This is Abby Martin with your Empire Update, wrapping up the last week of US imperialism.
Our first story is about a brazen terrorist attack that murdered a civilian. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, one of the most important nuclear scientists in Iran was assassinated on November 27th by unknown gunmen.
Here’s what we know so far: First, only two countries are likely culprits, who have also done so in the past: the United States and Israel.
From 2010 to 2012, back during the Obama administration, four nuclear scientists were killed in Iran. Though Israel never took credit for the executions, reports were conclusive that Israel, working with the MEK, was behind the killings.
The MEK is a secretive cult of Iranian exiles headquartered in Paris that is known for carrying out terrorist attacks in Iran. They were even listed as a terrorist organization by the US, while at the same time US politicians were cashing lavish paychecks from them to do their bidding.
Central figures like John Bolton and former DNC chairman Howard Dean were given tens of thousands of dollars from this group. I even confronted Dean about this on my old show Breaking the Set.
Israel rarely acts unilaterally. We know that they would likely NOT have done this back then, or now, without collaborating with the US. Likewise, if this was a US plot, they would most likely collaborate with Israeli intelligence. So either way, the US was probably involved.
We also know Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was specifically on the radar to be targeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who threatened him by name in a televised speech back in April 2018.
Or, could this have just been Trump? We know that last week Trump asked his Generals to provide him with a variety of military strikes on Iran, making clear he wanted to leave office with some kind of attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Was this some kind of compromise? In response to Trump’s desire to potentially start a war, was he offered a low-risk option to carry out his second high-level assasination, pleasing the anti-Iran hawks in the US and Israel, but with no risk of repercussions?
We’ll probably never know what really happened, but it’s very safe to assume that Washington had a hand in the attack.
Either way, if Biden doesn’t immediately condemn this, it’s going to be much harder for him to engage in the diplomacy with Iran he says he wants, and understandably so.
Whether it was the US, or Israel, or both, we need to see this for what it is: an act of state terrorism, funded by our tax dollars. Even if the US was in an active war with Iran, assassinating a non-combatant for being a scientist would still be considered a war crime under international law.
And imagine the response if Iranians assassinated a nuclear scientist in the US! Not only that, imagine the response from the corporate media; the hand-wringing, the condemnation from every pundit, every politician.
It would be condemned by the entire media and political establishment as the worst kind of terrorism. And they would be out for blood because of it. But when it happens to Iran, there doesn’t seem to be any concern.
This act of aggression against Iran’s non existent nuclear weapons program is particularly maddending considering that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, and the US empire, with the most nukes in the world, is the only country to have used them.
Our next update is a new development we reported last week regarding Trump’s misreported troop “withdrawal”, or more accurately, troop repositioning, for the US war in Somalia.
On November 25, a senior state department official leaked to the press that a CIA operative had just been killed in combat in Somalia.
Now, some have speculated that this leak was to put pressure on the Trump administration to back off it’s plan to move troops from Somalia to Kenya and DJiBouti, from which they would still conduct combat missions in Somalia. But, as I reported last week, the US would leave intact it’s CIA operations in Somalia, like this operative killed last weekend.
But the real story here, is that it exposes a little-known aspect of the CIA. When most Americans hear “CIA” they think of people in suits, sitting behind a desk, or conducting spying operations. They don’t often think of troops in combat.
It is unknown to most that the CIA has something called the Special Activities Division, which is essentially it’s own paramilitary organization. It recruits the most elite fighters from Army Delta Force and SEAL Team 6. It is considered the most mysterious military organization in the world, and they’re on the ground probably everywhere.
They do everything from conducting high-level assassinations and kidnappings, to secretly training proxy forces. Similar to the US military’s Special Op, but somehow far more dark, secretive, and totally unaccountable.
For example, if CIA troops are on the ground shooting people, the US can totally deny it, pretending it actually doesn’t have soldiers there.
Meaning the US really has troops on the ground, very much at war, in far more countries than they will admit. How many countries have these CIA strike teams on the ground, where it would be too scandalous or provocative for the US to send troops?
But back to Somalia, the phrase “removing troops” will only refer to official troops; not these unofficial hit squads who are very much US troops. While it is yet to be seen what will happen regarding the Somalia withdrawal, we got a little reminder this week that the expanse of the US war machine is even greater than we already know.
In our final update, we finally have some good news. The domination of the US Empire in Latin America was dealt a major blow this week, when Bolivia’s new president, Luis Arce, announced that his country was rejoining three key regional alliances: the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Union of South American Nations.
ALBA was founded by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez as a vehicle to unite progressive and pro-socialist governments in the region in order to fight for Latin America’s independence from U.S. imperialism. Washington has sought to destroy the ALBA alliance since it was founded, to keep Latin America subservient to US capitalism.
In fact the Pentagon has launched coups in several ALBA nations; a successful one in Honduras, several failed ones in Venezuela and Nicaragua, and most recently Bolivia, where the Trump administration helped overthrow left-wing indigenous leader Evo Morales. The recent victory against the US coup government in the Bolivian election last month was the first blow to US designs, and this new announcement has landed a second punch.
Rejoining ALBA is not just important for Bolivia, but for the other ALBA nations who have another link in the chain of solidarity against the US empire. And for now we can revel in that celebration by the Bolivian grassroots, and the failure of the Pentagon.