A compendium of state-sponsored 'dirty tricks'
Often there is more to an important news story or crisis than meets the eye. The aim of this Sala@m listing is to highlight cases where the 'official version of events' has been questioned or proven to be concocted.
The motivations for such state shenanigans vary. In some cases the stakes are very high - the control of resources and the maintenance of political domination. In other instances it has more to do with a local politician's quest for staying in power, or a security agency's own sense of mission.
The willing accomplices in the pursuit of such national and individual ambitions are those government agencies that are able to operate beyond the law - through covert operations, criminal alliances, deception, use of agents provocateurs, 'false flag' missions, 'black' propaganda and other 'dirty tricks' for which they are not going to be held accountable.
In the normal course of events, the realities remain unknown to the public at large, unless disclosed by ex-ministers, whistle-blowers, courageous journalists, bungling by the agencies involved, or revealed in the course of an independent enquiry or declassification of state records. This compendium will be updated as new information enters the public domain.
1. Peru's Montesinos and the CIA, 2000
2. The Indian Parliament attack - December 2001, 12 deaths
3. 9/11 - the Meacher hypothesis
4. French metro attack - July 1995, 8 deaths
5. Moscow apartments bombing - September 1999, 246 deaths
6. Genoa, G8 disturbances, July 2001 - 3 critical injuries
7. Eavesdropping on UN officials, 2003-2004
8. FBI sting endangers life of Pakistani ambassador, 2004
9. The Australian 'children overboard' affair, 2004
10. Operation Gladio, Bologna 1980 - 85 deaths & other incidents
11. Force Research Unit (FRU), Northern Ireland, 1970 - 1990s
12. Targeting Arthur Scargill, 1984-85
13. Ostrovsky's revelation on Libya, 1986
14. USS Liberty - 1967, 34 deaths
15. The Lavon Affair, 1950s
|Peru's Montesinos and the CIA, 2000||Vladimiro Montesinos served as head of Peru's army/National Intelligence Service (SIN) under President Fujimoro. He was a CIA protégé in the mid to late 1990s. A section within the CIA worked with Montesinos to subvert President Clinton's strategy for combating a left-wing guerilla movement in neighbouring Columbia.
In 2000, the US launched a large-scale aid programme to help Columbia's military in its losing war against FARC guerillas. Peru was publicly supportive, but Montesinos was unmasked as responsible for smuggling Jordanian AK-47 assault rifles to FARC. It emerged that the CIA had approved Jordan's deal to supply the arms. CIA's aim was to escalate the Columbian conflict to derail Clinton's plan and justify a full-scale invasion.
|The Financial Times magazine, 26th July, 2003, Issue No. 14|
|The Indian Parliament attack, December 2001||On 13th December 2001, 12 persons were killed in the grounds of the Indian Parliament, including 5 persons shot by the Police for undertaking a suicide bombing attack. The incident provided BJP Prime Minister Vajpayee with a justification for a military mobilization and the stationing of troops along the Pakistan border. Large-scale military contracts were subsequently placed for military purchases, benefiting many middle men in the process.
Questions were soon raised on the circumstances of the attack: all men were shot in the back while fleeing. The Police seemed to know an inordinate amount of information on the dead men - allegedly Pakistani-trained insurgents from Kashmir - but had not detained them en route. The 'terrorists' conveniently left behind a trail of unused arms and ammunition, mobile phones supposedly used during the attack, addresses, and phone numbers. The police arrested three men in connection with the attack, including a professor of Arabic and Persian, SAR Gillani, for supporting and helping to plan the attack. The High Court overturned the death sentence conviction on Gillani, and in December 2004, the Supreme Court also delayed the execution of the other two men pending appeal. Indian human rights activists have been pressing for an enquiry.
|9/11 - the Meacher hypothesis||Michael Meacher was elected to Parliament in 1970 and served as a member of Blair's cabinet from 1997-2003. He was sacked in June 2003 for disagreements on Iraq and genetically modified foods (he served as environment minister). Meacher's writings on 9/11 suggest that the hijackers were members of a cell with US intelligence connections, presumably successful at double-crossing their controllers. Noting that fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers obtained their visas in Saudi Arabia, Meacher writes, "Michael Springman, the former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, has stated that since 1987 the CIA has been illicitly issuing visas to unqualified applicants from the Middle East and bringing them to the US for training in terrorism for the Afghan war in conjunction with Bin Laden (BBC, November 6, 2001). It seems this operation continued after the Afghan war for other purposes. It is also reported that five of the hijackers received training at secure US military installations in the 1990s (Newsweek, September 15, 2001)." Meacher states that "it is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks". More recently, Meacher comments on the US's "extraordinary forebearance" towards Omar Shaikh - currently in jail in Pakistan pending an appeal in the Daniel Perl murder case - when it is known that "this is the same Omar Sheikh who, at the behest of General Mahmood Ahmed, head of the ISI, wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the leading 9/11 hijacker, before the New York attacks, as confirmed by Dennis Lormel, director of FBI's financial crimes unit".||http://www.epolitix.com/EN/MPWebsites/Michael+Meacher/739131B8-7178-42A9-9127-311FEA863D51.htm
|French metro attack - July 1995, 8 deaths||The FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) won a first-round victory in Algeria's 1991 election. The Algerian military, with support from France, stepped in and subverted the democratic process because political change would sweep away their power and authority and access to lucrative contract deals. In order to discredit the Islamic groups, the Algerian secret service, the DRS, instigated a campaign of dirty tricks both in Algeria and abroad. Their tactic was to infiltrate Islamic groups with agents provocateurs, to lead them into actions that would provoke crushing responses and public opprobrium. Two such implants Jamel Zitouni and Ali Touchent. In spring 1995, Touchent began to gather and incite a network of disaffected young men from north African backgrounds to commit terrorist attacks in France. The DRS's infiltrators, led by Zitouni, also pushed the GIA to eliminate some of the FIS's leaders living in Europe. On July 11 1995 Abdelbaki Sahraoui, a FIS leader in France, was assassinated. The GIA claimed responsibility. Two weeks later the metro was hit by bombs, killing eight. After a further attack, Zitouni called on President Jacques Chirac to "convert to Islam to be saved". An outcome of the metro bombing was that France withdrew its support for an inquiry into violence in Algeria, the end of the generals' involvement in political life, and the return to constitutional rule. Detailed studies have shown that the chilling massacres in Algeria in the 1996-98 period were in the close proximity of barracks of the military, gendarmerie, police or militia forces. France has been unable to press charges against anyone for the 1995 metro bombing. Ali Touchent was known to French intelligence as a DRS operative but was granted protection. Today he resides in Algiers in a secure Police quarter, having, it is believed, supplied the French authorities with 'valuable information'.||Who really bombed Paris, by Naima Bouteldja, The Guardian, 8 September 2005
Francalgerie: crimes et mensonges d'etats' (France-Algeria: crimes and falsehoods of States) by Lounis Aggoun and Jean-Baptiste Riviore), published by La Découverte, 2004
An Inquiry into the Algerian massacres, eds. Youcef Bedjaoui, Abbas Aroua, Meziane Ait-Larbi, published by Hoggar, 1999
|Moscow apartments bombing - September 1999, 246 deaths||Apartment blocks in south east and southern Moscow were the target of bombs in two separate episodes in September 1999. The attacks were blamed on Chechens. In January 2004, Yusuf Krymshamkhalov and Adam Dekkushev were sentenced to life for the attacks. However reports now point to the hand of the Russian security service, the FSB, who needed a pretext to usher in their 'strongman' Putin to the Presidency and base his popularity on the second Chechen war.
The questions have been raised by a former FSB agent, Alexander Litvinenko, who lives in Britain, where he has political asylum, and Alyona Morozov, daughter of a victim, who has taken up asylum in the US. Litvenko claims that the FSB had tried to carry out an almost identical apartment bombing in the town of Ryazan, east of Moscow, in September 1999. The circumstances of the Ryazan incident were nearly identical to the Moscow bombings, and it raised many questions in the Russian media at the time, leading many Russians to fear more sinister hands that those of Krymshamkhalov and Dekkushev and their associates were at work.
In 2002, a parliamentary commission was created to investigate the bombings. A year later, two of its four members were dead. Yuri Shchekochikhin, an MP and deputy editor of the investigative journal Novaya Gazeta died of a mysterious allergy. Another commission member, Sergei Yushenkov, was shot down outside his home. His murder has never been solved. Mikhail Trepashkin, a retired FSB agent turned private investigator who worked for the commission and was also Alyona Morozov's attorney, ran into trouble in October 2003. A week before he was to publish his findings, Trepashkin was accused of espionage.
He was arrested, allegedly tortured, jailed for four years in May 2004, and faced further charges in December 2004. Trepashkin had reportedly identified a photo-fit picture of a bombing suspect as that of a former FSB agent, Vladimir Romanovich. But Romanovich, it transpired, was also dead, killed in a car crash a few months after the 1999 attacks.
|Asylum decision suggests that US patience with Putin is wearing thin, by Simon Tisdall, The Guardian 2 February, 2005
Moscow flat bombers get life for killing 246, by Nick Paton Walsh, The Guardian, 13 January, 2004
'Russia/Chechnya - Voices of Dissent', documentary produced by Vanessa Redgrave, 2005
|Genoa, G8 disturbances, July 2001 - 3 critical injuries||During the G8 summit in Genoa, riot squads stormed a school that was being used by anti-globalisation protestors as a makeshift dormitory and press centre. An attempt was then made to cover-up the police brutality with trumped-up charges.
The raid was conducted at 3 am. The beatings carried out by the riot squads left walls and radiators streaked with blood. Of the 93 people in the Armando Diaz school, 28 were taken to hospital and three were put on the critical list. The officers involved were masked and there were no names or numbers on uniforms.
Two Molotov cocktails were planted and police also put forward an array of knives, sledgehammers and pickaxes which they claimed to have found on the premises. One officer, Massimo Nucera, also claimed to have been stabbed and produced a damaged jacket to prove it. Tests on the jacket later showed the stabbing was faked, and it later emerged the penknives had been used to prepare food in the school kitchen and the tools were from a nearby building site.
Bombings adds to G8 trial tension, by John Hooper, The Guardian, 27 January 2005
|Eavesdropping on UN officials||In March 2003, Katharine Gunn, a translator working at the government's communications headquarters GCHQ was arrested, accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act by leaking an e-mail to the Observer newspaper from US intelligence officers asking British counterparts to tap the telephones of UN Security Council members.
Eleven months later, in February 2004, Cabinet minister Clare Short revealed she had read transcripts of some of Mr Annan's conversations. She feared that her own conversations with the Secretary General would be monitored, "Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying." UN officials responded stating that if Short's allegations were true the actions would have been illegal.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr Mohamed El-Baradei. In December 2004, it was revealed that his phone conversations had been tapped, but "produced no clear evidence of inappropriate contact between Dr ElBaradei and officials in Tehran…fFor the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration, Dr ElBaradei has been an enemy since he exposed the hollowness of Washington's claims about Saddam Hussein's nuclear arsenal during the run-up to the war on Iraq". ElBaradi has subsequently succeeded in obtaining a renewal as head of the IAEA, so some sort of deal has been struck. His arch critic, former US under secretary for arms control, was appointed US representative to the UN in July 2005.
|FBI sting endangers life of Pakistani ambassador, 2004||An FBI agent made the claim that he was plotting to kill Pakistan's UN envoy Munir Akram, in order to incriminate two men associated with a mosque in Albany, New York. Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Masood Khan asked why the US authorities had not picked an American "target" instead. He said that he hoped America would "realise its mistake and give instructions for rectifying this faulty methodology". He added "this technique and methodology is tantamount to auto-suggestion and could have endangered the life of our ambassador".||http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3549200.stm|
|The Australian 'children overboard' affair||In the course of the Australian general elections in 2001, incumbent prime minister John Howard was keen to impress the electorate of his toughness on the issue of border security. This meant appearing tough on asylum and evincing little sympathy with asylum seekers. Howard alleged that refugees had been throwing their children into the sea so that coastguard officers would be forced to rescue them and so accept them as asylum seekers.
In August 2004, Mike Scrafton, a former senior advisor to the Australian defence minister, revealed that he had told Howard on three occasions that the story of refugees throwing children into the water was untrue. The country's law enforcement agencies, who would have known the facts, did not consider it appropriate to set the record straight at the time. In fact the Minister for Defence released photographs of children in the water as evidence that the incident had taken place!
Howard is considered to have won the election because of the opposition's perceived weakness on border security.
|Operation Gladio, Bologna 1980 - 85 deaths & other incidents||Operation Gladio was a covert programme devised after World War II by NATO and the CIA to prevent left wing parties coming to power in Europe. Bombings were stage managed and the blame then placed on groups to be discredited.
Incidents are believed to include the 1980 bombing of the train station at Bologna, which left 85 dead. Initially blamed on left-wing radicals, the blast was revealed upon investigation to be the work of an ultra-right network linked to Italy's Gladio team; four Italian neo-fascists were eventually convicted of the crime.
General Gianadelio Maletti, a former head of Italian military counter-intelligence, in his evidence to an Italian court in March 2001 stated that US intelligence services instigated and abetted rightwing terrorism in Italy during the 1970s. In the Milan incident in 1973, one Gianfranco Bertoli threw a grenade into a crowd outside the police headquarters. He was found to be a man of rightwing sympathies and a longstanding secret services' informant. The court's verdict was that General Maletti had obstructed the investigation. Maletti also described the uncovering of a rightwing cell in the Venice region that had been supplied with military explosives from Germany. Maletti stated in court, "The CIA, following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left and, for this purpose, it may have made use of rightwing terrorism".
|Frank Morales, May 2005
Terrorists 'helped by CIA' to stop rise of left in Italy, by Philip Wilan, 26th March 2001
|Force Research Unit (FRU), Northern Ireland, 1970 - 1990s||An army unit, the FRU, recruited agents and informers to infiltrate both the Provisionals (Catholic) and Loyalist (Protestant) paramilitaries. These informers acquired a carte-blanche to flout the law.
In one case "the difficult part for his handlers involved manoeuvring him into the prominent and influential role as second-in-command in the internal security unit". This agent, codenamed 'Stakeknife' became second-in-command of the IRA's internal security unit, known as the 'Nutting Squad'. Once agent Stakeknife was in place, the IRA effectively had no security. Another agent Brian Nelson was planted by the FRU in the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), mortal enemy of the IRA. Both were able to get away with criminal acts. In order to bolster his 'hard man image' within the IRA, Stakeknife was allowed to interrogate and punish innocent men on An army unit, the FRU, recruited agents and informers to infiltrate both the Provisionals (Catholic) and Loyalist (Protestant) paramilitaries. These informers acquired a carte-blanche to flout the law.
In one case "the difficult part for his handlers involved manoeuvring him into the prominent and influential role as second-in-command in the internal security unit". This agent, codenamed 'Stakeknife' became second-in-command of the IRA's internal security unit, known as the 'Nutting Squad'. Once agent Stakeknife was in place, the IRA effectively had no security. Another agent Brian Nelson was planted by the FRU in the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), mortal enemy of the IRA. Both were able to get away with criminal acts. In order to bolster his 'hard man image' within the IRA, Stakeknife was allowed to interrogate and punish innocent men on charges of being 'touts' i.e. informers to the FRU or UDA. "It seems likely that Stakeknife's army controllers in effect played God - deciding who was to live, and who should die in order to protect what they perceived to be the more valuable role played by their man" (The Guardian, 13 May 2003).
|Targeting Arthur Scargill, 1984-85||During the 1984-5 miners' strike, an elaborate plot was conceived by the authorities with the connivance of the media to vilify the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and its elected officials, Michael McGahey and, in particular Arthur Scargill - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's bete noire. The plot involved fixing a meeting between a naive NUM official and Colonel Gaddafi, that allowed the NUM and Scargill to be demonized in the media. A misinformation also alleged that Scargill and another NUM official Peter Heathfield had diverted funds from Libya to aid the strike effort to settle their personal home mortgages. Seamus Milne writes, "At every stage and in every aspect of the affair, the fingerprints of the intelligence services could be found like an unmistakable calling card".||The Enemy Within - MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair, by Seumas Milne, Verso, 1994|
|Ostrovsky's revelation on Libya, 1986||Victor Ostrovsky, a Mossad case officer has claimed that his service planted unmanned radio broadcasting equipment in Libya. This was then used by Mossad to broadcast fraudulent orders for terrorist attacks to Libyan embassies around the world. Although the orders were rejected as false by the Spanish and French intelligence services, they were picked up and accepted as real by US intelligence. As a consequence Libya was blamed by the US for the attack of a disco in Berlin. There was then a retaliatory bombing raid targeting the Libyan dictator Gaddafi - who escaped but his daughter was killed.
The USS Liberty was a US signals monitoring vessel attacked by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats in international waters off the Gaza coast on June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the Six-Day War. Of a crew of 294, 34 died and 172 were wounded. At the time Israel stated that this had been a "tragic error" and they had mistaken Liberty for an Egyptian vessel.
Transcripts of pilot and ground control communications, and subsequent interviews with Israeli staff involved indicate that the Israeli command was fully aware that a US vessel was being bombed. One explanation offered is that the Israeli intention was to blame the attack on Egyptian air forces. On the TV documentary, "Dead in the Water" (2002) US servicemen testify on camera that nuclear-armed planes were sent to attack Cairo on receipt of the news in Washington. The US authorities had accepted the Israeli version that it was an Egyptian attack on the Liberty, and thus officials ordered immediate retaliation. The planes were recalled when it was realized that the attacker was actually the Israeli forces.
|'By way of deception: the making and unmaking of a Mossad agent' (1990) and 'The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad's Secret Agenda' (1994), both by Victor Ostrovsky.
|The Lavon Affair, 1950s||In 1954, the Israeli secret service set up a spy ring in Egypt, who planted bombs in several buildings, including US and British diplomatic premises. The attacks were to be blamed on the regime of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, with the purpose of alienating the US and Britain from Egypt and Nasser. The ruse would have worked, had not one of the bombs detonated prematurely. The spies were caught exposing Israel's intention of trying to harm American and British interests for no reason and in instigating terror attacks against innocent targets. The episode came to be known as the Lavon affair after the Israeli defence minister of the time, Pinhas Lavon.||http://www.mideastweb.org/lavon.htm|