Govt Report 2001 - The US's 'central
dilemma' today is that 'the American
people continue to demand plentiful and cheap energy without sacrifice
The 20th century history of the Middle East shows the US+Britain prepared to overthrow
governments, install rulers, invent countries, sponsor war, break promises and
generally do whatever it takes to guarantee a ready supply of / control over that essential
commodity - oil. This has understandably created a large amount of resentment
throughout the Middle East, which the war with Iraq has only intensied.
It is essential to understand this history before backing yet another conflict in the Middle
East, if only to understand why the US+Britain are not seen as liberators, or why some
Arabs might feel inclined to fly a jetplane into the WTC.
The last secret meeting between US officials and the Taliban is held, in a
last ditch attempt to secure a pipeline deal. Talks break off, with the US allegedy
delivering a final ultimatum of 'accept our carpet of gold (oil pipeline), or
you will receive a carpet of bombs'. While some question whether this was in fact
said (see article), the point is that talks which had been talking place for months over
a pipeline deal in Afghanistan finally broke down.
White House announces 10 new bases in Afghanistan 'in hopes of boosting reconstruction
efforts and regional security', whose locations
coincide with the route proposed by Unocal in 1998 for a gas pipeline
from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan.
The following gives a summary of Iraq's history from WWI up to the first Gulf War,
focusing on how US and British actions have shaped this history. This historical context is
important to understand when looking at what is happening in Iraq today (see the in-depth section
on the Iraq War).
The war has made everyone realise the strategic importance of oil, so even before the peace
conference begins in Paris in 1919 some underhand oil trading takes place. France, for example,
gives Britain the oil-rich area around Mosul in Iraq, in exchange for a share of the oil and
"a free hand" in Syria. Unfortunately, Britain had already promised Syria to the Syrians. It
becomes obvious to the Arabs that the guarantees of freedom and independence made during the
war by Britain and France would now mean nothing.
This is confirmed at the peace conference when the oil companies press their
governments to renounce all wartime promises to the Arabs - oil concessions and royalties
would be easier to negotiate with a series of rival Arab states, lacking any sense of unity,
than with a powerful independent Arab state in the Middle East.
At the Paris Peace Conference, Lawrence of Arabia warns England and the world that
unless the Arab world are granted their promised freedom and independence, his
great-grandchildren might one day have to fight a war in Iraq wearing gas masks.
A commission set up by President Wilson warns that independence for states such as
Palestine, Syria and Iraq, should be granted as soon as possible. Further, the idea
of making Palestine into a Jewish commonwealth should be dropped.
The report is ignored, and rather than grant the Arab nations their promised independence,
the whole Arab rectangle lying between the Mediterranean and the Persian frontier, including
Palestine, is placed under mandates to suit the foreign policies of Britain and France.
The Arabs have simply exchanged one imperial ruler, Turkey, for another, the West.
Revolution begins almost immediately. The Iraqis try to kick out the British by raiding British
establishments and killing British troops. The British army retaliates with collective
punishment, burning to the ground every village from which any such attack was mounted.
Lawrence of Arabia writes to The Times suggesting, with heavy irony, that burning villages
was not very efficient. "By gas attacks, the whole population of offending districts could
be wiped out neatly, and as a method of government, it would be no more immoral than the
The grim truth was that something along these lines was being considered. Churchill, then
Secretary of State for Air and War, suggested that the RAF should take on the job of
subduing Iraq: '<i>It would ... entail the provision of some kind of asphyxiating bombs
calculated to cause disablement of some kind but not death ... for use in preliminary
operations against turbulent tribes.</i>' In the end the RAF stuck to conventional
high-explosive bombs, a method we are still using today.
England installs Feisal as king of Iraq, kidnapping his popular opponent Sayid Taleb - who
had gained popular support by threatening a nationwide revolt
if the Iraqis were not allowed to choose their own leader - and dispatching him to Ceylon
(what is now Sri Lanka).
Feisal wins the election to become kind by one of those suspiciously high majorities 96.8%,
and he and his descendants hold power (interrupted by a few coups) for 30-odd years.
Meanwhile, Britain installs Feisal's brother Abdullah as king of Jordan, and provides him with
money and troops in return for his promise to suppress anti-Zionist activity.
The US and UK back a coup against King Faisal II (who had himself been installed by the British),
following a pattern whereby British intelligence had murdered almost every Iraqi leader and
king since the first world war, usually because they all called for the return of Kuwait.
He is killed and replaced with Abdel Karim Qassim.
CIA employs Saddam Hussein in a botched attempted assassination of Kassim. The CIA then
helps Saddam escape through Tikrit into Syria, where the CIA pays for his apartment
and puts him through a brief training course.
Current president (Abdul Karim Kassim) nationalises part of the concession of the
British-controlled Iraq Petroleum. He further annoys the US by restoring diplomatic
relations with the Soviet Union, lifting a ban on the Communist Party in Iraq, and
calling for the return of Kuwait.
Iraq fights a war with Iran. During this war, Saddam commits the atrocities which the Bush
Administration now condemns him for - the use of chemical weapons against the Iranians. Despite
these atrocities being well known to the US, the US sold many chemical/biological agents to Iraq
during this time, including many strains of anthrax, and also provided cluster bombs and
Throughout the war the US also provided strategic operational advice to the Iraqis, such as
a secret message from Reagan to Saddam in 1986 telling him that Iraq should step up its
air war and bombing of Iran, and intelligence assistance to Iraq during the war in the
form of satellite photography to help the Iraqis understand how Iranian forces were deployed.
Shortly after the secretary of state, George Shultz, is passed intelligence reports of "almost
daily use of CW [chemical weapons]" by Iraq, Ronald Reagan signs a secret order instructing the
administration to do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq losing the war.
Donald Rumsfeld meets Saddam Hussein the following month in Baghdad and passes on
the US willingness to help his regime and restore full diplomatic relations.
US releases following statement 'The United States finds the present Iranian
regime's intransigent refusal to deviate from its avowed objective of eliminating
the legitimate government of neighboring Iraq to be inconsistent with the accepted
norms of behavior among nations and the moral and religious basis which it claims.'
Or were they referring to Bush's policy today?
Right up to the time of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, US Department of Defense training
manuals sang the praises of Saddam Hussein, noting how he had vastly improved education,
medical care, and the standard of living of his people. His regime was called one of the
most enlightened, progressive governments in the region. This was in an official DoD
document used in the education of high-ranking officers of all the military services.
Iran's Parliament votes to nationalize the oil industry, and legislators backing the
law elect its leading advocate, Dr. Mossadegh, as prime minister. Britain, not happy with
for the oil nationalization, responds with threats and sanctions.
The CIA, through SAVAK - the Iranian secret police - launchs a reign of terror on
the civilian population. In 1976, Amnesty International said SAVAK had the worst human
rights record on the planet, their CIA-textbook torture techniques were 'beyond belief.'
Growing opposition to the dictatorship
of the Shah causes him to flee, and he is replaced by the leader of
the Shah's opponents, Ayatollah Khomeini, who returns from exile to be greeted by
adoring millions. The Ayatollah's fiery brand of nationalism and Islamic
fundamentalism leads to the efficient establishment of a clergy-dominated Islamic
Republic, where the USA is styled as the 'Great Satan' and Israel fares not much
In Bush's first State of the Union speech, he includes Iran in what he terms the
'Axis of Evil'. His answer
to why they hate us is that they hate what we stand for - freedom and democracy. Right on Bush.
In Bush's State of the Union speech this year he claims 'Iranians, like all people,
a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny, and the United States
supports their aspirations to live in freedom.'. I just hope hes not lining up
Iran to give it a second dose of help in this area.
A look at how Libya, a member of Bush's extended 'axis of evil' was prodded into its current rogue
status in part through terrorism and misinformation by
Israel, and also the hyprocisy of the US stance in imposing sanctions in response to the Lockerbie
bombing despite very shaky evidence, and after having performed a similar act
against Libya only two years prior to the bombing.
111 passengers and crewmembers are killed in the crash of a Libyan commercial airliner
downed by Israeli guns as it descends, slightly off course during a dust storm, over
Israeli-occupied Egyptian Sinai for a routine landing at Cairo International Airport.
According to an ex-Mossad agent, the Mossad (the Israeli secret service) Israel plants a
communications device called 'the Trojan' in the top floor of an apartment house in Tripoli,
Libya. The device can receive messages broadcast by Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service,
on one frequency and automatically relay them on a different frequency used by the Libyan government.
The Trojan broadcasts a series of fraudulent terrorist orders to various Libyan embassies.
Spanish and French intelligence pick up the broadcasts and conclude they are fake. The United
States, encouraged by its 'ally' Israel - which knows the broadcasts are Mossad
disinformation - concludes that they are genuine.
Only a few weeks after the Trojan broadcasts began, the La Belle Discotheque in West Berlin
is bombed, killing two American soldiers and a Turkish woman. Assuming (based on the Trojan
broadcasts) that Libya had bombed La Belle, a club frequented by US soldiers, President
Ronald Reagan sends planes from England and from US aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean
to bomb the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. More than 100 Libyans are killed, including
Qaddafi's adopted young daughter.
The US frigate Vincennes shoots down an Iran Air airliner on a routine flight to Saudi
Arabia, killing everyone on board. After hesitating to even apologize for the mistake, the
US eventually pays compensation for the loss of life, albeit at the minimum rates required
by international law, and gives the Vincennes' captian two decorations.
The US intercepts a radio message from Tripoli (where the trojan was installed) to a Libyan
government office in Berlin, saying in effect, 'mission accomplished', heightening US suspicians
that Libya is responsible and drawing attention away from the
suspect - Iran.
Pan Am's insurers, anticipating lawsuits from victims' families, carry out their own
investigation, concluding that the bomb was placed in Frankfurt (from where the plane
took off, and not in Valletta as the official story goes), and was done by a Palestinian
resistance movement targeting the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).
The actual report is available here. It is written by a former Mossad agent, and tells a
much more interesting tale than the official story. It notes a number of warnings given
prior to the bombing, i.e. 'About three weeks prior to the disaster, a Mossad agent ...
tipped his HQ that a major terrorist attack would take place at Frankfurt airport against a
US airline. Mossad HQ warned CIA HQ and BKA (German Federal Police Agency) HQ', 'two days
before the disaster a BKA undercover agent reported to his superiors a plan to bomb a PanAm
flight in the next few days. BKA passed the intelligence to the CIA', and 'An
undercover Mossad agent tipped BKA within 24 hours before takeoff as to the plan to place a
bomb on that very PanAm flight'.
Also exposed in the report is a drug-smuggling operation which appears to have had something
to do with the bombing. A number of US intelligence operatives were killed in the bombing. The
report suggests they were planning to expose the drug-smuggling operation and thus were killed (i.e.
Time reported that Charles McKee (an
Army Major aboard the aircraft) had discovered that a rogue CIA team in Frankfurt, called COREA,
was protecting the drug route). The report claims the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), CIA, and BKA
were all involved in the smuggling.
A NBC News report confirms this idea, reporting that Pan Am flights out of Frankfurt had been
used by the DEA to fly informants and heroin into Detroit as part of a sting operation, and that
it was investigating whether the terrorists might have discovered what the DEA was doing and
switched one of their (drug) bags with one containing the bomb. This is in fact exactly
what the Interfor report claims did happen - 'a BKA surveillance
agent watching that PanAm flight's loading noticed that the "drug" suitcase substituted
was different in make, shape, material and colour from that used for all previous drug
Other sources confirm the drug-smuggling aspect, including a senior source responsible
for overseeing the Lockerbie investigation for the German government, and
who found a suitcase full of cellophane packets containing white powder among the debris in
The London Times quotes an ex-DIA agent, Mr Coleman, as saying that the DEA, together with the
narcotics squad of the Cypriot national police, the German BKA police and British customs, ran
a 'drugs sting operation' through Cyprus and airports in Europe including Frankfurt.
He was told that BKA had 'serious concerns' that a US drugs sting operation out of Cyprus had
been used by terrorists to place the bomb on flight 103, by switching bags.
Since the publication of the Interfor report, the US Government has
gone to great lengths in failed attempts to discredit the writer. The DEA has also denied
the existance of any drug-smuggling route involving the Pan Am flight.
A Scottish tribunal at Camp Zeist, an old American military base near Amsterdam, the Netherlands,
sentences Abdel Basset Ali Mohammad Megrahi, a Libyan, to life imprisonment for destroying Pan Am
Robert Black, the Scottish law professor who devised the format of the Netherlands-based trial,
is 'absolutely astounded' at the guilty verdict, and believes the prosecution had 'a
very, very weak circumstantial case'. He is reluctant to believe that Scottish judges would
'convict anyone, even a Libyan' on such evidence.
A United Nations observer at the trial notes that the decision appeared to be politically
motivated, with pressure from the US and UK. He notes 'The present judgment is logically
inconsistent ... You cannot come out with a verdict of guilty for one and innocent for the
other when they were both being tried with the same evidence ... In my opinion, there seemed
to be considerable political influence on the judges and the verdict.'
Bush imposes a five-year extension to sanctions against Libya and Iran, accusing them of
involvement in international terrorism, and demanding Libya accept responsibility for the
Lockerbie bombing and pay compensation to relatives.
Libya, while still denying responsibility for the Pan-Am bombing, offers $2.7 billion
in compensation to the victims' families if the UN and US sanctions against it are lifted.
However, for the UN and US this is not enough - an admission is required.
The UN finally lifts sanctions against Libya after Libya accepts responsbility for the
Lockerbie bombing and offers to pay compensation for the downing of a 1989 UTA flight above
Niger which claimed 170 lives, something for which it has never accepted responsibility.
Talks on the UTA case between Libya and France stall, with Libya wanting Paris to honour a deal
to compensate for Libyan deaths as a result of French involvement in Chad, and France wanting Libya
to pay the same amount of money it is giving relatives of the Lockerbie air bombing victims. Libya
also continues to insist that six Libyans convicted by France in absentia for the attack were innocent.
Bush's new budget fails to request any money for humanitarian and reconstruction funds
for Afghanistan, despite Bush's repeated claims the US will not walk away from the
Afghan people. Congress steps in to find nearly $300m - this pales however in comparison to
the $10 billion the World Bank and UN estimate is required for reconstruction alone.
The UN-funded anti-narcotics agency
report says Afghanistan has again become the world's largest producer of opium with a
significant upsurge in 2002 (3,400 tonnes up from 185 tonnes the previous year). Poppy cultivation
in Afghanistan had significantly dropped until a US-led military coalition removed the hardline
Islamic Taleban regime from power in its war on terrorism. The Taleban had imposed extremely harsh
punishments on poppy growers - which accounted for the decline in opium.
Looking at things historically, Afghanistan opium production only gained international significance
when, beginning in 1979, the CIA began financing the Mujahedden. Under CIA protection, the
Mujaheddin made Afghanistan the world's largest supplier of heroin by 1981. The CIA's involvement
in the drug trade ended with the civil war's end in '92, however the drugs continued, even after
the Taliban overthrew the government in '96. It finally ended when the Taliban, under international
pressure, banned the cultivation in 2000. This brought about a significant drop in the opium
production, the only exception being the areas controlled by the Northern Alliance, whom the US
then backed in overthrowing the Taliban.
Amnesty International reports
(and Human Rights Watch confirms)
that little has improved for the women of Afghanistan
since the fall of the Taliban - women are not protected by the criminal justice system,
and forced marriages, rapes and domestic violence still occurring frequently.