Thursday, June 28, 2007

CIA Terror Bombings, Bob Gates, and The Rise of Hezbollah

By Michael Schwartz

"......This a story about Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group that successfully fended off what American and Israeli military planners expected to be an overwhelming onslaught of air power, an onslaught that killed thousands, flattened whole cities, and compromised the Lebanon's infrastructure.

Many of us remember that in 1983, during a previous crisis there, an American military barracks was bombed, killing 241 marines who were part of an international peacekeeping force sent there in 1982. That bombing was, as Morris tells the story "itself a bloody reprisal for earlier American acts of intervention and diplomatic betrayal in Lebanon's civil war" which had been raging since 1975.

No one in the American intelligence community knew for sure (and no one knows to this day) who was actually responsible for the bombing, but CIA director William Casey decided nevertheless to undertake reprisals. He chose as his target a Shia cleric, Muhammad Husain Fadlallah, "because of his reputation for fiery sermons in favor of social justice and national independence -- and because allied spy agencies -- Israel's Mossad, Saudi Arabia's GID, and Phalangist informers -- claimed he led a militant Shiite group that bore responsibility for the attack on the Marines."

That was enough evidence for Casey to commission an attack on Fadlallah. It was also enough for his top deputy, Robert Gates, Head of the Directorate of Intelligence, and in charge of processing all the best information the Agency could gather. As the rumors of the coming attack on Fadlallah spread through the agency, Gates' agents tried to warn him about the lack of evidence against the cleric (does this sound familiar?)......

The CIA did not just try to assassinate Muhammad Husain Fadlallah. Instead the Agency carbombed his entire neighborhood with an explosion that was felt "miles away in the Chouf Mountains and well out in the Mediterranean." Whether or not the cleric was the perpetrator, the message would be clear to all concerned: attacks on American marines would result in retribution against the whole offending community. It was, in short, an act of state terrorism. Eighty-one people were killed and over 200 wounded in the crowded impoverished Bir El-Abed neighborhood where Fadlallah lived. (Fadlallah himself was unhurt.....

This incident took place 20 years ago, long enough for us to track the connection to current mayhem in Lebanon. The public display of the CIA's "family jewels" should remind us that the myriad CIA actions chronicled there are not isolated incidents. They are a coordinated system that has delivered violence like that perpetrated in Bir El-Abed to every corner of the world in the past 40 years, in myriad forms and under many disguises. These actions have ended the lives hundreds of thousands (in Iraq alone!), ruined the lives of millions, and earned the hatred of tens of millions. By now, the impact of our government's action is so pervasive, that even the most distant and seemingly disconnected acts of violence are in some way consequences of, or reactions to, the activities of the U.S. government. "

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