Saturday, October 3, 2009

Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True

By Juan Cole

October 01, 2009 "Information Clearing House" --- Thursday is a fateful day for the world, as the US, other members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany meet in Geneva with Iran in a bid to resolve outstanding issues. Although Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier attempted to put the nuclear issue off the bargaining table, this rhetorical flourish was a mere opening gambit and nuclear issues will certainly dominate the talks. As Henry Kissinger pointed out, these talks are just beginning and there are highly unlikely to be any breakthroughs for a very long time. Diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint.

But on this occasion, I thought I'd take the opportunity to list some things that people tend to think they know about Iran, but for which the evidence is shaky.

Belief: Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the US

Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of "no first strike." This is true of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as of Revolutionary Guards commanders.

Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.

Reality: Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.

Belief: Iran has threatened to attack Israel militarily and to "wipe it off the map."

Reality: No Iranian leader in the executive has threatened an aggressive act of war on Israel, since this would contradict the doctrine of 'no first strike' to which the country has adhered. The Iranian president has explicitly said that Iran is not a threat to any country, including Israel.

Belief: But didn't President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to 'wipe Israel off the map?'

Reality: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did quote Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that "this Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" (in rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Qods bayad as safheh-e ruzgar mahv shavad). This was not a pledge to roll tanks and invade or to launch missiles, however. It is the expression of a hope that the regime will collapse, just as the Soviet Union did. It is not a threat to kill anyone at all.

Belief: But aren't Iranians Holocaust deniers?

Actuality: Some are, some aren't. Former president Mohammad Khatami has castigated Ahmadinejad for questioning the full extent of the Holocaust, which he called "the crime of Nazism." Many educated Iranians in the regime are perfectly aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. In any case, despite what propagandists imply, neither Holocaust denial (as wicked as that is) nor calling Israel names is the same thing as pledging to attack it militarily.

Belief: Iran is like North Korea in having an active nuclear weapons program, and is the same sort of threat to the world.

Actuality: Iran has a nuclear enrichment site at Natanz near Isfahan where it says it is trying to produce fuel for future civilian nuclear reactors to generate electricity. All Iranian leaders deny that this site is for weapons production, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly inspected it and found no weapons program. Iran is not being completely transparent, generating some doubts, but all the evidence the IAEA and the CIA can gather points to there not being a weapons program. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to US signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the UK intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

Belief: The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.

Actuality: Iran announced Monday a week ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had begun work on a second, civilian nuclear enrichment facility near Qom. There are no nuclear materials at the site and it has not gone hot, so technically Iran is not in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, though it did break its word to the IAEA that it would immediately inform the UN of any work on a new facility. Iran has pledged to allow the site to be inspected regularly by the IAEA, and if it honors the pledge, as it largely has at the Natanz plant, then Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons at the site, since that would be detected by the inspectors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted on Sunday that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons at Natanz precisely because it is being inspected. Yet American hawks have repeatedly demanded a strike on Natanz.

Belief: The world should sanction Iran not only because of its nuclear enrichment research program but also because the current regime stole June's presidential election and brutally repressed the subsequent demonstrations.

Actuality: Iran's reform movement is dead set against increased sanctions on Iran, which likely would not affect the regime, and would harm ordinary Iranians.

Belief: Isn't the Iranian regime irrational and crazed, so that a doctrine of mutally assured destruction just would not work with them?

Actuality: Iranian politicians are rational actors. If they were madmen, why haven't they invaded any of their neighbors? Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded both Iran and Kuwait. Israel invaded its neighbors more than once. In contrast, Iran has not started any wars. Demonizing people by calling them unbalanced is an old propaganda trick. The US elite was once unalterably opposed to China having nuclear science because they believed the Chinese are intrinsically irrational. This kind of talk is a form of racism.

Belief: The international community would not have put sanctions on Iran, and would not be so worried, if it were not a gathering nuclear threat.

Actuality: The centrifuge technology that Iran is using to enrich uranium is open-ended. In the old days, you could tell which countries might want a nuclear bomb by whether they were building light water reactors (unsuitable for bomb-making) or heavy-water reactors (could be used to make a bomb). But with centrifuges, once you can enrich to 5% to fuel a civilian reactor, you could theoretically feed the material back through many times and enrich to 90% for a bomb. However, as long as centrifuge plants are being actively inspected, they cannot be used to make a bomb. The two danger signals would be if Iran threw out the inspectors or if it found a way to create a secret facility. The latter task would be extremely difficult, however, as demonstrated by the CIA's discovery of the Qom facility construction in 2006 from satellite photos. Nuclear installations, especially centrifuge ones, consume a great deal of water, construction materiel, and so forth, so that constructing one in secret is a tall order. In any case, you can't attack and destroy a country because you have an intuition that they might be doing something illegal. You need some kind of proof. Moreover, Israel, Pakistan and India are all much worse citizens of the globe than Iran, since they refused to sign the NPT and then went for broke to get a bomb; and nothing at all has been done to any of them by the UNSC. (Editor's emphasis throughout)

Exposing the Criminal Cover-Up of 9/11

Review of David Ray Griffin: The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7

by Tod Fletcher
Global Research
September 16, 2009

In The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False, David Ray Griffin provides an overwhelmingly convincing case that the latest official US government account of the events at “Ground Zero” on September 11, 2001 , is false. He examines in detail the whole series of publications by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) purporting to explain the highly “mysterious” collapse of World Trade Center 7, a 47-story steel-framed skyscraper across the street from the North Tower, which was not struck by a plane and yet collapsed into its footprint, at nearly free-fall speed, shortly after 5 PM that day.

That the sudden collapse of Building 7 constitutes a “mystery” is an admission of the major media and NIST itself, which for years said it was having a hard time understanding what had occurred. After a long series of preliminary attempts, admitting that a full explanation had not been achieved, NIST issued its “Final Report” in November 2008, claiming to present a scientifically-verified and complete account of the causes of the building’s collapse. As critics of the ever-changing official explanations point out, however, the “mystery” is the result of failure by government and media to consider the most likely explanation, one that accords with a vast amount of physical and testimonial evidence, which is that the building was brought down by controlled demolition.

As Griffin brilliantly demonstrates throughout this powerful indictment, NIST, a purportedly scientific agency of the federal government, has produced an official “explanation” that fails to follow basic scientific principles and meet established scientific standards. The publication of its “Final Report” therefore amounts to nothing less than scientific fraud, which when committed by a federal science agency is a criminal act. Despite its claims to have produced a final, definitive, scientific report on WTC 7’s collapse, NIST in fact has ignored, suppressed, or distorted all the evidence for controlled demolition, while fabricating fake “evidence” to support its own “explanation.”

In the Introduction, Griffin lays out the background to NIST’s “Final Report," surveying the agency’s earlier “interim” reports and the evolution of its attempts to explain the “mystery.” In its “Final Report," NIST abandoned its earlier claim that structural damage from debris from the North Tower was a significant cause of Building 7’s collapse, asserting that the principal cause was very hot and long-lasting fires of office materials in the building set ablaze by the falling debris.

Part I of the book, “NIST’s Unscientific Rejection of the Most Likely Theory,” examines in six chapters the methods used by NIST to avoid considering controlled demolition as a possible explanation of the building’s collapse. Controlled demolition is the most likely hypothesis because never before 9/11 had a steel-framed skyscraper collapsed due to fires. All previous instances of sudden, rapid collapse of such buildings into their footprints had been the result of intentional, controlled demolition using explosives. As Griffin demonstrates in Part 1, a very large amount of physical and testimonial evidence supporting the “most likely hypothesis” exists, and it was all ignored, dismissed, or distorted by the authors of the “Final Report.”

In Chapter 1, “NIST as a Political, Not a Scientific, Agency,” Griffin shows that NIST, as an agency of the Commerce Department, was under tight political control by the Bush administration. He quotes from a whistleblower from the agency who described in detail how political appointees in the “front office” vetted every scientific statement issued by NIST, and how the statements were then vetted by “the HQ staff of the Department of Commerce,” the National Security Agency and the Office of Management and Budget.

In Chapter 2, “Some Principles of Scientific Method,” Griffin begins by considering what constitutes scientific fraud, and then distinguishes between scientific fraud in the strict sense and in a broader sense. Scientific fraud in the strict sense has been committed by NIST if it can be shown that i) the agency has fabricated evidence to support its claims; ii) that it has falsified evidence; or iii) that it has ignored relevant evidence. Scientific fraud in the broader sense has been committed by NIST if it can be shown that it violated further scientific principles, including these: extra-scientific considerations should not be allowed to determine conclusions; an investigation should begin with the most-likely hypothesis; straw-man arguments should be avoided; unprecedented causes should not, without good reasons, be posited to explain familiar occurrences; and scientists should not make claims implying that laws of nature have been violated.

In Chapter 3, “NIST’s Refusal to Begin with the Most Likely Hypothesis,” Griffin establishes that the most likely hypothesis to consider in attempting to explain the collapse of WTC 7 must be that it was brought down by controlled demolition using explosives, for two reasons. First, no steel-framed skyscraper prior to 9/11 had ever collapsed for any reason other than demolition; on 9/11, however, and in one small area, three such buildings came down, purportedly due to fires, and in the case of the Twin Towers, additional damage caused by airliner impacts. (In his earlier book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, Griffin has already demonstrated that NIST’s “explanation” for the disintegration and fall of the towers does not stand up to rational scrutiny.) Second, the collapse of WTC 7 “exemplified many of the signature features of the type of controlled demolition known as implosion”: the collapse started from the bottom and was sudden and total, the building came straight down and fell at close to free-fall speed, its concrete was pulverized to dust, and the debris pile was relatively small (p. 27). When fires result in “high-order damage,” evidenced by shattered structures, pulverized debris, and significant lateral ejections of material, guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association in its “Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations” mandate official agencies to investigate the possibility of explosives, but NIST never undertook any such investigation.

In Chapter 4, “NIST’s Ignoring of Physical Evidence for Explosives,” Griffin lays out the physical evidence suggesting that the building was brought down by controlled demolition: video evidence of “squibs” of smoke and pulverized material blown laterally out of the building as it collapsed; a vertical row of blown-out windows from the 29th to the 37th floors, unexplainable by NIST’s account; molten metal in the debris under the building; an array of scientific reports of extremely high temperatures, far above the temperatures which could be reached by fires burning in office materials, as proposed by NIST; thinning and sulfidation of steel recovered from the building; extreme heat and unusual emissions at the collapse site for months afterwards; and red/gray chips found in dust from the building’s collapse, which on analysis by independent researchers Steven Jones, Kevin Ryan, Niels Harrit, and others, proved to be nanothermitic, derived from a very advanced type of explosive. NIST in its “Final Report” failed to take any of this evidence into account, simply pretending it did not exist.

In Chapter 5, “NIST’s Ignoring of Testimonial Evidence for Explosives,” Griffin first reviews NIST’s prior ignoring of testimonial evidence for explosions in the Twin Towers before their disintegration. He then presents in detail a wide array of testimonial evidence supporting the most-likely hypothesis, implosion. These testimonies came from credible witnesses, including a New York Daily News reporter and a New York Police Department officer located outside the building before it came down, who heard explosions inside it; detailed accounts from two high-level NYC employees, Barry Jennings and Michael Hess, of their experiences inside the building that morning, where they heard and felt large explosions before the Twin Towers had collapsed; testimonies, again from highly credible witnesses, to foreknowledge of the building’s collapse; premature television reports that the building had come down, before it had actually collapsed; and even witnesses to Fire Department of New York personnel announcing that the building was going to be “brought down.” Griffin shows that NIST either ignored this evidence or went to great lengths to distort it by constructing an elaborate false chronology of the testimonial evidence which it could not simply ignore.

In Chapter 6, “NIST’s Straw-Man Arguments against Explosives,” Griffin analyzes the reasons presented by NIST for its refusal to investigate the possibility that explosives were responsible for WTC 7’s destruction. He shows that they employed “straw-man” arguments based on highly-implausible scenarios for the types and quantities of explosives used and then argued that these scenarios are … implausible! The principal scenario NIST focused on, needless to say, was not one that has been proposed by any actual independent researchers as a plausible one. Griffin then shows that high-level personnel at NIST, including four directors from 2001 to 2008 as well as key advisors to the agency, had extensive professional involvement with and expertise in the technology of nanothermitic materials, the very type of explosive proposed by independent researchers as most likely to have been used on 9/11. Indeed, as Griffin details, NIST is engaged in partnerships with academic and federal government research units around the country to develop nanothermitic technologies.

In Part II, “NIST’s Unscientific Arguments for Its Own Theory,” Griffin dissects the arguments made by the agency in putting its own “explanation” forward. He shows in detail the failure of the authors of the “Final Report” to adhere to standard scientific principles, including their failure to base their analysis on empirical facts and physical tests (preferring “black box” computer models in which any parameter can be tweaked until the desired result is obtained), their distorting of data or fabrication of “data,” and their failure to eliminate glaring internal contradictions within their arguments.

In Chapter 7, “NIST’s Theory of an Unprecedented Collapse: an Overview,” Griffin provides an overview of the complex theory promulgated by NIST. He first explores NIST’s claim that the collapse of the building was unprecedented. NIST makes this claim implicitly in advancing its own candidate for the principal causal mechanism, thermal expansion of steel from office-materials fires. Because there is no known prior case in which thermal expansion of steel caused a steel-framed skyscraper to collapse, but there are many cases of implosion of such buildings, NIST’s proposal raises the question whether it violated the scientific principle to avoid invoking unprecedented causes to explain familiar occurrences. Then Griffin surveys the major features of the NIST “explanation” to orient the reader for the detailed discussion in following chapters.

In Chapter 8, “The Initiation and Spread of Fires: NIST’s Unempirical Account,” Griffin examines closely NIST’s claim that the fires in WTC 7 started as a result of the rain of debris which hit the building when the North Tower disintegrated and fell. He shows that NIST’s claims that fires in the building started at this time ( 10:28 AM ) are unsubstantiated, and that the fires therefore could not have burned for as long as NIST contended they did. He points out that NIST itself admitted that most of the fires in the building may have started quite a bit later in the day, in the middle and late afternoon, and thus have burned for less than three hours and even as little as 40 minutes.

In Chapter 9, “Fire and Steel Temperatures: Implausible Claims Based on Distorted Data,” Griffin shows that NIST’s claims regarding the temperatures reached by the fires themselves and the steel structure of the building exposed to those fires are both wildly exaggerated. This extreme overestimation was made possible by the use of computer models, which were manipulated by NIST “investigators” to achieve the desired result (the agency had used the same method in its earlier reports on the destruction of the Twin Towers ). There is in fact no evidence to support the fire temperatures or the fire durations claimed by NIST. In a similar manner, NIST “simulated” the temperatures reached by the steel structure of the building, and claimed wildly implausible temperatures for which there is no actual evidence, based on the assumption (contrary to fact) that steel has no thermal conductivity!

In Chapter 10, “From Thermal Expansion to Global Collapse: Fabrications and Contradictions,” Griffin shreds the last pillar of NIST’s account: its claim that thermal expansion of steel floor beams and girders caused “global collapse.” He shows that this claim is based on highly implausible assumptions, outright fabrications, denial of the existence of structural elements that did in fact exist, and fabrication of a “differential thermal expansion” result from its computer simulations by modeling heating of the steel beams but not of the floor slabs! Griffin delivers the coup de grace by showing that NIST was forced to admit that WTC 7 did indeed fall at free-fall speed for more than two seconds during its collapse, which would only be possible if all resistance to the fall had been eliminated by removal of the lower portion of the building by explosives. This demonstrates that NIST has resorted to a miraculous “explanation” of the collapse of Building 7, in which no explosives were used and yet free-fall still occurred, and has thus violated the scientific principles of non-contradiction and impermissibility of claims implying that laws of nature have been violated.

In the “Conclusion,” Griffin summarizes the many ways in which standard principles of scientific investigation were violated by NIST in its “Final Report.” On this basis, he concludes that the Report is false, and then discusses the implications of this fact. The only possible conclusion is that WTC 7 was demolished “by domestic terrorists with the ability to plant explosives in it and then to orchestrate a cover-up” (p. 255). If this is true of Building 7, it must be true as well of the Twin Towers . When these conclusions are drawn, it is clear that the entire basis and pretext for the ongoing war in Afghanistan (and now Pakistan ) is false. Muslims did not bring down these buildings. The events of 9/11 were quite simply the largest, most heinous false-flag operation of all time.

Editor's NOTE:

I am in the process of reading David Ray Griffin's latest book. Last year I read his; The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé, Sept. 2008. Both books are sobering indeed. Given all of the information which has come to light, it has become logically impossible to accept the official explanation for the attacks on 9/11/01. There are simply too many contradictions and unanswered questions. It is absolutely essential if truth is to be served that a new unbiased investigation be carried out (if it is possible to create such a thing) as powerful forces have to date prevented all such attempts.

For more information about the New York City attempt to initiate a new 9/11 investigation see THIS...

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wars, Rumors of Wars, Advance of the US Empire

U.S., NATO Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan's History

By Rick Rozoff
Global Research,
September 24, 2009

Over the past week U.S. newspapers and television networks have been abuzz with reports that Washington and its NATO allies are planning an unprecedented increase of troops for the war in Afghanistan, even in addition to the 17,000 new American and several thousand NATO forces that have been committed to the war so far this year.

The number, based on as yet unsubstantiated reports of what U.S. and NATO commander Stanley McChrystal and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen have demanded of the White House, range from 10,000 to 45,000.

Fox News has cited figures as high as 45,000 more American soldiers and ABC News as many as 40,000. On September 15 the Christian Science Monitor wrote of "perhaps as many as 45,000."

The similarity of the estimates indicate that a number has been agreed upon and America's obedient media is preparing domestic audiences for the possibility of the largest escalation of foreign armed forces in Afghanistan's history. Only seven years ago the United States had 5,000 troops in the country, but was scheduled to have 68,000 by December even before the reports of new deployments surfaced.

An additional 45,000 troops would bring the U.S. total to 113,000. There are also 35,000 troops from some 50 other nations serving under NATO's International Security Assistance Force in the nation, which would raise combined troop strength under McChrystal's command to 148,000 if the larger number of rumored increases materializes.

As the former Soviet Union withdrew its soldiers from Afghanistan twenty years ago the New York Times reported "At the height of the Soviet commitment, according to Western intelligence estimates, there were 115,000 troops deployed." [1]

Nearly 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan would represent the largest foreign military presence ever in the land.

Rather than addressing this historic watershed, the American media is full of innuendos and "privileged" speculation on who has leaked the information and why, as to commercial news operations the tawdry world of Byzantine intrigues among and between American politicians, generals and the Fourth Estate is of more importance that the lengthiest and largest war in the world.

One that has been estimated by the chief of the British armed forces and other leading Western officials to last decades and that has already been extended into Pakistan, a nation with a population almost six times that of Afghanistan and in possession of nuclear weapons.

Two weeks ago the Dutch media reported that during a visit to the Netherlands "General Stanley McChrystal [said] he is considering the possibility of merging...Operation Enduring Freedom with NATO's ISAF force." [2] That is, not only would he continue to command all U.S. and NATO troops, but the two commands would be melded into one.

The call for up to 45,000 more American troops was first adumbrated in mid-September by U.S. armed forces chief Michael Mullen, with the Associated Press stating "The top U.S. military officer says that winning in Afghanistan will probably mean sending more troops." [3]

Four days later, September 19, Reuters reported that "The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has drawn up a long-awaited and detailed request for additional troops but has not yet sent it to Washington, a spokesman said on Saturday."

"He said General Stanley McChrystal completed the document this week, setting out exactly how many U.S. and NATO troops, Afghan security force members and civilians he thinks he needs." [4]

The Pentagon spokesman mentioned above, Lieutenant-Colonel Tadd Sholtis, said, "We're working with Washington as well as the other NATO participants about how it's best to submit this," refusing to divulge any details. [5]

Two days later the Washington Post published a 66-page "redacted" version of General McChrystal's Commander's Initial Assessment which began with this background information:

"On 26 June, 2009, the United States Secretary of Defense directed Commander, United States Central Command (CDRUSCENTCOM), to provide a multidisciplinary assessment of the situation in Afghanistan. On 02 July, 2009, Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF) / U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A), received direction from CDRUSCENTCOM to complete the overall review."

"On 01 July, 2009, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and NATO Secretary General also issued a similar directive."

"COMISAF [Commander, NATO International Security Assistance Force] subsequently issued an order to the ISAF staff and component commands to conduct a comprehensive review to assess the overall situation, review plans and ongoing efforts, and identify revisions to operational, tactical and strategic guidance."

The main focus of the report, not surprising given McChrystal's previous role as head of the Joint Special Operations Command, the Pentagon's preeminent special operations unit, in Iraq, is concentrated and intensified counterinsurgency war.

It includes the demand that "NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) requires a new strategy....This new strategy must also be properly resourced and executed through an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign....This is a different kind of fight. We must conduct classic counterinsurgency operations in an environment that is uniquely complex....Success demands a comprehensive counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign."

McChrystal's evaluation also indicates that the war will not only escalate within Afghanistan but will also be stepped up inside Pakistan and may even target Iran.

"Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence]."

"Iranian Qods Force [part of the nation's army] is reportedly training fighters for certain Taliban groups and providing other forms of military assistance to insurgents. Iran's current policies and actions do not pose a short-term threat to the mission, but Iran has the capability to threaten the mission in the future."

That the ISI has had links to armed extremists is no revelation. The Pentagon and the CIA worked hand-in-glove with it from 1979 onward to subvert successive governments in Afghanistan. That Iran is "training fighters for certain Taliban groups" is a provocational fabrication.

As to who is responsible for the thirty-year disaster that is Afghanistan, McChrystal's assessment contains a sentence that may get past most readers. It is this:

"The major insurgent groups in order of their threat to the mission are: the Quetta Shura Taliban (05T), the Haqqani Network (HQN), and the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HiG)."

The last-named is the guerrilla force of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the largest recipient of hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of U.S. dollars provided by the CIA to the Peshawar Seven Mujahideen bloc fighting the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan from 1978-1992.

While hosting Hekmatyar and his allies at the White House in 1985 then President Ronald Reagan referred to his guests as "the moral equivalents of America's founding fathers.”

Throughout the 1980s the CIA official in large part tasked to assist the Mujahideen with funds, arms and training was Robert Gates, now U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Last December BBC News reported:

"In his book, From the Shadows, published in 1996, Mr Gates defended the role of the CIA in undertaking covert action which, he argued, helped to win the Cold War."

"In a speech in 1999, Mr Gates said that its most important role was in Afghanistan."

"'CIA had important successes in covert action. Perhaps the most consequential of all was Afghanistan where CIA, with its management, funneled billions of dollars in supplies and weapons to the Mujahideen, and the resistance was thus able to fight the vaunted Soviet army to a standoff and eventually force a political decision to withdraw,' he said."

Now according to McChrystal the same Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who was cultivated and sponsored by McChrystal's current boss, Gates, is in charge of one of the three groups the Pentagon and NATO are waging ever-escalating counterinsurgency operations in South Asia against.

To make matters even more intriguing, former British foreign secretary Robin Cook - as loyal a pro-American Atlanticist as exists - conceded in the Guardian on July 8, 2005 that "Bin Laden was...a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally 'the database', was originally the computer file of the thousands of Mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians."

Russian analyst and vice president of the Center for Political Technologies Sergey Mikheev was quoted in early September as contending that "Afghanistan is a stage in the division of the world after the bipolar system failed. They [U.S. and NATO] wanted to consolidate their grip on Eurasia...and deployed a lot of troops there. The Taliban card was played, although nobody had been interested in the Taliban before." [7]

Pentagon chief Gates' 27 years in the CIA, including his tenure as director of the agency from 1991-1993, is being brought to bear on the Afghan war according to the Los Angeles Times of September 19, 2009, which revealed that "The CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence 'surge' that will make its station there among the largest in the agency's history, U.S. officials say."

"When complete, the CIA's presence in the country is expected to rival the size of its massive stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. Precise numbers are classified, but one U.S. official said the agency already has nearly 700 employees in Afghanistan."

"The intelligence expansion goes beyond the CIA to involve every major spy service, officials said, including the National Security Agency, which intercepts calls and e-mails, as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency, which tracks military threats."

U.S. and NATO Commander McChrystal will put the CIA to immediate use in his plans for an all-out counterinsurgency campaign. The Los Angeles Times article added:

"McChrystal is expected to expand the use of teams that combine CIA operatives with special operations soldiers. In Iraq, where he oversaw the special operations forces from 2003 to 2008, McChrystal used such teams to speed up the cycle of gathering intelligence and carrying out raids aimed at killing or capturing insurgents."

"The CIA is also carrying out an escalating campaign of unmanned Predator missile strikes on Al Qaeda and insurgent strongholds in Pakistan. The number of strikes so far this year, 37, already exceeds the 2008 total, according to data compiled by the Long War Journal website, which tracks Predator strikes in Pakistan."

Indeed, on September 13 it was reported that "Two NATO fighter jets reportedly flew inside Pakistan's airspace for nearly two hours on Saturday."

"The airspace violation took place in different parts of the Khyber Agency bordering the Afghan border." [8]

Two days later "NATO fighter jets in Afghanistan...violated Pakistani airspace and dropped bombs on the country's northwest region."

"NATO warplanes bombed the South Waziristan tribal region....Moreover, CIA operated spy drone planes continued low-altitude flights in several towns of the Waziristan region." [9]

The dramatic upsurge in CIA deployments in South Asia won't be limited to Afghanistan. Neighboring Pakistan will be further overrun by U.S. intelligence operatives also.

On September 12 a petition was filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan contesting the announced expansion of the U.S. embassy in the nation's capital.

"Pakistani media have been reporting that the United States plans to deploy a large number of marines with the plan to expand its embassy in Islamabad." [10]

The challenge was organized by Barrister Zafarullah Khan, who "said that Saudi Arabia was also trying to get 700,000 acres (283,400 hectares) of land in the country."

He was quoted on the day of the presentation of the petition as warning "Giving away Pakistani land to U.S. and Arab countries in this fashion is a threat for the stability and sovereignty of the country" and "further added that the purpose of giving the land to U.S. embassy was to establish an American military base...there."

"He maintained that such a big land was enough even to construct a military airport." [11]

Intelligence personnel and special forces are being matched by military equipment in the intensification of the West's war in South Asia.

On September 10 Reuters revealed in an article titled "U.S. eyes military equipment in Iraq for Pakistan" that "The Pentagon has proposed transferring U.S. military equipment from Iraq to Pakistani security forces to help Islamabad step up its offensive against the Taliban...."

A U.S. armed forces publication a few days afterward wrote that "U.S. hardware is moving out of Iraq by the ton, much of it going straight to the overstretched forces in increasingly volatile Afghanistan" and "The U.S. military has already started moving an estimated 1.5 million pieces of equipment - everything from batteries to tanks - by ground, rail and air either to Afghanistan for immediate use...." [12]

In the middle of this month "U.S. military leaders infused Gen. Stanley McChrystal's ideas of how to win the war in Afghanistan" by conducting a large-scale counterinsurgency exercise in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

"Dozens of Pashtun speakers joined more than 6,500 U.S. troops and civilians in an exercise for the Afghanistan-bound 173rd Airborne Brigade and Iraq-bound 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. It was the largest such exercise ever held by the U.S. military outside of the United States...." [13]

The Pentagon and NATO have their work cut out for them.

"A security map by the London-based International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) showed a deepening security crisis with substantial Taliban activity in at least 97 percent of the war-ravaged country."

"The Council added that the militants now have a permanent presence in 80 percent of the country." [14]

The United States is not alone in sinking deeper into the Afghan morass.

On September 14 U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, in celebrating the "resilience and deep-seated support from our allies for what is happening in Afghanistan," was equally enthusiastic in proclaiming "Over 40 percent of the body bags that leave Afghanistan do not go to the U.S. They go to other countries...." [15]

Daalder also gave the lie to earlier claims that NATO troop increases leading up to last month's presidential election were temporary in nature by acknowledging that "Many of the extra troops that NATO countries sent to Afghanistan for the August presidential elections would stay on." [16]

Leading up to the Washington Post's publication of the McChrystal assessment, NATO's Military Committee held a two-day conference in Lisbon, Portugal which was attended by McChrystal and NATO's two Strategic Commanders, Admiral Stavridis (Supreme Allied Commander, Operations) and General Abrial (Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation) which "focused mainly on the operation in Afghanistan and on the New Strategic Concept." [17]

The 28 NATO defense chiefs present laid a wreath to the Alliance's first war dead, those killed in Afghanistan.

Earlier this month the Washington Post reported that "The U.S. military and NATO are launching a major overhaul of the way they recruit, train and equip Afghanistan's security forces," an announcement that came "in advance of expected recommendations by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal." [18]

The article quoted Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee:

"We're going to need many more trainers, hopefully including a much larger number of NATO trainers. We're going to need a surge of equipment that is coming out of Iraq and, instead of coming home, a great deal of it should be going to Afghanistan instead." [19]

According to the same report, this month NATO will "will establish a new command led by a three-star military officer to oversee recruiting and generating Afghan forces."

"The goal is to 'bring more coherence' to uncoordinated efforts by NATO contingents in Afghanistan while underscoring that the mission 'is not just America's challenge'..." [20]

Contributing to its quota of body bags, NATO has experienced losses in Afghanistan that have reached record levels. "According to the icasualties website, 363 foreign soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year, compared to 294 for all of 2008." [21]

This month Britain lost its 216th soldier in the nearly eight-year war. Canada lost its 131st. Denmark its 25th. Italy its 20th. Poland, where a recent poll showed 81 percent support for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, its 12th.

Russian ambassador to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, who had been in the nation in the 1980s, was cited by Associated Press on September 12 as reflecting that in 2002 the U.S. had 5,000 troops in the nation and "Taliban controlled just a small corner of the country's southeast."

"Now we have Taliban fighting in the peaceful Kunduz and Baghlan (provinces) with your (NATO's) 100,000 troops. And if this trend is the rule, if you bring 200,000 soldiers here, all of Afghanistan will be under the Taliban."

Associated Press also cited Kabulov's concern that "the U.S. and its allies are competing with Russia for influence in the energy-rich region....Afghanistan remains a strategic prize because of its location near the gas and oil fields of Iran, the Caspian Sea, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf."

He also said "Russia has questions about NATO's intentions in Afghanistan, which...lies outside of the alliance's 'political domain'" and "Moscow is concerned that NATO is building permanent bases in the region."

The concerns are legitimate in light of this month's latest quadrennial report by the Pentagon on security threats which "put emerging superpower China and former Cold War foe Russia alongside Iran and North Korea on a list of the four main nations challenging American interests." [22]

At the same time a U.S. military newspaper reported on statements by Pentagon chief Robert Gates:

"Gates said the roughly $6.5 billion he has proposed to upgrade the [Air Force] fleet assures U.S. domination of the skies for decades."

"By the time China produces its first - 5th generation - fighter, he said, the U.S. will have more than 1,000 F-22s and F-35s. And while the U.S. conducted 35,000 refueling missions last year, Russia performed about 30."

"The secretary also highlighted new efforts to support robust space and cyber commands, as well as the new Global Strike Command that oversees the nuclear arsenal."

To add to Russian and Chinese apprehensions about NATO's role in South and Central Asia, ten days ago the U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, which borders Russia and China, "offered to Kazakhstan to take part in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan."

At the opening ceremony of the NATO Steppe Eagle-2009 military exercises in that nation envoy Richard Hoagland said "Kazakhstan may again become part of the international NATO peacekeeping force in Afghanistan." [24]

Radio Free Europe reported on September 16 that NATO was to sign new agreements with Kyrgyzstan, which also borders China, for the use of the Manas Air Base that as many as 200,000 U.S. and NATO troops have passed through since the beginning of the Afghan war.

On the same day NATO' plans for expanding transit routes through the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region were described. "[T]he air corridor through Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is the most feasible."

"This route will be best suited if ISAF transport planes fly directly to Baku from Turkey or any other NATO member....Moreover, it [Azerbaijan] is not a CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] member, which allows Azerbaijan more freedom for maneuver in the region when dealing with NATO." [25]

Just as troops serving under NATO command in the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan now include those from almost fifty countries on five continents, so the broadening scope of the war is absorbing vaster tracts of Eurasia and the Middle East.

America's longest armed conflict since that in Indochina and NATO's first ground war threatens to not only remain the world's most dangerous conflagration but also one that plunges the 21st Century into a war without end.


1) New York Times, February 16, 1989

2) Radio Netherlands, September 12, 2009

3) Associated Press, September 15, 2009

4) Reuters, September 19, 2009

5) Ibid

6) BBC News, December 1, 2008

7) Russia Today, September 7, 2009

8) Asian News International, September 13, 2009

9) Press TV, September 15, 2009

10) Xinhua News, September 12, 2009

11) Ibid

12) Stars and Stripes, September 19, 2009

13) Stars and Stripes, September 13, 2009

14) Trend News Agency, September 11, 2009

15) Reuters, September 14, 2009

16) Ibid

17) NATO, September 20, 2009

18) The Washington Post, September 12, 2009

19) Ibid

20) Ibid

21) Agence France-Presse, September 22, 2009

22) Agence France-Presse, September 15, 2009

23) Stars and Stripes, September 16, 2009

24) Interfax, September 14, 2009

25) Jamestown Foundation, Eurasia Daily Monitor, September 16, 2009

Editor's Comment:

It has become painfully obvious that despite the election of Barack Obama who was billed as a "peace (albeit weak) candidate", there is no evidence that the United States intends to end its empire any time soon. Despite a massive national debt, record breaking budget deficit, shrinking middle class, and almost non-existent manufacturing base, the elites who control foreign and domestic policy are currently positioning the country for a full-scale conflagration in the Middle East and Eurasia. This is extremely dangerous especially in light of the Obama administration's reaction to the latest disclosure that Iran has proceeded with the development of another nuclear facility. While Iran's nuclear capabilities in no way threaten the American continent now or any time soon, it is clear that Iran has become the new threat by which an increasingly belligerent military posture will be justified. In addition to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the possibility of military action against Iran grows ever larger by the day.

This is an exceedingly dangerous time. Pakistan has functional nuclear weapons which could be detonated even if by mistake given the instability which now exists as a result of US bombing in that country. For Roman Catholics who are aware that Our Lady of Fatima predicted the annihilation of many nations if Russia was not consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart (which has yet to be done), all of these developments are indeed sobering.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert