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Sunday, September 24, 2017

ANDREW KREIG: Wecht, CAPA Challenge Warren Report Defenders Sabato, Shenon

Tenacious Kennedy assassination investigators continue probe            

By Andrew Kreig, Esq.

Disclosures this summer about President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination are prompting a blistering dispute on whether new "scientific evidence" proves that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK as a lone gunman — or whether the claim against Oswald is part of an ongoing media cover-up of the truth. 

Dr. Cyril H. Wecht
During the historic JFK document dump this year ordered by Congress, forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril H. Wecht (shown at right) repeatedly challenged two media darlings, politics professor Larry J. Sabato and author Philip Shenon, for claiming that recent scientific disclosures confirm the Warren Commission’s controversial finding in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald alone killed Kennedy. Wecht — a former county coroner for 20 years based in Pittsburgh and a forensics expert who has studied the JFK death for five decades — repeatedly requested without success last month that Sabato (shown in a file photo below) cite his evidence for claiming in a Politico column co-authored with Shenon that “21st century forensic science demonstrates that Oswald was almost certainly the lone gunman in Dallas.”

Larry Sabato

Several other prominent researchers, including acoustics expert Dr. Donald Byron Thomas, also have strongly criticized the Sabato-Shenon columns, which suggest in part a highly controversial theme that Cuba Communists may have supported Oswald.

The Politico article, How the CIA Came to Doubt the Official Story of JFK's Murder, was published in print on Aug. 3 and followed a similar column here that Sabato and Shenon co-authored for the Washington Post on July 25. Both columns followed the National Archives release on July 24 of some 3,810 previously suppressed JFK assassination records.

In a law passed unanimously in 1992, Congress started a process that requires these and other remaining documents pertaining to the Kennedy assassination to be disclosed by Oct. 26. The National Archives staff has suggested that at least one more document release will occur by then. Some four million pages of other documents have been released previously. These previous releases have provided the public with an increasingly complete picture of a murder that changed American history in many ways extending to the present.

Here's more about this summer's scientific dispute: 

Kyle Kondik, a colleague of Sabato's at the University of Virginia, instructed Wecht that if he wants proof of Sabato's scientific proof Wecht should read the books published in 2013 by Sabato (The Kennedy Half Century) and Shenon (A Cruel and Shocking Act).

Kondik is managing editor of "Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball," which is affiliated with the Sabato-run Center for Politics at the university. Television and cable news outlets frequently host Sabato to speak about current events. That celebrity helps generate many invitations for Sabato and Kondik to share their views for print publications, including a Washington Post news story Sept. 22 that called Kondik a "respected" political observer. Media outlets focus repeatedly on just a few of the nation's thousands of professors whose expertise is relevant to current affairs.

Wecht replied that neither the Sabato nor Shenon book documents any specific reference to new “21st century forensic science” studies that prove that Oswald was the lone gunman in the JFK assassination.

"Professor Sabato must know this, and so do you," Wecht continued in blunt correspondence with Kondik that is reprinted in full below.

"To slough me off as if I were some unknown simpleton is highly insulting," continued said the 86-year-old Wecht, who has authored or co-authored more than 50 books, taught medical students, and served as head of medical societies, among other accomplishments.This weekend, he is in Key West performing what he described as his 420th autopsy of the year.

Wecht then came to his main point in writing Sabato, who was being buffered by Kondik:

"More importantly," Wecht wrote, "is the harsh fact that Professor Sabato and Mr. Shenon have publicly expressed a statement that is untrue. Millions of people who have read their article are now misinformed."

Another professor and author, Dr. David Byron Thomas, separately has described the supposed findings of Sabato and Shenon as entirely unsupported and as best described as "fake news."

More generally, this debate is important because it involves specific facts that are widely neglected elsewhere, whether in media, museums, universities or other institutions that we in the public naturally assume are studying such matters in a rigorous and unbiased manner.

Kennedy, shown in a file photo with his wife and children, remains an object of intense public interest, as indicated by a current photo exhibit at the Newseum, a Washington, DC-based museum that focuses on news coverage of American history. The exhibit is “Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe.

But this editor's experiences with Newseum staff, including an author lecture and a separate preview of the photo exhibit during VIP preview this summer primarily for museum donors, indicated minimal interest from the museum's expert research staff in hard questions about JFK's death, including why CIA, FBI and other agencies have fought so long and hard against document releases and exploring tough questions. Instead, the museum focuses primarily on the more marketable legacy of the fondly remembered Kennedy era of glamor, idealism and "Camelot," as indicated by the title of the photo exhibition.

Our column today primarily covers the specific dispute over scientific evidence. Contending are a camp of JFK scientific researchers typified by Wecht against Sabato, Shenon and those in the mainstream media who promote them.

Our follow-up column, Part II, will address in greater depth the major financial reasons why so little discussion occurs in so-called prestigious media and academic circles regarding scientific evidence in the JFK case, even from ostensibly independent media outlets. As a preview, the track record of these outlets for decades has shown that they either ignore evidence challenging the Warren Commission or deride proponents of such evidence as "conspiracy theorists."

Our two columns thus focus narrowly on scientific and related media aspects of the current controversy. But this dispute inevitably raises the background questions of why Kennedy was killed and why the mysteries surrounding his death continue to percolate in more than 2,500 books so far, plus countless movies, articles and other debates. These are highly relevant to a host of issues, including the current Public Broadcasting System (PBS) series The Vietnam War, directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. This is a 10-part series that began on Sept. 17. It omits JFK's growing opposition to war, according to critics familiar with advance screenings of the series or the episodes shown so far.

Our Justice Integrity Project, now in collaboration with the Wecht-chaired research group Citizens Against Political Assassination (CAPA), addresses these larger issues in a Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination. The Readers Guide started in 2013 during the 50th anniversary retrospectives of the Kennedy death and legacy. The Readers Guide consists so far of 40 columns. One column lists the major books and features all significant viewpoints, including the Warren Commission's view that Oswald alone killed JFK because of Oswald's supposed Communist views and disordered personality.

In related news, CAPA announced this week that registration is open for the mock trial State of Texas vs. Lee Harvey Oswald that CAPA has been organizing for civic education from Nov. 16-17 on the campus of the South Texas College of Law in Houston, which is the co-sponsor. Registration is here. Beginning on Sept. 25, the college website will be the site for registration. 

Background On Assassination-Era Players

In 1963 after Kennedy's assassination during a presidential motorcade through downtown Dallas, incoming President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a seven-member Warren Commission led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the killing. The commission issued its "Warren Report" in September 1964 to universal acclaim by the media even before any of them had time to read the findings and evidence contained in 26 volumes. The material appeared to confirm the conclusions of FBI officials and other law enforcers made immediately after the shooting and pinning the blame entirely on Oswald.

Earl Warren

The major findings included assertions that: 1) Oswald acted alone in killing the president with three shots fired from behind with a bolt-action rifle; 2) Oswald acted from pro-Communist motives and disordered personality; and 3) Jack Ruby — who killed Oswald in a Dallas police station two days after JFK's killing — had no connections to the mob.

The commission's claim about Ruby (shown below killing Oswald) is largely beyond the scope of this column.

But the matter is worth describing briefly for two reasons:

First, virtually all serious researchers describe the whitewash of Ruby's mob connections as one of the most demonstrably false parts of the commission's report. Ruby had been a longtime associate of top Mafia leaders in Chicago and New Orleans, including New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, whose turf encompassed Dallas.

The practical results of whitewashing Ruby's past include removing from public discussion, at least initially, the possibility that Ruby might have been ordered to kill Oswald by others. Investigation of any such order to kill would have opened, in turn, a Pandora's Box of what we now know as strong working relationships during that era between various anti-Communist allies.

That anti-Communist web included Kennedy-haters among Big Business (including the defense sector and in Texas, New Orleans and other parts of the South), the mob, the Cuban exile community and the CIA. The agency had sub rosa working relationships with each of those groups that were focused heavily on mutual desire to overthrow Cuba's Communist leader Fidel Castro, as many declassified documents, books and whistleblowers have revealed through the decades.

Evidence now strongly suggests also that Oswald was merely pretending to be a Communist in his role as a low-level asset for military and law enforcement handlers. 

Oswald had been a U.S. Marine from 1956 to 1959, and he worked on the highly classified U-2 spy program in the 1950s in Japan. After his supposed defection to the Soviet Union for 2 1/2 years beginning in 1959, he returned to the United States under mysterious circumstances and in 1962 worked six months for a Texas defense contractor specializing in classified air photo spy materials,

That latter job alone during the Cuban Missile Crisis is enough to prompt suspicions that Oswald could not really have been merely the Communist sympathizer that he claimed to be.

During a super-secret meeting of the Warren Commission on Jan. 22, 1964, Dulles is quoted as advising other commissioners that they must squelch for the good of the country the rumors at the time in journalism and law enforcement circles that Oswald had worked with authorities. The official transcript was halted, but another one has surfaced.

Warren is shown in a photo collage above along with six other commissioners and two staff counsel (Arlen Specter and David Belin, shown in the bottom row at center and right). The staff performed much of the work under Chief Counsel Lee Rankin while the commissioners were busy with their day jobs for the most part.

The one commissioner without a full-time job then was Allen Dulles, the former CIA director whom Kennedy had forced out of office in late 1961 along with two top CIA deputy directors, Richard Bissell and Gen. Charles Cabell, brother of then-Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell. Kennedy was furious over their war-mongering and attempts to mislead him, records and witnesses now show.

The mayor had had his own relationship with the CIA as a secret asset beginning in 1956, according to a document released this summer by the National Archives.

Current Players: Sabato-Shenon v. Wecht-Thomas

Larry Sabato is director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of The Kennedy Half-Century, a 603-page book published in 2013 and released in tandem with an educational website intended as a major national venue for JFK historical research. Important decision-makers with strong funding sources have clearly positioned Sabato and his viewpoints as a leading academic voice in shaping public opinion on Kennedy, his death, and legacy.

Sabato writes in his book that a variety of ballistics, medical and other scientific evidence exists regarding the assassination but that it is hard to assess, in part because too much of the most vital material has been suppressed.

Sabato writes (on page 241) that he therefore decided to focus his "advanced analysis" on a Dallas police Dictabelt, which was an audio recording made during JFK's Dallas motorcade.

Thus narrowing his "advanced" focus to that topic, Sabato gives the Dictabelt extended treatment (pages 241 and 248), including the results of special acoustics research by a lab.

On that basis, Sabato concludes that the Dictabelt does not document four gunshots (as some have argued) compared to the three gunshots that the FBI and Warren Commission concluded that Oswald, and Oswald alone, fired from the rear. The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), a successor to the Warren Commission and the most recent official investigation of the JFK killing, concluded in 1979 that there may have been four shots, partly on the basis of the Dictabelt. The HSCA thus suggested that "conspiracy" was a possibility.

Sabato treats other scientific data in a chapter "Examining the Physical Evidence" (pages 208 to 230), which concludes that the physical evidence is inconclusive. In essence, his default position in his book and columns thus uses the Dictabelt evidence to undermine Warren Report critics and rely for the most part on the official story. He does keep his options open by the raising the possibility that new evidence may turn up proving critics correct.

Yet Wecht and most other critics of the Warren and HSCA Reports focus their forensic investigations most heavily on bullet and medical evidence. Wecht is a prominent forensic pathologist and author, as noted, and also a consultant, attorney, and former coroner who continues an active practice of autopsies, public speaking and civic leadership.

Wecht has long argued that forensic evidence proves that Oswald could not possibly have fired from the rear the fatal shot killing Kennedy and wounding Texas Gov. John Connally, who was sitting in front of Kennedy during their motorcade through downtown Dallas.

Wecht is supported by other medical doctors experienced in gunshot wounds and autopsies, They argue that the official story -- particularly coming from the FBI and the Warren Commission, which relied for the most part on the FBI -- is physically impossible and so there must have been another shooter besides Oswald, even assuming that he was a gunman and not a total patsy.

To illustrate that these matters are not personal and simply fact-based, Wecht proudly states that he remained friendly until death with the late Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the staff counsel on the Warren Commission most responsible for devising and arguing the "Single Bullet Theory" blaming Oswald exclusively for the multiple wounds inflicted on Kennedy and Connally.

Wecht, who frequently lectures against that theory, notes also that the Vincent Bugliosi, a former Los Angeles prosecutor who authored the 1,612-page 2007 book Reclaiming History defending the Warren Report, asked Wecht to deliver a eulogy at his funeral.

Nonetheless, Wecht remains perturbed that Sabato and Shenon remain relatively unchallenged in the media for their views. 

Shenon, Sabato's collaborator in the columns this summer, is a former Washington correspondent for the New York Times and is the author of the 625-page, 2013 book A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.

Dr. Donald Byron Thomas
The Boston Globe this summer quoted Sabato and Shenon as the only two experts in a major news story about JFK research, What we know about the newly released JFK assassination records — and those yet to come. (The Globe reporter failed to respond to our question why, or whether he quoted other experts in any other story.) Among other critics of Sabato and Shenon this summer have been Dr. Donald Byron Thomas, shown at left. 

He is a professor and author of Hear No Evil: Politics, Science and the Forensic Evidence of the Kennedy Assassination, a 767-page book in 2013 about acoustical evidence in the JFK murder. 

Thomas is a board member of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) and co-authored with researcher Malcolm Blunt and Dr. Gary Aguilar last month a column published on the organization's website: AARC Board responds to Sabato and Shenon

Thomas wrote that Shenon and Sabato indulged in uninformed and unsupported overstatement by claiming in a in the Washington Post that “… 21st-century forensic science demonstrates that Oswald was almost certainly the lone gunman in Dallas….”

Thomas continued:

A novice reading that statement would likely conclude that there have been recent (since 2000) scientific studies that incriminate Lee Harvey Oswald in the JFK murder case. But there are none. Not one. There is not even one that claims to be.

There have been excellent (and otherwise) forensic studies on the JFK evidence in recent years, but none of them inculpate anyone. In short it is a Trumpism – made up – fake news. Shenon and Sabato’s bald claim about the forensics is an alternative fact, the very sort of invention the Washington Post should be striving hard to avoid.

Requests For Comment

Sabato and Kondik have so far failed to respond to our requests for comment for this column, much like they reportedly ignored Wecht's request aside from the email traffic excerpted above and displayed below at greater length in an appendix.

Shenon responded to our request for comment by stating, “In the four years since my JFK book, I have moved on to other projects and not tracked the scientific research on the subject. I do remember being impressed by PBS's effort in 2013.”

That PBS show was NOVA: Cold Case JFK, One-hour NOVA broadcast, first broadcast on Nov. 13, 2013. NOVA describes itself as the nation's most widely viewed science program. We shall explore in Part II of this series the show's funding and staffing. For now, we focus purely on its two historical consultants: Dr. John McAdams and Gerald Posner, who have each advocated that the Warren Commission was correct in concluding that Oswald acted alone to kill Kennedy.

Gerald Posner
McAdams and Posner are prominent as commentators on the JFK killing but also notorious among many fellow researchers for the relentless nature of their advocacy of the official story and their attacks on other researchers. 

Also, they have each been tainted with questions about their professional approaches.

More specifically, Marquette suspended and then terminated McAdams as an associate professor because of what the university described as abusive behavior towards students with whom he disagreed politically.

Posner, an attorney and author shown in a file photo above right, resigned as chief investigative reporter for the Daily Beast in 2003 after allegations of plagiarism.

Why Now?

As noted above, these issues are timely because Oct. 26 looms as the deadline for final release of JFK assassination documents by the National Archives, as required by a unanimous vote of Congress in a 1992 law passed because of public outrage over the case following Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK.

The National Archives announced its first batch of 2017 disclosures on July 24 via National Archives Begins Online Release of JFK Assassination Records.

The dispute raises larger questions about the role of such media outlets as PBS, Politico, the cable channel History, and the Washington Post in slanting coverage to bolster the Warren Commission's controversial findings, in part by relying on a few supposed experts who support the report and marginalizing those like Wecht and a number of others who have been attacking the Sabato-Shenon thesis this summer.

In May, the cable channel History launched a six-part series entitled JFK Declassifiednarrated by former CIA operative Robert Baer. But History pulled the show following two episodes after widespread criticism for promoting the disputed theory that Oswald killed Kennedy and that Oswald's actions were motivated by Communist sympathies and encouragement from either Cuban or Soviet authorities.

Beginning in April, the analytic website Kennedys & King, published and edited by author James DiEugenio, published a six-part series harshly criticizing the factual basis of the History series, whose first segment was JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald.

As a further preview to our Part II, we note that the Justice Integrity Project has documented a pattern whereby major outlets repeatedly confirm the Warren Commission's claim that Oswald killed Kennedy.

These are collected in our our so-far 40-part "Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination surveying nearly all major books, films, archives, events, and points of view. That series is excerpted at the bottom of the appendix below.

Our next installment in the series will examine media coverage in more depth, as noted. That includes the 2013 PBS NOVA episode Cold Case JFK that Shenon has cited as compelling.

In sum, "Fake news" and "conspiracy theory" sound like terrible things no matter what the topic. But they are all the worse if unexamined, especially in the context of such a notorious crime as JFK's murder.

Andrew Kreig

Andrew Keri, Esq.
Andrew Kreig is Justice Integrity Project Executive Director and co-founder with over two decades experience as an attorney and non-profit executive in Washington, DC. An author and longtime investigative reporter, his primary focus since 2008 has been exploring allegations of official corruption and other misconduct in federal agencies. He has been a consultant and volunteer leader in advising several non-profit groups fostering cutting-edge applications within the communications industries. 

As president and CEO of the Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI) from 1996 until 2008, Kreig led its worldwide advocacy that helped create the broadband wireless industry. Previously, he was WCAI vice president and general counsel, an associate at Latham & Watkins, law clerk to a federal judge, author of the book Spiked about the newspaper business and a longtime reporter for the Hartford Courant.

Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World from the mid-1990s and currently, he holds law degrees from the University of Chicago School of Law and from Yale Law School. Reared in New York City, his undergraduate degree in history is from Cornell University, where he was a student newspaper editor, rowing team member, and Golden Gloves boxer. 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig.

Disclosure: This editor is a founding volunteer director of the research group CAPA while continuing to pursue a long career as an independent journalist, lawyer, and strategist. That work has led to professional correspondence or meetings with most of those cited in this column. As noted above, scientific issues will be explored also in a mock trial, "State of Texas v. Lee Harvey Oswald," from Nov. 16-17 on the campus of the South Texas College of Law in Houston, which is the co-sponsor with Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA). Dr. Cyril Wecht is among the experts being called in the case to testify. Registration is here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Spread Of A Single Multidrug Resistant Malaria Parasite Lineage (PfPailin) To Vietnam

Where weaponised SARS, H5N1 fails an engineered parasite is now unleashed in ASEAN  

By Mallika Imwong, Tran T Hien, Nguyen T Thuy-Nhien, Arjen M Dondorp, Nicholas J White

The spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum and the subsequent loss of partner antimalarial drugs in the Greater Mekong subregion1 presents one of the greatest threats to the control and elimination of malaria. 

Artemisinin resistance is associated with mutations in the PfKelchgene. 

Initially multiple independent Kelch mutations were observed,1 but in a recent sinister development, a single dominant artemisinin-resistant P falciparum C580Y mutant lineage has arisen in western Cambodia, outcompeted the other resistant malaria parasites, and subsequently acquired resistance to piperaquine.2 .

Cambodia had adopted dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine as first-line antimalarial treatment, but has now been forced to switch its first line artemisinin combination treatment back to artesunate-mefloquine as a consequence3. 

This dominant multidrug-resistant parasite lineage, identified first in Pailin in western Cambodia and tentatively denoted as PfPailin, then spread to northeastern Thailand and southern Laos2. 

Transnational spread of multidrug resistant PfPailin. The artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum C580Y lineage (PfPailin) was detected first in Pailin, Western Cambodia, in 2008.2 It later acquired piperaquine resistance and spread east. 8 years later it has now reached the south of Vietnam encompassing all four countries of the Eastern Greater Mekong subregion.

We now find that the PfPailin lineage, with associated piperaquine resistance (evidenced by amplification in the PfPlasmepsin2 gene), has spread to the south of Vietnam where it is responsible for alarming rates of failure of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine—the National first-line treatment (figure).4 Microsatellite typing of 86 of 152 P falciparum isolates from the Binh Phuoc locality in 2016 shows the same flanking sequence surrounding the PfKelch C580Y gene as that observed in parasites from the affected areas of the other three Greater Mekong subregion countries.2 

The evolution and subsequent transnational spread of this single fit multidrug-resistant malaria parasite lineage is of international concern.

We declare no competing interests. This study was supported by Mahidol University, Thailand and the Wellcome Trust. Some of the samples were from the TRAC study supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).


Ashley, EA, Dhorda, M, Fairhurst, RM et al. Tracking Resistance to Artemisinin Collaboration (TRAC). Spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. N Engl J Med. 2014; 371: 411–423

Imwong, M, Suwannasin, K, Kunasol, C et al. The spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in the Greater Mekong Subregion: a molecular epidemiology observational study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2017; 17: 491–497

Thanh, NV, Thuy-Nhien, N, Tuyen, NT et al. Rapid decline in the susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in the south of Vietnam. Malar J. 2017; 16: e27.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Why Is The USA in Afghanistan? An Answer To The Big Question

And just how many TRILLION U.S. taxpayer dollars have gone to support the luxury lifestyles of Afghan warlords?

By Caleb Maupin

The USA has been occupying Afghanistan since 2001. Why? Both supporters and opponents of US Afghan policy give murky answers. 

As of October 18th, 2016, there have been 2,386 
U.S. military deaths in the War in Afghanistan;
1,834 of these deaths have been the result of
hostile action; 20,049American servicemembers
have also been wounded in action during the war
Supporters of US efforts say they are in the country to fight terrorism and help the country rebuild and move toward democracy. Opponents of the occupation say the USA is seeking to control its rare minerals such as neodymium, indium, gallium, and lanthanum which are essential in making computer chips. These answers are insufficient. As for terrorism, since 2001, the presence and strength of terrorist groups in Afghanistan has vastly increased. 

Al-Queda, ISIS, various warlords, Jundallah, and many terrorist groups, most of which had minimal presence under the Taliban government, are now all across the country. 

Even the Taliban itself, the government the USA toppled in the 2001 invasion, has not vanished, and still controls a large portion of the country. If the USA is in Afghanistan to fight terrorism, its efforts have not only completely failed, and but had the opposite of their intended affect.

So, is it all about the minerals? Is the USA seeking to get control of these vital rare earth elements which are key in making modern computer chips? Well, perhaps this is a factor for seeking to control the country, but its worth noting that in the entire 16 years of the occupation, the USA and its allied Afghan government have never moved forward with any plan for mineral extraction. Michael Silver, the CEO of American Elements wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on August 30th, essentially begging the US government to go ahead and “help Afghans exploit their mineral riches.”

If the occupation of the country were motivated purely out of desire to plunder the rare earth minerals, wouldn’t it have been done by now? 16 years is a long time to put off something, if indeed, it is the entire basis of the military operations. It is also unlikely that a CEO would publicly beg the President to do something, if it was secretly the entire basis for the operation.

In fact, talk of Afghanistan’s mineral resources and the untapped trillions to be made from them, didn’t show up in the media until 2010, nine years after the US invaded and toppled the Taliban. It was only long after the invasion that geologists were able to determine that such minerals were even in the country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (right) welcoming US Secretary of State John Kerry

The rare earth minerals and the potential of extracting them, could certainly serve as an incentive for the continued occupation, but are not the primary cause. Neither is fighting terrorism.

A Strategic Epicenter For Chaos

A recent article in the New York Times noted the funeral of two CIA officers who had been killed in Afghanistan as the CIA has been moving “too the front lines.” According to the New York Times, the two CIA operatives had “advised a small army of Afghan militants,” essentially the CIA men were embedded into non-governmental armed groups. According to the NYT piece, this strategy had been used by the Obama administration “who embraced covert operations because of their small footprint and deniability.” 

The article also noted that the factions covertly directed and armed by the CIA “were at times accused by Afghan officials and others as a law unto themselves, running roughshod over civilians and killing innocents.”

While press reports give the impression that the USA is working only with the internationally recognized Afghan government to stabilize the country, the New York Times seems to point out the contrary. So, the question must be asked, as the country remains a mess of violence, with terrorists, drug cartels, and warlords slaughtering each other, which of the many armed groups have CIA agents directing them? The answer cannot be found in the New York Times article, and most likely is not public information. It should seem obvious, however, that covertly directing non-government militias of Afghans to kill other Afghans, is not a strategy for stabilizing a country.

In the analysis of this writer, the US occupation of Afghanistan is really about one thing: spreading chaos and antagonizing the surrounding countries.

But why would the USA want to keep Afghanistan unstable?

Look at a map. Afghanistan is located in central Asia. It is an impoverished, underdeveloped country that is landlocked. 

It borders the three top opponents of US power on the global stage, Russia, China, and Iran. Since 2001, not only has Afghanistan been a mess of terrorism, drug trafficking, and societal chaos, but this chaos has spilled over into the three neighboring countries.

Menacing The Russians

US operations in Afghanistan have almost always been related to Russia. At the time of the Russian Revolution, Central Asia was dominated by the British Empire. The British had largely de-forested Afghanistan, and had already introduced the scourge of heroin. The Bolsheviks happily embraced the government of Habbibula Khan, the Emir of Afghanistan who had stood up to the British, and kept the country neutral in the First World War. In 1919 the Afghan ambassador told Lenin “I proffer you a friendly hand and hope that you will help the whole of the East to free itself from the yoke of European imperialism.”

The Soviet Union saw bringing stability and development to Central Asia as a way to secure itself. In 1920, the Soviet Union famously sponsored the “Baku Conference” or the “Congress of the Peoples of the East” to offer their support to people in Central Asia and the Middle East who sought to break free from western domination.

After Afghanistan’s 1978 Saur Revolution, the Soviet Union immediately began pouring in aid. The Soviet Union sent soldiers into the Afghan countryside to help establish farms. Literacy campaigns were conducted as well, with Soviet volunteers teaching impoverished Afghans how to read. Democratic Youth Leagues worked to restore the forests, in the hopes that Afghanistan’s unique timber could be exported on the world market.

The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, which existed from 1978 to 1992 sought to lift the country from poverty with Soviet assistance. Democratic Afghanistan established universities, built hospitals, and tried to modernize the country. Despite their Marxist-Leninist ideology, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party had no illusions that Afghanistan could become a socialist country at that time. They felt it was too poor. Their goal was simply to raise the standard of living with Soviet assistance.

Brzezinski bragged in an interview that by establishing an Islamist insurgency against the Democratic government, with the help of a young Saudi named Osama Bin Laden, he had “given the USSR its Vietnam.” The CIA worked with the Pakistani secret police to enable terrorists in Afghanistan to cultivate heroin.

The CIA strategy of Islamic terrorism and heroin in Afghanistan mirrored policy in Chechnya, where the USA and Saudi Arabia had already been supporting Islamic extremists who were involved in selling heroin and committing acts of terrorism intended to harm the Soviet government.

While the Taliban was internationally recognized for its efforts to destroy poppy fields and exterminate traffickers, the 2001 invasion marked a key moment for restoring Afghanistan’s position as the world’s supplier of heroin. Poppy fields went up like wildfire, and cheap heroin flooded the world market.

Since the US invaded in 2001, heroin has grown all across Afghanistan. Huge amounts of it are flowing into Russia. Furthermore, the terrorist groups that have long waged a campaign of violence in Chechnya, have cooperated with the terrorists in Afghanistan. Russian aligned governments in Central Asia face a growing problem of Wahabbi extremism.

Keeping Afghanistan unstable is certainly causing lots of problems for Russia.

Drugs And Terrorism Against Iran

Iran’s revolutionary guards are constantly working to stop narcotics from flowing over from the Afghan border. The poppy fields of Afghanistan, now booming and flooding the world drug market since the Taliban was toppled, have destroyed the lives of literally millions of Iranians. A report in 2006 estimated that 8% of adults in Iran are addicted to drugs. Another report suggested that 130,000 Iranians become addicted to drugs every year.

The majority of the people in Iran are youth, born after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Heroin from Afghanistan is a mechanism used to feed into the cynicism and political confusion of this new generation that did not see Khomeni’s rise. The USA works to manipulate the alienation and confusion of young Iranians, much as it did with the artistic and intellectual circles in Eastern Europe in order to foment color revolutions during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The devastation of drugs accompanies satellite TV broadcasts, anti-government movies, and numerous efforts to confuse, demoralize, and manipulate the generation that will soon inherit the helm of Iran’s anti-capitalist government.

Furthermore, Afghanistan borders a region of Iran that has a history of religious differences with the Islamic Republic. The clerics who lead the Iranian government are Shia Muslims, and while Sunnis are allowed to practice their faith, they are not permitted to establish independent Mosques that could foment unrest or work to discredit the Supreme Leader.

Jundallah, a Sunni terrorist organization based in Afghanistan, has established as its mission, the overthrow of the Shia government in Iran. Jundallah works on the Afghan border, and has bombed and killed people across Iran. It is also involved in the heroin trade. In 2014, it was revealed that a Port Authority Police Officer from the United States had been working inside the Jundallah terrorist group, crossing the border into Iran from Afghanistan.

Spreading Chaos Into China

The 20th century in China has largely been a story of struggling to break free from foreign domination, drug addiction, and poverty, and restore itself as global power. The first US military intervention in China, in 1900, was against the Boxer Rebellion, a nationalist uprising that lynched drug dealers and sought to promote traditional Chinese culture. Prior to that, the British had waged two “Opium Wars” in which they militarily forced China not to erect tariffs or block the importation of narcotics.

The Chinese government works relentlessly to make sure that heroin is never imported into the country. The majority of those who receive the death penalty in China are somehow related to drug smuggling.

China’s historically Islamic region, Xianjing, has been the site of anti-government terrorism in recent decades. Not surprisingly, this region also borders Afghanistan. Members of China’s Islamic Uiygir minority have sworn allegiance to ISIS and gone to Syria to fight the Baathist government.

Chinese leaders have expressed deep concern about their Afghan border, and the dangers associated with Afghanistan.

China, Russia, Iran: Stable Governments Facing Attack

Why does the US continue to target Iran, Russia, and China? Is it because they are unstable? No. It is because they are stable.

The Islamic Revolution of Iran involved a mass uprisings of the people. The government established in 1979 has nationalized Iran’s oil resources and used the proceeds to develop the country, and build up the domestic economy. While the bordering countries of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are quite dangerous, since the end of the war with Iraq, Iran has been one of the safest countries in the region. The life expectancy has increased. The economy is centrally planned.

Since 1949, China has brought 700 million people out of poverty. It has responded to terrorism and instability in the Autonomous Regions of Xianjing and Tibet by pouring in investment and infrastructure, providing the people with economic opportunity. Before the 1949 revolution, when Republicans said the USA “lost China,” it was a very unstable place. Now it is far more stable than ever before, and the second largest economy in the world.

Russia recovered from the financial and humanitarian disaster following the collapse of the USSR. Starting in 2000 with the rise of Putin, Gazprom and Rosneft, state controlled natural gas and oil companies, have been used to centralize and plan the economy.

China’s Alternative Strategy

These three Eurasian countries serve as bastions of stability, and more than that, they are competitors with Wall Street. Russia sells oil and natural gas on the international markets. Every barrel of oil sold by Russia, is a barrel of oil that could have been sold by a US or British oil company. Iran is also an oil exporter, and it has recently joined the natural gas trade.

While China does not have very much domestic oil, it is starting to innovate natural gas extraction, and it produces steel, copper, and aluminum more than any other country on earth. Cell phones produced by Huwai, the state controlled telecommunications manufacturer, are sold across the world. A stable China is also a competitor.

Michael Silver wrote “The Chinese aren’t evil, they are merely smart” in his op-ed, begging the Trump administration to extract Afghan minerals. As the USA sends in anonymous CIA operatives to work inside non-government militias, and conducts drone strikes that often kill civilians, China indeed has a completely different strategy for Afghanistan.

While China has not conducted any drone strikes in Afghanistan, many voices around the world are deeply impressed with its medical aid programs. China’s Red Cross Society has recently opened up its “Belt and Road Fraternity Fund” and is using the money to provide desperately needed surgeries to Afghan children under the age of 14.

Over 100 children have already traveled over the border in order to be treated in hospitals in the Xianjing Medical University in the Chinese city of Urumqi. China has also worked with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society to establish similar programs to help Afghans by providing much needed medical care.

China and Iran have laid out a plan for Afghanistan called “Trade and Transport” at the United Nations. They have called for railway to built across Afghanistan in order to give the country port access. The hope is that textile factories and other industries can be established in Afghanistan, providing an alternative to terrorism and drug cartels.

It is very possible that Michael Silver’s pleas of the Trump administration, regarding the rare earth elements, will be ignored. He is correct that “exploiting” the mineral resources may help to stabilize the country, but the forces that push the USA to continue occupying Afghanistan, at great expense, seem to have other goals.

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