Peter Dale Scott Examines the Deep State

Peter Dale Scott is one of the leading experts on what is called the “deep state”, the shadow government behind the visible one. Scott, a professor emeritus of English at Berkeley and former Canadian diplomat, is considered the father of “deep politics”, the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests.

In The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy Scott takes a compelling look at the facts lurking behind the official histories of events to uncover the real dynamics in play (purchase thru: isbn.nu). In this exclusive excerpt, “The Deep State and the Bias of Official History,” (Oct 26, 2014) the first of several featured on WhoWhatWhy ~ Scott looks at the revolving door between Wall Street and the CIA, and what that demonstrates about where power truly resides.

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Shafts Of Light Cutting Into the Darkness: The Montreal Declaration & UN Resolution L.41

October 28, 2016

Fukushima Units 3 and 4, March 24, 2011
Fukushima Dai-ichi Melted Down Reactor Units 3 and 4, Mar 24, 2011 (click for hi-res)

Something richly Life-affirming occurred this past August. Expressed in the Montreal Declaration for a Nuclear-Fission-Free World, its two opening paragraphs provide the context:

As citizens of this planet inspired by the Second Thematic World Social Forum for a Nuclear-Fission-Free World, conducted in Montreal from August 8 to August 12, 2016, we are collectively calling for a mobilization of civil society around the world to bring about the elimination of all nuclear weapons, to put an end to the continued mass-production of all high-level nuclear wastes by phasing out all nuclear reactors, and to bring to a halt all uranium mining worldwide.

This call goes out to fellow citizens of all countries worldwide who see the need, whether as an individual or as a member of an organization, for a nuclear-fission-free world. We are committed to building a global network of citizens of the world who will work together, using the internet and social media to overcome isolation, to provide mutual support and to coordinate the launching of joint actions for a world free of nuclear fission technology, whether civilian or military.

The hyperlink-rich Declaration, along with ongoing News and Developments, is available on <ratical.org>. The list of endorsers continues to grow.

Beyond the Montreal Declaration, significant momentum is occurring in the movement to stigmatize and ban nuclear weapons—the only remaining Weapon of Mass Destruction as compared with biological weapons, chemical weapons, land mines, and cluster munitions—that is not yet banned by international law outlawing their use.

Hiroshima Panorama #4
360 degree view span        (click for hi-res)        Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

In an address to the nation on July 26, 1963, President Kennedy began by saying:

Good evening, my fellow citizens:

I speak to you tonight in a spirit of hope. Eighteen years ago the advent of nuclear weapons changed the course of the world as well as the war. Since that time, all mankind has been struggling to escape from the darkening prospect of mass destruction on earth. In an age when both sides have come to possess enough nuclear power to destroy the human race several times over, the world of communism and the world of free choice have been caught up in a vicious circle of conflicting ideology and interest. Each increase of tension has produced an increase of arms; each increase of arms has produced an increase of tension.

In these years, the United States and the Soviet Union have frequently communicated suspicion and warnings to each other, but very rarely hope. Our representatives have met at the summit and at the brink; they have met in Washington and in Moscow; in Geneva and at the United Nations. But too often these meetings have produced only darkness, discord, or disillusion.

Yesterday a shaft of light cut into the darkness. Negotiations were concluded in Moscow on a treaty to ban all nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water. For the first time, an agreement has been reached on bringing the forces of nuclear destruction under international control – a goal first sought in 1946 when Bernard Baruch presented a comprehensive control plan to the United Nations.

Previously, on June 10, 1963, in his address to the graduating class at American University, President Kennedy proposed nothing less than an end to the Cold War. The speech was, and still is, way ahead of its time. Two moments in the address are especially noteworthy. The first place when applause occurred that caused JFK to pause and repeat 5 words was, in the film, at 22:03: “Chairman Khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan, and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking towards early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hope must be tempered – Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history...” and again, at 22:37: “the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not – We will not be the first to resume.” President Kennedy risked everything in his limited time to end the cold war and move away from the brink of nuclear annihilation. That work for us today revolves around ending the “global war on terror” and eliminating nuclear weapons — as well as nuclear power and uranium mining—the necessary ingredient for both weapons and power.

Yesterday, on October 27, 2016, a new shaft of light cut into the darkness. The First Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted resolution L.41 to convene negotiations in 2017 on a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. The voting result was 123 nations in favour, 38 against, with 16 abstentions. 57 nations co-sponsored the resolution:

Angola, Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia.

These developments provide inspiration and energetic motivation to join with other people, where you live and across the globe, to support, advocate, and educate on behalf of negotiations in 2017 to establish a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination. As described by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Resolution L.41:

acts on a recommendation made in August by a UN open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament in Geneva. More than 100 nations participated in the working group, with an overwhelming majority expressing their support for the prohibition of nuclear weapons as a first step towards elimination.

The resolution sets up a negotiating conference to be held over 20 days (from 27 to 31 March 2017 and from 15 June to 7 July 2017), at the UN in New York. All UN member states, along with international organizations and members of civil society, will be invited to participate. The negotiations could continue beyond these dates.

A treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons would close the “legal gap” in the existing regime governing nuclear weapons, as recognized by the Humanitarian Pledge. It is an anomaly that these are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited under international law in a comprehensive and universal manner.

As Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility explains in a letter he wrote today,

Of course, the nuclear-weapons states hope to boycott these negotiations, and the members of NATO—a military alliance that espouses nuclear weapons as “essential” for its security—will also want to shun the proceedings. But there is a catch. Under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) these states are all legally obligated to undertake negotiations of exactly this nature. They can boycott the negotiations, but in doing so they will be in clear violation of their existing treaty obligations....

Common sense tells us that the nuclear-armed countries are not going to submit easily to such legalistic considerations, but the upcoming negotiations will put them on the defensive in the court of public opinion. With examples such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the apartheid regime in South Africa and the dissolution of the Soviet Empire in mind, no one should dismiss the power of mobilized public opinion—especially when it is in concert with legal and political pressures, all of them focused on the same goal: a legally-binding commitment to ban all nuclear weapons from the Earth.

The UN resolution passed yesterday, and the negotiations to begin next year, will not by themselves bring about the elimination of nuclear weapons, but the mobilization of people of good will world-wide may be enough to seal the deal. One thing is for sure. We will never know unless we try.

READ COMPLETE TEXT WITH REFERENCES


Michael Hudson on Junk Economics and Debt Cancellation

“How a society defines economic terms
and relationships will determine who controls it.”

Michael HudsonI wanted to see how the economy worked [so in the 1960s] I went to work for banks on Wall Street as a statistician. I became Chase Manhattan’s balance of payments economist. I wanted to find out what is the deficit stemming from? The entire balance of payments deficit in the 1960s when I was working there came from the military spending abroad. So I found out it was really the Vietnam War and allied military spending.

I’ve been spending much of my effort for the last 30 years trying to see how the ancient near east and classical antiquity and medieval Europe all solved their debt crises, basically writing a history of debt crisis showing that every economy has had to cancel the debt. So you could say all my work in economics since the 1960s, more than 50 years, is spent on seeing how society handles its debt crisis.

The industrial economy in America is essentially being emptied out in order to pay the stockowners and about 75 percent of stocks are owned by the richest 5 percent of the population. So if you look at who owns the stock, it’s not the working class, it’s not the middle class, it’s the super rich. The super rich are saying, We’re willing to use all the corporate income to run it down. Basically, the 5 percent have decided that industrial capitalism is over and it’s time to take the money and run. And you take the money and run by just paying out all the income, just to yourselves, leaving the corporation an empty shell.

That’s how the Chicago Boys introduced free markets into Chile after 1974 when Pinochet took over from Allende. It’s the neoliberal model. It’s what happened in Russia after the neoliberals convinced Russia to go along. It’s what’s happening in Greece when you’re just emptying out the economy to pay the bond holders. It’s economic shrinkage. The trick is to get the middle class and the working class to think the stock market is them when the stock market isn’t themselves at all. It’s the five percent.

Greece is the future of where America is going now under the policies of Clinton and Obama and Trump. Either you’re going to have barbarism or you’re going to have a renovation of the economy which means the debt write-down, anti-monopoly legislation, and prosecution of crooks.


Now, it is clear the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes ... It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible.... If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration ...

—George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” (1946)


The Orwell quote above opens the Introduction of Michael Hudson’s new book, J Is For Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception, an A-to-Z guide that lays out how the world economy actually operates with more than 400 concise entries, several essays, and a full topic index. Expanding on Killing The Host: How Financial Parasites And Debt Destroy The Global Economy (2015), Prof. Hudson’s new book covers contemporary terms that are misleading or poorly understood as well as many important concepts that have been abandoned – many on purpose – from the long history of political economy.

Two key concepts are rent theory and debt, which explain how Unearned Income and the Financial Sector impoverish governments and populations the world over as power and riches flow upward into the hands of the few. These additional essays provide background for key points and explore today’s uncertain political and economic environment:

The major issues that guide healthy economies were known to the Ancients and were expanded upon by the classical economists of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, E. Peshine Smith, Simon Patten, Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, and others of many political stripes whose aim was to leave the brutal legacy of feudalism behind. Their ideas and principles are brought back into the spotlight here. This book deconstructs today’s “value-free,” inverted and deceptive economics that favor the wealthy, providing subsequent generations the opportunity to create a successful economy with proper checks and balances benefiting all.

Killing the Host [2015] is a more popular version of The Bubble and Beyond [2012]. It shows that when the financial sector takes over, it’s very much like a parasite in nature. People think of parasites simply as taking the life blood of the host and draining the energy. But in order to do that, the parasite has to have an enzyme to take over the host’s brain. They take over the brain and convince the host that the free luncher is actually part of the host’s own body, and even its baby to be protected. That’s what the financial sector has done.

Classical economics was all about separating the rent-extracting sectors—landlords, monopolies, and finance—from the rest of the economy. That was unearned income. It wasn’t necessary. The whole idea of classical economics from Quesnay’s Tableau Economique all the way through Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill was to look at the finance sector, the landlord sector and monopolies as unnecessary. You’re going to get rid of them. You’re going to tax away the land’s rent or else nationalize the land. And you are going to have public enterprises as basic infrastructure so that they couldn’t be monopolized.

Transcript:
Michael Hudson on Junk Economics, Debt Cancellation, and Emptying Out Economies
Interviewed by Paul Sliker and Dante Dallavalle
Democracy at Work, April 3, 2017

The following excerpts are from the complete transcript at:
https://ratical.org/ratville/MichaelHudson-JunkEcon.html

[0:05:47]
Why did you choose to begin your introduction [to J Is For Junk Economics] with George Orwell and Confucius, particularly your reference to our need to “rectify our definitions of crucial economic terminology.” How does this relate to the theme of your overall book?

When I wrote it, I didn’t realize that the very month it came out, George Orwell’s 1984 was going to be on the bestseller list. And that’s because of his concept of doublethink. A vocabulary that you use shapes how you think about the economy around you. And it shapes how you think about politics. Doublethink, using words to mean the opposite of what they really mean, is a tool of deception. It’s a tool that persuades people to act against their interest....

[0:16:17]
... Explain the evolution of the term “free market” as a way of introducing what Junk Economics and the book is all about.
That’s the perfect example of doublethink—using a word to be the opposite. For Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill and all the classical economists of the 19th century, their idea of a free market meant the free market from economic rent. To free it from the landlords. To free it from the monopolists and to free markets from the banks so that you’d really have, in effect, Say’s Law, you’d really have what people earned would be earned by producing goods and services not from just adding empty prices on. Not from property claims, not from credit. The idea was that everybody would earn what they produce and that would be a fair economy.

But after 1890, you had the rentier [pronounced ron’tee-ā] class—the rent recipients, the landlords, and the monopolists, and the banks—all fight back and for them a free market was one free for them from the government. Free from government regulation. Free to charge monopoly rent. Free for landlords to shift the taxes off themselves onto the economy and make the working class and the middle class pay. And to make sure that the bankers could continue to indulge in fraud and reckless lending and all get bailed out. So the idea of freedom and of the free market has been turned into the exact opposite: to un-freedom and neofeudalism.

Neofeudalism: Much as warlords seized land in the Norman Conquest and levied rent on subject populations (starting with the Domesday Book, the great land census of England and Wales ordered by William the Conqueror), so today’s financialized mode of warfare uses debt leverage and foreclosure to pry away land, natural resources and economic infrastructure. The commons are privatized by bondholders and bankers, gaining control of government and shifting taxes onto labor and small-scale industry. Household accounts, corporate balance sheets and public budgets are earmarked increasingly to pay real estate rent, monopoly rent, interest and financial fees, and to bear the taxes shifted off rentier wealth. The rentier oligarchy makes itself into a hereditary aristocracy lording it over the population at large from gated communities that are the modem counterpart to medieval castles with their moats and parapets.

J Is For Junk Economics, p. 167

[0:27:59]
It’s reminiscent of what the Romania Dictator Ceaușescu did when his daughter got engaged to a mathematician who Ceaușescu didn’t like. So what did Ceaușescu do? He closed every economics department in Romania so that the daughter would be marrying somebody without a job. That’s the kind of thing that [shows how] the mainstream economists are totalitarian.

What the University of Chicago people realized is their definition of free market, which is one that I didn’t give before: they realized, You can’t have a free market in Chile, for instance, if you’re not willing to kill every one who disagrees with you. The first thing the Chicago Boys did in Chile, after assassinating the labor leaders, assassinating and having the assassination program of land reformers, they closed every economics department in Chile except for the Catholic University that taught Chicago School of Economics. Unless you have totalitarian censorship you cannot have the free market of the form that the mainstream economists talk about. Free only for the 1 percent and unfreedom for the 99 percent.

Chicago Boys: After the Kissinger-Pinochet 1973 military coup in Chile, University of Chicago economists were brought in to give away public enterprises to the junta’s supporters. To silence criticism of Chile’s privatization of social security, to let corporate owners loot pension plans, to end public subsidies and to break labor union power, they shut down every economics department in Chile except that of the Catholic University where the Chicago School had gained control. (See Labor Capitalism, Privatization and Washington Consensus).These anti-government ideologues recognized that their brand of “free markets” and giveaway of the public sector required that no economic alternative be permitted or even discussed, but could only be imposed at gunpoint with totalitarian political control. Their neoliberal version of “free markets” is akin to medieval conquerors appropriating the land and basic infrastructure by force of arms. The aim is to privatize economic rent, and weaken the power of communities by rolling back democracy. This is typically done by establishing client oligarchies and economic dukedoms.

J Is For Junk Economics, p. 53

You can only have Junk Economics if you censor and block any discussion of how the economy is actually working. That’s why the Washington Post came out with the junk news list of sites. The junk news sites that they cite are things like counterpunch, nakedcapitalism, Paul Craig Roberts—all the sites that I write on. You have to go to what the fakers call junk news to get reality and if you to the mainstream you get junk economics and junk news. You can’t have more Orwellian doublethink than that....

... [Please discuss] the historical significance of the clean slate....

[0:49:10]
Take the case of what’s happening in Greece right now: perfect example. Crooked banks were helped by the Greek government falsifying its statistics by hiring Goldman Sachs to give fake numbers and convince other banks in France, Germany, and elsewhere, to buy bonds. The problem was, by 2010, 2012, it’s obvious that Greece couldn’t pay the debt. The IMF said, We insist that you do pay the debt and it’s worth pushing you into the worst depression—Greece now is in a worse situation than the Great Depression was in in the 1930s. They’re cutting back pensions, they’re forcing huge emigration. (You’re having the same thing in Latvia.) If you don’t cut back the debts that have grown so exponentially—the miracle of compound interest—that they can’t be paid, then you’re going to absolutely devastate the Greek economy.

The IMF and the mainstream economics says, Devestation is actually good because the economy is so bankrupt that we’ll have to privatize it and privatization is what we want. Privatization means you’re going to sell the land, the ports, the railroads; the electric utilities have already been sold to German investors. Everything that the Greek economy owned is now being sold off to foreigners largely on credit because it can’t pay the debt. It’s like a family that falls further and further behind, loses the home, runs into debt, ends up homeless and is destroyed by having taken on too much debt.

That’s how entire economies are being run today by the IMF and the World Bank and by mainstream economics that says it’s unthinkable to write down debts. So I’ve written a number of books about the whole history of debt cancellation. Adam Smith said that no government has ever paid its debt, although some have pretended to, and the IMF and modern economists say, Maybe we can show that Adam Smith was wrong. Maybe we can show that governments can pay the debts even at the price of impoverishing the economy and making the U.S. economy look like Greece. Greece is the future of where America is going now under the policies of Clinton and Obama and Trump.

From February through July 2015 James K. Galbraith was advisor to the Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis. In the Introduction of J Is For Junk Economics, Michael Hudson writes, “Nowhere is the Doublethink vocabulary more blatant than in the financial conquest of Greece by the Eurozone ‘troika’ – the European Central Bank, European Commission and IMF.” When Galbraith was asked whether “the institutions (the IMF, the EC and the ECB) will have to rescue Greece indefinitely” he answered:

There is no “rescue” going on here. There is no “rescue,” there is no “bailout,” there is no “reform” going on. I really need to insist on this, because these words creep into our discourse. They are placed there by the creditors in order for unwary people to use them, but there is nothing of the kind taking place. What is going on is a seizure of the assets owned by the Greek state, by Greek businesses and by Greek households. There is no sense that this has anything to do with the recovery of the Greek economy or with the welfare of the Greek people. On the contrary, the policy is utterly indifferent to those considerations.

—James Galbraith and Luis Martíin, The Poisoned Chalice, Open Democracy, 1 Sep 2015

Greece is the future of where America is going now under the policies of Clinton and Obama and Trump.

... You were one of the few economists to accurately predict the 2008 financial crash. [see: “The New Road To Serfdom: An illustrated guide to the coming real estate collapse” (Harper’s, May 2006, pp. 39-46] [Do you now have] predictions for the both the America and global economy? ...

[0:52:14]
For the American economy it’s a slow crash until people fight back. Until people think that there’s an alternative. Until they think, It doesn’t have to be this way, the economy is going to shrink and shrink and shrink and there are going to be more and more empty stores for rent on the big street. Wages will go down and people are going to have to borrow more and more on their credit cards just to get by, spend less and less eating out at restaurants, less and less on goods and services. And it will just shrink until there is a pushback. And the same thing in Europe....

You’re having the world outside the United States shrink more and more except for countries that are withdrawing from the neoliberal orbit: China, Russia, The Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Basically Eurasia is the only part of the world that’s withdrawing from all of this which is why the neocons wanted to back Hillary so much to try to force them—to de-stabilize them and try to overthrow their governments and make them as neoliberal as Greece or the United States or Europe.

... What can people do ... what we do, who feel helpless and powerless and want to achieve economic democracy? Would one example be to nationalize the banks or create some sort of political movement to nationalize the banks?

[0:55:40]
Here’s the problem: once the financial managers have emptied out corporations, there’s nothing they’d rather do than turn these big corporations over to the workers. Because they’ll say, Okay, you operate a broke steel company or you operate the broke auto company and see what you can do—as long as they leave the debts in place. But as long as the existing corporate economy—as long as the car companies and the industrial companies and the manufacturing firms and the farms are all left as deeply in debt as they are, it doesn’t matter who owns them or what they can do as long as they have to repay the debt. So you do need a public option.

Back in 2008 when Citibank was broke, imagine what would have happened if the government would have said, Ok Citibank’s broke. We’re taking it over. We’re not paying the bond holders and the stock holders because they invested in a criminogenic organization. But we’re going to operate this as a public bank. So now that Citibank is a public bank, and Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, and the other banks that have paid tens of billions of dollars for fraud, now that they’re public banks, they can issue credit cards at cost; at 2 percent interest—what they borrow. They won’t make loans for corporate takeovers. They’ll make loans to actually help companies grow. You need a public option for this and you need public banking for this because the existing financial model is extractive, not productive.

What would be the basis for public banking? One way of getting away from the payday loans that people have is use the Post Offices as the germs of banks. When I worked on Wall Street, 3 percent of American bank deposits were in the Post Office for banks which is why the banks wanted to drive them under. Maybe 15 or 20 percent were in savings banks and savings and loans. They were mutual savings banks. They don’t exist anymore. They were looted by the commercial banks taking them over.

In order to change the ownership structure and the function of industry, you need a financial system that actually promotes industry. All of this is what Saint-Simon in France wrote about 200 years ago in the 1810s, 1820s. That was a basis for Saint-Simonian socialist reform, for French socialist reform. Marx accepted this later. He admired Saint-Simon. You had German banks in the late 19th century following this new public banking model with a unity between government, banks, and industry.

Everybody expected that this would become the basis for worker owned for socialist industrialization. World War I changed all of that and you had a retrogression and that’s what both Killing The Host and J Is For Junk Economics are really all about, to describe how history was turned into a detour, into a financial detour that’s leading to neoliberalism and to neofeudalism making the kind of world that you want to see—an economy run for the producers—impossible.

... Do you think the solution is then for there to be some sort of political movement essentially focused on changing the financial system? Is that our only way out of this? Does it have to come from the grass roots?

[0:59:07]
It has to be a political movement. And that requires meaning breaking up the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party now is the party of Wall Street and the neocons. You have to have some political party that’s going to work. If you’re a third party, as Ralph Nader found out, the media are just going to ignore you and you’re not going to have much effort. You have to say, What party can you take over? The Tea Party people tried to take over the Republicans and you see where they are. They are way out-voted by the Koch brothers and Donald Trump has just surrendered to Paul Ryan in the budget. Really the most demagogic, doublethink, Orwellian party is the Democratic Party and you’ve got to take it away from Wall Street. You’ve got to get rid of Hillary Clinton and her gang forever.

That requires a fight. If the fight means that the Bernie supporters and the socialists are expelled from the Democratic Party then you want to leave the remaining Wall Street as only the 1 percent. They’ll have the donors but they won’t have any voters at all and the Party that’s expelled, the Socialist Party, in effect, is going to become the Democratic Party, the real democratic party. And you’ve got to have a political fight. Without a political movement you’re not going to be able to achieve any change in the economic system.


58 Admitted False Flag Attacks

Do you have an enemy that you want to make people hate? One way to make this happen is to carry out what are called "false flag attacks," and place the blame on your enemy. In the account which follows, 58 such false flag attacks are identified. In all of these cases, the perpetrators of the attacks admit to having planned them or carried them out. Check out attacks done by many regimes and agencies, including:

  • the Nazis
  • the Japanese government
  • the Soviets and the KGB
  • the Israelis and Mossad
  • the FBI, CIA and NSA
  • the British, Saudi and U.S. governments
  • NATO
  • the Quebec police
  • the Turkish, Macedonian and Burmese governments
  • the Algerian, Indonesian and Colombian armies

False Flags Are Just a Conspiracy Theor … Admitted Fact, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Spooks, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to False Flag Terror, WashingtonsBlog (2016)

See Also: NATO’s Secret Armies. Operation GLADIO and the Strategy of Tension by Dr. Daniele Ganser. Excerpt:

JC:  So, in this case, you have an extreme right-winger, Vinciguerra, a member of Ordine Nuovo, carrying out a false-flag attack; that’s one strategy. But wasn’t there also another strategy of infiltrating left-wing groups and getting them to commit acts of terror?

DG:  That’s true; that’s another idea. Simply infiltrate a left-wing group that you think is not sufficiently violent, and push it to do something violent, such as to kill somebody. Then you have created a so-called domestic emergency that you can exploit by saying: “We need more money for the military and NATO, and more power for the Secret Service to guarantee your freedom and liberty. We have proof that these communists are evil and dreadful.” In 2000, the Italian Senate (one branch of the Italian Parliament) investigated the spate of terrorist attacks in Italy, and published their conclusions in a report. Let me quote this one sentence. The Italian Parliament writes:

Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organised or promoted or supported by men inside Italian State Institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of the United States Intelligence.

Stragedibologna-2

That is a very revealing quote. (And just to be clear, the terrorist attacks in Italy –  Straggia, as they’re called in Italy – such as Bologna, Piazza Fontana and Peteano, are undisputed and well-established facts of the Cold War.) So, here we have the Italian Senate admitting, some fifteen years ago, that men inside Italian State institutions – such as the Italian Defence Ministry and Military Intelligence units (the secret services) – were linked to these attacks. Furthermore, people from the American secret services – such as the CIA, and possibly the DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency) – were also linked to these acts of terrorism. It is very saddening to realise that your taxes (which are already hard enough to pay) are being used so that your country’s own defence department and its secret services can attack, kill and maim their own citizens. When I discuss this with people, they react with disbelief: “Oh no, that’s impossible”, and I reply: “No, it is possible; look at the data.”


Dr. Martin Luther King's 1967 Anti-War Speech & Today

adapted by E. Martin Schotz
with assistance from David Ratcliffe
20 June 2016

MLK-at-RC-4Apr1967-detMartin Luther King speaking at Riverside Church, NYC, 4 Apr 1967

Almost fifty years ago Martin Luther King gave a major speech against the Vietnam war and US militarism in general. In that speech he tied together our militaristic and repressive response to the movements of national liberation throughout the world that were threatening certain economic interests. He called for a revolution in our values from an orientation toward wealth and physical things toward a concern with others and particularly the poor. He warned that history did not stand still, that if we did not seize the opportunity, the tides that seemed to be rising against injustice might recede. Looking back we can see that his warning was all too true. The lessons of the movement against of the Vietnam War were not learned by us. We allowed ourselves to be mesmerized by the manufactured drama of Watergate. We allowed our revulsion over the Vietnam War to be labeled our “Vietnam Syndrome”, something to be cured by another more successful First War against Iraq.

Now fifty years later we are in darker times. The military industrial intelligence complex, the national security state, the corporations and their media are all more entrenched. We find ourselves living inside a monster to which we have a parasitic relationship, a monster which progressively threatens the environment upon which life on our planet depends.

January 18 was Martin Luther King Day. Is this really a day of celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.? Or is it a day designed to further consign him to history and truncate his message? In an effort to explore this, let’s go back to his speech at Riverside Church of 49 years ago on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated, and, re-working it, take from it what we can for today. Perhaps this can help us come closer to truly resurrecting Martin Luther King, Jr in ourselves. In the following 2016 re-work, Dr. King’s original words are set in italics and bold.

Read 2016 re-work


Eisenhower’s Warning: “A Permanent Armaments Industry Of Vast Proportions”

pentagon
The Pentagon, looking northeast with the Potomac River and Washington Monument in the distance

 

In his Farewell Address on January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed his concerns regarding the unprecedented scale of military and industrial influence over society:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.[1]

 

At the close of his presidency Eisenhower relayed to the public what he had seen develop throughout his two terms of this new unwarranted influence. However, on April 27, 1946, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, chief of staff of the Army, issued a “Memorandum for Directors and Chiefs of War Department General and Special Staff Divisions and Bureaus and the Commanding Generals of the Major Commands” on the subject of “Scientific and Technological Resources as Military Assets.” As John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney write in “Surveillance Capitalism”:

Seymour Melman later referred to this memo as the founding document of what President Eisenhower—in his famous January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation—was to call the “military-industrial complex.” In this memo General Eisenhower emphasized that a close, continuing contractual relationship be set up between the military and civilian scientists, technologists, industry, and the universities. “The future security of the nation,” he wrote, “demands that all those civilian resources which by conversion or redirection constitute our main support in time of emergency be associated closely with the activities of the Army in time of peace.” This required an enormous expansion of the national security system, bringing civilian scientists, industry, and contractors within this expanding and secretive arm of government. “Proper employment of this [civilian] talent requires that the [given] civilian agency shall have the benefit of our estimates of future military problems and shall work closely with Plans and the Research Development authorities. A most effective procedure is the letting of contracts for aid in planning. The use of such a procedure will greatly enhance the validity of our planning as well as ensure sounder strategic equipment programs.” Eisenhower insisted that scientists should be given the greatest possible freedom to conduct research but under conditions increasingly framed by the “fundamental problems” of the military.

A crucial aspect of this plan, Eisenhower explained, was for the military state to be able to absorb large parts of the industrial and technological capacity of the nation in times of national emergency, so that they become “organic parts of our military structure.... The degree of cooperation with science and industry achieved during the recent [Second World] war should by no means be considered the ultimate;” rather, the relationship should expand. “It is our duty,” he wrote, “to support broad research programs in educational institutions, in industry, and in whatever field might be of importance to the Army. Close integration of military and civilian resources will not only directly benefit the Army, but indirectly contribute to the nation’s security.” Eisenhower therefore called for “the utmost integration of civilian and military resources and...securing the most effective unified direction of our research and development activities”—an integration that he said was already “being consolidated in a separate section on the highest War Department level.”[2]

Eisenhower’s emphasis in 1946 on an organic integration of the military with civilian science, technology, and industry within a larger interactive network was not so much opposed to, as complementary with, the vision of a warfare economy, based on military Keynesianism, emanating from the Truman administration. The Employment Act of 1946 created the Council of Economic Advisers charged with presenting an annual report on the economy and organizing the White House’s economic growth policy. The first chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers was Edwin Nourse, famous for his role in the 1934 publication of the Brookings Institution study, America’s Capacity to Produce, which pointed to the problem of market saturation and excess productive capacity in the U.S. economy. The vice chairman was Leon Keyserling, who was to emerge as the foremost proponent of military Keynesianism in the United States. In 1949 Nourse stepped down and Keyserling replaced him. Meanwhile, the National Security Council was created with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947[3] (which also created the CIA). Together, the Council of Economic Advisors and the National Security Council were to construct the foundation of the U.S. warfare state. Truman formed the ultra-shadowy National Security Agency (NSA) in 1952 as an arm of the military charged with conducting clandestine electronic monitoring of potential foreign (and domestic) subversive activities.[4]

As President, Eisenhower witnessed the increasing reach of military spending and its influence on all sectors of the U.S. economy. It is more accurate to extend the term military-industrial complex to include a third sector — intelligence — into its name given the extent to which military operations require the data provided by military and civilian intelligence entities making up the United States Intelligence Community. These include, but are not limited to:

  • the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI),
  • US Army Military Intelligence Corps (MIC),
  • Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM),
  • the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA),
  • the National Security Agency (NSA),
  • the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
  • the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
  • the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO),
  • and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

Within Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell statement, the assumption was implied of the necessity of creating “a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.” More than a half-century later, we are the inheritors of this acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial-intelligence complex. This segment of the Hidden History Center includes reference materials to inform visitors about this complex that forms the heart of United States society.

 
References
  1. See The Farewell Address set of files online available at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. See Also He Told You So: President Eisenhower’s Military-Industrial Complex Speech - 55 Years Later, Ike’s Scary Warning Looms Larger Than Ever, The WhoWhatWhy Team, January 17, 2016 []
  2. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Memorandum for Directors and Chiefs of War Department General and Special Staff Divisions and Bureaus and the Commanding Generals of the Major Commands; Subject: Scientific and Technological Resources as Military Assets,” April 1946. Published as Appendix A in Seymour Melman, Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy of War (New York: McGraw Hill, 1971), 231-34. []
  3. See overview of the National Security Act of 1947 from U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian. See Also: complete text of the law.[]
  4. Surveillance Capitalism - Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age,” by John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney, Monthly Review, 2014, Volume 66, Issue 03 (July-August)[]

 

Don’t Hope For Obama Or Fear Of Trump–Snowden On US Elections And Surveillance

SNOWDEN LIVE, produced by startpage.com
RT, 10 Nov, 2016
<https://www.rt.com/usa/366364-edward-snowden-election-speech/>

Edward Snowden © Brendan McDermid / Reuters

The world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has addressed the public on the US election result urging people to think beyond a single person or a single election and take their future into their own hands.

“We can not hope for an Obama and we can not fear a Donald Trump; rather we should build it ourselves,” Snowden said about creating positive social change.

Snowden, an NSA contractor fled the US in 2013 after he leaked classified documents from the National Security Agency (NSA), revealing details about its global surveillance programmes. He has been granted temporary residency in Russia.

E.S. begins at 2:55 in; MP3 recording (1:00:02, 57+MB)

The NSA whistleblower was speaking from Moscow, Thursday, in a livestream hosted by private search engine StartPage in Amsterdam.

Snowden declined to get into a discussion regarding Trump’s election victory specifically and the impact it may have on the NSA, insisting he tries not to “look at this as a question of single election or a single government”.

He reminded the audience that President Obama did not fulfill promises he made in relation to ending mass surveillance or closing Guantanamo Bay in order to highlight the broader point that “we should be cautious of putting too much hope or fear in one person”.

“President Obama campaigned on a platform of ending mass surveillance, ending torture and we all put a lot of hope in him because of this. We thought because the right person got into office everything would change.”

He went on to discuss the fabric of communications and how it is being used to disempower the very communities it was intended to empower.

“We have to think for ourselves what if we start weaving this fabric in a different way...what if every communication is protected by default.. instead we make this fabric work for the whole world.

“I think this election reminds us that that capability is within our reach today.”


Phil Zimmerman (on right), the inventor of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)

The whistleblower admitted he followed the election closely but insisted it was bigger than him, “while I obviously care what happens to me this is not about me, this is about us,” he said.

Snowden insisted that it is the people that must force the change, “We can not hope for an Obama and we can not fear a Donald Trump, rather we should build it ourselves.”

Returning to the subject of Trump later in the discussion Snowden said “It’s not that people think Trump is the greatest person in the US, its just they didn’t prefer the other option.”

He said it shouldn’t be a mere question of two candidates. “A vote will never be enough,” he said urging people to think more about what happens after the election.

When asked by an audience member what more can people do he suggested supporting organizations that fight to protect civil rights.

Snowden insisted the personal uncertainties created by the new US commander in chief and his apparent closer relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin didn’t worry him.

READ MORE: Moscow has no legal, moral reasons to extradite Snowden – Russia envoy to US

“They said Russia is not a country that extradites human rights offenders,” he said but admitted it was still a possibility however not one he loses sleep over.

“If I was worried about safety I would still be in Hawaii. I never expected to make it out of Hawaii. I’m comfortable with the choice I made.”

He continued that he was proud of his actions and no matter what happens “if there’s a drone strike that’s something that won’t change.”

“As long as we live in accordance with our values we won’t have to worry about what happens tomorrow because today for me it’s enough,” he continued.

The NSA whistleblower said while he hopes to someday return to the US what he won’t do is stand up and serve as a deterrent to scare people.

The interview focused largely on privacy concerns and the ongoing issue of mass surveillance.

Snowden emphasized the effectiveness of targeted surveillance over mass surveillance pointing to the Boston Marathon as an example where terrorism was not stopped despite it happening during the height of mass surveillance and the US receiving a tip off from Foreign Intelligence agencies.

Mass surveillance fails “because when you collect everything you understand nothing - you get drowned in so much information you can’t find what’s relevant.”

He claimed the traditional method of following tip offs and the obtaining a warrant to carry out surveillance is the most effective. “Targeted surveillance does not destroy the rights of everyone else in society.”

“Based on the information provided to the [Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight] Board, including classified briefings and documentation, we have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation.”
Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under
Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations
of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, 23 Jan 2014

The conversation ended on a positive note with Snowden reminding people he gets great enjoyment out of what he does and felt optimistic about the future despite the present uncertain times.

“Despite the challenges and statements by president elect, this is a nation that will strive to get better...this is a dark moment in our history but it’s not the end.”

A campaign is underway to secure Snowden a presidential pardon before Obama leaves office in January 2017.


From startpage.com:
What does privacy mean to you?

Snowden Live was an exclusive post-election livestream Q&A with Edward Snowden on Thursday, November 10, 2016. The world’s most famous whistleblower addressed many topics, including the future of privacy under newly elected US President Donald Trump.
amp;

Snowden became world famous after he handed journalists classified documents detailing the global espionage activities of the United States National Security Agency (NSA). His exposure of covert government surveillance put privacy firmly on the map, but also put him at great risk. Snowden was forced to flee the US in 2013 to avoid arrest and currently resides in Russia, where he has been given asylum.

Following are just some of the highlights of the historic Q&A that was broadcast from the Pathé Tuschinski in Amsterdam where Snowden was patched in to our live theater audience via satellite transmission from Moscow. More will follow soon.

Press Coverage

Here are just a few of the dozens of stories written by the press about the Snowden event. We will be adding more. While we don’t have the rights to archive the full Snowden event yet, you will find excellent photos and video in some of these articles.

Stay tuned. More to come.


American Nuremberg: Holding the U.S. Accountable For Its Actions

Amer-Nuremberg2

Back Row: C. Rice, J. Brennan, B. Obama, D. Petraeus
Front Row: R. Cheney, G. Bush, D. Rumsfeld, Fill-In #1, Fill-In #2

Challenging the legitimacy and further perpetuation of the “Global War on Terror” has never been more vital and necessary for the future of humanity than it is today. Rebecca Gordon’s latest book: American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial For Post 9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books: New York, 2016), provides critical perspectives on confronting war crimes committed by both U.S. presidents since September 11, 2001.A good introduction podcast is Jeff Blankfort’s radio program Takes on the World interview with Rebecca Gordon, American Nuremberg Trial Needed. Blankfort goes way back with Gordon as he describes at the beginning of the program. The recording of the program is all of 34 minutes. Start with this to get a sense of the significance of this book.From American Nuremberg’s Introduction:

“To this day, the people of the United States have never had a full accounting of all that has been done in our name as part of an apparently endless war on terror. After years of struggle, we finally have the heavily redacted 500-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-page report on the torture allowed by the CIA. But it contains only a partial accounting of the actions of a single US agency among the many security branches involved in the war on terror. Nor has there been any real public reckoning for those officials, including men (and a few women) at the highest levels of the government who are responsible for all these deeply troubling actions undertaken by Washington since 9/11. This impunity all but guarantees that the next time our country is seized by a spasm of fear, we can expect more crimes committed in the name of national, and our own, security....

“There is a pressing need to bring the United States into the legal community of nations, where it must be held accountable for its actions. Let us be clear: the scale of US crimes in the war on terror comes nowhere near the genocidal war-making of the Nazis. But ever since World War II, the American empire has put its heavy boots on every continent. Even in imperial decline—after disastrous wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and facing long-term challenges from China and Russia—it remains the world’s preeminent military and economic power. If the most powerful country in the world—a country that still, decades after the end of the Soviet Union, calls itself “the leader of the free world”—can violate international laws of war and human rights with complete impunity, then why should any other nation be constrained? For the sake of the victims of the war on terror, for the sake of our national soul, but even more for the future of humanity, we need a full accounting and real accountability for American war criminals. We need an American Nuremberg.”

Rebecca Gordon, writing in TomDispatch.com:

The conclusion of Exhibit One in Any Future American War Crimes Trial (April 24, 2016):

And so, the case against the man who was waterboarded 83 times and contributed supposedly crucial information to the CIA on al-Qaeda plotting was oh-so-quietly withdrawn without either fuss or media attention. Exhibit one was now exhibit none.

Seven years after the initial filing of Zubaydah’s habeas petition, the DC District Court has yet to rule on it. Given the court’s average 751-day turnaround time on such petitions, this is an extraordinary length of time. Here, justice delayed is truly justice denied.

Perhaps we should not be surprised, however. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee report, CIA headquarters assured those who were interrogating Zubaydah that he would “never be placed in a situation where he has any significant contact with others and/or has the opportunity to be released.” In fact, “all major players are in concurrence,” stated the agency, that he “should remain incommunicado for the remainder of his life.” And so far, that’s exactly what’s happened.

The capture, torture, and propaganda use of Abu Zubaydah is the perfect example of the U.S. government’s unique combination of willful law-breaking, ass-covering memo-writing, and what some Salvadorans I once worked with called “strategic incompetence.” The fact that no one—not George Bush or Dick Cheney, not Jessen or Mitchell, nor multiple directors of the CIA—has been held accountable means that, unless we are very lucky, we will see more of the same in the future.

The conclusion of Crimes of the War on Terror – Should George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Others Be Jailed? (June 7, 2016):

Seeing “the truth established” was the purpose behind South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Torturers and murderers on both sides of the anti-apartheid struggle were offered amnesty for their crimes—but only after they openly acknowledged those crimes. In this way, a public record of the horrors of apartheid was built, and imperfect as the process may have been, the nation was able to confront its history.

That is the kind of reckoning we need in this country. It started with the release of a summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program, which brought many brutal details into the light. But that’s just the beginning. We would need a full and public accounting not just of the CIA’s activities, but of the doings of other military and civilian agencies and outfits, including the Joint Special Operations Command. We also would need a full-scale airing of the White House’s drone assassination program, and perhaps most important of all, a full accounting of the illegal, devastating invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Justice would also require—to the extent possible—making whole those who had been harmed. In the case of the “war on terror,” this might begin by allowing torture victims to sue their torturers in federal court (as the U.N. Convention against Torture requires). With one exception, the Obama administration has until now blocked all such efforts on national security grounds. In the case of the Iraq War, justice would undoubtedly also require financial reparations to repair the infrastructure of what was once a modern, developed nation.

We’re unlikely to see justice in the “war on terror” until that cruel and self-defeating exercise is well and truly over and the country has officially acknowledged and accounted for its crimes. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 40 years.


Panama Papers - Intelligence Agencies and Iran-Contra Players

The following is one of many articles produced by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and Süddeutsche Zeitung, the largest German national subscription daily newspaper. Approximately 400 journalists from more than 100 media organizations in over 80 countries have taken part in researching the documents. The ICIJ Offshore Leaks project is one of the largest collaborations in journalism history. At the end of this article are excerpts concerning The Panama Papers–The Secrets of Dirty Money.

by Will Fitzgibbon and Nicolas Richter

Original source for the following at: http://panamapapers.sueddeutsche.de/articles/570e6affa1bb8d3c3495baf4/

The files of Mossack Fonseca reveal all kinds of connections to the activities of the world’s intelligence agencies. For instance, there are links to the Iran-Contra affair, a scandal that involved secret arms shipments under President Ronald Reagan. Oliver North, a military advisor, was charged at the time. Adnan Khashoggi, an arms dealer, also appears in the documents in this context.On July 4, 1986, a four-engine Boeing 707 landed in Tehran, the Iranian capital. It had taken off in Rijeka, Yugoslavia, fully loaded with valuable goods from the United States. Seven years after the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian regime was suffering from the sanctions the US had imposed. The airplane was thus delivering military equipment that was in short supply, including defense missiles and replacement parts for fighter jets–all of which were subjected to the embargo.The delivery was a typical undercover operation: officially, Iran and the United States were archenemies. And yet the military supplies aboard the Boeing were American. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) orchestrated the delivery in exchange for the release of American hostages in Lebanon. Iran was to arrange the release, in addition to paying for the arms. The CIA would then use the funds to finance the uprising of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

The Iran-Contra affair was only exposed later on. Oliver North, who worked for the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House, was one of several people who had to testify at a congressional hearing. Initially, the operation was meant to remain secret, which explains why the Reagan administration couldn’t make the military delivery with the US Air Force.

The Reagan administration needed what intelligence agencies often require to carry out their secret transactions: intermediaries, middlemen, companies, and airplanes that don’t look like they’re owned by the US government. In other words, the government needed what intelligence experts refer to as “plausible deniability”, which essentially means the ability to deny things in a credible manner after the fact.

The airplane that landed in Tehran in 1986 was registered in the United States and appeared to be owned by a man named Farhad Azima, who lived in the US state of Missouri. Azima, an Iranian-born American charter airline executive, made a career of renting and leasing airplanes. To this day, he claims he had no idea that the CIA used one his aircrafts to deliver military supplies to Tehran. “I’ve had nothing to do with Iran-Contra,” Azima told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). “I was investigated by every known agency in the U.S. and they decided there was absolutely nothing there,” said Azima. “It was a wild goose chase. The law enforcement and regulators fell for it.”

The Panama Papers now provide new insights into the business dealings of Azima and half a dozen other personalities suspected of having links to intelligence agencies for decades. Many are thought to have helped the CIA, even though they have consistently denied it. While no direct CIA payments have been found in the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the documents do show a number of behavioral patterns that are well known in secret agent circles: dubious company structures, business transactions with used airplanes, and partnerships between shady characters.

“You just can’t walk around and say you’re a secret agent”

The Mossack Fonseca files leaked to Süddeutsche Zeitung, which were analyzed in cooperation with the ICIJ, contain a number of names from the world of espionage: two suspects from the Iran-Contra affair, a suspected CIA helper for arms deliveries to Afghanistan, and high-ranking former officers of the secret services of Saudi Arabia, Colombia, and Rwanda.

The documents reveal that Mossack Fonseca’s clients included Saudi Arabia’s first intelligence chief, who was named by a U.S. Senate committee as the CIA’s “principal liaison for the entire Middle East from the mid-1960s through 1979.” Sheikh Kamal Adham controlled offshore companies later involved in [BCCI,] a U.S. banking scandal; Colombia’s former chief of air intelligence, ret. Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rubianogroot, held shares in an aviation and logistics company; and Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Ndahiro was a doctor turned spy chief to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Adham died in 1999. Ndahiro did not respond to requests for comment. Rubianogroot confirmed to ICIJ partner and Colombian investigative journalism organization, Consejo de Redacción, that he was a small shareholder in West Tech Panama, which was created to buy an American avionics company. The company is in liquidation.

The Greek entrepreneur Sokratis Kokkalis, once known to the Stasi as “Agent Rocco”, is also mentioned. And of course, the German secret agent Werner Mauss also appears. Mauss operated or still operates a dozen shell companies via Mossack Fonseca.

It is striking just how comfortably these professionals use shell companies to carry out covert operations–in some instances, even long after their retirement. Indeed, it seems that old habits die hard. The documents show that Mossack Fonseca’s offshore structures not only served the interests of suspected tax evaders and other criminals, they also supported spies in a business that relies on absolute secrecy.

The phenomenon can easily be explained. “You can’t exactly walk around saying that you’re a spy,” says Loch K. Johnson, a professor at the University of Georgia, in explaining the cover that offshore firms offer.

Johnson, a former aide to a U.S. Senate committee’s intelligence inquiries, has spent decades studying CIA front companies. Just like everyone else, spies, hostage rescuers, or weapons smugglers need logistics, starting with things as simple as bank accounts and credit cards to pay for their hotel rooms. Sometimes they also need cash, a ship, or even an airplane. It is in these instances that a front company can conceal the true customers or interested parties.

In the James Bond novels, “Universal Exports” was often used as a company name

Ian Fleming knew this, too: in his James Bond novels, “Universal Exports” was often used as a company name to cover up the British secret agent’s activities. It is very telling that the company has such a nondescript name. Whenever Bond has to make a call to London, he identifies himself as a businessman who is contacting his boss at the export company. He then talks about trivial things, the true meaning of which only British intelligence understands.

Over the years, “Universal Exports“ has become the epitome of secret service front companies. In fact, the name is so well-known that Mossack Fonseca’s business partners still mention it today. When a trustee wrote to the Panamanian law firm in 2010 to request that a company be set up for a client, he joked about possible company names: “I’ll suggest a name like ‘World Insurance Services Limited’ or maybe ‘Universal Exports’ after the company used in the early James Bond stories but I don’t know if we’d get away with that!” Many of the company names that appear on Mossack Fonseca’s lists suggest that the parties concerned would at least like to have the feeling that they’re close to the world of espionage. Company names include “Goldfinger”, “Skyfall”, “Moonraker”, “Spectre”, and “Blofeld”–all of them well-known from Bond movies. Evidently, the clients of the offshore business either have a good sense of humor, or are just plain cynical.

The trail to the world of espionage not only leads to secret agent movies, but also to the real world of intelligence agencies. One example is Loftur Johannesson, a wealthy 85-year-old Icelander from Reykjavík. Several articles and books have shown links between Johannesson and the CIA. Among other things, he is thought to have supplied weapons to anti-Communist rebels in Afghanistan, an allegation that Johannesson has denied. “Mr. Johannesson has been an international businessman, mainly in aviation related activities, and he completely rejects your suggestions that he may have worked for any secret intelligence agencies,” a spokesman told ICIJ. From 2002 onward, his name appears in connection with at least four companies that Mossack Fonseca manages, and which are headquartered either in the British Virgin Islands or Panama.

It is not clear why people like Johannesson still need offshore companies after they have retired, or why they may keep a portion of their assets there. It is likely difficult to transfer revenues from secret business activities to a normal account without raising suspicion. The German secret agent Werner Mauss’s shell companies raise similar questions. Does he (or did he) need them to move ransom money, collect commissions, or simply to save taxes? According to information provided to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the state prosecutor’s office in Bochum, Germany, is currently investigating Mauss on suspicion of tax evasion. Mauss, however, has expressly denied the allegations.

Operating fleets of airplanes (or managing global trade activities with them) appears to be one of the business sectors to which intelligence agencies or their suspected helpers are often linked. For instance, Farhad Azima, the Iranian in exile, whose Boeing 707 allegedly flew weapons to Tehran, appears in the Mossack Fonseca files from 2000 onward. At the time, he had a shell company called ALG (Asia & Pacific) registered in the British Virgin Islands. It appeared to be a branch of his Aviation Leasing Group, a US company based in Missouri that operates more than 60 aircraft.

It wasn’t until 13 years later that Mossack Fonseca realized it might be dealing with a man who did business with an intelligence agency. At the time, Mossfon employees came across a report that linked Azima to the CIA. The report described how a company called EATSCO (Egyptian American Transport and Services Corporation) was thought to have helped deliver weapons to Libya in the late 1970s. The company was owned by several former CIA agents. When they found out about this, Mossack Fonseca became nervous, and asked an Azima representative to confirm his identity. When the law firm did not receive an answer, it looks as though it didn’t pursue the matter any further. Perhaps Mossfon determined that it was best not to know the details in some instances. Mossack Fonseca responded to a request for comment by explaining that it does a thorough background check on each of its clients. However, the law firm declined to comment on specific cases, stating that it finds any abuse of its services unfortunate.

Azima is linked to another dubious person: as the Mossack Fonseca documents show, in November 2011 Azima was registered as the co-director of a company named Eurasia Aviation Holdings Limited. Once again, the company appears to deal in airplanes. Houshang Hosseinpour (who is also active in the aviation business) is named as another of the company’s co-directors. Later on, the US government accused Hosseinpour of violating US sanctions imposed on Iran. And in February 2012, Eurasia Aviation suddenly claimed that Hosseinpour had nothing to do with the company, and that his name had appeared as a result of an “administrative error”. Shortly after, the company purchased an airplane.

Azima told ICIJ that the company was only used to buy an aircraft and that Hosseinpour had never been involved in the company. The plane was not going to be used in the U.S., Azima said, so couldn’t be registered in the U.S. and the choice of the BVI was not for tax purposes. “I’ve filed every tax known to mankind,” Azima told ICIJ. Hosseinpour could not be reached for comment. In 2013, before the sanctions came into force, he told the Wall Street Journal that he had no connections to Iran and ”nothing to do with evading sanctions.”

In itself, none of this demonstrates any contact to the CIA. However, it does show how comfortably people in intelligence circles move about in the world of shell companies. Adnan Khashoggi is another example of this: the Saudi billionaire is said to have orchestrated arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. According to a US Senate report [The BCCI Affair: Bank of Credit and Commerce International Senate Investigation Report December 1992; Section 11, BCCI, The CIA and Foreign Intelligence; HTML and PDF formats], he also played a “central role” [“Similarly, Khashoggi and Ghorbanifar performed a central role for the U.S. government in connection with the Iran/Contra affair in operations that involved the direct participation of CIA personnel.” page 308] in helping the CIA make secret arms sales to Iran.

Khashoggi also appears in Mossack Fonseca documents: from 1978 onward, he is listed as head of Isis Overseas S.A., a Panamanian company. The documents also link Khashoggi to four other companies, which he used mainly between the 1980s and the early 2000s. It is unclear what these companies were meant to hide.

Shell companies of intelligence agencies are not located only in tax havens

At any event, the files confirm suspicions that secret agents, weapons dealers, and hostage rescuers need a secret financial infrastructure in addition to the services of companies like Mossack Fonseca, from which they don’t expect too many questions.

There is no indication that Mossack Fonseca looked into Khashoggi’s past, even though the firm processed payments from the Adnan Khashoggi Group the same year he made global news when the U.S. charged him with helping Ferdinand Marcos, president of the Philippines at the time, loot millions. Khashoggi was later cleared. Mossack Fonseca’s files show the firm ceased business with Khashoggi around 2003.

It goes without saying that the shell companies of intelligence agencies are not located only in tax havens. Supposed private companies that in fact work for the CIA can also be established in the United States. One recent example is a network of six US companies, among them Aero Contractors Limited, Pegasus Technologies, or Tepper Aviation. While these companies are listed as providers of chartered flights, after 2001 they operated 26 airplanes that in reality belonged to the CIA.

At the time, the Agency used the airplanes for the global war on terror, for instance to move suspected Al-Qaida terrorists between secret prisons and other torture facilities. Just as was the case for arms shipments to Iran, prisoner transport was not something that the government could do openly. The New York Times, which exposed the true activities of Aero Contractors and others, cited a former CIA agent as saying: “When the C.I.A. is given a task, it’s usually because national policy makers don’t want ‘U.S. government’ written all over it“.

By all appearances, shell companies and tax havens have helped people in the underworld lead a double life. For instance, Farhad Azima, the Iranian-born airline executive, is thought to have been involved in several dubious arms deals. However, nothing has ever been proven, and Azima can still present himself as a high-society businessman in his other life. He is also a well-known donor to US politicians. Azima has donated money to both Republicans and Democrats. Former President Bill Clinton invited him to the White House on several occasions, and Azima has also supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In September 1996, ten years after the Iran-Contra affair, Bill Clinton was seen at a hotel in Kansas City during his presidential campaign, where he led the chorus of people singing “Happy Birthday” to their host–none other than Farhad Azima. Azima had pledged to donate USD 250,000 to Clinton’s campaign.

Panama Papers–The Secrets of Dirty Money []

About the Panama Papers: The scale of this information leak is unprecedented: 2.6 terrabytes of data, 11.5 million documents, 214,000 letterbox companies.

The Panama Papers include approximately 11.5 million documents–more than the combined total of the Wikileaks Cablegate, Offshore Leaks, Lux Leaks, and Swiss Leaks. The data primarily comprises e-mails, pdf files, photo files, and excerpts of an internal Mossack Fonseca database. It covers a period spanning from the 1970s to the spring of 2016.

The leaked data is structured as follows: Mossack Fonseca created a folder for each shell firm. Each folder contains e-mails, contracts, transcripts, and scanned documents. In some instances, there are several thousand pages of documentation.

The company at the center of all these stories is Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian provider of offshore companies with dozens of offices all over the world. It sells its shell firms in cities such as Zurich, London, and Hong Kong–in some instances at bargain prices. Clients can buy an anonymous company for as little as USD 1,000. However, at this price it is just an empty shell. For an extra fee, Mossack Fonseca provides a sham director and, if desired, conceals the company’s true shareholder. The result is an offshore company whose true purpose and ownership structure is indecipherable from the outside. Mossack Fonseca has founded, sold, and managed thousands of companies. The documents provide a detailed view of how Mossack Fonseca routinely accepts to engage in business activities that potentially violate sanctions, in addition to aiding and abetting tax evasion and money laundering.

About Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) Headquartered in Munich, is one of Germany’s leading newspapers. SZ has a total readership of 4.4 million for its print and online media. Its investigative journalism team counts five people, three of which are members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The Süddeutsche Zeitung has won a number of prestigious awards for its research work. Its team has cooperated with other media organizations on a number of projects, including Offshore Leaks, Swiss Leaks, and Lux Leaks, which ICIJ coordinated. At the beginning of 2015, an anonymous source began sending the Süddeutsche Zeitung data from Mossack Fonseca, a provider of offshore companies. This marked the beginning of the Panama Papers project.

“‘There is no question that the United States serves as one of the biggest tax havens in the world for people outside the United States,’ said Daniel Reeves, now a consultant after retiring three years ago from the Internal Revenue Service, where he helped create its offshore compliance program.”
—“US scolds others about offshores, but looks other way at home,”
By Kevin G. Hall and Marisa Taylor, McClatchyDC, April 5, 2016

What needs to be revealed: One year ago “John Doe” sent a message. “John Doe’s” real name certainly is not John Doe. But this name, commonly used in the US by people who would like to uphold their anonymity, popped up. John asked a question that aroused our curiosity: “Interested in data? I would be happy to share.” And with that, one of the most unusual and exciting chapters in the history of Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) started.

SZ is now able to give insights into a demimonde, a shadow world which up to this point nobody from outside has ever been able to look into. This is a world in which people covertly shove back and forth assets worth millions. Here is where they park company shares, a world in which they buy yachts and airplanes.

In this shadowy world some of the action is completely legal. It can be reasonable for a German bank manager to keep secret the fact that he owns a mansion on the island of Mallorca. He might decide to hide the necessary papers in an offshore company. Fair enough as long as his assets are taxed in his home country. However, this is not the case for many of the business activities which are handled through offshore companies in overseas tax havens.

Often, those accounts are solely a cover-up for unlawful activities and shall protect criminals. SZ has evaluated data together with 400 journalists from all over the world during the past twelve months. Suddenly it becomes obvious how gigantic the problem of offshore businesses really is and how urgent it is for the world community to act upon it.

So far it has commonly been known that rich people and companies use offshore firms to avoid–as they see it–annoying taxation as much as possible. This is already shameless often and violates the societal contract, because these taxes are desperately needed for national budgets. The missing money can’t be used for community purposes: the construction of schools, rail tracks and public housing. But the offshore problem goes far beyond that. Apparently terror groups are using this system to finance themselves, as SZ’s stories will show. Criminal regimes in Syria and elsewhere are presumably capable to bypass sanctions imposed by the international community and able to continue a war with barrel bombs against its own people.

Members of China’s state and party leadership up to the entourage of the president himself apparently have set up an extraordinary amount of companies in or through Panama to hide millions of dollars abroad. Even before we published the results of our research, we received threats by those people who were confronted with our findings. The spokesperson of the Russian President Vladimir Putin prepared his people for an “information attack” of Western media. That was the Kremlin’s official answer to questions we had raised about those dubious transfers of huge amounts of money by the President’s entourage and about the fabulous wealth of close friends of Putin.

The law firm in Panama running many of these business deals, announced retaliatory measures against coming publications. The use of “information/documentation unlawfully obtained” would be a crime.

When Edward Snowden passed on his knowledge about the wiretapping of the NSA the US government also accused him of a crime: betrayal of secrets. Colleagues from The Guardian had to justify themselves because they published the material obtained by Snowden.

Many John Does are currently out there in the financial world. For media outlets the decisive question is not only if this information was obtained legitimately. There are two other crucial points: Is the source trustworthy? And is there a legitimate public interest?

Together with their partners Süddeutsche Zeitung checked and compared thousands of documents John Doe had delivered to us. We double cross examined with other publications and documents or files from lawsuits. Not in a single case there were any doubts. And the public interest here is obvious: The secrets of the Panama Papers need to be revealed.

This interest is not a voyeuristic one. It must not be kept secret if a state–as in the case of Snowden–is gathering information about its citizens, continuously breaching law or the legal shell of friends and allies. On the same token it must not be kept a secret when the community of states–as in the case of the offshore business–does nothing or not enough if a criminal regimes breaches sanctions. This has to be revealed.