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US media yet again conceals newsworthy government secrets

The US media, over the last decade (at least), has repeatedly acted to conceal newsworthy information it obtains about the actions of the US government. In each instance, the self-proclaimed adversarial press corps conceals these facts at the behest of the US government, based on patently absurd claims that reporting them will harm US national security. In each instance, what this media concealment actually accomplishes is enabling the dissemination of significant government falsehoods without challenge, and permitting the continuation of government deceit and even illegality.

One of the most notorious examples was in mid-2004 when the New York Times discovered - thanks to a courageous DOJ whistleblower - that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law. But after George Bush summoned to the Oval Office the paper's publisher (Arthur Sulzberger) and executive editor (Bill Keller) and directed them to conceal what they had learned, the NYT complied by sitting on the story for a-year-and-a-half: until late December, 2005, long after Bush had been safely re-elected. The "national security" excuse for this concealment was patently ludicrous from the start: everyone knew the US government was trying to eavesdrop on al-Qaida communications and this story merely revealed that they were doing so illegally (without warrants) rather than legally (with warrants). By concealing the story for so long, the New York Times helped the Bush administration illegally spy on Americans.

The Washington Post's Dana Priest, in a superb act of journalism, reported in 2005 that the CIA was maintaining a network of secret "black sites" where detainees were interrogated and abused beyond the monitoring scrutiny of human rights groups and even Congress. But the Post purposely concealed the identity of the countries serving as the locale of those secret prisons in order to enable the plainly illegal program to continue without bothersome disruptions: "the Washington Post is not publishing the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior US officials."

In 2011, the New York Times along with numerous other US media outlets learned that the American arrested in Pakistan for having shot and killed two Pakistanis, Raymond Davis, was not - as President Obama falsely claimed - "our diplomat", but was a CIA agent and former Blackwater contractor. Not only did the NYT conceal this fact, but it repeatedly and uncritically printed claims from Obama and other officials about Davis' status which it knew to be false. It was only once the Guardian published the facts about Davis - that he was a CIA agent - did the Times tell the truth to its readers, admitting that the disclosure "pulled back the curtain on a web of covert American operations inside Pakistan, part of a secret war run by the CIA".

The NYT, as usual, justified its concealment of this obviously newsworthy information as coming "at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk". But as the Guardian's Deputy Editor Ian Katz noted, "Davis [was] already widely assumed in Pakistan to have links to US intelligence" and "disclosing his CIA role would [therefore not] expose him to increased risk".

And now, yet again, the US media has been caught working together to conceal obviously newsworthy government secrets. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that two years ago, the Obama administration established a base in Saudi Arabia from which it deploys drones to kill numerous people in Yemen. including US citizen Anwar Awlaki and, two weeks, later his 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman. The US base was built after the US launched a December, 2009 cruise missile/cluster-bomb attack that slaughtered dozens of Yemeni women and children.

But the Post admitted that it - along with multiple other US media outlets - had long known about the Saudi Arabia drone base but had acted in unison to conceal it from the US public:

"The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the specific location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network's most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

"The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year."

The "other news organization" which the Post references is the New York Times. The NYT - in a very good article yesterday on the role played by CIA nominee John Brennan in US drones strikes in Yemen - reported that Brennan "work[ed] closely with neighboring Saudi Arabia to gain approval for a secret CIA drone base there that is used for American strikes". As the paper's Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, explained, the NYT was one of the papers which "had withheld the location of that base at the request of the CIA", but had decided now to report it. That was why the Post did so.

The existence of this drone base in Saudi Arabia is significantly newsworthy in multiple ways. The US drone program is drenched with extreme secrecy. The assassination of Awlaki is one of the most radical acts the US government has undertaken in the last decade at least. The intense cooperation between the US and the incomparably despotic Saudi regime is of vital significance. As Sullivan, the NYT's Public Editor, put it in defending the NYT's disclosure (and implicitly questioning the prior media conspiracy of silence):

"Given the government's undue secrecy about the drone program, which it has never officially acknowledged the existence of, and that program's great significance to America's foreign policy, its national security, and its influence on the tumultuous Middle East, The Times ought to be reporting as much and as aggressively as possible on it."

As usual, the excuses for concealing this information are frivolous. Indeed, as the Guardian's Roy Greenslade noted, "the location of several drone bases was published as long ago as September last year on at least one news website, as this item on the North America Inter Press Service illustrates." Gawker's Adrian Chen documents numerous other instances where the base had been publicly disclosed and writes:

"In the case of the Saudi drone base, the Times and the Post weren't protecting a state secret: They were helping the CIA bury an inconvenient story. . . . The fact that the drone base was already reported renders the rationale behind the months-long blackout a farce."

In an article on the controversy over this self-censorship, the Guardian this morning quotes Dr Jack Lule, a professor of journalism and communication at Lehigh University:

"The decision not to publish is a shameful one. The national security standard has to be very high, perhaps imminent danger. The fact that we are even having a conversation about whether it was a national security issue should have sent alarm bells off to the editors. I think the real reason was that the administration did not want to embarrass the Saudis – and for the US news media to be complicit in that is craven."

The same dynamic drives most of these acts of US media self-censorship. It has nothing to do with legitimate claims of national security. Indeed, none of these facts - once they were finally reported - ultimately resulted in any harm. Instead, it has everything to do with obeying government dictates; shielding high-level government officials from embarrassing revelations; protecting even the most extreme government deceit and illegality; and keeping the domestic population of the US (their readers) ignorant of the vital acts in which their own government is engaged.

There are, of course, instances where newspapers can validly opt to conceal facts that they learn. That's when the harm that comes from disclosure plainly outweighs the public interest in learning of them (the classic case is when, in a war, a newspaper learns of imminent troop movements: there is no value in reporting that but ample harm from doing so). But none of these instances comes close to meeting that test. Instead, media outlets overwhelmingly abide by government dictates as to what they should conceal. As Greensdale wrote: "most often, they oblige governments by acceding to requests not to publish sensitive information that might jeopardise operations."

As all of these examples demonstrate, extreme levels of subservience to US government authority is embedded in the ethos of the establishment American media. They see themselves not as watchdogs over the state but as loyal agents of it.

Recall the extraordinary 2009 BBC debate over WikiLeaks in which former NYT executive editor Bill Keller proudly praised himself for concealing information the Obama administration told him to conceal, prompting this incredulous reply from the BBC host: "Just to be clear, Bill Keller, are you saying that you sort of go to the government in advance and say: 'What about this, that and the other, is it all right to do this and all right to do that,' and you get clearance, then?" Keller's admission also prompted this response from former British diplomat Carne Ross, who was also on the program: "It's extraordinary that the New York Times is clearing what it says about this with the US Government."

After the Guardian published the truth about Raymond Davis, former Bush DOJ laywer Jack Goldsmith, in 2011, defended the New York Times' concealment of it by hailing what he called "the patriotism of the American press". He quoted former Bush CIA and NSA chief Gen. Michael Hayden as saying that "American journalists display 'a willingness to work with us' . . . but with the foreign press 'it's very, very difficult'". Goldsmith said that while foreign media outlets will more readily report on secret US government acts (he named The Guardian, Al Jazeera and WikiLeaks), US national security journalists with whom he spoke justified their eagerness to cooperate with the US government by "expressly ascrib[ing] this attitude to 'patriotism' or 'jingoism' or to being American citizens or working for American publications."

That is the key truth. The entity that is designed to be, and endlessly praises itself for being, a check on US government power is, in fact, its most loyal servant. There are significant exceptions: Dana Priest did disclose the CIA black sites network over the agency's vehement objections, while the NYT is now suing the government to compel the release of classified documents relating to Obama's assassination program. But time and again, one finds the US media acting to help suppress the newsworthy secrets of the US government rather than report on them. Its collaborative "informal" agreement to hide the US drone base in Saudi Arabia is just the latest in a long line of such behavior.

Source: the guardian



Prosecution in Malaysia charged an al-Qaeda-linked former army captain and a woman with inciting terrorist acts in Syria.

“Yazid Sufaat encouraged terrorist activities,” said a ruling at the Magistrate Court in Malaysia, quoted by the Associated Press.

Sufaat was reported to have been doing so at a house in a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur sometime between early August and late October, while Halimah Hussein was charged for abetting him.

Police arrested Sufaat, Hussein and another man Thursday, saying they were the masterminds of an effort to recruit militants.

Prosecution documents offered scant details except that their actions could have threatened public safety in Syria.

Yazid Sufaat, and Halimah Hussein face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The Malaysian national news agency, Bernama, late Thursday quoted unidentified sources as saying that the suspects tried to recruit young people to be trained for missions that included suicide bombings.

Sufaat was detained in 2001 upon return from Afghanistan where he was suspected of working on a biological and chemical weapons program for al-Qaeda.

Associated press


Secret US Assassination Drone Base in Saudi Arabia

US President Obama’s plan to install his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, as director of the CIA has opened the administration to new scrutiny over the targeted-killing policies it has fought to keep hidden from the public, as well as the existence of a previously secret drone base in Saudi Arabia.

According to the Washington Post US daily, “The secrecy surrounding that policy was punctured Monday with the disclosure of a Justice Department “white paper” that spells out the administration’s case for killing Americans accused of being al-Qaeda operatives.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the intelligence committee, said Brennan’s level of influence and the timing of his nomination have given lawmakers leverage that they lacked in previous efforts to seek details from the White House.

The Obama administration’s targeted-killing program has relied on a growing constellation of drone bases operated by the CIA and the US military’s Joint Special Operations Command.

The report further mentioned that, a 2011 attack that killed al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, was carried out in part by CIA drones flown from a secret base in Saudi Arabia.

The base was established two years ago “to intensify the hunt against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the affiliate in Yemen is known.”

Brennan, who previously served as the CIA’s station chief in Saudi Arabia, played a key role in negotiations with Riyadh over locating an agency drone base inside the kingdom.

The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the location at the request of the US administration.

The white paper, which was first reported by NBC News, concludes that the United States can lawfully kill one of its own citizens overseas if it determines that the person is a “senior, operational leader” of al-Qaeda or one of its affiliates and poses an imminent threat.

Meanwhile, civil liberties groups in the US have described the white paper as an “example of the kind of unchecked executive power Obama campaigned against during his first presidential run,” the daily reports.

“The parallels to the Bush administration torture memos are chilling,” said Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Vincent Warren, as quoted in the report, accusing Obama of hypocrisy for ordering the release of George Bush administration memos while retaining secrecy around his own.

To deliver on his promises of transparency, Warren emphasized, Obama “must release his own legal memos and not just a Cliffs Notes version.”

The US assassination drone campaign has so far murdered thousands of civilians and some militants in hundreds of strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

Source: presstv


Deputy Foreign Minister Mekdad: 'Everyone Should Save Syria from Falling into Hell'

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad: "What more do these so-called revolutionaries actually want?"

The regime of President Bashar Assad has shown no signs of giving in even as opposition fighters have advanced to the outskirts of Damascus. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad blames the West for the violence and says Assad has satisfied all opposition demands.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Minister, you have just come back from visits to Iran and Russia. Has the Russian government offered Syrian President Bashar Assad asylum in Moscow?

Mekdad: Why should they? The subject was never addressed. We will prevail. The exile question is just an element of psychological warfare. President Assad has said that he was born here and he will die here, whenever that might be.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even your ally, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, remarked recently that the Syrian government is losing control over more and more territory. What is still giving you hope?

Mekdad: We are optimists and strong enough to overcome this challenge, even against the attack of an alliance of Western countries and Gulf states which claims to be promoting democracy and freedom. Until four months ago, Aleppo was one of the safest cities in the world. So I congratulate the advocates for human rights and democracy on the destruction of the Umayyad Mosque, the historic souks and the old town of Aleppo. On the other hand, we value the Russian position.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Russia is also pursuing its own interests. Tartus is the only Russian port on the Mediterranean, 50,000 Russians live in Syria and the arms trade between the two countries is significant. A good deal of the destruction can be attributed to the regime itself.

Mekdad: I can only warn the Europeans not to go on supporting these groups. These people are not just fighting against Syria, but against the order of all civilized nations, including your country in the future.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The Syrian government believes in an international conspiracy. How would the Western states and their allies benefit from the fall of Assad's regime?

Mekdad: Israel and the US would be the winners. Were Syria divided and placed under international control, the Israeli-Arab conflict would be forgotten. Israel could live in peace and keep the Golan Heights and all of Jerusalem and continue to bully the Palestinians. We are the only one of Israel's neighbors that still represents the Arab position.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: This revolution was originally a popular uprising against an oppressive state. Many people have reported that they were arrested for demonstrating peacefully and nearly killed in regime torture chambers.

Mekdad: Why don't you ask other Syrians for their views? These people do not represent the majority. It is striking that the president has responded to the demands of the demonstrators. There's a new constitution, the supremacy of the Baath Party has been ended, parties may be established, elections for a new parliament were carried out, new laws concerning demonstrations were passed. All that is completely ignored, none of it recognized abroad. On the contrary, it was after Assad changed the laws that the escalation really began. What more do these so-called revolutionaries actually want?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Apparently it was too little, too late. The people don't believe in you anymore.

Mekdad: This uprising is for the most part an externally organized, externally funded uprising. The militant groups receive billions of dollars from certain Gulf states. It is a global, multi-billion-dollar mercenary business. President Assad has heard the political demands of his people and he wants to reconcile with them, and indeed with everyone, as he announced in his speech on Jan. 6. If the fighting and the outside support are brought to an end and everyone sits around a table, then we can begin to shape the future of the country.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Foreign powers and the opposition were unimpressed by the president's speech. The fight is for his political end. How can he be the one to invite the parties involved to a round table?

Mekdad: It is not for other countries to decide on the Syrian president. Leave that to the Syrian people and the voting booths. We will not allow anyone to undermine the country's sovereignty. If the president were to give up, there would be nothing here but death and destruction. President Assad is ready to do anything to prevent that, no matter what the cost.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: For a long time, Syria had a good relationship with Turkey and at least not an entirely bad one with Saudi Arabia. Why are you now such a bitter enemy of both countries?

Mekdad: We have long tried to maintain good relations, but we were forced to realize that the Muslim Brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan was pursuing a completely different plan. Namely, he wanted to legally bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to Syria with help from Al-Qaida, the Al-Nusra Front and other extremist religious groups in order to establish a powerful network from Egypt to Tunisia, Libya, Syria and Iraq -- a new Ottoman Empire. Because they now shelter all types of armed groups -- and opened the border with Syria for them -- Erdogan and his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, are personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of Syrians. Why has Turkey not been reprimanded by the UN?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is the problem between Syria and Saudi Arabia?

Mekdad: Saudi Arabia is under immense American pressure and is therefore supporting certain religious groups that are fighting here. At the same time, the country understands very well that in doing this, it's working against its own interests. Therefore they should free themselves as quickly as possible from American dependency.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why would the Americans want Syria succumb to violence and destruction?

Mekdad: The protection of Israel is the only explanation. It began with sanctions, and now it's come to this. The so-called friends of Syria, who meet in Doha, Istanbul and Marrakesh, are actually the enemies of Syria and under the command of American ambassadors. But now the matter has gotten out of control for them. At least now they've put the Al-Nusra Front on the list of terrorist organizations, but unfortunately not the many others who are here indiscriminately killing my countrymen every day.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it true, as Syrian propaganda television reports daily, that the armed opposition consists entirely of terrorists?

Mekdad: There are all sorts of groups, including many that are simply misguided. And of course we, the government, have also made mistakes in the socio-economic sphere. Nevertheless, the armed opposition wanted the escalation from the beginning. They took that position from day one. The provocateurs hid among the peaceful demonstrators and shot down police and protesters alike.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Those who took part in early demonstrations have uniformly reported that the regime cracked down vigorously from the beginning. Even doctors and nurses who cared for injured protestors were arrested and disappeared into the dungeons of the notorious Mukhabarat.

Mekdad: That is war propaganda, just like the alleged massacre in Homs that government forces are said to have committed the day before the UN Security Council was meeting about Syria. We eventually arrested the perpetrators. They slaughtered 60 people with knives -- led by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who instigated the attack, precisely one day before the meeting.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The rebels have now advanced to within 600 meters of the Damascus old town. Day and night the people of Damascus hear the pounding of grenades and the fire of Kalashnikovs. How long can you keep this up?

Mekdad: We can hold out as long as the other side wants to go on.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said during his last visit to Damascus that Syria now has the choice between the political process and hell.

Mekdad: We want the political process ...

SPIEGEL ONLINE: ... but only under your conditions…

Mekdad: ... and everyone involved should save Syria from falling into hell.


Susanne Koelbl/ DER SPIEGEL

Interview conducted by Susanne Koelbl in Damascus


The longer this war continues, the more possibility it becomes a regional war

An American political commentator believes that the Obama administration’s policy regarding the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad government in Syria is very ‘dangerous’.

Press TV has conducted an interview with James Jatras, a former US Senate Foreign Policy analyst in Washington, to further talk over the issue. The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Israel recently violated Syrian territory and now it has deployed a third Iron Dome missile battery near the Syrian and Lebanese border. Just how much physical involvement will we see from Israel? How should we interpret this?

Jatras: It is a very good question and it is indicative of a very worrisome trend that the longer that this war continues and the longer the Western powers keep supporting the radical forces opposed to the Assad government in Syria, the more the possibility grows that this war will become a regional war and that will not only slap over to Israel but also to Turkey where these Patriot Missiles are being deployed and frankly present the danger of a tripwire that could be used for a NATO intervention in Syria which indeed maybe their purpose.

Press TV: Of course, we know that the Syrian deputy foreign minister is now in China and we know that the Syrian Army is gaining ground against the insurgents, but in the event of a full-scale war, will Russia and China become involved in it?

Jatras: I do not think they will. I think if there is a NATO involvement, and I hope there is not, I do not see Iran or Russia or China becoming directly involved as combatants. I think the broader danger to the region would grow due to unexpected consequences.

With regards to the Patriots in Turkey, my major concern is that the insurgents can trigger that; they can fire a missile from Syria which then will be ‘responded’ to by the Patriots and then portrayed as a Syrian aggression against Turkey and grounds for an Article 5 invocation by NATO to intervene in Syria. I think that is a great danger.

Press TV: Indeed and of course we know that the opposition is calling for dialog with the Syrian government. How genuine is this call for dialogue?

Jatras: You know, there is one leader of the Syrian opposition who did call for dialog and was immediately attacked then by most of the opposition that remains committed to a total victory and the overthrow of the regime does not want a negotiated solution.

And indeed unfortunately there are some people here in the United States and in the Obama administration who support that point of view and I think they are playing with fire; they are looking at what is going on in Israel, what is going on in Turkey and the possibility of a regional war and thinking they can somehow skin the cat, that they can somehow deliver a victory on their terms and I just think it is very dangerous.

Press TV: And how much do you evaluate the UN’s role in preventing the escalation of this crisis?

Jatras: I do not think the UN can accomplish anything unless there is an agreement among the permanent members of the Security Council and again this is where the Western demand that president must go before there can be any kind of negotiation, I think it is very misplaced.

I think that with that demand to be withdrawn, it would be possible for both side with their outside supporters to sponsor some sort of negotiation and a peaceful solution. But I think that the Western powers are not willing to entertain that yet.

Source: presstv


France slams Qatar role in Mali conflict

The Leader of the ruling Socialist Party in France, Harlem Desir, slammed on Sunday "a form of indulgence" from Qatar "towards the terrorist groups who occupied northern Mali," asking the Gulf Emirate for a "policy clarification ".

Desir noted that "political statements of a number of Qatari officials had challenged the French intervention" in Mali.

"There is an attitude that is not cooperative and that can be considered as a form of leniency towards the terrorist groups who occupied northern Mali. This attitude coming from Qatar is not normal," added Desire at a weekly political programme on one of the Jewish community radio in France, Radio J.

"We need a policy clarification from Qatar who has always denied any role in funding terrorist groups. On the diplomatic level, Qatar should adopt a much stronger, and firmer position towards these groups who threaten the security of the Sahel region,” added Desire.

Qatar has a vested interest in the outcome of the north Mali crisis, according to various reports that have been picked up by French MPs, amid suspicion that Doha may be siding with the rebels to extend its regional influence.

Since Islamist groups exploited a military coup in the Malian capital of Bamako in early 2012 to take control of the entire north of the country, accusations of Qatari involvement in a crisis that has seen France deploy troops have been growing.

Two French politicians explicitly accused Qatar of giving material support to separatists and Islamists in north Mali, adding fuel to speculation that the Emirate is playing a behind-the-scenes role in spreading Islamic fundamentalism in Africa.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Communist Party Senator Michelle Demessine both said that that Qatar had questions to answer.

“If Qatar is objecting to France’s engagement in Mali it’s because intervention risks destroying Doha’s most fundamentalist allies,” Le Pen said in a statement on her party website, in response to a call by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani for dialogue with the Islamists.

The first accusations of Qatari involvement with Tuareg separatists and Islamist groups came in a June 2012 article in French weekly the Canard Enchaine.

In a piece title “Our friend Qatar is financing Mali’s Islamists”, the newspaper claimed that the oil-rich Gulf state was financing the separatists.

It quoted an unnamed source in French military intelligence saying: “The secular Tuareg separatists (MNLA), Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have all received cash from Doha.”

A month later told RTL radio: “The French government knows perfectly well who is supporting these terrorists. Qatar, for example, continues to send so-called aid and food every day to the airports of Gao and Timbuktu.”

Regional geopolitical expert Mehdi Lazar, who specialises on Qatar, wrote in French weekly news magazine L’Express in December that Doha’s relationship with predominantly Muslim north Mali was deeply entrenched.

 “Qatar has an established a network of institutions it funds in Mali, including madrasses (religious schools), schools and charities that it has been funding from the 1980s,” he wrote, adding that Qatar would be expecting a return on this investment.




The mujahedin of al-Qaida and the Taliban were created by the CIA

A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.

The invasion has almost nothing to do with “Islamism”, and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China.

Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine.

As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a “menacing arc” of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus “red menace” of a worldwide communist conspiracy.

Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments.

US Operation African Endeavor

Last year, Africom staged Operation African Endeavor, with the armed forces of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the US military. Africom’s “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.

It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite whose “historic mission”, warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged”.

A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the M23, which in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.

Long planned as a “mission” for Nato, not to mention the ever-zealous French, whose colonial lost causes remain on permanent standby, the war on Africa became urgent in 2011 when the Arab world appeared to be liberating itself from the Mubaraks and other clients of Washington and Europe.

Hysteria in Imperial Capitals

The hysteria this caused in imperial capitals cannot be exaggerated. Nato bombers were dispatched not to Tunis or Cairo but Libya, where  Muammar Gaddafi ruled over Africa’s largest oil reserves. With the Libyan city of Sirte reduced to rubble, the British SAS directed the “rebel” militias in what has since been exposed as a racist bloodbath.

The indigenous people of the Sahara, the Tuareg, whose Berber fighters Gaddafi had protected, fled home across Algeria to Mali, where the Tuareg have been claiming a separate state since the 1960s.

As the ever watchful Patrick Cockburn points out, it is this local dispute, not al-Qaida, that the West fears most in northwest Africa… “poor though the Tuareg may be, they are often living on top of great reserves of oil, gas, uranium and other valuable minerals”.

The United Kingdom

Almost certainly the consequence of a French/US attack on Mali on 13 January, a siege at a gas complex in Algeria ended bloodily, inspiring a 9/11 moment in David Cameron. The former Carlton TV PR man raged about a “global threat” requiring “decades” of western violence. He meant implantation of the west’s business plan for Africa, together with the rape of multi-ethnic Syria and the conquest of independent Iran.

Cameron has now ordered British troops to Mali, and sent an RAF drone,  while his verbose military chief, General Sir David Richards, has addressed “a very clear message to jihadists worldwide: don’t dangle and tangle with us. We will deal with it robustly” – exactly what jihadists want to hear.

The trail of blood of British army terror victims, all Muslims, their “systemic” torture cases currently heading to court, add necessary irony to the general’s words. I once experienced Sir David’s “robust” ways when I asked him if he had read the courageous Afghan feminist Malalai Joya’s description of the barbaric behaviour of westerners and their clients in her country. “You are an apologist for the Taliban” was his reply. (He later apologised).

These bleak comedians are straight out of Evelyn Waugh and allow us to feel the bracing breeze of history and hypocrisy. The “Islamic terrorism” that is their excuse for the enduring theft of Africa’s riches was all but invented by them.

“The Mujahedin of al-Qaida and the Taliban Were created by the CIA”

There is no longer any excuse to swallow the BBC/CNN line and not know the truth. Read Mark Curtis’s Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam (Serpent’s Tail) or John Cooley’s Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism (Pluto Press) or The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski (HarperCollins) who was midwife to the birth of modern fundamentalist terror.

In effect, the mujahedin of al-Qaida and the Taliban were created by the CIA, its Pakistani equivalent, the Inter-Services Intelligence, and Britain’s MI6.

Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, describes a secret presidential directive in 1979 that began what became the current “war on terror”.

For 17 years, the US deliberately cultivated, bank-rolled, armed and brainwashed jihadi extremists that “steeped a generation in violence”. Code-named Operation Cyclone, this was the “great game” to bring down the Soviet Union but brought down the Twin Towers.

Since then, the news that intelligent, educated people both dispense and ingest has become a kind of Disney journalism, fortified, as ever, by Hollywood’s licence to lie, and lie.

There is the coming Dreamworks movie on WikiLeaks, a fabrication inspired by a book of perfidious title-tattle by two enriched Guardian journalists; and there is Zero Dark Thirty, which promotes torture and murder, directed by the Oscar-winning Kathryn Bigelow, the Leni Riefenstahl of our time, promoting her master’s voice as did the Fuhrer’s pet film-maker. Such is the one-way mirror through which we barely glimpse what power does in our name.

By John Pilger | NTA