAM: The reality is that the line between what is private and what is public in a monarchy of the length and pervasive influence of the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia is ephemeral. And, in fact, in these cases where Americans have tried to sue entities, some of which are governmental, some of which are what we would call private sector--some are even charitable--because of their alleged involvement in 9/11, the same shield of sovereign immunity has been raised by the Saudi government to protect everything that is of a Saudi origin. So they by their actions have accepted the fact that this is a fully integrated country, and it is legally possible to say that everything that happens is an action of the government.
JAY: Now, we're going to get into more detail later. And there's much, much more detail in Senator Graham's book Intelligence Matters about--you know, where his committee really traced the data points that connected Saudi government officials to the conspiracy. And we'll get into it a little bit later. But I still want to talk a little bit more big picture.
Why would they? Assuming you're right about the Saudis, what's in it for them?
GRAHAM: Well, I wrote a novel called Keys to the Kingdom out of frustration that much of what I knew had occurred had not been made available to the American people, because every time it was suggested, it was immediately classified and rendered out-of-bounds. It was mentioned to me by another former high-ranking government official that he, facing the same frustration, had overcome it by writing exactly what he would have written in a nonfiction book, but put the word "novel" on it, and it got by the censors.
So in the novel I suggest some answers to that, and I don't think they are farfetched or extreme. One of those is that we know that at the end of the first Gulf War, bin Laden was very angry at the royal family for having allowed U.S. troops, foreign troops of any nationality, to essentially occupy a portion of Saudi Arabia. He would--his anger was deepened by the fact that he had offered to become--come to the defense of the kingdom using several tens of thousands of war-hardened troops that had fought with him in Afghanistan against the Russians. That anger upset the royal family.
And so I project: what if bin Laden had said to the royal family, if you won't deal forcefully with the Americans, we will do it, but we need your help in terms of being able to assist, support, maintain our operatives who are going to be in the United States, and if you refuse to give us that support, then I'm going to launch civil unrest inside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and your monarchy will be under the same threat that the former Shah of Iran was when he was toppled from power?
JAY: Well, we know the Saudis took this threat pretty seriously, 'cause they actually made the American base move to Qatar.
GRAHAM: Yeah. And so I'm suggesting that something like that may have been the motivation, the excuse, the rationale that the Saudis look to to say, alright, we will in fact provide assistance to the 19 hijackers, or at least significant numbers of them, in order to avoid this credible threat of civil unrest.
JAY: But the Saudis are no fools. They have to know, whatever bin Laden might be able to throw at them, it's nothing compared to what the United States could throw at Saudi Arabia if it came out that the Saudi were involved at a governmental level. It's almost like they have to have known going in that this wasn't going to happen.
GRAHAM: Well, would a country whose ambassador was so brazen as to go into the private quarters of the White House within hours after an attack in which 15 of his fellow countrymen had been in lead positions and almost demand that the president of the United States facilitate 144 additional Saudis being able to get out of the country, would a country that had that kind of attitude towards the willingness of the United States to stand up for its own interest and not be cowered into submission, would not they be likely to have had that attitude towards the United States and therefore felt it was a risk that they were prepared to take to--.
JAY: But doesn't it lead you to think that they have good reason to think that they're not going to be targeted? I mean, you know, instead of regime--being in Afghanistan, if this had come out, regime change would have been in Saudi Arabia.
GRAHAM: Their level of confidence in the fact the United States would not react or that the United States would not go to the extremes that in fact it has to cover up their involvement were sufficient to outweigh the reality that bin Laden had the capability and the will to topple the monarchy and--.
JAY: 'Cause bin Laden has been quoted, assuming all this really is from bin Laden, that the plan was to suck the United States into a war in Afghanistan and, kind of Russian style, wear the United States out. And I think bin Laden apparently was a little disappointed that in fact the emphasis got moved to Iraq, 'cause they were hoping to tie American troops down in much bigger numbers. And it kind of worked out in the long run, in a sense, what they wanted, but not at the scale they wanted. They wanted a major presentation of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and to be there for decades and decades and bleed the American economy. The Saudis have to understand that's his logic.
GRAHAM: Well, you know, we talk a lot about the intelligence capabilities of al-Qaeda. That's one of the reasons that the NSA is engaged in a lot of its data mining and other high-tech intelligence gathering operations.
The fact is, I think that if bin Laden was operating from the premise that he could suck the United States into Afghanistan and, once there, they would be treated as the Russians had been treated, a war of attrition and finally submission, the fact is, if he thought that way, his intelligence wasn't very good. The United States almost immediately instituted the single most effective aerial bombardment in the history of mankind in Afghanistan against troops and military installations. We were using--this was pre-drone--we were using traditional military aircraft with laser bombs, smart bombs, bombs that were able to get into places that previously had thought to be impregnable, and just devastated the Taliban's military ability.
JAY: But let's assume his intelligence was wrong--and I think it was, if that's what he said afterwards. But if that's what the plan was and the Saudis are in on this, then they have to do their own kind of math about where does all this lead. If this leads to--I mean, Saudis have to know the United States isn't going to just sit there and do nothing. It's going to come after--somebody's going to pay for this. And if it isn't going to be them, and they have confidence that their role in this is going to be hidden and covered up (and the evidence is, whether they were confident because they were told to be confident or not, their role was hidden; that much is a fact), then they start doing the math. And what I mean by math is they have to work out what the next steps and the consequences of this are. And either they share the belief that it's going to be a tie-down in Afghanistan, or for some reason they're also understanding that the real target's going to be Iraq and they don't mind.
GRAHAM: And therefore that they are immune, that the United States is going to take its vengeance out someplace else.
JAY: More or less on Saddam Hussein, yeah.
GRAHAM: Yeah. Well, I think, first, they had a high and what has thus far turned out to be credible expectation that their role would not be exposed. Everything that the federal government has done since 9/11 has had as one of its outcomes, if not its objectives--and I believe it was both outcome and objective--that the Saudis' role has been covered. So they could be prepared to assess it was a greater risk that bin Laden would attack them than that the United States would attack them, and therefore they, the monarchy in Saudi Arabia, took actions that would avoid bin Laden with some sense of immunity from the possibility of the United States attacking them.
JAY: Is there a possibility they shared the objective of drawing the United States into a war, that it isn't just out of fear of bin Laden that they share the agenda?
GRAHAM: Well, I don't know what they would want to accomplish by encouraging the United States to go into a war other than a war against the place where the attack against the United States had been organized and emanating.
JAY: We know within days of the attack, even though there's talk of what to do to Afghanistan, President Bush is already issuing instructions to get ready for a war with Iraq. If Prince Bandar is so close to President Bush that he sits in the living room--and I think it's smoking cigars; I don't know if he drank scotch or not. I don't suppose he's supposed to. But would he be unaware of that's where this would all lead?
GRAHAM: You know, we are now--.
JAY: It's speculation.
GRAHAM: We're now into the outer ranges of speculation.
I believe what we do know or are capable of knowing is what was the full extent of the Saudi role. We know they were involved in San Diego, where, under people who were employees of the Saudi government, protection was given to two of the 19 hijackers.
There was a very suspicious case in Sarasota Florida where three of the pilots of the planes were doing their flight training and at the same time were closely connected to a family of Saudis, which in turn was close to the royal family. That has been another area that has been closely held and with--except the American people had been blocked from understanding what happened in that instance.
What we don't know is what was going on in other places, like Falls Church, Virginia, places in New Jersey, other places in Florida, where there were substantial numbers of hijackers. Was a full investigation done to determine if they were receiving external support? And if so, why has this not been made available?
JAY: And your main point is that these 19 guys can't do this without a support network, and you have evidence the support network was at least in part linked to the Saudi government.
GRAHAM: Yeah. And I might say, I have personally talked to the other cochair of the Congressional Joint Inquiry, a man who was a very distinguished congressman and, later, director of the CIA, I have talked to the two chairs of the citizens' 9/11 Commission, asking them, what do you think were the prospects of these 19 people being able to plan, practice, and execute the complicated plot that was 9/11 without any external support? All three of them used almost the same word, implausible, that it is implausible that that could have been the case. Yet that has now become the conventional wisdom to the aggressive exclusion of other alternatives.
JAY: In the next segment of our interview with Senator Graham, we're going to look at the role of the Bush administration after 9/11 and before. In his book Senator Graham calls the Bush administration's hindrance of 9/11investigation "disgraceful", he goes on to write: "... orchestrated by the White House to protect not only the agencies that failed but also America's relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
So please join us for the next segment of our interview with Senator Bob Graham.
Saudi 9/11 Connection
Investigating the Saudi Government 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disillusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt1
On RAI with Paul Jay, Bob Graham explains why he persists in making the case that facts directly connect the Saudi government with 9/11 conspirators -
Pathology of the Rich
The Pathology of the Rich - Chris Hedges on Reality Asserts Itself pt1
On RAI with Paul Jay, Chris Hedges discusses the psychology of the super rich; their sense of entitlement, the dehumanization of workers, and mistaken belief that their wealth will insulate them from the coming storms -Bio
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig , spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. He has written nine books, including "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle" (2009), "I Don't Believe in Atheists" (2008) and the best-selling "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" (2008). His book "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
The 9/11 Conspiracy
The 9/11 Conspiracy: Did Bush/Cheney Create a Culture of Not Wanting to Know? - Sen. Bob Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt4
On RAI with Paul Jay, Senator Bob Graham says there was a pervasive pattern in police and intelligence agencies: "You don't have everybody moving in the same direction without there being a head coach somewhere who was giving them instructions as to where he wants them to move" -
Daniel Robert "Bob" Graham (born November 9, 1936) is an American politician and author. He was the 38th Governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987 and a United States Senator from that state from 1987 to 2005.
Graham tried unsuccessfully to run for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, but dropped out of the race on October 6, 2003. He announced his retirement from the Senate on November 3 of that year.
Graham is now concentrating his efforts on the newly established Bob Graham Center for Public Service at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Florida. He served as Chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD proliferation and terrorism. Through the WMD policy center he advocates for the recommendations in the Commission report, World at Risk.
Graham also served as co-chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling and a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the CIA External Advisory Board.
In 2011, Graham published his first novel, the thriller The Keys to the Kingdom. Graham has written three non-fiction books. Workdays-Finding Florida on the Job; Intelligence Matters and America: The Owners Manual.
The 9/11 Conspiracy: Did Bush/Cheney Create a Culture of Not Wanting to Know? - Sen. Bob Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt4PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to To Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay. And welcome back to Reality Asserts Itself with Senator Bob Graham.
Senator Graham's biography is below. If you haven't watched the previous segments of this interview, you really should, because I'm not going to introduce Senator Graham again. We're going to get right to it.
Thanks for joining us.
BOB GRAHAM, FMR. U.S. SENATOR: Good. Thank you.
JAY: There's a lot of discussion and debate about what happened prior to 9/11 and why more wasn't done. In your book, you suggest--I think it's a dozen points where if the intelligence agencies and the White House had worked better or more effectively, that this whole conspiracy might not have been successful.
You also write about something which I think's rather important, which is the presidential daily brief. Can you explain why--the brief that became very well known during the 9/11 committee hearings. Why is that so significant?
GRAHAM: During August 2001, the president was doing what is standard for presidents and was for him, to take a vacation, in this case to his farm in Texas. But he continued to be briefed as to issues that would require his attention. And in one of those briefings--it's called the presidential daily brief--he was told that intelligence was sensing that there was something serious occurring which could have dramatically adverse effects against the United States, and that they thought that it could involve the use of airplanes in some attack.
JAY: The title of the brief is bin Laden plans to attack the United States.
GRAHAM: Yes. So it was a fairly stark and specific call. The president, from all evidence, basically ignored that warning and no steps were taken to try to dig deeper or to disrupt the plot that the intelligence agency--.
JAY: And Condoleezza Rice sees the same memo and apparently also--briefing, and apparently also does nothing. And you make--in your book, you lay out several things they could have done. For example?
GRAHAM: Well, they could have asked the intelligence agencies--we are very concerned about this; let's make this the absolute number-one priority for the next period. They could have alerted the federal aviation agency that we have these suggestions that aviation may be used in an attack against the United States; upgrade your security standards. The hijackers who got on the four planes had no more obstruction to them getting on the plane on September 11 than they would have had on June or July or August. They could have alerted the military that it may be necessary to scramble aircraft to intercept commercial planes that we have reason are being used for a terrorist attack. Those were some of the examples of what might have been done had this been taken seriously.
JAY: Now, at the 9/11 hearings, Condoleezza Rice is asked about this presidential briefing, and she says, we didn't think it had anything to do with anything specific; it seemed to be just some general thing that we already knew, that bin Laden had some plans to attack the United States; and we didn't consider it all that significant. But you point out something in the book I thought was quite interesting I personally hadn't seen before, which is in something called the SEIB, the senior executive intelligence brief, which is essentially, normally, if I understand correctly, more or less what's in the presidential brief, but it goes to many more people. That whole memo on bin Laden has been taken out. Well, if they'd consider it not of any great significance one way or the other, why on earth would they take it out?
GRAHAM: One explanation would be that they didn't want there to be a broadcast of the possibility that we might be under specific threat of terrorists using airplanes, part of the broader strategy of reducing the people of the United States' knowledge and anxiety about what might be occurring. Or it could have just been a judgment by the people who convert the presidential daily briefing, which goes to a very small group, and to the executive briefing, which goes to several hundred if not thousand people, that this was not an appropriate item to make as broadly available.
JAY: It seems to me--I know you can't or may not agree with what I'm saying, but there seems to be a pattern of a culture being created to stop inquiry into possible terrorist attacks. So, Senator Graham, there was a documentary made about Richard Clarke, and we did a story about this, where Clarke says that information about the two al-Qaeda operatives that are living in this house that you talked about earlier, with the Saudi elderly man, who was apparently an FBI informant, Clarke said he didn't know anything about this at the time, and he should have, because both the FBI knew and the CIA knew and nobody told him. And here's a little clip in this documentary of him saying that.
RICHARD CLARKE, FMR. CHIEF COUNTER-TERRORISM ADVISER ON THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: You have to intentionally stop it. You have to intervene and say, no, I don't want that report to go. And I never got a report to that effect.
If there was a decision made to stop normal distribution with regard to this case, then people like Tom Wilshire would have known that.
JAY: So, Senator Graham, that's kind of an alarming thing for Richard Clarke to say. The counterterrorism czar is saying that critical information, it was deliberately kept from him.
GRAHAM: Well, he wasn't the only one it was kept from. The first thing that we did when we started our congressional investigation in late 2000, 2001 was to ask all the agencies to hold any information materials they had relevant to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attack and that we would be asking for that as appropriate. We assumed that the agencies had complied with that.
It wasn't until the summer of 2002, more than halfway through our investigation, that we discovered that there was information in the office of the San Diego FBI about the two hijackers. These are the two men who started in January 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, where some of the basic planning for what became 9/11 was undertaken. They came into the United States undisturbed. Approximately a week later, they have a meeting, at which it just happens that they are sitting in a restaurant close enough to hear each other talk with a Saudi agent who has been dispatched to that restaurant by a Saudi consular official who was the consul of Saudi Arabia in Los Angeles. He, the Saudi agent, overhearing these men speaking Arabic in a Saudi accent, sits with them, engages them, and then invites them to come to San Diego.
Now, the FBI says all of that is just coincidence, that it just happened that out of the over 100 Middle Eastern restaurants in Los Angeles, they both ended up, on the same day, the same hour, in the same section of the restaurant. I find that to be incredible. And these two men end up accepting the offer, come to San Diego. And that's where they begin the process of preparing for 9/11.
JAY: We know now that the NSA's been listening to a lot of conversations for many years. I guess what's new with the Snowden revelations is how much they've been listening to Americans' conversations. But I think it's pretty well known the NSA's been listening to foreign conversations for a long time. And given that bin Laden was number one on the FBI's most wanted list, given that al-Qaeda had already attacked the embassy and the USS Cole, I mean, you've got to assume the NSA was doing everything they could to listen to anything to do with bin Laden, which would include the Saudis. Did you have any access to NSA? And did you try to get access to NSA logs or regulations for someone to come tell you what they might have heard?
GRAHAM: Yes. What we found out was that immediately after the two bombings in Africa, there was a person who'd been involved that had survived who was interrogated, and he tipped off the CIA that there was a listening station in Yemen which was sort of the hub of communications for the al-Qaeda network. We immediately started listening to that station. That's how we found out that there was this meeting of terrorists in Kuala Lumpur. This is how we found out that al-Qaeda was going to attack a U.S. naval ship in the port of Aden. We learned a lot, in fact. We apparently did not learn about the big plot that became 9/11. Maybe bin Laden had a back channel form of communication and didn't use his main hub to discuss that particular case.
JAY: Did you ask to see records of conversations by Saudis that might have been involved in this?
GRAHAM: To my knowledge, no.
JAY: Would that not be something one would want to see?
GRAHAM: The answer is: I don't know what the evidence was that would have indicated there were conversations that were relevant to what our inquiry was trying to answer.
JAY: Well, if the Saudis were involved, they might be talking about it.
GRAHAM: Well, I don't think--at that point I don't know if there was an issue of whether prior to 9/11, in whatever communications had to take place in the planning and execution of the plot, whether there was a Saudi involvement in that communication network or not.
JAY: And also just to find out just how much was known about this prior to 9/11. I mean, the NSA--I mean, did you or would you have had access to whatever you asked for from the NSA? Did the NSA ever turn you down?
GRAHAM: No, the only agency to my knowledge that withheld information was the FBI.
JAY: So you didn't ask to see everything they had.
GRAHAM: We asked them to hold everything. And we had--our staff was organized around the major intelligence agencies. And we had a group that was the NSA group, made up of people who had had current or previous experience with NSA. So without being able to say precisely what they asked for, I feel comfortable that had they found something that would have been relevant to the question of the plot and who was involved and were there external forces, that we would have known about it.
JAY: You're not concerned this same culture of protecting the Saudis might have acted like a filter there as well. I mean, if the NSA did have anything that implicated the Saudis, if there was a culture had been created not to implicate the Saudis, then maybe they wouldn't have been so forthcoming.
GRAHAM: In a way, that question causes me to wish that we could turn the clock back to 2001 and 2002 and go into that issue. Assumedly, the NSA has maintained the records from that time period. And maybe even 12 years after the fact, there would still be the opportunity to find out what was known through intercepts about the plot.
JAY: So that leads me to something you've said several times, that you think this should all be reopened, there needs to be another inquiry. So, I mean, if there was another inquiry, what are a few of the most pressing questions or lines of inquiry that should be followed?
GRAHAM: I think the basic questions are: was there one or more entities that were assisting the 19 hijackers? Or were they in fact acting alone? Since most of the questions about support have focused on the Saudis--specifically, what do we know or can we learn about the extent of Saudi involvement? Was it limited to San Diego? Or was it more broadcast in terms of its impact? And then why would the Saudis have taken this action? We discussed earlier some of the possible reasons. And then finally, why did the United States go to such lengths to disguise, to conceal the Saudi involvement or the involvement of any other outside force to assist the 19 hijackers? What was the U.S. interest in withholding this from the American people?
JAY: And if one takes the logic of what you're saying, I think then one would think that someone at the level of Prince Bandar might well have known about this. It's going on in the United States. It's on his watch. He's the ambassador here. Do you have any evidence that links Bandar to all of this?
GRAHAM: Some of that evidence I can't talk about.
JAY: This is in the redacted pages.
GRAHAM: But the fact that he had and exercised as aggressively as he did his special entrée at the White House raises questions about why was he using that special entrée, for instance, to get people who were persons of interest to U.S. intelligence and law enforcement out of the country before they could be interviewed.
JAY: So I'm going to say something which I think all you can do is say, I can't comment on, but I'm going to say it. If you're right--and I'm going to take what you said even a little further, which--if you are right that Bandar knew this was going on, then he's sitting meeting with his friend President Bush regularly in the days leading up to 9/11 and either not saying anything or somehow does. I mean, I know you know there's a lot of theory--and, I think, a lot of evidence that would at least require an inquiry--that there's a deliberate attempt not to know. It's not just lack of--just incompetency and--. I mean, to believe that it's just incompetency, then you have to think it's like the Keystone Cops of intelligence agencies: they're just tripping all over each other. But that seems hard to believe.
GRAHAM: Well, and also the fact that it was so pervasive that virtually all of the agencies of the federal government were moving in the same direction, from a customs agent at an airport in Orlando who was chastised when he denied entry into the United States to a Saudi, to the president of the United States authorizing large numbers of Saudis to leave the country, possibly denying us forever important insights and information on what happened. You don't have everybody moving in the same direction without there being a head coach somewhere who was giving them instructions as to where he wants them to move.
JAY: So that includes before and after the events.
GRAHAM: Primarily before the event. After the event, it shifts from being an action that supports the activities of the Saudis to actions that cover up the results of that permission given to the Saudis to act.
JAY: So I'll put you a little bit on the spot here. Would it be--in this new commission that we hope comes, would it be a legitimate line of inquiry into whether President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney knew something might be coming and didn't do anything about it, in fact may have actually taken action in the sense of creating a culture of not wanting to know?
GRAHAM: Well, without by giving this answer inferring that I believe that they did in fact have reason to believe that this attack was about to occur and made a conscious decision to suppress that information, if there were any evidence--and to my knowledge there is none--of course that would be a line of inquiry that would be central to answering the question of what was the Saudis' role and why did the United States cover it up.
JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Senator Graham.
GRAHAM: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about some issues that, although it's been more than a decade ago when this horrific event occurred, I think have real consequences to U.S. actions today.
JAY: There is so much detail to all of this, and particularly a lot of detail in Senator Graham's book. So I urge you to get the book. It's Intelligence Matters. And you'll see a lot of the things we couldn't explore in this interview in the book.
Thanks very much for joining us on Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network.
'Dead Last' In Education
The Truthseeker: America 'Dead Last' In Education (E29)
Published on Dec 1, 2013
Extensive skills study from the OECD finds young Americans are 'dead last', leaked lesson plans from corporate-controlled schools, expulsion and arrest offences under child 'zero tolerance' policies, teen mental patient screening questions, and hundreds of thousands of US college students being forced into prostitution.
Seek truth from facts with The Untold History of the United States co-author Prof. Peter Kuznick, Associate Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Josh Golin, studentdebtcrisis.org co-founder Robert Applebaum, Storyleak editor Anthony Gucciardi, and filmmaker Michael Moore
: 'Drone bases in Africa'
: US secret drone bases
: United state
Hagel: US Will Keep Intervening in Global Affairs
Hagel Vows US Will Continue to Intervene in Global AffairsSays US Military Will Remain Active Across Middle Eastby Jason Ditz, December 05, 2013 A recent Pew Poll
showing record opposition to foreign military intervention among
Americans won’t amount to any actual policy changes, according to
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.In comments seen as a direct challenge to public sentiment that
the US should “mind its own business internationally,” Hagel insisted
that the US will continue its military involvement globally, and has a
“commitment” to overseas entanglements.
“Last week we entered our thirteenth year of combat in Afghanistan,”
Hagel noted, adding that the US has continued to have a “steady state of
presence in the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere.”
Hagel’s comments were made as he heads for Bahrain and the United
Arab Emirates, and focused on promises of US military support for those
nations with respect to “shared security challenges in the region,
including Iran and Syria.”
The mention of Iran suggests that Hagel will attempt to placate those
nations, part of Saudi Arabia’s sphere of influence, about the P5+1
deal with Iran, which would seem to eliminate any chance of a US attack
on Iran, but which the Pentagon insists isn’t going to change its military deployments in the Persian Gulf, which for decades have centered on the idea of the US attacking Iran at some point.
Between public opposition, budget shortfalls and a sudden outbreak of
diplomatic rapprochement, there are plenty of good reasons for the
United States to move away from a policy of interventionist adventures,
but Hagel’s comments show that the status quo retains considerable
allure for the administration, and will not be abandoned easily.
Today's News Headlines by RT(Dec 6,2013)
Today's News Headlines by RT(Dec 6,2013)Ukraine’s Tymoshenko ends hunger strike
Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has ended a hunger
strike after 12 days, her daughter Yevgenia said Friday. “At the request of the Square, she has ended the hunger strike,” Interfax quoted her as saying, referring to the EuroMaidan protest camp on Kiev's Independence Square.
Yanukovych, Putin meet in Sochi
President Vladimir Putin met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor
Yanukovych, in Sochi on Friday, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov
said. The president of Ukraine made a stopover in Sochi on his way home
from China, Interfax quoted Peskov as saying. “They discussed
current aspects of Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relations and issues
related to preparations for a Russian-Ukrainian interstate commission
session in Moscow,” Peskov said.
Car bomb explodes outside Somali PM’s office
A car bomb exploded Friday, killing the car’s driver, outside the
office of Somalia's prime minister in the country’s capital, Mogadishu,
AFP reported. Lawmaker Abdullahi Musa said a fellow MP was killed in the
car blast. An explosive device had been apparently attached to the car,
which exploded outside the heavily fortified walls of the government
offices. No group has immediately taken responsibility for the attack.
Hundreds detained in Serbia anti-drug sweep
Serbian police have detained hundreds of people in a massive sweep
against drug traffickers throughout the Balkan country. Police on Friday
searched more than 900 locations and seized drugs, weapons and
ammunition, AP quoted senior official Milorad Veljovic as saying. Soccer
hooligans and extremists are among those arrested, and at least 250
people will face criminal charges.
Kerry says Israel, Palestinians ‘closest to peace in years’
Israel and the Palestinians are closer to a peace deal than they have
been in years, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday. “I
believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the
peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this
region deserve,” AFP quoted Kerry as saying in Tel Aviv. He made
the remarks after a day and a half of talks with Israeli and Palestinian
officials aimed at driving forward the direct negotiations which began
in late July. The talks have made little apparent progress as they
approach the halfway point.
Egyptian police disperse Morsi supporters, opponents after clashes
Egyptian police used tear gas on Friday to end clashes in Cairo between
supporters and opponents of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi,
MENA news agency said. The ousted leader’s supporters have been staging
street protests since he was deposed on July 3.
Ukraine's Yanukovich to meet Putin in Russia – report
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on his way back home from a
four-day official visit to China will hold talks with President Vladimir
Putin in Russia, Ukraine's UNIAN news agency reported on Friday.
Negotiations will be held in Sochi, a source was quoted as saying.
Neither aides to Yanukovich nor the Kremlin immediately confirmed the
7 employees killed in Philippines store fire
Seven store employees were killed in the southern Philippines when a
paint shop burned down while they were sleeping inside, police said
Friday. The three men and four women died when the Palomares Paint Store
in the rural town of Manay on Mindanao Island caught fire late
Thursday, AFP quoted Senior Superintendent Jose Carumba as saying.
Police are eyeing faulty wiring as the cause of the fire.
Chinese film director faces $164mn lawsuit over violation of one-child policy
Chinese film director Zhang Yimou is facing a $164 million lawsuit
after violating the country's one-child policy, a lawyer said Friday.
The lawsuit was sent to the Intermediate People's Court in Wuxi on
Thursday, the hometown of Zhang's wife, a lawyer behind the action told
AFP. A total of one billion yuan ($164 million) is being demanded from
the director of "Red Sorghum" and "Raise the Red Lantern," half in
compensation for public resources, and half in punitive damages. Jia
Fangyi, the other lawyer, said the actions of wealthy people such as
Zhang were “unfair to the poor and those who strictly follow the
national policy.” One of China's best-known filmmakers and the director
of the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics,
Zhang is rumored that he had fathered as many as seven children with
several different women.
Al-Qaeda claims Yemeni capital attack that killed 52
Al-Qaeda's local branch in Yemen has claimed an attack in Yemen's
capital, in which 52 people were killed Thursday. Gunmen stormed the
Defense Ministry after a suicide car bombing. At least 167 people were
wounded, nine seriously, in the bombing and firefight, AP reported.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's media arm, al-Mallahem, claimed the
attack early Friday morning on its Twitter account. It said the Defense
Ministry building was attacked because it “accommodates drone control
rooms and American experts.”
Russian FM to visit Iran on December 10-11
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Iran on December 10-11, the
Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday. The visit’s agenda includes
bilateral relations, regional problems and steps to resolve issues
related to Tehran's nuclear program after a deal was recently reached in
Geneva, Interfax reported. At the talks on November 24, Tehran agreed
not to enrich uranium beyond 5 percent pending the final round of
negotiations with six world powers.
Wisconsin officials confirm ‘cannibal sandwiches’ tied to E. coli bacteria
Traditional Wisconsin ‘cannibal sandwiches’, featuring raw, lean ground
beef served on cocktail bread, are not safe, health officials have
warned. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed four
cases tied to E. coli bacteria and 13 likely cases in people who ate the
sandwiches at several gatherings late last year. The meat came from a
Watertown market that later recalled more than 2,500 pounds of meat, AP
reported. The dish has become less common in recent years with greater
awareness of the risks of uncooked meat.
Mexico says it will take days to safely contain recovered cobalt
The head of Mexico’s National Commission of Nuclear Safety and
Safeguards, Juan Eibenschutz, has said it could take at least two days
to safely get a stolen shipment of highly radioactive cobalt-60 into a
secure container and transport it to a waste site. The “extremely
dangerous” material was abandoned in a rural field in central Mexico
State and was found removed from its protective container. The pellets
did not appear to have been damaged or broken up and there was no sign
of contamination to the area, Mexican nuclear safety officials said.
A bunch of sexy, badass patriots
A bunch of sexy, badass patriotsCivilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror, by Erik Prince.Reviewed by Pepe EscobarIt's the late 1990s' Clinton boom-boom years. You are a young millionaire US patriot with a Navy SEAL background. What are you gonna do? You invest in a badass private army start-up and you go fight "terra, terra, terra" across Dar al Islam. A single owner; no pesky stockholders; no board of directors; no government bureaucracy. You can be "nimble and aggressive". You become - literally - the Prince of War. What's not to like?This is Erik Prince's My Way, told with some measure of "contract humor" and the obligatory pious references to a "life's mission" to"serve God, family and the United States"; this is the inside story of how Blackwater turned into "something resembling its own branch of the military" and "the ultimate tool in the war on terror". In the manner of Audi extolling the merits of Vorsprung Durch Technik, Prince hails it as a "proud tale of performance excellence and driven entrepreneurialism".No question; God may be great, but he would certainly eschew a perpetual photo-op at the roof of the Sistine Chapel to be able to toy with such an awesome PMC (private military contractor). Prince, by the way, is ballsy enough to - correctly - depict Cristobal Colon, aka Columbus, in 1492 as a pioneering PMC.Inevitably, this also had to be the story of how Blackwater "was slagged as the face of military evil", "gun-toting bullets for hire". So forget about Jeremy Scahill's 2007 book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army indicting Prince's creation; whatever end of the ideological spectrum - from an heir of Plato to an heir of Aristoteles and every political theorist in between - the real fun for the reader starts when Prince meticulously destroys US "politicians" who "feign indignation and pretend my men hadn't done exactly what they had paid us handsomely to do".And handsomely that was. To star as a brand new branch of the military/security complex earned Blackwater a cool US$2 billion, providing weaponized thrills to the Pentagon, the State Department and - in the shadows - the CIA. Not bad for an initial investment of $6 million - Prince family money - on what was initially concocted "as a cross between a shooting range and a country club for special forces personnel" in back-of-beyond Moyock in North Carolina, on the eastern edge of the Great Dismal Swamp.PMCs such as those employed by Blackwater - numbering a staggering 200,000 - would end up representing 54% of the Pentagon's "workforce" in Afghanistan and Iraq, not including the 3,000 working for the State Department.Now for the bad news in what's billed as an inside story. Forget about finding anything about Blackwater in bed with the CIA. The agency redacted everything to unreadable status. What's left is a lame postscript by a neo-con.So nothing, for instance, about Blackwater Jason Bournes, uber-fixers past and present, and their adventures as part of an elite unit disguised under the bland acronym GRS (Global Response Staff). A clear case of (unwritten) shadow war. Just your average "surrogate army".In Afghanistan, immediately after 9/11, Blackwater's great coup was to befriend notorious Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum. The contact was Charlie Santos, a US rep for Saudi-based Delta Oil.In the late 1990s, Santos was playing - what else - Pipelineistan, as in trying to convince the Taliban to accept the terms attached to the TAPI gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and (maybe) India. We all know how that ended. But because the Taliban later put out a fatwa of sorts on Santos, he conquered Dostum's trust.As the CIA typically had no decent ground intel and could not trust the Pakistani ISI (Inter Services Intelligence, Blackwater stepped in, "delivering" to the CIA not only Dostum but the flamboyant King of Herat, warlord Ishmail Khan.Prince had me howling with laughter when he stresses that Blackwater maintained "the highest ethics while dealing with these contacts"; I pictured a Bunuel-esque Discreet Charm of the Afghan Bourgeoisie shot by Scorsese. Or Tarantino. Still one favor led to another, and by 2002 an incorporated offshoot, Blackwater Security Consulting, was tasked to provide security for the CIA headquarters in Kabul.Then came "Operation Iraq Freedom". Blackwater's contribution to the birth pangs of a "free Iraq" was to protect the repellent Paul Bremer, he of the ridiculous navy blazer-and-combat boots outfit, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).Prince does not explain the trickery for Blackwater to bag a $21.3 million, no-bid contract to become Bremer's detail; just a "someone in the Army's contracting department recommended Blackwater".I vividly remember Bremer's caravan in action in the streets of Baghdad in the fall of 2003; to say that average Iraqis were terrified is a huge understatement. Yet Prince alerts: these were no war profiteers; just your average, innocent "private company providing armed guards to a war zone".It would take a Fort Meade roomful of computers to check/correct/edit Prince's own version of, for instance, the "rebuilding" of Fallujah in April 2004 - dubbed Operation Vigilant Resolve - after the murder of four Blackwater contractors; or the 2004 Blackwater versus the Mahdi Army four-hour battle in Najaf ("no credit for or mention of Blackwater").Still, the real meat is in the saga of Blackwater creating a "high-visibility deterrent" protecting the State Department; as in "If our motorcades didn't run, the State Department didn't run".Prince is at pains to insist, "we drove aggressively, sometimes offensively". Once again, sorry; with "an armored motorcade that trailed only the US Army and Marines", the average Baghdadi could not but see a bunch of lethal maniacs. Iraqis - Sunni and Shi'ite alike - invariably described Blackwater's shootings to me as "acts of terrorism".Who were these noble patriots/mercenaries? Prince answers: "Mainly former noncommissioned military officers and former members of the special operations services and elite light infantry ... Roughly two-thirds were former US Army; about one-quarter were Marines, and the rest former Navy SEALs, police SWAT team officers, and former federal agents from the FBI, Secret Service and other agencies."All of them of course "proudly patriotic", and cashing in as much as $650 for each 12-hour a day shift in the "hot zone".Talk about a super-deal for the Bush administration; Prince quotes reports certifying Blackwater as "a more cost-effective security option in Baghdad" than the Pentagon.Blackwater reached the apex by 2007: nearly 2,500 contractors deployed in almost a dozen countries, with a database of 50,000 former special forces, soldiers and retired law enforcement types. Then came The Fall.Prince is most effective - and unforgiving - while depicting the sunset George W Bush years: "By late 2007 the company I'd built from scratch was being ground down by the plate tectonics of political battles in Washington." The State Department was "legitimately terrified of the operational secrets I could divulge - specifically, the fact that everything Blackwater's men did in Iraq was by State's direct command."And politicians - what else is new - didn't have a clue: "We were, after all, part of what then CENTCOM head Admiral William Fallon once gruffly referred to as the government's 'surrogate army'."By 2009, "Blackwater was publicly dragged through the mud." And this while the State Department was also dirty as hell.Yet by late 2009, after four years of Blackwater's "myriad duties", the "surrogate army" had earned over $1 billion from Foggy Bottom. Mud never tasted so good. PR nightmare or not, the company was finally renamed "Xe Services", which, according to Prince, "means ... nothing. Which was exactly the point."The early Obama years were bitter. Prince blames Hillary Clinton's State Department for "theatrically exploding its relationship with Blackwater" in 2009 - and on top of it handing the ultra-lucrative gig to another contractor, Triple Canopy.It was time to bow out; Prince sold Blackwater in 2010; it's now a softy outfit known as Academi - still protecting diplomats and providing "training". PMC competitors DynCorp and Triple Canopy, though, are still thriving, not to mention the Brits with Aegis and Blue Mountain.Make no mistake - with or without Blackwater, "surrogate armies" are the future. The United Nations will eventually use them; peacekeeping forces - I've seen a few - are usually staffed by frankly incompetent soldiers from very low-income countries. Prince does not seem to want to corner this market, even though, in the mid-2000s, Blackwater pitched exactly the same thing to the State Department: a "relief with teeth" humanitarian team, as in a privately trained 1,700-strong "peacekeeping package", complete with its own air force, helicopters, cargo ships, aerial surveillance, medical supply chain and combat group.Prince now lives in Abu Dhabi and sees Africa as the new Holy Grail (AFRICOM would concur), investing in logistics/security services to the booming oil and gas industry. He has delocalized and diversified - just like the Pentagon; one may bet that at least half of the Pentagon's humongous budget will remain outsourced for the foreseeable future.And the revolving door is not going away - with so many aspiring Princes of War leaving the sprawling Pentagon-centric system to launch their own start-ups and sell stuff to their former buddies on the inside, not to mention ensuring that the militarized assembly line keeps churning "unsung heroes". So many wars on myriad global terrors to prosecute, so precious few surrogate armies.Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror, by Erik Prince. Portfolio Hardcover (November 18, 2013). ISBN-13: 978-1591847212. Price US$15.33 (Kindle $13.99); 416 pages.Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
Rising of Homelessness in London
London, south-east house prices up homelessnessBy presstvOfficial figures show rising house prices in London and the south-east has have sparked a sharp jump in the number of homeless people.Councils in England have confirmed that over 57,000 homeless families were placed in temporary accommodation in September 2013, a figure eight percent higher than during the same period in 2012, the British daily The Guardian reported on Thursday.More than two-thirds of these homeless families had children or pregnant women.The figures also revealed homelessness increased by 13 percent in London between July 1 and September 30 this year, compared to the same quarter of 2012.The data show that there are now 2,100 homeless families living in bed and breakfasts, the highest number for a decade."With a third of all new cases of homelessness coming from London, this shows the dark side of the capital's housing boom. Soaring prices and increased demand combined with cuts to housing benefit are pushing people into homelessness,” said Leslie Morphy, chief executive officer of Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people."They are falling out of the private rented sector at an accelerating rate and, if they are lucky, joining the growing numbers in temporary accommodation, whilst growing numbers of others deemed 'not a priority' are left to fend for themselves,” Morphy added. "We need the government to address the chronic lack of affordable housing, to take real steps to improve the private rented sector and to urgently consider the impact its housing benefit cuts are having, particularly in the capital," she noted.In a recent letter to the British Medical Journal, a group of public health experts warned that hunger in Britain has reached the level of a “public health emergency” and the government may be covering up the extent to which austerity and welfare cuts are adding to the problem."This (food poverty) has all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognized until it is too late to take preventive action," the health experts said in the letter.
Internet’s new biggest threat? Spying States democracy.
Internet’s new biggest threat? How web traffic can be secretly redirectedBy RTInternet experts say huge chunks of sensitive web traffic have been
routinely hijacked by hackers and diverted to foreign computers,
compromising the data of victims in at least 150 cities worldwide.
Researchers at New Hampshire-based global internet intelligence
company Renesys say that they’ve witnessed a complex type of
Man-in-the-Middle attack occur on computer networks no fewer than
60 days this year already, the likes of which they say should
never have happened.
In incidents described in a report
released by Renesys last month, the firm claims that web data
from major financial institutions, government agencies and
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) alike were all compromised when
unidentified hackers exposed a rarely-discussed vulnerability in
order to almost silently divert that information away from its
intended destinations, and instead route it abroad to be
collected, read and then re-sent to the rightful recipient.
The method of attack exploits a vulnerability in the Border
Gateway Protocol, or BGP, and takes advantage of the fact that
much of the information routed through the global system of
networks considered to be the backbone of the internet is
exchanged based off of little more than trust among
BGP is "essentially the glue that holds the disparate parts
of the Internet together," Jennifer Rexford, a computer
science professor at Princeton University, told the
Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson last month.
"Each domain (AT&T, Princeton and so on) will tell its
neighbors it connects to directly which destinations it can reach
and over what paths," Rexford said of BGP. "Those
neighbors will then choose amongst those set of paths that are
offered by their respective neighbors, add themselves to the
front of the path and tell their neighbors."
"By default your neighbor just believes you, and doesn't have
a really reliable way to tell if you are actually telling the
truth," Rexford added. Unfortunately for many, though,
hackers are alleged to have taken advantage of this vulnerability
and in turn exploited the trusting relationship between
"Like a lot of the technologies underlying the Internet, it
was designed without security in mind under this sort of implicit
assumption that all the guys on the network are good guys, and
all the bad guys -- if they exist at all -- are outside the
network," Rexford added. "People worried about the
network being vulnerable to physical attacks, but the idea of
cyberattacks wasn't really in people's thinking at the
Decades later, the internet has emerged to become a beast that
even the developers of the protocols it relies on wouldn’t have
expected. Renesys says hackers took advantage of this, and were
able to therefore hijack web data without relying on the
sophisticated means conjured up by officials at, say, the
National Security Agency.
While classified documents released this year suggest that the
NSA has physically tapped into fiber optic
cables carrying internet data and even developed methods of
attack to compromise the most complex of encryption algorithms,
the method identified by Renesys is a whole different sort of
sneaky. What these hackers have been doing, the company claims,
involves hijacking the route web traffic is intended to travel
and diverting it elsewhere for analysis before sending it back on
its right path.
“Why settle for simple denial of service, when you can
instead steal a victim’s traffic, take a few milliseconds to
inspect or modify it and then pass it along to the intended
recipient?” Renesys co-founder Jim Cowie wrote last month.
“This year, that potential has become reality.”
Image from renesys.com
According to Cowie and company, hackers have been using their
skills to take web data meant for certain servers and send it all
the way to Belarus in one example, and Ireland in another. The
victims, the company claims, were computer users in the United
States, South Korea, Germany, the Czech Republic, Lithuania,
Libya and Iran, who likely never knew that their internet
transmissions were secretly diverted to unintended recipients
during the normal transfer of bits and bytes.
In one example cited by Cowie, a computer that connects to the
internet in Mexico willingly transmits data to Washington, DC
that is carried over BPG by the networking firm PCCW.
“Mexican provider Alestra hands it to PCCW for transit in
Laredo, Texas,” Cowie wrote, and then “PCCW takes it to
the Washington, DC metro area, where they would normally hand it
to Qwest/Centurylink for delivery.”
Instead, he continued, PCCW gives that data to another fiber
cable owner, Level3, and that’s when hackers have their way with
“Level3 . . . is advertising a false Belarus route, having
heard it from Russia’s TransTelecom, who heard it from their
customer, Belarus Telecom,” he says. “Level3 carries the
traffic to London, where it delivers it to Transtelecom, who
takes it to Moscow and on to Belarus. Beltelecom has a chance to
examine the traffic, and then sends it back out on the ‘clean
path’ through Russian provider ReTN. ReTN delivers it to
Frankfurt and hands it to NTT, who takes it to New York. Finally,
NTT hands it off to Qwest/Centurylink in Washington DC, and the
traffic is delivered.”
“The recipient, perhaps sitting at home in a pleasant
Virginia suburb drinking his morning coffee, has no idea that
someone in Minsk has the ability to watch him surf the web,”
Renesys believes around 1,500 individual IP blocks from 150
cities around the world — including Chicago, Denver, Montreal and
New York — were compromised in what the firm claims was not an
accident, but indeed an attack.
“In practical terms, this means that Man-In-the-Middle BGP
route hijacking has now moved from a theoretical concern to
something that happens fairly regularly, and the potential for
traffic interception is very real,” Cowie wrote.
“Everyone on the internet — certainly the largest global
carriers, certainly any bank or credit card processing company or
government agency — should now be monitoring the global routing
of their advertised IP prefixes.”
“This kind of attack should not happen,” he
added. “You cannot carry out this kind of hijacking
without leaving permanent, visible footprints in global routing
that point right back to the point of interception. We believe
that people are still attempting this because they believe
(correctly, in most cases) that nobody is looking.”
Iconic anti-apartheid leader dies at 95
Iconic anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela dies at 95By RtSouth African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela has died aged 95
at his Johannesburg home, family and friends had gathered to pay their
last respects to the iconic figure that inspired millions around the
Mourners sing near Nelson Mandela’s home
South African president Jacob Zuma addressed the nation on live
television to make the announcement that Mandela, or Madiba as he
is known in the country, had died at the age of 95.
"Let us conduct ourselves with the dignity and respect that
Mandiba personified," said president Zuma, who ordered the
country's flags to fly at half-staff, and announced a full state
funeral for the anti-apartheid champion.
Mandela had been plagued by poor health in recent years. The
former president has been in critical condition since June,
suffering from a lung infection, in addition to severe stomach,
prostate and eye problems.
The first black president of South Africa spent almost three
months in a Pretoria hospital after being admitted in June and
has been receiving intensive care from doctors since September,
when he was discharged from hospital and returned home.
His grandson Ndaba recently told a local broadcaster that Mandela
was "not doing well at home in bed".
“Even though you can see he is struggling, the fighting
spirit is still there with him" Mandela's daughter Makaziwe
told South African Broadcasting television news.
Mandela: A remarkable life
For many, the name Nelson Mandela recalls the historic moment on
February 11, 1990, when Prisoner 46664 was released from a
27-year hard labor sentence. An experience that would have broken
the will of the strongest individuals, Mandela emerged from his
cramped cell with his infectious smile and steely determination
still intact, his dream of democratic rights for all South
Africans closer than ever.
Securing his release from prison, however, was just one chapter
of a life devoted to ending the racism that Mandela had acutely
felt while growing up in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
file photo taken on August 28, 2007 shows former South African
President Nelson Mandela waving to the media as he arrives outside 10
Downing Street in central London for a meeting with then British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown. (AFP Photo)
Born on July 18, 1918, into the Thembu royal family, Mandela
enjoyed rights not granted to most black Africans. He pursued a
law degree at the University of Fort Hare and the University of
Witwatersrand, where he was the only native African in the
Eventually, Mandela grew to deplore the rampant racism of his
homeland and joined the African National Congress (ANC) where he
worked to end the system of apartheid, otherwise known as
white-majority rule. Initially believing that government-mandated
racism could be eliminated by following the teachings of Mahatma
Gandhi, Mandela committed himself to the principle of peaceful
Mandela waves to supporters during an electoral meeting, 29 January
1994 in Johannesburg, as he is campaigning for presidential election.
South Africans will vote 27 April 1994 in the country's first democratic
and multiracial general elections. (AFP Photo)
With the anti-apartheid movement delivering no tangible results,
however, he came to the conclusion that fundamental change would
only come to South Africa through militant resistance. The
guerrilla tactics of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Che Guevara
soon replaced the non-violent approach advocated by Gandhi.
Mandela was one of the co-founders of the armed wing of the ANC,
known as the Umkhonto we Sizwe (‘Spear of the Nation’), which
carried out its first guerrilla attacks in December 1961 against
government facilities, an act that quickly saw the group branded
as a terrorist organization. In 1962, Mandela was charged with
four counts of sabotage and conspiring to overthrow the
government. He escaped the death sentence for treason, but was
sentenced to life imprisonment.
men, among them anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress
(ANC) member Nelson Mandela, sentenced to life imprisonment in the
Rivonia trial leave the Palace of Justice in Pretoria 16 June 1964 with
their fists raised in defiance through the barred windows of the prison
car. (AFP Photo)
Thus began a harsh prison sentence for Mandela, first on infamous
Robben Island and then Pollsmoor Prison, the brutal conditions of
which are described in Mandela’s authorized biography by Anthony
Isolated from the non-political prisoners in Section B,
Mandela was imprisoned in a damp concrete cell 8 feet by 7 feet,
with a straw mat to sleep on… Mandela and the other political
prisoners spent their days breaking rocks; initially forbidden
from wearing sunglasses, the glare from the lime permanently
damaged Mandela's eyesight .”
When Mandela won his release from prison in 1990 following
intense international lobbying, he continued his anti-apartheid
campaign without missing a beat. In April 1990, he was elected
deputy president of the ANC; two years later he was elected ANC
On April 27, 1994, South Africa held its first multiracial
elections. The ANC won 62 percent of the vote, and Nelson
Mandela, as party leader, was inaugurated on May 10, 1994, as the
country's first black leader.
National Congress (ANC) President Nelson Mandela greets young
supporters who wait for atop a billboard in a township outside Durban,
16 April 1994 prior to an election rally. (AFP Photo / Alexander Joe)
During Mandela's presidency, a sweeping number of social reforms
were enacted to mitigate the country’s brutal apartheid legacy.
Free healthcare was introduced for all children under the age of
6, while public spending on welfare and social grants increased
dramatically. Additionally, compulsory education was introduced
for African children between 6 and 14 years of age, while free
meals were provided for up to 5 million school children. Mandela
also initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to
investigate past human rights abuses.
In remembering the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his lifelong
battle against apartheid, it would seem fitting to briefly
mention Frederik Willem de Klerk, the seventh and last president
of apartheid-era South Africa.
De Klerk is widely recognized for his efforts to transform South
Africa into a multiracial democracy, providing equal rights to
all citizens regardless of color. Without de Klerk’s
contributions to ending white-majority rule, Mandela's epic
journey may have been marked with far greater violence.
Nelson Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize with de Klerk in 1993
for their role in bringing an end to apartheid.
National Congress President Nelson Mandela (L) salutes a South African
choir while the president of the Nobel committee Dr. Francis Sejersted
(C) and South African president Frederik De Klerk (R) applaud the
choir's performance, 10 December 1993 in Oslo, where both leaders
received the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize. (AFP Photo / Gerard Julien)
Already the oldest South African president at the age of 75 when
he entered office, Mandela declined to stand for a second term,
retiring in 1999.
In June 2004, at age 85, Mandela, affectionately known in South
Africa by his clan name, ‘Madiba,’ announced that he would be
retiring from public life.
Despite his retirement and advanced age, Mandela continued his
humanitarian work behind the scenes. He was a strong advocate in
the battle against AIDS, the disease that ravaged the population
of the African continent, which Mandela personally feared he had
not worked hard enough to eliminate.
In July 2004, at the age of 86, Mandela flew to Bangkok to speak
at the 15th International AIDS Conference.
Mandela received over 250 international awards throughout his
lifetime, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the
Soviet Order of Lenin and the Order of St. John, which was a
personal gift from Queen Elizabeth II. But perhaps the greatest
recognition bestowed on Nelson Mandela comes from the people of
South Africa, where he is recognized as the ‘Father of the
AFP Photo / Alexandr Joe
The 95 year-old had been hospitalized on June 8 for a recurring
lung infection, a condition some have speculated was exacerbated
by his contraction of tuberculosis in 1980 while still being held
in prison. While the ailing Mandela's condition deteriorated,
South Africans visited the Johannesburg home of the country's
spiritual leader. Many school children left painted stones
bearing prayers for his recovery outside the gates of his house.
NSA leaks: Sweden spied on Russian leaders for US
NSA leaks: Sweden spied on Russian leaders for USBy RTSwedish signals intelligence agency FRA spied on Russian leaders and
shared the data collected with the US, local media report citing Edward
Snowden leaks. Sweden’s ‘cable access’ made its position ‘unique’ in the
eyes of the NSA.
The NSA eyes the FRA as a ‘leading partner’ among the US agencies
foreign partners in the global data collection program,
reported Sweden’s Sveriges Television (SVT) citing documents
provided by the fugitive whistleblower through US journalist
"The FRA provided NSA … unique collection on high-priority
Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics,"
reads one NSA document from dated April 18, 2013.
Ahead of a meeting with officials from FRA, NSA bosses were
instructed to praise the Scandinavian partners, another said.
“Thank Sweden for its continued work on the Russian target,
and underscore the primary role that FRA plays as a leading
partner to work the Russian Target, including Russian leadership,
… and … counterintelligence," SVT cited it as saying.
“FRA’s cable access has resulted in unique SIGINT reporting
on all of these areas,” it continues, using an abbreviation
for signals intelligence.
The SVT report didn’t name any particular individuals and
organizations in Russia, which were the subjects of FRA interest.
It did not detail the exact methods, which the intelligence
agency used to collect information, although the mentioning of
cable may refer to internet traffic.
In 2011, the WikiLeaks website revealed
US diplomatic cables, which said that FRA was able to monitor
some 80 percent of Russia’s internet traffic, which passed
through Sweden, and that the country had adopted a new
wiretapping law to allow such actions due to Washington pressure.
Nils Hanson, chief editor of the swedish TV program ‘Mission:
Investigate’ which helped break the latest Snowden leaks, told RT
that while allegations of collaboration between the FRA and US
intelligence were nothing new, “now we can show documents
proving this relationship between Swedish authorities and the
Currently the FRA is authorized to monitor cable-bound
communications to track "external threats" against Sweden.
Permits are authorized by a secret court, the Defense
American Studies Association backs academic boycott of Zionist State
American Studies Association backs academic boycott of IsraelBy RTThe American Studies Association (ASA) leadership is pushing a plan
to boycott Israeli universities, saying that Palestinian students and
scholars currently face severe obstructions to their right to education
“due to the occupation.”
The resolution was passed unanimously by the association’s
20-member national council – composed of elected representatives
from the general ASA membership.
ASA president Curtis Marez said the “boycott is the best way
to protect and expand academic freedom and access to education.”
“The Resolution recognizes that, due to the Occupation,
Palestinian students and scholars currently face severe
obstructions to their right to education through ‘restrictions on
movement and travel that limit their ability to attend and work
at universities, travel to conferences and to study
abroad,’” the ASA said
in a statement published on its website.
Noting a United Nations report which outlined how the Israeli
“occupation of Palestine has impacted students ‘whose
development is deformed by pervasive deprivations affecting
health, education and overall security,’” the ASA opted to
“honor the call” for a boycott of Israeli universities
“as a means of showing solidarity with Palestinians.”
The council, however, said it would seek the endorsement of the
group’s 5,000 members via an electronic vote. If a majority does
not vote to endorse the boycott resolution by December 15, the
national council said it would withdraw the resolution and
consider alternative steps.
The boycott will not likely be binding on the association’s
individual members, and will therefore only affect the activities
of the ASA as an organization.
Chartered in 1951, the ASA boasts 2,200 library and other
institutional subscribers, along with its 5,000 members. The
group describes itself as being “devoted to the
interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.”
The association’s vote on Wednesday follows the April endorsement
of the academic boycott by the Association for Asian American
stone throwers hurl stones towards Israeli troops during clashes at an
Israeli checkpoint in the divided West Bank city of Hebron, near the
Jewish settlements of Beit Hadassa and Tal Romeda on September 24,
2013.(AFP Photo / Hazem Bader)
AAAS president Mary Yu Danico said earlier this year that the
association would "discourage partnerships with Israeli
academic institutions, whether they’re curriculum partnerships or
study abroad partnerships, because that would be becoming
complicit with the discriminatory practices of Israeli
“We would be encouraging faculty, staff and students to forge
alliances with the Palestinian faculty and Palestinian students
who now have so much difficulty engaging in conversations with
scholars from the rest of the world,”
Like the ASA, the AAAS will not prohibit collaboration with
individual Israeli academics, since the boycott only targets
The respective boycotts come after the American Association of
University Professors’ journal published an issue earlier this
year where almost all the articles were in favor of an academic
boycott of Israel.
Both resolutions arose in response to the call for the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign launched by Palestinian
civil society groups in 2005. The global campaign, which includes
academic boycotts against Israel, aims to use economic and
political pressure to force an end to Israeli occupation of
The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel,
meanwhile, was founded in early 2009 following Israel’s Operation
Cast Lead in Gaza. Since then, it has been endorsed by 963
faculty members across the US.
Israeli soldier scuffles with a Palestinian protester after clashes
erupted during a protest against Israel's plan of forced relocation for
Bedouin residents in the southern Negev, outside the Beit El settlement
near the West Bank city of Ramallah November 30, 2013.(Reuters / Mohamad
Wesleyan University’s J. Khaulani Kauanui, a member of the ASA
National Council, said that supporters of Israel overlooked the
connection between Israeli and US settler colonialism, which he
says “is not merely analogous, but is shaped from many of the
same material and symbolic force.”
“The American perception that Israel is ‘exceptional’ is
bolstered and bankrolled by US policy and military aid, while
also secured through the persistent myth of American
exceptionalism that denies the colonization of indigenous peoples
here,” news website Mondoweiss cites him as saying.
Geri Palast, managing director of the Israel Action Network,
which organizes pro-Israel activism on US campuses, told the
Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the run-up to the vote that the ASA
meeting was expected to be another victory for the BDS campaign.
Palast said the reason was partially because the American studies
field is dominated by left-leaning academics who tend toward
tough critiques of what they see as US-enabled imperialism.
“My concern about some of these smaller academic associations
is that they get amplified out of proportion,” Palast said.
David Lloyd, a professor of English at the University of
California, Riverside, said that despite claims to the contrary,
such boycotts were a means of ending a de facto censorship of
Israel on US universities.
Writing for Electronic Intifada, Lloyd said the ASA meeting
“was a clear indication that the time of fear and of the
blockade on debate may be over — and that there is a new climate
in which critical discussion of Israel’s policies towards
Palestine will no longer be taboo.”
World Renowned Peace Activist Collaborated with Stratfor and CIA
World Renowned Peace Activist Collaborated with Stratfor and CIABy Steve Horn and Carl GibsonSerbia’s Srdja Popovic is known by many as a leading architect of regime changes in
Eastern Europe and elsewhere since the late-1990s, and as one of the
co-founders of Otpor!, the U.S.-funded Serbian activist group which
overthrew Slobodan Milošević in 2000.
Lesser known, an exclusive Occupy.com investigation reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre
for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained
close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence
firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.
These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The
emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin,
Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical
events and activists for clients ranging
from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow
Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.
Referred to in emails under the moniker “SR501,” Popovic
was first approached by Stratfor in 2007 to give a lecture in the
firm’s office about events transpiring in Eastern Europe, according to a
Stratfor source who asked to remain confidential for this story.
In one of the emails, Popovic forwarded information about activists harmed or killed by the U.S.-armed Bahraini government, obtained
from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights during the regime’s crackdown
on pro-democracy activists in fall 2011. Popovic also penned a blueprint for Stratfor on how to unseat the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in September 2010.
Stratfor’s Global Activist Connector
Using his celebrated activist status, Popovic opened many doors for
Stratfor to meet with activists globally. In turn, the information
Stratfor intended to gain from Popovic’s contacts would serve as
“actionable intelligence”—the firm billed itself as a “Shadow CIA”—for its corporate clients.
Popovic passed information to Stratfor about on-the-ground activist events in countries around the world, ranging from the Philippines, Libya, Tunisia, Vietnam, Iran, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Tibet, Zimbabwe, Poland and Belarus, Georgia, Bahrain, Venezuela and Malaysia.
Often, the emails reveal, Popovic passed on the information to Stratfor
without the consent of the activists and likely without the activists
ever knowing that their emails were being shuttled to the private
In the U.S., this investigation’s co-author, Carl Gibson
(representing US Uncut), and the Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum had a meeting
with Popovic shortly after their two respective groups used a media hoax to play a prank on General Electric, ridiculing the company over itsnon-payment of U.S. taxes.
The pair gave Popovic information about both groups’ plans for the coming year and news later came out that Stratfor closely monitored the Yes Men’s activities. (The blow photograph taken by Bichlbaum in April 2011 shows Popovic (L) and US Uncut’s Carl Gibson.)
During the Arab Spring, in Egypt in January 2011, Popovic received an interview invitation for an appearance on CNN. The first people he turned to for talking points were Stratfor employees, who provided him with five talking points to lead with.
Stratfor said Popovic’s main use for the firm was his vast array of grassroots activist contacts around the world.
“A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his
ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is
in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be
limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them
do their own thing,” reads a May 2010 email written
by former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. “He does himself have
information that may be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to
gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then
Popovic was so well-received by Stratfor that he even got his wife, Marijah, a job there. She worked for a year from March 2010 through March 2011 as the weekend open source intelligence analyst at Stratfor. The other candidate for the job, Jelena Tancic, also worked for CANVAS.
“The Canvas guy [Popovic] is a friend/source [for Stratfor], and recommended her to us,” Stratfor’s Vice President of Analysis Scott Stewart said in a March 2010 email, leaving out that the two were dating at the time.
Popovic and his wife grew so close to Stratfor, in fact, that Popovic invited numerous members of the Stratfor staff to their wedding in Belgrade, Serbia.
Helping Stratfor Manufacture Revolutions
Stratfor saw Popovic’s main value not only as a source for
intelligence on global revolutionary and activist movements, but also as
someone who, if needed, could help overthrow leaders of countries
hostile to U.S. geopolitical and financial interests. So useful was
Popovic to Stratfor that the firm gave him a free subscription, dubbed “legit sources we use all the time as a company” by Papic.
In a June 2011 email,
Papic referred to Popovic as a “great friend” of his and described him
as a “Serb activist who travels the world fomenting revolution.”
“They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ) ,” Papic says in one email.
Replying to a follow up to that email, he states, “They just go and set
up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used
properly, more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”
In response to the “aircraft battle group” email, Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton sardonically said that perhaps they could be sent into Iran. Emails also reveal Popovic served as an information source intermediary for on-the-ground activists in Iran, also informing Stratfor of the funding struggle for “democracy programs” there, as the U.S. government pushed a “soft power” agenda.
Another March 2010 email from Stewart to Burton said that CANVAS was “trying to get rid of Chavez,” referring to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In 2007, CANVAS trained activists to overthrow Chavez.
“If I remember correctly, we use hushmail communication to contact
him regarding Venezuela due to the sensitivity of using a revolutionary
NGO as a source considering we have clients who operate in country,” Papic said in a January 2011 email of Popovic.
Stratfor grew so enamored of CANVAS’s ability to foment regime change abroad that it invited Popovic to its Austin headquarters in 2010 to give seminars on the subject, and paid for his trip there.
CANVAS’s Goldman Sachs Cash
One of CANVAS’s major funders is Muneer Satter, a former Goldman Sachs executive who stepped down from that position in June 2012and now owns Satter Investment Management LLC. Stratfor CEO Shea Morenz worked
for ten years at Goldman Sachs as well, where he served as Managing
Director in the Investment Management Division and Region Head for
Private Wealth Management for the Southwest Region.
Satter is meanwhile a major funder of the Republican Party, giving over $300,000 to Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS before the 2012 election, and another $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in the first half of 2013 prior to the 2014 mid-term elections.
Living in a massive, $9.5 million mansion in Chicago’s North Shore suburb of Lake Michigan, Muneer also gave $50,000 toward President Obama’s inaugural fund in 2009.
When it came time to connect Muneer with the global intelligence firm, Popovic served as the middle man introducing Satter to Stratfor Chairman George Friedman.
“Whenever I want to understand the details behind world events, I turn to Stratfor,” reads an endorsement from Satter on Stratfor’s website. “They have the most detailed and insightful analysis of world affairs and are miles ahead of mainstream media.”
Otpor!: A Counter-History
To understand how Popovic came to aide Stratfor in its
intelligence-gathering efforts, it’s crucial to examine Otpor! and
CANVAS critically. A close examination demonstrates that Popovic was a
natural choice to be a Stratfor informant and close advisor.
Often valorized by grassroots activists and Western media,
there was far more to the “Bulldozer Revolution” that led to the
overthrow of Milošević and subsequent Eastern European regimes than
meets the eye.
“In principle, [Serbia] was an overt operation, funded by
congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and
$31 million for 2000. Some Americans involved in the anti-Milosevic
effort said they were aware of CIA activity at the fringes of the
campaign, but had trouble finding out what the agency was up to,”
explained a 2000 investigative piece appearing in The Washington Post.
“The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency
for International Development, the government’s foreign assistance
agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and
nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the
International Republican Institute (IRI).”
Papic’s statement about CANVAS being “more powerful than an aircraft
carrier” wasn’t mere hyperbole, but was based on the Otpor! Serbia
experience in the late-1990s.
“In fact between 1997 and 2000 the National Endowment for Democracy
and US government may have accomplished what NATO’s 37,000 bombing
sorties had been unable to do: oust Milosevic, replace him with their
favoured candidate Vojislav Kostunica and promote a neoliberal vision
for Serbia,” independent scholar Michael Barker wrote for Z Magazine.
“In much the same way as corporate front groups and astroturf groups
recruit genuinely committed supporters, strategically useful social
movements can potentially dominate civil society when provided with the
right resources (massive financial and professional backing).”
Otpor! was so successful that it was ushered into Ukraine to help manufacture regime change there in 2004, using the template applied originally in Serbia with $65 million in cash from the U.S. government.
“We trained them in how to set up an organization, how to open local
chapters, how to create a ‘brand,’ how to create a logo, symbols, and
key messages,” an Otpor! activist told U.S.-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty.
“We trained them in how to identify the key weaknesses in society and
what people’s most pressing problems were—what might be a motivating
factor for people, and above all young people, to go to the ballot box
and in this way shape their own destiny.”
The overthrow of Milošević was accompanied by U.S.-funding for the
creation of a robust media apparatus in Serbia, and Popovic’s wife
worked at one of the U.S.-funded radio and TV outlets as a journalist
and anchor B92 from 2004-2009.
“By helping Radio B92 and linking it with a network of radio stations
(ANEM), international assistance undermined the regime’s direct and
indirect control over news and information,” a January 2004 policy paper released by USAID explained. “In Serbia, independent media supported by USAID and other international donors facilitated the regime change.”
Critics point out that what happened in Eastern Europe was regime change, not revolution in any real sense of the term.
“[They] were not revolutions at all; actually, they were little more
than intra-elite power transfers,’” Portland State University Professor
of Urban Studies and Planning, Gerald Sussman, explained in his book, “Branded Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.”
“Modern tactics of electioneering were employed to cast regime change
as populist, which took advantage of the unstable and vulnerable
situations in those regions following the breakup of the Soviet Union,”
Given Otpor!’s ties to powerful factions in the U.S. government, perhaps it’s unsurprising that Popovic felt comfortable giving a lecture to the Air Force Academy in May 2010, and attending a National Security Council meeting in December 2009.
A powerful individual who lobbied the U.S. government to give money to CANVAS early on was Michael McFaul, the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia for the State Department and someone who “worked closely with” Popovic while serving as a Senior Fellow at theright-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Critics Chime In, Popovic Responds
Maryam Alkhawaja, director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights,
said she had known Popovic for several years as an activist and had no
knowledge of his outside relationships before the Wikileaks release of
“Srdja is someone I’ve met more than once. He was very supportive of
the Bahrain revolution, supportive of the human rights fight,” Alkhawaja
said in a phone interview. “When he gave me their information, that’s
what surprised me the most.”
Alkhawaja said that at the time she wasn’t aware of what kind of firm
Stratfor was, but she became immediately suspicious after reading
Stratfor’s questions to her. She never corresponded with Stratfor due to
what she felt was the suspicious nature of the emails coming from the
“It was a series of really weird intelligence agency-like
questions, given that they knew I was working in a human rights group.
They were asking questions like, who’s funding the party coalition, how
many members do they have, questions that even I didn’t know the answers
to,” she said. “The fact that they asked questions like that, made me
question the motive behind the email I received. Thats why I never responded.”
“Whenever we get emails like that or were contacted by people who
seemed very interested in asking intelligence agency-like questions, we
usually block them, because we know they probably work for the
government,” Alkhawaja continued. “Journalists know the kind of work we
do so they wouldn’t ask those questions in the first place. I just found
the email very weird and thats why I actually never responded.”
In a Skype interview, one of Otpor!’s co-founders, who left the
movement and asked to maintain his confidentiality, said his primary
concern from the Wikileaks emails was that Popovic was giving out
activists’ information to a third party without their prior consent.
An interview with Popovic sang a different tune about CANVAS. He
stated, “We definitely wouldn’t jeopardize any of our activists’ safety,
so we always follow their lead and never expose them to anybody without
Popovic also said CANVAS would speak to anyone and everyone—without any discrimination—about nonviolent direct action.
“CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and
nonviolent struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War
era and think that tanks and planes and nukes shape the world, not the
common people leading popular movements,” he said.
“If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in
Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle
that they should embrace and respect – not foreign military
intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that.”
Yet, given Popovic’s track-record—and specifically, who buttered his
bread during the long professional career he pursued in activism—critics
say Popovic fit like a glove at Stratfor.
“A group of Serbs cannot lead a protest movement anywhere
outside Serbia, but his techniques are nonetheless instrumental in
helping achieve certain political aims,” Professor Sussman said in an
interview. “He also serves as an intelligence gatherer in the process—of
use to private and state intelligence agencies. That’s what Stratfor
saw as his use.”
Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based freelance investigative journalist and Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog, where this piece first appeared.
Carl Gibson is co-founder of US Uncu, and is a contributing editor for ReaderSupportedNews.org and lead investigative reporter for Occupy.com. Follow him on twitter at @uncutCG
Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Turkey are Bona Fide Nuclear States
Europe “Denuclearized”: Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Turkey are Bona Fide Nuclear StatesBy Manlio Dinucci
The media spotlight is shining on Geneva, where talks are
underway for the denuclearization of Iran, which does not have nuclear
weapons and adheres to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel
however remains in the shadows, albeit with hundreds of nuclear weapons
pointed at Iran and other countries, and not adhering to the Nuclear
Even more in the shadows is the fact that the United States, while
they are engaged in the Geneva process of denuclearization Iran, is
nuclearising Europe, potentiating the weapons stored in Germany, Italy ,
Belgium, Holland and Turkey. There are about 200 B-61 bombs in addition
to more than 500 French and British nuclear launch ready warheads.
According to a conservative estimate, in Italy there are from 70 to 90,
stored at Aviano (Friuli ) and Ghedi Torre. But there could be still
more in other sites. It is not known how many more nuclear weapons are
on board units of the Sixth Fleet and other warships dropping anchor in
What is officially known is that these B-61’s munitions will be
converted from free-fall bombs into “smart” bombs, which, through a
system of satellite and laser guidance, can be dropped and directed from
a great distance. New precision-guided nuclear bombs, expected to cost
8-12 billion for 400-500 bombs, have an average explosive power of 50
kilotons ( about four times the Hiroshima bomb ).
Other aspects, coming out a hearing of the Congress Subcommittee on
Strategic Forces (October 29), cast an even more more worrisome light on
the whole affair. Washington assures that “NATO will remain a nuclear
alliance ” and that “even if NATO agreed with Russia to reduce nuclear
weapons in Europe, we would still require the completion of the B61-12
program”. The new weapon will replace the five variants of the current
B61, including B61-11 400 kiloton penetrating bunker buster bombs and
the maxi-bomb B83 at 1200 kilotons. In other words, it will have the
same destructive force as these more powerful bombs. At the same time,
the B61-12 “will be integrated with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” a
doubly important fact because “the F-35 is destined to become the only
dual capacity fighter, nuclear and conventional, of the air forces of
the United States and allied nations.” This will happen soon in Italy
and other European countries. It is therefore not a simple modernized
version of the B-61, but a versatile weapon that has the function of
several bombs, including those projected to “decapitate” the enemy
country, destroying bunkers and command centers and other underground
structures in a nuclear first strike.
As bunker-buster bombs are not currently deployed in Europe, the
introduction of the B61-12, which also performs this function
strengthens the ability of offensive U.S. / NATO nuclear forces in
Europe. Italian pilots – who are trained in the use of the B-61 with
Tornado fighters, as was done in “Steadfast Noon” maneuvers that took
place in Aviano and Ghedi in the second half of October, will soon be
trained for nuclear attack with F-35s armed with B61-12. In this way,
Italy would violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which requires
that it “not receive nuclear weapons from anyone.” And the United States
violates it because the terms of the treaty require them “not to
transfer nuclear weapons or control over such weapons to anyone
But this can not be seen because the media spotlight is trained on the Geneva show.
il manifesto, 12 of November 2013
Translation from italian : Roger Lagassé, voltairenet.org