News and opinions on situation in Iraq
20/11/04 On executions, beheadings, and other propaganda operations By Larry Chin
  Online Journal Associate Editor

http://onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/112004Chin/112004chin.html

November 20, 2004—The pattern has been consistent and obvious. Every news report or scandal that has been detrimental to the Bush/Anglo-American war agenda has been followed, within hours, with shocking executions (real and staged) that are attributed to “terrorist insurgents,” despite questionable circumstances, non-verifiable evidence and unreliable sources, such as “unnamed” intelligence and military officials.

The parties responsible for these acts have not and likely will not be identified, thanks in large part to deliberate US/Pentagon blackouts of reporting from war zones, and disinformation-laden and Bush-controlled corporate media.

What is clear, regardless of the identities of the perpetrators, is that the results have exclusively benefited the US/Bush administration war machine, while completely undermining the political and public relations objectives of anti-US/anti-occupation opposition movements and groups. The methods used in the kidnapping and murder of Margaret Hassan, Nick Berg and others neatly fit the profile of classic western intelligence and counterinsurgency operations.

Margaret Hassan

Reports of the genocidal mass murder, atrocities and war crimes now being committed by US forces in Fallujah (also see dispatches by Dahr Jamail from Iraq) have been “countered” by a video of the apparent execution of Margaret Hassan, a CARE relief official who was beloved and respected by Iraqis and non-Iraqis alike. This act, blamed on insurgents, has prompted outrage among Iraqis against rebel fighters.

But was the Hassan killing part of a British intelligence operation? An account by a Jordanian journalist:

“The British have tried to insure against any potential backlash from the general public and its own Labour MP's (in the event things go badly wrong) by instructing its agents on the ground inside Iraq to kidnap Margaret Hassan, the Care International charity worker.

“The recent communiqué from the Mujaahideen has exposed the British insurance policy and has denied any JTJ involvement in the kidnapping. The kidnapping will send the message to the British public that the Iraqi resistance is comprised of monsters and serial murderers—and there can be no response other than wiping them from the face of the earth—thereby prolonging the redeployment of the British troops in the region near Baghdad.”

Indeed, the kidnapping and execution of Hassan make no sense, except as an intelligence operation by US, British or US-allied operatives:

“But why would the resistance kidnap somebody who has provided humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq for 25 years? Is it possible the Iraqi resistance wants to deny the Iraqi people humanitarian assistance? Of course not. In America, the corporate media answers the above question every day—the Iraqi resistance is fanatical, murderous, nothing more than a loose confederation of terrorists, criminals, Islamic madmen, demented sadists who blow up car bombs in crowded market squares and kill women and children, their own neighbors. However, there is another possible explanation: the kidnapping of Margaret Hassan is part of a counterinsurgency operation devised to make the resistance look bad and thus turn world opinion against it.”

For over 20 years, Hassan herself was one of the most powerful voices on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. And recently, she was a critic of the occupation. In a previous videotape, Hassan pleaded for the British to get out of Iraq. She was a public relations liability.

Toretta and Pari Kidnappings

In September 2004, two young Italian humanitarian aid workers, Simona Toretta and Simona Pari, were kidnapped under suspicious circumstances. This was blamed on insurgents and/or terrorists connected to Zarqawi.

According to an investigation by the UK Guardian, Iraqi insurgents were not behind the kidnapping of the two Italian aid workers:

“The Guardian said the kidnapping of Simona Torretta and Simona Pari has the mark of an undercover foreign operation in a bid to discredit the unabated Iraqi resistance against US occupation forces.

“The mass-circulation newspaper adds more suspicion on foreign involvement in the operation as it was carried out only few meters from the heavily patrolled Green Zone with no interference from Iraqi police or US military.

“The Guardian maintains that the weapons used in the operation were more sophisticated than those usually used by the Iraqi resistance as the kidnappers used AK-47s, shotguns and pistols with silencers and stun guns, while the Iraqi resistance fighters always use the rusty Kalashnikovs.

“Most striking, according to the British daily, the kidnappers wore Iraqi National Guard uniforms and identified themselves as working for [Iraqi Prime Minister] Iyad Allawi.”

Nick Berg Execution

In the spring of 2004, Nick Berg was “executed” by US or US-allied intelligence operatives to divert attention from the torture scandals at Abu Ghraib.

There is also ample evidence that the videotaped execution of Nicholas Berg in the spring of 2004 was a complete fabrication, based on a detailed analysis by La Voz de Aztlan. Despite this, and other debunkings, the Berg beheading remains a lurid image that prompts “anti-terrorist” hatred.

Daniel Pearl

The killing of journalist Daniel Pearl was similarly twisted to benefit the “war on terrorism” propaganda, and to ignite fury against alleged al-Qaeda terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Just as Margaret Hassan was a public relations problem that needed to be nipped in the bud, Pearl was a nuisance. He had been pursuing links between terrorism, terrorist groups and intelligence agencies, and was going after Pakistan's ISI (a virtual CIA branch), shortly before he was murdered.

The Mushrooming Post-9/11 Nightmare

It is clear that most, if not all, of the conveniently-timed kidnappings and executions, false terror alerts, Osama Bin Laden videos, “al-Qaeda” arrests, constant Zarqawi drumbeat (also see here)—have been staged and exploited for Anglo-American war propaganda, timed in order to 1) distract from the truth of unilateral Anglo-American aggression, 2) turn world opinion against those resisting US-led war and occupation, and3) maintain the fear, shock and hate-based myth of “terrorism” and “the fanatical outside enemy.”

At the same time, what cannot be ignored is that violent outrage on the part of the victims of US-led aggression will spiral out of control—if it has not already. As US-led aggression has continued to escalate, it has driven its victims to increasingly desperate acts of resistance and self-preservation. By design.

As Mike Ruppert writes in Crossing the Rubicon: “Even if there weren't [terrorists] before 9/11 (and there were), the US has gone out of its way to create animosity against this country that is in full flower all over the globe.” From the “war on terrorism” to the bombing, invasion and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. From the massacre at Mazar-I-Sharif to the torture cells of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Today in Iraq, American soldiers are killing with fanatical bloodlust—-grotesquely demonstrated by the daily slaughter in Fallujah, the mosque murders, and the earlier incidents such as the “mercy killing” of innocent Iraqis unloading a garbage truck.

In this nightmarish world of endless and expanding war, and continuous cycles of provocation and response, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the brutality of criminal aggressors from acts of resistance to this aggression. Just as Israel and Palestine have been locked into unending cycles of unpredictable and uncontrollable violence for decades, the entire world, lit by the 9/11 “war on terrorism” powder keg, is set for the same.

This war, and the propaganda that fuels it, must be stopped.

Larry Chin is a freelance journalist and an Online Journal Associate Editor.

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