Aletho News


On Owen Jones and the Stop The War Coalition

Interventions Watch | November 16, 2013

On Saturday the 30th November, the Stop The War Coalition will host a conference to discuss the most effective ways to resist the drive to war against Syria – stalled for now, but not necessarily indefinitely. Due to speak (at the time of writing) are Diane Abbott MP, Seamus Milne, Tariq Ali and Lindsey German, among many others.

To cut a long story short, the Stop the War website is also advertising that Mother Agnes Mariam is due to speak at the conference. Agnes is a christian Nun who is suspected by some observers of the war in Syria of being little more than a mouthpiece for the Assad regime. Let’s just accept for arguments sake that this is true, and that inviting her was a bad idea (I will confess here to not being totally au fait with her views).

The presence of Mother Agnes has lead to Jeremy Scahill, the excellent American investigative journalist, and Owen Jones, a columnist with The Independent newspaper, pulling out of the conference, on the grounds that they don’t want to share a platform with an apologist for war criminals.

But I just want to share a few thoughts on why I think Jones’ position is confused at best.

Jones is a member and supporter of the Labour party, and thinks other lefties should be as well. As is hardly a secret, Labour is a party that plays host to plenty of major war criminals and apologists for those war criminals, but that apparently isn’t enough for him to want to part ways with them.

Indeed, he has in the past quite happily appeared on platforms with John Prescott, who was deputy Prime Minister at the time of the aggression against Iraq – not just an apologist for war crimes then, but an active participant in them.

Jones’ argument for staying a member of Labour is that while he doesn’t agree with these people on various issues, he thinks it’s worth trying to win the argument against them to change the party for the better, from within. It’s not a totally unreasonable position, and I think he’s certainly sincere in arguing it.

Why couldn’t he apply that same logic to the Stop The War Conference though? Say that while he obviously doesn’t agree with the opinions of all the speakers there, he thinks it’s still worth going and making his argument as to what the best anti-war position is or should be? He could even outline why he doesn’t agree with people like Mother Agnes in his talk, and maybe change a few minds.

But no, unlike his continuing embrace of the blood soaked Labour party, he’s just going to shun the conference altogether, thus giving plenty of ammunition to those who are trying to smear Stop The War, and anti-war people in general, as pro-Assad. ‘Even Owen Jones wants nothing to do with them, see!’.

My hunch is that he’s scared of being tarred with a pro-Assad brush, because that would be damaging to his reputation (certainly in the eyes of a state-corporate media Establishment that has embraced him) in a way that being seen as broadly pro-Labour – despite their horrific track record and the massive trail of corpses they left behind them last time they were in power – isn’t, given that Labour are part of that Establishment themselves.

Nuns who’ve made some dodgy comments in defense of the Assad regime? He’ll have no part of it.

A political party who instigated some of the worst and most murderous war crimes of the modern era, and whose leader continues to act as an apologist for the perpetrators, as well as the brutal wars in Afghanistan and Libya? Count him in.

For me, it shows how even some lefties have a moral vision that is badly skewed by power, and the need for Establishment approval, when it comes to assessing and reacting to Their crimes (or even alleged supporters of Their crimes), and Ours

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Supreme Court blocks challenge to NSA phone tracking

RT | November 18, 2013

The Supreme Court announced Monday morning that it would not be considering at this time a complaint filed months earlier that challenged the legality of the National Security Agency’s dragnet telephone surveillance program.

The high court issued a notice early Monday without comment acknowledging that it would not be weighing in on a matter introduced this past June by a privacy watchdog group after NSA leaker Edward Snowden revealed evidence showing that the United States intelligence agency was collecting metadata pertaining to the phone calls of millions of American customers of the telecommunications company Verizon on a regular basis.

That disclosure — the first of many NSA documents leaked by Mr. Snowden — prompted the Washington, DC-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, to ask the Supreme Court to consider taking action that would end the collection of phone records on a major scale.

When EPIC filed their petition in June, they wrote, “We believe that the NSA’s collection of domestic communications contravenes the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and violates several federal privacy laws, including the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 as amended.”

“We ask the NSA to immediately suspend collection of solely domestic communications pending the competition of a public rulemaking as required by law. We intend to renew our request each week until we receive your response,” EPIC said.

Five months later, though, the Supreme Court said this week that it would not be hearing EPIC’s plea. A document began circulating early Monday in which the high court listed the petition filed by the privacy advocates as denied.

With other cases still pending, however, alternative routes may eventually lead to reform of the NSA’s habits on some level. Lower courts are still in the midst of deciding what action they will take with regards to similar lawsuits filed by other groups in response to the Snowden leaks and the revelations they made possible. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and conservative legal activist Larry Klayman have filed separate civil lawsuits in various US District Courts challenging the NSA’s program, all of which are still pending.

Cindy Cohn, the legal director of the EFF, told the Washington Post only weeks after the first Snowden leak appeared that the disclosures had been a “tremendous boon” to other matters being litigated, and pointed to no fewer than five previously-filed complaints challenging various government-led surveillance programs.

“Now that this secret surveillance program has been disclosed, and now that Congressional leaders and legal scholars agree it is unlawful, we have a chance for the Supreme Court to weigh in,” EPIC lead counsel Alan Butler told The Verge on Monday.

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Seeks to Tap Arab Markets With Made-in-Jordan Label

Al-Akhbar | November 17, 2013

Cross-border projects are materializing, but not between Arab countries – as Arabs would have hoped – but between Israel and Jordan. A joint industrial park is to be established along the Israeli-Jordanian border, giving Israeli companies the ability to tap into Arab markets, as their products will bear the misleading label “Made in Jordan.”

The Israeli press reports that the industrial zone – the brainchild of Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom – will be submitted to the Israeli government for approval next week. The industrial park will consist of a section near Kibbutz Tirat Zvi on the Israeli side, which will be linked via bridge over the Jordan River to the Jordanian section.

On the Jordanian side, industrial facilities will be built by Israeli and Jordanian firms, and are expected to employ up to 2,000 Jordanian workers, while administration, logistics, and marketing facilities will operate on the Israeli side.

The estimated cost of the project, dubbed Sha’ar Hayarden, meaning Jordan Gate, will be around 180 million shekels (about $50 million).

According to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Jordan will benefit from the increased job opportunities while Israel will stand to benefit from huge savings in labor costs by paying workers relatively low wages (no more than $500 per month on the Jordanian side).

In addition, the factories will be “close to home,” helping Israeli companies save on logistical costs and have more effective control over the production process. But more importantly, the products manufactured in this zone will be stamped with the label “Made in Jordan,” allowing Israeli companies to market their products in Arab countries.

Yedioth Ahronoth also noted that the project, which is considered a historic move between Israel and Jordan, will be overseen by a government agency attached to the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, which will collaborate with the ministries of economy, foreign affairs, defense and transportation.

The newspaper quoted Silvan Shalom as saying, “Sha’ar Hayarden represents a real breakthrough. The project will help strengthen relations between Israel and Jordan, and boost economic growth in the region through the establishment of new factories and joint ventures and job creation. We will continue to take the initiative and press forward with such projects.”

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , | Comments Off on Israel Seeks to Tap Arab Markets With Made-in-Jordan Label

‘Investigative Journalist’ Scahill Takes Swipe at Mother Agnes

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | November 17, 2013

Jeremy Scahill, the “investigative journalist” who once publicly expressed his belief in the official 9/11 story, says he won’t take part in an international antiwar conference scheduled for later this month if he has to share the same platform with Syrian nun Mother Agnes.

“I’ve informed organizers of @STWuk that I will not participate in their conference if Mother Agnes is on the platform,” Scahill tweetetd on Friday.

“@STWuk” is the Stop the War Coalition, which will hold the all-day conference in London on November 30, and which had apparently extended an invitation for Mother Agnes to speak, along with roughly a dozen or so other speakers.

The conference is to include a session on “The Syrian war in context,” and obviously Mother Agnes, who has struggled so hard to end the bloodshed in her country, would have provided a valuable perspective for all in attendance. But she will now no longer speak. In response to the controversy surrounding her participation, she has withdrawn. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Scahill, it seems, isn’t the only speaker in the lineup with an apparent disliking for the Syrian mother superior. British writer Owen Jones, a columnist for The Independent, reportedly also threatened to withdraw should she not be axed from the program.

Mother Agnes is head of the Syrian organization Musalaha (reconciliation). In October she played a key role in the evacuation of more than 5,000 people, mainly women and children, from the besieged town of Moadamiya. An account of the evacuation can be found here. In order for the operation to succeed, it was necessary for Mother Agnes to gain the trust both of government troops as well elements of the Free Syrian Army who were holding the town. Remarkably she seems to have pulled it off. Click here to watch a video of her sharing a dish of olives with one of the rebel leaders and some of her evacuees.

But it isn’t her relationship with the Western-backed mercenaries that has gotten her in trouble. In fact, had she been their vocal champion, she probably wouldn’t be near the controversial figure she is today. But Mother Agnes has seriously undermined the Western narrative of Bashar Assad as a brutal dictator intent on “killing his own people.” In September she published a report suggesting that insurgents, rather than the Assad government, were responsible for the August 21 chemical attack and that videos uploaded immediately after that attack had been staged and doctored. And for her trouble she has been maligned as an “apologist” for the Syrian government and worse. In September the New York Times published a highly-critical piece on her which is analyzed here by blogger Stephen Lendman.

Scahill, an author and frequent contributor to The Nation, is taking heat for his postion. Owen seems to be taking heat as well. Both are heavily criticized in an article by blogger Phil Greaves:

Following the news that Mother Agnes Miriam, a nun who heads the Musalaha (reconciliation) initiative in Syria, was due to speak at the Stop The War conference in London, two journalists also due to speak at the event, Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones, decided to withdraw participation unless Mother Agnes was removed from the speaking list. At the time of writing, neither “journalist” has offered to explain their act of public censure and decision to bolster Zionist-led smear campaigns; aside from a few tweets expressing their “concern” over sharing a platform with an evil Assad-supporting nun. It seems baseless conspiracy theories are more than acceptable in the higher echelons of “professional” journalism, as long as the target of said conspiracy is a supporter of an enemy state of the west and Israel.

Another blogger, Joe Emersberger, has issued the following appeal to Scahill:

Dear Jeremy,

I read your book “Dirty Wars” and admired it greatly. It led to me to obtain a great deal of respect for your courage and political judgement.

You tweeted that you “informed organizers of @STWuk that I will not participate in their conference if Mother Agnes is on the platform.”

If you haven’t already, I think you shoud provide a very clear public explanation for your publicly announced stance.

There are extremely nasty allegations being circulated about Mother Agnes based on zero evidence.

For example, this piece accuses Mother Agnes of helping the Asaad regime assassinate journalists in Syria.

To avoid lending any credibility to toxic crap like this, I think you should elaborate on your position regarding Mother Agnes.

Joe Emersberger

So far as I’m aware, Scahill has not issued the “clear public explanation” that Emersberger has called for.

In a letter dated November 16, the day after Scahill posted his tweet, Mother Agnes notified the Stop the War Coalition of her decision to withdraw from the conference. Here is what she wrote:

My dear friends,

It has come to my attention that my participation in your conference has become a matter of serious contention, even prompting some other speakers to consider withdrawing. This is apparently due to a campaign of cruel and unsubstantiated accusations which seek to work against my efforts and those of the Mussalaha (Reconciliation) Initiative in Syria.

The basis of our work toward peace is reconciliation and forgiveness. This means extending an olive branch to some who may initially refuse it, and accepting an olive branch from others who are despised, even by our friends.

In the case of Syria, I am guided by the terrible events of human provenance that are reaping misery and death without end in sight. I and my fellow members of the Mussalaha movement feel compelled to find a path toward national redemption that applies the principles of reconciliation and forgiveness that is different from either the way of the sword or even the nonviolent exclusion of other Syrians, whatever their views or affiliations may be. This is by its nature a difficult path but I am a cleric and am guided by my love for all. We are all children of God.

Some may feel that an injustice will be done if I speak at your conference. Others may think that injustice will be done if I do not. Because my participation in your conference may be used by some to distract from your valuable efforts towards peace, non-violence and reconciliation, I believe it best to withdraw from participation.

I thank you for your sincere invitation, and wish to offer my blessings for a successful conference that brings together a multitude of people of good will who will work together for peace and justice through mutual cooperation and I hope we shall at a future date have an opportunity to meet and discuss this issue and the wider work of the Mussalaha in Syria.

Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross

The letter is available in pdf format here. During the early part of November Mother Agnes has been on a speaking tour of the US. Click here to read a report by blogger Madison Ruppert of a speech she gave in Los Angeles.

In the video below, uploaded in 2010, you will see Scahill sharing his views on 9/11:

“I believe that the United States was attacked by Al Qaeda on 9/11 by men who flew airplanes into those buildings,” says Scahill.

I would recommend Scahill watch the newly-released documentary September 11: The New Pearl Harbor. One of the things he will learn is that the “men who flew airplanes into those buildings” could barely pilot a twin engine plane.

In the above video you will also notice Mr. Scahill, the investigative reporter, discussing, almost angrily, his belief that efforts to determine the truth of what happened on 9/11 are “destructive” to “an honest dialog in this country about US policy,” and then going on to describe such efforts as “insulting to the people who died on 9/11.” Again, I would recommend he go here and watch a discussion by licensed clinical psychologists on cognitive dissonance and 9/11 denial.

See Also:

Mother Agnes of Syria: A Living Saint

Evidence of the Most Disgraceful War Crimes Imaginable

Potential US War on Syria Based on a Snuff Movie

Evident Propaganda Manipulation: Mother Agnes Issues Report on Syria Chemical Attack

Understanding Reality Manipulations in the Syrian Crisis

Also See: Short Film Clips of Mother Agnes online:

On the Rebel Uprising

On the Information War

On Syrian Secular Society

On the Mussalaha Movement

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , | 5 Comments

‘Secret’ Rome Meeting Recounted by AIPAC Spy Case Figure

By Jeff Stein | CQ SpyTalk | July 2, 2009

A few years back Sheryl Crow recorded a haunting song called “Three Days in Rome,” about a lover’s treacherous retelling of their affair in a novel.

Likewise, anonymous sources have been talking for years about a secret meeting two Bush administration Pentagon officials had in Rome with a notorious Iranian arms dealer, in December 2001.

It’s been said that the officials, Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, along with former Reagan White House intelligence operative Michael Ledeen, were scheming to sabotage a deal that Bush administration “moderates” were trying to make with Iran.

Another version was that they were “rogue operators” plotting to overthrow the Iranian regime.

Yet another tale about Rome has Italian intelligence officials passing along a fabricated document purporting to show that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, whom the Bush White House was plotting to overthrow, was buying uranium from Niger for a bomb.

All such accounts were based on anonymous sources.

But this week, one of the participants, Franklin broke a yearslong public silence to discuss what happened in Rome.

Or at least his version of events. Unfortunately, it hardly clears up the affair.

Franklin’s silence was enforced by his arrest and conviction in connection with a long-running spy scandal involving two officials from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

The former Iran analyst, confronted by the FBI over leaking classified information to the two AIPAC operatives, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, cooperated with the government to avoid jail. Charges against Rosen and Weissman were dropped in May.

But Franklin was caught up in the Bush administration’s notorious skullduggery to bring “regime change” to Iran and Iraq from the beginning.

Roman Holiday

Only three months after the 9/11 attacks, Franklin and Rhode, another Pentagon official, traveled to Rome for a meeting with Manucher Ghorbanifar, whose trail of deceiving U.S. officials goes back two decades.

Ghorbanifar, the middleman in the so-called Iran-Contra/Arms-for-Hostages scandal in the Reagan administration, had fabricated so much bad intelligence and empty schemes that the CIA had put him on a no-contact list.

Nevertheless, when Michael Ledeen, a high profile Republican intelligence operative and longtime associate of Ghorbanifar, came calling during the panicky weeks after 9/11, Bush administration neoconservatives couldn’t resist.

The Iranian had a plan for regime change in Teheran — again.

Senior White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley and his deputy, Zalmay Khalilzad, “were enthusiastic,” Ledeen told me. Pentagon officials Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz , the deputy and undersecretary, respectively, of Defense, were also game, Franklin said.

His immediate boss, William Luti, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who headed Near East issues at Defense, put him on the team.

“He said, ‘We’d like you to go on this mission,’” Franklin recalled in an interview. “Feith, Wolfowitz, they’re in favor of it.”

Had anyone mentioned Ghorbanifar’s reputation as a con man extraordinaire? I asked Franklin. That the Iranian schemer was on the CIA’s burn list?

“Yeah, I was told all that,” Franklin said. “But that’s not a reason not to meet someone. It doesn’t mean that everything a person” says is untrue.

“I was advised not to go see Ghorbanifar by DIA,” (the Defense Intelligence Agency), he added. “I invited DIA to come, but they declined because there was a CIA no-contact order on Ghorbanifar.”

“If you don’t know anything,” Franklin said, “you’ll meet with everyone.”

And the Bush administration didn’t know anything about Iran, he said. Wolfowitz often called him directly at home to talk about it.

“The purpose of the meeting was to get . . . first-hand intelligence on Iran, because the CIA station there had been rolled up a couple of times,” Franklin said.

“Ghorbanifar had another item on his agenda,” he added.

Money Upfront

And that was?

“Getting money from our government to implement a scheme which he thought would overthrow the government in Iran,” Franklin said.

Ghorbanifar’s plan was “to buy off a bunch of truck drivers who would shut down the main arteries in Teheran. They would block traffic for miles around.”

And then?

“At that point, he felt he could shake the regime from the inside. . . . He could get enough people up, a critical mass, to do the deed, to overthrow the regime.”

Ghorbanifar sketched out his scenario for Franklin during a 2 a.m. meeting in his hotel lobby, Franklin said.

He wanted $5 million. “Seed money.”

Franklin didn’t like it.

“I didn’t tell him, but I thought it was amateurish and would’ve gotten people killed and America embarrassed. And we would be out $5 million, while he would be $5 million richer.”

As loony as it was, Franklin says some of his neoconservative colleagues back in Washington liked the idea, among them, Cheney’s top national security aide, John Hannah.

“He was wondering why I didn’t support Ghorbanifar,” Franklin said.

Hannah would not discuss the affair for the record except to say he never met with Franklin to discuss it.

Apprised of that response, Franklin stuck to his guns.

“Oh, yes, he did,” Franklin said. “It was at the Cosi restaurant near the Old Executive Office Building. I remember it in spades.”

Other Voices, Other Rooms

As for plotting to undermine Bush administration moderates who wanted a dialogue with Iran, it never came up, Franklin insisted.

“No, not in Rome,” he said. “The idea was bandied about in the Pentagon. I don’t know where the idea came from. There was gossip, about whether anyone in Policy was pushing it. But it certainly wasn’t discussed in Rome.”

How about the phony Niger uranium documents? I asked. Did that come up?

“No it did not, not that I can remember.”

Then why did he meet with Italian intelligence officials, who were said to have a role in peddling the phony documents?

“They gave us safe houses, restaurants,” Franklin said. “They were our shield. Mike [Ledeen] had good relations with them.“

Did Ledeen clear the meeting with CIA station chief Jeff Castelli? I asked. He was reportedly furious about being kept out of the loop.

“Yes,” Franklin said. “Mike talked to him.”

Ledeen: “Who’s Castelli?”

All clear?

Jeff Stein can be reached at


November 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Secret’ Rome Meeting Recounted by AIPAC Spy Case Figure

Iran to leave talks if Congress OK’s sanctions: MP

Press TV – November 18, 2013

A Senior Iranian lawmaker says the Islamic Republic will leave the negotiating table if the US Congress approves additional sanctions against Tehran.

“The US Congress has recently been seeking to approve a bill to increase sanctions against Iran. It has been decided that the negotiations be suspended if the bill gets through the US Congress,” said Mohammad Hassan Asafari who sits on the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of Majlis.

The Iranian lawmaker made the remarks after a meeting in which Iran’s nuclear negotiating team briefed the parliamentary committee on two rounds of nuclear talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – plus Germany.

The US Senate Banking Committee is mulling over whether to move ahead with a new anti-Iran sanctions bill it had delayed before the latest round of talks between Iran and the group of six world powers which was held in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 7-10.

The new round of sanctions against Iran, which the Senate Banking Committee has been asked to “mark up,” were passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in July. The House bill seeks to cut Iran’s oil exports by one million barrels a day for the next year and includes threats of military force against Iran.

The White House, however, is resisting growing pressure from Congress over Iran sanctions, trying to convince US lawmakers not to impose what they call further “punitive” measures.

“Our hope is now that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that if they are, it could be viewed as bad faith by the people we’re negotiating with, [and] it could destroy the ability to be able to get agreement,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said before a closed-door briefing with the Senate Banking Committee on November 13.

During Sunday’s meeting, Iran’s negotiating team also briefed the country’s lawmakers on the agenda of the forthcoming round of negotiations slated to be held on November 20 in Geneva.

“The negotiating team and the members of the Majlis National Security [and Foreign Policy] Committee reiterated in the meeting that the suspension of enrichment as well as the closure of the Fordow facility and the Arak heavy water [reactor] or any other [nuclear] sites is not on our agenda,” Asafari noted.

Meanwhile, Israel has been trying to force the US administration into imposing additional sanctions to stop an agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

Israel’s Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett has recently met with a number of congressmen in Washington in order to persuade them to oppose a diplomatic deal with Iran.

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Indonesia recalls its Australian ambassador alleging phone-taps on President Yudhoyono

RT | November 18, 2013

Indonesia is recalling its ambassador to Australia over allegations that Canberra listened in on phone conversations of the Indonesian president.

Indonesia said the ambassador was being called to Jakarta for “consultations”.

The move by Jakarta comes as the Australian Department of Defence and the Defence Signals Directorate, or DSD, (now known as the Australian Signals Directorate), has been accused of monitoring the phone calls of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife Kristiani Herawati, as well as eight other high-ranking officials, including the vice president, Boediono.

The latest leak, provided in May 2013 by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was released jointly by The Guardian newspaper and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday, and will likely aggravate another diplomatic firestorm between Canberra and Jakarta.

The top secret material from the DSD is in the form of a slide presentation, dated November 2009, and divulges information on the monitoring of mobile phones just as 3G technology was being introduced in Asia.

In one of the presentations, entitled Indonesian President Voice Events, a graphic of calls is given on Yudhoyono’s Nokia handset over a 15-day period in August 2009. The data provides CDRs – call data records – which record the numbers called, the duration of communications, and whether the transmission was a voice call or SMS.

The Australian spy agency “appears to have expanded its operations to include the calls of those who had been in touch with the president,” the report indicated. Another slide, entitled Way Forward, gives the simple command: “Must have content,” perhaps a reference to encrypted material.

Attached to the bottom of each slide in the 2009 presentation is the DSD slogan: “Reveal their secrets – protect our own.”

Also named in the surveillance slides are Dino Patti Djalal, then-foreign affairs spokesman for the president, who recently resigned as Indonesia’s ambassador to the US and is seeking the candidacy in next year’s presidential election for Yudhoyono’s Democratic party, and Hatta Rajasa, current minister for economic affairs and potential presidential candidate for the National Mandate party. Hatta served at the time of the surveillance as minister for transport; his daughter is the wife of the president’s youngest son.

Other high-level officials on the list of “IA Leadership Targets” are: Jusuf Kalla, the former vice-president who ran as the Golkar party presidential candidate in 2009; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, then a reforming finance minister and since 2010 one of the managing directors of the World Bank Group; Andi Mallarangeng, who was at the time the president’s spokesman, and later minister for youth and sports; Sofyan Djalil, who served until October 2009 as minister for state-owned enterprises; Widodo Adi Sucipto, a former head of the Indonesian military who served until October 2009 as security minister.

Another slide, entitled DSD Way Forward, acknowledges that the Australian spy agency’s must “capitalise on UKUSA and industry capability”, apparently a reference to assistance from telecom and internet companies, the same method that the NSA used to collect data on millions of individuals around the planet.

News of Australia’s high-level snooping on the Indonesian president and his top aides is certain to provoke a harsh response from Jakarta, especially considering this is not Australia’s first breach of trust between the Pacific Rim countries.

Tensions between Canberra and Jakarta began in October when top secret files revealed by the German newspaper Der Spiegel and published by Fairfax newspapers showed that Australian diplomatic posts across Asia were being used to intercept communications.

Marty Natalegawa, the Indonesian foreign minister, issued a harsh response and threatened to review bilateral initiatives on issues important to Australia, including people smuggling and terrorism.

During a visit last week to the Australian city of Perth, Vice president Boediono – not yet privy to information that his own Blackberry device had been compromised by Australian spy agencies – briefly mentioned the long-standing spying controversy.

“I think we must look forward to come to some arrangement which guarantees that intelligence information from each side is not used against the other,” he said. “There must be a system.”

Yudhoyono is the latest in a growing list of global leaders who have had their personal communications listened to by the American intelligence service.

It has recently been reported that the leaders of Germany, Brazil and Mexico have been listened to by the so-called Five Eyes, the collective name for the intelligence agencies of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, who share information.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in late October demanded a personal explanation from US President Barack Obama as to why the NSA had tapped her mobile phone. The White House attempted to reassure the chancellor that her phone was “not currently being tapped and will not be in the future”.

It will be interesting at this point to see if the diplomatic backlash in wake of the recent wave of revelations will curb the Five Eyes’ surveillance program, or if it will just go deeper underground.

The Guardian then reported that the DSD worked together with the NSA to stage a massive surveillance operation in Indonesia during a UN climate change conference in Bali in 2007.

On Monday a spokesman for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “Consistent with the long-standing practice of Australian governments, and in the interest of national security, we do not comment on intelligence matters.”

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment