Washington – A new book from former Defense Secretary Mark Esper has revealed shocking new details about the Trump administration’s war on Venezuela. “A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times” admits that the Trump administration plotted to invade Venezuela and discussed assassinating President Nicolas Maduro, carrying out a wave of terrorist attacks on civilian infrastructure, and raising a mercenary army to start a Contra-style terror war. Esper also all but confirms Washington’s involvement in Operation Gideon – a botched military invasion of the country, and a 2018 attempt on Maduro’s life. While barely covered in Western media, Esper’s confessions have caused a storm of commotion in the South American nation.
Defending Rights & Dissent (DRAD) is a national civil liberties organization founded in 1960 and based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to strengthen our participatory democracy by protecting the right to political expression. The right to free speech faces enumerable threats, but we have long identified FBI counterterrorism authorities as a significant detriment to the First Amendment. In 2019, we published a report, Still Spying: The Enduring Problem of FBI First Amendment Abuse, documenting FBI abuses of First Amendment rights since 2010. The overwhelming majority of abuses documented were carried out pursuant to counterterrorism authorities. More often than not, these were related to domestic terrorism, not international terrorism.
The Guardian reported last week that a recently-declassified CIA Inspector General’s report from 2008 found that CIA officers at a covert detention site in Afghanistan used a prisoner, Ammar al-Baluch, as a “training prop,” taking turns smashing his head against a plywood wall and leaving him with permanent brain damage. Baluch is currently one of five defendants before a military tribunal at the US military prison at Guantanamo charged with participating in the planning for the September 11 attacks. The case has been stuck in the pre-trial phase for 10 years, in part because much of the information that the government wants to use against the defendants was collected using torture.
As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia continues to escalate and dominate the world’s attention, the increasing evidence that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is and has been working to create and arm an insurgency in the country has received considerably little attention considering its likely consequences. This is particularly true given that former CIA officials and a former Secretary of State are now openly saying that the CIA is following the “models” of past CIA-backed insurgencies in Afghanistan and Syria for its plans in Ukraine. Given that those countries have been ravaged by war as a direct result of those insurgencies, this bodes poorly for Ukraine. Yet, this insurgency is poised to have consequences that reach far beyond Ukraine.
It began more than two decades ago. On September 20, 2001, President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror” and told a joint session of Congress (and the American people) that “the course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain.” If he meant a 20-year slide to defeat in Afghanistan, a proliferation of militant groups across the Greater Middle East and Africa, and a never-ending, world-spanning war that, at a minimum, has killed about 300 times the number of people murdered in America on 9/11, then give him credit. He was absolutely right. Days earlier, Congress had authorized Bush “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determine[d] planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored such organizations or persons.”
Former ambassadors and current diplomats for the United States, Britain and EU had a Zoom meeting this past Sunday with an official for the TPLF in what amounts to a green light from the West for the terrorist group’s attempts to overthrow the democratically elected Ethiopian government. And there’s evidence to prove it: a phone-cam video of the two-hour meeting. “I hope that you’ll have military success fairly soon, because it seems as if the situation is only becoming more drastic,” said Vicki Huddleston, who was Chargé d’Affairs ad interim in Ethiopia during years the TPLF were in power. France’s retired diplomat and writer Stéphane Gompertz openly speculated on the potential for Abiy to be forced from power.
In a Monday statement, the Ethiopian head of government said he would "lead the fight from tomorrow onwards," calling on all Ethiopians to unite in defense of their country and on all Black people across the world to defend Ethiopia in the spirit of pan-Africanism. "Starting tomorrow, I will mobilize to the front to lead the defense forces," Abiy said in the release. "Those who want to be among the Ethiopian children who will be hailed by history, rise up for your country today. Let's meet at the front." “We are now in the final stages of saving Ethiopia,” he added. “Our enemies are attacking us on the outside and on the inside … This is the struggle of all Black people. It is a conspiracy to humiliate Black people and subdue Ethiopia in a new colonial yoke.”
The corporate media in the United States is waging a misinformation campaign as part of the hybrid warfare being used to try to subjugate Ethiopia. Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace states there "is a coordinated effort to criminalize and delegitimize the Ethiopian state in order to cripple or balkanize it, maybe even to provide the political will for a direct military intervention." For 27 years, the United States-backed Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) ruled Ethiopia until it was overthrown by a popular movement in 2018. Ethiopians then elected their Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who refuses to bend to pressure from the US. To clarify what is happening in Ethiopia and the fight to protect its people's right to self-determination, Clearing the FOG speaks with Deacon Yoseph Tafari, the chairman of the Ethiopian American Civic Council.
On October 8, a terrible blast struck the worshippers attending Friday noon prayers at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in the Khan Abad district of Bandar, the capital of Kunduz, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities in its northern belt. This is a mosque frequented by Shia Muslims, who were referred to as “our compatriots” by Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid. Forty-six people died immediately in the blast, and local officials said that many more people were injured in the incident. Not long afterward, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), took credit for the attack on its Telegram channel. The suicide bomber was identified as Mohammed al-Uyguri by ISIS-K. The name of the attacker raised red flags across the region.
The 2016 report was released late Saturday night under an executive order from President Joe Biden, who promised to make it public no later than the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that killed 2,977 people and injured more than 6,000 others. The 16-page document was a final inventory of circumstantial evidence and leads from the FBI’s investigation of Saudi ties to the plot; it was heavily redacted. Nonetheless, lawyers for families of the 9/11 victims, who are suing the Saudi kingdom in federal court, said the document provided important support to their theory that a handful of Saudis connected to their government worked in concert to assist the first two Qaida hijackers sent to the United States in January 2000. “This validates what we have been saying,” said James Kreindler, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs.
Did you hear about the 3 Afghan toddler girls whose flesh was ripped to pieces by a U.S. Drone Strike last Sunday? Striking in a Kabul NEIGHBORHOOD, the attack also killed 4 other children, including 2 more under 6 years old! The grief on Amal Ahmadi’s face tells it all! 10 civilian family members dead, 7 of them children, body parts everywhere, and bodies unrecognizable. It was a horrific and tragic scene. And then there was last Friday’s U.S. drone strike in Nangarhar Province that U.S. officials claimed killed two “high profile" ISIS-K targets.” A witness reported, “…rickshaws were burning. Children and women were wounded and one man, one boy and one woman had been killed on the spot.” OFFICIALS LIE...CHILDREN, WOMEN AND MEN DIE! WE MUST UNITE TO STOP THIS RACIST U.S. DRONE TERROR IN THE SKY.
The chaotic evacuation of international 'assets' and economic migrants from Kabul airport just got more complicate. An hour ago a suicide bomber blew himself up amidst a crowd which was waiting to get access to the airport. Additionally gunfire was heard. At least 13 people got killed. There are pictures and video of dozens of killed and wounded Afghans. Hours ago the U.S. and UK had warned of an imminent ISIS attack on the airport and had asked their citizens to stay away from the airport. The evacuation flights for civilians were supposed to end today. That was to leave time for the several thousand military on the ground to wrap up their mission before the August 31 end date. The Taliban have insisted on that final date. Whoever has sent in the suicide bomber wanted to interrupt that process. Your guess who that was is as good as mine.
This July, the Biden administration picked up where Trump left off and began bombing Somalia, a country with a gross domestic product of less than $6 billion and a poverty rate of 70 percent. But why? The official reason provided by the Pentagon was that the Somali National Army needed air support in its operations to counter al-Shabaab. But the actual reason was that Somalia is geo-strategically important to US empire. Successive US administrations have cycled through a myriad of excuses to either bomb the country or to arm its dictators: Cold War politics, “humanitarian intervention,” anti-piracy, and more recently counterterrorism. As we shall see, in the mid-2000s, a fragile coalition of soft and hard Islamists – explicitly not allied to al-Qaeda at the time – brought some measure of peace to the areas of Somalia it controlled.
Caracas, Venezuela — Unless you read the local Venezuelan press, you are unlikely to know that an American secret agent is currently standing trial in Venezuela on charges of terrorism and weapons trafficking. Matthew John Heath was arrested in September outside Amuay and Cardon oil refineries in possession of a submachine gun, a grenade launcher, C4 explosives, a satellite phone and bricks of $20 bills. The Venezuelan government also alleges that he was found carrying a small coin or badge that CIA employees use to prove their identity to one another without raising suspicions. On Wednesday, Heath pled not guilty to all charges. Situated in Falcon state in the west of the country, the Amuay and Cardon facilities are the largest refineries in the oil-rich nation, considered an enemy of the United States since it elected socialist president Hugo Chavez in 1998.
Emily Arnott from the group Palestine Action told The Electronic Intifada that she found the suggestion “absolutely ridiculous.” Arnott confirmed that members of London’s Metropolitan Police recently interviewed her in a Manchester police station. A Metropolitan Police officer “implied that what Palestine Action is doing could be considered [to be] terrorism and that we could be charged under terrorist offenses,” she said. The interviewing officer said the amount of damage allegedly caused by Palestine Action “could possibly push it into the remit of alleged terrorist offenses, but they would not be considered terrorist offenses at that time,” Arnott explained. Arnott has been charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage against property belonging to Israel’s Elbit Systems in the UK and its property manager Jones Lang LaSalle.