Saturday, April 07, 2007

" attack on Iran would effectively launch World War III." (guest post by Uranus)

Digby gave us a shout out. Thanks!

President Dickface had a big week:

Unsurprisingly, George W. Bush's announcement of a "surge" in Iraq came despite the firm opposition to any such move of Americans and the even stronger opposition of the (thoroughly irrelevant) Iraqis. It was accompanied by ominous official leaks and statements - from Washington and Baghdad - about how Iranian intervention in Iraq was aimed at disrupting our mission to gain victory, an aim which is (by definition) noble. What then followed was a solemn debate about whether serial numbers on advanced roadside bombs (IEDs) were really traceable to Iran; and, if so, to that country's Revolutionary Guards or to some even higher authority.

This "debate" is a typical illustration of a primary principle of sophisticated propaganda. In crude and brutal societies, the Party Line is publicly proclaimed and must be obeyed - or else. What you actually believe is your own business and of far less concern. In societies where the state has lost the capacity to control by force, the Party Line is simply presupposed; then, vigorous debate is encouraged within the limits imposed by unstated doctrinal orthodoxy. The cruder of the two systems leads, naturally enough, to disbelief; the sophisticated variant gives an impression of openness and freedom, and so far more effectively serves to instill the Party Line. It becomes beyond question, beyond thought itself, like the air we breathe.


The results of an attack on Iran could be horrendous. After all, according to a recent study of "the Iraq effect" by terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, using government and Rand Corporation data, the Iraq invasion has already led to a seven-fold increase in terror. The "Iran effect" would probably be far more severe and long-lasting. British military historian Corelli Barnett speaks for many when he warns that "an attack on Iran would effectively launch World War III."

What are the plans of the increasingly desperate clique that narrowly holds political power in the U.S.? We cannot know. Such state planning is, of course, kept secret in the interests of "security." Review of the declassified record reveals that there is considerable merit in that claim - though only if we understand "security" to mean the security of the Bush administration against their domestic enemy, the population in whose name they act.


The most effective barrier to a White House decision to launch a war is the kind of organized popular opposition that frightened the political-military leadership enough in 1968 that they were reluctant to send more troops to Vietnam - fearing, we learned from the Pentagon Papers, that they might need them for civil-disorder control.

Noam Chomsky wrote it, well worth reading. With each passing day I become more convinced Bush is determined to get us nuked, and sacrificing everyone in America is a small price to prove he owns the world.

The Bushes and BCCI:

Now that the U.S. Congress is investigating the truth of President George W. Bush's statements about the Iraq war, they might look into one of his most startling assertions: that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

Critics dismissed that as an invention. They were wrong. There was a link, but not the one Bush was selling. The link between Hussein and Bin Laden was their banker, BCCI. But the link went beyond the dictator and the jihadist - it passed through Saudi Arabia and stretched all the way to George W. Bush and his father.

BCCI was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a dirty offshore bank that then-president Ronald Reagan's Central Intelligence Agency used to run guns to Hussein, finance Osama bin Laden, move money in the illegal Iran-Contra operation and carry out other "agency" black ops. The Bushes also benefited privately; one of the bank's largest Saudi investors helped bail out George W. Bush's troubled oil investments.


The Bushes' private links to the bank passed to Bin Mahfouz through Texas businessman James R. Bath, who invested money in the United States on behalf of the Saudi regime. In 1976, when Bush was the head of the CIA, the agency sold some of the planes of Air America, a secret "proprietary" airline it used during the Vietnam War, to Skyway, a company owned by Bath and Bin Mahfouz. Bath then helped finance George W. Bush's oil company, Arbusto Energy Inc., in 1979 and 1980.

When Harken Energy Corp., which had absorbed Arbusto (by then merged with Spectrum 7 Energy), got into financial trouble in 1987, Jackson Stephens of the powerful, politically-connected Arkansas investment firm helped it secure 25 million dollars in financing from the Union Bank of Switzerland. As part of that deal, a place on the board was given to Harken shareholder Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, whose chief banker was BCCI shareholder Bin Mahfouz.

Then, in 1988, George Bush Sr. was elected president. Harken benefited by getting some new investors, including Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's half-brother, and Khalid bin Mahfouz. Osama bin Laden himself was busy elsewhere at the time - organising al Qaeda.

The money BCCI stole before it was shut down in 1991 - somewhere between 9.5 billion and 15 billion dollars - made its 20-year heist the biggest bank fraud in history. Most of it was never recovered. International banks' complicity in the offshore secrecy system effectively covered up the money trail.

But in the years after the collapse of BCCI, Khalid bin Mahfouz was still flush with cash. In 1992, he established the Muwafaq ("blessed relief") Foundation in the offshore Channel Islands. The U.S. Treasury Department called it "an al Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."

When the BCCI scandal began to break in the late 1980s, the Sr. Bush administration did what it could to sit on it. The Justice Department went after the culprits - was virtually forced to - only after New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau did. But evidence about BCCI's broader links exist in numerous U.S. and international investigations. Now could be a good time to take another look at the BCCI-Osama-Saddam-Saudi-Bush connection.

Everyday is a holiday from grace with the extended Bush family. You tell me: how is it this evil regime hasn't been forcibly removed from office?


starroute said...

According to Joseph Trento's Prelude to Terror, when Bush was CIA director in 1976, he was dealing extensively with Sheikh Kamal Adham, then Director of Saudi Intelligence, and his nephew, Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Sa'ud.

The Saudis, who were awash in cash after the spike in oil prices (the same reason they had all that money for Bath to help invest in Texas), had essentially stepped in to enable the CIA to accomplish off the books what it was no longer able to do officially in the wake of Watergate.

Trento says that Bush encouraged Adham to turn BCCI from a small merchant bank into a world-wide money-laundering network that would solicit the business of every major terrorist organization, thereby serving both the US and the Saudis as an intelligence-gathering front.

He also says that even after Adham stepped down as head of Saudi intelligence in 1977, BCCI kept growing and acquiring major banks, often through front men -- and that by this point, the goal was not just intelligence but control of a large part of the world's economy.

After leaving the CIA in 1977, Bush became a board member and chairman of the executive committee of First International Bancshares in Texas and was also made chairman of the board of its London merchant bank. Trento says that through this connection Adham's petrodollars and BCCI money continued to flow into intelligence operations, with hundreds of millions going to the CIA.

Trento is more interested in following the fortunes of the rogue CIA guys who were setting up the Enterprise in the late 70's and then became involved in Iran-Contra than in Bush and BCCI. But there is a great deal of food for thought in what he does say. Two questions that particularly come to mind are (1) if the Saudis, the CIA, George H.W. Bush, and every terrorist organization in the world were all involved with BCCI, who was really calling the shots? and (2) What became of the controlling the world economy part and how far did that get?

«—U®Anu§—» said...

starroute, you're a great scholar and thanks for that. I hadn't thought of BCCI in a very long time. In the early 1980s, FDIC and FSLIC closed almost every bank and savings and loan in this state. Many disappeared and some were purchased by other companies. One of the big buyers was BancAmerica, which previously hadn't been in this state. They seemed to have money running out of their ears, and I always wondered if they weren't funded in part or whole by BCCI. That may just be superstition on my part, with the name that spells "bank" with a C. It isn't at all an odd notion to think BCCI morphed into a new organization with a new name, and may be a big player in world finance, right in front of our eyes. If that's happening, and there's a good chance it is, it's a very well-kept secret.

Enlightenment said...

Correct, and another means the C.I.A. has had (since the early 1980s) to do what it wants to do without getting its fingerprints all over it is by using surrogate "non"governmental organizations (NGOs). Everybody knows that the Agency for International Development (USAID) has always been a C.I.A. front organization and it predates the formation of other C.I.A. NGOs considerably, but is much more (ostensibly) focused on relief work and construction (for example USAID went to the Philippines and turned General Santos City's dinky little airport into a large international one that can now accept B-52s and transport aircraft, and turned their little fishing wharf into a huge dock complex that can now handle major Navy warships and supertankers; and it wonders why the locals are convinced the U.S. is trying to base forces in the Philippines again).

But since about 1983 or so, the C.I.A. has had another "secret weapon" for doing its dirty work, the so-called National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This is the funneling organization that funnels "grants" to its four surrogate entities, the N.D.I., the I.R.I., the C.I.P.E. and the A.C.I.L.S./"Solidarity Center". What the NED does is, together with the other C.I.A. front organization of similar type which also receives its funding from the NED, "Freedom" House, is they worm their way into countries whose governments, whether elected or not, are pursuing either protectionist trade policies or otherwise acting in a way that is contrary to American interests. They then found or co-opt political pressure groups that claim to be acting in the name of democracy who start campaigns of civil disobedience, hold mass rallies etc. to try to convey the impression to the rest of the world that the majority of the people in that country are against the current government and that it has no alternative but to step down and be replaced with a (pro-U.S.) government or to call new elections. The NED and Freedom House also form "partnerships" with election monitoring agencies for purposes of rigging elections and/or releasing phony exit polls in genuine elections that their side is losing (like in Colombia) which falsely call into question the fairness of the election when it doesn't match the actual results. This is how the "Rose Revolution", the "Tulip Revolution" and the "Orange Revolution" came about, to name a few. Invariably, the candidates supported and empowered by the NED/Freedom House-manipulated pressure groups are ones who will open their country up to foreign (mainly American) investment.

Allen Weinstein, one of the founders of the NED, said in 1991 that "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the C.I.A.". (Until they kept getting caught at it and other C.I.A. atrocities came to light in the 1970s Church/Pike Committee Hearings, and they decided to do it through surrogates instead to give the C.I.A. itself "plausible deniability"). Carl Gershman, when he was president of the NED said in 1986 that "We should not have to do this kind of work covertly. It would be terrible for democratic [sic.] groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the C.I.A. We saw that in the '60s and that's why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that's why the Endowment was created".

«—U®Anu§—» said...

After we started talking about this I ran across this article by Joseph DioGuardi, and I've wondered long and hard how it figures into the discussion. It's about IMF research which states the U.S. government faces a $47 trillion shortfall in covering its commitments without either raising taxes or cutting social security and medicare benefits. Personally, I don't understand why everyone picks on social security and medicare. It's an extremely slender slice of a very large pie of spending, and a matter of life and death to a great many people. Sometimes I think the boom in deficit spending by the Bush administration has been aimed at forcing economic collapse widely to prove who has money and who doesn't. That would clear out all the suckers! Cheney may say budgetary deficit doesn't matter, but he's worth $100 million. What does he know about the less wealthy? A better question is, what is there to be done? There are many answers. One of them is Congress must consume and digest testimony from Sibel Edmonds and people like her, and find creative ways to pull the plug on illicit trade. Another answer is to reduce wasteful military spending and work toward building a viable world. It's estimated sea level will rise 30 feet in the next century. That will inundate Australia's coast cities. What is being done to build habitable living space in the unhospitable outback? Nothing that I know of, and we'd better start thinking about such things because that problem won't be easily solved. Otherwise, humanity faces survival in a ruined world that is also impoverished.