by Enver Masud
A brief review of pretexts, deceptions, and cover-ups may be useful in understanding how the Bush administration, the U.S. Congress, and a compliant media misled Americans, and got them to acquiesce in the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.
Britain and France had their plan for taking back the Suez Canal after it was nationalized by President Nasser of Egypt on July 26, 1956. “France secretly enlisted the help of Israel,” writes James Bamford—former Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings (Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century, 2001).
The intrigue involved Israel launching a war against Egypt. Then, once Egypt began defending itself, England and France would go in as “peacekeepers.” As part of the “peace,” the canal would be taken from Egypt and kept by Britain and France. Israel would capture the Sinai from Egypt.
The plan was agreed to by Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, defense minister Shimon Peres, armed forces chief Moshe Dayan, and Britain’s Prime Minister Anthony Eden.
While falsely blaming “enemies,” the U.S. government, and America’s “free press,” have sacrificed Americans in order to cover-up for “friends.”
On June 8, 1967, a U.S. Navy intelligence ship, the USS Liberty, was attacked in international waters by Israel’s air and naval forces. (USS Liberty Memorial website—http://www.gtr5.com/).
USS Liberty was identified as a US naval ship nine hours before the attack by Israeli reconnaissance aircraft and continuously tracked by Israeli radar and aircraft thereafter. Sailing in international waters at less than five knots, with no offensive armament, [the] ship was not a military threat to anyone.
Thirty four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded.
For 40 years, survivors of the USS Liberty have been forbidden “to tell their story under oath to the American public.” The cover-up of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty, begun under the Johnson administration, continues to this day.
What have successive U.S. administrations been covering up?
On the morning of June 8, the USS Liberty, sailing a few miles off El Arish in Israel, was secretly listening in on the Israelis who were then attacking Arab air bases from Damascus in Syria to Luxor in Egypt. The Israelis had occupied the Jordanian section of Jerusalem, and captured Sharm al-Sheikh.
And while the USS Liberty eavesdropped (Bamford, Body of Secrets):
a scant dozen or so miles away, Israeli soldiers were butchering civilians and bound prisoners by the hundreds, a fact that the entire Israeli army leadership knew about and condoned, according to the army’s own historian. . . .
At the time, Israel was loudly proclaiming—to the United States, to the United Nations, and to the world—that it was the victim of Egyptian aggression . . . Israel’s commanders would not have wanted tape recordings of evidence of the slaughters to wind up on desks at the White House, the UN, or the Washington Post.
The pattern set in 1967—covering up for Israeli aggression, has been a major contributor to U.S. problems in the Middle East.
Following the failed, Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba on April 17, 1961, by 1,300 members of a CIA-supported counterrevolutionary Cuban exile force, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) drew up and approved plans for “launching a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba.”
Codenamed Operation Northwoods, the plan . . . called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer [Chairman JCS] and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.
Accidents, writes Bamford, were to be used to advance U.S. interests. Had the February 20, 1962 launch of John Glenn—the first American to orbit the earth, later a U.S. presidential candidate—not been successful, the JCS were prepared to use John Glenn’s possible death as a pretext for war.
The flight was to carry the banner of America’s virtues of truth, freedom, and democracy into orbit high over the planet. But Lemnitzer and his Chiefs had a different idea. They proposed to Lansdale [U.S. general in charge of Operation Mongoose—covert operations against Cuba] that, should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, “the objective is to provide irrevocable proof that . . . the fault lies with the Communists et al Cuba [sic].” This would be accomplished, Lemnitzer continued, “by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans.”
In 1963, writes Bamford, the JCS proposed secret U.S. attacks on Jamaica and Trinidad-Tobago.
Both were members of the British Commonwealth; thus, by secretly attacking them and then falsely blaming Cuba, the United States could lure England into the war against Castro.
On August 5, 1964, President Johnson announced retaliatory attacks on Vietnamese targets alleging that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam had attacked two American destroyers on routine patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin—the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy.
The Maddox was in fact gathering intelligence for coordinated attacks on North Vietnam by the South Vietnamese navy and the Laotian air force (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, July 27, 1994).
In 2005, an NSA declassified report revealed that the USS Maddox first fired warning shots on the August 2 incident and that there may not have been any North Vietnamese boats at the August 4 incident (R. J. Hanyok,Cryptologic Quarterly, February 24, 1998).
In 1965, Lyndon Johnson commented: “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.”
The Viet Nam war led to 58,217 American deaths, and as many as two million Vietnamese casualties.
John Pilger’s documentary, “Stealing a Nation,” describes how in the 1960s, as Britain was dismantling its colonies, the U.S. conspired with Britain to receive secretly, gratis, and for 50 years, the Chagos Archipelago.
Between 1965 and 1973, to clear the largest island in the archipelago, Diego Garcia, for a listening post for the U.S. National Security Administration, every man, woman, and child was physically removed from the islands, and placed “bewildered and frightened,” on the islands of Mauritius and Seychelles.
At first, the islanders were tricked and intimidated into leaving; those who had gone to Mauritius for urgent medical treatment were prevented from returning. As the Americans began to arrive and build the base, Sir Bruce Greatbatch, the governor of the Seychelles, who had been put in charge of the “sanitizing,” ordered all the pet dogs on Diego Garcia to be killed. Almost 1,000 pets were rounded up and gassed, using the exhaust fumes from American military vehicles. . . .
The islanders took this as a warning; and the remaining population were loaded on to ships, allowed to take only one suitcase.
Recently, David Vine revealed (Foreign Policy in Focus, April 3, 2008) that this
huge U.S. air and naval base has been a major, if little known, launch pad for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . .The island has also been part of the CIA’s secret ‘rendition’ program for captured terrorist suspects.
Dr. George Friedman, founder of Stratfor—dubbed by Barron’s as “The Shadow CIA,” wrote in America’s Secret War that the United States “had supported the Shah’s Iran in a war against Iraq in the 1970s,” but after the Iranian revolution, “the Americans were looking for a lever to control Iran”.
The Carter administration wanted to motivate Saddam to fight, but he had little to gain simply by fighting Iran. . . . He was . . . quietly assured by the United States that it would have no objection to his claiming his prize—Kuwait—once he defeated Iran.
In a July 25, 1990 meeting with U.S. ambassador April Glaspie, Saddam Hussein was informed, “We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” Meanwhile, the U.S. encouraged Kuwait to continue its slant drilling into Iraqi oil fields. On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait.
A high point of the public relations campaign to justify war against Iraq, was the testimony of a Kuwaiti refugee, before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 15, 1990, who told of Iraqi troops removing over 300 babies from incubators in Kuwait City hospital, and dumping them on the floor to die.
On January 6, 1992, Harper’s Magazine, revealed that “Nayirah,” the alleged refugee, was the daughter of Saud al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States, and that Hill and Knowlton, a large public relations firm, had helped prepare her testimony, which she had rehearsed before video cameras in the firm’s Washington office.
“When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf,” wrote Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor, September 6, 2002),
part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.
Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid-September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.
But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border—just empty desert.
Scott Ritter, former UN Special Commission inspector, claims that Richard Butler, former chief UN weapons inspector, “deliberately planned UN inspections in 1998 to orchestrate a confrontation between Iraq and the UN so the United States could carry out its threats to bomb Iraq.” Ritter makes the allegations in a documentary film, In Shifting Sands . . . the Truth About UNSCOM and the Disarming of Iraq, shown to journalists at the UN (Ronni Berke, CNN, July 19, 2001).
Former National Security Advisor to President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote (The Grand Chessboard, 1997):
A power that dominates Eurasia [the territory east of Germany and Poland, stretching all the way through Russia and China to the Pacific Ocean—including the Middle East and most of the Indian subcontinent] would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination,
. . . About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.
The key to controlling Eurasia, says Brzezinski, is controlling the Central Asian Republics.
The “United States is pitted in this struggle against Russia, China, and Iran, all competing to dominate the Caspian region, its resources and pipeline routes” (Lutz Kleveman, The New Great Game, 2004).
President George W. Bush has frequently stated that the U.S. would leave Iraq if asked by Baghdad’s leadership. Now that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has asked for a timetable for U.S. military withdrawal, the Bush administration and the U.S. military leadership are continuing to pressure their client regime to accept the U.S. demand for long-term military bases in Iraq (Patrick Cockburn, Independent, June 6, 2008).
The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq’s money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, . . .
Iraqi officials say that, last year, they wanted to diversify their holdings out of the dollar, as it depreciated, into other assets, such as the euro, more likely to hold their value. This was vetoed by the US Treasury because American officials feared it would show lack of confidence in the dollar.
And sources in Iraq’s parliament told Press TV (May 29, 2008) that Washington has offered three-million dollar bribes to lawmakers who sign the “framework accord” which will permit U.S. bases in Iraq after the UN mandate expires at the end of 2008.