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Here’s why the US spreads falsehoods about Iran

Iran is not sponsoring terrorism, but the US has vested interests in perpetuating lies on the matter.

Eric Zuesse

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While I happened to be researching another subject, a central question in the investigation came to be how Iran — which supplied none of the 9/11 terrorists and no financing to them and no organizing of them, and which hasn’t been connected with nearly as many terrorist incidents globally as Saudi Arabia has — came to be officially called by the U.S. “the top state sponsor of terrorism.” The following is the portion of my resulting article that happens to concern this very question, and it’s modified slightly here, so as to focus only on this exact question:

The lie about this matter began, actually, with the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers apartment complex in the Saudi city of Khobar, which killed 19 U.S. military, who worked at the Dharan air base three miles away.

Prior to that incident, I am not able to find any such reference as “Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism” or “Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism” or anything like it.

This incident — the Khobar Towers bombing — became the lynchpin of the accusation by the Saudi royal family, the U.S. State Department, and the CIA, that Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Both Robert Mueller and his longtime ally James Comey (the latter of whose firing as the FBI chief, by U.S. President Trump, had sparked the appointment of Mueller to become the Special Counsel investigating the U.S. President) had performed crucial roles in establishing that the Khobar Towers bombing was a Hezbollah operation run by the Iranian Government — and, starting upon this basis, in helping to develop the case that Iran “is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism.” However, as has been made clear by several great independent investigative journalists, on the basis of far more-solid documentation than the official account, the Khobar Towers bombing was instead entirely a fundamentalist-Sunni operation, specifically perpetrated by Al Qaeda, which hates Shia and which also hates America’s military presence in the Middle East. Osama bin Laden’s claim of the bombing’s having been done by Al Qaeda, was, in fact, entirely honest and accurate.

America’s “Deep State,” which extends to Saudi Arabia and to a number of other Governments — it’s an international network — is deeply committed to supporting the fundamentalist-Sunni war to conquer and destroy Shia Islam, and not merely to conquer the leading Shia nation, which is Iran. The U.S. Government has intensely taken a side in the Sunni-Shia religious war. That war is comparable in some respects to the 30 Years’ War (1618-1648) between Catholics and Protestants, which killed an estimated eight million Europeans; and, both the United States and Israel have clearly joined with the fundamentalist-Sunni leaders, against Iran, and against Shia generally.

The reasons behind the prevailing lies about this matter will also be documented here. Discrepancies between the official story and the solidly documented facts, need to be explained, in order for a reader to be able to understand truthfully why Mueller (who cooperated with Comey in order to rig the official account of the bombing, so as to condemn Iran and Hezbollah instead of Al Qaeda) received his appointment. This is also important in order to understand why Trump, though rabidly anti-Iranian himself, is nonetheless insufficiently anti-Iranian to satisfy the Sauds, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or the rest of the U.S.-and-allied Deep State.

Before proceeding further here, however, the statistical falseness of the allegation that Iran is the foremost state-sponsor of terrorism has to be clearly recognized as being the ultimate fact; because, if this entire question — to which Mueller and Comey contributed so importantly to answering by their identifying Iran (and Shia generally) as being precisely that (‘the foremost state sponsor of terrorism’) — can be assessed at all objectively, then the statistical answer to it would certainly be the objective one.

Wikipedia’s article on “Iran and state-sponsored terrorism” says: “According to the Global Terrorism Database, the majority of deaths, more than 94% attributed to Islamic terrorism since 2001, were perpetrated by Sunnijihadists of the Islamic Stateal-Qaeda and others.[3][4].” Only 6% were Shiites, at all — from any country. Similarly, my own independent study of 54 especially prominent global instances of Islamic terrorism was headlined (and reported that) “All Islamic Terrorism Is Perpetrated by Fundamentalist Sunnis, Except Terrorism Against Israel.” (The anti-Israel terrorist instances might constitute the “6%” which was referred to in the Wikipedia article, but that article provided no good link to its source for the “6%” figure.)

So: the basic allegation is false, that Iran is the foremost state-sponsor of terrorism; the general allegation isn’t anywhere near to being true. It’s a lie. More specifically, now, regarding the Khobar Towers incident, which triggered the start of this fraudulent generalization:

The Saudi royal family asserted, immediately after the bombing, that the attack had been perpetrated by jihadists who had returned from Afghanistan and who were now fighting to overthrow Saudi Arabia’s Government (the royal Saud family).

For example, on 15 August 1996, the New York Times headlined “Saudi Rebels Are Main Suspects In June Bombing of a U.S. Base”, and reported that, “The Government of Saudi Arabia now believes that native Saudi Islamic militants, including many veterans of the Afghan war, carried out the June 25 bombing that killed 19 American servicemen at a base in Dhahran, Saudi officials said today.” However, the “mujahideen” who had fought in Afghanistan were paid and backed both by the Sauds and by the U.S. Government. For example, as early as 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski flew into Pakistan and exhorted the Taliban there to become mujahideen in Afghanistan because “That land over there is yours; you’ll go back to it one day, because your fight will prevail, and you will have your homes and your mosques back again, because your cause is right and God is on your side.” Then, starting in 1980, “From the Pakistani border, bin Laden raises funds and provides the mujahedeen with logistical and humanitarian aid.” So, the Sauds’ allegation that the Khobar bombers had been “veterans of the Afghan war” would have meant that they had been foot-soldiers for the U.S.-Saudi operation in Afghanistan. Both the U.S. Government and the Saud family (who own the Saudi Government) hate Shia and especially hate Iran. Hezbollah are Shia, and they are extremely pro-Iran. How likely is it that Hezbollah, anywhere, would have been fighting under the command of Al Qaeda, or of any other fundamentalist-Sunni jihadist organization that calls all Shia “infidels”? So, the Sauds’ account of the Khobar Towers bombing is fishy, at best.

Furthermore, a Google-search for the phrase “Hezbollah in Afghanistan” turns up only “6 results,” and all of them say nothing about any “Hezbollah in Afghanistan.” No report comes up about such a thing, for any year, or any period. The only countries where Hezbollah was reported to exist were Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. One of the links in that Google search was globally comprehensive for the year 2007, the Center on International Cooperation’s “Annual Review of Global Peace Operations — 2007”. It included reports on wars during that year, in 26 countries, and the chapter for Afghanistan (pages 52-58) doesn’t mention Hezbollah even once. However, a search for the phrase ”Hezbollah Afghanistan” does bring up “Syria’s Other Foreign Fighters: Iran’s Afghan and Pakistani Mercenaries”, at the neoconservative (and thus favoring not only the American aristocracy but its allied aristocracies — especially in Saudi Arabia and Israel) The National Interest, dated 20 November 2015. That article says, “The liwa’ fatimiyun (Fatimiyun Brigade) is composed exclusively of Afghans and fights under the auspices of Hezbollah Afghanistan,” based in Syria. Other supposed foreign Shiites trying to overthrow Syria’s Government are mentioned, as being supposedly “Pakistanis fighting in Syria under the Hezbollah flag.” However, if these allegations are true, then those men would be opponents of Syria’s secular government, which is headed by the secular Shiite Bashar al-Assad, who is being attacked by fundamentalist Sunnis — including both ISIS and Al Qaeda there — who are trying to kill Hezbollah in Syria, who are, in fact, defending Assad. (Such illogical ‘historical’ accounts as that, are normal in neoconservative publications — counterfactuality is entirely acceptable to them.) Either that, or else the alleged Shiite Pakistanis who are fighting in Syria to overthrow the Shiite Assad and replace him with a fundamentalist Sunni regime, would be — not actually members of Hezbollah, but instead — Shiites from Pakistan who came to Syria in order to help actually not to overthrow the Government but to defend it against its rabidly anti-Shia attackers. That’s the opposite of the assumption that The National Interest made, but it conceivably could be the case. A Pew survey scientifically randomly sampled 1,512 Pakistanis, and found that 1,450 of them declared themselves to be “Muslim,” which is 96%. It also found that 94% of Pakistanis (of any or no faith) say that religion is “very important” in their lives, and found that 81% of the Muslims said they were “Sunni,” 6% said they were “Shiite,” and 12% said they were “Just a Muslim.” So, only 6% of Pakistanis identified themselves specifically as “Shia.” That is such a small percentage of Shiites in Pakistan, as to make unlikely any significant contribution that Pakistanis would be providing to the defense of Syria, which is at least 1,800 miles or 2,900 kilometers, away — not even in the same general region. But, in any case, that neoconservative magazine’s assumptions regarding the entire matter are clearly false.

Clearly, then, the logical feasibility of the U.S. Government’s case against Iran is so tiny as to constitute almost an absolute impossibility of that case being true.

Now, then, let’s consider the specifics of the case:

The great investigative journalist Greg Palast, in his 2003 The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (pages 101-102), wrote:

True-blue Democrats may want to skip the next paragraphs. If President Bush put the kibosh on investigations of Saudi funding of terror and nuclear bomb programs, this was merely taking a policy of Bill Clinton one step further.

Following the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, Clinton hunted Osama with a passion — but a passion circumscribed by the desire to protect the sheikdom sitting atop our oil lifeline. In 1994, a Saudi diplomat defected to the United States with 14,000 pages of documents from the kingdom’s sealed file cabinets. This mother lode of intelligence included evidence of plans for the assassination of Saudi opponents living in the West and, tantalizingly, details of the $7 billion the Saudis gave to Saddam Hussein for his nuclear program — the first attempt to build an Islamic bomb. The Saudi government, according to the defector, Mohammed Al Khilewi, slipped Saddam the nuclear loot during the Reagan and Bush Sr. years when our government still thought Saddam too marvelous for words [because he was trying to slaughter Shiite Iran]. The thought was that he would only use the bomb to vaporize Iranians [which the rulers of both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia — and of Israel — would love].

Clinton granted the Saudi defector asylum, but barred the FBI from looking at the documents. Al Khilewi’s New York lawyer, Michael Wildes, told me he was stunned. Wildes handles some of America’s most security-sensitive asylum cases. “We said (to the FBI), ‘Here, take the documents! Go get some bad guys with them! We’ll even pay for the photocopying!” But the agents who came to his office had been ordered not to accept evidence of Saudi criminal activity, even on U.S. soil.

In 1997, the Canadians caught and extradited to America one of the [Saudi-Government-alleged] Khobar Towers attackers. In 1999, Vernon Jordan’s law firm stepped in and — poof! — the [Saudi-alleged] killer was shipped back to Saudi Arabia before he could reveal all he knew about Al Qaeda (valuable) and the Saudis (embarrassing). I reviewed but was not permitted to take notes on, the alleged [finally, Palast is getting that right] terrorist’s debriefing by the FBI. To my admittedly inexpert eyes, there was enough on Al Qaeda to make him a source on terrorists worth holding on to. Not that he was set free — he’s in one of the kingdom’s dungeons [likelier dead soon after arriving back in Saudi Arabia] — but his info is sealed up with him. The terrorist’s extradition was “Clinton’s.” “Clinton’s parting kiss to the Saudis,” as one insider put it.

Another great investigative journalist is Seymour Hersh, who in the 22 October 2001 issue of the New Yorker, headlined “King’s Ransom” and he opened:

Since 1994 or earlier, the National Security Agency has been collecting electronic intercepts of conversations between members of the Saudi Arabian royal family, which is headed by King Fahd. The intercepts depict a regime increasingly corrupt, alienated from the country’s religious rank and file, and so weakened and frightened that it has brokered its future by channelling hundreds of millions of dollars in what amounts to protection money to fundamentalist groups that wish to overthrow it.

The intercepts have demonstrated to analysts that by 1996 Saudi money was supporting Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Yemen, and Central Asia, and throughout the Persian Gulf region. “Ninety-six is the key year,” one American intelligence official told me. “Bin Laden hooked up to all the bad guys — it’s like the Grand Alliance — and had a capability for conducting large-scale operations.” The Saudi regime, he said, had “gone to the dark side.”

Subsequently, he noted:

In 1994, Mohammed al-Khilewi, the first secretary at the Saudi Mission to the United Nations, defected and sought political asylum in the United States. He brought with him, according to his New York lawyer, Michael J. Wildes, some fourteen thousand internal government documents depicting the Saudi royal family’s corruption, human-rights abuses, and financial support for terrorists. He claimed to have evidence that the Saudis had given financial and technical support to Hamas, the extremist Islamic group whose target is Israel. There was a meeting at the lawyer’s office with two F.B.I. agents and an Assistant United States Attorney. “We gave them a sampling of the documents and put them on the table,” Wildes told me last week. “But the agents refused to accept them.” He and his client heard nothing further from federal authorities. Al-Khilewi, who was granted asylum, is now living under cover.

The Saudis were also shielded from Washington’s foreign-policy bureaucracy. A government expert on Saudi affairs told me that Prince Bandar dealt exclusively with the men at the top, and never met with desk officers and the like. “Only a tiny handful of people inside the government are familiar with U.S.-Saudi relations,” he explained. “And that is purposeful.”

Both Mueller and Comey were high enough “at the top” so as to know what the people below them needed to hide in order to succeed in their careers.

The New York Times’s report, on 15 August 1996, quoted a leading Saudi dissident in London as asserting that, “As far as I know, Prince Nayef is keeping the Americans away from all the details at this point.” This report went on: “In a statement responding to the earlier reports of confessions, Prince Nayef said Saudi Arabia would make an announcement as soon as the investigation is completed. His comments were also viewed as refuting earlier suggestions by Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, who had said that Saudi investigations might point to an Iranian connection.” In other words, at that time (as of August 15th), the U.S. official was suggesting “an Iranian connection” but the Saudi official wasn’t — at least, not yet — and the expectation was that “confessions” would be providing the decisive ‘evidence’. However, these ‘confessions’, in Saudi cases are typically ‘information’ extracted under torture, and, where that fails to obtain the ‘information’ that’s desired by the Government, then threats to destroy the person’s immediate family are applied; so, the Sauds famously usually do get exactly the ‘information’ that they want (regardless of whether it’s true).

The Wikipedia article “Khobar Towers bombing” summarizes the ‘findings’ by the U.S. FBI and courts, and ignores the Sauds’ ‘investigation(s)’, because nothing was ever made public from the Sauds’ Government or officials or anyone there, about what they ‘found’ (other than ‘found’ by torture). Wikipedia’s article, which is based entirely upon the U.S. Government (the first party to broach publicly the possibility of “an Iranian connection”) states flatly, right up front, “Perpetrators: Hezbollah Al-Hejaz (English: Party of God in the Hijaz).” In common parlance, that’s Hezbollah, an “Iranian connection” — exactly what the U.S. Government wanted.

Here’s what that article asserts regarding the operations of the alleged mastermind:

In June 2001, an indictment was issued in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, Virginia charging the following people with murder, conspiracy, and other charges related to the bombing:[18]

 

Al-Mughassil disappeared from the ‘news’ after the Sauds announced his capture in 2015, but Wikipedia on 6 November 2017 closed its bizarre article about him by saying, without comment, “Al-Mughassil was believed to be living in Iran.[1][2]” That footnote [1] linked to Front Page mag. in 2005, which actually said nothing of the sort; footnote [2] linked to FDD in 2006, which actually said nothing of the sort. The obvious likeliest explanation for Wikipedia’s blatant falsehoods there is Wikipedia’s being edited by the CIA, which serves the Sauds, just like the rest of America’s federal Government does.

The Wikipedia article then continued by listing the other alleged defendants:

 

  • Abdelkarim Hussein Mohamed Al-Nasser
  • Ali Saed Bin Ali El-Hoorie
  • Ibrahim Salih Mohammed Al-Yacoub
  • Hani al-Sayegh who had been previously in U.S. custody but deported to Saudi Arabia, when charges against him were dropped due to a lack of evidence.
  • Eight other Saudis
  • One Lebanese man listed as “John Doe”.

In July 2001, Saudi Arabia said that eleven of the people indicted in the US were in custody in Saudi prisons, and were to be tried in Saudi court, as the country refused to extradite any of them to the United States to stand trial.[19] The government has not since made public the outcome of the trial or the whereabouts of the prisoners.[20]

All six of the named persons there were Shiites in Saudi Arabia. The respective Wikipedia articles on each provide no evidence that any of them was at all involved in the bombing. However, the article on Hani al-Sayegh, who was living in Canada, is extraordinarily honest: it indicates that he said he had had nothing whatsoever to do with any bombings, nor any terrorism at all, and that the U.S. Government tried to get him to confess to something on the basis of which he could be tried and convicted in the U.S., but that he continued to resist all plea-offers, and to maintain that they were seeking to get him to lie, which he would not do. So, since the U.S. would not torture him on U.S. soil, the U.S. deported him “to Saudi Arabia on October 10, 1999 where it was assumed he would be executed upon arrival.[3][12].” But the Saudi regime never announced anything about any of the men they were charging in the Khobar Towers bombing.

The FBI issued charges against al-Sayegh and 12 others (all allegedly Hezbollah) on 21 June 2001, for the bombing; and, since that time, the only publication of their names has been in regards to the mere presumption that they were guilty. Their indictments in the U.S. (without evidence), and (since the Saudi Government wouldn’t say anything about them — not even whether they were in prison or free there) the charges in U.S. courts that Iran had helped them to do it, were 100% based upon that ‘evidence’. Therefore, Iran was declared guilty in U.S. courts, and fined, again, and again, over $500 million in all, without any reliable evidence, at all, that Iran had anything to do with the Khobar Towers bombing. And, not a cent of those fines was paid; but the U.S. Government’s purpose was served nonetheless: getting Iran’s ‘guilt’ onto the official record, such that Wikipedia, for example could say “Perpetrators: Hezbollah Al-Hejaz (English: Party of God in the Hijaz).”

The Wikipedia article on the Khobar Towers bombing closed, however, by saying:

William Perry, who was the United States Secretary of Defense at the time that this bombing happened, said in an interview in June 2007 that “he now believes al-Qaida rather than Iran was behind a 1996 truck bombing at an American military base.”[25]

On December 22, 2006, federal judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that Iran and Hezbollah were responsible for the attack, stating that the leading experts on Hezbollah presented “overwhelming” evidence of the group’s involvement and that six captured Hezbollah members detailed the role of Iranian officials in providing money, plans, and maps.[4] This decision was reached as a default judgment, however, in which the Iranian government was not represented in court, and had no opportunity to challenge the allegations.

People who trust the U.S. Government’s honesty will interpret the outcome as displaying legal and judicial incompetency, not as displaying political and propagandistic competency. However, any legal and judicial system that accepts, as fundamental or even any ‘evidence’ in a case, testimony that was extracted from someone who had been placed under torture in order to get that person to say those things, is profoundly incomepetent except as a tool of the dictators in order to ‘justify’ their dictates — to satisfy them so that the torture would stop.

William Perry announced his opinion that “al-Qaeda rather than Iran was behind” the Khobar Towers attack, only after the 2006 court ‘finding’ of Iran’s ‘guilt’ in the case. The UPI article on this statement from Perry opened and closed as follows:

Perry: U.S. eyed Iran attack after bombing

Published: June 6, 2007 at 4:25 PM

WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) — A former U.S. defense secretary says he now believes al-Qaida rather than Iran was behind a 1996 truck bombing at an American military base.

Former Defense Secretary William Perry said he had a contingency plan to attack Iran if the link had been proven, but evidence was not to either his nor President Bill Clinton’s satisfaction.

The attack would have struck “at a number of their military facilities that would have weakened — substantially weakened … the Iranian navy and air force,” he said in New York Tuesday during a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. …

“I believe that the Khobar Tower bombing was probably masterminded by Osama bin Laden,” Perry said. “I can’t be sure of that, but in retrospect, that’s what I believe. At the time, he was not a suspect. At the time … all of the evidence was pointing to Iran.”

He said al-Qaida did not emerge as a major threat until Clinton’s second term.

“We probably should have been more concerned about it at the time than we were but in the first term we did not see Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida as a major factor, or one that we were concerned with,” he said.

In 2001, the U.S. Justice Department announced a 46-count indictment against 13 Saudis and one Lebanese man in the bombing. All were allegedly connected to Hezbollah, a terrorist group the United States believes is linked to Iran.

Perry said the FBI strongly believed at the time the bombing was ordered by Iran, but Saudi officials tried to discourage that theory.

“They feared what action we would take. They rightly feared it. In fact, I had a contingency plan for a strike on Iran, if it had been if it had been clearly established. But it was never clearly established, and so we never did that,” Perry said.

So, although Wikipedia started by alleging “Perpetrators: Hezbollah Al-Hejaz (English: Party of God in the Hijaz)” — and in plain language, that’s Hezbollah — it ended by kiboshing that very theory of the case, which the Wikipedia article had been ‘documenting’ (with bad logic and some false ‘facts’).

Subsequently, the fine investigative journalist Gareth Porter explained how Perry had come to think that Iran and Hezbollah had been the culprit. Perry had trusted the head of the FBI, Louis Freeh. Perry didn’t know that, behind the scenes, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud (who was his family’s U.S. Ambassador) had told Freeh that Iran and Hezbollah did it. Furthermore, the Sauds had actually blocked the FBI’s own investigators from having access to the site or to any of the evidence (other than by providing Freeh himself access to the torture-extracted ‘confessions’). Initially, in fact, the Sauds even started bulldozing the site.

The first part of Porter’s five-part report was titled “EXCLUSIVE — PART 1: Al Qaeda Excluded from the Suspects List”. It said: “The Saudi bulldozing stopped only after Scott Erskine, the supervisory FBI special agent for international terrorism investigations, threatened that Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who happened to be in Saudi Arabia when the bomb exploded, would intervene personally on the matter.” It said there was: “a systematic effort by the Saudis to obstruct any U.S. investigation of the bombing and to deceive the United States about who was responsible for the bombing. The Saudi regime steered the FBI investigation toward Iran and its Saudi Shi’a allies with the apparent intention of keeping U.S. officials away from a trail of evidence that would have led to Osama bin Laden and a complex set of ties between the regime and the Saudi terrorist organiser.”

The second part was titled “EXCLUSIVE — PART 2: Saudi Account of Khobar Bore Telltale Signs of Fraud”.

The third part was titled “EXCLUSIVE — PART 3: U.S. Officials Leaked a False Story Blaming Iran”.

The fourth part was titled “EXCLUSIVE — PART 4: FBI Ignored Compelling Evidence of bin Laden Role”. It noted that, “In October 1996, after having issued yet another fatwa calling on Muslims to drive U.S. soldiers out of the Kingdom, bin Laden was quoted in al Quds al Arabi, the Palestinian daily published in London, as saying, ‘The crusader army was shattered when we bombed Khobar.’”

The fifth part was titled “EXCLUSIVE — PART 5: Freeh Became “Defence Lawyer” for Saudis on Khobar”. This part had the most hair-raising details:

The key to the success of the Saudi deception was FBI director Louis Freeh, who took personal charge of the FBI investigation, letting it be known within the Bureau that he was the “case officer” for the probe, according to former FBI officials.

Freeh allowed Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan to convince him that Iran was involved in the bombing, and that President Bill Clinton, for whom he had formed a visceral dislike, “had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers,” as Freeh wrote in his memoirs.

The Khobar Towers investigation soon became Freeh’s vendetta against Clinton. “Freeh was pursuing this for his own personal agenda,” says former FBI agent Jack Cloonan.

A former high-ranking FBI official recalls that Freeh “was always meeting with Bandar”. And many of the meetings were not in Freeh’s office but at Bandar’s 38-room home in McLean, Virginia.

Meanwhile, the Saudis were refusing the most basic FBI requests for cooperation. …

Freeh quickly made Iranian and Saudi Shi’a responsibility for the bombing the official premise of the investigation, excluding from the inquiry the hypothesis that Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organisation had carried out the Khobar Towers bombing. …

The CIA’s bin Laden unit, which had only been established in early 1996, was also excluded by CIA leadership from that Agency’s work on the bombing.

Finally, in order to bring his exhaustive investigation up-to-date, Porter headlined on 1 September 2015, “Who Bombed Khobar Towers? Anatomy of a Crooked Terrorism Investigation”. Here’s one particularly forceful portion of it:

In order to build a legal case against Iran and Shi’a Saudis, Freeh had to get access to the Shi’a detainees who had confessed. But the Saudis never agreed to allow FBI officials to interview them. In early November 1998, Freeh sent an FBI team to observe Saudi secret police officials asking eight Shi’a detainees the FBI’s questions from behind a one-way mirror at the Riyadh detention center.

By then Saudi secret police had already had two and half years to coach the detainees on what to say, under the threat of more torture. But Freeh didn’t care. “For Louis, if they would let us in the room, that was the important thing,” a senior FBI official involved in the Khobar investigation told me. “We would have gone over there and gotten the answers even if they had been propped up.”

But the Justice Department refused to go ahead with an indictment based on the information the FBI team brought back. Department lawyers knew the Shi’a detainees had been subject to torture, so they have ruled that the confessions were not valid.

In other words: the head of the FBI believed torture-extracted ‘confessions’ as if such would meet U.S. rules of evidence — which they don’t. And coaching of witnesses is likewise prohibited — under U.S. laws. This just goes to show that at the very top of the U.S. regime there is no respect whatsoever for the U.S. Constitution or for its strictures (such as against coerced testimony) — at the top, they are all above the law, and even above the U.S. Constitution itself. They are, after all, a dictatorship.

On 30 May 2013, The Washingtonian headlined “Forged Under Fire — Bob Mueller and Jim Comey’s Unusual Friendship” and Garrett M. Graff reported:

Although they’d been aware of each other for years, sharing their similar orbits, Comey and Mueller were first brought together professionally by then-FBI director Louis Freeh in the opening days of the Bush administration. … As the Bush administration took office in 2001, Freeh asked Bob Mueller, who was acting as John Ashcroft’s deputy attorney general, to transfer the [Khobar] case to Comey.

When he finally did so, Mueller called Comey with a warning: “Wilma Lewis is going to be so pissed.” Indeed, Lewis blasted the decision, as well as both Freeh and Mueller personally, in a press release, saying the move was “ill-conceived and ill-considered.” But Freeh’s gambit paid off.

Within weeks, Comey had pulled together the indictment. During a National Security Council briefing at the White House, under the watchful gaze of Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Comey presented overwhelming evidence of Iran’s involvement.

On the eve of the expiration of the statute of limitations, fourteen individuals were indicted for the attack. Freeh, who stepped down the next day, said the indictment was “a major step.”

So, Comey and Mueller were brought in by Freeh because Freeh was about to retire and he wanted successors who would be committed to the theory of the case, that Freeh had gotten from Prince Bandar. If Comey and Mueller wouldn’t go along with that torture-extracted ‘testimony’ as ‘evidence’, then their ability to become appointed to head the FBI would have been zero. Freeh, Comey, and Mueller are a team — a team that serves the Bushes and the Sauds. But not the American public.

Our continuing war against Iran is due entirely to their crucial assistance. The Deep State appoints such individuals.

And: if one has every reason to distrust the U.S. Government’s repeated allegations that Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism, then what remains of U.S. ‘justifications’ for being involved at all in hostility against Iran, and in supporting Sunnis and Jews and even many Christians and others who (for Saudi Arabia, Israel, and other U.S.-‘allied’ nations) carry on their hateful actions against Iran, and against Shia Muslims generally. Iran and Shia are not at all enemies of the American (or of its vassal nations’) public (except maybe in Israel — but that Government is an enemy of the American people anyway).

The knowledgeable expert observer on the Middle East, and former editor-in-chief of Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper, Abdel Bari Atwan, headlined on November 10th at Information Clearing House, “On the Brink of War”, and summarized his discussions with other highly respected experts, regarding the convulsions within the royal Saud royal family and the imprisonment by Crown Prince Salman al-Saud, of other Saud Princes, and also of Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri. Atwan noted that, “any U.S./Israeli intervention in Syria is unlikely to pass without a collision with Russia. In this case, we can expect a world war.” He concluded: “Experts believe the success of this future, expected, and indeed imminent war lies in the destruction of Iran, regime-change in Qatar, and the eradication of Hezbollah. Its failure lies in the destruction of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UAE, and Saudi Arabia’s partition into a number of states.” (Atwan gave no indication as to which of the two outcomes he preferred.) Though U.S. President Donald Trump continues to be unflinching in his support of the Saud regime — which would risk nuclear annihilation — the American and other nations’ publics must simply observe, powerless, while the aristocracies work out ‘our differences’. They own the consequences; but we, the public, suffer the consequences — whatever those will be.

After all, what George W. Bush did to Iraqis was barbarous. What Barack Obama did to Libyans was barbarous. What Bush did to Afghans was barbarous. What Obama did to Ukrainians was barbarous. A dictatorship can be a bipartisan regime imposed by two fascist Parties, as well as it can be an overtly monolithic regime imposed by one fascist Party. So: here we are.

The real enemies of the American public are, and for decades have been, in control of the U.S. Government — and they’re not communists (even if in former times some of them were); they are instead fascists, pure and simple, and they spread hatred not only against Iran and against Russia, but against Shia and against people who speak Russian as their primary language. If these lie-based hatreds do not soon stop, then the world itself soon might. Racist fascists are the most dangerous type of all, but that’s what we’ve now got at the top, in the U.S., and in its ‘allied’ nations. Brainwashers controlling the brainwashed.

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Saudi Arabia’s version of events: Jamal Khashoggi died during a fist fight (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 5.

Alex Christoforou

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The BBC examines the stunning Saudi admission that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered from three angles:

What is Saudi Arabia’s version of events?

The kingdom says a fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favour with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death.

It says investigations are under way, and so far 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested.

Unnamed officials speaking to Reuters news agency and the New York Times say the Saudis did not know the whereabouts of the body after it was handed to a “local collaborator” to dispose of.

In addition to the arrests, two senior officials have been sacked over the affair – deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The Saudi authorities have yet to give evidence to support this version of events.

Observers are questioning whether Saudi Arabia’s Western allies will find their account of a “botched rendition” convincing – and whether it will persuade them not to take punitive action against them.

US President Donald Trump said what had happened was “unacceptable” but that the arrests were an important “first step”. The UK Foreign Office said it was considering its next steps after hearing the report.

What did Turkey say?

“Turkey will reveal whatever had happened,” said Omer Celik of Turkey’s ruling AKP party, according to Anadolu news agency.

“Nobody should ever doubt about it. We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don’t accept anything to remain covered [up].”

Publicly Turkey has so far stopped short of blaming Saudi Arabia for the killing.

Turkish investigators, however, say they have audio and video evidence which shows Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate and dismembered. Reports in Turkish media this week gave gruesome details of what are said to be his final minutes.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Saudi King Salman on Friday evening, and the two agreed to continue co-operating in the investigation.

How have Saudi’s Western allies reacted?

President Trump praised the kingdom for acting quickly and said the official explanation was “credible”, despite many US lawmakers expressing disbelief over the Saudi account.

Mr Trump stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy.

Earlier this week he warned of “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.

A number of US lawmakers, including a Republican highly critical of the Saudis, Senator Lindsey Graham, said they were sceptical about the report on the journalist’s death.

The UK Foreign Office described it as “a terrible act” and said the people behind the killing “must be held to account”.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a fist fight inside the Istanbul consulate…a story that the Trump White House has so far accepted, but many US Congressmen and mainstream media pundits outright reject.

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Meanwhile Reuters floated this story on turmoil inside the Saudi Kingdom as a trial balloon to see if anyone has the might to challenge a very unstable crown prince, by appealing to the frail King and his western allies.

Since he acceded to the throne in January 2015, the king has given MbS, his favorite son, increasing authority to run Saudi Arabia. But the king’s latest intervention reflects growing disquiet among some members of the royal court about MbS’s fitness to govern, the five sources said.

MbS, 33, has implemented a series of high-profile social and economic reforms since his father’s accession, including ending a ban on women driving and opening cinemas in the conservative kingdom.

But he has also marginalized senior members of the royal family and consolidated control over Saudi’s security and intelligence agencies.

His reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, a purge of top royals and businessmen on corruption charges, and a costly war in Yemen.

Khashoggi’s disappearance has further tarnished the crown prince’s reputation, deepening questions among Western allies and some Saudis about his leadership.

“Even if he is his favorite son, the king needs to have a comprehensive view for his survival and the survival of the royal family,” said a fourth Saudi source with links to the royal court.

“In the end it will snowball on all of them.”

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

MISCALCULATION

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance. But the sources familiar with the royal court said the reaction from the United States, an ally for decades, had contributed to the king’s intervention.

“When the situation got out of control and there was an uproar in the United States, MbS informed his father that there was a problem and that they have to face it,” another source with knowledge of the royal court said.

The crown prince and his aides had initially thought the crisis would pass but they “miscalculated its repercussions”, this source said.

Turkish officials have made clear they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, and two Turkish sources have told Reuters police have audio recordings to back up that assertion.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican close to President Donald Trump, on Tuesday accused MbS of ordering Khashoggi’s murder and called him a “wrecking ball” who is jeopardizing relations with the United States. He did not say what evidence he was basing the allegation on.

Trump said on Thursday he presumed Khashoggi was dead but that he still wanted to get to the bottom of what exactly happened. Asked what would be the consequences for Saudi Arabia, Trump said: “Well, it’ll have to be very severe. I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff. But we’ll see what happens.”

Trump has previously said “rogue killers” may have been responsible and has ruled out cancelling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars. On Tuesday, Trump said he had spoken with MbS and that the crown prince told him he did not know what had happened in the consulate where Khashoggi went missing.

The case poses a dilemma for the United States, as well as Britain and other Western nations. Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil exporter, spends lavishly on Western arms and is an ally in efforts to contain the influence of Iran.

But in a sign of the damage, a succession of international banking and business chiefs, including IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Ford Chairman Bill Ford, have pulled out of a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday also abandoned plans to attend, as did Britain’s trade minister and the French and Dutch finance ministers, putting the event in question.

Saudi officials have said they plan to move forward with the conference, scheduled for Oct. 23-25, despite the wave of cancellations.

Neither JP Morgan nor Ford would elaborate on the reasons for the decision not to attend and did not comment on whether concerns about the disappearance of Khashoggi were a factor.

Lagarde had previously said she was “horrified” by media reports about Khashoggi’s disappearance. An IMF spokesperson did not give a reason for her deferring her trip to the Middle East.

TAKING CONTROL

Before the king’s intervention, Saudi authorities had been striking a defiant tone, threatening on Sunday to retaliate with greater action against the U.S. and others if sanctions are imposed over Khashoggi’s disappearance. A Saudi-owned media outlet warned the result would be disruption in Saudi oil production and a sharp rise in world oil prices.

“Reaction and threats to the possible sanctions of the last 24 hours were still (coming) from the crown prince,” the businessman close to royal circles said on Monday. “The king is now holding the file personally … and the tone is very different.”

The king has spoken directly with Erdogan and Trump in recent days. Both the king and his son met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited Riyadh on Tuesday.

King Salman, 82, spent decades as part of the inner circle of the Al Saud dynasty, which long ruled by consensus. In four decades as governor of Riyadh, he earned a reputation as a royal enforcer who punished princes who were out of line.

Whether he is willing or able to resume that role in this crisis remains unclear, palace insiders say. One source with links to the royal court said the king was “captivated” by MbS and ultimately would protect him.

Still, there is precedent for the king’s intervention.

He stepped in this year to shelve the planned listing of national oil company Saudi Aramco, the brainchild of MbS and a cornerstone of his economic reforms, three sources with ties to government insiders told Reuters in August. Saudi officials have said the government remains committed to the plans.

And when MbS gave the impression last year that Riyadh endorsed the Trump administration’s still nebulous Middle East peace plan, including U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the king made a public correction, reaffirming Riyadh’s commitment to the Arab and Muslim identity of the city.

Despite these rare instances of pushback, several of the sources close to the royal family said that King Salman had grown increasingly detached from decisions taken by MbS.

“He has been living in an artificially-created bubble,” said one of the sources. Lately, though, the king’s advisers have grown frustrated and begun warning him of the risks of leaving the crown prince’s power unchecked.

“The people around him are starting to tell him to wake up to what’s happening,” the source said.

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Kiev ‘Patriarch’ prepares to seize Moscow properties in Ukraine

Although Constantinople besought the Kiev church to stop property seizures, they were ignored and used, or perhaps, complicit.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The attack on the Eastern Orthodox Church, brought about by the US State Department and its proxies in Constantinople and Ukraine, is continuing. On October 20, 2018, the illegitimate “Kyiv (Kiev) Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko who is calling himself “Patriarch Filaret”, had a synodal meeting in which it changed the commemoration title of the leader of the church to include the Kyiv Caves and Pochaev Lavras.

This is a problem because Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is canonically accepted and acts as a very autonomous church under the Moscow Patriarchate has these places under his pastoral care.

This move takes place only one week after Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople unilaterally (and illegally) lifted the excommunications, depositions (removal from priestly ranks as punishment) and anathemas against Filaret and Makary that were imposed on them by the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate.

These two censures are very serious matters in the Orthodox Church. Excommunication means that the person or church so considered cannot receive Holy Communion or any of the other Mysteries (called Sacraments in the West) in a neighboring local Orthodox Church. Anathema is even more serious, for this happens when a cleric disregards his excommunication and deposition (removal from the priesthood), and acts as a priest or a bishop anyway.

Filaret Denisenko received all these censures in 1992, and Patriarch Bartholomew accepted this decision at the time, as stated in a letter he sent to Moscow shortly after the censures. However, three years later, Patriarch Bartholomew received a group of Ukrainian autocephalist bishops called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who had been in communion with Filaret’s group. While this move may have been motivated by the factor of Bartholomew’s almost total isolation within Istanbul, Turkey, it is nonetheless non-canonical.

This year’s moves have far exceeded previous ones, though, and now the possibility for a real clash that could cost lives is raised. With Filaret’s “church” – really an agglomeration of Ukrainian ultranationalists and Neo-Nazis in the mix, plus millions of no doubt innocent Ukrainian faithful who are deluded about the problems of their church, challenging an existing arrangement regarding Ukraine and Russia’s two most holy sites, the results are not likely to be good at all.

Here is the report about today’s developments, reprinted in part from OrthoChristian.com:

Meeting today in Kiev, the Synod of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) has officially changed the title of its primate, “Patriarch” Philaret, to include the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras under his jurisdiction.

The primate’s new official title, as given on the site of the KP, is “His Holiness and Beatitude (name), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Kiev—Mother of the cities of Rus’, and Galicia, Patriarch of All Rus’-Ukraine, Svyaschenno-Archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.”

…Thus, the KP Synod is declaring that “Patriarch” Philaret has jurisdiction over the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras, although they are canonically under the omophorion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Philaret and his followers and nationalistic radicals have continually proclaimed that they will take the Lavras for themselves.

This claim to the ancient and venerable monasteries comes after the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it had removed the anathema placed upon Philaret by the Russian Orthodox Church and had restored him to his hierarchical office. Philaret was a metropolitan of the canonical Church, becoming patriarch in his schismatic organization.

Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have clarified that they consider Philaret to be the “former Metropolitan of Kiev,” but he and his organization continue to consider him an active patriarch, with jurisdiction in Ukraine.

Constantinople’s statement also appealed to all in Ukraine to “avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties,” which the Synod of the KP ignored in today’s decision.

The KP primate’s abbreviated title will be, “His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” and the acceptable form for relations with other Local Churches is “His Beatitude Archbishop (name), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine.”

The Russian Orthodox Church broke eucharistic communion and all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate over this matter earlier this week. Of the fourteen local Orthodox Churches recognized the world over, twelve have expressed the viewpoint that Constantinople’s move was in violation of the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church. Only one local Church supported Constantinople wholeheartedly, and all jurisdictions except Constantinople have appealed for an interOrthodox Synod to address and solve the Ukrainian matter in a legitimate manner.

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Claims of Khashoggi death by fistfight expose Saudi brutality

The brutality of both state claims and unproven allegations in Khashoggi’s death raise serious questions about American alliances.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On October 2, 2018, Muslim Brotherhood member and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, never to be seen or heard from again.

This chilling report has been answered with some horrifying and grisly stories about what happened – that he was dismembered while still alive, that his body parts were dissolved completely in acid, leaving nothing left.

Now after two weeks, the Saudi official word on what happened came out: He died in an unexpected fistfight in the embassy.

Really. That is the Saudi’s explanation. A fistfight. In an embassy. With 18 people detained as suspects in the investigation.

And apparently the Saudi government expects the world to accept this explanation and just let it go.

This situation has just exposed the true nature of this “ally” of the United States. Even Rush Limbaugh, a staunch supporter of all conservative positions in America, has spoken from time to time about the amazing disconnect in American foreign policy with regards to Saudi Arabia. He continued that on his radio programs on both October 18th and 19th, 2018, as shown in this excerpted transcript, with emphasis added:

I’m simplifying this, folks, but generally that’s what happens. So, by the same token, you could say that this militant terrorist Islam that we’ve known since 9/11 and maybe 10, 15 years prior, that has been sponsored by Saudi Arabia, by the Saudi royal family. It’s why so many people have been upset with so many American presidents being buddy-buddy with the king, whoever he happens to be. The Saudis always fund former presidents’ libraries. I mean, the Saudis had a good thing going. They had relationships with every president, former president and so forth.

And while they were selling us oil, sometimes. Cooperative or uncooperative, depending on the time, with price. But during all of that, they were the primary thrust for Wahhabi Islam. Now, here comes MbS (Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia), and he wants to just reform the hell out of the country, get rid of Wahhabism, bring in petrodollars competitors such as Hollywood and Silicon Valley and basically bring Saudi Arabia into the twenty-first century instead of the seventh. And there’s some people that don’t want that to happen.

And from the 19th:

Wahhabi Islam is where the really radical clerics and Imams are who are welcoming anybody they can into their mosques and just literally converting them into suicide bombers, terrorists, and what have you, under the auspices of Islam. And the Saudi royal family stood by and let it all happen. Whether they were instrumental in advocating it, don’t know, but Saudi-funded charities all over the world promoted Wahhabism.

And that’s when I went back to Mr. Buckley and said, “I don’t see how the Saudi royal family, the Saudi government can be separated from these 19 hijackers.”

Now in the rest of these transcripts, which are very interesting, Rush explains that Khashoggi was a Muslim Brotherhood member, and as such, stood opposed to MbS’ reform plans and actions. However the brutality of the alleged murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the official “State version” account of his death are almost equally brutal. Death by fists? How is it that the United States considers such people allies?

President Trump is on record as saying that this explanation by the Saudi government is “credible.” However, this statement alone is out of context, so we bring you the entire statement:

This is not to be misunderstood as a Trump endorsement of belief. He points out that this is a first step, and that in his view it is a good one, but that is all.

Still, these events throw the real nature of the Saudi kingdom into sharp relief. They are the number one customer for US military equipment, now considered allies against Iran. In the complicated field of Middle East relations, the president’s caution is probably very wise for the moment. However, this is a nation which produced most of the 9/11 hijackers, which is said to be the last voice in what Islam is, and so promotes a very violent interpretation of an already violent faith.

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The news and information media got a great lesson in following something like “due process” with this matter, and while the President is doing that, this situation still invites some strong speculation. Allies that simultaneously seek an allied nation’s destruction do not seem like allies much at all. And embassies are usually held to be very safe places for people, not places where they meet their death in any way at all, let alone the cruel means alleged and later claimed.

This event may actually be very damaging to the Saudi Crown Prince’s effort to bring his nation out of Wahhabism and into some more kind interpretation of Islam, and indeed the West’s assessment of Khashoggi has taken to calling him a “teddy bear” when he is a Muslim Brotherhood member. Former US President Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and these people were so violent, killing Christians and destroying homes and businesses, that the Muslim Brotherhood’s uprising was followed by a second uprising from the more reasonable people in Egypt (which Obama promptly dropped).

If reports are to be believed, Mohammed bin Salman wants to end Wahhabism. It would seem to logically make sense that his agencies were involved in what happened to Kashoggi, who is a known critic of bin Salman. But if it really is true that the Saudi royals were not involved, then whoever it was certainly succeeded in stopping bin Salman’s efforts to modernize his country, at least for now.

 

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