Last week’s massacre in Paris was not, as almost every writer mistakenly claimed, the worst atrocity in the City Of Light since World War II. As the renowned Mideast expert Robert Fisk quickly pointed out, an even worse atrocity occurred in Paris 54 years ago, on 17 October, 1961. Paris chief Maurice Papon, a former Vichy official, who had sent over 1,000 Jews to their deaths during the war, unleashed his brutal riot squads on 30,000 Arab demonstrators calling for the independence of Algeria from French colonial rule. In an orgy of killing, some 200 Algerians were killed. Many were beaten senseless, then thrown from the Pont St. Michel bridge into the Seine River. 11,000 Algerians were arrested and cast into internment camps or a sports stadium. Eric Margolis in Unz.com
‘Perhaps the most alarming revelation to emerge from the new Bush biography [Destiny and Power: the American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham] is the elder man’s recollection that while Cheney had been his defence secretary, he had commissioned a study on how many tactical nuclear weapons would be needed to eliminate a division of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard. Apparently the answer was 17, though a more profound conclusion is that Cheney was a more dangerous figure than anyone knew. It adds weight to reporting by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker that Cheney also contemplated the use of low-yield nuclear bunker-busters against Iran’s underground uranium enrichment facilities. The more we hear about the George W Bush administration, the clearer it becomes that the global damage it wrought could have been even worse.’ Julian Borger in The Guardian.
‘The LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony, which emerged in the Acholiland area of Uganda in the late 1980s] claims to be creating a new social order based on the Bible’s Ten Commandments. It is responsible for massacres, systematic campaigns of rape and mutilation. The group is infamous for its abduction of children who are enlisted as soldiers, and is reported also to have abused and raped thousands of women and girls. Although the LRA is much weaker today than at the height of its campaigns in the 1990s and early 2000s, it is estimated to have killed 100,000 people in Uganda alone and caused the displacement of 1.6 million. The organisation’s initial impetus came, however, from an insurrection in the Acholiland area in response to massacres carried out by the National Resistance Army of Yoweri Museveni who seized power in Uganda in 1986 from Tito Okello, a general of Acholi origin.’ click here.
The Guardian reports (9th October 2015), ‘A former CIA operative convicted of the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric as part of the extraordinary renditions program has been detained in Portugal and is awaiting a decision on whether she will be turned over to Italy to serve her six-year sentence, a top Italian prosecutor said on Thursday.De Sousa was among 26 Americans, mostly CIA agents, convicted in absentia over the kidnapping of Milan cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, in broad daylight from a Milan street on 17 February 2003. Even after the convictions, Italy never made a formal extradition request for the Americans in the politically charged case. click here.
The BBC reports (30th September 2015), ‘A 50-year-old man in northern India has been killed in a mob lynching allegedly over rumours that his family had been storing and consuming beef at home. Mohammad Akhlaq was kicked and beaten with stones by a group of men in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh state on Monday night. Mr Akhlaq’s 22-year-old son was also seriously injured in the attack, and has been admitted to a hospital.Six people have been arrested in connection with the incident. Police are probing who spread the rumour.Slaughter of cows is a sensitive issue in India as the animal is considered sacred by Hindus, who comprise 80% of the country’s 1.2bn people. click here.
The Tablet (12th September 2015) reports, ‘In future it will not be possible to convert churches into mosques in Germany as a new law forbids churches to be used by non-Christians with the exception of Jews’.
…200 churches in south India were burned to the ground by Hindu extremists last year. click here
Mugabe said the missing skulls were those of leaders of “the first chimurenga”, an uprising against white settlers in the late 19th century, that included the spirit mediums Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi, who were hanged from a tree in 1898. “The first chimurenga leaders, whose heads were decapitated by the colonial occupying force, were then dispatched to England, to signify British victory over, and subjugation of, the local population,” Mugabe said this week, during a Heroes Day commemoration in Harare. “Surely, keeping decapitated heads as war trophies, in this day and age, in a national history museum, must rank among the highest forms of racist moral decadence, sadism and human insensitivity.” click here.
In his book The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President from 2009, historian and author Taylor Branch, a friend of United States president Bill Clinton, made public more than 70 recorded sessions with the president during his presidency from 1993 through 2001. According to a session taped on 14 October 1993, it is stated that:
Clinton said U.S. allies in Europe blocked proposals to adjust or remove the embargo. They justified their opposition on plausible humanitarian grounds, arguing that more arms would only fuel the bloodshed, but privately, said the president, key allies objected that an independent Bosnia would be “unnatural” as the only Muslim nation in Europe. He said they favored the embargo precisely because it locked in Bosnia‘s disadvantage. [..] When I expressed shock at such cynicism, reminiscent of the blind-eye diplomacy regarding the plight of Europe’s Jews during World War II, President Clinton only shrugged. He said President François Mitterrand of France had been especially blunt in saying that Bosnia did not belong, and that British officials also spoke of a painful but realistic restoration of Christian Europe. Against Britain and France, he said, German chancellor Helmut Kohl among others had supported moves to reconsider the United Nations arms embargo, failing in part because Germany did not hold a seat on the U.N. Security Council. click here.
Human guinea pigs
David Keys in The Independent, ‘During the Cold War, the British Government used the general public as unwitting biological and chemical warfare guinea pigs on a much greater scale than previously thought, according to new historical research…Up until now historians had thought that such operations had been much less extensive. The new research, carried out by Ulf Schmidt, Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent, has revealed that British military aircraft dropped thousands of kilos of a chemical of ‘largely unknown toxic potential’ on British civilian populations in and around Salisbury in Wiltshire, Cardington in Bedfordshire and Norwich in Norfolk…The new research has discovered that a hitherto unknown biological warfare field trial was carried out in the capital’s tube system in May 1964. The secret operation – carried out by scientists from the government’s chemical and biological warfare research centre at Porton Down, Wiltshire – involved the release of large quantities of bacteria called Bacillus globigii. The scientists were keen to discover whether ‘long distance travel of aerosols’ in the tube network ‘was due to transportation within trains’ or through the tube’s air ventilation systems…The new research reveals, for the first time, that in another British imperial possession, Nigeria, a location was found for chemical warfare field trials. In an area called Obanaghoro in southern Nigeria, four British Cold War scientific missions spent a total of around 15 months dispersing, and assessing the effects of, large quantities of experimental nerve gas weapons. The advantage of the location was that it permitted field trials to be carried out in a tropical environment – and, of course, that it was not in Britain or Australia. click here, 9th July 2015
Poison gas to Saddam
The Guardian reports, ‘The government delayed taking action to prevent Iraq obtaining chemical weapons partially because British exporters were involved in the trade, according to Foreign Office documents. Newly released papers from 1983 show that even before Iraq began widespread use of poison gas to repel Iranian attacks, diplomats were aware of Baghdad’s covert technology programme.[…] In April 1983, at the height of the Iran-Iraq war, the ambassador in Baghdad, Sir John Moberly, telegrammed the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) and defence intelligence sections about the “manufacture and use of mustard gas by the Iraqi army”. […] But the FCO’s arms control department declined to impose export restrictions.’ click here, 3rd July 2015
Recourse to ex-Gestapo
Frances Stonor Saunders in the London Review of Books: “…What was the smell of Abteilung 1A/Gestapo files that found their way into the Central Registry at MI5’s Mayfair headquarters? The Reichstag fire? The book burnings? The crematoria? For what were these files, these endless lists and card indexes, if not the pennies for feeding the gas meters? […] In these early years of realignment after Hitler’s death – described by Arthur Miller as ‘this wrenching shift, this ripping off of Good and Evil labels from one nation and pasting them onto another’ – fresh traces on suspected communists were being received daily from British intelligence outposts in the defeated territories of the Third Reich. As staff in London struggled to cope with the backlog of new information, officers in the field pumped their ‘high value’ sources, which included an assortment of Nazi war criminals, among them Friedrich Buchardt, leader of an SS death squad that specialised in the slaughter of Jews and communists, and Gestapo officer Horst Kopkow, responsible for the execution of some three hundred captured British agents. The Americans cherry-picked Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, and Reinhard Gehlen, whose German army intelligence unit was preserved intact to build and direct a spy ring against the Soviet Union. These men, experts in hunting down communists, all bought their way out of criminal proceedings with the same bloodstained currency: files. click here, LRB, 9th April 2015.
Nick Davies in the Guardian, 22nd April 2015: …The US dropped more high explosives on Vietnam than the allies used on Germany and Japan together in the second world war. It also dropped napalm jelly, which stuck to its victims while it roasted their skin; white phosphorous, which burned down to the bone; fragmentation bombs, which hurled ball bearings and steel shards in all directions; and 73m litres of toxic chemicals, including 43m litres of Agent Orange, which killed vegetation and inflicted illness on those who were exposed to it….The US left Vietnam in a state of physical ruin. Roads, rail lines, bridges and canals were devastated by bombing. Unexploded shells and landmines littered the countryside, often underwater in the paddy fields where peasants waded. Five million hectares of forest had been stripped of life by high explosives and Agent Orange. The new government reckoned that two-thirds of the villages in the south had been destroyed. In Saigon, the American legacy included packs of orphans roaming the streets and a heroin epidemic. Nationally, the new government estimated it was dealing with 10 million refugees; 1 million war widows; 880,000 orphans; 362,000 war invalids; and 3 million unemployed people…As soon as it had lost the war, the US imposed a trade embargo, cutting off the war-wrecked country not only from US exports and imports, but also from those of other nations that bowed to American pressure. In the same way, the US leaned on multilateral bodies including the IMF, the World Bank and Unesco to deny Vietnam aid. The US acknowledged that Agent Orange was likely to cause serious illness and birth defects and paid $2bn compensation – but only to its own veterans. The Vietnamese victims – more than 2 million of them – got nothing. click here.
Jamie Merrill in the Independent, 10th March 2015: Campaigners asked the Information Rights Tribunal to intervene and force the Foreign Office (FCO) to release the full text of a 1977 document detailing the conversation between British officials and Ian Henderson, a British military officer who ran the police force in the Sunni-ruled state for 30 years. Henderson, who died two years ago, was dubbed the “Butcher of Bahrain” after allegations that he was complicit in the ransacking of villages, the sadistic sexual abuse of Shia prisoners and the use of power drills to maim them. The document should be available under the 30-year-rule controlling the release of government papers, but Marc Jones, an academic and a member of the Bahrain Watch human rights group, says the FCO has refused to release it despite repeated requests…Henderson was installed as head of security in Bahrain in 1966, when the country was still a British protectorate. As a colonial officer he had helped suppress the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya, and when Bahrain declared independence in 1971, [Prime Minister] Bin Salman kept him as head of the country’s intelligence service. click here.
‘Kenyan death squads allegedly trained by British military. Source Al-Jazeera. Britain is facing fresh allegations of complicity in the killings of terrorism suspects by Kenyan death squads. The claims come from members of Kenyan intelligence and special police units who say they carry out extrajudicial killings. They also say they have received training and intelligence from Britain’s military and other officials as part of their counter-terrorism efforts.’ Vikram Dodd in the Guardian, 7 December 2014.
Greece, aftermath of World War II
‘ This was the day [3 December 1944, Athens]… when the British army, still at war with Germany, opened fire upon – and gave locals who had collaborated with the Nazis the guns to fire upon – a civilian crowd demonstrating in support of the partisans with whom Britain had been allied for three years. The crowd carried Greek, American, British and Soviet flags, and chanted: “Viva Churchill, Viva Roosevelt, Viva Stalin’” in endorsement of the wartime alliance. Twenty-eight civilians, mostly young boys and girls, were killed and hundreds injured. “We had all thought it would be a demonstration like any other,” Patríkios recalls. “Business as usual. Nobody expected a bloodbath.” Britain’s logic was brutal and perfidious: Prime minister Winston Churchill considered the influence of the Communist Party within the resistance movement he had backed throughout the war – the National Liberation Front, EAM – to have grown stronger than he had calculated, sufficient to jeopardise his plan to return the Greek king to power and keep Communism at bay. So he switched allegiances to back the supporters of Hitler against his own erstwhile allies.’ Ed Vulliamy and Helena Smith in the Observer, 30 November 2014
Readiness to deploy nuclear arms
‘A recent book edited by Tertrais and Henry Sokolski, a former Pentagon official, describes how a group of French generals plotting a coup against President De Gaulle in the spring of 1961 tried to obtain a nuclear device that France was about to test in the Algerian desert. “Refrain from detonating your little bomb,” one of the generals told the commander in charge of the test. “Keep it for us, it will always be useful.”. De Gaulle ordered the device to be set off earlier than planned, and the coup was unsuccessful.’ [Armageddon waiting to happen by Eriic Schlosser, The Guardian, 28 November 2014]
Bad apples in Iraq
Jonathan Owen writes in the Independent on a blot in the British Army’s record in Iraq: ‘Victims and families of those allegedly murdered, raped or tortured by British soldiers in Iraq could be forced to wait decades before the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) completes its work, despite officials admitting that some cases could amount to “war crimes”… Britain is facing increasing scrutiny over alleged war crimes in Iraq – a delegation from the International Criminal Court (ICC) visited Ihat in June this year. This follows a dossier of allegations by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), which prompted the ICC to begin a preliminary investigation into claims of war crimes.’ 9 November 2014, click here.
Subverting democracy in Australia
Pilger remembers who schemed against Australia’s Prime Minister Gough Whitlam: ‘Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies… Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”. Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion… When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as “the coupmaster”, he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives… On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.’ click here.
A federal judge has given the Obama administration less than two additional months to make its case why photos of abuse and torture by U.S. military forces against detainees captured following the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan should not be released to the public… Judge Alvin Hellerstein on Tuesday told government lawyers they must present a written argument for keeping more than 2,100 photographs secret even as many of them are thought to show graphic examples of mistreatment worse even than that shown in the infamous photos that depicted torture of prisoners in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in late 2003. Jon Queally in CommonDreams, 22 October 2014.
Poison gas to Saddam
“The US and Saudi Arabia feared Iran’s Islamic revolution would sweep the Mideast and overthrow its oil monarchs. So Washington and its Arab allies convinced Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, to invade Iran (1980-1988) and overthrow its new government. Arms and money flowed to Iraq from the US, Britain, Kuwait and the Saudis…After three years of WWI-style warfare, Iraq found its outnumbered troops could not stop Iranian human-wave attacks. Iran was slowly winning its bloody war against Iraq. So the US and Britain supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical and biological weapons to break the waves of attacking Iranians. Chemical warfare manufacturing equipment – disguised as insecticide plants – came from Germany, France and Holland. The feed stock for the germ weapons came from a US laboratory in Maryland –approved by the US government…<p>
I found two British scientists who had been employed at Iraq’s top secret Salman Pak chemical and biowarfare laboratory near Baghdad. The Brits confided to me they were part of a large technical team secretly organized and “seconded” to Iraq in the mid-1980’s by the British government and the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service. Their goal was to develop and “weaponize” anthrax, plague, botulism and other pathogens for use as tactical germ weapons.” Eric Margolis writing in the Uniz Review.
“Forget the sobering fact that the western-backed Saudi regime has beheaded dozens in public in recent months, including for ‘sorcery’, or that British troops infamously had themselves photographed with the severed heads of guerrillas during the Malayan war in the 1950s”. Seamas Milne in the Guardian, 18 September 2014.
“Every year the American historian William Blum publishes his ‘updated summary of the record of US foreign policy’ which shows that, since 1945, the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders. In many cases Britain has been a collaborator. The degree of human suffering, let alone criminality, is little acknowledged in the West, despite the presence of the world’s most advanced communications and nominally freest journalism. That the most numerous victims of terrorism – ‘our’ terrorism – are Muslims, is unsayable. That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of Anglo-American policy (Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan) is suppressed. In April, the US State Department noted that, following the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s campaign in 2011, ‘Libya has become a terrorist safe haven’. The name of ‘our’ enemy has changed over the years, from communism to Islamism, but generally it is any society independent of Western power and occupying strategically useful or resource-rich territory. The leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside, such as the democrats Muhammad Mossedeq in Iran and Salvador Allende in Chile, or they are murdered like Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. All are subjected to a Western media campaign of caricature and vilification – think Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, now Vladimir Putin.” John Pilger in AsiaTimes Online, 14 May 2014
French complicity in Rwanda genocide
The trial this week of a Rwandan genocide suspect in a Paris courtroom is a well-earned victory for the French human rights groups who lobbied so hard and so long for justice. The milestone trial signals the end of France as a safe haven for génocidaries. But more than this, the trial is likely to see intense public scrutiny of one of the great scandals of the past century – the role of France in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi of Rwanda, which for 20 years journalists and activists have tried so hard to expose. Linda Melvern, The Guardian, 6 Feb 2014
Black Flag operations
In February 1947 SIS carried out an operation, appropriately codenamed Embarrass, for “direction action.” A small team, mostly comprised of former SOE personnel, was recruited to attach limpet mines to refugee ships and disable them before they could set sail. In the summer of 1947 the team mined five ships in Italian ports — having first checked that no one was on board. Nevertheless, if Operation Embarrass had been made public, the fact that SIS agents were mining boats containing Holocaust survivors would have been disastrous for the British government. Operation Embarrass did not stop there. When some of the mines were discovered, SIS blamed them first on a fictitious Arab opposition group, the “Defenders of Arab Palestine,” and then on the Soviet government. It obtained typewriters that were known to be used by dissident Arab groups and Soviet authorities, and used them to type letters implicating both groups, which it then carefully leaked around Whitehall. In a further twist, SIS made it appear that the British government was using the traffic of Jewish refugees to get its own agents out of Europe, hoping thereby to get the Soviets to block the flow of migrants to Palestine. SIS therefore attempted to deceive not only Jewish refugees, Arab opposition groups and the Soviet government, but the British government itself. This was truly the stuff of smoke and mirrors”. From Calder Walton’s EMPIRE OF SECRETS, The Overlook Press, 2013
Seamus Milne writing in the Guardian, 5 December 2013: “…. British officials like to present their own drone operations in Afghanistan as a moral cut above those of the CIA and Jsoc. In real life, the collaboration could hardly be closer. This week Noor Khan, whose father was one of more than 40 killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan, has been at the appeal court in London demanding the British government reveal the extent of GCHQ support for such war crimes….As Theresa May has been stripping British Muslims suspected of fighting for al-Shabaab in Somalia of their citizenship, just in time for them to be killed or kidnapped by US special forces, evidence has emerged that British special forces themselves killed a British recruit, Tufail Ahmed, there last year.”
Black Flag operation
Adam Withnall writing in the Daily Telegraph, 25 November 2013: “French spies planned to assassinate the extremist preacher Abu Hamza on a London street after they grew frustrated with Britain’s failure to deal with him, it has been claimed. According to a major investigation by the organisation HOPE Not Hate, French intelligence services dubbed the UK capital “Londonistan” because of a growing reputation for harbouring Europe’s Muslim fundamentalists. Seeking to take advantage of the fear surrounding the London nail bombings by the neo-Nazi militant Davud Copeland, security officials from Britain’s European neighbour hatched a plot to kill the cleric and blame it on the far-right extremist group Combat 18.…Spies got as far as identifying the weapons they would use to mimic those favoured by the organisation, and would have sent Hamza faked death threats pretending to be from the group. It is not clear why the plans were not carried out. In a completely separate earlier plot, the French spying network Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) contemplated kidnapping Hamza from his West London home, putting him in a ferry and moving him to France.
For an archive of French dirty tricks click here, otherwise read on….
A study at the Cardiff School of Journalism found that “… the most common nouns used in relation to British Muslims were terrorist, extremist, Islamist, suicide bomber and militant, with very few positive nouns (such as ‘scholar’) used. The most common adjectives used were radical, fanatical, fundamentalist, extremist and militant….”
It is as if saying that all Muslims are not extremists but all extremists are Muslim! However, putting the boot in the other foot.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), the umbrella body of armed groups in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, said it would launch a new terror campaign “in defence of Christianity”. Niger Delta militants threaten retaliation over Islamist attacks
Black and North African railway workers were banned from working at Paris’s Gare du Nord when the President of Israel visited France over fears they might be Muslim, it has emerged.
Black workers ‘banned from Gare du Nord during Israeli president visit’
Buddhist monks and others armed with swords and machetes Friday stalked the streets of a city in central Myanmar, where sectarian violence that has left about 20 people dead has begun to spread to other areas, according to local officials. Armed Buddhists, including monks, clash with Muslims in Myanmar
The coroner presiding over an inquest into an Indian woman who died after being refused an emergency abortion in an Irish hospital has asked for a midwife to be identified. Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said the midwife should be named after a friend of Savita Halappanavar claimed the staff member at Galway University hospital had denied the 31-year-old a termination “because we don’t do that here; it’s a Catholic thing”.
Abortion refusal death: coroner asks for midwife to be identified
“Two more infants have been infected with a deadly herpes virus in the last three months after undergoing a controversial religious oral circumcision in New York City…The identify of the rabbi who performed the circumcision is being withheld by the boys’ parents, preventing the health department to step in, they said.”
Two more babies stricken with herpes after ritual ultra-orthodox Jewish oral blood sucking circumcision in New York City
“Hewlett Johnson became the Dean of Canterbury in 1931… Over those 33 years, Johnson devoted the bulk of his astonishing energy to proving that Soviet Communism, especially as practised by Stalin, was heaven on earth…”
The priest who thought Stalin was a saint
A priest suspected of being an IRA leader and masterminding a bombing atrocity was allowed to escape arrest thanks to a secret deal between police, ministers and the Roman Catholic Church, a report revealed yesterday. Father James Chesney was the ‘prime suspect’ after nine people, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed and 30 injured when three car bombs exploded in the quiet Northern Ireland village of Claudy in July 1972.
How the IRA’s ‘bomber priest’ escaped justice: Cover-up agreed by police, ministers and Catholic Church (6258)