The Greatest Covert Operation Ever: The Politics of Terror as the Business of Terror

Douglas Valentine
Global Research

The politics of terror are the greatest covert operation ever.

In explaining why, I’ll begin by defining some terms, because, when discussing the covert op called “the politics of terror,” words and their management are all important.

How are politics and terror actually defined: how are these meanings manipulated; for what purposes, and by whom?

Terrorism is defined as "violence against civilians intended to obtain a political purpose." This is an ambiguous phrase, which begs the questions: what are politics and violence?

Politics is defined as “the process by which groups of people make collective decisions.” And violence is the use of force to compel a person or group to do or think something against their will. That includes the violence of words – of threatening to hurt - and of social structures, as well as the violence of deeds.

So, by definition, terrorism is political violence – hurting people, or threatening to hurt them, in order to make them govern themselves against their will.

In America , terrorism is always condemned by the government, and, accordingly, America is never a perpetrator of terrorism, but always the victims of it. The US war on terror is the ultimate expression of this principle: it is a military response to terrorism; violence in self-defense, not (ostensibly) violence for a political purpose.

That’s the official story – the assumption. But I’m going to show that America does engage in terrorism – violence against civilians for political purposes. This “state” terrorism, however, is covert, in so far as it is equated with national security, and thanks to that built-in ambiguity, it has both stated and unstated purpose.

What are they dying for?

Bill Van Auken

Fourteen more US troops killed in Afghanistan: What are they dying for?

During his West Point speech last December announcing his 30,000-troop surge, Obama insisted that “The days of providing a blank check are over. We’ll support Afghan ministries, governors and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people.

Indeed, the checks are not blank. They bear generous figures and are signed by the CIA. They are going to criminal officials who have sold their loyalty to Washington, but are hated by their own people. These checks are the unmistakable hallmark of a puppet regime installed in the attempt to assert neo-colonial US control in Afghanistan, against the will of the country’s population.

Another 14 US troops have been killed in Afghanistan since Saturday, with the death toll so far this year already rising to the level reached for all of 2010.

A pair of roadside bombings took the lives of seven soldiers on Monday, five of them dying in a blast that tore apart a Humvee in which they were riding. Bomb blasts took the lives of four others in southern Afghanistan over the weekend, while three were killed in clashes with armed groups resisting the US-led occupation.

These latest deaths bring US fatalities for the month to nearly 50, after the record 65 killed in July.

US, UK Roles in Iran's Mass Executions

Bob Woodward

Iranian revolution, supporters of the Shah arrested,
Tehran, Iran, February 1979. Photograph by Olivier

CIA curried favor with Khomeini, exiles.

[1986] The Reagan administration's secret overtures and arms shipments to Iran are part of a seven-year-long pattern of covert Central Intelligence Agency operations -- some dating back to the Carter administration -- that were designed both to curry favor with the regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and support Iranian exiles who seek to overthrow it, according to informed sources.

In 1983, for example, the CIA participated in a secret operation to provide a list of Soviet KGB agents and collaborators operating in Iran to the Khomeini regime, which then executed up to 200 suspects and closed down the communist Tudeh party in Iran, actions that dealt a major blow to KGB operations and Soviet influence there, the sources said. Khomeini also expelled 18 Soviet diplomats, imprisoned the Tudeh party leaders and publicly thanked God for "the miracle" leading to the arrests of the "treasonous leaders."

At the same time, secret presidential intelligence orders, called "findings," authorized the CIA to support Iranian exiles opposed to the Khomeini regime, the sources said. These included providing nearly $6 million to the main Iranian exile movement, financing an anti-Khomeini exile group radio station in Egypt and supplying a miniaturized television transmitter for an 11-minute clandestine broadcast to Iran two months ago by Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who vowed, "I will return."

Living in a Car After False DV Charges

Dan Abshear

The Fight Against The Toxic Domestic Violence Industry

"I'm presently losing this battle, but I continue to stand up after I've been slammed to the ground several times already. I'll stand up again."

In August of last year, I received false accusations that began with claims of violent spousal abuse by my former wife of 20 years.

As a result, I have experienced criminal arrest, incarceration, conviction, and loss of freedom. I've also discovered that the color orange of the inmate attire is definitely not a good color for me.

The night my former wife accused me of violent crimes, she commited the act of parental kidnapping. In addition, she left the scene of the crime that she fabricated. These issues were never addressed by the family law system.

I've been denied access to my 11 year old daughter entirely. The pain of this particular injury is indescribable.

I was rapidly removed from my own home. So I'm now homeless, unemployed, and I was not long ago living out of my one remaining asset out of what was thousands of dollars of assets. This would be my 500 dollar car. Fortunately, I learned some tips from those I met in jail who are homeless themselves. There are many of them.

The Secret Killers: Covert Assassins Charged With Hunting Down and Killing Afghans

Pratap Chatterjee

Assassination in Afghanistan and Task Force 373

"Find, fix, finish, and follow-up" is the way the Pentagon describes the mission of secret military teams in Afghanistan which have been given a mandate to pursue alleged members of the Taliban or al-Qaeda wherever they may be found. Some call these “manhunting” operations and the units assigned to them “capture/kill” teams.

Whatever terminology you choose, the details of dozens of their specific operations -- and how they regularly went badly wrong -- have been revealed for the first time in the mass of secret U.S. military and intelligence documents published by the website Wikileaks in July to a storm of news coverage and official protest. Representing a form of U.S. covert warfare now on the rise, these teams regularly make more enemies than friends and undermine any goodwill created by U.S. reconstruction projects.

When Danny Hall and Gordon Phillips, the civilian and military directors of the U.S. provincial reconstruction team in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, arrived for a meeting with Gul Agha Sherzai, the local governor, in mid-June 2007, they knew that they had a lot of apologizing to do. Philips had to explain why a covert U.S. military “capture/kill” team named Task Force 373, hunting for Qari Ur-Rahman, an alleged Taliban commander given the code-name “Carbon,” had called in an AC-130 Spectre gunship and inadvertently killed seven Afghan police officers in the middle of the night.

The incident vividly demonstrated the inherent clash between two doctrines in the U.S. war in Afghanistan -- counterinsurgency (“protecting the people”) and counterterrorism (killing terrorists). Although the Obama administration has given lip service to the former, the latter has been, and continues to be, the driving force in its war in Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks’ CIA Red Cell memo: Orwellian mindset exposed

Larry Chin
Online Journal

“not defending our national security. It seeks rather to maintain the status quo . . .”

The CIA Red Cell memorandum released by WikiLeaks speaks volumes about the doublethink, paranoia, deception, and delusion of the CIA itself.

1. In this memo, the CIA is concerned that “American freedoms facilitate terrorism.” The “freedoms” include the Internet and the ability to travel.

Translation: the CIA wants these and other “freedoms” ended. Not even the post-9/11 “homeland security” lockdown made possible by the USAPATRIOT Act has been enough.

2. The memo cites 1) Muslim-American men who traveled to Pakistan to the “join the Taliban in jihad,” 2) David Headley’s membership in the group Lashkar-i-Tabiya, and his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror incident, 3) American Jews engaging in “violent acts against perceived enemies of Israel,” and 4) Irish-American support for the IRA.

Translation: the CIA absolves itself of any responsibility for the continuous management of terrorist groups all over the world, in total denial of historical fact. It makes no mention of its own role behind the incidents mentioned, its own involvement behind the Mumbai event, notably the Pakistani ISI’s connection to Lashkar-i-Tabiya and the other groups responsible.

It denies, ignores or purposely does not mention that CIA-Taliban-ISI-Al-Qaeda is a collaborative network, and that maintaining “militant Islam” is a long-term Anglo-American geostrategy. No mention is made of how Washington supports the Taliban, or how “jihad” benefits Washington resource war agendas.

It denies the overt and tacit support for all military-intelligence operations aimed at all perceived enemies of the interests of the US and its allies, when politically expedient to do so. It also denies how the CIA plays all sides of all conflicts.

Israel’s shameless mouthpiece

Hanan Chehata
Middle East Monitor

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, left, and Tony Blair on the right. From
1995, at a cermony commemorating the death of Yitzhak Rabin, who
was assassinated by a Jewish terrorist. (Brian Hendler/AP)

In yet another revealing speech, this time delivered at a symposium at IDC University in Herzliya, Tony Blair has exposed himself for what he truly is; not a "peace envoy" by any stretch of the imagination but a shameless mouthpiece for the State of Israel. Just days before direct negotiations are due to take place in the Middle East, in which he is supposed to be taking a neutral stance representing the Quartet (UN, EU, Russia and the USA), Blair has taken it upon himself to set aside any pretence of impartiality and reaffirm his "passion" for Israel. He has taken on the role of Israel’s defence attorney to plead with the world to try to empathise with Israel and to understand Israel’s point of view when it commits atrocities, human rights abuses and breaches of international law. He acknowledged that Israel is often perceived as "arrogant, overbearing and aggressive" but instead of examining why that might be such a widespread perception he went on to defend Israel’s crimes. Not for one moment, however, did he stop to ask anyone to consider the Palestinians’ point of view.

In this one short speech there were so many blatant attempts by Tony Blair at misdirection and misinformation that it is hard to know which was his most serious breach of professional decorum and where to start pointing out his now publicly-admitted bias; but regardless of where you start pretty much every statement he made was a crude attempt to spin the Israeli narrative. His whole speech was geared towards defending Israel and condemning the critics of Israel. He raised a whole host of issues which he seemed to have on a checklist and went through them one by one, making an attempt, and a very poor one at that, to defend Israel’s illegal actions.

Israel Threatens War with Lebanon

Stephen Lendman

"Besides bordering on Israel, Lebanon's resources make it vulnerable, namely its water and natural gas reserves, one reason for the 2006 war, South Lebanon to the Litani River especially important. Also the Wazzini springs feeding into the Hasbani River tributary of the Jordan River. It flows into Israel two miles downstream from the Wazzini, then into the Sea of Galilee that's Israel's largest fresh water source."

Palestine is belligerently occupied. Threats continue against Iran and Syria as well as Lebanon, specifically Hezbollah, elected partner in the nation's unity government, bogusly designated a US State Department Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), what Israel also calls it, repeating veiled and overt warnings, suggesting violence or an impending attack.

Why not, after so many earlier in 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996, and 2006. Also numerous incidents besides:

refusing to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 425 by occupying South Lebanon belligerently and illegally for 18 years until mostly, but not entirely, withdrawing in May 2000 - still holding Sheba Farms, the 14-square mile water-rich land near Syria's Golan, also illegally occupied since 1967; in addition, Ghajar, the Lebanese village bordering Golan;

during its occupation, using a proxy Christian South Lebanon Army as enforcer, UNIFIL Blue Helmets giving them and the IDF free reign instead of maintaining peace, how UN forces always operate, as paramilitaries against people they're supposed to protect; and

for over 40 years, repeatedly violating Lebanon's territory, often daily, including 12 Israeli jet overflights on August 19.

Yale University and the problem of anti-Semitism

Lawrence Davidson

2006 © Carlos Latuff

Lawrence Davidson considers a recent Yale University conference on anti-Semitism which, instead of engaging in an objective discussion of an age old form of racism, ended up tying itself to an ideological view of the world that is itself racist and dedicating itself to the idea that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.

Between the 23 and 25 August, Yale University in the USA held a conference entitled ‘Global anti-Semitism: a Crisis of Modernity’. It was sponsored by the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism. Therefore, this was a university event and not one brought in from the outside to use Yale facilities.

On the surface there is nothing wrong with this. Anti-Semitism is an age old form of racism and it calls for ongoing academic study. The problem is that this particular conference approached the subject from the ideologically driven position of radical Zionism. In other words, many of the assumptions upon which the conference was built were unfortunately tainted with bias. Indeed, in at least one instance (a panel on the "self-hating" Jew), one might suggest that the event was itself promoting a particularly virulent form of anti-Semitism. Very odd indeed.

Floods, Islamophobia, and Apathy

Tariq Ali

While Zardari was inspecting his French chateau...

A disaster of biblical scope: the floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains a month ago have affected more than 17.2 million people and killed over 1,500, according to Pakistan’s disaster management body. August is the monsoon season in Pakistan. This year a hard rain keeps falling, which is why the floodwaters are not abating. Nearly two thousand deaths and over 20 million people are homeless. The man-made disasters – war in Afghanistan, its spillage into Pakistan – are bad enough. Now the country faces its worst ever natural disaster. Most governments would find it difficult to cope, but the current regime is virtually paralyzed.

Over the last sixty years, the ruling elite in the country has never been able to construct a social infrastructure for its people. This is a structural defect that goes deep and affects the bulk of the population adversely. Today the country’s rulers eagerly follow the neoliberal dictates of the IMF, to keep the loans flowing. Not helpful at the best of times they are useless when the country is undergoing its worst humanitarian crisis of recent decades.

The response of the West has been less than generous causing panic in Islamabad with pro-US journalists in the country pleading that if help is not forthcoming the terrorists might take over the country. This is nonsense. The Pakistani Army is firmly in control of the flood-relief effort. The religious groups and others too are raising money and helping the homeless. It’s normal.

Since 9/11 a rampant Islamophobia has gripped Europe and parts of North America. A recent opinion-poll in “multicultural Britain” revealed that when asked what their first thought was on hearing the word “Islam” over fifty percent replied “Terrorist”. France and Germany, Holland and Denmark, are no different.

This treatment of Islam as the permanent “other” is not unrelated to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but the attitude is as wrong as the anti-Semitism that ignited prejudice and genocide during the first half of the 20th century. A million Iraqis dead since the occupation: Who cares? Afghan civilians dying every day: It’s their own fault. Pakistani engulfed in floodwaters. Indifference. That is undoubtedly one reason for the lack of response.

The Nazification of the United States

Paul Craig Roberts

Chuck Norris is no pinko-liberal-commie, and Human Events is a very conservative publication. The two have come together to produce one of the most important articles of our time, "Obama’s US Assassination Program."

It seems only yesterday that Americans, or those interested in their civil liberties, were shocked that the Bush regime so flagrantly violated the FlSA law against spying on American citizens without a warrant. A federal judge serving on the FISA court even resigned in protest to the illegality of the spying.

Nothing was done about it. "National security" placed the president and executive branch above the law of the land. Civil libertarians worried that the US government was freeing its power from the constraints of law, but no one else seemed to care.

Encouraged by its success in breaking the law, the executive branch early this year announced that the Obama regime has given itself the right to murder Americans abroad if such Americans are considered a "threat." "Threat" was not defined and, thus, a death sentence would be issued by a subjective decision of an unaccountable official.

There was hardly a peep out of the public or the media. Americans and the media were content for the government to summarily execute traitors and turncoats, and who better to identify traitors and turncoats than the government with all its spy programs. The problem with this sort of thing is that once it starts, it doesn’t stop.

God To Beck,”Do Not Use My Name In Vain”

Danny Schechter
News Dissector

"God To Beck, Do Not Use My Name In Vain To Bolster Your Career"

Jesus was unavailable when Mediachannel sought out his opinion on Glenn Becks’s performance at the Lincoln Memorial today. Mr Christ, often called JEEEEZ-US by Beck’s faithful, was apparently watching another channel.

We did briefly touch base with his dad, God himself, often referred to as our Lord and Savior, or THE MAN above, who we thought would be pleased by all the adoring rhetoric emanating from the Lincoln Memorial where 47 years earlier a real religious leader held a nation spellbound.

God seemed as if was in a foul mood, as if he felt he was being used by the Fox News host and best selling author, who kept repeating that God was in charge even as he asserted leadership of the Tea Party minions and offered advice that was not found in the Bible or scriptures but on his not yet consecrated website, the one with an ad for LIBERTY SAFES.

Reached on the Royal Telephone, we were told by HIMSELF, “Look, with people in the West turning away from religion in droves, we are always happy to have someone invoke religious principles and spiritual insights. In that sense, Glenn’s Sermon from the Steps was welcome except it was so clear that he is serving a political agenda first.

“How disappointing that the crowd was so uni-cultural wearing T shirts like “I can see November from my House,” and carrying “Don’t tread on me” flags. Why did he have to drag me into it?

Pakistan flood: US rains down death as villagers starve

Yuri Prasad

Pakistani flood survivors block highway, demanding food and shelter
from the government after being displaced in Thatta near Hyderabad,
Pakistan on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010.

The flooding crisis in Pakistan continues to grow as thousands flee the historic city of Thatta in Sind after the Indus River broke a levee and flooded new areas.

Around 175,000 people, almost three quarters of the city’s population, are thought to have fled their homes overnight, said government official, Manzoor Sheikh.

"The situation is getting worse,’ said disaster official Hadi Baksh Kalhoro. "The water is flowing into a nearby canal endangering Thatta city."

Evidence of the growing crisis, and the completely inadequate response of the Pakistani state and the "international community", can be read in postings on the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum.

One report comes from towns on the outskirts of Thatta:

"The situation of camps at Makli. This is the only safe place nearby and has attracted a wide number of affected people…[conditions are] miserable, as there was no food for the people, who were staying in the open.

"More than 100,000 people have migrated from different flood affected areas and are still pouring into there. They were crying for rations. The lack of food and shelter has exposed these people to the weather effects.

"In this situation it was obvious that due to the unavailability of food, safe water and health facilities the lives of women and children are under threat."

McCarthyism and Fascism in Israel

Michael Warschawski
Alternative Information Center

When a state awards itself the right to demand from its citizens an expression of loyalty to the state and when it conditions their citizenship on this same loyalty, it no longer possesses any connection to democracy. In a democracy, the state is loyal to its citizens and obligated to protect them unconditionally. Loyalty to the state and a demand from its citizens to serve it are characteristics of fascist regimes.

In the past two years Israel has taken several steps toward becoming a fascist regime. True, Israeli democracy, defined as a “Jewish and democratic state,” is problematic in several aspects: it removes from the democratic norm approximately 3 million residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory who are living under its rule for more than four decades, together with the 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel – who do enjoy various civil rights but are not part of the governing landscape as the state of Israel defines itself as “the state of the Jewish people” and not as a state of its citizens and absentee residents.

On the table of the Knesset are various legislative proposals, proposals which are strange from the perspective of accepted democratic norms, and which question even the ethnic democracy existing in Israel to date. Only in fascist regimes, and under Stalinist authoritarianism, the citizenship of one born a citizen (and not those naturalized as a mutual decision between the person and the state) is dependent on the good will of the state: Nazi Germany, for example, annulled the citizenship of Jews, as did Vichy France. The USSR annulled the citizenship of Leon Trotsky.

The state of Israel is marching on the path to becoming a fascist regime, and on the way there are benchmarks. One of them is McCarthyism.

Why is Israel Terrified of a Ship Full of Women?

Rannie Amiri

We will not even bring cooking knives.” ~ Samar al-Hajj, coordinator of the all-women Lebanese aid vessel Mariam

The bloody wake left by the Mavi Marmara after the May 31 Israeli commando raid has not deterred 50 female activists from trying to break the four-year-old siege of Gaza. To hear Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speak of their planned relief effort, one would think the very existence of Israel was at stake.

The women plan to set sail aboard the Saint Mariam, a Bolivian-flagged cargo ship named in honor of the Virgin Mary, a figure sacred to both Christians and Muslims. Although they intend to depart from Tripoli, Lebanon, the crew is not only composed of multi-faith Lebanese but foreign nationals as well, including a group of nuns from the United States. So as not to give Israel pretext to attack, Hezbollah deliberately did not sponsor the mission nor were any members allowed to participate.

Its cargo? Books, toys, medical instruments and supplies, and most importantly, anticancer medication.

The ship cannot sail directly from Tripoli to Gaza since Lebanon and Israel remain technically at war (and Israel controls Gaza’s territorial waters) and thus must pass through a third country first. The Mariam was scheduled to leave for Cyprus last Sunday but authorities in Nicosia, capitulating to Israeli pressure, prohibited use of its ports for vessels departing to Gaza. Without the green light from Cyprus, Lebanon’s Transport and Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi was forced to cancel the voyage until another country with whom Lebanon enjoys maritime relations could be found. Negotiations with Greece are now under way.

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