War Reporting

Show Details for the week of November 16th, 2015

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On The Monitor this week we take an extended look at the background of the terror attacks in Paris. What are the historical connections are future implications? Our first interview is withJ. Michael Springman and our second is with Christian Parenti.

More about this week’s guests:

J. Michael Springmann was a career official with both the Commerce and State departments. He was economic/commercial officer in Stuttgart (1977–1980), a commercial attaché in New Delhi (1980–1982), a visa officer in Jeddah (1987–1989), a political/economic officer in Stuttgart (1989–1991), and, finally, an economic analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1991). He recently published the book Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World.

Quote: “During the 1980s, the CIA recruited and trained Muslim operatives to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later, the CIA would move those operatives from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and then to Iraq, Libya, and Syria, traveling on illegal US visas. These US-backed and trained fighters would morph into an organization that is synonymous with jihadist terrorism: al-Qaeda.”

From the book description:

“Thousands of American soldiers and civil servants have lost their lives in the War on Terror. Innocent citizens of many nations, including Americans killed on 9/11, have also paid the ultimate price. While the US government claims to stand against terror, this same government refuses to acknowledge its role in creating what has become a deadly international quagmire. Visas for al-Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World sets the record straight by laying the blame on high-ranking US government officials.

During the 1980s, the CIA recruited and trained Muslim operatives to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later, the CIA would move those operatives from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and then to Iraq, Libya, and Syria, traveling on illegal US visas. These US-backed and trained fighters would morph into an organization that is synonymous with jihadist terrorism: al-Qaeda.

christianparenti_small2 Christian Parenti is author of Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence. He is a professor in the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University

Quote: “The growing crisis of war and state breakdown in the Middle East is partially driven by climate change. We have to deal with climate change — that is, drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions — or face escalating chaos. Parenti is professor in the global liberal studies program at New York University. He has reported from conflict zones in the Middle East and studies the history of political violence. He said U.S. policies “have repeatedly created failed states” in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. “Trying to overthrow [Syrian leader Bashar] Assad is a very bad idea. Assad is admittedly a dictator who inherited a state from his father but he is doing more than anyone to fight ISIS. Seeking his violent overthrow, as has been U.S. policy, is to court further disaster and a wider swath of misery.”

    In an interview published earlier this year, “Climate Change, Militarism, Neoliberalism and the State,” Parenti stated: “Syria is a prime example. There has been a terrible drought there, which coincided with austerity measures imposed by the Assad government cutting aid to Sunni farmers. Many of them were forced to leave the land, partly due to drought, partly due to the lack of support to properly deal with the drought. Then, they arrive in cities, and there’s more austerity taking place. This is experienced as oppression by the Alawite elite against an increasingly impoverished Sunni proletariat who’ve been thrown off their land.

“This situation then explodes as religious conflict, which is really the fusion of environmental crises with neoliberal economic policies. Of course, the violent spark to all of this is the fact that the entire region is flooded with weapons. Some of these weapons are from the Cold War, and some of those guns are from recent U.S. militarism in the region. There were a lot of vets of the anti-U.S. struggle in Iraq who are Syrian — Mujahideen veterans who went to Iraq and came back to Syria and started to fight. There were Syrians who were selling guns to Iraqi underground groups. These groups were buying their guns back, and re-importing them to Syria.”

Show Details for the week of June 1st, 2015

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On The Monitor this week”

  • The Rise of the Islamic State – an interview with Loretta Napoleoni
  • The Voice Of Convicted CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling – an interview with Judith Ehrlich

More about this week’s guests:

About Loretta_ColorLoretta Napoleoni is the bestselling author of Maonomics, Rogue EconomicsTerror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism and money laundering. As Chairman of the countering terrorism financing group for the Club de Madrid, Napoleoni brought heads of state from around the world together to create a new strategy for combating the financing of terror networks.

Napoleoni is a regular media commentator for CNN, Sky and the BBC. She is among the few economists who predicted the credit crunch and the recession, and advises several banks on strategies to counter the current ongoing crisis. She lectures regularly around the world on economics, terrorism and money laundering.

Napoleoni ’s books include Modern Jihad (Pluto Press, London, 2003); Terror Inc. (Penguin, London, 2004); Insurgent Iraq (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2005); Terror Incorporated (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2005); Rogue Economics (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2008); Terror and the Economy (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2010) and Maonomics: Why Chinese Communists Are Better Capitalists Than We Are (Seven Stories Press 2011) . Her latest book is the best seller Islamist Phoenix (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2014). “The IS doesn’t want to destroy. They want to build the 21st century version of the Calliphate and that is what makes them so dangerous”. Her books are translated into 18 languages including Chinese and Arabic. She lives in London and in the US with her husband and their four children.

From Loretta’s book The Islamist Phoenix

“For the first time since World War One, an armed organization is redesigning the map of the Middle East drawn by the French and the British. Waging a war of conquest, the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (al Sham), or ISIS, is erasing the borders that the Sykes-Picot Accord established in 1916. The region where the black and golden flag of IS flies already stretches from the Mediterranean shores of Syria well into the heart of Iraq, the Sunni tribal area. It is bigger than the United Kingdom or Texas and, since the end of June 2014, is known as the Islamic Caliphate. “Caliphate” is the name given to an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and political leader known as a caliph, or successor to the Prophet Muhammad – the most famous being the Ottoman Caliphate (or Empire), which began in 1453 and lasted until the dissolution of the Caliphate and expulsion of the last caliph, Abdulmecid, at the hands of Kemal Ataturk in 1924.

Many believe that the Islamic State, like al-Qaeda before it, wants to turn back the clock, and indeed in Western media Syrian and Iraqi refugees describe its rule in their countries as a sort of carbon copy of the Taliban regime. Posters forbid smoking and the use of cameras. Women are not allowed to travel without a male relative, must be covered up, and cannot wear trousers in public. The Islamic State seems also engaged in a sort of religious cleansing through proselytism: people must either join its creed, radical Salafism; flee; or face execution.

Paradoxically, to deem the IS essentially backward would be mistaken. Indeed, during the last few years the belief that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader and the new Caliph, is a clone of Mullah Omar may well have led Western intelligence to undervalue him and his organization’s strength. While the world of the Taliban was limited to Koranic schools and knowledge based upon the writings of the Prophet, globalization and modern technology have been the cradle of the Islamic State.

What distinguishes the Islamic State from all other armed groups that predate it, including those active during the Cold War, and what accounts for its enormous successes, is its modernity and pragmatism. So far its leadership has understood the limitations that contemporary powers face in a globalized and multipolar world – for example, the inability to reach an agreement for foreign intervention in Syria, as happened in Libya and Iraq. Against this backdrop the Islamic State’s leadership has successfully exploited the Syrian conflict, the most recent version of the traditional war by proxy, to its own advantage almost unobserved, drawing funds from a variety of people: Kuwaitis, Qataris, Saudis, who, seeking a regime change in Syria, have been willing to bankroll several armed groups. However, instead of fighting the sponsors’ war by proxy, the Islamic State has used their money to establish its own territorial strongholds in financially strategic regions, for example in the rich oilfields of Eastern Syria. No previous Middle Eastern armed organization has been able to promote itself as the region’s new ruler with the money of its rich Gulf sponsors.

Judith Ehrlich is a producer and director, known for The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009), The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It (2000) and Untitled Film on World Citizen # 1 Garry Davis (2015).She is the director of the just-released short documentary “The Invisible Man: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling.” She just wrote the short piece “On Jeffrey Sterling: From the Filmmaker of ‘The Invisible Man’,” which notes: “Jeffrey Sterling was convicted in large part on the basis of metadata — not the content of his communication.”

This is a story with shocking elements. While most of us don’t quite understand what metadata is exactly, this case reminds us it’s time to get a grip on that. In fact Jeffrey Sterling was convicted in large part on the basis of metadata — not the content of his communication. That is, they don’t have to know what he said, just that he talked to or emailed  the New York Times reporter who leaked news of Operation Merlin to which Jeffrey was assigned while a CIA case officer. And that metadata, the where, when and whom is not protected as the conversation might be.

The most shocking element of this story is that  Jeffrey Sterling seems to be punished because he “pulled on Superman’s cape” first with a racial discrimination suit they were able to squash and then by reporting what he considered a dangerous CIA operation to the proper government channels for hearing such a concern.

I wanted to make a film that captured this couple’s deep commitment and belief in one another in the face of a decade of Kafkaesque uncertainty at the hands of the CIA. Ellsberg followed the same initial trajectory as Sterling, going to Congress with his concerns about the Vietnam War and being ignored by the oversight committees. CIA veteran Ray McGovern calls them “overlook committees.”

I was thrilled to collaborate with Norman Solomon and Expose Facts to reach an audience with this story that exposes deep problems in our justice system.

Show Details for the week of February 23rd, 2015

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On The Monitor this week:

  • What does ISIS really want and how should people try to analyze the group’s extreme positions? We talk with Jennifer Loewenstein about two recent articles dealing with the topic.
  • Documents reveal that the U.S. government helped Israel acquire nuclear weapons. What are the political implications? We talk with Grant Smith who obtained the documents.

More about this week’s guests:
Jennifer Loewenstein is  Faculty associate in Middle East Studies and Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Loewenstein has followed news of ISIS closely and joins us to comment on the media narrative surrounding the group. She has also recently written about the topic – Holding Ourselves Hostage to History: Burnt Offering

Quote: “Too few people, I fear, will understand that the monstrous activities of ISIS will continue, if not increase, as long as the former colonial and imperial powers of the West, Japan, and their Arab allies –all of them run by tyrants and dictators beholden to or in league with US state power and seeking “security” — persist in their attempts to shape and control the destiny of the Middle East.

It nevertheless seems likely that however long the infernal activities of ISIS continue, ISIS itself – like so many other extremist and fanatical organizations past and present – will eventually destroy itself from within. Public opinion worldwide, above all in the Middle East, is overwhelmingly opposed to the use of such depraved, barbaric tactics. Everywhere, especially where terror like this reigns day and night, people fear and abhor it. Ultimately, the core leaders of ISIS and groups similar to it, will fall upon their own swords and then be devoured, however savagely, by the populations most directly affected by their brutality.

We start the discussion with an assessment of the arguments in an article published by The Atlantic that has been very widely circulated: What ISIS Really Wants


Photo By Bill Hughes

Grant Smith, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). It is a nonprofit organization that “studies US-Middle East policy formulation. Founded in 2002, the Institute became an independent private non-profit tax-exempt organization in 2003. IRmep’s Center for Policy & Law Enforcement examines how balanced and vigorous law enforcement can improve trade, economic development and America’s international standing. IRmep‘s Israel Lobby Archive documents and provides citizen access to initiatives of one of the most harmful forces driving policy formulation in the US political process.”

Courthouse News reports: “In the midst of controversy over the Israeli prime minister’s plans to address Congress next month, a researcher has won the release of a decades-old Defense Department report detailing the U.S. government’s extensive help to Israel in that nation’s development of a nuclear bomb. “I am struck by the degree of cooperation on specialized war making devices between Israel and the U.S.,’ said Roger Mattson, a former member of the Atomic Energy Commission technical staff. The 1987 report, ‘Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,’ compares the key Israeli facilities developing nuclear weapons to Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the principal U.S. laboratories that developed the bomb for the United States.The tightly held report notes that the Israelis are ‘developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level.’ The release comes after Grant Smith, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy filed a FOIA request last year and followed with a lawsuit in September seeking to compel release of the report. The government fought to delay release of the 386-page report in hearings before Judge Tanya Chutkan in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who expressed skepticism with the government’s reasons for refusing to provide a single unclassified document. The report’s release this week has substantial political ramifications.”


Show Details for the week of February 9th, 2015

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On The Monitor this week:

  • The Super Bowl has been played and while the outcome on the field has been discussed by a lot of people the economic impact has not. Our first interview is with Neil deMause. We will talk about The Super Bowl Windfall Myth.
  • Our second guest will be Chris Hedges. I’ve been meaning to get Chris on the show for a long time. He is one of the few people whose work I read on a consistent basis. He recently wrote an article about one of my favorite American historical figures – Malcolm X. That will be the starting point of our conversation.

More about this week’s guests:

Neil deMause runs the stadium news website Field of Schemes, and co-authored the book of the same name. He wrote the piece “It’s the Local Economy, Stupid!” for Sports on Earth.

His most recent piece is “The Super Bowl Windfall Myth” for FAIR, which states: “With Super Bowl Sunday approaching, expect plenty of media reports on the projected economic windfall for host city Glendale, Arizona. Last year, when the NFL announced that its big game would provide a $600 million boost to the New York/New Jersey economy, that figure promptly became a fixture in news coverage of the event (CNN, 1/24/14; Newsday, 1/22/14; FoxNews.com, 5/21/14). …

“Never mind that numerous economists have looked in vain for any evidence that Super Bowl host cities strike it rich. In one study, Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson (12/09) calculated that through 2001, the average increase in economic activity during each Super Bowl was about $30 million. Lake Forest College economist Robert Baade has found similar numbers, telling the Associated Press (1/27/14) that you could ‘move the decimal point one place to the left’ on the NFL’s claims and still have ‘a generous appraisal of what the Super Bowl generates.’

“And that’s economic activity, the total amount of money changing hands within city limits — not the amount that comes back to city coffers. When University of Maryland economist Dennis Coates (International Journal of Sport Finance, 2006) studied the 2004 Super Bowl, he found that added sales tax revenues in host Houston totaled about $5 million — well under the $30 million to $70 million that cities spend on increased police presence and other services for the game (USA Today, 1/25/15).

“Economists have provided similarly dismal results for other sporting events, with major sporting events failing to make a dent in everything from local sales tax receipts to per capita income. (One study of sports strikes and lockouts failed to find any measurable impact on local economies even when local teams shut down entirely.) The most likely explanation: Increased spending on sports is largely balanced by reduced spending on other entertainment options, and even new spending quickly leaks out of the local economy into the pockets of out-of-town sports leagues.”


Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, has written twelve books, including the New York Times best seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. Some of his other books include “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. In 2011, Nation Books published a collection of Hedges’ Truthdig columns called “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Hedges previously spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002. The Los Angeles Press Club honored Hedges’ original columns in Truthdig by naming the author the Online Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011. The LAPC also granted him the Best Online Column award in 2010 for his Truthdig essay “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists”.
Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and The University of Toronto. He currently teaches prisoners at a maximum-security prison in New Jersey.

The interview on The Monitor this week starts with a discussion of Chris’s recent article Malcolm X Was Right About America


Show Details for the week of January 5th, 2014

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On The Monitor this week

  • The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212 – an interview with Cora Currier
  • The Reporting on the Re-Released DOJ IG Report Missed FBI’s Misuse of Terrorism Tools – an interview with Marcy Wheeler


More About this week’s guests:

Cora Currier is a journalist with The Intercept. She focuses on national security, foreign affairs, and human rights. As a reporting fellow at ProPublica, she covered national security and finance. Her work has been published in Stars and Stripes, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, Al Jazeera America, and many other outlets. Before joining ProPublica, she was on the editorial staff of The New Yorker and a lead researcher on several books of history and politics. She lives in New York.

From a Recent Article:

“Researchers and reporters had long counted the total number of prisoners who cycled through Guantanamo at 779, but the Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture revealed that there was one more previously unknown detainee. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, also known as prisoner 212, was held at a secret black site at Guantanamo Bay, according to the report, bringing the total number of detainees to 780.

That al-Libi was held by the CIA is long established.  After all, al-Libi’s name is notorious as the source of bad information used by the Bush administration to tie Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda to support the US invasion of Iraq — information he provided while being tortured in Egyptian custody, and later recanted…According to the Intercept’s research, there are still 50 former CIA prisoners named by Senate investigators whose fates are unknown, and who have not, to our knowledge, spoken to the media or human rights groups. ”

Recent Articles:

The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212

Gitmo Lawyer: “The Torture Pervades Everything”

CIA Watchdog to Step Down


Marcy Wheeler grew up bi-coastally, starting with every town in New York with an IBM. Then she moved to Poway, California, home of several participants in the Duke Cunningham scandal. Since then, she has lived in Western Massachusetts, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor, and — currently — Western Michigan.

She got a BA from Amherst College, where she spent much of her time on the rugby pitch. A PhD program in Comparative Literature brought her to Michigan; she got the PhD but decided academics was not her thing. Her research, though, was on a cool journalistic form called the “feuilleton” — a kind of conversational essay that was important to the expansion of modern newspapers in much of the rest of the world. It was pretty good preparation to become a blogger, if a PhD can ever be considered training for blogging.

After leaving academics, Marcy consulted for the auto industry, much of it in Asia. But her contract moved to Asia, along with most of Michigan’s jobs, so she did what anyone else would do. Write a book, and keep blogging. (Oh, and I hear Amazon still has the book for sale.)

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Recent Articles:

Hacking in the IOB Reports

What the Reporting on the Re-Released DOJ IG Report on Section 215 Missed about FBI’s Misuse of Terrorism Tools

Show Details for the week of October 20th, 2014

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KPFT is in pledge drive! The Monitor needs your support. We have a goal of $1,000 for the hour and we can only get there with your help. Because of the time constraints during pledge drive we only have one guest planned but we are working on four guests for upcoming shows around a single theme with some very special thank you gifts as well so stay tuned for the details!!

In the meantime, please call during the show to pledge your support for this show and for the station. The number is of course 713-526-5738 and you can call any time before, during or after the show to donate to the station. Please call us and help us get to our goal!

On The Monitor this week:

Nick Schou on Gary Webb, his book Kill the Messenger and the new movie of the same name starring Jeremy Renner.

The Monitor has copies of the book available for your pledge of $100. Please call 713-526-5738 during the show and ask for Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou

More about this week’s guest and Premium:

Jeremy Renner and Nick Schou arrrive at the 'Kill The Messenger' New York Screening - After Party at Michael's on October 9, 2014 in New York City. October 8, 2014 - Source: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images North America
Jeremy Renner and Nick Schou arrive at the ‘Kill The Messenger’ New York Screening – After Party at Michael’s on October 9, 2014 in New York City. October 8, 2014 – Source: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images North America

Nick Schou is an award-winning investigative journalist whose articles have resulted in the release from prison of wrongly convicted individuals; and in the federal indictment, conviction, and imprisonment of a Huntington Beach, California mayor. He is the managing editor of OC Weekly, the alternative news publication for CA’s Orange County and Long Beach communities.

HarperCollins included one of his feature stories in Best American Crime Reporting 2008. Mr. Schou is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Epidemic Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (published by Nation Books, 2006); Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World (Thomas Dunne, 2009); and The Weed Runners (Chicago Review Press, 2013).

The Monitor has copies of the book available for your pledge of $100. Please call 713-526-5738 during the show and ask for Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou

Kill the Messenger tells the story of the tragic death of Gary Webb, the controversial newspaper reporter who committed suicide in December 2004. Webb is the former San Jose Mercury News reporter whose 1996 “Dark Alliance” series on the so-called CIA-crack cocaine connection created a firestorm of controversy and led to his resignation from the paper amid escalating attacks on his work by the mainstream media. Author and investigative journalist Nick Schou published numerous articles on the controversy and was the only reporter to significantly advance Webb’s stories.

Drawing on exhaustive research and highly personal interviews with Webb’s family, colleagues, supporters and critics, this book argues convincingly that Webb’s editors betrayed him, despite mounting evidence that his stories were correct. Kill the Messenger examines the “Dark Alliance” controversy, what it says about the current state of journalism in America, and how it led Webb to ultimately take his own life.

Webb’s widow, Sue Bell Stokes, remains an ardent defender of her ex-husband. By combining her story with a probing examination of the one of the most important media scandals in recent memory, this book provides a gripping view of one of the greatest tragedies in the annals of investigative journalism.

The Monitor has copies of the book available for your pledge of $100. Please call 713-526-5738 during the show and ask for Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou

This is Gary Webb talking about the CIA and the trafficking of cocaine:

The Monitor has copies of the book available for your pledge of $100. Please call 713-526-5738 during the show and ask for Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou

And this is the official trailer for the movie, Kill the Messenger




Show Details for the week of September 29th, 2014

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On The Monitor this week:

  • The Brink of Mass Extinction – an interview with Dahr Jamail
  • Khorasan Group: A Concocted Pretext for Bombing Syria? – an interview with Murtaza Hussain


More about this week’s guests:


DahrDahr Jamail Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

Murtaza Hussain just wrote, with Glenn Greenwald, “The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria,” for The intercept, which states: “As the Obama administration prepared to bomb Syria without Congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the ‘homeland.’ A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.

“The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded ‘The Khorasan Group.’ After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat — too radical even for Al Qaeda! — administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.

“The unveiling of this new group was performed in a September 13 article by Associated Press [written by Ken Dilanian]. who cited unnamed U.S. officials to warn of this new shadowy, worse-than-ISIS terror group. …

“CNN’s supremely stenographic Pentagon reporter, Barbara Starr, went on air as videos of shiny new American fighter jets and the Syria bombing were shown and explained that this was all necessary to stop a Khorasan attack very close to being carried out against the west …

“All of that laid the fear-producing groundwork for President Obama to claim self-defense when he announced the bombing campaign on September 23 with this boast: ‘Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.’ But once it served its purpose of justifying the start of the bombing campaign in Syria, the Khorasan narrative simply evaporated as quickly as it materialized. …

“Literally within a matter of days, we went from ‘perhaps in its final stages of planning its attack’ (CNN) to ‘plotting as “aspirational”‘ and ‘there did not yet seem to be a concrete plan in the works’ (NYT). …

    “There are serious questions about whether the Khorasan Group even exists in any meaningful or identifiable manner. …”Another journalist for The Intercept, Ken Silverstein, wrote a piece on Ken Dilanian, who recently moved from theL.A. Times to AP: “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication.”