Monday, January 18, 2010

Why is the U.S. fighting the war on terror?

ray_mcgovern.jpgRay McGovern has an article on alternet.org whose starting point is very interesting. The typical press briefing has journalists taking dictation from the press secretary, and the journalists simply report what was said. Very little analysis is being done by journalists today. Hence the Bush and now the Obama administrations have had a free hand to tell us what they want us to hear about the purpose and reason for this war on terror. Even though the Bush administration was clearly lying through its teeth the whole time, the journalists did not scratch very deep into the stories to learn the truth.

Journalists, McGovern says, are afraid of being labeled as non-patriotic or "with the enemy". That tactic, labeling critics as enemies of the state, was harshly used during the Bush43 years to stifle criticism.

At a White House Press Conference covering the underwear bomber (Abdulmutallab) of Dec 25, 2009, the press secretary and journalists were all going through the dictation exercise when Helen Thomas asked "Why?".

Thomas: "And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why." Brennan: "Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents… They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he’s (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death." Thomas: "And you’re saying it’s because of religion?" Brennan: "I’m saying it’s because of an al Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way." Thomas: "Why?" Brennan: "I think this is a — long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland." Thomas: "But you haven’t explained why."
That was McGovern's starting point on an very interesting exploration into the real "why" that the terrorists are doing what they're doing. By the way, this Ray McGovern is the former CIA analyst shown in Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War giving great analysis into the truth behind the fictions of the Iraq War. Ray McGovern was a top CIA analyst who had been the intelligence briefer for Ronald Reagan and other top officials during the Reagan and Bush41 era. This sure gives a lot of credibility to what he has to say.

What we have here is a failure to communicate: The first issue McGovern raises is the Obama administration plan to increase efforts in communicating with the terrorists. By communicating clearly to Muslims Obama hopes to explain that the al Qaeda agenda is a perversion of Islam and that the U.S. stands with those who seek justice and progress. McGovern asks

Does a smart fellow like Obama expect us to believe that all we need to do is "communicate clearly to Muslims" that it is al Qaeda, not the U.S. and its allies, that brings "misery and death"? Does any informed person not know that the unprovoked U.S.-led invasion of Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and displaced 4.5 million from their homes? How is that for "misery and death"?
and
But why isn't there a frank discussion by America’s leaders and media about the real motivation of Muslim anger toward the United States? Why was Helen Thomas the only journalist to raise the touchy but central question of motive?
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The reason given by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as to why he masterminded the attacks on 9/11: Both the Bush43 and Obama administration have repeatedly given the same explanation of "why". Namely that the terrorists "hate our freedom" and that's why they're willing to continue this insane rampage of death and destruction. Being driven by perverted religious ideas their thought is to stamp out freedom? Um?

Instead McGovern quotes this apparently controversial bit from the 9/11 Commission report:

"America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world." (p. 376)
And this further bit the report has to say about KSM
"By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed … from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel."
This wasn't about hating our freedom. It was about hating U.S. foreign policy. Especially our policy in the Middle East, in Israel, in Palestine, in Lebanon, etc. Occupation of Saudi Arabia, of Kuwait, etc. The killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq. Or as McGovern put it:
After all, people in the Middle East already know how Palestinians have been mistreated for decades; how Washington has propped up Arab dictatorships; how Muslims have been locked away at Guantanamo without charges; how the U.S. military has killed civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; how U.S. mercenaries have escaped punishment for slaughtering innocents.
The pain and suffering inflicted on the Middle East by western forces (primarily the U.S.) is the main issue here. U.S. policy in the middle east is rather unjust. The word "Blowback" was invented after the 1952 U.S. intervention in Iran which put the Shah in power, which saw him toppled in 1978, which saw the U.S. embassy overtaken by Iranian radicals during 1979, and which has left Iran as a supposedly dangerous threat in the Middle East. McGovern doesn't say anything about Iran in his article, but this story is part of the background reasons for todays war on terror. As explained in earlier postings the Project for a New American Century (a neocon thinktank which included dozens of people who went on to positions of power during the Bush43 years) planned to completely reshape the Middle East by first toppling Iraq's government and then toppling either/both Syria and/or Iran (see Is Syria (or Iran) next? and Background material for the second Gulf "War").

Israel: In the U.S. criticising American support for Israel is routinely squelched. He explains one incident, a former CIA analyst and specialist on al Qaeda, Michael Scheuer, has been "outspoken on what he sees as Israel’s tying down the American Gulliver in the Middle East". Scheuer was recently on C-SPAN complaining "bitterly that any debate on the issue of American support for Israel and its effects is normally squelched" and then went on to explain how the Israel Lobby got him "him removed from his job at the Jamestown Foundation think tank for saying that Obama was 'doing what I call the Tel Aviv Two Step.'"

More to the point, Scheuer asserted: "For anyone to say that our support for Israel doesn’t hurt us in the Muslim world … is to just defy reality."
Umar-Farouk-Abdulmutallab_2.jpgMcGovern referred to a Salon.COM post by Glenn Greenwald discussing a little noticed Associated Press report about the underwear bomber, Abdulmutallab. Rather than hating our freedom his Yemeni friends noted "that he was open about his sympathies toward the Palestinians and his anger over Israel’s actions in Gaza". Abdulmutallab was not someone with prior "terrorist" affiliations but someone who's anger over the Israel/Palestine conflict was used to manipulate him into committing violence. The merger announcements of Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda into al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula "railed against the Israeli attack on Gaza".
And on Dec. 30, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a 32-year-old Jordanian physician from a family of Palestinian origin, killed seven American CIA operatives and one Jordanian intelligence officer near Khost, Afghanistan, when he detonated a suicide bomb.
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All these are not about "hating American freedoms" but are blowback by "terrorist" forces against U.S. support of Israel.

Violence piled upon Violence only begets more Violence: This is a phrase which has been with me since September 11, 2001. McGovern has this to say:

Is the reported reaction of a CIA official to al-Balawi’s attack the appropriate one: "Last week’s attack will be avenged. Some very bad people will eventually have a very bad day."
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In other words the CIA response to the al-Balawi suicide bombing is Revenge. We've seen above that the U.S. toppling of the Iran government to install the Shah led to a lot of "blowback" which is a strange reframing word for "revenge". McGovern also goes into the events surrounding the brutal killing of Blackwater contractors in March 2004.

They'd taken a wrong turn and ended up in Fallujah, then attacked, murdered, and a grisly scene ensued with their bodies being drug through the street and so on. Later that year, the week after Bush43 won the 2004 election, an attack was launched on Fallujah. Revenge. That act of Revenge by the U.S. led to a drastic uptick in violence in Iraq. Was the killing of Blackwater contractors simply the raving actions of insane radicals? I think this is what officialdom would have us believe.

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McGovern says it was inspired by the "March 22, 2004, Israeli forces assassinated the then-spiritual leader of Hamas in Gaza, Sheikh Yassin — a withering old man, blind and confined to a wheelchair." The people leading the murder of the Blackwater contractors called themselves the "Sheikh Yassin Revenge Brigade" and pamphlets and brochures were all over the scene about Sheikh Yassin.

The U.S. revenge attack on Fallujah was caused by a revenge attack on Blackwater guards over the Israeli assassination of a Hamas leader in Gaza which was likely itself Israeli revenge over something or other. Violence piled upon Violence only begets more Violence.

What we have here is a failure to communicate: McGovern closes by describing U.S. officialdom as refusing to communicate clearly with the American people about these issues. As said above he describes the press as simply taking dictation and repeating the words officialdom wants them to say. It means that officialdom is not telling the public the whole story. It means the American people are in the dark about what's really going on.

In a way this explains why there are so many deluded people in the U.S. The journalists whose proper role is investigation and exposing of lies, they're miserably failing at that job. This leaves the American people supporting stupid policies because they're woefully underinformed and misled by official lies.

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