Posts Tagged ‘9/11’

Kill the Messenger (Sibel Edmonds)

Directed by Jean Robert Viallet, Mathieu Verboud (2006)

Film Review

Kill the Messenger is a French documentary about FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and the organized criminal behavior she discovered inside the Bush State Department and Pentagon.

Edmonds, the daughter of a Turkish family, was raised in Iran and recruited by the FBI four days after 9-11 to translate telephone conversations they had intercepted from suspected terrorists. In addition to English, Edmonds speaks Turkish, Farsi and Azairi.

Several months after she began her job, a fellow translator named Melek Dickerson and her husband, an Air Force major named Douglas Dickerson, tried to recruit her to a Turkish interest group whose intercepts she was translating. Believing they were spies, she reported the incident to her superiors, as well as FBI director Frank Mellor. The FBI responded by firing her and threatening to charge her under the State Secrets Privilege Act if she spoke to anyone else (including a lawyer) about the incident.

Other than filing suit for unlawful dismissal and breech of freedom of speech (which went all the way to the Supreme Court, who refused to review it), Edmonds spoke to no one about it until a 9-11 families group encouraged her to reveal what she knew about the Dickersons to the 9-11 Commission Bush appointed in 2003. This would lead Major Dickerson and his wife to be transferred out of the country.

When the 9-11 Commission Report failed to address Edmond’s evidence, she collaborated with Vietnam whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to found the National Security Whistleblowers Network. Approximately 100 whistleblowers joined who had been tracking Middle East jihadists for years and whose warnings about 9-11 were ignored by the Bush administration.

Although Edmonds herself never disclosed the name of the group that attempted to recruit her, several journalists have identified it as the American Turkish Council. As they all report, the ATC, which has all the main US arms manufacturers on its board, first started to be wiretapped by the FBI in 1997 because they were illegally smuggling embargoed US weapons systems to Turkey.

As Giraldi writes inThe American Conservative, the ATC worked closely with pro-Israel White House insiders Douglas Feith and Richard Perle to illegally smuggle nuclear triggers to Pakistan via South Africa.

As the filmmakers point out the same pro-Israel Bush advisors blew CIA agent Valerie Plame’s cover in 2003. Plame’s main assignment was investigating ATC involvement in illegal nuclear proliferation.


*Farsi is widely spoken in Iran and Afghanistan.
**Azeri is the official language of the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan.

The Mayfair Set: Four Stories About the Rise of Business and the Decline of Political Power

Directed by Adam Curtis (1999)

Film Review

The Mayfair Set is a four part documentary series profiling the right wing financiers responsible for the financialization of the British-American economy in the seventies and eighties. It also explores the simultaneous transfer of real power away from elected representatives to banks and financial markets. “Mayfair Set” refers to a private London gambling club – the Clermont Club – where many of these future billionaires were members.

Part 1 – concerns British aristocrat Colonel David Sterling, founder of the British SAS (Special Air Service). In the sixties and seventies, Sterling created a series of private mercenary armies to fight independence movements in Africa and elsewhere. In addition to secretly fighting Egypt’s invasion of Yemen in 1962, he also set up numerous arms deals for Saudi Arabia,* with the assistance of notorious Saudi arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi.** He also created the Saudi air force.

Part 2 – concerns two right wing Clermont Club members John Slater and Tiny Rollin. Slater was a corporate raider who almost singlehandedly wiped out Britain’s manufacturing sector in the seventies and eighties. He did so by targeting specific companies for hostile takeover, stripping their assets, sacking thousands of workers, and investing the proceeds in the share market. Rollin was responsible for bilking newly independent African nations of their mines, factories and plantations.

Part 3 – concerns Slater’s fellow corporate raider, Michael Goldsmith, who emigrated to the US in 1980 and paired up with junk bond guru Michael Milken to destroy America’s manufacturing base by initiating dozens of hostile takeovers of US companies. In 1990 Milken was sentenced to 3 ½ years prison on 94 counts of fraud, racketeering and insider trading.

Part 4 – concerns the rise to power of Clermont Club darling Margaret Thatcher and her (controversial) embrace of Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed. Al-Fayed saved her government when currency speculator George Soros led a vicious attack on the British pound in 1992. Al-Fayed would subsequently blow the whistle to the Guardian on all the British MPs who accepted bribes from him. Al-Fayed was father to Dodi, the boyfriend killed in the car crash with Princess Diana.


*British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which continue to the present day, have become extremely controversial owing to the Saudis’ carpet bombing of Yemen and the resulting humanitarian crisis.  See Shelve UK arms sales to Saudis over Yemen, say two MPs’ committees

**Khashoggi first came to public attention for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, in which George Herbert Walker Bush and other members of the Reagan administration illegally sold weapons to Iran to finance their illegal war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. Khashoggi also had direct links with the alleged 9-11 terrorists (see Spike the News) and was the uncle of Dodi Al Fayed, the boyfriend killed in the car crash with Princess Diana.

 

Part 10 of Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States covers the Bush II and Obama presidency.

The Bush II Presidency

Stone begins this section by reminding viewers that Al Gore won the 2000 election by 540,000 votes. He asserts Gore would also have won the electoral college if the Supreme Court hadn’t intervened and stopped the recount in Florida.

Under the heavy influence of Vice President Dick Cheney and other Project for a New American Century (PNAC) members, Bush immediately withdrew from the International Criminal Court treaty (which Clinton supported), the Nuclear Test Ban Treat, the Kyoto Accord and the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty. He also suspended US-led talks for Korean unification and for peace in Israel-Palestine.

Following 9-11 (which Stone refers to as the new Pearl Harbor PNAC called for), Bush launched illegal wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to authorizing the illegal indefinite detention of “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo, he also authorized the use torture and significantly expanded the US of “extraordinary rendition”* by the CIA, a program started by Clinton.

During his two terms as president, Bush doubled the defense budget, forcing massive cuts in domestic spending – which Stone maintains destroyed the US economy.

Meanwhile he pushed the Patriot Act through Congress to suppress domestic dissent against these policies.

The Obama Presidency

Stone begins this segment by reminding us that Obama rejected public campaign financing in 2008. His opponent John McCain, in contrast, accept public financing. As a result, Obama received all the major donations from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks. This enabled him to significantly outspend McCain.

Stone blasts Obama for campaigning as the anti-war, change candidate. Who immediately on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, massively increased troop numbers in Afghanistan, as well as expanding the war on terror to Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and the Philippines.

In addition to continuing NATO expansion to increase the likelihood of war with Russia, Obama significantly expanded the southern military command (SouthCom) to target democratic populism in South America (eg Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina). In 2008 he created AfriCom a sixth military command aimed at countering Chinese investment in Africa.

Obama has also significantly increased the likelihood of war with China by encircling them with new troop deployment and sophisticated nuclear weapons systems.


*Extraordinary rendition is the term used when the CIA kidnaps criminal or terrorist suspects in a foreign country and secretly (and illegal) transports them to a country known to engage in torture.

nemesis

Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

By Chalmers Johnson

Henry Holt (2007)

Book Review

Available free as a mobi file (download Kindle for PCs free from Amazon) at libcom.org

The third and final volume in a trilogy, Nemesis is a study of the impermanence of empire. Johnson draws on detailed studies of the Roman and British Empire to make specific predictions about the ultimate fate of the US.

After taking inventory of some of the British Empire’s worst atrocities (the deliberate destruction of thriving civilizations in India and China, the extermination of the Tasmanians in Australia, the systemic genocide against the Kikuyu in Kenya*, the slaughter of 10,000 Sudanese and the genocidal Malaysian Emergency), the late Chalmers Johnson asserts that Britain surrendered their empire after World War II due to flagging domestic support for their administrative massacres in India.

Rome, in contrast, continued its imperial conquests and atrocities by imposing a brutal dictatorship at home. Citing the systematic revocation of civil liberties, Johnson theorizes that the US has opted to follow Rome’s example. He makes the uncanny prediction (in 2007) that there will be no change in US foreign policy, even after getting rid of Bush and Cheney.

As the average lifespan of a full fledged empire is 100 years, Johnson predicts the US empire will have collapsed by the 22nd century. He believes it will maintain the facade of democracy until bankruptcy overwhelms it.

According to Johnson, the loss of the US manufacturing base has forced the country into spending exorbitant sums on totally useless technology (his chapters on Star Wars SDI weapons are particularly illuminating) just to keep the economy afloat.

Aside from the secret budget devoted to covert CIA operations, which he enumerates in detail**, 40% of the Pentagon budget is secret – even from Congress.

The US government finally came out of the closet after 9-11 about being an empire. However they continue to be extremely secretive about the total number of countries they occupy. As of 2007, the official count was 737 bases in 130. However Johnson lists at least a dozen secret bases that are kept off the official list for political reasons.


*The so-called Mau Mau uprising.

**A partial listing of the democracies overthrown by the CIA and replaced with dictatorships:

  • Italy 1947-48
  • Iran 1953
  • Guatemala 1954
  • Indonesia 1957-58
  • Brazil 1961-64
  • Greece 1964-74
  • South Korea 1961-1987
  • Philippines continuously
  • Chile 1973

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Directed by Michael Winterbottom (2009)

Film Review

Based on Naomi Klein’s best-selling book by the same name, this documentary explores predatory capitalism’s use of psychological trauma to crush human rights and forcibly transfer vast sums of money  from the poor to the rich.

Like the book, the documentary begins with Dr Ewan Cameron’s CIA-funded research at McGill University into the long term  effects of shock therapy, sleep deprivation and other deliberately inflicted trauma. The Agency would incorporate Cameron’s findings in their Kubark counterintelligence interrogation (ie torture) manual. They went on to use Kubark to train fascist South American military officers at the School of the Americas and to interrogate random prisoners (the vast majority were never charged) at Guantanamo and Iraqi prisons.

The film also explores the “economic shock therapy” developed by the late University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman. Friedman was a master at exploiting natural and contrived disasters to impose the kind of extreme free market reforms that crush unions and wages, shut down or privatize public services and create massive unemployment – while simultaneously transferring obscene amounts of wealth from the working and middle classes to the rich.

Friedman and his cronies seized the opportunity to put their predatory theories into practice when the CIA helped overthrow democratically elected governments in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina; during the neoconservative regimes of Thatcher and Reagan; in Russia after the Berlin Wall collapsed; in New Orleans after Katrina; in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami; and in Iraq after 9/11.

Paris State of Emergency

Medialien (2016)

Film Review

Paris State of Emergency is a short documentary revealing how French police are using the state of emergency declared in November 2015 to target social justice activists rather than Islamic terrorists.

This has resulted in numerous warrantless house searches by armed SWAT teams, as well as arbitrary arrest and heavy police violence against squatters and peaceful protesters.

French activists find themselves in a similar position as US activists after 9-11 and the passage of the Patriot Act. The latter has targeted vastly more activists than terrorists for surveillance, home invasion and arrest.

The French activists interviewed also complain of heavy infiltration of their organizations by police informants – which explains how French authorities could immediately target key organizers once they declared the state of emergency.

Inside the Dark Kingdom: Butchery, Slavery and History of Revolt

Abby Martin (2015)

Film Review

Inside the Dark Kingdom is a documentary celebrating the irony of Saudi Arabia’s selection to head the UN Panel of Human Rights. The blatant hypocrisy of the (successful) US campaign for this tyrannical kingdom to champion global human rights is obvious from the simple statement of facts. As is the duplicity of trying to depose the so-called “bloody dictator” of Syria while openly supporting the Saudi reign of terror.

The film investigates Saudi Arabia’s brutal and arbitrary criminal justice system, their brutal oppression of women, their virtual enslavement of migrant workers, their recent invasion of Yemen, their role in 9-11 and their reliance on US military assistance to suppress human rights organizing.

Saudi trials take place in secret, often without legal representation for the accused. Saudi subjects can be beheaded, stoned or crucified for crimes such as adultery, blasphemy, homosexuality and drug use and imprisoned and lashed for human rights advocacy or being victimized by sexual assault (typically rape victims receive more lashes than the men who rape them). Forty-five percent of Saudi executions are for non-violent drug crimes.

Saudi Uprisings

You rarely hear about Saudi Arabia’s long history of popular uprisings (and their brutal suppression) in the corporate media. The US first began collaborating with the Saudi royal family to suppress human rights in 1953, when Aramco (Arabian Oil Company workers) went on strike demanding a union. The US responded by establishing the US Training Mission in Saudi Arabia, which assisted the Saudi government in torturing and assassinating union leaders.

Saudi Arabia had their first failed revolution in 1962, when a Shia-led uprising demanded that oil profits be used to address poverty rather than to increase the wealth of American oil companies and the Saudi royal family.

Inspired by the 1979 revolution in Iran, rebels in the eastern Shia region of Saudi people launched massive street protests. These were crushed when the government tortured and assassinated key leaders and destroyed (via bombing) of dissident civilian enclaves.

The Saudi Arab Spring

Following the Arab Spring rebellions that blossomed in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011, there were Arab Spring rebellions in three major Saudi cities. The royal family responded by declaring martial law and banning any mainstream or social media favorable to the Arab Spring or unfavorable to the royal family. After arresting, torturing and/or assassinating of key organizers (and their families), the government immediately quadrupled their arms imports from the US.

The primary purpose of all this military hardware is to suppress dissent, not only in Saudi Arabia, but in Bahrain (the Saudi Army invaded Bahrain to suppress their Arab Spring uprising) and Yemen. Since April, 150,000 Saudi troops have invaded Yemen and killed 4,000 Yemenis – more than half of them civilians.

The 1945 Oil Protection Agreement

Martin also traces the history of the unique US-Saudi relationship, which started in 1945 with the signing of an official Oil Protection Agreement and the installation of a US naval base.

Dating back to 1988 the last four US presidents have had close business and personal relationships with the Saudi royal family. At present the Saudi princes are major donors to the Clinton Foundation.