This text is from the archive at the Hidden History Center. It is by our founder, John Judge. The original hard copy source is located in our collection in York, PA. It appears to have been delivered as a speech in Washington, D.C., in 2009. We hope you find John’s message thought-provoking and his vision far ahead of its time. This writing is but one small example of John’s powerful philosophy. Since his passing in 2014, we have been striving to preserve, catalog and digitize his collection at the Hidden History Center. Many of his speeches are also available in transcript or audio/video format on our website. If you are interested in helping us with our work, or in learning more about John, please visit us at hiddenhistorycenter.org. We offer our deepest respect and support to all who genuinely pursue Truth.Marilyn Tenenoff, Executive Director
Hidden History Center
We should remember that the people of D.C. have been opposing the war on Afghanistan since it was first suggested. Before it began, on September 30, 2001, the Washington Peace Center organized a rally and march of 5,000 people from Malcolm X Park to the Capitol to say no to this war, and we have resisted it since. As we put it then, our grief was not a cry for war. On the night of Obama’s election, Adam Kokesh from Iraq Veterans Against the War said, “We just elected a pro-war president, and we can’t have an anti-war demonstration at his inauguration.” Now we can and we must.
The war on Afghanistan, which has gone on now for eight long years with no end in sight, is based on a bigger lie than the war on Iraq was. The U.S. military invasion into Afghanistan was not a response to the attacks on 9/11. It was already planned and in progress by that point. All the surrounding countries had been warned in the summer of 2001 by Secretary of State Colin Powell that the U.S. and Britain planned to intervene militarily in mid-October to remove the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan.
Why? In testimony to the House Foreign Relations Committee in 1998, a representative of Unocal, a huge California oil corporation, revealed that their plan was to run an oil pipeline from the largest oil deposit in the world at the time, the Caspian Sea basin inside Russia, south through Afghanistan to the Gulf, to load tankers available to the highest-bidding ports. The Northern Alliance had already agreed, but the Taliban balked at the price they were offered, so Unocal asked Congress to remove them. By the summer of 2001, the U.S. and British carriers and troops were already deployed to the Gulf in preparation for this illegal and pre-emptive war. 9/11 was just a convenient excuse.
Of course, the Taliban would not have been in power at all had the United States not armed and trained an illegal insurgency at the end of the Carter administration and through the Reagan/Bush years at the cost of $6 billion, shared with Saudi Arabia, to destabilize a democratic and secular government there that was part of the Soviet Union and that respected the rights of women as well. William Casey’s CIA ran funds through Pakistani Military Intelligence, ISI, which is currently being blamed for working with the same elements we did. The money at both ends came from the sale of the main export product of Afghanistan for the last three decades: opium, which is worth more than oil or gold. The CIA money went directly to Mr. Hekmatyar, the largest opium dealer at the time, and to his protégé, Osama bin Laden to train and carry out that destabilization, which led to the rise of the Taliban after the Soviet Union pulled out.
More recently, we have installed a government in Afghanistan, run by the brother of a leading opium runner and CIA asset. The opium production has risen even more, accounting now for 95% of the world market. The addictions from heroin just made Russia the AIDS capital of the world from dirty needles, and it has flooded the States and Europe. General James Jones, Obama’s National Security Advisor, stated, when he was in charge of the Afghanistan operations under President Bush, that he did not want to interfere with opium production there, since it might ruin their economy – not to mention ours for covert operations.
If Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and there is little to prove he was, then we have done little to capture him since. We said he was hiding in caves to avoid us, but the Pentagon and the CIA paid Osama bin Laden and his uncle’s construction company to dig out and arm those caves for the Mujahideen War. After 9/11, the Taliban offered three times to turn bin Laden over to U.S. authorities to be tried in an international tribunal for a crime against humanity, but the Bush administration said they would not negotiate with “terrorists” and applied illegal military force instead of international law. A chance to surround and capture bin Laden and his assoCIAtes at Tora Bora was undermined, and shortly after that VP Dick Cheney and President Bush said that capturing him was not their main objective. At least they were honest once. Recently, U.S. authorities stated they have not had any good intelligence on bin Laden’s wherabouts. For all we know he is dead, but worth more to us alive as a threat.
We do not know to this day who actually carried out the attacks and hijackings on 9/11, nor who sponsored them. The suspects named by the FBI, almost immediately, were mostly Saudi Arabian and Egyptian, not Afghanis. Eight people came forward from those countries to say that the names and pictures printed in the press were their own, but they had not been part of any plot, on a plane or in America. Five of those whose identities were stolen worked for Saudi Airlines, which benefitted from the opening of air trade with Afghanistan after the U.S. invaded.
And finally, the only – and I mean only – evidence linking those 19 suspects to Osama bin Laden is the testimony of three people: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Yusef and Ramzi bin al-Shibh – three people who were being held in indefinite detention in undisclosed locations and being waterboarded multiple times and tortured. The 9/11 Commission got their statements in English and asked to speak to them, to their jailers, to their interrogators or even the translators who worked from the original tapes or text, and they were denied. No American court would allow such evidence into the record, unless it was a military tribunal or a FISA Court held in secret. The director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, wrote a memo condemning the torture of prisoners by U.S. forces or agencies as illegal, but then he submitted more questions to these same interrogators for these three prisoners, suborning their further torture. in my view.
This is the pack of cards on which the war on Afghanistan rests, along with the incomprehensible reasons the public has been fed and bought into, such as “We have to fight them over there or we will have to fight them here,” and “We have to go in there and get the job done.” We have been sold a larger military and intelligence budget by both Bush and Obama than we have ever had before, in order to fight some unidentified terrorists abroad, larger than we needed to defend ourselves against a nuclear-armed continent during the Cold War. We have been asked to suspend our Constitution along with our common sense. We were told we would be going into a war that would not end in our lifetime after 9/11, a war into as many as 60 countries, and if we leave it up to the Pentagon and the CIA, doubtless that is what will happen, as long as we are willing to use all our resources for war instead of health care, education, food and the survival of the planet.
Many people are now expressing surprise that President Obama would call for an escalation of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, but it should come as no surprise at all. He himself stated that his opposition to the war in Iraq was based on the waste of military resources that were better used against Afghanistan, and apparently Pakistan as well. He condemned the use of pre-emptive war by Bush and continued it with drones inside Pakistan, and now this escalation. These wars are planned at the Pentagon well in advance, and the presidents inherit them and they come and go. No sooner had Obama announced his quick surge and withdrawal by 2011 than Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke up to say that was the beginning not the end of the withdrawal, and General McChrystal, in charge of the Afghanistan War, said it would be a matter of years, not months. The timetable discussed at the Pentagon has always been 2017, not 2011. Obama will be out of office before this war ends, if it does. The U.S. will not leave the whole region until permanent bases are established and control of key resources, oil, natural gas and opium is assured.
Remember “hope” and “change you can believe in”? Remember “we will have to hold his feet to the fire”? The problem is, we have had no fire and we don’t have hold of his feet. President Obama has not changed one major aspect of the Bush agenda. Almost every ground for impeachment brought to the floor of Congress by Representatives McKinney and Kucinich still applies to the new president’s administration. He has not ended surveillance, signing statements, indefinite detention, renditions, state secrecy, military tribunals, illegal wars and weapons, pre-emptive strikes, assassinations, violations of international treaties, the UN Charter and the Geneva conventions, and violations of human rights, including harsh interrogation and abuse inside U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Just this week, Obama followed Bush’s lead in refusing to sign on to treaties banning chemical and biological weapons that over 130 countries have agreed to.
A Way Out
We have been in serious trouble in America for a long time. No president can change the path this system is on: total and global monopolization of capital and resources, the merger of corporations and the state, the rise of the military-industrial-intelligence complex, permanent war, a ruined economy in which people are expendable. This is global fascism and genocide rising, along with what can only be called globicide – destruction of life on the planet.
We and the world have been intentionally sold hope and change that has no basis in reality, nor even in Obama’s intentions. Obama is a marketed symbol and image that leads to the confusion that he could get into that position of power and really effect the change we need in this country. For people abroad, his presidency was meant to change the image of the United States, give the false hope that our foreign policy would reverse itself, that our wars abroad would end and the mass movements rising against the neoliberal agenda of economic and soCIAl control for global corporations and profit were no longer needed.
At home, the novelty of a president of African origin somehow made us forget the legacy of Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas and others who have created the illusion that anyone can hold the reins of power or reverse the direction of this country and system merely by their level of appointment in it. We forget who puts them there, and whose agenda they must agree to in advance and must follow to remain in that position. Obama was chosen by those in the positions of privilege and control in this country, funded and promoted by them, and favored by the media they manipulate us with. His major funders were the very banks and insurance companies who have been bailed out in the recent crisis by government funds, and their representatives have been consistently appointed by Obama to solve the dilemma they created.
There is a way out of here, but it must come from the bottom, not from the top. The way out is the one we have always had, the one Frederick Douglass talked about when he said, “Power concedes nothing without demand, it never did and it never will.” We must restore the sense of human community this system has tried to destroy, through decentralism, local economies and alternate energy, arable lands and food. The people must rise and restore the commonwealth of our history, our media, our schools and our resources, land and even water. Thomas Jefferson said we would have to envision our liberation anew and make revolution every twenty years, and it is overdue.
We are at the crossroads now, and we must act to save not only ourselves, but other species and our planet. We must create real, participatory and direct democracy, so that the expression of popular will is not reduced to standing in the cold and complaining outside the machinery of power controlled by the few. Instead of a militarized democracy at war with the world, we need a democratic military that acts in our name only with our sanction, permission and willing participation, if it acts at all. This is our country, our military, our lives and our decision – not the prerogative of a few behind closed doors who claim to represent us. To represent the American people’s will, this system would have ended these wars long ago, before bankrupting our whole economy in the service of those who profit from them and their outcomes.