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19 March 2005

Independent Media: Enemy Target 

By Ghali Hassan

03/18/05 "ICH"

Since the start of the 2003 War on Iraq, there have been 13 incidents involving the killing of journalists by US soldiers. All the journalists who have been killed were “unembedded” journalists. No journalist employed by mainstream media such as the BBC or CNN have been killed or abducted in Iraq. Independent media worldwide are finding it difficult to exist in a world controlled by few large corporations and government’s controlled public broadcasters.

Information provided by independent media and honest journalists, is the most powerful weapon in the War on Iraq since 1990. The lack of this journalistic credibility and impartiality have contributed the unnecessary killing of more than 2 million Iraqis, a third of them children under the age of 5 years old, as a result of 13-years of criminal sanctions and wars perpetuated by the US and Britain.

To conduct their war with minimum opposition, the US and British administration and military have introduced new phenomenon in journalism. It is called “embedded” journalism, which means journalists do what they are told, and report what they have not witnessed. “Embedded” journalism is a form of fake news operations broadcast as if it was genuine news in the homes of Western TV viewers. The best description of this new phenomenon is propaganda’s journalism, an important tool of America’s “war on terror”.

The first casualty of this phenomenon has been the quality of the news and information to the public. Giant corporations have now moved to own large parts of the media. The US is leading the way in the concentration of media in the hands of few large corporations. America’s Online (AOL) owns Netscape, Time magazine, Hollywood’s Warner Bros and CNN. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation controls the best selling newspapers in Britain and the US. In Australia, the Murdoch media have very negligence competition. The Murdoch deceptive media coverage, led by Fox News, played an important role in selling the war to the public and continues to provide very deceptive and untruthful picture of Iraq under US Occupation.

Outside the parameter of these giant media corporations and their “embedded” journalists are the few journalists of independent media. Their independent reporting during the War on Iraq has annoyed the US administration, including Donald Rumsfeld and Collin Powell. The Guardian of London reported on 02nd April 2003 that; “A hotel in Basra being used as a base by al-Jazeera's team of correspondents in the city was shelled this morning, the Arabic TV news channel has claimed. The Basra Sheraton, whose only guests are al-Jazeera journalists, received four direct hits this morning during a heavy artillery bombardment, according to the Qatar-based broadcaster.” The Guardian added that; “Al-Jazeera had officially advised the Pentagon of all relevant details pertaining to its reporters covering the war on Iraq, as stipulated by relevant international practice and conventions governing reporting wars. The details included official HQs of all its reporters in Basra, Mosul and Baghdad”. On 08th April 2003, Al-Jazeera Television reporter Tariq Ayoub was killed by a rocket fired from US plane on the roof of the Palestine Hotel, the most marked media centre in Baghdad. Since the beginning of the war, at least 74 journalists have died in Iraq. To date, there has been no satisfactory and impartial investigation of these mysterious killings of journalists. Although, there is no “evidence” of a systematic policy to kill journalists, it seem that a policy of preventing independent media reporting from the war is the US administration top priority.

The US role in preventing independent news from reaching the public has been widely reported since the invasion of Iraq. Independent journalists were nowhere to seen in Iraq, and most of them have been forced to leave the country. The killing of the Italian intelligent agent Nicola Calipari and injuring of Giuliana Sgrena, the award-winning war reporter with the progressive Italian daily newspaper Il Manifesto, by US forces is a case in point.

As Jerry Fresia, a former US Air Force Intelligence officer, writes, “It is reasonable to assume that the US intercepted all phone communication between Italian agents in Iraq and Rome. Are we to believe that in an area near the airport, an area that is intensely hostile according to the US, that they would not be monitoring cell phone signals? He added; “The vehicle in which Nicola and Giuliana were riding wasn't simply a vehicle carrying a hostage to freedom. [The vehicle] was considered a military target”. Before her release, Sgrena has admitted that her captors, who have yet to prove of any link to the Iraqi Resistance, have warned her that; “The Americans don’t want you to go back” to Italy. ‘It was an ambush’, Sgrena’s partner, Pierre Scolari said.

Giuliana Sgrena is one of the very few endangered species still exist in a world where militarised nations are addicted to violence and public deception. She has eyewitnesses and detailed information regarding the US use of illegal napalm and chemical weapons in the attacks on Fallujah, where thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children were massacred and a vibrant city of 300,000 people was completely destroyed. Fallujah was a no go for independent journalists during the US assault on the city. It is suggested that the US and Britain are in the process of using the Fallujah-style destruction in other cities. In addition, Sgrena has documented evidence of ongoing sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses, torture and rape of Iraqi women by US forces in Iraq. Crimes without witnesses are no crimes in the new US war.

Given the illegality and immorality of the War on Iraq, independent journalists like Giuliana Sgrena and Tariq Ayoub are considered enemy targets. By contrast “embedded” journalists have enjoyed protection and were never in danger at any time. They broadcast from their hotels or from the safety of US tanks. Their jobs are to provide a distorted picture that fit the imperialist propaganda. The victims of this criminal complicity are not only the Iraqi people, but also the citizens of the imperial power. They have to be misled and poorly informed about their government’s wars and policy abroad. Public silence is the support needed for legitimacy. It is worth remembering that public broadcasters are accountable to the public only. They are funded as independent media, not government’s propaganda agents, and are as such obliged to provide the public with impartial news and information.

Independent media coverage has awakened people moral consciousness against the war. In the US, the Army’s failure to recruit new soldiers has been attributed to honest reporting by few independent journalists. Recently, The New York Times reported on 04 March 2005 that; “Top Pentagon officials acknowledge that the graphic images of casualties [dead and wounded soldiers] from Iraq and the obvious danger of serving there had caused many parents to advice their children to avoid joining the military now”. It is in the interest of the US and its allies to prevent honest reporting from Iraq reaching their citizens at home. Without honest reporting of the atrocities committed against the Iraqi people by the Occupation forces, Iraq is doomed to continuing unreported atrocities.

In addition to free speech, the public has a right to independent and impartial source of information. Governments around the world are obliged to have special laws offering protection to prevent the extinction of independent media for the benefit of society as a whole . The media of giant corporations is the cause to permanent extinction of democracy and freethinking.

Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia.

Giuliana Sgrena’s articles can be viewed here: http://www.ilmanifesto.it/pag/sgrena/en/

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Enigmatic Flea has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Enigmatic Flea endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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Classified Pentagon Document: New Undeclared Arms Race: America's Agenda for Global Military Domination 

17 March 2005 "CRG"


by Michel Chossudovsky


The Pentagon has released the summary of a top secret Pentagon document, which sketches America's agenda for global military domination.

This redirection of America's military strategy seems to have passed virtually unnoticed. With the exception of The Wall Street Journal (see below in annex), not a word has been mentioned in the US media.

There has been no press coverage concerning this mysterious military blueprint. The latter outlines, according to the Wall Street Journal, America's global military design which consists in "enhancing U.S. influence around the world", through increased troop deployments and a massive buildup of America's advanced weapons systems.

While the document follows in the footsteps of the administration's "preemptive" war doctrine as detailed by the Neocons' Project of the New American Century (PNAC), it goes much further in setting the contours of Washington's global military agenda.

It calls for a more "proactive" approach to warfare, beyond the weaker notion of "preemptive" and defensive actions, where military operations are launched against a "declared enemy" with a view to "preserving the peace" and "defending America".

The document explicitly acknowledges America's global military mandate, beyond regional war theaters. This mandate also includes military operations directed against countries, which are not hostile to America, but which are considered strategic from the point of view of US interests.

From a broad military and foreign policy perspective, the March 2005 Pentagon document constitutes an imperial design, which supports US corporate interests Worldwide.

"At its heart, the document is driven by the belief that the U.S. is engaged in a continuous global struggle that extends far beyond specific battlegrounds, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The vision is for a military that is far more proactive, focused on changing the world instead of just responding to conflicts such as a North Korean attack on South Korea, and assuming greater prominence in countries in which the U.S. isn't at war. (WSJ, 11 March 2005)


The document suggests that its objective also consists in "offensive" rather than run of the mill "preemptive" operations. There is, in this regard, a subtle nuance in relation to earlier post-911 national security statements:

"[The document presents] 'four core' problems, none of them involving traditional military confrontations. The services are told to develop forces that can: build partnerships with failing states to defeat internal terrorist threats; defend the homeland, including offensive strikes against terrorist groups planning attacks; influence the choices of countries at a strategic crossroads, such as China and Russia; and prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by hostile states and terrorist groups." (Ibid)


The emphasis is no longer solely on waging major theater wars as outlined in the PNAC's Rebuilding America's Defenses, Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century" , the March 2005 military blueprint points to shifts in weapons systems as well as the need for a global deployment of US forces in acts of Worldwide military policing and intervention. The PNAC in its September 2000 Report had described these non-theater military operations as "constabulary functions":

The Pentagon must retain forces to preserve the current peace in ways that fall short of conduction major theater campaigns. ... These duties are today’s most frequent missions, requiring forces configured for combat but capable of long-term, independent constabulary operations." (PNAC, http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf , p. 18)


Recruitment of Troops to Police the Empire

The underlying emphasis is on the development and recruitment of specialized military manpower required to control and pacify indigenous forces and factions in different regions of the World:

"the classified guidance urges the military to come up with less doctrinaire solutions that include sending in smaller teams of culturally savvy soldiers to train and mentor indigenous forces." (Ibid)


The classified document points to the need for a massive recruitment and training of troops. These troops, including new contingents of special forces, green berets and other specialized military personnel, would be involved, around the World, in acts of military policing:

"Mr. Rumsfeld's approach likely will trigger major shifts in the weapons systems that the Pentagon buys, and even more fundamental changes in the training and deployment of U.S. troops throughout the world, said defense officials who have played a role in crafting the document or are involved in the review.

The U.S. would seek to deploy these troops far earlier in a looming conflict than they traditionally have been to help a tottering government's armed forces confront guerrillas before an insurgency is able to take root and build popular support. Officials said the plan envisions many such teams operating around the world.


US military involvement is not limited to the Middle East. The sending in of special forces in military policing operations, under the disguise of peace-keeping and training, is contemplated in all major regions of the World. A large part of these activities, however, will most probably be carried out by private mercenary companies on contract to the Pentagon, NATO or the United Nations. The military manpower requirements as well as the equipment are specialized. The policing will not be conducted by regular army units as in a theater war:

"the new plan envisions more active U.S. involvement, resembling recent military aid missions to places like Niger and Chad, where the U.S. is dispatching teams of ground troops to train local militaries in basic counterinsurgency tactics. Future training missions, however, would likely be conducted on a much broader scale, one defense official said.

Of the military's services, the Marines Corps right now is moving fastest to fill this gap and is looking at shifting some resources away from traditional amphibious-assault missions to new units designed specifically to work with foreign forces. To support these troops, military officials are looking at everything from acquiring cheap aerial surveillance systems to flying gunships that can be used in messy urban fights to come to the aid of ground troops. One "dream capability" might be an unmanned AC-130 gunship that could circle an area at relatively low altitude until it is needed, then swoop in to lay down a withering line of fire, said a defense official." (Ibid)


New Post Cold War Enemies

While the "war on terrorism" and the containment of "rogue states" still constitute the official justification and driving force, China and Russia are explicitly identified in the classified March document as potential enemies.

"... the U.S. military ... is seeking to dissuade rising powers, such as China, from challenging U.S. military dominance. Although weapons systems designed to fight guerrillas tend to be fairly cheap and low-tech, the review makes clear that to dissuade those countries from trying to compete, the U.S. military must retain its dominance in key high-tech areas, such as stealth technology, precision weaponry and manned and unmanned surveillance systems." (Ibid)


While the European Union is not mentioned, the stated objective is to shunt the development of all potential military rivals.

"Trying to Run with the Big Dog"

How does Washington intend to reach its goal of global military hegemony?

Essentially through the continued development of the US weapons industry, requiring a massive shift out of the production of civilian goods and services. In other words, the ongoing increase in defense spending feeds this new undeclared arms race, with vast amounts of public money channeled to America's major weapons producers.

The stated objective is to make the process of developing advanced weapons systems "so expensive", that no other power on earth will able to compete or challenge "the Big Dog", without jeopardizing its civilian economy:

"[A]t the core of this strategy is the belief that the US must maintain such a large lead in crucial technologies that growing powers will conclude that it is too expensive for these countries to even think about trying to run with the big dog. They will realize that it is not worth sacrificing their economic growth, said one defense consultant who was hired to draft sections of the document. " (Ibid, emphasis added)


Undeclared Arms Race between Europe and America

This new undeclared arms race is with the so-called "growing powers".

While China and Russia are mentioned as a potential threat, America's (unofficial) rivals also include France, Germany and Japan. The recognized partners of the US --in the context of the Anglo-American axis-- are Britain, Australia and Canada, not to mention Israel (unofficially).

In this context, there are at present two dominant Western military axes: the Anglo-American axis and the competing Franco-German alliance. The European military project, largely dominated by France and Germany, will inevitably undermine NATO. Britain (through British Aerospace Systems Corporation) is firmly integrated into the US system of defense procurement in partnership with America's big five weapons producers.

Needless to say, this new arms race is firmly embedded in the European project, which envisages under EU auspices, a massive redirection of State financial resources towards military expenditure. Moreover, the EU monetary system establishing a global currency which challenges the hegemony of the US dollar is intimately related to the development of an integrated EU defense force outside of NATO.

Under the European constitution, there will be a unified European foreign policy position which will include a common defense component. It is understood, although never seriously debated in public, that the proposed European Defense Force is intended to challenge America's supremacy in military affairs:

"under such a regime, trans-Atlantic relations will be dealt a fatal blow." (according to Martin Callanan, British Conservative member of the European Parliament, Washington times, 5 March 2005).


Ironically, this European military project, while encouraging an undeclared US-EU arms race, is not incompatible with continued US-EU cooperation in military affairs. The underlying objective for Europe is that EU corporate interests are protected and that European contractors are able to effectively cash in and "share the spoils" of the US-led wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. In other words, by challenging the Big Dog from a position of strength, the EU seeks to retain its role as "a partner" of America in its various military ventures.

There is a presumption, particularly in France, that the only way to build good relations with Washington, is to emulate the American Military Project,-- i.e. by adopting a similar strategy of beefing up Europe's advanced weapons systems.

In other words, what we are dealing with is a fragile love-hate relationship between Old Europe and America, in defense systems, the oil industry as well as in the upper spheres of banking, finance and currency markets. The important issue is how this fragile geopolitical relationship will evolve in terms of coalitions and alliances in the years to come. France and Germany have military cooperation agreements with both Russia and China. European Defense companies are supplying China with sophisticated weaponry. Ultimately, Europe is viewed as an encroachment by the US, and military conflict between competing Western superpowers cannot be ruled out. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, The Anglo-American Axis, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO303B.html )

From skepticism concerning Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to outright condemnation, in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion, Old Europe (in the wake of the invasion) has broadly accepted the legitimacy of the US military occupation of Iraq, despite the killings of civilians, not to mention the Bush administration's policy guidelines on torture and political assassinations.

In a cruel irony, the new US-EU arms race has become the chosen avenue of the European Union, to foster "friendly relations" with the American superpower. Rather than opposing the US, Europe has embraced "the war on terrorism". It is actively collaborating with the US in the arrest of presumed terrorists. Several EU countries have established Big Brother anti-terrorist laws, which constitute a European "copy and paste" version of the US Homeland Security legislation.

European public opinion is now galvanized into supporting the "war on terrorism", which broadly benefits the European military industrial complex and the oil companies. In turn, the "war on terrorism" also provides a shaky legitimacy to the EU security agenda under the European Constitution. The latter is increasingly viewed with disbelief, as a pretext to implement police-state measures, while also dismantling labor legislation and the European welfare state.

In turn, the European media has also become a partner in the disinformation campaign. The "outside enemy" presented ad nauseam on network TV, on both sides of the Atlantic, is Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. In other words, the propaganda campaign serves to usefully camouflage the ongoing militarisation of civilian institutions, which is occurring simultaneously in Europe and America.

Guns and Butter: The Demise of the Civilian Economy

The proposed EU constitution requires a massive expansion of military spending in all member countries to the obvious detriment of the civilian economy.

The European Union's 3% limit on annual budget deficits implies that the expansion in military expenditure will be accompanied by a massive curtailment of all categories of civilian expenditure, including social services, public infrastructure, not to mention government support to agriculture and industry. In this regard, "the war on terrorism" serves --in the context of the neoliberal reforms-- as a pretext. It builds public acceptance for the imposition of austerity measures affecting civilian programs, on the grounds that money is needed to enhance national security and homeland defense.

The growth of military spending in Europe is directly related to the US military buildup. The more America spends on defense, the more Europe will want to spend on developing its own European Defense Force. "Keeping up with the Jones", all of which is for a good and worthy, cause, namely fighting "Islamic terrorists" and defending the homeland.

EU enlargement is directly linked to the development and financing of the European weapons industry. The dominant European powers desperately need the contributions of the ten new EU members to finance the EU's military buildup. In this regard, the European Constitution requires "the adoption of a security strategy for Europe, accompanied by financial commitments on military spending." (European Report, 3 July 2003). In other words, under the European Constitution, EU enlargement tends to weaken the Atlantic military alliance (NATO).

The backlash on employment and social programs is the inevitable byproduct of both the American and European military projects, which channel vast amounts of State financial resources towards the war economy, at the expense of the civilian sectors.

The result are plant closures and bankruptcies in the civilian economy and a rising tide of poverty and unemployment throughout the Western World. Moreover, contrary to the 1930s, the dynamic development of the weapons industry creates very few jobs.

Meanwhile, as the Western war economy flourishes, the relocation of the production of civilian manufactured goods to Third World countries has increased in recent years at an dramatic pace. China, which constitutes by far the largest producer of civilian manufactured goods, increased its textile exports to the US by 80.2 percent in 2004, leading to a wave of plant closures and job losses (WSJ, 11 March 2005)

The global economy is characterized by a bipolar relationship. The rich Western countries produce weapons of mass destruction, whereas poor countries produce manufactured consumer goods. In a twisted logic, the rich countries use their advanced weapons systems to threaten or wage war on the poor developing countries, which supply Western markets with large amounts of consumer goods produced in cheap labor assembly plants.

America, in particular, has relied on this cheap supply of consumer goods to close down a large share of its manufacturing sector, while at the same time redirecting resources away from the civilian economy into the production of weapons of mass destruction. And the latter, in a bitter irony, are slated to be used against the country which supplies America with a large share of its consumer goods, namely China.
Annex


Rumsfeld details big military shift in new document

by Greg Jaffe,
The Wall Street Journal

11 March 2005

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld outlines in a new, classified planning document a vision for remaking the military to be far more engaged in heading off threats prior to hostilities and serve a larger purpose of enhancing U.S. influence around the world.

The document sets out Mr. Rumsfeld's agenda for a recently begun massive review of defense spending and strategy. Because the process is conducted only once every four years, the review represents the Bush administration's best chance to refashion the military into a force capable of delivering on the ambitious security and foreign-policy goals that President Bush has put forth since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It is being conducted by senior members of Mr. Rumsfeld's staff along with senior officers from each of the armed services.

Mr. Rumsfeld's goals, laid out in the document, mark a significant departure from recent reviews. Deeply informed by both the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and by the military's bloody struggle in Iraq, the document emphasizes newer problems, such as battling terrorists and insurgents, over conventional military challenges.

Mr. Rumsfeld's approach likely will trigger major shifts in the weapons systems that the Pentagon buys, and even more fundamental changes in the training and deployment of U.S. troops throughout the world, said defense officials who have played a role in crafting the document or are involved in the review.

In the document, Mr. Rumsfeld tells the military to focus on four "core problems," none of them involving traditional military confrontations. The services are told to develop forces that can: build partnerships with failing states to defeat internal terrorist threats; defend the homeland, including offensive strikes against terrorist groups planning attacks; influence the choices of countries at a strategic crossroads, such as China and Russia; and prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by hostile states and terrorist groups.

"The question we are asking is: How do you prevent problems from becoming crises and crises from becoming all-out conflicts?" said one senior defense official involved in writing the guidance.

At its heart, the document is driven by the belief that the U.S. is engaged in a continuous global struggle that extends far beyond specific battlegrounds, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The vision is for a military that is far more proactive, focused on changing the world instead of just responding to conflicts such as a North Korean attack on South Korea, and assuming greater prominence in countries in which the U.S. isn't at war.

The document comes early in the review process, which is conducted at the behest of Congress. Each of the military services already has assembled a large staff to craft plans for attacking the key problem areas identified by Mr. Rumsfeld.

When complete, the review will be sent to Congress, likely early next year. Congress doesn't have a vote on the secretary's review, which will be used by the administration to guide its decisions on strategy and spending over the next several budget cycles. The review is unlikely to require any major changes in overall defense spending, which is projected to grow through at least 2009.

But it is likely to trigger some nasty political battles, and potentially pose challenges to defense contractors. The core problems outlined in Mr. Rumsfeld's review, for example, don't seem to favor the F/A-22 jet, made by Lockheed Martin Corp., which is the Air Force's top priority. "I think you are likely to see the Air Force push back hard to preserve the F-22," said Loren Thompson, chief operating officer at the Lexington Institute and a consultant to several of the military services. "Unfortunately, you can't find a lot of justification for more F/A-22s in the problem sets the services are being asked to address."

Already, the review is prodding the services to question the need for expensive weapons systems, like short-range fighter jets and naval destroyers and tanks that are used primarily in conventional conflicts. "A big question is exactly how much is enough to win the conventional fights of the future, and where can we shift some resources to some of these less traditional problems," said one person involved in drafting the guidance.

The Wall Street Journal reviewed a summary of the document and spoke with several officials who contributed to it.

Mr. Rumsfeld has made transforming the military a priority since the Bush administration took power. But in recent years that push took a back seat to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Inside the Pentagon, the review is widely seen as Mr. Rumsfeld's last big push to instill his views. Many insiders speculate that he will leave early next year when the review is completed; he has repeatedly dismissed all such speculation and refused to comment on his plans.

Mr. Rumsfeld's guidance pushes the services to rethink the way they fight guerrilla wars and insurgencies. Instead of trying to stamp out an insurgency with large conventional ground formations, the classified guidance urges the military to come up with less doctrinaire solutions that include sending in smaller teams of culturally savvy soldiers to train and mentor indigenous forces.

The U.S. would seek to deploy these troops far earlier in a looming conflict than they traditionally have been to help a tottering government's armed forces confront guerrillas before an insurgency is able to take root and build popular support. Officials said the plan envisions many such teams operating around the world.

That represents a challenge for a military already stretched thin by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There aren't currently enough of these specially trained soldiers and Marines to make the strategy work.

In the past decade, the U.S. military has shied away from helping allies battle internal threats out of concern that U.S. forces would get mired in endless internal conflicts. Instead, the military has focused on helping allies ward off cross-border aggression by selling them higher-end weapon systems.

But the new plan envisions more active U.S. involvement, resembling recent military aid missions to places like Niger and Chad, where the U.S. is dispatching teams of ground troops to train local militaries in basic counterinsurgency tactics. Future training missions, however, would likely be conducted on a much broader scale, one defense official said.

Of the military's services, the Marines Corps right now is moving fastest to fill this gap and is looking at shifting some resources away from traditional amphibious-assault missions to new units designed specifically to work with foreign forces. To support these troops, military officials are looking at everything from acquiring cheap aerial surveillance systems to flying gunships that can be used in messy urban fights to come to the aid of ground troops. One "dream capability" might be an unmanned AC-130 gunship that could circle an area at relatively low altitude until it is needed, then swoop in to lay down a withering line of fire, said a defense official.

The shift is reminiscent of the situation in the early 1900s, when Marines fought a series of small wars in Central America and were frequently referred to as the "State Department's soldiers."

At the same time the U.S. military re-equips itself to deal with low-tech insurgent threats, it also is seeking to dissuade rising powers, such as China, from challenging U.S. military dominance. Although weapons systems designed to fight guerrillas tend to be fairly cheap and low-tech, the review makes clear that to dissuade those countries from trying to compete, the U.S. military must retain its dominance in key high-tech areas, such as stealth technology, precision weaponry and manned and unmanned surveillance systems.

Copyright the WSJ, 2005. The complete version of this article is available in the print edition

© Copyright MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY, GLOBAL RESEARCH 2005.

www.globalresearch.ca

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Enigmatic Flea has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Enigmatic Flea endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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18 March 2005

Secret US plans for Iraq's oil 

The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.

BBC NEWS

2005/03/17

By Greg Palast
Reporting for Newsnight


Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists".

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities and pipelines [in Iraq] built on the premise that privatisation is coming
Mr Falah Aljibury


An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d'etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

Secret sell-off plan

The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel.

Mr Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.

Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan's "back-channel" to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq's oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.

"Insurgents used this, saying, 'Look, you're losing your country, you're losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,'" said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.

"We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatisation is coming."

Privatisation blocked by industry

Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq's oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.

Mr Carroll told us he made it clear to Paul Bremer, the US occupation chief who arrived in Iraq in May 2003, that: "There was to be no privatisation of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved."

Ariel Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq's oil fields.

He advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America should have gone ahead with what he called a "no-brainer" decision.

Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, "I would agree with that statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain."

New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper's Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favoured by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004 under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas.

Formerly US Secretary of State, Baker is now an attorney representing Exxon-Mobil and the Saudi Arabian government.

View segments of Iraq oil plans at www.GregPalast.com

Questioned by Newsnight, Ms Jaffe said the oil industry prefers state control of Iraq's oil over a sell-off because it fears a repeat of Russia's energy privatisation. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, US oil companies were barred from bidding for the reserves.

Ms Jaffe says US oil companies are not warm to any plan that would undermine Opec and the current high oil price: "I'm not sure that if I'm the chair of an American company, and you put me on a lie detector test, I would say high oil prices are bad for me or my company."

The former Shell oil boss agrees. In Houston, he told Newsnight: "Many neo conservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this, that and the other. International oil companies, without exception, are very pragmatic commercial organizations. They don't have a theology."

A State Department spokesman told Newsnight they intended "to provide all possibilities to the Oil Ministry of Iraq and advocate none".

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Enigmatic Flea has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Enigmatic Flea endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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15 March 2005

Here is the news... from President Bush 

The Guardian


14 March 2005

The Bush administration has produced look-alike news propaganda clips and then persuaded television stations across the country to air them uncritically and, often, uncut. As many as 20 government departments have produced fake news which stations broadcast as though they had produced the segments themselves, according to The New York Times.

In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is at the centre of a growing controversy over the same thing - using public funds to make short pseudo-journalistic films touting controversial policies and passing them on to local television news stations which have aired them without comment.

Both the Bush and the Schwarzenegger administrations have gone so far as to script introductory lines for the news anchor to read out.

The phenomenon - known to its detractors as "covert propaganda" and to its advocates as putting out video news-releases - is deeply troubling in a country that prides itself on media independence.

The controversy consists of two distinct parts. The first is the questionable legality of the officials' actions, which have come under challenge from congressional and legislative oversight committees. And the second is the questionable ethics of the television news directors who permit the segments to air without balancing comment from critics.

Most of the stations that have used the segments - on subjects as varied as the Iraq war and Governor Schwarzenegger's controversial plans to curtail union power - have been small ones relying on news feeds of all kinds to fill their schedules.

Last month, the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, issued a damning report on the Bush administration's use of the practice, concluding that their clips were intentionally deceptive. "Prepackaged news stories can be utilised without violating the law," wrote US comptroller David Walker, "so long as there is clear disclosure that this material was prepared by the government department".

An initial finding by California's legislative analyst's office last week found no legal basis for the Schwarzenegger administration's video releases. Los Angeles lawmaker Gloria Romero told a state Senate hearing: "This is propaganda, produced at taxpayer expense."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Enigmatic Flea has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Enigmatic Flea endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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14 March 2005

US held youngsters at Abu Ghraib 



BC NEWS
2005/03/11


Children as young as 11 years old were held at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison at the centre of the US prisoner abuse scandal, official documents reveal.

Brig Gen Janis Karpinski, formerly in charge of the jail, gave details of young people and women held there.

Her assertion was among documents obtained via legal action by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The Pentagon has admitted juveniles were among the detainees, but said no child was subject to any abuse.

Brig Gen Karpinski made her remarks in an interview with a general investigating the abuses at the prison.

'Innocent civilians'

The transcript of her May 2004 interview was among hundreds of pages of papers obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act.

I don't care if we're holding 15,000 innocent civilians. We're winning the war ~~ Comment attributed to Maj Gen Wodjakowski


In one case, witness statements among the released documents allege that four drunken Americans took a 17-year-old female prisoner from her cell and forced her to expose her breasts and kissed her.

In another documented incident, troops are alleged to have smeared mud on the detained 17-year-old son of an Iraqi general and forced his father to watch him shiver in the cold.

Brig Gen Karpinski, who was in charge at Abu Ghraib from July to November 2003, said she often visited the prison's youngest inmates.

She said in her interview that she thought one boy "looked like he was eight years old".

"He told me he was almost 12," she said. "He told me his brother was there with him, but he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying."

She said the military began holding children and women at Abu Ghraib from mid-2003. She did not say what the youngsters had been locked up for.

In her interview with Maj Gen George Fay, she also said intelligence officers had worked out an agreement to hold detainees without keeping records.

The Pentagon has acknowledged holding so-called "ghost detainees" on the basis that they were enemy combatants and therefore not entitled to prisoner of war protections.

Brig Gen Karpinski said US commanders were reluctant to release detainees, an attitude she called "releasophobia".

In her interview, she said Maj Gen Walter Wodjakowski, then the second most senior army general in Iraq, told her in the summer of 2003 not to release more prisoners, even if they were innocent.

"I don't care if we're holding 15,000 innocent civilians," she said Maj Gen Wodjakowski told her. "We're winning the war."

The ACLU has sued US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of four Iraqis and four Afghans who say they were tortured in US facilities.

Mr Rumsfeld has stated that neither he nor his aides ever condoned or authorised abuses.

Seven soldiers have been convicted by US courts martial in connection with the scandal at Abu Ghraib. Two others are still on trial.

© BBC MMV

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Enigmatic Flea has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Enigmatic Flea endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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13 March 2005

‘That’s me, a marine, a murderer of civilians’ 

I went to Iraq initially with the idea that weapons of mass destruction had to be eliminated. But soon my experience as a Marine made me understand that the reality was something quite different. We were ‘cowboy murderers.’ We killed innocent civilians."


San Francisco Bay View
03/11/05


Italian reporter shot by US military writes for newspaper that tells raw truth about US role in Iraq


On March 4, in Baghdad, U.S. soldiers shot the Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena, who had just been released by hostage-takers. She believes the soldiers shot to kill, and they succeeded in killing Italian Secret Service official Nicola Calipara, who had secured her release from hostage takers and who was with her.

Witnesses accompanying the pair, who also were wounded, told reporters March 5 that, contrary to U.S. allegations, the car in which the four persons were riding was not speeding and that it had already stopped at several checkpoints on its way to the airport.

Il Manifesto (www.ilmanifesto.it), the paper Giuliana Sgrena works for, is described as a "communist paper." The titles of Sgrena’s recent articles for Il Manifesto, including "Ten thousand Iraqis in US and British prisons" (Dec. 29, 2004); "Two thousand victims in Fallujah" (Nov. 26, 2004); "Napalm raid on Fallujah?" (Nov. 23, 2004); "The death throes of Fallujah" (Nov. 13, 2004); "Stop the massacre" (Nov. 12, 2004); and “Interview with Iraqi Women tortured at Abu Graib," show that neither she nor the paper pulls any punches when it comes to criticism of U.S. policy and conduct.

The following interview of U.S. Marine Jimmy Massey by Patrizio Lombroso of Il Manifesto appeared the day before Giuliana Sgrena was released and shot. It’s an interview not calculated to win love and friendship in official Washington circles.

‘Yo, un marine asesino de civiles’ (‘That’s me, a marine, a murderer of civilians’)

"I’ve seen the horror that we were causing every day in Iraq. I have been part of it. We are all just murderers."

"We kill innocent Iraqi civilians all the time. That’s the way it is. I believe they need to withdraw all foreign military troops in Iraq right away. And I say this about other soldiers: to avoid punishment or reprisals by the military, they don’t want to talk and admit that killing terrorists is not our mission. It’s to kill innocent civilians."

That’s the way the Il Manifesto interview with Jimmy Massey went. He’s from the little town of Waynesville, North Carolina. He has decided to draw back the veil of silence from the “noble mission” in Iraq. Discharged from the Marine Corps for medical reasons, he has written a diary, "Cowboys from Hell' which will be published at the end of the summer.

"What was your rank in Iraq?"

"I was a sergeant with the Third Marine Battalion during the invasion, in the spring of 2003."

"How much time did you spend there?"

"From March 22 to the 15th of May. Four months of hell. They had to send me back to the U.S. because of a ‘stress syndrome.’ This is the term in military jargon they use to say that because of the horrors I’ve seen in the war, I’ve lost my mind."

"Were you in the Marines many years?"

"Twelve."

"Had you fought in a war before?"

"Never."

"You are now a member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War?"

"Yes, I went to Iraq initially with the idea that weapons of mass destruction had to be eliminated. But soon my experience as a Marine made me understand that the reality was something quite different. We were ‘cowboy murderers.’ We killed innocent civilians."

"You admit having killed innocent civilians?"

"Sure, and lots of them."

'How did it happen?"

"Near my base in the south of Baghdad, our whole platoon attacked a group of civilians engaged in a peaceful demonstration. Why? Because we heard gunshots. It was a blood bath. The pretense that those civilians were engaged in ‘terrorist activities’ didn’t work for me. That’s what our military intelligence wanted us to believe."

"We killed more than 30 people. That was the first time that I had to face up to the horror that my hands were soiled with the blood of civilians. We laid down cluster bombs on them. The people fled, and when they arrived at the control points we had set up with armed convoys, I was supposed to shoot the ones that looked like they belonged to ‘terrorist groups.’ Those were the directions military intelligence gave us."

"And that’s what you all did?"

"We ended up massacring innocent civilians - men, women, and children. When our platoon took over a radio station, we went ahead and put out propaganda to the population urging them to go on with their daily routine, keep the schools open, etc. But we knew that our orders were to ‘search and destroy.’ That meant carrying out armed assaults on schools, in hospitals, anywhere that ‘terrorists’ could hide. In reality these were traps set up by military intelligence. We ourselves were supposed to overlook the taking of civilian lives that were part of these missions."

"You admit that during your mission you carried out executions on innocent civilians?"

"Yes, my platoon also opened fire on civilians and I too killed innocents. I too am an assassin."

"How did you react after these operations when you thought about the innocents you had killed?"

"For a while I kept on going. In my own mind I denied the reality of me being a murderer and not a soldier who somehow could tell the difference between who is right and who is wrong. Then, one day I woke up and there was a young kid inside my head."

"Miraculously, he had saved himself from a massacre of passengers in his car. He was shouting at me and asking: ‘Why did you kill my brother.’ He became an obsession. I physically lost control of my equilibrium and couldn’t move or talk. I stayed in one place and looked all the time at the wall. I was really scared, and lost."

"What measures did your superiors take?"

"For three weeks in Iraq, they filled me with anti depressives and psychotropic drugs. That’s the emergency treatment for these cases of ‘traumatic stress,’ when the idea of refusing to kill takes over a soldier’s life."

"Didn’t their training in the United States put them at the disposal of the Pentagon into units that were really violent and aggressive?"

"Yes, in the part called ‘boot camp’ each one of us is subjected to techniques of ‘dehumanization’ and ‘desensitization to violence.’ But they never told me that this meant killing innocent civilians."

"So, three weeks with antidepressants in Iraq - and after that?"

"They didn’t know what to do and sent me back. Now I am out of the military, incapacitated and disabled, with an honorable discharge."

"Are there others in conditions like yours?"

"Many. And they are still at the front. They stuff them with anti-depressants, and after that they go back and are sent into combat again. It’s a problem that has become quite worrisome for them. One must not say anything about it there in the military."

"In 2004, 31 marines took their own lives, and 85 made suicide attempts. Most of those who wanted to die rather than keep on killing are less than 25 years old, and 16 percent of them are under 20 years."

This interview with Jimmy Massey appeared March 3 in Il Manifesto. The next day, it was carried on the Spanish website, www.rebelion.org, and is translated here by Tom Whitney from the Spanish. Email Whitney at atwhit@megalink.net.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Enigmatic Flea has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Enigmatic Flea endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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