Article 43

 

Revelations

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Apocalypse Of Coercion

Why We Listen to What “They” Say About 9/11

By Kevin Barrett
mujca.com

"Thats just like hypnotizing chickens.” --Iggy Pop, “Lust for Life”

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...uh...(long pause)...we won’t get fooled again.” GEORGE W. BUSH

They say suicidal Muslim fanatics did it. They say those radical Muslims hate our freedoms. They say the country is full of sleeper agents who could wake up and kill us at any moment, as soon as their little red-white-and-blue “I hate the USA” wristwatch alarms go off.

They say that Saddam Hussein had something to do with it--hes Muslim, isn’t he? They say invading Afghanistan and Iraq was the appropriate response; we had to do something, right? They say if youre not with us, you’re against us--and if youre against us, you’re on the side of the evildoers.

They say those cunning, devious suicide hijackers defeated Americas defenses using flying lessons and box cutters. They say it was ordered by a tall, dark, handsome, sinister, hooknosed kidney patient in a cave in Afghanistan--a ringer for the evil vizier Jaffar in the Disney film Aladdin, but with a thicker beard to signify “Islamist.” They say it was masterminded by a real bad dude named KSM. They say they finally caught KSM, and that the whole story, enshrined in the official 9/11 Commission Report, is based on what KSM said under interrogation--so it’s all right from the horses mouth.

They say it happened because our defense and intelligence systems didn’t see it coming, despite all those urgent warnings from dozens of countries as well as whistleblowers from our own agencies. They say that nobody was really to blame, so nobody had to be prosecuted or fired or even reprimanded. They say that by promoting the very people who made the most outrageously improbable blunders, and giving the screw-up agencies a whole lot more money, weve ensured that they’ll do better next time.

They say that anybody who questions what they say is a conspiracy theorist.

“Who, exactly, are they,ђ and why do they say so much? More amazing, why do we listen to them?” Douglas Rushkoff, COERCION: WHY WE LISTEN TO WHAT “THEY” SAY (NY: Penguin, 1999).

Rushkoff’s Coercion is a sizzling expos of mind control, American style. Unlike Chomskys Manufacturing Consent, Rushkoff钒s book provides a detailed guide to the nuts-and-bolts techniques employed against us every day by advertisers, marketers, public relations specialists, Hollywood filmmakers, salespeople, pyramid-scam artists, and cult leaders--the very same techniques applied for decades, and gradually perfected, by CIA interrogators and psychological warfare experts. These techniques are designed to disable rational thought and manipulate behavior at the unconscious and emotional levels. Anyone curious about why so many otherwise rational people have believed the official story of 9/11 for so long, in the teeth of the overwhelming evidence against it, should start by reading Coercion.

The secret of mind-control is simple--so simple that Rushkoff can sum it up in one sentence: ”In whatever milieu coercion is practiced, the routine follows the same basic steps: Generate disorientation, induce regression, and then become the targets transferred parent figure” (64). Hard-sell car salesmen, CIA interrogators and psychwar ops, and cult leaders have long used this technique. Under coercion, millions of otherwise rational people can be persuaded to act against their own interests--whether by shelling out big bucks for an overpriced lemon, betraying a comrade and a cause, or allowing a gang of criminals to destroy their nation’s Constitution and launch criminal wars of aggression.

How do they do it? Lets start by zooming in on your local automobile dealership. The car salesman carefully leads the mark to be dissatisfied with his current car, and by extension his current life--and as the mark sees his current life through newly dissatisfied eyes, he begins to experience disorientation. The salesman then takes the mark on a test drive and, at the right moment, asks “Is this the type of vehicle you would like to own?” Rushoff quotes a car-salesman-turned-whistleblower:

And anyone will tell you this, the vacuum cleaner salesman, the car salesman--the customer has a split-second of insanity. The mind goes blank, the body paralyzes, the eyes get glassy, dilated. And you’d be surprised how many people have an accident at just that moment! Ask any car dealer. We always joke about it. (43) The car salesmans question, like the well-timed words of a good hypnotist, triggers a sudden intensification of the customer’s dissociated, suggestible state. Rushkoff explains: “The customer is already in a vehicle, being asked to imagine himself owning the same type of vehicle. Its the same as if I asked you if this is the kind of book you can imagine yourself reading. Your current situation is reframed in fantasy. It creates a momentary confusion, or dissociation, from the activity youҒre involved in. Thats why so many drivers crash” (43). If the customer answers no, he gets the same treatment in other cars until he answers yes. Then he is brought back to the dealership and infantilized, as the salesman becomes his transferred parent figure:

He is told where to go, how to walk, where to sit. One training manual instructs the salesman to give the customer coffee whether he wants it or not: ”Don’t ask him if he wants a cup of coffee--just ask him how he takes it.” In this way, the customer is trained to obey, and given his fear and disorientation in the sales environment, he welcomes the commands and their implied invitation for him to regress into the safety of childhood. (43)

Once the customer has been infantilized, he is controlled by various tricks. One of the best-known is the “common enemy” technique. The salesman pretends to be conspiring with the customer against the nasty head of the dealership, or against another salesman who is greedy and dishonest. The “common enemy” technique is also used by the CIA--one interrogator, the ”good cop,” teams up with the subject against the other interrogator, the “bad cop.” Governments, of course, use the same technique: The illegitimate son-of-a-Bush of August, 2001 doubled his approval ratings by infantilizing the American public on 9/11 and rallying them against the “common enemy” of evildoing Muslim extremists.

The CIA, like the automobile industry, has long been refining coercive techniques aimed at eliciting compliance. Whether the Company wants to coerce an interrogation subject into spilling the beans, or a whole nation into supporting a war, the techniques are basically the same as those used by hard-sell car salesmen: Generate dissociation through disorientation, induce regression, and become the targets transferred parent figure. In an interrogation, the CIA begins by disorienting the subject:

As the minutes, hours, or days go by, the “sights and sounds of an outside world fade away, [and] its significance is replaced by the interrogation room, its two occupants, and the dynamic relationship between them” (CIA Interrogation Manual) which is why interrogation rooms are generally devoid of windows and free of all references to the outside world, including time of day and day of the week. The subject becomes completely dependent on the interrogator for all external stimuli and, accordingly, his sense of self (35).

After the subject’s sense of self has been broken down, the CIA interrogator chooses from a grab bag of techniques that accomplish the same thing as the car salesmans line “Is this the type of vehicle you would like to own?” These techniques induce a sudden state of radical confusion by disrupting the target’s familiar emotional associations. The CIA manual explains: “When this aim is achieved, resistance is seriously impaired. There is an interval--which may be extremely brief--of suspended animation, a kind of psychological shock or paralysis...that explodes the world that is familiar to the subject as well as his image of himself within that world. Experienced interrogators recognize this effect when it appears and know that at this moment the source is far more open to suggestion” (qtd. In Rushkoff, 36). At this moment, the interrogator encourages the subject to regress to a childlike state of mind, and becomes the subjects transferred parent figure.

This is a very good description of what was done to the American people on and after September 11th, 2001. The images of the planes crashing into landmark buildings, and those buildings exploding into powder and shards, created a state of extreme confusion, “a kind of psychological shock or paralysis.” The bombs that brought down the Twin Towers and WTC-7 literally exploded the world that was familiar to us, and our images of ourselves in that world. We experienced a moment of dissociation, which is why we can still recall where we were and what we were doing when we learned of the attack. As the psychological warfare experts who designed the operation knew very well, this left us radically open to suggestion--to mass hypnosis. Our old world had been annihilated, and we were ready to be hypnotized, and to have a new world created for us. We desperately needed a parent figure to tell us how to make sense of the madness.

The government, of course, became that transferred parent figure. The presidency, instituted by George “father of his country” Washington, is a paternal institution. Even an illegitimate son-of-a-Bush could briefly become our idealized national daddy. We believed what “they” told us about 9/11, with little or no effort to discern the actual facts, because we had been coerced and infantilized. When Susan Sontag spoke out against the absurd infantilization of the American people post-9/11, she was subjected to vicious attacks by intelligence-asset pseudo-journalists. Why? Not because what she said wasn’t true--it obviously was. The reason Sontag had to be ripped to shreds by the CIA rag National Review and its epigones was that she was getting too close to understanding that 9/11 was a psychological warfare operation by US and allied intelligence agencies, not a “terrorist attack” by anti-American foreigners. Sontag understood that the American public had been subjected to induced regression. By calling attention to this fact, she was indirectly calling attention to the psy-op man behind the curtain.

The choice of September 11th as the date of the attacks was obviously made by a psychological warfare expert who wanted to make the American people suffer induced regression and put childlike faith in their government. The number 911 has overwhelming emotional associations in the mind of every American. From early childhood, we are taught that this is the magic number we can call in the event of an emergency. If anything terrible or deeply threatening happens to us, all we have to do is push those three buttons on the nearest telephone, and a benevolent parent figure--the government--will come rushing to help us. With the ongoing breakdown of the family and its authority, and the widespread consciousness of abuse between family members, the number 911 represents the government that has become our real daddy. The planners of 9/11 took advantage of this fact, enshrining their false-flag attack with a number that evokes our desperate, childlike need for the government to be the daddy who comes racing to help us in an emergency. Every time we hear “9/11” we are enveloped in subconscious emotional associations of a benevolent, fatherly government that can be counted on to save us from catastrophe. Unless we have learned how to defend ourselves against coercion, it is these emotional associations, not facts, that condition how we think.

Once our old world had been exploded, our minds regressed to a childlike emotional level, and our faith placed in the transferred parent figure of our government and its paternal figurehead, we were ready to be bombarded by hypnotic words and images. The hypnotic inculcation of thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes is a simple matter. The key is repetition: Repetition, repetition, repetition. In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the so-called war on terror, “what I tell you three times is true.” They tell us over and over that 9/11 was like Pearl Harbor; we accept the paradigm and prepare for a righteous world war. They tell us over and over that Bin Laden did it, and we internalize that belief, without reference to evidence. They tell us over and over that Bin Laden is Americas enemy, and we accept the story, even though many of the worldҒs most prestigious journalistic outlets have told us that Bin Laden spent the first two weeks of July, 2001 getting treated at the American Hospital in Dubai and meeting with CIA Station Chief Larry Mitchell. They tell us over and over that the guy in the grainy video confessing to 9/11 is Bin Laden, even though there is very little resemblance between this overweight impostor and the Osama Bin Laden of other photos and videos. They tell us over and over about the 19 suicide hijackers, and we believe them, even when we find out that many of these alleged hijackers are still alive, that these individuals were/are not Muslims at all but intelligence agents, and that the “flight schools” they trained at were actually CIA drug import airstrips. They tell us over and over that (whore-chasing, boozing cokehead) Mohammad Atta put a bizarre parody of an “Islamic terrorists last will and testament” into a suitcase and checked that suitcase on board his suicide flight--say what?!--and that the suitcase was mistakenly put onboard a different flight so it could be quickly discovered and offered as “evidence.” They tell us that other “suicide hijackers” conveniently left a car full of evidence at the airport. They tell us that a hijackerҒs passport miraculously floated down from the inferno in the Towers to be discovered as more “evidence.” They tell us that the fact that the hijackersӔ spent the night of 9/10/2001 in a motel right across the street from the gates of the National Security Agency headquarters is just a weird coincidence. They tell us that a good Samaritan burglar happened to “steal” the briefcase containing the “evidence” of the “hijackers” concocting their plot in Hamburg, Germany, and felt compelled to deliver the briefcase to the German police. (What they dont tell us is that the German police are rolling on the ground laughing at the absurd pretext, and have publicly stated that the “burglar” was an intelligence agent.) They tell us over and over that the World Trade Center collapsed from diesel-fuel-induced fires, despite the fact that no high rise steel frame skyscraper has ever collapsed due to fire, including much worse ones than those on 9/11. They tell us over and over that Hani Hanjour, who could not fly a Cessna training aircraft, somehow executed an amazing stunt maneuver in a hijacked 757 in order to hit the empty, newly-reinforced wing of the Pentagon and cause minimal damage--instead of just diving into the roof and killing thousands.

Even more important than the repetition of such ludicrous propositions, has been the bombardment of the public with words and phrases designed to disable rational thought: terror, terrorism, the war on terror, hate our freedoms, hate our values, patriot, patriotic, Patriot Act, evildoers, extremists, security, anthrax, homeland, biological weapons, Islamo-fascist, dirty bombs, weapons of mass destruction. These emotionally-charged terms, drummed incessantly into our brains, reinforce the unconscious emotional predispositions that govern our thoughts. They literally force us to think certain thoughts, and render us literally incapable of even entertaining others. Just as the car salesman’s coercive question “How do you take your coffee” literally forces 90% of non-coffee-drinkers to obediently accept a cup of coffee, the psych-war experts attack of disorientation, regression, and parental transference literally forces 90% of the American public to think patently ludicrous thoughts, adopt those thoughts as a model of reality, and cling to those self-evidently absurd thoughts in the teeth of overwhelming factual evidence.

The question remains, who are “they”? The answer is obvious - just read the PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY‘s manifesto REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES, published in September, 2000, which openly calls for a “New Pearl Harbor.” The 9/11 NEW PEARL HARBOR was brought to us by the neoconservatives, who believe that all human beings except themselves are governed by irrational emotions and incapable of evidence-based reasoning. The neoconservatives are Zionist extremists and cult followers of the demented philosopher-guru Leo Strauss, whose worldview can be summed up in the adage “if you cant beat Hitler, join him.” They apparently believed that a massive dose of coercion, in the form of 9/11, could motivate Americans to preserve and expand their imperial domination of the planet in general, and their commitment to a belligerent, expansionist Israel in particular.

Oddly enough, 9/11 was apparently designed with the help of focus groups:
...The trick only needs to work long enough to win (or avoid) a war. Even if “the truth” emerges sometime later, at least the primary objective has already been achieved...when American corporate and governmental interests adopted these techniques for use against the American people, they needed to cloak their assault in a seemingly benign manifestation: the focus group. About ten “average” members of a target population are brought into a room and asked to discuss an issue while a team of researchers, clients, and a camera record their responses from behind a one-way mirror. A researcher stays in the room with the subjects, asking them questions and pushing them in new directions…

Bob Deutsch, an anthropologist [and legendary psy-op focus group guru] who worked for the Department of Defense...led focus groups revealing AmericansҒ irrational beliefs about Japan. “You want to uncover in your audience what I call a ‘spasm of sentiment’,” he explained. “Its their illogic--their emotional logic.” He told us how in focus groups with average American citizens, he learned that most people still associate the Japanese with Pearl Harbor: “People say, for example, ‘Japan took our lives in 1941, and they took our livelihoods in 1991.’ Because Japan disrupted AmericaҒs self-mythology of being invincible, the nation would never be forgiven in the irrational American sentiment.” (140)

The authors of 9/11 needed a horrifyingly spectacular, murderous attack on the American “homeland” in order to elicit this “Pearl Harbor effect.” They needed to “disrupt Americas self-mythology of being invincible” so that Arabs and Muslims “would never be forgiven in the irrational American sentiment.” They were not interested in triggering just one quick war in Afghanistan, or a second one in Iraq. They were after “the war that will not end in our lifetimes"--an ongoing war that would remove AmericansҒ Constitutional liberties, massively increase military expenditures, and legitimize attacks against Middle Eastern nations for decades into the future, on behalf of Israeli expansionism and the petrodollar hegemony on which it depends.

9/11, in short, was an apocalypse of coercion. It was a psy-op on a scale of murderousness and mendacity to make the Reichstag Fire look like a kid playing with matches.

Play with fire, however, and you just might get burned. This “apocalypse of coercion” could end up being an apocalypse for its authors, and for coercion itself. The neocons have been revealed and reviled as pathological liars, and only the flimsiest film of reticence is preventing the major media from exposing the 9/11 psy-op and triggering the greatest scandal in world history, and a Constitutional crisis light-years beyond anything in the American experience. As people awaken to 9/11 truth, they grow psychic armor that renders them invincible to coercion in any form. Recoiling from the sheer horror of such murderous coercion, their psychic immune system is strengthened. It is a safe bet that no 9/11 skeptic will ever buy a lemon from a car salesman--or even accept an unwanted cup of coffee. The 9/11 truth-awakened individual will not succumb to the blandishments of advertisers, political pundits, cult leaders, politicians, or Fox News commentators. He or she will smell coercion coming from a mile away, and tell the prospective coercer into which orifice their coercion may be inserted. The simple truth is, coercion doesnt work any more, and future historians will view 9/11 as its final implosion. In the mid-1990s PR guru Howard Rubenstein saw that the internet had made damage-control coercion obsolete, and began advising clients that they had no choice but to let the ugly truth hang out. Need a coverup? “The lesson is not to do it. Sure, people will come to you and say, “Lets set up a committee and we’ll call it so-and-so, and well hire someone to run it,” and my attitude is: Whats known is known. Simple. What is known gets published. So it’s foolhardy to set up a fig-leaf committee and hope nobody will look under the fig leaf and see whats there” (160). Unfortunately, the Bush Administration didn’t take Rubensteins advice when it set up the 9/11 Commission.

The word “apocalypse” denotes the cataclysmic end of the world, but its original Greek meaning is “unveiling.” By unveiling the truth of 9/11, and the mechanisms of coercion it employed, we can avoid the apocalyptic future of endless war that the New Pearl Harbor was designed to trigger. Less obviously, we can expose and discredit the mechanisms of coercion that governments and corporations use to dehumanize us. It is time for coercion-savvy media specialists like Rushkoff and Rubenstein to join the 9/11 truth movement and help us figure out how to communicate 9/11 truth, turn the 9/11 apocalypse of coercion against its perpetrators, and ensure that in our shared human future, communications technologies will be used to empower people, not enslave them.

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Posted by Elvis on 11/26/06 •
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Summer Pulse Revisited

Iran: A Bridge too Far?

by Mark Gaffney
Information Clearinghouse
October 26, 2004

Last July, they dubbed it operation SUMMER PULSE: a simultaneous mustering of US Naval forces, world wide, that was unprecedented. According to the Navy, it was the first exercise of its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP), the purpose of which was to enable the Navy to respond quickly to an international crisis. The Navy wanted to show its increased force readiness, that is, its capacity to rapidly move combat power to any global hot spot. Never in the history of the US Navy had so many carrier battle groups been involved in a single operation. Even the US fleet massed in the Gulf and eastern Mediterranean during operation Desert Storm in 1991, and in the recent invasion of Iraq, never exceeded six battle groups. But last July and August there were seven of them on the move, each battle group consisting of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier with its full complement of 7-8 supporting ships, and 70 or more assorted aircraft. Most of the activity, according to various reports, was in the Pacific, where the fleet participated in joint exercises with the Taiwanese navy.

But why so much naval power underway at the same time? What potential world crisis could possibly require more battle groups than were deployed during the recent invasion of Iraq? In past years, when the US has seen fit to show the flag or flex its naval muscle, one or two carrier groups have sufficed. Why this global show of power?

The news headlines about the joint-maneuvers in the South China Sea read: “Saber Rattling Unnerves China”, and: “Huge Show of Force Worries Chinese. But the reality was quite different, and, as we shall see, has grave ramifications for the continuing US military presence in the Persian Gulf; because operation Summer Pulse reflected a high-level Pentagon decision that an unprecedented show of strength was needed to counter what is viewed as a growing threat - in the particular case of China, because of Pekings newest Sovremenny-class destroyers recently acquired from Russia.

Nonsense! you are probably thinking. That’s impossible. How could a few picayune destroyers threaten the US Pacific fleet?

Here is where the story thickens: Summer Pulse amounted to a tacit acknowledgement, obvious to anyone paying attention, that the United States has been eclipsed in an important area of military technology, and that this qualitative edge is now being wielded by others, including the CHINESE; because those otherwise very ordinary destroyers were, in fact, launching platforms for Russian-made 3M-82 Moskit anti-ship cruise missiles (NATO designation: SS-N-22 Sunburn), a weapon for which the US Navy currently has no defense. Here I am not suggesting that the US status of lone world Superpower has been surpassed. I am simply saying that a new global balance of power is emerging, in which other individual states may, on occasion, achieve “an asymmetric advantage” over the US. And this, in my view, explains the immense scale of Summer Pulse. The US show last summer of overwhelming strength was calculated to send a message.

The Sunburn Missile

I was shocked when I learned the facts about these Russian-made cruise missiles. The problem is that so many of us suffer from two common misperceptions. The first follows from our assumption that Russia is militarily weak, as a result of the breakup of the old Soviet system. Actually, this is accurate, but it does not reflect the complexities. Although the Russian navy continues to rust in port, and the Russian army is in disarray, in certain key areas Russian technology is actually superior to our own. And nowhere is this truer than in the vital area of anti-ship cruise missile technology, where the Russians hold at least a ten-year lead over the US. The second misperception has to do with our complacency in general about missiles-as-weapons - probably attributable to the pathetic performance of Saddam Hussein’s Scuds during the first Gulf war: a dangerous illusion that I will now attempt to rectify.

Many years ago, Soviet planners gave up trying to match the US Navy ship for ship, gun for gun, and dollar for dollar. The Soviets simply could not compete with the high levels of US spending required to build up and maintain a huge naval armada. They shrewdly adopted an alternative approach based on strategic defense. They searched for weaknesses, and sought relatively inexpensive ways to exploit those weaknesses. The Soviets succeeded: by developing several supersonic anti-ship missiles, one of which, the SS-N-22 Sunburn, has been called the most lethal missile in the world today.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the old military establishment fell upon hard times. But in the late 1990s Moscow awakened to the under-utilized potential of its missile technology to generate desperately needed foreign exchange. A decision was made to resuscitate selected programs, and, very soon, Russian missile technology became a hot export commodity. Today, Russian missiles are a growth industry generating much-needed cash for Russia, with many billions in combined sales to India, China, Viet Nam, Cuba, and also Iran. In the near future this dissemination of advanced technology is likely to present serious challenges to the US. Some have even warned that the US Navy’s largest ships, the massive carriers, have now become floating death traps, and should for this reason be mothballed.

The Sunburn missile has never seen use in combat, to my knowledge, which probably explains why its fearsome capabilities are not more widely recognized. Other cruise missiles have been used, of course, on several occasions, and with devastating results. During the Falklands War, French-made Exocet missiles, fired from Argentine fighters, sunk the HMS Sheffield and another ship. And, in 1987, during the Iran-Iraq war, the USS Stark was nearly cut in half by a pair of Exocets while on patrol in the Persian Gulf. On that occasion US Aegis radar picked up the incoming Iraqi fighter (a French-made Mirage), and tracked its approach to within 50 miles. The radar also saw the Iraqi plane turn about and return to its base. But radar never detected the pilot launch his weapons. The sea-skimming Exocets came smoking in under radar and were only sighted by human eyes moments before they ripped into the Stark, crippling the ship and killing 37 US sailors.

The 1987 surprise attack on the STARK exemplifies the dangers posed by anti-ship cruise missiles. And the dangers are much more serious in the case of the Sunburn, whose specs leave the sub-sonic Exocet in the dust. Not only is the Sunburn much larger and faster, it has far greater range and a superior guidance system. Those who have witnessed its performance trials invariably come away stunned. According to one report, when the Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani visited Moscow in October 2001 he requested a test firing of the Sunburn, which the Russians were only too happy to arrange. So impressed was Ali Shamkhani that he placed an order for an undisclosed number of the missiles.

The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes violent end maneuvers to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution - not enough time to take out the intruding missile. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder just in time.

The Sunburn’s combined supersonic speed and payload size produce tremendous kinetic energy on impact, with devastating consequences for ship and crew. A single one of these missiles can sink a large warship, yet costs considerably less than a fighter jet. Although the Navy has been phasing out the older Phalanx defense system, its replacement, known as the ROLLING ACTION MISSLE (RAM) has never been tested against the weapon it seems destined to ONE DAY face in combat.

Implications For US Forces in the Gulf

The US Navy’s only plausible defense against a robust weapon like the Sunburn missile is to detect the enemy’s approach well ahead of time, whether destroyers, subs, or fighter-bombers, and defeat them before they can get in range and launch their deadly cargo. For this purpose US AWACs radar planes assigned to each naval battle group are kept aloft on a rotating schedule. The planes see everything within two hundred miles of the fleet, and are complemented with intelligence from orbiting satellites.

But US naval commanders operating in the Persian Gulf face serious challenges that are unique to the littoral, i.e., coastal, environment.  A glance at a map shows why: The Gulf is nothing but a large lake, with one narrow outlet, and most of its northern shore, i.e., Iran, consists of mountainous terrain that affords a commanding tactical advantage over ships operating in Gulf waters. The rugged northern shore makes for easy concealment of coastal defenses, such as mobile missile launchers, and also makes their detection problematic. Although it was not widely reported, the US actually lost the battle of the Scuds in the first Gulf War - termed the great Scud hunt and for similar reasons. Saddam Hussein’s mobile Scud launchers proved so difficult to detect and destroy - over and over again the Iraqis fooled allied reconnaissance with decoys - that during the course of Desert Storm the US was unable to confirm even a single kill. This proved such an embarrassment to the Pentagon, afterwards, that the unpleasant stats were buried in official reports. But the blunt fact is that the US failed to stop the Scud attacks. The launches continued until the last few days of the conflict. Luckily, the Scud’s inaccuracy made it an almost useless weapon. At one point General Norman Schwarzkopf quipped dismissively to the press that his soldiers had a greater chance of being struck by lightning in Georgia than by a Scud in Kuwait.

But that was then, and it would be a grave error to allow the Scuds ineffectiveness to blur the facts concerning this other missile. The Sunburn’s amazing accuracy was demonstrated not long ago in a live test staged at sea by the Chinese - and observed by US spy planes. Not only did the Sunburn missile destroy the dummy target ship, it scored a perfect bulls eye, hitting the crosshairs of a large X mounted on the ship’s bridge. The only word that does it justice, awesome, has become a clich, hackneyed from hyperbolic excess.

The US Navy has never faced anything in combat as formidable as the Sunburn missile. But this will surely change if the US and Israel decide to wage a so-called preventive war against Iran to destroy its nuclear infrastructure. Storm clouds have been darkening over the Gulf for many months. In recent years Israel upgraded its air force with a new fleet of long-range F-15 fighter-bombers, and even more recently took delivery of 5,000 bunker-buster bombs from the US - weapons that many observers think are intended for use against IRAN.

The arming for war has been matched by threats. Israeli officials have declared repeatedly that they will not allow the Mullahs to develop nuclear power, not even reactors to generate electricity for peaceful use. Their threats are particularly worrisome, because Israel has a long history of pre-emptive war. (See my 1989 book Dimona: the Third Temple? and also my 2003 article WILL IRAN BE NEXT?

Never mind that such a determination is not Israels to make, and belongs instead to the international community, as codified in the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). With regard to Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEAs) recent report (September 2004) is well worth a look, as it repudiates facile claims by the US and Israel that Iran is building bombs. While the report is highly critical of Tehran for its ambiguities and its grudging release of documents, it affirms that IAEA inspectors have been admitted to every nuclear site in the country to which they have sought access, without exception. Last year Iran signed the strengthened IAEA inspection protocol, which until then had been voluntary. And the IAEA has found no hard evidence, to date, either that bombs exist or that Iran has made a decision to build them. (The latest IAEA report can be downloaded HERE.)

In a talk on October 3, 2004, IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei made the clearest statement yet: ”IRAN HAS NO NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM”, he said, and then repeated himself for emphasis: “Iran has no nuclear weapons program, but I personally dont rush to conclusions before all the realities are clarified.” So far I see nothing that could be called an imminent danger. I have seen no nuclear weapons program in Iran. What I have seen is that Iran is trying to gain access to nuclear enrichment technology, and so far there is no danger from Iran. Therefore, we should make use of political and diplomatic means before thinking of resorting to other alternatives.

No one disputes that Tehran is pursuing a dangerous path, but with 200 or more Israeli nukes targeted upon them the Iranians insistence on keeping their options open is understandable. Clearly, the nuclear nonproliferation regime today hangs by the slenderest of threads. The world has arrived at a fateful crossroads.

A Fearful Symmetry?

If a showdown over Iran develops in the coming months, the man who could hold the outcome in his hands will be thrust upon the world stage. That man, like him or hate him, is Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has been castigated severely in recent months for gathering too much political power to himself. But according to former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who was interviewed on US television recently by David Brokaw, Putin has not imposed a tyranny upon Russia ֒ yet. Gorbachev thinks the jury is still out on Putin.

Perhaps, with this in mind, we should be asking whether Vladimir Putin is a serious student of history. If he is, then he surely recognizes that the deepening crisis in the Persian Gulf presents not only manifold dangers, but also opportunities. Be assured that the Russian leader has not forgotten the humiliating defeat Ronald Reagan inflicted upon the old Soviet state. (Have we Americans forgotten?) By the mid-1980s the Soviets were in Kabul, and had all but defeated the Mujahedeen. The Soviet Union appeared secure in its military occupation of Afghanistan. But then, in 1986, the first US Stinger missiles reached the hands of the Afghani resistance; and, quite suddenly, Soviet helicopter gunships and MiGs began dropping out of the skies like flaming stones. The tide swiftly turned, and by 1989 it was all over but the hand wringing and gnashing of teeth in the Kremlin. Defeated, the Soviets slunk back across the frontier. The whole world cheered the American Stingers, which had carried the day.

This very night, as he sips his cognac, what is Vladimir Putin thinking? Is he perhaps thinking about the perverse symmetries of history? If so, he may also be wondering (and discussing with his closest aides) how a truly great nation like the United States could be so blind and so stupid as to allow another state, i.e., Israel, to control its foreign policy, especially in a region as vital (and volatile) as the Mid-East. One can almost hear the Russians - animated conversation:

The Americans! What is the matter with them?
They simply cannot help themselves.
What idiots!
A nation as foolish as this deserves to be taught a lesson
Yes! For their own good.
It must be a painful lesson, one they will never forget
Are we agreed, then, comrades?
Let us teach our American friends a lesson about the limits of military power!

Does anyone really believe that Vladimir Putin will hesitate to seize a most rare opportunity to change the course of history and, in the bargain, take his sweet revenge? Surely Putin understands the terrible dimensions of the trap into which the US has blundered, thanks to the Israelis and their neo-con supporters in Washington who lobbied so vociferously for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, against all friendly and expert advice, and who even now beat the drums of war against Iran. Would Putin be wrong to conclude that the US will never leave the region unless it is first defeated militarily? Should we blame him for deciding that Iran is one bridge too far?

If the US and Israel overreach, and the Iranians close the net with Russian anti-ship missiles, it will be a fearful symmetry, indeed.

Springing the Trap

At the battle of Cannae in 216 BC the great Carthaginian general, Hannibal, tempted a much larger Roman army into a fateful advance, and then enveloped and annihilated it with a smaller force. Out of a Roman army of 70,000 men, no more than a few thousand escaped. It was said that after many hours of dispatching the Romans Hannibal҅s soldiers grew so tired that the fight went out of them. In their weariness they granted the last broken and bedraggled Romans their lives

Let us pray that the US sailors who are unlucky enough to be on duty in the Persian Gulf when the shooting starts can escape the fate of the Roman army at Cannae. The odds will be heavily against them, however, because they will face the same type of danger, tantamount to envelopment. The US ships in the Gulf will already have come within range of the Sunburn missiles and the even more-advanced SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles, also Russian-made (speed: Mach 2.9; range: 180 miles) deployed by the Iranians along the GulfŒs northern shore. Every US ship will be exposed and vulnerable. When the Iranians spring the trap, the entire lake will become a killing field.

Anti-ship cruise missiles are not new, as Ive mentioned. Nor have they yet determined the outcome in a conflict. But this is probably only because these horrible weapons have never been deployed in sufficient numbers. At the time of the Falklands war the Argentine air force possessed only five Exocets, yet managed to sink two ships. With enough of them, the Argentineans might have sunk the entire British fleet, and won the war. Although weŒve never seen a massed attack of cruise missiles, this is exactly what the US Navy could face in the next war in the Gulf. Try and imagine it if you can: barrage after barrage of Exocet-class missiles, which the Iranians are known to possess in the hundreds, as well as the unstoppable Sunburn and Yakhonts missiles. The questions that our purblind government leaders should be asking themselves, today, if they value what historians will one day writeabout them, are two: how many of the Russian anti-ship missiles has Putin already supplied to Iran? And: How many more are currently in the pipeline? In 2001 Janes Defense Weekly reported that Iran was attempting to acquire anti-ship missiles from Russia. Ominously, the same report also mentioned that the more advanced Yakhonts missile was optimized for attacks against carrier task forces. Apparently its guidance system is ғable to distinguish an aircraft carrier from its escorts. The numbers were not disclosed.

The US Navy will come under fire even if the US does not participate in the first so-called surgical raids on Irans nuclear sites, that is, even if Israel goes it alone. Israel’s brand-new fleet of 25 F-15s (paid for by American taxpayers) has sufficient range to target Iran, but the Israelis cannot mount an attack without crossing US-occupied Iraqi air space. It will hardly matter if Washington gives the green light, or is dragged into the conflict by a recalcitrant Israel. Either way, the result will be the same. The Iranians will interpret US acquiescence as complicity, and, in any event, they will understand that the real fight is with the Americans. The Iranians will be entirely within their rights to counter-attack in self-defense. Most of the world will see it this way, and will support them, not America. The US and Israel will be viewed as the aggressors, even as the unfortunate US sailors in harms way become cannon fodder. In the Gulf’s shallow and confined waters evasive maneuvers will be difficult, at best, and escape impossible. Even if US planes control of the skies over the battlefield, the sailors caught in the net below will be hard-pressed to survive. The Gulf will run red with American blood

From here, it only gets worse. Armed with their Russian-supplied cruise missiles, the Iranians will close the lake’s only outlet, the strategic Strait of Hormuz, cutting off the trapped and dying Americans from help and rescue. The US fleet massing in the Indian Ocean will stand by helplessly, unable to enter the Gulf to assist the survivors or bring logistical support to the other US forces on duty in Iraq. Couple this with a major new ground offensive by the Iraqi insurgents, and, quite suddenly, the tables could turn against the Americans in Baghdad. As supplies and ammunition begin to run out, the status of US forces in the region will become precarious. The occupiers will become the besieged

With enough anti-ship missiles, the Iranians can halt tanker traffic through Hormuz for weeks, even months. With the flow of oil from the Gulf curtailed, the price of a barrel of crude will skyrocket on the world market. Within days the global economy will begin to grind to a halt. Tempers at an emergency round-the-clock session of the UN Security Council will flare and likely explode into shouting and recriminations as French, German, Chinese and even British ambassadors angrily accuse the US of allowing Israel to threaten world order. But, as always, because of the US veto the world body will be powerless to act

America will stand alone, completely isolated. Yet, despite the increasingly hostile international mood, elements of the US media will spin the crisis very differently here at home, in a way that is sympathetic to Israel. Members of Congress will rise to speak in the House and Senate, and rally to Israel’s defense, while blaming the victim of the attack, Iran. Fundamentalist Christian talk show hosts will proclaim the historic fulfillment of biblical prophecy in our time, and will call upon the Jews of Israel to accept Jesus into their hearts; meanwhile, urging the president to nuke the evil empire of Islam. From across America will be heard histrionic cries for fresh reinforcements, even a military draft. Patriots will demand victory at any cost. Pundits will scream for an escalation of the conflict.

A war that ostensibly began as an attempt to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons will teeter on the brink of their use.

Conclusion

Friends, we must work together to prevent such a catastrophe. We must stop the next Middle East war before it starts. The US government must turn over to the United Nations the primary responsibility for resolving the deepening crisis in Iraq, and, immediately thereafter, withdraw US forces from the country. We must also prevail upon the Israelis to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and open all of their nuclear sites to IAEA inspectors. Only then can serious talks begin with Iran and other states to establish a nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the Mid East so essential to the region’s long-term peace and security.

Mark Gaffneys first book, Dimona the Third Temple? (1989), was a pioneering study of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Marks articles about the Mid-East and proliferation issues have appeared in the Middle East Policy Journal, Washington Report On Middle East Affairs, the Earth Island Journal, The Oregonian, the Daily Californian, and have been posted on numerous web sites, especially COUNTERPUNCH. Mark’s 2003 paper Will Iran Be Next? can be viewed HERE. Mark’s newest book, Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes, was released by Inner Traditions Press in May 2003. Email <Mhgaffney@aol.com> For more information go to GNOSTI SECRETS.

SOURCE

BAD MOON RISING PART 3
FLASHBACK: OPERATION MERLIN
DIVINE STRAKE

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Space War

By Frida Berrigan
Tom Paine
October 26, 2006

Lately, the Bush administration has been trying to play nice on the global stage emphasizing collaboration with other countries on issues like nuclear proliferation and the “war on terror.” But the Bush administration’s obsession with domination and control keeps cropping upmost recently in its new space policy, the first new statement of U.S. objectives in outer space to be issued in 10 years. Released quietly on the Friday before Columbus Day, in a move designed to generate little or no media attention, the Bush administration’s new space policy can be summed up in three words: mine, mine, mine.

The 10-page documentlays out a policy focused on establishing, defending and enlarging U.S. control over space resources, arguing for unhinderedӔ U.S. rights in space that is actively hostile to the concept of collective security enshrined in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The opening asserts that freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power. Alongside earlier documents like the US SPACE COMMAND’S VISION FOR 2020 - which articulated a vision of full spectrum dominance: and insisted that space superiority is emerging as an essential element of battlefield success and future warfare - this new policy can been interpreted as an opening shot in the race to militarize space.

The Bush administration throws in some phrases in to its new policy to appeal to Star Trek fans and internationalists and to pacify those alarmed when an early draft of the report leaked to The New York Times last year sounded stridently bellicose. “The United States will seek to cooperate with other nations in the peaceful use of outer space and is committed to the exploration and use of outer space by all nations for peaceful purposes, and for the benefit of all humanity.” But these Kirk- and Picard-worthy sentiments are immediately contradicted when peaceful purposes” is clarified to include U.S. defense and intelligence related activities in pursuit of national interests.” Five of the seven United States policy goals mention national security” and/or defending our interests.” Three of the eight areas of space policy are related military uses of spacethe national security space guidelines, space nuclear power and space-related security classification. However the guidelines for those three take up as much room as the five areas of civilian and commercial use of space resources.

The space policy is clearest when it is explaining why international laws do not apply. For example the policy states that the administration:

Will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space. Proposed arms control agreements or restrictions must not impair the right of the U.S. to conduct research, development, testing and operation or other activities in space for U.S. national interest.

Along with Israel, the United States has blocked passage of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for the “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space,” since it was first introduced in 1981. Now, the United States can point to this new policy for justification when it is the lone vote against the resolution.

Soon after the policy was released, Robert Luaces, U.S. Representative to the U.N. General Assembly on National Space Policy tried to reassure the world that the United States isnԒt trying to weaponize space. He said :

One, there is no arms race in space. Two; there is no prospect for one. Three; the U.S. will protect its access to and use of space.

This statement is belied by U.S. military funding for space projects. According to the Government Accountability Office, Pentagon funding for military space operations will total $20 billion in 2007. Additionally, a Stimson Center comparison of U.S. and world spending found that the United States spends almost 90 percent of the total global spending on military-related activities in space.

There is an arms race in space, but so far the United States is the only country in the runningdevoting millions to systems like the COMMON AERO VEHICLE, which is envisioned as a דhypersonic glide vehicle to ԓdispense conventional weapons, sensors and payloads worldwide from and through space within one hour of being fired. In 2007 the Common Aero was given $33.4 million in funding. The Air Force has requested another $165 million for Multiple Kill Vehicles, seen by some as the preferred interceptor for a space-based missile defense. Countless other systems are also being funded, like the SPACE TEST BED, which will be allocated $48 million in 2008 to ԓbegin to exploit the natural advantages of space systems and integrate them into the missile defense systems.

Russia, CHINA and India - which already have space interests will try and catch up if the United States continues on the arc of militarizing space. Other countries that can’t compete in getting their own satellites and systems up in space will perfect methods of bringing ours down. As we militarize space, many of the space-dependent technologies and conveniences we take for grantedfrom weather reports to air traffic control, from cell phones to global shipping conveniences - will become vulnerable to attack.

In the Center for Defense Informations analysis of the policy - titled Contrasts and Contradiction they observe that:

by signaling to other nations that space is rapidly becoming a game of every man for himself, rather than an environment that requires cooperation of all to ensure access by all, the U.S. undercuts 40 years of tradition that has kept competition in space to a dull roar and dampened drivers to conflict.

Thus, space joins a catalog of other issues from global warming and pandemics to nuclear proliferation and the arms tradewhere the Bush administration has opted for a unilateralist market driven approach backed up by military superiority over an internationalist approach where collective security and mutual benefit are employed.

The only way to win the space arms race is not to run it. And given that problems right here on earth are bedeviling U.S. and world leaders, striking out into the vast and uncharted regions of war in space seems like a very, very bad idea.

Frida Berrigan is a senior research associate at the World Policy Instituteחs Arms Trade Resource Center.

SOURCE

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

American Empire

The PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American LEADERSHIP is good both for America and FOR THE WORLD; and that such LEADERSHIP requires MILITARY strength, DIPLOMATIC ENERGY and commitment to MORAL principle.

The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international INVOLVMENT and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and DEFENSE policy and AMERICA’S ROLE in the WORLD.

Click HERE for an enlightening 20 minute .avi video. (Archived: VIDEO | PLAYER)

Posted by Elvis on 10/25/06 •
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Humans Living Far Beyond Planet’s Means

Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets’ worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF conservation group said on Tuesday.
Reuters AlertNet
October 24, 2006

Populations of many species, from fish to mammals, had fallen by about a third from 1970 to 2003 largely because of human threats such as pollution, clearing of forests and overfishing, the group also said in a two-yearly report.

“For more than 20 years we have exceeded the EARTH’S ABILITY to support a consumptive lifestyle that is UNSUSTAINABLE and we cannot afford to continue down this path,” WWF Director-General James Leape said, launching the WWF’s 2006 Living Planet Report.

“If everyone around the world lived as those in AMERICA, we would need five planets to support us,” Leape, an American, said in Beijing.

People in the United Arab Emirates were placing most stress per capita on the planet ahead of those in the United States, Finland and Canada, the report said.

Australia was also living well beyond its means.

The average Australian used 6.6 “global” hectares to support their developed lifestyle, ranking behind the United States and Canada, but ahead of the United Kingdom, Russia, China and Japan.

“If the rest of the world led the kind of lifestyles we do here in Australia, we would require three-and-a-half planets to provide the resources we use and to absorb the waste,” said Greg Bourne, WWF-Australia chief executive officer.

Everyone would have to change lifestyles—cutting use of fossil fuels and improving management of everything from farming to fisheries.

“As countries work to improve the well-being of their people, they risk bypassing the goal of sustainability,” said Leape, speaking in an energy-efficient building at Beijing’s prestigous Tsinghua University.

“It is inevitable that this disconnect will eventually limit the abilities of poor countries to develop and rich countries to maintain their prosperity,” he added.

The report said humans’ ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT - the demand people place on the natural world - as 25 percent greater than the planet’s annual ability to provide everything from food to energy and recycle all human waste in 2003.

In the previous report, the 2001 overshoot was 21 percent.

“On current projections humanity, will be using two planets’ worth of natural resources by 2050—if those resources have not run out by then,” the latest report said.

“People are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources.”

RISING POPULATION

“Humanity’s footprint has more than tripled between 1961 and 2003,” it said. Consumption has outpaced a surge in the world’s population, to 6.5 billion from 3 billion in 1960. U.N. projections show a surge to 9 billion people around 2050.

It said that the footprint from USE OF FOSSIL FUELS, whose heat-trapping emissions are widely blamed for PUSHING UP WORLD TEMPERATURES, was the fastest-growing cause of strain.

Leape said China, home to a fifth of the world’s population and whose economy is booming, was making the right move in pledging to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent over the next five years.

“Much will depend on the decisions made by CHINA, INDIA and other rapidly developing countries,” he added.

The WWF report also said that an index tracking 1,300 vetebrate species—birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals—showed that populations had fallen for most by about 30 percent because of factors including a loss of habitats to farms.

Among species most under pressure included the swordfish and the South African Cape vulture. Those bucking the trend included rising populations of the Javan rhinoceros and the northern hairy-nosed wombat in Australia.

SOURCE

Credit: Eduardo Felix

Posted by Elvis on 10/24/06 •
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