The world's most dangerous terrorist, who has already slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent people, has launched yet another campaign of murder and destruction.
A few days ago, we wrote that the Bush Administration has systematically removed the last remaining barriers for a military attack on Iran. Now Andrew Cockburn reveals in Counterpunch that George W. Bush has ordered a major escalation of the long-running covert war the United States has already been waging inside Iran itself.
With the approval of top Democrats, Bush has ordered vast new support for extremist terrorist groups operating inside Iran, and has okayed the assassination of Iranian officials. Here's Cockburn:
Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, "unprecedented in its scope."
Bush's secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area – from Lebanon to Afghanistan – but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines – up to and including the assassination of targeted officials. This widened scope clears the way, for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department's list of terrorist groups.
Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or "army of god," the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan – just across the Afghan border -- whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports cutting his brother in law's throat.
Other elements that will benefit from U.S. largesse and advice include Iranian Kurdish nationalists, as well the Ahwazi arabs of south west Iran. Further afield, operations against Iran's Hezbollah allies in Lebanon will be stepped up, along with efforts to destabilize the Syrian regime.
MEK, as you'll recall, is the strange quasi-religious, quasi-Marxist cult of Iranian exiles who were cultivated for years by Saddam Hussein, and used by him as vicious enforcers against his internal enemies. They were warmly embraced by the Bushists after the invasion of Iran, and are now serving Bush as they once served Saddam.
Bush's directive represents an intensification of the drive for open war with Iran, but it is not a new development; rather, it is a major "surge" in a state terror campaign the Administration has been waging against Iran (among others) for years. As I wrote as along ago as August 2004, the Bushists have openly sought, and received, big budgets and bipartisan support for terrorist groups and extremist militias all over the world. Here's an excerpt from that 2004 report:
If you would know the hell that awaits us – and not far off – there's no need to consult ancient prophecies, or the intricate coils of hidden conspiracies, or the tortured arcana of high-credentialed experts. You need only read the public words, sworn before God, of top public officials, the great lords of state, the defenders of civilization, as they explain – clearly, openly, with confidence and pride – their plans to foment terror, rape, war and repression across the face of the earth.
Last month, in little-noticed testimony before Congress, the Bush Regime unveiled its plans to raise a host of warlord armies in the most volatile areas in the world, Agence France-Presse reports. Bush wants $500 million in seed money to arm and train non-governmental "local militias" – i.e., bands of lawless freebooters – to serve as Washington's proxy killers in the so-called "arc of crisis" that just happens to stretch across the oil-bearing lands and strategic pipeline routes of Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South America.
Flanked by a gaggle of military brass, Pentagon deputy honcho Paul Wolfowitz told a rapt panel of Congressional rubber-stamps that Bush wants big bucks to run "counter-insurgency" and "counter-terrorist" operations in "ungoverned areas" of the world – and in the hinterlands of nations providing "sanctuary" for terrorists. Making copious citations from Bush's 2002 "National Security Strategy" of unprovoked aggressive war against "potential" enemies, Howlin' Wolf proposed expanding the definition of "terrorist sanctuary" to any nation that allows clerics and other rabble-rousers to offer even verbal encouragement to America's designated enemies du jour....
There's nothing really new in Bush's murder-by-proxy scheme, of course; America has a long, bipartisan tradition of paying local thugs to do Washington's bloodwork. For example, late last month, Guatemala was forced to pay $420 million in extortion to veterans of the U.S.-backed "paramilitaries" who helped Ronald Reagan's favorite dictator, right-wing Christian coupster Efrain Rios Montt, kill 100,000 innocent people during his reign, the BBC reports. The paramilitaries, whose well-documented war crimes include rape, murder and torture, had threatened to shut down the country if they weren't given some belated booty for their yeoman service in the Reagan-Bush cause.
But Wolfowitz did reveal one original twist in Bush's plan: targeting the Homeland itself as a "terrorist sanctuary." In addition to loosing his own personal Janjaweed on global hotspots, Bush is also seeking new powers to prevent anyone he designates a "terrorist" from "abusing the freedom of democratic societies" or "exploiting the technologies of communication" – i.e., defending themselves in court or logging on to the Internet. As AFP notes, Wolfowitz tactfully refrained from detailing just how the Regime intends to curb the dangerous use of American freedom, but he did allow that "difficult decisions" would be required.
Wolfowitz himself is gone, but this program has continued to grow over the years. In February 2007, we examined the implications of Sy Hersh's report in the New Yorker about an earlier "surge" in the wide-ranging state terror operation that Cockburn describe:
There are really no words to describe how morally depraved and monumentally stupid this policy is. It is of course not all that surprising that it springs from a family whose political fortunes are founded, at least in part, from the financial fortunes it reaped from helping build the Nazi military-industrial complex; a family that continued trading with the Nazis even after Americans were in battle against Hitler's forces. The Bushes and their outriders have always been attuned to the kind of brutal realpolitik that is willing -- at times eager -- to see American blood shed in order to advance their elitist agenda. (Which they have of course internalized as being identical with the "national interest.")
But as we've also noted many times, this political "philosophy" is by no means unique to the Bush Family faction. It is resolutely bipartisan, and deeply embedded in the mindset of the American Establishment. The Bushes are nothing but second-rate camp followers, empty shells and non-entities, originating nothing, ignorant and cynical in equal measure, their only unusual trait being how open they are in their scorn for the worthless rabble and the bullshit Constitution that the crypto-Commies like Madison and Jefferson foisted on the proper rulers of the country. Otherwise, they simply regurgitate the unprocessed prejudices, unexamined assumptions and vulgar ambitions of the clique that spawned them.
Of course, at times the idiot George W. Bush and the criminally ignorant crew that surrounds him have brought the inherent lawlessness, greed, brutality and incompetence of the American elite to what seem like new heights -- although even the sick-making murder of the Iraq campaign has still not approached the genocidal fury of, say, the bipartisan bombing of Indochina, and the millions of dead that the "best and the brightest" left behind there. Nor have Bush's domestic repression and flagrant abuse of authority -- as bad as they are -- yet approached the toxic and all-pervasive level of the "Red Scares" launched by Democratic icons Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman. (Joe McCarthy merely took the ball that Truman put into play and ran with it.) And sufficient unto the day is the trouble thereof; the crimes of the Bush Administration are not any less heinous -- and the people they have murdered are not any less dead -- just because these crimes are not some aberration of the idiot and his crew but are instead continuations and at times accelerations of long-standing Establishment thinking and policy.
But with each passing decade, the technological tools of repression and militarism grow more overpowering and far-reaching. With each passing decade, the pernicious aftereffects and blowback from past depredations build up and compound, breeding new evils. With each passing decade, the societal rot engendered by the rapacity of the elite spreads deeper, eating away at the foundation of the Republic and the fabric of our communities, and weakening or destroying the social and institutional counterbalances to unchecked greed and ambition.
Thus in one sense it doesn't matter if the Bush Faction is any more or less criminal and destructive than other administrations. The world in which they are blundering around killing people is far more unstable and dangerous than before, because it is filled with the compounded evil and folly of previous times.
But back to the present danger. As Cockburn notes, the Democrats are fully on board with the new state terror campaign, laying out big bucks to grease the killing machine:
All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees. That has not proved a problem. An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the U.S. economy.
He also notes the acceleration toward war now that Bush factotum (and future Caesar?) David Petraeus is now in charge of the region:
Though Petraeus is not due to take formal command at Centcom until late summer, there are abundant signs that something may happen before then. A Marine amphibious force, originally due to leave San Diego for the Persian Gulf in mid June, has had its sailing date abruptly moved up to May 4. A scheduled meeting in Europe between French diplomats acting as intermediaries for the U.S. and Iranian representatives has been abruptly cancelled in the last two weeks. Petraeus is said to be at work on a master briefing for congress to demonstrate conclusively that the Iranians are the source of our current troubles in Iraq, thanks to their support for the Shia militia currently under attack by U.S. forces in Baghdad.
Interestingly, despite the bellicose complaints, Petraeus has made little effort to seal the Iran-Iraq border, and in any case two thirds of U.S. casualties still come from Sunni insurgents. "The Shia account for less than one third," a recently returned member of the command staff in Baghdad familiar with the relevant intelligence told me, "but if you want a war you have to sell it."
And as we noted the other day, the hard sell is definitely on now. Many people comfort themselves with the idea that the Bush Regime won't really pull the trigger on Iran; that, somehow, reason and good sense will convince them of the monumental folly of this course. But as we have noted over and over here, the fomenting of constant war, bloodshed, chaos -- and crippling domestic debt -- is not folly to the Bushists and the elite interests they represent. It is pure profit, and the game is always worth the candle -- because they never, ever have to face the consequences of their filthy ambitions. It is always others who pay, in rivers of blood and mountains of treasure.
But by all means, take whatever comfort you can now from hopes that there will be no war on Iran. God knows there will be little comfort to be had afterward.
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This story was published on May 5, 2008.