Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Now Russia

Exclusive: After the British report exposing falsehoods to justify invading Iraq in 2003, a new U.K. inquiry found similar misconduct in the 2011 attack on Libya, but no lessons are learned for the West’s new propaganda about Russia, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

A British parliamentary inquiry into the Libyan fiasco has reported what should have been apparent from the start in 2011 – and was to some of us – that the West’s military intervention to “protect” civilians in Benghazi was a cover for what became another disastrous “regime change” operation.

The report from the U.K.’s Foreign Affairs Committee confirms that the U.S. and other Western governments exaggerated the human rights threat posed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and then quickly morphed the “humanitarian” mission into a military invasion that overthrew and killed Gaddafi, leaving behind political and social chaos.

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The report’s significance is that it shows how little was learned from the Iraq War fiasco in which George W. Bush’s administration hyped and falsified intelligence to justify invading Iraq and killing its leader, Saddam Hussein. In both cases, U.K. leaders tagged along and the West’s mainstream news media mostly served as unprofessional propaganda conduits, not as diligent watchdogs for the public.

Today, we are seeing an even more dangerous repetition of this pattern: demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, destabilizing the Russian economy and pressing for “regime change” in Moscow. Amid the latest propaganda orgy against Putin, virtually no one in the mainstream is exercising any restraint or finding any cautionary lessons from the Iraqi and Libyan examples.

Yet, with Russia, the risks are orders of magnitude greater than even the cases of Iraq and Libya – and one might toss in the messy “regime change” projects in Ukraine and Syria. The prospect of political chaos in Moscow – with extremists battling for power and control of the nuclear codes – should finally inject some sense of responsibility in the West’s politicians and media, but doesn’t.

When it comes to Putin and Russia, it’s the same ole hyperbole and falsehood that so disinformed the public regarding the “threats” from Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. Just as President George W. Bush deceptively painted Hussein’s supposed WMD as a danger to Americans and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dishonestly portrayed Gaddafi as “genocidal,” U.S. officials and pundits are depicting Putin as some cartoonish villain or some new Hitler.

And, just as The New York Times, Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets amplified the Iraq and Libyan propaganda to the American people – rather than questioning and challenging it – these supposedly journalistic entities are performing the same function regarding Russia. The chief difference is that now we’re talking about the potential for nuclear annihilation. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Existential Madness of Putin-Bashing.“]

According to the new U.K. report on Libya, Britain’s military intervention – alongside the U.S. and France – was based on “erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding” of the reality inside Libya, which included a lack of appreciation about the role of Islamic extremists in spearheading the opposition to Gaddafi.

In other words, Gaddafi was telling the truth when he accused the rebels around Benghazi of being penetrated by Islamic terrorists. The West, including the U.S. news media, took Gaddafi’s vow to wipe out this element and distorted it into a claim that he intended to slaughter the region’s civilians, thus stampeding the United Nations Security Council into approving an operation to protect them.

That mandate was then twisted into an excuse to decimate Libya’s army and clear the way for anti-Gaddafi rebels to seize the capital of Tripoli and eventually hunt down, torture and murder Gaddafi.

Ignored Terror Evidence

Yet, there was evidence before this “regime change” occurred regarding the extremist nature of the anti-Gaddafi rebels as well as those seeking to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in Syria. As analysts Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman wrote in a pre-Libya-war report for West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, “the Syrian and Libyan governments share the United States’ concerns about violent salafist/jihadi ideology and the violence perpetrated by its adherents.”

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

In the report entitled “Al-Qaeda’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” Felter and Fishman also analyzed Al Qaeda’s documents captured in 2007 showing personnel records of militants who flocked to Iraq for the war. The documents revealed that eastern Libya (the base of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion) was a hotbed for suicide bombers traveling to Iraq to kill American troops.

Felter and Fishman wrote that these so-called Sinjar Records disclosed that while Saudis comprised the largest number of foreign fighters in Iraq, Libyans represented the largest per-capita contingent by far. Those Libyans came overwhelmingly from towns and cities in the east.

“The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s Northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (53) and Benghazi 23.9% (21),” Felter and Fishman wrote, adding:

“Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya, in particular for an uprising by Islamist organizations in the mid?1990s. … One group — the Libyan Fighting Group … — claimed to have Afghan veterans in its ranks,” a reference to mujahedeen who took part in the CIA-backed anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, as did Al Qaeda founder, Osama bin Laden, a Saudi.

“The Libyan uprisings [in the 1990s] became extraordinarily violent,” Felter and Fishman wrote. “Qadhafi used helicopter gunships in Benghazi, cut telephone, electricity, and water supplies to Darnah and famously claimed that the militants ‘deserve to die without trial, like dogs,’”

Some important Al Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions also were believed to have come from Libya. For instance, “Atiyah,” who was guiding the anti-U.S. war strategy in Iraq, was identified as a Libyan named Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.

It was Atiyah who urged a strategy of creating a quagmire for U.S. forces in Iraq, buying time for Al Qaeda’s headquarters to rebuild its strength in Pakistan. “Prolonging the war [in Iraq] is in our interest,” Atiyah said in a letter that upbraided Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for his hasty and reckless actions in Iraq.

The Atiyah letter was discovered by the U.S. military after Zarqawi was killed by an airstrike in June 2006. [To view the “prolonging the war” excerpt in a translation published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, click here. To read the entire letter, click here.]

Hidden Motives

This reality was known by U.S. officials prior to the West’s military intervention in Libya in 2011, yet opportunistic politicians, including Secretary of State Clinton, saw Libya as a stage to play out their desires to create muscular foreign policy legacies or achieve other aims.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Some of Clinton’s now-public emails show that France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to be more interested in protecting France’s financial dominance of its former African colonies as well as getting a bigger stake in Libya’s oil wealth than in the well-being of the Libyan people.

An April 2, 2011 email from Clinton’s personal adviser Sidney Blumenthal explained that Gaddafi had plans to use his stockpile of gold “to establish a pan-African currency” and thus “to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc.”

Blumenthal added, “French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.” Another key factor, according to the email, was Sarkozy’s “desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production.”

For Clinton, a prime motive for pushing the Libyan “regime change” was to demonstrate her mastery of what she and her advisers called “smart power,” i.e., the use of U.S. aerial bombing and other coercive means, such as economic and legal sanctions, to impose U.S. dictates on other nations.

Her State Department email exchanges revealed that her aides saw the Libyan war as a chance to pronounce a “Clinton doctrine,” but that plan fell through when President Obama seized the spotlight after Gaddafi’s government fell in August 2011.

But Clinton didn’t miss a second chance to take credit on Oct. 20, 2011, after militants captured Gaddafi, sodomized him with a knife and then murdered him. Appearing on a TV interview, Clinton celebrated Gaddafi’s demise with the quip, “we came; we saw; he died.”

Clinton’s euphoria was not long-lasting, however, as chaos enveloped Libya. With Gaddafi and his largely secular regime out of the way, Islamic militants expanded their power over the country. Some were terrorists, just as Gaddafi and the West Point analysts had warned.

One Islamic terror group attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American personnel, an incident that Clinton called the worst moment of her four-year tenure as Secretary of State.

As the violence spread, the United States and other Western countries abandoned their embassies in Tripoli. Once prosperous with many social services, Libya descended into the category of failed state with rival militias battling over oil and territory while the Islamic State took advantage of the power vacuum to establish a foothold around Sirte.

Though Clinton prefers to describe Libya as a “work in progress,” rather than another “regime change failure,” U.S. and U.N. efforts to impose a new “unity government” on Libya have met with staunch resistance from many Libyan factions. Since April, the so-called Government of National Accord has maintained only a fragile presence in Tripoli, in Libya’s west, and has been rejected by Libya’s House of Representatives (HOR), which functions from the eastern city of Tobruk.

Over the past few days, military forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hafter, who is associated with HOR in the east, seized control of several oil facilities despite angry protests from Western nations, including the U.S., U.K., and France. But Western nations have little credibility left inside Libya, which not only faced colonization in the past but has watched as the U.S.-U.K.-French military intervention in 2011 has led to widespread poverty, suffering and death.

Inept Intervention

The U.K. report only underscores how deceptive and inept that intervention was. As described by the U.K. Guardian newspaper, then-Prime Minister “David Cameron’s intervention in Libya was carried out with no proper intelligence analysis, drifted into an unannounced goal of regime change and shirked its moral responsibility to help reconstruct the country following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, according to a scathing report by the foreign affairs select committee.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush shake hands after a joint White House press conference on Nov. 12, 2004. (White House photo)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush shake hands after a joint White House press conference on Nov. 12, 2004. (White House photo)

“The failures led to the country becoming a failed state on the verge of all-out civil war, the report adds. The report, the product of a parliamentary equivalent of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, closely echoes the criticisms widely made of [then-Prime Minister] Tony Blair’s intervention in Iraq, and may yet come to be as damaging to Cameron’s foreign policy legacy.”

Earlier this year, Cameron stepped down as prime minister following the approval of the “Brexit” referendum calling on the U.K. to leave the European Union, a position that Cameron opposed. This week, Cameron also resigned his seat in Parliament.

Though Blair and Cameron have at least faced personal disgrace over their roles in these two failed “regime change” invasions, there has been less accountability in the United States, where there were no comprehensive examinations of the policy failures that led to the wars in Iraq and Libya (although studies were undertaken regarding Bush’s false claims about Iraq’s WMD and the Obama administration’s failure to adequately protect the U.S. consulate in Benghazi).

There has been even less accountability in the mainstream U.S. news media, where, for instance, The Washington Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, who repeatedly reported Iraq’s non-existent WMD as flat fact remains in the same job today pushing similar over-the-top propaganda regarding Russia.

A New Cold War

As with the fiascos in Iraq and Libya, U.S. policymakers continue to ignore or sideline American intelligence analysts who possess information that would cast doubt on the escalation of hostilities with Russia.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria "Toria" Nuland, addresses Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria “Toria” Nuland, addresses Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]

Even as the Obama administration has charted this new Cold War with Russia over the past two years – a prospect that could cost U.S. taxpayers trillions of dollars and carries the risk of thermonuclear war – there has been no National Intelligence Estimate getting a consensus judgment from America’s 16 intelligence agencies about how real the Russian threat is, according to intelligence sources.

One source said a key reason why an NIE had not been done was that U.S. policymakers wanted a more alarmist report than the intelligence analysts were willing to produce. “They call [the alarm about Russia] political, not factual,” the source said. “They weren’t going to do one, period. They can’t lie.”

The source added that the analysts would have to acknowledge how helpful Putin has been in a number of sensitive and strategic areas, such as securing Syria’s agreement to surrender its chemical weapons and convincing Iran to accept tight limits on its nuclear program.

“Israel has nuclear weapons and a crazy leader,” the source said about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “If not for Putin, the guy may have used it [a nuclear bomb] in Iran. He [Putin] calmed things down in Syria. They [CIA analysts] aren’t that stupid. To tell the truth, you have to say he [Putin] saved the Middle East a lot of trouble.”

U.S. intelligence analysts also might have had to include their assessments regarding whether Syrian rebels – not Assad’s military – deployed sarin gas outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, and whether an element of the Ukrainian military – not ethnic Russian rebels – shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

Those two propaganda themes blaming Syria and Russia, respectively, were promoted heavily by mainstream Western media and various Internet-based information warriors. The two themes have been central to the Western-backed “regime change” project in Syria and to the new Cold War with Russia. If U.S. intelligence analysts knocked down those themes in an NIE, valuable propaganda assets would be exposed and discredited.

Also, in the wake of the two British government reports undermining the propaganda that was used to justify “regime change” in Iraq and Libya, the blow to Western “credibility” if there were similar admissions about falsehoods regarding Syria and Russia could be devastating.

Instead, the hope of Official Washington is that the American public won’t catch on to the pattern of deception and that the people will continue to ignore the famous warning that President George W. Bush infamously garbled: “fool me once, shame on … shame on you; fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either iprint here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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52 comments for “Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Now Russia

  1. nmb
    September 14, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Clinton emails – The race of the Western neo-colonialist vultures over the Libyan corpse

    http://bit.ly/2cqMxOP

    • John
      September 16, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      My,My,My, I have searched to find a definition that clarifies the movement of the republican and the democrats moving into the same house…….neo-colonialist……Coming to take over a country near you….brought to you by big banks like goldman sachs ….can you hear me now : )

  2. Tom Welsh
    September 14, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    While I admire Mr Parry’s journalistic skills, professionalism, and sheer courage, I question the degree to which he always seems to accept the “Washington party line”. To say that the US attacks on Somalia, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria – and the USA’s obvious instigation of the Saudi attack on Yemen, and the violent illegal coup d’etat in Ukraine – were well-intentioned is downright ridiculous. To make one such “mistake” would be disastrous and should be career-ending – indeed, it should result in the instigators being imprisoned or even hanged. But to accept that more than one was an honest mistake is utter nonsense. There are, we must face it, limits to stupidity. Frankly, no one is that stupid.

    So if we discount all explanation based on the idea that American leaders were simply stupid and ignorant, what are we left with? Obviously they have been doing it on purpose. Why? Well, one’s attention is drawn to the rapidly accelerating downfall of America as a nation. Perhaps 100 million unemployed; tens of millions on food stamps; millions in prison; tens of millions of children and young people going hungry, and many of them engaging in crime or prostitution simply to feed themselves. A crumbling infrastructure, with increasingly potholed roads, bridges regularly falling down for lack of maintenance, railways rusting quietly into uselessness. A Third World country, in short.

    So what could be more natural – though wicked – than for the USA’s leaders to try to distract attention from the slow-motion collapse of their own country by spreading disaster, death and destruction everywhere else? And finding ever more dastardly enemies – the “Hitler du jour”, so to speak – everywhere from Brazil and Syria to Russia and China?

    • Erik
      September 14, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      I suggest that Mr. Parry is choosing the light touch to avoid losing the unconvinced reader by appearing to start with conclusions that seem obvious only to the more experienced. So by starting with the evidence and choosing a more decisive tone as the argument progresses, he follows the less experienced reader’s feeling that the next conclusion is warranted. By not jumping to the conclusion even at the end, he leaves the reader feeling that a more decisive conclusion is justified. The commenters can be relied upon to reach toward the reasonable conclusions, if not beyond, and that spares the writer the appearance of bias.

    • b.grand
      September 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      TOM WELSH, yes indeed, the strategy of chaos: distraction, demonization, destruction.

      Do you have any evidence for “the USA’s obvious instigation of the Saudi attack on Yemen” — or even a relevant article? The currant rage to throw KSA under the bus couldn’t be better orchestrated, with Medea Benjamin doing a national book tour selling her missive against the Saudis.

      Why do we so readily accept that the Saudis and other Gulfies have been funding DAESH behind our backs? VP Biden did a great performance of chastising them and the Turks. But isn’t it just as likely that they are/were cooperating with us when they funded and armed the invaders of Syria?

      Maybe ROBERT PARRY will bring us a good analysis. Is the US really unhappy to be refueling the Saudi airplanes bombing Yemen? Providing electronic intelligence? Blockading Yemini ports?

    • Dr. Frans B. Roos, Ph.D.
      September 15, 2016 at 5:41 am

      While I admire Mr Parry’s journalistic skills, professionalism, and sheer courage, I question the degree to which he always seems to accept the “Washington party line”.

      Tom Welsh, you seem to forget that Parry is a born and bred American, a citizen of Exceptionalistan he does a very good job, but expecting him to accept 100% fault with Exceptionalistan is just a little too much to expect.
      I appreciate what Parry writes and when I come to the part were he accepts the “Washington party line” I just overlook that part in his writing.

    • Brad Owen
      September 16, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      I like your listing of the particulars of our slow-motion collapse, Tom. As far as I’m concerned, we see WAY too much on foreign affairs here on ConNews, and not NEARLY enough on domestic issues, which, as you suggest, fuels the foreign affairs anyway (rotting financial system causing desperate measures to be taken by the modern-day imperialists). WAY too much on “trump/clinton” (the two-headed monster), and not NEARLY enough on the Greens and Libertarians who are on the ballots of nearly every state (I think 47 states for the Greens as I last looked…they shouldn’t be STARVING for attention, especially from web sites such as this one). My “donation” money is ear-marked for Jill Stein and the Green Party, screw all of this non-stop monkey chatter about the dismal state of our foreign affairs.

    • gary
      September 17, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Sounds spot on to me.

    • Nicholas Jackson
      September 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Very well put!!
      …..were well-intentioned is downright ridiculous.
      The oil $ has played a major roll in USA policy also, and they have been aided and abetted by Britain, their partners in crime, for 50 years

  3. Stefan
    September 14, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    The assumption that any of the lowlife war criminals are open to learn any rational lessons from their crimes is faulty at best.

    On the other hand, you could argue, that if there was ever a takeaway for the warmongers, it was that their criminal deeds, achieved exactly according to their initial intentions.

  4. Abe
    September 14, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    As Ray McGovern pointed out in “Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17” on Consortium News (August 17, 2015):

    “The key difference between the traditional ‘Intelligence Assessment’ and this relatively new creation, a ‘Government Assessment’ is that the latter genre is put together by senior White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.

    “The absence of an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia, just as they did after the first time Kerry pulled this ‘Government Assessment’ arrow out of his quiver trying to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus on the Syrian government.”

    The primary source in both “Government Assessment” episodes, both the 2013 chemical attack in Syria and the 2014 crash of MH-17 in Ukraine, the one person in common who generated what McGovern accurately described as “pseudo-intelligence product, which contained not a single verifiable fact”, was British blogger and media darling Eliot Higgins.

    Higgins and the Bellingcat site serve as deception “conduits” as defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02), a compendium of approved terminology used by the U.S. military.

    Within military deception, “conduits” are information or intelligence gateways to the “deception target”, defined as the “adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.”

    The primary “deception targets” are the populations of the United States and Europe Union.

    The Internet offers a ubiquitous, inexpensive and anonymous method for “open source” deception and rapid propaganda dissemination.

    With no credible evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine, and faced with the prevailing distrust of the Pentagon or Western intelligence agencies, Washington advanced a Propaganda 3.0 strategy.

    The Pentagon and Western intelligence agencies now disseminate propaganda by making it “publicly available” via numerous channels, including “investigations” conducted by fake “citizen journalist” Higgins and his Bellingcat site.

    The actual purpose of these fake “citizen journalist” deception operatives is to provide a channel for Western propaganda to more effectively reach the public and be perceived as truthful.

    Higgins has actively promoted this deception strategy. In his article, “Social media and conflict zones: the new evidence base for policymaking” https://blogs.kcl.ac.uk/policywonkers/social-media-and-conflict-zones-the-new-evidence-base-for-policymaking/

    Cited “Bellingcat’s MH17 investigation”, Higgins deliberately sidestepped the limitless opportunities for deceptive information to be planted in social media from not-so-open sources.

    Higgins’ “overarching point” was that “there is a real opportunity for open source intelligence analysis to provide the kind of evidence base that can underpin effective and successful foreign and security policymaking. It is an opportunity that policymakers should seize.”

    US and EU policymakers definitely have seized the opportunities provided by Higgins, Bellingcat and other deception operatives.

  5. Frank McEvoy
    September 14, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Had I been in a position of influence, I would have invited Russia to join NATO when the Cold War ended. It would be a lot easier, if a crisis pops up, to walk down the hall to ask, “Ivan, what’s going on in country x?”

    • rosemerry
      September 15, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Very sensible, since the USSR was no longer the “danger” claimed by the West for so long. However, the military power of the USA would be horrified by the very idea of any sort of peace.

    • Zee
      September 23, 2016 at 10:20 am

      You still don’t get it. Russia would never join your NATO. But, you never know, maybe one day they get into position to ask you to join them, although they will be only joking.

  6. September 14, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Yes, and the big story is not the false narrative that led to the Iraq war but the mission shift. Bush stood at ground zero with his arms draped around 2 firemen and said “the people who knocked down these buildings are going to hear from us.” In a daze of cognitive dissonance, the public subconsciously watched as Bush invaded Afghanistan with the impetus of this statement buzzing in everyone’s ears, and we all thought we were avenging ourselves of the 911 attackers, even though Afghanistan’s role in the attacks was virtually non-existent. Then on to Iraq, with the same fervor generated by those words, but Iraq was also not involved in the 911 attack, which was financed and planned by Saudis. If Bush had been an honest person, he would have declared war on the Saudis the next day. But leaked info, the 28 pp and interviews with law enforcement officials showed that whenever anyone important tried to investigate 911, Bush himself stood in their way with a variety of excuses that were only excuses, and the Saudis, incl his good pal Bandera, who financed terror, got away with it. Meanwhile, the Neocons are selling us the swill that Iran is the “biggest supporter of terror” in the world and yet, Shiite Iran hates Sunni Saudis and their paid mass murderers in the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS. There is not a grain of truth in any msm report or politician’s statement on Middle East policy. In a just world, Bush would swing from a lamp post, the Saudis would be pariahs and the msm would be disbanded and their press cards torn up. There is only one candidate who sounds like he understands to some extent and that is Donald Trump.

    • incontinent reader
      September 14, 2016 at 11:08 pm

      Don- I think if Bush had been honest he would have broken the CIA into 1000 pieces- after arresting and prosecuting any perps or accomplices operating out of Langley- but that would have also meant a few people too close to him for comfort (and maybe even a self directed arrest warrant).

    • TheSkepticalCynic
      September 15, 2016 at 12:12 am

      “… the 911 attack, which was financed and planned by Saudis. If Bush had been an honest person, he would have declared war on the Saudis the next day.”
      I don’t believe I have ever read a more asinine comment in Consortiumnews. It would be senseless to explain the myriad reasons why your statement is devoid of rationality. The unequivocality of your assertion is indicative of your lack of the mental acuity necessary to comprehend how little know about the subject. As Mark Twain intuited more than 100 years ago. “It ain’t what you don’t know that get’s you in trouble. It’s what you know that just ain’t so.”

      • Sam F
        September 15, 2016 at 7:57 am

        Too severe. Better to simply question the extreme action of a declaration of war without authority or further investigation, and suggest other sanctions. His statements are largely true, and his conclusion is correct, so no need to attack the one excess.

      • Fred
        September 19, 2016 at 8:13 am

        The evidence says he is right. Your reply was the type of ad hominem nonsense we have come to expect from neocons.

    • Don G.
      September 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Yes, it’s likely that Trump would have started a war with Saudi Arabia, just as you have advocated should have happened. Why is it that so many Americans don’t understand that is wrongheaded thinking. Do you need to be told that it’s wrong to go to war with an entire country when it’s obvious what should have been done.

      That would be, investigating thoroughly what factions within Saudi aided in perpetrating the crimes committed against the U.S. on 911, then pursuing them to the ends of the earth and exacting revenge. It would then be quickly discovered that Osama Bin Laden had alienated himself from the Saudi monarchy dictatorship which runs that country. By taking that approach, the lives of millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Saudi would be saved from U.S. bombs. Would the Saudi monarchy protect those complicit in the crime? Would they find themselves being guilty as charged and also complicit in the crime if they did?

      But again, you are right about Trump and you would be right to say the same about Hillary. Both would undoubtedly resort to bombing an entire country (or countries’ population) because the U.S. has the military might that makes that possible.

      Do you still advocate a war on Saudi in order to exact revenge on that country for what Bin Laden did? And if not now then what has changed that allows you to sit contentedly without the satisfaction of revenge on the perpetrators?

      • Fred
        September 19, 2016 at 8:18 am

        The day Saudi Arabia stops selling oil in dollars is the day Washington decides Saudi terrorism must be stopped.

  7. Elkandro
    September 14, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I would like to thank Mr. Robert Parry to bring this case to review what happened..
    Please don’t trust the brotherhood Muslim (BM)party in Libya. I am very sure you know the BM brings ISIS to Libya with full support from Syria and Iraq, because they lost politician election..
    There is Libyan military forces under comander Gen. Khalifa Hafter. Please don’t be fooled again. We have families, children, old people need to live with a good life.
    Gen. Hafter did a great job fighting ISIS alone without support from western countries. There are a lot of innocent Libyan people support our army to protect our Border.

  8. Nancy
    September 14, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    American’s knows. Official Washington doesn’t care what the Public thinks – It currently belongs to big money.

  9. Anona
    September 14, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I don’t think the problem is that “we” haven’t “learned” anything. The problem is far deeper. Americans just can’t seem to grasp that their government is in the hands of essentially criminal elements and that the nation-state is essentially obsolete. The “government,” the entire system, is rotten to the core. It’s not interested in “learning,” it’s interested in participating in the globalist project of international banking and multi-national corporations owned by the .001% that also own the merchant banks like G-Sachs, the financial interest of the City, etc. That 001% is evil–a word that has gone out of fashion, which indicates the invincible stupidity into which the modern populations have fallen, despite their inventive cleverness.

    • Lois Gagnon
      September 14, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Exactly! That is our predicament in a nutshell. Welcome to Hell.

    • Erik
      September 14, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Yes, government is in the hands of “essentially criminal elements” but while the effects are “evil” the wrongdoers are quite able to believe otherwise. Meeting the evildoer does not always convince one that one has found an evil person, only a person who knowingly causes evil effects and cannot be persuaded that such conduct is evil. Truth and Justice are simply not their goals. They use tricks instead of reason to get their way, consider this a life skill, and even game their own judgment. That is why the idea “evil” isn’t very useful: it does not explain affluenza, hypocrisy, truth-avoidance, dedication to deception, blind selfishness, etc.

      But it is a fine word to sum up the scumbags.

    • Brad Owen
      September 15, 2016 at 5:24 am

      Thank you for cutting to the chase. We the people of the US, SA, UK, EU, Israel, are “captured” by a truly global Oligarchy of Banksters and corporate cartels; and successful nation-states tending towards democratic Republics, are a deadly threat to them. People “blink” when confronted with this reality…would you simply go into the mansion of Al Capone and put him under citizens’ arrest? You, your family, your friends, even your pets, would be killed for such an affront. Someone used the word “evil”. This requires divine intervention, or serious help from such quarters, which implies another serious set of challenges to “modern” attitudes about the nature of existence, which citizens aren’t yet ready to acknowledge (not implying that any of the standard orthodoxies that are laying around, are to be embraced).

      • Brad Owen
        September 15, 2016 at 6:54 am

        For example: if ever there was a time for a lively, palpable belief in an entity such as Goddess Athena, we are living in it right now. Goddess Athena; bringer of all the arts, crafts and trades of civilized living to the people. Goddess Athena; Goddess of war, in the capacity of Defender of civilized, humane life, against all malevolent, bestial, predatory types. Goddess Athena; Mentor to, and Guardian of, all would-be Champions of The People, and their just cause. General Patton would have believed something such as this (at least the Patton who was portrayed by George C. Scott in the movie). I’m not saying Athena should be embraced. Just saying the lack of belief in a Higher Order to which we the people are subservient, really hamstrings the efforts of humanity to rise above ego and vain, greedy pursuits of materialistic power and reign. No Champions can manifest in such a “FlatLand” as we moderns inhabit.

        • Brad Owen
          September 15, 2016 at 7:16 am

          I think the Entity to Whom I’m referring, is called an Avatar in the Hindu conception; Slayer of evil, Restorer of that which is Right & Good & True.

  10. F. G. Sanford
    September 14, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rcyAc3tTR0 Gary Puckett ‘Lady Willpower’ (1968)

    Lady, smart power, it’s now or never, it’s your legacy
    And, you’ll shower, Muammar with missile strikes…endlessly

    I know you want to kill him, but you’re afraid
    Of how the Russians might respond

    One thing you can be certain,
    Tom Friedman’s op-ed curtain,
    Will help to keep the public conned!

    Lady, smart power, the Clinton Doctrine, is your legacy
    And, you’ll tower, over Republicans…endlessly

    Did no one ever tell you – about Neocons
    They run all the think tanks and the press-

    The gold Dinar could spoil
    That petrodollar oil
    And those French bankers suffer stress!

    Lady, smart power, Kagan and Perle agree, it’s your legacy
    And, Bill Kristol, will offer homilies…endlessly

    Lady, smart power, the Times and Post agree, it’s your legacy
    So, don’t sour, what have you got to lose, just an embassy…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hyJDLyUAoc Gary Puckett ‘Woman Woman’ (1968)

    Woman, oh woman,
    Is there regime change on your mind, on your mind?

    Something could destroy us that your laughter cannot hide,
    And your wild eyes reveal an evil streak-
    Your bunker’s safe from nukes above and you’ll be deep inside:

    Woman, oh woman,
    Is there regime change on your mind, on your mind?

    I’ve heard the way you speak of us, when you think we don’t hear,
    And it hurts to think that life could end this way-
    But it’s knowing that you laugh it off that really raises fear:

    Woman, oh woman,
    Is there regime change on your mind, on your mind?

    Malice wears a certain look, when bloodlust grips the mind,
    Rage leaves scars the soul forgets to hide-
    I hate to say that look’s on you, but it’s not hard to find:

    Woman, oh, woman,
    Is there regime change on your mind, on your mind?
    Woman, oh woman,
    Is it too late to change your mind?
    Oh, Woman, Oh woman,
    Is there regime change on your mind?

    Note: Puckett’s stuff sounds simple, but it’s not easy to sing. There’s no chance these will end up on the campaign trail…especially not while they’re “awaiting moderation”!

    • dahoit
      September 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

      You forgot to mention the Union Gap backing vocals.:)I hated Gary Puckett and his schmaltz crap.Young girl get out of my life!
      But the sixties had a hell of a lot better music than today,as today its almost soulless garbage..
      I almost have fond memories of Billy Joe McCallister jumping off the Tallahassi bridge.Almost.It is pretty evocative though of the south of that time.
      Can we go back now?Please?Today sucks.

    • Joe B
      September 15, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Thanks, FG, these are good ones.

    • Bill Rice
      September 15, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Nice job. Is it recorded yet? It should be.

  11. Evangelista
    September 14, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Moving on… But I think, by extension, close to, if not exactly on, topic…

    “Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Russia and now in the USA”…

    Does anyone know where the intended-to-be-next president of the United States (who will be the first ‘Appointed’ president of the United States) presently is, or what he is doing, or what his positions are or will be when/if Hillary (who appointed him her vice-presidential ‘running-mate’ is elected and then ‘must resign’ for her Parkinson’s (or whatever it is) making her unable to continue?

    Barrack and Bill, neither of whom are legally in succession, have been ‘surrogate-campaigning’ for Hillary, but there seems to be a void in the line-up where the intended in-case-of-need successor would seem, logically, to need to be putting in appearances.

    Are we getting fooled yet once again? Having an elite approved and manipulated into office appointed president fobbed on us, who no one knows the real positions of (or powers behind)?

    Fooled again, but fooled as we haven’t yet before been?

  12. September 14, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I believe Libya was a war crime.
    I also believe we should be arresting the war criminals, past and present in positions of power: See info below.

    “Elements of al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups were known to be key players in the NATO-backed uprising in Libya from the beginning, but now it appears that prominent Jihadists and terrorists are practically leading the revolution with Western support.”
    The New American August 30, 2011….
    [read more at links below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/03/the-numerous-affiliated-terrorists.html
    ————————————————————–
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2011/10/war-criminals-who-bombed-libya.html
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/03/the-lies-treachery-and-madness-of.html

  13. September 14, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    The last President who knew that war wasn’t some kind of a game was GHWBush for the obvious reason that he was in one. Those that came after him failed to look at it consequences, namely, in particular, who is going to be the “replacement”. That seems pretty basic, yet, it was disregarded to our and the world’s detriment: Milosovich, Sadaam Hussein, Khaddafi down, next Komeini, Assad, and now Putin?

    The motives also seem misguided. Our protecting Israel and creating chaos in the Middle East through regime changes so that Israel can carry out its expansionist plans more successfully is hardly a valid motive. Nor is the American policy, enunciated by the Zionist stooge, GWBush Jr,.following the Neo-Con doctrine dreamed up by Wolfowitz to run roughshod over the world, and backed up by our bought-and-sold Congress, helpful in this regard. Vengeance for the Zionists is sweet, but it it seems that the only things they learned from the Holocaust were propaganda (hasbara), ethnic-cleansing, how to run a concentration camp and create a racist state.

    President Obama focused too intently on the Iran Deal, a good move, but in the process lost sight of what was going on in Ukraine and Libya, which, in the former case, he farmed out to the warmongering Neo-Cons who harbor an historical ethnic grudge against the Russian Tzars.

    A a former U.S. naval aviator who flew patrols up and down the Soviet far eastern coastline for three years (1956-9), frequently escorted by Mig-17s who did not shoot me down, I think Putin is the only person acting like an adult in the Middle East.and Ukraine/Russia. Let’s hope he gets reelected.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      September 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      You mean Khameini, not Khomeini. I know it was just a typo, but I just felt that I needed to correct it.

    • Don G.
      September 17, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      GHW Bush? You mean the president who first took advantage of the fall of the Soviet Union by starting the Gulf War on false pretenses? You’ll know when a president doesn’t start another major war in the ME, and that will be when that future president feels deterred from the common U.S. cause because Russia and China have stood up and said, NO MORE.
      It will be either Trump or Clinton. And if that president is a psychopath who knows no fear and will not be deterred from his/her goal, as psychopaths are, then the next U.S. led war may be the last war. I have a hunch that MAD could save the world for more years to come. Barring the ‘psychopath’ wild card.

  14. jaycee
    September 14, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    “the blow to Western “credibility” … could be devastating.”

    That train may have already left the station, if the response to Obama at the recent G20 is any indication. Not the credibility with Western populations, but with the rest of the planet.

  15. Zachary Smith
    September 14, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Though Blair and Cameron have at least faced personal disgrace over their roles in these two failed “regime change” invasions, there has been less accountability in the United States, where there were no comprehensive examinations of the policy failures that led to the wars in Iraq and Libya…

    I can’t account for this – are US citizens that much more indifferent to the waste of their young soldier’s lives? It’s satisfying to me that David Cameron is going to have more time to spend with his pigs.

    One of the US criminals in the Iraq episode has recently established that he can see evil in others – an email of his spoke of Hillary as [having] “unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational” and with a track record: “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” Hillary is a small-state lawyer who became famous by marrying a future president. She has neither training/qualifications nor any demonstrated ability NOT to screw up everything she touches. But unlike the British case, the nutty woman is still on the threshold of getting into the White House again, this time with an unrestrained ability to screw up the entire world.

    • dahoit
      September 15, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Threshold?Nah,only in our worst nightmares.Reality says Trump in a landslide.

  16. exiled off mainstreet
    September 15, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Of course, though the consequences of the Iraq and Libya deceptions were massive war crimes, their effects on the yankee imperium proper were survivable, at least for the moment, though it is deplorable that the rule of law and all legitimacy are now gone from the yankee imperium. The worst consequences of the Iraq and Libya deceptions are the precedent they have set to enable this Russia deception and attempted war. The consequences of the this deception, of course, won’t be easily survivable.

  17. September 15, 2016 at 4:02 am

    ”In both cases, U.K. leaders tagged along and the West’s mainstream news media mostly served as unprofessional propaganda conduits, not as diligent watchdogs for the public.”

    It should be clear by now that the MSM plays the same role in contemporary society as the Church did in the middle-ages. Its function is to act as a source of legitimation for the powers-that-be, and is in large part an important component of this ruling configuration. Both politics and journalism should be a vocation, there to serve the public interest, in fact they are little more than self-serving career paths and exist to serve the powerful and corrupt. The media – which includes newspapers, magazines, cable TV and radio stations, think-tanks, NGOs – plays the prime role in the drive in the West’s drive toward successive wars. The technique of thought-control, mass-indoctrination, based upon an elite group-think has been fine tuned and disseminated to a degree which would have shocked even Orwell. Orwell’s depiction in his dystopian novel 1984, of the thought-police, Ministry of Love, two minutes hate, now seems incredibly crude and cumbersome compared to today’s refined techniques. In the middle-ages we used to try to control the dissident by torture and the stake, we went through the body to get at the soul; this was not always very effective and led to martyrs being seen as heroic in their stance against the religious status quo. Today, however we go straight for the soul in terms of sophisticated techniques of mind control and material persuasion. It works so much better.

    How long the creation of a bubble of virtual reality can exist is an open question.

  18. Mike Willis
    September 15, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker article “The Redirection” is a prescient piece of the larger puzzle here…
    Read today, it is a near exact foretelling of the past decade of deception and utter chaos in the middle east, and in particular the targeting of secular or Shia governments aligned with Iran by Washington’s deliberate (if indirect) arming and funding of Sunni extremist/terrorist groups.
    It was precisely these groups that were championed by the Western Mainstream Media as heroic/moderate “rebels” while they unleashed bloody sectarian havoc in Libya (and later Syria) dressed-up as an indigenous rebellion/uprising against an oppressive dictatorial ‘regime’.
    The Redirection. Worth seeking out…
    Thank you Mr Parry for your consistent courage and excellent journalism.

  19. delia ruhe
    September 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    To expect American politicians and mainstream journalists to forswear the politics of fear when it has always (at least, since Truman) worked so well as a tool for the manufacture of public consent is folly. Today, one has to factor in the desperation of elites in Washington — i.e., the American leadership and the deep state that writes the rules — especially in regard to the severe erosion of American hegemony.

    Two of the primary weapons in Washington’s plan for the repair of that hegemony, namely the TPP and the TTIP, don’t look as if they are going to materialize. Xi is already tempting ASEAN and other small neighbours with something far better than the TPP — the chance to be involved in the biggest economic development project in human history (i.e., OBOR). And not only is there a well informed, well organized European opposition to the TTIP, but also a lot of second thoughts among some EU members about the wisdom of alienating Russia, as that runs against self-interest. So much for the fantasy of “containment” of Russia and China.

    What would you rather sign on to, win-win Eurasian economic development, or yet another of America’s zero-sum games? The fact that so many of Washington’s “allies” (i.e., vassals) rushed to become founding members of the AIIB against strict warnings from Obama stands as evidence that the choice has already been made. (Canada — finally — signed on. Whew!)

  20. LJ
    September 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Fool me once Shame on You, Fool me twice Shame on me , Fool me three time I must like it, Fool me Four times , That’s a lifestyle choice. Luckily the Department of Disinformation at the Pentagon that Obama signed into law makes it feel really Ok . It’s a bit like riding your new mountain bike on a flat trail that is suddenly really popular. remembering all the while that we don’t really need to challenge yourself and that it’s good for the economy if we buy new gear and those lame riding clothes like everybody else. Though the real trick is to get that self satisfied idiotic look on your face as you ride around talking about your gear and other trails that you may have ridden or might like to ride in the future. After all what you are doing is working out, it’s self improvement. Isn’t that true?

  21. Joe Tedesky
    September 15, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    I submitted a comment that went to moderation. What did I say that got me censore? I love your reporting Mr Parry, I really do, but this algorithm thing that sends comments on to moderation mode is just plain ridiculous.

  22. September 16, 2016 at 7:48 am

    It was all about the petro-dollar . Revealed by wikileaks . Qadaffi wanted to introduce the Gold Dinar and Mubarek was in on it. Viola Arab spring regime change and Mubarek s demise. Well documented but never mentioned by any MSM or other alt sources. Syria Golan Pars gas fields its all about maintaining the Nixon/Kissinger doctrine and invention of the petro-dollar. Most countries r starting to de dollarize their exchanges. Iran,China and Russia r already doing direct swaps with their own currencies and bypassing the petro-dollar swindle ponzi scheme. Audit the Fed audit Fort Knox. I bet their aint one gold bullion left there. The elitist oligarchs ,banksters all want a war. China ,Russia and Iran have all said nyet. Further more they have also said they will not play to the Washington consensus extortion rackett. The Last G-20 they have been put on notice( US,UK,Europe) Nyet No Jamais Mai . No spells No the jig is up. Its only we fools in the west that cant c it. Imagine the point these vile people r willing to go in order to keep this defunct , morally and intellectually bankrupt system. Don’t poke the Bears (China and Russia).

  23. John
    September 16, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    We declare a state of emergency for the Republic of the United States……The Republic has been compromised from the inside of governmental operations……Repeat….This is a state of emergency……..

  24. Carroll Price
    September 18, 2016 at 6:52 am

    The mindless wars in the middle east are not a result of the US being “fooled” by Russia or anyone else. They’re for the purpose of creating immense profits for the MIC.

  25. Michael
    September 19, 2016 at 8:24 am

    If this is a true reflection of Clinton’s adviser’s email advice then then she has a real problem at a very fundamental level. As I recall there is no French Franc anymore and there hasn’t been one since they relinquished it for the euro back in the ’90s way before 2011.

    This Blumenthal guy is an idiot, and so is Hillary if she is listening to him. But then we already knew that didn’t we.

    The truth is that the pan African currency was a threat to the US dollar and that is why he is now dead.

  26. richard feibel
    September 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    cut out the rhetoric bull shit about who did what and when and lets play charade and guess who s right.its all bullshit crap .the people who know this is an israeli rothchild agenda and has been since about 1915 .so what the hell is the matter with you ignoramuses ???stop with the gee i quess this or that, .its the rothchild agenda period and its winning as the american public has been stupid from day one meaning since at least the early 1800 s.LINCOLN was the worst.and set the stage for british /yiddish bankers to do their dirty deeds i.e j p morganstern .lies and more lies from so called libertarians just like the paul duo all zionist schills!!!

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