Hideous acts — ISIS, Fallujah, Iraq, George W., (and Ukraine, Syria, Libya) — and U.S. candidates who support them

By William Blum
Posted on Global Research, May 24, 2015

anti-US-bombing-syria-iraq-isil-isis

She was a redheaded rebel, the singer in the family, a trash-talking, tattooed 21-year-old wrapped up in a hip-hop dream of becoming Holland’s Eminem. Then Betsy found Allah. After her sudden conversion to Islam last summer, Betsy began dressing in full Muslim robes. By January, the once-agnostic Dutch woman, raised in a home where the only sign of religion was a dusty Bible on a shelf, began defending homegrown terrorists. … Denis Cuspert, a German hip-hop artist known as Deso Dogg who converted in 2010 and later joined The Islamic State [ISIS], delivers a rap-like chant portraying the path to jihad as a chance for empowerment, spiritual fulfillment, vengeance and adventure. … ‘The door to jihad is standing there waiting for you,’ says a Swedish convert to Islam in a video. ‘It is the fastest way to paradise.’ “

Tales told many times in recent years, all over Europe, at times in the United States. Parents and authorities are deeply distressed and perplexed. How can young people raised in the West – the freedom-obsessed, democratic, peace-loving, humanitarian, fun-filled West – join the Islamic State and support the public cutting off of the heads of breathing, living human beings? Each of us in our own way are lost souls searching for answers to the awful mysteries of life. But THIS? What life-quest does The Islamic State satisfy that our beloved West can’t satisfy? ISIS is unique in the world in making US foreign policy look good. The Defense Department and the State Department have special task forces studying the new enemy; the latter regularly puts out videos to counteract the many Islamic State videos.

I hope those researching the question look inwardly as well as at ISIS. How do young people raised in the West – the same West we know and love – coldly machine-gun to death more than a dozen Iraqis, men, women, children, reporters, absolutely in cold blood, in the video made famous by Chelsea Manning; but this of course is nothing compared to Fallujah with its two-headed babies, even three-headed, an eye in the middle of the forehead. The Islamic State has done nothing compared to what the United States did to the people of Fallujah. Can anyone name a horror in all of history more gruesome? Yes, there are some, but not many; and much of Fallujah was personally executed by nice, clean-cut, freedom-obsessed, democratic, peace-loving, humanitarian, fun-filled made-in America young men.

Here’s US Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, in his memoir, April 6, 2004, the time of Fallujah, in video teleconference with President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. “We’ve got to smash somebody’s ass quickly,” said Powell. “There has to be a total victory somewhere. We must have a brute demonstration of power.” Then Bush spoke:

“At the end of this campaign al-Sadr must be gone. At a minimum, he will be arrested. It is essential he be wiped out. Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal. … There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!”

“Years from now when America looks out on a democratic Middle East, growing in freedom and prosperity, Americans will speak of the battles like Fallujah with the same awe and reverence that we now give to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima” in World War II. – George W. Bush, 2006

Well, George, it’s either that or Fallujah was one of the key reasons for the rise of ISIS.

My point here is not that United States foreign policy is as barbaric and depraved as The Islamic State. It’s not. Most of the time. I simply hope to make it a bit easier to understand the enemy by seeing ourselves without the stars in our eyes. And I haven’t even mentioned what the United States has led the world in for over a century – torture.

The ever-fascinating and ever-revealing subject of ideology

Jeb Bush has gotten himself into trouble because, like all politicians running for office, he is unable to give simple honest answers to simple straightforward questions, for fear of offending one or another segment of the population. How refreshing it would be to have a politician say only what s/he actually believes, even if it’s as stupid as usual.

The brother of the previous president has been asked repeatedly: “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion of Iraq?” At first his answer was “yes”, then at times “I don’t know”, even “no” at least once, or he’s refused to answer at all. Clearly he’s been guessing about which reply would win him points with the most people, or which would lose him the least.

This caused a minor uproar, even among conservatives. Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham was moved to make a rare rational remark: “You can’t still think that going into Iraq, now, as a sane human being, was the right thing to. If you do, there has to be something wrong with you.”

Such discussions always leave out a critical point. Why did millions of Americans, and even more millions abroad, march against the war in the fall of 2002 and early 2003, before it began? What did they know that the Bush brothers and countless other politicians didn’t know? It was clear to the protesters that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were habitual liars, that they couldn’t care less about the people of Iraq, that the defenseless people of that ancient civilization were going to be bombed to hell; most of the protesters knew something about the bombings of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Panama, Yugoslavia, or Afghanistan; and they knew about napalm, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, etc. Those who marched knew that the impending war was something a moral person could not support; and that it was totally illegal, a textbook case of a “war of aggression”; one didn’t have to be an expert in international law to know this.

Didn’t the Brothers Bush, Hillary Clinton (who voted for the war in the Senate), et al know about any of these things? Of course they did. They just didn’t care enough; supporting the empire’s domination and expansion was a given, and remains so; no US politician gets very far – certainly not to the White House – questioning the right of American Exceptionalism to impose itself upon humanity (for humanity’s sake of course).

Consider the darlings du jour of the American Left, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. They very seldom speak out critically about US foreign policy or even the military budget. The anti-war/anti-imperialist segment of the American left need to put proper pressure on the two senators.

Mr. Sanders should also be asked why he routinely refers to himself as a “democratic socialist”. Why not just “socialist”? It’s likely a legacy of the Cold War. I think that he and other political figures who use the term are, consciously or unconsciously, trying to disassociate themselves from communism, the Soviet Union, Marxism, etc., all those things that are not good for you. (The word “socialist” once connoted furtive men with European accents, sinister facial hair, and bombs.)

It would be delightful to hear Sanders openly declare that he is simply a “socialist”. Socialism can be democratic; indeed, a lot more so than capitalism, particularly concerning the distribution of wealth and all the ramifications of that. Presented here are some relevant thoughts on these issues, from myself and others:

It’s only the socialists who maintain as a bedrock principle: People before Profit, which can serve as a very concise definition of socialism, an ideology anathema to the Right and libertarians, who fervently believe, against all evidence, in the rationality of a free market. I personally favor the idea of a centralized, planned economy. (Oh my God, a damn Commie!) Modern society is much too complex and technical to leave its operation in the hands of libertarians, communitarians, or anarchists seeking to return to a “community” or “village” level.

“Washington has always regarded democratic socialism as a greater challenge than totalitarian Communism, which was easy to vilify and made for a handy enemy. In the 1960s and ’70s, the favored tactic for dealing with the inconvenient popularity of economic nationalism and democratic socialism was to try to equate them with Stalinism, deliberately blurring the clear differences between the world views.” – Naomi Klein

“If it is true, as often said, that most socialist regimes turn out to be dictatorships, that is largely because a dictatorship is much harder to overthrow or subvert than a democracy.” – Jean Bricmont, Belgian author of “Humanitarian Imperialism” (2006)

Without a proclaimed socialist vision, radical change becomes too many different things for too many different individuals and groups.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.” – Martin Luther King

The United States is so fearful of the word “socialism” that it changed the “social sciences” to the “behavioral sciences”.

If for no other reason than to save the environment, the world needs to abandon the capitalist system. Every day, in every spot on earth, in a multitude of ways, corporations are faced with a choice: to optimize profits or to do what’s best for the planet.

The great majority of people in any society work for a salary. They don’t need to be motivated by the profit motive. It’s not in anyone’s genes. Virtually everybody, if given the choice, would prefer to work at jobs where the main motivations are to help others, improve the quality of life of society, and provide themselves with meaningful and satisfying work. It’s not natural to be primarily motivated by trying to win or steal “customers” from other people, no holds barred, survival of the fittest or the least honest.

And what about this thing called “democracy”, or “majority rule”? Many millions marched against the invasion of Iraq before it began. I don’t know of a single soul who marched in favor of it, although I’m sure there must have been someone somewhere. That lucky soul was the one they listened to.

Finally, the question being asked of Jeb Bush and others is not the best one. They’re asked: “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion of Iraq?” A more important question would be: “Knowing what we knew then, would you have authorized the invasion of Iraq?” And the answer should be “no”, because we knew that Saddam Hussein had destroyed his weapons of mass destruction. This is very well documented, from diverse sources, international and Iraqi, including Saddam himself and his chief lieutenants.

The American Mainstream Media – A Classic Tale Of Propaganda

“When an American warplane accidentally struck the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 during the Kosovo campaign …”

These words appeared in the Washington Post on April 24, 2015 as part of a story about US drone warfare and how an American drone attack in Pakistan in January had accidentally killed two Western aid workers. The Post felt no need to document the Belgrade incident, or explain it any further. Almost anyone who follows international news halfway seriously knows about this famous “accident” of May 7, 1999. The only problem is that the story is pure propaganda.

Three people inside the Chinese embassy were killed and Washington apologized profusely to Beijing, blaming outdated maps among other problems. However, two well-documented and very convincing reports in The Observer of London in October and November of that year, based on NATO and US military and intelligence sources, revealed that the embassy had been purposely targeted after NATO discovered that it was being used to transmit Yugoslav army communications. The Chinese were doing this after NATO planes had successfully silenced the Yugoslav government’s own transmitters.  The story of how the US mainstream media covered up the real story behind the embassy bombing is absolutely embarrassing.

Over and above the military need, there may have been a political purpose served. China, then as now, was clearly the principal barrier to US hegemony in Asia, if not elsewhere. The bombing of the embassy was perhaps Washington’s charming way of telling Beijing that this is only a small sample of what can happen to you if you have any ideas of resisting or competing with the American juggernaut. Since an American bombing campaign over Belgrade was already being carried out, Washington was able to have a much better than usual “plausible denial” for the embassy bombing. The opportunity may have been irresistible to American leaders. The chance might never come again.

All of US/NATO’s other bombing “mistakes” in Yugoslavia were typically followed by their spokesman telling the world: “We regret the loss of life.” These same words were used by the IRA in Northern Ireland on a number of occasions over the years following one of their bombings which appeared to have struck the wrong target. But their actions were invariably called “terrorist”.

Undoubtedly, the US media will be writing of the “accidental” American bombing of the Chinese embassy as long as the empire exists and China does not become a member of NATO.

P.S On May 20 the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a list of 39 English-language books recovered during the raid that reportedly killed Osama bin Laden. Noam Chomsky and I are the only two authors on the list with two books.

As some of you may remember, in January, 2006 bin Laden, in an audiotape, recommended that Americans read my book Rogue State. This resulted in the US media discovering my existence for a week. You can read the full story in my book America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy (pp. 281-84).

Notes:

  1. Washington Post, May 7, 2015
  2. Ricardo Sanchez, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier’s Story (2008), pages 349-350
  3. Associated Press, November 11, 2006
  4. William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, pp. 61-2
  5. The Observer (London), October 17, 1999 (“Nato bombed Chinese deliberately”), and November 28, 1999 (“Truth behind America’s raid on Belgrade”)
  6. Extra! Update (magazine of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR], New York), December 1999; appeared first as solitary article October 22, 1999 (“U.S. Media Overlook Expose on Chinese Embassy Bombing”)

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/their-precious-young-minds-and-our-precious-young-minds/545142

    http://williamblum.org/aer/read/139

Jeb Bush, the Mexican drug cartel and “free trade”. The Bush family and organized crime.

From Global Research, May 12, 2015
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Jeb Bush is a presidential candidate.

But Jeb is not only the brother of George W. and the son of George H. W. Bush.

Jeb Bush also had close personal ties to Raul Salinas de Gortiari, brother of Mexico’s former president Carlos Salinas de Gortiari. In the 1990s, Raul the “drug kingpin”, according to Switzerland’s  federal prosecutor Carla del Ponte, was one of the main figures of the Mexican Drug Cartel.  

Jeb Bush  –before becoming Governor of the Sunshine State– was a close friend of Raul Salinas de Gortiari (image right):

“There has also been a great deal of speculation in Mexico about the exact nature of Raul Salinas’ close friendship with former President George Bush’s son, Jeb. It is well known here that for many years the two families spent vacations together — the Salinases at Jeb Bush’s home in Miami, the Bushes at Raul’s ranch, Las Mendocinas, under the volcano in Puebla.

There are many in Mexico who believe that the relationship became a back channel for delicate and crucial negotiations between the two governments, leading up to President Bush’s sponsorship of NAFTA.” (Prominent intellectual and former foreign Minister of Mexico Jorge G. Castañeda, The Los Angeles Times. and Houston Chronicle, 9 March 1995, emphasis added)

The personal relationship between the Bush and Salinas families was a matter of public record. Former President George H. W. Bush — when he worked in the oil business in Texas in the 1970s– had developed close personal ties with Carlos Salinas and his father, Raul Salinas Lozano. (left)

Raul Salinas Lozano was the family patriarch, father of Carlos and Raul Junior. According to the former private secretary to Raul Salinas Lozano (in as statement to US authorities):

“… Mr. Salinas Lozano was a leading figure in narcotics dealings that also involved his son, Raul Salinas de Gortiari, his son-in-law, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the No. 2 official in the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and other leading politicians, according to the documents. Mr. Ruiz Massieu was assassinated in 1994.” (Dallas Morning News, 26 February 1997, emphasis added).

Former president George H. W. Bush and Raul Salinas Lozano were “intimo amigos”. According to former DEA official Michael Levine, the Mexican drug Cartel was a “family affair”. Both Carlos and Raul were prominent members of the Cartel. And this was known to then US Attorney General Edward Meese in 1987 one year prior to Carlos Salinas’ inauguration as the country’s president.

When Carlos Salinas was inaugurated as President, the entire Mexican State apparatus became criminalised with key government positions occupied by members of the Cartel. The Minister of Commerce in charge of trade negotiations leading up to the signing of NAFTA was Raul Salinas Lozano, father of Raul Junior the Drug kingpin and of Carlos the president.

And it is precisely during this period that the Salinas government launched a sweeping privatisation program under advice from the IMF.

The privatisation program subsequently evolved into a multibillion dollar money laundering operation. Narco-dollars were channelled towards the acquisition of State property and public utilities.

Richard Barnet of the Institute for Policy Studies, testified to the US Congress (April 14, 1994) that

“billions of dollars in state assets have gone to supporters and cronies” (Dallas Morning News, 11 August 1994).

These included the sale of Telefonos de Mexico, valued at $ 3.9 billion and purchased by a Salinas crony for $ 400 million.(Ibid).

Raul Salinas was behind the privatisation programme. He was known as ”El Señor 10 por Ciento” [Mr. 10 Percent] “for the slice of bid money he allegedly demanded in exchange for helping acquaintances acquire companies, concessions and contracts [under the IMF sponsored privatisation program”(The News, InfoLatina, .Mexico, October 10, 1997).

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Raul Salinas de Gortiari is the brother of  former president Carlos Salinas de Gortiari, who signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in December 1992 alongside US President George H. W. Bush and Canada’s Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.(image left)

In a bitter irony, it was only after this historical event, that Carlos Salinas’ family links to the drug trade through his brother Raul were revealed.

The George H. W. Bush Senior administration was fully aware of the links of the Salinas presidency to organized crime. Public opinion in the US and Canada was never informed so as not to jeopardize the signing of NAFTA:

“Other former officials say they were pressured to keep mum because Washington was obsessed with approving NAFTA”.

“The intelligence on corruption, especially by drug traffickers, has always been there,” said Phil Jordan, who headed DEA’s Dallas office from 1984 to 1994. But “we were under instructions not to say anything negative about Mexico. It was a no-no since NAFTA was a hot political football.” (Dallas Morning News, 26 February 1997)

In other words, at the time the NAFTA Agreement was signed, both Bush Senior and Mulroney were aware that one of the signatories of NAFTA, namely president Salinas de Gortiari  had links to the Mexican Drug Cartel.

In 1995 in the wake of the scandal and the arrest of his brother Raul for murder, Carlos Salinas left Mexico to take up residence in Dublin. His alleged links to the Drug Cartel did not prevent him from being appointed to the Board of the Dow Jones Company on Wall Street, a position which he held until 1997:

Salinas, who left Mexico in March 1995 after his brother, Raul, was charged with masterminding the murder of a political opponent, has served on the company’s board for two years. He was questioned last year in Dublin by a Mexican prosecutor investigating the murder in March 1994 of Luis Donaldo Colosio, who wanted to succeed Salinas as president. A Dow Jones spokesman last week denied that Salinas had been forced out of an election for the new board, which will take place at the company’s annual meeting on April 16… Salinas, who negotiated Mexico’s entry into the free trade agreement with the United States and Canada, was appointed to the board because of his international experience. He was unavailable for comment at his Dublin home last week.” (Sunday Times, London, 30 March 1997).

Washington has consistently denied Carlos Salinas involvement. “it was his brother Raul”, Carlos Salinas “did not know”, the American media continued to uphold Salinas as a model statesman, architect of free trade in the Americas and a friend of the Bush family.

In October 1998, The Swiss government confirmed that the brother of the former Mexican president had deposited some 100 million in drug money in Swiss banks:

“They [Swiss authorities] are confiscating the money, which they believe was part of a much larger amount paid to Raul Salinas for helping Mexican and Colombian drugs cartels during his brother’s six-year term ending in 1994. Mr Salinas’ lawyers have maintained he was legally heading an investment fund for Mexican businessmen but the Swiss federal prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, described Salinas’ business dealings as unsound, incomprehensible and contrary to customary business usage. (BBC Report)

 A few months later in January 1999, after a four-year trial, Raúl Salinas de Gortari (left) was convicted of ordering the murder of his brother-in-law, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu:

“After [Carlos] Salinas left office in 1994, the Salinas family fell from grace in a swirl of drug-related corruption and crime scandals. Raúl was jailed and convicted on charges of money laundering and of masterminding the assassination of his brother-in-law; after spending 10 years in jail, Raúl was acquitted of both crimes.  …

With the scandal unraveling, Jeb’s friendship with Raúl did not go unnoticed. Jeb has never denied his friendship with Raúl, who [now] keeps a low profile in Mexico.

Kristy Campbell, spokesperson for Bush, did not respond a request for comment. The Salinas family’s demise caught the Bushes by surprise. “I have been very disappointed by the allegations about him and his family. I never had the slightest hint of information that President Salinas was anything but totally honest,” Bush senior  told me in the 1997 interview. (Dolia Estevez, Jeb Bush’s Mexican Connections, Forbes, April 7, 2015, emphasis added)

“The Salinas family’s demise caught the Bushes by surprise”? (Forbes, April 2015) The Bushes knew who they were all along.

Former DEA official Michael Levine confirmed that Carlos Salinas role in the Mexican drug cartel was known to US officials.

US President George H. W. Bush was  regularly briefed by officials from the Department of Justice, the CIA and the DEA.

Did Jeb Bush –who is now a candidate for the White House under a Republican ticket– know about Raul’s links to the Drug Cartel?.

Was the Bush family in any way complicit?

These are issues which must be addressed and debated by the American public across the land prior to the 2016 presidential primary elections.

According to Andres Openheimer writing in the Miami Herald (February 17 1997):

witnesses say former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortiari, his imprisoned brother Raul and other members of country’s ruling elite met with drug lord Juan Garcia Abrego at a Salinas family ranch; Jeb Bush admits he met with Raul Salinas several times but has never done any business with him.”

US authorities waited until after Carlos Salinas finished his presidential term to arrest Mexican drug lord Juan Garcia Abrego, who was a close collaborator of the president’s brother Raul. In turn, Raul Salinas was an “intimo amigo” of Jeb Bush :

Juan Garcia Abrego, a fugitive on the FBI’s most-wanted list, was flown to Houston late Monday, following his arrest by Mexican police …  Garcia Abrego, the reputed head of Mexico’s second most powerful drug cartel, had eluded authorities on both sides of the border for years. His arrest is an enormous victory for the U.S. and Mexican governments. CNN, January 16, 2015

But there is more than meets the eye: while the Bushes and the Salinas have longstanding ties, Wall Street was also involved in the laundering of drug money:

A U.S. official said the Justice Department has made significant advances in its money-laundering investigation against Raul Salinas de Gortari and has identified several people who can testify that the former first brother received protection money from a major narcotics cartel.

If the U.S. were to indict Mr. Salinas, it could have implications for a Justice Department investigation into possible money laundering by Citibank, where Mr. Salinas had some of his accounts. Citibank, a unit of Citicorp , has denied wrongdoing. (WSW, April 23, 2015)

The involvement of Citbank in the money laundering operation is documented a Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs Report (US General Accounting Office  “Private Banking: Raul Salinas, Citibank, and Alleged Money Laundering” Washington, 1998).
.

The End Game

Raul Salinas de Gortiari was set free  in 2005. All charges were dropped.

The matter involving the Bushes and the Salinas has largely been forgotten.

Meanwhile, American political history has been rewritten…

Not to mention the 1992 “Free Trade” Agreement (NAFTA),  which was signed by a head of State with links to organized crime. Does that make it an illegal agreement? The legitimacy of NAFTA has so far not been the object of a legal procedure of judicial inquiry.

An “illegal NAFTA” sets the stage for the TPP and TTIP “agreements” negotiated behind closed doors.

All is well in the American Republic.

At least until the forthcoming 2016 presidential elections.