Liberty Has Been Lost

By Paul Craig Roberts

January 06, 2009 "
Information Clearing House" -- I had just finished reading the uncensored edition of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, In The First Circle (Harper Perennial, 2009), when I came across Chris Hedges article, “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists”. In Hedges’ description of the US government’s treatment of American citizen Syed Fahad Hashmi, I recognized the Stalinist legal system as portrayed by Solzhenitsyn.

Hashmi has been held in solitary confinement going on three years. Guantanamo’s practices have migrated to the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan where Hashmi is held in the Special Housing Unit. His access to attorneys, family, and other prisoners is prevented or severely curtailed. He must clean himself and use toilet facilities on camera. He is let out of solitary for one hour every 24 hours to exercise in a cage.

Hashmi is a US citizen but his government has violated every right guaranteed to him by the Constitution. The US government, in violation of US law, is also subjecting Hashmi to psychological torture known as extreme sensory deprivation. The bogus “evidence” against him is classified and denied to him. Like Joseph K. in Kafka’s The Trial, Hashmi is under arrest on secret evidence. As the case against him is unknown or non-existent, defense is impossible.

Hashmi’s rights have been abrogated by his government with the allegation that he is a potential terrorist or perhaps just a terrorist sympathizer. Another American citizen, Junaid Babar stayed with Hashmi for two weeks and allegedly delivered ponchos and socks to al Qaeda in Pakistan. Allegedly Babar used Hashmi’s cell phone to reach others aiding terrorists. The US government says that this suffices to implicate Hashmi in Babar’s activities.

Babar made a plea bargain to five counts of “material support” for terrorism, but is working off his prison sentence by testifying as a government witness in other terror trials, including in Canada and the UK, and as the US government’s only evidence against Hashmi.

Hashmi’s real offense is that he is a Muslim activist defending Muslim civil liberties and making provocative statements about the US. As Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, has pointed out, federal courts have given the US government wide latitude to use Hashmi’s exercise of his constitutionally protected rights to free speech and association as evidence of a terrorist frame of mind and, thereby, of intent to commit terrorism.

Brooklyn College professor Jeanne Theoharis warns us that an American citizen can now be tried on secret evidence. “You can spend years in solitary confinement before you are convicted of anything. There has been attention paid to extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib with this false idea that if people are tried in the United States things will be fair. But what allowed Guantanamo to happen was the devolution of the rule of law here at home, and this is not only happening to Hashmi.”

Indeed, Hedges reports that “radical activists in the environmental, [anti]-globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements are already being placed by the state in special detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism.” Hedges warns: “This corruption of our legal system will not be reserved by the state for suspected terrorists or even Muslim Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who are branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will endure later.”

The silence of bar associations and law schools indicates an astounding insouciance to Thomas Paine’s warning: “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” Some of my Republican and conservative acquaintances are even gleeful that, finally, we are going to get tough and deal forcibly with “these people.” They naively believe that they themselves will remain safe when law ceases to be a shield of the people and becomes a weapon in the hands of government.

In “A Man For All Seasons,” Sir Thomas More cautions against cutting the law down in order to chase after devils, for with the law cut down, where do we stand when the devil turns on us?

Clearly, these fundamental questions are of no concern to the US Department of Justice (sic), to Congress or the White House, to the “mainstream media,” to the American people, or even to very much of the federal judiciary.

Glenn Greenwald pointed out in Salon (Dec. 4, 2009) that the Convention Against Torture, championed and signed by President Ronald Reagan and ratified by the US Senate, states: “Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency may be invoked as a justification of torture. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offenses under its criminal law.”

Two decades later the US government tortures at will. Justice (sic) Department officials write memos authorizing torture despite the ratified Convention Against Torture, US law, and the Geneva Conventions. The Pew Poll reports that 67 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats support the use of torture.

And Americans think they have freedom and democracy and live under the protection of the rule of law.

The law is lost, and with it American liberty.

Dr. Roberts is co-author with Lawrence Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions, a book that documents Americans’ loss of the protection of law.


The Liberty was ordered sunk by Lyndon Johnson. This simple error reveals the prejudices and total lack of scholarliness of this "report" on the Detroit plane bombing. BC

                                                                         GIVE US THE USS LIBERTY
                                                                                 by Barry Chamish

    In my recent review of Jeff Gates very anti-McCain book, I cited his claim that:

    - John McCain's father, led the government commission of inquiry which exonerated Israel for deliberately and with deadly purpose, almost sinking the USS Liberty in 1967.

    The issue of the Liberty has deeply poisoned the American relationship with Israel. It is a far greater thorn than Israelis understand because, in fact, Israel did try to kill every sailor on board The Liberty. If I needed persuasion of that, I got it with the correspondence I began with two officers of the Liberty, as well as my personal meetings with British documentary maker, Peter Hounam, who made a highly damning of Israel film of the incident, shown on the BBC.
    My conclusion, and it gibed well with Hounam's, was that Israel was creating another Lavon Affair, trying to lure the US into the war against Egypt, as it had done by bombing American targets in Cairo during the mid-50s. But one problem gnawed at me; The Liberty was hit on June 8, when Israel had already as good as won the Six Day War. In short, why bother? 
     The standard pro-Israel line was taken by the Loftus and Arons book, The Secret War Against The Jews. Within, the authors assert that the Liberty was intercepting Israeli military messages and funneling them to the Syrians. The two Liberty officers I had a dialog with vehemently denied the claim, and frankly, I believed them way more than Loftus and Arons. After all, they were there, while Loftus and Arons collected known public sources into a book filled with no shortage of errors.
     That's how things stood until information arrived on the wave of my last article. Admiral McCain was not covering for Israel, he was protecting Pres. Lyndon Johnson, who ordered Israel to attack the Liberty. It all began when my reader, Maria, sent the following internet data:     

June 8, 1967 during the 6 day war between Israel and the Arab Nations President Lyndon B. Johnson sends the U.S.S liberty to collect electronic intelligence in the eastern Mediterranean. The clearly marked U.S. ship was 14 miles off the coast of Israel in international waters. Israel's aircraft identified the ship as an American vessel and an ally. At 2:00 PM that afternoon the U.S.S. Liberty was attacked by two unmarked Mirage 3 fighter bombers The U.S.S. Liberty was then attacked by three Israeli torpedo boats bearing Israeli flags. The torpedo boats opened fire with high caliber machine guns and launched torpedos. The torpedo boats then began strafing life-rafts in the water, an international war crime. During the attack the U.S.S. Liberty continually called the 6th fleet which was nearby begging for air support. Two groups of fighter aircraft were sent to defend the Liberty but unbelievably they were recalled by the White House. The Admiral in Command of the sixth fleet called Washington to confirm the recall order. Secretary of Defence MacNamara came on the line followed by the president himself who told the Admiral, "I want that G D Ship going to the bottom" Finally after 3 hours into the attack a Russian spy ship appeared so the Israelis withdrew because there were witnesses allowing the Liberty to limp home to safety. Here is what really took place. President Johnson had personal control over the ship, made a backroom deal with Israel to attack it with an order to kill everyone on board. Then the attack was to be blamed on Egypt and U.S. would enter the war and take over the entire Middle East.

If Johnson made Israel do the sinking, Israel is much of the way home to redemption. Cutting to the chase, it wasn't Israel's idea. Israel still did the killing, and muffed the attack with an amateurish show of its military prowess, but it wasn't the leader of the hit squad. That's far better than being left in the lurch as the mafia's don.
     So I spoke with the author and broadcaster Dr. Stan Monteith, ( who has long researched the Liberty attack and boasts a 4 CD set of interviews, including with the seamen and officers of the ship. He was direct: "Of course Johnson gave the order. But he received his orders from higher up."
     "So the attack on The Liberty wasn't an Israeli decision?" I asked.
     "It was an American action forced on Israel," he answered.

       More research was necessary and this led to such an obvious scenario! The Americans sink ships to start wars. The Maine was sunk to get the Spanish American War rolling. The Lusitania and the attacks on the shipyard at Pearl Harbor were caused by provocation and deliberate military neglect, but they got the Americans to stumble awkwardly and reluctantly into two world wars. But Johnson himself was an active proponent of the sink a ship and go to war philosophy:   
1964 The Gulf of Tonkin In the summer of 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson needed a pretext to commit the American people to the expanding covert war in south East Asia. So the Gulf of Tonkin incident was staged claiming that Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked a U.S. destroyer off the coast of Vietnam. This staged incident paved the way for 58,000 American deaths and over 1.500.000 Vietnamese.

      The reason to sacrifice over 200 American sailors was the American, and actually accurate perception, that Egyptian President, Gamal Abdul Nasser had drifted into the Soviet camp and threatened to make much of the Middle East, Russian clients. As Johnson saw it, Nasser had to go and fast. A pretext for war was all that was necessary. But Israel just couldn't sink The Liberty and screwed up the best laid plans of the whole operation.
       Nasser was not ideologically a communist. And America wanted him as an ally so much that the Eisenhower administration abandoned its allies Britain, France and Israel, who won the Sinai War of 1956, but excluded the US from the action and the spoils. It was over a dam that Nasser brought the Soviets to the most powerful country in the Middle East, with much communist mischief to follow. Following the Sinai Campaign, Nasser's grandiosity was so out of touch with reality, that he demanded the Americans build him a huge dam at Aswan and pay for it to boot.
       American engineers went to work and foresaw a project that would hold back the Nile's silt, little by little collecting behind the dam, making the dam less efficient until it would serve no purpose at all; meanwhile killing off the small fish of the Nile delta which feed off the silt, ultimately destroying most of the fishlife of the Eastern Mediterranean. Back on land, farmers would be forced to turn to chemical fertilizers to replace the silt, much of the world's greatest storehouse of antiquities would be drowned, all the while Egypt had enough oil to provide electricity of the non-hydro variety just as cheaply.
       The Americans said, no. And all the dire predictions came true. So, Nasser threw the Americans out of Egypt and brought Russian communism in, with promises to spread the ideology. All this happened because the Americans had betrayed their natural allies of the Suez Campaign, and they now felt humiliated and really ticked off. Especially when Israel used French planes to destroy the Air Forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan.
       Sinking The Liberty would get rid of Nasser for good, and quickly create an American-led Egypt, with an obedient quisling like Anwar Sadat, though he would rise a few years later after Nasser was given a killing stroke at age 51. This point is not proven but when I told Peter Hounam my suspicions, he answered, "You know, a lot of Arabs think that."
       And finally we have the reason Moshe Dayan turned into Israel's top traitor of his day. As Chief-0f-Staff of the IDF, Dayan HAD to have given the order for his Air Force to sink the Liberty. Johnson may have given the actual command, the American navy did nothing to rescue the stricken ship, but Dayan had the blood of 37 American sailors on his hands and if he didn't play major league ball, he and Israel would be turned into friendless lepers.
       Dayan began quickly, by handing over control of the Temple Mount, won by Israel with buckets of blood, to the Jordanian Wakf, the consequences of which are felt deeply to this day. Then in October 1973, as Defence Minister, under the duress of Henry Kissinger, Dayan agreed to give Egypt and Syria a full day to regain lost territory. The consequence of not pre-empting the Yom Kippur War was over 2000 dead Jewish soldiers in two days. After Pres. Carter forced PM Begin to take Dayan into his cabinet as foreign minister in 1977, Dayan abused his position to sway Begin to accept an accord with Egypt, that gave up every square inch of the Sinai to Sadat. This decision led directly to Egypt today allowing the Sinai to be a rocket funnel for Hamas.
       There were endless debts to be paid, and America offered Israel $3.2 billion in annual aid to keep its mouth shut. But Israel bore the existential brunt of Dayan sinking close to the entire Egyptian navy, but accidentally keeping afloat one American ship too many.




Israeli ICTS Connection To Pollard
& Schiphol Airport
By Wayne Madsen
NOTE : ICTS International N.V. was founded in 1982 by a select group of security experts, former military commanding officers and veterans of government intelligence and security agencies. The company's goal was to develop and implement pioneering aviation security concepts and systems, with particular emphasis on high-risk environments.

In the ensuing years, ICTS International N.V. spearheaded the development of innovative aviation security concepts and solutions, which were adopted by regulators in the US, Europe and other countries as the industry standard. To complement its solutions the company also developed over 45 modular aviation security training programs, which are continuously being updated to ensure that they cover all relevant material in view of new regulations, current threats and anticipated risks. ICTS International N.V. quickly established its position as a world leader in the provision of security consulting and personnel services to the aviation industry, expanding its global presence to over 90 locations worldwide and its client base to over 120 clients, including all major US and numerous other airlines.

"ICTS is also linked with Israeli espionage against the United States. An ICTS board member, retired Major General Amos Lapidot, served as commander of the Israeli Air Force and authorized Israeli Air Force Colonel Aviem Sella, operating under official cover at the Israeli Consulate General in New York, and Rafael Eitan, head of LAKAM, an Israeli military technical intelligence gatherer, to accept U.S. Navy intelligence official Jonathan Pollard's offer to spy for Israel."

  December 26-29, 2009 -- Who let security fail at Schiphol Airport and why?

  Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the University College London student from Nigeria accused of trying to detonate a mixed liquid-powder device on a Northwest Airlines/Delta Airbus 330, flight 253, as it approached Detroit from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Christmas Day appears to have received some special treatment from security at the Amsterdam airport. The Mutallab case also resembles that of another attempted plane bombing, that of the hapless "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.

  It has also been revealed that Mutallab is the son of Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, the former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria. According to This Day of Lagos, the elder Mutallab claims he reported the extremist views of his son to Nigerian security agencies, as well as to the U.S. embassy in Abuja, yet no attempt was made to prevent the radically-inclined Nigerian student to board the plane in Schiphol. The attempted plane bomber was schooled at the British International School in Lome, Togo and attended college in London and moved to Egypt and Dubai. The elder Mutallab is a frequent visitor to the United States and he is married to a Yemeni woman. ...

  For a number of years, passengers at Schiphol flying to the United States have been subjected to intense grilling by security personnel linked to an Israeli firm.  In fact, these procedures were in effect even prior to the 9/11 attacks and many were put into place after the Pan Am 103 bombing in December 1998. U.S.-bound passengers at Schiphol are asked a number of personal questions, including where they have stayed either in the Netherlands or in their country of origin. Hotel receipts are routinely requested by security personnel and the addresses of private temporary residences are recorded. Mutallab boarded a KLM flight in Lagos for Schiphol where he transited for his onward flight to Detroit on Northwest/Delta.

  Six months prior to Reid's near shoe bombing of American Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami in December 2001, while memories of 9/11 were still fresh in everyone's mind, Reid attempted to board an El Al flight from Schiphol to Tel Aviv. Reid was taken aside by El Al security and identified as a terrorist suspect. Reid paid for a one-way ticket with cash and would not reveal what he planned to do in Israel. However, rather than turning Reid into Dutch security for further action, he was allowed to board the El Al flight by Israel's Shin Bet security so his movements during his five days in Israel could be monitored. Six months later, Reid attempted to ignite his shoe on the flight from Paris to Miami. Israel had not informed British, American, or any other security agency of the concerns about Reid. Reid's aunt, Claudette Lewis who raised Reid in south London, was quoted as saying she believed her nephew had been "brainwashed."

  Reid later said El Al failed to detect that he had explosives in his shoes on the flight to Tel Aviv, an amazing revelation considering the Israeli airline's tight security. .. The links between El Al security and Mossad are extremely close with abundant cross-pollination of senior personnel back and forth.

  The security company that allowed Reid to board American Airlines 63 at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris was ICTS (International Consultants on Targeted Security) International. ICTS's senior management are all ex-Israeli security officials, many of whom worked for El Al security.

  In 2003, ICTS's chairman, Ezra Harel, and director Menachem Atzmon were detained and questioned by police in a criminal investigation of Harel's business dealings. Harel was accused of paying bribes to Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) director Dan Cohen, an Israeli attorney who subsequently fled to Peru, for a lucrative contract involving Harel's company Rogosin Industries and IEC. The illegal deals involved off-shore entities created by Cohen in the Channel Islands, Velsheda, CN, Cusley International Ltd. and APK Ltd. and Cobalt, an entity created by Harel to launder money through Bank Leumi in New York. Harel and Atzmon were also involved in a questionable deal in acquiring the port of Rostock, Germany through an entity called Kent Investment Holding Ltd. Atzmon operated through a number of entities, including Harmony Ventures, BV, Albermale Investment, Ltd., and Seehafen Rostock, the company that was managing the operations of thr port of Rostock.

  ICTS's president was Lior Zouker. Zouker stepped down in 2004. Harel, who started ICTS in 1982, retired in 2003 and was replaced by Elie Housman. Harel, a U.S.-Israeli dual citizen, died shortly after retiring. Harel for years had used Delawar-based corporations to conduct his worldwide business activities while his Israeli banking partner, Atzmon, was based in Zurich.

  It was ICTS that largely developed the passenger "profiling" procedures used at Schiphol and other airports around the world through its subsidiary, ICTS Holland Products BV.

  A significant shareholder in ICTS is an entity called "Everest Special Situations Fund LP" of Platinum House, 21 Ha'arba'a St.. Tel Aviv. According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the Everest entity is also financially linked to Metro One Telecommunications of Beaverton, Oregon; Simon Worldwide, an advertising firm in Los Angeles; Gyrodyne of New York City, a non-residential building operator; and Concord Camera Corporation, which, significantly, was headquartered at 4000 Hollywood Boulevard, Presidential Circle, 6th Floor, North Tower, Hollywood, Florida.

  ICTS is also linked with Israeli espionage against the United States. An ICTS board member, retired Major General Amos Lapidot, served as commander of the Israeli Air Force and authorized Israeli Air Force Colonel Aviem Sella, operating under official cover at the Israeli Consulate General in New York, and Rafael Eitan, head of LAKAM, an Israeli military technical intelligence gatherer, to accept U.S. Navy intelligence official Jonathan Pollard's offer to spy for Israel.

  ICTS International, headquartered in Amstelveen, Netherlands, is also involved in providing various security controls at Schiphol airport. ICTS has a major presence around the world in airport security with contracts at Hong Kong, Bangkok, Suva, Auckland, Singapore, Macau, Chicago O'Hare, London Gatwick, Newark, Los Angeles, and Belfast. In 1999, Detroit airport abruptly canceled its security contract with Argenbright Security Inc. and replaced it with Huntleigh of St. Louis. Huntleigh had recently been purchased by ICTS. In December 2001, Huntleigh/ICTS screeners at San Diego Interntional Airport placed a dummy "test" grenade in the carry-on baggage of an unwitting Chicago-bound passenger. Huntleigh/ICTS also provided "security" at Boston's Logan Airport on September 11, 2001.

  In June 2009, ICTS was reportedly teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and was attracting  a number of potential buyers. ????