Saturday, March 30, 2019

Putting Mueller's Record in the Frame

Mueller’s Record of Framing Innocent People – Part One

by Eric Zuesse  - Off-Guardian

March 30, 2019

NOTE: This article — prior to its current updates — was offered as an exclusive to each mainstream and other pro-U.S.-Government ‘news’-media, and none even replied; so, it now is offered to all of them again for publication, but on a non-exclusive and free basis, and this time it is also being submitted to many of the smaller or “alternative” news-media. Therefore, sharing, and linking to, this article will be especially appreciated, because the ‘news’-media themselves clearly don’t want this information and its documentation to be known by the general public.

Kit Knightly, at the excellent news-site Off-Guardian, headlined on March 25th, “Mueller’s Sideshow Closes – But it has Served its Purpose”, and he concluded that the most credible hypothesis as to what the actual purpose of Mueller’s investigation was is to fool the American public to think that the U.S. Government is honest and trustworthy, and that its public officials are accountable to the public.

Knightly thinks that it’s all just a con.

But the purpose of the present article is simply to document the type of person that Mueller himself is — to document it from his actual record in various public offices that Mueller has held.

The Special Counsel Robert Mueller wasn’t able to obtain any convictions against Donald Trump as having in any way collaborated with Russia’s Government to win the 2016 Presidential election, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that Mueller was serving the public instead of serving some billionaires, known or unknown, here and/or abroad. Ever since the start of the “Russiagate” probes, the case against Russia has been based upon low quality, unreliable, ‘evidence,’ much if not all of which should be thrown out, unacceptable to present to any jury — and far less suitable for winning from a jury an actual conviction.

For example, according to the expert number-cruncher on election-polling, Nate Silver, writing 17 December 2018,

“If you wrote out a list of the most important factors in the 2016 election, I’m not sure that Russian social media memes would be among the top 100. The scale was quite small and there’s not much evidence that they were effective.”

Soon thereafter, Aaron Maté headlined in The Nation on December 28th, “New Studies Show Pundits Are Wrong About Russian Social-Media Involvement in US Politics: Far from being a sophisticated propaganda campaign, it was small, amateurish, and mostly unrelated to the 2016 election.” Maté presented lots of evidence to back that up, and this evidence cast severe doubt upon the Russiagate charges that have been pursued and the indictments that have been obtained.

The Special Counsel Robert Mueller was publicly tasked, as the “Special Prosecutor,” to prove these charges and to achieve convictions on them so that President Trump could be forced out of office for colluding with Russia. If there had been collusion, then, of course, Trump had committed treason and would now be doomed.

Instead, Mueller displayed dirt on some of Trump’s subordinates. Mueller was hired by Democrats to get a Republican President impeached by the House and then removed from office by the Senate, and then replaced by Vice President Mike Pence. Was Mueller selected on account of his record of honesty, his public trustworthiness, his skill in presenting cases and achieving convictions that don’t get thrown out by appeals courts or otherwise discredited? No. But it made no difference anyway, because the entire Russiagate storyline he had been hired to prove was a complex string of speculations and outright lies, and Mueller wasn’t able to prove even enough of them to make a presentable (though still speculative and unproven) case.

No matter: just as Republicans won’t acknowledge that George W Bush had lied through his teeth in order to fool Americans into invading and destroying Iraq, Democrats won’t acknowledge that they were deceived by their own political Party. The American public (both Parties of it) are apparently perfectly satisfied to be serial fools; they do it time and again (for examples: Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, and Yemen 2015-) — they require only that their own Party be the ones making suckers of themselves. This is the worst type of polarized public, the type that’s the biggest threat to the survival of democracy. Mueller has for decades been a cog in this corrupt bipartisan American political machine.

Here’s the story behind the story of the Special Counsel’s investigation — the story of Robert Swan Mueller III himself, over the decades:

Part One

Robert Mueller has a lengthy record of framing innocent people, to protect the guilty, and some of those cases have even been overturned on appeal. Mueller’s present investigations into Donald Trump were headed by a prosecutor he hired, Andrew Weissmann, whose track-record of convictions was so bad that one of his convictions even became overturned by a unanimous opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Weissmann had a track-record of evidence-rigging that’s at least as bad as Mueller’s, and maybe this is why Mueller hired him. Both men try to win cases via the press instead of via the laws and the Constitution. Upon his hire, the New York Times did a worshipful article on “Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s Legal Pit-Bull”. His dirty tactics and overturned cases weren’t so much as even just mentioned there.

Mueller had been a major participant in helping the friend of the Saudi royals, FBI Director Louis Freeh, to transfer the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist bombing case to Freeh’s then-friend James Comey, who promptly got the Sauds and Al Qaeda off the hook for that terror-bombing which Al Qaeda had done, which had killed 19 Americans.

Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan headlined in the August 2011 Vanity Fair “The [Saudi] Kingdom and the [WTC] Towers”, and reported that,

“On a flight home from Saudi Arabia in the late 1990s, F.B.I. director Louis Freeh told counterterrorism chief John O’Neill [who became one of the WTC 9/11 victims] that he thought the Saudi officials they had met during the trip had been helpful. ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ retorted O’Neill, a New Jersey native who never minced his words. ‘They didn’t give us anything. They were just shining sunshine up your ass.’” 

That conversation had to do with the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing.

The great investigative journalist Gareth Porter headlined on 26 June 2009, “EXCLUSIVE – PART 5: Freeh Became ‘Defence Lawyer’ for Saudis on Khobar”, and reported that, “once out of office, Freeh became virtually a defence lawyer for the Saudi regime on the Khobar Towers bombing.” PBS Frontline presented on 7 April 2009, “Extended Interview With Louis Freeh: Former FBI Director, now attorney to Prince Bandar”. The introduction stated:

“As the head of his own global consulting firm, Freeh Group International, Louis Freeh has been hired by Prince Bandar as his legal representative on issues surrounding the Al-Yamamah arms deal.” 

(That was a corruption issue unrelated to the Khobar Towers case. So, Freeh’s services to the Saud family extended beyond merely the Khobar Towers case.)

Comey’s FBI blamed the Khobar Towers bombing on Iran and Shiites, whom the Saudi royal family have hated ever since 1744. That achievement by the Freeh-Mueller-Comey trio established the U.S. Government’s Saudi mantra, that “Iran [not the Saud family itself] is the top state-sponsor of terrorism.”

This, in turn, helped to produce what became the frame-up and $10.5 billion fine against Iran for its allegedly having caused the 9/11 attacks. The frame-up in the Khobar Towers case became cited there as ‘evidence’ in the blaming of Iran for the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 case was thoroughly rigged to serve the Sauds, just like the Khobar case had been. Both Mueller and Comey were key operatives in that, too (as well as in deceiving the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein was also involved in the 9/11 plot).

FBI investigators in the field had actually reported that the 9/11 attacks were at least partially funded from the private checking accounts of the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar, and his wife. Furthermore, the financial bag-man for Osama bin Laden said that Al Qaeda was overwhelmingly financed not only by Prince Bandar but by other Saudi Princes (including the one who became Saudi Arabia’s current King). And the U.S. President, George W. Bush, worked with the Sauds, to bring about 9/11.
(Click on the above links to research the evidence.)

Mueller and his colleagues nailed Iran for 9/11, on the basis of some members of Al Qaeda having passed through Iran. (They had passed through many countries, including the U.S.) They successfully framed Iran, for what the royal family of Saudi Arabia (working with the U.S. President, Bush) had actually done. The Khobar Towers case was just one of the Mueller-Comey team’s frame-ups, but it’s the one that has had the most impact.

The evidence against the Saudi royals (and others in the U.S. Government Deep State) on the 9/11 matter is massive and it was summarily presented by the investigative journalists Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan in the August 2011 Vanity Fair, under the headline “The [Saudi] Kingdom and the [WTC] Towers”. Here are excerpts:

"In sworn statements after 9/11, former Taliban intelligence chief Mohammed Khaksar said that in 1998 Prince Turki, chief of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Department (G.I.D.), sealed a deal under which bin Laden agreed not to attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would provide funds and material assistance to the Taliban, not demand bin Laden’s extradition, and not bring pressure to close down al-Qaeda training camps. Saudi businesses, meanwhile, would ensure that money also flowed directly to bin Laden.

Special Relationships

 "After 9/11, Prince Turki would deny that any such deal was done with bin Laden. Other Saudi royals, however, may have been involved in payoff arrangements. A former Clinton administration official has claimed — and U.S. intelligence sources concurred — that at least two Saudi princes had been paying, on behalf of the kingdom, what amounted to protection money since 1995. The former official added, “The deal was, they would turn a blind eye to what he was doing elsewhere. ‘You don’t conduct operations here, and we won’t disrupt them elsewhere.’ ”

"American and British official sources, speaking later with Simon Henderson, Baker Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, named the two princes in question. They were, Henderson told the authors, Prince Naif, the interior minister, and Prince Sultan. The money involved in the alleged payments, according to Henderson’s sources, had amounted to “hundreds of millions of dollars.” It had been “Saudi official money — not their own.” …

"In spite of the fact that it had almost immediately become known that 15 of those implicated in the attacks had been Saudis, President George W. Bush did not hold Saudi Arabia’s official representative in Washington at arm’s length. As early as the evening of September 13, he kept a scheduled appointment to receive Prince Bandar at the White House. The two men had known each other for years. They reportedly greeted each other with a friendly embrace, smoked cigars on the Truman Balcony, and conversed with Vice President Dick Cheney and National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. …

"The president would invite Crown Prince Abdullah to visit the United States, press him to come when he hesitated, and — when he accepted — welcome him to his Texas ranch in early 2002. Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice were there, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell and First Lady Laura Bush.

"It seems that 9/11 barely came up during the discussions. Speaking with the press afterward, the president cut off one reporter when he began to raise the subject. …

"Congress’s Joint Inquiry, its co-chair Bob Graham told the authors, had found evidence “that the Saudis were facilitating, assisting, some of the hijackers. And my suspicion is that they were providing some assistance to most if not all of the hijackers.

"…It’s my opinion that 9/11 could not have occurred but for the existence of an infrastructure of support within the United States. By ‘the Saudis,’ I mean the Saudi government and individual Saudis who are for some purposes dependent on the government — which includes all of the elite in the country.”

"Those involved, in Graham’s view, “included the royal family” and “some groups that were close to the royal family.” … At page 396 of the Joint Inquiry’s report, in the final section of the body of the report, a yawning gap appears. All 28 pages of Part Four, entitled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” have been redacted. … The order that they must remain secret had come from President Bush. …

"Former CIA officer [John] Kiriakou later said his colleagues had told him they believed that what Zubaydah had told them about the princes was true. “We had known for years,” he told the authors, “that Saudi royals — I should say elements of the royal family — were funding al-Qaeda.”

"Polls suggest that the publicity about Iraq’s supposed involvement affected the degree to which the U.S. public came to view Iraq as an enemy deserving retribution. Before the invasion, a Pew Research poll found that 57 percent of those polled believed Hussein had helped the 9/11 terrorists. Forty-four percent of respondents to a Knight-Ridder poll had gained the impression that “most” or “some” of the hijackers had been Iraqi. In fact, none were. In the wake of the invasion, a Washington Post poll found that 69 percent of Americans believed it likely that Saddam Hussein had been personally involved in 9/11."

Of course, both Mueller and Comey were instrumental in deceiving the American public to believe that Saddam Hussein was involved with Al Qaeda and with 9/11. They were actively involved in blaming not only Iran, but Iran’s enemy Iraq, for 9/11.

Mueller has been indicting the innocent and protecting the guilty throughout his career, and so he’s a top go-to man for the most powerful guilty parties to appoint to ‘investigate’ a case.

Part Two

Most of what goes on in a legal case is private and never becomes public. But sometimes a judge manages to see things that the public never gets to see. And, furthermore, sometimes even the press gets to see, and even to report, things that don’t fit with a ‘stellar’ lawyer’s stellar reputation amongst the holders of power.

Mueller’s first big impact was obscure and little-reported at the time. The Khobar Towers event was already four years in the past. The rabidly pro-Saudi and anti-Iranian FBI Director Louis Freeh was retiring just when President George W. Bush was coming into office, and Freeh chose Deputy Attorney General Robert Mueller to be the person to appoint Freeh’s replacement: James Comey. That’s the very person whom Freeh had wanted to get the job.

It’s hardly possible to understand Rubert Mueller’s role in America’s leadership without understanding his close relationship with James Comey, the mutual-benefit-society that their association, with each other, has been, ever since 2001.

On 30 May 2013, Mueller’s worshipful biographer Garrett M. Graff headlined at The Washingtonian, “Forged Under Fire — Bob Mueller and Jim Comey’s Unusual Friendship”, and he reported how the two men, Mueller and Comey, had become bonded together at the start of 2001, before 9/11, by the retiring FBI Director Louis Freeh’s determination to place the blame for the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia, on Iran, and not on Al Qaeda or the Saud family. Graff wrote:

"As the Bush administration took office in 2001, Freeh asked Bob Mueller, who was acting as John Ashcroft’s deputy attorney general, to transfer the case to Comey.

"When he finally did so, Mueller called Comey with a warning: “Wilma Lewis [from the Clinton Administration] is going to be so pissed.” Indeed, Lewis blasted the decision, as well as both Freeh and Mueller personally, in a press release, saying the move was “ill-conceived and ill-considered.” But Freeh’s gambit paid off.

"Within weeks, Comey had pulled together the indictment [against Iran]. During a National Security Council briefing at the White House, under the watchful gaze of Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Comey presented overwhelming evidence of Iran’s involvement.

"On the eve of the expiration of the statute of limitations, fourteen individuals were indicted for the [1996] attack. Freeh, who stepped down the next day, said the indictment was “a major step.”"

Bill Clinton’s people saw the case against Iran on Khobar as having been incredibly weak and concocted by the Sauds. Freeh accepted on pure faith the representations the Sauds made. Comey and Mueller did, too. This — the Sauds’ case — was the basis of the U.S. Government’s charge that Iran is ‘the top state-sponsor of terrorism’: the country that the Sauds hated thus became the country that received the blame for this bombing, which was done by Al Qaeda as a warning to the Saud family to expel U.S. military from Saudi Arabia.

The liberal Republican James Comey became the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Lockheed Martin Corporation during 2005-2010, where his 2009 pay was $6,113,797. During that time, he also was a Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Chamber Litigation Center, which works to support business interests in the courts, especially the interests of U.S.-based international corporations, including Lockheed Martin. Furthermore, as of 12 March 2010, Comey also had been granted 162,482 free shares of stock in Lockheed Martin, which number was higher than that of anyone except the Chairman, the CEO President, and an Executive Vice President; so, Comey was among the very top people at Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin’s largest foreign customer was the Saudi Government, which is 100% owned by the Saud family. Today, those Comey shares are worth $47,119,780 — after his five years with the company, plus nearly nine years of growth in that stock, from the war-producing policies that Comey had helped to initiate.

Then, Comey bought a $3M mansion in Connecticut, (left) and became General Counsel and a Member of the Executive Committee at the gigantic hedge Fund, Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, in Connecticut, where Comey’s only publicly known pay was $6,632,616 in 2012.

Dalio and Comey became very close — Dalio called Comey his “hero.”

But Obama then hired the liberal Republican Comey as FBI Director in 2013, replacing the liberal Republican Mueller in that role, from which Obama’s successor President Trump fired Comey, and congressional Democrats then succeeded in getting Mueller assigned to become the Special Counsel who would supposedly investigate the legitimacy of that firing.

On 21 May 2013, Marketwatch bannered “Bridgewater Associates’ trades for Q2” and reported that:

"After a number of tech companies — including those we’ve mentioned [Microsoft, Oracle, and Intel] and EMC — the largest single-stock holding in the fund’s portfolio was its roughly 220,000 shares of Lockheed Martin LMT, +1.93%. The company recently reported an increase in earnings compared with the first quarter of 2012, but revenue was down slightly and there is a good deal of speculation that the business will be impacted by cuts in U.S. military spending. …
"Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group reported a position of 1.2 million shares at the end of December."

Lockheed Martin is by far the largest U.S. ‘defense’ contractor, taking 8.3% of all U.S. Government purchases during 2015, as compared to #2 Boeing’s 3.8%, and #3 General Dynamics’s 3.1%.

Other than sales to the U.S. Government, the largest customer of Lockheed Martin is the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia and own the world’s largest oil company, Aramco, and who hate Shia Muslims and especially hate Iran, which has the most Shia.

As Open Secrets has reported about Comey:

"He left Bridgewater and became senior research scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security at Columbia Law School in February 2013, and also joined the board of London-based HSBC Holdings. As the Center has reported, Comey maxed out his contributions to Mitt Romney in 2012 in an effort to unseat his new boss, and also gave to Obama’s 2008 opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)."

This is a team that’s pro-Saud and pro U.S. billionaires, and pro Israeli billionaires, but rabidly anti Iran and Russia and China, and looking for a fight — war and increased ‘defense’-spending — against any nation (such as Syria) that’s favorable toward those ‘enemies of America’.

As of August 2009:

“HSBC is the largest and most widely represented international bank in the Middle East. … SABB is a Saudi joint stock company that is listed on the Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul). The HSBC Group has a 40% shareholding in SABB. … SABB is one of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia. … HSBC Saudi Arabia is HSBC’s investment banking arm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, owned 60% by the HSBC Group and 40% by SABB.”

Neither HSBC nor SABB has any branch either in Iran or in Syria. HSBC Bank Middle East does have branches in Israel, and in the Palestinain Territories, and in nine Sunni Arab kingdoms, as well as in secular and democratic Lebanon, but not in Iran and Syria (the two Middle Eastern countries that the U.S. sanctions against — partly because of Comey’s decisions).

On January 26th, Russian Televison headlined “New Integrity Initiative leak: Make Muslims love NATO, target anti-frackers, plan for nuclear war”, and reported that,

“A new batch of leaked files from the covert influence network exposes how the Integrity Initiative recruits high-flying businessmen for intel ops, shows UK Muslims ‘why NATO matters’ and prepares for nuclear conflict with Russia. … Two HSBC officials are on the list of intelligence assets, as part of a plan to attract talent from the City to serve as military intel experts.”

Part Three

Ideology is definitely involved in this; and the U.S. Government — in its policies though generally not in its rhetoric — is the leader on the side of hereditary rule and of countries that are ruled by an alliance between state and church. These are countries that are ruled not by the public, but by the aristocracy, and the dominant clergy.

When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni took control in Shia Iran after overthrowing the Pahlavi Dynasty in 1979, he was reasserting something from the very origin of Shia Islam, which was the Battle of Karbala. Whereas Islam started as one faith in 610, the separation into Shia Islam and Sunni Islam started in 680, at the Battle of Karbala, where “Hussain (or Husayn) ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, along with many other prominent Muslims, not only disapproved of Yazid’s nomination for Caliph (or leader of Islam) but also declared it against the spirit of Islam (because only an imam or cleric, a scholar of Islam, should lead the faith).”

Yazid was the first hereditary Caliph; and Hussain, on principle, rejected hereditary dynasties.

This Battle was between supporters (Sunnis) of monarchies (hereditary caliphs, or “kings”), versus opponents (Shia) of monarchies. “Husain ibn Ali believed the appointment of Yazid as the heir of the Caliphate would lead to hereditary kingship, which was against the original political teachings of Islam. Therefore, he resolved to confront Yazid.”

Though there have been Shia dynasties (such as the Pahlavis), Khomeni’s Shia Iran raised up a revolutionary spirit within Islam threatening all dynasties, and the Saud family immediately feared this threat. This became an additional reason (besides the Saud family’s 1744 sworn eternal anti-Shia contract with the Wahhab clergy) for the Sauds to be opposed to post-1979 Iran.

The Sauds, and the other hereditary monarchies in the Islamic world (all of whom are major importers of U.S. weapons), are frightened by Shia, and by Shiism itself — Shia belief. There also are many Sunni followers who reject monarchy (hereditary/dynastic rule), even though Sunni Islam doesn’t itself reject dynastic rule, in any way. Unlike with Shiism, the rejection of monarchies isn’t, at all, a part of Sunni tradition. Furthermore, in Sunni monarchic countries, the aristocracy are funding clerics who accept monarchies.

Therefore, the Sunni-Shia split, that was initiated in 680, escalated greatly after the 1979 Iranian revolution, which actually carried out a monarch’s defenestration — it therefore terrifies today’s Islamic monarchs (all of whom are Sunnis), but especially the Sauds, who are the most fundamentalist of all Sunni rulers.

They are determined to conquer Iran. To protect their dynasty, for themselves and their descendants, they aim to destroy Iran, and conquer all Shia. Every single one of today’s monarchical Islamic countries is run and owned by a Sunni family. Each one of them is allied with the U.S., and they’re all among the largest foreign buyers of weapons from Lockheed Martin and other U.S. ‘defense’ contractors.

The United States Government supports Sunni Islam, which functions mainly by means of hereditary rule, by a family that has received the clergy’s blessing from God to rule that country, as Emir, King, or other monarch. Although Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, inherited his post from his father, that was only because the secular, non-sectarian Ba’ath Party, which had appointed his father, Hafez al-Assad, to lead the country, chose his son as the best person to succeed him, and it was not an assertion of the dynastic principle that Shia Islam intrinsically opposes. It certainly had nothing to do with the will of the local clergy.

By contrast, the clergy in Saudi Arabia hold veto-power over the Saud family’s choice as to which of the Princes will become the next King. The clergy are called “Ulema,” and “Ulema, essentially they are the king maker. If — if the ulema say that you should not take power, you are not going to take power. And the ulema were important because they are the people who — who — who certify the Islamic legality.” That’s the way it is in fundamentalist-Sunni Saudi Arbia. The U.S., ever since at least 1949, has been trying to overthrow Syria’s secular Government and replace it with one that would be controlled by individuals who are selected by the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family — intense haters of all Shia, and of Iran. After all: Iran is founded upon a rejection of dynastic rule.

Paragraph 101 of the U.S. judge’s 22 December 2011 “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” against Iran as being the cause of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing states:

"On June 25, 1996, terrorists struck the Khobar Towers housing complex in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, with a powerful truck bomb, killing nineteen (19) U.S. servicemen and wounding some five hundred (500). …
"FBI investigators concluded the operation was undertaken on direct orders from senior Iranian government leaders, the bombers had been trained and funded by the IRGC [Iranian Republican Guard Corps] in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and senior members of the Iranian government, including Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Supreme Leader’s office had selected Khobar as the target and commissioned the Saudi Hizballah to carry out the operation."

No solid evidence has ever been published — not even by the proponents — to support those allegations.

Even as late as 15 August 1996, the Sauds hadn’t yet thought up the ‘explanation’ that Iran had perpetrated the bombing, and the New York Times headlined “Saudi Rebels Are Main Suspects In June Bombing of a U.S. Base”, which reported that,

“Prince Nayef said Saudi Arabia would make an announcement as soon as the investigation is completed. His comments were also viewed as refuting earlier suggestions by Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, who had said that Saudi investigations might point to an Iranian connection. Subsequently, the American official suggested he did not have direct evidence linking Iran to the bombing.” 

Clinton’s Defense Secretary Perry introduced the concept that Iran might be to blame. Furthermore, “Abdelbari Atwan, editor of Al Quds, said today that Saudi authorities ‘are still refusing to let United States investigators see the suspects.’”

Perry, who had introduced that false idea in 1996, casually said in 2007 that he no longer believed it was true. UPI reported on 6 June 2007:

“A former U.S. defense secretary says he now believes al-Qaida rather than Iran was behind a 1996 truck bombing at an American military base. Former Defense Secretary William Perry said he had a contingency plan to attack Iran if the link had been proven, but evidence was not to either his nor President Bill Clinton’s satisfaction.” 

Having come up with the false idea that served as the basis for calling Iran “the top state sponsor of terrorism,” he quietly abandoned it 11 years later, 11 years too late, but the myth that he had introduced, was and still remains, official U.S. Government dogma.

Louis Freeh had immediately accepted that false idea, and he blamed the Clinton Administration for not acting on the basis of it. Freeh had co-created this myth, along with Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, who was a buddy of both George W. Bush and of G.H.W. Bush. And Mueller and Comey carried through on Freeh’s intention: to blame Iran. U.S. international policies are based on such lies as that.

Here is Gareth Porter’s complete defenestration of that entire fraud against Iran:

EXCLUSIVE — PART 1: Al Qaeda Excluded from the Suspects List
EXCLUSIVE — PART 2: Saudi Account of Khobar Bore Telltale Signs of Fraud
EXCLUSIVE — PART 3: U.S. Officials Leaked a False Story Blaming Iran
EXCLUSIVE — PART 4: FBI Ignored Compelling Evidence of bin Laden Role
EXCLUSIVE — PART 5: Freeh Became “Defence Lawyer” for Saudis on Khobar

On 8 August 2015, the man whom the Sauds and the U.S. Deep State had been claiming to have been the planner and ringleader of the Khobar Towers bombing, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, was allegedly captured in Beirut and sent to Riyadh for trial. However, nothing has been made public about or from him since that date. On 1 September 2015, Gareth Porter headlined “Who Bombed Khobar Towers? Anatomy of a Crooked Terrorism Investigation”, and he pointed out glaring evidence that this alleged capture of the ringleader was just more of the Saud and American lies, such as:

In order to build a legal case against Iran and Shi’a Saudis, Freeh had to get access to the Shi’a detainees who had confessed. But the Saudis never agreed to allow FBI officials to interview them. In early November 1998, Freeh sent an FBI team to observe Saudi secret police officials asking eight Shi’a detainees the FBI’s questions from behind a one-way mirror at the Riyadh detention center.

By then Saudi secret police had already had two and half years to coach the detainees on what to say, under the threat of more torture. But Freeh didn’t care. … [And,] Freeh made a deal with the Justice Department to remain FBI director long enough to get the indictment of Mughassil and twelve other Saudi Shi’a. The indictment [by Comey] was announced on June 21, 2001, Freeh’s last day as FBI director.

An excellent summary of the evidence that Khobar was a Sunni not a Shia event was posted online at the Pakistan Defence site, on 24 July 2016, and it included this:

"The Sunni detainees over Khobar included Yusuf al-Uyayri, who was later revealed to have been the actual head of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. In 2003, al-Uyayri confirmed in al Qaeda’s regular publication that he had been arrested and tortured after the Khobar bombing.

"A report published in mid-August 1996 by the London-based Palestinian newspaper Al Qods al-Arabi, based on sources with ties to the jihadi movement in Saudi Arabia, said that six Sunni veterans of the Afghan war had confessed to the Khobar bombing under torture. That was followed two days later by a report in the New York Times that the Saudi officials now believed that Afghan war veterans had carried out the Khobar bombing.

"A few weeks later, however, the Saudi regime apparently made a firm decision to blame the bombing on the Saudi Shi’a."

So, America’s supposed ‘justification’ for hostility toward Iran — as opposed to American cooperation with Iran — is entirely fraudulent. It can be taken only on faith.

The Sauds block any outsiders from having access to the evidence, and have required the U.S. regime to trust their allegations on faith alone, but the U.S. authorities find that acceptable, and constantly recite that Saudi-American line. The families of the 19 American dead and the 372 wounded in that attack are simply being lied-to, by our own Government. The American Government (and not merely Al Qaeda) is those Americans’ enemy.

However, Khobar is hardly the only instance where Mueller has been key in assisting to create one of Big Brother’s lies. He worked hard to achieve many others.

Part Four

On 19 June 2005, the AP headlined “Terror Expertise Not Priority at FBI,” and “FBI: Experience not needed in terror fight” and “FBI failed to seek terror expertise after Sept. 11.” Their John Solomon reported:

"“In sworn testimony that contrasts with their promises to the public, the FBI managers who crafted the post-Sept. 11 fight against terrorism say expertise about the Mideast or terrorism was not important in choosing the agents they promoted to top jobs. And they still do not believe such experience is necessary today. …
"‘A bombing case is a bombing case,’ said Dale Watson, the FBI’s terrorism chief in the two years after Sept. 11. … The FBI’s current terror-fighting chief, Executive Assistant Director Gary Bald, said his first terrorism training came ‘on the job’ when he moved to headquarters to oversee anti-terrorism strategy two years ago. ‘You need leadership. You don’t need subject matter expertise,’ Bald testified. …
"‘It is certainly not what I look for in selecting an officer for a position in a counterterrorism position.’”

The next day, U.S. News & World Report headlined:
 "“Case Mismanagement,” about Bush’s FBI chief, Robert Mueller’s, having botched his promised computerization of his agency’s files: “The week began with tough talk from some former members of the 9/11 commission about what they characterize as the FBI’s failure to follow through on promises of fundamental reforms.” This computerization “project had 10 different FBI case managers who rejiggered the contract 36 times,” and so now “Mueller pulled the plug on the $170 million Virtual Case File system in March,” and his technology division “estimated the replacement costs at $792 million.”"

Then, on July 28th, the New York Times bannered “FBI’s Translation Backlog Grows,” and reported that, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s backlog of untranslated terrorism intelligence doubled last year, and the time it takes the bureau to hire translators has grown longer.”

On 20 September 2005, the Washington Post headlined “Recruits Sought for Porn Squad,” and reported:

“The FBI is joining the Bush administration’s war on porn. … Early last month, the bureau’s Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. … The new squad will divert eight agents [from other assignments] … to gather evidence against ‘manufacturers and purveyors’ of pornography — not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults. ‘I guess this means we’ve won the war on terror,’ said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on condition of anonymity. … ‘We must not need any more resources for espionage.’” 

Commented another agent — also anonymously — “Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves” from serving on this squad, because they have such “pornography” at home.

The new squad was being demanded by Bush’s new Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. “Christian conservatives, long skeptical of Gonzales, greeted the pornography initiative with what the Family Research Council called ‘a growing sense of confidence in our new attorney general.’” Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda would probably have seconded that endorsement, but they knew better than to say so publicly.

Bush’s people, FBI Director Mueller and Alberto Gonzales, and others, were efficiently doing their jobs for their White House boss, but he wasn’t efficiently doing his job to protect Americans from terrorists. On Saturday, 13 August 2005, the AP headlined “FBI Counterterror Head to Run New Division,” and reported,

“Gary Bald, the FBI’s counterterrorism chief, was named director of the bureau’s new National Security Service on Friday, a day after a senator sharply criticized his lack of experience and knowledge of the Mideast and terrorism. … ‘Gary Bald brings to this new position a wide range of operational and leadership experience,’ … said FBI Director Robert Mueller.” 

Unfortunately, it was the wrong type of experience — but wrong experience is exactly what Bush wanted. It’s also what he had wanted as the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency when Hurricane Katrina struck, and it’s even what he wanted throughout the federal Government. In fact, he preferred to hire lobbyists, rather than tested-and-proven proven public servants. From time immemorial, kings have preferred lobbyists or the spokesmen for “aristocrats,” not representatives of the public.

On August 7th, the New York Times bannered “9/11 Group Says White House Has Not Provided Files,” and reported,

“The White House has failed to turn over any of the information requested by the 10 members of the disbanded Sept. 11 commission in their renewed, unofficial investigation into whether the government is doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, commission members said. … Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, said he was surprised and disappointed.” 

Three days later, the Times headlined “9/11 Panel Members Ask Congress to Learn if Pentagon Withheld Files,” and reported,

“Members of the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11 terror attacks called on Congress to determine whether the Pentagon withheld [from the commission] intelligence information showing that a secret American military unit had identified Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers as potential threats more than a year before the attacks. … ‘I think this is a big deal,’ said John F. Lehman, a Republican member of the commission. … ‘If this is true, somebody should be looking into it,’ said [fellow Republican member] Thomas H. Kean.”

Then, on 14 September 2005, the Times headlined “F.A.A. Alerted On Qaeda in ’98, 9/11 Panel Said,” and reported,

“American aviation officials were warned as early as 1998 that Al Qaeda could ‘seek to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark,’ according to previously secret portions of a report prepared last year by the Sept. 11 commission.” 

The White House had “been battling for more than a year” to prevent the 9/11 Commission from making this information public, but “commission members complained that the deleted material contained information critical to the public’s understanding of what went wrong on Sept. 11,” and the White House was now finally partially relenting. “Commission officials said they were perplexed” at why the White House had prevented the Commission from including this information in their previously published report. These formerly redacted passages showed that the FAA had raised in 2000 the level of its terrorist warnings, and had kept these warnings high in 2001, but that after President Bush came into office, the FAA “allowed screening performance to decline significantly,” in the months right before the 9/11 attacks.

On Thursday 22 September 2005, the Times headlined “Senators Accuse Pentagon of Obstructing Inquiry on Sept. 11 Plot,” and reported:

“Senators from both parties accused the Defense Department on Wednesday of obstructing an investigation into whether a highly classified intelligence program known as Able Danger did indeed identify Mohamed Atta and other future hijackers as potential threats well before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” 

One of the few witnesses whom the Bush Administration permitted to testify to the Senate on this matter said that, by a (for the Bush Administration) fortunate coincidence, he had been “forced to destroy all the data, charts and other analytical product” concerning this operation. President Bush’s people were stonewalling the former 9/11 commission, the U.S. Senate, and anyone else who was trying to determine how far, deep, and wide, the President’s 9/11 lies had extended.

On 27 March 2005, Eric Lichtblau at the New York Times, headlined “THE REACH OF WAR: ARRANGED DEPARTURES; New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11” and reported that:

"The episode has been retold so many times in the last three and a half years that it has become the stuff of political legend: in the frenzied days after Sept. 11, 2001, when some flights were still grounded, dozens of well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, managed to leave the United States on specially chartered flights.

"Now, newly released government records show previously undisclosed flights from Las Vegas and elsewhere and point to a more active role by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aiding some of the Saudis in their departure.

"The F.B.I. gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the United States, and several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed, the documents show.
The Saudi families, in Los Angeles and Orlando, requested the F.B.I. escorts. … "

Bush has always been a famously arrogant man, who showed noticeable difficulty acknowledging whenever he botched. Is part of the reason for this that he simply didn’t feel that he had botched; is part of the reason that he was authentically satisfied with the Presidency he had wrought upon the U.S. throughout his two terms of office?

The signs of severe trouble in his Presidency were painfully evident since very early on — sufficiently severe to give any reasonable person cause to worry, even though this President exhibited no such signs of distress.

Shortly before the 2002 mid-term congressional elections, a major report on the war against terrorism was issued by a blue-ribbon commission, at the U.S. billionaires’ Council on Foreign Relations, and was widely publicized at the time, concluding that domestic security was being woefully underbudgeted by President Bush. Published on 24 October 2002, and titled “America — Still Unprepared, Still in Danger,” this report, to a nation about to vote for a new Congress, mentioned that more than a year after 9-11, the nearly 300,000 foreigners in the U.S. who had overstayed their visas were still here, and that — because of the President’s refusal to do anything to control guns — the FBI, under this gun-fanatic pro-NRA President, was still prohibited from cross-checking its database of gun-owners with its database of American terrorist suspects.

The report also said that the “650,000 local and state police officials continue to operate in a virtual intelligence vacuum, without access to terrorist watch lists.” Furthermore, the report noted that a nuclear weapon could easily arrive unnoticed on any one of the 21,000 shipping containers entering each day into America’s 361 ports, but that only $92 million had been budgeted of the required $2 billion in stepped-up port security to prevent such a catastrophe. The President ignored these needs, because his $1.4 trillion-dollar tax-cut (going mainly to the nation’s wealthiest 2%) left no money to pay for it. Whereas the CFR represented nearly all of America’s billionaires, Bush’s Republican Party represented only the Republican ones. Perhaps the Democratic ones and a few of the Republican ones had pushed this report. Anyway: it was true.

On 27 October 2002, CBS “60 Minutes” reported that an FBI translator of Middle Eastern languages, Sibel Edmonds, was fired by the Bush Administration for doing too good a job of translating documents: her FBI superior had ordered her to be slower and less productive (major details of her case were provided by her, years later, on 21 June 2005, at, but she disobeyed because she felt that the war against terrorism was urgent. She especially offended her boss by calling his attention to the mistranslations that had been intentionally done by one of her FBI colleagues, who turned out to have been spying against the U.S. for a certain Middle Eastern country. The FBI refused reporters’ questions.

President Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft also had no comment. And the conscientious and industrious translator of Arabic languages, Ms. Edmonds, now had no job, while her FBI boss, who had fired her, was promoted by Bush. Subsequently (as was extensively documented at, Attorney General Ashcroft retroactively classified Ms. Edmonds’s public testimony and banned her from testifying in lawsuits that 9/11 families had brought against him. President Bush consistently opposed whistleblower-protection laws, and Ms. Edmonds was a whistleblower, who was now subject to retaliation from her former employer.

On 6 July 2004, Judge Reggie Walton, whom George W. Bush had appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, dismissed Edmonds’s case against Ashcroft, citing the alleged “state secrets privilege,” which Ashcroft had put forth.

Subsequently, on 14 January 2005, the Minneapolis Star Tribune headlined “Government: FBI Translator’s Complaints Were Supported by Evidence, Witnesses,” and reported:

“Evidence and other witnesses supported complaints by a fired FBI contract linguist who alleged shoddy work and possible espionage within the bureau’s translator program after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to a report Friday from the Justice Department’s senior oversight official. The department’s inspector general, Glenn Fine, said the allegations by former translator Sibel Edmonds ‘raised substantial questions and were supported by various pieces of evidence.’ Fine said the FBI still has not adequately investigated the claims.”

And, still, George W. Bush and his Administration continued to ignore the charges, and to treat Edmonds as their enemy. They dragged out her agony: on 22 February 2005, the ACLU headlined “Administration Blinks; Admits Retroactively Classified Information Not Harmful to National Security.” The reason Ashcroft had cited for asserting the “state secrets privilege” was that making public this information would be “harmful to national security.” However, the Administration continued to deny to Edmonds a restoration of her employment, even though no excuse was now being provided for the denial. Meanwhile, the Middle Eastern spy whom Ms. Edmonds had exposed to the FBI fled the country and retaliated against her and her family, who now lived in constant fear.

Ms. Edmonds sued the U.S. Government on 16 March 2005, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, seeking $10 million in damages for her now ruined life. She established a website,, to post news about her case. Her investigative series there, “The Highjacking of a Nation,” employed publicly available, non-classified information, which probed the Saudi/Bush financial ties she believed stood behind her muzzling regarding the documents she had translated.

Meanwhile, to make the nation even more vulnerable, as the AP reported on 14 November 2002, “Nine Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, have been dismissed from the military because they are gay. The soldiers’ dismissals come at a time when the military is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism.”

George W. Bush continued, in his second term, to sabotage the U.S. Government’s acquiring the Arabic translators it increasingly desperately needed: The lead story in he New York Times on 8 June 2005 opened:

“The Central Intelligence Agency is reviewing security procedures that have led the agency to turn away large numbers of Arabic-language linguists and other potential recruits with skills avidly sought by the agency since the attacks of 2001.” 

A bit slow on the uptake there? This was now almost four years after 9/11. Unnamed “intelligence officials” were cited as the news sources — these people evidently feared retaliation from the U.S. President, for speaking out. This issue might never have become public if Democrats in Congress hadn’t pushed it.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said, of many of the applicants who had been turned away, “We have cut them out at our peril.”

“Many of those rejected, the officials say, have been first-generation Americans who bring the linguistic facility and cultural knowledge that the C.I.A. has been trying to develop in seeking to improve its performance in penetrating terrorist organizations.” 

The Times reporter sought comment from the Administration. A CIA spokesperson responded:

“We are taking a fresh look at the process.” 

Why didn’t they take that “fresh look” as soon as they knew that Al Qaeda was behind 9/11?

On 26 June 2006, Newsweek headlined “Smart, Skilled, Shut Out: Intel agencies are desperate for Arabic speakers. So why do they reject some of the best and brightest?” The reason was: “The security-clearance system is still stacked against some of the best linguists — those who learn their language natively.” Because of the far-Right Republican U.S. Government’s assumption that native Arabic speakers must be suspect, America’s “intelligence” agencies were favoring non-Muslims (Christians) who had studied Arabic in college. No wonder America’s penetration of terrorist cells was so disastrously poor.

Then, on 27 July 2006, the AP headlined “Army Dismisses Gay Arabic Linguist,” and reported that among the 11,000 soldiers kicked out of the U.S. military under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, “nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic,” including this soldier who was the subject of the article. He was trying to get the U.S. Army to stop sabotaging his career by revealing to prospective employers that he was gay — something he had kept secret until the Army discovered it and kicked him out. Under Bush, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” became simply: Ferret them out, hound them out, then destroy their future careers! This was one reason the U.S. remained largely deaf to Al Qaeda’s communications. This President was more concerned with carrying out the prejudices of Christians’ Bible than with carrying out his nation’s Constitutional duties.

Americans still for a long time loved Bush’s job-performance (and his public-approval now is so high that most Americans would think he couldn’t possibly have been so evil); he shared their religious values. So, in the mid-term elections on 5 November of 2002, he won unprecedented Republican gains, and control, in both houses of Congress, by posing as The Warrior-President who was campaigning against The Obstructionist Democrats. They got the rap, for his failures to protect Americans. And for the results from all of his lies — such as the invasion of Iraq, which the trashiest congressional Democrats (and not merely 98% of congressional Republicans) voted for (thus sharing in Bush’s lies).

Part Two of this article will be published, 31/03/2019 


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of
They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity

Why Canada Celebrates NATO's Birthday

Canada and 70th Anniversary of NATO

by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice

March 30th, 2019

Second in four-part series on 70th anniversary of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

The first installment in this series discussed how NATO was set up partly to blunt the European Left.

The other major factor driving the creation of NATO was a desire to bolster colonial authority and bring the world under a US geopolitical umbrella.

From the outset Canadian officials had an incredibly expansive definition of NATO’s supposed defensive character, which says an “attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies.”

As part of the Parliamentary debate over NATO external minister Lester Pearson, (left) said:

There is no better way of ensuring the security of the Pacific Ocean at this particular moment than by working out, between the great democratic powers, a security arrangement the effects of which will be felt all over the world, including the Pacific area.” 

Two years later he said:

The defence of the Middle East is vital to the successful defence of Europe and north Atlantic area.”

In 1953 Pearson went even further:
There is now only a relatively small [5000 kilometre] geographical gap between southeast Asia and the area covered by the North Atlantic treaty, which goes to the eastern boundaries of Turkey.”

In one sense the popular portrayal of NATO as a defensive arrangement was apt. After Europe’s second Great War the colonial powers were economically weak while anti-colonial movements could increasingly garner outside support. The Soviets and Mao’s China, for instance, aided the Vietnamese. Similarly, Egypt supported Algerian nationalists and Angola benefited from highly altruistic Cuban backing. The international balance of forces had swung away from the colonial powers.

To maintain their colonies European powers increasingly depended on North American diplomatic and financial assistance. NATO passed numerous resolutions supporting European colonial authority. In the fall of 1951 Pearson responded to moves in Iran and Egypt to weaken British influence by telling Parliament:

The Middle East is strategically far too important to the defence of the North Atlantic area to allow it to become a power vacuum or to pass into unfriendly hands.” 

The next year Ottawa recognized the colonies of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos as “associated states” of France, according to an internal report, “to assist a NATO colleague, sorely tried by foreign and domestic problems.”

More significantly, Canada gave France hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment through NATO’s Mutual Assistance Program. These weapons were mostly used to suppress the Vietnamese and Algerian independence movements.

In 1953 Pearson told the House:

The assistance we have given to France as a member of the NATO association may have helped her recently in the discharge of some of her obligations in Indo-China.” 

Similarly, Canadian and US aid was used by the Dutch to maintain their dominance over Indonesia and West Papua New Guinea, by the Belgians in the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, by the Portuguese in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau and by the British in numerous places. Between 1950 and 1958 Ottawa donated a whopping $1,526,956,000 ($8 billion today) in ammunition, fighter jets, military training, etc. to European countries through the NATO Mutual Assistance Program.

The role NATO played in North American/European subjugation of the Global South made Asians and Africans wary of the organization. The Nigerian Labour Party’s 1964 pamphlet The NATO Conspiracy in Africa documents that organization’s military involvement on the continent from bases to naval agreements. In 1956 NATO established a Committee for Africa and in June 1959 NATO’s North Atlantic Council, the organization’s main political decision-making body, warned that the communists would take advantage of African independence to the detriment of Western political and economic interests.

The north Atlantic alliance was designed to maintain unity among the historic colonial powers — and the US — in the midst of a de-colonizing world. It was also meant to strengthen US influence around the world. In a history of the 1950-53 US-led Korean war David Bercuson writes that Canada’s external minister “agreed with [President] Truman, [Secretary of State] Dean Acheson, and other American leaders that the Korean conflict was NATO’s first true test, even if it was taking place half a world away.”

Designed to maintain internal unity among the leading capitalist powers, NATO was the military alliance of the post-WWII US-centered multilateral order, which included the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, International Trade Organization (ITO) and the United Nations. (For its first two decades the UN was little more than an arm of the State Department.)

A growing capitalist power, Canada was well placed to benefit from US-centered multilateral imperialism. The Canadian elite’s business, cultural, familial and racial ties with their US counterparts meant their position and profits were likely to expand alongside Washington’s global position.

NATO bolstered colonial authority and helped bring the world under the US geopolitical umbrella, from which the Canadian elite hoped to benefit.

Yves Engler is the author of 10 books, including A Propaganda System: How Canada's Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation. Read other articles by Yves.

Friday, March 29, 2019

3 Minute Recap: Russiagate for Dum Dums

Russiagate in 3 Minutes

by James Corbett - The Corbett Report

March 29, 2019

Everything you wanted to know about Russiagate but weren't stupid enough to ask.


WA-B Formula for Breaking Britain's Brexit Gridlock: Withdrawal (WA) Minus (-) Backstop (B)

A Way Out of the Brexit Gridlock?

by Rob Slade - The Blogmire

March 29, 2019

The shenanigans in the Westminster Parliament need little comment.

We literally have a gridlock that frankly looks impossible to break.

A Government that has negotiated one of the worst treaties in history, and which has failed miserably on three occasions to get it through Parliament.

A Prime Minister who has promised to resign if her deal is successful, but who stays put now her deal has once again failed (let me know if you can think of a more ludicrous scenario).

'Devolved Parliament' Banksy 2009

A speaker who is having to be arm-twisted into allowing “Meaningless votes” since he won’t allow a “Meaningful vote” on the same deal as before (to be fair to him, I think he was quite right to insist that the Government cannot keep bringing the same deal back to the Commons over and over again until it gets the “right” answer, since this creates a dangerous constitutional precedent).

Parliamentarians whose instincts are still overwhelmingly Remain, but who dare not vote to Revoke Article 50 or for a “People’s Vote” lest their pesky constituents turf them out at the next election (note on the People’s Vote: I understand that it was People who voted last time).

And a series of indicative votes, none of which were even recognised by the Government as having legitimacy, and none of which was able to command a majority in the House.

As things stand we are heading for a no-deal Brexit (or rather World Trade Organisation Brexit) on 12th April. Yet although this is the default, I put the chances of this happening at less than 5%, as I don’t think that Parliament has the stomach for it, and if push comes to shove they will somehow contrive to stop it happening.

So what now? Well since all else seems to have failed, here’s a suggestion.

The main issue with the Withdrawal Agreement is the Backstop. The DUP have made it quite clear that they cannot and will not support the treaty whilst it includes the Backstop, or at least unless there are legal guarantees around this. In this I am in complete agreement, since with provisions within the Backstop would potentially lock the country into powerless vassalage for years, even decades to come, and with no means of exiting. It is in fact worse than our current situation, and it would serve to break up the United Kingdom, which wasn’t actually what 17.4 million people voted for.

Take the Backstop out of that agreement, and it would undoubtedly get a clear majority.

But of course the problem with this is that the EU has said that it is not prepared to renegotiate the Backstop. However, the closer we get to a no-deal Brexit (WTO Brexit), which doesn’t thrill the EU at all, and certainly isn’t Mr Varadkar’s option of choice, I remain unconvinced that faced with this stark reality they would necessarily be as hard nosed as they have been.

And this for the simple reason that a no deal Brexit wouldn’t even have a Backstop at all.

In other words, for all their posturing on the issue, and their apparent refusal to budge on an issue that they keep insisting is of the utmost importance, as things currently stand, they could potentially end up forcing a situation where Britain leaves and there is no Backstop at all.

This, incidentally, has been the problem with Mrs May’s “strategy” all along. At the same time as negotiating with the EU, the UK Government should have prepared for a no deal Brexit from day one, firstly in case it became a necessity, but also in order to act as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the EU.

Had the EU known that the Government of the United Kingdom had spent two years preparing for the possibility of a no deal, the Withdrawal Agreement would no doubt look very different than it does.

So what I would suggest is as follows: an MP should propose another indicative vote, but this time on the Withdrawal Agreement minus the Backstop.

Call it WA-B. 

This is, I believe, the only available deal that the House of Commons would pass with a reasonably clear majority.

The Government could then go back to the EU and put the matter like this:

“The House of Commons has made it clear that it will not back the Withdrawal Agreement with the Backstop included. But it has also made it clear that it is prepared to support the Withdrawal Agreement minus the Backstop. In fact, this is the only deal it is prepared to back.
The alternative is that on 12th April, the United Kingdom will formally leave the European Union and revert to World Trade Organisation rules. Which will mean no Backstop at all. So which would you prefer?
To rethink the Backstop? Or to end up with a no deal Brexit where there is no Backstop anyway? The choice is yours.”

Journalist Black Lists and a Detention Camp Building Boom on US Southern Border

Outrage grows over leaked government database targeting journalists, activists at US-Mexico border

by Kevin Martinez  - WSWS

29 March 2019

According to leaked documents provided to local San Diego news station NBC 7, a government database has been targeting journalists and activists at the southern US border. As news has spread of the operation many other groups and organizations have also spoken of increased surveillance and harassment by the Border Patrol, ICE, and other government agencies for covering immigration in Mexico.

The database was part of Operation Secure Line, the Trump administration’s military operation to block immigrants who were travelling in last year’s Central American caravan. Images of the 59 persons targeted were included along with personal information and descriptive tags like “journalist” and “organizer” along with a large green “X” over some of the faces.

These markers would indicate that an alert had been placed on the person’s passport and if they were stopped would be forced into secondary inspection. Many activists and journalists would be detained for hours or had their passports held in limbo without being offered a credible explanation by the border authorities.

While many have long suspected that the government was tracking their whereabouts at the southern border, the documents obtained by NBC 7 prove the Trump administration is expanding its war on immigrants to attack the democratic rights of the entire population.

ACLU staff attorney Esha Bhandari told the Guardian, “I have not seen this kind of systematic targeting of journalists and advocates in this way,” adding, “I think it is very troubling, very disturbing.” Bhandari said,

“It means that the debate about immigrants’ rights, about the treatment of immigrants, about the treatment of asylum seekers, is going to be suppressed or censored because the people who are speaking out with a voice that’s critical of the government are going to be singled out for harsher treatment or punished.”

New York City activist Ravi Ragbir, director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, lived in the US for 23 years before he was arrested after a routine meeting with ICE. He was set to be deported to his native Trinidad before he was eventually released by a judge after public protests.

Ragbir told the media how his arrest was in retaliation for his campaign to free Gambian immigrant Baba Sillah, who also arrested after a routine check-in with ICE.

“It’s just very uncertain and very traumatizing to know the government is watching you,” Ravi told the Guardian.
“But I can’t allow that to debilitate me … If they’re going to move me, I might as well fight as hard as I can.”

Other groups pro-immigrant groups have also faced increasing surveillance by the state. Last October, three activist groups in Washington sued the government for retaliating against their members.

In November, the Vermont-based group Migrant Justice filed a lawsuit alleging the government had been spying on its members for years, including using an informant. One of the organizers, Will Lambek, told the Guardian how CBP detained and arrested at least 20 of its members between 2016 and 2018.

ICE Improvised Overpass Jail, El Paso     

This month Nation magazine obtained a spreadsheet used by ICE to monitor protests planned in New York City, including the New Sanctuary Coalition. The revelation prompted the House Committee on Homeland Security to write a letter to the acting director of ICE to obtain more information about the spreadsheet.

The same committee, led by Democrat Bennie G. Thompson, sent a letter to CBP commissioner Kevin McAleenan expressing “great concern” about the agency’s spying. It stated,

the CBP’s “targeting (of) journalists, lawyers, and advocates… raises question about possible misuse of CBP’s border search authority and requires oversight to ensure the protection of Americans’ legal and constitutional rights.”

The panel’s Subcommittee on Border Security set a March 14 deadline for the CBP to provide a full list of individuals under surveillance, as well as “dossiers” on targeted individuals, a list of how many times they had been stopped by CBP, and other information. As of this writing, the CBP has failed to provide any of these documents.

In an effort at damage control, the CBP did release a statement saying the program was a necessary response to the so-called “assaults” on the border patrol in November of last year, when federal agents along with the US military fired tear gas at immigrants approaching the San Ysidro crossing on the Mexican border.

The CBP stated,

“efforts to gather this type of information are a standard law enforcement practice,” and said the agency, “does not target journalists for inspection based on their occupation or their reporting.”

An internal review had been started by the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Homeland Security to ostensibly check for any wrongdoing. However this had only been started after NBC 7 had contacted the government agencies on February 27.

Alex Mensing, an activist with Pueblo Sin Fronteras whose name appeared in the database, told NBC 7,

“What is especially concerning is the number of human rights defenders and journalists who are being interrogated and added to this list, which is only designed to intimidate them and discourage them from speaking out.”

He added, “It’s upsetting to know the U.S. government is using its resources to monitor human rights defenders and journalists who are doing their work.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom and local Democratic congressmen also criticized the program while the government of Mexico denied any involvement in the program. The foreign secretary said, “The Mexican government does not conduct illegal surveillance on anyone, for any type or category of activity.”

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Seven Years Later, Omar Khadr Finishes His Sentence

Seven Years Since He Left Guantánamo, Judge Rules That Omar Khadr’s Sentence Is Over, and He Is A Free Man 

by Andy Worthington


Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.

Some great news from Canada, where a judge has ruled that former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Khadr’s sentence is finally over.

Back in December, I reported how, although Khadr was given an eight-year sentence after agreeing to a plea deal in his military commission trial at Guantánamo on October 31, 2010, the Canadian government continued to impose restrictions on his freedom — disregarding the fact that their ability to do so should have come to an end with the end of his sentence on October 31, 2018.

As I explained in December, Khadr had been in court seeking “changes to his bail conditions, requesting to be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj (which would require him to be given a passport), and to speak unsupervised with his sister, who is now living in Georgia.” However, the judge, Justice June Ross of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, refused to end the restrictions on his freedom to travel, or to communicate with his sister Zainab, who I described as “a controversial figure who, in the past, had expressed support for al-Qaeda.”

It had been a long journey for Khadr over the previous eight years. Under the terms of his plea deal, he was supposed to have spent one more year in Guantánamo followed by seven years’ further imprisonment in Canada, but as I also explained in December:

In fact, it took nearly two years before he was returned to Canada, and, when he was returned, the Canadian authorities then held him for as long as possible in a maximum security prison, only relenting in August 2013 when, as I described it in 2014,
“Canada’s prison ombudsman Ivan Zinger, the executive director of the independent Office of the Correctional Investigator, said that prison authorities had ‘ignored favorable information’ in ‘unfairly branding’ Khadr as a maximum security inmate.”

In January 2014 he was moved to a medium security facility, and in April 2015 he was finally granted bail, moving in with his attorney Dennis Edney, who had cared for him for many years as though he was his own son.

On his 29th birthday, in September 2015, a judge eased his bail conditions, allowing him to visit his grandparents, and agreeing to have his electronic tag removed, and two years later, on his 31st birthday, he was allowed internet access, although bans remained on his ability to travel freely within Canada, or to meeting his sister Zainab.

Monday’s ruling, then, was long overdue, although we should all be thankful to Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Mary Moreau, who, as CBC News described it, “counted the time Khadr spent on conditional release for nearly four years as counting toward his eight-year sentence,” and “declared his sentence over.”

CBC News added that, “After the judge left the courtroom, a beaming Khadr embraced his lawyer, Nate Whitling,” and, outside the court, said he was pleased with the decision.

“I think it’s been a while but I’m happy it’s here, and right now I’m going to just try to focus on recovering and not worrying about having to go back to prison, or, you know, just struggling,” he told reporters.

Whitling, as CBC News put it, “said efforts to overturn Khadr’s US convictions will continue,” but he confirmed that “the completion of his sentence will mean more freedom” for Khadr.

“All those conditions that were restricting his liberty up to this point are now gone, so for example he can apply for a passport, he can talk to his sister, he can travel around the world or around Canada without having to seek permission,” Whitling explained.

He also noted that, under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the government has no right to appeal the decision.

“It’s a final decision,” he said.
“So we do expect this is the end of the road in terms of having to deal with Mr. Khadr’s sentence.”

Speaking of the situation in the US, Whiting confirmed that he and Khadr “think that these convictions will eventually be overturned,” adding, “And I think it will be determined there was never any jurisdiction to try Mr. Khadr for these offences.”

The ongoing plight of Guantánamo’s unconvicted “enemy combatants”

While everyone who respects justice and the rule of law should be grateful that the Canadian establishment has seen sense, and has ceased to impose unreasonable restrictions on Omar Khadr five months after his sentence should actually have come to an end, the lifting of restrictions on his life stands in stark constant to the restrictions imposed on other former Guantánamo prisoners.

As I discussed just two weeks ago, in an article entitled, As Mohamedou Ould Slahi is Denied a Passport, Remember That All Former Guantánamo Prisoners Live Without Fundamental Rights, in Mauritania, former Guantánamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi has not had his passport returned, even though he was told he would get it back two years after his release. That should have been in October 2018, but Slahi didn’t receive his passport, and cannot get an answer from anyone about whether it is the fault of his own government, or if the US is still meddling in his life.

As I proceeded to explain in my article, Slahi’s case is typical of how former prisoners are subject to endless interference in their lives with no explanation and no basis in law. For prisoners repatriated to their home countries, as I explained, “deals were made between the US government and the prisoners’ home governments,” but “details of these deals have never been made public,” and, in any case, “whatever deals are arranged have absolutely no context in international law.”

I added that, for those given new homes in third countries, “the situation is arguably even worse, because there is absolutely no precedent for people held by the US at Guantánamo without rights to then be transferred to a third country, where they cannot call upon any of the presumed rights that come with nationality.”

In conclusion, I stated that “[t]he status of the ‘un-people’ of Guantánamo is a peculiarly aberrant post-9/11 creation, and one that cannot be allowed to stand forever,” and called on the Trump administration to re-instate the crucial role of the Envoy for Guantánamo Closure, which existed under President Obama, as well as explaining that it is “time for the international community to come together to demand that the disgraceful labeling of people as ‘enemy combatants,’ forever under suspicion, and forever without rights, needs to be brought to an end,” and asking anyone interested in helping address this to get in touch with me to work out how we might deal with it.

This is an invitation that still stands, and, belatedly, Omar Khadr’s case shows why it is so necessary. As someone who went through a legal process — however broken and unjust that process was — Omar Khadr, in the end, has been able to avail himself of rights that, absurdly, those also held at Guantánamo, but never charged or tried, cannot rely on. As he stated in December, when he challenged Justice Ross’s refusal to drop all his bail restrictions, “I am going to continue to fight this injustice and thankfully we have an actual court system that has actual rules and laws.”

For most former “enemy combatants,” sadly, this is simply not true.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.
In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the resistance continues.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.