The 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact & Imperialist Propaganda

The Soviet army hoisting its flag over the German Reichstag after the battle for Berlin in 1945

The Soviet army hoisting its flag over the German Reichstag after the battle for Berlin in 1945

If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible…”
Harry S. Truman, 33rd POTUS, 1941

Since the end of the Second World War, the bourgeois historiography has tried to distort various incidents in order to vilify Socialism and the USSR. One of these incidents- which has been a “banner” of imperialism’s apologists and other anticommunists- is the so-called “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact* which was signed in 1939. In it’s unscientific, unhistorical effort to equate Communism with Nazism, the bourgeois propaganda presents the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact as a medium of expansive policy by the USSR and Hitler’s Germany. The distortion of historical events, the amalgamation of lies and the half-truths by the Imperialists and their collaborators aim in defaming the huge role of the Soviet Union in the anti-fascist struggle of WW2.

However, the reality is different than the one presented by the bourgeois historiography. Here, we will examine the circumstances and the events which led to the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-agression pact, in an effort to debunk the anti-communist propaganda on this matter.

Having the financial and technical support of US and European monopolies, Hitler’s Germany began to strengthen its armed forces in the mid-1930s. In 1936, the Nazis proceeded to the militarization of Rhineland, helped Mussolini in capturing Abyssinia (Ethiopia) while they played a crucial role in the imposition of Franco’s fascist dictatorship in Spain. The strengthening of Nazi Germany and the beginning of fascism’s expansion in Europe took place under the tolerance of the then powerful “democratic” imperialist powers; Britain, France and the US.

After the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in March 1938, the Allies (Britain, France) proceed to the Munich Agreement (30 September 1938). The apologists of Imperialism usually try to downgrade the importance of this agreement between Britain, France, Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. However, the impact of the Munich agreement- an act of appeasement towards the Nazis- was definitely significant. With the signatures of the then British and French Prime Ministers, Neville Chamberlain and Édouard Daladier, the Nazis annexed Czechoslovakia and intensified their expansionist aggressiveness towards Eastern Europe.

The participants of Munich Conference, 1938. From left to right: Neville Chamberlain, Eduard Daladier, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini.

The participants of Munich Conference, 1938. From left to right: Neville Chamberlain, Eduard Daladier, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini

A few months later, on April 7, 1939 the fascist regime of Italy invaded and captured Albania. On March 31, 1939, the governments of Britain and France guaranteed the protection of Poland in case of a Nazi attack- Both London and Paris signed bilateral agreements of mutual aid with Poland. When Germany invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939, Britain and France declared war against Hitler but without taking any military action until next year! From their side, the United States declared their neutrality.

Before the invasion of the Nazi army in Poland, the government in Warsaw had tried to negotiate with Hitler a possible joint attack against the Soviet Union. The negotiations failed, as long as the Polish bourgeoisie prefered instead to sign defense agreements with Britain and France. What is important here is that Poland had rejected an agreement of mutual defense (against Nazis) offered by the Soviet Union.

The Imperialist propaganda tries to obfuscate Britain and France’s stance of appeasament towards the Nazis and hides the reasons behind the US “neutrality”. The words of US Senator Robert A. Taft are characteristic: “A victory of communism would be much more dangerous for the United States than a victory for fascism” (CBS, 25 June 1941). According to historian John Snell, the western powers regarded the Third Reich as a “barrier” against the Soviet Union in central Europe. The strategic aim of the “democratic” imperialist states was to turn Hitler against the Soviet Union; in a few words, to use the Nazis as a weapon against the contruction of Socialism in the USSR. That was the initial aim of the so-called “allies”.

On that point, we must remind that, before the war and while Hitler’s regime was building a powerful military, the Soviet Union took numerous initiatives in order to deal a defensive agreement with the European capitalist states. Despite the Soviet calls for the preparation of a common front against the Nazis, the western European “allies” declined such a perspective. For example, before the 1938 Munich Agreement, when Hitler annexed Austria, the Soviet Union proposed an International conference (March 1938) which would deal with the confrontation of Nazi agressiveness.

On July 23, 1939, the Soviet Union proposed to Britain and French the beginning of negotiations for the formation of a defense plan in case of a German attack. However, the British government had other priorities: to secretly negotiate a non-agression pact with Hitler’s representatives in London. Indeed, while the Soviet Union was proposing to the capitalist states an anti-fascist front, the British government was secretly negotiating with the Nazis the “spheres of influence” in Europe!

What the bourgeois historiography deliberately hides is the fact that the Soviet Union was the only state that had not an aggressive, expansionist policy. Both the two sides of international imperialism (the “democratic” capitalist allies and, on the other hand, the Nazi-fascist Axis) were aiming at the elimination of the Soviet Union. The real enemy of both sides was the Socialist construction in the USSR and for that they didn’t hesitate to use each other against Moscow.

soviet_ww2_poster_by_shitalloverhumanity-d5i1hhc

The temporary non-agression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany came after numerous efforts by the Soviets to deal a defense agreement with Britain and France. Therefore, being under the continuous threat of the expanding Nazi army and in order to prepare itself for an extensive war, the Soviet state forced to sign the non-agression pact with Berlin. What the bourgeois historians and the apologists of Imperialism call an “alliance between Hitler and Stalin” was in fact a needed diplomatic manoeuvre by the Soviet Union in order to gain time and prepare effectively for a full-scale war. Even bourgeois historians admit that the Soviet policy was complete realistic, given the then circumstances and the danger of a German attack (F.Dulles, The road to Tehran, New York, 1944, p.203-207).

According to the imperialist propaganda, the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-agression pact led to the Soviet “capture” of a part of Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. Such arguments- about the supposed “Soviet occupation”- have fostered the rise of fascist, neo-Nazi groups in these countries after the counter-revolution in the USSR. However, the truth is also quite different. Poland had participated actively in the allied imperialist attack which was launched against the newly-founded Soviet state in 1918. With the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (3 March 1918) the Bolshevik leadership had renounced Tsarist claims to Poland. The Polish government kept under it’s control a number of areas in the Baltic region, including western Belarus, western Ukraine and a part of Lithuania). After the Nazi invasion in Poland in 1939, the Red Army moved towards the Soviet-Polish borders and liberated the abovementioned areas.

The bourgeois-imperialist propaganda tries to distort history when it refers to “Soviet occupation”- on the contrary, the Soviet Army was the one which liberated the Baltic countries and eastern Europe from the Nazis. The Motolov-Ribbentrop pact did not include any kind of Poland’s “partition”. On the contrary, the 1938 Munich Agreement between Britain, France and the Axis (Germany, Italy) led to the partition of Czechoslovakia and the seizure of the country by Hitler’s army.

Conclusion

The imperialist propaganda regarding the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact consists one of the numerous cases of blatant anticommunist lies. Through bourgeois historiography, Imperialism tries to equate communism and fascism, to vilify Socialism and the Soviet Union. In order to do this, Imperialism’s apologists distort history and invent the most hideous slanders against the Soviet Union and the socialist states; from the “Moscow trials” and the “gulags” to the supposed “Stalin-Hitler alliance” and the “Soviet invasion” in Afghanistan. What the Imperialists want to hide is the fact that fascism is just another kind of bourgeois authority- the simple fact that, as Bertolt Brecht said, fascism is the “most naked, brazen, oppresive and deceitful form of capitalism”.

By Nikos Mottas

Source: https://off-guardian.org/2016/09/03/the-molotov-ribbentrop-pact-and-the-imperialist-propaganda/

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September 11, 2001: The Crimes of War Committed “In the Name of 9/11″

Israel ISIL

The following text was presented at the International Conference on “9/11 Revisited – Seeking the Truth”, Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), Kuala Lumpur, November 2012

Introduction

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history, a decisive watershed, a breaking point.

Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.

September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society. The post September 11, 2001 era is marked by the outright criminalization of the US State, including its judicial, foreign policy, national security and intelligence apparatus.

9/11 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest.

A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.

9/11 was also a stepping stone towards the relentless repeal of civil liberties, the militarization of law enforcement and the inauguration of “Police State USA”.

In assessing the crimes associated with 9/11 in the context of a legal procedure, we must distinguish between those associated with the actual event, namely the loss of life and the destruction of property on 9/11, from the crimes committed in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 “in the name of 9/11″.

The latter build upon the former. We are dealing with two related dimensions of criminality. The crimes committed “in the name of 9/11″ involving acts of war are far-reaching, resulting in the deaths of millions of people as well as the destruction of entire countries.

The 9/11 event in itself– which becomes symbolic– is used to justify the onslaught of the post 9/11 US-NATO military agenda, under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), not to mention the ushering in of the Homeland police state and the repeal of civil liberties.

The crimes committed in the name of 9/11 broadly consist in two intimately related processes:

1. The launching of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification to Wage a War of Conquest. This GWOT mandate was used to justify the 2001 and 2003 invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The GWOT mandate has since extended its grip to a large number of countries in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where the US and its NATO allies are intervening selectively under a counterterrorism mandate.

2. The derogation of civil liberties and the instatement of an Orwellian police state apparatus within Western countries. In the US, the introduction of the PATRIOT legislation and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks set the stage for the subsequent restructuring of the judicial and law enforcement apparatus, culminating in the legalization of extrajudicial assassinations under an alleged counter-terrorism mandate.

The 9/11 attacks constitute what is referred to in intelligence parlance as a “massive casualty producing event” conducive to the deaths of civilians.

The dramatic loss of life on the morning of 9/11 resulting from an initial criminal act is used as a pretext and a justification to wage an all out war of retribution, in the name of 9/11 against the alleged perpetrators of 9/11, namely the “state sponsors of terrorism”, including Afghanistan, Iraq as well as Iran.

We are dealing with a diabolical and criminal project. The civilian deaths resulting from the 911 attacks are an instrument of war propaganda, applied to build a consensus in favor of an outright war of global domination.

The perpetrators of war propaganda are complicit in the conduct of extensive war crimes, in that they readily justify acts of war as counter-terrorism and/or humanitarian operations (R2P) launched to protect civilians. The “Just War” (Jus ad Bellum) concept prevails: The killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq are “rightfully” undertaken in retribution for the deaths incurred on 9/11.

Evidence is fabricated to the effect that the “state sponsors of terrorism” had committed, on the morning of 9/11, an outright act of war against the United States.

Realities are turned upside down. The US and its allies are the victims of foreign aggression. America’s crimes of war in Afghanistan and Iraq are committed in the name of 9/11 under a counter terrorism mandate.

The 9/11 attacks are used to harness public opinion into supporting a war without borders. Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” are set in motion.

Video: Michel Chossudovsky’s presentation to the Kuala Lumpur 9/11 Revisited Conference, November 19, 2012

Chronology of Events

At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an in-depth police investigation.

CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those [foreign governments] who harbor them”.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, without mentioning Afghanistan, pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”

That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.

The war cabinet had decided to launch an an illegal and criminal war on Afghanistan, based on essentially two interrelated concepts:

1. The 9/11 attacks although allegedly conducted by Al Qaeda were upheld as an all out military attack by a foreign power.

2. Afghanistan in allegedly supporting Al Qaeda, was responsible for an act of military aggression directed against the United States of America.

The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage war on Afghanistan on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”. Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. In taking on this stance they provided legitimacy to the conduct of war crimes. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11.

In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country in Central Asia of 30 million people.

The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America. The post 9/11 era was also characterised by the development of Islamophobia, including routine ethnic profiling directed against Muslims.

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?

According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. Rawalpindi is the Headquarters of the Pakistani military including its intelligence apparatus. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last eleven years.

DAN RATHER. As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan. (transcript of CBS report, see http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CBS203A.html , see also http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/28/eveningnews/main325887.shtml

 

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]

The foregoing CBS report which is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:

1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;

2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.

U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld: “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.

Recovering from his hospital treatment in Rawalpindi on the 11th of September, how could Osama have coordinated the 9/11 attacks?

How could Afghanistan be made responsible for these attacks by Al Qaeda? Bin Laden is a national of Saudi Arabia who, according to CBS News, was not in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan at the time of the attacks.

September 12, 2001: The Invasion of Afghanistan: NATO’s Doctrine of Collective Security

The immediate response of the US and its NATO allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden, who at the time of the attacks was in Pakistan, protected by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus. In a bitter irony, the Pakistani government and military, which had facilitated bin Laden’s hospitalization in Rawalpindi on September 10, offered to assist the US in “going after bin Laden”. An agreement to this effect was reached on September 12 in Washington between the head of Pakistan’s military Intelligence (ISI) General Mahmoud Ahmed and Secretary Colin Powell.

Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.

By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Afghan government was complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.

This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan (taken by the war cabinet at 11pm on September 11), invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.

The War on Afghanistan: First Stage of the “Global War on Terrorism”

The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away.

Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. Confirmed by press reports, the war on Afghanistan was already in an advanced state of readiness prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

In other words, the 9/11 attacks were used as a means to trigger a military agenda which was already on the drawing board of both the Pentagon and NATO.

The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan. Immediately following 9/11, the PATRIOT legislation was adopted. The Homeland Security apparatus was launched, with a view to “protecting Americans against terrorists”. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Article 5 of the Washington Treaty: NATO’s Legal Argument

In invoking Article 5 on the morning of September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council endorsed a criminal military agenda, in derogation of international law.

The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade Afghanistan was that the September 11 attacks constituted an undeclared “armed attack” “from abroad” by an unnamed foreign power, and that consequently “the laws of war” apply, allowing the nation under attack, to strike back in the name of “self-defense”.

On the morning of September 12, 2001, NATO’s North Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, responded to the decision of the War Cabinet taken a few hours earlier at 11pm on 9/11, adopted the following resolution:

“if it is determined that the [September 11, 2001] attack against the United States was directed from abroad [Afghanistan] against “The North Atlantic area“, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty”. (emphasis added)

In this regard, Article 5 of the Washington Treaty stipulates that if:

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.” (NATO, What is Article 5, NATO Topics – NATO and the Scourge of Terrorism, accessed 24 November 2009, emphasis added)

An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) was considered as an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security.

Under no stretch of the imagination, can the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.

“Use of Armed Force” only “If It is Determined…”

There was an “if” in the September 12 resolution. Article 5 would apply only if it is determined that Afghanistan as a Nation State was complicit or behind the 9/11 attacks.

In practice, the “if” had already been waived prior to 9/11. The entire NATO arsenal was already on a war footing. In military terms, NATO and the US were already in an advanced state of readiness. Known to military analysts, but never revealed in the Western media, the implementation of a large scale theater war takes at least one year of advanced operational planning, prior to the launching of an invasion.

The use of article 5 of the Washington Treaty had in all likelihood been contemplated by military planners, as a pretext for waging war, prior to 9/11.

There was, however, no official declaration of war on September 12th. The Alliance waited until 3 days before the invasion to declare war on Afghanistan, an impoverished country which by no stretch of the imagination could have launched an attack against a member state of “The North Atlantic area”.

The September 12 resolution of the Atlantic Council required “determination” and corroborating evidence, that:

1) Al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden with the support of a foreign power had ordered the “attack from abroad” on the United States of America;

2) The terrorist attacks of 9/11 constituted a bona fide military operation (under the provisions of Article 5) by an alleged foreign country (Afghanistan) against a NATO member state, and consequently against all NATO member states under the doctrine of collective security:

“Article 5 and the case of the terrorist attacks against the United States: The United States has been the object of brutal terrorist attacks. It immediately consulted with the other members of the Alliance. The Alliance determined that the US had been the object of an armed attack. The Alliance therefore agreed that if it was determined that this attack was directed from abroad, it would be regarded as covered by Article 5. NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, subsequently informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the Alliance’s decision.

Article 5 has thus been invoked, but no determination has yet been made whether the attack against the United States was directed from abroad. If such a determination is made, each Ally will then consider what assistance it should provide. In practice, there will be consultations among the Allies. Any collective action by NATO will be decided by the North Atlantic Council. The United States can also carry out independent actions, consistent with its rights and obligations under the UN Charter.

Allies can provide any form of assistance they deem necessary to respond to the situation. This assistance is not necessarily military and depends on the material resources of each country. Each individual member determines how it will contribute and will consult with the other members, bearing in mind that the ultimate aim is to “to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area”.

By invoking Article 5, NATO members have shown their solidarity toward the United States and condemned, in the strongest possible way, the terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September.

If the conditions are met for the application of Article 5, NATO Allies will decide how to assist the United States. (Many Allies have clearly offered emergency assistance). Each Ally is obliged to assist the United States by taking forward, individually and in concert with other Allies, such action as it deems necessary. This is an individual obligation on each Ally and each Ally is responsible for determining what it deems necessary in these particular circumstances.

No collective action will be taken by NATO until further consultations are held and further decisions are made by the the North Atlantic Council. (NATO, NATO Topics – NATO and the Scourge of Terrorism, accessed 24 November 2009, emphasis added)

The Mysterious Frank Taylor Report

The final decision to invoke Article 5 in relation to the 9/11 attacks came three weeks later upon the submission to the NATO Council of a mysterious classified report by a US State Department official named Frank Taylor. The report was submitted to NATO on October 2nd, 5 days before the commencement of the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan.

Frank Taylor was working in the US State Department. He had been entrusted with the writing of a brief to establish whether the US “had been attacked from abroad”, pursuant to the North Atlantic Council’s resolution of September 12 2001.

US Ambassador at Large and Co-ordinator for Counter-terrorism Frank Taylor briefed the North Atlantic Council on October 2nd, five days before the commencement of the bombings.

On October 2nd he handed his brief to NATO “on the results of investigations into the 11 September attacks…. ” NATO – Topic: Terrorism, NATO and the fight against Terrorism, accessed 24 November 2009).

The classified report was not released to the media. And to this date, to our knowledge, it has remained classified.

NATO’s Secretary General Lord Robertson casually summarised the substance of the Frank Taylor report in a press release:

“This morning, the United States briefed the North Atlantic Council on the results of the investigation into who was responsible for the horrific terrorist attacks which took place on September 11.

The briefing was given by Ambassador Frank Taylor, the United States Department of State Coordinator for Counter-terrorism.

This morning’s briefing follows those offered by United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and illustrates the commitment of the United States to maintain close cooperation with Allies.

Today’s was classified briefing and so I cannot give you all the details.

Briefings are also being given directly by the United States to the Allies in their capitals.

The briefing addressed the events of September 11 themselves, the results of the investigation so far, what is known about Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida organisation and their involvement in the attacks and in previous terrorist activity, and the links between al-Qaida and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The facts are clear and compelling. The information presented points conclusively to an al-Qaida role in the September 11 attacks.

We know that the individuals who carried out these attacks were part of the world-wide terrorist network of al-Qaida, headed by Osama bin Laden and his key lieutenants and protected by the Taliban.

On the basis of this briefing, it has now been determined that the attack against the United States on September 11 was directed from abroad and shall therefore be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an armed attack on one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.

I want to reiterate that the United States of America can rely on the full support of its 18 NATO Allies in the campaign against terrorism.” (Lord Robertson, NATO Secretary General, statement to the NATO Council, State Department, Appendix H, Multinational Response to September 11 NATO Press http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/10313.pdf, accessed 24 November 2009, emphasis added)

In other words, 2 days before the actual commencement of the bombing campaign on October 7, the North Atlantic Council decided, based on the information provided by Frank Taylor to the Council “that the attacks were directed from abroad” by Al Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden, thereby requiring an action on the part of NATO under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty ( NATO – Topic: Terrorism, NATO and the fight against Terrorism, accessed 24 November 2009):

NATO action under article 5, was outlined in an October 4 decision, 3 days before the commencement of the bombings.

Two days later, on 4 October, NATO agreed on eight measures in support the United States, which were tantamount to an illegal declaration of war on Afghanistan:

to enhance intelligence sharing and co-operation, both bilaterally and in appropriate NATO bodies, relating to the threats posed by terrorism and the actions to be taken against it;

to provide, individually or collectively, as appropriate and according to their capabilities, [military] assistance to Allies and other states which are or may be subject to increased terrorist threats as a result of their support for the campaign against terrorism;

to take necessary measures to provide increased security for facilities of the United States and other Allies on their territory;

to backfill selected Allied assets in NATO’s area of responsibility that are required to directly support operations against terrorism;

to provide blanket overflight clearances for the United States and other Allies’ aircraft, in accordance with the necessary air traffic arrangements and national procedures, for military flights related to operations against terrorism; to provide access for the United States and other Allies to ports and airfields on the territory of NATO nations for operations against terrorism, including for refuelling, in accordance with national procedures;

that the Alliance is ready to deploy elements of its Standing Naval Forces to the Eastern Mediterranean in order to provide a NATO presence and demonstrate resolve; and that the Alliance is similarly ready to deploy elements of its NATO Airborne Early Warning Force to support operations against terrorism. NATO – Topic: Terrorism, NATO and the fight against Terrorism, accessed 24 November 2009 emphasis added)

Press reports of Frank Taylor’s brief to the NATO Council were scanty. The invocation of Article 5, five days before the bombings commenced, was barely mentioned. The media consensus was: “all roads lead to Bin Laden” as if bin Laden was a Nation State which had attacked America.

What stands out are outright lies and fabrications. Moreover, prior to October 2nd, NATO had no pretext under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty to intervene militarily in Afghanistan.

The pretext was provided by Frank Taylor’s classified report, which was not made public.

The two UN Security Council resolutions adopted in the course of September 2001, did not, under any circumstances, provide a justification for the invasion and illegal occupation of a UN member country of 28 million people. (see Security Council resolution 1368 (2001) Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts).

UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001) called for prevention and suppression of terrorist acts, as well suppression of the financing of terrorism:

“(e) Ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice and ensure that, in addition to any other measures against them, such terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations and that the punishment duly reflects the seriousness of such terrorist acts;

“3. Calls upon all States to:

“(a) Find ways of intensifying and accelerating the exchange of operational information, especially regarding actions or movements of terrorist persons or networks; forged or falsified travel documents; traffic in arms, explosives or sensitive materials; use of communications technologies by terrorist groups; and the threat posed by the possession of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups;

“(b) Exchange information in accordance with international and domestic law and cooperate on administrative and judicial matters to prevent the commission of terrorist acts;

“(c) Cooperate, particularly through bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreements, to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks and take action against perpetrators of such acts;

“4. Notes with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms-trafficking, and illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials, and in this regard emphasizes the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and threat to international security;

“5. Declares that acts, methods, and practices of terrorism are contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations and that knowingly financing, planning and inciting terrorist acts are also contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations (excerpts of UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001, See also UN Press Release SC 7178 SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS WIDE-RANGING ANTI-TERRORISM RESOLUTION; CALLS FOR SUPPRESSING FINANCING, IMPROVING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Security Council, 4385th Meeting, September 2001)

Nowhere in this resolution is there any mention of military action against a UN member State.

The US led war on Afghanistan, using 9/11 as a pretext and a justification is illegal and criminal.

The US and NATO heads of state and heads of government from 2001 to the present are complicit in the launching of a criminal and illegal war.

The Big Lie: Al Qaeda Made in America

Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.

Both the 9/11 Commission Report as well as the Western media have largely upheld the “outside enemy” mythology, heralding Al Qaeda as the “mastermind” organization behind the 9/11 attacks. The official 9/11 narrative has not only distorted the causes underling the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, it has also erased the historical record of US covert support to international terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and “Western Civilization” are threatened.

Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “Global War on Terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.

After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive Al Qaeda “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.

This is why a legal procedure directed against the actual perpetrators of 9/11 is absolutely essential.

History of Al Qaeda

Importantto the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.

Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)

”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)

Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.

In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era, US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.

In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.


Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
(source RAWA)

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

Iraq: Alleged State Sponsor of the 9/11 Attacks

The formulation of a war of retribution conducted in the name of 9/11 was not limited to Afghanistan.

In the course of 2002, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. While Washington’s official position was that Saddam Hussein was not behind the 9/11 attacks, insinuations abounded both in presidential speeches as well as in the Western media. According to Bush, in an October 2002 press conference:

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. .,.. We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability — even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source [Iraq], that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002)

Barely two weeks before the invasion of Iraq, September 11, 2001 was mentioned abundantly by president Bush. In the weeks leading up to the March invasion, 45 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. (See . The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and Iraq / The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com, March 14, 2003)

Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, in February 2003, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime. The implication of Colin’s Powell’s assertions, which were totally fabricated, was that Saddam Hussein and an Al Qaeda affiliated organization had joined hands in the production of WMD in Northern Iraq and that the Hussein government was a “state sponsor” of terrorism.

The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.

Iran: Condemned by a New York City Court for Supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 Attacks

In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the same alleged “state sponsorship” of terrorism accusations emerged in relation to Iran.

In December 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran was condemned by a Manhattan court, for its alleged role in supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.

The investigation into Tehran’s alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission “regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers”. The 9/11 Commission’s recommendation was that this “apparent link” required “further investigation by the U.S. government.” (9/11 Commission Report , p. 241). (See Iran 911 Case ).

In the December 2011 court judgment (Havlish v. Iran) “U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case”.

According to the plaintiffs attorneys “Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. Citing their national security and intelligence experts, the attorneys explained “how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”)”. Iran and Hezbollah allegedly provided “training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings.” (See Iran 911 Case ).

This judicial procedure is nothing more than another vicious weapon in the fabricated “War on Terror” to be used against another Muslim country, with a view to destabilizing Iran as well as justifying ongoing military threats. It also says a lot more about the people behind the lawsuit than about the accused. The expert witnesses who testified against Iran are very active in warmongering neocon circles. They belong to a web of architects of the 21st century Middle-Eastern wars, ranging from high profile propagandists to intelligence and military officers, including former U.S. officials.

But what makes this case absurd is that in September 2011, a few months before the judgment, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has questioned the official 9/11 narrative, was accused by Al-Qaeda leaders of “spreading conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks”. The semi-official media outlet of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, insisted that al-Qaeda “had been behind the attacks and criticised the Iranian president for discrediting the terrorist group.” (See Julie Levesque, Iran Accused of being behind 9/11 Attacks. U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran), Global Research, May 11, 2012)

Al Qaeda: US-NATO Foot-soldiers

Ironically, while Washington accuses Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran of complicity in the 9/11 attacks, the historical record and evidence indelibly point to the “state sponsorship” of Al Qaeda by the CIA, MI6 and their intelligence counterparts in Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Realities are turned upside down. Al Qaeda death squads have been recruited to wage America’s humanitarian wars throughout the Middle East an d North Africa.

In Syria Al Qaeda units were recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command:

“Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels.” (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/ Debkafile, August 31, 2011).

In Libya, jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:

Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region. http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-and-natos-pan-arab-terrorist-blitzkrieg/

“Crimes against Civilization”

9/11 mythology has been the mainstay of war propaganda, which in itself constitutes a criminal act under international law.

Fiction prevails over reality. For propaganda to be effective, public opinion must firmly endorse the official 9/11 narrative to the effect that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. A well organized structure of media disinformation is required to reach this objective. Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend also requires defying as well smearing the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Throughout the post 9/11 era, a panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.

Muslims are presented as the perpetrators of the 9/11, thereby unleashing a Worldwide demonization campaign.

In turn, 9/11, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council. All these various bodies are complicit in a criminal project.

September 11 and Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.

What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.

With September 11 there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because 9/11 as well as Al Qaeda have evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of war propaganda.

Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.

Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally. According to the media, “Muslims were behind the attacks”, thereby justifying a war of retribution against Muslim countries.

Racism and Islamophobia are an integral part of war propaganda.

Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?

People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!

The routine use of 9/11 and Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion.

It prevents people from thinking. It strikes at the core of human values. In a sense, it destroys civilization.

All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.

The criminality underlying post 9/11 propaganda is of much broader nature, affecting people’s mindsets, redefining fundamental social, political and institutional relations.

“Crimes against Civilization” have been committed.

9/11 mythology precipitates the World into barbarity.

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Western Media Propaganda Threatens Peace and Prolongs the Deadly Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine Imperialism

Western media is becoming unhinged as its anti-Russia propaganda struggles to keep a hold on its consumers. Two recent examples provide evidence.

Pro-peace conspiracy emanating from Moscow

On August 28, the New York Times published an article by its Moscow bureau chief about the troubling news (from the Times‘ viewpoint) that the people of Sweden are not happy with their government’s wish to join up with the NATO military alliance.

The ruling elites in Sweden and Finland have been quietly pushing for NATO membership for years. In May, the Swedish government pushed through the Riksdag a proposal for a ‘cooperation agreement’ with NATO, allowing it freer access to Swedish territory for transit and training. Finland already has such an agreement in place. In July, government leaders of the two countries proudly joined the NATO summit dinner in Warsaw.

But as a Reuters report at the time of the Warsaw summit explained, “An SvD/SIFO opinion poll showed 49 per cent of Swedes opposed joining NATO, with 33 in favor. Most Finns are against entering, and a government report said in April any such move would trigger a crisis with Russia.”

A Swedish news outlet reported on the same poll results:

“In the survey of 1000 Swedes carried out by pollsters SIFO for newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in June, 49 per cent said they did not want Sweden to join NATO, 33 per cent said yes, and 18 said they were undecided.

“The results suggest public opinion has changed since the last SIFO survey on the topic in September of 2015. In that poll, 41 per cent said they were in favour of Sweden seeking NATO membership, 39 per cent said they were against, and 20 per cent were undecided.

“At the time, the 2015 figures appeared to demonstrate a significant shift in public opinion in the traditionally non-aligned Nordic country, but SIFO’s most-recent round of results indicates that shift was short-lived.”

The Times article by Neil MacFarquharaug began, “With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue.”

The source of the “confusion”? The Times headline reads, ‘A powerful Russian weapon: The spread of false stories’. The article says there is “a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue.”

The Times writer declares a case of Russian dezinformatsiya in action. So powerful is the dezinformatsiya that it can seemingly bamboozle two of the wealthiest and most-educated populations in the world and make them act against their best interests, or at least the best advice of the New York Times, that being to join NATO.

As to the exact source of the public tripwire that Swedish government leaders have encountered, the dezinformatsiya conspiracy fades into the mists of the northern boreal forest. The Times explains, “As often happens in such cases, Swedish officials were never able to pin down the source of the false reports. But they, numerous analysts, and experts in American and European intelligence point to Russia as the prime suspect…”

Could public attitudes in Finland and Sweden towards NATO have anything to do with the historic ambivalence of Swedes and Finns to imperialist war alliances and their preference for peace over war? Apparently, the New York Times can’t climb out of its Russia conspiracy rut long enough to investigate.

According to the Global Peace Index as well as the Global Peace Index (produced annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace), Finland and Sweden score in the top 15 countries of the world in various measures of being peaceful, non-violent places to live. Could it be that the people in Sweden and Finland would like to keep things that way?

Meanwhile, here is the New York Times article’s own dezinformatsiya, in the form of a long list of alleged Russian propaganda initiatives that prove what a dastardly enemy it is:

* “Disinformation most famously succeeded in early 2014 with the initial obfuscation about deploying Russian forces to seize Crimea.”

* “… the simple truth that poorly trained insurgents had accidentally downed the [Malaysian Airlines Flight 17] plane with a missile supplied by Russia.”

* “… the Kremlin’s English-language news outlets heavily favored the campaign for [Britain] to leave the European Union, despite their claims of objectivity.”

* “Moscow’s targeting of the West with disinformation dates to a Cold War program the Soviets called ‘active measures’.”

* “[The Russian state-owned television channel] RT often seems obsessed with the United States, portraying life there as hellish.”

* “The weaponization of information is not some project devised by a Kremlin policy expert but is an integral part of Russian military doctrine…”

Reuters can’t write a truthful article

Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency published a report, also on August 28, purporting to look at the prospects for peace in Ukraine. The article is headlined, ‘Germany, Poland and France call for more efforts to end Ukraine crisis‘. Only ten brief paragraphs long, hardly a one in the article is untouched by distortions aimed at casting the best possible light on the right-wing, ultranationalist government in Kyiv and its civil war in the east of the country. Let’s read the ten paragraphs from start to finish:

The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland agreed on Sunday there should be greater international efforts to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters.

He said there had not been sufficient progress in implementing the Minsk ceasefire agreement. Western officials were talking with Russia and Ukraine to encourage them to implement measures already agreed in the Minsk process, including communal elections, he said.

“Fighting in eastern Ukraine” is Western news-speak for “We don’t’ wish to name the protagonist in the conflict in eastern Ukraine because it happens to be our friend and ally. And what’s more, we are hoping that you don’t notice that it is the army of Ukraine that has invaded and occupied parts of Donbass in eastern Ukraine, not the other way around.”

Reuters cites Germany’s foreign minister in saying “Russia and Ukraine” should implement the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement (signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarus capital of Minsk). But Minsk-2 is an agreement to end a conflict between two parties in Ukraine–the governing regime in Kyiv, and the people’s republics in Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk). The agreement spells out the precise measures to be taken on both sides, including a cessation of military hostilities, comprehensive prisoner exchanges, recognition by Kyiv of autonomy for Donetsk and Lugansk, to be followed by the holding of elections there, and so on. What does all this have to do with Russia, apart from the obvious facilitation role which Russia (and other regional powers) could fulfill? Is Russia supposed to take over Ukraine so that Minsk-2 may be implemented? How well would that go over in Berlin and Washington?

Why not “Germany and Ukraine” or “France and Ukraine” to be encouraged to implement Minsk? After all, Germany and France are among the four members of the ‘Normandy Four’ group constituted to facilitate a resolution of the crisis in Ukraine and under whose facilitation Minsk-2 was arrived at in the first place.

“We have to work for a de-escalation of the situation,” [Steinmeier] told reporters after a meeting with his counterparts aimed at reinvigorating the Weimar Triangle [Germany-France-Poland] trilateral group.

Steinmeier said the group also wanted to reassure Europeans about the continued importance and relevance of the European Union after the June 23 vote by Britain to exit the bloc.

“The Weimar Triangle can plan an important role … It is a format where we can discuss progress or the lack of progress on issues such as the Normandy format aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict,” Steinmeier said.

The Normandy group comprises Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.

So what, exactly, have Germany and France been doing to “de-escalate” the conflict in Ukraine? Have they called on Ukraine to pull its heavy weaponry out of the ceasefire zone and cease its criminal, daily shellings of towns and cities in Donbass, in total violation of Minsk-2? No. Have they called out Ukraine for refusing to recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk republics and thereby blocking the holding of elections as required by Minsk-2? No. How about Ukraine’s failure to conduct prisoner exchanges; have Germany and France scolded Ukraine for that? No. So why is Reuters misleading its readers about Germany and France’s failure to work to “de-escalate” the conflict?

The misleading is even worse, because not only have Germany and France failed to aid in de-escalating the conflict, they are constantly adding fuel to the fire. Recently, they led the European Union in extending EU economic sanctions against Russia, including Crimea. They are silent about the provocative action of the United States, Britain and Canada in providing military training and equipping of the Ukrainian army and paramilitary irregulars, which is then applied to the illegal and criminal war against the citizens of Donbass.

Germany and France are members of the NATO alliance whose lead member, the United States, recently constructed provocative and dangerous missile bases in Romania and Poland. These bases have been built as the U.S. undertakes a massive, trillion dollars-plus upgrade of its nuclear weapons. This includes designing new delivery systems that undo the current status quo of nuclear stand-off and greatly increase the possibility of accidental unleashing of nuclear weapons.

Why can’t Reuters provide its readers with important background information of the conflict in Ukraine instead of printing bland phrases that convey exactly the opposite impression of what is really taking place?

The leaders of Russia, Germany and France have agreed to meet to discuss the situation in Ukraine on Sept. 4-5 in China on the sidelines of the G20 summit, the Kremlin said last week.

A recent surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev is fighting pro-Russian separatists, and fresh tension in Crimea have raised concern that a fragile ceasefire agreed in Minsk in February 2015 could collapse.

“Recent surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine” is Reuters-speak for that which not must be spoken: in recent months, Ukraine has greatly increased its criminal shellings of the people of Donbass. What’s more, Ukraine conducts an ongoing military occupation of Donetsk and Lugansk territory and it calls the self-defense forces of Donbass “terrorists”, thus showing it has absolutely no intention of reaching a political settlement.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said last week he did not rule out introducing martial law and a new wave of military mobilization if the separatist conflict worsened.

“Separatist conflict” is Kyiv-speak/Reuters-speak for obscuring and confusing the source of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which is the refusal of Kyiv to grant the slightest decentralization of power in the highly-centralized Ukrainian constitutional setup whereby regions of Donbass could achieve a desired autonomy.

Of course, as a result of Ukraine’s prolonged and cruel war against the people of Donbass, it is highly likely that if given the chance, they would vote to secede from Ukraine to either join Russia or constitute their own independent republics. But that hardly makes them criminals or “terrorists. As a matter of fact, that would be an entirely lawful act, consistent with international law, such as it is, and consistent with recent political experience in such countries as Canada (Quebec) and the United Kingdom (Scotland).

Propaganda disguised as news or policy is the modus operandi of Western media outlets in reporting on Ukraine. It’s a major contributor to making the conflict there so intractable because it lessens the pressure that would otherwise operate on the ultra-nationalist regime in Kyiv that it cease its civil war course.

Roger Annis is a retired aerospace worker in Vancouver BC. He writes regularly for Counterpunch and compiles his writings on a ‘A Socialist in Canada’. He is an editor of the website The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond. He can be reached at rogerannis@hotmail.com.

Source: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/02/western-media-propaganda-threatens-peace-and-prolongs-the-deadly-conflict-in-eastern-ukraine/

Brasilians in Donbass

Bosnia: The cradle of modern jihadism?

Сребреница српска

Back in the 1990s something happened in central Bosnia-Herzegovina that inspired people to this day and helps explain why that country now has more men fighting in Syria and Iraq (over 300), as a proportion of its population, than most in Europe.

The formation of a “Mujahideen Battalion” in 1992, composed mainly of Arab volunteers in central Bosnia, was a landmark. Today the dynamic of jihad has been reversed and it is Bosnians who are travelling to Arab lands.

“There is a war between the West and Islam,” says Aimen Dean, who, as a young Saudi Arabian volunteer, travelled to fight in central Bosnia in 1994. “Bosnia gave the modern jihadist movement that narrative. It is the cradle.”

UN firefight

Conventional wisdom holds that it was the fight against the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s that created the modern notion of jihad or “holy war”. Aimen Dean’s point is that the West and the Salafists (or adherents to a strict form of Islam going back to observance in the Middle Ages) were on the same side in Afghanistan, but became enemies in Bosnia.

At first, in 1992, it was just a few dozen militants who went to defend their co-religionists in Bosnia, as Serbian paramilitaries drove them from their homes in the west and east of the country. But it was in early 1993, when it became a three-way fight against Catholic Croatians as well as the Serbs, that the Mujahideen Battalion swelled to the hundreds and started to hunt non-believers more actively.

mujahideen

After Croatian militias massacred around 120 Bosnians in Ahmici in April 1993, the Mujahideen were involved in numerous reprisals. At Guca Gora monastery two months later, they drove out nearly 200 Croatians, who were evacuated by British United Nations troops. They then entered the chapel, desecrating its religious art, and filmed themselves doing

British troops fought the Mujahideen Battalion at Guca Gora and elsewhere in the summer of 1993 – the opening shots of that army’s fight against jihadism. Vaughan Kent-Payne, then a major commanding a company of British troops involved in those battles, says the foreign fighters were “way more aggressive” than local Bosnian troops, frequently opening fire on the UN’s white-painted vehicles.

In the nearby town of Travnik, that had been almost equally Muslim, Croatian and Serb before the war, the foreigners helped drive out thousands, and tried to impose Sharia law on those who remained. They were also involved in kidnapping local Christians, and beheaded one, Dragan Popovic, forcing other captives to kiss his severed head.

‘They did Bosnia a disservice’

The Popovic case eventually went to court, so the facts have been well established. But the Mujahideen Battalion was also suspected in many others including the kidnap and murder of aid workers as well as the execution of 20 Croatian prisoners.

bosna_39The foreigners never amounted to more than one per cent of the fighting force at the disposal of the Sarajevo government, despite the frequent claims of the Serb and Croatian media to have spotted Islamic fanatics from abroad just about everywhere. From an early stage the Mujahideen also started recruiting Bosnians and, by 1995, in the final months of the war, the incorporation of several hundred local men allowed the outfit to be expanded into the Mujahideen Brigade, around 1,500 strong.

By the summer of 1993, the Sarajevo government was starting to wake up to the potentially toxic effect of these jihadists on their image as a multi-ethnic, secular republic. So, in an attempt to control it, the battalion was placed under the command of III Corps, the Bosnian Army formation headquartered in the central city of Zenica.

Its commander at the time, Brigadier General Enver Hadzihasanovic, ended up facing a war crimes trial in the Hague on charges of overall responsibility for some of the Mujahideen’s behaviour, including the Travnik kidnappings. In the end, the prosecution dropped those charges, but the general served two years, having been found guilty of having (Bosnian) troops under him who had abused prisoners.

From the outset, the general had felt the Mujahideen were a dubious military asset, and wrote a secret message to army chiefs in 1993, saying: “My opinion is that behind [the Mujahideen] there are some high-ranking politicians and religious leaders.” Reflecting now on the jihadists’ participation in the war he adds, “they didn’t help Bosnia at all, on the contrary, I think they did Bosnia a disservice.”

However, as the general’s 1993 memo implied, there were some leaders, including Alija Izetbegovic, Bosnia’s President at the time, who were happy to welcome the foreign fighters, partly as a way of keeping wealthy Arab donors sweet.

Recruiting ban

When the war ended, under the Dayton Peace Accord, all foreign fighters had to leave, and they were duly ordered out in 1996. Remembering that day, Aimen Dean says there were high emotions, shouting and tears at the Mujahideen base: “And the reason is because everyone was there hoping to die as a martyr. Now that chance was taken from them.”

Hundreds of Mujahideen went from Bosnia to Chechnya, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Among their alumni were two of the 9/11 hijackers, the murderer of American hostage Daniel Pearl and numerous other al-Qaeda cadres.

More than 300 of the foreigners remained in Bosnia, buried in its soil, a testimony to the heavy casualties taken by the unit. A few dozen Arabs who had met local women or were fearful of going home also managed to stay, by taking Bosnian citizenship.

Today also there are suggestions in Sarajevo that the SDA – the late President Izetbegovic’s party – is not taking a tough enough line against foreign fighters. Only this time they are the hundreds of Bosnians who are choosing to fight in Iraq and Syria. There is “a recalcitrance from more radical elements of the SDA” about condemning those who go to the Middle East to fight, says one Sarajevo diplomat.

In fairness, the Sarajevo government has taken action to ban recruiting for foreign wars (in the name of any religion or cause) and has mounted numerous raids to disrupt extremist networks and arrest those who have returned from fighting in the Middle East.

However, its critics note that for years it turned a blind eye to those Arab Mujahideen who remained in Bosnia but continued to agitate, and has allowed several communities of home-grown Bosnian Salafists to emerge in recent years.

Among those who link what is happening now with the 1990s is Fikret Hadzic, who has been charged with fighting for the so-called Islamic State in Syria. He met our BBC team but said that legal restrictions prevented him giving an on-camera interview, however he was happy to be quoted in print.

Hadzic had joined the Mujahideen unit in 1994. For years after the war he worked as a driver and mechanic before deciding he needed to join the fight against “the Assad Shia regime” in Syria. While he insisted he was not a member of IS, and disapproved of its methods, Hadzic told us that before returning from Syria last year he had met some Bosnian members of the organisation who appeared in an IS video that was released this June.

Other Bosnians who served with that unit back in the war include the leader of an important Salafist mosque in Sarajevo, and Bilal Bosnic, who is in detention awaiting trial. Bosnic is charged with recruiting fighters for the Islamic State group.

With IS now trying to start a “new front for the Caliphate” in the Balkans, there are many who worry that Bosnia is vulnerable because it remains so weak and fragmented, even two decades after its war ended.