Thursday, 25 May 2017

For Robert Mueller is an honorable man

On 30th August 2009 Professor Robert Black published the blog which we have reproduced in full below, together with a letter from Mueller to Kenny MacAskill, Scottish Justice Minister.


Let us hope that in his new role as special prosecutor Mr Mueller will take more
trouble to find the facts than he did in the case of the 2009 release of Baset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds. 

If he had consulted his own FBI researchers, and the other fifteen intelligence organisations of America, plus the huge intelligence gathering contractor Stratfor, he might have discovered that the case against al-Megrahi was not as solid as he and his cohorts trusted as some God-given truth from heaven. 

He would have observed key facts such as:

1. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, two years prior to his hysterical, hectoring letter, had discovered six reasons for concluding that the conviction of al-Megrahi was unsafe.

2. They had discovered that the chief Scottish police investigator had concealed a

police diary from the trial; a diary proving that within days of the commencement of the police investigation, an offer of huge reward was available to the sole identification witness, a Maltese shopkeeper. In the words of the Department of Justice, it would be "unlimited monies, with $10,000 available immediately". The purpose of the $10,000 has never been established.

3. Also at the date of his letter, he should have been aware that the sole forensic item said to point to Libya was highly suspect. Carefully controlled scientific trials performed by two reputable scientists proved
Pure tin.
70/30% alloy tin/lead.
that a fragment of timer circuit board could not have come from a batch of timers available to and used by Libya. The details of those experiments, plus hand-written notes by a scientific witness who carried out metallurgical and other tests on the fragment, proved that the witness had either perjured himself, or had been grossly negligent. 


******

Here is the blog, followed by Mueller's letter.

30th August 2009.

What do US cops know about justice?

[This is the headline over Ian Bell's article in The Sunday Herald. The last section reads as follows:]

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only man to be convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, is
released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds with three months left to live. The
staged celebrations upon his return to Libya anger some people. His appeal against
conviction - feasible even for a dead man, but pointless - has already been withdrawn, angering
others. Some are desperate for the truth; others suspect a political fix. But America's fury appears
boundless.

Consider that. Scottish jurisdiction is not disputed. Nor is it news to Washington that Tony Blair
stitched up a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya's Colonel Gaddafi in 2007 when only one
Libyan was held in Britain. Nevertheless, Kenny MacAskill, Scotland's justice secretary, rejects
that mechanism explicitly. Yet suddenly the whereabouts of the prisoner in the last dozen
miserable weeks of his life matters hugely. And the word compassion causes unbridled anger.

Scotland is treated to the thoughts, none kind, of Obama, Hillary Clinton and that dying paragon,
Ted Kennedy. MacAskill and Alex Salmond don't raise the possibility that Megrahi's conviction
was unsafe. No-one mentions the many efforts expended by Kennedy on behalf of Irish
Republicanism.

No-one asks how many Americans were convicted after the USS Vincennes brought down Iran
Air flight 655 in 1986 with the loss of 290 lives. Guantanamo, Iraq, secret CIA torture prisons, the
carnage in Afghanistan: Scotland's government remains circumspect.

Then a cop intervenes. I say "cop"; I mean Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, a man with a
shaky grasp of the Scottish system but every confidence in his all-American right to give a
foreign government a dressing-down. He's "outraged", says his letter to Caledonia. "Your
action makes a mockery of the rule of law," he tells MacAskill. "Your action gives comfort to
terrorists around the world".

There is little comfort, though, for anyone still harbouring illusions over American attitudes to
American power. So now the head of the FBI, an institution with a fascinating history in the civil
rights field, is laying down his law to someone else's democracy, to the country that gave the US
many of the notions that fleshed out its constitution? Let's say we'll cope.

In other parts, predictably, the Scottish cringe is at work. MacAskill has outraged "the world"
("To reprieve a seriously ill prisoner is an act of humanity" - Frankfurter Allgemeine, Germany).
Tourists will scorn us; whisky sales will suffer; and Jack McConnell will have to do penance for
our "shame". In other words, we will lose the essential friendship of America thanks to the
unforgiveable crime of compassion.

What is that sort of friendship worth? And what sort of friendship is it that loads rights on one
side and responsibilities, defined unilaterally, on the other? Does it occur to no-one that some of
America's actions have looked rather more heinous lately, and certainly more costly to human life,
than a single ministerial decision? All that stirring talk of democracy sounds a little hollow, and not
 for the first time.

MacAskill might be wrong, and those of us who have agreed with him might turn out to be wrong.
I happen to believe Obama is wrong about Afghanistan: how many lives lost so far? But if the
minister has erred, what is the nature of the error? You could say - though I do not - that he has
been played for a dupe by London and Washington. The motives at work in the larger game stand
little scrutiny, as usual. But MacAskill has made a moral choice: imagine. Those can go wrong.

Megrahi, convicted of mass murder, may enjoy a startling recovery. If that happens the justice
secretary and several doctors will look very stupid.

They will not become culpable, however, and they will not have deserved the insults that flow
from the likes of Mueller. We do things differently. In this regard, I'm certain, we do them better.

It is America's curse that it finds the possibility inconceivable.

[An opinion piece headed "MacAskill’s crime wasn’t to release a murderer but to disobey America"
in The Sunday Herald by writer and lawyer Paul Laverty contains the following sentence:

'I suspect MacAskill is castigated not so much for the release a dying man, but because he has
refused to obey. US politicians expect their UK and Scottish counterparts to take up automatic
poodle position just as Straw and Blair have always done. True to form New Labour in Scotland
do the same; they seem more concerned with parochial point scoring or whisky sales in the US
than any genuine concern for the understandable feelings of hurt on part of the families of the
victims. But the great tragedy revealed by this circus is how we have collectively sacrificed our
critical faculties, our sense of history, and replaced them with spineless humiliating subservience
to the powerful. MacAskill's decision is a brave exception, but it is a disgrace to see him so
cornered while the nauseating hypocrisy of the US goes virtually unexamined.'

******

Letter to Kenny MacAskill from FBI Director Robert S Mueller

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Over the years I have been a prosecutor, and recently as the Director of the FBI, I have made it
a practice not to comment on the actions of other prosecutors, since only the prosecutor handling
the case has all the facts and the law before him in reaching the appropriate decision.

Your decision to release Megrahi causes me to abandon that practice in this case. I do so because
I am familiar with the facts, and the law, having been the Assistant Attorney General in charge of
the investigation and indictment of Megrahi in 1991.

And I do so because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of
"compassion."

Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice.
Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law.

Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the
quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and
sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man's exercise of "compassion."

Your action rewards a terrorist even though he never admitted to his role in this act of mass
murder and even though neither he nor the government of Libya ever disclosed the names and
roles of others who were responsible.

Your action makes a mockery of the emotions, passions and pathos of all those affected by the
Lockerbie tragedy: the medical personnel who first faced the horror of 270 bodies strewn in the
fields around Lockerbie, and in the town of Lockerbie itself; the hundreds of volunteers who
walked the fields of Lockerbie to retrieve any piece of debris related to the breakup of the plane;
the hundreds of FBI agents and Scottish police who undertook an unprecedented global
investigation to identify those responsible; the prosecutors who worked for years - in some cases
a full career - to see justice done.

But most importantly, your action makes a mockery of the grief of the families who lost their own
on December 21, 1988.

You could not have spent much time with the families, certainly not as much time as others
involved in the investigation and prosecution.

You could not have visited the small wooden warehouse where the personal items of those who
perished were gathered for identification - the single sneaker belonging to a teenager; the
Syracuse sweatshirt never again to be worn by a college student returning home for the holidays;
the toys in a suitcase of a businessman looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife and
children.

You apparently made this decision without regard to the views of your partners in the investigation
and prosecution of those responsible for the Lockerbie tragedy.

Although the FBI and Scottish police, and prosecutors in both countries, worked exceptionally
closely to hold those responsible accountable, you never once sought our opinion, preferring to
keep your own counsel and hiding behind opaque references to "the need for compassion."

You have given the family members of those who died continued grief and frustration. You have
given those who sought to assure that the persons responsible would be held accountable the
back of your hand.

You have given Megrahi a "jubilant welcome" in Tripoli, according to the reporting. Where, I ask,
is the justice?

Sincerely yours,

Robert S. Mueller, III
Director

[Note by Robert Black:]
 On 6 August 2009, The Times published a report containing the following:

"The investigating officers who led the original inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing have made an
unprecedented intervention in the case to argue against the release of the Libyan convicted of
the attack.

"In a letter to the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish police chief and the FBI boss
who led the international investigation 20 years ago launch a powerfully worded plea against the
release of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, who is serving a minimum sentence of 25 years for his part
in the bombing.

"In the letter obtained by The Times, Stuart Henderson, the retired senior investigating officer at
the Lockerbie Incident Control Centre, and Richard Marquise, the FBI special agent in charge of
the US taskforce, whose detective work helped to convict Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, insist that
he is guilty. They also argue that his release would “nullify the dedicated work of dozens of law
enforcement and intelligence officials around the world”."

It is therefore untrue for the Director to suggest that the decision was taken without regard to, or
in ignorance of, the views of the investigators (or at least some of them). His complaint (if he has
one at all) therefore has to be that the ultimate decision was not one that they approved of.

In civilised countries decisions regarding liberation of prisoners are not placed in the hands of
policemen and prosecutors, nor are they accorded a veto over those decisions. Mr Mueller (and
Mr Marquise) would probably wish that this were otherwise. The rest of us can be grateful that it
is not.]

Friday, 19 May 2017

Julian Assange and Lockerbie


Assange 
Baset Al-Megrahi, suffering from terminal prostate cancer, was released on compassionate grounds in 2009. 

He lived much longer than doctors had expected, but late in 2010 deteriorated severely. During 2011 he was kept alive only by intensive care, a massive regime of drugs and continuous help by his wife Aisha and his family. He died on the 20th May 2012.

Only through the Wikileaks publication, by Julian Assange,  of secret American communications did we learn that, even as he lay on his deathbed in Tripoli, security contractors working for the US government were discussing the rendition and assassination of al-Megrahi. As employees of the US government they appeared to believe that they had a right to kill anyone, anywhere. 

STRATFOR is a Texas-based global intelligence supplier to large corporations such as Dow Chemical Co.,Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and government agencies including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines, and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. 
Fred Burton

The Stratfor Vice-President is Fred Burton. One of his employees in 2011 was Director of Multi-media Brian Genchur.

On August 19th 2011, in a circulated email, (Click here) Genchur wrote: "I would like to kill the terrorist [al-Megrahi] myself. In reality, I'm hunting for him on my own thru a few channels. If he can be found, I'll have him whacked." 

Genchur then quoted Jim Swire's misgivings from a news interview: "I am worried for Baset. I can just see the unit they sent
"Cause his oxygen to be removed..."
to kill Osama Bin Laden being sent to extract Megrahi. Presumably they would kill him on the spot."


Megrahi's family were continuously at his bedside. We can be sure that if Genchur and friends had carried out an assassination they would have killed all witnesses. 

Five days later on 24th August 2011 Fred Burton, in an email generally circulated within the company, added (Click) a further statement: "While the world is focusing on the chaos in Libya counter-terrorism agents could take advantage of this window of opportunity to capture him [al-Megrahi]....  The symbolism of grabbing him and bringing him back to trial in a US court would resonate around the world".

Six  weeks later (3rd October 2011) Burton added more advice to his employees, in an (Click) email to Anya Aliano of Stratfor: "Can you check to see if there is a Reward for Justice offer for his capture? I've heard we may have to cut a deal with the rebels to leave him alone. If so, I don't care and will try to have him grabbed or cause his oxygen to be removed. Thanks."

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Scottish MSPs to monitor Megrahi appeal

[based on yesterday's website of Professor Robert Black QC, Emeritus Professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh University:]


Members of the Scottish Parliament will “watch with
Megrahi's widow Aisha
(Manchester Evening News)
interest” the planned bid by the family of the man convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, to mount a renewed second appeal against his conviction.


The case is expected to be handed in the near future to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review
Dr Jim Swire, Son Ali al-Megrahi,
Lawyer Aamer Anwar
Commission (SCCRC) which investigates possible miscarriages of justice and will decide whether there are grounds for a second referral to the appeal court.

The SCCRC has already ruled, in its 2007 assessment of the case that "a miscarriage of justice may have occurred". The ruling was based on six reasons,
including the with-holding of key evidence by the chief police investigator of the case. [See our previous posts for additional grounds for this further appeal]

Following that 2007 ruling, Baset al-Megrahi mounted
Witness Gauci.
Police withheld evidence.
a second appeal. Due, however, to the onset of terminal cancer, he withdrew his appeal in exchange for release in 2009 on compassionate grounds by Scottish Minister for Justice Kenny MacAskill.


In addition to the matter of this new appeal, MSPs on Holyrood’s Justice Committee agreed to keep open a long-running petition from Justice for Megrahi (JFM) campaigners calling for an independent inquiry into Megrahi’s conviction. The inquiry will include events in Europe and security misjudgments and lapses at Heathrow Airport prior to and immediately following the 1988 bombing attack.


In a written submission, JFM campaigners said reports of the planned appeal bid indicate “a significant development for those pursuing the truth about Lockerbie”.


MSP Committee convener Margaret Mitchell said: “Recently publicity suggests that the family of Mr Megrahi will launch a bid to appeal against his conviction in the coming weeks so we will watch that with interest and see if that affects where we go from here.” (...)


Al-Megrahi's widow Aisha and son Ali are expected to present to the SCCRC concerns over the evidence which convicted Megrahi, including that given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, who died last year.



You can read the Scotsman report here.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Megrahi: Second appeal by Megrahi family

The family of wrongly convicted Libyan Baset al-Megrahi are to request a second appeal. 


Baset al-Megrahi: Died in 2012.
Until now, the chaos in Libya following the 2011 NATO destruction of the country has made matters complex and difficult for the family.

Today, however, it has been announced that the Megrahi family, in a recent Zurich meeting with lawyer Aamer Anwar, agreed the terms of an official request to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). That request is to be delivered to the Commission "within days". 


Suspect bomb timer fragment
The new grounds for appeal include ­questions over the integrity of evidence ­produced by the Crown at the original trial. They will re-examine the provenance of a circuit board fragment said to have been found seventeen miles from the crash site. Questions will also be raised concerning a supposed purchase of clothes by Megrahi from a shop in Malta owned
Gauci: Key identification witness.
by key identification witness Tony Gauci.
In 2007. after a three year investigation, the SCCRC ruled that ­Megrahi’s conviction was potentially a miscarriage of justice. They discovered six reasons for that conclusion. Their six reasons did not include scientific information since discovered in relation to the bomb timer fragment. But because of severe difficulties and uncertain systems of government in Libya, the family's circumstances have so far prevented an appeal request.
In 2016 British victims’ relatives, led by Dr Jim Swire, tried to have the conviction overturned posthumously but the SCCRC ruled they could only re-examine matters if requested by the family.
Following secret meetings in Zurich, attended by members of the family, lawyer Aamer Anwar, Jim Swire and MEBO director Edwin Bollier, that barrier has been overcome.
Al-Megrahi's widow Aisha said: “I wish to pursue this appeal in my husband’s name to have his ­conviction overturned, to clear his name and to clear the name of my family. The world will say sorry to my husband and my family one day. That’s all I wish to say.”
Ali al-Megrahi
Megrahi's son Ali, 22, added: “I still feel bad that my father was innocent and locked up in prison for so many years. I lost my father and although nobody can bring him back, I still want justice for him. I’m sure that, with the new appeal, my father’s name will be cleared from all ­allegations."
"The Lockerbie affair hit my family very, very hard and we’re looking forward to the day that Scottish justice prevails and that we can live in peace again.
“We hope the authorities of Scotland will make it possible to correct the controversial verdict and give all the families who lost loved ones, including ours, real justice.”
Lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “The Lockerbie case has often been described as the worst miscarriage of justice in British legal ­history.
“A reversal of the verdict would mean that the governments of the United States and the UK would be accused of having lived a monumental lie for over a quarter of a century and having imprisoned a man they knew to be innocent for the worst mass murder on British soil.
“The reputation of our criminal ­justice system has suffered at home and internationally because of the widespread doubts over the conviction of al-Megrahi. The only place those doubts can truly be addressed are in the Court of Appeal.”
MacAskill: Willing to give evidence.
The former Scottish Minister for Justice, Kenny MacAskill has promised to come forward if asked. “If I am called to give evidence, I will give evidence. Due ­process will take place and I will fully co-operate.”
Jim Swire in a ruined Tripoli.
Dr Swire expressed his hopes for a new appeal: “Shortly before Megrahi died, I met him in Tripoli and reassured him I would still do everything I could to clear his name. I am delighted that this request for an appeal is now to be placed before the SCCRC.”

Monday, 17 April 2017

Recalling death of award winning film director Allan Francovich

A whole new generation has come and many now have children of their own, since the terrible night of 21st December 1988, The Lockerbie Bombing.

In 1993 award-winning film director Allan Francovich carried out his
Allan Francovich
own investigation into the bombing, why it had happened, and who could have been responsible.


He died on this date - 17th April - in 1997. We are grateful to Professor Robert Black QC, Emeritus professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh University, who has provided extracts from an obituary written for The Independent by former MP and Father of the House Tam Dalyell.


"That Allan Francovich should die prematurely, succumbing to a heart attack in the Customs Area of Houston Airport, is hardly astonishing to those whose lives were touched by this remarkable, hyperactive film director. I picture him arriving to meet me in the Central Lobby of the House of Commons, bag and baggage full of contents, out of breath, and blurting out the latest discovery that he had made about the iniquity of the authorities.


He reeled off facts at a mind-boggling rate. Yet, unlike most conspiracy theorists - of which he was proud to be one - Francovich was scrupulous about fact, and particularly about unpalatable facts which did not suit his suspicions. I never caught him cutting any inconvenient corners to arrive at the conclusion he wanted. He was, above all, a seeker after truth, wheresoever that truth might lead. (...)


My first introduction to Francovich was from Dr Jim Swire of the British Lockerbie Victims, who said that he had persuaded the best investigative film director in America to turn his attention to the crash of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, on 21 December 1988 that had killed his daughter Flora along with 269 other victims.
John Ashton
Once persuaded that there was a cause for suspicion, Francovich was the most determined of ferrets. The end result was his film The Maltese Double Cross (1995), made in conjunction with his fervently loyal colleagues John Ashton and David Ben-Aryeah and their cameraman Jeremy Stavenhagen. The showing of the film on Channel 4, and in
David Ben Aryeah
the House of Commons, did more than anything else to awaken the British from J S Mill's "deep slumber of a decided opinion" about responsibility for Lockerbie.
Quite simply, Francovich proved the so-called Malta connection, on which the case against Libya depends, was a fabrication. Francovich identified the shooting down by the USS Vincennes of an Iranian airliner carrying pilgrims to Mecca as the starting point for Lockerbie. The Iranian Minister of the Interior, Ali Akbar Mostashemi, swore that there should be a "rain of blood" in revenge. He had been, crucially, the Iranian ambassador in Damascus from 1982 to 1985, and had close connections with the terrorist gangs of Beirut and the Bekaa valley.
Khaled Jaffar. US Drug courier.

They had infiltrated an American drug sting operation, which allowed them to circumvent the security precautions at the Rhine Main airport in Frankfurt. It was typical of Francovich that he could go to the Jafaar family of the naive courier who had perished in Pan Am 103, and capture them on film in a powerful sequence showing up the activities of the Neuss terrorist gang operating in Germany.
It was Francovich's multi-dimensional, multilingual talents which I am sure will eventually unlock the truth about Lockerbie. Rare indeed, outside fiction, are the crusaders of truth who, time and again, have put themselves in personal danger as Francovich did.
Allan Francovich, film director: born New York 1941; married 1970 Kathleen Weaver (marriage dissolved 1985); died Houston, Texas 17 April 1997."

So how might we view Francovich's film in the light of recent history?

On December 14th 2014 - almost the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing - the investigative journalist Alexander Zaitchik of AlterNet wrote an extraordinary history of Francovich's award-winning documentary that was banned in the US and Britain. 
Alexander Zaitchik
(Bing Images)

Contained within Alexander's history is a link to the film documentary.  It marches alongside other attempts by British and US authorities to prevent public knowledge and discussion, including the continued concealment of trial evidence, denial of proven scientific truths about forensic evidence, and even attempts to temporarily close down a Scottish newspaper. (All detailed in previous posts on this site).

The American authorities spent $20m ensuring that Francovich's The Maltese Double Cross would never be seen in the USA. And the British, in their usual side-kick-of-America manner, almost ensured its complete banning in Britain. Over time, they have both failed. The film is available today from many internet sources, and has been viewed by millions.  

Truth really does have that annoying habit of refusing to obey the instructions of those in power. All the truth about Lockerbie has not yet been revealed. But rest assured that in the not too distant future, it will be. 

[Footnote: One of the best-known documentaries of Allan Francovich is his exposé of the C.I.A., On Company Business (1980). The film won him the International Critics Award for Best Documentary at the Berlin Film Festival. Born in New York City, Francovich was the son of a mining engineer and raised in various Bolivian and Peruvian mining camps. He attended Notre Dame University in Peru, the Sorbonne in France, and received a master's degree in dramatic arts from the University of California, Berkeley. He married Kathleen Weaver, a translator and writer, in 1970 and worked closely with her until they split up in 1985. Francovich's last film, The Maltese Double Cross, was released in 1994 and won first prize for a Documentary at that year's Edinburgh Film Festival. 
Read more at http://www.allmovie.com/artist/allan-francovich-p90341#zK72rwMDxC4C1fil.99]

Monday, 10 April 2017

Kill 290 innocents: Get an award for bravery

Vincennes target crew
How do you kill 290 innocent people: men, women, including 66 children?

And how do you get a medal for bravery in action against America's imagined enemies? 

 
The Vincennes: Bravery in action. 


290 dead pilgrims

July 1988. Iran vows revenge against the USA
July 1988.  CLICK HERE to see how you do it. See the maps, the paranoia, the stupidity. America called it an unfortunate mistake. Yet they gave the captain a medal for bravery in action against an enemy.

290 murdered Iranian pilgrims. This was the reason for the December 1988 Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 innocent people.  At least, that's what CIA classified reports said for almost two years. 

After that, America needed Syrian and Iranian support in the 1991 Gulf war. So an easy target was required as some kind of scapegoat. Those CIA reports were quietly shelved, and in November 1991, out of the blue, came evidence against Libya. 
Bomb timer fragment? Forensic witness perjury or negligence


Unfortunately for America and the British, that evidence has been shown to be based on negligence or perjury,
The identification witness: Multi-million dollar payments
and multi-million dollar payments to the sole identification witness, "provided he gives evidence" [Words of US Department of Justice, in a letter to the Lockerbie chief police investigator].



Sunday, 26 March 2017

Hands Off Libya: It belongs to the West.

Sir Michael Fallon, the UK's Defence Secretary has warned Russia to not interfere in Libya. Why? Because after the UK/US led destruction of Libya in 2011, the West has attempted to rebuild Libya in its own image. 


Sadly for Libya the plans of mice and men have gone sadly awry. Libya has two de facto governments; one recognised by the West and the UN, another recognised by Russia and controlled by new strong-man General Hafta.
 

Fallon on Launch Deck of Trident Submarine.

Fallon and the UK government now see NATO - originally created to defend Europe against the Soviet Union - as having a duty to control the Middle East and North Africa including Libya. NATO's role has changed from one of defence to that of inflicting Western wars and regime change. 


This recent Daily Telegraph - highly slanted - report hints at the chaos of Libya, and includes a cuddly mini-bio of the UK's Defence Secretary. Written by himself? Or dictated to a friendly Telegraph reporter over lunch? 

In the light of Fallon's comments, we might also visit an extract from Professor Noam Chomsky's book "Who Rules the World?"

Noam Chomsky
[In a televised interview still available on Youtube, retired four-star general Wesley Clark revealed that within three weeks of the 9/11 attack of 2002, President George Bush secretly issued a strategic call to the Pentagon to destroy seven Middle Eastern governments in five years. America's strategy is still a work in progress. In his new book Professor Chomsky focuses on key areas, including the following: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. The Libyan regime was destroyed in 2011.] 

The Challenges Today: The Islamic World
Let us turn to the third region of major concern, the (largely) Islamic world, also the scene of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) that George W. Bush declared in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attack. To be more accurate, re-declared. 
Gen. Wesley Clark

The GWOT was declared by the Reagan administration when it took office, with fevered rhetoric about a “plague spread by depraved opponents of civilization itself” (as Reagan put it) and a “return to barbarism in the modern age” (the words of George Shultz, his secretary of state). 

The original GWOT has been quietly removed from history. It very quickly turned into a murderous and destructive terrorist war afflicting Central America, southern Africa, and the Middle East, with grim repercussions to the present, even leading to condemnation of the United States by the World Court (which Washington dismissed). In any event, it is not the right story for history, so it is gone.

Destruction of Afghanistan.

The success of the Bush-Obama version of GWOT can readily be evaluated on direct inspection. When the war was declared, the terrorist targets were confined to a small corner of tribal Afghanistan. They were protected by Afghans, who mostly disliked or despised them, under the tribal code of hospitality – which baffled Americans when poor peasants refused “to turn over Osama bin Laden for the, to them, astronomical sum of $25 million.”

There are good reasons to believe that a well-constructed police action, or even serious diplomatic negotiations with the Taliban, might have placed those suspected of the 9/11 crimes in American hands for trial and sentencing. But such options were off the table.

Instead, the reflexive choice was large-scale violence – not with the goal of overthrowing the Taliban (that came later) but to make clear U.S. contempt for tentative Taliban offers of the possible extradition of bin Laden. 

How serious these offers were we do not know, since the possibility of exploring them was never entertained. Or perhaps the United States was just intent on “trying to show its muscle, score a victory and scare everyone in the world. They don’t care about the suffering of the Afghans or how many people we will lose.”

That was the judgment of the highly respected anti-Taliban leader Abdul Haq, one of the many oppositionists who condemned the American bombing campaign launched in October 2001 as "a big setback" for their efforts to overthrow the Taliban from within, a goal they considered within their reach. 

His judgment is confirmed by Richard A. Clarke, who was chairman of the Counterterrorism Security Group at the White House under President George W. Bush when the plans to attack Afghanistan were made. 

As Clarke describes the meeting, when informed that the attack would violate international law, "the President yelled in the narrow conference room, ‘I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.’" 

The attack was also bitterly opposed by the major aid organizations working in Afghanistan, who warned that millions were on the verge of starvation and that the consequences might be horrendous.
The consequences for poor Afghanistan years later need hardly be reviewed.

Destruction of Iraq.

Defenceless Baghdad attacked
The road to Basra. Sixty kilometres of death
The next target of the sledgehammer was Iraq. The U.S.-UK invasion, utterly without credible pretext, is the major crime of the twenty-first century.  
US invasion
Unknown Iraqi soldier
  The invasion led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people in a country where the civilian society had already been devastated by American and British sanctions that were regarded as “genocidal” by the two distinguished international diplomats who administered them, and resigned in protest for this reason. 
Millions of refugees. Thousands drowned.


The invasion also generated millions of refugees, largely destroyed the country, and instigated a sectarian conflict that is now tearing apart Iraq and the entire region. It is an astonishing fact about our intellectual and moral culture that in informed and enlightened circles it can be called, blandly, “the liberation of Iraq.”

Pentagon and British Ministry of Defense polls found that only 3% of Iraqis regarded the U.S. security role in their neighborhood as legitimate, less than 1% believed that “coalition” (U.S.-UK) forces were good for their security, 80% opposed the presence of coalition forces in the country, and a majority supported attacks on coalition troops. 

Afghanistan has been destroyed beyond the possibility of reliable polling, but there are indications that something similar may be true there as well. Particularly in Iraq the United States suffered a severe defeat, abandoning its official war aims, and leaving the country under the influence of the sole victor, Iran.

Destruction of Libya.

The sledgehammer was also wielded elsewhere, notably in Libya, where the three traditional imperial powers (Britain, France, and the United States) procured Security Council resolution 1973 and instantly violated it, becoming the air force of the rebels. 

The effect was to undercut the possibility of a peaceful, negotiated settlement; sharply increase casualties (by at least a factor of 10, according to political scientist Alan Kuperman); leave Libya in ruins, in the hands of warring militias; and, more recently, to provide the Islamic State with a base that it can use to spread terror beyond.  
Blair: "Act of humanity"
Gaddafi slaughtered like an animal


Quite sensible diplomatic proposals by the African Union, accepted in principle by Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, were ignored by the imperial triumvirate, as Africa specialist Alex de Waal reviews. A huge flow of weapons and jihadis has spread terror and violence from West Africa (now the champion for terrorist murders) to the Levant, while the NATO attack also sent a flood of refugees from Africa to Europe.

Yet another triumph of “humanitarian intervention,” and, as the long and often ghastly record reveals, not an unusual one, going back to its modern origins four centuries ago.

Noam Chomsky is institute professor emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books, 2016). 
His website is www.chomsky.info/