Blowback and the Manhattan Terror Attack 96

UPDATE: On 21 Jan 2010 I predicted exactly this wave of anti-Western violence from Uzbekistan, in this excellent Michael Andersen documentary for Al Jazeera:

“We are creating a timebomb of discontent in Central Asia; and because the West is seen to be backing the dictatorships, that discontent will take an anti-western turn.”

The latest Manhattan Terror Attack appears to have been conducted by an Uzbek, Sayfullo Saipov, and a worrying proportion of such attacks worldwide are being carried out by Uzbeks, including the ramming attack in Stockholm and the Istanbul airport bombing.

When I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan I very explicitly warned that the support NATO countries were giving the appallingly repressive Uzbek regime – military, financial and political support – would cause hatred of the West among Uzbeks. I felt so strongly about this I was prepared to give up my career for it, and in Murder in Samarkand (Dirty Diplomacy in the USA) I published a 440 page account of how our policy was fundamentally wrong. It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to be vindicated in this way.

Newsweek today gets it spectacularly wrong, publishing:

The presence of radical Uzbeks around the world may seem damning, but Uzbekistan has been a U.S. partner in the war on terror. The U.S. operated an airbase in the country from 2001 to 2005, and continued to use Uzbekistan as a strategic location to bring goods and military equipment into Afghanistan even after the base closed. Former Secretary of State John Kerry visited the country in 2015.

The point they miss is that it is because of the Uzbek regime’s mutual cooperation with the USA in the War on Terror, and the use of that pretext by the dictatorship, aided and abetted by the CIA, to ramp up repression, that Uzbek terrorism is occurring.

There are two other points worth noting:

1) The rigid suppression of all religious belief, as in Uzbekistan, is equally as likely to promote radical religious extremism as the inculcation of a single religion in noxious form, as in Saudi Arabia.

2) I complain specifically in Murder in Samarkand that the successful and systematic attempts by Germany to prevent EU criticism of Uzbek regime human rights abuse, were motivated by Gerhard Schroder’s personal interest in Gazprom. I suffered some derision for this at the time, but his behaviour has now become notorious.

96 thoughts on “Blowback and the Manhattan Terror Attack

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  • Caratacus

    LIke all fair-minded men, Craig, you seem to assume that the governing classes have made errors in pursuing the policies you describe. My sad conclusion is that they do not see them as errors at all and that as far as they are concerned everything is ticketty-boo and working out just fine, thank you very much. They are despicable people, barely deserving of the description “human”, and are not in the least concerned at the scale of misery their policies bring about.

  • John Hymus

    Thanks for speaking up like this. Very wnlightening – and foresightful on your part.

  • Strategist

    What makes me feel ill is that it’s mainstream media like Newsweek that criticise the internet.
    Cluelessness or venality? Bit of both, no doubt.

    • Clark

      Strategist, if Newsweek are complaining about the sort of myth creation that goes on at this site’s 9/11 thread, they have a point. In a very short time there will be many people and minor websites aggressively pushing myths, some insisting the entire attack was faked by the media, and others claiming it was a plot by the US or Israel. We have been too tolerant of nonsense for too long, and have permitted our internet media to be corrupted.

        • fwl

          Yes, everyone must take responsibility for what they publish and contribute towards, but they should still ask questions and do so fearlessly.

          I am not sure what has been going on of late, but since Harvey Weinstein became such a massive media issue there sure seems to be an increase in the potency of trial by media, and now trial by media is spreading into politics (Fallon has just resigned) what comes after trial by media?

          Government by blockchain?

      • Deepgreenpuddock

        I notice an article in the Guardian about ‘Conspiracising’ and its prevalence. The author relates this to ‘political and economic exclusion’ but this seems to me to be stating the obvious. It is like saying that the cause of the blood on the carpet is the bang with a hammer on the head of the victim.
        The problem os why so many feel ‘excluded’ . in fact I suspect that many generations have felt excluded or sceptical of the abilities or motives of the ‘included’ but there was no practical means to express this apart from grumbling over coffee or a pint.
        The social changes of recent times-essentially the erosion of the peoples focus on the ‘ local’ through (say) reliable workplaces and everyday social interaction such as bus journeys, the erosion of collective local fora such as local pubs for ‘pub grumbling’ or community activity (getting it off the chest) and access to more varied and extreme opinion and information AND the opportunity to publish ones ‘thoughts’ has led to the position we are in.
        I also sometimes , when feeling brqve look at some of the comments on the 9/11 thread and it seems to me that the ‘thesis’ of many contributors is essentially to promote the unverifiable, possibly deliberately, because to have a traceable logic would undermine the satisfaction and comfort that comes from ‘commenting’ and being ‘involved’.
        I wonder of the essence of the benefits of the widespread communication offered by modern technology , have been subtly diverted (probably by commercial concerns) to a place of ‘safety’ . Too much information is dangerous. Not a conspiracy but part of a process that tends towards the neutralisation of the desire to be included.

        • Clark

          Deepgreenpuddock, I wholeheartedly agree. The infosphere is polarising, partly due to loss of human contact in society, partly in reaction to the continual bias and omission in the corporate media such as that which Craig highlighted in Newsweek. Where is Newsweek’s account of the torture of thousands of political prisoners in Uzbekistan? They say that “punishments for extremism are harsh in the country”, but make no mention of the 97% or higher conviction rate relying on false confessions extracted under torture, nor the use of family members for proxy torture, etc. Surely US/UK support for that is highly relevant.

          No. No one ever resents “our side” and how it behaves, because “our side” is never bad.

  • Strategist

    PS to all new visitors to the site: Read “Murder in Samarkand”/”Dirty Diplomacy”. You will learn a lot about our world. It’s a rollicking read as well.
    And then consider a donation to Craig’s fighting fund to ensure that a Mail Online journalist fails in his bid to use English libel laws to bankrupt Craig and get this site closed down.

  • freddy

    In a tweet on Tuesday, U.S.A. President Donald Trump called the attacker
    “a very sick and deranged person,” adding that
    “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.
    Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

    On what grounds was an Uzbek
    let into the U.S.A.?
    Was this person, somebody the Americans had previously used in Central Asia?

  • Clark

    Craig, I am sorry I got cross with you. You must find this sickening, to have tried so hard and to have been so deliberately ignored and sidelined.

    • craig Post author

      Yes indeed. The people who pay the politicians were eyeing up Central Asian gas reserves. Potential blowback that kills some ordinary people did not feature on their balance sheets as a problem.

  • freddy

    The suspect was an Uber driver

    don’t they vet their people?
    Suspect ( Wiki)
    Police identified the suspect as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov.
    Saipov is a citizen of Uzbekistan, who entered the United States on a Diversity Immigrant Visa in 2010,
    and is a permanent (“green card”) resident in the U.S.
    He resided in Stow, Ohio, before moving to Tampa, Florida, and then Paterson, New Jersey. Investigators found handwritten notes in Arabic inside the vehicle that he was driving which said that the attack was undertaken on behalf of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The taxi service company, Uber, confirmed that the suspect had also worked with their company as a driver for a time.

    • freddy

      So, the suspect was allowed into the U.S.A.
      before the start of the Syrian War, before Islamic State came into being.

      What on earth is a Diversity Immigrant ?

  • freddy

    A FRENCH court on Tuesday found a subsidiary of oil giant Total partly responsible for a huge explosion at a fertiliser factory in the city of Toulouse in 2001 that claimed 31 lives.

    Grande Paroisse, a Total subsidiary specialising in chemicals, was found guilty of negligence and serious misconduct over the disaster, which struck on September 21, 2001, 10 days after the September 11 attacks in the US.

    Just a thought,
    although these Terror attacks are horrible, they are not worse than disasters caused by ignorance, penny pinching, theft, deception and bad business/governance,
    Think of asbestosis, cigarettes, factory produced processed food, Bhopal, Grenfell or this Toulouse explosion.

  • Ottomanboi

    My experience of Uzbekistan is that for a state with an extensive Muslim patrimony whose material elements it, like the Soviet regimes before it, maintains albeit often without aesthetic ‘finesse’ the eerie sense of being in a museum of religion rather than in a country where religion is alive prevails.
    The great mosques of the fabled Silk Route are not places of worship and those who might dare to perform the Salat within their precincts run the risk of a lengthy encounter with the police.
    In such an environment where even the daily adhan is reduced to a whisper the likelihood of a religious antedote to this cosmetic, secular culture, coupled with the ethnic issues that the Stalin fabricated Uzbek state has, is inevitable.
    The surprise is that events of this kind do not happen more often and rather closer to ‘home’.
    As regards the US and its foreign policy, has there ever been a country more recklessly, dangerously clueless in that regard?

  • freddy

    A senior U.S.A. military commander in the operation against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, James Jarrard, got into a muddle when asked about the exact number of US troops in Syria.
    During his press briefing on Tuesday, the U.S.A. Army major general got confused by a simple question from a journalist regarding the scale of the U.S.A. presence in Syria, and needed a colleague from the Pentagon to intervene.

    At first, Jarrard said that there are 5,000 U.S.A. troops in the region, but corrected himself, lowering the figure to 4,000.

    Four of Five Thousand
    U.S.A. troops in Syria.
    Yet no permission from the Syrian Government?
    Islamic State are on their knees, the Syrian Government forces, could kill them, without need of the Coalition of the Willing.

    • freddy

      Is it possible,
      there are actually more U.S.A. personnel in Syria, than there are personnel from Russia, baring in mind Russia is working in conjunction with the government of Syria.

  • N_

    Can it be a coincidence that investigations have been launched against Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and against Arron Banks, the UKIP donor who played such an important role in the Leave campaign, at practically the same time? Both men are alleged to have used dirty money – Manafort, to influence the US presidential election; Banks, to affect the Brexit referendum.

    • Stu

      Manafort is accused of money laundering and not disclosing he was working for the Party Of The Regions. Manafort has not been charged with anything in relation to the 2016 election.

      • N_

        That is correct, but who believes Manafort went straight and put on one side his connections with Russian dirty money before he accepted the position as Donald Trump’s campaign manager? Storm clouds are building.

        • Stu

          Why would they need dirty money? They massive amounts of funds from conservative super pacs and donors. The campaign manager does not fund the campaign. It’s not even dirty money, if he had declared it he wouldn’t be in any trouble.

          Manafort is being portrayed as a foreign agent but he was previously involved with Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Bush 1, Bob Dole and John McCain. He is an establishment figure.

        • Salford Lad

          Manafort is a political lobby professional. Selling influence and connections for money. His indictment is for money laundering of money received from Ukraine NOT Russia..

    • N_

      Arron Banks threatened to sue the Atlantic Council over the article “The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses”. The third edition of that piece is online at the AC’s website. It doesn’t mention Banks by name, but it’s worth reading to gen up on the view that certain parts of the US intelligence community hold towards outfits such as UKIP, the French National Front, and if you pay attention, of Tony Blair’s work for government crooks in Central Asia and Peter Mandelson’s connections with Russian and Chinese “clients”.

      As for Nigel Farage, he was hardly ever off Russia Today, promoting Brexit. Then after Trump got elected he rushed to the US to try to stir up a Calexit. The British media suggested he was a loyal to the establishment Brit who knew Trump well (don’t laugh) and they hinted that he was an unofficial representative of the British Foreign Office. It might have been more accurate had they said he was working for some other country’s foreign service.

      • Stu

        ” and they hinted that he was an unofficial representative of the British Foreign Office”

        No one hinted that. The FCO hates Farage.

  • Durak

    Ironically I lived in UZ at the same time as you… mostly safely ensconced in the Intercontinental however unless I felt the need for Juliano’s or the Ragu… and the country itself for foreigners was very safe!

    Beautiful people for the most part. I hope this doesn’t turn into a backlash against those decent innocents.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Sounds to me ikel making Saipov fit Craig’s fixations about Central Asia, like Trum’ps.

    Seems the Uzbec was made a terrorist by living for seven years in the US, first in Ohio, then Florida, and ultimately Paterson, N.J.. experience during which he was quite financially successful whlte coming violently anti-America because of all its hatred of Muslims.

    Saipov a foreigner, reminds me of citizen Stephen Paddock who become so ant-American that he carried out that massacre in LV.

    America should clean up its act.

    • Clark

      Trowbridge, I strongly agree with all of that except the first sentence.

      In the US Saipov will have seen US support for the atrocious regime which he had managed to escape, but under which his friends and family still suffered. Any hope he may have had of bringing his loved ones to safety would have been dashed by Trump coming to power, and he will have been forced to confront the paradox of the US government supporting murderous dictators while treating ordinary Uzbeks as dirt.

  • Clark

    From Craig’s original post above:

    “1) The rigid suppression of all religious belief, as in Uzbekistan, is equally as likely to promote radical religious extremism as the inculcation of a single religion in noxious form, as in Saudi Arabia”.

    The critical similarity between Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan is that they treat human life and dignity as cheap, a mere commodity to be exploited. Those with power can arbitrarily deprive you and your loved ones of liberty, cut bits off you, flog you, torture you and kill you as a spectacle to intimidate others. This is clearly reflected in the ideology of groups like ISIS, who have unconsciously absorbed the lesson by example.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I don’t know if its Blowback or not. However, its clear the lunatics have taken over the asylum, and are preparing for nuclear war. They don’t seem the slightest concerned, that nuclear war will probably kill us all.–Or-by-Paul-Craig-Roberts-Carrier_Military_North-Korea_Warning-171031-398.html

    Extract “NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, has declared that “We recognize that Europe has also entered the North Korean missile range, and NATO member states are already in danger.” Remember, this was the same lie told about Europe being in range of non-existent Iranian missiles, an excuse for putting US missiles on Russia’s border just as North Korea is being used to put US missiles on China’s border.

    We also have the report that Vice President Pence visited the Minot Nuclear missile base and recklessly and irresponsibly told the launch crews:

    “We are entering a very dangerous time, and I have come here personally to tell you that you may receive a Launch Order in the near future. I want you to know that we have planned for all contingencies, but it is possible that things may escalate beyond what we believe will take place. If you receive a properly formatted launch order, you launch. Don’t waste time trying to confirm the order, because it is not standard operating procedure for you to delay like that. If you get a launch order, carry it out.”

    “This irresponsible and reckless statement by a US vice president comes as the Russians celebrate the Soviet military official who refused to believe the Soviet warning system of incoming US nuclear missiles and did not start the process that would have resulted, for a warning system failure, in nuclear Armageddon.

    We should be scared to death that US political leaders are so insensitive to the ever present chance of false warnings. The moron Pence is a danger to all of humanity. Pence is not a patriot protecting us, he is an idiot who should be impeached for his utter and total irresponsibility before he destroys us all.

    Go online and read. False nuclear attack alarms were commonplace during the Cold War, but both Washington and Moscow were too responsible to act on them. Now we have an idiot vice president who wants to act on them!

    The idiots in Washington have ordered outmoded B-52 bombers to be on 24-hour alert. Why? Not a single one of them could penetrate Russian air defense. What is the purpose of this nonsensical order except to worsen distrust between nuclear powers. What crime is worse than worsening distrust between nuclear powers? Why is Washington completely hooked on criminal behavior? Who is responsible? Why are they not arrested for the endangerment of humanity and life on planet Earth?

    Washington’s disregard of urgent warnings from Russia and China is the most extraordinary thing I have experienced in my life.

    Why is it that Washington and Washington’s vassals can’t hear when powers capable of destroying all of them clearly state that they have had enough of Washington’s arrogance and hubris?”

  • Ba'al Zevul

    If you receive a properly formatted launch order, you launch. Don’t waste time trying to confirm the order, because it is not standard operating procedure for you to delay like that. If you get a launch order, carry it out.”

    That will only emphasise the instructions the launch crews have already been given, and rehearsed in. No military on earth would give a junior officer or Other Rank discretion to override a command decision. The procedure for dodgy orders from above is to obey them first and complain later (if you haven’t been incinerated). Any discretion present in that system would rest with the senior commanders ( who would hopefully have access to data on a threat), not the launch crews (who wouldn’t)

    The real, and major, risk is that that politicians with no military insight or experience, still less any diplomatic skill, are entitled to escalate a repairable situation to the point of no return, misread its development, panic, and, oh, shit…

    Still, on the bright side, MAD might reduce the human population to a level, and a degree of uncivilisation, which is sustainable thereafter. Our excess CO2 will be around long after the radionucleides settle out.

    • nevermind

      “Still, on the bright side, MAD might reduce the human population to a level, and a degree of uncivilisation, which is sustainable thereafter. Our excess CO2 will be around long after the radionucleides settle out.”

      That we even contemplate nuclear war as the only solution to reduce our numbers to a sustainable level shows how uncivilised apathetic and can’t be a..ed we really are.
      Ah, well, lets incinerate ourself, we can’t control our filthy habits and hence must perish, especially all those young and innocent children who have very little to do with their parents faults, they were born to die….dum di dum tralllala…..

      • Ba'al Zevul

        It’s only me considering it, Nevermind. No government that I know of has yet expressed the degree of urgency which the topic requires, let alone advocated the quickest logical solution. Apathetic, yes, but clinging desperately to our debased conception of civilisation. There are too many humans…you have a lizard’s word for it.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Ba’al Zevul, Excess CO2 ??? I’m disappointed in you. I thought you were cleverer than that. Check with Jeremy Corbyn’s brother. He’s an authority on the subject, with the highest credentials (Imperial College – Physics), not a propaganda merchant. I thought you would be able to see through this global warming nonsense.

      Piers Corbyn’s website – flogging long range weather forecasts.

      I rarely argue with global warmers now, nor those who believe the Official Story nonsense of what cannot be discussed here. It’s like arguing with a Catholic Priest about the Nativity Play and the Story of Christ. He can’t agree with you, or he’ll be out of a job.


      • Ba'al Zevul

        I do not doubt Piers Corbyn’s sincerity. But he’s not a climatologist, as far as I know has no doctorate, and frankly I’m much more open to the conclusions – based on extremely extensive data, and published – of those who are climatologists and who have served the required scientific apprenticeship (beyond degree level, which is Noddy stuff).

        As to personal belief, the latest news suggests that the ocean is approaching the limit of its capacity to absorb CO2 reliably, and we are past the tipping point. Climate change is undoubtedly taking place, sea levels are already rising. Things will get worse, ably assisted by those with their fingers in their ears. That, like yours, is only an opinion, and while I am not a climatologist, I work with some.

  • duplicitousdemocracy

    It beggars belief that (we) in the West have wall to wall coverage of an individual that kills a small number of people and yet the complete and deliberate destruction of Raqqa, primarily by US forces, barely gets a mention. How many innocent people are buried under the rubble isn’t a concern. A city previously inhabited by 220,000 people is now uninhabitable. A city the size of Derby destroyed so badly that it’s hard to imagine. The senseless killing of 8 innocent people on a street that will be cleaned up and back to normal before the weekend is a heinous crime, but there needs to be perspective.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      If our media covered all the world’s conflicts in proportion to the numbers killed, there wouldn’t be much room left for the football. Some might object to that.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    As Schroeder has now joined Rosneft, the focus has changed slightly. Rosneft is looking at Kurdish hydrocarbons, and may transport them using the TANAP pipeline which runs from Baku to Italy, and is nearing completion. Schroeder is or was closely associated with TANAP (as is/was the similarly rapacious Blair) hence his utility to Rosneft, no doubt. Look forward to Russo-German intervention on behalf of the Kurds if Iraq won’t play. Should give the fundamentalists a much-needed boost, that.

  • Sharp Ears

    Interesting that so many take the establishment line as given. No thoughts at all on FFs? 9/11. US Liberty. Pearl Harbour, and so on.

      • Sharp Ears

        Of course they did. The US fleet was laid out for them, all ready.

        Suggest keeping an open mind and to do some digging. How soon afterwards did the US join in?

          • glenn_nl

            Here’s a wiki definition of “False Flag”:

            The contemporary term false flag describes covert operations that are designed to deceive in such a way that activities appear as though they are being carried out by individual entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them.

            I have no problem with that definition.

            So if the Pearl Harbour attack was a “False Flag”, who was actually doing the attacking?

            Suggesting there was advance knowledge not acted upon is most certainly not a “False Flag”. If you think about it, FF would imply putting someone else’s flag on your ship (or whatever) and staging an attack. Sorry, this isn’t a FF. Not unless you think all those Zeros were really US jets with the Hinomaru painted on them.

          • Republicofscotland

            Oh I agree that the attack occured, I wouldn’t dispute that. The possibly that officals from one country or another “may” have had prior knowledge of the impending attack (Japan aside) is another matter.

          • glenn_nl

            Sure, RoS – that’s fine, we’re in agreement then. But it’s definitely not a “False Flag” as the term is generally understood. That’s what I was telling “Sharp Ears” just above,

  • Beau Grosscup

    This analysis is the uncomfortable truth. A truth hidden again by US National Security State spokespersons, including the President, to make invisible the connections between US support for dictatorships and use of military force (often in the form of state terrorism) and terrorism of the ‘other.’ but also to allow the US do dodge its’ culpability as a perpetrator of terrorism.

  • reel guid

    Murdo ‘Reformation Day’ Fraser has changed the self-description on his twitter account.

    He now claims to have been “Muting cyberNats since 2014”.

    Not frequently Murdo, not frequently.

  • freddy

    Suspected New York City attacker Sayfullo Saipov came to the US in 2010 on a diversity lottery visa and was interviewed in 2015 by agents of the Department of Homeland Security about possible ties to terrorists.

    The agents “did not have enough evidence to open a case on him,” law enforcement officials told ABC News.

    Saipov, 29, was listed as a “point of contact” for two different men whose names were entered into the Counterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit’s list after they came to the US from “threat countries.” One of the two men has vanished and is actively being sought by federal agents as a “suspected terrorist.”

    The Agents
    would seemed to have missed a trick

  • freddy

    Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno has been removed from his post of leader of the governing Alianza País party by the party’s national leadership committee.

  • N_

    Boris Johnson told the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee “nyet” when they asked him whether he’d seen evidence of Russian interference in British “democracy”. What a wag, eh? His lawyer – oops, I mean an “aide” – had to hand him a note telling him how to answer the question.

    Surely he has seen his own bank statements?

    And in any case, he’s in charge of foreign affairs (including foreign intelligence and espionage), not national security, counterintelligence, or counterespionage. He’s not the minister for MI5. How about asking Amber Rudd?

    You can watch mophead’s speech, or “answer” as it was supposed to be, here.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Don’t Islamophobs llke Trump realize that they are just creating terrorism by calling Muslims “animals”?

    There are well over 3,3 million Muslims here, and they, like Saimov,, must go off the reservation when referred to in this way – what he must have experienced daily as a Uber and truck driver.

    Next time you have dinner with Trump, Craig, please explain to him how this causes domestic blowback.

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