Iraq: Victim or Beneficiary of September 11 attacks?

By Waleed Ibrahim
Reuters
September 9, 2011

(Reuters) – Ten years after the hijacked airliner attacks on the United States, Iraqis are swamped in the violent wake of a war launched on a tenuous premise and uncertain if they are headed to democracy or dictatorship.

While the sectarian slaughter that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war is years past, the violence spawned by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein continues to take a heavy toll in an oil-rich former pariah trying to rebuild.

To this day, some Iraqis believe the line drawn by the Bush administration between September 11 and Iraq, and its discredited theory that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, belied a darker U.S. desire for control in the Middle East.

“Please don’t deceive people and say what happened in Iraq was due to September 11th. America’s plan to occupy Iraq is old,” said Ahmed Raheem, 40, the owner of an electrical shop in Baghdad. “What happened on September 11th was just a reason to implement this plan.”

While the invasion of Afghanistan marked Washington’s first foray in retaliation for the attacks on New York’s twin towers and the Pentagon, Iraq became the primary battlefield for then- President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.” Islamist militants moved in by the thousands to engage U.S. troops.

More than eight years after American soldiers pulled down Saddam’s statue in Baghdad’s Firdous Square, an event cast as a first step from dictatorship to democracy, casualties of the war continue to mount as Iraq’s rebuilt police and army struggle to contain a lethal Islamist insurgency.

The United States has lost more than 4,400 troops in Iraq, a toll half again as great as that of September 11. Fifty-six of those deaths followed President Barack Obama’s August 31, 2010 end-of-combat declaration, seen by some Americans as the end of the war.

“A BIG LIE”

“What democracy are they talking about?” Raheem, who lost his job at a Saddam-era government weapons manufacturer after the invasion, asked angrily as he sipped tea in his shop. “What is said about democracy is a big lie.”

War-weary Iraqis appear anxious to put eight years of violence behind them. Protests earlier this year inspired by uprisings across the Arab world were aimed not at deposing their elected government but rather to serve notice that they expected their politicians to improve electricity and services.

Violence is slowly loosening its grip. From the sectarian bloodbath that killed tens of thousands at the peak of the war in 2006-07, attacks by Sunni insurgents and Shi’ite militias have fallen to an average of about 14 a day across the country.

Night-life and traffic have returned to Baghdad streets still dominated by massive concrete blast walls meant to protect against suicide and car bombs. But with the sound of explosions heard daily, Iraqis venture forth warily.

“Nothing has changed in Iraq except the fear. Now it is bigger than before. I leave my house and I don’t know if I’ll return again or not,” said Tony Mukhlis, 45, a Baghdad laborer.

“U.S. democracy in Iraq is the democracy of killing in the streets.”

If the United States won sympathy in 2001 as video of the crumbling twin towers appeared on TV screens, it was the image of erupting violence in Iraq and shocking photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison that stained America’s standing in the world.

For some Iraqis, a war that has killed more than 100,000 people — according to figures compiled by Iraq Body Count — created a battlefield for extremists where none existed before.

“If there is anyone responsible for the damage in Iraq, it is Bush. I swear to God I’ll kill him with my own hands if I catch him, even if they kill my family and children,” Mukhlis said. “He himself said more than once that he would go to Iraq to protect Americans and to turn Iraq into a battlefield against radical groups.”

SIGNS OF PROGRESS

Now governed by a fragile and contentious coalition of Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish political factions, Iraq has held free elections and implemented free market reforms, cutting deals with global oil majors to develop its vast oil reserves.

Such measures of post-war progress are not lost on some Iraqis.

“Iraq is the big beneficiary for what happened in the U.S. on September 11th because it saved us from a nightmare that was perched on our chest for more than 30 years,” said Nief Farhan, 82, a retiree who said he had two brothers executed by Saddam’s government in 1983.

“Before 2003 I was afraid to talk in my own house … now we are sitting in a cafe and talking politics and people around us listen to what we say. What more do we want?”

But as they watch the Arab Spring uprisings with interest and some envy, many Iraqis are uncertain their country will become the shining Middle East democracy that Bush envisioned.

“I don’t believe that what happened in Iraq in and after 2003 can be an example to be cited or copied by other regional and Arab countries,” said Yahya al-Kubaisy, a researcher at the Iraqi Center For Strategic Studies.

“Iraq is on a path of dictatorship different from what existed in Iraq before 2003. Even the advocates for what was called the liberation of Iraq are disappointed at how things turned out.”

The Agendas Behind the bin Laden News Event

Paul Craig Roberts
May 5, 2011

The US government’s bin Laden story was so poorly crafted that it did not last 48 hours before being fundamentally altered. Indeed, the new story put out on Tuesday by White House press secretary Jay Carney bears little resemblance to the original Sunday evening story. The fierce firefight did not occur. Osama bin Laden did not hide behind a woman. Indeed, bin Laden, Carney said, “was not armed.”

The firefight story was instantly suspicious as not a single SEAL got a scratch, despite being up against al Qaeda, described by former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld as “the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth.”

Every original story detail has been changed. It wasn’t bin Laden’s wife who was murdered by the Navy SEALs, but the wife of an aide. It wasn’t bin Laden’s son, Khalid, who was murdered by the Navy SEALs, but son Hamza.

Carney blamed the changed story on “the fog of war.” But there was no firefight, so where did the “fog of war” come from?

The White House has also had to abandon the story that President Obama and his national security team watched tensely as events unfolded in real time (despite the White House having released photos of the team watching tensely), with the operation conveyed into the White House by cameras on the SEALs helmets. If Obama was watching the event as it happened, he would have noticed, one would hope, that there was no firefight and, thus, would not have told the public that bin Laden was killed in a firefight. Another reason the story had to be abandoned is that if the event was captured on video, every news service in the world would be asking for the video, but if the event was orchestrated theater, there would be no video.

No explanation has been provided for why an unarmed bin Laden, in the absence of a firefight, was murdered by the SEALs with a shot to the head. For those who believe the government’s story that “we got bin Laden,” the operation can only appear as the most botched operation in history. What kind of incompetence does it require to senselessly and needlessly kill the most valuable intelligence asset on the planet?

According to the US government, the terrorist movements of the world operated through bin Laden, “the mastermind.” Thanks to a trigger-happy stupid SEAL, a bullet destroyed the most valuable terrorist information on the planet. Perhaps the SEAL was thinking that he could put a notch on his gun and brag for the rest of his life about being the macho tough guy who killed Osama bin Laden, the most dangerous man on the planet, who outwitted the US and its European and Israeli allies and inflicted humiliation on the “world’s only superpower” on 9/11.

When such a foundational story as the demise of bin Laden cannot last 48 hours without acknowledged “discrepancies” that require fundamental alternations to the story, there are grounds for suspicion in addition to the suspicions arising from the absence of a dead body, from the absence of any evidence that bin Laden was killed in the raid or that a raid even took place. The entire episode could just be another event like the August 4, 1964, Gulf of Tonkin event that never happened but succeeded in launching open warfare against North Vietnam at a huge cost to Americans and Vietnamese and enormous profits to the military/security complex.

There is no doubt that the US is sufficiently incompetent to have needlessly killed bin Laden instead of capturing him. But who can believe that the US would quickly dispose of the evidence that bin Laden had been terminated? The government’s story is not believable that the government dumped the proof of its success into the ocean, but has some photos that might be released, someday.

As one reader put it in an email to me: “What is really alarming is the increasingly arrogant sloppiness of these lies, as though the government has become so profoundly confident of their ability to deceive people that they make virtually no effort to even appear credible.”

Governments have known from the beginning of time that they can always deceive citizens and subjects by playing the patriot card. “Remember the Maine,” the “Gulf of Tonkin,” “weapons of mass destruction,” “the Reichstag fire” – the staged events and bogus evidence are endless. If Americans knew any history, they would not be so gullible.

The real question before us is: What agenda or agendas is the “death of bin Laden” designed to further?

There are many answers to this question. Many have noticed that Obama was facing re-election with poor approval ratings. Is anyone surprised that the New York Times/CBS Poll finds a strong rise in Obama’s poll numbers after the bin Laden raid? As the New York Times reported, “the glow of national pride” rose “above partisan politics, as support for the president rose significantly among both Republicans and independents. In all, 57 percent said they now approved of the president’s job performance, up from 46 percent.”

In Washington-think, a 24% rise in approval rating justifies a staged event.

Another possibility is that Obama realized that the the budget deficit and the dollar’s rescue from collapse require the end of the expensive Afghan war and occupation and spillover war into Pakistan. As the purpose of the war was to get bin Laden, success in this objective allows the US to withdraw without loss of face, thus making it possible to reduce the US budget deficit by several hundred billion dollars annually – an easy way to have a major spending cut.

If this is the agenda, then more power to it. However, if this was Obama’s agenda, the military/security complex has quickly moved against it. CIA director Leon Panetta opened the door to false flag attacks to keep the war going by declaring that al Qaeda would avenge bin Laden’s killing. Secretary of State Clinton declared that success in killing bin Laden justified more war and more success. Homeland Security declared that the killing of bin Laden would motivate “homegrown violent extremists” into making terrorist attacks. “Homegrown violent extremists” is an undefined term, but this newly created bogeyman seems to include environmentalists and war protesters. Like “suspect,” the term will include anyone the government wants to pick up.

Various parts of the government quickly seized on the success in killing bin Laden to defend and advance their own agendas, such as torture. Americans were told that bin Laden was found as a result of information gleaned from torturing detainees held in Eastern European CIA secret prisons years ago.

This listing of possible agendas and add-on agendas is far from complete, but for those capable of skepticism and independent thought, it can serve as a starting point. The agendas behind the theater will reveal themselves as time goes on. All you have to do is to pay attention and to realize that most of what you hear from the mainstream media is designed to advance the agendas.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously an editor for the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.

U.S. Government: Historically a Pathological Liar

Can you believe anything that comes out of any U.S. government official? Only the gullible public could.

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
May 2, 2011

This article would be an op-ed if it wasn’t because there is so much proof that the United States government has lied its way into building the Empire that is now collapsing. I do not need to justify why there are so many people who do not trust anything the government says, because history is the most faithful witness that governments lie when they have to, use fear when their lies don’t work, and murder when fear is no longer effective.

Sunday, president Barack Obama interrupted regular television programming to announce the death of Osama Bin Laden, the ghost that had eluded intelligence and military assets for a decade. Obama didn’t only take credit for Bin Laden’s death, but he also arrogantly spoke as if we had to take his word for it. The announcement came at a suspiciously convenient time, exactly when Obama needed it the most.

So the question is, do we take the announcement at face value? Only the gullible public would and could. Only the minority that still believes government is good, honest and straightforward with the people have the guts to believe any official version of the facts. Only the men and women who are afraid of learning the facts about history and who rely on the main stream corporate media would.

The rest of us know better. The rest of us, the majority, know that when government controls the information that sees the light, there is zero chance to expect the truth. When the government is the judge, jury and executioner, as it happens often, there is no room for trust.

American government lies abound and have stained history for decades. From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Bay of Pigs. From the Weapons of Mass Destruction excuse, to Al-CIA-eda. From Bin Laden to the War on Terror.

A country and a government that allows its president to be murdered (John F. Kennedy) in plain daylight for the sake of empire building does not have credibility.

A government that false-flag attacks its own troops (Gulf de Tonkin) to take the country into war does not have credibility.

A government that creates boogie-men (Bin Laden) to terrorize its own people and the world does not have any credibility.

A government that murders a million people (Iraq 1991 y Iraq 2003) in one single country does not have credibility.

A government that experiments with foreign (Guatemala) and its own people (Tuskegee), does not have credibility.

A government that invades countries for humanitarian reasons while bombing its people with depleted uranium, does not have credibility.

A government that says it killed the supposed head of a terrorist organization that is of its creation while showing no proof of it, does not have credibility.

A government that invites terrorists to dine in the Pentagon while accuses them of being terrorists, does not have credibility.

A government that operates in secrecy while spying on everyone cannot be trusted.

Nothing short of seeing Osama Bin Laden’s body and conducting an independent forensic analysis would probe enough for anyone in their right mind to believe the United States announcement that it captured and killed Bin Laden. Unfortunately, the United States government conveniently disposed of his body so that no one can ever find out if it was him or not  -just as it did with the rubble of the World Trade Center Towers- but has only shown a doctored picture with Photoshop. A government that has lied throughout its whole history wants us to believe what it has to say regarding the capture and murder of the greatest boogie-man of the 21st century? I don’t think so!

“The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.”

– John F. Kennedy

Memos confirm Iraq Invasion was all about Oil

The Independent
April 18, 2011

Plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.

Iraq’s burgeoning oil industry: Click HERE to upload graphic (160k)

The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Britain’s involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair’s cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The minutes of a series of meetings between ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time.

The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as “highly inaccurate”. BP denied that it had any “strategic interest” in Iraq, while Tony Blair described “the oil conspiracy theory” as “the most absurd”.

But documents from October and November the previous year paint a very different picture.

Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.

The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being “locked out” of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.

Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: “Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.”

The minister then promised to “report back to the companies before Christmas” on her lobbying efforts.

The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq “post regime change”. Its minutes state: “Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.”

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U.S. Customs Officer May Have Prevented a ‘WMD’ attack

Mail Online

A port official has admitted that a ‘weapon of mass effect’  has been found by ‘partner agencies’ in the U.S., raising major questions over a possible government cover-up.

The disturbing revelation came in an interview with San Diego’s assistant port director screened by a television channel in the city.

The Customs and Border Protection Department tried to dampen speculation over his remarks, but doubts remained over whether he had inadvertently revealed a dirty bomb plot to attack the U.S. mainland.

Concern over a secret WMD bust came after U.S. cables made public by the Wikileaks whistleblower website revealed terror groups were plotting a ‘nuclear 911.’

In the interview screened by San Diego’s 10News, Al Hallor, assistant San Diego port director, said ‘weapons of mass effect’ had been found, although he did not specify exactly where or what they were.

Reporter Mitch Blacher asked Mr Hallor: ‘Do you ever find things that are dangerous like a chemical agent or a weaponised device?’

‘At the airport, seaport, at our port of entry we have not this past fiscal year, but our partner agencies have found those things,’ the customs official replied.

‘So, specifically, you’re looking for the dirty bomb? You’re looking for the nuclear device?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Correct. Weapons of mass effect,’ said Mr Hallor.

‘You ever found one?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Not at this location,’ Mr Hallor said.

‘But they have found them?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Yes,’ said Mr Hallor.

‘You never found one in San Diego though?’ Mr Blacher asked.

‘I would say at the port of San Diego we have not,’ Mr Hallor said.

‘Have you found one in San Diego?’ Mr Blacher asked.

The interview was then interrupted and cut short by a public relations official before Mr Hallor was able to answer the question.

San Diego’s Customs and Border Protection agency was unavailable for comment today.

Earlier, Mr Hallor told Mr Blacher: ‘Potentially every city in America is a target. Given the waterways and the access to the Navy fleet here, I’d say, absolutely, San Diego is a target.

‘Our overall arching mission is to protect the American homeland against terrorists and from weapons of mass effect from entering the country. We are the guardians of America’s borders.’

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