Against Cuba (& America)
In the early 1960s, America’s top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities…
America’s top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: “We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,” and, “casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.”
Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford about the history of America’s largest spy agency, the National Security Agency. However, the plans were not connected to the agency, he notes.
The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy’s defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years…
the U.S. plan called for establishing prolonged military — not democratic — control over the island nation after the invasion.
“That’s what we’re supposed to be freeing them from,” Bamford says. “The only way we would have succeeded is by doing exactly what the Russians were doing all over the world, by imposing a government by tyranny, basically what we were accusing Castro himself of doing.”…
The Joint Chiefs at the time were headed by Eisenhower appointee Army Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, who, with the signed plans in hand made a pitch to McNamara on March 13, 1962, recommending Operation Northwoods be run by the military…
One idea was to create a war between Cuba and another Latin American country so that the United States could intervene. Another was to pay someone in the Castro government to attack U.S. forces at the Guantanamo naval base — an act, which Bamford notes, would have amounted to treason. And another was to fly low level U-2 flights over Cuba, with the intention of having one shot down as a pretext for a war.
-Full story by ABC News
Saddam Hussein in Iraq (Including Chemical Weapons)
The U.S. was officially neutral regarding the Iran-Iraq war, and claimed that it armed neither side. Iran depended on U.S.-origin weapons, however, and sought them from Israel, Europe, Asia, and South America. Iraq started the war with a large Soviet-supplied arsenal, but needed additional weaponry as the conflict wore on.
Initially, Iraq advanced far into Iranian territory, but was driven back within months. By mid-1982, Iraq was on the defensive against Iranian human-wave attacks. The U.S., having decided that an Iranian victory would not serve its interests, began supporting Iraq: measures already underway to upgrade U.S.-Iraq relations were accelerated, high-level officials exchanged visits, and in February 1982 the State Department removed Iraq from its list of states supporting international terrorism. (It had been included several years earlier because of ties with several Palestinian nationalist groups, not Islamicists sharing the worldview of al-Qaeda. Activism by Iraq’s main Shiite Islamicist opposition group, al-Dawa, was a major factor precipitating the war — stirred by Iran’s Islamic revolution, its endeavors included the attempted assassination of Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.)
Prolonging the war was phenomenally expensive. Iraq received massive external financial support from the Gulf states, and assistance through loan programs from the U.S. The White House and State Department pressured the Export-Import Bank to provide Iraq with financing, to enhance its credit standing and enable it to obtain loans from other international financial institutions. The U.S. Agriculture Department provided taxpayer-guaranteed loans for purchases of American commodities, to the satisfaction of U.S. grain exporters.
The U.S. restored formal relations with Iraq in November 1984, but the U.S. had begun, several years earlier, to provide it with intelligence and military support (in secret and contrary to this country’s official neutrality) in accordance with policy directives from President Ronald Reagan. These were prepared pursuant to his March 1982 National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 4-82) asking for a review of U.S. policy toward the Middle East.
One of these directives from Reagan, National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 99, signed on July 12, 1983, is available only in a highly redacted version [Document 21]. It reviews U.S. regional interests in the Middle East and South Asia, and U.S. objectives, including peace between Israel and the Arabs, resolution of other regional conflicts, and economic and military improvements, “to strengthen regional stability.” It deals with threats to the U.S., strategic planning, cooperation with other countries, including the Arab states, and plans for action. An interdepartmental review of the implications of shifting policy in favor of Iraq was conducted following promulgation of the directive.
By the summer of 1983 Iran had been reporting Iraqi use of using chemical weapons for some time. The Geneva protocol requires that the international community respond to chemical warfare, but a diplomatically isolated Iran received only a muted response to its complaints [Note 1]. It intensified its accusations in October 1983, however, and in November asked for a United Nations Security Council investigation.
The U.S., which followed developments in the Iran-Iraq war with extraordinary intensity, had intelligence confirming Iran’s accusations, and describing Iraq’s “almost daily” use of chemical weapons, concurrent with its policy review and decision to support Iraq in the war [Document 24]. The intelligence indicated that Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian forces, and, according to a November 1983 memo, against “Kurdish insurgents” as well [Document 25].
–Joyce Battle, George Washington University (emphasis mine)
(Cf. also The Guardian, NY Times, Counterpunch, & Radiolab)
According to several sources, the CIA under JFK installed Saddam Hussein to begin with. See “DNC Support of Terrorism“.)
Militants in Afghanistan
…the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
…As Afghan schools reopen today, the United States is back in the business of providing schoolbooks. But now it is wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism. What seemed like a good idea in the context of the Cold War is being criticized by humanitarian workers as a crude tool that steeped a generation in violence.
The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion…
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have repeatedly spotlighted the Afghan textbooks in recent weeks. Last Saturday, Bush announced during his weekly radio address that the 10 million U.S.-supplied books being trucked to Afghan schools would teach “respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry.”
Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.
“The pictures [in] the texts are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse,” said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an Afghan educator who is a program coordinator for Cooperation for Peace and Unity, a Pakistan-based nonprofit.
The military content was included to “stimulate resistance against invasion,” explained Yaquib Roshan of Nebraska’s Afghanistan center. “Even in January, the books were absolutely the same . . . pictures of bullets and Kalashnikovs and you name it.”
One page from the texts of that period shows a resistance fighter with a bandolier and a Kalashnikov slung from his shoulder. The soldier’s head is missing.
Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin, who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says.
“We were quite shocked,” said Doug Pritchard, who reviewed the primers in December while visiting Pakistan on behalf of a Canada-based Christian nonprofit group. “The constant image of Afghans being natural warriors is wrong. Warriors are created. If you want a different kind of society, you have to create it.”
– Full story by the Washington Post (emphasis mine)
(Keep in mind that according to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the United States created al Qaeda to begin with. See the section on al Qaeda under “DNC Support of Terrorism“.)
Extremists in Saudi Arabia & Iran, and Iran Herself
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran.
America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran… Funding for their separatist causes comes directly from the CIA’s classified budget but is now “no great secret”, according to one former high-ranking CIA official in Washington who spoke anonymously to The Sunday Telegraph.
Hamas, et al. in Palestine & Elsewhere
In 2002, the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) distributed $521.7 million to the Palestinian Authority. Most of this money did not make its way into the pockets of the Palestinian people, as the average Palestinian continued to live on one to two dollars a day. Rather, large portions of this money ended up in the pockets of the Palestinian leaders and their terrorist associates. While the Palestinian Arab refugees constitute 17% of worldwide refugees, they receive more than one third of the annual refugee funds allocated by the UN, with roughly 30% of this $350 million coming from the United States. The staff of UNRWA, the organization that oversees and facilitates the aid to Palestinians, is staffed by so many Hamas members that it is nicknamed the “Hamas Union.” In the UN refugee camps themselves, large amounts of weapons and bomb materials have been found, including facilities to create rockets that can reach major Israeli cities. These weapons have been constructed under the watchful eye of the UN, and with money given to the UN under the guise of aiding impoverished refugees.
The Europeans, America’s supposed closest allies, have done little to stop the funding of terrorists. The EU States have persisted in allowing various organizations that act as fronts for Hamas to continue to send funds to the West Bank and Gaza. While many of these organizations have been shut down in the US, they have sprung up in ever increasing numbers in the EU states. A militant Islamic group in the UK went as far as publicly distributing playing cards with the faces of the “magnificent nineteen” World Trade Center bombers to celebrate the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
–Turning Off the Tap of Terrorist Funding (emphasis mine)
Saudi Arabian Government
Saudi Arabia is an oppressive regime, accused of involvement in the 9-11 attacks:
If you are planning a trip to Saudi Arabia as the summer days wind down, you may want to think twice before taking your Bible with you. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as it is officially called, reportedly bans foreigners from bringing in Bibles, crucifixes, Stars of David and other religious non-Islamic items.
The heavily Muslim country threatens to confiscate them from foreign visitors along with other prohibited items such as narcotics, firearms and pornography, according to the web site of Saudi Arabian Airlines, the country’s national carrier…
Saudi Arabia has long been known to have severe religious freedom problems. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom – an independent, bipartisan government body established to monitor religious freedom in the world – recommended to the U.S. State Department again this year that Saudi Arabia be designated a Country of Particular Concern – the worst religious freedom violation label.
The U.S. State Department has often criticized Saudi Arabia for religious intolerance and human rights abuses including a legal system with punishments such as flogging and amputation.
Christian persecution watch group Open Doors this year listed Saudi Arabia as the world’s second worst Christian persecutor behind North Korea.
Moreover, the Saudi government is accused of propagating religious intolerance through its public textbooks, which teach Muslim children to hate all non-Wahhabi Muslims.
Saudi Arabian courts punish apostates (converts from Islam to another religion) with the death sentence if they refuse to recant. Executions by beheading have been on the rise in an effort to deter criminals. Women are treated as second class citizens and given few rights.
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.
–NY Times (emphasis mine)
And yet George W. Bush is best friends with the King:
On Friday we visited another of America’s friends in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia. I had a series of productive meetings with King Abdullah at his farm. We celebrated the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. We reaffirmed our shared objectives of peace in the Holy Land, a secure and united Iraq and a sovereign, independent Lebanon that is free of outside interference. We talked about oil production and gasoline prices. We discussed the King’s efforts to diversify his nation’s economy, and the importance of political reform. And I thanked him for Saudi Arabia’s strong commitment to fighting terror.
America regularly supplies the Saudi government with weapons:
The United States and Saudi Arabia established full diplomatic relations in 1940. Saudi Arabia’s unique role in the Arab and Islamic worlds, its possession of the world’s largest reserves of oil, and its strategic location make its friendship important to the United States.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plays a role in military and civilian construction activities in Saudi Arabia. Three security assistance organizations are funded through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program: to provide training and support in the use of weapons and other security-related services to the Saudi armed forces; to assist in the modernization of the Saudi Arabian National Guard; and to train and equip a Facility Security Force, part of the Ministry of Interior. The United States has sold Saudi Arabia military aircraft, air defense weaponry, armored vehicles, and other equipment.
Iraqi Prime Minister
Did “Operation Iraqi Freedom” give Iraqis freedom? It is difficult to sort out quite exactly what is going on in Iraq, which is why I added the question mark. However things are certainly not peaceful and some Iraqis are reportedly concerned about regression into dictatorship (granting any progress has actually been made):
The Iraqi government is debating proposed laws that would impose strict controls on freedom of speech and association, prompting fears that the authorities are playing a growing and increasingly oppressive role in citizens’ lives.
As the country settles into its new identity as a sovereign state… some Iraqis are nervous that the government is moving back toward the heavy-handed monitoring of citizens that was a hallmark of life under dictator Saddam Hussein.
In parliament, there has been fierce debate of several draft laws. One would carry harsh penalties for online criticism of the government. Another would require demonstrators to get permission for any gathering.
Local and international human rights groups say the proposed legislation is vague and would give the government power to move against people or parties critical of the government.
This is Bush’s man:
Citing America’s war experience in Asia, and even Vietnam, President Bush on Wednesday made the case for staying the course in Iraq and reiterated his support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the president compared the war in Iraq to U.S. involvement’s in Asia that lost popular backing but which he argued eventually proved its worth and led to lasting peace…
“Prime Minister Maliki’s a good guy, a good man with a difficult job and I support him,” Bush said…
-AP via MSNBC
Is it possible that America’s longstanding intentions in the Middle East have been selfish and even aggressive? Is it possible that American intelligence as directed by George W. Bush deliberately did less than they ought to have to protect American citizens, knowing a disaster like 9-11 could result in the public support necessary to advance their objectives?
The Defense Planning Guidance, “a blueprint for the department’s spending priorities in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union,” is leaked to the New York Times. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/8/1992; NEWSDAY, 3/16/2003] The document causes controversy, because it hadn’t yet been “scrubbed” to replace candid language with euphemisms. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/10/1992; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/11/1992; OBSERVER, 4/7/2002] The document argues that the US dominates the world as sole superpower, and to maintain that role, it “must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/8/1992; NEW YORK TIMES, 3/8/1992] As the Observer summarizes it, “America’s friends are potential enemies. They must be in a state of dependence and seek solutions to their problems in Washington.” [OBSERVER, 4/7/2002] The document is mainly written by Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who hold relatively low posts at the time, but become deputy defense secretary and Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, respectively, under George W. Bush. [NEWSDAY, 3/16/2003] The authors conspicuously avoid mention of collective security arrangements through the United Nations, instead suggesting the US “should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/8/1992] They call for “punishing” or “threatening punishment” against regional aggressors before they act. [HARPER’S, 10/2002] Interests to be defended preemptively include “access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, [and] threats to US citizens from terrorism.” The section describing US interests in the Middle East states that the “overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve US and Western access to the region’s oil…, deter further aggression in the region, foster regional stability, protect US nationals and property, and safeguard… access to international air and seaways.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/8/1992] Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) later says, “It is my opinion that [George W. Bush’s] plan for preemptive strikes was formed back at the end of the first Bush administration with that 1992 report.” [NEWSDAY, 3/16/2003] In response to the controversy, US releases an updated version of the document in May 1992, which stresses that the US will work with the United Nations and its allies. [WASHINGTON POST, 5/24/1992; HARPER’S, 10/2002]
–History Commons (emphasis mine)
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neoconservative think tank, calls for regime change in Iraq, and control by the US government of the internet [see first entry here], but complains that, without a “new Pearl Harbor”, such goals “are likely to take a long time”… The document… was written for the George W. Bush team even before the 2000 presidential election. It was written for future Vice President Cheney, future Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, future Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Florida Governor and Bush’s brother Jeb Bush, and Cheney’s future chief of staff Lewis Libby.
“It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,'” says O’Neill. “For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”
-Paul O’Neill, George Bush’s Treasury Secretary, and a permanent member of the National Security Council in an interview on CBS News’ 60 Minutes.
The F.B.I. had been aware for several years that Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network were training pilots in the United States and elsewhere around the world, according to court records and interviews at flight schools and with federal law enforcement officials.
The F.B.I. knew by 1996 of a specific threat that terrorists in Al Qaeda, Mr. bin Laden’s network, might use a plane in a suicide attack against the headquarters of the C.I.A. or another large federal building in the Washington area, the law enforcement officials acknowledged…
Congressional investigators say they are only now compiling a detailed chronology of what was known about potential terrorists receiving flight training here as Congress evaluates whether the F.B.I. and other law enforcement agencies failed to recognize signs that might have allowed the government to prevent the September attacks. At least six of the Sept. 11 hijackers received flight training in the United States.
–NY Times (emphasis mine)
General Norman Schwarzkopf says in a testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services: “Middle East oil is the West’s lifeblood. It fuels us today and being 77 percent of the Free World’s proven oil reserves, is going to fuel us when the rest of the world has run dry…. Our allies are even more dependent on Middle East oil. Japan gets almost two-thirds of its oil from the area while our allies in Europe import over one quarter.” [US CONGRESS, 2/8/1990]
Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow.
*I use “terrorism” loosely.