What I Learned from “Professor” Scott Horton About the War on Terror

Recently I had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar given by Scott Horton for Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade University program. Horton’s topic was the history of the War on Terror. Now, I listen to every interview Horton does, and spend a good amount of time reading everything at Antiwar.com. So I thought I knew all I could know about the War on Terror. I was wrong.

Horton provided a Powerpoint along with a Q & A. I decided to take notes over the three hours and see if Horton provided anything I hadn’t heard before that I could research or read in my spare time. Thought I would share what I found here.

“Islamic Terror” Not Just About Islam

Horton provided a bunch of examples showing that just because a country or people are Muslim, or even have issues with American policy, doesn’t mean that they will take to blowing themselves up to kill Americans.

In Bin Laden’s 1998 “Declaration of War Against Jews and Crusaders”, he speaks to the reasons for declaring war on the West. While the language includes talk of religion, the main argument is the American support for violent dictators in the Arab world, support for Israel, and the decade long bombing campaign on Iraq.

It’s when innocent people are being killed that groups like Al Qeada begin to gain support and popularity. For example, Iran has been in the cross-hairs of the United States for half a century now. Within that time, the only events in which Iranian citizens took arms against Americans include Americans on Iranian soil. Even with the sanctions, threats of war, insults by Western leaders and dozens of bases (and a full naval fleet) surrounding the country, Iranians are not looking for ways to sneak into America and kill innocent people.

Horton points to the writing of Robert Pape, the author of Dying to Warand the idea of “Credible Belief” as a main cause of terrorism. Remember, there were zero suicide bombing in Iraq before the United States invasion in 2003. To take it as far as suicide vests, there has to be a feeling that there can be victory. Whatever that is defined as. Bin Laden’s goal was never to defeat the United States army on the battlefield, but to bankrupt America, financially and emotionally. Without being invested at the highest level, no amount of convincing can make a population resist the way the people of Middle East have. We sa this with the Shite Iraqi army turning tail and running when ISIS was riding into Mosul in 2014. The Sunni tribal areas of northern Iraq are not the home of these Shites. They feel no connection to them or have any sense of urgency to keep them under Baghdad control. Horton provided another such example. The Spanish during the Iraq War refused to send troops to help it’s American allies. Why? Not their fight. How was assisting the United States in occupying Iraq going to protect the Spanish homeland?

You only need to look at the major leaders inside Al Qeada and ISIS to understand that occupation and domination are the driving factors of terrorism. Before 2004, there were no Al Qeada in Iraq. The leaders of this group, Ayman al-Zawahri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were both radicalized by seeing family members tortured by the US or its puppet dictators (the Egyptian government for example), or by being tortured themselves. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself spent time in Abu Ghraib. Growing up in an environment of occupation lent itself to young men growing up ready to turn to terrorism and militancy. Must like growing up in a gang infected neighborhood leads to most young boys joining up at a young age.

In current events we see this also. The current “Knife Intifada” in the West Bank is a prime example given by Horton. Western, “millennial” Palestinians have taken to knifing Israeli settlers and checkpoint guards. Is this for the glory of Muhammad? Or is it more likely that it is because they have lived under occupation their whole lives? Resisting the only way they know how.

It is not like the talking heads and policy makers in Washington D.C. haven’t done everything but admitted in the past that terrorism is the “price of empire”. In the 1990s the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the threat of Terrorism is a “small price to pay for being a Superpower”. In their arrogance they blind themselves from the reactions and results of their stupid policies. Like Paul Wolfowitz said when discussing the reasons for 9/11, it’s not like the United States had troops in Afghanistan prior to that day. His hubris allows him to ignore the fact that there were troops in Saudi Arabia for a full decade before, one of the major reasons Bin Laden sites for declaring war.

Blowback is a Hell of A Term

The idea of “blowback” is one I’ve been aware of since Ron Paul dropped the mic on Rudy Guliani’s face back in 2008. Chalmers Johnson helped expand my understanding of it, and I thought I had all the points I’d ever need to get the theory across to people.

Horton gave a laundry list of examples of “we should have seen this coming” moments. He sites Eric Margolis in his book “War at the Top of the World”. Margolis was on the ground in Afghanistan during the fight against the USSR in the 1980s. He was around members of the Mujaheddin like Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. Azzam told Margolis that once they were done kicking the invading Soviets out of Afghanistan, they would “come for the Americans”. The leaders in that movement understood the reasons they were being helped by the Americans, and it wasn’t out of the goodness of Reagan’s heart.

Horton even brings Rambo III into the discussion. Pointing to a scene in which an officer to told by a fellow solder that Afghans have been invaded throughout their history. Fighting occupation is what they do, and no amount of firepower will stop them from resisting.

The same can be said about Clinton and Bosnian Muslims during the 1990s. Clinton provided aid to a number of different Sunni radical groups during that time. Muslims in Chechyna, Bosnia, Kosovo and even the Ughurs in China accepted weapons from the Pentagon to help with their cause. All the while never seeing America as a true friend to the cause. Clinton enjoyed using these Sunni radicals as covert forces so much, that he missed on at least ten opportunities to kill/capture Bin Laden throughout the 1990s according to Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit.

It should not have taken until 2008 for Americans to be introduced to the idea of Blowback. But once the troops began coming back home, along with the stories and evidence of what was being done, a slow burn of war fatigue began to set in.

War for Empire and Nothing Else

Horton provided a number of examples when the regime in Washington showed their true colors and I have included those below for your viewing pleasure:

The clip below is pretty famous. Madeline Albright in 1997 all but admits on camera that the Gulf War and the Clinton policy of sanctions, no-fly zones and bombings throughout the 90s had no root in humanitarianism. The opposite is more accurate.

I will leave you with the most damning evidence of “Empire First, America Second”. But before the video, let me lay out some quick connections that Horton opened by eyes to.

The invasion of Afghanistan was sold to the American people as an action to get the people responsible for 9/11. But it should have quickly became clear that this invasion was just another chess move in the game of geopolitical hegemony. Afghanistan sits in the middle of the Eurasian continent, mineral rich and strategically important. It’s the reason the Soviets invaded in the 80s in the first place. It’s the reason the British and the Russians have been racing towards the country for centuries.

The Korengal Valley is a place we can point to for proof that the mission is not about the security of America. The valley is a place that is impossible to control, but it is an important transportation route for weapons in and out of Afghanistan towards Pakistan. The documentary “Restrapo” details the complete stupidity of the mission, providing you with two hours of opportunities to say “what the fuck are those troops there for?”. Whether its the pointless patrols of the US troops through the villages within the valley, or listening to the interviews with the Marines stuck there fighting for the brother next to them, the whole movie exposes the idiotic mission.

So again, I leave you with the most jaw-dropping example of clear disregard for the wants and needs of the American people in the name of Empire and Pentagon bank accounts, President Bush only 6 MONTHS after the towers fell admitting to reporters that he doesn’t consider Bin Fucking Laden a major point of interest in the newly declared War on Terror.



The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Biblical Proporations


This episode is focused mostly on the recent attack on a Sufi Islamic mosque in the Egyptian village of Biral-Abud. The village is located on the Sinai Peninsula, an area of Egypt that the central government in Cairo has little control over. What has grown in place of the military dictatorship Sinai has been Al Qeada, and more recently ISIS.

This attack was carried out by an regional ISIS cell which the newspapers call “Sinai Province”. Lead by Muhammad al-Iswai, this group has been expanding their control over the northern part of the Sinai. This is the area closest to the Gaza Strip, and of course Israel. An attack this one, or the more shocking downing of a Russian jetliner, definitely gets the attention of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

It is important to remember the Sinai Peninsula borders the Red Sea, which has a large tourism economy. The eastern coast of the Suez Canal also sits in on the Peninsula. An unstable Sinai is an international issue. Since Al Qeada began operating in the region in 2011, gas pipelines, the Canal and US troops have been in danger of attacks by Al Qeada and now ISIS.

Because of the disfranchisement of the Bedouin tribes of the Sinai, Cairo is dealing with a situation much like the tribal areas of Iraq or Afghanistan. Tribal leadership is the law of the land, and tribes either cooperate with the extremist groups or they fight them. The Sinai is no different. Stories of violence by Bedouin tribes against ISIS men in Sinai is not uncommon.

The reasons we can draw for the attack are many. Sufi Islam was founded in this small village, which groups like ISIS see as a crime against Islam. A more secular reason could be that that the Sufis have been working with the central authorities in Cairo to stop the growth of ISIS. This seems to me to make more sense, with religion has the cover. Further still, ISIS has been moving into tribal gang turf, as the Bedouins are in control of the smuggling of goods in Gaza. Attacks have taken place on both sides over these smuggling operations.

Israel has taken special interest in the Sinai, going back to the wars of the late 60s and 70s. The results of the Camp David Accords of 1979 still hold, as Egypt has to get Israeli approval for troop numbers within the Sinai. Israel has had talks about purchasing the Sinai Penensula from Egypt, helping to bring the right-wing in Israel it’s “fix” for the Gaza situation. The “Greater Gaza” idea is a real one, and includes moving the Arab population from Gaza to the Sinai, or at least expand the Strip south. By expanding Gaza, the hope is for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem to relocate, giving Israel full open range to settle the West Bank.

The “Greater Gaza” plan has the blessing of the United States. As does closer cooperation with Egypt and Israel. Joining this group more publicly then previously has been Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been working more closely with Israel, and with MSB at the head of the royal family, he is cracking down on the extremist element within his Kingdom. This has to be at the request of Washington and Tel Aviv.

The attack has been used by MSB to help sell his new counter-terrorism group, which includes 40 Muslim countries.

Quick Hits

  • The Pentagon has been caught trying to cover up child abuse by Afghan security forces. Troops had admitted in an Inspector General’s report that they had been ordered to “ignore” the sexual abuse of children by the security forces they train.
  • Also in Afghanistan, the Trump administration has decided to start bombing opium production in the country. Once a crop our troops protected, recently the Taliban has taken over the trade from US allies, making the Pentagon have to make a 180 on heroin production in Afghanistan. This does give the military another excuse to continue the occupation that has gone on for over a decade.
  • Peace talks in Geneva about the war in Syria went “nowhere” this week. With the West still pushing for Assad to step down, there is no chance for any agreement on terms while Assad holds a major upper hand on the ground in Syria.
  • News has surfaced confirming what most already knew, the Pentagon has been lying about the number of troops in Iraq & Syria. The “official” numbers showed 500 troops in Syria, with another 5000 in Iraq. In reality, the numbers in Syria total 1700, with over 9000 in Iraq. This should be bigger news, but with CNN busy “getting” Trump, this story won’t become a scandal.


Episode can be found here…The full episode archive can be found here and on ITunes.


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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Not-So-Grand Chessboard

I thought this week I’d hit on a bunch of different geopolitical situations that could escalate in the near future.


Ukraine has been in the middle of low-energy civil war since the coup that took place in early 2014. It set the pro-EU, anti-Russian west against the Russian-speaking, breakaway west. Ukraine has always been a country trying to find an identity. Its borders have changed and so have its allegiances. At one time, it was part of Russia. For a long time in fact. It was called “Little Russia” for parts of the Middle Ages, and Russian leaders have always looked that it as part of Russian history.

The western area has felt more at home with the West. Parts of it were part of the Polish Kingdom, before breaking off and joining Great Russia in 1654 with the signing of the Treaty of Pereyaslav. The western region has more recently has tried to outlaw the Russian language in Ukraine, and in the past they called Russian-speakers “Cossaks”, much like the Poles did.

Currently, the war has been more of a cold one. With the eastern regions continuing to support Russia, with Moscow expanding its influence over the area. The Ukrainian government from Kiev, and the Neo-Nazi political party that the United States helped take over, has seen the army become “fatigued”, as most soldiers not on either extreme sides of the conflict. Much like the American Civil War, fighting your “brother” can become tiresome.

Germany vs Poland

An interesting development has come up in Poland. Poland has recently been controlled by a more right-wing, anti-EU party. Poland looks to gain back its national sovereignty from Brussels and the Neo-Liberals in Germany. It has refused to accept even one Muslim migrant, and thinks pretty highly of Donald Trump.

Poland’s refusal to play ball has lead Germany to support regime change. They have gone so far as to have the Germany Defense Minister call for support of the new “youth resistance” in Poland. This “resistance” has been linked to George Soros, and seems to be another “color revolution”. There have been a long history of these color revolutions in Europe, a few in Ukraine in the 2000s, before the successfully violent one in 2014.

Poland has pushed the envelope, looking to create its own “bloc” in Europe. This bloc would be built out of the “Three Seas Initiative”. The initiative aims to bring together three different blocs within Europe, offering national sovereignty and some breathing room from the over-bearing governance of the EU. Some are calling the bloc: “Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 2.0”. This does not sit well with Angela Merkel and her friends in Brussels.

The bloc would also be very anti-Russian, which would date back to the days of Communism.


The news out of Libya isn’t really news at all. The story here is that CNN has finally decided to cover the ongoing slave trade in the country. This was being reported on by actual journalists back as far as April of this year, maybe before. CNN took it’s time for a few reasons I’m sure.

During the revolt against Gaddafi, CNN took its talking points from the CIA-backed rebels on the ground. The rebels (the ones Hillary is so happy to take pictures with) made it clear that all black African migrants were really “mercenaries” brought in my Gaddafi to protect his regime. In reality, these migrants were brought in as workers by Gaddafi for development projects. But CNN ran with the “mercenary” term, giving the rebels the look of “freedom fighters” killing the evil mercenaries brought in by the evil dictator to stomp out any uprising.

These African migrants were hunted down and killed in large numbers. The ones that weren’t killed, are the slaves you seen CNN talking about today.

The whole war was based off a lie. A lie that Gaddafi was going to slaughter his citizens in the streets. A story that has been debunked ever since.

In a war that has been dubbed “Hillary’s War”, it was exposed by Wikileaks that Clinton knew about the targeting of migrants, but she was more than happy to ignore that to achieve her end goals.

The reason I believe that this is finally seeing the light of day is simple. The United States wants to expand its imperial footprint in Africa (something I covered in a previous episode), and what better way to sell that to the American people then to tell them there is an actual slave trade going on. CNN of course will make no connection between the trade and the US-backed forces, or that they peddled the narrative that provided cover for this disgusting practice.


Zimbabwe has always been the butt of everyone’s joke. The country where a wheelbarrow worth of its currency buys you nothing. Where Bitcoin is at 13K apiece. Well, it seems like the corruption and economic criminality has finally caught up with President Mugabe.

This week, the military of the country took over the state radio & TV stations. It also put President Mugabe and his wife under house arrest. The military is not calling it a coup.

The president has been in power since 1980 and his now 93 years old. He is the oldest head of state on Earth, and planned to hand over power to his wife. As recently as today, Mugabe addressed the country on TV, surpising everyone by stating he was not stepping down.

The situation should be followed as it unfolds.


This week we also saw (maybe) the end of Kurdish autonomy in Iraq. Kurdistan’s Regional Government declared that they support a “United Iraq”, but them at odds with the more radical elements of the Kurdish population. Since this Iraq military’s takeover of Kirkuk, the Regional Government has lost all of it’s power. The politicians in charge seem to have made a deal with the central government of Baghdad. Iraq and its US backers wanted the selling of oil in the Kurdish region to flow through Baghdad, and that seems to have taken place. The idea of Kurdish independence in Iraq would seem to be dead.


The situation in Yemen continues to get worse. Just this week the Saudi regime bombed the airport in the capital city of Sanaa, effectively shutting down another route for aid into the starving country.

Speaking of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Senator Chris Murphyspoke on the floor of Senate, calling out the US government for its role in the crimes taking place in the Middle East’s poorest nation:

Let’s hope maybe this brings some attention to the situation and guilt-trips a Congressmen or two to find their morals, if they have any.

Episode can be found here…The full episode archive can be found hereand on ITunes.


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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Niger & AFRICOM: Expanding The Empire into Africa

In this episode I answer the question Americans should be asking about the recent ambush on US troops in Niger: Why Are “We” There?

If you are looking for more background on AFRICOM and the United States footprint in Africa, read Nick Turse. He has been covering the rise of AFRICOM for a decade, and is a wealth of knowledge on the subject.

Link to the episode here. The full episode archive can be found here & on ITunes.


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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: 2001: A War Odyssey

This week we talk about Rand Paul’s epic speech on Capital Hill, reflect on 9/11, and follow the guns from the Balkans to Syria. I also learn a thing or two about Myanmar.

Episode link here.

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 9/10/2017

Good morning!

Another week as past and that means a new episode of the podcast. Tomorrow’s episode will have some positive news, Rand Paul’s revolt on the Senate floor for example. I’ll also talk about looking back on 9/11, the current news regarding the courts and 9/11, and how we’ve seemed to have learned nothing.

I will also discuss the situation in Myanmar, Israeli’s very active week, Turkey’s deal with the Russians, and a big report providing evidence the Pentagon falsified documents about Syrian weapon transfers.

This week’s topics include:

Topic suggestions always welcomed.

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: The U.S.S. Liberty Gets a Win & Other News

In this week’s episode, I discuss a little-known story of murder on the high seas, the next stage in the Syrian conflictIsraeli continuing to go rougeMyanmar becomes the next geopolitical hot-spot, and how I believe the EU is going to break up.

Episode link here.

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

I also want to take a minute to link to a few longer stories I think are worth your time:

Three Years After the War: Gaza Youth Speak Out – by Ramzy Baroud – Ramzy Baroud is editor of the Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).

The USS Liberty Wins One! – by Philip Giraldi

Syria: Deir Ezzor Siege by Daesh Finally Broken by Syrian Army & Russian Airforce – by Sarah Abed/@sarahabed

I also want to point my listeners on Steemit over to VetsConnect by @stay-in-the-gray. It is an attempt to create a community/pipeline within Steemit for combat veterans to support their fellow vets.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 9/3/2017

Good morning!

Tonight (or tomorrow) I will be putting out the next episode of the podcast. A bunch of new stories to discuss this week, along with a major update out of Syria. I hope you will check it out!

This week’s topics include:

Please don’t be shy in leaving interesting topics for me to research in the comment section. Deep dives in geopolitical situations is my guilty pleasure.

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Lords of War

In this episode I discuss the discovery of a gun running operation from The Balkans to Syria and the gangster Bulgarian reporter that uncovered it (and was fired). I touch on Trump and Kim never-ending over who has the bigger missile. Shifting gears, I explain what the president means by “take the gloves off” in Afghanistan by pointing to Mosul, Iraq. A place where that policy has already been implemented. The conflict in Syria is also noted, updating you on the new geopolitical struggle between Russia/Syria and Israel.

Episode link here

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

I also want to take a minute to link to a few longer stories I think are worth your time:

350 Diplomatic Flights Carry Weapons for Terrorists – The story that got Dilyana Gaytandzhieva fired.

End Times in Mosul – Patrick Cockburn details the horror the civilian population of Western Mosul endured under ISIS control and during Mosul’s “liberation” by US-backed Shite forces.

Syrian Man Recounts 33 Days Of Torture At Hands Of CIA-Backed FSA – @sarahabed tells the story of a Syrian man named Shadi’s journey from Syria, back to Syria, only to be kidnapped and tortured by the US-back Free Syrian Army.

Memories of Palestine – @evehuman tell her story of her time in Palestine.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 8/31/2017

Good morning!

Tomorrow I will be putting out the most recent episode of the podcast. This week had some major escalations in different areas, along with the uncovering of a huge gun-running scandal, and Trump’s Afghanistan policy starts taking shape.

This week’s topics include:

I will still be offering to take listener requests for topics to discuss on future episodes. Submit your suggestions in the comment section!

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