The causes of Muslim polarisation
This page is meant to briefly list the points that are reasoned to act as causal agents for the polarisation of the modern Muslim mind. The primary focus of this article is to counter fundamental attribution error.
Nowhere is the fundamental attribution error more prevalent, suggests the forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman, than in our navel-gazing analysis of wannabe terrorists and what does or doesn't motivate them. "You attribute other people's behaviour to internal motivations but your own to circumstances. 'They're attacking us and therefore we have to attack them.'" Yet, ... we rarely do the reverse.
- 1 Iraq, the 1990s
- 2 Iraq, 2003 invasion
- 3 Iran
- 4 Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory
- 5 Guantánamo Bay Prison
- 6 White phosphorous use
- 7 Palestine
- 8 Afghanistan
- 9 Enhanced techniques
- 10 No one above the Law, except for...
- 11 Kashmir
- 12 Pakistan
- 13 Droned by drones
- 14 Yemen
- 15 Media affairs
- 16 Others
- 17 Notes
- 18 References
Iraq, the 1990s
- The first Gulf War experienced numerous incidents of atrocities by US and its allies, such as bombing civilians and civilian infrastructure. All this, with a continuous refusal to admit responsibility for such actions, while Western media actively enabled such actions by rationalizing, obscuring or at times even censoring them.
- One especially gruesome incident which reflected this, was the US bombing of an Iraqi civilian shelter in Baghdad. This was accompanied by a familiar strategy of denial, obfuscation and then rationalization by the US government which in-turn was faithfully parroted by an obedient media.
- US officials tried to propagate various excuses and rationalizations; such as the "bunker" was camouflaged, military messages were transmitted from it, the shelter sign was in English (indicating it was not meant for the common Arabic-speaking populace), and that military personnel were seen entering the building. However, journalists' videos of the shelter's roof didn't show any camouflage, no evidence of any communications gear was found, dual language signs were common in Baghdad, and if military personnel were seen entering the "bunker", why weren't the entering civilians detected as well? If the US had such in-depth intelligence, so as to claim the time period the shelter had been converted into a "bunker" (although the officials contradicted themselves on this), was used by the Iraqi military as a command and control centre, had reinforcements to protect the communication equipment from the radiation of a "nuclear attack" and so on and so forth – how were the hundreds of civilians entering and leaving the shelter each day remained unknown? More obfuscations and rationalizations followed, many of them same old trite ones.
- According to various organizations, including UNICEF, an additional 500,000 children under five died because of the sanctions on Iraq.[n 2]
- Madeleine Albright when asked whether she considered the price "worth it" for the death of half a million children, a figure greater than that for Hiroshima, because of the U.S. sanctions on Iraq said: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it."[n 3]
- FAIR[n 4] using Dow Jones data claimed that in the US media, information regarding the Iraq sanctions, like the 500,000 figure, Albright's comments, and Denis Halliday's refutations to allegations of misappropriation of goods (in the case of oil-for-food money) garnered little, and sometimes no, attention, especially when compared to content depicting US policy in a more benevolent light. This, in-spite of the fact that Iraqi babies wasting away from malnutrition and lack of medicine are used in Osama bin Ladin's recruitment videos.
- Chomsky explains how von Sponeck, a former UN official, detailed how the sanctions devastated the Iraqi civil society and helped Saddam as the people had no choice but to huddle under his umbrella of power to survive. Chomsky further argues that this likely saved Saddam "from the fate of other dictators who the U.S. had supported and were overthrown by popular uprisings. ... Saddam wasn't, because the civil society that might have carried that out was devastated."
- Weapons inspector Scott Ritter claimed that UNSCOM (UN inspection organization) had become infiltrated by British and American spies.[n 5]
Iraq, 2003 invasion
- The widespread dissemination of the lies regarding Iraqi connections to Osama bin Laden. This was done to prepare the American and British public for war with Iraq.
- According to the Center for Public Integrity report, President George W. Bush along with seven of his administration's top officials "made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq [emphasis added]." The lies were "part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." James Risen had disclosed in early 2003, the pressure CIA analysts felt to politicize their intelligence. On at least 532 separate occasions, officials "stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both."
- Numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, concluded beyond dispute that "Iraq did not possess any WMDs or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda".
- "They are absolutely committing sedition, or treason" (Michael Savage, regarding antiwar protesters). "These leftist stooges for anti-American causes are always given a free pass. Isn't it time to make them stand up and be counted for their views?" (Joe Scarborough's response). Fox News Anchor Neil Cavuto stated, "[those] who opposed the liberation of Iraq": "You were sickening then, you are sickening now."
- Phil Donahue, in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, was castigated for being the source of a rare critical voice in mainstream media against the war. He questioned the government's argument for the necessity of war. His talkshow was canceled after an internal memo argued that he presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.... He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives"; further warning that the Donahue show could be "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."
- After the world had largely accepted the blunder, that was the Iraq invasion, prominent American personalities tried pedalling the fabrication that everyone at the time believed the war was the right decision, attempting to push the "who could've possibly foreseen that this was all bullshit" narrative. These individuals represent an unbelievable ignorance to the "many, many stories that poured cold water on every single claim made by advocates for invasion." Individuals such as Joe Scarborough who in opposition to antiwar protesters termed them "leftist stooges for anti-American causes".
- Donahue in one of his interviews points out, "... every major metropolitan newspaper in this country supported the invasion of Iraq. Seventy-seven United States senators voted for the war. Hillary voted for the war, John Kerry voted for the war, Chuck Hagel voted for the war, and there were others; only 23 senators voted no. Of the 23, only one was a Republican. ... The [Iraq] war, which was ... a massive blunder, [aside from Ron Paul's statements] never came up during the presidential contest in either '08 or '12."
- According to the article Iraq: The War Card, False pretenses, Bush administration officials have largely avoided formal scrutiny regarding their personal responsibility for the repeated lies in the run-up to the war. "Congressional oversight has focused almost entirely on the quality of the U.S. government's pre-war intelligence — not the judgment, public statements, or public accountability of its highest officials."
|“||... you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror.[n 6]||”|
|— G. W. Bush, President Bush, Colombia President Uribe Discuss Terrorism (Sept. 2002)|
|“||Nothing. Nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack.[n 7]||”|
|— G. W. Bush, when questioned about what 9/11 had to do with Iraq (Aug. 2006)|
- In June 2003, to the Gallup poll query, Do you think Congress should -- or should not -- hold hearings into what the government knew about Iraq's capabilities to produce weapons of mass destruction at the time the U.S. went to war with Iraq? - 51% of the respondents answered in the affirmative.
- In 2003, US forces in Iraq were involved in firing a majority of 300,000+ depleted uranium (DU), a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal, rounds at civilian areas and troops. A further 782,414 DU rounds are believed to have been fired during the earlier conflict in 1991, mostly by US forces.
- British officers were reportedly appalled by the lack of concern for civilian casualties by US commanders who, in the 2004 assault, largely treated Fallujah as a free-fire zone in an attempt to reduce casualties among their own troops.
- A study was conducted in 2010 in response to anecdotal reports coming since 2005 of substantial increases in birth defects and cancer in Fallujah, Iraq.
- One of the survey authors, Chris Busby said: "to produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened". While he was unable to identify the armaments used by US forces, he suggested the use of uranium in some form. He said: "My guess is that they used a new weapon against buildings to break through walls and kill those inside."
- At Hiroshima survivors showed a 17-fold increase in leukaemia, but in Fallujah Dr. Busby said what is striking is not only the greater prevalence of cancer but the speed with which it was affecting the people.
- According to The Independent, the US had to cut back on its use of firepower in Iraq from 2007 because of the anger it provoked among civilians. In August-September 2012, four new papers regarding health issues in Fallujah had been published, yet according to Ross Caputi's column in The Guardian, this crisis for which the US military may be to blame continued to be ignored in the US. "To this day, though, there has yet to be an article published in a major US newspaper, or a moment on a mainstream American TV news network, devoted to the health crisis in Fallujah. The US government has made no statements on the issue, and the American public remains largely uninformed about the indiscriminate harm that our military may have caused."
- Dr. Chris Busby, called this "the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied". He, in a 2011 follow up to his 2010 study, expected to find depleted uranium in the environmental samples. However, what the researchers found was not depleted uranium, but man-made, slightly enriched uranium.[n 12] Undepleted and slightly enriched uranium was also found in Afghanistan. "Radiological measurements of Afghan civilians' have high concentrations of uranium in a range ... 400% to 2000% higher than the study controls..."
The Haditha massacre
- In late 2005, in the incident which came to be known as the Haditha massacre, US Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians, amongst whom were women, children and the elderly. The victims were shot multiple times, point blank and ranged from a year-old girl[n 13] to a wheelchair-ridden 76-year-old man. The first five, a taxi driver and four students, were ordered out of the car and shot dead on the street, while the remaining 19 Iraqis were killed inside their homes.
- The US military initially blamed a bomb detonated by insurgents for killing 15 civilians and eight of the dead were termed as insurgents killed by US troops.:1 Evidence to the contrary was dismissed by a Marine spokesman as, falling for al-Qaida propaganda. "I cannot believe you're buying any of this," he wrote. The military investigation into the incident began two-and-a-half months after the incident.:4 Even after the initiation of the investigation, a US Colonel and spokeswoman blamed the insurgents for the civilian deaths and asserted the fault lied squarely with the insurgents, since they were the ones who "placed noncombatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves.":1
- More than a year later, eight Marines were charged; a year-and-a-half later, the cases against six were dropped and another acquitted. The last Marine, made a deal with prosecutors, receiving a rank reduction[n 14] but never incarceration. He first saw the murder charges against him get dropped and then the charges of assault and manslaughter, too. Six years after the incident, he was finally convicted of a single count of negligent dereliction of duty.
- After the trial, The Atlantic published an article entitled: "Why We Should Be Glad the Haditha Massacre Marine Got No Jail Time".[n 17]
"But we should instead look at this, even if it is difficult to do so, as the price we pay for a justice system that prioritizes the rights of the accused over a desire to punish criminals. ... a democratic outcome is exactly what we got. ... In a liberal democracy, however, we put a very high burden on the state in taking away the liberty of a citizen accused of a crime. ... And this outcome may well harm America's image in a part of the world where it is already poor. But, ultimately, preserving the fairness and impartiality of the American legal system is more important, and we should be glad that it won out. That's a painful and difficult compromise to make, but the fact that it's difficult and it happened anyway is exactly why we should be glad we live in a liberal democracy. If we were to lower the bar to make it easier to convict those we 'know' are guilty, we would also make it easier to unjustly imprison the innocent [emphasis added]."
The Nisour Square massacre
- Private military firm Blackwater, went so far as to threaten a US State Department investigator in Iraq, "I can kill you right now where you sit and no one's going to do a thing about it because of where we are at". The investigator took the threat seriously as he had also been warned regarding the investigation into the firm which threatened its lucrative security contracts due to the disclosure of numerous contract violations. The investigator believed that Blackwater thought they were "the de facto authority," "above the law" and "ran the place", arguing that the firm's oversight was "subservient" and "superficial at best", creating "an environment full of liability and negligence." Local embassy officials also assisted Blackwater and ordered the investigators to leave the country.
- Weeks after the investigation was halted, and the State Department had been warned regarding the serious problems with the company, on 16 September 2007, Blackwater personnel opened indiscriminate fire on a crowd of Iraqis, killing 17 civilians in Baghdad in what came to be known as the Nisour Square massacre.
- Regarding the massacre, an Iraqi traffic officer testified: "There was a lady. She was screaming and weeping about her son and asking for help". He showed jurors how she had cradled her dead son's head on her shoulder. "I asked her to open up the door so I could help her. But she was paying attention only to her son." "Other witnesses described a mother who pushed her daughter to safety, only to be killed herself. One man was pounded with bullets while he lay dying, unarmed, in the street. Another was shot while he had his hands up." "I saw people huddled down in their cars, trying to shield their children with their bodies," said a former Blackwater contractor.
- During the next seven years, the firm along with its subsidiaries continued to be awarded contracts worth $1.3 billion by the State Department, along with other contracts from CIA and the US Department of Defense.
- Leaked documents revealed how US forces inflamed sectarian divide in the Iraqi population to achieve their strategic objectives. A new Iraqi paramilitary force was set up which got itself embroiled in a network of secret detention centres and torture, accelerating Iraq's descent into civil war and sectarian carnage.
- "[General] Petraeus and Steele would unleash this local force on the Sunni population as well as the insurgents and their supporters and anyone else who was unlucky enough to get in the way. It was classic counterinsurgency. It was also letting a lethal, sectarian genie out of the bottle. The consequences for Iraqi society would be catastrophic. At the height of the civil war two years later 3,000 bodies a month were turning up on the streets of Iraq — many of them innocent civilians of sectarian war."
- The highly decorated US Colonel Jim Steele, played a central part in the intelligence gathering of the special Iraqi unit, called the Special Police Commandos: "a fearsome paramilitary force that ran a secret network of detention centres across the country – where those suspected of rebelling against the US-led invasion were tortured for information.".
- Leaked US military documents showed cryptic references to US soldiers ordered to ignore torture. Numerous horrifying accounts of torture by US forces themselves or units directly funded by the US government, were narrated from reporters, ex-detainees, and former soldiers.
- A mid-2003 order by Paul Bremer, expressly provided immunity to US military, civilian governmental personnel and US contractors from Iraqi legal process and its courts.3:24 "It calls out the message that we can invade their country, break their laws, and remain wholly immune from their criminal consequences", wrote one Slate contributor.
- A British Brigadier, regarding the Iraq war, wrote an article highly critical of US officers conduct and their tactics ensuring alienation of the population. He even quoted a US colonel who said: "If I were treated like this, I'd be a terrorist!" In May 2006, the Iraqi Prime Minister stated that US attacks against civilians had become a "daily phenomenon" by troops who "do not respect the Iraqi people. They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion."
- One report found that the Pentagon payed more than half a billion dollars to a British PR firm in order to secretly create fake al-Qaeda propaganda videos.[n 18]
- Previously in 2005 it was reported that articles about the Iraq war authored by US troops were planted in Iraqi newspapers "under the guise of independent journalism".[n 20] Soldiers assigned to "psychological operations" were found to be more "aggressive in manipulating information for military gain." One pertinent case was death of an Iraqi general killed during interrogations near the Syrian border. "After his death, a news release said the general had cooperated and died of natural causes, and local communities were notified that he had identified key insurgents in the area, when he had not."
- A July 2007 video footage depicting a US air crew killing a group of Iraqi men suspected of carrying weapons. One of the men on the ground, believed to be a Reuters employee Saeed Chmagh, is seen wounded and trying to crawl to safety. One among the air crew is heard wishing for the man to reach for a gun, even though there is none visible nearby, so as to gain the pretext for opening fire: "All you gotta do is pick up a weapon." A few moments after the Apache gunfire has halted, a van draws up next to the wounded man and Iraqis climb out. They are unarmed and start to carry the victim to the vehicle in what would appear to be an attempt to get him to a hospital. One of the helicopters opens fire with armour-piercing shells. "Look at that. Right through the windshield," says one of the crew. Another responds with a laugh. Sitting behind the windscreen were two children who got wounded. The US military claimed that all the killed were insurgents and the helicopters reacted to an active firefight. In the case of at-least this particular group of Iraqis, the WikiLeaks leaked video appeared to decisively refute both claims. After the incident, although some Reuters employees were allowed to see the video depicting the deaths of two of their colleagues on an off-the-record basis, the footage was never publicly released and the news agency's Freedom of Information Act requests were denied.
- "... we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people. ...we have achieved hard-earned milestones in Iraq" — Obama, West Point (Dec. 2009)
- President Trump once told CIA members that the US had made a mistake by withdrawing troops from Iraq without holding on to its oil. "The old expression 'To the victor belong the spoils'" Trump said.
- "There's ... denunciation of ISIS for destroying antiquities. The U.S. invasion did the same thing." — Noam Chomsky
- The final resolution of Iranian assets seized by the US after the hostage crisis, happened 35 years after the crisis had been resolved.
- The downing of Iran Air Flight 655 by American warship USS Vincennes in a commercial air corridor, inside Iranian airspace, over Iran's territorial waters, killing 290 civilians.
- "I will never apologize for the United States—I don't care what the facts are." was what George H. W. Bush said, as Vice President on a presidential campaign function, reportedly regarding the downing of the passenger aircraft.[n 21]
- Referring to what he termed as the "drone assassination campaign", Chomsky stated: "If Iran, let's say, was carrying out a campaign to assassinate people around the world who it thought might be planning to harm Iran – we would regard it as terrorism. For example, if they were bombing the editorial offices of The New York Times and The Washington Post, which published op-eds by prominent figures saying that we should bomb Iran right now, not wait; so, obviously they want to harm Iran. Suppose Iran was assassinating them and anybody who happened to be standing around, all over, would we regard that as terrorism? I think we would."(11:09)
- In an MSNBC's Morning Joe episode, regarding the matter of Iran's nuclear program Madeleine Albright starts by claiming that the Iranians were "actually in violation" of the Nuclear NPT and accused them of "lying". When Patrick Buchanan's follow-up apparently refutes her argument, that the Iranians were complying with the safeguard agreement, Albright concedes "technically I guess they have" but still keeps to her original conclusion adding Ahmadinejad's "ridiculous" statements, in support of her argument.
Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory
- The Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum North, Sudan was accused, by the US, of making chemical weapons and having ties with al-Qaeda and the plant was subsequently destroyed in 1998 by a US missile attack. American officials later acknowledged that there was no proof that the plant had been manufacturing or storing nerve gas, as initially suspected by them, or had been linked to Osama bin Laden, who was a resident of Khartoum in the 1980's. Noam Chomsky, argued that the Clinton administration positively knew the missile target was a pharmaceutical factory and that regarding the event, there was no intelligence failure.
- The factory was, at the time of its destruction, a major provider of medicines for humans and animals. British engineer Thomas Carnaffin is quoted to have said: "I have personal knowledge of the need for medicine in Sudan as I almost died while working out there. The loss of this factory is a tragedy for the rural communities who need these medicines." The factory was responsible for 50–60% of Sudan's pharmaceutical needs, as well as exporting products abroad. Similar news was reported by The Guardian correspondent Patrick Wintour.[n 22]
- US officials at the United Nations had even approved the sale of medicines produced by Shifa in January, 1998.[n 23] Patrick Wintour also reported that the plant's destruction had left the country with no supplies of choloroquine, the standard treatment for malaria. Despite this, the British Government – who publicly backed the U.S. attack - refused requests months later "to resupply chloroquine in emergency relief until such time as the Sudanese can rebuild their pharmaceutical production."
- Before August 20, 1998, the day of the missile strike, no US official had ever publicly identified Sudan as a confirmed chemical weapons proliferant or "country of concern." US rationale for the strike and allegations regarding chemical weapons against Sudan "evolved substantially" in the two months[n 24] after the attack.
- Soon after the attack, Sudanese officials asked the UN to create "a commission to verify the nature of the activity of the plant." Sudan's request was supported by the Arab League, the OIC, the Group of Arab States of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and the Organization of African Unity representing nearly every state in Africa and the Middle East along-with several other developing states.
- The US "opposed and sought to block an international investigation of Shifa's production ... [which was in contradiction to] its longstanding and firm support for the efforts of UNSCOM to investigate potential WMD capabilities and installations retained by Iraq. The Sudanese request to the UN was vetoed by the US. Its ambassador to the international organization said, "we don't think an investigation is needed. We don't think anything needs to be put to rest." Group of Arab States of the UN submitted a draft resolution to the UNSC for dispatching a fact finding mission to Sudan. The Sudanese Ambassador to the UN said if the US vetoes the resolution, it would be in effect saying to the world, "we do what we want to do. We don't have to obey international law."
- A former US ambassador to Sudan was reported to have said, "The evidence was not conclusive and was not enough to justify an act of war". The factory's owner, filed a lawsuit against the US government. Shortly after, he had his US bank accounts quietly unfrozen.[n 25]
- Journalist Jason Burke, in the book Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror, claims that Operation Infinite Reach "merely confirmed to [bin Laden and his close associates], and others with similar views worldwide, that their conception of the world as a cosmic struggle between good and evil was the right one".
- Up-to at-least October, 2005, Sudan had not received any apology or offer of restitution from the US. Ironically, in California a clinic by the same name was opened back in 2000, where Muslim doctors work to treat uninsured patients.
Guantánamo Bay Prison
- On separate occasions the US Congress effectively blocked attempts to move the prison detainees. This happened in 2009, when 80 of the 171 detainees were found to be releasable to another country; and in 2009, 2011 and 2012 when the United States Congress "prevented taxpayer money from paying for detainees to have trials in the U.S., as well as using an Illinois prison to hold detainees who can't be tried."
|“||In a strange twist of history, Congress, through its control of government funds, is now imposing curbs on the very executive powers that the Bush administration invoked to establish the camps at Guantánamo in the first place.||”|
|— Carol Rosenberg, Congress, rules keep Obama from closing Guantanamo Bay|
Promises are meant to be...
- Even a Congress controlled by Democrats put hurdles in the way of the prison's closure. Obama despite his oral promises, repeatedly through his actions, proved that closure of the Guantánamo Bay prison cost a political price he was unwilling to pay. He did not follow through his threatened vetoes, and did not use the powers granted to him in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 to move the resolution of the prison issue forward.
- In 2012, US courts were found rejecting prisoners' habeus corpus petitions too. The authors of one study put it this way, "the practice of careful judicial fact-finding was replaced by judicial deference to the government's allegations ... Now the government wins every petition."
- Force feeding of the prisoners, during at-least three separate occasions in 2005, 2009 and 2013. After an Army guard were to take a captive from his cell and shackle him into a restraint chair, the forced feeding was generally carried out by specialized medical assistant enlisted sailors. Doctors and nurses supervised while the captive had "a tube snaked up his nose and into his stomach before pumping can of Ensure into the shackled prisoner."
White phosphorous use
- In its early statements the Israeli military repeatedly denied using white phosphorus munitions, saying: "We categorically deny the use of white phosphorus", and: "The IDF acts only in accordance with what is permitted by international law and does not use white phosphorus." After repeated denials, the military eventually admitted its use and stopped using the shells, however, saying that a "media buzz" led to its decision to do so.
- Human Rights Watch said shells exploded over populated civilian areas, including a crowded Palestinian refugee camp, the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City, killing and injuring civilians, and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital. Spent shells were also found at a UN school.
- Amnesty International said a fact-finding team found "indisputable evidence of the widespread use of white phosphorus" in crowded residential areas of Gaza City and elsewhere in the territory. One of the places worst-affected by white phosphorus was the UNRWA compound.
- Israeli government claimed that two high-ranking Israeli officials were disciplined in response to the Goldstone report which was later denied by the IDF.
- 400 Arab towns and villages were depopulated during the 1948 Palestinian exodus. Some places were entirely destroyed and left uninhabitable; others were left with a few hundred residents and were repopulated by Jewish immigrants, then renamed.[n 28]
- In February 2011, the US voted against a UNSC draft resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as illegal. This in-spite of the fact that the other 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the draft along-with having 120 co-sponsors. The Israeli Prime Minister's office stated, "Israel deeply appreciates the decision by President Obama to veto the Security Council Resolution".
Despite the veto, the US claimed that this shouldn't be taken as endorsement for the settlements. US ambassador to the UN said, "We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," HRW issued a statement saying the US veto undermined international law and suggested hypocrisy from the Obama administration. "President Obama wants to tell the Arab world in his speeches that he opposes settlements, but he won't let the Security Council tell Israel to stop them in a legally binding way," said HRW's Middle East director. Additionally, the British Ambassador speaking on behalf of Britain, France and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "They are illegal under international law," he said.
- The US veto before this one in the UNSC was, back in November 2006, on a resolution calling for an end to Israeli military operations and the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.
- Donald Neff in a report published in May/June 2005, enumerated 39 times when the US used its veto power to "shield Israel from Security Council draft resolutions that condemned, deplored, denounced, demanded, affirmed, endorsed, called on and urged Israel to obey the world body." These 39 resolutions are ones in which the US was the only country that voted against the resolution while all other members either voted in favour or abstained. Over the entirety of these resolutions, there were a total of votes in favour (482), abstentions (57) and US vetoes (39). Sixteen of these resolutions were ones for which, excluding the US, all 14 members voted in favour of the resolution with no abstentions.[n 29]
- In 2007 Israel was singled out as a top espionage threat against the U.S. government. The NSA identified Israel as a security threat in several areas, including "the threat of development of weapons of mass destruction" and "delivery methods (particularly ballistic and nuclear-capable cruise missiles)." The NSA also flagged Israel's "WMD and missile proliferation activities" and "cruise missiles" as threats. Israel also got listed as a leading perpetrator of "espionage/intelligence collection operations and manipulation/influence operations…against U.S. government, military, science & technology and Intelligence Community" organs. Documents indicted Israel as "the third most aggressive intelligence service against the U.S.," behind only China and Russia.
- In 2014, Glenn Greenwald wrote about how in the last decade, "the NSA has significantly increased the surveillance assistance it provides to its Israeli counterpart, the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU; also known as Unit 8200), including data used to monitor and target Palestinians. In many cases, the NSA and ISNU work cooperatively with the British and Canadian spy agencies, the GCHQ and CSEC."
|“||Each time Israel attacks Gaza and massacres its trapped civilian population – at the end of 2008, in the fall of 2012, and now again this past month [March, 2014] – the same process repeats itself in both U.S. media and government circles: the U.S. government feeds Israel the weapons it uses and steadfastly defends its aggression both publicly and at the U.N.; the U.S. Congress unanimously enacts one resolution after the next to support and enable Israel; and then American media figures pretend that the Israeli attack has nothing to do with their country, that it's just some sort of unfortunately intractable, distant conflict between two equally intransigent foreign parties in response to which all decent Americans helplessly throw up their hands as though they bear no responsibility."||”|
|— Glenn Greenwald, |
- Numerous pieces of evidence support the allegation of Western media being demonstrably partial and "Disgustingly Biased" regarding the Israel-Palestine issue.
- Many incidents involving "unlawful Israeli airstrikes kill[ing] civilians", "Israeli soldiers shoot[ing] and kill[ing] fleeing civilians" reported by organizations such as the HRW.
- Among the most notables, the killing of four Palestinian boys playing at the beach on 16 July, 2014. Israel exonerated itself over the killings providing justifications which were contradicted by international journalists who were present at the time and location. The IDF investigation into the beach killings found the attack "accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements."
- NBC news correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, who personally witnessed the killings, posted details on his social media accounts, including the victims' names and ages, photographs he took of their anguished parents, and a video of one of their mothers as she learned about the death of her young son. He interviewed one of the wounded boys at the hospital shortly before being operated upon. He then appeared on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes, where he recounted what he saw.[n 30]
- CNN correspondent Diana Magnay tweeted in 2014 about Israelis on the hill above Sderot cheering as bombs landed on Gaza.
- According to RT, about a year after this incident, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in response to US and Israeli pressure, removed Israel from the list of serious violators of children's rights. This, even though the 2014 offensive killed about 500 children.
- The Israeli human rights group Breaking the Silence, in May 2015 published testimonies of dozens of soldiers who served in the 2014 strike on Gaza which appeared to belie Israeli government claims of doing all it can to protect civilians.
|“||There was a force that identified two figures walking in an orchard, around 800 or 900 metres from the force's zone perimeter. They were two young women walking in the orchard. The commander asked to confirm: 'What do you see,' and whether they were incriminated or not. It was during daytime, around 11am, or noon. The lookouts couldn't see well so the commander sent a drone up to look from above, and the drone implicated them. It saw them with phones, talking, walking. They directed fire there, on those girls, and they were killed. After they were implicated, I had a feeling it was b***s***. …
After that the commander told the tank commander to go scan that place, and three tanks went to check [the bodies]. They check the bodies, and it was two women, over age 30. The bodies of two women, and they were unarmed. He came back and we moved on, and they were listed as terrorists. They were fired at – so of course, they must have been terrorists...
- Another recorded statement was: "A week or two after we entered the Gaza Strip and we were all firing a lot when there wasn't any need for it – just for the sake of firing – a member of our company was killed. The company commander came over to us and told us that one guy was killed due to such-and-such, and he said: 'Guys, get ready, get in your tanks, and we'll fire a barrage in memory of our comrade' … My tank went up to the post – a place from which I can see targets – can see buildings – [and] fired at them, and the platoon commander says: 'OK guys, we'll now fire in memory of our comrade' and we said OK."
|“||One morning, the comander took six tanks, we stood in a row in front of Al-Buraj and he told us over the radio: 'Good morning, Al-Buraj. 3... 2... 1... Fire!' And all tanks just fired on random buildings, on random targets. Most of our shooting was random. We didn't thought [sic] about civilian casualties and moral and some people thought it's like a shooting range; some people thought it's fun; some people didn't thought about it at all. I just thought, its really really bad to shoot at random targets without knowing the effect on civilian population."||”|
- "When we talk about beheadings, they know that in the U.S.-backed Israeli attack on Gaza, at the points where the attack was most fierce, like the Shejaiya neighborhood, people weren't just beheaded. Their bodies were torn to shreds. People came later trying to put the pieces of the bodies together to find out who they were, ... These things happen, too." — Noam Chomsky
- In July 2014, France banned pro-Palestine demonstrations, implementing harsh penalties and jail time for violators. False claims for attacks on synagogues by pro-Palestine supporters were made.[n 31] Armed vigilantes from the group Jewish Defence League (JDL) baited demonstrators into fights. One especially interesting video showed JDL members baiting, scuffling and moving towards the pro-Palestine protesters, but the police did not intervene. However, when the protesters started to rush forward against the JDL the riot-police came into action and moved against the protesters while the JDL members ran right through the police lines and went behind the charging police. According to the Daily Mail article, no arrests were made "among the JDL, despite them fighting and smashing up property in full view of the police", while "six pro-Palestine protesters were arrested for a variety of public order offences, but none had been anywhere near Paris synagogues, which remained undamaged."
- The West's Security Council resolutions against the Syrian government during the country's Civil War, according to analysts, were a way to embarrass Russia and China as they were certain to veto the resolutions because of their alliance with the mid-eastern government. The question was why were they not responding back by initiating a new draft resolution against Israel's bombardment of Palestinian civilians. Regarding this matter Ian Williams, a longstanding U.N. correspondent and senior analyst at wikipedia:Foreign Policy in FocusForeign Policy in Focus, said the UNSC is determined to prove that governments do not have principles, only interests. Since the end of the Cold War, the Palestinians have had no sponsors or patrons. (...) Since they see few tangible diplomatic, economic or political benefits from backing the Palestinians, let alone Hamas, they allow atrocities to go unchecked in Gaza while raising their hands in horror about lesser, and less calculated, crimes elsewhere.
- "... the Palestinian Authority ... is an entity that must be pressured, even at the risk of it collapsing and disappearing. We cannot turn the other cheek to a diplomatic offensive from Ramallah and a military [one] from Gaza. It's true that these are two rival factions, but the diplomatic offensive is no less dangerous in my eyes than the offensive in Gaza." – Israeli Finance Minister (Nov. 2012)
- In an unreleased part of a 2006 interview to the Jewish Press, Hillary Clinton talked about rigging the Palestinian elections. "I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake," said then-Senator Clinton. "And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win." The interviewer recalled being surprised that "anyone could support the idea—offered by a national political leader, no less—that the U.S. should be in the business of fixing foreign elections." Explaining why this part remained unpublished, the original interviewer answered: "The Jewish Press had this mindset that they would not want to say anything offensive about anybody ... because they might need them down the road. My bosses didn't think it was newsworthy at the time. I was convinced that it was and I held onto it all these years."
- In January 2017, the non-expulsion of the Israeli embassy official with diplomatic immunity, caught on video involved in conspiring to "take down" Sir Alan Duncan, a British MP who had previously been critical of Israel.[n 32] This "tolerance" in the wake of US ejecting 35 suspected Russian officials, imposing further sanctions and penalizing Russian intelligence institutions and closing of two suspected Russian estates. The US was responding to Russian attempts at influencing US democracy; an allegation for which, evidence was criticized as being weak.[n 33]
- In Nov. 2012, Israeli Finance Minister said the government doubled funding for settlements in the national budget. "... We did it with a low profile, in agreement with the mayors ..." so that "elements in Israel and abroad" would not attempt to stop them," he said. On the same day, the Minister received an award from the settlement movement for his contributions and talked about his funding for cultural centers in settlements, "despite enormous pressure from the universities against" one of them.
Two-States too many
- On July 11th 2014, Netanyahu told a press conference, "... there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan," a remark viewed as a rejection of a two-state solution. The Times of Israel reporter David Horovitz regarding the press statements wrote: "He made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank. ... This is not merely demanding a demilitarized Palestine; it is insisting upon ongoing Israeli security oversight inside and at the borders of the West Bank. That sentence, quite simply, spells the end to the notion of Netanyahu consenting to the establishment of a Palestinian state. ... He wasn't saying that he doesn't support a two-state solution. He was saying that it's impossible. This was not a new, dramatic change of stance by the prime minister. It was a new, dramatic exposition of his long-held stance."
Peace efforts (2013-2014)
- The Palestinian officials agreed to give up the right to return for Palestinian refugees, to give up 80 percent of the land occupied at the time by Israeli settlers, accepted a demilitarized state for themselves, agreed to have security sensitive areas remaining in Israeli hands for five years and then transferred to the US. In return the Palestinians demanded three things, (1) outlining borders would be the first discussed topic and agreed upon within three months; (2) setting a time-frame for evacuation of Israelis from sovereign Palestinian territories; (3) to have East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. The Israelis rejected all of them.[n 34]
- The Israelis accepted to discuss borders on the basis of the 1967 lines, but flatly refused to present a map or even debate the topic. While rejecting the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, the Israelis accepted to consider individual requests based on "criteria that Israel would set at its discretion and sovereign decision."
- While the talks progressed the Israelis announced 14,000 housing units on land that was supposed to become the Palestinian state. The Israeli government also did not accept Abbas' demand for a three-month freeze on settlement construction.
- In October 2001, after the beginning of the American assault on Afghanistan, according to officials 7-8 million people were on the verge of starvation. However, Chomsky argued, there had been "no reaction to the stopping of food delivery trucks through Pakistan since the bombings ... started". "This is a silent genocide," he continued, "but what is more disturbing is that even in a society of elite, which we are part of, this is considered normal." UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson also called to allow food aid into the country and prevent a "Rwanda-style" humanitarian disaster.[n 37]
- A 2009 survey results "suggested Nato's campaign to demonise the Taliban was no more effective than the Soviet effort to demonise the mujahedin." Compared to the NATO-allied government of 2009, a significant proportion of Afghans supported the Taliban. According to one survey reporting "on Helmandis' attitudes to justice systems. More than half the male respondents called the Taliban 'completely trustworthy and fair'." Additionally, the harsh criticisms of the Taliban being uniquely oppressive and comparatively substantially worse administrators were believed to be inaccurate, and the unjust human rights conditions were blamed more on some of the people's medieval mentality than on presence of the Taliban. "Above all, Afghans liked the security provided by the Taliban in contrast to the chaos between 1992 and 1996".
- "A place that had known decades of fear now had reason to hope. ... we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect ... we have forged a new beginning between America and the Muslim world -- one that recognizes our mutual interest in breaking a cycle of conflict, and that promises a future in which those who kill innocents are isolated..." — Obama, West Point (Dec. 2009)
Worse than hate
- Helplessness to obtain justice by the families of thousands of Afghan civilians killed by US/NATO forces in Afghanistan.[n 38] "The US military justice system almost always fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses". Furthermore, US troops are immune from prosecution in the Afghan court system.
- In February 2010, US forces were found attempting to cover up the killing of three Afghan women by digging the bullets out of their corpses.
- On 3 October, 2015 US air force struck a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital. During the days that followed, US officials kept on shifting their explanations of the event. "It started with a tragic incident, to collateral damage, and now what we hear it was a U.S. strike but on request, under the responsibility of the Afghan government," NBC News was told. The organization's international president Joanne Liu said, "Our patients burned in their beds; MSF doctors, nurses, and other staff were killed as they worked. Our colleagues had to operate on each other."[n 40] Fair.org did an article on this incident and argued the high degree of partiality and double standards shown by US media in reporting the incident.
- Non-American coalition soldiers also became embroiled in allegations of war crimes.[n 41]
- Transfer of the Bagram Air Base prison in Afghanistan from US forces to the Afghan government in 2012 hit some snags due to disagreements between the two countries. Disagreements such as "whether the Afghans would continue to hold [30 original prisoners] without trial, as the United States had demanded and as stipulated under the detention deal." In the partial handover ceremony, no one from the American Embassy or the US State Department were in attendance, while from the Afghans seven generals, two cabinet ministers and other dignitaries attended the event.
- The explicit declared objective of the US war on Afghanistan was to force the Taliban to handover the individuals being accused, by the Americans, of carrying out the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The Taliban requested for evidence of Osama bin Laden's involvements in the attacks, but the Bush administration refused to provide any. According to Chomsky, eight months following 9/11, after the most "intensive international investigation in history", the FBI still only suspected bin Laden for carrying out the attacks. By June 2006, there still wasn't enough evidence. According to an FBI spokesman, "the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11." However, this detail did not prevent American officials from repeatedly claiming, with absolute certainty to the rest of the world, the culpability of bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks, and further having evidence to prove it.
- Around ten days after the attack, the Taliban renewed their offer for Bin Laden extradition to a neutral Islamic country for trial, given evidence of his crimes was provided. In mid-October 2001, the group again made a similar offer[n 44] adding the American bombing campaign be stopped.
- Soon after, in return for a halt to the bombings, the Taliban offered to hand over bin Laden for trial in a country other than the US without asking to see evidence first. However, the Bush administration rejected this offer too. The offer was made by the Afghan Foreign Minister, in a visit planned several days in advance, in which he met officials from the CIA and Pakistan's ISI.
- Regarding his opinions on whether the Taliban's offer to hand over bin Laden to a third country was a ruse, Chomsky replied, "Certainly American government doesn't think it's a ruse if they are refusing it!"
- Before 9/11, there existed several bin Laden trial proposals. First in 1998, however, according to a Saudi intelligence official, the US reprisal cruise missile attacks for al-Qaeda's US embassy bombings scrapped the potential deal. Later, the Taliban also proposed on a procedure under the supervision of OIC arguing it to be a "neutral international organisation" which was rejected by the US. In 1999, responding to a Security Council resolution, the Taliban proposed to hold bin Laden's trial, either in Afghanistan or another Muslim country. To bring bin Laden to trial "before a group of Ulema [religious scholars] in Afghanistan." "One Taliban proposal suggested bin Laden be turned over to a panel of three Islamic jurists, one each chosen by Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia" and the US. When the US "rejected that proposal, the Taliban countered that it would settle for only one Islamic jurist on such a panel."[n 45]
- US officials, on the other hand, argue that it had become clear to them that the Taliban requests for more evidence were a delaying tactic, and no one took those offers seriously as "they did not trust the Taliban and their ability to conduct a proper trial."[n 46] Additionally, they had been previously aided, in their skirmishes against the Northern Alliance, by al-Qaeda.
Who had already surrendered...
- Anand Gopal argues that the US government turned down repeated attempts by the Taliban to surrender. Soon after their overthrow, the Taliban had stopped fighting, and melted back into civilian life, but as Ryan Grim noted: "Only full annihilation was enough for the Bush administration. They wanted more terrorists in body bags." The men left standing after the Taliban "became warlords, built massive fortunes, and shipped their wealth abroad." As years passed, "the old Taliban started picking up guns again. When they were driven from power, the population was happy to see them go. The U.S. managed to make them popular again." Grim mentions how US liberals complained the government had ignored Afghanistan while, in reality, the parts devoid of foreign troop presence were the only parts without an insurgency. Grim ends his article as: the US is "now losing a war to an enemy that already surrendered. That's not easy to do."
Relevant history to the Afghan invasion
Pre-9/11 Afghanistan invasion plans
The following makes use of extensive research carried out in "Newly Disclosed Documents Shed More Light on Early Taliban Offers, Pakistan Role", Foreign Policy Journal.
Post 9/11 events
Taliban uniquely oppressive?
- A number of groups and individuals have argued the invasion of Afghanistan to be essentially illegal.[n 50]
- Another paper by Ryan T. Williams, details that even if the initial Afghanistan invasions could be justified, continued American presence after the 9/11 attacks happens to be demonstrably illegal.
- Various polls after the 9/11 attacks reported that majority of the world's populations opposed Afghanistan military strikes.
- According to David Miller, polling companies appeared to be acting partially. Polling questions consistently failed to ask questions regarding alternatives to military attacks. When such are asked, war support showed a significant decrease. In the UK, all except one pre-bombing poll reported majorities against bombings if they were to cause civilian casualties. Even that single exception reported that a majority (82%) agreed that the US should take military action "only against the terrorist organisations responsible ... even if it takes months to clearly identify them." However, after the bombing campaign started "polling companies stopped asking about concern for civilians." "[B]oth UK and US polling companies have been guilty of misrepresenting their own data almost without exception overemphasising support for the war."
- Additionally, most news outlets failed to report fairly on the polls, having been "systematically misreported in the media", ignoring results which contradicted the official US and UK narrative.
- In a poll after 9/11, 45 percent of Americans approved of torturing known terrorists if they knew details about future terrorist attacks in the United States.
- After World War II in the war crimes trials, a number of Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for crimes committed against American POWs. The crimes they were convicted of, included water boarding and other methods detailed in the Bush administration's torture memos. Their punishments comprised of hanging, lengthy prison sentences or time in labour camps.
- Vox enumerated some of the "absolutely outrageous abuses detailed in the CIA torture report". "More than 100 detainees died in U.S. care, most of them under military custody".
- The Bush administration drafted secret legal memos, which would later come to be known as the torture memos, in order to give itself the formal legal authority to use "enhanced interrogation techniques". Additionally, high-level officials which included Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, the CIA Director and John Ashcroft (Attorney General) used to meet in the White House to discuss and approve the use of torture techniques on suspects. According to sources, at each discussion, all present used to approve the requested aggressive techniques.
- Bush administration officials were also known to be involved in colluding with the CIA in order to create misleading documents showing the effectiveness and necessity of the torture program.
- Bush administration continued to deny involvement in torture. "The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values," said Bush in 2006. "And I think on the left wing of the Democratic Party, there are some people who believe that we really tortured", said Cheney. In 2006, after it was ruled that the original military commission system for Guantánamo Bay violated the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions, Congress rewrote the rules and passed the Military Commissions Act, severely limiting the range of The War Crimes Act and creating a new structure for trials by commissions. The act banned torture but permitted "coercive" testimony."
No one above the Law, except for...
The administration of George W. Bush
- Before becoming President, then-Senator Obama in 2008, was against impeachment of Bush, an avenue he thought should be reserved for only "exceptional circumstances", but said that he would ask his Attorney General to "immediately review the information that's already there" and determine if the case justifies investigation, while being careful to not make the investigation appear as "a partisan witch hunt". Obama claimed that in the event of willful criminality, "nobody [is] above the law."
- After getting elected into office, the tone drastically changed. The Obama administration decided early on against devoting the administration's own resources to expose the torture program, against opening cases and prosecuting anyone who followed orders, or officials who wrote and approved the harsh policies in the first place, and closed off most legal avenues that may have been used to hold officials accountable. Additionally, his new CIA director aggressively argued against any new investigations of the agency.
- Even before the election, there were signs predicting bipartisan consensus for immunity for the Bush administration. Signs such as one close informal Obama adviser rejecting any prosecution, contending that the prosecution of officials could lead to a "cycle" of criminalizing public service, and that Democrats should avoid retributive acts or even the "slight appearance" of them.
- While, Obama did prohibit torture soon after becoming president, in that very same month, although claiming he did not "believe that anybody is above the law," he preferred "to look forward as opposed to looking backwards" and that he did not want CIA agents to "suddenly feel like they've got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering." Even when other senators called for a "truth commission" to look into torture and related matters, even offering immunity for testimonies, Obama never supported the idea. According to one poll, 50% of Americans (including 69% Democrats and 53% independents) favoured investigations while 47 percent opposed them.
- On publicly releasing the torture memos, Obama said: "This is a time for reflection, not retribution. ... nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." Regarding this attitude, Greenwald noted: "So does that mean that the Obama administration won't prosecute any criminals for crimes they committed 'in the past' -- or is it only high-level political criminals who will receive this 'focused-on-the-future' amnesty?"
- In the beginning of Obama's term, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, Obama did not allow even a congressional inquiry into the torture program.
- Obama's nominee for Attorney General Eric Holder, unequivocally declared waterboarding as torture. "If you look at the history of the use of that technique," Holder said, "we prosecuted our own soldiers for using it in Vietnam. ... Waterboarding is torture." Previously, a top Bush administration official, Susan Crawford had also said that a detainee's "treatment met the legal definition of torture."[n 51] Additionally, the US general who investigated the abuse at Abu Gharib prison also accused the Bush administration of "war crimes" and for authorizing "a systematic regime of torture". "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account", wrote the General.
- However, after becoming the Attorney General Eric Holder, on repeated occasions, assured the intelligence community that those who relied on authoritative legal advice from the Justice Department, that their conduct was lawful, and that the government will provide monetary and legal support to any employee embroiled in any domestic or foreign tribunal.
- At the time in April 2009, the possibility of prosecuting officials who had gone further than the specific approved techniques was "deliberately left open." Such instances of crossing the line, even by "legal" torture standards, repeatedly occurred. Holder, on numerous occasions, had publicly disclosed that he was horrified by what he read relevant to the torture inflicted on the detainees. In August 2009, when Holder announced his appointment of a prosecutor to investigate the agency's interrogations, although provoking criticism from Republicans, it appeared that some such officials would get prosecuted. However, after a two-year review which involved 101 detainees, the prosecution decided to focus on just two cases involving detainee deaths. Further investigation of the "remaining matters" was "not warranted", Holder said.
- Next year, however, Holder dropped even those last two cases, closing the three-year investigation, "eliminating the last possibility that any criminal charges will be brought" as a result of detainee torture by the CIA.
- This lack of even charges being brought-up in a country which continued to imprison its population at rates greater than any other, having incarceration rates higher than any other. In addition, during the time when no official got prosecuted for torture, a former CIA agent who publicly spoke about waterboarding awaited trial on criminal charges for disclosing to journalists the identity of CIA officers who had participated in the interrogations.
- Before in Nov. 2010, the Justice Department had already announced that no charges would be filed for the destruction of CIA torture videotapes, ostensibly on Durham's recommendation.
- Years later in 2014, evidence was put forward suggesting that the all-important four-year long Durham investigation initiated by Holder and concluded two years previously, did not even bother to interview the detainees who had allegedly been tortured by the CIA. At the time, Durham and the US Defense Department had declined to comment on the matter.
- Pointing towards Durham's investigation, the Obama administration argued to have fulfilled the US' obligation under the treaty to investigate torture, even though Obama and his administration had warned Holder against initiating the very same investigation in the first place.
- The Obama administration deliberately ignored binding US and international law requiring the prosecution of those who authorized torture. The US had, decades ago, made the prosecution of any American - who committed or authorized torture, or extradited an individual to a country where they were likely to be tortured - legally binding on itself.
- Greenwald notes how the Convention Against Torture, which the US helped draft, decisively refutes all the excuses people have come up with, in an attempt to defend the Bush administrations's detainee torture and its lack of accountability by the Obama administration, i.e. "we were dealing with real threats; there were 'exceptional circumstances' that justified it; we enacted laws legalizing the torture; our leaders meant well; we need to move on".
- Furthermore, Greenwald points to International Law postulates recognised in the Charter and Judgement of the Nuremberg Tribunal which also in no uncertain terms criminalizes the actions of the US government and CIA agents alleged to be patriots, just following orders. "It's the classic Nuremberg defense -- though now (at least for ourselves) we expressly embrace it rather than emphatically reject it [emphasis added]," noted Greenwald.
- "It's just as simple as that. Once Eric Holder stated unequivocally that waterboarding is torture, and once a top Bush official used the word 'torture' to describe what the U.S. did at Guantánamo using authorized techniques other than waterboarding, the 'discretion' to investigate and prosecute disappeared-- at least for people who believe in the most basic precepts of the rule of law and equality under it, Western principles of justice established at Nuremberg, and the notion that the U.S. is bound by the treaties it signs. There simply is no way to argue against investigations and prosecutions... " — Glenn Greenwald (Binding U.S. law requires prosecutions for those who authorize torture)
- Greenwald and Chomsky also point out that the Iraq war was a war of aggression, which the Nuremberg Tribunal termed as the "kingpin" crime.(4:50)(7:34) "To initiate a war of aggression ... is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
- "Democratic Congressional leaders are doing now what they did throughout the Bush presidency: namely, pretending to oppose what was done while doing everything possible to protect and enable it and shield the wrongdoers from scrutiny (in large part because some of the wrongdoing was by their own party)." — Glenn Greenwald
- At-least up-to the end of 2014, a CIA contractor, David Passaro, remained the only individual convicted and who spent jail time for crimes related to post-9/11 torture,[n 52] while the CIA's Kabul station chief under whom the first detainee death occurred was promoted at-least three times after the incident.[n 53]
... if we don't have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years ... this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don't face any consequences if they abuse their power.
|— Paul Krugman, Forgive and Forget?|
Six years of Naught
- The investigation into CIA torture program, by the Senate Intelligence Committee, was prompted by a cover-up, involving the destruction of videotapes of brutal interrogations. The committee also contradicted years of CIA assurances of "enhanced techniques" being crucial and concluded "that the torture was an ineffective means of gathering intelligence on al-Qaida", and further that the CIA lied to its superiors.
- The 6,700 pages long report was the result of a six-year long investigation which involved 6.3 million pages of internal CIA documents, depicting CIA's torture far more brutal and far less effective than the agency had disclosed and additionally lied to two presidents, Congress and the US public. Additionally, the report concluded unequivocally that torture produced no valuable counter-terrorism intelligence.
- Even though Obama publicly insisted on the torture report's quick and thorough declassification, "he appointed the CIA itself as the lead agency to determine what aspects of a report directly implicating CIA activities the public can see."
- At the end of his presidency, Obama made the decision to keep the Senate torture report classified for at-least the next 12 years.[n 55] This, even though then-President-elect Trump had "repeatedly expressed a desire to make the CIA engage in torture once again." He would require the CIA to perform "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding" on terrorism suspects, Trump had declared during the campaign.
- CIA officials deeply involved in the torture program continued to remain and obtain promotions at the agency, while Republicans were up-to 2017, attempting to practically destroy the report. The Republican senator at the front of this endeavour termed the report nothing more than a "footnote in history."
Privilege for the privileged
- The state secrets privilege allows the government to simply "tell a judge that a matter in a lawsuit, or the very subject of a lawsuit, is so sensitive that national security trumps justice", resulting in rulings with no one even having verified the assertion. The allowance which began as only a limitation on what evidence can be disclosed, turned into a quick argument to get entire cases dismissed, becoming "a broad grant of immunity, a way for the executive branch to shield itself from judicial scrutiny." The Obama administration continued the Bush policy, and used the privilege to quash cases related to illegal wiretapping and detainee torture.
- Despite claiming to the contrary that the "state secrets privilege" will be used only when there's a possibility of "significant harm" to the country, and wouldn't be used to hide embarrassing or illegal government programs, the Obama administration like its predecessor, continued to invoke the privilege on cases left over from the previous administration as well as newer ones.
- Using this secrecy privilege, the Obama administration protected the Bush government and its accomplices from even domestic civil lawsuits brought by torture victims. One such case was a lawsuit against a Boeing subsidiary for its involvement in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" and torture program. According to one former employee, the firm's managing director was quoted to have said: "We do all the extraordinary renditions flights ... the torture flights. ... let's face it, some of those flights end up this way." For employees uncomfortable with the arrangement, he continued, "that's just the way it is, we're doing them". He explained the rendition flights services paid very well, the government didn't worry about the expenses involved.
- ACLU's lawyer commented on the case's dismissal: "This is a sad day not only for the torture victims whose attempt to seek justice has been extinguished, but for all Americans who care about the rule of law and our nation's reputation in the world. To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration's torture program has had his day in court. If today's decision is allowed to stand, the United States will have closed its courtroom doors to torture victims while providing complete immunity to their torturers." During the same period, Bush's CIA director appreciated invocation of the secrecy privilege, as he himself was named as a defendant in some of the cases.
International complicity and coercion
- Governments of Lithuania, Poland and Romania hosted secret CIA prisons.[n 56] The British government, on the other hand, was involved in illegal "extraordinary rendition" and torture. The next British government also actively tried to suppress documents related to the Blair government's complicity, a number of them completely blacked out leaving only the date. One January 2002 released document mentioned the government's "preferred options", stating: "Transfer of United Kingdom nationals held to a United States base in Guantánamo is the best way to meet our counter-terrorism objectives, to ensure they are securely held."
- The British government quickly became involved in the abduction and torture of suspects with few qualms given regarding the illegality of such actions. In one case Tony Blair's office deliberately intervened and forced the Foreign Office to violate its Vienna Convention legal obligation to provide consular assistance to a British national and therefore prevent his return to the UK. Such was the case, even though at the time, as one group of detainees counsel argued, the risk of getting tortured by the US was abundantly clear. The suspect was released without charge following his imprisonment in Guantánamo for two years and nine months. However, this "was not the only time the prime minister's office intervened to thwart attempts by Foreign Office officials to obtain a degree of protection for British citizens".
- First, Bush government officials pressured judicial proceedings of Italy and Germany and then Obama administration's protection of its predecessor did not stop at US borders. Democrats under Obama in collusion with Republicans attempted, and were apparently successful, to squash potential international prosecutions, such as those in Spain of high-ranking officials involved with the torture program.
- Criminal cases against US military and CIA agents have been brought in several European countries such as Switzerland, Spain and France. 13 CIA agents - for the rendition of a German citizen whose name happened to be similar to that of a wanted al-Qaeda militant - have been criminally indicted for years in Germany, and a further 22 along with a US Colonel convicted in absentia in Italy, but the Italian government refused to seek their extradition. Therefore, the court cases remain symbolic, for as long as US officials do not travel to countries which issued arrest warrants for them, they remain safe from prosecution.
- The Obama administration, once more following its predecessor's lead, even went to the extent of threatening its closest ally, the British government, in order to suppress information involving torture of its citizens by US officials.[n 57] After a British High Court ruled that Binyam Mohamed was subjected to brutal torture and was entitled to evidence from the British government and after the initiation of a formal police inquiry into allegations that British agencies collaborated in the torture, the US government threatened to no longer engage in intelligence-sharing with Britain in case the British court disclosed information related to the torture. "[I]t is almost certain that the United Kingdom's ability to identify and arrest suspected terrorists and to disrupt terrorist plots would be severely hampered", US officials wrote. Describing the situation, Greenwald wrote: "Just think how despicable that threat is: 'if your court describes the torture to which one of your residents was subjected while in U.S. custody, we will withhold information from you that could enable you to break up terrorist plots aimed at your citizens.'"
- In the July 2016 protests, Facebook was accused of censoring dozens of posts and user accounts either supporting the Kashmiri "freedom movement" or simply reporting on the incident.[n 58] One Facebook user was reported to have exclaimed: "Why is it that only Muslims get blocked? Facebook is being one-sided by supporting the atrocities committed by the Indian army. Other people can say whatever they want, but if Muslims say something, we get blocked. It is not neutral."
- In April 2017, a video clip started spreading on social media showing a Kashmiri man, Farooq Ahmad Dar, tied to the front bumper of a military jeep being used as a human shield against stone-throwing crowds. According to the victim, he was also beaten up before getting tied-up and paraded around at least nine villages. A piece of paper, with his name on it, was tied to his chest. "Look at the fate of the stone-pelter," a soldier announced over a loudspeaker. Dar happened to be one, amongst the low voter turnout of 7 percent. "I voted, and this is what I got in return," he said. "Do you think it will help India in Kashmir? No. It will give Kashmiris another reason to hate India." "I don't think anyone, who has seen what i have gone through, will vote".[n 59]
- NATO bombing of a Pakistani post which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Droned by drones
- American drone strikes, during one 5-month long period, killed unintended targets almost 90% of the time.
- From a 2014 article published in The Guardian: "For the death of a man whom practically no American can name, the US killed 128 people, 13 of them children, none of whom it meant to harm. ... Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people". In Pakistan, 24 men specifically targeted in multiple strikes resulted in the deaths of 874 people, including 142 children. Only 6 out of the 24 were killed as the intended victims of drone attacks. Similarly in Yemen, 17 were targeted, 273 killed including at-least seven children; by then, at-least four of the targets were still alive.[n 60]
- A 14-year old Yemeni boy killed in a drone strike, happened to have had given an interview shorty before his death. His parents and family had previously been murdered in drone strikes and he had watched them burn to death. "We get upset about beheadings. They get upset about seeing their father burn to death in a drone strike." Chomsky said. The boy "said they live in a situation of constant terror, not knowing when the person 10 feet away from you is suddenly going to be blown away."
- According to a 2012 The New York Times article, Obama, for ascertaining the number of civilian casualties in US military strikes, employed the method of "count[ing] all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants (...) unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent" [emphasis added].[n 61]
- 'Double-tap' strikes, in which American drones after striking at a target, wait and then fire, a second time, upon rescuers of their victims or even people gathered for the victims' funeral prayers.
- Drone strikes occur under a blanket of official secrecy, often run by the CIA which is not required to answer queries. Even though the Obama administration has repeatedly promised greater openness about the drone program, during his presidency it has become more difficult "for journalists to obtain information from the government on the results of particular strikes." And his Justice Department "has fought in court for years to keep secret the legal opinions justifying strikes."
- There also have been some terrorists who claimed to have plotted attacks because of American drone strikes.
- Some argue that the drone program amounts to war crimes.
- Bush's CIA director revealed in a 2012 lecture that while continuing a multitude of his predecessor's terrorism-related policies, Obama differed by instead of capturing and torturing so-called "enemy combatants" or terrorism suspects, he killed them. "We have made it so politically dangerous and so legally difficult that we don't capture anyone anymore," the former Director said. "We take another option, we kill them. Now. I don't morally oppose that." In 2013, the lawyer who wrote the White House lethal drone strikes policy also accused the Obama administration of overusing those drone strikes due to a preference to kill rather than capture.(10:38) "This government has decided that instead of detaining members of al-Qaida [at Guantánamo] they are going to kill them," he told a conference.
Of a Lesser God
- On April 2015, the killing of two Western civilians in one of Obama's drone strikes led to an "unprecedented pressure" on the drone program and additionally forced the Obama administration to reveal an "unprecedented amount of information about what would typically be a highly classified operation". "I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to their families", Obama said. He had decided to make the existence of the operation public because the victims' families "deserve to know the truth" and said "the United States is a democracy, committed to openness, in good times and in bad". Obama spoke with the Italian victim's wife, and the Italian prime minister. "As a husband and a father I cannot begin to imagine the anguish that the [victims'] families are enduring today," he said. "I realise that there are no words that can ever equal their loss. There is nothing that I can ever say or do to ease their heartache." This incident was the closest Obama had ever come to "directly and candidly addressing civilian casualties in the CIA's drone war in Pakistan in public."
- This unprecedented "acceptance of responsibility" by the American administration and Obama, remained absent for the numerous prior confirmed cases of Pakistani civilian deaths which included many women and children.
- Such a state of affairs led many Muslims to conclude the unequal nature of Muslim lives, even their children's, as compared to western adults, in the eyes of most (if not all) westerners. A Pakistani attorney representing the drone victims' families argued that Obama's apology sent a message to the victims, "that you do not matter, you are children of a lesser God, and I'm only going to mourn if a Westerner is killed."
- Rafiq ur-Rehman, whose mother was killed and children seriously injured by a 2012 drone strike in Pakistan, told the Guardian: "If America kills any westerner, one of their own, white people, they apologize and compensate. But if it's Pakistanis like us, they don't care. In my opinion, America treats us worse than animals."
- When Rehman's family went to meet with US lawmakers on October 20, 2013, a total of five members of Congress showed up.
- A January 2017 Yemeni Yakla raid by the US left nine children under the age of 13 dead, the youngest being three months old. A further eight women were also killed, "including one who was heavily pregnant. Seven more women and children were injured." US officials commented that the raid was "very, very well thought out and executed", called it "a successful operation by all standards", "It achieved the purpose it was going to get - save the loss of life that we suffered and the injuries that occurred".
- Repeated bombings of Al Jazeera offices by the US, in 2001 Kabul and in 2003 Baghdad.
- According to one 2017 research, terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims received, on average, 449% more coverage than other attacks.
- Glenn Greenwald argues that almost every time a US drone strike kills Muslims, the American media publish headlines claiming the dead to be "militants", "even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed. ... simply cit[ing] always-unnamed 'officials'"
- Incidents of the BBC allegedly falsifying information to support US agenda. Cases like broadcasting a video of an Indian gathering and wrongly claiming it to be a live broadcast of the Libyan people celebrating NATO backed intervention in Tripoli; or the fabricated video of the aftermath of an attack in Syria supporting the US governments claims that chemical weapons had been used.
- The Bureau of Investigative Journalism displayed how a professionally put map, purporting to show the spread of "refugee and migrant crime" throughout Germany, was systematically designed to mislead, exaggerating the figures through "skewed use of statistics."
- On October 11, 2017, a non-Muslim planted an improvised ANFO bomb in a North Carolina airport leading to closing of the airport's Terminal Drive, part of a terminal, concourse and the street leading to the airport. The bomb was packed with nails and a shotgun cartridge, and scheduled to blow when a fresh round of travellers was to arrive at the airport. The would-be bomber openly admitted that he was "preparing to fight a war on U.S. soil". As the incident went largely uncovered, US media was criticised for its hypocritical reaction to the incident as compared to when a Muslim is even allaeged to have been involved in a terrorism incident.[n 62]
Regarding the incident,
- Noam Chomsky has argued that if the Nuremberg principles were to be applied, every post-World War II American president would be indictable.
- "More than any other power, we have the resources to contribute to freedom, human rights and social and economic development; just as we have the power to destroy and oppress, which is just what the United States government will continue to do if its citizens choose the easy path of obedience and apathy." – Noam Chomsky, Debate on US foreign policy, Ohio State University (1988)
- "And we must make it clear to every man, woman and child around the world who lives under the dark cloud of tyranny that America will speak out on behalf of their human rights, and tend to the light of freedom, and justice, and opportunity, and respect for the dignity of all peoples. That is who we are. That is the source -- the moral source of America's authority. ... For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation's resources... [emphasis added]" — Obama, West Point (Dec. 2009)
- In the 2016 Turkey coup attempt, Western media was found to present itself as non-objective outlets, and in some cases their leaning in favour of the coup plotters became evident. According to some opinions, instead of promoting the incredible response of the Turkish people for the safeguard of their democratic values, at-least some Western media outlets gave more importance to news (or opinions) showing the Turkish government in a bad light. The New York Times tweeted one such opinion with the words: "The Erdogan supporters are sheep, and they will follow whatever he says." A July 2016 analysis on a Fox News opinion page declaring that "Turkey's last hope dies" is opined to be a good representation of disappointment on the part of some Western actors for failure of the coup.
- In 2013 US media was overwhelmingly involved in accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons (Sarin gas) for the purpose of murdering and "gassing his own people". This was followed by vehement pressure on the Obama administration to use military force against the Syrian government. Later on, Seymour Hersh published evidence disproving the Syrian government's links with the chemical attack.[n 63] Even though in a 2017 article listing Bashar al-Assad's atrocities, the New York Times ommitted the 2013 attack, it never directly disowned its earlier accusations, thus allowing the perception to be sustained that Assad was responsible for the 2013 attack. Robert Parry wrote regarding the matter: "Indeed, the 2013 sarin case has become a perfect example of how the major U.S. media often jumps to conclusions and then refuses to back down regardless of the ensuing evidence."
- Regarding the alleged Syrian gas attacks, Chomsky argues that some notable scholars had refuted the official narrative regarding who was to blame for the attacks. The New York Times, reported on some of these so called conspiracy theories, however, the article, apparently deliberately, picked completely unknown and non-credible people. This made it easy to refute those alternate theories thereby giving the impression that all alternate theories had been refuted. The paper "systematically avoided every credible source", Chomsky said.
- Regarding Trump's missile attacks on a Syrian airfield, Chomsky argued that since it didn't cause any real damage, it appeared to be just a show for the domestic audience.
- The Bush administration and then after taking office, Obama, pushed to deny suspects arrested outside of war zones access to US courts, preventing them from challenging the basis for their imprisonment without a trial. This allowed the Obama administration to "hold terrorism suspects overseas for indefinite periods without judicial oversight."
- A 2013 poll of over 66,000 respondents from 65 countries showed that the US was considered to be the "greatest threat to peace in the world today".[n 65] According to Chomsky, this poll wasn't even reported in the United States.(10:55)
- A campaign statement by Donald Trump suggested he viewed civilian casualties as inevitable, or even necessary. "The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families, ... When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families."
The insecure righteous
- In 2001, the US refused to ratify the ICC statute, allegedly afraid its own leaders may become defendants in war crimes prosecutions. Bush cited fears of unjust American prosecutions for political reasons. By late 2016, the US had still not joined the global court.
- International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors in 2017 began seeking approval to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan – almost a year after stating they would decide "imminently" on the matter. "The ICC is a court of last resort that takes on cases only when other countries are unable or unwilling to prosecute." In 2016, the US claimed the investigation was not "warranted or appropriate". "The United States is deeply committed to complying with the law of war, and we have a robust national system of investigation and accountability that more than meets international standards [emphasis added]", said a US spokeswoman.[n 66]
- Previously, the US enacted the American Servicemembers' Protection Act of 2002 (also known as the Netherlands(10:14) or "Hague Invasion Act") which authorised the US President to use "all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any [U.S. or allied person] who is being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court." The Act also "provides for the withdrawal of U.S. military assistance from countries ratifying the ICC treaty, and restricts U.S. participation in United Nations peacekeeping unless the United States obtains immunity from prosecution. At the same time, these provisions can be waived by the president on 'national interest' grounds."[n 67]
- In Sep. 2018, in the event of charges being brought up against citizens of the US, Israel and other US allies, the US began to threaten arrest, financial sanctions, travel bans and criminal charges against judges and other officials of the court. Moreover, "[w]e will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans", said one US official.
How could anyone hate us?
- A 2004 report by the Defense Science Board Task Force handpicked by Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, to review and assess the Bush administration's anti-terrorism efforts, principally the wars being waged in Afghanistan and Iraq, tried to answer the question "Why do they hate us?", they being Muslim populations. The report argued American direct intervention in the Muslim world" — through our "one sided support in favor of Israel"; support for Islamic tyrannies in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and, most of all, "the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan" as some of the causes. The report also said that: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies." And nothing fuels the Islamic radicals' case against the U.S. more than ongoing American occupation of Muslim countries.
- According to Chomsky, an answer similar to the one in the Defense Science Board report was concluded regarding a similar matter by the National Security Council back in 1958. "They pointed out that there's a perception in the Arab world that the United States supports" brutal and oppressive status quo regimes "and does so in order to secure its own interests in obtaining oil," and then continued by saying that, "it's hard to counter this perception because it's correct. They said it's natural for the United States to link itself up with the status quo regimes and try to sustain them and to pursue its interest in obtaining oil. So the end result is that there's a campaign of hatred against us among the people who we're basically robbing and on whom we're imposing harsh, brutal, repressive and corrupt regimes, and it's pretty difficult to counter that campaign."
- Chomsky explains that Muslims "see America responsible for the death of thousands of Iraqis, for the suffering of Palestinians and for the policies which prevent economic development in these countries". However, the view given to the public is entirely different: "We are hated because we are the champions of capitalism, individualism and democracy, notions that should become natural everywhere". "The only way we can put a permanent end to terrorism is to stop participating in it," he said.
Celebrating war criminals
|“||In George W. Bush's home state of Texas, if you are an ordinary citizen found guilty of capital murder, the mandatory sentence is either life in prison or the death penalty. If, however, you are a former president of the United States responsible for initiating two illegal wars of aggression, which killed 7,000 U.S. servicemen and at least 210,000 civilians, displaced more than 10 million people from their homes, condoned torture, initiated a global drone assassination campaign, and imprisoned people for years without substantive evidence or trial in Guantanamo Bay, the punishment evidently is to be given the Thayer Award at West Point.||”|
|— Erik Edstrom, George W. Bush Receives a Character Award at West Point: Duty, Honor, Atrocity|
- The awarding of Barack Obama with the Noble Peace Prize.
- The normalization of Dick Cheney to the extent of him, without any repercussions, advocating for torture years after leaving office.
The Sledgehammer effect
- After the 2003 Iraq invasion, the size of several terrorist groups grew and numerous new organizations were introduced. 33 new organizations became active just in 2014. According to US State Department data, in 2002, only 725 people were killed worldwide due to terrorism, however, by 2010, the figure had risen to 13,186, 17,891 in 2013 which increased a further 83% to 32,727 in the next year. This amounts to an increase of more than 4,500% from the 2002 figures.
- The University of Chicago's Chicago Project on Security & Threats (CPOST), is a comprehensive database of all suicide attacks from 1974 to 2016.
- According to its data, in all of the 28 years before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan experienced a total of 5 suicide attacks – Afghanistan (2), Pakistan (3) – resulting in 47 deaths.
- After the Iraq invasion, just the single year of 2003 surpassed the entire previous 28 years record with 40 attacks – Afghanistan (2), Iraq (35),[n 68] Pakistan (3) – and 301 deaths. This amounts to an increase in per-year fatalities of ~18,000%[n 69] The fatalities increased a further ~6 times the next year.
Warmongering over several Muslim nations
- After 9/11, Project for the New American Century, "released a letter to the president saying that we should target terrorism wherever it exists, even if it means conducting military operations against Iraq, Syria, Iran."
- According to Wesley Clark, after 9/11 on the 20th of September he was told by a general who once used to be his subordinate: "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq." On asking why, the general replied, "I don't know. I guess they don't know what else to do." On being asked whether some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda have been found, he denied and replied: "There's nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq. I guess it's like we don't know what to do about terrorists, but we've got a good military, and we can take down governments. I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail." A few weeks later, when the US bombing campaign over Afghanistan was underway, Clark again met with the general and asked: "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" The general replied "Oh, it's worse than that." He picked up a memo from the Secretary of Defense's office, and said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran [emphasis added]."(12:00)
- The lesson taught by Western powers to world nations after their use of direct military strength to overthrow Gaddafi was, to "never ever give up chemical weapons or a nuclear weapons program", no matter what the costs. Regarding North Korea's nukes, Trump's intelligence chief said in 2017 that the Koreans have understood that having nukes ascertains significant deterrence capability. "The lessons that we learned out of Libya giving up its nukes and Ukraine giving up its nukes is unfortunately if you had nukes, never give them up. If you don't have them, get them..."
- Jonathan Schwarz points to numerous documents by American Foreign Policy elite, as evidence to prove that, "it was the explicit policy of the U.S. to get countries to disarm so that we would be able to attack them." He continues: "we don't oppose countries like Iraq, Libya and Iran having WMD because we're scared they're going to attack us with them. Instead, we oppose them having WMD because that would allow them to deter us from attacking them."
Terrorists, but Our terrorists
- Chomsky believes the phenomenon of "terrorism" being defined as "what they do to us, excluding what we do to them", has been deeply ingrained in the American state religion for quite some time.
- Regarding the apparent acceptance among US intellectuals, of the idea that terrorist harbouring states are the same as terrorist states, and should be bombed, invaded and subjected to regime change, Chomsky points out some terrorist harbouring by the US itself.
- Terrorists such as CIA linked Orlando Bosch, described by US authorities themselves, as head of "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization" and an "unrepentant terrorist", accused of taking part in Operation Condor and several terrorist attacks, including the bombing of a civilian airliner – which killed all 73 people on board including some from the Cuban fencing team and North Koreans – and even some bombings on US soil. Bosch was protected and provided a safe haven in the US by George H. W. Bush.
- A well-known American liberal columnist,(16:30) and a strong Obama supporter, basically justified the killing of 4-year-old Muslim girls if it limits the possibility of the deaths of American children.
Worse than Hate
- Noam Chomsky criticises the moral superiority and righteousness ascribed-to by some intellectual Americans, regarding collateral damage due to the actions of their own government over groups who intentionally set out to harm civilians.
- "Evidently, a crucial case is omitted, which is far more depraved than massacring civilians intentionally. Namely, knowing that you are massacring them but not doing so intentionally because you don't regard them as worthy of concern. That is, you don't even care enough about them to intend to kill them. Thus when I walk down the street, if I stop to think about it I know I'll probably kill lots of ants, but I don't intend to kill them, because in my mind they do not even rise to the level where it matters. There are many such examples. To take one of the very minor ones, when Clinton bombed the al-Shifa pharmaceutical facility in Sudan, he and the other perpetrators surely knew that the bombing would kill civilians (tens of thousands, apparently). But Clinton and associates did not intend to kill them, because by the standards of Western liberal humanitarian racism, they are no more significant than ants. Same in the case of tens of millions of others. ... It should be unnecessary to comment on how Western humanists would react if Iranian-backed terrorists destroyed half the pharmaceutical supplies in Israel, or the US, or any other place inhabited by human beings." — Noam Chomsky
- Arnett reported the correspondents were informed that their report was not subject to any censorship "nor would there be any Iraqi authorities with him as he gave the report. He was free to report exactly what he saw."
- According to different studies, the 500,000 figure varies from 170,000 – 567,000. Whatever the actual figure may be, it does not take away from the fact that the percentage error has to be 99.4008% for it to be lesser than the figure of 2,996 casualties for the September 11 attacks. More recent research by Michael Spagat in 2010 also questions the half a million figure, but it still leaves us with the reality that for about 15 years (9 of which after the 9/11 attacks) this did not create a similar effect as 9/11 did.
- Albright later regretted her answer and claimed that the question was a "trap" and she had mistakenly said something that she "simply did not mean". An outcome not difficult to dismiss as a saving face tactic by the critics. On another occasion Albright said: "We had sanctions on Iraq then, and I was instructed to keep saying terrible things about Saddam Hussein." This would seem to indicate that the American government did believe the alleged righteousness of their goals wasn't convincing enough.
- FAIR gets criticized as leaning towards and having affinity for the left instead of being completely impartial in contrast to what their name and claims would suggest.
- This charge was flatly denied by Richard Butler (the UNSCOM director from 1997 to 1999).
- Other notable statements from this press release: "You have set up a very effective example of the way we need to go on to fight and to defeat terrorism." — Uribe. "... they [al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein] work in concert. The danger is, is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons of mass destruction around the world. (...) I am absolutely determined to make sure that 10 years from now we don't look back and say, what happened, why did America go soft, why did we ignore true threats that face our people?" — Bush.
- As Julin Brookes at Mother Jones pointed out, this was in part technically true. Nobody said "Saddam ordered the attack".
- "States that use DU defend its use on the basis of it being specifically for engaging armoured vehicles; evidence from Iraq suggests that it has been used against a far wider range of targets, and in populated areas. This is highly problematic because of the indiscriminate nature of DU dust.":4 The health effects are disputed by the US and UK governments, who joined with France and Israel to vote against a resolution calling for "a precautionary approach" to the use of DU weapons at the United Nations general assembly in December; 155 countries voted in favour of the resolution. By 2013, although long-term studies on civilian populations had not been conducted, a "large number of in vivo and in vitro studies have proven the carcinogenicity of DU".:11
- The survey regarding infant mortality, shows a marked increase of 136 per 1,000 births after 2009 as compared to 80 per 1,000 births for the entire duration of the study.
- Relative Risk based on the Egypt and Jordan cancer rates were apparently used to find these cancer increases. From January, 2005 to February, 2010, for cancer (all malignancies) RR was equal to 4.22, for childhood cancer 0–14 (RR = 12.6), all leukaemias in the age groups 0–34 (RR = 38.5), lymphomas 0–34 (RR = 9.24) female breast cancer 0–44 (RR = 9.7) and brain tumours all ages (RR = 7.4).
- "The ratio of boys to 1,000 girls in the 0–4, 5–9, 10–14 and 15–19 age cohorts in the Fallujah sample was 860, 1,182, 1,108 and 1,010 respectively suggesting genetic damage to the 0–4 group (p < 0.01)."
- "Results showed statistically significant presence of enriched Uranium with a mean of 129 with SD5.9 (for this determination, the natural Uranium 95% CI was 132.1 < Ratio < 144.1)." The research paper concluded, "... none of the elements found in excess are reported to cause congenital diseases and cancer except Uranium, these findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases. Questions are thus raised about the characteristics and composition of weapons now being deployed in modern battlefields". However, there has been criticisms of Dr Busby's work, also and critics have used such to dismiss the entire issue.
- Some sources report the age as two years.
- There is some confusion regarding whether a pay cut was included or not.
- There is some confusion on whether the rank reduction was a replacement for the 90 days confinement or both could've still been implemented, but only one was.
- The bodies were found buried in one room, however, accounts differ on whether the civilians were gathered in one room before or after they were shot.
- The author's proposed title was, however, "Haditha Massacre Sentence Outrageous But Correct".
- US officials claimed that this was done to track the spread of al-Qaeda propaganda material and portray the organization in a negative light.
- These segments and other commercials were meant to show Iraqi insurgents, such as al-Qaeda, in a negative light, however, they still maintain their definition as propaganda pieces.
- US officials claimed that "all information used for marketing these stories is completely factual", the project was to improve public opinion about the US and counter misinformation by their adversaries.
- Note that there were also separate uses of the same phrase by Bush on other lesser controversial matters.
- Leo Casey argues against the 50% claim and another regarding the possible death toll of tens of thousands as consequence to the factory's destruction. A debate goes on regarding this issue between Casey and Noam Chomsky. Chomsky argues that the actual death toll, because a lack of adequate data collection, will remain unknown even if the figure was much more than the "tens of thousands" estimate. Casey additionally argues that the Sudan government could have easily imported any replacement medicine. Critics point out that costlier imported medicine was unlikely to have been a viable option for the Sudanese poor, a nation where 46.5% of the population lived beneath national poverty lines. Al-Shifa was the only pharmaceutical factory producing TB drugs - for more than 100,000 patients, at about £1 a month.
- US officials, at the time, countered this evidence for Al-Shifa's legitimacy by pointing out that even if legitimate pharmaceuticals were produced, it did not contradict their claim that the factory was also producing precursor chemical weapons.
- The attack happened on August 20, 1998 and the cited study incorporated material published up to October 15, 1998.
- This could have been, possibly a mere co-incidence. The case, however, was dismissed by the court applying political question doctrine.
- The DIA concluded that at least a fourth of the detainees the U.S. has released from Guantánamo – majority of whom were released in big-batch transfers under Bush – were confirmed or suspected of later engaging in terrorism or insurgent activity.
- "All of the white phosphorus shells that Human Rights Watch found came from the same lot manufactured in the United States in 1989 by Thiokol Aerospace, which was running the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant at the time. In addition, on January 4, 2009, Reuters photographed IDF artillery units handling projectiles whose markings indicate that they were produced in the United States at the Pine Bluff Arsenal in September 1991."
- An Israeli Defence Forces Intelligence Service document entitled "The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine in the Period 1/12/1947 – 1/6/1948" dated 30 June 1948, detailed 11 factors which caused the exodus, and lists them "in order of importance".
- This report was published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs which gets criticized by pro-Israel organizations as being "anti-Israel".
- On 16th July, Mohyeldin was told to leave Gaza immediately by NBC. The network cited "security concerns" as Israel prepared for a ground invasion as the motivation for the order. But in an apparent display of self-contradiction, NBC also sent Richard Engel, along with an American producer who had previously never been to the area and spoke no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault. Two days later, NBC "reversed its decision" and agreed to send Mohyeldin back to Gaza.
- A detailed article was written by the organization Muftah on these protests.
- Sir Duncan's critique involved him believing settlements on occupied Palestinian land represented an "ever-deepening stain on the face of the globe" and likening the situation in Hebron in the occupied West Bank to apartheid. The Israeli embassy later apologised for the actions of its official to Sir Duncan.
- Kevin Poulsen, however, argued that there actually was "a ton of evidence tying Moscow to the ... hack" but US intelligence agencies fell short in appropriately presenting them. While on the other hand, Jeffrey Carr was reported to have said, "There is not now and never has been a single piece of technical evidence produced that connects the malware used in the D.N.C. attack to the G.R.U., F.S.B. or any agency of the Russian government".
- The role of Tzipi Livni was praised by both Israeli and American officials for her extraordinary efforts to move the peace process forward. However, even she was intolerant on allowing individual Palestinian refugees the right to return.
- Duration of the military presence was left to the two sides to negotiate. Netanyahu agreed to the presence of an international force along with the IDF.
- An Israeli official noted that Netanyahu was agreeable to include this as a future aspiration, that it would not be possible to achieve a final agreement without the Jerusalem issue's reoslution. According to the official, Netanyahu accepted that without a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem there would be no agreement, but due to political concerns he wasn't ready to make a statement regarding the subject at that stage.
- Although, "along with the bombing," the US also dropped rations packages too.
- Vast majority of civilian deaths, up-to 80 percent of them, are caused by insurgents.
- The Americans claimed that they were first fired upon by heavy weapons and they acted in self-defence. However, "in the days before the raid, the American investigators found no evidence of anti-aircraft weapons at the bombed sites."
- The pentagon later announced it would pay compensation to the victims of the attack.
- All in all, their superiors appeared to be more willing to investigate the allegations than their American counterparts.
- A decorated special forces veteran explained how the culture of protectionism among Australian soldiers spread partly in response to a 2009 incident. One commando, acting under orders and under fire threw a grenade into a house inadvertently killing a number of children. Charges of manslaughter were made against two soldiers which were later dropped before the trial began. "They acted professionally, they sought immediately to help the people that were injured, they never tried to cover up the story, they reported it correctly and it should have ended it there and then but obviously there was a punitive response by Defence and the end state was there developed an atmosphere of protectionism ... That level of protectionism consequently developed into an ability to act with impunity in the field, where guys realised there was a lack of consequence, which develops further into an ability to act recklessly with engagements where potentially civilians or non-combatants were engaged due to reckless firing of weapons, or reckless use of supporting platforms."
- While, some argued against the legitimacy of the tape, the Muckraker Report believed the tape to have had been authentic, the CIA already cognizant of it, having arranged the taping and that too probably even before the Afghanistan invasion. This, however, still leaves the issue that evidently convincing evidence was not provided to the Taliban.
- i.e. In return for evidence, extradition to a third neutral country that would never "come under pressure from the United States"
- Although it is likely, but The Washington Post article did not explicitly mention whether this proposal was also rejected or not.
- Chomsky argues that the argument of "well, you can't trust them" – and therefore ignore promising diplomatic resolutions "literally without comment", in favour of increased militaristic force – is a common repeated feature of US politics related to foreign governments.
- Reluctant supporters of the policy argue the arrangement to be pragmatic, encouraging the warlords to engage in political rather than militant activities.
- However, there would be some dispute on this, since the US in May, 2001 applauded the Taliban's very successful ban on poppy cultivation and additionally announced food aid worth $43 million for Afghanistan, to be distributed thorugh non-governmental organizations.
- In his answer the American official also assumes bin Laden's involvement in the 9/11 attacks. This being quite fallacious as the demand of evidence for this particular assumption was exactly the original question, and instead of providing it he assumes it to be true. A UN order is also mentioned to prove the Taliban's guilt, possibly the one to which the Taliban responded by suggesting handing over bin Laden to a panel having Islamic jurists on it.
- The British Parliament briefing papers provided legal justifications for the war, such as self-defence, bin Laden's involvement in the attacks, the Taliban not fulfilling UN demands to ensure its territory is "not used for the preparation of terrorist actions, and hand over Mr bin Laden to justice." However, "International law must be clearly distinguished from the use of force for revenge or punishment; states, like persons, must not act as vigilantes. Second, in criminal law, self-defence may be invoked in the face of an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm. In general, the threat must be immediate and the response must not be pushed beyond what is reasonably required to repel that threat. Therefore, in general, self-defence may not be invoked to justify physical retaliation to an attack a few weeks after it occurs." Additionally, denial of providing evidence to the Taliban regarding bin Laden's involvement in the attacks and multiple Taliban proposals to "hand over Mr bin Laden to justice" are not commented upon.
- Crawford had also dismissed war-crime charges against the tortured detainee, apparently due to the abuse.
- The prosecution was, ironically, allowed by an amendment to the Patriot Act. Some low-level military personnel were also prosecuted for other cases of detainee abuse.
- The CIA's Baghdad station chief had a rank demotion following the death of an Abu Ghraib detainee.
- The death initially reported as a "heart attack", became suspect after three US army personnel came forward to testify.
- Although, this way Obama did protect the report from the danger of the Republicans destroying it.
- Some Muslim governments were also complicit in this behaviour.
- Although, some speculate that this was done at the British government's' request, so as to be provide it with a viable excuse to not disclose embarrassing information related to torture.
- Facebook claimed that it was censoring support for terrorists. A significant number of Kashmiris, however, did not view the movement as "terrorism". "What the rest of the country called 'terrorism', took the concrete, believable form of a 'rebellion' for them with Burhan's face to promote it. (...) YouTube is abound with videos of Burhan Wani--one uploaded as recently as 20 May--that clearly underscores why he had turned into an icon for enraged Kashmiri youngsters. Some of the videos portray Wani and his accomplices as regular youngsters--giggling, cracking jokes and occasionally humming as they sit around a wildfire, earphones plugged. Another shows Burhan and his friends playing cricket."
- Local Kashmiri youths had been involved in "heckling and kicking security forces". The government defended the incident arguing that it was the "smart thing" to do in order to defuse "a nasty situation".
- There also have been some rare drone strikes noted for their high precision, which not only did no harm to any individual other than the intended target but also prevented any structural damage to the surrounding buildings as well.
- Ironically, a methodology of similar logic is applied by Muslim terrorists when justifying suicide attacks involving, aside from the intended target, the likelihood of collateral damage of, even by their standards, innocent civilians. The guilty will be dispatched to Hell and the innocent will be saved and sent to Heaven, they argue. Different justifications, similar pragmatic results.
- Although the criminal appears Caucasian, he is identified as "American Indian/Alaskan Native" in the Buncombe County Detention Center records. Some argued that the lack of attention was due to the attack's prevention, similar to some potential Muslim attacks that had been ignored in the past. However, critics argued that the shoe and underwear bombers' plans also happened to be foiled plots.
- Unlike Seymour Hersh, however, there were many others convinced of the Syrian government's link to the Ghouta chemical attack. Previously, The New York Times had to back away from a front-page report which using a "vector analysis" placed the site of the sarin missile launch at a Syrian military base which was later demonstrated to be incorrect by MIT professor Theodore Postol.
- Although the author is quite sure of this but can't be a hundred percent on it, as certain facts regarding the matter remain quite literally, unbelievable.
- Pakistan was second with a third of the US vote, China third, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea at the fourth place.
- The Afghan government had also been guilty of attempting to block the ICC investigation.
- Although, "[t]he administration never misses an opportunity to gratuitously antagonize its allies on the ICC," said an HRW official. "But it's also true that the new law has more loopholes than a block of Swiss cheese."
- Technically, this is an increase of infinite times, since the preceding figure was 0.
- 17,832 to be exact, or 178.32 times the original.
- 151,636 to be exact, or 1,516.36 times the original.
- Technically, it wasn't a Presidential pardon.
- Lived, as he died in 2011.
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