Three Decades Later, Looking Back : The Christians Under Siege - October 23, 1978

Three Decades Later, Looking Back : The Christians Under Siege - October 23, 1978

Les chrétiens d'Orient sacrifiés, par un occident Lache.

Monday, Oct. 23, 1978-2009

A ceasefire, but both sides are prepared for further war

Hundreds of sleepless nights for brave fighters trying desperately to retain a semblance of a defense for hundreds of thousands of terrified civilians in east Beirut. Sleepless nights for Bashir and Elie Hobeika and hundreds of dedicated young men and women on the various fronts...

A shaky ceasefire, as cease-fires always seem to be, took hold in Lebanon last week, but East Beirut was a smoldering ruin. In that battered section of the city, once home to 600,000 Maronite Christians, rescue workers picked through the rubble in search of the dead and dying. Glassy-eyed survivors crept cautiously out of basement shelters, scurrying back to safety when Syrian snipers cut loose with automatic weapons. A number of would-be refugees, seeking to join the exodus that has emptied East Beirut of more than two-thirds of its residents, were mowed down by Syrian machine guns as they tried to cross the bridges leading to Christian strongholds outside the city. Five other people were wounded as they attempted to cross the "green line" separating Muslim and Christian sections of Beirut. In effect, East Beirut was under siege: the 30,000-man Syrian peace-keeping force kept 3,500 Christian militiamen and 150,000 civilians bottled up within easy range of the heavy artillery that had pounded the city in the worst week of fighting since the end of the civil war in 1976.
Even as intermittent bursts of cannon fire marred the uneasy calm, both the Christians and their enemies prepared for a new outbreak of fighting. From Damascus, convoys of Syrian trucks transported 8,600 heavily armed Palestine Liberation Army commandos to fortified positions in Beirut. The P.L. A. commandos will be the backbone of a new Syrian-controlled antimilitia alliance comprising leftist Lebanese Muslims, Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization and an army commanded by pro-Syrian Christian former President Suleiman Franjieh. The Arab League mandate under which the Syrian peace-keeping force has occupied Lebanon since 1976 will be reviewed on Oct. 28. If the league orders Damascus to withdraw its troops, the new force could still press the offensive against the Christian militias with Syrian arms and ammunition.
Israel, too, was building up its Christian allies: the "Tigers" commanded by former President Camille Chamoun and the Phalangist fighters under Pierre Gemayel. By night, Israeli ships brought in arms, medical supplies and food to Jounieh, twelve miles north of Beirut. About 150 Israeli advisers — distinguishable from their Christian clients because they do not wear the pearl-handled revolvers and outsize crosses favored by the swaggering militiamen — were providing counsel and logistical support. Christian officers of the Lebanese armed forces turned over to the militiamen an arsenal of U.S. weapons that had been destined for the country's moribund, ineffective army. Contemplating the grim fact that more than two dozen armed factions are now operating in Lebanon, Militia Leader Chamoun asked pointedly: "What is Lebanon — a sovereign state or a whorehouse?"

"Neither the Christians nor their foes are backing away from the prospect of more slaughter. 'As long as the Syrians are in Lebanon, there is no peace,' warned (Former President Camille) Chamoun last week. Equally adamant was Syrian President Hafez Assad, who insisted that his troops had opened fire on the Christians..."
The massive weapons stockpiling lent a new urgency, and a growing sense of futility, to President Elias Sarkis' search for an end to the bloodshed. Since 1973, when clashes between Palestinian guerrillas and the Christian-dominated Lebanese army presaged a bloody civil war, at least 37,000 — and perhaps as many as 100,000 — people have been killed. Moreover, a new attack on its Christian friends could provoke Israel into massive retaliatory raids, threatening the peace talks with Egypt that began last week.
Neither the Christians nor their foes are backing away from the prospect of more slaughter. "As long as the Syrians are in Lebanon, there is no peace," warned Chamoun last week. Equally adamant was Syrian President Hafez Assad, who insisted that his troops had opened fire on the Christians in order to "establish the authority of the Sarkis government." But when the Lebanese President proposed that a buffer force of Lebanese soldiers be deployed between the Christians and Syrians, Assad had a brusque reply: "There is no Lebanese army, and what there is represents the Christians." After Sarkis completed a hasty tour of six Arab capitals, Assad laconically submitted to an essentially meaningless compromise, under which part of the Syrian forces besieging East Beirut would be withdrawn. Lebanese troops would be allowed to help patrol the bridges linking Beirut to the Christian areas in the north — their first active role in the recent fighting.
Sarkis still hopes to persuade the Arab League to order a reduction in the number of Syrian troops in his country. But he received scant encouragement during his visits to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab nations. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Fahd, for example, promised P.L.O. Leader Arafat that the Saudis — who also bankroll the Christian militias — would "absolutely" continue their support of the opponent Palestinians.
While the search for a settlement foundered, Lebanon's beleaguered Christians held tight to the remnants of a shattered past. Indeed, Christianity has long been fractured within this complex country: in addition to the dominant Maronites — a branch of the Roman Catholic Church that preserves its own unique liturgy — there are Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Armenians and Chaldeans, among others. Since Lebanon became independent from France in 1943, the Maronites, who then made up 30% of the population, have been the major force in politics and the economy. Under the "national covenant," an unwritten agreement with the force of constitutional law, the Lebanese presidency is reserved for a Maronite, while the less powerful posts of Prime Minister and president of the Chamber of Deputies are set aside for, respectively, a Sunni and a Shi'ite Muslim. The precarious balance between religious groups fell apart in 1970, when 15,000 well-armed Palestinian guerrillas were driven out of Jordan by King Hussein's "Black September" offensive....which was instigated by CIA and MOSSAD, and as it turned out, King Hussein was on CIA's payroll receiving monthly stipends of a million USD, in order to be the docile puppet of CIA and MOSSAD, hence the plot was instigated to kick thousands of armed Palestinians into Lebanon, in order to attempt to transform Lebanon into a replacement homeland for the PLO and the refugees from Palestine, by way of sending all Christians of Lebanon to the US, Canada and Europe, etc. thus, Joining 75,000 Palestinians already in the country, they turned southern Lebanon, and gradually all of Lebanon into a staging area for raids on Israel....and turned Lebanon into a living hell for wars of the gangs, controlled by a well bankrolled PLO, and all the extreme leftwing groupings allied with the USSR during the cold war...
The Maronites feared that the well-armed Palestinians would not only create a P.L.O.-run state within a state inside Lebanon but also turn the country into another confrontation power. In 1975, as clashes between Christians and Palestinians escalated into full-scale civil war, the Maronite militia turned to Israel for arms and training. A certain elitism — and a mutual hatred of Syrians — has nurtured the longstanding bond between the Israelis and the Europe-oriented Maronites, who regard themselves as a bastion of Western civilization in the Arab world. As a Christian militia officer explained last week, "We feel, like the Israelis, that we are on the spot be cause we are better. We let the Syrians into our country because Syria was too poor to feed them." Nevertheless, the Christians cheered when Syrian troops moved into Lebanon in 1976, thereby preventing radical Muslims and Palestinians from wiping out the hard-pressed Christian armies....
Affection very quickly turned to estrangement after the Syrian peace keepers ordered the Maronites to lay down their arms, while making no similar demands on the Palestinians. Chamoun and Gemayel began laying the groundwork for partitioning Lebanon and creating a pro-Israeli Maronite state along Syria's border. When Gemayel's Phalangists murdered the son of Assad's friend Franjieh and more than 35 other pro-Syrian Christians in June, Syria became convinced that the plot was already in motion. Assad was further alarmed when the Camp David talks foreshadowed a separate Israeli-Egyptian peace, thereby tipping the military balance between Israel and "rejectionist" Arab states even further in Israel's favor.
At that point, Assad began a methodical campaign of attrition against the Christians. So far, the campaign has had mixed results. About 300,000 Maronites have become refugees; their schools, businesses and other institutions have been destroyed. The vast majority of wealthy Christians have fled the country, leaving behind only the fighters and those too poor to buy a ticket to safety.
But the remaining Maronites are far from giving up. "Morale in the Christian areas is extremely high," reports Correspondent Dean Brelis from Beirut. "In shell-shocked East Beirut, some bakers have fired up their ovens, repair crews are at work fixing broken water lines and restoring electricity. People who intend to stay on are stocking their shelters with Israeli canned goods. The Christians' ability to bounce back from adversity is remarkable. Throughout the civil war, their sections of Beirut were free from garbage and crime, in marked contrast to the areas under Palestinian control. Once more the Maronites are demonstrating their competence and courage. When a group of Christians trying to escape from East Beirut came under Syrian machine-gun fire, their leader shouted, 'Let's keep going! It's better to be shot standing up than getting it in the back on the ground!' That kind of pluck would, of course, be put to better use in a peaceful Lebanon. But as a Christian militiaman grimly forecast last week, 'We are prepared to fight for the next 40 years...' "

Les chrétiens d'Orient sacrifiés
Maronites, coptes, melkites, syriaques, arméniens, assyriens, chaldéens, grecs-orthodoxes, éthiopiens-catholiques, outre des catholiques et des protestants... Comment peut-on être un chrétien d'Orient ! se dit l'Occidental déchristianisé, assis sur sa Sécurité sociale et persuadé que le monde se limite à la béatitude démocratique. N'ont-ils pas, ces chrétiens, ce qu'ils méritent, c'est-à-dire le tort d'être divisés en trop d'Eglises aux noms étranges, quasi sectaires, probablement obscurantistes ? Existent-ils même, puisqu'ils ne passent jamais à la télévision, sauf pour Noël, à Bethléem, et que les écrivains ne s'y intéressent pas, à l'exception de Jean Rolin, qui a consacré aux chrétiens de Palestine, espèce rare, un livre, « Chrétiens », dans lequel le regard de l'écrivain était nu : un Européen les découvrait, ces chrétiens d'Orient dont on ne sait à peu près rien en Occident, avant tout parce qu'on n'en veut rien savoir.

Il se peut qu'ils soient morts politiquement entre 1975 et 1989 (avec la guerre civile du Liban), poumon de la chrétienté orientale. Respectés en Syrie, dans la paradoxale main de fer de l'alaouite Assad, ils sont menacés, brimés, exilés ou tués en Egypte, en Turquie, en Irak, où la cynique importation de la démocratie américaine entraîne des assassinats et un exode massif : plus de 200 000 chrétiens, sur 400 000, ont déjà quitté le pays.

En vain attend-on l'indignation des pleureuses d'Europe ou des Etats-Unis.Toute paix, même la pseudo-paix des braves, suppose un vaincu, lequel ne saurait être les juifs, ni les musulmans, ni même les Kurdes, qui ont retrouvé leur territoire. Est-il illégitime de penser, hors toute théorie du complot mais selon le mécanisme de la victime émissaire cher à René Girard, que ce seront les chrétiens, dans leur ensemble, qui seront sacrifiés sur l'autel de la paix au Proche-Orient ? La raison d'Etat suppose l'horreur sacrificielle. Et puis ces chrétiens relèvent, après tout, de la grande complexité asiatique. Ils maintiennent une foi si vive, si lumineuse, si traditionnelle qu'ils seraient la version insoupçonnée de l'intégrisme islamique. Nous autres, modernes, socialistes, francs-maçons, féministes, écologistes, agnostiques, laïques, qui avons depuis longtemps jeté aux orties ces croyances arriérées, n'avons-nous pas raison de mettre tout ça dans le même sac ?

En vérité, nous creusons notre propre tombe : le sort des chrétiens d'Orient est exemplaire de ce qui se passe quand on nie la dimension spirituelle du monde. L'invisible n'est pas uniquement une affaire de fantômes ni l'origine réductible à la seule génétique. Entrez dans une église d'Orient ; vous y entendrez ce que le silence des églises d'Occident vous cache : le bruissement des anges. C'est nous autres, Européens, qui, en ayant refusé d'inscrire dans la Constitution de l'Union le caractère chrétien de nos racines, rendons possible une éradication programmée, et déjà effective : vidée de ses chrétiens, soit de ses éléments souvent les plus instruits, les plus ouverts, les plus modernes, cette région du monde sera musulmane, à l'exception d'Israël. Nous nous renions : la mort des chrétiens orientaux est le signe non seulement de notre honte mais de la mort de notre civilisation. Ils meurent silencieusement de ce que nous ne voulons être chrétiens. Jean Rolin publie ces jours-ci un livre sur les chiens errants de par le monde : il se peut que ce soit une métaphore, inattendue, de notre condition. Nous autres, ex-chrétiens des contrées repues, nous sommes devenus les chiens errants de l'Occident ....


George H. W. Bush's near indictment for obstruction of justice

George H. W. Bush's near indictment for obstruction of justice

Buried in the newspaper clipping files of the CIA are two short articles describing how Ronald Reagan's 1980 running mate, George H. W. Bush, was nearly indicted for obstruction of justice in the FBI's investigation of the car bombing assassination in downtown Washington, DC on September 21, 1976, of former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier and his American female colleague Ronni Karpen Moffitt. A hit team sent by Chile to assassinate Letelier, known to Bush beforehand, placed a radio-controlled bomb under Letelier's car and detonated on Massachusetts Avenue's Sheridan Circle, near the Irish embassy.

One clipping from the September 1980 Progressive states that the Jimmy Carter Justice Department was considering empanelling a grand jury to investigate Reagan's vice presidential running mate for not telling FBI agents what he knew about a Chilean Secret Police hit team active in the United States while Bush was director of the CIA. In addition, the Senate Intelligence Committee was probing what Bush knew and when he knew it about the assassination of Letelier.

Three Cuban members of Omega 7, the anti-Castro terrorist group operating in the United States, were convicted of their role in the Letelier assassination but their conviction was later overturned by a federal appeals court. Senator James Buckley (R-NY) had close ties to Omega 7. Buckley, the brother of the late right-wing pundit William Buckley, now serves on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Bush and his deputy, General Vernon Walters, had apparently ordered the CIA station in Asuncion, Paraguay to grant two Chilean intelligence agents to be issued U.S. visas by the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay George W. Landau in July 1976. Landau took care to photograph the false Paraguayan passports with the U.S. visas as a safeguard.

Landau was told by a top official of Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner's government that Chilean President Augusto Pinochet had asked for the visas to be granted as a personal favor to him. The two Chilean agents, an expatriate American named Michael Vernon Townley and Armando Fernandez traveled to Washington to help plan the hit on Letelier. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who had helped form the "Operation Condor" intelligence sharing and mutual assassination pact among various South American dictatorships, was briefed on the assassination plans against Letelier and approved them.

The Washington Star newspaper's "The Ear" column on June 24, 1980, quotes two authors of the book, Assassination on Embassy Row, Saul Landau and John Dinges, as writing that Bush knew "perfectly well" that Chilean Secret Police had sent an assassination squad to Washington but that Bush sat on the information. In addition, Bush instructed CIA sources to tell the press that the Chilean government of General Pinochet had "nothing" to do with the assassination of Letelier and Moffitt.

According to The Progressive piece, Carter declined to prosecute Bush because in an election year it would look "too political." Had Carter known that Bush was secretly and illegally negotiating covert arms sales to Iran in return for their holding the U.S. hostages until after the November 1980 election, Carter could have upped the charges against Bush to treason and the Democrats would have enjoyed their own "October Surprise" with Reagan being defeated and Bush never entering the White House but going to a federal "Big House."

Of the major conspirators in the assassination of Letelier, Walters is dead. However, Bush and Kissinger, who now serves as Barack Obama's special envoy to the Kremlin, are still alive and subject to prosecution for complicity to commit murder. Since there is no statute of limitation for murder and acts of terrorism, Bush and Kissinger are still liable to be charged for their involvement in the first major act of modern terrorism in the nation's capital -- the "9/21 attack."

Centuries of global terror must come to an end

Centuries of global terror must come to an end

An era that began in the 15th century may be coming to an end, and though we should hardly expect neat, quick and final solutions to the problems it has created, there is reason for hope. Humanity faces potential calamities both in social and natural environments, but we may also be entering an age of peace and prosperity. If we continue the Western dualist mode of profit or loss, win or lose, either one or the other, and do not create balance between extremes, failure seems certain.

Our numerous dilemmas can be described as political, or economic, or natural, if dealt with in the failing model. But most of our problems are directly related to the system of political economics which treats all of nature, including humanity, as profit creating commodities for sale, purchase, rent or hire in a market. This social reality is accompanied by the attempted shaping of individuals into ethical, moral beings, in total contradiction to the antithetical immorality of the profit and loss system which rules the marketplace, and most subdivisions of religious franchise within its massive global mall.

Shattering any balance between individual and social behavior can make it possible for humans to attend a church, temple or mosque, seek guidance through immaterial spirituality, and perform material acts of love, charity and humanity through these religious organizations. Then, stepping out of religion and into material reality of another kind, they can be manipulated into supporting racial hatred, theft, cheating and the mass murder of wars. Separating the self and the society in this destructive way has offered a rationale for all our worst social behaviors. The present age is one in which the overarching rule of nature seems to be telling us, at least those willing and able to heed its message, that the natural world can no longer tolerate such treatment. Much of humanity, especially the great majority who have borne the burdens of what we call Western civilization, is also indicating that they can no longer tolerate living in a way that makes it possible for a minority to indulge in lavish luxury while billions live in squalor, pain and misery.

Many would call this an age-old story which mankind has been involved in for millennia, and they would be at least partly correct. What is new is that the condition of injustice is not only being found intolerable by growing numbers of humans, but by nature itself. If this epoch does not pass into history with some form of uncharacteristic grace because of democratic decisions made by reasonably enlightened and hopeful people, it may well go out in the worst tragedy mankind has ever experienced, outside of mythology and legend.

The handwriting has long been on the wall, but even with a new leadership which seems to have the capacity to read, there is still a serious lack of comprehension. Instead of seeing a profound message for radical change, they are reading graffiti which they think can be safely covered by a new coat of paint. An emerging global majority must take action and control away from the destructive forces of the status quo. We need to understand that humanity can no longer be economized, socialized and governed in the same way that it has been during this era, because nature itself, both through its social populations in revolt, and its natural systems in breakdown, will no longer allow it.

The political economics of our time began in the latter part of the 15th century, when Europe discovered, developed and colonized much of the rest of the world. That same age was one of invasion, slavery and mass terror for those who had the misfortune to be discovered, developed and colonized. Long struggles helped end overt colonialism after the Second World War, though it began anew in Palestine. But the neocolonialism of the West continues to this day, with domination of much of the world still coming from Western capitalism, enforced by massive military power. While imperial capital is still capable of mass destruction and murder beyond any previous earthly force, its total rule is coming to an end. That is good news for humanity, but it is provoking hysteria among those most wedded to the dying order. And these hysterics are armed with nuclear weapons, which they have used in the past and threaten to use in the future, while they rail about alleged threats coming from those they have abused for centuries.

Some see the present crisis as limited to finance capital, but it is much more serious than that. If finance is the brain of capitalism, then capitalism is simultaneously suffering from Alzheimer’s, AIDS, and terminal cancer. The short-term drug relief brought by public financed bailouts for private wealth and increased imperial force in foreign countries cannot sustain racial supremacy and class injustice much longer. They may give the patient hallucinogenic visions of a continued future for this system of waste and despair that the planet and its people can no longer abide. But before this malevolence passes, it could destroy everything previously built, along with all those who labored to build it, and whose lands were drained of life for the wealth of some Western nations.

Global terrorism did not originate on 9/11 or in the Middle East. It began with the imperial conquest of centuries past, and its end will mean emancipation for all the people of the world. Can they, can we, bring it about before the worst-case scenario is realized? We need to not only say, yes we can, but do it. And we’d better hurry....

“ It is wiser to find out than to suppose....”
Secret Wars. One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6
100 years of a spy-empire...

When Sir Winston Churchill resigned from the office of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, in 1955, he was quoted as saying “I will not preside over the dismembering” of what was previously The British Empire. But as the Empire shrank quickly to the size of the United Kingdom, the “Spy-Empire” of MI5 and Mi6, founded in 1909, never receded but expanded world-wide and turned high-tech.

On the eve of its 100th Anniversary, one of the best and most popular British writers, specializing in intelligence, pays a tribute to many generations of British spies and their spy-masters, who have influenced the history of Great Britain and of the world.

His book,“Secret Wars. One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6” (St.Martin’s Press, March 2009), is a fascinating read for everybody, and for intelligence operatives and young secret service recruits, in particular it should be a must. This book is not a history text or a mere chronicle of events, and it’s not a panegyric either. “The great advantage of being a writer” – Graham Greene once said – “is that you can spy on people. You’re there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see – every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties.” For a greater part of his 75-year-long life, Gordon Thomas was doing just that: meeting spies and spy-masters, not only British but also American, Israeli, Russian, Chinese, Polish, German and many others and listening to their insider’s stories. The best and undisputable value of his book is the author’s encounters with real flesh and blood intelligence people, including some of them that turned the tide of history.

The research for this book took the author almost 50 years, since the Suez Crisis in 1956, which he had witnessed as a foreign correspondent based in Egypt. From his contacts there he learned about President Naser’s plan to nationalize the Canal and he warned the Foreign Office about that – only to be told that if he missed the truth he better forget about his journalist career. He was right. But it was the British Government to fail in their insane plans to assassinate Naser (described in the book) and then to abort a British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt, secretly conceived not to inform the Americans. Later on Gordon Thomas covered many other events, which had been planned, provoked or carried out with the participation of secret intelligence services. He was introduced to the world of spying by his late father-in-law and life-time friend, a former British covert agent, Joachim Kraner, to whom he later paid a tribute in his writings.

“Secret Wars” is a story of the British Intelligence over the span of a hundred years, since 1909, when MI5 and MI6 (code-names for the military counter-intelligence and intelligence) were founded to prevent an expected German attack on Great Britain. The over-400 page book is not a systematic, chronologically arranged tale. Each of its 20 chapters is a purposeful mixture of past and present events, sometimes with projections into future. For a reader, this book is a fascinating, perfectly composed thriller, which The New York Times described as “Literally impossible to put down.”

Mark Twain was quoted as saying: “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” He had writing fiction on his mind but his words could just as well be attributed to the distortion of intelligence by politicians. James Angleton, a famous CIA spy-master and spy-catcher, whom Gordon Thomas had interviewed, summarized this unhealthy relationship between intelligence and politics by these words, quoted in the book: “Secrecy from public scrutiny leads to often uncheckable and different accounts of the same events, which are often contradictory and distorted.” Thomas’ book gives innumerable examples of such misuse of the honest fact-finding by intelligence services, of which a recent one could be a “sexed-up” report about alleged Saddam’s WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) that Prime Minister Blair and President Bush used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Great Game often recalled in “Secret Wars” as the never-ending deception war waged by national intelligence agencies was played over the last hundred years by MI5 and MI6 continues. “The color of truth is gray” (Andre Gide), because truth is evasive and often hidden from the public by purposeful cover-up. Generations of British spies, as well as their controllers and masters, contributed to the security of their country, at times preventing national disasters and saving many thousand of lives during wars. But the British (and also American) intelligence services have been, for decades, deeply penetrated and harmed by Soviet “moles,” recruited at the best universities, such as Cambridge and Oxford. Gordon Thomas writes about treason within the British services and about a complete failure of the counter-intelligence to detect it. The cases of Kim Philby (a high-ranking British counter-intelligence officer and a long-time Soviet spy) and of nuclear scientists, Klaus Fuchs, Alan Nunn May and Bruno Pontecorvo, who passed top atomic weapons secrets of the West to the Soviets, are perhaps the most significant. The author describes these treason cases with passion and talent and warns that “splendid isolation” of some British heads of The Services and their failure to put together and check simple facts, led to a disaster inside MI5 and MI6 and to a long-term lack of confidence between the British and American intelligence.

As the motivation of the Communist spies inside MI5 and MI6 was mainly ideological, the CIA and FBI suffered even bigger losses due to simple “commercial” motivations of their own traitors, like Ames and Hansen. Greed for money was their only reason to betray the services and the country. Aldrich “Rick” Ames destroyed the American spy network in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and caused the deaths of many Russian CIA agents for a reward of some $ 2.7 million from the KGB. Caught, he admitted with sarcastic grin that “The human spy, in terms of the American espionage effort, had never been terribly pertinent.”

Yet the British SIS (MI6) could also score big success with their top spy in the Soviet Russia, Oleg Gordievski, who’s brave exfiltration from USSR by a diplomatic car to Finland in 1985 had proven the efficiency of the British intelligence. A former MI6 covert agent, Richard Tomlinson, told the author, referring to SIS chief Collin McColl who worked in Russia and Poland: “Being in SovBlock meant you lived on the tightrope every moment of every day. Someone who could do that had to be very special.”

With the collapse of the Soviet Block in the early 1990s, the very nature of the Great Game has changed. The exceptionally high value of Gordon Thomas’ book is his factual description and professional assessment of the substantial changes in the intelligence community, caused by new political and military situation of the world at large.

The times of the absolute domination of the two super-powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, have passed forever. For some years, in the 1990s, the U.S. leadership naively believed America could become the only world’s super-power to dictate its policy and to promote the democratic values of the West to the rest of the globe. But soon new threats appeared and the United States (and also Britain as their main ally) realized that the world was too complicated to rule and that the peaceful victory in the Cold War was but a temporary success.

“Secret Wars” is a perfect book to prove that. Once again, Gordon Thomas demonstrated his unique talent in grasping of new trends in the Great Game and in the intelligence community. For no one knows how long a time, the world will be a very dangerous place, with many global and regional centers of power, and with growing problems. Terrorism, which was seen by MI5 and MI6 as mainly a local (IRA) problem or as an offspring of the Communist diversion, had developed into a global monster (al-Qaeda) and its main ideological motivation had become radical Islam, or Islamism...and all the Western False Flag operations in between.... starting with 9/11....and the infamous collection of assassins of the White House Murder INC, and the Nexus of Evils, CIA2/MOSSAD, MI6 and the UKUSA alliance of hegemonic demons.....

The negligence....LOL.... of this phenomenon by American and British intelligence agencies led to their ineptitude to prevent 9/11 in America in 2001, and the London bombings of 2005. In spite of many efforts to disrupt al-Qaeda, to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, the Islamist radical network is still developing and posing a deadly threat to the West and to Asia and Africa.... Two extremely dangerous developments added to the threat of international terrorism: bio-terrorism and nuclear-terrorism. Both have been described in “Secret Wars” with utmost accuracy and a powerful vision. The arsenals of bio-weapons, deadly viruses and bacteria, originally developed in the Soviet Union and also in the West, penetrated to rogue countries, from where they might be distributed to non-state terrorist organizations. On the other hand, nuclear materials and even weapons could be bought up on black markets by envoys of al-Qaeda to be used against the “Infidels” and were also offered by a Pakistani Dr. A.Q.Khan “commercial” network. Dr. Khan described himself as “world’s nuclear bomb peacemaker.” Nuclear scare embraced America and Britain following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil (2001) and the suicide bombings in London (2005). The author pays much attention to these tragic events and to the inability of the powerful secret services to predict and prevent them.

“There’s a new world out there. Adjust or die,” Gordon Thomas quotes former chief of the CIA, Bob Gates. But fortunately for the Western intelligence, people from the “other side” decide to “walk-in” and offer their help. One of these people was (the late) Vladimir Pasechnik from Russia, who contacted the British service to report about his KGB enterprise Biopreparat developing mass-killing toxins, viruses and bacteria. Asked why he did that, he replied: “I want the West to know. There must be a way to stop this madness.” Dr. David Kelly (also late by now), a top British microbiology and bio-weapons expert, told the author after his interrogation of Pasechnik: “The really terrifying thing was that I knew Vladimir was telling the truth.”
Thomas dedicated more than one chapter of his book to the tragic plight of Dr. Kelly, whose more than 30 trips to Iraq in search of bio-weapons ended by a conclusion that there weren’t any. In spite of that, a “sexed-up” intelligence report to the British PM had been used as an excuse for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In the same year, Dr. Kelly, disgraced and left alone by MI6 and MI5, died, or rather was murdered in strange circumstances. Before his death, a number of bacteriologists from several countries, including Britain, Russia and the U.S.A., were killed by unknown perpetrators, allegedly for refusing to share their knowledge with North Korean, Iranian and probably Chinese intelligence.

New threats and at the same challenges to the intelligence services of Britain and the West, described in detail by Gordon Thomas in “Secret Wars”, could be summed up as: international terrorism, rogue regimes (North Korea, Iran in particular) and a technological diversion, including professional cyber-attacks, led and developed by some states (Russia and China) and even by members of the Western alliance (Israel). It started in early 1980s with the theft of a powerful tracking software system, PROMIS, invented by a former NSA expert William L. Hamilton and produced by his small Washington D.C.-based company Inslaw Inc. Of PROMIS a former Mossad operative, Ari Ben Menashe, quoted by the author, said: “PROMIS changed the thinking of the entire intelligence world.” And Charles Foster Bass added: “Like any good spy novel, the Cox Report alleges that Chinese spies penetrated four U.S. weapons research labs and stole important information on seven nuclear warhead designs.” Only an American citizen and Israel’s spy, Jonathan Pollard (still in American top security prison) could do more. Pollard transmitted over 360 cubic feet of U.S. secret documents to Tel Aviv and some were also sold to Russia... A former CIA chief, the late William Casey complained about that to the author: “It was a double blow. It had cost us every worthwhile secret we had. And it had been stolen by a country supposed to be our ally.....”

But God perhaps rewarded the West and MI6 with a voluntary service of a high-ranking Iranian intelligence general, Ali Reza Asgari from VEVAK, code-named “Falcon”, who informed the British intelligence about the nuclear program of Iran and was successfully exfiltrated via Turkey and Bulgaria to the U.K. His motivations were personal and perhaps also monetary, but his services were of top importance to the West.

The spying Great Game goes on undisturbed by moments of failure and agony. The British services, closely cooperating with the American ones, own a big share of the most sophisticated spying technology, including satellite surveillance systems, ECHELON eavesdropping network and the fastest computers in the world. A former CIA chief, William Colby, quoted by the author on the NSA computers, said: “makes lightening look slow. One time there was a program that could translate seven languages at five hundred words per minute. Next time I checked, a month later, it had doubled its capacity and halved its translation time.” The various spying technologies like ELINT, SIGINT, IMINT and missile trajectory tracking systems are well described in the book. But all these marvelous inventions are still short of tracking Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Pakistan or Afghanistan and to follow, like PROMIS, the passage of money to terrorists by an ancient Muslim “hawala” human contact network, based on full confidence of the sender, the receiver and the “hawaladar”, the money handler.

As Mark Twain once remarked, “It is wiser to find out than to suppose.” This phrase might be the best description of what the intelligence services always did and do. Their mission is to discover and transmit secret information to help the governments in their decision making. Michael Smith, a defense analyst, quoted by Gordon Thomas in his Personal Notes closing the book, had captured the inner sense of proper spying: “Intelligence will need to be untainted and unlike the notorious (sexed-up) dossier on Iraq, both genuine and accurate.”

“For decades to come the spy world will continue to be the collective couch where the subconscious of each nation is confessed” (John LeCarre).

Gordon Thomas is well placed on this “couch” to observe what the services do and how Britain and the world benefit or lose from their work. The Great Game will never end and “Secret Wars” is a great book to read and learn of the 100 years of MI5 and MI6 and much more....


من ثمارهم تعرفونهم

من ثمارهم تعرفونهم

"ان الوطن يقوم بالخيارات الصحيحة والصادقة وليس بالاستجداء والرهانات الفارغة على الصداقات الدولية في هذا العالم، حيث لا توجد صداقات في هذا العالم، بل توجد مصالح، والذي له مصلحة عندنا تراه يأتي مثل الفراشة على النور ولكن الذي ليس له مصلحة معنا يبعد عنا، والذي له مصلحة عند عدونا يذهب الى عدونا حتى يقاتلنا هذا العالم، عالم مصالح نحن نحفظ مبادئنا وندافع عن مصالحنا ولذلك يجب ان نعمل بتوازن، ونحن لا نفرط، لا في مصالحنا ولا في مبادئنا، لكن اذا اقتضى الامر ان نحفظ ونسكت على مبادئنا ونناور في بعض مصالح جزئية هنا او هناك لنكسب مصالح استراتيجية من بعدها فهذا اسلوب يحقق مصالحنا لان الانتخابات كما قلت من اجل تكريس خيار شعبنا في الالتزام بالمقاومة وبالالتزام ببناء لبنان القوى والقادر والذي تقوم فيه دولة تستطيع ان تؤسس لمشروع مساواة وعدالة بين المواطنين وانماء متوازن هذا المشروع وهذا الالتزام سنعبر عنه في الانتخابات.

و: "لذلك عندما نقول انه الانتخابات الان بين لوائح معارضة ولوائح الموالاة نكون قد اخترنا بين من يريد بناء لبنان القوي في مواجهة العدو الصهيوني الذي لا يزال يتهدد وجودنا وبين من يراهن على التسويات ويريد ان يتخفف من المقاومة وسلاحها ليقدم حسن نية للعدو الاسرائيلي لعل العدو يصادقه ويكون صديقا له. نحن نتحدث عن النتيجة بنتيجة الخيارات هكذا، الان البعض يطرح شعار السيادة والحرية واستقلال لكن على الارض يمارس التبعية والاستجابة للوصايات الاجنبية ولا يوجد شيئ من الاستقلالية. نحن نريد السيادة الحقيقية والاستقلال الحقيقي ونريد تحرير بلدنا بالكامل من رجس الاحتلال الصهيوني وعدم الخضوع لشروطه واملاءته، وفي الاستحقاق الانتخابي يجب ان نترجم هذا الالتزام، يمكن البعض يحس انه ان النتائج في المنطقة معروفة حتى ولو كانت معروفة اذا معروفة في عقلك وعند اهل بيتك يجب ان تعرف الناس عليها ويجب ان تترجم هذه المعرفة في صندوق الاقتراع، لانه نسبة الاقتراع اساسية في هذا الاستحقاق الانتخابي".

و: "خيارنا نحن لا نحتاج الى ان نتحدث مع شعبنا عنه -أي عن شعبنا- لاننا نعرف ان شعبنا مؤتمن على خيار لن يفرط فيه ولن يقبل من احد ان يفرط فيه، ونريد الهدوء في الانتخابات حتى يمر هذا الاستحقاق الانتخابي ونريد للناس ان لا تتوتر ولا تنفعل ولا تستفز ونريد من السياسيين ايضا ان لا يخاطبوا الناس بخطاب توتيري وتحريضي، يتكلمون ما يشاؤون في السياسة، لكن لا يشتمون فلانا ولا يتحدثون عن مذهب فلان وطائفة فلان، خصوصا ان هذه الانتخابات سوف تجري في يوم واحد في كل المناطق"

و ان "المطلوب من الناس ان تعيش في هدوء اعصاب ومرتاحة في وقت الانتخابات. نحن واثقون من نجاح المعارضة في هذه الانتخابات ليس فقط في الجنوب، نحن واثقون ان خيار المعارضة سينجح بالاقتراع في الصناديق لاننا نستقطب ونستطلع ونرى كيف الخيارات الثانية، وكيف تتراجع، والزوايا الحادة كيف تتدور عند الاطراف الاخرى، ونرى كيف بعض النصائح الاقليمية والدولية. لكن كل ذلك لا يمنعنا على الاطلاق ولا يجوز ان يثنينا عن ان نقبل بحرارة على صناديق الاقتراع


We are all Resistance...

Sectarian reality is scary in Lebanon, in believing things will remain the same for a long time to come, only with different labels,…the ugly truth is those who uphold this system are the people themselves. Identity is everything. Sects and confessions hold the highest share when it comes to belonging, a sense of enormous pride…and it is this that keeps Lebanon a Hodge Podge of groupings , most having tasted persecutions, saw Lebanon as a refuge….they still do….only now these groups have claimed fiefdoms their own..., keeping a suspicious eye on the other..., and maintaining the culture of fear….and thus the feudal "Zai'ms" were born, revered, idolized….
The issue with Lebanon is not politics, its anthropology.... Politics is the entertainer of the masses, sticking a band aid on the open wound ....
Revolution in Lebanon starts by shattering the barricades of fear from the “other”....by eliminating completely the Sectarian based formulas of the past for good and at ounce.

The USA Big Bang strategy upon the Persian Gulf....,the Greater Middle East and South ASIA.

The USA Big Bang strategy upon the Persian Gulf....,the Greater Middle East, Africa and South ASIA...

The "Seven Deadly Sins of Bush-Cheney": Lust - leading to the quest for primacy; Anger - leading to the demonization of enemies; Greed - leading to the concentration of power; Pride - leading to avoidable postwar failures; Envy - leading to the misguided redirect on Iran; Sloth - leading to the US military finally asserting command; and Gluttony - leading to strategic overhang cynically foisted upon the next Administration...
"What's so scary about globalization today is that it's triggering a global consciousness regarding the possibilities of individual liberty, and in doing so, it places a lot of elites in nondemocratic societies in a tough place...."


Scratch a counterintelligence officer in the U.S. government and they'll tell you that Israel is not a friend to the United States....

"The Hidden History of 9/11/01"



CIA Paid Millions to Jordan's King Hussein, who was a paid agent and a puppet

CIA Paid Millions to Jordan's King Hussein, and CIA is still ominpresent within the Jordanian palatial grounds of power and its various ministries...


Bob Woodward, Washington Post Staff Writer LEAD: The Central Intelligence Agency for 20 years has made secret annual payments totaling millions of dollars to King Hussein of Jordan, The Washington Post has learned...

February 18, 1977; Page A1

The Central Intelligence Agency for 20 years has made secret annual payments totaling millions of dollars to King Hussein of Jordan, The Washington Post has learned. The payoffs were reported last year to President Ford as an impropriety by the Intelligence Oversight Board, a three-member panel set up by Ford to curb CIA abuses. President Ford took no steps to stop the covert payments. Lastyear Hussein was paid approximately $750,000 by the CIA.

President Carter learned of the payoffs earlier this week after this newspaper began its investigation. He ordered that the payments be stopped.

The secret arrangement with Hussein had not been disclosed to Carter by the CIA or by any member of the previous administration, including President Ford, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, or former CIA Director George Bush.

Carter was "distressed" that he had not been told, according to well-placed sources, and sees the solution to CIA abuses as quick confirmation of his nominee as CIA director, Navy Adm. Stansfield Turner.

In addition, the Senate Intelligence Committee created last year to oversee the CIA apparently was not given the full story by the Ford administration of the secret payments to Hussein.

One of the most closely held and sensitive of all CIA covert activities, the payments to Hussein were made under the codeword project name of "No Beef." They were usually delivered in cash to the king by the CIA station chief in Amman.

As justification for the direct cash payments to Hussein, the CIA claimed that Hussein was allowing U.S. intelligence agencies to operate freely in his strategically placed Middle Eastern country.

Hussein himself provided intelligence to the CIA and forwarded money from the payments to other government officials who provided intelligence or cooperated with the CIA.

Nonetheless, some CIA officials considered the payments nothing more than "bribes" and reported the matter to President Ford's oversight panel.

Hussein, according to sources, considers the payments simply another form of U.S. assistance.

Within the CIA, the "No Beef" project has been considered one of its most successful operations, giving the United States great leverage and unusual access to the leader of a sovereign state.

The payments were first made to Hussein in 1957 during the Eisenhower administration. The initial payments apparently ran in the millions of dollars but they were sharply curtailed to the $750,000 level last year.

Hussein was only 21 when he first became a beneficiary of CIA funds. It was a time when Jordan was virtually a ward of the United States and Hussein had little money to support his lifestyle, which earned him the reputation as a "playboy prince."

Hussein has a well-publicized taste for sports cars and airplanes. As once previously reported, the CIA has provided Hussein with female companions. The agency also provided bodyguards for Hussein's children when they were abroad in school.

Some money from the most recent CIA payments to Hussein have been used to pay for bodyguards for his children.

Over the years, Hussein has maintained friendly relations with the United States and his country has been the recipient of substantial military and economic aid - about $200 million in loans and grants last year alone.

The "No Beef" payments to Hussein were made outside the conventional channel of military and economic assistance.

Well-placed sources said that nonetheless the United States has not been able to direct Hussein's overall policy decisions. He has not been a "puppet," the sources said, but he has rarely drifted outside the U.S. orbit.

In late 1974 the CIA became the focus of several government investigations into alleged abuses, and in February, 1976, President Ford directed a reorganization of the intelligence community.

Part of a Feb. 18, 1976, executive order set up the Intelligence Oversight Board which, among other things, was to "report in a timely manner to the President any activities that raise serious questions about propriety."

The office of the general counsel in the CIA was assigned by the exectuve order to report any alleged abuses to the oversight panel.

The general counsel soon made such a report on the Hussein payments, and called them possibly improper.

The panel appointed by Ford included former Under Secretary of State Robert D. Murphy, former Secretary of the Army Stephen Ailes, and business book publisher Leo Cherne.

By last summer the oversight panel had made a formal report to President Ford on the payments, concluding that they were improper. Ford read the report but ordered no action taken.

Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance is scheduled to meet with King Hussein today during Vance's six-nation trip to the Middle East.

Jordan is widely considered a moderating influence on the Palestinians and a key to any lasting Middle East peace settlement.

The country is considered a vital part of any realistic option for getting the Palestinians represented at a future Geneva peace conference.

Geographically, Jordan is in a central position, sharing borders with Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Israel's entire eastern border touches Jordan.

Hussein's decisions have often been highly compatible with U.S. and Israeli interests. For example, he expelled the Palestine Liberation Organization from Jordan in 1970, though this also helped Hussein's own domestic situation....and was the main underlying cause of Lebanon's suffering and wars for over three decades, because of the presence of the PLO in Lebanon and the loads of extreme organizations which gravitated around the PLO for years during the cold war....

In 1973, Hussein refused to join in the Arab war against Israel....

It is often considered a miracle that Hussein has held power for 24 years through the turbulence of the Middle East wars, frequent internal strife and at least a dozen assassination attempts.
Last week his wife, Queen Alia, 26, died in a helicopter crash while returning from a hospital mercy mission....


NSA Eavesdropping on the World

Eavesdropping on the World

James Bamford’s new book comes up short on 9/11

by Mark H. Gaffney - March 11, 2009

In January 2009, during Israel’s ferocious attacks on Gaza, there were
numerous reports on the Internet that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert had
boasted about “wagging the US dog.” Supposedly Olmert bragged that he
had pulled Bush off a stage while the president was making a speech and
demanded that Bush block a UN Security Council cease-fire resolution.
The US had already vetoed an earlier cease-fire resolution in late
December, but by the eighth of January, with the death toll rapidly
mounting in Gaza, Israel’s war against Hamas was wearing thin. For days
US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice had been working with Arab and
European governments to craft a cease-fire resolution that every member
of the Security Council would support, including the US.

Israel, however, strongly opposed a cease-fire. The IDF had not yet
finished its military operations in Gaza. But there was also another
concern. The US was in danger of deviating from its standard policy of
uncritically supporting whatever Israel does. Therefore, Rice had to be
taught a lesson and the US government brought back into the fold.

At the time, I didn’t take any of this too seriously, attributing it to
the Internet rumor mill. That is, until I read a report about it in The
Forward, a leading Jewish web journal, whereupon, I realized that the
story was true. [1] After the call from PM Olmert, President Bush rang
up his secretary of state and dutifully passed on the instruction to
back off. Bush apparently reached Rice just minutes before the UN vote.
In the end, as we know, Rice only abstained. The UN resolution passed by
a vote of 14-0 and, later, Rice was sharply criticized because she did
not exercise the US veto to kill it outright. Even so, Olmert could not
resist bragging about his great achievement in neutralizing US support
for a cease-fire.

Israel’s punishing assault on the Palestinians continued for another ten
days. Nonetheless, according to the Forward, Jewish leaders were not
amused by Olmert’s little stunt. The fact he had reined in the US was
not the issue. That was perfectly OK. No, they were displeased because
Olmert had blabbed about it in public when he should have kept his mouth

The Shadow Factory

Weeks after all of this went down, a nagging question remained. How did
Olmert know that a Security Council vote on the cease-fire resolution
was imminent? Indeed, how did he know Rice was wavering? Author James
Bamford may have given us the answer in his new book about the National
Security Agency (NSA), The Shadow Factory, released this past January.
Although initially I was wary of Bamford’s research, I was largely won
over and now regard his book as a tour de force of investigative
reporting. The NSA is the single largest US spy agency, much larger than
the better-known CIA. The NSA’s 30,000 employees work in a city-sized
complex of buildings at Fort Meade, Maryland (about half-way between
Washington and Baltimore).

The NSA’s global mission is signals intelligence (SIGINT), which it
pursues in such a secretive manner that only three books about the
agency have ever been published, all of them by James Bamford. This was
the source of my wariness. By contrast, there are hundreds of books in
print about the CIA. Given the author’s unique status as the sole
reporter on the NSA beat, obvious questions arise. How did Bamford come
to have exclusive access? Was he a vehicle chosen by the powers-that-be
for the planned release of information, for purposes we can only guess?
On the one hand, The Shadow Factory is so full of shocking revelations,
some of them deeply embarrassing to the US government, that even if
parts of the story were intentionally leaked (and I have no doubt they
were) one finds it hard to quarrel with the result. The American people
need to hear this story. Even so, it is possible to admire Bamford’s
investigative work about the NSA while taking issue with his endorsement
of the official 9/11 narrative, as I do, for reasons to be discussed
later in this review.

Warrantless Wiretapping

The Shadow Factory tells the fascinating story of warrantless
wiretapping, a story so important that I regard Bamford’s book as a
must-read. However, be forewarned: The account is so detailed and the
story so convoluted that a second reading is almost obligatory. Some
will be surprised to learn that US government surveillance of the
telecommunications industry is nothing new. It long antedated the NSA
(which came into existence in 1952) and, in fact, dates back to the
period following World War I when the forerunners of the NSA struck
secret and highly illegal deals with the telecoms to monitor
communications in and out of the US.

Bamford’s discussion of how the industry evolved is especially helpful.
I was unaware that advances in fiber optics in the 1990s rendered
telecom satellites largely obsolete. Nor was I aware of the legal
ramifications stemming from the language of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act (FISA) passed by Congress in 1978 to prevent government
abuses of privacy. FISA was the reform-minded legislation born of the
Church and Pike committee hearings in the post-Watergate era: hearings
that shocked the nation with revelations that the NSA and other US spy
agencies had for years violated the Constitution by carrying out
indiscriminate surveillance on US citizens. Although the subsequent FISA
law permitted the NSA to intercept satellite communications, it required
a special warrant (hence, probable cause) for each and every case
involving landlines, i.e., wires.

FISA also created a court to review and approve such requests from the
intelligence community. However, according to Gen. Michael Hayden, NSA
chief at the time of 9/11, due to the industry’s increasing reliance on
underground and undersea fiber-optic cables, by the late 1990s the
letter of the FISA law had become a bureaucratic nightmare. Bamford
interviewed Hayden for his book (p. 32) and I was a bit surprised that
he accepts Hayden’s explanation without more skepticism. Although it is
certainly true that when FISA was created no one foresaw the
introduction of fiber-optic cables, nonetheless, as Bamford himself
points out (p. 122), Hayden’s NSA could easily have complied with the
FISA law, despite this, while fulfilling its intelligence mission,
simply by tracing the overseas calls from the known terrorist phone hub
in Yemen, which it had been monitoring for years, back to the al Qaeda
operatives (Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar) who were hiding out in
San Diego, under the very noses of the US authorities. NSA certainly had
the capability, and because neither al-Hazmi nor al-Mihdhar were US
citizens the NSA would have had no trouble obtaining a FISA warrant for
their phone numbers, information the agency could then have legally
passed on to the FBI. In fact, given that bin Laden was public enemy
number one at the time (and by extension, so was al Qaeda) it is hard to
believe this was not done as a matter of course.

According to the author, Hayden’s policy in the period before 9/11 was
“to keep its [the NSA’s] operations as far away from US territory as
possible.” The reason? If we can believe Hayden, because the NSA chief
was sensitive to public perceptions and controversy surrounding the
NSA’s widespread use of Echelon in past years to monitor cell phone
calls. I must say I was surprised that Bamford did not grill Hayden on
this, since as the author himself points out (p. 38), “there is….little
question….that all it would take for life to imitate art [i.e., Orwell’s
1984] was a few secret decisions…”

Whatever his professed scruples before the 9/11 attack, Gen. Hayden
showed none after it. When G.W. Bush declared his “war on terrorism”
Hayden set aside any concerns about the Constitution and dutifully
expanded the NSA’s surveillance mission. Soon the NSA was snooping on
everyone, including officials at the United Nations. As reported by the
author (p. 140), a former member of Tony Blair’s cabinet, Claire Short,
set off a storm in the UK when she later admitted that before the Iraq
war she had read secret transcripts of UN Secretary General Kofi Anon’s
private conversations. Evidently, the NSA provided the transcripts to
British intelligence, which then made them available to Prime Minister
Blair, who in turn shared them with his cabinet.

During the run-up to war the Bush White House was particularly keen, for
obvious reasons, to spy on the undecided members of the Security
Council. With the help of Hayden’s NSA, the neocons were able to learn
which of the member states could be brought around with an appropriately
tailored package of inducements. As Bamford put it, “Having already won
over the US Congress and the American public, the Bush administration
was not about to let a half dozen third world countries get between them
and their war.”

Tapping the Information Superhighway

In 2003 NSA surveillance took a major leap forward when the agency
overcame the challenges posed by fiber-optic cables. The NSA
accomplished this by secretly arranging with AT&T and other telecoms to
set up spy rooms in the companies’ giant switch facilities where they
installed cable-splitters, thus gaining direct access to the information

This brings us back full circle to my initial question about how Israeli
PM Olmert wagged the US dog. Bamford saves the most stunning revelations
for the second half of his book, in which he describes how AT&T,
Verizon, and the NSA outsourced the eavesdropping chores to two Israeli
companies, Verint and Narus, both founded by former members of Israel’s
intelligence community. Shocking, indeed. But there is more. It turns
out that the former CEO and founder of Verint, Jacob “Kobi” Alexander,
is presently a fugitive from justice. As I write Alexander is hiding out
in the African nation of Namibia, where he fled to escape prosecution by
the FBI for thirty-two counts of fraud. The Verint CEO was not satisfied
with the hundreds of millions in profits his company was raking in by
marketing its patented spyware to the repressive governments of Egypt,
China, Viet Nam and many others, governments more interested in crushing
dissent than fighting terrorism. No, the CEO and his Verint accomplices
cooked up a scam to rake in even more loot by backdating stock options,
a sleight of hand worth some $138 million. Bamford is plainly appalled,
and rightly so, that while the US government was supposedly fighting
terrorism the top executives of one of its chief allies in the cause,
Verint, were, in Bamford’s words, “engaging in an orgy of theft,
bribery, money laundering, and other crimes.”

Verint’s Back Door

As if this were not enough, Bamford goes on to explain that in 2004
Verint acknowledged in a closed-door hearing in Australia that its
proprietary eavesdropping system gives it the capability to
“automatically access the mega-terabytes of stored and real-time data
from anywhere, including Israel.” Which, of course, means that Verint’s
bugging technology includes a back door giving the company remote access
24/7 to a large percentage of America’s, and the world’s, voice and data

Talk about super intrusive. What is more, given the revolving door
between Israel’s intelligence community and its high-tech firms, I think
we must assume that Verint’s back door leads ultimately to Unit 8200,
the Israeli equivalent of the NSA. Bamford does not state this but he
did not need to, such a conclusion is inescapable. So, it is not too
surprising that the Israeli government was privy, last January, to
confidential discussions at the UN Security Council about the Gaza
cease-fire resolution. No doubt, the Israelis were (and are) listening
to every word of every private conversation or email within the US that
is of interest to them. One wonders how this shocking state of affairs
has remained under the radar. One would think, at very least, that
Verint’s involvement in warrantless wiretapping would merit prime time
coverage by the major networks, especially after its founder and former
CEO, “Kobi” Alexander, was indicted for criminal activity. But insofar
as I am aware there has been not a peep about it on television, at
least, not yet. The public broadcasting NOVA special about Bamford’s
research that aired on February 3, 2009 failed to mention it, [2] and
the only article about Kobi’s flight from prosecution in the New York
Times (2006) gave no hint. [3] The US corporate media appears curiously
blasé about the strong likelihood that the state of Israel engages in
wholesale spying on its principal ally. As for the exiled “Kobi”
Alexander, despite his legal travails the former spook still has
defenders. One source told The New York Post that "[in Israel] He's seen
as a genius and a wunderkind of Wall Street. Israel is very proud of
him." [4]

Problems with Bamford’s 9/11 Account

Unfortunately, Bamford’s discussion of 9/11 in the early chapters of his
book is less impressive than his research on warrantless wiretapping. I
found some issues. The author’s description of Hani Hanjour, the alleged
hijacker pilot of AA Flight 77, as a capable and determined terrorist is
sharply at odds with a multitude of open-sourced press accounts, which
consistently portray Hanjour as a rather inept and borderline
personality who was anything but ambitious. According to one account, as
a young man Hanjour did not even aspire to fly planes but was satisfied
merely to become a flight attendant; that is, until his older brother
pushed him to aim higher. [5] Even then, Hanjour’s flight training was
spasmodic and ineffectual. His pattern of behavior was on-again
off-again, and this played out everywhere he went. Rather than persist
in one flight-training program through to the end Hanjour would quit
after a few weeks, then move on to a different school. One instructor,
Duncan Hastie, who trained Hanjour at Cockpit Resource Management (CRM)
in Scottsdale, Arizona, refused to readmit him a second time when
Hanjour sought to return. Hastie described him as “a weak student” who
was “wasting our resources.” [6]

Bamford’s willingness to believe that Hanjour was skilled enough to fly
a Boeing 757 was apparently based on a set of documents submitted as
evidence in the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui. [7] The documents include
the written evaluation of Hanjour’s flight skills prepared by the Jet
Tech instructor who tested him. The evaluation does mention that Hanjour
was intelligent, but it also states–––and Bamford ignored this–––that
Hanjour “made numerous errors during his performance and displayed a
lack of understanding of some basic concepts. The same was true during
review of systems knowledge….I doubt his ability to pass an FAA [Boeing
737] oral at this time or in the near future.” Later, the instructor
made a final entry, concluding his evaluation: “He will need much more
experience flying smaller A/C [aircraft] before he is ready to master
large jets.” [8]

Another Jet Tech employee who knew Hanjour later expressed amazement
“that he [Hanjour] could have flown into the Pentagon. [Since] He could
not fly at all.” [9] As reported by FOX News, Hanjour’s atrocious
English and general ineptitude prompted an administrator at Jet Tech,
Peggy Chevrette, to question the authenticity of his pilot’s license.
Chevrette told FOX “I couldn’t believe that he had a license of any
kind, with the skills that he had.” [10] Hanjour’s English was so bad it
took him five hours to complete the exam mentioned above that normally
should have taken only about two. Fluency in English is required by law
to hold a US pilot’s license. We now understand that Hanjour acquired
his license to fly small planes by exploiting a legal loophole. He hired
a private contractor. [11] It is important to realize that even if Hani
Hanjour had some training in a Boeing 737 simulator this would not have
prepared him to accomplish a series of top-gun maneuvers in a Boeing
757, which is a significantly larger and less maneuverable aircraft.

Apparently Bamford is also unaware that Hanjour flunked a flight test
just three weeks before 9/11 while attempting to rent–––not a jet
aircraft–––but a single engine Cessna! This happened at Freeway Airport
near Bowie, Maryland, about twenty miles from Washington. [12] Although
Hanjour presented his FAA license the airport manager insisted for
safety reasons that an instructor first accompany him on a test flight
to confirm his flying skills. When Hanjour had trouble controlling and
landing the aircraft Marcel Bernard, the chief instructor at Freeway,
flatly refused to rent him the plane. Yet, just three weeks later, this
flunky supposedly performed like an ace. After completing a remarkable
330 degree downward spiraling turn and some other daredevil maneuvers
that would have challenged a commercial pilot, Hanjour plowed Flight 77
into the west wing of the Pentagon at more than 500 mph. What is even
more incredible, he accomplished all of this on the first attempt. Sure,
and turtles have wings and elephants can fly.

The Cell Phone Calls

Bamford mentions (p. 90) the two calls that Barbara Olson supposedly
made from AA Flight 77 to her husband Ted, who served as the Bush
administration’s solicitor general. Apparently the author is unaware
that these calls have since been discredited. Initially Ted Olson
described them as cell phone calls. Later, however, he modified his
story and stated that his wife had reached him using a passenger phone
(or an air phone, as they are called). The problem is that American
Airlines did not equip its Boeing 757s with passenger phones at the time
of the 9/11 attack. Nor is it possible that Barbara was able to connect
using a cell phone, since in 2001 cell phone technology was not yet
capable of supporting calls from high-flying commercial jets. The FBI
tacitly conceded these points at the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui, at
which the FBI submitted a report about the calls allegedly made from the
four flights on 9/11. The report mentions only one call from Barbara
Olson and describes it as an “unconnected call,” indicating that there
was no conversation. The FBI admitted, in other words, that the call
never took place! Their disavowal is astonishing, especially given the
media attention that the alleged calls from Barbara Olson to her husband
received in the first days after the September 11 attack. The calls were
extremely important in establishing the official story in the public
mind. Yet, to the best of my knowledge the press has completely ignored
the FBI’s subsequent admission that it was all a hoax. Here, I must
credit David Ray Griffin for his research on this important issue, which
I have just summarized. [13]

Were it possible to speak with James Bamford I would congratulate him
for the excellent work he has done on the NSA. In the next breath I
would encourage him to probe 9/11 more deeply.

Mark H. Gaffney’s book The 9/11 Mystery Plane and the Vanishing of
America was released by Trineday Press in September 2008. For more
information please visit Mark’s blog at
www.the911mysteryplane.com Mark
can be reached for comment at


1 Nathan Guttman, “Olmert’s Boast of ‘Shaming’ Rice Provokes Diplomatic
Furor,” The Forward, January 15, 2009.

2 For those who missed it the NOVA special (“The Spy Factory”) was
archived and can be watched in its entirety at

3 Julie Creswell, “At Comverse: Many Smart Business Moves, and Maybe a
Bad One,” New York Times, August 31, 2006.

4 Janet Whitman and Tom Liddy, “Sly as a Fox: Kobi Giving Feds a Fit,”
New York Post, October 8, 2006.

5 Amy Goldstein, Lena H. Sun and George Lardner, Jr., “Hanjour an
Unlikely Terrorist,” The Cape Cod Times, October 21, 2001.

6 Ibid.

7 James Bamford, The Shadow Factory, New York, Doubleday, 2009. See the
first note under ‘Totowa,” p. 353. The set of documents is posted at:

8 Ibid.

9 “Report: 9/11 Hijacker Bypassed FAA,” AP story, June 13, 2002.

10 “FAA Probed, Cleared Sept. 11 Hijacker in Early 2001,” FOX News, May
10, 2002; also see Jim Yardley, “A Trainee Noted for Incompetence,” New
York Times, May 4, 2002.

11 Kellie Lunney, “FAA contractors approved flight licenses for Sept. 11
suspect,” GovernmentExecutive.com, June 13, 2002.

12 Thomas Frank, “Tracing Trail of Hijackers,” Newsday, September 23, 2001.

13 David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, Olive Branch
Press, Northampton, 2008, pp. 60-62.

Stephen Walt On Chas Freeman's withdrawal:


Charles Freeman fails the loyalty test

(Updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV - Update V)


AIPAC espionage case defendant Steve Rosen & AIPAC operative Rahm
Emanuel got Freeman removed from NIC:


Additional at the following URL:



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