Home War/ Terror What is Behind the Paris Attacks?

What is Behind the Paris Attacks?



By James O’Neill*

The political reaction to the recent Paris killings, and the associated reporting, highlight yet again the selective compassion, hypocrisy and historical blindness of our political and media class.

ISIS did not arise out of a vacuum.  Neither is it an example of what the late Chalmers Johnson called “blowback”, i.e. the unintended consequences of policies pursued by the great powers.  On the contrary, it is a deliberate and intended result of specific policies that have at their heart the overthrow of governments unwilling to accede to the Washington agenda, and the subsequent control of natural resource and/or strategic location.

Its modern antecedents can be found in Operation Cyclone in Pakistan in the late 1970s.  At training camps run by the Americans and part financed by the Saudis, jihadist fighters (they were called Mujaheddin then) were recruited to infiltrate and attack not only the secular socialist government of Afghanistan, but also the Muslim majority republics of the then Soviet Union and the strongly Muslim region of Xian Shan in western China.

That policy had multiple goals beyond disruption of Afghan, Soviet and Chinese society.  Afghanistan was the world’s largest producer of heroin, the proceeds from the sale of which were and are a major source of off the books CIA operations as Alfred McCoy, Peter Dale Scott and others have amply demonstrated.

Afghanistan was also the logical route for a pipeline to transship oil and gas from the rich fields of the Caspian basin, then under Soviet control.  It was the later refusal of the Taliban government of Afghanistan to award the pipeline contract to American companies in which Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney and Zbigniew Brzezinski had an interest that was the actual reason for the US led invasion and continuing occupation of Afghanistan in October 2001.

The decision to attack Afghanistan had been made in July 2001, two months before the ostensible excuse of the events of 11 September 2001 in the US allegedly led by CIA alumnus Osama bin Laden.

In the decade before 9/11 the US and its allies had mounted siege warfare against the Iraqi people, which resulted in the deaths of more than half a million Iraqi women, children, and old people.  US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright thought that the deaths of half a million people were “worth it”.

In March 2003 the US, together with its allies including Australia, invaded Iraq on the wholly false pretext of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.  None of the political leaders of the time, including Bush, Blair and Howard, have ever been held accountable for that monstrous crime.  In Australia’s case successive governments have resisted calls for an inquiry into Australia’s involvement in that war.  Reliable calculations of the results of that invasion and occupation put the excess Iraqi death toll over the post 2003 period at in excess of one million people.

Millions more were displaced or forced to flee the country.  Civil society was destroyed.  Today Iraq is a failed state.  ISIS controls significant areas of its territory and also that of neighbouring Syria.

In 2012 Libya was similarly attacked by the western powers, again on the false allegation that Gaddafi was “killing his own people”.  Libya was the country with the highest living standards in Africa, with an excellent education and health system for its people, and one that did not discriminate against its people on the basis of gender.  Today it is another failed state racked by civil war and a breeding ground for radical jihadist groups.

Libya, not coincidentally, has massive oil and gas reserves. Gaddafi also had the temerity to propose trading his country’s oil and gas in “golden dinars”, thereby undermining the then secret deal that Henry Kissinger struck with the Saudis in 1972 that oil and gas sales would only be denominated in US dollars.  Saddam Hussein made a similar fatal mistake when he announced that Iraqi oil could be traded in Euros.

There are many more examples, with Sudan, Mali and Yemen being some of the better-known recent illustrations.  Saudi Arabia, armed almost exclusively by the Americans, is currently engaged in an attempt to destroy the Shi’ite allied Houthis who forced the Yemeni dictator to flee to Saudi Arabia.  The Americans actively support this ongoing and devastating assault upon Yemen.  Australia does Saudi Arabia the courtesy of failing to make any adverse comment on this egregious breach of international law.

Both William Blum and Noam Chomsky have separately estimated that the US has bombed, invaded or overthrown more than 70 nations since World War 2.  Tens of millions have died as a consequence.  In Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia people are still being killed and maimed from residual ordinance from bombing by the Americans during the Vietnam War (1954-1975).  The toxic effects of Agent Orange and other chemical weapons resulted in birth defects decades after the war ended.

The process of economic and political sanctions, assassinations of key leaders and scientists, sabotage and insurrections under the cover of an ‘Arab Spring’ or ‘colour revolutions’ are all on display in the Middle East and elsewhere.  Iran was a target, often through the American supported, armed and protected MEK terrorist group. Direct American involvement in Iran’s affairs date at least from the 1953 CIA coup against the Mossadeq government and accelerated after the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah.  That 1953 coup was on behalf of the Anglo-American oil company (now BP).

American strategy in the Middle East is best understood from three principal driving forces:

  1. Control of resources (hence the invasion of Iraq and the ongoing support for the despicable Saudi regime whose policies are impossible to reconcile with the professed American goals of democracy and human rights).
  2. To protect Israel by political, military and economic support, despite Israel’s appalling record, including but not limited to multiple invasions of its neighbours, defiance of international law, and the brutal suppression of the Palestinian people. Australian support for Israel goes beyond a total failure to criticize even its most egregious acts.  Australia is frequently one of a handful of nations that votes with the US and Israel (together with some American colonies) in General Assembly resolutions. “Hypocrisy” barely covers it.
  3. To exclude Russian gas from the European market (as part of a general policy of encirclement and confrontation). In order to achieve that goal there needs to be an alternative source of supply.  The most feasible candidate allied to the US is Qatar.  The pipeline to take Qatari gas to Europe lies through Iraq and Syria.  The present Russian pipeline for European gas goes through Ukraine, which is an important element in why the Americans staged a coup there in February 2014 and assisted the Ukrainians in shooting down MH17 on 17 July 2014.

When Bashar al Assad, Syria’s President, refused in 2011 to agree to the US proposal for a pipeline for Qatari gas to go through his country, he turned from being a friend who tortured on America’s behalf, to a demonized person whose alleged crimes against his own people (echoes of Saddam and Gadhafi) required that he “must go”.  Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was a faithful echo chamber for the ‘Assad must go’ mantra until very recently.

Assad has been fighting a war ever since.  The pretense of the US and its acolytes including Australia has been that the opposition to Assad were “moderates”.  The western media have helpfully perpetuated this utter fiction.  The fact that since the civil war started Assad won an election that UN observers pronounced fair is never mentioned.  It is one of the reasons the Russian government insists that the Syrian people must carry out any change of government in Syria.  That is generally a concept that falls on deaf western ears.

The US has supplied, armed, financed and generally supported the Syrian rebel groups, either directly or indirectly through their regional allies, in particular Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey.

The Turks and Israelis have in particular played a duplicitous game, providing sales outlets for stolen oil, giving medical treatment in Turkish and Israeli hospitals for wounded jihadists, and in Turkey’s case also bombing the Kurds who have been among the most successful fighters against ISIS.

For the past twelve months the Americans have been conducting a bombing campaign in Syria.  They claimed, falsely, to be bombing ISIS targets.  Their principal targets were Syrian infrastructure.  The western media have been complicit in this falsehood.

Six weeks ago the geopolitical situation changed radically with the intervention of Russian military forces.  The Russians are there at the invitation of the Syrian government, unlike the US, Australia and others, whose bombing of Syria is clearly in breach of international law.  The French have also just carried out bombing attacks on Syrian targets, claiming retaliation for the Paris killings.  The more obvious inference to draw from the statements made by French President Hollande is that the rhetorical groundwork is being laid for a NATO intervention in Syria.  This might properly be called Plan B as Plan A, the use of jihadist proxies to overthrow Assad has clearly been thwarted by the Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah intervention on behalf of the Syrian government.

So weak is the Australian case for intervening in Syria that the Foreign Minister has been reduced to uttering complete banalities and falsehoods, refusing to release the legal advice upon which the intervention is allegedly based, and also refusing to allow any debate on yet another Australian war on behalf of the US, in the House or the Senate.

The Russian intervention has been stunning.  The Syrian Army has achieved more militarily in the past six weeks than in the previous year.  Any talk about no-fly zones in northern Syria, and even “Assad must go,” has become muted.  Superior Russian weaponry, including the S400 missile system, has forced a rethink of western ambitions.  There are even talks in Vienna between the major players and phrases like “there must be a political solution” are being heard.  It is further evidence of the media’s belief in the terminal naivety of the public that we are being subjected to such nonsense.

Russia could not expect to escape retaliation for its successful intervention and thwarting of American ambitions.  There was the expected propaganda barrage, about Russian bombs allegedly hitting hospitals, killing civilians and apparently worst of all, killing the “wrong” terrorists.  The utter hypocrisy of the US stance and that of its allies was the promise of the Saudis to arm the ‘moderates’ with ground-to-air missiles in order to shoot down the Russian planes wreaking such damage on their proxies.

So far, so usual.  The added dimension was the destruction of a Russian civilian airliner over Sinai with the resultant deaths of 224 people, nearly all Russian citizens.  This was nearly 100 more than died in the Paris atrocity.  There was not however, the same level of outrage, grief, and support from the western media.  To show too much sympathy for the Russian victims would undermine the relentless barrage of anti-Putin, anti-Russian propaganda in the western media.

In both the Paris and Sinai cases, ISIS claimed responsibility.  That may well be true.  But the real question is one that the media resolutely refuse to ask: who is behind ISIS?

The evidence is now overwhelmingly clear that ISIS, like its various terrorist manifestations over many decades, is no more than a tool of American foreign policy.  Seymour Hersh pointed out the policy objectives in an article in the New Yorker in 2007, “The Redirection.”  Nothing has happened in the intervening years to rebut his argument.

The real responsibility for these tragic events should therefore be sheeted home to the true perpetrators.  That proxies carry out the atrocities does not detract from that essential conclusion.

Unless and until we confront the true history of western support for terrorism as an instrument of state policy, then we are going to have to cope with many repetitions of what happened over Sinai and in Paris.

*Barrister at Law.  He writes on geopolitical events with special reference to international law.  He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au


  1. Thanks James, you have presented all the key components and associating relations that set the Paris “terror” attacks in accurate context.

    Your article could be notated and utilized as the basis for taking the conversation of the deeper significance and political realities that must not be ignored by our MP’s, Journalist’s, and fellow citizens if rational thinking and evidence matter.

    You have incorporated the critical historical pattern of distorted interpretations manufactured into propaganda to justify a string of war crimes that are easily exposed under honest interrogation.

    This is a very readable and complete template that any of us can appreciate best by magnifying James effort by further broadcasting and spreading the challenges it makes to the populist narrative and reactions.

  2. This morning on ABC 97.7 Morning Program, Joseph Tomsen was discussing the ISIS/Paris subject and he had Nick O’ Brien from Charles Sturt University.

    I got to air and gave a good brief account of the realities of ISIS and what is really happening in Syria.

    I will be furnishing their desk with reference to qualify everything I stated.

    I also spoke with Nick at Charles Sturt. He was speechless when I verbally tabled my referenced point of view and asked him why all this information was missing from his analysis.

    He did give me a very long uninterrupted opportunity to make my case.
    He did have an urgent appointment!

    • “Urgent Appointment” Explained?

      The Charles Sturt University website says: “Before joining this university, Nick O’Brien represented the UK Association of Chief Police Officers — Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee, and all the UK police forces as the Counter Terrorism and Extremism Liaison Officer at the British High Commission in Canberra.”

      Hmm. Why do we need a representative of UK police here in Oz? Wonder if he was consulted re the Siege. Or the terrorist who was so anti-vax that he kept Dr Tenpenny away.

      O’Brien’s academic job made me think of Udo Ulfkotte, a German journalist, who also taught terrorism. But later, “Ulfkotte said he was led down the wrong path, to produce pro-war propaganda for the CIA. He kept saying ‘I am ashamed of myself; I don’t want to bring a new war to Europe’.”

      That’s a quote from my article:

      • Bulletin: We Go FBI
        I am quoting page 9 of today’s Adelaide Advertiser, Nov 17th:

        “Police [in Sydney] are being trained to shoot down armed attackers immediately, rather than “contain and negotiate,” as the nation comes to grips with the potential for further terrorist attacks here.” [Reader, r u coming to grips with it?]

        “Acting NSW Police Commissioner Nick Kaldis confirmed the change to FBI-style training yesterday.
        Mr Kaldis also said that a Paris-style attack ‘could’ occcur in Sydney.He said: ‘What happened in Paris may in a twisted way inspire others to do similar.'”

        I think it might not insipre “others” but rather inspire the very same guys, World Government wet-ops types. Question: Does Police Commissioner Kaldis understand who did the Paris killings? Has he heard of the Gladio work at Bologna? Would he like to borrow my copy of Wm Pepper’s “An Act of State”?

        Does anyone in the NSW parliament know the mechanism by which the law is changed so as to permit “shoot first”?

      • Mary, for all his experience he did not have any answers for me though I have also sent him an email with reference and questions.
        I was quite surprised when he just listened as I referenced and explained point after point that he had not included when on the program.
        He did mumble something about not being asked those questions by Joseph when I point blank asked him why he omitted from his on air analysis all the information I had identified.
        I had not read into his background before I spoke with him and I likely would have toned my challenge back a bit if I had been aware of his career pedigree.
        He was likely shocked I was speaking so frankly and direct.
        I did not have him on my ABC “expert” menu.
        It’s all quite bizarre if you think upon it.

      • 4th attempt at a reply.
        Bit boring telstra!
        In short.
        The ABC is ontinuing to lie to Australia by not insisting that the Clark war criminals be exposed as in the Clark/Good an interterview in March 2007.
        Those who hide information and forbid transparency in an open civilised democracy are those who betray Australian values and freedom.
        They must hate us for expexting freedom and integrity,
        If they cannot assimilate that basic concept and cultural custom then they should piss off and go elsewhere we do not need their deceit to sabotage our democratic right for our public institutions to accept those fundamental precepts.
        You listening, ABC board?

        • Here’s what we said in our book “Truth in Journalism”:

          “Jon Faine compared investigating 9-11 to ‘lunatic fringe’ and to
          ‘debate whether the earth is flat.’
          Heck, that’s nothing compared to what was siad about other radio personalities. Jon, you shouldn’t worry.

  3. James, you are my hero, full stop. I look around at other discussions of “Paris” in the world media and even at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and all I see is lies.

    Anyone who talks about “Islamic terrorists” without reference to Brzezinski’s revelations of their Yankee origin (or, earlier, their British origin) is not going to be able to reach accurate conclusions, or give good advice, as to what is happening today.

    • E.g., phantasmagorical example of MSM — New York Times:

      PARIS. “Three teams of Islamic State attackers acting in unison carried out the terrorist assault in Paris, officials said, including one assailant who may have traveled to Europe on a Syrian passport along with the flow of migrants.

      “It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France,” President François Hollande told the nation from the Élysée Palace, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.”

      Geez. You can’t satirize that, as it’s already satire.

      • “Geez. You can’t satirize that, as it’s already satire”. Indeed. Amazing how often blown up terrorists have indestructible passports. New York (9/11), London (7/7) etc etc. One of the French corpses was a Frenchman who was carrying his French passport. How likely is that? As Jim Dean says, you just can’t make this stuff up.

        • You’re right James. Charlie Hebdo “killer” – Said Kouachi’s ID was abandoned in “the” car.


          And let us not forget MARTIN BRYANT’S passport. It was allegedly found also abandoned in “the” car.

          But there are times when NO PASSPORT IS REQUIRED, – According to attorney Kurt Haskell and his wife Lori, they were waiting to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam when a smartly dressed man, leading a Nigerian, told the ticket agent: “We need to get this man on the plane. He doesn’t have a passport.” The Nigerian was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “Underwear Bomber“.

          • Don’t forget this 9-11 bit from David Ray Griffin’s “Contradictions.” (It’s on a par with ‘the found finger’):

            “At the core of the official story about 9/11 is the claim that the four airliners that crashed that day had been taken over by a band of al-Qaeda hijackers led by Mohamed Atta. No proof was ever provided for this claim. But various kinds of evidence have been offered, the most important of which was reportedly found in Atta’s luggage. As Joel Achenbach wrote in a Washington Post story on September 16, 2001:

            “Atta is thought to have piloted American Airlines Flight 11, the first to slam into the World Trade Center. A letter written by Atta, left in his luggage at Boston’s Logan Airport, said he planned to kill himself so he could go to heaven as a martyr. It also contained a Saudi passport, instructional videos for flying Boeing airliners, and an Islamic prayer schedule.”

            The title of the WaPo article was “’You Never Imagine’ A Hijacker Next Door.” And it’s true; we don’t.

  4. Two further developments of note. On ABC 612 (Brisbane) this morning Julie Bishop said that Australia was bombing Syria pursuant to the collective self defence provision of Article 51 of the UN Charter. For a rebuttal of the validity of that argument see my article in New Matilda published today.
    The second development which you won’t read about in the Australian msm is that President Putin at the G20 meeting overnight provided evidence on the financing of ISIS that came from 40 countries, including members of the G20. He also showed them satellite pictures of convoys of ISIS vehicles stretching “dozens of kilometres” smuggling stolen crude oil.
    In what is no doubt an amazing coincidence the Americans promptly announced that they had begun to bomb these convoys.

    • Article 51 of the UN Charter of 1945:
      “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations….”

      Which Member was attacked, per our Foreign Minister? I can’t wait to find out.

      • Mary, read my article in New Matilda for a fuller discussion. The short version is that the ICJ has ruled on a number of occasions that ‘self-defence of another’ applies only when the state attacked, in this case Iraq, is attacked by another state. ISIS is not a state. Therefore Julie Bishop’s claim is on a par with her usual misunderstanding of the law.

        • Aw shucks, I was thinking maybe she meant that armed attack on Libya a while back. Remember that one?
          Or how about the bioweapon attack on Nigeria in the form of a polio virus? Don’t hear much about that.
          What about the geoegineering attack on Adelaide? Come out to my back balcony I’ll show you what I mean. This very morning.

          Come on, UN, give succour! Give protection!

          • Delayed reaction: James, did you say Julie Bishop thinks Oz should act in collective self-interest under Article 51 by bombing “a country that attacked Iraq”?
            Crikey, I’d better phone my nieces in the US and warn them to take cover!
            This whole thing is getting more interesting by the minute!

          • Not quite Mary. Article 51 allows a country to ask another for help when it is attacked. Bishop says that Iraq asked for our help because it was being attacked by ISIS who were operating in Syria as well as Iraq. I would like to see what form this request from Iraq took before committing myself to a view on that aspect.
            But irrespective of whether or not Iraq did seek our help to bomb Syria, international law (at least two major ICJ cases) says that the attack upon a state (Iraq here) must be by another state. ISIS is not a state. Therefore Iraq could not ask for our help in that way. Our bombing of Syria is unlawful, as is that of France and the US.

    • Also it seems, as with 9/11, the Jews were apparently forwarned of the coming Paris event. That was by Bryan Kemila on his Illuminati Matrix site.
      Keith Noble has an article on Cherri Bonney’s Petition page.

      • I didn’t know Odigo were still active. Funny how the most obvious targets of “Islamic” rage get these fore-warnings all the time.

        • Must admit though Kevin, Kemila’s stuff seems a bit OTT. I did hear somewhere else about the warning though.

          So we have drills again, we have yet another magic passport (because you always pack your passport with your suicide vest), we have fore-warnings so certain classes of fingernail don’t get broken, and we have a resolve to ramp up the attacks on Syria, even at risk of a confrontation with Russia. Someone knew what they needed out of this.

          • Dear Paul, I believe we have established (haven’t we?) that there was no religious component (one way or the other) in the Paris massacre.
            Same for the Sydney siege whose anniversary is less than a month away.
            Maybe a step in the direction of helping Julie would be to insist that she start every discussion of these incidents by saying “Ignore any apparent connection to religion. This be realpolitik.”

          • And like Sydney we have a comic-book villain, well known to security services who was able to pull off a complex, co-ordinated operation (recruitment, arming, planning etc.) unmolested despite the ever increasing net of surveillance being thrown around us all. Very Sydney, and as eye-witness reports are demonstrating, very Port Arthur in execution.

          • Paul, where can we go to see Sydney’s eyewitness reports?
            And by the way, Cherri Bonney’s free-Bryant petition to the premier of Tassie is at change.org. (And I’ve just posted a 4-minute Bryant video at my channel Mary W Maxwell.)

    Dear Very Valued Gumshoe Readers,
    Tomorrow, Wednesday, I’ll be minding the store, as Her Bossness will be on the road.

    I would not dream of putting up a new article, as James’s is still beaming away. So, may I ask you to add some suggestions (addressed to Julie Bishop) on how Australia can best react to “Paris”?

    If you have a young person in your clan, I hope you can get them to do the same (but perhaps they should use a screen name).

    Big or little suggestions, anything! Note: this isn’t meant to deter any other kinds of comments. Thank you.

      • The Gaddafi video excites me. We had often heard that he and Saddam were “into” the theme of uniting their people. (Something I, born in 1947, never experienced in an American leader, tho’ we Seppos never imagined we needed to be united — the culture said we were already “happy cousins.”)

        How wonderful for a nation to have a leader — ya listenin’, Julie? — that cares about uniting the people. How about you decide to make Oz work for us and pay no attention to the outsiders. Pay no attention to the G-20. (Recall Dee’s “translation” of Tony Abbott’s Brisbane speech?)

        How about you go back to the old days when HV Evatt (1894-1965), an Australian, was president of the UN General Assembly. Aussies used to walk tall, as they could be seen as a friend of any nation. Indeed (tho’ personally I can’t stand the concept of international law), Australia was seen as a leader in that area.

        Incidentally, in an official history of the founding of the UN, I saw that India’s delegates recommended that human rights offices be set up as storefronts in every nation. What a great idea! The people could walk in and divest themselves of their concerns.

        I suggest that you immediately put out a call for people to meet on the steps of their state parliament (or on the lawns of the governor’s mansion?) or at the beach, it doesn’t matter where. Their job will be simply to watch Dee’s video that interweaves John Howard’s speech with Wesley Clark’s speech, and say what Australia should now do about that.

  6. an “open source” investigation into the Paris attacks..

    an important bit i believe.. who is ISIS?

    “ISIS, the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria fostered, funded, armed, equipped and trained by the United States, its Gulf allies, Turkey and Israel has reportedly taken responsibility for the attacks.”

    if Martin Bryant wasnt locked up – he would probably be blamed as well.

    • That Corbett fellow sure doesn’t waste your time. It’s all served up concisely. Thanks, Fair.
      (They may have let Martin out for a trip. That’s what Shane Gingkotree said they did with the poor old SAS guy in 1996.)

  7. Although this video is about US “Homeland Security,” I think it belongs here with James O’Neill’s article. Worth the 12 minutes. Ms Davis is a DHS whistle blower. Later she was termed a terrorist “because of derogatory statements she made about the Homeland Security Dept in her filings.” Those ‘filings’ were her perfectly legitimate complaints to her supervisors that 23 terrororists were allowed to cross into US from Mexico under DHS’s protection on a July 4 holiday.

    One may recall Dee making a stink about a new law in Oz that could put a journalist in “San Quentin” for 10 years, for telling the public (i.e., “leaking”) that the gov’t is commting a crime.

    Oh-oh. When i think how many ‘derogatory’ statements I’ve made! E.g., in my Nov 19, 2015 article at Rumor Mill News, entitled “Big, Fat Goodbye: Rule of law Done Gone.”

  8. Mary – where have you been all my life? Or at least these last several years since I have woken up? I’ve only just learnt about you and Gumshoe today following the link from an email from Keith Noble about poor Martin Bryant. I’ve been knocking my head against the wall of the Canberra Times trying to get the message about the NWO through their thick skulls and it can be quite dispiriting – though one occasionally has a win! But to read your comments and those of so many other fantastic enlightened Aussies gives me hope that our numbers are not so small after all. If ever you are in Canberra be sure to let me know.
    Chris Williams

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