Daily Archives: October 18, 2006


Civil War in Iraq: The Salvador Option and US/UK Policy

As the catastrophe in Iraq continues to unfold, an unresolved question remains on the role of Bush, Blair, and the US/UK military. To what extent were they passively incompetent in facilitating the decline into civil war, and to what extent were they actively pursuing policies that promoted that outcome?

The adoption of the ‘Salvador Option’ by the US in Iraq was reported and discussed from the beginning of 2005 onwards. As described by Newsweek, the Salvador Option looked something like this:

Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called “snatch” operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK.

US Congressman Denis Kucinich took up the issue in April of this year in a letter to Donald Rumsfeld:

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

I am writing to request a copy of all records pertaining to Pentagon plans to use U.S. Special Forces to advise, support and train Iraqi assassination and kidnapping teams.

On January 8, 2005, Newsweek magazine first published a report that the Pentagon had a proposal to train elite Iraqi squads to quell the growing Sunni insurgency. The proposal has been called the “Salvador Option,” which references the U.S. military assistance program, initiated under the Carter Administration and subsequently pursued by the Reagan Administration, that funded and supported “nationalist” paramilitary forces who hunted down and assassinated rebel leaders and their supporters in El Salvador. This program in El Salvador was highly controversial and received much public backlash in the U.S., as tens of thousands of innocent civilians were assassinated and “disappeared,” including notable members of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Oscar Romero and the four American churchwomen. According to the Newsweek report, Pentagon conservatives wanted to resurrect the Salvadoran program in Iraq because they believed that despite the incredible cost in human lives and human rights, it was successful in eradicating guerrillas…..

…About one year before the Newsweek report on the “Salvador Option,” it was reported in the American Prospect magazine on January 1, 2004 that part of $3 billion of the $87 billion Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill to fund operations in Iraq, signed into law on November 6, 2003, was designated for the creation of a paramilitary unit manned by militiamen associated with former Iraqi exile groups. According to the Prospect article, experts predicted that creation of this paramilitary unit would “lead to a wave of extrajudicial killings, not only of armed rebels but of nationalists, other opponents of the U.S. occupation and thousands of civilian Baathists.” The article further described how the bulk of the $3 billion program, disguised as an Air Force classified program, would be used to “support U.S. efforts to create a lethal, and revenge-minded Iraqi security force.” According to one of the article’s sources, John Pike, an expert of classified military budgets at www.globalsecurity.org. “the big money would be for standing up an Iraqi secret police to liquidate the resistance.”…

…News reports over the past 10 months strongly suggest that the U.S. has trained and supported highly organized Iraqi commando brigades, and that some of those brigades have operated as death squads, abducting and assassinating thousands of Iraqis.

The evidence that the US directly contributed to the creation of the current civil war in Iraq by its own secretive security strategy is compelling. Historically of course this is nothing new – divide and rule is a strategy for colonial powers that has stood the test of time. Indeed, it was used in the previous British occupation of Iraq around 85 years ago. However, maybe in the current scenario the US just over did it a bit, creating an unstoppable momentum that, while stalling the insurgency, has actually led to new problems of control and sustainability for Washington and London.

So, what did Blair know of and approve in the implementation of the Salvador Option? How does he feel about it now? Maybe someone should ask him.

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US legalises Presidential right to torture

From the American Civil Liberties Union

“The president can now – with the approval of Congress – indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions. Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act.”

WASHINGTON – As President Bush signed S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed outrage and called the new law one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history.

To highlight concerns with the act, the ACLU took out a full page advertisement in today’s Washington Post, calling itself “the most conservative organization in America.” Since its founding, the ACLU has fought to conserve the system of checks and balances and defend the Bill of Rights.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director:

“With his signature, President Bush enacts a law that is both unconstitutional and un-American. This president will be remembered as the one who undercut the hallmark of habeas in the name of the war on terror. Nothing separates America more from our enemies than our commitment to fairness and the rule of law, but the bill signed today is an historic break because it turns Guant’namo Bay and other U.S. facilities into legal no-man’s-lands.

“The president can now – with the approval of Congress – indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions. Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act.”

The full page advertisement from the Washington Post is available at: www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/27085leg20061017.html

The ACLU’s letter on S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, is available at: www.aclu.org/natsec/gen/26861leg20060925.html

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Media Hypes Nutcase Scribblings as “Terror Plot Admission”

By Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com | October 12 2006

The British media is feverishly hyping the deranged notes of a screwball Muslim Londoner as evidence of a huge “terror plot admission” in which Wall Street and other prominent buildings were the target – despite the fact that the suspect had no means whatsoever to carry out the attack – meanwhile completely ignoring a report earlier this week where the largest haul of explosives and a rocket launcher were found at a white man’s house in Burnley.

“A man has pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder people in a series of bombings on British and US targets,” reports the BBC.

“The plans were for attacks on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank buildings in Washington, the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup buildings in New York and the Prudential buildings in Newark, New Jersey.”

According to the latest manufactured monster in the closet fairy tale, Dhiren Barot, of north London, planned to use a radioactive “dirty bomb” as well as blowing up cars in underground UK parking lots using gas cylinders and explosives.

Here’s the kicker.

“The Crown could not dispute claims from the defence that no funding had been received for the projects, nor any vehicles or bomb-making materials acquired.”

No money, no vehicles, no bombs – just some retarded nutcase scrawling absent-minded empty threats in a notebook. Should he be investigated by the police? No doubt about it. Should his “confession” of scribbling demented ramblings in a paper pad be splashed all over the top of the BBC website and head up the evening news as a major foiled bomb plot?

No. That’s outright fearmongering and artificially inflating a nothing story to feed into the public’s fear of its own shadow – greasing the skids for Blair to shred the remaining tatters of liberty and blanket the country with more shouting telescreens.

The hype surrounding this nothing story is especially vacuous when you consider that earlier in the week the “largest ever” haul of explosives was found at a house in Burnley – including a chemicals, bio-suits and even a rocket launcher. The find was briefly reported on by a handful of local town newspapers but completely blacked out by the national print and TV press.

Some charge that the BBC were complicit in burying the story.

For the full article and links go here

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