Archive | May 8th, 2020

Silvercorp co-founder speaks with The Grayzone: What did State Department know about failed Venezuela invasion?

The Grayzone speaks to Drew White – a close friend and business partner of Silvercorp mercenary firm founder and failed Venezuela coup leader Jordan Goudreau – about the botched invasion and potential involvement of the Trump administration.

By Anya Parampil

On May 5, I spoke at length to Drew White, a former US Army Green Beret and the COO of the Silvercorp mercenary firm which spearheaded a botched invasion of in Venezuela on Sunday, May 3. On May 4, I made contact with Jordan Goudreau, the Silvercorp CEO whom US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido and his Miami-based advisor, J.J. Rendon, personally contracted to lead the operation.

While Goudreau seemed nervous and suggested I call back the following day, White spoke at length about his peripheral knowledge of the failed plot as well as his relationship with the two Americans Green Berets currently in Venezuelan custody.

White lives in Colorado Springs, a good distance from Melbourne, Florida, where both Silvercorp and Goudreau are based. He said he broke with Goudreau over the boneheaded coup plot, telling The Grayzone he thought it sounded insane.

White emphasized that he was uncomfortable with the plan because its leaders did not appear to have concrete US government backing. He said that although Goudreau claimed to have a State Department contract, he hadn’t seen one, which led him to question the legality of the operation. White hoped his army buddy and former best man at his wedding did not go through with the mission. He wished they had stuck with their original business plan, which was to provide school security.

But unfortunately, the plot went through, even after Goudreau– whom White described as a “true believer”– had been exposed by name in the Associated Press. Now two of their army friends are in Venezuelan custody, and face criminal prosecution in the country for planning to kidnap and possibly kill its elected leader, President Nicolas Maduro.

So what drove Goudreau and his crew to follow through on their batshit operation? And what did Mike Pompeo’s State Department know about it, and when? White’s testimony raises they key question: why did Goudreau believe he had a State Department contract in the first place?

Pompeo says the US government had no “direct involvement” in the operation. Even if true, his assertion still leaves the door open to possible indirect support, such as reconnaissance or logistics assistance. What’s more, just days before Goudreau’s failed operation, Pompeo told reporters he was instructing his team to “update [their] plans to re-open the US embassy in Caracas”. Why?

In the video above, I put these questions to White and offers my own thoughts about them afterwards, asking how it is possible that US citizens were running a private military operation in Colombia without the knowledge of US embassy staff in Bogotá. I also question the role of US diplomat James Story, who has managed a “U.S. Virtual Embassy” to Venezuela out of the Colombian capital since he was kicked out of Caracas last spring.

A full transcript of my interview with White is below:

DREW WHITE: This is Drew.

ANYA PARAMPIL: Hi, Drew White?

DW:  Yes. 

AP: Hi. How are you? My name is Anya Parampil. I’m a journalist based in Washington DC. I’m calling because I saw that you are listed as the COO on a corporation called Silvercorps USA. 

DW: Very familiar. Correct

AP: And and I was wondering, I mean, I guess you know the question if you had any thoughts about what’s been going on in the news lately regarding Silvercorps and Jordan. I’ve been trying to reach him, but I’m just curious what exactly you think about what’s gone on in Venezuela. Were you aware of any of this?

DW: So I mean, I’ve been talking to the media that calls when I catch it. My position and involvement is pretty transparent so, Silvercorps started as a company to supervise school security. Training special operations soldiers, law enforcement, putting them in schools to prevent active shooter events, right?

AP: Mhmm.

DW: Well, that was going, starting to work out, and then, you know, we broke ways, he started contracting overseas. And then he contacted me about this Venezuelan operation which appeared at the moment to be a State Department operation, right? Well I started to look into it, the contract didn’t line up. So we broke ways there and then I didn’t, you know get involved in the actual operation… it didn’t seem like a sanctioned operation.

AP: Right, so why do you say it was State Department?

DW: It was a contract that was presented as a State Department contract. I just didn’t see it as that. It did not appear to be a State Department contract.

AP: But he was trying to suggest it was?

DW: Yeah I mean he said it was, yeah. I mean he said it was. [laughs]

AP: Do you think that maybe even though it wasn’t officially a State Department contract that there were US officials involved?

DW: As far as I can tell there’s no US involvement in this at all.

AP: So what exactly was Jordan’s relationship with [Trump personal bodyguard] Keith Schiller?

DW: I’m not sure. Apparently they’ve talked but I’m not privy to it. I don’t know the relationship. I’ve never met the guy, never talked to him. I was just told that there was a relationship. 

AP: Yeah, it seemed that Jordan has done security for Trump events.

DW: Yeah, I mean [in audible]… it doesn’t mean affiliation. But, I don’t, there was nothing essentially, it appears that there might have been something with [Guaidó]. You know, the actual… [man the US] recognized as President, but as far as the U.S. working with Silvercorps, I’ve never seen a State Department contract, ever.

AP: Mhmm, but he didn’t mention that he even was speaking with US officials or that they were supporting it other than just the vague references to Schiller?

DW: Correct.

AP: So you’re not in contact with him or have you spoken with him since all this went down? 

DW: No. I mean, it’s been a while since we talked. So, I mean, I don’t know, I don’t know, much other than, you know we started originally the school security company and then now it’s named in this.

AP: What is Jordan like?

DW: Great guy. You know he was the best man at my wedding, close personal friend. Love the guy, just don’t know [inaudible] this direction honestly, you know, I just sort of at a loss for words at this point.

AP: Yeah, it’s kind of concerning because it seems like he would even be maybe at risk for arrest or something like that right now. 

DW: Yeah, I’m just worried about them, like I said I love the guy. He’s like a brother to me.

AP: So why do you think he got so caught up in the Venezuelan opposition? Did he tell you that they had told him that this was a guaranteed, surefire operation, that it would just take a little bit of support?

DW: I mean essentially you had [Guaidó’s] backing and, you know, and I guess the assumption might have been that you know, if that’s like the supposed person to take over from Maduro, that maybe that seemed legitimate at that point. I just, again, I know enough because of everything that’s breaking now, so, but I just didn’t think it would actually… you know he talked about it, you know okay,  whatever, and then once we had heard about it, and then it seemed that it wasn’t a State Department activity, no, that’s when I was like I can’t, I can’t be a part of any of this. You know what I mean? Because I own several companies around here and you know, I have my wife and kid and you know, they’re my priority. So I’m  like look, man, like if it’s in the realm of legality and not a lawyer but I looked at it and it just didn’t seem right to me, you know? That would mean, I didn’t just I didn’t have all the information on it. But for me, my gut check was like: I don’t want to be a part of this. 

AP: Yeah, I understand. Do you two have any idea where money may have come from, he mentioned crowdsourcing?

DW: I mean that’s the part I heard is that you know, I guess these Uber drivers, other people I know on our end, no money, no money was there, it just wasn’t legitimate from our standpoint. It doesn’t mean that you know, [in audible]now it’s just so open-ended. I just, I know him as the best man in my wedding, and close friend and teammate, we served together overseas. [inaudible] I just see him as that. I woke up Friday, you know, and saw this stuff breaking, and that actually a live operation went down. Luke Denman and Airan Barry were teammates of mine– so I’m like–

AP: I was going to just add is going to ask you about them. I mean, it’s crazy now because they’re–

DW: Luke Denman is a close personal friend of mine.

AP: So did you speak with them before they were getting involved in this or did they tell you–

DW: They went off… I mean they didn’t really, everyone was pretty closed on it. Obviously, I essentially told anybody that was looking at it that, it did not seem viable. You know I’m like this doesn’t… 

AP: It just seems a little crazy.

DW: Yeah you’re right. I mean to me, I look at– but like I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know what I don’t know, I just look at it from the outside and what was presented to me, you know, the business decision. This doesn’t make any sense. I’m out. I don’t want anything to do with it. So, I was doing school security and that’s what I wanted to do.

AP: Yeah, this is a big leap from that. So did the two other men the ones who are now detained– there’s been rumors floating in Venezuela that one of them is a DEA agent, that one of them said that they had connections–

DW: None of them are DEA. They’re both prior service. Special forces members. Luke and Airan are both Green Berets, have no attachment to DEA or CIA ops.

AP: There were also claims that they were connected to Trump security as well?

DW: None of them. 

AP: Do you get the sense that Jordan maybe wanted to do this in order to prove himself to the Trump Administration or like make himself into the next Erik Prince something like that?

DW: Nah, he’s, Jordan, is, he’s a decent guy, he’s an intelligent guy, I truly believe, honestly, I think he did this for, he truly believes that him removing Maduro is better for the people there. Like, honest to God.

AP: I believe that. But I just think–

DW: I think he maybe, I don’t know if it was a conversation he had with people from… I don’t know. You know I don’t know what I don’t know, again. But from what I got from him is that, he spent a lot of time in South America. I think he grew an attachment for it. And I think he thought he was going what was right. 

AP: In Colombia, or where?

DW: He started in Colombia with you know that [Richard Branson] concert he did security for? That’s when that all opened up.

AP: Do you know how he ended up with that contract?

DW: Uhh, he was doing contracting in either the Dominican or Puerto Rico and he had a contact there that got him involved.

AP: And so from that point he kind of met the Venezuelan opposition–

DW: That’s what I’m thinking. I mean I was, I’m a mortgage and insurance guy. So, I did 12 years in Special Operations, that’s a past life for me. I’m separated from it, have my family. I don’t know… like I have no clue honestly… it’s like one of your friends that calls you every few months, right? You just pick up where you left off and just, you know making sure that he was okay. That’s what I cared about. You know I have a lot of friends that, you know, die or kill themselves or whatnot and so that was like my biggest thing… making sure the guys were okay. When he calls and he’s like ‘I’m over here in South America’– are you okay?— ‘yeah I’m okay’– like, that’s all I need to know. That’s all I care about.

AP: Yeah, I guess I understand why what you’re saying about him being so convinced that he you know, removing Maduro is the right thing and I think a lot of people feel that way, but it takes something else to actually go this far after, especially because last year there was a failed military uprising like, and I can tell you I’ve spent a lot of time in Venezuela and people who do understand the situation would look at this plot and say it’s totally absurd. So I wonder–

DW: No, I agree, I just you know, in where we’ve been in for myself personally: Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, you know multiple places across the world… um… I just don’t see anything more than the fact that, I truly believe that… I’m sorry I’m just distracted now because I see the news talking about all this crap… in my office.

AP: It must be surreal. 

DW: Yeah, but he is a, he is a ‘true believer’ as we say where we come from.

AP: In the military?

DW: Yeah. You know like he believes in… people should be free, they should not be oppressed, you know whatever… mattered to him. I mean he came out and said it: I did this for no money, I have no clue what’s going on. I don’t know I just don’t know what he’s doing, I just don’t see him getting past what I can see [inaudible]

AP: Did you ever meet any of the Venezuelans he was dealing with or hear about them?

DW:  No, no, like again I got pulled into this because I was listed as the COO of the school security project. He refiled again, and you know I’ve had threats against myself, and everything on social media.

AP: I’m sorry about that.

DW: Yeah I’m like waking up to this on a Friday… [laughs]

AP: Yeah, I’m sorry about that. It’s really, I mean, I think everybody was shocked because it was just so insane, but I can’t imagine, yeah, you had this personal relationship with him. What would you want to say to him now?

DW: Oh, I love the guy… um… I don’t know [goes silent]

AP: I hope he’s okay.

DW: Absolutely.

AP: But, so you haven’t tried to get in touch with him?

DW: No, I mean, that’s what I told people, I was like look. My responsibility is my family.

AP: Yeah, totally. Well, I did speak with Jordan yesterday and he was very friendly and he said that he wanted to speak with me today and I haven’t been able to reach him. So I guess I’ll just hope that maybe he’ll resurface again.

DW: Just text him. I mean like, just tell him like, I care about the guy.

AP: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I bet .Well, let’s stay in touch. I will let you know if I hear from him.  I know he’s your friend. I don’t want to like put you in the position where you have to tell me, but I guess we’ll have to hear more. We’ll learn more about where he is. And what’s going on in the next few days. 

DW: Yeah, absolutely. I mean it’s just… one, I mean, Airan and Luke are the priority.

AP: Yeah.

DW: I mean we all know it [inaudible] but the thing is, like with Jordan. You know my thing is he’s such an intelligent guy. Like I don’t know what’s going on, if he was misled and something happened. You know what I mean? Like, none of it adds up to me. It’s just like in the first AP article, none of this makes sense to me.

AP: Yeah. I think that’s a lot of us. And it seemed like he was– well all of the media it seemed is kind of like attacking him and it’s like it’s trying to blame him alone for it, forget about the Venezuelan opposition, and I mean, I would still like to ask Jordan if maybe there were US officials coaxing him along, maybe not directly supporting him, but maybe giving him confidence.

DW: Yeah. And the thing is, we’ve seen what happened. These guys, I mean, we just don’t know. Everything is so, it’s just, I don’t know. I feel bad for the guy, I hope, I hope that he, in the end he’s exonerated. I have some anger towards this for being listed on there, I mean that pisses me off that my family’s put in jeopardy for something I’m not involved with, you know. It’s been pretty wild. But really the ultimate part to me is that my family, and that Jordan and Airan and Luke are just okay in the end. Regardless of what happens, or charges, or whatever. I just want them to be able to, whatever, recover and do what they need to do. Just be back, and their families don’t have to worry about it either. 

AP: Yeah,  do they have families?

DW: Luke’s Mom was today, I mean, both families. You know what I mean? Like, your parents. 

AP: Yeah.

DW: Yeah, you know, just hearing Luke’s mom, right her statement was just, like heartbreaking. I mean it’s ridiculous. The whole thing is ridiculous.

AP: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I hope it will deescalate.

DW: I really do, you know what’s funny, you I just know what’s true and I don’t worry about it I don’t have to remember anything because its all what happened. I don’t know the operational side but I remember when it was brought up and you know, I just wish the guys went back to doing the school security shit. [laughs]

AP: Yeah, I’m sure they do too.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, C.I.A, VenezuelaComments Off on Silvercorp co-founder speaks with The Grayzone: What did State Department know about failed Venezuela invasion?

Exclusive: OPCW chief made false claims to denigrate Douma whistleblower, documents reveal

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The Grayzone has obtained documents exposing numerous falsehoods and misleading claims by OPCW Director General Fernando Arias to degrade the reputation of Douma whistleblower Ian Henderson.

By Aaron Mate

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has made false and misleading statements about two veteran inspectors who challenged a cover-up of their investigation in Syria, leaked documents show. The inspectors probed an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018, and later objected when their evidence was suppressed. 

Documents obtained by The Grayzone reveal that OPCW leaders have engaged in a pattern of deception that minimized the inspectors’ senior roles in the Douma mission and diminished the prestige they enjoyed within the world’s top chemical weapons watchdog. 

OPCW Director General Fernando Arias has claimed that the first inspector, South African chemical engineering and ballistics expert Ian Henderson, “was not a member” of the Douma investigative team and only played a “minor supporting role.” 

However, contemporaneous communications from the OPCW’s Douma Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) directly contradict Arias. They show that Henderson was indeed a Douma team member, and that OPCW leadership directed him to lead its most critical inspections. They also show that Arias, rather than acknowledge that Henderson was an FFM member, offered up a false explanation for why Henderson was in Syria at the time of the probe. 

Arias has also disingenuously minimized the role of the second inspector, known only to the public as “Inspector B.” This will be examined in part two of this article. 

The OPCW’s investigation was triggered when extremist anti-Syrian government militants and Western states accused the Syrian army of dropping gas cylinders on two buildings in Douma, killing dozens of civilians. The U.S., France, and Britain bombed Syrian government targets days later, asserting their right to enforce the chemical weapons “red line.” After a nearly year-long investigation, the OPCW issued a final report in March 2019 that claimed “reasonable grounds” existed to believe that a chlorine attack occurred. 

However, a trove of leaked documents has shown that the OPCW leadership suppressed and manipulated evidence that undermined the allegation against the Syrian military. The first of such leaks was an engineering assessment authored by Henderson that concluded that the gas cylinders in Douma were likely “manually placed.” 

That conclusion suggested the incident was staged on the ground by the armed militants who controlled Douma at the time. Additional leaks later revealed that Inspector B protested the censorship of critical evidence and toxicology reports, as well as the manipulation of chemical samples and witness statements. Henderson and B also complained that OPCW leaders excluded all of the Douma investigators except for one paramedic from a so-called “core” team that wrote the organization’s final report. 

In response to the scandal, OPCW Director General Arias convened an inquiry into the Henderson leak and unveiled its findings in February 2020. In a bid to strip Henderson and Inspector B of credibility, Arias and the inquiry team painted the two as rogue actors with only peripheral roles.

Evidence obtained by The Grayzone reveals that Arias’ characterization of the two inspectors was inaccurate, and contradicted by facts OPCW officials kept private. 

“ODG is happy if the visits to the cylinders and hospital are led by Ian Henderson”

Arias and the inquiry team have asserted that Ian Henderson was not an official participant in the Douma investigation. Henderson, they claimed, “was not a member of the FFM” [Fact-Finding Mission], and instead merely “accompanied the FFM to certain sites of interest” in a “minor supporting role.” 

Contemporaneous OPCW documents undermine this characterization, revealing that the OPCW leadership disingenuously minimized Henderson’s involvement by issuing false statements and omitting key facts about his real role.

An April 2018 letter obtained by The Grayzone shows that while it was headed by Arias’ predecessor, the OPCW’s Office of Director General (ODG) specifically requested that Henderson lead inspections at three high-priority locations in Douma. The letter, an operations communication from OPCW headquarters, instructed the Douma team to visit the two locations where the gas cylinders were found; the hospital where a video was filmed of alleged gas attack victims; and a fourth, redacted location. 

“…ODG is happy,” the letter instructed, “if the visits to the cylinders and hospital are led by Ian Henderson.” 

Extract from an OPCW communiqué on behalf of the Director General’s Office. The full document can be viewed here.

The April 2018 directive by OPCW leadership for Henderson to lead the inspections at three of the investigation’s most critical and sensitive locations was completely at odds with the claims by organization leadership that Henderson merely “accompanied the FFM to certain sites of interest,” and “assisted” in a “minor supporting role.” 

The two cylinders were undoubtedly the mission’s most important inspections: it was at these locations that the alleged chemical weapons attack took place, and the cylinders were the alleged means of delivery. The fact that Henderson was tasked with leading the inspection of the alleged crime scene shows that OPCW leaders did not see him as playing a “minor supporting role,” but a major leadership one. 

“Ian HENDERSON | FFM”

If Henderson was “not a member” of the Douma Fact Finding Mission, as Arias now claims, why did his predecessor’s office specifically request that Henderson lead three inspections at the mission’s most important locations? The answer is that Arias had made another false statement: a second leaked OPCW document from the Douma mission explicitly listed Henderson as an FFM member. 

The document obtained by The Grayzone is a sensitive security-planning memorandum, known as a CONOPS (Concept of Operations). It detailed the operational and security arrangements for one of the FFM’s location visits in Douma. On a page outlining the OPCW’s “Mission Personnel” and their roles, Henderson is listed, next to the title, “FFM.” 

Extract from an OPCW CONOPS document listing Ian Henderson as a member of the FFM in Douma. The Grayzone has viewed the document to confirm its authenticity but is only publishing this extract due to the sensitive nature of the document for UN security operations.

“INSPECTOR HENDERSON, IAN WILL BE PART OF THE TEAM”

In trying to justify his current claim that Henderson was not an FFM member, Arias has adduced the fact that Henderson’s “name is not included in the mandates issued for FFM deployments signed by my predecessor.” But Arias’ account distorts the actual timeline of events and omits other OPCW documents.

As Henderson has previously noted publicly, he was not included in the initial OPCW “mandate,” because at that point he was on a separate mission in Nepal. Upon his return, Henderson was immediately assigned to the FFM team in Douma. The Syrian government was then notified that Henderson was joining the mission – a communication that Arias has conveniently ignored. 

The Grayzone has obtained an “F038” notification document advising the Syrian government that Henderson is joining the Douma mission as a member of the FFM team. “PLEASE NOTE THAT INSPECTOR HENDERSON, IAN WILL BE PART OF THE TEAM CONDUCTING THE TECHNICAL SECRETARIAT VISITS,” the communiqué reads. Henderson is also listed as the newly added member of a 7-person “LIST OF INSPECTORS.”  

Extract from an OPCW notification to the Syrian government adding Ian Henderson to the FFM team of inspectors in Douma. The full document can be viewed here.

Why Henderson was in Douma

Rather than acknowledge the documented fact that Henderson was a member of the FFM tasked with leading some of its most high-priority and sensitive operations, the OPCW has offered an unusual explanation for his presence in Douma. 

The OPCW leadership has attributed Henderson’s on-the-ground involvement to happenstance, the result of his already being in Syria anyway. “[Henderson] provided support to the FFM team investigating the Douma incident since he was at the command post in Damascus at the relevant time,” the OPCW’s inquiry stated. [emphasis added]  “It is customary for the inspector serving at the command post to provide assistance to the FFM.” 

But an OPCW document obtained by The Grayzone shows that Henderson only took over the Damascus command post after the Douma FFM mission had finished its deployment. On May 3rd 2018 – two days after Henderson and the FFM wrapped up 10 days of inspections in Douma – the OPCW’s Damascus mission recorded that Henderson had taken control. 

OPCW document acknowledging that Ian Henderson has taken over the OPCW’s Command Post in Damascus on May 3rd – two days after the end of the Douma FFM’s mission.

“Our best ITL… used for the most complex and sensitive missions”

In addition to making false statements about Henderson’s role in the Douma FFM, Arias and the OPCW inquiry have also made several denigrating statements about the inspector’s standing within the organization that omitted important facts.

In a February 2020 letter published by The Grayzone, Henderson confronted Arias for making “underhanded” and “demeaning” comments that falsely minimized his experience and seniority within the OPCW. Henderson served with the organization since its inception, first from June 1997 to December 2005, and then for a second tenure from June 2016 to May 2019. 

Arias said that Henderson was “eventually… promoted to Team Leader,” when in fact he was among the first group of Inspection Team Leaders (ITLs) to be appointed at the P-5 level – the OPCW’s most senior designation for an inspector. Arias has also claimed that Henderson “was rehired at a lower level” upon his return in June 2016, when in fact, at that point, the P-5 designation for OPCW ITLs no longer existed due to budgetary decisions.

Annual performance appraisals and letters obtained by The Grayzone also reveal that Henderson was highly regarded within the organization. In 2005, the Director of the OPCW’s Inspectorate Division – which oversees all of the organization’s global inspections – wrote that “in all of Mr. Henderson’s annual appraisal reports” during his OPCW tenure, he had received “the highest rating possible.” 

The Director added: “In my opinion, I consider that Mr. Henderson is one of the best of our Inspection Team Leaders… Being one of the best Inspection Team Leaders, Mr. Henderson is aware that he can expect to be selected to lead the most demanding and sensitive assignments.”  

In 2018, an OPCW manager described Henderson as having “a wealth of knowledge,” whose “negotiation talent paired with his technical knowledge and skill make him an asset.” The previous year, a manager lauded Henderson for having “contributed to CBCP [Capacity Building and Contingency Planning Cell] cell achievements significantly.” The manager particularly praised Henderson for “leading and participation” in sensitive contingency operations, including the OPCW’s inspection of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in 2017.

Who went rogue?

In his letter to Arias, Henderson invoked his and Inspector B’s lengthy, celebrated tenures inside the OPCW. “We are long-serving and dedicated OPCW supporters,” Henderson wrote. “We both have reams of documents such as performance appraisals, emails, letters of commendation and others, that reflect a history of service at the highest level in terms of qualifications, skills, expertise, leadership, integrity and professionalism throughout our time at the OPCW.”

“Does this not place the efforts by some to smear our reputations, on questionable ground?” he continued. “As a manager, as the highest official in the Organisation, does this not lead to the question: Why would a pair of the top Inspection Team Leaders, both with impeccable records… suddenly ‘go rogue’?”

The documentary evidence that Henderson played a leading role in the Douma investigation – and that Arias has made false statements to the contrary – adds new salience to those questions. It also raises an inverse question for Arias: why has the OPCW Director General falsified Henderson’s role in the Douma investigation?  

Posted in Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZI, C.I.A, SyriaComments Off on Exclusive: OPCW chief made false claims to denigrate Douma whistleblower, documents reveal

Yet another “dead” foreign bogeyman shows up on TV

ny post kim jong un dead

After the New York Post article, the fake news spread like wildfire through tabloids from TMZ to the Daily Express, to Metro, to The Sun (UK), to the Toronto Sun, to the Irish Post, and finally, The Mirror.

It was then picked up by numerous local media networks in the United States and other countries.

Next, seemingly “respectable” media groups fueled the fake news frenzy, including the National Interest, the International Business TimesYahoo News, and Foreign Policy.

Neoconservative American politicians pounced on the rumors in predictable fashion. Republican Lindsey Graham, the most fanatically militaristic member of the Senate since the death of his friend John McCain, told Fox News with an air of confidence, “I pretty well believe he [Kim] is dead or incapacitated.”

Graham continued, “I’d be shocked if he’s not dead or in some incapacitated state, because you don’t let rumors like this go forever or go unanswered in a closed society, which is really a cult, not a country, called North Korea.”

Americans’ gut instincts that the fake news just “feels true,” after decades of consuming a steady diet of loony regime-change rumors, was taken as proof that it must be true.

On Twitter, the hashtag #KimJongunDead went viral as well, and millions of users swallowed the fake news whole.

Next, a photoshopped picture went viral on social media purporting to show Kim dead in a glass coffin. The image was reported on by Western media outlets like The Sun, a tabloid owned by the same right-wing Rupert Murdoch-owned media group that controls the New York Post.

As the fake news spread across the media ecosystem, Western journalists and professional Korea watchers began mulling the possibility that the presumably dead North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, was being groomed to replace him.

Without any solid evidence, dozens of outlets ran stories confidently asserting that Yo-jong was preparing to take her brother’s place. The Daily Beast even published a piece purporting to explain why she is so “feared” in the country.

The Washington Post printed an op-ed by Jung H. Pak, a former senior analyst at the CIA and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, with the title, “Why we shouldn’t rule out a woman as North Korea’s next leader.”

The GuardianForeign Policy, the BBC, the New YorkerTIMEDeutsche WelleThe Australian, and Newsweek all added to the baseless speculation.

While some of these outlets amplified the phony story while feigning a tone of skepticism, VICE News threw all caution out the window. The “hipster arm of the empire” published an article trumpeting, “A Prominent North Korean Defector is ‘99% Certain’ Kim Jong Un Is Dead.” Its source was a defector trained and funded by the NED.

Posted in North KoreaComments Off on Yet another “dead” foreign bogeyman shows up on TV

Nazi War Crimes Have Killed Americans

Israel’s War Crimes Have Killed Americans

IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG

Israel’s War Crimes Have Killed Americans
The tale of the USS Liberty demonstrates that even fifty-three years ago the United States government was betraying its own people out of deference to the state of Israel and the massive power of its lobby in the U.S.


By Philip Giraldi, reposted from The Unz Review

Imagine if you will a ship from a nation not at war with anyone sailing in international waters on a quiet June day being suddenly attacked by unidentified warplanes and torpedo boats, their markings covered up to conceal their country of origin.

The vessel under attack had little with which to defend itself, but its crew heroically made sure that a large national flag was hoisted to demonstrate that it was not a belligerent in anyone’s conflict. The attackers noted the nationality of the vessel, but persisted in their aggression in a clear attempt to sink the ship and kill all its crew.

The officers on the ship radioed that they were under attack and asked for help, but even though friendly fighter aircraft were within striking distance and were automatically dispatched, they were then mysteriously recalled. The attacks lasted for two hours, longer than the Pearl Harbor attack that brought about American entry into World War 2, killing and wounding more than two hundred of the crew.

Life rafts lowered into the water as the vessel seemed to be sinking were machine gunned by the attacking aircraft and torpedo boats to make escape or evacuation of the wounded impossible but the captain and survivors worked heroically, and successfully, to keep the ship afloat.

When the vessel finally made it back to port, the officers and crew were sworn to silence by their own government and a cover-up was initiated that has persisted to this day. Many of the ship’s survivors have died since that day 53 years ago, and the attempts of the remainder to see justice before they are also gone have been ignored.

I am, of course, referring to the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, which took place on June 8, 1967, nearly 53 years ago. The anniversary of the attack is coming up in a month and the remaining officers and crew will hold a ceremony at the Navy memorial in Washington D.C. to honor the memory of their thirty-four shipmates killed and the 172 who were wounded.

Seventy per cent of the crew were casualties, the highest percentage of casualties on any ship that remained afloat in the history of the U.S. Navy. The lightly armed intelligence gathering vessel Liberty and its heroic crew emerged from the near destruction as the most decorated ship for valor in a single action in the United States Navy.

Israeli willingness to attack and kill Americans unnecessarily, apparently to send a message, has been noted before. There is the case of Rachel Corrie run over by an Israeli bulldozer and of Furkan Dogan, a Turkish-American who was, like the crew of the Liberty, killed in international waters when he sailed on the Gaza relief vessel Mavi Marmara. But in spite of that, the deliberate attempt to destroy the Liberty, which, according to former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, was clearly approved at the highest level of the Jewish state’s government, still has shock value.

Wounded Liberty crewmen on ship
USS Liberty crew wounded during Israeli attack that killed 34 and injured 174.

Israel apologists try to mislead Americans

Israel’s apologists, a virtual fixture at all levels in the U.S. government as well as in academia and the media, have long been making the argument that the attack on the Liberty was some kind of “friendly fire” accident.

But the relatively recent discovery that a Navy spy plane intercepted and recorded Israeli both helicopter and fighter pilots mentioning the American flag displayed by the ship during the attack suggests otherwise. Other recordings made of the Israeli communications revealed that some of the pilots did not want to attack. One pilot said, “This is an American ship. I can see the flag. Do you still want us to attack?” Israeli ground control responded, “Yes, follow orders. Hit it!” before admonishing the pilots to “finish the job.”

But while one expects the Israelis to behave abominably, based on any assessment of the years of war crimes committed in places like Lebanon and what remains of Palestine, the greatest crime against the Liberty crew was committed by the United States government itself. President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara reportedly were informed of the attack shortly after it began and it was Johnson who twice personally ordered the recall of the U.S. fighter planes going to rescue the Liberty.

Admiral Lawrence Geis, commander of the carrier group in the Mediterranean that the planes had launched from, objected and McNamara responded testily that “President Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors.” It was McNamara, again acting on LBJ’s orders, who had the crew sequestered after the ship made it to Malta, issuing a “gag-order” over the incident with the understanding that anyone who spoke up would be secretly court martialed and imprisoned.

To maintain the cover-up, Captain William McGonagle, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in saving the ship, had his medal awarded without any publicity in a private ceremony at the Washington Naval Yard rather than at the White House as was otherwise normal. The President of the United States did not make the award, yet another dismissal of the valor of the Liberty crew.

Normally an attack on a U.S. Navy vessel would have mandated an official Court of Inquiry, but in the case of the Liberty an improvised team consisting of Admiral Isaac Kidd and Chief Counsel Ward Boston was pulled together in the Mediterranean under orders from Admiral John S. McCain, father of Senator John McCain, who was based in London.

The Navy’s official ‘Court of Inquiry’ therefore consisted in reality of just Kidd and Boston making a quick visit to the Liberty at sea and then rushing back to Washington via London, where McCain endorsed the 700 page draft document without reading it. The hastily prepared report bypassed all ordinary fact-finding and legal review procedures and no one knows what channels the ‘Findings of the Court of Inquiry’ followed in Washington.

Acting under orders from the White House, the inquiry had been given only a week to prepare its report, a procedure that normally requires six months. The result was also predetermined by McNamara acting for LBJ, who ordered that the conclusion would be that the attack on the Liberty had been a “case of mistaken identity.”

No crewmen from the Liberty were even allowed to provide formal testimony during the inquiry proceedings. Nevertheless, the inquiry’s chief counsel Ward Boston subsequently confirmed in a sworn affidavit that he and Kidd had strongly disagreed with the coerced findings, believing instead that Israel had staged an unprovoked attack intending to sink the ship and kill all the crew. Admiral Kidd referred to the Israelis as “murderous bastards.”

Boston also observed that the transcript of the court of inquiry that was subsequently released had been altered, presumably by someone acting on behalf of the White House, to delete and change testimony damaging to Israel. [Captain Boston’s affidavit here and video interview here.]

LBJ & the Krims

As is often the case, there is a back story to what happened to the Liberty.

In the years prior to the attack on the Liberty, President John F. Kennedy was concerned over powerful and wealthy American Jews attempting to hijack U.S. foreign policy to favor Israel. He also took steps to prevent Israeli development of nuclear weapons.

After he was assassinated, his successor as president Lyndon B. Johnson, who has been described as having a political career “interwoven with Jews,” saw things quite differently. He turned a blind eye over the Israeli nuclear program and surrounded himself with Jewish friends and advisors who were actively engaged in promoting the Zionist agenda, some of them plausibly as actual agents of Mossad.

Most prominent among that group were the Krims, Arthur and Mathilde, he a leading media lawyer and studio head who was a Democratic Party fundraiser and she a geneticist, a Swiss born convert to Judaism who had lived in British Mandate Palestine with her first husband, an Irgun terrorist. Jewish terror was a cause which she actively supported.

The Krims were regular companions of LBJ throughout his presidency, with a reserved room in the White House and a house near his ranch in Stonewall Texas when he was on vacation there. Johnson also stayed at their mansion in New York.

At the time of the Six Day War when the Liberty was attacked, the Krims were constantly at the side of LBJ and it is generally accepted that they were both working on behalf of the Israeli government to cultivate a decisive presidential tilt towards Israel. Johnson, in fact, was informed of the Israeli intention to go to war against its neighbors in advance and gave the green light, even agreeing to come to the aid of the Jewish state if things went wrong. To seal the deal, Mathilde was even having an affair with LBJ, a situation well known to White House staff and to the Secret Service.

Since 1967, there have been a number of documentaries, books and unofficial inquiries regarding the attack on the Liberty, but resistance from the usual suspects has meant that the story has not become better known. Meanwhile Congress, the Pentagon and the White House have refused to authorize fair and impartial formal hearings that would recognize the deficiencies in the 1967 inquiry and which would include testimony from the remaining Liberty survivors.

Senator John McCain was notorious for his offhand treatment of entreaties from the survivors as was then congressman and now governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, a former Navy Seal. DeSantis now calls himself the most pro-Israel governor in the United States.

Commission led by Four Star Admiral concludes attack was deliberate

The most serious unofficial inquiries have involved former military officers.

In 2003, Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, formed an independent commission of inquiry to look into the attack.

The commission, which included Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, Marine General Ray Davis, and Ambassador James Akins, reviewed all documentary evidence in the case and interviewed both survivors and other naval officers who were involved indirectly.

They learned that the Liberty had been surveilled by the Israelis for at least eight hours prior to the attack and that the ship was both clearly marked as American and was unmistakable as a uniquely configured and immediately recognizable intelligence collection vessel, not even close to the profile of an Egyptian horse transporter as Israel subsequently claimed. During the carefully planned attack, Israeli used radio jamming in an attempt to prevent the Liberty from radioing its predicament.

Moorer’s commission concluded that Israel had deliberately attacked the Liberty and sought to sink it and kill its entire crew. The crewmen who were killed were “murdered” by Israel while the U.S. should have regarded the attack as an act of war and responded appropriately. The cover-up of what had taken place was ordered by the White House and the fact that the truth about the incident continues to be hidden is a “national disgrace.” In an op-ed Moorer wrote in 2004 [also published in Stars & Stripes], he concluded by asking “Did our government put Israel’s interest ahead of our own? If so, why?”

In October 2003 the Moorer commission presented its report on Capitol Hill, though its audience was often limited to congressional staffers rather than the understandably fearful members. One year later Representative John Conyers of Michigan overcame considerable resistance to have the report and some accompanying information entered into the Congressional Record. During the briefing the commission  aired Loss of Liberty, a documentary that included actual interviews with survivors.

Moorer and Admiral Staring, a former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, who had been the legal officer in the McCain office in London who had not been allowed to carefully review the Court of Inquiry report, continued to advocate for an honest investigation of the attack on the Liberty until they died in 2004 and 2013 respectively.

Fifth column may lead to US ruination

Which leads us to the present and the question of justice for the U.S.S. Liberty survivors who will be gathering next month. The tale of the Liberty demonstrates that even fifty-three years ago the United States government was betraying its own people out of deference to Jewish power and to the state of Israel.

If anything, as horrific as the killing of 34 personnel on board of the Liberty was, the situation has gotten even worse as Washington sends billions of dollars to the Jewish state annually while also giving its kleptocratic government a green light to commit war crimes and other aggressions that will ultimately draw in the United States, and could plausibly bring about our ruination.

It is unpleasant to say the least to watch an unrestrained and unprincipled client state do terrible damage to a much larger patron enabled by the machinations of a dual-loyalty fifth column, but that is what we are seeing.

And the actual rot really began with the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, when patriotic Americans died at the whim of a feckless president who loved a foreign country more than his own. One hopes he is rotting in hell. Today few Americans even know about the Liberty even though they are now facing an election in which two presidential candidates will seek to outdo each other in expressing their love for Israel. Trump and Biden should instead take pause and first demand as a sine qua non justice for the survivors of the U.S.S. Liberty.

RELATED READING:

Moorer Commission: Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty, the Recall of Military Rescue Support Aircraft while the Ship was Under Attack, and the Subsequent Cover-up by the United States Government

American Legion calls for full investigation into Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty

New revelations in attack on American spy ship

For USA Today, Freedom of the Press Means the Right to Report It Wrong

Israeli documents on USS Liberty: ‘Americans have findings showing our pilots were aware the ship was American’

Aid and Comfort to the Enemy: American Legion Honchos Betray Liberty Veterans

The Six Day War and Israeli Lies: What I Saw at the CIA

The Unz Review: The USS Liberty Wins One!

One Freedom Flotilla Passenger was a USS Liberty Survivor

Mathilde Krim (1926-2018): Ardent Zionist Who Influenced LBJ During Six-Day War

More documents about the USS Liberty

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