Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The opium wars in Afghanistan

The opium wars in Afghanistan
By Alfred W McCoy

In ways that have escaped most observers, the Barack Obama administration is now trapped in an endless cycle of drugs and death in Afghanistan from which there is neither an easy end nor an obvious exit.

After a year of cautious debate and costly deployments, President Obama launched his new Afghan war strategy at 2:40am on February 13, 2010, in a remote market town called Marjah in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. As a wave of helicopters descended on Marjah's outskirts, spitting up clouds of dust, hundreds of US Marines dashed toward the town's mud-walled compounds through fields sprouting opium poppies.

After a week of fighting, US war commander General Stanley
McChrystal choppered into town with Afghanistan's vice president and Helmand's provincial governor. Their mission: a media roll-out for the general's new-look counterinsurgency strategy based on bringing government to remote villages just like Marjah.

At a carefully staged meet-and-greet with some 200 villagers, however, the vice-president and provincial governor faced some unexpected, unscripted anger. "If they come with tractors," one Afghani widow announced to a chorus of supportive shouts from her fellow farmers, "they will have to roll over me and kill me before they can kill my poppy."

For these poppy growers and thousands more like them, the return of government control, however contested, brought with it a perilous threat: opium eradication.

Throughout all the shooting and shouting, American commanders seemed strangely unaware that Marjah might qualify as the world's heroin capital - with hundreds of laboratories, reputedly hidden inside the area's mud-brick houses, regularly processing the local poppy crop into high-grade heroin. After all, the surrounding fields of Helmand produce 40% of the world's illicit opium supply, and much of this harvest has been traded in Marjah.

Rushing through those opium fields to attack the Taliban on day one of this offensive, the Marines missed their real enemy, the ultimate force behind the Taliban insurgency, as they pursued just the latest crop of peasant guerrillas whose guns and wages are funded by those poppy plants. "You can't win this war without taking on drug production in Helmand Province," said one US Embassy official just back from inspecting these opium districts.

Indeed, as Air Force One headed for Kabul on Sunday, National Security Adviser James L Jones assured reporters that Obama would try to persuade Afghan President Hamid Karzai to prioritize "battling corruption, taking the fight to the narco-traffickers". The drug trade, he added, "provides a lot of the economic engine for the insurgents".

Just as these Marjah farmers spoiled General McChrystal's media event, so their crop has subverted every regime that has tried to rule Afghanistan for the past 30 years. During the CIA's covert war in the 1980s, opium financed the mujahedeen or "freedom fighters" (as president Ronald Reagan called them) who finally forced the Soviets to abandon the country and then defeated its Marxist client state.

In the late 1990s, the Taliban, which had taken power in most of the country, lost any chance for international legitimacy by protecting and profiting from opium - and then, ironically, fell from power only months after reversing course and banning the crop. Since the US military intervened in 2001, a rising tide of opium has corrupted the government in Kabul while empowering a resurgent Taliban whose guerrillas have taken control of ever-larger parts of the Afghan countryside.

These three eras of almost constant warfare fueled a relentless rise in Afghanistan's opium harvest - from just 250 tonnes in 1979 to 8,200 tonnes in 2007. For the past five years, the Afghan opium harvest has accounted for as much as 50% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and provided the prime ingredient for over 90% of the world's heroin supply.

The ecological devastation and societal dislocation from these three war-torn decades has woven opium so deeply into the Afghan grain that it defies solution by Washington's best and brightest (as well as its most inept and least competent). Caroming between ignoring the opium crop and demanding its total eradication, the George W Bush administration dithered for seven years while heroin boomed, and in doing so helped create a drug economy that corrupted and crippled the government of its ally, President Karzai.

In recent years, opium farming has supported 500,000 Afghan families, nearly 20% of the country's estimated population, and funds a Taliban insurgency that has, since 2006, spread across the countryside.

To understand the Afghan War, one basic point must be grasped: in poor nations with weak state services, agriculture is the foundation for all politics, binding villagers to the government or warlords or rebels. The ultimate aim of counterinsurgency strategy is always to establish the state's authority. When the economy is illicit and by definition beyond government control, this task becomes monumental. If the insurgents capture that illicit economy, as the Taliban have done, then the task becomes little short of insurmountable.

Opium is an illegal drug, but Afghanistan's poppy crop is still grounded in networks of social trust that tie people together at each step in the chain of production. Crop loans are necessary for planting, labor exchange for harvesting, stability for marketing, and security for shipment. So dominant and problematic is the opium economy in Afghanistan today that a question Washington has avoided for the past nine years must be asked: Can anyone pacify a full-blown narco-state?

The answer to this critical question lies in the history of the three Afghan wars in which Washington has been involved over the past 30 years - the CIA covert warfare of the 1980s, the civil war of the 1990s (fueled at its start by US$900 million in CIA funding), and since 2001, the US invasion, occupation, and counterinsurgency campaigns. In each of these conflicts, Washington has tolerated drug trafficking by its Afghan allies as the price of military success - a policy of benign neglect that has helped make Afghanistan today the world's number one narco-state.

CIA covert warfare, spreading poppy fields
Opium first emerged as a key force in Afghan politics during the CIA covert war against the Soviets, the last in a series of secret operations that it conducted along the mountain rim-lands of Asia which stretch for 8,000 kilometers from Turkey to Thailand.

In the late 1940s, as the Cold War was revving up, the United States first mounted covert probes of communism's Asian underbelly. For 40 years thereafter, the CIA fought a succession of secret wars along this mountain rim - in Burma (now Myanmar) during the 1950s, Laos in the 1960s, and Afghanistan in the 1980s. In one of history's ironic accidents, the southern reach of communist China and the Soviet Union had coincided with Asia's opium zone along this same mountain rim, drawing the CIA into ambiguous alliances with the region's highland warlords.

Washington's first Afghan war began in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded the country to save a Marxist client regime in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Seeing an opportunity to wound its Cold War enemy, the Reagan administration worked closely with Pakistan's military dictatorship in a 10-year CIA campaign to expel the Soviets.

This was, however, a covert operation unlike any other in the Cold War years. First, the collision of CIA secret operations and Soviet conventional warfare led to the devastation of Afghanistan's fragile highland ecology, damaging its traditional agriculture beyond immediate recovery, and fostering a growing dependence on the international drug trade. Of equal import, instead of conducting this covert warfare on its own, as it had in Laos in the Vietnam War years, the CIA outsourced much of the operation to Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), which soon became a powerful and ever-more problematic ally.

When the ISI proposed its Afghan client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, as overall leader of the anti-Soviet resistance, Washington - with few alternatives - agreed. Over the next 10 years, the CIA supplied some $2 billion to Afghanistan's mujahedeen through the ISI, half to Hekmatyar, a violent fundamentalist infamous for throwing acid at unveiled women at Kabul University and, later, murdering rival resistance leaders. As the CIA operation was winding down in May 1990, the Washington Post published a front-page article charging that its key ally, Hekmatyar, was operating a chain of heroin laboratories inside Pakistan under the protection of the ISI.

Although this area had zero heroin production in the mid-1970s, the CIA's covert war served as the catalyst that transformed the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands into the world's largest heroin producing region. As mujahedeen guerrillas captured prime agricultural areas inside Afghanistan in the early 1980s, they began collecting a revolutionary poppy tax from their peasant supporters.

Once the Afghan guerrillas brought the opium across the border, they sold it to hundreds of Pakistani heroin labs operating under the ISI's protection. Between 1981 and 1990, Afghanistan's opium production grew 10-fold - from 250 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes. After just two years of covert CIA support for the Afghan guerrillas, the US attorney general announced in 1981 that Pakistan was already the source of 60% of the American heroin supply. Across Europe and Russia, Afghan-Pakistani heroin soon captured an even larger share of local markets, while inside Pakistan itself the number of addicts soared from zero in 1979 to 1.2 million just five years later.

After investing $3 billion in Afghanistan's destruction, Washington just walked away in 1992, leaving behind a thoroughly ravaged country with over one million dead, five million refugees, 10-20 million landmines still in place, an infrastructure in ruins, an economy in tatters, and well-armed tribal warlords prepared to fight among themselves for control of the capital. Even when Washington finally cut its covert CIA funding at the end of 1991, however, Pakistan's ISI continued to back favored local warlords in pursuit of its long-term goal of installing a Pashtun client regime in Kabul.

Druglords, dragon's teeth and civil wars
Throughout the 1990s, ruthless local warlords mixed guns and opium in a lethal brew as part of a brutal struggle for power. It was almost as if the soil had been sown with those dragons' teeth of ancient myth that can suddenly sprout into an army of full-grown warriors, who leap from the earth with swords drawn for war.

When northern resistance forces finally captured Kabul from the communist regime, which had outlasted the Soviet withdrawal by three years, Pakistan still backed its client Hekmatyar. He, in turn, unleashed his artillery on the besieged capital. The result: the deaths of an estimated 50,000 more Afghans. Even a slaughter of such monumental proportions, however, could not win power for this unpopular fundamentalist. So the ISI armed a new force, the Taliban, and in September 1996 it succeeded in capturing Kabul, only to fight the Northern Alliance for the next five years in the valleys to the north of the capital.

During this seemingly unending civil war, rival factions leaned heavily on opium to finance the fighting, more than doubling the harvest to 4,600 tonnes by 1999. Throughout these two decades of warfare and a 20-fold jump in drug production, Afghanistan itself was slowly transformed from a diverse agricultural ecosystem - with herding, orchards, and over 60 food crops - into the world's first economy dependent on the production of a single illicit drug. In the process, a fragile human ecology was brought to ruin in an unprecedented way.

Located at the northern edge of the annual monsoon rains, where clouds arrive from the Arabian Sea already squeezed dry, Afghanistan is an arid land. Its staple food crops have historically been sustained by irrigation systems that rely on snowmelt from the region's high mountains. To supplement staples such as wheat, Afghan tribesmen herded vast flocks of sheep and goats hundreds of miles every year to summer pasture in the central uplands. Most important of all, farmers planted perennial tree crops - walnut, pistachio, and mulberry - which thrived because they sink their roots deep into the soil and are remarkably resistant to the region's periodic droughts, offering relief from the threat of famine in the dry years.

During these two decades of war, however, modern firepower devastated the herds, damaged snowmelt irrigation systems, and destroyed many of the orchards. While the Soviets simply blasted the landscape with firepower, the Taliban, with an unerring instinct for their society's economic jugular, violated the unwritten rules of traditional Afghan warfare by cutting down the orchards on the vast Shamali plain north of Kabul.

All these strands of destruction knit themselves into a Gordian knot of human suffering to which opium became the sole solution. Like Alexander's legendary sword, it offered a straightforward way to cut through a complex conundrum. Without any aid to restock their herds, reseed their fields, or replant their orchards, Afghan farmers - including some 3 million returning refugees - found sustenance in opium, which had historically been but a small part of their agriculture.
Since poppy cultivation requires nine times more labor per hectare than wheat, opium offered immediate seasonal employment to more than a million Afghans - perhaps half of those actually employed at the time. In this ruined land and ravaged economy, opium merchants alone could accumulate capital rapidly and so give poppy farmers crop loans equivalent to more than half their annual incomes, credit critical to the survival of many poor villagers.

In marked contrast to the marginal yields the country's harsh climate offers most food crops, Afghanistan proved ideal for opium. On average, each hectare of Afghan poppy land produces three to five times more than its chief competitor, Burma. Most
important of all, in such an arid ecosystem, subject to periodic drought, opium uses less than half the water needed for staples such as wheat.

After taking power in 1996, the Taliban regime encouraged a nationwide expansion of opium cultivation, doubling production to 4,600 tonnes, then equivalent to 75% of the world's heroin supply. Signaling its support for drug production, the Taliban regime began collecting a 20% tax from the yearly opium harvest, earning an estimated $100 million in revenues.

In retrospect, the regime's most important innovation was undoubtedly the introduction of large-scale heroin refining in the environs of the city of Jalalabad. There, hundreds of crude labs set to work, paying only a modest production tax of $70 on every kilo of heroin powder. According to UN researchers, the Taliban also presided over bustling regional opium markets in Helmand and Nangarhar provinces, protecting some 240 top traders there.

During the 1990s, Afghanistan's soaring opium harvest fueled an international smuggling trade that tied Central Asia, Russia, and Europe into a vast illicit market of arms, drugs, and money-laundering. It also helped fuel an eruption of ethnic insurgency across a near 5,000 kilometer swath of land from Uzbekistan in Central Asia to Bosnia in the Balkans.

In July 2000, however, the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, suddenly ordered a ban on all opium cultivation in a desperate bid for international recognition. Remarkably enough, almost overnight the Taliban regime used the ruthless repression for which it was infamous to slash the opium harvest by 94% to only 185 tonnes.

By then, however, Afghanistan had become dependent on poppy production for most of its taxes, export income, and employment. In effect, the Taliban's ban was an act of economic suicide that brought an already weakened society to the brink of collapse. This was the unwitting weapon the US wielded when it began its military campaign against the Taliban in October 2001. Without opium, the regime was already a hollow shell and essentially imploded at the bursting of the first American bombs.

The return of the CIA, opium and counter-insurgency
To defeat the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11, the CIA successfully mobilized former warlords long active in the heroin trade to seize towns and cities across eastern Afghanistan. In other words, the Agency and its local allies created ideal conditions for reversing the Taliban's opium ban and reviving the drug traffic. Only weeks after the collapse of the Taliban, officials were reporting an outburst of poppy planting in the heroin-heartlands of Helmand and Nangarhar. At a Tokyo international donors' conference in January 2002, Hamid Karzai, the new prime minister put in place by the Bush administration, issued a pro forma ban on opium growing - without any means of enforcing it against the power of these resurgent local warlords.

After investing some $3 billion in Afghanistan's destruction during the Cold War, Washington and its allies now proved parsimonious in the reconstruction funds they offered. At that 2002 Tokyo conference, international donors promised just $4 billion of an estimated $10 billion needed to rebuild the economy over the next five years. In addition, the total US spending of $22 billion for Afghanistan from 2003 to 2007 turned out to be skewed sharply toward military operations, leaving, for instance, just $237 million for agriculture. (And, as in Iraq, significant sums from what reconstruction funds were available simply went into the pockets of Western experts, private contractors, and their local counterparts.)

Under these circumstances, no one should have been surprised when, during the first year of the US occupation, Afghanistan's opium harvest surged to 3,400 tonnes. Over the next five years, international donors would contribute $8 billion to rebuild Afghanistan, while opium would infuse nearly twice that amount, $14 billion, directly into the rural economy without any deductions by either those Western experts or Kabul's bloated bureaucracy.

While opium production continued its relentless rise, the Bush administration downplayed the problem, outsourcing narcotics control to Great Britain and police training to Germany. As the lead agency in allied operations, Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department regarded opium as a distraction from its main mission of defeating the Taliban (and, of course, invading Iraq). Waving away the problem in late 2004, president Bush said he did not want to "waste another American life on a narco-state". ' Meanwhile, in their counterinsurgency operations, US forces worked closely with local warlords who proved to be leading druglords.

After five years of the US occupation, Afghanistan's drug production had swollen to unprecedented proportions. In August 2007, the UN reported that the country's record opium crop covered almost 20,000 hectares, an area larger than all the coca fields in Latin America. From a modest 185 tonnes at the start of American intervention in 2001, Afghanistan now produced 8,200 tonnes of opium, a remarkable 53% of the country's GDP and 93% of global heroin supply.

In this way, Afghanistan became the world's first true "narco-state". If a cocaine traffic that provided just 3% of Colombia's GDP could bring in its wake endless violence and powerful cartels capable of corrupting that country's government, then we can only imagine the consequences of Afghanistan's dependence on opium for more than 50% of its entire economy.

At a drug conference in Kabul in March, the head of Russia's Federal Narcotics Service estimated the value of Afghanistan's current opium crop at $65 billion. Only $500 million of that vast sum goes to Afghanistan's farmers; $300 million goes to the Taliban guerrillas, and the $64 billion balance "to the drug mafia", leaving ample funds to corrupt the Karzai government in a nation whose total GDP is only $10 billion.

Indeed, opium's influence is so pervasive that many Afghan officials, from village leaders to Kabul's police chief, the defense minister, and the president's brother, have been tainted by the traffic. So cancerous and crippling is this corruption that, according to recent UN estimates, Afghans are forced to spend a stunning $2.5 billion in bribes. Not surprisingly, the government's repeated attempts at opium eradication have been thoroughly compromised by what the UN has called "corrupt deals between field owners, village elders, and eradication teams".

Not only have drug taxes funded an expanding guerrilla force, but the Taliban's role in protecting opium farmers and the heroin merchants who rely on their crop gives them real control over the core of the country's economy. In January 2009, the UN and anonymous US "intelligence officials" estimated that drug traffic provided Taliban insurgents with $400 million a year. "Clearly," commented Defense Secretary Robert Gates, "we have to go after the drug labs and the druglords that provide support to the Taliban and other insurgents."

In mid-2009, the US embassy launched a multi-agency effort, called the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, to cut Taliban drug monies through financial controls. But one American official soon compared this effort to "punching jello". By August 2009, a frustrated Obama administration had ordered the US military to "kill or capture" 50 Taliban-connected druglords who were placed on a classified "kill list".

Since the record crop of 2007, opium production has, in fact, declined somewhat - to 6,900 tonnes last year (still over 90% of the world's opium supply). While UN analysts attribute this 20% reduction largely to eradication efforts, a more likely cause has been the global glut of heroin that came with the Afghan opium boom, and which had depressed the price of poppies by 34%. In fact, even this reduced Afghan opium crop is still far above total world demand, which the UN estimates at 5,000 tonnes per annum.

Preliminary reports on the 2010 Afghan opium harvest, which starts next month, indicate that the drug problem is not going away. Some US officials who have surveyed Helmand's opium heartland see signs of an expanded crop. Even the UN drug experts who have predicted a continuing decline in production are not optimistic about long-term trends. Opium prices might decline for a few years, but the price of wheat and other staple crops is dropping even faster, leaving poppies as by far the most profitable crop for poor Afghan farmers.

Ending the cycle of drugs and death
With its forces now planted in the dragon's teeth soil of Afghanistan, Washington is locked into what looks to be an unending cycle of drugs and death. Every spring in those rugged mountains, the snows melt, the opium seeds sprout, and a fresh crop of Taliban fighters takes to the field, many to die by lethal American fire. And the next year, the snows melt again, fresh poppy shoots break through the soil, and a new crop of teenaged Taliban fighters pick up arms against America, spilling more blood. This cycle has been repeated for the past 10 years and, unless something changes, can continue indefinitely.

Is there any alternative? Even were the cost of rebuilding Afghanistan's rural economy - with its orchards, flocks, and food crops - as high as $30 billion or, for that matter, $90 billion, the money is at hand. By conservative estimates, the cost of President Obama's ongoing surge of 30,000 troops alone is $30 billion a year. So just bringing those 30,000 troops home would create ample funds to begin the rebuilding of rural life in Afghanistan, making it possible for young farmers to begin feeding their families without joining the Taliban's army.

Short of another precipitous withdrawal akin to 1991, Washington has no realistic alternative to the costly, long-term reconstruction of Afghanistan's agriculture. Beneath the gaze of an allied force that now numbers about 120,000 soldiers, opium has fueled the Taliban's growth into an omnipresent shadow government and an effective guerrilla army.

The idea that our expanded military presence might soon succeed in driving back that force and handing over pacification to the illiterate, drug-addicted Afghan police and army remains, for the time being, a fantasy. Quick fixes like paying poppy farmers not to plant, something British and Americans have both tried, can backfire and end up actually promoting yet more opium cultivation. Rapid drug eradication without alternative employment, something the private contractor DynCorp tried so disastrously under a $150 million contract in 2005, would simply plunge Afghanistan into more misery, stoking mass anger and destabilizing the Kabul government further.

So the choice is clear enough: we can continue to fertilize this deadly soil with yet more blood in a brutal war with an uncertain outcome - for both the United States and the people of Afghanistan. Or we can begin to withdraw American forces while helping renew this ancient, arid land by replanting its orchards, replenishing its flocks, and rebuilding the irrigation systems ruined in decades of war.

At this point, our only realistic choice is this sort of serious rural development - that is, reconstructing the Afghan countryside through countless small-scale projects until food crops become a viable alternative to opium. To put it simply, so simply that even Washington might understand, you can only pacify a narco-state when it is no longer a narco-state.

Alfred W McCoy is the JRW Smail professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, which probes the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over half a century. His latest book, Policing America's Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, explores the influence of overseas counter-insurgency operations on the spread of internal security measures at home.

Friday, March 26, 2010


In a frumpy cardigan and sensible shoes, Daphne Park looked like Miss Marple.

The BBC has strong links to MI6 and its friends.

Baroness Park of Monmouth was a top MI6 spy. (Daphne Park, MI6 woman with a 30-year secret career. )

She became a governor of the BBC.

Dame Pauline Neville Jones was head of the UK's Joint Intelligence Committee.

The spooky Neville Jones became a BBC governor in 1998.

She has links with defence firm Qinetiq which supplies US forces in Iraq. (Dame Neville-Jones quits BBC after Iraq links exposed / aangirfan: David Cameron, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones and QinetiQ.)

Since 1937 BBC staff have apparently been vetted by the security services. (

MI6 Building?

Christopher Bower worked for the BBC World Service.

He also worked for the Guardian newspaper.

He became director of UK trade and investment at the British embassy in Moscow.

Russia now claims that Christopher Bower is a senior officer in the British secret service.

(London-Moscow relations worsen as the Kremlin brand a British envoy a spy )

Wing Commander Michael Cairns took part in operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. ('BIGGLES' QUITS Sunday Mirror Find Articles at

Cairns has been responsible for political output from the BBC in Norther Ireland.

Cairns was found out.

"A BBC editor has resigned his post within the British military after Sinn Féin raised conflict of interest concerns. RAF wing commander Mike Cairns resigned as OC 7644 VR Squadron after Sinn Féin complained that his work as a public relations officer for the RAF was incompatible with his job as a high-ranking BBC editor.

"Following Sinn Féin's complaint the BBC confirmed Mike Cairns who worked in news-gathering in the BBC had resigned from the RAF reserve."
- An Phoblacht: BBC editor resigns from RAF post

John Simpson (

Nicola Jones, writing in New Scientist, 19 November 2001, (Taliban nuclear documents mirror spoof article - 19 November 2001 ...) pointed out that 'Taliban nuclear documents' found by BBC reporter John Simpson were identical to a spoof article.

In 2001, John Simpson claimed he had found documents strewn on the floor of a Taliban recruitment centre in Kabul. He claimed these documents apparently described how to build a thermonuclear device.

The documents, according to Simpson showed "how dangerous Bin Laden's Al Qaeda network aspired to be".

According to the New Scientist:

The sentences shown in focus by the camera also come from a famous document called "Weekend Scientist: Let's Make a Thermonuclear Device", which was first published in 1979 as a humour piece by The Journal of Irreproducible Results.

Reportedly, John Simpson was a university friend of a former head of MI6.

MI6 spread lies to put Suharto into power, according to Foreign Office documents.

This was reported by theUK's Independent newspaper, 16 April 2000. ( /

Foreign Office documents reportedly show that the world's media was lied to by British intelligence as part of a plot to overthrow Indonesia's President Sukarno in the 1960s.

The BBC, the Observer and Reuters carried 'fake stories' manufactured by agents working for the Foreign Office.

Propaganda expert Norman Reddaway noted, in a letter to Britain's Jakarta ambassador Sir Andrew Gilchrist, that Gilchrist's stories were broadcast via the BBC.

This included an apparently invented story that Indonesian communists were planning to slaughter the citizens of Jakarta.

Reddaway's letter suggests that the Observer newspaper was persuaded to take the Foreign Office "angle" on the Indonesian takeover by reporting a "kid glove coup without butchery".

Cabinet papers show that British spies, including MI6, supported Islamic guerrillas in order to destabilise Sukarno.

Former government minister Lord Healey said: "Norman Reddaway had an office in Singapore. They began to put out false information and I think that, to my horror on one occasion, they put forged documents on the bodies of Indonesian soldiers we had taken."

Lord Healey denied any personal knowledge of the MI6 campaign to arm opponents of Sukarno. But, he added: "I would certainly have supported it."

The sources for the following are:

DAVID MILLER, at Spinwatch, writes that journalists working for the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC) have provided news reports to the BBC.

The SSVC is funded by the Ministry of Defence as a propaganda operation.

Spinwatch reveals that Britain has fake journalists.

The government pays for their wages and they provide news as if they were normal journalists rather than paid propagandists.

Normally they work for British Forces Broadcasting Service.

BFBS is run by the SSVC.

The Iraq fighting is targetting the occupation, but the BBC promotes the lie that the army (in illegal ocupation) is a 'peacekeeping' force.

BBC World Service is reportedly funded by the Foreign Office. Their journalists are reportedly employed by the SSVC, the Services Sound and Vision Corporation.

The Foreign Office reportedly runs a network of fake news operations.

One of these is allegedly British Satellite News.

BSN is broadcast over the Reuters World News Service.

Former UK cabinet minister Michael Meacher wrote in the Guardian, November 21, 2003, about Operation Rockingham.


David Kelly, giving evidence to the prime minister's intelligence and security committee, said: "Within the defence intelligence services I liaise with the Rockingham cell."

Former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter, was a US military intelligence officer.

He declared, before the Iraq war, that almost all of Iraq's WMD had been destroyed as a result of inspections, and the rest either used or destroyed in the first Gulf war.

In the Scottish Sunday Herald in June 2003, Ritter said: "Operation Rockingham [a unit set up by defence intelligence staff within the MoD in 1991] cherry-picked intelligence.

"It received hard data, but had a preordained outcome in mind.

"It only put forward a small percentage of the facts when most were ambiguous or noted no WMD...

"It became part of an effort to maintain a public mindset that Iraq was not in compliance with the inspections.

"They had to sustain the allegation that Iraq had WMD [when] Unscom was showing the opposite...

"Rockingham staff were ... selectively culling [picking out] reports that sustained the [WMD] claims. They ignored the vast majority of the data which mitigated against such claims."

According to Michael Meacher: "Within the UK intelligence establishment... Rockingham clearly had a central, though covert, role in seeking to prove an active Iraqi WMD programme.

Ritter said: "Rockingham was the source of some very controversial information which led to inspections of a suspected ballistic missile site. We ... found nothing. However, our act of searching allowed the US and UK to say that the missiles existed."

Ritter says that Rockingham officers were acting on political orders "from the very highest levels".

It was revealed by sections of the Scottish press that the deputy director of the Lockerbie trial briefing unit at Glasgow University, Professor Andrew Fulton, was an MI6 intelligence officer.

The unit was supposed to provide "impartial and objective" legal information about the trial and was much used by the TV news programmes.

24/05/00 THE SCOTSMAN:

"Prof Fulton has been 'on holiday' since it was revealed that during his 30 year diplomatic career he was a key memberof the MI6 secret service in Europe, Asia and America."

Allegedly, Dominic Lawson, who has worked for the BBC, and who once edited the Sunday Telegraph, has links to MI6 and Princess Diana.

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?

Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), has written that most media outlets "are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of “one of Britain’s most distinguished journals” as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

The BBC's Alvar Lidell served with the RAF as an intelligence officer

The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

March 3, 2006


By Professor Richard Keeble

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role...

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service’s unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of “crypto-communists”.

Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it 'ran' dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate’s Church Committee and the House of Representatives’ Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: “We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street”

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming “embarrassing publications”.

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, “was a longstanding agent of ours” who “made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction”.

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists.

Wright comments: “No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot”. King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror’s foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners’ strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5’s F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: “Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War.”

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall.

He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6.

“It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge.”

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations...

Growing power of secret state

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq’s WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: “Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors.” The source of these 'revelations' was said to be 'intelligence'...

Monday, March 22, 2010


A large number of Indians now suspect that the CIA carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

According to India's Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar: "For the first time in recent years, the Indian public has closed ranks with prevalent opinion in Pakistan that sees the US as a diabolic, self-centered power, which double-crosses its partners, friends and allies in single-minded pursuit of its interests." (A spy unsettles US-India ties)

The American FBI has made a bargain with the American 'CIA agent' David Headley.

Headley planned the terrorist attack in Mumbai in November 2008.

The deal means that the US government doesn't have to produce any evidence against Headley in a court.

That evidence might have included details of Headley's links with US intelligence.

The deal means there will be no cross-examination of Headley.

The deal means that the families of the 166 people who died cannot have lawyers questioning Headley.

The FBI is not allowing Headley's extradition to India.

The FBI is not allowing Indian agencies to interrogate Headley regarding his links with US and Pakistani intelligence.

In return for pleading guilty to the charges against him Headley will get a light sentence.

On 23 March 2010, M K Bhadrakumar, a former Indian Ambassador, wrote "A spy unsettles US-India ties"

According to the ambassador:

The Obama administration is involved in a cover-up.

The plea bargain refers to the Pakistani handlers of Headley as A, B, C and D.

We will never know who they are.

After the Lockerbie Bombing in 1988, the UK government allowed the American authorities access.

The plea bargain confirms that Headley worked for the US Drug Enforcement Administration which works closely with the CIA.

The US government is trying to hide something, "and what better way to do that than by placing Headley in safe custody and not risk exposing him to Indian intelligence?

"...Clearly, the Obama administration was apprehensive that Headley might spill the beans if the Indians got hold of him and the trail could then lead to his links with the CIA..."

The Americans are hoping to manipulate the Indian elite, including big business.

"The Indian public has closed ranks with prevalent opinion in Pakistan that sees the US as a diabolic, self-centred power..."

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's has had a pro-American foreign policy.

He has favoured the entry of American companies into the Indian market for nuclear power deals.

"A rethink on foreign policy has now become almost inevitable.

"Delhi recently rolled out the red carpet to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"Delhi may now seriously engage Tehran...

"Delhi can be expected now to work full throttle to resist the US-Pakistani game plan to engage the Taliban and to reintegrate them in Afghan power structures..."

Putin Delhi visit to result in jet fighter sales: Voice of Russia

Friday, March 19, 2010

Liar's punishment

Liar's punishment
By Chan Akya
The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else. - George Bernard Shaw
Events like those of the past week remind one of the fundamental issues of trust and confidence that have, since the beginning of 2007, bedeviled the markets so much that it may yet turn out in history for this current financial crisis to be called the "Liars' Downturn". But that would be getting well ahead of the story. For now, it would be apposite to consider a few of the recent stories that made me guffaw into my cornflakes.

Greeks bearing gifts
Barely a couple of weeks after writing Oedipus wrecks (Asia Times Online, February 13, 2010) and The blame game (Asia Times Online, March 6, 2010), I am forced to regurgitate the Greek story, due to the most recent developments that move distinctly from the "news" category firmly into the "entertainment" mode of things. Here is a sample of headlines on the Greek debt crisis over the past few days:
1. Berlin shifts stance on IMF role in Greece: Senior German official says Fund support a possibility
2. Papandreou prefers European solution: 'We are part of the eurozone and I want to show the world Europe can act together in a co-ordinated way'
3. Greece Woes Weigh on European Stocks: Both the euro and stocks drifted lower on Thursday on concern of a resurgent crisis in Greece
4. Protests in Greece turn violent
5. S&P Affirms Greece Ratings
6. Governing coalition collapses in Latvia: Largest party pulls out of the center-right coalition over disagreements on how to handle the country's recession - the deepest in Europe

All this is a bit troublesome for Greece, and more importantly, about the deeply unstable operations of the European Union. It isn't much of an article of faith that the Germans would much rather have the International Monetary Fund supervise the Greeks implementing an austerity plan than trust the generally toothless European Commission or the derelict European Central Bank to do the same.

The Germans have enacted more than one or two camouflage maneuvers in their financial system (remember those "highly-capitalized" Landesbanks?), and probably recognized a kindred spirit in the Greek government and its efforts to hide a bunch of fibs in the annual debt figures. Ergo, it made a lot of sense not to have one of "their" own people look over the Greeks when any austerity measure was to be implemented. Enter the IMF.

The French have been opposed to any IMF role in Greece not so much because of any putative notions of European unity being compromised by an external body but due to a simple happenstance of personalities. Namely that the head of the IMF, one Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is billed as the most likely opponent of the increasingly unpopular French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the upcoming French presidential elections. The easiest way in politics to get rid of an opponent is not to have one in the first place.

Why did this drama erupt this week? The reason most often cited is the European Union meeting in which a bailout for Greece may be agreed next week. This has prompted all manner of brinkmanship by the various constituents in the negotiations. The other side of this is the little detail of the billions needed by Greece in the April-May period for borrowing. Without a deal in place that could help support about 30 billion euro (US$41 billion) in issuance at the very least, there is widespread fear that buyers will desert Greece and push up bond yields not just for the country but also for all of Europe.

Lehman lied. Really?
Eerily setting a parallel for the pack of lies that are being bandied about as official statistics of Greece comes news of the widely circulated report on the Lehman collapse, by the US court-appointed Special Examiner, Anton Valukas.

Summarizing a 2,200-page report is arguably outside the scope of this article. Hence, the easy way out is to selectively quote the work done by other authors on the subject: Select paragraphs from Yves Smith of the wonderful blog (since re-quoted by another blogger,
Quite a few observers ... have been stunned and frustrated at the refusal to investigate what was almost certain accounting fraud at Lehman ... The unraveling isn't merely implicating [Lehman chief executive officer Richard] Fuld and his recent succession of CFOs, or its accounting firm, Ernst & Young, as might be expected. It also emerges that the NY Fed, and thus [formerly New York Federal Reserve president, now US Treasury Secretary] Timothy Geithner, were at a minimum massively derelict in the performance of their duties, and may well be culpable in aiding and abetting Lehman in accounting fraud and Sarbox [Sarbanes-Oxley Act, covering public company accounting regulations] violations ...

We need to demand an immediate release of the e-mails, phone records, and meeting notes from the NY Fed and key Lehman principals regarding the NY Fed's review of Lehman's solvency. If, as things appear now, Lehman was allowed by the Fed's inaction to remain in business, when the Fed should have insisted on a wind-down …..

... at a minimum, the NY Fed helped perpetuate a fraud on investors and counterparties. This pattern further suggests the Fed, which by its charter is tasked to promote the safety and soundness of the banking system, instead, via its collusion with Lehman management, operated to protect particular actors to the detriment of the public at large.

And most important, it says that the NY Fed, and likely Geithner himself, undermined, perhaps even violated, laws designed to protect investors and markets. If so, he is not fit to be Treasury secretary or hold any office related to financial supervision and should resign immediately.
And here is the bit that goes back to the title of this article, namely what happens when those who lie are also the ones in charge. Again, from the above mentioned two sites:
The Examiner [that's Valukas] questioned Lehman executives and other witnesses about Lehman's financial health and reporting, [and] a recurrent theme in their responses was that Lehman gave full and complete financial information to Government agencies, and that the Government never raised significant objections or directed that Lehman take any corrective action.

So get this: even though Lehman dressed up its accounts for the great unwashed public, it did not try to fool the authorities. Its games playing was in full view to those charted with protecting investors and the financial system.

So what transpired? The SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] (which has never had much expertise in credit markets - a major regulatory problem) handed assessing Lehman over to the Fed, which bent over backwards to give it a clean bill of health.
There was a time when a statement such as the one above would have filled anyone connected with financial markets with a degree of dread and disgust that seems virtually unimaginable today, when the regulators appear to have almost as many issues telling the truth as the people they are putatively responsible for supervising.

Andrew Ross Serkin, writing for the New York Times on March 15, is even more direct in his commentary titled "At Lehman, Watchdogs Saw It All":
Indeed, it now appears that the federal government itself either didn't appreciate the significance of what it saw (we've seen that movie before with regulators waving off tips about Bernard L Madoff). Or perhaps they did appreciate the significance and blessed the now-suspect accounting anyway.

Oddly, when the bankruptcy examiner asked Matthew Eichner of the SEC, who was involved with supervising firms like Lehman, whether the agency focused on leverage levels, he answered that "knowledge of the volumes of Repo 105 transactions would not have signaled to them ‘that something was terribly wrong,' " according to the examiner's report. [Repo 105 is an accounting term relating to transactions of the sort Lehman used to remove about US$50 billion from its assets in 2008.]

There's a lot riding on the government's oversight of these accounting shenanigans. If Lehman Brothers executives are sued civilly or prosecuted criminally, they may actually have a powerful defense: a raft of government officials from the SEC and Fed vetted virtually everything they did.

On top of that, Lehman's outside auditor, Ernst & Young, and a law firm, Linklaters, signed off on the transactions. The problems at Lehman raise even larger questions about the vigilance of the SEC and Fed in overseeing the other Wall Street banks as well.

Perhaps tellingly, there is no evidence that Lehman kept two sets of books or somehow tried to hide what it was doing from regulators. The bankruptcy examiner spent over a year searching through virtually every e-mail message at the firm and didn't say he found any evidence of a cover-up.

That may explain why so few at the firm seemed to think that what they were doing was wrong, based on the e-mail traffic reviewed by the examiner. They talked openly about Repo 105. And while some apparently felt queasy about it, they also repeatedly said that it was legal.
This is jaw-dropping stuff. Not only did the regulators of Lehman actually know about its accounting shenanigans, they may have actually blessed them in order to sort out a "smooth" sale. This also explains why US regulators may not have been overly keen for an American buyer of Lehman to emerge, but instead pinned all their hopes on Barclays, a bank from the United Kingdom.

Perhaps unfortunately for those playing this high-stakes game of "Liar Liar", the other side of the party were the British, who had just uncovered a whole bunch of other jiggery-pokery at their domestic banks, such as Northern Rock and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). For them, perhaps, the Lehman package smelled of something they would be doing themselves if ever the likes of RBS needed to be sold. It is at this juncture that the UK government expressed "concern" about a Barclays takeover of Lehman Brothers that in turn allowed the firm to go bust.

Export route to growth
Have the lies stopped? Not by a long march, they haven't. As I look around at the factors that allegedly "explain" rising valuations for stocks around the world, the one explanation that keeps cropping up is "rising demand from Asia".

Fair enough, I say; demand from Asia is indeed rising, but it isn't likely to explain the rosy projections being made by everyone ranging from shoe manufacturers to those making earth-moving equipment for their GLOBAL sales.

Then you look around and you find that the primary factor that argues for rising economic growth around the world is - EXPORTS. That's the same story in all the following economic areas:
a. The United States: indeed, President Barack Obama has an explicit target of doubling the country's exports in the next few years.
b. Europe: forecasts for European growth have been lifted because of the recent weakness of the euro, which "experts" believe will help the continent to increase its exports.
c. China: the government hopes to reduce its infrastructure spending and cool down property speculation, expecting rising exports to pick up the slack.
d. Japan: same story, with the government having to cut down on its spending as debt worries increase and instead leave the onus of economic growth to - you guessed it - exports.
e. Various other countries ranging from Russia to Brazil have seen their forecasts for economic growth rise on the back of rising exports that are expected to continue all through this year.
f. Rising oil prices have fueled hopes that Middle Eastern economies will benefit from rising exports of fuel, thereby propelling economic growth.

You know something is wrong when over three-quarters of the world's economies (by size if not number) expect to grow by exporting their way out of a recession. That number is, simply, arithmetically impossible. Yet, stock markets have continued their meteoric rise on the hopes of precisely this eventuality coming through.

If I were an adviser on investment planning, here would be my favorite trades today (note for readers: it is extremely dangerous to follow the advice of someone you know well, and much more so when you try to follow the advice of a pseudonymous author writing for an online publication, ie me. Take your independent advice in attempting to follow any of these ideas through):

1. Get rid of government bonds issued by Group of Seven countries and in particular anything that you own in the US, UK and Japan.
2. Sell pretty much all your stocks across all sectors, except those offering services to the unhealthy and the dead.
3. Distribute your bank balances across as many banks as possible.
4. Buy (directly) any local businesses that you actually understand - for example, your local baker - but do so without any leverage and only as long as "working capital" needs are minimal.
5. Buy as much physical gold, platinum and silver as you can safely store.
6. Stop watching financial news channels except as "entertainment".
7. Sit back and consider if perhaps all of the above trades could be lies too (after all, I show above a complete lack of trust in everyone else ... )

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Proof that 9/11 Truthers Are Dangerous.......

Most Americans don't know what kind of people 9/11 truthers really are. So they can't figure out whether or not they are dangerous....?

Below is a list of people who question what our Government has said about 9/11.

The list proves - once and for all - that people who question 9/11 are dangerous....

Email this list to everyone you know, to prove to them that 9/11 truthers are all dangerous nut cases.....

Senior intelligence officers:
  • Former military analyst and famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers". He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11. And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that "very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been", that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of the current administration, and that there's enough evidence to justify a new, "hard-hitting" investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this and this).
  • A 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials (Raymond McGovern) said “I think at simplest terms, there’s a cover-up. The 9/11 Report is a joke”, and is open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job.
  • 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer (David Steele) stated that "9/11 was at a minimum allowed to happen as a pretext for war", and it was probably an inside job (scroll down to Customer Review dated October 7, 2006).
  • A decorated 20-year CIA veteran, who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called "perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East”, and whose astounding career formed the script for the Academy Award winning motion picture Syriana (Robert Baer) said that "the evidence points at" 9/11 having had aspects of being an inside job
  • Professor of History and International Relations, University of Maryland. Former Executive Assistant to the Director of the National Security Agency, former military attaché in China, with a 21-year career in U.S. Army Intelligence (Major John M. Newman, PhD, U.S. Army) questions the government's version of the events of 9/11.

  • Former U.S. Republican Congressman and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and who served six years as the Chairman of the Military Research and Development Subcommittee Curt Weldon has shown that the U.S. tracked hijackers before 9/11, is open to hearing information about explosives in the Twin Towers, and is open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job

9/11 Commissioners:

  • And the Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) - who led the 9/11 staff's inquiry - recently said "At some level of the government, at some point in time...there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened". He also said "I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described .... The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years.... This is not spin. This is not true."
Other government officials:
  • Former Deputy Secretary for Intelligence and Warning under Nixon, Ford, and Carter (Morton Goulder), former Deputy Director to the White House Task Force on Terrorism (Edward L. Peck), and former US Department of State Foreign Service Officer (J. Michael Springmann), as well as a who's who of liberals and independents) jointly call for a new investigation into 9/11
  • Former Federal Prosecutor, Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Department of Justice under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan; former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, and currently a widely-sought media commentator on terrorism and intelligence services (John Loftus) says "The information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defense of incompetence."
  • President of the U.S. Air Force Accident Investigation Board, who also served as Pentagon Weapons Requirement Officer and as a member of the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review, and who was awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses for Heroism, four Air Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals, and nine Aerial Achievement Medals (Lt. Col. Jeff Latas) is a member of a group which doubts the government's version of 9/11
  • Director of the U.S. "Star Wars" space defense program in both Republican and Democratic administrations, who was a senior air force colonel who flew 101 combat missions (Col. Robert Bowman) stated: "If our government had merely [done] nothing, and I say that as an old interceptor pilot—I know the drill, I know what it takes, I know how long it takes, I know what the procedures are, I know what they were, and I know what they’ve changed them to—if our government had merely done nothing, and allowed normal procedures to happen on that morning of 9/11, the Twin Towers would still be standing and thousands of dead Americans would still be alive. [T]hat is treason!"
Numerous other politicians, judges, legal scholars, and attorneys also question at least some aspects of the government's version of 9/11....

Check out this video of an ABC producer interviewing the two authors of the Loose Change film series.