14 November 2013
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The attack on the CIA base in Benghazi Libya continues to be the subject of discussion around the world as slowly more and more details continue to come and to coalesce into a fuller picture of what really occurred and the true role of the United States in Libya, as well as in the Middle East on the whole. In an interview with the Voice of Russia Andrew Kreig, the author Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters, gives his views on what he believes really occurred in Benghazi and the connections between presidents, the power elite and the intelligence services in the United States. He paints a portrait of presidents who are truly merely puppets to their powerful and secret masters, forces who are not necessarily American.
This is part 3 of an interview with Andrew Kreig, the author of “Presidential Puppetry”. He is also an attorney and a founder and director of the Justice and Integrity project.
Robles: Can you tell us about what really happened in Benghazi and the real story about CIA Director Petraeus, Hilary Clinton’s connection with Benghazi, if you could? And what is going on in Libya, if you know anything?
Kreig: Well, one of the disturbing facts about this research I’ve done is when there is a very well-known event, such as what we’ve described as Secretary Hagel’s transformation, and we don’t get the full story. Benghazi is another example of that, where for more than a year Republicans have talked about Benghazi, how they want the real story and yet neither side is providing the real story, in my view.
Here is what I believe is the real story. I believe the CIA used Benghazi as a base to smuggle arms and foreign jihadist mercenaries to overthrow Syria’s regime or government. That operation set the stage for the massacre in various complex ways. And the importance of this is two-fold:one, we know that there was a massacre and we know that for a year it’s been a political football, and everybody is following rhetoric back and forth. But if this was a base to smuggle arms and jihadist mercenaries, and neither Democrats nor Republicans, nor Congress, nor the public knows about it, then we are having a debate about nothing. I mean this was a major foreign policy issue in the 2012 election.
If I’m right about this, then our major foreign policy debate, and which is continued to the Syria controversies, is leaving out important information that, not simply the American public should know about, which is my concern, but it illustrates a fundamental breakdown in our kind of democratic processes in the United States, in the press and in Congress. And I’ll also say that this is extremely important, in my view, to the world community, because of course it is not just the United States that’s been involved in Libya and Syria. And it would certainly promote greater public understanding and maybe even peace worldwide if people in Europe, in Russia, in Africa, we are all on the same page in understanding what happens in that specific situation, but in other situations like it, including Syria.
Robles: Ambassador Stevens, he was actually not a diplomat, as far as I know. And I researched this myself and wrote about it. He was actually a CIA agent controller or officer.
Kreig: First, for the United States and for many other countries, including Russia, it is widely understood – often the diplomats have a dual role as agents. And this is true for most of these countries. I think people pretend that they don’t do it, but other countries do.
Robles: I think the issue here is that when you have an ambassador who rose up though the Foreign Service, for example, and became the Ambassador of the country and then decides to cooperate – that is one thing. Another thing is when you have somebody that started out in intelligence and was placed in this diplomatic role. Do you see a distinction? Do you see a danger in that?
Kreig: Not really. For example, earlier we were talking about the Council on Foreign Relations, and I know that you are interested in that. I happened to have a very secret list of those members of the Council on Foreign Relations who are interested in intelligence activities. So, I’ve got their names, I’ve got their emails, I’ve got their telephone numbers – it is 1500 of them. And I find it very interesting that virtually every news organization in the United States has at least one representative. And does that mean that they are getting money or that they are part of the whole thing? No. But it means that there are relationships there that you and I, and many other people are not part of. Maybe voluntary relationships, maybe they would all stubbornly convince themselves that they are totally independent. But as they are getting briefings and they are part of the club. And the general public does not quite appreciate what that means.
So, in the Foreign Service, if it is a war zone, I think we can logically assume, and this is one of important parts of my book “Presidential Puppetry”, most of the actors are in this orbit. And whether they are in business, whether they work for a nonprofit organization, whether they work for the CIA signs their paycheck or whether they work for the State Department – we can generally assume that there are overlapping loyalties and interests. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And also, the same thing is going on in other countries. One of the, maybe, larger points that I’m trying to emphasize here is not that somebody is bad or good, or anything, but I would say “Presidential Puppetry” is for those who want to understand the news, not just watch.
When people are saying: “oh, so and so’s CIA, or so and so’s KGB” – they understand the larger context here that news organizations have some people who are involved and have had for 50 years, whether it is in the US or anywhere. And they may not be getting a check every week, or even every year, but they are part of the orbit. To understand what is going on we have to have that in the back of our mind. And here is maybe the last part – is that there are very few people who will say what I’ve said. Now one of your longtime experts you bring on, and maybe you’ve got some, Wayne Madsen – he’s pointed out a number of these points to your listeners and so forth. But anybody who does this is not going to be invited to the State Department briefings.
If they raise this stuff, they will in ways that are not necessarily obvious they will be frozen out and, ultimately, their bosses will… in my experience as a longtime mainstream reporter and Washington observer, the bosses will not back the reporters who ask the kind of questions or have the kind of discussions we are having now. Maybe, they can have one discussion or a few discussions like this, but they can’t do it on any kind of regular basis. So, when I try to connect the dots of this stuff and write an entire book that is almost all new, it is like going to the berry patch in the season and just picking as much as you want, because it is all documented, it is all there but nobody can connect the dots except the isolated blogger or commentator who is never going to be invited to share it on the mainstream.
Robles: That brings up a whole huge mountain of other areas we could get into. You were going to say something about Syria, particularly if you can comment on the threat by Prince Bandar? And since you’ve researched the Bush family, maybe you can give us an insight into his connections, Bandar-Bush, you know who I’m talking about?
Kreig: Oh, absolutely!
Robles: His threat to President Putin and then, all of a sudden, this invasion. And what connection or was there a connection with the Government shutdown? And if this is not too much, if you can comment about the Al Qaeda-US Government link and the tragedy of 426 children being killed as a pretext for war?
Kreig: Well, that’s a mouthful. Let’s go through these one by one as best I can. First, the title of the book is “Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters”. So, a lot of the focus is on who are the puppet masters. Now, someStates like to be in the shadows and some of them are kind of boring and so forth. I don’t name a whole lot of them. The readers can find who they are, I point to various lists. But Saudi Arabia is definitely one of them, and it is very rarely talked about in the US, but they have heavy investments in the US media – the average person doesn’t know that and can’t understand why they would want to have heavy investments. But if the Saudis and Qatar have spent billions upon billions of dollars to overthrow the Syria Government, so to have investments in the US media that are not very well known actually makes sense, because that way someone like me and my book is not going to be on these media, because I would say that some of the puppet masters are in these Gulf monarchies.
And they are not supposed to be puppet masters of the Unites States, but through the kind of Bandar-Bush, Prince Bandar relationships with not simply the Bush family, but with Democrats alike and many, many business groups, and Wall Street groups, and foundations, they have enormous influence that the American public doesn’t understand, and the worldwide community should understand. And I’ve got, really, again nothing against them, at one point in my career I was offered a big job in Saudi Arabia, but I’m now a reporter at this point in my career and a commentator, and I’m putting together a lifetime of connections here. And if we have puppet masters that are trying to get us into a war, the public needs to know somehow, someway to connect the dots of why it’s happened.
Moving on to your next question, it is extremely important for the public to know that there are foreign jihadists, and not just a handful in Syria trying to overthrow the governmental regime, but lots of extremely well-funded from foreign countries who have both a religious mission, but a commercial one regarding pipelines, which is never talked about in the US media. And that they don’t necessarily have much loyalty to the civilian population, or any loyalty. And I’ve gotten into quite vigorous disputes with reporters that I respect. And I frankly have risked some of my credibility when I said – how do we know what happened? And people says: “well you don’t really think that the rebels would kill their own people with a gas attack and how would they get the gas?” And I say …
Robles: I would argue that these were not their own people first of, because there are tens of thousands of these … they are imported…
Kreig: That’s where I’m going. But I’m replaying the conversation here. People have no concept, even very well informed professionals in the US, that these are foreign rebels in significant part and who are not from the same place necessarily where the killing occurred. And even posing the possibility that the rebels might have gotten weapons and gas from some foreign entity and that they may be foreign themselves, and create an incident – it just doesn’t compute with people because there is such one sided news coverage. So, I hope that answers you question. And I don’t claim that I’ve documented who did what. I’ve certainly followed it on the Justice Integrity project website, to probe it on, but no one is going to document a solution without the basic facts and reporting, and creating and fostering a curiosity among the audience to say: “maybe there is more to the story”.
Robles: Do you think it is realistically possible that somebody would orchestrate the killing of 426 children as a pretext for war?
Kreig: It is theoretically possible, and we’ve seen this throughout human history including the recent human history. And yet, for many of us, as journalists, to even broach the topic is career suicide. And so, I mean, that’s part of the danger, particularly when experienced reporters are often let go after they reach ten years experience anyway. They don’t need this and there is incredible self-censorship that I have seen, documented in many parts of the American media. And this is only part of it. Just to circle back, I won’t mention the name here, but early in my reporting on President Obama I asked a bureau chief of a Washington newspaper – “why don’t you ask for the school records of, all hidden, of President Obama?”. And she said – “Rahm Emanuel wouldn’t like it”. I said – “so what?” And she said: “You don’t want to get him mad.” He was the Chief of Staff at that time.
But you see, that’s the attitude – that, maybe, they won’t get invited to some event and then the boss will say “how come you didn’t get invited to the event?”. And I’ve seen many examples, I’m based in Washington DC. I’ve been quite active in politics and government affairs for many years. But this is now the time to put the pieces together and tell people what they are missing.
Robles: What about the shutdown?
Kreig: That’s a more complicated story, but one that delayed the release of Puppetry somewhat. On the surface President Obama, really for the first time, looks strong on economic issues. And that is important to point out. But it is also important to say that just a few days ago one of his top economic advisors Gene Sperling opened the door to new austerity measures and yet another cave in by President Obama.
LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT BENGHAZI BEFORE SYRIA VOTE!
Published on September 3, 2013
The Syrian Pipelineistan angle
Mon, Apr 15, 2013 By Pepe ESCOBAR (Brazil)
This graphic Iranian success in South Asia contrasts with its predicament in Southwest Asia.
The South Pars gas fields – the largest in the world – are shared by Iran and Qatar. Tehran and Doha have developed an extremely tricky relationship, mixing cooperation and hardcore competition.
The key (unstated) reason for Qatar to be so obsessed by regime change in Syria is to kill the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, which was agreed upon in July 2011. The same applies to Turkey, because this pipeline would bypass Ankara, which always bills itself as the key energy crossroads between East and West.
It’s crucial to remember that the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline is as anathema to Washington as IP. The difference is that Washington in this case can count on its allies Qatar and Turkey to sabotage the whole deal.
This means sabotaging not only Iran but also the ‘Four Seas’ strategy announced by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2009, according to which Damascus should become a Pipelineistan hub connected to the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The strategy spells out a Syria intimately connected with Iranian – and not Qatari – energy flows. Iran-Iraq-Syria is known in the region as the ‘friendship pipeline.’ Typically, Western corporate media derides it as an ‘Islamic’ pipeline. (So Saudi pipelines are what, Catholic?) What makes it even more ridiculous is that gas in this pipeline would flow to Syria and then Lebanon – and from there to energy-starved European markets close by.
The Pipelineistan games get even more complicated when we add the messy Iraqi Kurdistan/Turkey energy love affair – detailed here by Erimtan Can – and the recent gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean involving territorial waters of Israel, Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria; some, or perhaps all of these actors could turn from energy importers to energy exporters.
Israel will have a clear option to send its gas via a pipeline to Turkey, and then export it to Europe; that goes a long way to explain the recent phone call schmoozing between Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan and Israel’s Netanyahu, brokered by Obama.
Terrestrial and maritime borders between Israel and Lebanon remain dependent on a hazy UN Blue Line, set up way back in 2000. Damascus – as well as Tehran – supports Beirut, once again against Washington’s will. And Damascus also supports Baghdad’s strategy of diversifying its means of distribution, once again trying to escape the Strait of Hormuz. Thus, the importance of the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline.
No wonder Syria is a red line for Tehran. Now the whole of Pipelineistan will be watching how far Qatar is willing to go following Washington’s obsession.
It’s all about Pipelineistan
By Pepe Escobar Nov 22, ’13
Turkey’s number one foreign policy aim is to position itself as a critical energy crossroads for any oil and natural gas coming from Russia, the Caspian, Central Asia and even the Middle East to Europe.
Yet Turkey has been squeezed by two conflicting Pipelineistan narratives.
One is the never-ending soap opera Nabucco, which basically means delivering natural gas to Europe from just about anywhere (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, even Egypt) except Russia.
And the other is the South Stream pipeline, proposed by Russia and crossing the Black Sea.
Insisting in its role as a neutral bridge between East and West, Ankara hedged its bets.
But after the European financial crisis took over, Nabucco was, for all practical purposes, doomed.
What’s left now is the so-called Nabucco West – a shorter, 1,300 km pipeline from Turkey to Central Europe – and the much cheaper Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), just 500 km from Turkey across the Balkans to Italy.
The consortium (including BP, Total and Azerbaijan’s SOCAR) developing the huge Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan ended up choosing TAP.
So Nabucco is now virtually six feet under.
To say that’s been a nifty deal for Moscow is a huge understatement.
TAP does not threaten Gazprom’s hold on the European market.
And besides, Moscow got closer to Baku. Dick Cheney must adjust his pacemaker for another heart attack; after all his elaborate energy plans, Moscow and Baku are nothing less than discussing transporting Russian oil through the notorious Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which Dr Zbig Brzezinski dreamed up to exactly bypass Russia.
On top of it, they are also bound to reverse the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline to pump Russian oil into Azerbaijan.
Additionally, that’s the end of Turkish (and European) pipe dreams of having wacky “gas republic” Turkmenistan supplying energy across the Caspian through the Caucasus and Turkey to Europe.
For Moscow, this is non-negotiable; we control the transit of Central Asian energy to Europe.
Moreover, Turkmenistan already has better sturgeon to fry – via its ultra-profitable gas pipeline to China.
The bottom line: Russia getting even more ascendant in the Caucasus equals Turkey – which imports nearly all of its oil, coal and natural gas – becoming even more energy dependent on Russia.
Russia supplies nearly 60% of Turkey’s natural gas – and rising.
Iran supplies 20%.
Moscow is sure Turkey will soon overtake Germany as its biggest energy client.
That’s certainly what Erdogan was discussing in detail this past Wednesday in Moscow.
And then there is Turkey’s ambitious plan to build 23 nuclear power plants by 2023.
Guess who’s ahead? Moscow, of course.
Not only as builder but also as primary supplier of nuclear fuel.
No package of Western sanctions seems to be on the horizon.
So Ankara seems to be (silently) hectic on all fronts.
Erdogan is carefully cultivating his friend Obama – positioning himself as a privileged sort of messenger.
Erdogan supports Iran’s civilian nuclear program – which instantaneously placed him as highly suspicious in the eyes of the Wahhabi-Likudnik axis of fear and loathing.
That’s the key reason for the widening estrangement between Ankara and Riyadh.
Ankara’s desire to be a key actor in an eventual US-Iran rapprochement springs out of a simple calculation.
Faced with tremendous political, economic and security barriers, Turkey may only fulfill its wish of becoming the privileged East-West energy transit corridor with Iran by its side.
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