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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Obama Covers Up Israel's Nukes

In his press conference the other day, President Obama was asked by one reporter whether he knew if any countries in the Middle East currently possess nuclear weapons. He responded only by saying that he "didn't want to speculate," followed by some routine rhetoric.

This was disingenuous. While they have never made it official, it is understood by all observers that Israel has had a nuclear program for many years, and probably at least one or two operational weapons. In fact, when scientist Mordechai Vanunu quit the program and went public with what he knew, they jailed him and held him incommunicado for a couple years. But, evidently, Obama intends to continue our "special relationship" with Israel, whereunder it is never acknowledged that they could be the destabilizing element in the region.

This recalls his famous "speech on race." In a less remembered portion thereof, he differentiated himself from his former pastor by saying he recognizes the threat to Middle East peace as coming from Islamic extremists, and "not from staunch US allies like Israel." Note the implication that a US ally, ipso facto, cannot be the problem. This was a perfect example of what polymath Tariq Ali, in his book The Clash of Fundamentalisms, calls "imperial fundamentalism": the assumption that the United States and its allies are inherently good, and therefore cannot be on the wrong side in any world conflict -- at most, it's assumed, we may occasionally make well-intentioned mistakes. No matter how much evidence accumulates of imperial amorality, the logical conclusion is never drawn.

And, speaking of cover-ups, here's another one. Last week the radio program America Abroad did a story reviewing the recent history of Afghanistan, in the course of which an old official lie was regurgitated. As I wrote them a moment ago:

Your story perpetuated the official myth that US support for religious extremists in Afghanistan began in response to the Soviet invasion. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski actually admitted, in an interview he gave to Le Nouvel Observateur which appeared in the French edition, what some of us had said from the beginning: that this aid to feudal/fundamentalist reactionaries started before the invasion -- five months before, to be exact. A translation of this article can be read at:

While claiming it wasn't their intent, Brzezinski admitted they knew this aid might well provoke a Soviet military response, and that they would regard the resulting quagmire for the USSR as a welcome outcome.

And the Afghani people, especially Afghani women, be damned.

A translation of the interview is copied below.

Eric Hamell

Brzezinski's Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur

Le Nouvel Observateur: Former CIA director Robert Gates states in his memoirs: The American secret services began six months before the Soviet intervention to support the Mujahideen [in Afghanistan]. At that time you were president Carters security advisor; thus you played a key role in this affair. Do you confirm this statement?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version, the CIA's support for the Mujahideen began in 1980, i.e. after the Soviet army's invasion of Afghanistan on 24 December 1979. But the reality, which was kept secret until today, is completely different: Actually it was on 3 July 1979 that president Carter signed the first directive for the secret support of the opposition against the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And on the same day I wrote a note, in which I explained to the president that this support would in my opinion lead to a military intervention by the Soviets.

Le Nouvel Observateur: Despite this risk you were a supporter of this covert action? But perhaps you expected the Soviets to enter this war and tried to provoke it?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: It's not exactly like that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene but we knowingly increased the probability that they would do it.

Le Nouvel Observateur: When the Soviets justified their intervention with the statement that they were fighting against a secret US interference in Afghanistan, nobody believed them. Nevertheless there was a core of truth to this...Do you regret nothing today?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Regret what? This secret operation was an excellent idea. It lured the Russians into the Afghan trap, and you would like me to regret that? On the day when the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote president Carter, in essence: "We now have the opportunity to provide the USSR with their Viet Nam war." Indeed for ten years Moscow had to conduct a war that was intolerable for the regime, a conflict which involved the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet Empire.

Le Nouvel Observateur: And also, don't you regret having helped future terrorists, having given them weapons and advice?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: What is most important for world history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? Some Islamic hotheads or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Le Nouvel Observateur: "Some hotheads?" But it has been said time and time again: today Islamic fundamentalism represents a world-wide threat...

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Rubbish! It's said that the West has a global policy regarding Islam. That's hogwash: there is no global Islam. Let's look at Islam in a rational and not a demagogic or emotional way. It is the first world religion with 1.5 billion adherents. But what is there in common between fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, moderate Morocco, militaristic Pakistan, pro-Western Egypt and secularized Central Asia? Nothing more than that which connects the Christian countries...


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