31 December 2009

New Year

A Happy Peaceful New Year to all. It won't be, but who can stop us wishing?

Not a Good Day for Terrorists

Yesterday wasn't a good day for the terrorists. While 8 were killed in Afghanistan, and one of the terrorist state's major propagandists was taken to hospital.

UPDATE: It now appears that the suicide bomber "was being courted as an informant and had been invited onto the base", the very same base "was at the heart of a covert program overseeing strikes by the agency's remote-controlled aircraft along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border". The number of CIA terrorists killed has been 'reduced' to 7 rather strangely, but includes the base chief and 6 other terrorists were wounded.

UPDATE II: There were 8 deaths, but only 7 were CIA. The 8th person was apparently a Jordanian spy.

UPDATE III: We now hear that the person who exploded the bomb was a Jordanian 'double triple agent' and the "U.S. military's intelligence chief in Afghanistan sharply criticized the work of U.S. spy agencies there on Monday, calling them ignorant and out of touch with the Afghan people." So, what's new?

Check out Piler's latest article "Welcome to Orwell’s world": "Obama's lies over the Afghanistan war remind us of the lessons of Nineteen Eighty-Four"

Also check out Gareth Porter's exposé:

"US intelligence has concluded that the document published recently by the Times of London, which purportedly describes an Iranian plan to do experiments on what the newspaper described as a "neutron initiator" for an atomic weapon, is a fabrication, according to a former Central Intelligence Agency official.
Philip Giraldi, who was a CIA counterterrorism official from 1976 to 1992, told me that intelligence sources say that the United States had nothing to do with forging the document, and that Israel is the primary suspect. The sources do not rule out a British role in the fabrication, however."

According to the Times again, 'SS western troops' executed "10 Afghan civilians, including children"...

Thanks to Borev for pointing out the Uribe v Chavez chess set where Uribe's "rooks are represented by U.S. government aircraft platforms."

I wish a Pèaceful New Year to all!

24 December 2009

You couldn't make this stuff up!

AFP reports (is it really a French agency? It so faithfully reflects US propaganda...) :

"The United States on Wednesday accused Iran of increasingly behaving like a "police state" after Iranian security forces clashed anew with protesters."

Of course, in the US police never 'clash' with protesters, do they?

13 December 2009

BBB - Big Brother Britain (Part 1984)

Not content with the continued erosion of civil liberties in Britain, the police now want to control nursery children in case they have become radical extremists, according to the Telegraph. I presume they think the 4 year olds will strap on a suicide bomb and blow up those fair-haired English 'angels'.

"In the West Midlands on officer with the counter terrorism unit wrote to community groups warning: "I do hope that you will tell me about persons of whatever age, you think may have been radicalised or be vulnerable to radicalisation ... Evidence suggests that radicalisation can take place from the age of four."..."He said the indicators were they [children] might draw pictures of bombs and say things like 'all Christians are bad' or that they believed in an Islamic state. It seems nursery teachers in the West Midlands are being asked to look out for radicalisation."

George Orwell is being proved more prophetic every day.

09 December 2009

Honduran elections exposed

"Honduran coup regime's claims about 60% turnout at free and fair elections is revealed as fraud. Also implicated in the video are the wide array of media outlets and governments that have unquestioningly accepted the electoral data of a regime that overthrew the last elected president."

01 December 2009

Chris Hedges: Addicted to Nonsense

Another fine commentary from Chris Hedges:

"Will Tiger Woods finally talk to the police? Who will replace Oprah? (Not that Oprah can ever be replaced, of course.) And will Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the couple who crashed President Barack Obama’s first state dinner, command the hundreds of thousands of dollars they want for an exclusive television interview? Can Levi Johnston, father of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s grandson, get his wish to be a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars”?
The chatter that passes for news, the gossip that is peddled by the windbags on the airwaves, the noise that drowns out rational discourse, and the timidity and cowardice of what is left of the newspaper industry reflect our flight into collective insanity. We stand on the cusp of one of the most seismic and disturbing dislocations in human history, one that is radically reconfiguring our economy as it is the environment, and our obsessions revolve around the trivial and the absurd.
What really matters in our lives—the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the steady deterioration of the dollar, the mounting foreclosures, the climbing unemployment, the melting of the polar ice caps and the awful reality that once the billions in stimulus money run out next year we will be bereft and broke—doesn’t fit into the cheerful happy talk that we mainline into our brains. We are enraptured by the revels of a dying civilization. Once reality shatters the airy edifice, we will scream and yell like petulant children to be rescued, saved and restored to comfort and complacency. There will be no shortage of demagogues, including buffoons like Sarah Palin, who will oblige. We will either wake up to face our stark new limitations, to retreat from imperial projects and discover a new simplicity, as well as a new humility, or we will stumble blindly toward catastrophe and neofeudalism."

continues at link.

New IDF unit to fight enemies on Facebook, Twitter

So yet another propaganda offensive by the nazis Israeli armed forces. What these schmucks don't seem to realise is that there are so many "hostile entities on the Web" not because we have all been brainwashed by superior anti-Israeli propagandists, but because of the continuous genocide and ethnic cleansing they are carrying out in a cowadly, sneaky attempt to steal settle someone else's land.

"The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's Office is to begin drafting computer experts with an eye toward establishing an Internet and new media department unit, Army Spokesman Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu said Monday.

Speaking at the Eilat Journalists Conference, Benayahu said the new department would focus on the Internet's social media networks mainly to reach an international audience directly rather than through the regular media.

The new unit, as well as an initiative by the Information and Diaspora Ministry to train people to represent Israel independently on the Internet and in other arenas, were presented Monday at the conference during a panel discussion on Israeli public relations abroad.

Responding to criticism of Israel's ability to face hostile entities on the Web, Benayahu said the new program would be able to deal with the problem. He said that from each group drafted to the Army Spokesman's Office, between eight to 10 young people who are experts in Web 2.0 - YouTube, Facebook and Twitter - to be identified before induction, would be assigned to the new department. The new recruits would be put to work in the new media unit after undergoing a general Army Spokesman's Unit training course."

That course presumably will be called "How to lie like a professional politician"

This comment caught my eye "The IDF hopes to show other sides of the army less familiar to the world, such as women's service."

Women's service eh? Presumably we'll hear more about the crisis centre "to combat sexual harassment in the army". I mean just look what heppened to that poor woman soldier who had the misfortune to enter the former Justice Ministers office.

They might even consider opening the crisis centre to include staff of the President's office too. I remember the NYT headline from nearly 3 years ago: "Israel to Indict President on Sex Charges" - "The attorney general of Israel plans to indict President Moshe Katsav on charges of rape and other sexual offenses, the Justice Ministry announced Tuesday, in what would be the most serious criminal case involving a senior Israeli official" which ultimately led to "Israel's president resigns over sex crimes".

30 November 2009

The Sham Elections in Honduras or Honduras: Elections as coup laundering

Over at the Center for International Policy's website 'Plan Colombia & Beyond', was a pretty good piece "3 reasons not to recognize the Honduran elections":

The reasons cited are:

"1. The people who carried out the June 28 coup will have gotten exactly what they wanted...The message will be that “crime does pay...Elites throughout the region who are unhappy with elected leaders (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Paraguay come to mind, but there are several others) will view the U.S. government recognition of tomorrow’s elections as a capitulation. They will know that if they pull off a coup of their own, the United States’ opposition will be brittle and quickly reversed upon the slightest pretext.
(DS: All this from a country that is waging several wars at the same time to supposedly 'restore democracy'! This same country invaded Haiti with an operation called 'Uphold Democracy' which was "a response to the overthrow and expulsion of the duly elected government of Haiti by a military coup.")
2. The conditions for a fair vote were not in place. Determining the legitimacy of elections requires more than just observing what happens on election day. In the months before the voting, were some parties or candidates unable to assemble, organize and campaign peacefully? Did they have difficulty gaining fair access to the media? Were supporters of some candidates or political tendencies subject to official repression? Here are links to several eyewitness reports indicating that the answer to these questions is “yes.” Honduras’s 2009 election campaign took place in a climate of fear in which media outlets were shuttered, candidates were put at unfair disadvantages, political activists were intimidated, and examples of military repression were frequent.
3. Recognizing the elections will put the United States at odds with most of the hemisphere."

Plan Colombia and Beyond then links to another interesting article in FP of all places by George Vickers of the Open Society Institute: "The Sham Elections in Honduras", which lays the basis for their 3 reasons.

These followed an article by Bill Van Auken at the WSWS "Washington endorses gunpoint election in Honduras"

Also worth checking out the Real News report "Honduras: Elections as coup laundering":

The fact is that now everybody in Latin America hates the U.S. again over this: "They really thought he was different," said Julia Sweig of the Council on Foreign Relations, referring to Latin America's view of Mr. Obama, adding, "But those hopes were dashed over the course of the summer."

Its also extremely interesting that this disgusting episode (yes, yet another in a long line of US crimes) shows that money makes policy not Obama: CIP again " Back in September, the Obama administration’s State Department declared that the U.S. government could not recognize the elections’ result under those circumstances.(after a coup ejected President Manuel Zelaya and a military-backed interim government took over in Tegucigalpa)"

Now after pressure from corruptors lobbyists with loads of dosh, that is all water under the bridge.

The British and US press as usual are giving full credence to the golpistas' claims of a high turnout, as are some of the more gullible bloggers. There are others however, who report that there were problems with the computers just as they were tallying the votes. Hmm. We also read that "President Zelaya did a quick calculation and figured out that if the coup electoral authorities are telling the truth, i.e. that 1.7 million votes had been counted and this corresponded to 61.3 percent of the total voters, then a 100% turnout would have corresponded to 2.8 million voters, 600,000 more than were registered."

29 November 2009

Where stands Tony Blair’s case for war now?

There were six linked issues facing the PM - and he had to be sure of each one in turn before he could legally and legitimately commit to military action. Brian Brady investigates:

Chilcot inquiry graphic -

17 November 2009

The Media As Enablers of Government Lies

"Why do politicians so easily get away with telling lies?"

James Bovard explains:

"...because the news media are more interested in bonding with politicians than in exposing them"

read on...

The Media As Enablers of Government Lies

04 November 2009

Chomsky on BBC's Hardtalk

Sackur shows himself up as an intellectual donkey and completely out of his depth. When an interviewer speaks for more time than the interviewed what does that tell you?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

29 October 2009

Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion - The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

About Chris Hedges:

"Chris Hedges, whose column is published on Truthdig.org every Monday, spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He served for eight years as the Middle East bureau chief of The New York Times, where he shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism, for coverage of terrorism. Hedges also received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism.

In 2009 the Los Angeles Press Club honored the original columns that Hedges writes for Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year and granting him the Best Online Column award for his Truthdig essay “Party to Murder,” about the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza.

Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He has written nine books, including “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best-selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.Hedges, who holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a master of divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School, is fluent in Arabic and also speaks French, Spanish, Greek and Latin."

Blogger Wilton Vought on whose site (Essential Dissent) the videos are posted, writes:

"This video should be required viewing for all progressives who continue to vote for the lesser fascist. Can we just get over this already? Can we get real? Can we come to a true understanding of the situation? Can we stop believing that the oligarchy is going to play Santa Claus, hand us a great big present in the form of a savior politician, and voluntarily relinquish its immense power and privilege? Has your little lesser fascist voting game taken you where you want to go? It is said that the essence of insanity is to perform the same action repeatedly and expect a different result. Can you admit that your actions meet this definition? It's time to build an alternative. Will you be part of the problem or part of the solution?"

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Also check out Wilton Vought's article "The Evil of Two Lessers" written last year before Obama became President.

"A few points to consider:

1. Anyone who succeeds in becoming the presumptive Presidential nominee of either corporate party does so only with the blessing of the corporate interests who run those parties. The main goal of these power brokers is to constantly increase their wealth and power, and their only source of dissatisfaction with the status quo is that they don't yet own and control everything and everyone. Expecting a front man for such interests to be a catalyst for substantive progressive change is akin to believing in Santa Claus. Fine for the kids, but it's time to grow up.

2. Obama's mantra of "Change" is deliberately misleading. It is a blank slate upon which he hopes you will write the message you want to see. Yes, we all want change, but what type of change? He won't tell you this because it's an empty promise, therefore the vacuous slogan. This slogan is an admission by Obama's corporate handlers that they know many of us are disgusted with the state of the nation, but instead of spelling out in detail just how they will institute progressive change (for example, ending the corporate resource grab in Iraq), they offer us a blank slate candidate who will continue on the same deadly trajectory. Can you admit to yourself that you already knew this?

3. One of Obama's main foreign policy advisers is Zbigniew Brzezinski, a very dangerous zealot for the Empire. You can Google him to find out more, and then ask yourself if this is the kind of person you want whispering into the ear of the President, and further if you should vote for a man who would listen to the likes of Mr. Brzezinski." continues at link. Read it!

Honduras - 100 Days of Resistance

Fault Lines report for Al Jazeera:

"It has been more than 100 days since Honduras underwent only the second coup in Central America since the end of the Cold War.

The crisis has been portrayed as a personal standoff between Manuel Zelaya, the president who was flown out of the country in his pajamas at gunpoint, and Roberto Micheletti, the man who was sworn into power that very same day.

As the country moves haltingly toward elections scheduled for the end of November, Fault Lines travelled to Honduras to learn more, and found that the polarisations run deeper and wider than an easy narrative of political rivalry.

We ask what Honduras means for the tectonic shifts underway in Latin America, the influence of Hugo Chavez and the emerging policies of the Obama administration.

Honduras is a country divided by economic disparity, and members of the tiny group of families that hold the country in their powerful grip speak to Fault Lines.

Social movements are also mobilising in the streets, standing up to repression not just to bring their president back, but to re-found their nation on more equal terms."

Part One:

Part Two:

26 October 2009

Withheld In Full - Episode 1: Morley V. CIA

A decade-long investigative journey led to a still-pending lawsuit by former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley against the CIA. At the center of this lawsuit was the CIA's stonewalling of Morley's investigation of George Joannides, a charismatic career CIA officer, who in 1963 was the case officer for the DRE, a Cuban exile group who had numerous encounters with Lee Harvey Oswald in the months prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy - and who, in 1978, was brought out of retirement by the CIA to compromise the investigation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

For more information, including audio interviews, court documents, and a collection of Morley's writings and relevant primary resource material, please visit

Withheld In Full: Episode 1 - Morley V. CIA
A Film by Tyler Weaver

Thanks to Machetera's posting "
Jefferson Morley’s struggle to find the truth about George Joannides and the CIA’s fight to hide it".

And what has prompted all this? Probably this NYT article from 16 October: "
C.I.A. Is Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery":

Jefferson Morley, a journalist and author, on Oct. 8 in his office in Washington with documents released to him by the C.I.A.

George Joannides, center, in July 1981, with his wife, Violet, and Bobby R. Inman, deputy director of the C.I.A.

"Is the Central Intelligence Agency covering up some dark secret about the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Probably not. But you would not know it from the C.I.A.’s behavior.

For six years, the agency has fought in federal court to keep secret hundreds of documents from 1963, when an anti-Castro Cuban group it paid clashed publicly with the soon-to-be assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. The C.I.A. says it is only protecting legitimate secrets. But because of the agency’s history of stonewalling assassination inquiries, even researchers with no use for conspiracy thinking question its stance.

The files in question, some released under direction of the court and hundreds more that are still secret, involve the curious career of George E. Joannides, the case officer who oversaw the dissident Cubans in 1963. In 1978, the agency made Mr. Joannides the liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations — but never told the committee of his earlier role.

That concealment has fueled suspicion that Mr. Joannides’s real assignment was to limit what the House committee could learn about C.I.A. activities. The agency’s deception was first reported in 2001 by Jefferson Morley, who has doggedly pursued the files ever since, represented by James H. Lesar, a Washington lawyer specializing in Freedom of Information Act lawsuits." continues at link.

19 October 2009

ElBaradei: Iran's Nuclear 'Threat' Exaggerated

"The threat in Iran's nuclear program is exaggerated. I do not think that we will wake up tomorrow and discover that Iran has a nuclear weapon," he said in an interview with the Austrian Die Presse published on Sunday.

"[US] President Barack Obama has understood that negotiation is the only possible solution with Iran... Iran wants to discuss not only the nuclear issue, but also the entire palette of problems with the US. Iran can play an important, central role in the Near East; in Afghanistan or also in Iraq," the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize laureate continued.

The greatest danger in the region, according to ElBaradei, comes from the possibility of an Israeli air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"Bombing Iran is not the solution. An Israeli attack would turn the entire region into a fireball," he said. "

ElBaradei: Iran?s Nuclear ?Threat? Exaggerated -- News from Antiwar.com

On Her Majesty's Service: Richard Ralph and Monterrico Metals: 'British mining company faces damages claim after allegations of torture in Peru'

"British mining company faces damages claim after allegations of torture in Peru". So reads the headline from the Guardian's main article.

But one has to go the Guardian Environment pages to find the full story though:

"The British mining corporation Monterrico's plan was to create Peru's second largest copper mine at Rio Blanco, a vast site in the Huancabamba mountains in the north-west of the country...the mine in the province of Piura was to have increased output by around a quarter, producing exports worth up to $1bn (£600m) a year for the next 20 years.
In law, the corporation was required to obtain the consent of two-thirds of the local population before embarking on mining but – with the apparent encouragement of the government – it tried to press ahead without it This resulted in a series of violent confrontations.
In August 2005, a group of protesters marched to the mine to find police waiting for them. Twenty-eight of the protesters say they were detained, hooded with hands tied behind their backs, beaten with sticks and whipped.
Hundreds of people had converged on the mine from communities scattered across the region. Some had walked for several days to reach the site. Once there, they say, they were attacked by the mine's security guards and by contingents of the Peruvian federal police firing teargas.
Two protesters were shot in their legs, one man lost an eye to gunshot wounds and a farmer called Melanio Garcia, 41, suffered a fatal gunshot. Photographs allegedly taken by a Monterrico supervisor, which the protesters say support their allegations of abuse by the police, show Garcia lying on the ground, apparently alive but badly injured. Several other pictures taken 30 hours later, according to their time and date stamps, clearly show Garcia to be dead."
Monterrico Metals is, as Otto at IKN writes "the company is getting its ass sued in a British court of law for multimillions" as according to the Guardian:

"Richard Meeran, of Leigh Day, the London law firm bringing the high court case, said the evidence of torture was incontrovertible and that it was inconceivable the company could have been unaware of what was happening on its site.
"The company must have been aware of the inhuman treatment of the victims during their three-day ordeal at the Rio Blanco mine," he said. "Yet there is no evidence of it taking any steps to prevent the harm. On the contrary, it would appear that the company was working in cahoots with the police. It is vital that multinationals are held legally accountable for human rights violations occurring at their overseas operations."
This is where the name Richard Ralph crops up:

"Richard Ralph, the British ambassador in Lima at the time of the incident, later resigned from the diplomatic service and joined Monterrico as executive chairman. He expressed the firm's deep regret for what had happened, and has since resigned. The company was bought by a Chinese consortium in 2007, but is still incorporated in London. It has yet to extract any copper from the mine."

But the Guardian fails to inform its readers that Ralph has form:

According to Sky News:

Just in November last year (2008) he was "handed a hefty fine" by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for "a serious example of insider dealing by a person in a key position of responsibility and trust."

"Richard Ralph, who was Britain's official representative in Peru, Romania and Latvia during his diplomatic career, was told he must pay the Financial Services Authority (FSA) £118,000 for insider trading."

Why weren't criminal proceedings taken against him?

"FSA director of enforcement Margaret Cole said Boyen and Ralph had co-operated fully with its investigation "by coming forward and providing us with information about market misconduct and as such we were more lenient.
"But for that co-operation, we would have seriously considered taking criminal proceedings," she said."
But as The Times Business Editor David Wighton put it:

"Financial regulators had a rare opportunity to show that they are serious about cracking down on insider dealing. They fluffed it. By ducking a criminal prosecution of Richard Ralph, a former ambassador, the Financial Services Authority risks playing into the hands of the sceptics who believe the practice is not really a crime, especially when the perpetrators are establishment figures.
The FSA argues that it decided against a criminal prosecution because Mr Ralph confessed and co-operated fully. There is some substance to this. Occasional leniency might help to elicit confessions from culprits who would otherwise try to brazen things out. But insider dealing is rampant and getting worse, according to the FSA's own figures.
The occasional minnow is brought to book, but rarely a figure of the stature of Mr Ralph. Nothing would have enhanced the reputation of the FSA as a credible crime-fighting agency more than a scalp such as his."
[Note also the wording in the Sky report (in fact, the reason for his retirement from the Diplomatic Service was to join the firm as executive chairman.):
"It was when Ralph was serving in Peru that he established close links with British mining company Monterrico Metals, which operated in the South American country. He joined the firm as executive chairman in 2006 after retiring from the Diplomatic Service."]
Sky News also tells us: "It is not the first time Ralph has hit the headlines - he was also involved in the Mittal "steelgate" affair when he served as Britain's ambassador to Romania."
For the full story check out Ten Percent's blog posting from January this year: "Torture, Majaz Mine & UK Ambassador Richard Ralph" and Otto at IKN here.

Economist José de Echave of Peruvian NGO CooperAcción put it like this "The fact that a British ambassador who gave professional services in Peru, ends up being a top executive of a mining company, using his contacts, demonstrates the lack of moral quality of this type of personality and it clearly shows how the business of these mining companies is handled."
(CooperAcción is a "Peruvian non-governmental organization that promotes community development and the recognition of communities' economic, social, cultural and environmental rights." They work "directly with communities affected by commercial mining operations and with communities engaged in artisanal mining.")

16 October 2009

Core Of Corruption - The Film

Core of Corruption is a documentary film series which details a comprehensive investigation into clandestine intelligence operations and conspiracies. The project is surfacing exclusive whistle blowers, insiders and critical evidence for the very first time. Over 2,000 hours of credible network news clips have been surfaced for this ground breaking event, most of which have never been seen since they aired and have never been available on the internet. Some of the video news segments for this project, when requested from the networks, were denied access to and corporate representatives would say that the information sought does not exist or has been misplaced. Someone doesn’t want the public to see these stories, that when put together, establish a conspiracy of the magnitude that could change the way one views the world. Countless millions of people are being manipulated and lied to by a network of individuals within government that work on behalf of private interests. The individuals were involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Many of those same figures are are connected to historical events that have shaped our understanding of government crime. For instance, the Iran Contra affair involved many figures that showed up in the 9/11 attacks.«

This is the first part:

One can watch in parts at YouTube or watch the complete version here:
Core of Corruption

06 October 2009

The crisis will deepen, we need real news

Paul Jay of The Real News speaks at the Von Krahl Academy, Estonia in November 2008:

05 October 2009

Simon Tisdall - dishonest intelligence stooge?

Text of letter sent to Simon Tisdall, Guardian Editor and Guardian Reader's Editor:

Mr Tisdall,

Just thought I'd drop you this line to let you know that I do not, unfortunately for you, believe a word you write - if it is you that actually writes the propaganda drivel masquerading as factual news that appears under your name in the Observer/Guardian.

On 22 May 2007, you claimed, on the front page no less, that Iran was "secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal".

A feature of this piece was the sources you used: "US officials say", "a senior US official in Baghdad warned", "US officials now say", "the senior official in Baghdad said", "The administration official", "US officials say", "the senior administration official said", "the official claimed". This continued throughout the whole article giving the impression that you had basically retouched the punctuation of a US propaganda hand out.

As John Pilger correctly comments in his latest article for the New Statesman "Based on unsubstantiated claims by the Pentagon, the writer Simon Tisdall presented as fact an Iranian "plan" to wage war on, and defeat, US forces in Iraq by September of that year — a demonstrable falsehood for which there has been no retraction. The official jargon for this kind of propaganda is “psy-ops”, the military term for psychological operations. In the Pentagon and Whitehall, it has become a critical component of a diplomatic and military campaign to blockade, isolate and weaken Iran by hyping its “nuclear threat”: a phrase now used incessantly by Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, and parroted by the BBC and other broadcasters as objective news. And it is fake."

Your more recent attempts to convince the public to support yet another military aggression in the Middle East, with the millions of innocent lives that would be lost as a result, are just as sinister. Last week you claimed that Iran had been "caught red-handed...by the forced disclosure". I beg your pardon? You condemn Iran for doing its job, declaring a facility to the IAEA and inviting its inspectors in! And the conclusion you reach is that they've "been caught lying, again"? Incredible from someone supposed to be unbiased.

Yesterday you continued in the same vein, writing of "disclosures concerning Iran's alleged attempts to design a nuclear warhead to be mounted on its Shahab long-range missiles that are capable of striking Israel and some European countries." You continue with some conspiracy theory about how the IAEA is hiding this information from the public "for fear of increasing international tensions."

Your source for this claim was the NYT, but you didn't pass on their caveat: "its conclusions are tentative and subject to further confirmation of the evidence, which it says came from intelligence agencies...".

Why not? This is outrageous, yet again, presenting as fact unsubstantiated claims. Neither was there any mention of El Baradei's recent statement reported by your own newspaper that there is "no credible evidence" that Iran is developing nuclear weapons".

Why was the caveat in the New York Times not repeated?

01 October 2009

The lying game or WMD All Over Again

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger compares the current drum-beating for war against Iran, based on a fake "nuclear threat", with the manufacture of a sense of false crisis that led to invasion of Iraq and the deaths of 1.3 million people.

It's not only Pilger though who's denouncing the British, American and Israeli lies trying to push us all once again into yet another war of aggression.

There's also Phillip Giraldi (WMD All Over Again) who shows just how co-ordinated an effort there is really going on in the US, specifically the media - Washington Post - and across the political divide. He also reveals what the ulterior motive for sanctions really is: "sanctions are an extremely blunt instrument. In practice they never work and only solidify support for a rogue regime, witness Cuba. Once sanctions are in place negotiations cease, virtually guaranteeing a slide to war, which is precisely what Howard Berman and The Washington Post would like to see develop." And Washington, London and Tel Aviv...

He finishes "Remember the WMD, pilotless drones, chemical weapon labs, and mushroom clouds? The same song is being sung again, but this time everyone should recognize a con job when they see it coming."

Then there's Glenn Greenwald (Talking about Iran on the TV) who debated on MSNBC with Washington Post Editorial Page writer Jonathan Capehart ("fresh back from Israel" - where he presumable refined his talking points...well, refined may not accurately describe those comments, but anyway) and Arianna Huffington:

It's important to note Greenwald's comments that "the entire time when I was speaking, MSNBC was flashing scary video of Iran testing its missiles (though it omitted video of this and this), interspersed with this melodramatic and frightening caption:

It’s genuinely hard to overstate the effect of visuals like this, transmitted over and over and over to a population."

Greenwald leads us to Scott Ritter's interview on Democracy Now (Politically Motivated Hype). Scott Ritter was former UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-1998:

"Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has a complete inspection regime conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency. It’s not been found to be in noncompliance. And yet, here we are condemning Iran for doing its job, declaring a facility, inviting inspectors in. And the conclusion it’s reached from this? That they’re producing nuclear weapons. This is politically motivated hype designed to create a situation this coming Thursday that will find the United States unable to reach any sort of agreement with Iran about its nuclear program.
if you’re the Iranians and you make a decision that you strategically require an additional source of energy, such as nuclear energy, to supplement your domestic energy usage so that you free up your oil production and gas production for exportation, so you can earn money, this is a big deal. This isn’t insignificant. And so, you’re building this capability. Israel and the United States say they want to bomb it. What do you do?

Well, the first thing you do is you build redundancy, and that’s what this new Qom facility represents. It’s redundancy. It’s a backup to the Natanz primary facility. Again, it’s been declared, no nuclear material has been diverted. But it’s there as a backup. The second thing you do is you fire off missiles in a warning that you have an inherent right and capability of self-defense.

Israel launched a massive air exercise last year, in which it demonstrated the ability to fly hundreds of aircraft, you know, the distance necessary to strike targets in Iran. The United States is carrying out exercises with Israel as we speak. You know, the bottom line is it’s the United States and Israel which are the more aggressive of the players here. Iran is not an aggressor. Iran has not attacked anybody. Iran is simply trying to do that which it is legally allowed to do: produce enriched uranium for the purposes of nuclear power. It’s Israel, which, by the way, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, claims it will never be a signatory and has a massive nuclear weapons capability—it’s Israel and the United States which are creating a crisis out of nothing. "

And finally all this is backed up by outgoing IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei ( "no credible evidence" that Iran is developing nuclear weapons).

Other news:

  • Shocking news that the "the second highest ranking official at the United Nations’ Mission to Afghanistan, was sacked today by the body following a public falling out with mission chief Kai Eide regarding last month’s fraudulent election in the nation." His crime? His "insistence on a full investigation into the alleged massive ballot stuffing that marred" the recent Afghan 'elections'.
  • The release of the famous EU report on last years Georgia-South Ossetia conflict which manages to find both sides at fault! Georgia for starting the conflict and wait for it, Russia for 'retaliation' “far beyond the reasonable limits of defense”. Perhaps they ought to have a look at the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts too, or perhaps even the recent Israeli genocide in Gaza...it would make interesting reading if they kept to the same criteria!
  • Another 'truly shocking' story by Andy Worthington "Judge’s Ruling Confirms Innocent Gitmo Detainee Tortured To Make False Confessions".
  • Shocking seems to be the word of the day considering this next item that Borev flagged: "RAF leaflet box kills Afghan girl". "The box should have broken apart in mid-air but struck the young girl intact." Note the scary comment under the photo 'The RAF tries to reach local people with leaflet drops'. No one can say they didn't reach that little girl, who remains nameless, no British paper has yet published her name and only the Daily Mail has published her age. She was 6 years old. If it had been a British girl we would akready know everything about her and her life. I have checked the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, Times, Scotsman twice, Sky News - there's nothing on her name - while the Independent thought it only important enough as a 3 liner at the very end of the ousted US diplomat report above. Disgusting behaviour by the British press. Yet again.

30 September 2009

Honduras, the Israeli Connection

According to Ynet News in Israel, quoting the Israeli consul in Guatemala (who is also responsible for Honduras), there are 25 Israelis resident in Honduras, most of whom live in the capital Tegucigalpa.

According to Ynet and the consul "they are primarily employed by or operate security firms or work in agricultural development". Not suprisingly they weren't worried by the coup.

One of the security firms in Honduras is Interseg S.A., sister company to telecommunications firm Alfacom S.A., run by Yehuda Leitner, recently accused by Patricia Rodes as being behind the supply of toxic gases used against President Zelaya in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. Not only that methinks, but also the LRAD acoustic weapons (see my comments) and possibly the cell phone jammer encountered in a house next to the Brazilian Embassy. This cell phone jammer is a C-Guard unit made by NetLine Communications Inc. of Tel Aviv.

Interestingly, Interseg is one of several security companies recommended by the US Embassy in Honduras and through its connections to Alfacom is a registered supplier to the Government of Honduras. The company is described as "a Mossad front company" by Wayne Madsen (subscription trequired).

According to Ed Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan:

"Like its U.S. and British security firm counterparts, Israel's International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS) is a wide-ranging, operation with full "counterterrorism" capabilities. ISDS, based in Tel Aviv, is co-owned by Leo Gleser, a former colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) who participated in the 1976 raid on Entebbe. ISDS has been very active in Central America, protecting business and government leaders as well as providing "counterterrorism" training to military, an~, paramilltary per~nnel in Honduras and Guatemala.
In an April 30, 1985 letter of presentation to the Guatemalan military, Sammy Sapyr, then director of ISDS's Guatemalan branch, described the company's services in great detail. These included antiterrorism training and the formation of antiterrorism "squads," electronic surveillance, intelligence gathering, and the sale of arms, including helicopters and airplanes. Jon Lee Anderson points out that the document also offers a course in "selective terror" under the general rubric "the training of military personnel."(62) It should be noted, however, that in light of the role and performance of the Guatemalan army, all of ISDS's services under the name of "coun¬terterrorism" facilitate serious state terrorism.
According to Gerard Latchinian, a multimillionaire currently serving a thirty-year prison term in Indiana for his role in the 1984 attempted overthrow of Honduras's civilian government, ISDS em¬ployees were active in training the Honduran death squads, as well as members of the Nicaraguan contras, in techniques of terror. In fact, ISDS's Gleser hired two ex-IDF members, Yehuda Leitner and Emile Sa'ada, to help train members of Gustavo Alvarez Martinez's notorious Battalion 3-16, the general's private death squad. Jose Valle Lapez, a former member of the battalion, has admitted to participating in a rash of kidnappings, torture sessions, and brutal murders, some of which took place in the presence of "Mr. Mike" from the V.S. embassy, who oversaw several torture operations.(63)
When Alvarez Martinez was eventually ousted from Honduras, his successor, General Walter Lapez Reyes, immediately severed all ties with ISDS. L6pez Reyes told John Lee Anderson that ISDS trained Alvarez Martinez's "special secunty groups" in hostage-taking and hijacking techniques, and that this was, in part, a front for training the contras, who also took the course. "There was coordi¬nation between them and the CIA," L6pez Reyes told Anderson. "So, I didn't renew their contract. . . . The Israelis had something to do with Alvarez's death squads. One way or another."(64) Despite the severed contract, however, it appears that the "official" death squad organized by Alvarez Martinez lives on.(65)
In 1986, Yehuda Leitner, who had worked with Gleser and ISDS, fled Honduras after his connections with the contras were exposed by Anne- Marie O'Connor in a Reuters dispatch. His colleague in the affair, Emile Sa'ada, also admits to having contracted with the Honduran government "to teach the Hondurans counterterrorism," but now claims to be nothing more than a melon farmer. The company for which he works, Shemesh, currently employs some five thousand Honduran peasants as pickers and growers. But Shemesh also nominally owns ISDS, although as one U .S. military advisor told Anderson, "Israelis always go through front companies," and in Central America, "Shemesh has always been their front." And according to Carl Fehlandt, a former arms salesman in ISDS in Guatemala between 1982 and 1986, Shemesh/ISDS "is the official Israeli arms outlet. The Israeli government owns ISDS and the man who calls the shots is the Minister of Defense."(66) "

62. Jon Lee Anderson "Loose Cannons: On the Trail of Israel's Gunrunners in Central America," New Outlook, Feb. 1989, p. 29.
63. Alison Acker, Honduras: The Making of a Banana Republic (Boston: South End Press, 1988), pp. 115-17.
64. Anderson, "Loose Cannons," p. 26.
65. While President Azcona and the Honduran military insist that Battalion 3-16 was dissolved under Directive 2192, issued on September 11, 1987, former Sergeant Fausto Reyes-Caballero of the Honduran security forces told Julia Preston of the Washington Post in October 1988 that the battalion, with the aid of ISDS, was still active. Corroboration of this claim appeared in an administrative report from a customs office in El Amarillo on the Salvadoran border. According to Office Bulletin no. 2599 from the president's press office, dated September 7, 1988, the customs administration at El Amarillo had denied that contraband was passing through its jurisdiction, observing that even members of Battalion 3-16 were reviewing that sector of the border. Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras, "The Situation of Human Rights in Honduras, 1988," p. 13.
66. Anderson, "Loose Cannons," p. 27.

Of course, Alfacom is in the business of telecommunications, and as Machetera showed in her excellent two-part exposé "Otto Reich and the Honduran Coup D’Etat", it is the telecommunications sector that is connected to Otto Reich," not to mention...the Cormac Group and...Hillary Clinton’s friend, Lanny Davis".

For more on Otto Reich see "Honduran Destablization Inc." by Nikolas Kosloff.

US Story on Iran Nuke Facility Doesn't Add Up by Gareth Porter -- Antiwar.com

US Story on Iran Nuke Facility Doesn?t Add Up by Gareth Porter -- Antiwar.com

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22 September 2009

Sybel Edmonds Tells All

A must read for anyone interested in "explosive" testimony from an FBI translator on deep corruption in the the US Congress, State Department and the FBI itself.

Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds? PDF

The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.

If this doesn't make it into the main stream press, its proof that they really don't give a fuck about real news.

As Brad Friedman says "..."explosive" may be a vast understatement. At least if the U.S. corporate media bother to notice it this time."

He also calls this "nothing short of a national security cancer that has metastasized throughout the U.S. government, to the covert monetary, military, and strategic intelligence benefit of our allies and enemies alike."

Anyway, go over to the AmCon website and read the interview, now!

From Brad Blog:

Among the new and key allegations fleshed out in the Giraldi interview, in addition to the disclosure concerning Schakowsky:

  • Giraldi describes "a pattern of corruption starting with government officials providing information to foreigners and helping them make contact with other Americans who had valuable information." That information, "including weapons technology, conventional weapons technology, and Pentagon policy-related information," according to Edmonds, was then sold on the black market to Turkey, Israel and beyond, and "the money that was being generated was used to corrupt certain congressmen to influence policy and provide still more information-in many cases information related to nuclear technology."

  • The most serious allegations in the piece are detailed against Marc Grossman, who had served as the Ambassador to Turkey before being named as the third-highest official at the State Department by the Bush Administration, where he is said to have "received money directly" for his work on behalf of Turkish agents. The article explains, in the most detail to date, Grossman's criminal involvement as the ring-leader for much of this, as first exposed in a January 2008 London Sunday Times front page story which described Grossman's activities but, due to British libel laws, didn't identify him by name. The paper also followed it up with some corroboration of FBI case files on the allegations later that month, and then dropped a blockbuster concerning Grossman's outing of Valerie Plame-Wilson's CIA front company Brewster-Jennings to Turkish diplomats long before she was ever outed publicly by Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Robert Novak.
  • A great deal of explanation is given concerning Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)'s extremely close alliance with Turkey and the American Turkish Council (ATC) in all of these matters, and how the now-deceased Democratic U.S. Congressman from California, Rep. Tom Lantos, was "the top person obtaining classified information" concerning Israel in Congress for both groups.
  • Former Lousiana Republican, and almost-Speaker of the House, Rep. Bob Livingston is described as "the number-one congressman involved with the Turkish community, both in terms of providing information and doing favors." Livingston now runs a lobbying firm representing Turkey. "Number-two after him was Dan Burton" of Indiana (still serving), Edmonds tells Giraldi, "and then he became number-one until Hastert became the speaker of the House."
  • Details about how the Bush Administration, including officials such as Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz, were "discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country" between the U.S., Great Britain, and possibly Turkey, some four months before 9/11 occurred.
  • Former Bush Sr. administration official Brent Scowcroft, who had become chair of the American Turkish Council (ATC), is said to have been involved in similar discussions as well prior to 9/11, along with James Baker and Richard Armitage. Scowcroft, Edmonds alleges, only came out against the Iraq War when the George W. Bush administration decided against an arrangement for a "Turkish protectorate" in northern Iraq.
  • Some members of Congress were wiretapped directly by the FBI after information had been obtained "secondhand through FISA, as [the FBI's] primary targets were foreigners."
  • "The epicenter of a lot of the foreign espionage activity was Chicago." Hence the involvement of Hastert and Schakowsky, all of which leaves Edmonds with many concerns about Illinois' former U.S. Senator Barack Obama and his current Chief of Staff, the former U.S. Congressman from Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel.
  • Edmonds further details what she had briefly discussed with me on air in June, during an interview I did with her while guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show, in which she had said she was aware of the "intimate relationship with Bin Laden and the Taliban ... all the way up to September 11," 2001, by certain forces in the U.S. Whatever the operations were with bin Laden --- actually "'bin Ladens' plural" as she clarifies to Giraldi --- Edmonds notes that "Marc Grossman was leading it, 100 percent," and that the U.S. was "100 percent" aware of the deal. "From Turkey," she says, "they were putting all these bin Ladens on NATO planes. People and weapons went one way, drugs came back."
  • There is much more, but one new point, in particular, caught my eye and certainly demands further immediate follow-up, though it could be difficult, even as it may serve to help explain the virtual U.S. media blackout on this story up until now. Edmonds tells Giraldi about Grossman paying off "some other people, including his contact at the New York Times." She says he bragged about faxing articles to the paper, which were then printed under the names of Times reporters or Op-Ed columnists virtually verbatim. In speaking with her on Sunday, in hopes of following up on that a bit --- no reporter is identified by name in the AmCon article --- she said this "also happened with the Washington Post, but the New York Times was their primary one for this."

    "Every time they wanted something on Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan, for example, they just faxed it over [to the Times], and it was run under their own guys' name, even though it was written by the State Department," she said during our conversation on Sunday. "This was an ongoing operation, at least during a four year period of time" from 1997 to 2001.

Edmonds was fired by the FBI in 2002, after she began reporting to her superiors on a colleague in the translation department who was, herself, a member of one of the Turkish organizations being targeted by the FBI's counterintelligence investigation.

10 September 2009

History Repeats Itself: Brazil 1964-Honduras 2009

Mark Cook's got a great comparison over at US media watchdog FAIR's website between what happened in Brazil in 1964 and Honduras on 28 June 2009.

He writes: "In a remarkable replay, bogus charges that the corporate media in the U.S. and Europe have repeated endlessly without attempting to substantiate—that Honduran president Manuel Zelaya sought to amend the country’s constitution to run for another term—are virtually identical to the sham justification for the 1964 coup against Brazilian president João Goulart."

Countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, etc., do indeed have something to be fearful of as "The Brazilian coup, depicted at the time as a victory for constitutional democracy, kicked off a series of extreme right-wing military coups against democratically elected governments throughout the Southern Cone of Latin America and beyond."

The comparisons between Brazil'64 and Honduras'09 are truly staggering: the government overthrown in Brazil was lead by João Goulart, "a wealthy rancher hated by big business for having dramatically raised the minimum wage".

Further, the media performance was also virtually identical: "At the New York Times, which editorially cheered the “peaceful revolution” (4/3/64), influential columnist Arthur Krock (4/3/64) accused Goulart of seeking to “prolong [his term] by removing the constitutional ban against consecutive presidential succession.”

What really happened,” Krock declared, in phrasing repeated almost word for word 45 years later in Honduran coverage, “was the failure of a bid for power, contrary to a fundamental principle of the Brazilian Constitution.” Newsweek (4/6/64) and Time (4/10/64) ran similar allegations, also without providing any evidence."

Media at the time also depicted Goulart "as a “leftist” and ally of Castro". Not only at the time, more recently too: "Forty years after the Brazilian coup, the New York Times (6/23/04) was still running the line that “the armed forces overthrew Mr. Goulart’s government, fearing he intended to install a Cuban-style Communist regime in Brazil.”"

As Cook comments "There was never the slightest evidence that Goulart intended to install a “Cuban-style Communist regime,” any more than that he was attempting to run for another term. As with Zelaya in Honduras, Goulart’s real crime was to use the minimum wage and similar measures to attempt to moderate the extremes of wealth and poverty in his country".

Read the full article at FAIR.

09 September 2009

Is Ireland really neutral?

Its people, or at least some of them may think so. That is unless they live near Shannon, where they can see for themselves. I remember arriving there a couple of years ago on my way to my uncle's funeral (RIP Des), and shocked and not a little concerned, seeing US Customs Agents strutting around the airport as if they owned the place

It appears I was right to be concerned. See World Beat by John Feffer.

08 September 2009

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) condemns prosecution of Magistrate Garzón

Garzón was beginning to step on too many important toes. His recent investigations have opened up a real can of worms. From massive corruption within and the possible illegal financing of the Partido Popular (PP), the right wing Spanish opposition party, to the "systematic programme" of torture at Guantanamo". As Andy Worthington reports just today, citing Spanish daily El Periodico "Garzón is pressing ahead with a case against six senior Bush administration lawyers for implementing torture at Guantánamo."

There is what Worthington calls "another attempt to stifle Judge Garzón". Tomorrow Garzón has to testify before the Spanish Supreme Court in a criminal prosecution, as the ICJ calls it "for his investigation into crimes against humanity committed during and after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Magistrate Garzón is being prosecuted before the Second Chamber (Criminal) of the Spanish Supreme Court for intentionally issuing an unjust judgment or ruling (the offence of prevaricación)."

"The case was initiated by a private complaint" from the Orwellian-sounding Manos Limpias, in reality a reminder to the Spanish that the fascist right in Spain is alive and well - see South of Watford for a pretty decent summary.

Meanwhile, "59 top judges across the world – from the International Commission of Jurists - presented a document at the United Nations calling for the case to be dismissed as ‘unjustified interference’ in Garzón’s work"

The ICJ document doesn't mince words, although this was passed over by the state broadcaster TVE with a one liner at the end of their news report stating that the ICJ had merely expressed 'support':

"The ICJ considers this attempt to interfere with the judicial process of particular concern since it concerns an investigation into crimes against humanity, which Spain has an international law duty to investigate and prosecute. The ICJ recalls that, under international law, legislation punishing crimes against humanity may be applied retroactively (Article 15(2) ICCPR and Article 7(2) ECHR), that no Amnesty Law (notably the Spanish Amnesty Law of 1977) can hinder their investigation and prosecution, and that statutory limitations are not applicable to such crimes."

“The investigations of Magistrate Garzón into allegations of crimes against humanity do not amount to malpractice that could justify disciplinary action, let alone criminal prosecution” affirmed Róisín Pillay, “The ICJ has communicated this situation to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers".

03 September 2009

Obama & Empire: Power, Illusion & America's Last Taboo

One of the most accurate assessments of Obama I have come across anywhere. Thank you John Pilger for this enlightening speech.

Transcript available here on ZNet.

31 August 2009

22 August 2009

Over 90 Scholars and Latin America Experts Call on Human Rights Watch to Speak Out on Honduras Abuses - Garzón in Honduras

"93 scholars and Latin America experts from institutions such as Yale, Harvard, and New York University sent an open letter to Human Rights Watch today urging the organization to highlight various human rights violations in Honduras under the coup regime, and to conduct its own investigation."

Full text here.

Also thanks to hcvanalysis post at Honduras Oye blog for pointing me to the story on Balthazar Garzón's visit to Tegucigalpa tomorrow (Sunday).

15 August 2009

11 August 2009

Further Reply to Al Giordano re "Toppling a Coup, Part I: Dilemmas for the Honduras Regime"

Mr Giordano's way over the top reaction to my original post got me wondering. I couldn't figure out what had upset him so much or why. He also gave no sources for his sweeping statements, which contradict much published material on Otpor.

I wrote to Diana Johnstone, author of Fool's Crusade , described by Ed Herman as 'the outstanding Left analyst of the Balkans'.

She graciously consented to me publishing the following comments:

"What is significant in all this confusion about Otpor is the distinction that needs to be made between means and ends. Getting out in the street in protest, or wearing provocative t-shirts, or pasting up posters with fist logos, etc., etc., are all means that can be used for a variety of ends. In themselves, they say nothing about the political quality of the ends pursued.
Much of the contemporary left, having lost any clear purpose of its own, is extremely gullible when it comes to mistaking supposedly revolutionary means for progressive revolutionary ends.
A significant point in the Washington Post article by Michael Dobbs (below) is that the Otpor strategy would not work in a totalitarian state. To go farther, the public relations methods used by Otpor (which were both suggested and, more significantly, financed by the US government) were designed to destabilize a government which was not totalitarian, and which was even, by the standards of post-communist transitional states, was democratic. That is, it was elected, it was based on pluralistic coalitions, it did not repress its opposition, the opposition press was free, and so on.
We should ask why, then, the Otpor strategy appealed to some part of Serbian youth, and what its real aims were.
The answer, in my view, is that in the contemporary world, the United States is universally dominant ideologically thanks in very large part to its entertainment industry. The youth of almost the entire world are particularly influenced by that entertainment industry, and want to be part of the world it portrays. I think it is significant that so many of Otpor militants were physical education majors – activists more than thinkers, susceptible to the physical attractiveness of the Americanized world which they felt they were being unjustly deprived of. This is a new kind of "oppression", which has nothing to do with the oppression of labor that was protested by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 1891. But using the same logo as the IBEW seems to be enough to confuse certain leftists without a left (like rebels without a cause).
The "oppression" of the Otpor generation is that of being deprived of the fun of what they perceive to be modern Americanized society. They don’t like being bombed by NATO, but they would rather blame their own government than give up their aspiration to belong to "the world" as reflected in American entertainment culture.
The leftists without a left see the raised fist and fancy they are seeing a social rebellion that somehow carries on the traditions of the working class left. But the left has never been about strengthening the position of what Marxists used to call the comprador bourgeoisie – that segment of the middle class of various subjugated countries which identifies whole-heartedly with the imperialist powers dominating, or trying to dominate, their own countries.
-- Diana Johnstone"

She linked to the same WaPo article I quoted in my comment below. Also linked was the Wikipedia entry for Gene Sharp.

Ivan Marovic: Perhaps Mr Giordano ought to check up on him as I have done. You could, for a start, ask him where he was in April 2005.

The New York Sun (not exactly a "Trotksyite" blog), in an article published in March 2006 entitled: "Iran Launches a Crackdown On Democracy Activists", reported:

"With the Bush administration demanding $75 million to encourage opposition to Iran's ruling mullahs, the Tehran regime has already started cracking down on democracy activists in the country who have received aid from the West.

On February 13, just two days before Secretary of State Rice formally requested the opposition funds, Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security arrested Ali Afsahi, a former film critic and journalist who attended a human rights training seminar in Dubai last April.

The workshop was sponsored by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center at Yale University, which was granted $1 million in 2004 by a smaller American government aid program intended for Iran's opposition inside the country.

Mr. Afsahi also attended a seminar held by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, an organization that receives no funding from any government or corporation but offered a session led by some of the Serb activists who helped organize the downfall of their country's dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, in 2000.

The organizers of last year's sessions said they believed the arrest in Dubai is an effort to poison the well and scare off other dissidents in Iran from participating in international conferences and events."

The NYS even mentioned Mr Marovic towards the end of the article:

"Mr. Ackerman, like Otpor, are adherents of the theory of Gene Sharp, the author of a series of books on nonviolent conflict who is generally credited with being the first person to study rigorously the techniques of mass civil disobedience and place them in the context of traditional military strategy. In 2004, Cuban dissidents were arrested in Havana for possessing video tapes of the documentary.

One of the Otpor trainers at last April's workshop in Dubai, Ivan Marovic, described his work as follows: "The content of the workshop consisted of explaining the principles of mobilizing the population in the situation where fear is high and there are tensions in the society, meaning they are facing a political crisis.

"We discussed how to overcome that crisis without destruction of property and loss of human life. These are nonviolent strategies of civic mobilization. This is a standard workshop based on the examples from Otpor, our fight against Slobodan Milosevic."

Mr. Marovic sees some similarities between the plight of Mr. Asfahi and many of his comrades from the Milosevic era. "This whole thing is nothing new. In Serbia we were accused of being terrorists and mercenaries of the west. This just shows the nervousness of the regime in Iran."

You can also hear Mr Marovic's advice to the Iranian revolutionaries on this Radio Netherlands interview.

And for a full who's who of Marovic's friends you should also read this:

"A Force More Powerful: Promoting ‘Democracy’ through Civil Disobedience"

As you can see by the extensively documented article 'A Force More Powerful' Mr Marovic is involved "in the production of a progressive activist-orientated computer game (which was released in February 2006)...
The name of this new seemingly progressive game is A Force More Powerful: The Game of Nonviolent Strategy, which was based on the book A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000). The book was also preceded by the production of a two part documentary series, which was released in 1999, going by the same name, and aired on PBS the following year. Now assuming that the book, film, and game were historically accurate and were useful to progressive activists, does it then matter that the people involved in producing these resources are closely linked to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and much of the US-based ‘democracy promoting’ establishment? I would suggest that the answer to this question is yes, and that these links do matter a great deal...

'The concept of serious games for educational purposes is much older than we see. It was actually in the military that they used educational games for years… [I]t was just a matter of time before these concepts would pull out of the military and be embraced by the rest of the world, and I’m glad that we were among the first dozen outside of the military who started using games this way.' [50]

The above quote taken from the Social Policy article, illustrates that Ivan Marovic, considers A Force More Powerful’s transition from book to computer game to be following in the steps of military strategists. However, what isn’t made clear in the article is that many of the computer game’s producers are essentially ex-military strategists, and that ironically the game was co-produced by BreakAway Games (alongside ICNC and York Zimmerman), a company that specialises in producing simulation games for the military.

BreakAway openly admits that it has “strategic relationships” with a number of leading military contractors including “AAI, Boeing, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, GMA Industries, and General Dynamics among others” and in their CEO’s own words they obtain around 75% of their business from “Uncle Sam.” [51] Recent Federal Projects carried out through BreakAway Federal Systems include Virtual Convoy Trainer which “places Armed Forces in a Middle Eastern environment and enables them to quickly identify and respond to ambush tactics in urban terrain and during convoy operations”, and Incident Commander which prepares its gamers “for multiple scenarios including terrorist attacks, school shootings, and natural disasters.” [52] It is therefore no surprise that Deborah Tillett, the president of BreakAway, “sees no paradox in producing games that enable both warmakers and peaceful resisters.” In fact, she has even said that the “basic tenets of the ICNC are that using a strict doctrine of military strategy and applying it to your nonviolent resistance movement only gives you power.” [53]

Finally it is interesting to note that the three main architects of the film, A Force More Powerful, were also the key people involved in creating the computer game: Steve York was the Senior Producer; Mirriam Zimmerman was the Design Associate; and Peter Ackerman was the game’s Senior Advisor. To complete the ‘democratic’ line-up, Colonel Robert Helvey, who was responsible for running workshops in Budapest to train Otpor activists, was brought in as a consultant, and the leader of Otpor, Ivan Marovic, also worked with Mirriam Zimmerman as the computer game’s Design Associate. [54]"

But that's not all, the article traces the connections of Marovic's associates and backers back to the NED and friends such as the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and their backers and associates.

Also check out this article at the CSM for more on The Serious Games Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson Centre...

And this ZMag article:

"Low-Intensity Democracy": The Case of Serbia"

Mr Marovic also co-wrote the Centre for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies'
'Student Handbook' (PDF file). This centre has co-operated with the ICNC.

In no way is this meant to denigrate the popular movement in Honduras which I support, but it should serve as a warning to them to be a little careful who they choose to get into bed with. The tactics they are being shown are well-known to those opposed to popular movements, as the failure so far of such movements in Iran and Venezuela have shown.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has already thoroughly investigated Marovic's game, based remember on the Otpor experience which he lectures about all over the world, as the CSM article linked above shows.

"And the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. has founded the Serious Games Initiative to explore how key challenges facing governments and nonprofit groups can be addressed using game play."

What part of the Center? The Foresight and Governance Project:

"The Wilson Center's Foresight and Governance Project has launched a “Serious Games Initiative,” which seeks to encourage development of games simulating policy making and management."

Their blurb states:

"The Foresight and Governance Project focuses on long-term issues facing government and supports anticipatory thinking and planning in the public sector. Through both internal and collaborative research, the project works to identify critical future issues and make key findings easily accessible to policy makers and other interested parties. The Project also works to support public sector foresight efforts through the building of networks of scholars and practitioners and the provision of information resources."

To be continued...